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Photo Credit: Wiki Commons: George Floyd Protest Against Police Brutality in Dallas, author Matthew T. Rader

            About the middle of the 21st century there lived in Bedford-Stuyvesant, New York a young man named Michael Coleman, the son of an English high school teacher, who was one of the most honorable as well as one of the most violent men of his generation. Until his eighteenth year this extraordinary young man could have been considered a shining symbol of civil virtues with a bright future in front of him. He had a full scholarship to Columbia University, was a track star who set New York State records in the mile (4:01.3) and 800 meters (1:49.2), and he volunteered every weekend at a local nursing home (Concord); he had not one neighbor or classmate who did not consider him generous, charming, and kind; in short, the world would have had cause to revere his memory, had he not experienced horrible tragedy and pursed one of his virtues to suicidal destruction. For his sense of justice would make him not only a murderer, but a hunted terrorist that would shake the very foundations of American democracy.

            One Saturday night he was returning home with his younger brother, Jaqual, from a party at a trap house (where he kissed his high school crush for the first time) when his mother met them at the door in a panic. “Boys, I talked to grannie a few hours ago and she said she’s not feeling well, and now she’s not picking up her phone, go check on her, quick!” Their grandmother lived only half a mile away on the first floor of a brownstone by herself, and the boys sprinted through the streets, desperate to save the woman they loved the most in the world (every Sunday they walked their grannie to Greater Free Gift Baptist Church). Just as it was beginning to pour with rain the boys heard a siren. A police car cut them off and four officers jumped out with their weapons raised.

            “Put your hands up!” The boys put up their hands. 

            “Stay calm,” whispered Michael to Jaqual, who knew that his younger brother had a short fuse. “Just do what they say.” A minute passed until a cop yelled,

            “On your knees!”

            “Officer, our grandma is sick, she’s alone and needs to go to the hospital, we are not engaged in any illegal activity, she lives at 101 Stockton Street and if you follow us we-”

            “Shut up! Don’t give me any of your bullshit excuses. Sprinting through the Tompkins’ projects on a Saturday night? Visiting your sick grandmother, my ass.” The other cops chuckled.

            “Officer you don’t understand, our grandmother has a heart condition and if she doesn’t receive medical attention soon she-” Jamal stood up. Michael glared at his brother. “What are you doing, you idiot?”

            “Get down!” But Jamal attempted to run past the police officers. One of them, Derek Chovin, a corpulent member of Blue Lives Matter, tackled him and pushed his face against the pavement. “Search him!” Another cop patted down Jaqual’s jacket and pulled out a dime-bag of marijuana and a swiss-army knife. “He’s carrying.” Jaqual stared at his brother and yelled,

            “Michael run!” At the same moment the police officer yelled, “Shut up, you little-” and pushed his knee against Jaqual’s neck. Michael heard, even with the rain pelting down, a distinct *crack* and saw Jaqual’s eyes roll into the back of his head. In horror Michael stood up and sprinted past the police car. The cops fired their guns, but missed. The neighbors came to their windows and watched as a young man ran away from the police and disappeared at the end of the block.

            Once Michael reached his grandmother’s brownstone, he found her lying unconscious on the kitchen floor. She wasn’t breathing. He called 9-1-1, gave her C.P.R. (breaking her ribs), and ten minutes later an ambulance arrived. Michael rode in the ambulance to the hospital, tears forming rivulets on his cheeks, while the medics used an automated external defibrillator. He told himself that he didn’t just abandon his younger brother and that everything would be all right. 

            The first few hours after a heart attack is called the critical period. Every second counts. The quicker the blood flow is restored and the treatment instituted, the better the chances of survival, and the better the chances of keeping the heart muscle alive.

            But when Michael and his grandmother arrived at the emergency room (she was immediately taken to the intensive care unit), the doctors knew it was too late. Michael’s grandmother had passed away, her soul moving on from this bitter, sorrowful world. If she had arrived a few minutes sooner, she might have survived.

            When Michael and his mother, Breonna, received the news in the waiting room, they burst into tears and held each other in their trembling arms. Michael had always acted like the father in the family, and had always tried to act stronger than the felt. But Michael knew they couldn’t waste time mourning when his brother had likely been taken in by the authorities.

