Detroit mom, activist Siwatu-Salama Ra released from prison pending appeal

Posted at 6:00 PM, Nov 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-14 18:28:21-05

She says she pulled out a gun to stop a woman from attacking her family, then for that was sent to prison. 

The 26-year-old Detroit activist was released Wednesday, pending the appeal of her sentence.

“There shall not be any firearms in the home,” the judge stipulated as he granted her release on bond.

Rhonda Anderson walked out of the courtroom, overwhelmed as a judge ruled her daughter would be freed.

“Because she was trying to protect me, she is in this place now. That is all she did was try to protect me,” said Anderson.

Anderson says her daughter is innocent and a productive member of society.  She worked for her community as the co-director of the East Michigan Environmental Council.  

Anderson says Ra acted in self-defense when a woman on probation for violence became angry that her daughter was asked to leave the family’s house. 

The woman allegedly revved her engine and swerved towards Ra’s family. Ra pulled out an unloaded gun and told the woman to leave.

“That woman came so close and brushed up against me with her car. That is what triggered her to do something,” said Anderson.

“Not only were there not shots fired, the gun was not loaded. She was using this gun as a deterrent to keep her family safe, to get this person to leave,” said Wade Fink, her defense attorney.

Attorney Wade Fink has appealed, saying the jury was incorrectly told they needed evidence Ra feared for her life to justify brandishing an unloaded weapon.  

He says that is true when deadly force is used.  

He argues since the gun was unloaded, this was actually non-deadly force, which under the law only needs to be reasonable.

The appeal also argues that the jury should have been allowed to hear that the woman Ra pointed the gun at had a history of violence and was a felon on probation.  It could provide a motive for her to lie, to prevent a probation violation. 

It also may have impacted the jury’s decision that there was no evidence she feared for her life.

Ra’s husband left court wearing his wife’s wedding ring around his neck.

“I wear it every day. Just because she is not with it doesn’t break our bond. It doesn’t dissolve our marriage,” said Kamal Muhammad.

This afternoon he got to give her that ring back as she was released. She was immediately reunited with the baby she gave birth to in prison and her toddler.

The family says they realize the case is not over.  She is simply out, pending appeal.