Clinton Young Free Pending Retrial After 20 Years on Texas Death Row

Former Texas death-row prisoner Clinton Young has been released from custody nearly twenty years after being sentenced to death for a double murder he has consistently said he did not commit. Young walked out of the Midland County Detention Center January 21, 2022, after the foundation posted bond to secure his freedom while prosecutors from neighboring Dawson County decide whether to retry Young on the charges.  The foundation crowdfunded contributions to cover 15% of the $150,000 cash bail to gain Young’s release. RELATED |  Texas | Former death row inmate Clinton Young released on bond The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (TCCA) granted Young a new trial in September 2021 following revelations that his prosecutor from the Midland County District Attorney’s office had also secretly served as a paid clerk to county judges who presided over Young’s trial and post-conviction appeals. In a video posted on the foundation’s Facebook page, Young removed his left sneaker and sock and stepped

Sr. Helen Prejean: "I stand in solidarity with African Americans calling for an end to police brutality"

Derek Chauvin

I saw the video. I made myself watch the full atrocity, hearing George Floyd’s hoarse whisper: “I can’t breathe” to Officer Derek Chauvin, pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes.

Would this be just one more instance of a black person’s death at the hands of a white policeman, followed by prolonged “investigations” that in the end might finally result in a firing, maybe, a civil lawsuit, maybe, a temporary removal from duty, maybe, or even a trial of the perpetrator, which all too often would result in an acquittal, but rarely, if ever, an arrest and charge of murder or even manslaughter.

Until George Floyd.

Now, across the nation, “I can’t breathe,” has become the rallying cry of nationwide protests against police brutality of Black Americans. And now, for the first time in my memory, we are witnessing a number of White public officials, such as Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, publicly connect police brutality against Black people to the 400-year legacy of slavery, pointing out how racism continues to permeate every aspect of American life: inequities in income, employment, housing, health care, education, and racism’s most blatant manifestation: repeated, constant, never-ending, pervasive police brutality against Black people.

Is anyone, who knows anything of our U.S. racist history, surprised at the protests now erupting across the nation, demanding that Derek Chauvin be arrested and charged for his blatant crime? Prolonged “investigations” by the FBI, which seldom if ever result in justice, can no longer be tolerated.

The suffused anger and outrage against injustice done to Black people for centuries is now exploding into mass protests, violence, and destruction of property across the land. In Minneapolis, the fury culminated in the iconic burning of the Third Precinct police station, where Derek Chauvin was stationed, along with the three other officers who were present at Floyd’s killing. At a press conference on the morning following the burning Mayor Frey said that seeing the situation accelerate, he had made the call for the police to flee the station, saying, “The symbolism of a building cannot outweigh the importance of life.”

Some Americans have called for violence to be unleashed against the protesters. Indeed, at a time when we desperately need a national leader who can address these historic hurts and attempt to heal the nation, instead we get a White House occupant who fires across social media the warning: “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” In my opinion, that is the most inflammatory message anyone in authority could send to aggrieved Americans, righteously demanding centuries-long delayed police reforms. This “looting-shooting” threat has its own vile history, too, first uttered by Miami’s White Supremacist police chief in the 1960s against civil rights demonstrators who were raising their voices against racial segregation and demanding their Constitutional rights.

As a White American of privilege, I’ve never had to fear police crashing into my home or pointing a gun to my head after stopping me on the highway. But I totally believe and support African Americans, who tell story after story of abuse, life threats, or outright death at the hands of law enforcement. And at the apex of government-sanctioned killing, in our miserably racist criminal justice system, I have personally witnessed the legalized execution of African Americans at the hands of government officials. After thirty years’ experience with courts and prisons and execution chambers, I’ve seen just how riddled with racism our entire criminal justice system is, so why should we expect local police forces to be any different?

Now, in this pivotal moment of history, in the wake of George Floyd’s death, and in respectful memory of so many people of color who have died at the hands of police, may Floyd’s dying words, “I can’t breathe,” echo in our consciences and become our rallying cry as we join our Black brothers and sisters in the struggle for police reform, and complete reform of the criminal justice system, an institution rooted in racism.

Can any citizen breathe freely in a nation in which law enforcement officials, entrusted with serving and protecting our citizens, have themselves often proved to be the most feared, lethal threat of all?

Let us stand resolute: No more Black deaths at the hands of police.

Source: Sr. Helen Prejean's Facebook page, Sister Helen Prejean, May 30, 2020

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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