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good morning everyone except charlottesville circuit court judge moore & the cville police department.
black lives matter. all cops are bastards.
i’m late for court & my bones hurt. probably slap a content warning for rape & police violence on everything that comes after this.
lunch break. this morning, judge moore started by saying barring black lives matter shirts from his courtroom is not about restricting free speech, it’s about the right to a fair trial superseding the right to express oneself.
he says BLM shirts in the gallery for this case (a white cop sexually assaulting a black woman in her home on TWO occasions) might influence the jury. buddy, if the idea that black people’s lives have value is gonna a sway your jury, y’all have picked a very bad jury.
i guess there’s some advantage to being 5’ tall with my shoes on... he must not be able to see me over the bench in front of me.
don’t tell 🤫
the first half page of my notes, illegible as they are... he equates BLM shirts with clothing advocating giving a criminal a specific sentence. as though black lives mattering were a matter of judicial discretion.
headed back in. will pick back up here later. just a heads up that the thread will contain some graphic descriptions of sexual assault & abuse of power by police. i had to switch pens around page 15 after i stabbed myself so hard in the thigh that my favorite pen stopped working.
quick break for counsel to discuss jury instructions and allow the jury to call their families to let them know they’ll be here late.
having a bad year is not a good reason to assault someone.
(please don’t tell my third grade teacher that my handwriting has only gotten worse since the days she made me skip recess to practice copying lines.)
the jury has been sent to deliberate. it’s 7pm. the judge seems hopeful they can get it done tonight. which means he thinks they won’t be long. i’ll be honest — it doesn’t look great for a conviction.
i probably should’ve let the dogs out longer at lunch... we’ve got a light freezing rain going now and they’re NOT gonna be pleased about that when i get home. this pales in comparison to the injustice going on here, but somebody is for sure gonna pee on the carpet tonight.
a lot to unpack about this case, but in short: there are no perfect victims. there is no perfect response to trauma. bad things can and do happen to imperfect, flawed people who have troubled pasts. being an imperfect victim doesn’t mean you weren’t victimized.
defense in closing arguments reminded the jury about the duke lacrosse case & about the rolling stone article that rocked this town a while back. difference is, those were lies. this was a real assault that the assailant admits to! it’s a question of consent, of power dynamics.
you cannot properly consent when an armed, uniformed police officer has you backed against a wall in your home, alone, at 4am. to argue that there’s no intimidation in that scenario is ludicrous.
the jury has asked for a marker. no other updates. sounds like they’re gonna order them dinner, but only because they asked. the judge admits he never brings up the subject, but waits for the jury to ask. this is an obvious attempt to pressure them to deliberate faster.
jury composition: 7 men, 5 women. (when they drew for the alternate, it was one of the women who was sent home.) of the remaining jurors, only one is not white. i cannot even imagine the emotional labor being demanded of the one black woman in that room.
since i may be sitting here on the ground in the foyer outside the metal detector for a while... here are some of the facts of this case
on nov 18, 2016 at 1:51am, officer seymore responded to a hit and run. RG was one of the witnesses he spoke to. from 2:11 to 3:26, he investigated the accident. from 3:26 to 4:32, he was radio silent. because he was in the victim’s home receiving oral sex while on duty.
between 4:32 and 7:48am, he finished his report on the hit and run. RG’s name and information does NOT appear in his report, despite him having spoken to her officially as a witness. he admits this is because he didn’t want to draw attention to what he did.
he testified that she told him “you’re the hottest cop i’ve ever seen. that’s my house right there. you can come by any time. you don’t need a warrant.” so he did. allegedly to get more information from her, but also because he thought she was very attractive.
“she made me feel good and i hadn’t felt good in a long time.” seymore testified that his wife had postpartum depression and was drinking a lot. life with his 15 week old son and depressed wife was hard for him.
he alleges that she gave him a tour of her home, saying “this is where the magic happens” about her bedroom. he says as he started to leave, she said “no, that’s ok. you can leave. i have hands. i can fuck myself.”
he was very flattered and turned on.
taking this alleged comment as an invitation to have sex, he walked to his patrol car, removed his body camera, placed it in the center console, and walked back to her house.
“i told her that i was very flattered and wanted to take her up on her offer.”
