All Articles Tagged "justice"
The case against George Zimmerman, the Florida man who claims he killed teenager Trayvon Martin in self defense, is sure to be one of the most defining cases of justice of our time. Although many legal analysts can see just how the Stand Your Ground law may get Zimmerman off the hook, the Orlando Sentinel has just reported that Zimmerman’s self-defense case has weakened in light of recent accounts from witnesses.
Three of the witnesses have changed their original recollections of the February night in question and a fourth witness has completely “abandoned her story.” The Sentinel described how each of the witnesses changed their accounts:
A young woman who lives in the Retreat at Twin Lakes community, where Trayvon was shot, was interviewed twice by Sanford police and once by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
She told authorities that she had taken out her contact lenses just before the incident. In her first recorded interview with Sanford police four days after the shooting, she told lead Investigator Chris Serino, “I saw two guys running. Couldn’t tell you who was in front, who was behind.”
She stepped away from her window, and when she looked again, she “saw a fistfight. Just fists. I don’t know who was hitting who.”
A week later, she added a detail when talking again to Serino: During the chase, the two figures had been 10 feet apart.
That all changed when she was reinterviewed March 20 by an FDLE agent. That time, she recalled catching a glimpse of just one running figure, she told FDLE Investigator John Batchelor, and she heard the person more than saw him.
“I couldn’t tell you if it was a man, a woman, a kid, black or white. I couldn’t tell you because it was dark and because I didn’t have my contacts on or glasses. … I just know I saw a person out there.”
A young mother who is also a neighbor in the town-home community never gave a recorded interview to Sanford police, according to prosecution records released last week. She first sat down for an audio-recorded interview with an FDLE agent March 20, more than three weeks after the shooting.
During that session, she said she saw two people on the ground immediately after the shooting and was not sure who was on top, Zimmerman or Trayvon.
“I don’t know which one. … All I saw when they were on the ground was dark colors,” she said.
Six days later, however, she was sure: It was Zimmerman on top, she told trial prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda during a 21/2-minute recorded session.
“I know after seeing the TV of what’s happening, comparing their sizes, I think Zimmerman was definitely on top because of his size,” she said.
For witness 6, the Sentinel reported that the witness originally described a black man on top of a lighter-skinned man, throwing punches. Later, he told an agent that he wasn’t sure that Trayvon was throwing punches, as he could’ve been pinning him down to the ground.
As for witness 13, he is the one that spoke to a calm Zimmerman immediately after the shooting. He didn’t neccessarily change his story but he gave more detail as to the non-chalant attitude of Zimmerman’s demeanor following the shooting. “Zimmerman’s tone, the witness said, was “not like ‘I can’t believe I just shot someone!’ — it was more like, ‘Just tell my wife I shot somebody …,’ like it was nothing.”
Do you think these witnesses took the questioning more seriously now that the case is so high-profile or do you think they may be sympathizing with Trayvon Martin after allowing the news to penetrate?
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While Dharun Ravi, now 20, thought he was just playing an innocent practical joke on his roommate, Tyler Clementi, it was decided today in court that it was not a joke, but indeed a hate crime. Ravi captured Clementi’s sexual encounter with an older man and showed it on a webcam to countless classmates in 2010. Devastated by the fact that he was displayed by his roommate to so many strangers, Clementi committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge soon after finding out. Now this childish act could possibly cost Rhavi his freedom, as well as the opportunity to stay in the United States.
The jury came down with the verdict after 12 hours of deliberation, and Ravi will be sentenced on May 21, facing up to 10 years in prison, as well as possible deportation. Ravi is an Indian citizen who spent the majority of his life in the U.S. He is currently free on bail, but had to turn over his passport. And while Rhavi and his attorney were hoping to push the idea that it was just a misguided prank by an immature freshman, Ravi’s own instant messages and emails around the time of the crime were the nail in the coffin: “Roommate asked for room till midnight. Went into Molly’s room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay.” Those type of statements, along with the fact that Ravi tried to tape Clementi’s sexual encounters with the same man not just once, but twice–but he was stopped when Clementi found out what was going on–didn’t help him at all.
