INMATES & JUSTICE

“He Demand Justice” By: Johnny Simmons

{2018} My uncle Vincent Alfred Simmons has been incarcerated for over 41 years at Louisiana State Penitentiary. From the time my uncle was a teenager to the age of twenty-five he has had many encounters with law enforcements. Growing up in the south back in the 1960’s and 1970’s racism within the law enforcement was at it’s all time high. Vincent stood up aganist police brutality, and other racist acts that the ones who were suppose to serve and protect displayed.He quickly became an enemy to the police department. Vincent Simmons was arrested in May of 1977 on {2 counts of aggravated rape} of two 14 year old white girls. The Alledge rapes were not reported until two weeks after May 9th, the date the rapes suppose to occur. While being booked on these charges, Vincent was in handcuffs, and it was reported that he managed to grab an officer’s weapon, which led to a struggle, and ended with Vincent getting shot and critically wounded. He was still recuperating when he went to trial in July of 1977; he was not physically able to aid in his own defense. This man was arrested, arranged and tried all in a matter of two months. This particular case has attracted nationwide and worldwide attention from those who believe it is an example of “A Racist Southern System” that reacted to the claims by two white girls that said they were assaulted by a black man. Authorities pointed to a picture of men in a line up. While all of the men are black, the photo shows my uncle Vincent Simmons in handcuffs,which to indicate which man the twins were to identify. The twins couldn’t identify him without the handcuffs because they said that all blacks look alike. However, authorities lied and said the photo was taken immediately after the identification because Vincent was considered violent and needed to be restrained. What makes matters even worse, medical examiners reported that one of the girls had apparently never had sex, but of course authorities says that it is not proof that the attack didnot occur. To clean up their mess, prosecutors choose to reduce the charges to {2 counts of attempted aggravated rape} just prior to my uncles’s trial. They sentenced him to 100years, 50 years on each count. Inmagine if you will, being sentence to 100 years for a crime you did not commit. After decades of filing motions, we all thought that his day in court has finally come when Uncle Vincent was granted an evidentiary hearing on October 2nd 2018. The purpose of this hearing was to take a sworn in-person testimony of a woman who says that Uncle Vincent was at a bar the night of May 9, 1977. However, the judge rule giving the state favor, indicating the edvidence was too old. My Uncle has 30 days to appeal the court decision. When getting the news of this denial, my heart began to ache. I wanted to give a word of encouragement to him. I wanted to tell him that it is written in the bible in the book of Job chapter 14 vs.7 that “There is hope in a tree ,that if it will be cut down, it will sprout again”. I wanted to let him know that despite of his motin being denied, God gave him the same attitude of hope that He has given into a tree and that even though his motion has been denied, there’s still hope. I never got the opportunity to send this message to him, but instead got encouraged by my uncle’s last words to a family member. He said; “I am never gonna give up!” I will never stress or worry about a problem. I think about the problem and figure out a solution to solve the problem by keeping my faith stron in God! I am strong; will never fold and will never give up! These words has spoke volume to me.These are words of a warrior and it changed my view about life. My uncle’s case has taught me that there is light within this darkness. I use to believe that the opposite of poverty was wealth. After reading those encouraging words from my uncle Vincent Alfred Simmons, I now believe that the opposite of poverty is justice, because he demand justice!

Johnny Simmons
DOC #309632

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