Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The long leg of the law

Click photo for video

If LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson can keep a felony conviction off his record, I think I've found a future profession for the young alleged curb-stomper.

Omaha cop.

It falls under
"If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." Become an Omaha cop, Jordan, and you can kick the s*** out of people, then get a "Get Out of Jail Free" card!

The beauty of America is that, in one place, you can have the city prosecutor making a similar argument for the Long Leg of the Law as defense attorneys made on behalf of felony battery suspects in another. Is this a great, morally relativistic country, or what?

Omaha World-Herald takes it from here:

A tape of an Omaha police arrest has raised questions about excessive force. But authorities say the tape doesn't depict the whole story — and a review by the city prosecutor ended with no charges against the officers.

The tape, shown Tuesday on public access TV, shows police using force while taking Robert A. Wagner, 35, into custody outside Creighton University Medical Center shortly after Wagner's cousin was shot and killed on May 29. At one point, a female officer kicks Wagner repeatedly as he lies on the ground.

But authorities note that the tape doesn't show what happened before the arrest. Wagner is accused of pushing one officer and punching another, said Omaha City Prosecutor Marty Conboy.

Wagner is charged with felony assault of an officer in connection with the incident. A pretrial hearing in the case was scheduled for Wednesday morning, but was postponed. Wagner declined to comment.

Conboy said the officers involved in the incident will not face criminal charges.

The tape shows a female officer kicking Wagner three times in the right shoulder or head area. Conboy said it also shows what looks like Wagner taking a swing as he enters into the view of the hospital's security camera.

"The problem with this video is you don't see everything that was going on before," Conboy said.

AND THE PROBLEM with the LSU bar-brawl videos is that none of them show the first punch, either. But the Baton Rouge and Omaha videos do show the one relevant thing -- a curb stomp of someone helpless on the ground.

A criminal-justice professor told Omaha's
KETV television that's all he needed to see:
A [University of Nebraska at Omaha] professor, known for his expertise in police matters, says what happened during an arrest caught on surveillance tape should never have happened.

The video comes from the parking lot of Creighton University Medical Center early on the morning of May 29. Police reports allege the man in the video, Robert Wagner, punched an officer off camera. On camera, nine officers surround Wagner, and while he is one the ground, one officer kicks near his head several times.

The Omaha police department took the surveillance to the city prosecutor who found no criminal wrongdoing and as of Wednesday night there was no complaint filed by the suspect.

Dr. Sam Walker, a UNO professor and an advocate for police accountability, said he was troubled when he saw the video.

“The initial reaction was obviously just shocked,” said Walker. “The female officer kicking the guy three times, she should be fired.”

Walker said there is no legitimate reason for any officer to do that.

City prosecutor Marty Conboy watched the video and said there is nothing criminal about it.

“Whether it's appropriate or not, I can't comment,” said Conboy. “Whether it's criminally intended assault, it does not appear to be gratuitous or something she does intentionally.”

“She didn't do it accidentally,” argued Walker. “She didn't stumble, so I think he was wrong on that.”
WHETHER it's football, a bar brawl or an arrest, there's one simple rule: You don't kick a man when he's down.

If you're too stupid -- or too gangsta -- to understand that, the criminal-justice system needs to kneecap you. But good. Right now.

That's because the police force has the same room for thugs as the football team at Wossamotta U. -- none.

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