Friday, April 25, 2008

What a Surprise

Our justice system fails again. The Sean Bell killers walk.

The charges were politically calculated. They tried to take the middle road. No murder charges so the cops don't get too pissed. Manslaughter charges that won't stick to try to placate the masses. One has to wonder how much the prosecutors really wanted a conviction. The judge said the prosecution witnesses were not credible, while the defense witnesses were. A bunch of black dudes from a strip club is found less credible than a group of police officers brought up on criminal charges whose testimony is self serving.

What makes the most sense of what we know from that night? An undercover officer with gun drawn approached a car full of guys who had just had a confronation. They try to get away, and bump the cop with their car. The cop panics and fires (he claims he incorrectly thought they had a gun, and was terrified of being shot). The whole swarm of them panic and fire. So the cops' defense is, when it boils down to it: we were incompetent, but not criminally so. They were there to run a prostitution sting, and found themselves in a situation they could not handle.

I don't know the ins and outs of the trial. The judge's decision may well be correct. But people will not accept that police who behaved insanely, firing 50 times (one even emptied his clip and reloaded), can be innocent of all charges.

Will there be riots? I am located not far from the courthouse, and I hear helicopters circling above. No justice, no peace?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

The fact that this whole incident is so unfair doesn't imply that the cops deliberately acted criminally.-s29

beckett said...

No. They may, in fact, have been incompetent, ill trained, and scared. They probably did not start the night intending to kill anyone. Again, I don't know if they were guilty of the charged crimes or not.

I do know it was a fiasco from the start, with politics playing a larger role than facts.

Was there an abortion of justice, as Sharpton said? It's entirely possible that, in the popular sense, justice was denied, but within the context of the criminal proceeding, justice was served.

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