Law & Order (1990) Episode Scripts

N/A - Prejudice

NARRATOR: In the criminal justice system the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups, the police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders.
These are their stories.
We're obviously not hitting it off like Bob and Marcy thought we would.
We don't have to go eat dinner, okay? We could just call it a night.
(EXHALES) We already came this far.
We might as well find this place and get some tofu or whatever.
Now you're being hostile.
Look, I'm not judging you for eating meat, okay? I just prefer not to eat beings with souls.
(CHUCKLES) The Pantheists believed plants had souls.
How does that fit into your paradigm? I choose to draw the line at animal matter.
And you shouldn't litter.
We're all custodians of the earth.
Oh, my God.
What now? How long's he been here? Well, the body's still warm.
M.
E.
says no more than an hour.
Looks like he was shot on the street and then dragged down here.
Yeah, he took one in the chest.
CSU's got the shell casings.
Looks like his early 50s? Yeah.
He did pretty well, from the looks of his clothes.
Any ID? The money's still here, so it's probably not a robbery.
Let's see.
Thomas Reddick.
Pavilion Publishing.
CEO.
(SIREN WAILS) Looks like they publish a string of magazines.
News, fashion.
Well, he's on the other side of the camera now.
He's on the other side, period.
Tomorrow's our anniversary.
Twenty-three years.
ED: We're very sorry for your loss, Mrs.
Reddick.
Our son Ted is a senior at Brown and I don't know how I'm going to tell him.
The last time you spoke to your husband, he was in his office? He called me at about 5:00, just to say hi.
I hurried him off the phone because I was late for my pilates class.
ED: What time did you get home? Around 7:00 or so.
Were you concerned at all that he wasn't here? Ever since they made him CEO at Pavilion, he's had an enormous demand on his time.
His office is at Midtown.
Any idea why he was five blocks from here? (SIGHS) The only thing I can think is that, he stopped to get a last minute anniversary gift.
ED: ls there anybody in the area he would have visited? (SIGHS) Not that I know of.
I hate to ask you this but, could there have been another party involved? The only other party in our marriage was that job, Detective.
I used to joke that that job would make me a widow.
You know, this is pretty impressive.
Yeah.
And for all that the guy ends up dead at the bottom of a stairwell.
I've got his appointment book.
I'm not sure you should be going through that.
Look, we're dealing with a homicide investigation.
Oh, I just meant there might be some sensitive material there.
That's exactly what we're looking for.
I was referring to the corporate financial information about the buyouts.
Buyouts? Of the other magazines.
That's what Mr.
Reddick's meetings were about yesterday.
When was his last appointment? That would have been his 6:30 with Legal.
And that was the last time you saw him? On his way upstairs.
He wasn't very happy.
Mr.
Reddick didn't really look forward to meetings with lawyers.
I know the feeling.
Pavilion Publishing just bought out several magazines to bring under our umbrella.
Naturally, it came with residual baggage.
Meaning? Lawsuits.
Thomas was here for an hour or so to discuss potential resolutions.
Thomas was such a driving force in this company.
I can't believe he's gone.
Was there anybody else here besides you two? Several of our in-house attorneys, a paralegal.
We were evaluating the cases and preparing settlement offers.
Do you recall what time Mr.
Reddick left the meeting? I know it was around 7:30.
I just assumed he was going back to his office.
I was on duty last night when Mr.
Reddick left.
We've all been working double shifts these last few months.
Do people sign in and out of the building after hours? If they don't have IDs, anyone in after 6:00 signs a sheet and again when they leave.
Does that show anybody signing out around the time Mr.
Reddick left? No, sir.
Not until This doesn't say which offices half the people went to.
And some of them didn't even sign out.
Phone rings, I can't do six things at once.
Was anybody with Mr.
Reddick when he went out? He was by himself.
I offered to get him a cab, it was freezing out, but he said I should stay warm.
Decent guy.
Did you see him get in the cab? I saw it pull up.
I remember because there were a few other people out there.
Looked like he was talking to one of them.
I looked again, the cab was gone, so was Mr.
Reddick.
