It was January 2014, in St. Lucie County, Florida. A mother picking up her child at Frances K. Sweet Elementary School heard loud music, the lyrics of which she found offensive. She called the police.
Deputy Christopher Newman and his partner, Deputy Edward Lopez, came to the garage of the house of 30-year old Gregory Hill Jr. Gregory worked at a Coca-Cola warehouse.
Newman knocked on the garage door, but no one responded. He then knocked on the front door, and said that he heard the music get louder. The garage door opened. Gregory stood facing out of the garage with his left hand on the door and his right hand down. He then began closing the garage door. Newman alleged that Gregory brandished a hand gun. Read the rest of this entry
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
We followed the trial, where you can also read the background of the case at this link. Wayne Isaacs was not on duty when he shot and killed Delrawn Small. However, his defense during trial was that he acted according to his training and killed Delrawn in self-defense. Within seconds of Delrawn approaching the driver’s side window of Isaacs car, Isaacs shot him three times.
Isaacs was charged with murder and the alternative charge of manslaughter.
The jury began deliberating on Thursday and today, the jury of seven women, five men, consisting of five Whites, five Blacks, one Hispanic and one Asian, handed in the verdict of not guilty. Read the rest of this entry
This in the letter section of a Minneapolis Paper. It points our that Officer Yanez could have retreated – and should have, if there was any question in his mind.
There was nothing about the stop that indicated that Castile posed any danger to the public. The “crime” he was stopped for was a basic traffic ticket – and in a lot of jurisdictions, would result in no fine if the driver went and got the issue fixed
I have been a police officer for 19 years. I love my job and serving my community. I have learned over the course of my career to never assume anything. As I watched the events unfold on July 6, 2016, on a Facebook Live feed, I thought that there must be more that happened. There must have been such a threat that…
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After approximately 29 hours of deliberations, the jury in the manslaughter case of St. Anthony, Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez has returned a verdict of not guilty. Yanez was also charged with two felony counts of intentional discharge of a firearm that endangers safety for firing his weapon. When he shot and killed Philando Castile, Castile’s girlfriend and her 4-year old daughter were passengers in the car. Bullets barely missed both of them.
During deliberations, the jury requested to review the transcript of Yanez’s interview with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Judge William H. Leery III denied their request. By Wednesday, the jury was deadlocked, but the judge sent them back to keep deliberating.
Kare11 reports that this morning, the jury handed a note to Judge Leary III requesting to have the transcript of Yanez’s testimony while on the stand and the cross examination read aloud in court. The judge denied their request.
We followed the trial at this link.
If there are press conferences filmed later where the videos are on Youtube so they can be embedded here, I will post them in the comment section.
New York police officer Peter Liang, who shot and killed an unarmed man in a New York housing project stairwell in 2014, has been found guilty of manslaughter and official misconduct. Liang was charged with 5 counts in the death of 28-year old Akai.
Liang was charged with manslaughter, assault, reckless endangerment, criminally negligent homicide and official misconduct.
The jury consisted of 7 men and 5 women. During trial, Liang testified in his own defense. He testified that his gun went off by accident after he entered the pitch-black stairwell and heard a “quick sound” coming from his left side that startled him and caused him to “tense up” and fire his weapon.
A major contention happened at trial when prosecutors presented that Liang did not administer first aid to Akai. Prosecutors called on a number of instructors from the Police Academy to testify about the training recruits receive. While they described to jurors what each officer is taught, Liang and his partner, Landau, testified that they received minimal CPR training and were therefore unable to render aid.
Liang’s sentencing is set for April 14. The manslaughter conviction carries up to 15 years in prison. For those not completely informed about the case, we reported on it earlier. You can also put “Peter Liang” in the search box found on the right-side border.
A jury has found James Holmes guilty of murder in the Colorado theater shooting.
