With law enforcement being under unprecedented scrutiny these days, it seems that many public officials and prosecutors are “pressured” into filing charges against law enforcement officials even if they know there may not be enough evidence to convict the defendant in a court of law. Most recently, police officer Edward Nero (a Baltimore MD) police officer was acquitted of all charges in the high profile death of Freddie Gray. Freddie Gray suffered a spinal cord injury while in police custody which lead to his death. This event set off a series of protests and riots which culminated in 6 police officers being charged in connection with his death. Another officer that was charged in the case had his trial end in a hung jury.
In an article published in the New York Times written by Jess BidGood and Timothy Williams, they report that according to a professor of law at the University of Baltimore “The judge did seem to create a hierarchy of responsibility and say that Officer Nero was at the bottom, now, let’s see as we go up whether or not anyone else is sufficiently responsible as to be criminally liable.”
The article goes on to say that “For Officer Nero’s trial, Ms. Mosby’s team of prosecutors tried an unusual legal theory: that he and Officer Miller exceeded their authority by handcuffing, moving and searching Mr. Gray without first questioning and patting him down, as the law requires — essentially turning a lawful detention into an unlawful arrest. The prosecutors said that Officer Nero had committed misconduct by arresting Mr. Gray without probable cause, and that any physical contact they had made with him while doing so amounted to second-degree assault.”
You can read the entire article in the New York Times here: Police Officer in Freddie Gray Case Is Acquitted of All Charges
Below is a video that talks about the acquittal and how some people are not happy about it
While on the heels of the acquittal mentioned above, a former St. Louis, Mo police officer has just been charged with first degree murder for a shooting he was involved in from 2011. According to Christine Byers of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, former officer Jason Stockley was arrested and charged with first degree murder for the on duty shooting of Anthony Lamar Smith.
In the article Byers reports “Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce’s office on Monday charged Jason Stockley, 35, of Houston. St. Louis police and U.S. marshals arrested Stockley on Monday at his home in the 6300 block of Chevy Chase Drive in Houston.”
According to the article, during a high speed police pursuit, Stockley is heard on audio saying “I’m going to kill this (expletive deleted), don’t you know it.”
City prosecutor Jennifer Joyce is quoted in the article as saying “I’m disappointed because I know what fine public servants the vast majority of police officers are, and this kind of conduct on the part of this former officer doesn’t reflect the excellent work I see from them every day,” Joyce said. “So it’s disappointing in that regard, but it’s important that people understand that if you commit a crime, and we have the evidence to prove it, it doesn’t matter to us what you do for a living. Our job is to hold people accountable if we have the evidence. And in this case, we do.”
The entire article can be seen here
While Stockley is being held without bond in Harris County, Tx, once transferred to St. Louis, Mo he will probably request a bond hearing. If a bond is set as “secured,” Stockley would probably want to hire the best bail bondsman St. Louis Mo has to offer to help with his release.
With what seems like an increasing anti police sentiment currently circulating the country, one state, Louisiana in particular is considering making attacking the police a hate crime. In an article by Ray Brown of America Now, he quotes Chuck Canterbury, the national president of the Fraternal Order of Police as saying “Talking heads on television and inflammatory rhetoric on social media are inciting acts of hatred and violence toward our nation’s peace officers. Our members are increasingly under fire by individuals motivated by nothing more than a desire to kill or injure a cop.”
Brown goes on to say in his article “Although violence against police officers was at an all-time low in 2015, the Washington Post notes, police groups have said there is a growing threat against them because of increased scrutiny of police conduct, especially in regards to shootings of unarmed suspects.”
You can read Brown’s full article here
Like in any profession, there are going to be some “bad apples.” These people should certainly be dealt with on an individual basis and be held accountable under law for whatever actions they may have taken. However, just because there are a few “bad apples” in a group, this does not mean the entire group is bad.
Before rushing to judgment or caving into public sentiment in ruining someone’s life or career in order to save your own, facts should be examined, and then, and only then if the facts present themselves should the appropriate action be taken.
Featured image courtesy