So you didn't see if Mr.
Reddick got in the taxi by himself? I wasn't paying close attention.
Do you remember what this person looked like? The one that Reddick was talking to? A white guy.
Suit and tie, overcoat.
That's about it.
Thanks.
So he leaves his office at 7:30 and winds up dead five blocks from home a half hour later.
The canvass didn't turn up any witnesses in the vicinity of the attack.
Well, Ballistics said the gun used to kill Mr.
Reddick was a Glock 9mm.
Anything recovered from the search of the area? Nothing so far.
There were a couple of gift shops and florists in the area.
So if his wife was right about him stopping for an anniversary present, he never made it.
Wallet full of cash, nothing taken.
It still could have been a robbery.
Somebody comes along, they scare the attacker off.
So we're right back to the last people who saw him alive.
Security guard said Reddick left the building alone and then was talking to a white guy in a suit just before he got into the cab.
Only he wasn't sure if this guy got in the cab with Reddick.
Now, that lawyer you spoke with, didn't he say there were other people at the meeting? Well, maybe this guy in the suit was one of them.
Mr.
Reddick left by himself.
He didn't offer to maybe share a cab with anybody? Mmm-mmm.
The rest of us continued working on the cases.
The lawsuits? Are those them? Yes.
Mind if we take a look? Actually, all those files are privileged.
Okay.
Can you tell us the nature of the litigations? They run the gamut from slip-and-falls to contract disputes, a few sexual harassment suits.
Just one big happy company.
ED: Were there any plaintiffs that were a problem? They are all a problem.
But it wouldn't have been in anyone's interest to harm Thomas.
He was the one anxious to dispose of the suits.
BRISCOE: Well, what we're thinking is, would anybody on this list have been interested in disposing of him? IRWIN: I filed the suit because as a stockholder I disagree with the management decisions of the company.
I'm guessing you're a minority shareholder.
I'm entitled to express my views.
Please don't lean on the Chippendale.
Maybe you wanted to express your views directly to Thomas Reddick.
That's why I sued.
But as for killing him Look, we spoke to the lawyers at the publishing company.
They got a whole stack of letters that you wrote to Mr.
Reddick.
Threatening letters, Irwin.
Look, I believe in the pen, not the sword.
In fact, I got a file cabinet full of complaint letters just like the one I sent to Pavilion.
How come I have no problem believing that? So what the hell were you so upset about? Pavilion is expanding into areas I don't think are in its best interest.
Such as Porn.
I mean, they were soft core magazines, but buying them out was a fundamental violation of Pavilion's corporate mission.
The guy sells Chippendales, but he objects to porn.
(LAUGHS MOCKINGLY) Wonder why Pavilion's lawyers never mentioned it.
It's their dirty little secret.
A profitable one.
You know, we can cross-reference the list of plaintiffs from the magazine and see what turns up.
My agent told me it was away to make some easy money.
You mean posing for those photos? (SIGHS) Rent, acting classes, time off for auditions.
It all takes money, Detective.
Money I don't have.
So, why did you sue? 'Cause your boyfriend didn't like it? Doug doesn't understand what it's like.
How much competition there is out there.
So, he's the one who didn't want the photos published? Well, they were supposed to be for a private collection.
Then about six months ago, I got a letter in the mail saying they were going to run them in one of their magazines.
ED: How did Doug take that? (SIGHS) Not real well.
Is there any chance that your boyfriend could have known Pavilion was going to talk about your lawsuit that night? AMANDA: Why? We just need to speak to anybody that might have been involved.
Look, Doug was pissed, but that's all.
He couldn't have had anything to do with it.
He works two jobs.
Nights he tends bar.
Doug never showed up that night.
He say why? Said he forgot.
Kid's been with me over a year.
I gotta cut him some slack, you know.
What do you guys want to talk to him about? His girlfriend.
Amanda.
You know her? Yeah, sure.
She comes in here all the time.
Whoa, whoa.
Doug didn't do something stupid, now did he? Why do you say that? Well, the kid's upset, you know.
I mean, this girl's the girl of his dreams, if we can all remember what that's like.
