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Black Gun Owner Will Give Birth in Prison After Trying to Protect 2-Year-Old Daughter from Assailant

Siwatu-Salama Ra used a legally purchased firearm to protect her family. She was sentenced to 2 years in prison.

RaBYP 100 / TwitterSiwatu-Salama Ra is a 26-year-old black mother who watched in horror as an angry assailant—a neighbor with whom Ra had a dispute—deliberately crashed her vehicle into Ra's car while Ra's two-year-old daughter was playing inside. Ra removed her unloaded, legally purchased handgun from the glove box and brandished it, scaring the neighbor off.

The assailant, Channel Harvey, was never charged. Ra was arrested for felonious assault. She is now serving a mandatory two-year-sentence, even though Michigan is a Stand Your Ground state and Ra was clearly defending her family on her own property.

Ra is pregnant, and she is expected to give birth in prison.

The Detroit Metro Times, The Root, and Democracy Now! have all reported on the overwhelming criminal justice failures on display here. The jury in Ra's trial evidently ended deliberations early in order to wrap the case up before a major snowstorm hit—and that's not even the craziest thing about this case. The Detroit Police Department apparently treated Harvey as the victim, even though she rammed Ra's car, for the sole reason that Harvey beat Ra to the station and filed a police report first.

According to Ra's attorney, Victoria Burton-Harris, Ra and Harvey's nieces attended school together. These two girls had a disagreement; Ra contends that Harvey's niece beat up Ra's niece at school. On that basis, Ra decided that Harvey's niece wasn't welcome at the Ra household anymore. Harvey brought her over anyway. As Burton-Harris told Democracy Now!:

Siwatu called her sister herself and found out from her sister that there was no permission given for this young lady to be at the family home that day visiting, and therefore Siwatu informed the young lady that she needed to call her mother to come back and pick her up....

And so, the mother arrived about 10 minutes later to pick the child up. She was very upset, irate even. She pulled back up to Siwatu's family's home. She started yelling, using profanity. She was very angry. She started demanding answers. "Why can't my child be here? These girls have made up. Your niece has come to my home over the last two weeks. I don't understand." And she testified at trial that she thought she had a right to be on that property and to demand answers as to why her child was not welcome there. And that's where this incident started.

Harvey refused to leave, according to Burton-Harris, and eventually drove her car into Ra's, which was parked on the street with Ra's two-year-old daughter inside it.

At this point, Ra feared for her child's safety—and also the safety of her own mother, who was on the front porch. Harvey continued to move her car forward and backward in an aggressive manner. Finally, Ra retrieved her handgun and brandished it at Harvey. Harvey then used her cell phone to take a picture of Ra holding the gun and raced off to the police station, where she filed a police report.

Ra also filed a report, but Detroit police consider the first person to file a report to be the victim in a dispute. The Detroit Police Department has not responded to Reason's request for comment, but according to the Detroit Metro Times, multiple police detectives confirmed that this policy exists, including at the trial.

Again, Michigan residents enjoy the legal right to use a firearm to defend themselves and their property. But since Harvey complained first, investigators didn't give proper weight to Ra's side of the story. Bafflingly, the authorities decided that Ra wasn't engaged in self-defense at all but was instead engaged in the commission of a crime. She was charged with two counts of felony assault: one against Harvey, and one against Harvey's daughter, who was in Harvey's car.

Ra was arguably denied the right to a fair trial as well:

The jury was told the trial would likely only last two days, but it didn't begin deliberations until midway through Thursday—the fourth day. The forecast called for a blizzard on Friday, and the judge told the jury that it would return to court regardless of the weather if it didn't arrive at a decision. (It's worth noting that the court did close on Friday.)

Burton-Harris adds that the jury wasn't aware that Ra would receive a two-year prison sentence were she found guilty of any of the felony firearm charges because juries aren't informed of mandatory sentences.

When the jury began deliberations with the snowstorm looming, it could be heard hotly debating the case from the jury room, Burton-Harris says. Still, it quickly came to a decision—guilty on one charge of felonious assault against Harvey, acquittal on a second felonious assault charge against Harvey's daughter, and guilty on the felony firearm possession charge.

This decision obviously makes no sense. How could a jury conclude that Ra's self-defense explanation was sufficient to dismiss the charge of assaulting Harvey's daughter, but insufficient to dismiss the charge of assaulting Harvey herself? A jury looking forward to a three-day weekend was apparently disinclined to consider this contradiction.

Michigan's mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines require a two-year sentence, which means that Ra will have to give birth in jail. Her attorneys asked the court to delay her sentence until after the pregnancy was over, but this request was denied.

The Sierra Club and Black Lives Matter have expressed serious concerns about how this case was handled. Given that it involves a legal gun owner protecting her family and her property, it would be nice to see the National Rifle Association speak up as well. Ra doesn't belong in prison for any length of time, let alone the next two years of her young children's lives.

Photo Credit: BYP 100 / Twitter

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  • loveconstitution1789||

    2nd Amendment:
    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

  • Longtobefree||

    That is only what is says.
    What it means is up to thousands of petty politicians and bureaucrats across the nation.

  • Flinch||

    Don't worry about that - the purpose of the second is to secure powers to the governor of any state for dealing with insurrection/rebellion or invasion. Our ability of self defense exists in that shadow, which is why it differs so much between states. This is karmic justice it seems, as Ra... is one of those "environmental justice" warriors. When people put any adjective in front of justice they are working against equal application of the law, because what they are all about is special priviledges or punishments - putting a fat thumb on the scale, and ripping the blindfold off lady justice. I'm guessing Ra was a professional instigator of sorts, and perhaps one of those special people who are waiting to be offended at all times. The only thing I am certain of regarding this story is it has as holes like swiss cheese... and we need to read the court transcript to see what errors the judge made.

  • Nicholas D.||

    Very well said: "When people put any adjective in front of justice they are working against equal application of the law..."

  • John||

    The police hate gun rights. And they hate gun owners. Anyone who uses a gun in this country to defend themselves better have an air tight legal case or the cops are going to screw you.

  • sarcasmic||

    The police hate gun rights. And they hate gun owners.

    That depends on where you are. In the city, yes. In rural areas, not so much. I know several people who have stopped crimes by simply lifting their shirt (most of my friends carry guns). In all cases the cops thanked them.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    You know who else stopped a crime by simply lifting his or her shirt?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    That fat kid from the Goonies?

  • sage||

    His name is Chunk. Show a little respect.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    I am Spartacus?

  • Rebel Scum||

    Snooki?

  • Flinch||

    That's usually an attitude in cities [like Boston or New York] with high density police coverage, John. I found [on balance] that in Los Angeles, most law enforcement were happy to see decent citizens with guns. They might not always say so publicly, depending on the hack installed by the mayor, but on a cop per square 10mile coverage basis that city is one of the most thinly stretched departments in the country - and all with a six figure gang population running wild in the backround. 45 minute response times are not unreasonable on some days, when police get tied up with active crime scenes. it's like living out in the country: drive 2 hours to do anything, and unless the sheriff is your neighbor, better own a gun.

  • Just Say'n||

    The police hate gun rights and they really hate BLACK gun owners. That's just the reality of the matter. There is no doubt that there is a tinge of racial disparity in this sentencing. It's an unbelievable outrage

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Yep, this. Though I don't think it is just the police. Many suburban whites are secretly terrified of blacks with guns.

  • Just Say'n||

    White liberals in cities too

  • Rhywun||

    Black liberals too. Not everything is about race.

  • Just Say'n||

    That's fair

  • sarcasmic||

    Most suburban whites are terrified of anyone with a gun who doesn't also have a badge. Regardless of race.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    *who is not a part of their inner circle

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Depends where you go. In suburban Mesa and Tucson people definitely owned and carried guns and it was pretty normal.

    I almost wish everyone had to go and fire guns as a kid. Learn about your rights, and help disabuse people about the many, many my myths surrounding guns.

    I say I his as someone who does not actually own a gun.

  • Nihil||

    I almost wish everyone had to go and fire guns as a kid. Learn about your rights, and help disabuse people about the many, many my myths surrounding guns.

