By: Gus Navarro
In a previous issue we ran an article about the tragic death of a 19-year-old African-American girl, Renisha McBride. At that time, a lot of information was unknown and details were sketchy at best. The identity of the shooter had not been released, no charges had been filed and within the Detroit community, there was much to be desired with regard to the speed of the criminal justice system. Thankfully, as I write this today details have been released and there has been movement in this heartbreaking story. We feel it is necessary to follow up last week’s story with some comments on these recent developments.
For one, this story is finally picking up speed nationally as the identity of the shooter was revealed and charges were filed by the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office. On Friday, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced second-degree murder and other charges against homeowner Theodore Wafer, saying the evidence suggests he opened the front door before he fired through the closed and locked screen door, killing McBride. If convicted, Wafer could face life imprisonment.
Since last week, we have also learned from a report released Thursday by the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office that says Renisha McBride’s blood-alcohol content on Nov. 2 was about 0.22 — more than twice the legal limit for driving. According to a police report, Ms. McBride had hit a parked car and apparently hurt her hand, witnesses said, before leaving the wreck, returning and then leaving again.
These details have begun to put the case in a much clearer context. However, there is still information we don’t have. For instance, the reason why a young girl was shot and killed remains unclear. In his article from Sunday, Mitch Albom presents multiple sides and points of view, explaining at length that there is still a lot of information to be revealed and that we shouldn’t be quick to judge a situation without all the facts. Given that, we cannot lose sight of the fact that Renisha was a teenage girl who was more than likely disoriented, freaked out and in need of help.
The steps taken by the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office are encouraging. However, this does not mean that we should passively allow this case to unfold. It is essential that we follow this case diligently and continually demand transparency from lawmakers as community members and hip-hop artists, activists and artists such as Invincible, Yusef B. Shakur, Dream Hampton and members of the Raiz Up have done.