My nephews are tall, handsome, smart and black. My nephews are tall, handsome, smart and white. We are a multiracial family. All of my nephews have to navigate being young men in this crazy world, but some more than others have to worry about profiling, rogue cops, corrupt courts. That is why Ashley Todd’s lie is so dangerous. Too many innocent black men have been picked up, tried and convicted, to advance someone’s career or political agenda.
Here’s a good post from the Washington Monthly, read it all, itâ€™s worth it…
I’d like to give a shout-out to the Pittsburgh police. I know nothing about the officers who worked this case, but it seems unlikely that they are all Democrats, all Republicans, or all any political anything. They are professionals, and they did their jobs. If they hadn’t, some tall black man who was just going to the store or taking a walk could have ended up in jail.
Because the police did their jobs, some innocent man, somewhere, will get to enjoy the rest of his life. No one will ever know which tall black man would ever have been wrongfully arrested, or whose life might have been ruined, not even the man himself. But he’s out there somewhere, and while he owes his close call to Ashley Todd’s racism, he owes his escape to the Pittsburgh police. Had it not been for them, ten years from now the Pittsburgh papers might have had occasion to write a story like this:
“A decade after he was cleared as a suspect in one of Boston’s most notorious crimes, William Bennett is still very angry.
In autumn of 1989, the ex-convict was named a suspect in the killing of Carol DiMaiti Stuart, a pregnant, suburban white woman shot, allegedly by a black man, in what looked like a random street robbery. Bennett’s arrest seemed to solve a high-profile murder case, quieting an outraged city whose leaders promised swift justice. But when suspicion shifted to the husband, Charles Stuart, Bennett went from cold-blooded murder suspect to a symbol of police abuse and Boston’s lingering racial divide.
Yesterday, in a rare interview, Bennett told the Globe the case still haunts him. He blames it for his mother’s premature death and frayed family ties. And he refuses to hide his frustration.
“I don’t trust anybody. I barely trust myself,” said Bennett, now 50. “The police falsely pinned a crime on me once and they can do it again.
“I have no faith in the law enforcement and I don’t like cops,” said Bennett, who does kitchen work on Newbury Street for a food service company. “Nothing has changed. You still have those same racist cops on the police force.”” (Boston Globe, 4/6/2000.)
Ashley Todd will have to face the consequences of filing a false charge, but her lie damaged more than herself, it brought up all too recent injustices that have not been remedied, and if she had not been found out, her lie would have been used to smear the candidate who happens to be black.