Derrion Albert Case Concludes in Chicago with Four Defendants Tried and Convicted as Adults, One as Juvenile, But No One Really Wins


Was looking through for more information regarding the deaths of Scott-Heron and Pratt, when this story once again caught my attention. Of course, hardly anyone is responding to this case any more. The audience has moved on, there is nothing more to see here, when the bringing to justice of Derrion Albert‘s killers is just as important as the deaths of these older, political public figures who sought to reach black youth. It is also a heartbreaking story as well, because in order for Fenger High School (or Academy) to become what it is today, this child had to die, sacrificed to bureaucratic expediency and deafness. And current Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, once Chicago schools chief, may have contributed, through his policies, to this tragedy.

I also try not to use too many Faux Noise connections or links or video, but they do focus on black on black crime for their own purposes. Well, I have my own. It’s past time to reinforce those coming up some respect for life without resorting to such extremes. This is not like some old Roadrunner vs. Coyote cartoons, when the squashed animal always returns in the next frame. This is not like young men back in the day who used their fists, back before Kool Moe Dee’s  The Wild Wild West. When these young men and women get squashed, they’re dead and gone.

And it’s always too late. You cannot take something like this back, no matter how much you’d want to wish it away. And it was too late for the likes of Lapoleon Colbert. He came back down to earth, hard. A young man like that coming down to earth, staring at the abyss with all those monsters in jail awaiting him.

Shortly after watching a jury convict the final defendant Wednesday in the videotaped beating death of her son outside Fenger High School, Anjanette Albert was asked whether the grieving process might get easier with the trials now behind her.

She stood in the lobby of the Cook County Criminal Courts Building, struggling to find words to express the loss of Derrion, 16.

“No,” she said haltingly, “I don’t think it’s ever going to get any easier, with him not being here.”

Lapoleon Colbert was the fifth person to be convicted of first-degree murder in Derrion Albert’s death in a September 2009 melee that made worldwide news after the brutal video went viral on the Internet.

After a two-day trial, the jury of 11 women and one man deliberated a little more than two hours before reaching its decision.

As the verdict was read, Colbert, now 20, stared straight ahead with his hands clasped on the defense table, his eyes slowly welling with tears. He faces 20 to 60 years in prison when he is sentenced July 19.

Outside court, Colbert’s father, Anthony Dawson, said he was saddened but stood behind his son, whom he described as a good kid who was doing well in school.

“It was a bad moment in life, which all of us have sometime,” Dawson said. “It’s just a tragedy. I’ll tell him to hold his head up as high as he can.”

“Hold his head up high”? “A bad moment in life”? Not like this, brother. I repeat, not like this.

Colbert, at the time a senior at Fenger with no criminal record, was seen on the infamous video kicking Albert in the head and then stomping on his body as he lay defenseless on the pavement, prosecutors said. The melee broke out among Fenger students from the Altgeld Gardens public housing complex and rivals from “The Ville” neighborhood near the school.

Albert’s mother said Wednesday that as has hard as it has been to watch the video of her son’s murder over and over in court, she was thankful the tape existed.

“If we didn’t have that tape, we probably wouldn’t have gotten everyone involved in this,” she said. “So I’ll watch it.”

During the trials, Derrion was found to have tried to defend himself or to pound at others before he was surrounded and overcome by his assailants. However, no matter how many punches he threw at one or two other youngsters, it does not excuse someone kicking and stomping him in the head, or smashing away at him with a railroad tie.

The case got national attention, prompting U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Eric Holder to meet with city officials about youth violence.

The four other defendants in Albert’s case have already been convicted. A 15-year-old boy (unnamed because he is a juvenile) was found guilty of murder and will remain in prison until he is 21. Eric Carson pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 26 years in prison. A jury convicted Silvonus Shannon. He got 32 years behind bars. Eugene Riley was also convicted. His sentencing is scheduled for June 14.

I’m not waiting around for that.  There is injustice in justice, in that these young men finally see the errors of their ways and want a break, but it is too late.   How many examples will it take for this and upcoming generations to get it? How many afterschool programs, how many mentors, how many aunties, grandmas, uncles and granddads, how many internal warnings will it take before they get the message that the only loser is not the victim they killed but the human being they were by the time they reach the docket?

~ by blksista on June 3, 2011.

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