Friday, December 9

Butterfield's boo-hooing boo-boo

When Fox Butterfield's China: Alive in the Bitter Sea came out in 1982, it was a blast of fresh air. It's hard to conceive of how breathlessly pro-Chinese intellectuals and the media were after Nixon's normalization of diplomatic relations.

Twenty years later, he wrote As Drug Use Drops in Big Cities, Small Towns Confront Upsurge, which ends with this:
It may be impossible to compare the ravages of the new wave of rural drugs with the crack epidemic in big cities in the late 1980's and early 1990's. But experts say the small populations of rural counties often magnify the impact, making it more personal.

On Dec. 26, in Prentiss, Officer Ron Jones, 29, called his father, Ronald N. Jones, the police chief, for permission to get a search warrant for an apartment where an informer had told him there was crack. An hour later, as Officer Jones led a team into the apartment, he was shot in the abdomen. The suspect in the shooting, Cory Maye, has been charged with capital murder.

"The hardest thing for me is that I'm the one who gave him the approval," Chief Jones said.

His son had been taking classes in drug enforcement and was the town's K-9 officer.

"He thought he could clean Prentiss up," Chief Jones said. "He honestly gave his life trying to make a difference."
Some difference. However, as Radley Balko summarizes,
Cops mistakenly break down the door of a sleeping man, late at night, as part of drug raid. Turns out, the man wasn't named in the warrant, and wasn't a suspect. The man, frightened for himself and his 18-month old daughter, fires at an intruder who jumps into his bedroom after the door's been kicked in. Turns out that the man, who is black, has killed the white son of the town's police chief. He's later convicted and sentenced to death by a white jury. The man has no criminal record, and police rather tellingly changed their story about drugs (rather, traces of drugs) in his possession at the time of the raid.
His whole description of the story is worth reading.

As Steve Alexander says,
why doesn't the Hollywood crowd take up the cause of a truly wronged black man on death row, instead of real criminals like Tookie and Mumia?

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