Renisha was on Trial All Along

by Thandisizwe Chimurenga

Ted Wafer’s defense lawyers spent his entire trial trying to convince 12 jurors that Renisha McBride was guilty in her own murder.

Renisha was on Trial All Along

by Thandisizwe Chimurenga

This article previously appeared in Ebony.
The bulk of Carpenter's defense of Wafer was built on the vilification and criminalization of a teenager whose face had been blown off by her client.”

Like everyone else, I too was shocked and horrified that a man who shot a 19-year old Black girl in the face with a shotgun because she was banging on his door had not been arrested, had not been charged, until two weeks later.

Cheryl Carpenter, Wafer's attorney, was building a defense narrative on the premise that Renisha McBride was a thug/criminal who sold drugs and was trying to break into Wafer's house at the time she was shot.

In one media account Carpenter said that Renisha, intoxicated and disoriented from a car crash on the night she was murdered, may have thought she was breaking into her drug dealer's house at the time.

And that's when I knew I had to cover this trial. I had to be present.

I had to bear witness.

Both Renisha's family and the Wayne County District Attorney said that the case was not about race. But I knew better.

It was important for me to witness this trial for evidence of structural racism, also known as White supremacy. Ted Wafer was the least of my concerns.

I knew that White supremacy was always present. Like a haze of smog over the Los Angeles skyline that used to burn your eyes, but nowadays only mildly affects your breathing; some days you see it, some days you don't ...but it is always present.

It was present when Dearborn Heights Police officers (DHP) speculated that perhaps Renisha McBride was a prostitute - simply because she had been carrying a $100 bill in her back pocket -trying to get money out of Wafer. The money had been given to her by her mother.

It was present when DHP decided not to arrest Wafer the night he told them his gun accidentally discharged and he didn't know that the gun was loaded; the same night when, hours later, he changed his story in a police interview and said it was self-defense, standing and showing the police how he held the gun – about midlevel, between his waist and his chest.

White supremacy was present when the judge, Dana Margaret Hathaway, asked the potential jury pool, “Are there any African American jurors that feel a sense of loyalty to their race that would demand a guilty verdict?,” and it was present when defense attorney Carpenter used 7 of her 9 peremptory challenges to strike African Americans from the jury pool.

But no where was it more present than in Carpenter's defense narrative.

Carpenter argued that there was an “aggressive side” to Renisha McBride as a result of alcohol in particular, and Renisha's social media profile truly represented who she was. Carpenter sought to enter into evidence photos and texts from Renisha McBride's cell phone and pictures from her Twitter and Facebook profiles that talked about marijuana, “thuggin',” and “gettin' paid.”

A social media profile that began at age 15 and ended three years later.

Carpenter used 7 of her 9 peremptory challenges to strike African Americans from the jury pool.”

The photos/texts weren't allowed into evidence but Carpenter would periodically repeat her request for them, reminding the jury of Renisha's alleged “thug life.”

In another media account, Carpenter complained that it was central to their case that they “be allowed to argue that Renisha was up to no good” the morning she banged on Ted Wafer's door.

Not prove she was up to no good, simply argue it. Simply argue that a teenager with a possible concussion, intoxicated, high from marijuana, and staggering through the streets wearing a torn/ripped boot, wanted to break and enter into Ted Wafer's house because she just wanted to.

Its what thugs do.

The bulk of Carpenter's defense of Wafer was built on the vilification and criminalization of a teenager whose face had been blown off by her client.

Cheryl Carpenter's defense was to murder Renisha McBride a second time.

I had to see that with my own eyes instead of reading about it – or not – in a mainstream media account of the case.

In response to Carpenter's slandering of their daughter, Renisha's parents stated to media that they knew who she was and how she was raised.

I can appreciate that.

But I had to see those 12 men and women – the jury that heard the evidence in this case – toss Carpenter's narrative onto the trash heap where it belonged with my own eyes.

And I'm grateful that I did.

Thandisizwe Chimurenga, a freelance journalist based in Los Angeles, CA, covered the trial of Theodore Wafer for the murder of Renisha McBride for Color of Change and Black Agenda Report.