    I say I his as someone who does not actually own a gun.

    As some who also does not own a gun, I 100% agree with this.

  • Tionico||

    They ought to be less terrified of anyone who has bothered to get their Mother May I Card to carry upin their persons. They have a lower per person crime rate than do coppers, shoot fewer innocent people, and stop/capture more criminals than do the coppers.

  • 1980-f||

    Most suburban people aren't remotely frightened of any kind people with guns. Because there aren't any.

    Oh yes, I forgot to mention. I live in the UK.

  • MAGA my NAGGA||

    If you say so.

  • Nicholas D.||

    To be fair, they way you've used the word "many" warrants disambiguation. Are you implying a "majority" of suburban whites? "Many" could mean simply 3 or more, with no respect to ratio. BTW, I don't intend this question to be contentious. I'm neither agreeing nor disagreeing with you but merely seeking clarification.

  • Seamus||

    The police hate gun rights and they really hate BLACK gun owners.

    Do you mean to say that the Detroit Police Department, headed by this guy has a particular animus against black gun owners?

  • DJK||

    Moreover, the crime and trial happened in Detroit. The city is 80% black. How hard do you think it would be to get a few sympathetic black jurors?

  • sarcasmic||

    Deliberately crashing a car is assault with a deadly weapon. Do that to a cop and you will die in a hail of bullets.

  • DaveSs||

    Or, only Cops get to claim that a vehicle is a deadly weapon being used against them.

  • sarcasmic||

    That too. I've never heard of someone other than a cop getting away with shooting at someone who was trying to run them over. I guess we're just not allowed to fear for our lives when a ton of metal on wheels is coming straight for us.

  • DJK||

    If someone is in it, it is. If no one is in it, it's a property crime. We think that the daughter was in the car because Ra's lawyer said she was. No one has reported on whether this was rebutted in court.

  • DrZ||

    If a 92 year old man tried to rape a young woman, he could be charged with assault with a dead weapon.

    I am not sure this is relevant, but I thought it might be useful.

  • Juice||

    The Sierra Club?

  • Just Say'n||

    For population control reasons.

  • Just Say'n||

  • Flinch||

    Yeah, they went full loon in declaring war on SUV's years back. The fact that CAFE standards killing thousands of extra motorists was of no concern to them, however. The Sierra Club as I knew it growing up is gone. I just can't gift them placement under the conservationist umbrella anymore, but you might disagree.

  • Ken Hagler||

    I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the National Republican Association to say anything.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    I have to admit, I'm disappointed at them over this. I thought they had more political smarts.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    They are often slow to react in many cases involving self defense like this.

    Also, it goes against this idea that guns are only weapons to be used offensively.

  • DJK||

    We also don't even know if she used the gun legally in self defense. If things happened as her lawyer says they did, it seems she had a self defense case. If some of those statements are false (e.g. the daughter wasn't in the car or the woman didn't try to run down her mom), she doesn't. We have no reporting on what evidence the prosecutor presented to rebut her story because the media aren't giving this information.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    The problem is that leftist pieces of shit I'm government don't believe in the right if self defense at all.

  • Bubba Jones||

    NRA is a pro-regulation group. They won't touch any case that involves "illegal possession."

  • Tionico||

    Read much? The article clearly states the woman had the gun and possessit in compliance with all laws in effect at the time. And NRA do indeed help to defend those who use a firearm in self-defense... but I believe one must be a member in good standing, and that the help is part of an optional programme.

    NRA are certainly in favour of folks NOT being abused for protecting their lives legally.
    Seems thjis prosecutor had a burr under his saddle blanket to win in this case. HE is the dirtbag here, as he KNOWS this case is self defense, he's just after ahard conviction. Perhjaps he's stumping for a position at the public trough that's a little higher up the pecking order.

  • Chmeee||

    They actually have a history of not caring about people of color. They were all good with the Gun Control Act of 1968, which adversely affected blacks. Ronnie Rayguns signed the Mulford Act in 1967, which outlawed open carry on CA. It happened after the Black Panthers were carrying firearms in Oakland in an effort to control crime. Can't have any of that now, can we...

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mulford_Act

  • Chmeee||

    The censors said this link is too long, so you'll have to put it together yourself.

    https://newrepublic.com/

    article/112322/gun-control-racist

  • EscherEnigma||

    It's almost like they have a long and well-recorded history of supporting gun control for black people or something.

  • KevinP||

    Good reading for you:

    How "Crazy Negroes" With Guns Helped Kill Jim Crow


    The president of the Monroe, North Carolina NAACP, Robert F. Williams-who later authored a book-length argument for armed self-defense titled Negroes With Guns-that "resistance could be effective if we resisted in groups, and if we resisted with guns." In addition to his duties with the NAACP, Williams established an all-black chapter of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and used his NRA connections to procure "better rifles" and automatic weapons for his constituents. Ten years after the funeral-parlor incident, those guns were used to repel a Klan assault against an NAACP leader's house. Immediately following the shootout, the Monroe City Council banned Klan motorcades and, according to Williams, the KKK "stopped raiding our community."
  • Azathoth!!||

    Who?

    Why would anyone outside of Reason comment on this at all?

    This is black-on-black crime. It's racist to even suggest that it occurs. And it happened in a black controlled city.

    No one will ever hear of this.

  • Just Say'n||

    "it would be nice to see the National Rifle Association speak up as well"

    Or the ACLU for that matter, if we still want to pretend like they have anything to do with civil rights

  • MichaeI Hihn||

    Ha! Good one. Man, this place cracks me up!

  • Vin_Decks!!!||

    God, you're such a tiresome asshole....

  • Wizard4169||

    Sorry, but I think Hihn actually has a point on this one.

  • Microaggressor||

    It's the impostor Hihn. Real Hihn has a link to his blog in his handle, and struggles to make intelligible statements.

  • Just Say'n||

    The line is the "cocktail party money shot". The NRA is not a legal fund, but it's constantly derided by people who ostensibly support gun rights (but then also support the candidacy of Bill Weld for reasons), while such a line would never be inserted deriding the ACLU in an article about civil rights.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    I'm puzzled as to what the jury thought Harvey was doing. It's not like she was just innocently walking by on the sidewalk.

  • Juice||

    They were probably instructed to robotically answer yes or no questions: did she possess a firearm "illegally" and did she brandish said firearm. Yes = guilty and that's that. Tough luck.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    The article even says the gun was legally owned.

  • NYC2AZ||

    Legally owned, sure, but PA is not a Constitutional Carry state so she might not have been carrying it according to state law.* Someone with more knowledge of PA gun laws might know more about that. Either way, this sounds like an all around cluster fuck by the legal system and the crazy woman playing bumper cars.

    *not that it should be grounds for what she was convicted of but I'll bet that was one of the extra charges that was dropped.

  • End Child Unemployment||

    Article said this happened in Michigan, not Pennsylvania.

  • NYC2AZ||

    Michigan is the same problem. Not sure how I got PA out of that though.

  • Tionico||

    Until the perceived lethal threat arose, the gun had been unloaded and somewhere NOT upon her person. She got it, did not even have time to load it, and presented it as the assault continued. There is no way she could be accused of unlawfully "carrying" it under these circumstances. Its not as though she had it concealed upon her person before anything happened. READ for comprension. It makes making a fool of yourself less likely.

  • NYC2AZ||

    Meh... I'll admit when I'm wrong as I did above. The remainder of my post stands. Every state and some municipalities seem to have a multitude of "gotcha" gun laws that they enforce on law abiding citizens to automatically make them the aggressor. I'm unfamiliar with Michigan laws, as stated above, and I am currently unable and uninterested in taking a 4 hour law class on those random "gotchas" for a state I will never visit.

    For example, when I first got my CCW in AZ it was partially because carrying a gun in your glove box, in any manner, was considered a concealed weapon by the Arizona Revised Statutes at that time. Even now there are gotchas in my state as a licensed carrier.

