The Winston-Salem Journal’s Michael Hewlett reported earlier today that Kalvin Michael Smith was back behind bars. Smith turned himself into the authorities. He was charged with misdemeanor assault on a female and later released from the Forsyth County Jail on a $2,000 bond.
The news of Kalvin Michael Smith’s brush with the law has been difficult for this Smith supporter to grapple with. I don’t want to ignore the charge against him, but I think it’s heartbreaking that Smith is back in the clutches of the Forsyth County Injustice System largely because of the PTSD he suffered in prison.
Often when Smith was interviewed he would noticeably rock back and forth uneasily before the camera. The mugshot that the Journal published today shows a hopeless man, lost in despair. Smith endured over 20 years of psychological torture at the hands of the WSPD and Forsyth County D.A.’s Office-that’s the kind of thing that you don’t quickly recover from.
If I have to put the blame on someone for Kalvin Michael Smith being briefly detained today, I put the blame on the individuals that put Smith behind bars over 20 years ago. They’re the ones responsible for perpetuating a cycle of violence.
Thrown in prison with violent offenders who were actually guilty of committing heinous acts, is it any wonder that Smith would possibly act violently when released?
Kalvin Michael Smith doesn’t need to be back behind bars. He needs counseling, exoneration and financial compensation for all the years that were taken from him.
Imagine losing decades of your life to wrongful imprisonment. Imagine being 45 and free for the first time since you were 25. Can you help?
— ExonerateKalvinNow (@FreeKalvinNow) December 6, 2016
Smith was released from prison last November when his defense team argued (without objection from the Forsyth County D.A.’s Office) that Smith’s original trial attorney should have gotten him a lighter sentence. It was a negotiated deal between Smith’s attorney’s and the local D.A. that got Smith released due to time served. But in many ways that bargain was hardly a gift to Kalvin Michael Smith.
Releasing Smith essentially took Smith out of the headlines. A year ago while still behind bars Smith was featured in the MTV investigative series, Unlocking The Truth. Smith had powerful advocates like Dr. William Barber leading a statewide campaign on his behalf. Local media outlets wouldn’t let Roy Cooper and the local D.A.’s Office forget that they had an innocent man rotting behind bars.
Since his release, Smith has been largely out of the headlines. He’s been largely forgotten by some of the people who worked to free him. Freedom without justice has been the devil’s gift to Kalvin Michael Smith.
Earlier this year Smith was seriously wounded. Smith recovered from his injuries. The shooting appears to have been random, perhaps a case of mistaken identity-Smith being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Smith just can’t seem to catch a break.
As I go to bed tonight, my thoughts are with Kalvin Michael Smith and his alleged victim(s). I reserve my indignation for D.R. Williams, the racist detective that framed Kalvin Michael Smith and the Forsyth County D.A.’s Office who took William’s contrived evidence and unhesitatingly prosecuted Smith for a crime that it was obvious he didn’t commit.
In light of Kalvin Michael Smith’s wrongful conviction and having already had over 20 years of his life taken from him, Smith shouldn’t have to go back to prison for a misdemeanor.
I urge everyone in Winston to pressure the D.A.’s Office to suspend any new charges against Smith. Smith should be ordered to receive court-mandated counseling, but he shouldn’t be put back behind bars. That’s the last thing that Smith needs or deserves.
To learn more about Kalvin Michael Smith’s case read the definitive account at freekalvinnow.org