Letters to the editor for Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014
August 30, 2014
Officer innocent until proven otherwise
Regarding Mr. Statham's commentary in regards to the incident in Missouri, I guess we no longer live in a country where someone is innocent until proven guilty.
From the very first sentence Mr. Statham shows his bias by stating that it was a "senseless" killing. That type of comment is used to push the reader into believing that there was no possible justification for what happened. He then goes into the usual liberal talking points about how widespread racism permeates our country and that 400 years of deprivation and slavery has left African-Americans feeling frustrated and angry. As if the Civil Rights movement never happened and there is no hope for the American dream for minorities. Ridiculous.
He also liked using statistics so here are some from the FBI website regarding law enforcement officers killed or assaulted. In 2012, 48 officers were killed and 52,901 were assaulted and injured, with 29 percent of those being attacked by hands or feet. Mr. Statham also made a point to call Mr. Brown an 18-year-old who was unarmed. Unarmed does not mean unable to inflict death or injury. Mr. Brown was a large adult, being 6-feet-4-inches tall and weighing 290 pounds. He was also allegedly a thug as shown by the video of him and his friend allegedly using strong-arm tactics to rob a store and assault the owner. Mr. Brown was not some innocent youngster shot for no reason, and until such time evidence is presented to the contrary, the officer is innocent.
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Public trial needed in Ferguson case
Robert McCulloch, the DA who is presenting testimony to a grand jury on the police shooting of teenager Michael Brown, has close family ties to several St. Louis County police departments. Also, his father was an officer killed in the line of duty by a black suspect. Someone with those strong personal biases would never be allowed on the trial jury, yet he refuses to recuse himself as prosecutor.
That grand jury is made up of nine whites and three blacks, and nine votes are needed to issue an indictment, making a trial seem pretty unlikely. That's why that system needs to be changed. We inherited the grand jury system from England, yet the English have completely abandoned it because it does not remotely resemble blind justice.
In this instance, Gov. Jay Nixon has the power to turn the Ferguson case over to the Missouri attorney general, but he won't because he's afraid of the political blow-back. That's a shame because all the facts in this case need to be heard by an impartial jury, with both sides fairly represented.
A police badge goes with a gun because cops have a license to kill, but only when clearly justified. This grand jury isn't likely to provide much clarity on that point, even if, as promised, all the testimony is made public. To get to the truth, the evidence and arguments from both sides need to be heard, and witnesses must be cross-examined. Only a public trial gives you that.