Black FedEx driver D’Monterrio Gibson has already hit a bump in his road to justice after being shot at by a white man whose father tried to detain him while he was trying to do his job. Last Thursday, a Mississippi judge declared a mistrial in the first-degree murder cases of Brandon Case and his father, Gregory Case.
According to the Associated Press, Judge David Strong said he had no choice but to declare a mistrial due to errors made by a Brookhaven Police Department detective who worked the case.
On Wednesday, the judge ended the session early after Detective Vincent Fernando acknowledged under oath while the jury was out of the courtroom that he had not previously given prosecutors or defense attorneys a videotaped statement police had taken from Gibson.
The judge said the officer also improperly testified about guns found in the home of one of the men on trial and shell casings found outside the home. Defense attorneys requested the mistrial, and Strong said he had no choice but to grant it.
“In 17 years, I don’t think I’ve seen it,” the judge said of the errors.
Sharon McClendon, Gibson’s mother, burst out with a loud expletive in the courtroom after the judge’s announcement, and she and her son declined to speak to reporters as they left the courthouse. Highway Patrol officers walked with them to a private vehicle, and some supporters hugged Gibson.
So, basically, a Mississippi cop handling a case in which two white men are accused of chasing and shooting at a Black man who did literally nothing but exist in their neighborhood, and, conveniently enough, the cop’s error worked to the advantage of the defense. This is the perfect time to mention that this happened in the state where six cops recently pleaded guilty to torturing and sexually assaulting two Black men after a white neighbor called to complain that the victims were living with a white woman. One might even be inclined to mention that Mississippi’s attorney general recently asked an appeals court to set free a former detective convicted for beating a 62-year-old Black man to death.
All I’m saying is if Mississippi is looking to shed its reputation as the state where racial justice goes to die, legal officials there don’t seem to be doing much to aid its cause.
Carlos Moore, an attorney representing Gibson and his family in a civil lawsuit, said the mistrial “represents not just an administrative setback but also a delay in justice for Mr. Gibson and his family.”
“It is concerning that BPD withheld a potentially crucial evidence piece of evidence,” Moore said in a statement. “We believe that this is not an isolated incident but a part of a larger pattern of obstruction by BPD.”
Moore also called for the Justice Department to bring federal hated crime charges against the Cases, who, in addition to the attempted murder charges, are charged with conspiracy and shooting into a vehicle.
Meanwhile, District Attorney Dee Bates, who is leaving the DA’s office at the end of the year, said he disagrees with the judge’s decision to declare a mistrial, and a court official told AP that the judge’s docket is full through December so the new trial for the cases isn’t expected to be scheduled for this year.
This is America, and this is its “justice” system.
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