Friday, April 07, 2006

A Single System of Justice (via DIA)

A report from Albany from (who else) Democracy in Albany below. A little context. Today's Times Union reports: "Assault charges will be filed next week against a city police officer who was suspended last month for allegedly roughing up a retired dentist in a station-house garage, according to law enforcement sources."
When David Soares campaigned for DA he said he would put an end to the old way of doing things where if you were connected, you were innocent. It begins:
"People are going to be prosecuted under one system regardless of title," Soares said. "That kind of influence will no longer have any kind of sway in this administration."
Seems like the kind of thing law abiding citizens should support.
The incident triggered an investigation after a surveillance video showed the man's head hitting the ground as the officer dragged the handcuffed man out of a police van by his ankles, officials said.
I haven't seen the video, but this doesn't sound good.
...the decision to file a misdemeanor assault charge against Geraci was made by the district attorney's office, according to sources close to the case. It underscores an apparent power struggle unfolding between prosecutors and the Police Department, which usually makes decisions about whether to charge its officers with a crime.
Can anyone else see the inherent problems with "self policing"? Well, anyone who isn't in the APD.
Officer Christian M. Mesley, president of the Albany Police Officers Union, said he's been on the force 14 years and cannot recall another instance, outside of McKenna and Bonanni, where an officer was charged with assault. He also said he's disconcerted that the decision to bring charges is being made by the district attorney.

"I'm not happy about it but there's nothing I can do about it," he said.
If you want to see the problems with "self policing" make sure to check out last year's article in the Metroland on the many incidents we've had at the APD and the almost complete lack of any repercussions for the behavior.
Helping elect David Soares was one of the more remarkable achievements in the WFP's history. It's always good to see his office following through on its commitment to equal justice for all.

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