Skin color will not hinder us from getting our man

Monday, May 16th, 2011

So, while witnesses reported that a white man robbed a jewelry store, who did the cops arrest?  A black man.

Hamilton, Ontario police arrested Michael Dixon as he was getting off a Go Transit bus.  Yes, that would be the same bus he was riding on when the robbery occurred.  It only took the cops three days to figure out their mistake and release the guy.   The officers pleaded guilty to “misconduct” (similar to crime, except committed by police).

Not a U.S. story, but it reminds me of Brickbats, one of my favorite features in Reason Magazine.

[Posted by Dave Krueger]

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18 Responses to “Skin color will not hinder us from getting our man”

  1. #1 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Sounds like those cops need to be tested for language comprehension. Not to say functional brain cells.

    OTOH, since when do we put a lot of faith in eyewitnesses here? ;-)

  2. #2 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    …“misconduct” (similar to crime, except committed by police).

    Well played!

  3. #3 |  TDR | 

    Definitely not a US story, because they were actually able to prosecute the offending officers.

  4. #4 |  Greg | 

    OTOH, since when do we put a lot of faith in eyewitnesses here? ;-)

    Hey now. The one time the cops actually remember that the most unreliable ‘evidence’ in any case is eyewitness testimony, and we castigate them?

    For shame…


  5. #5 |  Mannie | 

    Tell me again, why Racial Profiling is a bad idea?

  6. #6 |  MacK | 

    Is there a link?

  7. #7 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #6 MacK

    Is there a link?

    Oops. Sorry about that. Just added it. Thanks for the heads up.

  8. #8 |  Joe | 

    Here is another crime story with racial overtones (Tom Wolfe where are you?) that I am sure we will be hearing more about:

    The 32-year-old maid told authorities that when she entered his spacious, $3,000-a-night suite early Saturday afternoon, she thought it was unoccupied. Instead, Strauss-Kahn emerged from the bathroom naked, chased her down a hallway and pulled her into a bedroom, where he sexually assaulted her, New York Police Department spokesman Paul J. Browne said.

    The woman told police she fought him off, but then he dragged her into the bathroom, where he forced her to perform oral sex on him and tried to remove her underwear. The woman was able to break free again, escaped the room and told hotel staff what had happened, authorities said.

    I am not in the habit of defending French socialists who travel first class, wear $4000 suits, and stay in $3000 a night hotels, and work for the IMF. Granted rape is a high risk sexual practice and not a particular rational act, but doesn’t oral sex under these circumstances have the potential for…um…bite back?

    If he did it (rape/sexual assault that is), I hope he spends a long time in prison. But before we rush to judgment, it might be good to allow these allegations to be properly investigated.

  9. #9 |  EH | 

    Not sure what “racial overtones” you’re seeing in the DSK case, plus you’re engaging in ad hominem against your interpretation of socialism.

    “Hearing more about?” That story is everywhere.

  10. #10 |  Mattt | 

    A few years ago I did my only stint on a criminal jury. It was trial of 4 young black men charged with armed, home invasion robbery in ***land, a town of perhaps 15,000 in the farm country of central CA where I lived at the time. What an eye opener.

    The victims were convicted drug dealers so this was probably some sort of gang-vs-gang thing. The alleged (I’ll never scoff at that word again) “ringleader” of the robbery was, as he sat before us in court, a lanky, lean, 6’4″ black man who had been 19 at the time of the crime. The defense introduced, during cross examination of a witness, the initial description of the leader of the gang as stated by the victims immediately after the crime: a black male, about 5 foot 9 and stocky in build, about 40 years old with a salt and pepper beard.

    A police officer testified how one victim (who had departed the area and was unavailable to testify himself) had positively identified the 4 accused when they were initially detained outside a convenience store about a mile from the scene and near the home of one of the teens, about a 1/2 hour after the crime. The defense’s first question on cross was: “Is it true that, when you asked the witness if he was certain in his identification, he answered with: ‘Sure, those are the only 4 black guys in ****land.'”…. “Yes.”

