EXCERPT: The Miraculous Acquittal Of Lt. Josey


Best I can tell, there’s some unspoken cop rule that says at the end of every car chase everyone gets a chance to kick and/or punch the perp, preferably when he’s down. I’m sure this is both a satisfying and effective way of working off all the adrenaline — not to mention the ‘roid rage — that builds up during one of those high-speed-squealing-tires-white-knuckle car chases. Plus, it sends a very clear message to everyone who’s not a cop: You run, you will get beat.

Respect must be paid.

Now, before we go any further, let me be clear: I don’t hate cops. They’re family. I know firsthand how relentlessly overworked and grossly underpaid they are. I have nothing but respect for the awful burden they have volunteered to shoulder. It ain’t all shootouts and car chases and beatdowns, either. It’s mostly a lot of cleaning up society’s messes: drunks, fuck-ups, assorted jackasses and, more often than not, seriously dangerous people.

For this, I am eternally grateful. We all are. Give ‘em a raise, I say.

However, wearing a badge and carrying a gun grants you awesome power in this or any society. And with great power comes great responsibility. Cops are paid to be better than the assholes they deal with every day. When that covenant is breached there is a terrible price to be paid. Depending on the size of the breach, that price can range from a chewing out to a suspension to a dismissal or jail time. That’s the way the system is supposed to work. And when it does it sends a very clear message: It is morally impossible to be above the law while simultaneously upholding it and you will be brought low for even trying.

So when a hulking cop — a white shirt, no less — lands a killshot haymaker upside the skull of a woman a third his size with enough force to knock her flat on her back, on a crowded city street, in broad daylight, ON VIDEOTAPE, and it goes viral, so the D.A. has no choice but to bring him up on assault charges, and the whole thing ends with a judge ruling him not guilty of punching a woman in the face despite the videotape of him punching a woman in the face, to the deafening cheers of his brother cops that have packed the courtroom — well, it feels like the system failed us. MORE