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.

ALLEGED COP KILLER IS ARRAIGNED IN YARMOUTH

The reports are still coming in from Yarmouth. The Boston Herald tells us about the Yarmouth K-9 police officer who was fatally shot and dog wounded. The shots allegedly came from a suspect who was hiding in the attic of a Marstons Mills home as officers searched the house yesterday afternoon, police said.

K-9 officer Sean Gannon, 32, later died at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis.

The suspect, later identified as Thomas Latanowich, 29, and hereinafter, the “Defendant”, remained barricaded in the house for several hours in the Barnstable village as SWAT teams ringed the house. The Defendant was later taken into custody and was  arraigned on a murder charge today in Barnstable District Court.

The Defendant pleaded not guilty to murder and was held without bail. His next hearing will be June 26.

The court room was filled during the arraignment with police officers from Yarmouth and Barnstable Police Departments.

The Defendant entered the court with his head down. He made no

eye contact with anyone in the court.

Yarmouth Police Chief Frank Frederickson called Gannon a “remarkable young man.” “We refer to him as the Tom Brady of the Yarmouth Police Department and he’s gone. He died doing what he loved…And we have a devastated community, family and police department,”

Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe said that Gannon, 32, was shot attempting to deliver a warrant for a probation violation.

“His last sentence from us was a 4 to 5 state prison for a variety of gun charges,” O’Keefe said of the Defendant. “He had a probationary sentence after that. The reason that there was an outstanding warrant for him was that he violated his probation, which was transferred from the Barnstable Superior Court up to Middlesex County and the Middlesex Superior Court issued the warrant that was the subject of yesterday’s apprehension.”

Peter Shaughnessy, principal of Bishop Stang High School in Dartmouth, said that Gannon had graduated from the school in 2003. “The Gannons are wonderful, wonderful people, of faith and service, devoted to making our community here at Stang and on the South Coast,” Shaughnessy said. “We’ll definitely be always remembering his sacrifice and his service here.”

Shaughnessy also said that the school will create a memorial for Gannon on school grounds.

Gannon’s dog, Nero, was also shot. Dennis Veterinary Hospital posted on Facebook that Nero was shot in the face and neck but that has been stabilized and faces surgery Friday.

“Sean was a talented and dedicated police officer who excelled during his three years at the College, said Stonehill spokesperson Martin McGovern. “His colleagues and friends in the Stonehill College Police Department are heartbroken by his death as is everyone in the Stonehill community who knew him. He has many friends on campus and their hearts go out to his family and his colleagues in the Yarmouth Police Department.”

“Around 3:30, a local police officer (was) shot during a warrant service at 109 Blueberry Lane, Barnstable,” state police spokesman David Procopio told the Herald in an email last night.

Police, including the K-9 team, had gone to the house to arrest the Defendant, who was wanted on a prior charge and was considered dangerous.

Attorney Sam’s Take On The Other Side Of Criminal Justice Reality

Earlier this week, I wrote about realities of the criminal justice system from the perspective of civilians.

Today’s posting reflects a painful side from the reality on the other side. Law enforcement’s side.

It is easy for some folks to simply adopt the conclusion that police officers are not human beings with families. That they are simply soldiers of the government looking to ruin people’s lives.   Such views are as false as the generalizations that people of certain races are basically violent or that someone who is arrested for something is going to typically go out and kill someone if they are given a break.

“Well, isn’t that what happened here, Sam?”

If you take a look at this guy’s CORI…no. He has a long one. He has served time. You cannot simply lock someone up forever because of a belief of what they might do. He is likely now to face additional charges which will increase the chances that he will be in custody for the rest of his days.

However, this tragedy is something that police officers live with day in and day out. Frankly, it does not matter if they are “good” cops or “bad” cops, nice or mean, white or of color. They wear the uniform of the blue and that, by definition, makes them a target.

It is a reality worth remembering, folks. For those of you out there with compassion and are fair thinkers…keep it in mind for the obvious reasons. For the rest of you, keep it in mind because it may save your life and the lives of others.

While it is sometimes overdone, there is a reason why an officer has to show alittle attitude and insist on not losing control of a situation. It is because something like this can happen at any time…any place.

Yes, being a police officer is a job. It is a risky job. Simply taking the position that the police officer is always your enemy is unfair and factually wrong.

There are nuances, as there are in most areas of life. That is why you want an experienced attorney to guide you through the system.

But today’s posting is not about us.

In a day where celebrities and sports players are considered heroes, it is a day to remember people like Sean Gannon. A real hero from all accounts. Rest in peace.

In the meantime, dear reader, have a great, safe and law-abiding weekend!

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