Jesse Jackson expected to attend Darrell Williams event in Stillwater
BY KELLY HINES World Sports Writer
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
8/21/12 at 9:47 PM
STILLWATER — The Rev. Jesse Jackson is expected to be in Stillwater on Thursday to participate in a public forum regarding last month’s conviction of former Oklahoma State University basketball player Darrell Williams, according to the OSU Chapter of the NAACP.
Neither Jackson nor his Rainbow PUSH Coalition has confirmed the appearance, and calls to his office were not returned.
A member of his organization’s staff, however, called Williams’ conviction on rape charges “the classic lynching of a black male,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Williams, who would have been a senior forward on the basketball team, was convicted July 23 of two counts of rape by instrumentation and one count of sexual assault. He has remained jailed since then, and his sentencing is set for Friday afternoon in Payne County District Court.
The jury recommended one-year sentences for the rape convictions and no time for the sexual assault.
According to the Sun-Times, Williams’ family members reached out to the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, based in their hometown of Chicago, for help in raising public awareness of the case.
“This is the classic case of injustice: Eleven whites and one Asian on the jury,” Bishop Tavis Grant, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition’s national field director, told the Sun-Times. “Two white victims. Darrell being a black male athlete.
“There is no corroborating evidence. No rape kit. No DNA. There is nothing in (Williams’) background that would make you think he would ever do anything like this. This is the classic lynching of a black male.”
A social-media campaign (facebook.com/FreeDarrellWilliams; twitter.com/FreeDarrell) declares Williams’ innocence, denounces the guilty verdict and requests an appeal because of a lack of evidence.
An online petition asking for his release from jail has nearly 1,700 signatures.
Attempts to reach Williams’ attorneys were unsuccessful.
Williams’ family is trying to raise money to pay for an appeal. A fund has been set up at FreeDarrellWilliams.com.
Darrell Williams public forum
When: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday
Where: Mount Zion Baptist Church, 902 S. Knoblock St., Stillwater
In this April 18 file photo, the Rev. Jesse Jackson speaks during a press conference by the Oklahoma Black Caucus at the Capitol. DOUG HOKE/NewsOK.com