Jim Dey | Champagne man’s legal victory streak suddenly comes to an end | Columns
Shamario Brown was a big winner in criminal courts, where he was repeatedly acquitted of serious charges by Champaign County juries.
But his streak of legal victories ended last week when U.S. Federal Judge Colin Bruce dismissed a civil rights lawsuit Brown had brought. He alleged that local police attempted to set him up for the 2016 murder of an innocent passer-by in a drive-by shooting in Champaign.
Bruce not only found that Brown’s claims that police coerced witnesses to testify against him lacked credibility, but also that Brown, who was acquitted of the murder of Ericka Cox-Bailey, 30, was likely the shooter.
“The court now finds that eyewitness identifications (of four Brown associates) of (Brown) as the person who shot and killed the victim on June 12, 2016, combined with all facts known to (police), would justify a reasonable and prudent decision. no one to believe (Brown) actually did, ”Bruce wrote in an exhaustive 77-page review.
Brown has filed a lawsuit against the town of Champaign, alleging massive misconduct by officers investigating Miss Cox-Bailey’s death. He is represented by Chicago attorney Shneur Nathan.
But the case will not go to trial because Bruce granted the city’s summary judgment request, believing that there was no basis for the claims in the lawsuit.
Bruce wrote that summary judgment “is the time” to put up or shut up “in a trial, where a party must show what evidence they have that would convince a trier of fact to accept their side of events.”
Bruce’s decision extensively details the events of the 2016 shooting, one of a series of violent attacks that took place before and have continued since then.
He noted that the incident was the result of conflicts between two local gangs – Roc Block and DNG – during which supporters of both groups went in search of members of the opposition. Roc Block, the opinion reveals, was named after Rakim Vineyard, a 22-year-old Champaign shot down in 2014.
Bruce’s Opinion also reviewed police interviews of various witnesses to the shooting, conversations that reveal how the witnesses profess memory impairment or claim ignorance or offer blatantly false statements.
These witnesses – many of whom participated in these shootings – are covering up for a variety of reasons, one being the fear of reprisal if they cooperate with police and prosecutors.
A witness, Oshae Cotton, agreed to cooperate with the police but assumed it would cost him his life.
“I’ll go to court for all of you. I’ll help you, “he said.” I know Shamario won’t love me. They’ll kill me too. I know they will. I’m not stupid. I’m going to run.
“I heard Shamario…” Oh, we’re going to shoot you, “and they’re trying to laugh, to play, but I know them for real.”
Miss Cox-Bailey was shot and killed as she and a friend walked near the intersection of McKinley Avenue and Francis Drive in Champaign. They were returning home after shopping at a nearby store.
Bruce’s opinion revealed that the intended targets included Roc Block associates Monyeil Turner and Richiya Frazier. In an interview with the police, Frazier described Brown as “one of the main enemies” of Roc Block.
These young shooters rarely show emotion and have shown time and time again that they don’t care for the safety of innocent passers-by.
But Cotton expressed dismay and disgust at the death of Miss Cox-Bailey.
“I got the call that she was killed, and my whole heart leapt, because she is an innocent woman,” he told police. “Like, this lady had nothing to do with any of this.”
Although Brown, who is in his early 20s, served time in prison, he has been remarkably lucky in criminal courts.
He was acquitted of the murder of Miss Cox-Bailey, denying that he was in the car from which the shots were fired.
Authorities found one of his fingerprints in the vehicle. Others in the vehicle identified him as one of the two shooters.
In addition to this acquittal, Brown was also found innocent in two other gun-related incidents.