At the Hands of Persons Unknown: The Verdict in the Michael Brelo Case

An insightful piece …

formations. // living at the intersections of self, social, spirit.

I cannot turn away or close my eyes to what I beheld on Saturday as I watched the verdict in the Michael Brelo case being rendered by Judge P. O’Donnell in Cleveland. The nearly hour-long justification for exonerating Officer Brelo on all counts was bone chilling to behold. In every respect, it amounted to a judicial justification for state-sanctioned lynching.

I don’t use the word “lynching” metaphorically. I use it because so many characteristics of historical lynching are replicated in this case.

Lynching can be defined as an extrajudicial killing by a group of people who seek to punish an alleged transgressor and/or intimidate a minority group. Between 1877 and 1950, nearly 4,000 men and women were lynched by white people in America and the vast majority of the victims were black. The alleged crimes often proved to be unfounded and the ‘punishments’ inflicted in these acts of racial terror…

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