Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Noor verdict

I don't know the actual statistics, but it feels as though most questionable police shootings result in the officer being acquitted. As such, I was somewhat surprised (though maybe I shouldn't have been) by the latest verdict handed down in a Minneapolis officer involved shooting.

A jury found former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor guilty of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter and not guilty of second-degree murder in the 2017 shooting death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond.

Noor was immediately taken into custody. His sentencing is set for Friday, June 7 at 9 a.m.

The jury of 10 men and two women deliberated for 10 hours before reaching a verdict Tuesday afternoon.

Naturally many were quick to draw distinctions between this tragedy and others, particularly the Philando Castile shooting. When a black man is the victim, there are those who will suggest that all too often an officer does not receive any jail time. However, because Ms. Damond was a white woman, some will cite this verdict as a miscarriage of justice given the verdict in the Castile case. But if one scrutinizes the evidence which was laid out in the Damond case, it's difficult to conclude that the jury's verdict was all that outlandish. And yes, I will agree that the officer involved in the shooting death of Mr. Castile in July 2016 should not have walked. But that doesn't mean the jury in Ms. Damond's case should've shirked its responsibility to examine all evidence and decide accordingly. Justice does not occur through additional injustices.

While this outcome obviously won't bring back Ms. Damond, her loved ones are taking solace in the fact that they feel justice was served. Unfortunately, the same can't necessarily be said for those Philando Castile left behind.



Bike Bubba said...

The one that comes to mind for me is a 2009 case in Kasota where a plainclothes officer picked fight with a guy, lost it, and came up with his gun. The grand jury ignored 19 witnesses who said that narrative in favor of a guy driving by saying the opposite.

Now of course I wasn't in there, so perhaps there was a reasonable explanation, but it sure looked like "people covering for the police" in that case. I think the scariest thing is that when the police get the reputation of skating when they do wrong, it really, really hurts what they're trying to achieve.

jerrye92002 said...

I wonder why the jury made the distinction between second-degree and third-degree murder? Isn't 3rd degree normally called "criminally negligent homicide"? If so, that would make sense. And I was confused about the manslaughter charge in addition, but the definition of "involuntary manslaughter" where "not supposed to happen" is the excuse, makes sense. Sentencing will be interesting.

Bike Bubba said...

Back to the case in point, I think that no matter what political perspective you come from, there are some HUGE issues illustrated with the police force and the investigation. Why did many officers refuse to testify after the incident? Why did investigators slow walk the investigation for a couple of months, and only then start bringing their A game? Is it because of police involvement, or the race of the officer involved, or is there something else?

I don't think any sensible person believes that there will never be tragedies like this. However, at the same time, I think every sensible person believes that the police, of all people, and investigators, of all people, ought to take appropriate action when government action goes horribly wrong. And I'm not persuaded that happened until the public started raising H*** in this case, and that's a problem.

jerrye92002 said...

There is a large army of people out there eager to be outraged when a white cop shoots a black man. There is a large army of crickets out there when a black cop shoots a black man, or a white cop shoots a white man. And here, there is an army of people just wondering what really happened and why it has taken to get to what most believed to be true-- that this cop was an "affirmative action hire" unfit for the job. Until we start insisting that these folks pass a rigorous psychological screening and thorough training PLUS supervised experience, we can have these tragedies and the suspicions they are "wrong" will continue. But while the few failures should be prosecuted, the constant second-guessing for purely political purposes ought to be toned down IMHO.