Tuesday, December 29, 2015

No charge in Cleveland. No guilt in Chicago? Problem remains the same

There are people now peeved in Cleveland, what with the fact that prosecutors along the Cuyahoga River think that the shooting death of a 12-year-old boy by police officers is not murder.

Another ugly scene headed Tuesday. Although when is the Criminal Courts Building ever a pleasant place to be?
I’m sure it will be their ideological cousins in Chicago who will be gathered outside the Criminal Courts Building on Tuesday when Jason Dan Dyke shows up in court and either he or his attorney says the words they don’t want to hear.


For it will be the Chicago cop’s arraignment in which he and his attorneys will begin the process of fighting back against the people who have spent the past month with the videotape that they say shows Van Dyke killing a 17-year-old in cold blood.

Even though the video shows the gunfire coming from off-screen. It is other testimony in combination with the video that led the Cook County state’s attorney deciding they could charge the cop with a criminal charge – six counts of murder, to be specific.

Which is what people in Cleveland wanted to happen to two police officers who were involved in the shooting death of Tamir Rice – who was killed when police mistook the pellet gun he pulled from his waistband and pointed at them for a weapon that could have caused them bodily harm.

OF COURSE, THE activists in Cleveland are arguing that police should not have cared about such an act, and should have realized it was coming from a child. Which kind of reminds me of an old “Hill Street Blues” episode in which one of the often-noble Hill Street officers shot and killed a boy who pulled out a toy pistol at the wrong time.

Laquan could easily be ...
That cop was supposedly traumatized and the episode told of how his act ultimately devastated his career.

But the modern-day reality may be that some people were so eager to point out the legal justification for the two officers in Cleveland that they’re too willing to ignore the loss of a child’s life.

And some may also be willing to accept the acts of Van Dyke, whose attorneys told the Washington Post about how they intend to punch holes in the credibility of the video because it lacks audio.

PARTICULARLY OF THE information that police were provided during all those moments of driving in the squad car prior to encountering Laquan McDonald. Meaning they may really have seen him as some sort of major threat, particularly when he tried to get away from them on first encounter.

... Tamir's Chicago 'cousin'
Which activists like to think was McDonald trying to walk away from a conflict. But I am aware that the law gives police the legal right to stop people. That and the dinky blade could wind up providing some sort of legal justification.

I bring this up because I remain suspicious of those who want to believe this is such an open-and-shut legal case – one in which the officer will someday find his head being stuffed into a jail cell toilet bowl while being sodomized.

A grotesque image, but one I’m sure some people would take perverse pleasure out of its occurrence.

YET IT WILL be a long legal fight either way. Take the Washington Post, which recently did reporting about police violence in this country and found that during the past year, there were at least 975 people shot to death by police officers.

Only eight ever got charged with a crime. Which truly puts Van Dyke in rarified air if he was one of the few so over-the-top outrageous that he couldn’t escape a criminal indictment.

We’ll have to wait and see what ultimately happens with Van Dyke, who during his 14 years as a Chicago police officer had some 20 complaints filed against him – complaints that he somehow managed to be cleared of in all cases.

Although in one aspect, it doesn’t matter. Regardless of the verdict of some future jury, both Laquan and Tamir are dead – cut short before the prime of their lives was even close to coming.


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