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Mike hopes to see the world turned upside down through local communities banding together for social change, especially churches which have recognized the radical calling to be good news to the poor, to set free the prisoners and oppressed, and to become the social embodiment of the reign of God on earth as it is in heaven. He lives with the blessed memory of his wife, in Durham, NC, and has three adult children living in three different states. He also shares his life with the Mt. Level Missionary Baptist Church in Durham, the faculty and students of Shaw University Divinity School in Raleigh, NC, and the faithful fans of Duke and Baylor Basketball in his neighborhood.

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Friday, October 05, 2007

The three former lacrosse players who were wrongly accused of rape have filed suit against a long list of law enforcement officials in Durham, NC, as well as against the City of Durham and a lab which played a role in the investigation of their case. Repeatedly saying that the suit is not about the money, punitive damages of $30 million are being sought.

That means that each of three lawyers intends to make at least $4 million dollars off the citizens of Durham, for a total of $12 million. It's a shame.

According to the Durham Herald-Sun, the lawyers wrote in superlatives when they claimed their case is "one of the most chilling episodes of premeditated police, prosecutorial and scientific misconduct in modern American history." Hmmm . . .

Hundreds of lynchings from the late nineteenth century into the past decade have usually had the cooperation of law enforcement. The reporting of Ida B. Wells and others helped to reveal the collusion of the legal system with these festive gatherings for murder. The entire history of the enslavement of Africans included the cooperation of the legal system, with laws to enforce the subjugation. Laws would clearly be a kind of premeditated action.

In 1999 in the town of Tulia, Texas, an undercover cop organized a major "drug bust" based only on his testimony, in which 46 people were rounded up, including over 10% of all black residents of the town. By 2003, the discredited undercover cop was convicted of perjury, the Texas legislature had passed several laws to reform the system that had allowed this travesty, and all who had been convicted (and sentenced to as many as 431 years in prison) had been released. Judges and law enforcement officials had supported the prosecutions based on fabricated evidence.

As for scientific misconduct, the single word Tuskegee speaks volumes.

How many years did these young men spend in jail? How many of them were grabbed and beaten by a mob? How many died of their mistreatement?

What was done to them was wrong, but "one of the most chilling episodes" is way over the top.


Anonymous said...

Hi Mike. Just happened upon your blog.

The tone of your writing suggests that you have no clue as to why the three lacrosse team players could make such a statement as "one of the most chilling episodes" ...

Allow me to translate for you:

"That this happened to white men is '"one of the most chilling episodes of premeditated police, prosecutorial and scientific misconduct in modern American history."'

Take care!

Mike Broadway said...

I don't usually allow anonymous comments, but I'm going to put one up. It makes a point I thought I was making with subtlety in the posting. I agree that this comment gets at the heart of the issue.

Michael Westmoreland-White said...

You do agree, however, that they were do SOME monetary compensation for their treatment, right? Yes, it pales (irony intended) before the injustices regularly heaped upon African-Americans and others of color, and those victims also deserve compensation. But, although their attorney's statement is way over the top, I support their civil suit--actions like that do much to stop police and prosecutorial abuse--because no government (city, county, state, national) likes to pay out money in a lawsuit. Bad publicity is one thing. But make them pay, and the behavior usually stops.

When the Jena 6 finally are released and cleared, I hope they sue the prosecutor for all he's worth.

Marcus Croom said...

Dr. Broadway,

Thank you for challenging the remarks of the attorneys. I just wish your critique was as loud as their comments. I am uncharacteristically short on words to find out about this. However, I will say that as an African in America it gets hard to bear "whiteness" (a dynamic, not a color) sometimes. I mean really, does the average (black, brown or white) American even notice fantasies like this one as what they are (there have been many like it before and probably will be many more)? In chapel at Shaw Divinity this past weekend I was up to read the Psalm. It was Psalm 137. I mention it here as I read it then; as a reminder that I am in a strange land. A land that does not treat me as a brother, not even as a fellow human at times. Don't get me wrong, I am a full American and I will enjoy all that my forebears worked and died to provide me. But I am more than American, the people who produced me were more than American. Consider this: How could one be horrified by the treatment of the Duke Lacrosse boys, or even the treatment of animals involved in dog fighting, and not so much as even sense concern about what African humans lived and are currently under the effect of in America? I call it Americana morality, classic "whiteness". Nonetheless, Psalm 137 helps me. I remember Africa that I might not "wither" and waist away by "clinging" to the reasoning and the lies of Americana. Africa makes me better than I would be if I were just American.

Thanks again.

Valerie said...

History has born out the fact that those who have power and influence have always taken advantage of those who are powerless. The desire to minimize the incidence involving African Americans in the past is great and continues to be prevalent. I as an African American thank you for your observations and your constant attempts to accomplish what the title of your blog says “create heaven here on earth”.
Though the young men were wrongly accused and the now disbarred district attorney is facing legal and financial problems of his own there are many who find the situation grievous in that these young men had their lives blown apart and desire restitution. In response to this I am of the opinion that all those who have been wronged by this system, race, color, creed, and sexual orientation should receive restitution. This proposition then gives everyone equal rights under the law. It also follows the laws that are presently in place, this gives everyone the right to do the right thing. It gives God the space and power to be God in every situation, thus taking the pressure off us to “be god”.
The corruption reaches far and wide. As ministers of the gospel we must fight injustice where ever we find it. Creating Heaven on earth is a difficult proposition and with God on our side it can be done. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. “ Philippians 4:10
Thank you again for your attention and diligence in bringing this situation to light.

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