Monday, May 02, 2005

This is punishment?

When I read this article I was amazed at the imbalance between the "crime" and the punishment between these two men.
Relatives of Jason Hunt, a Prichard police officer fired this week after being accused of needlessly harassing a man and breaking his skull, said Friday that Hunt was only doing his job and did not deserve to be dismissed.
Earlier this week, Prichard Mayor Ron Davis said he decided to fire Jason Hunt, even though a Police Department internal review board recommended suspension.

The board found that Jason Hunt used excessive force and conduct unbecoming an officer during the incident on March 22 and suggested that he be suspended for 30 days without pay, Davis said. An investigation into the actions of other officers present at the incident is ongoing, officials said
So they recommended 30 days suspension for breaking a skull and conduct unbecoming an officer.

The story of what happened is this.
On March 22, Woodard was handcuffed and searched outside the Pride Stop and Save convenience store at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Street and Meaher Avenue, according to the lawsuit. Woodard has said he began asking police why they searched him and then was thrown to the ground.
Woodard was arrested on April 19 after he was stopped at a routine safety road block in Mobile and a warrant for his arrest was served. The charges against Woodard stem from his altercation with police on March 22, said Prichard city attorney Willie Huntley Jr.

The loitering charge was brought against Woodard because he was standing on March 22 in an area known for drug trafficking, Huntley said.

Woodard does not have any prior arrests on drug-related offenses or any other crimes, according to court records.
So a warrant for his arrest for standing in an areas known for drug trafficking.

Read that gain people. STANDING. Not selling, not using, not armed. Just standing.

So what happened the day he was caught standing is related as this.
Prichard officials contend that Woodard used objectionable language and challenged the officers to a fight. Woodard's attorney said his client did not want to fight the officers.

"He did say something to the effect that if they didn't have a badge and a gun then he would retaliate or defend himself and said he 'would be kicking your a--,'" Pitters said.

"But then the officer took off his badge and grabbed Mr. Woodard who refused to get into a fight. The officer picked him up and then body-slammed him," Pitters said.

But even if Woodard indeed used vulgar language, police should not have injured him, both Prichard officials and Pitters have said.
So he was at first standing, then he was mouthing, while cuffed, and that got him a slam down with resulting injuries, real or imagined.

Now this is what is getting me folks.
Action: "But then the officer took off his badge and grabbed Mr. Woodard who refused to get into a fight. The officer picked him up and then body-slammed him,"
punishment: 30 days suspension recommended. Instead got fired.

Action: "Standing"(they call it loitering)
Punishment: Loitering is a violation that carries a penalty of not more than $200 or 30 days in jail.

Action: disorderly conduct charge stems from Woodard's use of vulgar language and provocative behavior(he said things they did not like)
Punishment: Disorderly conduct is a Class C misdemeanor that carries a penalty of not more than $500 or six months in jail

Action: charge of resisting arrest was pressed because of the scuffle that ensued( trying not to get body slammed?)
Punishment: Resisting arrest is a Class B misdemeanor that carries a penalty of not more than $1,000 or three months in jail

Even if he ran his mouth the assault on him should result in criminal charges against the police, not the recommended 30 days suspension.

This reminds me of the book Animal Farm by Orwell. One of the rules for the animals was number 7
All animals are equal
But over time the pigs slowly changed it to read.
All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others
Well here we have a "More equal".

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