THE BLOG

Attorney General Mukasey Must Act To Address Police Brutality

08/07/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Rep. Maxine Waters(D) Los Angeles, in a letter to Attorney General Mukasey, has requested a federal inquiry into officer involved shootings resulting in the deaths of three Inglewood residents. The Inglewood City Council, after a closed-door meeting Tuesday night, is expected to request the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department of Independent Review to investigate the shootings.

In two of the incidents the same officer, Brian Ragan, who, after killing an unarmed teen in May, was involved in the killing of a 36 year old postal worker last week. Having placed Ragan back on duty in June without issuing a report to the public regarding the shooting of the unarmed teens, Seabrooks is ultimately responsible for the public's perception of a department unwilling to address police abuses. If Ragan is left on active duty again, will he complete a deadly hat trick, a treacherous trifecta? The third case involved another young black male who police characterized as a known gang member, shot in the back as he ran from police who claimed he was reaching in his waistband in what police feared was reaching for a weapon. At her news conference held at the Inglewood City Hall, Rep. Waters blasted the police department's internal investigation.

"I don't trust any police department to investigate itself," Waters said. "We must take all necessary steps to determine why there has been an unusual number of shootings [by police] in the city of Inglewood in such a short amount of time."

Inglewood Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks did not attend the news conference, but Waters said that Seabrooks called her late Sunday and that the chief "fully supports an investigation."

The state's Legislative Black Caucus has called for California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown to investigate last week's fatal police shooting of postal worker Kevin Wicks, 38.

Police say Wicks was shot July 21 after he raised a gun at Officer Brian Ragan, who was responding to a report of a family disturbance at Wicks' apartment complex. Ragan was one of two officers involved in the Mother's Day shooting of three unarmed men that resulted in the death of Michael Byoune, 19.

Seabrooks said Friday that Ragan had passed a psychological screening after the first shooting and that "there wasn't anything to affect his ability" to do his job when he returned to duty in June.

In my very first Huffington Post blog, I wrote about the death of Michael Byoune, one of many at the hands of police occurring with such frequency and with such apparent disregard for their most precious civil right, the right to life. At that time, I was unaware of another case in Winnfield, Louisiana, where a policeman tasered handcuffed 21-year-old Baron Pikes nine times resulting in his death. This act of obvious cruel and unusual punishment, now called a homicide by the coroner and the Winn Parish District Attorney, is awaiting the release of an investigative report from the Louisiana State Police concluded last Friday. The Winnfield Parish District Attorney, Chris Nevils has called for a Grand Jury investigation that will convene August 12th.

America can no longer afford to wait for an Attorney General to be selected by the next president to address the breakdown in control over the nation's police departments' use of force policies. Each of us who care about the lives being lost through unnecessary and excessive police actions must write to the Attorney General to express our outrage over these abuses and voice our demands for justice to be rendered in the cases of Police abuse against young black men that makes them America's most endangered species. The Web site of the Attorney General, phone number, and email address is listed below. We must take the time out of our busy lives to show our concern now!

Web site of the U. S. Attorney General: http://www.usdoj.gov/ag/
E-mails to the Department of Justice, including the Attorney General, may be sent to AskDOJ@usdoj.gov