Cverage of Wafer/McBride Trial

June 2, 2014

Greetings. My name is Thandi Chimurenga and I am a Los Angeles-based freelance journalist seeking assistance to cover the trial of the killer of Renisha McBride in Detroit, MI.

Most stories of Black womens' lives are disappeared in the media. This includes the stories of how we die. We are constantly reminded of the murders of Black men and boys at the hands of white racists, whether they pose as law enforcement or as individuals - and we should be reminded of it. But we are also reminded by the deaths of Renisha and Aiyana Jones in Detroit, Aleasia Thomas in LA, Rekia Boyd in Chicago, and the criminalization of Marissa Alexander in Florida that Black women are not safe either.

I seek to tell the story of how and why Renisha McBride died on the morning of November, 2, 2013 because I believe it is important. I hope that you think its important also and that you will help me with this task.

McBride was shot and killed as she stood on Ted Wafer's porch around 5 a.m. on November 2, 2013. The 54-year old Wafer says he heard "banging" on his front door and, thinking someone was trying to break into his home and in fear for his life, opened his front door to confront the alleged intruder. McBride had been involved in a car accident that morning; she had been out partying with friends and had consumed both alcohol and marijuana. Witnesses on the scene of her car accident observed that McBride may have also been suffering from a head wound. Her family thinks she had been knocking on Wafer's door for help. Wafer admits that he shot the 19-year old McBride, at first claiming self-defense and then later, saying the gun actually discharged. Wafer has been charged with 2nd degree murder and manslaughter and he is scheduled to go on trial July 21st, 2014. The trial is expected to last about three weeks.

This trial will examine if Wafer had a right to open his front door that morning and defend himself and his home from a possible intruder, or if his actions were so careless as to border on criminality. Whether or not the race and gender dynamics of this event are taken into consideration in this trial (they probably won't be) remains to be seen however as a grassroots journalist, I make an attempt to look at these and as many other variables as possible in my reporting.

Who am I?
I have been a grassroots, community activist/writer/journalist for more than 20 years. Most recently, I am the author of No Doubt: The Murder(s) of Oscar Grant that documents and analyzes the trial of Johannes Mehserle, the first law enforcement officer in the state of California to be charged and convicted of the death of someone in an on-duty shooting. I covered the trial in 2010 for several Bay Area (CA) hyper-local news sites.

What will I produce?

-- daily tweets and reporting from the trial

-- features on key participants

-- audio and video reports

-- archive of the documentation

Being away from home on a temporary basis is expensive, no matter where in the world it is - that's a no brainer: travel, housing, transportation, meals. But in this trial as in the trial of Oscar Grant's murderer, the transcripts - the sworn-to testimony spoken by the witnesses - will be invaluable in terms of actually documenting the trial, as well as critque for inconsistencies and outright lies. According to the Wayne County Clerk's Office, "In the absence of a Court Order, monetary deposits are required before transcript requests can be processed. The following deposits apply for all cases: $50.00 per Motion/Hearing date | $100.00 per Evidentiary Hearing date | $200.00 per Trial date..."

And then, there are the actual fees for those transcripts ...

In other words, ANY and ALL amounts you can donate will help!

Thank you!


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Thandisizwe Every-Twentyeighthours Chimurenga 
Los Angeles, CA
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