Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Understanding Mistrust for the Justice System; Trayvon Martin Case; Stereotyping Young Black Men as Criminal Predators Continues

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Understanding Mistrust for the Justice System; Trayvon Martin Case; Stereotyping Young Black Men as Criminal Predators Continues

Article excerpt

It's dark. His heart is racing, and with each beat the fluid of life spurts out his heart and lungs like a squirt gun. His breathing draws heavy. He's scared. No one really knows what the final moments of Trayvon Martin's life were like, but according to most medical experts, Trayvon survived for a couple of minutes and probably was semiconscious. Even after his heart finally gave out, his brain retained roughly 16 seconds of oxygen, enough to keep it functional, enough for a moment of contemplation.

What we do know is Trayvon was unarmed, had committed no crime, and his race initiated the chain of events that led to his loss of life. The same was true for 13-year-old Darius Simmons of Milwaukee, an African-American youth. He was simply moving a garbage can in front of his home when his 75-year-old white neighbor confronted him with a shotgun and accused him of stealing from his home. The neighbor shot Darius in his chest while he had his hands raised; his mom was watching in horror. It was later determined that Darius was in school at the time of the theft. Darius Simmons was unarmed and had committed no crime.

The same was also true for 13-year-old Jarrell Tucker of Indianapolis. This African-American youth was walking down the street, confronted by a 56-year-old white man, punched and shot two times, once in the head and once in the leg. Detectives talked to the shooter but did not detain him. After talking to witnesses, police subsequently issued a warrant for the arrest of the shooter. Jarrell Tucker was unarmed and had committed no crime.

And let's not forget 17-year-old Jordan Davis, an African- American youth of Jacksonville, Fla. A 45-year-old white man claimed he felt threatened by teenagers playing loud music. He fired eight or nine times into an SUV, killing the teen. Like the others, Jordan Davis was unarmed and had committed no crime.

We cannot ignore that the significant increase in drug-related violence and homicides in the urban communities has imbedded in the minds of both blacks and whites that young black men are criminal predators. …

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