File these stories under “This week in Justice Delayed/ relative progress/ baby steps/ Black Lives Matter a Little” news: a Black woman who never should have been convicted for firing a warning shot to scare off an abusive husband is “allowed” to serve the rest of her sentence at home under house arrest. And a judge threw out the convictions of 9 Black men who had sat at an all white lunch counter in Rock Hill, South Carolina in 1961.
Marissa Alexander was sentenced to 20 years in jail for shooting a wall and harming nobody. She was attempting to scare off her abusive then-husband, Rico Gray, who had admitted to and against whom she had a restraining order. Thinking he was not at home, Alexander went to their former house to get some belongings. The two got into an argument and, according to Alexander, Gray threatened her. Gray corroborates Alexander’s story: “I was in a rage. I called her a whore and bitch and … I told her … if I can’t have you, nobody going to have you,” he said, in a deposition. When Alexander retreated into the bathroom, Gray tried to break the door. She ran into the garage, but couldn’t leave because it was locked. She came back with a registered gun, which she legally owned, and yelled at him to leave. Gray recalls, “I told her … I ain’t going nowhere, and so I started walking toward her … I was cursing and all that … and she shot in the air.” Gray himself understands why Alexander fired the warning shot: