20 Year-Old Black Man Gets 162 Years: Legal Lynchings Of African Americans; Where is the Justice?

By Ms. Chico C. Norwood

While surfing the Internet the other day I came across an interesting article out of Miami. The article was about  Quartavious Davis, a 20 year-old African American male who was convicted of “participating in a string of armed robberies in the Miami area in 2010” when he was 18 years-old.

According to the article, Davis was made the fall guy in these robberies.  Although he was not identified as the ring leader, his five accomplices in these crimes made deals with the prosecution. His accomplices “testified against him, saying he carried a gun” during their seven armed robberies at fast-food restaurants, a Walgreens pharmacy and other commercial establishments in the Miami area, and “discharged it at a dog that chased them after one of their burglaries. But Davis was not convicted of hurting anyone physically, including the dog.”

What floored me when I read this article was the sentence he received—1,941 months – almost 162 years – in prison without the possibility of parole. He did not shoot or kill the dog and he did not shoot or kill a human being, so why is he now sitting in the Federal Detention Center in Miami for the rest of his life? He was not the ringleader and the witness, who one of Davis’s accomplices testified that Davis got into an OK Corral style shootout with outside of a Wendy’s, could not positively identify Davis as the person firing the gun.  So, why has this young black man’s life been cut short with such an egregious sentence and why hasn’t someone like Jessie Jackson or Al Sharpton stepped forward to help right this wrong?

It’s apparent that Florida is not an African American friendly state, especially as it relates to the justice system.  It seems in Florida African Americans get the shortest end of the stick when it comes to the law. Justitia, aka Lady Justice, is really blind.  Or should I say legal lynchings of African Americans are alive and well in Florida and across America.

Let’s take the case of Marissa Alexander. The 31 year-old African-American mother of three was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a pistol twice into the air while trying to ward off an attack by her abusive husband who, reportedly, was trying to kill her. She was convicted of aggravated assault, which is a felony, and given the mandatory sentence for anyone who fires a gun in commission of a felony. In her defense, her attorneys tried to employ the “stand your ground law,” the same law that George Zimmerman has been allowed to hide behind in his shooting, or should I say killing, of Trayvon Martin. But the district attorney said since Alexander left during the argument, went outside into her garage got a gun and returned to confront her abuser, who by the way had been arrested before for domestic violence, that the “stand your ground law” did not apply. The prosecutor argued that Alexander acted in anger and the judge agreed.

How is what George Zimmerman did any different than what Alexander did?  Zimmerman was instructed to stay in his car until police arrived.  However, he chose to ignore those instructions, got out of his car, stalked, accosted, shot and killed someone.  In basketball terms, he initiated the contact. On the other hand Alexander gets the book thrown at her for refusing to take an “ass beating.”  Heaven forbid she had shot and killed the abuser in self defense. She would probably be on death row now.

Where is the justice for Marissa Alexander and Quartavious Davis? Where is the United States Justice Department and why is it silent on these matters?  Oh, I forgot, the Republicans in Congress are trying to legally lynch another black man—the United States Attorney General Eric Holder, director of the United States Justice Department.

About cnorwood

Ms. Norwood is the former managing and sports editor for the Hub City News in Los Angeles, California. She is a former staff writer and assistant sports editor of the Los Angeles Sentinel, the Los Angeles Watts Times and Rapid Publishing, publishers of the Lynwood Journal, Compton Bulletin and the Californian. An award-winning journalist she is the recipient of a National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) Best News Story Award, NNPA Best Sports Story Award, an American Media Health Fellowship, Outstanding Young Woman of America and several other awards of merit. Her articles have been published in the Los Angeles Times, Ebony Magazine and other local and national publications.

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