Portland has been my focus, because I was on the ground there (I am now away from the city for a week, but I’ll be back). But Portland isn’t the only place where Black lives don’t matter nearly enough, and it’s certainly not the only place where Black Lives Matter is getting into some good trouble:
Black Lives Matter protesters in Salt Lake City have been accused of splashing paint on a road and smashing the windows of the district attorney’s building at a July protest — and now, the charges they face carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Madalena McNeil, the woman who committed the crime of – get this – buying red paint at a store that was later sloshed on a street by a completely different person, is now facing life in prison.
Now, any practicing criminal defense attorney in the USA can tell you more about this kind of injustice in 10 minutes than I will learn in a lifetime, but let me make the injustice of this absolutely clear to the people whose instinct is to shrug and say, “She’ll never actually serve that.” From the DA’s perspective, that is the point:
Despite [District Attorney Slim] Gill upgrading the charges against the protesters, he told the Associated Press that he doesn’t think “anyone is going to be going to prison on this.” Criminal cases are often resolved when defendants plead to lesser counts,
That’s right. The DA himself doesn’t actually think that life in prison would be a just sentence. The DA doesn’t think anyone should expect to spend any time at all in prison for this. But as the woman who bought the paint explained:
it would be silly to look at the potential of life in prison and not be scared.
The entire point is to threaten life in prison so that protesters will plead guilty to a lesser offense.
Okay, prosecutors use leverage, what else is new, Crip Dyke?
you might ask.
But my contention isn’t that this is new. I’m simply asking people to look at this a different way. Think about the essence of this situation without getting caught up in the specifics of this threat or how common it is to issue similar threats or even the history of how such threats came to be common practice, and what you realize is this:
The Utah DA is threatening with life in prison people who according to the DA deserve no jail time for the purpose of getting US citizens to renounce their right to a trial by jury as guaranteed in the Constitution.
We should be asking every DA in the country why they hate the constitutional guarantee of trial by jury, and when they say that they do not, we should insist that they show that they do not hate this constitutional protection by fucking acting like it.
Slim Gill hates the USA, its constitution, and freedom itself. Fuck Slim Gill.