Friday, September 01, 2006

Phillips Update

Yesterday evening, two State Troopers were shot, near Fredonia. An intense manhunt followed, with no arrest announced as of this writing. (Links are to various newspaper reports of the incident).

Ralph Phillips is the number one suspect, due to the location of the shooting (at or near the residence of a family member), but it is also reported that it was an ambush attack and the assailant was not seen. I point that out, as an attorney, because that's the sort of fact that is essential in understanding "beyond a reasonable doubt."

Watching the news last night, I was a little disappointed by the Buffalo stations running to friends and family of the Philips/Horton/Wright clan to get overemotional reactions. It is no surprise that friends and family of an accused criminal take the side of the accused. The problem is the news stations represent this as "local" reaction, as if it is a representation of Chautauqua County or the Pomfret/Cassadaga area as a whole. The State Police Commissioner, flown into Fredonia after the attack, even commented on how Phillips is dangerous and should not be thought of as a folk hero. The implication of that, then, is that there are people who think of Phillips as a folk hero--which, from living in Chautauqua, seems to be some of his friends, family and people who dislike police officers. It's circular, at best, and paints an incorrect picture of the area.

ETA: The NY Times article mentions "locals as active spectators" via t-shirts for sale. Problem with that statement is the shirts for sale come from one source, and while it's possible the site is run by a collective of residents, more than likely it's one person. One person with some entrepreneurial spirit and not an agenda, judging by the pro and con items offered.


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12:07 PM  
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12:28 PM  

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