I had something else lined up for you beautiful people today, but instead decided to post quotes from two stories in my news feed this morning. Note: there is nothing particularly special about these two stories. The contrasts they illustrate are common as dirt.
Let’s call it…A Tale of Two Citizens.
First, meet P. Moses.
Pamela “P.” Moses
Black Lives Matter Memphis founder and
former Memphis mayoral candidate during her campaign (2021).
(image: via prlog.org / uncredited)
via The Guardian (bold emphasis mine, except for headline):
The Black woman sentenced to six years in prison over a voting error
Pamela Moses was sentenced to six years in prison for trying to register despite a felony conviction but officials admitted making a series of mistakes
[I]t is rare to see a prosecutor bring criminal charges against someone for election crimes, and … there has been growing awareness of racial disparities in punishments for election-related crimes. Black people such as Crystal Mason and Hervis Rogers have faced years in prison for making mistakes about their voting eligibility. White voters have received much lighter sentences for election-related crimes.
Behind the scenes, Tennessee officials conceded that they had made a series of mistakes concerning Moses’ voting eligibility.
Moses is currently in custody and an appeal is expected. But the case highlights the byzantine maze that people with felony convictions have to go through to figure out if they can vote. And it shows the harsh consequences prosecutors can bring if people with felony convictions make a mistake.
Next, meet Officer Nicholas Gifford.
Officer Nicholas Gifford (top)
with his attorney, Phil Vogelsang, during interview with Internal Affairs investigator at Jacksonville, FL Sheriff’s office.
(image: Jacksonville Sherriff’s Office/public domain)
via First Coast News (bold emphasis mine, except for headline):
‘I’m drunk’ | Jacksonville SWAT officer who worked intoxicated will keep his job after city board reverses sheriff decision
The Jacksonville SWAT Officer, whose blood alcohol level was four times the legal limit, admitted working ‘impaired’ on multiple occasions.
A SWAT officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office who admitted drinking a fifth of vodka just hours before driving his police car to a gun range for firearms training will keep his job, despite the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office’s decision to fire him.
Officer Nicholas Gifford was terminated by JSO in October after he showed up to the city’s gun range with a blood alcohol level four times the legal limit. But two months later, the city’s Civil Service Board ordered JSO to reinstate him, saying the firing was “manifestly unjust.”
Gifford’s intoxicated condition was initially discovered Oct. 13 by fellow officers who saw him “swerving back and forth” while driving his city-issued car to the JSO Firing Range, some 30 miles from his home. Gifford admitted to his inebriated state when the officers confiscated his gun belt.
“I’m drunk,” he told them, according to an Internal Affairs report.
A series of breathalyzer tests taken more than three hours later confirmed it. Gifford blew a .316 — four times the state’s legal limit of .08, and a patent violation of JSO’s policy threshold of .00.
He acknowledged having a serious drinking problem and reporting for work impaired previously, “probably five, 10 times.”
I’ma go out on a limb here and bet five, 10 million internet dollars that those numbers are undercounts by a factor of probably five, 10 times.
The eight-year officer was suspended immediately, and fired Nov. 5.
But on Dec. 16, he appealed his firing to the city’s Civil Service Board – a volunteer body tasked with reviewing discipline decisions challenged by city employees, and whose members are appointed by the mayor, JEA and the school board.
After hearing from both sides, the board concluded the decision to fire Gifford was “manifestly unjust” — a legal term defined as “shocking to the conscience.”
The Board voted to reinstate Gifford following 90-day suspension (retroactive to his dismissal date), with the condition that he undergo three random breathalyzer tests per work cycle for a year.
Manifestly unjust, indeed.
Under credit where credit is due, “the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office will be appealing the Civil Service Board’s decision.”
One theory: nearly everyone at the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has long thought that Officer Nicholas Gifford is an a$$hole.
Day 1 of Black History Month 2022 (Lori Teresa Yearwood) is here.
Day 2 of Black History Month 2022 (Mallence Bart-Williams) is here.
Day 3 of Black History Month 2022 (Emmett Till) is here.