    Further, Robby failed to address several parts of the case including that the mandatory 2 year sentence was on the felony firearms possession conviction, not the assault. Further still, the linked articles are inconsistent on whether Ra was a CCW holder or simply a legal gun owner or licensed gun owner (which is seemingly used as interchangeable terms). Being that the press gets this distinction wrong all the time, I tend to take the reporting with a grain of salt even when I comprehend what I am reading.

    Lastly, maybe next time you should leave out the last 2 sentences of your post as it lends credence to personal insecurities.

  • Inigo Montoya||

    That's exactly why jury nullification is a thing.

    Sometimes answering yes or no questions is irrelevant when it comes to assigning guilt.

  • I can't even||

    Sounds like she had a shit lawyer.

  • MAGA my NAGGA||

    ^this

  • PaulTheBeav||

    "First to report" sounds like a stupid rule. How can it have legal weight if it isn't actually a law?

  • MichaeI Hihn||

  • Seamus||

    Under the "first to report" rule, I guess that if a college boy and a girl he met at the frat party have a drunken hook-up, the guy's best change of beating the rape rap is to rush to the police the morning after and say he was too drunk to give consent, and that the girl took advantage of him.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Sure, if college sex cases weren't handled by Title IX courts instead of the police.

  • Flinch||

    Now what fool is going to do that? If somebody wants a 'coming out' party, they will do it in a happier venue and have a good time. But thinking forward, your point is worth looking at: if we grant supremacy to 'first report', then at some point, we can expect some mentally ill rapist to take advantage of the system by reporting themselves as the "victim" for the purposes of cementing an alibi by process where facts don't matter.

  • Tionico||

    Yeah, what if the housebreaker ties up the homeowner before he leaves, hustles on down to the cop shop, gets there first (as his victim is still tied up) and files a bogus report that he was kidnapped?
    THAT RIGHT THERE should be grounds for a mistrial.

  • juris imprudent||

    Robby, there is a glaring contradiction here. If the gun was legally owned (as asserted), what was the justification for felony possession (both charge and conviction).

    Someone isn't telling the truth. Unless Michigan has an actual registration scheme, then all of that talk from Ra's side about it being registered is bull.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    Perhaps it's legal to buy it, legal to carry it concealed, but not legal to carry it open within city limits.

  • ||

    The laws are written so they can fuck with you if you transport a gun 'the wrong way'. Hint: it is almost impossible to transport a gun the right way.

    I got a concealed permit for Oregon, because if a driver or passenger has access to a pistol and ammunition in the cab of a vehicle, it is considered to be a concealed weapon. Since an SUV has no trunk, you cannot legally transport a pistol in an SUV without a CWP. My car has fold-down seats, so technically, the trunk is still accessible.

    I had my wife get a permit too, because if she didnt have one and the pistol was closer to her (i.e. in the glove box), it would again be considered concealed.

    I would bet that they got her on possession of a concealed weapon, but the article is not well researched.

    Brandishing is bullshit charge. Bullies (and thugs and cops) can use their bulk (or in this case, a car) to threaten you without consequence but if you show, or even reference, the Great Equalizer, it is a felony.

    "God created men and Sam Colt made them equal."

  • Calidissident||

    According to one of the linked articles:

    "But how could Ra — a properly licensed gun owner — be charged with assault for pointing a licensed gun at an assailant?

    Desiree Ferguson, an attorney acting in an advisory role on Ra's appeal, explains that Michigan's concealed pistol license and Stand Your Ground laws authorize a person to carry a gun and use it if they are physically threatened. But the question of whether one is acting in defense or committing an assault becomes a matter of fact for the jury to determine."

    So basically, you can be convicted of that charge whether or not the gun is legally-owned if you use it to commit a crime.

  • ||

    So basically, you can be convicted of that charge whether or not the gun is legally-owned if you use it to commit a crime.

    ^This^

    Chicago's treatment of 'gun crime' and 'gun offenders' is similar. A legal gun and an illegal throwing star, brass knuckles, switchblade, blackjack, or silencer in the car together can result in a firearms possession charge.

  • juris imprudent||

    So, after a very little bit of digging (something any journalist could do), MI does have a handgun registration requirement (with local LE). However, the law she was charged and convicted on was possession in the commission of a felony which was tacked on by the prosecutor in addition to the ADW charges - so, charged with two crimes for the same act.

    Also, unless she had a CCL (of which there is no evidence) she was in violation for having it concealed in her car. She was not charged for that.

    Per Mlive, the jurors were upset that she an unsecured gun while her daughter was playing in that car.

  • Tionico||

    the gun was UNLOADED this not "concealed".... how ya gonna git that thang back home from the gun store when you first buy it otherwise?
    as to her daughter in the car... was she strapped into one of the portable child prison devices? Was she in the back seat, or the front? Was Mom nearby? WHEN was she put into the car relative to the assault on the car by the other woman?

    The case seems to hang on a number of niggle details that we've not been told.

  • Mezzanine||

    "A person who carries or has in his or her possession a firearm when he or she commits or attempts to commit a felony, is guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for 2 years."

    Since they said she had committed felony assault they are able to charge her with felony possession of a firearm.

  • juris imprudent||

    Like being in possession of both drugs and a gun - twice as bad as either underlying offense individually. Fucking idiot legislature.

  • Microaggressor||

    Common sense gun control in action.

  • Flinch||

    Indeed it is ...common sense for Cuomo, who has half the state police following him around in a rolling roadlblock all day, with a small arsenal. I expect this type of fascist government response in NYC, but not in flyover country. Oh, wait... Detroit is the comeback zone, where the muslims and crackheads are vying for supremacy over the rubble. There isn't much of a difference after all.
    There has to be something utterly rotten in the reporting of this though, as Democracy Now is on a perpetual hunt for the next Mumia, and loves siding with anything of a commie tilt. Come to think of it, there is probably a trifecta in place of bias, bad lawyering/judge, and bad police work. It seems impossible to me that responding defensively to someone purposely using a vehicle as a battering ram [assault with a deadly weapon if a child was in that car] and the wrong person was charged with assault. Anyone remember the mantra that helped bring BLM to the media on balance? It was a fiction we know as "hands up, don't shoot" propaganda response to police doing their job in another time/another place.

  • ||

    Fucking idiot legislature.

    I think you would agree that it's Robby's poor reporting that's really the bad guy here.

  • ||

    LOL! Of course, the 'assault' consisted only of pointing a pistol at someone. But why not throw the whole fucking book at her?

    Hmm, curious if prosecutors end up in the 5th circle of hell (for the wrathful) or 8th circle of hell (with the evil counselors).

  • Bubba Jones||

    This story fails to explain the possession conviction .

    It is easy to explain why they convicted her of one assault and not the other. They didn't believe she intended to threaten the child.

    This article sucks.

  • sarcasmic||

    As Burton-Harris told Democracy Now!:

    That's why. They play that show on the local college station. They are happy to use half-truth, exaggeration and outright lies to make their point. As long as it feels true, it must be true.

  • ||

    Ra also filed a report, but Detroit police consider the first person to file a report to be the victim in a dispute. The Detroit Police Department has not responded to Reason's request for comment, but according to the Detroit Metro Times, multiple police detectives confirmed that this policy exists, including at the trial.

    This seems pretty ripe for abuse. Send the wife off to the station with the cell phone before tackling my neighbor for mowing his lawn while libertarian. She files the report, we're the victims, no harm, no foul.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    I'm sure what really went down was a page out of a Jerry Springer show and not nearly resembling the story here.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Yeah, too bad nobody got video.

  • Placeholder Name||

    Robby, I'm disappointed. This entire article assumes that Ra's version of events are beyond any dispute. First, look at the sources cited and consider the impartiality of their past coverage of POC/police interactions. (Especially when you have a pregnant, black, environmentalist woman who is being denied her lived experience by a bunch of white, male cops who are blindly following the illogical policies adopted by the patriarchal, sexiest, racist institution commonly known as law enforcement).

    Also consider some of statements made in these articles: (Detroit Metro Times) "Months later, during the trial, a DPD detective testified that the department considers the person who arrives at the police station first to be the victim, lawyers say. Thus, detectives were not allowed to speak to Ra directly." This is patently false. There is no way that the detectives were unable to speak with the accused! Who are these "lawyers," and why are you believing their nonsense?

