Earlier we learned that a police assault that leaves an innocent man in a coma is a “tragic accident,” rather than a criminal act. The same apparently applies to vehicular mayhem: When a cop kills himself and imperils civilian lives by criminally irresponsible driving, this is a “tragic mistake,” not a criminal offense.
On May 7, Las Vegas police officer James Manor’s patrol car rear-ended Calvin Darling’s pickup truck while the latter was attempting a left turn. At the time of impact, Officer Manor was driving at least 90 miles per hour; prior to braking and attempting to avoid the collision, Manor had been driving 135 mph, a velocity at which his car traveled the length of a football field in less than two seconds.
The accident occurred in a 45-mph zone. In what has to be considered an authentic tragedy, Officer Manor was killed. Darling avoided serious injury. However, he was arrested for DUI and failing to yield to an emergency vehicle.
The latter charge was spurious on its face, since Manor was not running his lights or siren. A blood test also revealed that while Darling had consumed alcohol that evening, his blood-alcohol level was 0.035, well below the legal limit of 0.08.
So Manor’s “offense” was to be the secondary victim in a completely unnecessary crash that resulted from a police officer’s criminal carelessness.
Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie, who had initially blamed Manor for the incident, conducted what was called a “stern” press conference to admit that Officer Manor’s reckless driving “was a significant factor” in the crash that took his life, and that his speed would have been “excessive and unsafe” — or, in a word, criminally irresponsible — even if he had been operating his lights and siren.
Gillespie also grudgingly admitted that “we are looking at those original charges” filed against Darling, the innocent victim of Manor’s criminal behavior. He still sought to justify the distorted original report of the incident by saying that Manor’s death was “traumatic” to local law enforcement authorities, as if it somehow hadn’t been for Darling.
Manor and another officer, incidentally, were reportedly responding to a spurious domestic violence call — but no charges are pending against the 14-year-old girl who phoned in the phony report.
On May 15, as Darling — one of the “little people” — still confronted the prospect of prison for the “crime” of being on the receiving end of Manor’s lethal vehicular irresponsibility, “thousands” attended the officer’s funeral and “a stream of mourners paid their respects at the crash site,” now a consecrated shrine to the death of the state’s holy armed enforcers.
(Thanks to my friend Rick B. for the Blade Runner clip.)7:44 am on May 23, 2009 Email William Norman Grigg