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The Railroading of Officer Jeremy Morse

by citizens Thursday, Jul. 31, 2003 at 2:17 PM

One thing that has become very clear to me since seeing the videotape of the July 6 incident in Inglewood, Calif. involving Police Officer Jeremy Morse and teenager Donovan Jackson is that Officer Morse is being railroaded.

The Railroading of Officer Jeremy Morse

One thing that has become very clear to me since seeing the videotape of the July 6 incident in Inglewood, Calif. involving Police Officer Jeremy Morse and teenager Donovan Jackson is that Officer Morse is being railroaded. For those of you not familiar with the term ‘railroad’, it means to convict with undue haste and by means of false charges or insufficient evidence.

Ever since this videotape was aired in heavy rotation on national television, I have seen a blatant attempt by politicians, activists, city administrators, and community members to deny Officer Morse of his constitutional right to due process. When that happens, we all need to wake up and realize that if it could happen to Officer Morse, it could happen to anyone.

The following are statements that had been made by several individuals at the protests or news conferences held following the airing of the videotape. Keep in mind that these comments were made prior to the completion of any of the investigations and based solely on videotape that was clearly only a portion of the entire incident.

“Based on the investigation he should be fired, no question about it, that’s my opinion.” – Inglewood Mayor Roosevelt Dorn

“Put some stripes on this guy, behind bars, Jeremy Morse should be in jail right now.” – Civil rights attorney Leo Terrell

“We are not saying that these officers should be put on some kind of leave. We’re saying they should be fired immediately.” – Civil rights activist Martin Luther King III

It should be noted that U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) also called for the immediate firing of Officer Morse in addition that he be charged with serious state or federal crimes without delay.

Did these people forget that Officer Morse is a citizen of the United States and that as a citizen of the United States, he is entitled to the same constitutional rights as every other citizen in this country? In addition to that, he also has rights under the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act. To immediately fire and/or jail Officer Morse would have been a violation of his constitutional right to due process. Or did I miss the small print that said law enforcement officers are exempt from these rights?

Then Mayor Dorn took his condemnation of Officer Morse a bit further with the following statement:

“In my opinion there isn’t any question about the fact that when this officer picked this young man up, slammed him down on the hood of that car, in my opinion, number one felony assault, number two assault with a deadly weapon – the deadly weapon was a car – number three battery, number four child abuse, and I’m sure if I looked there are other crimes.”

I’m sure if you looked, there are other crimes? Did you hear that ringing sound? That was the dinner bell that Mr. Dorn just rang to invite a feeding frenzy on Officer Morse by anyone that he may have arrested or come in contact with while performing his job as an Inglewood Police Officer. Each and every day that a police officer goes to work, he or she is putting their life on the line to protect law-abiding citizens. They often have to deal with unsavory characters bent on breaking the laws that are put in place to protect law-abiding members of society. Some of these people may not be easy to deal with or may be a bit disturbed that their illegal activities have been thwarted. And now Mr. Dorn has given them carte blanche to file their alleged complaints against Officer Morse, whether they are legitimate or not.

Also, it would appear as if the Grand Jury disagreed with Mayor Dorn’s opinion. Officer Morse has been indicted for a charge of assault under the color of authority, not felony assault, not assault with a deadly weapon, not battery and not child abuse.

In all fairness to the police in general, we should keep in mind that a police department that has no civilian complaints filed against it is a police department that is not doing its job. Some complaints are most certainly legitimate, however, it is not uncommon for criminals or cop-haters to file nuisance complaints in retaliation against their arresting officer(s). We should also keep in mind that some arrests will not go smoothly and that at times, some use of force is required. More than likely, the person on the receiving end of that use of force will feel that their rights have been violated whether or not the use of force is deemed legal and reasonable by law.

To escalate the situation even further, Congresswoman Waters sent a letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft demanding an investigation of the July 6 incident charging that it was racially motivated. There is no evidence that this incident was racially motivated or that it was with malicious intent. The facts may very well show that Officer Morse acted within reason given the circumstance that he found himself in.

