The Roadrunner won another one.
At least this time, the Wile E. Coyote-like obsession with trying to catch Darnell Jackson didn’t cost taxpayers as much as it could have.
Instead of plunging headlong over a fiscal cliff, District Attorney Frank Sedita had the good sense to recognize that there was no way to prosecute the perennial thorn in the side of police, politicians and, apparently now, judges.
Rather than pursuing the harassment complaint from City Judge Betty Calvo-Torres because of a Facebook message Jackson sent her after a case, Sedita determined last week that there wasn’t proof Jackson intended to threaten the judge. Case closed.
It’s just the latest in a string of confrontations and disputes in which a widening circle of nemeses thought they had cornered the gang member turned community gadfly, only to end up saying, “Curses! Foiled again!”
The most memorable occurred on-camera when a cop shoved Jackson out of the way while taking custody of City Grill shooter Riccardo McCray. Apparently, police weren’t as grateful for getting a quadruple murderer off the street as one might have thought. It probably didn’t help that they had embarrassingly arrested the wrong man shortly after the mass shooting.
Days later, at WIVB studios, Jackson handed them the real killer.
More often than not, it has been that way for Jackson, who had the temerity to run for mayor in 2005. When City Hall cut off funding for his summer jobs program to get East Side teens off the street, he got foundation money. When cops hit him with a witness-intimidation charge while the complainant’s own son, whom Jackson had employed, called his father a drunken addict and said the incident never happened, Jackson beat the rap.
Authorities thought they had him after a confrontation two years ago with an employee outside his house, which a neighbor said Jackson did everything he could to avoid. Still, the ex-con was charged for having the shotgun he said his wife bought for home protection. He beat the rap again.
Ironically, that was the case Calvo-Torres dismissed last fall, prompting Jackson’s Facebook retort to her courtroom comments. Constitutionally incapable of letting a perceived slight pass, he continually talks his way into trouble and then somehow escapes.
But it’s getting old. Jackson, 56, has faced both health issues and the loss of relatives to the street violence he has tried to short-circuit. I’ve always felt his heart was in the right place, even when his mouth wasn’t. With a little more diplomacy, he could have done a lot more good, even perhaps succeeding with the jobs incubator he tried to launch before “retiring.”
But I don’t expect him to change.
“They’re not pushing my buttons, I just stand up for what I believe in. … I know the law,” Jackson said, already plotting retaliatory legal actions.
No, the only ones who can change are his pursuers, who should spend taxpayer resources chasing real criminals instead of him. In fact, the next time the temptation strikes – and it will – they should stop in their tracks.
Take a deep breath and exhale. Count slowly backward from 10. Then meditate on two words: Beep. Beep.