Thursday, February 3, 1994

Bomani Shakur Statement at Sentencing


"To begin with, I already know that there's nothing I can say that haven't already been said; but being that this is my life, I feel obligated to say something.  Seems like everybody has something to say and everybody have an opinion on what they feel should be done with my life. Well, I want to say what I feel about my own life and what not.


First, I want to say that I'm not unmindful of the great responsibility that you have; but I'm sure it's not your first time, and as you continue to serve, that it won't be your last time.

What has happened to me here, it don't exist in a vacuum; and it's real to me. And I realize this moment right here; it's only going to be lived just one time. Whatever happen after this point on, I'm going to have to live with it. Your life will go on. My life will go on, for however long that life may be.

So first of all, I want to say that- I want the record to reflect that I stand unbowed and unbroken by what has been allowed to transpire inside these walls within which I sought justice. I want the record to reflect that I have absolutely no faith in the system and no faith in the power that would permit such a miscarriage of justice to take place; and though I stand here convicted of nine counts of aggravated murder, I want the record to reflect that the only thing I'm guilty of is being innocent and that once again man is being made to pay for the arrogant insensibility of a people who's so intoxicated by their myths that they don't realize that the dream has turned into a nightmare.

Whether you realize it or not, I know right now [1994] in the state- in the United States you have 1.5 million people incarcerated, 2.8 million on probation, and 671,000 people on parole; and it's- It's frightening, man, when you think about that and you think about this and you say, well, why is this man here? And I heard why he said I'm here; and I understand why, you know, everybody else think I'm here. But I'm here because I'm expendable to a society that has become so desperate to thwart the threat upon their precious status that they would stand by and watch an innocent man be killed- killed by the same system who would have us believe that killing is wrong. What kind of justice is this?

Throughout the whole trial it's been said- repeatedly said by the prosecutor that every man must be held accountable for his actions. I agree with that. In 1988 I was caught stealing some jewelry out of a jewelry store, and because of my actions I pled guilty, and was sentenced to two years imprisonment. In 1989 I killed a man by the name of Kenyatta Collins, and because of my actions I pled guilty, and was sentenced to a term of 18 years to life imprisonment. In 1994 I was charged with nine counts of aggravated murder with death penalty specifications; but because of my actions, I pled not guilty and placed my life in the hands of uncaring people.

The prosecutor, every man must be held accountable... except the man who hides behind the shield of an unjust system, a system that would kill a man based on the testimony of individuals that would have this Court believe that they had microscopic microchips embedded in their brain; a system that would kill a man in order to escape their responsibility, in order to escape the stupidity that would leave 15 correctional officers in charge of 400 violent men- men who have been stripped of their humanity and left to live like animals, unworthy of respect, unworthy of understanding, and unworthy of reason; Men who are being stripped and being made to pay a debt to society with the very soul that makes them human beings.

We sit here, you know, we judge people, you know, not understanding what they go through, not understanding what they underwent, and we sit here; and we just, you know, we discard life like it- like it ain't nothing.

I know that probably sound ironic coming from me; but my world and the world that you live, it's not the same world, at least it don't seem like it to me. And I could go on and on and on, you know; and I could sit here and I could beg you not to kill me, but my faith ain't going to allow me to do that.

I don't- I don't want to sound like I'm disrespecting anyone or even disrespecting myself; but I understand, you know, the result or the conclusion of this outrage. And I just want the record to reflect that I stand unmoved by your threats or promises of death. Death is a given. It is inevitable. All of us must face it, but all of us is not going to face it the same way or under the same circumstances.

I just want the record to reflect that my faith is in He who created me, and I'm not governed by the manmade laws or the laws that's left me to live with death my whole life- I've been living with death my whole life. Within the confined of prison I found myself, and I'm not willing to sacrifice myself or belittle myself or bow down to something that I don't believe in, and I don't believe in what took place in this courtroom.

The prosecutor hid evidence. He coached witnesses. He did numerous things, but every man must be held accountable except you all, right now on this day; but this ain't it, though. This ain't it. That's all I got to say."

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