Three days after domestic violence victim, Marissa Alexander was released on bail, after spending ‘over 1,000 days’ in prison, MSNBC’s host, Melissa Harris-Perry, decided to write and open letter to Angela Corey – Marissa’s prosecuting attorney.
Corey helped send Alexander to prison for 20 years – for firing a warning shot at her abusive husband who was coming at her. (Husband, Rico Gray, admitted his intentions in his sworn deposition, and had admitted abusing her physically and emotionally prior to that incident as well).
Here is Melissa Harris-Perry’s intro followed by her letter to Corey:
There is nothing like being home for the holidays with your loved ones. So I can only imagine that this Thanksgiving is particularly bittersweet for Marissa Alexander, who was granted a special pre-trial release at 10:30 PM on Wednesday – Thanksgiving Eve – after spending more than 1000 days in jail, and barely seeing her youngest child who just recently turned three.
But my letter is not to Marissa. Sis, I am saving that one for when you are finally freed for good. No, my letter this week is to the woman that worked to put you in jail in the first place: Florida State Attorney for the fourth judicial circuit, Angela Corey.
Dear Angela Corey,
It’s me, Melissa.
Angela, there are few times in life that we get second chances to right our wrongs. Well Angela, this is yours.
You have been called a fierce victim’s advocate, so it is way past time that you start acting like it.
Because a woman who was hospitalized in 2009 after being shoved into a bathtub and hitting her head – she is a victim.
A woman whose estranged husband has admitted to abusing all five mothers of his kids – she is his victim.
And when that woman, that victim, who has just recently given birth, fires a warning shot near the man that has cornered her in her home – she is a victim who feels she has no other recourse.
But that is part of the problem, Angela. You never saw Marissa as a victim. You saw Marissa as the aggressor and even justified why the infamous “Stand Your Ground” law was not applied in Marissa’s case.
Because, as you put it, she was not fleeing from an abuser, even though Rico Gray, her estranged husband, has admitted telling Marissa that he would kill her if she ever cheated on him.
You have said that the shot fired was not consistent with a warning shot because it was at adult head height. Marissa is three inches shorter than Rico Gray.
And according to you she didn’t have to get 20 years in jail. That also was her fault, right Angela? You said to NBC’s the Grio back in May: “She didn’t have to get 20 years, because I took into account their prior domestic history and her lack of a [criminal] record, and we offered her the three year mandatory minimum.”
Marissa is a mother of three. And she is a victim of abuse.
Any mother knows that one day away from her child is 24 hours too long.
And when you are an abuse victim, you have to believe that the courts will finally free you from the cycle of violence instead of criminalizing you for trying to protect yourself.
If nothing else, the last two years should have shown you that an aggressive prosecution is not always the best one.
So while I know Marissa is thankful this holiday to be home with her family while she awaits her new trial on March 31st, 2014, maybe you should spend this holiday being thankful that you have a second chance to right this obvious wrong.
Source: Melissa Harris-Perry/MSNBC
Special thanks: Karen Teegarden and UniteWomen.org
|Leslie Salzillo is an activist, political commentator and visual artist. She began contributing to Liberals Unite in June of 2013.|