Op-Alt: The Porter mistrial was no surprise, because the system is rigged
By D. WATKINS
Dec 22, 2015 | 1:06 PM
Social media split when William Porter walked on Wednesday last week. Well, he didn't completely walk—the case ended in a mistrial and is scheduled to be tried again in June. Even still, the racists put aside their hatred for blacks to cheer on the blue triumph as the rest of us welled in anger even though we knew he had a good chance of walking.
See, the system works like that. They rarely charge killer cops and almost never convict them. Even in a case with an unbelievable amount of evidence, like Eric Garner, where an outlawed chokehold was used in broad daylight in front of a crowd of witnesses and captured in HD video with high-quality sound, there's no guarantee it will even make it to trial. It's easier to hit the Powerball with a ticket purchased in a black neighborhood.
And what sucks even more is that when you think our system is going to hold some of these cops accountable, like convicting Randall Kerrick, the cop who murdered Jonathan Ferrell, an unarmed college football that reached out for help after a car accident, you're wrong. Like Porter, his case ended in a mistrial. Only Kerrick's case won't be retried, giving happy racists some good ol' Zimmerman-Wilson joy—a victory, a reason to be proud.
The social-media spilt goes beyond the happy racists and those of us who are jaded by our obviously lopsided judicial system. You have the "D, please trust in the system people," who I no longer argue with—I just recommend they talk to me after reading Michelle Alexander's "The New Jim Crow." And then the black-on-black crime morons. Yes, black-on-black crime is a problem, but so is white-on-white crime. The Deparment of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that 84 percent of white people murdered were killed by white people. The number for blacks is 94 percent—it's not that big of a difference. America is segregated, and that's the primary reason why people kill people who look like them. I'm all for any efforts created to end any type of inter-community violence, but please don't use black-on-black crime as a reason to justify police shootings, it sounds stupid—and works its way into the narrative responsible for the mentality of the jurors who saw nothing wrong with Porter's incompetence, setting the stage for the other five trials.
Officer Caesar Goodson Jr. is up next. He'll probably get convicted of something, given he has the most severe charges and drove the van responsible for Gray's neck injuries, or so they say. I'm bothered that the video is being ignored. That image of those three white cops dragging Gray plays in my head over and over again. We see that he couldn't walk before the van, yet the van is being blamed for all of his injuries? Sure, blame the van for some of the pain, but I'm sure those cops severed his spine before Caesar pulled off—and not being stabilized caused the fatal damage. Continuing to act like he wasn't hurt before the van could help the white cops get off and give happy racists yet another reason to pop champagne.
The constant record of judicial shortcomings makes me want to challenge my fellow activists and community members to work hard at whatever good work they've been doing. Doesn't matter if your focus is on teaching, nutrition, job placement, crime, or money management—just keep working and keep pushing. That's the only way to make a difference, because the system is rigged.