When Danny Brumfield Sr. jumped in front of a police car outside the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans—a few days after his family had been evacuated by Hurricane Katrina—he meant to get help. Unfortunately, his actions cost him his life. New Orleans Police Department officers Ronald Mitchell and Ray Jones claim the 45-year-old had a knife and was lunging towards them right before he was shot by Mitchell. Soon after, it was discovered that they lied in reports to cover their wrongful actions. Neither officer was charged for Brumfield’s murder and Jones was acquitted of obstruction of justice and perjury last December.
Mitchell, who killed Brumfield with a single shot to the back shoulder, was convicted of lying and was supposed to be sentenced on March 7 in federal court. U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance decided on Wednesday to move the hearing to April 4 in order to consider post-trial motions, including Mitchell’s request for retrial. Although veteran detective DeCynda Barnes deemed the shooting justified in sworn testimony, further investigation found that his close range wound contradicted Mitchell's claims of being threatened. Brumfield's widow was awarded $400,000 from the city but the criminal charges are still up for debate. In the days after Katrina, several deaths were linked to police aggression and unlawful brutality.
How ridiculous is this? Should officers who abuse the law be punished more harshly than regular citizens?