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Lately with Layne: Government officials get away with too much

A small town in Ohio was deeply disturbed by the breaking news of Ohio State Representative Bob Young’s domestic violence charge. Young and his wife, Tina Young, and their four children reside in the City of Green. The Ohio House Speaker, Jason Stephens, is advising Young to resign following his trial on Saturday for a first-degree misdemeanor for intentionally causing harm to an unknown victim. 

As a resident of Green, this case shocked me. At the same time, it leaves me and most likely many others to wonder what goes on behind other closed doors of highly powerful government officials. 

I’m not saying that being a representative in the State House is the most powerful position one can hold, but it definitely gives anyone enough power to use money and legitimacy to cover up whatever they don’t want floating around. As this case was just released in the past couple of days, I don’t want to promote any false rumors – but this isn’t uncommon. It seems that anybody working for the government often gets extra leeway in terms of being charged with committing crimes. 

Law enforcement is probably the most guilty of this. Forms of assault and murder are often police misconduct, but they don’t necessarily get charged the same as ordinary citizens. 

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review found that The Justice Department waived charges in 96% of police misconduct cases. For other crimes (not committed by police officers) they only allowed 23% to go without a charge. Not every police officer does the wrong thing and not every ordinary citizen is in the right, but these numbers speak for themselves. 

Things like this slip through the cracks probably more than we realize; however, it seems that people are trending toward demanding more transparency as more stories are coming out detailing charges against powerful people. Even Donald Trump, one of the wealthiest individuals, is having trouble using his money or fame to keep his crimes from mainstream media. In fact, he was charged with 34 felony counts for attempting to do just that. 

Even members of Congress are often found guilty of crimes, but something keeps it from being spread like it would if an average citizen did it. Florida Rep. Corrine Brown was charged with falsifying information surrounding where hundreds of thousands of dollars of donations would be going. New York Rep. Chris Collins was charged with spreading confidential corporate information to his son but was pardoned by Donald Trump from serving any more time in prison. In these cases, the charges are directly tied to their ability to do their job properly which should lead to resigning or firing. 

The ability of these powerful individuals to commit crimes and rarely suffer is a shame. While people are perfectly capable of bouncing back from past charges, it is dangerous for them to be in power. I do believe Young resigning is the proper option considering the nature of his alleged crime and the fact that news spreads like wildfire in Green, Ohio – trust me on that one. 

Layne Rey is a sophomore studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnist do not reflect those of The Post. What are your thoughts? Let Layne know by tweeting her @laynerey12.

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