Law & Order (1990) s10e17 Episode Script

Black, White and Blue

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.
Mom, I need lunch money.
I made you a sandwich.
But I hate peanut butter.
Since when? Since now.
Bring me some change.
Now move.
Mom! You're gonna be late for school again.
There's a guy here.
(SIGHING) I gotta get to work.
A white guy.
What does he want? Get inside.
What time did you get in last night? till this morning.
Did you see or hear anyone outside? No.
Our bedrooms are in the back.
I was asleep by 10:00.
Did you get a look at the kid? Yeah.
And he's not from around here.
If you remember anything, give me a call.
Thank you.
Turn up any witnesses? Nothing yet.
We're still canvassing.
Any disturbance reports in the area last night? Some domestic disputes.
And we had some locals throwing bottles at a squad car a few blocks up.
Brought out a few units.
We found blood on the stairs leading down here.
Maybe he was looking for help.
Blunt force trauma to the back of his head.
No wallet.
Seventy cents and some car keys.
We're gonna need plate numbers on any Toyotas in the area.
Kid was smoking reefer I smelled it on his clothes.
ED: Maybe he was out partying.
There's a drug message for ya.
(CAMERA SNAPPING) Kid was 16, 17.
Bled to death from a blow to the head.
From what? M.
Says probably a curb or a step.
His shoulder was dislocated and he had defensive injuries on his hands and forearms.
Kid was outmatched.
Time of death, Did they run a tox screen? Yeah, it came up a strong positive for marijuana.
We ran his prints.
No hit.
Nothing at missing persons either.
We've got LaMotte calling all boroughs to see if there were any calls last night.
Did you get a read on his clothes? Gap polo shirt.
Banana Republic sweater.
Suede jacket.
Clean-cut white kid up in Harlem, scoring reefer.
Visiting friends, going to a poetry slam at the sugar shack.
He was in over his head in the wrong place.
Call went to the 36 after midnight.
Michael Tobin.
Seventeen-year-old boy didn't come home.
Michael went to move the car.
Alternate side parking.
I usually do it, but he just got his license.
What time did he leave? (SIGHING) 10:30.
After an hour, I got worried and went out to look for him.
I found the car parked a couple of blocks up from where I'd left it.
Michael left his wallet and cell phone in his room.
You can have 'em if they'll help you find him.
Well, actually, uh A young man was killed in Harlem last night.
Oh, God.
It's Michael.
(SOBBING) Oh, no! Where is he? BRISCOE: He's down at the morgue.
Harlem? What was he doing in Harlem? We were hoping you could tell us.
Did he know anyone in that area? He wouldn't go there.
It's dangerous.
(ANNETTE CRYING LOUDLY) The medical examiner found marijuana in his system.
Michael went to a party last weekend.
He said we smoked when we were kids, why couldn't he? It's from this morning.
Parked near a hydrant.
I didn't think to move it.
Have you got an extra set of keys? Thanks.
(BEEPING) No sign of a struggle.
Listen, secure the area and get CSU over here.
Right away.
Tobin, we're gonna have to impound the car.
We need to go over it for evidence.
Take it.
I'd like to get back to my wife.
Go ahead.
I don't remember seeing him last night.
What about a black Toyota 4Runner? No.
Where'd he live? Last time anybody saw him he was leaving his building around 10.
We saw two male blacks hanging out on that block around then.
We circled a few times, let 'em know we were on 'em.
ED: What do you mean, "hanging out"? You know, standing around.
What'd they look like? Average height.
Late teens, early 20s.
Dark clothes.
That the best you can do? Yeah.
Hey, we don't make detailed notes on every Tom, Dick and Harry.
They weren't bothering anybody.
Then why'd you notice them at all? 'Cause we get paid to.
(DISTANT SIRENS) We got roll call.
BRISCOE: Thanks.
Two kids hanging around Tobin's building at 10:30.
Waiting for the calculus assignment.
Doesn't sound like anybody at school.
And Michael would've told me if he was hanging out with guys like that.
Guys like what? You know, the brothers.
I don't mean any disrespect.
None taken.
Where'd he get the stuff he was smoking? Do you want to help us or not? What's that got to do with anything? Maybe the guys outside were his connection.
