A white Manhattan judge made some very cringe-worthy, yet brutally honest comments about Black Lives Matter before sentencing a black Harlem man to 24 to 26 years in prison.
Tareek Arnold, 24, was convicted of attempted murder for shooting another black man multiple times at close range last year. This wasn’t Arnold’s first brush with the law; he also has a prior gun possession conviction, according to the New York Post.
“Black lives matter,” Justice Edward McLaughlin told Arnold before the sentencing. “I have heard it, I know it, but the sad fact is in this courtroom, so often what happens is manifestations of the fact that black lives don’t matter to black people with guns.”
When defense lawyer Mark Jankowitz requested the minimum sentence of 10 years because Arnold has a 1-year-old son, McLaughlin was even more cutthroat when he retorted, “Do not ask a judge in this room, in this building, or in this system to somehow make amends for the people who commit violent acts and who by their violent acts wind up leaving people orphaned, abandoned, fatherless, etc.”
The sad reality is that, despite being harsh, McLaughin’s remarks ring true. It’s hard to maintain the validity of the Black Lives Matter movement when the very people whose voices activists are fighting for make counterproductive decisions.
Nationwide, black communities battle gang activity and gun violence flooding their neighborhoods. A prime example is the shooting death epidemic dubbed “Chi-Raq” playing out in Chicago.
It isn’t just “thugs” killing each other off in gang wars; innocent black lives are being harmed and taken during these senseless acts of violence.
A 13-year-old Chicago boy was shot and severely injured last weekend. Earlier this month, a 12-year-old boy and his 14-year-old cousin were targets of a drive-by shooting in their California neighborhood and just last year the tragic death of a 9-year-old Chicago boy who was lured into an alley and shot multiple times on his way home from school left the country disgusted and devastated.
The aforementioned tragedies and countless others were not committed by members of law enforcement but by fellow members of their communities.
Statistically, there is no significant phenomenon of black people committing crimes against each other more in comparison to other races, but where the notion of “black on black crime” becomes relevant is when society turns a blind eye to the marginalization and disenfranchisement of blacks because they believe they are the cause of their own disparity.
Arnold’s case serves as a textbook example for those who denounce Black Lives Matter to use against the movement to invalidate its cause which McLaughlin inadvertently pointed out with his comments.
Black-American populations must work diligently to show society that their lives matter in order to make others believe it. Otherwise, they will be just as cynical and sardonic as Justice McLaughlin and show no mercy when throwing black men behind bars.
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Banner/Thumbnail Credit: Reuters