  • Placeholder Name||

    Continued...

    Here's an alternative narrative: Harvey accidentally collided with Ra's car (such things happens). This triggered Ra's road rage, and she grabbed a handgun and started waiving it at Harvey in anger. Harvey fled, reporting the incident to the police. While Ra testified that it was self defense, the jurors, having heard the testimony and reviewed evidence (which we have not), didn't believe her story (spoiler alert, criminal defendants sometimes lie about what really happened). As for acquitting the second count re: assaulting the kid, who knows? Maybe Ra testified that she didn't see the kid in the car, thus there was no intent as to the little girl. The point is, if you want to argue that the jurors were wrong, you're gonna need a little more than the self-serving, one-sided narrative of defense counsel.

    If the snow storm bit is true, then that's troubling. But given everything else, I'm disinclined to believe the defense counsel's version of events absent some other support (e.g. the trial transcript). Finally, while mandatory minimums suck, the fact that she is being negatively affected by a policy we oppose has no bearing on whether she was innocent of the underlying crime. That's the approach taken by the regressive left, and I would hope we know better.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    So, some kind of Solomonic solution? Divide both kids in half? Put both moms in jail?

  • Placeholder Name||

    Thunderdome

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I think you raise some good points. What I suspect is a case that's a degree more muddy than what's been presented here, but it's possible the case and communication by the department was handled in a slipshod way, which always come to the fore when a particularly sensitive case comes up.

    This bothered me more than anything else in the whole story:

    The Sierra Club and Black Lives Matter have expressed serious concerns about how this case was handled

    I haven't read all the links, but I'm guessing the Sierra Club weighed in on this because... she worked with the organization?

    So, if I'm involved in criminal case, it will be important that Doug's Foreign Auto Repair expresses serious concerns about how my case was handled... if "Doug's" was my place of employment?

    When something tickles all of your pre-conceived notions, a skeptical eye is sometimes warranted.

    I also understand that in some circumstances, the defense attorney is the only person who will talk to you... because that's what defense attorneys do. But I don't get a sense that there was a lot of attempt to talk to anyone else or get a different point of view.

  • Placeholder Name||

    "But I don't get a sense that there was a lot of attempt to talk to anyone else or get a different point of view."

    Definitely not. The articles cited failed to do so because the story fit the intersectional narrative of a woman discriminated against because of her race, all while pregnant. Reason failed to do so because the story fit the narrative of incompetent government officials blindly following some policy, injustice notwithstanding, only to have the poor citizen creamed by a zero tolerance, mandatory minimum law.

    "I also understand that in some circumstances, the defense attorney is the only person who will talk to you."

    The prosecution is often glad to talk with reporters, especially after winning the case. Otherwise they'd miss the opportunity to point out all the ways they made the streets safer by putting these Super Predators™ behind bars.

    The reporters could also have gotten a sense of each side's position by listening to/reading the closing arguments. They could have checked to see whether Ra has a criminal record. The grandmother was there, too. What did she testify to at trial? There are a lot of ways one could shake out some relevant facts.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    The articles cited failed to do so because the story fit the intersectional narrative of a woman discriminated against because of her race, all while pregnant.

    I haven't read ALL the linked articles in detail, but I've scanned them, and while they mention race, they don't seem to harp on it, and I suspect they're not harping on it too hard because Chanel Harvey, from what I can glean from the scant details is also black.

    What they are doing is harping on her activism and her being pregnant. I think whatever noise they're making about race is more of a typical media-bubble knee jerk-- you almost HAVE to mention it, even if everyone else involved is black too, because that's just what's done in Journalism.

  • Placeholder Name||

    The implied racial element is not Ra versus Harvey. It is Ra's treatment by the criminal justice system (SWAT arrest, presumed guilt by cops, self defense claim rejected, mandatory minimum imposed, while pregnant) versus how white men in other unrelated cases were treated (Darren Wilson not indicted, George Zimmerman (honorary white) acquitted, Duke Lacrosse Bros exonerated, etc.).

  • Tionico||

    in EVERY ONE OF THESE cases there WAS no real ground for the indictment. Nor was there in this one, far as I can tell.

    IF that other female had indeed crashed her car into the defendant's car, and was persisting in "agressive back and forth movements" of her car toward and away from the defendant's car. then there IS no ground for the indictment. A vehicle is a lethal weapon if it has a person in control of it. This one did. The use of that lethal weapon in such a way that imminent death or serious bidily injury COULD be sustained by an innocent person (the two year old daughter) then lethal force MAY be brought to bear against the initiator.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Are you suggesting that a pregnant woman might have overreacted during a heated argument about her child?

    I have never seen such a thing!

  • Gary T||

    Well your version makes me feel a lot better about a situation like this.
    It is true we are working unfortunately with only some of the facts, and little of what went on in trial.
    Is it incumbent up the author of this article to sift through the court transcripts to confirm or deny what is being presented?
    Maybe so.

  • Joe_JP||

    So, taking the two accounts, perhaps reasonable doubt?

  • Zeb||

    Yeah, seriously. If a case comes down to one person's word against another's, I don't see how there isn't reasonable doubt about guilt. People mis-remember and lie all the time.

  • Mezzanine||

    "A DPD spokesperson told Metro Times that such a policy is in place"

  • sarcasmic||

    "Months later, during the trial, a DPD detective testified that the department considers the person who arrives at the police station first to be the victim, lawyers say. Thus, detectives were not allowed to speak to Ra directly." This is patently false. There is no way that the detectives were unable to speak with the accused! Who are these "lawyers," and why are you believing their nonsense?

    If that is the department's policy, then that is all that matters. Police are not subject to the law. They are completely above it. All that matters is department policy. If department policy is illegal, well then tough titties for you.

    So if department policy is to believe the first person who gets to the station, then that's who they will believe. It makes everything nice and arbitrary. Remember that law enforcement doesn't care about the law or about justice. All they care about is their own power to ruin lives.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Such departmental policy is however, a terrific basis for getting a case tossed.

  • ||

    Robby, I'm disappointed. This entire article assumes that Ra's version of events are beyond any dispute.
    ...
    Harvey accidentally collided with Ra's car (such things happens).

    Methinks thou doth protest too much.

    The collision happened. This case doesn't address the criminality of the collision, but the fact remains undisputed (or even corroborated) as Robby stated; Harvey used, intentionally or not, what's easily recognizable as a deadly weapon to damage property and went uncharged for the crime.

    If Harvey accidentally hit Ra's car, the damage was still done. If Ra accidentally waived the gun at Harvey, no actual harm or damage was done. The 'crime' that arguably did less damage garnered a sentence of 20 yrs. while the crime that resulted in actual quantifiable damages went unpunished. The only way this is reasonable is if you assumed Ra somehow fabricated the collision. You're assuming guilt on not just evidence, but fabrications not presented.

    I'm not exactly saying you're wrong to question Ra's story, just pointing out that the way in which you're doing it is exceedingly anti-libertarian.

  • Placeholder Name||

    "...just pointing out that the way in which you're doing it is exceedingly anti-libertarian"

    Uh...no. If the collision were an accident, then yes, the property damage "was still done". Accidentally damaged property, however, does not legally justify threatening someone with deadly force (no one, not even Ra, is claiming that she "accidentally" waived the gun around). The libertarian solution to one individual accidentally damaging the personal property of another is to sue for damages. Threatening force is only legally justified to prevent some threatened violation (or to stop an ongoing violation) of Ra's (or family's) rights. If Harvey were using her car as a weapon, Ra's acts would be justified. If not (and Ra did not reasonably believe otherwise), Ra's acts were criminal. If only we had some method of resolving a factual dispute in a fair and impartial way...

    "This case doesn't address the criminality of the collision..."

    Accidental property damage is typically tortious, not criminal. Just because property was damaged doesn't mean a crime occurred. Crimes traditionally require some type of mal-intent. If the collision were an accident, then by definition, there was no mal-intent.

