Fred Grimm: The jury that saved Miami. (Constitutional Rights Be Damned)

The jury decided that the Miami cop was guilty. It wasn’t so much a verdict as a reprieve.

As the Dade County jurors — four white, two black — finished their deliberations on that other Pearl Harbor Day, 25 years ago, nearly everyone in the city was mindful that their verdict carried explosive potential.

Miami’s black neighborhoods had erupted 11 months earlier, after Officer William Lozano shot a speeding motorcyclist in Overtown, killing the young black driver with a bullet to the head. A passenger on the back of the bike was fatally injured…

…On Dec. 7, 1989, apprehension hung over this battered tourist town like a storm cloud — up until the moment the jury said “guilty,” rejecting the policeman’s self-defense argument. Lozano had testified that he feared the oncoming motorcyclist was attempting to run him down.

It was the “right” verdict not because the law was followed, not because justice was served. It was the “right” verdict because we did not catch a riot because people did not like the jury’s decision. It was politically convenient therefore worth the trampling of the Defendant’s rights in order to save the everybody’s plans for the upcoming weekend (I am figuring some Christmas shopping to be done) or maybe just to keep the Black politicians quiet for once.

The tone of satisfaction in Fred Grimm’s column is worrisome but not unexpected. By now we know Intelligentsia has decided that Rights are applied according to which political/intellectual side of the street you are to be identified in and disregarding Equal Protection.

The pre-trial coverage of the case was as bad or worse than we saw with Zimmerman and the constant threat of more riots was told over and over via the news.  Even with such a poisonous atmosphere, the judge refused to move the rial to another jurisdiction and proceeded with the event that lead to the original verdict of guilty.

The Lozano case was appealed and a new trial ordered because the original judge refused to change venue.  Five of the six juries admitted that they were deeply affected by the possibility of riots if they found Lozano not-guilty.  On retrial, the case was so weak, the defense attorney not only trounced the prosecution’s witnesses, he didn’t even bothered to present witnesses for the defense. Officer Lozano was found not guilty.

Constitutional Rights: To be applied as directed by the Selected Few. Isn’t that a scary thought.

6 Replies to “Fred Grimm: The jury that saved Miami. (Constitutional Rights Be Damned)”

  1. Having looked at the details of the case, the cop deserved to be found guilty.

    Ignoring the driver of the bike, the passenger was flat out murdered. Maybe, giving the cop the benefit of the doubt, it was negligent homicide. The cop would have had to have known that shooting the guy driving the bike would cause it to fall over. At a high rate of speed, the passenger on the back would have suffered serious injuries, in this case, he was killed.

    A cop (or anybody really) can shoot at an aggressor to save his own life, but allowing a passenger to die in crash is not legit self defense.




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  2. My take away is that juries can be corrupted simply by the threat of riots and violence over their decision. All the more reason that rioters/looters should be dealt with by the use of severe or even deadly force by police or National Guard and not the sit back and watch it burn approach they have been taking.

    Once a crowd goes violent and endangering innocents and property (remember arson can be deadly), they should no longer expect to be treated as mere protestors. They crossed the bright line.

    In the case above, sorry J- but I do not expect anyone, including police, to sacrifice themselves when under such a threat, even if a potentially innocent person might be harmed. There can still be legal repercussions from harming an innocent, but it is not reasonable to ask them to forgo self-defense entirely.




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    1. First, I wan’t to make it clear that I am not siding with the Ferguson protestors or anything.

      But, I have to admit that I – as a upper-middle class, white, male – hate cops with a the passion and vehemency as the poorest, black kid in the ghetto.

      My default assumption is that every word out of every cop’s mouth is a lie, and every act of violence by a cop is unjustified brutality. I don’t think it is a racial thing. I believe the greatest form of evil is the desire to have power over others, and police are just that, the strong arm of power over others.

      You can tell me I’m wrong, I’ve heard that before. And, for the record, I am pro-law and order. My problem is an age old question: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes. Who watches the watchmen? The answer in this country is: not nearly enough people with the power to do anything about it.

      My biggest fear is not a mugger or a home invader. I live in a nice neighborhood, with an alarm system. I have a CCW permit and a gun close by most of the time. What I fear is the cop shooting my dogs in the back yard, or the SWAT team kicking down my door and throwing a flashbang into my son’s crib because oops, they hit the house on Kellogg Place not Kellogg Court.

      They police have too much power, too many weapons, too much bad attitude, and not enough brains.

      The great English Jurist, William Blackstone said the goal of a fair judicial system is (paraphrasing) “would rather have 10 guilty men go free than 1 innocent man suffer.” My feeling is, I’d rather have 10 cops get killed than 1 innocent man or dog get killed. If that is too much to ask, don’t become a cop. If that means we live in a country without cops, I really don’t see how that would make most neighborhoods any worse off.




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      1. Try living in a country with a really, really bad, corrupt, and inefficient police force- coupled with really, really bad gun laws.

        In much of the world walls, razor wire, window bars, and a couple of private security guards are absolutely mandatory, and even then one hesitates to leave the house unattended.




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  3. I suppose the unbiased, even-handed paragon of justice, the unnamed trial judge went on to live a long and happy life with an eventual retirement?

    And William Lozano spent how many days in prison while his appeal was considered?




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