The history of the United States is littered with numerous cases of gross miscarriage of justice.
The Scottsboro Boys case stands out as one of the worst instances. Two White prostitutes falsely accused nine Black teenage boys of rape in Alabama, in 1931. There were numerous trials, mostly by an all-White jury, in which at least seven of the boys –two were juveniles– were convicted over and over again.
They were initially sentenced to death. A national outcry halted their executions. Some of the witnesses later admitted that the story had been concocted; yet, the boys were convicted again. Most served long jail sentences.
One was shot while in jail; one escaped and was pardoned many years later after he was captured. They never had their day in court in terms of a free trial before an impartial jury.
Also horrendous was the August 28, 1955, murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till in Mississippi for talking with a White woman. Till was kidnapped by the woman’s husband, Roy Bryant and his brother J.W. Milam. Till was beaten to a pulp and one eye was gouged out. He was then shot in the head and dumped in the Tallahatchie River after being weighed down by a 70-pound cotton gin fan. Bryant and Milam were later acquitted of the murder of Till. Knowing they could not be tried again, they confessed to the murder in a magazine article.
Countless African Americans lost their lives for merely being accused of looking at a White woman or for being falsely accused of rape. White men raped Black women with impunity and were never charged or tried. Black people were not entitled to be protected by the laws of the land.
Now in the 21st century, a District Attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr., is contemplating a Southern strategy in New York City. While the Dominique Strauss-Kahn sex attack case is of lesser magnitude compared to those in the history above-reviewed, there are adequate grounds for comparison in terms of the alleged victim being denied her day in court if DA Vance prevails on his current path. Vance is trying to decide the alleged sexual assault case in the media rather than allowing jurors to hear the accuser.
For the last few weeks DA Vance’s operatives have been publicly discussing the prospects of dropping charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn for the alleged sex attack on a Guinean female immigrant who was employed in a Manhattan hotel as a maid.
All sides agree that Strauss-Kahn discharged his semen inside the hotel room. Strauss-Kahn’s attorneys suggest that any sexual contact was “consensual.” What’s the likelihood of “consensual” sex between these two individuals that didn’t know each other and are of such vastly disparate social status and wealth?
Who would have proposed such “consensual sex” in the scenario Strauss-Kahn would have us believe? The woman? Just picture that scenario. Why would an attractive 32-year-old woman propose sex, with no material benefits, with an aged and unattractive man like Strauss-Kahn? The purported “consensual” sex certainly could not have been on account of his looks, judging by the photos of Strauss-Kahn.
Was it because the woman was a prostitute? That might have been a possible logical scenario that Strauss-Kahn’s operatives would have welcomed and may explain why The New York Post published what might be a bogus story –perhaps planted by Strauss-Kahn’s operatives– claiming that the alleged victim was a prostitute.
That New York Post “story” was ridiculed in a commentary article in The Washington Post. The alleged victim also promptly filed a law suit against The New York Post immediately after the story was published. Also recall that The New York Post is published by Rupert Murdoch; the same man who is now being grilled in London for his unethical journalism which forced him to shut down The News Of The World.
What’s more, if the woman had engaged in prostitution, how much money did Strauss-Kahn pay her? Why has he not made that claim? And if he had paid her for her “services” what motive would the woman have to accuse her “client” of rape?
On the other hand, was the purported “consensual” sex proposed by Strauss-Kahn? Under what scenario? How could there be “consent” from the alleged victim? How would have Strauss-Kahn even thought of proposing sex with such a beautiful young woman, while clearly aware of his limited aesthetical attributes?
Did he intimidate the alleged victim by flouting his power and wealth and notoriety as chief of the International Monetary Fund? Did he suggest that her country, Guinea, might not be eligible for IMF loans, leading to suffering of her people unless she submitted to sex?
Preposterous as this suggestion might sound, it’s less outlandish than the thought that the attractive 32-year old hotel worker submitted, with no clear material gains, to “consensual” sex with Strauss-Kahn.
The woman in fact has consistently claimed that she was sexually attacked by Strauss-Kahn. DA Vance presented the evidence to a grand jury and an indictment was returned.
There has since been a series of “leaked” stories about the woman’s past, including her association with an alleged drug dealer and her reported false claim of previously being raped in Guinea. She also reportedly discussed her case and Strauss-Kahn’s presumed wealth with the alleged drug dealer; yet this is not as damning as it sounds, given the fact that it was after not before the alleged rape. She is not stupid and of course knows that she would eventually be entitled to something, if indeed, as she alleges, she was sexually attacked.
Finally, what have these media reports –which could have only come from the DA’s office or Strauss-Kahn’s operatives– to do with the alleged sexual attack by Strauss-Kahn in that hotel room?
If the alleged victim is to be “tried” for associating with an alleged drug dealer or lying about being gang raped while in Guinea, on her immigration application, then why not deal with those matters after the trial of Dominique Strauss-Kahn for allegedly sexually attacking the woman?
Strauss-Kahn’s accuser must have her day in court. DA Vance shouldn’t emulate the bad old days of the South when Black people never got their day in court.