Tag Archives: justice

A Question With Answers That Might Clarify The Ferguson Controversy: Why Haven’t You Heard About The Shooting Of John Geer?

John Geer

There was a fascinating editorial in the Washington Post this morning, I thought. See if you agree. It read in part…

At point-blank range, a Fairfax County police officer a year ago fired one shot, killing an unarmed man standing inside his home. The man, John Geer, was distraught and had been drinking — his longtime girlfriend had moved out and called police when he threw her things into the front yard — but he held no hostages, brandished no weapons and, so far as we have learned, posed no serious threat either to police or to public order…Shot in the chest, he was left to bleed to death inside his doorway while police officers, remaining outside the house, did nothing for an hour. Five and a half hours after the shooting, his body remained sprawled on the floor where he died.Incredibly, the authorities in Northern Virginia — including Fairfax County police and state and federal prosecutors — have refused to furnish any explanation for this stupefying sequence of events last Aug. 29 in Springfield. They have stonewalled…The officer who fired the shot, who remains on the force with full pay, has not been identified.

The authorities conduct themselves as if the case presented insurmountable complexities. This strains credulity. It involved one shot, one gun, one shooter and one fatality. It took place in broad daylight, at mid-afternoon. It was witnessed at close range by at least two other police officers, as well as friends and neighbors of Mr. Geer. And still authorities refuse to act or discuss Mr. Geer’s death…Will no one take responsibility and make some decisions in the unexplained death of Mr. Geer?

Don’t you think it would have been helpful, not to mention responsible and ethical, for the Post to remind its readers of this case while it fully participated in the media-driven race-baiting and hysteria over the shooting of “unarmed black teen Michael Brown” in Ferguson, Missouri?

It is also interesting, given the fact that the Brown-Wilson case is still very much in the news and on the tips of accusatory pundits’ tongues, that the Post neglected to mention the irony embodied by the quite legitimate lament of its editorial now. Ferguson? What’s that got to do with Fairfax? Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Race, U.S. Society

Unethical Quote of the Month, Ferguson Ethics Train Wreck Division: Dean Erwin Chemerinsky of the University of California Law School

"Hey! If we riot, the Dean says The Supreme Court will have to see it our way!"
“Hey! If we riot, the Dean says The Supreme Court will have to see it our way!”

“Taken together, these rulings have a powerful effect. They mean that the officer who shot Michael Brown and the City of Ferguson will most likely never be held accountable in court. How many more deaths and how many more riots will it take before the Supreme Court changes course?”

Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the School of Law at the University of California, Irvine, in an op-ed in the Sunday New York Times titled, “How the Supreme Court Protects Bad Cops.”

The passengers on board the relentless Ferguson Ethics Train Wreck were recently honored by the addition to their number of distinguished legal scholar and law school dean Erwin Chemerinsky, who, it mist be said, apparently accepted his ticket in exchange for getting publicity in the Times for his new book,“The Case Against the Supreme Court.” If his op-ed is typical of his approach to that topic, I think I’ll pass.

Each of the three sentences in the quote above is ethically offensive, and, I think, well beneath what the public should be able to expect from the dean of a major laws school, and what the Times should tolerate from one.

Let’s take the last two first:

2. “They mean that the officer who shot Michael Brown and the City of Ferguson will most likely never be held accountable in court. “ The statement assumes that Officer Wilson ought to be held accountable in court, which immediately aligns the dean with the lynch mob demanding “justice” before they have any idea what justice is in this case. Chemerinsky is a political liberal, as one would expect in his position at that institution, but he has an ethical obligation to use his knowledge, erudition, influence and reputation to clarify a difficult situation for the public, not make it worse. Nowhere is his op-ed does he allow for the possibility that Wilson might be innocent of wrong doing in Brown’s death. In my view, he, like Eric Holder and so many others, is now pandering to the anti-police, race-grievance Democratic base, also known as “California.” His opening paragraph is carefully crafted—Chemerinsky has published a lot of papers, treatises, law journal articles, opinion pieces and book—to make it clear that he thinks the officer should be indicted. He begins: Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Quotes, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Race, Rights, U.S. Society

Ferguson Ethics Train Wreck Monday Morning Update: Taking Sides

When do competent, rational, fair, responsible, ethical citizens, officials, journalists and organizations take sides in a racially charged controversy involving a law enforcement officer and an individual shot and killed by that officer in an incident where the circumstances and provocation have  yet to be verified?

