Five Years, But Couple Pleaded Guilty To Violating Civil Rights
On August 28, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice for the Western District of Missouri announced that an Independence, MO man and woman pleaded guilty in federal court to violating the civil rights of an African-American family by setting fire to their residence.
Logan J. Smith, 25, and Victoria A. Cheek-Herrera, 34, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes to one court of conspiring to threaten and intimidate a family from exercising their constitutional right to reside in their home because of their race or color, and one count of civil rights violation for committing a racially motivated arson.
Smith waived his right to a grand jury indictment and pleaded guilty to a two-count information. Cheek-Herrera pleaded guilty to two of three counts charged in an indictment returned by the grand jury on May 23, 2013.
According to the plea agreements, Smith and Cheek-Herrera discussed their desire to set fire to the home of the couple, and they drew a swastika and wrote the words “White Power” on the driveway. Smith and Cheek-Herrera created a Molotov cocktail, lit the wick and threw the gasoline-filled bottle into the side of the house that the couple was renting and set the residence on fire. No serious damage or injuries were reported.
By pleading guilty, Smith and Cheek-Herrera admitted that on June 26, 2008, they conspired to injure, oppress, threaten, and intimidate an African-American couple and their minor children in the free exercise of their constitutional rights to occupy and rent their home because of their race and color.
This case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by First Assistant U.S. Attorney David M. Ketchmark and Trial Attorney Shan Patel of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
I would like to point out that the arson happened on June 26, 2008. It has been 5 years, but the couple now faces a maximum penalty of 20 years and fines of up to $500,000. It is reported that Cheek-Herrera is pregnant.
So many have expressed impatience and distrust of the DOJ to make findings as to whether George Zimmerman violated Trayvon Martin’s civil rights. As we can see from the Smith, Cheek-Herrera case, the Dept. of Justice did not simply charge them with committing arson in violation of a Black family’s civil rights. They also charged them with conspiracy to injure, oppress, threaten and intimidate the Black couple and their minor children in the free exercise of their constitutional rights to occupy their home because of their race and color.
The FBI took time and investigated to find evidence of conspiracy to injure, oppress, threaten and intimidate. If there is any evidence that Zimmerman was told of Trayvon’s presence in the Retreat at Twin Lakes, rather than merely seeing Trayvon while on his way to get groceries, the FBI will find it. Hopefully, it will not take five (5) years to decide, but we must respect the thorough work conducted by federal law enforcement.
Imagine being on the federal grand jury hearing the Dept. of Justice bring the case against Zimmerman and ask yourself, does Zimmerman’s NEN call provide evidence that he intimidated Trayvon in Trayvon’s free exercise to walk in the gated community where he had the right to be?
“Shit. He’s running.”
1. Is there sufficient evidence that Zimmerman’s actions were perceived by Trayvon as threatening.
2. “He ran.” ”
Is there sufficient evidence that Zimmerman followed Trayvon first in his vehicle, then on foot, because he profiled Trayvon based on the color and race of those committing burglaries?
3. George Zimmerman called NEN to report one person as suspicious. By referring to Trayvon in the plural as “assholes” and “punks”, did Zimmerman signify that he saw Trayvon as a group and not an individual?
“Looking at houses.” “Walking in the rain.”
4. When Zimmerman got out of his truck and followed Trayvon, did he do so with intent to violate Trayvon’s constitutional rights since his only suspicion of Trayvon was that he was walking in a manner in which Zimmerman disapproved?
“I got on his back and spread his arms out.”
5. Did Zimmerman violate Trayvon’s constitutional rights when after shooting him, Zimmerman got on Trayvon’s back to restrain him?
Posted on 08/31/2013, in Department of Justice, Justice For Trayvon and tagged civil rights, DOJ, George Zimmerman, hate-crime, Independence, Logan J. Smith, Missouri, Trayvon Martin, Victoria A. Cheek-Herrera. Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.