In the latest evidence that there are “two justice systems” in America based on race, a Maryland police officer became the second white person convicted of rape in as many weeks to enjoy the privilege of not receiving any jail or prison time for their violent felony offenses.
Despite Baltimore County cop Anthony Westerman raping a woman and assaulting another — crimes for which he was found guilty and convicted of in August — a judge decided on Monday that serving a sentence of four years at his home was a more appropriate punishment, according to NBC News. Baltimore County Circuit Judge Keith Truffer ultimately dropped one count of second-degree rape because, he said, there was no “psychological injury” for one of the two women victims.
Westerman’s lenient sentence came days after a judge decided that jail time wasn’t “appropriate” for 20-year-old New Yorker Christopher Belter, who pleaded guilty to and was convicted of felony charges of third-degree rape and attempted first-degree sexual abuse, as well as two misdemeanor charges of second-degree sexual abuse. Belter was a teenager when he raped and sexually abused four teenage girls on separate occasions during parties at his parents’ home near Niagara Falls.
On Nov. 16, Niagara County Court Judge Matthew J. Murphy III decided jail time wasn’t “appropriate” for these especially heinous crimes and that eight years probation and a stern warning not to do it again made for a more suitable punishment.
“I’m not ashamed to say that I actually prayed over what is the appropriate sentence in this case because there was great pain,” Murphy said in court. “There was great harm. There were multiple crimes committed in the case. It seems to me that a sentence that involves incarceration or partial incarceration isn’t appropriate, so I am going to sentence you to probation.”
After Belter’s lenient sentence was handed down, a lawyer for one of the women who Belter admitted to raping accurately noted that things would probably be much different if the defendant was Black or brown.
“If Chris Belter was not a white defendant from a rich and influential family, in my experience…he would surely have been sentenced to prison,” Steven M. Cohen said.
The updates from Maryland and New York were reminiscent of too many other instances of white admitted or accused rapists never being truly held accountable.
Shane Piche, who, as a 26-year-old school bus driver in 2019, admitted to raping a 14-year-old girl he allegedly met on his bus. In that instance, Jefferson County Supreme Court Judge James P. McClusky sentenced Piche to 10 years’ probation. McClusky said because Piche “had no prior arrests and there was only one victim in this plea,” the probation was “more appropriate.” He is required to pay $375 in court fees and surcharges and a $1,000 special sex offender registration fee. Piche only had to pay $375 in court fees and a $1,000 special sex offender registration fee, but there was no jail time at all.
In contrast, Bill Cosby admitted to drugging and sexually assaulting, prompting a judge to sentence the octogenarian to prison, where the disgraced comedian served more than three years before his sentence was vacated when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled evidence used against him should have been inadmissible.
This is America.
White People Who Committed Heinous Crimes And Didn’t Go To Prison
1. Shane M. Piche
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No jail time for NY school bus driver who admitted to raping 14-year-old girl. The judge says the 26-year-old has no prior arrests and there was one victim, so the sentence was appropriate. https://t.co/LpTIczOZDj #KHOU pic.twitter.com/luCy5iDRwi— KHOU 11 News Houston (@KHOU) April 29, 2019
2. Zoe Reardon
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#Breaking: Judge accepts plea for 18— Nicole Carr (@NicoleFCarr) March 11, 2019
Yo Zoe Reardon, who’s charged with hitting, killing 3 pedestrians , including 3 month old girl. She’ll serve 36 months probation instead of what could have been a max of 36
months behind bars. We’ll have latest on #Channel2at4 @wsbtv pic.twitter.com/TopQV8aEzi
3. Michael Rosfeld
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A jury has acquitted Michael Rosfeld Friday night in the trial of the white former police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teen fleeing a high-stakes traffic stop outside Pittsburgh. https://t.co/pJbCKBwWig— Atlanta Journal-Constitution (@ajc) March 23, 2019
4. George ZimmermanSource:Getty 4 of 13
5. Ethan CouchSource:Getty 5 of 13
6. Isaac Turnbaugh
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isaac turnbaugh— lou 🥺❤️ (@sweetkiwighosts) December 11, 2020
shot and killed 24 year old declan lyons, his co worker.
he got away with the murder. after being found not guilty he confessed and wasnt charged due to the 5th amendment. pic.twitter.com/77RE2FeeWz
7. Ronald Ebens and Michael NitzSource:Getty 7 of 13
8. Betty Shelby, Terence Crutcher’s Killer
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Betty Shelby, the officer who shot and killed Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man, two years ago is now teaching police training classes on "surviving the aftermath" of officer-involved shootings. pic.twitter.com/4jGi305Go2— AJ+ (@ajplus) August 28, 2018
9. Timothy Loehmann, Officer Who Killed 12-Year-Old Tamir Rice9 of 13
10. Darren Wilson, Michael Brown’s KillerSource:Getty 10 of 13
11. Daniel Pantaleo, Eric Garner’s Killer
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BREAKING: In August, LDF submitted FOIA requests to several offices of the U.S. DOJ seeking documents related to the decision not to prosecute former officer Daniel Pantaleo for the death of Eric Garner. The Executive Office for US Attorneys denied our request weeks later. pic.twitter.com/nsg15Bbso0— Legal Defense Fund (@NAACP_LDF) November 25, 2019
12. J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant, Emmett Till’s Murderers
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On Aug. 28, Roy Bryant, his half-brother, J.W. Milam and at least one other man showed up at Till’s great uncle’s home and abducted him.— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) August 28, 2018
Till’s body was found in the Tallahatchie River on Aug. 31. (Photo: AP) pic.twitter.com/g114H338Nx
‘Two Justice Systems’: Maryland Cop Is 2nd White Convicted Rapist To Avoid Jail In As Many Weeks was originally published on newsone.com