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Eboni K. Williams Discusses Stephon Clark Injustice & Judicial Discretion

Author and news correspondent Eboni K. Williams stopped by to talk with Charlamagne tha God and Angela Yee on The Breakfast Club. They kicked off their conversation by discussing Meek Mill's case and why he's still sitting in jail even though the Governor of Pennsylvania feels he should be released. Williams explained that all comes down to something called judicial discretion and that this is the same reason law enforcement officers often are not convicted of shooting and killing unarmed civilians. 

Due to ambiguous language in our current legislation, law enforcement officers often aren't convicted for killing unarmed civilians because they can argue that they acted in self defense. Williams suggests that in order for real change to be made, the laws need to change to contain more concrete language. She believes the laws should state "law enforcement's use of deadly force is unlawful and unjustified absent - we've got to shift the burden to proof, so, it's got to be presumed justified - if and when the following criteria aren't met: there's no weapon, the weapon's not armed, the weapon wasn't within reasonable reach of the person."

Eboni told a story from her teenage years when she was caught shoplifting. She almost accepted a plea deal that would have stayed on her record forever. The judge, however, used his judicial discretion to throw the plea deal out and help Eboni move past the incident without leaving a mark on her record. She told this story to show just how powerful judicial discretion can be. 

"Until we eradicate the wide latitude of discretion on these cases," Williams said of law enforcement officers shooting unarmed black civilians, "we will be back here." One way we can do that, Williams and Yee point out, is having more diverse people working in law enforcement and the government. 

Watch Eboni K. Williams on The Breakfast Club:

 
 

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