When pundits and black leaders bemoaned the irony of a St. Louis County grand jury announcing its decision not to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson for killing 18-year-old Michael Brown Jr. on the same day that slain civil-rights activists James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, few noted another cruel irony.
Just as Wilson walked free of charges despite having shot and killed an unarmed black teenager, Marissa Alexander, the battered black woman initially sentenced to 20 years in prison in Florida for firing an alleged warning shot into the ceiling of her home as her abusive ex-husband allegedly threatened her despite a restraining order against him, headed back to jail to serve an additional 65 days on top of the three years she has already served. Alexander accepted a plea deal in the face of new charges filed against her, charges that would have amounted to 60 years in prison had she been convicted.
Also absent from the pleas for justice are the names of too many other African Americans cut down like Brown, people such as Rekia Boyd, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Yvette Smith and, most recently, Tanisha Anderson.
A few weeks ago Anderson's family called 911 for an ambulance to obtain medical and mental-health assistance for the 37-year-old woman. Instead of help, Cleveland police officers arrived and put her in handcuffs, and her family says they ultimately slammed her on the pavement outside the home. She died shortly thereafter.
In October a mistrial was declared in the case against the Detroit police officer who fatally shot Aiyana Stanley-Jones, 7, during a botched police raid on her home in 2010. Wayne County jurors deadlocked over whether Joseph Weekley should be convicted on the charge of "careless discharge of a firearm causing death." Roland Lawrence, the chairman of the Justice for Aiyana Committee, pondered aloud, "Surely, the death of a baby by a well-trained police force must be deemed unacceptable in a civilized society." But black girls, even those asleep in their beds, do not have the luxury of childhood in America.
These are not the only oversights.
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