First I heard of the Kenneth Green story was at Second City Cop, a pro-Second Amendment Chicago police blog I trust for insider news of top-down corruption.
SCC points to this article by Chuck Goudie of the Daily Herald.
The most dangerous place for a Chicago police officer is:
a. Face-to-face with a heavily armed drug gang.
b. Trapped by gangbangers at the end of a dark alley in Englewood.
c. Cornered by some lifers carrying shivs at Stateville prison.
d. Sitting in a Cook County courtroom.
The correct answer is d.
Or at least it was last Friday.
That is when the man in the mug shot was allowed to go home, after being found not guilty of shooting and trying to kill two Chicago police officers.
You didn’t hear anything about the trial, maybe because the cops were just wounded and survived the July 2009 shooting. It probably attracted little attention because the case should have been a lock for prosecutors.
The guy’s name is Kenneth Green. He was 21 years old at the time and living in an apartment near 112th Street and Michigan Avenue in Roseland.
A special Chicago police team raided his place with a search warrant for drugs. Imagine one of those scenes on the copper TV shows: doors fly open, guns out, lots of yelling. They are among the riskiest moments in any police officer’s life.
On that day two years ago, veteran officers Scott McKenna and Danny O’Toole were on the warrant team doing what they had done many times. The police team bursts in and spreads out, clearing the apartment room by room to make sure the search for drugs can safely begin.
Rarely do these “jobs,” as the police refer to them, go as planned. It takes incredible awareness, split-second reactions and extraordinary judgment. The wrong decision can mean people end up dead.
I strongly urge you to read the whole thing.
Indeed, this “job” did not go according to plan. Fortunately, in this case no one died, but two officers were shot in their legs.
The problem with the trial, according to Goudie and SCC, is that the courtroom was packed with Green’s fellow gang members, whose presence “intimidated” the jury into finding Green not guilty.
I’m sorry, SCC, but something about this bothered me at the time, although I didn’t know what. As is often the case, however, I thought I detected a whiff of cops versus everybody else, where “everybody else” means “ungrateful perps, most of whom haven’t been arrested or convicted yet.”
Finally, via Pete Guither at Drug WarRant, I hear the other side of the story.
A criminal defense attorney in Chicago represented a client who was involved in a situation we’ve seen far too often in this destructive war: SWAT-style serving of a search warrant with no investigation or knowledge of who or what is in the house. In this case, a resident managed to get off four shots aimed low through his bedroom door at what he thought were violent criminal intruders, and he (as well as six children in the house) managed to avoid being killed by the 37 shots fired by police. Naturally, he was charged with attempted first degree murder and aggravated battery.
Here is the closing argument. Simple, powerful, effective.
I’m not even going to quote defense attorney Marcus L. Schantz’s closing argument. Read the whole thing.
SCC makes this comment:
Goudie outlines the case against the shooter, the blatant disregard for human life exhibited by the shooters, the amazing restraint by the officers.
“Blatant disregard for human life”, SCC? Green fired four shots, aiming low, at violent intruders who, more or less blindly fired 37 shots into a house they knew had children in it, intruders who turned out to be police officers showing “amazing restraint”.
SCC, want to know why The People are showing growing distrust and resentment against The Police? This is why. We’re just as intimidated by you as we are by any other gang. Sure, they can pack a courtroom, but we know the courtroom exists, along with the entire weight of the criminal justice system. We see your cars, your uniforms, your badges. We watch you on TV. We read about you in the papers.
When you follow us on the streets, you think we’re not intimidated?
I can see no reason why a SWAT style dynamic entry was needed in this case. Your colleagues weren’t rescuing a hostage, they were serving a drug warrant. Fine. Bust the guy as he leaves his house. Might evidence get flushed down the toilet? You know what, if it was, the amount was so small that it could be flushed away, it does not represent a significant threat to the community that justifies the risk to either cops or the occupants.
You often complain, SCC, of how there aren’t enough cops on the street to do the job you are asked to do.
This kind of action is not the job we citizens want you to do. We don’t believe in the War on Drugs. We certainly don’t believe a flushable quantity of crack is worth risking your lives, or ours, in a dynamic entry.
You’ve been an advocate of the Second Amendment, SCC, for which I admire and applaud you. However, you seem to think armed citizens will only shoot at bad guys. Guess what, though? If you and your fellow cops act like arrogant gangsters, we’ll shoot at you, too, and increasingly, you’re going to find that when that happens, the rest of us will acquit the shooter at trial.
We fear gangs, SCC. We are intimidated.
But, again, not just by packed court rooms; increasingly, by the courtrooms themselves, by a justice system that seems not concerned with justice, and not on our side.
We want you on our side, SCC. We want to see you as our allies, as our fellow citizens. “The police are the people, and the people are the police,” says Peel, and I believe that.
But you have got to stop busting through our bedroom doors, guns blazing, over a few grams of contraband. That is not “a duty incumbent on every citizen”.
One more point: The defense attorney’s closing argument is dense with fact. It raises prosecution points one after another, often using the testimony of the police themselves, and counters them.
Goudie’s Herald article does not “outline the facts”; it’s is almost nothing but sensationalism, starting with the little pop quiz identifying the courtroom as more dangerous to cops than the street. It doesn’t even try to present the defense case. The police say Green’s a bad guy doing bad things, we should trust them and convict him of whatever the prosecution chooses to charge him with. Case closed.
Um, no. Green’s case is closed, and not in favor of the police, the prosecutor, or the courts. However, the case against the Drug War, the war on the people, the war on the Second, Fourth, and Fifth amendments, is still being made.