Race is Never a Factor in 'Post-Racial' USA in the age of Obama;

Race wasn't a factor when Wafer blew Renisha's face off w his shot gun, & then lied about it. And race had nothing to do w the DA taking 2 weeks before she charged Wafer w homicide.

Race wasn't a factor when KILLER Z called Trayvon a 'F--king Coon' as he stalked after him armed, locked & loaded, & then gunned him down. And race had nothing to do w the cops changing & trying to ignore what witness Mary Cutchner [a white woman] said she saw immediately after KILLER Z gunned Trayvon down, cause it contradicted the tales of 'KILLER Z'. Race had nothing to do w FL DA's Angela Curry's waiting 45 days before arresting KILLER Z & then only when AG Holder started to get Obama's DoJ involved in the investigation. Race had nothing to do w DA Ms Curry's piss-poor prosecution of KILLER Z, IE: her failure to prep her most important witness Ms Rachel Jeantel [which gave the nearly all white women jury the 'excuse' to totally diss & dismiss Ms Jeantel's key testimony]- NOR the white-woman judge allowing KILLER Z's attny to portray the unarmed victim as the perp & aggressor [IE: put Trayvon on trial] & then gave KILLER Z a defacto SYG defense even though he failed to officially claim a SYG defense, cause his attny did NOT want to risk putting his LYING-CREEPY Ass on the witness stand for cross-exam... End result- That nearly all white woman jury let ZILLER Z's Lying-Creepy Ass walk 'Scott-Free'.

Race had nothing to do w Michael Dunn murdering unarmed Jordan Davis, even though Dunn was later caught on tape making statements that Blacks are all animals & thugs that deserve to be shot. 

Race has nothing to do w Rekia Boyd being gunned down by that off duty Chicago cop, even though neither Ms Boyd nor any of those w her were armed nor commiting any crimes. And race has nothing to do w the fact that 2.5 yrs after killing her, that white cop still hasn't been charged. 

Race had nothing to do w that white guy in Stanton island slamming the door in Black mom Glenda Moore's face, as she was seeking help to save her 2 little boys from drowing in Sandy's flood waters [her boys did indeed drown].

Race had nothing to do w those white NY cops killing Mr Kennith Camberlain in his own home, after accidentally triggering his medical alert system [Mr Chamberlain was 68 & had a heart ailment]- even though at-least one of those cops called him a nigger- before ultimately breaking his door-down & killing him. And race had nothing to do w a lily-white grand-jury, failing to bring charges against those white cops who murdered Mr Chamberlain in his own home. 

Race had nothing to do w white Oakland transit cop Meserle executing unarmed Oscar Grant, who was shot lying face down on the deck w his hands behind his back being hand-cuffed. And race had nothing to do w that lily-white jury, even after looking at multiple photo evidence & hearing multiple eye-witness testimony of Oscar Grant's execution by Meserle- failing to convict him of 2nd degree murder or 1st degree manslaughter, but gave him 2nd degree manslaughter instead [IE: the lightest possible sentence that could be hyped as 'fair'], that resulted in Meserle serving less than a yr in jail.

And race had nothing to do w those 4 white NYPD cops shooting unarmed non-criminal Amadou Diallo 41Xs, for reaching for his door-keys to enter into his own home. And race had nothing to do w those cops walking 'Scott-Free'

And race had nothing to do w why those white Milwaukee cops let Jeffery Dahmer go scott-free, even though they actually caught him in the act of preping to murder one of his 17 victims, a 14 yr old Laotian boy, but rejected the pleas of those Black women, who alerted the cops in the first place, to rescue the boy from Dahmer's deadly embrace.  


Race is NEVER a factor in one of the most RACIST societies of all TIMES. 

Race had nothing to do w

Race had nothing to do w Michael Dunn murdering unarmed Jordan Davis, even though Dunn was later caught on tape making statements that Blacks are all animals & thugs that deserve to be shot.

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Isn't this what this sociopathic-rooted society as a whole does to black people every day? Whenever legit racial injustice is brought up, you can be sure black-on-black crime or a sermon about black people's supposed lack of 'personal responsibility' is brought to the fore instead. All diversionary tactics to put us on the defensive for having the temerity to question the system. It is also projection pure and simple. The way whites as a collective try to portray the whole of the black community; you would think our histories were flipped. I guess that's what happens with good PR & ownership of the media.

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