Race Is Irrelevant: It’s Time For Equal Justice

Kody Roach Charged with First Degree Felony Murder

There are two important news stories I have mentioned recently. The first is the Ferguson debacle, and the second is a lesser known killing of an innocent 22-year old woman. While police attempted to subdue a 23-year old man, Kody Roach, committing a robbery at Vixen Bar in Orlando, FL, police fire ricocheted injuring one officer and killing Fernanda Godinez. Fernanda was a beautiful young woman in the wrong place at the wrong time. Police decided to charge Kody Roach with her murder as they would not have needed to use deadly force if Kody had complied (he also reached into his pants which led officers to believe he was reaching for his firearm). Roach has been charged with first degree felony murder.

Keep this incident in mind as we once again discuss the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, MO. When the incident occurred, racial tension erupted that turned into several days of violence. This violence is mainly due to the false testimony of a supposed eye witness who was with Michael Brown on the night of his death. The 22-year old, Dorian Johnson, told reporters and anyone else who would listen, how Officer Wilson maliciously attacked Brown and Johnson for no apparent reason, attempting to pull Brown into his vehicle. Johnson stated that when he and Brown escaped and fled, Officer Wilson exited his vehicle and fired several shots toward them.

Dorian Johnson
Dorian Johnson

Darian Johnson Lied to Reporters about Michael Brown’s Shooting

Anyone who listened and believed Dorian Johnson became very angry toward Officer Wilson and they demanded justice. But here’s the problem: Dorian Johnson is a liar. It didn’t take long to figure out that Johnson has a long history of false statements made to police and had a warrant out for his arrest in Jefferson City, MO for theft and filing a false police report. Funny enough, in the wake of all the racially inspired violence that has occurred due to Johnson’s testimony, he still remains free. Why hasn’t Johnson been arrested for the warrant he was originally wanted for?

But wait, there’s more (stated in my best late-night TV salesmen voice)! The autopsy of Brown revealed that at least two of the shots, including the one believed to be the “death blow”, were fired while Brown was facing Officer Wilson. That proves that Brown was not fleeing, and it proves that Johnson is a liar. Justice calls for yet another false testimony charge against Johnson. Even though this hasn’t happened yet, I believe that it should, and I also believe that justice will not be done until Johnson is in prison.

The Connection between Kody Roach and Dorian Johnson

Now, let’s think back to the case involving Kody Roach. If Kody Roach can be charged with first degree murder for indirectly causing the death of an innocent 22-year old woman, why hasn’t Johnson been charged with battery charges, assault on a police officer, rioting, and all the other various punishable crimes that have been committed during the Ferguson riots? Is he not indirectly responsible for all of these acts just as Roach was indirectly responsible for Godinez’s death? If Johnson had not lied to reporters and stirred up the racially motivated anger and violence in this predominantly black community, would he not be responsible for all the damage (physically, emotionally, and financially) that the riots caused?

It seems to me that there is a direct parallel between these two cases and that if someone causes harm toward another individual due to their negligence then they should be punished. Of course, there is civil law that already handles damages to a party due to negligence of another individual, but civil suits only provide a monetary award to the afflicted party, and I’m guessing that Johnson probably has nothing worth taking. That being said, isn’t it still the responsibility of our legal system to create justice for parties who have been unjustly harmed due to another’s negligence?

Point in case: the police are filing criminal charges against Roach even though Godinez’s death was only indirectly his fault, rather than the woman’s family filing civil charges against him. That makes sense because murder is handled by criminal court, not civil court. Guess what other offenses are criminal, rather than civil, under Missouri’s Revised Statutes on Offenses Against Public Order (Chapter 574)?

• Peace Disturbance (574.010.1) – A person commits the crime of peace disturbance if:
o 574.010.1(1) – He unreasonably and knowingly disturbs or alarms another person or persons by: (c) Threatening to commit a felonious act against any person under circumstances which are likely to cause a reasonable person to fear that such threat may be carried out, or (d) Fighting, or (2) He is in a public place or on private property of another without consent and purposely causes inconvenience to another person or persons by unreasonably and physically obstructing;

This is just one example of one crime indirectly committed by Johnson’s false testimony. In addition, he could be charged with Private Peace Disturbance (Statutes: 574.020.1(1) and (2)), Unlawful Assembly (Statute 574.040.1), Rioting (Statute 574.050.1), Refusal to Disperse (Statute 574.060.1), and Promoting Civil Disorder in the First Degree (Statute 574.070.1) which is a Class C Felony. Feel free to look up the exact terminology of these statutes at: http://www.moga.mo.gov/statutes/chapters/chap574.htm. You will find that they all apply to the violent actions and disturbances surrounding the Ferguson riots.

Johnson’s false testimony to reporters and the Ferguson community cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars that each taxpayer will end up bearing the burden of. Johnson’s false testimony cost thousands of dollars in lost revenue to shop owners who will be out of business until their storefronts are repaired and inventory is replaced. Johnson’s false testimony has caused racial tension that should be considered equal to a racially motivated crime. Johnson’s false testimony is responsible for the commission of all of the above Offenses Against Public Disorder. Let him reap what he has sown; justice will go undone while Johnson remains free.

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