In Photos: The Kenosha courtroom where Amanda Berry testified

Well done to the Kenosha Police Department.

On Thursday, in the Kenosha County courtroom where Judge Lisa Neubauer heard arguments in the case of a man accused of trying to kidnap and murder Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, the police showed restraint as officers and I tried to interview the many witnesses at the courthouse. Despite all the publicity – in the media and elsewhere – many witnesses were reluctant to go out in the open. For the most part, the effect was to engender community goodwill.

Of course, that was easy to do in situations like these. Next time – as I attend other court cases in the future – I will ask for a judge who will allow reporters to interview potential witnesses in the presence of officers and attorneys.

It’s no coincidence that when I sought a live online opinion vote on the case, within hours the “Yes” side – based on the facts presented to us by the police – would prevail. That by a majority vote. The best case scenario is that anybody representing a group of people would be more likely to accurately account for, and possibly convey, what the leader said.

But there was plenty more to be said for the calm that prevailed during the hearing. That’s fortunate, given what lurks behind it – the myriad residual, traumatic trauma these women suffered during 13 years of captivity – and the continuing likelihood that the other two suspects who were with Castro that night and arrested soon afterward may be released pending charges and trials, despite the horrors they are accused of putting them through.

Thinking back to my own experience during rape trials I’ve attended, I know the necessary “distance” involved is critical, even while the cases are heard by a judge. Again, I want to commend the Kenosha Police Department, especially those involved in this case, for their restraint.

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