Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Thoughts on the Bryant/Sheppard Decision

I don't really talk about things like this, but I'd read about the death of cyclist Darcy Allen Sheppard during his encounter with former Ontario attorney general Michael Bryant last August. I read that Sheppard had been drinking, that he had anger-management issues, that he'd gotten in the face of other drivers in the weeks leading up to his fatal rendezvous with Bryant. But I'd also seen the videos of the event and heard the witness testimony. It seems it was possible that Bryant was being the obnoxious one in this story. From the videos we can see Bryant's car appearing to bump Sheppard's bicycle, knock it down, and then attempt to leave the scene and running over Sheppard's bike and almost Sheppard himself, before Sheppard (in what would be justifiable rage) approaches Bryant, whereupon it isn't clear whether Sheppard grabs Bryant's car or whether Bryant again attempts to speed away.

Bryant drove for a few moments, supposedly in a panic, but perhaps in a concerted effort to knock his adversary off of his car. Sheppard was either trying to punch Bryant's lights out, or, he was holding on for dear life. Following the tragedy, Bryant hired a big public relations firm that revoltingly dug-up a lot of dirt on Sheppard and then broadcast it to the world. Not too classy.

It all added up so that I was interested to find out how it would end. But I was sure there was going to be a trial. Like a HUGE number of people, I was surprised to hear that Bryant has been let go with all the charges dropped.

1. Sheppard was an obviously angry man who irresponsibly rode his bicycle while drunk. This is irrelevant if there is video evidence that shows that Bryant might have been the more irresponsible person in this case.

2. If you're going to accept the possibility that Bryant pulled strings because of who he was, you can't then deny it in the end because of the police report! If the whole legal system is compromised, then obviously the police on the street who wrote the reports are going to be compromised as well.
2.b) Which is not to say that the whole thing has been compromised. Just to remind people that saying it's possible that Bryant pulled strings but that the police reports exonerate Bryant is like saying that the New York Times' reporting about Saddam Hussein's WMDs exonerated Cheney.

3. If Rosie DiManno is taking Bryant's side, then I really have a hard time believing he was blameless. What with her being the journalistic equivalent of an old, used colostomy bag and all. (I realize this is not a legal argument, or even fair. It's just a statement about what a stupid fucking idiot Rosie DiManno is.)

4. Maybe Bryant really is a nice guy whose beautiful, alcohol-free, 12th anniversary date with his loving wife was horribly destroyed by a chance encounter with a drunken, obnoxious cyclist. If Bryant really was innocent, I think it would have been better for him to let this go to trial. Unless he's cool with having thousands of people think he got away with murder.

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