Beneficiary Of First Amendment Protections Says Fourth Amendment Shouldn’t Be Respected By Cops, Courts
from the you-absolute-idiots dept
The New York Post editorial team has apparently decided some rights are more important than others. The Post has the First Amendment right to publish its opinion on other rights, even when it’s clearly in the wrong. And it’s willing to do so because it has long enjoyed an unhealthy relationship with the city’s police force, which often makes the Post appear to be part of the NYPD’s PR unit.
A recent arrest of a 16-year-old rap artist has triggered the Post’s editorial team. Not the arrest itself, which resulted in a struggle between NYPD officers and Camrin “C Blu” Williams that ended with an Williams allegedly shooting a cop by [checks report] shooting himself in the groin.
Here’s how the NY Post reported the aftermath of the alleged shooting:
A 16-year-old reputed gangbanger charged in the shooting of an NYPD cop was ordered held on $200,000 bail Thursday — despite a request by prosecutors that he be locked up.
Camrin Williams — an up-and-coming rapper known as C Blu — was arraigned on charges of felony assault and criminal possession of a weapon in Bronx court for the Tuesday night tussle with police in Belmont that left a 27-year-old cop with a wounded leg.
He could also face an attempted-murder rap from a grand jury, law-enforcement sources said.
The Bronx prosecutor wanted Williams held without bail and tried as an adult. The judge — Naita Semaj — disagreed. It wasn’t because Judge Semaj thought Williams was being treated too harshly. It’s because the cops lied.
“There was absolutely zero reason for any of those officers to approach this individual. They approached him, they detained him, they searched him, and no officer even bothered to come up with a halfway legitimate reason for any of that,” Semaj said, making an emotional ruling in Bronx Supreme Court Tuesday.
Recordings of the incident contradicted testimony given by officers, who claimed Williams refused to take his hands out of his pockets when being questioned by police during their policing of a “disorderly crowd.” The judge noted the recording showed Williams being extremely cooperative and that it was officers that not only searched him without probable cause but escalated the situation.
“While there is no disputing the fact that Mr. Williams had a gun on him that night… He literally does everything you tell your child to do when they’re approached by cops. He literally kept his hands up. He literally tried to record to make sure there was proof. He answered questions he had no obligation to answer,” Semaj said.
Without calling the testifying officer a liar, Judge Semaj called the officer a liar.
“I cannot state how absolutely incredible his testimony was. It was inconsistent with the video, it was inconsistent with his fellow officer’s testimony, it was self-serving, it had no value,” she said.
So, instead of being tried as an adult and held without bail, Williams is out on bail and will be tried as a juvenile. Somehow, police officer perjury has led the NY Post editorial board to call for an end of respect for the Fourth Amendment, both by police officers and the courts handling their cases. (Emphasis in the original.)
[Judge] Semaj seems to think that, even if someone is doing something illegal, and even if there’s “no disputing” it, a police officer still can’t make a quick decision based on intangibles to take action. She doesn’t even seem to provide a definitive standard under which an officer might have validly stopped and searched Williams.
If public order’s to be restored, cops must be able to use their professional instincts on the street, in real-time. And no judge who thinks otherwise should be anywhere near criminal or even family court.
This is completely wrong and it basically calls for the Fourth Amendment to be ignored in favor of inarticulable hunches, allowing cops to work their way backwards from their stops and seizures should they happen to result in the uncovering of criminal evidence.
Here’s Scott Greenfield, explaining one of the many ways this NY Post editorial board hot take is completely fucking stupid.
On the contrary, it’s not up to the judge to provide a definitive standard when the Constitution already does so. In the absence of probable cause, there is no authority to search and seize. Whether Williams was doing something illegal is irrelevant if the police are incapable of articulating the basis for their actions. Of course, here they tried, but the darn video proved they were lying about it. That’s a different problem.
But that’s what the NY Post apparently believes: cops should have free reign to perform stops and seizures at their discretion. And any judge that attempts to hold them to constitutional standards should be removed from their position. That opinion is inconceivably stupid. And that it’s held by the entirety of the Post’s editorial board is inexcusable. A beneficiary of constitutional rights shouldn’t be declaring other rights less important than the ones that shield it from government overreach.