Monday, December 24, 2007

The Suffolk 5? Black Man Defends His Family From Lynch Mob, Going To Jail

No, this didn't happen in Mississippi, and it didn't happen 30 years ago. This story has echoes of the Deep South, and should be somewhat of a wake up call for anyone living in a predominately white suburb.

A Suffolk County jury on Saturday night found a black man guilty of manslaughter for shooting of an unarmed white teenager outside the man’s house last year, ending a racially charged trial.

Saturday night, it delivered its verdict: The man, John H. White, 54, was guilty of the second-degree manslaughter charge that prosecutors had sought, and of criminal possession of a weapon. Mr. White was allowed to remain free until sentencing, when he will face a maximum term of 5 to 15 years in prison.

Mr. White was convicted of shooting Daniel Cicciaro, 17, point-blank in the face on Aug. 9, 2006. Daniel and several friends had left a party and showed up Mr. White’s house just after 11 p.m. to challenge his son Aaron, then 19, to a fight, and had used threats, profanities and racial epithets. Mr. White awoke and grabbed a loaded Beretta pistol he kept in the garage of his house in Miller Place, a predominantly white hamlet on Long Island.
There are many fingers to point here, but reality is, had White just called 911 and stayed inside the house, maybe this whole thing might have turned out quite differently. And to think, a simple MySpace prank started the whole fatal ordeal. Sad.

Protecting one's family is the biggest concern for any man, and the situation that White was faced with is something I hope to never encounter. I can't personally tell you how I'd react if my family was being threatened in such a manner, but I do know that I can do my family more good being with them than being locked up. White didn't do himself any favors by brandishing an unlicensed pistol, and turning down a favorable plea deal last week. Now, he'll be upstate for awhile. One family is without a son, another is minus a father, and as much as some of us would like to think race relations have improved in America, this is just another reminder of how far we still have to go.

That said, it's hard to imagine that this man would have been convicted had the race roles been reversed. If you don't believe me, just peep the recent case in Texas where a white man was not charged after killing two black men who had just broken into his neighbor's home, even though he called 911 first and was advised to let it slide.

But Joe Horn is considered a hero, lauded by the NRA. John White is about to become some Skinhead's bitch.

Hard? Yes. Fair? Not so much.

Black Man Convicted for Shooting White Teenager [NY Times]

White Texas Man Kills Black Burglars as 911 Operator Listens [AJC]

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