Last week I also had the privilege of conducting an interview with Dr. Delores Jones Brown. Dr. Brown is the Practitioner in Residence at the University of New Haven. Dr. Brown was able to help me see a different side of the way the young men were looked at in the case. Its a case of Beauty and the Beast. The beauty, in this case, is the victim and the beast(s) are the young men accused of sexual assault. The only real reason why they’re seen as a beast is due to their skin color. Black people are normally seen as “animals” and violent. Its the racial prejudice that feeds into cases such as this one.
The main focus of my research has been to figure out whether the juvenile justice system has improved(or not) since the case of the Exonerated Five. Dr. Brown stated that “the juvenile justice system is heavily flawed. Police pressure guilt onto someone then they’re moved into the system where they’re still presumed guilty.” Most people tend to believe that since someone is being arrested and end up in the system, they committed the crime without seeing the facts. She showed me that the juvenile justice system hasn’t necessarily changed tremendously as it is still failing young people.
On Halloween night in 2019, there had been an assault and robbery in the Carroll Gardens area of Brooklyn, NY. Three African American boys, one as young as 12 years old, were swarmed by a bunch of police officers due to the fact that they were suspected of committing the crime. The boys were bombarded with police officers, nobody telling them what they did wrong. This had to have terrified them. The only reason I could think of as to why they were treated this way was because of the color of their skin. Blacks are seen as that “animal, beast, aggressor” all the time. It doesn’t shock me that they were picked up. But it also amazes me that they were held for hours without being able to talk to their parents. If anything this sounds like a similar error to what was made in the Central Park 5 case.
The system is failing our youth in more ways than one. It stems from our history and it is up to the new generation to break the horrible cycle that allows our youth to be put in the system from young ages.
Don’t forget to tune into my Senior Project Presentation next week Friday, June 12 at 1:30 pm.
Thank you for tuning in!