Holmes faced two counts of first-degree murder for each of the 12 victims. The jury found him guilty on all 24 counts, and 140 counts of attempted murder for the 70 people wounded in the shooting.
On July 19, 2012, Holmes walked into a theater in Aurora, Colorado that was showing “The Dark Knight Rises.” He walked through a rear door and left it propped open. About 18 minutes after the movie began, Holmes came through the rear door wearing a ballistic helmet, a gas mask, black gloves and protective gear on his legs, throat and groin. He threw a tear gas canister into the theater that exploded, then he opened gunfire with a AR-15 rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun, and a 40 caliber handgun. Holmes was arrested outside of the theater in the parking lot about 7 minutes after the first 911 call was made to police.
His sentencing phase begins on Wednesday and is expected to last about a month. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
On Friday afternoon, Sandra was pulled over by a Texas Department of Public Safety officer for changing lanes without signaling. Bland allegedly struggled with the officer and another cop arrived, both of whom are seen with Bland on the ground during a video taken by a motorist.
Sandra is heard on the video saying “I can’t even fucking feel my arms,” and “You just slammed my head into the ground, do you not even care about that? I can’t even hear!”
One of the officers is heard on the video telling the person recording, “You need to leave.” Read the rest of this entry
Hat tip to peni4yothot.
It is Saturday. Who would have thought that a judge would announce a verdict on a weekend?
In April, we reported on the events that led to charges of voluntary manslaughter for Cleveland Police Officer Michael Brelo. Yahtzeebutterfly has been keeping it updated with trial videos and information.
A Cuyahoga County grand jury indicted Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo. Brelo’s trial began on April 6, 2015. He choose a bench trial. Today, Saturday, May 23, 2015, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge John P. O’Donnell acquitted Brelo of all charges.
Brelo will remain on unpaid suspension.
It is Friday already. Seems like yesterday was Monday.
Butterflydreamer2 had a birthday this week. Yahtzeebutterfly covered the Ted Wafer trial, along with other magnificent participants. I’m afraid that if I try naming everyone that I might inadvertently omit someone, so here’s a huge thanks to everyone. It certainly was not easy following a trial that was not live streamed.
Justice for Renisha is no longer a hope but a reality. We lift up her parents, family and friends. Nothing will ever replace Renisha, but knowing that the jury entered a ruling based on facts and the law is like having an eternal flame. May it brighten the path for others to follow.
We continue moving forward in hope and love for peace, not only in our nation of America, but for all inhabitants on Earth, including all creatures, great and small.
Outside of his family and friends, Trayvon Martin was unknown until a few days after February 26, 2012. On that evening, Trayvon Martin was the average 17-year old child of divorced parents where the father is involved in his son’s life and there is an extended family. Living in Miami Gardens, Trayvon was visiting his dad in Sanford, Florida, who was staying with his girlfriend. He went to the 7-Eleven and on his way back, was followed by a man in a truck. Trayvon was on the phone with a childhood friend named Rachel, and told her about a creepy looking guy following him. Trayvon ran. The man got out of his truck, followed Trayvon, and shot him dead.
The killing of Trayvon Martin impacted America more than the killing of some U.S. Presidents. Because of technology and the internet, people from across the globe took interest in the case. Because of Florida’s “sunshine law,” discovery documents and pleadings filed in the case were made public. George Zimmerman’s trial for 2nd degree murder was shown on television, and live-streamed. Read the rest of this entry
Wow! I was just putting together information to report on the Julie Schenecker trial, suspecting for it to last at least another week. Just a few moments ago, I learned that the trial closed, the jury went into deliberations, and less than two hours later, returned a verdict of guilty of two counts of first-degree murder.
Julie killed her two children, Calyx, 16, and Beau, 13. She shot them first in the head, and then in their mouths.
