Partial withdrawal from participation is not a sufficient cure for
an apparent conflict of interest. When there is any involvement, it
can be seen as providing preferential treatment, as being unfair.
Once again this is made clear, in the most controversial local
government problem of the year: a white police officer's
killing of a black man in Ferguson, MO.
According to an
article in Newsweek
the elected St. Louis County prosecutor, Robert McCulloch, is seen as
especially sympathetic to the police. "His father was a St. Louis
policeman killed in the line of duty by a black man when McCulloch
was 12. His brother, nephew and cousin all served with the St. Louis
police. His mother worked as a clerk for the force for 20 years.
McCulloch would have joined the force too, but he lost a leg in high
school due to cancer. 'I couldn’t become a policeman, so being
county prosecutor is the next best thing,' he once said." He also
spoke out (almost alone) in favor of a continuing role for the local
police in the demonstrations that followed the killing.