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It’s official. Spooky Season is upon us which means every channel on television is going to provide their own curated lists of Halloween-themed throwbacks and all the latest scary flicks. Many of them are the classic, fictional tales of the haunted woods, demonically possessed children or serial killers who ruin a friend group’s getaway.
However, you’d be surprised how many films reflect true crimes that occurred in real life and particularly, in the Black community.
Haunting History of Lake Lanier
The lake where the son of Usher’s ex-wife died saw many deaths beyond the 11-year-old boy. No one knows why this lake in particular claims so many lives but some may connect its deadly nature to the history city hidden underneath.
Oscarville, a Black community of 1,000 residents, was bombarded by an angry white mob in 1912 after a a Black man was accused of assaulting a young white woman. Families were brutally beaten and their homes and churches were set ablaze. In the 50s, the town was flooded for what’s now known as Lake Lanier. Underneath remains Oscarville’s buildings and grave sites. One diver told CNN he felt body parts while swimming in the dark deep of the waters.
Mysterious Mass Death of 21 Teens
In 2022, authorities found 17 teenagers dead inside a popular nightclub in South Africa - their ages ranging from 13 to 17. Their families said they went to Enyobeni Tavern to celebrate the end of their exams. However, one party goer told ABC News while ordering drinks, the doors of the club were shut and a chemical agent was released into the air.
The cops said there were no signs of injuries on the deceased but their bodies were found stretched across tables and the dance floor. The police arrested two club employees for allegedly selling alcohol to minors. However, the police found that each of the teens had methanol in their system, a chemical used in pesticides or fuel. Alcohol poisoning and carbon monoxide were also found in the toxicology reports but did not rule those as the cause of death. Instead, the autopsies said they suffocated from “overcrowding.”
Alleged Lynching of Quawan Charles
Quawan “Bobby” Charles was also 15 when he died. He was reported missing in October 2020 to the Baldwin Police Department in Louisiana, per ABC News. However, they failed to release an Amber Alert or report his disappearance to the media. Instead, he was classified as a runaway.
The last place Charles was seen was getting into a car with a woman named Janet Irvin. She admitted to picking up Charles to take him back to her home without permission. She also claimed he ran away from her home.
Charles’ body was found just a mile from her house in a sugar cane field. His cause of death was ruled a drowning, although the ditch only held two feet of water. The mutilated images of his body that circulated on social media told a different story. Irvin was arrested more than 100 days after Charles was found.
Disappearance of the Millbrook Twins
Dannette and Jeanette Millbrook, 15, have been missing since March 18, 1990. According to WJBF, their case was opened back up in 2013 when it went viral after a documentary on their disappearance aired. The police initially wrote off the mystery as a case of runaways. The last time they were seen was at a Pump-N-Shop store, per the family. Their younger sister recalled walking with her mother to find them the night they vanished.
True crime spectators wonder if they’d been abducted by serial killer Joseph Patrick Washington, who lived in their neighborhood. Their father was also reported to be sexually abusive and some question if he may have abducted them himself. The most frustrating part of the case is that there was no investigation to begin with. So, where does one start?
The family put up two billboards, asking the public to help them find any information about their loved ones; a $50,000 reward has been offered for any information.
Murder of Jeffrey Dahmer
After a slew of merciless killings, Jeffrey Dahmer met his own fate at the hands of a fellow inmate. Dahmer had been sentenced to fifteen life sentences, serving time beside Christopher Scarver in 1992.
Scarver told the New York Post this year that Dahmer would play with his food and cut it up into so-called “body parts,” then smear ketchup across them to make them look bloodied.
Critics suspect Scarver was aided in Dahmer’s attack because the cannibal was left isolated without his special guards. Scarver said the guards helped him but did not elaborate any further.
