WRITTEN AND CONTRIBUTED BY COY MALONE
What You Need to Know:
In 2008, Emmanuel Fair was named as the lead suspect in the murder of a 24-year-old Indian immigrant woman named Arpana Jinaga following a Halloween party in Redmond City, WA that ended in sexual assault and strangulation. Local authorities focused on Fair because he was the only Black man at the party, along with his past criminal record.
He was arrested in 2010, and was housed in the King County jail for eight years, seven months, and 14 days without being convicted of a crime. “I’ve never seen a worse case,” says Corinne Sebren, one of Fair’s lawyers. “There’s very little justice left to salvage.”
Fair was released in June 2019 when a jury determined that the detectives and prosecutors never had a strong enough case against him. He recently filed a lawsuit against King County, the city of Redmond, the Redmond Police Department, and lead Detective Brian Coats, who reviewed photos of the party and said Fair looked like “an outsider” after reviewing photos of the party. The lawsuit claims that detectives “ignored and failed to gather evidence that did not align with their theory of the case.”
Fair’s legal team also filed another complaint claiming that their client would’ve never been arrested or imprisoned for nearly nine years if he hadn’t been a Black man.
Now at 38, Fair is attempting to start a new life while residing with his aunt and uncle in Seattle. “I’m out,” Fair says, “but I’m not free.”
Why You Need to Know:
Here we have another life of a Black man who’s been shattered for the suspicion of guilt simply for being Black. Due process ain’t our process. The millions of dollars he will receive cannot undo the damage of years in prison where he didn’t belong in the first place. Defunding the police was meant to restructure their tactics and resources to prevent incidents like this from occurring, but we now see how that movement was slowly silenced. Lynching is a federal hate crime, but when can that happen for wrongful arrests of Black people because they’re Black? Much more pressing, don’t you think?