I generally report on cases and jury verdicts without opinion. This time however, I feel the need to editorialize.
I reported on the killing of Daniel Shaver in April 2016. That post includes a video of Daniel’s widow talking about the conversations she had with authorities that centered on the body cam videos and a plea deal. It left me with the feeling that she believed that if the videos were publicly released and Philip Brailsford brought to trial, that the jury would convict him.
Some of us know better. The families of Sam Dubose, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, Delrawn Small, Alton Sterling, Patrick Harmon, Dillon Taylor and a host of others, know better.
For years, I’ve mentioned that justifiable homicide burden of proof in cases involving police shootings is wrong. It’s wrong because the deceased are blamed for the officer using deadly force. The dead cannot face their accuser. The justification is one-sided, and it always includes what the officer thought. Defense attorneys argue an abuse of discretion burden of proof without the jury knowing the requirements to meet that proof. An abuse of discretion is if the accused has failed to exercise sound, reasonable, and legal decision-making skills.
Law enforcement officers are given discretion in performing their jobs. They are even given discretion on whether or not to stop and frisk; whether or not to arrest; and whether or not to use deadly force.
Discretion is what gives police authority to see a woman crying for help on one side of the street, and a suspicious person standing on the other side of the street, and stop and frisk the suspicious person rather than help the woman crying for help, (while the man who snatched the woman’s purse and knocked her down breaking her leg, casually took off in a Ford pickup truck with a Confederate Battle Flag in the rear window). Read the rest of this entry