    "Methinks thou doth protest too much"

    So, pointing out that we've only gotten one side of the story and that a jury, who actually heard the testimony and reviewed the evidence, disagreed is now protesting too much? Okay, sure.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Is it relevant that the gun was unloaded (if this can be confirmed)?

  • Placeholder Name||

    Apparently not in this case. Intentionally making someone believe you are about to unlawfully attack them is an assault, even if you were bluffing and had no intention of actually hurting them. Under Michigan law, using a firearm to threaten someone appears to be enough to up the assault to a felony level.

    Some states (don't know about Michigan) will elevate an assault to a higher degree if the perpetrator had the intent to kill at the time of the assault. The fact that the gun was empty would be strong evidence that Ra did not actually intend to kill or do serious bodily harm (assuming Ra was aware the gun was empty). Here, however, because the basis for the felony charge is the use of a firearm, the lack of ammo is irrelevant.

  • ||

    Intentionally making someone believe you are about to unlawfully attack them is an assault, even if you were bluffing and had no intention of actually hurting them.

    Again, because Harvey wasn't charged and investigated similarly and despite the fact that Harvey sought out Ra, we somehow arrive at the conclusion that effectively handling an empty gun on your own property is a felony while slamming into a car on someone else's property because you have a right to be there isn't.

    It could be poor reporting but there's no indication that the 'first to file' issue is wrong and didn't significantly taint the (lack of) decision(s) in this case.

  • ||

    no one, not even Ra, is claiming that she "accidentally" waived the gun around

    Harvey isn't claiming she 'accidentally' bumped into Ra's car, you claimed that. Harvey's claim (assuming an attorney isn't dumb enough to lie about court testimony) is that she had a right to be on Ra's property and was owed an answer.

    Ra claims to have brandished an empty weapon which, handling an empty gun isn't a crime. The only way you elevate it to a felony is if you start including threats and pointing it. Which, I'm not denying she did just, again, asserting that the 'first to file' bullshit is lazy on it's face and is a miscarriage of justice as it precludes mutual guilt/innocence.

    So, pointing out that we've only gotten one side of the story and that a jury, who actually heard the testimony and reviewed the evidence, disagreed is now protesting too much? Okay, sure.

    The jury, by design, didn't hear both sides of the story. If I hit your car on your property and the police show up and I say, I have a right to be on your property and that you owe me an answer, would you expect no charges to be the outcome?

    Once again, I'm not saying Ra's not guilty. I'm saying the disparate application of the law is rather obvious and, barring some other evidence there's at least enough evidence to investigate Harvey in a similar light. A light that wasn't even cast because she's a "victim" of showing up on someone else's property and getting threatened.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    "Detroit police consider the first person to file a report to be the victim in a dispute. "

    Brandish/ shoot
    Call the cops and claim your victim status; KISS method applies
    Call your lawyer before you answer any questions

  • RaymondhW||

    I feel like a lot was left out in this story. And honestly I don't see a contradiction in the decision. The jury could think not guilty because the daughter wasn't being threatened. She was just in the car most likely blissfully unaware of what was going on. The only person threatened was the mom. Jury's don't have to announce why they chose not guilty.

    Though this first to complain rule seems stupid, I'm not sure how much weight it has. The cops may have heard both stories and also found the first complaint more credible. Without examples where both sides of the story is known and how the rule is used it's hard to form an opinion on this seemingly stupid rule.

  • sarcasmic||

    Part of it is that in situations where both parties are in the wrong, which this could have been, the cops only charge one of them. They then fudge the report to make one party look good and the other look bad.

    For example many years ago I was on a bicycle and got hit by a car that ran a red light. Because I had had a couple drinks, I got charged with DUI (even though I only blew a .05 and the threshold at the time was .08). The kid that hit me didn't get a ticket, and the report said that I caused the accident. I ended up having to fix the car that hit me.

    I imagine this was a similar situation. The cops chose to help the party who did a better job of kissing their ass, charged the other party with a crime, and then wrote a fictional report.

    Happens all the time.

  • DJK||

    What also happens all the time is that they just charge both parties for committing crimes. If you ram a car into another car with a child in it, that's assault with a deadly weapon. It seems unlikely that the Detroit DA wouldn't charge for that. Did they charge the second woman? If so, it lends evidence to Ra's story. If not, it casts some doubt.

  • sarcasmic||

    What also happens all the time is that they just charge both parties for committing crimes.

    Since when?

  • DJK||

    I'm speaking about prosecutors in general. I don't know about the specifics of the Detroit DA.

  • Joe_JP||

    The case is troubling especially the mandatory minimum that even if she is guilty comes off as an unfair sentence. I find it somewhat hard to second guess the jury; we are merely getting a summary. The other woman claims she did not viciously ram the woman's car. It was an accident. IDK. But, two years seems unjust. That isn't on them. It's on the mandatory minimum.

    I am very wary of "stand your ground" type laws generally however (speaking generally; I don't know the specifics of this state's laws) and this sort of scenario is an example. You have a potentially explosive situation in a public place with young children present and brandishing a gun is a dubious proposition. Her gun wasn't loaded but such laws apply to guns that are. And, the other person doesn't know it isn't loaded. If a person feels threatened when someone defensively shakes an unloaded gun, will they use their own gun to protect themselves as they see the situation?

    It also doesn't surprise me if the law here was applied in a different situation as it would be if the parties were different.

  • Mezzanine||

    It wasn't a public place.
    "The confrontation took place in July 2017 in front of Ra's mother's house on Sturtevant Street in Detroit"

  • Joe_JP||

    In front of someone's home on a street isn't a public place?

    The street part doesn't even make it sound like the curtilage of the house.

    Car drives past my house. It is on private land or something?

  • ||

    There was also this gem in the article:

    "And she [the 'victim'] testified at trial that she thought she had a right to be on that property [the accused's mother's home] and to demand answers as to why her child was not welcome there."

    Pointing a gun at someone so arrogant in their ignorance is justified.

  • ||

    That's the part that got me as well; not just arrogance in ignorance but willing to confirm it under oath.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    At this point, Ra feared for her child's safety...

    She doesn't get to do that. Only law enforcement can do that.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    When people ask me why I'm so anti government, it's nice to be able to point to stories like this.

  • DJK||

    It's hard to tell what happened here. The links cited (and pretty everything that shows up on Google) are from very left-leaning sources that only tell the story as presented by the Ra's attorney. That hardly seems like an unbiased statement of the evidence. Wayne County's online court records are pretty useless so that doesn't help.

    The case comes down to a question of whether Ra had a right to point the gun at Harvey. Ra claims that Harvey tried to harm her daughter and her mother. If true, that triggers Michigan's presumption of self defense. Michigan law allows defensive use of a firearm in the case that there is reasonable expectation that a violent crime against oneself or another is imminent. See MCL 780.951 and 780.972.

    It's also possible that Ra's daughter wasn't in the car and that Harvey didn't try to run down Ra's mother. If so, Harvey committed a property crime at worst. In such case, Michigan law makes it a crime to point a gun. Whether such a policy is good or bad is debatable. I'm a big gun rights advocate, but it may not be wise to give someone a legal right to escalate a property crime to a potentially deadly encounter.

    Anyway, it seems like this comes down to a matter of fact, which is why juries exist. Was Harvey actually a violent threat? We have an adversarial court system to resolve such questions. Yet it seems that all available sources are giving only one side of the story.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    See my post below. She's a well -known environmental activist. Here's The Root's headline, linked by Robby above:

    After Standing Her Ground, a Young Mother and Environmental Activist Could Be Forced to Give Birth in Prison

    What they're doing there, I saw.

    Also, note the lack of race in the headline, they mention her race in the article, but never once mention Chanel's race. Unfortunately, this case is now being muddied further by classic one-sided tactics.

    Maybe Ra is completely innocent, maybe she got railroaded, but the haranguing about her activism and race is a bit troubling when trying to suss out the facts.

  • DJK||

    We'd be much more able to figure these things out if the media reported on the court events (what evidence each side presented, etc.) instead of reporting only one party's account and turning the articles into a social justice crusade.

