I note that a black lawyer has made a startling suggestion.
African-Americans live in a world where the police can murder us and get away with it. Walter Scott proved that, for anybody who still had a lingering doubt. There is no justice for black people. And yet violently revolting against the system will get us nowhere.
Maybe it’s time for black people to use the same tool white people have been using to defy a system they do not consent to: jury nullification. White juries regularly refuse to convict or indict cops for murder. White juries refuse to convict vigilantes who murder black children. White juries refuse to convict other white people for property crimes. White juries act like the law is just a guideline and their personal morality (or lack thereof) should be controlling.
Maybe it’s time minorities got in the game?
Black people lucky enough to get on a jury could use that power to acquit any person charged with a crime against white men and white male institutions. It’s not about the race of the defendant, but if the alleged victim is a white guy, or his bank, or his position, or his authority: we could acquit. Assault? Acquit. Burglary? Acquit. Insider trading? Acquit.
. . .
This is something that intellectual black people with legal training talk about. Honestly, what the hell do you expect us to do? How do white people think we’re supposed to react when we watch cops murder us and get away with it, over and over and over again? We’re just supposed to take it? Wait for America to produce nicer white people? The options for black America in the face of this state-sponsored injustice seem pretty limited.
Jury nullification at least has the benefit of being non-violent. Understand, when cops — when the armed forces of the state — can shoot me for no reason and get away with it, I am no longer living in a civil society. I’m living in the state of nature, and I have a natural right to defend myself by any means necessary. But I’m not here advocating a violent response to systematic injustice (because we’d lose). Violence has a tendency to be indiscriminate, anyway. Instead, jury nullification is more of a surgical strike on an illegitimate justice system that has failed us. And it can be accomplished without the protection of the Second Amendment (which is denied to black people anyway).
. . .
We can bitch and we can march and we can refuse to stay in Trump hotels. But until the system stops giving white people something they want — the orderly procession of justice — then they will not be motivated to change the system. I WANT CHAOS IN THE PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE. And you can’t accomplish that with a bomb or a gun.
But you can with an acquittal. Lots of acquittals. All the acquittals. There are counties in this country where the justice system would grind to a halt if prosecutors couldn’t find black and brown people willing to convict or indict. NOBODY CARES if they can’t get an indictment against a police officer whose only crime was the murder of an African-American. But let’s see how Preet Bharara likes it when he can’t get an indictment for political corruption (defendant accused of taking advantage of the system? Acquit.). Let’s see what happens in Brooklyn when they can’t evict anybody ever again (refusing to pay rent to a white man? Acquit.). Let’s see what happens in Hollywood when you can’t bring a case against pirates (stealing the white man’s movies? Acquit.).
. . .
White juries are using jury nullification to protect cops. But the door swings both ways. It’s time for us to push back. Civil disobedience, when used in a targeted fashion, is a powerful force.
There's more at the link.
Irrespective of the merits (or otherwise) of his views on the criminal justice system (and his completely erroneous claim about Second Amendment protections being unavailable to blacks), I fear the author ignores two stark realities.
- He's advocating the deliberate acceptance of crime, in order to accomplish a political purpose. If crime is never to be punished, for reasons having nothing to do with the crime itself, how can law and order survive in any form at all? The breakdown will almost certainly be irretrievable.
- If non-black Americans become convinced that the criminal justice system will not, in fact, deliver justice to black criminals, then they will take the law into their own hands. You'll find that more and more black criminals are found dead at the scene of their crimes. "Honest, officer, he tried to grab my gun!" or "He tried to escape, and put my wife at risk as she stood at the corner of the house!" or "He was shouting to his friend to get the gun from the car, so I had to shoot both of them!" Think that won't happen? You're living in cloud cuckoo land. It will. I've seen it happen in South Africa, when racial considerations colored (you should pardon the expression) the enforcement and administration of law and order - first on the white side under apartheid, then on the black side post-apartheid. The consequences were disastrous, and they plague the people of that benighted land to this day.
I think this is a dangerously naive, short-sighted and ideologically unbalanced suggestion. If it's adopted, expect chaos to follow.