Race-Based Bail Lets Memphis Murderer Walk Without Bail As He Awaits Trial

Victor Moussa / shutterstock.com
Victor Moussa / shutterstock.com

Early on Thanksgiving morning, gunfire erupted outside a home on Vandalia Street in Memphis, Tennessee. Not something out of the ordinary for the city, a SkyCop camera positioned across the street from the house caught the whole thing on tape. Around 2:00 am, a silver Hyundai Sonata pulled up and stopped outside the home of 15-year-old Anthony Mason.

While Mason stood there, he chatted with 18-year-old Edio White in the driver’s seat and 15-year-old Conner Tucker riding shotgun. Per the footage, the trio seemed to be passing guns back and forth before White suddenly snatched one from Mason. As he did that, the two struggled for control of the firearm. Tucker then reaches out through the window and shoots Mason in the head.

Speeding off, the duo left Mason in a crumpled heap, dead instantly. When Memphis PD showed up and combed the victim’s text messages, they immediately pinged Tucker as a suspect due to the conversation between the two. When they investigated the Hyundai Sonata identified at the scene, they ascertained that it belonged to Tucker’s relative.

Upon contact, Tucker turned tail immediately and confessed to being the shooter. While he held out for a short while, he eventually pegged White as the driver. According to police, when arrested White admitted to being the driver, but was adamant that he was not the shooter. He also admitted he knew they were there to rob Mason of his pistol.

Arrested on Black Friday, White was released without bail, and on his recognizance, he was back on the streets just days later on November 27th. This less-than-five-day hold for such a heinous shooting is insane. Both White and Tucker were charged with first-degree murder during a robbery, criminal attempted aggravated robbery, and illegal possession of a weapon.

The release of White comes at the order of Shelby County’s Democratic District Attorney Steven Mulroy. Back in February, Mulroy overhauled the bail system for the city and county. Now they will be taking into account the financial situation of the person being arrested and how likely it is that they’ll be able to be set free.

During the announcement of it being enacted, Mulroy said that cash bail is “harder on the poor, it’s harder on minorities.” In his eyes, this is the first step in “an attempt to fix that.”

Winning the District Attorney race back in 2022, Mulroy campaigned on this kind of change and unseated Republican Amy Weirich. With massive financial backing from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Real Justice PAC. These organizations are the top supporters of removing financially incentivized bail. To their platform, it’s just another form of racism. Then again, anything that isn’t making them money is racist to them.

For White, this isn’t justice, but rather a gift for being born black. For Mason as well as his family and friends, this is a slap in the face. Mulroy could slap Mason’s mom in the face and punt his pet and it would still be less insulting than letting White walk away without any culpability for his actions.

So far, Tennessee officials have been outraged at this total lack of justice but also have their hands somewhat tied. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) said, “Criminals belong behind bars, not out on the streets,” in a post on X (aka Twitter). This post is a good way to point out the obvious, but something needs to be done to not only return White but other criminals back behind bars.

The cashless bail system has worked out horrifically so far. There is no incentive to stay out of trouble, and as we have seen in places like San Francisco and Chicago, criminals just keep going out and retrying the same crime. They change little things and keep pushing for success. All the while knowing that if they get caught, they get set free again in a few days. In the meantime, they get medical care, and if the cop is too rough, they have a case to get money.