Under A Tree

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Standing Our Ground

The very recent death of Andre Smith has left many that knew him heartbroken - not just because of the way he died, but also because of the way he is being portrayed in the media.

Andre Smith was shot and killed in a CVS by Matthew Barry. The Sun-Sentinel reports that a Craigslist transaction was occurring in the CVS parking lot between Barry and Smith, which led to an argument, causing Barry to run into the CVS.

According to Davie Police Major Dale Engle, Barry claimed that “he felt like they were going to rob him.” Barry then proceeded to fire several rounds at Andre’s face and body, injuring him severely. Andre passed away at the hospital shortly after.

I didn’t know Andre personally, but my cousin was his friend and went to high school with him at Somerset. Andre was a comedian, always making jokes and brightening people’s day. The way Andre died and how the media is portraying him has driven me to write this blog.

Plastered along with the news headline “20-year-old Killed in Transaction Gone Wrong,” a grim-looking white man in his forties, and the mug-shot of a black young adult. How convenient.

Who was the victim? Who was the perpetrator?

It’s whoever the media wants you to believe is.

Andre’s life wasn’t worth an iPhone Craigslist transaction. Andre deserved more - he was only 20 years old - just beginning life. He had so much ahead of him.

Even though Barry murdered Andre, Florida’s “Stand Your Ground Law,” will protect him from getting jail time. According to HussienandWebber.com, “Under Section 776.012, Florida Statutes, a person is justified in using deadly force (and does not have a duty to retreat) if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony or to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another.”

Barry is going to say he was using self-defense and will most likely be protected by the Stand Your Ground Law. This infuriates me beyond belief - using a gun and firing multiple rounds because Barry felt “ uncomfortable” was unnecessary. Barry’s life wasn’t in danger - Andre wasn’t being violent or aggressive.

What has infuriated me the most out of all of this is how the media is portraying Andre. When Andre was first identified, the news used his mug shot despite the fact that he was the victim. I’ve seen this happen on multiple occasions on Twitter, but this time it upset me even more since it was so close to home. The depiction of black individuals in the media is always negative and they are portrayed as the convict even if they were brutally murdered like in Andre’s case. Usually, the victim is remembered by their accomplishments, and articles include pictures with family. Regardless, Andre’s mug shot was used on multiple news outlets.

If I didn’t know who Andre was, I wouldn’t have been able to determine who was the victim and who was the criminal, which is so heartbreaking considering the way Andre was murdered. I hope and pray that Andre will get the justice he deserves and I pray for his family - especially his mother because no mother deserves to bury her child.

Rest in Peace, Andre. #JusticeforDre #RIPDre

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Anakarina is a student at Somerset Academy participating in the Early Admissions program at Broward College. Anakarina is very passionate about mental health and helping kids with special needs such as Autism.  Anakarina loves to listen to R&B and pop music with her free time.  She loves to spend time with her friends and familyas well. Anakarina appreciates UAT for helping her find her voice and gain knowledge on social and political topics of importance.