I don't think so.
Why not? Look, Brad, we're not looking to make a drug bust.
Nobody will get in trouble? ED: Why, you his connection? Well, yeah.
(SCHOOL BELL RINGING) Can you think of anyone who'd want to hurt him? It didn't have to be anyone he knew.
Mike had a knack for pissing people off.
He never knew when to back down.
He know anybody in Harlem? There's this girl at our school.
ALLIE: Michael and I were lab partners.
BRISCOE: Was he coming to see you last night? I I don't know.
"I don't know," is not going to help the detectives, Allie.
The boy was killed four blocks away.
Had he been here before? No.
Johnson, if it's not too much trouble, could I get a glass of water? Sure.
So, you and Michael were good friends? Uh-huh.
Was he your boyfriend? I never told my father about my girlfriends.
I always thought it was none of his business.
If that's the way you want it, we can respect that.
He came here a couple of times when my father wasn't home.
Was he coming to see you last night? No.
(DOOR OPENING) When was the last time you spoke to Michael? ALLIE: (CLEARING THROAT) In school yesterday.
ED: Phone calls? ALLIE: No.
I think he might've called here.
ED: What makes you say that? I was on the phone with my sister in Baltimore when a call beeped through.
At first I thought it was for Allie's brother.
But the boy asked for Allie.
He said he was a friend from school.
What time was this? A little after 11:00.
I think he was calling from out on the street.
I heard a bus going by.
I asked him to call back in 15 minutes.
Did he? If he was going to visit his girlfriend, I don't think she knew he was coming.
So, any theories on how he got up there? Well, we came up empty on the cab companies, and the token clerks on the Broadway local didn't notice him on either end.
A hippopotamus could buy a MetroCard, and they wouldn't notice it.
Now, the one train stops at 137th, a block from her house.
Why would he be at 140th? Payphone LUDs from the area of the murder.
The call went to the Johnson apartment at 11:19 from the corner of 141st and Broadway.
Five blocks from her place.
A block from where he was found.
He was walking toward her house.
Check any place that might've been open at that hour.
He wasn't here.
Maybe one of your customers saw him on the way out.
We'll need your credit card receipts.
It's cash only.
I heard on the news he went to Windsor Academy.
There's a girl that comes with her brother sometimes.
She told me she goes to school there.
Did she tell you her name? Allie, I think.
She's nice looking.
Tried to ask her out once.
Bad move.
Why, she turn you down? She didn't even get a chance to.
Her brother got all bent out of shape.
Pulled a John Rocker on me.
BRISCOE: How's that? He said his sister's not going out with some taco boy.
I called him taco boy to make my point stick.
Did you know Michael Tobin? No.
Come on, man.
He was your sister's boyfriend.
I didn't even know she had a boyfriend.
Allie's not allowed to see boys yet.
BRISCOE: And whose rule is that? My father and I work hard so Allie can make something of herself.
So you'd have a problem with her seeing anybody.
This is stupid.
Two nights ago, I was here doing inventory.
BRISCOE: Till when? Midnight.
Look, I got customers waiting.
Okay? You still here? Need to ask you a few questions, if you have the time.
Got as long as this cigarette lasts.
You were here on Tuesday night? All of us were.
The boss had us doing inventory.
What time did everybody leave? Well, let me see.
Clarence and me stayed till 10:00.
And Louis stayed and finished up.
By himself? Yeah.
How come? He's the assistant manager.
What? Is Louis in some kind of trouble? No.
This is just routine.
Look, Louis is all right, and he's great with kids.
We hear he's a bit of a hothead when it comes to his sister.
Maybe a little overprotective, but all he talks about is how Allie's gonna make it big.
Couple weeks ago, he went psycho on some guy dropped her off here.
You see the guy? No.
I saw his SUV.
Black Toyota.
I like the Lexus, myself.
Well, what did Louis do? Ran after the car, yelling if he ever saw him around Allie again, he'd mess him up.
I was working at the store till midnight.
Then I went straight home.
Yeah, after you smashed Michael Tobin's head against the sidewalk.
Why don't you believe me? You lied to us about knowing him, Louis.
And your coworker heard you threaten him.
I was just looking out for my sister.