Delphine LaLaurie’s Attic
Native of Spanish-colonial Louisiana, LaLaurie may have been New Orleans’ first serial killer. On the street, she was seen to be rather kind to Black people. Until one morning in 1834, a fire broke out in her home revealing several starved, tortured and mutilated enslaved people. One elderly woman was found chained to the kitchen stove. More were found suspended by the neck, limbs torn and stretched abnormally or shackled by spiked iron collars.
Neighbors had known already that the upper portion of her mansion was used into a makeshift prison where she killed a total of 12 enslaved people including her cook and the woman’s children. The only one she didn’t kill may have been the 8-year-old girl who fell to her death from the roof of the mansion running from LaLaurie’s whip. An angry mob stormed the home after discovering her heinous crimes leading LaLaurie to flee overseas.
Murder of Harry T and Harriette Moore
The Civil Rights power couple founded a chapter of the NAACP in Brevard County, Fla. The two were teachers but worked to help Black people vote, investigated hate crimes and overall fought for racial equality. They both fought in the Groveland case where four Black men were wrongfully convicted of raping a woman. However Christmas night, a handmade explosive of dynamite detonated under the couple’s bed.
Harry died on his way to the hospital and Harriette died nine days later. It was found 50 years later that four KKK members were behind the killing and no one was arrested.
Disputed Death of Tamla Horsford
Three years ago, Tamla Horsford was found dead in a friend’s backyard. She had been invited to a slumber party where she’d been drinking, according to 11Alive News. Witnesses claimed Horsford went out on the balcony for a cigarette. She allegedly fell over the balcony to her death. However, the position of her body at the crime scene and an independent autopsy found inconsistencies in what led to her death.
Investigators suspected Horsford sustained injuries before she fell. It’s even uncertain whether she’d fallen at all, due to the absence of skull fractures and broken bones. After the story of her death went viral, many in the cyber world suspected it was a murder, given that Horsford was the only Black woman at the party, but that’s never been confirmed.
Death of Kenneka Jenkins
Jenkins, 19, was found dead inside a freezer at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Rosemont, Illinois in 2017, per ABC 7 Chicago. Jenkins was attending a hotel party with friends when surveillance video picked up footage of her walking in the hallway by herself. That’s it. Somehow, she ended up in the hotel’s kitchen freezer, where she was locked inside.
Social media videos of the party flooded the internet as spectators tried to piece together the moments leading up to her death. Officials ruled her death an accident due to hypothermia. Despite the online conspiracies, officials did not find evidence of foul play in Jenkins’ death.
Harrison “Marty” Graham is pictured in an undated police handout photograph. On Monday, Nov. 13, 1995, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge signed a death warrant for Graham who was convicted in 1988 of seven counts of murder after police found the remians of seven people in his apartment.
In 1987, Harrison “Marty” Graham was ordered to vacate his home due to a foul odor reeking from his unit. The smell came from the bodies of seven women who were found among trash and mattresses in Graham’s apartment, per the Philly Voice. More skeletal remains were found in his closet as well as in a green duffel bag full of bones on his roof.
Reports say Graham strangled the women he met in the Temple University area to death after luring them back to his home—which was the origin of his nickname: “House of Death” killer. He was convicted on both manslaughter and abuse of corpse charges, and fully admitted his guilt.
He escaped death row due to mental disability. He’s currently serving life in prison.
The Hanging of Ben Keita
The 18-year-old was found hanging from a tree 2.5 feet off the ground in a woodsy area in Seattle three months after he disappeared in 2017. An autopsy found his body was partially frozen but there were no signs of any trauma. At first, this led the medical examiner to rule his death a homicide but because the tree branch his body dangled from was 30 feet in the air, the manner of death was “undetermined.”
Sadly, his family said he plans to go to medical school and become a medical examiner himself. They still don’t know what led to his disappearance and death. The FBI is reviewed the case with the local police but it’s unclear what the findings were.
Mysterious Death of Ryan Singleton
The Georgia model flew to Los Angeles in 2013 for a short vacation but never returned home. Authorities say his car broke down on his way back and hitched a ride with California Highway Patrol to the gas station. However, when a friend came to pick him up, he disappeared.
