Oklahoma excessive courtroom ends final hope of justice for Tulsa Race Bloodbath survivors

The Oklahoma Supreme Court docket on Wednesday struck down a lawsuit introduced by the final recognized survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre, a setback within the pursuit of justice for one of many most destructive single acts of mass violence towards Black individuals in fashionable U.S. historical past.

In an 8-1 ruling, the state Supreme Court docket affirmed a decrease courtroom determination that the plaintiffs’ public nuisance declare, although reliable, doesn’t fall underneath the scope of Oklahoma’s public nuisance statute. The allegations additionally don’t sufficiently help a declare for unjust enrichment or the unauthorized use of identify and likeness, the courtroom dominated.

Hughes Van Ellis, Viola Fletcher and Lessie Benningfield Randle filed a lawsuit in 2020 underneath the state’s public nuisance legislation over the destruction of the rich Black neighborhood of Greenwood and the killing of roughly 300 individuals by a white mob in 1921. Ellies, Fletcher, and Randle — who have been younger kids on the time — sought reparations for the victims of the massacre and descendants, together with punitive damages, a compensation fund and a scholarship program for descendants of residents dwelling in Greenwood when the violence came about.

Van Ellis died final yr at 102. Each Fletcher and Randle are 109.

Their lawsuit named the town of Tulsa, Tulsa’s board of county commissioners and the Oklahoma Navy Division among the many defendants. An Oklahoma district courtroom decide dismissed the go well with final July, siding with the town’s argument that “merely being related to a historic occasion doesn’t present an individual with limitless rights to hunt compensation.”

The plaintiffs appealed their case to the Oklahoma Supreme Court docket in August. Their legal professional, Damario Solomon-Simmons, stated in an earlier submitting {that a} determination by the state’s highest courtroom could be the final opportunity for survivors to obtain justice.

This text was initially printed on MSNBC.com

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