Monday, January 28, 2008

If the "O" man became President

would the following kind of shit be happening in A-merry-ca?

Please read this story from the "land of the sun" and tell me what you think:

"Two cars collided last year on Cinco de Mayo.
Bryant Wilkderson,Laura Varker, and Felicia Edwards' lives changed forever. Bryant Wilkerson's life changed when he collided with a drunk driver. Considering the date, you might assume that at least one of the drivers was drunk — and you'd be right. Laura Varker was 17 years old, and she'd been tubing down the Salt River all day with her eight best girlfriends. Their T-shirts all read "Cinco de Drinko." Even an hour after the accident, Varker's blood-alcohol level was 0.09, over the legal limit for adults. And, as an underage driver, she was in violation of the law by having any amount of alcohol in her system.

One of Varker's girlfriends, 15-year-old Felicia Edwards, didn't drink a drop. But it was Edwards who died when Varker's Yukon Denali hit another car and flipped over and over like a tumbleweed before coming to a horrifying stop on the Bush Highway north of Mesa. Edwards was thrown from the SUV and pronounced dead at the scene.
When sheriff's deputies called Felicia's mother that terrible day, her first question was, "Was she wearing a seat belt?" She wasn't. Instead, Felicia had been in the back of the SUV holding down the tubes — a decision she paid for with her life.
That's a tragedy.

But only in its aftermath did the collision become a travesty. That's because, even after blood tests showed that Varker was legally drunk, and even after sheriff's investigators learned that it was she and another girl who'd flashed a fake ID and bought Coors Light and malt liquor for the group, Varker hasn't been charged with anything. Not underage consumption. Not drunken driving. And certainly not manslaughter. Instead of charging the affluent white girl, the sheriff's officers arrested the other driver, a black man, a guy who wasn't even legally drunk.

Bryant Wilkerson was a 28-year-old postal service clerk with nothing on his record worse than a fender-bender. That day, he was merely making a U-turn, in a place where U-turns are permitted, when a 17-year-old party girl in her daddy's SUV tried to speed around him.
Wilkerson's life has been upended. He's been charged with nine felony counts, including manslaughter and aggravated assault. He spent three months in jail because he didn't have the money to post bail, and he lost his job because of that. Now under strict curfew and random alcohol and drug screenings for the past five months, he has to get permission from the court just to attend his daughter's band concerts in the evening.
He's facing 21 years in prison.

Meanwhile, Laura Varker is posing on her MySpace page in a bikini.

That day on the Bush Highway, Bryant Wilkerson did one thing wrong. Admittedly, it was really wrong. He was making a U-turn — which, again, was legal — when he saw Varker's Denali come out of nowhere on his left side. According to the sheriff's report, witnesses suggest Varker saw his little Hyundai slowing and crossed over the yellow lines into the center lane to pass him. At least one witness, a friend of Varker's who was just behind her on the highway, told deputies that the other car was slowing too dramatically for her to stop; Varker had to lurch into the center lane just to avoid rear-ending him.

(Now, you'd think Varker would allow plenty of distance between herself and other drivers. Just seven months earlier, as a 16-year-old with a brand-new license, Varker had caused another accident. Police records say she failed to stop in time and slammed into another car on Cactus Road, which then hit the car in front of it.)

But back to Cinco de Mayo. As he went into the turn, Wilkerson didn't see the SUV veering into the center lane until it was too late. Amazingly, Wilkerson's Hyundai was just fine, other than losing its bumper. It grazed the SUV and hung on to finish the U-turn.
In their rear-view window, though, Wilkerson's passengers were horrified to see the Denali flipping over and over, according to the sheriff's report. And that's when, Wilkerson admits, he made a really big mistake. He panicked and took off. "I freaked out," he says. "That's no excuse; that's so not me. But I had the people in my car yelling, 'Go, go, go!' and I just freaked out and panicked." Sheriff's deputies caught up with him just 10 minutes later.