Ravi was convicted on ALL 15 counts, including two counts of bias intimidation based on sexual orientation (a hate crime), invasion of privacy and tampering with evidence and witnesses. Last year, Clementi’s family said they didn’t want the punishment for Rhavi to be too harsh. They spoke out today after the verdict was read.
“The trial was painful for us, as it would be for any parent who must sit through and listen to people talk about bad things that were done to their child.”
While I hope they don’t deport Ravi, and that in the end, he doesn’t wind up with all 10 possible years in prison, I can understand why someone would think that sort of punishment would be necessary for him. We clearly live in a time now where bullies are pushing young people way too far (to other acts of violence or suicide), and not much is being done about it. Therefore, if this can open some young person’s eyes to the consequences of their own actions…then sadly, so be it.
Do you think he should have been found guilty? Was it a childish prank gone wrong, or was he acting out of hate?
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After spending four years in jail for killing her roommate Meredith Kercher, Amanda Knox has been freed by an Italian appeals court. The American student was convicted of murdering her roommate while participating in a study abroad program in 2007. The decision to convict Knox stunned the world as the Italian jury seemed to make their decision on very scant and weak evidence.
Instead, it appeared that the jury’s original verdict was influenced by the belief amongst many Italians that Knox was a cold and unfeeling roommate. That sentiment was fueled by the fact that Knox had been seen laughing with her boyfriend the day after her roommates’ death. In any case, the trial brought much attention to Italy’s flawed justice system and although it took four years, Knox is finally free. Her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, has also been released today.
By Bruce A. Dixon, Black Agenda Report
Troy Davis will be laid to rest this weekend in a public ceremony at Jonesville Baptist Church in Savannah. The public figures and civil rights honchos who gravitated to his case will have prominent front row seats. What they won’t have is an answer to why their kind of movement did not save Troy Davis, or what it will take to save the Troy Davises who will come after this one.
From the standpoint of civil rights lawyers and activists, the case of Troy Davis had everything. It had an attractive and well spoken defendant, and an almost transparently false conviction without a murder weapon or any physical evidence. Most of the eyewitnesses recanted, declaring they had perjured themselves under threats from police and prosecutors.
In the tradition of political test cases dating back to the Scottsboro Boys eight decades ago, public prayers, letter writing campaigns, op-eds, demonstrations, meetings, celebrity endorsements and exhortations proceeded around the world while Davis’s lawyers worked every available legal angle, managing to bring his case to the Supreme Court not once but twice. By last week, tens of thousands were in the streets declaring their opposition to the death penalty and nearly a million had signed petitions demanding a new trial for Troy Davis. Corporate news outlets like MSNBC even devoted several hours of breathless “coverage” at the countdown to this legal lynching.
Davis went to his death praying for his accusers and executioners, and talking about the Troy Davises that came before and will come after him. The civil rights style mobilization around his case could not and did not save this Troy Davis, and it will not save the Troy Davises who will come after this one.
It’s good that so many people marched and met and prayed and circulated and signed petitions to save Troy Davis. But until we build a movement that stands up for the human rights of ALL the imprisoned, ALL the convicted and formerly incarcerated, including those whose innocence, however you construe that word is not so obvious, and those who may in fact not even be innocent —- until we stand up for their human rights to education, to jobs and justice including the right to vote, even when behind bars, to health care and a decent chance at life by radically shrinking and ultimately ending the institution of prison, the machinery that convicts the literally innocent will retain its legitimacy and roll on, doing what it has always done.
In other words, coming out to oppose the execution of an attractive, well spoken and clearly innocent person like Troy Davis is low-hanging fruit. It’s great that so many people are willing to reach for it. But we will rarely be able to save even these until our movements take conscious, public and deliberate aim at chopping the whole rotten tree down, at de-legitimizing and ending the institution of prison as we know it.
