Civil rights lawyers across the country have reported that they are receiving an unprecedented number of calls from individuals reporting racial violence and civil rights violations this year. Many of these cases are going unreported in the media, as the global pandemic, election, and high-profile cases of police violence take center stage. Whether or not this is reflective of an uptick in cases, or an increased awareness of civil rights violations and racial violence is yet unknown.
The proliferation of cell phones has helped make video evidence more readily available for those seeking to prove their case, and social media has helped spread awareness of these long-simmering issues. These cases are no longer going unnoticed, and now more than ever we as individuals and as a nation must hold those who commit acts of racial violence accountable. If you or a loved one have been the victim of racial violence and wish to speak to a skilled racial violence attorney, contact the law offices of McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt today.
Racial Bias in America
Racial violence and bias has been a distinct part of American history since the founding of this country. This violence has had a devastating impact on almost every racial and ethnic group that has been a part of this nation, and is often specifically directed against Americans who are Black. Both explicit and implicit racial biases impact the way that Black Americans are treated in their everyday interactions, as well as their employment prospects and dealings with law enforcement.
Attacks against African Americans continue to be the most frequently reported hate crime related to racism in the United States, and racial bias is a major contributing factor to this statistic. When we talk about implicit racial bias, we are typically referring to unconscious beliefs, or stereotypes that are widely held. These unconscious thoughts can often contradict conscious attitudes, and influence how Black Americans are treated in almost every setting.
How Racial Bias Affects Racial Violence
Research over the years has clearly demonstrated that most Americans hold some amount of implicit bias against their fellow Black citizens. One form of implicit bias is making an association between criminality and Black individuals. Studies show that officers are more likely to shoot individuals who are more stereotypically “Black” looking, ie; individuals with darker skin, or wearing clothing that is stereotypically associated with Black people (such as hoodies or baggy clothes).
Numerous studies show that even when people behave in identical ways, implicit biases put Black individuals at greater risk of danger to their safety and their lives. This extends not just to encounters with law enforcement, but to encounters with civilians. This was clearly demonstrated in the case of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man who was chased down and killed after taking a jog through a neighborhood. Mr,. Arbery was killed by residents who claimed they thought he matched the description of a suspect in a series of neighborhood break-ins.
Racial Violence at Protests
In August of 2017, DeAndre Harris was assaulted in a parking garage by six men during the Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Mr. Harris suffered a concussion, fractures, internal injuries, and spinal injuries during the assault. Incredibly, after the attack, felony charges for “unlawful wounding” were brought against Mr. Harris. Thanks to a joint campaign between S. Lee Merritt Esq. and Shuan King, four of the six attackers were found, charged, and convicted.
Experienced Racial Violence Attorneys
Civil rights activist and attorney S. Lee Merritt Esq., is a founding partner of McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt. Merritt runs a high profile practice that focuses on hate crimes, victims of police brutality, and corporate discrimination. His clients include the families of Ahmaud Arbery, Patrick Warren Sr, and Botham Jean. He is also co-consul for the families of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
In 2018 Mr. Merritt joined McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt as counsel due a strategic commitment to the pursuit of justice. If you or your family member have been a victim of racial violence, contact our office today and discuss your case with our team members. Our consultations are always free of charge. Call us at 1-866-869-5318 or reach us by filling out our form.