Main | Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Guilty Plea As "Newark Four" Case Rolls On

The case of the Newark Four rolls on. First, some backstory, as it's been awhile since I've written about this.....

In August 2006 a group of seven black lesbians attacked and stabbed a man in Greenwich Village after he threatened them, told them he was going to "fuck them straight" and spat on them. The melee was caught on video and made national tabloid fodder under headlines like "Lesbian Gang Stab Rampage" and "Attack Of The Killer Lesbians." Bill O'Reilly ran a particularly inflammatory segment which implied that violent lesbian gangs were running amok nationwide.

Four of the women were convicted of assault, turning the case has into a feminist cause, often referred to as the "Jersey Four" or the "Newark Four." It even has its own Wikipedia entry. (I've been getting weekly emails from various groups on this issue for years.) Early last year an appeals court dismissed the charges for one woman and ordered new trials for two others.

Yesterday the second trial of one of the women ended with a guilty plea and a three year sentence. The trial of the fourth woman is pending. Feminist groups continue to decry the prosecutions, but the women have seen little support from LGBT organizations. Critics charge that the women have been ignored because they are poor and black. I've been on the fence about the case, as the attack seemed like self-defense taken to excess. But the case of the Newark Four has been fascinating to watch, if just for the novelty of it becoming a gay version of the Free Mumia movement.

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