The day we get a million signatures on a petition not just to save an innocent man’s life, but to roll back the prison state —- that will be the day we know we have a movement that can free the next wave of Troy Davises, the day we are close to welcoming them back to help heal and rebuild their own lives, our broken families and our devastated communities.
For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.
Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a state committee member of the Georgia Green Party. He lives and works in Marietta GA, and can be reached at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.
[This commentary originally appeared on Black Agenda Report. Republished with permission.]
Prosecutors started the Michael Jackson trial with some disturbing evidence: a picture of the King of Pop’s emaciated body lying on a gurney. They used the photo to show that Dr. Conrad Murray, knowingly administered life threatening drugs to the entertainer.
Murray’s attorneys are arguing that Jackson’s death was a result of his own actions.
Ed Chernoff said this in his opening arguments:
“We believe that evidence will show… that when Dr. Murray left the room, Michael Jackson self administered a dose of Propofol that, with the Lorazepam, created a perfect storm within his body that killed him instantly. He died so rapidly, so instantly, he didn’t even have time to close his eyes.”
If convicted of manslaughter Murray could face four years in prison. Source: AM New York
WAIT! Check These Out!
I’m sure you’ve heard the sad news already. But after a a four hour delay, Troy Davis was executed last night around 11 p.m. by lethal injection. The delay was caused by the fact that Davis filed an eleventh hour plea to the U.S. Supreme Court for a stay on the execution. The stay was denied. After hundreds of thousands of signatures to prevent the execution circled around with the help of Amensty International, Change.org, the NAACP and others, along with Davis offering to take a polygraph test to prove his innocence, justice wasn’t served, and reasonable doubt all of a sudden meant nothing.
For those looking for the President to step in, a statement was released yesterday by press secretary Jay Carney saying, “It is not appropriate for the President of the United States to weigh in on specific cases like this one, which is a state prosecution.” So it was up to the people who kept getting signatures, spreading the word through social media and protesting. Davis’ sister Kim, who created the campaign for Troy’s life on Change.org, wanted people, including supporters around the world, to know that Troy was grateful:
“When Troy saw that more than 650,000 signatures had been delivered to the board in his name, he called to tell me he was deeply moved. He told me he knew that he had supporters around the world, but he had no idea that the support was that widespread. ”
While we’re very sad that Davis had to be executed, especially with so much doubt surrounding the case, we hope that this spurs people to step up and fight and not deal with injustices like this in the future. We aren’t silly enough to believe that Davis was the only man on Death Row or in prison in general possibly wrongfully convicted. It’s better to know you tried to make your voice heard and fight, than to just shake your head when it’s all said and done. Don’t take these things lying down folks! On top of that, as many of our Facebook followers pointed out, stay doing positive things with positive people so that you don’t find yourself in a situation like this. Tell that to your children and let them know about this case so they know what the justice system is capable and incapable of. That goes out to young men, grown men, young women, grown women, children, anybody–spread the word.
There have been some really deep and thought-provoking articles about Troy Davis’ case, the issues with the death penalty and the impact of Davis’ execution all over the web. We leave you now with a few links to those. R.I.P. Troy Davis:
- “Troy Davis is Dead; The Movement Continues” – Rashad Robinson: The Huffington Post
- “A death in Georgia” – J.F.: The Economist
- “Troy Davis’ Execution: Outrage for Opponents, But Closure for Victim’s Family?” – Nathan Thornburgh: Time
- “Watching an execution: AJC reporter was inside the death chamber” – Rhonda Cook: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The death penalty is one particular controversial issue, which has yet to seriously trouble President Obama. While most former presidents had to face this very issue due to some high-profile case, Obama has virtually escaped scrutiny for his support or opposition of the death penalty. However, this may all change as earlier this month the state of Georgia has set an execution date for Davis, a death row prisoner with a particularly strong claim that he had been wrongly convicted.
