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Posts Tagged ‘RIOTING’

THE TRUTH–AND THE DIRT–WILL OUT

In Bureaucracy, History, Law Enforcement, Social commentary on August 12, 2015 at 1:31 pm

On April 23, the family of teen thug Michael Brown filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Ferguson, Missouri.

Brown, 18, was shot by a Ferguson police officer on August 9, 2014.  Brown was unarmed, but the officer–Darren Wilson, who has since left the police department–claimed self-defense.  According to him, Brown tried to seize his weapon.

The lawsuit claims that:

  • Brown, 18, was unarmed and walking in the street with a friend when Wilson told them to get on the sidewalk.
  • Wilson said: “Get the [expletive] out of the street.”
  • Without the “unnecessary and unwarranted profane language,” the encounter would have been “uneventful.”

Attorneys for Brown’s parents promised the case would reveal new forensic evidence and raise doubts about the police version of events. Some of that evidence, they said, had been overlooked in previous investigations.

Seal of the Ferguson Police Department

If it comes to trial, the lawsuit could force a full review of all the evidence in the shooting and bring key witnesses to be questioned in open court.

Civil cases generally require a lower standard of proof than criminal cases. Jurors must base their decision on a preponderance of evidence, not proof beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the standard needed to convict in a criminal trial.

The reason for this is that, in a criminal trial, the freedom of the accused is at stake. In a civil trial, only money is.

The lawsuit could prove embarrassing to the Ferguson Police Department, which has already been heavily criticized in a Justice Department investigation.

The report of those findings, released on March 4, stated:

“The Justice Department found that the Ferguson Police Department (FPD) engaged in a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the First, Fourth, and 14th Amendments of the Constitution….

Seal of the U.S. Department of Justice

“Our investigation showed that Ferguson police officers routinely violate the Fourth Amendment in stopping people without reasonable suspicion, arresting them without probable cause, and using unreasonable force against them….”

Federal investigators found that the FPD had a pattern or practice of:

  • Conducting stops without reasonable suspicion and arrests without probable cause in violation of the Fourth Amendment;
  • Interfering with the right to free expression in violation of the First Amendment; and
  • Using unreasonable force in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Click here: Justice Department Announces Findings of Two Civil Rights Investigations in Ferguson, Missouri | OPA | Department

So there will be many opportunities for the Brown family to reveal highly damaging truths about the FPD.

But the trial promises to be highly embarrassing for the Brown family as well.

Consider the following:

Michael Brown (left) roughing up a store owner

Lesley Mcspadden

Louis Head calls for arson in Ferguson

No doubt the Ferguson police will be working overtime to turn up even more embarrassing truths–or at least charges–against the Brown family.

In the end, the outcome of the lawsuit may well turn on who can dig up more dirt on whom.

HONORING SAINT MICHAEL THE THUG

In History, Law Enforcement, Social commentary on August 11, 2015 at 12:39 am

In the last moments of his life, Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black in Ferguson, Missouri, robbed a grocery store.  Then he slugged it out with a white police officer.

The second action proved a fatal mistake–with Brown being shot dead by that officer, Darren Wilson, on August 9, 2014.

During a subsequent grand jury investigation of the shooting, Wilson testified that:

  • Brown reached for Wilson’s pistol.
  • A struggle for the gun followed.
  • Fearing for his life, Wilson fired two shots, striking Brown.
  • Brown fled, and Wilson pursued him.
  • Brown turned and charged Wilson.
  • The officer fired several more shots, kiling Brown.

According to the Ferguson County Medical Examiner, the physical evidence supports Wilson’s testimony.

Related image

Darren Wilson

The physical evidence in the Michael Brown case supported the officer [updated with DNA evidence] – The Washington Post

On the night of Brown’s shooting, blacks–who make up 67.4% of the Ferguson population–found an appropriate way to honor a dead thug. They erupted in rioting, looting and arson.

Their victimized stores were not responsible for Brown’s killing. And most of their owners were blacks–not white police officers. But unarmed store owners were more tempting targets than armed police.

And gorcery, electronics and liquor stores offered a treasury of goodies not found at police stations.

A state of emergency was declared.

On August 9, 2015, Ferguson blacks observed the one-year “anniversary” of Brown’s shooting the same way–with more rioting, looting and arson.

Once again, a state of emergency was declared by Missouri authorities.

With protesters intent on canonizing Brown, it’s long past time to set the record straight.

