And so the American racism saga continues. Yes, in this modern day black folks are still being hunted down and discriminated against — many times at the cost of their lives. Racism and racial injustices are still alive! And the criminal justice system, this so-called (non-existent) post-racial society and non-acknowledgement of white privilege are to blame. This country will forever be plauged to racism and race and the impact they’ve had on the social, political, economical and historical significance of black people.
MadameNoire has collected 15 instances of modern-day institutionalized racism, racial profiling and police brutality. Celebrating black history is not only about our triumphs, but it’s about our struggles and bringing national attention to not just a few of these cases, but all!
Bringing national attention to the racial injustice of Emmett Till is what sparked the Civil Rights Movement. Unfortunately, these 15 cases are very similar to what to Till 60 years ago. The fight continues.
Please sound off on more racial injustices in the comments section below.
The case has had arguably the most national attention out of any other on this list, which means most know the story and the injustice done to Martin and his family. A quick review: neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman pursued Martin after being told not to. He “stood his ground” and killed Martin. And the verdict? The jury found Zimmerman not guilty — causing public outrage. These days Zimmerman is calling himself a celebrity — trying to compete in a boxing match.
Wright, who was married to a white woman with two sons, mysteriously disappeared on November 7, 2013 after his truck broke down. His parents set out to pick him up at a liquor store an hour away. But he wasn’t there. After two weeks, the sheriff told his family his office, “exhausted its resources and funds.” A week later the family found his body with his throat slashed, striped down to his boxers, body injected with drugs and a silver coin. His death was ruled as “no foul play.”
There’s been much speculation, but it’s becoming clear with the Texas rangers and US Justice Department involved and mysterious details, someone was trying to cover up a murder. Jasper, Texas is known for racial injustice. In 1998, James Byrd Jr. was tied to a truck and dragged for miles by white men. For more details on Wright’s mysterious death, read here.
Another horrible case of “Stand Your Ground.” Michael Dunn shot at a SUV when he asked the car’s passengers to turn down the rap music the group had playing. Jordan Davis was murdered in result. Dunn claimed he was protecting himself and was threatened with what looked like a shotgun first. There was no shotgun found. He was convicted on three counts of attempted second-degree murder for shooting Davis’ friends, but the jury didn’t reach a verdict on a first-degree murder charge of Davis.
Grant’s story was brought to significant national attention after video recordings captured his murder. Interest in his case resurfaced with the critically-acclaimed film, Fruitvale Station starring Michael B. Jordan. After reports of a fight at the Bay Area Rapid Transit, Johannes Mehserle was restraining Grant and he was allegedly resisting. The officer said he was going to tase him and instead, he shot him in the back. Grant was unarmed and pronounced dead the following morning.
Davis was sentenced to death in August 1991 after eye witnesses claimed to have seen Davis shoot and kill a Burger King security guard Mark MacPhail in 1989. Davis went on to become a death penalty icon, after his death in September 2011. Davis maintained his innocence for more than 20 years. And he has since started a discussion about eye witness testimonies and the death penalty.
A New York police officer killed an emotionally distressed elderly ex-marine in 2012 after responding to a medical alert call in White Plains, New York. Chamberlain reportedly told the officers he was fine. They insisted on coming in. When they did, Chamberlain charged at them with a hatchet. He was stunned. Anthony Carelli fired the shots. His son said audio and video from the shooting was not used in court fairly. The officer was cleared. His son sued for $21 million for using excessive force on his father and killing him.
Rest in peace, sweetheart. This little girl was shot and killed during a police drug raid in 2010. The police were searching for a murder suspect when Joseph Weekley shot her. He claimed he fired his gun as he struggled in a confrontation with her grandmother, Mertilla Jones. She denies these claims. No verdict was reached in a trial during the summer of 2013. Retrial has been cancelled thus far.
The University of Cincinnati public safety officers responded to an assault and tased Howard who went into cardiac arrest and died the next day in August 2011. Richard Haas shot his taser at his chest. His family filed a civil lawsuit.
William Torbit Jr
Torbit was shot by fellow police officers in January 2011! Torbit was shot 20 times by fellow cops after they fired 42 shots. Torbit was killed alongside a civilian after a fight occurred at a nightclub, which Torbit responded to with 29 other cobs. He wasn’t wearing uniform at the time. His family was outraged as no charges were filed against civilians or police officers.
She knocked on a door of a Detroit man, Theodore Paul Wafer, to ask for help after a car accident. Wafer shot and killed her — claiming he did so in self defense because he thought she was trying to break into his home. He was charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and possession of a firearm, after much pressure from the community and McBridge’s family. The trial is set for June 2014.
McDonald was viciously attacked in 2011 by neonazis — yelling transphobic and racist slurs at her. After being slashed in a face with a bottle, she defended herself with a pair of scissors. She was sentenced to 41 months in prison in a men’s facility. After serving 19 months, she was released from prison.
Being abused by her husband while pregnant in 2010, she stood her ground. She was told she should’ve ran away instead of standing her ground. She fired a permitted gun in the air at Rico Gray. She was sentenced to 20 years in prison as a result. Alexander is receiving a new trial after spending a year in prison.
Bell was shot reportedly 50 times by NYPD. Gescard Isnora was reportedly the first cop to open fire on Bell in 2006 after hearing a man say “get my gun” at a strip club in Jamaica, Queens. No officers have been arrested — only forced out of the force. No gun was ever found, Bell was unarmed.
Giles was an US airman trying to get into the US military. After being invited out to a nightclub by a friend in 2010, a brawl consisting of 30 to 40 men from fraternities at Florida A&M University broke out. Although not involved in the fight, Giles went into the crowd searching for his friends, when a guy punched him. Fearing for his safety, he grabbed his permitted gun and shot him. Giles claimed to have stood his ground. But he’s serving 25 years in prison for his actions.
Like Jessica Williams from “The Daily Show” said, “the Stand Your Ground defense is like bleach: it works miracles for whites, but it WILL ruin your colors.”
Central Park Five
This case rivals Trayvon Martin’s case in national attention. But the original 1989 coverage was sensationalized to paint the Central Park jogger Trisha Meili as a survival victim and these wrongfully convicted black and Latino youths (Antron McCray, Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Yusuf Salaam and Kharey Wise) as teenaged mutants and a wolf pack. With inconsistencies with evidence, the five men were coerced into confessing on video to the rape.
In 2002, Matias Reyes — who was serving a life sentenced for rape and murder — confessed and pulled together missing pieces of evidence. After serving a range of six to 13 years a piece, the charges were vacated. The CP5 are waiting for the city to settle their $250 million dollar suit, even after Bill de Blasio agreed to settle the case.