Survived And Punished: Is Naomi Freeman The Next Marissa Alexander?

December 8, 2015  |  

This past summer, in the early morning hours of July 5, 23-year-old Naomi Freeman was pulled from her car by her hair before being punched 25 times by her boyfriend John Perry.

According to the Chicago Tribune, another person had to separate Perry from Freeman. When she got up, she got back into her 1999 Dodge Caravan minivan. She pulled into a parking spot and then made a U-turn.

She drove toward her boyfriend, who was still on the sidewalk. He moved out of the way and Freeman hit a wrought-iron fence.

She reversed the van back onto the street. Perry jumped in front of the van, daring him to try and run him over again.

Freeman drove toward Perry, striking him before continuing to drive on the sidewalk. She eventually drove through a fence and into a yard.

Freeman left the van and fled from the scene on foot. Perry was still stuck under the vehicle.

People tried, unsuccessfully, to remove him from underneath the vehicle. Later, he died at Mount Sinai Hospital from mechanical asphyxiation from being struck and pinned under the van.

And the whole incident was caught on video.

According to Freeman’s attorney, Steve Pick, this was not the first time Perry had hit his girlfriend. He argued that based on Perry’s history of abuse, she didn’t have a choice when she ran over her boyfriend.

He said, “This person didn’t go to that address with the intent to hurt anybody. She was in fear for her life and her safety.”

Prosecutors argue that Freeman simply could have driven away.

Pick also asked that her $500,000 bail be lowered. It was reduced to $350,000 but Freeman didn’t have anyone who could pay the $35,000.

In an attempt to get Freeman released in time to spend Christmas with her one and two-year-old children, has started a fundraiser to raise the $35,000 bond.

They included this letter from Freeman herself.

Someday I will need to explain to my kids why they don’t have their father. I never meant to hurt him that day, I only acted in fear for my life. I have to forgive myself, but not for surviving, and I don’t think I should be punished for defending my life. I have to get home to my kids as soon as I can and be the best mother I can be. I need a second chance at life for them and for myself. 

   — Naomi Freeman, 12/6/2015, Cook County Jail

The ChicagoBond said that not only was Freeman pregnant at the time, she was also suffering from chronic autoimmune disease that affects her joints.

Freeman, who has been in jail for the past 6 months, is also living with Lupus and the stress of pre-trial detention.

$35,000 would mean  she would be reunited with her family and have proper maternal health care.

The ChicagoBond org argues:

Naomi chose to survive an attack by an abusive partner. We know from Naomi and other eyewitnesses that Naomi was pulled from a vehicle by her hair and slammed to the ground. Once on the ground, Naomi was beaten and punched in the face no fewer than 20 times. During this assault, Naomi was in the early stages of pregnancy and suffering a chronic autoimmune disease that affects her joints. Sadly, this was not the first time Naomi had been assaulted by this man. Had Naomi not acted in self-defense, it is likely that she would be dead. Instead, like many other women and girls incarcerated right now, who are disproportionately Black, she survived and was punished for it.”

They are comparing Freeman to women like Marissa Alexander, Cierra Finkley, Eisha Low, and Paris Knox saying that Freeman killed Perry as a way to escape her abuser and survive.

Aside from the fact that both women were involved in abusive relationships and decided to take a stand, there seem to be few similarities. Alexander only fired a warning show and no one was injured during the process. Freeman struck Perry with her car after immediate danger had subsided.

Still, with that being sad, no one knows what the nature of her relationship with Perry was. I highly doubt this was the first time Perry hit Freeman. We can’t be sure but the fact that he felt so comfortable brutalizing her in public leads me to believe it wasn’t the first time. And if this is what he did in public, it’s not hard to believe that her life was threatened.

There’s also the fact that she’s spent a majority of her pregnancy incarcerated when it is likely that she’s not a danger to her children.

Furthermore, it’s time that the justice system stops criminalizing women, particularly Black women who defend themselves against their abusers.

If you’re interested in donating to help her make bail, you can donate here.


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  • Andre Spivey

    I understand her position, but she wasn’t afraid only, she was also was anger that made he put car in reverse and try to run him down again.I don’t by the he jumped in front and dared her…dude just jumped out if the way 2 2 secs later he jumping in fro t of vehicle…new..this isn’t first degree murder, more like second degree or manslaughter..I don’t think it was planned..

