Angered that the facts didnâ€™t support his case, and instead of doing the right thing and apologizing to Rashad Johnson, the Tuscaloosa City Attorney forced Johnson to make a humiliating statement as part of a plea deal. Hereâ€™s the statement, according to the Rap Sheet:
“I regret that my actions contributed to an arrest on Feb. 23, 2008,” Johnson said in a statement released to The News, “and want to make it clear that I support the Tuscaloosa Police Department and their attempts to maintain public safety.”
According to the report, Johnson was forced to make the statement as a term of the plea deal. He must also complete community service hours. This statement is a disgusting attempt to have the last word by forcing a mea culpa into the mouth of what by all rights is an innocent party. And if anyone doubts that, then why didn’t the city take it to trial? Of course, they know they’d lose. Not having the evidence tends to do that to your case.
The week started with pettiness on display. The city attorney threatened to move ahead with the persecution (yes, I said persecution and not prosecution) of Johnson on Monday. Why? Because the defense attorney, and others had exposed the problems with the Tuscaloosa Police Departmentâ€™s case. Basically according to just about everyone, the video of the incident doesnâ€™t show what the police report alleged.
But facts werenâ€™t enough to do the right thing. Here is the city being petty details from the Rap Sheet:
When I spoke to James Woodson, the city attorney Friday and told him what I was reporting, he did not deny any of it. A few minutes ago, that changed. The city apparently has a problem with attorney Josh Swords saying the city initiated the talks. It did not dispute anything else specifically, nor did it say anything else written was inaccurate.
The city decided to play with a young manâ€™s life just because it was losing the public relations battle.
Perhaps the city could spend its resources on more useful pursuits than trying to humble Johnson in a cheap, disgusting and obviously draconian action.
Never was there a better argument for a change of government in Tuscaloosa than this outrage.