Question: If a man threatens you and your family, pulls a knife on your teenage son on your front lawn and then, after you fire a warning shot to get him to leave your property, he charges at you while reaching for a weapon, do you have the right to defend yourself?
Well, apparently not. Some of you may have heard about the case of John McNeil, the 46 year-old brother and Kennesaw, Georgia resident serving a life sentence for killing a white man trespassing on McNeil’s property.
It all started back in December of 2005 when Brian Epp, a hired contractor whom the elder McNeil had a dispute with, pulled a knife on the McNeil’s teenaged son.
Epp refused to leave McNeil’s property, so McNeil called 911 and fired a warning shot at the ground. That’s when Epp charged McNeil, reaching into his pocket for the knife. McNeil fatally shot him at close range.
Now, my legal background tells me this appears to be a classic case of self-defense. Even more, the investigating officers did not charge McNeil, claiming he acted in self-defense.
However, nearly a year later, Cobb County District Attorney Pat Head pursued a murder charge despite the conclusion of the police and won a jury verdict upheld by the Georgia Supreme Court.
This despite the fact Kennesaw, Georgia happens to be a town really committed to the concept of self-defense. First, all homeowners are required to own a firearm and ammunition as a deterrent to crime. Second, a 30 year-old Castle Doctrine law allows the use of deadly force to protect one’s home, or anyone inside it, from a violent trespasser.
And there’s more, because it would be so easy to think this is just a simple case of black and white in this white conservative town.
This case is even more troubling given the fact that the predominantly white Kennesaw police department has consistently supported McNeil’s right to self-defense and that white neighbors, white eyewitnesses and white police officers all testified on McNeil’s behalf.
According to NAACP reports, the Cobb County Sheriff's Office had to arrest McNeil because the Kennesaw Police Department refused to.
So while there may certainly have been bias in the decision to prosecute McNeil, white officers and witnesses were the main ones saying that he was well justified in defending himself.
Time for us to act folks. The NAACP has a petition you can sign at their site, naacp.org. The case is currently being reviewed a second time by a Georgia appellate court.
And it’s even more urgent we free McNeil from prison given his wife, Anita, has been stricken with cancer. Prayers and best wishes go out to the entire McNeil family.
I’ll close with this quote from NAACP President Ben Jealous: "When it comes to protecting your home and your family, there is no law that can protect a black man from a biased system of justice."
Until next time, this is Stephanie in love and hope.
Click here to sign the NAACP's petition to get justice for John McNeil.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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