There is no worse feeling than that in which you feel that you have no equal protection under the law.
That is exactly what occurred yesterday when Jason Van Dyke, a convicted murder was sentenced to 6 years in jail, 2 mandatory.
Van Dyke's crime...killing a 17 year old kid while serving in his duty as a police officer. If you aren't familiar with the particulars of that case, please come from under your rock and definitely check out my previous post Jason Van Dyke is Guilty
I reflected upon how elated I felt when Jason Van Dyke was convicted. So many activists in Chicago didn't think we would even get that satisfaction. No matter how much the evidence seemed to show wrong doing.
When we had that moment, when he was found guilty, I was so hopeful that this was a turning point for our city.
The Chicago Police Department, and accompanying judicial system, have not, over time, made themselves out to be trustworthy...and there is a long history of distrust between the black and brown communities and both institutions...and rightfully so.
And as I heard the expression used several times yesterday, it appears we are in a situation of taking 2 steps forward, to take 1 step back. Systemic change is often slow, and grueling...but nontheless it is painful, and breeds discontent and mistrust at every twist and turn.
Though Van Dyke was found guilty of 2nd degree murder, the result is a paltry 3 years minimum in prison, including time served.
Now, I'm not one for revenge. I firmly trust in justice being served, and letting that be as it is...but this isn't justice. Van Dyke will be back on the streets in less time than it took me to get my Bachelors Degree...on a murder rap.
Is that justice?
Of course, this sentence was coupled only a day after another judge acquitted 3 police officers in the cover up of the Laquan McDonald shooting. The statements given by the officers was not what is witnessed on the dashcam videos...what else do you call that?
Both of these cases signal something that many people of color in Chicago will tell you: Our lives are not valued in the eyes of the system.
If a cop whips your ass, it's no big thing. A little torture...that's ok too. What's a little violating of civil rights?
In both of these cases, the judges, and the court system put the value of life of these officers above that of their black victim. Now of course, that's nothing new in Chicago, but it still hurts as it always has, and further corrodes the fabric of our city.
It's important to point out, I suppose, that also this week, the killer of Hadiya Pendleton, a young black male, was given 84 years for murder. Laquan McDonald's killer, a white male, 6 years, 9 months. Both murders. Is that equal justice and protection under the law?
People have gotten longer than 6 years for retail theft.
Hell, there are people sitting in prison for marijuana related offenses that got more than 6 years.
And so, we continue to fight. We must continue to elect good people to political office, and to disrupt and remold the system into one that works for everyone. The current system, in it's current form is not, and has never been, made to serve all citizens, and that is completely unacceptable.
We fight. That's all we can do. That is what we will do.
I'm so fucking disgusted. Here is to a brighter tomorrow.
Also, a special thank you to Jenn White of WBEZ's the Morning Shift and 16 Shots, and to Sharone Mitchell Jr. of the Illinois Justice Project. Their analysis and commentary of all aspects of these ongoing trials has been amazing, and helped for me to understand the minutiae of a court case. Thanks!
What were your thoughts of the sentence of Jason Van Dyke? Was it not enough? Too much? Please offer your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below.
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This post was created on an HP Pavilion x360
I hate this computer.