Monday, March 11, 2013

Justin Brown's name will forever be linked to racial injustice in Cincinnati?

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters briefly steps back into the role as part-time prosecutor to announce charges against three people for voter fraud. Last week he announced that  friends of Justin Brown would not be prosecuted because they didn't have forseeability.  When Brown's friend drove to one of the most crime-ridden neighborhoods in Cincinnati to purchase drugs with counterfeit money, did they not
forsee that they could be killed? Even if Brown's friends didn't go to the drug infested neighborhood to engage in illegal activity, it's difficult to believe they were not aware that some areas of town are like Jurassic park.

Some of you might remember that in 2008 Councilman  Christopher Smitherman sent out a press release blasting Deters' essay in Cincinnati Gentleman magazine.  In the article  Deters wrote that he would not let his teenage son go to downtown because some areas in Cincinnati are dangerous like Jurassic park. Of course that was before the councilman apologized the to prosecutor and probably the reason the Mr.
Smitherman is silent on the La Salle case.

What happened to Justin Brown is a tragedy and it's obvious there are a number of criminal charges that can be levied against Brown's friends as their criminal actions are a direct cause of the death  of Justin Brown.

However this email isn't about getting Brown's friends locked up, it's about wanting fairness in the legal system across the board.  Sadly, too many men of color once again are sent the message that  justice is not blind in Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Ohio; and that Lady Justice often takes a peek at the race of those she decides to prosecute imbalancing her scales.

In sweeping this story under the carpet - there can never be justice for Justin Brown.  Brown's name  and memory will forever be linked in Black Cincinnatian's mind with  unfairness and double standard of prosecution in the just-us system. Divison and mistrust will continue to fester like open sores.

Below - Remember when Smitherman wrote this about Deters

NAACP, Deters and Archie Bunker

Stroll to the very end to read the story in the link. If link is not working, read story below.

NAACP  sent out a press release this morning blasting Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters' essay in Cincinnati Gentlemen magazine, the

one in which Deters wrote, among other things, that he wouldn't let his teen-age son go to the Main Street entertainment district.

Smitherman wants an apology from Deters. Here's what he wrote this morning:

"Joe Deters, the Hamilton County Prosecutor, made some comments that were in the local newspaper on Monday. He stated that he does not

allow his son to hang out in downtown Cincinnati because going there is like going to Jurassic Park. As a parent, Joe Deters can make

whatever decisions he chooses regarding his son. President of the Cincinnati NAACP Branch, Christopher Smitherman, questions Deters'

reference of what Deters deemed representative of dinosaurs in the downtown area right on the backdrop of the Martin Luther King, Jr.


Smitherman believes the comments to be very inflammatory, reckless, and derogatory.

"I have not commented until now because I was waiting for the white leadership to bring comment on Deter's inappropriate language," he

said. Smitherman also stated that the White community often calls out for black leadership to dispute what they deem as "inappropriate

statements or behaviors" by other blacks. So, after three days he is now asking, "Where's the white leadership to dispute Deters?"

Smitherman asserts that there isn't any difference between the language that Prosecutor Deters used and the language used by the

prosecutor in Jena, Louisiana last year.

Cincinnati has two large, national conventions committed to coming downtown this summer: the NAACP Convention and the National Baptist

Convention. Each group anticipates about 10,000 largely African-American attendees. Yet, the most prominent County official is not

advancing those efforts when he describes where those 20,000 guests will be convening as Jurassic Park. He makes these remarks two weeks

prior to a retreat of the NAACP board members to Cincinnati for a major planning session for its National Convention in July.

Joe Deters may be intentional in downgrading a major section of Hamilton County or he may be truly speaking from his heart. Whatever the

case may be, Smitherman said do not condemn him when he tells the story of the oppression of Black America in Cincinnati on the national

stage come July. Cincinnati's story includes this fact (Deters' Jurassic Park comment) and other facts such as the County Prosecutor's

unwillingness to hire African-American lawyers in his office (less than 7 of 111), his over-prosecution of African-American defendants which

was validated by a recent report that African-Americans in Hamilton County, Ohio were 10 to 12 times more likely to be prosecuted and

convicted compared to White citizens. Smitherman is wondering where is the outrage from the broader White leadership?

Joe Deters is one of the candidates that is running unopposed in November per the deal struck between the Democratic and Republican

Parties. He says he's aware that the County Prosecutor is influencing the selection of judges. For example, the affirmative action appointment

of Judge Penelope Cunningham (the wife of radio talk show host, Bill Cunningham) over more qualified, even African-American, candidates.

Smitherman claims that Joe Deters simultaneously worked to get his own mother-in-law appointed to a judgeship as well. Cincinnati's little

town mentality exudes through such decision-making. The same players assign other small town thinkers like themselves, better yet in their

families, to authoritative positions. This is not a strategy that will be successful in marketing our region to a global economy.

Like most prosecutors, Joe Deters does not prosecute White citizens who are driving into the city to buy and use drugs; who are running meth

labs in affluent suburbs; who have committed violent acts (the white teenager who killed his brother with a baseball bat); or white

professionals who engage in white collar crime (sexual harassment by former prosecutor Mike Allen and police officer Keith Fangman). The

philosophy appears to be that if you are inside the power structure, you will avoid prosecution. Instead, these White citizens receive extensive

rehabilitation services or diversion programs while African-Americans are sent to jail with extensive sentences.

"What Joe Deters said on Monday, how he said it, and how he does his job is completely outrageous. I refuse to accept the image and

implications that the face of crime is Black America. What I do acknowledge is an under-prosecution of White America. It is my hope that the

media will report that there is an opposing perspective to what Joe Deters said unless it desires for the image of Cincinnati to be that the

'Queen City' is really 'Jurassic Park'." said Smitherman. "This is a typical example of why Cincinnati is often thought to be 20 years behind the

times. Deters' comments are remnants of something that the character Archie Bunker would say. He owes the region an apology."

Re: Voter Fraud charges on the poor NUN, below is a statement from the prosecutor's website

Today, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters announced charges against Russell Glassop (DOB 4-29-37), Melowese Richardson (DOB 12-19-54) and Sister Marguerite Kloos (DOB 3-17-58) for voter fraud.  The Hamilton County Grand Jury returned a 1 count indictment of Illegal Voting (Felony 4) against Glassop.  If convicted, Glassop faces the possibility of a maximum 18 months in prison.  The Hamilton County Grand Jury returned an 8 count indictment of Illegal Voting (Felony 4) against Richardson.  If convicted of all charges, she faces a possible maximum of 12 years in prison.  An Information was filed against Kloos charging her with 1 count of Illegal Voting (Felony 4).  If convicted, Kloos faces the possibility of 18 months in prison.