Posted by Corey L. Scott | May 25, 2021 | 0 Comments

At some point during the War of 1812 Commodore Oliver Hazard reportedly said to William Harrison after the Battle of Lake Erie, “We have met the enemy and they are ours.” A jury trial is a legal war of competing stories.  In most wars, the opposing sides are expected to fight the opposition and support their comrades to the bloody end.  The idea of police supporting one another regardless of the facts and circumstances is so entrenched in American policing that it even has a name, “the Blue Wall of Silence.”  In police culture, police never speak against other police officers and they certainly dare not testify against one another on the legal battlefield.  And with the increasingly militarization of police departments in most recent times, with police acquiring military grade weapons, helicopters and armored personnel carriers designed for the battlefield, there has also been an increase of the “us versus them” mentality among police ranks where the police increasingly see everyday citizens as the enemy.

The Derek Chauvin trial was covered from opening statements to the final verdict on every media platform.  With the eyes of the world focused on the trial, we witnessed things that are extraordinary in modern times.  First, police are very rarely indicted and charged, let alone convicted of killing civilians.  Second, because of the Blue Wall of Silence, police almost never testify against fellow police officers.  However, in the Chauvin trial police officer after police officer took the stand to testify against one of their own.  Why?  It's hard to say with complete certainty but it could be because of the horrific murder of George Floyd captured on video that led to worldwide protests of police violence.  Perhaps it was the high-profile nature of the most watched trial since the O.J. Simpson trial.  Or maybe it was the mounting pressure of calls to “Defund the Police?”  The truth is that we may never know “the why” of the breach of the Blue Wall in this case but let's discuss “the how” of it. 

The Minneapolis police chief testified that “once there was no longer any resistance and clearly, when Mr. Floyd was no longer responsive and even motionless, to continue to apply that level of force to a person [on his stomach], handcuffed behind their back, that in no way shape or form is anything that is by policy.”  The Chief's testimony along with police training officers and other veterans on the police department served to effectively breach the Blue Wall of Silence and convict Derek Chauvin—the police literally played “good cop/bad cop” on the world stage before our very eyes.  To put the breach in perspective, ten (10) Minneapolis police officers testified against Chauvin.  The police are rightfully being lauded for testifying against Chauvin.  However, it's important to note that their testimony in substance was that yes, Derek Chauvin “was once one of ours” but that he lost his way.  In other words, Derek Chauvin was a rogue cop whose actions were   so far out of bounds that the Minneapolis Police Department essentially said, we have met the enemy and unfortunately, he is one of ours—this allowed them to throw Derek Chauvin under the bus but leave the bus intact.

In closing, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but in my humble opinion, the Chauvin trial means very little in the ongoing journey towards police reform which means that there is much work to do in order to make the Chauvin verdict the norm instead of the exception.  If we were at a justice awards celebration and I was allowed to say a few words, in true Kanye West fashion, I'd offer this: “I'm gonna let y'all finish the celebration of the Chauvin verdict but the demise of the Blue Wall of Silence is greatly exaggerated and police violence in America is alive and well.  So, even though justice prevailed for a moment, this victory means very little for future cases in which the entire world is not watching.  And even high-profile police murder cases like Ahmaud Arbery, Andrew Brown Jr., Rashard Brooks, Adam Toledo and too many others to name here still face the same long odds of justice being rendered—slim to none.”

Corey L. Scott, 1099 N. Meridian Street, Suite 150, Indianapolis, IN 46204 (317) 634-0101, www.coreyscottlaw.com;    @coreyscottlaw.com

About the Author

Corey L. Scott

Corey L. Scott, was born and raised in East Chicago, Indiana. Upon graduation from East Chicago Central High School, Corey attended Indiana State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology.  Upon graduation, Corey accepted a position with the Marion County Superior Court, Juvenile Division where he served with distinction for the next nine years, eventually being promoted to Director of the Youth Counseling Department. Pursuing his dream of becoming an attorney, Corey attended the Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis.  While in law school, Corey was an Indiana Council on Legal Education Opportunity (ICLEO) fellow and participated in Moot Court competitions.  He also worked in the Marion Superior Court, Criminal Division as a bailiff and research assistant to the Honorable Tanya Walton Pratt, who serves as a Judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. Corey also served as an internship law clerk to the Honorable Judge, Margret G. Robb, at the Indiana Court of Appeals. Finally, upon graduation from law school, Corey had the distinct honor and privilege to serve as a law clerk to the Honorable Justice, Robert D. Rucker, who sits on the Indiana Supreme Court. Corey then became an associate with Mike Norris Law Office, where he specialized in bankruptcy law with a main concentration on working to assist families obtain a fresh start through Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  Still a young attorney, Corey then served as a public defender at the Marion County Public Defender Agency.  In this position, Corey gained invaluable trial experience by defending clients in a wide range of matters from misdemeanors to serious felonies on a daily basis.  It was also during this time that Corey discovered his passion for representing and serving "everyday people." An entrepreneur at heart, Corey established the Law Office of Corey L. Scott, P.C.  Since then, he and his staff have served the greater Indianapolis community and surrounding counties in several legal disciplines including: Bankruptcy, Criminal Defense and Family Law.  In keeping with his vision, Corey L. Scott, P.C., is a client focused, results oriented general law practice that endeavors to provide legal solutions for "everyday people" charged with a crime, dealing with financial crisis or going through a difficult divorce. Corey has also been active serving the greater Indianapolis community by participating in pro bono programs such as "Ask a Lawyer," the "Modest Means" panel program which allows individuals to afford legal counsel at a fraction of normal rates, Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic and the Heartland Pro Bono Council program. Corey is a proud member of the Indianapolis Bar Association, Indiana Bar Association, American Bar Association, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.


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