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:
Too many police leaders and politicians have responded to the recent tragic double murder of Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos by blaming Barack Obama, Bill de Blasio, and peaceful police brutality protestors. At the same time, they refuse to acknowledge, let alone condemn, the police violence and brutality that have claimed the lives of countless people, including Eric Garner and Michael Brown.
This New Year’s, a good resolution for these professional pugilists would be to learn from the very families who have lost their loved ones to police brutality. The families of Michael Brown and, Eric Garner, in particular, would be good to study. While grieving their own losses, they have been able to extend condolences and sympathy to the grieving families of officers Lui and Ramos. And they have condemned violence in any form.
After I review the evidence, I will offer advice to the Mayor on how he can best move forward and redeem himself.
First, what exactly did Bill de Blasio say that has landed him in so much trouble. On December 3, after a StatenIsland grand jury decided not to indict the officer whose chokehold killed Eric Garner, de Blasio said that he was “astonished by the decision” and that it was a “very painful day for so many New Yorkers.” De Blasio also made the following unspeakable comments about how he and his wife Chirlane have worried about the safety of their son, Dante:
On Saturday, a lone mentally ill shooter, not from New York City and not part of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protest movement, executed two NYPD police officers, before killing himself. In June of this year, a couple who had spent time on Clive Bundy’s ranch executed two Las Vegas police officers, wrapped their bodies in Don’t Tread on Me flags, and then shot themselves. Republicans, right wing media and police officials are blaming the NYPD murders on BLM. But why didn’t they blame the murders of the Las Vegas officers on the Tea Party movement?
Obviously, the way to honor the two police officers murdered on Saturday is by exploiting their tragic murder for political purposes in a way that actually defies logic. To do this, simply blame the actions of a single lone shooter with a history of mental illness and suicide attempts on a non-violent protest movement which outrageously demands that police not kill people for the crime of being Black. Also claim that Mayor Bill de Blasio, Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama are to blame but don’t bother pretending that there is any evidence for that claim because you won’t find it. But if you’re Ray Kelly, Rudy Giuliani, Patrick Lynch, George Pataki or Fox News, that’s no big deal anyway.