What, No Jail for Firing at Police?

Posted: December 23, 2007 in Social Justice

You definitely don’t want to draw any conclusions about this story after reading only the headline No Jail for Firing at Police. And yet the story itself leaves a big question. First, the story can be found at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22366709/

I had to reread this with great care to see if I missed something because at the end the man who fired at police, a Mr. Toro, made the statement that he learned not to “argue with other drivers anymore.” This opens up a big gap in the story. What was the initial confrontation about? I believe this makes all the difference between the possibility that the undercover cops were instigating the confrontation by their initiating it and the possibility the police made a comment that was misconstrued by Toro and led to his overreaction. If it is true as the article says, the police fired first. It continues to relate how, after a high speed chase, Toro took out his gun and shot out the tires of the SUV in an honest effort to defend himself from a threat that any reasonable person would perceive, then there shouldn’t have been any conviction. What is the point of carrying a concealed weapon if it can’t be used to defend oneself?

But, the story falls short in revealing these essential details. It also doesn’t say whether the police said they identified themselves. If they did they weren’t believed by the judge who used Toro’s statement that he had no way of knowing the people who fired at him were police to levy the suspended sentence.

I am reminded of the scene in one of my favorite movies, “Hero”, with Dustin Hoffman, Geena Davis, and Andy Garcia. Geena Davis was giving a speech in front of an audience of journalists after receiving an award for excellence in journalism. She took an onion and began pealing off layers as she spoke about a news story creating a metaphor for going deeper and deeper into a news story. The onion caused tears in her eyes; adding to the drama. But the important message was how a news story without the necessary depth leaves the reader wanting more details.

I have witnessed how the justice system can be skewed; and I’ve read how it goes astray in a major way in the series of articles that can still be read under The Power to Harm. That story was covered by enough independent sources to give the series credibility, even though it is rather incredible in the sense that it is hard to believe. So, if the series of events in both cases are true, then it is possible there was another travesty of justice in this case.


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