Brickbat: Mum's the Word


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Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman blames Minneapolis cops for the lack of charges against police officer Mohamed Noor, saying investigators have given him nothing he can use. Noor shot Justine Damond after she'd called to report a woman screaming outside her house. In remarks to local activists, Freeman singled out Noor's partner. "He (Noor) won't answer my questions and he doesn't have to. We all have fifth amendment rights. I can't talk to her because she's gone, and the other cop just gave us shit," he said.

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  1. Innocence has never been so presumptuous.

  2. Well, Merry Christmas to you, too, Reason!

    (At least they’re not blaming the grand jury for the failure to bring charges)

  3. Well, Reason certainly is getting into the Christmas spirit, putting Hinkle’s Santa Claus article (of all things) behind a paywall. 🙁

    1. Well, to be fair, the article *is* about how Santa is getting out of the gift-giving business.

      Santa needs to get his beak wet, it seems.

      1. Oh, now it’s out from behind the paywall. Ho, ho, ho!

  4. There’s a body, and ballistics. Any competent prosecutor could get the shooter convicted on that alone.


    1. Split second decision, the cop reasonably feared for his safety, he thought there might have been a gun… case dismissed!

      The cops know all the magic words.

      1. The prosecutor just has to prove that his fear was unreasonable.

        1. i.e., how is it “reasonable” to fear a gun that is/was not there? How often do you imagine things that aren’t there, Officer Noor?

  5. Give the other cop (the non-shooter) an “immunity bath.” Tell him he has to answer questions about the incident or lose his job and go to prison. In exchange, his answers won’t be used against him, but the answers *will* be used against his colleague.

  6. “He (Noor) won’t answer my questions and he doesn’t have to. We all have fifth amendment rights.”

    Sounds like someone is trying to get on the cops’ good side.

    Of course cops can be compelled to speak when it’s their job. At the very least by threats of losing their job if they won’t. Even if they must be granted immunity (and they better be unemployed civilians at that point…) it should only cover their testimony, and anything they omit should be used against them.

    1. You can’t blame the poor prosecutor. This happens all the time. When someone doesn’t want to talk, all he can do is shrug and walk away. His hands are tied. Surely nobody here is implying that he isn’t trying as hard because the perp is a cop, right?

  7. The Fifth Amendment only protects against the compulsion to self-incriminate. The non-shooting cop is not a suspect to any crime I’m aware of involving this incident.

    The Fifth Amendment won’t protect someone’s job though. Refusing to assist in the investigation of a homicide should be grounds for termination for any person in the criminal justice system.

    1. It’s a tradeoff – even if the guy isn’t the shooter he has at least potential criminal exposure. Under dunphy’s precious Garrity decision, and supplemental decisions, if you order the witness/cop to testify, you’ll have to give him immunity – at least to the extent that you can’t use his answers (or leads uncovered by those answers) in a criminal prosecution.

      If there’s no plan to prosecute the witness/cop, this would be a sacrifice worth making, IMHO.

      1. Again, you can use the witness’s answers against the shooter, just not against the witness himself.

        1. IMHO, as a practical matter, we live in the age of three felonies a day and ambitious, not-necessarily-scrupulous prosecutors. The Fifth Amendment isn’t limited to the guilty, it protects innocent people whose admissions could be twisted to make them look guilty (“he admits he was on 2nd Street on the day of the drug bus there!” “He admits he met with the Elbonian ambassador – he says it was an innocent meeting, but I argue that it was to sell secrets!”).

          1. Finally, a prosecutor’s unwillingness to offer an immunity deal should also make the witness nervous about his criminal exposure. If the prosecutor reserves the right to use his testimony against him, why should he want to testify? Unless he really trusts the prosecutor, of course.

          2. Let’s keep in mind that the “people” referred to here are agents of the state. Now the rules that were supposed to protect the citizenry from the state are being used to do the opposite, and deprive the citizens of justice.

            The real problem is the irrational world you started with, where the state has unlimited power with their ability to manufacture crimes against anyone. I.e. rule of man. Trying to come up with a system that works with that is futile.

    2. The Fifth Amendment only protects against the compulsion to self-incriminate. The non-shooting cop is not a suspect to any crime I’m aware of involving this incident.

      Look up Ohio v. Reiner.

      1. Short version is that you can still claim the fifth even if you’re not a suspect and are innocent of wrongdoing if there’s a reasonable apprehension that your testimony could be used to accuse you of wrongdoing in the future.

    3. Isn’t this obstruction of justice?

  8. Merry Christmas Charles and Reasonoids.

  9. “He (Noor) won’t answer my questions and he doesn’t have to. We all have fifth amendment rights. I can’t talk to her because she’s gone, and the other cop just gave us shit,” he said.

    What the actual fuck? You mean I can walk into your office, shoot your secretary in the fucking head, and as long as I don’t say a word there’s not a goddamn thing you can do about it? I seriously doubt that – charge the guy with manslaughter, he shot and killed somebody. There’s no evidence whatsoever that the victim was attacking him and he was defending himself, how hard can it be to prove – regardless of whether it was accidental or reckless – the guy killed somebody he shouldn’t have killed?

    1. Let his Fifth Amendment right to silence try to defend him in court that he had a good reason to shoot – there’s no disputing that the woman’s dead and he killed her, the presumption of innocence is right out the window. The only thing that could save him would be that he had a “good enough” (for a cop) reason to shoot and if he won’t speak, it’s going to be pretty damn difficult to prove that case.

  10. The police (and the rest of our judicial system) have the complete lack of respect that they have worked so very hard to earn.

    Well, they have the respect I’d give any armed, belligerent, mad dog thug with a pardon in their back pocket.

  11. Never talk to the police, even if you are one:

    1. Great video/ lecture, thanks!

  12. If this were you or me, the “witness” would be hauled in and charged with felony murder, conspiracy, accessory, etc., and then offered a sweet deal in exchange for testimony. Maybe the prosecutor isn’t aware of these tactics, but I rather doubt it.

  13. Next step: Summary execution.

    It was a sentence good enough for Noor to pass on Justine Damond. . .

    It’s a sentence good enough to be passed on Noor.

    Fair is fair. Equal Protection, and all that.

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