06 December 2018

A Fine Piece of Police Work (2002)

[Passage from my journal, written 12:21 a.m. on 6 December 2002]
’ve been mostly sleeping the past few days, or weeks, or whatever, so everything’s kind of screwed up. Today I got up at five in the afternoon (Darryl was at the door), watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer from six to eight mostly up in my room, and then something on Court TV called The Interrogation of Michael Crowe. This was a fascinating account of how the police somewhere in southern California framed a kid for the murder of his sister by convincing him that he must have done the murder even though he didn’t remember it and urging him to give a false confession so that the system would show him some leniency. “You have my personal guarantee that the help you need will be forthcoming” said the detective, if the kid gave a detailed confession. They had an avalanche of evidence, he claimed, that would bury him. What disgusts me about the whole thing is not that they picked on the kid in the first place—that he did it was not an unreasonable hypothesis after all—but that they decided to go for this bogus confession rather than do any actual investigatory work. The police actually had in their hands (as it turned out) a shirt with Stephanie Crowe’s blood on it that belonged to a transient who was in the area that night, and who may well have been the guilty party. (At the very least he has some explaining to do.) But the police took the short cut of going for the confession rather than looking for evidence, which is slipshod work at best (confessions are never as reliable as hard evidence). And the upshot of this fine piece of police work was that they put a bereaved family through hell and let the real killer of this little girl (she was twelve years old) go free. Even when they had the solid evidence in their hands the authorities screwed around for awhile apparently trying to figure out if they couldn’t come up with something to save their asses. [5/6 Dc 2002]

No comments:

Copyright © 2005-2021