Sometimes justice is served—it just takes more than half of a year.
On December 6, 2015, 30-year-old Victoria Nicodemus was struck and killed while walking on a Fort Greene sidewalk by 39-year-old driver Marlon Sewell. Sewell, at the time, said he had swerved to avoid a car and a bus, and that he was high from a carbon monoxide leak in his car.
Despite the fact that video surveillance showed Sewell recklessly careening onto the sidewalk outside of Habana Outpost and Not Rays Pizza—and that Sewell had an abysmal driving record, including a suspended license for failing to pay child support, several speeding tickets received the month before the accident for driving too quickly through a school zone, and hundreds of dollars in fines for sticker violations—he was charged with a mere misdemeanor for driving without a license or insurance. Since the accident, Sewell has been free, with a license, and without bail.
But yesterday, DNAinfo reports, justice for the victim and her family has finally begun to be served: A grand jury voted to charge Sewell with second-degree manslaughter more than six months after Nicodemus’ friends and relatives worked to get district attorney Ken Thompson to retain a grand jury to do just that; last month Nicodemus’ family posted a petition on Change.org to make it happen, says DNAinfo.
While no hearing date has been set, this is relief in a time when it seems like the cases that call for indictments most—not merely because the letter of the law prescribes it, but also because human decency and reason demand it—fail to result in justice. This result, at least, is a start, and gives actual weight to Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative, meant to prevent fatalities just like this.