Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson ignites firestorm with Ferguson comments

By reputation, Mayor Kevin Johnson of Sacramento, a former NBA star, husband to education “reformer” Michelle Rhee, and president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, is no dummy.  But evidently Ferguson Derangement Syndrome has overcome him.  At a community meeting, he stated:

 "I'm obviously disappointed by the grand jury's verdict," Johnson said Monday night. "We may quibble and debate about the details of what happened in Ferguson on Aug. 9. What there is no controversy about is the fact that an injustice occurred.

photo credit: Randall Benton, Sacramento Bee

This is stupid three ways:

  1. No controversy?  Is he oblivious to the many legal scholars who have praised the grand jury?  Has he examined the evidence that the grand jury saw?
  2. Is he aware of the rioting, which was expected and happened based on the erroneous impression of an injustice, based in large part on media coverage highlighting eyewitnesses whose accounts of shots in the back and hands raised have been contradicted by the physical evidence?
  3. Does he understand that the City of Sacramento has a police department whose members face life-and-death situations with suspects?

On this last point, the SPD members had a strong reaction.  Ryan Lillis of the Sacramento Bee:

The head of the Sacramento police union said Tuesday he was upset with comments made Monday night by Mayor Kevin Johnson after a Missouri grand jury decided to not indict Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.

Soon after the grand jury’s decision was announced, Johnson called it “just a sad day for America, in my opinion, when you think about injustice and all the things that have happened over the history of time. This one just doesn’t feel right.”

Dustin Smith, head of the Sacramento Police Officers Association, said the mayor “shouldn’t be disappointed, he should be relieved” that the grand jury did not find Wilson “acted in a heinous fashion.”

“It’s a complete slap in the face to law enforcement throughout the nation,” Smith said.

Johnson then met with police union representatives.  Nick Janes of CBS Sacramento:

The mayor and Sacramento’s police union met to clear the air, and it started with an apology.

“I apologized and said, if I said anything that was offensive, I take that back. That was not my intention,” he said.


He said the words were taken out of context 

So much for Johnson's future prospects as a high-flying black politician, sometimes called "Little Barack."