Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Beating Case

The main story in today's Daily reports that a hung jury and therefore a mistrial has resulted from the trial of two Palo Alto Police officers charged with felony assault and misdemeanor battery. Officers Craig Lee and Michael Kan were in the beating of 62 year-old Albert Hopkins.
Hopkins, according to reports, had refused a request to show identification and had become belligerant. Earlier both officers were cleared by an police department internal investigation. The jury deadlocked, with four members voting to acquit and eight voting to convict.

Racism charges had been leveled by Hopkins' defenders owing to the fact that Hopkins is an African-American and the officers are not--both officers are Asian. Attorney's for both sides asserted that the case was not about race; A situation the defense would never acknowledge even if true, and one which the prosecution would be hard-pressed to deliver on. Some of the jurors said that the verdict was in fact due to racism. The basis for that belief seems to come about because the the jurors voting to acquit were Asian. The Daily News does not say what the race was of other jurors or if they were probed about their racial opinions.

During the trial comparisons were made between the Hopkins case and the Rodney King beating. The Daily News awkwardly frames the matter like this:

"Hopkins was sitting in his parked car with his shoes off when police aproached him. He said he was resting on the way home from work. Los Angeles police were videotaped beating King in 1991, after a 110 mph car chase on the freeway."

In this case the comparison simply means one sentence following another.


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