Later this morning in America

People still want to discuss the ongoing ghastliness in Ferguson, MO, but the thread dedicated to that in Good Morning, America is getting old…and as a spam defensive measure, commenting on posts older than three months is automatically shut down. No exceptions allowed.

So here’s a fresh new post to accumulate comments!


  1. rq says

    Chief Believes Officers Followed Protocol In Shooting Of Teen Suspect. Maybe they should take a look at that protocol. No other new info.

    Looking forward to having discussions with Black folks from the disability justice mvmt. Let’s uplift all our stories. #BlackLivesMatter

    The Women of #BlackLivesMatter

    Like many of those in the #BlackLivesMatter movement, Elzie came into activism not through an organization or institution, but through Twitter. Many of those new activists and organizers, like Elzie, have been women. As a result, the visible leadership of Ferguson protest, in comparison to that of past civil-rights struggles, has been much less male. I talked to Elzie by phone about how women have been involved in the protests, and what that means for the movement. […]

    Conversations around police brutality issues have centered mostly on incidents with black men or boys: Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice. Given that, what role do women have in the #BlackLivesMatter protests, or why are women important to the movement?

    In the beginning, the first 21 days, when we were under militarized police occupation, I can say for sure it was way more women than men in those streets. So many black women put their bodies on the line for this cause, because we birthed the people that the police are killing. So not only are we out there for ourselves, but we’re out there for our husbands, our boyfriends, our kids, our cousins, our nephews. Because we’re the ones who keep birthing black people, basically.

    So it is interesting to see the dynamics change when it was time to have meetings and private phone calls and the back door stuff. I’d go to these places and it would be predominantly male, predominantly heterosexual black men. There would be little representation of everyone else that was out there in the streets. It was overwhelming at first. People wanted to be able to say that I was there, but I would be silenced or people would speak for me instead of asking me. People would speak ahead. There would always be some man who would answer the question for me while I’m trying to talk.

    There was a lot of discussion about the moment when you and Erika Totten got on stage to speak at the Justice For All March in D.C. despite the fact that Al Sharpton’s National Action Network didn’t really seem to want you there. Is there a change in terms of the amount of women participating in these protests versus the civil-rights movement?

    Compared to the civil-rights movement, I think it’s the same amount of women. It’s just that in our case, we are fortunate enough to not be silenced. There are many wonderful black women who made the civil-rights movement move, but you don’t know their stories. You have to go dig for them. You really have to do your research to find out who Ella Baker is.
    Not only are we out there for ourselves, but we’re also there for our husbands, our boyfriends, our kids, our cousins, our nephews.

    But now … I feel like this movement is so all-inclusive because blackness is all-inclusive. Blackness is not just black striaght men. There are gay men in this work doing amazing work. There are queer folks. There are trans folks. There are gay and lesbian folks, bisexual, there are religious black people, There are atheist black people. I am not religious at all, and I’m still doing this work in the name of love and in the name of loving black people.

    So I think this time around, as far as being proud of who you are, and being proud of being black, we are able to include everything and everybody who wants to play a role. Why would it be just straight black men talking about the plight of black people, when there are mothers who lose their children to police brutality, there are aunts and uncles and grandmas and grandparents. Police brutality doesn’t care about your gender. It doesn’t care if you’re light-skinned or dark-skinned. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that we include all the different types of people who fall in the category of black.

    Do you see #BlackLivesMatter as a feminist issue?

    Oooh. That one I just don’t know. Because not everyone working in the work is a feminist. Somedays I feel like I am, somedays I feel like I’m not. When I went out on August 9, it wasn’t because I was concerned about feminism. It was because I was concerned about black people. So, no, I don’t know how to answer that question.

    Do you consider yourself a feminist? You sound somewhat conflicted.

    I am conflicted. (laughs) I tweet about this all the time. In the beginning of the movement, people would say, “Oh, this young black feminist,” and I would say, who? I didn’t call myself that. So some days I feel if it’s strictly about equality and things of that nature, then yes. And some days I read opinions and tweets that people say and I’m like, that’s not what I agree with.

    I was talking to Erika Totten and Jamilah Lemieux from Ebony in great detail about feminism. Because they’re both feminists, and they both get it and have eloquent ways of describing feminism and black feminism, because there is a difference between black feminism and feminism. And they explained to me in several different ways that it’s really what you make it, and it’s about addressing issues that face black women, black trans women, and I get it when they say it. But when it’s me by myself, I don’t know what I think about feminism.

    But I’m definitely open to the conversation which is why I keep talking to them about it. Or they keep talking to me! They’re both like, “You’re a feminist. Stop it.”

    Has social media made it easier for women to be involved in the movement?

    I think so. In the beginning—DeRay Mckeeson has pointed this out to me—there was a chart which showed how the Ferguson movement was involved in social media growth. And of the four people who had the biggest growth early on, there was Antonio French, there were two other men, and there was me. Just a 25-year-old black girl from St. Louis, just because I was in the streets every day.

    And I think that definitely played a role in me believing I was making an impact. So twitter definitely helped me elevate my voice, and elevate the message of what was happening to us on West Florissant. And it helped me tell the story of what was happening.

    Has it helped you connect with other women as well?

    It has. I have met some amazing women during this — what are we on? Day 160. In these 160 days I’ve met some of the most brilliant, smart, and beautiful black women ever. And they’ve changed my life. I’ve never felt so empowered before; I’ve never felt that I’ve had such a true purpose in life. Being around these super-smart black women, I’ve been wrapped in love. Like a cocoon almost. It’s just so nurturing and loving. It’s nice to have sisterhood in struggle.

  2. chigau (違う) says

    rq (this page #3)
    They could have subdued him with a choke-hold.
    ’cause that would be OK.
    or something

  3. rq says

    Subdued? I didn’t see anything there to subdue!! He pulls the knife out afteR they shoot at him the first time and sic the dog on him. Then he turns to run and they shoot.
    And shooting guys like that is okay anyway, they weren’t close enough for the choke-hold… :P
    It’s disgusting. And then they let the dog at him, too. After he’s most likely already dead. Just for kicks or what I don’t know.
    Of course, this is just my opinion as someone untrained in the wise ways of a militaristic overarmed police officer travelling in a pack.


    Mostly articles but a mixed bag of all kinds of things. Let’s start with a couple from the Wonkette:
    Black Yale Student, NYT Columnist’s Son, Pretty Obvious Criminal To Area Cops

    On Saturday, Tahj Blow, a third-year Yale student, was walking from the library to his dorm when he was stopped by a police officer, who told Tahj to “turn around.” Then the cop raised his gun, and told Tahj to get on the ground. It was probably pretty obvious to the police officer that Tahj was a criminal, because of how black he was, and how the police were looking for a black guy who had allegedly committed a burglary at some point that week, and will you look at that, here’s a black guy. Huh!

    But oops, Tahj is actually a third-year Yale student, who lives at Yale and sometimes walks around the Yale campus while being black. And, also, Tahj’s dad is Charles Blow, a famous New York Times columnist, so there is no way this story was ever going to be told, just kidding. Charles Blow, who is also black, and probably also even walks around in public places while being black, and obviously had The Talk with Tahj about what to do when you are a young black man who is stopped by the police (because black parents don’t really have a choice about that), wrote that he was terrified and furious about what happened:

    Why was a gun drawn first? Why was he not immediately told why he was being detained? Why not ask for ID first?

    What if my son had panicked under the stress, having never had a gun pointed at him before, and made what the officer considered a “suspicious” movement? Had I come close to losing him? Triggers cannot be unpulled. Bullets cannot be called back.

    Anyway, we are very sad this happened to Tahj Blow and we are extremely happy that he wasn’t shot dead, and we hope that everyone reads Charles Blow’s column about it, and everything is terrible.

    And – GOP Senate Drops Words ‘Civil Rights’ From Subcommittee About Civil Rights, Because They Get It

    Okay, this Subcommittee has jurisdiction over constitutional and statutory civil rights matters, human rights laws, separation of powers issues, and constitutional amendments. So, the only real damage it can do is report out bills that would impact issues like voting rights, gay marriage, abortion rights, and firearms legislation. It’s no big, just chill out, everyone. Corwyn said in a press release that he would “pledge to protect aggressively the U.S. Constitution and hold those who overstep it accountable for their actions.” Great, we are excited to see Cornyn act “aggressively” and we will make sure we are wearing body armor when that happens, because have you seen his legislative priorities? They are guns, repealing Obamacare, Stopping Ladies from Having Abortions, Securing Our Borders Against Brown People, and guns.

    St. Louis aldermen to hold hearing on civilian oversight board of police department

    The proposal came after the unrest in Ferguson, where proponents have said civilians should have a voice in policing and should be able to hold police officers accountable for possible misconduct. Opponents say such a board could prevent officers from doing their jobs by creating an additional layer of bureaucracy at a time when crime is rising and officers have become hesitant to engage in preventive crime fighting methods. For example, arrests have dropped by 40 percent since July.

    Under the measure, the St. Louis Civilian Oversight Board would have the authority to investigate allegations of police misconduct, research and assess police policies, operations and procedures and make findings and recommendations. It would also be able to independently review evidence and witness statements from investigations by police internal affairs. The board would report its findings to the city’s public safety director and police chief.

    The board would be made up of seven members nominated by the mayor and approved by the Board of Aldermen. They would not be paid. Nominees must be city residents. They can’t hold public office or be related to employees of the police department. Each member would have a specific district that spans several city wards.

    I suppose having a meeting on this within less than six months of the subject being brought up is pretty good.

    Here again on that girl in Texas: 17-Year-Old Girl Shot Dead By Three Cops At Texas Police Station

    The incident, at this point, is shrouded in mystery. Officials could not “confirm the type of weapon Coignard brandished at the officers.” Beyond the alleged, unspecified weapon, virtually no details about the events that immediately preceded Coignard’s death have been released.

    Coignard was living in Longview with her Aunt, Heather Robertson. In an interview with ThinkProgress, Robertson raised questions about the circumstances of Coignard’s death. “I think it was a cry for help. I think they could have done something. They are grown men. I think there is something they are not telling us.”

    Robertson said that her niece had been struggling with mental illness, including depression and bipolar disorder, since her mother died when she was four. She had been hospitalized twice in recent years after suicide attempts. One time, she tried to hang herself. Another time, she drank toilet bowl cleaner. Since arriving in Longview in December, Coignard had been taking medication and regularly seeing a therapist. She had no criminal record and “was only violent with herself, ” Robertson said.

    Robertson and Coignard’s grandmother, Holly McGuire, spoke to a Longview police officer on the night Coignard was killed for about 30 minutes. They were provided with few details of what transpired but were told that a video of the incident, including sound, exists. They have not been contacted by the Texas Rangers.

    Kristian Brian, a spokesperson for the Longview Police Department, declined to comment further on the case, citing the ongoing investigation by the Texas Rangers. Brian did confirm that a video of the incident exists.

    So again a failure to properly engage someone who has mental illness and isn’t presenting any obvious threat. Or perhaps I should wait until the video is released.

    In case you were starting to think ‘well, heck, at least the police apologise when they do someone wrong!’. Man accidentally shot by D.C. police while getting haircut didn’t receive apology.

    “I jumped out the chair, I tried to run, but my leg locked up on me and I fell on the ground,” said 22-year-old James Kearse, recalling the moment he got shot while getting his hair cut at a barber shop on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue.

    Police shot at a man suspected of armed robbery who dropped a pellet gun. They missed and the stray bullet struck Kearse in his right hip. The bullet remains lodged in his pelvis.

    “Waves of pain, waves of pain,” he said.

    The barbers at Next Level Cuts were furious.

    “It was reckless on the police behalf,” said barber Keith Pruden. “Children visit this shop all the time to get their hair cut.”

    Kearse’s problem with the police is that he has heard nothing from them since the accidental shooting.

    “Nothin’, nothin’ at all,” he said. “They didn’t call, they didn’t send a card, they didn’t do nothin’. At all.”

    Kearse said he later heard that the officer who shot him rendered aid until the ambulance arrived. He said another officer questioned him briefly at the hospital, but did not apologize.

    “I thought I’d [have] heard from them the same day or the day after, that week—somethin’,” Kearse said.

    Kearse was getting his hair cut for a job interview that’s now gone.

    “I think it took about two months to get that interview and when I got it, this happened,” he said.

    Now, Kearse spends a lot of time with his 11-year-old dog, Midnight.

    “I just wish it ain’t happen,” he said.

    The Chief plans on calling him soon. Probably within the next year or so, if she remembers.

    Annnd Kendrick Johnson, young man who died accidentally by falling into a rolled up gym mat. Media booted from KJ courtroom – to be clear, from the courtroom where his parents and other family members are undergoing due legal process for protesting the ‘accidental’ ruling in their son’s death.

    A Times reporter, a citizen journalist and two television reporters were escorted from State Court Judge Mark Mitchell’s courtroom after jury selection resumed following a lunch break.

    The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office deputy who removed the journalists from the courtroom said she was following the direction of Judge Mitchell and offered no other explanation.

    The courtroom remained open to the public while the journalists were told to wait in an adjacent courtroom until jury selection was over.

    Attorney David Hudson, general counsel for the Georgia Press Association, said late Monday, “ The U.S. and Georgia Supreme Courts have repeatedly held that there is a right for the public to be present in all court proceedings. And in one case it gave the defendant the right to challenge his conviction because the courtroom was closed for part of the proceedings.”

    Kenneth and Jackie Johnson and five of their family members are on trial for allegedly interfering with government property, charges stemming from an April 2013 protest at the entrance of the Lowndes County Judicial Complex.

    The Johnsons’ son, Kendrick Johnson, was found dead upside down in a vertically-stored gym mat at Lowndes High School in January 2013. A state autopsy ruled the 17-year-old’s death accidental. The Johnson family insists their son died of foul play.

  4. rq says

    Alright, let’s keep going.
    The Prosecutor Who Filed Murder Charges Against The Cops Is Becoming A Police Target

    Just a day after DA Kari Brandenburg announced for the first time in recent memory that she would pursue criminal charges against cops for an on-duty deadly shooting, there was another police shooting in the city, which has seen a spate of fatal police shootings since 2010 at eight times the rate of New York City.

    And when a prosecutor from Brandenburg’s office went to the scene and sought to attend an investigative briefing, as prosecutors had been doing for years as part of their collection of evidence, police wouldn’t let her in. They claimed that now that the DA’s office had filed criminal charges against a cop, they had a “conflict of interest” and should be excluded.

    “Clearly, this could compromise the integrity of the investigation of this shooting,” an outraged Brandenburg told KRQE of the police department’s behavior.

    But this isn’t the only way Brandenburg may have paid for her decision to file murder charges. Buried deep in an expansive New Yorker report on Albuquerque’s investigation of police shootings, reporter Rachel Aviv lays out how Brandenburg may have faced other personal pressures aimed at intimidating her out of using her enforcement powers. […]

    Last October, Brandenburg told an attorney for the police union that she was considering filing charges against the cops who killed James Boyd, a homeless schizophrenic man approached by the officers for sleeping in the Albuquerque foothills. “Within weeks, Brandenburg found herself the target of an investigation by the Albuquerque Police Department,” Aviv explains.

    The investigation related to theft by Brandenburg’s son, who had stolen money from friends to feed his heroin addiction. Brandenburg had offered to pay back the victims of the theft, and somewhere along the way, police developed a claim that Brandenburg had bribed witnesses related to the case.

    A detective working on the case admitted in a recording that the claims were “super-weak — it’s probably not gonna go anywhere,” but “it’s gonna destroy her career.” […]

    Despite this perceived intimidation, Brandenburg has some reason to feel more empowered than most prosecutors most of the time who are mulling filing charges against their own police departments. Albuquerque has faced a rash of police shootings that has garnered national attention. The 37 police shootings that have rocked the small city since 2010 engendered a 10-hour protest months before events unfolded in Ferguson, Missouri. The cops involved in many of these shootings were hardly punished at all, with officers in some cases merely suspended for three days. And in the wake of all of this, a scathing U.S. Department of Justice report found rampant constitutional violations in police use of force.

    The city is now in the final stages of entering into an agreement with the Justice Department to improve some of its police practices. And part of what will become a court-enforceable agreement if approved by a judge is a mandate that “charges be filed against a shooting officer if they are warranted,” according to KRQE’s Jeff Proctor.

    Nonetheless, while in most cities like Ferguson it has been the community members who have called for a special prosecutor to investigate police shootings to avoid the bias of working with police on a regular basis, it is now the local police in Albuquerque who are asking for a special prosecutor to replace Brandenburg. And they only started asking after she filed charges against a police officer for the very first time.

    “Given recent incidents,” Chief Administrative Officer Robert Perry wrote in a letter to Brandenburg, “it is imperative the Community have confidence in the Police Department, prosecution, and justice system.”

    I wonder if any of that has to do with the fact that she is a woman, as well? Good on her for bringing charges in the first place. I hope she doesn’t get scared away.

    #Denver 2 Weeks. 2 Faces. Learn their names. #SharodKindell – shot 4 times, in jail #JessieHernandez – murdered

    More on Sharod Kindell (who didn’t die, but was denied medical aid after being shot in jail): Justice for Sharod Kindell

    Call in campaign for Sharod Kindell, currently being held in solitary confinement in Denver City Jail in desperate need of medical care. Mainstream media coverage on Sharod has been virtually non-existent. We are asking for folks to call the Denver City Jail and demand the following utilizing a firm though polite tone so as not to negatively impact Sharod’s legal situation. There has also been a noise demo called for at 5PM by his family, at the Denver City Jail. […]

    According to folks who were on the scene; On January 9th at 7:45 pm Sharod was pulled up on by the police and when police began detaining him he asked them “what have I done? I know my rights.” It is then alleged that the cops immediately reached into his car and opened the door and pulled him out of his car. At the time the car was in reverse and when he was pulled out of his car the car hit an officer and they are charging him with assaulting the police.

    According to eye witness testimony upon surrendering he was shot 4 times and over 12 shots were heard. He was surrendering with his hands up. Once through the palm, once in the arm, once in the groin(this wound remains open and oozing)and once in the leg(his femoral artery was hit and he almost bled out). He spent a very short time at Denver Health before they released him to the jail where he has sat in solitary ever since. He is in serious pain and needs medication. His family is requesting that we wage a call in campaign against the jail and demand that he get medication for the pain he is in and better conditions.

    In a similar case of people attacking cops with cars, apparently the car driven by Jesse Hernandez only hit the cop after they shot her…. but dammit, I lost the link for that. Actually, it may be in the video here Witness to DPD shooting tells her story , I’m sorry there’s no transcript!!

    Interlude, entertainment analysis: Minorities on the Bachelor: When do they get eliminated?

    Ever notice how on reality TV shows, there’s always a “token minority”?

    A single person, usually African-American, is thrown into an otherwise entirely Caucasian show to make it seem more diverse.

    Last week, the only minority on Chris Soule’s season of The Bachelor was eliminated.

    Of course, there are many reasons why someone might be eliminated aside from racial preferences. But what if we zoomed out and looked at past seasons too? How far do the “token minority” contestants actually get?

    Is The Bachelor making a genuine effort at racial inclusion, or are they just throwing in a token character? [… – nice chart cmparing the seasons]

    I expected to see 1 or 2 minorities every season, quickly eliminated in the first week or two. And that’s the trend up until 2012 — just one minority per season, eliminated early on. And not a single minority in Brad’s season.

    But to my pleasant surprise, all that changes in 2013. Sean Lowe’s season has a record 6 minorities. And one of them won — Catherine is half-Filipino. Juan Pablo’s season has a good showing too, with 3 minorities who made it pretty far. […]

    In 2012, a class action racial discrimination lawsuit was brought against The Bachelor for under-representing minorities. A judge later dismissed the case, citing it was the show’s First Amendment right to cast whomever they wanted.

    That controversy might explain the spike in minorities in 2013.

    You might notice an odd parallel in the number of minorities for each season on The Bachelor vs. The Bachelorette. Which makes me wonder if the producers set a quota each year that they must fill.

    This year, Chris Soule’s season is back down to 1 minority. Now that the racial controversy has blown over, are we back to token minority status?

    I hope not.

  5. rq says

    Innocent North Carolina Man Freed After 37 Years in Prison. He is now 70. :(

    Mr. Sledge was convicted of two counts of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison in the deaths of a mother and her adult daughter in Elizabethtown, North Carolina, in 1976.

    In 2012, while cleaning out a high shelf in an evidence room, court clerks found a key piece of evidence needed to do DNA testing that would exonerate Mr. Sledge. That discovery led to the case being referred to the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission, a state-run investigative agency that started operating in 2007. Mr. Sledge is the eighth person exonerated after an investigation by the commission, which has reviewed and closed about 1500 cases.

    The Innocence Inquiry Commission interviewed dozens of people and discovered crime scene evidence and investigators’ notes that local sheriff’s deputies had said for years had been lost or destroyed. It spent $60,000 on forensic testing.

    The commission found enough evidence of Mr. Sledge’s innocence to refer his case to a special three-judge panel appointed by the state Supreme Court. The panel heard testimony that none of the evidence from the scene, including hair, DNA, and fingerprints, belonged to Mr. Sledge. The key jailhouse informant signed an affidavit in 2013 recanting his trial testimony and saying he lied at the 1978 trial after authorities promised him leniency in his own case and coached him on what to say.

    As prosecutors have done in several other Innocence Commission exonerations, Columbus County district attorney Jon David told the judges he had become convinced that Mr. Sledge is innocent. Mr. David said Friday that he regretted the system’s weaknesses and any part that court officials played in it. “There’s nothing we regret more to our values as prosecutors than to believe an innocent person is in prison,” Mr. David said. He offered Mr. Sledge an apology.

    An apology and $750 000. Sounds reasonable, RIGHT?
    Alternatively, perhaps those high shelves in the evidence room should be cleaned more regularly.

    Ah, yes – Police Department Refuses To Release Use Of Force Policies Because ‘Criminals Might Gain An Advantage’. Sounds legit.

    The young cop didn’t understand the law, but he wasn’t about to let a citizen who did explain it to him. So, he shoved, tased and threw the uncooperative citizen to the ground. He had no legal reason to make this stop (the law he enforced wasn’t actually a law) but he was “reasonable” in his belief that every Texas vehicle should have an inspection sticker.

    But is it a good idea to tase elderly men who won’t immediately kowtow to someone who clearly isn’t interested in hearing the “illegal” act he’s getting all excited about isn’t actually legal? Photography Is Not A Crime tried to find out.

    [W]e figured it couldn’t take that long to read through the use of force policy, so we made a public records request, only to be told by the city’s legal department that releasing the policy “could impair an officer’s ability to arrest a suspect by placing individuals at an advantage in confrontations with police.”

    This rationale is deployed far too frequently in order to keep law enforcement documents locked up. PINAC points out that other police departments have released use of force policies to the public and somehow managed to still effectively enforce the law. Why not the Victoria PD? Perhaps it felt the release of the document would give the 76-year-old Pete Vasquez an unfair advantage the next time he’s approached by an officer for a crime he didn’t commit. Can’t have the public redefining the terms of engagement by using the police officer’s own terms of engagement against him.

    And it’s not as if though policies are followed closely or strictly enforced. Past abuses show that police officers frequently use more force than is necessary and rarely, if ever, suffer any long-term consequences for these actions.

    Despite the department’s stupid refusal to release the policy, it has at least manned up about the young officer’s behavior.

    Chief Craig has determined based on the evidence, that Officer Robinson violated three areas of policy and sustained allegations regarding violations of the following departmental policies.

    1) Policy 0.216 – Conduct and Performance, Section 2.15
    2) Policy 03.03 – Use of Force Section 1
    3) Policy 0.0305- Arrest without a Warrant Section 3

    Based on the findings of the administrative investigation, Nathaniel Robinson’s employment with the Victoria Police Department has been terminated.

    Now that he’s been dismissed, Robinson won’t be in any hurry to explain why he felt it necessary to resort to violence over a “missing” (but not really, according to the actual law) inspection tag. Is this really the sort of crime where use of force policies need to come into play, especially when the perp is four times the age of the officer? I guess we’ll never know. The Victoria PD doesn’t want to talk about its policies. It did the right thing by dumping a dangerous officer, but its accountability doesn’t end there. If those being policed are going to develop any further understanding of the PD’s use of force, they need to have access to that document. Pretending the release will help perps escape cops is a cheap dodge.

    (As an aside, loved the sexist terminology about the department ‘manning up’ about the officer’s behaviour. Could have done better there, progressive media.)

    Something more heartwarming, about giving back to the community. J. Cole Will Let Single Mothers Live at 2014 Forest Hills Drive for Free

    As part of the promotion of 2014 Forest Hills Drive, Cole actually invited fans from social media into his childhood home in Fayetteville, N.C., for exclusive listening sessions. In 2014 Forest Hills Drive, Cole discussed the trials he faced growing up, including the time his mother lost the house, and his decision to buy it back. Although he no longer lives in the house, in a recent interview with The Combat Jack Show, Cole explained how excited he had been to move into the now-popular address, and how he plans on giving back to single mothers and kids.

    “Nah, I don’t really live there,” Cole stated. “What we gon’ do, we still working it out right now. Obviously it’s a detailed, fragile situation I don’t wanna play with. My goal is to have that be a haven for families. So every two years a new family will come in, they live rent-free. The idea is that it’s a single mother with multiple kids, and she’s coming from a place where all her kids is sharing a room. She might have two, three kids, they’re sharing a room. She gets to come here rent-free. I want her kids to feel how I felt when we got to the house.”

    J. Cole, you win at life, especially when you go out of your way to make someone else’s easier.

    Video with the full interview at the link.

    CopScore! The About page is… a video. :P I will see about finding a transcript somewhere online, but the page is basically a way to rate cops online.

    ‘Rent is Too Damn High’ party candidate faces eviction in NYC

    McMillan – a 68-year-old Vietnam War veteran – is being forced out of his apartment because his landlord says McMillan’s primary residence is actually in Brooklyn. As a result, McMillan has been served with an eviction notice ordering him out of his $872 per month, rent-stabilized East Village apartment. […]

    McMillan is seeking damages and will be representing himself in court. His complaint states that his landlord, Lisco Holdings LLC, has been trying to get rid of low-paying tenants like him so it can rent the place out for more money.

    A tactic used by landlords to do this involves not cashing the rent checks they receive, and then making the case in court that the tenant owes them money. In this case, the landlord allegedly changed the locks on McMillan’s apartment and defied a Housing Court order to deliver a new key, forcing McMillan to obtain one on his own. […]

    The outspoken McMillan has run as a candidate in multiple political races over 21 years, including for governor of New York in 2010. As founder of “The Rent Is Too Damn High Party,” he is against high rent and property taxes for homeowners. He believes that lowering rent and cutting taxes will ease financial stress and help eradicate hunger and poverty, as well as raise tax revenue.

    And bad news in Baltimore. City, counties, advocates pore through budget for impact of cuts

    Baltimore’s school system, county and municipal governments, and conservation advocates were among those disappointed Friday by the $39 billion spending plan for the 12 months starting July 1.

    The city’s schools would absorb the largest cuts in education aid of any jurisdiction in the state — by percentage and total dollars. […]

    Gregory Thornton, CEO of the Baltimore school system, learned that the district would lose nearly $36 million in aid, a 3.9 percent cut.

    “Our entire team at city schools is reviewing the governor’s budget and carefully evaluating how the proposed cuts will impact our students, staff, schools, teachers and partners. We are disappointed that despite having the highest concentration of poverty in the state, Baltimore city schools suffered the deepest cuts of any [school system],” he said in a statement.

    Hogan administration officials, speaking on condition that they not be identified, said the reason Baltimore’s cut was so deep is that the city is not as poor as it used to be. Baltimore’s wealth relative to the rest of the state has increased because of the construction of luxury homes along the Inner Harbor, they said.

    Sounds good, doesn’t it, cutting school funding because the city is wealthy – I wonder how that funding will be split between schools in richer areas and those in poorer ones?

  6. rq says

    TW for suicide. Former Fox News Employee Commits Suicide In Front of NYC Office

    Phillip Perea, a former promotion producer at Fox News, shot and killed himself out front of the company’s building in Manhattan on Monday morning. The former employee was the victim of highly publicized bullying from management at the company, which ultimately resulted in the loss of his job. It has also been speculated by many that that he was railroaded out of his position because a local police officer was not happy with how a police brutality story was covered.

    Over the past several months, Perea has been releasing a series of YouTube videos, which provide extensive details about his time at Fox, and the circumstances leading to his termination.

    Perea’s troubles at Fox began in July, when he covered a story about a female jogger named Amanda Jo Stephen who was assaulted by police for jaywalking. Perea posted a picture where the angry officer was standing next to the crying jogger, and apparently Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo ended up contacting the station to complain.

    Perea then experienced intense bullying from management at Fox, and when things got really bad, he actually recorded some of the conversations and later posted them on YouTube. The videos, which were titled “The American Workplace Bully: How FOX News Ended My Career” even featured a recording from the moment he was fired.

    His last video was posted on the morning of his death, and in it he said “there can be no righteous cause without a sacrifice.”

    9 Black Men Convicted in SC of Trespassing at a Whites-Only Lunch Counter Will Have Their Records Wiped Clean – took a few years, dinnit?

    Nine African-American men—one posthumously—are expected to have their criminal records wiped clean of a trespassing conviction they got in 1961 when they staged a sit-in at a whites-only lunch counter in South Carolina, the Associated Press reports.

    On Wednesday a South Carolina prosecutor will ask a judge “to vacate the arrests and convictions” of the group known as the Friendship Nine. They were referred to as such because all but one attended Friendship Junior College at the time of the sit-in, which was staged at a variety store in Rock Hill, S.C. According to AP, a judge “is expected” to vacate the convictions.

    Although desegregation sit-ins were an integral part of the civil rights movement, being convicted trespassers didn’t bode well for African-American men. According to AP, the men say they will be relieved when they’re free of that mark on their record.

    When convicted in 1961, all nine men—Thomas Gaither, Willie McCleod, Robert McCullough, W.T. “Dub” Massey, Clarence Graham, James Wells, David Williamson Jr., John Gaines and Mack Workman—chose to do a month of hard labor in a chain gang rather than have civil rights groups post bail, which would have financially benefited the segregationists. All of the men are still alive except for McCullough, who died in 2006.

    “It’s been a long wait,” Graham said during a phone interview with AP. “We are sure now that we made the right decision for the right reason. Being nonviolent was the best thing that we could have done.”

    Interlude: Fashion in France!!! This French Clothing Company Called Its Collection “Last N****s In Paris”

    During one point in the presentation, Touitou held up a sign with the name, and said, “I call this one look ‘Last N****as in Paris.’ Why? Because it’s the sweet spot when the hood — the ‘hood — meets Bertolucci’s movie Last Tango in Paris.” […]

    “I made looks which are a crossover of those two references: The Timberland shoes and the sweat pants are iconic of hip-hop, and the camel hair color coat, worn with nothing under it, is iconic of that precise movie,” he said.

    “I am friends with Kanye. … As a matter of fact, when I came up with this idea, I wrote to him, with the picture of the look and the name I was giving to it, and he wrote back immediately saying something like, ‘I love this vibe.’” […]

    A representative from A.P.C.’s press department told BuzzFeed Life, “During the A.P.C. presentation in Paris Jean Touitou made a reference to two moments in recent popular culture. One being the song “Niggas in Paris” by Kanye West and Jay Z and the second being the Bernardo Bertolucci film “Last Tango in Paris.” The connection was used to describe a look for the collection and was in no way intended to cause offense.”

    Two videos on Jesse Hernandez, one from her family, the other from the vigil in her honour.
    Family Of Jessica Hernandez Confront DA’s Office

    16-year-old Jessica Hernandez was murdered by members of Denver’s largest gang, DPD. The Denver Police shot Jessie dead on the morning of Monday January 27, 2015 while she was in a car with four of her teenage friends. Information is limited as the gang leaders (DA’s office) refuses to release any information let alone condemn the murder of a child. But from eyewitness account as well as friends and family it is clear beyond doubt that the police did not need to shoot and kill young Jessie.

    Jessie Hernandez Vigil

    Jessie Hernandez was only sixteen years-old when she was murdered by Denver Police on January 26, 2015. Some of her friends spoke to cameras during a vigil for her. Because of the police taking up the roles of judge, jury and executioner a child will not get to realize her dreams. A mother will only see her child in dreams.

    Be warned, they are both extremely emotional. Have tissues handy.

    This, as posted by David in the Lounge: An amazing woman fields a troll on MLK Day and it was nothing short of inspirational. Warning for horrific racism, and as it’s a series of tweets, so blockquoting is being annoying – but let me say, that woman’s patience is legendary. And excellent use of MLK quotes.

  7. rq says

    Woman in Florida ‘stand your ground’ case released from jail. That’s Marissa Alexander.

    Marissa Alexander was sentenced on Tuesday to the 1,095 days she has already served in jail after pleading guilty to three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for the 2010 shooting.

    She also received two years of house arrest.

    The 34-year-old faced 60 years if convicted at trial because of Florida’s minimum-mandatory-sentencing law pertaining to firearm use.

    The jury at her first trial found her guilty after deliberating for 12 minutes.

    The verdict was thrown out after a judge ruled the trial court incorrectly required Alexander to prove she was abused by her husband.

    From what I understand, she still needs to wear (and pay for!) the ankle bracelet tracking her.
    A couple of twitter reactions: We welcome #MarissaAlexander home, while condemning @AngelaCorey’s prosecution & the criminalization of Black women. (There’s a depressing infographic attached to this one.)
    There’s still a long road ahead of fighting for many women of color who are incarcerated for self-defense. #MarissaAlexander

    Rapper 2 Chainz wants to run for mayor of College Park, Georgia.

    2 Chainz already proved he can debate during his recent spirited conversation with Nancy Grace about the legalization of pot.

    Now the hip-hop star is thinking about politics – specifically, mayor of his hometown of College Park, Georgia.

    “I am looking forward to running at the end of this year or next year. [I’m] waiting to see if I meet all of the qualifications!” the “Mercy” rapper told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday. […]

    2 Chainz, legally known as Tauheed Epps, earned high marks as a student at Alabama State University, which he attended on a basketball scholarship.

    But the 37-year-old also has a few arrests for narcotics possession on his resume. His quest for mayoral supremacy would pit him against Jack Longino, who has served as College Park’s mayor since 1996.

    I say go for it and the best of luck!

  8. opposablethumbs says

    (x-posted from the Lounge)
    Seen on tumblr:

    What Would You Do? television show, showcases the contrast in responses to young white male criminals vs black criminals. Not only did people call the cops 10 times more to report the black vandals, but even sleeping black teenage boys were perceived to be more inherently threatening than the white teenagers who were actively vandalizing a car nearby.

    In two parts:
    (NB dislaimer: I haven’t checked out any of this myself, just going off the bits I saw on tumblr)

  9. rq says

  10. rq says

    This says a lot about the justice system. Exonerations Of The Wrongfully Convicted Hit Record High In The U.S. In 2014

    The states with the most exonerations last year were Texas, New York and Illinois, according to the National Registry of Exonerations, a project of the University of Michigan Law School. This was the first time the Registry, which has tracked exonerations since 1989, found more than 100 in a single year.

    Evidence that frees a prisoner may include DNA linking another person to the crime and evidence of perjury. In one case, Ohio native Ricky Jackson spent 39 years in prison for murder – making him the longest-held U.S. prisoner to be exonerated. He was freed last November after the witness admitted he hadn’t seen the crime.

    Of the total known exonerations in 2014, more than half were obtained at the initiative or with the cooperation of law enforcement – the highest number in a single year, the report found. Most of these were the work of “conviction integrity units” set up by prosecutors to review questionable cases.

    In one case, a Chicago judge dismissed charges against Alstory Simon after 15 years in prison for a double murder. Another man, Anthony Porter, had been convicted of the same crime in 1983, and sentenced to death but was released after Simon’s confession. […]

    “I think prosecutors are much more willing to see identifying errors as a positive part of their job, rather than as a misfortune they have to endure,” Gross said.

    Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim, whose office covers the northern suburbs of Chicago, started an independent panel made up of retired judges, defense and civil rights attorneys to review cases. He said prosecutors should be leading the charge against wrongful convictions.

    “We’re all on the same side – no prosecutor wants to wrongfully convict somebody,” said Nerheim. “We all want the truth.”

    Another reason for the large number of 2014 exonerations involves 33 drug cases in the Houston area. Prosecutors found that crime lab analysis came up negative for illegal drugs after defendants had already taken plea deals.

    More black homeowners are underwater […] A shattered foundation

    But today, the nation’s highest-income majority-black county stands out for a different reason — its residents have lost far more wealth than families in neighboring, majority-white suburbs. And while every one of these surrounding counties is enjoying a strong rebound in housing prices and their economies, Prince George’s is lagging far behind, and local economists say a full recovery appears unlikely anytime soon.

    The same reversal of fortune is playing out across the country as black families who worked painstakingly to climb into the middle class are seeing their financial foundation for future generations collapse. Although African Americans have made once-unthinkable political and social gains since the civil rights era, the severe and continuing damage wrought by the downturn — an entire generation of wealth was wiped out — has raised a vexing question: Why don’t black middle-class families enjoy the same level of economic security as their white counterparts?

    Instead, the slow-motion crisis operates mostly in private, limiting people’s options, constricting their vision and forcing a seemingly endless series of hard choices. Having your wealth vanish means making pivotal life decisions — about where to send your children to school, saving for college, making home improvements and setting aside something for retirement — knowing you have no financial leeway.

    “This big gorilla on your back, it changes you,” said Fred Bryant, 40, who lives with his wife and two daughters in a brick-front Colonial featuring a one-acre lot, high ceilings, an impressive two-story foyer and a mortgage far higher than the house is worth. “Sometimes you find yourself boiling mad when you shouldn’t be.” […]

    The Bryants owe just over $560,000 on their house, which they estimate is worth about $80,000 less than that. Since they moved in 2001, their monthly payment has more than doubled to nearly $3,900 a month — a predicament that arose because of an ill-advised refinancing into a loan whose terms the federal government now deems predatory.

    The couple have never missed a mortgage payment. But now they are struggling to hold on. They have pulled their two pre-teen daughters out of private school. They bought inexpensive used cars. Instead of going on vacation last summer, they took the girls to Six Flags America, a nearby amusement park. They have little saved for college or retirement.

    “We’re paying and paying, but we can’t get ahead,” Jennifer said. […]

    Overall, the survey found, the typical African American family was left with about eight cents for every dollar of wealth held by whites.

    Not only is African American wealth down, but the chances of a quick comeback seem bleak. Just over a decade ago, homeownership — the single biggest engine of wealth creation for most Americans — reached a historic high for African Americans, nearly 50 percent. Now the black homeownership rate has dipped under 43 percent, and the homeownership gap separating blacks and whites is at levels not seen in a century, according to Boston University researcher Robert A. Margo.

    “There was never a period in American history where the wealth gap was not enormous, but after this most recent recession, the wealth gap went from dismal to even worse,” said Darrick Hamilton, a professor of economics and urban policy at the New School in Manhattan.

    For a substantial number of African Americans who remain homeowners, their properties only hurt their net worth. According to the Fed survey, 1 in 7 owed more on their mortgages than their homes were worth in 2013, a sharp increase from 2010.

    By comparison, just 1 in 18 white homeowners was underwater, an improvement from 2010. Also, African Americans own fewer businesses, stocks and other equities than whites — assets that have all recovered sharply since the recession.

    Many researchers say the biggest portion of the wealth gap results from the strikingly different experiences blacks and whites typically have with homeownership. Most whites live in largely white neighborhoods, where homes often prove to be a better investment because people of all races want to live there. Predominantly black communities tend to attract a narrower group of mainly black buyers, dampening demand and prices, they say.

    The economic deck has been stacked against African Americans from the start. The vast majority of blacks emerged from slavery with no money. New Deal worker protections, from the Fair Labor Standards Act, which set a minimum wage, to Social Security, initially excluded the many African Americans who then labored as domestic workers and tenant farmers. The Federal Housing Administration’s loan policies excluded many of them from the homeownership deals that allowed many whites to move to the suburbs, helping them create wealth. Similarly, most African Americans were excluded from the GI Bill benefits that followed World War II.

    Even as the nation made astounding social progress that led to significant African American educational gains and the election of thousands of African American political leaders in offices up to the White House, economic progress has mostly lagged.

    African Americans were able to build some wealth as they moved to suburbs in large numbers beginning in the 1980s. That migration helped transform Prince George’s from a semi-rural, predominantly white county into a center of black political power and a magnet for a fast-expanding black middle class. The county became home to thousands of black-owned businesses, including many government contractors, and for the past two decades its political leadership has been largely African American.

    Fast-rising home prices that accompanied the housing boom seemed to herald a new day. But those gains proved to be short-lived. […]

    Later, Jayla followed her sister to private school. But the bills became a strain, even with the family’s income, which was well into six figures. With their home’s value rising, they took a home equity loan. Then after receiving a phone solicitation, they refinanced into an adjustable-rate mortgage that offered a teaser rate that gave them the option of making smaller monthly payments. Little did they know at the time, but that deal increased the size of their loan if, as was often the case, they made only the minimum monthly payment.

    That decision created a financial problem that would have solved itself had their home’s value gone up. Instead, it crashed — and has yet to fully recover. Meanwhile, the Bryants can only hope that will change sometime soon.

    The differences are astounding.

    History in Pictures: Harriet Tubman: slave, abolitionist, spy and first woman to lead an armed expedition during war.

    Here’s one that is relevant not only here (re: ‘politically incorrect’ terms like ‘n*gg*r’) but also elsewhere. Political correctness: How censorship defeats itself. I think someone doesn’t understand the point of using language and being kind. As for this: “After the battering he has received, I doubt if Cumberbatch will take the trouble to argue for fairer treatment for ethnic minority and working class actors again.” Well, I think only BC himself can answer that, and if he’s any kind of a decent human being, he’ll be fine with talking about the issue in the future. Oh, and if you were wondering? This sentence more or less sums up the article:

    Pursed lipped prudes, who damn others for their sexist, racist, homophobic and transphobic language, while doing nothing to confront real injustice, are characteristic figures of our time. As characteristic are well-meaning people abandoning good causes because they cannot take the prudes’ condemnations.

    On its own terms, political correctness is self-defeating. It drives away potential supporters, and substitutes linguistic change for social change. It replaces the desire to reform society with the desire to reform manners, and fails to understand that practised hypocrites and seasoned manipulators can meet the demand to observe correct form with ease. Indeed, they will welcome political correctness because it gives them new opportunities to intimidate and control.

    Because PC is all about civility dontcha know not about changing the way people think about the language that they use. Hear, hear! :P

    Another art: Clipped Wings by @markuspr1m3_

  11. rq says

  12. says

    Marissa Alexander’s “house arrest” is pretty evil, too. Not only does she have to wear the ankle monitor, she has to PAY FOR IT. Something like $100/WK or more.
    For firing a warning shot in the same state where Ratbag Zimmerman gets to keep standing his ground.
    But hey, no bias here, just good old fashioned USan “just us” (cause “they” don’t get any).

  13. says

    Noting the date when PZ started this post. We’ll hit the 3-month mark on February 17.


    rq @5:

    The Chief plans on calling him soon. Probably within the next year or so, if she remembers.

    I’m sure it will happen after she realizes that black lives matter. Which hopefully will happen sometime before Jesus walks the Earth again.

  14. rq says

    That soon? (That’s re: Jesus, and yeah, I’ve been keeping an eye on the closing date of this thread. ;) )

    Well, some people just don’t deserve to stand their ground, you know? She should have tried being white. For starters. :P


    This is a new twitter account putting faces to the movement, and it is called… surprisingly… Faces of the Movement. For those on twitter, might be a nice thing to follow, to keep up with the human aspect of protesting and politics. I’m hooking myself up, I know that.

    “A Threat to Justice Everywhere: From Ferguson to Chicago” … Great panel today at DePaul University w/@Blackstarjus
    David Whitt, his story is amazing. Hearing how residents in Ferguson wearing bodycams has brought about SOME change in how they police.

    TODAY (Wed): Join the Holmes Family at 3PM at Marcus Avenue and Cottage Avenue for a Prayer Vigil for #IsaacHolmes #Ferguson

    Lack of investment, not gentrification, continues to be by far the greatest threat to North STL. Still, investment must be done right.

    So Ben and Jerry get it, but Ben & Jerry’s doesn’t, with attached screenshot. Short form: Ben & Jerry’s believes that All Lives Matter. Even though racism exists. No choosing between blue lives and black lives (honestly, whoever started calling police ‘blue lives’ has never argued against the existence of purple people, I suppose… and I keep cross-translating that, since calling someone ‘blue’ in Latvia is slang for calling them gay (but not in a bad way, I don’t think) – so some people say ‘Blue Lives Matter’ and I’m all ‘Heeeey!!!’ and then I stop and think and I’m all ‘Uh, no.’ – but I digress).

  15. rq says

    Here’s some more on Marissa Alexander: MARISSA ALEXANDER: FREE AT LAST! (that’s conditionally free, but still happy for her!)

    Florida State Attorney Angela Corey, who (infamously) prosecuted both Alexander and George Zimmerman, was seeking a sentence of 60 years in prison for the 34-year old mother of three when Alexander’s defense team opted for a plea deal last November. Alexander received a sentence of three years in jail and but was given credit for time served dating back to her original arrest.

    The deal added an additional 65 days in jail to her sentence which ended Tuesday, as well as two years of probation to be served under home detention.

    In a press release from the Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign, Alexander said “Although the journey has been long and there’s been many difficult moments, I could not have arrived here, where I am today, without the thoughts, many thoughts and many prayers of so many people who voiced their support and encouragement.”

    Alexander will have to wear a GPS ankle monitor during her probation period. The fees for the monitor – $105 per week which comes out to just under $11K for the next two years – were raised by supporters in a crowdsourcing campaign.

    “We assumed that she would have to be on house arrest [once she was released],” said Mariame Kaba, an anti-prison activist who works with the Chicago Mobilization to Free Marissa Alexander. “And because she has no job [and] clearly you need money to pay for you own incarceration, we wanted to relieve part of that burden for her when she was released,” Kaba said. […]

    “This was a huge injustice to [Marissa and her family] as she was never seen as a victim of domestic violence; she was always seen as a criminal who was tried under Florida’s mandatory sentencing law.”

    Alexander has has asked her supporters to use her case to bring more attention to women in similar circumstances.

    While she says she looks forward to the “full-time challenge of getting my two teenagers through high school and into college, as well we preparing my 4-year-old daughter for nursery school,” Alexander wants to further her education and become a paralegal.

    “At the age of 34, life is too short and there’s too much I have to accomplish in the years ahead,” she said.

    Good luck, Marissa!!!!!

    This is neat, back from the beginning: My account of what happened in Ferguson on 8/15 & perspective on what it means for the greater St. Louis community, storify link here: Friday Night in Ferguson Excerpted tweets:

    I’ve never seen people express their distrust of the police, and contempt for the justice system in so many different ways! #Ferguson
    It was a beautiful tapestry of self-expression. Stark contrast from images I saw earlier in the week of suppression of the First Amendment.
    I felt a sense of pride in the resolve that the community showed. For a while it almost felt like a celebration which seemed odd…
    but that’s the duality of the #Ferguson issue. Racial tone of white cop killing unarmed black kid and then militant suppression of protests.
    So it was confusing, even for me at times, to see people with celebratory spirits. They were celebrating the absence of #Ferguson police.
    If you don’t get that then you don’t get the #Ferguson situation. The black residents their and in greater St. Louis don’t trust the police.
    Because time and time again they’re harassed by them…somebody shared with me this account of their interactions with police…
    Paraphrasing “They stop & frisk you. They ake you into an ally and tell you to lift up your balls and threaten you with arrest & jail time.”
    Yeah. Seriously. When you hear “stop and frisk” most of you probably envision getting patted down on your exterior in a public area. NOPE.
    Getting back to the latter half of last, night. Things were peaceful when we left ~11PM. Saw messages during dinner that it was flaring up.
    We headed back out to #Ferguson because as @elonjames put it, we have to exercise influence over how this is covered.
    Not gonna lie to you, when the looting broke out I began to retreat. Particularly because I saw a Molotov cocktail that only needed a flame.
    I wanted to be able to see, but tried to still take my own safety into consideration.
    Walking the streets I heard “Fuck the police.” “We’re ready for war.” “They started this shit.” “Why they covering up for that killer?”
    This is how bad it’s gotten. There’s ZERO trust of the police and there’s hardly any respect for them. Particularly in the rowdy group.
    The rallying cry for the peaceful protestors: “Hands up. Don’t shoot.” Here’s the war cry for the rowdy group: “No justice. No peace.”
    I mean I’ve heard “No justice. No peace.” before, but I FELT it last night. I knew exactly where they were coming from. And I wasn’t mad.
    With police not able to intervene (because their very presence is inflammatory at this point) the crowd is left to police themselves…
    And I saw a TON of that. It’s been well documented. Check @AntonioFrench’s timeline for plenty of examples from last night.
    You even have a store owner who was looted saying he understands!
    So I’ll close with what I believe is the appropriate way to frame this…
    The damaged and rapidly devolving relationship between between the police and its citizens in #Ferguson is the sad part; not the looting.

  16. rq says

    “Would you support a film called A Ferguson Story if person claiming to be its sole creator spent more time in LA?”, the change(dot)org link: Document With Dignity, full text of the petition:

    In August 2014, a Chicago-based Collective of artists and friends launched the #LetUsBreathe fundraising effort to bring respirator masks, tear gas remedies, medical & hygiene supplies, and water bottles to protesters in Ferguson in the wake of a violent, militarized police response after the death of Michael Brown. During their second supply delivery trip, they met Lost Voices, a group of youth that refused to leave the protest area and that vowed to camp there until Officer Darren Wilson was indicted for Mike Brown’s killing. They activated the Collective in a way that has fueled its activism and organizing in the five months since that first trip and they are the reason Chicago filmmaker Lonnie Edwards was invited to return the following weekend to document their stories and create a documentary, originally titled Lost Voices: A Ferguson Story.

    The #LetUsBreathe Collective used part of its crowdsourced funds for travel, lodging, and meals for Mr. Edwards and four other photographers over the course of several supply trips. They believed deeply that telling Lost Voices’s story would help spark activist movements worldwide and provide resources and stability for these at risk emerging leaders. Now, Mr. Edwards is attempting to remove #LetUsBreathe from decision-making about the film, giving interviews claiming that he is the sole owner and creator of the film, and excluding Lost Voices as financial beneficiaries of the film. In the spirit of love and community, the #LetUsBreathe Collective invites you to chime in on the standards by which the entertainment industry should engage the activist community. What is ethical stewardship of marginalized narratives? What guidelines should be demanded of artists and journalists? How do we document with dignity? Would you support a film called A Ferguson Story if the person claiming to be its sole creator spent more time in Los Angeles pitching the film than in Ferguson?

    In December, Mr. Edwards removed Lost Voices from the title of the film and introduced #LetUsBreathe leadership to Todd Walton, who he said would be helping with building a website and launch a marketing plan for the film. The Collective was not consulted when Mr. Walton was added as an executive producer and #LetUsBreathe was removed from the film’s producer credit and excluded from the website that Mr. Walton built. While the Collective appreciates Mr. Walton’s contributions to the project, he has since excluded #LetUsBreathe leadership from decision-making regarding marketing, distribution, and screenings of the film, and this is legally problematic. #LetUsBreathe drafted a production agreement asserting its right to be included in the decision-making, granting Lonnie 60% of any future net revenue from the film, granting Lost Voices 30%, and #LetUsBreathe 10%. They consider this to be a very generous offer, given their role in conceiving the film, however it is an offer than Mr. Edwards rejected. He instead offered a contract granting himself 90% of future net revenue and #LetUsBreathe 10%, with no consideration for Lost Voices. The #LetUsBreathe Collective and its allies have a deep moral objection to Mr. Edwards commercializing the film for personal gain.

    Mr. Edwards’s counter-offer came with the ultimatum that the Collective agree to it, or that all footage it can prove it owns will be removed from the film and the project will move forward without #LetUsBreathe. Because Mr. Edwards was only available for one of the many trips #LetUsBreathe took to support Lost Voices, the footage he shot himself comprises a small fraction of the film. The rest of the film is news clips he pulled from the internet and original footage shot primarily by other photographers who have released their footage to #LetUsBreathe. The Collective also holds media releases signed by all of the Lost Voices and other community members that were interviewed in Ferguson releasing the right to use their likeness exclusively to #LetUsBreathe. The majority of photographers that contributed footage and all of the members of Lost Voices support #LetUsBreathe’s initial agreement and will not give Mr. Edwards permission to use their footage or likeness if he insists on proceeding in a manner that deviates from the initial purpose of the film.

    This film has created travel, speaking, and learning opportunities for the folks who sacrificed on the frontlines of this movement, and the Collective wants to continue to see that happen. Before being removed from the producer credits, the Collective produced screening events at the University of Chicago, Young Chicago Authors, Kuumba Lynx, the Greenhouse Fellowship, and King High School, as well as provided travel, lodging, and meals for Lost Voices to be featured at these events. #LetUsBreathe is happy to move forward with this project, as long as they are at the negotiating table to advocate for Lost Voices and the people of Ferguson that they committed to serving when they donated funds toward bringing Mr. Edwards and other photographers on their supply delivery trips to Ferguson.

    Please sign if you agree that Lonnie Edwards and Todd Walton must remain accountable to the activists represented in the film and chime in to the community conversation on how to #DocumentWithDignity – what guidelines should the activist community require of the entertainment industry in telling (or selling) our stories?

    Also, Employment aid for people in #Ferguson movement and community. Great to see practical initiatives like this developed, the link: .

    The Whiteness Of “Public Radio Voice”

    Those two very different voices have many complex and wonderful qualities and I’m a fan of those shows. They also sound like white people. My natural voice — the voice that I use when I am most comfortable — doesn’t sound like that. Thinking about this, I suddenly became self-conscious about the way that I instinctively alter my voice and way of speaking in certain conversational contexts, and I realized that I didn’t want to do that for my first public radio-style piece.

    Of course, I’m not alone in facing this challenge. Journalists of various ethnicities, genders and other identity categories intentionally or unintentionally internalize and “code-switch” to be consistent with culturally dominant “white” styles of speech and narration. As I wrote my script for the Transom workshop piece, I was struggling to imagine how my own voice would sound speaking those words. This is partially because I am an African-American male, a professor, and hip-hop artist whose voice has been shaped by black, cultural patterns of speech and oratory. I could easily imagine my more natural voice as an interviewee or as the host of a news-style podcast about “African-American issues,” or even a sports or hip-hop podcast. Despite the sad and inexplicable disappearance of NPR shows like Tell Me More, I can find many examples of African-American hosts — like Tavis Smiley, John Hanson, Roland Martin, Bomani Jones, Freddie Coleman and Reggie Osse (Combat Jack) — of both of those kinds of media. But in my mind’s ear, it was harder to hear my voice, that is to say my type of voice, as the narrator of the specific kind of narrative, non-fiction radio piece that I was making. […]

    Now I’m not sure I agree that all podcast voices are “warm coffee voices” and A.D. is clearly not moved by, or not aware of, the many different kinds of podcast and vocal styles that do exist if you know where to look. The problem is that you do really have to know where to look and if you don’t, then you might only be exposed to a narrow range of voices. This is why whether we agree or not, we all know what A.D. is talking about.

    To give you a sense of how this affects me, here’s what I sound like as a hip-hop artist. Although I don’t speak this way all the time, it reflects an important aspect of my personality. I wrote it after I heard there would be no indictment in the Eric Garner case.
    [audio at the link -...]

    Let me say I’m proud of this piece. It would be arrogant and lazy to expect my first piece to be amazing. So my issue isn’t about that. Some of what bothers me is just problems with poor writing choices. At times, I wrote with in a voice that isn’t my own (“Fisherman with Capital F”? What does that even mean?). What bothers me most when I listen to this piece is that I’m acutely conscious of the way I’m adjusting my whole experience/method of inhabiting my personality. My voice sounds too high in pitch, all the rounded corners of my vernacular are awkwardly squared off. I’ve flattened the interesting aspects of my voice. On the suggestion of Samantha Broun and Jay Allison of Transom, I tried to re-record part of that piece to better understand and illustrate these subtle differences. […]

    When I hear this rerecorded piece, I’m not sure how much more effective it is, but I feel better listening to it. My voice is calmer, but hopefully not boring. In place of “Fisherman with a Capital F,” I allowed myself to get passionate for a moment about my subject’s fishing credentials. Overall, I feel more centered and I sound like myself, rather than sounding like myself pretending to be a public radio host. […]

    In August and then again in November 2014, my wife and I traveled to Ferguson, Missouri. When we first got there in August, I remember talking to some young African-American males who lived on the street where Michael Brown was killed. I asked one why he thought that there had been such an uprising in Ferguson. In response, he reminded me that Michael Brown’s body had lain in the street for four hours (he said eight) before being picked up. Of course I had heard this before, but he made me feel it. I sat quietly for over 40 minutes and let him tell his own story his own way. His voice smoldered with conviction as he spoke. The deep resentment and frustration in his steady low tones pushed through any detachment or emotional distance that I might try to maintain. I felt the weight of Michael Brown’s body, and the weight of so many other lives in this young man’s voice. I wasn’t hearing his voice thrown in as a sound bite garnish to another host’s main dish. Instead, he was the narrator, assembling memories, images, emotions, and even speculation into his own multi-modal account. I would like to hear people who speak with voices like this young man’s voice as hosts and narrators on public radio shows and podcasts. […]

    Before I started writing this piece, this problem seemed simpler to me than it does now. That is because I was focusing on what I heard, and what I heard were the voices of white people on most of the popular public radio shows and podcasts. I didn’t want to hear it, but it would jump out at me despite my efforts to ignore it. Often, but not always, when I hear non-white journalists they also seem to be adjusting their vocal style of narration and reporting to what has come to be understood as professional.

    However, as I dug deeper into this problem, I realized how tied up this phenomenon is with the broader complexities of speech, region, identity and dominant culture.

    Certainly, there are real problems with diversity that many organizations are working to address, but these problems don’t only have to do with race. In fact, as I look across the landscape of popular podcasts, problems of representation regarding gender, ableism, sexual orientation, age, and other parameters of ethnicity might be even worse. I’m focusing on the racial aspects of this problem because this is how I personally experience the imbalance. I’m not saying that voices and styles of speech map on to the ethnicity of the speaker in any simple way. There is no single “authentic” African-American, Latino, Asian, Native American, or white way of speaking. To say otherwise would be to participate in a reductive and inaccurate essentialism of which I want no part.

    However, I do think that there is what the Brazilian philosopher Paulo Freire called a “dominant syntax” and flowing from that is a narrow range of public radio and podcast host voices and speech patterns that have become extremely common. Public radio has become a kind of speech community with its own norms and forms of aesthetic capital. Just as it is not very common for me to hear a radio host with a thick South Boston accent, there is a whole range of vocal styles that are common in the African American, Latino, Asian American, and Native American cultures but rarely heard from hosts.

    Which all raises the question: What or who is the public in public radio? The demographics of race and ethnicity are changing in the United States. The percentage of non-Hispanic whites in the U.S. population dropped to roughly 63% in 2014. Middle growth series projections estimate that by 2043 the “minority population” will constitute a numerical majority in the total U.S. population. Latinos are already the largest demographic in California. With these changing demographics come new stories, new languages, and new ways of speaking American English. The sound of public radio and podcasts must reflect this diversity if we are serious about social justice and encouraging active, constructive participation.

    Well, I took more out of that than I thought I would – the voice samples are interesting to listen to. And compare.

    This via Tony, Virginia county official calls 43-year-old black reporter ‘boy’ during public meeting

    Tracy Pyles, an Augusta County supervisor, loudly voiced his disagreement with an article written by the reporter, Calvin Trice, during a staff meeting Monday.

    “You got it wrong, boy – uh, son,” Pyles said, unable to avoid using the racial slur.

    Trice, a 43-year-old government affairs reporter for The News Leader, said he expected Pyles to be angry about his article on a closed meeting that was held improperly – but he didn’t expect the official to use racially charged language.

    “The context was obviously angry and that’s a term that when its been used against me was a racial slur, a put-down,” Trice said.

    The reporter said he was offended by the supervisor’s comment, which he said made their disagreement “uncomfortably personal.”

    Pyles said he understands the word has historically been used in a derogatory way against black people, but the official said he speaks to everyone the way he does to his sons.

    “I have boys. ‘Listen boy, you can’t do that,’” Pyles said. “That’s the way I talk to them. The fact that I think of Calvin no differently than I do anybody else, it came out, but I know the world looks at things differently.”

    Pyles said he knew his remarks would be “misinterpreted” as soon as the words left his mouth, and he said he tried to correct his phrasing mid-sentence.

    “I understand how people take that, and it’s because how I talk naturally, you know to everybody or anybody who would be of about that age, and I followed it up with, as soon as it came out of my mouth,” he said. “I immediately went to ‘son.’”

    Uh, I don’t think ‘son’ is all that much better, but Trice accepted an apology. Still. Eek.

  17. rq says

    A. Noyd
    Whew, that’s some bullshit! I’ll be adding to some of those tweets, and there’s a few local newspaper articles out that I’m tabbing right now. But wow. Holy shit, Roorda.

  18. rq says

    First, here’s a small piece from Mano Singham on Being black on university campuses,

    The despatcher had told the police officer that the person being sought was a “black male, early 20s, short hair, average build, and possibly of Jamaican descent”. My colleague is a stocky, 54-year old professor of social work who has a greying beard and long dreadlocks and has been at the university for decades, But as we know, the key words that people seize on in descriptions in such situations is ‘black male’ and as a result, all black males in the vicinity come under suspicion. That this kind of profiling happens in public spaces and can lead dangerous confrontations between police and black men has been brought into focus by the recent deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford, and Tamir Rice. […]

    The problem is compounded by the fact that police seem to get angry when the person they question gets offended at being considered a criminal when they are engaged in perfectly innocent and innocuous activities, and this causes the situation to escalate. They should realize that innocent people can get really upset at being thought to be a criminal. I don’t know the details of the interaction of the police with my colleague but if, instead of the reported “harsh and threatening tone” the officer had reportedly adopted, he had somewhat apologetically said that he was investigating reports of a trespasser in the building who had been described to him as a black man and was thus obliged to check the identification of people, my colleague would have understood, just as I would have understood if reports had fingered an Asian man. It is the presumption of guilt, and the associated way of speaking, that rankles.

    I think the dreads in connection with ‘possible Jamaican descent’ must have been made, too.

    The Strange Case of Darren Wilson’s Mysterious Disappearing Duty Belt

    After he took off his uniform shirt, Wilson was brought to a local ER to treat his injuries; he left the shirt and duty belt at the police station. According to both a 200-page police report on the investigation and testimony given to the grand jury tasked with deciding whether or not to indict Wilson, an unnamed St. Louis County Police officer then took the belt into custody.

    But for some reason, that belt did not remain in police custody. According to testimony, the belt somehow ended up in the trunk of Wilson’s personal car — the grand jury was never told how or why the belt was returned to Wilson — where it remained for more than a month until his lawyer submitted it to authorities as evidence in the ongoing investigation into Brown’s death.

    “Officers in officer-involved shootings don’t drive themselves anywhere. They do not wash up. They do not handle evidence. They are sequestered, escorted to the station or hospital, and monitored for stress or trauma,” Ron Martinelli, a forensic criminologist specializing in police practices and a former cop, told VICE News. “After an officer-involved shooting, the officer’s gun and his duty belt are going to be confiscated, and they’re not going to be given back to the officer. They’re going to be sequestered so we can forensically examine those objects.”

    Testimony presented to the grand jury offers contradicting accounts about when the belt was analyzed: Wilson’s lawyer told VICE News the belt was examined on August 9, but prosecutors and a St. Louis county detective in charge of the investigation said the belt was not confiscated and analyzed until more than a month later, when Wilson’s lawyer handed it in on September 12. A St. Louis county civilian employee told jurors he checked the belt for fingerprints, finding none that were usable, but did not specify when he did so — though he carried out other fingerprint examinations before August 11.

    Additionally, Wilson’s lawyer told VICE News he didn’t know why the belt was returned to his client, but that when it was returned, the belt no longer contained the items that were on it when Wilson relinquished it on August 9. Seemingly contradicting that account, the officer who collected the belt from Wilson’s lawyer a month later wrote in a report that a number of items were then turned in with the belt.

    But none of the records made available to the public explain what happened to the mace officer Wilson claimed to have been carrying that day. […]

    “Considering this is a crime that we are sitting here discussing, wouldn’t everything on police officer Wilson be considered evidence?” the juror asked the St. Louis County Police detective. “Why wouldn’t his duty belt be detained the day of the shooting when pictures were taken of him before he went to the emergency room…. How could you do an investigation if you haven’t collected evidence?”

    The detective replied: “Clearly we collected evidence. We just did not seize that duty belt on that particular day, meaning on August 9. We did seize, obviously, his weapon and his clothing and those things, but we did not seize his duty belt.”

    At that point in the proceedings, assistant prosecutor Kathi Alizadeh stepped in, confirming that the duty belt “wasn’t seized that day” or the day after — again, despite the fact that Wilson’s testimony and the police report both indicated it had been seized briefly on August 9.

    “Prior to departing the police department” to take Wilson to the ER, “Detective [redacted] indicated he would maintain custody of P.O. Darren Wilson’s duty belt, shirt, and firearm,” the St. Louis County Police report shows. Wilson said in his testimony that he left the belt at the station because someone told him to, and because he felt “more comfortable” that way. […]

    “I don’t know why St. Louis County returned the belt,” Bruntrager said, adding that when he became “aware” of the fact that it was in Wilson’s possession, he decided to turn it in because he “wanted the county to look for blood or DNA” on it.