Shortly after the killing of Michael Brown, police released a video showing him robbing a grocery store and manhandling its owner.

SURVEILLANCE VIDEO: Police say Michael Brown was suspect in Ferguson store robbery – YouTube

FACT: Blacks were outraged–not because they believed it wasn’t Michael on the videotape, but because it showed their anointed hero as a robbing thug.

Michael Brown (left) roughing up a store owner

Following the shooting of Brown on August 9, 2014, police deployed massive force to prevent rioting–which erupted anyway. Ferguson’s blacks charged that it was militarized overkill.

Riot police deploying in Ferguson, Missouri

FACT: When the grand jury released its findings on November 24, Ferguson blacks once again started looting and burning stores.

Then blacks raged that the police should have had a massive presence to keep their brethren in line.

Many Ferguson blacks complained that the grand jury was taking too long (three months) interviewing scores of witnesses before reaching its verdict.

FACT: When the verdict was released, Ferguson blacks said the grand jurors should have examined less evidence, so they wouldn’t have been confused by conflicting statements.

Ferguson blacks generally and the Brown family in particular have repeatedly called Michael Brown “a child.”

FACT: Michael Brown was 18–legally an adult who could obtain a credit card, enter the armed forces and drive a car.  He also stood 6’3″ and weighed 300 pounds.

The Brown family has claimed that Michael didn’t have a criminal record as an adult.

FACT: But he may have had a juvenile one.

The citizen journalism website GotNews has filed a lawsuit against St. Louis authorities seeking the release of Brown’s juvenile record. The suit alleges that Brown was a gang member and faced a second-degree murder charge.

Lawsuit seeking release of Michael Brown’s juvenile records claims slain teen was a murder suspect – AOL.com

Michael’s mother, Lesley Mcspadden, has claimed that “My son was running for his life.”

FACT:  The autopsy of Michael Brown demonstrates that he was facing Darren Wilson when he was hit by police bullets.

FACT:  Lesley Mcspadden herself could face felony armed robbery charges. 

On Octiber 18, 2014, she allegedly led a group of 20 to 30 people to beat and rob vendors in a Ferguson parking lot for selling “Justice for Mike Brown” T-shirts. Among the victims: Her former mother-in-law.

One person was hospitalized and another unidentified victim was reportedly beaten with a pipe.

The Ferguson Police Department is investigating.

Michael Brown’s mom may face robbery charges: report – NY Daily News

Michael Brown’s stepfather, Louis Head, may stand trial for incing arson.

FACT: When the grand jury released its findings on November 24, 2014, Louis Head, standing atop a platform surrounded by hundreds of frenzied protesters, screamed at least 10 times: “Burn this motherfucker [Ferguson] down!” and “Burn this bitch down!”

Louis Head calling for arson in Ferguson

Head may well find himself the target of criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits.

Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder called for Head’s arrest for inciting to riot.

And those whose stores were burned and/or looted could file civil lawsuits against Head as being liable for their losses.

In honoring this family of thugdom, the residents of Ferguson dishonor themselves.

THE TRUTH-AND THE DIRT–WILL OUT

In Bureaucracy, History, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on May 12, 2015 at 12:02 am

On April 23, the family of teen thug Michael Brown filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Ferguson, Missouri.

Brown, 18, was shot by a Ferguson police officer on August 9.  Brown was unarmed, but the officer–Darren Wilson, who has since left the police department–claimed self-defense.  According to him, Brown tried to seize his weapon.

The lawsuit claims that

Brown, 18, was unarmed and walking in the street with a friend on Aug. 9 when Wilson told them to get on the sidewalk.

The lawsuit claims that Wilson said: “Get the [expletive] out of the street.”  Without the “unnecessary and unwarranted profane language,” the encounter would have been “uneventful.”

Attorneys for Brown’s parents promised the case would reveal new forensic evidence and raise doubts about the police version of events. Some of that evidence, they said, had been overlooked in previous investigations.

If it comes to trial, the lawsuit could force a full review of all the evidence in the shooting and bring key witnesses to be questioned in open court.

Civil cases generally require a lower standard of proof than criminal cases. Jurors must base their decision on a preponderance of evidence, not proof beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the standard needed to convict in a criminal trial.

The reason for this is that, in a criminal trial, the freedom of the accused is at stake.  In a civil trial, only money is.

The lawsuit could prove embarrassing to the Ferguson Police Department, which has already been heavily criticized in a Justice Department investigation.

