In the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin trial and the George Zimmerman acquittal , I would like to introduce you to Roderick Scott. A 42-year-old black man with the build of a NFL player. In New York State he holds a pistol permit (which is no small miracle in a state with the strictest handgun laws in the country now that Chicago has eased laws in an effort to stop citizens from being sitting ducks in “Chiraq”) Additionally Scott has said that he kept a .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol readily to hand. He is a resident of Greece, NY a small suburb of Rochester NY. For those of you that do not know, Rochester is a rapidly declining city with rising crime rates.
According to court transcripts, back in April of 2008, after arguing with his wife, Scott was asleep on the couch in his home. At approximately 3:00 AM he heard a noises outside of his home, causing him to look out his window to see three teenagers trying to break into his car. Presented with the choice to call the police and wait for their arrival to put an end to the burglary or to approach the potential burglars he chose the latter and preceded to grab his pistol and see what the commotion was about.
What he found was three teenagers that were going through the neighborhood breaking into cars. Now allow me to introduce you to Christopher Cervani a 17 year old “white” male with no criminal history but toxicology reports show that the teen had marijuana and amphetamines in his system. This same report also states that the teen was also legally drunk during this altercation. One of the other teens is James Cervini 15 a white male with a not so clean criminal record including assisting in a burglary and holding a knife to the neck of a 10 year old.
Roderick Scott took the stand in his own defense, explaining that he “looked outside the front door to see what was going on,” identifying “three individuals walking out of [his] driveway.” He “intended to go out and stop the criminal act or detain them.” He then chambered a round in his weapon. “I had no idea what was going on,” he said,”so I had to protect myself.”
“I wanted to stop them before they could get away,” he admitted. “We live so far away, they would have been gone before police got there.” When Scott told the three teenagers that he had called the police, Christopher Cervini broke from the group and ran at him, shouting either, “I’ll get you” to Scott or “I’ll get him” to his fellow thieves. Scott fired two shots in response.
Cervini’s family, for their part, having lost a child who was not perfect but didn’t deserve to die. Were emotionally sold that Christopher was “brutally murdered” . The purveying feeling over the trail is, innocent Christopher Cervini was essentially on trial alongside Roderick Scott. In the Cervinis’ eyes, Scott “was the judge, jury, and executioner.”
Monroe County Assistant District Attorney Julie Finnochio, aggressively prosecuted Scottt. Including during closing arguments where she asserted that, regardless of the circumstances, the shooting was not justified. Even after the not guilty verdict she did not back down saying “I just hope it’s not a message to this community that you have the right to shoot an unarmed 17-year-old kid for breaking into a car.” Scott of course feels differently as he said “I feel that justice was served today”
Does this case sound familiar to anyone. The state aggressively prosecuting a “trigger happy vigilante”. The defense lawyer putting the “victim” on trial. The victim being an innocent marijuana smoking teenager with ties to burglary whether real or assumed. The only difference being that in the case of Roderick Scott he can say the teens at one point were on his property.
The parallels with the George Zimmerman trial are amazing, and yet very little about this trial has been publicized. Here we have a man, an African American man defending his community killing a “white boy”, acquitted in a state where the black community is disproportionally profiled, arrested and jailed. While at the same time the African American community is decrying the justice system as being corrupt. Yet here stands Scott a free man and justifiably so just like his “White Hispanic” counterpart Zimmerman. However, we can be sure that based on Scott’s testimony of Cervini’s last words being “I’m just a kid” Scott will probably be haunted forever by the killing of Cervini and based on the civil unrest surrounding the Zimmerman trial , George Zimmerman and his family will be living in fear for quite a while if not forever. Even though assault in both cases is what justified the legal defenses. The ability to stand your ground in self defense. When Scott killed Cervini he was not in his home or even on his property, he had “stalked” the “children” until they met in a neighbor’s driveway. So there technically was no reason to pursue the children he could have just let them go, maybe the police would have shown up before they got away or maybe not. Either way not his problem right? Wrong, it is his problem because it is his community, he has a vested interest in making sure it is fit for himself, his family and for future families in the community.
So while attending your next rally or hoping that federal civil charges are levied because of the corrupt “system” think about Roderick Scott. Think about a community that has long distrusted the police saying “He should have waited for the police!” Think about a community that has fought long and hard to actually have gun rights, now arguing for gun control. And while you are thinking, think about where these thoughts come from and who has the most to gain from the African American community thinking this way. Think about how setting a precedent of double jeopardy being violated will affect our American Society as a whole.
Scott’s lawyer said it best when he said “I just want to say that I hope this case sends a message to families out there to watch their kids, to know where they are and what they are doing.” This message goes for all families not just “black families” or “white families”.