    “We recovered it from the car trunk and called the county police,” he said. “I don’t know whether it was examined. We had nothing to hide and thought it might be relevant.”

    Bruntrager said the belt was empty when he turned it in. But by the time it made its way to the St. Louis County civilian employee in charge of examining the belt for Brown’s fingerprints — no usable ones were found — the belt was no longer empty according to his statements to the jury.

    “It had handcuffs… baton holder, the walkie-talkie holder, there was no gun in there, the holster, five keys, handcuff keys… two fully loaded magazines,” the employee told jurors and prosecutors. Asked specifically about the mace, the employee said he did not recall it being there. […]

    The mace Wilson claimed to have on his belt the day of the shooting was never recorded as evidence, and jurors were never told what happened to it.

    “This is the kind of detail that an aggressive prosecutor would use on cross-examination of the defendant,” Lisa Bloom, a civil rights lawyer at the Bloom Firm, told VICE News after reviewing the documents. “The issue of whether the mace was present or not is relevant by Wilson’s own testimony. This is one of many fertile opportunities for cross-examination missed by these prosecutors.”

    Nicholas Mirzoeff, a professor of media, culture, and communication at New York University, analyzed the evidence and testimony presented to the Ferguson grand jury and initially alerted VICE News to the inconsistencies regarding the belt and mace. “Something that was not properly documented took place at some point, and that belt went from police custody back to Darren Wilson,” he said.

    Marcia McCormick, a St. Louis University law school professor who has also been combing through the grand jury documents, said that whatever the reason is for the inconsistencies, they don’t add credibility to an already troubled case.

    “It is impossible to say for sure whether this was poor judgment or a deliberate attempt to hide something,” she told VICE News. “This may be a small thing not relevant to the legal question of whether officer Wilson was justified in using deadly force. There are reasons, though, that these issues keep getting raised. The law may not require officers to use non-deadly alternatives to deadly force, but I think that people want them to do so.” […]

    “If there [were] things on the duty belt after the shooting, it is obviously conceivable that Darren Wilson, since he had possession of that duty belt from the day of the shooting until it was seized September 12, could have removed things, could have changed things around?” Alizadeh asked during the grand jury hearing.

    “That’s possible,” the detective replied.

    But Bruntrager dismissed the possibility.

    “Why would Wilson tender his belt if he was attempting to hide or get rid of evidence? Why return it at all?” he told VICE News. “Wilson could have simply thrown the belt away and no one would have been the wiser. What evidence would he have gotten rid of?”

    The US Department of Justice carried out a separate investigation into the shooting, and was not expected to file federal charges against Wilson, the New York Times reported last week. The DOJ has not confirmed the report.

    “More often than not, the police miss something during an investigation,” Martinelli said. “You can always say that an investigation was not done properly. The key question is going to be, Whatever the investigators didn’t do, does that really affect the outcome of the investigation?”

    Cleveland fires police recruit who lost badge in East Cleveland for firing at car during traffic stop

    The division found Smith was fired from East Cleveland in March 2012 after he riddled a car with bullets during a traffic stop, an act East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton told Northeast Ohio Media Group in January warranted termination.

    Smith told Cleveland Police he was allowed to resign under the condition he withdrew a race discrimination complaint filed with U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the City of East Cleveland, the letter said.

    Smith completed training at Cleveland’s police academy in January, but a last-minute decision by Mayor Frank Jackson kept him from graduating with the rest of his class. Jackson’s office said the mayor learned of Smith’s history in East Cleveland the morning of his scheduled graduation.

    Kind of a last-minute background check, if you ask me…

    How common are these sorts of ‘incidents’? Man found dead in jail cell in Jennings.

    Joseph Weekley, Cop Who Fatally Shot Sleeping 7-Year-Old, Will No Longer Face Charges. Backi n December they reduced the charges against him. But now:

    Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement that her office was moving to dismiss the case against Officer Joseph Weekley. He was originally charged with involuntary manslaughter and careless discharge of a firearm causing death, a misdemeanor, after Aiyana Stanley-Jones was killed in 2010 during a botched police raid at her home.

    Weekley’s first trial in 2013 ended in a mistrial. In a second trial last year, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway dismissed the manslaughter charge after a motion by the defense. The jury again deadlocked while deliberating whether to convict Weekley of the lesser charge, causing a second mistrial.

    And some more from university campuses: Norfolk State University Student Brutally Attacked by Police Dog

    According to Potomac Local, 21-year-old London Colvin, who is also a private in the Army Reserves, was at an off-campus party when a fight broke out around 2:15 a.m. Sunday. Colvin reportedly refused to give officers information about what took place.

    “She was at a party off campus. She said that a fight broke out, and she had nothing to do with the fight. She did say she was at the party, and her and her friends were leaving,” Whitney Dunn, the victim’s cousin, told the newspaper. “She was definitely being loud—she did admit to that.”

    Colvin did not speak with the newspaper, but Dunn, a spokeswoman for the family, told the newspaper that as Colvin, a second-semester junior, was leaving the party, an officer approached her.

    “Her and her friends continued to walk, and she said that she definitely continued to be loud, however, they were walking away. The two other police officers approached her—asked her to stop. Whatever the case may be, they had her down on the ground when the dog came. Two of the police officers restrained her on the ground, and then they allowed the dogs to attack her,” Dunn told Potomac Local.

    Norfolk Police spokesman Daniel Hudson told the newspaper that they were responding to a call involving a large group of people fighting in the street.

    “We responded to a massive fight that happened in the street. Apparently there was a call for about 35 individuals who were partaking in a physical fight in the middle of the street,” Hudson told Potomac Local. “Once we have that multitude of people, we always have our canine officers respond out there with us for crowd management.”

    Hudson claims that Colvin became combative while being placed in custody. “There was an officer that was attempting to place the woman in custody for disorderly conduct. When [the officer] tried to place her in custody, she became combative against the officer. Another officer attempted to restrain her, but again, there were multiple people around, so the canine officer deployed the dog to restrain the woman so nobody would get hurt,” stated Hudson.

    Colvin was treated at a local hospital, where she was given some 40 stitches for wounds she suffered in the incident. A large open wound on her leg could not be closed with stitches, and according to Dunn, Colvin will have to have plastic surgery on the severe gash.

    Forty fucking stitches!!! And a gruesome photo at the link.

  19. rq says

    NOW: Protesters At Denver PD After Shooting Death Of #JessieHernandez

    Tension over the killing continued to simmer Tuesday as Jessie’s family and friends, as well as Denver clergy and community activists, descended on District Attorney Mitch Morrissey’s office to demand “justice” for the killed teen, claiming she was unarmed, even though the suspect did drive the car at Officers.

    So far, police have released few details about the shooting, including whether any of the five teens in the car were armed or who reported the car stolen.

    Though initial reports said two people were shot, they were later clarified by Denver PD that the only one person was shot and declared dead upon arrival at the hospital.

    Now back ot Ferguson and that Council meeting, here’s three media reactions:
    Altercation breaks out during meeting at St. Louis City Hall

    Witnesses told News 4 the fight began when a woman who was getting ready to leave was pushed aside by the Business Manager of the St. Louis Police Officers Association, Jeff Roorda. Roorda was addressing 18th Ward Alderman Terry Kennedy.

    “I was literally just trying to leave the meeting and I got caught in whatever Roorda and Kennedy had going on in their exchange,” said Cachet Currie, the woman who was pushed. “Roorda just jumped out into the aisle, pushed me over, and tried to get to Kennedy. I’m like ‘wait a minute, don’t push me.’ Then he started going off on me, pushing me.”

    Roorda called the hearing a “sham” that lacked any type of order. Roorda wore a bracelet that had words “I am Darren Wilson” written on it.

    “As I tried to exit, she contintued to do that. Two or three other anti-police radicals rushed over and things escalated from there,” Roorda said. Roorda also said he did not push Currie.

    This one has video: Civilian police oversight meeting erupts into chaos

    During most of the evening opponents of the police had the chance to have their say and in some cases were applauded.

    When police officers spoke out against the oversight board proposal they were heckled.

    Police association leader Jeff Roorda blasted committee chairman Alderman Terry Kennedy for allowing the meeting to get out of control. Roorda said, “We’re supposed to rely on aldermen like Terry Kennedy to provide a fair civilian review board for our members when we just saw a sham of a process in his very own hearing.

    Alderman Terry Kennedy responded, “I’ve had several people come up to me to thank me for maintaining decorum in this meeting by showing respect to individuals who came forward. It’s unfortunate that the city has these kind of division we have but we have to begin work on it”.

    After the crowd calmed down they tried to continue the meeting but then ended it for the evening.

    That article actually seems to mess up the order of things, but more in tweets later.

    Police union spokesman pushes young black woman at public hearing on local control

    Roorda, who was sitting in the audience, had just finished yelling to the public safety committee chairman Alderman Terry Kennedy, “How about some order here?”

    His comment came after a police officer was trying to give his testimony on the proposed legislation of a civilian oversight board but was being interrupted by some attendees.

    Kennedy responded Roorda, saying, “First of all, you do not tell me my function.”

    After hearing this, Roorda rose from his seat and was trying to move through the crowd towards the front of the room. He first tried to push the young black woman out of his way, and then, according to reports of those close by, pushed and scratched her face.

    In a video posted on Twitter, the woman said she was trying to leave the room when the incident happened.

    Dunno, he doesn’t seem to come across as a particularly nice kind of guy. :P

  20. rq says

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    In Ferguson’s wake, police and citizens scuffle at St. Louis meeting, with video.

    Council members considering a bill to establish a civilian oversight board over police work were holding a public meeting when Jeff Roorda, the business manager of the city’s police union, and a woman appeared to get into a confrontation, an online video shows.

    The room erupted into shouts and profanity, as people rose to their feet and crowded in on the two. […]

    “The alderman listened to their opinion and listened to our opinion. I thought the meeting was going really well,” said Bishop Derrick Robinson, a Ferguson preacher and protest organizer who was at the meeting.

    Roorda disagrees. He said protesters shouted police down.

    “About 30 or 40 anti-police radicals (were) fomenting violence against the police,” he said. […]

    After several minutes, the meeting was quickly adjourned.

    “I think there were a few injuries but nothing serious, no ambulances called,” Roorda said. “We didn’t see anyone get arrested.”

    French, the bill’s sponsor, placed the blame on Roorda, calling his behavior “deplorable.” But he also bemoaned the tensions in the city.

    Yes, a confrontation. Fomenting violence against the police. What an ass.
    More twitter responds:
    @Nettaaaaaaaa This dipshit union rep for thugs has shown with his words, and now his actions, that he is a danger to the public. #LockHimUp
    @Nettaaaaaaaa I couldn’t believe it. I was there and saw it with my own eyes. Then turned around and lied to the cameras. Smh

    Just a word: Ferguson is everyday, and it seems like everyday we’re given a new reason to fight. Stay committed, stay strong, and, most of all, stay woke. #farfromover The tumblr picture reads:

    There have been actions/protests organized in #Ferguson everyday. And it hasn’t stopped.
    If you don’t know this question ur newsfeeders.

    The Seattle police pepper spray protesters for walking in a cross walk… WILD. The youtube link: Hagopian clip

  24. rq says

    Last some responses:
    “@Nettaaaaaaaa: “Anti police radicals” stop it Roorda. PRO POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY =/= anti police. Stop it.” And it’s on tape! Saw it clearly
    This never gets old. (see picture)

    This in response to the pepper spray video above:
    @Nettaaaaaaaa Was a bad day for SPD. News broke that they arrested a 70 year old black veteran last year for literally walking with a cane.
    @Nettaaaaaaaa After that news broke it emerged that the arresting officer had made racist comments on Facebook regarding Ferguson protests.
    Looks like Seattle police have a few things to clean up, too.

    One of my students’ takeaways from @deray @Nettaaaaaaaa @MsPackyetti call: activists are normal people like us, so we can be activists too. Nice to see current protest leaders talking to youth and inspiring them to action.

    This one thanks to Tony, Proposed Bill Would Ban Police From Receiving Military Weapons and Vehicles

    Now, Tennessee State Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, has filed legislation that would prohibit both state and local agencies from receiving, owning or using “certain military weapons, vehicles, and aircraft.”

    The law, if passed, would effect existing inventories of military surplus gear which would have to be sold or disposed of by law enforcement agencies in possession of them.

    Representative Kelsey said there needs to be a “clear separation between the military and police.”

    In an interview with the Johnson City Press, he explained that “we can support both our police officers and our citizens by ensuring that our police officers are not viewed as the enemy.”

    Some exemptions would exist under this proposal, including the ever-popular M16 and AR15 rifles, which nearly every police force in the nation is now equipped with.

    It would, however, effect mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles, which more and more local police departments are receiving and justifying under the most spurious of hypothetical pretexts.

    A good step forward. Now let’s hope others follow.

  25. rq says

    For Jessie Hernandez, On the DPD building now. #JessicaHernandez; #Colorado shows up for #JessicaHernandez to demand justice outside the DPD.
    Daniel Greene & Gabriel Jordan. These are the names of the people who killed 17 yr old, gay, Latina #JessieHernandez Link to Denver Post article: Chief: Denver cops asked teens to get out of car before fatal shooting

    “At some point, the original officer that responded to the scene, the vehicle started driving toward him, which pretty much had him between a car and a brick wall and a fence,” White said in an interview with The Denver Post. “Out of fear for his safety, he fired several shots and the other officer also fired several shots.”

    White offered a few more details, which he described as preliminary, about Monday’s fatal shooting of 17-year-old Jessica Hernandez in an alley in the Park Hill neighborhood. She was driving the car and died of multiple gunshots after officers opened fire. Hernandez and the other occupants of the car did not have weapons, White said. […]

    Greene and Jordan are patrol officers in District 2. Both have had minor disciplinary issues since they were hired, and both have multiple commendations for their actions as police officers, according to records obtained by The Post.

    The officers have been placed on administrative leave, pending a criminal investigation being conducted by Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey. The police department also will conduct an internal review of the incident to determine whether any policies were violated. […]

    The parent of one teen who was in the car told The Post that her daughter reported that the officer was not hit until after shots were fired and Hernandez lost control of the vehicle because she had been struck by a bullet.

    White said that may not be an accurate account.

    “The investigation will show exactly what happened,” he said. “Let’s wait and see what happens in the investigation.” […]

    In the department’s use-of-force policy, officers are discouraged from shooting at moving vehicles unless the auto poses a threat of death or serious injury and when there is no reasonable alternative that would prevent serious injury or death.

    “Firing at a moving vehicle may have very little impact on stopping the vehicle,” the policy says. “Disabling the driver may result in an uncontrolled vehicle, and the likelihood of injury to the occupants of the vehicle (who may not be involved in the crime) may be increased when the vehicle is either out of control or shots are fired into the passenger compartment.”

    White said he wants to know how many of those situations have happened in the past couple of years. He wants to analyze those shootings to see how his officers acted when responding to the calls and whether they could have used different tactics.

    He also said he will look to other departments for ideas.

    “We don’t always have all of the answers,” he said.

    Nationally, police departments for years have considered cars to be deadly weapons when they are driven toward officers, said Geoff Alpert, a University of South Carolina professor who studies use of force.

    “Officers seeing a car hit one of their fellow officers is going to justify deadly force,” Alpert said.

    And, he said, the driver’s intent doesn’t matter once that happens.

    But there is a changing philosophy among policing experts to prohibit officers from shooting at moving vehicles.

    The article also includes the Denver PD use-of-force guidelines re: moving vehicles.
    But here’s the thing. If there’s a car coming for you and you’re trapped in a small space, I mean… is shooting the driver really the best option???

    Interlude: Entertainment!
    In some better news (cue internet outrage), Mehcad Brooks Cast as Jimmy Olsen in CBS’ “Supergirl”.

    As first revealed in casting details that surfaced in October, Olsen is poised to be a love interest to the title character, who will be played by Melissa Benoist. It looks like the new TV Olsen will retain the character’s status as a photographer — here’s the description from Variety: “Jimmy, based on the DC Comics character, is an attractive photographer at CatCo, the media company where Kara Zor-El works, as an assistant to Cat Grant, (yet to be casted). Recently, Jimmy has been living and working in National City, though the reason is still a secret.”

    The article describes the character as ‘iconic’, so prepare for another round of ‘you can’t change canon!!!’.

  26. rq says

    Feds: Minneapolis police must overhaul system for dealing with problem officers

    “As a progressive leader, I requested this review a couple of years ago with the intention of gaining an independent review with some solid recommendations on how we can move our department and city forward,” said Police Chief Janeé Harteau, who has openly discussed her desire to overhaul the department since becoming chief in 2012. “The OJP assessment validates that we are headed in the right direction and actually ahead of the national curve in many of our recent initiatives and training.”

    Harteau pledged to follow all of the recommendations outlined in the report.

    The report’s recommendations included overhauling the department’s coaching program for officers accused of minor misconduct, improving cultural sensitivity training, continuing to strengthen community ties by seeking public input, and taking a more data-driven approach to helping supervisors identify problem cops and provide them with additional training.

    But several speakers at the meeting said the recommendations didn’t go far enough.

    Longtime civil rights activist Spike Moss said federal officials had previously intervened, but had little to show for it. He wondered whether this time would be any different.

    Full report available at the link.

    Also in the more-positive news front, New Minnesota law makes it easier to expunge criminal records

    Like Tourand, hundreds of thousands of Minnesota ex-offenders — adults with convictions who have completed the terms of their sentences, whether they be probation, parole or prison — face similar barricades to employment. In Minnesota, employers are allowed to make blanket prohibitions on hiring people with criminal records.

    Now, some ex-offenders have the option of a second chance.

    A new law that went into effect Jan. 1 makes it easier for Minnesotans convicted of low-level felonies — as well as misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors and juvenile delinquency — to seal their records from the background checks routinely run by employers and landlords.

    “It’s good for everyone,” said Gary Schiff, president of the Council on Crime and Justice, one of the leading advocacy organizations that lobbied for the change. “If someone has a job, if someone has housing, they are less likely to re-offend and end up back behind bars.”

    Under the new law, some former offenders can apply to have their records sealed two to five years after completing their sentences. Victims have the opportunity to weigh in during the process, and expungement is not guaranteed.

    This law is only the latest in a wave of reforms in criminal justice sweeping Minnesota and the rest of the country. State-by-state, there has been a push to help people who have low-level, nonviolent criminal records move on from their pasts.

    “We see ourselves as part of a national movement,” said Sarah Walker, founder of the Second Chance Coalition, a local criminal justice reform group.[…]

    Last fall, Tourand finally got her dream job, working full-time in digital marketing for a local firm. Her bosses didn’t think her record was relevant. When her new colleagues look her up online and find links to articles about the expungement law, they “go out of their way to tell me how proud they are of me,” Tourand said.

    She’s still living with her father in the Burnsville house where she grew up, because her criminal history prevents her from easily renting an apartment. There, she raises her 3-year-old son, Charlie. She still sees Jack, too.

    She is finally beginning to work toward getting her record sealed.

    She hopes her journey can inspire others in her position to take control of their pasts.

    “Before this, you had to sit in the shadows and wait for someone who was willing to take a chance on you. But now, we’re actually able to come out of hiding,” she said.

    “I understand what I did in the past was wrong, but I’m not as ashamed. I own it.”

    As introduced on twitter: Six Death Row Inmates Were Exonerated In 2014. All Of Them Were Black: (mostly added here for the striking photo collage), link to the actual article: 6 Death Row Inmates Were Exonerated In 2014. All Of Them Were Black. Sort of a follow-up to the previous article on over-turned convictions I posted yesterday, with a focues on the death-row overturned convictions. All of which were black.

    But beyond the outstanding number of exonerations last year, one demographic group was disproportionately impacted: African-Americans. Registry data showed that 66 black people were exonerated for a wide range of crimes. Exactly half of them were cleared for murder charges, 14 were cleared of drug sale or possession charges, and 11 were absolved of sexual assault charges. Seven were serving life sentences and three were serving life sentences with no chance of parole. Moreover, 100 percent of exonerated persons on death row were black.

    The number of black people cleared of their crimes in 2014 matches up with long-term trends. The U.S. has absolved 1,536 people of their crimes, and black people have the highest rate of exoneration. Nearly 715 of them have been cleared, to date. This can be attributed to the fact that there are more African Americans in the U.S. prison system than any other race group. Roughly one-third of all African-American males will serve time in prison, in part due to disparate interactions with police. For instance, the Department of Justice concluded that black men are searched three times more than white men when officers make a traffic stop. White men are six times less likely to be incarcerated than black men. And the U.S. Sentencing Commission determined that, on average, black men serve sentences that are 20 percent longer than the ones imposed on their white counterparts who committed similar crimes.

    For the record, that’s 66 out of a total 125 exonerated people last year. So that ‘black crime’ thing, doesn’t seem to be all that accurate. Maybe one should look at who keeps putting black people into prison so quick, if there’s relatively many who can be proven to be innocent, with a little bit of thought and work.

    Statement: Timberland Terminates Relationship With A.P.C. After Their ‘Last N****s In Paris’ Comments , this a follow-up to yesterday’s fashion interlude. Ha! I wonder if it’s just a difference in how racism is perceived in France and in the US? :P

    This past weekend, Jean Touitou of A.P.C. ruffled more than a few feathers during the presentation of his 2015 Fall/Winter collection. As the models walked out in their camel coats, grey sweatpants and A.P.C.-designed Timberland boots, Touitou held up a sign that read, “Last Ni##@$ IN PARIS.” He later explained that he got the inspiration from Kanye and Jay Z’s famed song and Last Tango In Paris.

    “I call this one look Last N****s in Paris,” Touitou said. “Why? Because it’s the sweet spot when the hood—the ‘hood—meets Bertolucci’s movie Last Tango in Paris. So that’s ‘N****s in Paris’ and Last N****s in Paris… The Timberland here is a very strong ghetto signifier. In the ghetto, it is all the Timberlands, all the big chain.”

    That’s what the designer said about it, and called upon his friendship with Kanye West to seal the approval. Well… not everyone is so thrilled:

    Even though Kanye West allegedly gave him the A-okay to use that title, Stewart Whitney, President of Timberland, was not pleased with the reference nor the backlash being affiliated with his brand. His team contacted us exclusively to release a statement on Timberland’s status with A.P.C.:

    Yesterday we became aware of the offensive remarks made by Jean Touitou during his A.P.C. Fall Menswear show in Paris. We have chosen to immediately terminate our involvement with the A.P.C. brand, including the footwear collaboration we had planned for this fall.

    Simply stated, this kind of language and approach is in complete contrast with our values. Timberland seeks to collaborate with designers and brands who are at the forefront of lifestyle trends; equally important, they must also share our values. We will not tolerate offensive language or racial slurs of any kind being associated with the Timberland brand.

    Well done.

  27. rq says

    Here’s Shaun King on that meeting, with comments, pictures and video, via DailyKos: Jeff Roorda, St. Louis Police Union spokesman, wearing Darren Wilson bracelet, assaults, cuts woman

    In an important government meeting at the St. Louis City Hall on the need for civilian oversight in matters of police corruption and abuse, Jeff Roorda, business manager and spokesperson for the St. Louis Police Union, also the most corrupt man connected to St. Louis police, disrespected the African American moderator and assaulted a woman as he violently shoved his way through the crowd, leaving a gash on her forehead and sending the otherwise peaceful onlookers into an all-out melee. The meeting was canceled and police escorted an explosive Jeff Roorda out of the building -without charging him for assault in a confrontation we will clearly show below that he initiated.

    In a day and age where protestors are arrested for non-violent civil disobedience and a respected teenage member of the Ferguson Commission was charged with assault for simply moving around an officer to enter a building, it’s a gross double-standard that Jeff Roorda is getting away with this.

    Exerpts from media articles already linked to here included.
    More, with a recap of Roorda’s record of dishonesty:

    But here’s what we know – Jeff Roorda didn’t come in peace. He came to City Hall wearing an “I Am Darren Wilson” bracelet to deliberately incite frustration and anger in a crowd he knew would be deeply offended by such an outrageous and completely unnecessary gesture. Mind you, the Department of Justice wrote a detailed letter requesting that St. Louis Police no longer wear these bracelets. […]

    Jeff Roorda, isn’t new to controversy and corruption though. What’s disturbing and perplexing is that he’s the man white (white and black officers have different unions) St. Louis Police Officers have chosen to represent them. How telling is that?

    In 2001, he was fired as a police officer in the St. Louis suburb of Arnold, Missouri, for falsifying reports in 1997 and again in 2001.

    Roorda lost an appeal of his termination in the Missouri Court of Appeals in 2004 when it was deemed that he did indeed falsify reports.

    In spite of being fired for police misconduct in 2001, Roorda was hired as chief of police in neighboring Kimmswick, Missouri, the following year.

    Two years later, in 2004, Roorda ran for and won a seat in the Missouri state House of Representatives, where he soon was placed on the statewide Public Safety Committee.

    In 2005, Roorda wrote House Bill 396, which would allow police officers to—and this is an exact quote from his bill—”collect hazardous samples without court approval, document and then destroy them, and make them admissible.” While it didn’t pass, it is a shocking peek into the mind of Roorda 10 years ago.

    In 2012, Governor Jay Nixon campaigned for Roorda.

    In 2013, police assaulted a teenager in handcuffs, but were found not-guilty—with the support of Roorda, working in a new capacity as an executive with the St. Louis police union. […]

    In March 2014, in reference to the support of Nixon, Roorda said, “I’ve enjoyed support from Governor Nixon every time I’ve run. That support has been very important to my success.”

    In early 2014, Roorda wrote and sponsored House Bill 1466, which would change the Missouri sunshine laws requiring open records on police-involved incidents. Roorda’s bill would seal all records involving any/every police action and prohibit police departments from releasing the names of officers involved in shootings.

    Filed exactly one week after the murder of Brown, Roorda is listed as vice president of the charity behind the Darren Wilson fundraiser.

    In spite of Roorda supporting the Wilson fundraisers during a tumultuous time for the state and a new spotlight on Roorda’s troubled past, Nixon, in September 2014 campaigned again for Roorda.

    Also in September 2014, Roorda continued to speak out against the use of dash cameras and body cameras worn by police officers.

    After demanding that the St. Louis Rams apologize for allowing players to enter a game with their hands up in protest of the shooting death of Mike Brown, Keith Olberman named Jeff Roorda as the “Worst Person in Sports.”

    Will Roorda be charged with assault?

    Will he even be reprimanded by the union for his destructive behavior or is it more likely that the white union members love every minute of what went down?

    I’m betting on ‘No’, if there’s anyone out there who wants to make me rich and go the other way.

    This piece is hard to read for the bright green font colour on a black background, but I’ve tried to pull the essential points. It’s an opinion, but I think it doesn’t go far enough. Why Rejecting the Pitifully Small Police Brutality Settlement of #J28 Helps #BlackLivesMatter

    January 28th 2012 (#J28) over 2000 people gathered in downtown Oakland to support #OccupyOakland’s “Move-In Day”: an explicitly radical action designed to take over a dormant, vacant building and transform it into a community activist/houseless-outreach center. To prevent this from happening, the Oakland Police Department and many agencies from all around the Bay Area showed up like Roman Legionnaires to violently suppress us, breaking every Federally-mandated court order regarding crowd-control policy to eventually mass arrest over 400 hundred of us. Although there is hundreds of hours of video footage from the dozens of reporters and independent livestreamers documenting the police agencies breaking their own laws hundreds of times throughout the day, it took our “Civil Rights” lawyers three years to reach a terrible pittance of a settlement with the City of Oakland: A $1.3 million dollar settlement in which the lawyers keep the lion’s share; we the plaintiffs are to receive ~$2.6k each (before taxes), and no official from the City of Oakland, Alameda County, or the OPD receives any charges levied against them from their brutal illegalities of that day and the following days when we were tortured and abused inside the notorious Santa Rita jail.
    I believe it is extremely important to reject this insultingly low monetary settlement, the secretive lawyering practices that led up to it, and reject and replace our “radical” movements’ laissez-faire attitude towards those volunteer protesters afflicted by police brutality and/or arrest: “Don’t worry! Let the ACLU/NLG/the ‘Civil Rights’ lawyers take care of it,” since it should be shockingly obvious that these lawyers have failed to do their job at even creating the meanest modicum of justice, over and over again in the modern Bay Area populist/radical movements, stemming from at least the Oscar Grant uprisings to present day.
    This is an exceedingly imperative conversation to have RIGHT NOW, as we are several months into the #BlackLivesMatter movement against police-brutality in the Bay Area. Police have been the most violent they’ve been since #J28 2012, with more illegal baton strikes; tear gas, concussion grenades, less lethal munitions fired into crowds of peaceful protesters, and more mass-arrests without giving people a chance to disperse. Yet, astonishingly, we the protesters of late-2014 to today have learned little to zero of the stark lessons about movement sustainability since the days of Occupy. We paid for those lessons in our literal blood, and they shouldn’t be abandoned because of some unexamined kneejerk squeamishness in confronting our Sacred Cow “allies” of the “left” like the civil rights lawyers’ guilds. This is something that needs to be rectified IMMEDIATELY if we are to continue our cause to en masse challenge and overcome the police state. [… – an extensive retelling of events follows]

    And then… the announcement of a settlement of $2.6k each for #J28 happened.

    Look: I’m not going to lie to you. I’m fucking poor, and I’ve been fucking poor my entire life. $2600 would help me a lot. But that’s not a settlement: you might as well offer me 30 pieces of silver, because that’s fucking Judas money. I haven’t been an activist in the Bay Area these past 6+ years for the money, but this scene has taken from me so much fucking more from me than I’ve put into it, and I’m not just talking about fiduciary concerns. So if I’m ever going to cash in my chips, I’m not fucking doing it for $2600.
    But let’s be really fucking clear: this isn’t about haggling over a fairer price for me. If we accept this we are dooming the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

    Here is me, in the middle of No Man’s Land, in a cloud of tear gas, during a #BlackLivesMatter protest in Berkeley on December 6th 2014. […]

    But here are my “Calls to Action” all the same:

    1st: I think we need a public meeting regarding the #J28 settlement and I think we need to pressure the lawyers involved to show up and publicly state why they mishandled the case (Let’s not mince words). And then we need to public reject this settlement and go back to the negotiating table.

    2nd: I think we need a larger conversation locally and nationally about the goals and demands of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and the construction of a sustainable movement. While I have been inspired by the series of ad hoc protests around the country these past months, shutting down a freeway or mass transit for a few hours, and then being brutalized and arrested by police only to have a shitty settlement three years later isn’t sustainable, therefore it won’t win as currently structured. I want to win. I believe we can win. We MUST adjust our tactics accordingly.

    3rd: To that end, I’ve been remarkably consistent in what would be the biggest revolutionary demand to end the police state: #EndTheDrugWar. I’ve been saying this since the Oscar Grant movement at public and private organizational assemblies. Usually to crickets and tumbleweeds.

    Yet the logic is simple: We are outraged at police brutality, and how it disproportionately affects black and brown and poor communities. We are outraged at the mass incarceration of these communities. What is the lead cause of this brutality? The Drug War. #Every45Seconds someone in this country (overwhelmingly black, brown and/or poor) someone is put in chains and a cage for possessing cannabis. More than ever before, a vast majority of people in this country support ending the drug war: tying #EndTheDrugWar to #BlackLivesMatter would make an overwhelming populist movement with a clear goal, the likes of which haven’t been seen in the USA since the anti-Vietnam War protests over 40 years ago. (And no, the endgame here isn’t “Yippie! I can buy weed at WalMart now!” but #DrugWarReparations— but that is a another conversation for now.)

    While the drug war may be a huge part of it, I think even without the drug war, systemic racism would be disproportionately felt by all people of colour in America – if not drugs, then they would find something else. [/opinion]

    On the importance of being inclusive, and in connection to Jessie Hernandez – This speaker (representing for gay Latinas last night) stated that #JessieHernandez preferred gender neutral terms.

    Oh, and for a spot of humour: Putting together KMOV & Post-Dispatch Roorda accounts–2-3 anti-police radicals started it by crawling over to Roorda & attacking his ankles. Just try picturing that. :/

    So, here’s something interesting – apparently there’s been a huge rise in crime in STL (so far unsupported from statistics that anyone has pointed out). And with that in mind, Mayor Slay’s staff says he didn’t know Chief Dotson was seeking highway patrol’s help to police downtown streets. Link to article: St. Louis cops seek highway patrol’s help to police downtown streets

    Dotson said he contacted the patrol last week in response to a surge in violent crime downtown over the final five months of last year.

    “As chief, that rise (in crime) was worrisome,” Dotson said on Wednesday.

    Dotson said he foresaw a six-month pilot program in which about a dozen troopers would join forces with city police officers.

    “We think that if we can work with the highway patrol to bring a little more police visibility and added presence downtown, it will have an impact on crime,” he said. “And if downtown thrives, the region thrives.”

    Dotson said the plan should not be construed as a panicked response to crime.

    “I don’t want to give people the idea that we’re shooting off flares because the city is sinking,” Dotson said. “That’s not the case. We’re just thinking outside the box so that, at the end of the day, our community is safer.”

    A patrol spokesman, Capt. Tim Hull, said his commanders were considering the idea.

    “There’s a lot of clearance that still has to be made through the chain of command,” Hull said.

    Dotson said he hoped approval could come within a week to 10 days.

    The chief said the plan had the full support of Mayor Francis Slay.

    “If I support it and believe it would work, (Slay) supports it, too,” Dotson said.

    However, before a reporter reached Dotson to verify the proposal, Slay’s office denied that the city was seeking highway patrol help.

    “It is not an idea that is being pursued,” the mayor’s spokesperson, Maggie Crane, stated Wednesday morning in an email.

    Later Wednesday, Crane said that although the idea had come up in brainstorming sessions, Slay’s office was not aware that formal talks had begun. […]

    According to figures from the police department, violent crimes in the downtown area were up 17 percent in 2014 over the year before.

    In December, the city announced a proposal to allocate $8 million to add 160 police officers to the force over the next two years.

    However, a proposed $200 million bond issue for infrastructure upgrades in the city, which officials had said would free up funds to hire more officers, died Monday on the floor of the Board of Aldermen.

    Dotson said his latest request had nothing to do with the fate of the bond issue.

    “If we get approval to hire more police officers, the spin-up time to recruit, hire, train and get them on the streets is 18 to 24 months,” Dotson said. “We’re looking to increase our visibility sooner than that.”

    To that end, Dotson said, mounted police officers began new patrols this week.

    “You’re going to see police officers on horseback where you’ve never seen them before. One day, downtown. The next, Grand and Arsenal. Then, the Central West End. They’ll be spreading out through the city.”

    The city’s request marks the second time in recent months the highway patrol has been tapped for aid in the metro area. Last fall, troopers went to Ferguson in response to protests there.

    Dotson’s move comes about a year and a half after a referendum in which City Hall won control of the police department after it spent 152 years under a state board appointed by the governor.

    Ah, so they do have some numbers – well, excuse me if I’m a bit leery about the PD’s own stats on violent crimes right now.

  28. rq says

    MAU Action #FaceRacism SAT 1/31 10:30AM Meet Convention Cntr Metro STL RSVP:, for anyone local.

    Dear Cops: If someone steals my car (or any of my things) please do not kill them to get it back. I’d rather they kept it. #JessieHernandez

    Howard U. Middle School parents say principal fired social studies instructors for teaching black history

    After all three of the school’s social studies teachers gave their two weeks’ notice last week, parents say the new principal, Angelicque Blackmon, confronted all three with pink slips Tuesday, in front of students.

    “While students are still present in the classroom? How unprofessional,” said parent Delrica Battle. “These children are crying. They said they couldn’t say goodbye. The teachers are upset, the students are upset.”

    Parent Michelle Payne added, “They were given to them in front of our children and I think that our children do not deserve to see that type of behavior.”

    (MS)² is a public charter school on the campus of Howard University. Some parents describe Principal Blackmon, who came from Atlanta, as abrasive.

    “The school administration does not want the social studies teachers to teach African-American history,” said parent Shannon Settle. “We are on the campus of an HBCU [Historically Black Colleges and Universities]. We need to know our culture; the school is 90-percent African American.”

    None of the teachers, nor Principal Blackmon, has responded to ABC 7 News’ requests for comment.

    “They were all escorted out by police officers, because they were trying to teach us things about our African heritage,” said seventh-grade student Kameron Gains-Gillens.

    Parents who met with Principal Blackmon on Wednesday said they were not satisfied with the meeting.

    Wow. (Video at the link.)

    Resident: Did Lower Merion police profile snow shovelers?

    Deborah Saldana, whose father hired the two to clear his property on Overbrook Avenue after they knocked on his door, thought the two were teenagers and was concerned that police in the predominantly white township were targeting them because they are black.

    Police stopped a pair shoveling near Saldana’s property at 2:42 p.m. Tuesday, said Tom Walsh, a township spokesman. That was about the time Saldana said she saw officers questioning her shovelers. […]

    The men the police spoke with are ages 34 and 18, Walsh said, and may have violated an ordinance that regulates people who solicit business by knocking on doors.

    The ordinance doesn’t prevent youths from going door to door offering shovel service, Walsh said. But it takes a dim view of adults doing the same.

    “No kids need a permit to shovel snow in Lower Merion Township,” Walsh said. “If there are adults out there going door to door and soliciting, that’s a different story. If it’s a neighbor or whatever, that’s fine. You don’t need a permit to shovel snow.”

    Police were working to determine whether the two adults stopped near Saldana’s home were the two shovelers she had hired and judged to be teenagers, Walsh said.

    “They were very small, skinny build,” Saldana said. “That’s why I thought they were teens, because they were my height or shorter.”

    Usual spiel about this being usual business, i.e. citing adults for not having the proper permits. But would they even have been noticed if they weren’t black?

    Philly420: Marijuana arrests plummet in Philly after decriminalization

    Philly420 first reported a 78 percent reduction in arrests during the first month of decrim. Now a police spokeswoman says the numbers have been adjusted down even further for simple possession. Police say they now have a new arrest code for those caught “in the act of a transaction.” Those “buyer of” weed arrests don’t show up in the possession totals.

    Compared to previous years, this now amounts to an 88 percent decline in arrests. There were 559 arrests in November and December of 2013 for possession of less than 30 grams of cannabis. […]

    For decades there was a disturbing racial disparity to weed arrests with more than 80 percent of those caught being people of color. The same disparity did not exist for other drug possession arrests. The racial makeup of the most recent arrests will not be available until the full Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Reporting Data is compiled in the fall.

    I hope those numbers are encouraging, too.

    Interlude: Benedict Cumberbatch! Version Saved By a Black Man.
    ‘Selma’ Star Backs Benedict Cumberbatch Following ‘Colored’ Controversy

    Cumberbatch said he was “devastated to have caused offence” after using the word on PBS’ Tavis Smiley talk show while talking about diversity differences in the British and U.S. entertainment industries. But Oyelowo, speaking at the U.K. premiere of Selma, said he thought the incident was “ridiculous.”

    “To attack him for a term, as opposed to what he was actually saying, I think is very disingenuous and is indicative of the age we live in where people are looking for sound bites as opposed to substance,” he told the BBC, adding that he’d reached out to Cumberbatch over the controversy and that he didn’t think it would affect his career.

    As if it would affect his career at all. Like, at all. But it is nice of Oyelowo to comfort Cumberbatch like that.
    As an aside,

    Speaking of his recent performance in Interstellar in a role that wasn’t specified as for a black actor, Oyelowo said that “to get to the point whereby myself and Ryan Gosling are going up for the same role is going to be great. That’s not to say that that doesn’t happen, it just doesn’t happen often.”

    Oyelowo concluded that he wanted to be “part of the solution.” 

    “You’ve just got to keep on banging out good performances,” he said.

    … And hope those good performances aren’t overshadowed by the supposed preferences of those pale folk.

  29. rq says

    There’s a comment in moderation but I’m just going to wait around and hope it gets out soon.

  30. says

    This one couldn’t possibly go wrong:

    People who are concerned about the use of excessive force by law enforcement may have to deal with another fatal can of worms. If Texas state Rep. Dan Flynn (R) gets his way, teachers will have the right to use deadly force against students in Texas classrooms, in the near future.
    The Lone Star State already permits teachers to have firearms in the classroom, but H.B. 868, also known as the Teacher’s Protection Act, would authorize instructors to use “force or deadly force on school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored event in defense of the educator’s person or in defense of students of the school that employs the educator.” Instructors would also have the right to use deadly force “in defense of property of the school that employs the educator.” Moreover, civil immunity would be granted to those who use deadly force, meaning they would not be liable for the injury or death of student.
    Such a bill could have disastrous consequences for students of color. A coalition of civil rights organizations found that black and Latino students face much higher rates of disciplinary action in schools, which exacerbates the so-called school-to-prison pipeline. By extension, if students of color are already disproportionately targeted by school authorities for their behavior, they could also become the targets of deadly force used by educators.
    Flynn is one of the Lone Star state’s staunchest gun-rights advocates. He previously co-authored legislation to allow firearms on college campuses. In 2013, he successfully co-authored a law that reduced the minimum number of training hours needed for a concealed handgun license.
    Ever since the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting that killed 20 children, gun advocates have pushed for the armament of teachers across the country. Indeed, many claimed that gun control supporters were responsible for the students’ deaths. However, despite contrary claims from gun control opponents, where there are more guns there is more crime — not less. Psychologists also contend that emotionally charged encounters increase the likelihood of pulling the trigger.

  31. says

    Holy fuck-

    According to a probable cause statement, Tommy Dean Gaa was arrested after visiting the restaurant this past Sunday. The encounter allegedly began when Gaa expressed his preference for toast by saying, “I’m prejudiced. I’ll take white.”

    Later, Gaa allegedly told the waitress, “I have a place I would like to take you where I hung your grandpa.”

    The waitress retreated toward the kitchen after Gaa both threatened her and grabbed her arm hard enough to allegedly leave a bruise, asking her if she “liked to party.”

    The Associated Press reported that Robert Rice, prosecuting attorney for Nodaway County, charged Gaa with felony assault motivated by discrimination, saying that the suspect “crossed the line” when he grabbed the waitress.

    Police said Gaa initially denied making racist remarks toward the waitress, before admitting responsibility for “at least some” of the actions mentioned in the statement. He also reportedly used an anti-black slur when telling an officer about “good and bad” people of different races.

    Gaa was released from jail on a $4,900 bond.

    This is an example of overt racism. Yes, it still very much exists. In fact, I’m rather surprised that so many people think it’s gone (to say nothing of the people who think that systemic racism isn’t a thing). The Civil Rights Movement didn’t happen that long ago and social change doesn’t happen overnight. It’s not as if all the people who were racist before the Civil Rights Act all of a sudden became non-racists after its passage. Many of these people still cling to their views. Yeah, they’re slowly dying out, but they are still here. They still spew their shit. They still have influence.

  32. says

    Arizona State University have a course titled “U.S. Race Theory & the Problem of Whiteness”, and FOX “News” doesn’t like that at all:

    Last week, “Fox & Friends” ran a segment focused around a supposed “attack on whiteness” that Arizona State University had prompted by offering “U.S. Race Theory & the Problem of Whiteness,” a college course that studies whiteness.

    Co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck called the course a “quite unfair, and wrong, and pointed” attack on white people and brought on ASU student Lauren Clark to shed some light on the so-called anti-white attitudes being taught.
    According to Hasselbeck, the book titles used in the course will only make students resent white people. Clark has not actually taken the course, but agrees with Hasselbeck and is strongly opposed to the subject matter. Clark claims that the books portray “white people as a root cause of social injustices in this country.”

    When it comes to racism in the US, that’s a damn true statement.

    The authors, having heard Hasselbeck’s comments, think her claims are preposterous – one of the authors, Jane Hill, is white, herself. Hill responded to the “Fox & Friends” segment sarcastically, defending her book The Everyday Language of White Racism:

    “Of course I’m white too. And my parents and grandparents and all my aunts and uncles are white, and my sister and brother and their spouses and kids are white, and my husband and my kids are white, and my only grandkid is white, so of course I hate white people and I want other people to hate them too.”

    “This is a book that comes out of my own world, a world that I live in, and uses very conventional anthropological methods for analyzing the language of that world. My analysis wouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone studying white racism. It’s pretty standard stuff.”

    Richard Delgado, another author whose book Critical Race Theory is in the class syllabus, called Fox’s criticism “absurd.”

    “Critical race theory — at least in my view of it — is not fixated on white people. Fox should realize it is just not about them and their favorite audience.”

    “It’s about racism, it’s about power, it’s about influence, it’s about law — about how law shapes and instructs racism and racial relations in this country, what causes it to change.”

  33. says

    Police ID suspect in hockey ‘hate crime’ against Native American kids

    The children were attending a Rush hockey game on Saturday as part of a school event when belligerent fans reportedly began pouring beer on and shouting racial slurs at them. According to one of the chaperones, the fans told the students to “go back to the rez.”

    After the incident, the students were escorted out of the arena by chaperones and on Tuesday the school’s board filed a complaint with Rapid City police, KOTA reported.

    Attorney Mato Standing High, who is representing four families whose children were involved in the incident, said they want justice.

    “In the families’ view, there is nothing short of an arrest that needs to be made,” Standing High said, according to the station. “That is the definition of justice in this instance. We feel that, you know, under different circumstances and different situations, people would have been arrested on the spot.”

    Bolding mine.

  34. says

    Family of Akai Gurley planning to sue city for $50 million in fatal NYPD shooting

    The family of Akai Gurley, the unarmed man shot by police in an unlit Brooklyn housing project stairwell in November 2014, have filed paperwork that begins the process of suing the city, the housing authority, the NYPD and the two officers involved in his death.

    Gurley was shot in the stairwell of the Louis H Pink houses in East New York, Brooklyn, by officer Peter Liang. Liang and his partner, Shaun Landau, who were both rookie officers, were conducting a routine patrol of the block when they encountered Gurley in the stairwell.

    The case added to heightened tensions across the US over police brutality, after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and the death of Eric Garner in Staten Island earlier that year.

    On Thursday, lawyers representing the family filed a notice of claim with the city comptroller’s office, the first step toward a lawsuit. The city can now choose whether to opt for a hearing, or move straight to the lawsuit. A separate notice was filed against the housing authority.

    I hope they get every fucking dime.

  35. says

    Teenage girl shot and killed by police; eyewitness exposes a key police lie

    Joyriding in what may have been a stolen car, a group of teenage girls were fired upon by Denver police, killing 17 year old Jessica (Jessie) Hernandez. Her autopsy report shows that she died of multiple gunshot wounds.
    The problem, is, though, that the in initial police statements after the Jessie’s death, police made it out like they shot and killed Jessie after she deliberately hit an officer with the car, breaking his leg. Here’s the account from the police chief the night of the shooting,

    Police Chief Robert White says the first officer to arrive ran the license plate and determined the vehicle was stolen.
    “As the officer exited the vehicle, the driver of the (stolen) vehicle struck one of the officers in the leg,” White said.

    He said both officers then fired several shots at the teenaged driver. White said a total of five “very young” people were in the car.

    There’s a video at the link where the passenger describes what she witnessed.

  36. rq says

    Yah, that girl is the one upthread, where witnesses state that cops shot her first, and then she lost control of the car.


    Because Denver is a bit of a focus right now (Jessie Hernandez and Sharod Kindell being the most recent), here’s some things about Denver:
    From 2010, Is There a Police Brutality Problem in Denver?

    Denver Colorado has certainly been in the spotlight after a string of reports involving cases of excessive force came out in August. First there was the DeHerrera and Johnson case that was caught on a police “HALO” camera which oddly zoomed out just as the alleged beating occurred, which was followed by another videotaped instance of alleged brutality involving Mark Ashford who was walking his dog when officers appeared to attack him for taking pictures with his cell phone. This was then followed by the quiet settlement of an excessive force case involving James Watkins who accused police of beating him for saying “cops suck” in response to their flirting with a woman he was with.

    All of this appeared to culminate with the resignation of Denver Manger of Safety Ron Perea due to public outcry over the apparent lax disciplinary response to these incidents including a 3-day unpaid vacation for the three officers involved in the DeHerrera/Johnson beating despite recommendations from the Office of the Independent Monitor that the officers be fired, not just for the use of excessive force, but for outright lying on their reports about the incident.

    However, now the city council is trying to head off more criticism by promising to look into whether officers need more training based on how much the city has been paying out in police misconduct related legal battles, which is currently alleged to be just under $1,500,000 since 2008. Despite all these problems coming to the fore within just one month, Denver Police Chief Gerry Whitman insists that there isn’t a problem within the Denver Police Department, in fact he insists that Denver police officers are better behaved than most cities based on an interesting “use of force per arrest” statistic he claims is lower than most cities.

    Now, if you don’t remember, Police Chief Whitman’s spokesman used a similar “statistic” back in 2009 when the department was facing flack over another series of five excessive force lawsuits that were filed within a short span of one another. That time they claimed that the department didn’t have a problem because, out of 488,192 citizen contacts, only 149 resulted in complaints of excessive force and, of those, none were sustained.

    Of course, this is the same as offering up that a murderer shouldn’t be convicted over that one time he killed someone because he had thousands of contacts with other people that ended great. However, there was another problem with that claim in that, according the the Denver Office of the Independent Monitor’s 2008 report, there were roughly 222 excessive force complaints filed against 154 officers within 2008, something that we called out back in July of 2009. [… – I hadn’t heard that comparison before, there – the one with the murderer! I like it!]

    However, when we recalculate that rate based on reports issued up to August of this year, Denver looks even worse with an estimated Excessive Force Rate of 2,531 per 100,000, which is over 10x higher than the national average Excessive Force Rate of 210 per 100,000.

    Clearly, Denver has a problem even if the police chief insists that there isn’t a problem, which is likely half of the reason why there is such a large problem in Denver since a problem ignored is a problem that is never fixed. This can be seen when we look at Denver’s 2009 numbers which, while better than the 2010 rate, is still an exceptionally high 1,071 per 100,000.

    So, how can Denver lower their excessive force incident rate? The first step, of course, is to acknowledge that there is a problem. Once that’s done it’s clear that the city needs to re-examine how the department deals with allegations of misconduct, namely how earnestly they investigate such complaints and act upon sustained instances of misconduct. Report after report confirm that the problem in Denver is directly tied to an unwillingness to honestly investigate complaints and an unwillingness to effectively discipline officers involved in confirmed and repeated instances of misconduct.

    The post includes some 2009/2010 statistics, and ends with a short timeline of excessive force cases in those two years.

    Here’s another from that same year: Police misconduct: Denver ranks number one in terms of excessive force complaints. Basically an already-summarized version of the first article.

    A list of articles on Denver Police brutality in 2013, just a list of headlines.

    Getting back to the present, Chief: Not Clear How Officer Was Hurt When Teen Was Killed

    The Denver police chief says it is not clear from a preliminary investigation how an officer was injured when a 17-year-old girl driving a stolen car was killed by police.

    Chief Robert White initially said the officer was struck by the car as it was driven toward him.

    However, he said Thursday that it is not clear whether the officer was hurt by the car or while trying to get out of its way.

    Police shot and killed Jessica Hernandez on Monday after finding her and four other people in the car in an alley.

    White would not comment further on Thursday about the sequence of events.

    And the ACLU on moving cars has an opinion. ACLU: Moving-car shootings raise questions about police training

    On Monday, officers Daniel Greene and Gabriel Jordan shot and killed 17-year-old Jessica Hernandez after they said she started driving a stolen car toward them as they tried to order her and four other teens out of the car.

    “We’ve all seen the current policy and you all understand there are very serious questions about whether this shooting was a direct violation of the police department’s policy,” Silverstein said.

    It was the fourth time in seven months Denver police have fired at moving vehicles. Two suspects have been killed and three have been injured. At least three police officers have been injured in the incidents. […]

    The Denver Police Department’s use of force policy instructs officers to avoid firing at a moving car unless there is a direct threat of serious injury or death and there are no other reasonable options.

    “I think you will agree our policy is very restrictive,” White said.

    However, White said he was compelled to review his officers’ actions after four incidents in less than a year. Stephanie O’Malley, executive director of public safety, also was involved in the decision to review the policy, how officers are trained on it and how they carry it out.

    Silverstein said the Denver police policy was changed in 2008 after it was recommended by an outside police consulting firm.

    However, that leads to the question of how the police department is training its officers and whether the change has been made clear throughout the ranks, he said.

    “We hope Denver does more than send an e-mail to officers that says, “You know that part about shooting at moving vehicles? There’s a change.”

    As for transparency into the investigation, White said Thursday he is limited about what he can say because the district attorney is conducting a routine criminal investigation into the officers’ actions.

    Back in St Louis, an open letter has been written to SLU, regarding an event they’re holding. That’s the one that wsa headlining McCullogh. Open Letter to SLU Law. The font they use is really bad for copy-paste, but I have time to do a transcription later today, just be patient.

  37. rq says

    St Louis police official unapologetic after pushing woman at public meeting

    A St Louis police union official declined to apologise on Thursday after appearing to push a woman in the audience at a public meeting, and pledged to continue wearing a provocative bracelet in support of the officer who killed an unarmed 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri.

    Police have launched an investigation into the fracas that broke out at St Louis city hall on Wednesday evening when Jeff Roorda, the business manager of the St Louis Police Officers’ Association, grabbed Cachet Currie by the arm and appeared to shove her.

    Roorda was accused of exacerbating tensions at the meeting by wearing a bracelet endorsing Darren Wilson, who fatally shot Michael Brown in the suburb of Ferguson on 9 August, leading to months of protests. Roorda hailed Wilson as “a hero” on Thursday and denied being responsible for the struggle at city hall.

    “Oh God, no,” Roorda told the Guardian, when asked if he would apologise to Currie. “No, no, no. The only apology owed is from the chairman of the committee, for letting things get so far out of control.” He claimed it was the protesters at the meeting who “lost their cool”.

    That’s right, Darren Wilson – American hero! Well, if American Sniper is indicative, that sounds about right. One day they’re going to make a movie about Roorda and Wilson, and it will probably be very religious, too. And horrible.

    Editorial: Partisan melee over law enforcement is a disgrace

    So let us postulate that it’s possible to be “pro-police,” and still believe that police officers must be civil to the communities they serve and be held responsible for their actions.

    Let us posit further that it’s possible to have street cred and still thank cops who honorably do a dangerous and necessary job and that people who endanger the lives of police officers do so at their own peril.

    Let us assume that within the chaotic aldermanic hearing room at St. Louis City Hall on Wednesday night were at least a few people with first-rate minds. Let us assume that the melee that broke out during the public comment session on a bill creating a civilian oversight board was created by a few hard-heads who benefit from continuing tension between the police and the policed.

    What happened Wednesday night was disgraceful. As if the city didn’t have enough problems dealing with crime, now people are making law enforcement a partisan issue. Responsible city leaders must get on top of this, and fast.

    Ironically, Board Bill 208 — creating a Civilian Oversight Board — is an attempt to do just that. It doesn’t have many teeth, and the St. Louis Police Officers Association is not crazy about it, but it took years of pushing and pulling just to get this far.

    It would allow civilian board members nominated by the aldermen and appointed by the mayor to review internal police disciplinary investigations. The COB would have no investigators of its own and no power to enforce its findings. It would meet in private and have no authority to make public the names of officers and allegations it investigates.

    Board Bill 208 is a compromise, and that’s a dirty word in today’s hyper-charged political atmosphere. Social media give outsize influence to small numbers of people, those willing to talk loudly and stir the pot.

    Racial divisions make it worse. So do long-term north-south, black-white political divisions at City Hall. Mayor Francis Slay and 18th Ward Alderman Terry Kennedy, chairman of the aldermanic black caucus, laid aside those differences long enough to craft Board Bill 208. […]

    Why Mr. Roorda thought that wearing an “I am Darren Wilson” wristband to a potentially contentious meeting was a good idea is a mystery. In a community still trying to recover from Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson’s killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year old, last August, wearing that bracelet to that meeting as a representative of police officers was like screaming “fire” in a crowded theater.

    On Thursday morning, Mr. Roorda told KTRS radio that he’d always thought Mr. Kennedy was a “classy guy,” so he didn’t know why he was running a “classless hearing” that was a “sham and an embarrassment.”

    This from a man whose choice of accessories was designed to inflame the people in the room.

    Mr. Roorda said the civilian oversight board was not necessary, that “We’ve got nothing to hide. We’re transparent.”

    No, not really. Mr. Roorda’s on record as opposing body cameras for police officers. And the city police department still hasn’t released the results of investigations into the police killings last August of Kajieme Powell, 25, or last October of VonDerrit Myers Jr., 18. […]

    We’ve got two police organizations, one for black officers whose dues have gone missing and the other dominated by old-school white officers who mistakenly think Jeff Roorda is a good spokesman for their cause.

    We’ve got “pro-police” rallies, as if it’s somehow out of line to ask that police be more accountable, and continuing disruptions from some protesters who apparently think cops are supposed to stand by and let themselves be shot by felons carrying weapons.

    We’ve got some John Wayne cops who don’t know that “tactical withdrawal” is an honored military strategy.

    We’ve got political stasis on paying for more police officers, a rising homicide rate and a police chief whose announcement that he’d asked the state Highway Patrol to help patrol downtown came as a surprise to some in the mayor’s office.

    Anyone with a modicum of first-rate intelligence knows we’d better sort this out for ourselves, and quickly, or the U.S. Department of Justice will sort it out for us.

    Not that the DoJ would be much good. Or would it?

    Cachet Currie after 6 seconds w/ Jeff Roorda versus Darren Wilson after the fight of his life against Mike Brown. Compare those photos. Really compare.

    Re: a line I quoted too in the article just above, I’ve actually never heard anyone advocating this particular position. Who is the Post-Dispatch interviewing? (That’s the line about how cops should stand there and let themselves be shot at.)

    In his own words, Jeff Roorda Explains City Hall Scuffle (with video). I’m sorry, I can’t stand listening to him, so I’m skipping out on this one, but some of you might have stronger nerves (and gag reflex) than I.

    Seeing how Roorda behaved explains why the Ethical Society of Police exists as STL’s 2nd & SEPARATE police union.

  38. rq says

    New generation of activist-athletes

    If you joined in progress, this looks like life imitating art, but the reality is more like artists, at points, attempting to step outside of history altogether. Three months before Garner died, Pharrell Williams spoke to Oprah Winfrey about the virtues of being a “new black” — first among them, he said, is that this novel category “doesn’t blame other races for our issues.” In the wake of Garner’s death, Charles Barkley waded in to defend racial profiling because, in his estimation, “we have a lot of crooks in our race.” No one has done more to chronicle the specific ills of the streets where Garner lived and died than the Wu-Tang Clan, but even its founder and guiding light, RZA, stopped short of saying Garner’s death was the result of racism, telling Gawker that “racism is played out.” The denial has become a refrain. Garner’s own family voiced a similar sentiment. As did Michael Brown’s. Trayvon Martin’s parents assured the world that their son’s death was “not about race.” Yet the math disagrees. Nothing so establishes the enduring presence of racism as the fact that we are presented with so many opportunities to deny it. […]

    This is America in 2015, a place where denial of the known past taints the foreseeable future. The most immediately noticeable distinction between the fictional death of Raheem in 1989 and that of Garner in 2014 is that a young black lawyer who saw that film on a first date with a co-worker is now the president of the United States and a man who must counsel calm in the wake of the periodic outrages that have defined the era in which he operates. Six years ago, a black man placed his hand upon a Bible held by his deeply brown wife and took the oath of office. In that span of time, “Yes We Can” has given way to “I Can’t Breathe” — damningly ending the postracial fantasy we’d allowed ourselves.

    For this reason and several others, it was eyebrow-raising to witness the spread of the “I Can’t Breathe” idea beyond the agitated streets and into places where the signs in question are more commonly dollar than picket. Derrick Rose, injury-prone and already the object of scorn for his insistence upon taking time to fully recover, showed up on court in a T-shirt bearing Garner’s last words. Days later, with Prince William and his wife in attendance, the Cavaliers and the Nets took to the court of Barclays Center in shirts with “I Can’t Breathe” printed on the front. (Jay Z helped procure the shirts but didn’t wear one himself — purportedly because they didn’t have one in his size.) The gestures were notable not solely as rejections of the wrongheaded cliché about sports being somehow exempt from the concerns of society at large but also because they took place upon a world stage. The players were acting up in front of royal company and stating without reservation that they are more than millionaire action figures moving around on the hardwood and enriching the gentrifiers of Barclays-era Brooklyn. It echoed a scene from three years ago when the Miami Heat, en route to demolishing their division and claiming a championship, were photographed wearing hoodies in solidarity with those who understood the death of Martin as not just a tragedy but part of a broader pattern, one that affects them and men who look like them and has for as far back as we have memory.

    In 1967, when superstars Jim Brown, Bill Russell and Lew Alcindor and half a dozen black NFL players came together in defense of an embattled Muhammad Ali, Ali’s persecution for refusing to go to Vietnam was understood as a matter of common concern. Black men recognized that Ali’s status as a pariah was just the most obvious metaphor for the entire demographic to which they belonged. It was also a reflection of the era — “the time dictated the passions,” as Brown phrased it. The common lament about the apolitical habits of modern athletes and entertainers overlooks the fact that Brown’s generation was its own new black — one that rejected the patient patriotism its members inherited from their parents in favor of something more indignant and appropriate to the era in which they were living. Amid John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s Black Power defiance at the 1968 Olympics, George Foreman’s innocuous bow to the crowd while holding an American flag all but earned him racial excommunication in some quarters of black America. Carlos and Smith were primarily responding to the death of Dr. King earlier that year. In the bedlam of 1968, it was impossible to recognize that on some level Foreman was responding to King’s death too. James Brown’s “I’m Black and I’m Proud” became an anthem for the Black Power age, but it was also a nod to the audiences that viewed the world differently than they had when he first emerged singing unvarnished soul ballads. No coincidence then that Brown himself (albeit temporarily) traded in his own conked-and-laid glory for the short Afro he rocked in keeping with mass tastes.

    Things have changed since then. Foreman once was castigated for the simplest act of patriotic deference, but the idea of athletes and entertainers being expected to act as a racial vanguard long ago expired. Along with that new reality, one freed of black expectations though not necessarily of white ones, came a broader slate of personal options.

    It means something then that Azealia Banks, fresh off her turn at revoking Iggy Azalea’s race pass, took to Twitter to light into Lamar’s inverted analysis of Ferguson. “LOL,” she started, “do you know about the generational effects of poverty, racism and discrimination?” The more apt question, though, is do we? I Can’t Breathe. Black Lives Matter. Hands Up, Don’t Shoot. Are we willing to demand the right to freedom without asterisks?

    So there we found ourselves, watching a spectacle on the floor of Barclays Center, 46 years past that moment of showing out on the Olympic dais in Mexico City — once again grappling with the abrasive truth that history doesn’t repeat itself. Humans do. This is our context. What will emerge from this — from the waning days of a black presidency and the drumbeat regularity of injustice — remains to be seen. But the sad likelihood is that we will have more occasion to find out, more occasion that warrants outrage and angst, more need for athletes to flex their consciousness, more hashtags and more denial. More impatient requests for justice while pondering, fearing and deeply hoping that we have not been, for all this time, wasting our breath.

    Tired of burying kids #IsaacHolmes

    Mother of 17yo Denver girl slain by police demands independent autopsy

    Laura Sonya Rosales Hernandez’s daughter Jessie, 17, was fired upon by two Denver officers who believed she was driving a stolen vehicle through an alley in the city’s Park Hill neighborhood.

    “I want another autopsy on my daughter so we can know how much damage they did,” Hernandez said, the Associated Press reported.

    Denver police and an independent police monitor have announced separate investigations into the events of Monday evening.

    Teacher: I see the difference in educational privilege every day. I live it. I am disgusted by it.

    Recently, events in Ferguson and New York have reminded us there are still two very different Americas. What I wish more people were talking about is that there are two American educations: One for the affluent, and one for students living in poverty.

    Many of the reports focus on numbers for free and reduced lunches, which is, some say, a “rough proxy for poverty,” but those labeling it in such a way have probably never set foot in a classroom.

    Almost every day, I slip food to one of my students. Both of his parents are in prison. Or, one of his parents is in prison and the other is dead. We can’t quite get the full story from him. He lives with his older sister, whom he refers to as his mother because he doesn’t want to explain anything. Or he doesn’t live with her. He won’t say where he’s staying. We’ve attempted home visits but can never get anyone to answer the door.

    A senior from a nearby high school spoke at the Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented’s annual conference in Denver this past October. Poised and polished and wearing a suit, he told the assembled teachers and administrators about how he had recently received a $25,000 grant from a company to allow him to continue to develop a thumbprint-activated gun prototype. He takes a special class in a public school—a scientific discovery class—in which he is allowed time to process through his scientifically based ideas. He works with a special adviser from a corporation that helped him set up his own corporation, and continues to help guide the research and development of his prototype. He admitted openly to taking many days off of school in order to work on his projects. He laughed it off, though, because his teachers make a special exception for him because they know he’s gifted, and they know what he’s working on.

    My students take several days off of school also. They do it when they have to care for their brothers or sisters because their parents are working. They do it when they have to work so their family can eat. They do it when their parents are in the hospital receiving emergency medical care. Instead of a special exception, my students will eventually get a date in truancy court.

    Pause there, those first few paragraphs of the article. That one, there, second-to-last? P-R-I-V-I-L-E-G-E writ large. More:

    I am angry that when I attend a conference for gifted children—which, make no mistake, I do have in my classroom, though they do not have the same opportunities as their more affluent counterparts—I see such a stark difference between the opportunities afforded to students in affluent areas, and the opportunities afforded to students in my classroom.