Although President Obama legally does not have the power to pardon or grant Davis clemency because the case was tried in a state court as opposed to a federal court, does it benefit him to remain silent while a possiblly innocent man, particularly an innocent man of color, is put to death on his watch?
In 1991, Davis was convicted in the 1989 shooting death of Mark Allen MacPhail, an off-duty Savannah police officer, who had been moonlighting as a security guard at a shopping center strip. Despite never having any physical evidence linking him to the killing, Davis’ case was tried and convicted entirely on witnesses and informant testimony. A few years later, an unprecedented six out of the nine witnesses recanted their original testimony in formal affidavits, saying that they had been coerced by police to say that they either saw or heard Davis say he did it.
Some of the witnesses have even implicated another man, Sylvester “Redd” Coles, who ironically had brandished a .38 in the vicinity of the shooting but was never investigated by the police. Instead Coles would become the prosecutor’s star witness in the case.
Davis’ execution has been postponed three times already to allow for further consideration of evidence and appeals have reached as far as the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2008, as a result of multiple appeals, the Georgia Supreme Court temporarily stopped Davis’ execution, and in 2009 the federal district court was ordered to take another look at the case. However an appeals court failed to grant a new trial because although the appeals judge at the time didn’t believe the state’s case against Davis was iron clad, he still didn’t believe that the witnesses’ recantations were enough to grant Davis a new trial.
The courts, which are more concerned over procedural rights than justice, haven’t deterred the thousands around the globe, who are demanding Davis receive not only a stay of execution but also a new trial. Rallies have been held and are still planned globally to demand justice for Troy Davis. Earlier this week more than 3,000 religious leaders from all 50 states had signed a letter urging the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles to examine “developments that cast serious doubt on Davis’ guilt.” High-profile activist, politicians and people of faith have used their platform to draw attention to Davis’ case, including appeals from Congressman John Lewis, Rev. Al Sharpton, Angela Davis, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Pope Benedict XVI and former President Jimmy Carter.
Organizations such as NAACP, Color of Change, Amnesty International, and International Action Center, are all collecting signatures on petitions, which will be delivered to both the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles as well as President Obama.
And what are the Obama Administration’s thoughts on the case? Well the Administration has virtually remained silent, which could have serious implications, especially within in the black community, who have disproportionately been at the mercy of the justice system at several points along the gamut.
When Obama first ran for the Illinois state Senate in 1996, he said in a campaign questionnaire that he opposed capital punishment and as a state lawmaker voted against expanding it for crimes arising from gang activity. He was also the driving force behind a 2003 capital punishment reform bill that required interrogations be videotaped in capital murder cases.
However, Obama the presidential candidate took a somewhat hardened stance on the death penalty, saying that he supported the death penalty in some “hideous” cases but also said that the system of investigating and prosecuting capital crimes was so flawed and that the nation should declare a moratorium on executions until it could be fixed. And recently, President Barack Obama has thrown his support behind an Illinois’ bill, which seeks to abolish the death penalty in that state alltogether. Needless to say, his position on the death penalty as a whole seems to favor those who are calling for a stay of execution in the Davis case. So why has he been so detached from the case?
Unfortunately for supporters of Davis, Obama is in his second bid for president, which means that any call for justice for an African American would trigger a racial backlash from some voters, particularly those of the Fox-News, fear-mongering persuasion. And given the tough and divisive first term he has had, the chances that President Obama will stick his neck out for a fellow minority is close to zero. Like it or not, this is a cold reminder of how little effect a Black man in the White House has had on ending or even addressing the very real applications of systemic racism and injustices, which is manifested on a daily basis in society at large.