  • Longtobefree||

    but Detroit police consider the first person to file a report to be the victim in a dispute

    So buy a gun and a fast car?

  • Elias Fakaname||

    I would love to have a department representative on the stand to cross examine on that subject, I would destroy them.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Siwatu-Salama Ra is a 26-year-old black mother who watched in horror as an angry assailant

    I'm digging deep here, and I'm trying to get a feel for why Democracy Now!, the Root etc are particularly concerned about this case. This post starts the salvo with "black mother", but the other links don't talk much about her race, instead talk about her activism. I believe that the "assailant", "Chanel Harvey" (Robby misspells the name here):

    The assailant, Channel Harvey, was never charged.

    is black as well. So I'm not sure if the race angle has a whole lot of bearing here.

  • JuanQPublic||

    It's reasonable to consider that the angle isn't that she's merely black, but a legal, black gun owner who brandished the weapon in defense of a vehicular assault.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Yes, I would agree that's reasonable as well. I would say that the race angle is a more appropriate talking point when there's a discussion about gun ownership in regards to a specific race angle. The fact that she's black in this case seems to be incidental to the details of the case.

    Now, if NBC does a hit piece about all gun owners being angry white males, and the edit out the black faces in a crowd of gun owners, then some discussion about race becomes more pertinent... to me at least.

  • Rebel Scum||

    Ra was arrested for felonious assault.

    Brandishing a firearm in self defense is "felonious assault"? I don't think words mean what they think words mean.

  • DJK||

    It was self defense if someone was actually under threat of violence. That's a fact for the jury to determine. We've only heard Ra's account of the story (her kid was in a car and the other woman attacked that car), not the other woman's account. It's entirely possible that the car attack never happened or that Ra's kid was not in the car. If so, there was no justification for pulling a gun under Michigan law.

  • Zeb||

    It was self defense if someone was actually under threat of violence.

    So, the threat has to be actual? Regular people don't get to go on reasonable perception of a threat like police?

  • DJK||

    Reasonable perception of imminent threat to oneself or another person is the standard. It would be very difficult to convince a jury that someone attacking a car with no one in it (a property crime) meets that standard.

  • XM||

    The damage to the car would be physical evidence.

  • H-daddy||

    So many parts of this story are disturbing. One, it obvious that Michigan's mandatory sentencing laws are messed up. There was no violence so why is this lady going to prison? Why did the judge handle this case so poorly? He/she could have stepped in seen to it that justice was served. And why is this case even being brought to trial?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    One, it obvious that Michigan's mandatory sentencing laws are messed up. There was no violence so why is this lady going to prison?

    Most jurisdictions consider pointing a gun at someone "assault"*.

    *assuming it wasn't in self defense or sans any other mitigating factors.

  • ||

    Most jurisdictions consider pointing a gun at someone "assault"*.

    Most jurisdictions frequently do consider striking another vehicle, intentionally or not, a criminal offense as well.

    That, IMO, is the most bizarre aspect of this that lends to its credibility. Cars kill more people than guns but fender benders are so rote that effectively assaulting someone with a car is a non-crime.

  • DJK||

    Agreed that striking another vehicle is criminal. Whether someone is in it is the critical question for the self defense argument. If there was someone in it, there's a reasonable expectation of violence to that person and pulling a gun is justified under Michigan law. If there wasn't someone in it, it's a property crime and Michigan law does not treat pulling a gun as self defense. The only source I can find saying that someone was in the car is the defendant's lawyer and the left-leaning media outlets who interviewed her. These are not unbiased sources.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    No disagreement there. A cop can kill you with impunity if you simply try to drive away. I read Reason too. I'm not saying that the charges were appropriately or justly applied here, but this whole story comes off as heavily one-sided, and my spidey-senses begin to tingle when I read (in the links, not so much what Robby wrote) in great volumes about how Ra opposed this or that development project in the name of mother Gaia, without really reading much about what Harvey really argued in court. There's scant little about Harvey, but metric tons from Ra's defense attorney.

    Harvey may be 100% guilty here, but something brought a Detroit jury to believe Harvey over Ra, and I'm having trouble deciding what that was.

  • DJK||

    FWIW, no charges were filed against the other woman, according to Wayne County Court's online records. That suggests that a prosecutor did not find it worth charging for the alleged assault with a deadly weapon (crashing a car into a vehicle with a kid in it). That suggests one of the following: 1) the prosecutor didn't want to charge both (have you ever heard of a prosecutor undercharging?), 2) the prosecutor offered a plea deal for testifying in order to get the gun conviction, or 3) the prosecutor didn't find Ra's story of the car crash credible.

  • DJK||

    I found this information with a few minutes of searching. The media did not do their job here at all.

  • JuanQPublic||

    Mandatory sentencing is a core problem of the justice system, as it's an encroachment of the legislative branch into the judicial branch. It also marginalizes certain populations, whether intentional or not.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Mandatory sentencing is definitely a problem, but I really feel the charges themselves are what's in question here. Ie, should Ra have been charged at all, leaving aside the question of the sentencing itself.

  • DJK||

    No violence? Pointing a gun at someone is considered a violent act in every jurisdiction in the country. It doesn't matter if it's unloaded (the person on the other end of the gun has no way of knowing that). It doesn't matter if it's in self defense. It's a violent act. Self defense is not a statement that the act wasn't violent. It's merely a statement that the violent act was justified and thus not worthy of a conviction.

  • MichaelL||

    Yet brandishing a gun is not necessarily pointing it anyone! In this case, it was not specifically stated. I would consider the violence was initiated when a person rammed her car into another. The response to that violent act seems appropriate, The situation was ended without firing a shot. Most people, with any common sense, would not go to a gunfight without a gun. Claiming that the lady used violence, in a response to a, potentially, deadly act, is, in the same manner, making the assailant the victim, just as the cops did.

  • KevinP||


    "Given that it involves a legal gun owner protecting her family and her property, it would be nice to see the National Rifle Association speak up as well."

    Obligatory cocktail party slam noted.

    As an NRA member for the last 20+ years, I have noted that there are likely hundreds, if not thousands of similar incidents every year where the facts are disputed. It is not possible or desirable for the NRA to intercede in every such case, particularly when the details are complex, the full picture takes time to be revealed and are best handled by the criminal justice system, imperfect though it is.

    The NRA will almost never weigh in on these cases, especially where the facts are disputed, regardless of the race of those involved. Here is one rare exception where the NRA threw its support behind a young black mother who was arrested in New Jersey for carrying a concealed gun with a Pennsylvania permit:

    Shaneen Allen to Avoid Prison as New Jersey AG Revises Sentencing Guidance for Gun Law Violations

    http://www.nraila.org/articles.....violations

  • IsReasonReasonable||

    As shown again and again, the NRA only loves white gun owners. They are a business, like any other, promoting their brand and maximizing their revenue. The NRA is largely founded and run off the racialized fears of white people who fear black people. They do not defend legal gun owners who happen to be African American. It dilutes their brand.......

  • ||

    Fuck off dude. Several prominent members of the Union Army, including Grant himself, served as part of the NRA. It certainly went through some anti-black hysteria, but some of the Black Nationalist Organizations of the era had violent overthrow as platform and policy. Even then there's plenty to be said that the NRA wasn't solidly 'Republican' and 100% pro-gun until fairly recently and that, in fact, much of the firearms education activities the Association partakes in was done under the guise or pressure that, in lieu of gun control, gun owners should be educated. Compared to the American education system and the US military (the only two entities that would educate gun owners at a similar level) the NRA is entirely volunteer and exceedingly non-racist.

    The NRA now is, in part, a lobbying organization and they already get labeled in some minds as a terrorist organization. There's no real clear gun policy case here and very much a she said/she said domestic situation. Getting involved can and would look very much like a call for judicial activism. Saying they won't pick a horse because they're racist is petty, divisive, and regressive. There are black NRA members, are you going to label them Uncle Toms as well?

  • KevinP||

    "As shown again and again, the NRA only loves white gun owners. "

    Hilarious that you post this in response to my link where the NRA actively defended a black woman!

