Tuesday, November 18, 2008
What's with this perp walk stuff?
From reading some of the comments in the Sun's recent article on the bail review for the alleged Harris killers, poor Buz realized that he was not alone in finding the media-enhanced "perp walk" done to the accused a little unseemly.
Of course, your consultant was delighted in the 2 arrests, but not in the immediate aftermath of perp walk.
It was an especially disappointing end point in an investigation during which the Commissioner used words like "thoughtful" and "professional" in stating how the investigation was proceeding. I know they were under a lot of pressure to solve the case by members of the council and the Harris family. But apparently, certain members of the department[or was it City Hall] conjured up this dog-and-pony show by alerting the media that they were captured and going to be brought thru the front door. Suspects are usually brought in thru the back garage.
Buz has a couple of ideas which members of the Command staff might have instigated this--maybe. And he has always been uncomfortable with perp walks. Suppose the person gets off for some reason. Can they sue for intentional infliction of emotional distress? Too bad they didn't do a perp walk on the guy who texted: "I killed two people today, and one of them was a woman." I least we would have known what that clown looked like. And I am glad they didn't perp walk the folks who were arrested and some tased on the night of Obama's election.
But seriously, a thoughtful person should resist these things: there's a presumption of innocence in this country, last I checked (unless you're at Guantanamo).
Apparently, some members of the department are not aware that there is a strong undercurrent in this city that the Harris murder was given significant more attention, resources, and determination than hardly any other murders get. And only the "connected" have the police on their side.
Lights and sirens? How far? From the arrest scene? from 29th Street? Or were they just waiting around the corner for the show to begin? Even if they were going to have a perp walk, why didn't they just put them in the wagon and quietly drive down there obeying all traffic regulations? Anyone aware of how many auto accidents our police have? And how an emergency vehicle approaching can cause drivers to do abrupt things, including slamming on the brakes and getting creamed in the rear. And not to mention the ratcheting up of tension and stress in the city by unnecessary sirens--we have plenty, thanks.
If the intention was to have good PR, it was a disaster. The same thing could have been accomplished with another press announcement. And, remember, only one of the three was the killer; but the parade left these two bitter and nastier than they were. And the arrest is only the beginning: the third suspect is still out there, and the case has to still go to trial. And the defense has some negotiating advantages here.
The curmudgeon has spoken!