4 Young Lesbians Serving Time for Defending Themselves

I am not going to say a whole lot about this right now. One, because I’ll cry. Two, because I am compiling a bunch of things to write a larger piece or pieces about this situation. But I can’t let it go too long with mentioning it to you. As I said, I will further deal with this when I am done thinking and writing about it.

Last summer 7 young black lesbians from Newark, NJ ranging in ages from 19-25 (I think), were walking in Greenwich Village. A man tried to kick it to one of them, they denied his advances. He proceeded to jump off at the mouth. They defended themselves.

I am paraphrasing.

Now, four of those young women were sentenced to anywhere from 5 to 11 years. This story from the New York Times describes the sentencing in the courtroom. It’s a must read.

  1. Terrain Dandridge, age 20. Sentenced to 3.5 years.
  2. Venice Brown, age 19. Sentenced to 5 years.
  3. Renata Hill, age 25. Sentenced to 8 years.
  4. Patreese Johnson, age 19. Sentenced to 11 years.

Secondly, FIERCE!, the community organizing project for queer and trans youth have been doing most of the support work as an organization for the accused and their families, many of whom are facing financial ruin because of the legal fees associated with defending this case. I want to thank FIERCE! for that. If you want to know what you can do to assist, contact Bran Fenner of FIERCE! at bran@fiercenyc.org.

2 thoughts on “4 Young Lesbians Serving Time for Defending Themselves

  1. After reading the NY Times article (this is the first account of this incident that I have actually read), these are my thoughts…

    First, without question this judge, Justice Edward J. McLaughlin, appears to possess a hostile bias toward these young Black women (any speculation as to why this is would most likely prove to be rather redundant)…

    How does one “scoff” at the notion of a 95 pound 4-foot-11 woman living in NYC, who work nights, carrying a knife for personal protection?… Is this judge even aware of what time period he is living in?…

    Did we miss the memo detailing the acquisition by the state of New York of clairvoyant justices? I’d imagine so considering McLaughlin’s uncanny ability to surmise that 19-year-old Patreese Johnson’s “meek” courtroom demeanor was nothing more than a deceptive ruse… Hell, with judges like this, who needs due-process?

    Apparently, in a misguided attempt to distinguish himself from a “potted plant,” (WTF??) the good judge felt compelled to manifest his “own strong views” concerning what occurred that evening in Greenwich Village in the form of ludicrously over-harsh prison sentences. Punishments that he staggeringly deems “appropriate.” (I had a cousin ran over and murdered by a White man in a pick-up truck, and the animal only received 2 more years than this judge is handing down for an assault)…

    IMO, there is no way in hell THIS judge should have been adjudicating THIS case…. I’m not certain whether it’s misogyny, homophobia, or racial prejudice — or any possible combination of all three — but this dude had a hard on for these sisters…and not in a good way.

    His rulings are tantamount shredding and defecating on these young women’s lives at a very — if not the most — critical developmental moment in young adulthood… It really is a tragedy of the lowest order.

    Now, having said all that, I’m sorry, I have to agree with McLaughlin on the most important issue in this incident… Somebody calling you names — particularly in the context given — ain’t good enough reason to go assaulting someone, especially with a deadly weapon… Sorry. Wrong is wrong.

    I know many GLBT peeps have been in a similar situation as the one these young sisters found themselves in that night; and most likely chose the prudent path of just ignoring the ig’nant azz SOB and movin’ right along — as long as THEY kept THEIR hands to themselves!

    Yeah, it’s truly f**ked up to have deal with that kinda imbecilic, homo-hatin’ bulls**t, but I would be very leery of ever getting to the point were we condone potentially deadly violence as an appropriate reaction to such situations…

    Moreover, the potential for blow-back in the form of “gay defense” anti-gay violence would probably increase exponentially….

    Damn… This world is jack-up at times, ain’t it…

  2. “Now, having said all that, I’m sorry, I have to agree with McLaughlin on the most important issue in this incident… Somebody calling you names — particularly in the context given — ain’t good enough reason to go assaulting someone, especially with a deadly weapon… Sorry. Wrong is wrong.”

    excerpt from the article written by Imani Henry:

    “Buckle is seen on the video grabbing and pulling out large patches of hair from one of the young women. When Buckle ended up on top of one of the women, choking her, Johnson pulled a small steak knife out of her purse. She aimed for his arm to stop him from killing her friend.

    The video captures two men finally running over to help the women and beating Buckle. At some point he was stabbed in the abdomen. The women were already walking away across the street by the time the police arrived.”


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