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Ferguson Teenage Protester Unfairly Sentenced To Eight Years for Arson

Eight years for arson? Is that really justice?

With supporters inside and outside of the courtroom cheering for him, none could suppress their outrage when Joshua Williams was sentenced to eight years in prison by St. Louis County Circuit Judge John D. Warner Jr.

Only 19 years old, young Williams was active on the Ferguson protest scene. He was photographed arm-in-arm with activist Cornel West during a march toward the St. Louis University campus. He was also involved in many, but arrested for at least two, Ferguson-related protests.

Last month, Williams admitted to starting a fire at a local QuickTrip on Dec. 23, 2014 . His actions were in response to the death of Antonio Martin who was shot and killed by a Berkeley police officer.

Reports say the fire was quickly put out and there was no extensive damage.

Prosecuters initially fought for a 15-year sentence, while Williams’ attorney requested a suspended or lesser sentence. The prosecution sought to imprison a teenager, barely a young man, for his response to the actions of yet another police-involved murder while Darren Wilson, the former Ferguson officer responsible for killing Michael Brown, now walks free.

It’s been said innumerably how easy it is for whites to commit the same (or more offensive) crimes as Blacks and receive lighter punishments. In Florida, George Zimmerman walked away free after he murdered Trayvon Martin. Marissa Alexander was given prison time for a warning shot in which no lives were lost.

Activists took to Twitter to express their shock at Joshua Williams’ sentence:

Williams’s attorney told Riverfront Times he agreed with the protester’s take on the verdict.

“I think Josh wound up paying a price for a lot of things going in Ferguson that he was not responsible for. He is an available fall guy. He did attempt to light a fire but his sentence is completely disproportionate to the conduct,” said attorney Nick Zotos.

Really, what justice system?

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