THE UGLY TRUTH OF ALL AMERICA’S TRAYVON MARTINS
A Commentary By: Tonya Crew
The ugly truth about the Trayvon Martin case is this is a much too familiar occurrence in the Black communities of America. There are mothers mourning the deaths of murdered sons without any hope for justice, in jurisdictions in the East, West, North and South. We have borne witness to these atrocities in the forms of police brutality, vigilante justice, unprovoked attacks (such as this one) and even to this day, overtly racist acts of violence and hatred.
However, there is a much more important theme at play here. Let us take just a moment and step back from this tragedy and examine why we got to this point. It amazes me that with all the coverage, nobody seems to really want to confront the truth of this matter.
This is just one more example of how the law is increasingly only being applied to the “powerless” members of our society. If you recall, its notoriety began with the Robert Downey Jr/Lindsey Lohan/Celebrity exceptions trials. We all kind of nodded and agreed, they are celebrities and they are treated differently- okay. However, if you have not been in a Courtroom lately, run on down and see who is going to jail, who is paying high fines, and who is not. Often times, the wealthy, well connected citizens of many communities nationwide, aren’t even troubled enough to make an appearance in court. These will be those cases that are decided behind closed doors- usually in the District Attorney’s office. And it’s happening more and more.
Former Judges, magistrates, police, lawyers, mayors, legislators, clerks and their immediate families- the division between the common man is spreading beyond the “haves” and the “have nots.” It has now become a perk of certain occupations to befriend authorities and skirt prosecution, or turn a serious incident into a Trayvon Martin event. Had Trayvon’s parents not fought tirelessly for justice for their son, this man would never have been arrested and there would not have been an examination of the facts and no chance for justice for the family of this deceased young man.
Even if you believe, this case was initially, on its face, a case where police discretion should have or could have been a proper intervention; you have to ask yourself- how often, if ever- does discretion play in favor of the Black man, woman, or child. Van Jones made an interesting statement on a recent episode of Real Time with Bill Maher; (and I am paraphrasing) “had the circumstances been reversed, Trayvon would have been locked up immediately”. The greater concern should be how far the American Courts have gone from serving justice to everyone from the same spoon. Additionally, as much as we all know the criminal courts are broken, and the civil courts are only for people who can afford to purchase justice, our President has overlooked any mention of taking on the growing level of corruption that is now the common state in the American Courts in 2012. That’s what we should be talking about.
Tonya Crew, JD