Chad Perrin: SOB

10 June 2008

woman charged with felony child endangerment, apparently because off-duty cop shot child

Filed under: Liberty — apotheon @ 03:43

The questionable shootings by police officers just keep rolling in.

Rachel Silva, driving with her eight year old son in the car, rolled out of a Shell station without stopping. Off-duty officer Frank White reportedly had to swerve into another lane to avoid hitting Silva’s car. Silva then apparently tailgated White’s car into a parking lot, at which point he asked his wife to dial 911.

Silva pulled her car in front of White’s, blocking it. She then maneuvered her car so that it was beside White’s, close enough so he couldn’t open his door, and he pointed a revolver at her, shouting “Police! You need to stop!”. White then backed away from Silva’s car, and she called 911 herself, telling the dispatcher “There’s a guy who’s pointing a gun at me.”

White started to open his door to get out of his car, and Silva drove in reverse, striking White’s rear-view mirror and the left rear side of his car. Considering the circumstances, and the fact she had no reason to believe a man pointing a gun at her out of uniform was actually a police officer, it seems likely to me that she was trying to keep him from getting out of his car because she feared for her life. That’s just a guess based on the circumstances, though — I have no way of knowing for sure.

Here’s where it gets really fun.

White fired into her car as it passed him, breaking the windows in both his door and the passenger side door of Silva’s car with the first shot, and hitting her son. He then fired four more times through the windshield of her car, hitting her twice.

Now, she’s being charged with felony child endangerment, misdemeanor DUI, and misdemeanor marijuana possession.

I guess I can see child endangerment, considering the tailgating, pulling into traffic without stopping, and DUI. The child endangerment charge was apparently predicated upon backing into the side of White’s car, though — which one might consider a (poorly thought out) attempt to protect herself and the child. I guess she’s to blame for the fact an off-duty cop shot her child, because that’s the only way I can see giving her child endangerment for the stated reasons they charged her.

Judging by what I’ve read, seen, and heard (I initially became aware of this incident because I saw mention of it on a television news program), the off-duty cop should definitely be charged with something. He pointed a gun when he didn’t need to, he fired when he didn’t need to, and an eight year old boy took a bullet in the leg because of it.

Apparently, the DA’s office couldn’t even justify charging her with assault — the only way I could see justifying letting the police officer get away with shooting a kid, because it would indicate he had a justifiable fear for his safety. So, legally, there’s no justification for his shooting, but it’s the woman’s fault he fired anyway. That’s just great.

Silva did a lot of things wrong, but this is ridiculous. That officer needs to face some charges too.

Links:

Woman shot by cop charged with felony

Woman shot by cop charged with child endangerment

Is Hans Reiser guilty, or isn’t he?

Filed under: Geek,Liberty,Miscellaneous — apotheon @ 02:07

An article published on the Wired Blog Network this week is titled Hans Reiser Offers To Lead Cops to Nina’s Body. In previous articles on Wired, the proceedings of Hans Reiser’s murder trial were presented in excruciating detail.

Based on my reading of the Hans Reiser trial articles, I came to the conclusion that Reiser was an idiot for taking the stand in his own defense. Apparently, defense counsel cautioned against it, but he insisted. The problem is that the prosecution didn’t really have any hard evidence, and was just trying to use smoke, mirrors, and suggestive interpretations of what circumstantial evidence it did have to trick the jury into thinking Reiser’s guilt was proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Reiser’s testimony is really what convicted him, though, because he essentially guaranteed that everyone on the jury hated him by the time the trial was over.

Basically, he got convicted because he comes off as an arrogant prick — not because he did it. Regardless of whether he’s guilty, that’s a terrible, terrible basis for a murder conviction that may lead to spending life in prison (the sentence first degree murder carries is “25 to life”, which means life in prison unless he gets paroled — which can’t happen for 25 years at least).

I’m not saying he didn’t do it, mind you. I have no way of knowing at this point.

The article with the title that suggests Reiser is going to lead police to the body may have a damning, sensational title that makes him seem guilty, but the text of it is much more vague. It utterly fails to make it clear who approached whom with any requests or offers for lighter sentences, reduction in charges, or revelations of dead bodies. However bad the title might look, there’s nothing damning in the article’s text itself. As one commenter at Wired put it:

Conclusion: Either he is guilty and gets 15 years or he is innocent and gets 25 years.

Fascinating.

I decided to contact the author of the article directly and ask him for clarification. Here’s how the email conversation went:

ME

The headline of your article, “Hans Reiser Offers To Lead Cops to Nina’s Body”, indicates that Hans Reiser approached the police (probably through his lawyer, one would assume) to offer information on the location of Nina’s body. The text of the article, on the other hand, is vague in terms of the specific manner in which the subject came up, and leaves me wondering whether the DA’s office may have approached Reiser’s lawyer with the deal.

Do you have specific information on how this played out? Has Hans Reiser admitted to knowing where the body can be found, or was he just asked with a lighter sentence offered as an enticement? Did you get this information solely from the DA’s office, or was there some other source corroborating the specifics? I’m afraid that, after reading the article, I’m still not entirely sure what’s going on.

DAVID KRAVETZ

Sir, how’s it going? Basically, the defense approached the DA about an offer. Whether any deal is done is another question.

ME

Can you elaborate on your source for this information? I don’t want names, necessarily — just a general sense of the sources (defense counsel, DA’s office, et cetera).

DAVID KRAVETZ

Sorry chief. I cannot. But players on both sides don’t trust Reiser.

In short, he claims that “players on both sides don’t trust Reiser”, and that he knows for a fact that Reiser made the offer to the DA’s office and/or police, but cannot be clear about how he knows that in any way. Keep in mind that, while it looks all professional, the article is in Wired’s “blog network” — and we really don’t know what standards of journalism, if any, are enforced there.

Basically, the same way I’m inclined to be skeptical of what Omali Yeshiteli said about police officers using pepper spray on teenagers trying to help another teen police shot in the back for no reason (as I described in my previous SOB entry, a story worth watching: teen shot by police in Florida), I’m inclined to be skeptical of David Kravetz’ claims as well.

(edit: Also, David Kravetz fails at email. He uses TOFU replies. At least they come in plain text, though.)

In other words, the verdict in my mind still hasn’t been settled. On the other hand, Wikipedia seems to have evidence of the real culprit in this crime. Check out the rightmost column in the Comparison of filesystems Features table.

All original content Copyright Chad Perrin: Distributed under the terms of the Open Works License