Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Collision Cop Home Free

If not innocent, this Boston cop will not be culpable for killing a woman five months ago by running into her broken down car on Route 93. The Suffolk DA will not charge him, according to a paragraph in the Boston Globe.

As our plump local press tends to run police and DA statements without any original reportage, we don't know whether the public was well served or should be curious or even outraged.

When we first cited this case, we noted that off-duty officer Thomas M. Griffin sure seemed to get the fraternal treatment. He ran into Michelle Vibert's stalled car, with her inside, around 2:20 a.m. Given the time and that he apparently just didn't notice her car was not moving, it would seem to call for tests for alcohol or other drugs. It has suspicious circumstances.

However, at the time the state police did not cite him. There was also no indication of any testing, either observation, mechanical or chemical.

According to today's regurgitated report:
Investigators found no evidence that Thomas M. Griffin , 27, of Boston, was intoxicated or negligent in the accident. A State Police reconstruction team found that Griffin hit Vibert as she was parked in the right lane around 2:20 a.m. on Aug. 12, not realizing in time that the vehicle was not moving. Investigators believe that Griffin tried to avoid Vibert's car, but struck its left rear bumper, causing it to spin and Griffin's SUV to flip.
If you or I caused the same wreck, the cops might likely assume we had been out drinking, we were not paying attention in our impaired state, and that we were speeding if we flipped our SUV. Maybe they assumed so. Maybe they cut him enormous slack because he was a fellow officer. Maybe they tested him. Likely not, or they would have at least reported that.

So this may be more business as usual and not truly nefarious non-enforcement.

You'd think the Globe or even its asthenic tabloid foe would ask whether the cop got drug tests, what kinds of investigations went on, whether they determined his speed, whether she was in the breakdown lane, whether her hazard lights were flashing, and such. It could be everything was thorough and detached. That would be swell to know. Meanwhile, found no evidence is a spongy phrase.

Coming out of J-school and working newspapers for some years, I sure would have followed up on this story. But those were in days in the last century with hungry competition among cities' several newspapers, and special attention to crime coverage.

By cracky.

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