Friday, June 17, 2011

The Blue Shirts of Phoenix

Watch the following video and pay attention to how the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association representative behaves:


The facts of the above case (in case you were not paying attention) are these:

  1. Both Officer Richard Chrisman and Officer Sergio Virgillo responded to a domestic disturbance call.
  2. The call was made by Elvira Fernandez, Daniel Rodriguez’s mother, who was probably frightened by her son’s behavior.  Apparently, a toxicology report indicates that Daniel Rodriguez had been using methamphetamine before the incident.
  3. Officer Richard Chrisman Tased Rodriguez, shot the family dog, and then shot Rodriguez in cold blood.
  4. The police were lawfully in the house at the time as Elvira Fernandez had let them in.  I suppose she felt a greater danger from her son at the time.
  5. Officer Richard Chrisman was a member of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association and was up to date on his dues.  Officer Sergio Virgillo was not a member.
  6. Officer Sergio Virgillo had been on the force for about fourteen years at the time while Officer Richard Chrisman had been on the force for nine years.
  7. Officer Richard Chrisman had been caught five years prior planting a crack pipe on a mentally ill homeless woman.  Had he been fired then, the city of Phoenix might not have had this terrible tragedy take place.
  8. The incident took place on October 5th, 2010.
  9. Officer Chrisman was not terminated until March of this year.  He has also been charged with second-degree murder, but was charged on October 14, 2010.  Why he was not at least put on unpaid leave with a murder charge pending is beyond me.
  10. Elvira Fernandez is now suing the city of Phoenix for the wrongful death of her son to the tune of 30 million dollars.  I hope she gets every penny.
  11. Meanwhile, the PLEA has held a fundraiser for Officer Chrisman.

While I know that people like Officer Chrisman are rare, as many police will go through their entire career without discharging their weapon while on duty, much less kill anyone, it is absolutely disgusting that the PLEA would discount the eye-witness testimony of another police officer.  The reason for doing so is obvious: because Officer Virgillo refuses to be part of their club and give them money, he is subject to the same treatment as the rest of us.

The language that Frank Marino used in the video reminds of the language that defense attorneys use for their clients who happen to be mafia bosses.  He cited commonly used phrases like “due process” and “innocent until proven guilty”, all of which are necessary concepts for a free society, but at the same time cannot be applied selectively.

The I see this whole incident is really just what happens when have a criminal organization operating in a city.  What the PLEA has done in this case is nothing more than demonstrate that they are willing to protect murderers and thugs, so long as they pay their dues and have a badge.  They are quick to stand by their officers, but any police officers who are not members of their organization are subject to suspicion and mockery.

This is one more reason why I do not trust the police anymore.  I used to believe that they represented the fine line between chaos and order, but now I believe them to be nothing more than oppressive force of government in action.

The only way I see any of this getting fixed is to lift the protections we have given law enforcement officers off of them.  In other words, we should allow people to sue the officers personally, have them investigated by outside parties when a crime is alleged, and ensure that videotaping police activity is mandatory and handled by a third party.  Only then will psycho-cops like Officer Chrisman will be marginalized enough where they will do the least harm.  And besides, a free-society should demand strict standards from their law-enforcement agents.

There is one silver lining in this horrible story: that Officer Chrisman was charged with murder and he was fired from the police force.  At the very least, this indicates some level of accountability and autonomy from the PLEA at the top of Phoenix law enforcement.  Imagine if this had been in a city or state where the an association like the PLEA held much more sway over top officials.  That would mean that a murdering psychopath like Officer Chrisman would have free reign over the rest of those unfortunate enough to cross his pass.

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