Tuesday, November 18, 2014

St. Louis Grand Jury Will Not Hand Up An Indictment Against Ferguson Police Officer in the Killing of Michael Brown But Outrage Should Be Directed On Murder of Kajieme Powell

As a long time (26 years) criminal defense attorney, based upon the information I have gleaned from the media, which if substantially correct, I fully expect that the St. Louis County, Missouri grand jury will not hand up an indictment in the killing of Michael Brown by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson.  I say this not out of any allegiance to law enforcement or along racial lines, quite to the contrary I am a harsh critic of law enforcement, have established groundbreaking precedent on police liability and despise bullys, bigots and cowards with every fiber of my being.  But I also acknowledge the police have an extremely difficult job that often does not pay enough to attract the caliber of human being whom we entrust with discretion to use deadly force.  From what I know of the facts of the Michael Brown case and the lack of objective evidence as to the events leading up to Michael's death, sadly the fair and correct decision may in fact be not to indict.  The fact of the matter is though, until this process is completely over, we as the public simply do not know.

Rather than focusing our outrage over this tragedy I strongly suggest that the U.S. Justice Department look into another St. Louis area Police shooting that is not by any stretch of the imagination a close call:  The cowardly murder of Kajieme Powell.  I know that is strong language and I don't use it lightly. 

Please watch the following cell phone video and ask yourself:  "If this was a white young man would the police have backed off, used tasers or simply shut their squad door rather than execute a mentally ill young man of color?"  Further ask yourself "why would the officers handcuff a dead body?"

May God Bless and give strength to the families of Michael Brown and Kajieme Powell and the numerous other persons of color betrayed and killed by those sworn to protect and serve. 

We need to have a serious discussion in this country over the rules of engagement and use of deadly force by law enforcement.  At a minimum we should have a minimum age of thirty years of age to be a law enforcement officer entrusted with the discretion to use deadly force so they have some life experience with which they can make reason of a situation without being so quick to escalate to lethal force.

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