Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

BROCKTON BOY IS SHOT IN DORCHESTER. POLICE DECRY “NO SNITCHING” CODE

Ian tells me that he was listening to NPR this morning during his travels when an interesting point was made regarding the ongoing investigation into the recent shooting of a 7-year-old Brockton boy in Dorchester. You can also read about it in the Boston Globe.

Although the young boy has been identified in the media, we will simply refer to him as the “Victim”… a word I seldom use, but I imagine there is no doubt of it in this case.

The Victim is still alive and is in the hospital. He is described as being in good condition.

Police Superintendent in Chief William G. Gross said witnesses described the shooter as a light-skinned man between the ages of approximately 17 and 20 who wore a red hoodie and tan pants, and who fled on foot.

Police are investigating a possible motive for the shooting, and officers do not know if the assailant knew either victim, Gross said. He also said, “I don’t think the 7-year-old was the intended target.”

Nobody has been arrested for the shooting yet. In fact, the police are turning toward the public for help.

Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call the Police Department’s anonymous tipline 800-494-TIPS or text the word ‘TIP’ to CRIME [27463].

Commissioner William Evans has also called on the public to come forward with any information on the incident, which took place near 296 Bowdoin Street. He released the statement:

I hope anyone with information that could help this investigation feels an obligation to share that information. The 7 year-old boy [the Victim] injured in this incident deserves as much. He didn’t do anything wrong. He was simply riding his bike to the store when the suspect in this case fired the shot that could’ve killed him. Our detectives are working around the clock to identify the individual responsible but we need the community’s help. If you have information, holding onto it only helps the suspect. Every little bit of information matters. And the person who shot Divan needs to be held unaccountable.

Gross went further to ask the public to reject the “no snitching” code of conduct and contact police with any information on the shooter’s whereabouts.

“Our 7-year-olds should be able to ride down the street,” Gross said. “He shot a 7-year-old kid. [The public] should turn him in.”

On the bright side, Gross did take the opportunity to congratulate himself and his department in their efforts to combat violence. For example, he explained that
Boston police have taken 234 guns off the streets this year, after removing just over 1,000 firearms in 2014.

Well, the police are doing their jobs, I suppose. Must be the fault of the community who does not want to “rat each other out”, right?

Think again.

    Attorney Sam’s Take On Stonewalling Both On The Streets And On The Force

I did not hear the story on Boston’s NPR channel WBUR that Ian did. It had to do with the problem of what Mr. Gross called the “no snitching” code of conduct.

He should be well aware of that code being both someone who encounters it at work, whether he is on the street or in the office.

You see, the infamous “thin blue line” is as much an example of that as is what is found on the streets. The citizenry follows such a directive not to help the police and turn in some neighborhood trouble maker while the police do what can be done to protect the trouble maker in blue.

It is but one of the reasons I mentioned weeks ago that, perhaps, it is fitting that our criminal justice system is full of hypocrisy. While the police may wish to be above a “no snitch” policy, they abide by one just as bad.

“Well, wait Sam. Isn’t that a bit unfair? I mean, at least the police have an Internal Affairs Department to investigate allegations against police officers. Do the streets?”

No. But then, street folk are not given badges, guns and other weapons. Street folk are not given tremendous benefits of the doubt with their testimony despite how many times they have been caught in lies. Street folk are not entrusted with our lives and property.

I have been in the criminal justice system in two states now since 1985. Both sides. I have encountered the “no snitch” policy on both sides of the law. In fact I have one which involves an alleged investigation by Internal Affairs with the State Police.

You may be hearing more about this one as time goes by.

In the meantime, though, I agree that we have a lot of problems between communities and the police. Unfortunately, when we live in an urban reality where police officers (to various degrees) cannot be trusted when it comes to the truth, one wonders why the citizenry would trust them when they (civilians) are asked to put their safety on the line.

“Sam, not all police officers are dishonest!”

That is absolutely right. But, then, neither are all citizen civilians.

Maybe alittle real and honest clean up both on the streets and in the police departments are necessary.

In the meantime, should you have information and wish to do the right thing and come forward, do not be afraid to take an experienced criminal defense attorney in with you to make sure that your rights are protected even though you did nothing wrong.

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