Willie Smith is a victim of an incompetent and racist judicial system. The 43-year-old has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for stealing a rack of ribs that cost $35.
In September 2011, Smith grabbed a large rack of ribs from a grocery store in Waco, Texas and walked out of the store. After an employee confronted Smith, he told the employee that he had a knife under his shirt and ran away.
Smith never actually showed the employee a knife; however, when Smith was arrested, he was charged with armed robbery. Assistant District Attorney J.R. Vicha asked for the harshest punishment because Smith has five felony convictions; however, Smith’s previous crimes should not have been an issue in this case.
Smith stole food and never harmed anyone during the simple crime. The D.A. and judge in the case should both be investigated. Smith, who is black and poverty-stricken, is being targeted by a system that has a history of racial and class disparities.
One in three black males will serve time in prison during their lifetime. That has more to do with racial profiling and lack of opportunities than a persistence of crime within one racial group.
When it comes to class, there are dozens of corporate CEOs who stole millions from individuals and never served a day in prison. The mortgage crisis was caused by corporate greed and prison time for the mostly white and wealthy male offenders was never a result of that greed.
But Smith was chosen by the D.A. as a scapegoat for all that is wrong with society. In actuality, his case and ridiculous sentence proves how much is wrong with America and its pathetic justice system.