Simple: they don’t.

So how do we explain and characterize the decisions of so many citizens, officials, journalists and organizations to take sides in the Michael Brown shooting by Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson? That’s simple too.

They are neither competent, rational, fair, responsible, nor ethical.

Thus we add to the passenger list of the Ferguson Ethics Train Wreck the following, who publicly took sides this weekend and today:

  • The Obama Administration. Three White House representatives will attend Brown’s funeral. This signals an official acceptance of the Brown family narrative, at this point completely unverified, that police misconduct and racism were involved in the death of their son, or if not, and I’m sure the White House will have some spin to dispute this, that is how it will be perceived by activists and how the White House wants it to be perceived. This may be good politics (though I don’t think intentional divisiveness is good, but the White House and I differ on that point), but it is horrible leadership, and a slap in the fact to all law enforcement, which is now being told by those representing the President of the United States that it is presumed to be in the wrong when there is a controversy over the exercise of force involving an African American

Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Public Service, Philanthropy, Charity, Race

Ferguson Ethics Train Wreck Update: The Mayor of Atlanta Tells “Meet The Press” That “Justice” Means Prosecuting Officer Wilson

kasim-reed

There should be no question about it any more. The nearly unanimous position, stated or unstated, by elected Democratic and African American officials is that Officer Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who shot the unarmed, 18-year-old Michael Brown, should be charged with murder. That position represents a triumph of group identification, political expediency and bias over the rule of law and, yes, in defiance of that cynically wielded term “justice,” and it needs to be rejected and condemned at the highest levels of our society. Who is going to have the courage to do it?

Certainly not the news media. This morning on the David Gregory-less “Meet the Press,” the stand-in for the fired host interviewed Democratic Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, who talked exclusively in code about “justice” and “transparency.” Nixon, you will recall, has already stated his view that Wilson should be prosecuted, so his mouthing platitudes now about “transparency” ring like the sly plotting of the villains in old Westerns. You know the type: the cattle baron who owns the town and the sheriff devises a way to remove an obstreperous opponent who won’t toe the line by framing him and convicting him of murder. “Make it look niiice and fair, right by the book!” he snickers to his henchman. That was Nixon today.

Then the questioning turned to NBC round-table guest Kasim Reed, the African-American Mayor of Atlanta, who was asked about how to ensure a just result in the case. His answer was frank, if jaw-dropping: everyone, including jurors and officials, should see the incident “through the eyes” of Brown’s parents, “whose son was shot six times in front of four witnesses and left lying in the street for hours.” Continue reading

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Filed under Citizenship, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Race, U.S. Society, Uncategorized, Workplace

Comment of the Day and Ferguson Thread Highlight: Chris Marschner On The Elusive Equal Treatment Problem

Doesn't seem right, somehow...

Doesn’t seem right, somehow…

At least one good thing has out of the Ferguson Ethics Train Wreck, anyway: several unusually intense, frank and thought-provoking threads about race, “privilege” and poverty led by Ethics Alarms All-Stars Chris Marschner, deery, and urbanregor, with trenchant contributions by others as well. The most vigorous thread emerged here, in response to Marschner’s Comment of the Day on this post, on the unfolding Ferguson situation.

I could have chosen any number of comments to highlight by a separate post, but decided on this one, by Chris. First of all, it is remarkably thoughtful. Second, it transcends Ferguson and addresses the larger, related issues of poverty and perceived inequality of opportunity in the U.S. Third, it constitutes a first: a Comment of the Day, by the author of a Comment of the Day, commenting on his own piece. Guinness has been notified.

