During recent testimony at the ongoing murder trial of YNW Melly, a detective appeared on the stand wearing a mask that covered everything on his face except his eyes. Danny Polo works as an undercover detective for the Broward Sheriff's Office and was brought in to testify because of his expertise on gangs.
Following his testimony, though, some people wanted to know what the detective's face looks like, even though he has gone to great lengths to conceal his appearance from the public.
Why did Danny Polo hide his face during the YNW Melly trial?
Because YNW Melly's trial is so public, and because Danny's work undercover relies on him being unrecognizable, it made a lot of sense for him to conceal his identity during his testimony. John Murphy, the judge in the trial, allowed Danny to hide his face for the specific reason that he had received death threats unrelated to this particular case.
During his testimony, Danny claimed that there were "hundreds of pictures" of YNW Melly with other Bloods. Specifically, he claimed that Melly was in a group called G-Shine, which is closely affiliated with the Bloods.
Following Danny's initial court appearance, the judge received two notes from jurors saying that his testimony, and specifically his mask, had caused issues for them.
This led to a debate between the prosecutor and the defense attorney over whether the mask was a necessary precaution, or whether it was swaying the jury in ways that might affect the ultimate outcome of the case.
Melly's lawyers had previously objected to allowing Danny to testify while in a mask, but those objections have been overruled. Danny has been allowed to testify in other cases while masked around the Atlanta region.
A change.org petition claims that Danny practices unfair policing.
Meanwhile, a change.org petition has been circulating online which claims that Danny is part of a ring of corrupt police officers in the Atlanta area. The petition claims that Danny is putting false charges on a number of people and being allowed to get away with it. The petition states that the paperwork filed by Danny and other police officers is filled with lies, and it has led to innocent people being charged with murder and other serious crimes under false pretenses.
Although these allegations would be serious if they were true, it's unclear how much weight to put behind them at the moment. Regardless, it's worth interrogating the role police play, and the power they wield over minority communities in urban areas.
Danny has certainly faced a lot of scrutiny for his role in the YNW Melly trial, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Online backlash has been sparked by his decision to wear a mask, which some see as a dramatic move. Whether it's ultimately justified or not, though, Danny's role in Melly's case will only be one factor in determining what the ultimate verdict is.