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.