Why Sullivan Walter and Derrick May don’t even compare

In recent days, Derrick May’s defenders have been getting in touch with Ears To The House, sending us links to various articles about a man called Sullivan Walter – with the clear implication being we should consider the possibility that their guy might be the victim of a racially motivated conspiracy. So in the interests of fairness, we decided to look into it.

Sulliver Walter was 17 years old in 1986 when he was arrested on suspicion of burglary when his photo was added to a lineup. A woman subsequently claimed he was the man who raped her earlier that year. He was jailed for 39 years after a single day travesty of a trial – where the photo was the only piece of evidence provided.

He has now been released after 36 years, and prosecutors have now admitted he did not carry out the rape. DNA evidence failed to link him to the crime, police statements in the investigation appeared to contradict each other and the woman herself claimed her rapist was masked – meaning she probably couldn’t definitively identity him.

Without doubt, an appalling miscarriage of justice – and Ears To The House sincerely hopes he sues the authorities for a lot of money. No, it won’t give him back the 36 years he lost – but it’ll at least remove any financial worries in this new chapter of his life. The same goes for everyone else who has found themselves in this dire situation.

So where does Derrick May come into this? Well, his defenders would have us believe that their man is a victim of much the same thing – a racially motivated persecution based on little hard evidence. But there are a few differences which they seem keen to sandpaper over.

Walter was accused of one rape on the grounds of an apparently positive ID from a photo lineup, and nothing else. May, in contrast, has been accused of a very long litany of sexual abuse and rape allegations dating back decades from at least 20 different women whom have no relationship to each other. Not exactly the same set of circumstances, then.

Strangely enough, Carl Craig – one of May’s most prolific defenders – has had racial matters on his mind over the weekend too. Posting on Instagram stories yesterday, he wrote this…

Emmett Till was a 14-year old boy lynched and beaten to death in 1955 for apparently flirting with a white lady – something utterly frowned upon under the Jim Crow laws of the time. And whilst Craig is absolutely right to remember this horrific event in American history, he chooses to bring more current events into play.

His words about “demand[ing] solid proof from anyone making allegations” can’t really be interpreted as anything but a coded reference to the claims surrounding his friend Derrick May. Without meaning to get too graphic here, what exactly would Carl Craig accept as solid evidence that someone has committed a crime?

Because let’s be brutal here – when over 20 women have made allegations against his friend and he hasn’t even apparently spent a moment questioning whether they might actually be true, we question whether any amount of evidence would ever be sufficient…

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