Thursday, March 22, 2007

Someone Who Needs to Stay in Prison

Joseph Gray (SILive)
Today I stumbled upon an article that elicited mixed emotions about the justice system. Yesterday the parole board of New York denied ex-NYPD officer Joseph Gray's request for an early release from his 5-15 year sentence. This case is similar to that of Kevin Freibott's, in which an off-duty police officer goes out boozing and kills someone on the roads.

What is worse about Joseph Gray's case, however, is the fact that he killed a whole family in Brooklyn - a mother, her son, the mother's sister and the mother's unborn child. What is even worse is that Gray had been drinking on NYPD property with another officer, then went to a strip club that had been forbidden by the NYPD for officers to patronize and drank some more with more officers. He then got behind the wheel of his minivan and struck the family.

Some sad reminders arise out of the recent parole decision. Joseph Gray should be in prison for a lot longer than 5-15 years. He called the police department's actions in firing or transferring other officers who were involved in the drinking or helped to try to cover up the incident as an "overreaction." Then, during the trial, he and his lawyer tried to argue that Maria Herrera's dead child was stillborn, despite the fact that it had been born via C-section after the accident and had been on life support for 12 hours. That's just heartless.

He was given a huge break when he received no bail for DWI and manslaughter charges, despite the DA's insistence on a $500,000 one. On top of all of this, it was found out that he denied that alcohol was a factor because he had drank earlier in the day, and then blamed the family for "darting out in front of" him on his way to work.

Between the statement of an "overreaction" and arguing that the baby he killed was stillborn and trying to blame the family for his irresponsibility, it is quite obvious that Gray does not have much remorse for what he did. Additionally, his request to get out of jail early shows that he does not want to take responsibility for what he did in a cut and dry case.

To end this post I will use a quote from Talib Kweli which is a reaction to the judge's denial of bail for Gray on his track "The Proud." "August 4, 2001. A drunken police officer mows down an entire family in Brooklyn. The judge lets him go with no bail. It reminds us of just how worthless our lives are to the justice system. I struggle to explain the situation to my son."

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