Rubin “Hurricane” Carter – Former Political Prisoner – Dead at 76

"I wouldn't give up. No matter that they sentenced me to three life terms in prison. I wouldn't give up. Just because a jury of 12 misinformed people... found me guilty. And because I was not guilty I refused to act like a guilty person." - Rubin "Hurricane" Carter
I wouldn’t give up. No matter that they sentenced me to three life terms in prison. I wouldn’t give up. Just because a jury of 12 misinformed people… found me guilty. And because I was not guilty I refused to act like a guilty person.”
Rubin “Hurricane” Carter

Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, the former middle-weight boxer whose career came to a tragic halt upon being wrongly convicted and imprisoned for 19 years over a crime he didn’t commit, died in his sleep on April 20, 2014, Easter Sunday. He’d been struggling with colon cancer at his home in Toronto, Canada for some time, and in February he penned a “Dying Wish” that appeared in the New York Daily News in which he plead the case of inmate David McCallum, a man wrongly convicted in Brooklyn, and called for him to be given a fair hearing. McCallum has been imprisoned for almost three decades.

Rubin Carter and John Artis were sentenced to three consecutive life sentences in 1966 for murders the authorities knew they did not commit.
Rubin Carter and John Artis were sentenced to three consecutive life sentences in 1966 for murders the authorities knew they did not commit.

Rubin Carter was no stranger to racist harassment by the local law enforcement, even as he rose to fame as a middle-weight boxing champion. His outspokenness in the face of the constant police brutality inflicted by cops on the Black Community won him plenty of enemies among the goons in the Paterson, New Jersey Police Department. At the Department’s insistence the FBI began tracking him sometime around 1964. In 1966, after three people wound up dead after an apparent burglary in a downtown bar, “Hurricane” Carter and a young acquaintance named John Artis were pulled over in Paterson and, despite not even matching the burglars’ descriptions, arrested and charged with triple-murder. Their subsequent trial brought to the fore the racial tensions swelling throughout the country at the time, and many felt the men were being railroaded by an unjust and racist judicial system. This feeling was only exasperated when a jury made up exclusively of twelve white people, together with the Judge, delivered a verdict of “guilty”,  meting out three consecutive life-sentences to the two accused men. It would only later emerge that two “eye-witnesses” whose testimony was used to convict Carter and Artis were in fact the burglars responsible for committing the crime. Police and the prosecution let them off in exchange for their testimony which was used to implicate the “Hurricane” and Artis.

Bob Dylan – Hurricane:

During the two tumultuous decades Rubin Carter spent incarcerated in a high-security prison, much of which was spent locked away in solitary confinement, an international campaign declaring his innocence and calling for his release emerged. Singer/songwriter Bob Dylan brought further notoriety to the Hurricane‘s case when in 1975 he famously penned the Top-40 music hit, “The Hurricane”. However It wasn’t until 1985 when, with the help of a few Canadian activists/lawyers, Carter’s conviction was finally overturned. In his ruling, Federal District Judge Haddon Lee Sarokin famously held that Rubin’s original conviction was “predicated upon an appeal to racism rather than reason, and concealment rather than disclosure.” But despite the fact that the prosecution and police acted atrociously with the ways in which they purposely falsified and withheld evidence, not one police officer or member of the prosecution ever received punishment for their actions. Unfortunately this is more often than not the case in America’s so-called “criminal justice” system.

Rubin “Hurricane” Carter spent the rest of his life as an advocate on behalf of the many unjustly convicted people incarcerated in America’s prisons. He ended his “Dying Wish” with these words:

“If I find a heaven after this life, I’ll be quite surprised. In my own years on this planet, though, I lived in hell for the first 49 years, and have been in heaven for the past 28 years.

To live in a world where truth matters and justice, however late, really happens, that world would be heaven enough for us all.”

"They can incarcerate my body but never my mind." - Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter
“They can incarcerate my body but never my mind.”
– Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter

Further Reading:

 

12 thoughts

  1. Reblogged this on Failure to Listen and commented:
    ” But despite the fact that the prosecution and police acted atrociously with the ways in which they purposely falsified and withheld evidence, not one police officer or member of the prosecution ever received punishment for their actions. Unfortunately this is more often than not the case in America’s so-called “criminal justice” system.

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