COMMENTARY: Don’t Snitch: A Mother Mourns While Her Son’s Killer is Free

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“He was the first grandchild on both sides of the family, a proud father of a daughter who just made two years old this January, he had a fiancé, a new home, he was a veteran, a dean’s list student, a working man,,” Michele said. “He was well-respected by all.  But most of all, he was my son, my heir, my backup, my protector, my confidant, not perfect, mine.  At the time of his death he was very, very happy and planning a wedding.”

Black men like Malcom Dowdy are dying senselessly on the streets of Chicago and police can’t seem to close their cases. It’s difficult for Michele to accept that her son’s killer is walking the streets of Chicago. If only someone –anyone — would talk. But this is the seemingly insurmountable problem that Michele faces. She understands the situation intellectually, but it doesn’t make it any easier emotionally.

“I’m very angry for obvious reasons,” Michele said. “My city has let me down, failed me, its number one fan. My Mayor has been silent, the superintendent of police only quotes stats — hell, these are human beings and one death is too many.”

“Our police are overwhelmed with more than 500 unsolved murder cases from 2012,” she said. “And then there’s that darn code of silence in the black community “No Snitch.”  The next day we start all over again.  Another murder, another march against gun violence, media, gun turn-ins, mothers crying, ministers praying.”

Michele said she has made numerous attempts to keep Malcom’s name in the public eye, posting comments on her Facebook page and handing out flyers offering a reward for anonymous leads, but there is only silence.

“Everyone needs to be held accountable for the murders in the predominantly black and Hispanic neighborhoods,” Michele said. “That includes the residents, the gang bangers, the businesses and the aldermen and alderwomen.”

“Until recently you couldn’t tell me my city was any different than any other large urban location,” she added.  “I loved my city, it’s truly beautiful and I’ve lived here all my life. A black man’s life expectancy is very short here, it always has been.  Truthfully, I didn’t want him to come back to Chicago after he was out of the service.  But I also thought I had beaten the odds; I took a deep breath, relaxed.  I did my job.”

And today, Michele is still grieving.

Politicians, including President Barack Obama, are speaking out against urban gun violence, but Malcom Dowdy’s case is getting cold. Michele is worn out these days but says she wants City Hall to pay attention to her plight. She’s even prepared to stand in front of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office with a handwritten sign that reads: “What about Malcom?”

She deserves an answer. And she deserves justice for her son.

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