The story of Rontarus Washington Jr began in 2015. I was told his story just recently and because of the hard work of the Lawrence BLM movement and Tasha Neal they aided Rontarus. Lawrence BLM was able to secure the release of Rontarus after 5 years of jail awaiting two trials.
Rontarus’s incarceration, his jailing, like so many black men, comes after a laundry list of charges which seem to have no evidence other than circumstance of him being in the area when a 19 year old woman was brutally murdered in her apartment.
Because the way to finding the truth about what happened to 19 year old Justina Altamirano Mosso, is difficult, because others involved we not really considered person’s of interest because Rontarus was very available, at the time, the investigation was short and stunted. Justina’s husband had a far more lengthy criminal history than Rontarus, who had no history of violence, or any other criminal history.
Because the circumstances of the case have been lost in a reporting only on his long and unsupported jail term, with no real hope of a fair hearing, he was recently released on bond by friends, family, and BLM movement participants pressure on the Douglas County courts.
Pressure from many quarters has perhaps opened a way to re-investigating what is so obviously a flawed prosecution, that is running on a great deal of circumstance and supposition as evidence.
Rontarus’s case is unique to its particular aspects, but not unique in the standardized way the justice in counties all across the country investigate black people. There is an immediate assumption of criminality to all investigations where a black person, man or woman, is found to be in close proximity to the event.
The assumption is, if they are black they probably committed the crime, or some crime, that they are getting away with, and that all black people have a tendency to get around crimes they have committed and hid.
The more progressive the court, the more likely to assume this, not the other way around. Over years of attempts to become progressive the courts have come to a point where they assume guilt if a person is held on suspicion of committing a crime.
There is a whole host of assumptive laws and processes where anyone finding themselves held for a crime, is bound to be guilty, and receives an offer of a plea, before all the facts are known, because there is a system of discovery that forces the facts to fit the crime.
In Rontarus’s case, there was no investigation and the charges that were leveled were not predicated on evidence, but his proximity to the victim. From that point a series of assumptions were handed down, a plea was offered, and when refused, the District Attorney, who was wounded, brought the full weight of his office onto Rontarus’s head.
Bail was set high, because Rontarus was a flight risk, and a danger to the public. Which was not supported by any facts, but by a statue which assumes those things for the level of charges brought.
With bail at nearly a million dollars, Rontarus could be assured he would get a taste of prison, and not like it. This is more tactics that can lead to further charges, due to the nature of violence prevasive in prisons and jails.
There is a long history of over-charging black suspects, to force longer prison terms over all and the ability of the DA to claim they have excellent tough on crime stats.
It happens all over the country, and only recently reported with some accuracy. Rontarus Washington Jr is one case in many, but his is a victory. Our job in seeking justice is to have some oversight for the justice system, because the laws are many and varied, that alienate and target black people.
If there is to be real change, a black run, victim centric governing body must be allowed to build councils in each court district in the United States, and those systems must be independent of the political framework of the government.
Join us in developing that system the first of its kind anywhere in the world.
Now Rontarus Washington Jr’s GoFundMe is for his continued legal expenses.