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.

MASSACHUSETTS SHOOTINGS, HOMICIDES, POLICE CAMS AND YOU (Part Two)

Well, last week was supposed to house “the day”. Police Body Cam Day. Certain Boston Police Officers were to be dragged, apparently screaming and kicking, into the controversial body-cam pilot program.

As you may recall, this was going to be a voluntary selection. To sweeten the experience, the Department even offered a sizable financial bonus to said volunteers.

Not enough though.

Despite expectations that the blue-clad folks who claim to always act according to the great trust we place on them…no such volunteers showed up, according to the Boston Herald.

You might find this somewhat surprising. After all, the police and prosecutors often take the position that they cannot understand why folks would be afraid to be videotaped in the outside world…unless they are doing something wrong. Similarly, they cannot comprehend why one would not run to the police if they are the victim of a crime (as in the “first reporter is the victim” scenario we have discussed).

They regularly intimate to civilians that, if they feel they cannot simply be candid, and need unnecessary and evil creatures like defense attorneys present, then they must have something to hide.

After all, of course, as one attorney who regularly represents officers tells us, “Officers usually do the right thing, so they should get it on film.”

Sounds reasonable enough.

But.

In this situation, it seems that there are many “buts”, including a concern on the part of some police unions, according to media outlets like the Boston Herald . They now apparently fear that, when reviewing the data from the body cameras, there might be unfairness involved. Perhaps the department will not stand behind their officers. That perhaps race could have something to do with such judgments.

It seems odd to hear such arguments from police officers who are always saying that there is no racism problem among the members of the force (aside for a sometimes blindish loyalty to the color blue).

Funny too, by the way, how this story disappeared as last week ended.

Attorney Sam’s Take On The Reality That So Many Of Us Already Know

“What is the point of all this, Sam?”

Events  over several years have brought us to a place where there is a palpable mistrust and antagonism between law enforcement and much of the population. It tends to bubble over especially when there is such a confrontation between police officers and certain civilians.

In more instances than you know (because they are not in the press), our criminal justice system almost blindly assumes that law enforcement testimony is synonymous with “the way, the light and the truth”.  Consider it almost a Newer Testament

So when we have yet another case of a police officer shooting a black man, it is not surprising to me that there is public unrest until it is established that said black man actually had a gun at the very least. Next, of course, is that annoying question of whether he was about to use that gun.

Of course, that brings us to the nub of the issue, doesn’t it? The officer sees that the supposed “perp” has a weapon. The surrounding circumstance is hostile for the officer given the folks likely to be around the scene (including his presumed prisoner-to-be). For that potential defendant, he is facing armed law enforcement with reason to fear that he is about to die.

Am I being unfair here, one way or another?

Please keep in mind that I have dealt with such cases both in Massachusetts and New York.  From both sides in both states.  While there seems to be more of a distrust of the police in New York than in the Commonwealth, the problem exists in both.

Still doubt that it is that clear?  Ok.  Tune in to the end of this story tomorrow. I promise!

In the meantime, allow me a moment to notify you of, and thank, the good people at www.Expertise.com for some very kind words indicating that I am one of the top criminal defense attorneys in the Commonwealth.

Maybe that explains why my postings do not come on a daily basis anymore….?

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