Search This Blog

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

This is Gonna Keep On Happening

In today's Globe there's an oped by retired federal judge and prof at Harvard Law Nancy Gertner.

She notes that:
 Although many are saying that the decision may have to do with race, it is more likely that Wilson is not facing charges because courts have decimated the law that holds officers accountable for excessive force, rulings that make incidents similar to Ferguson all the more likely. 
The touchstone for evaluating police conduct was its “reasonableness,” a balance between a defendant’s rights and public safety. But “reasonableness” is notoriously imprecise. And courts can tip the balance: In Plumhoff, the Supreme Court gave special deference to the officer’s version of what happened, because officers make split second judgments, under tense circumstances. The message: Shoot first, think later, and you can count on being exonerated. 

This is a particularly troubling given the “stop and frisk” programs that target young African American men...
Let's see now....there's the 12 year old boy who, on Saturday, was shot and killed by a police officer:
A Cleveland officer was less than 10 feet away when he fatally shot a 12-year-old boy carrying a pellet gun near a playground, and video of the shooting is clear about what happened, police said Monday.
There's John Crawford III who picked up a toy gun in the store where it was being offered for sale and, well, that was all he needed to do to sign his death warrant.

And then there are the Open Carry yahoos who seem to mostly rock a pretty pasty shade of pale. And, by the by, those aren't toy guns they're toting in those pics.

Perhaps the most haunting and bizarre is a jittery (video) clip posted last year by Robert Pratt of Michigan. In the video, Pratt carries a shotgun while walking his dogs through suburban Plainwell. Two police cruisers intercept him at the curb, and four officers surround him for a long, tense conversation. One of the cops is James Pell, whom Pratt greets by name — Cassandra Pell, the officer’s daughter, was Pratt’s girlfriend. The officers try to reason with Pratt, asking him to go home and put his gun away, because it’s unnecessarily frightening his neighbors. Pratt says he is “just exercising rights as a U.S. citizen” and that he would continue to openly carry his gun in the neighborhood because “people need to be aware of laws.” He cites the specific state laws and city ordinances that allow him to carry his shotgun.

This June, Pratt used that same weapon to shoot and kill Cassandra Pell, and then to commit suicide.
 So, lemme see if I have this right — if you're black or brown in America you can't have so much as a peashooter on you without risking death by cop. But it's a toy, you say. Doesn't matter. If your skin tone is in the brown versus peach Crayola range, you're toast. If you're a white dude, well, the nice officers will have a civilized chat with you and send you home.


The Declaration of Independence says that all men are created equal. Those pretty words are NOT followed by unless you're brown skinned. Ya know, thought I'd point that out in case anyone missed that.

No comments:

Post a Comment