You know, the stuff about the pictures comes out, you know.
He talked about it? Yeah, sure.
It's all he could talk about.
I tried to tell him, I said, "Look, it's not the end of the world or anything.
" But he didn't see it that way.
No.
The guys at the construction job started giving him the grief, you know.
We get lawyers in here from time to time.
He was always asking 'em what he could do, you know.
But they kept telling him there's nothing he could do.
So Doug didn't take no for an answer.
BRISCOE: Douglas Larson? DOUG: That's right.
We need to talk to you about Thomas Reddick.
What about? You don't seem surprised.
Well, I figure it has something to do with Amanda.
Then you know Mr.
Reddick? I know who he is, yeah.
When's the last time you saw him? I've never seen him.
Look, what's this all about? BRISCOE: Maybe we better talk down at the precinct.
Are You saying I gotta go with you? Look, it would help to clear some things up.
About Amanda.
Can I at least change? BRISCOE: Oh, don't worry about it.
The kind of pictures we take are only from the neck up.
Let's go.
I told you, I never saw Reddick that night.
But you did go to his office.
Your name's on the building sign-in sheet.
You recognize your signature, Mr.
Larson? Okay, I went up to see Reddick, but he was already gone.
Then why go there at all? I just wanted to talk to him.
See if maybe they'd think about what they were doing to Amanda.
You mean about what they were doing to you? People have told us you were pretty angry about those pictures, Mr.
Larson.
What are you saying? Why did you lie to your boss about where you were that night? I didn't think it was any of his business.
The security guard said he saw you talkin' to Reddick that night in front of his building.
I told you, I never saw him.
He said that you two were arguing.
It never happened.
Look, I went up to Reddick's office, he wasn't there.
I came back down, got in the car with my friend.
That's all.
BRISCOE: What friend? A guy I work at the site with.
Danny Moreno.
He gave me a ride.
Look, you can ask him yourself.
He was there when I came out.
My wife temps three blocks away.
I gave Doug a lift.
You drove into Midtown to pick your wife up? She broke her leg a few months ago.
She still has trouble getting around.
What's going on? Hey, did Doug tell you why he was going to Pavilion Publishing? To talk to some guy about his girlfriend's pictures.
Was he angry? Of course he was.
Wouldn't you be? BRISCOE: He said that you were there when he came out.
Yeah, my wife doesn't get off till 8:00.
I found a spot on the corner.
A man was killed that night, Mr.
Moreno.
This man.
Actually there were a couple of guys and I think one of them was a black guy.
Looked to me like they had some sort of beef.
Might've been him, I don't know.
BRISCOE: Can you describe who was with him? Two white guys.
ED: Two white guys? Right.
Did you notice if they all came out of the same building? I didn't see.
Did you see if they left together? Black guy got in the cab, then the other two flagged down another one a couple of seconds later.
Anything else you can tell us? Just that the white guys seemed in a hurry.
I noticed that 'cause they started helping a lady who was already in the cab take her luggage out of the back.
It was one of those, you know, minivan type taxis.
So, we're not looking for one white guy in a suit.
Now it's two.
Oh, well, that just narrows it right down.
And we're sure Doug Larson wasn't one of them? Only time you'd find him in a suit would be at a wedding or a funeral.
Okay, so this witness sees these two guys with Reddick arguing.
Although he's not sure he saw them come out of the same building.
Well, if they had something to do with the murder, then they had to follow him in the second cab.
Or they knew where Reddick was going in the first place.
Well, the only way to find out is to talk to the second cabbie.
Oh, that ought to be easy.
Taxi and Limousine Commission says there's 382 minivan type cabs in the city.
They tell you which companies use them? Yeah, mainly the independents.
Guy said the sedans are lucky to have a three-year street life.
Minivans go for five or more.
There's three makes.
Isuzu Oasis, Chevy Venture and Honda Odyssey.
Here's a list of the independents.
We can pull the registrations from the DMV.
Please tell me they weren't all on the road that night.
I had just gotten back from JFK.
I was about to go back to the airport when these two guys jumped in.
