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It’s no secret that Black folks are historically not treated equally or fairly when it comes to the criminal justice system. Fast forward to 2024, they got the same agenda.

Elie Mystal, a mercurial political writer and personality who often appears on MSNBC, wrote an op-ed for the Nation about some recent cases that the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals just heard. The results are offensive to say the least.

Dogs have earned the title “man’s best friend.” However, dogs are not men nor women and thus, do not receive the same legal protections as we do but if you let the 11th Circuit tell it, pets are people too.

Mystal points to the case Sylvan Plowright v. Miami Dade County, in which Sylvan Plowright called 911 to report a trespasser at his Miami, Florida, home. We already know what type of time Florida is on in general, but we digress. When police arrived at the property, they immediately drew their guns on Plowright, the Black man who called for protection. During the fracas, Plowright’s 40-pound bulldog trotted out of the house, and police officers acted like Deebo had just stepped to them to steal their bikes.

Despite calls for Plowright to restrain his pet, officers deployed their tasers and left the animal incapacitated. That wasn’t enough for an officer named Sergio Cordova who drew his service weapon and fired two rounds killing the dog instantly. Upon filing a lawsuit, the 11th Circuit found that the police officers were not eligible for “qualified immunity,” the statute that prevents law enforcement officers from being personally liable for injury while acting in their official capacity. Great call. Don’t protect killer cops even if they are “just” killing animals.

However, Mystal then points to a case that was heard and ruled upon just before Plowright. In Robinson v. Sauls,the 11th Circuit ruled that police officers should be protected at all costs after they fatally shot a Black man 59 times. Jamarion Robinson was set to be served a warrant by the U.S. Marshals and local law enforcement officers in Georgia. Let the cops tell it, when they located Robinson, he refused to come out of his girlfriend’s house and was allegedly in possession of a firearm.

When all was said and done, Robinson suffered 75 gunshot wounds and was not rendered medical aid until he was subjected to a flash bang and handcuffs. Robinson’s mother filed a lawsuit that the 11th Circuit denied under the pretense that the combination of U.S. Marshals and local police created a “novel” case in which a “new category of defendants” was involved for which there was no previous statute. Hence, nothing could be done.

Shoot Jamal and shoot the dog. That’s the lesson. SMFH.


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