Opinion

Pompeo decision casts shadow over public trust of our judicial system

Dec. 5, sentencing day for Const. David Pompeo, was a sad day in history, causing reflections well into the future.

Judge Josiah Wood spoke to how Mr Pompeo could not be on the police force if he went to jail or had a gun prohibition. The judge spoke of the hardship to this officer’s family if he was unemployed. The judge alluded to  Mr Pompeo’s good character.

Even though the judge believed Mr. Pompeo did not follow his training as proven by expert witness testimony, he said Mr Pompeo had low moral culpability in the shooting of Bill Gillespie and believed he did follow his training.

The judge was of the opinion Mr Pompeo would not do this or any other offence again, so he saw no reason to jail him  nor to cause him to lose his job, by giving the mandatory gun prohibition.

He then proceeded to waive the prohibition and give Mr Pompeo a two-year probation with virtually no conditions.

Words cannot explain what happened in the courtroom and I doubt they ever will.

What about Bill Gillespie? What about his inability to support his family? His lifetime of pain and suffering ahead? What about our community and our protection?

This verdict also sets a precedent that any time a police officer does something wrong and ends up in court he can claim he felt threatened and relied on his training — training this trial has shown puts those people who took high-pay, high-risk jobs first, before the citizens they are sworn to protect.

Does this mean any officer who feels threatened in any way and relies on his or her training can kill someone without ramifications?

This training they receive leaves us as citizens at risk. How do we know what will threaten an officer?

All decent officers on this force are probably hanging their heads in shame at what this court decision means to bad cops.

Any respect garnered by officers in the past is gone now and only fear remains.

In recent days, 23,000 people signed a petition to our courts regarding a mistreated dog. But try and get one person to sign a petition about a cop, as I did, and they won’t do it out of fear a cop will appear in their future.

There were letters to the court from our community about our feelings on this matter but only police letters praising Mr. Pompeo garnered mention.

I must say that all the respect I had for our system has now disappeared, I feel sympathy for those good officers on the force who are shadowed by this style of management and a definite fear of what lies ahead for all.

A true requiem for our justice system.

Larry Woodruff is a Cobble Hill resident who has been closely observing the Pompeo case.

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