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Escaping Karma 101: How To Get Away With Murder in America


On Thursday, OJ Simpson stood before the parole board at Lovelock Correctional Center in Nevada, where he was granted parole for his 2007 conviction for armed robbery and kidnapping.  Like nearly every time Simpson has had to face legal proceedings in the past 23 years, these hearings were nationally televised, fueling the country’s obsession with the former NFL star.  And it would be ignorant to not acknowledge that just like the reading of the Nicole Brown murder trial verdict 22 years ago, the country was once again divided along racial lines.  

When convicted for armed robbery and kidnapping back in 2008, the 33 years Simpson was sentenced seemed a bit excessive.  Especially considering the crime left no one injured, he was recovering his own possessions, and all of Simpson’s accomplices received probation. {except one who later had his conviction overturned and was released with time served}  But, we all know the truth….Simpson’s 33 year sentence was NEVER for the crime he was convicted of.  Simpson was being sentenced for Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman’s murders; a crime he was already acquitted of 13 years before.  

So just like that Fall day of 1995, last Thursday, Black America was silently hoping “The Juice” would soon be out on parole.  Now, thats not to say Black America believes he was innocent in either case. None of us were there when Ron & Nicole were brutally butchered to death or when Simpson…allegedly…went to retrieve his own sh** from that hotel room in 2007.  But if OJ is indeed Black …and not just OJ, than we want for him what we’ve all been wanting from the system for decades… a BREAK.  So when OJ finally gets a break…ya damn right we cheered.

And even more so, when hearing sentiments like, “He’ll be back…  It’s karma…  You can’t just get away with murder…”  It begs the question, who can’t get away with murder?? Without being said, or even intended, that statement may as well be, “Blacks can’t just get away with the murder of whites.”  Because there really is a way to “just get away with murder” in this country.  It’s very simple really.  Step 1: Be White.  Step 2: Kill a Black person.  Bonus Points if you’re a police officer.  And if that’s the case we’re making, we present to you, the evidence:

 

1. Carolyn Bryant

Back in 1955, Carolyn Bryant accused 14 year old Emmett Till of grabbing her and being sexually crude toward her.  As a result, Till was abducted, lynched, and thrown into the Tallahatchie River by two white men.  The two men were arrested, tried by a jury of their white male peers, and acquitted.   These same men later admitted they were guilty, but were protected from jail time by laws against double jeopardy.  However, the worst part is not just that these men got away with it.  It came decades later, when earlier this year, Carolyn Bryant broke her silence and simply admitted that she had lied.  Not only did the men who physically killed Till get away with murder, but so did the woman who’s lies provoked them to do so.

 

 

2. George Zimmerman

Everyone knows George Zimmerman.  The scumbag who believed himself to be law enforcement when he gunned down 17 year old Trayvon Martin, as he walked back to his father’s home brandishing the highly dangerous weapons: a bag of Skittles and an Iced Tea back in 2012.  We all heard the 911 tape, encouraging Zimmerman to stand down.  We heard Martin’s screams for help, as recorded on the 911 call of a neighbor.  We heard the gunshots that ended the life of an unarmed teenager.  And yet, somehow, Martin’s hoodie and sweet treats were enough to provide reasonable doubt for Zimmerman’s safety according to Florida’s Stand Your Ground laws.  Zimmerman was acquitted.  He went on to do things like beat up his girlfriend, auction off the gun he used to kill Trayvon, threaten his father in law and ex-wife, brandish a weapon at another driver, and the list goes on.  We all know Zimmerman was guilty.  Zimmerman doesn’t shy away from his guilt.  He is proud of it.  And yet, he’s still free to continue to get arrested and released at his own discretion apparently.

 

 

3. Betty Shelby

In late May, Betty Shelby received the news that she not only got away with murder, but will receive back pay for it too. Shelby is responsible for the death of Terrence Crutcher, a 40 year old father whose vehicle stalled in the road. The video of this shooting was caught on the dashboard and helicopter cameras. All that is seen on the footage is Crutcher, with his hands in the air and visible, walking toward his own vehicle. However, he was still met with a taser from one officer and a gunshot from Shelby. Of course Shelby blamed Crutcher for his own death and the jury agreed. She claimed that she “feared for her life” and that “she thought he had a gun”. During the trial she was put on leave. After she was acquitted, she returned to her job, receiving $35,000 in back pay for the time she was on leave, and was put on desk duty. She can no longer patrol the streets, but she sure is free to walk them as she pleases.  

