Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Good help is just so hard to find


What a wonderful time it is for the harmless scapegoating of the folks back at the office. It's a long and decidedly grubby tradition, to be sure. And honest mistakes assuredly do happen, and it's still unclear what happened here.

Yet the utter dissolution of several of these cases upon contact with evidence that had disappeared is rather astonishing. In one case, as soon as an unedited video surfaced of an innocent bystander's arrest near a protest during the Republican National Convention, the case against him came apart (as a great writer once put it) "like cotton candy in a hot tub."
For Mr. Kyne and 400 others arrested that week, video recordings provided evidence that they had not committed a crime or that the charges against them could not be proved, according to defense lawyers and prosecutors.
Among them was Alexander Dunlop, who said he was arrested while going to pick up sushi.

Last week, he discovered that there were two versions of the same police tape: the one that was to be used as evidence in his trial had been edited at two spots, removing images that showed Mr. Dunlop behaving peacefully. When a volunteer film archivist found a more complete version of the tape and gave it to Mr. Dunlop's lawyer, prosecutors immediately dropped the charges and said that a technician had cut the material by mistake.
A postscript from Crimenotes: A friend of Cole Slaw Blog was wrongfully arrested during the RNC. When she claimed her innocence, one cop twisted her arm and tightened the handcuffs. She ended up with nerve damage. Aside from the people who go to Bowery Bar, there aren't many things about New York that make me furious. This is one of them.

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