Entertainer Wayne Brady most likely speaks for a lot of black men as he sits in the offices of the Huffington Post and talks about his frustration following the verdict from the Michael Dunn Trial.
*Straight on the heels of the outrageous mistrial of Michael Dunn, the white man who shot nine bullets into an SUV and killed African American teen, Jordan Davis with claims the music coming out of the vehicle he was in was “too loud,” comes the case of 48-year old Willie Noble, an African American man charged with 1st-degree murder, committing a terrorist act, and five counts of aggravated assault after allegedly shooting into a car full of teenagers early Saturday morning, and killing Adrian Broadway, an African American teen.
The outcome of Noble’s case may present a front-row opportunity to witness how the justice system in America really works.
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The latest homicide? 19-year-old Renisha McBride from Michigan sought help after her car crashed in Dearborn Heights, a neighborhood where 86% of its residents are white. She walked up the porch steps, knocked on the door, and was shot in the head and killed.
Needless to say, her family wants answers.
They are asking prosecutors for information on the incident that left the unarmed young woman dead. Details have been scant although the Detroit News reported “Dearborn Heights [Police Department has] identified the person who fired the shot and killed the woman.” The police, however, have claimed that the shooter believed McBride to be an intruder and shot in self-defense. Initial police reports that described the 19-year-old’s body as having been “dumped” have been amended to state that she was found on the shooter’s porch.
But as time goes on, the shooter’s story seems to change.
Now, the homeowner responsible for shooting Renisha McBride claims that his gun accidentally discharged, reports the Detroit Free Press.
“This man’s claiming [he] believed the girl was breaking into the home. And he’s also saying the gun discharged accidentally.” said Detroit police Lt. James Serwatowski.
In an interview with the Huffington Post, the 54-year-old homeowner’s lawyer said that evidence would show the shooting was “justified.”
Self-defense gone wrong is not a sufficient excuse for a bullet in the head, McBride’s family has stressed: “He shot her in the head … for what? For knocking on his door,” said Bernita Sparks, Renisha’s aunt. “If he felt scared or threatened, he should have called 911.”
Police have now asked that charges be brought against the shooter. But since a “stand your ground” law applies in Michigan, the charges may not stick. As Rania Khalek has rightly pointed out on her blog,:
“The problem with a law like Stand Your Ground is that it excuses and encourages deadly force against ‘perceived’ threats. In the United States, where implicit and structural racism persists on a vast scale, is it wise to empower people who almost certainly have irrational and racist fears.”
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*Marissa Alexander may be a little more than a week away from getting a taste of freedom.
A judge set Alexander’s bond hearing for November 8, when she will find out if she will be released from prison while she awaits her new trial over an incident in which she fired what she described as a warning shot at her abusive husband.
Alexander attempted to seek immunity under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law in her first hearing, but was denied that opportunity. She was ultimately convicted and given a mandatory 20-year sentence under Florida’s 10-20-life law covering all crimes involving a firearm.
An appeals court judge ordered a new trial last month, not because of the Stand Your Ground ruling in the case, but because the “jury instructions on self-defense were erroneous” in her first trial. Alexander’s new trial date has been set for March 31, 2014, according to the Florida Times-Union.
Hours after her new trial was announced, protesters supporting domestic violence victims rallied at the Duval County Courthouse, demanding Alexander be released immediately, according to an Associated Press report.
“This is a reflection of the inequities of the justice system,” Marcia Olivo, Sisterhood of Survivors spokeswoman, said.
Many have argued that the charges against her should be dropped entirely, including Rep. Corrine Brown, a Democrat from Florida who’s become one of her most vocal supporters.
Immediately after Alexander’s new trial was ordered, Brown joined Al Sharpton’s “PoliticsNation” to push for Alexander’s release. “She has been in jail for three years. She has not spent any time with her baby, and keep in mind when this incident occurred, she–the baby–was eight days old,” Brown said.
*In a style truly his own, Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke his mind at a recent visit to Florida; where he went to support the Dream Defenders; the group that has been staging a sit-in since mid-July in protest of the state’s Stand Your Ground law.
Jackson called Florida an “Apartheid state,” and named it “the Selma of our time.”
Of course these references didn’t sit well with Florida Governor Rick Scott.
“Jesse Jackson owes every Floridian an apology for his reckless and divisive comments,” Scott said. “It is unfortunate that he would come to Florida to insult Floridians and divide our state at a time when we are striving for unity and healing. Floridians are a strong, resilient people. We are fortunate to live in a great state where all Floridians enjoy opportunities to get a great job and world-class education.”
The civil rights activist has requested that the state re-evaluate its gun laws; especially in light of the Trayvon Martin slaying by George Zimmerman, and the subsequent acquittal voted upon unanimously by the jury.
Though Gov. Scott stands by the controversial law and will not call a special session to address it, according to the Miami Herald, Jackson says:
“The Rainbow Push Coalition is mobilizing elected officials in support of these student movements, too many people in Florida are disenfranchised.”
Jackson spent the night on the floor of the Capitol in Tallahassee Tuesday night.
*Rick Ross has quoted perhaps the most memorable line of witness testimony from the Trayvon Martin case in his new song “I Wonder Why.”
The rapper’s new track features the voice of Rachel Jeantel, who was the last person to talk to the unarmed teen before he was shot dead by George Zimmerman in February, 2012. Zimmerman was acquitted of second degree murder during a trial earlier this month and the controversial verdict sparked protests across the U.S.
Ross aired his thoughts about the killing in a new track, in which he draws comparisons between his life and that of the 17-year-old’s. He also makes it clear he’s not a fan of Stand Your Ground legislation, which allows an individual to use reasonable force to defend themselves without retreat – the reasoning Zimmerman used in his defense.
In the song, Ross raps, “Now I’m being followed by some creepy-a** cracker/Now I’m being followed by some creepy-a** cracker/ Stand your ground, stand your ground/Stand your ground, you gotta stand your ground.”
Listen below ["Creepy-a** cracker lyrics begin at 2:20]. Warning: NSFW.