You didn't like her knocking boots with her white boyfriend, did ya? Yeah, okay, but I didn't kill him.
Yeah, you see this dope smoking punk that night, sniffing around your baby sister, so you tell him to back off, things get a little out of hand, and he hits his head.
That's not murder, right, Ed? Maybe not even manslaughter.
It's nothing.
I was working.
How can you do this to him? Mr.
Johnson My son has a good job.
He's never been arrested.
We're decent, hard-working people.
Sir, Louis lied about knowing Allie's friend.
We have a witness who saw your son threaten him.
And we understand he has a temper.
Louis is all bark, Lieutenant.
Now he was at work when this happened.
No one can confirm that.
You waiting for Elijah to come down and testify? White boy gets killed in my neighborhood and you treat us all like criminals.
You ought to be ashamed of yourself.
I'm coming back with a lawyer.
VAN BUREN: You recognize anyone from 93rd street, Officer Smith? No, sorry.
How'd my partner do? ED: He flunked too.
We really didn't get much of a look.
They're not making cops like they used to.
We need the kid's dirty laundry to test for blood.
What? You gonna forge a judge's signature on a search warrant? Hey, we got motive, no alibi.
Be nice if you could put him at the crime scene.
Didn't see anything.
eight blocks away.
The area where the kid got popped, who hangs there? Nobody, really.
That block's pretty quiet.
We heard some bottles got thrown on a cop car near there.
You involved? Just the tail end.
Bum squad picked up a homeless guy sleeping on the sidewalk.
When we responded, it was just some kids giving hell to the back-up units.
What kids? From the neighborhood.
It was a big excitement over there.
(SCOFFS) It was three hours before, I doubt they saw anything.
Hey, let us do the doubting, all right? Time we got there, it was already under control.
But our local Sharpton was still out there, preaching to the choir.
ED: Yeah.
We heard you were on the street Tuesday night.
We just wanna know if you saw this guy out there.
His name is Louis Johnson.
I know his name.
Any reason I should be talking to a couple of cops after what happened out there? What, you mean like you causing a riot? The guy those cops rousted, JT, he's been sleeping out there for years.
He's kinda slow in the head.
He's a nice guy.
He never bothers anybody.
Back to Louis Johnson These white cops kick him till he wakes up, throw all his stuff on the street.
Now you think that's right? So you respond by chucking bottles? By any means necessary.
That right? That include killing white kids? I didn't kill that boy.
And I know Louis from the neighborhood.
He's a nine to five.
Probably a Republican.
He didn't do it either.
Is that a character reference or you know something? You get JT out of lockup, and I might.
Now why would we do that? I heard some guy at a party was bragging about doing the white boy.
It wasn't Louis.
That's not much.
He said he took the white boy's Tommy jacket and then he cut him up.
Bad news.
Kid wasn't wearing a Tommy, and he wasn't cut up.
That's what he said.
He said he saw the white boy by a pay phone, near a Key Food, then he followed him.
All right, we'll get JT out.
What's the guy's name? Don't know his name.
But the party was on Hamilton, next to the check cashing place, second floor.
Wonder if this party made the society page? Hmm.
The host spared no expense.
Oh! There's our host now.
(MOUSE SQUEAKING) "Tony's Beverage Mart.
" Our party people lost their deposit.
What makes you think it was my keg? It's got your sticker on it.
I had one disappear a few nights ago.
Any idea who disappeared it? Not really.
Ever since I hired this guy, I've had a couple of things walk away.
So why's he still working here? It's my wife's nephew.
You know anything about a missing keg? I know things get lost in this world.
You know your hands are shaking? Cops make me nervous.
Maybe 'cause you're feeling guilty.
Maybe 'cause I feel like I'm getting the third degree here.
Oh, we're still on the first degree.
I'll give you some friendly advice.
You ain't got the cojones for this.
Come on, man.
I've only been working here three weeks.
I don't wanna get fired.
Hey, worry about being a disappointment to your family.
(SIGHING) All right, some guy I know invited me to a party.
I just wanted to do him a favor.
Anybody at the party celebrating a murder? Murder.
Wasn't that kind of party.
There a guy at this party wearing a Tommy Hilfiger jacket? Yeah, yeah.
