“It is not strange; there are no happenings; law governs all events.” ~ Holy Koran of the Moorish Science Temple of America
This article, Is Justifiable Homicide The Modern Day Casual Killing Of Slaves?, is dedicated to the memory of Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, Yvette Smith and all of the other men and women who were unjustifiably murdered under the guise of “justifiable homicide”.
Unfortunately, not a year goes by without a news report of some young man or woman dying in the hands of the police (or someone who acts as if they are the police). Usually, these cases are polarized by the factor of race. The victim is usually identified as “Black” or “African-American”, while the perpetrator of the act is usually identified as “White”. Recently, we were exposed to the graphic viral video of a New York police department officer putting a 43 year-old asthmatic husband, father of 6 children and grandfather of 2 grandchildren, in a chokehold which led to the man’s death. The man’s name is Eric Garner.
The use of the chokehold to restrain someone has long been prohibited by the NYPD. Officer Daniel Pantaleo, the cop who used the chokehold on Eric Garner, was previously sued twice for using the exact same chokehold. Now, it stands to reason to ask the following question: why would the NYPD keep an officer who was sued twice for using a prohibited chokehold?
The answer to that question, and the answer to why such killings continually take place, may lie within an old-time slave code. The oldest U.S. slave laws are found in the State of Virginia. There is a publication entitled The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of all the Laws of Virginia, volume 2 (1823) by William W. Henning. This publication contains the Virginia Slave Codes. Among these codes is a document, dated October of 1669, which is entitled “An act about the casual killing of slaves”. This act states the following:
“Whereas the only law in force for the punishment of refractory servants resisting their master, mistress or overseer cannot be inflicted upon negroes, nor the obstinacy of many of them by other than violent means suppressed, Be it enacted and declared by this grand assembly, if any slave resist his master (or others by his masters order correcting him) and by the extremity of the correction should chance to die, that his death shall not be considered a felony, but the master (or that other person appointed by the master to punish him) be acquit from molestation, since it cannot be presumed that malice existed (which alone makes murder a felony) [or that anything] should induce any man to destroy his own estate.”
The relevance of this act becomes more apparent when one looks into the Supreme Court case of Tennessee versus Garner. Tennessee vs. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985), was a case in which the U.S. Supreme Court decided that, under the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, when a law enforcement officer is pursuing a suspect, the officer may apply deadly force to prevent escape if he or she has “probable cause” to believe that the suspect poses a threat. Needless to say, it is very difficult to prove that a law enforcement officer does not have “probable cause”. In the case of Eric Garner, a “black” man who weighed about 400 pounds, one can guess how the NYPD might use this to their advantage.
In criminal law, the idea of justifiable homicide exists between the legal definitions of an excuse and a justification. In law, homicide becomes justified when it prevents greater harm to others. A homicide can be justified if it can be proven that it was reasonable to believe that the victim posed an imminent threat to the life or well-being of another. A homicide in this case is blameless, and is distinguished from the less strict criteria allowing deadly force in the stand your ground law (which was used to justify the murder of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman).
Unfortunately, in the United States, Asiatics of Moorish descent have been categorized under the labels that delude to slavery (i.e. negro, black, colored, African-American, etc.). As a result, they are still viewed as slaves. In this sense, the “casual killing of slaves” in the form of justifiable homicide applies.
Those terms, which delude to slavery, were defined as objects of commercial trade in the Law of Nations. This definition carried over into the U.S. slave laws and later on, into the various statues that are in effect today. A slave is one who is void of a nationality, as nationality determines one’s political status and a slave has no political rights. The nationality of Moors was taken away from them in 1774 and the words “negro”, “black” and “colored” were given to Asiatics, of America, who were of Moorish descent. A perfect example of how nationality works is in the case of the lynchings of Italian-Americans in New Orleans during the 1890’s. As a result of the efforts of the Italian consul, the U.S. government actually paid indemnities for the killings.
In this day and time, it is of utmost importance that we proclaim our nationality in order to reclaim our birthrights and be recognized as natural persons as opposed to state property. Prophet Noble Drew Ali taught us about the importance of nationality and birthrights. In his editorial entitled “A Divine Warning By The Prophet For The Nations”, he stated:
“The citizens of all free national governments according to their national constitution are all of one family bearing one free national name. Those who fail to recognize the free national name of their constitutional government are classed as undesirables, and are subject to all inferior names and abuses and mistreatments that the citizens care to bestow upon them. And it is a sin for any group of people to violate the national constitutional laws of a free national government and cling to the names and the principles that delude to slavery.”