Friends and Community NewsGroup/ Thu, May 28, 2020 19:52:32
How Street Justice Changed Over The Last 127 Years.
Owosso Mi. – Let us contrast how a community renders street justice today compared to how a community dispensed street justice in Shiawassee County on May 23, 1893.
If one watches the video of George Floyd dying at the hands of Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin on May 25th and how the community reacted, one sees a complete change in how a community reacts to rendering street justice today than on May 23, 1893.
On May 25 after the community witnessed the death of Floyd, a black man who was crying for help as Officer Chauvin killed him, by not allowing Floyd to breath while lying on the ground in handcuffs, it exploded much like the community of Corunna Michigan exploded after Irishman William Sullivan murdered a farmer, raped his wife and then left her for dead before fleeing.
In Minneapolis, the community exploded, not by going after the person that a video and witnesses’ collaboration indicate that intentionally killed a man that was laying helpless on the ground, but instead they rioted, burning their own homes, businesses and vehicles. The mob did not take its vengeance out on the alleged murderer but instead on themselves.
While the alleged murderer is not charged and living free the mob turns on itself instead of focusing its fury on the perpetrator. This mob does not just blow its cork and then settle down, no it continues to destroy themselves and their community day after day.
The Police though in 2020 in Minneapolis handled the situation very much as the police handled the affair in 1893. In Minneapolis, the police are told to stand down and allow the mob to riot and destroy the city. In 1893 the Shiawassee County Sheriff did not allow the National Guard to come in but instead told his deputies to stand down and allow the mob to riot and lynch the alleged perpetrator.
The big difference in how a mob acted in 1893 and today is that in Corunna the mob did not burn down businesses, torch their own homes or kill their horses, but instead went after the alleged murderer.
For those not familiar with the Corunna riot of 1893 it was called after the fact, Michigan’s Last Lynching “The most infamous and disgraceful affair that has ever happened in Shiawassee County!” the Owosso Press, May 24, 1893.
The mob instead of destroying themselves and their property instead went and lynched, Irishman William Sullivan on May 23, 1893, in Corunna, Mi.
The reason why I spell out the ethnicity of Sullivan was that Sullivan was called by the Irish a Black Irishman. Not because he was Black or African but because he had brown eyes and dark hair.
The press at the time called him a Black Irishman and everyone knew what it meant but after 75 years go by things change and no one knows what that means anymore.
A rumor started in the late 1950s that it was a “Negro” that was lynched and by the mid-1960s stories were being written in National Media that a Black Man was hung. It took until 2013 to correct this when I investigated the lynching and found out that the man lynched was “lily white.”
On May 23, 1893, over a thousand-person mob gathered in Corunna to avenge the death of Durand area farmer, Layton Leech along with meeting out justice in the rape and the shooting of Leech’s wife. Not trusting a justice system that would not demand an eye for an eye and a life for a life the jail was rushed and William Sullivan’s body (Sullivan cheated the hangman and slit his own throat when he watched the jail being rushed) was seized by the mob, dragged out of the jail and lynched in a tree behind the jail.
Sullivan’s body was then beat, kicked, and dragged through the streets until it was left lying naked in front of a local saloon.
The next day the Sheriff was congratulated on not having his men hurt and allowing street justice to unfold.
In Minneapolis, the day after the mob destroyed part of the city the Police Chief was congratulated for not having his officers get hurt.
The contrast is that after the mob in Corunna went after the alleged murderer and dispensed street justice, justice was in their minds served and the mob went home to live life normally.
While in Minneapolis, the mob achieved absolutely nothing.
This writer is not saying that any violence is correct and does not condone the violence in Corunna or Minneapolis.
What I am saying is that in 1893 the community came together and took care of the alleged perpetrator, who they even had to get out of a jail, while in 2020 the community does not focus its anger on the alleged perpetrator, who is free, but instead on destroying themselves, their neighbors and community.