Local law professor speaks about justice system
A week after the Grand Jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri, another Grand Jury in New York decided not to indict an officer after he choked a man to death.
Both decisions have led to mass protests across the country.
Law professor Bill Schroeder spends his days at a desk thumbing through law books.
He says it is our responsibility to know our governing laws.
Like Graham v. Connor which states in part:
“Use reasonable force in all the circumstances of the situation, including the severity of the crime,” said Schroeder.
It is the governing law that pertains to the officer involved deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
“The Grand Jury should have been read that law,” said Schroeder.
Schroeder feels the law was upheld in Missouri, but not in New York, where the Grand Jury declined to indict a New York City officer after he choked an unarmed man to death.
Racial Justice Coalition spokesperson Cathy Fields is disappointed in the outcome of both cases.
“People should be outraged,” said Fields.
She says the issue is racism.
“We’re interested in policing in the courts, we’re interested in racial justice in our schools,” said Fields.
Schroeder agrees police brutality exists, but says the books prove it is not all race-related.
He says it is difficult to indict a law enforcement officer.
“If you say the magic phrase, ‘I was in fear of my life,’ then you can justify deadly force,” said Schroeder.
He urges us all to get reading to know and understand the laws that govern us.
The Racial Justice Coalition of Carbondale held a meeting to discuss tackling issues of racism in their own community.