UPDATED: Tuesday, June 7, 3:30 PM EST
Brian Banks, a promising football star whose hopes for a professional career were dashed when he was falsely accused of rape and convicted 13 years ago, lashed out Monday at a judge in the case of Stanford swimmer Brock Turner.
Turner, 20, who is White, was convicted on three felony counts related to a 2015 sexual assault on an unconscious and intoxicated woman. On Friday, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky sentenced Turner to serve six months in county jail on the charges and he could get three months with good behavior, reports the New York Daily News:
Banks, who works in the NFL’s Los Angeles office, was 16 years old when he was accused of rape and tried as an adult. He was sent to juvenile hall for a year before his case came up. He faced 41 years to life in prison and first turned down plea deals for 25, 18 and nine years. Why? He didn’t do it. He finally agreed to undergo 90 days of observation in Chico State Prison with assurances from his attorney that he would then get probation. It was a better option, he was told, than a young black kid facing an all-white jury.
Persky elected not to send Turner to state prison and came up way short on the maximum 14 years he could have handed down. He will have to register as a sex offender. “A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him,” the judge said. “I think he will not be a danger to others.”
“I would say it’s a case of privilege,” Banks said. “It seems like the judge based his decision on lifestyle. He’s lived such a good life and has never experienced anything serious in his life that would prepare him for prison. He was sheltered so much he wouldn’t be able to survive prison. What about the kid who has nothing, he struggles to eat, struggles to get a fair education? What about the kid who has no choice who he is born to and has drug-addicted parents or a non-parent household? Where is the consideration for them when they commit a crime?”
SOURCE: New York Daily News
UPDATE: January 27, 2015:
The day after charges were dropped in Banks’ case in 2012, he was given a tryout with the Seattle Seahawks as a linebacker. He also had tryouts with the 49ers, Chiefs, Vikings, Chargers, Eagles and a good preseason run with the Falcons, yet, nobody signed him. But the league wasn’t done with him.
Banks, 29, began working for the NFL in the football operations department at the beginning of the 2014 season. On game days, he helps out in the officiating department with replays, reports the New York Daily News.
NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, Troy Vincent, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell say that Banks has a “riveting message that might make an impact on some of the players in the NFL.”
“Very few people could even endure what happened to Brian, much less emerge with such resilience and determination,” Vincent said to the Daily News. “I saw a young man who was dealt a bad hand, but he refused to allow it to deter him from pursuing his dream to be part of the NFL.”
The outlet reports that Bryant does volunteer work for the California Innocence Project; a movie is being made about his life; and that he makes a living as a speaker at schools throughout the nation.
His California license plate? XONR8.
The woman whose false rape accusation sent a high school football star to prison has been ordered to pay a $2.6 million judgement in connection to the case, NBC 4 Los Angeles reports.
Wanetta Gibson (pictured) was ordered by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge on Friday to pay a $1.5 million, plus an additional $1.1 million in fees. Gibson was an acquaintance of Brian Banks at Long Beach Polytechnic High School when she accused him of raping her in a school stairwell. Gibson then sued the Long Beach Unified School District, claiming the school was not safe; she won a $750,000 settlement.
Gibson’s false accusation sent Banks to prison for five years, stripping him of his football scholarship to the University of Southern California. After Banks was released from prison, Gibson sent him a Facebook message saying “Let’s let bygones be bygones.” Thinking the message was odd, Banks worked with a private investigator to set up a meeting with Gibson. It was during their meeting where she admitted, on hidden camera, that she lied about the rape.
With the help of California’s Innocence Project, a judge overturned Banks’ conviction on May 24, 2012.
Since then, Banks had been on a mission to play in the NFL. He tried out for a number of teams, but did not make the cut. However, NFL coaches told him to keep trying. He eventually spent some time with the Las Vegas Locos of the United Football League, until the Atlanta Falcons signed him this spring.