I have a number of objections to Thalia Halpert Roden’s op ed, “Why Ferguson matters to Jews” (August 29).
First of all, she advocates giving money to the National Lawyers Guild. This is an organization that has supported anti-Israel pro-Palestinian positions, including BDS, for years. Would Ms. Roden endorse sending money via the Klan even if she agreed with the issue?
Secondly, while I was initially sympathetic to the demonstrators due to the initial inaction by state and local authorities, once action was announced by federal and state authorities, all demonstrations should have ceased. This is because such demonstrations after that point jeopardize the police officer’s right to a presumption of innocence. Ms. Roden, I would hope you would believe that even a white police officer is entitled to a fair trial, not a lynching.
Thirdly, what is left out of Ms. Roden’s article was looting that occurred in Ferguson during the demonstrations. Granted it was done by a small percentage of the demonstrators, but the damage they did may require years for the businesses to recover. The only ones hurt will be the African-Americans who live in Ferguson.
As an attorney with 25 years of experience in criminal practice in Brooklyn, I am very much aware of racial and class profiling in how citizens are treated by the police. I am also aware that certain laws (marijuana possession and open container) are much more likely to be enforced against citizens of specific race and class. I am also aware that communities like Ferguson, which is 75 percent African American, cannot be effectively policed by a force that is whiter than Ivory soap. I maintain, however, that dialogue and not a call to the barricades is the answer