  • Paul Washington||

    Dear President Trump,
    Please pardon this dear lady as soon as possible. For added joy please pay for her neonatal care at a private clinic / hospital. :)
    Thank you.
    Paul

  • DJK||

    The President does not have the authority to pardon a state crime. That power rests with the Governor of Michigan.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    ?!! Really? I'mma have to look that up.

  • DJK||

    The President only has the power to pardon federal crimes.

  • DJK||

    In most states, the power to pardon state crimes lies with the Governor. In some states, it's with a tribunal of sorts. For instance, Minnesota puts pardon power in the Board of Pardons, which consists of the Governor, Assistant Governor (Deputy Governor? Don't remember what Minnesota calls them), and the Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. Pardons require a 3-0 affirmative vote. Michigan may have something like this instead of leaving all pardon power to the Governor.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    DJK is correct about that. Governor is the one she needs.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    "Her unjust incarceration during a high-risk pregnancy is just one example of the racism people of color in our country experience every day," he continued. "Her story underscores the reality that our struggles are all deeply connected—from environmental justice to the fight against racialized oppression in the criminal justice system."

    That's the statement from The Sierra Club. It seems everyone on her side is running the 100 yard dash to not talk about the details of the case. With all indicators showing that Harvey is black, would it have been racist to just send everyone home with no charges, or would it have been racist to apply the same charges to Harvey if we accept the defense team's description of events?

    This is precisely why sprinkling every discussion or dispute with race doesn't help clarify facts, it actually serves to muddy them.

  • ryukidn||

    Indeed. And, she's a muslim who is now claiming the prison is violating her religious freedom. CAIR is involved.

    The story smells of marxislamist contrivance. The Left is ALWAYS organizing to implement their agenda!

  • IsReasonReasonable||

    Totes. Marxists loves Islamists. You got us. You are so wise.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    They do. And he is.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    The left put her in jail to begin with.

  • Henry||

    Quite the contrary. It is always worthwhile to remind the left's favored protected classes that they are not immune from damage from the left's vituperation.

  • ||

    This is precisely why sprinkling every discussion or dispute with race doesn't help clarify facts, it actually serves to muddy them.

    Which is weird because they're both black. I assumed everyone was on her side because she's pregnant but then, I'm a bit on her side and I think pregnancy much before the due date (1-2 weeks) shouldn't be an issue.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    It's racist to imprison people for stuff that most other people don't get imprisoned for by virtue of their skin color. And it's also racist to draft laws and enforcement strategies that target groups of people based on race, which most gun laws are known to have done historically (either directly or indirectly, through enforcement).

  • Hank Phillips||

    Clearly a case of persons of cruller (with badges) railroading a person of color.

  • ryukidn||

    Democracy NOW! is your source?? They are a far Left marxist organization.

    You need to dig deeper into this story ...

  • khm001||

    According to democrats, only evil bitter clingers own guns and there are no good reasons to own or have a gun. To prove the point, they threw a black mother in prison for having the temerity to believe she too had the right to life, as well as a right to keep and bear arms to protect her own life. In other words, democrats are being their same old selves.

  • Metalib||

    Agree, while none of us have the transcripts so we are going with what we can find online or the press, so to speak, leads me me to believe you are better to cap em first or incapacitate their ability to get to the authorities first at least in Detroit. Kind of the progressive approach to suppressing the "others". Put a round in her radiator or block and call the authorities post haste and film it on your phone.

  • IsReasonReasonable||

    Were there only Democrats on the jury and in the criminal justice system? You should probably actually do a little thinking before you post these ignorant comments.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    No, but they were the main instigators of the anti-gun laws and increased enforcement that (not surprisingly) intentionally targets black people. Every study that has examined this issue concurs that the application of these laws are racially biased (i.e. can't be explained by demographics and socioeconomic factors alone).

    I'm sure you disagree, but this is probably not an accident. I think there's plenty of evidence that the racially motivated drafting of these laws and the racially biased application of these laws is by design. And we know which political party is mostly responsible here.

    Like it or not, racism is real. And you can't just pin it on half of the political spectrum. The other half has done nearly as much to promote racial bias and to use government force to deliberately oppress black people. This is why many groups have been established that reject not only Trump, but also the democrats and their policies. I don't support those groups or their tactics, but they're not exactly pissed off over nothing... and they have been quite vocal of the fact that they don't see the Democrats as allies -- if you'd only bother to listen.

  • khm001||

    Democrats are the ONLY reason there were such anti-gun legislation on the books at all.

  • mulp||

    Reagan and the California legislature were all Democrats when the modern era of gun control laws were signed in the 60s to take guns away from black people, like the Black Panthers for Self Defense???

    The Black Panthers wrote the script used today by the NRA.

    When signing gun control law to stop black people openly carrying huntiing rifles, Ronald Reagan said that there was "no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons," and that guns were a "ridiculous way to solve problems that have to be solved among people of good will." He then added that the bill "would work no hardship on the honest citizen."

    "In February of 1967, Oakland police officers stopped a car carrying Newton, Seale, and several other Panthers with rifles and handguns. When one officer asked to see one of the guns, Newton refused. 'I don't have to give you anything but my identification, name, and address,' he insisted. This, too, he had learned in law school.

    'Who in the hell do you think you are?' an officer responded.

    'Who in the hell do you think you are?' Newton replied indignantly. He told the officer that he and his friends had a legal right to have their firearms.

    Newton got out of the car, still holding his rifle.

    'What are you going to do with that gun?' asked one of the stunned policemen.

    'What are you going to do with your gun?' Newton replied."

  • tommhan||

    Insanity. Hard to believe a jury would convict this woman.

  • IsReasonReasonable||

    You are on the wrong website, brother. Totally believable that a jury would convict her. She's black! And an environmental activist. Let the environment protect itself with the help of the free market.

  • Seamus||

    This wasn't Simi Valley; it was Detroit, so she probably had a predominantly (or all) black jury. I'm not seeing how her race made her more likely to be convicted.

  • IsReasonReasonable||

    What sayeth the market? Surely this injustice can be corrected by market mechanisms.

  • IsReasonReasonable||

    Abolish the State!

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  • ||

    Were there kangaroos in that courtroom or was this a case of another bought and paid for judge???
    Either way this woman got screwed....

  • Henry||

    "it would be nice to see the National Rifle Association speak up as well."

    The NRA is largely irrelevant. They routinely lead from the rear, take the credit, then beg you for more donations. I suspect the Second Amendment Foundation would be the vehicle of choice here.

    Of course, it would also be nice for the ACLU to speak up as well, but that would be crazy talk.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    The constant deluge of racial bias against black people by the Democrat party just continues to confirm that they are, for the most part, a bunch of bigots. My hope is that the black constituents of the party can shed some light on the racism adopted by most white Democrats. Although, given the amount of racism against black people espoused by other black people, I'm not terribly hopeful here either. Democrats seem like they would, in theory, be receptive to the idea of curbing racism, but let's be real -- it's mostly just talk. Their actions speak much louder, and that includes a clear disregard of the racial disparity of the application of criminal law and the racial disparity of the application of their favored economic policies.

    Bottom line is that gun laws are racially motivated. The unfair execution of the law (and its inherent racial bias) is something most of them are well aware of. Yet none of them have ever offered a REALISTIC solution to these problems. My theory is that their gentrification (white-ification) strategies to inner cities can't be made complete without first rounding up the people who live there (mostly minorities). Gun laws are probably the most effective possible way of doing that.

  • Fnu Lnu||

    This sentence sounds like Canada. Punishing a person for defending themselves? (That's Canadian) Prosecuting a person for keeping the peace by showing a gun (loaded or unloaded) to intimidate the criminal perpetrator of a crime? (Very Canadian) Taking a criminal complaint from the perpetrator? (That's Canadian) and ignoring the perpetrators crimes.(Canadian again) Michigan is close to Canada. Little doubt that Canadian leftist Lunacy has infected Michigan - makes one wonder if Canadians are in the investigative police force ?

  • Mark22||

    I'm sorry, you haven't made your case with this confused little article.

