Political scientist Dr. Ricky Jones is getting major backlash for supporting his former student, Quintez Brown, a 21-year-old community activist who faces up to life in prison.
Brown is charged with shooting at Democratic mayoral candidate Craig Greenberg, who is Jewish, on Feb. 14 in Louisville, Kentucky.
Jones is a professor and chairman of the University of Louisville’s Department of Pan-African Studies. Only the second African American to earn a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Kentucky, he is the author of the book “What’s Wrong with Obamamania? Black America, Black Leadership, and the Death of Political Imagination.”
In 2018, Quintez Brown took part in former President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance initiative through the Obama Foundation. Geared at young Black men, the foundation quoted Brown in its 2018 report.
“I better my community for the boys who look like me by changing the narrative around violence, masculinity, and professionalism,” Brown said. “I refuse to succumb to the stereotypes that too often imprison us to a single story; instead, I show young men of color that we can be whoever we want to be.”
On Feb. 14, Brown allegedly walked into Greenberg’s campaign office and fired six shots. Greenberg was not injured and no one else was hurt. Brown is charged with using and discharging a firearm in relation to a violent crime by shooting at and attempting to kill a candidate for elective office, WHAS11 reported.
Following the shooting, Brown was committed to a mental institution, having been initially bailed out after state charges were levied against him.
Brown pleaded not guilty to the federal charges. The defense said Brown has mental health problems and is under the care of a therapist. A psychiatrist testified that Brown suffered from “major depressive disorder.” Another psychiatrist diagnosed Brown with “bipolar disorder with thoughts of suicide,” according to Jones.
“I’ve been called radical, racist, even antisemitic because I refuse to abandon young Quintez Brown. Others say I need to ‘be careful’” Jones tweeted on April 21
There are several reasons, Jones, said, that he is supporting Brown, his former student.
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In an opinion piece in the Louisville Courier-Journal, Jones wrote, “My former student Quintez Brown appeared in federal court recently. Leg irons clanked as he shuffled into the room. The formerly handsome, curious and kindhearted boy who lit up my office with laughter over the years now sat before me bedraggled, staring blankly into space with flat affect. I thought, ‘My God. What has happened to this young man?’ I cried,” he wrote.
Jones then mentioned the mistrust the Black community has for the government in Louisville, especially since the police who shot and killed Breonna Taylor in March 2020 were cleared of charges.
“There we were, hearing the case of the United States v. Quintez Brown. I wasn’t sure how we got there. In a city where the federal government refused to intervene when Breonna Taylor was killed by agents of the state and many people didn’t trust the state to legitimately prosecute her killers, the United States was now vigorously going after young, mentally unbalanced Quintez Brown,” Jones wrote.
He added, “The prosecutors representing the United States, white. The defense attorneys, white (because Black people often feel most Black attorneys won’t receive the same respect when push comes to shove). The bailiff, white. The security at the doors, white. The court reporter, white. The judge, white. Yet Gregory (Assistant U.S. attorney Amanda Gregory) persisted, seemingly giving her contradictions no thought.”
Photos: Dr. Ricky Jones, YouTube screenshot, YouTube.com/watch?v=iJLw90QAX9g&t=1s
Quintez Brown, Obama Foundation, https://www.obama.org/annual-report-2018/programs-brothers-keeper-alliance/