Friday, July 6, 2007

"Right when I yelled 'Adam' he just sort turned and looked at me so I knew it was him"

I just watched a flash video of the final moments of Joseph Erin Hamley's life.

*disclaimer -- disturbing*

Former State Trooper Larry Norman received 90 days for Erin's shooting. Erin was 21 and had an intellectual disability as well as cerebral palsy. His crime was that he turned to look at a police officer who was shouting at him, didn't or couldn't make his body obey the police the way they expected, and happened to be out walking the day that police were looking for a criminal.

Larry Norman's crime was being so damn sure of the situation that he felt justified in escalating it to the point that a man had to be killed. Irresponsible even if Erin had been Adam Leadford, the man they were looking for, as I've said before.

Most disturbing is the end of the video, where Erin is either dying on dead on the side of the road, and the officers are walking around calmly. I see no first aid being administered (admittedly, the video is too blurry for me to see if it were). However, the demeanor of the police is chilling, even if one or two officers are trying to help him. They're cool. If he doesn't pull through, well, we did our jobs. Adam's no longer a threat. You can hear Trooper Norman explaining why he pulled up on a situation that was essentially a stand-off, escalate it, and then kill a young man. Damn. Had to be done, boys.

If Adam Leadford had died from this recklessness, would anyone ever had known? Norman might have been a hero.

Now he gets 90 days in jail.

90 days.

and 30 days community service.

I can't even articulate how I feel about it. It was clearly an accident, but it was clearly Trooper Norman's recklessness that killed Erin. I don't know how you punish someone for that.

Inclusion Daily's Summaries of events

Also, I've seen posts on the web criticizing the family for taking the $1 million and not criticizing the verdict.

I'm sure they'd rather have their son, thank you very much.

There's nothing to be gained from locking Larry Norman up forever or having the family openly demonize him. I belive in mercy, which is why I would never make it as a lawyer. But I hope the public would be just as understanding if a developmentally disabled young man had somehow inadvertently caused the death of a police officer. I don't think they would.