One of them gave me $50.
I figured, airport business isn't what it used to be anyway, so Where'd you take 'em? The West Side.
The Seventies.
You're sure? Yes, one of them wanted me to follow this other cab.
At first, I started to laugh.
I thought maybe I was on Spy TV.
But then the one guy, he tells me to shut up and keep my eyes on the other cab.
That is why I remember.
So what happened when you dropped them off? The one who gave me the money got out.
The other one I took back across the park.
BRISCOE: So, they didn't both get out? No, no, just the one.
The other guy wanted to go home.
So, what did the first guy do when he got out? He went off into the direction of the other cab.
After that, I didn't see.
Do you remember where you dropped the second guy off? But I could check my trip sheet.
BRISCOE: You remember anything else about these guys? Just that the one was real angry.
ED: Angry? Angry about what? I couldn't hear.
Just the other one.
He kept saying how it is not worth it.
Kept trying to get his friend to go back to some bar.
What bar? Had to be near where I picked them up.
He kept on talking about the waitress.
A redhead.
We get a lot of customers from the building after work.
Brokers, lawyers.
You made quite an impression on this guy.
He was talking about you in the cab.
Nothing stands out.
Okay, this guy had a friend.
They would have left around 7:30.
That's happy hour.
It's a mob scene in here.
Well, we're gonna need all your charge receipts from that night.
My manager could get those for you, but usually guys just pay cash.
Hey, did anybody try to hook up with you? Ask for your number? Hang on a minute.
Hook up? Were these guys trying to get laid or tow her car? (CHUCKLES) I don't give out my number.
But sometimes guys give me their business cards.
These are from the past couple of nights.
I had no idea that was the guy who was killed.
So, you don't read the paper? Look, if I would have known, I would have Well, now you do know.
So why don't you tell us what happened, Mr.
Turner? Or we can put your ass in a line-up.
Should I have a lawyer here? If you don't start telling us what happened, yeah.
I had a drink with Ray.
Ray Burrows.
Mr.
Burrows works here, too? Used to.
Not anymore.
So you met him for a drink.
Then what? I went home.
Mr.
Turner, we know that you followed Mr.
Reddick in a taxi.
Then you know I'm telling the truth about going home.
We think you know more about what happened than that.
Are you gonna tell us or am I gonna slap cuffs on you? We came out of the bar.
Ray got a cab.
This other guy walks up to it.
BRISCOE: Thomas Reddick.
The black guy who got killed.
I didn't know his name.
He starts to get in, Ray puts an arm on him, tells him that's our cab.
It just escalated from there.
Wait a minute.
You're telling us that this whole thing was because of an argument over a taxi? Yeah.
Great.
Search warrant's in the building.
Now, we're sure Turner's not gonna tip off his friend? Not from the jail cell we got him sitting in.
We're holding him for a material witness order.
Figure it's better to be safe than sorry till the warrant gets here.
And this whole thing comes out of a dispute over a cab? BRISCOE: Looks that way.
Here's the warrant, Lieutenant, signed, sealed and delivered.
VAN BUREN: Thanks.
Ain't this something? Black man finally gets a cab in this city and gets killed for it.
BURROWS: This is way out of line.
Most people would say killing a man for a taxi is way out of line.
Yeah, most people don't know their ass from their elbow.
You know your ass from your elbow, Detective? I know an ass when I see one.
Well, I'll tell you what, Tonto, if that's all you've got, then get the hell out.
I have a date tonight.
Yeah, I bet you're a real pistol, too.
Hey, Ed.
ED: Yeah? Rounds for a 9mm.
Oh, now you can show us where the gun is, Kemosabe.
I don't have a gun.
Oh, no? What do you do, throw the bullets? ED: Lennie.
Take this.
Put your hands behind your back.
No, not for you.
For him.
You'll do whatever the hell I tell you to do.
Now, turn around.
(LAUGHS) I want to see my lawyer.
Oh, sure.
We'll just step outside and my partner here will flag you a cab.
ED: Come on.
Ballistics matched the gun as the weapon that killed Mr.
Reddick.
