Tamir Rice and Marissa Alexander deserved the Rittenhouse treatment

Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old white man armed with a semiautomatic rifle, shoots three people, kills two of them, lives to tell of the incident, and is found innocent.

Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old black boy who plays with a toy gun, is essentially sentenced to death by being fatally shot by a police officer.

He wasn’t guilty either. So why is he dead?

Who gets the benefit of being seen as a sweet child, the freedom to use poor judgment, the privilege of not being a perfect parent, or the right to defend themselves?

Why Rittenhouse crying on the stand seen as a scared and vulnerable young man, while Rice amused himself with a toy led him to be misidentified as an adult and treated as a threat?

Deciding that you, as a teenager, should arm yourself with an AR-15 style weapon and attend a volatile protest to protect private property is foolish. So is playing with a toy gun. But for whom is folly fatal? And who can make dangerous mistakes and grow beyond them?

What were Rice’s parents doing letting him play with a toy gun? Well, what were Rittenhouse’s parents doing letting him arm himself and venture into trouble with a real one?

And should either of them have paid with his life or with his death?

After the shootingsRittenhouse approached the police with his hands raised as passersby shouted about his deeds. But the police did not stop him.

He literally couldn’t be arrested.

And yet, when someone called 911 in Rice for someone who said that Rice was probably a minor and that the gun was probably a fake, the police literally shot him in two seconds upon arriving at the scene.

Rice also could not be arrested.

The boy who had not killed anyone was sentenced to death. The boy who killed two people was allowed to live.

The preteen Black who hadn’t killed anyone was so threatening that he had to be shot on sight. The white teenager who killed two people was so harmless that he was allowed out on bail.

Some have said that the Rittenhouse case was white supremacy on trial. However, that comment is inappropriate. Concepts never, and never should, be put to the test. Individuals are. People are not representatives of their real or assumed worldviews and, however hateful one may find a particular individual, they must be found innocent if their alleged crimes cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Rittenhouse deserved to be judged as an individual, to be treated as an individual.

And Rice deserved to be treated like Rittenhouse.

So did Marissa Alexander. Alexander, an African-American woman, did not cross state lines in search of trouble. Found it. For your testimonyAfter fleeing her estranged and abusive husband after he broke a closed door and pushed her to the floor, she fired a warning shot at him. No one was hurt.

She was sentenced to 20 years.

After a court-ordered retrial, Alexander agreed to a settlement with the prosecution. She is still legally guilty and, although she was released from prison, she had to spend two years in house arrest. Prosecutors said Alexander’s shot from the gun did not count as a warning shot because the bullet entered a wall instead of the ceiling, unlike Rittenhouse’s bullets, which entered bodies.

The jury deliberated on Rittenhouse’s verdict for three and a half days.

Alexander’s jury sentenced her in 12 minutes.

Why wasn’t her future worthy of the same consideration and care?

Why were her actions considered worse when his were the ones that were deadly?

It’s not just about color. It’s also about gender. Justine van der Leun has written on “how women are criminalized for defending themselves against sexual or physical violence.” Rittenhouse was praised for surviving, but our prisons are full of women who have been punished for it.

The things Rittenhouse got: the presumption of innocence, due process, resources for a solid defense, grace for one’s grave mistakes, reverence for his life, respect for his dignity, consideration of his youth, the recognition of her vulnerability, careful deliberation about her future. , empathy – these are the things that everyone should achieve.

At this point, some are asking if Rittenhouse received justice.

My question is, will non-white and masculine people get what Rittenhouse got?

Shannon Prince is an attorney at Boies Schiller Flexner and a legal commentator. She is the author of “Tactics for Racial Justice: Building an Anti-racist Organization and Community.”


Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *