Thursday, September 10, 2009

Intense Ongoing Interest in Rhode Island's Infamous Esteban Carpio Case


Why is it considered so important in the United States to try people who are not white before all-white juries, even in cities in which half of the population is non-white? Can justice possibly be fair when it starts with the deck of cards so outrageously stacked on the basis of skin color?

The Police Brutality Blog is the second most-visited blog in the Google universe for people wanting to learn more about Esteban Carpio. Perhaps it is because this blog looks at the case holistically, considering the inexplicable violence of which Esteban Carpio was accused; the color-aroused hammering of his face by police at some point before he went to court, that resulted in broken bones in his face; and the defense's argument that Esteban Carpio behaved like a deranged man because he WAS a deranged man, unable to understand the wrongfulness of his acts and unable to control them.

The Superior Court that tried Esteban Carpio made several questionable evidentiary decisions against Carpio that harmed his ability to defend himself in court.

Watch this video, but be prepared to see before and after photos of Esteban Carpio's viciously beaten face. It leaves me wondering whether Esteban Carpio jumped from third floor window or was heaved out of the window. Was the police officer's gun available to Esteban because police were threatening him with that gun during questioning?

We all heard police initially say that Esteban Carpio's face was turned to hamburger when he jumped out of a third story window. Subsequently, a police official acknowledged having punched Esteban Carpio in the face over and over again, breaking bones in his face.

Once police have lied to the public, the prosecutor(s) and judge(s) about something basic and crucial, we intuitively wonder whether we can believe anything else that they say. That's why a Black jury refused to accept police assertions in the O.J. Simpson case, and that's why the jury refused to convict Simpson. The didn't declare O.J. "innocent"; the declared that the police had not offered enough truthful evidence to find O.J. "guilty".

That's where the all-white jury comes in. Prosecutors know that if they can get an all-white jury of people who don't like Blacks or Hispanics anyway, then they have a much greater likelihood of getting a conviction.

The Providence District Attorney's office made sure none of the strange, extraordinary and inexplicable facts would be seriously considered by the jury, by choosing an all-white jury in a city that is half Black and Latino. That in itself leads to a stench that like a rotten boiled egg never found during an Easter Egg hunt.

And that may help to explain why so many people, from across the country, wonder whether Esteban Carpio was railroaded, whether or not he committed the acts of which he was accused.

Today, reading a post by UndergroundRairoad at Democratic Underground, I confirmed something that I always knew intuitively and logically about the Esteban Carpio case: Police in Rhode Island intentionally turned Esteban Carpio's face into ground beef, breaking bones in his face, before they brought him into court with a horror film-like plastic mask over his face, the intention of which was clearly to literally cover up the brutal beating they had inflicted on Esteban Carpio.

Police were not embarrassed but were proud of what they had done, but covered Esteban's face out of fear of the horror that the beating of this man would have aroused not just in Providence, Rhode Island, but nationally and internationally. Because of police mistakes in this case and intentional acts of lawlessness, Providence has become known as much for this case as it is for its great universities.

As soon as I saw Esteban Carpio's face, I had sympathy for him and no sympathy whatever for the police who had punished him before he could have a trial.
07:17 PM EDT on Wednesday, June 14, 2006

BY GREGORY SMITH
Journal Staff Writer (Via Democratic Underground)

PROVIDENCE -- A state trooper testified today that he punched Esteban Carpio in the face three times because he feared the suspect in the murder of Detective Sgt. James L. Allen only hours before was armed and dangerous.

"I struck him because he was trying to strike me. And I thought he had a weapon,'' State Police Detective Chistopher Zarrella said in Superior Court today from the witness stand in Carpio’s murder trial.

Zarrella said that Carpio continued to struggle after the beating, but not as forcefully.

Until today, the police hadn’t publicly acknowledged punching Carpio during the apprehension. The public never knew who injured Carpio the night of the arrest.

According to today's testimony, Zarrella broke bones in Carpio's face.
Now, there's some testilying! The police officer says Carpio was trying to strike the officer AND that he thought Carpio had a weapon. Well, which one is it? How many times did the officer have to punch Esteban repeatedly in the face before the officer realized that Esteban was no longer struggling AND did not have a weapon.

Police said Esteban Carpio shot a police officer. Frankly some police knowingly shoot innocent and defenseless people all of the time, while other officers help to cover it up, and so I feel no sympathy for police when they live by the sword and die by the sword.

In this particular case, had I been on the jury that tried Esteban Carpio I would have found him innocent simply because nothing the police said about this case could be believed until they admitted that they had tried and punished Esteban Carpio before he could ever present his case to a jury. That being the case, and once having seen his face as presented in court, I would not have been in favor of trying him again, because that would be double jeopardy. No one should be tortured pre-trial and then sentenced post-trial on the same set of facts.

