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tv   Justice Delayed  BBC News  December 5, 2021 5:30am-6:00am GMT

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president biden and russian leader vladimir putin have agreed to hold talks after weeks of rising tension over ukraine. the discussions will take place via video call on tuesday. russia has recently boosted its military presence near ukraine's border, but denied that it's preparing an attack. the parents of a teenager accused of killing four fellow students in the us state of michigan have pleaded not guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter. theirson, ethan, is accused of carrying out the high—school shooting, with a semi—automatic pistol bought by his father. cnn says it's fired news anchor chris cuomo because of the help he gave his brother, former new york governor andrew cuomo, in fighting allegations of sexual misconduct. the claims forced andrew to step down as governor in august. next on bbc news, dontae sharpe spent 26 years in a us prison
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in north carolina for a murder he did not commit. after proving his innocence, we follow dontae as he demands justice. people really don't know how going to prison for something you didn't do, a crime you didn't commit, especially for a long, long time... ..what it does to a person. i was accused of killing a white man in a drug deal gone bad. this is a case they're going to be teaching in law school 100 years from now. what could dontae have become? it was a travesty ofjustice. it took 26 years to make it partially right. i was exonerated on august 22nd, 2019.
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a lot of people think the ultimate goal is just getting exonerated and getting out of prison, getting your freedom back. it's a lot more than that. sometimes i wake up just crying. i just cry. people think that when you get exonerated, the fight is over. it'sjust beginning, really. i haven't been pardoned. governor roy cooper, for some reason, hasn't pardoned me. he's asking for the state of north carolina to acknowledge the wrong and give him what is due under the constitution. they buried this man alive! | you're looking at a miracle. there was never an i intention for him to be standing here today. we need to see what he can still become. can i get my pardon? can i get my freedom? something that was given to me by god that you mistakenly took from me?
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hey, how are you doing? all right, all right? right here, the police pulled up right here. this exact spot, right here. theyjump out. "what's up, man?" and they were like, "dontae, we've got a warrant." i said, "a warrant for what?" he said, "murder." i said, "murder? man, y'all tripping, man. y'all cray." i said, "i didn't do nothing." like this, slapped them handcuffs on me. that was the last time. that was the last time i was outside. this is where i got locked up at. i remember the first day i pulled up to the prison. then that gate, zshhh—boom. then you hear them razor wires shake. ding—ding—ding—ding. i was in there so long, from a teenager to 44 years old.
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it was like every time i closed my eyes, i see a long tunnel with a little dot, pinprick at the end. and i'd be, like, "man, am i still in prison?" i couldn't sleep. my mind was running, my mind was racing, like, "you got a life sentence for something you didn't... you're in prison it's pure torture, mental anguish, fear. and the fear is one of the great ones. you fear never getting out. i was accused of killing a white man in a drug deal gone bad. mr george radcliffe. now, that investigation was like no other. it was a couple of guys shooting and stuff that went on in the area, but when a white guy got killed, you couldn't walk down the street, you couldn't stop. isaid, "man, whoever they lock up for that, through." that's what i said.
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because racism was so strong in green. investigating for two months before they locked on me. this was a high—profile case. it was a white man who was killed in a black neighbourhood known for drugs at that time. it was all over the news. there was a lot of pressure to get somebody for this murder. i heard so many stories that they wanted me for drugs. they said i was a big—time, known drug dealer. i was known, a lot of people know me, but whatever reason it was, you've got the wrong man. this is something that's sort of well known in reviews of innocence cases. when you have a white victim who, tragically, is harmed, we see greater penalties
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associated and we see greater instances of wrongful convictions related to those crimes. dontae being a black man in greenville, north carolina in the 1990s was central to why he was convicted and central to why his conviction was not overturned sooner. every time i went to court, it was a white man over me, i was in a black and white case. racism was part of the reason why they went so hard — they tried to solve it and get somebody and it happened to be a black and a white. it wasn't until trial that he knew what the evidence was that was going to be used against him. no physical evidence, no fingerprints, no hairfibre, no nothing. not of me. not my... nothing. nothing on the scene, period.
