by Patrick Appel
Last week Radley Balko reported that Cory Maye will go free after ten years behind bars. Maye, trying to protect his daughter from what he thought were intruders, shot and killed a cop when police mistakenly raided his home. Balko provides the backstory:
Maye's pending freedom feels like justice, but there's something appropriate about his reluctance to fully embrace it. It's true that this is about the best outcome he could hope for. As Pafford pointed out in a phone call, it appears to be the first case in Mississippi history in which a man was convicted of killing a police officer and will live to talk about it outside the walls of a prison. And there's certainly no question that there's much to be celebrated about Maye's freedom, about his mother getting back her son, about his kids getting back their father. But Maye lost 10 years of his life. His girlfriend at the time and the mother of his daughter, with whom he had just moved into that duplex two weeks prior to the raid, has since, understandably, moved on. In a part of the country where fathers — particularly the fathers of poor children — often go missing, Maye's kids lost a doting, loving father for the most important years of their childhood. Crueler yet, Maye was separated from his kids for doing exactly what a father is supposed to do: He protected his daughter from harm. Of course, the Jones family also lost a son and a brother. And Prentiss, Mississippi, lost a good cop.
And still, the cause of all of this pain, the "drug war" — a metaphor that's increasingly literal — marches on.