The Injustice of Our Justice System

Dear Editor:

It was horrifying to read about the young European-American man who police say had enough weapons \”to arm two SWAT teams.\” A neighbor claims this man nearly killed him, and who knows how many would be dead today if that neighbor hadn’t called 911?

What happened next exemplifies the unconscionable discrepancy between the way young European-American men and young African-American men are treated. Our African-American kids, even when arrested for the first time and accused of far lesser crimes (possession of a single unlicensed handgun, for example) are treated like career criminals, with bail frequently set at $10,000 and more. These young men often have no car and no money for transportation, even if they did want to flee. African-Americans are also, upon conviction, sent to prison at a much higher

rate than European-Americans. In Newburgh, in fact, an African-American male is far more likely to go to jail than to college. Is this fact due, in part to the discrepancy I am describing?

A letter-writer recently defended the suspect, Michael Petrosino on the grounds that he is a former Marine. That’s all the more reason why he should have known better than to fire a weapon in a residential neighborhood. What I want to know is, why was Petrosino freed on just $5,000 bail? Could it have anything to do with the injustice of our \”justice\” system?

Cindy Holmes

City of Newburgh, NY