Over 70 days later Singleton’s body was found two miles away from where he was last seen but his organs were missing. Due to “advanced decomposition,” the autopsy listed his cause of death as undetermined. No suspect were charged and there’s no clear answer as to how he wound up dead.
Opelika Jane Doe
The body of an unidentified little girl was found behind a trailer park in Opelika, Ala. in 2012. Near her body was a long-sleeved pink shirt with heart buttons. Authorities described her to be between the ages 4 and 7 and concluded the girl was physically abused by her killer.
The cops said she had scarring in her left eye, blinding her but the decomposition of her body left her unrecognizable. The police used digital claymation to reconstruct what her face would have looked like. In 2016, the police got a hold of photographs of a disfigured girl at Opelika’s Greater Peace Baptist Church Vacation Bible School. She was identified as Amore Joveah Wiggins in January 2023. Her father was charged with felony murder and he and his wife were charged with failure to report a missing child.
OJ Simpson Murder Trial
O.J. Simpson, center, with defense attorneys F. Lee Bailey, left, and Johnnie Cochran after Simpson was found not guilty of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman at the Criminal Courts Building in Los Angeles on Oct. 3, 1995.
Former NFL star and actor Orenthal James (O.J.) Simpson was accused of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. Reports say the two were found dead outside Nicole’s condo.
Simpson’s trial happened around the same time as the Black LA community was rioting against police brutality and racism following the brutal beating of Rodney King. With racial tensions high, many Black people believed O.J. was being set up by the system. Public pressure led the jury to acquit Simpson of his charges.
The world watched the drama unfold on mostly live television.Everything was called into question, from DNA samples—which included blood, hair follicles and materials from Simpson’s vehicle—to the intentions of the LA police. The infamous glove found on Simpson’s property that matched his DNA as well as that of the two victims was also entered into evidence. Simpson’s attorneys, however, showed the world it didn’t fit and asked the jurors to acquit, which they did.
Mysterious Death of Alonzo Brooks
The body of 23-year-old Alonzo Brooks was found in a Kansas creek back in 2004. It wasn’t until 2021 that his mysterious death was ruled a homicide after his remains were exhumed. The police say he was last seen at a party where he was only one of three Black men in attendance. He was left without a ride home and didn’t come home the next day, details leading investigators to suspect his killing was racially motivated.
His family and friends launched their own search, coming across his body on top of a pile of branches in the creek. The FBI is still investigating the case.
Death of Christian Obumseli
OnlyFans model Courtney Clenney seats in the courtroom during a hearing where Judge Laura Shearon Cruz will be ruling whether she can get out of jail to await trial or remain in jail.She is accused of murdering her boyfriend Christian Obumsel last April 3 in Miami. The hearing took place at the at the Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building, in Miami, on Thursday, Dec. 08, 2022.
OnlyFans model Courtney Clenney is facing murder charges in the fatal stabbing of boyfriend Christian Obumseli. Reports say documents brought forth in court suggest the two were in a toxic relationship and both victims of domestic violence. Videos of them fighting, audio recordings of them screaming at each other and more have been submitted as evidence.
No one knows what happened moments before the stabbing, but Clenney’s attorneys argue she acted in self-defense. Following his death social media erupted in response to the news, skeptical of what really happened. We’ll have to wait until trial to see what the truth is.
This undated photo provided by the Edwardsville Police Department shows former Kansas City, Kansas Police detective Roger Golubski, who is accused of preying on Black women and girls for decades. Golubski will be released from jail pending his trial on charges involving two accusers who say he repeatedly sexually abused them, a federal judge ruled Monday, Sept. 19, 2022.
The disgraced Kansas City detective was charged with rape, kidnapping and sex trafficking following an overwhelming number of allegations from Black women and their family members.
According to The Guardian, Golubski preyed on Black women during his 35-year career dating back to the 90s. He had an alleged interest in the mothers of crime suspects who his department was preparing to prosecute. In a lawsuit filed by the mother of Lamonte McIntrye, 73 women also alleged to be a victim of sexual assault by Golubski.
