In common everyday usage, the term “dog” when used by Black people almost never refers to a literal dog, and when Warren Demesme used this parlance in a police interview, they claim actually thought Demesme was asking for a literal lawyer dog. As absurd as that should be in a court system that let Darren Wilson refer to Mike Brown as a hulking demon without arguing that Wilson was talking about a literal hulking demon, and rewarded George Zimmerman with an acquittal verdict after he essentially admitted that he stalked down and later shot and killed a sixteen-year-old child, apparently it wasn’t.

This begs the question that this court system is capable of intentionally misrepresenting what a Black person says so that they would not get their legally protected right to legal counsel, which was all that Demesme was requesting.

At the time of the police interview, Demesme was 22 and defending himself against a charge of raping a minor. Two young girls claimed he had sexually assaulted them. Demesme, according to court reports, was agitated, and finally snapped at the detective questioning him: “This is how I feel, if y’all think I did it, I know that I didn’t do it so why don’t you just give me a lawyer, dog ’cause this is not what’s up.” Demesme admitted to the crime later during the investigation and was charged with aggravated rape and indecent behavior with a juvenile. He is currently awaiting trial.

Regardless of the crime which Demesme was accused of (and later admitted to), it is inherently unjust for a court to essentially create its own reading of words, which, in the context that they were said, make next to no sense to be taken in the most literal of contexts. This is especially given that false confessions under duress are far more likely than generally assumed.

The court justified its reading of Demesme’s words by essentially saying that a “reasonable” officer would have thought that Demesme was asking for a literal lawyer dog, instead of invoking his right to legal counsel. Again, we are left to wonder who exactly are these imaginary “reasonable” officers these courts keep inventing to justify their unjust practices.

Warren Demesme is currently awaiting trial in the Orleans Parish jail.

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