May 23, 2020
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In 1982, a white woman was raped in Louisiana. Afterwards, Archie Williams was picked up by the police, arrested, prosecuted for the rape. None of the fingerprints at the scene matched his and he had three alibi witnesses. But being a black man in Louisiana means none of that matters. He was convicted and sentenced to a term that meant he would die in prison. The prison? Angola Prison — considered by many to be the most brutal prison in America.
He was innocent.osec
The Innocence Project took on his case a dozen years later and fought for him for the next two decades. Louisiana officials — attorneys, cops, judges — fought their efforts to exonerate Archie, denying access to evidence, including forensic evidence that might prove his innocence. Eventually a judge ruled that the evidence be tested. The fingerprints matched a serial rapist, proving Archie’s innocence. He was released a little over a year ago, after 37 years in Angola Prison.
Below is a video of his recent performance oAmerica’s Got Talent. It’s an incredible performance and the song he chose to sing … well, it will just leave you in tears at the end. Assuming that you’re human, of course.
Before you watch though, think about this. The white guys in Georgia who killed Ahmaud a few months ago, would have got off if not for the video. Archie would have died in prison as an innocent man if not for 20 years of fighting by The Innocence Project. Locally, Stephon Clark would still be alive today if he was not a young, black male. The list and litany of this neverending tragedy goes on and on and on.
And you know what? There are people who were involved in his prosecution and conviction who knew he was innocent — whether it was some of the cops, some of the attorneys, investigators, or who knows. There were people who knew and they did nothing about it, instead choosing to grab another notch in their belt. A conviction of a black man. That was far more important than the truth.
In much of America, for many of our fellow citizens, there remains a search for justice and peace.