Golubski has pleaded not guilty to the charges, but faces life in prison if convicted. He’s currently on house arrest.
Between April 1971 and September 1972, six Black girls were kidnapped from their neighborhoods in Washington, DC and killed. According to the Metropolitan Police website, their bodies were found across DC and Prince George’s County.
The suspect was nicknamed the Freeway Phantom after a signed letter was discovered in one of the victim’s pockets.
“This is tantamount to my insensitivity to people, especially women. I will admit the others when you catch me, if you can!” it read.
Authorities assume the suspect lived in the same neighborhoods as the girls, however, the case has been cold now for decades. No one has attempted to uncover the mystery murderer other than author Victoria Hester and her father Blaine Pardoe, who have been looking into the case since 2019, per WUSA 9.
This Sept. 24, 2018, booking photo provided by the California Department of Corrections shows Samuel Little. A new documentary series that explores the 35-year killing spree of a prolific serial killer has connections to Houma. The STARZ series, “Confronting a Serial Killer,” tells the story of Samuel Little, a serial killer whose victims stretched across more than a dozen states, including Louisiana, between 1970 to 2005.
Between 1970 and 2005, Samuel Little admitted to murdering 93 women.
He confessed to the killings in an exclusive interview with a Texas ranger in 2018, per the Texas Department of Public Safety. Little allegedly had a photographic memory, recalling every victim, where they met and where he left their bodies.
DPS Director Steven McCraw was eager to use the information supplied by Little’s confession to bring closure to more than a dozen unsolved murders. His statements matched up with at least 60 victims through DNA evidence. The FBI labeled him the most prolific serial killer in US history.
Before his death, he was serving a life sentence at a state prison in Los Angeles County. He died there of natural causes at 80 years old in 2020, per The New York Times.
Mississippi Burning Killings
James Chaney headshot, civil rights worker killed in Mississippi in 1964, B&W photo
On June 21, 1964, James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman were in Neshoba County to look into the burning of the CORE Freedom School site, reports say.
The three were volunteering to help people register to vote as a part of the Mississippi Summer Project, per PBS. However, they weren’t aware that the burned down site they went to visit was a product of the KKK, who didn’t plan on stopping their trail of arsons.
On the drive back, the three were stopped by a sheriff and arrested. Then they disappeared. After an investigation into their vanishing was opened, their remains were found in the swamps of the Mississippi. They’d been tortured and killed by seven members of the KKK—all of whom were found guilty of the killings.
Controversial Death of Sam Cooke
Rock and roll singer Sam Cooke performs at a concert in New York’s Copacabana night club in this undated photo.
Soul, gospel and rock legend Sam Cooke was only 33 when he was shot and killed. According to PEOPLE, he spent his last night at a chic restaurant in LA. with Elisa Boyer, then headed to his hotel. Boyer said once the two got to the room, she feared Cooke was going rape her. When he went into the bathroom she fled and called the police.
Cooke allegedly assaulted the motel manager, Bertha Franklin, demanding to know where Boyer had gone. Franklin said she grabbed her pistol and shot him three times. Some believe there’s more to the story.
One theory suggests Boyer and Franklin conspired to lure Cooke to the hotel and rob him of his money. Another detail revealed that the bullet that killed Cooke didn’t match Franklin’s firearm. Others believe Cooke’s turn from love-song singer to civil rights activist had made him another target for the Feds.
Assassination of Malcolm X
Malcolm X speaks to reporters in Washington on May 16, 1963. The city of New York is settling lawsuits filed on behalf of two men who were exonerated in 2021 for the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X, agreeing to pay $26 million for the wrongful convictions which led to both men spending decades behind bars, according to attorneys for the men Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022.
