Against the Current, No. 198, January/February 2019

CONVICTED FOR POINTING her unloaded and registered gun at a woman who rammed her car while her two-year old was inside, Siwatu-Salama Ra was received a mandatory two-year sentence March 1, 2018 for felonious assault — apparently the jury did not believe she was frightened by the incident.

Given that Siwatu was six months pregnant, the defense sought to delay the sentence until after the birth of her child. The judge refused to delay, pronounced the sentence, and she was taken immediately into custody.

In October a judge heard Siwatu-Salama Ra’s plea for a release on bond pending the outcome of her appeal — and denied it. However an appeals court vacated the decision the following month and Judge Donald Knapp finally ordered her released on a $15,000.

While home with the infant she delivered while in prison and reunited with her husband, daughter and mother, Siwatu must wear an electronic bracelet. Both Siwatu and her mother are movement activists in Detroit, and have been warmly embraced. Fundraising to #KeepSiwatuFree is underway.

January-February 2019, ATC 198