Numerous times during the pendency of criminal prosecutions witnesses of crimes fail to come forward, making it increasingly challenging to deliver justice where it is needed. Prominent civil rights lawyer and previous prosecutor Abe George has a wide range of legal experiences from dealing with narcotic crime, gang violence, and cold case homicides, having spent eight years as an Assistant District Attorney in the Manhattan DA’s office. Abe states in previous interviews that it was incredibly frustrating dealing with some individuals who had been a witness to a serious crime yet were hesitant to engage in a conversation with law enforcement officers.
Various city officials claim that the inability to engage with the law is embedded in the culture of the district as individuals are often suspicious of police motives which can create feelings of fear and anxiety. Abe George states that he had dealt with various shooting and homicides cases where no one wanted to come forward and be labeled as the snitch. However, despite certain limitations, Abe (being a Brooklyn born native) had seen firsthand how drug and gang violence threatens the sanctity of communities, and still aimed his sights at putting the people’s safety as his top priority. He realized that he could change lives in his line of work and his faith in the justice system was a way to do so.
Abe George (being a Brooklyn born native) had seen firsthand how drug and gang violence threatens the sanctity of communities
There are numerous factors as to why individuals choose not to come forward after witnessing a specific crime, and it is often due to uncertainty about the Criminal Justice System. People are often suspicious of motives and would not want to implicate themselves in a serious charge. Although they are innocent bystanders, it remains easier not to be involved and be taken for a potential suspect. Abe George claims that many youths particularly in minority communities view the police as hostile, so the chances that they will aid the police or city officials in solving the crime are low. Similarly, one of the most significant reasons is being labeled as a snitch can condemn specific individuals as it carries with it certain connotations.
Individuals may worry what other community members may think of them as a result of their participation. Being honest with law enforcement in respect to what they saw may also potentially propel their own families into violent situations.
Abe George’s investigation into gang-related murders led to various indictments as he stored safety back into the community.
Abe now has his private practice, where he focuses heavily on civil right cases and continues to be a voice for individuals who may not always be able to defend themselves.