New York City juries may be the place of intellectuals, sophisticates and metrosexuals, but that doesn’t mean they don’t like their cops. Or at least, accept the premise that working the thin blue line is simply too hard and challenging to expect much by way of discretion and restraint.
Walter Harvin was an Iraqi war vet on his way to see his mother in the Hostas Houses on West 93rd Street when Police Officer David London decided to play doorman. It’s nothing unusual for a person who seeks entry into a project without a key to be questioned by police as to his business. and required to show identification. Harvin doesn’t appear to be the most cooperative person. From there, things got ugly. Via David Feige at Indefensible :
Naturally, Officer London wrote it up as him defending himself from Harvin:
The confrontation started, Officer London testified, when he was closing the front door to the housing project as Mr. Harvin tried to squeeze in. Officer London said he asked Mr. Harvin for identification or proof that he lived in the building, and Mr. Harvin immediately became irate, swearing at him and refusing to stop.
Officer London said he struck the first blow after Mr. Harvin lunged toward him. Officer London said he thought Mr. Harvin was about to punch him, and he continued to strike Mr. Harvin while he was on the ground because he continued to thrash around and yell threats.
Long story short, the charges against Harvin were dropped after the video appeared and Officer London was prosecuted. This video was played for the jury.
Officer London, who has been on desk duty since the episode in July 2008, showed no emotion as the forewoman read the words “not guilty” on each of the counts against him: second-degree assault, filing false records, falsifying business records and making a false written statement.
But moments later, Officer London — flanked by his lawyers, Stephen C. Worth and Cary London, who is not related to the officer — bowed in his seat and sobbed, clutching crumpled tissue and a small red Bible in his fist.
“I’d like to thank God and my family,” Officer London said in a soft voice outside the courtroom after exchanging tearful embraces with his supporters.
The bible was a nice touch, no? Not guilty on all counts, including the false allegations used to initiate the prosecution against Harvin, alleging that London was attacked.
And note the success of police union lawyer Steve Worth. While his co-counsel, Cary London, isn’t related to the defendant, the 2010 admission is related to Stuart London, who was busy at the time defending Patrick Pogan from the Big Shove. Defending cops on behalf of the Union is a great family business, even if daddy Stuart wasn’t as successful in getting Pogan off for the false allegations against his victim, Christopher Long. Still, given the sentence of conditional discharge, it’s not like New Yorkers don’t appreciate their cops.
And what’s the lesson here? From the mouth of Steve Worth:
Mr. Worth said, “We’re happy people are realizing police work doesn’t always look pretty, but that is the nature of the job.”
It’s just the nature of the beast. Freedom isn’t free, you know.
H/T Lee Stonum