Tuesday, December 23, 2014

I worked on the trading floor...

...of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange for twenty-five years. Needless to say, large sums of money would change hands in the course of a typical day. Also, needless to say, errors would be made on occasion, some fairly expensive.

I remember one error, in particular, that cost $200,000 -- what we used to call "foldin' money." I won't bore you with the details, but I recall being surprised when both individuals involved kept their jobs, at least initially. It was explained to me that, until the arbitration committee ruled on the case, both firms would have to retain their employees lest they be asked, "If your guy wasn't at fault for the error, why isn't he still working for you?"

And, sure enough, as soon as responsibility was determined, the guilty party was gone.

Why do I bring this up? I noticed in today's paper that "a former Milwaukee police officer who fatally shot an African-American man this year will not face criminal charges, a prosecutor announced on Monday." Oh, no, I thought -- not again (my emphasis):

Nearly eight months after the death of Dontre D. Hamilton, Milwaukee County’s district attorney concluded that the officer, Christopher Manney, who is white, was defending himself when he shot and killed Mr. Hamilton in April. Witnesses said Mr. Hamilton had grabbed the officer’s baton during an encounter in a downtown park and hit the officer with it or was attempting to, the prosecutor found. Officer Manney fired at least 13, perhaps 14 times.

For months, supporters of Mr. Hamilton had called for charges against Mr. Manney, who was fired from the city police force after the shooting, and anger over the case gained momentum after the mounting protests that followed the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in New York City.

Wait, what? "Fired from the city police force after the shooting?" Why?

Officer Manney was fired from the Police Department on Oct. 15 after the Milwaukee police chief, Edward Flynn, announced a review of the April confrontation had been completed. The officer was not fired for firing his weapon, but for what the chief described as an “out-of-policy pat down” of Mr. Hamilton that Chief Flynn said “was not based on individualized reasonable suspicion but on an assumption of his mental state and housing status.”


But then I remembered reading this about Ferguson a few weeks ago:

The officer, Darren Wilson, who had worked in the department since 2011, submitted a resignation letter, said Neil J. Bruntrager, the lawyer. In the letter, first published in The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Mr. Wilson said: “It was my hope to continue in police work, but the safety of other police officers and the community are of paramount importance to me. It is my hope that my resignation will allow the community to heal.”

Uh huh.

Now, both officers resigned for reasons other than the shootings. But is it out of line for me to ask, if they did nothing wrong, why are they no longer employed?

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