Chicagobreakingnews.com is reporting that Illinois circuit judge Joseph Claps called Bengals DT Tank Johnson a “coward” for his behavior on the night of December 16, 2006 in which Johnson’s friend and bodyguard Willie Posey.
It was during that night that Posey was shot and killed by Michael Selvie during an apparent altercation at Ice Bar in Chicago. Johnson was a member of the Chicago Bears at the time, and the incident was one of many that led to his eventual release in 2007.
Johnson has done well to get, and stay, out of trouble since those events landed him on the street and eventually with the Cowboys. He’s had no further convictions since serving time for weapons charges in 2007, and has generally been a model citizen and football player.
Nevertheless, Clap decided to call out Johnson while dishing out the deserved 55 year jail sentence to Selvie. “Mr. Johnson has to live with his behavior that night, his failure to render aid to a person he described as his best friend…his cowardice and his attempts at self-preservation,” Clap said.
This story has very little to with the Bengals and absolutely nothing to do with football, but nevertheless, it’s newsworthy if only in that Johnson may close a painful chapter in his life.
I certainly don’t know all the details of the case, nor was I present on that fateful night. Tank may well be deserving of the harshities hurled his way. After all, the article mentions Johnson originally lied to police about his involvement.
On the other hand, I find it in poor taste for a judge to use the spectacle of a trial and the forum of his bench to criticize a man not on trial and not under indictment for his actions in a traumatic situation over three and a half years ago.
I suppose he wanted to get some press. Unfortunately, he’s succeeded.