The story of Brian Banks haunts and resonates. Most people would be angry, bitter, and destructive after what he’s been through. However, it’s clear Mr. Banks has stayed strong, resilient, and positive.
In 2002, Brian Banks was an inspiring football player at Polytechnic High School in Long Beach, CA. He was so good at football, Banks was offered a full scholarship at USC. However, a sexual encounter in the stairway at his school would change his life forever. Linda Deutsch of the Huffington Post: “Then, a teenage girl he had known since childhood claimed he had raped her. He was arrested and, on advice of counsel, pleaded no contest to rape and an enhancement of kidnapping in order to avoid a possible life sentence if tried by a jury.”
Brian Banks spent 5 years and 2 months in prison of a 6 year sentence.
Recently, Banks received a Facebook message from his accuser Wanetta Gibson to meet. She admitted to lying about the rape and would only clear his name if allowed to keep the $1.5 million settlement against the Long Beach school district. What would he do?
Mr. Banks contacted the California Innocence Project for help. According to their website: “The California Innocence Project (CIP) is a law school clinical program at California Western School of Law dedicated to releasing wrongfully convicted inmates and providing an outstanding educational experience to the students enrolled in the clinic.” As a result, Brian’s defense team secretly taped Ms. Gibson’s confession and had the evidence to prove his innocence.
Banks was exonerated by a judge on May 24th, he hopes to play professional football. The Seahawks, Redskins, Chiefs, and Dolphins football teams have asked him to try out. Banks: “I think that any team that give me an opportunity will be really impressed with what I can do despite what I’ve been through these past 10 years.”
If the same thing happened to me, I could not let go of the anger surrounding this unfortunate circumstance. He’s a role model of courage and thankfully an organization like California Innocent Project exists. As a result, I want to see justice and success for Mr. Banks. Also, Ms. Gibson should be jailed, have to pay back the money, and be held accountable for her deplorable actions. She only told the truth with “strings attached” as a form of blackmail. Rape is a serious matter, not a tool in a money making scam…