Based on what is known about the unblemished six-year record of Officer Darren Wilson and the facts surrounding his shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, there is no reason to suspect racism, much less that any thought was given to Mr. Brown’s federal rights during the sudden, violent exchange. There is no way this is a civil-rights case . . . unless you are a backward-thinking dolt who spots racism based on nothing more than the fact that the police officer is white and the victim is black.
It is a violation of federal law to subject a person to criminal investigation solely on the basis of his race. To prevent such government abuse, to root out institutional racism, is the objective of the civil-rights laws, which hold that a person may not be deprived of his rights and privileges — including due process and equal protection under the law — based on his race.
If the Justice Department would not open a civil-rights investigation based on a black police officer’s shooting of a civilian, whatever the victim’s race, then a white officer is just as entitled to that presumption of innocence. It is no more legitimate for the Justice Department to target a white cop for being white than for a white cop to target a black man for being black. Both would be examples of what the civil-rights laws call “deprivation of rights under color of law.”