In 1978 Warren McCleskey, a black man, killed a white police officer in Georgia. He was convicted by a jury of 11 whites and 1 African American, and was sentenced to death. Although McCleskey’s lawyers were able to prove that Georgia courts applied the death penalty to blacks who killed whites four times as often as when the victim was black, the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence in McCleskey v.Kemp, thus institutionalizing the idea that racial bias was acceptable in the capital punishment system. After a thirteen-year legal journey, McCleskey was executed in 1991. In Killing with Prejudice, R.J. Maratea chronicles the entire litigation process which culminated in what has been called “the Dred Scott decision of our time.” Ultimately, the Supreme Court chose to overlook compelling empirical evidence that revealed the discriminatory manner in which the assailants of African Americans are systematically undercharged and the aggressors of white victims are far more likely to receive a death sentence. He draws a clear line from the lynchings of the Jim Crow era to the contemporary acceptance of the death penalty and the problem of mass incarceration today.
The McCleskey decision underscores the racial, socioeconomic, and gender disparities in modern American capital punishment, and the case is fundamental to understanding how the death penalty functions for the defendant, victims, and within the American justice system as a whole.
Mr. Comey served as director of the FBI from 2013 to 2017, appointed to the post by President Barack Obama. He previously served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, and the U.S. deputy attorney general in the administration of President George W. Bush. From prosecuting the Mafia and Martha Stewart to helping change the Bush administration's policies on torture and electronic surveillance, overseeing the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation as well as ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, Comey has been involved in some of the most consequential cases and policies of recent history.
The polarization of law enforcement and community members deepen as our nation continues to erupt into national protests. Trust has been broken and communities feel unsafe. We know the problem. The question is, “What is the solution?”
COMMUNITY CONSCIOUS POLICING
Join Training 4 Transformation, LLC (T4T) in Best Practices in Community Conscious Policing as we delve beneath the controversy to discover our shared humanity between law enforcement and the residents they serve. The goal and purpose of T4T is to “Humanize our collective experiences and bring others together who may otherwise remain at a distance.”