On the eve of what would have been Michael Sandy’s 30th
birthday, one of the four men accused in his 2006 New York murder was
acquitted of felony murder but found guilty of manslaughter as a hate
Sandy’s death rocked the Black same-gender loving community last
year. The then 28-year-old who was Black and openly gay, was robbed
and beaten by four men. He managed to break free but was chased onto
the Belt Parkway where he was struck by a car and severely injured. He
never regained consciousness from his injuries and died after his
family decided to remove him from a life support respirator that had
kept him alive since his attack. Between the time he was attacked and
his death on October 13th, Sandy turned 29.
According to the Gay City News, the jury’s foreman Jason Lenitsky, 29, said that because the defendant, John Fox, didn’t actually kill Sandy himself and wasn’t the direct cause of Sandy’s death, it didn’t warrant sending him away for life.
The jury of seven men and five women began deliberating early in the
afternoon on October 4 and at 4:12 pm on October 5 they signaled Jill Konviser, the judge in the case, that they had reached a verdict.
Now, I’m no legal expert, but if somebody lures you into a parking
lot and then commences to beating you while the same time robbing you
and then when you try to get away you’re struck by an oncoming vehicle
and subsequently die, that to me, is a direct cause. Like I said, I’m
no legal expert but it seems pretty cut and dry to me. Michael Sandy
is dead today because of what those four men did to him, the vehicle
that hit him is only one part of the equation.
Fox faced two counts of felony murder, one as a hate crime, which
carries a maximum sentence of 25-to-life. He also faced two
manslaughter counts, one as a hate crime, four counts of attempted
robbery, two as hate crimes, and one count of attempted petit larceny.
I wonder what role if any his race and the fact that all of the defendants are white played in the jury’s decision.
And still to this day, little has been said about the heinous murder
of Michael Sandy in Black America. While much of the attention has
gone to equally horrific incidents like the Jena 6 and the rape and
torture of Megan Williams, but unlike the victims in those cases,
Michael Sandy is dead. There is no healing and going on with life for
him and it’s very disappointing that Blacks didn’t take the same
interest in his hate crime as we did in others. And I’d be lying if I
didn’t say that I believe the reason for that is because he was gay and
that Black America still minimizes that lives of gay men and women.
How many more of us have to die before the Rev. Al Sharpton’s and Rev. Jesse Jackson’s
of the world get involved? And I use them as examples because they
seem to be the only two Blacks that America seems to recognize when it
comes to civil rights issues involving the mistreatment of Blacks. But
at the same time, as Black same-gender loving people, what’s our role
in bringing cases like out into the open and making it an issue for our
At the end of the day, as a Black lesbian, I am more apt look to
Black America to seek justice than I am to look to our gay groups, who
have been equally silent on Sandy’s death.
Michael Sandy may not have been Matthew Shepard or Mychal Bell, but what happened to him deserves just as much attention and support as those two cases received and continue to receive.
Today why don’t you tell five people about what happened to Michael Sandy
and encourage them to do the same. If we don’t tell our stories, who