An African-American man from Kentucky who pleaded guilty to robbery was only sentenced to five years probation Friday in response to the victims’ statement, which asserted a child was “in constant fear of black men.” The man committed forced entry into a house while brandishing a handgun.
On March 21, 2013, Marquis McAfee and Gregory Wallace, both 27, robbed the house of Jordan and Tommy Gray while armed at gunpoint. The victims’ 3-year-old daughter was home at the time watching “SpongeBob Squarepants,” The Courier-Journal reported. McAfee and Wallace were arrested three weeks after the robbery.
While McAfee was sentenced to 10 years in jail because he was on probation for a previous crime at the time of the incident, Wallace was only sentenced to five years probation by Circuit Court Judge Olu Stevens.
Jordan Gray wrote about her daughter in a victim impact statement: “Whenever we are running errands, if we come across a black male, she holds me tight and begs me to leave,” adding it “has affected her friendships at school and our relationships with African-American friends.”
The father added that probation was not a sufficient punishment, and the daughter had become terrified of African-American males.
But Stevens was directing his angst primarily toward the victims, rather than the criminal. “I am offended… I am deeply offended that they would be victimized by an individual and express some kind of fear of all black men,” contended Stevens, who was appointed to the bench in 2009 and re-elected last year.
This little girl certainly has been victimized, and she can’t help the way she feels…My exception is more with her parents and their accepting that kind of mentality and fostering those type of stereotypes.
Stevens’ further rationale for keeping Wallace out of prison was that he had no prior convictions up until this incident and also had strong support from family and friends who noted he won an athletic scholar award while in high school. He reportedly stayed out of trouble during his time in prison leading up to the sentencing.
The judge defended himself on his Facebook page. “Victims need no defense from me. I stand on my record. My exception was with particular words, not victims. If you do not know me, it is your right to criticize me. If you do know me, you know that what was written in the paper is not me,” Stevens continued:
I am not in the business of shaming toddlers and victims of crime. And my exception was not a factor in the ultimate decision. As for my ‘wrath’, I had none. I leave wrath to the Commonwealth’s Attorney and others disgruntled by the ultimate decision.
I did not criticize the child. I cautioned the parents against racial stereotyping. I also admonished the Commonwealth that it should review its pleadings for sufficiency and appropriateness before filing them.
h/t: Right Wing News
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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom