The Houston Ministry of Justice
LIVINGSTON-It was only T’Challa Washington’s second offense. He was convicted of a crime and sent back to prison for the second time in his life. The crime he was convicted of committing was a drug charge involving less than four grams of cocaine. For this offense he was sentenced to 78 years in prison. Yes, a 78-year prison sentence for a crime where no one was murdered, no terrorist attack took place and not a drop of blood was spilled. This may sound bizarre to the average American, but it’s just a day in the life for Black people trapped in the small town of Livingston, Texas.
Ask Christine Hansen, who was pregnant and lost her unborn child because she says she was refused medical treatment while in custody. If you can’t reach her, then call Arthur Dirden, who says he was railroaded into a Statutory rape conviction with no prosecutorial evidence, no forensic evidence and not even a formal investigation. Dirden, a former law enforcement officer, is currently appealing his case.
You certainly can also call the family of Charles Wallace who was recently beaten so brutally by the police department that he spent several days in ICU and can no longer function like a normal human being. His family says they’ve recieved no explanation from law enforcement about why he was so savagely beaten. There is no shortage of victims to call about injustice in Livingston, simply because there is no shortage of injustice.
Most heartbreaking of them all is the story of 22-year old Carl Wills. Wills was a potential witness in the case involving Dirden along with his cousin. It is said that Wills was dating the daughter of the local District Attorney, Joe Martin, who is White. Martin reportedly did not approve. Last September Wills’ body was found underneath a bridge in Liberty, Texas (the town adjacent to Livingston) having suffered blunt force trauma to his head along with injuries from gunshot wounds.
No arrests have been made and Wills’ mother says she suspects her son was set up and that law enforcement is attempting to sweep her son’s death under the rug. “There ain’t no justice for Blacks in Livingston, Texas”, said Reverend John Mitchell, a local preacher. “These people (in the justice system) are down here doing what they wanna do to us. We need some help.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has taken an interest in some of these cases in Livingston. Hansen’s case is being reviewed and investigated by the FBI. She claims to have a civil suit pending against the county, as well. But if half of what Blacks in Livingston allege is the truth, the FBI needs to clean house completely in Livingston, Polk county because its Black citizens have become prisoners in their own homes.
This kind of unfair dealing is the order of the day in many small towns in America, particularly in the South. When towns like Livingston, and the infamous Jena, La., are afforded the luxury of flying under the mainstream radar they usually mete out justice as they please, disregarding state laws. Because there is very little oversight, the police chiefs, district attorneys and other officers of the court dish out what is considered “small town justice” which is a modern day version of Jim Crow. Why else would any court permit a man to be sent to prison for 78 years for less than 4 grams of cocaine? It is because, for years, they’ve been getting away with it.
Residents recently met with Activist Deric Muhammad and members of Houston’s Ministry of Justice who traveled to Livingston, about 60 miles north of Houston, to personally hear the complaints of these victims of injustice and their family members. Muhammad agrees that the FBI and the Department of Justice needs to investigate the entire justice system in Livingston and ultimately clean house.
Listening to T’Challa Washington’s brother speak of how his brother recieved 78 years in prison for less than 4 grams of cocaine was overwhelming”, said Muhammad. “Black people in Livingston are trapped, oppressed and living under martial law. The federal government needs to do its job and send a message to small towns across America by shutting Livingston, Polk County down.” “Small town justice equals “big time injustice” in America,” added Muhammad. “God sees what happening in Livingston and those who systematically oppress His people will reap what they have sewn.”
The Ministry of Justice is in the planning stages of organizing a Rally for Justice in Livingston. The FBI and the Department of Justice has been invited.