August 27, 2012
Police Once Again Serve as Judge, Jury, and Executioner
As you’ve probably heard, the police have killed again. This of course is nothing new. Only a few days ago in North Jersey a 13 year old boy on a joyride died when police pursued him in a high speed chase until he crashed the car he was driving. A few days later cops gunned down a man in Boston’s Back Bay when he attempted to flee from them on foot after a traffic stop (it’s still not clear why they pulled him over in the first place but I'm guessing it had to do with the color of his skin). Look through the news over the last couple of months or even the past couple of weeks and you will find dozen of similar incidents. While it is always disturbing when the police execute a suspect before he/she has been charged with a crime (let alone before he/she has had the benefit of a trial), Friday’s incident takes the cake. So blood thirsty were the NYPD to take the life of Jeffrey Johnson that they opened fire on a crowded sidewalk outside the Empire State Building, shooting several other people in the process. Of the incident which left nine innocent bystanders bleeding in the street, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said “I believe it was handled well”.
Jeffrey Johnson was suspected of shooting his former coworker Steve Ercolino to death. Johnson suffered years of abuse and harassment from Ercolino while employed at Hazan Import Corp., a Manhattan-based firm specializing in the design of women’s handbags. Johnson blamed Ercolino for the loss of his job and his livelihood. While certainly not an excuse for murder, these are indeed relevant facts that should have been heard by the judge and jury who, under our Constitution, should have ultimately decided his fate.
Shortly after the shooting, Mayor Bloomberg held a press conference. Many (including myself) expected him to assure the public that a full investigation was being conducted and that the officers involved would be held accountable. Instead he praised their actions as “heroic”. Unbelievable!
With the plethora of non-lethal weapons available these days, there is absolutely no excuse for killing a suspect – and certainly not for endangering the lives of innocent bystanders! When will we finally wise-up and strip the homicidal maniacs in our Police Departments of their licenses to kill?
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