Friday, August 12, 2022

‘Evidence of Innocence’ Host Benjamin Crump on Mass Incarceration Being ‘An Extension of Slavery’ [EUR Exclusive]

*TV One’s new limited Crime & Justice Series “Evidence Of Innocence,” spotlights the unbelievable true stories of four people who endured this life-altering nightmare-innocent of crimes for which they were arrested and ultimately imprisoned.

From Emmy and NAACP Image award-winning producer Rushion McDonald of 3815 Media, in partnership with Jupiter Entertainment and hosted by Civil Rights attorney Benjamin Crump, each one-hour episode explores the road to redemption for four wrongfully convicted African-American citizens.

By profiling these incredible stories of courage and triumph, Crump shows the world the need to right the wrongs of this epidemic of injustice.

Crump, who is the President of the National Bar Association, has dedicated his career to bringing justice to those who are marginalized by the legal system.

Young activists may watch this series and fully realize that they are up against a system designed to profit greatly from locking up innocent people, so what advice does Mr. Crump offer to help keep them motivated when they feel powerless against this racist machine?

“I have a book coming out with Harper Collins in the Fall called “Open Season: The Legalized Genocide of People of Color,” because a lot of this is legal. They are legally targeting our young people for this mass incarceration. Let’s be honest, it’s an extension of slavery (and) trying to continue to segregate people of color and make them as inferior or second class citizens,” he explained to EUR/Electronic Urban Report. “But the thing that gives me hope and the thing I say to young people is the fact that I don’t ever want them to get away from this notion that we can’t make a better tomorrow and many times it is our faith that helps us.”

Check out the clip below.

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Locked in cells for years upon years, wrestling with fear, maddening loneliness, suicide-inducing despair, these survivors who somehow endured the struggle to have their cases overturned and regain their freedom, share their riveting accounts with Attorney Crump.

Mr. Crump says he never takes “credit for whatever success we’ve been able to achieve in and out the courtroom because I know but by the Grace of God it could’ve went the other way,’ he noted, adding that he encourages young activists to “pray.”

“They got to continue to pray,” he said. “You have to have something greater than you that you believe in. This system of justice that we have, oftentimes, it’s going to break our hearts over and over again. But the thing that you also want to realize is the fact that we have overcome so much throughout the history of America. When you think about slavery, separate but equal and Jim Crow — we lived through all of that.”

Black activists feeling discouraged at times should always be mindful that it’s only been about 48 years that blacks have been considered “legally and technically full citizens with all the full rights, so we’ve got a lot of ground to make up for a system that still, half of them are fighting against us gaining these civil and human rights,” said Crump.

“But we gained them and, honestly, in a lot of my speeches when I speak at these universities and such, I tell them that I don’t pray for these easier times like the mid-term election. A lot of people are praying that they win back the House and the Senate and I think those things are important but I pray God continues to help us produce stronger, younger people of color so we can withstand whatever may come so that we can overcome it.

I don’t think this system is ever going to change. We’re always going to be targets. But we need to have stronger, young people and a stronger future generation that can withstand anything they throw our way. We have to make sure our young people know what this system is with their eyes wide open and that they’re going to be more intelligent than those who seek to oppress them.”

Evidence of Innocence Executive Producer Rushion McDonald

EP Rushion McDonald said that he was moved to create “Evidence of Innocence” in response to all the national headlines chronicling the racial injustice in America’s justice system.

“As Attorney Crump says,” McDonald recalls, “all you have to do is sit in the back of a courtroom and you’ll see that justice is not equal in this country.” Evidence of Innocence, however, with its stirring tales of perseverance, is different from any other true crime show. He maintains, “Even though these persons received the blunt end of a bad deal, their stories are inspiring.”

“Evidence of Innocence” premieres Monday, June 4 at 10/9c PM on TV One.

The featured survivors are:

Lisa Roberts (June 4)

When her ex-girlfriend is brutally murdered in a public park in Portland, Oregon, Lisa Roberts immediately becomes the prime suspect. Lisa and her ex were part of a love triangle with another woman that had turned violent in the past. Lisa swears that she is innocent, and she even has an alibi. But when prosecutors discover cell phone evidence that they claim proves Lisa was at the scene of the crime, they give her two options: either plead guilty to manslaughter, or go to trial and risk life in prison. Terrified at the thought of dying behind bars, Lisa takes the plea. Sentenced to 15 years, she begins fighting for her freedom from inside a cell. But who will believe an innocent woman pled guilty to a murder she didn’t commit?

Mark Schand (June 11)

A drug deal gone wrong leads to a shootout in the streets of Springfield, MA that leaves an innocent bystander dead. Witnesses ID the shooter as Mark Schand, a one-time street hustler who’s gone straight. Mark wasn’t even in Massachusetts that night. He was in Hartford, CT with his pregnant wife. But investigators ignore his alibi, and charge him with murder. At trial, multiple witnesses point him out in court as the killer. The jury believes them, and sends Mark Schand to prison for the rest of his life. Buoyed by his wife’s undying love, he refuses to stop fighting. Can he and an all-star legal team find the real killers, and prove that authorities colluded to put an innocent man behind bars?

Richard Miles (June 18)

19-year-old Richard Miles was walking home one night in 1994 when he was suddenly surrounded by police and inexplicably accused of murder. After a swift conviction, he was sentenced to life in the Texas Department of Corrections. There, his faith was tested as he learned the harsh realities of the legal system. With the help of his father, the guidance of a prison mentor, and the strength of his religious principles, Richard continued his fight for freedom on the inside. After more than a decade behind bars, Richard found hope in wrongful conviction nonprofit Centurion Ministries, which made a commitment to vindicate him. But would that be enough in the eyes of the highest court in Texas? Or would Richard remain behind bars forever?

Melonie Ware (June 25)

In 2004, Melonie Ware realized her dream of running a daycare facility from her home. But when an infant mysteriously dies in her care, her life spirals out of control. Doctors and police say Melonie killed the child in a fit of rage. Her own defense attorney even has reservations about her innocence, and refuses to believe her version of events. The jury refuses as well, and sentences Melonie to life in behind bars. Now incarcerated, her fellow prison inmates terrorize her as a child killer. Unwilling to let his wife suffer in this living hell, Melonie’s husband risks the family’s life savings to overturn her conviction. But with prosecutors determined to keep her in jail, will Melonie ever see freedom?


Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.




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