|Strauss-Kahn and police escort. Photo by Joe Marino/New York Daily News|
As a piece of theater, the Perp Walk is both drama and farce. The display of the recently arrested for the benefit of news photographers may be staged, but the tragedy inherent in the event is real. The Perp Walk is when reality and television police procedural become one in the same. Defense attorneys have complained that the Perp Walk photo is prejudicial, but so far at least the need for visual narrative has taken precedence over absolute legal fairness.
The narrative is especially satisfying when the person in handcuffs is famous or powerful in some regard. It's human nature to want to see the high and/or mighty brought low—from WikiLeaks mastermind Julian Assange, arrested in the UK for earlier sex charges, to former congressman Tom "The Hammer" Delay, caught up campaign finance shenanigans.
|Julian Assange after arrest. AP PHOTO|
|Tom Delay (center) walks the walk|
|Former Bear Stearns fund managers being escorted to jail in 2008. REUTERS PHOTO|
|Lohan strolls the stroll|
Of course the most infamous Perp Walk photo was taken on Sunday, November 24, in the basement of the Dallas Police Headquarters.
Lee Harvey Oswald was supposed to be transferred from the police building to the county jail that morning, with journalists on hand to watch. Also on hand was nightclub operator Jack Ruby, who, at 11:21 AM, turned this walk of shame into something truly shameful.