Monday, November 26, 2007

Another Jena? (aka: Why The NAACP Is A Joke.)

An incident of provoked Black on White crime results in a black man being unfairly charged with a crime, while a white man walks. Sound eerily familiar?

Tell Rebb'n Al not to fuel up the jet, the NAACP is already all over this one.

Three young black men break into a white man's home in rural Northern California. The homeowner shoots two of them to death, but it's the surviving black man who is charged with murder.

In a case that has brought cries of racism from civil rights groups, Renato Hughes Jr., 22, was charged by prosecutors in this overwhelmingly white county under a rarely invoked legal doctrine that could make him responsible for the bloodshed.

Prosecutors said homeowner Shannon Edmonds opened fire Dec. 7, 2005 after three young men rampaged through the Clearlake house demanding marijuana and brutally beat his stepson. Rashad Williams, 21, and Christian Foster, 22, were shot in the back. Hughes fled.

Hughes was charged with first-degree murder under California's Provocative Act doctrine, versions of which have been on the books in many states for generations but are rarely used.

The NAACP complained that prosecutors came down too hard on Hughes, who also faces robbery, burglary and assault charges. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty.

The Rev. Amos Brown, head of the San Francisco chapter of the NAACP and pastor at Hughes' church, said the case demonstrates the legal system is racist in remote Lake County, aspiring wine country 100 miles north of San Francisco. The sparsely populated county of 13,000 people is 91 percent white and 2 percent black.

Edmond's stepson, then-high school junior Dale Lafferty, became brain damaged as a result of the baseball bat beating he took during the melee, and now lives in a rehabilitation center, prosecutor said.

Prosecutors say the men intended to steal marijuana when they invaded Edwards' home, while the defense maintains the shooting stemmed from a botched drug deal at the home of a known drug dealer.
Not mentioned in this story is the fact that Hughes is a known drug dealer (so is Edmonds), and the altercation that resulted in the shootings was a drug deal gone bad.

The minor fact that Hughes was engaging in criminal activity 100 miles away from home isn't getting in the way of another self-serving display of "support" by the NAACP. I'm not saying it's fair that Hughes is getting pinned with the murder rap (even though the rarely applied law does allow such charges). I'm also not saying that Edmonds (who is equally liable since he was in on the transaction) should skate.

But why is the NAACP wasting time and money defending and essentially condoning criminal activity? I realize the NAACP has evolved into more of a reactive equal justice organization than one that serves communities, but seriously, WTF?

Maybe I'm missing something here, but why, other than the fact that Hughes is a member of Amos Brown's church, is this case worthy of defense? Aren't there some truly innocent victims out there that deserve the attention and assistance more?

For those of you who think I'm being my usual hateful self, ask yourself this question: what's the last proactive thing you've seen the NAACP do? Wouldn't these resources and energy be better used perhaps proactively giving financial seminars to spare blacks the wrath of predatory lenders? Maybe teaching classes on parenting? Encouraging marriage? Raising awareness of health issues and encouraging healthy lifestyles?

Of course, there are already lots of other organizations that already provide the services mentioned above, but they don't make the news. And therein lies the problem, when the media only highlights organizations like the NAACP, Rainbow/PUSH, and the National Action Network, it only reinforces the stereotype that we only get upset when we're done wrong by whites, which just perpetuates the mentality of black victimhood. And that, my friends, is the biggest thing holding us back as a people.

[stepping off of rambling soapbox]

On a related note: if the judicial system allows for such things as "change of venues" when it's presumed that someone might not get a fair trial, isn't that a rather tacit admission that the judicial system doesn't even believe in the fairness of the judicial system? I mean, really.

I know we got a couple of lawyers on here, somebody tell me why "change of venue" is even allowed? Isn't it the job of the courts to correctly identify jurors who can objectively review the relevant facts of a case?

This whole case is just a giant cluster, and it's surely a story that's about to grow in exposure. Unlike the Jena 6, I sure hope the black blogosphere steps back and considers the facts before making Renato Hughes the 2007 Medgar Evers.

Lord knows there's still enough eggs on face [||] after Mychal Bell.

Julian Bond is crying inside. On second thought, he probably isn't.

Rare Robbery Case Brings Cries of Racism [AP]

Murder spotlights race in rural California trial [AP]

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