Well, the names of the criminals who broke into NBA star Ray Allen’s Coral Gables, Florida home last week have been released.
According to WPLG Channel 10 in Miami, they are Ernesto Romero, Kevin Ramos, Alana Garcia, Christian Lobo, Angel Sanchez, and Jorge Guerrero, all 18, and 19-year-old Jonathan Ramirez. The station reports that the seven suspects admitted to breaking into Allen’s home after attending a party next door in the hopes of getting a better look inside. However, Allen’s wife Shannon was home and in bed at the time that they broke into her bedroom. And as the report suggests, she feared for her safety.
I feel her. Nothing was taken and thankfully, no harm was done to Allen’s wife or their children. At least she can rest assured knowing that police have made arrests and that these dangerous home intruders are off the streets…right?
Well, according to Local 10, the prosecutors were still trying to figure out how to charge the men and thus far, believe that they can “only” be charged with a misdemeanor. After some time, the young men were eventually hit with a trespassing charge yesterday, which is a first-degree misdemeanor.
Yes, you read all of that right: a misdemeanor for breaking into someone’s house. I’ll give you a few seconds to curse at the screen…
Filling in the blanks, the Miami Herald reports a Coral Gables Police spokesperson as saying that the department declined more serious charges because, “there was no forced entry, no intent and nothing was taken.” Naturally, the Herald reported that the Allens had to file an official complaint with the State Attorney’s office to see that something would be done. They also had some words, through their attorney, for the police department and their handling of the case in general, as reported by the Herald:
“A serious crime was committed under Florida law,” said Gregory Victor, the Allens’ attorney. “A large number of young adults knowingly broke into Mr. and Mrs. Allen’s locked home on Thursday, Aug. 14, at 2:30 a.m. and absolutely terrified their family. The crime was not only egregious, but the police characterization of this as a silly prank is completely inappropriate. Every family deserves privacy and to feel safe in their own home.”
“The suggestion that anyone can unlawfully enter into someone’s locked home and then into an occupied bedroom in the middle of the night without consequences is unsettling, regardless of the stated or actual reason for such unlawful entry,” said a statement by Allen’s family.
“We are very fortunate that no one involved was physically harmed during this ordeal. Miami is our home and we are proud to be active members in this community. We pray that no one else has to endure this kind of intrusion on their home or their families’ safety. Everyone deserves to feel safe in their own homes.”
And I bet you are wondering, how is this even possible? But must I break out yet another list on how there are two sets of applications of the law in this country for black/brown and white folks or nah?
Too heavy-handed you say? Okay, well, here are a couple of other points to consider: In 2012, the state of Florida led the country in “assigning juvenile offenders life without parole sentences in cases other than homicide” and 84 percent of those offenders were black, this according to an article in the New York Times.
And a recent study published in the in American Psychological Association’s Journal of Personality and Social Psychology reveals:
Black boys as young as 10 may not be viewed in the same light of childhood innocence as their white peers, but are instead more likely to be mistaken as older, be perceived as guilty and face police violence if accused of a crime.
Trayvon Martin was stalked, assaulted and ultimately shot because of the inherent bias we have against black children, while his white counterparts, who should be noted often look as big and even huskier than Martin, are given benefits of the doubt. Meanwhile, Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman, would be afforded all protection under due process in the name of vigilante justice and protecting the homestead (even though he was nowhere near his own house), but the Allens are prevented from accessing their status as official victims on the paperwork, even though they have been violated in their actual home.
I said it once and I’ll say it again: If you do not see a bias in the application of the laws in this country, it is because you are willfully ignorant and/or a racist.
Oh, and just so you know, this is not just an issue of law enforcement. Let’s consider how certain media outlets themselves have chosen to cover the story, particularly Local 10. In spite of the suspects being 18 and 19 years of age, they are repeatedly referred to in the article as teenagers. The Miami Herald’s article further minimizes the seriousness of the break-in by reporting that the group had “walked uninvited into their house.”
If Michael Brown (or whoever that black guy was on the tape in the convenience store) would have been white, that “strong-arm robbery” over a box of Swisher Sweets might have been interpreted more as a mental health breakdown brought on by the stress of a young man getting his way all the damn time. Hell, if Brown would have been white, officer Darren Wilson might have driven past him undisturbed on the road that day…