DETROIT - The tragic case of 19-year old Renisha McBride, the African-American woman shot dead on the night of November 2nd on the porch of a suburban white Dearborn Heights residence, is calling out for justice. Yesterday the Wayne County Medical Examiner ruled her death a homicide.
Ms. McBride had reportedly been in a car accident that night and was seeking help when she was killed. The investigation is ongoing but so far, no one has been charged.
Michigan is a stand-your-ground state and at a Saturday press conference inside Historic King Solomon Baptist Church, Rev. Charles Williams II took special aim at the law.
"We will not allow the escape route of Stand Your Ground to enter into this case. It happened with Trayvon Martin and it will not happen with Renisha McBride." Williams, a leader of the National Action Network, said the organization is launching a national campaign calling for end to stand-your-ground laws.
He noted that while the shooter's attorney said he was justified in the shooting, the man himself said he fired accidentally. "How can you be justified if it was a mistake?" asked Williams.
Of great concern to Williams and others are is that the case be tried in the courts and not ended prematurely by the police investigation. "It is not the job of the Dearborn Heights police department to try this case; it is the job of the court system, the jury, the judge, and prosecutors to argue this case."
A double standard of justice was also noted. "Nobody in this community has shot somebody and not been held."
On the night of the accident, McBride's cell phone had died. "When your cell phone dies, you are cut off," commented Williams. "She went to find help and found harm."
Williams observed that a climate of extremism and fear may have played a role in the killing. "We've seen confederate flags waved in front of the White House and gun advocates continue to fight against gun legislation even in wake of seeing children get shot in Newton, CT."
All of this is serving to "embolden" those that want to create a "Wild West mentality" in Detroit, the state of Michigan and throughout the country.
Pastor Maurice Rudd from the Change Agent Consortium said, "This is another addition to an ongoing saga
Congressman John Conyers Jr. released a statement saying, "The shooting death of Renisha McBride has left the Detroit area hurt and asking many questions about how an unarmed 19 year old young woman, reportedly seeking assistance in the middle of the night, could so tragically lose her life. There has been discussion about the impact of Michigan's controversial stand your ground laws and whether they contributed to this incident."
The Detroit Branch of the NAACP also released a statement that reads in part, "We must bring to justice any person found guilty of this tragedy. This death appears to be an overreaction to a young woman in need of help. Was this a racial profiling? Was this shooting warranted when the evidence indicates that Ms. McBride had no weapon, created no disturbance, threatened no break in, or demonstrated no disrespect to the household in question?"
McBride was a Ford Motor Company employee and a 2012 graduate of Southfield High School. Her family has expressed confidence in the investigation by Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy and the Dearborn Heights Police department and is anxiously awaiting their findings.
Photo: Rev. Charles Williams II speaks at press conference. John Rummel/PW