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10 Facts You Need To Know About the Darius Simmons Case

June 5, 2012 milwaukee, Problems 4 Comments

by Bro. David Muhammad

1. Spooner was known by his neighbors, police, and local officials as a gun collector. In the past reported burglary, Spooner alleged that four shotguns were taken.

2. The police had already done an investigation several days prior of burglaries at Spooner’s residence, including an interview with Simmons’ family, concluding that no one in from his household was involved. Patricia Larry, Simmons’ mother, had only lived in the home for a month.

3. Spooner saw Alderman Bob Donovan, a casual acquaintance, at a restaurant earlier that morning, venting his anger at the police response to his home being burglarized, stating “there are other ways to deal with situations” that police couldn’t solve.

4. Simmons and his mother were taking out the garbage when, Spooner confronted and threatened Simmons. His mother attempted to verbally defend her son against the accusations when Spooner drew his 9mm.

5. Spooner shot Simmons with a 9mm handgun five feet away from him in the chest, in front of his mother.

6. Simmons was shot once in the chest with his hands raised. He ran to escape and collapsed at the corner, while Spooner attempted to shoot him in the back, and tried to fire a third shot.

7. After police arrived, Darius’s body remained on the sidewalk, while police questioned his mother, Patricia Larry, in a squad car for approximately two hours.

8. During the police investigation of the shooting, they searched Ms. Larry’s home again. Finding nothing, they then proceeded to arrest his older brother for having truancy tickets.

9. In contrast, Spooner’s family was allowed to go into the home and remove “items” despite it being the crime scene.

10. John Spooner was given a $300,000 bail, (only $30,000 would have to be posted for him to be free). This is uncommon when the charge is murder in the first degree.

You may ask, in a city with such high rates of violent crime, particularly among people of color, why this case matters?

In the same way that the Frank Jude case exposed the racist element of the Milwaukee Police Department, this tragedy reveals the pervasive mindset that sees black and brown youth as criminals, guilty until proven innocent. Already, the media has attempted to portray the confessed murderer as a sad victim of crime, who had enough and decided to take it out on the wrong person. For Milwaukee media, Spooner is being characterized as “Falling Down” versus “Menace II Society.”

A deeper look reveals that even the police showed more sympathy for the murderer than for the victim or his family. Even many in the black community, upon first hearing about it, summed it up as “Southside Milwaukee” racism; as though it was the fault of the mother for living across the viaduct from the predominately black north side.

The incident also exposes the deep segregation of Milwaukee’s urban communities. Many in the black community still do not travel across the viaduct that Father Groppi led marchers across in the ’60s. The 16th Street area is now the heart of the Hispanic community, with many African-Americans calling it home. It is worth noting, that it was the Southside Organizing Committee and Alderman Jose Perez, who came to aid the family, offering a sign of potential black and brown coalition building.

What is clear is that Spooner was a white hold out in a neighborhood that had turned Hispanic and black, two communities who suffer violence daily but still don’t generalize about its perpetrators. Spooner on the other hand, was armed to the teeth and, installed surveillance cameras, had a dog, and still didn’t feel safe. Perhaps he was more threatened that a black family had moved in, just one month earlier, automatically making a 13-year-old boy a suspect in his eyes.

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Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. […] 10 Facts You Need to Know About the Darius Simmons Case: Quote: […]

  2. Quinn says:

    Well said, Mr. Muhammad, and thank you for untwisting the media distortions that hide the sickness of racism behind this tragedy. Darius was a smart kid, and was connected to many caring teachers and youth workers who were actively helping him overcome his obstacles. His death was the direct result of other people’s power plays and political agendas. And there are many more like him, who people like you work with every day under extremely trying pressures. Will there be enough supports and public investment to prevent more of this madness?

  3. […] was very cooperative and willing to let us interview her about the tragic incident, regarding Darius Simmons. Mrs. Hines explained to me that Darius was like one of her own children. She even reflected on how […]

  4. Cam says:

    How exactly will “supports and public investment” stop someone from being murdered in cold blood ?

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