New Evidence Suggests the Black Teens Accused of Shooting White Baby Were NOT Involved!
Micah Naziri, and Stephanie Slifer
Have you heard of the story of a white woman, mugged by two African American teens, who - after begging for her baby's life to be spared - witnessed her baby callously murdered by her "thuggish" attackers?
Chances are, if you get on any form of social networking websites, you have heard about this story. While you might have missed it when it first appeared on the news, there is no doubt that you have heard of it since the George Zimmerman verdict.
During the height of the Zimmerman trial, when media attention was focused heavily on Stand Your Ground Laws and the question of whether or not a white man would be found not guilty of killing an unarmed African-American teenager, the shooting death of 13 month old Georgia infant Antonio Santigio, also made national media headlines. After the mother, Sherry West, told police that her baby was killed by two black teenagers, the right-wing went crazy with this story. Meme's about the killing could be found on every social media web-site, public page and in every group where the Trayvon Martin story was discussed. Most of these meme's showed photos of the infant side by side with one of two accused African-American teenagers.
For months, right wingers have leveled accusations of reverse racism against the President, the Department of Justice and even the media, which did not touch the Trayvon Martin case until public outcry was so widespread that the media could not ignore the protests, rallies and celebrity calls for an arrest to be made. Never mind the fact that these youths were arrested immediately, as soon as they were fingered for the crime, rather than 45 days later. Never mind the fact that they never confessed to the killing as George Zimmerman did. Never mind the fact that unless the following - breaking - evidence is spread far and wide to demand a fair trial for these young men, they will almost certainly be convicted, in spite of all of the damning evidence that implicates the parents in the killing (as you will see).
In spite of the social media "outrage" and the right-wing media narrative, however, the Baby Santiago case only illustrates just how prevalent racism really is in the United States. Just days after Sherry West told police her 13 month old was shot and killed by two black teens, West's 21 year old daughter went to police to tell them that she suspected her mother may have killed her infant brother.
Ashley Glassey told CBS News in March, that her mother has serious mental health issues. These include a diagnosis of bi-polar with accompanying schizophrenic tendencies. West also talked with the media about how she was removed from her mother's care at the age of 8, because of abuse and neglect in the home.
Immediately after the shooting, Glassey said West began asking questions about how long it would take her to collect the insurance money. West's daughter also told both media and police that her mother made conflicting statements to her, regarding the child's death - including different stories about who was shot first. West's inconsistencies and suspicious behavior caused her own daughter to tell police and reporters that she suspected her mother was not telling the truth about how the infant was killed. CBS News reported several days later that police had not followed up with Glassey, nor had they taken her statement. A follow-up call by the press to the police, was never returned.
In fact, both the father and mother of baby Santiago, had gunshot residue on them the day their son was killed, according to the state's forensic report obtained by CBS affiliate WTEV.
While the fact that Sherry West, the baby's mother, was also shot during her son's killing could explain why residue was found on her, it is unclear how or why the baby's father, Louis Santiago, would have been exposed to gunshot residue.
A conclusion from the state forensic report says, "This supports the possibility that [Louis Santiago] discharged a firearm, was in close proximity to a firearm upon discharge, or came into contact with an item whose surface bears GSR [gunshot residue]."
According to the station, Louis Santiago is currently in jail on charges of aggravated stalking. An arrest warrant from June 6 reportedly says Santiago was stalking Sherry West, in violation of police orders. He was reportedly convicted of the same charges in another case from 2009.
West claims Santiago "went nuts" in the months following their son's murder and violated a restraining order, according to the station.
"He was throwing things through the window and terrorizing me, saying that I killed my baby and it should have been me," West told the station.
West claims that she was walking her baby by herself when two teens, De'Marquise Elkins and Dominique Lang, tried to rob her at gunpoint on a Brunswick sidewalk. The teens allegedly shot her in the leg and baby Antonio in the head. Both are behind bars on charges of murder and are scheduled to stand trial next month.
On July 16th this new evidence was released to the public that implicates the parents involvement in the child's death. Police tests immediately following the shooting revealed gun powder on the hands of both Sherry West and the baby's father, Louis Santiago. Santiago claimed that he was nowhere near the scene of the shooting. This evidence too, was withheld for months, until the defense attorney in the case demanded that it be released in mid July.
When we look at the Zimmerman case and the Baby Santiago case side by side, what we see is how racism plays out in the United States. When a white man openly admitted to shooting and killing an unarmed black teenager, the public immediately jumped to his defense. On the other hand, when two black teenagers were accused of shooting and killing a white child, the public immediately cried out for their executions. The horrifying tale of an infant murdered in cold blood by heartless black youths was readily accepted by vast numbers of Zimmerman's supporters.
Evidence in the Baby Santiago case seems to point more and more toward the fact that the two black youth accused of this shooting are innocent of the crime they've been blamed for. Yet their pictures have been plastered all over social media, and they've been labelled as "baby killers" - a favorite phrase of the right-wing since the day of the shooting. Can we hope that there will be a fair trial for these youth? Can we hope that our justice system will not continue to convict the innocent, while allowing the guilty to go free? Can we hope that the media will report fairly and accurately on this case? Can we hope that the Georgia court system will be fairer and more just than the one in Florida?
And what of Sherry West? If it turns out that a southern white women did in fact kill her own infant in order to collect some insurance money, will American's show the same level of vehemence they did when they believed it was two black teens who killed Antonio Santiago? Will they still cry out for execution, or will they see the case differently, if the killer turns out to be middle-aged, white and female, rather than young, black and male?
And then there is the question of the jurors. Will there be another jury of all white women, women who have to choose between two scenarios; Did a soft-spoken white, southern woman (whom they surely can identify with) actually shoot her own infant - or the alternative, did two black hoodlum gangsters try to rob her, killing her baby in the process? Can such a jury be found in Georgia that is able to set aside their underlying stereotypes about women, about blacks, about society and of course, about themselves, to listen to facts, examine evidence and come to a just decision?
Racism is a threat to every American. The Baby Santiago case may prove that it's not just the African-American population or the Latino population or the Muslim population, that suffers the consequences. If something does not change, murderers will continue to go free, while innocent people's lives are destroyed. If our underlying belief system continues to reinforce the idea that the black person is always the guilty party, there's little to stop people like Sherry West and George Zimmerman, from committing murders of teenagers and even toddlers of any color, having full confidence that as long as they implicate a black person, no-one will even question their innocence.