Democratic presidential candidates continue to throw shade on the legacy of former President Barack Obama. They rarely criticize him by name, but many of the 2020 hopefuls have implicitly attacked Obama's record on health care, immigration, and climate change, among other issues.
The latest example of implied criticism, courtesy of two prominent contenders, focuses on the Obama administration's investigation into the controversial police-involved shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass) and Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) marked the five-year anniversary of Brown's death on Twitter by asserting that he was "murdered."
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5 years ago Michael Brown was murdered by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Michael was unarmed yet he was shot 6 times. I stand with activists and organizers who continue the fight for justice for Michael. We must confront systemic racism and police violence head on.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) August 9, 2019
Michael Brown’s murder forever changed Ferguson and America. His tragic death sparked a desperately needed conversation and a nationwide movement. We must fight for stronger accountability and racial equity in our justice system.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) August 9, 2019
That's not what Barack Obama's Department of Justice concluded after investigating the incident. The federal probe, in addition to the local criminal investigation presented to a grand jury, did not find sufficient evidence to pursue charges against Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot Brown. Both largely substantiated Wilson's version of events that Brown reached into his police car and attempted to grab the officer's gun.
The DOJ investigation further concluded that a central detail in the popular narrative surrounding the case — that Brown held his hands up and shouted "don't shoot" — was likely false, and based on testimony from unreliable witnesses. The tweets from Sens. Harris and Warren suggest that Obama's Justice Department failed to address "systemic racism" and "racial equity" in the justice system.
It has become an article of faith for Democratic candidates that the Obama administration's investigation and conclusion for Michael Brown's shooting was false? https://t.co/g1I1MHAqS4
— Zaid Jilani (@ZaidJilani) August 9, 2019
Obama, meanwhile, is reportedly "expressing exasperation" with the Democratic primary candidates attacking his legacy and promoting policies far to the left of those he pursued as president.