Kansas Teen’s Murder Should Be Charged as Hate Crime, Argues Family

Kansas Teen’s Murder Should Be Charged as Hate Crime, Argues Family

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The family of Kamarjay Shaw, a 14-year-old Black boy who was fatally shot a white teen, is seeking federal intervention to enhance the murder charge with a hate crime. The incident occurred on March 18 when 17-year-old Derrick Del Reed shot Shaw following a Snapchat exchange. According to authorities, a teenage girl instigated the confrontation urging Shaw and his friends to come outside because Reed wanted to fight him.

In the latest developments, it has been revealed that Reed sent a series of racially threatening messages to a witness prior to the shooting. These messages, during which Reed used racial slurs and expressed his intention to purchase a gun, serve as critical evidence in support of the family’s argument for federal charges. Despite the witness’s refusal to testify, the court has issued a material witness warrant for their appearance.

Michael Berry, Shaw’s cousin, wrote a letter to U.S. State Attorney Kate Brubacher, emphasizing that Reed’s actions clearly violated the state’s federal hate crime statute. In addition to the first-degree murder charge Reed currently faces, a conviction would result in a lifelong prison sentence. Berry also stated that Reed had used an accomplice to lure Shaw and his friends to the property, an assertion supported Judge Sally Pokorny, who ruled that Reed would be tried as an adult rather than a juvenile.

The judge also dismissed the defense’s argument for immunity under the state’s “stand your ground” law, citing the violent nature of Shaw’s death. Reed is set to go on trial in November, and until then, he will remain in custody on a $500,000 bond.

This case highlights the urgent need for addressing hate crimes within the criminal justice system. Murder cases involving racial motivations must be appropriately charged and prosecuted to ensure justice for the victims and deterrence for future perpetrators.

Source: The Lawrence Times