Burrows make any statements about the shooting? Never got a chance to.
The guy lawyered up first thing.
SERENA: He's got no prior criminal history.
And we also haven't been able to establish any contact between him and Reddick prior to the argument over the cab.
So what's the theory? He just snapped? According to Turner, they followed the victim's cab for almost 20 minutes before the attack.
Which should have been plenty of time to cool off.
What the hell's his problem? We think he killed this man because he was black.
The guy went crazy when I tried to cuff him.
SERENA: So it's a hate crime.
VAN BUREN: Look, the man's walking around with a loaded 9mm, uses it without provocation.
May not have been premeditated, but it sure seems pretty damned calculated.
My client's been completely cooperative with this investigation.
Which is the only reason he hasn't been indicted.
Indicted for what? Scott never even got out of that cab.
Look, I told you what happened.
But you haven't told us why it happened, Mr.
Turner.
Yeah, like why your friend Ray was walkin' around with a gun.
I never saw a gun.
ED: Yeah, but you knew he had one.
That's why you and Ray were so brave that night.
SHIELDS: Look, I represent this man as a material witness.
If he's becoming a target in this investigation, he has a right to know.
You knew your friend.
You heard him ask the driver to follow the victim.
Don't pretend you had no idea what would happen.
What are you after? All statements made by Ray Burrows during the initial altercation with the victim and throughout the cab ride.
In other words, we want to know if your buddy Ray called him a nigger.
Turner says Burrows used repeated racial epithets during the argument and throughout the cab ride.
What about at the scene? There's no eyewitness.
Which means that his lawyer can argue that racist or not, this was just a crime of opportunity.
Not if we can show Burrows has been involved in other incidents.
Turner mentioned another altercation with a black salesman at work.
Talk to him.
Before we play the race card, I want to see the whole deck.
I'm not surprised.
Frankly, it was only a matter of time.
What makes you say that? A few months ago, Burrows barged into my office and accused me of stealing a client.
Why did he think that? The client was black.
Apparently he thought Ray was condescending.
So what happened? The manager reassigned the client to me, and when Burrows found out, he hit the roof.
He started screaming that we were all out to get him.
You know, black people.
And he called me an affirmative action incompetent and few other things I'd rather not repeat.
What did you do? I was about to smack him in his mouth only that's when I saw his gun.
He had a gun? In his waistband.
Pulled back his jacket so I could see it.
What did you do? I backed the hell off.
I mean, I thought he was going to shoot me.
And then something caught his attention and he walked out.
Did you report this to anyone? Told the boss.
What was done? Burrows was fired.
You know, it took me over a month before I could sleep again.
I still think about it.
The incident with the co-worker was not an isolated event.
Pretty much everybody I spoke to said the same thing.
Burrows goes out of his way to let people know how he feels.
He even wrote a letter to his co-op board trying to get them to reject a couple buying an apartment in his building.
Apparently Mr.
Burrows has a problem with interracial couples.
You'd at least think he'd try to be subtle.
Call his lawyer.
Set up a meeting.
We're going with a hate crime.
(SIGHS) He deserves all the time we can give him.
ARCHER: You can't be serious.
That's five years on top of the murder charge.
Your client hunted down a total stranger, killed him in cold blood.
Offer's 20-to-life.
It was rage reaction to a dispute over a taxi.
He followed this man through traffic for over 20 minutes.
Engaged in conversation, paid the driver.
There's more than sufficient attenuation to preclude any rage defense.
He's got no criminal record.
Well, then, he hit the jackpot the first time out.
At least let's take the hate crime off the table.
Mr.
Burrows put it on the table in the first place.
In writing.
Which leaves me no choice but to do the same.
You'll have my motion by the end of the day.
Not only can't they link this co-op board letter to the homicide, but they can't establish that the crime had anything to do with race at all.
We can show a history of racist attitudes and the statements he made in the cab.
Your Honor, this letter would be so inflammatory.
It would be so prejudicial.
That's exactly the point.
The hate crime statute requires us to prove that the victim was targeted because of his race.
This letter provides a jury with a context to evaluate the defendant's motive.