            “Ma, I think Jaqual’s really hurt, I saw a police officer push his knee against his neck, then the cops fired at me when I ran away, we have to go find him.” But little did they know that the political machine of unjust law enforcement was already working against them. While Michael was with his grandmother on the way to hospital, the police at the scene of their crime were already attempting to cover up their abuse and mistakes. They interviewed neighbors, created false-witness reports, and manipulating the neighbors’ fear and lack of knowledge, had them sign the incriminating documents. The cops convened amongst themselves and agreed upon a fabricated story about what had happened: both of the boys attempted to run away, one of the boys was tackled and once the marijuana was discovered he attempted to stab the police officer with his knife, the police officer (Derek Chovin) was forced to defend himself and struck the boy in the neck with his hand, rendering him unconscious. Meanwhile, the other boy got away, shooting at the police officers while he ran. The police officers were unable to find the second boy’s gun. Meanwhile, while the cops were creating the false story (which they agreed to repeat under oath if necessary, since they were all trusted colleagues and friends, often sharing beers together after shifts), Jaqual’s body was slumped against the seat in the back of the police officer. He was completely paralyzed, as his spinal cord had been cracked, and was in desperate need of medical attention. The police officers took him to the 79th precinct instead of the hospital, and placed him in a holding cell, where he lightly groaned on a cot.

            Michael and Breonna arrived at the 81st precinct, searching for Jaqual. The indifferent and tired police officers (it was 3:55 am) made them wait for thirty minutes while they called nearby precincts. But since Michael’s story of what occurred did not match what the police officers had reported, the 79th precinct did not have any record of admitting a boy matching their description of what happened. Nonetheless, after another thirty minutes of waiting, Breonna and Michael decided to visit the 79thcprecinct anyway.

            Upon walking into the 79th precinct, Michael immediately recognized Derek Chovin behind a counter.

            “That’s him!” Michael shouted. “The cop who had his knee against Jacqual’s neck!” Michael also recognized two other police officers who had been on the scene, standing behind desks and filling out paperwork. For a moment the cops looked at one another in shock, uncertain of what to do, until the superior officer, Russel Shotski, took control,

            “Arrest him.” The police officers scurried towards Michael, pulling out handcuffs.

            “What? I did nothing wrong? Where’s Jaqual? What did you do with him?” Breonna stepped in front of Michael.

            “Where’s my son?! I want to see my son. Don’t you dare touch him! Back away!”

            “M’am, your sons both committed crimes tonight. One of them is in custody, and the one behind you fired a weapon at a police officer. Please step away.”

            “Fired at a police officer? Michael would never do that! He doesn’t even have a gun!”

            “I never fired a weapon! I ran away and you shot at me! My grandmother was dying. I had to-”

            “Take it easy boy. M’am, please step away. We don’t want to use force.” The police officers had blocked the exit and were circling the mother and son like wolves around sheep. Breonna had no doubt Michael did nothing wrong. While Jaqual had been a troublemaker growing up, Michael had never lied or had any conflicts with teachers or the authorities.

            “He did nothing wrong! I’m recording this bullshit. I want to see my son.” As she started to pull out her phone, Russel Shotski grabbed her arm.

            “I’m going to have to ask you to put your phone away. You’re not allowed to take videos in the precinct. We-”

            “Don’t you touch me you-” As Russel struggled with Breonna, his elbow smashed into her face and she fell to the ground.

            “No! You can’t-” Two officers were restraining Michael, who began shouting uncontrollably, and they managed to put his hands in cuffs. Blood streamed down Breonna’s face. She blinked rapidly, coughing and choking. Her nose was broken and she felt dizzy. One of the officers picked up her phone and put it in his pocket. They would never have done this in broad daylight. Russel attempted to help Breonna stand up.

            “M’am, I’m so sorry I knocked you down. But you need to cooperate. We’re trying to help and-” she pushed herself away and let out a scream.

            “Don’t touch me you monster!” She hoisted herself up, wiping the blood off her mouth, and glared at all the officers in the precinct.

            “Give me my phone.”

            “I’m sorry m’am, we can’t do that.”

            “I said give me my phone. That’s my private property.”

            “You resisted a police officer. You attacked him when-”

            “I ATTACKED NOBODY. WHERE IS MY SON?!” Breonna was becoming hysteric. She looked balefully at the police officers in front of her, who showed no signs of empathy or mercy, and at Michael being dragged away.

            “I didn’t do anything!” he shouted.

            “Where are you taking him?”

            “To the holding cell, where his brother is, while the investigation is pending. We promise that-” Breonna stopped listening and became aware of the hopeless, crushing futility of the situation. The sorrow of her mother’s death swelled up in her like a tidal wave. Her chest was heaving, her face was burning, and she felt a madness mounting up into her throbbing temples.

