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by Peter Moskos

May 21, 2008

Meanwhile, in the NYPD

The brass is throwing the book at the officers involved in the Sean Bell shooting.

What's so unsatisfying about this, is that such discipline makes cops paranoid, and for good reason. What's the moral? For police, it's that if the department wants to get you (if Al Sharpton shouts loud enough), they will. Obviously the order had been given that heads must roll. But at the same time the anti-police public won't be satisfied. Anything less than jail, being fired, and perhaps a public flogging in considered a slap on the wrist.

The New York Times reports:
If the charges, known as administrative charges, are upheld, the officers could face discipline ranging from loss of pay to retraining to firing. But the internal investigation has been suspended as federal prosecutors weigh civil rights charges in the case.

If you think 31 bullets was obsessive, go for that guy. Clearly, as I have said, mistakes were made. Do I think police were criminally guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. No. Do I think punishable things may have been done. Yes.

But to charge someone with "failing to thoroughly process the crime scene"? That's bullshit. Don't go after the guys who showed up after the bullets stopped flying. The idea of crime-scene integrity is a myth. You try and preserve a crime scene with multiple shooting victims. I have. It's not easy. The O.J. trial set the bar too high.

CSI it's not. Police and paramedics have jobs to do and lives to save. Do you order your commanding officer to stay out of the scene? People and cars and belonging are searched. Somebody steps on some blood or kicks a shell casing. I know I have. And you know what, it doesn't really matter. It's policing. Policing in the real world with real people. Get real.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Same thing is happening in Spokane now: