Because I know most people don’t really read, I am going to say something at the beginning of this article, so as to make my position clear on where I am going with this article.
I, Jeffrey L. Boney, am not seeking to prove the case of innocence or guilt as it relates to Bill Cosby and the sexual assault charge he has having to deal with in the criminal justice system right now.
A woman made an allegation. A district attorney felt the allegation warranted an indictment. Cosby was indicted and a warrant was issued for his arrest, to which he had to turn himself in.
I wasn’t there. I never saw any video. I never saw any evidence. I don’t know what happened.
With that being said, however, what I do know is that Bill Cosby has NOT been legally proven guilty of any crime based off of ANY evidence, and while these are some serious allegations that he must defend in court, they are merely that – serious allegations that he must defend in court.
In America, they say that you are presumed “innocent until proven guilty,” but many people have chosen to not only believe the allegations and issue a “guilty” verdict against Cosby in the court of public opinion. That is wrong; and just because you think someone you are guilty, doesn’t mean you are.
The difference between guilt and innocence comes as a result of defending yourself in court and proving beyond a reasonable doubt your innocence or the other parties’ guilt.
Now, I know the mainstream media and many people on social media have been having a field day talking about Bill Cosby and his rape allegations from decades ago, but I would like for everyone to step back for a second and get prepared to answer an extremely deep question that may offend some people.
One argument I have heard from people is that it doesn’t matter how long it has been, if Cosby did it, he should be held accountable for his actions. I agree on this premise. If the statute of limitations has not passed, according to the law, and someone committed a crime, they should be held accountable for that crime and the victim(s) should be able to get justice.
So with that being said; since there are so many people who have no problem condemning Cosby for his alleged actions, and finding him “guilty” in the court of public opinion for the things they believe he did relative to allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting women based off of select testimony that came from a leaked deposition during a civil lawsuit, I have a question.
Are the same people who have responded this way towards Cosby, willing to exert the same passion and willingness to research America’s past in order to have some arrest warrants issued on behalf of the many Black women who were raped, sexually assaulted, abused and impregnated, decades ago by their slave masters against their will?
Or has the statute of limitations passed on that?
Let’s face it. None of us would have to guess whether these actions took place. There is insurmountable evidence and proof, in many cases, to indict and convict many perpetrators – dead and alive.
I find it interesting that we remember almost everything tragic thing that has happened in this country, with the exception of what happened to Black people during slavery.
We remember the Alamo. It symbolizes something that, although painful to remember, is a staple in Texas and in our history books. We remember the soldiers who have died in military combat on Memorial Day; we remember the victims who suffered at the hands of terrorists on 9/11; we remember Pearl Harbor; and lastly, we remember the tragedy of the Holocaust.
Just because some of us get uncomfortable and choose to selectively ignore certain parts of history, doesn’t mean we should ignore it and not talk about it. I pose a legitimate and thought-provoking question that I am hoping someone has the guts to answer.
I’ve never met one Jewish person who has ceased in their quest to get justice for the atrocities they suffered at the hands of the Germans during the Holocaust. I’ve also never met a Jewish person who has not continuously sought to bring charges against the perpetrators of the crimes committed against them.
Recently, Auschwitz Nazi officer Oskar Groening received a 4-year prison sentence for something that happened 70 years ago, and that he was not directly responsible for. Gene Klein, who survived Auschwitz as a teenager, but whose father was killed there, wanted personal justice for what happened to his family.
“My feeling is that people are saying, ‘Oh, he’s 93 years old, you know, poor old man, what’s going to happen to him?’ That’s not the way to look at it as far as I’m concerned,” said Klein. “This old man was 23 years old, 70 years ago. Now he was part of the SS, he probably joined the SS as a volunteer, he knew that the SS was involved in mass killings in every country that the Nazis overran in Europe. And so just because he had a desk job, and he wasn’t one of those soldiers that threw the poison gas canisters into the gas chambers, it doesn’t make any difference. He was part of this machinery that was put together very, very smartly and very efficiently to kill as many Jews as possible. And not just Jews, but other people also that they didn’t think were good enough to live.”
Does this sound like a man who “forgave” and “forgot” the crimes that happened to his family? No!
The question is, can our ancestors get the same justice that Klein got and the accusers of Cosby claim to seek, for something that happened decades ago? Or is there a double standard in place, because people don’t believe it is comparable. How is it not a justifiable and legitimate question and request?
If you believe Cosby should have been charged, regardless of when it took place, then you shouldn’t say “The Hell with it” as it relates to what happened to our Black women and tell us to move on as if nothing ever happened.
The alleged victim in the Cosby case, along with her lawyer and the D.A., didn’t feel her situation should be swept under the rug and forgotten any longer. If they have taken that posture, then the issues I bring up and the questions I pose should be treated with the same respect and attention.
When will people of African descent have their day in court and receive the justice they truly deserve, for the past crimes that were committed against them?
In this article, I primarily reference sexual assault as a comparison, but we can include slavery, rape, murder, the War on Drugs, lynching, sharecropping, the Black Codes, Jim Crow, mass incarceration, infectious diseases, the Tuskegee Experiment, literacy tests, poll taxes, mandatory minimum sentencing, the prison industrial complex, redlining, discrimination in housing, lending, employment and contracting discrimination and the list goes on. Can we get justice?
Or…has the statute of limitations passed us by and we take the posture that we just don’t care what happened and how long it’s been for us? I’ll be waiting for an answer from somebody.
Jeffrey L. Boney serves as Associate Editor and is an award-winning journalist for the Houston Forward Times newspaper. Jeffrey is a Next Generation Project Fellow, dynamic, international speaker, experienced entrepreneur, business development strategist and Founder/CEO of the Texas Business Alliance. If you would like to request Jeffrey as a speaker, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.