Gang sentences protested

“Free the Fayette Two.” A small but vocal group of protesters led by Universal Negro Improvement Association representative Chief Sundiata Kamara gathered Feb. 22 at the Fayette County Justice Center to make their feelings known about District Attorney Scott Ballard and what they said was the unfair incarceration of two males now serving time for a recent conviction on gang-related fighting at Fayette County High School.

By: Ben Nelms
Their numbers were small, but organizers of the “Free the Fayette Two” protest said their message was not. The protest rally held outside Fayette County Justice Center Feb. 22 targeted the recent incarceration of two Fayette County High School students, convicted recently in juvenile court for their role in a gang-related “beat-in” fight in a school restroom in December.One of the juveniles received two years in jail while the other received four years. The protest also targeted District Attorney Scott Ballard, whose office prosecuted the case.

Thirteen people participated in the protest, led by Universal Negro Improvement Association representative Chief Sundiata Kamara.

Their words were directed primarily at Ballard and could easily be heard through the megaphone into the foyer area of the courthouse. Ballard was routinely referenced as a “devil,” followed on a few occasions by the label “bastard.”

“Free the Fayette Two,” the marchers chanted in unison on the steps of the justice center, in response to Kamara’s lead. “You’re a no good, Scott Ballard. Free our youth. Let them go. Unfair. Unjust. Racist. DA stands for devil and your ‘ace’ is in trouble, devil.”

Taking a brief timeout during the rally, Kamara said his group believed in reparations, repatriations and freedom for their people.

“We’re here to protest Scott Ballard, who is wicked, who defends child molesters instead of children. We’ve got two children incarcerated unjustly for a minor fight and he lets white children go,” Kamara said.

Responding to the proceedings in court that the fight was gang-related activity and that the two convicted were affiliated with the Crips and Bloods, Kamara said there is nothing wrong with youth organizations, nothing wrong with the Crips or the Bloods.

“There is something wrong with America that produces something like that,” he said. “You don’t blame the victim for being sick, you blame the person who made them sick, and that’s the whole system.”

Kamara said the federal government did a lot to bring drugs into communities, not the Crips and Bloods. You can’t condemn the youth organizations, you have to blame the individual, he said. You can’t judge the Crips and Bloods on a few bad apples around the country, Kamara added.

Ballard was at the justice center Friday but was unavailable when Kamara and three others attempted to see him. Turned away by deputies, they said they would make an appointment and return later.

Contacted later, Ballard held to the position that the prosecution of the two was justified.

“I don’t understand why people believe the prosecution of gangs is a racist issue,” Ballard said Monday. “Those prosecutions benefit everyone and we will continue to prosecute them.”

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