Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Is everything being asked about the death of 5 year old Michael Langford?

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I have a real concern about the story of a 5 year old boy killed in a DUI related accident in Steger last week.

A friend of mine, who is a photographer, noticed something disturbing about the pictures that were being shown on television of Michael Langford, the five year old boy who died in that car crash last Saturday after his mother was arrested for driving on a suspended license and his mother's boy friend, a passenger in the car, was allowed to drive the car and boy home.

The car never made it. The boyfriend crashed the car, killing Langford and the boyfriend reportedly was under the influence of drugs. Alcohol? Illegal drugs? Marijuana?

The immediate attention has been on the Chicago Heights police officer who stopped the mother, Kathie Lafond, and took her in releasing the car to her boyfriend, Cecil Connor.

Did you notice anything strange about the young child's photographs? I noticed immediately the tattoo on Michael Connor's neck, a tattoo that looks to me like it might be something more than just a decoration.

But more disturbing is the picture of the child. Some pictures were cropped closely around the boy's face. But others showed the boy with his hands crossed, flashing reverse "Victory" signs with his fingers. Was this boy in a mock pose of a street gang member, flashing what appears to be street gang signs with his hands? Or was it just child's play. Look at the picture carefully. You be the judge.

Lafond hired a lawyer and plans to file a lawsuit against the Chicago Heights police, but maybe the real responsibility rests on the shoulders of the irresponsible mother herself. She new her boyfriend. She knew Cecil Connor. At any time during the police arrest, did Lafond tell the police officer that her boy friend might have been high on drugs? Lafond's lawyer insists she had no responsibility in the matter and could not speak once being taken in to custody by the police.

Yet maybe, had she opened her mouth and told the officer that little bit of information, her son might still be alive. Is that too harsh to ask? The truth is often difficult to find, but it is necessary. Is it the fault of the police officer or could it really be the fault of the mother and her boy friend, who, according to police, had a blood alcohol level three times higher than what is permissible. Was it all alcohol or was it partially drugs, making it more difficult for a police officer to have noticed? But clearly something the mother should have known about.

Connor's cousin even made that issue in recent media reports. (Click here to read one of the stories.)

But lingering in my mind is the picture of the baby, flashing what looks like disturbing signs with his hands.

Click here to view story and original photograph.

What kind of family is this that we are talking about? And is it alright to slander the Chicago Heights Police Department rather than ask the hard tough questions about the mother, about her boy friend and about the lifestyle that her tragic son was being raised? These questions might help to pinpoint the real fault in this case.

And blaming the police in a lawsuit for money doesn't seem like the most appropriate direction in which to take the truth.

I'm just asking questions, questions the public needs to ask, too.

-- Ray Hanania

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