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Shame on the Los Angeles County Prosecutors, RE: Chris Brown & Rihanna

Chris Brown, the Britney-esque pop singer and dancer, who was charged with felonies for then-allegedly viciously beating his then girlfriend, pop singer Rihanna several months ago, has been given a plea deal by those tough as nails prosecutors in LA: Brown admits to felony assault, serves no jail time, receives five years of probation, and performs six months community labor AKA community service.

That's it. Not a day behind bars for beating the hell out of a woman.

And don't give me that speech about innocent till proven guilty. Don't tell me, you, like me, have not mentally convicted people before the fact when their guilt seemed apparent.

I'm not talking complicated mysteries, in which there is "reasonable" doubt. I'm talking those scenarios when someone walks in on a blood-soaked woman as she plunges a knife into a man's chest while cackling in a nutty way "die, die, die!" I'm talking the drunk driver with no passengers in his car, who climbs out of the driver's seat at the accident scene, as two dozen other drivers watch. Or, in this case I'm talking the boyfriend who acknowledges he was the only person with his girlfriend the evening bruises, cuts, and black eyes materialized on her face - the injuries shown in this picture, the boyfriend who through leaked text messages and such admits culpability, the boyfriend who acknowledges in his plea that those injuries were not sustained through a mysterious fall down a stairwell.

Why a plea deal? Why not no deal? A spokesperson for the LA County DA's office says Brown's deal is in line with what other first-time offenders in similar crimes get in Cali. Did I miss something? Brown was not charged with assaulting another man in a fistfight. He was charged with assault for beating a woman.

If this were philosophy class, the analogy would be that the tiny-brained reaction to Brown's admitted assault would be to give him a minor punishment 'cause others have gotten minor punishments for the same thing in the past. The logical thing to do though would be to stop giving minor punishments to men who beat women (and the less frequently occurring and less frequently reported women who beat men), and instead raise the punishment bar on all such offenders!

Prosecutors, you want to give deals to first-time offenders? Give those deals to the 13-year-old who steals a DVD from Target, or the harried mom of five, who injures her back and then gets so badly hooked on pain pills she falsifies a prescription slip to get more. But folks who assault or kill or commit crimes with weapons or deal drugs to or sexually assault children? No deals.

By not making an example of Brown and ending with him its admitted long practice of coddling first-time woman beaters, prosecutors in LA have condoned domestic violence, and have done nothing to quell the popular belief that if you want to get a slap on the wrist for committing a crime, then get rich, get famous, and go West young man!

I'm too pretty to go to jail. But I'm not famous, so I can guarantee you if I went to LA and beat the hell out of a woman, I'd get locked up faster than your head would spin...from me slapping you silly, of course.

Follow me: http://twitter.com/jamesburnett.

PS. As an angry black man, who sometimes expresses his frustration via tough love to the segment of young black men who are misguided by tough home lives and disingenuous entertainers they admire, I'm even more ticked off by this prosecution decision, because it furthers the urban legend that the hip and cool can get away with anything. You know what some young guys are thinking right now? Wow, Chris Brown is untouchable! He's teflon! So cool! Not the message to send to young men who are already facing an uphill battle on the road to professional success and social acceptance. Don't twist my words. I'm not talking all young black men. Plus, I know that assault knows no racial boundaries. But let's be blunt: I'm showing tough love to the young guys who look like me, 'cause they need it (from me) most. And don't bother scolding me, 'cause I'm not apologizing for a single word. Chris Brown's a punk and a bad example.


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Equality under the law James.

First offender, he now has a felony record, he can't vote, he has a strike against him under 3 strike law and 5 years probation is nothing to sneeze at.

If he steps out of line in the next 5 years he'll get hammered on parole violation.

I don't think people realize what a burden a felony conviction can be. He'll get harassed when traveling abroad, whether he's a star or not and he will have to report to a parole officer too.

I think he's a punk, but he's a punk who got the sentence that was just. Note I said "just". I am very aware that "just" has a highly different meaning than the word "deserved".


Wavemancali, I hate to admit it sometimes, but you are a voice of reason.

Jeni Hill Ertmer

I understand what the above commenter means about this matter, however any type of preferential treatment, especially in cases like this, should be avoided at all costs. A precedent has been set and it is going to be more detrimental in the long run that upholding the sentencing guidelines would be because as soon as you start doling out the preferential sentences, sooner or later, it is going to backfire.
Just my thoughts on the matter.


I hear ya, Jeni. I know that legally WavemanCali is right. But practically it still galls me that he doesn't serve time for this. It doesn't make me feel justice 'cause his sentence matches others' sentences. Theirs should have been tougher too. But like I said, WavemanCali is often a voice of reason when I'm flying fueled by anger.


Don't get me wrong James I think current sentencing guidelines are complete and utter crap. Had our punk Chris Brown kicked a cat or a dog, he probably would have gotten a harsher sentence. How sick is that?

I am just defending the enforcement of Brown getting treated just like any other John Q. in the system.

Lonely Loveei

Personally, I don't think a real man would break the growth of a young black man in today's society, especially in a world where the odds have been against them since birth! I feel you as a black man may be a bit out of line, maybe not as a columnist, but certainly as a black man that knows the true frustration of our world and the hazards our young black sons face everyday! To break him down is not the strength and the guide of a solid Older Black Man. You have many different tactics in getting your point across about race and for race, why not use some of those same tactics in reaching our young black men of tomorrow?


WavemanCali, you're right! Don't rub it in! Kidding. It makes sense, and since I'm always advocating for John Q. Public, I should be OK with it. I'm just annoyed at the precedent that was set long before Brown was born, probably. And I figure he's as good a celeb as any for this travesty of justice to end on.

Lonely Loveei, I have to assume you're kidding here. You dishonor black men who are handling their business by trying to use his skin color to justify Chris Brown's beating a woman. There are social hurdles that black men face in many quarters. None of those hurdles justifies domestic abuse. I didn't break down Chris Brown I called him out. This must be the first time you've ever read this blog, 'cause if it wasn't you'd know that I often write exhortations to young black men....today, not "of tomorrow." But unlike you, I'm not broadly generalizing. Trust me when I tell you I hope to God that Chris Brown is not representative of "all" young black men. If he is, we're in trouble.

By calling him out I'm showing him tough love, the kind groupies and hangers on have apparently been afraid to give him over the years.

And one more thing: I'm not an "older" black man. Hit me back in a few years when I approach 40, and then you can start calling me "older."

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