Prison Radio
Mumia Abu-Jamal

The Trayvon Martin case has rushed around the globe at cyber speed, due in large part to social media.

It had all the markings of a national tragedy, and of course, is an ongoing one, despite recent charges.

But what is not considered, is what has come before.

Florida has a long and nasty history of events such as these, but often the antagonist is a cop, not a civilian playing cop, as here.

In May, 1980, Miami’s Liberty City erupted into an orgy of flame, rage and righteous indignation, stemming from the police beating of 33-year-old Arthur McDuffie, a black insurance executive.

McDuffie wasn’t just beaten–he was beaten to death–by 4 cops! An all-white jury later acquitted all 4 –of all charges!

My remembrance of McDuffie could’ve been substituted by a slew of other names–most forgotten by all but family or friends–casualties of a long and dirty war waged by white supremacists–whether armed by the state or privately.

People like 21-year old Randy Heath, killed by a cop in Hialeah (Florida)–and acquitted. Timothey DeWayne Thomas–anybody remember the name?


Nineteen years old, and slain while moving through his own neighborhood of Over-the-Rhine, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

His killer? A white cop, who, though later indicted, walked free–acquitted.

Indeed, the so-called ‘MOVE Bombing’, when men, women and babies of MOVE were targeted, attacked and bombed on May 13th, 1985.

Eleven people–bombed and shot to death.

There were no acquittals–for there were no charges! No charges in a massacre!

Yes, there were distinctions–but they are distinctions without a difference.

For all these cases speak to the cheapness of Black life, and the American way of acquittal after acquittal after acquittal of white killer cops (or in the MOVE Massacre on Mother’s Day–no charges at all).

In the Trayvon Martin case, we have a guy playing cop–and a dead 17-year-old Black boy.

Close enough.