Pittsburgh Judge: Police are Above the Law

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Officer Paul Abel, a veteran of counter-insurgency warfare in the Regime’s illegal occupation of Iraq, was deeply drunk last June 28 when somebody punched him at a stoplight.

Abel, an eight-year veteran of the police force, “drove around the block, until he spotted [21-year-old Kaleb] Miller, whom he knew from the neighborhood,” recounts the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Witnesses said the officer hit Mr. Miller on the neck with the butt of his Glock and the gun went off, grazing Mr. Miller’s hand.”

Miller strenuously denied that he was the one who struck Abel, and two witnesses to the event confirmed that the victim “looked nothing like” the guy who punched the drunken off-duty cop.

Abel, 35, was put on unpaid suspension (a rarity) and was brought up on charges of aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, and DUI. He waived a jury trial, which is generally a good idea for the defendant in cases of criminal conduct by police.

Court of Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning insisted that the case turned on a single question: Was Abel arresting a suspect, or acting in retaliation? The preponderance of evidence clearly demonstrated the latter, beginning with the fact that no evidence was presented, other than Abel’s alcohol-distorted recollection, that Miller was the one who threw the first punch.

Abel maintained that the violence he employed was “necessary” because Miller wouldn’t obey commands to lie on the ground. Bear in mind, first of all, that Miller had done nothing wrong, and secondly, that as far as he could tell, Abel was simply a deranged, drunken individual wielding a weapon, rather than a deranged, drunken, armed individual clothed in the supposed majesty of state “authority.”

Predictably, Judge Manning ruled in favor of Abel, insisting that while the off-duty officer’s conduct was “inappropriate, imprudent and ill-advised,” it was still justifiable, since police enjoy broad discretion in the use of force. Apparently that “discretion” extends to driving under the influence of alcohol, in addition to pistol-whipping and shooting a completely innocent bystander.

“It is not the obligation of this court to police the police department,” pronounced Manning as he placed his imprimatur on Abel’s unprovoked assault on an innocent man.

Police union official Dan O’Hara insists that Abel is simply an “aggressive” officer, and insists that his critics are out to “crucify” him.

Those critics include three Pittsburgh residents who have filed official complaints against him for abusive conduct in other incidents: One involved an off-duty fight in which Abel was reportedly the aggressor, but the other antagonist was put on trial (and acquitted of all charges but disorderly conduct); another reports that Abel assaulted a local resident whose grandfather was threatened with a Taser; and the other alleges that Abel pressured his wife into making false claims of sexual abuse against the grandparents of her children.

Nonetheless, Judge Manning’s ruling has cleared the way for this, ahem, hero of both the homefront and the Mesopotamian Campaign to return to the police force.

Apparently, even the most corrupt and sociopathic police have an unqualified right to employ violent or lethal force, and submitizens have an unqualified duty to submit.

3:04 pm on June 25, 2009