By Chris Hoenig
Eric Garner was allegedly selling loose, untaxed cigarettes. He didn’t assault a police officer, but he still died at the hands of an NYPD officer in a videotaped chokehold.
His case may be a (not-so) rare, but extreme example of the unjust punishments Blacks face at the whim of America’s legal system, but the protests that have followed the grand-jury decisions not to indict Daniel Pantaleo, Garner’s killer, or Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson have triggered a Twitter movement to shine a light on the double standards Blacks face at the hands of police and courts across America.
It’s #CrimingWhileWhite, tweets and articles demonstrating whites who have avoided any punishment or received unexplainably lenient punishments for crimes that have put Blacks in prisonor in a grave.
Several of the examples have received extensive media coverage.
The case of Ethan Couch made national headlines in February. The 16-year-old killed four and injured twoleaving one in a permanent vegetative statewhen he drunkenly plowed into a family along a Texas roadway. Three hours after the crash, he registered a blood-alcohol level of 0.24three times the legal limit.
His lawyer said Couch knew no rules because he was a wealthy, privileged boy whose parents allowed him to get away with any and everything. A judge sentenced him to 10 years probation and in-patient treatment. No jail time.
His crime was mockingly tagged “driving while affluent.”
In another Texas DUI case, appeals-court Judge Nora Longoria had slurred speech and failed a field sobriety test when she was stopped for doing 70 mph in a 55 mph zone. She resisted arrest, telling an officer that he’d have to drag her into his patrol car.
A judge threw out her case, however, claiming a lack of evidence since he said there was no dash-cam video of her arrest even though there is, footage that has since been released by the McAllen Police Department.
The Daily Mail filed a report about Shannon Kepler, an Oklahoma police officer who retired and collected a $160,000 public-pension payout in Novemberthree months AFTER he was charged with first-degree murder and shooting with intent to kill. Kepler allegedly shot and killed 19-year-old Jeremey Lake, who was dating his daughter, in August and shot at his daughter.
Although he is suspended without pay, his retirement and lump-sum payout were approved, effective Nov. 1, and he is also receiving $3,000 a month in further pension payments.
Kepler’s police-officer wife was also arrested and is suspended with pay.
Then there’s the case of Howard Morgan, a Black railroad-police officer who was shot 28 times by four white Chicago cops. He lived to tell the tale, and even though a jury acquitted him of firing his service weapon at the cops, he was found guilty by a separate jury of attempted murder in the same incident. He was sentenced to 40 years in jail.
The white cops who shot him 28 times were never charged.
Earlier this month, a 32-year-old white Florida man allegedly stole a front-end loader. As cops set up roadblocks, he drove at them in a construction vehicle that could demolish them. Instead of opening fire, they moved out of the way.
Donald John Clark eventually ran out of gas and took off on foot. When he resisted arrest, he wasn’t killed or placed in a chokehold. After being tased, he was taken into custody. His bail was set at just $35,000.
Just last week, 18-year-old Virginia high-school student Austin Martin was arrested with four loaded guns, several knives and 600-plus rounds of ammunition in his car.
He was suspended from school and faces felony charges, but was released on just $1,500 bond.
We’re all familiar with the story of the unarmed teen, supposedly high, who committed a strong-arm robbery and had a violent confrontation with another man, right
But unlike Michael Brown, actor Mark Wahlbergwho assaulted and stole two cases of beer from a Vietnamese man while strung out on cocaine, and then beat a second Vietnamese manwasn’t killed or injured when he was arrested. He served just a month and a half in jail.
And now, he wants to be pardoned and have his record expunged.
There are famous examples, too. Bill Ayers, famed member of the Weather Underground, bombed NYPD headquarters, the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon. He was never charged, never faced a trial.
Col Douglas Mortimer (@smallbrownring) December 5, 2014
—– A Pennsylvania high-school guidance counselor is suspendedbut still has her jobafter using social media to threaten to shoot demonstrators protesting the recent grand-jury decisions.
MaryKate Blankenburg, who tweeted that she would personally shoot any protester who kept her daughter from getting to a Philadelphia Eagles football game, blames her daughter for taking her iPad and posting the tweet.
There are also countless personal stories shared by users. While not verifiable, many of the experiences are believable.
Arrested for DUI, cop took me to drive through ATM so I’d have money to bail myself out. #crimingwhilewhite
Dr24hours (@Dr24hours) December 3, 2014
I shoplifted when I was 14 and they let me go because my parents came down and we “looked like a nice family.” #crimingwhilewhite
Joel Watson (@hijinksensue) December 4, 2014
I neglected to pay for 2 bluray discs from Target, and got a DISCOUNT on the items when I brought them back to pay. #CrimingWhileWhite
Rachel Marlett (@Rachel_Marlett) December 16, 2014