He left with a chick in the boots, and the leather dress.
Um Seventeen, going on Tyra Banks.
You get any names? I think her name was Tina.
She said she lived in the projects.
Powell, some name like that.
Anyway, you couldn't miss her.
She's Empty apartment's good for a party.
More room for dancing.
You dance with a guy in a Tommy jacket? Tommy, Ralph, Enyce.
Your mother know about your social life? Yeah.
Well, maybe we should call her at work.
Called himself Biggie.
Kept telling me he was big all over.
I ain't got time for that.
So why'd ya leave the party with him? I needed a ride.
Did he mention where he got that jacket? Hah.
I was teasing him about it being too small.
So just like that, he told me he took it off that white boy.
Probably not a great idea to take a ride from a guy like that.
Thanks, Dad.
Can I go now? Now what did this Biggie look like? Big.
Look, I'm You're partying with us today.
We're gonna go downtown and look at some mug shots.
(SIGHS) He gave me his beeper number.
All right.
Ask him to meet you someplace.
What, set him up? (SIGHING) What's up, Tina? Who the hell are you? Come outside with us, please.
I got a date.
Nice jacket.
I'd kill for a jacket like that.
What you What you talkin' about? Come on.
Let's go.
Let me just holler out my girl over there for a minute.
You can holler her out in about 25 years.
Why'd you do me like this, Tina? Y'all ain't got nothin' on me.
Yeah, except witnesses who heard you confess.
Well, they heard wrong.
Yeah? How'd you know the kid got stabbed? That wasn't even in the papers.
Only the killer knows a detail like that.
And where'd you get his jacket, huh? This ain't his.
That's not what his grandma says.
She bought it for him for his birthday.
My cousin got me this.
Now who do you think the jury's gonna believe, this kid's grandmother or your cousin? Listen.
Girls at the party was dissin' my gear for not fittin' right.
So I played like I got it off the white boy.
They're gonna laugh in your face.
I was just tryin' to get my props, that's all.
Hey, how'd you know about the boy using the pay phone? 'Cause I saw what went down.
Couple of homies run up on this white boy on a pay phone.
Said they was gonna bust him up, and did I want a piece? I said no, and I kept walking.
And that's the truth.
We need names.
Jerome and Marcus.
They hang out at the bodega on Broadhurst.
You better hope this checks out.
Hey, Jerome.
Hey, what you want? You're under arrest.
You must be Marcus.
Not me, man.
POLICEMAN: Police! Freeze! Give it up, man! Too bad your feet are faster than your brain.
Look, hey, watch my hand! What'd you do to it? I hurt it playing basketball.
What? Skin your knuckles going up for a rebound? Yeah.
Y'all, I wanna see a lawyer.
Story like that, you're gonna need one.
A broken hand hardly proves your case.
ED: We have a witness puts him with the victim.
Who? You want his address, too? Look, my client might want to cooperate.
He doesn't want to face the death penalty.
Why would he? That's all we have to say now.
Now's your chance to tell your side of it, Jerome.
Your buddy in there is probably rolling on you right now.
Can I talk to him? Oh, sure.
You two get your stories straight.
I'll sit here and have a few donuts while you're chatting.
ELAN HOLT: How bad does it look? He's got no alibi and a three-page sheet.
He's going down hard for this.
Oh, man! This is messed up! I wanna get bail! You can't even afford a lawyer.
What kind of bail you think you're gonna get on a murder two charge? Murder two? I think I wanna cop to it.
No, you don't.
Thing is, we didn't mean to kill one of yours.
One of whose? Jerome, we're done.
Now shut up! Why'd he say, "One of yours?" It sounds like they were under the impression Tobin was a cop.
Weathers' lawyer shut everything down when she heard what the charges were.
She was expecting to hear murder one.
Any chance they're right? Could Tobin have been an informant? He's not registered at one Police Plaza.
How about off the books? Can we make this fast? My parents think I'm out buying milk.
You told the detectives your friend, Michael, wasn't in any kind of trouble.
He wasn't.
We have some evidence that suggests he may have been working with the police as an informant.
Where No way! Where'd you hear that? You don't need to know that.
Well, it's totally ridiculous.
