Innocent Until Proven Otherwise

Now Playing: “Carrowkeel,” by Alison Brown. If you’ve never heard her, you should. Trust me on this one.

Short post today. Got to get rolling on some projects. I read this morning where one of the defendants in the Eve Carson murder case claimed Durham police beat him when they arrested him and got a confession. My first thought: Great. You deserved it, you son of a bitch. (Carson was the UNC student body president who was kidnapped and shot to death. Atwater and another man – he was 17 at the time – are charged with murder.)

That thought was wrong. The key word is “charged.” And one of the enduring great things about this country – and there are many, despite the bitching we do about it sometimes – is that suspects are innocent until proven guilty.

Police have no right to beat anyone, of course, even if they are guilty. I don’t believe they usually do apply greater force than necessary to subdue a suspect. (Two Charlotte cops are my neighbors, and two finer people you could not find. I can also vouch for at least three Matthews police officers.)

Does that mean that police brutality never happens? Of course not. But let’s give them the same benefit of the doubt we give accused criminals.


“I can’t see my reflection in the mirror; I can’t speak the sounds that show no pain; I can’t hear the echoes of my footsteps; and can’t remember the sound of my own name.”
Tomorrow is Such a Long Time, Bob Dylan


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