Courtesy of Vox
Published 10/03/19 | Reading Time 1 min 3 sec
By Nehemiah D. Frank
Should Amber Guyger have done more than 10-years considering there are thousands of Americans serving life sentences for nonviolent crimes?
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) found that 3,200 people nationwide are serving life sentences without the possibility of parole for nonviolent crimes.
Of the 3,200 serving time, 80-percent of them are for drug-related offenses, and 65-percent are disproportionately black, 18-percent are white, 16 percent are brown.
The crimes that led to life sentences ranged from shoplifting to ciphering gas from a vehicle, violations not worthy of a life in prison.
Former Dallas police officer, Amber Guyger, 31, entered the Dallas apartment of Botham Jean in 2018 and murdered him. She faced between 5- and 99-years in prison for the killing Jean, however, was given a 10-year prison sentence by the jury. Moreover, she’ll be eligible for parole in 5-years.
After the trial the Jean family attorney, S. Lee Merritt, took to Twitter, saying, “Of course that’s inadequate. The entire justice system is inadequate[,] and the work must continue.”
The jury has convicted Amber Guyger of ten years. Of course that’s inadequate. The entire justice system is inadequate and the work must continue. pic.twitter.com/NACo3lyO4G
— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) October 2, 2019
Within a couple of hours after the verdict, protesters assembled and marched on the streets of Dallas, disappointed by the jury’s decision to give Guyger the minimal punishment.
Guyger will be released from incarceration at the age of 36, while 3,200 Americans will inevitably serve their entire life sentences until their last breaths.
The jury’s decision undoubtedly speaks to the broken justice system.
The father of the murdered victim, Bertrum Jean, told a reporter, “We expected a conviction. I felt the years may not have been sufficient for the crime.”
There are black Americans who spend decades in prison for crimes they do not commit or for petty crimes such as a bag of cannabis.
Hence, for black America the Amber Guyger jury’s decision still falls short. Justice lite is not sufficient punishment for the crime Guyger committed.
Nehemiah D. Frank is the founder and executive editor of The Black Wall Street Times. He graduated from Harold Washington College in Chicago, IL, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Oklahoma State University. A rising voice in America and an emerging leader in the education reform movement, Nehemiah frequently travels for speaking engagements around the country, is a blogger for Education Post, and has been featured on NBC as well as in Blavity and Tulsa People. Nehemiah is also a teacher at Sankofa School of the Performing Arts in Tulsa, OK, a 2017 Terence Crutcher Foundation honoree, a recipient of the 2017 METCares Foundation Community Impact Award, and a 2018 Oluko Fellow. He gave a TED Talk at The University of Tulsa in the spring of 2018.