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the primary witness that the district attorney put forward was a 15—year—old girl. her name was charlenejohnson. almost immediately following the trial, charlene came forward and recanted. she told the state that she was nowhere near this murder scene and that she had made up what she said at trial. a young lady came forward and said that her boyfriend had came home and told her that... ..he had shot a white man across town in a truck and that he wasn't going to prison for killing a white man. he said that for 20—something days, and then he killed himself with a gun, i guess. committed suicide. that was never heard by a jury, again, based on a technicality. the court could have
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allowed that testimony in. the court did not. i guess they didn't believe it, you know? 0r didn't want to believe it. i don't know, you know? i think this is 1998. think i had been locked up then, like, three years, i had heard from somebody that if you've got a picture of something in your mind that you want and you can look at it every day, if you can see it and believe it, you can get it. so i took the picture and wrote this on a picture and put it up on my mirror, and every day i looked at it and said, "i'm free. i'm free." that's what this
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picture was for. i had to make a wilful choice — was i going to act like a lifer or was i going to grow up, mature and use the situation to better myself? and the first step i did was getting a bible. i used to read, every day, one scripture, one verse. i would deliver him and honour him because he set his love upon me and with long life would i satisfy him. so he would deliver me, deliver my. . . here first and then deliver me out of prison, but i had to set my love, i had to love, and that's what i did. it was july 17th, 1994, the day she was born. i was in the countyjail. they announced over the intercom, "dontae sharpe is the proud father of a baby girl."
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my name is imani carmen. i am 27 years old. dontae is my dad. when i was younger, they told me he was injailfor something that he didn't do. he had got life. we didn't have a bond, you know, with him being injail. i wasn't given a chance with him and i don't really know why. iwas, like, "god, i'm facing a murder charge for something i didn't do. i'm not going to be there." i told my momma i wanted to better myself. i said, "i'm—a do everything in here that i wouldn't do or didn't think was important in the world." i went all—out in everything i did. my mum probably missed four visits in 26 years. dontae needed me then. you know, ifeel like he really...he needed me. i didn't want to miss visits. it was already bad enough being in prison for something you didn't do, and i feel like,
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what kind of mother would i be if i didn't go see my son? he would wave and that wave used to destroy me. you know, they don't realise how much damage they do... ..toa family. i never dreamed it would be 26 years. i thought i had got over the tears. i guess i hadn't. i met dontae as a duke law student. i had started in the wrongful convictions clinic and, as a part of the clinic,
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you are assigned a client. when i first met him, he would have already been in prison for 16 years. in dontae�*s case, he received offers of plea deals throughout his time of incarceration, and at each turn along the way, he declined because the plea deal required him to say that he had done something that he had not done, to admit to a crime that he was not guilty of. some innocent people have been coerced, have been tricked, have been scared into it, and some just got tired and took a plea bargain, said they did something they didn't do, and i never could understand them. he was saying, "i am not going to allow this system to break a part of me that is still mine, and that is my truth,
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my integrity, my dignity." and while i completely stand with that, the reality of seeing him have to do that over and over again while the system failed, it... it broke me. you're hurting and you're losing faith and hope in humanity. sometimes. . .i just hollered out sometimes. i'd just be, like... he screams "god!" isaid, "man, nothing, man. nothing, man." all: free dontae sharpe! this morning, i come out for my son, montoya dontae sharpe. first, there was no physical evidence. | secondly, there were l false witness accounts. there were likely alternative suspects ignored and not. pursued, so while dontae was locked up, the real. killer was still walking around greenville. - it was a travesty of justice
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and it took 26 years to make it partially right. the day that dontae got released was in greenville. it was, you know, in his hometown. his whole family was there. theresa newman and spencer parris, who put on that case, did a phenomenaljob presenting the evidence. do you solemnly swear the testimony given to the court in this session shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you god? charlenejohnson, she testified again in front ofjudge collins, and she said, "i've been trying to make this right."
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you could hear, in the courtroom, a pin drop. people knew that this was an incredibly important moment. there was no way for the crime to have physically happened the way that the state said it was, that it was a physical impossibility.
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to me, this is sort of the core of how unbelievable it is that dontae sat in prison for 26 years, is that the evidence was right there in front of all of ourfaces. it was before the courts. the judge went back to his chambers and made it clear that he was going to announce his ruling from the bench, which is not always what happens in these cases. the court now resumes the sitting for the dispatch of this business.
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cheering. you finally get vindicated. you finally prove that all the years you've been telling people, "i'm innocent. man, i did not do this. i didn't kill this man. i didn't." and you've been saying it and saying it and saying it. it was real, but it didn't seem real. you, 0 god, have spoken this day. yes. getting out of prison, wrongfully convicted, to get exonerated, i think
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is bittersweet to everybody at the end of the day. in prison, you sleep, you don't rest. my sleep patterns are still thrown off. i've still got a habit of getting up, checking all my doors cos in prison, all the doors are locked. i knew y'all was at that pool. i see ya! uh—oh! hey, munchkin. when i got out, it was a shock to be called grandaddy or daddy by my daughter and my grandkids. watching my dad be a grandad, you can tell he's been... ..trying to make up for me.