Let it in.
Ray.
No, I'm tired of all of this.
Tired of hiding.
I did the right thing.
Your Honor, please, I'd like to call for an immediate adjournment.
I don't want an adjournment.
What I want is for a jury to hear why I shot the bastard.
Judge, I object to this entire proceeding.
It's your own motion, Mr.
Archer.
BURROWS: Let 'em see that letter, Judge.
Let a jury hear the truth for once.
Once a jury of my peers does, they'll see that we're the ones on the endangered species list.
Obviously I have to consult with my client.
JUDGE: Talk to him about anything you want, Counselor.
I've heard enough.
The defendant's letter to the co-op board comes in.
The defendant's history of his racist attitudes comes in.
But what I will not do is allow the People to use what your client just said right here.
You're sure this wasn't some sort of stunt his lawyer pulled? Archer did everything but stuff a sock in his mouth.
Well, maybe he should have.
He just walked into a five-year enhancement of the murder charge.
What is he, nuts? You may not be far off.
Archer just filed notice of his intent to offer psychiatric evidence.
An insanity defense.
Based on what? Racism.
He claims Burrows' hatred of blacks rises to some sort of paranoid delusion.
The only delusion here is Archer's.
I have a duty to defend my client any way I see fit.
Within the bounds of law.
Racism has never been legally recognized as a mental defect.
I now have an expert witness, Your Honor, and he's willing to testify.
Some rent-a-doc, Mr.
Archer? No, a psychiatrist from the Yale Medical School and an African-American.
JUDGE: And he will testify to exactly what, Mr.
Archer? That extreme racism is a form of mental illness that should be recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Meaning that it isn't.
I'm not going to have my court turned upside down with speculation, Counselor.
A Massachusetts court has already accepted the theory that racially paranoid beliefs constitute a mental defect.
Look, all I am asking is for a chance to present my case.
What he's asking for is a free pass.
He does have the right to use any defense cognizable at law.
And like it or not, this one is.
No jury in New York's going to buy an insanity defense from an admitted racist.
It gets a little easier when judges let experts testify he's delusional.
Try selling it to a black juror.
Only takes one to hang a jury, Jack.
Have you taken a look at their expert's CV? I mean, this psychiatrist is no quack.
If he believes what's in his own report, he's not far off.
Why? Because psychiatry doesn't agree with him? You know, at one time or another there was no precedent for most of the mental disorders we now allow in court.
JACK: And I've spent more than 20 years in this office making sure there are less of them, not more.
The last time, it was a black defendant trying to justify a murder on black rage.
I'd no more accept that nonsense than this.
Yeah, the irony is though if there's any truth to this theory, and if we'd been treating racism as a mental illness all along, maybe we wouldn't have a Ray Burrows.
Or there'd be more of them.
The only way to prevent that is to hold people responsible for their actions.
You know what I read that crystallized it for me? Why don't you tell me? An account by a guy who went around shooting MRCs.
MRCs? Mixed racial couples.
See the key is, he always had to shoot the black guy first if he was going to shoot them both.
Why is that, Ray? Because if he shot the white woman first, then the black man would just run away.
But if he shot him first, then the white woman would stay to help.
Then the shooter could get them both.
The point is you believe black men are cowards.
Well, the empirical evidence seems to bear that out, wouldn't you say? I'm more interested in what you have to say.
You're aware your lawyer's claiming you're delusional because you hold just these kinds of views? (MUTTERS) Well, I'm not delusional.
Anyone who doesn't see that this country's being taken away from guys like you and me is the one who's delusional.
You think minorities are out to get you, Mr.
Burrows? We both know that they are.
Don't tell me that if you were about to get on an airplane and there was an Arab in line that you wouldn't check him out just a little bit harder? Is that delusion, Doc? What's your impression of him? In my opinion, Ray Burrows is one scary dude.
But he fully appreciated the nature of his actions.
You're basing this on what? The fact that racism is not a mental illness.
Yale shrink or no Yale shrink.
No matter how severe his delusions are that black people pose a threat to him? Mr.
