|Officer Eric Parker|
Does a rogue judiciary have repercussions? It sure does. In this instance, it makes Alabama look like a slimy backwater -- the kind of place where a cop can use a leg sweep on a man with dark skin, whose "crime" apparently was walking down the sidewalk while not bothering a soul, and get away with it. Where two juries can deadlock along race and gender lines. leading U.S. District Judge Madeline Haikala to conclude that protecting Sureshbhai Patel's civil rights, and holding Officer Parker criminally accountable, was not worth the trouble.
Gee, and some people wonder why San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick might feel the need to take a stand against the kind of police brutality that has become a front-page staple over the past two years or so? With Parker returning to the force, and Patel's roots in India making this an international embarrassment for the United States, far more people -- not just NFL football players -- should be joining Kaepernick in protest.
In a final insult to the public, acting Madison police chief Jim Cooke cited Haikala's 92-page opinion as grounds for finding that Parker did not violate departmental policy. If you actually read Haikala's ruling and educate yourself about the relevant law -- and Cooke obviously did neither -- here's part of what you find:
(1) A recent study found that 97 percent of police officers in violence cases never face criminal charges -- and it's little wonder given Haikala's butchery of the Parker case;
(2) For the few cops who do face charges, judges like Haikala are likely to cut them favors;
(3) Haikala threw out the charges against Parker based on a case that does not come close to supporting her finding. That's the kind of thing judges get away with when the public isn't paying attention;
(4) Documents show that Parker lied about three key issues in the Patel case -- and still Haikala threw out the charges;
(5) A third jury would have had ample grounds to find Parker guilty;
(6) Alabama surely is a more enlightened place than it was 50 years ago, but it's hard to tell that from the Parker case. It makes the state smell of judicial corruption, juror racism, and flaming injustice for which "Bull" Connor once stood.
Of course, those characteristics hardly are limited to Alabama. Perhaps that's why a second-string quarterback in San Francisco felt the need to do something, even if certain "patriots" took offense at his decision not to stand for the national anthem.
Once cops have committed violence against a citizen, they tend to immediately go into cover-up mode. This usually takes the form of piling one lie on top of another. We've seen cops do it in Birmingham, Alabama, and Springfield, Missouri. Court records show that Eric Parker did it in Huntsville, Alabama. And now, we have the police union in Santa Clara, California, sending a letter stating that cops are threatening to bail out on their security positions at 49ers football games unless the team takes action to silence Kaepernick.
How many of these cops have stood up to admit that a frightening number of citizens have been the victims of unjustified police violence? I don't recall any officers showing such courage. How many cops spoke out and admitted that Eric Parker's actions against Sureshbhai Patel, caught on video, violated general police policy and likely constituted criminal behavior? The silence has been overwhelming. (See video at the end of this post.)
Eric Parker's return to police duty should help create a groundswell of outrage against a tin-eared police community that . . . well, has just been asking for major blow back. With the kind of arrogance cops have shown, no one should be surprised that assassins in Dallas and Baton Rouge took matters into their own hands.
I would love to be president of the San Francisco 49ers right now. I would tell the police union to take their letter and jam it up their asses, and I would tell them they do not need to bother resigning from their paid, on-the-side security jobs. They are fired, and they should not let the door -- the one with the 49ers insignia on it -- hit them on the butt on their way out.
Why is the Eric Parker case so disturbing? It's not just about rogue cops or corrupt judges; it's about both -- and it shows that our "justice system" is rotten at every level. Its members do a fine job of protecting each other, but they sure do not protect the public.