The repeated exoneration of allegedly racist cops by minority jurors and judges — from Ferguson and Staten Island to Cleveland and now Baltimore — seriously undermines the anti-cop movement started by Black Lives Matter and fueled by President Obama.
With half the Baltimore cops now acquitted in the death of Freddie Gray, a pattern has emerged where highly publicized cases against cops for racially motivated murder of black suspects have crumbled under the weight of court evidence.
It’s not to say these police officers made no procedural errors in their use of force, but they certainly did not commit the heinous civil-rights crimes the BLM movement accused them of committing. Even so, the movement continues to inspire fury against cops.
Baltimore police Lt. Brian Rice: A black judge Monday cleared the highest-ranking cop of manslaughter and other charges involved in the arrest of Gray, whose death while in police custody triggered days of anti-police rioting. The same jurist, Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams, had previously acquitted two other officers of all charges. A fourth case ended in a mistrial after a majority-black jury voted 11-1 for acquittal. With an 0-4 record, prosecutors may drop remaining charges.
Cleveland Police Officer Timothy Loehmann: In December, a grand jury refused to charge the patrolman for shooting a black youth. The tragic misunderstanding was supposed to be a slam-dunk case of another race-based police shooting.
But enhanced surveillance video made it “indisputably clear” that Tamir Rice — 12, but big for his age — approached the cop and reached for a pellet gun that was “indistinguishable” from a real gun. Loehmann repeatedly shouted, “Show me your hands,” but the boy refused to comply, brandishing the gun instead.
Charlotte, NC, Police Officer Randall Kerrick: Last August, a jury made up of several minorities could not agree that the North Carolina patrolman was guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of an unarmed black man, Jonathan Ferrell.
Even some black jurors argued for acquittal, believing Kerrick shot Ferrell in self-defense when Ferrell, a college football player under the influence, violently charged at the rookie cop, who was responding to a home-invasion report. Prosecutors decided not to retry Kerrick, and the city will pay him $200,000 in back pay and legal fees.