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Stop Defending Yourselves, New Yorkers!

The city prosecutes another case of subway self-defense.

City Journal – You may have heard of the latest installment in New York City’s new fad—arresting people for defending themselves and others against violent criminals on the city’s decrepit subway system.

Last week, while riding a northbound J train through once-posh Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 20-year-old Jordan Williams and his girlfriend were accosted by Devictor Ouedraogo, a 36-year-old ex-con who had served three and a half years in prison for an attempted robbery. After completing his term, Ouedraogo was released to the custody of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), suggesting that he is or was an illegal immigrant.

According to eyewitnesses, Ouedraogo was verbally and physically harassing other passengers in the subway car before approaching Williams and his girlfriend, who remains unnamed and has not commented on the incident. After Ouedraogo propositioned his girlfriend, Williams verbally warned him to back off. Ouedraogo allegedly responded by punching both Williams and his girlfriend in the face.

In what sounds like a legal exercise of the right to self-defense under New York law, Williams then reportedly rose to protect himself, his girlfriend, and others from Ouedraogo, who fought back. During the altercation, Williams pulled out a pocketknife and stabbed Ouedraogo, who stumbled out of the subway at the next stop. He received medical attention but later died at a hospital. As with Jordan Neely, the homeless drug addict with a criminal record who died after being restrained in a chokehold by Daniel Penny last month, no autopsy of Ouedraogo has been released, fanning speculation that the results could indicate serious drug abuse.

Williams and his girlfriend continued their subway ride, but NYPD officers apprehended them at a station down the line shortly afterward. Williams was arrested and charged with manslaughter and “criminal possession of a weapon.” (Knives are forbidden on city transit, though this has not stopped knife incidents from increasing 126 percent over last year.)

The Brooklyn district attorney’s office wanted Williams held at Riker’s Island on $100,000 bail, an impossible sum for him and his family to pay, but last Thursday a judge released him from custody without bail, in part because his employment record at FedEx suggested that he was neither a career criminal nor a flight risk. Unfortunately, FedEx fired Williams the next day, showing little interest in the facts of the case or in now-quaint notions about the presumption of innocence.

While Williams faced potential pretrial detention, his mother April created an appeal on the donor-funded Christian website GiveSendGo for his legal expenses. This appeal was similar to one created for Penny, who was required to pay bail and faces prosecution for manslaughter as well as a civil wrongful-death lawsuit from Neely’s relatives. The appeal has raised more than $100,000, mostly in small donations from people around the country outraged by Williams’s arrest.

You won’t hear much about Williams’s case in the mainstream media. Why? While Penny’s case was a rare occurrence of a white man accused of killing a black man, the confrontation between Williams and Ouedraogo, both black, was just one of innumerable cases of black-on-black violence. As such, it could not be of less interest to the liberals who appear to care only about crime reports that implicate “oppressors” victimizing the “oppressed.”

Unlike with the Neely case, no outcry ensued from leading politicians and media personalities denouncing Ouedraogo’s killing as a “murder.” Social media didn’t celebrate Ouedraogo as a warm character or lionize him as a martyr to racial justice. No protests have marked his death. No one has come forward to claim monetary damages stemming from his loss. No suggestion has been made that he be buried in a casket of ivory and gold, as Neely was. No op-eds have mused on the incident as damning evidence of “toxic masculinity,” a quality only ascribed to white males, despite disastrous minority crime rates that none dare mention.

Williams’s family has suggested that the only commonality between the two cases is that they both happened on the subway. Yet both appear by all available evidence to be straightforward cases of self-defense by brave young men now being prosecuted by left-wing district attorneys. New Yorkers should vote out every public official who thinks so little of their rights and dignity.


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