Texas, California, New York and Florida are notable for how they sentence Black and Hispanic men to prison. In state prison you can appeal for a release. In federal prison, you have to serve the required term.
The judge and jury throw the book at Black men more than any other race combined. These people don't even bat an eyelash!
Well today, after ten years of trying to prove his innocence, Brian Banks, 28 is a free man. After the Los Angeles Superior Court found the evidence that proves that a rape and kidnapping charge was proven false.
The woman who accused him of rape and kidnapping confessed to him and a "friend" that she and her family made up the story. That friend was a private investigator who videotaped the conversation. With help of the Innocence Project, it was proven that the woman Wenetta Gibson framed him.
After spending five years in prison, Brian Banks was released on parole. He was on home arrest and registered as a sexual offender, and out of nowhere a friend request from Facebook. It was Wenetta Gibson and she wanted to talk to him.
|Brian Banks, 28 has spent years trying to clear his name. After having spent time in prison, there's a new lease on life for a former star athlete who was wrongfully accused of rape by a fellow classmate.|
Her family then went on to sue the Long Beach Unified School District for $1.5 million.
In a report by KABC 7/ABC News, Gibson collected $1.5 million after suing the school over lack of safety on campus. Banks spent five years in prison and five years on parole, finally reaching out to California Project Innocence.
But the case turned when the alleged victim contacted him through Facebook asking to be his friend.
"Why would you friend request me?" Banks asked Gibson over Facebook. "The reply was, 'I figured you and I could let bygones be bygones. I was immature then, btu I'm much more mature now.'"
Banks could have spent over 41 years to life in prison for this charge, but he agree to a plea deal.
Banks had an attorney that encouraged him to make a plea deal.
"She told me I was a big black teenager and no jury would believe anything I said," said Banks.
Gibson did not attend the hearing on Thursday. It remained unclear if she would have to pay back the money. Nonetheless, Gibson's admission paved the way for Banks' exoneration.
"He's had a monitor on his ankle since that day, it's been difficult for him to get work, he's been struggling in the community with people looking at him like a sex offender," said Justin Brooks with California Project Innocence.
Soon the ankle monitor will come off. But for now, he says there are things of greater importance.
"To finally have my freedom back, I couldn't ask for more," he said.
Banks also said that he is no longer bitter over the situation and that he learned to eliminate those feelings in order to make the day he dreamed of possible.
While his lawyers say he has grounds to file a lawsuit against Gibson, Banks has not yet decided if he will do so. Rather, his big focus is on football once again. He wants to finally make that NFL dream a reality.
When you look at the situation, Banks counts for an example of how juries look at Black men as natural born criminals. Innocent victims suffer for people who commit crimes. And those who are framed for crimes are sent to prison without having evidence or a chance to understand their rights by law.
In many states, Blacks are likely to face harsher sentences for crimes as compared to Whites. It's likely that when a father is in prison, his children may follow and it's high in the Black community for incarceration.
It's a tragedy for Banks to lose his life in prison for a crime he didn't commit. The outlook looks good for him and we here at Journal De La Reyna wish him well on his journey.