The following is a comment posted by Executive Director Michael Meyers on the ACLU website in response to their transcript of Laura W. Murphy’s speech to Al Sharpton’s National Action Network National Convention. Laura W. Murphy is the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office Director.
Laura W. Murphy Speaks Out As – American *Civil* Liberties Union
2. *MICHAEL MEYERS Says:
Apr 16th, 2012 at 2:52pm*
What EVIDENCE–rather than conjecture and personal anecdotes of fear and concerns from your Laura Murphy (who frets about her own son’s safety
in a predominantly white neighborhood)–does the ACLU have for concluding that the tragedy of Trayvon Martin’s death was racially-motivated or an
act of “racial-profiling”? Was the ACLU or Laura Murphy there at the time of the altercation between George Zimmerman, a Hispanic, and Trayvon Martin,
an African American youth? Why the rush to judgment before the trial of Zimmerman? The ACLU used to stand for due process. But it hasn’t questioned
the state prosecutor’s end run around a grand jury–and it hasn’t urged Americans to wait for the trial before coming to hard and fast conclusions
about the facts and circumstances of this child’s death.
Here, the ACLU stands curiously with race hucksters and “civil rights” activists who demand arrests, and conviction, and the ACLU uses this tragedy as support
for new federal laws that will address “racial profiling”, citing this incident as “proof” or as an example that racial profiling is endemic. But using personal anecdotes
and supposition, and citing “facts” neither in evidence nor contested in a court of law is too easy and sloppy a leap to the conclusion that this killing was as an act of
racial-profiling. This stirring of passions and prejudices is on the ACLU’s part sheer racial paranoia and hyperbole and contributes to a climate of racial divisiveness
and pre-trial publicity that undermines due process rights and respect for the rule of law.
A defendant is entitled to the legal presumption of innocence–but the ACLU doesn’t or won’t say that. Instead, ACLU officials claim that the Trayvon Martin
tragedy is “racial profiling,” the kind of “racial profiling” that warrants federal anti-racial profiling legislation. Missing in its analysis is how, if at all,
a federal law aimed at police officers who engage in racial profiling relates to the conduct of a civilian neighborhood watchman who confronts
a civilian–even assuming that the civilian patrol racially-profiles. On this, on just about every level, the ACLU is way off the mark.
Michael Meyers, executive director, New York Civil Rights Coalition