Shaneen Allen refused to be a victim. After being robbed twice, she got a permit to carry a handgun. When the Philadelphia mom was pulled over in New Jersey, she told the officer it was in her purse. What was a legal right in Pennsylvania wasn’t in New Jersey. As has been reported here, she’s been charged with a felony. Jim McClain is moving ahead with a vigorous prosecution. His office offered a plea in which Allen would “only” serve 3 ½ years, the minimum sentence. It was a deal she and her attorney were rightfully unwilling to take.
It was back in August that USA Today ran a story about Shaneen, McClain and Ray Rice. It was McClain’s office that allowed Ray Rice to evade punishment by entering the Pre-trial Intervention program. If he’s a good boy, he’ll have walked away from the program with no record and, until yesterday’s video release, seemingly with no punishment. It was also McClain’s office that denied Ms. Allen’s request to enter the same PTI program. Assistant Prosecutor Deborah Hay said of Allen, “the case is too serious to allow divergence.”
I guess beating a woman unconscious isn’t “too serious” in New Jersey, then. Why bother prosecuting a case with an actual victim?
To be sure, Janay Palmer IS a victim. She’s a victim of Ray Rice, of the system, the NFL and of the Ravens. I will not question why she married the man that could have killed her. Nor will I join in with the hash tag campaign of the week, #whyIstayed. In the world I know, no woman should take that kind of abuse. No woman should excuse or condone the violence foisted upon them by wife-beating thugs and bullies.
It’s easy to sit in my ivory tower, speculating and searching for a logical reason. Was it for the money? For the child they share? The insidious nature of abuse defies logic. It’s a situation that begs for reason where none exists.
When I read Ms. Palmer’s Instagram post this morning my first response was one of frustration. It read, in part,
I woke up this morning feeling like I had a horrible nightmare, feeling like I’m mourning the death of my closest friend, but to have to accept the fact that its reality is a nightmare in itself. No one knows the pain that the media and unwanted options (sic) from the public has caused my family. To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret everyday is a horrible thing.
Further on, “If your intentions were to hurt us, embarrass us, make us feel alone, take all happiness away; you’ve succeeded on so many levels.”
Her post reminded me of the press conference she took part in in May. In front of a Raven and Under Armour emblazoned backdrop, she apologized for her “role” in the beating. The Ravens even took to twitter to drive that point home. John Harbaugh stood by Ray. The NFL took no action at the time. The Atlantic County prosecutor’s office put him into the diversion program.
All the while, they knew what Ray Rice had done. They knew he hit Palmer with enough force to knock her unconscious. They knew he dragged her out of the elevator by her feet like a modern day caveman. Still, Harbaugh spoke of his character. The NFL did nothing. And the prosecutors went after a single mom for driving through their state with a gun in her purse.
Janay Palmer, then and now, continues to look like an unwitting pawn in a very dangerous chess match. Her tearful statement at the press conference gave the public a visual.
Poor Ray, just a misunderstood man. Whatever happened wasn’t his fault. And she stayed, so it couldn’t have been that bad, right? It was PR spin at its finest.
Yesterday’s TMZ bombshell leaves little doubt about what really happened. There is nowhere left to hide. What was that character you spoke of Coach Harbaugh? Can anyone from the Ravens organization clarify the “role” Janay played now? Commissioner Goodell, will you tell the public why it took a disturbing video to take appropriate action?
Prosecutor McClain, can you explain which crimes are “too serious to allow divergence” in your county?
Your silence says more than Janay’s Instagram account.