He Feared For His Life, Now He Might Be Facing Death Row

truck driving on winding road
Zain Murdock
December 8, 2021

On June 14, 2020, 21-year-old Marc Wilson stopped at a stoplight in Statesboro, Georgia next to a pickup truck filled with drunk, 18-year-old white boys. 

Now, he may be facing life in prison – or even the death penalty. What happened?

Wilson says they shouted the n-word at him, tried to chase him and his girlfriend off the road, and threw objects at them. One of those objects sounded like a gun – so, believing their lives were in danger, he shot back. 

The bullet killed a girl in the backseat. Wilson is citing self-defense, but things are looking grim.

 White people who cite “self-defense” for killing Black people get off 10 times more frequently than when it’s the other way around. In fact, when the shooter is Black and the victim is white, there’s only a 1.2% chance the homicide is ruled as justified.

“[We] were very scared that night,” Wilson maintains. But, whether you believe his actions were justified or not, there’s a bigger problem with the system as a whole.

As long as this system is standing, Black people in danger will always be damned if we do, damned if we don’t: death if you don’t fight back, and death in prison if you do. But in an abolitionist world, the threat of prison for Wilson’s harrowing night simply wouldn’t exist.

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