Rapper Jasiri X has a new video out that addresses the controversy surrounding the case of Marissa Alexander and the State of Florida’s seemingly backwards enforcement of the contentious Stand Your Ground Laws which came into prominence during the George Zimmerman trial.
While there’s some dispute as to whether or not the law actually played a role in Zimmerman’s acquittal, police were said to have initially failed to charge Zimmerman with murder under the guise of Stand Your Ground.
The same benefit of the doubt was not afforded to Marissa Alexander.
Alexander was originally sentenced to 20 years in prison for attempted murder after firing a warning shot into the wall during a dispute with her ex-husband while his two sons were present. There’s a history of domestic violence in their relationship, and despite attempting to make a case on the grounds of self defense she was convicted.
An appeals court threw out the conviction for placing the burden of proving self defense on Alexander who is now being retried for the same incident. She now faces a maximum of 60 years in prison if convicted.
The folks over at PolicyMic offer a summary explaining the rationale behind the sentence reversal:
An Appeals Court judge in Florida ruled that Alexander’s prior sentence, 20 years for discharging a firearm, was invalid because “the court erred in declining to grant her immunity from prosecution under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.” The original “verdict” was reached by the jury in 12 minutes, not through deliberation but as the result of another of Florida’s awkward gun laws, the “10-20-Life” law. This law sets minimum sentencing for gun-related crimes. It makes it easy for prosecutors, but it gives judges and juries no real decision-making power in these cases. As a result, defendants receive automatic and harsh sentences in a situation where they fundamentally can’t defend themselves.
Florida prosecutor Angela Corey is pretty adamant, lashing out against critics of her decision to retry the case, but in truth it’s hard not to feel the double standard when Michael Dunn, whose bullet took the life of Jordan Davis, also faces 60 years in prison.
This feels wrong, and in light of the stigma surrounding domestic violence it becomes increasingly important to say as much.
I checked in with Jasiri X for his thoughts on Alexander’s trial and he emailed:
It’s crazy to think in light of all the horrible prosecutions in Florida recently, that Angela Corey would not only want to retry Marissa, but would be trying to give her up for 60 years in prison. It’s an outrage and I feel like more people, especially men, should be raising our voices. We need to take domestic abuse and violence towards women a lot more serious, and that starts with me. I hope the video not only helps to raise awareness, but also encourages people to donate to Marrisa’s legal defense fund.
Dear Marrissa can you please forgive us
For not hearing your cries or the cries of your sisters
We ignored you for months after your verdict was delivered
Your burden wasn’t considered but your courage never withered
Left deserted in a prison given 20 live years
And a orange jumpsuit that’s faded from dry tears
A hard bed in a cell our innocence lies here
A mother ripped from her children’s the only crime that’s clear
Why are we so quiet why are we so silent
Why did we wash our hands of it why are Pontius Pilate
Why are we so slow to respond to domestic violence
When women are abused we’re always given an excuse
But tell me what would you do if you felt you children were threatened
And the man who beat you violated order of protection
And you had access to a legal and licensed weapon
And you feared for your life and the lives if your adolescents
Dear Marrissa I’m sorry i feel responsible partly
My voice was hardy a whisper how could we just forget ya
Can you please forgive us for not hearing your cries or the cries of your sisters
Signed Mr. Jasiri X