Paula Rogo
May, 06, 2018

A pregnant black woman in Michigan has been sentenced to a mandatory two years in prison for defending herself with a registered gun against a woman who she claims was threatening her.

And many are now using the case of Siwatu-Salama Ra to point out the hypocrisy of gun advocacy groups. like the National Rifle Association, who have remained silent about her conviction.

According to the Detroit Metro-Times, Ra, a community activist, was convicted last year for brandishing a registered firearm to defend herself, her mother, and her 2-year-old daughter from an attack by a woman who repeatedly tried hitting them with a car. The gun was registered and unloaded and Ra was a concealed carry permit holder.

She also lived in Michigan, which is an open carry state that has a “stand your ground” law. The law allows people to defend themselves against threats or perceived threats.

But because the other woman filed a police report first, Ra was pegged as the aggressor, and eventually convicted of felonious assault and felony firearm. She is now serving a mandatory two-year sentence while also being seven-months pregnant. 

Ra's lawyer is arguing that the case would have been handled differently by Detroit police and the prosecution if her client was a white woman.

“This case was simple — a black woman, a mother, a daughter, an activist was afraid — and it didn’t matter,” said Victoria Burton-Harris, one of Ra's attorneys. "Her fear wasn’t significant enough for a jury of her peers to believe it. We’ll never know what more she needed to endure to justify her fear. She stood her ground and is now serving a mandatory two-year prison term. It’s a hard pill to swallow.”

According to Vox, the case is now under appeal, but the judge deciding Ra’s fate has already denied a request to postpone the sentence until she gives birth.