Open Forum: Justice Delayed or Denied?

Augustus Bannis

On Aug. 15, 2015, a 73 year-old man was brutally beaten and left for dead in the D. Hamilton Jackson Park in Grove Place. Two months later, on Oct. 19, he succumbed to his wounds at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.

From the beating he remained in a comatose state, not being able to speak, respond to promptings, recognize his wife or do any of the things that came naturally.

On that fateful day, he left his home in Estate Upper Love for the very short trip to the park.  When he did not return, his wife, pastor and fellow church members went looking for him. Later that night they learned that a John Doe was taken by ambulance to the Governor Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center. Upon their arrival, the John Doe was quickly identified as Mr. Augustus Bannis, a husband, father, church deacon and friend of an unknown number of people.

Four years later, his family is still waiting for justice to be served. Although several individuals were arrested and charged with his killing, no one has been placed on trial. On at least two separate occasions, the case was placed on the court’s docket only to be discontinued. In preparation for a trial, the family, who has relocated, purchased tickets and made accommodations to return, only to be told days before that it was not going to happen. Now they are not sure that a trial would ever be had. Mrs. Bannis, who has had multiple health challenges, some related to the trauma of her husband’s death, is begging for closure.

“Please, please,” she cries, “Is this justice delayed or denied?”