Friday, November 1, 2013
FBI begins investigation into Brandon Colemans death
The U.S. Department of Justice has begun an investigation in the shooting death of Brandon Coleman. The decision came after a complaint was sent regarding Boone County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Knight’s ruling not to press charges.
The complaint argues charges were not pressed due to a racial bias. Agents from the FBI will consult with the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division to decide on federal charges.
Coleman was shot four times by Dustin Deacon on May 19. Deacon claims he was protecting Rolland Deacon, his father, after witnessing Coleman point a gun at his head. Rolland Deacon greeted Coleman carrying a machete. On Oct. 23, Knight said he wouldn’t file charges due to Missouri’s “castle law”.
Winona Coleman-Broadus, Coleman’s mother, contacted the Department of Justice to seek consideration of federal violations. FBI agents aren’t seeking to determine if Knight’s ruling is wrong, but if Coleman’s civil rights were violated.
The FBI’s investigation of Deacon is significant beyond the black communities desire to seek justice for the death of Coleman. The failure to press charges against Deacon is another example of how “stand your ground” and “castle laws” have radically altered law enforcement across the nation. In addition, it reflects how America’s position that we are living in a post-race society negates race as a motivation fo murder.
Missouri is a castle doctrine state with a “stand-your-ground” law. The state enacted its castle law in 2007. The law removes the duty to retreat for persons who are attacked within their home or vehicle. The law justifies the use of deadly force when victims reasonably believe their lives to be in danger, and provides them immunity from civil and criminal action.
The death of Coleman follows a chain of cases that forced prosecutors to dismiss how race served as a factor. The confrontation between Coleman and the Deacons resulted in the interracial relationship with Rolland Deacon’s white daughter. “Stand your ground” and “castle laws” are being used to justify the murders of those attacked based on racist assumptions.
Knight’s decision not to pursue the case is another example of how prosecutions are undermined by laws that make it difficult to find white men guilty when black men are killed. The prejudices of the jury, and culture of a community, factor in leaning the scale of justice against black men.
On trial is a community with serious problems related to race relations. Also on trial is a state enamored with guns and protecting the rights of people to kill those deemed a threat to their property, family or ideology. Could it be that Deacon killed Coleman to protect the racial purity of the family? Is it possible that Coleman showed up that day to make amends, and found himself face to face with a clan prepared to put a end to the Negro playing games with their white daughter and sister?
It’s all the type of speculation that could have been exposed in court. Sadly, “stand your ground” and “castle laws” aren’t designed to ponder that type of conjecture. There’s no place within the new law for an assessment of motives, or how racism factors into the decision to pull the trigger – not once, twice or three times, but four. Deacon shot his 12- gauge shotgun until he was sure that coon was good and dead.
Yes, more speculation.
What can we conclude? It’s a longshot that the investigation will rule that Coleman’s civil rights were violated. The force of state law precludes the power of the feds States have effectively taken us back to the days that empowered the confederacy in a way that minimizes a national agenda. Could we be in the midst of another Civil War?
It’s frightening to live in a state that gives racists the right to bear arms. It’s even more perplexing when they’re given the right to kill.
Sorry, I forgot. We can’t talk about race as a motive. Apparently, Coleman crossed that line that made the Deacon’s feel uneasy.
Four bullets later he’s another reminder of what happens to black men who forget their proper place.