Tags: Law Enforcement | craig | deflategate | johnson | starbucks

New Legal Standard in 'Amerika': Guilty Until Proven Innocent

New Legal Standard in 'Amerika': Guilty Until Proven Innocent

By Monday, 30 April 2018 03:12 PM Current | Bio | Archive

After leaving a restaurant, you get pulled over by a cop for drunk driving, despite no evidence. Despite passing every sobriety test, you are arrested for DUI anyway.

Couldn’t happen in America, right?

Wrong. In fact, it’s increasingly common, for in today’s "Amerika," our rights are being systematically whittled away. Making the sin mortal, many Americans accept this erosion of freedom, where hard evidence is replaced by "probablies."

The recent travesty at a Philadelphia Starbucks shows that guilty until proven innocent is becoming the new norm, but it’s just the latest situation where people are demonized first, and facts are investigated later — if at all. 

Former New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez was suspended for an entire season for steroid use, despite the irrefutable fact that he never failed a single drug test. That suspension cost him $25 million.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was handed a four-game suspension for his unproven role in "Deflategate." The NFL justified its punishment by stating that it was "more probable than not" that Brady was aware of underinflated footballs.

Three white members of the Duke University men’s lacrosse team were accused of rape in 2006 (by a black woman) — an accusation later proven to be completely false. But before being exonerated, the players were demonized on campus and in the media, and suspended from school.

The race to inject "race" led many to immediately pronounce guilt without the benefit of facts — including the district attorney, who was subsequently disbarred and jailed for deliberately withholding evidence.

Former U.S. Senator Larry Craig’s arrest on a misdemeanor charge prompted Senate colleagues to demand his immediate resignation — before the situation was fully known — demonstrating that partisan advantage was more important that "innocent until proven guilty."

In each of the preceding situations, this author fiercely defended the right to presumption of innocence, whether in a court of law or court of public opinion.

Unfortunately, not enough voices are advocating that principle. Consequently, every time we allow those whom we dislike to "hang," despite no evidence, America reduces its claim to being "land of the free."

Let’s look at the Starbucks situation in detail.

A word to wise, anyone believing this is an isolated incident limited to a city coffee shop is sadly mistaken. The bar has been lowered, and the actions of irresponsible leaders have set a dangerous precedent, where anyone, regardless of color or income can be wrongfully accused with little recourse. 

Preconceived assumptions about what occurred must be jettisoned, since justice is not about what you think, but what you can prove.

The following facts are inarguable:  Starbucks’ managers follow policies set forth by the company. The Philadelphia Starbucks had a policy that restrooms were only for paying customers. Two men were denied access to the restroom because they hadn’t bought anything. The manager requested they make a purchase or leave. They refused. Police were called and repeatedly asked the men to leave, but, according to the police commissioner, were disrespectfully rebuffed. Their arrest followed.

You can legitimately argue that the manager was overzealous, and made a series of bad business decisions. But if fairness and responsibility have any merit left in our society, you absolutely cannot cry "racism," since there is zero evidence to support that.

But that is exactly what happened.

Starbucks’ CEO Kevin Johnson and Jim Kenney, Mayor of Philadelphia (ironically, a city known as the "cradle of liberty"), pulled race out of thin air and injected it anyway. In the truest form of bullying, they called the manager a racist in front of the entire planet, despite admitting that they were lacking in pertinent facts, and had no evidence for such a claim.

Many have stated that this would not have happened to a white person. Wrong verb. It already has, many times. Numerous readers, identifying themselves as white, have detailed their experience of ducking into a city Starbucks to use the restroom, only to be told (often by a black manager) that those facilities were reserved for paying customers.

So they either bought something, or went elsewhere. They may not have liked the policy, but acknowledged that using a Starbucks’ restroom wasn’t an entitlement, and their being denied access wasn’t based on skin color. 

Likewise, it was reported that a Philadelphia police sergeant was denied the restroom at another Philadelphia Starbucks because he hadn’t bought anything. Should we jump to the conclusion, as some are, that such a decision was based on anti-police bias? Of course not.

Not having exceptions for on-duty police is bad business, and discretion may have been in short supply, but that manager was technically following Starbucks’ policy to the letter. Therefore, it would be irresponsible to state that anti-police bias was the reason the officer was denied.

The media claims there was "widespread outrage" across the country. But had common sense prevailed — if the sensationalistic media hadn’t whipped people into a frenzy, if leaders hadn’t yelled "racism" without merit, and if decisions weren’t made to placate a small social media community — there wouldn’t have been "widespread outrage."

Police Commissioner Richard Ross is no Frank Reagan. The "blue bloods" character would have defended his officers for doing their job, as Ross initially did. But then the Commissioner completely caved to Mayor Kenney and his social engineering agenda, falling on his sword by taking "responsibility" for "failing miserably" in a pathetic mea culpa. He then ran the bus over the arresting officer by describing him as "mortified."

Ross has neither guts (resulting in a morale hit among officers), nor any political acumen. There isn’t a chance that Kenney would have fired Ross had the Commissioner stuck by his guns. None.

So instead of demonstrating courage under fire, Ross withered when it mattered most — not the most desirable trait for the city’s trop law enforcement officer.

CEO Johnson displayed his ineptness to the world. By undoubtedly listening to myopic lawyers telling him to be politically correct, profusely apologize, and take "responsibility," he opened the floodgates to individual and class-action lawsuits, and continued bad publicity.

Now, hordes of people, white and black, will almost certainly come out of the woodwork to claim they were wronged by Starbucks’ inherent "racial bias." And why not, given that Johnson has all but admitted that Starbucks has a racial discrimination problem. With the company potentially facing significant financial liability, trial lawyers may soon be feasting on a lot more than just lattes.

Has anyone bothered to ask if the manager thought the non-paying people could have been undercover corporate auditors, verifying adherence to company policies? Were the men in question inappropriate toward her?

Had non-paying vagrants used the bathrooms in the past to bathe themselves or shoot up?

Was she trying to preserve seat space for paying customers? Were people who had not purchased anything but given bathroom access granted such permission by the same manager — or a different one?

There are myriad questions deserving answers. Sadly, that won’t happen because of an overwhelming rush to judgement.

The destruction of livelihoods, families, reputations, and hopes, solely on the basis of assumptions, facts be damned, is the territory of banana republics. We are better than that, and must rise above personal feelings and hearsay, resisting the urge to condemn before facts are known. Otherwise, America’s "rights" will soon have nothing unique about them.

And that will be the most bitter brew of all.

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Freindly Fire Zone Media. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.

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The bar has been lowered. The destruction of livelihoods, families, reputations, and hopes, solely on the basis of assumptions, facts be damned, is the territory of banana republics. We must rise above personal feelings and hearsay, resisting the urge to condemn before facts are known.
craig, deflategate, johnson, starbucks
Monday, 30 April 2018 03:12 PM
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