My heart is broken at the news that Seth Williams has been indicted on charges of corruption. But the pain I feel is not for Williams – a man I’ve known for several years. Rather, my pain is for Philadelphia’s black community.
Having read through the federal indictment that lays out Williams’ alleged crimes, the evidence is damning. From text messages between Williams and two business owners that seemingly illustrate quid pro quo relationships, to Williams’ admission that he accepted more than $160,000 in gifts, the embattled district attorney seems trapped in a web of his own creation.
But Philadelphia’s black community is trapped, as well. We lived through the Frank Rizzo era, where police brutality was both the symptom and the disease. We survived being targeted through illegal stop-and-frisk tactics.
We hoped that by electing a black district attorney, the disparate treatment we suffered in our criminal justice system would cease. We hoped that a prosecutor who looked like us would see himself in our children, would treat us more fairly than his white predecessors did and, at the very least, would see us as human beings.
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Solomon Jones is an Essence bestselling author and award-winning columnist. He is the creator and editor of Solomonjones.com and morning host on 900 am WURD radio. Click here to learn more about Solomon.