by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
“White people are now able to give themselves immunity from prosecution when they kill black people, and having black district attorneys doesn’t keep it from happening.” The parents of Renisha McBride have put their faith in prosecutor Kym Worthy. But Worthy has not charged the killer, although she has “charged 15 and 16-year olds with offenses that could send them to jail for life.”
Freedom Rider: Renisha McBride and Kym Worthy
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
“Michigan’s passage of a stand your ground law says everything about what will transpire in this case.”
Not again. That was the thought for millions of people upon hearing news of the murder of 19-year old Renisha McBride near Detroit, Michigan. Even when one is aware that a black person is killed by white police, vigilantes or security guards every 28 hours, the news of another victim never gets any easier.
McBride, like Jonathan Farrell in Charlotte, North Carolina, is dead because she went to a house asking for help after a car accident. Ms. McBride was shot to death on November 2nd by a white homeowner in Dearborn Heights who said he mistook her for a burglar. The shooter claims to have been in fear of his life but contradicts himself by saying that he fired accidentally. The still unidentified man shot the young woman in the face with a shotgun and killed her instantly.
The calls for arrest and prosecution were immediate, so were protests in the community. Unfortunately, the reaction has been inadequate because no one has spoken the painful truth. Too many white people feel entitled to kill black people and they are enabled in their assumptions by a criminal justice system which rarely punishes them.
The punishment in this case should be meted out by Kym Worthy, prosecutor for Wayne County, Michigan. Like Renisha McBride, Worthy is a black woman. "We believe that Kym Worthy will do the right thing," said the victim’s father. The hope is understandable but this grieving man may have put his faith in the wrong person.
Kym Worthy is a typical prosecutor, which is to say that she is less interested in justice than she is in getting publicity by punishing as many black people as possible. In 2010 she advocated legislation which would have jailed parents who didn’t attend meetings with their children’s teachers. The idea was absurd, hideous and more than likely unlawful, and an attorney like Ms. Worthy would know that. Even worse, Ms. Worthy has charged 15 and 16-year olds with offenses that could send them to jail for life. There is no other country on earth which does that to children.
“Too many white people feel entitled to kill black people and they are enabled in their assumptions by a criminal justice system which rarely punishes them.”
Prosecutors are among the biggest criminals in the country. Suborning police perjury, withholding evidence that sends poor innocent black people to jail and doing anything in their power to be “tough on crime” ensures media attention and terms in high office. No one should be trusting of a prosecutor to get to the truth when they are so often rewarded for being untruthful.
The reaction to Ms. McBride’s murder has an all too familiar ring. Grieving families give press conferences. Communities protest but not very effectively. Prominent people and elected officials make statements of lackadaisical outrage, but the true outrage which ought to be present is not.
Michigan’s passage of a stand your ground law says everything about what will transpire in this case. Stand your ground laws ought to be called “open season on black people” or “lynch law is still in effect and don’t you forget it” laws. White people are now able to give themselves immunity from prosecution when they kill black people and having black district attorneys doesn’t keep it from happening.
Ordinarily it is a dangerous thing to get between a prosecutor and a television camera. They love to show how tough they can be and announce with great fanfare but little evidence that a suspect will not just be charged, but charged with the maximum penalty. The still anonymous killer of Renisha McBride has faced no such threat.
The fact that his name has not been made public is strange in an age when the internet makes private information easily accessible. It isn’t surprising that police and prosecutors are unconcerned but in Detroit even the media are uninterested in getting what ought to be considered a major scoop. While Worthy gets the undeserved benefit of the doubt she remains silent. Her office makes mealy mouthed statements about reviewing evidence when she could have had the killer identified and arrested immediately.
“No one should be trusting of a prosecutor to get to the truth when they are so often rewarded for being untruthful.”
This is the worst possible example of the black mis-leaders at work. If a black face in a high place can’t or won’t defend black people’s lives there is no reason for them to gain their positions and there is no reason for other black people to rejoice at their success.
Kym Worthy ought to have had this man arrested as soon as he killed Renisha McBride. Her reluctance is proof that even should he be arrested and charged that he will not be prosecuted effectively. McBride family attorney Gerald Thurswell said, "The family is more concerned in getting a conviction after he's charged than just getting him charged. The only way justice will be served is by getting a conviction, not just by filing charges." He is correct, but there is little hope of a conviction if a prosecutor is reluctant. Trayvon Martin’s family knows this all too well.
Detroit is at the lowest point in its history. The city has been bankrupted by crooks in the highest places and is now a shell of its former self. There have been black people in seats of power for a long time. Some have fought the good fight against long odds and others were just out for themselves. If Kym Worthy is in the latter category then Renisha McBride and her family will not get the justice which they deserve.
Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.