    There has been plenty of talk about privilege lately: the difference in racial privilege, the difference in gender privilege.

    There’s a difference in educational privilege, too. I see it every day. I live it. I am disgusted by it.

    Where there is money, there is education. Where there isn’t money, there is excessive testing, lack of curricular options, and struggle. There is the struggle to give students the tools they need to fight their way through a system that is designed to hold them back from the moment they take their first breath, from the moment they try to write their first paragraph. As The Washington Post report states: “A growing number of children start kindergarten already trailing their more privileged peers and rarely, if ever, catch up. They are less likely to have support at home, are less frequently exposed to enriching activities outside of school, and are more likely to drop out and never attend college.” They are, overall, less likely to succeed.

    When I was at the conference, I heard confidence in the voices of the two students that spoke; their words were steeped in the self-assuredness of privilege.

    Instead of self-assuredness, my teenage students’ voices are already wracked with weariness.

    So what do my students need, then? Access to the same funding, opportunities, and “exceptions” afforded to privileged, affluent students.

    They need a society and educational system designed to actually meet their needs, instead of a society that passes laws to keep them constantly underfoot and an educational system designed to test them to death and tell them how they are inadequate instead of educating them.

    Needs more context, but not particularly well-boding: Very disappointed in @clairecmc support of #Ferguson prosecutor Robert McCulloch! NO on #POTUS vote! #maddow #MikeBrown #BlackLivesMatter

  39. rq says

    One more time, with feeling – for Aiyana. Or in this case, not. Detroit Officer Won’t Go On Trial 3rd Time in Girl’s Death . Why is it so difficult? My 7-year-old was shocked that the police in this case are facing no consequences whatsoever. “That country is horrible!” he said. And he was horrified that they could make that kind of error in the first place.

    Weekley’s first trial ended without a verdict in June 2013. His second ended in October with a hung jury. During the second trial, a judge dismissed a charge of involuntary manslaughter.

    Worthy called it “unfortunate” that Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway dismissed the felony manslaughter charge, leaving only the misdemeanor count. It carries a maximum punishment of two years in prison.

    “Under the law, her decision cannot be appealed,” Worthy said in a statement.

    Aiyana’s grandmother, Mertilla Jones, said in a statement Wednesday that “it feels like the system” failed their family.

    Jones called Gray Hathaway’s dismissal of the manslaughter charge “even more insidious, given the fact that a 7-year-old child was killed while she was sleeping.”

    Weekley’s attorney, Steve Fishman, said the prosecutor’s decision was “courageous” and “a correct one.”

    Courageous? Fuck that kind of courage.

    More awareness for Sharod Kindell: Yet another victim of DPD gunfire. Bring sharod home now! Please share this fundraiser! GoFundMe link: Bring Sharod Home.

    New stuff on wetheprotesters(dot)org: And we just posted the policy brief on Community Oversight of The Police, the link: Policy Brief 2 Community Oversight of Police. From the description of that page,

    We are planning to release new policy briefs every week. If you would like to be a part of any of the policy work that we’ve outlined here, please contact sam(at)thisisthemovement(dot)org or on twitter (@samswey).

    We are excited about this phase of the work and are looking for other people to help built it out. We are also hopeful that the briefs are helpful, as they are being drafted after reviewing the demands from various protest groups.

    — Netta and DeRay

    There are two policy briefs at the site right now, the first one being on the Special Prosecutor.
    Text of Policy Brief #1:

    Policy Brief #1: Permanent Special Prosecutor’s Office

    On November 24 2014, a grand jury decided not to charge Officer Darren Wilson with a crime for shooting and killing Mike Brown, an unarmed black teenager, in Ferguson, Missouri. When someone is killed, prosecutors usually present the case for why a grand jury should charge the person responsible. But in this case, they did not recommend specific charges for Officer Wilson. Instead, prosecutors invited Wilson to present his version of the story for four-hours without seriously questioning him, challenged witnesses that did not agree with Wilson’s version of the story and even let witnesses testify in support of Wilson’s story who were clearly not credible. The county prosecutor in charge of making these unusual moves, Bob McCulloch, had close ties to local police – his father was a St. Louis policeman who was killed in the line of duty by a black man and three of his family members were currently serving as St. Louis police officers. Mike Brown was the fifth person killed by police under McCulloch’s watch. None of the officers responsible have even faced a trial.

    Problem Statement
    Prosecutors can convince grand juries to charge almost anyone, but prosecutors do not convince grand juries to charge police officers. Instead, prosecutors side with police officers and can present a one-sided picture to the grand jury in secret. In the past 6 months, grand juries have not charged police officers for the deaths of at least five unarmed black people: Mike Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Jordan Baker and Dontre Hamilton.

    Policy Overview
    Establish a permanent special prosecutor’s office at the state level to automatically handle all
    police killings of civilians. The key provisions of this policy include:
    ● A permanent special prosecutor is appointed at the state level and equipped with an office with resources to be able to conduct thorough investigations.
    ● The special prosecutor is required to investigate all police killings of civilians and given authority to do so.
    ● The special prosecutor is chosen based on input from the community.

    Why This Policy?
    Local prosecutors rely on police officers to gather the evidence and testimony they need to successfully prosecute criminals. This makes it hard for them to go after the same police officers when they commit brutality. A special prosecutor wouldn’t be as close with the police officers they investigate, especially if the prosecutor is picked by the state and not from a nearby community. That’s why 9 in 10 Americans support using a special prosecutor in cases where police kill unarmed civilians. And by giving the special prosecutor an office with qualified investigators and resources, they can do a full investigation without needing to rely on police officers to investigate themselves. To prevent the governor or attorney general from choosing a special prosecutor who unfairly sides with police officers, this policy would also establish a commission with community representation that either selects the special prosecutor itself or selects the candidates that the governor must pick from.

    Does This Policy Work?
    We need more research that looks specifically at how special prosecutors have done compared to local prosecutors in cases were police kill civilians. We know, for example, that New York had a special prosecutor’s office for police corruption in the 70’s and 80’s that was successful in getting police officers convicted before it was eliminated to fund narcotics policing. But even if the office does bring more police officers to justice, there will still be police who unjustly kill black people and go free as long as (mostly white) jurors, judges and prosecutors see black people as threatening and take the word of police over the word of (mostly black) witnesses.

    Where Is This Policy Currently Being Implemented?
    ● Connecticut law authorizes a special prosecutor specifically for cases where police kill someone.
    ● Maryland has a special prosecutors’ office for cases involving any public employees, including police misconduct. New York, Missouri, Colorado, and California are currently considering similar policies.
    ● Rep. Hank Johnson (GA-04) has proposed the Grand Jury Reform Act, H.R. 5830, in Congress requiring states use special prosecutors in police misconduct cases.

    Text of Policy Brief #2:

    Policy Brief #2: Community Oversight of the Police

    On March 24, 2012, Pasadena police officers Jeffrey Newlen and Mathew Griffin shot and killed 19-year old Kendrec McDade, an unarmed college student, while responding to a reported armed robbery. They chased Kendrec for several blocks then fired 7 shots at him, claiming to be acting in self-defense after being “charged” at. The Pasadena Police Department investigated their fellow officers, finding that the officers did not warn Kendrec before shooting him and then left him on the street critically wounded and “twitching” without first aid. Both officers involved in the shooting were cleared of wrongdoing by the police department and the District Attorney. They continue to serve as Pasadena police officers.

    Problem Statement
    When police officers brutalize members of the community, it’s usually left up to their fellow officers to investigate and decide what, if any, consequences they should face. As a consequence, nationwide less than 1 in every 12 complaints of police misconduct results in some kind of disciplinary action against the officer(s) responsible. In some places, police departments dismiss 99% of all excessive force complaints against officers. Communities need a meaningful way to determine how police officers – and police departments – interact with them. And when the police fail to live up to these expectations, communities need a meaningful way to ensure they are held accountable.

    Policy Overview
    Cities should establish an independent Office of Civilian Complaints (OCC) with the resources and authority to investigate all civilian complaints of police misconduct and make discipline and policy recommendations to the Chief of Police. Additionally, cities should establish a civilian Police Commission to oversee the OCC and Police Department with the authority to set department policy, fire the Police Chief and impose discipline on officers.

    The Police Commission should:
    ● Decide policy for the police department.
    ● Discipline and dismiss police officers.
    ● Hold public disciplinary hearings.
    ● Select the candidates for Police Chief, to be hired by the Mayor.
    ● Evaluate and fire the Police Chief, if needed.
    ● Receive full-time, competitive salaries for all members.
    ● Receive regular training on policing and civil rights.
    ● Not have current, former or family of police officers as members.
    ● Have its members selected from candidates offered by community organizations.

    Why This Policy?
    The policy proposed in this brief aims to give communities the greatest amount of oversight over individual police officers and the broader policies and practices of the police department. It ensures community leaders have the resources, expertise and guidelines to handle these responsibilities. This includes the power to enforce cooperation and compliance from the Police Chief, including the power to unilaterally fire the Chief if necessary. And while the proposed policy does not require Police Commission members to be elected, as some have demanded, empowering diverse community organizations to select the candidates who the City Council can appoint to the Police Commission, as has been done in Miami, may make the Commission more representative than allowing police associations or unions to influence an election.

    Does This Policy Work?
    While more research is needed to know how effective civilian oversight systems are at handling cases of police misconduct, there is some evidence that the model of civilian oversight recommended by this brief can lead to positive police reforms.
    San Francisco’s civilian oversight structure, which closely resembles this recommendation, has successfully reformed San Francisco Police Department policies to require police officers to identify themselves to the public and improve the way they interact with juveniles, protesters and people who are mentally ill. At the same time, this civilian oversight system can be difficult to establish or operate because:
    ● Establishing a civilian oversight system with the power to discipline officers might violate state law, city charter or existing contracts with police unions. As such, enacting

    [text box] The Office of Civilian Complaints should:
    ● Receive, investigate and resolve all civilian complaints against police in 120 days.
    ● Establish multiple in-person and online ways to submit, view and discuss complaints.
    ● Be immediately notified and required to send an investigator to the scene of an officer-involved shooting or in-custody death.
    ● Access crime scenes, subpoena witnesses and files with penalties for non-compliance.
    ● Make disciplinary and policy recommendations to the Police Chief.
    ● Compel the Police Chief to explain why he/she has not followed a recommendation.
    ● Have the Police Commission decide cases where the Police Chief does not follow recommendations.
    ● Issue public quarterly reports analyzing complaints, demographics of complainants, status and findings of investigations and actions taken as a result.
    ● Be housed in a separate location from the police department.
    ● Be funded at an amount no less than 5% of the total police department budget.
    ● Have at least 1 investigator for every 70 police officers or 4 investigators at all times, whichever is greater.
    ● Have its Director selected from candidates offered by community organizations.
    ● Not have current, former or family of police officers on staff, including the Director. [/text box]

    such a policy may only be possible through a ballot initiative to add this system to the city charter, like has been done in San Francisco.
    ● Other laws can limit civilian oversight, such as the California Police Officer Bill of Rights which prevents police disciplinary hearings from being open to the public.
    ● Police may view a strong oversight system with suspicion and resist its mandates, causing delays in accessing police records and information needed for investigations.
    ● It’s expensive to hire quality investigators and policy analysts.
    ● It’s rare for investigators to find enough evidence to prove an officer committed wrongdoing. As such, this policy will work best when advanced in combination with other reforms – such as a police body and dashboard camera program – in cities where the Chief of Police is either unwilling or unable to use his existing authority to make changes demanded by the community.

    Where Is This Policy Currently Being Implemented?
    ● More than 100 cities, including most major cities, have some kind of civilian oversight of police. Some civilian review boards only have the power to review the findings of police investigations into misconduct and make non-binding recommendations. Others empower civilians to monitor how well police handle their investigations. 1 in 4 civilian review boards have the power to conduct their own investigations, including New York City, Oakland and New Orleans.
    ● San Francisco’s Police Commission and Office of Citizen Complaints (OCC) empower civilians to investigate all complaints, recommend policies and practices, and make the final decisions on these matters as well as hire, evaluate and, if needed, fire the Police Chief. The OCC also trains officers and mediates disputes between civilians and officers.
    ● St. Louis Alderman Terry Kennedy has proposed a bill to create a civilian oversight structure with the power to conduct independent investigations and make policy recommendations, while a weaker model of oversight has been proposed in Ferguson that lacks the power to independently investigate or review complaints.

    * Note: I have removed both ‘Learn More’ sections from the briefs in the interests of keeping links to a minimum, there’s about four links per brief at the end.

  40. rq says

    And now, the Circuit Attorney of STL is subpoenaing footage from City Hall from local media outlets. Subpoenas. Wild. Corruption runs deep.
    Jennifer Joyce’s office sent out secret subpoenas to the media for their footage of last night’s meeting. As @deray would say, that’s wild.
    Roorda is threatening a slowdown or resignations if there a Civilian Oversight Board. That might be the closest thing to justice yet. Can he do this, please?
    More on that: Roorda says St. Louis police officers will quit or do a work slowdown if the city imposes a civilian review board. Link to article: Civilian oversight board appears headed for passage, despite police union opposition

    A majority of the Board of Aldermen have already affixed their names as co-sponsors of the bill, which would create a seven-member civilian board to investigate police misconduct allegations. Mayor Francis Slay has even taken an unusual step of adding his name to the bill as a sign of support.

    But the city’s police officers union has begun hitting back.

    Jeff Roorda, a police union official, said on Thursday that St. Louis police officers will quit the department or do only the bare minimum on patrol if the city creates the kind of civilian oversight board currently being proposed.

    “They’d answer their calls when they got them, but as far as interrupting criminal behavior on their own, why in the world would they do that when their employers aren’t even supporting them?” Roorda said.

    “They would be incredibly reluctant to do their jobs,” he said, “and St. Louis would be a much more dangerous place than it is now. Nobody wants to be the next Darren Wilson.”

    Wait, what bad things happened to Darren Wilson?

    Museum excavates burned Dellwood business for artifacts from Ferguson unrest – contemporary archaeology?

    Fashion R Boutique, the shop that Morris owned and operated at 9844 West Florissant Avenue for 28 years, was reduced to smoldering rubble on Nov. 24 in the riots that followed the Ferguson grand jury ruling and spilled into her community.

    The remnants were slated to be hauled off to a trash heap next week.

    But early this month, museum officials contacted Morris, seeking permission to root around in the rubble for artifacts for its Ferguson Collecting Initiative. They hoped that a search of the ruins would produce artifacts that meet the criteria for materials directly related to the historic events surrounding the Ferguson protests.

    In recent years, officials also have placed a priority on collecting material that documents people who have been, “for whatever reason, excluded or underrepresented in the historical record.”

    Edna Smith, a museum assistant librarian and longtime friend of Morris, suggested the shop would be a good place to search for artifacts. Others will be considered later.

    Chris Gordon, the museum’s director of library and collections, and Jeff Meyer, its collections manager, arrived on Thursday to find a decrepit and unsafe-looking scene.

    Most of the structure’s pink, stucco-covered walls had collapsed. Support beams leaned at odd angles. Ceiling tiles dangled precariously.

    “We usually search garages, basements, attics and warehouses,” Gordon said. “This is the first time we’ve dug around in a burned building.”

    The museum began collecting Ferguson-related items in earnest in December.

    The artifacts include art-covered plywood that had protected business windows; T-shirts and signs emblazoned with protest messages; and a program from the funeral of Michael Brown, the unarmed teenager shot to death during a confrontation Aug. 9 with then-police officer Darren Wilson.

    “This is the first opportunity we’ve had to go through a building affected by the rioting and burning,” Gordon said. “We are looking for artifacts that represent the devastation and emotion that followed the grand jury’s ruling.”


  41. rq says

    In the police-behaving-not-entirely-honestly aisle, LAPD-sponsored event with convicted killer and ex-member of the Mexican Mafia Link to the event: Boxergate: How to Get Away with Murder (For Real)

    Now almost ten years later it seems that the LAPD may look at convicted killers who author, co-author and/or ghostwrite books in a different light.

    On Wednesday evening the LAPD (and taxpayers) facilitated a meet and greet promotional book tour-ish event for Los Angeles’ wealthy elite good doers with convicted killer and ex-member of the Mexican Mafia hitman Rene “Boxer” Enriquez.

    Complete with the LAPD air support and a convoy fit for a President, the not so top secret shindig took place in downtown Los Angeles in the basement of a building located at 650 South Spring Street.

    When asked about the event the department claimed that it was for a group of business leaders and local police chiefs and that it was a “LAPD-sponsored event” where attendees listened to Boxer describe his experience with a “transnational criminal enterprise.” Now why in the hell would business leaders need to learn from a convicted killer’s experience in the Mexican Mafia? Are these strategies and tactics they are hoping to adopt in how they conduct business. Do tell.

    And this also could not possibly go wrong, a la Tony’s comment regarding a similar situation in Texas: Md. Bill Would Put Armed Police Officer In Every School (though this doesn’t yet go as far as teachers using lethal force on students).

    Baltimore County Delegate John Cluster aims to ease parent’s minds, with armed officers in public schools. The shootings at Sandy Hook in Connecticut come to mind.

    “What we don’t want is we don’t want another Connecticut happening because it took 7.5 minutes for the first officer to arrive at the Connecticut scene, 23-24 people, kids got killed,” said Delegate John Cluster.

    But a state mandate arming School Resource Officers (SRO), also raises objections.

    “The Maryland Association of Boards of Education testified that this should be something left to the local jurisdictions,” Sarah Love, ACLU Policy Director.

    Delegate Cluster is familiar with the arguments.

    “The other end of it is what happens if a bad guy gets into that school with a gun,” said Cluster.

    The discussion continues.

    The proposal would cost the state nearly $100 million dollars.

    This is the third year the bill has been introduced.

  42. rq says

    Here’s the open letter I mentioned above:

    January 29, 2015
    AN OPEN LETTER TO MICHAEL WOLFF (Dean of Saint Louis University Law School)
    ANDERS WALKER (Advisor to Public Law Review, Lillie Myers Professor)
    & THERESA CAMPBELL (Editorial Assistant)

    It has come to our attention that the Saint Louis University Law School is hosting an event entitled The Thin Blue Line: Policing Post-Ferguson featuring Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch and St. Louis County Police Department (SLCPD) Chief John Belmar. It is out contention and many of those in the community that the paneling of these two controversial guests at this time of heightened tensions in our area is highly insensitive. It can further be said that inviting of these two individuals to speak from a place of authority on policing is highly questionable in light of the many critiques received locally, nationally and internationally on the handling of the Michael Brown case and its aftermath.

    Citizens of the greater St. Louis area have been protesting the handling of the Michael Brown case and its aftermath for 173 days. We assure you that these individuals are passionate in their assertion that a wrong was committed on August 9, 201[4] and have been vociferously voicing their concerns while requesting a fair and unbiased handling of the case. These protests have persisted now through three seasons, in multiple locations, and featured a broad spectrum of citizens from not only this region but throughout the country and world. The protests are ongoing and show no signs of ceasing. We also contend that including the words “Post-Ferguson” in the event’s title is also highly inflammatory, because our region is not “post” Ferguson as evidenced by the continued protests.

    Protestors have sometimes risked arrest and have been subjected to violence at the hand of the police who have responded with brutality and intimidation. This abuse was to the level that Amnesty International issued a special report regarding Ferguson that was highly critical of the handling of the case and the police tactics deployed. In light of that treatment, a great number of the citizens of the area have verbalized to us that they consider the scheduling of this event a direct affront to them and we concur.

    In October during OccupySLU, the university entered into an agreement to address the systemic problems that plague our region. To this end a set of initiatives where [sic] put forth in that endeavor to benefit the community and to make the university more inclusive to African American students. At the same time Dr. Fred Pestello, SLU’s President, displayed a desire for the university to become more engaged in the community of which it is a member. This agreement, now known as the Clock Tower Accords (CTA), was solidified after coming to a consensus, with Tribe X and its partners, that conditions in the greater Saint Louis area continue to have many mired in chronic, systemic injustice and poverty. In the spirit of that accord and the conciliatory atmosphere that came forth from it, we were under the impression that SLU would play a significant role in the healing of this region and would be working toward the betterment of our community. We believe this event as scheduled runs counter to that goal and is a significant step back in regards to SLU’s relationship with the community and in particular the people who have so passionately and vehemently stood for justice all these months.

    Multiple court filings/lawsuits and news coverage have been highly critical of not only Bob McCullogh’s role in Ferguson but the policing from the SLCPD while helmed by Chief Belmar. Below is a list of some of the most salient issues:

    Bob McCullogh:
    – is currently being sued for his negligent handling of the grand jury process in the Michael Brown Case. This lawsuit lists 58 points of fact;
    – has allowed his office to preside over a highly unorthodox grand jury process where in which he allowed witnesses to knowingly give false testimony and failed to prosecute the same witness for perjury;
    – has a standing bar complaint filed against him in regards to his handling of the Michael Brown case;
    – has failed to appoint a special prosecutor in a case where there was inherent bias because of his close relationship with police and because of the loss of his father to a police officer [error? wasn’t his father an officer killed on duty?];
    – presided over a judicial system that continues to handle people of color in the Saint Louis region with implicit bias;
    – held a press conference on the night of the non-indictment announcement that many believe was the catalyst to increased anger in the protest community.

    Jon Belmar:
    – is currently operating with under an injunction instituted because officers from his department wrongly instituted a 5 second rule to protestors in violation of their civil rights. The 5 second rule prevented protestors from standing still for longer than 5 seconds when at protest sites;
    – was instrumental in the over-militarized response to peaceful protestors as outlined in the Amnesty International Report;
    was the presiding chief of police whose department took over the initial handling of the Michael Brown case which was wrought with errors in procedure and protocol, including allowing the body of Michael Brown to lay [sic] in the street for over 4.5 hours;
    – was also involved in the failed response post non-indictment where the police were heavily deployed to one side of Ferguson leaving the other side to languish.

    We would also like to add that St. Louis in particular has been plagued with courts and policing that has essentially set out to profile African American’s [sic], charge them large fines, and create debtor’s prisons. Although Chief Belmar is not directly responsible for those municipalities, the tensions that reside in the African American community are deep seated regarding this treatment further lending to heightened resentment regarding policing in general in the region. St. Louis County Police Department trains many of the officers that serve in these municipalities. We would be remiss to not call into question the training received.

    It is for these reasons that we request that the lineup for this event be reconsidered and if possible the event be canceled altogether. If the event is not canceled we ask that at the very least that the panel contain people who are not currently embroiled in a contentious relationship with the citizenry of this region. It would not behoove the university, the community or anyone involved to continue to have this event in its current form. We thank you for your consideration in regards to this request.


    Tribe X

    [List of References with links]

    Tpyos mine.

  43. rq says

    Well, tag fail. Those italics were to have been closed right after ‘Policing Post-Ferguson’, way up at the top there. :P Apologies.

  44. rq says

    Expert notes officers’ threat perception in fatal shootings

    Geoffrey Alpert, a University of South Carolina expert on police use of force, said the threat perceived by an officer when he fires is more important than the way he is hurt.

    “It’s a very quickly moving situation, it’s very fluid, and you have to look at it from the eye of the officer as things are developing,” Alpert said. “Then you can evaluate the righteousness of the use of force based on those facts.”

    White would not comment further on Thursday about the sequence of events or what prompted the officers to fire, stressing that the investigation is in its early stages.

    A passenger in the car, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of safety concerns, has disputed the official account, saying officers came up on the car from behind and fired four times into the driver’s side window.

    The passenger also said the officers did not yell any commands before they fired, and that the car struck the officer after Hernandez was shot and lost control of the vehicle.

    Department policy encourages officers to move out of the way of a moving car rather than use their firearm. But it also allows them to shoot if they have no other reasonable way to prevent death or serious injury. […]

    Experts say shooting and disabling a driver can send a car out of control.

    “If you were to shoot at the driver, you would have an unguided missile, basically,” said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum.

    Does it really take an expert to deduce that?

  45. rq says

    “@deray: History Class. Making History. ” Oh yeah!! Making history, changing people. Nice cartoon.

    St Louis Circuit Atty subpoena’s media for footage of #JeffRoorda assaulting a woman, then asks to keep it secret. Yuh. “You are further asked not to disclose the existence of this subpoena.”

    Remember George Zimmerman got into some more trouble a little while ago? George Zimmerman will not face any charges from Jan 9th incident, as victim has recanted her allegations of assault. (via @orlandosentinel)

    Nebraska Official Whose Blog Called Obama A ‘Half-Breed’ Refuses To Resign

    McPherson founded the Objective Conservative blog, which referred to President Obama as a “half-breed” numerous times. Although McPherson claims he did not write the controversial posts, he has shut down the blog.

    After the state board voted 6-2 to call for McPherson’s resignation, he insisted that he is “not a racist” and claimed the board only passed the resolution due to pressure from Democrats and teacher’s unions.

    “They’ve further intimidated political leaders to ask for my resignation by suggesting that if they didn’t, they were racists themselves,” he said, according to the Omaha World-Herald.
    I guess there’s no way to fire him.

    Scary much? New NYPD Anti-Terror Unit Will Get Machine Guns To Police Protesters

    Murders reached a historic low in NYC for 2014; overall crime was down across the board by nearly 5%; hell, even the holiday slowdown didn’t really lead to any additional crime. So clearly, now is the time when NYC really needs to implement a new anti-terrorism program which would empower a team of NYPD officers to roam around the city carrying machine guns. What could go wrong?

    Police Commissioner Bratton made the announcement earlier today at an event hosted by the Police Foundation at the Mandarin Oriental. He said that the new 350 cop unit, called The Strategic Response Group, will be dedicated to “disorder control and counterterrorism protection capabilities” against attacks like the hostage situation in Sydney, which the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence John Miller said was an inevitability in NYC.

    This new squad will be used to investigate and combat terrorist plots, lone wolf terrorists, and… protests. “It is designed for dealing with events like our recent protests, or incidents like Mumbai or what just happened in Paris,” Bratton said, according to CBS.

    “They’ll be equipped and trained in ways that our normal patrol officers are not,” Bratton explained. “They’ll be equipped with all the extra heavy protective gear, with the long rifles and machine guns — unfortunately sometimes necessary in these instances.” Capital NY adds that these officers will also be used “to assist on crime scenes, and help with crowd control and other large-scale events.”

    The pilot program will start in two precincts in Manhattan and two in Queens, though it’s unclear when they want to launch it. Bratton said Mayor de Blasio was on board, and he expected the City Council to be as well. He also said he thinks this will help improve relationships between cops and local residents. “Cops will know their sectors and the citizens will know them,” Bratton said. “They’ll know the problem areas and the problem people. I truly believe when cops embrace their neighborhoods, their neighborhoods will embrace them back.”

    Let’s embrace the combat rifles – sounds good to me.

  46. rq says

    Some zoning issues in St Louis – The HUDZ committee meets again this morning at 8:30 to consider BB 263. Here is the map of the affected area: #STL
    Relatedly: here’s a resident speaking about how redevelopment might affect her family. Housing Urban Development Zoning 1 28 15, should start at about 2.07 or so.

    And Aiyana Jones will not be seeing any justice, but you can see the video of the raid that killed her. At 23 seconds, the shot that kills her is fired. VIDEO OF POLICE RAID THAT KILLED 7 YEAR OLD AIYANA STANLEY JONES .

  47. rq says

    I’ll have some more substantial things in a moment, but just reading through my Twitter timeline right now, I am amazed at how many of the younger (as in, my generational, roundabouts mid-20s to mid-30s) people are only – only!! – 2nd or 3rd generation readers, never mind finishing high school or even getting a degree. Many of those answering are the first in their family to go to school after high school. Many of them had grandparents who left school to work. I am taken aback at the generational difference in education. And how quickly the younger generation is catching up – and how many of them still don’t get the education they want or need because of the system against them.
    Just wow.

  48. rq says

    The Wonkette is up first today.
    Giant Baby Cop Can’t Use His Big Boy Words, Uses Handcuffs Instead. Video at the link.

    In San Francisco, Jami Tillotson, a deputy public defender, was in the hallway outside the courtroom when a plainclothes officer began to question her client. When the officer attempted to take pictures of her client with no explanation and for no apparent reason, she objected, and was, for this “crime,” arrested and handcuffed to the wall for an hour. […]

    Ahh yes, the infamous “resisting arrest,” a delightfully transparent piece of legal jargon trotted out whenever the police want to arrest people but can’t figure out what laws the person has violated. “I’ll arrest you for resisting arrest” is a phrase that belongs in a absurdist classic like Kafka’s The Trial or a satirical dystopia like Brazil, but here it is again, somehow existing in our wholly real physical and material plane. It’s magical.

    Tillotson’s response is a masterpiece of 4th wall-bursting comedy and subtlety that belongs in dearly departed TV show The Office (either version, don’t be a snob). She tilts her head slightly, looks him in the eye, and says, “Please do.”

    Then she looks directly into the camera with a look that I’d describe as “blank” except for the fact that she has an almost imperceptible twinkle of flabbergasted amusement in her eye as she does. The other public defender is understandably confused.

    “What’s going on?” he asks.

    “He’s going to arrest me,” Tillotson says. […]

    Who was this plainclothes officer, you ask, this pillar of even-handed justice, phantom of liberty? Well, we’re glad you asked. His name is Brian Stansbury, and he’s an SFPD Sergeant. We know, you’re snapping your fingers like “where do we know this guy from?” The SF Chronicle has the scoop:

    Stansbury was one of three officers whose traffic stop of an off-duty black colleague in 2013 led the off-duty officer to file a federal civil rights lawsuit filed against the city. Police officials have said the officers involved had not engaged in racial profiling.

    So an officer with a history of racial profiling and probably general assholery…. acts like an asshole. How does he still have that job?

    Getting back to Roorda for a moment, turns out, he has a history of making a ruckus in legislative and other official assemblies: KRCG: 2 House members separated during budget debate. Perhaps he should be barred from all public appearances?

    City Will Pay $3.9M in 2012 Police Shooting of Bronx Teen Ramarley Graham

    New York City agreed Friday to pay $3.9 million to the family of a black Bronx teenager shot to death by a white police officer in 2012.

    The deal settled a federal lawsuit brought by the family of 18-year-old Ramarley Graham.

    “This was a tragic case,” said New York Law Department spokesman Nicholas Paolucci. “After evaluating all the facts, and consulting with key stakeholders such as the NYPD, it was determined that settling the matter was in the best interest of the city.” [… – may have been in the even better interests of the city to press charges, but read further]

    Haste was indicted on manslaughter charges in the summer of 2012, but charges were dismissed by a judge who said prosecutors improperly instructed grand jurors to imply they should disregard testimony from police officers that they radioed Haste in advance to warn him that they thought Graham had a pistol. A second grand jury declined to re-indict the officer.

    Manhattan federal prosecutors are conducting a civil rights investigation. […]

    The Graham deal adds to a series of settlements in high-profile civil rights claims against police, jail officers and the city under first-term Mayor Bill de Blasio.

    His administration reached a $41 million settlement with the “Central Park Five,” men wrongly convicted in the vicious 1989 rape and beating of a Central Park jogger; a $10 million pact with a Brooklyn man who spent 15 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of killing a rabbi, and a $2.75 million settlement with the family of a city jail inmate who died after what his lawyers described as a beating in which jail officers kicked him in the head.

    Meanwhile, City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office has pursued a strategy of settling major civil rights claims before lawsuits are filed. They include a $6.4 million agreement with a man whose murder conviction was overturned after he spent 23 years in prison and a $2.25 million settlement with the family of a mentally ill former Marine who died after being left unattended for hours in a sweltering city jail cell.

    Recently, Stringer said he would attempt to negotiate a settlement of a $75 million civil rights claim from Garner’s family.

    Oakland: Mayor Schaaf responds to pre-dawn MLK Day protest outside her home

    Schaaf had been criticized for not coming outside to talk with the demonstrators when they rang her doorbell around 5 a.m. Monday, but she said she was in the shower at the time.

    Her husband went to the door instead and the protesters provided him with a flier, which Schaaf said she has read.

    Their demands included the de-escalation of police forces on a national level and an equal distribution of resources here in Oakland.

    The protesters said they’d like to see funds reallocated towards schools, libraries, infrastructure and economic development in their communities rather than what they called blank checks for law enforcement as a way of solving complex social issues.

    “Some of the specific demands are things that would need to be addressed at the federal level, and some would require us to address them through union negotiations,” Schaaf said. “But the overarching theme of having more legitimacy in policing is a national issue and I agree that we have work to do.”

    “While Oakland is probably ahead of many other cities, this is clearly a problem that needs to be fixed and I take it very seriously,” she said. […]

    “They sang and danced and had slideshows and light displays and left beautiful chalk markings on the street,” she said. “They in no way did any damage to property and they did not try to hide their identities by covering their faces.”

    Schaaf said she thinks the protesters were a different group than individuals seen engaging in vandalism and occasional violence at some recent protests.

    “There is a very dangerous element out there, but I think that’s an exception and not part of the very legitimate protest movement we’re seeing in Oakland,” Schaaf said.

    Those ‘beautiful chalk drawings’? Yeah, twitter had a word on that: .@libbyformayor said protesters “left beautiful chalk markings”, referring to representations of murdered black folks. ‘Beautiful’ isn’t necessarily the word I would use for this…

    Interlude: Saved By the bell hooks
    It’s a tumblr going by that name: saved by the bell hooks, superimposing bell hooks’ words onto stills of Saved by the Bell, with some commentary. Worth a look! :D

  49. rq says

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  52. rq says

    Also, combination proof that respectability is no shield and those damn fines:
    Currently in line at the Pine Lawn City Hall to pay hundreds of dollars in fines for an old speeding ticket and missed court date.
    The City of Pine Lawn charges a surcharge of 5% if you pay your fines with a credit or debit card.
    Woman in line swears she already paid this fine. But no receipt and Pine Lawn issued a warrant. “What can I do? I gotta pay it again.” #STL

    A quick reminder, Antonio French is a St Louis city alderman.
    But speaking of Pine Lawn, Fmr. high-ranking Pine Lawn officer accused of rape, assault, other crimes – the boys in blue, the best of the best, right?

    Pine lawn officials said Steve Blakeney was fired because he paid overtime to an officer to pick up two women who allegedly passed out at his home. Whatever the reason, his critics say he should have been fired long ago.

    Blakeney fought get his old job back during a closed door appeals meeting before the city’s Board of Aldermen. He lost.

    Michael Brunton, Blakeney’s attorney, implied his client was fired because he was a federal witness against the city’s mayor, who was indicted for allegedly extorting money from local businesses.

    “The mayor was arraigned September 29th and on the same day it was discovered that Mr. Blakeney was the individual who cooperated with the FBI against the mayor he had his duties stripped and has been harassed,” said Brunton.

    Blakeney has repeatedly insisted he’s the victim, but sources tell News 4 Investigates that the FBI is also investigating complaints made against him.

    Former St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch said many officers are unsure if Blakeney should be in law enforcement at all.

    “There’s always been many questions in the law enforcement community about whether he (Blakeney) should be a law enforcement officer,” said Fitch.

    In just the last three years, while he was getting promoted from officer to Deputy Chief, Blakeney has been accused of a rape, faced an unrelated allegation of physical assault against a woman and a man, and he’s alleged to have taken a license plate from Pine Lawn for use it on a personal vehicle that News 4 found parked in a driveway.

    “The reputation that he (Blakeney) had in the law enforcement community is one that he shouldn’t be carrying a badge and a gun,” said Fitch.

    So which department will hire him next?
    Ah, but he is not without the last word, in a sense: Fired Pine Lawn police lieutenant claims mayoral corruption in wrongful termination lawsuit

    The city says former Lt. Steven Blakeney was fired in December after allegations he called in another officer to provide a taxi service for two women he had taken home from a bar. But in his lawsuit, Blakeney claims he was really fired for giving information to the FBI while it was investigating corruption allegations against Pine Lawn city officials.

    Blakeney is seeking $5 million in damages from the city, and also named former City Manager Brian Krueger in the suit.

    Blakeney’s suit alleges a pattern of improper behavior by the city’s mayor, Sylvester Caldwell, much of which he said he reported to the FBI.

    Caldwell was accused by federal authorities in September of using secret codes to elicit $1,600 in payoffs in exchange for ordering Pine Lawn police to use a particular towing firm for city business. He pleaded not guilty on Sept. 29 to a federal extortion charge. A superseding federal indictment filed Jan. 14 accused Caldwell of extorting another $1,000 from a convenience store.

    Blakeney’s suit alleges Caldwell also used police officers for political and personal purposes, set ticket quotas for officers, and extracted gifts from Blakeney.

    Caldwell would not comment on the lawsuit Friday. He referred questions to his attorney, who could not be reached.

    So… because the mayor has misbehaved, Blakeney has done no wrong? I’m confused.

  53. rq says

    And one more on Blakeney and those finely, finely charactered people employed as police.
    Man identified as having ‘sociopath behavior’ became police commander (I’m pretty sure he’s not the only one they could identify with that kind of behaviour within the force).

    Our Fox Files investigation uncovered the information while looking into complaints to authorities that the police officer drugged and raped women.

    While Steve Blakeney was trying to graduate a police academy, St. Charles County police investigated the allegations in 2006, but Blakeney was never charged.

    Here’s a timeline put together from details laid out in the 2006 St. Charles County sexual misconduct and statutory sodomy investigation.

    The reports say Blakeney attended the St. Louis Police Academy and was ‘dismissed’ October 2, 2002 for “sexual harassment.”

    In 2003, he enrolled in Eastern Missouri Police Academy in St. Peters. There detectives found Blakeney was ‘’on probation for numerous infractions,”’ including ‘’gawking at females when told to stop’’ and ‘’…lies he told the director…’’

    Then an Eastern Missouri Police Academy trainer told detectives, ‘’Blakeney should never be allowed to become a police officer because of his sociopathic behavior.’’

    The academy told police it dismissed Blakeney before he could graduate.

    SLU law professor and police licensing expert Roger Goldman says he`s not surprised.

    ‘‘This gets to exactly my point, why departments can hire people who have been fired for all kinds of misconduct,’’ he said.

    Goldman says P.O.S.T., which stands for Police Officer Standards and Training, could`ve denied Blakeney his police license, but he said P.O.S.T. must follow a strict statute, only denying or revoking a license to someone who has ‘’committed a crime’’ or ‘’violated moral turpitude.’’

    Missouri P.O.S.T. won`t answer if it knew about the reports uncovered in our Fox Files investigations and Goldman adds that P.O.S.T. lacks teeth.

    ‘’The problem is the legislature … doesn`t really fund it. There was only one investigator for the entire state. I believe it`s up to two,’’ Goldman said.

    Two investigators currently oversee about 700 Missouri police departments.

    In 2007, Steve Blakeney got his first police job; New Athens, Illinois hired him.

    In 2008, Blakeney entered the Southeast Missouri State University Police Academy and got his license in 2009. That led to a six year stint with Pine Lawn, a city that would eventually promote him to police commander.

    In 2012 Bel-Nor Police Chief Scott Ford wrote a three page letter warning that Blakeney ‘exposed his handgun’ … ‘while consuming alcohol’ in a ‘(North County) bar.’ When about the letter, Ford said, ‘’I am surprised that you have this document.’’

    He wrote to then-Pine Lawn Police Chief Ricky Collins. Ford described what his female officer said was ‘harassment,’ reporting Blakeney would ‘’randomly show up on her traffic stops’’ which were outside of Blakeney`s jurisdiction, ‘blocked… lanes’ and once ‘’told her he was going to mess with subjects she had detained.’’

    ‘’I wanted it just to be addressed and for the behavior to stop,’’ Chief Ford said.

    Later in 2012, St. Louis City police investigated Blakeney for forcible rape. The prosecutor cited lack of evidence and didn`t charge him.

    Pine Lawn promoted Blakeney to police commander later that same year. The city fired him last December after two women wrote statements saying they woke up in Blakeney`s house and didn’t know how they got there.

    Blakeney remains licensed by P.O.S.T.

    I asked Roger Goldman, ‘’Do you think it`s feasible that he could actually get hired by another department?’’

    ‘’No doubt about it, he clearly can,” Goldman said. ‘‘Again on the same grounds for a municipality that even has fewer resources. After all, the guy does have his P.O.S.T. certificate.’

    And because PDs in poorer areas tend to hire less qualified officers because they can’t afford the resources. Sca-ryy!

    The next bits related to NYC’s new super-weaponized anti-terrorism police also authorized to patrol protests. Peaceful and otherwise. NYPD Commissioner Bratton compares Black Lives Matter protests to Paris and Mumbai terrorist attack

    NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton announced that the 350-officer Strategic Response Group unit, armed with machine guns and other special weaponry, has been “designed for dealing with events like our recent protests, or incidents like Mumbai or what just happened in Paris.”

    PCJF Executive Director Mara Verheyden-Hilliard said, “The comparison of Black Lives Matter and other large protests to violent terrorist attacks is an outrage and an insult to the hundreds of thousands of people who have been marching across the country against racism and for police reform.”

    “Thousands have marched in a massive civil rights movement demanding police reform, and the NYPD has decided to respond to the community instead by arming the police with machine guns,” Verheyden-Hilliard continued.

    Carl Messineo, PCJF Legal Director, stated, “The announcement accelerates a nationwide pattern of local and federal policing agencies abusing their counter-terrorism authorities to spy on and suppress First Amendment-protected activities. These agencies have manipulated the ‘war on terror’ to pull in new resources, staff and equipment at U.S. tax-payers’ expense. They have become paramilitary units policing a civilian population. Training domestic police agencies to treat the civilian population engaged in free speech as a military target is incompatible with a democratic society.”

    A multi-year investigation by the PCJF uncovered how law enforcement agencies across the United States, including the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, Fusion Centers and local police forces, were involved in the local monitoring of and coordinated crackdown on the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011. The peaceful protests were routinely categorized and treated as potential terror incidents.

    Messineo added, “For a police commissioner to suggest that the Black Lives Matter movement, or other peaceful protesters, could potentially have machine guns pointed at them and be treated as terrorist threats in itself sends a chilling message against the exercise of First Amendment rights.”

    Some commentary on that, Garry McCarthy of @Chicago_Police tells @policetaskforce many law enforcement leaders are “embarrassed” by response to #Ferguson protests – so I guess anything beyond that response – like authorizing extra-large weapons and such – would be shameful? Or something?
    Anyway, some more from that McCarthy on policing during NATO in Chicago: “Make no mistake about it: the police can turn protests into a riot,” McCarthy said earlier. Prepared testimony: That testimony is here as pdf, excerpt:

    The training topics covered in preparation for the NATO Summit were the history of civil disorder, legal perspectives, team tactics, demonstrator tactics, crowd dynamics, personal protective equipment, riot control agents, less-lethal munitions, shield and baton training, the use of force, the long range acoustic device (LRAD), suspicious package response, mass arrest, flex cuffing, medical and rescue training, field force extrication, and scenario based training concerning the use of crowd control formations. In addition to classroom and hands-on training, I directed the Chicago Police Department to develop training bulletins, eLearning modules, and streaming videos concerning crowd control-related topics [3].

    There were four pivotal points of the crowd control training leading up to the NATO Summit that I would like to emphasize. The first is recognizing, understanding, and granting the citizens of Chicago and all visitors to the city their
    First and Fourth Amendment rights.

    The First Amendment of the United States Constitution grants citizens the right to assemble, communicate ideas, and share problems and desires. The Fourth Amendment gives people the right to be secure in their persons and that unreasonable searches and seizures will not be tolerated. It is important to recognize and understand these rights, then react to crowd situations accordingly. Any unjust denial of these basic rights can give rise to feelings of frustration. The second is using the appropriate and reasonable amount of force. Police officers need to use an amount of force reasonably necessary based on the totality of the circumstances to perform a lawful task, effect an arrest, overcome resistance, control a subject, or protect themselves or others from injury. Police officers need to employ the progressive and reasonable escalation and de-escalation of officer applied force in proportional response to the actions and level of resistance offered by a subject. Prior to the NATO Summit, I changed the Chicago Police Department policy concerning the use of the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) and Oleoresin Capsicum (QC) in order to ensure that any force used remained reasonable. Our policy now states that the use of the LRAD as a pain control device on crowds or OC on crowds is prohibited unless the Superintendent or my designee authorizes its use. Additionally, although the Chicago Police Department may have military equipment such as rifles and Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, we would only use it when reasonable and necessary. There is no reason to escalate a peaceful situation with the presence of military equipment.

    Third, the team concept was instilled into the training courses because working as a team builds confidence and reinforces proper reaction. It was continuously reinforced that the key to successful team tactic operations were in the creation of a well-disciplined, professional, and controlled working team. Professional is paramount during protest situations and police officers cannot let the heat of the protest or the circumstances dictate their actions [3]. I told my officers to always remain professional, impartial, unbiased, and objective.

    The fourth point is that strong leadership must be provided from all supervisors. This on-the­ ground leadership lends itself to more timely and accurate decisions, as well as flexibility in responding to situations. Supervisors need to ensure that their subordinate’s needs are met and that information is communicated freely in order to establish effectiveness. Additionally, supervisors were instructed that they would be held accountable for the conduct and appearance of all on-duty subordinate personnel. […]

    Once the NATO Summit left Chicagoin 2012, I directed our training academy to develop a procedural justice and legitimacy training program. Procedural justice is the process used by police officers where citizens are treated fairly and with proper respect. The police gain acceptance when they are viewed by the public as fairly distributing police services across people and communities [5]. Legitimacy refers to when a citizen feels that a police officer should be deferred to, complied with, and trusted. It has been stated that positive citizen experiences lead to positive evaluations of the police [6]. The Chicago Police Department’s training focuses on four core principles of Procedural Justice and Legitimacy, which are:
    I. Giving others a Voice (Listening);
    2. Neutrality in decision making;
    3. Respectful treatment; and
    4. Trustworthiness.

    My entire Department has received Procedural Justice and Legitimacy training and now we are moving into a second phase of the training. Procedural justice and legitimacy in law enforcement is not just a strategy, but a movement. By fostering an environment where procedural justice principles become standard practice, police departments can create an organizational culture that fosters a true partnership with the public and leads to safer work environments.
    It is about doing the right thing all of the time and treating others how you would want to be treated [7]. In concert with the Procedural Justice training, the Chicago Police Department continues to conduct crowd control sustainment training in order to keep the officers’ knowledge and skills fresh. The Chicago Police Department crowd control teams need sustainment/refresher training in crowd control tactics and techniques in order to keep the citizens of the city safe, the businesses of the city operational and undamaged, the police officers uninjured, and to uphold civil liberties.

    Rather discouraged that they need a program for the justice and legitimacy bits.

  54. rq says

    From history, Letter from Selma

    The thirty thousand people who at one point or another took part in this week’s march from the Brown Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Selma, Alabama, to the statehouse in Montgomery were giving highly dramatic expression to a principle that could be articulated only in the vaguest terms. They were a varied lot: local Negroes, Northern clergymen, members of labor unions, delegates from state and city governments, entertainers, mothers pushing baby carriages, members of civil-rights groups more or less at odds with one another, isolated, shaggy marchers with an air of simple vagrancy, doctors, lawyers, teachers, children, college students, and a preponderance of what one marcher described as “ordinary, garden- variety civilians from just about everywhere.” They were insulated in front by soldiers and television camera crews, overhead and underfoot by helicopters and Army demolition teams, at the sides and rear by more members of the press and military, and over all by agents of the F.B.I. Most of them were aware that protection along a route of more than fifty miles of hostile country could not be absolute (on the night before the march, a student who had come here from Boston University was slashed across the cheek with a razor blade), yet few of the thirty-two hundred marchers who set out on Sunday morning seemed to have a strong consciousness of risk. They did not have a sharply defined sense of purpose, either. President Johnson’s speech about voting rights and Judge Johnson’s granting of permission for the march to take place had made the march itself ceremonial—almost redundant. The immediate aims of the abortive earlier marches had been realized: the national conscience had been aroused and federal intervention had been secured. In a sense, the government of Alabama was now in rebellion, and the marchers, with the sanction and protection of the federal government, were demonstrating against a rebellious state. It was unclear what such a demonstration could hope to achieve. Few segregationists could be converted by it, the national commitment to civil rights would hardly be increased by it, there was certainly an element of danger in it, and for the local citizenry it might have a long and ugly aftermath. The marchers, who had five days and four nights in which to talk, tended for the most part to avoid discussions of principle, apparently in the hope that their good will, their sense of solidarity, and the sheer pageantry of the occasion would resolve matters at some symbolic level and yield a clear statement of practical purpose before the march came to an end. […]

    The crowd there was growing, still arrayed in two lines, one facing in, the other facing out. There were National Guardsmen and local policemen, on foot and in jeeps and cars, along the sides of Sylvan Street and around its corners, at Jefferson Davis and Alabama Avenues. The marchers themselves appeared to have dressed for all kinds of weather and occasions—in denims, cassocks, tweed coats, ponchos, boots, sneakers, Shetland sweaters, silk dresses, college sweatshirts, sports shirts, khaki slacks, fur-collared coats, pea jackets, and trenchcoats. As they waited, they sang innumerable, increasingly dispirited choruses of “We Shall Overcome,” “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ’Round,” and other songs of the movement. There was a moment of excitement when Dr. King and other speakers assembled on the steps, but a succession of long, rhetorical, and, to a certain extent (when press helicopters buzzed too low or when the microphone went dead), inaudible speeches put a damper on that. An enthusiastic lady, of a sort that often afflicts banquets and church suppers, sang several hymns of many stanzas, with little melody and much vibrato. [I would just like to point out that I love this sentence on many levels.] Exhaust fumes from a television truck parked to the right of the steps began to choke some of the marchers, and they walked away, coughing. Speakers praised one another extravagantly in monotonous political-convention cadences (“the man who . . .”). An irreverent, irritated voice with a Bronx accent shouted, “Would you mind please talking a little louder!” Several members of the crowd sat down in the street, and the march assumed the first of its many moods—that of tedium.

    Then Dr. King began to speak, and suddenly, for no apparent reason, several Army jeeps drove straight through the center of the crowd. (“Didn’t realize we were interrupting,” said one of the drivers, smiling. He had a D.D., for Dixie Division, emblem on his uniform.) The startled crowd, divided in half for a moment, became aware of its size. Dr. King’s speech came to an end, and there was last, unified, and loud rendition of “We Shall Overcome.” Then the marshals quickly arranged the crowd in columns, six abreast—women and children in the middle—and the procession set out down Sylvan Street. It was about one o’clock. On Alabama Avenue, the marchers turned right, passing lines of silent white citizens on the sidewalks. On Broad Street, which is also U.S. Route 80 to Montgomery, they turned left, and as segregationist loudspeakers along the way blared “Bye, Bye, Blackbird” and the white onlookers began to jeer, the marchers approached and crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge. And the march entered another mood—jubilation. […]

    Several times, the march came to an abrupt halt, and in the middle ranks and the rear guard there were murmurs of alarm. Then it became clear that these were only rest stops, and the marchers relaxed and resumed their singing. Rented trucks, driven by ministers of the San Francisco Theological Seminary, carried portable toilets up and down the line. When press photographers attempted to take pictures of civil-right leaders entering the men’s rooms, the Reverend Mr. Young shouted, “Can’t a man even go to the john in peace?” The photographers moved away. Three tired marchers rode a short distance on the water truck, and James Forman, the executive secretary of S.N.C.C., who was being interviewed in French for Canadian television, broke off his interview to mutter as the truck passed, “Hey, man, you cats could walk.” The marchers got down from the truck at once. Forman resumed his interview. “I think he’s having trouble with his French,” said one of the marchers. ‘He just said that no Negro in America is allowed to vote.” “His French is all right,” said another. “But he may be less concerned with the immediate truth than with stirring up the kind of chaos that makes things change.”

    By sunset of the first day, the caravan was more than seven miles from Selma, and most of the marchers returned by a special train to town, where some of them left for their home communities and others were put up for the night in the Negro development on Sylvan Street. Two hundred and eighty Negroes, representing Alabama counties (a hundred and forty-eight from Dallas County, eighty-nine from Perry, twenty-three from Marengo, and twenty from Wilcox), and twenty whites, from all over the country, who had been chosen to make the entire journey to Montgomery (the court permitted no more than three hundred marchers on the twenty-mile stretch of Route 80 midway between Selma and Montgomery, where it is only a two-lane highway) turned off Route 80 onto a tarred road leading to the David Hall farm—their campsite for the night. Four large tents had already been pitched in a field. As the marchers lined up for supper (three tons of spaghetti), which was served to them on paper plates, from brand-new garbage pails, night fell. Groups of National Guardsmen who surrounded the farm lighted campfires. “It looks like Camelot,” said one of the younger whites. […]

    There was talk of the march ahead through Lowndes County, where swamps and the woods behind them might easily shelter a sniper in a tree or a canoe. Several marchers claimed to have spotted members of the American Nazi Party along the line of march. Someone mentioned the Ku Klux Klan “counter-demonstration” that had taken place in Montgomery that afternoon.

    “And the snakes,” a man said.

    “What snakes?” said a Northern voice.

    “Copperheads and cottonmouth. It takes the heat to bring them out, but a trooper told me somebody’s caught five baskets full and is letting them go where we camp tomorrow night.”

    “How’d the trooper hear about it?”


    “Well, I suppose there might be spies right here in camp.”

    “There might. And bombs and mines. They cleared a few this afternoon. Man, this isn’t any Boy Scout jamboree. It’s something else.”

    By the time dawn came, the campers were a thoroughly chilled and bleary-eyed group. The oatmeal served at breakfast gave rise to a certain amount of mirth (“Tastes like fermented library paste,” said one of the clergymen), and the news that the National Guardsmen had burned thirteen fence posts, two shovel handles, and an outhouse belonging to a neighboring church in order to keep warm during the night cheered everyone considerably. At a press conference held by Jack Rosenthal, the young Director of Public Information of the Justice Department, the rumors about snakes, bombs, and mines were checked out, and it was learned that none of them were true. A reporter waved several racist leaflets that had been dropped from an airplane and asked whether anything was being done to prevent such planes from dropping bombs. “What do you want us to do?” Rosenthal replied. “Use anti-aircraft guns?” […]

    The procession set out promptly at 8 a.m. The distance to the next campsite—Rosa Steele’s farm—was seventeen miles. Again the day was sunny, and as the air grew warmer some of the more sunburned members of the group donned berets or Stetsons or tied scarves or handkerchiefs around their heads. To the white onlookers who clustered beside the road, the three hundred marchers must have seemed a faintly piratical band. At the head of the line were Dr. and Mrs. King, wearing green caps with earmuffs and reading newspapers as they walked. Not far behind them was a pale-green wagon (known to the marchers as the Green Dragon) with Mississippi license plates, in which rode doctors wearing armbands of the M.C.H.R. (the Medical Committee for Human Rights). Farther back were some of the younger civil-rights leaders: Hosea Williams, S.C.L.C. director of the march and veteran of the bitter struggle for public accommodations in Savannah, Georgia; the Reverend James Bevel, formerly of S.N.C.C., now S.C.L.C. project director for Alabama (Mr. Bevel was wearing the many-colored yarmulke that has become almost his trademark—“a link,” he says, “to our Old Testament heritage”); John Lewis, chairman of S.N.C.C.; and the Reverend Andrew Young. Behind the leaders, some of the main personae of the march had begun to emerge, among them Joe Young, a blind greenhouse worker from Atlanta, Georgia, and Jim Letherer, a one-legged settlement-house worker from Saginaw, Michigan. (“Left! Left! Left! “ the segregationist onlookers chanted as Mr. Letherer moved along on crutches.) Chuck Fager, a young worker for S.C.L.C., wearing denims and a black yarmulke, was waving and shouting, “Come march with us! Why don’t you come along and march with us?” (“It sets up a dialogue,” he explained. “The last time I was in jail, a sheriff pulled me aside and asked me where the hell I was from. Any sort of talk like that sets up a dialogue.”) Sister Mary Leoline, a nun from Christ the King parish in Kansas City, Kansas, was talking to John Bart Gerald, a young novelist from New York. “This is a great time to be alive,” she said. A few members of the night security guard had somehow acquired cameras, and they were now photographing bystanders who were photographing marchers; it appeared that a sort of reciprocal Most Wanted list was being compiled. From time to time, the marchers were still singing (“Oh-h-h, Wallace, segregation’s bound to fall”), and the chief of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Assistant Attorney General John Doar, tall, tanned, and coatless, was striding back and forth along the line of march to see that all was going well. […]

    Not all the bystanders along the road were white. At the boundary of Lowndes County (with a population of fifteen thousand, eighty per cent of them Negroes, not one of whom had been registered to vote by March 1, 1965), John Maxwell, a Negro worker in a Lowndes County cotton-gin mill (at a salary of six dollars for a twelve-hour day), appeared at an intersection.

    “Why don’t you register to vote?” a reporter from the Harvard Crimson asked Mr. Maxwell.

    “They’d put us off the place if I tried,” Mr. Maxwell said.

    In the town of Trickem, at the Nolan Elementary School—a small white shack on brick stilts, which had asbestos shingles, a corrugated-iron roof, six broken windows, and a broken wood floor patched with automobile license plates—a group of old people and barefoot children rushed out to embrace Dr. King. They had been waiting four hours.

    “Will you march with us?” Dr. King asked an old man with a cane.

    “I’ll walk one step, anyway,” said the man. “Because I know for every one step I’ll take you’ll take two.”

    The marchers broke into a chant. “What do you want?” they shouted encouragingly to the Negroes at the roadside. The Negroes smiled, but they did not give the expected response—“Freedom!” The marchers had to supply that themselves. […]

    At about ten o’clock, the last of the marchers crossed the highway back to camp. Shortly afterward, a fleet of cars drove up to the service station and a group of white boys got out. Two of the boys were from Georgia, two were from Texas, one was from Tennessee, one was from Oklahoma, one was from Monroeville, Alabama, and one was from Selma. The Reverend Arthur E. Matott, a white minister from Perth Amboy, New Jersey, who was a member of the night patrol, saw them and walked across the highway to where they were standing. “Can I help you fellows?” Mr. Matott asked.

    “We’re just curious,” the boy from Monroeville said. “Came out to see what it was like.”

    “How long are you planning to stay?” said Mr. Matott.

    “Until we get ready to leave,” the boy said.

    A Negro member of the night patrol quietly joined Mr. Matott.

    “I cut classes,” said the boy from Tennessee. “Sort of impulsive. You hear all these stories. I wondered why you were marching.”

    “Well, you might say we’re marching to get to know each other and to ease a little of the hate around here,” Mr. Matott said.

    “You don’t need to march for that,” said one of the boys from Texas. “You’re making it worse. The hate was being lessened and lessened by itself throughout the years.”

    “Was it?” asked the Negro member of the guard.

    “It was,” the Texas boy said.

    “We never had much trouble in Nashville.” said the boy from Tennessee. “Where you have no conflict, it’s hard to conceive . . . ”

    “Why don’t you-all go and liberate the Indian reservations, or something?” said the boy from Monroeville. “The Negroes around here are happy.”

    “I don’t think they are,” said Mr. Matott.

    “I’ve lived in the South all my life, and I know that they are,” the boy from Georgia said.

    “I’m not happy,” said the Negro guard.

    “Well, just wait awhile,” said the boy from Monroeville.

    An attractive blond girl in a black turtleneck sweater, denim pants, and boots now crossed the highway from the camp. “Do you know where I can get a ride to Jackson?” she asked the Negro guard.

    “This is Casey Hayden, from S.N.C.C. She’s the granddaughter of a Texas sheriff,” said the minister, introducing her to the group.

    A battered car drove up, and three more white boys emerged.

    “I don’t mean to bug you,” the Negro whispered to the girl, “but did you realize we’re surrounded?”

    “You fellows from Selma?” Miss Hayden asked, turning to the three most recent arrivals.

    “Yeah,” said one, who was wearing a green zippered jacket, a black shirt, and black pants, and had a crew cut.

    “What do you want?” Miss Hayden asked.

    “I don’t know,” the boy answered.

    “That’s an honest answer,” Miss Hayden said.

    “It is,” the boy said.

    “What do you do?” Miss Hayden asked.

    “Well, Miss, I actually work for a living, and I can tell you it’s going to be hard on all of them when this is over,” the boy said. “A lot of people in town are letting their maids go.”

    “Well, I don’t suppose I’d want to have a maid anyway,” Miss Hayden said amiably. “I guess I can do most things myself.”

    “That’s not all, though,” said another boy. “It’s awfully bad down the road. Nothing’s happened so far, but you can’t ever tell. Selma’s a peace-loving place, but that Lowndes County is something else,”

    “I guess some of these people feel they haven’t got that much to lose,” Miss Hayden said.

    “I know,” said the boy.

    “Do you understand what they’re marching about?” Miss Hayden asked.

    “Yeah—fighting for freedom, something like that. That’s the idea, along that line. It don’t mean nothing,” the boy said.

    “And to make money,” the third young man said. “The men are getting fifteen dollars a day for marching, and the girls are really making it big.”

    “Is that so?” said Miss Hayden.

    “Yeah. Girl came into the Selma hospital this morning, fifteen hundred dollars in her wallet. She’d slept with forty-one.”

    “Forty-one what?” Miss Hayden asked.

    “N*gg*rs,” the young man said.

    “And what did she go to the hospital for?” Miss Hayden asked.

    “Well, actually, Ma’am, she bled to death,” the young man said.

    “Where did you hear that?” Miss Hayden asked.

    “In town,” the young man said. ‘There’s not much you can do, more than keep track of everything. It’s a big mess.”

    “Well,” Miss Hayden said, “I think it’s going to get better.”

    “Hard to say,” said one of the boys as they drifted back to their cars. […]

    “What’s going on?” asked Charles.

    The boy replied that he was trying to found a Negro student movement in Lowndes County.

    “That’s fine,” said Charles.

    “The principal’s dead set against it,” the boy said.

    “Then stay underground until you’ve got everybody organized,” Charles said. “Then if he throws one out he’ll have to throw you all out.”

    “You with Snick or S.C.L.C., or what?” the boy asked.

    “I’m not with anything,” Charles said. “I’m with them all. I used to just go to dances in Selma on Saturday nights and not belong to anything. Then I met John Love, who was Snick project director down here, and I felt how he just sees himself in every Negro. Then I joined the movement.”

    “What about your folk?” the boy asked.

    “My father’s a truck driver, and at first they were against it, but now they don’t push me and they don’t hold me back,” Charles said.

    “Who’ve you had personal run-ins with?” the boy asked.

    “I haven’t had personal run-ins with anybody,” Charles said. “I’ve been in jail three times, but never more than a few hours. They needed room to put other people in. Last week, I got let out, so I just had to march and get beaten on. In January, we had a march of little kids—we called it the Tots March—but we were afraid they might get frightened, so we joined them, and some of us got put in jail Nothing personal about it.”

    “Some of us think that for the march we might be better off staying in school,” the boy wid.

    “Well, I think if you stay in school you’re saying that you’re satisfied,” Charles said. “We had a hundred of our teachers marching partway with us. At first, I was against the march, but then I realized that although we’re probably going to get the voting bill, we still don’t have a lot of other things. It’s dramatic, and it’s an experience, so I came. I thought of a lot of terrible things that could happen, because we’re committed to non-violence, and I’m responsible for the kids from the Selma school. But then I thought, If they killed everyone on this march, it would be nothing compared to the number of people they’ve killed in the last three hundred years.”

    “You really believe in non-violence?” the boy asked Charles.

    “I do,” Charles said. “I used to think of it as just a tactic, but now I believe in it all the way. Now I’d just like to be tested.”

    “Weren’t you tested enough when you were beaten on?” the boy asked.

    “No, I mean an individual test, by myself,” Charles said. “It’s easy to talk about non-violence, but in a lot of cases you’ve got to be tested, and re-inspire yourself.’ […]

    Back in Selma, thousands of out-of-towners had arrived and had been quietly absorbed into the Negro ghetto. On the outskirts of town, a sign had appeared showing a photograph of Martin Luther King at the Highlander Folk School and captioned “Martin Luther King at Communist School.” Lying soggily upon the sidewalks were leaflets reading “An unemployed agitator ceases to agitate. Operation Ban. Selective hiring, firing, buying, selling.” The Selma Avenue Church of Christ, whose congregation is white, displayed a sign reading “When You Pray, Be Not As Hypocrites Are, Standing in the Street. Matt: 6:5,” and the Brown Chapel Church displayed a sign reading “Forward Ever, Backward Never. Visitors Welcome.” Inside the church and its parsonage, things were bustling. There were notes tacked everywhere: “If you don’t have official business here, please leave,” “All those who wish to take hot baths, contact Mrs. Lilly,” “Don’t sleep here anymore. This is an office,” “Please, the person who is trying to find me to return my suit coat and trenchcoat, not having left it in my Rambler . . . ”

    “Everyone here in town is getting antsy,” Melody Heap, a white girl who had come in from Chicago, said to a reporter. “We’re not allowed to march until Thursday, and there’s nothing to do. On the other hand, we’re giving the Selma Negroes a chance to take it easy. They know what they’re doing, and we don’t, so they can order us around a little.”

    “You know what just happened?” aid a white clergyman from Ontario. “Some of those white segs splashed mud all over us. It was so funny and childish we just howled.”

    A little later, two clergymen picked their luggage and left the church for the home of Mrs. Georgia Roberts, where, they had been told, they were to spend the night.