 

 

4. H.S Newman & Alcolu, South Carolina

In 1944, 14 year old George Stinney Jr was arrested for allegedly raping and killing two white teenage girls.  Stinney and his sister were the last two people seen speaking to the two girls and was considered an immediate suspect.  Officer H.S. Newman was the arresting officer who was responsible for questioning and then testifying against the underaged boy.  Newman claimed that Stinney had confessed to the crimes although no written or signed confession ever existed.  During the 81 days from Stinney’s arrest through his trial and sentencing, he was never allowed parental or legal counsel of any sort.  During the trial, 3 officers testified all with conflicting accounts of a “confession” including accusation of rape, although the medical examiner stated no signs of rape existed.  Stinney’s court appointed defense attorney did not challenge the testimonies.  The courtroom was packed with white townspeople, not allowing any blacks in. After a 2 and a half hour trial, showing no real evidence to convict Stinney, the all white jury took 10 minutes to deliberate, finding the 14 year old guilty and sentencing him to death by electric chair.  His parents were finally able to see him in the two days between his sentencing and execution, making him the youngest person in the 20th century to be sentenced to death and executed.  The whole thing from crime to execution took 83 days.  Years later, it was rumored that on his deathbed a wealthy white neighbor confessed to the murders.  In 2014, the case was reopened and Stinney’s conviction was posthumously vacated based upon his obvious lack of fair trial and any solid evidence against him.  But at that point, despite the feeling of vindication for his family, it really didn’t matter.  H.S Newman and the people of Alcolu, South Carolina together helped commit the crime of murder, confession coercion, violated laws regulating due process, denied proper counsel, and were still free to live their lives unlike George Stinney.

 

5. Scott Aldridge and Bryan Meyers

Proving that death isn’t just for the guys, Tanisha Anderson was a mother who struggled with mental illness, when she died on the ground, next to a police car after being choked to death. She was schizophrenic and bipolar, and was going through an episode when her family called the police for help. However, Scott Aldridge and Bryan Meyers did the exact opposite of help. They killed her. They used excessive force and body slammed her into the ground. During this struggle, she went limp and died. As she lay on the ground, they refused to provide her medical treatment that could have saved her life because she was a woman and their supervisor wasn’t present. The jury reviewed this case and agreed that they acted out of control and even hired experts for their opinion in helping Cleveland Police cut down on their use of excessive force. Both officers were hit with lawsuits and eventually settled with the family for $2.25 million. In reality, they both should’ve went to jail because no amount of money can bring back the life of an innocent black woman.

 

 

BONUS: Black Wall Street

In 1921 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, there was a neighborhood called Greenwood. Greenwood’s economy was extremely prosperous and driven by the black businesses that saturated the area, earning it the nickname, Black Wall Street. Black Wall Street enjoyed privileges at the time such as indoor plumbing and a superior school district, educating young black children.  But it also garnered the jealousy of surrounding white communities that were not as prosperous.  But starting on May 31, the surrounding white communities got their revenge.  A race riot broke out, fueled by the alleged assault of a white elevator operator by a black shoeshiner . White residents of the area conspired with the city of Tulsa and decided to burn everything to the ground. While no solid numbers exist, it is estimated that 300 Black people were killed, 10,000 left homeless, 6,000 arrested, and no assistance provided for the community.  Although some black businesses survived the ordeal and decided to rebuild, government officials tried to stop reconstruction by changing the housing zones. And while some revitalization was done, it was never the same. So a special shout out goes to Tulsa, Oklahoma, who not only managed to kill hundreds and destroy an entire successful Black community, but who somehow also managed to erase it from the history books as if it never existed.  

 

– Amalachi Okpalanma & Simone Hawthorne

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