Assignment: Learning to tell fuller stories


A college student is given a first glimpse at one of the challenges of reentry: fear of reincarceration.

In the final weeks of this divisive presidential campaign, I sat in the lounge in the student union researching a Black man who had had his guilty verdict and 30-year jail sentence overturned.  His name is Isaac Anderson and he was accused of hitting a police vehicle head-on after an officer stopped him because the car he was driving was allegedly stolen.

chris-barron-headshotWhile I pored over Orlando Sentinel articles, the television in the lounge broadcast one of Donald Trump’s rallies.  The “Law and Order Candidate” talked about respect for police officers and praised the use of stop-and-frisk, even after it has been proven to target African Americans.

I took notes on Isaac Anderson’s case, and wrote down the questions that swirled about in my head.

Why did he flee from the police unless he was guilty of something? Why was he driving a car that was reported stolen?  Why would his sentence be 30 years unless he was a truly bad man?

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