    “I guess I can put you up,” Mrs. Roberts said when they arrived. “Last night, I put up fourteen. I worked as a cook at the Selma Country Club for thirteen years, before they fired me for joining the movement. I’ve been friendly to all the other guests, so I guess you’ll find me friendly, too. I never thought I’d see the day when we’d dare to march against the white government in the Black Belt of Alabama.” […]

    Wednesday, the fourth and last full day of marching, was sunny again, and the marchers set out in good spirits. In the morning, a minister who had rashly dropped out at a gas station to make a telephone call was punched by the owner, and a freelance newspaper photographer was struck on the ear by a passerby. (Although he required three stitches, he was heartened by the fact that a Montgomery policeman had come, with a flying tackle, to his rescue.) There seemed, however, to be fewer segregationists by the side of the road than usual—perhaps because the Montgomery Advertiser had been running a two-page advertisement, prepared by the City Commissioner’s Committee on Community Affairs. imploring citizens to be moderate and ignore the march. The coverage of the march in the Southern press had consistently amused the marchers. “Civil Righters Led by Communists” had been the headline in the Birmingham weekly Independent; the Selma Times-Journal, whose coverage of the march was relatively accurate, had editorialized about President Johnson, under the heading “A Modern Mussolini Speaks, ‘We Shall Overcome,’ ” “No man in any generation . . . has ever held so much power in the palm of his hand, and that includes Caesar, Alexander, Genghis Khan, Napoleon, and Franklin D. Roosevelt”; and the Wednesday Advertiser’s sole front-page item concerning the march was a one-column, twenty-one-line account, lower right, of the Alabama legislature’s resolution condemning the demonstrators for being “sexually promiscuous.” (“It is well known that the white Southern segregationist is obsessed with fornication,” said John Lewis, chairman of S.N.C.C. “And that is why there are so many shades of Negro.”) At 9 a.m., Ray Robin announced over radio station WHHY, in Montgomery, that “there is now evidence that women are returning to their homes from the march as expectant unwed mothers.” Several marchers commented, ironically, on the advanced state of medical science in Alabama.

    By noon, most of the marchers were sunburned or just plain weatherburned. Two Negroes scrawled the word “Vote” in sunburn cream on their foreheads and were photographed planting an American flag, Iwo Jima fashion, by the side of the road. Flags of all sorts, including state flags and church flags, had materialized in the hands of marchers. One of the few segregationists watching the procession stopped his jeering for a moment when he saw the American flag, and raised his hand in a salute. The singing had abated somewhat, and the marchers had become conversational.

    “This area’s a study in social psychopathology,” said Henry Schwarzschild, executive secretary of L.C.D.C. (the Lawyers Constitutional Defense Committee). “In a way, they’re asking for a show of force like this, to make them face reality.”

    “And there’s the ignorance,” said another civil-rights lawyer. “A relatively friendly sheriff in Sunflower County, Mississippi, warned me, confidentially, that my client was a ‘blue-gum n*gg*r.’ ‘Their mouths are filled with poison,’ he said. ‘Don’t let him bite you.’ ”

    “And what did you say?” asked a college student marching beside him.

    “What could I say?” the lawyer replied. “I said I’d try to be careful.”

    “The way I see this march,” said a young man from S.N.C.C., “is as a march from the religious to the secular—from the chapel to the statehouse. For too long now, the Southern Negro’s only refuge has been the church. That’s why he prefers these S.C.L.C. ministers to the Snick cats. But we’re going to change all that.”

    “I’m worried, though, about the Maoists,” said the student.

    “What do you mean by that, exactly?” asked another marcher,

    “A Maoist. You know. From the Mau Mau.”

    In the early afternoon, Dr. King and his wife, who had dropped out for a day in order for him to go to Cleveland to receive an award, rejoined the procession. The singing began again. Marching behind Dr. King was his friend the Reverend Morris H. Tynes, of Chicago, who teased Dr. King continuously. “Moses, can you let your people rest for a minute?” Mr. Tynes said. “Can you just let the homiletic smoke from your cigarette drift out of your mouth and engulf the multitude and let them rest?” Dr. King smiled. Some of the other marchers, who had tended to speak of Dr. King half in joking and half in reverent tones (most of them referred to him conversationally as “De Lawd”) laughed out loud. […]

    Inside the gates of St. Jude’s, they were greeted by a crowd of Montgomery Negroes singing the national anthem.

    “What do you want?” the marchers chanted.

    This time, the response from the onlookers was immediate and loud: “Freedom!”

    “When do you want it? “


    “How much of it?”

    “All of it!” […]

    On Thursday morning, the march expanded, pulled itself together, and turned at once serious and gay. It finally seemed that the whole nation was marching to Montgomery. Signs from every conceivable place and representing every conceivable religious denomination, philosophical viewpoint, labor union, and walk of life assembled at St. Jude’s and lined up in orderly fashion. A Magic Marker pen passed from hand to hand, and new signs went up: “The Peace Corps Knows Integration Works,” “So Does Canada,” “American Indians” (carried by Fran Poafpybitty, a Comanche from Indiahoma, Oklahoma), “Freedom” in Greek letters (carried by a Negro girl), “Out of Vietnam into Selma” in Korean (carried by a white girl), “The Awe and Wonder of Human Dignity We Want to Maintain” (on a sandwich board worn by a succession of people), and, on two sticks tied together, with a blue silk scarf above it, a sign reading simply “Boston.” A young white man in a gray flannel suit hurried back and forth among the platoons of marchers; on his attaché case was written “D. J. Bittner, Night Security.”

    Near the tents, Ivanhoe Donaldson and Frank Surocco (the first a Negro project director for S.N.C.C. in Atlanta, the second a white boy, also from S.N.C.C.) were distributing orange plastic jackets to the original three hundred marchers. The jackets, of the sort worn by construction workers, had been bought for eighty-nine cents apiece in Atlanta, and jackets just like them had been worn throughout the march by the marshals, but for the marchers the orange jacket had become a singular status symbol. There was some dispute about who was entitled to wear one. There was also a dispute about the order of march. Some thought that the entertainers should go first, some that the leaders should. Roy Wilkins, of the N.A.A.C.P.,: demurred on behalf of the leaders. Odetta said, “Man, don’t let the morale crumble. The original three hundred deserve to be first.” The Reverend Andrew Young was served with a summons in an action by the City of Selma and the Selma Bus Lines protesting the operation of buses in competition with the Selma company. Finally, after another session of virtually inaudible speeches, the parade was ready to go. “Make way for the originals!” the marshals shouted, forming a cordon to hold back the other marchers and the press. Behind the three hundred came Martin Luther King, Ralph Bunche, A. Philip Randolph, the Reverend Ralph Abernathy, the Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth, Charles G. Gomillion, the Reverend F. D. Reese, and other civil-rights leaders; behind them came the grandfather of Jimmie Lee Jackson, the Negro boy who had been shot in nearby Perry County, and the Reverend Orloff Miller, a friend of the Reverend James Reeb’s, who had been beaten with Reeb on the night of Reeb’s murder; and behind them came a crowd of what turned out to be more than thirty thousand people. “We’re not just down here for show,” said Mr. Miller. “A lot of our people are staying here to help. But the show itself is important. When civil rights drops out of the headlines, the country forgets.”

    Stationed, like an advance man, hundreds of yards out in front of the procession as it made its way through the Negro section of Montgomery and, ultimately, past a hundred and four intersections was Charles Mauldin, dressed in his Hudson High sweatshirt and blue jeans and an orange jacket, and waving a little American flag and a megaphone. One pocket of his denims was split, and the fatigue in his gentle, intelligent face made him seem considerably younger than his seventeen years. “Come and march with us!” he shouted to Negro bystanders. “You can’t make your witness standing on the corner. Come and march with us. We’re going downtown. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Come and march with us! “

    “Tell ’em, baby,” said Frank Surocco, who was a few yards back of Charles.

    “Is everything safe up ahead?” asked the voice of Ivanhoe Donaldson through a walkie-talkie.

    “We watching ’em, baby,” said Surocco.

    “Come and march with us!” said Charles Mauldin, to black and white bystanders alike.

    In midtown Montgomery, at the Jefferson Davis Hotel, colored maids were looking out of the windows and the white clientele was standing on the hotel marquee. Farther along, at the Whitley Hotel, colored porters were looking out of windows on one side of the building and white customers were looking out of windows on the other. Troopers watched from the roof of the Brown Printing Company. The windows of the Montgomery Citizens Council were empty. Outside the Citizens Council building, a man stood waving a Confederate flag.

    “What’s your name?” a reporter asked.

    “None of your goddam business,” said the man. […]

    “This march has become a rescue operation,” Charles Mauldin said quietly to a friend as the speeches continued. “Most of those Negroes along the way have joined us, and although this Wallace-baiting sounds like a little boy whose big brother has come home and who is standing outside a bully’s window just to jeer, these Negroes are never going to be quite so afraid of the bully again. When the bill goes through, they’re going to vote, and the white men down here are going to think twice before they try to stop them. Big brothers have come down from the North and everywhere, and they’ve shown that they’re ready and willing to come down again. I don’t think they’re going to have to.”

    “It’s good that even a few of the civil-rights talkers have joined us,” said another marcher. “When those people feel they have to climb on the bandwagon, you know you’re on the way to victory.”

    As one speaker followed another, as Ralph Bunche, who had marched for two full days, and A. Philip Randolph spoke, the civil-rights leaders saluted one another and gave signs of patching up their differences. (Mr. Abernathy, second-in-command of S.C.L.C., slipped once and said, “Now here’s James Peck, for James Farmer, to tell us whether core is with us.” Peck ignored the implications of the “whether” and spoke as eloquently as the rest.) Throughout, the crowd applauded politely but gave no sign of real enthusiasm. S.C.L.C. and S.N.C.C. leaders seemed to be equally popular, but the N.A.A.C.P. and the Urban League, more active in other states than in Alabama, seemed to require a little help from Mr. Abernathy (“Now let’s give a big hand to . . . ”) to get their applause. Some of the marchers crawled forward under the press tables and went to sleep. A Japanese reporter, who had been taking notes in his own language, seized one of the marchers as he crawled under a table. “What do you think of all this?” the reporter asked. “I think it’s good,” the marcher said. Some fell asleep in their places on Dexter Avenue. (Perhaps remembering the mob scenes of the night before, the crowd left its members ample breathing space in front of the capitol.) A scuffle broke out between marchers and white bystanders in front of Klein’s Jewelry Store, but no one was hurt seriously. It rained a little, and Charles Mauldin said, “Wallace is seeding the clouds.”

    Albert Turner, of Marion, where Jimmie Lee Jackson was murdered, said from the platform, “I look worse than anybody else on this stage. That’s because I marched fifty miles.” Then he read the Negro voting statistics from Perry County. When he said, “We are not satisfied,” the crowd gave him a rousing cheer. He looked down at his orange jacket and smiled. Mrs. Amelia Boynton spoke; during the previous demonstrations, she had been kicked and beaten, and jailed, for what some members of the press have come to call “resisting assault.” She read the petition, mentioning the “psychotic climate” of the State of Alabama, that a delegation of marchers was seeking to’ present to Governor Wallace, and she was roundly applauded. Near the end of the ceremony, Rosa Parks, the “Mother of the Movement,” who had set off Dr. King’s first demonstration when she was jailed for refusing to yield her seat to a white man on a bus in Montgomery, received the most enthusiastic cheers of all. “Tell it! Tell! Tell!” some of the marchers shouted. “Speak! Speak!” Finally, after an extravagant introduction by Mr. Abernathy, who referred to Dr. King as “conceived by God” (“This personality cult is getting out of hand,” said a college student, and, to judge by the apathetic reception of Mr. Abernathy’s words, the crowd agreed), Dr. King himself spoke. There were some enthusiastic yells of “Speak! Speak!” and “Yessir! Yessir!” from the older members of the audience when Dr. King’s speech began, but at first the younger members were subdued. Gradually, the whole crowd began to be stirred. By the time he reached his refrains—“Let us march on the ballot boxes. . . . We’re on the move now. . . . How long? Not long”—and the final, ringing “Glory, glory, hallelujah!,” the crowd was with him all the way.

    The director of the march, Hosea Williams, of S.C.L.C., said some concluding words, remarking that there should be no lingering in Montgomery that night and exhorting the crowd to leave quietly and with dignity. There was a last rendition of “We Shall Overcome.” Within ten minutes. Dexter Avenue was cleared of all but the press and the troopers. […]

    It’s a bloody long read, and I skipped several long parts, but damn…

  55. rq says

    Two more small items, via the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto, in preparation for Black History Month:
    ROM Celebrates Black History Month with
    Dynamic Event Line-up

    The ROM celebrates Black History Month, presented by CIBC with a full calendar of events to recognize Africa’s rich heritage and histories. Highlights include a new exhibition, Worn: Shaping Black Feminine Identity which opens on Saturday, January 31, 2015 in the Sigmund Samuel Gallery of Canada, Level 1. This installation by Karin Jones, a Vancouver based artist and a descendant of the Black Loyalists in Nova Scotia, features a Victorian mourning dress, adorned with braids and surrounded by natural cotton buds. The dress is intended as an expression of the artist’s perspective on African-Canadian culture and belongingness. Worn was selected from a call for proposals for artists from the African Diaspora as part of the ROM’s Of Africa initiative.

    Additional ROM Black History Month programming includes:
    February 6 ROM Friday Night Live Encore: Carnival
    Presented by Ford of Canada and supporting sponsors Peroni Nastro Azzurro, and Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
    7:00 pm – 11:00 pm
    For one night only #FNLROM returns with winter to celebrate Carnival. Tickets to #FNLROM are $12 General, $10 Students/Seniors, free for ROM Members.

    This edition of #FNLROM, ROM partners with fashion designer/curator, Chinedu Ukabam for our inaugural culinary event, Kitchen Conversations: Palattes of Africa – Carnival, a unique exploration of cuisine from South America and the Caribbean – with its roots in West Africa. Included in the event is a dinner with a menu developed in collaboration with renowned New York-based chef Pierre Thiam who will also be on hand to prepare and introduce his creations. Tickets to Kitchen Conversations are $50 General, $45 ROM Members (all tickets include admission to #FNLROM).

    February 7 Discovery Corner – Carnival
    11:00 am – 3:00 pm, Museum wide
    Discover worldwide Carnival traditions with artifact touch tables, art projects, and scavenger hunts that tell the stories and history of Carnival traditions from around the world.
    Free with ROM General Admission

    February 17 ROM Speaks: Thomas Allen Harris, Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People
    7:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Eaton Theatre
    A critically acclaimed documentary that looks at the ways African American communities used the camera as a tool for social change from the invention of photography until present day. This screening is followed by a talk with the film’s award-winning director and filmmaker, Thomas Allen Harris.
    Tickets are $20 General, $18 ROM Members/Students/Teachers: [link redacted]

    February 22 ROM Daytime: In Conversation with DJ Kid Capri
    2:00 pm – 4:00 pm, Eaton Theatre
    An afternoon with Kid Capri, New York’s legendary DJ and Grammy-winning producer, in conversation with hip-hop attorney, author and podcast host, Combat Jack. Program presented by Manifesto Community Projects & the ROM.
    Free event, for details visit: [link redacted]

    And a bit of a close-up on the fashion event, Worn: Shaping Black Feminine Identity. A couple of more detailed photos of one of the exhibits.

  56. says

    Just a perspective adjustment, I was the second ever in my family to finish high school, the second to ever attend university, the first to get a degree and to attend grad school. Both of my parents left school at 15, my mother to work and support her Catholic mother’s unexpected fourth child, my father after a minor criminal complaint (stealing car parts).
    So, not surprising from here. :/
    It is, as always, ten times worse for Black people in the same situation. Given a good brain, I could work past the limitations of my class because even poor we had plenty of white privilege, but almost no level of braining overcomes anti-Black bigotry on top of that class limitation.

    The most awful thing for us as a species in racism is the incredible waste of humanity we’ve committed, are committing, in allowing this racism to go on. How many amazing breakthroughs have we lost through neglecting the brains that would have had the ideas – if only they had the right chromosomes, the right melanin, the right desires? We’re facing a potentially extinction-level event, and we’re busy sorting ourselves into better and worse on stupid, unrankable criteria like race and gender. Not that those things don’t matter, but that they are not rankable in a civilised society, and we’re shooting ourselves in the head to spite our face, every time we fail at getting better.

    Ach, sorry the rant, but fuck! Why do people need to do this? What’s wrong with us? Maybe we deserve extinction. :/

  57. rq says

    What you mention (to me) sort of ties in with abortion rights and all those pro-lifers whose argument rests on the what-if-it’s-einstein premise – that potential Einstein might already be alive and going to school somewhere in a poor district with little resources to encourage scholarship and a whole list of conditions against them. But that potential person doesn’t count as much as the next fetus-in-danger. :P
    But that’s the old anti-choice deal, isn’t it – they care as long as it’s in the incubator, after that (especially if they’re black) those damn welfare kids are on their own.

    Also, re: the literacy, I was just thinking back to my grand- and great-grandparents and the established school system here in Latvia that’s been present for generations. Back about a hundred years ago, I think Latvia had a 85 – 95% literacy rate (it was huge) just because of the school system and a lot of homeschooling. True, no major university opportunities, but literacy as such was at a decent level.
    It’s hard to compare university graduation and such in my family because of the many kinds of trade schools and apprenticeships you could learn through (not sure how to equate the levels of education and such), but I think I’m about third generation university-grad – and this includes being refugees during WWII and getting established in a foreign country three generations ago.
    Then again, we never had to worry about our melanin levels, either.

  58. rq says

    A couple of conversations going on tonight (one from the police task force, one from interaction in Birmingham), but before that, some articles.

    Chief sorry cops unleashed police dogs to maul woman’s leg while officers held her down

    Norfolk police spokesperson Daniel Hudson insisted to Potomac Local that the police canine was allowed to approach Colvin for the safety of the other witnesses.

    “There was an officer that was attempting to place the woman in custody for disorderly conduct. When [the officer] tried to place her in custody, she became combative against the officer. Another officer attempted to restrain her, but again, there were multiple people around, so the canine officer deployed the dog to restrain the woman so nobody would get hurt,” he said.

    Colvin was taken to a local hospital, where she was treated for multiple dog bites.

    “The force was unnecessary,” Dunn pointed out to WVEC. “She has 40 stitches she got from the dog bites. The one big wound can’t be closed because too much meat is missing and that will need plastic surgery,” said Dunn.


    In a statement on Thursday, Norfolk Police Chief Michael Goldsmith said that his department had been investigating the case since the incident occurred.

    “While we continue to wrap up the final few interviews with witnesses and officers, I feel I have enough information to determine the use of force in Ms. Colvin’s arrest was unreasonable,” Goldsmith remarked. “As Chief, I am responsible for the policies and procedures that govern my officers’ actions. While I expect my officers to make the best judgment in all circumstances, if the policy doesn’t support the outcomes I expect, I have failed them.”

    Goldsmith said that he would review the canine policy, and make the new policy public once the review was complete. He also said that officers’ actions would be addressed “through our disciplinary process.”

    Colvin’s family argued that they did not have a problem with the arrest if she was being disorderly, but they said that the level of force used was unacceptable.

    “We can understand her getting arrested, because she was being disorderly or anything like that – however she didn’t have a weapon. She can’t put her hands up, or remove her hands from anywhere, or do anything because she’s being restrained by two police officers. So to allow the dog [to attack] is the only thing that we have a problem with,” Dunn said, speaking for the family.

    Colvin confirmed that she was seeking legal counsel.

    We’ll see where that one goes.

    Nice. Real nice. Transparency, Wichita-style

    Wichita, KS police released this “public incident report” documenting the circumstances under which an officer shot a member of the public, but not before helpfully blacking out nearly every single word on all five pages of it. […]

    Everything else, including officers’ statements and those from the three witnesses have been redacted. What was released was common knowledge, as the Wichita Eagle had been covering the case since the night it happened. Officers responded to a call reporting a “disturbance involving a knife.” 23-year-old John Quintero was shot by officers after he became “belligerent” and “reached for his waistband.” No weapon was found on Quintero.

    Now, there may be a good reason this was all redacted. Or if not a good reason, than at least the usual reason police departments withhold information: the case is still under investigation. But the Wichita PD hasn’t offered any comment on its decision to redact nearly everything in this report. One wonders why it even bothered releasing it at all. It’s one thing to be transparent. It’s quite another to make meaningless gestures like this in the letter of open records laws, while avoiding the spirit of them entirely.

    It’s one thing to read about it, but it’s quite another to see it – five pages, blacked out line-by-line. Reads like ‘asshole’ to me.

    UNC students call for rename of building named for KKK leader

    Members of student group The Real Silent Same Coalition organized the rally, marching to the Silent Sam statue on UNC’s McCorkle Place.

    Silent Sam is a statue of a Confederate soldier representing the 321 alumni who died while fighting in the Civil War. Student activists argue the statue needs to be put into the context of oppression and white supremacy.

    Further south on UNC’s campus stands Saunders Hall, named in 1922 after William Saunders. Saunders was a UNC graduate who went on to become N.C. Secretary of State.

    In the late 1800’s Saunders was known in North Carolina as the chief leader of the Ku Klux Klan. Minority students and activists are demanding the building’s name be changed, arguing it does not reflect the university that prides itself on diversity.

    “I have classes in Saunders and I walk by this Confederate monument here on my campus,” explained UNC senior Erica Baker. “I just can’t continue to feel like this space is safe, this space is open, this space is an environment that’s conducive for learning for everyone.”

    Charity Watkins, a PhD student in UNC’s School of Social Work shared a similar experience.

    “You start to feel that you’re not always necessarily always welcome here. You don’t have the same place as everybody else here,” Watkins said.

    Chancellor Carol Folt released the following statement ahead of Friday’s rally:

    “I have spoken to many student groups across campus and listened to our faculty, staff and alumni who have expressed their different perspectives on the issue surrounding Saunders Hall. A part of Carolina’s history is inextricably linked with difficult issues of race and class, and how we address those issues today is important. The Board of Trustees is taking a close look at how we can best move forward, guided by their policy on renaming campus buildings.

    In the meantime, we will create and support opportunities for respectful dialogue, and we will work even harder to help our community demonstrate our commitment to Carolina’s core values of inclusion and respect.”

    That policy reads, in part,

    “If the benefactor’s or honoree’s reputation changes substantially so that the continued use of that name may compromise the public trust, dishonor the University’s standards, or otherwise be contrary to the best interests of the University, the naming may be revoked. However, caution must be taken when, with the passage of time, the standards and achievements deemed to justify a naming action may change and observers of a later age may deem those who conferred a naming honor at an earlier age to have erred. Namings should not be altered simply because later observers would have made different judgments.”

    Link to full policy at the link. Because future generations may decide slavery was alright after all? I suppose it’s possible, but I wouldn’t call that progress.

    Yep, going to say it loud, one more on Aiyana Jones: ‘She was only a baby’: last charge dropped in police raid that killed sleeping Detroit child

    Juries twice failed to reach a verdict in Weekley’s case, first in June 2013 and then in October 2014. In October, judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway dismissed a charge of involuntary manslaughter, citing a lack of evidence.

    On Friday, Hathaway dismissed a lesser second charge, of reckless use of a firearm. The dismissal was at the request of Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy, who called the decision, which by law cannot be appealed, “unfortunate”.

    “Weekley doesn’t have to pay but the family that lost a child has to pay,” said Ron Scott, a spokesman for the family, shortly after attending the dismissal hearing. “I think it’s abominable. I think it’s evil. I think it’s one of the lowest things I have ever seen.”

    Scott said a civil suit had been filed and an appeal made to US attorney general Eric Holder to pursue a case for the violation of Aiyana’s civil rights. […]

    Outside, a television reality television crew filmed the events for A&E.

    Seconds after entering the house, where the grenade had caused Aiyana’s blanket to catch fire, Weekley fired one fatal shot. It went straight through the child’s head. Weekley said it was an accident and accused Jones of wrestling with his gun immediately as he entered the abode, causing the fatal shot.

    Jones was arrested, and though she was quickly released it was not before she and two other family members – Aiyana’s parents – had been forced to sit in their child’s blood for hours, Scott said.

    In the witness box in September, Jones said: “I’m laying there screaming, asking someone to help my granddaughter because he shot her in the head. And he wouldn’t even help her. They turned on the lights and saw that she had been shot.”

    Jones broke down during testimony and had to be escorted out amid sobbing after addressing Weekley – who was also in the courtroom – directly.

    “She was only a baby, man. She was sleeping and I told you all ‘Let me get my granddaughter’, and you didn’t give me a chance. Why you do this to me?

    “I get no sleep. I am sick. I am sick as hell. I get no sleep. The flashbacks. I wouldn’t wish this on nobody in the world. Not even you.”

    Only a baby.

    Because black celebrity lives matter too: Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of Whitney Houston, found unresponsive in tub.

    Family of Ramarley Graham settle lawsuit with city for $3.9 million

    The settlement comes amid an ongoing federal investigation by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara into possible civil rights violations against the NYPD cops involved in the Feb. 2, 2012 fatal shooting.

    Officer Richard Haste, who fired the fatal shot after chasing Graham, 18, from the street into his home, was initially indicted by the Bronx district attorney for manslaughter, but a judge threw out the case on a legal technicality.

    A second grand jury declined to indict the cop.

    Police officials said Haste mistakenly thought Graham was had a gun.

    City Law Department spokesman Nick Paolucci said: “This was a tragic case. After evaluating all the facts, and consulting with key stakeholders such as the NYPD, it was determined that settling the matter was in the best interest of the City.”

    Haste does not have to pay a dime toward the settlement, a source said.

    Graham’s estate will receive $2.95 million; his brother will receive $500,000 and his grandmother $450,000 because they were in the home at the time of the shooting, sources said. Graham’s mother, Constance Malcolm, will also receive $40,000,the sources said.

    Besides emotional damages, the family also sought compensation for their alleged mistreatment by police who detained them after the shooting.

    And yes, it’s the taxpayers who will foot the bill. How lovely!

  59. Menyambal - not as pretentious as I seem says

    RQ, thanks for all the posts. Wow.

    My family has just got mixed up with the local cops here in southwest Missouri. The kid did have a headlight out, and does drive like a teenager, but was stone sober and drug free. Too much to type about right now, but a frightening level of police harassment, abuse, incompetence and arrogance. The attorney we talked to says the local police force is an embarrassment. And I do mean “frightening”.

  60. rq says

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    Task Force member Smoot just spoke at the Boston Marathon being a prime example of using social media. #PolicingTaskForce

    Just hearing that Alexis (@keenblackgirl), Brittany (@bdoulaoblongata) and Jennifer McCoy were just arrested in STL.
    And on that second note, with photo: .@keenblackgirl and @bdoulaoblongata arrested at convention center protest. #Ferguson
    And it’s in the papers already. Racism protesters arrested at St. Louis RV show

    The silent protest at the America’s Center involved college students, clergy and legal activists, including a few who have been regularly protesting since the shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson.

    Some held slips of paper with “White Only” and “No Coloreds,” drawing confused looks from some shopping for RV’s and trailers. A few activists left the slips of paper inside RV’s, leading to complaints from attendees and exhibitors, some of whom were African-American.

    According to police, security staff asked several of the protesters to leave. When they refused, three were arrested for trespassing, according to police at the America’s Center. One of the protesters was also charged with obstructing an officer making an arrest.

    “Can St Louis regain its standing as a fashionable place to live?” asks 1958 editorial h/t @PubPolWonk #stl It’s… surprisingly relevant.

    Black People Are Not More Homophobic Than Everyone Else

    Much of my 2014 was spent wondering if I will be able to maintain a relationship with my mother because my sexuality—well, my choice to both act on my natural attractions and write freely about my orientation—remains a major point of contention. My father once asked me if I was “funny” while shaking his hand; he was not longing to hear his son say, “Yeah, pops. I’m hilarious when I’m screwing a man.”

    Most of the people who have given me grief about my sexuality have been black like me, though I’ve been around mostly black people my entire life. It’s more about geographic and socioeconomic status, not inherent biases. To that end, my individual experiences do not speak for the collective. It’s dangerous to use anecdotes to diagnosis a community of its purported ills. Never forget that there is a world beyond yours.

    Lee Daniels has forgotten this lesson. Two weeks ago, he explained that he wants to “blow the lid off homophobia” in the black community with his new show, Empire, using the rift between Jamal, a gay aspiring singer, and his deeply homophobic father Lucious Lyon, a record executive. Daniels might as well have added that he also hopes his hip-hop inspired soap opera would also hip music consumers to the power of the MP3. Black homophobia has been a subject of national conversation for several years now, but at this point, the conversation has long grown stale given that it’s largely a merry go-round of myth-pushing.


    Daniels gets some things right, namely the hypermasculinity within hip-hop, and by extension, the black community. But a mostly a white consumer base of rap music only further highlights how we are all collectively guilty of homophobia, which is largely based in misogyny.


    Daniels is not the only one to make this claim, though. In 2008, author and gay activist Dan Savage helped fuel this media narrative when he cited a statistic claiming that over 70% of blacks voted in support of Proposition 8, California’s gay marriage ban. Savage said he had grown tired of “pretending the handful of racist gay white men out there” are “a bigger problem for African-Americans, gay and straight, than the huge numbers of homophobic African-Americans are for gay Americans, whatever their color.”

    That was later proven to be a gross exaggeration; it was more like 58 percent of blacks compared to 53 percent of Latino voters, 49 percent of white voters, and 49 percent of Asian voters. Moreover, these claims also put the onus on the black community despite opponents of Prop 8 doing a piss poor job of directly campaigning for black support at the time. Four years later, black voters played a pivotal role in the passage of gay marriage initiatives in states like Maryland. […]

    Yet black people are painted as the boogeymen of homophobia. This, despite the fact that institutional homophobia in this country dates back to a time when black people were systematically disenfranchised. Anti-sodomy laws in the United States date back to the 19th Century; as recently as 1960, there were anti-sodomy laws in all 50 states (needless to say, these were not eras where black people were in positions of power in state legislatures). A decade after the Supreme Court ruled in Lawrence v. Texas in 2003 that it is unconstitutional to bar consensual sex between adults, there remain anti-sodomy laws in a dozen states: Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Utah. Not one of those states has a black majority (in a few of them, black voting power is under attack).

    Is the black church responsible for the homophobia that exists within the black community? Surely, but what about those white evangelicals who export homophobia to countries in Africa like Uganda? Last year, Roger Ross Williams, the director of God Loves Uganda, a documentary about the influence of conservative American Christians in the country, told The Independent, “The anti-homosexuality bill would never have come about without the involvement of American fundamentalist evangelicals.”

    And need I remind people that black people in America did not originally enter this country on cruise ships clutching their Bibles and reciting curious theological arguments about God’s stance on homosexuality? Many people born into religious families struggle with reconciling what they were taught to believe versus who they, or someone they love, are (look at TLC’s My Husband’s Not Gay, chronicling Mormon men attracted to men who opted to marry women). Even so, there are members of the black clergy at the forefront of LGBT equality, although I’ve read about it mainly via black media.

    I’m open to talking about homophobia within the black community, but the conversation will go no where if it is prefaced with the notion that black folks are more homophobic than everyone else. Yoruba Richen’s documentary The New Black tackled the topic, but in a way that was specific and thoughtful, featuring black faces both for and against marriage equality, as well as black LGBT voices. Imagine that.

    This and that else including some additional numbers at the link.

    From December of 2014. And as with so many other police ideas, this should end well. Abusive Cop Picked to Head Police Reform Commission.

    “If the president’s idea of reforming policing practices includes mass false arrests, brutality, and the eviscerating of civil rights, then Ramsey’s his man. That’s Charles Ramsey’s legacy in D.C.,” said Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF), speaking of the ex-D.C. chief and current Philadelphia Police Commissioner. “Obama should immediately rescind his appointment of Commissioner Ramsey, who is a mass violator of civil rights and civil liberties.”

    On Monday, Obama appointed Ramsey and Laurie Robinson, a George Mason University professor of criminology, law and society, to head a commission that the president said will suggest steps that the executive branch can take to unwind the most visible aspects of America’s militarized police—its domestic use of military gear.

    “They are going to co-chair a task force that is not only going to reach out and listen to law enforcement, and community activists and other stakeholders, but is going to report to me specifically in 90 days with concrete recommendations, including best practices for communities where law enforcement and neighborhoods are working well together,” Obama said Monday, continuing, “How do they create accountability; how do they create transparency; how do they create trust; and how can we at the federal level work with the state and local communities to make sure that some of those best practices get institutionalized?” […]

    More than a decade ago, when Ramsey was the D.C. police chief, he led numerous crackdowns and mass arrests of protesters—starting in 2000. His most high-profile assault was in September 2002 at Pershing Park, where demonstrators protested World Bank and International Monetary Fund meetings. The police locked down the park and arrested everyone there—400 people—including journalists, legal observers and bystanders.

    The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund sued and won millions for protesters. The April 2000 protest settlements totalled $13.7 million and Pershing Park/2002 settlement was $8.25 million. Verheyden-Hilliard said the settlements highlight a larger and especially bloody pattern of police crackdowns on protesters ordered by Ramsey.

    Article mentions 6 main events. Oh, and Ramsey is that feller up in comment 67 (second-last link) who admitted he got some things wrong. So maybe there’s hope after all?

  65. rq says

    *sigh* Too many links in 68. Moderation it is. In the meantime, onwards!

    So one of the former Ferguson protestors – I say ‘former’ because she is now in a different city, new job, etc., but still working with the movement – was down in Birmingham for movement activist stuff and she ran into a spot of… we’ll call it confusion.
    But you can see it unfold below:
    You ask and you shall receive. (Poster for Birmingham protest.)
    @Nettaaaaaaaa @keibenet It’s just weird because me and @ASouthernJule have organized a protest in the past, didn’t know this was scheduled
    We didn’t know either. We asked around. That’s not my fault you didn’t know about protest. @TheBSharp @keibenet @ASouthernJule
    In Ferguson there was resistance and we didn’t agree on it, there was no meeting before to say we were going to do it. It just happened.
    And this lady in my mentions? I’m confused. We just spoke to her on the phone and she invited us to a committee planning meeting. They went to the protest instead, leading to the confusion mentioned.
    Apparently my tweets have brought out something that local folks didn’t know. There seems to be 2 different groups within the city.

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    Real Talk with Nekima Levy-Pounds – Special Guest: DeRay McKesson

    On this week’s #RealTalk, my special guest is DeRay McKesson, one of the main organizers of the #BlackLivesMatter movement that began in #Ferguson, Missouri. @deray discusses his role in the movement, his childhood in Baltimore, black consciousness, and the impacts of police aggression on protesters and the black community. It’s a powerful conversation that you won’t want to miss. Tune in now!

    Audio at the link. Alternate link, too, but no transcript.

    John Crawford and Grand Juries

    In August 2014, John Crawford was killed by police in Ohio after they received a 911 call reporting that a man was walking around Wal-Mart with a gun. Wal-Mart sold the gun in the store. Ohio is an Open Carry state. A Grand Jury was convened. They failed to indict. @elisabethepps explains why:

    (In tweets, excerpting some.)

    Can I pls take a moment to explain just what a grand jury really is/does, in cases like the killings of Mike Brown & John Crawford?
    When lay grand juries convene in secret to decide whether to indict the police officers who slaughtered Mike Brown and John Crawford… +
    …prosecutor essentially serves as the defense attorney for the police officers, and NO ONE IN THE ROOM is representing the dead black man.
    Scene in grand jury room: several long tables with exhibits, evidence, reports, and a criminal statute book. And ~12 non-lawyers (probably).
    Witnesses may be called, but all the theoretical safeguards intended to protect integrity of testimony in open trials are out the window.
    Witnesses are essentially allowed to ramble, speculate, give hearsay; prosecutor can lead- bc there is no opposing counsel to object.
    Meanwhile the grand jury is sitting there with just one side of the story, so of course they tend to believe the only side they that hear.
    Standard of proof for grand juries is not the same as petite (trial) juries. Trial juries are held to “beyond reasonable doubt” (99.9%+?).
    But secret lay grand juries are only held to “preponderance of evidence”, that is a standard of “more likely than not” (50.1%+).
    Thus, no exaggeration, unless a grand jury has gone rogue, all any prosecutor has to do is wink & nod & suggest a charge and GJ will indict.
    So for grand jury to *NOT* indict, unless they’ve gone rogue and have hellions on panel, trust: the prosecutor did not want an indictment.
    Prosecutors often prefer a grand jury bc then when the GJ doesn’t indict, prosecutor can wash his hands of it, “well, I tried.” @K_dot_RE
    Prosecutors say they represent “the people” (state/commonwealth…), but if police involved, they often don’t. Prosecutors represent police.
    Prosecutors and police work intensely & intimately to persecute, I mean prosecute, our people. They are partners in the adversarial system.
    Police are groomed and coached how to stage scenes to secure convictions from pre-arrest thru trial. See @ShaunKing TL if you doubt me.
    Police & prosecutors are living embodiment of you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. Dishonest police testimony secures convictions daily.
    Sometimes it’s unavoidable: civil unrest demands arrest, mountains of evidence (Daniel Holtzvlaw, anyone?) pressures prosecutors to charge.
    But barring those sorts of extraordinary circumstances, prosecutors aren’t inclined charge criminal activity against their BFF cops.

  71. rq says

    1937-1938 Portraits of African-American former slaves

    We honor 150 years since the abolition of slavery in the United States. On Jan. 31, 1865, Congress passed the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude in the country.

    These portraits of black American men and women who had been slaves were taken in the late 1930s as part of the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) of the Work Progress Administration (WPA). They are part of a group of 500, together with more than 2,000 first-person accounts of the experience of being a slave.

    The Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) operated during the Great Depression of the 1930s and tasked unemployed writers cross the USA with collecting the life stories of Americans across society. This particular set of pictures and testimonies was published in 1941 as the seventeen-volume “Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves.”

    I did not know that yesterday was the anniversary of abolishing slavery (legally). Here’s a look at the document, the 13th Amendment: The 13th Amendment to the US Constitution, abolishing slavery, was passed by Congress #OTD in 1865. #ThisDayInHistory That’s 150 years.
    And today is the start of Black History Month.

    To kick off, a pdf of essays THE BLACK RADICAL TRADITIONHaves a look at the Table of Contents:

    1. Black Reconstruction 1
    / W.E.B. Du Bois

    2a. What Socialism Means to Us 51
    / Hubert Harrison

    2b. An Appeal to the Conscience of the Black Race to See Itself 57
    / Marcus Garvey

    2c. Program of the African Blood Brotherhood 62
    / The African Blood Brotherhood

    2d. Report on the Negro Question 70
    / Claude McKay

    2e. Application for Membership in the Communist Party 74
    / W.E.B. Du Bois

    3. The Negro Nation 76
    / Harry Haywood

    4. An End to the Neglect of the Problems of the Negro Woman! 100
    / Claudia Jones

    5. The Revolutionary Answer to the Negro Problem in US 116
    / C.L.R. James

    6a. Revolutionary Nationalism and the Afro-American 136
    / Harold Cruse

    6b. Is the Black Bourgeoisie the Leader of the Black Liberation Movement? 153
    / Harry Haywood with Gwendolyn Midlo Hall

    7. The American Revolution 157
    / James Boggs

    8a. Message to Grassroots 219
    / Malcolm X

    8b. The 12-Point Program of RAM 230
    / Revolutionary Action Movement

    8c. Speech in Beijing 234
    / Robert F. Williams

    8d. Black Power 242
    / Stokely Carmichael

    8e. Beyond Vietnam 257
    / Martin Luther King, Jr.

    9. The Pitfalls of National Consciousness 271
    / Frantz Fanon

    10a. The Correct Handling of a Revolution 308
    / Huey P. Newton

    10b. Power Anywhere Where There’s People 312
    / Fred Hampton

    10c. On the Ideology of the Black Panther Party 320
    / Eldridge Cleaver

    10d. On the Defection of Eldridge Cleaver … 329
    / Huey P. Newton

    10e. Prison Letters 336
    / George Jackson

    11a. White Blindspot 360
    / Noel Ignatin

    11b. Without a Science of Navigation We Cannot Sail in Stormy Seas 373
    / Noel Ignatin

    12a. Liberation Will Come from a Black Thing 395
    / James Forman

    12b. General Program (Here’s Where We’re Coming From) 407
    / League of Revolutionary Black Workers

    12c. From Repression to Revolution 411
    / Ken Cockrel

    13a. Black Women’s Manifesto; Double Jeopardy: To Be Black and Female 420
    / Frances M. Beal

    13b. Reflections on the Black Woman’s Role in the Community of Slaves 431
    / Angela Davis

    13c. The Combahee River Collective Statement 449
    / Combahee River Collective

    14a. Negro National Colonial Question 458
    / Communist League

    14b. Critique of the Black Nation Thesis 497
    / Racism Research Project

    14c. Revolutionary Review: The Black Nation Thesis 522
    / Congress of African People

    15a. National Liberation of Puerto Rico and the Responsibilities of the U.S. Proletariat 526
    / Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization

    15b. Revolution, the National Question and Asian Americans 538
    / I Wor Kuen

    15c. Chicano Liberation and Proletarian Revolution 546
    / August Twenty-Ninth Movement

    There’s a range of topics including feminism and classism and just a lot of reading.

    SNL kicked off Black History Month, too, to great acclaim – D’Angelo was unapologetically BLACK, and I was here for every second of it. #SNL #BlackLivesMatter. Check out the shirts here and here!

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    The Political Science department at the “progressive” @UCBerkeley has yet to have a Black professor. #BlackProfessorsMatter

    Never knew Baldwin released Fire Next Time on this date, such an important collection of essays. His letter to his nephew still moves me. And the letter is here: A Letter to My Nephew. I love the editor’s note:

    Editor’s Note: In light of the protests around the country demanding a stop to police brutality and changes to a racist justice system, we are reprinting one of James Baldwin’s most famous articles published in The Progressive magazine, from December 1962. (Baldwin later adapted it in his essay collection, The Fire Next Time.) Senior editor Matt Rothschild remarked today, “This might be the greatest piece we’ve ever published.”

    And from the letter:

    I know what the world has done to my brother and how narrowly he has survived it and I know, which is much worse, and this is the crime of which I accuse my country and my countrymen and for which neither I nor time nor history will ever forgive them, that they have destroyed and are destroying hundreds of thousands of lives and do not know it and do not want to know it. One can be–indeed, one must strive to become–tough and philosophical concerning destruction and death, for this is what most of mankind has been best at since we have heard of war; remember, I said most of mankind, but it is not permissible that the authors of devastation should also be innocent. It is the innocence which constitutes the crime.

    Now, my dear namesake, these innocent and well meaning people, your countrymen, have caused you to be born under conditions not far removed from those described for us by Charles Dickens in the London of more than a hundred years ago. I hear the chorus of the innocents screaming, “No, this is not true. How bitter you are,” but I am writing this letter to you to try to tell you something about how to handle them, for most of them do not yet really know that you exist. I know the conditions under which you were born for I was there. Your countrymen were not there and haven’t made it yet. Your grandmother was also there and no one has ever accused her of being bitter. I suggest that the innocent check with her. She isn’t hard to find. Your countrymen don’t know that she exists either, though she has been working for them all their lives.

    Well, you were born; here you came, something like fifteen years ago, and though your father and mother and grandmother, looking about the streets through which they were carrying you, staring at the walls into which they brought you, had every reason to be heavy-hearted, yet they were not, for here you were, big James, named for me. You were a big baby. I was not. Here you were to be loved. To be loved, baby, hard at once and forever to strengthen you against the loveless world. Remember that. I know how black it looks today for you. It looked black that day too. Yes, we were trembling. We have not stopped trembling yet, but if we had not loved each other, none of us would have survived, and now you must survive because we love you and for the sake of your children and your children’s children.


    This innocent country set you down in a ghetto in which, in fact, it intended that you should perish. Let me spell out precisely what I mean by that for the heart of the matter is here and the crux of my dispute with my country. You were born where you were born and faced the future that you faced because you were black and for no other reason. The limits to your ambition were thus expected to be settled. You were born into a society which spelled out with brutal clarity and in as many ways as possible that you were a worthless human being. You were not expected to aspire to excellence. You were expected to make peace with mediocrity. Wherever you have turned, James, in your short time on this earth, you have been told where you could go and what you could do and how you could do it, where you could live and whom you could marry.

    I know your countrymen do not agree with me here and I hear them. saying, “You exaggerate.” They do not know Harlem and I do. So do you. Take no one’s word for anything, including mine, but trust your experience. Know whence you came. If you know whence you came, there is really no limit to where you can go. The details and symbols of your life have been deliberately constructed to make you believe what white people say about you. Please try to remember that what they believe, as well as what they do and cause you to endure, does not testify to your inferiority, but to their inhumanity and fear.

    Please try to be clear, dear James, through the storm which rages about your youthful head today, about the reality which lies behind the words “acceptance” and “integration.” There is no reason for you to try to become like white men and there is no basis whatever for their impertinent assumption that they must accept you. The really terrible thing, old buddy, is that you must accept them, and I mean that very seriously. You must accept them and accept them with love, for these innocent people have no other hope. They are in effect still trapped in a history which they do not understand and until they understand it, they cannot be released from it. They have had to believe for many years, and for innumerable reasons, that black men are inferior to white men.

    Many of them indeed know better, but as you will discover, people find it very difficult to act on what they know. To act is to be committed and to be committed is to be in danger. In this case the danger in the minds and hearts of most white Americans is the loss of their identity. Try to imagine how you would feel if you woke up one morning to find the sun shivering and all the stars aflame. You would be frightened because it is out of the order of nature. Any upheaval in the universe is terrifying because it so profoundly attacks one’s sense of one’s own reality. Well, the black man has functioned in the white man’s world as a fixed star, as an immovable pillar, and as he moves out of his place, heaven and earth are shaken to their foundations.

    More at the link.

    #BlackLivesMatter yard sign in the dirt that should be my lawn. #Ferguson

    And when will we get an update on the #NAACPbombing investigation? We haven’t forgotten.

    Protest in Ann Arbor, MI over decision not to prosecute cop a who killed #AuraRosser. #BlackLivesMatter

  74. rq says

    John B. Geer had hands up when shot by police, four officers say in documents

    But as one officer tried to ease Geer through the standoff, another officer, Adam D. Torres, shot and killed Geer from 17 feet away, telling investigators that he saw Geer move his hands to his waist and thought he might be reaching for a weapon, according to newly released documents from the county.

    The other three officers, and a lieutenant watching from a distance, said they saw no such thing, the documents show.

    How and why Geer died that afternoon in August 2013 after police responded to a domestic dispute at his home have remained a mystery, as police and prosecutors have declined to comment on the case for 17 months. But Friday night, under a court order obtained by lawyers for the Geer family, Fairfax released more than 11,000 pages of documents that shed new light on the police shooting.

    The other officers contradicted Torres’s story, all agreeing that Geer had his hands above his shoulders, did not move them to his waist and was unarmed when he was shot. […]

    “When the shot happened, his hands were up,” Officer Rodney Barnes, who had been talking to Geer at the moment of the shooting, told investigators that evening. “I’m not here to throw [Torres] under the bus or anything like that, but I didn’t see what he saw.”

    The documents, which include police investigative reports, transcripts, timelines, photos and dispatcher audiotapes, indicate that Torres said he considered Geer “a credible threat,” because he had placed a holstered gun at his feet at the beginning of the standoff. But the other three officers told investigators that they never considered firing at Geer.

    “It’s not good,” Officer David Parker, who was crouching 15 feet behind Torres, told investigators. “He killed that guy and he didn’t have to.”

    But Torres said he thought Geer could have had another weapon hidden at his waist. “It was not accidental,” Torres told investigators. “No, it was justified. I have no doubt about that at all. I don’t feel sorry for shooting the guy at all.” […]

    “Within days of the shooting, the police department, at the highest levels, knew of the gross discrepancies between Officer Torres’s version of the events and the accounts provided by every other eyewitness.”

    Torres has not spoken publicly since the shooting, and he did not return e-mail and phone messages Friday. His lawyer, John Carroll, also did not return messages. […]

    The police documents paint a vivid picture of a tense 44-minute showdown between Geer, 46, and the officers who had come to resolve a domestic dispute between Geer and his live-in partner of 24 years, Maura Harrington. The couple, who had two daughters together, had just had an argument over the phone, and Geer had begun throwing some of Harrington’s belongings onto their front yard. Harrington came home and called 911.

    When Torres, then a 30-year-old officer with seven years’ experience, and Officer David Neil arrived at 2:52 p.m., Geer immediately turned and walked inside the townhouse. As the officers approached, Geer held up a holstered handgun and, according to both officers, said, “I have a gun; I will use it if I need to because you guys have guns.”

    Torres quickly ducked behind a tree trunk 17 feet from the front door, pulled his gun and aimed it at Geer. Neil pulled his gun but kept it pointed down. Geer soon placed his gun on the ground, and no officer saw it again, according to their statements.

    Five minutes later, Barnes arrived. Neil went to a nearby townhouse to interview Harrington.

    Barnes, a 49-year-old former Navy seaman, was a trained negotiator who was on patrol that day. He began to develop a rapport with Geer, and he told investigators that he felt Geer was comfortable with him, the records show.

    Geer kept his hands on top of the storm door and repeatedly declined Barnes’s requests to come out, the officers reported. Instead, Geer repeatedly asked Torres to lower his weapon. Torres did so, but whenever Geer announced that he had to scratch his nose, Torres would refocus his aim on Geer’s chest, the documents show. […]

    But at 3:34 p.m., as Barnes was still talking with Geer, Torres squeezed his trigger and shot Geer, surprising the three other officers, the documents say. Geer closed the front door,and Barnes and Torres darted to the side of the townhouse. “Who shot?” Barnes said he demanded angrily. “I did,” Torres said he told him. “I’m sorry.”

    But police, unsure whether Geer was alive and armed, did not enter the house for 70 minutes, until the SWAT team arrived with an armored truck and battering ram. When the tactical officers entered, Geer was dead just inside the front door.

    Torres said he fired because Geer had been complaining about being thirsty “and then . . . he brought both his hands down really quick near his waist, and I pulled the trigger one time, and hit him under his right rib cage.”

    Homicide Detective John Farrell, who was the lead investigator into the shooting, asked whether the shot was accidental. Torres emphasized that it was not. “He brought his hands down too far,” Torres said. […]

    But the investigation continued to delve into Torres’s background as the county prosecutor considered whether to seek an indictment.

    In particular, Morrogh was aware of Torres’s blowup in the courthouse with an assistant prosecutor five months earlier. The prosecutor was Chuck Peters, a former Fairfax deputy police chief who became a lawyer after he retired.

    In March 2013, while handling a drunken-driving case brought by Torres, Peters told the officer that there were problems with the case. Torres repeatedly cursed at Peters and then stormed out of the courthouse. Word of the incident reached police headquarters, and Peters told investigators that five top police commanders called him to apologize for Torres’s outburst.

    An internal affairs investigation was launched, but the outcome is unknown. When Morrogh requested the file in the fall of 2013, the police department refused to give it to him. In January 2014, he sent the case to the U.S. attorney’s office in Alexandria, who also ran into resistance from the Fairfax police, the Justice Department said. The case is still being reviewed by the Justice Department’s civil rights division, with no known resolution date.

    So there you go. He brought his hands down too far. What is that, below shoulder level? Fuck.

    Justice Sotomayor: Stop Bending the Constitution to Favor Cops

    Has the Supreme Court given law enforcement more leeway that the Constitution permits? Justice Sonia Sotomayor seems to think so. At oral argument in Rodriguez v. United States, a case involving the use of drug-sniffing dogs during traffic stops, Justice Sotomayor vigorously resisted the government’s arguments and expressed a broad concern about the Court’s deference to law enforcement in Fourth Amendment cases. Those who share her belief that neither the Fourth Amendment nor any other part of the Constitution ought to be reduced to “a useless piece of paper” should insist that the Court consistently hold those who enforce the law fully accountable to it. […]

    The Supreme Court held in Illinois v. Caballes (2005) that the use of drug-snuffing dogs during routine traffic stops does not violate the Fourth Amendment if the stop is not “prolonged beyond the time reasonably required to complete that mission.” But in Rodriguez’s case, the “mission” was completed– the officer had let Rodriguez off with a warning. The question is whether an officer may detain someone and force them to wait for a canine sniff without reasonable suspicion or other lawful justification.

    At oral argument, Justice Department lawyer Ginger Anders contended that there was no constitutionally significant distinction between trotting out a drug-sniffing dog during a stop and making someone wait for the dog after a completed stop, so long as the whole affair “falls within the amount of time it usually takes to do a routine traffic stop.” On this reasoning, the fact that the initial mission (writing Rodriguez up for crossing the white line) was complete would not preclude the officer from embarking on another mission, with the aid of a drug-sniffing dog. Anders added, “[F]rom the officer’s perspective, I think there’s an interest in officers having some leeway to sequence the stop.”

    Several of the Justices appeared troubled by this reasoning. “The dog sniff is something else altogether,” Chief Justice Roberts stated, and Justice Breyer agreed, saying, “Once [the traffic stop is] over, it’s over, done, finished.” Justice Kagan, for her part, suggested that Anders’ arguments lacked any limiting principle: “You really are saying because we have a reason to pull you over for a traffic stop, that gives us some extra time to start questioning you about other law enforcement­-related things and to do other law enforcement-­related business.”

    But Justice Sotomayor’s forceful response stood out. Not only did she point out that signing off on dog sniffs that are extraneous to the mission of a given stop would create “an entitlement to search for drugs by using dogs, whenever anybody’s stopped,” but, responding to Anders’ plea for leeway, she made a more profound point: “We can’t keep bending the Fourth Amendment to the resources of law enforcement.” Sotomayor may have been an alluding to Heien v. North Carolina, a 2014 case in which the Court (over Justice Sotomayor’s strong dissent) held that a traffic stop based on a police officer’s mistaken view of the law did not violate the Fourth Amendment because that mistake was “reasonable.”

    The Fourth Amendment is not the only context in which the Supreme Court has bent the Constitution to meet law enforcement needs. In Harlow v. Fitzgerald (1982), the Court invented the doctrine of “qualified immunity,” which protects government officials from liability for constitutional injuries unless their conduct violates clearly established statutory or constitutional rights. You will not find this doctrine in constitutional text or history or any federal statute — the Court simply made it up to ensure that police officers enjoy far more leeway than doctors, pilots, and others who routinely make life-or-death decisions under stressful conditions. The Court has also enabled the expansion of civil asset forfeiture, which allows law enforcement to take property from citizens, regardless of whether the property owner is guilty or innocent–and without even charging the owner with a crime. The Court’s lax treatment of a practice that is rooted in medieval superstition and which today serves primarily to pad law enforcement budgets has left law-abiding citizens vulnerable to policing for profit.

    Americans expect and deserve a level playing field every time they seek justice in our courts. Our nation was founded on the principle that public officials possess only delegated (and therefore limited) powers, and they must be held accountable for the responsible exercise of those powers. Implementing that principle requires judicial engagement — a genuine, fact-driven effort to determine the constitutionality of government action, without unwarranted deference to officials’ supposed good faith and good judgment. Justice Sotomayor’s fellow justices should heed her warning.

    Baltimore posting outcomes of police misconduct lawsuits

    A link to a searchable database is now listed on the city Law Department’s website. So far, residents can review outcomes from 11 lawsuits concluded since Nov. 21. The city paid a total of $147,000 in eight settlements, but did not acknowledge wrongdoing in those cases. Judges ruled in favor of officers in three other cases.

    Still, the database doesn’t contain as much information as the mayor’s staff promised in November. At that time, officials said the database would mirror records the administration sends to the Board of Estimates, which must approve payouts higher than $25,000. Those summaries typically contain two or three pages of information detailing an officer’s version of the arrest.

    That will change, said Kevin Harris, Rawlings-Blake’s spokesman. He described the database as “a work in progress” and said officials are exploring ways to add more information.

    “As we move forward, it will become more robust,” he said. “This is a step in the right direction. We’ve made a commitment to be as transparent as possible.”

    The move is part of a series of changes made in response to a six-month Baltimore Sun investigation of police misconduct. The investigation found the city has paid about $5.7 million since 2011 in lawsuits alleging police brutality and other misconduct — and sparked a U.S. Department of Justice review of the Police Department.

    Interlude: SNL!
    Eddie Murphy Will Return to SNL After 30 Years

    WATCH: Baltimore girl left bleeding after officer attacks her with a baton

    Footage shows Diamond’s cousin, identified as Starr, talking to the officer after walking down a stairway. The officer then grabs her by the arm and pushes her against a wall and seems to hold her by her hair at one point.

    “The officer was hollering at her and said, ‘Little girl, get down here,’” Starr’s grandmother, Vanessa Ward, told WBAL. “And so Starr said, ‘My name is not little girl, it’s Starr.’ Starr came on down the steps, and Starr said that’s when the officer grabbed her.”

    Starr’s sister is then seen approaching the scene and arguing with the officer after finding out that Starr was involved. Diamond is then seen trying to step between the officer and Starr.

    The officer lets Starr go and begins chasing Diamond. The officer then draws her baton and hits Diamond, who is backed against a wall with her hands up.

    Neals said that the school did not tell her that her daughter had been hurt by the officer. Instead, she said, she found out from paramedics. The officer was also seen using pepper spray against the other two girls as they were being restrained by a school official. All three girls had to be hospitalized.

    “The officer kind of comes from behind and reaches around and sprays them multiple times in the face with pepper spray,” the family’s attorney, Jared Jaskot, said. “It’s disgusting.”

    Diamond and her cousins were suspended from Vanguard and charged with assaulting an officer following the incident. School officials reportedly claimed that the officer was punched, kicked and scratched in the face. But the charges were dropped after prosecutors reviewed the video.

    Even though the charges were dropped, the girls were sent to alternative schools after Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Gregory Thornton upheld their suspensions. Jaskot said he and the family are working to overturn that ruling.

    Yesterday or the day before I put up a post from a DJ speaking about code-switching in language. Here’s a bit more on that subject: A Black Girl Was Asked Why She ‘Talks White’. I Didn’t Expect Her Answer to Be So Real. Please ignore the clickbait title. :P It’s a video, no transcript, sorry.

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  77. MG Myers says

    rq – Thanks a lot for the comments and links that you regularly post. They are uncomfortable to read but serve as a constant reminder that there are critical issues that need to be addressed and that we should be helping in our own ways.

  78. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    A story about a Police Chief who understands community policing. Now, if it was just adopted nation-wide.

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    Since all black lives matter, @neilhimself Can u please RT we have 21 days to raise $95,000 toward Australian Indigenous LGBTI suicide prevention. The link: Support Indigenous LGBTI Suicide Prevention, by the Black Rainbow Foundation.

    Justice For Sharod Rally Monday 2/2 6PM @ Denver Jail #FREESHAROD #SharodKindell, link to event: Justice For Sharod Rally, 2/2 6PM

    After the recent tragic murder of Jesse Hernandez by the Denver Police much of the city and that nation’s attention has turned to the corrupt, violent practices of the DPD; the 2nd most violent police force in the United States. These shootings are part of a long policy of “shoot into cars first and ask questions later” that last July took the life of Ryan Ronquillo and many others in the Denver Metro Area. The people of Denver are deeply concerned about the case of Sharod Kindell who is currently in jail on crazy trumped up charges after the Denver Police’s attempted murder of him a few weeks ago.
    Until the community began staging protests against the jail Sharod’s family was not getting any information or visitation rights. Until the protests began Sharod did not recieve proper medical care. Now that these immediate needs have been met the family is asking for another rally and demonstration to demand the immediate release of Sharod, and at the very least a significant bail reduction so that he can be free until he is given a chance at a fair trial to prove his innocence.
    For more information on Sharod click here:
    Although the rally begins at 6pm, folks are encouraged to have a presence at the jail all day to demand his release.
    If you are concerned about the relentless violence of the DPD, stand with Sharod. He is one of the few who has survived these deadly police attacks. While Sharod fights for his life it is up to those on the outside to fight for his freedom.
    We will be staging another call in campaign at the family’s request to demand answers for Sharod’s family.
    Demand prosecution against the police officers for the attempted murder of Sharod Kindell.

    remember Aiyana. remember Yvette. remember Rekia. while remembering Mike. while remembering Tamir. while remembering John.

    BE AT HURSTON (saunders) HALL AT 12:10 TOMORROW #UNCCalls4HurstonHall #KickouttheKKK

  88. rq says

    This upsets me so much! Smh! “@iamyaokhari: #WhitePrivilege ”

    #SharodKindell, shot 4x by @DenverPolice & tortured in jail: “back in bloody clothes they are mistreating him still”, it’s the same as above, just the FB event link: Rally for Justice for Sharod Kindell! Monday 02/02 6PM.

    St Louis Police Threaten to Quit or Slowdown If Civilian Oversight Passes

    Roorda announced that St. Louis police officers will quit the department or do only the bare minimum on patrol if the city creates the proposed civilian oversight board.

    “They’d answer their calls when they got them, but as far as interrupting criminal behavior on their own, why in the world would they do that when their employers aren’t even supporting them?” Roorda said, he continued on to say that “nobody wants to be the next Darren Wilson.”

    [as mentioned before, I’m not exactly sure what bad things have happened to Darren Wilson…]

    Well, Jeff Roorda, nobody wants to be the next Mike Brown either.

    Considering the fact that much of the brutality we see begins with officers stopping and harassing people for no reason, his “threat” would actually be a major win for the city.

    Following the murders of two police officers in New York City, the NYPD staged a near work stoppage in political protest. Had the officers done this to rejoin humanity and take a stand against enforcing bad laws and harassing people for victimless crimes, they could have been heroes. Unfortunately, they are just cry babies who want to be able to maim and kill without anyone questioning their integrity.

    During the slowdown, officers vowed to “arrest people only when necessary,” admitting that the majority of arrests by police transpire simply for revenue generation. Arrests dropped by 90%, and citizens of the city saved 10 million dollars in parking fines per week. The greatest part of the entire ordeal was that the police proved that they can stop going out searching for people to harass, and cities will not crumble. There was no chaos, no mass destruction, in fact, by all accounts, the city seemed entirely peaceful and normal.[…]

    It is for this reason that everyone should support Roorda’s tantrum and support their protest. In fact, police departments nationwide should join them in solidarity and only make arrests when “actually necessary.”

    When they protest, humanity wins.


    Bobby Brown ‘Inconsolable’ Over Bobbi Kristina’s Hospitalization

    His ex-wife and Bobbi Kristina’s mom, Whitney Houston, died under similar circumstances almost three years ago, so Brown, 45, is particularly distraught.

    Related: How Cotton Remade the World

    Yet given all that attention, it is surprising that we have spent considerably less effort on understanding the war’s global implications, especially given how far-reaching they were: The war can easily be seen as one of the great watersheds of 19th-century global history. American cotton, the central raw material for all European economies (and also those of the northern states of the Union), suddenly disappeared from global markets. By the end of the war, even more consequentially, the world’s most important cotton cultivators, the enslaved workers of the American South, had attained their freedom, undermining one of the pillars on which the global economy had rested: slavery. The war thus amounted to a full-fledged crisis of global capitalism—and its resolution pointed to a fundamental reorganization of the world economy. […]

    That cotton came almost exclusively from the slave plantations of the Americas—first from the West Indies and Brazil, then from the United States. When American cotton growers began to enter global markets in the 1790s after the revolution on Saint Domingue—once the world’s most important cotton-growing island—they quickly came to play an important, in fact dominant, role. Already in 1800, 25 percent of cotton landed in Liverpool (the world’s most important cotton port) originated from the American South. Twenty years later that number had increased to 59 percent, and in 1850 a full 72 percent of cotton imported to Britain was grown in the United States. U.S. cotton also accounted for 90 percent of total imports into France, 60 percent of those into the German lands and 92 percent of those shipped to Russia. American cotton captured world markets in a way that few raw material producers had before—or have since.

    Planters in the United States dominated production of the world’s most important raw material because they possessed a key combination: plentiful land, recently taken from its native inhabitants, plentiful slave labor, made available by the declining tobacco agriculture of the upper South and access to European capital. European merchants’ earlier efforts to secure cotton crops from peasant producers in places such as Anatolia, India and Africa had failed, as local producers refused to focus on the mono-cultural production of cotton for export, and European merchants lacked the power to force them. It was for that reason that cotton mills and slave plantations had expanded in lockstep, and it was for that reason that the United States became important to the global economy for the first time.

    Slave plantations were fundamentally different sites of production than peasant farms. On plantations, and only on plantations, owners could dominate all aspects of production: Once they had taken the land from its native inhabitants, they could force enslaved African-Americans to do the backbreaking labor of sowing, pruning and harvesting all that cotton. They could control that labor with unusual brutality, and could deploy and redeploy it without any constraints, lowering the costs of production. With the expansion of industrial capitalism, this strange form of capitalism expanded, and European capital in search of cotton flowed to the slave areas of the world in ever-greater quantities. This world was not characterized by contracts, the rule of law, wage labor, property rights or human freedom—but by the opposite—arbitrary rule, massive expropriations, coercion, slavery and unfathomable violence. I call this form of capitalism “war capitalism”; it flourished in parts of the United States and eventually resulted in civil war. […]

    When war broke out in April of 1861, this global economic relationship collapsed. At first, the Confederacy hoped to force recognition from European powers by restricting the export of cotton. Once the South understood that this policy was bound to fail because European recognition of the Confederacy was not forthcoming, the Union blockaded southern trade for nearly four years. The “cotton famine,” as it came to be known, was the equivalent of Middle Eastern oil being removed from global markets in the 1970s. It was industrial capitalism’s first global raw materials crisis.

