30 January 2015

Bronx Defenders blow it

So much poor decisionmaking:
Attorneys at a New York City public defenders’ office participated in an online video that advocated the killing of police officers, featuring the lyrics "time to start killing these coppers," a city investigation disclosed on Thursday.

[ ... ]

Two attorneys with the Bronx Defenders, a city-funded legal service organization, appear in the anti-police video, some of which was filmed at the Bronx office, according to the New York City Department of Investigation report.

The Bronx Defenders posted a message on its website saying it "abhors the use of violence against the police."

"The Bronx Defenders never approved the music video 'Hands Up,' and never saw it before it went online," it said. "We deeply regret any involvement with this video."

Credits at the end of the video cite the Bronx Defenders as its sponsor.
The establishment is commenting with the type of hyperbole you'd expect, though there's no proof yet that, you know, the head of the Defenders personally wrote, starred in, directed, and produced the video. The filmmakers can put whatever they want in the credits, and it's not necessarily an accurate representation of the amount of "sponsorship" the Defenders actually gave them. The Defenders have quite a lot of plausible deniability, actually, that the video was done guerrilla-style and didn't really involve them at all. Except . . . 
The report also said the Bronx Defenders’ executive director, Robin Steinberg, failed to discipline staff members after learning about the video and made misleading statements to officials about their involvement.
In an alternate universe where Steinberg had done the right thing, the attorneys who appeared in the video and anyone who helped arrange the production at the Defenders office, for crying out loud, would have been out on the street. I'm wary about what kinds of statements the report describes as "misleading," as opposed to, say, "unresponsive" or just "unhelpful"; but in any event, "deeply regret" doesn't come close to what Steinberg should have done. Way to blow the office's credibility. This is a real shame.

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