Missouri’s lieutenant governor lashed out at the Justice Department on Monday, accusing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and the Obama administration of racism in the wake of the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, in Ferguson last year.
“There is more racism in the Justice Department than there is in anywhere I see in the St. Louis area,” Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder said in an interview with NewsMaxTV Monday. “We are making progress. We’ve come an enormous way in 50 years. That’s not to say we don’t have still have more to do. But it is the left — it is the Eric Holder and Obama left — and their minions who are obsessed with race, while the rest of us are moving on beyond it.”
Kinder, a Republican, criticized the administration for “[inciting] a mob” during the protests that followed Brown’s killing.
“The whole blowup of this protest movement was based on the lie that never happened of ‘hands up don’t shoot,’” Kinder said in remarks that were first reported by BuzzFeed. “It’s bad enough the protesters were behaving that way, but we have a right to expect much more from the attorney general, the head of the Justice Department of the United States, and the president of the United States. And instead, what we got too often from them was incitement of the mob, and, uh, encouraging disorder in Ferguson and disrupting the peaceable going-about of our daily lives in the greater St. Louis region.”
He added: “Many of them have spent most of their careers defending Black Panthers and other violent radicals.”
Kinder’s comments come on the heels of a Justice Department report that concluded officer Darren Wilson had reason to fear Brown when he fatally shot him and would not be charged — a decision President Obama said he fully supported.
“You can’t just charge him anyway because what happened was tragic,” Obama said. “That was the decision that was made, and I have complete confidence and stand fully behind the decision that was made by the Justice Department on that issue.”
The same Justice Department probe found pervasive racial bias on the part of Ferguson’s mostly white police force. Ferguson’s police chief, city manager and a municipal judge resigned in the wake of the findings.
Last week, two police officers were shot during a protest related to the case. Both officers were treated and released by a local hospital.
On Sunday, Jeffrey Williams, a 20-year-old man, was charged with first-degree assault in the shootings.
According to St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch, Williams told authorities he was not targeting police but was shooting at someone else.
“This arrest sends a clear message that acts of violence against our law enforcement personnel will never be tolerated,” Holder said in a statement.
Kinder is something of a controversial figure in Missouri. In February, he made headlines for requesting a daily allowance from the state legislature to cover his expenses when he is working in Jefferson City. Kinder, who lives in Cape Girardeau and maintains a second home in the state capital, said he’s experienced “gradual impoverishment” during his decade in public office. He receives an annual salary of about $86,000, according to public records.