Did the perpetrator of an unprovoked racially motivated killing get preferential treatment by the media and courts because he is black and his victim was white? Would this story be far different if the races were reversed? You be the judge!
Benjamin Lee Washington was attending a tattoo party in Atlantic Beach in 2006. Washington became enraged when he saw a white nineteen year old who allegedly had a swastika tattoo on his leg. He shot the man in the back, killing him.
Washington had previously done time for armed robbery.
Despite shooting someone in the back in cold blood, prosecutors only charged him with 2nd degree murder instead of first degree. There is a racial disparity in the application of murder charges. Whites who commit murder are more likely to be charged with 1st degree murder than blacks who commit murder. This is why whites convicted of murder are more likely to get the death penalty than blacks convicted of murder.
Washington was convicted of 2nd degree murder in 2007. However his lawyers appealed saying the jury was not given a proper chance to convict him of a lesser manslaughter charge instead. In a shocking miscarriage of justice, an appeals court actually granted him a whole new trial at great expense to the tax payers.
He has been convicted of 2nd degree murder a second time.
Imagine if the races were reversed. This would have been a major national news story. Politicians and major media pundits would have demanded 1st degree murder charges. This story has only received minor blurbs and part of the coverage is dedicated to demonizing the innocent victim!
The media won’t even published any pictures of the innocent victim!
Benjamin Lee Washington, 31, was sentenced by Circuit Judge Tatiana Salvador on Friday for the murder of Chad David Henderson, 19. A jury convicted Washington of second-degree murder in October.Henderson was shot and killed during a tattoo party at Mayport Trace apartments. Witnesses said Washington questioned Henderson about a swastika tattoo on his leg and they discussed Henderson’s views that minority races should be bred out. Then Washington shot him in the back.Washington was convicted of the same crime in 2007 and sentenced to life without parole by Circuit Judge John Merrett. The 1st District Court of Appeal overturned the conviction and found that Merrett had improperly instructed the jury on the lesser offense of manslaughter, which the jury could consider instead of second-degree murder.Friday prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed that under current Florida law Salvador has no choice but to sentence Washington to life without parole. Washington previously did time for an armed robbery in Pennsylvania. Because he’d previously committed a crime with a gun, Florida law mandated that he get life.Henderson’s grandfather, David Henderson, told Salvador his son was a good man who would have grown out of his racial hostility if Washington hadn’t killed him.“Shooting someone in the back because of what they said is senseless,” Henderson said.Henderson said he hoped to see Washington express some remorse for the crime, but it never came.