He would've told me.
He didn't tell you Allie was his girlfriend.
I wish he had.
I just don't see it.
I mean, why would Mike be working with the cops? He didn't even like 'em.
Any takers on the other end? Briscoe and Green checked with all the special units in Harlem.
Gangs, narcotics, anti-crime.
It's time to talk to Jerome Weathers.
Let's see what it'll cost us to find out what he's talking about.
My client's got nothing to say till we know what's on the table.
We like what he tells us, we'll take the death penalty off the table.
This is how it went down, all right? Me and Marcus saw the cops take JT away.
A few hours later, we saw the kid.
We decided to get some payback.
So we followed him.
Marcus yoked him up and started pounding.
And you joined right in.
Damn fool started fightin' back instead of takin' his.
I'm serious, we didn't mean to kill him.
He fell on the steps and hit his head.
Why him? Because he was white? No.
'Cause he was workin' for the cops.
What made you think that? He got out of a cop car at the corner off 144th from Broadway.
JACK: You notice any markings on the car? NYPD.
Is that it? Any numbers? No.
It was down the block.
The cops let him out of that car.
In my face.
In my neighborhood.
That night.
What did they think was gonna happen? There was no intent, Mr.
JACK: Except to kick the crap out of him.
If it turns out he's telling the truth, man one.
Michael Tobin got out of a patrol car in Harlem? According to Jerome Weathers.
Four blocks from where he was killed.
Do we believe this murderer? Remains to be seen, but if it's true, whatever Tobin was doing up there was totally off the grid.
We looked under all the obvious rocks.
Look under new ones.
Could they have been working with him under the radar? All informants get routed to special units.
Yeah, and sometimes they fall through the cracks.
Not my guys.
We're being straight with you.
We never even laid eyes on that kid.
to an aided call.
Lady with chest pains.
We were there until 11:30.
An hour and 15 minutes? The paramedics had a hard time convincing her to go to the hospital.
It's all right here in my memo book.
Check with engine 45.
We were there.
Okay, you two go to work.
Thank you.
That's it, Ms.
Every sector car out that night's accounted for.
Any other vehicles signed out that night? I already checked with the motor pool sergeant.
If you want to look at her log No, that's okay.
Will you send me a copy? Yeah.
Now if this fairy tale's true, it's nobody from this precinct.
We heard you collared two guys who fit our description.
That's right.
If you needed us for a line-up, you could've put in a notification.
Well, we wanted to hear the whole story again.
Not much of a story.
We saw two males by the dead kid's building.
I don't know if we can I.
What time was that? I don't know.
Whatever we told your guys when they interviewed us.
Where did you go after you observed these two guys? Back on patrol.
And what was your location at 11:10? What's this got to do with a line-up? Somebody saw Michael Tobin get out of an RMP up in Harlem just before he was killed.
Somebody who? CARMICHAEL: That's confidential.
We were in Charlie sector all night.
Look, why would we ride around with this kid? Maybe you were using him as a CI.
(SCOFFING) Absolutely not.
VAN BUREN: Then you won't mind if we look at your memo books.
Don't you need to go through IAB? CARMICHAEL: IAB doesn't have jurisdiction.
This is a murder investigation.
You got the two guys.
Whoever dropped Michael Tobin off wasn't looking out for his welfare.
Uh Before we give up any paperwork, I think we need to get with our PBA rep.
Stay in touch.
These are the sprint runs from the 36, all transmissions for the entire shift.
Got the tape cued up if you want audio.
Smith and Flannery were 36 Charlie.
out for a meal.
Like they said.
But look at this.
At 11:10, they responded, "Back in service, will assist 36 Edward "on a job at 96th and Amsterdam.
" Two blocks away, they didn't show up for 20 minutes.
Because they were in Harlem? Wait.
This is strange.
Hey, Sally, could you cue up this radio run at 8:19? This is 36 Sergeant One.
Be advised of rapid mobilization.
Standby for units Adam, Baker, Charlie.
Disturbance at 144 and Broadway.
Civilians and officers involved, possible injuries.
31 Sergeant will advice.
So, Smith and Flannery were on alert for deployment to that free-for-all up in Harlem.
Over the arrest of that homeless man.
