“We need federal intervention without delay,” says Reverend Al Sharpton, in his call for a national march on the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C., as a result of recent deaths of black men at the hands of police. “The state has already proven that it cannot do the job,” he insists.
The current lead item on Sharpton’s National Action Network homepage directs readers to his December 8 column for the online Huffington Post promoting the upcoming march on Washington and the demand that Congress enact “laws that will change the jurisdiction threshold for federal cases and policing.”
“On Saturday, Dec. 13, thousands will join the families of Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Akai Gurley and Michael Brown as they and National Action Network and other civil-rights organizations gather in Washington, D.C., for a march against police violence,” wrote Sharpton in his HuffPo call to action. What Sharpton didn’t mention is that only three days earlier the family of Akai Gurley had told him to butt out of their affairs and had stated unequivocally that they did not want him at the funeral, exploiting it for his own political and financial benefit. The 28-year-old Akai Gurley was shot and killed on November 20 by rookie police officer Peter Liang in a dark stairwell of the Louis H. Pink Houses, a decaying government housing project in Brooklyn notorious for violent crime.
According to Gurley’s family, Sharpton wasted no time in muscling in to take advantage of the tragedy. The notorious race hustler, who pops up as “spokesman” anytime there is a conflict with an exploitable race angle, was billing himself as the eulogist for the Gurley funeral — without the family’s permission and against their wishes. “It’s been a nightmare,” Gurley’s aunt, Hertencia Petersen, told the New York Post. “He just wants to take credit for this when he’s never even contacted my sister [Akai Gurley’s mother, Sylvia Palmer].”
“Who made you the spokesperson of our family?” Petersen asked rhetorically of Sharpton. “We just want to bury our nephew with dignity and respect.”
“How can you do a eulogy for someone you don’t even know? It’s heartbreaking,” Petersen said.
According to Petersen, Sharpton didn’t offer the family any help, and she had to turn to her union, the SEIU, for the funds to pay for her sister, Mrs. Palmer, to be able to travel from her home in Florida to the funeral for her son in New York.
“National Action Network would have held the funeral without them,” said Malkia King, president of the SEIU’s benefits fund, who helped raise the $6,000 needed to pay for flights and a hotel room for Palmer and other relatives.
“It’s About Control and Power”
“There is no piece of the pie for Mr. Sharpton here,” Petersen declared, adding that whenever the ambulance-chasing “Reverend” gets involved in in these matters, “It’s not pretty — there’s confusion.” She said that the Gurley funeral service would be “chaos” if Sharpton showed up. “It’s about control and power,” she said. “We’re not here for that.”
When Al Sharpton is involved, it is indeed about control and power. And right now, his focus is on shifting control and power over all criminal law, policing, and prosecution to the federal government. The U.S. Constitution wisely restricts the jurisdiction of the central government to a very narrow range of criminal activity, reserving to the individual states the authority to devise their own laws and penalties covering the vast majority of crime. This is one of the most important checks and balances in our constitutional system, protecting against the development of an all-powerful federal government that could wield tyrannical police powers to destroy all liberty.
The liberal-left party line for decades has been that this constitutional provision of “states rights” has been synonymous with racism, Jim Crow laws, and “oppression of people of color.” Accordingly, say the so-called progressives, state laws must be superseded by federal law. And, ultimately, say many of the same “progressives,” U.S. federal law must then be made to conform to “international law” — as dictated by the United Nations.
“When local prosecutors fail to conduct a fair grand-jury investigation at the state level, as happened in Ferguson and Staten Island recently, the threshold is so high for the federal government to be able to take over the case,” Sharpton claimed in his HuffPo column. “That must change,” he insisted, “And in order for federal authorities to step in, we must reform current laws.”
The assumption embedded in Sharpton’s alleged logic is that failure of a state or county grand jury to indict a white cop is ipso facto evidence of irremediable corruption and systemic racism. And the corollary to this assumption is the claim that transferring more power to the federal government will remedy this supposed corruption/racism and usher in a new era of genuine justice. But there is little-to-no evidence to support the proposition that kicking jurisdiction over criminal law "upstairs" to the feds will solve corruption and/or racism problems, and plenty of reason to believe that further centralizing and concentrating power will only lead to even greater abuses.
Tragically, over the past several decades, federal court decisions and federal legislation have usurped many state powers, unconstitutionally granting Washington, D.C., control over vast areas of criminal law. And, since the 9/11 attacks, this trend has accelerated dangerously.
Sharpton wants to speed up that destructive trend even more. And he is hoping to lead that charge — over the dead bodies of expendable victims, and the charred remains of cities ravaged by riots he has helped to foment.
Photo of Al Sharpton (left) with Esaw, the widow of Eric Garner: Thomas Altfather Good