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Civil Rights And A Unified Society

By Carrie Roane

Having just joined Barrett, Fasig & Brooks this month, I intended to share my experience as a defense attorney for the past 16 years, explaining why I made this scary, yet exhilarating, decision to become a plaintiff’s attorney. Now, I’m battling the very insurance companies and industry clients I spent so many arduous hours representing.  I thought this perspective might be interesting, even impactful, especially to my new clients who are curious about me and what makes me tick.

But then, Charles Kinsey was shot.

Mr. Kinsey, who dedicated his career to caring for and protecting those who could do neither for themselves, was shot as he lay completely defenseless on the sweltering asphalt with his arms raised high up in the air while his autistic client sat rocking at his feet, grasping a toy truck.  He was shot while he did every thing demanded of him by the police- and on a larger scale, by society itself.  Kinsey was shot by a man who, ironically, had also dedicated his career to protecting and serving others. Strangely, the police officer who shot him had no better answer than “I don’t know” when asked why he pulled the trigger in the most unthreatening of circumstances.

In the wake of this ugly, jagged scar on our society, I couldn’t imagine using this newfound “blogger voice” to talk about myself and my career change.  Instead, I want to talk about something relevant; something that genuinely matters to each and every one of us, or at least should matter.

I want to talk about injustice.

Mr. Kinsey, who tried to do the right thing both there on the Miami pavement and in life in general, was nevertheless the victim of a gross miscarriage of justice.

Don’t misunderstand me – like (I hope) the vast majority of citizens, I completely trust and am eternally grateful for law enforcement.  I unequivocally support every single man and woman who has dedicated his or her life to keeping me and my loved ones safe.  My heart bleeds for the officers who were senselessly and unjustly slain by cowards in Baton Rouge and Dallas.

But, our appreciation for men and women in uniform does not mean that we should turn a blind eye to the terrible injustices which are committed by law enforcement on innocent citizens like Mr. Kinsey.  Such injustice and violation of one’s civil rights deserves, without question or hesitation, an appropriate legal remedy.

Unfortunately, it is rare that a victim of such injustice has an appropriate legal remedy readily available.

Why do we, as a proud democratic society led by our first African American President, seemingly accept the lack of remedy and lack of punishment for excessive and inhumane acts which reek of the worst kind of injustice?  It seems like police violence has been prevalent in our news since the Rodney King incident which sparked the L.A. Riots in 1992, but nothing is changing, and seems to be getting worse.

Isn’t it finally time for real change to combat the injustice?  Isn’t it finally time that we come together as a unified society, regardless of race, creed, color, or sex, and completely and wholeheartedly reject the kind of injustice committed on Mr. Kinsey?  I believe that significant change should be upon us and should be eagerly embraced. We need change in the way we preserve and respect our civil rights and those of others, change in the way we educate our children about race and race relations, change in the way law enforcement officers are educated and trained, change in the way we as citizens respect and support law enforcement, change in the way we respond to and punish law enforcement officers whose excessive force violates our rights, and change in the laws and legal system to provide effective and meaningful remedies for victims of police brutality.

I’m new at Barrett, Fasig & Brooks, but my commitment to social justice is long-standing, regardless of which side of the courtroom I stand.

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