Brittany Martin is serving four years in prison for comments she made to officers during George Floyd protests in South Carolina in May 2020. Members of Black Voters Matter are calling for the pregnant 34-year-old Black woman’s release ahead of her November due date.
Her trial attorney Sybil Dione Rosado said, “She’s in jail because she talked in America.” Rosado added, “She’s a dark-skinned Black woman who is unapologetically Black and radical.” Earlier this year, a court found Martin guilty of breaching the peace in a high and aggravated manner based on comments she made to police. According to NBC News, on Sept. 12, civil rights attorney and former state lawmaker Bakari Sellers will defend Martin before a judge.
“The fact is you have people who stormed the Capitol, who led to the death of law enforcement, who tried to overturn an election and fracture democracy. And they’re getting two months, three months, six months,” Sellers said. “And Brittany Martin gets four years,” he continued.
A 2016 police killing of her brother-in-law reportedly led to Martin’s interest in activism. After Breonna Taylor and Floyd were met with similar fates, Martin was “ready to go and protest,” according to her sister. The outlet adds that prosecutors shared snippets of a May 31, 2020 protest with Martin chanting, “No justice, no peace” in a police officer’s face.
At another protest days later, the activist reportedly told officers, “Some of us gon’ be hurting. And some of y’all gon’ be hurting.” Records say she continued, “We ready to die for this. We tired of it. You better be ready to die for the blue. I’m ready to die for the Black.” Investigator Tony Kennedy said a jury could not reach a verdict on whether or not Martin made threats to the officers. Her maximum penalty was a $500 fine and 30 days in jail.
Prosecutors argued that her actions were classified as “menaces or threatening speeches.” They also described Martin as “dangerous and disorderly.” While supporters are pushing for a lesser sentence, prosecutors want Martin to be charged with a “high and aggravated” crime, a punishment that could mean up to 10 years in prison.