"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Police and Theives

So it looks as if Howard Byrant was messed with, after all.

From Glenn Stout:

Earlier this morning my friend and colleague Howard Bryant was exonerated of criminal charges stemming from an incident in late February in Buckland, Massachusetts that resulted in his arrest and being charged with domestic assault and battery, assault and battery on a police officer and resisting arrest. To be absolutely clear, the statement released earlier today and signed by both Bryant’s attorney and Jeremy C. Bucci, Chief Trial Counsel of the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office in Greenfield, Massachusetts, reads in part:

“A careful review of all of the statements of percipient witnesses that have been collected do not support allegations that Mr. Bryant struck, choked, pinned against a car or committed any other act of violence against Mrs. Bryant. [emphasis mine] ”

In other words, the prosecutor’s office admits that there is no evidence that Bryant committed a crime, a level of vindication far stronger than a trial finding of “not guilty.” Similarly, neither is the district attorney prosecuting Bryant for either assault and battery on a police officer or resisting arrest. While the negotiated statement contains the usual pap that allows the district attorney’s office to save face politically, Bryant’s vindication is complete and undeniable. He has not “plea bargained” his way to a lesser charge; he is innocent.

Bryant has agreed to serve six months probation for “pretrail probation”, according to Masslive.com:

An agreement signed by Eisenberg and prosecutor Jeremy C. Bucci states that a review of the evidence does not support the witness allegations that Bryant struck and choked his wife or inflicted violence on her, although Bryant admits police had probable cause to arrest him. The agreement also expressed Bryant’s regrets that a private matter became public and offired his support for measures to combat domestic violence.

“Furthermore, Mr. Bryant recognizes and respects the importance of encouraging citizens to call the police when they witness conduct they feel is violent and continues to encourage such community participation as a vital part of a free and just society,” the agreement states.

Bryant also apologized for giving the impression that race played a part in the actions of police, although the agreement states that he “believes that racism in any form diminishes all members of a community.”

Bryant is cleared of the spousal abuse charges by the authorities but he also is slapped on the wrist. Sounds a lot like a D.A. trying to save face.

I am pleased for Bryant, who is a friend, but can’t shake my anger that this happened in first place. In some ways, Bryant has benefited professionally because of his race. He is a good writer and fine reporter who is also black and I’m sure ESPN and SI bid against each other because of that. But as this incident is a reminds us, being black in America still means walking around with a target on your back.

Categories:  1: Featured  Bronx Banter  Games We Play  Sports Media

Share: Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via email %PRINT_TEXT


1 Chyll Will   ~  May 27, 2011 12:56 pm

Thank you for getting it, B.

2 Dimelo   ~  May 27, 2011 4:40 pm

Alex, I still don't get how he was messed with when I read the link: "The case of ESPN reporter Howard Bryant ended quietly Friday as he agreed to serve six months of pretrial probation on charges that he assaulted his wife in front of a Shelburne Falls pizzeria". They seem pretty explicit there stating he did assault his wife.

This kind of stuff can be murky, especially once cops get involved, most cops I've talked with often say the hardest emergencies to police are calls of domestic abuse. The person being abused usually turns against the cops.

After reading everything, I really don't know what to believe. It just all sounds fishy to me.

3 RIYank   ~  May 27, 2011 5:14 pm

Dimelo, it doesn't say anywhere in the article that he did assault his wife. It says that he was charged with assaulting his wife. The difference between those two is the whole point here.

4 Dimelo   ~  May 27, 2011 5:45 pm

[3] That sounds sketchy. I don't get how you can get charged for something that you didn't do. If you got charged, then some form of the charge must be accurate. No?

He admits that he deserved to get arrested, but what's not clear is, if the reason the cops were called was justified -- was he really choking his wife or there was some form of physical abuse.

If I get accused of something and I have go on probation because of that accusation, then how can a person not make the mental mapping that there was some form of domestic violence there?

I think this is still all blurry to me. And I'm sorry, paint me skeptical. I feel like there was a bit of negotiation here with the D.A and his lawyer, if he didn't do it then why the probation? If there was no evidence then why does he have to be on probation for that charge? Put him on probation for resisting arrest and keep it moving, if in six months he didn't do anything then his record is cleared up.

It'll be interesting to see if he does do something illegal in the next 6 months and what the DA will move forward with on the assault charge.

5 RIYank   ~  May 27, 2011 6:13 pm

If you got charged, then some form of the charge must be accurate. No?

Or in other words, no! You can be charged with anything the police feel like charging you with!

There was definitely negotiation, I mean, there's no doubt about that. But what Bryant got was nothing -- as long as he doesn't do anything criminal in the next six months, it's literally nothing. So the natural conclusion is that the prosecutor didn't think he had any real case. And, in fact, that is what the prosecutor says, pretty explicitly.

6 Boatzilla   ~  May 28, 2011 1:37 am

[4] Imagine you have a key to your mother's house, but on a visit (when she's not home), you forget your key, but you remember how to get in through the back window. A neighbor sees you and calls the police. You get charged with breaking and entering. Later when the facts become clear they, of course, decide not to prosecute. In this highly likely scenario you have clearly been charged with something you clearly did not do.

This is exactly what seems to have happened with Bryant. He was arguing with his wife (something that happens between happily married couples all the time). Some one saw them from a distance and thought he was beating her and called the cops.

feed Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via email
"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver