Friday, January 25, 2008

And in Local News

Five year old gets handcuffed by police:

"A 5-year-old boy was handcuffed and hauled off to a psych ward for misbehaving in kindergarten - but the tot's parents say NYPD school safety agents are the ones who need their heads examined.

"He's 5 years old. He was scared to death," Dennis Rivera's mother, Jasmina Vasquez, told the Daily News. "You cannot imagine what it's done to him."

"Dennis - who suffers from speech problems, asthma and attention deficit disorder - never went back to class at Public School 81 in Queens after the traumatic incident.

"His mom and a school source said Dennis threw a tantrum inside the Ridgewood school at 11 a.m. on Jan. 17.

"Dennis was taken to the principal's office, where he apparently knocked items off a desk.
Rather than calling the boy's parents, a school safety agent cuffed the boy's small hands behind his back using metal restraints, the school source said.

"The agent and school officials then called an ambulance to take the tot to Elmhurst Hospital Center for a mental evaluation."

It could have been worse, he could have been shot 50 times.

Speaking of Sean Bell, after the Judge tossed out the change of venue motion, the police officers' defense attorney has waived his clients' right to a trial by jury, opting for a judge hearing:

"Michael Palladino, the president of the city's detectives union, says he believes a trial by jury would not be fair to the detectives. "I think the people of Queens were hit with an avalanche of negative publicity, and of course the comments by the mayor and the antics and the theatrics of the Reverend Al Sharpton," said Palladino.

"Dominic Carter: And so you thought the officers couldn't get a fair trial?

"Palladino: Absolutely, I thought there was irreparable damage done to that jury pool."

Sharpton, of course, chimed in:

"Police should be accountable to the people they serve. It is interesting they would be accountable to people in another venue, but in Queens they do not want to face the people."

While I think Sharpton does make a good point I wonder from a strategic perspective if the defense isn't making a bad move. While the judge did toss out the change of venue motion he also said that they could revisit the motion after the jury has been selected. Would it have been better to take the roll and see what kind of jury they could find, and then, if the jury seemed inordinately biased try for a change again? Or does a judge hearing favor the police?

And finally Bloomberg's got budget issues:

"With an already dim fiscal picture turning darker, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on Thursday proposed a budget that would increase spending by 3.7 percent but cut money from every city department, from sanitation to schools."

I know it's not exactly his fault, but this isn't the type of thing you want lingering above a possible presidential run, is it?

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