Noted Buffalo criminal defense attorney Paul Cambria was invited by WBEN to continue an earlier discussion about the aftermath of the recent grand jury decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. In the wake of the decision, anger led to protests and violence in Ferguson and throughout the country. Reverend Kinzer Pointer of Agape Fellowship Baptist Church also joined the conversation.
Click here for the interview.
Rioting may detract from serious issues
Rev. Pointer began the interview by saying he thought that the destruction of property during the rioting takes attention away from the substantial issues involved and does not add to the conversation. He noted that Officer Darren Wilson, who killed Mr. Brown, appeared from his testimony to be frightened for his life.
Discussing the grand jury testimony, which was released in an unusual step, Mr. Cambria was asked about Mr. Wilson’s comments.
Mr. Cambria said, “I’ve listened to accounts of what [Wilson] said, and he said he felt that he had no control over the situation, he was overpowered, he was punched. He made a statement that he didn’t know if the third punch would knock him out or kill him and so on.”
Media fan racial flames
“It’s interesting because if this [altercation] was white on white or black on black,” Mr. Cambria continued, “we wouldn’t be having this conversation. The media is exploiting the black-white [dynamic]. We’re watching a crawler on CNN here on the television in the studio, and they describe ‘white officer’ and ‘black,’ and what’s the point of that unless you’re trying to fan the flames and keep the story going. So to a degree, it’s obvious that this is black-white, and that is why this is happening. If it was a white individual who was killed, we wouldn’t have this conversation.”
“Unfortunately with looting and all the rest of it,” Mr. Cambria continued, “what this does is detract from the message. If you are trying to explore an issue and resolve it, don’t do it by stealing and all the rest of it, because what it does is it allows the people who are prejudiced to begin with to say ‘see? this was just an excuse to steal,’ as opposed to talking about the issues and trying to resolve it.”
Mr. Cambria is recognized as one of the nation’s preeminent criminal defense attorneys. In addition to the areas of criminal trials and criminal appeals, he practices in the areas of Constitutional and First Amendment law, zoning and land use, antitrust, and professional licensing defense. He divides his time between Lipsitz Green’s Buffalo and Los Angeles offices.