The reaction to rogue cops creates ever-more dangerous conditions
Since the 1960s, the unquestioned trend in American law has been towards restraining police power. Perhaps most emblematic of this is the well-known Miranda warning, resulting from the case of U.S. v. Miranda (1966).
Along with this evolution has been a blizzard of court decisions and agency regulations limiting police use of force. In New York, for instance, there are (literally) four stages of inquiry governing how and when a cop can approach and interact with a suspect. And violating any aspect of them can be construed as a civil rights violation.
No wonder officers are reticent to engage.
The result of all this? Headlines re: what occurred in Brooklyn today:
(source: NYPD booking photo)
So: a career criminal and certified lunatic goes on a vehicle rampage, killing at least one. But the rules of engagement are so byzantine… it goes on for 30 minutes.
Want to know what cops struggling to stay within the rules-of-engagement looks like?
Watch this. To the end.
For every awful event like George Floyd or Tyre Nichols, there are thousands of encounters every day where police UNDER-react.
But that doesn’t sell newspapers, garner clicks — or gain you status on campus.
Speaking of Campus….
At this writing, the perp from the Michigan State campus shootings has been found dead.
We currently have no idea of the shooter’s motives or identity. But I feel compelled to flag a piece I wrote some months ago, which appeared on the Fox News website:
Since I wrote that, incidents seem only to have increased.
Colleges these days are ground zero for the battle between wokeism and reality. As “progressive” professors and students increasingly advocate for less policing… conditions in our cities and colleges have only gotten progressively worse.
Read the piece if you want the grim truth. You won’t get it from the colleges, that’s for sure.
So: Will he take the stand?
The big question remains: Will Alex Murdaugh testify in his own defense?
(source: Orange County Dept. of Corrections)
As the southern gothic that is his trial continues, I would opine that it becomes more likely. Slowly but surely, prosecutor Creighton Waters has been tightening the net. Some highlights:
The Snapchat video that shows Murdaugh wearing different clothing from what he was wearing an hour later, when the police arrived;
The video on Paul’s phone — taken about three minutes before Paul’s killing— that multiple witnesses testified featured Alex’s voice. This despite Alex claiming he was nowhere near the scene at the time;
Alex claiming to have retrieved the shotgun from the house, for his own protection. Shells from that gun have been shown to be very similar to the shells found near Paul’s body;
Ballistics showing a close match between the (missing) gun and the ammo used to kill Maggie, and older ammo found scattered around the shooting range;
The introduction of the motive evidence, revealing that the very day of the murders Alex was confronted by his law firm about financial misdeeds;
The police body camera footage that shows Alex ostentatiously, repeatedly pointing to Paul’s previous boating accident as the key to the crime;
The gunshot residue found in Alex’s car;
… and so on.
And recall: We have yet to see his surviving son (Buster) testify — nor Alex’s two brothers. All three are reportedly prosecution witnesses (!).
So is Curtis Smith, who Alex reportedly paid to shoot him, in a botched assassination plot apparently devised by Alex to garner insurance money for Buster.
In my opinion, the motive evidence is really the key. Murdaugh has been shown to be, in his personal life, a liar. The impression will stick; juries are funny that way. Once a liar, always a liar.
Of course, the defense hasn’t put their case on yet. And defense attorney Dick Harpootlian has scored some points by demonstrating that Alex had moments in which he appeared a loving husband and father.
Harpootlian also marked up the police a bit, on their handling of the crime scene. Raising the trampling of footprint evidence in the dirt floor of the kennel (where the murders occurred) was particularly effective.
But right now, the jury sees an Alex Murdaugh who lied in his personal life, appears to have lied about his whereabouts on the night in question, was desperate for money, and who pointedly tried to point the police towards an incident from his dead son’s life.
That’s a lot to overcome.
If I had to make the call as his defense attorney — and thankfully I don’t! — I think at this point, I would advise him to get up there and roll the dice.
Either way, with the prosecution expected to wrap this week… there’s plenty more drama to come.
Give Him What He Wants
In 2017, your narrator was receiving a briefing from some vendors who had traveled a long way when my phone wouldn’t stop going off. Breaking a personal rule, I finally made apologies and answered — to be told by a subordinate that we’d had a confirmed terrorist attack along Manhattan’s Westside Highway.
The perp is today far from a household name. Good. Because he undoubtedly wants to be. So let’s not give him that.
He had initially planned to attack New York’s Halloween parade, but was dissuaded by the heavy police detail that was in place. He instead chose to mow down 19 innocents, killing eight of them.
I won’t go into detail of the scene. I will say only that it reminded me — as nothing had since 9/11 — why I pointed my career towards counter terrorism.
As of today, the perpetrator is convicted, and the death penalty portion of the case is underway. Death, as per my understanding, is also something he wanted.
It’s something I hope we can oblige this utter loser with.
And finally… We end with a nice shot of the Freedom Tower, taken by a friend of the Ops Desk from roughly the same location as the Westside Highway attacks:
(photo courtesy of Sam E. Antar)
A perfect outro.
Until next time… stay safe.