On January 12, 2010, Jordan Miles, an 18 year old African American honors student from Pittsburgh PA, was walking home at night when he was approached by three undercover police officers. The officers asked him, "Where's your gun, money and drugs?" Miles assumed the men were trying to mug him, so he ran. The officers allegedly caught him and beat him.
Miles had not been doing anything illegal when first approached by the police. He had not been doing drugs or fighting. He was merely walking home. The officers' only reason for stopping him was the color of his skin. They were dressed in everyday attire. Miles was not running from the law, he was running for his safety. Unfortunately, this was enough to get a hard beating from the law enforcement of Pittsburgh.
For Jordan Miles, the actions of the police were completely unjustified. It is easy to see the bigotry that caused this event. In other cases, it is not the question of whether or not a crime was committed, but rather how should the criminal be punished.
Tamara Graham and William Thornton were in two completely separate car accidents. In both accidents, two people were killed. Neither of the drivers were at all impaired by drugs or alcohol, however Thornton did not have a driver's license. Graham, a well-off Caucasian 42-year-old woman, received a sentence of probation and community service. Thornton, an 17-year old African American boy, received 30 years in prison.
Where their crimes so different? Of course, Thornton deserves to be punished for driving without a license along with two charges of vehicular homicide, while Graham was only guilty of double vehicular homicide. But is driving without a license really worth a 30 year difference in punishment?...