Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Tale Of Two Prosecutors

Two prosecutors have been in the spotlight in front of the TV cameras lately. One is in Madison, Wisconsin and the other is in Baltimore, Maryland. One is male. The other is female. They are both people of color. Their attitudes and methods are as different as night and day.

On March 6 a white police officer shot and killed a young man of African American heritage. The man was on multiple drugs and was acting violently. The police officer went into the scene, although he didn't have back up, because he heard a violent fight taking place. The officer was attacked and in danger. He used his service weapon to protect himself. End of story. 

It was not until May 12, over two months later, that Izmael Ozanne, Dane County DA, came forward to address the press. He recited, in a business like manner, a long list of facts involving the shooting. It was obvious that those two month had been spent doing a complete and thorough investigation. Apparently, no stone was left unturned.

Mr. Ozanne's presentation was complete, unemotional, and professional. There would be no charges. There are, as usual, those in the community that are unsatisfied. Why didn't the officer wait for back up? Because he could hear someone taking a beating, that's why. Well, why didn't the officer use a taser? Any officer going blind into a violent situation that doesn't have his most powerful weapon at ready is asking to be hurt or killed. The response must be adequate to the danger.

On April 12, a suspect was taken into custody by six Baltimore police, two of whom were officers. He ended up dying from spinal injuries. On May 1, Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore City State Attorney came before the cameras and announced that twenty desperate charges had been leveled against the six police officers. In nineteen days they completed their process.

As there was no obvious crime scene and the officers themselves were the best witnesses. t was a complicated investigation. One that should have taken months not days. Ms. Mosby, in front of the cameras, did not recite a litany. She gave a political speech siding with the mob and smirking. 

Maybe charges should be brought in this case. But the rush to judgement may, ultimately, destroy any hope of that. When justice plays to the crowd, there is no justice. When investigations are placed on the fast track, even the victim loses.  The contrast between the two prosecutors is astonishing. While one seems to be an honest prosecutor, the other seems to be a single minded persecutor.

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