Need to rant briefly. You've been forewarned.
1. I get asked -- often -- if I hate police
2. I don't; I look at "police" generally like I look at teachers generally
3. When a teacher decides to rape a student, we don't demonize all teachers. Same w/ teachers who are woefully inept at teaching.
4. But, at the same time, no sane person denies there are teacher-rapists and teachers who suck at their job
5. I view police the same; I'm willing to take a leap of faith and assume you're competent, until you prove otherwise
6. Soooooo that brings me to court today
7. Client is a 17yo black male, "YBM" in defense lawyer parlance
8. My YBM client is charged with reckless driving to endanger, a very serious. He's terrified. Cried in my office explaining situation
9. Insisted he was just trying to avoid an animal that darted into the road, and swerved to the right
10. I pull the shuck, and read the officer's narrative of what happened: "Neighbor saw driver doing donuts in street, nearly hit wife."...
11. Cont'd: "Skid marks show clear 360° circles. Driver claimed he was trying to avoid hitting cat."
12. Re-read that: "clear 360° circles"
13. Thankfully (how f*cking sad is it that "thankfully" is the appropriate word here?) his mom didn't trust the officer, and took pics
14. Which she kept, and sent to me
15. (Most of which were useless. Ppl take pictures of a lot of useless sh*t when they're terrified btw.)
16. The money shot:
17. Now go back and re-re-read: "clear 360° circles"
18. What. The actual. F*ck.
19. Do I hate police? No. I hate raging incompetent cowboys w/ badges financed by my tax money who clearly haven't had an eye exam recently
21. The DA was kind enough to dismiss the case without putting up a fight.
22. My YBM client's family is out what they paid me. Client himself is traumatized. And basis for police mistrust gets a fresh exhibit.
23. While the officer who (wrongfully) charged him — and pretty clearly lied on official court documents — will face -0- repercussions.
24. This is what police brutality looks like. It's not just people having their rights violated and the sh*t kicked out of them.
25. It's an innocent 17yo black kid trying to be a good human being and not running over a cat getting thrown headlong into our court system
26. It's having to come up with money you don't have, to defend yourself against charges that shouldn't have been filed
27. And recognizing that — but for photographs that someone had the foresight to take immediately — you'd have been convicted
28. Based solely on the word of a law enforcement officer who swore an oath to serve and protect who then lied to the court with impunity
29. The State doesn't care of course. For every one case dismissed, hundreds more plead guilty. Court costs are $188+ apiece
30. A day's worth of traffic cases can finance an ADA's salary for a year. Likewise for a clerk or a judge.
31. Guess what that means for legislators? They can cut preexisting court funding and put it somewhere where it'll buy them more votes
32. So you've got a court system that ends up somehow being underfunded despite charging a sh*tload of money for minor offenses...
33. Police routing more and more people (predominantly young and black) into the court system, patting themselves on the back
34. (For protecting us from eeeeeevil 17yo YBMs trying not to hit cats while driving)
35. While the politicians fiddle as their constituents burn, because people naively assume things like this would never happen
36. Welcome to the clusterf*ck that is our criminal justice system. I filed to run for the State Senate precisely b/c of this bullsh*t.
37. It doesn't matter if you put an R or a D or a U beside your name — this is wrong.
38. Sorry for taking up your TL. For reasons I don't understand, I'm *still* in disbelief that this sh*t *still* happens, when I know better
39. I'm now going to clog my arteries with Bojangles in the hope/prayer that I won't still be flamingly pissed after lunch.
40. "clear 360° circles"
And this is my biggest issue with the "Justice" System. When people in positions of authority -especially officers- commit a crime they are NOT always held accountable. And worse, the system usually tries to support them by covering up the crime or intimidating the victim.
This was also an issue in the Catholic Church not that long ago when priests were committing acts of pedophilia and the church then sought to hide them and prevent civil actions from taking place. Imagine if our school system did the same with Teachers and not only failed to hold them accountable for those kinds of crimes, but ASSISTED them in covering them up -as is what happened with Sandusky and Penn State.
ANY institution that does NOT hold people WITHIN that institution accountable for crimes they commit, and even tries to assist them in covering the crimes up, is a CORRUPTED institution in need of reform.
If police want to be trusted and if the justice system wants to be deemed "JUST", they must actually uphold the law and defend the rights of people.