On Feb. 21, 1965, civil rights activist Malcolm X was about to give a speech at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan. When he stepped to the podium, someone threw a makeshift bomb into the audience, causing the two security guards in front of the stage to leave their posts, per WashPo. As Malcolm tried to calm the crowd, a man charged toward him and shot him in the chest with a shotgun. Two other men shot him in the ankle and legs from the side of the stage.
One gunman, Talmadge Hayer, confessed to the shooting and was convicted. Two other members of the National of Islam were convicted as well, but were recently exonerated. The public speculated about what really happened and who plotted against the civil rights leader.
Certainly, many pointed to the NYPD and FBI as having a hand in it. However, documentaries about Malcolm X suggest he knew the government was after him because of his “radical” views about what achieving freedom would entail.
Alleged Murder of Shanquella Robinson
Reports say Shanquella Robinson went to a resort in Cabo San Lucas with six friends. Less than 24 hours later, she was found dead.
Robinson’s friends allege she died of alcohol poisoning. However, an autopsy found she suffered a broken neck and spine fractures, per NBC News. Additionally, when her friends called for help, they refused to let her be taken to the hospital. The doctor who arrived spent three hours trying to revive Robinson.
What seemed like a freak accidental death was soon seen as a murder cover up by social media users. Videos of Shanquella being beaten and dragged circulated on Twitter and her father identified two of her attackers as the “friends” she went on the trip with. Others claim the group stole her money in order to flee and leave her behind in Mexico.
The noise around the case caused the FBI and Mexican authorities to open a homicide investigation. Local reporters have tried to contact the witnesses, with no luck.
Mysterious Death of Kendrick Johnson
This story may go down in modern-day history as one of America’s eeriest crimes. In 2013, 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson was found dead rolled up inside of a wrestling mat in the Lowndes High School gymnasium in Valdosta, Georgia. Officials ruled his death a freak accident, suggesting he suffered “positional asphyxia” by getting himself stuck in the mat, reports say. However, his family insisted foul play was involved.
A documentary on his death revealed some stunning details that led to a second investigation of his case. First, his autopsy revealed he suffered blunt force trauma to the neck and his death was consequently ruled a homicide. Secondly, a few of his internal organs were missing. Lastly, two of Johnson’s peers, who were brothers, were named persons of interest in the case but were never charged.
Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk offered $1 million of his own money for tips about the case after closing the second investigation, per NBC News.
Lynching of Emmett Till
A true American horror story, Emmett Louis Till was only 15 when he was kidnapped and brutally murdered. Till, who was from Chicago, had gone to Mississippi to visit family in August 1955. A young city boy, he had no idea how dangerous the Delta could be. Eventually, he was accused of whistling at a white woman in a store. That woman, Carolyn Bryant Donham, told her husband and his brother that Till had assaulted her.
The two men tracked down Till, snatched him from his bed, tortured and mutilated him and left his body in the river. When his body was recovered, he was barely recognizable. His mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, held an open casket funeral which sparked a new wave of civil rights protests against the senseless violence racism had brewed.
Disappearance and Death of Jelani Day
Illinois State graduate student Jelani Day was found dead in the Illinois River, according to NBC News. Day was only 25 when he went missing on August 24, 2022 and was last seen at a dispensary. His car was later found a mile away from his body. Inside the car? The clothes he was last seen wearing.
The county coroner ruled Day’s death a drowning. Day’s family insists, however, that he was an avid swimmer and did he show any suicidal symptoms that would lead him to drown himself. It’s unknown how he ended up in the river.
His family demanded a federal investigation into his death and believe foul play was involved. The FBI offered a $10,000 reward for tips.
Birmingham Church Bombing
Firefighters and ambulance attendants remove a covered body from the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., after a deadly explosion detonated by members of the Ku Klux Klan during services on Sept. 15, 1963. Threats against Black institutions are deeply rooted in U.S. history and leaders say the history of violence against people of color should be passed on to new generations so the lessons of the past can be applied to the present.
On September 15, 1963, the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama was targeted by the Klu Klux Klan. The church had been a staple in the Black community and a force behind the civil rights movement. That morning, a bomb exploded under the steps of the church. The impact caused severe injuries to a number of congregation members and claimed the lives of four innocent girls.