  • AmandaGee

    I just can’t defend her with this. Yes it’s beyond horrible that she was constantly abused by the sick man, but the second she turned that car around and struck him INSTEAD of driving away it became murder. The prosecutors are right on this one…

  • MyThoughts

    They could go for involuntary manslaughter. I don’t know the law well enough. But then again, our so called “justice system” is kinda screwed

  • Keila Lorraine

    No, shes not anything like Marissa Alexander, Marissa fired a warning shot into the ceiling ad did not murder anyone. Marissa Alexander was a true case of injustice. This woman Naomi killed her husband in cold blood when she was in the van, where she could have driven away from him and to the police. She did not have the right to take anyones life, but felt it neccessary. She should be tried for murder. A lot of people think they are doing the right thing by killing, but in fact are not. This is a typical murder case, and people who think she deserves to walk free are sadly mistaken. Marissa Alexander was truly defending her life, she could not escape the house where she fired the warning shot. Naomi was in a van she could have driven away

    • CeCe Says Ugonlearntaday

      Yes because he would have found her and killed her. She knew exactly who she was dealing with.

      • Keila Lorraine

        Lol so just kill people ahead of time that you THINK are going to kill you, she needs to take responsibility for not leaving, which lead to this

        • CeCe Says Ugonlearntaday

          She knew he would have killed her.

  • call keke with the nappy hair

    Prosecutors are right she could have walked away.

  • Guest of a guest

    She probably wont get off for her charge. What she did was retaliation with malice now the first time she charged the car to him and he was in the street saying hit me she should have just sped off. This woman had a moment (probably a few seconds) to think about her and her kids well being and threw that out the window when she hit him. Speaking from personal experience if you are in an abusive relationship its up to you if you want to walk out of it especially if there are no ties (marriage). I know people say its hard but there are proper channels in almost every city that can get a victim housing, food, etc. Just because she was abused doesn’t mean she has to get off. I have sympathy for her kids but not for her especially since she had the opportunity to walk away and decided to roll over that poor specimen of a man.

  • Nique 08

    This is 1st degree murder. End of story.

  • K_

    yeah i cant get down with this one. i feel bad for the woman and she was abused but she made her mistake busting that u turn.. by this time she was well out of harms way so its hard to justify she felt in danger. She was inside of her car at the point AND down the street (hence she had to make the u turn). Now was she still in danger because she most likely would have stayed with this fool, yeah probably (as evidenced by the fact they said this isnt the first time but i understand its hard for abusive victims to leave)…. but at that moment no. So not only does she put herself BACK in danger by driving back to him but misses him the first time, runs into someones fence who unfortunately (most likely) had to pay for someone else’s foolishness in repairs, but then backs up does it again, hits him this time even worse running through yet another persons property and into their yard (more payments shes not paying in damages) and leaves the car on him..yeahhhhh no.. she should have driven straight to a police station then HE would be in jail as he should not her. But i wish her the best

  • Poortinktink

    Here’s why she won’t get off: 1- she ran him over twice, 2- she left the scene of an “accident” which resulted in a death. And just what did she do after? Go home and watch Netflix? Smdh. I feel bad for her but she should Not get off. I mean self defense is self defense. And this is murder–intentional.

  • too_real

    From a legal perspective, she intentionally murdered him, and not in self-defense. Having said that, I do feel sorry for her- and for him I say good riddance. However, this is an open and shut case.

    That’s too bad.

  • Tina James

    First of all, in order to write you must be able to read…and I mean proofread. There is no story important enough to publish without proofreading. This story was really challenging to read because I had to go back and say, ” did they mean her or him” or “is it show or shot”…this really makes no sense especially when this is your work and there should be some level of pride associated with it.

  • Transbutter

    Ugh My heart aches for this woman. However, where she messed up was going back a second time to intentionally run him over. The prosecution is definitely going to use that against her. It sucks because I can’t imagine some man punching me 25 times in the face let alone grabbing me by my hair out of vehicle. Naomie was probably discombobulated from the head trauma he caused her. Not thinking straight and going into survival mode killed him.

    Ugh this breaks my heart.

  • Guest

    Ok, unless she can claim momentary insanity, her best bet is to plead out to manslaughter. I understand the amount of stress, anxiety, fear, and pain, she may have been under during the ordeal, but based on our justice systems interpratation of self-defense–this case is not it.

    She had ample opportunity to flee and chose not to. Granted, we don’t know if put in the same position if we’d do the same (depending on how one handles, shock, stress, anxiety and ect…), but still, she made a bad judgement call. Pleading out to a lower charge maybe her best bet.

  • Devin Brown

    Had she left after the first attempt it would’ve been different but since she went back for a second time they’re going to use that against her and that’s not looking good

  • Trisha_B

    Idk. If she had actually hit him after the 1st time she got in her car, it would be one thing. But the fact that she tried again. Like what if she missed him again, would she have kept trying to run him over?…& the fact that she ran thru a fence & side walk, putting innocent lives at danger as well puts odds against her.