    ****land is near the intersection of major freeways, along which alot of drugs travel, and out-of-town robbers who hop on a freeway to make quick getaways are an occasional problem.

    The prosecution took a week to present its case, and the points above indicate how it went. There was *zero* physical evidence introduced to link the accused to the crime. The initial description of the robbers featured 3 dark-skinned black males and one light. 3 of the 4 teenagers sitting before us were light skinned, only the “leader” being of dark complexion. There were big discrepancies between the initial descriptions of the robbers’ clothing, and what the accused were wearing when they were detained a half hour after the crime, and a mile away.

    The prosecution spent 2 days detailing, as far as they were allowed, a few earlier interactions of a couple of the accused with the police and with a school administrator while they were underage, which all basically boiled down to not showing sufficient respect. They tried hard to hint at more serious juvie records that, if they actually exist, I guess were not admissable.

    On Friday morning we were surprised to be escorted into a nearly empty courtroom. The judge had dismissed the charges after the prosecution had rested. He thanked the jury for our service but didn’t want to allow the possibility of us making a mistake (his words). The 4 teenagers were not present, having already been released. They’d spent 11 months in jail awaiting trial.

    On the hopeful side – in addition to the old judge who seemed like the kind of guy you hope to see in this role: the jury was full of central California good-ol-boys and matronly types. The people who keep electing Republican governors of our state – faces and voices who, if you were type-casting a movie, you might assign the roles of jurors who assumed guilt and had to be persuaded. Who might have made the “mistake.” But they seemed about as pissed as I was by the whole farce. I even heard our foreman – a lean, crew-cut old timer who wore a plaid shirt and clean blue jeans to court every day, with a bronze belt buckle that probably weighed a pound – say something along the lines of “What if that was my boy.” There’s hope yet.

    Sorry, proofreading this I’m not sure it’s 100% on topic (it was the issue with the suspect descriptions that prompted me). But I’ve been wanting to tell this story here for a long time.

    To turn it back to topic: reading the story I am actually encouraged that this person got an apology, and the arresting officers were charged. This shit is never going to stop. The best we can hope for is accountability, which should lead toward a better reality. There’s hope yet.

  11. #11 |  Bernard | 

    There’s something odd with that story.

    The fact that it happened in 2003, he spent 3 days in jail but is only suing in 2011 says that something is going on behind the scenes.

    Unless there’s another explanation that I can’t see for an 8 year delay in prosecuting.

  12. #12 |  Mike H | 

    #11 – In lawsuits like these, it’s often better to wait until you get an official apology from the department under your belt before taking a case to trial.

    But, yeah – eight years is an awfully long time, and the delay may work against the plaintiff’s interests here. Who knows? It’ll be an interesting case to follow.

  13. #13 |  Buddy Hinton | 

    Offtopic, bad new SCOTUS decision:,0,6820148.story

  14. #14 |  Highway | 

    Wow, that one’s even worse than the last one.

    So I’m in the bathroom and all of a sudden there’s banging at the door. They keep banging on the door, and of course, my yelled “HOLD ON A SECOND! I’M IN THE BATHROOM!” doesn’t get through because they’re still banging on the door and yelling something, which I can’t hear because I’ve got the bathroom fan on. So I flush the toilet, pull my pants up, go to wash my hands, and now hear sounds of the door being broken down by (maybe uniformed) thugs with guns and loud voices. Obviously, I was flushing ‘evidence’ down the toilet, so they had to bust in!

  15. #15 |  Zeb | 

    #9: ad hominem I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

  16. #16 |  Stick | 

    Is there an IQ test for prospective police, and if there is, does that mean if you score over 65 you’re not allowed to join?

  17. #17 |  croaker | 

    Pretty much, Stick. There was a man in CT who was flushed out of a police appointment because he scored too high on the intelligence test. The man sued, and lost.

  18. #18 |  Stick | 

    @ #17: Fuck. I was smirking when I wrote my comment. A cold shiver ran up my spine when I read yours.