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Jersey City Man Shot In the Face And Blinded By Cop Faces 30 Years In Prison

Kwadir Felton, with his attorney Brooke Barnett, reacts to verdict handed down by jury on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013 in Jersey City. Felton was found guilty of aggravated assault and other offenses after being shot by Sgt. Thomas McVicar on Jan. 10, 2010. (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

Kwadir Felton, with his attorney Brooke Barnett, reacts to verdict handed down by jury on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013 in Jersey City. (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

Kwadir Felton, 22, was shot in the face by Jersey City Police Sgt. Thomas McVicar on January 10, 2010, and went blind as a result. Yet it is Felton who faces up to 30 years in prison for aggravated assault of a police officer.

McVicar says he was forced to open fire because Felton, intending to rob him, pointed a gun at him, which was allegedly found lying next to Felton after he’d been shot.

But Felton, who was 18 at the time, adamantly denies that he was armed. He testified that he had just left a baby shower and was on his way to his girlfriend’s house when he heard someone call his name and say, “Yo, you little black mother fucker, you better get the fuck down before I blow your fucking brains out.”

“There’s no reason to have a weapon on me,” Felton told the courtroom. “That’s not me. I was raised better than that.”

Nevertheless, as happens in most cases with black defendants, the jury sided with the cop last month and found Felton guilty on all counts, including aggravated assault of an officer and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.

Upon hearing the verdict, Felton’s mother, Dawn Felton, who had recently undergone open heart surgery, “collapsed on the ground in uncontrollable sobs and kicked the bench near where she had collapsed,” according to The Jersey Journal.

Kwadir Felton, 22, of Jersey City, and his mother, Dawn Felton, stand outside the courtroom of Felton's trial on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. (Jonathan Lin/The Jersey Journal)

Kwadir Felton, 22, of Jersey City, and his mother, Dawn Felton, stand outside the courtroom of Felton’s trial on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. (Jonathan Lin/The Jersey Journal)

Unable to calm her down (whatever that means), police officers “dragged her out of the courtroom.”

Meanwhile, Felton broke down sobbing and shouted at an officer, “I don’t understand! You didn’t have to shoot me in the head for no reason! You trying to charge me with something I didn’t do!”

Brooke Barnett, Felton’s attorney, has since filed a motion for a new trial, citing “prosecutorial misconduct” and calling the state’s evidence against Felton “absolutely and unequivocally contradicted, clearly causing a miscarriage of justice.”

Given the trauma and torment Felton has been forced to endure over the last four years, the injustice goes beyond the verdict. Felton testified at his trial that he lost the will to live due to his injuries and tried on multiple occasions to take his own life.

“(Going blind) took life from me,” he told the jury. “If I couldn’t see, I didn’t want to live.” The Jersey Journal summarized the aftermath of the shooting:

When Felton woke up handcuffed to his bed in the hospital shortly after the incident, he said his vision was “fuzzy” and “black and white.” Then a nurse gave him medication and he lost consciousness again, he said.

When Felton woke up next in Hudson County jail, he said his vision was pitch-black like it is today, like “staring at a black chalkboard.”

A month later he was released from jail, but he was re-arrested on drug charges just a week later. He was released from jail a second time in March 2010.

During the months that followed, Felton sank into a deep depression. Felton said he would try to sleep all day — because at least he could still see in his dreams.

Besides blindness, Felton said he still suffers from seizures and a cyst on the right side of his brain.

“I can feel (the cyst) moving around,” he said. “My brain feels like it’s fuzzy. If I were to shake my head, you could hear it.”

Felton added that in the the lead up to his trial, he faced repeated harassment from Jersey City police officers.

He said officers driving by his block this past summer would shout out of their windows and call him names when he sat on his porch.

“They say ‘Hey, Tommy’s friend,'” he said, calling it a reference to McVicar. “They call me ‘retarded.’ They yell out of their car ‘Who shot the sheriff?'”

Despite losing his sight, Felton has tried to move forward with his life.

A senior when he was arrested, Felton finally graduated this past June after overcoming the physical and emotional trauma of the incident. He called walking in the graduation ceremony at Snyder High School “one of the greatest feelings in the world.”

Now Felton is starting to gain back his confidence. He said he wanted to teach the blind one day.

“I want to attend college and get my degree, get my master’s degree in education and communication and teach braille,” he said. “I want to work for the commission of the blind.”

Unfortunately, the state of New Jersey is not satisfied with robbing Felton of his sight. They want the next 30 years of his life as well. 

Felton’s sentencing is scheduled for January 14, 2014.

  1. horrible

    December 30, 2013
  2. schuylerkempton #

    Reblogged this on Until Victory.

    December 30, 2013
  3. This looks like a huge miscarriage of justice. The gun surely looks planted by the police which makes it just Felton’s word against them. I don’t think the prosecution ever showed that Felton ever bought a gun, owned a gun, brought a gun to a baby shower, etc. Cedric Johnson, a witness, saw Felton but did not see a gun. Innocent until proven guilty. This is a criminal case after all.

    I can’t find a fund to donate to Felton’s defense or care. If anyone knows of one or finds one, please post it here.

    December 30, 2013
  4. Reblogged this on inyournecksw and commented:
    As I sit here and watch the news ,and look at things on the internet I have come to note that the people that are hired to protect us have got to the point that they pull the trigure and then ask quistions latter .so what can we do to make shur that this stops and that we can once again believe that we can be safe from those that are hired to protect us

    December 30, 2013
    • Troy #

      If a man pulls a gun on a police officer, it is his right & duty to shoot. That’s what he’s trained to do. Unless the person is black, then he should just wait to be shot, so he’s not accused of being prejudice, right?

      January 3, 2014
  5. This is so disgusting and becoming too common. The justice system is crap.

    December 31, 2013
    • Troy #

      You don’t know any if the details. Why is everyone so quick to assume foul play? Do you know the facts of the case & the evidence provided?

      January 3, 2014
      • drachefly #

        Well, somebody got shot so there’s foul play somewhere.

        January 11, 2014
  6. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

    January 2, 2014
  7. u said the Nation has published zero palestinians
    in the reality based community, zero usually means….NONE
    apology to your readers for a FALSE fact that you could easily have checked ?
    no, in the new age of twitter “journalism” you attack someone for pointing out you said something that is factually incorrect.
    Now if you had said, the nation has published a tiny number of palestinian voices, and many many more israeli ones, that is probably fine..if you had said, the tiny # of palestinian voices represent a biased spectrum of palestinians, thats ok..but no
    maybe English isn’t your native language; for future ref “zero” means….NONE, it is like “unique’ or “complete”

    now, why is this important ?
    cause your readers have to trust that what you write is correct; trust is a valuable thing, easily lost..I think it was J K Galbraith who said that most academics don’t realize how easily and cheaply they sell their reputations..

    January 2, 2014
  8. Troy #

    What a slanted and poorly written article. “as happens in most cases with black defendants, the jury sided with the cop.” You’re missing two things to back up such a heinous statement. 1. Statistics if proven cases where the jury was specifically prejudiced against a black defendant in favor of a police officer. 2. The evidence that was produced in court, which made the jury side with the police officer.

    Nice journalism.

    January 3, 2014
  9. Chris #

    I consider us lucky that the one who walked away was the police officer and the one that’s blind and imprisoned was the criminal drug dealing thug who tried to rob what he thought was a defenseless victim.

    January 14, 2014

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