    The effects were dramatic: In Europe, hundreds of thousands of workers lost employment, and social misery and social unrest spread through the textile cities of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Russia. In Alsace, posters went up proclaiming: Du pain ou la mort. Bread or death. Since very little cotton had entered world markets from non-enslaved producers in the first 80 years after the Industrial Revolution, many observers were all but certain that the crisis of slavery, and with it of war capitalism, would lead to a fundamental and long-lasting crisis of industrial capitalism as well. Indeed, when Union Gen. John C. Frémont emancipated the first slaves in Missouri in the fall of 1861, the British journal The Economist worried that such a “fearful measure” might spread to other slaveholding states, “inflict[ing] utter ruin and universal desolation on those fertile territories” and also on the merchants of Boston and New York, “whose prosperity … has always been derived” to a large extent from slave labor.

    Yet to the surprise of many, the American Civil War did not result in a permanent crisis of industrial capitalism, but instead in the emergence of a fundamentally new relationship between industry and the global countryside, one in which industry drew on peasant, not slave, produced cotton. Already during the war itself, determined European manufacturers and imperial statesmen opened up new sources for raw cotton in India, Brazil, Egypt and elsewhere. So rapid was the expansion in Egypt, for example, that Egyptian historians consider the American Civil War one of the most important events in their own 19th-century history. New infrastructures, new laws, new capital and new administrative capacities were pushed into the global countryside. Combined with rapidly rising prices for raw cotton, these changes resulted in a world where for the first time ever, peasant producers sold large quantities of raw cotton into world markets, preventing the total collapse of the European industry and connecting the countryside to the cities in ways that had never been seen before.

    Slavery might have been at the center of the European cotton industry for three generations, but by the last third of the 19th century the new strength of European and North American capital and state power (with its vast infrastructural, administrative, military and scientific might) paved the way for other forms of labor mobilization—solving what was, from the perspective of the Economist,, one of the core problems the world faced at the end of the American Civil War: “It is clear that the dark races must in some way or other be induced to obey white men willingly.”

    So successful was the transition of slave labor into sharecropping and tenant farming during and after the war that cotton production actually expanded dramatically. By 1870, American cotton farmers surpassed their previous harvest high, set in 1860. By 1877, they regained and surpassed their pre-war market share in Great Britain. By 1880 they exported more cotton than they had in 1860. And, by 1891, sharecroppers, family farmers and plantation owners in the United States were growing twice as much cotton as in 1861.

    As nation states became more central to the global cotton industry, and as the cotton industry remained important to European economies, European states increasingly also tried to capture and politically control their own cotton-growing territories. With the United States now an important—and eventually the most important—industrial power in the world, Europeans wanted to follow the United States model and control cotton growing territories of their own. Pushed by manufacturers concerned about the security of their cotton supply, European colonial powers embarked upon new cotton-growing projects. No one did so more successfully than Russia, which by 1900 already secured a significant share of its cotton needs from its colonial territories in Central Asia. The Germans followed suit in their western African colony of Togo; the British in Egypt, India and throughout Africa; and the French, Belgians and Portuguese in their respective African colonies. Even the Japanese built a small cotton-growing complex in their colony, Korea.

    Along with this expansion of cotton agriculture, a new wave of violence descended upon large swaths of the global countryside, as colonial powers forced peasants to grow cotton for export. As late as the 1970s in Mozambique, a former Portuguese colony, the word cotton still evoked, according to two historians, “an almost automatic response: suffering.” Slavery may have disappeared from the empire of cotton, but violence and coercion continued. Moreover, the post-war reconstruction of the global cotton-growing countryside provided ever increasing quantities of ever cheaper cotton to industry, but at the same time created huge new risks for rural cultivators, as plunging prices and political repression brought extreme poverty. In India, in the late 19th century, millions of cotton growers starved to death because the crops they grew could not pay for the food they needed. The British medical journal The Lancet estimated that 19 million Indians died in the famines of the late 1890s, most of them cotton growers.

    The American Civil War thus marked one of the most important turning points in the history of global capitalism. The last politically powerful group of cotton growers—the planters of the American South—were now marginalized in the global economy, a global economy newly dominated by its industrial actors. More importantly, slavery, which had been so central to the first 80 years of the expansion of a mechanized cotton growing industry—and thus to global capitalism—had ended. New ways of mobilizing the labor of rural cotton-growing cultivators—in the United States and elsewhere—had emerged. War capitalism’s core features—the violent appropriation of the labor of African slaves, the violent expropriation of territories in the Americas by frontier settlers and the violent domination of global trade by armed entrepreneurs—had been replaced by a new world in which states structured sharecropping regimes and wage labor, built infrastructures and penetrated new territories administratively, judicially and militarily. This industrial capitalism contained within itself the violent legacy of war capitalism, and was all too frequently characterized by significant degrees of coercion. Still, it was a fundamentally new moment in capitalism’s long history. [… – although I could question whether the violent capture of ‘their own’ cotton lands disqualifies the notion of slave labour or a non-war capitalism…]

    As this episode from the endlessly fascinating global history of cotton shows, the significance of the American Civil War went well beyond the borders of the United States, and indeed, can only be fully understood from a global vantage point. And the same applies to the history of capitalism. Only a global perspective allows us to understand how this vastly productive and often violent new system of economic activity came into being—and only a global perspective allows us to understand the origins of the modern world we live in.

  89. rq says

    From their very own shiny new FtBer, HAPPY BLACK HISTORY MONTH!

    I’m skipping over my (minor) quibbles with the month for this post, as I genuinely wish to make it clear that Atheists really need to support Black History Month for the simple fact that one of our own invented it!

    Carter G. Woodson, autodidact who graduated with his Ph.D. from Harvard, was a leading thinker who came up with the idea of Negro History Month in 1926. He hoped, (as does this writer) that the need for the commemoration would someday become obsolete.

    Woodson was a staunch critic of religious institutions and wrote that they were oppressive to Blacks. Just as he believed that the accomplishments and the global influence of Black people were unreported or at best under represented, the influence of freethinking and atheist people, particularly concerning American history, have been diminished.

    Here’s some more on Woodson: Who was Dr. Carter G. Woodson?

    Carter G. Woodson (born 1875). Convinced that the history of African-Americans was being ignored and misrepresented, took steps to put things right. In 1915 Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). The association was created to promote and preserve African-American history and culture. He founded the Journal of Negro History in 1916.

    He spent his life investigating, documenting and publishing African-American history. He died suddenly of a heart attack on April 3, 1950 in Washington, DC, before realizing his ambition of publishing the six-volume Encyclopedia Africana.

    The thirty-fifth Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History took place in Atlanta, October 27, 28, 29, 1950. It was the first meeting that Dr. Woodson had not called to order, just six months after his death.

    Order new

    An Advisory Committee consisting of the Presidents of Atlanta University, Spelman College, Morehouse College, Clark College, Morris Brown College and Gammon Theological Seminary made evident the interest of these institutions in the work of the Association. The opening meeting in Sisters Chapel, Spelman College, was a memorial to Dr. Woodson. President Florence M. Read, presiding, extended a warm welcome on behalf of Spelman College. In the absence of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, President of the Association who was delayed by the late arrival of her plane, Dr. Logan read her paper, “The Torch is Ours.” Here is the transcription of that speech.

    Shall I? Here is the speech:

    We are assembled here, today, members and followers of the Association founded thirty-five years ago. As the outgrowth of the great thought conceived in the fertile mind of Carter Godwin Woodson – eminent scholar and great American – who came up from the coal mines of West Virginia, and the border country of old Berea College, through the classic halls of Harvard, in preparation for his great service.

    The unfolding of his ideas – the implementation of his ideas – during these thirty-five years, has not been an easy task. The road has been very rugged. The awakening of the darker peoples of America and the world, to the importance of an historic knowledge of their backgrounds, has called for unshakable faith and persistence and unflinching sacrifice.

    The results of Carter Woodson’s efforts and of those who have journeyed with him over this rugged road, have vindicated the soundness of his thinking. These results are established in the factual findings of this Association, as they come into increasing use in institutions of learning, and among scholars and students of social progress all over the world. These results demonstrate the necessity for the vigorous and continued growth of this organization, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, which stands, today, as the Master Key to the background of the world of color.

    My heart and my mind are deeply moved by the memory of Carter Woodson – an American of my own age and generation – who came from the same plain people, close to the soil; who spent his life unearthing and recording the proud and stimulating story of their heritage, for the inspiration of present and future generations, and as a guide to contemporary living.

    His was a great, humanitarian task, nobly and unselfishly undertaken; sturdily and effectively performed. But it was a continuing task. It was the kind of task initiated by great minds which they, themselves, may never hope to see completed – a task which must be left for fulfillment to succeeding generations of workers, lighted on their way by brightly burning fires, kindles from the torch of the leader.

    When Carter Woodson passed on, last April, he left behind the strongly burning torch of his hard-won and ever-increasing knowledge of our past, and his courage and steadfastness in adhering to the truth. He struck that torch high into the crevice of between the rock of prejudice and discrimination – a crevice forced by the growing pressure of the facts assembled and sent far and wide by this Association. It was forced by the strength of the facts that have given to us who are of Negro origin, a firm foundation of pride in a past which has contributed greatly to the forward march of civilization. It was forced by the strength of the facts that have opened in a new respect the eyes of many who have scorned or pitied us as a people without a past save that of savagery and slavery.

    So, as we gather here, today, in our first annual meeting held without his stimulating presence, let us put our minds to the task of keeping his torch forever burning – an eternal light moving ever higher for all men to see – finding and inscribing for history the records of a race; lighting the path to the future with the incentive of a racial heritage of our high achievement. This must be the measure of our devotion to the shining spirit of our leader who has placed his torch and has gone before – to rest.

    His Association – the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History – will not fail to take up the challenge of that flaming torch. The great fraternity of its membership and friends will not fail. I know that all who are of it stand ready, today, to step forward in support of the cause to which Carter Woodson dedicated and gave his life.

    Let us thank God for him today, as we close ranks and move forward to take our next step with the might of established facts behind us – ever-searching out new and worthy accomplishments from the dark recesses of time; ever recording what is of great merit in our contemporary life that slips away so swiftly, to become history with the passing of the hours.

    We must relight our own torches from Carter Woodson’s bright flame, and continue the search for the sustaining truth; continue to spread the truth far and near, until we, in our turn, shall pass his saving light, undimmed, into the waiting hands of posterity.

    — Mary McLeod Bethune

    This and that else at the link, incl. historical documents and more articles on Woodson!

    And yesterday’s google doodle: Google’s first Black History Month doodle is pretty awesome tribute to Langston Hughes

    Make sure you’re following @FergFoodShare and @FergusonFitSTL and @FergusonHealth, which both begin Feb. 28th.
    Black Souljahz Youth Brunch. Every Saturday of February. STL.

  90. rq says

  91. rq says

    As per the previous comment, many organizers and activists and protestors face additional internal pressures while trying to work for the benefit of black lives. Which is to say, it must be remembered that all black lives matter, and that people who see their own oppression can still be blind to the ways they maintain power differentials in other areas. Constant learning process.

    .@deray “…Twitter saved our lives.” #PolicingTaskForce panelist shares his experience with #socialmedia during recent protests.

    Claudette Colvin. At 15 years old, she was the first black woman to resist bus segregation. #BlackHistoryMonth

    Thy Cup Runneth Over. BHM.

    1960: Four Black college freshmen boldly sit at whites–only counter at Greensboro Woolworth’s. #todayinblackhistory
    @mdawriter @deray A female college student @SLU_Official sat ALONE at Woolworth @ Grand/Olive #STL Integrated in 1954. History @BBBSEMO

  92. rq says

    Tangentially related, Gladwell argues deterance won’ stop rebels.

    The contrarian was in evidence when he used Alva Vanderbilt as an example of a rebel during his Distinguished Speaker Series talk last month at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center.

    Further evidence was his dismissal of deterrence theory to explain rebellions in the Middle East, Ferguson shooting protesters, California criminals and the improbable suffragette Alva Vanderbilt. […]

    “The problem with the deterrence theory,” he said, “is too often it doesn’t explain behavior.”

    In the Middle East and in Ferguson, upping the cost of rebellion hasn’t been an effective deterrent. California’s three-strike law, “the most Draconian penalty in the history of the modern world,” as Gladwell described it, hasn’t deterred criminals.

    And in the case of Alva Vanderbilt, the benefits of great wealth did not deter her from becoming a leading suffragette in the early 1900s. […]

    For a more satisfactory explanation for rebellion than the deterrence theory, Gladwell cited Yale psychology professor Tom Tyler, author of Why People Obey the Law.

    “Tyler’s theory,” Gladwell said, “is the reason people chose to obey or disobey the law is not cost benefit, but legitimacy.”

    Tyler lists three conditions for legitimacy.

    Respect. If you feel your complaint will be heard you will perceive authority as legitimate.
    Fairness. When you perceive the law as being applied equally, you are more inclined to accept authority.
    Trustworthiness. Tax laws in this country aren’t changed without long debate. By contrast, in Greece and Italy [where tax fraud is rampant] the tax laws are perceived as capricious and arbitrary.

    Gladwell contended that in Ferguson, sending the police out in riot gear, though it increased the risk to protesters, didn’t deter them because they did not perceive the police authority as legitimate.

    “The most astonishing fact about Ferguson is that the crime rate is the same as the national average. Yet in the course of a year, the average household received three arrest warrants and one in five households had a court case. Court fees were the local government’s second leading source of revenue.”

    “Which brings us back to Alva,” Gladwell said. “Alva did not view society as legitimate, fair or trustworthy.” […]

    “In 1908, Consuelo gave a famous speech in New York to all the city’s important, wealthy, powerful women, denouncing them. She tells them they are pathetic, idle slaves to their husbands. They had power and potential resources, but didn’t use them. They sat at home and planned parties.

    “Alva sat in the front row and was mesmerized…She realized women would remain second class citizens until they got the vote….She saw that the suffragette movement was in tatters. Its headquarters was in the middle of nowhere, in Ohio.

    “Alva realized she had the money and the visibility. She turned her Newport home into the suffragette headquarters and opened a Washington D.C. office.

    “When she is denounced as unladylike,” she said, I haven’t been ladylike in 39 years.’”

    “She invites African American women to join the movement. During the war when it’s suggested the suffragettes stand down, she makes sure there are protesters outside the White House every day. ‘Men don’t worry about antagonizing men. Why should we?’” she said.

    “The 19th Amendment passes in 1920. Alva wins.”

    “Her lesson applies equally today. If you deny legitimacy, people will rise up,” Gladwell said.

    And last piece for now, Happy Birthday! Have some racism from Elmwood Cafe!

    So yes, we had breakfast there. But I know you don’t remember that, Elmwood Cafe. I know you don’t remember that because later that same day my wife went back to eat lunch with some new friends of hers. (I told you that she loves you. TWICE IN ONE DAY!) These are new friends because, after two years in New York City, we moved back to the Bay Area last summer. My wife was pregnant and we wanted to have our second daughter back home. Our daughter, Juno, is now 13 weeks old. (I know. It’s crazy that her name is Juno considering that storm back east.) My wife’s new friends are all moms with new babies. When I heard that she had gone back to the Elmwood Cafe, I was happy she would get to have more of your food and ambiance. I was happy that you made her happy.

    While she was eating with her new friends, I was down the street at Espresso Roma Cafe working on my Macbook Air. I suppose I could have stayed at the Elmwood Cafe and worked after breakfast, but you are relatively small establishment and I didn’t want to take up a table. When I was done working I walked back down College Avenue to rejoin her and meet her new friends. I was just carrying my laptop with no bag because I knew I wouldn’t be out for long. On my way back I stopped at Mrs. Dalloway’s, the bookstore, and I bought a children’s book about the Lovings, the couple who went to the Supreme Court and successfully argued for the striking down of laws that banned interracial marriage in 17 states. This is relevant to me because I’m black and my wife is white. That part I know that you know. Because of the series of events that followed me buying this book. They are as follows:

    1. After buying the book and deciding not to get a bag for the book, I walk to the Elmwood Cafe.

    2. I see my wife and her new mom friends all happily chatting and holding their babies while sitting at an outside table. It struck me how well my wife fit in with these new friends. (And not just because they were all white… although I think that may have made a difference to you.)

    3. I walk over to them. My wife introduces me to them.

    4. One of them asks about the book I am holding.

    5. I show her the book.

    6. Seconds later there is a loud series of knocks on the window of the Elmwood Cafe. They are coming from the inside of the restaurant.

    7. I look up and see one of your employees staring daggers at me.

    8. The employee then jerks her head to her left aggressively and I see her mouth say something to the effect of…

    9. “SCRAM!”

    Seriously. That is what happened. OK. Maybe it wasn’t exactly, “SCRAM!” Maybe it was, “GIT!” Or maybe it was, “GO!” Whatever it was, it was certainly directed at me. And it was certainly the kind of direction you should only give to a dog… a dog that you, yourself, own.

    Or maybe you could yell that at a dog that you don’t own, but a dog that you are afraid is going to attack a group of moms and their babies.

    I was stunned. Caught totally flatfooted. My wife saw the look on my face. Later she told me that what I heard was in fact the second round of knocks on the window. My wife apparently thought it was a person who recognized me from my work who was excited to see me. (Look, Elmwood Cafe, I know you don’t know who I am but it does actually happen sometimes that people who know my work are excited to see me.) But when my wife saw the hurt expression on my face, she knew it wasn’t a fan. It was… something really shitty happening to her husband at her (soon to be formerly) favorite breakfast spot.

    I told her (which meant I had to awkwardly tell these other women I just met) what just happened. I wanted to run away. I was actually strangely embarrassed, as if I had done something wrong. (Through my reading I have learned that’s one way oppression also works, from the inside.) I felt numb, like I was going to pass out. And then an employee — maybe the same one — walked out of the cafe to once again deliver the “Get out of here!” message. I guess since I was still standing there you figured that I hadn’t heard it the first time. But then your employee hesitated and looked around. And I guess she realized that no one at the table was bothered by my presence. We were in fact only bothered by her presence. We were bothered by the fact that we we currently standing in Berkeley, California, a city so allegedly liberal that even the most progress-y progressives make fun of it, and yet thanks to you, it is where I as a black man was being told to “GIT!” like it was 1963, Selma, Alabama, and I was crashing a meeting of The New Moms of the Confederacy. In that moment, your employee delivered the line that has become an instant classic in our family:

    “Oh, we thought you were selling something.”

    “We thought you were selling something???”

    What the hell was that supposed to mean? You thought I was selling something so you thought you’d tell me to “GIT!” without first walking outside to find exactly what was going on? And is “selling something” enough for you to bark at me through a plate glass window? And is the equivalent of “Oops!” enough to get you off the hook? The answer to the last two questions is, “No.”

    At this point Melissa couldn’t take it anymore.

    Melissa: “He is my husband.”

    Your employee: “I’m sorry.”

    Me: “This is my wife. That is my daughter. I just ate here earlier today.”

    Your employee, not even looking at me: “I’m sorry.”

    Me: “I bet you are.”

    Quickly Melissa gathered herself and our daughter and we left. Much sooner than we would have wanted to in a perfect world… or even in just a kind of okay world. Melissa talked to your employee. Melissa explained that although we had eaten there twice that day and even though she loved the Elmwood Cafe that we would not be back after the racism that we had just experienced.

    That’s when your employee told my wife, “I don’t think it was a race thing.” […]

    And look I understand that on College Avenue in “Berserkeley” that you might get some characters coming through your establishment that you might not want to serve. And it is your right to refuse service. For example, when we had breakfast that morning, there was a white guy with dreadlocks sitting directly across from your doorway spare change-ing everyone who went into and out of your restaurant. And I could understand if a business thought he was bothering people and if that business had asked him to leave. But he was there the entire time we had breakfast, at least an hour, and I didn’t see anyone tell him to, “SCRAM!” But when I stood amicably talking to my wife for a few minutes, it was a different story. […]

    Despite everything, I do believe in peoples’ ability to learn new things and in a business’ abilities to conduct better practices. It’s a key component to my intersectional progressivism. But that doesn’t mean you get have to have my family’s patronage as you go about your learning curve. And you definitely don’t deserve my silence. Because I believe if you told me to scram then you have probably done that or something equally dehumanizing (or worse) to another innocent person. And I definitely believe it will happen again if I don’t say something. And as much as it would be “easier” to let it go, if I did that I wouldn’t be fulfilling my duties as a member of the advisory Board of Race Forward, a racial justice organization, and I certainly wouldn’t be living up to my responsibilities as The ACLU’s Racial Justice Ambassador. Yup, thankfully I have little bit of a platform to try and prevent this from happening to anyone else.

    Anyway, the waffles were still delicious, but I’ll be down the street at Espresso Roma Cafe from now on. And my wife will have to find runny eggs, scones, and lemon curd elsewhere.

    The comments are mostly pretty good but some are just… GAH. A few have mentioned the proper procedure if in doubt about someone’s welcomeness – go outside, offer a chair or a menu, observe reactions. Not sure if that can work all the time, though. Still… This? “Scram!”? And stupid excuses?
    Definitely a race thing.

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    And I had never heard of the Montgomery labor organizer E.D. Nixon until now. Y’all, there’s a lot to learn. Biography here.

    Why protest? #FaceRacism

    Protest is appropriate anywhere and nowhere. The venue is simply a means, not usually the point of the protest. Sometimes protest sites are symbolic such as the location Mike Brown was killed. Sometimes protest venues are to reach certain demographics of people, like Rams fans. If a protest is conducted in an uninhabited place, it’s not a protest. If a protest shits in the woods but no one hears it, it’s not a protest. I bet nearly every single person at the RV show heard about the protesters being present. Run for your lives! […]

    So, why bother a bunch of outdoorsy folks with an affinity for road trips extolling the virtues of LED lights? These folks make as much and as little sense as anyone. This argument can be made for any event targeted by protesters. We protest because we live in a free society. If you have to make sense of it, think about why 97% of travelers along Route 66 in 2012 were white.

    Endemic to the RV culture is Route 66, “the Mother road”. Highways, including Route 66, have not traditionally been safe havens for racial equality. Enter The Green Book in the 1930’s (a/k/a The Negro Travelers’ Green Book”).

    It listed hotels, attractions and retail establishments that would serve African Americans when discrimination was widespread and unhidden. Every Green Book cover bore a quotation from Mark Twain: “Travel is fatal to prejudice.” Prejudice can only breed in isolation. The Green Book became obsolete after the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964. Unfortunately, injustice and racism along this highway and highways zig-zagging the United States still exists. We’ve all seen blatantly racist “American Owned” signs that serve only to divide people.

    The RV show gave Movement protesters an opportunity to interact with people we typically wouldn’t get to mingle with. Did we change anyone’s already cemented view about whether racism is still a problem? Probably not. Do the knuckleheads who say protesters just need to get a job still not understand that lots of people don’t work on Saturday? Yes. They still don’t get it, and sadly never will unless it touches them personally.

    We did force people to think about why the protesters were there, even if it annoyed the bejesus out of them. I seem to always get stuck at the table next to the loud dude talking on his cell phone at a restaurant. To be in public is to be annoyed by people. Ask anyone who travels at all. Annoyance from a single self-absorbed guy is one thing. Having to wait an extra ten minutes to get someplace because citizens want a fair justice system is frankly okay by me. I feel the same way when I sit on the highway waiting for emergency vehicles to remove an accident scene. Sometimes someone else’s time trumps whatever I’m doing. I can choose whether to lose my mind about it.

    Complex issues like systemic racism can be hard to explain. They seem irrelevant to people who accept the status quo because the status quo has always worked for them. Protesters put their views on display, risking rejection, ridicule and hostility. And in this particular circumstance, arrest. We are real people taking up real space and real time. Protests don’t immediately fix anything, but they invite discussion and eventually change.

    I had no idea that RV culture was so white. Well, maybe I did, but I never thought about it – as in, I just never wondered about it because it seemed so… normal. A Green Book. Wow.

    Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People

    Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People: A documentary about how African American communities have used the cameras as a tool for social change from the invention of photography to the present. This epic tale poetically moves between the present and the past, through contemporary photographers and artists whose images and stories seek to reconcile legacies of pride and shame while giving voice to images long suppressed, forgotten and hidden from sight.

    I wish I could go, that sounds interesting.

    And here are some impressive numbers, and some rather hopeful ones, for those working and wishing for change: 2014-15 Black Lives Matter Demonstrations

    In 2013, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi created the #blacklivesmatter hashtag and organization after, in Garza’s words, “Trayvon Martin was post-humously placed on trial for his own murder and the killer, George Zimmerman, was not held accountable for the crime he committed.” A year later, on Thursday, July 17, 2014, Eric Garner died after being put into a chokehold by a New York City police officer in Staten Island, New York. Two days after his death, 300 people marched in his honor through Staten Island, where he was killed. Since then, people have continued to demonstrate in an effort to protest the systemic devaluation of Black lives, including those of Michael Brown and Tamir Rice, in the United States. This is an account of the demonstrations that have taken place in the most recent evolution of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, since that first one on July 19, 2014.

    Over 680 demonstrations in the 199 days since July 19, 2014 »
    • 50 demonstrations for Eric Garner
    • 254 demonstrations for Michael Brown
    • 6 demonstrations for Tamir Rice
    • 15 demonstrations for other individuals
    • 355 general demonstrations

    The link provides protest locations, number attending, date, and a source article for each.
    The introductory tweet had a graph that I don’t see at the link, which said something along the lines that this has been the greatest number of protests within a year ever (incl. the ’60s) but I didn’t catch it so don’t quote me on it.

    And another small link between race and vaccination: @Knitting_Kninja Dr. Zabdiel Boylston, the Boston physician who worked to popularize inoculation, learned about it from enslaved people.

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    Remember those teachers who got handed pink slips for teaching African-American history?
    The students don’t like it:
    Howard University middle school Protesting asking “WHY” their teachers were fired for teaching African history!
    “We want a better education and a better curriculum. We want to be a school, not just a business” #MS2Protest
    The scene right now. Middle school students gathering on circle to continue protest #MS2Protest
    THATS RIGHT! #MS2Protest (That’s a list of student demands, including such outrageous requests as “New social studies teachers who will be treated with respect”, “Better education”, “Stop tracking students for school to prison pipeline”, “More understanding of what we are suppose to be learning” and several others.)
    Students at Howard University middle school protesting for a better education and better curriculum! Beautiful things to see the babies making their voices heard! #standup #Blacklivesmatter Instagram photo:

  101. rq says

    Assorted items:
    Reproductive Justice Matters

    I direct a Reproductive Justice organization and we do work to ensure that abortions remain legal and safe and that women have the human right to access an abortion when needed regardless of a woman’s locality, economic or immigration status. But Reproductive Justice is not just about abortions any more than equal rights for women are not just about the right to vote.

    Reproductive Justice is the term created by black women in 1994 to bridge the gap between reproductive rights and other social justice movements. Reproductive Justice, the human right to not have children, to have children, to parent the children one has in healthy environments and the human right to bodily autonomy and to express one’s sexuality freely, insists that we see abortion and reproductive health in the larger context of the overall health and wellness of women, our families and our communities.

    For example, demanding that that our health insurance pay for birth control pills and abortions means that we must also address the reality that many people still can’t afford insurance or don’t have access to get to a doctor.

    Although this notion of a more integrated approach to our movement work sounds great in theory, there seems to be this belief that the more attention we put on gender, sexuality, reproduction and violence against women, the more distracted we become from the bigger issues that Black people face that seem to focus around safety, protection and equality for our Black men and boys.

    I found myself re-reading the question from my inbox over and over again. “I thought you worked on abortions so how can you also believe Black Lives Matter?”

    The truth of the matter is all of life intersects and we do not live single-issue lives. We can feel the pressure and discrimination. We see the violence inflicted upon us on a news loop 24 hours a day. But do we also know that Black women are dying at a rate four times higher than their white counterparts in childbirth? Do we know that Black women still make less than their male counterparts? Do we know that Mississippi is down to one last abortion clinic for the entire state? Do we know that pregnant women in Tennessee are being criminalized for substance abuse issues as opposed to being rehabilitated? Do we know that federal funds cannot be used to assist women in getting an abortion due to the Hyde Amendment?

    Black women have always been at the forefront of our movements. It was the organizing efforts of Black women that started the Reproductive Justice movement twenty years ago and Black queer women that started the Black Lives matter movement, yet we still have to constantly reaffirm that black women and girls’ lives are equally as important to the lives of Black men and boys.

    Black women have always marched on the front lines for justice and we did so sometimes with menstruation pains, we did so having to remember to take our birth control, we did so pregnant or caring for children, we did so dealing with non-consensual touch or harassment and we did so sometimes with the picture of our slain child, or husband or father or brother or sister on our shirt as a memory.

    I know I mentioned this, but here’s some more detail on the initiative: #FergusonFoodShare… launching 2/9/15! Share. Support. Donate. More info in the link, organizational stuff.

    Rep. John Conyers Calls For Police Reforms After Cop Who Killed 7-Year-Old Walks. Yep, that’s in reference to the man who shot Aiyana Jones.

    On Friday, the case was dropped against Officer Joseph Weekley in the 2010 death of Aiyana Stanley-Jones, who was killed during a botched police raid while she was sleeping in the couch. Conyers released a statement Saturday saying the decision was unlikely to end the controversy over the incident.

    “However, our community must not lose sight of the greatest tragedy of all in this situation — the loss of a 7-year-old innocent child, Aiyana Stanley-Jones,” the congressman said. “I extend my deepest condolences to the family of Aiyana Stanley-Jones during this very difficult time.”

    Conyers went on to add that the tragedy should lead toward “cultivating community-focused, smart policing,” starting with basic reforms like police retraining and minimizing use of deadly force.

    “The troubling circumstances of this case further exemplify the urgency of enacting legislative reforms to address the legal hurdles often faced in creating a system for better police accountability and illustrate the need for major reform in our criminal justice system,” he said. “I plan to take two steps. First, I plan to review the matter very closely. Second, I plan to continue my work on police accountability and follow through by introducing legislation.”

    And Jessica Hernandez: Family of Teen Girl Killed By Police Say She Was Shot 18 Times- Call For DOJ Investigation.

    Jose Hernandez, Jessica’s father, has said that police initially told him that his daughter had been shot once, however, Denver’s medical examiner has confirmed that to be false.

    “They shot her 18 times, she could not rest at peace,” Laura Rosales Hernandez, Jessie’s mother stated with tears in her eyes.

    The police department also originally claimed that the two officers fired at Hernandez after she struck an officer with the vehicle. However, witnesses who were in the car dispute their story and maintain that the vehicle hit the officer only after Hernandez had been shot and fell unconscious, causing her to lose control of the vehicle. The department has since stated that it is unclear if Hernandez had intentionally struck the officer and says that how the officer was injured is still part of the investigation. None of the five teenagers in the vehicle were armed.

    “I was expecting the paramedics to take my daughter’s body out with caution, but NO, they slammed her body to the floor and dragged her like garbage,” her mother said in the interview.

    The Denver Post is in possession of a video from the scene that reportedly shows officers searching Hernandez’ limp and dying body as she bled out, moving her around like a rag doll. The video has not yet been released.[…]

    Hernandez’ death has already caused two reviews of Denver Police Department policy for discharging firearms at moving vehicles. This marked the fourth time in seven months that a Denver police officer has fired at a vehicle claiming it was being used as a weapon.

    There’s a link to a fundraiser to cover funeral costs within.
    And what the heck is it with funeral costs?? I just wonder at how they’re so expensive that families need to outsource for finances in order to hold a funeral for their child… On top of everything else, that’s just plain humiliating.

    Oh, and yeah. Not surprised. Cop who allegedly attacked Bronx subway worker busted on misdemeanor charges — to transit union’s fury (love the use of ‘allegedly’ :P).

    Officer Mirjan Lolja, 37, was hit with a top charge of third degree assault for the Dec. 23 attack on female conductor Fatima Futa, 28.

    “There is a glaring disparate treatment at play with New York’s criminal justice system when a police officer is allowed to brutally assault a uniformed TWU Local 100 conductor and walk away with what amounts to a slap on the wrist,” said Transport Workers Union Local 100 President John Samuelsen.

    “Had one of our conductors viciously assaulted a uniformed female police officer, an arrest would have occurred immediately, and that conductor would be facing substantial felony charges.

    “It’s despicable,” Samuelsen added, “and transit workers will not be silenced in our outrage.”

    Lolja, through his lawyer, pleaded not guilty at his brief arraignment in Bronx Criminal Court.

    Wearing a black pinstriped suit, white shirt and navy blue tie, Lolja kept his mouth shut as he strolled out of the courthouse after he was released on his own recognizance.

    Experts were shocked to hear that Lolja — who was also charged with official misconduct and second-degree harassment — dodged a felony rap.

  102. rq says

    Two tweets leading to the same video: Unarmed black father shot while delivering baby formula and The Sheriffs left #SharodKindell bleeding w/o changing his dressing from 9:00 am yesterday to 5:45 pm last nite (still not getting adequate health care…). The video: Justice For Sharod Kindell

    Justice for Sharod Kindell!
    Sharod is a young father who was pulled over for the crime of being black in Denver. When the cops asked him to get out of the car he knew he had done nothing wrong and asserted his rights. The police then got angry and opened up the car door then dragged Sharod out of the car. He was then shot multiple times, once through his hand while his hands were up in the air. #HandsUpDontShoot.
    The family is asking for community support to bring justice to Sharod and get him immediate release from jail on false charges. Sharod is a victim of police violence. Once again Denver Police have shot an unarmed youth of color. #blacklivesmatter #brownlivesmatter

    Interlude: entertainment!
    Oprah Winfrey and Ava Duvernay are creating a new scripted series for @OWNTV called ‘Queen Sugar.’ @Oprah will have a reoccurring role! Could be good.

    Press conference for @organizemo initiative seeking solutions to municipal court warrant programs.

    Records: Unarmed Man Killed By Cops Said “I Don’t Want To Die Today”. I mentioned John Geer yesterday – what’s interesting in his case is the fact that the cops are in disagreement over what happened. The shooter himself says he was justified, but four others are standing against him. Will this make a difference in the end? (Maybe if it’s four standing against one of their own, they will avoid the harassment that seems to dog those who otherwise try to speak up.) Anyway.

    Late last Friday night, the county dumped an estimated 11,000 pages of documents, plus audio and video files, related to the Aug. 2013 death of John Geer, who was shot by police while standing in the front doorway of his home after officers responded to a report of a domestic dispute. (The documents can be found here.)

    Jeff Stewart, a Fairfax resident and witness to the killing of Geer, whom he describes as his best friend, says the document dump was “the opposite of transparency, [disguised] as transparency.”

    “They do it now,” he says, “just throw thousands of pages out there, because they know nobody will read it.”

    The county’s odd response, similar to a cranky debtor paying off what is owed in pennies, comes 17 months after Geer was killed. The file dump also occurred only after Geer’s killing got increased local attention as the result of civilian deaths at the hands of police in Ferguson, Mo., and Staten Island, N.Y., and following both Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and the U.S. Department of Justice getting involved in the investigation.

    Amid the mountain of reports, at least four Fairfax County officers say exactly what Stewart has been saying since he saw his buddy murdered: Police shot Geer when he had his hands up and was unarmed. Officer Adam Torres was named only last month as the shooter, and that information was disclosed to Geer’s survivors only as part of a court order in a civil case filed by Geer’s survivors.

    Shortly before being shot in the chest, according to one of the handwritten reports from a Fairfax County officer on the scene, Geer had asked Torres to stop pointing his gun at him. “I don’t want to die today,” Geer said. […]

    The Washington Post’s story on the document dump got a comment posted by “aculosi”:

    It’s good to know that John Geer’s father and his two daughters…have the benefit of several police officers’ statements…that contradict what Officer Torres claimed about their loved one’s hands being at his waist…when he was tragically shot and killed. The shame is…in addition to their son and father being unjustly taken from them…the FCPD had them wait all these months for answers to their questions …and the information…they were not only entitled to…but deserved to have. As for the officers who spoke the truth of what they witnessed…bless you.

    Anita Culosi of Annandale, Va., confirms that the posting was hers. Nine years before the document dump—to the day—she buried her son, Sal Culosi. He was an optometrist who was killed by Officer Deval Bullock of the Fairfax County Police Department’s SWAT team while standing unarmed in front of his house. Culosi’s killing came as the police were about to arrest him after a sting operation in which he allegedly took football bets from undercover officers throughout the 2005 NFL season. The arrest was apparently timed to coincide with Super Bowl XL, which would take place days after Culosi died. Bullock was never charged with a crime as a result of the shooting, and kept his job with the department until his recent retirement.

  103. rq says

    Did you know there were 3 black officers in Clayton and since Aug 9th..2 have resigned. There is one Black Police Officer in Clayton. No, I did not know that!

    So #TanishaAnderson died bc she was overweight which just happened to be a problem while a cop was smashing her head.

    Interlude le second, entertainment again! This time something more substantial. 7 black female directors earning incredible Hollywood reviews … that we’ve never heard about!

    However, as DuVernay has often said herself, she’s not the first black woman to be deserving of major award nominations. Film history is stamped with talented black women working behind the scenes. Here are just a few of many, many more you should familiarize yourself with.

    And here I shall list them:
    1. Gina Prince-Bythewood
    2. Amma Asante
    3. Kasi Lemmons
    4. Julie Dash
    5. Darnell Martin
    6. Dee Rees
    7. Euzhan Palcy
    Some movies to look into!

    Mayor wants new felony charge to address police assaults

    The mayor’s proposals come as demonstrators in Baltimore and across the nation have protested the deaths in several cities of unarmed men killed by police and a Baltimore Sun investigation described cases of alleged police brutality since 2011.

    “We’ve made a lot of progress in repairing the breach between the police and the community,” Rawlings-Blake said in announcing the package of bills she is seeking. “But I think it would be unwise of us to stop there. This legislation is about continuing to press forward.”

    One bill would create a new felony “misconduct in office” charge for police officers. It is designed to address a provision of Maryland’s Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights that allows police commissioners to suspend officers without pay only if they are charged with a felony. The new misconduct offense could be charged when an officer is accused of committing any misdemeanor crime punishable by more than a year in jail, such as second-degree assault.

    A second bill would speed up the process through which the police commissioner can discipline an officer who avoids a court conviction through a probation-before-judgment sentence in a felony or serious misdemeanor case. In such cases, the mayor’s legislation would remove the officer’s right to have a hearing before a trial board before the commissioner decides a final punishment.

    A third bill would seek to increase the scope of the Civilian Review Board to hear a wider variety of complaints against all officers inside city limits, including those on state agency forces such as the Maryland Transit Administration police.

    The legislation follows a six-month Baltimore Sun investigation that showed the city has paid $5.7 million in court judgments and settlements in 102 civil suits alleging police brutality since 2011. The cases resulted in broken bones, head trauma, organ failure and even death, the investigation showed. […]

    The proposals are drawing criticism from statewide organizations of law enforcement officers, though Anderson said he believes the city’s bills have a good chance of passing because they are not overly aggressive in overhauling the Officers Bill of Rights.

    “I think a majority of representatives of the larger jurisdictions understand there is a problem that needs to be fixed,” Anderson said of police brutality. “There are going to be long and arduous hearings on the bills. I predict there will be changes, but how many, I don’t know.”

    Some law enforcement groups are objecting to the proposed changes to the Officers Bill of Rights, which requires that disciplinary actions against police go through a three-person trial board that makes decisions based on the preponderance of the evidence.

    Before the board’s decision, the police commissioner may suspend an officer without pay only if he or she is charged with a felony.

    Vince Canales, president of the Maryland State Fraternal Order of Police, said the bills are misguided. […]

    Kevin Harris, a spokesman for Rawlings-Blake, said the legislation she proposed would make it easier to discipline officers more quickly.

    “If the police commissioner doesn’t have full power to discipline officers, then we’re not going to be as effective as we could be,” he said. “What these two bills do is allow the police commissioner to have more authority, more leeway to punish officers more expeditiously when they are engaged in wrongdoing.”

    City Councilman Brandon Scott, who sits on the public safety committee, said he believes officers should be treated no differently than regular citizens if they are charged with a crime.

    “With regular citizens, if they’re charged [with a crime,] they miss work, they don’t get paid,” Scott said. “We know that a lot of changes have to be made about how our law enforcement officers operate.”

    Something must be going right if the police associations are getting upset.

    Florida cops hold 11-year-old girl at gunpoint while responding to burglary call at her homeThe child was watching television in bed when the officers let themselves into her family’s Groveland home with their weapons drawn after the burglary alarm was accidentally activated, reported WFTV-TV.

    She said one of the officers pushed her to the ground and held here there with his knee while the other officer pointed his gun at her.

    “I was very scared and didn’t know what to do,” she said.

    The officers asked if she was the homeowner and then went to her father’s room down the hall.

    “Someone should get fired for doing something like this,” said the girl’s father, Jean Guirand.

    Groveland police launched an internal investigation after the TV station called seeking comment.

    The two officers, James Festa and John Rigdon, are three-year veterans with previous disciplinary actions in their personnel files.

    Festa was reprimanded in December for botching a child abuse investigation and was suspended in 2013 for sleeping on the job.

    Rigdon was suspended in May, demoted from corporal in 2013, and reprimanded in 2011 – each time for filing false police reports.

    South Carolina high school vandalized by ‘KKK’

    “It was discovered yesterday morning, and since then, it’s been eradicated,” a school staffer told Raw Story. “People are still calling because it was posted. Whoever did it, took a picture.”

    The picture in question began circulating on social media, showing a large rock outside the school grounds on which someone had painted the words “Happy N****r Month” and signed it “KKK.”

    It is unclear if authorities have any suspects.

  104. rq says

    Seriously this comment is better than 90% of what’s published on this topic. The article the comment is from: Real Answers for Freddie deBoer

    The frustrations he’s expressing are ones I’ve heard before. The questions he’s asking are ones that have answers. So in the service of intra-left dialogue, here are some answers:

    “If I’m at an activist meeting of some sort or another, and I believe the kind of unfortunate behavior is taking place that I described, how can I intervene without being guilty of invoking privilege in precisely the way people who defend political correctness have inveighed against?”

    My first suggestion would be to not conflate “being guilty of” with “being accused of.” You may be accused of it, or you may not. But being accused of invoking privilege isn’t fatal, and the possibility that you may be accused of it doesn’t preclude you from speaking. If you’re looking for a way to intervene without the possibility that you might be yelled at, I’d encourage you to consider that that’s an unreasonable request.

    And yes, I know you said that this isn’t about you. But you wrote this passage in the first person singular. “How can I intervene?” was the question you asked. Not “How can someone with a thinner skin than me intervene?” So my short answer is that you intervene by intervening.

    “You can imagine if I said, in the middle of an activist meeting, that a particular charge of racism or ableism or sexism was unwarranted or being expressed too harshly.”

    Yes, I can imagine it. I can imagine it because I’ve lived it. I’ve been that guy. I’ve said stuff like, “I think James has heard everyone’s critiques and is taking them to heart. Let’s give him some space to chew on what’s been said.” I’ve said stuff like, “I just want to say that not everyone is coming from the same place in terms of their understanding of language, and I’d like to encourage us to be gentle with people who may step on toes unintentionally.”

    I’ve said stuff like that lots of times, and I’ve heard other people do it, and in my experience it generally goes pretty well.

    “The whole point is that there is currently no theoretical or practical shared understanding on the left about when and how to intervene in a situation where you believe that the intensity of political criticism is unfair and not constructive.”

    Not universally shared, no. But universally shared understandings are rare in any context.

    I have, however, been to a lot of left meetings in recent years that began with a collaborative articulation of principles of engagement — with an attempt to establish exactly the consensus you seek around what kinds of speech are welcome in the space, and around how to respond when someone violates those norms. The student activists I know, in particular, spend a lot of time talking and thinking about this stuff, and a lot of what they’ve come up with is really exciting. You may not be aware of these trends, and they may not be visible in the organizing circles you’re engaged with, but it’s happening, and it’s available for you to access as a resource if you like.

    “I see a lot of sneering; I see very little in terms of principles and guidelines.”

    I did some sneering in my response to your original post, but I also spent a lot of time and energy proposing principles, guidelines, and examples — in the post itself, in a lengthy update, and in a huge, sprawling comments thread which I explicitly invited you to participate in. I’m not saying you needed to accept my invitation, but come on.

    And again, I’m not the only one offering this stuff.

    Basically what I get is that the whole article is a reply to a privileged troll-type person who just doesn’t understand how to interact with those less-privileged, but I could be wrong. I will try to transcribe that comment specified above, but I can’t guarantee it will be soon. Suddenly lots to post up again.
    Haha never mind I realized I could just find it after the article. Here it is in full, it’s quite long but an excellent read:

    I’m a newbie commenter here. I’m white, a gay woman, 25 yrs old, an organizer in my city (Boston) that has been deeply involved in lefty movements locally and nationally and I helped start a left feminist organization. I’m not a Big Name nor do I follow the Big Names (like I only vaguely knew who Freddie deboer was until all of this). I’m not a student organizer, I got a year of community college under my belt but you know how that shit goes. I am prefacing with all this so people know that where I am coming from. So yea, couple of things:

    1. It is completely bizarre to me to see all this concerns about people being driven away from the left during a moment where we are seeing one of the largest and most sustained social movements in recent history. How can we have a conversation about the State of the Left without taking into context the Black Lives Matters movement? It is especially bizarre given that queer black women that helped lay the backbone for this movement embody the kind of unapolegtic radicalism that deBoer and friends take issue with. Like you all gotta understand how silly it looks to see a white dude talking about how the left is too mean and driving people away when in the middle of winter in Boston, we are still having 1000+ people marches around Black Lives Matter. I frankly don’t even know how to process it.

    2. Someone already spoke to this in the thread, but is also is confusing given the scale of the problem. I can’t really say anything publicly, online or in organizing spaces without risking at least threats of violence and attacks. A simple request for men to be please be more aware of talking over women can easily escalate to male leftists screaming in my face and threatening to rape me, fuck I have even been shoved in meetings before. And then this has escalated into other forms of violence. Hell, it was that dynamic that lead me to help start the lefty feminist organization. I mean, it was exactly that dynamic in the anti-war movement that lead to the start of the women’s liberation movement and funnily enough, a lot of these critiques of PC/Call out culture are incredibly similar to those directed at feminists during that time period. Basically, we have a real serious problem of people (women, black people, trans people but especially trans women) being driven out of moments because of actual violence but I really have yet to see these Big Names seriously address that dynamic and how it plays into callout culture. I would take a lot of these critiques way more seriously if they actual took in the larger context instead of pretending all this shit came out of nowhere.

    3. The idea that PC language is inaccessible to working class people needs to die in a fire. I’m poor, but I ain’t stupid and being more doesn’t mean I’m more cruel than the cultured academic. If someone tells me that using a certain word hurts them, I stop. I’m perfectly capable of understanding the ideaology behind various types of language uses- because in case you didn’t realize this, a lot of this ideology came out of working class movements. Academics chiding each other over inaccessible language has to be one of the most patronizing and belittling things I have experienced in my own organizing.

    Beyond the fact that assuming poor people can’t understand this shit, it is also a way for academics to not hold themselves accountable for shitty institutions they are involved in. Like you know what barriers me as a working class organizer actually face? Its not language or callouts- believe me, my family is old school Italian, I can handle people yelling. Its the fact that for all paid organizer positions, you need a higher degree. Its that for my org to get money, I need to navigate a grant system that is hostile to young, grassroots organizations and that requires a certain kind of language and presentation. Its that feeing when you show up to a coalition meeting and you are the only one not dressed in business casual. Its that private colleges in our city suck up public money, resources and land to the point where orgs i work with have trouble finding meeting spaces. Its that student +academic organizers are granted a huge platform and more money and support than I could ever dream of, just by virtue of being part of the academy. So, you know, stop worrying about language so much because that is so not the issue here.

    4. I don’t get this conflation with educational and political organizations. A lot of the critiques of PC/ call out shit seem to make the assumption that all political organizations should have some sort of education component. I’m gonna use the feminist org I’m a part of again as an example. We are a political organization that works on long term campaigns in order to build a revolutionary women’s liberation movement. There is nothing on our website or in our materials that would suggest that we are a good group to come to learn about the basics of race, class and gender and that was deliberate on our part. If people showed up misgendering Chelsea Manning or lacking in knowledge on basic shit, yea we are going to ask them to leave. Why? Because we all volunteer our time, our budget mostly comes out of our own pockets and we just don’t see how educating random people are a good use of our time and resources. And funnily enough, we have still been able to build a base and do some significant work in our city. We’ve been able to do that by having a clear political platform and being smart with our resources (economic, emotional etc). We’re not perfect, we’ve had plenty of conflict over tactics and analysis but we have been successful precisely because we have held that basic line.

    Also, since when has educating random individuals ever been a successful strategy for the left? Like let’s use one of deBoer’s examples- say this dude shows up to a meeting and claims there are innate gender differences. Okay, so what next? I could spend time, resources and energy educating him but there is no guarantee he’ll listen or how long it will take to get him up to speed and due to past experience, I know this could likely end in violence for me. But let’s say, I take this task on. I would first have to figure out the best way to teach him is, i would have to research and present materials, maybe I would have to dedicate whole meetings to this project- and if we are being honest, this project could take months to years. And at the end of it, there is still no guarantee he would accept leftist views on gender or that he would then be interested in long term organizing. How exactly is that a good movement building strategy?

    Or let’s say, we don’t say anything and just let him organize with us. I’ve been in groups like this and I’ll tell you what happens. Over time, women will leave. Some will leave yelling and screaming and trying to draw attention to the issue while others will leave so quietly that no one notices. And before you know it, your organization has lost membership of people already on board with your message for someone who holds shitty beliefs, all for the sake movement building.

    And obviously, its not always so black and white. But I’m trying to operate on terms deBoer laid out. Like I can easily see him profiling the groups I’m as part of the problem without ever considering that maybe there is rhyme and reason to what we do.

    5. Its pretty ironic the deBoer can act like a jerk and people can give him the benefit of the doubt and still respect his ideas, meanwhile we have a slate of hysterical articles bemoaning the fact that women, trans and queer people are asserting their politics in not nice tone’s (because lets be honest, the vast majority of these examples of angry leftists are almost all feminists and mostly black women, glbq women or trans women)

    6. If we are going to talk about the stagnation of the left or start assigning blame to shit, shouldn’t we first look at who controls the resources? The feminist movement is incredibly weak right now. I guess its easy to blame twitter activists (like Michelle goldberg did) but in reality, its organizations like Planned Parenthood and NARAL and NOW who have access to the most resources and who tend to exert the most control over the direction of the movement. And I mean, that dynamic exists across movements (gltbq rights, labour, etc). And if one has been paying attention the past few years, its been the work of these newer, more radicalized activists that have reinvigorated the left. Just to go full circle, we would not have the Black Lives matter movement if it was not for the uncompromising stance black activists have taken these past few months. Hell some of the women profiled in the toxix trigger wars artcles have had direct roles in building this current movement.

    And this comment turned into a fucking beast. I can be wicked wordy sometimes but hopefully all this made sense.

    Not just protesting: Watching, witnessing, and shaping policy, over time and with strength. #hope #ActiveAdvocacy

    Spooky – Black Be Nimble. (via @shiftingself and alexjacksonartist) The poem says

    Black be nimble
    Black be quick
    Black be dead
    White magic trick

    Early interlude, literature! Harper Lee’s new book “Go Set a Watchman,” is a novel she completed in the 50s, but put aside. It is essentially a sequel to Mockingbird. Here’s an article on that: Second Harper Lee novel to be published in July

    Publisher Harper announced Tuesday that “Go Set a Watchman,” a novel the Pulitzer Prize-winning author completed in the 1950s and put aside, will be released July 14. Rediscovered last fall, “Go Set a Watchman” is essentially a sequel to “To Kill a Mockingbird,” although it was finished earlier. The 304-page book will be Lee’s second, and the first new work in more than 50 years.

    The publisher plans a first printing of 2 million copies.

    “In the mid-1950s, I completed a novel called `Go Set a Watchman,'” the 88-year-old Lee said in a statement issued by Harper. “It features the character known as Scout as an adult woman, and I thought it a pretty decent effort. My editor, who was taken by the flashbacks to Scout’s childhood, persuaded me to write a novel (what became `To Kill a Mockingbird’) from the point of view of the young Scout.

    “I was a first-time writer, so I did as I was told. I hadn’t realized it (the original book) had survived, so was surprised and delighted when my dear friend and lawyer Tonja Carter discovered it. After much thought and hesitation, I shared it with a handful of people I trust and was pleased to hear that they considered it worthy of publication. I am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years.”

    I did not know she had just the one book, but I am absolutely thrilled that a second is coming out, and will be reading Mockingbird as soon as I get my hands on a copy over here.

  105. rq says

    West Florissant, more than two months after the grand jury decision #Ferguson (And another ‘holy shit!’ moment as I realize it’s been more than two months…)

    Is Ending Segregation the Key to Ending Poverty?

    Harris and her children thrived in Alsip. One of her daughters just graduated from college with a double bachelor’s degree in business administration and early childhood education, another is in a bachelor’s program for nursing and is a manager at a McDonald’s while she attends school. As for her friends who stayed in Altgeld Gardens, Harris told me, “their children have children. My children don’t.”

    There are hundreds of programs that seek to improve the outcomes of people who live in concentrated poverty. But as Harris and thousands of other mothers like her have demonstrated over the past half century, one of the most effective strategies for lifting families out of poverty is to plunk them down in a completely new neighborhood far away from their past lives.

    The program that helped Harris move to Alsip was the result of a lawsuit originally filed in 1966, still being litigated today, referred to as Gautreaux for the original plaintiff, who died in 1968. Among other things, a consent decree related to Gautreaux required the Chicago Housing Authority to provide vouchers for black residents to move to white suburbs beginning in the 1970s. Many of the families who moved to the suburbs stayed there, and their children were more likely to stay out of trouble and go to college than families who stayed within the city.

    Despite the strategy’s success in Chicago, nationally there are few programs today that focus on helping African American families move from racially segregated, high-poverty neighborhoods to areas where their children will have access to good schools and less exposure to crime. Those that do exist are all results of lawsuits. One in Baltimore seeks to move 4,400 families to better areas by 2018. Another, in Dallas, exists as a result of a lawsuit filed in 1985. And on Thursday, a Chicago judge approved a Gautreaux-related settlement that—among other things—will allow a new host of families to be relocated, with the help of a counselor, to low-poverty, higher-opportunity neighborhoods.

    Programs like these are small compared with the scale of the problem: Cities are still extremely segregated. In Chicago, African Americans tend to live in areas where the riots of the 1960s took place, areas that are almost entirely African American today. There are still municipalities in the greater Chicago area with less than 1 percent African American population, according to a Fair Housing and Equity Assessment from 2013. There are no municipalities where Hispanics make up more than 90 percent of the population, something that’s not true for African Americans, the report says.

    The continued segregation, despite decades of anti-poverty programs, raises a question: Should housing authorities be making a more conscious effort to help people who live in segregated, low-income neighborhoods move to wealthier, more diverse areas?

    Alex Polikoff, one of the attorneys who filed the Gautreaux case in 1966, says it’s a no-brainer. He continues to work on legislation related to Gautreaux and is behind Thursday’s agreement, which will require Chicago to move about 200 families in a Gautreaux-type program.

    “We know so much about the harm of young kids growing up in severely-distressed neighborhoods. If we have a way to enable kids to escape to better life opportunities, it’s immoral not to do that,” he said. […]

    Between 1976 and 1998, more than 7,000 families received vouchers through Gautreaux, about half of whom moved to 115 suburbs around Chicago, with the assistance of placement counselors. Suburbs that were more than 30 percent black were excluded from the program. Families that had more than four children or bad credit did not qualify, nor did those who had been found to have damaged their rental housing.

    The move was difficult at first for the families, as James Rosenbaum and Leonard S. Rubinowitz documented in their book about Gautreaux, Crossing the Class and Color Lines: From Public Housing to White Suburbia. In the racially-charged times of the 1970s, black families were sometimes harassed on the streets by whites, followed by teenagers in cars, or called racial slurs. One girl who entered a white school was so unaccustomed to seeing so many white faces that she turned around and ran home.

    But many of the families said these threats were nothing compared to the violence they’d been subjected to in the inner cities.

    “Here in the suburbs, I don’t have to worry about people shooting at people, seeing people chase people, fighting,” one woman told the researchers.

    Such anecdotal accounts line up with the data: Scholars who have studied the program have found that families who moved to the suburbs were able to achieve more in school and work, not having to worry about violence.

    “What I saw over and over again was that low-income kids had unseen potential that they could not see in the housing projects and that emerged when they moved,” said James Rosenbaum, a professor of sociology at Northwestern who extensively studied the Gautreaux families.

    A study of suburban Gautreaux mothers in the 1990s found that they were more likely to be employed than mothers who had received vouchers to move within the city. Gautreaux children in the suburbs were more likely to graduate from high school, attend four-year colleges, and to have jobs than their peers who had moved to other city neighborhoods. They also had higher pay and benefits than the other children. Even mothers who had not had jobs before were more likely to get jobs if they moved to the suburbs, Rosenbaum told me in an interview.

    Later research showed that two-thirds of the families remained in the suburbs 15 years after their move. Long after the program ended, mothers who moved through Gautreaux continued to live in low-poverty areas and have higher household incomes.[…]

    Moving to Opportunity was a randomized experiment, and had a control group that did not receive access to any new services through the housing authorities. One group of families got a voucher to move to private-market housing in low-poverty areas and another group got a traditional Section 8 voucher, which they could use to move anywhere.

    Disappointingly, the results from this program were not as positive from those in Gautreaux, though some recent students show positive long-term health effects on families who received vouchers to move to better neighborhoods. Adults were generally not more self-sufficient after moving, and children did not achieve more in school than the non-movers. Girls who moved participated in fewer risky behaviors, but boys who moved actually participated in more.

    That’s because Moving to Opportunity differed from Gautreaux in a few key ways, Rosenbaum says. Families who moved were given the chance to move to a neighborhood with lower poverty, but unlike Gautreaux, families weren’t encouraged to move to areas that were majority white. That meant many of the families ended up close by their old neighborhoods—in some cases, kids attended the same schools they had before. Families often ended up in slightly better neighborhoods that were still segregated from the rest of the city’s population.

    With Gautreaux, about 90 percent of the families who went to the suburbs moved more than 10 miles away, Rosenbaum said; with MTO, 84 percent moved less than 10 miles away.

    Moving to Opportunity also targeted families who lived in extremely high-poverty public housing, where mothers were often struggling with mental-health issues and might have had more difficulty with unfamiliar settings.

    The results of Moving to Opportunity showed that race is still a factor in providing access to opportunity, said Ruby Mendenhall, a sociology and African American studies professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who wrote her dissertation on Gautreaux. After all, she said, many of the African American mothers who moved to the suburbs were able to benefit from nearby educational institutions to get ahead. They often found better-paying jobs and got off government assistance in part because of the relationships they made with their predominantly white neighborhoods.

    “Unfortunately in our country, more white or integrated areas tend to have more resources, so when race isn’t a factor, I think that some relationships aren’t on the table,” she said. […]

    Many residents of Chicago’s public-housing towers didn’t want to move far because they had lived in the neighborhood their whole life, and didn’t know anywhere else, said Susan Popkin, a scholar at the Urban Institute who has studied where the residents went. In fact, many of the residents who ended up in public housing or mixed-income housing had better experiences than those who received vouchers because they didn’t have to deal with private landlords and the stresses of the rental market.

    “When it came down to it, a lot of them had lived there for generations, and they wanted to go somewhere comfortable and familiar,” she said. “Unless they had a connection, they weren’t interested in going any further.”

    In fact, families who receive Section 8 vouchers rarely leave the neighborhoods that are familiar to them, said Stefanie DeLuca, a sociology professor at Johns Hopkins who studied Gautreaux and Moving to Opportunity with James Rosenbaum. Her research has found that families often get little notice that they’re receiving a voucher, and then scramble to find a place before the 60-day window in which they have to use it runs out.

    “Families settle for units that they know are subpar out of fear of losing the voucher,” she wrote, in a study published in 2013 that looked at families in Mobile, Alabama, who received vouchers. Many also spent their whole lives in poverty and knew little about neighborhoods outside their immediate area.

    With some counseling and guidance, though, families who receive vouchers can have much better outcomes, DeLuca said, especially if they’re directed to homes in high-opportunity target areas.

    She has now turned her attention to the ongoing Baltimore Mobility Program, which has provided vouchers for 2,600 families since 2003, and says it’s an example of how a mobility program can succeed.

    “This voucher gets them into the kinds of neighborhoods that have real opportunities for schools, and safety, and high-quality housing,” she said. “There appears to be a durability of this program that’s strikingly different from MTO, much more like Gautreaux.”

    The Baltimore program requires residents to live in areas that are less than 10 percent poor, less than 30 percent black, where no more than 5 percent of residents live in subsidized housing. Baltimore provides housing-search counseling to participants, as well as post-move counseling, and requires residents to remain in the area for at least two years. Families also get some assistance with security deposits, attend credit-repair workshops, and go on tours of outlying counties to familiarize themselves with the options. […]

    Of course, moving some families to more affluent suburbs doesn’t help the families left behind, and policymakers say there also need to be programs focusing on improving the lives of people in concentrated poverty.

    “It needs to be a two-pronged approach—you can’t ignore what happens in these neighborhoods,” said Mendenhall, the University of Illinois scholar.

    That can be something as simple as improving the quality of the housing available to low-income families, said Popkin, the Urban Institute scholar. In her work studying the families moved out of Chicago’s public-housing towers, Popkin found that even families who moved to the same neighborhood but better homes—such as the mixed-income complexes—said their lives had improved. Of course, those families saw no marked improvements in educational or employment outcomes, but their living situations were at least better than they had been.

    “At its most basic level, for what it was supposed to accomplish, it actually came out better than I and a lot of other observers would have predicted,” she said, about the relocations.

    Families who were given intensive case management to help with the move were even more successful, she said. Their employment prospects improved, as did their mental and physical health.

    That’s why it could be argued that spending money on counseling and mixed-income housing for a whole host of families is more worthwhile than spending it to move just a few families to a completely new neighborhood.

    “Thats why theres an ongoing debate about these mobility programs,” Popkin said. “Is it worth spending that much money on a handful of families?”[..]

    That’s why Chicago’s leaders are now focusing on helping low-income people live in mixed-income neighborhoods in both the suburbs and the city that have good access to transit and jobs, high homeownership rates, low commute times, walkable areas and a low percentage of people receiving public-housing assistance, said Robin Snyderman, a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who also works as a consultant on housing policy in Chicago.

    Nine housing authorities now participate in a regional pool of resources that began more than a decade ago. They include authorities in counties such as DuPage, Lake, and McHenry, using the money to build nearly 30 mixed-income developments in “opportunity areas” that are near transit and job opportunities.

    “Just getting rental housing into some of these communities was hard to do for many years,” said Snyderman said.

    A pilot program launched in 2011, the Chicago Region Housing Choice Initiative (CRHCI), encourages families to use vouchers to move to some of these locations, giving them counseling to help them do so.

    Regional authorities and mayors have “adopted new tools for promoting inclusion and diversity, building on the lessons learned from Gautreaux,” she said. “I feel more hopeful that the historic segregation in the Chicago region can be transformed—because it’s now not all on the shoulders of the public housing authority,” she said.

    Still, for Alex Polikoff and some other advocates, the progress that’s been made in the past century is not enough. He understands why mobility programs aren’t politically viable. After all, using a more expensive voucher to help one family move to the suburbs might mean that fewer families get off the very-long waiting lists for housing assistance. And wealthy neighborhoods often don’t want low-income families moving in through government programs.

    But Polikoff strongly believes that housing authorities should make more effort to help some families move far away from the segregated inner city to suburbs where their lives will change, much in the way the lives of the original Gautreaux families changed decades ago. After all, voucher programs that allow residents to go to the private market haven’t been effective in desegregating neighborhoods.

    He’s still battling the Chicago Housing Authority on the issue. The Thursday ruling made official a settlement between Polikoff’s firm and the Chicago Housing Authority, allowing the city to extensively rehab Altgeld Gardens, the housing complex where Harris once lived. But in addition to the rehab, Polikoff extracted a promise from the city that it would also issue 218 vouchers to families with children on the CHA waiting list, enabling them to move to designated “Opportunity Areas” and receive pre and post-move counseling.

    It’s not just Chicago—Polikoff has proposed a “national” Gautreaux program, making 50,000 housing-choice vouchers available to black families who live in segregated areas, which could be used only in census tracts with less than 10 percent poverty and fewer minorities. The number of families would be limited, to avoid “threatening” a receiving community, he wrote in a proposal in 2004 (Polikoff told me he still supports this proposal).

    I asked Polikoff if this policy could be seen as “reparations” of sort. Not reparations, he said. But an apology to the African American community for centuries of discrimination.

    “In a sense it’s a very small part of playing makeup here,” he said. “We owe it to them to remedy the discrimination of the past, among many other things we owe them.”

    Mae Jemison was the first black woman in space

    Woman Files Assault Complaint Against Police Union Rep Jeff Roorda After City Hall Brawl

    Currie is filing a complaint asking for third-degree assault charges against Roorda, she announced through the activist group Organization for Black Struggle.

    “Jeff Roorda physically assaulted me,” Currie says in a statement. “Both of us are private citizens, and both of us are equal in the eyes of the law. That he believes that he has the right to hit me, to strike me, demonstrates that he still behaves like the worst police officers do. He doesn’t get to hide behind the blue shield of invulnerability. If this is how he acts as a private citizen, imagine how he was as a police officer. If this is who police officers have chosen to represent them, imagine how they act on the street.”

    Roorda has said he is considering filing an official complaint of his own against Currie.

