As I write this, the court is laying out its sentence for Joesph Deangelo, aka the Golden State Killer, aka the East Area Rapist.
Survivors of Deagnelo's crimes have been coming forward since Tuesday and one by one and have laid out in detail for the court the trauma and pain Deangelo has caused them. It was a harrowing and disturbing thing to watch.
Joesph Deangelo deserves whatever horrible things happen to him. The man deserves to be in jail.
That said, I know this is already being used as fodder by both conservatives and liberals alike who want to push back against the public's calls to defund the police. People are also giving undue credit to people who had very little to do with finalizing Deangelo's capture. For example, Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert is already trying to cash in on the political capital of the case as can be seen in the articles of local Sacramento pundit Marcos Brenton, who showers Schubert with undue praise.
But there are some key facts that the law and order, back the blue types are completely missing in this case.
Here is a breakdown of how people will be using the Golden State Killer case to push back against police defunding, and here is the proper retort.
"If we defund the police, rapists like Deangelo will get away with it!"
This is already the case, out of 1,000 rape cases a year, on average only 230 get reported to the police. Out of those 230 only 18% go to trial and result in a conviction. That means on average only 41 rapists a year are convicted, out of 1,000!
So the police already have a horrible track record of letting rapists get away with it. It should also be noted that the police and DA Schubert were only able to track down Denagelo thanks to the investigative journalism of Michelle McNamara. It is easy to catch a criminal when you have a private citizen doing all of the investigative leg work.
"But the police protect us from rapists!"
Deangelo was police officer. That is how he navigated his crimes, he knew what the police would be looking for so he was careful to cover his tracks in such a manner. Also, according to CNN over the last 9 years uniformed police officers have been accused of 400 rapes. Let us also remember that based on our earlier statistic, this likely means there are even more rapes committed by uniformed officers than is reported.
"Don't his victims deserve justice?"
Of course they do, and it is wonderful to see them getting justice with Deangelo's capture and imprisonment. But this one case should not be used to justify protecting a legal system which has been used to target black and brown people. Further, we must remember it was not the police who brought the survivors justice, it was true crime author, and a well known progressive, Michelle McNamara who broke this case. Getting the survivors justice should not be equated to protecting what is clearly a flawed (to say the least) system. And we must remember the system is flawed. This whole scenario of a rapist actually receiving jail time is incredibly rare.
There is more fodder coming down the pipe works I'm sure, and the Trumpian law and order hawks as well as the liberals who back the blue will try to use this case to their political advantage, and some already have. But it should always be remembered that most rapists are not brought to justice, and the most notorious rapist in Northern Californian history was cop.