Phillip Morris - Judge and Jury

Submitted by Roldo on Tue, 07/15/2008 - 21:40.

Phillip Morris is pretty cavalier about the shooting of a civilian. A thug by his record but an unarmed one when killed.

“Hackwood was Simone’s fifth kill,” wrote Morris.

This wasn’t a rabbit, Phillip.

Morris wrote the column this morning in the Plain Dealer.

Jim Simone – anointed “Supercop” by the PD (just what his ego needs) - has been involved in numerous shootings and as Morris practically gloats has killed five people.

When police officers are killed in the line of duty it becomes difficult to talk reasonably about this issue.

However, it strikes me that this is exactly the time when caution, especially in the press, is required.

I’d think that a real newspaper would take a look back at this man’s record and let the public know exactly whether we have a “hero” or someone who can’t use discretion with a gun.

Doesn’t the public deserve that much?

Simone was quoted by the PD saying, “I don’t understand why God puts me in these situations.” Quite an ego. God didn’t put him anywhere at any time. He’s the responsible one, not God.

Morris gives us the same kind of macho bullshit that put us into Iraq and the moronic thinking that’s ruining this country. Then he hides behind the tragic deaths of police officers to hide his shoddy thinking and quick trigger judgments.

Jim Simone's all right in my book

We've lived with Jim Simone and the way he does his job since the 80s; he is truly on a mission; he has a code; he is one of our community's warriors.


The "nattering nabobs of negativism" sometimes have a hard time understanding what a man like Jim means to a community. He is a consequence. He is a necessity. I personally am comforted to have him around. He does a job, so I don't have to do it myself. And, it seems that there's a lot of work out there to be done, keeping a lid on things, making sure we have minimum standards.


Some days I feel that guys like Morris, who have to crank out copy for a living and on a deadline, ought not to have an opinion. He should be reporting, not speculating. It's not guys like Simone that create imbalances and inequities; Jim's putting things back in balance. Morris seems to be trying to rewrite the code without assembling all the facts.



Street justice, which seems the m.o. of Simone, isn't justice at all.

It's satisfying in the same way thugs getting it at the end of the typical good vs bad movie. But in this case there are real dead bodies.

One person, even a Simone, isn't going to clean our streets. The problems go much deeper and you and I know that.

Allowing police to execute this kind of justice invites actions that eventually puts citizens and police officers in jeopardy.

I invite readers to check out a piece I wrote recently that has within it police/community relations that certainly went awry.


  Roldo--I don't know Jim Simone, but I can agree with Tim's support of a public official that does not shy away from enforcing the law.  It's his job. 

Today, I spoke with a public official who mealy-mouthed his way out of enforcing the rules set up by his department.  I hope the man, I once considered a friend, because we spent our summers teaching baseball to kids, rethinks his position on standards (Afterall, he knows that you can not play baseball without the rules to the game).

I will say that anyone, who thinks that the rules and standards-- designed to protect the General Public-- can be suspended in communities that are predominantly African-American and Hispanic-American, is a racist.  And, just a reminder--doctors once scoffed at the idea of washing their hands before surgery.

(Also, Roldo, you may be the only person who gets this, since you also write for the Leader, but, even the Leader, let their standards drop in 1861, when they encouraged the return of Lucy Bagby to Virginia).


Some might say the same about us, Tim--"making sure we have minimum standards".  It is true.  Simone's personality may seem like harsh punishment to some, but if others are not doing their job---the one person left doing it, may seem like a caricature open to criticism and ridicule.

maybe I wasn't fair to Morris

Roldo, I finally had the opportunity to read Morris' piece on Simone this morning--it wasn't that egregious--I think you're extrapolating a bit to get to a proper pitch of indignation.


We need less quibbling and niggling after the fact, and more adherence to basic rules of conduct. Since the 1960s, in our pursuit of individualism, we have overreacted to the imposition of harsh and seemingly irrational general rules; it's time for the pendulum to swing back a bit.


When an officer shouts "Stop," you stop. That's a pretty basic rule. If you break the rule about halting, you might die. Rob a bank, you might die. We need to put these possibilities back into the equation. It should make it easier for those contemplating criminal activity to come to a wiser conclusion.


When I lived in Korea 1972-1973, there was this thing called curfew. It meant that, anybody, even an American, caught out after curfew would be shot first and questioned later. This was a rule imposed because we had people infiltrating South Korea who meant to do harm. The same extreme, quasi-warlike conditions exist in our cities today and make it necessary to have basic, brutal, inhumane rules.


There are behaviors I will not tolerate any more in my neighborhood. There are guys like the dead guy who are coming in and trying to take advantage of our good nature, intimidating, stealing, dealing, and generally promoting a lawless lifestyle. We must put them at risk of loss, more than we allow them to put us at risk. It's an uncomfortable tension for most people, but very necessary now. And it's fairly simple; when you live in the middle of it around the clock, you just know what needs to be done. I'm grateful that we still have guys like Jim Simone around who will do the job on our behalf.

unreasonable force, hijacking citizens, shooting people in back

I choose to live in a poor, urban place like East Cleveland where all sorts of people must learn to live together, and I seek to improve quality of life here for all, as a way to improve my life here. I am glad there is considerable police presence here... every ticket a speeding suburbian gets in my city helps pay for operations, and reduce recklessness... and I am glad none of the cops here seem like insane killers. I'm sure every day every cop in East Cleveland could yell stop at several people who are criminals and would try to flee and I would hate to see these people killed every day, shot in the backs. I do not want cops jumping in my car and asking me to assist in a chase. I do not want cops chasing people down my street at high speeds, and shooting in my neighborhood, at all. There are gun shots some nights in my neighborhood, and we do not need more. Police brutality does not make a place safer, it makes a place unlivable.

Tim: If anything I was

Tim: If anything I was restrained. Phillip Morris was the provocative one, purposely so, I believe.

If  you want Cleveland to be like Korea or some other semi-totalitarian state you're on the right track with an attitude that police can do as they please when confronted with criminals.

I can see the bad, crude behavior, too. Our society is becoming more and more morally deficient. However, when we look to the "Strong Man" to correct our ills, as others have done in recent times, we tread on very dangerous ground.


Higher standard

According to one news source Simone has 5 deaths and 11 (additional?) shooting incidents. Do we really want more police making these literally hair-trigger decisions? If not, then why is it good for one - self-appointed - person? Caricatures are exaggerations of normal. Taking things to an extreme is not generally good - thus we have "minimum" standards. One minimum standard for our safety forces is do no harm.

The woman was attacked in West Creek by a man posing as an undercover cop who needed a ride. So now the citizens must instantly be able to tell real cops on a mission from murderers masquerading as cops.

Too many split second decision ask for a bad outcome.  So far Simone has done all right. Will it be excusable if next time an innocent bystander is hit? Or the bad guy isn't one?

I doubt if most of these criminals "stop and think" or weigh the risks before they decide to act. So Simone is probably not deterring crime. Just giving us the primitive satisfaction of 'he got what's coming to him.'  Vigilante justice, indeed. But with no commercial breaks to argue good and bad.

Do any of you know the guy?

I really think that we should all reserve judgement.  I believe Tim is the only one of us, who has actually met the guy.  And, the real issue here is guns in the hands of criminals (and, consequently, in the hands of law enforcement).  Until America, wakes up, and melts the guns, we will continue to see our society of "children" run the thug show we call America.

*7/21 also, I was reminded by my significant other that Jim Simone was the cop that followed up on an ongoing vacant property issue in my neighborhood.  He actually returned my call and followed up on the matter.