On the other hand, lending his voice in the form of an appeal to Georgia’s governor as well as the board of pardons and paroles could suggest to voters, particularly his core base, that he cares about justice over popularity. And it”s not that there isn’t precedence: in 1994, Humberto Leal Garcia Jr., a Mexican national, was convicted of rape and murder and sentenced to death in Texas. While very few had ever contested his guilt in the rape/murder case, there were some, including a U.N.-backed tribunal court, who voiced concerns over the handling of his case, particularly that Leal hadn’t been told that he could have received the legal help of the Mexican Consulate.
Although Leal was tried and convicted in state court, President Obama still made a courageous yet unsuccessful appeal for Leal’s life to both Governor Perry and the Supreme Court, arguing it could do “irreparable harm” to U.S. interests abroad. This was done without consideration for political polarization, which might have arisen for speaking up on behalf of an undocumented immigrant.
And yet it is regrettable that the Obama Administration has yet to issue a statement regarding Davis, who had been loudly proclaiming his innocence since prior to the conviction. Even if he is powerless to pardon Davis or his appeals for clemency are ignored, politically speaking, it would be a mistake for President Obama to simple sit quietly on the sidelines again, much like he was on the Sean Bell and Oscar Grant incidents, while a grave injustice is scheduled to be served later this month.
Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.
Happy birthday Latasha Harlins…you would have turned 35 this month. This fact, combined with the recent DUI arrest of Rodney King necessitated this commentary; given the backdrop of the Casey Anthony verdict.
I have to remind myself now that at the age of 41, I’m not young anymore in the objective sense of the word. Maybe relative to senior citizens but that’s about it. Certain events indelibly etched in my memory are only Youtube footnotes in history for the Gen-Y generation.
As the fallout continues from the Casey Anthony verdict, I’ve grown increasingly tired of the questionable comparisons in “outrage” over supposed unexpected verdicts.
True students of relatively recent history should know better.
Directly aligning the O.J. Simpson case to Casey Anthony is flawed and in total ignorance of historical context at best. Yes, the Simpson trial will forever be the yardstick in which all televised trials are measured in terms of media coverage. But if the national media (i.e. Nancy Grace and company) are to indict the justice system; begin with Latasha Harlins and Rodney King. Move forward from there, not O.J. Simpson.
Los Angeles was set ablaze in 1992 in large part to the acquittal of Rodney King, but also in delayed response to the 1991 killing of Latasha Harlins. 5 years of probation, $500 fine and 400 hours community service was the sentence handed down to Korean grocer Soon Ja Du for shooting her in the back and killing 15-year-old Latasha Harlins.
Harlins caught a bullet in the back for allegedly stealing a bottle of orange juice. The store video footage showed the unjustified murder in plain view, which led to Du’s conviction on the charges of voluntary manslaughter.
Du was CONVICTED.
Nevertheless, she never saw a day in jail for shooting an African-American 15-year old child in the back…caught on videotape.
There was no national outrage and barely any Los Angeles mainstream media outrage for that matter. If we are going to honestly and truthfully enter into any discussion as to the inequities and inadequacies of the legal system; Latasha Harlins and Rodney King are far better points of comparison to Casey Anthony, not O.J. Simpson. And even then, the Casey Anthony verdict falls tremendously short.
There is no witness testimony available more objective or accurate than video. Casey Anthony should be in jail, no doubt; reasonable or otherwise. Just stop feigning disgust today, when yesterday there was none for King or Harlins, despite clear video.
If our justice system had failed anyone for all the nation to see, it was long before anyone knew the name Casey Anthony.
That’s not even speaking of the pittance of a sentence for former BART officer Johannes Mehserle in the murder of Oscar Grant, also caught on videotape. Mehserle was released last month after serving only seven months of a 2-year sentence. He too was convicted…with video of the murder.
Murder on video? National Media Outrage? Miscarriage of justice? The civil unrest in the wake of the Du and King verdicts forever changed Los Angeles and America. 51 people murdered, with hundreds of businesses looted and burned. This in many ways set the stage for the African-American response to the O.J. verdict.
