The Story of Brian Banks
Brian Banks was a young man with a promising future ahead of him. He was heavily recruited by top universities to play football and received a scholarship to attend the University of Southern California. Brian Banks had a bright future until he crossed paths with Wanetta Gibson. According to Banks, he and Gibson only made out in an empty stairwell then returned to class. No sex took place and the act was consensual. Later that day, Gibson accused Banks of raping her. The courts charged Banks with kidnapping and rape. Bank’s defense attorney pressured him into taking the plea-deal because he could potentially face 41-years in prison if convicted. Banks was a naïve young man who had never been in trouble with the law before. Banks pleaded no contest and sentenced to six years in prison.
Years later, while browsing Facebook, Banks receives a message from Gibson apologizing for what happened and suggested, “let bygones be bygones.” Gibson and Banks met at a private investigator’s office where she confessed on tape to lying about the rape and confirmed Bank’s innocence. Although Gibson promised to help clear Bank’s name, she expressed concern about having to give back the 1.5 million dollar settlement she received from the Long Beach school district. When confronted about her false allegations, Gibson alleged that Banks offered her a ten thousand dollar bribe to lie to recant her rape allegations.
Justin Brooks, a lawyer who heads the Innocence Project is working with Banks to clear his name. At this time Banks is on probation, has to wear electronic monitoring, and register as a sex offender. As a registered sex offender, Bank’s has limited opportunities for gainful employment despite his innocence. At this time the District Attorney is investigating Gibson’s false rape accusation but there is a high chance that she will not face prosecution or have to return the money due to the fact that she was a minor when the time of the incident.
Problems with The Law
Banks’ case isn’t a unique incident. Unfortunately these types of situation occurs often went it comes to Black defendants. The law is designed to protect White Privilege and those with resources. Whoever makes the best argument in the court of law wins regardless of guilt or innocence. Banks had his life destroy by an unscrupulous woman of low moral character. Charges should have never been brought against Banks in the first place since there were major inconsistencies in Gibson’s version of events and no physical evidence to collaborate her story. Since Banks was a minor, why weren’t his parents present when his defense attorney suggested the plea deal? Why didn’t his legal defense do everything in his or her power to ensure that their client received a fair trail? The truth is that Banks was just another Black man in a system designed to assume his guilt. No credible prosecutor would have ever taken the case in the first place based on the evidence. The District Attorney needs to do everything within their power to rectify this situation by exonerating Banks and charging Gibson with perjury, filing a false police report, fraud, and let her sit in prison for six years like her victim.
Gibson’s False Allegations hurts true Rape Victims and Black Women
Gibson is a sociopath. She was rather dismissive about how her lies and only cared about the money she fraudulently received. Her lies only create more doubt for other rape victims. Society still has a poor perception of rape victims. Ask any prosecutor; rape is one of the most difficult crimes to get a conviction. Rape victims have their lives scrutinized during rape trials. Even though false rape accusations are a small minority, they do not help change the perception society has about victims. Women are often blamed for their sexual assaults. If a woman does not fall into the “perfect victim” category (i.e. being White, virginal, young, kind, innocent looking, modest, attractive, and has a good family), she will have her credibility questioned.
As a Black woman I’m fearful that Gibson’s false accusation will have longstanding consequences for other victims, especially those of color. There is a prevalent stereotype that Black women are sexually promiscuous Jezebels who will accept sex from anyone. The truth is that many Black women are victims of sexual assault and rape that often goes unpunished.
Rape apologist will use women like Gibson an example to create doubt about other rape cases. I’m also bothered by the fact that major stories about false rape accusations like the Duke Lacrosse scandal involve Black women. The media choosing to focus on these stories shapes perceptions and plays into the mindset that Black women can’t be raped or abused.
My hope is that Gibson’s unethical behavior and the system’s failure to administer justice will not turn people against true rape victims. All accusations should be fully investigated and without bias towards the victim or the accused. Instead of vilifying whole groups of people, we need to open the dialogue about rape and sexual assault in our society and educate people about the issues.
- Exonerated Ex-Football Star Wants Money From State After False Rape Accusation And Conviction (huffingtonpost.com)
- Football Star Exonerated of Rape Conviction, Won’t Sue Accuser (abcnews.go.com)
- Ex-football player, wrongly jailed for rape, wants money from state (latimesblogs.latimes.com)
- Woman who recanted rape claim likely to keep $750,000 settlement (latimesblogs.latimes.com)
- Brian Banks, ex-football star falsely accused of rape, wants money from state (thegrio.com)
- Exonerated ex-football star wants money from state (seattletimes.nwsource.com)