They knew all hell was breaking loose up there that night.
And they dropped Michael Tobin right in the middle of it.
(SCOFFS) Your clients took a detour to Harlem the night Michael Tobin was killed.
This doesn't say that.
Their radio car was unaccounted for from 10:45 to 11:30.
We signed off to get something to eat.
You were done with your meal at 11:10.
There's a gaping hole in your alibi.
Which gave you a window of opportunity to take the Tobin boy uptown and drop him in the middle of a war zone.
RILEY: For what possible reason? You tell me.
If they have a legitimate explanation, we want to hear it.
(CHUCKLING) Well, they don't need to explain anything.
Let's go.
You're gonna need more than this printout and some half-baked theory.
Some kind of practical joke? If it is, the cops aren't talking.
You're sure it's them? It's the only plausible explanation.
ADAM: Can you prove it? Their patrol car turned up negative for prints.
We can't ID the car, or its occupants.
We've got a good circumstantial case.
And they're acting guilty as hell.
All we need is another police scandal.
I'll tell him.
Your secretary, Adam.
The mayor's holding for you.
She say what it's about? Smith and Flannery.
Get a handle on this thing, Jack.
What? Flannery's civilian complaint file is clean.
He did manage to get himself a commendation.
Smith has a commendation and two complaints.
The first one was for excessive force.
He pushed the girlfriend of a man he was arresting.
Then his wife complained he was abusive.
He was referred to peer counseling.
You're not a doctor, Lieutenant Fernandez.
We can subpoena you.
There's no privilege.
Go ahead.
You really think I'd breach his confidence? I'm not interested in his marriage.
Isn't there something you can tell me that might help the guy out? I can't get into that.
A young man was murdered.
People expect cops to be perfect.
You got a split second to decide if a guy's going for his house keys, or a gun.
It's not easy being on the job.
And I am sympathetic to that, Lieutenant, but if Smith was coming here, he was obviously stressed out about something.
(SIGHING) Between you and me, this thing's tearing him up inside.
They kidnapped him and dropped him in Harlem.
What kind of cops are they? By all accounts, average.
Maybe something Michael said or did led to some misunderstanding.
Did your son ever have any kind of run-in with the police? A few months ago, he got a parking ticket.
Made a big scene.
Because he was parked legally.
It's only natural for kids that age to resent authority.
Especially when it's wrong.
What about at school? His guidance counselor told us he had a few detentions and a suspension.
For one day.
He was caught out of his room on a school trip.
You're saying this was his fault? That's not what we're saying When the police kill a black kid, this place goes crazy.
When it's a white kid, you blame the victim.
Our son was murdered.
Aren't the police supposed to protect us? Why is the U.
Attorney interested in a state murder prosecution? There are federal implications, Mr.
As long as the matter is being handled judiciously, the ball's in your court.
We're prosecuting the young men responsible for the murder.
And the officers who violated Michael Tobin's civil rights? We're planning to indict them for endangering and unlawful imprisonment.
They'll be thrown off the force, might even do some felony jail time.
That's not gonna cut it.
It'll be perceived in certain quarters as an under-zealous prosecution.
Perception? I thought we were in the criminal justice business.
And the perception ofjustice being done.
I'm not telling you how to run your office.
But if the justice department isn't happy, we're stepping in.
Not gonna happen.
It's a no-win situation, Adam.
Let's do what we think is appropriate and let the chips fall where they may.
Charge the cops with murder.
Depraved indifference.
They dropped the boy into a minefield.
Harlem is a minefield? How's that going to play? You send two black kids to state prison for manslaughter, and you slap two cops on the wrists for putting the boy in their sights.
How's that play? So politics as usual.
The mayor's very concerned.
The mayor is on board for going after two cops? The mayor wants peace and I'm gonna deliver it.
The police force is out of control.
Manipulating racial distrust for their own purposes.
I won't be part of it.
I'm with Adam on this one.
Abner Louima, Diallo.
It stops right here.
Do it.
CLERK: "Calendar numbers Top count is murder in the second.
Well, here's an interesting group.
My clients plead not guilty.
Cook and Mr.
Weathers have accepted pleas to manslaughter in the first degree.
What's the promise? Seven and a half-to-15.