After the verdict was read, Julie made a statement to the court, including;
“I understand that there are people who are affected by this who may have just read about it in the paper or maybe had a child looked at her mommy and said, “Mommy, are you going to shoot me?’ …
I’m one of those affected by her actions. She killed children; and not just children, but her own children. Read the rest of this entry
Recently, two of the jurors in the case of Michael Dunn have interviewed with CNN. Both were asked if race was mentioned during deliberations. Both answered “no.” Then, panels discussing the interviews voiced their disagreement with the jury not discussing race during deliberations. Some online sources have also criticized those jurors. Even Jordan Davis’ father said he could not see how it didn’t come up since Dunn’s girlfriend gave credible testimony that he used the words “thug music.”
In the case of Michael Dunn, like in all other cases, the presiding judge instructs the jury to only consider testimony and evidence presented at trial. The judge also tells the jury the charges. The issue in Dunn’s case is whether he killed Jordan Davis in self-defense. Michael Dunn was not charged with a hate-crime. Read the rest of this entry
This is a great commentary. A major problem with Florida’s self-defense law is that it does not require the person in fear to retreat. Dunn testified that his question, “Are you talking about me?” was intended to de-escalate when actual de-escalation was for him to simply move his car.
Michael Dunn will likely receive a lengthy prison sentence after a jury found him guilty on three counts of attempted murder and one count of firing into a vehicle. The jury however was unable to reach agreement on the charge of first degree murder for killing Jordan Davis. On that charge, a mistrial was declared, but the four felony counts that Dunn was found guilty of could still send him to prison for up to 75 years. Dunn’s sentencing is scheduled for March 24th.
Dunn was remanded to custody after being convicted, and if the judge gives him anything close to the maximum sentence on each charge, he could spend the rest of his life in prison. Yet, the verdict was disconcerting for one simple reason. Dunn was not convicted for murdering Jordan Davis. Had he confined his shooting to firing one or two fatal shots, he conceivably could…
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On September 14, 2012, I posted Racist Bigots and Thugs are Clairvoyant.
Now that the jury in the George Zimmerman trial has rendered a verdict of not guilty, and in light of Juror B37 saying that Trayvon played a “huge” role in his death, it is an appropriate time to revisit this subject. This is a re-post. Only the last paragraph has been changed to update since the verdict. Read the rest of this entry
On January 23, 2013, I wrote an article on the significance of the Dooley decision. It is a Florida case where the defendant claimed self-defense. Trevor Dooley was found guilty of manslaughter. His case is currently on appeal.
When I first heard of the Dooley case, I expected that he would prevail on his claim of Stand Your Ground because of testimony that Dooley was walking back to his house when David James came up behind him, knocking him to the ground.
After the verdict and when I wrote the article, it was my position that the jury applied the facts to Florida law from the beginning, finding that if not but for the fact that Trevor Dooley left his garage with a loaded gun and approached David James for mouthing off at him, the two would not have come into physical contact.
Likewise, I said that if not but for the fact that George Zimmerman got out of his car with a loaded gun to follow Trayvon, the two would not have come into physical contact. It was my position that the Zimmerman jury would find him guilty of 2nd degree murder, or manslaughter, by applying the law of initial aggressor to the facts.
I was wrong. Read the rest of this entry
The jury has spoken, but it was not a jury that examined all the evidence. It took bloggers longer than 16 hours just to read witness and police reports, listen to Zimmerman’s taped interviews, and watch his re-enactment. That did not include time to conduct comparison analysis.
State’s Attorney Corey and Assistant State’s Attorney Bernie de la Rionda, spoke at a press conference. An important piece of evidence they related is that there was no way Trayvon could have seen the gun, nor could George Zimmerman draw the gun, with Trayvon straddling as Zimmerman claims.
The jury’s verdict is so wrong. Those six women have to live with their decision. May God have mercy on their souls.
Our sincere condolences to Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin. They are the best examples of dignity that is found anywhere on earth.
“If there is no struggle, there is no progress” and that “power concedes nothing without a challenge. It never did and it never will.”