This was a June, 1973 editorial that Mr. Sinclair, a well known Canadian commentator of the day wrote. It was set to music and he recorded it and it received a lot of air play in its time. In many ways, it is still relevant today. There is a measure of pride in hearing our country praised for a century of help to other countries of the world. We are a good people. We do put our scandals on our front pages for the world to see. From our pain and suffering will come growth and renewed spirit and strength. We returned to space this weekend- it was a private American company, displaying the entrepreneurial spirit that makes our country great that did it. God Bless America.
UPDATE # 3 : Sunday 10:30 PM. Things are quiet in Miami. Violent protests continue in other cities such as NYC.
UPDATE#2: In a direct threat to the livelihood of FACDL members, the Miami protestors have marched to FDC where they are chanting "shut it down!" Personally, we prefer the "no justice-no peace chant." We have plans to dine again at 11 Madison Park, and for that we need clients.
UPDATE: SUNDAY 4:30 pm: a large group of protestors are in downtown Miami marching towards the City of Miami Police Department (Motto: "How many cops does it take to throw a protestor down a flight of stairs? None. He fell..." ). There is a sundown curfew in the City.
FACDL has a volunteer hotline: 786-759-0992- where protestors who need legal representation can call and be put in touch with an attorney who will represent them for free. (We didn't read this on the listserv- that would be a violation of SALTII. We received emails from members about it).
Where is the State Attorney?
Yesterday, as peaceful protests in Miami turned violent, Ace Miami Herald Reporter David Ovalle was at ground zero and tweeted that "Miami is in Chaos" as the protests turned violent.
Melba Pearson, running for State Attorney tweeted this: "If you are in #MIAMIPROTEST and arrested for NON VIOLENT actions, DM me and I'll connect you with attys to represent you Pro Bono. If you are law enforcement I strongly encourage the use of civil citations instead of arrests as we are in Covid-19 crisis."
In Coral Gables, Police Officer knelt with protestors and prayed.
And our State Attorney? This was her last message on social media: "Ditto. Felicidades"- which was three days ago when she retweeted someone else wishing Senator Marco Rubio (R, Bewildered) happy birthday.
Does she know Miami, like in 1980 (McDuffie), 1982 (Police shooting in video arcade in Overtown) and 1989 (Officer Lozano acquittal) is burning again? Maybe not. This is how we imagine (satire- protected speech, can't be prosecuted, no minimum mandatories apply) a meeting between her and her Chief Honcho Don Horn:
KR: I got an email from a victim. Some law furniture was stolen and we placed the offender on probation and they wanted five years prison.
DH: I check on it and chastise the prosecutor.
KR: Other problems?
DH: Well, have you seen that on the streets...
KR: Hang on. There was that manslaughter case we lost on self defense. Why didn't they death qualify the jury?
DH: It wasn't first degree murder. We cannot seek the death penalty for crimes other than first degree murder.
KR: Well that should be brought up in Tallahassee next month. What about minimum mandatories? Are they up? Remember our Motto: "A minimum mandatory a day makes the State Attorney Say: "I am happy and that is the way to prosecute crimes every day'." Are we saying that every day in assembly?
DH: We don't have assembly. There is this problem with the streets...
KR: We should have assembly. I thought the assembly task force recommended assembly. Can I see that report?
DH: Yes but there is rioting because of Minnesota and...
KR: It was Marco Rubio's birthday last week. Did he get my box? I ordered that fruit box where they make decorations with fruit. Can we tweet a picture of that out please? Oh look at the time, I have the Victim's task force meeting, then the police officers as victims task force meeting, then the judges need to listen more to victims task force meeting with judges, and finally the victims rally task force meeting where we are discussing the link between increased prison sentences for first time marijuana possession and a decrease in property crime. Gotta run....
In May and June 1980, after the acquittal of four Miami Police Officers who killed Arthur McDuffie, we walked into the Justice Building (as it was called at the time) as armed national guard troops stood outside. Miami Burned (see the amazing post with Roy Black and Abe Laeser here). If you do nothing else today, read that post written mostly by Messrs. Laeser and Black.
Three people were killed in a riot outside of the Justice Building after the verdict. The next day twelve more people died in rioting in Liberty City and Overtown. Police did not enter the area because of snipper fire. But we had a State Attorney-Janet Reno- and Civic Leaders who acted. They went into the community and talked to people.
A significant number of businesses were looted in Overtown and Liberty City and never returned. Old time Justice Building denizens will remember that "Wally the Bailiff" (Wally Leahy, who has since passed away) owned a butcher shop in downtown Miami that was looted and burned. He never reopened the business. His story was one of many at that time.
Now we are in a time of crisis that is expanding. As the virus crisis started the State Attorney tweeted that her office would be open for "business as usual". There were disturbing reports early on that staff workers were told they would have to use vacation and sick leave if they did not come into work. That of course changed when events overtook the nearsightedness of both the State Attorney and the Judicial administration (and the President) and the virus showed that it did not care what people did. It was going to kill indiscriminately, and it did.
The riots across the United States are ostensibly because of the murder of George Lloyd. But if you think the economic pain, frustration and fear caused by this virus is not also fueling the social unrest, then you are clueless: business as usual.
It would be nice to see the State Attorney lead. To have her appear at bond hearings and authorize the release of peaceful protestors and seek full prosecution of agent provocateurs - looters taking advantage of the protests.
It would be nice to have a State Attorney who could lead and not follow.