Burrows could use a course in anger management, but he definitely knew what he'd done was wrong.
Believe me, nobody tries that hard to convince me they're right otherwise.
So what did Skoda have to say? What we expected.
Do you agree with him? I'm just second chair.
Oh, you don't have an opinion? An opinion about whether a racist should escape responsibility for murder? (CLEARS THROAT) You mean you want the truth? I've been with Jack for about six months, and all I ever hear are people making excuses about killing other people.
We have to hold them accountable.
So you'd just dismiss treatment options? You make it sound like there are treatment options for racists.
There aren't.
No.
There may never be.
But still, you know, you can't let fear dictate your decisions about criminal justice.
Everyone's afraid, Nora.
I'm afraid.
And it just seems like after what happened with the Towers, the last thing we want to do is give people a blank check to act on their hatred.
That's interesting.
Doctor, is it your opinion that at the time of the crime my client suffered from a mental disease which precluded his capacity to appreciate right from wrong? Yes, it is.
And what was that mental defect? Racism.
That is an extreme belief that a racial group poses a threat, unsupported by reality.
Hmm.
So what about Ray Burrows? I believe his racist attitudes so interfered with his behavior that he thought that killing Mr.
Reddick was not only not wrong, it actually was justified.
You're not saying we shouldn't hold him accountable? I'm saying he's in need of psychiatric help.
If we want to do anything about prevention, we must consider racism as a form of mental disorder.
Thank you, Doctor.
What about blacks killing whites? It doesn't matter who kills whom.
Not as long as the individual suffers from racist delusions.
You're not suggesting that African-Americans haven't been discriminated against in this country? Of course not.
Meaning that you wouldn't consider those perceptions delusional.
Perhaps not.
So whites would be the only ones who could benefit from this diagnosis.
You also maintain the defendant believes that what he did was right.
Yes.
How is it then that he concealed his crime from the police? Society doesn't encourage people to admit being racist.
If fact, we ostracize them when they do.
We did the same thing to people suffering from cancer in the '50s, AIDS in the '80s.
You'd compare a racist to a cancer patient? Only in the way society considers them.
Consider that Mr.
Burrows wrote a racist letter to his co-op board.
Nobody said anything to him.
Now, had he said he was suffering from depression, they may very well have recommended psychological treatment.
Only there is no treatment for the racist.
Because your view has been specifically rejected by the American Psychiatric Association.
Unfortunately, yes.
In fact, racism isn't mentioned anywhere in the DSM-IV, is it, Doctor? Until 1974, being gay was considered a mental disorder in this very book.
Until a consensus was formed among psychiatrists that its inclusion was wrong.
But there's no consensus for what you're proposing, is there, Doctor? Not at this time, no.
A great many people think negative thoughts about other people, but they don't break the law because of them.
But when racist thoughts are coupled with threats of violence, that moves into the territory of mental illness.
So it's outcome determinative.
The racist's views become delusional only when they escalate into an act of violence.
When the racist's mental processes interfere with normal functioning.
Without regard to whether Mr.
Burrows was actually able to appreciate the nature of his actions or not.
It's a theory in search of a patient.
I know firsthand what it is to experience prejudice, Mr.
McCoy.
But if we continue to deny racism as a form of mental illness and attack it solely on cultural grounds, we lose any chance to treat it.
No, sir.
By creating an excuse, we lose any chance to punish it.
In my opinion, at the time of the crime, Ray Burrows was oriented to reality and able to control his actions.
So you disagree with Dr.
Bernard's theory that racism qualifies as a delusional disorder.
It's pretty much the entire psychiatric community.
I mean, if we're going to say everyone who espouses bigoted beliefs has a mental illness, we stretch the term mental illness beyond any usefulness.
What about his assertion that racism can be treated? How? Through talk therapy? I doubt that's likely to be very effective.
Racism simply is not a matter of individual pathology.
That's why it's not included in the DSM-IV.
Nothing further.
So, exactly what research was done prior to removing homosexuality from the DSM-IV? A consensus was reached that homosexuality didn't meet the criteria for a mental disease.