Because he fled the scene, it's understandable that the sheriff's deputies assumed that Wilkerson had something to hide. Their reports note that he smelled heavily of alcohol, that he'd admitted to smoking pot that morning, that he seemed drunk. The problem is, all the tests came back well under the legal limit. Wilkerson blew a 0.049 on the sheriff's Breathalyzer. By the time the sheriff's officers did a blood test, which is widely considered much more accurate, Wilkerson's blood-alcohol content was only 0.01. The presence of marijuana was just as minimal. Wilkerson had only trace amounts in his bloodstream.

Never mind. The sheriff's deputies had made up their minds: Wilkerson was to blame for the crash. They arrested him, charging him with manslaughter, aggravated assault, leaving the scene of a fatal injury accident, unlawful flight from law enforcement, and five counts of endangerment. (A sheriff's spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.)
He would spend the next three months in Maricopa County's Fourth Avenue Jail — in the maximum-security wing. His wife tried her best to raise bail, but $54,000 is a lot of collateral when you're a renter.

Wilkerson learned in jail that the SUV driver had been legally drunk. He'd initially been so shocked by the accident, he says, that he figured he must be to blame.
But when he heard that, he began to wonder just what was going on. He had only a public defender and no money for a lawyer. He questioned whether he was getting a fair shake.
Wilkerson contacted the Reverend Oscar Tillman, president of the NAACP's Maricopa County branch, who had much the same reaction. Tillman couldn't believe what he was hearing...."

I want to thank my man Christopher Spadone (I think he is an Obamaholic, he tried to recruit me) for sending me this story from The Phoenix News Times.


Ann Brock said...

Field this is unreal.

MartiniCocoa said...

A-merry-ca is a helluva ride, ain't it?

President Obama can't stop thatkind of insanity.

field negro said...

What bothers me about this story is the obvious abuse of prosecutorial discretion by the DA in that county. As someone who has to do battle with these types of....well let me not say what I am thinking) on a daily basis, I find it bothersome.

It's what set me off in the Jena 6 case. The damn DA in that parish down in Louisiana,and his arrogance and disregard for the letter of the law.

Donald said...

Field, This shit is right in my back yard. I live in Maricopa County, Arizona and it's buck wild as far as the County DA and Sheriff here. The Sheriff has been wack for years, while the DA is a newby but both are power hungry and they cover their asses very well. The craziness I see happen here is nothing nice and no one is immune.
I'm sure you've heard of Tent City.

Anonymous said...

Both of them need to be jailed. Driving with any weed in your system is a crime and leaving the scene of an accident is too. Blowing a 0.09 at age 17 is too. I would like to see both of them charged with Manslaughter, they both behaved recklessly that day IMO. BTW, this is reason number 8 million inexperienced drivers should not be driving SUVs. They all probably survive this accident in a sedan.

Anonymous said...

A split second and a bad decision slammed the brakes on this man's life.

Clearly we're seeing branded justice here.

The more things change the more they stay the same.

kid said...

Hey Field it's cool what you are doing trying to expose some light on the brothers case . Maybe after this exposure, he might get a fair deal. Now the link you had about the foreclosures,THAT'S MY NEIGHBORHOOD! I live in Mount Pleasant(Jim Brown old Neighborhood, 147th St.) The link you connected to is called breibart, not to be confused with bartcop.This is the same site that had Whoopi commenting on Al Sharpton about the Duke case. This is a republican blog. Whoopi was against Al on the Duke case and her "friends" at breitbart call her a nappi headed you know what. Look at the comments on the site . They say the people that lost their houses were dumb. I told my republican friend at work that only 2,000 people lost their homes, look at the amount in the blog. It's a problem now because white people are losing their homes. In a article in the local paper the Plain Dealer(we call it the Pain Dealer) the columnist a brother made it known that the people lost their house because of gambling or buying expensive cars. I wonder how those white folks lost their house? Read the comments on the blog. By the way they spelled my councilmans name wrong, its Zach Reed , not Zach Reid. The local media was trying to get him fired for going to the Warehouse District to party , with white women . I kid you not , later.

Anonymous said...

