Tuesday, January 11, 2005

(Not So) Superpredators Update

A year ago, I ranted a bit about stereotypes and the criminal justice system, and brought up a case of prejudice and police incompetence in Chicago:
A couple of years ago the Chicago Police were so quick to adopt the "super predator" stereotype with two African American boys, aged seven and eight, that they bungled the investigation and all-but-certainly let a convicted child molester get away with molesting and murdering an eleven-year-old girl.
Today, the City of Chicago reportedly settled a wrongful arrest lawsuit by one of the boys for $2 million dollars.
The boys, then 7 and 8, were charged with the girl's murder but were later cleared when DNA tests linked the case to Floyd Durr, a Chicago man who has since been convicted of sexual assaults on other young girls. Durr is still awaiting trial in Ryan's death, although he is in prison as a result of the other convictions.
I hope Durr's convictions relate to offenses committed before the 1998 murder of Ryan Harris, as but for the botched investigation focused on the two boys he would likely have been incarcerated for the murder before he got a chance to attack any more young girls. It was, after all, that focus that gave credence to Durr's "she was dead when I molested her" defense, and forestalled his prosecution all of these years.

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