JUDGE: Set it down for their allocutions.
You want bail on these officers? It's a murder charge, Your Honor.
It is on paper.
Fifty thousand, each defendant.
They're ready to post, Your Honor.
(RUCKUS) So, the D.
's office is trying to crucify two fine police officers.
You're saying they're innocent? Absolutely.
I mean, take a look at those people down there.
The D.
's office is playing to the mob.
McCoy? Care to comment on Mr.
Riley's claim you're conducting a vendetta against the police? We're prosecuting two individuals who committed a crime, nothing more, nothing less.
Now if you'll excuse us.
Are these officers being charged to pacify the African American community? I just told you what we're doing.
Did you make a deal with one of the men who admitted killing Michael Tobin in exchange for his testimony? No comment.
Now, please, let us through.
You having fun yet, McCoy? Is that how it's gonna go, Mr.
Riley? Trying the whole case on the courthouse steps? And the courtroom.
I'm moving to dismiss the indictment.
(INDISTINCT SHOUTING) Depraved indifference murder requires the defendant recklessly engage in conduct which creates a grave risk of death.
A grave risk of death, Judge.
The people can't possibly prove that element of the crime.
The officers knew there was a violent disturbance at 144th and Broadway due to a prior radio communication.
McCoy is saying that Harlem is a dangerous weapon.
I was under the impression it was a neighborhood.
This is unmitigated racism.
I'll decide what's racism here.
You have to ignore these hot-button labels and look at the facts, Judge.
White boy in Harlem's gonna wind up dead.
Call it what you want, that's the People's case.
JACK: These officers made a calculated decision.
Out of the thousands of street corners in New York City, they picked this one.
They may as well have painted a target on the young man's back.
He was a target because he was white? Because the police branded him as a collaborator.
They dropped him out of their marked car in the aftermath of a disturbance.
It's hard to ignore that, Mr.
You of all people, Judge Don't try that on me, Mr.
Your motion is denied.
(WHISPERING) My clients want to talk.
Before or after your spin session with the media? You hear what they have to say, I'll keep my mouth shut.
Now this is off the record, right? We're not looking to sandbag your clients into an admission.
Now, what happened in Harlem was nothing more than a tragic lapse ofjudgment.
If that's true, we're prepared to take it into account.
Can you be a little more specific? If you can convince me this wasn't malicious, we'll consider man two.
It's still jail time.
Maybe we should just take our chances.
Earl, you got nothing to lose by putting it on the table.
I got a bad feeling about this, Smitty.
(SIGHING) The kid was driving erratically, so we decided to check him out.
There was the odor of marijuana in his car.
We tossed him, but he was clean.
Then the kid started giving us attitude.
(SCOFFS) Big mouth preppie in his 40,000 dollar car.
Like he had a right to break the law.
You know what he said? "Why don't you go up to Harlem and arrest some real criminals?" Me and Smitty decided to teach him a lesson.
We never thought It was just stupid.
Stupid and wrong.
What do you say, McCoy? Man two.
And you recommend protective custody? Mmm-hmm.
McCoy, will you tell the kid's parents we're sorry? You can do that yourself when we take your plea.
Five years? I knew you wouldn't be happy, Adam, but it's the right thing to do.
They're responsible for the boy's death.
They made a bad decision in the heat of the moment.
I wanted top count here.
They're saying it was an accident.
The same reason Cook and Weathers got manslaughter.
Smith and Flannery wear the uniform.
They're supposed to know better.
For all we know, they still have the feds to deal with.
I'm not passing the buck to the justice department.
So you sacrifice a couple of lambs? Your deal is throwing gas on a fire.
I can't go back on my word.
This city is bigger than your word.
The police are gonna think twice before they pull a stunt like this again.
You go back, you tell them the deal is off.
RILEY: We had a deal.
I'm sorry.
Is that code for, "I changed my mind?" It's out of my hands.
So Adam Schiff is going for the jugular.
I thought you had some juice over there, McCoy.
It's not that simple, Mr.
You reneging on my clients' statements, too? Don't worry.
I won't try to admit them.
What about your boss? (SCOFFS) I mean, if that's the way he's playing it, I'm moving to change venue to Albany.