Conversely, the Anthony Verdict inspired “twitter unrest” from celebrities and angry commentary from media personality Nancy Grace. To fume over the “flawed” justice system now, relative to OJ Simpson and Casey Anthony going free is indicative of gross historical negligence. There are better cases to rally one’s anger around, both before and after O.J.
The same “outrage” should have been directed at acquitted Robert Blake and the associated jury.
Nobody pays him any mind, even to this day. The same anger should have been directed at Judge Joyce Karlin who “sentenced” Soon Ja Du.
It wasn’t. She was in fact praised for being “courageous” in her sentencing. Again, I will excuse Generation Y. In many instances, they aren’t old enough to remember. The news media encouraging this Casey Anthony circus on the other hand…
African-Americans in large part cheered O.J.’s acquittal in 1995 with the inverted tears of Rodney King and Latasha Harlins just 3 years before. It was a Los Angeles knife which finally, finally cut in the other direction for once.
You can’t understand O.J. without understanding its proximity to King, Harlins and the city of Los Angeles. I remember exactly where I was, watching the verdict with 30 other co-workers in Los Angeles; 28 of them White. After the verdict, I looked at the only other person of color in the room and we instinctively nodded in agreement with each other. Now, they knew what it felt like.
Even still, those outraged at O.J. didn’t understand that there but for the grace of God went I instead of Harlins or King. There was a personal, racial understanding and connection. “We” inherently and personally understood police brutality and verdict injustice.
For the next 5 or so years, the national stories about the failed justice system were either in relation to O.J. Simpson or Jon Benet Ramsey, the 6-year old child beauty contestant found murdered in 1996. Blame was continuously placed on the supposed “stupidity” of the Black jurors in the O.J. Simpson case while the White jurors who voted for acquittal in the Rodney King criminal trial were ignored.
Harlins wasn’t even mentioned.
Casey Anthony likely got away with murder. I don’t say that with any happiness or celebration in my heart. Our imperfect justice system is not built upon any search for truth, it’s an amalgam of legal gamesmanship; a competition like Survivor to outwit, outplay and outlast one’s competition. Casey Anthony won. To the victor go the spoils. And to the seemingly surprised goes this brief history lesson.
Happy Birthday Latasha Harlins, you are not forgotten.
Morris W. O’Kelly (Mo’Kelly) is author of the syndicated entertainment and socio-political column The Mo’Kelly Report. For more Mo’Kelly, http://mrmokelly.com. Mo’Kelly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and he welcomes all commentary. Follow Morris W. O’Kelly on Twitter: @mrmokelly
In March of 1991, the attention of America was transfixed on the brutality that three L.A.P.D. police officers inflicted upon an unarmed Rodney King when they ferociously clubbed him to within an inch of his life.
What shook us to the core was the slow and deliberate way in which these brutes pounded King as lay helpless on the pavement. With each second that elapsed, we were drawn deeper and deeper within the psychology of mad men; a strain depravity born of unchecked authoritarianism. With each blow we understood a little more about the manner in which absolute power makes animals out of men. Most of us recoiled at these degenerate reflections of what our supposed protectors had become.
The impact of the Rodney King video was largely owed to that fact that it 1) was recorded and 2) wasn’t instantaneous. It was obvious that the officers who were beating King – who was made a bloody mess within seconds of exiting his vehicle – had other options at their disposal. They didn’t need to beat King in order to subdue him. They did it because they wanted to.
As the minutes and seconds continued to elapse, we watched the very same officers who were charged with protecting and serving their community beat, club and kick King. The taped video prevented our subjectivity from getting in the way of the facts as they unfolded on that infamous video. Try as they might, neither police nor press could concoct a cover story outlandish enough to support the officers’ actions that night.
Fast forward to 2011, however, and you’ll find that instead of correcting their entrenched brutality problem, the police have shown an increased proclivity for quick kills. Ready. Aim. Fire. Then, when the smoke clears, just tell anyone who asks that you thought the perpetrator had a gun.