Well, the fact is, it was a social policy decision, wasn't it, Doctor? The decision wasn't based on any research at all.
Now, what about racism? What's the research being done there? I'm not aware of any research being done.
Again, because the psychiatric community continually rejects proposals to study the issue.
Which means that any lack of inclusion of racism as a mental illness in this book, has very little to do with science and almost everything to do with politics.
They say I'm sick.
I don't know.
All I can tell you is that I feel pretty good about what I did.
About killing Mr.
Reddick? That's right.
Social courtesies mean nothing to these people.
I mean, you ever try to see a movie with black people in the audience? You can't hear a thing.
I mean, the sign's up there, "Please, no talking.
" But do they listen? When this guy jumped in front of me like that, like he thought he was better than me, that was it.
The line was drawn.
So what was going through your mind? Here he was, going wherever he wanted, doing whatever he wanted and me I mean, they can decide they don't want to work with me, but I can't say I don't want to live with them? I lost my job because of these people.
The bank is foreclosing on my home.
I was not about to lose that cab.
You feel justified taking Mr.
Reddick's life because he took your cab? That's right.
Then why didn't you tell your friend what you'd done? Why didn't you tell the police? They never asked.
Because you requested a lawyer.
Because from the very start, you were looking for a way out, weren't you, Mr.
Burrows? Because you didn't want to pay for what you'd done.
Not true.
But you made Mr.
Reddick pay.
Pay with his life.
And then you dragged his body down those steps to hide your crime.
I dragged his body down there because that's where the rest of the garbage was.
Not all the garbage, Mr.
Burrows, not all the garbage.
ARCHER: Objection.
JUDGE: Sustained.
Do you think that African-Americans pose a threat? I know they do.
But you've come into contact with other black people before Mr.
Reddick.
You never killed them.
What about this juror? She's been here for the entire trial, and yet you don't seem to have had a problem.
That's a very sensible attitude for a man in your position to take, isn't it, Mr.
Burrows? Because she's helping to decide your fate.
So are you insane, Mr.
Burrows? Or are you just a man who knows how to keep his mouth shut when he's supposed to and how to lose his mind when his lawyer tells him to? Is there anyone here who heard what Ray Burrows said in this courtroom who doesn't believe that he is sick? Who doesn't find his hatred of other human beings, solely based on the color of their skin, so twisted, so abnormal that you wouldn't be able to find mental illness? My client belongs in a psychiatric institution, not a prison.
You know that, you know that.
And yet, in a few moments, the D.
A.
is going to ask you to forget what you know.
Because as a prosecutor, he is more interested in punishing Ray Burrows than he is in preventing more people from becoming like him.
Spare the rod, spoil the racist.
That's how his argument goes.
But unless we recognize racism as the delusional mental disorder that it is, people like my client, they're not going to get the treatment they need.
Which in the final analysis is what this case boils down to.
Whether as a society, we stand a better chance of preventing racism by punishing someone who commits a racist act or treating them before they can.
I'm sorry.
This defense would be laughable if it weren't so dangerous.
We live in a world where people commit unspeakable violent acts against other people.
Terrorists, racists, anyone who kills out of hate.
Do we hold them accountable, or do we excuse their acts and sit them down for a chat to tell them that it's wrong? In the world the defense would create, murderers would never be held responsible.
In that world, right and wrong would lose all meaning.
Killers would become victims.
The only one who would benefit from the defendant being found mentally ill is the defendant.
Not society.
Certainly not the victim.
Not Thomas Reddick or his family, or anyone else with his skin color.
To excuse Ray Burrows because of his prejudice only promotes racism.
What happened to Thomas Reddick is a crime of hate.
To call it anything else is to deny justice.
Madame Foreman, has the jury reached its verdict? We have, Your Honor.
Will the defendant please rise? What is your verdict? On the charge of Murder in the Second Degree as a Hate Crime, we find the defendant guilty.
I wonder if Burrows will still have a problem with minorities once he gets to prison and finds out he is one.
Check back with him in 40 years.
By then, he might be ready for an insanity defense.
To kill out of hate, then be exempt from punishment, that'd be the real insanity.