The public outrage after the incident caused the FBI to launch an investigation. After finding a few suspects, no one was indicted due to lack of evidence, per the National Park Service. However, Alabama Attorney General Bill Baxley reopened the case and investigators eventually discovered that the FBI had hidden critical evidence. Robert Chambliss, Thomas Blanton and Bobby Frank Cherry were eventually convicted of murder in the case.
Murder of Erica ‘Precious Doe’ Green
Green was only three years old when she was brutally murdered, per CBS News. Her stepfather, Harrell Johnson, was reported to have beaten her for crying, peeing on herself and refusing to eat. Johnson’s cousin, Lawanda Driskell said she heard him tell Green’s mother, Michelle, to get a hold of her daughter before he “does something bad.”
A week later, Harrell gave a fatal blow to Erica’s head by kicking her. The door was kept closed and the couple alleged the toddler was just sick. Erica wasn’t moved from the room for two days. However, police later found her decapitated body at an intersection in Kansas City. Even more days later, they found her head, which authorities said was cut off with a pair of hedge clippers. Before identifying the body as Green’s, they named her “Precious Doe.”
Michelle and Harrell Johnson, who both had outstanding warrants, were convicted of second-degree felony murder and endangering the welfare of a child.
The DC Snipers
Lee Boyd Malvo listens to court proceedings during the trial of fellow sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad in Virginia Beach, Va., Oct. 20, 2003. Virginia has denied parole to convicted sniper killer Malvo, ruling that he is still a risk to the community two decades after he and his partner terrorized the Washington, D.C., region with a series of random shootings. The Virginia Parole Board rejected his request on Aug. 30, 2022.
John Allen Muhammad (41) and Lee Boyd Malvo (17) went on a killing spree around the DMV in 2002, per CNN. Most of their shootings targeted civilians in public places like shopping center parking lots, gas stations or school zones. Then, one day they left a clue at the scene of one of their crimes: a “Death” tarot card reading “Call me God.”
Their motives were never clear. Some suspected Muhammad wanted revenge after his ex-wife and children left him. Others believed they were involved with Al Qaeda, given the fresh wound of the 9/11 attacks.
The killings began earlier that year, then became more frequent during the month of October. A total of 17 people died and another ten who were shot survived their gunshot wounds. Eventually, the two were arrested. Muhammad was sentenced to death and executed in 2009. Malvo remains in prison on a life sentence, though he’s been ordered for a resentencing now that he is an adult, per WUSA9 News.
Murder of Tupac Shakur
In this Aug. 15, 1996, file photo, rapper Tupac Shakur attends a voter registration event in South Central Los Angeles. Snoop Dogg will induct the late rapper Tupac Shakur into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, while Pharrell Williams will induct Nile Rodgers during the ceremony in Brooklyn. The Rock & Roll Hall announced Wednesday, March 29, 2017 additional guests who’ll be on hand April 7 at the Barclays Center to induct this year’s newest class.
Who’s responsible for the murder of Tupac Shakur is one of the most heated debates next to the conspiracy theories questioning whether he’s alive and hiding in Cuba or not. Reports say that in September of 1996, Shakur was in Las Vegas walking through a hotel when he ran into a mutual enemy, Orlando Anderson. After the two squabbled in the lobby, Anderson was left beaten on the floor.
The last we ever saw of the rapper was on the hotel’s security camera footage, furiously walking through the lobby, per Las Vegas Review Journal. Two hours later, Shakur was sitting at a red light on Flamingo Road and Koval Lane, with his Death Row posse and Suge Knight beside him when a car pulled up to his BMW and rained fire. He suffered two bullets to the chest, one to the thigh and one to the arm. His succumbed to his injuries six days later.
