Two little words

Yesterday evening’s gentle rain was an opportunity to reflect and give thanks. We’ve had a barrage of troubling acts of violence, including “flash gangs” looting high-end shops and the tragic event that brought vehicular homicide charges against a man in Wisconsin. Amid the pain, I was thankful for the actions of two people who were part of two stories and for two little words: due process.

One of the people was Dan Thompson, Police Chief of Waukesha. At a news conference following deaths and injuries at a Christmas parade, Chief Thompson said the city was focused on the families, the victims and due process. When a violent act is caught on video, it’s difficult to presume innocence. The chief chose his words carefully to protect the integrity of the investigation. Due process is enshrined in the 5th and 14th Amendments of the US Constitution.

Among the many tragic stories in the Georgia trial of Ahmaud Arbery’s death, I was thankful for the actions of Larry Hobbs, the persistent Brunswick News reporter who kept asking questions. Without his journalistic investigation, the trial might not have happened. Due process is a precious right that’s designed to protect victims of crimes and those accused of crimes. Due process isn’t always automatic. Public awareness caused by freedom of the press can activate due process.

From “Jury finds all three defendants guilty of murder in Ahmaud Arbery shooting,” by Larry Hobbs, The Brunswick News, November 25, 2021

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