FBI Director James Comey’s announcement about a review of emails potentially connected to the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s personal server was no more a bombshell than the story that Attorney General Loretta Lynch had replaced local FBI agents and her former Brooklyn prosecutorial colleagues from investigating the “chokehold” death of Eric Garner in Staten Island in 2014.
According to news stories, Lynch wanted a new team of Washington, D.C., agents and prosecutors to look at the case apparently after a Brooklyn team of investigators felt no federal charges should be brought against NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo. The feds are investigating whether Pantaleo — who was not indicted by a state grand jury on criminal charges — violated Garner’s civil rights.
Naturally, Mayor Bill de Blasio piped in, saying he supported Lynch’s decision, and described the Justice Department as “the gold standard in terms of protecting civil rights.”
A former NYPD officer who worked under Lynch for four years when she was a U.S. attorney in New York told NYPD Confidential: “There is no better person than Loretta. She has the highest standards of integrity.”
The former officer spoke on condition of anonymity specifically about the removal of local federal investigators from the Garner case. He and others outside the NYPD describe Lynch’s decision to remove the prosecutors — with whom she had worked for years — as “completely out of character.”
So what happened? Did she want to assure the public that the Justice Department had left no stone unturned in investigating Garner’s case?
Or, has her character so changed since she was appointed attorney general a year and a half ago that she made what could be seen as a political decision to indict Pantaleo?
If so, that’s some gold standard.
Unfortunately, Lynch met privately with Bill Clinton this summer aboard her government jet in Phoenix, weeks before Comey ended the email investigation into Hillary Clinton’s personal server. That led many to perceive Lynch as damaged goods.
Her recent decision in the Pantaleo case, with no explanation from her, furthers that perception.