4 out of 4 stars
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"In that moment, I knew that I was being ushered onto the other side of the law--the side of confinement, powerlessness, and possible abuse."
In only six years, Anthony Parker graduated from high school, earned his certification as a corrections officer, and became a state trooper. Six months later, he received the Spirit of the Trooper award, followed by the 1988 Trooper of the Year award. Parker worked hard for his achievements, but things began to unravel after he was lured back to his hometown with a promising job offer. In the aptly titled, Lynched by the Law: Putting Good Men Behind Bars, Anthony Parker shares his story of being wrongfully convicted for a crime he didn't commit.
Parker chronicles his childhood relationships and the strong work ethic instilled in him at an early age. He conveys his utmost respect for his mother who raised him with a sense of personal accountability. Parker recalls memories of moving to a brand new apartment, growing up in the projects, attending church regularly, and playing Little League Baseball in Quincy, Florida. He relates how his faith in God carried him through the 18 years he served for a crime he didn't commit. Parker also shares his passion for making a difference in the community before his conviction and since his release.
From the unique perspective of experiencing both sides of the law, Parker's writing style is focused and clear. He displays a flair for storytelling by effectively establishing the background and events leading up to his wrongful conviction. As a fan of true crime stories, I'm always intrigued by the criminal justice system. However, watching a documentary about someone who is wrongfully convicted is quite different than reading the firsthand account from someone who has experienced it. The more I read, the further I felt my jaw dropping; it's inconceivable that someone with Parker's strong work ethic and moral fiber could so easily be railroaded. I admire the positive attitude he conveys despite the unjust treatment he received. When the people he trusted and the system failed him, he relied on his faith in God.
I particularly like Parker's childhood stories involving the community role models in his life. His heartwarming and sometimes humorous descriptions of relationships with "other mommas," coaches, and teachers who contributed to his upbringing illustrate the proverb, "It takes a village to raise a child." In one instance, he relates trying to duck out of Sunday school by hiding behind a parked car when the church bus arrived and hearing, "You better get your butt on that bus!" when one of the other moms noticed him.
My only dislike pertains to the reality of the deep-rooted racism and corruption that resulted in Parker's conviction. As an ambitious and somewhat naive officer who had only been in law enforcement for several years, it was disheartening to read how he was betrayed by the superiors he trusted. However, this is a relevant point in Parker's experience, and my dislike is not a reflection on the book or his writing.
I'm pleased to rate the book 4 out of 4 stars. Despite the injustice that Parker experienced, his story is uplifting and inspiring. I recommend it to readers who appreciate true stories about law enforcement and wrongful convictions. The book will also appeal to those who like faith-based stories related to overcoming adversity.
Lynched by the Law
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