How often have we all heard someone say they are innocent? That it was not them who did the crimes they had been imprisoned or because their rights were violated? I will not try to convince any of you with a surreal narrative. It is easier if I tell the truth about what transpired at the gas pumps in the Mobile parking lot one night that really altered my world. I was looking to have a good time. Some friends dropped me off and I met up with Terri Bush. She is a white girl. Hey, it is what it is. We used to do drugs and chill together. This was back in November 2003, and I have now realized the mistakes I made at 24-years-old. And I can assure everyone that it does not take me a life sentence to understand there was ignorance on my behalf. Picking and choosing? The criminal justice system has two sets of rules. One for Black men and boys, and one for a privileged white class. In my case, the police made it appear like I'd kidnapped the white girl who was there with me and falsely reported in an affidavit for probable cause that she's an innocent bystander during the commission of a carjacking! The state waited until the night before my jury was picked to drop the charge for false imprisonment on Terri Bush. The main reason is because they had evidence, she was with me and, as in conflict with their evidence, she initially distracted from the prosecutor's focus on guilty beyond reasonable doubt. Here's what went down, y'all. I was paranoid. My mental state was unhealthy, and I could not reverse the suggestions urging me to ''Run! Somebody is going to kill you!'' And I did. I tore out too. Dove headfirst into a stranger's car and climbed in the backseat. If we go by the eyewitnesses' or police officers' depositions, I was not criminally responsible for my role at that Mobile gas station. All that I can honestly remember is me ducking into the backseat of a stranger's vehicle. She was a motherly figure who kept saying to me, ''Huh-uh, boy. You can't hide in my car.'' But I was desperately wrestling with unseen principalities and powers, rulers of darkness of this world. My friend Terri Bush was telling me to calm down and come on, Sedrick, get out these people car! I couldn't protect even myself from the whisperers in my head. Eventually the driver called the police. She reported later that I grabbed her fingers, but I don't remember ever touching her. Black women play a bigger role in my upbringing, as I was raised in the church. And their energy seemingly would put my mind at ease. The police arrived while I was still in the backseat of the Black lady's vehicle. They pulled her from the driver’s side door, and she hit the ground so hard she filed a complaint against cops with Internal Affairs for the St. Petersburg police for excessive use of force. Now, look, I am the one that got the beat down. I was maced in the mouth with pepper spray and whacked with their collapsible steel batons. The officers were in the front seat the entire time too. One of them bumped the gearshift, then the car lurched into the gas pumps. Paramedics were called to transport me to the hospital where I had to received staples in my head. My lawyer asked the Court for an order to have a forensic neuropsychologist evaluate me in 2004, or years before the scientific discovery of a brain injury degenerate disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. Mostly that is found in the brains of former football players when they are already physically dead. However, it is now certain that there are people living with CTE symptoms. And unfortunately, I was convicted of carjacking and criminal mischief although my lawyer presented an INSANITY DEFENSE to the jury! The condition is with a group of nerve endings (specialized receptor cells) that responds to sensory stimuli. Here is the problem. They convicted me also of resisting arrest with violence. Question 1: What was the probable cause for the arrest? If we go to the depositions, I was not criminally responsible for my role at that Mobile gas station. Meaning, the 911 call only reveals that a black man is acting weird inside a person's vehicle. Witnesses said: ''He's being irrational and mumbling that he's scared.'' There was no indication of violence or even less for carjacking. Disorderly conduct, maybe. And I am not even criminally responsible, remember. Question 2: So how did the police determine probable cause for 'carjacking' and 'criminal mischief', I wonder. Well, they made that up. WHY? When they were beating on me in the backseat, one of the officers bumped the gearshift and caused the vehicle to lurch into the gas pumps resulting in some hefty property damage!!! The City of St. Petersburg becomes civilly liable for any negligence by police in the commission of an arrest, especially property damages. Here's something you did not know. Since 2000, states and the federal government have seized at least $68.8 billion, according to an Institute for Justice report. In many cases, it cost more to hire an attorney to fight the government than the forfeited property is worth. The Institute for Justice reports that ''hiring an attorney to fight a relatively simple state forfeiture case costs at least $3,000 -- more than double the national median currency forfeiture.'' Many Americans simply cannot afford a lawyer and cannot wade their way through the legal system and overcome the laws that make it too easy for the government to wrongfully take their property. It can truly be an overwhelming and frightening experience. Therefore, the police department is not trying to lose money! If anything, they profit from crime and seizures, in accordance with the 4th Amendment. I was wrongfully convicted. I am innocent. Period. So here I am in prison since 2004 serving life, illegally. Go online at www.freesedrickwashington.com and click on the link to sign up for justice! I need signatures to reopen my case in Pinellas County, Florida.
By Sedrick Washighton
*Hello, my name is Sed. I need help. Where I'm in need of your social media prowess is helping me spread the word about making trouble, good trouble, necessary trouble @freesedrickwashington.com. This website provides a complete narrative about my case. I have a petition going around online requiring hundreds of thousands of signatures! And we got a long way to go. Our time is right now!!! We might not again get favor from the likes of a Democratic-led House of Representatives and Senate, plus U.S. President Joe Biden, to act on a criminal justice reform bill to stamp out racial inequalities and socioeconomic disparities, and to decide once and for all if CTE symptoms (mental health issues) and mass incarceration (recidivism) is the cause of the underlying conditions affecting Black men and boys. Look, I can be your son or father or brother or uncle or nephew to be next getting released from prison. Rehabilitation is farce in prison! Treatment only comes with support from family, friends and loved ones. Yet, I wish to take all the people and build a resentencing campaign. See, when you know something is wrong/say something. Be outspoken! Many times, ''listen'' and ''silent'' is not a virtue. So please become an active advocate for change when adding your voice to the Free Sedrick movement today! Because the people involved with my legal defense fundraiser is hoping to reopen more cases for inmates wrongfully convicted, after testing them for CTE symptoms and a new sentencing hearing. Imagine what would happen if you joined my push for criminal justice reform. There are several nationwide nonprofit organizations to bring awareness to mass incarceration, but only one coalition in Florida is using my website to make the link between chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) symptoms and recidivism and looking at the evidence of brain damage from playing youth football as a mental health indicator on mass incarceration.