The report of those findings, released on March 4, stated:

“The Justice Department found that the Ferguson Police Department (FPD) engaged in a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the First, Fourth, and 14th Amendments of the Constitution….

“Our investigation showed that Ferguson police officers routinely violate the Fourth Amendment in stopping people without reasonable suspicion, arresting them without probable cause, and using unreasonable force against them….

Federal investigators found that the FPD had a pattern or practice of:

  • Conducting stops without reasonable suspicion and arrests without probable cause in violation of the Fourth Amendment;
  • Interfering with the right to free expression in violation of the First Amendment; and
  • Using unreasonable force in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Click here: Justice Department Announces Findings of Two Civil Rights Investigations in Ferguson, Missouri | OPA | Department

So there will be many opportunities for the Brown family to reveal highly damaging truths about the FPD.

But the trial promises to be highly embarrassing for the Brown family as well.

Consider the following:

Michael Brown (left) roughing up a store owner

Lesley Mcspadden

Louis Head calls for arson in Ferguson

No doubt the Ferguson police will be working overtime to turn up even more embarrassing truths–or at least charges–against the Brown family.

In the end, the outcome of the lawsuit may well turn on who can dig up more dirt on whom.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE FIRST THUG FAMILIES OF THE UNITED STATES!

In Bureaucracy, History, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on December 9, 2014 at 12:55 am

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus want President Barack Obama to invite the families of Michael Brown and Eric Garner to his State of the Union address in January, 2015.

Chief among these is Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia), who said: “I think that would be appropriate and fitting.  It would help educate and sensitize other members and humanize some of the issues that we’re going to confront.”

And Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Georgia) stated: “Those families are symbols of an issue that needs to be urgently addressed in America.”

If Obama does not invite the families, Black Caucus members suggested that they might use their guest tickets to invite them.

But they claimed that no invitations have yet been extended for the President’s speech.

Obama is expected to speak about the Brown and Garner deaths during his speech.

The State of the Union address delivered by the President of the United States to a joint session of Congress every January.

The address not only reports on the condition of the nation but also allows Presidents to outline their legislative agenda and their national priorities.

President Barack Obama giving his State of the Union address

The address fulfills Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, which requires the President to from time to time give Congress information on the “state of the union.”

For decades, Presidents have invited specific guests to join the First Lady in the gallery of the House of Representatives. These guests enable the Chief Executive to symbolize the policy points he wishes to make.

For his 2002 State of the Union speech, President George W. Bush invited Hamid Karzai, the interim leader of Afghanistan. This underscored the commitment of American troops to ridding that country of its Talibanistic elements.

Inviting members of the Brown and Garner families as Obama’s favored guests would send a message to both Americans and the world beyond.

But it would prove a highly controversial act of symbolism.

In the case of the family of Michael Brown:

Michael Brown (left) roughing up a store owner

Lesley Mcspadden

Louis Head calls for arson in Ferguson

Does the President of the United States really want to link himself to this family of thugdom?

Then there is the family of Eric Garner, who died in a police chokehold on July 17.

While no incriminating evidence has yet come to light concerning his relatives, Garner himself had a lengthy police record.

State of the Union addresses are occasions where the President seeks to rally Congress–and, more importantly, the nation–behind goals that are certain to have widespread support.

Congressional Republicans fiercely oppose Obama’s unilateral decision to shelter up to five million illegal aliens from deportation and enable them to work in the country legally.

They have heatedly debated various ways of opposing him on this–including once again shutting down the government, forbidding him to appear before Congress to give his State of the Union address and cutting off fuel to Air Force One.  Click here: Ground Air Force One? GOP Proposals to Stop Obama on Immigration – Washington Wire – WSJ

Inviting as his guests members of families whose members have a documented history of lawbreaking would prove widely divisive along racial lines.

Overhwleming majorities of whites continue to believe that Obama is “not one of us.” And members of law enforcement of all races would believe that Obama was taking the side of known criminals against them.

With only two more years in office, Obama will need all the unity he can create if he hopes to enact much of his remaining agenda. 

IN THE NAME OF SAINT MICHAEL THE THUG

In Bureaucracy, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Social commentary on December 1, 2014 at 12:00 am

A grand jury declined to indict a white police officer, Darren Wilson, for the killing of Michael Brown, a black teenager.

And blacks in Ferguson, Missouri, erupted in looting and arson–with demonstrations breaking out in cities across the country.

These events have dominated news coverage–especially on TV–since November 24.