Black people are being brutalized by the criminal justice system like this all the time, every day, in every way. It is matters like these that make the question of Black support for Obama's presidency bid a conundrum. On the one hand, I think our support for him is critically necessary. It is a visible sign of life in the souls of Black folk. Our support for him denies the diseased impulse of the Bob Johnsons of our community who would burn their brothers to light a path for their masters.

On the other hand,however valuable I might find this spiritually, its value is symbolic and Black people like the one in your post aren't being fucked symbolically. They are being fucked for real. As much as I want to see Barack in the white house, I don't think that he or any other Black person (no disrespect intended, field) can, even with the best intentions, take that office and tend aggressively to the issues that matter to me most. Any serious attempt would likely end in his being shot or some more creative but equally decisive end to his term. It's like I'm betting everything on a horse and wanting him to run the race of his life all the while knowing that there'll be precious little in it for me should he cross the finish line first. So, the conundrum of Obama support remains for me but it's okay. Your post reminds me of the locus and the focus of the real struggle. Thanks, field.

field negro said...

Blackintheusa I am well aware of tent city and those pink prison unis.Is that racist ass sheriff still there?

Wow kid,thanks for the insight (this is why I blog)
And I am aware of that news blog.I think Drudge uses them.But I hope more people do read the comments after the story.Folks need to know who is out there.

Jp,he (the driver) should have been charged with leaving the scene of an accident and whatever similar statute they have in Az. Not the life changing shit he was charged with.

NEWGIRL, that was a great comment.I co-sign damn near one hundred percent.

Anonymous said...

hell yeah it would still happen. why would the o man make a difference? it's not about race for him. or do you think he's just saying that to get in? like academics who say that, while waiting to get tenure, they play their conservative cards. then, when they get tenure, they'll be radical?

Anonymous said...

Field isn't driving under the influence of the 420 DUI also in most places? Plus both of their recklessness caused Felicia death so shouldn't both of them be held to account? If he's sober maybe he stops a little more gradually and the if the girl sober she can react to it better. I have very little patience for impaired driving and would like to see both parties pay a heavy price for their terrible decisions that day. I would like to see both treated the same.

Anonymous said...

Let be clear, I do think that DA and the police, who I don't care what they wrote in their report because it seems to be they lack objectivity here, are dispensing different justice based on the socio-economics. That Phoenix cop the girl family hired is full of shit BTW. On a 4 lane road pulling into a bus pullout and crossing the lanes going the same direction would be infinitely more dangerous than just doing a U from the left turn. What school did he get his engineering degree from BTW? I want to see both of sit in 6x9 for a few years, not 21, thinking about the selfish decisions they've made that cost someone their life.

kid said...

By the way cus I like you to find my blog at, . Every little bit helps. I'm trying to git into the afrosphere and heard it took 3 months , can I git a little hook up thanks.

Anonymous said...

What in the Sam Hill? Aside from all the racial shit going why was he sitting in jail for three months? See now if that was my man, we would be eating ramen noodles and drinking water for breakfast lunch and dinner every day, cable would be off-if we still had a tv, phone would basic, life would be at bare minimun. The pawn man-would be on a first name basis. As quiet as its kept if I got to sell some choca on the side with a list of the prices of what you get for your money, sell some eggs on Ebay with pics of my kids in the detail box to get money for a lawyer and bail--hey it is what it is. I'm going to save what's mine. And if I can't well-then I'm going to light fire to those who have wronged me. Yeah, I got issues. But you'd never know if you looked at me. lol I live in Maine-it's one of the whitest states in America, so far nothing's happened but I waiting cuz its goan happen eventually and I'll be time enough for these mofos when it does.Don't let the light skin fool ya! Leaving the secne of the crime is a no-no and when you're black is a fucking no-no. He should've known that shit from the jump. It's a shame black ppl have to be on own guard so much but we do so don't give them an excuse because they don't need much. And I'll be telling that to my kids leave Becky and Timmy alone because I don't want to have to kill a motherfucker and have to get the BBQ pit ready because I'm not going to jail over no bs. And that's real.

