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Martese Johnson is Lucky

Update: Friday, March 20, 12:35 p.m.: Martese Johnson’s lawyer has said that Johnson’s ID was not fake.

Update: Friday, March 20, 12:31 p.m.: An earlier version of this article used an outdated photo of Giroux (found on the CNN article linked below) instead of his arrest photo, which showed that Giroux, who was allegedly armed when arrested, also sustained injuries during his arrest, although his injuries did not require hospitalization. None of us at Other 98% condones violent arrests against anyone, no matter the circumstance.


The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last June that a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, designed to prevent racial discrimination in certain voting laws, was no longer necessary. The majority opinion, authored by Chief Justice John Roberts and joined by Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, stated that “things have changed dramatically” in the South and that the “country has changed” since the Voting Rights Act was passed.

In other words: Congratulations America, racism is officially over!

It makes one wonder if our Supreme Court justices ever get outside, or read a newspaper, or ever talk to someone who isn’t a Supreme Court justice themselves.

There were two pieces of news this week could not have been more stark in contrast: First, a neo-Nazi skinhead named Ryan Elliot Giroux, suspected of shooting 6 people – killing one of his victims – was on the lam, running from police in Mesa, Arizona. Despite being identified as armed and extremely dangerous, police managed to take him into custody without any lasting damage or harm.

Just one day earlier, in Charlottesville, Virginia, Martese Johnson, a young Black man, was brutally beaten for allegedly having a fake I.D. Johnson has no arrest record and no history of violence; he also served on the UVA Honor Committee and in the Black Student Alliance. Johnson was trying to get into a pub on Saint Patricks Day. For this, he was thrown to the ground and arrested by armed agents from the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control; Johnson was beaten so badly that he needed 10 stitches.

We see stories like this time and time again. The guy who shot up the Batman movie theater, James Holmes, was taken without incident. The psycho who shot Gabrielle Giffords, a freaking U.S. Senator no less, was taken without incident. Clive Bundy, that crazy Nevada rancher dude, was pointing guns at U.S. Federal Officials and he never even faced so much as a fine.

All in all, Martese was lucky.

He was lucky he didn’t get killed like Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice or Mike Brown. Or any of the scores of young black folks who have died at the hands of police without becoming an international news story; like Rumain Brisbon, Akai Gurley, Kajieme Powell, Ezell Ford, Dante Parker, John Crawford III, Tyree Woodson, Brandon Tate Brown, Victor White III, Yvette Smith, McKenzie Cochran, Jordan Baker, Andy Lopez, Miriam Carey, Jonathan Ferrell, Carlos Alcis, Larry Eugene Jackson, Deion Fludd, Kimani Gray, Johnnie Kamahi Warren, Malissa Williams, Reynaldo Cuevas, Chavis Carter, Shantel Davis, Sharmel Edwards, Tamon Robinson, Ervin Jefferson, Kendrec McDade …and the list just goes on and on and on.

So yeah, Martese is really lucky he isn’t dead.

What the hell kind of a country does that make us, that a young college student is lucky he isn’t dead for trying to get into a pub on Saint Patrick’s Day with an alleged fake ID?

Read all about Martese Jonson at MotherJones.com

Read all about the Nazi here

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