But there has been much that the media has not dared to mention.

Most importantly: From the beginning, a double standard has reigned in this case:

CHARGE: Shortly after the killing of Michael Brown, police released a video showing him robbing a grocery store and manhandling the its owner.

Click here: SURVEILLANCE VIDEO: Police say Michael Brown was suspect in Ferguson store robbery – YouTube

TRUTH:  Blacks were outraged–not because they believed it wasn’t Michael on the videotape, but because it showed their anointed hero as a robbing thug.

Michael Brown (left) roughing up a store owner

CHARGE: Following the shooting of Brown on August 9th, police deployed massive force to prevent rioting. Ferguson’s blacks charged that it was militarized overkill.

TRUTH: When the grand jury released its findings on November 24, Ferguson blacks started looting and burning stores.

Then blacks raged that the police should have had a massive presence to keep their brethren in line.  No one has conceded that originally deploying large numbers of anti-riot police had been a good idea after all.

CHARGE: Many Ferguson blacks complained that the grand jury was taking too long (three months) interviewing scores of witnesses before reaching its verdict.

TRUTH: When the verdict was released, Ferguson blacks said the grand jurors should have examined less evidence, so they wouldn’t have been confused by conflicting statements.

CHARGE: Ferguson blacks generally and the Brown family in particular have repeatedly called Michael Brown “a child.”

TRUTH: Michael Brown was 18–legally an adult who could obtain a credit card, enter the armed forces and drive a car.  He also stood 6’3″ and weighed 300 pounds.

CHARGE: The Brown family has claimed that Michael didn’t have a criminal record as an adult.

TRUTH:  But he may have had a juvenile one.

The citizen journalism website GotNews has filed a lawsuit against St. Louis authorities seeking the release of Brown’s juvenile record.  The suit alleges that Brown was a gang member and faced a second-degree murder charge.

If true, it would explain why he was determined to avoid arrest–it would have meant his being tried as an adult.

Click here: Lawsuit seeking release of Michael Brown’s juvenile records claims slain teen was a murder suspect – AOL.com

CHARGE: Michael’s mother, Lesley Mcspadden, has appeared on a series of news and interview programs, including “Today” and the prestigeous PBS “Charlie Rose Show.” As the parent of a dead son, she has been treated with great deference, even when making such charges as “My son was running for his life.”

TRUTH:  But what has not come up in any of these interviews is this: She herself could face felony armed robbery charges.  She has been accused of attacking people in a Ferguson parking lot for selling “Justice for Mike Brown” T-shirts.  Among the victims: Her former mother-in-law.

Click here: Michael Brown’s mom may face robbery charges: report – NY Daily News

CHARGE: Michael Brown’s stepfather, Louis Head, is a victim of his emotions of rage and grief.  At least, that’s the official line of Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the Brown family:

“God forbid your child was killed …and then they get that just devastating announcement in the manner it was announced, and somebody put a camera in your face. What would be your immediate reaction?”

TRUTH: On the night of November 24, Louis Head urged his fellow residents of Ferguson to “burn this bitch down!”  By “bitch” he meant Ferguson itself.

Standing atop a platform in the midst of several hundred frenzied protesters, he screamed at least 10 times: “Burn this motherfucker down!” and “Burn this bitch down!”

Head may well find himself the target of criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits.

Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder has called for Head’s arrest for inciting to riot.

And those whose stores were burned and/or looted could file civil lawsuits against Head as being liable for their losses.

A legal precedent for such lawsuits emerged 24 years ago, and still remains viable.

On November 13, 1988 in Portland, Oregon, three white supremacist members of East Side White Pride and White Aryan Resistance (WAR) beat to death Mulugeta Seraw, an Ethiopian man who came to the United States to attend college.

Morris Dees and the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a civil suit (Berhanu v. Metzger) against Tom Metzger, founder of WAR.  They argued that WAR influenced Seraw’s killers by encouraging their group, East Side White Pride, to commit violence.

Tom and John Metzger were found civilly liable under the doctrine of vicarious liability, in which one can be liable for a tort committed by a subordinate or by another person who is taking instructions.

In October 1990, the jury returned a verdict—$12.5 million—against Metzger and WAR. The Metzgers’ house was seized, and most of WAR’s profits go to paying off the judgment.

Thus, a law applied to whites who agitate violence can be applied to blacks who do the same.