    Idk. Putting myself in her situation, I would probably want to kill dude too. No one should have to put up with being in constant fear of their life. Did anyone call the police while he was beating on her? With all the witnesses & that video, he would’ve got locked up (I hope).

    • Lenitna

      Exactly! If only when the attack against her would have been when the police arrived, she would have been home with her kids and he would have been in jail

    • Free_Is_Me

      Yes, there is SO MUCH to this story…

      • Trisha_B

        There is. Like why would she run away & leave after running him over knowing cops will be coming to look for her smh

  • Hi

    I guess I would have to see the video to know for sure but the fact that she backed up and drive toward him again this time trapping him under the vehicle doesn’t look good. Defending herself is the first time but doing it again is intentional. Again the video would need to be viewed to make a proper determination on it. I hope her children are ok in the wake of this tragedy.

  • Are you kidding me? She retaliated so she was not that abused or scared. She could have left the scene and pressed charges on him.

    • vwells1

      She was not that abused or scared? She was pulled from the car by her hair and punched 25 times by a grown man. There are two responses to fear: fight or flight. She did both.

      • No she didn’t. She had a chance to get away Veronica and she decided to run him over because they probably fight each other all the time. If someone hit me 25 times I am not going to think of running over him. I am going to the police and want to get away.

        • vwells1

          She “fought” running him over with the car and she “flight” running to the car after he was done hitting her. I’m not saying she was right but I think speaking about what we would have done in that situation is virtually impossible.

          • Virtually impossible to some maybe. I speak from experience also. If I am scared like her attorney is claiming she would have left not turn around and run over him when she had a chance to get away. And running someone over with a vehicle is far from fighting. This is murder.

            • guest

              He jumped in front of the van, what was she supposed to do, wait for him to drag her out and start beating on her again?

              • Go and read that story again! He hit her, she then drove into something trying to hit him, he MOVED. Y’all need to stop making excuses for foolishness she had a chance to leave someone broke it up. She chose to take vengeance in her own hands and killed him. She moved too soon. I am not saying to not protect yourself but she has multiple children by him and probably been with him long enough to know it’s time to leave.

              • Keila Lorraine

                She damaged someones elses property trying to run him over the first time…

                • call keke with the nappy hair


          • Keila Lorraine

            Speaking as a psychologist, your perception of fight or flight is wrong. Fight or flight is the bodys natural defense mechanism that is triggered by an (this is important) IMMEDIATE threat. In her case her husband was the immediate threat. She chose flight. if she had chosen “fight” an example would be if he is phisically beating her, she runs to the kitchen and grabs a knife to stab him, that would be a fight response. Her getting in the van and driving off is a flight response. What she did was murder. Not trying to be mean, but your view of fight or flight is badly distorted

        • call keke with the nappy hair

          Beside if you don’t get the heck on after the first punch i assume you can handle it.

          • LMAO y’all be killing me with the screen names. I speak from experience. When you are afraid you run , then instead of leaving , you get sucked into this dysfunctional shyt. When they do it the first time LEAVE!!!! This is how a lot of women end up in jail.

            • Keila Lorraine

              I think what people need to understand is that no one has the right to take anothers life as they see fit. You cannot willy nilly kill people just because you get mad

              • THANK YOU! IF you have a chance to get away take it! If not then send them home that is all I’m saying and she had a chance and decided revenge was sweeter. You can feel that but I have learned being emotional and not thinking rational has never gotten me anywhere but in trouble.

                • CeCe Says Ugonlearntaday

                  And he would have found her and killed her or made her lose the baby

                  • You do not know that. And then she would have probable cause to kill him. Because he came after her. If you’re black you better learn that legal game because just thinking you can act on anger well they have 3 hots and a cot for ya. No shade keeping it real.

                    • CeCe Says Ugonlearntaday

                      I’m too cool first off. I never let people see me sweat, especially a man. I’m not a stereotypical angry black woman thank you kindly….

                    • Well then why are we having this conversation because according to what you’re claiming you would have drove away.

                  • Keila Lorraine

                    I would love to borrow the crystal ball you have that shows you the future apparently

                    • CeCe Says Ugonlearntaday

                      Calm down not need to be rude or condescending. Act like and adult. That is the future of almost all domestic abuse relationships THEY WILL EVENTUALLY KILL U. They may do it on accident or intentionally but it will happen if u stay…..

                    • Keila Lorraine

                      You’re working on emotion not logic

                    • CeCe Says Ugonlearntaday

                      No I’m working of logic and of experience….have a good one.