    I'm going to assume that the legal system did its job and that she is guilty, as determined by a jury, and that race played no significant role in her conviction.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Because The System(TM) works! Goooood bless A-mer-ic-a....

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Just a quick rundown that demonstrates that although you may be right that the "legal system did its job", The System (TM) fails to adequately treat people appropriately:

    * the "assault" charge is not why she's in jail. The firearms charge is. That's a problem.
    * the firearms charge was added because she refused to accept a plea deal. The System (TM) is designed to increase the rate at which people are added to The System (TM). Both the executive and judicial branches are specifically incentivized in this way, which by itself is a problem.
    * plea deals only work in systems that have (by definition) excessive punishment. That's definitely a problem.
    * mandatory minimums are stupid, and count as one of the many ways excessive punishment can be delivered. It's not a problem, it's a scam.
    * juries are notoriously dumb. It's a shame The System (TM) so heavily relies on (manipulating) them.

    So yes, the legal system may have "done its job". It's very possible (although there's even some doubt about that, as the article explains re: unwarranted jury concerns). But its job is authoritarian at historically epic levels. That's why libertarians say suck it.

  • Fenrir Lokison||

    Well the firearm IS the reason why their is an assault charge. When she chose not to take the lesser charge, this allowed the full charge to be enforced. And it had to be enforced because there is not an assault charge without it.

    Plea deals can actually work in any system, even those without the excess punishment and here's why...A plea deal is more about (for lack of a better word) reward a person who has done wrong and who willingly accepts the consequences of his/her actions. Those in authority do want to have to go through evidence and waste time listening to falsehoods or excuses as to why a person did what they did, etc. There has been more than a few times in my life where my telling the truth of my wrong doing has spared me the well deserved punishment of what I did and more importantly, prevented me from having an even harsher punishment for lying or making those over me have to waste time getting to the truth.

    I don't disagree with mandatory minimums. I have little sympathy for the punishment someone receives for doing something illegal. They know not to do it, but chose to do so anyway, so no. I am not going to shed a tear for the fact they have to do a mandatory minimum.

  • J Mann||

    Criminy, Robby. I consider myself a libertarian, but Reason's news coverage is the most one sided I ever encounter, much worse than Fox or MSNBC.

    The jury was told two stories.

    Everybody agreed that Ra threw Harris's daughter out of a kids' party at her house and that Harris went to pick her up, at which point the two women exchanged angry words. After that, the jury was presented with two different stories:

    1) Harris says that while she was swearing at, but not physically threatening Ra, Ra went to her car, got her gun, cocked it, and pointed it at Harris. Harris said that while she was fleeing, she accidentally struck Ra's car with her own.

    2) Ra says that Harris struck her car first, at which point, Ra went to her car and retrieved her gun. She says Harris continued threatening Ra with her car, at which point Ra pointed the gun at her.

    I'm not saying you have to believe Harris, but it's absurd to write the story as if Ra's account is proven fact and not even discuss Harris's story.

    I'd strongly prefer that Reason at least PRETEND to be fair and balanced, as Fox does - it would create an obligation to at least go through the motions of reporting both sides of a disputed story. Even better would be to try and fail to be neutral on the underlying facts, like NPR or NBC or something. But it's exhausting to have to google the other side every time I read a Reason story.

  • Gary T||

    I think this article desperately needs an update and an epilogue.
    There are some pregnant questions still floating in the wind.
    It would be good to know whether this sentence/conviction wasn't nearly as outrageous as it seems from the semi-facts presented here alone.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    "The jury was told two stories."

    Yeah, even by Harris alone.

  • J Mann||

    D'oh! Harris is Ra's lawyer; Harvey is the other mom. Pretend I said "Harvey" above.

    Here's a link to an account of both Ra's and Harvey's account - the main issue seems to be whether a jury believed Harvey that the collision happened after the gun was pointed, or Ra that it was the other way around.

    http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-.....truck.html

  • Fenrir Lokison||

    I am assuming there was visual evidence. So I am assuming Harvey's story seemed more likely than not.

    However, if anything I would find odd is a police department's ability to claim that whoever comes in first is treated as the victim. I personally don't think the police should be doing that in cases such as this. Especially when there is another side to be told. I think this should be held true during ALL cases where evidence can be disputed (especially if there isn't a reliable witness to collaborate the story).

  • Star1988||

    Just like Cardell Hayes and Will Smith in New Orleans. If there is a dispute between two black people in America, and a gun is involved ... one ends up wounded or dead and the other ends up in prison. The 2nd amendment is a very effective tool for keeping blacks in graveyards and prisons.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Violating the 2nd amendment and imprisoning black people who violate procedural violations is an even more effective tool.

  • santamonica811||

    "...The Sierra Club and Black Lives Matter have expressed serious concerns about how this case was handled. Given that it involves a legal gun owner protecting her family and her property, it would be nice to see the National Rifle Association speak up as well..."

    The Sierra Club??? Interesting. Is that a local, or the national, Sierra Club? Is is common for the Sierra Club to weigh in, in a criminal case (unless the actions related to environmental issues, natch)???? And why have we not yet heard from the Ultimate Frisbee and Interior Decorating special interest groups?

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    She was apparently an activist for environmental issues. Maybe they're defending their "member"?

  • Fenrir Lokison||

    "Black Gun Owner Will Give Birth in Prison After Being Found Guilty Of Assault"

    I don't know why we want to claim she is innocent when she was ACTUALLY CONVICTED OF THE CRIME. It seems to me that despite the She Said/She Said and some lame excuse to twist jury's questions into meaning that they based their judgement sole on that situation, that they we able to find her guilty.

    Because to me, the evidence seems like the woman who hit the car did so trying to escape a mad woman. Personally, I would want to know what set the stage beforehand. And here is why...Whatever happened did not start when the daughter was picked up, it had to happen while the girl was visiting. Because, trust me, I am going to find out why my child is crying to me over the phone wanting to come home if she is in another person's custody.

  • mulp||

    Second amendment applies only to white Christians.

    You never see the NRA defending black people doing what white people do with guns, just white people get defended.

    After all, the problem with Reagan signing gun control laws was the law he signed to take guns away from black people in the 60s were also applied to white people by the GOP created 14th amendment.

  • J Mann||

    I don't think that's true, mulp, but I'm open to contrary evidence.

    The NRA's story is that they don't typically get involved when the facts are unknown, but they get involved when there's a chance to lobby for gun rights. So they supported Otis McDonald when he challenged Chicago's refusal to let him buy a handgun and Shaneen Allen when she was arrested for travelling through New Jersey with a gun permitted in her home state of Pennsylvania.

    I guess the question is whether the NRA supports white gun owners in situations like Ra's - where there's a factual dispute over whether use of a gun is legal. Do you have some examples in mind?

  • IMissLiberty||

    I was being considered for a jury in which the charges were "attempted murder," and "being a felon in possession of a handgun." I did the math. It sounded like a "3-strikes" case, and suspected it would involve mandatory minimums.

    My former boss, an attorney, had been on a jury where they were not told it was a three strikes case, and she felt betrayed by the judge when she found out, later, that she had sent a young father to jail for a relatively minor offense in which no one was hurt. Mandatory minimums meant 25 years or life (I can't recall). I wouldn't have minded sitting on that jury and finding out what they weren't telling us (I had a reasonable doubt).

    I was thanked and excused from that jury because I said that ignorance of the law was an excellent excuse and gave reasons why the law is a joke these days (unconstitutional, contradictory, politicized, and convoluted--with examples), so I missed the chance.

    Jury duty is the one place where your vote can really count.

  • Tiffany in KC||

    I have read several articles on this case that have suggested that race played a role in the jury's decision. The idea that the jury decided that a black woman couldn't feel fear and instead was motivated by anger. I am curious about the racial make-up of the jury and have been unable to find that information. I am sure it is out there but I am not finding it. Does anyone have that information or know where to find it?

  • O'please||

    Well, she should have some time in jail just for being stupid.........Who lets a 2 year old play in the car with a gun and amo in it ????? Lucky something really bad didn't happen. DUH !!!

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