Thursday, June 23, 2005

Abraham is at it again: overcharge, overcharge, overcharge.

Our favorite DA, Lynne Abraham, is at it again throwing any and all charges at the wall she can in an effort to maintain her "tough cookie image." Yesterday she announced that she was going to pursue an aggravated assualt charge against a Biotech protester in connection with the death of Civil Affairs officer Paris Williams. According to the Inquirer, here's why:
She said Braceland chased Beaulieu and a scuffle broke out between police and protesters. Williams was one of the officers involved.

"This is the genesis of this event," Abraham said, adding that "the resulting punching, shoving and pushing... caused Officer Williams to suffer his cardiac event."

Williams, a 17-year veteran, was trying with other officers to prevent protesters from nearing the entrance of the Convention Center where the BIO 2005 conference was under way.

Abraham said four others were charged with resisting arrest, conspiracy and disorderly conduct. She identified them as Caroline Colesworthy, 25, of Newport Beach, Calif.; Brenton Hall, 21, of Bangor, Maine; Mark Garcia, 19, of San Antonio, Texas; and Charles M. Sherrouse, 46, of the 1400 block of Elbridge Street in Northeast Philadelphia.
Officer Williams' death is obviously a tragedy and I have no affection for out-of-town protesters who prioritize showboating over real grassroots organzing as a means to achieve their goals, but doesn't the DA's prosecution seem (typically)overzealous?


At 12:12 PM, Blogger ACM said...

I dunno -- you didn't actually quote the part about the main guy, who's being charged with aggravated assault of two police officers and with resisting arrest. I wasn't there, so I don't know the basis for the charges. Do you?

The other ones are all disorderly conduct, which is typical of the arrests during protests. Given how few were arrested, it doesn't sound like the police were shutting down reasonable protest, but perhaps dealing with some marginal troublemakers. Again, no firsthand knowledge -- and you?

I tend toward skepticism of all government handling of protesters, let alone the charging practices of Abraham's offices, but I don't see any evidence of crazed behavior here, without knowing more (although "conspiracy" sounds a little trumped up). The verdicts (or dismissals) might be more telling, or the video mentioned in the article...

At 12:16 PM, Blogger DanielUA said...

Well, it will be interesting to see how it plays out. Basically, they are charging aggravated assault for what the DA said on TV essentially amounted to pouring water down a policeman's back. Stupid, dumb thing to do? Yeah. But I would assume to get an aggravated assault charge conviction they will need a little more than that.

At 12:47 PM, Blogger ACM said...

That is pretty lame (even though I'd yell pretty loud if I were on the receiving end, heh).

Probably Abraham is responding to the feeling of pressure to give the policeman's death a "no stones unturned" investigation, even if she knows that these folks are likely to be headed home pretty shortly. I keep waiting for the DA (or police chief!) who would want to make a point of pride out of how *few* arrests/charges came out of a set of protests...

At 1:03 PM, Blogger Pat Evans/Butcher/Wicks said...

Probably Abraham is responding to the feeling of pressure to give the policeman's death a "no stones unturned"

right ACM, that's the point: Abraham doesn't run the DA's office as a center for justice, she runs it to please the media, party bosses, etc.

i know we all know this, which is why the blogging community supported Seth, I guess this is an example of a place where we must maintain our vigilance.

remember, many people speculate that Abraham plans to leave the office the way she came in- by appointment. so, if we don't keep the heat on her, the mayor changes in 2007 (imagine Saidel), she retires mid-term or is appointed to a federal judgeship, the Mayor appoints an interim-DA (not guaranteed to be Seth) set up as an incumbent for the 09 election.


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