SYRACUSE Grandstanding is not becoming of any political power, especially not in a position that was created to bring justice and fairness — which is why Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick’s behavior over the past few months is so troubling.
This isn’t to say Fitzpatrick hasn’t helped victims of crimes — in recent years he helped to bring justice to Jenni-Lyn Watson’s family, he helped bring Stacey Castor to justice. There’s no doubt Fitzpatrick has been an effective district attorney in thousands of cases.
Which leaves us begging, why? Two recent examples are motivation to decry the work Fitzpatrick is doing, marring his otherwise strong history in Onondaga County.
The Bernie Fine allegations press conference late last year — you know which one we’re talking about. If we looked up grandstanding in the dictionary, a picture from that day would be tucked next to the definition. That day was not about the facts, the truth or delivering answers (something press conferences are often known for).
Instead, the day was just another piece of the bad Bernie Fine reality show -- because Fitzpatrick stood in front of a slew of local, regional and national news outlets and provided a trial by media for Bernie Fine.
“It’s not my place to say that Bernie Fine is guilty of anything,” Fitzpatrick said. In the same sitting, he said he “can’t bring Bernie Fine to justice for what he did to Bobby Davis and Mike Lang.”
To us, that sounds like he made it his place to declare guilt. He didn’t make a presumption of guilt, not a presentation of any facts or evidence associated — it was a clear conviction outside the court of law.
When he wasn’t convicting the former Syracuse University assistant basketball coach in public opinion, he was lashing out at the police department. He declared war on the police department, publicly shaming the very department that should be working with the district attorney’s office. In the latest battle in the war on Syracuse Police, Fitzpatrick is now launching a grand jury investigation into police chief Frank Fowler’s son over a fender-bender, according to reports in the Post-Standard.
Further reports by the daily paper show similar accidents by Fitzpatrick’s office personnel and his own son have not yielded the same result.
Once again, grandstanding. A personal vendetta, for whatever reason, against a department that he should be working with, not against.
As county and city residents, we’re hoping Fitzpatrick can get over his issues. It’s a waste of taxpayer money to continue this childish behavior. It reminds us of elementary school, and Fitzpatrick clearly needs a time-out.