American Justice She Ain’t Blind tells the story of one Black man's struggle for life against a race-based American justice system — Black Man Blues.  Walk in his horrific fight for justice through a series of artistic creations:  The Blue Suite; Jim Crow - The Old is the NewGenerations of Sistas (Thank You); (Rules) In These Streets; Move Spirit (Sanity and Obsession); Just Because — Life Remains Beautiful (Just Cuz); and The Least Among Us.  Imagine, an American Dream turned, in the course of one infamous holiday evening, into a dark, dark nightmare!  All told through the colorful but always truthful eyes, whimsical imaginations, brush strokes, crumbled clay, honed stones and sculpted wood of some of World's most noted and talented artists of the African Diaspora, and some not so famous Black folks.

The Allegations

The charges, brought on December 4, 2013, told of a sexual violation of a young man's person--the most personal elements of the young man's being. The alleged perpetrator, the eventual defendant:  an upstanding citizen with no prior criminal history; a practicing "partner" in one of the nation's most revered law firms, active in that firm's quest to be inclusive and cognizant of human elements and differences; a civic leader and patron of the arts, sitting on corporate, civic and arts boards; a thought leader; a philanthropist; a mentor to many young persons who looked like the accuser.  All that notwithstanding, the melanin-rich tone of His skin, the distorted lenses of societal expectations of what a man's existence should look like, the quick knife and short corporate memory of the Power Elite, bore the blood-red color of “guilty.”

RESERVE by Austen Brantley

RESERVE by Austen Brantley

That evening, sixteen cordovan eyes draped in blue converged, hovered to whisk Him away from the only existence He had ever known as a fully grown man — a 50 year older nestled comfortably in his comfortable near-southside Chicago home.  The identity of the retired Chief Cook County Investigator assigned to the case had his (or her) identity, badge number and sex change in the dusk of night.  Who led the felony review process?  Was a lawyer even present?  Did a Grand Jury actually convene?   The only resident of Cook County bearing the name of the Chair of the Grand Jury was not on a Grand Jury on the date named in the official documents.  Triage nurses and examining nurses were NOT trained in sexual assault examinations--a requirement of Illinois law in sexual cases!  None of such nurses requested or performed toxicology tests even though the accuser "claimed" and represented to them that he had been given alcoholic drinks unwillingly and was potentially drugged.  No drug tests, for real?  A completely inept (perhaps non-existent) investigation ensued (we think).

No request to review overt home surveillance systems which had to have been evident to the eight men in blue who came to steal His freedom.  No identification of or questioning of neighbors or potential witnesses, one of whom had valuable, perhaps determinative, insight.  After two years to prepare, Chief investigator Patricia Sullivan (retired, who had previously been Patrick Sullivan (retired and deceased officer)) showed up on trial day without her case file stating that she "had left it at home."  Prosecutor Anderson did not seem surprised or irritated by her incompetence; his liberty was not flailing in the wind as was His.  Chief Investigator Sullivan was retired after all.  No investigation of the alleged crime scene ever occurred — even until this date.   The State finally analyzed DNA willingly given by Him 18 months earlier. 

Exonerative DNA resulted — wait, DNA that implicated third party MEN excluding Him (wait, DNA is an exact science (exact to a molecular level)).  A prosecutor who had no regard for getting to the truth, but rather only wanted to get to "guilty" and who dug in even more deeply after the exonerative DNA analyses indicated "this Man is not your perpetrator!"  A shaky, confused "straight" complainant who earlier spoke of his "gayness" on social media uttered the words "I don't recall; I don't remember" over 90 times in Court Room 600.  He even gave that exact response when asked if he had been coached to give that response.  That even seemed to baffle Prosecutor Anderson (maybe not).  A money hungry mother figure watched on.  Incredulous by-standers hoping for His downfall looked on through their stylized, judgmental lenses — some loop colleagues; some former mentors; some experts of high legal acumen; some street thugs; some former friends — but all wanting, for different unexplained reasons, a dark outcome for Him.

The Verdict

SHE AIN'T BLIND by Keenya Brooks

SHE AIN'T BLIND by Keenya Brooks

A NOT GUILTY verdict turned the tide of this not so uncommon Black Man tragedy a bit, moved the pendulum slightly.  But even with an expected outcome, the human loss was already magnanimous.  The 25 months that the Alvarez machine had taken to bring a straight-forward, uncomplicated case to trial had taken their toll indeed.  Does that equal time served?  Should it?  Is it too much for Him and others who are similarly situated as He, to expect that prosecutors should have at least a passing interest in finding the truth and pursuing justice based on the facts?  Mark Anderson had no interest in the truth or justice — just conviction!  Is it too much to demand that lawyers who vigorously create, protect, uphold and enforce the law for most Americans and big American businesses, should also be mandated to recognize the simple civil liberties of common citizens and worker-bees as Him.  Tom, innocent until proven guilty is indeed a paradigm of American law.

A big law career interrupted, perhaps erased.  A reputation forever tainted.  Are these the costs of Freedom for a Nigga in this America?  What should His societal repayment be?  What should His reporation from this American criminal justice system look like?  What should He tell his progeny who may want to follow in his professional shoes and dare to practice at a large American law firm:  innocent until proven guilty is a criminal standard.  We, the Power Elite here at this prestigious LLP can appropriate whatever standard we see fit!  The likes of You cannot adorn the halls of this white shoes institution.

While equal justice for some like Him waits in the wings, wrong rules the land; phobias stand up all proud; and decorated arrogant American legal pomposity speedily races on in the name of fairness, diversity, inclusion, parity and equality!