SHOUTING “FIRE!” WITH INTENT TO CAUSE IT

In History, Law, Law Enforcement, Social commentary on November 27, 2014 at 1:04 am

“The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic.”

So wrote United States Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in the 1919 case, Schenk vs. the United States.

On the night of November 24, Louis Head urged his fellow residents of Ferguson, Missouri, to “Burn this bitch down!”

By “bitch” he meant Ferguson itself.

Louis Head yells “Burn this bitch down!” and soon Ferguson erupts in flames.

The reason: A grand jury had just refused to indict Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who had shot Head’s thuggish stepson, Michael Brown, last August.

Brown had just strong-armed a grocery store for some cigarillos before running into Wilson.

Wearing a white shirt emblazoned with “I AM MIKE BROWN” in black lettering, Head stood atop a platform in the midst of several hundred frenzied protesters.

“Burn this motherfucker down!” and “Burn this bitch down!” he screamed at least 10 times.

At one point he yelled for a microphone so he could reach an even larger audience.

Click here: “Burn this bitch down” – Michael Brown stepfather caught making those comments last night » The Right Scoop –

But Benjamin Crump–an attorney for the Brown family–offered a ready excuse for Head’s incitement to arson.

After saying that Head’s remarks were “raw emotion” and “completely inappropriate,” Crump sought to excuse such criminal behavior:

“God forbid your child was killed …and then they get that just devastating announcement in the manner it was announced, and somebody put a camera in your face,” he said. “What would be your immediate reaction?”

For most people, their “immediate reaction” would not be to incite others to arson.

During the previous week, Michael Brown Sr., father of the slain thug, had recorded a public service announcement: “Destroying property is not the answer.”

So what would Justice Holmes think about Louis Head urging his fellow citizens to “burn this bitch down”?

No doubt Holmes would vote to lock him up.

Holmes did, in fact, cast just such a vote in one of the most famous cases in Supreme Court history: Schenk vs. the United States.

After America entered World War I in 1917, Congress passed the Espionage Act. The law said that, during wartime, obstructing the draft and inciting soldiers to disloyalty or disobedience were crimes.

Charles Schenck, opposing the war, mailed thousands of anti-war pamphlets to men who had been drafted into the armed forces.

The government charged Schenck with violating the Espionage Act.

Schenck’s attorney argued that the Espionage Act was unconstitutional. He said that it violated the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech.”

After Sehenk was convicted, his case was appealed to the Supreme Court–which unanimously upheld his conviction.

Holmes–who wrote the decision–said that it did not violate his First Amendment right to free speech.

Oliver Wendell Holmes

“In many places and in ordinary times,” wrote Holmes, Schenck would have had a right to say everything that he said in his pamphlets.

But Holmes added that how far a person’s freedom of speech extends depends on the circumstances.

It’s hard imagining Holmes extending a person’s freedom of speech to include inciting others to arson–and potential murder.

While making his incitements, Head wore a shirt, on whose back was emblazoned: “I AM MIKE BROWN.”

According to The Smoking Gun website:

“Head is an ex-convict whose rap sheet includes two felony narcotics convictions, according to state records.

“He pleaded guilty in 1997 to a marijuana distribution charge and was put in a shock incarceration program and placed on probation for five years. After violating probation, Head’s release was revoked and he was remanded to state prison.

“In mid-2003, Head was charged with narcotics trafficking, a felony count to which he later pleaded guilty. The St. Louis native was sentenced to seven years in prison. He was released in June 2008 after serving about five years in custody.”

Click here: Michael Brown’s Stepfather Urged Protesters To “Burn This Bitch Down” After Grand Jury Announcement | The Smoking

Just before Michael Brown was shot by Darren Wilson, he had stolen a box of cigarellos from a local liquor store.  As he walks out the door, he can be seen on video arrogantly pushing aside the store owner.

In the immediate aftermath of Louis Head’s remarks:

  • At least 29 people were arrested and a dozen buildings damaged or destroyed.
  • At least six businesses were set on fire.
  • Looting was reported at multiple locations.
  • Gunfire was reported throughout the night.
  • At times, the bullets were so thick that firefighters were forced to evacuate the scenes of burning buildings.
  • Owing to gunfire aimed at the sky, the Federal Aviation Administration diverted at least 10 flights from St. Louis.

It will be interesting to see if the St. Louis District Attorney’s Office has the courage to hold Louis Head accountable for inciting the arson, rioting and looting that ravaged Ferguson.

