A white man who shot and killed a Black man after an altercation that allegedly started when the Black man complimented his girlfriend, has been sentenced to 10 years in state prison.
Last year, 28-year-old Ian Cranston was charged with second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, second-degree manslaughter, first-degree assault, and two counts of unlawful use of a weapon in the shooting death of 22-year-old Barry Washington Jr. in downtown Bend, Oregon. Washington allegedly complimented the white man’s equally white girlfriend leading to a physical altercation that ended in a white coward pulling his gun out and taking an unarmed Black man’s life. Naturally, a lot of people thought the attack was racially motivated, but that couldn’t be proven in court so there were no hate crime enhancements added to the charges.
In fact, according to KATU, a jury convicted Cranston of five of the six charges but acquitted him of send-degree murder, hence the relatively light 10-year sentence accompanied by three years of parole.
“I can’t imagine how you couldn’t want to do it differently,” Judge Beth Bagley said during sentencing. “Everybody here lost, some much more than others.”
Cranston’s attorneys argued during trial that their client acted in self-defense after Washington punched him in the head twice. Prosecutors argued that a full 30 seconds had passed between the time Washington punched him and the moment Cranston pulled his gun and fired the fatal shot. In other words, the fight that Cranston started had paused before the coward pulled his gun and started shooting after getting beat up.
Meanwhile, protesters gathered during sentencing to speak out against the killer and on behalf of the victim.
On the day of the sentencing, a group of protesters marched from the Deschutes County Courthouse to the corner where Washington was killed.
Several members of Washington’s family addressed the court and Cranston during the sentencing hearing Monday. In emotional testimonials, they spoke about his love for his family, basketball, and football.
Washington had only recently moved to Central Oregon before his killing.
Lawanda Roberson, Washington’s mother, said she believed the shooting of her son was motivated by racism.
“Does anyone think that Cranston would have even noticed my son if he was not Black?” Roberson said.