Judge and Jury: Is Race Involved?

Judge and Jury: Is Race Involved?

Sage Sherburne, Herald Writer

     On October 26th, 2021, Ahmaud Arbery was a BLACK jogger on his routine when three WHITE men chased and fatally shot him. If we think back to George Floyd, Sandra Bland, Emmett Till and so on, the judge is white most of the time and they always side with the police or men. The jury is a 12 person mainly white jury and they always side with the police or men. I think it is safe to assume that this trial is no different. I also want to point out that White people always say they are not racist or prejudiced and claim that RACE IS NOT INVOLVED! However, that is not true. People use that as a cover-up and to send innocent black men to jail. Ahmaud Arbery is no different. In a few months or so he will just be another black man dead, unable to tell his story and forgotten like Sandra Black, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Breona Taylor, and so on… All of these police officers could be in jail if they stopped focusing on race and focused on the job they are supposed to. 

     OJ Simpson is a black professional who allegedly killed his white wife. We don’t know the exact details because in my opinion, the case was focused on race. In the trial of the officers that killed George Floyd, effective evidence was presented and put the officer in jail. Another example is Emmett Till, a 15 year old boy who was brutally injured to the point that he was not recognized and hanged. His parents had an open casket so people could know what was done to their son. That was in 1955, when lynching was common. In those times, the killing of unarmed black men, women, girls and boys was accepted by many. Excessive amounts of force was not illegal. In a case known as the Central Park Five, 5 kids in New York City decided to go out wilding with their friends and ended up getting arrested and interrogated by adult police officers. They were coerced into confession for crimes they never committed, and they were held in the police station for hours with no food, water attorney or parents. This was done because they were minors. Furthermore, this occurred in 1987 when society was quite different than today. The jury and judge convicted the individuals and they spent a good chunk of their life in prison until 2002, when the convicted Murderer and Rapist Matias Reyes confessed to the crime. The original defendants are now known as the Exonerated 5. Things got so bad for them. Donald J Trump, who ended up being our President, tried to keep them in jail. 

     There is a lack of diversity in the criminal justice system. Whatever decision they make on these three white men will be final and the black person will not have  a say. His vote won’t matter and his voice will be silenced because there has to be majority rules. Right? That’s how it works? Why can we not be diverse? If there has to be a 12-person jury, why can there not be 4 Latin-X, 4 Black and 4 white jurors? 4 + 4 = 8 + 4= 12. Because of this, the courtroom is diverse and all voices are heard. I feel the voices of Black and Latinos are stifled. It appears that current society feels the only one who needs to heard are the white people because they are obviously the superior race. Right? So, why shouldn’t they be on top? My hope is that we will all be equal and get equity. The job of the police is to put away criminals and people who make bad mistakes. Their job is also to save our young children from the criminals’ lives. Most black and white children do end up in criminal life because of the way they are treated. 

     Assumption kills. Assuming the worst in everything is not always a good thing. For years, black people have been oppressed, destroyed, hurt and killed. In 1905, George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it!” This means if we keep assuming all black people are rapists, criminals, evil little imps and we keep abusing the power we are given, there will be consequences. In approximately 40 to 70 years, the world will be a wasteland. People will always be on one side. They will continue to tell one-sided stories because the other side will be badly injured or dead. If they continue to do what they did in the past, then all the progress black people have made will amount to nothing. People like Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Atatiana Jefferson, Tamir Rice will have died with no justice. People like Derek Chauvin, Aaron Dean, Gregory and Travis McMichael, Kim Potter will still do what they did and still say it was self defense or that they acted on assumption. It has to end. Derek Chauvin was the first to get caught and go to jail, which was an amazing victory for black people all over the world. It gives us hope. When hope was growing, a Paraplegic got dragged out of his car. Instead of going forward, we are going backwards. We don’t want to live in fear of who’s next, to walk down the streets and feel like we’re being watched and judged based on the color of our skin. Our skin is beautiful. We cannot change it. However, we can change the way people see us. It starts with the small little things like having diversity in courts or changing the Pledge of Allegiance to represent something relevant. Another step forward can be reforming police officers, The world was based on fear and power. Despite this, it is now the 21st century and society needs to be changed for the better.

     “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” 

– Barack Obama