Friday, December 10, 2010
A Bit of Justice For Henry
The verdict came in for the Henry Glover trial yesterday evening. Three officers were found guilty for killing Mr. Glover, burning his body, and trying to cover it up. Two other officers were acquitted and get to go home to their families. Yesterday when the verdicts were being announced there were a lot of people who were pissed at the fact that David Warren who pulled the trigger and Greg McRae who burned the body weren’t convicted of first degree murder. Warren was convicted of manslaughter and McRae was convicted of civil rights violation for burning Mr. Glover’s body. Personally, I will take these results as a victory for justice because the truth is that there isn’t a good track record of officers being brought to justice for killing black people. I honestly expected all of the defendants to be going home with their families after the verdict.
I didn’t expect any convictions in this case. I was ready for a hung jury. This is not like the Danziger case where there is almost no gray area in what happened. The Henry Glover story in our world was a bit fuzzier. Henry Glover was a “would be looter” like our local newspaper called him a few weeks ago when the trial started. It was Katrina and people were under a lot of stress. The reason of Officer McRae says he burned his body was because he was tired and stressed from seeing all of the things he did during the time. I fully expected that jury to get behind closed doors and have at least four of them to think to themselves that it was totally understandable how these officers did what they did. Besides, it’s not like they kicked in the door of a man’s home or shot up a family like the Danziger cops did. Henry Glover was a looter and a lot of people in this area agree that looters should be treated like animals.
When I think about like that the verdicts yesterday are disappointing but don’t seem like a travesty at all. The officer that killed Oscar Grant in Oakland was on film and wasn’t convicted of murder so a manslaughter conviction in this case under the circumstances is a win for justice. Maybe I have the bar set too low when it comes to the justice system and my community but we have to start somewhere if things are going to change. As I have said before, just because there's a crime problem in our community doesn't mean that anyone gets to compromise our rights and dignity because of it. This is especially true if the same people responsible for helping end the crime problem are the ones who are going to compromise my rights. How are we supposed to know who to trust under those circumstances?
We still don’t know what the sentences are yet but at least Henry Glover’s family has it on public record that wrong was done to him. Hopefully during the sentencing phase the system doesn’t pull a fast one and have these men spend less time in jail than people do in Orleans Parish for traffic tickets. If they do we’ll be right back to square one. No matter how this case and the others on the horizon turn out we still have a long way to go. I just hope it happens during my lifetime.