SagaciousHillbilly said...

Not surprising at all. Welcome to Amurikkka.

Things like that always remind me of the punchline to a sick old joke white men used to tell. . . "Preacher, how fast was that negro going when he backed into ya?"

Yes, I do belive that an Obama Administration could at least curb bullshit like that.

Allison Miranda said...

This article trips me out, but does not surprise me. If I wasn't worried about the almost inevitable harassment charges I would receive, I would try to find her MySpace page just to leave a mean comment on it. I really dislike some uber-privileged, spoiled (White) kids. Their parents know everybody, so their kids get away with everything, then they slide into the workplace with those same "I'm going to get my way anyway" attitudes.

Now, for dude leaving the scene of an accident, STUPID, STUPID, STUPID! Come on, man-forget listening to people saying "Go, go, go!" And yes, even though the traces of narcotics in his system were trace amounts, dude is in Arizona, with a racist nut-job as a Sheriff! I do hope he can get out of jail though. Messed up thing is, when he gets out of jail, he's lost a good job with the post office...

Now Sheriff and DA, what did you accomplish?? Besides still letting little Laura be able to go off to college and likely have another accident?

I thought a lot of states enacted the law where teens under 18 couldn't ride in the car in groups without an adult? Obviously not in AZ.

Allison Miranda said...

Just read the article (forgot to earlier). Interesting how the Varker family has already retained a high-priced legal team, and probably bribed/blackmailed Laura's friends into not talking to the police.

Another thing: why would they want/need the opinion of a retired cop? Possibly b/c they KNOW this cop?? Couldn't they just use the expertise/witness of the cops at the scene?

It's unfortunate that Mrs. Edwards is suing Mr. Wilkerson and the Varker family. It seems like she'd actually get something from the Varkers anyway. Thanks to his harsh stint in jail, Wilkerson lost his good job at the post office, and has to work at a Chevron...

Anonymous said...

This is not at all surprising, but he really didn't do himself any favors by fleeing. What is w/ black men in Hyundai's and critical thinking? lol. If his mates urged him to flee, there must have been something amiss. No one guilt free leaves the scene of a deadly accident. Shame that only the best of lawyers would have stood a chance at saving him.

Anonymous said...

This article shouldn't surprise any of us. But what strikes is the consistency of DAs in the application or misapplication in either the letter or spirit of the law when it comes to blacks, especially with respect to murder cases. In coordinating these high-profile cases, it seems the true motivation is neither good law practice or justice but the DA's efforts to get a conviction and to get the main credit for it so he or she can move up to a higher office as state legislator or congress person.

Do you see this happening across this country, or at least in Philadelphia?

field negro said...

Jp,I think he blew a .0049 which is below the legl limit here

Kid,I will check your site later,I am in court and doing the Backberry thing. But those "spear"folks are tough.Hell I was one of the founders and I bet I couldn't get out of that three month rule.But holla at me after your three months.

Anon.9:23AM you are off the chain up in Maine!LMAO:)

Randi523, she isn't worth it.

Macdaddy,I see out of control ADA'S every dat. Even here in a large city like Philly. So I can only imagine what they are doing to folks in small towns all over A-merry-ca.

The Christian Progressive Liberal said...

More expedient to lock up the brotha.

He didn't help his case by taking off. He should have pulled over and waited for the cops; hell, he should have whipped out a cell phone and called them.

Who knows what the white girl said to the cops? It might be why homeboy got arrested and booked, while she poses on MySpace.

Edwards' mom won't get anything out of the brotha - but Volker's family sounds like they got cheddar, so she should go for it. However, Volker will also be seen on an episode of "Intervention" because she will continue to pull shyt like this until the authorities will have no choice but to lock her up.

Screw the NAACP - Call Color of Change; you know what they did for the Jena 6.

grown said...

Damn Field. Like I needed yet ANOTHER reason to dislike over privileged, dumb@ss, drunken white girls...