One thing that is interesting about Congresswoman Waters is her propensity towards protecting convicted criminals. She has been steadfast in her efforts to have Lori Berenson, a U.S. citizen, released from a Peruvian jail. Ms. Berenson was imprisoned in Peru in 1996 after being tried and convicted for treason. In 2001 she was re-tried and convicted of collaborating with terrorists. Congresswoman Waters also wrote to Cuban President Fidel Castro to inform him that she was opposed to House Concurrent Resolution 254, which called on the Government of Cuba to extradite to the United States Joanne Chesimard. Joanne Chesimard is also known as Assata Shakur, a former Black Panther that was convicted in 1973 of killing a New Jersey State Trooper. Assata Shakur escaped from prison and is currently seeking political asylum in Cuba. In addition, Congresswoman Waters has requested Executive Clemency for Leonard Peltier who was convicted of the brutal murder of two FBI agents in 1975 and she has spoken out against the execution of Mumia Abu Jamal, a former Black Panther and convicted cop-killer. Whose side is she on?

Officer Morse has already been tried and convicted by a court of public opinion. It has been stated clearly that he should be fired and/or jailed immediately by various individuals prior to being found guilty by an impartial jury, which is guaranteed to him by the U.S. Constitution under Amendment VI. For this very reason, will Officer Morse be able to obtain a fair trial in Inglewood or Los Angeles for that matter?

Officer Morse was not actually imprisoned regardless of the many demands, but if some individuals had had their way, he would most definitely be behind bars. This is not some game of Monopoly where with the roll of the dice you go directly to jail, you do not pass Go; you do not collect 0.00. But some of these individuals have certainly made challenging Officer Morse’s constitutional rights look like child’s play.

And if that’s not bad enough, enter the protestors.

“No Justice, No Peace!”

Says who? Since when is the justice system of the United States of America dictated to by an angry mob? As citizens of this great country, we should all be very disturbed by the fact that the fate of Officer Morse may lie in the hands of people with such a mentality. It is already evident that the city administrators have succumbed to this pressure by completing their internal investigation prior to the criminal proceedings, which is not the common practice. The Inglewood Police Department is currently in the process of trying to fire Officer Morse. How can the decision to fire Officer Morse not have some impact on the juror’s decision?

As for the cries of “No justice, No peace” it implies that if Officer Morse is found not guilty (no justice), there will be riots (no peace). This is being said without all the facts of this incident being examined. It is being said based on the assumption that Donovan Jackson had absolutely no responsibility for this incident. When in fact, it is very possible that his behavior instigated and escalated the incident. Did it ever occur to the people chanting this motto that if Officer Morse does go to jail that justice has not been served?

It would not be unreasonable to ask people to consider that Donovan Jackson should share in the responsibility for the altercation that occurred on July 6. Afterall, 50,000 or more police officers are assaulted each year while performing their job. They are spat on, cursed at, physically assaulted and even shot at while performing their jobs. It is possible that the deputies and officers involved in this altercation were the victims of an assault. If that is the case, what I would like to know is when did it become acceptable to assault an officer of the law? And when they are assaulted, when did they lose the right to defend themselves?

The police and the sheriff’s deputies have all been consistent in their telling of the incident. They claim that Donovan Jackson became “combative” and that force was needed to subdue him and take him into custody. According to the incident report filed July 6, 2002 by Deputy Lopez, Donovan Jackson “pulled, scratched, and fought”. As a result, Officer Morse sustained lacerations to the left side of his face, left knee, left side of his head, lower neck and abrasions to his neck. Officer Darvish complained of pain to his right knee and Deputy Lopez sustained a contusion to his left knee and strained his left wrist and lower back.

