There’s A Petition To Save Bill Cosby. Is He A Victim Of Vigilante Justice? Revisiting His Pound Cake Speech
While Bill Cosby awaits his Sept. 24 sentencing on charges of drugging and sexually assaulting women, supporters have launched an online petition to help start an investigation into the District Attorney who tried the case and the judge who presided over it, Miami Times reported.
Lawyer Nicole Lawrence, who started the petition, believes Cosby is innocent, and has a “Cosby Is Innocent” campaign on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to try and expose what she says “really happened at trial.”
“We wanted to organize and galvanize people because many of us who followed the trial or actually attended the trial, like I did, were very troubled with how everything went down,” Lawrence told the Miami Times.
In April, a jury found Cosby guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault for a 2004 or 2003 incident with former Temple University employee Andrea Constand. Petitioners cite the Sixth Amendment which says, in part, that an individual has a right to be confronted with the witnesses against him, have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor and have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
Cosby has some vocal supporters including Boyce Watkins, an entrepreneur, author, economist, political analyst, and social commentator. Watkins suggests Cosby was a victim of vigilante justice:
“I think that you have to start the conversation off about Cosby by admitting that he probably did something bad to somebody at some point. He probably did it, right?” Watkins said during a GHOGH podcast with Jamarlin Martin. “But then if you really want to be intelligent about how you break it down, you got to think about what does justice really mean, right? There’s different definitions of justice. There’s a justice according to our legal system, which means innocent until proven guilty. It means a guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, etc. But then there’s mob vigilante justice, which is human nature. It’s been used against us on many occasions.”
In 2004, Cosby spoke at an NAACP event, delivering what became known as the Pound Cake Speech. He blasted Black people for not taking responsibility for their actions. Many people thought the speech was condescending and painted Black people as stupid — so stupid they get shot, Cosby said, for trying to steal a piece of pound cake.
“People getting shot in the back of the head over a piece of pound cake! Then we all run out and are outraged, ‘The cops shouldn’t have shot him.’ What the hell was he doing with the pound cake in his hand?” Cosby said in his NAACP speech. “Ladies and gentlemen, in our cities and public schools we have 50 percent drop out. In our own neighborhood, we have men in prison. No longer is a person embarrassed because they’re pregnant without a husband. No longer is a boy considered an embarrassment if he tries to run away from being the father of the unmarried child.”
According to Cosby, Black people were “fighting hard to be ignorant.” He also unleashed a verbal assault on unwed Black women, who he claimed were “having children by five, six different men.”
Ironically, out of public view, Cosby was committing the crimes he is now convicted of.
Cosby was arrogant, judgemental, and lacked humility, Watkins said. He appealed to upper-middle class Black Americans and disrespected a large part of the community that was lower-income. But he still deserves credit for his huge achievements in education and entertainment, Watkins said:
“I think there are a lot of people though who shower him (with) legitimate and deserved praise for what he did with ‘Fat Albert’. The educational agenda of that show was remarkable,” Watkins said during the GHOGH podcast. “Nothing like that today. What he did with ‘The Cosby Show’. There’s nothing like that today. ‘A Different World’ — nothing like that today, right? $20 million to Spelman. Ain’t no celebrities doing that today. (Spelman College in 2015 returned what was left of the $20M donation made by the Cosby family in 1998 after the allegations arose).
“Cosby deserves credit for that. But remember, who’s that going to appeal to? That’s going to appeal to the educated class of Black people, middle class and up. I think those who are connected to what’s happening in the streets and in the community and in the hoods around America, they can’t point to a lot of things that Cosby did that really supported that group of people.”