Facebook users are passing around an “Antonio West” meme, linked to the ongoing social media “Justice For Trayvon” campaign and seemingly presented to counter the “media narrative” about race, crime, and reporting.
The Antonio West story begins “you won’t recognize me… My name was Antonio West and I was the 13-month old child who was shot at point blank range by two teens who were attempting to rob my mother, who was also shot.”
Antonio West, or Antonio Santiago, was indeed a 13-month-old child shot to death earlier this year in Georgia, and it is also true that no protests, vigils, petitions, or other attention like that given the killing of Trayvon Martin have been lavished on the case.
If you’ve yet to see the Antonio West meme, this is how it is commonly shared:
“You won’t recognize me. My name was Antonio West and I was the 13-month old child who was shot at point blank range by two teens who were attempting to rob my mother, who was also shot. A Grand Jury of my mommy’s peers from Brunswick GA determined the teens who murdered me will not face the death penalty… too bad I was given a death sentence for being innocent and defenseless.”
“My family made the mistake of being white in a 73% non-white neighborhood, but my murder was not ruled a Hate Crime. Nor did President Obama take so much as a single moment to acknowledge my murder.
“I am one of the youngest murder victims in our great Nation’s history, but the media doesn’t care to cover the story of my tragic demise, President Obama has no children who could possibly look like me – so he doesn’t care and the media doesn’t care because my story is not interesting enough to bring them ratings so they can sell commercial time slots.”
The idea that the Antonio West (or Antonio Santiago) case did not get attention is easily provably false — the story initially drew national level press coverage, and a near immediate arrest was made for two teens accused of the crime.
The meme continues:
“There is not a white equivalent of Al Sharpton because if there was he would be declared racist, so there is no one rushing to Brunswick GA to demand justice for me. There is no White Panther party to put a bounty on the lives of those who murdered me. I have no voice, I have no representation and unlike those who shot me in the face while I sat innocently in my stroller – I no longer have my life.
“So while you are seeking justice for [Trayvon], please remember to seek justice for me too. Tell your friends about me, tell you families, get tee shirts with my face on them and make the world pay attention, just like you did for [Trayvon.]”
However, the material difference in the cases is significant — while George Zimmerman was known the night of the shooting to be Martin’s killer, he was not arrested. In the Antonio West case, the arrest of two black teens was immediate, and the boys were charged in the murder of West-Santiago right away. The protests at first over Trayvon Martin were due to a lack of arrest, and then again when Zimmerman was not convicted.
Facts have not gotten in the way of a good story, however, and even today, many tweet things like this:
— Conservative Outpost (@coutpost) July 22, 2013
Death and Taxes summed up the Antonio West outrage, saying:
“There would be people rushing there, I’m sure, if the perpetrators had gotten away with it. They haven’t. Case closed. It’s really not as though the justice system was all like ‘Oh, well, black people killing a white baby? That’s totally cool, we’ll just ignore that and not arrest anyone.’ No, they’re in jail, and again, they’re teenagers so they’re not eligible for the death penalty. That’s a Supreme Court decision, ok? You want to change that (I don’t), take it to the Supreme Court.”
But there’s even a bit more to the strange story of Antonio West and his tragic killing — while two black minors were arrested and charged, the case continues to play out in a strange way, with the parents of Antonio West Santiago also falling under suspicion in the unusual early in the day murder.
Ashley Glassey, 21, is the daughter of Antonio West’s mom, Sherry West. Sherry West has since called for the death penalty to be on the table for her baby’s accused killers, but Glassey has doubts that her mother is telling the truth.
A few months back, First Coast News reported that Glassey says her mom asked the night of the murder:
“How soon do you think life insurance policy will send me a check?”
(The audio of this statement is in the clip above.)
Glassey, who says Antonio West’s mom has been diagnosed with more than one severe mental illness, stated at the time:
“She changed her story she told me the baby was shot first and then she told me she was shot first.”
Since Antonio West was shot, by two black teens allegedly, the baby’s mother and father have had significant issues legally and personally. Louis Santiago, Antonio’s dad, is in jail on charges of stalking and harassment in relation to Sherry West, who later said:
“He was throwing things through the window and terrorizing me, saying that I killed my baby and it should have been me.”
Neither Sherry West nor Louis Santiago are suspects in Antonio West’s murder. But it was reported earlier this month that both parents were found to have gunshot residue on them the day of the shootings.
While Sherry West was present when Antonio West was shot, questions have been raised about why Santiago, a convicted felon, would also have gunpowder on his hands. Sherry West says it could have happened as he visited her at the hospital.
But as the Antonio West Facebook meme makes the rounds, before you pass it on, it’s worthwhile to examine the claims made and the case’s true parallels — because while West died very tragically, we wouldn’t “remember” Trayvon Martin either had an arrest occurred that night.