Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thoughts on The Sentencing in the Henry Glover Case

Today former NOPD officer David Warren was sentenced to 25 years for killing Henry Glover after Hurricane Katrina. Former officer Gregory McRae was given 17 years for setting Mr. Glover’s body on fire after he was killed. I really don’t know how to feel about the sentencing because I always think things would be better for everyone if Henry Glover were still here with his family. Seeing people get long prison sentences really doesn’t do anything for me no matter how awful I think their deed was. Nevertheless this kind of sentence was necessary in a city that is trying to turn the corner on violence and crime. I don’t think the police department can reduce the murder rate on their own. The community has to take the lead in that but the police have to be a big part of it and it’s hard to come to terms with some of the things certain officers have done and cooperate with them. We can’t expect to clean up our neighborhoods with hardcore criminals roaming the streets. We also can’t expect to move the city forward when officers don’t value the life of every citizen. From my perspective today was a positive day.

There’s always going to be extremes on any side of an issue. There are some people in the community including some officers that think these two officers got a raw deal. They will point to the fact everyone was stressed and under pressure during that time and under normal circumstances these men would have never just killed someone and set their body on fire. I think if the stress and pressure was that bad they could have always just quit their job and evacuated. They would be in better shape than they are now. We can’t make excuses for what they did.

The other side is the folks that think both men are getting off easy. They wanted to see double the amount of time handed down. I saw Henry Glover’s aunt saying she expected David Warren to get life. I can understand how the family and others feel. If it was my family I would want a longer sentence too. A longer sentence isn’t going to bring Henry Glover back to life so there’s no such thing as real justice. I see a 25 year sentence and I think to myself that they almost got away with it totally if it wasn’t for news stories about it a few years after the storm. Before that Henry Glover was well on his way to being another random casualty of Katrina’s chaos. I know the family wanted more time but I am glad they at least get some closure. Besides, I don’t think spending 20 years in a federal prison as an ex cop who shot a black man and set his body on fire is no country club visit by a long shot. Both men will have more than enough time to think about what they did and pay for it.

Hopefully soon we can start to put this one behind us and wait for the Danziger seven to get their day in court. If David Warren got 25 years for shooting one black man, it will be interesting to see what happens to the guys that shot a man in the back and tried to take out an entire family. It seems like we never run out of things to deal with down here.

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