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Florida government denies African man reparations after more than 24 years false imprisonment!

May 2, 2007

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TALLAHASSEE, Florida — On Tuesday, May 1, 2007, Alan Crotzer was informed by the Florida Legislators that African life is worthless in the State’s eyes. The 46-year-old African man had just spent the past 24 1/2 years in a Florida prison on a wrongful armed robbery and rape conviction.

Since his release in January of 2006 after DNA evidence proved his innocence, Alan Crotzer has been pursuing reparations for the years taken from his life. Crotzer — whose mother died while he was imprisoned and whose grandchildren don’t even know him — traveled this week to the state capital hoping to retrieve something for the years of life and family stolen from him.

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Crotzer was greeted by legislators with hugs and handshakes. Then they denied his claim. The reality is that paying reparations to Crotzer for the quarter of a century stolen from him would be a dangerous precedent for the State. Many African people have been or are locked up on false charges and are owed reparations.

Crotzer himself was released only after much struggle. He had been trying for years to get DNA testing done on evidence from his trial. However, the State destroyed all of the evidence.

In January 2003, Crotzer’s attorney realized that some of the evidence had accidentally been retained. Even after the tests run on that evidence proved Crotzer’s innocence, it took another three years for the State to vacate his convictions and release him.

The weakness of Crotzer’s struggle for reparations was that it was not tied in to the overall demand for reparations for African people from U.S. imperialism. The State never caves in to individuals no matter how right they are. It is only through organized struggle that African people will ever gain reparations — for stolen labor, resources and everything else U.S. and European imperialism has stolen from us.


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