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.
I listened to a prosecutor say “we need to make an example of him so others know we won’t tolerate this behavior” With my own ears.
— Kayla Reed (@RE_invent_ED) December 10, 2015
They want to make an example of #ferguson protestors. In Baltimore officers got charged. In STL, Protesters do
— Kayla Reed (@RE_invent_ED) December 10, 2015
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:
STL-area police have killed 15 people since 8/9/14 & shot 6 more. No charges have been filed against any officer. https://t.co/fh7Ytu7KkL
— TC (@tchop_stl) December 10, 2015
Charge Josh for years, but not one of these white male officers who have killed black boy, after black man, after black boy here in STL.
— Johnetta Elzie (@Nettaaaaaaaa) December 10, 2015
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?
5 thoughts on “Ferguson Teenage Protester Unfairly Sentenced To Eight Years for Arson”
Do being Black Matter to the Oppressors and their Minions?
Nope, Sorry!! He admitted giult!! Go directly to jail
People are pissed at his sentencing? Didnt want him to be made an example of? Shoulda kept the lighter in his pocket…… he GAVE the White man reason to lock his dumbazz up…… and have no doubts, I feel the frustration and understand why folks are pissed off, but you cant go around burning shit (and get caught, he shouldn't have gottten caught….) because you are angry!!
"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 fugged up, plain and simple. He should have stayed a protestor.
I am sorry that this young man made such a serious mistake. I happen to believe that the Ferguson police acted correctly, but I have no problem with the protests, until they start destroying people's property that no one claims was involved in the original incident. I disagree that the "White man" locked him up. Would the "Black man" have let him go after burning down a business, probably owned by a Black man?
He SET FIRE to a GAS STATION in a POPULATED AREA. And you think 8 years is unfair? Doesn't matter, any POS stupid enough to bring an open flame around a gas station will find a way to spend the rest of his life behind bars…where he belongs. BLM continues to shoot itself in the foot.
Your paper continues to hurt its credibility by playing fast and loose with the facts. Joshua Williams is an adult, so let's dispense with this teenager bullshit. His protesting at the side of Cornell West was First Amendment protected free speech, which he had every right to engage in. But when he set fire to a GAS STATION – that still had over 1000 gallons of gasoline in its underground tanks – he became a criminal. Arson, looting, theft, and assault do not constitute First Amendment protected free speech. They constitute serious crimes with serious penalties. For all the young people out there who believe destroying property and endangering their fellow citizens is 'protest' – you need to smarten up lest you find yourself doing time with Mr. Williams.