In other instances, any action deemed “aggressive” by the police (even though the police are not thoroughly trained in psychology) is enough to make you the target of small arms fire by your city’s finest.
Take the case of Steven Guidry who was shot in the neck after an officer stopped him for failing to use his turn signal. He was shot because the officer believed Guidry was reaching into his coat. When in doubt, pull the trigger.
Guidry, who now walks with a walker and has had a series of complications since his surgery, maintains that both his hands were visible and on the wheel at the time of the shooting.
In the case of Guidry and many others, there were no cameras around to record the incident. Although Guidry survived his bullet to the neck, countless others have died at the hands of trigger happy cops. And since dead mean (and women, children, and the disabled) tell no tales, it’s difficult to know how many of these fatal shootings were actually justified.
The key question, however, is why is an officer’s belief enough of a justification to open fire on anyone. Police officers take an oath to protect and serve, and risk is inherent in that oath. When an officer leaves his house for work, he’s well aware of the risk being placed on his life, but average citizens have never agreed to adopt a similar risk. So shouldn’t it follow that police officers should also accept the greatest share of risk when an altercation occurs? And shouldn’t this be especially true in cases where it is beliefs, not facts, which are driving an officer’s actions?
It just seems that we’ve all haphazardly acquiesced to the foregone conclusion that police officers have the right to do everything within their power to preserve their own lives. We’ve done very little to challenge the many ways in which such a low standard for the use of lethal force threatens our own lives.
In fact, the supposition that an officer’s first duty is to him or herself turns the most important duty of being a police officer – to protect and serve – on its head. A police officer can’t very well protect me if he’s projecting his own attitudes and fears onto me. And he certainly can’t protect me or those who would do me harm if his only concern is saving his own skin.
Being a cop is a hard job, but life is undoubtedly harder for Mr. Guidry who will probably spend a fair amount of time in the hospital while doctors work to prevent his throat from collapsing – again. Others of us however, have an opportunity to lessen the likelihood that we’ll fall victim to a police officer’s trigger finger. To do so, we must recreate the opportunity which was offered to us back in 1991. It’s time that the public renegotiate the duties, expectations, and responsibilities of the boys and girls in blue who patrol our communities with impunity.
Until we’ve amended the terms of our agreement, our lives will forever be at the mercy of officers who act on their individual fears at the expense of the general welfare. And until officers understand that their fear of a man allegedly who is reaching for an unidentified object which may or may not be in the pocket of his coat is not a reason to put a hole in his neck, our lives and the lives of our loved ones remain at risk.
Yvette Carnell is a former Capitol Hill Staffer turned political blogger. She currently publishes two blogs, Spatterblog.com and BreakingBrown.com.
Racial profiling has a number of moral and constitutional implications. Studies indicate that when police officers carry out racial profiling as a part of their law enforcement duty, their overall effectiveness in controlling and reducing the crime rate decreases. Accidental shooting of Latino and Afro-American men in New York and many other cities of the United States clearly indicate the logical fallacies and loopholes of racial discrimination.
Hate crimes that are backed by conspiracy theories based on racial profiling are illogical. There can never be a suitable explanation for all acts of violence that harm innocent people, be it burglary, theft, robbery or citizens getting beaten up, shot and stabbed. In recent times, racial discrimination has radically and racially tainted the good sense of judges who hold the ultimate power of making a final judgment, right from the arrest to the sentencing, as a part of the process of criminal justice.
Racial profiling statistics show that as of 1990, one in four black men who fell into the 18-28 years age category were brought under the control of criminal justice and this number rose to one in three and higher in some cities by 1995.
These percentages are in no way indicative of the measure of the crime rates of black men. They only indicate the criminal justice activity and the efforts of the police and the other institutions that were involved in the process. An environment where racial discrimination has generated an apartheid-like atmosphere clearly explains Afro-America males are disproportionally arrested by the police all the time.