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in her eyes, she wanted him here. she just became angry... ..and, you know...been angry ever since about it. you know, i always let her know, if he could get out to be here with you, he would. wanda, wanda, wanda, wanda. yeah, itold her to go on with her life. i had a life sentence for something i didn't do. you know, i had to let her go. i had planned on not ever, you know, being with anyone i was with before. you know, that dontae dead. honestly, that dontae dead. i was not expecting him to come home to me. i always said it, you know, i always told people, like, "oh, he come home, i'm not going to let anybody get him, he belongs to me. i'm going to get my family now."
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i'm—a tell you what really got me — when i seen my grandkids, wytham and marnie, that's my family. that's what i always wanted. when i seen that foursome, made me want to dance a little bit. isaid, "god, i'm back!" i got to try this. i got to go with it. we still don't know each other all, you know, the way, but...�*s better. he kind of catching onto me, i'm catching onto him, so... people think that when you get exonerated, the celebration is on. it's over with, the fight is over and you're celebrating, and... it'sjust beginning, really. it's just beginning. when i first got out... he groans. ..i couldn't get a job. the felony stopped me from getting a job. from getting an apartment. it seemed like the felony was controlling my life,
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and the only way i can get the felony out my record is get pardoned. i haven't been pardoned. governor roy cooper, for some reason, hasn't pardoned me. if i were to get a pardon, it would make everything a lot easier. hi, everybody. — governor roy cooper here. every year, we carve out time to do the turkey pardon. - we eat turkey for thanksgiving, so it's a tradition for the governor and the president to pardon the turkeys for thanksgiving. that's a holiday that we celebrate here in america. it's all right to have traditions, but pardoning a human being is way more important than pardoning an animal. i'm announcing that i am a candidate for governorl of north carolina. roy cooper became the governor of north carolina after serving for more than 30 years as the attorney general or in some form or fashion within the criminaljustice system. and now, as governor, he has the ability to decide
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the future of dontae's life. a pardon is a technical term. it can only come from the governor in north carolina and it is the only way to get a determination by the state that you are innocent, and it is the only way to get compensated. you get a very small amount of money in comparison to what has been taken away from you, but it's that stability that allows you to be able to build a new life. can i get my pardon? can i get my freedom? something that was given to me by god that you mistakenly took from me? he is not asking for the state of north carolina to apologise. he's asking for the state of
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north carolina to acknowledge the wrong and give him what is due under the constitution. when you get exonerated, you're supposed to be able to get pardoned. there's some actual other states that have automatic pardons after you get exonerated. north carolina's not one of them. i'm not begging for it, i'm not pleading for it. i'm just here to put mr cooper, this whole system, north carolina, on notice that i'm—a keep right on talking cos there's more guys that i left behind me that's innocent. they buried this man alive! | you're looking at a miracle. there was never an i intention for him to be standing here today. when you try to do this - and you do this and you kill a person's dream... thank you, reverend. all right.
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thank all of you. thank you. like, tomorrow. talking about freedom. god knows freedom come in all forms. land of the free, home of the brave. who are the free you're talking about? you're talking to? i'm glad dontae's out. yeah, these ought to be ready. can't get what i lost in 26 years. i got my son back. thank god. we got to start from where we are right now. heavenly father, we thank you for this unity today. we thank you, god, for the food we're about to receive. we ask you to have it to be
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nourishment to our body and a blessing to our needs. injesus' name, we thank you. amen — freedom to me is, you know... ..not being locked in, boxed in by them fences and that razor wire. it's been bittersweet since i've been home. it ain't all been roses. today's more like a celebration of the beginning of my freedom because i still haven't been pardoned. there's some guys that have never been pardoned, they've been home ten years. you know, i'm not going to let that hold me back or hold me down cos i can't. i'm going to live whether i get it or not.
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most of the rain would be at the eastern side of the uk. some of the rain further north and east will be wintry over the high ground. still in the cold air mass as you can see from the blues. lighter winds further west with a ridge of high pressure. the weather will continue to enhance the
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rainfall across south—east scotland and north—east england, so very wet with further snow on the hills. rain across eastern england and the midlands, but it should ease down a bit as we head through the afternoon. the best sunshine further north and west with the ridge of high pressure, temperature is 5—9 in the south. the rain eventually clears away from south—east scotland and north—east england on sunday night, becoming dry for a while and then a new band of rain works in from the west overnight, bringing rain and mountain snow to central and northern areas.
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good morning. welcome to breakfast with rogerjohnson and nina warhurst. 0ur headlines today: travel restrictions are tightened as cases of 0micron rise. anyone flying back to the uk from abroad must take a test before they leave. we have always said we would act swiftly if we need to, if changing data requires that, and that is why we have decided to bring in this in predeparture tests. football fans unite in remembrance of 6—year—old arthur labinjo—hughes as the attorney—general reviews the sentence handed down to his killers. the tournament was delayed by the pandemic, but the women's fa cup final finally takes place at wembley today.
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