NBCLA.com’s Michael Hirsch in the middle of a controversy surrounding a brutal school bus crash

(FNC) A two-year investigation by NBCLA.com has concluded that Pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu was wrong when he said four Los Angeles children killed in a 2012 crash involving their school bus were killed by…

NBCLA.com's Michael Hirsch in the middle of a controversy surrounding a brutal school bus crash

(FNC) A two-year investigation by NBCLA.com has concluded that Pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu was wrong when he said four Los Angeles children killed in a 2012 crash involving their school bus were killed by a gunshot wound to the head.

Omalu described the deaths of the four sisters at the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office as accidental gunshot victims. And immediately after his dramatic testimony to a Senate committee about the children’s crash, critics began accusing Omalu of offering non-existent forensic evidence.

I reported on the accusations back in 2014. There was no direct evidence of gunshots or any physical evidence of the conclusion Omalu arrived at, but Omalu had the advantage of being at the scene of the accident. However, it was the parents who brought the case to the spotlight, and they were attacked by Omalu.

After reviewing the NBCLA.com story, I could not verify, but Omalu did not deny his conclusion that the children were killed by gunshot wounds. In fact, Omalu accused the parents of a very elaborate scheme to frame him because they felt they were being wrongly accused in the crash.

The parents argue that they want to put the record straight so that they can move on with their lives. They have retained prominent national lawyer Jeffrey Aronson and they are seeking to reclaim millions of dollars in legal fees and compensation which were denied by the hospital Omalu worked for.

As legal arguments continue, I also want to offer some background on this case. The parents of Nia Wilson are the victims of this tragedy. Nia was 8 years old when she and her two sisters were traveling in a small school bus from Florence Graffiti Charter School to school in Cypress Lawn.

The driver, 39-year-old Nia’s former boyfriend, Los Angeles Police Officer Ricardo Medina, is charged with four counts of vehicular manslaughter and one count of assault with a deadly weapon. The Los Angeles County District Attorney filed charges against Medina in 2015 and Medina is due back in court on November 16. If convicted, he faces up to 14 years in prison.

In a similar case, a head-on collision in 1997 in Irwindale, several children were killed after the school bus driver tried to run a red light. A special grand jury investigation concluded that the school bus driver was drunk at the time of the crash and the investigation into the accident found that the driver was not wearing a seat belt. The driver, who was not the intended target of the crash, was not charged.

Last month, coroner’s officials determined that the driver of the school bus was not drunk, but did have a blood alcohol level above the state’s legal limit at the time of the accident. The report also states that the driver was the victim of a personal foul on top of being drunk. If any additional charges are filed, my guess is that prosecutors will look for evidence of the head-on collision.

The tragedy of the crash had multiple victims that endured a tremendous loss. Their father, Joel Wilson, was forced to navigate the courtroom with his four-year-old daughter. These have been a hard-fought and perhaps difficult legal battle for the survivors of the four Wilson children. But I believe that with Omalu and Aronson representing them, all four survivors will ultimately prevail in a fair and honest way.

Harold Pollack is a professor of political science at University of Chicago. He has written widely on race, the media and the American public.

Harold Pollack is a professor of political science at University of Chicago. He has written widely on race, the media and the American public.

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