OK, the first thing I will admit is: This Feels Good.
In the long saga we’ve been living through for the last two-and-a-half years, this is admittedly,as a Water Works stock clerk with delusions of grandeur might say, a footnote. But, dammit, it’s my footnote!
Readers of this space may remember a small incident during the 2011 campaign to recall the Indicted Occupant of Trenton’s Mayor’s Office. One weekend morning in July, outside a West Ward convenience store, several recall workers set up shop to collect signatures. The morning went very well until two groups of supporters of the IO showed up to make things difficult. The first group simply counter-demonstrated near us, waving signs and shouting at passing drivers, but otherwise not engaging us directly.
The second group was made up of three men, one of whom was Ralphiel Mack, brother – and now co-defendant on Federal charges of extortion and bribery – of the IO. The other two were mayoral friends and Trenton city workers by virtue of that mayoral friendship, Terrance Bailey and Rodney Washington. These three got a little more, shall we say, in our face. And especially, in my face.
To make a long story short (and you can look at the blog post from that day and accompanying video at the link above for more details), I ended up filing charges of harassment in Municipal Court against the three.
After nearly 18 months of hearings and arraignments, all held in Hamilton’s Municipal Court after I requested a change in venue (for obvious reasons) from Trenton’s Court, today the cases were resolved.
Charges against Mr. Mack were dropped prior to today. According to the statute I had filed under, there had been no direct verbal or physical contact between him and me, and therefore no offense.
However, Mr. Bailey and Mr. Washington pled guilty to reduced charges: Bailey to a lesser form of Harassment, and Washington to Improper Behavior. Both were assessed small fines plus court costs. Neither man will see jail time for this, and Mr. Mack has some other legal troubles facing him that are somewhat more significant.
I am content. The punishment wasn’t important for me. Today, there was more satisfaction for me seeing these two today admit that what they did was wrong, than to be found guilty by a judge and self-righteously declaring their innocence. They may not have been actually contrite, but in an open courtroom two men admitted Guilt and were held Accountable. Works for me.
The recall effort is long past. Unsuccessful as it was, only in the strictest sense that it failed to trigger a recall election of the IO, all of the Committee organizers and those 8,500 Trentonians who signed the recall petition can take some solace in the fact that We Were Right: the Administration of the Indicted Occupant and his cronies has been a disaster for the people of Trenton from the first day. This last year has only provided more evidence of this, and many more occasions of incompetence and corruption, capped by the Federal Indictments of Tony Mack, Ralphiel Mack and JoJo Giorgianni. Besides my wife, there were a few other supporters of the Recall Campaign in the courtroom with me today. I thank them for being there and also for being willing to speak in witness, had the matter come to trial. Thank You Judy, and David and Jim, and Thank You Taiwanda!
Since my 7/2/11 post, I have not written a word about this case. I deliberately kept it low key, both since I did not want a defense lawyer to say I had politicized this case before going to Court; and also because compared to the other matters in this City making news and being brought to light, this really was pretty petty and small-scale. But after this afternoon, I think there is some take away to consider.
Today showed that there are many others associated with this Administration who are now being held accountable for their actions over the last 2 1/2 years. As the ongoing fallout in Hamilton from the Fall of that township’s mayor shows, there could very well be several more individuals to be introduced to the Justice System before this is all over!
Today also showed that thuggish tactics of harassment and intimidation, and the cynical, divisive use of racist language and tactics for political gain, will not be tolerated. I knew on July 2 of 2011 that such behavior was Goonish and Unacceptable. Today proved that it is also Illegal.
Justice may be sometimes slow, but Justice is now being done. It’s coming, Trenton. It’s coming, Tony Mack.
People Will Be Held Accountable.