Trump Administration Suddenly Gets Interested in Civil Rights

California’s attorney general decided this week not to file charges against two Sacramento police officers who killed Stephon Clark last year. Today the Trump administration announced that they would review the case for possible civil rights violations:

Federal authorities announced Tuesday they will conduct a civil rights review of the police shooting of an unarmed black man in California’s capital last March, a killing that triggered a year of racial upheaval in Sacramento and has become the focus of legislation to curb the use of deadly force.

U.S. Atty. McGregor Scott and Sean Ragan, who heads the FBI’s Sacramento office, said the federal probe would examine “results of the state and local investigations,” and will determine whether the slaying of Clark, 22, violated his federal civil rights. A U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment on why the Clark case warranted further examination, saying only that the review was “standard practice.”

Normally, I’d say this was a good thing and then move on. But I’m a suspicious person, and my first thought was that this actually seemed fairly non-standard for the Trump administration. Then, by chance, I came across a Vice article today that showed just how non-standard it was:

The Trump administration sure doesn’t seem very interested in civil rights violations, does it? So why the interest in Stephon Clark? Is it because his shooting happened in California and Trump is interested in stirring up racial controversy in California?

I don’t know. I’m just asking questions here, OK?

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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