Tag Archives: Police

Transparency And Truth In Charlotte

Wednesday evening, and into the wee hours of Thursday morning, I watched the news from Charlotte, mostly on MSNBC, occasionally clicking over to CNN.

A couple of criticisms of the cable TV news coverage come to mind:

— First, throughout the night, MSNBC covered the news on the street as it happened, in real time. However, the network replayed video of the most dramatic parts of the evening’s civil unrest many times as the hours passed. Showing the worst, most dramatic parts of the protest over and over had the effect of making brief incidents appear to be continuing throughout the evening. The news is bad enough, no need to make it look even worse. I’m not sure to what extent CNN also replayed video.

— Second, a major issue addressed by commentators and interviewees was transparency and truthfulness on the part of the Police Department. Much of the tragic shooting of a black citizen by a black police officer earlier in the week was recorded by body cameras or dashboard cameras. Perhaps there is also cell phone video.

Over and over it was stated that the video in possession of police and prosecutors should be released to the family of the shooting victim, and to the public. The stated assumption is that the video of the shooting will reveal the TRUTH about what really happened. News reporters and anchors failed to challenge the assumption.

It’s unclear how many body cameras and dashboard cameras recorded video. I suspect that police and prosecutors have video from many cameras. Each video will provide visuals from a particular point of view. Probably none of the cameras captured the event in its entirety, from start to finish.

If all the video is released, the public will see many parts of the incident from many different points of view. The video evidence will not be crystal clear or of high quality. Different people will draw different conclusions from all or  parts of the material. What an opportunity for confusion and misinterpretation of evidence.

Most people support “transparency.” But I think we need to give more thought to the most effective way to find the truth. Remember that parts of the video may appear — rightly or wrongly — to incriminate police officers, victims, or even bystanders.

Throughout American history, the acceptable process  for deciding truth, innocence and guilt has been a fair trial by a judge and a jury of peers.

We have a dilemma. Many people in America have lost confidence in the judicial system.  But are we confident that video evidence will enable the public to fairly bypass the judicial process?

Despite the above reservations, releasing the video would relieve some of the rightful anger in Charlotte and throughout America. It’s probably the prudent thing to do.

–John Hayden

 

 

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Half The People Arrested Monday Night Have Not Been Charged With Any Crime

Half of the 235 people arrested during disorder on the streets of Baltimore on Monday night have been released without being charged with a crime, The Baltimore Sun has reported. Read The Sun story here. Apparently, paperwork on many of the arrests could not be found. Continue reading

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Sun Is Shining On Baltimore Today; Trouble May Continue In Coming Days, Or Not

BALTIMORE SUN PHOTO

BALTIMORE SUN PHOTO

Baltimore Orioles-Chicago White Sox game is being played to an empty stadium in Camden Yards Wednesday afternoon. Game closed to public after trouble in the streets on Monday and Tuesday. For more breaking news, see BaltimoreSun.com

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Baltimore Police-Community Relations, Necessary Background

Anyone who isn’t familiar with Baltimore will need some background and perspective to even begin to understand the troubled story unfolding there. The protests and unrest in the city stem from the arrest and death in custody of Freddie Gray, who was buried Monday. But the underlying grievances have a long history.  Continue reading

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Baltimore Protests And Looting

Regarding Monday’s unrest in Baltimore, most of us should take time to think before we speak. I live in Maryland, but not in Baltimore. Let’s listen first to the voices of the residents and elected leaders of Baltimore.  Continue reading

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Knives For Sale On The Boardwalk

The local weekly newspaper, The Maryland Coast Dispatch, published a long interview with Ocean City Police Chief Ross Buzzuro, beginning on page 8 in the Aug. 30, 2013 edition. It’s well worth a read.

Chief Buzzuro’s comments on one particular issue touched a nerve with me:

“We talk about beer bongs, underage drinking, explicit T-shirts and there are still merchants that sell knives. Why does anyone need to sell knives on the Boardwalk? They are not Swiss Army knives by the way, just for clarification.”

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‘Back To Blood’ — Tom Wolfe On Men, Women, And Miami

John Hayden photo

John Hayden photo

Tom Wolfe’s tour of contemporary America continues in “Back To Blood.”

The Bonfire of the Vanities (film)

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Like Wolfe’s other blockbusters — The Right Stuff, Bonfire Of The Vanities, and A Man In Full  Back To Blood focuses on Men and Manhood in the big cities of modern America. Wolfe has  vividly portrayed New York City and Atlanta. This time, the setting is Miami.

In Back To Blood, Wolfe writes about Real Men doing Real Work for the Right Reasons. The heroes are policemen, followed closely by newspapermen. Not a single female police officer or reporter in sight. Not exactly a politically correct portrayal of contemporary America!

Nestor Camacho is a young Cuban cop, intelligent and without guile, self-effacing and polite, god-fearing, muscular. Continue reading

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News Media Disappoints In Reporting Connecticut Mass Murder (Plus 18 Comments)

Note: An interesting discussion — mostly about mental health issues — follows this brief post.

It’s nearly a week now since the tragic shooting and loss of innocent life in Connecticut. Like many, I’m hesitant to write about this most recent mass murder out of respect for the families, and because so much information is unknown.

Two observations stand out, however, regarding television news coverage:

First, a great deal of speculation has been aired about mental illness. Never before have the words autism and “Asperger’s” been spoken so often on television in such a short time. It’s probably misleading to even classify autism and Asperger’s as mental illnesses, at least not without clarification. They certainly should not be associated with conditions such as Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. I’d wager that many people are hearing about Asperger’s Syndrome for the first time, and half-baked information is apt to create an undeserved stigma for both autism and Asperger’s.  Continue reading

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