Friday, October 5, 2018

Black Lives Still Matter, Con't

Against all odds, a Chicago police officer has been convicted of second-degree murder in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Laquan McDonald.

Van Dyke is the first Chicago police officer in half a century to be found guilty of murder for an on-duty shooting. He faces a minimum of 6 years in prison when he’s sentenced by Judge Vincent Gaughan.

The jury deliberated for about 7 ½ hours before finding Van Dyke guilty of second-degree murder instead of the first-degree charges for which he was indicted.

The veteran officer was also convicted of all 16 counts of aggravated battery for each shot he fired at McDonald. The jury, however, acquitted him of a single count of official misconduct.
The verdict comes after a landmark trial that featured testimony over 10 days by 44 witnesses, 24 called by the prosecution and 20 by the defense.

The three-week trial flipped the script of most murder cases at the Leighton Criminal Court Building with prosecutors questioning the credibility of police officers who typically serve as their most trusted witnesses.

Van Dyke himself broke from normal protocol for police officers facing charges of wrongdoing, opting to have a jury decide his fate instead of asking the judge to weigh the evidence in a bench trial. His decision to testify in his own defense was also rare for a building where most criminal defendants — especially those charged with murder — invoke their right to remain silent.

The charges against Van Dyke centered on the dashcam video depicting the moments leading up to the shooting on Oct. 20, 2014 — footage that has been played around the world for nearly three years. The graphic images sparked protests and political upheaval and led to a sprawling federal civil rights probe into the systemic mistreatment of citizens by Chicago police, particularly in the city's minority communities.

It's a start.  Nothing will truly qualify as justice here, but it's a start.

Black Lives Still Matter.

Supreme Misgivings, Con't

The procedural vote this morning for Brett Kavanaugh will be in about a half-hour from this post, so by lunchtime we ought to know where things are going.  The one thing I do know is as of this morning, Mitch still doesn't have the votes.  Three Republicans and Democrat Joe Manchin are still in play.  Mitch needs two of the four.

Murkowski: Murkowski was scheduled to go back in to review the FBI report late Thursday evening. While she wasn't spotted by CNN, two senators she is friendly with were -- Sens. Jim Risch of Idaho and John Hoeven of North Dakota. Murkowski reviewed the report multiple times on Thursday and largely avoided reporters. 
Collins: Collins gave GOP leaders an early boost when she said the FBI report appears to be "very thorough." But she declined to weigh in on the nomination itself through the day, and went back to review materials multiple times. She completed her review of the materials Thursday night. In past votes of this magnitude, she will put out a lengthy statement and give a floor speech laying out her decision before the vote. 
Flake: Flake gave another boost to GOP leaders saying he didn't hear "additional corroboration" of the Kavanaugh allegations in the first staff briefing. But he too largely went silent and avoided reporters the rest of the day. Sources with knowledge of how he approached the day tell me he is not as skittish as some were reporting about his final decision. But he did want to make sure he went thoroughly through the report he was essentially responsible for existing. 
Manchin: "Heidi made her decision. I'll make mine." That's what Manchin said when asked about the decision by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, another red state Democrat who voted for Justice Neil Gorsuch, to oppose Kavanaugh. The cross-current pressures are intense between his party, his state, and the nominee himself. He will review the material again this morning before making a final decision, he told reporters.

My gut says we will not be saved by these Republicans.  Even if Manchin votes no, if the others vote yes it's meaningless.  I in fact suspect all four will vote for cloture this morning to proceed with Kavanaugh's confirmation after a "lengthy and difficult process" or whatever.

The same votes will be made to confirm on Saturday afternoon, and then that's it. 52-48 to confirm.

The consequences to America will be dire.  Our only hope after that is to vote out Republicans across the board starting in November.


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