The next morning, one of the kids tells his mom what happened, and shows her his badge of honor: an abrasion on his cheek caused by a punch. Mom calls a lawyer, who sends them to the precinct to make a complaint while the lawyer began to draw up the summons and complaint against the ballplayers and their Team, A.K.A. "Deep Pockets." Lawyers representing some of the other kids filed three more civil suits in the following days. The Daily News and NY Post had a lot of fun with the story as well.
As in the Ms. Innocent scenario above, the ballplayers were not available for arrest at the scene. The mother of the first kid wanted to "press charges," obviously at the urging of the family attorney. The case was referred to the detective squad for further investigation.
Damage control on behalf of the basketball team begins to move at a quick pace. Yes, they were a little concerned about the criminal side, but more importantly they were looking at multi-million dollar lawsuits.
I was retained and began to identify and interview the patrons who were in the bar that night, as well as the other half-pints who had not yet retained attorneys. I obtained sworn statements from both witnesses and participants stating that the basketball players did not start the fight, and in fact the kid with the badge of honor shiner had thrown the first punch. Armed with my knowledge and signed statements, I marched into the precinct to meet with the detective who had caught the case. He smiled as he listened to me. He looked at my statements and smiled again. Then he told me to have my client surrender the next morning, and he would arrest him for assault 3rd, issue him a desk appearance ticket, and send him on his way.
"Wait a second," I said. "Don't you want to even speak to any of the witnesses?"
"What for? I'm not the jury," was the reply "Let them figure it out in court," he said.
I'm sorry, but "I'm not the jury" may be a good answer coming from a uniformed officer who is staring at both a complainant and a perpetrator at the same place and time. It is not a good answer to be coming from a detective whose sole job is to investigate the facts and arrive at the truth.
The facts and the truth! That my friends, is what we do.