It's a bird, it's a plane, it's… well, who is it? An ex-con? Annoying boy? Uppity little girl? Town witch? Because of Winn-Dixie is chock-fulla characters who aren't really what they seem—or at least, there's more to them than first meets the eye. And guess what? People deserve love even if they don't wear a superhero cape at first glance. By learning to love people despite what they may have been in the past, Opal learns the value of having compassion for all kinds of people. By exercising her compassion and forgiveness muscles, Opal learns the value of human beings as a whole. Then she has the strength to battle her personal Lex Luthors. And you thought kryptonite was powerful.
The fact that Otis showed violence to a cop proves that he can never be completely trusted.
Under extreme stress, people may do or say things that they regret later. They should not be held accountable for those actions.