Justifiable reasonability, reasonable justifiability

Like I was saying…. Nothing wrong with prejudging.  Not really.  But facts are going to change as the ‘fog of war’ dissipates, and with Philando they did.

Cops say now, he wasn’t pulled over for a broken taillight.  He was pulled over because he matched a suspect from a robbery a couple days before.

Which is to say, the broken taillight explanation was just a little BS the officers were feeding to Philando and his girlfriend as they approached the car / asked for ID.  Such that Philando might have had a piece of red tape on one of his taillight lenses… that was kinda just a happy coincidence for the cops.  His taillights were operative.

That’s not the big thing though.  Big thing is, the cop’s lawyer and the conservative law and order crowd are retorting with this ‘suspect match’ like it’s supposed to be exculpatory to the police for the stop and then it all going over the chaos cliff.  That’s because the judicial evaluation of the officers here is going to be one that examines whether the police actions were ‘reasonable’, with their prosecutorial immunity extended to practices that are ‘reasonable’.

This is the way it’s been in the past, and this is the way it may end up in this case… that literal and figurative indictments of the police are blunted or turned away by this examination of whether they were doing their job ‘reasonably’.  We’re all supposed to understand, taking a look at what might be a robbery suspect is ‘reasonable’, huh?’

Well….  Such that young copper can really see anyone unambiguously in cars more than 50 feet away, he spots a very dark, reasonably young black man driving along.  Scanner tape indicates the cop fixed on Philando’s ‘wide set nose’ that matched the suspect’s.

“All he had to have was reasonable suspicion to pull him over,” attorney Thomas Kelly said of his client, Jeronimo Yanez.

You gotta be shitting me.  I mean, really.

I swear I’m not being hyperbolic or exaggerating.  That identification there is the qualitative equivalent of Irene Tusken picking out six black guys from the circus to take to the Duluth jail in the summer of 1920.  And yeah, they’re both the same things there with the end result.

Ya know, they’ll be a bit of justice that comes out of this.  We’ll get most of it if the civil settlement is say $10 million and the officer does like 4 years on a manslaughter conviction (it’s probably unreasonable to expect that he gets a life term…).

But the big justice arrives with a determination that a lot of police practices understood as reasonable are really not.

Lawyer douche talk

You got to give lawyers some pass on saying obnoxious things, that’s their job.  Cop’s lawyer is a local super-lawyer I believe, with cop malpractice being his specialty.

Lawyer says “This has nothing to do with race, and everything to do with the presence of a gun,” Kelly said (Strib story).

Lawyer says “St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez was reacting to “the presence of that gun and the display of that gun” when he opened fire on Philando Castile, Minneapolis attorney Thomas Kelly told the Associated Press. He declined to elaborate on how Castile displayed the weapon or what led up to the deadly traffic stop.

WE DON’T KNOW ALL THE FACTS…. of course.  Just putting that in caps because that represents something of a trope for the wisdom in making assumptions in evolving cases.

But, you read what there is to read about this, and it’s never been explicitly asserted that Philando’s gun ever came out of his pocket.  Would lawyer be lying / distorting then when he says this is a about display of gun re its intersection with notions of ‘reasonableness’ and officer shooting Mr. Castile?

Well he’s using ‘display’ as a verb, without this usage being dependent on Philando actually having produced the gun for all to see in plain sight.  Other thing being, you get back to that idea of ‘reasonableness’ again…. Cops have traditionally gotten a lot of leeway for mistakes that come from ‘reasonable’ assumptions.  Prosecutorial immunity for cop mistakes made ‘within reason’ is established court precedent, has been for quite a while.  So the suggestion here is, even if Philando wasn’t actually trying to ‘display’ the gun, that’s what the officer thought was happening, and that it was a reasonable thought. And then reasonable to shoot Philando, even if he hasn’t produced a weapon.

This is an explanation that definitely used to fly with review boards / county prosecutors / grand juries.  If it flys here, things haven’t changed.  If it doesn’t, things have.


2 thoughts on “Justifiable reasonability, reasonable justifiability

  1. pm1956

    You sound more and more reasonable all the time….

    No, seriously, I agree with you here. This “matching a robbery suspect” thing stinks. I understand the lawyer doing this. The problem is the law.

  2. Pingback: Philando:  The charges | Zingy Skyway Lunch

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