Black on black violence has been on the rise in the recent years. 1 in 146 black males are at risk of violent death, whereas the ratio for white men is 1 in 189. What do we mean by “Black on Black crime? ” It may be described as anytime a Black person inflicts violent harm on another Black person. The effects of this violence in the Black community are tremendous. Violence is very much part of what it means to be Black in America. Another issue in America is putting the wrong people on death row. Most of the time it is just to a guilty verdict so the prosecutor’s family can move on.
This is exactly what happened in the case of Walter McMillian who was accused and found guilty of murdering a Ronda Morrison by gunshot. In this passage I will explain some of the black on black violence seen in America, talk about some of the excerpts from Les Payne and Glenn Loury’s argument, and explain McMillians trial plus the racial inequality he experienced. Jesse Jackson once said in order to have a safer living environment you “must get the guns off the streets”. It was said that in LA County that African-Americans have a 1/29 chance of being murdered while whites are only a 1/186 chance.
So why are blacks at such a greater risk than whites? One explanation can be the black on black violence that is occurring in our society today. Of the violence that blacks do use it has been reported that 94% of it is used on other black peoples. Early on in life is where the kids look up to their peers and want to do what they do and act how they act. And this sole factor is the reason the violence in communities is on the rise. The role models in these young black kids’ lives are often drug dealers or gang members and this can be attractive to the youth.
They see all the material items these dealers and gang members have and they want it too. But what these children do not understand is the means that these older role models obtain these goods. A woman named Mary Ross is a member of LA County and she said you have to fight in order to make it in these poorer neighborhoods. She said that she applied for a job and so did a white woman. Mary claims that the white girl got the job just because of the color of her skin and not the skills she would bring to the job. So she feels the only way to live her life is by stealing and robbing from others.
When she does fight Mary says she will not stop until she sees a lot of blood. Currents TV also interviewed her husband Anthony Carter. He says that there is anger on the streets that leads to this violence and that there is a lack of opportunity and blatant discrimination on the community’s part. The vast majority of the people living in poor neighborhoods are law abiding citizens but because of where they live they are sucked into the violence. Frankie Lee Randolph, a 24 year old, was one of these law abiding citizens who was caught in the cross fire of a violent black community.
He was in the service, had a good job and a good family but one day he was just stabbed to death for no apparent reason. These families who do obey the law want police protection but not the police brutality they see often. Being poor and having low self-esteem could lead to a lot of the violence and anger in those communities. It seems the higher up you are in society the more informed decisions you make. The people in poorer black communities feel as if their lives are being attacked so they need weapons for protection.
They are surrounded by violence so you need to be prepared for the unexpected. The people of these neighborhoods feel as if they need to take action before the action comes at them. Then and only then do they feel like they are in control. Experiencing violence increases the likelihood that a person will use violence against someone else later. So violence in the community is like a snowball rolling down a hill in an avalanche, getting larger as it goes along, sweeping up more and more in its path. Violence is a self-perpetuating problem.
Next, the Currents TV switched into an interview with Glenn Loury and Les Payne. Loury brought up the issue of blacks choosing their own destinies while Payne brought up the issue of a psychic genocide. Loury said that blacks can educate themselves and make their own lives better; it was their personal responsibility. He says we need to give them the means but also lead them down the right path. There is more weight on protecting the majority of the law abiding citizens and more effort to help the violent minority.
Loury then goes on to say that behavior and home life lead to this violence and people make their own choices, whether they be good or bad ones. He basically sums up his arguments by stating the black communities need to advance their own interests and to get their act together and take care of yourself and who you take care of. Les Payne began his argument by explaining to us that black are made to feel inferior to the white race; what he calls a psychic genocide. How are these kids going to get educated? That is an American problem. It is a public problem for this country.
There isn’t any shortcut to it. There’s no easy answer to it. Payne states that black life is becoming cheapened and there is a very fine line from those who are successful and those who are not. He then says that drugs are destroying the community when they are being brought in. Drugs lead to violence, mistrust within the community, and a lack of supervision on the streets. It’s got to deal with the laws, the institutions that influence our people. We have to talk about it as an American community. Finally, I will touch upon the case involving Walter McMillian.
It was alleged that McMillian went into a cleaners and robbed and murdered the clerk there, 18 year old Ronda Morrison. McMillian says he was at home doing a fish fry that day. The arrest came after seven months where police had no leads at all until Ralph Myers, a white man with a long criminal record, came forward. He was arrested for the murder of another young woman in Alabama. Meyers was interrogated about Ronda Morrison’s murder and eventually stated that Walter McMillian, a 46-year-old black man from Monroe County, had killed Ronda.
Two other witnessed corroborated parts of Myerss story. Meyers described the way the body was positioned and supposedly gave strong details about the scene of the crime. But investigators said that his testimony was wrong and that the body was never moved because there was a distinct dust on the floor that was undisturbed. There were no finger prints, ballistics, and no physical evidence whatsoever. Meyers stated that he drove McMillian’s truck to the store and then began hearing popping sounds from inside. Meyers then went inside and saw McMillian over the body with money in his hands.
The state needed a corroborator for Meyers’ statement to hold up by law. Bill Hooks was this man. He said he drove by and saw McMillian get in passenger side at cleaners with Meyers as driver. Hooks knew it was his truck because his truck had been lowered. McMillian said it could not have been his because he got his truck lowered six months after the murder took place. Plus McMillian and a friend both said that it could not have been his because his truck had no transmission in it, so it was not even able to start. Defense lawyers said that Hooks got assistance from the cops for the incriminating statement.
This assistance included getting released from jail, having his charges dropped, and $5,000. Near the end of the trial prosecutors brought up the issue of McMillian “running around” with a white woman. McMillian was sentenced to death row for six years before being released after the truth came to light. There were many issues of racism and inequality during the investigation and trial. First of which was the false statement given by the three witnesses.
Prosecutors told him his testimony would give him a reduced sentence. DA Chapman indicted Meyer’s based on perjury where he gave a false statement while being in oath. Witnesses who had testified against McMillian admitted that they had committed perjury. Next there was the fact that there was no evidence that would incriminate McMillian at all. No physical evidence, no fingerprints, and no ballistic reports. It was as if the court just wanted to find someone to place the blame. All they had was the testimony of three individuals.
More often than not this would not be enough for a trial, but because of the implications, murder of white woman and alleged killing of a black man, it was enough for Alabama courts to try. McMillian later said that he was convicted because he was with a white woman and because his son also married a white woman. In addition, it became clear that the prosecution had hidden exculpatory evidence, including the existence of a witness who had seen the victim alive after the time at which the prosecution contended the crime had occurred.
The defense asked that the trial be moved from Monroe County because of all the publicity surrounding the case. The judge agreed to move the trial from Monroe County to Baldwin County, which had a substantially smaller percentage of black people in its population. There was also the fact that the jury in the trial recommended a life sentence for McMillian but the judge overruled this recommendation and sentenced him to death. McMillan said he never doubted his innocence would come to light, but when asked whether he has faith in the justice system, he responded: “No. Not at all. “
Courtney from Study Moose
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