Justice organizations and activists applaud this step toward the exoneration of Tracy McCarter after the judge dismisses her charges while giving sixty more days before sealing the matter.
(Black PR Wire) NEW YORK — Recently, the indictment against Tracy McCarter, a Black woman and survivor of domestic violence, was dismissed but not sealed by Judge Diane Kiesel. This comes two weeks after Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg asked Judge Kiesel to drop the second-degree murder charges against McCarter for the death of her abusive husband. The decision not to seal Tracy’s case for the next sixty days means that District Attorney Bragg can still reconsider refiling charges against McCarter.
“We celebrate justice for Tracy McCarter’s, which is long overdue,” said Sakira Cook, co-interim vice president of Color of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. “Tracy has suffered from the systematically racist and misogynist justice system that criminalized and incarcerated her for protecting herself from domestic violence. Her experience should serve as a lesson for other police, prosecutors and judges who believe that punishing victims is the remedy to trauma.”
McCarter was arrested for the murder of her abusive husband after he threatened and attacked her in her apartment in March 2020. McCarter was held on Rikers Island for six months until she was released to home confinement, where she has had to stay for over two years.
McCarter’s case was a major political topic during the 2020 Manhattan District Attorney race following organizers’ advocacy. DA Bragg initially tweeted his support for McCarter and other survivors of domestic violence but declined to drop the case during his first ten months in office. Justice organizations, including Color Of Change, Survived and Punished NY and Envision Freedom Fund, called on DA Bragg to fulfill his promise of not prosecuting McCarter through rallies, petitions and social media. A petition with over 21,000 signatures was delivered to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office advocating for Tracy’s freedom this fall. In November, he finally decided to dismiss the case. “We applaud DA Bragg for ultimately recognizing this injustice,” said Cook.
“This decision is a testament to Tracy’s unwavering advocacy for herself and all criminalized survivors, as well as the power of community organizing,” said Siobhan Dingwall of Survived and Punished NY, a volunteer-run organization committed to eradicating prisons, policing and the criminalization of survivors of abuse. “We are committed to continuing to support Tracy and her family as she heals, and organizing to build a world where all survivors are met with care and support, not police or cages. Still, the judge’s decision to not seal the case for the next 60 days is a clear example of a judge abusing their discretion to extend control over Tracy, and an attempt to retaliate and quell communal support for her. The judge’s choice words and clear biased viewpoints are littered throughout her decision and directly contradict the District Attorney’s submissions that Tracy only acted in self-defense.”
“We celebrate Tracy’s victory over the criminal punishment system after years of fighting for her freedom. While Judge Kiesel’s decision to dismiss the indictment is a welcome outcome—albeit without an immediate seal—following DA Bragg’s motion to drop the charges, we’re furious that such a fight was necessary to prevent the so-called justice system from victimizing a survivor of domestic violence,” said Angel Parker, the Court Watch NYC program coordinator of Envision Freedom Fund, a Black-led organization working to achieve freedom for all people through the dismantling of the criminal legal and immigration systems. “We also celebrate the power of the people to unite behind Tracy in the long-term fight to ensure that the other survivors are met with support and healing rather than police, prosecution, and prison.”
McCarter’s long-fought freedom will help prevent other people enduring domestic violence from being prosecuted for their survival. It is long past due that survivors, particularly Black women and other gender-oppressed people, are protected from facing punishment and incarceration for saving their own lives.
About Color Of Change
Color Of Change is the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. We help people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us. As a national online force driven by over 7 million members, we move decision-makers in corporations and governments to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America. Visit www.colorofchange.org.
About Survived and Punished NY
Survived & Punished NY is an affiliate of Survived and Punished, a national collective dedicated to ending the criminalization of survival with other affiliates in Chicago and California. The volunteer-led organization includes community organizers, survivor advocates, legal experts, and policy advocates, including currently and formerly incarcerated survivors. S&P organizes to de-criminalize efforts to survive domestic and sexual violence, support and free criminalized survivors, and abolish gender violence, policing, prisons, and deportations. Visit www.survivedandpunishedny.org/.
About Envision Freedom Fund
Envision Freedom Fund (formerly Brooklyn Community Bail Fund) works alongside impacted communities to dismantle the oppressive and interconnected criminal legal and immigration systems. With freedom as our guiding principle, we invest in innovative campaigns and programs that aim to win long-term, transformative change, while meeting the urgent needs of community members in the present.