Friday, March 03, 2006

Suit: W.Va. Police Chief Denied Gay Man CPR

Here it is in a nut –graff: CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A small-town police chief was accused in a federal lawsuit Thursday of stopping a would-be rescuer from performing CPR on a gay heart attack victim because he assumed the ailing man had HIV and posed a health risk.”

If you want the full story, just click on this blog’s title.

I like to say that I believe in the concept of "innocent until proven guilty" but it my own life I have seen courts fail to prosecute somebody who's committed grave crimes because of burden of proof. Does this make that person innocent? No, it just protects the innocent person who may be sitting before that jury someday. And now this chief: He’s accused; he’ll face this stigma forever, whether or not he is found innocent by the courts. Why does this happen?

Here’s my theory: This case will ultimately end with a question of “can you prove beyond a doubt that the chief did this,” i.e. “do you have video footage?” While the real question should be motive: Who has a motive to lie here?

In this case, the family of the deceased is making the accusation. In a small town you have nothing to gain by making a claim like this – true or false. A family will be ostracized for being public about something the townies feel is taboo (the man’s homosexuality), the family will be considered sue happy and as having embarrassed the town by bringing out its dirty laundry for the world to see.

While the police chief risks losing his job and more if he says that he did it – notice, I did not say “tell the truth.” But, if one were to lie in this case, the motive is on his side.

And then there’s the bigger issue: That in our society, that this day in age, there is the possibility that somebody’s claim of an action this despicable could actually be true. Now that’s scarier.

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