Washington, DC – There is a saying in legal circles, “let the punishment fit the crime” yet that saying doesn’t seem to apply in this country anymore as the criminal justice system becomes more politicized than ever. This past week, two grossly unjust sentences were meted out for two hate crimes. In the first case, a black woman who beat a white teen with mental disabilities, slicing open his scalp with a knife, punched and kicked him while laughing as he was bound and gag. The entire hate crime was filmed on Facebook Live. The black woman was sentenced to a mere four years probation. In the other case, a white Florida man broke into a mosque and left a slab of raw bacon inside the mosque. The white man was sentenced to a manifestly excessive 15 years in prison, although not a single person was hurt.
Blacks Can Now Attack Whites with Impunity
On January 3, Brittany Covington, 19, a black Chicagoan woman live-streamed a racially motivated beating of a white teen with mental disabilities. The Facebook Live video was posted on Facebook Live and shows the gruesome verbal and physical attack of a mentally disabled white man. The hate crime sparked national outrage at the time and the video focuses on Covington’s face repeatedly where she smokes what appears to be a blunt – a cigar stuffed with marijuana – while narrating some of the action and clearly taking delight in the white victim’s pain and agony.
Three other blacks were charged in the white hate crime, including alleged ringleader Jordan Hill, 19, Tesfaye Cooper, 19 and Covington’s sister, Tanishia, 25. Their cases are still pending.
The video, posted in January, shows the four – who are all black – cutting the 18-year-old white victim’s scalp with a knife, punching and kicking him and laughing as he was bound and gagged in an apartment on Chicago’s West Side.
The gruesome video drew condemnation from many, including then-president Barack Obama. There was evidence that the attack, which may have been part of a wider Black Lives Matter hate crime was done in retaliation to President-elect Donald Trump’s upcoming inauguration and the black assailants were simply trying to find the “softest white target” to satisfy their bloodlust to spill “white blood.”
Law enforcement officials in-charge of the investigation at the time claim that had the white victim not managed to escape at the time, he would have in all likelihood been tortured to death.
Among the abuse seen on the Facebook Live video, prosecutors have said, is one of the women laughing as she punches the white victim, a male foot on the victim’s head, the teen groaning in pain as a black male pulls a cord around the victim’s nec; and the victim screaming in fear when a black male approaches with a knife, saying, “Should I shank his a**?”
At one point, prosecutors said, Hill and Cooper ordered the victim into a bathroom and forced him to drink water from the toilet. The white victim was bound and gagged, a sock placed in his mouth and his lips taped shut. With the knife, Hill then cut a chunk of the victim’s hair, cutting his head, and stabbed him in the left forearm, according to law enforcement officials.
According to investigators, the white victim, who prosecutors said has schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, was able to flee the building when the four co-defendants left the apartment to confront neighbors who had complained about the noise.
The victim was treated at a hospital for cuts to his head, face and body as well as a stab wound to his left arm, authorities said, but his mental trauma and long term psychological damage is still under careful monitoring.
On Friday, Covington, one of the four involved in the hate crime, pleaded guilty to the hate crime and was sentenced to four years of probation. Prosecutors called the sentence “manifestly inadequate” and told reporters that the sentence was meted out by a “liberal judge, in a sanctuary city which had no place in our criminal justice system.” Prosecutors have not decided whether they intend to appeal the sentence or not.
Despite calling the incident “horrific,” Cook County Circuit Judge William Hooks, an Obama-era appointee did not put Covington behind bars, despite the seriousness of her hate crime. Instead, Hooks banned Covington from social media over the four years, prohibited her from contact with two of her co-defendants and ordered her to do 200 hours of community service. In a nutshell, Covington almost killed a mentally disabled white man for his race, but was sentenced to the equivalent of “go to your room” and “no internet for you.” With a criminal justice system like this, it’s no wonder Chicago remains one of the most crime infested cities in America today.
Hooks told Covington he could have imposed a prison sentence but true to his permissive liberal nature added,
“I’m not sure if I did that you’d be coming out any better.”
Hooks said he hoped what he thought were strict terms of probation would put Covington on a more productive life path, telling Covington,
“Do not mess this up.”
Covington, who stood quietly in a blue jail uniform with her hands clasped behind her back appeared unmoved and unremorseful. Covington also pleaded guilty to aggravated battery and intimidation charges. As part of a plea deal, prosecutors dropped additional charges, including kidnapping.
Bacon Prank Lands White Man in Prison
In an unrelated case from Florida, a white Florida man who broke into a mosque and left a slab of raw bacon now faces 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges, the state attorney’s office said. Michael Wolfe, 37, of Titusville, FL, will serve 15 years in state prison, followed by 15 years probation for the January 2016 crime at the Islamic Society of Central Florida Masjid Al-Munin Mosque in Titusville. Prosecutors said the agreement was reached after discussions with the Islamic Society of Central Florida and Titusville police. According to Todd Brown, a spokesman for the State Attorney’s Office,
“(Wolfe) entered a plea deal and plead guilty to vandalizing the mosque itself with hate crime enhancement, making it a felony.”
“He waived his right to a pre-sentencing investigation.”
Wolfe pleaded guilty to criminal mischief to a place of worship with a hate crime enhancement Tuesday. Muslim advocacy groups had grown increasingly concerned about a wave of what they describe as “anti-Islamic sentiment” when the Titusville attack took place and allegedly had a hand in enhancing Wolfe’s sentence.
One Country, Two Standards for “Hate Crime”
According to Associate Professor Timothy Reid, from the University of California’s Santa Barbara Law School, who specializes in criminal justice,
“These two cases are a clear abrogation of the criminal justice system. In Wolfe’s case, the punishment was manifestly excessive and the Islamic advocacy groups should never have had a hand in discussing his sentence – that’s a perversion of justice.”
“In the Covington case, her crimes were not just heinous, they resulted in actual physical, mental and psychological harm to the victim of her racially-motivated hate crime.”
Reid warns that this may just be the beginning of a trend where the criminal justice system is politicized – where sentences and convictions are determined more on the ideological leanings of the judge or jury and less on the actual merits of the case. Pointing to the despicable decision by the jury in Kate Steinle’s case, where an illegal alien was acquitted of murder for using a stolen gun and shooting and killing Steinle in San Francisco, Reid warned that Americans could expect more of such obviously flawed decisions. According to Reid,
“In the criminal justice system, it’s not simply enough that justice be done, but that justice appear to be done. In recent times, justice has not just been undone, it has clearly appeared to have come undone.”
Reid and other legal commentators are deeply concerned on the direction of our criminal justice system. According to Professor Burton Brown, an adjunct professor at Florida State University College of Law,
“We are reaching a point where politics has so divided this country ideologically, so seeped into the consciousness of everything that we do that we’ve lost track of what justice means anymore.”
What it does mean is that moving forward, courts may apply a stiffer penalty to whites who commit hate crimes as opposed to blacks or other races who commit hate crimes against whites. That would be a mistake. If the justice system, which for all intents and purposes is expected to be color blind swings in this direction, Americans may lose faith in our legal system and revert to vigilantism – where justice is sought at one’s own hands. Already, Covington and her partners have received numerous death threats and being outside of prison, will no doubt fear retaliation. But that is not the point of the criminal justice system.
Judges and juries, as difficult as it may be, need to set aside their ideologies when the adjudicate cases set before them. Justice was intended not just to be blind, but to be color blind as well.