            “You will all pay for this. Every single one of you bastards. My sons did nothing wrong. You hurt my son and refused to let me see him.”

            “M’am, since you’ve arrived you have showed nothing but hostility. We are doing our duty, we are trying our best to do our jobs and you-”

            “I’m going to contact my lawyer, Albert Garner. Ever heard of him? Yeah that’s right. And every single one of you will pay. Mark my words.” Michael heard this final statement as he was dragged into the back of the precinct. Breonna ran out of the precinct, to return to her apartment to find a phone, planning on waking up a neighbor if she couldn’t find one. 

            In the holding cell, Michael saw Jaqual laid out on a cot, motionless. He collapsed next to him on his knees, felt his pulse, and verified that he was breathing. But Jaqual was drooling and staring vacantly at the ceiling. Michael heard him faintly groan.

            “My brother needs medical attention! Come back here! He needs to be taken to the hospital! Come back!” Michael shouted until his lungs ached. Two police officers returned with their hands on their ears.

            “Stop screaming you-”

            “My brother’s not moving! I think he’s paralyzed. Why is he in a holding cell?! This is against the law. You have to take him to the hospital!” The two police officers gave each other discreet, knowing looks. There had been an argument amongst the police officers upon their arrival at the precinct whether or not to take Jaqual directly to the hospital. They had agreed to fill out the paperwork first, then to transport him to critical care. This was against typical procedure, but in the complications and subconscious guilt of creating a false story they had ignored Jaqual’s deteriorating condition, his paralyzed-state, in favor of constructing viable alibies. While lifting Jaqual out of the police vehicle and into the precinct they had made his broken spinal cord even worse.

            “He…he can’t move?” stuttered one of the police officers. Taking up the cue, the other continued.

            “He could move before.”

            “NO HE CAN’T MOVE. HE NEEDS TO BE TAKEN TO THE HOSPITAL!”

            “All right, settle down kid, we’ll talk to our boss.” The police officers left and had a whispered, hurried discussion with Russel Shotski. They agreed that they should call an ambulance and transport Jaqual to the hospital immediately. Michael would stay in the cell until the morning.

            Meanwhile, back at her apartment, Breonna couldn’t find a cell phone. She desperately knocked on the door of her neighbor, waking them up, and told them the story of what had happened, and her need for a phone. They gave her a phone, telling her to seek medical attention because of her bloody face, and she typed in the personal cell number of Albert Garner, a family friend and criminal defense lawyer whose wife was also a judge. He picked up.

            “Who the hell is this?”

            “It’s Breonna. Albert I-”

            “Breonna why are you calling at this godforsaken hour. I-”

            “My boys are both in the 79th precinct. Michael thinks Jaqual was paralyzed by a police officer last night and they took my phone and-” She told Albert everything that happened. Within a minute Albert understood the gravity of the situation and jumped out of bed.

            “I can be at the 79th precinct in an hour. We’ll get your boys out, I promise. Can you meet me there?”

            “Yes.”

            “Don’t let them give you back your phone. Wait outside and don’t talk to any police officers. Don’t say a word.”

            “I won’t.” 

            At the 79th precinct the ambulance arrived and transported Jaqual to the hospital. While Jaqual’s body was being lifted off the cot, his limbs hanging limply in the police officer arms, Michael was restrained in the corner and shouting, “WHY WASN’T HE TAKEN DIRECTLY TO THE HOSPITAL?! YOU MIGHT HAVE KILLED HIM! YOU MIGHT HAVE PARALYZED HIM FOR LIFE!” Then he was released, shoved into the corner, and the holding cell door slammed shut.

            With Jaqual gone, the police officers had a worried discussion in the front office about what had happened. They had done a background check on Michael and Jaqual and discovered no previous offenses. Through a google search they learned of Michael’s exemplary school record and years of community service. They knew they had a major liability on their hands and wanted to fix the situation before the morning shift arrived and they’d have to explain to their chief what they’d done wrong. One of the police officers, who had been working in the precinct all night, suggested,

            “We should let Michael go and give back his mother’s phone. He doesn’t deserve to be locked up like that. His mother needs him. This could all come back to bite us.”

            “But he shot at police officers! Didn’t you see what’s written in the report? If we let him go it will look incompetent…and suspicious! What if he goes and finds his abandoned gun and comes back here and shoots us all up?”

