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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/1/20

Kenosha Police Under Scrutiny for 2018 Case of Chrystul Kizer, Black Teen Jailed for Killing Abuser

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We look at how the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, has brought renewed scrutiny to another case from 2018: that of Black teenager Chrystul Kizer, who faces charges of killing her alleged sex trafficker, a 34-year-old white man, when she was just 17 years old. Court records show Randall Volar had a history of sexually abusing underage Black girls that was known to the Kenosha police, but he remained free for months. In June 2018, Kizer says she shot and killed Volar in self-defense after he drugged her and tried to rape her. Kizer was freed from jail on $400,000 bail in June but is still fighting her case. "It really says a lot about the police force there, the prosecutors there," says Washington Post reporter Jessica Contrera. "Chrystul is at the center of this case that says everything about the sexual trauma that so many young Black girls go through when they are trafficked."

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! The Quarantine Report. I'm Amy Goodman, with Juan Gonza'lez.

President Trump is heading to Kenosha, Wisconsin, today despite fierce opposition to his visit and as protests over the police shooting of unarmed Black father Jacob Blake continue. On Monday, Trump defended 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, the white militia member who opened fire on Black Lives Matter protesters in Kenosha last week, killing two of them. This comes as calls are growing for the Kenosha police chief and county sheriff to resign, after Kenosha police allowed Rittenhouse to leave the scene after gunning down the protesters. Video shows police officers offering members of the armed white mob water earlier in the night. Rittenhouse faces up to life in prison, was charged with first-degree intentional homicide and first-degree reckless homicide.

Well, Jacob Blake's shooting by a police officer and the police behavior in the streets of Kenosha have brought renewed scrutiny to another case from 2018: that of Black teenager Chrystul Kizer, who faces charges of killing her alleged sex trafficker, a 34-year-old white man, when she was just 17 years old. Court records show that the man, Randall Volar, had a history of sexually abusing underage Black girls as young as 12. That was known to the Kenosha police, but he remained free for months. Then, in June 2018, Kizer says she shot and killed Volar in self-defense after he drugged her and tried to rape her. Chrystul Kizer was freed from jail on a $400,000 bail in June but is still fighting her case. She faces life in prison. A key figure in this story is Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley, the prosecutor in Kizer's case, who will also decide how to prosecute the officers involved in Jacob Blake's shooting.

Well, for more on this story and the role of the Kenosha police and prosecutors in it, we go to Akron, Ohio, where we're joined by Washington Post reporter Jessica Contrera, who has covered this story extensively. Last year she wrote an in-depth piece headlined "He was sexually abusing underage girls. Then, police said, one of them killed him."

So, Jessica, thanks for joining us. Why don't you go back to 2018 and talk about what happened and why Chrystul Kizer ended up in jail and is facing life in prison?

JESSICA CONTRERA: Thanks so much for having me.

Yes, Chrystul Kizer was 16 years old when she met Randy Volar. She was living in Milwaukee at the time. Her family had moved there recently, and they were in and out of homelessness. Randy Volar was sexually abusing Chrystul for over a year. We know this because he filmed it, and there's video evidence of him filming sexual abuse of other underage Black girls.

In June of 2018, Chrystul says she went to his house one night because she had had a fight with her boyfriend, that she was hoping to just find refuge in this adult, who she had come to trust. And what happened was that in the middle of the night, Chrystul shot and killed Randy Volar. She had brought a gun with her to his house. She lit the house on fire, and she fled in his car. The prosecutors in the case say that Chrystul premeditated the murder, that she intended to go there and kill Mr. Volar in they say, because she was interested in stealing his car. Chrystul tells an entirely different story. I've spoken to her at length from jail. She says that she was acting in self-defense.

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Democracy Now!  is a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program hosted by journalists Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez. Pioneering the largest public media collaboration in the U.S., Democracy Now! is broadcast on (more...)
 
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