    Currie’s supporters, including the Organization for Black Struggle, point to Roorda’s aggression as representative of the police brutality they’re fighting against. Before last week’s meeting turned into a brawl, attendees were testifying to the board of aldermen about establishing a civilian oversight board to review citizen complaints against police.

    “This is what we’ve been facing here in St. Louis every time we have to interact with the St. Louis Police Department,” says Kayla Reed, an activist with Organization for Black Struggle, about Roorda’s aggression. Reed continues, “The legal system should hold him accountable by bringing the full force of the law down upon him.”

    Here’s to success!!

    DC Middle School Students Protest the Firing of Teachers ‘Who Taught Black History’

    Students at Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science walked out of class Monday to protest the alleged firing of three social studies teachers that were reportedly let go for teaching African-American history, WJLA reports.

    The public charter school’s principal, Angelicque Blackmon, is a black woman, but a parent said that Principal Blackmon canned the teachers because she “did not want teachers talking about things like Kwanzaa and the late Marion Barry,” an earlier WJLA report found.

    In a Vine clip posted online, students can be seen standing outside, with one female student yelling, “I should not have to feel uncomfortable in my own body!” According to WJLA, the middle school’s student body is 90 percent African American.

    Rosa Parks’ Collection Opening At Library of Congress

    The Rosa Parks Collection is on loan to the Library for 10 years from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.

    “This is a massive body of material that really traced Mrs. Parks life in a way that you rarely find,” said Alan Ettinger, president of Guernsey’s Auctioneers & Brokers, who oversaw the sale.

    Guernsey’s was called in after a dispute arose among Parks’ heirs following her death in 2005. A Michigan court asked the auctioneers to catalog what Parks in fact had, and assign a value to it.

    After making history in her home of Montgomery, Alabama, Parks moved to Detroit and worked for U.S. Representative John Conyers from 1965 to the late 80s.

    “We were asked to take an inventory, so we rushed out to Detroit and were dumbfounded to find, in the nicest use of the word, that she had been a pack rat, she saved everything,” Ettinger told NBC News.

    “Most compelling were hundreds of pages, long hand, written by her starting at age 12, when she perceived the injustices around her, felt by her family and friends and set out to make change.”

  106. rq says

    Here’s some fun, hashtag activist pickup lines!
    If we don’t get arrested at the protest, let’s donate the bail money to the movement & lock ourselves up in my room. #ActivistPickupLines
    I hope you don’t find this too forward, but I’m a firm believer in direct action. #ActivistPickupLines
    More on twitter.

    The Radical Christianity Of Kendrick Lamar

    Save for the reliably blasphemous Kanye West, no rapper established in the upper echelons of popular music is more vocal about his personal religious beliefs than Lamar. Though he has never neatly fit the description of what would usually be termed “Christian hip-hop,” Lamar has often seasoned somber soliloquies of navigating the gang culture that birthed him with Christian themes of good and evil, as well as the redemptive power of Jesus Christ. Since the release of his platinum-selling, Grammy-nominated major-label debut Good Kid, m.A.A.d City in 2012, and a reported baptism while supporting West’s Yeezus tour in 2013, the centrality of Christianity to Lamar’s worldview has only grown more obvious.

    In a recent Billboard interview, Lamar credited favoritism from God for his deliverance from the gravitational pull of crime in his neighborhood, and then casually declared his belief that the apocalypse is near. “We’re in the last days, man — I truly in my heart believe that,” he said. “It’s written.”

    Speaking to Complex last year, he revealed his conviction that his career is divinely inspired. “I got a greater purpose,” Lamar said. “God put something in my heart to get across and that’s what I’m going to focus on, using my voice as an instrument and doing what needs to be done.”

    In a later interview with Houston’s 93.7 The Beat, Lamar extended that sense of purpose to all of humankind: “We’re all put on this earth to walk in His image, the Master,” he argued.

    And in The Fader in November, Lamar explained his decision to dress as Jesus Christ for Halloween this way: “If I want to idolize somebody, I’m not going to do a scary monster, I’m not gonna do another artist or a human being — I’m gonna idolize the Master, who I feel is the Master, and try to walk in His light. It’s hard, it’s something I probably could never do, but I’m gonna try. Not just with the outfit but with everyday life. The outfit is just the imagery, but what’s inside me will display longer.”

    Lamar’s fitful efforts to live out his faith have always rippled along the surface of his music. He has a fondness for using songs as parables, in which the horror of violence and rote debasement of humanity can only be tempered by the grace that comes from a higher power. On an instructive unreleased song called “Jesus Saves,” Lamar spins a narrative enumerating the everyday pestilence of the inner city — guns, homelessness, fatherlessness, unemployment, incarceration — and thanks God for saving him from the fate of his peers despite being an unrepentant sinner. His voice cracks as he repeats the eight-word chorus over and over: “I don’t know why He keeps blessing me.”

    Unlike most Christian artists who come from a traditional gospel background, like Kirk Franklin or Steven Curtis Chapman, Lamar has never restricted his purview to a discussion of things that are holy. For an incredibly famous rapper, his personal life may border on the ascetic: He doesn’t go to strip clubs like Drake, or smoke like Lil Wayne; he rarely drinks and has been in a monogamous relationship since before he became famous. But rather than preach about living a moral lifestyle, he gives full voice to his internal struggles and those of the people he grew up around, deliberately speaking in the language of transgressors.

    More at the link, incl. a picture of Lamar as black Jesus, and it is enough to make any white supremacist weep.

    This past weekend, I visited Selma. We protest in a tradition of liberation.

    Martin. Ralph.
    Claudette Colvin was NOT erased from the Civil Rights Movement. Her story, her actions, her legacy — all vital to the boycott.
    Sadly, she is still less-known than Rosa Parks in the version of history that was taught to me.

    Closing Education Gap Will Lift Economy, a Study Finds

    When it comes to math and science scores, the United States lags most of the other 33 advanced industrialized countries that make up the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, ranking 24th, far behind Korea, Poland and Slovenia.

    Moving up just a few notches to 19th — so that the average American score matched the O.E.C.D. average — would add 1.7 percent to the nation’s gross domestic product over the next 35 years, according to estimates by the Washington Center, a nonpartisan, liberal-leaning research group focused on narrowing inequality. That could lead to roughly $900 billion in higher government revenue, more than making up for the cost of such an effort. […]

    If Americans were able to match the scores reached in Canada, which ranks seventh on the O.E.C.D. scale, the United States’ gross domestic product would rise by an additional 6.7 percent, a cumulative increase of $10 trillion (after taking inflation into account) by the year 2050, the report estimated.

    Robert G. Lynch, an economist who wrote the Washington Center report, explained why he took the trouble to make these what-if calculations.

    “One of the main goals was to see how we could promote more widely shared and faster economic growth,” he said. In the three decades that followed the end of World War II, almost all Americans, no matter where they fell on the earnings scale, enjoyed at least a doubling of their real incomes.

    But that balanced growth has evaporated. While those at the top have continued to experience robust income increases, everyone else’s income has either stalled or dropped. The average income of the bottom 20 percent of households sank by more than 8 percent from 1973 to 2103, while the inflation-adjusted incomes of the top 20 percent grew by about 60 percent, according to the report. The top 5 percent enjoyed an 80 percent jump. […]

    The income gap is an outgrowth, at least in part, of the education gap. An analysis by the O.E.C.D. released last fall showed that the United States greatly lagged nearly every advanced industrial nation on measures of educational equality. Only one in 20 Americans age 25 to 34 surpassed the educational level of their parents, for example. For the 20 richest member nations, that average was one in four.

    The report includes the types of changes, which include expanding early childhood education, reducing exposure to lead paint and starting school later so teenagers can get more sleep, that the center views as necessary to raise achievement scores, though it does not include specific costs in its calculations.

    The report also notes how widely achievement scores vary within the United States, not only from state to state but county to county. Montgomery County, a generally affluent suburban area in Maryland just outside of Washington, for example, was able to reduce the gap and increase scores after instituting all-day kindergarten programs, reducing class size, investing in teacher development and reducing housing-based segregation in its schools.

  107. rq says

    Previous in moderation, but nothing that deserves a repost, check back later, though!

    Your Son Is Deceased, a look at Albuquerque and police shootings. The introduction is heartbreaking.

    The Torres family learned how Christopher died from watching the news the next day. At a press conference, the department’s chief public-safety officer said that two officers had tried to arrest Christopher at home, but, when he resisted and grabbed a gun from one of them, the officers felt that their lives were in danger. The local television stations ran an unflattering picture of Christopher with his eyes bugged out. One station reported that the “police suspected Torres is responsible for several violent road rage incidents around the city.” The police department said publicly that Christopher had a lengthy criminal history, which was untrue. He’d never been convicted of a crime, though he had been arrested once, for public affray, disorderly conduct, and impersonating an officer: he’d fought with a man who had illegally carried his gun into a restaurant where Christopher was eating. Christopher told the man that he was a government agent, tackled him, and took the weapon. When asked to show his credentials, Christopher flashed his library card.

    In the five years before Christopher’s death, the Albuquerque Police Department shot thirty-eight people, killing nineteen of them. More than half were mentally ill. In Albuquerque, a city of five hundred and fifty thousand, the rate of fatal shootings by police is eight times that of New York City. Renetta vaguely remembered hearing about many of the deaths in the local media. Nearly every time, the police announced that the person who had been shot was violent, a career criminal, or mentally ill. “I just assumed that these men must have done something to merit being killed,” she said. “On the news, they relayed these really sinister stories about the men, and they’d flash these horrible pictures. They looked frightening.”

    Grover, the former sergeant, said that when officers shot someone the department typically ordered a “red file” on the deceased. “The special-investigations division did a complete background on the person and came up with any intelligence to identify that, you know, twenty years ago, maybe, the person got tagged for shoplifting,” he said. “Then they gave the red file to the chief.”

    More than a thousand people attended Christopher’s funeral, at the Catholic church where he prayed with his parents every week. Stephen, in his eulogy, said that he considered the chief of police, Raymond Schultz, his friend. The Torreses’ sons used to play soccer at the same neighborhood club as Schultz’s children; after the kids’ games, the fathers would play. “I called Ray’s office and conveyed a personal invitation for him to join us this evening,” Stephen said. “I promised him that he would be treated with all due courtesy and respect. If he’s not here, then I ask those police officers who are here, who are some of my dearest friends . . . please convey the following message to him.”

    Stephen said that his son’s shooting resembled that of many young men in Albuquerque who were mentally ill and had been killed by police. He begged the chief and the mayor, who worked in Renetta’s building, to meet with him to discuss what had gone wrong. “My wife and I extend our hands to you, Mr. Mayor, and to you, Chief Schultz,” he said. “Please don’t reject our offers.” Schultz was not there. He and Stephen never spoke again. […]

    The crime rate had been declining for nearly a decade, but the city still ranked in the top fifteen per cent in the country. To recruit new officers, the department advertised on billboards throughout the East Coast and the Midwest. In 2007, the department installed a twenty-five-foot billboard on a wall in downtown Manhattan: it featured a panorama of the Albuquerque skyline and promised a five-thousand-dollar hiring bonus, retirement after twenty years, a “take home car and more.”

    Nevertheless, the department struggled to find qualified officers. “We took a beating from the city council,” Schultz, the chief of police, told me. “They berated us. They kept saying, ‘We’ve given you the money—how come you don’t have those numbers?’ ”

    The department accepted officers from other police forces, even if they had been disciplined or fired, and it sometimes waived the psychological exam. Steve Tate, the director of training at the Albuquerque Police Academy, said that, after the hiring push, he noticed new cadets “exhibiting some characteristics that I thought were a little strange.” “They were not in charge of their emotions,” he told me. “People were breaking down into tears.” He spoke with the head of the department’s psychological unit, and asked why so many officers seemed psychologically unstable. “I could pick up a sense of worry from her,” he said. “She described to me feeling as though they were strong-armed into seating people that they didn’t feel were ready.” Peter DiVasto, a contract psychologist for the department, said in a deposition that psychologists felt that they were supposed to “err on the side of acceptance.” He testified that “deputy chiefs had been threatened with firing unless those numbers went up.”

    At meetings with the police chief and his deputies, Tate said he pleaded to reject applicants who seemed erratic. He said that a “common phrase was ‘Well, we got seats open, so let’s give them a try.’ ” The department began accepting candidates whose “backgrounds were so bad it was just, like, wow,” he said. There were cadets who had admitted to crimes and had been repeatedly disciplined in previous jobs. Of the sixty-three officers who joined the Albuquerque police force in 2007, ten eventually shot people.

    Brown had already been rejected by the Albuquerque Police Department, in 1995, because he had bad credit, which was seen as a sign of recklessness. He ended up in the Roswell Police Department, three hours south of Albuquerque. While he was there, a city councillor brought a civil-rights lawsuit against him—she alleged that he had arrested her for exercising her right to free speech—and five citizens filed complaints. He was accused of injuring a man by throwing him to the ground; of humiliating a mother when arresting her for speeding; and of pointing his gun at someone who got out of his car too slowly. Later, he estimated that he had drawn his gun during a traffic stop on at least ten occasions. In 2005, he applied to work for the police department in Rio Rancho, just north of Albuquerque, but he was rejected for having a bad attitude.

    Since the last time he applied to the Albuquerque Police Department, Brown had been in two car accidents and filed for bankruptcy—events that the department typically considered indications of instability—but his second application was accepted, and he was given a signing bonus of five thousand dollars. He didn’t take a psychological exam. His training lasted six weeks. [..]

    Albuquerque lies at the intersection of two interstate highways, one stretching from California to the East Coast and the other from Texas to Wyoming. A local saying is that many citizens, intending to drive from one coast to the other and start a new life, end up living in Albuquerque when they run out of money. A fifth of the residents live below the poverty line, many of them in the southeast part of the city, which is often called the “war zone.” Wealthy residents tend to live in the northeastern corner, at the foot of the Sandia Mountains. The division reflects the social climate throughout the state, which has the widest income gap between rich and poor in the country. Gilbert Najar, the director of the police academy in Silver City, New Mexico, who worked for the Albuquerque Police Department for twenty-five years, told me that the department “did policing one way in the South Valley, where there were a lot of immigrant families and people of lower socioeconomic status, and we knew we could violate their rights. But we did not dare commit those tactics in the affluent neighborhoods, where we knew they would file complaints on us.”

    Since 1987, the police department has shot at least a hundred and forty-six people. The shooting of Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri, looked almost routine to people in Albuquerque. They had seen such incidents many times before. Few people protested, and no one paid much attention. Police violence appeared to be a matter of concern only to Albuquerque’s underclass: those who are mentally ill, addicted to drugs, Native American, or Hispanic and poor. David Correia, a professor of American studies at the University of New Mexico, told me, “There’s this myth here of tri-cultural harmony—indigenous people, Mexican-Americans, and Anglos—but this precarious arrangement is built on a long history of violence against Spanish-speaking and indigenous people that still plays out.”

    The city has hired a succession of experts, a new research team every few years, to analyze the police department’s use of force, but officials seem to have viewed the act of commissioning a report as a proxy for doing something about the problem. Samuel Walker, an expert in police accountability who was hired in 1996 to co-author one of the reports, after the police killed thirty-two people in ten years, said, “When we gave an oral presentation to the city council, I had a very strong impression that many city-council members were not interested.” He described his conversation with Martin Chávez, the mayor, as one of the most hostile interviews he’s ever conducted. He said that the police chief would not look him in the eyes when he briefed him. One city-council member refused to meet with him or return his calls.

    His report highlighted the department’s incompetence in responding to people with mental illnesses. The city lacks a comprehensive mental-health-care system, and cops are often called to assist people in the midst of psychotic episodes. When these people don’t follow the officers’ orders, they are sometimes beaten or shot. Grover, the former sergeant, told me that “there was a running joke within the department: don’t threaten suicide with officers, because they’ll accelerate it.”

    Five years after Walker’s report, and fourteen more fatal shootings, another task force concluded that the department needed to create an oversight system in which officers would suffer consequences for abusing their authority. In 2006, after sixteen more deaths, the city hired a team of consultants to do another report, which noted that “many recommendations made in this report are based on issues voiced by the prior consultants that are still valid and should be addressed.” […]

    In the legal-training materials distributed to officers, the lesson on strip searches featured a cartoon of five male officers staring through the window at a silhouette of a naked woman—with a shapely butt and enormous breasts, which she is fondling—the object of their search. The lesson on arresting prostitutes showed a drawing of a hairy transvestite with a single breast, which droops to her potbelly. “How d’ya know I ain’t jus another purty face out shoppin’ fer my family?” she asks the officer who has come to arrest her.

    Morrison said that officers were socialized to be cynical about civilians. “We’re taught to almost dehumanize them,” she said. “It just got to the point where it’s, like, they’re a piece of shit. We don’t care if they raped a baby or were speeding in traffic—everybody’s a piece of shit.” Early in her career, she was often injured, because she fought with people while arresting them. Then she took a forty-hour course offered by the department in crisis-intervention training, a model used by many police departments to help officers communicate with suspects, particularly those who are mentally ill. She never got injured on duty again. She became a senior instructor in the class, but it was held in low regard by many of her colleagues. By 2007, fewer than thirty officers were taking the course each year.

    The Albuquerque Police Department acquired weapons and resources from both the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Defense Department, which lends police departments surplus military gear. Until recently, officers were also permitted to come to work with guns that they had bought themselves. For some, the weapons functioned as status symbols; expensive, military-style ones were valued highly. Najar, the police-academy director, said that the leaders of the Albuquerque police force, like those of many departments around the country, stated publicly that they subscribed to the theories of community policing, a model that encourages officers to embed themselves in the communities they serve, but that those ideals never permeated the culture of the department. The people the cops arrested were usually strangers. Officers approached them with “all their fears and biases and prejudices,” he said.

    There’s much more at the link, it’s an awfully long article. And awful, too. Basically not the kind of force I’d feel comfortable protecting me and my family.

    #OscarsSoWhite they don’t even need to send their kids to boarding school. Group photo of Oscar nominees, I believe. It is white. Shield your eyes.

    Just a sort of update if anyone cares, Immediate family at Bobbi Kristina Brown’s side as she fights for life.

    In Philadelphia this morning. Looking forward to participating in the @BlackInAmerica panel at @BucknellU tonight. Link to the event: it’s time for a real conversation

    Soledad O’Brien takes one of America’s most challenging conversations on the road as her ongoing Black in America series brings the explosive issue of police brutality to college campuses.

    Black in America 2015 tour gathers academics and experts, students, and community members of all races and politics to discuss their personal stories of how policing impacts their lives. The award-winning journalist and philanthropist presents a detailed examination of the facts behind community policing, racial profiling, controversial crime reduction tactics, and arrest quotas. And, we see the shocking videos that show how a war between civil rights and crime reduction is unfurling on America’s streets.

    The multi-city tour gives audiences – from Miami to Houston to Massachusetts – an inside look at the latest installment of O’Brien’s Black in America documentary series: Black & Blue. The gripping hour aired on CNN just as protests erupted on American streets. The story begins with shocking exclusive footage of Eric Garner choked to death in NY, then uses graphic videos and incisive interviews to show how the lives of young men are fractured by aggressive policing.

    Soledad will open up the floor to the college community, socio-political and luminary panelists including St. Louis, Missouri’s 21st Ward Alderman Antonio French, Economist, Author and Political Commentator Dr. Julianne Maleaux, political and civic leader, as well as former Chief Executive Officer of the NAACP, Benjamin Jealous, politically and socially conscious rapper, author and producer Chuck D of Public Enemy, socio-political comedian W. Kamau Bell, and more. To close the evening, guests will be granted a meet and greet opportunity.

    “Black in America is about Americans talking about the uncomfortable issue of race, about opening the floor to new perspectives, problems and the powerful experiences of regular people. This is a forum for the conversation America is ready to have — why do so many black Americans fear the very people that are supposed to protect them?” –Soledad O’Brien.

  108. says

    NYPD officer indicted for stomping on the head of Brooklyn man pinned to the floor pleading “help me”.

    In an episode starkly contrasting with the non-indictment of a police officer for the death of a man whose final words gave life to the international rallying cry “I can’t breathe”, a New York City police officer has been indicted for stomping on the head of a Brooklyn man pinned to the floor and pleading “Help me”.

    The stomping incident was captured on camera on 23 July, less than one week after Eric Garner died from being placed in a chokehold – also caught on camera – by an NYPD officer who was not indicted.

    In the new indictment, NYPD officer Joel Edouard, 37, was arraigned on Tuesday in Brooklyn supreme court, charged with a count of assault, a count of attempted assault and a count of official misconduct in connection with the arrest of Jahmiel Cuffee last July. If convicted, he faces up to one year in jail.

    “Police officers put their lives on the line everyday to keep us all safe,” the Brooklyn district attorney, Kenneth Thompson, said in a statement crafted carefully not to criticize the force.

    “However, this defendant allegedly stomped on the head of a suspect as he lay on the ground, which is unacceptable for a police officer. While a serious matter, this indictment should not reflect on the great work being done throughout the city by the vast majority of police officers who perform their duties honorably.”

    Thompson said Edouard and his partner noticed Cuffee, 32, drinking on the sidewalk and holding what appeared to be a joint in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant. The officers attempted to arrest Cuffee, but he resisted, Thompson said.

    The incident is one in a spate of recent alleged police brutality or misconduct cases that have been caught on video.

    There’s video at the link.

    I wonder if there would have been an indictment if the officer were white…

  109. rq says

    I’m going to start with a happy story this morning: This makes me happy. He deserves it. “@Yamiche: Yesss. $140K raised for man who walks 21 miles to work [link following] via @USATODAY – link to the story: Fundraiser for walker with killer commute reaches $230K. It’s the same story, but between yesterday afternoon and this morning (my time), that dollar amount went from 140k to 230k. That’s impressive.

    After the Detroit Free Press told of Robertson’s arduous 21-mile trek to and from his suburban factory job, the story inspired thousands of donations from across the nation. A day later, the soft-spoken machine operator got to meet the computer student from Wayne State University who launched an Internet crowd-funding site to gather more than $230,000 — a figure expected to continue to climb today. […]

    “I’m always going to be in your debt — I will never forget this,” Robertson told Leedy, as the younger man in a sweater-hoodie shook his hand.

    “I want to show you all the comments people are saying about you,” Leedy replied, as the two bent over the teen’s cellphone. Leedy read aloud samples of more than 3,700 posts whose writers made donations from $1 to hundreds of dollars to give to Robertson. His initial goal was $5,000.

    Many of those who saw the Free Press story were so impressed with Robertson’s work ethic — he has a perfect attendance record in years of factory work — “that they say you earned this money,” Leedy told Robertson, 56. Another crowd-funding effort, launched by 31-year-old Chrysler-Fiat communications manager Jiyan Cadiz, raised nearly $6,000 before GoFundMe administrators asked Cadiz to redirect future donors to Leedy’s page, Cadiz said in a text Monday night. […]

    Robertson starts his daily commute by riding a SMART bus from Woodward near Holbrook in Detroit to a bus stop near Somerset Collection, an upscale mall in Troy. From there he walks about 7 miles — regardless of the weather — to the factory. At the end of his 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. shift, he foots it back to the mall and catches the last bus in to Detroit, taking him to the State Fairground at the city’s border. From there he walks home in the dark, about 5 miles.

    I’m just a bit sad, though – this man got help (in part) because of his perfect attendance record, but imagine if it wasn’t a perfect attendance record? What if he was sick half the time, or if he was a single mother? Now everyone feels better because they’ve helped one person, but he’s not the only one who needs assistance…

    Here’s something that might be of interest to anyone on the medical side of things:
    I have info on the The National Institute on Drug Abuse 2015 Summer Research Program. Application closes on 2/14/15 . . .
    Interns work w/ NIDA-funded scientists for 8 wks in the field of substance abuse & addiction research @ research institutions across the US.
    If you @ me I with an email I will send you the info along with the application. I really want someone to experience this opportunity.
    While anyone can apply, I believe they’re especially looking for people from minority groups to participate, in order to increase their representation in medicine etc.

    Vonderitt’s memorial was damaged last night. His mother has asked everyone to come to Shaw & Klemm tonight at 5pm.

  110. rq says

    It’s #BlackHistoryMonth and we’re sharing quotes from LGBTQ and ally Black leaders who inspire and empower us! Picture is of Willi Ninja, dancer, choreographer, actor.

    Officer-involved shooting in south St. Louis City

    The incident happened in the 4100 block of Minnesota. Officials say the officer shot a suspect, however, further details surrounding the shooting have not been released.

    The suspect’s condition is critical. EMS is on the scene. Police have arrested one person.

    I’m 100% I’ll have more on this later.

    There were 3 officer-involved killings today: one in STL, two in the Bay Area (Antioch and Emeryville). America.
    So in a short while, I will have more on all three.

  111. rq says

    Looters defy rule of law, steal Trillions, leave thousands homeless! No teargas. No arrests. #BlackHistoryMonth Check out the picture.

    Here’s more from the west coast:
    Police shot a 25-yr old black woman on Oakland/Emeryville border this afternoon. Vigil at 34th & Hollis at 7:30 PM. @DaveId @violentfanon
    Emeryville PD just shot and killed a Black women. To give context, Emeryville borders Oakland and Berkeley.
    One witness says the Black women killed in #Emeryville by #EmeryvillePD was unarmed and waving her hand. Being black while flagging a bus – new crime.
    @deray happened earlier today, I’m at scene now. 5 hours her body laid dead before coroner took body.. The article in the tweet: Oakland: Emeryville officers shoot, kill woman who police say was armed

    Police were called to a store on the 3800 block of Hollis Street around 12:35 p.m. A shopkeeper reported a ‘combative’ theft suspect, then called back while police were still en route to say that the woman had left the scene and was armed. The two officers found her in the area of 34th Street and Hollis Street, where they confronted the suspect and shot her.

    Police said they recovered an unspecified type of firearm at the scene.
    Oakland and Emeryville police investigate the scene of an officer-involved shooting on Hollis Street near 34th Street in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, Feb.
    Oakland and Emeryville police investigate the scene of an officer-involved shooting on Hollis Street near 34th Street in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)

    Police would not immediately say if one or both officers fired on the suspect, how many shots they fired, or if the woman drew her weapon or fired on the officers. The woman, who has not been identified, died at the scene.

    No one else was injured. […]

    Anotherwitness said that the woman did not appear to be armed as she tried to flag down a passing bus, which did not stop.

    “We (saw) a woman running, holding her purse and waving her hand,” said Marilyn Tijerino, who was riding the AC Transit 31 line on her way home. “The girl did not have no gun. She was waving her hands.”

    A vigil for the woman was planned at the site of the shooting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

  112. rq says

    And here’s an article on the shooting in Antioch: Antioch: One person killed in officer-involved shooting

    A person was shot and killed in a police-involved shooting Tuesday afternoon on Claudia Court, officials confirmed.

    The person killed was not identified.

    Officials did not immediately say which agency’s officers were involved in the shooting or release any of the circumstances around the death.

    Check back for updates.

    No updates there so far, but I may have more info via twitter soon.

    Meanwhile, back in STL:
    Missouri* goddamn… *smh* RT @deray: Ladarius Williams. Aged 23. Killed by STL police today, February 3, 2015.
    Man dead in St. Louis police shooting had been shot in 2009 by another officer

    A man fatally shot Tuesday afternoon by a police officer had been wounded six years ago after raising a gun at two officers and was sentenced to 14 years in prison, a police source said.

    Police identified the man as Ledarius D. Williams, 23, of the 10000 block of Durness Drive in an unincorporated area of north St. Louis County.

    Williams died at a hospital after being shot by a St. Louis police officer in the 4100 block of Minnesota Avenue in the Dutchtown neighborhood, authorities said. […]

    Dotson said when the officers saw Williams, “an individual they know from the neighborhood,” he grabbed at his waistband then took off running down a gangway. The two officers chased him and found him behind a building, hiding behind a bush, Dotson said.

    The officers saw Williams had a gun and a struggle ensued, Dotson said. The gun started to turn toward an officer at one point.

    Williams was shot by one of the officers. The officer fired four times, but Dotson did not say how many times Williams was hit.

    “If I wanted to describe a struggle for your life, one of the officers today is covered in mud, literally head to toe, where they were rolling on the ground in the mud while trying to gain control of (Williams’) gun,” Dotson said.

    Police said one officer, 24, has been with the force two years, while the other, 29, has been on the force seven years. Both officers were white men. […]

    In August 2009, Williams pleaded guilty to two counts of assault on a law enforcement officer and was sentenced to seven years on each count, to be served consecutively, for total of 14 years in prison. He was released from prison last March.

    Police reports also show that Williams had been shot by a stranger in March 2009 while riding a bike near Oregon and Miami streets, the source said.

    That’s in case you were wondering about his past. Also, twitter has it that the officer who shot him is the same one who shot him in 2009, still looking for clarification on that. If true, then this is the second incident this year where an officer has shot a ‘suspect’ with whom he has previously had some kind of altercation (I believe Jerame Reid was the other I’m thinking of right now).

    CBS Local link, Man Dead in Officer-Involved Shooting

    The chief says there was a struggle for that gun. “If I was going to describe a life or death struggle , one of the officers was literally covered from his boots to his face in mud and you can clearly see there was a fight at the scene.” Chief Dotson said at the scene. The chief also said police recovered a .45 calibur gun on the scene that was stolen in Alabama.

    Court documents obtained by KMOX show he had been shot and wounded before by police in 2009 and was sentenced to 14 years in prison for assaulting a police officer then.

    Some twitter response, incl. pictures of the scene:
    Man killed by STLPD today had pled guilty to pointing gun at 2 female officers who shot him in 2009. Story TK to @stltoday
    Where the fuck is the bush RT @OwlsAsylum: RT @search4swag: First pics 4133-4133 Minnesota (If you read the excerpt, it’s another case of a black man jumping police from behind a non-existent bush… non-existent? See below for pictures of the location of the shooting.)
    First pics of the gang way 4133-4133 Minnesota .
    More in next comment.

  113. rq says

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  115. rq says

    Fire destroys large Tampa church

    An arson investigation is underway at a historic church in Tampa after flames tore through the building around 6:30 a.m. on Monday causing $400,000 worth of damage. This isn’t the first time the pastor of the church has dealt with a suspicious fire.

    Several people hugged and stood outside New Salem Missionary Baptist Church as firefighters rushed to put water on the fire. For many it was a heartbreaking sight.

    Tampa City Councilman Frank Reddick grew up in the neighborhood and broke down when speaking about it. He says, “Difficult. Very difficult that we lost this.” […]

    Reddick adds, “Growing up this was one of the most prominent churches – black churches in the city of Tampa – they have a tremendous amount of history inside that church – that is probably lost.”

    This isn’t the first time that Lyons, the church’s pastor, has dealt with a suspicious fire either. In July of 1997, while he was the leader of the National Baptist Convention and pastor at Bethel Metropolitan Baptist Church in St. Petersburg his wife at the time set fire to a $700,000 home that he was sharing with another woman.

    It sparked an investigation into his finances and Lyons was convicted of stealing money from the convention’s corporate partners and from an organization that rebuilt black churches that had been burned down.

    Lyons spent 5 years in prison before taking over New Salem Missionary Baptist Church.

    Lyons told 10 News though that the church’s recent bankruptcy issue to stop a foreclosure was in the past. He also said the church was in the process of selling the church when it caught fire. He says, “The building is 64 years old. It’s time to rebuild.”

    Here’s a pdf, BLACK LIVES MATTER:

    The Sentencing Project is a national non-profit organization engaged in research and advocacy on criminal justice issues. Our work is supported by many individual donors and contributions from the following: [list of organizations]

    From the table of contents:

    Executive Summary 3
    I. Uneven Policing in Ferguson and New York City 6
    II. A Cascade of Racial Disparities Throughout the Criminal Justice System 10
    III. Causes of Disparities 13
    A. Differential crime rates 13
    B. Four key sources of unwarranted racial disparities in criminal justice outcomes 15
    IV. Best Practices for Reducing Racial Disparities 19
    A. Revise policies and laws with disparate racial impact 19
    B. Address implicit racial bias among criminal justice professionals 21
    C. Reallocate resources to create a fair playing field 23
    D. Revise policies that exacerbate socioeconomic inequalities and redirect public spending toward crime prevention and drug treatment 25
    V. Implementation Strategies and Metrics for Success 26
    VI. Conclusion 27

    From the introduction:

    “Black lives matter” has become a rallying cry in light of evidence that the criminal justice system is failing to uphold this basic truth. Official data, although woefully inadequate, 1 show that over half of those killed by police in recent years have been black or Latino. 2 Officers involved in these killings are rarely indicted, much less convicted, for excessive use of force. 3 And official responses to recent protests have spurred further controversy: militarized police forces disrupted public assemblies in Ferguson, 4 and New York City’s police union blamed pro-reform politicians and nonviolent protesters for the killing of two officers by a mentally unstable man. 5

    The criminal justice system’s high volume of contact with people of color is a major cause of African Americans’ disproportionate rate of fatal police encounters, as well as of broader perceptions of injustice in many communities. This briefing paper identifies four key features of the justice system that contribute to its disparate racial impact, and presents recent best practices for targeting these inequities drawn from adult and juvenile justice systems around the country. In many cases, these practices have produced demonstrable results.

    Policing is by no means the only stage of the justice system that produces racial disparity. Disadvantage accumulating at each step of the process contributes to blacks and Latinos comprising 56% of the incarcerated population, yet only 30% of the U.S. population. 6

    The roots of this disparity precede criminal justice contact: conditions of socioeconomic inequality contribute to higher rates of some violent and property crimes among people of color. But four features of the justice system exacerbate
    this underlying inequality, and jurisdictions around the country have addressed each one through recent reforms.
    1. Many ostensibly race-neutral policies and laws have a disparate racial impact.
    2. Criminal justice practitioners’ use of discretion is – often unintentionally – influenced by racial bias. [..]
    3. Key segments of the criminal justice system are underfunded, putting blacks and Latinos – who are disproportionately low-income – at a disadvantage. […]
    4. Criminal justice policies exacerbate socioeconomic inequalities by imposing collateral consequences on those with criminal records and by diverting public spending. […]

    This briefing paper is organized as follows: Section I examines racial disparities in policing in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City. Section II compares these patterns with nationwide trends and relates them to disparate outcomes at later stages of the criminal justice process. Section III examines the causes of blacks’ and Latinos’ overrepresentation in the justice system, including differential crime rates and the four sources of inequities in the justice system. Section IV presents best practices from around the country for reducing racial disparities created by these four sources. Section
    V explores strategies for implementation and evaluation. Section VI concludes by reviewing recent achievements
    and highlighting the need for further reforms.

    This report largely focuses on the experiences of African Americans / blacks, Latinos / Hispanics, and whites in the justice system. These are the populations for whom the most research and data are available. Nationwide data and research that include Asian Americans and American Indians are more limited: reports often aggregate these groups into one category, labeled “other.” Existing research suggests that many of the trends described in this report hold for American Indians, for sub-groups of Asian Americans, and for other communities of color. 7

    In Ft. Lauderdale Tonight Ft. Lauderdale P.D. is being awarded for stopping a protest involved the Broward Dream Defenders.
    Broward DD Demetrius Vaughn interrupted the meeting to talk about when Ft. Lauderdale P.D. threatened to shoot him
    BREAKING: Broward DD Demetrius was just forcibly arrested by 3 officers and we were all kicked out of the meeting.

    And this year – off to a great start? Nearly 100 People Killed By Police in First Month of 2015- Zero Officers Killed By Suspects

    Killed By Police has logged at least 91 people killed by police in the month of January alone. At least 1,106 people were killed in 2014, a number which calls into question the integrity of the FBI’s previous estimate of around 400 per year.

    Unlike the independent logging done by Killed By Police, the FBI collects their statistics only from reports voluntarily given to them by law enforcement agencies. Only around 750 agencies, or 4 percent, out of 17,000 law enforcement entities across the United States offered this data to the FBI.

    Those who prefer to turn a blind eye to police abuse often refer to police as heroes who “deserve to make it home to their families” or speak of the difficulties of a job where your life is perpetually at risk.

    Police use these lines often, pushing the stereotype and narrative perpetuated by media of our police living in constant action movies where bad guys and villains are always on the prowl searching for ways to harm them. Any conversation about police by their apologists could easily be a conversation about Batman rather than our revenue generators in blue.

    Unfortunately for them, this narrative cannot hold up to simple facts. Being a police officer is significantly less dangerous than many labor jobs, and is not even in the top 10 most dangerous positions in this country.

    91 people so far. And counting.

  116. rq says

    As a semi-follow-up to the last link last comment, here’s the number for STL from August 9 last year: Mike B. (8.9.14) Kajieme P. (8.19.14) VonDerrit M. (10.8.14) Antonio M. (12.23.14) Isaac H. (1.21.15) Ladarius W. (2.3.15) Killed by Cop STL

    The one of the two youths on the statue has been making rounds on Twitter. Here’s more. Photos of the Black Panther Party. Great stuff in there.

    The Black Panther party burst upon our consciousness when Bobby Seale and other Panthers marched upon the California State Capitol in Sacramento—armed with guns. This approach electrified a generation of black youth. But the Panthers did not encourage hatred. Their “black pride” was not based on denigrating whites, but on showing the black community that they were in control of their own destiny. The Black Panther Party sought to build a community through service to the people, providing free food and clothing. They gave purpose to the aimless, angry youth who loitered on street corners. The Panthers molded these young people into disciplined, hard workers who served their community and showed respect for mothers, fathers, and elders. Look at The Black Panthers, a book of my Panther photos, published by Aperture. Limited Edition and Vintage Prints available at the Steven Kasher Gallery.

    Denver Police Kept Pulling Over Sharod Kindell — and the Last Time, They Shot Him. WARNING: Long read to follow.

    Friday, January 9, had been a good day for Sharod Kindell. The 23-year-old Denver native had sat down with potential investors for Raw Life, a clothing store and recording studio he was planning to open near East High School, and the meeting had gone well — well enough that he thought he’d soon be able to add to the cash he was saving for an engagement ring for his longtime girlfriend, Chanel Cruz. He was about to start another semester at Metropolitan State University of Denver, too, and he was in a fine mood as he picked up Chanel from work, their three-year-old and seven-month-old daughters from daycare, and some Chinese takeout for dinner. The family had just sat down to eat in their Montbello home when Sharod got a call from his brother-in-law, who lived on Crown Boulevard, a few blocks away: Could Sharod come by the house with some baby formula?

    While the others continued eating, Sharod, still wearing the black leather jacket and button-down dress shirt he’d put on for his business meeting earlier that day, drove to his brother-in-law’s house, dropped off a can of formula, then headed home. He’d only gone a block when his phone rang; Sharod pulled into a driveway to answer. It was his brother-in-law again, asking him to pick up some food at Walmart. Sharod said he’d go later, hung up the phone and put the car in reverse. That’s when he noticed that a police car had pulled up behind him on Crown, and two cops were approaching his car.

    Getting pulled over was nothing new for Sharod; it seemed to happen all the time. As a teenager in north City Park, he’d had a well-paying job at Elitch Gardens and bought himself a 1988 Monte Carlo, fixing it up with a candy-blue paint job and nice rims. But the car, plus Sharod’s dark skin and long braided hair, was a cop magnet. Police would stop him and accuse him of running stop signs and red lights that didn’t exist, of having cracks in his windshield that no one could see. Many times, the officers never bothered to give a reason. Eventually, it got so bad that Sharod sold his Monte Carlo — but his next car, a Chevrolet Caprice, wasn’t any better. The cops came to know him, as if pulling him over was a regular thing: “What are you up to now, Sharod?” In total, Sharod estimates, he’s been pulled over forty to fifty times. […]

    And now, once again, cops were approaching his vehicle. But this time, Sharod told himself, he wasn’t going to get mad. He was going to stay calm, get through this and get back to his family, still at the dinner table. It had been a good day; Sharod didn’t want that to change.

    “What are you doing around here?” asked the cop who approached the Jeep’s rolled-down window, an officer named Jeffrey DiManna.

    “Heading home,” said Sharod, who then asked what the problem was. DiManna didn’t give him an answer, just asked to see identification. When all Sharod could provide was his Metro State ID, DiManna told him to get out of the car.

    “Officer, with all due respect, I am not going to get out of this truck,” Sharod remembers telling him. “I didn’t do anything wrong.” He’d been taking criminal-justice classes at Metro; he knew his rights. He asked if he could call his mother on his cell phone, since she always seemed to know what to do in situations like this. When DiManna refused, Sharod told him to call his sergeant: When the superior officer arrived, Sharod said, he’d get out of the car.

    At that point, Sharod recalls, DiManna and the other officer, Andrew Landon, pulled their weapons (a later probable-cause warrant notes that a third officer, Jacob Robb, was also at the scene, but Sharod didn’t see him). When Sharod put his hands up, DiManna reached through the driver-side window and unlocked the door, then opened it. Sharod saw Landon, meanwhile, opening the rear door right behind him. With his left hand, Sharod tried to pull the driver’s door closed, but DiManna yanked it open again. Sharod looked into DiManna’s eyes, looked at the handgun he was pointing at him, and suddenly knew he was going to be shot.

    “Please, officer, don’t shoot, don’t shoot!” Sharod screamed. DiManna grabbed Sharod’s left hand and began pulling him out of the car. But his car was still in reverse, Sharod says, and when his foot slipped off the brake, the Jeep began rolling down the driveway, the open doors hitting DiManna and Landon. That’s when DiManna opened fire.
    In the chaos, Sharod landed on the ground in the snow as the Jeep rolled backwards and crashed into the parked police car. Sharod could feel burning in his right arm, and when he looked down at his right hand, blood was everywhere. Desperate to get away, desperate to live, he pulled himself up and began running, even as he heard more shots being fired. Mid-stride, he felt something explode in his groin, the worst pain he’d ever felt, like a balloon had swollen to its breaking point between his legs. […]

    Sherri Landrum, Sharod’s mother, got a text from Chanel later that evening, while Sherri was attending a late-night choir rehearsal. Chanel wanted to know if Sherri had heard from her son: Sharod hadn’t returned home after dropping off the baby formula at his brother-in-law’s house, nor had he responded to any of Chanel’s texts or calls. Worse, Chanel had just come across a disturbing news item posted online, and she sent Sherri a link. An unnamed suspect had been shot and wounded by police in Montbello, and a photo of the crime scene that accompanied the story featured a Jeep that looked like the one Sharod had been driving. [… – so the family does not get notified, nice]

    Sharod’s protective instincts intensified once he had children of his own. His own father had disappeared from his life when he was seven or eight, and he was determined that his own children would grow up knowing their dad. He insists on taking his kids to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus every time the show’s in town, and refuses to leave his daughters with babysitters if their homes don’t meet his stringent cleanliness standards. On Mother’s Day last year, Sharod posted on his Facebook page, “Happy ‘fmathers’ day to all the real fathers that’s out here takin’ care of their child/children on their own!”

    “I can’t put enough of an emphasis on how great of a dad he is,” says Chanel, who’s been with Sharod for six years.

    Being a father isn’t Sharod’s only interest; beyond his day job doing maintenance at an apartment complex, he’s always juggling multiple undertakings. Writing and recording his own music. Working out and playing basketball with the kids at the Glenarm Recreation Center. Buying and selling Air Jordans. Helping to run a medical marijuana dispensary for a few years. Developing his Raw Life clothing line. And fixing up cars, just as Kurt had. In his back yard, Sharod has the 1980 Malibu his oldest brother was working on before he was murdered, and he wants to finish it just as Kurt had planned: a new engine, a bright-green paint job, tan interior with green piping and, stitched into the back seat, the names of all their friends and family members who’ve been killed.

    Over the past few years, though, some of Sharod’s many plans have been sidetracked because of increasingly serious troubles with the law. Although he lost his license, he never stopped driving — and never stopped getting pulled over. In March 2013, one of those stops, in Weld County, ended with Sharod getting tasered and charged with eluding police, possessing marijuana and other crimes, for which he received three years’ probation. Then, in November 2013, an officer in Aurora chased him down while he was out with his daughter and accused him of speeding. The ensuing dispute led to Sharod being charged with assaulting a police officer, child abuse and other crimes; that case is still pending.

    Sharod insists that he wasn’t in the wrong in these cases, arguing that they’re just more examples of the authorities picking on him. And Chanel insists that these marks on her boyfriend’s record don’t mean he’s a bad person. “Sharod has gotten into some trouble recently, but he is not a bad guy,” she says. “He’s not a gang member, robbing and selling drugs. He’s not a menace to society or anything like that.” […]

    Lately, Sharod had been working to get his life on track — passing his court-ordered sobriety and drug tests, regularly checking in with the Arapahoe County pre-trial officer assigned to monitor his behavior, never forgetting his obligations to his kids and the rest of his family, Chanel says. But suddenly, on the night of January 9, all of their plans seemed to be at risk. Where was Sharod? Was he the shooting victim mentioned on the news? Had he once again been pulled over by the cops — but this time with far more disastrous consequences? […]

    Chanel drove to the crime scene that she’d read about online, but the officers there wouldn’t tell her anything. After a long night of frantic phone calls and Facebook posts, Chanel, Sherri and other family members went to Denver Health Medical Center and were told that, yes, Sharod had been admitted to the ER the night before — but that was all hospital personnel would say. No one would talk about his condition or allow family members to see him.

    “At this point, I’m yelling, ‘Somebody tell me what happened to my son! What did they do to my baby?'” remembers Sherri. Eventually, she was told that the police wouldn’t let the hospital release any information. Sharod’s Denver Health medical records from the night he was admitted note, “…we actually are not allowed by the Denver police to contact his family at this time.”

    That wasn’t the only way the DPD was stonewalling all inquiries regarding Sharod. When Chanel called the District 5 police station, which serves Montbello and other parts of northeast Denver, and asked about Sharod, she says that all she was told was, “He’s breathing, ain’t he?” And in a follow-up online article about the shooting on Monday, January 12, the Denver Post identified Sharod as the victim, but later removed his name — because the police had said he was a seventeen-year-old boy, and the paper typically doesn’t identify juvenile suspects. “They know everything about Sharod,” says his mother. “They know his age. Why didn’t they put it in the paper? To me, it seemed like a cover-up.”

    Meanwhile, Sharod’s family had finally heard from him — thanks to a phone call he was allowed to make to his mother on Sunday evening, two days after he was pulled over. “Mom, they shot me for no reason,” Sharod told her between tears. “They were trying to kill me. I didn’t do anything wrong, Mom. I didn’t have any reason for them to pull me over.”

    Sharod told her that he had been shot three times while he was still in the car: in the right hand, fracturing several fingers; in the right biceps; and in the left thigh, which had damaged his femoral artery. Fragments from the bullet in his leg had also injured his groin, where there was still an open, bleeding wound, but hospital staff had moved him from the intensive-care unit to the hospital’s Correctional Care Medical Facility, where inmates are cared for. “If his injuries are so bad, why did they move him from the ICU?” asks his mother. “If he was still bleeding out, why was he in the correctional facility?”

    No one was answering Sherri’s questions; no one was allowed to visit Sharod. Finally, after Sherri had logged numerous angry phone calls to the Denver police and the Denver Sheriff’s Department, which staffs Denver Health’s correctional facility, Pastor George Roberts, a friend of the family, was allowed a ministerial visit with Sharod on Thursday, January 15, six days after the shooting. “I wasn’t in there three minutes,” says Roberts. “All I was able to do was stand and pray with him. The captain stood at the door to make sure I didn’t talk to him or ask him any questions. I have been going in and out of the hospital for eighteen years praying for inmates. This has never happened to me before.” […]

    Sherri was scheduled to see her son at the hospital the following Monday, January 19. But not long before her visit, she learned that he was no longer there. He’d been transferred to the infirmary at the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center downtown — but according to Sharod, no one had bothered to arrange medical transport for him. Over the phone, he told his mother that the guards had put him in the back seat of a standard police vehicle, even though he still had an open wound in his groin.

    Sherri finally saw her son on January 20 — in Denver County Court, during his first advisement hearing. Sharod was in a wheelchair, and he didn’t look good. “I could see he was in so much pain,” says his mother. “He was swaying back and forth, sweating real bad.” After a two-hour wait, the judge called Sharod’s case, advising him of his rights and setting his bond at $10,000. Two days later, however, at Sharod’s second court hearing, his bond was increased to $50,000. That’s when Sharod and his family learned the charges he was facing, including first- and second-degree assault for striking the police officers with the car and aggravated motor-vehicle theft because a Hertz representative had said the Jeep was supposed to be in a recall lot and not rented to anyone. Sharod was also charged with possession of marijuana with intent to manufacture or distribute, thanks to a bag of pot that police had found in the car. (Sharod, who has his medical marijuana license, says he was using the pot to make edibles for a family member who’d had back surgery.) Finally, Sharod was charged with being a previous offender in possession of a gun, although there was no mention of police finding a gun in Sharod’s original probable-cause warrant; for legal reasons, Sharod and his family won’t comment on this last charge.

    None of Sharod’s charges were related to why he was pulled over in the first place. According to Denver DA spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough, “It appears that the vehicle had run a stop sign.” […]

    Sharod Kindell’s case and condition attracted little attention — until Monday, January 26, when Denver cops shooting at moving vehicles suddenly became major news. Early that morning, Denver police shot at a stolen car in Park Hill, killing the driver, a seventeen-year-old girl named Jessica Hernandez. That evening, a crowd gathered for a candlelight vigil outside Antioch Church of God in Christ, near where the shooting had occurred. Among those at the gathering were members of Sharod’s family and his friends. After community leaders condemned the shooting of Jessica and her friends paid their respects, Shauna, Sharod’s aunt, spoke up.

    “My nephew was shot on January 9 in Montbello,” she told the crowd. “They didn’t even have a reason to pull him over…. This could have been us down here, holding a vigil over his death.”

    Sharod Kindell and Jessica Hernandez aren’t the only people who’ve recently been shot by Denver cops while they were behind the wheel. Since mid-2014, Denver police have been involved in two other moving-vehicle shootings: In November, two Denver cops were involved in the shooting and injury of Joel and Carlos Jurado during a traffic stop in Commerce City after police said Joel, who was driving, had tried to hit them with the car. And in July, Ryan Ronquillo was killed by officers outside the Romero Family Funeral Home; police said they’d fired after Ronquillo had hit two officers and several police vehicles as he tried to escape in a stolen vehicle.

    Two of these cases have something in common beyond being vehicle-related shootings: Jeffrey DiManna, the Denver cop who shot Sharod, was one of the four officers who fired on Ronquillo. [bolding mine]

    Four shootings of drivers in seven months, two of which involved the same officer? Adding up the numbers, last week Nicholas Mitchell, the city’s independent monitor, released a statement announcing that his office was evaluating the Denver Police Department’s policies and practices related to shooting at moving vehicles. Denver police chief Robert White also said he’s launched a review of the incidents in question. […]

    But in the wake of these four recent vehicle-related shootings, some critics are wondering whether Denver police were properly informed of the new rules — or just chose to ignore them. “These cases raise very serious questions about whether the Denver police are complying with this strict policy, which says, ‘Don’t shoot, move out of the way if at all possible,’ and raises questions as to whether the Denver police have effectively retrained its officers on that policy,” says Mark Silverstein, legal director of the ACLU of Colorado. And even if they were properly trained, perhaps Denver’s current policy isn’t strict enough, he suggests: Many major police departments, including those of Anchorage, Miami Beach, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles, have issued rules stipulating that moving vehicles should no longer be considered deadly weapons.

    The shooting of Sharod Kindell raises questions about the DPD’s current stance on moving vehicles. Was Sharod using his car in a way that was an immediate threat to the officers involved? And did the cops have no other reasonable course of action other than to open fire?

    The officers’ version of events seems to support their actions. According to the probable-cause warrant issued for Sharod following the shooting, Sharod started the Jeep after the officers asked him to get out of the car, and then, when DiManna opened the driver’s-side door, put the car in reverse and stepped on the gas, hitting DiManna and Landon with his open door and pushing them into their parked police car. Only then, notes the warrant, did DiManna withdraw his weapon and fire five rounds.

    Sharod disputes this account. “I never stepped on the gas,” he says. “Why would I do something like that? I am not trying to hurt anybody. When they pulled me out, that’s when the car went in reverse and the doors hit them.” He also insists that the cops had drawn their weapons while he was still in the car: “If I started the car, put it in reverse and hit the gas, they would have shot me then.”

    It’s hard to verify either version. While the Denver Police Department plans on equipping all of its traffic and patrol officers with body cameras this year, currently only District 6 officers have such cameras, says police spokesman Sonny Jackson, and Sharod was shot in District 5. What’s more, there’s no video recording of the incident from the officers’ car. According to a 2012 survey by the Police Executive Research Forum, nearly three-quarters of all U.S. police departments have outfitted some or most of their patrol vehicles with in-car cameras; the DPD is among the departments that don’t have such equipment.

    But there is at least one other eyewitness to the incident: twenty-year-old Sandy Garcia, a resident of the house where Sharod had pulled into the driveway, and who watched much of what transpired from an upstairs window. She says she didn’t see the officers grab at Sharod while he was in the driver’s seat, which supports the officers’ version of events: “I am pretty sure I didn’t see any officer pulling him out.” But she also says that Sharod’s car door wasn’t open when his car started moving backwards — and she didn’t observe any part of the vehicle hitting the cops. As the car rolled down the driveway, she says, the cops drew their weapons and started firing — at which point she ducked down, and so didn’t see what happened next.

    “It looked like he was trying to escape, but I’m not sure,” Sandy says of Sharod. But even if he was trying to flee, the police didn’t seem to be in immediate danger, with no alternative but to shoot him. “I think they could have handled the situation differently than pulling their guns,” she adds.

    Sharod’s family members point to hard evidence that supports his version of what happened: the bullet holes all over his body. If the cops fired on him through his car’s open window, as Sandy Garcia says, how could he have been hit in the left thigh? Then there was the bullet through his hand. How could he have been hit like that if he had his hands on the wheel, trying to get away, as the police suggest?

    There are good days and bad days, he says. It’s not easy spending 23 hours a day in an infirmary cell, without the company of other inmates or even a TV to pass the time. All he has to break the monotony is a Bible that he was given and the single collect phone call he’s allowed each day. Sometimes he has trouble handling it all, like the time last week when he called his mother and was at his breaking point. “He said, ‘Mama, I’m giving up. I wish they had just killed me,'” recalls Sherri. “I have never heard him talking like that before.” But other times, like when Chanel and his daughters recently came for a visit, he feels more hopeful.

    Sharod doesn’t know what the future holds for him. He doesn’t know what will happen with his previous criminal cases: the Weld County case, for which he’s still on probation, and the Arapahoe County case, which is scheduled to go to trial next month. He doesn’t know how he’s going to deal with the new charges stemming from the night he was shot — how he’s going to afford a capable lawyer or how he’s going to post bond, which was increased last week to $75,000. He’s due in court again next Tuesday, February 10. His family has launched a “Bring Sharod Home” funding campaign at, but he’s worried that won’t be enough.

    Nor does he have much hope that DiManna, the officer who shot him, will ever face charges for what he did on the night of January 9, the second time in six months that DiManna has fired at someone in a moving vehicle. While the Denver District Attorney’s Office investigates all incidents in which a Denver officer shoots someone, it hasn’t charged an officer for a shooting since 1992.

    Still, Sharod is grateful to be alive; he knows how close he came to following in the footsteps of his brother Kurt and all the others his family has lost. “They almost took my life, man,” he says, tears in his eyes. “If I didn’t see my daughter saying, ‘Daddy, come play,’ I think I would have given up.'”

    He didn’t give up, though, and now he just wants to get back to his life. “I just want to be with my family and to run my business and to finish school,” he says.

    That, and he wants the cops to stop pulling him over. Yes, he’s made mistakes. Yes, maybe he’s acted inappropriately around the police in the past, and maybe he did so on January 9 — but did that mean he deserved to be shot? The way he sees it, the police started it: He’s sure he hadn’t run a stop sign, so it was just one more time that he was stopped for nothing more than the way he looked.

    “I am sick of it,” he says. “I am sick inside. I want to throw up. I hate my look. The only reason I don’t cut my hair is that my older brother said, ‘Don’t ever cut your hair.'” Sharod’s long braids are the one thing he has left that connects him to Kurt, and family connections are the only thing that really count.

    “I gotta get my family away from all this stuff,” Sharod says. “I don’t have no problem with the police. I just want them to leave me alone.”

    Now those last words, that… Isn’t that what Eric Garner said, shortly before they killed him?

    This next I believe is from the Antioch shooting down in California, but I can’t be sure – I don’t have any other info on that one, but it doesn’t seem to match with the info on the Emeryville shooting. This is where Yvette was shot dead by Emeryville Police. #Oakland #FTP
    As she was opening her door and getting out of her car, police shot her from their car, while she was still in her car.
    #Oakland firefighters are here to pressure-wash the blood off the hands of these police officers. #FTP
    More from Oakland etc. next comment.

  117. rq says

  118. rq says

    Odds and ends for now:
    Classic. Resistance. #BlackHistoryMonth

    Ah, this is what Tony posted above: NYPD cop indicted for allegedly stomping on suspect’s head. A response on twitter: An NYPD officer has finally been indicted for stomping on a man’s head. Black cops, you better peep game. You’re not down like THAT.

    @bdoulaoblongata #FaceRacism How not to get arrested at the St. Louis RV show, link to post: St. Louis RV show customer review

    What to not wear to the RV show: eyeliner

    We wanted to look striking walking around the show room so we put on A LOT of black eyeliner. Brittany put eyeliner on me and literally got it all over my face. When it was my turn to put eyeliner on her, I admit I got a little crazy with it.

    After just a few minutes wandering around the RV show, some bald guy with tattoos all over his neck complained about the folks in our group wearing eyeliner on their faces. He said his rights were being violated because he had to avert his eyes to avoid looking at us. Another middle-aged lady took offense at our friends wearing excessive eyeliner. She said the way we were walking around silently was bullying. The crowd was really touchy about eyeliner! I can see that it might be distracting, but harassing? How does something on another person’s face equate to harassment? It’s like saying someone else’s cleavage is harassment. Some of our friends put white tape on their faces which made them look like accident victims, which is to say, ridiculous, but hardly threatening. […]

    Rude Staff at the RV Show

    They should seriously consider extending the amount of time they let RV enthusiasts stay at the show. We were told we had to leave after only thirty minutes. Not only did I miss the Airstream, I didn’t get to take ANY selfies in fancy campers like I planned.

    The staff was rude and refused to speak to us unless we followed them to Room 115, whatever the hell that was. It was confusing because we were paying customers with tickets. What was Room 115? Was Room 115 code for Hotel California? We can check out any time we want but we can never leave? Two of my friends and I wanted more information about Room 115 and who exactly didn’t want us at the RV Show.

    Slow service/overkill by hotel staff

    That’s when it got weird. Either the RV Show staff or the Convention Center workers called in armed hotel staff to escort us to where you go when you don’t go to Room 115. The hotel sent dozens of shuttles with flashing lights to meet us outside the Convention center. It seemed an awful waste for just the three of us. The shuttle bus looked more like a Nuisance Abatement vehicle. The seats were hard and there wasn’t even room to stand up.

    The shuttle driver was kind enough to take our bags but I suspect he secured our cell phones so we couldn’t post poor customer reviews. I would have tipped him for the bags if my hands hadn’t been in cuffs. Instead of going to a regular hotel they took us to this really crappy one that didn’t have any windows. The lobby was very unwelcoming and could have used some fresheners.

    Some of the other hotel guests smelled awful and appeared drunk. Several had apparently been waiting hours to days for their rooms upstairs and no one was happy about it. The armed hotel staff helped us off with our shoes. I assumed they were going to have the shoes shined but instead just removed our laces and hoodie strings. (Note to self to wear uncomplicated foot ware and clothing without strings to the America’s Convention center.)

    The staff at the Concierge desk asked A LOT of personal questions. On two occasions staff felt us up as part of the “intake process”. They took our fingerprints presumably so we would be less inclined to steal hotel robes and keep us honest with the mini bar. The whole experience seemed designed to make us feel like criminals.

    RV Show/room service food

    I can’t comment about the food because we were given the bum’s rush out of the Center before we could even blow powdered sugar off a funnel cake. Later on, after being delivered to our hotel, we were promised room service would provide curly bologna sandwiches on stale bread, but even that never came. By the time we left, we were all starving. A bellboy did bring us some water after we asked for it. Again, I was unable to tip because the hotel staff insisted on shrink wrapping our money and valuables.

    Poor attention to customer service

    The check-in process took a really long time. Instead of showing us to our rooms, we just hung out with the hotel staff in the lobby. Surprisingly, we had thoughtful and respectful discussions about how the hotel could be run better with better trained staff and how my friends and I could lobby for better treatment without wearing eyeliner.

    It turns out they don’t actually have guest accommodations at the crappy hotel so the bus driver took us to the Justice Hotel where the interminable check-in process started all over again. They were overbooked so the three of us were herded into a soulless cement guest room with a free-standing toilet at one end and a door that locked upon closing. We shared the metal benches with a handful of detoxing women for a few more hours before they finally let us out, but only after we paid an exorbitant room charge.

    All in all, I can’t recommend anyone go to the America’s Convention Center or the Justice Hotel. There’s got to be an easier way to have important discussions.

    Honestly, I really, really enjoyed that read. Awesome customer review.

    More about the man who commutes 21 miles to work (he doesn’t walk all of them, mind): The 21-Mile Walk to Work: “James Robertson’s commute is a personal triumph, but it also illustrates all the ways America fails the working poor. ”

    The 56-year-old Detroiter was the subject of a profile in the Free Press over the weekend. He walks 21 miles every day, part of a 23-mile commute from his home in the city to his factory job in Rochester Hills, a suburb. He’s been doing it five days every week, ever since his old Honda bit the dust. His route takes him through rough neighborhoods and he leaves work well in the middle of the night. This being Detroit, he also reckons with snow drifts and sub-freezing temperatures regularly during the winter.

    But Robertson is impressively upbeat about it:

    “I sleep a lot on the weekend, yes I do,” he says, sounding a little amazed at his schedule. He also catches zzz’s on his bus rides. Whatever it takes to get to his job, Robertson does it.

    “I can’t imagine not working,” he says.

    There are some fringe benefits. Robertson’s boss’ wife feeds him delicious home-cooked Southern meals. Still: pretty grueling.

    The reaction has been appropriately positive. Robertson was already something of a role model for his co-workers, and readers responded to the story generously, donating $70,000 and counting to help him get a new car. That’s great for Robertson. But this isn’t a feel-good story—it’s a story about policy failures, structural economic obstacles, and about what it takes to keep working despite those challenges. Robertson is no doubt deserving, but it’ll take larger changes to help other people who face similar struggles. […]

    Let’s start with the obvious problem here: lack of mass-transit options. Robertson used to drive to his job, but his 1988 Accord gave out 10 years ago. In car-obsessed Motor City, that’s bad news. Robertson’s $10.55 per hour pay is more than a buck-fifty higher than the living wage in Wayne County, but it’s still not enough for him to get a new car and insure and maintain it. […]

    That, in turn, points to one of the big problems in the economic recovery: While there were often jobs available in the United States, they weren’t where workers needed them. It’s all well and good to say that people should move, but of course it’s not that easy. People are tethered by underwater mortgages, family ties, and the high costs of relocations. The Detroit metropolitan area is a microcosm of geographic inequality. Even as the city suffers a shrinking population, limited services, water shutoffs, and high crime, adjoining Oakland County, where Robertson works, is booming.
    Robertson’s trek is saintly, but like many saints who practiced bodily mortification, it can’t be good for him.

    The county has been run for more than two decades by L. Brooks Patterson, a flamboyant and effective executive. As The New Yorker chronicled, Patterson has gone out of his way to cut the county off from Detroit, stopping regional infrastructure projects and generally bashing the city. Oakland County is pricey to live in, but it’s where the jobs are, so workers like Robertson have to go through heroic measures to get to them. The alternative is essentially not working.


    And what of the dangers Robertson encounters? “I have to go through Highland Park, and you never know what you’re going to run into,” he said. “It’s pretty dangerous. Really, it is (dangerous) from 8 Mile on down. They’re not the type of people you want to run into. But I’ve never had any trouble.” That’s not actually true—the stoic Robertson didn’t want to discuss it, but his boss told the reporter he’d been mugged. It’s especially dodgy since Robertson gets there after 1 a.m. Detroit has the highest murder and violent-crime rates of any major city.


    Robertson’s trek is saintly, but like many saints who practiced bodily mortification, it can’t be good for him. “He comes in here looking real tired—his legs, his knees,” a coworker said. He also doesn’t get enough sleep, for which he compensates by drinking 2-liter bottles of Mountain Dew or cans of Coca-Cola, filled with unhealthy sugar—although given his walk, the calories maybe aren’t a big factor. What happens if Robertson’s knees or some other part of his body give out prematurely? Presumably he’d end up relying on disability benefits. […]

    This isn’t just a threat to poor Americans or poor Detroiters. It’s a threat to the American economy. The more workers there are, the better off the nation is. But not everyone can do what James Robertson does every day; he’s clearly a rare breed. The problem isn’t just that people who don’t work aren’t contributing to that; it’s that there’s also the cost of more and more people drawing federal disability benefits. Some are skeptical that the ballooning number of recipients are really disabled. Setting that question aside, however, it’s a drag on the nation to have a huge number of Americans who might be able to work but are unable to find employment nearby, drawing assistance instead.

    It’s no surprise that James Robertson has become a viral story. But the amount of effort required to punch a clock shouldn’t be so unbelievable it earns national headlines.