            “His mother needs him. His brother might die. He’s not a threat, and every second we keep him here is an injustice. You know that and I know that.” The cops came to a compromise. They agreed to release him as long as he signed a convoluted document verifying what had happened: that him and his brother had resisted arrest, that Jaqual had attacked officer Chovin, and that a friend of theirs (who the police hadn’t seen) had shot at the police officers while Michael ran away. They changed their story from the original fabrication so that Michael could be released without charges, and so that Jaqual wouldn’t be charged if he left the hospital.

            Russel Shotski approached the holding cell with a pen and the document and saw Michael pacing the back of the room.

            “Michael…I know this is a traumatic…time for you. And that you’ve never been arrested before and aren’t familiar with how the law works. But I can tell you now, your best strategy will be to cooperate with us.” He paused and cleared his throat.

            “I want you know that I understand and that I’m deeply sorry about what has happened. But I’m here to help. And I want the best for you.” Michael glared at Russel. Behind Russel stood two police officers with tasers pointed at Michael’s chest.

            “Here is a document explaining what happened. It describes the encounter you had with the police officers, the confusion, and your brother’s injury. We are not pressing charges. My officers in the field experienced gunfire, and we have written that it wasn’t you or your brother, but an accomplice who they couldn’t see.”

            “That’s a lie.”

            “Let me finish. If you sign this document, you can go free right now. And we’ll give you your mother’s phone. You can go see your mother and your brother. No charges will be pressed and your record will remain clean. If you don’t sign, a criminal process will begin, you risk having a criminal record, and your scholarship to Columbia University will be revoked.” This was another lie, but the officers had found a newspaper article online on Michael’s accomplishments, and decided to blackmail him. Michael felt a lump in his throat. He couldn’t pay to attend Columbia without the scholarship, his whole future depended on it. He had aspired to attend Columbia since he was twelve.

            “Give me the document.” The statement was ten pages long and the police officers had attempted to fill it with as much legal jargon as they could. But in essence the document removed the guilt of the police officers and corroborated their story. If Michael signed, he was forfeiting him and his brother’s rights to press charges.

            Michael took his time reading the document and deciphering what was being implied. The cops didn’t know that he had dreamed of becoming a lawyer since he was ten years old, that his role model in life was his godfather, Albert Garner, one of the most successful criminal defense attorneys in Brooklyn. The previous summer Michael had interned three days a week in Albert’s office. He knew how to read legal forms. When he finished he looked up to see Russel leaning towards him with a pen. Michael spit on the front page of the packet and handed it back.

            “I’m not signing this bullshit. Go fuck yourself.” Russel frowned, took the packet, and closed the door.

            “Suit yourself, kid. If you change your mind, give us another yell.”

            In the front office, the police officers became more and more anxious about what to do with Michael and with the fact they had illegally confiscated Breonna’s phone. They knew the longer they kept him locked up, the more culpable they became. They knew of Albert Garner’s reputation for destroying the careers of police officers. Derek snuck into the back room and deleted the security tape footage of the officers’ confrontation with Breonna. In the end, after two hours of discussion, the precinct decided to release Michael. They could say in the report that they released him “soon after” he was imprisoned, once he had settled down from the misunderstanding. 

            At the same time of Michael’s release, Breonna Coleman was running frantically through the streets of Bedford-Stuyvesant back to the 79th precinct to meet Albert Garner. Breonna was a Type 1 diabetic and was experiencing dangerously-low blood sugar levels. She couldn’t afford health assurance and had been buying diabetic test strips on the black market. She had run out of strips and hadn’t tested herself for twelve hours. She was still dizzy from being elbowed in the face by Russel Shotski. She felt on the verge of passing out. 

            The sun was beginning to rise. Light glinted off of windows and the metal of parked cars. Denisha’s vision was blurry and she felt shaky, but she was determined to arrive at the precinct. She stumbled on the sidewalk, then caught herself and pressed on. 

            A minute before Denisha saw the 79th, Michael was released.

            “You’re free to go,” said Russel. “And here’s your mother’s phone.” Michael thought this was some kind of trap. He thought that the police officers would tase him and say he tried to escape. But he had to take this chance.

            Ten minutes prior here had been an argument amongst the officers in the front office. The police officers who hadn’t been with the men in the field threatened to snitch on the four culprits if Michael wasn’t let go with the phone. They blamed the four men for endangering the reputation of the precinct, and wanted to rid their hands of a model citizen, a promising young man, an innocent witness to police incompetence and brutality.

