By Francis White
Justice must be blind, because it turned its head in John Walker's direction for like 10 seconds, and hasn't looked remotely his way ever since. If "Black Lives Matter", here's a life that's been trying to clear his name for almost 20 years of a murder that there was shaky evidence at best to convict him on. Here's a life that has been telling anyone who will listen that he is an innocent man. Here's a life that's been (and still is) on parole for 18 years without a violation. Here's a life that has simply been asking for justice from a system that wrongfully imprisoned him, and literally has taken his youth from him. Here's a life that still matters.
Here’s a brief synopsis of John’s fight for justice.
In 1976, when he was just a teenager, he and 3 other young African American males were convicted of murdering an older Caucasian man in the city of Buffalo. All four were tried for the alleged crime. Three of them were eventually convicted of the murder and sentenced to around 20 years a piece, John himself, was sentenced to 17 years to life. John ended up spending 22 years in New York State prison for the alleged crime.
I recently attended a black history month event in the city of Buffalo and John was one of the speakers. I met John before, about 4 years ago at an event and had heard about his story. I knew some of the details, but not all of them. I didn’t know how deep his situation was until I heard his most recent public presentation the other day. He spoke to the fact that the reputations of some popular legal figures in Erie County could be compromised if they were to actually take a serious look back at the case. “Anybody that ever been in prison, and know anything about parole, knows that you don’t do 18 years on parole” he said. He talked about our system of law being as much, and maybe even more about trickery to win cases, than about getting down to the truth. He spoke like a man determined to fight to the end to clear his name.
I know that we want to honor black lives lost to injustice, but here’s a man who is a living embodiment of black lives that matter. John Walker knows this very well, because this is something he has lived for the last 22 years.
Here’s a clip of John speaking at the event. You can hear from his own mouth, and in his own words, why his life matters.
Posted on Wed, February 25, 2015
by Francis White