Friday, May 1, 2015

Baltimore Police Decry "Rush to Judgment"

Today, six police officers from Baltimore were charged with crimes including murder, as a result of findings by the medical examiner that ruled Freddie Gray's death was a homicide.  Gray had been arrested on charges of carrying an illegal switchblade knife.  But it turns out that Gray was carrying a legal-sized pocket knife, according to the prosecutor, and the knife was closed and inside his pocket.  Gray had actually broken no law.  But that didn't stop the police from arresting him and then subjecting him to a so-called "rough ride" that caused severe damage to his spine, and ultimately, his death.

Gray was not severely injured when they put him in the police van after his arrest.  Even if his injuries were not inflicted by the intentional action of the police, it is undeniable that they checked on him several times, knew he was in distress, and failed to get any medical care for him until he arrived at the police station some 45 minutes after his arrest. 

The police in this case assumed the role of judge, jury, and executioner.  This is yet another case where the police have taken it upon themselves to administer "justice" to someone they perceived as a criminal or a street thug.  We have heard of many such cases in recent months.  It's nothing new.  This has been going on for many years.  What is new is the fact that their actions are more likely to be captured on video.  Charges of police brutality that used to fall upon deaf ears now are accompanied by evidence.

It has been a rare occurrence for police to be charged for crimes that they commit, and rarer still for them to be convicted for those crimes.  They are accustomed to getting away with all manner of bad behavior.  And old habits die hard.  Many of them continue to administer their own brand of justice, despite the increased likelihood that their actions will be recorded.  And they continue to get away with it.

But now, criminal charges have been brought against the police involved in this homicide.  And they don't like it.  This is a "rush to judgment", they say.  Really?  Nobody is beating them to death.  They are all out on bail, and they will face these charges in court.  It's a shame Freddie Gray never had that opportunity.

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