40 Years and 2 Families Left in Tears

 

martoyia
Officer Martoyia Lang

On March 28, 2017, Treveno Campbell was sentenced to 40 Years in prison for the murder of Officer Martoyia Lang. Before the sentencing hearing, Lang’s family was escorted by Assistant District Attorney Alanda Dwyer and paraded past the family of Campbell who was sitting patiently outside the courtroom. Treveno Campbell had been awaiting trial in the Shelby County Jail for five years. Campbell had no prior criminal record. The judge reluctantly moved the sentencing hearing forward after rescheduling the hearing twice in disbelief that Campbell was squeaky clean and there was nothing on his record. This implied he knew an injustice had occurred. The sentencing hearing scheduled for 9 am, then rescheduled to 1 pm, did not end until almost 5 pm. Campbell was left with Forty Years and both families in tears.

The loss of an officer is in the line of duty is a tragedy, but a bigger tragedy was watching Lang’s daughter testify, force to tears based upon propaganda of an unfair trial. Lang’s mother read a statement where she called Treveno Campbell a “cop killer.” It was if she was reiterating the statements made by the prosecutors.

Alanda Dywer
Prosecutors Shelby County District Attorney’ Office

In 2012, Campbell laid asleep in a residential neighborhood where he was awakened by a commotion. Like most citizens who believe in the Second Amendment, he had a gun legally. Awakened by the commotion, Campbell reached for his gun and returned fire. Treveno was then apprehended by Memphis Police.  Based on testimony, Officer Lang was shot in between the commotion. Treveno Campbell was also shot after he surrendered to Officer Timothy Godwin. It was clear that the police enter the premises without knocking or identifying themselves empowered by a “NO KNOCK ANNOUNCE WARRANT” issued by a judge for cocaine of a suspect someone other than Campbell. He was mistakenly identified.

campoveno
Courtesy of Commercial Appeal

 

During the trial, Black Lives Matter’s Thurgood Marshall’s Committee was asked to come and observe the trial because regular citizens and family members were being denied access to the proceedings. During part of his testimony, in the absence of the jury, Officer Timothy Godwin was permitted to take the “Fifth Amendment.” This unorthodox testimony suggested that Treveno could be innocent and the death of Martoyia Lang could have been a result of “Friendly Fire.” When officers were asked who entered the house first and what order they came into the residence {I.E. 1-2-3-4} they did not recall.

godwin

At the end of the lengthy trial, the jury to return a verdict of Second Degree murder instead of First Degree. District Attorney Amy Weirich indicted Campbell for a host of other charges including possession of marijuana. One might say the DA wanted to ensure a conviction by overcharging Campbell. Weirich recently was permitted to take a private reprimand for prosecutorial misconduct.

Amy Weirich and Mike Williams

Initially, Former MPD Director Tony Armstrong took to the news and expressed raw emotions about Lang being killed over a small amount of marijuana. During the trial, Judge Beasley rationalized his position, sentencing Campbell to the maximum sentence because he was convinced he was selling drugs and that Campbell set everything in motion. Treveno was working two jobs and in school. Family, friends and a preacher testified as character witnesses for Campbell. The judge was not moved by their testimony, and he said he had to protect the public from Campbell.

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Judge James Beasley

Campbell’s Attorney William Massey intends to appeal because the officer took the Fifth Amendment. It is clear that reasonable doubt existed and Campbell should have been acquitted on the murder charge. The other person who was in the home when this occurred pleads guilty to the drug charges before Campbell’s conviction.

masseytvino

Tennessee’s laws and MPD’s policy on the execution of search warrants need reform. Many states have legalized marijuana, and it has become a legally acceptable for medical and recreational use. At some point, Tennessee will have to get in line with the other twenty-eight states who have legalized marijuana. Two lives were lost, and two families are now changed forever because of criminalization of marijuana and our elected officials’ confusing justice with revenge. Did the punishment fit the crime? A better question would be was there a crime? Or was this an accident from a troubled police department who needs better policy and training?

Black Lives Matter Memphis advocates for justice, and we must elect people who are competent, ethical and understand the law. No sentence the judge rendered could return Officer Lang to her family. Having a non-sympathetic District Attorney who wants to appear tough on crime by calling Lang’s family to a stand to read prepared statements that do not concur with the facts or even logic illustrates that Memphis has a deeper problem. It will not be corrected until we elect judges, and District Attorney’s that believe in following all the laws, and demand justice fairness for all even those who are perceived as “cop killer.”Venosuit

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3 thoughts on “40 Years and 2 Families Left in Tears

Add yours

  1. Trevino Campbell: Selecting the right appeals attorney is a difficult but important task. If there are any meetings about that, I know a little bit about it and would be happy to attend with BLM or Massey or the Campbell family. Maybe the choice has already been made. I know that Phyllis Aluko at the NAACP is an appeal brief writer.
    stanley smith

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The fact that an officer, who participated in executing the warrant, was permitted to plead the Fifth; that none of the officers who were present could remember the order in which they entered the residence; combined with the fact that Campbell’s weapon was legal, he was awakened from his sleep in the dead of the night to load commotion within his home, and chose to exercise his Second Amendment right to defend his home, was more than enough to instill reasonable doubt, to obtain a not guilty verdict. Campbell’s trial is a prime example of injustice within our criminal justice system. I feel for the family of Officer Lang, but two wrongs doesn’t make a right. Campbell deserves a new trial, with the outcome being a not guilty verdict.

    Like

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