Guess what happens when you are arrested in Pemiscot County, Missouri, and you’re a diabetic in need of two insulin shots per day to stay alive?
The answer simple, in the case of Michael Robinson—you die in jail.
Allow me to throw in some disclosure before I move on.
I’ve had a social media connection with Robinson’s cousin, Brig Feltus, for nearly five years.
Brig posted this outrageous story of Robinson’s death, and I immediately shared it on Twitter:
Robinson’s crime? It doesn’t really matter at the moment.
Regardless of the provenance or intent of Pemiscot County jail officials’ decision to deny Robinson of access to life-saving medication—despite his repeated and desperate pleas—any action taken by jail officials other than saying “Here are your meds, Mr. Robinson” means that Pemiscot County jail officials effectively executed Robinson without a trial.
And while I see no earthly or celestial sanction for this kind of cruel and unusual death, the Pemiscot County jail officials appear to have a different vision of justice.
According to the family statement, Robinson informed jail officials of his medication needs, and they ignored him.
This is effectively saying, “We’re going to take a chance at letting you die for crimes.”
Robinson became ill by the next evening and begged for his medications.
In other words, Robinson begged for his life.
Jail officials thought Robinson was faking his illness—which seems to be another way of saying “We’re still exploring the possibility of letting you die for your crimes.”
Robinson’s girlfriend visited him and also begged jail officials to give Robinson access to his meds, but the jailers stuck by their manufactured death penalty.
Later, Robinson’s sister called the jail and begged for his life.
Yes, begged for his life. There’s really no other way to describe it.
And how else can you describe the jail officials’ choice to maintain their obstruction of Robinson’s access to medication at that point? “Our death penalty stands.”
As Robinson’s death became more imminent, his begging turned into screams.
I suppose the Pemiscot jailers felt “The Moment” had arrived. Their response, according to the family statement, was to hose-down Robinson and place him in solitary confinement.
And like the last page in a chapter of an Eduard Wirths textbook of experiments, Robinson died later.
Death sentence has been completed.
Robinson’s crime? He was delinquent in child support payments.
This brand of civil service is a danger to society.
I have a message for those of you who respond to the deaths of African descendants at the hands of law enforcement with the #AllLivesMatter meme as a way to do nothing else than attempt to disconnect those deaths from #BlackLivesMatter: you’ve successfully proven that you never thought the lives of people like Michael Robinson mattered at all …
song currently stuck in my head: “for all we know” – donny hathaway