Friday, December 5, 2014

"I didn't do it, nobody saw me (?), you can't prove a thing." Those days are gone.

I recently wrote on how, regarding the Ferguson, MO police shooting incident, we shouldn't be too quick to assign guilt or innocence without knowing all the facts first.  I said that hopefully cities will understand that personal body cameras on all police officers would be able to shed considerable light on, and perhaps definitive proof of, what happened during controversial police/public confrontations.

Now we see body-cam video of the police officer in NYC who subdued a large black man who was "resisting arrest".  The grand jury decided to no-bill the officer after the subject died as the result of choking/asphyxiation.  I would love to know what the grand jury heard that would lead them to override what they saw on the video.  It seems like pretty convincing evidence to me.

At least 5 officers had their man surrounded.  His "resisting arrest" consisted of backing up with his hands in the air in a non-threatening manner.  One officer came up from behind and put a choke hold on him, taking him down.  The man repeatedly complained that he couldn't breathe while several officers cuffed him, and several others stood and watched.  He was on the ground with his face kissing the pavement.  His outstretched hand/fingers still didn't seem threatening.  He looked desperate.

With that much manpower on the spot, and with the guy repeatedly saying "I can't breathe", I wonder why #99 couldn't back off some?  Wasn't he sufficiently subdued by then?  If there is other relevant evidence off-camera that we can't see, I wish the authorities would release it because this looks like a pretty cut-and-dried wrongful death to me.  The damage this is causing goes way beyond a monetary settlement with the family.

I don't know about NYC, but I do know that many cities are facing extremely difficult police recruiting challenges.  They want to keep their education/background/training requirements high, but I suspect they are dumbing down their standards to meet their numbers.  That is a recipe for disaster.  

Don't cops know....doesn't EVERYBODY know....that pretty much everything they do outside their own home is likely to be captured on video?  Count on it!

Yes to body cameras.  Now, more than ever!



  1. I agree, and I'm beginning to question the validity of secret Grand Juries. Surely there was enough visual evidence in that footage to call for a trial. If I were a black person I'd have little faith in our justice system. Yesterday, for the first time since the Grant administration, America fell from its position as the world's largest economy. While we spend our time dealing with race issues, that should have been resolved ages ago, we slide from our position of preeminence on the world stage.

  2. I'm just stunned by this. I agree that Ferguson was complicated, but this? Not enough evidence to indict? What the heck!

  3. That was pretty much what I was thinking with Ferguson. All the attempts to cover their butts (like that joke of a press conference where they smeared the victim by trying to tie him to a robbery that had nothing to do with the actual incident) would have worked fine maybe even 10 years ago. But now that everyone has a camera phone and social media? It makes things a lot more transparent. Of course New York has a history of this. The Springsteen son "41 Shots" was written about an incident in the 90s I think where a guy taking out his wallet was shot at 41 times by the cops.

  4. Hell just froze over. Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh have the same opinion as I do on something...

    What did the Facebook meme say? America: When you sell loose cigarettes, you get killed; when you sell bad mortgages, you get a bonus.

  5. So that was the chill I just felt! And the FB meme was spot on.