Rev. Al Sharpton's Weekly Blog

Attorney General Eric Holder Has Been ‘Stopped and Frisked’

Jun 20, 2012

The politics of politics. Chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, has just pressed ahead with contempt charges against Attorney General Eric Holder. Attempting to argue that AG Holder somehow withheld information with regards to the Fast and Furious case, Issa has engaged in a political witch hunt that proves only one thing: the hypocrisy of GOP members for personal and Party benefit.

The highest officer of law and order in this nation has been ridiculed, scapegoated and handled as some sort of criminal throughout this 'investigation.' Turning over thousands of documents and overextending himself, AG Holder was spoken to and mistreated as if he were a child, and reminded that despite his esteemed position, he can and would be profiled. AG Holder was in essence 'stopped & frisked' without probable cause, and after he cooperated, he was made an example of. What Issa just showed us is that no matter what our stature in this world, someone can easily try to 'put us in our place.' What could be more outrageous?

First things first, let's remember that Fast and Furious was created under the Bush Administration. While Republicans are busy denouncing the practice for its flaws, they fail to mention that AG Holder was the one who ended the program. Since the so-called investigation (a.k.a. witch hunt) began, the Justice Department has handed over more than 140,000 documents, 7,600 pages and participated in 8 hearings before Congress. Not only did Issa and his counterparts never go after previous attorneys general or the Bush Administration itself, but they continue to treat AG Holder as if he is indeed guilty of the most egregious crime. It is the same sort of tactic we see utilized against the hundreds of thousands of innocent individuals stopped and searched by police. They have no weapon, haven't committed an offense, yet somehow 'appear' as a culprit.

As I marched this past Sunday with tens of thousands in New York in opposition to the abhorrent practice of stop & frisk,' I couldn't help but think of our attorney general. Tattered down and publicly humiliated, AG Holder has been mishandled just like the young Black and Latino men (and women) who are demonized on our streets everyday. Chris Matthews of Hardball on MSNBC concurred: AG Holder is being profiled, stopped and searched. Where was Issa's government reform when the ATF gun program began in '06 under the Bush Administration and was called Operation Wide Receiver? Or when it was the Hernandez case in '07? Or the Mendrano case in '08? Why hasn't anyone from the previous administration been held accountable? Why is it only this AG a few months before election time? The answer is glaringly obvious.

The American people should be very clear as to what they are watching. At a time when we have an endless number of questions concerning high violence rates, oppressive voter ID laws and voter suppression tactics, as well as other serious life and death questions, Issa and others would rather play a game of politics. Have there been mistakes made under AG Holder's watch? Yes. But was he responsible for creating the Fast & Furious program, or has he been non-cooperative? No. Is he being unfairly targeted and dragged through the mud as a method of delay from other pressing issues? Undoubtedly for sure.

We, the voting public will not be fooled. Instead of resolving some of this country's dire challenges like high unemployment rates, foreclosure rates, struggling educational system and more, these politicians would rather waste time creating hysteria. And instead of representing the interests of the American people, these GOP officials are once again playing games at a time when we need real leadership. It's a good thing the citizens of this nation know the difference between politics and due process.