Monday, November 24, 2014

A lesson of Ferguson: public outcries have no place in our criminal justice system

Writing as someone who understood the jury's decision to acquit O.J. Simpson in the "trial of the century" -- the feelings of distrust of law enforcement on the part of the black community were eye-opening to many white Americans, and those feelings persist to this day -- I have no reason to assume that the grand jury in Ferguson failed to act in good faith in making its decision not to charge Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.

I also appreciate, and applaud, the comments of prosecutor Bob McCulloch, who said that decisions in the justice system should not be based on a “public outcry" or made "for political expediency.” That's exactly what this blog preaches. Black males are the most frequent victims of unwarranted public outcries (if you need examples, you can start here and here), but the same principles must be evenhandedly applied when white police officers are accused of crimes after shooting black males in self-defense. Public outcries have no place in our criminal justice system, and the grand jury is to be commended for not kowtowing to the impulse to appease the mob.