On or about June 14, 2006, Esteban Carpio was found guilty, by an all-white jury, of stabbing an elderly woman and shooting a police detective to death with his own gun during an "interrogation."

What would drive a man to stab an elderly woman, shoot a police officer and then jump out of a third-floor window of the police department, if in fact those things happened? The Providence Journal, as cited at Democratic Underground, said:
Carpio's relatives in the gallery began crying, including Yvonne Carpio, his mother and a teacher in the Boston public schools, who had taken the stand in her son's defense. She recalled how she had him picked up in an ambulance and treated at a hospital when he began acting strangely in the weeks before Allen's murder.
Carpio's defense was based not on the premise that he did not effectuate the murders, but rather that he had a mental defect at the time that made him unable to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct, ("or some such language of the insanity defense, based in Rhode Island statutes and caselaw).
Carpio, who did not take the stand, argued through his lead lawyer Robert L. Sheketoff that he was in the throes of a psychosis, could not appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions and was unable to control his behavior. Providence Journal, Wednesday, June 28, 2006.
Is it so hard to believe that a Latino Black man or any man could be insane? Over 99% of the time, the insanity defense is unsuccessful and the jury or judge finds the defendant "guilty", instead of "not guilty by reason of insanity."

The verdict on three counts against Carpio briefly loosed some of the pent-up emotions of the 14-month-old incident, with Carpio's grandmother shrieking in the corridor outside the courtroom, "He didn't get help. He was a sick kid. They knew he was sick.

"That's why you had this tragedy. He should have got help.He should have got help. He should have got help." Providence Journal

Esteban's mother said she warned police that her son was mentally ill when they took him into custody. Apparently, police disregarded the possibility that he might act like a mentally ill person when they left him unhandcuffed, alone, in a room with a middle-aged police investigator who happened to be wearing a gun at the time.
She and her son's girlfriend, Samein "Soul" Phin, who lawyers for both sides called a prostitute during the trial, testified that they warned Allen and other officers who took Carpio into custody for questioning in the stabbing that their suspect was mentally disturbed.

( . . . )


On the other hand, the defense presented him as a man who believed he was cursed and that the devil was out to get him, and who was overwhelmed by the disembodied voice of an absent friend who sometimes commanded him to kill. At one point, according to testimony, Carpio tied a string around his waist to, as he put it, ward off the devil.
Providence Journal

Police initially said that Esteban Carpio shot the police detective and then jumped out of a third story window. Was ANY of that true, if they subsequently acknowledge that he got his facial injuries in an horrific beating from police?

I don't know what is "the truth" in this case. I know that I have an visceral and intuitive conviction that Esteban Carpio was railroaded.

Having lived in Providence, Rhode Island, I'm surprised to learn more about its demographics. According to the US Census Quick Facts, a combined 18% of the state of Rhode Island is either Latino or Black. However, in Providence there are a combined 81,000 Blacks and Latinos, with 80,000 whites. Half of the population is non-white but ALL of the jury members who tried Esteban Carpio were white. How did THAT come about? Is there any white person who would seek to be tried by an all Black and Latino jury?

Why is it considered so important in the United States to try people who are not white before all-white juries, even in cities in which half of the population is non-white? Can justice possibly be fair when it starts with the deck of cards so outrageously stacked on the basis of skin color? Are whites so desperately afraid that Blacks and Latinos might have compassion for minorities if we were permitted to sit on juries that will decide our fate?

1 comment:

Francis L. Holland Blog said...

These questions and concerns remain, as expressed at another site that covered this case:

Submitted by d_a_m (user info) at 2007-03-25 22:34:36 EDT (#)
Ranking: 0


Did he actually get beaten, or did he sustain the majority of his injuries jumping out the window?

Did he actually get restrained and systematically beaten, or did he put up a fight when he was caught again?

Did that cop he shot 'point blank in the face' die? Seems like he must've, but you think they'd have said.


Too much bullshit around this - it never actually says if he was beaten, just implies it. Also, the FBI clearing a cop means fuck all, not that I'm saying they should or shouldn't have, just that law enforcement circle-jerking and back-scratching itself means jack shit.

He deserved a kicking, but the police shouldn't have been the one who gave him it:

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Submitted by Fey (user info) at 2007-03-24 12:28:17 EDT (#)
Ranking: 0

I'm definitely not going to make any friends with this opinion, but here goes anyway.

The police officers had no right to do to him what they did.

Let me state unequivocally before I proceed:

I DO NOT CONDONE HIS SHOOTING OF THE POLICE OFFICER. Or any shooting, actually.

BUT

police officers HAVE TO FOLLOW THE LAW otherwise they are just criminals with uniforms.

It can be an incredibly frightening thing, the amount of power a police officer is capable of exerting, and if he or she allows their feelings to control their actions, they are incapable of impartiality.

And impartiality is an absolute must among those who are supposed to be the moral and legal pillars of our society.