I knew it was today and I wanted to attend but just have too much going on right now; after seeing the comments to this article on it in the Pilot (hat tip to laughingdog via email), I’m glad I didn’t.
Fellow Blogger Rick Caldwell(Infrequently Asked Questions) and I (Tidewater Liberty) sat for three hours in Courtroom A of the District Court, waiting to witness and report this hearing. The hearing was moved, without announcement or change in the posted docket to another courtroom, so we missed it.
Apparently, this was not an isolated incident in this case either. The commenter was way more forgiving that I’m inclined to be. I’m thinking that the powers that be in Chesapeake government are trying to keep the media attention of this case to a minimum.
Here’s why (from the article itself):
Charges of first-degree murder and use of a firearm were sent by a judge to a grand jury today after a preliminary hearing for Ryan David Frederick, accused of shooting and killing a narcotics officer during a drug raid in Portlock in January.
A charge of possession of marijuana was withdrawn. [emphasis added]
The drug charge…you know, the thing that prompted the Chesapeake Police to break down Ryan Frederick’s door in the night in the first place…was “withdrawn.”
I don’t think the Commonwealth’s Attorney believes that Ryan Frederick is guilty of first degree murder. Unless there are significant details about this case that we don’t have (and I doubt that seriously), the elements of First Degree Murder aren’t even close to being met. In Virginia, First Degree Murder requires premeditation.
Is the prosecutor seriously trying to say that this Soda salesman, back yard gardener and, by all accounts, good neighbor who is guilty only of small time recreational pot use was “lying in wait” for the police to break down his door so he could carry out his nefarious plan to execute one of the city’s finest?
Oh, and then surrender peacefully after murdering a police officer in cold blood?
Ok, the BS warning lights are on steady right about now.
Here’s what I think is going on:
The upper echelon of the City of Chesapeake knows that they screwed the pooch on this one. The Police department, Chief of Police, Mayor et al, knows that Detective Shivers died and Ryan Frederick is in jail because of poor Police policy. The Police department has already supported the action of the officers in this case, they can’t very well come out now and say that the Officers didn’t follow policy now can they?
This even goes to the judicial system. There is a judge who signed a search warrant based on nothing more than the word of a Confidential Informant; and this seems to occur as a matter of course in this country. This case could put the entire judicial system on trial.
No. They don’t think they’re going to get a conviction for Murder 1. I’d be surprised if they even expect the grand jury to allow the charges.
This is a scare tactic. They are hoping that the “Sword of Damocles” of life in prison without parole will convince Mr. Frederick to plea to a lesser charge.
That way they avoid a trial, have their scapegoat and don’t have their failures aired in public.
Pragmatically speaking, it may be best for Mr. Frederick to take an offer, plea to manslaughter or whatever they will accept, do his time and get on with his life.
But the activist in me sincerely hopes that he does not. I simply cannot see how he could be convicted in this case. All charges that would have justified the assault on his house have been dropped. The only thing he’s charged with is defending his home.
Assuming that there is not an aspect of this case of which I’m not aware, I hope that Mr. Frederick hangs tough, faces the charges, forces the city to trial and is exonerated.
Then, let the lawsuits begin.