I want to start off by saying that I liked the book, Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. This book really talks about and highlights the issues that are still occuring in our justice system today. The reason why I like this book is because me as a person of color it sheds light to what people of color face when it comes to the justice system. This book focuses on a black man named Walter McMillian who is accused of murdering a white women by the name of Ronda Morrison and get sentenced to death in prison.
The author Bryan Stevenson is a legal advocate and took on Walter McMillians case. There were other cases that Bryan took on where the inmates were all on death row. Getting back to Walter McMillians case he was accused of murdering a white women off the basis of him being black. The most shocking part of Walter’s case is the sheriff, district attorney, and other investigators were openly racist and pushed this case forward based off of Walter being black. There was evidence that was hidden while people given false testimonies to ensure that Walter McMillian was accused of this crime and sentenced to death.
People were admitting that they saw Walter McMillian there at the crime scene when he killed Ronda Morrison knowing that they were lying and ruining an innocent man’s life just because of his skin color. It seems that Walter McMillian was only accused of this crime because he was having an affair with a white women and the people were against that because he was black. From the careless actions of people who have authority Walter McMillians went to jail and had to leave his wife and five young children. There was no thought about how wrongly accusing a man can affect his wife or his family. It was Bryan Stevenson who was able to shed light to evidence that exposes the racial discrimination that was happening.
This story shows how just by the color of your skin you can be sentenced to death in jail. It show how the justice system has no mercy for sending people to jail where there is no evidence proving they have done the crime, specially the blacks. As a black man I have experienced a lot of moments where I have been driving on the road and knowing I have not done anything wrong but I still get pulled over by a police officer. Whereas when my fellow co-workers talk about speeding by police officers they joke and say they will never be pulled over because of the color of their skin. It is commonly portrayed in criminal television shows that every time a crime happens it is mostly the black man that did it. This shows corrupt our justice system is, especially for the Black communities, it explain how the justice system is not fair when a Black person did not commit a crime or even when they do commit it, they do not receive the same justice as another race.
This story explains that just because of the color of your skin you are already a target to many people around you mainly by the justice system as well. Later in the book Walter McMillian is released from jail and exonerated after being on death row for six years. From the traumatic experience of being on death row he has anxiety and dementia. Walter McMillian was detached from reality for six years and then just put back into reality expecting him to be the same. It was known that Walter McMillian was innocent the entire time but he still spent six years on death row. Even though he was exonerated his life was forever changed and never would be the same. It makes me start to think that there are more cases of Black men who are knowingly sentenced to death in prison for crimes they have not committed. Going back to the story Bryan Stevenson worked closely with the Equal Justice Initiative to fight more cases like the one I have discussed above. It still shocks me that authority is allowed to misuse their power to put innocent men behind bars and not feel remorse for what they have done. This story proves that our Justice System has failed the Black Community and we need a better Justice System that will be fair no matter the race of the person.