Would-Be Hanging Judge Ed Schultz Convicts Wal-Mart Without Trial

Ever notice how liberals spout alleged reverence for the Constitution, yet waste little time in blithely abandoning one of its foundational principles, the presumption of innocence?

Top-rated lefty radio host Ed Schultz provided an example of this Monday, blaming Wal-Mart for the death of an employee killed in a post-Thanksgiving shopping melee at a store on Long Island.

Schultz, assuming the roles of prosecutor, judge and jury, was dumbfounded that local police would look at videotape from the store's surveillance cameras (known in legal circles as "evidence") --

So now, here we are, we've got the police looking at videotape. What are they gonna do, pull people out of this crowd and charge them for the death of this guy? No, I think Wal-Mart ought to be on the legal crosshairs here, big time!

(click here for audio)

As if Wal-Mart isn't. Is Schultz so oblivious he would dismiss the chilling effect the words "losing verdict in wrongful death lawsuit" have in boardrooms across the country? In fact, survivors of the victim, Jdimytai Damour, have filed suit against Wal-Mart, the shopping mall, a realty trust and security agency.

Schultz continued in the same vein (click here for audio) --

Wal-Mart is big, as big as it gets in retail. They always seem to think of everything, don't they? On Friday morning they didn't. During a mad rush to get product as the door opened, a man was trampled to death. Who is responsible, question mark? Wal-Mart, that's who.

But how can Schultz possibly know this only days after the tragic incident, one he did not witness and for which he has relied on media accounts for his information? He can't, no matter how strenuously he claims otherwise. Despite this, Schultz gives unruly patrons in a mob the benefit of a doubt he's unwilling to extend to Wal-Mart (click here for audio) --

Now you have to venture to believe that many of those people didn't know that this was going to happen, that they thought it was just going to be a squeeze to get in and they were shocked to hear that someone died and once they got into it, it got more severe than they ever thought it was going to be.

A fair-minded observer might "venture to believe" that Wal-Mart managers thought much the same thing before one of their employees was trampled to death.

Is this to say Wal-Mart is not liable for Damour's death? I have no idea. Neither does Schultz, if he's willing to acknowledge it. I wouldn't be surprised if there's "a lot of liability involved," as one of Schultz's callers suggested.

I wonder if Schultz is willing to condemn another corporate entity that allowed a potentially disastrous crowd control problem to arise under its auspices. Back in 2004 when I was a political reporter with the Cape Cod Times, I covered the Democratic National Convention in Boston.

With plenty of time to spare on the final night, I left my work area to grab a bite in the main concourse several tiers below. By the time I tried to return, Boston fire officials sealed off the top levels of the FleetCenter, which were overcrowded in anticipation of John Kerry's acceptance speech.

Hundreds of angry people converged at the same escalator where I found myself, many of them boundless in ego, more than a few with a drink or three under their belts, the conditions hot and humid. It was a melee waiting to happen. I was certain I'd miss Kerry's speech and my deadline, but after what seemed an eternity, Beantown firefighters let us through.

By Schultz's reckoning, the Democratic Party was guilty of creating a situation that could have resulted in the deaths of scores of people, including many of its allies in the media.

Jack Coleman
Liberated ex-liberal from the People's Republic of Massachusetts