Lest some have forgotten.
Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick entered the presidential race last week. Patrick is touted as a centrist Democrat and is reportedly former president Barack Obama’s favorite candidate. Patrick is also the only candidate in the race responsible for disastrous coverups at both the federal and state level.
Patrick was assistant attorney general for Civil Rights in the Clinton administration. Shortly before Clinton won the 1992 election, U.S. marshals killed 14-year-old Sammy Weaver and an FBI sniper shot Randy Weaver and killed his wife, Vicki Weaver, as she held their baby in the cabin door at Ruby Ridge.
An Idaho jury found Weaver not guilty on almost all charges and federal judge Edward Lodge slammed the Justice Department and FBI for concealing evidence and showing “a callous disregard for the rights of the defendants and the interests of justice.” A task force of 24 FBI and Justice Department officials compiled a 542-page report detailing federal misconduct and coverups and suggested criminal charges against FBI officials involved in Ruby Ridge. Patrick rejected the task force’s recommendation, ruling instead that the FBI sniper who killed Vicki Weaver had not used “excessive force” and did not intend to violate her civil rights.
In June 1995, the secret report leaked out and made a mockery of Patrick’s “no excessive force” ruling. One FBI SWAT team member at Ruby Ridge recalled the Rules of Engagement: “If you see ’em, shoot ’em.” The report condemned that rule as practically a license to kill that flagrantly violated the U.S. Constitution. The task force was especially appalled that the Weavers were gunned down before receiving any warning or demand to surrender, noting that the FBI’s tactics “subjected the government to charges that it was setting Weaver up for attack.” Patrick apparently shrugged off such concerns.
Top FBI officials were suspended on suspicion of committing perjury on the case the following month. Though Patrick had effectively absolved the government, the Justice Department paid $3 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit from the Weaver family. When the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on Ruby Ridge later that year, five FBI officials (including the sniper who killed Vicki Weaver) involved in the case invoked their Fifth Amendment rights to avoid incriminating themselves. In 1997, the chief of the FBI’s violent crimes section was sent to prison for destroying a report on the FBI’s failures at Ruby Ridge, Idaho.