You think the Appellate Division will move this case out of Manhattan? Cooler heads up North, McCoy.
Do you get my drift? They lost the dismissal motion.
Change of venue is a "Hail Mary.
" I think it's a close call.
You try this in Albany, they'll walk.
You really think we need the home field advantage? Last time an Albany jury convicted a cop, I had a full head of black hair.
It's not Simi Valley.
It's not Manhattan.
If there's a melting pot, this is it.
A melting pot? It's more like a recipe for a conviction.
Half the city hates the cops, the other half has never been north of 96th street.
You moonlighting for the PBA? No, but enough is enough.
We're not trying this in Albany.
The Supreme Court has held that a defendant is entitled to a trial that is not dominated by a wave of public passion, and is not overwhelmed by press coverage.
But this is exactly what's happening in this case, Your Honor.
On the heels of two highly publicized police brutality cases in this city, my clients are presumed to be guilty instead of innocent.
What's the relevance of these other matters, Counselor? Those cases set the tenor, Your Honor.
Let's take a look at the press coverage that this is getting.
Two officers walking a terrified white student down an uptown street.
They're calling it, "A Harlem field trip.
" Over 1,900 references to the Tobin case in the print media, never mind local radio and TV.
Any attempt to select an impartial jury in this jurisdiction is just a waste of everybody's time.
Thank you.
What's different in Albany? One thing.
The courts there are a haven for police officers who break the law.
The fact of the matter is, this was an equal opportunity crime.
A black cop and a white cop overstepped their authority and it resulted in a murder.
Are you suggesting that this incident doesn't arouse racial passions, Mr.
McCoy? Wherever the case is tried, potential jurors come to jury duty with ideological baggage.
Don't you think that this "baggage," as you put it, weighs a lot more in New York City? The point is, the passions in our community run the gamut.
Do you dispute the point that the jury pool in Albany has been far less influenced by prior events and media coverage? No, I'll concede that point.
But let's at least make the attempt to pick a fair jury in New York City before the court orders the drastic remedy of changing venue.
McCoy has acknowledged the intensity of the public clamor that surrounds this case.
And this court would be remiss to ignore it.
If we choose to postpone our ruling, pending jury selection, the attention this matter receives will only increase.
Let's get it right the first time.
The court will err on the side of caution.
The matter is transferred to the Supreme Court of the county of Albany.
McCoy, care to comment on the court's decision? There's been enough said and written about this case.
I won't take part in the feeding frenzy.
Do you think you can get a fair shake in Albany? I answered that inside.
Now, if you'll excuse me.
One more question, please.
Springtime in Albany.
Maybe I'll meet a nice bureaucrat.
Don't book the reception hall yet.
There's no appeal, Jack.
There's always the intervention of a higher authority.
You concede the point? You played right into their hands.
I was trying to salvage a draw from a defeat.
You needed to tell them that a fair jury can be selected here.
You blinked.
It may seem like that on the cold record, Adam Don't humor me.
You tanked the motion because you had to protect your own precious credibility.
We'll talk about it when I come back from Albany.
Nobody's going to Albany.
You're gonna get down on your hands and knees, you're gonna make that deal.
If it was worth five-to-10 before, maybe it's worth probation now.
Manhattan or not, it's still a murder case.
A dead one.
Adam Schiff got it right back in his face.
You underestimate me, Mr.
You underestimate the good citizens of Albany.
Bring your gangbanger witness up to Volvo-land.
See how far you get.
My father was a cop, Mr.
I think I know how to reach these people.
I think they'll identify with the victim, not your clients.
RILEY: You're playing the race card? JACK: I'm making an observation.
What if we don't want a trial? Don't get cold feet now, Earl.
Yeah, man, don't sweat it.
This is going upstate.
Maybe that's good for you.
Forget black and white.
All these people see is blue.
Is that why you became a cop, Officer Smith? To hide behind the uniform? No, it's not.
You've already ruined your career.
You go down for murder, you're looking at 25-to-life.
What if we make a deal? Four-to-12.
Or we start shopping for hotel rooms.
The Smith and Flannery file, in case the feds come knocking.
Cook and Weathers were sentenced.
The case is off the front page.
Till the next one.