Friday, March 26, 2010

Missed Opportunity in the Murder of Deandre F. Green

It happened again…! Another “missed opportunity” -- I can’t stand it anymore, it’s really quite unbelievable.  It seems that a week doesn’t pass where there is a case that comes through my email, the airwaves, the news, or online where I hear about some major downfall in the criminal justice system.

I am not here to bash cops, prosecutors, judges, or anyone else who puts their lives out there to insure that we are safe. But for heaven’s sake - what is going on? Work in this field is not for the weak, the lazy, the dispassionate, or the uninterested.  The failures and snafus that occur in the criminal justice arena are far too costly and too dangerous, and are occurring far too often.

So, what is it this week?  This week it is the case of the little Deandre F. Green who was allegedly murdered by his mother’s live-in boyfriend, Hector Ernest Jr.  A quick look at comments around the blogsphere shows people are asking,  “Where was mom?”  They are pointing the finger at her negligence, beyond ill caring of her child. But what about dad? We are not hearing much about him perhaps because he did the RIGHT THING.  Dad, Deandre Franks, stepped up to the plate, did what he was supposed to do: called the police, went to station, made a report to the Hawthorne police (and Department of Children and Family Services). All these efforts seemed to have fallen on DEAF ears.

I cannot explain why dad was not believed or taken seriously. Frankly, there is no excuse that will make me - or the surviving family - rest.  This is a case of serious physical abuse. Prior injuries were visible at the time of the little boys death. No one (who had the power or ability) did a darn thing about it prior to the DEATH of the child.  This is atrocious.

Everyday people make reports to me about their abuse, both current and past. The first thing I do is to tell them to call the authorities — the police, Department of Children and Family Services, DA’s, everyone and anyone until someone does something.  Giving this advice is risky business in this day and age. I am risking advising people to do what they are supposed to do only to find that the authorities don't hold up their end of the bargain.  It seems that there are way more cases of the system dropping the ball than ever before.  Or is it my imagination?

Every day we hear talking heads discuss what can we do to change the system -- what laws need to be passed to get the Gardeners and Garridos of the world off the street.  While everyone seems to be rallying for tougher laws, I am saying lets just work with the freakin’ laws we have  on the books already - and let's do that correctly.  Is that so much to ask?

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