It’s time for a snitch

Published 9:47 pm Monday, January 11, 2010

Bloggers are calling it the “no-snitch code,” and it is unfortunately well known in Suffolk, where the participants in a street brawl were identified only after a video surfaced on the Internet clearly showing the faces and fists of those who took part.

The most recent case of the code in action didn’t take place in Suffolk, but it involves a Suffolk youth, and, sadly, it deals with a far more egregious offense than a street fight. A 17-year-old Lakeland High School student, Michael Lee, was shot and killed early Saturday morning after a fight at a party inside a Norfolk home spilled outside and erupted in gunfire.

Norfolk police said on Saturday that they had interviewed a number of witnesses, who identified the shooter only as a black man, about six feet tall with braids. It’s a distressingly vague description of a man who was very likely inside the home for some time before heading outside in the commotion of a fight, pulling a handgun and firing one or more shots at a teenager.

What’s even harder to accept is the fact that there are thought to be some folks who left the party after the shooting, but before the police arrived — knowing that a boy lay on the ground, dying, and yet refusing to do anything to help him or to help bring justice to his killer.

We can still hope that someone will do the right thing and turn in the shooter, that someone who was at the party, but uninvolved in the situation that led to the shooting, will have a crisis of conscience and call the police or the CrimeLine. A nation founded on the rule of law cannot long endure such arrogance and mistrust regarding that law.