            Michael cautiously walked to the front doors, with all the officers watching him. He planned to sprint home to find his mother. Outside he turned right and saw Herbert Von King Park, where he used to play as child with Jaqual, playing tag in the field near the fenced-off area for dogs. Then he saw his mother running down Tompkins Avenue. The moment they saw one another, Breonna was overcome with a rush of relief and joy. She stumbled forward, and with a sob caught in her throat uttered, “My boy.” At the same time a car was speeding down Greene Avenue, driven by a man late for work. Breonna tripped in front of the car and was struck head-on. Michael saw the body of his mother get sucked beneath the wheels.

            The driver slammed on the breaks and jumped out. “Oh my god oh my god!” He saw the mangled body of Breonna, already bleeding, and with a trembling hand took out his phone to call an ambulance. Michael arrived at his mother’s body, glanced at the driver on the phone, then wept convulsively. The driver tried speaking to him, but Michael couldn’t hear a word past “I called an ambulance.” A part of Michael knew Breonna was on the edge of death, but another part of him refused to believe it. Her lungs were punctured and she was gasping for air. Blood seeped from her mouth.

            “Mom, I’m here, I’m here. An ambulance is coming. Hold on.”

            “Michael, my boy, my love.”

            “Please hold on, you can do this mom. I’m here.”

            “I’m dying, Michael.”

            “Mom, please. Don’t-”

            “Forgive them Michael, those who hate, for they know not what they do. Please, forgive them.”

            “Mom I love you. Don’t go.” Breonna Coleman tear-filled eyes became blank as her soul passed away, to join her mother. Michael wept on her chest, feeling the world spinning around him like a shipwreck in a whirlpool. His mother’s last words echoed in his thoughts: Forgive them. But Michael, in this moment where everything he loved was taken away, felt a force rise within him that obliterated reason, that began distorting his sanity. This force, which Michael could only attribute to the will of God, refused to forgive. My mother, my church, my community, has spent centuries forgiving, thought Michael. And where has that led us? To my grandmother dead, my mother dying in my arms, my younger brother in the hospital. More victims of police brutality. I have nothing left. The ambulance arrived and took Breonna away. Albert Garner arrived and embraced Michael, simultaneously shouting at the cops who had formed around the accident. Michael didn’t hear anything. He had entered another world, another existence, and let himself be pulled and pushed this way and that. Voices reached him like distant murmurs, images passed before his eyes like blurry photographs taken in motion. He was in a car. Then he was in a hospital. More people embraced him. More people consoled him. He nodded his head. But in the depths of his oblivion, his numb despair, the devasting force was gaining magnitude. He no longer had a life. His past was a pile of ashes that he observed from some kind of purgatory border, a desolate wasteland. All he knew was that he now had a purpose. A deep purpose engulfed in savage flames. And he knew this purpose would guide him until his death.

*

            Six weeks later Breonna Coleman and her mother’s wakes occurred simultaneously in a building next to Greater Free Gift Baptist Church. Jaqual had been released from the hospital; he was completely paralyzed and strapped into a mobile machine. He could only move his eyes.

            Support and condolences poured in from all over the world. A GoFundMe account had raised over $100,000 for Michael and his brother. Journalists had written stories. News anchors had looked disappointed on television. Michael had let Albert Garner take care of all the details.

            At the wake, where Breonna and her mother’s caskets lay, the room was full of flowers. A line out the door was over half a mile long. Many of the Concord Nursing Home residents journeyed to the wake to pay their respects. But they did not find their helpful boy with a charming smile. Their boy was gone. They found a completely different man who either ignored them or glanced up at them with eyes of steel.

            Michael was sitting in a chair between his mother and grandmother’s casket, reading a tattered copy of The Autobiography of Malcolm X. People tried to engage him in conversation, but he kept on reading.

            Relatives, including Albert Garner, looked at each other with sad concern, trying to convince each other to say something to the victim. Finally, a distant cousin named George Floyd put his hand on Michael’s shoulder.

            “I know you’ve been through a lot, brother, but quit ignoring everybody. It’s not right.” Michael calmly looked up and stared hard at his cousin. George unconsciously backed away.

            “You see this book, George? You know when I got this book?”

            “Course I don’t know Michael. But-”

            “You wouldn’t know. You weren’t there. My mother gave it to me as a birthday present when I was ten. It was just her, me, and Jaqual. She told me, ‘This is all I can get you for your birthday, Michael. There’s no money left for more presents. But you will learn in this book that money isn’t what makes a man, nor outward success, nor prizes, nor recognition. It’s character and purpose. Never forget that.’ I read it for the first time that night. It was the best birthday present I ever received.”

