More often than not, when we look at the prison system there is a statistically higher chance of the person being non-white. A staggering 2,306 people who are Black out of every 100,000 person imprisoned to be exact . What exactly does that tell us?
According to an analysis done by the ABC7 News I-Team , Black people are 4.2 times more likely to be arrested over a white person in the Bay Area alone. When you look at the previous statistic the study is not surprising at all.
With the recent tide of racial disparity that has been ravaging our country it has since worsened with the advent of the Trump administration. The hateful rhetoric that was spread during the term further divided the people and their liberties. Fortunately, the plight of Black America has not all been in vain.
As we enter a new year with a new administration, there is hope that we can reform the justice system that has failed so many. Furthermore, look into cases of those who have been wrongfully accused. Another epidemic that has crippled the Black community.
On June 4, 1983, a community in Chino Hills, California was rocked by the brutal murder of a family. Peggy Ryen, her husband Doug, their 11-year-old daughter Jessica, and an 11-year-old neighbor Christopher Hughes, lost their lives that night.
Despite several eyewitnesses reporting seeing multiple assailants that night, authorities were fixated on one suspect, Kevin Cooper. Cooper had unfortunately had his share of run ins as a burglar at the time. He had escaped a local prison and was on the run. During the night of the murder Cooper was in hiding at a vacant house near the Ryen home.
The sole survivor of the incident Josh Ryen,10 at the time, originally recalled three perpetrators that night. He believed his attackers to be white or Mexican. In a later court proceeding, Ryen would recant his account while being questioned; saying he only saw “one shadow” believed to be Cooper. Kevin Cooper was subsequently sentenced to death
Cooper has now spent more than half of his life spent on death row. Till this day he maintains his innocence. Over the years there have been calls to retest the evidence, which has been thought to be heavily contaminated. In addition to the contamination, is the lack of evidence actually placing Cooper at the scene of the crime.
To many, Cooper’s case has been often criticized as sloppy policework, but more poignantly, racially motivated. It is truly a tragedy on all sides of the spectrum. To those who have lost their lives in the crime, to the sole survivor of the fated night, and to a man whose life has been literally hanging in the balance for over 30 years.
It goes without saying, I definitely think there is something that speaks volumes about Cooper’s case and many who share the same profile. As someone who is Asian-American, it is painful to see people of a different ethnicity struggle to just exist in a country that simply has not cared for them. The systematic racism of this country runs deep, and it has only marginally changed over the years. Cooper and those like him, have brought a perspective that is only known to the Black community: a justice system that is fraught with corruption.
For those who stay optimistic for Cooper, celebrities have come to advocate for his case. From the likes of Kim Kardashian to our Vice President Kamala Harris.
I personally absolutely abhor the Kardashians. But if Kim Kardashian seeks to use her celebrity in a way that can help a marginalized community, I’m all for it.
The significance of Kevin Cooper’s case has been an eyeopener. It is asking us to question the racial narrative that has been so imbedded into our society. Perhaps, it us leading to a catalyst for our country to rise above the mistakes of the past. Maybe it is then, that we can move towards a better, more progressive future.
Read the full and compelling CBS interview with Kevin Cooper and Josh Wren here.