Ronnie Long was a 19-year-young-black man when his life was condemned to a broken system overflowing with institutional racism. Justice was an oath, yet only an image hiding in the darkness for many, including Ronnie. After 39 years that image of justice is still hiding, though there is ample opportunity for it to be unleashed.
It all began in 1976 when Ronnie, accompanied by his father, stood before a judge in Cabarrus County, N.C. facing trespassing charges for being in a public park near his home. As the judge dismissed him from those charges, unbeknownst to Ronnie, behind him was a separate judge condemning him to life. That judge was a white woman, a prominent citizen of the county, who had been victimized in her home during a robbery that led to her rape two weeks prior. Chauffeured by detectives to the courtroom, with “reason to believe that maybe this day there might be a man in the courtroom that she could identify..as the man who raped her” she identified Ronnie Long, according to court records.
It took nearly ninety minutes of “constant looking around…. read more here.
A North Carolina man, sentenced to 80 years in prison for rape and burglary, was released last week after spending 44 years behind bars. A federal appeals court determined that Ronnie Long, who has always maintained his innocence, had been a victim of “extreme and continuous police misconduct.”
Long, 64, was suddenly released late last week after the State of North Carolina admitted it could no longer defend the case, and asked a court to vacate his convictions.