(i took 39 pages of notes and the testimony was not exactly chronological... been here 11 hours so things may get a little jumbled. trust me - that’s an accurate representation of this trial.)
defense’s attacks on the victim include: a friend set up a gofundme for her so she could move out of THE SCENE OF THE CRIME, she waited ten days to report the assault, she has financial problems, she broke up with her boyfriend the night after the assault.
she was unfairly painted as litigious, a criminal, a liar, and a slut. defense called this case a lie, a “cash cow” for the the victim. brought up a 2005 misdemeanor conviction for filing a false police report, an unpaid judgment from 2007, an overdue hospital bill...
oops just realized the bailiff at the security desk can probably read this from four feet away from where i’m sitting on the ground going through my notes. sorry bud, you too. all cops are bastards.
a few boxes of pizza, nondescript takeout containers, and a big bag of ice have passed me and disappeared into the bowels of the courthouse. settling in for some deliberating, i guess. how does this work? is there a point at which they have to decide to take this up tomorrow?!
hard not to think about the first man who ever forced himself on me. he wasn’t a cop at the time - we were teenagers. but he’s a police officer now. he’s what i think of when i think of cops. and i’m not wrong.
i sat behind the victim, watching her cry quietly, thinking of him.
hard, too, not to think about all the imperfect responses to trauma. about not reporting. about not taking proper care of evidence. about being glib and flippant and dismissive when talking with friends about an assault. i see my own flawed, damaged responses in RG.
i didn’t report it when i was raped in college. i don’t regret this. i regret it even less today. to hear a victim dragged for things i’ve done, too, felt personal and painful and infuriating. there is no justice in this system, even if they get a conviction.
but y’all came here for the news, not whatever’s leaking out of my psyche after nearly 12 hours in this weird smelling building. i knew this would be harder to sit through than a lot of the days i spend in court and it was. but i believe in bearing witness when we can.
so where were we? the rapist cop. cheryl sandridge had been head of internal affairs for 2 days when this case came to light on nov 29, 2016. this transition is allegedly to blame for the loss of the body cam footage, which sandridge & o’donnell viewed, but did not save.
on 11/29, CS & OD met with RG. she was cooperative and allowed them to dump her phone & agreed to record a call with seymore. they also collected the bra & towel seymore allegedly got ejaculate on.
on 12/1/2016, CS & OD interrogate seymore. we viewed (gallery couldn’t see, but we could hear) the majority of the interrogation. at the end of this interrogation, he was arrested & processed.
the interrogation took place in two parts. part 1 was friendly, accommodating. part 2 was aggressive. during the break, OD & CS agreed to a bluff to try to shake his story. they told him that because RG is a police informant, her home has camera in it.
half of that is true. RG has been a JADE task force informant and has had a professional relationship with detective hickey since 2014. the second half was not - there were no police cameras in RG’s home. it did seem to shake him though.
according to his own testimony, he was aware of RG’s status as a police informant. he says when he was chatting with her in her home, prior to the oral sex, she lifted her shirt to show him she wasn’t wearing a wire.
i really, really don’t want to leave. if they’re coming to a verdict tonight, i’d like to be here. but it’s unclear how long that wait might be. i’ve got dogs long overdue for dinner & a walk. hell, i’m long overdue for dinner & a walk.
a reporter just asked a deputy if there’s any kind of hard limit, a point at which the judge will call it for the night. she said no... they occasionally have 3am, 4am decisions. 😳 might take a gamble, go home for a few minutes to let the dogs out & eat something.
ok, unlike city council, i don’t bring my giant bag full of backup batteries and snacks to court. both my phone battery and my blood sugar are bottoming out. gonna let my dogs out just real quick. just know that if i miss the verdict i will be fucking furious.
heading back to the courthouse, hoping to hear a verdict in the case of a rapist cop tonight, i walked right past the spot where a nazi spat in my face last week. love my town!
just overheard one of the deputies calling a juror’s employer to let them know she wouldn’t be able to make her shift tonight because she’s still deliberating. the $30-some bucks they give jurors isn’t gonna cover what’re likely hourly wages lost. this system sucks.
ah, goddamn. false alarm. the little bell rang & we all filed back into the courtroom... but the jury just had a question about jury instruction #12, re: intimidation.
does intimidation have to involve intent? judge moore says yes. and the jury disappears again.
i wish i had better handwriting. i took so many good notes that i’m too tired to make sense of for you. why won’t they just let me live tweet court. this is an outrage.
i’m going home.
it’s probably wrong to mock a rapist’s premature ejaculation, right?
(it came up at least five times)
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