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From the multitude of cases of police brutality and misconduct against black individuals to the fact that Black people are five times more likely to be arrested and incarcerated than white people, it’s obvious to see that there is a serious issue of racial bias and flat out racism in the American criminal justice system. This of course is nothing new. Racism has been an issue in criminal justice, as well as many other systems, throughout US history.

Source: CBS This Morning/YouTube

Right now, Kevin Cooper, a black man, is currently sitting behind bars at San Quentin Prison with the possibility of being executed for multiple murders, despite many people’s belief that he was framed for the crime.

In 1983, Douglas and Peg Ryen, their daughter, Jessica, and a neighbor, Christopher Hughes, were all murdered at the Ryen’s home in Chino Hills, California. The Ryen’s son, Joshua, who was 10 at the time, survived his throat being cut as well as a head injury and multiple knife wounds. Cooper, who had a long criminal record and recently left prison, was hiding in an empty house near the Ryen’s home that night. Thus, the police focused on Cooper. During the trial, Cooper was convicted on four counts of murder and sentenced to death.

At the time, Rev. Frederick Bradford believed in Cooper’s innocence, stating that Cooper “happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Bradford’s suspicion about the wrongful conviction of Cooper is now shared by many due to proof of law enforcement’s faulty handling of evidence and failure to take witnesses’ testimonies into full account.

Joshua, the survivor of the tragedy, told police that he saw three white men enter his house and kill his family. Another woman suspected her white boyfriend who was also a convicted killer of being involved since he came home that night in bloody coveralls, which the police threw out before even testing for DNA. At the scene of the crime, investigators even found blonde and brown hairs in the victim’s hands.

There is a strong belief among people who are familiar with Cooper’s case that this was not mere negligence, but rather an intentional framing of Cooper since he was as easy “scapegoat” to pin the high-profile case on. As Cooper himself has said, “I’m frameable, because I’m an uneducated black man in America.”

A t-shirt that, unlike the coveralls, was tested for DNA, had Cooper’s blood on it. However, it seems quite likely that the blood was purposefully spilled on the shirt from a vial that was collected by law enforcement after the arrest since the blood had a high amount of EDTA, which is a chemical used to preserve blood in a test tube. Furthermore, the vial was later found to be almost empty. Based on Douglas and Peg Ryen’s physical fitness and the fact that they had guns next to their bed, many also believe that it would be physically impossible for Cooper to carry out this murder.

Cooper’s defense is currently fighting to save him from being executed. They want to do DNA tests on the remaining evidence, but Gov. Gavin Newsom is still stalling about these critical additional DNA tests — even after Cooper’s lawyers said they would pay for it.  Sign this petition and demand that Gov. Gavin Newsom allow Kevin Cooper the chance to test the remaining evidence that could set him free.

To continue speaking up, sign these other petitions as well:

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