The peaceful (and sometimes unpeaceful) protests during the weekend of May 30 and May 31 surrounding the killing of George Floyd, reminded me why I became a criminal defense attorney.
While not all police officers are racists many are. Here is how I know first hand. In the early 1970’s I was an Assistant District Attorney working as a prosecutor in the Citywide Office of Special Narcotics in Manhattan. I was assigned to try a case involving a “sixty something” year old black man accused of selling a small quantity of cocaine to an undercover narcotics officer while i worked as a painter at a garden apartment in Brooklyn. I was suspicious about his guilty. All of the officers involved had identical stories without any deviations in their testimonies. I found this unusual. The defendant was convicted. After the jury verdict I joined the narcotics officers for a drink at a nearby “watering hole” frequented by prosecutors, defense attorneys and police alike. We sat at a small table and while drinking, the officers started boasting about how they “set up this N—— ” and that he deserved the harsh punishment he would receive under the narcotics laws in effect at the time. I reported this conduct to my superiors, wrote to the parole board after sentencing and waited. Nothing of substance happened. Not long after this event I left the Office of Special Narcotic and became a defense attorney. This was over 50 years ago and still resonates.
Follow up: In my blog dated February 27, 2020 I related the story of my client who has been denied visitation rights with his natural son based on the unfounded allegations leveled by his wife who claims that he sexually abused his step daughter. The step daughter has recanted any complaints against my client. The family court has been closed since March and my client has still not been able to see or visit with his son. I am anxiously awaiting for the family court to reopen so I can rectify this injustice
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