Sunday, March 22, 2015

nothing less than voluntary deference to the prestige of the rule of law hangs in the balance...,


theatlantic |  Ken White's sardonic response is about right:
Something unnatural is happening in Portland, and Police Union President Daryl Turner isn't going to put up with it. The proper order of things is upended. Black is white and white is black, cats and dogs cohabit. Madness! A judge has disbelieved a cop.
Last week Circuit Judge Diana Stuart acquitted teenager Thai Gurule on juvenile charges of assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest, and attempted assault on a cop. She acquitted him even though the cops said he did it. Is Judge Stuart some sort of pro-criminal agitator? Apparently. In an extensive written order she weighed the testimony of sworn police officers against irrelevant trifles like actual videorecordings of their encounter with Gurule. Even though the cops swore that Gurule threw punches at them, Judge Stuart disbelieved them simply because she could not see any punches on the cell phone videos. Is she some sort of video-fisticuffs expert? Worse than that, she specifically stated that she didn't find some of their testimony credible.
As if they weren't cops.
There's a final aspect of this case that warrants a mention. In the video of this 16-year-old being stopped illegally, his older brother, who knew he was doing nothing wrong, can be heard shouting at police that the youngster played football for his high school, didn't drink, and didn't do marijuana. He was pleading with them and increasingly distraught as they punched the kid, threw him to the ground, and Tased him. What he's doing off camera isn't evident in the videos, though it is apparent that an increasingly hostile crowd was gathering. The end of the Oregonian story notes, "Gurule's brother went to trial in adult court in January. Judge Cheryl Albrecht found him guilty of misdemeanor interfering with a police officer and resisting arrest, but acquitted him of disorderly conduct. Albrecht sentenced him to 64 hours of community service and two years of probation." I don't know if the brother got a bogus conviction or if he really did criminally interfere with police by doing something stupid off camera.

Either way, he is a young black man who wouldn't have this criminal conviction, two years probation, and 64 hours of community service but for the fact that Portland police illegally stopped his brother, needlessly escalated the encounter, and meted out what has now been judged excessive force in the course of taking him into custody.