Guilty! GUILTY! Not guilty?

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The cop who body-checked the New York City cyclist off his bike and starred in the resulting YouTube video has been found guilty of lying but not of assault. We think this is better than the other way around, which might’ve been the verdict had no video existed. But the case is the perfect encapsulation of New York justice, which is a little like Dylan’s Jersey, where anything’s legal as long as you don’t get caught.

First, the cyclist, Chris Long, says: “I don’t think he ever really intended to assault me.” OK, um, then why file assault charges?

Then this gem from the cop’s lawyer, talking about the cop’s report on the incident (wherein he lied): “The important part to remember is, regardless of what’s on these documents, if at the time you filled them out you believe you’re being truthful, then that’s really all that should matter.” So … we should leave the decision about whether someone is lying up to the accused liar himself? Isn’t this why we have trials and juries — to determine whether someone is lying? Couldn’t someone just shoot someone else and say, I didn’t know at the time I was shooting him!?

The ultimate puzzler is how the jury could find the cop guilty of lying but not of assault. Perhaps they’re fans of George Clooney in the “Ocean’s 11” remake. When accused by ex-wife Julia Roberts of being a liar and a thief, Clooney offers the defense: “I only lied about being a thief” (at 1:43 in video below).

Case closed!

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2 thoughts on “Guilty! GUILTY! Not guilty?”

  1. New York apparently has different legal standards than the rest of society, otherwise you have a jury that lied too, convicting a cop on lying but not the obvious conclusion from the lie. Where’s Franz Kafka when you need him??

  2. I saw someone else write about the idea of “jury nullification,” where even though the jury believes the evidence, they might be reluctant to convict someone if they don’t think it *should* have been a crime. In this case, the speculation is because the defendant was a cop and the victim was self-admittedly a jerk.

    But at least the lying charge is a felony, while the assault is only a misdemeanor.

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