The North Carolina NAACP renewed its call for gubernatorial pardons in the infamous “Wilmington 10” case again today and the evidence they advanced in support of the demand was disturbing and compelling.
The following is from a release that accompanied this morning’s press conference:
RALEIGH – Newly discovered racist jury profiling by the Pender County Prosecutor Jay Stroud, shows shocking racial hostility toward prospective Black jurors. In his first effort to select a jury to convict ten young activists who had been charged with burning a Wilmington store, District Attorney Stroud ended up with ten Blacks and two Whites. Stroud felt “sick,” and asked for a mistrial. The judge agreed, and the trial was rescheduled for Pender County. Stroud got a list of about 100 prospective jurors, and he wrote racial comments beside most of their names.
“We rarely get such direct evidence of prosecutorial racism in jury selection,” said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, President of the North Carolina NAACP. “The prosecutor is ethically bound to put justice over winning. District Attorneys represent all the people in North Carolina, not just White people in North Carolina. We will analyze his thinking at our news conference tomorrow morning….”
…Researchers discovered the hand-written notes made by Stroud, while he weighed the pros and cons of asking for a mistrial, after selecting his first jury. He decided to move for a mistrial on the grounds he was sick. He also decided to do better planning to select a jury more likely to convict. His profiling was based on one principle, according to his notes: Select a jury made up of “KKK” and “Uncle Tom” types.
“If this direct evidence had been available for the Fourth Circuit,” Rev. Barber commented, “I believe they would have recommended prosecuting the prosecutor.”
“The new evidence is a nightmare,” Rev. Barber continued. “It’s a nightmare to see evidence of this District Attorney committing such egregious acts of hate on behalf of the citizens of North Carolina. The evidence clearly reveals the injustice that took place in the conviction of the Wilmington 10 and the entrenched racism that polluted the process. North Carolina needs to repent and cleanse itself of this tragic misuse of power in our judicial system.”