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America: In Search of Justice

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A review of the failure to indict in Ferguson and Staten Island and the importance of justice in a free society.

Published in: News & Politics
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America: In Search of Justice

  1. 1. America In Search of Justice
  2. 2. Let us remember that justice must be observed even to the lowest. Aug-9-2014: Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year old black male, was shot 8 times and killed by Darren Wilson, a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. CICERO
  3. 3. Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that societyis an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe. Ferguson had once been a Sundown town in which African- Americans had to leave by sunset. In 1970, African-Americans amounted to 1 percent of the population but by 2010 they were 67 percent. The police force, however, is 94 percent white. Image CC: Paul Sableman, Ferguson City Hall FREDERICK DOUGLAS
  4. 4. JAMES BALDWIN It is certain, in any case, that ignorance allied with power is the most ferocious enemy justice can have. Michael Brown’s death triggered protests and the police’s heavy-handed response that included firing rubber bullets at protestors and reporters and social media posts such as the one above by one local police officer.
  5. 5. AUNG SAN SUU KYI The true measure of the justice of a system is the amount of protection it guarantees to the weakest. A grand jury was impaneled and led by St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCullough, who was President of an organization that had raised money in support of Officer Wilson .
  6. 6. HAILE SELASSIE Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph. McCullough broke with procedure and allowed Wilson to testify before the Grand Jury and did not challenge his version of events (but did for witnesses offering testimony that contradicted Wilson). The prosecutors also gave the jurors a more lenient standard for the use of force before Wilson’s testimony even though it had been found unconstitutional 29- years ago.
  7. 7. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Prosecutor McCullough never asked the Grant Jury to indict Officer Wilson. As a result, the Grand Jury failed to indict Wilson on any charges.
  8. 8. BLAISE PASCAL Justice without force is powerless; force without justice is tyrannical. Jul-17-2014: Daniel Pantaleo, a white New York police officer, uses a choke hold (prohibited by the NYPD) to subdue an unarmed black suspect, Eric Garner, on suspicion of selling "loosies", single cigarettes from packs without tax stamps. As captured on video tape, Garner is heard repeating "I can't breathe" 11 times. He went into cardiac arrest and died an hour later.
  9. 9. LOIS MCMASTER BUJOLD The dead cannot cry out for justice. It is the duty of the living to do so for them. The New York City Medical Examiner's Office found that Garner death was the result of compression to the neck, compression to the body, and prone positioning and ruled it a homicide.
  10. 10. PLATO Justice in the life and conduct of the State is possible only as first it resides in the hearts and souls of the citizens. As with Ferguson, questions were raised whether Staten Island’s District Attorney Dan Donovan could fairly handle the case due to his alliance with the police unions and lack of action in past cases.
  11. 11. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN On December 3rd, District Attorney Donovan announced the Grand Jury had failed to indict Officer Pantaleofor criminally negligent homicide or manslaughter. He did not ask for the lesser charge of reckless endangerment.
  12. 12. PRESIDENT LYNDON JOHNSON Until justice is blind to color, until education is unaware of race, until opportunity is unconcerned with the color of men's skins, emancipation will be a proclamation but not a fact. A Pro Publica study found that young black males are 21 times more likely to be killed by a police officer than their white counterparts.
  13. 13. ELI WIESEL There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.
  14. 14. THIS IS ABOUT WHO WE ARE AS A NATION. ARE WE STILL THAT SHINING CITY ON THE HILL –OR IS THAT JUST FOR SOME?
  15. 15. DEMAND JUSTICE FIGHT RACISM FIGHT INEQUALITY SPEAK OUT While we have made great strides over our history, we are not yet a post-racial society. Consider this fact, a 2013 survey found that thirteen percent of voters thought President Obama was the “anti-Christ”. We still have a way to go.

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