Now, brother was wrong for fleeing the scene but MANSLAUGHTER?! That's a bit extreme. I agree that both should get some sort of punishment but it needs to be relative to the severity of the crime.

Anonymous said...

So thats the standard, huh. You want Obama to stop all manner of injustice?

Let Obama run the country...we got Al and Jesse for stuff like this.

If only they would just DO that and stop feeding their egos, they could cover a lot more ground.


JP- re: the marijuana DUI.

According to the law, he was under the influence because Arizona has (along with a small handful of other states) an insanely retarded statute that counts having THC metabolites in your system as being under the influence. These metabolites can stay in one's system for as much as a month, and are not known to cause any impairment. Unless it was like 11 in the morning and the incident happened in the early afternoon he was not impaired by the marijuana. It is relevant only so far as it is a demonstration of how drug Prohibition is used by law enforcement to imprison at whim.

Anonymous said...

Is there some sort of legal defense fund being set up for this man? Are people acting locally on his behalf?

west coast story said...

The guy fled the scene of a fatal accident. He had traces of alcohol and MJ in his system. That's really dumb. If you are black and flee under those circumstances, you might as well be institutionalized for having no sense at all.

Don said...

Props to Spadone. Good stuff.

Christopher Chambers said...

I don't even think this would happen if McCain was president. It likely would if Hillary was, and DID when Bill was (let's not kid ourselves).

If the person in the White House has integrity, if even he/she isn't in your policial party, the example they set flows down to every dickhead out there.

Anonymous said...

OFF TOPIC: Toni Morrison has publicly endorsed Obama. (AP wire story.)

Anonymous said...

Good God. So, correct, he shouldn't have fled the scene BUT he needs a defense committee. This kind of thing happens more often than is reported, I am sure.

Anonymous said...

OK Billy, thanks. So he wasn't high at the time.

west coast story said...

Newsflash: The criminal justice system treats black people differently than white people. Or more accurately, poor people are treated differently than rich people. If this had been a poor white person who fled, they'd be rotting in jail too.

My point is that black people need to remember that we don't live in a country that recognizes we have equal rights. That said, running from the scene of a crime (or in this case, a serious car accident) or running from the cops can be a death sentence for us. This is something that a lot of black people are taught from a young age. Unfortuntately, some folks didn't get the memo. This isn't about blaming the victim. This is about having street smarts.

In the meantime, you fight like hell to make things better.

Anonymous said...

BTW. Guilani is done. Let their be rejoicing.

Yaadblog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yaadblog said...

What a country, Thank God I'm Jamaican

Anonymous said...

Yo Field. I just gotta say that Bryant here just happens to be my boss at the local gas station. I know him to be a good, hard working individual. The system out here is just all kinds of out of wack. Always 'blame the brother for some crap that goes down' while this little beyatch with mommy and daddy's money and connections gets away free and clear. Fair trial my ass. There is so much just well, crap in the air about all this. This little girl was phucked up and isnt the driver responsible for the passenger? She was messed, yea he was a little bit, but still under the legal limit. Can ya blame a brother for leaving the scene when out here the fingers were automatically pointed at him? This whole thing is just crap if you ask me. Bryant Wilkerson should be released with no charge other than fleeing the scene as that was his only mistake even though I understand why he did. All I can voice out there to anybody reading this, is he is really a good hard working guy just like a lot of you out there, just doing what you can to try to make yourself a living. But its all up to the faulty system to decide the next 21 years of this poor guy's life :( Lets let these over-paid, under-caring white people decide his fate... seems a little bit messed up, and Im a white guy, but in all honesty I cant stand all the 'oh my god he is black, and oh my god he is white' I see all as equal, who cares about skin color ._. just seems like its being taken back to the days of segregation especially with this case. In the end, what did Bryant do wrong other than fleeing a scene? To condem him of all of these felony charges is just absurd! I still fail to see how some good hard working person gets stuck with facing a life sentence for something he was not at fault for in any way ._. I do have intents on next week, going to the court to show my support for him. Like I said before, I fail to see how so much crap can happen to such a good hard working person...

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