            • call keke with the nappy hair

              Exact-dam-ly all these stories all have two very telling components : a crazy man or woman and the other person who waited FOREVER before leaving. Why do people play stupid games?

              • Well she has no choice now because she killed him. She is not getting off.

        • CeCe Says Ugonlearntaday

          Because he would have found her and killed her. TRUST!!

          • You do not know this.

            • CeCe Says Ugonlearntaday

              They will eventually kill you. They may do it on accident or intentionally but it will happen if u stay…..

              • That is what everyone who responded to you said. Not to stay. And she did stay right there engaging in his foolishness when she could have went to the police and got him arrested. If he came at her again then she had probable cause.

                • Keila Lorraine

                  CeCe is working on pure emotion. Which is not logical. I wonder what her reasoning would be if her son or daughter was killed just because they frieghtened someone.

                  • My thing is she had a chance to get away and didn’t take it. You cannot take the law in your own hands unless you are in danger right at that moment and there is no other alternative.

      • Keila Lorraine

        She should have left the first time he did it. Or called police made reports, she had no right what so ever to take his life.

        • CeCe Says Ugonlearntaday

          And he had no right to be abusive to her

          • Keila Lorraine

            You are 100% correct, she had plenty of options that did not entail killing.

            • CeCe Says Ugonlearntaday

              True but she knew who she was dealing with at that point. And in her mind her only option to be free was to off him…

  • _a_

    She most likely will not get off, but I don’t think its because shes black. Most likely the prosecution is going to argue that she had the option of driving off, and because he wasn’t attacking her in the moment that she killed him that she was not in immediate danger.

    • Loyal To Me

      We don’t know the full story; he was probably abusing her regularly. Until you’ve been in that situation where you fear for your life you have no idea what it’s like. Everyone of us can assume and say what they would or wouldn’t do but we really don’t know. How many times have you read about women going through the proper channels… restraining order, pressing charges, etc. and end up dead?!?!?!

      • _a_

        He very well may have been doing just that, but that doesn’t change the fact that it looks as if she had a way out in that moment.

        • Loyal To Me

          That’s exactly what it was…a way out. It was probably kill or be killed.

          • _a_

            If that’s her argument then I hope she has a darn good lawyer.

      • Keila Lorraine

        By using your logic, people can just kill anyone they please because they “feel scared” You cannot justify by “other women going through the proper channel get killed” she tried absolutely no channels and still returned to him after his previous abusive behavior. Apparently if she was constantly taking abuse, why did she return to him?

        • CeCe Says Ugonlearntaday

          FEAR!!! People in abusive relationships are motivated by fear. In fear of losing their children, their homes and especially their lives. I’ve been there.

          • Keila Lorraine

            That does not dispute the fact that she has no right to take another life. You are devaluing him as a human because of his actions. I’ve been in abusive relationships, you LEAVE not kill said person. Especially when she had the perfect opprotunity to leave in the van she ran him over with. Again, using your logic is I believe that someone in the future might kill me, I should just go ahead and kill them first. Thats not how things work.

            • AmandaGee

              You’re making a lot of sense. I agree with everything.

              • call keke with the nappy hair

                Just like you were making sense but it doesn’t fit MN “poor defenseless while beasting out black woman” agenda.

                • AmandaGee

                  Ha! lol Thanks.

            • call keke with the nappy hair

              Thank you! I also had an abusive bfriend he hit me one time ONE TIME and i called the cops even after he threatened to kill me. Nowadays women want the freedom to choose stick and now kill their abusive partners.anything but leave. They should take her straight to jail and let someone who doesnt crave butt kicking raise them.

            • CeCe Says Ugonlearntaday

              Stop being condescending, there is no need……And when you leave a situation that volatile, they find you and kill you or beat you within an inch of your life……

              • Keila Lorraine

                Not being condescending at all. Im just simply pointing out the facts, our justice system does not work on emontions, it works on the law.

              • Keila Lorraine

                If someone is beaten within an inch of their life, how are they able to coherently drive a van, and intentionally run someone over, then run away? Im curious, how would you feel if your son or daughter was murdered just because the person that killed them “FELT” scared? Listen, I feel sorry for this woman, but she needs to take responsibility for her actions. That man laid there in the street and was suffocated from a van being on top of him. I guarantee you he suffered moew than she ever did. Keep emotion out of it, and look at these two as equal human beings.

        • call keke with the nappy hair

          And this is someone with kids. Let that sink in. Smh

          • Keila Lorraine

            Even more reason for her to NOT KILL SOMEONE

            • call keke with the nappy hair

              Thank you!!!!

      • John Henry

        Exactly! It happened to my cousin. Do to the circumstance, she was probably traumatized at the time. She should not be charged with murder.