Three innocent people are dead and the guilty party has removed himself. However, while individuals benefit from the presumption of probity and innocence until proven guilty, an agent of the state ought to be held to a higher standard and should not be considered immune from the consequences of his actions. Much less should associates participate in a cover-up.
Why might they be tempted to do so? Well, a shared sense of guilt forges a tight bond that looks to be cost free. And that is why the cost of public exposure needs to be imposed.
Finally, it would not hurt for public officials to learn that “tabling” a matter does not get rid of it. Nancy Pelosi tabled the impeachment of George W. Bush. Think of all the agony we would have been saved if he and his cohort had been called to account. For what? For the illegal allocation of dollars slated for action in Afghanistan to planning the invasion of innocent Iraq.
Maybe the presumption of probity does not apply to public servants because their propensity to lie is well known.
Below is an email Cindee Overstreet sent me on 1 December 2015 after I requested a copy of the email Brad Schrade of the AJC sent to the BOC on 30 October 2015. Not until the BOC meeting on 3 December 2015 was there a response to Schrade’s 8 questions in the form of a letter from then-Chair Dale Provenzano written “in the hope of bringing further closure to this subject”. That letter from Provenzano brought no closure and answered none of the questions asked by Schrade.
Why do I keep reminding you of the “tabled” letter from Provenzano on behalf of the commission to Schrade? Because taking it from the table and dealing with it is something the seven of you can actually do. No, I’m not suggesting you answer his questions, though I wish some of you could be brave enough to do so. I’m recommending, as I have before, that you deal with it decisively by asking who actually wrote it and why—and by explaining in public session why you agree it should not have been placed on your consent agenda.
Begin forwarded message:
> Mr. Smith,
> The email you’ve requested is below.
> Cindee Overstreet
> From: Schrade, Brad (CMG-Atlanta)
> Sent: Friday, October 30, 2015 3:32 PM
> To: ‘email@example.com’; ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’; ‘email@example.com’; ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’; ‘email@example.com’; ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’; ‘email@example.com’
> Cc: ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’
> Subject: Questions about the Caroline Small shooting death from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution-Channel 2 Action News
> Dear Glynn County Commissioner,
> I’m a reporter at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. This year the AJC in partnership with Channel 2 Actions News published an investigation of the 2010 police shooting death of Caroline Small by Glynn County Police Department. The story drew national attention to the case and the Glynn County Police Department’s actions. Our investigation revealed the GBI believed the shooting was unjustified and that Glynn County Police interfered with its investigation. The story also revealed that Glynn County Police Department created a factually inaccurate animation of the shooting that was later presented to grand jurors.
> In response to the AJC’s story, Small’s family and some others believe the case should be reopened and presented to a new grand jury.
> We are seeking each of your views on the case as elected representatives of the county, and ask that you please respond to the following questions. The responses will be reported in a forthcoming story about the case. I will also reach out to you by phone.
> 1) Do you think the 2010 shooting death of Caroline Small by Glynn County Police was justified?
> 2) Do you condone the statements made by Glynn County Officers Robert Sasser and Michael Simpson in the moments after they shot Caroline Small? They discussed their marksmanship, talked about watching the shots hit her face and seemed to talk about the shooting as if it were sport.
> 3) Do you endorse the actions of the Glynn County Police Department when its officers interfered with the GBI investigation of the shooting?
> 4) Do you endorse the actions of the Glynn County Police Department when it created a factually inaccurate animation that was later presented to grand jurors?
> 5) Should this case be re-examined?
> 6) Do you support the governor or some other public official asking the GBI to investigate the case and its prosecution?
> 7) Should the Glynn County Commission conduct its own review of the shooting and the police department’s actions?
> 8) Should this case be presented to a second grand jury?
> Thanks for your time and cooperation.
> Brad Schrade
> The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
> (w) 404-526-2875
> (m) 615-554-0776
> Twitter: @bradschrade
> Here are links to the stories and other coverage:
> Link to the AJC story: Did Caroline Small have to die? Published in Atlanta Journal-Constitution on July 5, 2015.
> Link to AJC follow-up: Georgia police shooting sparks ‘justice for Caroline’ Published in Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Sept. 13, 2015.
> Link to AJC story about national coverage: Police shooting death of Georgia mom draws national attention
> Link to WSB-TV story: (Part 1) New questions about handling of GA Police Shooting
> Link to WSB-TV story: (Part 2) New questions about handling of GA Police Shooting
> Link to WSB-TV story: Unlikely Activists call for justice
> Raw dashcam video of shooting: http://goo.gl/QohzsB
> Link to Esquire story: The 35-year-old mother who was shot and killed by police.
> Link to Reason story: Cops shot unarmed Georgia woman in the head
> Link to Washington Post story on Caroline Small shooting.