REVEAL NEWS – Every state has a crime victim compensation fund to reimburse people for the financial wallop that can come with being a victim.
Florida is one of seven states that bar people with a criminal record from receiving victim compensation.
The laws are meant to keep limited funds from going to people who are deemed undeserving. But the rules have had a broader effect: An analysis of records in two of those states — Florida and Ohio — shows that the bans fall hardest on black victims and their families.
Administrators of the funds do not set out to discriminate. They must follow state law directing who can receive compensation. But critics call the imbalance a little-known consequence of a criminal justice system that is not race-blind.
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Once again, another unarmed Black man was shot and killed by the police. His crime? Running away. As articulated by The Washington Post:
“A Pennsylvania police officer’s fatal shooting of a 17-year-old who police said had fled a car that the officer had pulled over Tuesday night in East Pittsburgh is drawing wide outcry, as video circulated showing the teenager gunned down as he appeared to run with his back to the officer.”
As I watched the video, it reminded me of a hunter killing his prey. Although you are not supposed to run from the police, doing so should not result in your demise. Blacks oftentimes run from the police because we are scared, terrified for our lives. Historically, the police have not been there to protect and serve our communities, but rather to control. Unfortunately, I am not surprised by the tragic events that happened in East Pittsburgh. The sad reality is that Black lives appear not to matter. This is evidenced by the routine killing of unarmed persons of color.
What will it take for it to stop? We need to demand accountability and transparency in all facets of our criminal justice system. Contact your legislators, volunteer in your community, and spread the word about your efforts to effectuate change. Above all, never stop fighting for justice.
Melanie Bates is a former NBL member and a contributor to NBL News.
KCCI CBS 8 reports new findings from a six-year study conducted at Iowa State University finds that racism is rampant for Black men in the science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, fields. Black men face obstacles in areas of higher education because of inequalities and a lack of support from advisers and peers, according to the findings. But the study also shows that Black males students are riding out the storm, despite the extra challenge. Read the full story from KCCI CBS 8.
“The death penalty in the South has roots in lynching,” says University of Virginia law professor and author Brandon Garrett. In a video interview at Salon, Garrett says “there’s a long, ugly history of racial bias in the American death penalty.” Garrett’s latest book is “End of Its Rope: How Killing the Death Penalty Can Revive Criminal Justice.” In it, Garrett explains what led to the decline of the death penalty, and how reforms could one day bring it to an end. Read more in this article at Salon.
Law school students may sometimes have to defend positions they don’t necessarily agree with. However, a group of Yale law students is disagreeing with the argument that they should have to defend racist points of view. The students are taking issue with a recent opinion piece in Time magazine by a Yale Law School dean. Read more about the story at The Nation.
A temporary worker is accusing the BMW division of Mini of racism and sexism in a complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Michelle Savoy also says the company retaliated against her when she asked about being moved from temporary status to permanent. Ms. Savoy worked as a temp at Mini for ten years. More on the story is available at Automotive News.
Bill Cosby told a radio host that racism and “nefarious” motivations could be behind the sexual assault charges he is facing. Cosby and two of his daughters are stepping up his defense, just before jury selection next week and his trial scheduled for June 5th. Details on the story are available at CNN.
Additional details are available from the Washington Post.
How has unhidden public policy helped further institutionalized racism in America? Jared Bernstein writes about how governments at all levels have employed racially discriminatory policies that have denied blacks the opportunity for upward mobility. The story is available here in the Washington Post.
What is environmental racism, and is the Trump administration guilty of it? As the administration slashes funding to the EPA, is it directly threatening the health of minorities? Sidney Fussell argues in this article at Gizmodo that race is the best predictor of communities living near pollution. How will dismantling EPA regulations affect low income families who face this threat? One way to tell is the alarming number of minority children who have asthma that may be linked to nearby power plants.