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.

SHOOTINGS, HOMICIDES, POLICE OFFICERS AND YOU (Part One)

Do you think that, if you are neither black nor a police officer, that the dangerously intensifying tensions and battles between police officers and people of color do not effect you?

I mean, not all the folks who seem be shooting at or being shot by police officers are folks of color. But the majority of the ones who mysteriously end up dead or injured sure seem to be.

Do you think that, the way things are going, you are not more and more likely to become a victim one way or another?

Let’s look at a few recent stories which reflect the current times.

Earlier this month, the Boston Herald presented a story about the spray-painted message, “Kill Cops” gracing a skate park in Tewksbury. Not surprisingly, Deputy Chief John Voto announced that the message was concerning in light of the police killings that have increased in numbers throughout the country.

On the other side of the coin, a more recent Boston Herald story tells us about a Cambridge police officer.

This officer was allegedly relieving himself on the side of a building in Revere with a few of his friends. This, by the way, is a crime that does get prosecuted in the Commonwealth. Not so long ago, it was enough to force a person to register as a sex offender with SORB.

Anyway, a non-police officer apparently had a problem with Officer Jonathan Vicente urinating on a building in which he worked. Officer Vicente had a not-so-law-and-order response to the complaint.

He beat the hell out of him.

Allegedly.

Officer Vicente was arraigned in Chelsea District Court on charges of assault and battery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and malicious destruction of property in connection with this set of activities, according to Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley’s office.

Apparently, he was not found on the scene because Officer Vicente is said to have fled the scene in a friend’s car. Unfortunately for the officer, the car was stopped a short time later. When approached by fellow law enforcement, Officer Vicente allegedly became belligerent with the Revere officers, yelling that his rights were being violated and that he was “on the job.”

He was then charged with disturbing the peace.

I guess some time went by for some strange reason before Officer Vicente showed up for his arraignment for the more serious, including felony, charges.

Which means he was not arrested for them like the rest of us would be…!

To go through the various stories of late involving the dangerous level of mistrust of law enforcementg together with a certain justifiable paranoia, if not simply racism, on the part of officers,  is impossible for someone who works for a living.  Suffice to say, unless you have been hiding underground, you have heard many of them.

For my part, I could tell you of horror stories in which I have been involved dealing with cases in my daily work as a criminal defense lawyer.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Law Enforcement Atmosphere And You

“Sam, you had said that this story is related to the previous few. How is that?”

It relates to the growing anger towards the absolute hypocrisy which is running our criminal justice system…especially on the streets.

If you look at it logically, can you really not expect these explosions of anger…and death?

I believe that most police officers take the job because they want to “do justice”. However, too many go beyond that and adopt the attitude that they are justice. When that happens , there are two types of justice. That which applies to law enforcement and that which applies to other people.

For a variety of reasons, the “other people” tend to have darker skin.

How does our system react? Mixed. Prosecutors often do not know what to do. I have had a prosecutor tell me to my face that, although he saw the office admit during cross-examination that he had falsified a report and beat the person he was arresting, that he will still “stand by my officer” in the case.

People are becoming more and more angry. Meanwhile, the police…all police…take their own lives in their hands when they hit the streets. They do not want to die. Thus, they become even more on edge when they know that folks are ready to attack them and that they are surrounded by a hostile populous.

Which came first?

Do we really care?

The harsher it gets, the more dangerous it is for everyone. Include you.

“Would you like to explain that?”

I sure would. In my next posting.

 

 

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