  119. rq says

    Praying the addition of another 160 cops on the streets of STL doesn’t triple the black man slaughter rate by @slmpd cops @mollyrosestl

    And, after a struggle for your life, you’re not hurt at all? I dunno. Seems…too easy. #Stl #LadariusWilliams
    Memorial started. #LadariusWilliams #STL

    Protesters Demand Independent Investigation In Bridgeton Shooting (that’s Jerame Reid).

    Dozens protested at South and Henry Streets under the watchful eye of police. Reid’s death was caught on tape by a dashboard camera in the cruiser of the two officers who protesters say shot him six times after a routine traffic stop. Police ordered Reid and another man from the car after they spotted a gun inside

    The protesters also marched to city hall where city council was meeting. There, some marchers were given summonses by police. When they went into the meeting, they found out it was already over.

    Reid’s death is still under investigation by the Cumberland County Prosecutors Office although the prosecutor has recused herself from the case. Demonstrators want state or federal investigators to step in.

  120. rq says

    Okay! Probably last catch-up before I go to work. I haven’t had a chance to look into anything on black history today, but I hope you’ll forgive me. So much other stuff.
    Amid tensions, Sharpton lashes out at younger activists

    Protesters shut down three New York City bridges; they provided “I can’t breathe” t-shirts to basketball players as they warmed up for a game Prince William and his wife were attending; one protest ended with the city’s police commissioner covered in red paint.

    Below the surface of this anti-police brutality movement was another struggle—an inter-generational fight, pitting younger activists against an older, more seasoned set of players, the most prominent of which is Rev. Al Sharpton. Their strategies were less focused on street theatrics and public disruption and more on articulating a message through formal speeches and lobbying elected leaders in meetings.

    At one march on December 23 from Midtown to Harlem, I repeatedly heard participants say “Fuck Sharpton” and dismiss the notion that he was in any way a leader of their movement.

    Today, the 60-year-old reverend responded to the growing challenge by lashing out at younger activists, addressing them in a speech to his congregants.

    “They are pimping you,” he said, referring to activists who he said were trying to divide young protesters from the older generation of activists.

    Sharpton made the remarks during a regularly scheduled gathering in the Harlem office of the National Action Network, the nonprofit organization he founded more than two decades ago. He told the audience about the police brutality march he led in Missouri last year, where younger activists demanded a speaking role.

    Sharpton said he acquiesced, and told the crowd in Harlem today, “I’ve been meeting with them and talking with them since. And they were told, ‘Your problem is Al Sharpton and the other guys.’ Anytime you have movements, whether it’s in Ferguson, whether it’s in New York, whether it’s in Denver, wherever it is, when they got you more angry at your parents then they got you at the vote you’re supposed to be out there for, you’re being tricked and you’re trying to turn the community into tricks. And they are pimping you, to do the Willie Lynch in our community.”

    It was a reference to the colonial era slaveowner who taught others how to manipulate slaves into submission.

    “How you going to be more mad at folk that are marching for the same cause then you are against the folks y’all are marching against? Don’t you see a trick in there?” Sharpton asked.

    “And why they got y’all arguing about old or young in Ferguson, they running an election and y’all ain’t got a candidate in the race. Cause you’re busy arguing with your mommy and daddy when they re-electing a mayor, and re-electing a prosecutor. They got you arguing about who going to lead a march—the old or the young—when they cutting up the city budget. You can’t be that stupid! You more worried about who going to lead [National Action Network] than who going to be the governor with a multi-billion dollar budget that you got to pay state tax in. You can’t be that stupid.

    Sharpton added, “It’s the disconnect that is the strategy to break the movement. And they play on your ego. ‘Oh, you young and hip, you’re full of fire. You’re the new face.’ All the stuff that they know will titillate your ears. That’s what a pimp says to a ho.” […]

    After some applause and howls of approval from the audience, Sharpton continued with the pimp metaphor.

    “They tell them what they want to hear,” he said. “They don’t tell you ‘I’m going to turn you out.’ They tell you ‘You’re beautiful. Nobody appreciates you like I do. Look at you. You deserve all these material things. You’re not being in that London Fog coat. You should be in minks. You should have diamonds. You should have earnings [and] all you’ve got to do is come with me. We can have a brand new car together. We can buy a house in the suburbs together.’ And after they seduce you, they reduce you. And I’m not going to sit here and let them reduce our children.”

    Sharpton has acted as a family spokesman for the families of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, who were killed in police altercations in Missouri and Staten Island last year. Both the White House and City Hall have relied on Sharpton as a conduit of information, and sought his assistance as protests erupted following grand jury decisions in both cases where officers were not indicted.

    One young protester, Josmar Trujillo, founder of the group New Yorkers Against Bratton, said Sharpton has not been helping younger activists pushing for police reforms in New York City.

    In a statement to Capital following Sharpton’s speech, Trujillo wrote, “In New York, specifically in the majority of the work happening in the last year, Sharpton’s brand is largely seen as destructive at worst– irrelevant at best.”

    Trujillo added, “This city voted in a self described ‘progressive’ mayor and city council, only to have Rudy Giuliani’s police commissioner, Bratton, return to power. And who opened their doors to welcome him back? Al Sharpton and NAN.”

    Trujillo also said, “As we move ahead here in New York, inspired by Ferguson youth, we’re speaking truth to power. Sharpton, and others like him, are in fact much too cozy with power to fill that role. For the former informant to paternalistically admonish younger, more dynamic leaders by comparing them to ‘hoes’ is just another self-serving attempt to squash dissent as he wrestles for control of a movement that’s leaving him behind.”

    A response to Sharpton: The irony is that Sharpton’s criticism of us is actually his unconscious self-critique. His words are truly spoken to the mirror, not us.
    All I can just say is ‘Wow’.

    I still say that beauty supply store on west Florissant and chambers was professionally burnt down. It’s so perfect it’s sketchy. Smh

    Ah, here’s some history after all: MLK’s Mother Was Assassinated, Too: The Forgotten Women Of Black History Month

    On June 23rd, 1973, Alberta Williams King was gunned down while she played the organ for the “Lord’s Prayer” at Ebenezer Baptist Church. As a Christian civil rights activist, she was assassinated…just like her son, Martin Luther King, Jr. But most people remember only one. Until a month ago, I was one of those people. […]

    I thought I was fairly well-versed in African-American history. My parents filled our shelves with the core curriculum: Up From Slavery, Letters from a Birmingham Jail, Native Son, Black Boy, Go Tell it On the Mountain, Soul on Ice, The Miseducation of the Negro, Before Columbus, and many more pieces of literature and non-fiction. I immersed myself in books, hagiography, essays, videos, encyclopedias. My extracurricular studies came from an authentic curiosity (instead of dutiful obligation) to know more about my family. Black females held the role of poetry and song: Phillis Wheatley, Maya Angelou, Gwendolyn Brooks, Nikki Giovanni, Sapphire. But as far as activism and leadership, the ranks were all-male.

    “Well, we don’t study it that much because there’s no such thing.” As South Florida child attending privileged white schools, I heard this answer a lot in response to request for getting more out of February. Usually I was the only black face in the honors classes and would be the lone petitioner. By the time I was in middle school, the atmospheric ignorance didn’t invoke anger in me. Instead I became curious as to who else did not “have a history.”

    The answer was anything not in Europe or the Mideast. When my teachers lectured about Mideast history, they had to mentally sever Egypt, Libya, and most of the region from the African continent just to keep the Eurocentric/Mediterranean conceit in tact. But none of this surprised me. Most of my white peers reached a consensus that African-Americans didn’t really have a history before slavery (or the arrival of Europeans) and not much to talk about after the civil rights movement of the 1960s. The only subcategory with an even smaller claim to historical significance were Black women. And while a fierce argument would rage in defense of the need for black history, most were willing to concede the importance of that history’s feminism. [… – I can say that, while I don’t remember how old I was, but I was indeed shocked to discover that Egypt was, in fact, in Africa.]

    Even now, as the nation’s attention focuses on the new generation of activists fighting against police brutality and hate crimes, it’s women who are often left out. The silence has subtle but lasting consequences. Historical omission points toward a culture’s subconscious beliefs that some people matter less than others. When female stories are muted, we are teaching our kids that their dignity is second class and the historical accounts of their lives is less relevant. This lowered value carries over when women face sexual objectification and systemic brutalization from inside and outside the community. When we can’t see ourselves in our history, we begin to think that we are disconnected and suffering alone. Historical ignorance always precedes cultural imbalances and individual despair. Too many lives are still lived in the blank space, too many march for racial equality while subjugating their gender and even sexual orientation.

    The wave of inter- and intra-community violence against women and African American LGBT citizens is not an accident. It may seem like nit-picking to talk about the lack of non-heteronormative stories during Black History Month. But historical exclusivity often has a way of turning into present and institutionalized tragedy. Whose story gets told matters.

    As an adult, I’m trying to make up for lost time. By getting to know Wells’ work in highlighting lynchings, Mrs. King’s behind-the-scenes leadership, Fannie Lou Hamer’s activism in Mississippi to get people registered to vote, and many other women whose stories must be told to our children when they are young so that they become a part of the accepted mainstream of black History.

    Today’s cover of the STL Post-Dispatch.

  121. rq says

    And here is the incident report re: yesterday’s police killing of Ledarius Williams in STL. Y’all.

    Officers were patrolling the area when they observed the suspect, who they know from the neighbourhood, acting suspiciously. The officers turned their vehicle around and when the suspect saw the officers, he fled, holding his waistband as he ran. The officers engaged in a foot pursuit, following the suspect as he ran down a gangway on Meramec, then through an alley. The suspect then exited the alley at Minnesota and hid behind a bush in an attempt to elude the officers. As the officers approached the suspect to arrest him, the suspect attempted to flee from the bush, down another gangway, and a hands-on struggle ensues. As the officers struggled with the suspect on the ground, the suspect produced a handgun. The officers attempted to gain control of the suspect’s handgun, and as they struggled, the suspect turned the gun and pointed it toward the officers. Fearing for his and the other officer’s safety, one officer fired gunshots at the suspect, striking him. The suspect was conveyed to a hospital where he was pronounced deceased. The suspect’s gun, a Springfield Armory 45 caliber, was recovered on the scene. Preliminary investigation revealed that the gun was reported stolen from Alabama in May 2013. The officers were not injured. As is department policy, the officer who discharged his weapon has been placed on administrative leave. Per Department protocol, the Force Investigative Unit (FIU) will handle the investigation. Established in September 2014, the FIU is the entity responsible for investigating all officer-involved shootings.

    Then there was Kendrick Johnson, remember him? Suspiciously lodged inside some gym mats. Teen indicted over false statements charge in wrestling mat death

    In July 2014, Chauncey told investigators he was present during a conversation in which he heard two individuals admit to causing Johnson’s death in January 2013.

    Johnson’s body was found upside down in a rolled-up gym mat at Lowndes High School. A state autopsy ruled the 17-year-old’s death accidental. The Johnson family insists their son died of foul play.

    Chauncey reportedly told investigators he only knew the first names of the two individuals he said made the admission, but he did provide the full name of a person he said was present during the alleged conversation.

    That individual denied ever being present during “any such conversations,” stated the sheriff’s office.

    Investigators attempted to identify the two unknown persons but were unable based on the information Chauncey provided, according to the sheriff’s office.

    After investigators were unable to verify the claims, the suspect reportedly admitted to making up the conversation, reports indicated.

    He “admitted that he had fabricated the story while at the home of friends in order to boast,” stated the sheriff’s office. He “also clarified the two persons who vaguely identified were fabricated and do not exist.”

    Well, that sounds like the end of that investigation. :(

    Something more positive. Dartmouth will offer a course on the #BlackLivesMatter movement

    Around 15 professors from 10 disciplines, including anthropology, women’s and gender studies, mathematics and English, are signed on to teach different sections of the course. The class will look at issues related to race, violence and structural inequality and relate current events to their historical roots, Dartmouth geography professor Abigail Neely told Mashable.

    “Though the events in Ferguson provided the catalyst for the course, we recognize that those events were not isolated in St. Louis in 2014, nor in the United States,” Neely said in an email. “This course offers the space to think about race in its broader historical and geographical context.”

    The hashtag mantra caught nationwide attention last year in the wake of a string of deaths of black men at the hands of white police officers and the lack of legal consequences that followed. Protests over police brutality against minorities swept major U.S. cities for months.

    According to The Dartmouth, the class was organized in response to a campus workshop that called on professors to incorporate the events surrounding Michael Brown’s death into their curriculum. The departments decided to take the suggestion one step further and design an entire syllabus around it.

    “A number of faculty and students on campus have been deeply troubled about the recent events that unfolded in Ferguson, on Staten Island, and across the country,” Neely told Mashable. “Many of us have felt that we both wanted and needed a way to think systematically about these events and about broader questions of race, violence, and the state in America.”

    Excellent, really excellent!

  122. rq says

    Lots of stuff today but it will mostly be posted in an unorganized manner.
    So yesterday I found out something new, and it turns out I wasn’t the only one. I had no clue that MLK’s mother was killed in church while playing the organ, in 1974. I will have the original article on her death (from 1974) upcoming, but see comment #129 (second-last link) for a quick intro.
    @deray I was just reading that today. I read A LOT! & I didn’t know that either. And that Coretta was the intended victim! Also heard a version where MLK was the intended victim.
    This is not in reference to the above: @deray so was @ADKing brother to MLK #TwoBrothersWHoDaredToDream book recently published by MLK’s sister-in-law, but to point out that MLK had a brother, which I also never knew. More on him: King, Alfred Daniel Williams (1930 – 1969). And more on the book, A.D. and M. L. King, Two Brothers Who Dared to Dream – apparently it’s a new book, as this author discussion took place on January 7!

    Please join us in the Black Studies Center on Saturday, Jan. 24 at 2 p.m. for a special event featuring Naomi Ruth Barber King, sister-in-law of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    Mrs. King will discuss her book, A.D. and M.L. King: Two Brothers Who Dared To Dream.

    Amazon link: A.D. and M.L. King: Two Brothers Who Dared To Dream

    After nearly half a century; after their deaths, the lifelong saga of the relationship between MLK and his cherished brother A.D. King comes to light. They were sons, they were brothers. They were husbands. They were fathers. They were leaders. They played together, they preached together, they marched together. They dreamed together. They cried together, they prayed together. And they rejoiced together. Deep from the heartfelt memories of Mrs. Naomi Ruth Barber King comes a love story. This is a love story of a modern day Boaz and Ruth. It is a love story of brothers who lived and died for a dream. It is a legacy love story. It is a love for family and community. It is a love of a God who so loved the world that he gave His Only Begotten Son; a love that two brothers lived and died for; still daring to believe.

  123. rq says

    In memoriam, Shot at 41 times. Hit 19 times. On this day 16 years ago Amadou Diallo was murdered while Black & unarmed by NYPD.

    And did @HstryOrg really believe that re-enacting via live-tweets the death of Emmett Till was a good idea?! I’m just wow. And take a look at the cast. but of course @HstryOrg thought this emmett till dramatization was a good idea…look at them #digitalblackface Look. At. The. Cast. List. …

    Aha, here it is: From the archive, 1 July 1974: Martin Luther King’s mother slain in church

    Her assailant, a young black man, who eye-witnesses said “went berserk,” and who was later reported to have said that “all Christians” were his enemies, was held by members of the church choir after he had wounded two other members of the congregation, one of them fatally.

    Aware of the potential consequences of this latest tragedy, the Mayor of Atlanta, Mr Maynard Jackson, issued a statement beseeching the community to remain calm.

    Mr Jackson, elected last year as the first black mayor of a major southern city, had returned abruptly to Atlanta from a West Coast conference last Wednesday after ominous civil disturbances had erupted in the streets following the police shooting of a young black man who had violated his parole. The mood in the city had been calming after the tense and uneasy week when this morning’s tragic shootings took place.

    Atlanta said later that a 21-year-old black man, Marcus Wayne Chenault, of Dayton, Ohio, had been charged with two counts of murder, one of assault, and one of carrying a concealed weapon.

    According to witnesses Mrs Alberta King, whose husband, the Rev Martin Luther King Snr, is pastor of the church on Auburn Avenue, was playing the organ for the Lord’s Prayer near the start of the service when the attack began. A young black man jumped and screamed: “You must stop this! I am tired of all this! I’m taking over this morning.”

    With that he drew two pistols and for the next 90 seconds fired wildly and continuously, hitting Mrs King, another elderly woman parishioner, and a 69-year-old church deacon, Mr Edward Boykin.

    So I have a feeling that MLK (Jr) wasn’t the target.

    Work continues. Just left city hall with my young guys … discussing the Philly chapter of #MyBrothersKeeper

    And a response to Rev. Al Sharpton’s outburst about the youth of today. The Kids Are Grown Now, Rev. Sharpton

    A lot of media coverage has been devoted to examining what has been deemed a generational gap between civil rights activists: Those who have come of age since Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri last August, and the more publicly entrenched organizers like Sharpton. The reverend and younger leaders have come to a strategic impasse about who is leading the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Some personalities have challenged how the movement should manifest itself and how it should provoke change, leading to rightful suspicions that elder leaders were parachuting in belatedly to co-opt the hard work of younger people on the ground. In his report, Paybarah notes he’s witnessed how that tense dynamic has revealed itself in some ugly language from younger marchers, including cries of “Fuck Sharpton!” But the reverend’s Monday remarks made it plain that the problem hasn’t been one-sided.

    I’d contend that the reverend stepped over a rhetorical line in his remarks, as when he likened the younger generation to “a ho” being played by a power structure—the “pimp”—that wants to see older leaders like him pushed aside. Sharpton and other older activists fear that the entire movement will suffer in the process. “They tell them what they want to hear,” he continued. “They don’t tell you, ‘I’m going to turn you out.’ They tell you, ‘You’re beautiful. Nobody appreciates you like I do. Look at you.” He continued the metaphor, invoking all kinds of placating gifts associated with pimps and the people under their control.

    In a phone conversation with me Tuesday night, Sharpton was critical of the Capital New York report, noting that young people have reacted with confusion to the article. (“We emphatically stand by Azi’s story,” editor Josh Benson told me in a statement, adding that Paybarah emailed Sharpton’s spokesperson—to no avail—asking for clarification about whether there were any specific young activists or organizations he was referring to in the speech.) But the reverend didn’t back away from the image. “I was telling them not to be treated like a second-class citizen,” he said. Sharpton added that there was one central message he sought to communicate that night: “Do not condemn the elders.” […]

    The reverend’s “pimping” remarks left [Johnetta Elzie] stunned, telling me that they were a “total erasure” of the work she and other young activists have been doing. “I don’t think this is going to help bridge any gaps between him and young people,” Elzie said. “All the other elders whom I’ve come into contact with, this analogy has never come up. I think ‘offensive’ is the best word I have for it.

    “From what I’ve seen since August 9, being that this is my first time being on the ground, putting my body where my Twitter activism was and answering the call to action, I don’t think that the community has been turned into anyone’s ‘trick,’” she added. “There’s a protest community. We are learning our strengths and our weaknesses together. We talk about legislation and bills, and folks who were not following politics now are.”

    What Elzie describes is reminiscent of Sharpton’s own early activism, when he was appointed, at the age of 13, as the youth director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Operation Breadbasket, where he worked alongside the more established Rev. Jesse Jackson.

    The furor of #BlackLivesMatter has been so loud that President Obama himself not only took a meeting with organizers last year but also addressed police brutality in his State of the Union address. Through his Justice Department, the Obama administration has made noticeable, if flawed public gestures towards police reform.

    No one is pretending that enough has been done, especially given signs of a national numbing to the fatal encounters unarmed black men like Jerame Reid—a motorist who was shot and killed by police in South Jersey with his hands up and a camera filming. Sharpton’s remarks come at a tipping point for this incarnation of a long civil rights struggle, when the media attention, nationwide planning, grassroots networking, and trending hashtags hope to speed concrete change.

    That is why Sharpton’s protestation about his prominence in police reform protests here in New York City rang hollow to me when we spoke. “Nobody’s been more against (NYPD Commissioner William) Bratton than me,” he told me. “There’s no one that has gotten more scorn than I have.” That’s all well and good, but has pissing people off become the principal payoff? […]

    Along those lines, Elzie said, “I suppose you wouldn’t know if you don’t know the people. You won’t know what’s going on in the community if you don’t know the folks you’re talking about. That’s not fair, especially with him having such a large platform. This is not community building.”

    Sharpton’s experience and history of activism does not elevate him beyond criticism. He should take a note from that Selma scene, and show the respect that he himself expects. That won’t happen when the young people ostensibly working towards shared goals are belittled in a patriarchal rant, deprived of any agency, and taken for suckers.

  124. rq says

    3 Black Adoptees on Racial Identity After Growing Up in White Homes

    The Root talked to three transracial adoptees, all adopted by white families in the 1970s, about their experiences and views on transracial adoption, as well as Costner’s new film. While all three appreciated the love and foundation their families provided, a common theme evolved: In a racially polarized society, children of color cannot be raised devoid of their history and culture. All three agreed that white families who adopt children of color need to abandon the naivete of colorblindness and deal with the racial reality their black and brown children face. […]

    Author and performer Chad Goller-Sojourner used to be afraid of black people, despite being a black person himself. “I used to cross the street when I saw multiples of them. Rap music scared me,” he said.

    Raised by white parents in a mostly white community, Goller-Sojourner had an identity that was completely assimilated. “One of the interesting things from when I was younger is when you grow up with white parents, white neighborhood, white church, your default identity is a white kid. Blackness comes later,” he said, adding, “People always reminded me I was black.”

    It wasn’t until he went off to college, to a town he described as whiter than his hometown, that he began the work of unpacking his “blackness.” He had to move away from his parents and the privilege of their whiteness to see the reality surrounding him.

    Of Costner’s film, Goller-Sojourner is wary. “There’s a lot of these movies where the white savior comes up. White people come and save us and everything is good,” he said.

    Goller-Sojourner expressed concern that the film, which pits a financially better-off white family against a less-wealthy black one, plays into old white superiority tropes, not telling the full story. For him, it’s not about just meeting the basic needs of a child: race matters. He believes black children should be adopted in pairs when adopted by white parents and that white parents need to immerse themselves in black history and culture, and make black friends.

    “If you’re going to adopt kids, it’s the white parents’ obligation to shepherd them in same-race maturation,” he said. “When you have a transracial family, mixed-race family, you’re going outside the normal. Somebody has to be uncomfortable and it shouldn’t be the child. … Your child should not be your first black friend. That’s the bottom line. If you don’t know no black people, why are you trying to bring one to your home?”

    Writer and adoptee advocate LisaMarie Rollins admits that it was hard for her to navigate her identity on her own as a black girl with white parents, growing up in Washington state.

    “I grew up in a place where most of my life I was the only person of color. Not just the only black person, but the only person of color. It was super painful. Crazy, racist things happened to me. Not only verbal racism but physical, sexual violence, all kinds of things,” Rollins said.

    Her parents tried to raise her in a “colorblind” environment, which she attributes to the idea that some white parents hold that their whiteness can protect their children from the harm of racism.

    “It’s the idea that you can put this veil around [the child], this veil of white privilege,” she said.

    Despite her parents’ best intentions, Rollins described her childhood as hard and that she still deals with the aftereffects of it. “As an adult adoptee, [I] have no connection. I grew up in an all-white community, all-white Christian evangelical school. The notion of my blackness was simultaneously erased, yet everyone is projecting their ideas of blackness on me,” she said. “I feel like [this idea] we can adopt children from Haiti and stick them in Kentucky and it’s going to be all good … that’s not true.” […]

    Calling herself a family preservationist, Rollins says she is not anti-adoption, but she is concerned with how many black children end up in foster care, and feels more should be done to help children stay within their birth families, making transracial adoption a last resort.

    “I’m interested in how black mothers can raise their own children in a healthy, community-supported way,” Rollins said. “Maybe that looks like [preserving] a family, instead of adopting and removing a child. Maybe I befriend someone and support them in keeping their child. Maybe I’m an auntie figure.”

    Rachel Noerdlinger

    Raised by white parents she credits with making sure she wanted for nothing, Rachel Noerdlinger still went through a period during which she believed transracial adoptions should happen only as a last resort. While she loved her parents and they loved her, she wasn’t sure if that could be enough to counter the effects of racism, and that initially made her stance harsh. But time and motherhood have softened her view.

    “Having my own child made me realize that all children need homes and that love is love, but at the same time I still strongly think that we need to do more to expose families of color to the adoption process,” Noerdlinger said. “With the state of racial affairs in America, it’s an impossibility to avoid race.”

    Noerdlinger, who currently works as the managing director at Mercury, a high-stakes, public-strategy company, is the former chief of staff for New York City’s first lady, Chirlane McCray. Before that, she worked in publicity, and during her time in public relations, she worked on the promotion of Losing Isaiah. The plot of the film was one that was close to Noerdlinger’s heart as an adoptee. […]

    “I always knew I was a child of color. I knew when I looked in the mirror,” she said. “But I assimilated, and it wasn’t until later in life that I had an identity crisis. And it was just a feeling of not knowing … I had a lot of questions. I had this profound sense of loss and not knowing, and I sort of felt like there was a lifetime of experiences I had not been privy to.

    “I moved to Gambia, West Africa,” she continued. “I went there in search of ethnicity, but Africans have all different kinds of ethnicities, so I didn’t necessarily find what I was looking for there. It was unrealistic to think I could just go to Africa. It was a bit extreme.”

    Noerdlinger plans to see Black or White and said she applauds Costner for doing the film, saying, “It opens up a dialogue.”

    She adds, “I think white families that choose to adopt black children really need to commit to themselves being educated, to being committed to exposing their adopted child to important cultural needs and values. And we live in a day and age where that’s not entirely hard to do. These days it’s much easier to have things at the tip of your fingers.”

    The STL COB won’t be able to discipline officers. Its only strength is independent investigation. We should at least make that meaningful.
    The City of St. Louis should not do as the City of Ferguson did and pass a Civilian Review Board in name only. It must be meaningful.

    Memorial services for #LedariusWilliams tonight at 6pm I’m going to try and make it there to stream but idk 4100 Minnesota #Ferguson #STL

    Ah, this was a #CrimingWhileWhite comparison. Man accused of shooting at plainclothes deputies in Oakland. Note: this incident occurred about 7 blocks from where the woman in Emeryville was shot yesterday – yet this man is alive, and she is dead.

    These 15 Americans Spent 350 Years In Prison For Crimes They Didn’t Commit – 15 people. 9 of them are black. The other 6 are white. Who is surprised?

  125. rq says

    Denver: Four families in Denver united #JessicaHernandez #SharodKindell #RyanRonquillo #Jurado bros, event link via FB: March against police terror! Justice for Jessie Hernandez, Ryan Ronquillo, and Carlos Jurado! Freedom for Sharod Kindell and Joel Jurado!

    In the last seven months, Denver Police have opened fire on four cars of unarmed people, resulting in two deaths, and three people being wounded.

    The most recent shooting in the North Park Hill neighborhood left 17 year old Jessie Hernandez dead. As has been a theme in these shootings, Jessie was accused of attempting to hit officers with her car. Witness testimony disputes these claims. The death of this young Mexican woman has struck a chord with many in Denver. As the family struggles with the process to bury their daughter, the struggle for justice for Jessie is just beginning.

    Just several weeks prior on January 9th, Sharod Kindell was driving when he was pulled over by Denver Police in Montebello. Sharod attempted to give his identification to officers who instead demanded Sharod exit the vehicle. When we exerted his rights and refused to do so, police opened the door and struggled with Sharod. Sharod had not placed the car in park, and when his foot came off the brake, the car rolled backward. Police opened fire on Sharod as he attempted to raise his hands in the air, striking him four times. He is still in custody, awaiting trial on several felony charges stemming from the incident.

    In July, 20 year old Ryan Ronquillo was killed after being shot 12 times by four DPD officers. Ryan was sitting in his parked car outside a funeral service for his best friend. Police sped into the parking lot of the funeral home, crashed their cars into his car. Moments later, Ryan would be dead.

    In November, Carlos and Joel Jurado were involved in chase with police. As the chase ended in Commerce City, police surrounded the car the two brothers were in. As both of the brothers raised their hands to surrender, police claim the car lurched forward, and they opened fire into the car. Both brothers were wounded in the altercation. Carlos was released from the hospital without any charges, with his brother Joel is still in jail, awaiting trial, accused of a host of felonies.

    We will march for justice for all these victims of police terror in Denver. Bring your signs, banners, drums, anger, and hope for justice as we attempt to move these struggles forward.

    This demonstration is being organized with the explicit consent of the Ronquillo, Hernandez, and Kindell families. We ask that participants in this march leave their personal agendas at home and respect the anger of the families, as well as the tactical decisions of those participants involved in this action that come from the families and communities involved in these tragic shootings at the hands of Denver Police.

    This action is endorsed by the Family of Ryan Ronquillo, The Family of Jessica Hernandez, The Family of Sharod Kindell, Denver Community Defense Committee, Brothas Against Racist Cops… other groups to be named shortly.

    More contacts and info at the link.

    St. Louis aldermen seek to give proposed civilian oversight board subpoena power

    A last-minute substitute bill was filed on Wednesday that would give subpoena power to the proposed civilian oversight board of police, broadening its authority to investigate complaints against city police officers.

    The substitute bill, filed by sponsor Alderman Antonio French, will be debated at 10 a.m. Thursday at City Hall, setting up a showdown on the bill that was originally expected to easily pass.

    Debate over the broader bill devolved into a melee at City Hall last week when protesters and off-duty police officers spoke at a rare evening public input session.

    More than 15 aldermen placed their names as co-sponsors to the original bill, although support could fade with the introduction of the substitute bill. Previous efforts to create a civilian oversight board in St. Louis have languished over the years.

    Some argued that the original bill was too weak and didn’t give the proposed board broad powers. City officials and aldermen spent significant time working together on the original bill, which was filed by Alderman Terry Kennedy in December. Kennedy was dropped as the lead sponsor when he was elevated to chairman of the public safety committee, giving French control of the bill.

    On Wednesday, French added a clause that would give the board the power to compel testimony, among other things.

    Mayor Francis Slay, who supported the original bill and made the rare step of adding his name as a co-sponsor, will veto the substitute if approved, according to Jeff Rainford, his chief of staff.

    “We spent months negotiating to find the right balance that treats citizens fairly and police officers fairly,” Rainford said. “We think we found the right balance.”

    Rainford said he worries officers would become hesitant to do their jobs if the board had subpoena power.

    French said on Wednesday the additional power is necessary.

    “At the end of the day, the Civilian Oversight Board cannot discipline any officer and can only make recommendations to the chief and the mayor,” French said. “Its only real power is in its ability to conduct independent investigations. We should try to give that limited power as much meaning as possible.”

    The police officers union already was upset with the original bill, saying that officers would leave the force if approved.

    The Missouri attorney general’s office said the city has the ability under its charter to empower the civilian body with such subpoena power.

    The aldermanic public safety committee is expected to vote on the issue on Thursday, before it heads to the full Board of Aldermen. There will be no formal public input session.

    Learn more about the Civilian Oversight bill tomorrow at the Carpenter Branch Library at 6:30 pm.

    Via Mano, Arrested for standing while black, with video.

    Take a look at this dash-cam video from a police cruiser that shows an officer Cynthia Whitlatch accosting William Wingate, a 70 year-old black man who was standing at an intersection and doing absolutely nothing wrong but just leaning on his golf club that he has long used as a walking stick.

    The incident was caught on video, and is about as ridiculous as it sounds.

  126. rq says

    Police in Ferguson are to test the non-lethal ‘The Alternative’ gun – but can it save lives?

    Browsing a Californian company’s website, Eickhoff found pictures and videos of an odd-looking, orange device docked on a normal handgun barrel. When a bullet fired, it melded with an attached projectile the size of a ping-pong ball that flew with enough force to knock a person down, maybe break some ribs, but not kill them, the product’s makers said – even at close range. Its name: the Alternative. This week, five police instructors in Ferguson will be trained to use the device; the department plans to introduce it to the entire force of 55 officers.

    Attracting ardent fans and just-as-fierce critics, the Alternative is the latest in a growing inventory of less-than-lethal police weapons – including the Taser, bean-bag-loaded shotguns, pepper-filled pellets, rubber-coated bullets and stun grenades – that officers reach for in various situations to minimise the chances of killing people.

    The difference is that the Alternative is meant for exactly the time when US officers decide, often in a split second, that they must shoot someone to protect themselves or others. “It gives another option,” Eickhoff says of the device, which he later tested for himself. “I really liked it… You are always looking to save a life, not take a life.”

    But others consider the product dangerous because officers must take time – if only a few seconds – to remove it from their belts and affix it to a service weapon. That “exposes police officers to greater risk” and “turns policy on its head”, says Steve James, a former police major and training expert from the same state.

    “I am all about less lethal,” he says. “What bothers me is we will allow an officer to face immediate deadly jeopardy with a less-lethal round. Deadly force is the most likely thing to repel deadly force.”

    Classic argument. When the discussion is about those cases where lethal force is clearly not the issue, but officers simply being suddenly afraid for their lives. More:

    US police officials are quick to point out that the vast majority of officers would prefer to never have to shoot anyone. But juries almost always side with the judgements of those who enforce the law; if officers reasonably believe that they or others are in imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm, they are generally justified to shoot to kill.

    That applies even if the suspect’s gun was a replica or a mirage, a glint of light or a shadow, or if that now-bullet-riddled unarmed person was just reaching for his or her identification. It applies when a desperate character is waving a loaded gun, inviting “suicide by cop” – or just brandishing a big tree branch while marching on an officer.

    Christian Ellis, the chief executive of Alternative Ballistics, says that he started his small company to perfect a device to stop needless citizen deaths. The rough concept was developed several years ago by a retired sheriff’s officer from whom Ellis bought the patent.

    “Ask a police officer what are the options when lethal force is justified and he’ll say, ‘I have my gun and my bullets,’ ” Ellis says. He calls the Alternative “an air bag for a bullet”. Actually, it’s a bulbous metal-alloy bullet‑capture device that travels up to 250ft per second (when propelled by a 9mm slug) and sends “a shock wave of pain through the suspect” when it hits, Ellis says. Effective to a range of 30ft, the Alternative incapacitates a person but would very rarely penetrate the skin, he says, citing ballistics tests using leather chamois, foam and gel to simulate the human body. All tests were conducted at a range of 5ft from muzzle to target.

    Isn’t that how rubber bullets are supposed to work? And often don’t? And I have to put in the ending…

    Some bloggers and gun enthusiasts have excoriated Ellis’s product; one labelled it “terrifying”, the worst less-lethal force idea ever. They have gleefully taken note that the business end of the Alternative resembles a clown’s nose.

    “I get this all the time from police until they see it and shoot it,” Ellis says. “I’ve yet to have one person anywhere in the world who has shot it and not instantly believed in its value.” He says that the device should never be an option when officers feel that they or those around them are immediately imperilled; then lethal force is obviously required.

    “There’s always this understandable tendency to find any kind of weapons that will cause the least amount of harm, to avoid deadly force,” says Chuck Wexler, of the Police Executive Research Forum, who submitted testimony on the topic last week to the presidential task force. He was unfamiliar with the Alternative, but he noted that other supposedly less-lethal approaches, such as the Taser, can still cause severe injury or death. “The problem is when the technology gets too far out and advanced and there are not policies or guidelines.” [… – brace yourselves]

    Could this thing have saved Brown? After a ruminative pause, Eickhoff says that if Wilson’s fusillade of gunfire didn’t stop Brown, it’s not likely that a single-shot blunt-force projectile would have. “You could still shoot him with this round and he could still get up and come at you,” Eickhoff says.

    See how that narrative has already become deeply rooted? That Michael Brown charged Wilson… I am aghast.

    The NYPD’s chief supports harsher penalties for resisting arrest. That’s a horrifying idea.

    If the state legislators asked Bratton about this, it’s possible that they’re at least considering changing New York law to make it a felony to resist arrest. This could spell disaster for New Yorkers, for one big reason: resisting arrest charges are used mostly by a small share of cops, many of whom are among the most abusive.

    Bratton told the State Senate (according to Buzzfeed) that “if you don’t want us to enforce something, don’t make it a law.” But that’s the opposite of how resisting-arrest cases actually work. Most cops don’t bring in many, or any, people for resisting arrest. But a few cops bring in a lot.

    In New York, in particular — according to a 2014 report from WNYC — 40 percent of resisting-arrest cases are brought in by 5 percent of police officers […]

    Here’s why that matters: if a cop is routinely hauling people into court for resisting arrest, he might be taking an overly aggressive attitude toward civilians. A police officer might even, as police accountability expert Sam Walker told WNYC, use the criminal charge to cover up his use of excessive force:

    “There’s a widespread pattern in American policing where resisting arrest charges are used to sort of cover – and that phrase is used – the officer’s use of force,” said Walker, the accountability expert from the University of Nebraska. “Why did the officer use force? Well, the person was resisting arrest.”

    As the New York Times reported in September 2014, even the NYPD itself might be tracking resisting-arrest cases as a red flag for excessive force:

    Many policing experts consider charges of resisting arrest to be the best broad measure of use of force in arrests. The department has tracked charges of resisting arrest as a way of identifying officers who may use excessive force, said a former senior department official who insisted on anonymity because he still works in law enforcement.

    If resisting arrest is a reasonable indicator of the use of force, department statistics for 2013 suggest that officers used force more regularly than indicated on arrest reports. In 2013, there were 12,453 arrests that included charges of resisting arrest, about 3.1 percent of all arrests, thousands more than the total number of recorded uses of force.

    If “resisting arrest” charges can sometimes say more about the police officer than they do about the defendant, making the charge a felony won’t discourage the phenomenon — it gives more power to the police. Residents, meanwhile, could conceivably have to deal with possible prison time and a permanent criminal record for getting on the wrong side of the wrong cop.

    Didn’t they just try an experiment with less policing that worked out rather well? And now this? *sigh*

    Police Officer Acquitted in 95-Year-Old’s Beanbag Gun Death

    Park Forest Police Officer Craig Taylor was charged with felony reckless conduct for the July 2013 death of John Wrana, who died from internal bleeding. He was found not guilty after a bench trial, with the judge saying Taylor showed restraint as Wrana wielded a knife and acted as he was trained. […]

    Taylor, 43, was one of several officers dispatched to the assisted living facility where Wrana lived after a staff member reported he had become combative on July 26, 2013.

    Wrana struck a staffer with his cane, then brandished a 2-foot-long shoehorn at officers, prompting them to briefly leave the room. When the officers returned, one officer was carrying a Taser, another one had a shield, and Taylor was carrying a 12-gauge shotgun that shoots beanbags.

    Wrana then threatened the officers with a knife. When he refused to drop it, an officer fired at him with the Taser but missed. Wrana then moved toward Taylor, who fired his weapon five times.

    On Tuesday, the judge noted that Taylor was careful to avoid Taylor’s face, neck and spine.

    Prosecutors said Taylor had better and safer options than to fire the beanbags at a confused, elderly man, and that the officers didn’t have to storm Wrana’s room. They said Taylor behaved recklessly when he fired at Wrana from no more than 8 feet away.

    Taylor testified that he was following a superior officer’s orders, and that he feared for his life and the lives of his fellow offices as Wrana threatened to kill whoever came into his room. Taylor said he felt like he “had to do something to stop” Wrana.

    The guy was 95. I know some spry ones, but seriously. Not that spry.

    Trayvon Benjamin Martin would have turned 20 years old today. (February 5, 1995 – February 26, 2012) Never forget.
    In honor of #TrayvonMartin’s 20th birthday: #HoodiesUp. #FacesofTheMovement

  127. rq says

    Support and follow @FergusonASB! #FergusonAlternativeSpringBreak #FergusonASB, link to site:

    Interlude: Music!! AFROPUNK Mixtape 003: Living History

    From the marches on Selma to the marches on Ferguson, Black History is living history. January 2015 saw the resurgent Civil Rights Movement gain strength, while a new Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch, the child of Civil Rights activists, boldly paid her respects to that legacy in her historic confirmation hearing. January 2015 also saw the release of new music rooted firmly in the blues, jazz, and soul from Afropunk favorites like Saul Williams, Project Black Pantera, and Toro Y Moi alongside newcomers like Pluto Moons, Adia Victoria, and Raury.
    Here is AFROPUNK Mixtape 003: Living History.

    Cleveland police start wearing body cameras after Tamir Rice shooting, because body-cameras allow them to accurately judge someone’s age based on their skin colour. Not.

    Cleveland spent $2.4 million to outfit nearly all of the city’s 1,510 officers with Taser’s Axon Flex body-worn cameras, and at least 200 officers in one of the city’s high-crime neighborhoods are expected to begin wearing the devices by the end of the week, according to Det. Jennifer Ciaccia, a police spokeswoman.

    “The cameras will provide accurate documentation of police/citizen encounters and assist with reporting, evidence collection and court testimony,” the department said in a statement. “Body-worn cameras have been shown to reduce the number of complaints and use-of-force incidents in law enforcement.”

    The deployment of the cameras comes a little more than two months after Officer Timothy Loehmann shot and killed Tamir seconds after approaching the boy in his patrol car. Tamir was holding a toy gun.

    Police union officials have said Loehmann, a rookie officer with a troubled past who had been dismissed from another police department before he was hired in Cleveland, believed the gun was real and did not realize Tamir was so young.

    Ciaccia said that the department has been researching the use of body cameras since 2012 and that some officers began wearing them as part of a pilot program last summer.

    Civil rights advocates, however, say they think the department sped up its decision to deploy the body cameras because of Tamir’s death as well as a Department of Justice investigation that found Cleveland police routinely use excessive force.

    The “Muse Brothers” Black Albinos who were kidnapped as children & sold to a local circus. #BlackHistoryFacts
    Missouri Senate panel hears Ferguson-inspired bill

    A Democratic Missouri senator says her bill to change police-conduct laws would help restore trust in democracy following civil unrest in Ferguson.

    Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, of University City, outlined her bill during a Senate committee hearing Wednesday. It would change laws on the use of deadly force by police, require special prosecutors in police shootings and encourage police body cameras.

    She says the conduct of police toward people protesting the fatal shooting of Michael Brown was an embarrassment to the state.

    Her bill lays out conduct standards for police during peaceful protests, which she says would help restore faith in the justice system and protect citizens’ constitutional rights.

    The legislation also requires law enforcement officers to identify themselves with nametags during protests and bans the use of hogtying.

    I’m shocked that some of these things actually need legislation.

  128. rq says

  129. rq says

    Back in November or so, the HealSTL office burnt down. Some good news, though: Down, but not out! #HealSTL headquarters will reopen in #Ferguson, article link: #HealSTL office to reopen in Ferguson

    The headquarters of the #HealSTL movement in Ferguson will reopen in June.

    The organization’s office was burned down during the unrest in November.

    St. Louis Alderman Antonio French raised nearly $30,000 in online donations, and the office is being rebuilt in the same location on West Florissant Avenue.

    So yay for that!

    Here’s the Washington Post on those ‘less lethal’ guns. Ferguson, Mo., police begin testing new ‘less-lethal’ attachment for guns.

    Police officials are quick to point out that the vast majority of officers would prefer to never have to shoot anyone. But juries almost always side with the judgments of those who enforce the law; if officers reasonably believe that they or others are in imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm, they are generally justified to shoot to kill.

    That applies even if the suspect’s gun was a replica or a mirage, a glint of light or a shadow, or if that now-bullet-riddled unarmed person was just reaching for his or her identification. It applies when a desperate character is waving a loaded gun, inviting “suicide by cop” — or just brandishing a big tree branch while marching on an officer.

    Bolding mine. Which really reinforces, for me, the idea that it’s not a ‘less lethal’ weapon that officers need, but better training. Deletion of the idea that any time someone makes a move, they’re out to kill the officer. Controlling stress reactions, being well-versed in de-escalation techniques. Teaching methods that, yes, may put the officer at risk, but would end with less death all around. And heck, isn’t the risk aspect why some people become cops? Except now they’re getting out the easy way, with guns. Too easy to be scared, plus there’s the whole responsibility issue. Most of the cops involved in shootings have previous records of making bad decisions of various kinds. Is a gun, or even a ‘less lethal’ option, something that should be in their hands? Why not extra training and seminars and more knowledge? (I know, it costs money and time. :P )
    Also, don’t police already have tasers? As a ‘less lethal’ option? Why not extra training in using those? (Though yes, tasers have their problems and issues, too, but again, more training!)
    Basically, I think guns and the training currently available in the use of force is the major issue, in addition to proper screening of who should even be a police officer. Just a few random thoughts, sorry about that. [/opinion]

    Ladarius Williams. We will not forget.

    One chart that shows the war on drugs is racist.

    The chart comes from the Sentencing Project’s new report outlining the many racial disparities in the criminal justice system.

    Surveys and research show white and black Americans use and sell drugs at very similar rates, but African Americans are much more likely to be arrested for drug possession.

    What’s behind this disparity? The Sentencing Project explains: “Myriad criminal justice policies that appear to be race-neutral collide with broader socioeconomic patterns to create a disparate racial impact. Policing policies and sentencing laws are two key sources of racial inequality.” […]

    As for the broader racial disparities, federal programs that encourage local and state police departments to crack down on drugs may create perverse incentives to go after minority communities. Some federal grants, for instance, require police to make more drug arrests in order to obtain more funding for anti-drug efforts. Neill Franklin, a retired police major from Maryland and executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, said minority communities are “the low-hanging fruit” for police departments because they tend to sell in open-air markets, such as public street corners, and and have less political and financial power than white Americans. […]

    The disproportionate arrests and incarceration rates have clearly detrimental effects on minority communities. A study published in the journal Sociological Science found boys with imprisoned fathers are much less likely to possess the behavioral skills needed to succeed in school by the age of five, starting them on a vicious path known as the school-to-prison pipeline.

    Remember the protest at the Mall of America? Police seize private Facebook account info in Black Lives Matter case

    Attorneys with Black Lives Matter Minneapolis obtained a copy of a warrant Feb. 2 from the Bloomington Police Department that grants police permission to seize private information from the Facebook account of well-known community activist Nick Espinosa.

    In response, Nick Espinosa issued this statement:

    “I’m deeply disturbed to share that Bloomington Police have obtained a warrant to seize private information from my Facebook account as part of the ongoing political persecution and surveillance of alleged Black Lives Matter organizers who supported a peaceful gathering at the Mall of America on Dec. 20.

    “The Bloomington Police Department hopes to find evidence of a conspiracy to aid and abet trespassing, among other ridiculous charges. But the only conspiracy we see here is the collusion of public officials and private corporations to abuse the people they were elected to serve.

    “This blatant violation of my privacy and civil rights is part of an ill-conceived crusade by the City of Bloomington to intimidate and silence young activists of color at the behest of the largest shopping mall in the U.S., with our own public dollars.

    “As was true of the civil rights activists who paved our way, these gross miscarriages of justice will only strengthen our resolve to dismantle the systems of oppression tearing apart our communities and will inspire thousands more to action. We have nothing to lose but our chains.

    “End this political witch hunt. Drop the charges now.”

    The city of Bloomington filed charges last month against 10 people they accuse of organizing a peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstration at the Mall of America in December 2014. City Attorney Sandra Johnson has said she will pursue restitution for “lost revenue” and $33,000 of police overtime to make an example of “ringleaders” to deter future demonstrations.

    Defendants were charged with up to eight misdemeanors with a maximum penalty of two years in prison and an $8000 fine.

    Espinosa, along with two defendants – Michael McDowell and Mica Grimm – were visited at their homes twice by Bloomington Police in the lead-up to the event and were threatened with arrest if the gathering was not canceled.

    Bloomington Police also sent undercover officers to infiltrate a training held in preparation for a peaceful event at the Mall of America to conduct surveillance and identify “leaders.”

    There’s currently one comment and it’s a good one.

  130. rq says

    Texas neighborhood with ‘Caucasian race’ rule shuts down black man’s home business over signage. You read that right, they still have a Caucasian race rule.

    According to The Houston Press, James Mosbey had already been operating his “personal training and nutritional counseling” businesses out of his home for a decade when the Northwood Park Civic Association began trying to shut it down in January of 2013, saying that deed restrictions did not allow him to display signage.

    But Mosbey insisted on keeping the businesses open, and the neighborhood group convinced Harris County to file a lawsuit against him. By August of 2013, Mosbey was forced to close his businesses.

    Mosbey responded last year by filing a civil rights complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission.

    In a lawsuit filed last week, the commission accused the Northwood Park Civic Association of racially discriminating against Mosbey because it had not enforced the same restrictions against white business owners.

    “[T]hrough investigation, TCW-CRD learned that three white residents operate businesses within the Northwood Park subdivision, two of whom have yard signage, but the Northwood Park Civic Association has not sought to enforce restrictive covenants against them by causing them to be contacted regarding their signage or home businesses,” the lawsuit noted.

    In addition to rules against operating businesses, Rule 21 of the “Article & Bylaws” of Northwood Park states that “[n]o lot in said Subdivision nor any interest therein shall ever be sold, leased or rented to, or occupied by any person other than the Caucasian race.”

    Documents on the Northwood Park Civic Association website showed that the group made an effort to change the race-based restriction in 2004. But almost a decade later, the group explained in its newsletter than it was still collecting signatures for the effort.

    “The 1957 deed restrictions protect the homeowners from those that would mutate a diverse residential neighborhood into a conglomeration of shops, non-residential storage and car lots, junk yards, trucking companies, trailers, and mobile homes that would ruin a residential neighborhood’s desirability and destroy the quality of life of the residents,” the newsletter said.

    It went on to point out that the proposed amendments would “eliminate the discrimination clause #21 and preserve residential lots as single family dwellings not community property.”

    “We continue to gather signatures of approval so the proposed changes can be finalized.”

    More on the fired teachers: DC middle schoolers protest instructors fired for allegedly teaching too much black history.

    Parents and students said the teachers were let go because they taught about black history beyond what was outlined in the curriculum, and they’re demanding answers from Principal Angelicque Blackmon.

    Some of the parents met Wednesday with Blackmon, who they said had adopted the curriculum of Montgomery County (Maryland) Public Schools and had asked teachers not to discuss Kwanzaa and the late Mayor Marion Barry.

    “The school administration does not want the social studies teachers to teach African-American history,” said parent Shannon Settle. “We are on the campus of an HBCU [Historically Black Colleges and Universities]. We need to know our culture; the school is 90 percent African-American.”

    Members of the D.C. Council Education Committee said they were examining the claims made by students and parents.

    Students met staged a protest outside the middle school, where they presented administrators a list of demands.

    They asked for new social studies teachers who would be treated with respect and more communication from Blackmon, who parents and students said was “antisocial” and abrasive.

    Two more from Atlanta, Here all nite 4 #Justice4KevinDavis #KevinDavis @ShaunKing @CharlesMBlow @stackizshort @blackoutcollect @Nettaaaaaaaa
    Atlanta organizers say WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED. #SleepOutATL #kevindavis #Justice4KevinDavis PLS RETWEET FOR OUR SAFETY

    FSU withdraws scholarship for recruit named in Kendrick Johnson suit

    Earlier this month, attorneys for Kendrick Johnson’s parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit alleging an unnamed female lured their son into the old gym at Lowndes High where he was fatally beaten by Bell and his older brother. The siblings were acting at the behest of their father, FBI agent Rick Bell, according to the suit, which alleges a conspiracy implicating virtually everyone — including the GBI, local law enforcement and school officials — involved in the investigation into Johnson’s death.

    The brothers have not been charged with any crimes related to the death of their classmate.

    Valdosta civil rights leader Leigh Touchton told the AJC she was “completely deflated” after meeting last week with FSU president John Thrasher on Bell’s behalf. Attorneys for the Bell family and Randy McPherson, Brian’s football coach at Lowndes High, also attended the nearly two-hour meeting.

    The day before that sitdown, McPherson said he was informed by FSU Head Football coach Jimbo Fisher that Thrasher and the school’s athletic director were forcing him to withdraw Bell’s scholarship.

    “We thought we had made headway then they just threw cold water on it,” Touchton said. “We were advised this would not be a healthy environment for Brian Bell.”

    McPherson said Fisher told him Friday that the scholarship was off the table.

    The Lowndes sheriff found that the Bell brothers had alibis that precluded any involvement in Johnson’s death, including surveillance footage that revealed neither boy was near the gym where Johnson was last seen. Even though both were named in target letters by the U.S. Attorney investigating the case, no new evidence has been released linking them to the alleged crime.

    “Why can’t they accept the truth as the truth?” Touchton said.

    Bell’s parents and their attorneys declined comment on the decision by FSU. Their youngest son was heavily recruited and could still sign with another school.

    Well, lucky him.

    #STL Civilian Review Board mtg @ 10am @ City Hall. No public comment allowed this time. Especially from Roorda, ha.

  131. rq says

    Irresponsible Anti-Vax Politics Could Transfer the Risks of Disease to Communities of Color

    Of course, that may not be the first thing on the minds of Republican presidential aspirants like Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who made irresponsible assertions this week that it’s OK for parents to choose to ignore the science when it comes to decisions about the vaccination of their children. While Christie quickly backpedaled on his statements after a firestorm of public criticism, Paul—who is a physician—doubled down, stating that vaccines were to blame for “profound mental disorders” such as autism. This is simply not true.

    These scientifically baseless assertions can lead to profoundly dangerous public health policy, particularly in communities of color. The ramifications for many African Americans and other minority groups are greater than for those who have better access to quality health care—as has been shown—even as the Affordable Care Act takes shape. These concerns are primary in densely populated urban centers or metropolitan areas, where communities of color are disproportionately concentrated.

    As The Guardian’s health editor Sarah Boseley correctly points out, infectious diseases “spread horrifyingly fast in cities.” This was one major reason why, during my time as chief health officer of Washington, D.C., we instituted an ambitious citywide emergency school immunization campaign in 2002 upon finding 21,000 public school students who had not been vaccinated to meet established standards. This was considered one of the largest immunization drives in U.S. history, and within just eight weeks we experienced a 99 percent success rate.

    There was no conversation about choice, simply a conversation about how we could best protect the nearly 600,000 residents in the nation’s capital and the tens of millions of people from across the world who visit each year. [bolding mine] And at that time we were extremely sensitive about contagions and the spread of lethal infections, especially in the immediate wake of managing the country’s first bioterrorism attack.

    What’s significant to note here is that we did this in a city that had, at the time, a majority-black population (more than 56 percent) and a public school population that is overwhelmingly African American. […]

    Measles is actually much more contagious than another disease that recently grabbed headlines, Ebola. Which makes the current political “debate” peculiar. Elected officials like Christie didn’t hesitate to quarantine medical staff returning from fighting the disease in West Africa but appear somewhat nonchalant about fast-infecting measles. More alarming, and what some political leaders won’t say, is that diseases like measles will spread faster in cities.

    That will put people of color, especially African Americans, in the direct line of epidemiological fire, since nearly 20 of the largest cities in 13 states have black populations of 50 percent or higher.

    In fact, the CDC discovered that “[r]acial/ethnic minority children were at three to 16 times greater risk for measles than were non-Hispanic white children.”

    This risk disparity is of particular concern to public health professionals and planners, and it was a main driver behind the federal government’s creation of the Childhood Immunization Initiative in 1993.

    For those who advocate for “choice,” it’s not an urban issue, but it is an example of mostly more affluent individuals imposing their preference on underresourced and vulnerable populations of color—which means, ultimately, that they are transferring the risk.

    Protesters gather on the steps of the Staten Island Supreme Court ahead of oral arguments #EricGarner. They’re asking for the Grand Jury records to be opened to the public.

    In Facebook Posts, Congressman Aaron Schock’s Press Secretary Compared African Americans To Zoo Animals

    Benjamin Cole, a former Baptist pastor and energy industry spokesman, posted a series of videos and comments on October 13, 2013 mocking two African Americans outside his DC apartment. In the first, he compared them to animals escaping from the National Zoo engaged in “mating rituals.” That message included a video of a woman, shouting and seemingly engaged in an argument with someone not visible as she walked. In each of his posts, he used the hashtag “#gentrifytoday.” […]

    In a 2008 article for BaptistNews(dot)com, Cole scolded other Baptist pastors for their racist reactions to Barack Obama’s victory, but acknowledged, “During the course of the past year, I too have been forced to wrestle with my own prejudices. At times, I’ve joined the bigoted banter and helped to scratch the old wounds of racism.”

    If you can stomach reading his facebook posts, going to warn for hideous racism.

    The South still lies about the Civil War

    The Civil War is like a mountain range that guards all roads into the South: you can’t go there without encountering it. Specifically, you can’t go there without addressing a question that may seem as if it shouldn’t even be a question—to wit: what caused the war? One hundred and fifty years after the event, Americans—at least the vast majority who toil outside academia—still can’t agree. Evidence of this crops up all the time, often in the form of a legal dispute over a display of the Confederate flag. (As I write, there are two such cases pending—one in Oregon and the other in Florida, making this an average news week.) Another common forum is the classroom. But it’s not always about the Stars and Bars. In 2010, for instance, Texas school officials made the news by insisting that Jefferson Davis’s inaugural address be given equal prominence with Abraham Lincoln’s in that state’s social studies curriculum. The following year, Virginia school officials were chagrined to learn that one of their state-adopted textbooks was teaching fourth graders that thousands of loyal slaves took up arms for the confederacy.

    At the bottom of all of these is one basic question: was the Civil War about slavery, or states’ rights?

    Popular opinion favors the latter theory. In the spring of 2011, in recognition of the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, pollsters at the Pew Research Center asked: “What is your impression of the main cause of the Civil War?” Thirty-eight percent of the respondents said the main cause was the South’s defense of an economic system based on slavery, while nearly half—48 percent—said the nation sacrificed some 650,000 of its fathers, sons, and brothers over a difference of interpretation in constitutional law. White non-Southerners believed this in roughly the same proportion as white Southerners, which was interesting; even more fascinating was the fact that 39 percent of the black respondents, many of them presumably the descendants of slaves, did, too. […]

    One reason boils down to simple convenience—for white people, that is. In his 2002 book “Race and Reunion,” Yale historian David Blight describes a national fervor for “reconciliation” that began in the 1880s and lasted through the end of World War I, fueled in large part by the South’s desire to attract industry, Northern investors’ desire to make money, and the desire of white people everywhere to push “the Negro question” aside. In the process, the real causes of the war were swept under the rug, the better to facilitate economic partnerships and sentimental reunions of Civil War veterans.

    But an equally important reason was a vigorous, sustained effort by Southerners to literally rewrite history—and among the most ardent revisionists were a group of respectable white Southern matrons known as the United Daughters of the Confederacy. […]

    The significance of the UDC lies not in its present-day clout, which is negligible, but in its lasting contributions to history— both for good and for ill. From its inception in 1894 up through the 1960s, the UDC was the South’s premier social and philanthropic organization, an exclusive social club where the wives, sisters, and daughters of the South’s ruling white elite gathered to “revere the memory of those heroes in gray and to honor that unswerving devotion to principle which has made the confederate soldier the most majestic in history,” as cofounder Caroline Meriwether Goodlett grandly put it. At first, the UDC provided financial assistance and housing to veterans and their widows, offering a vital public service at a time when for all practical purposes most local and state governments in the South were nonfunctional and/or broke. Later, as the veteran population aged, the UDC built homes that allowed indigent veterans and their widows to live out their days with some measure of dignity. Long before there was such a thing as the National Park Service, the UDC played a crucial role in preserving priceless historic sites, war cemeteries, and battlefields across the South. At the same time, it embarked on a spree of monument building: most of those confederate monuments you can still find in hundreds of courthouse squares in small towns across the South were put there by the local UDC chapter during the early 1900s. In its way, the UDC groomed a generation of Southern women for participation in the political process: presidents attended its national convocations, and its voice was heard in the corridors of the U.S. Capitol.

    But the UDC’s most important and lasting contribution was in shaping the public perceptions of the war, an effort that was begun shortly after the war by a Confederate veterans’ group called the United Confederate Veterans (which later became the Sons of Confederate Veterans—also still around, and thirty thousand members strong). The central article of faith in this effort was that the South had not fought to preserve slavery, and that this false accusation was an effort to smear the reputation of the South’s gallant leaders. In the early years of the twentieth century the main spokesperson for this point of view was a formidable Athens, Georgia, school principal named Mildred Lewis Rutherford (or Miss Milly, as she is known to UDC members), who traveled the South speaking, organizing essay contests, and soliciting oral histories of the war from veterans, seeking the vindication of the lost cause “with a political fervor that would rival the ministry of propaganda in any 20th century dictatorship,” Blight writes. […]

    But presenting the “correct” version of history was only half the battle; the other half was preventing “incorrect” versions from ever infiltrating Southern schools. Before the Civil War, education was strictly a private and/or local affair. After the Civil War, it became a subject of federal interest. The first federal agency devoted to education was authorized by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1867, and Congress passed several laws in the 1870s aimed at establishing a national education system. White Southerners reacted to all this with a renewed determination to prevent outsiders from maligning the reputation of their gallant fighting men by writing textbooks especially for Southern students. One postwar author was none other than Alexander Stephens, former vice president of the Confederacy, whose portrayal of the war sounds remarkably like the version you hear from many Southerners and political conservatives today: it was a noble but doomed effort on the part of the South to preserve self-government against federal intrusion, and it had little to do with slavery. (This was the same Alexander Stephens who had proclaimed in 1861 that slavery was the “cornerstone” of Southern society and “the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution.”) […]

    Publishers don’t offer a special “Southern” version of history anymore; these days, they cater to individual state educational standards, though some states—like California and Texas—have a disproportionate national influence on what those standards are. The problem today, the former publishing executive told me, is that “with so many state standards, the books have become in the last ten years longer, blander, more visual, certainly—and more inclusive. There’s so much to cover.” The result is like light beer: better tasting, less filling. With no space to truth-squad a 150-year-old public relations campaign, today’s texts simply strive not to offend; they don’t perpetrate the lost cause myth, but they don’t do much to correct it, either. Take this passage from a text widely used in public high schools today, which neatly splits the difference between the “states’ rights” and the “slavery” camps: “For the South, the primary aim of the war was to win recognition as an independent nation. Independence would allow Southerners to preserve their traditional way of life—a way of life that included slavery.” That’s a way of putting it even Miss Milly might have been able to live with.

    “I grew up in a cocoon,” Herbers says today, recalling his childhood and the version of history he absorbed. It’s an apt metaphor for what happened to any Southerner born before about 1970, and to a good many of those born since. Although the field of Southern history underwent a revolution at the university level in the 1940s and 1950s, the version ordinary Southerners knew in 1970 and even later had not changed appreciably since 1900. Perhaps 1970 sounds like a long time ago, but in educational terms it’s not: 1970 was when a lot of people who are still teaching today learned what they know, and what they’ve passed on to their students. James Loewen, a sociologist and author of “Lies My Teacher Told Me,” has said that when he speaks to public school educators across the country today, somewhere between 60 and 75 percent say that the Civil War was fought over the issue of states’ rights. Whether the group he’s speaking to is predominately white, predominately black, or racially diverse, the percentage stays roughly the same.

    The Southern version of history also prevailed for decades at Civil War battle sites, thanks to the fact that Congress appropriated money for the National Park Service, and Southerners in Congress had their hands on the purse strings. It wasn’t until the 1990s that the Park Service—under pressure from the academic community and a few members of Congress—made it a priority to revamp its exhibits to “interpret [the Civil War] and the causes of the war based on current scholarship,” said Dwight Pitcaithley, a professor of history at New Mexico State University who was chief historian of the Park Service from 1995 to 2005. In December 2008, Pitcaithley gave a talk to public school educators in Mississippi, and used as part of his presentation this quote from the Mississippi Declaration of Secession: “Our cause is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery, the greatest material interest of the world.” That sentence is now prominently displayed on the wall of the National Park Service visitors’ center in Corinth, Mississippi, near the site of the battle of Shiloh. Pitcaithley took a picture of the display and used it in his presentation. After his talk, he was chatting with a thirty-four-year-old black school principal who had grown up in Mississippi, attended its public schools, and received his university education there. “I asked him if he’d ever seen that [quote] and he said no—he’d never even heard of that.”

    All of which explains both how that dubious assertion that thousands of slaves fought in defense of the Confederacy came to be included in that Virginia textbook back in 2010, and how the error came to light. As it turns out, the textbook’s author took her information from the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ website; the error was discovered when a history professor at the College of William and Mary happened to come across it while browsing through a copy of one of her fourth grade daughter’s schoolbooks. Had that not happened, who knows how long the book would have been in use? To this day, it’s possible to stir up a hornet’s nest among ordinary Southerners by asserting that slavery was a primary cause of the Civil War; at the least, it will earn a native Southerner the accusation of having signed over his brain to those Ivy League intellectual snobs who despise all things Southern. The conviction that the South went to war primarily to defend the concept of states’ rights “is in [Southerners’] families, in their churches, in their schools, in their political structure,” Pitcaithley said. “They’ve been taught that over generations. It so embedded that—as you have found—if you suggest otherwise they look at you like you’ve put your pants on your head.”

    They sound like any other history-altering, fact-denying idiots trying to force their version of events onto everyone else.

    Out of history: “Their Own Hotheadedness”: Senator Benjamin R.“Pitchfork Ben” Tillman Justifies Violence Against Southern Blacks

    In this March 23, 1900, speech before the U.S. Senate, Senator Benjamin R. “Pitchfork Ben” Tillman of South Carolina defended the actions of his white constituents who had murdered several black citizens of his home state. Tillman blamed the violence on the “hot-headedness” of Southern blacks and on the misguided efforts of Republicans during the Reconstruction era after the Civil War to “put white necks under black heels.” He also defended violence against black men, claiming that southern whites “will not submit to [the black man] gratifying his lust on our wives and daughters without lynching him”—an evocation of the deeply sexualized racist fantasies of many Southern whites.

