Today, the Missouri Court of Appeals reversed a lower court decision and granted a new trial to Michael Johnson, an HIV-positive black gay man, who is currently serving 30 years in prison under an out-of-date law that criminalizes the sexual conduct of people living with HIV.
When I was 16, I was convicted of first-degree murder and criminal action and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, plus 100 years. In the 21 years since then, I have been incarcerated at Potosi Correctional Center (PCC), a maximum-security prison in Mineral Point, Missouri for male inmates.
Lambda Legal filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri on behalf of Clinton (Clint) Moore, who was removed from his job as a flight paramedic with Air Evac Lifeteam (AEL) and demoted to a lower-paying post in the company dispatch center after informing company management that he had been diagnosed with HIV.
This week, seven gay or bisexual men were dragged through an ordeal in a Missouri courtroom—exposing to complete strangers the private details of their sex lives and attempting to justify the decisions they made to engage in unsafe sex with each other.
Today, less than two weeks after the announcement that Officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted for the killing of Michael Brown, a Staten Island grand jury decided that Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who was shown on tape using a chokehold to restrain Eric Garner that ultimately led to Garner’s death, will not be indicted.
While there will be debate and disagreement about the facts that led to the grand jury decision announced today in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by Police Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, MO, there is no debate about the facts that a terrible tragedy took place and that another unarmed young black man lost his life at the hands of a police officer.