SF Cop Killer

In San Francisco we have a situation in which a fine young police officer was gunned down and murdered recently. Officer Isaac Espinoza, 29, arrived on the scene with his partner to question a 21-year-old gang member. Apparently afraid the police might say something about his AK-47, the gang member without warning sprayed some 50 rounds at the officers, murdering Espinoza with three shots.

Assuming a first-degree conviction, if ever there was a candidate for the death penalty, this senseless foul act deserves the death penalty.

The problem is that the citizens of San Francisco elected District Attorney Kamala Harris, who campaigned on a platform promise to never prosecute for the death penalty. The DA’s office is preparing charges which would ask for life imprisonment.

Groups and individuals asking Harris to reconsider her position include Sens. Feinstein and Boxer, state Attorney General Lockyer, the Police Officer’s Association, and newly appointed SF Police Chief Heather Fong.

Mayor Gavin Newsom has reaffirmed that Harris was elected on a no-death-penalty platform, and he’s not interfering with that.

When a police officer falls, we are all attacked and we are all wounded. We tender our deepest sympathy and regrets to the Espinoza family.

Please see our recent post “Death Penalty”. We sympathize strongly with those who would push for the death penalty in this case, but we have an even bigger problem with the way it has been presented to the public.

Like many other Hobson’s Choices in society where “the right answer” will never bring justice until the process is fixed, I relate strongly to aspects of the positions traditionally taken by both sides.

My problem is with people who cannot listen to the other side at all, or who think the system is working fine now. It isn’t. Opponents and proponents of the death penalty both need to drop faith-based soapboxing and look at a legal overhaul of the entire sentencing and review procedure. Don’t blame me if it’ll never happen in our lifetime.

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One thought on “SF Cop Killer

  1. After thinking about this for a day or so, I want to comment on my own statement and clarify it:

    “Mark my words, this nation is soon going to demonstrate just how much of a bellyful we’ve really had of civilian and military authorities who warn us with threats that they “just can’t get the job done” unless they get special legislation favoring their professions as a class. When this happens, our liberties suffer unilaterally.”

    By “special legislation” I don’t mean a bill authorizing funds to buy kevlar vests. There are people who bash cops and oppose them at every opportunity. I’m not one of them.

    I specifically mean legislation that disadvantages ordinary citizens by extending legal statuses and protections that are not available or are illegal for the rest of us. The maximum penalty for killing any citizen should be severe, and it should be equal to the maximum penalty for killing a police officer or other public employee or official.

    The other category of legislation is that which makes an end run around the constitution in the name of law and order. Almost any aspect of the Patriot Act is an egregious example of that. Violating citizens’ rights is never justified as a substitute for thorough criminal investigation and adherence to judicial procedure.

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