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.