Quawan “Bobby” Charles Deserves Justice | Aimee Han

How could America let this happen again and let it pass so idly by? Why was the media not initially alerted? Why is this not garnering more attention and turning more heads? 

On Friday, October 30th, 15 year old Quawan “Bobby” Charles went missing in Baldwin, Louisiana. Last he was seen was with a 17 year old classmate and their mother. Although his family reported him missing and expressed their worries to the Baldwin Police department, they responded with indifference and told the family that it was plausible that their son had simply snuck out to hang out with friends or go to a football game. Not even an amber alert was issued. On October 31st, the family launched a search for Quawan due to their valid concerns, learning of the last whereabouts of Quawan from a friend. Quawan was last seen getting into a car with a 17 year old classmate and their mother. When the mother was questioned, the family lawyer felt suspicious of the whole situation. The mother and father of Bobby had never even met the 17 year old classmate nor the mother, raising many questions about how the disappearance occured. 

Unfortunately, on November 3rd, Quawan’s deceased body was found in a sugarcane field near Loreauville, a tiny village around 25 miles north of his home. The Baldwin Police Department released a statement saying that they will not be investigating the death, while the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office became involved in the investigation due to the family notifying them that the body was found in their jurisdiction. As of right now, the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office is treating the situation as a homicide investigation. A preliminary autopsy from the Iberia Parish corner believes that the cause of death was most likely drowning from the muddy water found in the airways and hyperinflated lungs, insinuating that there were no prior injuries before the death and that Quawan’s face was disfigured due to aquatic animals. Yet the family does not buy it, and as time always tells, family intuition is rarely wrong. 

A graphic photo of the deceased body was circulating online, earlier this week, raising suspicions about the circumstances surrounding the death. The family, the American Civil, Liberties Union, and many social media users are demanding a transparent, full, and independent investigation. Although officials claim that they have been compiling evidence and speaking to eyewitnesses to further their understanding of the mystery, the societal awakening of the racial divide in the country has caused some to feel that they can no longer trust the word of the law enforcement; their trust has been betrayed in the past and racism is still prevalent in attaining “justice.” Many, especially active social media users who passionately advocate for racial equality believe that the body was burned, beaten, and allegedly lynched. Some are comparing the death of Quawan to the death of Emmett Till and are expressing their frustration with the unfortunate double standard in which society cares less about the death of a young black boy than a young white girl in the same circumstance. 

Regardless, Americans like to believe that racism ended with segregation in 1964 or that it ended far earlier in 1865 when slaverly was abolished (although that exact end date for the entirety of the country is very debatable). It’s easier for Americans to believe that we are all good people with no malicious intentions than realize the harmful racial stereotypes and prejudices that have perpetuated all throughout history and that have been passed down from one generation to the next, are the effect of our doing. Nowadays, people are aware that being labeled a racist has a negative connotation, yet most tend to defend their ego by denying that their actions have been questionable and their beliefs have been immoral. And that is where the problem lies…

With that being said, the family deserves true transparency and clarity regarding the death of Quawan. To demand justice, many petitions are circulating around social media, change.org, and the internet; there are GoFundMes to support Quawan’s family with the funeral and autopsy, and there are phone numbers of detectives, mayors, state attorneys, and police departments to call. America cannot just let these injustices keep happening because we owe it to not only the Black community, but other marginalized communities as well.

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