Here is Chris Marschner’s Comment of the Day on his previous post, Comment of the Day: “Ethics Train Wrecks Collide, As The Redskins And Trayvon Martin’s Mother Board The Ferguson Express”: Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Citizenship, Comment of the Day, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Race, U.S. Society

Wishing Ethics: What Should We WANT The Outcome To Be In Ferguson?

finger-crossed

The simple answer to the question in the headline is: we should all want the truth to come out, whatever it is, and be dealt with honestly and justly. I don’t think that result is possible, unfortunately, just as it proved impossible in the Martin-Zimmerman tragedy.If the truth could be determined, however…if an experimental, advanced video recorder just happened to capture everything that occurred between Officer Wilson and Mike Brown, including in the squad car; if it captured the incident from all angles, and we could hear and see everything that transpired between them, what would we want that to be, recognizing that the tragedy cannot be undone?

Would we want it to show that Mike Brown was murdered, that he was fleeing for his life when he escaped the car, then turned, fell to his knees ( as at least one witness claims) and was gunned down with his hands in the air? Obviously many Americans, including Brown’s family, the Ferguson protestors, many African-Americans, civil rights activists, police critics, politicians and pundits, have an interest in seeing this be the final verdict of investigators, for a multitude of reasons. The grieving family wants their son to be proven innocent of any fault in his own death. Others, especially those who prematurely declared Officer Wilson of guilty of “executing” Brown, have a strong interest in being proven right, for even though it would not excuse their unfair and irresponsible rush to judgment, such a determination would greatly reduce the intensity of criticism leveled at them.

[Side Note on Ethics Dunce Jay Nixon: That won't stop the criticism here, however: Whatever the facts prove to be,  Gov. Jay Nixon's comments are indefensible, and inexcusable. Now the Democrat is denying that they meant what he clearly meant to convey: calling for "justice for Brown's family" and a "vigorous prosecution" can only mean charging Wilson, and that is what those calling for Wilson to be arrested took his comments to mean. If the Governor didn't mean that, as he now claims, then he is 1) an ignoramus and 2) beyond incompetent to recklessly comment on an emotion-charged crisis in his state without choosing his words carefully.]

Or should we hope that the facts exonerate Wilson? After all, shouldn’t we want the one living participant in this tragedy to be able to have some semblance of a life without being forever associated with villainy? Certainly his family and friends, as well as member of the Ferguson police force who want their own ranks to be vindicated, and police all over the nation who have had their profession attacked and denigrated in the wake of the shooting, fervently hope that the narrative pushed by the demonstrators is proven wrong. Others want to see Wilson proven innocent for less admirable reasons. They want to use the incident to condemn police critics, and undermine and discredit civil rights advocates, especially long-time ideological foes like Al Sharpton. They want Eric Holder to look biased, (he looks biased anyway, because he appears to be taking sides) and to make the case—one that a single episode neither supports nor can possible rebut—that police do not have itchy trigger fingers when their weapons are pointed at young black men.

From the standpoint of ethics, which means that the best outcome will be the one that does the most good for society, the choice is complex.  Continue reading

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Filed under Citizenship, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Race, Rights, U.S. Society

Look! There Is Hope! Sometimes The System Actually Works!

hallelujah

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the absurdly lenient prison sentence given to an Iowa police officer who brutally beat a man without cause, then filed a false police report accusing his victim of attacking him. Mersed Dautovic had been sentenced to just 20 months for the attack after a four-day trial in which a Des Moines jury found him guilty of using excessive force and obstructing justice.

Though the sentencing guidelines called for a range of 135 to 168 months, the trial judge sentenced sentenced Dautovic to only 20 months in prison.
A three-judge panel on the 8th Circuit found this to be a “substantively unreasonable” punishment for Dautovic’s “egregious” conduct, which included savagely beating an innocent man, causing his victim serious and permanent bodily injury, then writing a false police report that caused the beaten man and his girl friend to have criminal charges filed against them,  and offering perjured testimony against them at their trial.

“When the totality of the circumstances is considered, a variance from the guidelines range of 135 to 168 months’ imprisonment to a 20-month sentence is unreasonably lenient,” Judge Roger Wollman wrote for the court in his 14-page opinion.

Ya think?

Well what do you know…justice was done within the system!

In a case involving police misconduct!

When the cop was white,

And his victims were black!

And there were no demonstrations, riots, or looting involved!I guess that’s why you didn’t see this in the news.

_______________________________

Source: Courthouse News Service.

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Filed under Law & Law Enforcement