William ‘Marc’ Wilson, a biracial Black man, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for shooting at a group of teens racially attacking him and his family on the highway. Wilson argued the shooting was in self-defense but his attorneys say that the “stand your ground” laws in Georgia are racially biased toward Black people, according to Yahoo! News.
In June 2020, at the height of racial tension in the country, Wilson fired his handgun at a group of white teens in a truck who were shouting slurs and trying to run Wilson and his family off the road. One of those bullets killed a 17-year-old in the back seat, reports say.
According to Georgia law, a person is justified in using force if they believe that said force is necessary to defend themselves. When self-defense becomes deadly, there’s a question of whether “stand your ground” is justified. However, when you consider how George Zimmerman got away with killing Trayvon Martin, the law was applied to accommodate it.
More on Wilson’s case from Yahoo! News:
Prosecutors argued that Wilson did not need to fire his weapon, while the defense contends that he exercised legal self-defense under the state’s “stand your ground” law.
A number of states, including Georgia, have implemented the controversial laws loosening the restrictions on using deadly force when threatened, stating there is no duty to retreat first.
Studies have found a significant racial disparity in whether homicides are deemed justified based on the race of the shooter and the person shot. A 2020 study by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights said “white-on-black homicides have justifiable findings 33 percentage points more often than black-on-white homicides,” with “stand your ground” laws exacerbating that disparity.
We know how the justice system reacts to Black people with guns, especially if they’ve caused harm to a white person. Wilson’s cousin, who is white, said there’s no way he would’ve received the same punishment for this situation because of his race.
“If you put me in Marc’s shoes, there’s no way that I would’ve been prosecuted. Odds are I would’ve been given a medal — probably gotten a parade in my name. It’s unreal how he was treated just because he’s a little bit more tan than I am,” he told Yahoo! News.
He has a point. Kyle Rittenhouse just walked free for killing two people who weren’t posing a threat to him by arguing that he “stood his ground” in a state he didn’t even live in. Now, he’s sensationalized as a hero while Wilson is awaiting a potential life sentence.