Here are two stories from today's New York Times about law-enforcement priorities and matters of public outrage in New York City. The first is a front-page news story, describing the prosecution of a 22-year-man in Brooklyn who violently kicked a cat and posted a video of the kicking to Facebook:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced this month that it would track animal abuse as a separate crime, rather than lumping it in the "other" category.

In New York City, the Police Department took over responsibility for animal abuse complaints in January, and created an Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad. Arrests for animal abuse increased about 250 percent through September, compared with the same period last year.

And the Brooklyn district attorney, Kenneth P. Thompson, said Mr. Robinson's case, which is scheduled to go to trial on Wednesday, was "indicative of my determination to be strong on folks who think they can just abuse any type of animal."

The other is a piece on the op-ed page, written by the mother of a nine-year-old boy who was hit and killed by a taxi in a crosswalk at 97th Street and West End Avenue, as he crossed the street holding his father's hand, with the signal and the right of way:

There was videotape evidence that the man who killed Cooper did not yield. Witnesses corroborated that the driver was not paying attention.

I soon learned, however, that the Manhattan district attorney's office would most likely not charge the driver who killed my son with criminal negligence. A New York State case law precedent known as the "rule of two" stipulates that there must be two misdemeanors for a charge of criminal negligence to be brought against a driver who kills...

I pleaded with officials at the district attorney's office to use Cooper's case to challenge the rule of two in the courts, but they refused. Mr. Vance's office expects to charge the driver not with a felony or even a misdemeanor, but merely a traffic infraction. He will incur no more than a modest fine.

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