Cheyenne Cherry Troubled But No “Monster”

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One woman interviewed on TV called the young Black girl a “monster.” She added that she wanted to see her “ugly face” and see into the “evil eyes” that she had. Another one, a cat lover, called Cheyenne “very dangerous.”

[Fleming’s Views]

Recently, there were numerous picket signs from animal rights protestors outside the State Supreme Court in the Bronx as Cheyenne Cherry, a 17-year-old African American girl who had stuffed a pet kitten into an oven, came before the judge.

The animal rights activists yelled for her blood. Some wanted her to be punished with a longer term in prison. The newspapers and local TV media spoke mournfully of the grisly fate that the small cat, Tiger Lily, had endured and hinted that Cheyenne was a psychopath in training.

Activists waved the signs which proclaimed: “She didn’t want to hear her victim’s cries and we don’t hear ‘plea bargain’” and “Stop animal torture and Save lives.”

Many of the activists came from New York City, Long Island, and Connecticut. The group of animal rights protesters represented over 20,000 people who signed an online petition calling for stricter punishment for Cheyenne.

Give her the chair. Put her in jail and throw away the key.

One woman interviewed on TV called the young Black girl a “monster.” She added that she wanted to see her “ugly face” and see into the “evil eyes” that she had. Another one, a cat lover, called Cheyenne “very dangerous.”

Who was this monster? Why does the fate of this girl send chills down the spines of everybody in the Black community?

Cheyenne Cherry, 17, is not a monster. She did a very, very bad thing. A horrific thing. On May 6, she broke into the apartment of a former roommate, Valerie Hernandez, with a 14-year-old friend, smashing furniture and pilfering DVDs and food.

When Cheyenne was busted, she told cops that the cat killing was a “joke.” The younger girl, the 14-year-old, put the kitten into the oven and both teens left the trashed apartment when the animal clawed frantically after the door was closed.

Bowing to public pressure, the prosecutor wanted to throw the book at her, but Cheyenne accepted a plea deal which said she would plead guilty to two charges in a six-count indictment. She waived her right to appeal and consented to not keeping a pet for the next three years. Her young accomplice faces trial in Family Court because she is a minor. The animal rights activists were totally angered when the plea deal was announced.

Cheyenne Cherry is not a monster. More frequently, our correctional system are locking the youngest of our Black and Hispanic youth and transferring them to adult court and putting them behind bars for longer periods of time.

The tally, compiled by the Justice Institute, notes that minority youth are 2.8 times more likely to be arrested for a violent crime, 6.2 times more likely to be tried in adult court, and 7 times more likely to be sent to prison by that court.

Across the country, more minority youth, especially African American youth, were over-represented in these cases, 82% of these cases in adult courts involved a minority.

Even prosecutors such as Kurt Kumli, the supervising deputy district attorney for the Juvenile Division of the Santa Clara County’s DA office, noted: “If you reach a kid early, chances are they won’t re-offend. But with each additional entry into the system, our success, our potential for rehabilitation gets slimmer and slimmer.”

Sadly, the local New York media portrayed Cheyenne as a “heartless kitty killer” who stuck her tongue at the protestors outside the court and said “it’s dead, bitch.”

This is an angry young Black girl. We wonder about her past. Nothing was mentioned in the media about that. Where are her parents? Where are her relatives? Why was she living with a roommate before she was emancipated from her family? Where was the Black community’s involvement in her life?

A veteran social worker, commenting on Cheyenne’s case, said: “We need the families, the parents, the communities to be involved. These kids are raising themselves with no guidance. These kids need their concern, love, experience, and wisdom. If we don’t get to the bottom of troubled kids like Cheyenne and solve the crisis in their emotional and psychological problems, then they will escalate through the system and really present a grave danger to our society. We can’t throw these young lives away. We have the opportunity to positively intervene.”

This is an important case. We should take note of it. Cheyenne, already jailed on a previous probation violation, will face formal sentencing July 31. Many in the Black community have written her off as an “another bad seed” beyond redemption. The animal rights activists will be there, cheering her on to prison.

Hopefully, Cheyenne Cherry, a very troubled young Black girl, will get a break and will get the psychological treatment befitting her cruel crime.

Maybe someone will stand up for her tormented soul.

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“Speaking Truth To Empower.”

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