Four years later, a black man is exonerated by the criminal justice system. In September, 2011, Vernon Michael Rich, Jr. pictured above, gave a ride to co-worker who was worried about a violent attack by her ex. From savannahnow.cm:
The woman told police Wells walked up behind her as Rich was turning his car around to leave. Wells started arguing with her, demanding to know who Rich was. Wells tried to hit the woman, police said, but she backed away and sprayed him with Mace.The police arrested Vernon Rich, and charged him with voluntary manslaughter for shooting Wells. It took four years, but a court finally dismissed the charges:
That’s when Wells allegedly walked over to Rich’s car and started hitting him as he sat in the driver’s seat. The woman said she heard a gunshot. Police said Rich called 911, admitted to shooting Wells in his upper torso, and gave them the gun used to do it.
“Based on the testimony, the court finds that defendant had a reasonable belief that he needed to defend himself from a violent attack by the victim,” Karpf said.
He also ruled the defendant’s use of force was not excessive under the circumstances, the defendant “was lawfully carrying the weapon, and that he did not leave the scene, but instead immediately called 911.”
It is this sort of application of the law that will convince black men that they can find justice inside of the system. The ability to legally carry a weapon is a powerful incentive to use it responsibly; use it irresponsibly, and you lose the legal ability to possess it.
©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch