June 26, 2020. In this episode of Keeping the Peace on the Law & Crime Network, Bob Bianchi discusses recent developments around the nation involving police officers and their interactions with people of color.
We open with the story of Wilmington, NC police officers being fired after an investigation into patrol car video depicting the officers’ racially fueled hate speech. Special guests Gene Rossi and Brian Watkins join Bianchi in the discussion of this story. Of course, the actions and words of these officers make any defense attorney in Wilmington wonder if their cases could be reopened or retried. As the panel discusses, these officers being so open with their biases against black people makes it clear that the officers’ testimony against past black defendants cannot be trusted.
Moving on to the case of a New York officer using a now illegal chokehold on a black man, the panel discusses the possible reasons why we continue to see officers using poor judgment. Rossi believes that training and improper prosecuting techniques are the root of the problem. From a defense attorney’s perspective, Watkins points out that the officer will have a difficult time pointing to any kind of legitimate reason for using the improper chokehold.
We also discuss the newest developments in the case of Elijah McClain, a Colorado man who was killed by police officers after having committed no crime. A special prosecutor has been assigned to the case of Elijah’s death. In this case, it is difficult to place a plausible defense in place for the officers involved as they clearly used excessive force. It will be interesting to see if the, “He went for my gun” statement by an officer involved holds weight in this case.
In the case of Breonna Taylor, an innocent black woman who was shot and killed in her own home in Kentucky, the panel discusses the likelihood of the officers being charged. As sad as this situation is, the panel sees that legally there is not a good chance of the officers being charged as they did have a warrant and did receive gunfire from the residents.