One person commented on my post HuffPo goes stupid on gun violence asking why what Siwatu-Salama Ra did was illegal.
The Ra case has been taken up by people on the Left as evidence of injustice in gun law. The New York Daily News, Vox, and
Black Stormfront The Root are all running with the same story since it hits all the right buttons:
“A pregnant, black environmental activist was sentenced to two years and/or forced to give birth in prison for defending her family with a gun.”
There is a great deal of irony in the people who viciously attack stand your ground turning around an using stand your ground in this case to defend Ra.
So I did some digging.
Chanell Harvey told a different version of events than Ra.
Harvey testified at Ra’s preliminary examination that she dropped her 14-year-old daughter off at the home on Sturtevant Street about 8:15 p.m. She intended for her daughter to spend the night with Ra’s niece at Ra’s mother’s home.
Harvey testified that her daughter called her in tears about 15 minutes later, asking to be picked up; she’d been ordered to leave the home and wasn’t welcome to stay overnight.
When she arrived to collect her daughter, Harvey said Ra came out of the home yelling, ordering them to leave.
She was “basically telling us, ‘Bye, get on,’ get from in front of the house, basically,” Harvey testified.
Harvey, who admits she directed profanity at Ra, says she was upset becasuse Ra’s niece had spent the night at her home weeks earlier, and so she didn’t understand why her daughter wasn’t welcome to do the same.
Harvey claims she was stopped in the middle of the street when her daughter entered the vehicle. Ra went to her own vehicle, which was parked on the street, took her 2-year-old daughter out — she’d been playing inside — handed the child to her niece, and pulled out a handgun, according to Harvey.
“She got a gun,” Harvey says she told her friend, Toya, to whom she was talking on her cellphone at the time.
“She cocked it and pointed it,” Harvey testified. “(Ra’s) mother came over and smacked the gun out of her hand.”
Harvey claims Ra picked up the gun a second time and pointed it at her again, but she was blocked from driving away by a black truck that was in front of her.
“Then, in the midst of me moving out of the way again, I did hit her car,” Harvey said. “It wasn’t on purpose. I moved it to get out of the way.
“You know, when you get a gun pointed at you, you’re going to get out of the way.”
Harvey claims that when the road cleared, but before she drove away, she stopped to take three pictures of Ra holding the gun, but Ra hid it out of sight behind her back.
The national review got a copy of the police report against Ra via a FOIA request. It includes the pictures of Ra holding the gun behind her back.
That kind of makes the whole stand your ground and “I feared for my life” argument a little less valid.
The jury thought so as well. They were convinced, unanimously beyond a reasonable doubt, that it was an argument and a gun gut pulled.
The jury also did not know that the conviction for assault with a deadly weapon carried a two year minimum sentence.
Furthermore, Ra’s lawyer sucked something awful. His defense of Ra was entirely based on race. That the only reason Ra was arrested and charged was that she was defending herself while black.
You’re allowed to behave differently when you’re fearful based on the color of your skin. George Zimmerman was allowed to be fearful and to act on that fear. He was allowed to take the life of an unarmed black child. Juxtapose that next to my client who had a car coming at her mother, and that same car had just presented danger to her child. It was driven by the complaining witness, but Siwatu wasn’t allowed to be fearful and rely on her government-licensed and sanctioned firearm to ward off her attacker.
That didn’t fly so well in majority black Detroit, where it was a black victim, black defendant, majority black police force and city government. They instead chose to convict based on the evidence.
The media has had more favorable coverage for Ra because of her identity – pregnant, black, liberal political activist – but the facts just were not on her side.
This is another case of narrative vs. reality.
It sucks that she had to give birth in jail and is now a felon.
It sucks more that she pulled a gun during am argument and the person she was supposedly defending herself from managed to snap a photo of her standing around in the street with it held behind her back.