©1999 - 2005
Edward D. Reuss
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Jury selection begins this week in the Case of the State of New York vs. Kenneth Boss, Sean Carroll, Edward McMellon, and Richard Murphy. Due to the widespread publicity of this case, the venue for the trial has been moved to Albany, New York. The presence of television cameras in the courtrooms in New York has not been permitted in recent years. But the courts have made an exception in this case of the four NYPD police officers on trial for Murder. The whole world will witness this trial on television.

The New York City Police Department will see four of its officers stand trial for murder. The indictment charges the Police Officers with two (2) counts of Murder 2nd Degree and one (1) count of Reckless Endangerment, 1st Degree.

The television broadcasts of this trial will be seen throughout the world. Therefore, this trial may well have international ramifications. The New York City Police Department and its officers will be examined before the global community. The premier police agency of the United States of America will be the center of attention during this trial. The NYPD has sent its Emergency Service officers to the scenes of disasters throughout the world. Its officers have participated in the Missions to Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo. Police from around the world send their officers to New York City on exchange programs. There are many good reasons for this. The professionalism of the members of the NYPD is renowned. It is ironic that members of the NYPD are the subjects of a murder trial.

In June of 1996, Amnesty International released a report entitled: "United States of America, Police Brutality and Excessive Force in the New York City Police Department.
The report was highly critical of the NYPD." The fifty-nine-page report listed a number of allegations of excessive force. It is interesting to note that the documentation of these cases relied upon the meticulous records maintained by the NYPD and the City of New York. This same organization has worldwide support to bring about changes in the criminal justice system in the United States. The States of Texas and Florida and others have been singled out for special criticism in other reports on the issue of the death penalty. This report lists about ninety (90) cases of alleged police brutality or excessive force. It covers a period of more than 10 years. It would seem that this international agency looks askance at some of the practices of the American system of justice.

Amnesty International has listed in Appendix 1 of their report a number of "International Standards". Among those standards are:

Articles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ratified by the US Government on 8 June 1992)

The United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (ratified by the US Government in October 1994)

UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials (adopted by the UN Assembly in 1979)

Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials (adopted by the Eighth UN Congress on the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders on 7 September 1990)

Will the four police officers of the NYPD receive a fair trial? When all the evidence has been submitted to the jury, will all of us respect the findings of our system of justice? When we have seen the trial on TV and the jury renders it verdict, will that verdict be accepted?

There are some that have alleged that the true cause of this police shooting was racism. Perhaps the televised trial will dispel that theory. Until the evidence has been presented in this case, those in high profile positions in government and society should exercise care in voicing opinions that inflame this issue. Political figures and those in the legal profession should remember that the rights of defendants apply to police officers who have been accused of a crime also.

Hillary Rodham Clinton made a speech on Martin Luther King Day on a dais with numerous figures including Reverend Al Sharpton and two former mayors of the City of New York. Mrs. Clinton was reported in the newspapers of New York to have referred to the police shooting of Amadou Diallo as "the tragic murder of Mr. Diallo".

The American Civil Liberties Union took out a full page ad in the New York Times that included the Miranda warnings, bullet holes, and the words: "The NYPD gave Amadou Diallo the right to remain silent. And they did it without saying a word."

With such opinions being voiced and printed in the media, it would seem fair to present the opinions of police officers and those in law enforcement as well.

The cameras will be covering this trial from beginning to end. NY COP ONLINE MAGAZINE will be watching the case unfold. We invite you to join the dialogue. Share your thoughts with your fellow police officers and the world community.

Click onto the COPS FORUM icon on the homepage at WWW.NYCOP.COM

You may remain anonymous or use a pseudonym when you post your opinion.

Edward D. Reuss
Captain, NYPD (retired)

Copyright © 2000 Edward D. Reuss



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