How a Grand Jury in Alabama Smoked Crack and Decided to Indict Marshae Jones only for the DA to Decide not to Prosecute Her

Marshae Jones. (Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, via AP)

Okay, so let me explain.

I was asked by my good friend, Alexis Chateau, if I’d heard about the Alabama woman who was indicted by a grand jury on a manslaughter charge in the shooting death of her unborn child.

Alexis wanted me to share my thoughts.

Well…it just so happens that I do live on planet earth and I also have internet access. Plus, the state of Alabama has recently gained the national spotlight and earned the wrath of celebrities and pro-choice activists alike, as Alabama’s governor signed into law possibly the most restrictive anti-abortion bill in the history of ever.

How about restrictive gun laws, you say? Not so much.

But in late December of last year, two black women were involved in a deadly altercation that on the surface appears to be a clear case of manslaughter. Allegedly, Marshae Jones who was five months with child brought dat smoke to Ebony Jemison in a Dollar General parking lot. Some ongoing drama over the baby’s daddy ensued where friends on both sides participated in what was described as a brawl. Jemison pulls out a gun, fires, wounding Jones but killing her unborn child.

Initially, Ebony Jemison was charged with manslaughter but a grand jury has since dismissed the charge and indicted Marshae Jones instead.

So, what are my thoughts?

I’m still trying to make sense of the grand jury’s decision to indict Marshae Jones in her own daughter’s death. And the only way I can do that is to imagine the grand jury smoking an inordinate amount of crack all day long. Crack or maybe they were taking Ambien or a combination of both. I don’t know. Because I can’t imagine people with even a shred of human decency doing something so thoughtless, insensitive, and cruel as victim blaming.

Which is exactly what they did.

I mean, we can wag our fingers and lecture Marshae Jones all we want about her ill-advised decision to confront Ebony Jemison in the first place. But is it not uncommon for a pregnant woman to feel insecure due to body and hormonal changes? Is it possible that Jones perceived Jemison as a threat and in her own way may have felt she was protecting her unborn child from any outside interest in the baby’s father with all three being employed at the same company?

Not according to the indictment.

I guess a manslaughter charge in Alabama reads differently for black women. Because Marshae Jones initiated a fight with Ebony Jemison then Jones is solely responsible for Jemison pulling out a gun, shooting and killing her unborn child in utero.

A grand jury believes Ebony Jemison acted in self defense even though Jemison herself speaking to BuzzFeed admitted that Jones was pulling her hair when she fired the fatal shot. Jemison said it was a warning shot. And owning a gun in Alabama is not a criminal offense, per say, but I’m pretty sure shooting and wounding an unarmed woman while causing the death of her unborn child because of hair pulling is. Or at least it should be.

Thankfully, lawyers representing Marshae Jones have filed a motion to dismiss the bogus manslaughter charge. And the Jefferson County Bessemer Cutoff District Attorney, Lynneice Washington, has decided not to prosecute.

But the damage is already done.

Because an Alabama grand jury chose to indict Marshae Jones in the shooting death of her own daughter, it sends an unfortunate message that black women are not deserving of justice. That in its blind pursuit of personhood rights for the unborn Alabama failed to see Marshae Jones as human. Disregarding that she was also shot. The grand jury failed to see her as a grieving mother who lost her unborn child in a most unexpected and tragic way. That she will have to carry the traumatic memory of that fatal event for the rest of her life.

Though what is most memorable is that there’s a crack house in Alabama where a grand jury for some sadistic reason or another decided to hold Marshae Jones accountable for her unborn daughter–Marlaysia Jones’ death.

Next thing you know, Alabama will give parental rights to rapists.

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