Because his shooter was never captured, many began to speculate about who really was involved. Given Death Row’s coast-to-coast rap beef with Bad Boy Records, many music fans and living room sleuths theorized Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs may have put a hit out on Pac. Others believed Suge Knight was to blame. LA residents settled on plain ol’ gang violence between the Bloods and the Crips. None of these theories have been proven to be true.
Murder of The Notorious B.I.G.
This Dec. 6, 1995, file photo shows Notorious B.I.G accepting rap artist and rap single of the year during the Billboard Music Awards in New York. The late rap icon, born Christopher Wallace, will be honored at the ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Awards on June 22, 2017.
Christopher Wallace aka Biggie Smalls aka The Notorious B.I.G. died in an eerily similar way to his Hip-Hop competitor, Tupac Shakur. According to Fox 5 New York, Wallace was leaving a party in Los Angeles when he was fatally shot during a drive-by in March of 1997. Given that Shakur had died just the year before, the public believed the tensions between Death Row and Bad Boy Records had finally boiled over.
For years, authorities couldn’t pinpoint who was Wallace’s killer, making this yet just another cold case. However, the conspiracy that Suge Knight was the evil mastermind behind it all became more convincing after sealed federal records were revealed. An FBI agent told The New York Post that the shooter was Amir Muhammad, a member of the Nation of Islam, who was hired by Knight as a hitman. Despite the agent’s claim, none of this has been officially confirmed and the case is still an open mystery.
Central Park Jogger Case
Though the group of teens did not commit the crime they were convicted of, this story goes down in history as a horrid example of racial bias in the criminal justice system.
In 1989, Korey Wise, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Antron McCray and Yusef Salaam were just teens when they were arrested in connection to the rape and assault of a white woman jogger in Central Park. After being intimidated and manipulated by several crooked NY police officers, the teens falsely confessed to the crime, which landed them between six and 13 years in prison, per the New York Times. The woman, who survived the attack, was unable to provide helpful details in identifying who her attacker was.
The media scandalized their names and made them out to be animals, gang members and monstrous criminals. While serving time in an adult facility, Wise encountered the real culprit, Matias Reyes, who later confessed to the crime in 2002. Reyes was already a convicted murderer and serial rapist at the time.
The five were recently exonerated and awarded a $41 million settlement; although the NYPD still deny their role in the wrongful conviction.
Death of Kalief Browder
A demonstrator holds an image of Kalief Browder at a protest near City Hall in New York City, NY, USA to demand that it close the long-controversial Rikers Island Corrections facility, on February 23, 2016.
In 2010, Browder was accused of minor theft and, at the tender age of 16, sent to Rikers Island for three years. He maintained his innocence and eventually his case was dropped and he was released. However, his experiences while at the jail drove him into a dark mental state, per The New Yorker.
Two of his years at Rikers were spent in solitary confinement. He recalled being targeted and abused by officers. Surveillance footage of him in jail also showed him being randomly bum rushed by guards and other inmates. Browder made multiple suicide attempts while at Rikers, and also after his release three months later. He was sent to a psychiatric hospital where he was reported to have experienced paranoia. As the horrors of the jail system were being exposed to the public, Browder was deteriorating mentally. In 2015, he died by suicide. New York City paid his estate $3.3 million in a lawsuit settlement.
The Chicago Strangler
Over a span of 27 years, Black women in Chicago have been found beaten or strangled to death and their killers have never been found. According to Fox 32 Chicago, their bodies were often discarded in buildings or dumpsters and some were even dismembered.
Between 1999 and 2018, 75 women were found strangled to death, reports say. Police have only solved 24 of the cases, one fairly recently. A woman was discovered inside an abandoned building, chained up by a man she said sexually assaulted her. A passerby heard her cries for help and was able to get the police to rescue her. Although Joel Cammon was arrested and charged, it’s unclear if he’s connected to any of the other strangulation murders.
The Murder Accountability Project began tracking these cases alongside activists who called out the Chicago Police Department for its inability to catch what they assume is a serial killer. The families of the missing and murdered women have held multiple rallies calling for greater action to be taken to bring their loved ones home.
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