It is very easy to sit back, comfortably ensconced in our homes and judge the actions of the officers, but there is no way for any of us to know what it is like for them to be involved in such altercations. They encounter dangerous situations every day; sometimes it’s a matter of life and death. Which is why it is only fair to ask that we reserve judgement of Officer Morse until he has had a trial, with an impartial jury, which is guaranteed to him by the Constitution of the United States.


Mayor Calls for Firing of Inglewood Officer Videotaped Hitting Teen

The San Diego Union-Tribune – Published July 9, 2002

By: Eugene Tong – Associated Press

L.A. Teen Sues in Police Beating, Says Cops Racist

Reuters – Published July 10, 2002

Lawyers for Beaten Teen to Announce Suit Against Police

The San Diego Union-Tribune – Published July 10, 2002

By: Eugene Tong – Associated Press

Protestors Demand Jail for Cop in L.A. Beating

Yahoo! News/Reuters – Published July 12, 2002

By: Dan Whitcomb

Protests Seek Officer’s Arrest in Taped Beating

CNN – Published July 12, 2002

Contributing Writer: Charles Feldman

Congresswoman Maxine Waters Press Releases

Congresswoman Waters urges President Clinton to call for the release of Lori Berenson from prison in Peru

Dated: January 12, 2001

Congresswoman Waters expresses outrage at conviction and sentencing of Lori Berenson in Peru: Calls for a full pardon

Dated: June 21, 2001

Statement of Congresswoman Maxine Waters urging President Clinton to grant Executive Clemency to Leonard Peltier

Dated: December 31, 2000

Voice of the Voiceless: The Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal

Published by A Job is a Right Campaign, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

First Printing: July, 1995/Fourth Update: February, 1999

N.J. Governor Blasts Chesimard Letter – Attacks Congresswoman’s Support of Cop Killer

APB News – Published December 18, 1998

By: Tami Sheheri

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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 24 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
Nazi go home mymicz Thursday, Jul. 31, 2003 at 3:11 PM
Jail the cops Cagney Thursday, Jul. 31, 2003 at 3:43 PM
WHAT? fresca Thursday, Jul. 31, 2003 at 4:44 PM
OneEyedMan KPC Thursday, Jul. 31, 2003 at 6:20 PM
Oh christ fresca Thursday, Jul. 31, 2003 at 6:31 PM
OneEyedMan KPC Thursday, Jul. 31, 2003 at 6:37 PM
Stopped for tags? Rational Normal Person Thursday, Jul. 31, 2003 at 6:48 PM
what a load of crap! what rights? Thursday, Jul. 31, 2003 at 7:05 PM
Why lie fresca Thursday, Jul. 31, 2003 at 8:00 PM
fresca fresca Friday, Aug. 01, 2003 at 5:08 AM
Thank you Fresca Chez Brodsky Friday, Aug. 01, 2003 at 5:18 AM
Also Chez Brodsky Friday, Aug. 01, 2003 at 5:26 AM
OneEyedMan KPC Friday, Aug. 01, 2003 at 2:12 PM
OneEyedMan KPC Friday, Aug. 01, 2003 at 2:42 PM
KPC Chez Brodsky Friday, Aug. 01, 2003 at 2:48 PM
cows go moo, pigs go you're under arrest pig destroyer Friday, Aug. 01, 2003 at 4:43 PM
^ you'd lose Friday, Aug. 01, 2003 at 4:48 PM
can't we all just get along.... peace Friday, Aug. 01, 2003 at 4:55 PM
So... fresca Saturday, Aug. 02, 2003 at 7:34 PM
No Sheepdog Saturday, Aug. 02, 2003 at 9:27 PM
why shld we all get along? mr. obstreperous Sunday, Aug. 03, 2003 at 1:57 PM
citizens for police mitchell crooks Monday, Nov. 17, 2003 at 6:09 AM
Yeah he "railroaded himself". DUI for morse now. mitchell crooks Tuesday, Dec. 09, 2003 at 11:55 PM

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