CNN BECOMES TNN: TRAYVON NEWS NETWORK

In Bureaucracy, History, Politics, Social commentary on July 23, 2013 at 1:35 am

Since June 10, CNN has carried one story above all others: The trial of self-appointed “neighborhood watchman” George Zimmerman for the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

On CNN, especially, the coverage of this trial has been overwhelming.

So much so that CNN–Cable News Network–could rightly be called TNN–Trayvon News Network.

There are several reasons for this, and they say as much–if not more–about the media as they do about the case itself.

First, there was a dead body in the story–the body of Travon Martin.  There’s a well-known saying in the news business: “If it bleeds, it leads.”  And nothing bleeds like the body of a dead teenager.

Second, the victim was not only dead, he was black.

Third, he died at the hands of a nominally-white man–George Zimmerman, the offspring of a German father and a Peruvian mother.

Although the vast majority of blacks in the United States are murdered by other blacks, it’s Politically Incorrect to say so.  On the other hand, it’s perfectly OK to create the impression that whites pose the greatest danger to blacks.

George Zimmerman

Fourth, the trial was televised.  There was absolutely no need for this.  It didn’t threaten to overturn existing law–as did Brown v. Board of Education, in which the Supreme Court struck down “separate but equal” public schools for blacks and whites.

This case proved the opening legal salvo in the history of the civil rights movement and ushered in a decade of activism and bloodshed as blacks sought to de-segregate the South.

Nor did the Zimmerman case even carry the weight of the 1985-6 Mafia Commission trial.  There Federal prosecutors convicted the heads of the five most powerful Mafia “families” in the country and sent them to prison.

While individual Mafiosi had been sent to prison, this was the first time the top leadership of all major Mafia “families” had been virtually wiped out.

It signaled a turning point in the fight against organized crime, with Federal investigators and prosecutors finally learning how to use the 10-year-old Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act to their advantage.

Fifth, televising the trial meant the networks–especially CNN–didn’t have to do anything.  They didn’t have to send reporters into the streets to dig up information.  All that was necessary was to let the camera show what was happening in the courtroom.

Sixth, when each day’s televised proceedings came to an end, CNN and other networks could easily round up a series of “talking heads” to pontificate on the meaning of it all. 

These people had no more idea than the average viewer of what impact–if any–that day’s events would have on the legal fate of George Zimmerman.

But it gave CNN a chance to use up airtime that could have otherwise gone on stories like the national debt, Detroit declaring bankruptcy and the Supreme Court rejecting an Arizona law requiring voters to prove their citizenship.

Seventh, the networks could count on a controversial outcome no matter what the verdict.

If Zimmerman were convicted, his white supporters would be outraged and his black detractors overjoyed.  And if Zimmerman were acquitted–which is what actually happened–then the opposite reactions would occur.

Either way, there was certain to be angry demonstrators in the street.  For the networks this would hopefully include a full replay of the race riots which shook the nation following the police beating of Rodney King in 1992 and the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1968.

Eighth, if rioting erupted, CNN and other networks would rush news cameras to the scenes of carnage and claim they were doing this “in the finest traditions of journalism” to keep the public fully informed.

In reality, they would be doing it to keep their ratings up.

If any of this seems familiar, it’s because–unfortunately–it is.

The 1995 O.J. Simpson trial set the standard for televised murder trials.

It came complete with a weak-kneed judge (Lance Ito), incompetent prosecutors (Christopher Darden and Marcia Clark), bizarre witnesses (Kato Kaelin) and grandstanding defense attorneys (Johnnie Cochran, F. Lee Bailey and Robert Kardashian).

The case seemed to go on forever.  The primary jury was sworn in on November 2, 1994.  Opening statements began on January 24, 1995, and the trial dragged on until a “Not Guilty” verdict came on October 3, 1995

For those who enjoy wallowing in sensationalism, the case offered everything:

  • Interracial marriage;
  • A famous has-been football player;
  • Sexually-charged domestic abuse (in this case, black-on-white/male-on-female violence);
  • A dead, beautiful blonde;
  • Two grisly murders (those of Simpson’s ex-wife, Nicole, and a waiter-friend of hers, Ronald Goldman);
  • Allegations by Simpson’s lawyers that he was the target of white, racist police.

Since then, television networks have repeatedly sought stories that promise to deliver the thrills–if not actual news value–of the Simpson case.

The George Zimmerman trial didn’t offer the ratings voltage of the Simpson one.  But the networks did their best to make it happen.

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