The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

False Imprisonment for 32 Years

Feb 5, 2007

In 1975, the government framed up a black teen for murder. He remains in prison to this day.

Gary Tyler, a 16-year-old student, was aboard a bus with other black students who were integrating a high school in Destrehan, Louisiana, in 1974, when a mob of over 200 white people began pelting the bus with rocks and bottles. During the attack, Timothy Weber, a 13-year-old member of the mob, was shot and killed.

Afterwards, the police searched the entire bus and every black student on it. No gun was found. All evidence indicates the gunshot came from a member of the white mob. Yet Gary Tyler was arrested, and later charged with Weber’s murder. False witnesses and a gun (with no prints on it) miraculously appeared; even though the witnesses later recanted their testimony, the all-white jury found Tyler guilty of murder. He was sentenced to death, which was later commuted to life without parole because, for a few short years in the 1970s, Louisiana did not have a death penalty.

It’s widely recognized that Tyler was railroaded. Even an appeals court, in 1981, found that he was “denied a fundamentally fair trial.” Yet despite that ruling, the court refused to release him, and didn’t even order a new trial!

He is still serving his sentence in the state penitentiary in Angola. He will be fifty later this year.

No government agency or court has ever done a single thing to correct this blatant injustice. So, an innocent black man continues to languish in prison after 32 years, just because SOMEBODY black had to pay for the murder of a white boy.

At the same time, countless cases remain open in which black people were lynched and murdered by the Klan, the police or other racists. And the FBI, state and local police did nothing to investigate them, even when the killers were well known.

No, there is no justice in this racist society.