I'm really glad Cliff is back to discussing municipal issues again. On Sunday, he questioned the rationale behind the DA's hiring of fired NOPD officer David Lapene.
[W]hy would he hire someone that was fired from the police department for a fight that appears to be racially motivated? When I read the story I was trying to imagine what he had to do to get fired from the police department. It’s not like the NOPD has a history of zero tolerance for bad behavior so he had to really do or say something crazy to be terminated. There was five officers involved in the fight and he is the only one that got terminated. Is Leon Cannizzarro playing good ole boy politics at the expense of potentially losing trials down the line? The reason I say that is because I am sure not many people will know who David Lapene is when he is out looking for evidence or interviewing witnesses. My worry is what’s going to happen when that defense attorney tells the jury that will certainly have some black people on it, the person responsible for the evidence was once fired from the police force for fighting and shouting racial slurs at a bunch of black transit authority workers. All it takes is one person with enough distrust of the system to hang a jury.
That's the substance of the matter and Cliff does a great job explaining precisely why this was a really stupid hire by the new DA. Today David at the Gambit reported that Mr. Lapene has resigned. In a letter to DA Cannizzaro, Lapene wrote he was stepping down because "continuing my employment with you could interfere with your good work in attempting to make a positive difference in this community.”
I'd like to point everyone's attention to this report from ABC26's Meg Gatto, the substance of which has not seemed to permeate the rest of the media for reasons I don't understand.
This was not just a thoughtless hire. It smacks of nepotism. Cannizzaro got put through the paces on WBOK on Monday morning and he deserved it.
That said, this morning Clay lists a bunch of links related to the feud between Cannizzaro and Police Superintendent Warren Riley and really Riley's generally shameful stewardship of the NOPD. I really wish WBOK's morning team would give Mr. Riley the same tough questions they did Mr. Cannizzaro instead of worshipping him like he's god's gift to crime fighting like they have the last few times I've listened in.
Another thing to note is that ABC 26 continues to be the only embeddable local news station. Considering they're not at the top of the ratings heap, this strikes me as an important competitive advantage they've given themselves to help increase the impact of their reports. Their hounding of Mr. Cannizzaro over his daughter's connections to Mr. Lapene is, IMO, what precipitated Mr. Lapene's resignation.