Sunday, March 1, 2015

two stories of witnesses protecting the bad guy

Two interesting stories about witnesses to a crime.

In the first story, a young man was murdered and no witnesses are coming forward with information.
“Detectives are not receiving much, if any, cooperation or true and accurate information from neighbors and subjects they believe, through their investigation, to be witnesses,” Sgt. Chris Snyder wrote in a news release Thursday, Jan. 8.
Snyder urges anyone with information to come forward. 
It must be frustrating to know there are witnesses who could help to solve a murder but that none of them are willing to help find the killer.

The second story, from Radley Balko, tells of a cell phone video serving as a witness, saving a man from a conviction.
In order to help out his family and earn a quick $50, [Douglas] Dendinger agreed to act as a process server, giving a brutality lawsuit filed by his nephew to Chad Cassard as the former Bogalusa police officer exited the Washington Parish Courthouse. 
The handoff went smoothly, but Dendinger said the reaction from Cassard, and a group of officers and attorneys clustered around him, turned his life upside down.
That group of officers and attorneys did not react well to Dendinger serving the papers. Balko says:
He was not only arrested, he was also charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor. A prior drug charge on his record meant he was potentially looking at decades in prison. Seven witnesses backed up the police account that Dendinger had assaulted Cassard.
Seven witnesses to the crime of false reporting. 

A cell phone video of Dendinger handing the papers to Cassard proved that all seven witnesses lied.

Balko:
But here’s my question: Why aren’t the seven witnesses to Dendinger’s nonexistent assault on Cassard already facing felony charges? Why are all but one of the cops who filed false reports still wearing badges and collecting paychecks? Why aren’t the attorneys who filed false reports facing disbarment? Dendinger’s prosecutors both filed false reports, then prosecuted Dendinger based on the reports they knew were false. They should be looking for new careers — after they get out of jail.
The connection between the two stories? In both, the bad guy is protected by his community.

When cops protect bad cops, and often with no consequences for doing so, why are we surprised when the broader community does the same?

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