That’s all the Michael Brown and Eric Garner tragedies mean to our officials.
That, and a photo op.
At one time I had high hopes for Attorney General Schneiderman, and thought that maybe we were returning to a more principled and even handed view of the law at the highest level in the state. Like I imagined things were under Bob Abrams.
“It is time to acknowledge that the public has lost confidence in this part of our criminal justice system,” Schneiderman said at a news conference today.
Of course, it’s way, way past time. And, you know, “this part”? Like everything else in the criminal justice system is humming along just fine?
Yet the reaction from a couple of District Attorneys would be laughable if the situation wasn’t so serious:
Brooklyn D.A. Ken Thompson said he is “adamantly opposed.”
“Local prosecutors who are elected to enforce the laws in those communities should not be robbed of their ability to faithfully and fairly do so in cases where police officers shoot, kill or injure someone unjustly,” Thompson said in a statement. “The people of Brooklyn have voted for their district attorney to keep them safe from all crimes, including those of police brutality.”
Nice appeal to irrational fear there, Ken. The District Attorney isn’t elected to keep anyone “safe” from crime, to say nothing of “all crimes”. The death of a man for selling some loose cigarettes is not a campaign sloganeering opportunity, but that’s what Mr. Thompson apparently thinks it is.
Then of course one of the police organizations has to weigh in: some “Benevolent Association” or other:
Patrick J. Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, also opposed the proposal.
“There is absolutely no reason to alter the existing system because if the rule of law and rule of evidence as they stand in the State of New York are followed dispassionately and honestly, then the outcome will be right and just regardless of what office handles a case,” Lynch said.
God what a revealing quote. The office handling the case won’t matter, because of course the police will have it right at the beginning and nothing should change from there. In other words, the “rule of law” and “the rule of evidence” being “followed dispassionately and honestly” is what the police do in the first place. Anything after that is dispensable. And there’s “absolutely no reason” to change anything. The police run everything. What’s not to like?
This tawdry display of politics and power from one man that should know better (the AG) and others not refined enough to appreciate the significance of the Ferguson moment we are in is a perfect illustration of how dysfunctional the system is. And how terminally resistant to correction: how much civil unrest to we need before unserious reactions like this are seen for what they are before they get aired?
And finally, please take note of one more important thing, this one an omission: why does ABC news in their article feel no need to quote a private attorney of the criminal defense variety, or for that matter even a public defender? The criminal defense bar is invisible, powerless and irrelevant. And they have brought this on themselves. And their country.
The march towards widespread civil unrest proceeds apace. There are a few speed bumps along the way, at best. The justice system and in particular the legal profession are incapable of fulfilling their proper role and show no signs of having even the slightest awareness of their ongoing failure.
If we don’t clean up our act, and soon, there might be alternatives. But they’re pretty ugly:
At this point the cops’ leadership isn’t doing the cop any favors, straining to stick to a false narrative while the consequences fall on the street cop.
87,000 views on that video in just a few days. Let’s face it, we might be doomed.
Taibbi has it right, and this is another example of a two-tiered justice system. It can’t go on like this much longer. At least, I don’t think so.