2013-03-14

What Happened To Jury Trials?

Yet another alleged shooter has been gunned down by law enforcement.
In a statement from Governor Cuomo’s office, law enforcement personnel have shot and killed the man responsible for killing civilians in the upstate town of Herkimer, New York. The engagement between law enforcement officers and Myers resulted in one fatality – that of an FBI dog. 
"This morning law enforcement officials entered the building and, after being fired upon, shot and killed the suspect, Kurt Myers. There were no injuries to law enforcement officials, though an FBI police dog was fatally shot. We commend the courage and extraordinary efforts of the state police, the FBI, and local law enforcement officials in finding the suspect and ending this horrific spree of violence and bloodshed,” said Cuomo in the statement. “It is now time for mourning those who we lost in this senseless act of violence. In the darkest of times, the bravery, kindness, and the spirit of community of New Yorkers shines the brightest, and that is what we saw yesterday in Herkimer and Mohawk as the community came together during this difficult time. The thoughts and prayers of my family and of all New Yorkers are with the friends and loved ones of the victims."
The crimes that Kurt Myers is alleged to have committed are atrocious, let there be no doubt about that. However, the true identity of the shooter will never be know, thanks to trigger-happy police officers.

I am sympathetic to situations in which police officers, forced to defend themselves or others in immediate danger, may have to fire upon suspects. However, any time a suspect is not brought to justice through the standard channels of the legal system, your own rights, articulated in the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution, have been compromised.

If it happens that the altercation between Myers and the police was captured on video, and that video is made available to the public, and also happens to clearly show that the police officers were both in immediate danger and had no option available to them except to use deadly force, then I will be the first one to thank them for their service and give them a pass here.

Unfortunately, these instances in which the police deem themselves judge, jury, and executioner are becoming far too common for comfort. All that need happen in the State of New York is for you to be accused of a crime. From there, the police may simply shoot you. As long as the governor issues some cursory claim that you had fired on officers first, all will be forgotten. You'll be dead and no one will know the truth.

Is this the kind of world we want to live in? Are we sure?