            George nodded and walked away. Michael stood up and put his hand on Jaqual’s shoulder, waiting for Jaqual’s eyes to find him. Jaqual’s pupils shifted and for a moment Michael remembered running with him when they were young, drawing lines on the pavement and racing each other. Jaqual would never run again. Nausea twisted in Michael’s stomach. 

            “I’ll be right back, brother.” Michael walked to the back of the room where he had seen his uncle Jamarcus leave out the back door.

            Jamarcus, who wore a black durag, a Notorious B.I.G. t-shirt, and baggy jeans, was smoking a cigarette and fidgeting against a wall.

            “Uncle Ja, can I talk with you alone for a minute?”

            “Speak.”

            “I know we haven’t been too close. You being incarcerated during most of my adolescence…”

            “Ain’t your fault brother.’

            “I know that but…but I was wondering if you could help me out.”

            “Anything.”

            “I always knew, through ma, that you had connections…” Jamarcus inhaled his cigarette and looked off into the distance.

            “Yeh I know people.”

            “I’m talking about dangerous, criminal connections. People who can get things like…assault weapons, explosives, body amour.”

            “Oh no fucking way. Not you Michael.”

            “Listen, hear me out.” Jamarcus looked over his shoulder and around the corner of the building.

            “Is this really the goddamn time? Look I’m not getting’ you none of that. You’re the best hope this family’s got. I messed my life up. But you still got yours.”

            “No Uncle Ja. I don’t.”

            “The answer’s no. End of discussion. I’m not bringing you into that underworld. You got money now. Al’s gonna bring those police bastards to court. Columbia will let you in. Practically the whole city’s on your side. Don’t throw it all away on revenge, on violence.” Michael’s eyes became like steel again, and Jamarcus felt the strength of his nephew’s conviction hit him like a fist.

            “I’m only going to say this once, Uncle Ja, because I need to get back to my mother and grannie’s caskets. But I am going to get a hold of weapons and explosives, one way or another. Nothing will stop me. I know some petty criminals in the neighborhood, and some of my shady classmates from high school, but I don’t trust them, and I’d rather not go through them. They know what’s happened and they’ll probably betray me. But if it’s the only option I have, I’ll take it. I’d rather go through you, through family, someone I can trust. It’s up to you.”

            “Jesus Christ, this isn’t the way…”

            “Isn’t the way?” Michal felt the force rise within his chest, and a rage consume his tortured spirit. “Yeah I got money. Yeah I can go to Columbia. Take classes with privileged, upper-class kids, hear privileged teachers drone on about what it will take to succeed in their system. Yeah I can go to law school, get a job, make more money, have people congratulate me on making it out. Play the goddamn game. But then what? Read about another innocent kid killed in the streets? Worry about my son going out at night? These crimes have been happening for centuries, Uncle Ja, and I’m sick and tired of it. My life doesn’t matter anymore. All that makes is that I get justice for my brother, my mother, and grannie, that I make the world finally understand.” Jamarcus had tears in his eyes. He sighed.

            “But your godfather’s gonna get justice for you. He’s already-”

            “No he won’t. Not enough. I’ve already talked with him. The police covered their backs. The police officer who paralyzed Jaqual will go free. The cop who locked me up will be able to get off. They have the system on their side, Uncle Ja, and we can’t win. The social contract they talk about it is broken. It’s time for us to make the rules. I don’t want pity. I don’t want charity. I want real change. And now I have an opportunity to make a real difference, not as a victim eating the scraps off the table of what they call the law, but as a man who’s going to show them that they can’t away with this anymore. Is it yes or no? I gotta get back.” Jamarcus, who had spent years dealing with the most hardened criminals, stared deep into his nephew’s eyes to see how serious he was. He couldn’t find a sliver of doubt.

            “All right. I’ll introduce you to someone you can trust…who can get you…what you want. Meet me at my crib tomorrow night.”

            “Thank you Uncle Ja. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Michael started to open the door.

            “Wait, before you go, what you gonna do? What’re you planning?” Michael turned and for the first time in six weeks, smiled. But it was a cruel smile that made Jamarcus wonder what his nephew had become.

            “I’m gonna burn this shit down.”

          

           

End of Part 1, Part 2 coming soon. Subscribe below to receive an email when Part 2 is released:

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