Friday, April 25, 2008

Al Sharpton is a Cunning Linguist

As you may or may not know a verdict was given in the Sean Bell shooting trial. Detectives Marc Cooper, Michael Oliver and Gescard Isnora were found not guilty. I guess others can debate this verdict but I intend to focus on a leading figure in the trial. Reverend Al Sharpton, the infamous political and civil rights/social justice activist, was of course involved in supporting the family and pushing for a trial. He was definitely not happy about the outcome and he had this to say about the case:

"What we saw in court today was not a miscarriage of justice,” he said. “Justice didn’t miscarry. This was an abortion of justice. Abortions are intended.
Miscarriage could be you couldn’t hold the baby justice, you couldn’t take care of baby or it was an accident. But this was no accident.”
I haven't heard of a legal metaphor like this. I am assuming that an abortion of justice means that no justice was ever intended to be served. However, I'm thinkin if the incident itself is an accident (arguably) and you don't want to have justice served because it may cause problems (NYPD looking bad) then an abortion may actually be the right answer.

What if the accident is the product of a failure to hold the "baby justice." As noticed in reports about the case, witnesses were inconsistent and not prepared for cross examinations, Sean Bell was incredibly intoxicated, and the prosecution read the grand jury testimonty of three cops into record preventing from exposing inconsistencies through cross examination.

So maybe while this case was "carried," a lot of bad things happened to it(justice). Who knows? But I definitely believe Al Sharpton's metaphor intelligently rephrases the case in an interesting and thought provoking way. Never-the-less this is still a truly sad case and I hope that something good comes out of it for the future. We'll have to wait and see what happens if this becomes a federal case.


New York Times
Daily News


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