    From the speech, an excerpt:

    I want to ask the Senator this proposition in arithmetic: In my State there were 135,000 negro voters, or negroes of voting age, and some 90,000 or 95,000 white voters. General Canby set up a carpetbag government there and turned our State over to this majority. Now, I want to ask you, with a free vote and a fair count, how are you going to beat 135,000 by 95,000? How are you going to do it? You had set us an impossible task. You had handcuffed us and thrown away the key, and you propped your carpetbag negro government with bayonets. Whenever it was necessary to sustain the government you held it up by the Army.

    Mr. President, I have not the facts and figures here, but I want the country to get the full view of the Southern side of this question and the justification for anything we did. We were sorry we had the necessity forced upon us, but we could not help it, and as white men we are not sorry for it, and we do not propose to apologize for anything we have done in connection with it. We took the government away from them in 1876. We did take it. If no other Senator has come here previous to this time who would acknowledge it, more is the pity. We have had no fraud in our elections in South Carolina since 1884. There has been no organized Republican party in the State.

    We did not disfranchise the negroes until 1895. Then we had a constitutional convention convened which took the matter up calmly, deliberately, and avowedly with the purpose of disfranchising as many of them as we could under the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments. We adopted the educational qualification as the only means left to us, and the negro is as contented and as prosperous and as well protected in South Carolina to-day as in any State of the Union south of the Potomac. He is not meddling with politics, for he found that the more he meddled with them the worse off he got. As to his “rights”—I will not discuss them now. We of the South have never recognized the right of the negro to govern white men, and we never will. We have never believed him to be equal to the white man, and we will not submit to his gratifying his lust on our wives and daughters without lynching him. I would to God the last one of them was in Africa and that none of them had ever been brought to our shores. But I will not pursue the subject further.

    Warning for burning racism.

  132. rq says

    Family Gathering to Say Goodbye to Bobbi Kristina Brown.

    Visit [link to follow] to see some of the results of the protest communities nationwide thus far. The link is: Protester Progress

    The movement for black lives has grown to reach people in all corners of the globe. Months of protests have ignited a national conversation about race that has pushed politicians to pass new laws to address police violence in our communities. This interactive timeline shows progress that protesters have made to date.

    That timeline is actually really good, as it shows some current results from the protesting. It helps to see the point behind it all.

  133. says

    He also defended violence against black men, claiming that southern whites “will not submit to [the black man] gratifying his lust on our wives and daughters without lynching him”—an evocation of the deeply sexualized racist fantasies of many Southern whites.

    That was just the excuse they gave for their barbarism, as Ida B. Wells (19th century anti-lynching crusader, reporter, and activist for racial justice) wrote in her 1895 book A Red Record: Alleged Causes of Lynching:


    The student of American sociology will find the year 1894 marked by a pronounced awakening of the public conscience to a system of anarchy and outlawry which had grown during a series of ten years to be so common, that scenes of unusual brutality failed to have any visible effect upon the humane sentiments of the people of our land.

    Beginning with the emancipation of the Negro, the inevitable result of unbridled power exercised for two and a half centuries, by the white man over the Negro, began to show itself in acts of conscienceless outlawry. During the slave regime, the Southern white man owned the Negro body and soul. It was to his interest to dwarf the soul and preserve the body. Vested with unlimited power over his slave, to subject him to any and all kinds of physical punishment, the white man was still restrained from such punishment as tended to injure the slave by abating his physical powers and thereby reducing his financial worth. While slaves were scourged mercilessly, and in countless cases inhumanly treated in other respects, still the white owner rarely permitted his anger to go so far as to take a life, which would entail upon him a loss of several hundred dollars. The slave was rarely killed, he was too valuable; it was easier and quite as effective, for discipline or revenge, to sell him “Down South.”

    But Emancipation came and the vested interests of the white man in the Negro’s body were lost. The white man had no right to scourge the emancipated Negro, still less has he a right to kill him. But the Southern white people had been educated so long in that school of practice, in which might makes right, that they disdained to draw strict lines of action in dealing with the Negro. In slave times the Negro was kept subservient and submissive by the frequency and severity of the scourging, but, with freedom, a new system of intimidation came into vogue; the Negro was not only whipped and scourged; he was killed.

    Not all nor nearly all of the murders done by white men, during the past thirty years in the South, have come to light, but the statistics as gathered and preserved by white men, and which have not been questioned, show that during these years more than ten thousand Negroes have been killed in cold blood, without the formality of judicial trial and legal execution. And yet, as evidence of the absolute impunity with which the white man dares to kill a Negro, the same record shows that during all these years, and for all these murders only three white men have been tried, convicted, and executed. As no white man has been lynched for the murder of colored people, these three executions are the only instances of the death penalty being visited upon white men for murdering Negroes.

    Naturally enough the commission of these crimes began to tell upon the public conscience, and the Southern white man, as a tribute to the nineteenth century civilization, was in a manner compelled to give excuses for his barbarism. His excuses have adapted themselves to the emergency, and are aptly outlined by that greatest of all Negroes, Frederick Douglass, in an article of recent date, in which he shows that there have been three distinct eras of Southern barbarism, to account for which three distinct excuses have been made.

    The first excuse given to the civilized world for the murder of unoffending Negroes was the necessity of the white man to repress and stamp out alleged “race riots.” For years immediately succeeding the war there was an appalling slaughter of colored people, and the wires usually conveyed to northern people and the world the intelligence, first, that an insurrection was being planned by Negroes, which, a few hours later, would prove to have been vigorously resisted by white men, and controlled with a resulting loss of several killed and wounded. It was always a remarkable feature in these insurrections and riots that only Negroes were killed during the rioting, and that all the white men escaped unharmed.

    From 1865 to 1872, hundreds of colored men and women were mercilessly murdered and the almost invariable reason assigned was that they met their death by being alleged participants in an insurrection or riot. But this story at last wore itself out. No insurrection ever materialized; no Negro rioter was ever apprehended and proven guilty, and no dynamite ever recorded the black man’s protest against oppression and wrong. It was too much to ask thoughtful people to believe this transparent story, and the southern white people at last made up their minds that some other excuse must be had.

    Then came the second excuse, which had its birth during the turbulent times of reconstruction. By an amendment to the Constitution the Negro was given the right of franchise, and, theoretically at least, his ballot became his invaluable emblem of citizenship. In a government “of the people, for the people, and by the people,” the Negro’s vote became an important factor in all matters of state and national politics. But this did not last long. The southern white man would not consider that the Negro had any right which a white man was bound to respect, and the idea of a republican form of government in the southern states grew into general contempt. It was maintained that “This is a white man’s government,” and regardless of numbers the white man should rule. “No Negro domination” became the new legend on the sanguinary banner of the sunny South, and under it rode the Ku Klux Klan, the Regulators, and the lawless mobs, which for any cause chose to murder one man or a dozen as suited their purpose best. It was a long, gory campaign; the blood chills and the heart almost loses faith in Christianity when one thinks of Yazoo, Hamburg, Edgefield, Copiah, and the countless massacres of defenseless Negroes, whose only crime was the attempt to exercise their right to vote.

    But it was a bootless strife for colored people. The government which had made the Negro a citizen found itself unable to protect him. It gave him the right to vote, but denied him the protection which should have maintained that right. Scourged from his home; hunted through the swamps; hung by midnight raiders, and openly murdered in the light of day, the Negro clung to his right of franchise with a heroism which would have wrung admiration from the hearts of savages. He believed that in that small white ballot there was a subtle something which stood for manhood as well as citizenship, and thousands of brave black men went to their graves, exemplifying the one by dying for the other.

    The white man’s victory soon became complete by fraud, violence, intimidation and murder. The franchise vouchsafed to the Negro grew to be a “barren ideality,” and regardless of numbers, the colored people found themselves voiceless in the councils of those whose duty it was to rule. With no longer the fear of “Negro Domination” before their eyes, the white man’s second excuse became valueless. With the Southern governments all subverted and the Negro actually eliminated from all participation in state and national elections, there could be no longer an excuse for killing Negroes to prevent “Negro Domination.”

    Brutality still continued; Negroes were whipped, scourged, exiled, shot and hung whenever and wherever it pleased the white man so to treat them, and as the civilized world with increasing persistency held the white people of the South to account for its outlawry, the murderers invented the third excuse–that Negroes had to be killed to avenge their assaults upon women. There could be framed no possible excuse more harmful to the Negro and more unanswerable if true in its sufficiency for the white man.

    Humanity abhors the assailant of womanhood, and this charge upon the Negro at once placed him beyond the pale of human sympathy. With such unanimity, earnestness and apparent candor was this charge made and reiterated that the world has accepted the story that the Negro is a monster which the Southern white man has painted him. And to-day, the Christian world feels, that while lynching is a crime, and lawlessness and anarchy the certain precursors of a nation’s fall, it can not by word or deed, extend sympathy or help to a race of outlaws, who might mistake their plea for justice and deem it an excuse for their continued wrongs.

    * * *

    When emancipation came to the Negroes, there arose in the northern part of the United States an almost divine sentiment among the noblest, purest and best white women of the North, who felt called to a mission to educate and Christianize the millions of southern ex-slaves. From every nook and corner of the North, brave young white women answered that call and left their cultured homes, their happy associations and their lives of ease, and with heroic determination went to the South to carry light and truth to the benighted blacks. It was a heroism no less than that which calls for volunteers for India, Africa and the Isles of the sea. To educate their unfortunate charges; to teach them the Christian virtues and to inspire in them the moral sentiments manifest in their own lives, these young women braved dangers whose record reads more like fiction than fact. They became social outlaws in the South. The peculiar sensitiveness of the southern white men for women, never shed its protecting influence about them. No friendly word from their own race cheered them in their work; no hospitable doors gave them the companionship like that from which they had come. No chivalrous white man doffed his hat in honor or respect. They were “Nigger teachers”– unpardonable offenders in the social ethics of the South, and were insulted, persecuted and ostracised, not by Negroes, but by the white manhood which boasts of it chivalry toward women.

    And yet these northern women worked on, year after year, unselfishly, with a heroism which amounted almost to martyrdom. Threading their way through dense forests, working in schoolhouse, in the cabin and in the church, thrown at all times and in all places among the unfortunate and lowly Negroes, whom they had come to find and to serve, these northern women, thousands and thousands of them, have spent more than a quarter of a century in giving to the colored people their splendid lessons for home and heart and soul. Without protection, save that which innocence gives to every good woman, they went about their work, fearing no assault and suffering none. Their chivalrous protectors were hundreds of miles away in their northern homes, and yet they never feared any “great dark faced mobs,” they dared night or day to “go beyond their own roof trees.” They never complained of assaults, and no mob was ever called into existence to avenge crimes against them. Before the world adjudges the Negro a moral monster, a vicious assailant of womanhood and a menace to the sacred precincts of home, the colored people ask the consideration of the silent record of gratitude, respect, protection and devotion of the millions of the race in the South, to the thousands of northern white women who have served as teachers and missionaries since the war.


    From the record published in the Chicago Tribune, January 1, 1894, the following computation of lynching statistics is made referring only to the colored victims of Lynch Law during the year 1893:


    Sept. 15, Paul Hill, Carrollton, Ala.; Sept. 15, Paul Archer, Carrollton, Ala.; Sept 15, William Archer, Carrollton, Ala.; Sept. 15, Emma Fair, Carrollton, Ala.


    Dec. 23, unknown negro, Fannin, Miss.


    Dec.25, Calvin Thomas, near Brainbridge, Ga.


    Dec. 28, Tillman Greeen, Columbia, La.


    Jan. 26, Patrick Wells, Quincy, Fla.; Feb. 9, Frank Harrell, Dickery, Miss.; Feb. 9, William Filder, Dickery, Miss.


    Feb. 21, Richard Mays, Springville, Mo.; Aug. 14, Dug Hazleton, Carrollton, Ga.; Sept 1, Judge McNeil, Cadiz, Ky.; Sept. 11, Frank Smith, Newton, Miss.; Sept. 16, Wiliam Jackson, Nevada, Mo.; Sept. 19, Riley Gulley, Pine Apple, Ala.; Oct. 9, John Davis, Shorterville, Ala.; Nov. 8, Robert Kennedy, Spartansburg, S.C.


    Feb. 16, Richard Forman, Granada, Miss.


    Oct. 14, David Jackson, Covington, LA.


    Sept. 21, Thomas Smith, Roanoke, Va.


    Dec. 12, four unknown negroes, near Selma, Ala.


    Jan. 30, Thomas Carr, Kosciusko, Miss.; Feb. 7, Willaim Butler, Hickory Creek, Texas; Aug. 27, Charles Tart, Lyons Station, Miss.; Dec. 7, Robert Greenwood, Cross county, Ark.; July 14, Allen Butler, Lawrenceville, Ill.


    Oct. 24, two unknown negroes, Knox Point, La.


    Nov. 4, Edward Wagner, Lynchburg, Va.; Nov. 4, William Wagner, Lynchburg, Va.; Nov. 4, Samuel Motlow, Lynchburg, Va.; Nov. 4, Eliza Motlow, Lynchburg, Va.


    Jan. 21, Robert Landry, St. James Parish, La.; Jan. 21, Chicken George, St. James Parish, La.; Jan. 21, Richard Davis, St. James Parish, La.; Dec. 8, Benjamin Menter, Berlin, Ala.; Dec. 8, Robert Wilkins, Berlin, Ala.; Dec. 8, Joseph Gevhens, Berlin, Ala.


    Sept. 16, Valsin Julian, Jefferson Parish, La., Sept. 16, Basil Julian, Jefferson Parish, La.; Sept. 16, Paul Julian, Jefferson Parish, La.; Sept. 16, John Willis, Jefferson Parish, La.


    June 29, Samuel Thorp, Savannah, Ga.; June 29, George S. Riechen, Waynesboro, Ga.; June 30, Joseph Bird, Wilberton, I.T.; [3. Indian Territory] July 1, James Lamar, Darien, Ga.; July 28, Henry Miller, Dallas, Texas; July 28, Ada Hiers, Walterboro, S.C.; July 28, Alexander Brown, Bastrop, Texas; July 30, W. G. Jamison, Quincy, Ill.; Sept.1, Jihn Ferguson, Lawrens, S.C.; Sept. 1, Oscar Johnston, Berkeley, S.C.; Sept. 1, Henry Ewing, Berkeley, S.C.; Sept. 8, William Smith, Camden, Ark.; Sept. 15, Staples Green, Livingston, Ala.; Sept. 29, Hiram Jacobs, Mount Vernon, Ga.; Sept. 29, Lucien Mannet, Mount Vernon, Ga.; Sept. 29, Hire Bevington, Mount Vernon, Ga.; Sept. 29, Weldon Gordon, Mount Vernon, Ga.; Sept. 29, Parse Strickland, Mount Vernon, Ga.; Oct. 20, William Dalton, Cartersville, Ga.; Oct. 27, M. B. Taylor, Wise Court House, Va.; Oct. 27, Isaac Williams, Madison, Ga.; Nov. 10, Miller Davis, Center Point, Ark.; Nov. 14, John Johnston, Auburn, N.Y.

    Sept. 27, Calvin Stewart, Langley, S.C.; Spt. 29, Henry Coleman, Benton, La.; Oct. 18, William Richards, Summerfield, Ga.; Oct. 18, James Dickson, Summerfield, Ga.; Oct. 27, Edward Jenkins, Clayton county, Ga.; Nov. 9, Henry Boggs, Fort White, Fla.; Nov. 14, three unknown negroes, Lake City Junction, Fla.; Nov. 14, D. T. Nelson, Varney, Ark.; Nov. 29, Newton Jones, Baxley, Ga.; Dec. 2, Lucius Holt, Concord, Ga.; Dec. 10, two unknown negroes, Richmond, Ala.; July 12, Henry Fleming, Columbus, Miss.; July 17, unknown negro, Briar Field, Ala.; July 18, Meredith Lewis, Roseland, La.; July 29, Edward Bill, Dresden, Tenn.; Aug. 1, Henry Reynolds, Montgomery, Tenn.; Aug. 9, unknown negro, McCreery, Ark.; Aug. 12, unknown negro, Brantford, Fla.; Aug. 18, Charles Walton, Morganfield, Ky.; Aug. 21, Charles Tait, near Memphis, Tenn.; Aug. 28, Leonard Taylor, New Castle, Ky.; Sept. 8, Benjamin Jackson, Quincy, Miss.; Sept. 14, John Williams, Jackson, Tenn. SELF DEFENSE

    July 30, unknown negro[,] Wingo, Ky.


    Aug. 18, two unknown negroes, Franklin Parish, La.


    Sept. 15, Benjamin Jackson, Jackson, Miss.; Sept. 15, Mahala Jackson, Jackson, Miss.; Sept. 15, Louisa Carter, Jackson, Miss.; Sept. 15, W. A. Haley, Jackson, Miss.; Sept. 15, Rufus Bigley, Jackson, Miss.


    Feb. 18, John Hughes, Moberly, Mo.; June 2, Isaac Lincoln, Fort Madison, S.C.


    April 20, Daniel Adams, Selina, Kan.


    July 21, Charles Martin, Shelby Co., Tenn.; July 30, William Steen, Paris, Miss.; August 31, unknown negro, Houston, Tex.; Dec. 28, Mack Segars, Brantley, Ala.


    July 7, Charles T. Miller, Bardwell, Ky.; Aug. 10, Daniel Lewis, Waycross, Ga.; Aug. 10, James Taylor, Waycross, Ga.; Aug. 10, John Chambers, Waycross, Ga.


    Dec. 16, Henry G. Givens, Nebro, Ky.


    Dec. 23, Sloan Allen, West Mississippi.


    Feb. 14, Andy Blount, Chattanooga, Tenn.


    Dec. 19, William Ferguson, Adele, Ga.


    Jan. 19, James Williams, Pickens, Co., Ala.; Feb. 11, unknown negro, Forest Hill, Tenn.; Feb. 26, Joseph Hayne, or Paine, Jellico, Tenn.; Nov. 1, Abner Anthony, Hot Springs, Va.; Nov. 1, Thomas Hill, Spring Place, Ga.; April 24, John Peterson, Denmark, S.C.; May 6, Samuel Gaillard, —, S.C.; May 10, Haywood Banks, or Marksdale, Columbia, S.C.; May 12, Israel Halliway, Napoleonville, La.; May 12, unknown negro, Wytheville, Va.; May 31, John Wallace, Jefferson Springs, Ark.; June 3, Samuel Bush, Decatur, Ill.; June 8, L. C. Dumas, Gleason, Tenn.; June 13, William Shorter, Winchester, Va.; June 14, George Williams, near Waco, Tex.; June 24, Daniel Edwards, Selina or Selma, Ala.; June 27, Ernest Murphy, Daleville, Ala.; July 6, unknown negro, Poplar Head, La.; July 6, unknown negro, Poplar Head, La.; July 12, Robert Larkin, Oscola, Tex.; July 17, Warren Dean, Stone Creek, Ga.; July 21, unknown negro, Brantford, Fla.; July 17, John Cotton, Connersville, Ark.; July 22, Lee Walker, New Albany, Miss.; July 26, — Handy, Suansea, S.C.; July 30, William Thompson, Columbia, S.C.; July 28, Isaac Harper, Calera, Ala.; July 30, Thomas Preston, Columbia, S.C.; July 30, Handy Kaigler, Columbia, S.C.; Aug. 13, Monroe Smith, Springfield, Ala.; Aug. 19, negro tramp, near Paducah, Ky.; Aug. 21, John Nilson, near Leavenworth, Kan.; Aug, 23, Jacob Davis, Green Wood, S.C.; Sept. 2, William Arkinson, McKenney, Ky.; Sept. 16, unknown negro, Centerville, Ala.; Sept. 16, Jessie Mitchell, Amelia C.H., Va.; Sept. 25, Perry Bratcher, New Boston, Tex.; Oct. 9, William Lacey, Jasper, Ala.; Oct. 22, John Gamble. Pikesville, Tenn.


    Rape, 39; attempted rape, 8; alleged rape, 4; suspicion of rape, 1; murder, 44; alleged murder, 6; alleged complicity in murder, 4; murderous assault, 1; attempted murder, 1; attempted robbery, 4; arson, 4; incendiarism, 3; alleged stock poisoning, 1; poisoning wells, 2; alleged poisoning wells, 5; burglary, 1; wife beating, 1; self defense, 1; suspected robbery, 1; assault and battery, 1; insulting whites, 2; malpractice, 1; alleged barn burning, 4; stealing, 2; unknown offense, 4; no offense, 1; race prejudice, 4; total, 159.


    Alabama, 25; Arkansas, 7; Florida, 7; Georgia, 24; Indian Territory, 1; Illinois, 3; Kansas, 2; Kentucky, 8; Louisiana, 18; Mississippi, 17; Missouri, 3; New York, 1; South Carolina, 15; Tennessee, 10; Texas, 8; Virginia, 10.


    (Appeal from America to the World)

    * * *

    [I]t is the desire of this pamphlet to urge that the crusade started and thus far continued has not been useless, but has been blessed with the most salutary results. The many evidences of the good results can not here be mentioned, but the thoughtful student of the situation can himself find ample proof. There need not here be mentioned the fact that for the first time since lynching began, has there been any occasion for the governors of the several states to speak out in reference to these crimes against law and order.

    No matter how heinous the act of the lynchers may have been, it was discussed only for a day or so and then dismissed from the attention of the public. In one or two instances the governor has called attention to the crime, but the civil processes entirely failed to bring the murderers to justice. Since the crusade against lynching was started, however, governors of states, newspapers, senators and representatives and bishops of churches have all been compelled to take cognizance of the prevalence of this crime and to speak in one way or another in the defense of the charge against this barbarism in the United States. This has not been because there was any latent spirit of justice voluntarily asserting itself, especially in those who do the lynching, but because the entire American people now feel, both North and South, that they are objects in the gaze of the civilized world and that for every lynching humanity asks that America render its account to civilization and itself.

    Things haven’t changed that much in the last 120 years. That’s so fucking depressing.

  134. says

    He also defended violence against black men, claiming that southern whites “will not submit to [the black man] gratifying his lust on our wives and daughters without lynching him”—an evocation of the deeply sexualized racist fantasies of many Southern whites.

    That was just the excuse they gave for their barbarism, as Ida B. Wells (19th century anti-lynching crusader, reporter, and activist for racial justice) wrote in her 1895 book A Red Record: Alleged Causes of Lynching.
    The book is quite short and is available at the above link. I composed a comment that quoted material from it, but that comment failed to make it through moderation (I’m sure I failed to redact some words that tripped the filter).

  135. says

    Daniel Oyelowo discusses his Oscar snub and racism in Hollywood (which totes doesn’t exist according to the Status Quo Warriors):

    David Oyelowo, the actor who portrayed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, has been pretty quiet about his Oscar snub … until now.

    While critics and moviegoers were shocked that Oyelowo did not receive a Best Actor nomination, Oyelowo seemingly expected to be overlooked by the Academy.

    “We’ve just got to come to the point whereby there isn’t a self-fulfilling prophecy, a notion of who Black people are that feeds into what we are celebrated as,” he said to an audience during an interview at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Sunday. “Not just in the Academy—just in life generally.”

    He added: “We have been slaves, we have been domestic servants, we have been criminals, we have been all of those things. But we’ve been leaders. We’ve been kings. We’ve been those who change the world. Those films where that is the case are so hard to get made.”

    Oyelowo compared it to the 1992 Oscars, when Denzel Washington did not win the Best Actor award for Malcolm X.

    Oyelowo also said that the making of Selma was not a possibility in Hollywood until the commercial successes of Lee Daniels’ The Butler and 12 Years a Slave.

    “I know for a fact that Selma got greenlit after both of those films made almost $200 million each,” he explained. “Up until 12 Years a Slave and The Butler performed well both critically and at the box office, films like this were told through the eyes of white protagonists, because there is a fear of white guilt.

    “So you have a very nice white person who holds Black people’s hands through their own narrative. And then you have Black people to be [like], ‘We don’t want to see that pain again,’ so you don’t really go into what that pain was in an authentic way.

    “Both of those things are patronizing to the audience.”

    Oyelowo also went on to defend fellow British actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who received backlash for using the term “colored” while arguing that there needs to be more acting opportunities for Black actors in the U.K. Cumberbatch later apologized for using the wrong terminology.

    “Everyone has ended up ignoring the issue Benedict was talking about and focusing on that one word,” Oyelowo said. “It’s actually stopped us from talking about race.”

  136. rq says

    Let’s get started tonight.
    Ruling on former officer Chris Manney’s appeal could come this month, with autoplay video!!!

    Officer Christopher Manney was fired nearly fourth months ago. He has appealed to get his job back.

    On Thursday night, Dontre Hamilton supporters returned to another Fire and Police Commission meeting to voice their concerns.

    “We have got to hold these people accountable or they are going to keep shifting or avoiding responsibility,” said one Hamilton supporter.

    Commissioners will decide if Chief Edward Flynn was right or wrong when he fired Officer Manney. Hamilton was killed in Red Arrow park last April.

    Chief Flynn fired the officer in October. The District Attorney said there would be no criminal charges in December. The Fire and Police Commission was initially expected to hold hearings the first week in February but they were delayed for unexplained reasons.

    Now a new time frame has been scheduled.

    “So that will be held the last week in February,” said Fire and Police Commission Chair Sarah Morgan. “And shortly we will release the exact date of that hearing.”

    A date all the lawyers can agree to meet.

    Hamilton’s death has sparked peaceful protests for months, with supporters pushing for change within the police department and charges against Manney. The family was asked if they had faith in the appeal process before commissioners.

    “We’ve been let down by the Milwaukee Police Department,” said Nate Hamilton. “We’ve been let down by the Fire and Police Commission. We’ve been let down by the mayor’s office. We’ve been let down.”

    So yay cops.

    Quick fact: Wallace’s “Segregation Forever” speech has 27 allusions to “God.” Calls activist government “the very opposite of Christ.”

    Protesters Target Municipal Court In St. Louis Suburb That Survives On Traffic Tickets

    The city of Pine Lawn, which sits on just over half a square mile of land about 10 minutes from Ferguson, has around 3,000 mostly black residents, nearly a third of whom live below the poverty line. Pine Lawn does not have enough of a tax base to survive without extracting hundreds of thousands of dollars per year from residents and drivers passing through the city. The number of warrants generated in 2013 alone surpasses the entire population of the city, and police that year issued seven tickets for every resident, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

    Pine Lawn, which one resident described a “poster child of dysfunction” in St. Louis County, is in the middle of a number of scandals. The mayor, Sylvester Caldwell, was arrested by FBI agents in September and is currently facing federal bribery charges. Until recently, the city employed a police commander who had faced multiple allegations that he raped and drugged women, and whose behavior was labeled “sociopathic” by his police academy instructor.

    The protest outside of Pine Lawn’s municipal court on Thursday was coordinated by the activist group Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment, which has been calling for changes to municipal courts in St. Louis County. St. Louis County’s municipal courts have been scrutinized in recent months because many small municipalities use tickets and court fees as a way to keep their cities financially afloat, which opponents say disproportionately targets poor residents.

    Legislation has been proposed to further limit the percentage of a municipal budget that can come from traffic fees, while the state attorney general is suing several municipalities that do not comply with a law that currently places a 30 percent cap. The chief justice of the Missouri Supreme Court has said changes may be needed in the municipal court system, and a panel made up of municipal court judges are considering some modest changes to the process. Several outside organizations are pushing for broader changes and pursuing litigation against several municipalities on their own, but political leaders in many of the small municipalities have already signaled their opposition.

    Some twitterage on this later.

    Watch who starts buying property & what business start going up on W. Florissant after this “clean-up.” Gentrification at its finest.

    Meanwhile in Denver, oung folks in #Denver are DOPE. The took over @TheTaskForce plenary! #ShutItDown #CC15 #JusticeforJessica
    #CC15 #Ferguson2Denver @TheTaskForce #ShutItDown Delivering demands! #JusticeforJessica #FergusonIsEverywhere
    #CC15 #ShutItDown @TheTaskForce #Ferguson2Denver (see links for pictures).

  137. rq says

    Of course I start off with moderation. *sigh*
    Anyway, this is an article I wanted at the top of a comment: ‘Black Girls Matter’ Report Addresses School-to-Prison Pipeline in New Light

    In “Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected,” researchers not only review national data on harsh disciplinary policies in schools, but they focus on the distinctly gendered dynamics of zero-tolerance environments and the consequences as well. The voices of young women of color in Boston and New York were also incorporated in the study through personal interviews and focus groups.

    Some of the study’s key observations include:

    In New York and Boston, Black boys and girls were subject to larger achievement gaps and harsher forms of discipline than their white counterparts.

    At-risk young women describe zero-tolerance schools as chaotic environments in which discipline is prioritized over educational attainment.

    Increased levels of law enforcement and security personnel within schools sometimes make girls feel less safe and less likely to attend school.

    Punitive rather than restorative responses to conflict contributes to the separation of girls from school and to their disproportionate involvement in the juvenile justice system.

    The failure of schools to intervene in situations involving the sexual harassment and bullying of girls contributes to their insecurity at school.

    School-age Black girls experience a high incidence of interpersonal violence.

    Black and latina girls are often burdened with familial obligations that undermine their capacity to achieve their academic goals.

    “If the challenges facing girls of color are to be addressed, then research and policy frameworks must move beyond the notion that all of the youth of color who are in crisis are boys, and that the concerns of white girls are indistinguishable from those of girls of color,” read the study’s executive summary. […]

    “As public concern mounts for the needs of men and boys of color through initiatives like the White House’s My Brother’s Keeper, we must challenge the assumption that the lives of girls and women — who are often left out of the national conversation — are not also at risk,” added Crenshaw.

    The report also suggests a number of interventions and policies to combat the challenges facing girls of color, such as ensuring a balanced approach to funding that supports the needs of women and girls as well as those of men and boys.

    And thank you @eji_org for fighting mass incarceration & partnering with Serena Williams. The link: Serena Williams, Indian Wells, and Rewriting the Future

    Tennis icon Serena Williams and her older sister Venus have spent their careers not only surviving but thriving in a hostile space: a white background that often threatened to swallow them whole. As Serena’s individual legend flourished, so did her antagonists in the aristocratic, imperious world of professional tennis. Biased judges, grotesque mockeries, and other indignities (“crip walk”?) pock her career. While accumulating scars and enduring the burden imposed by the “white background,” the girl known for years as “Venus’s little sister” has also— remarkably—made herself into perhaps the greatest player to ever pick up a racket. The numbers speak for themselves: nineteen Grand Slam wins, 56 singles titles, along with 22 doubles championships and all done with wicked flair in dazzling technicolor.

    Now Serena Williams, for all she has accomplished, is attempting to enter a club even more restricted than those that host certain events on the WTA tour. It is reserved for the few defined by history as being “more than just an athlete.” Ms. Williams has announced both in a video message and the pages of TIME Magazine that she will be returning to play at the Indian Wells Tournament after a 14-year absence. Serena and Venus have famously boycotted Indian Wells since 2001 when “racist slurs” and “false allegations” of match fixing were levied against the Williams family. As she recounted in Time, their father Richard had “dedicated his whole life to prepping us for this incredible journey, and there he had to sit and watch his daughter being taunted, sparking cold memories of his experiences growing up in the South.”

    Serena Williams’ has decided, after years of apologies and invitations from the new directors at Indian Wells, to “forgive freely,” “follow [her] heart” and return to place she describes as “nightmare,” a place where at the age of 19 she spent “hours crying in the Indian Wells locker room after winning in 2001…feeling as if I had lost the biggest game ever—not a mere tennis game but a bigger fight for equality.”

    Some might say it’s only tennis, but the issue is far bigger than tennis.

    Good crowd tonight. “@Rebeccarivas: Answering questions about civilian oversight of police at Carpenter library ”
    .@soledadobrien will be on campus as UH hosts the Black in America Tour on 2/24 at 7pm. Call (713)743-6047 for info.

    This is also a rather key point, when people talk about young black men and boys: 3 black women started #BlackLivesMatter. 1 is Nigerian-American, 2 are queer. Complicate the narrative… Because all #BlackLivesMatter

  138. rq says

    From the Streets of Brownsville, Brooklyn to the Oval Office

    A couple of weeks ago, a photo of 13-year-old Vidal appeared on Humans of New York, a popular blog. He talked about his principal Ms. Lopez, saying: “She told each one of us that we matter.” After garnering more than 1 million likes and shares on social media, the photo gave rise to a national campaign that has raised more than $1 million for Mott Hall Bridges Academy, a middle school in Brownsville, Brooklyn — the neighborhood with the highest crime rate in New York City. The funds will send students to visit Harvard, support summer programs and provide scholarships.

    From Pine Lawn, a few photos: Court has been delayed PineLawn City Hall
    Protesters at PineLawn City Hall
    So I have traffic court tonight in Pine Lawn @ 5:30. Ya’ll coming to turn up for all of us oppressed people or nah?

    Yes, voting is necessary. Let’s talk about voter ID laws, early voting, gerrymandering, and off-year election cycles. Let’s talk reform.

    Missouri bill would bar access to police camera footage

    Bills filed by Republicans Rep. Galen Higdon of St. Joseph on Jan. 29 and Sen. Doug Libla of Poplar Bluff on Jan. 28 would exempt footage from police body cameras and dashboard cameras from the state’s open records law. Videos could be accessed through a court order.

    Libla’s bill goes a step further and would prevent the state from requiring police wear cameras, a mandate he said could create a financial burden for some communities.

    The bills are in response to a wave of legislation aimed at addressing issues raised following black 18-year-old Michael Brown’s August shooting by a white officer, Darren Wilson, which spurred sometimes violent protests.

    Several bills filed this session would require Missouri police to wear those cameras, a response to the fact there are no videos of what transpired between Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson and Brown.

    Protesters and some Democrats have called for body cameras to increase police accountability and to use in cases of alleged police brutality.

    Libla said guidelines on body cameras need to be in place to protect privacy as more and more municipalities consider adopting them. Libla said it’s “hard to predict everything that could be a problem” with full disclosure of videos, but cited potential misuse of police video of expensive items in someone’s home.

    Some Democrats also have raised concerns about public access to camera footage.

    Is this a valid issue? I can’t really tell… I understand the right to other people’s privacy, but to block off all public access…?

    There needs to be LGBTQ conferences and spaces that are Black ONLY. #AllBlackLivesMatter

  139. rq says

    2 out of 3 in moderation! Well done.

    Vimeo video: Anonymous Response to Chief White of Denver Police

    In the wake of yet another person murdered at the hands of the Denver Police, Chief White decides to answer a few questions about Anonymous, police brutality and 1st amendment rights. This is our response.

    Here’s a missed photo from back in Denver: The room is standing in solidarity in light of #JessieHernandez @ #CC15.

    The two simple facts that explain why the US prison population exploded

    A National Research Council report from 2014 debunked two big misconceptions about what caused the increase, and offered two big reasons: prosecution has become more efficient, and prison sentences have lengthened. Here’s a guide:
    It WASN’T because more people committed crimes

    The report concluded the rise of incarceration couldn’t be traced to crime rates going up. Crime rates have fluctuated over the past forty years, and don’t appear to have much of an impact on the prison population — no matter which way crime rates went, incarceration rates kept growing. (The report also found, as other researchers have, that there’s no evidence that harsher prison sentences deter crime.) […]

    It WAS because people who got arrested were more likely to go to jail

    While the arrest-to-crime ratio is a rough way to measure how effective police are, the prison-to-arrest ratio is a rough way to measure how efficient the prosecution and court process is.

    The NRCreport found that prosecution has gotten a lot more efficient — and that, the authors concluded, was a substantial reason for the explosion of the incarcerated population. […]

    It WAS because people who went to prison served more time

    The biggest reason the prison population exploded, especially after 1990: more people were in prison for longer periods of time. […]

    One particularly harsh kind of mandatory minimum sentence was imposed as “three-strikes” laws, which forced a criminal convicted of his third felony to serve a long prison sentence (between 25 years and a life sentence). States and the federal government also passed “truth-in-sentencing” laws, particularly in the late 1980s and early 1990s, which forced inmates to serve a large amount of their prison sentences (typically 85 percent) before being eligible for parole.

    Ultimately, the NRC report’s authors said, the common denominator in both of the big causes of mass incarceration — more prisoners per arrest, and longer sentences per prisoner — is the harsher sentencing policies of the 1980s and 1990s. That means that sentencing reform policies that some state governments have been pursuing, and that members of Congress in both parties have proposed, are a good place to start when it comes to reducing mass incarceration — even if they’re not a panacea.

    From the annals of history to today, Justice for the Friendship 9: “We cannot rewrite history, but we can right history”, the article: ‘We Cannot Rewrite History, But We Can Right History’

    The Civil Rights Movement was, relatively speaking, in its infancy at the time. Less than a year after the sit-ins in Greensboro, North Carolina, the Friendship 9 were arrested on the same day that James Meredith submitted his college application to then-segregated Ole Miss.

    On Wednesday, the eight surviving members of the Friendship 9 (most of the nine men had been students at nearby Friendship College in 1961) were back in a Rock Hill courthouse to see their sentences vacated and their convictions overturned. “We cannot rewrite history, but we can right history,” Circuit Court Judge John C. Hayes III told the courtroom to high applause as he threw out the cases – a poignant flourish given that Hayes’ uncle had originally sentenced the men in 1961.

    As NBC News noted, the men “were represented in the hearing by Ernest A. Finney Jr., the same man who defended their case 54 years ago,” who later served as South Carolina Supreme Court’s first black chief justice since Reconstruction.
    Associated Press, February 21, 1961

    The saga of the Friendship 9 hadn’t ended with their convictions. When the court ordered the men to pay a $100 fine, they refused, opting instead to spend 30 days in jail rather than have the NAACP pay their fee, a tactic that was dubbed “JailNo Bail.”

    “JailNo Bail” flipped the dynamic by which cities profited on the illegal arrests of civil rights activists and instead had to pay to confine and feed activists. It took the burden of payment off civil rights organizations in defiance of Jim Crow. Thomas Gaither, the Congress of Racial Equality activist who joined the eight Friendship students in the sit-in, described the strategy in an interview with South Carolina’s ETV:

    We’d had the sit-ins, and we didn’t have actually a large number of gains. We had people who were arrested. They went to jail, they paid their bail, they went back and often there were people who repeated this. Well, we thought it was time to raise the level of commitment to show how serious we were about trying to transform our society into a more just society.

    Decades later, as the AP notes, Gaither’s name along with the names of the rest of the Friendship 9⎯W.T. “Dub” Massey, Willie McCleod, Robert McCullough, James Wells, David Williamson Jr., John Gaines, and Mack Workman—are engraved on the restaurant ‘s stools where the man sat so many decades before. The trespassing charges will also remain, as the men requested that their records not be expunged by Wednesday’s ruling.

    And this man wants to be president. Beware. Did Jeb Bush Just Take A Dig At Ferguson Protesters?

    Instead of demonstrating in support of “things that might be important to them,” Bush said protesters should focus on education policy reform — a pet issue for the former Florida governor and his budding presidential campaign.

    “I would like to see more people marching in the streets for rising student achievement,” he said in a speech in Detroit on Wednesday. “Less people marching in the streets for things that might be important to them, but rising student achievement should be the highest calling for all of us and we should be outraged that it’s not happening to the degree that it should.”

    See it on video at the link.

  140. rq says

    Ferguson Alternate Spring Break: it’s a thing! FERGUSON ALTERNATIVE SPRING BREAK REGISTRATION FORM.

    This form must be completed in full to participate in #FergusonAlternativeSpringBreak / #FergusonASB.

    All participants are responsible for their own travel to and from St. Louis, MO.

    A $100 registration fee is required for students requiring BOTH housing/room and board. For safety reasons, we are not publicly announcing where #FergusonASB participants will be housed. However, all participants that register for housing/room will be placed in single-sex accommodations with adequate privacy. Please note, program staff and security will also be housed along with program participants. Participants safety is our foremost concern and will not be compromised at any time.

    A $50 registration fee is required for local students/St. Louis residents or anyone else NOT requiring housing/room.

    Limited scholarships to cover #FergusonASB registration fees are available for students receiving Federal Pell Grants.

    Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included daily for all participants of #FergusonASB.
    Also included with your registration fee are: a #FergusonASB t-shirt and tote bag, an identification card for use of community center facilities in Ferguson, and all transportation in and around Ferguson for scheduled #FergusonASB activities, programs, and projects.

    Upon receiving your registration form, we will send you information on how to pay your registration fee. Registration fees are due in full by February 25, 2015.

    Nice! D.C., where blacks are no longer a majority, has a new African American affairs director

    As of Wednesday, a full-time employee will advocate for black residents in the city of Marion Barry, Duke Ellington and Charles Drew — a “Chocolate City” where blacks made up 70 percent of the population a generation ago but now no longer represent a majority.

    In the opening week of Black History Month, Bowser (D) named Rahman Branch, a former high school principal, as the city’s first director of African American affairs during an event at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in Congress Heights — a neighborhood east of the Anacostia River whose population is more than 90 percent black.

    It was the latest sign of the evolution of the District, where racial disparities have grown as a redevelopment boom in some parts of the city has eluded its least-fortunate corners, and where a new urgency has emerged among some city leaders to make sure the black community — still the city’s political bedrock — is not left behind.

    “We see income gaps growing, we’re not satisfied with how fast we’re closing educational gaps, and we know that we have to invest in good jobs and affordable housing,” said Bowser, the latest in a line of black mayors stretching to 1967.

    Branch’s appointment reflects not only the anxieties of the city’s black population — which at 49.5 percent retains a racial plurality but not a majority, according to census demographic data — but also the complicated politics of governing the District in recent years.

    While politicians cheer every ribbon cut and every crane erected, many longtime residents view them as harbingers of displacement. And while tens of thousands of new residents have streamed into the city in recent years, it’s the longtime residents — most of whom are black — who are more likely to vote.

    “There’s a need for this kind of office because the growth of D.C. and the expansion of D.C. and making sure every resident of D.C. plays a part in that is really what the community has requested,” said Branch, who was principal of Ballou High School in Southeast Washington for six years until departing in the summer.

    His appointment comes more than three years after the D.C. Council established an unpaid Commission on African-American Affairs to “assist the Mayor in planning policies beneficial to African American communities with low economic, education, or health indicators.”

    I think I mentioned this yesterday, but ehre it is again. NYPD Bosses Call For Harsher Penalties For Protesters, Less Oversight For Cops

    Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch were among the witnesses called to testify at a hearing on public security convened by several committees of the the New York State Senate. The two men are currently negotiating a collective contract for the city’s 17,000 rank-and-file police officers.

    The hearing, which lasted more than five hours, focused on the recent protests against police brutality and last year’s killing of two NYPD officers — issues that were conspicuously absent from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s State of the City Address on Tuesday.

    Asked whether the penalty for resisting arrest should be increased from a misdemeanor to a felony, Bratton said he supported the idea.

    “We need to get around this idea that you can resist arrest,” Bratton reiterated to reporters after the hearing. “One of the ways to do that is to give penalties for that.”

    Currently, resisting arrests carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison. If the charge were to become a felony, people could face anything from four years of probation to life in prison.

    Lynch also called for enhanced penalties against protesters, asking the legislature to make assaulting a police officer at a public assembly a Class B felony, which would carry a penalty of up to 25 years in prison.

    “We believe this change in law is necessary to deter the type of conduct we saw during last month’s demonstrations,” Lynch said in his prepared remarks.

    In his testimony, Bratton also asked the legislature to make publishing the personal information of police officers a misdemeanor. For his part, Lynch proposed charging people who make threats against police with a Class D felony, which carries up to seven years behind bars.

    Both the commissioner and the union president asked the state legislature to block Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal for an independent monitor to oversee cases in which a grand jury declines to indict a police officer accused of killing a civilian.

    Lynch warned that having “oversight over oversight” was unfair to police officers, who deserve to be treated like any other citizen in a court of law. Bratton also noted that the city already has “five qualified district attorneys who are not shy about investigating” police officers.

    Together with the new terrorism/protest armed task force or whatever they’re calling it, if I lived in NYC, I’d be nervous. I can’t speak at all for those who have less checks on the privilege list than I do. :(

    Ferguson Movement Connects With Black Godfather Of Silicon Valley As He Talks About His Passion For Technology, Education, And Racial Justice

    Roy Clay Sr. moved from his home of Kinloch, MO, a black community neighboring Ferguson, to Silicon Valley early in his career to make his way among the booming industry and endless sunshine of Northern California. He couldn’t have imagined that over the next 3 decades he would become known as the “Black Godfather of Silicon Valley” due to his groundbreaking business deals in the technology industry developing in the Peninsula area. Now, years later, he’s giving back by lending his name and experience to the protest movement that made his hometown famous. […]

    “My life started in Ferguson, MO during a time period where the black population in the town was merely 50 people compared to today where there are over 17,000 African Americans residing in the township,” Clay shared as he recalled his journey experiencing oppression, racism, to launching his technology career and founding a computer division in Hewlett-Packard.

    “Back then Ferguson was a White township and Blacks were not permitted to walk through neighborhoods after a certain time, say Clay Sr. remembering his youth. But despite his success and age, this tech giant can relate to the youth today. […]

    Clay Sr. never worked as a gardener again in Ferguson. He did however work extremely hard in his high school and received a scholarship to attend St. Louis University (SLU). Clay Sr. was amongst the first African-Americans to attend the university where he majored in Mathematics. After graduation, Clay Sr. experienced a lot of difficulties during his job search and recalled a potential employer explaining to him, “Mr. Clay, we are very sorry but we have no jobs for professional Negros.”

    Relentlessly Roy Clay Sr. continued to pioneer his way through his career becoming a teacher and soon after learned about computers and technology. He started his professional career at McDonnell Aircraft and journeyed to California where he managed a research and development unit for Hewlett-Packard and founded Intel, Compaq and Tandem.

    But the racism didn’t stop because he was in Silicon Valley.

    “Many of my coworkers were white and they did not understand what it meant to be Black. They didn’t not understand my journey,” Clay Sr. shared recalling his early experiences in the tech industry.

    “For so many years I would try to tell people where I was from and the experiences I went through and they would always look at me and shrug their shoulders as if Ferguson, MO was in another world. But now they know where I am from.”

    After learning about Ferguson police harassing and murdering Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO on August 9th, 2014, Clay Sr. recalled being a teenager and how he could have been Mike Brown. He wanted to share his story to the world and have his message be, “Not to look at young Black men as a threat in our community but look at them as innovators. Mike Brown could have been me.”

    Bobé and others at Hands Up United asked Clay Sr. for permission to name the first tech program under the Tech Impact umbrella after him. Without hesitation Roy Clay Sr. was honored to have his name part of the Ferguson movement and asked if he could leave future participants of the program with some words:

    “Always be willing to learn and to help others learn something in the world because everyone needs help and everyone can give help. And that has been my teachings since my early childhood. I did not get here on my own, my mother and my community helped made me. They cared about my success, and at the age of 85, I care about your success. I want to see you grow and help you along the way in any way I can.”

    You know it’s sad when it comes as a surprising revelation to realize that yeah, there were black people also making Silicon Valley what it is today. :(
    Some video at the link, too.

    Man sues city over being roughed up by NYPD while filming dance video

    A dare inspired by Ellen DeGeneres went horribly wrong when an innocent man danced in the street near some NYPD cops, a new lawsuit against the city charges.

    On Christmas Eve Alexander Bok filmed a video of himself grooving around Grand Central Station for part of Ellen’s recurring “Dance Dare” segment on her daytime show.

    He “spent several hours … dancing behind strangers and creating a truly comic video,” documents filed in Manhattan Federal Court Thursday claim.

    But when Bok, 22, started shaking it Gangnam Style by six cops outside Grand Central, they didn’t see anything funny about it.

    Video shows them grabbing the goofball and slamming him against their police van.

    “What the f–k is wrong with you?” “What are you dancing in the street for? “Are you a f—–g a–hole?” they said, according to documents.

    Box, sporting white pants and a grey sweater, tells them “I’m sorry” and tries to explain.

    “The officers were not interested in listening, and treated plaintiff like dirt,” documents charge.

    The cops — working four days after a police-hating lunatic killed Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos in Brooklyn — shoved him to the ground and let him go.

    Also video at the link.

    Another first from history, this one reasonably recent, in 1990: First Black Elected to Head Harvard’s Law Review

    The new president of the Review is Barack Obama, a 28-year-old graduate of Columbia University who spent four years heading a community development program for poor blacks on Chicago’s South Side before enrolling in law school. His late father, Barack Obama, was a finance minister in Kenya and his mother, Ann Dunham, is an American anthropologist now doing fieldwork in Indonesia. Mr. Obama was born in Hawaii.

    ”The fact that I’ve been elected shows a lot of progress,” Mr. Obama said today in an interview. ”It’s encouraging.

    ”But it’s important that stories like mine aren’t used to say that everything is O.K. for blacks. You have to remember that for every one of me, there are hundreds or thousands of black students with at least equal talent who don’t get a chance,” he said, alluding to poverty or growing up in a drug environment.

  141. rq says

    As it is Black History Month, here’s some history in photographs. 12 History-Making Photos Of The 1965 Selma-To-Montgomery Civil Rights March

    This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery Civil Rights March, a five-day protest that drew more than 25,000 marchers and changed the course of civil rights in America.

    On view now at the New York Historical Society, The 1965 March: Stephen Somerstein Photographs Freedom’s Journey from Selma to Montgomery features the work of a then 24-year-old City College student, who felt he had to document “what was going to be a historic event.” From March 21 to March 25, 1965, hundreds of people marched to protest against the resistance that groups like the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) had encountered while trying to register black voters. [..]

    As he walked the 54 miles from Selma to Montgomery with thousands of others, Somerstein—who was then the managing editor and picture editor of the City College newspaper—took 400 black and white and color photographs. “I had five cameras slung around my neck,” he recalls.

    The 55 images on view convey the hope and courage of the protesters and the violent opposition they faced: white hecklers taunt marchers; folk singer Joan Baez stands smiling before a line of state troopers blocking the entrance to the State Capitol; families look on at the marchers on rural roads from their porches; parents and children march with American flags. Somerstein captured images of Coretta Scott King, Rosa Parks, James Baldwin, and Bayard Rustin, and, finally, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., addressing a crowd of 25,000 in Montgomery, Alabama. Three months later, President Lyndon B. Johnson would sign the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

    Somerstein went on to pursue a career in physics, building space satellites. Though he sold a few of his historic photographs to the New York Times Magazine, public television, and photography collectors, the majority of his work remained unseen until 2010, when he participated in a civil rights exhibition at the San Francisco Art Exchange.

    And now, coinciding with the film release of Selma, the images still prove vital in a climate of a reignited race war. Juxtaposed with images of this year’s nationwide protests of the shootings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, they’re sad reminders of how history repeats itself, but also images of encouragement, visual tokens of the power of demonstration to affect change.

    This one… this is a painful read. TW on this for… well, for horrific acts committed by humans to other humans. American Slavery As It Is:
    Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses:
    Electronic Edition.


    A MAJORITY of the facts and testimony contained in this work rests upon the authority of SLAVEHOLDERS, whose names and residences are given to the public, as vouchers for the truth of their statements. That they should utter falsehoods, for the sake of proclaiming their own infamy, is not probable.

    Their testimony is taken, mainly, from recent newspapers, published in the slave states. Most of those papers will be deposited at the office of the American Anti-Slavery Society, 143 Nassau street, New-York City. Those who think the atrocities, which they describe, incredible, are invited to call and read for themselves. We regret that all of the original papers are not in our possession. The idea of preserving them on file for the inspection of the incredulous, and the curious, did not occur to us until after the preparation of the work was in a state of forwardness, in consequence of this, some of the papers cannot be recovered. Nearly all of them, however have been preserved. In all cases the name of the paper is given, and, with very few exceptions, the place and time, (year, month, and day) of publication. Some of the extracts, however not being made with reference to this work, and before its publication was contemplated, are without date; but this class of extracts is exceedingly small, probably not a thirtieth of the whole

    The statements, not derived from the papers and other periodicals, letters, books, &c., published by slaveholders, have been furnished by individuals who have resided in slave states, many of whom are natives of those states, and have been slaveholders. The names, residences, &c. of the witnesses generally are given. A number of them, however, still reside in slave states;–to publish their names would be, in most cases, to make them the victims of popular fury.

    New-York, May 4, 1839.

    And a note (foreword?) –


    The Executive Committee of the American Anti-Slavery Society, while tendering their grateful acknowledgments, in the name of American Abolitionists, and in behalf of the slave, to those who have furnished for this publication the result of their residence and travel in the slave states of this Union, announce their determination to publish, from time to time; as they may have the materials and the funds, TRACTS, containing well authenticated facts, testimony, personal narratives, &c. fully setting forth the condition of American slaves. In order that they may be furnished with the requisite materials, they invite all who have had personal knowledge of the condition of slaves in any of the states of this Union, to forward their testimony with their names and residences. To prevent imposition, it is indispensable that persons forwarding testimony, who are not personally known to any of the Executive Committee, or to the Secretaries or Editors of the American Anti-Slavery Society, should furnish references to some person or persons of respectability, with whom, if necessary, the Committee may communicate respecting the writer.

    Facts and testimony respecting the condition of slaves, in all respects, are desired; their food, (kinds, quality, and quantity,) clothing, lodging, dwellings, hours of labor and rest, kinds of labor, with the mode of exaction, supervision, &c.–the number and time of meals each day, treatment when sick, regulations respecting their social intercourse, marriage and domestic ties, the system of torture to which they are subjected, with its various modes; and in detail, their intellectual and moral condition. Great care should be observed in the statement of facts. Well-weighed testimony and well-authenticated facts with a responsible name, the Committee earnestly desire and call for. Thousands of persons in the free states have ample knowledge on this subject, derived from their own observation in the midst of slavery. Will such hold their peace? That which maketh manifest is light; he who keepeth his candle under a bushel at such a time and in such a cause as this, forges fetters for himself, as well as for the slave. Let no one withhold his testimony because others have already testified to similar facts. The value of testimony is by no means to be measured by the novelty of the horrors which it describes. Corroborative testimony,–facts, similar to those established by the testimony of others,–is highly valuable. Who that can give it and has a heart of flesh, will refuse to the slave so small a boon?

    Communications may be addressed to Theodore D. Weld, 143 Nassau-street, New York.

    New York, May, 1839.

    And the table of contents:

    Twenty-seven hundred thousand free born citizens of the U. S. in slavery, 7: Tender mercies of slaveholders, 8: Abominations of slavery, 9: Character of the testimony, 9-10.
    NARRATIVE OF NEHEMIAH CAULKINS, 102; North Carolina slavery, 11; Methodist preaching slavedriver, Galloway, 12: Women at child-birth, 12: Slaves at labor, 12: Clothing of slaves, 13; Allowance of provisions, 13; Slave-fetters, 13; Cruelties to slaves, 13, 14, 15, Burying a slave alive, 15; Licentiousness of Slaveholders, 15, 16; Rev. Thomas P. Hunt, with his “hands tied,” 16; Preachers cringe to slavery, 15; Nakedness of slaves, 16; Slave-huts, 16; Means of subsistence for slaves, 16, 17; Slaves’ prayer, 17.
    NARRATIVE OF REV. HORACE MOULTON, 17; Labor of the slaves, 18; Tasks, 18; Whipping posts, 18; Food, 18 Houses, 19; Clothing, 19; Punishments, 19, 20; Scenes of horror, 20; Constables, savage and brutal, 20; Patrols, 20; Cruelties at night, 20, 21; Paddle-torturing, 20; Cat-hauling, 21; Branding with hot iron, 21; Murder with impunity, 21; Iron collars, yokes, clogs, and bells, 21.
    NARRATIVE OF SARAH M. GRIMKE, 22; Barbarous Treatment of slaves, 22; Converted slave, 22; Professor of religion, near death, tortured his slave for visiting his companion, 33; Counterpart of James Williams’ description of Larrimore’s wife, 23; Head of runaway slave on a pole, 23; Governor of North Carolina left his sick slave to perish, 23; Cruelty to Women slaves, 34; Christian slave a martyr for Jesus, 24.
    TESTIMONY OF REV. JOHN GRAHAM, 25; Twenty-seven slaves whipped, 26.
    TESTIMONY OF WILLIAM POE, 26; Harris whipped a girl to death, 26; Captain of the U. S. Navy murdered his boy, was tried and acquitted, 26; Overseer burnt a slave, 26; Cruelties to slaves, 26.
    FOOD, 28-31; Suffering from hunger, 28; Rations in the U. S. Army, &c, 32; Prison rations, 33-34; Testimony, 34, 35. LABOR, 35; Slaves are overworked, 35; Witnesses, 35, 36; Henry Clay, 37; Child-bearing prevented, 37; Dr. Channing, 38; Sacrifice of a set of hands every seven years, 38; Testimony, 39: Laws of Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, South Carolina, and Virginia, 39. CLOTHING, 40; Witnesses, 40, 41; Advertisements, 41; Testimony, 41; Field-hands, 41; Nudity of slaves, 42; John Randolph’s legacy to Essex and Hetty, 42. DWELLINGS, 42; Witnesses, 43; Slaves are wretchedly sheltered and lodged, 43. TREATMENT OF THE SICK, 44.
    TESTIMONY OF THE REV. WILLIAM T. ALLAN. 45; Woman delivered of a dead chiid, being whipped, 46; Slaves shot by Hilton, 46; Cruelties to slaves, 46; Whipping post, 46; Assaults, and maimings, 46, 47; Murders, 47; Puryear, “the Devil,” 47; Overseers always armed, 44; Licentiousness of Overseers, 47; “Bend your backs,” 47; Mrs. H., a Presbyterian, desirous to cut Arthur Tappan’s throat, 47; Clothing, Huts, and Herding of slaves, 47; Iron yokes with prongs, 47; Marriage unknown among slaves, 46; Presbyterian minister at Huntsville, 47; Concubinage in Preacher’s house, 47; Slavery, the great wrong, 47.
    NARRATIVE OF WILLIAM LEFTWICH, 48, 49; Slave’s life, 48, 49.
    TESTIMONY OF LEMUEL SAPINGTON, 49; Nakedness of slaves, 49; Traffic in slaves, 49.
    TESTIMONY OF MRS. LOWRY, 50; Long, a professor of religion killed three men, 50; Salt water applied to wounds to keep them from putrefaction, 50.
    TESTIMONY OF WILLIAM C. GILDERSLEEVE, 50; Acts of cruelty, 50.
    TESTIMONY OF HIRAM WHITE, 51; Woman with a child chained to her neck, 51; Amalgamation, and mulatto children, 51.
    TESTIMONY OF JOHN M. NELSON, 51; Rev. Conrad Speece influenced Alexander Nelson when dying not to emancipate his slaves, 52; George Bourne opposed slavery in 1810, 52.
    TESTIMONY OF ANGELINA GRIMKE WELD, 52; House-servants, 52; Slave-driving female professors of religion at Charleston, S. C., 53; Whipping women and prayer in the same room, 53; Tread-mills, 53; Slaveholding religion, 54; Slave-driving mistress prayed for the divine blessing upon her whipping of an aged woman, 54; Girl killed with impunity, 54; Jewish law, 54; Barbarities, 54; Medical attendance upon slaves, 55; Young man beaten to epilepsy and insanity, 55; Mistresses flog their slaves, 55; Blood-bought luxuries, 55; Borrowing of slaves, 55; Meals of slaves, 55; All comfort of slaves disregarded, 56; Severance of companion lovers, 56; Separation of parents and children, 56; Slave espionage, 57; Sufferings of slaves, 57; Horrors of slavery indescribable, 56.
    TESTIMONY OF CRUELTY INFLICTED UPON SLAVES, 57; Colonization Society, 60; Emancipation Society of North Carolina, 60; Kentucky, 61.
    PUNISHMENTS, 62-72; Floggings, 62; Witnesses and Testimony, 62, 63.
    SLAVE DRIVING, 69; Droves of slaves, 70.
    CRUELTY TO SLAVES, 70; Slaves like Stock without a shelter, 71; “Six pound paddle,” 71.
    TORTURES OF SLAVES. Iron collars, chains, fetters, and hand-cuffs, 72-76: Advertisements for fugitive slaves, 73: Testimony, 74, 75: Iron head-frame, 76: Chain coffles, 76; Droves of ‘human cattle,’ 76: Washington, the National slave market, 76: Testimony of James K. Paulding, Secretary of the Navy; Literary fraud and pretended prophecy by Mr. Paulding, 77. Brandings, Maimings, and Gun-shot wounds, 77: Witnesses and Testimony, 77-82: Mr. Sevier, senator of the U. S. 79: Judge Hitchcock, of Mobile, 79: Commendable fidelity to truth in the advertisements of slaveholders, 82: Thomas Aylethorpe cut off a slave’s ear, and sent it to Lewis Tappan, 93: Advertisemants for runaway slaves with their teeth mutilated, 83, 84; Excessive cruelty to slaves, 85: Slaves burned alive, 86: Mr. Turner, a slave-butcher, 87: Slaves roasted and flogged, 87: Cruelties common, 88: Fugitive slaves, 88: Slaves forced to eat tobacco worms, 88: Baptist Christians escaping from slavery, 88; Christian whipped for praying, 88: James K. Paulding’s testimony, 89: Slave driven to death, 89: Coroner’s inquest on Harney’s murdered female slave, 89: Man-stealing encouraged by law, 90: Trial for a murdered slave, 90: Female slave whipped to death, and during the torture delivered of a dead infant, 90: Slaves murdered, 90, 91, 92: Slave driven to death, 92: Slaves killed with impunity, 93: George, a slave, chopped piece-meal, and burnt by Lilburn Lewis, 92; Retributive justice in the awful death of Lilburn Lewis, 94: Trial of Isham Lewis, a slave murderer, 94.
    Page vi

    NARRATIVE OF REV. FRANCIS HAWLEY, 94; Plantations, 94; Overscers, 95; No appeal from Overseers to Masters, 95.
    CLOTHING, 95; Nudity of slaves, 95.
    WORK, 95; Cotton-picking, 96; Mothers of slaves, 96; Presbyterian minister killed his slave, 96; Methodist colored preacher hung, 96; Licentiousness, 97; Slave-traffic, 97; Night in a Slaveholder’s house, 97; Twelve slaves murdered, 97; Slave driving Baptist preachers, 97; Hunting of runaways slaves, 97; Amalgamation, 97.
    TESTIMONY OF REUBEN C. MACY, AND RICHARD MACY, 98. Whipping of slaves, 98, 99. Testimony of Eleazer Powel, 99; Overseer of Hinds Stuart, shot a slave for opposing the torture of his female companion, 100.
    TESTIMONY OF REV. WILLIAM SCALES, 100. Three slaves murdered with impunity, 100; Separation of lovers, parents, and children, 101.
    TESTIMONY OF JOS. IDE, 101. Mrs. T. a Presbyterian kind woman-killer, 101; Female slave whipped to death, 101; Food, 101; Nakedness of slaves, 101; Old man flogged after praying for his tyrant, 101; Slave-huts not as comfortable as pig-sties, 101.
    TESTIMONY OF REV. PHINEAS SMITH, 101. Texas, 102; Suit for the value of slave ‘property,’ 102; Anson Jones, Ambassador from Texas, 102; No trial or punishment for the murder of slaves, 102; Slave-hunting in Texas, 102; Suffering drives the slaves to despair and suicide, 102.
    TESTIMONY OF PHIL’N BLISS, 102. Ignorance of northern citizens respecting slavery, 102, Betting upon crops, 103; Extent and cruelty of the punishment of slaves, 103; Slaveholders excuse their cruelties by the example of Preachers, and professors of religion, and Northern citizens, 104; Novel torture, eulogized by a professor of religion, 104; Whips as common as the plough, 104; Ladies use cowhides, with shovel and tongs, 104.
    TESTIMONY OF REV. WM. A. CHAPIN, 105. Slave-labor, 105; Starvation of slaves, 105; Slaves lacerated, without clothing, and without food, 105.
    TESTIMONY OF T. M. MACY, 105. Cotton plantations on St. Simon’s Island, 105; Cultivntion of rice, 106; No time for relaxation, 106; Sabbath a nominal rest, 106; Clothing, 106; Flogging, 106.
    TESTIMONY OF F. C. MACY, 106. Slave cabins, 106; Food, 106; Whipping every day, 106; Treatment of slaves as brutes, 106; Slave-boys fight for slaveholder’s amusement 107; Amalgamation common, 107.
    TESTIMONY OF A CLERGYMAN, 107. Natchez, 107; ‘Lie down,” for whipping, 107; Slave-hunting, 108, ‘Ball and chain’ men, 108; Whipping at the same time, on three plantations, 108; Hours of Labor, 108; Christians slave-hunting, 108; Many runaway slaves annually shot, 108; Slaves in the stocks, 108; Slave-branding, 108.
    CONDITION OF SLAVES, 108. Slavery is unmixed cruelty, 108; Fear the only motive of slaves, 109; Pain is the means, not the end of slave-driving, 109; Characters of Slave drivers and Overseers, brutal, sensual, and violent, 109; Ownership of human beings utterly destroys their comfort, 109.
    I. Such cruelties are incredible, 110. Slaves deemed to be working animals, or merchandize; and called ‘Stock,’ ‘Increase,’ ‘Breeders,’ ‘Drivers,’ ‘Property,’ ‘Human cattle,’ 110; Testimony of Thomas Jefferson, 110; Slaves worse treated than quadrupeds, 111, 112; Contrast between the usage of slaves and animals, 112; Testimony, 112; Northern incredulity discreditable to consistency, 112; Religious persecutions, 113; Recent ‘Lynchings,’ and Riots, in the United States, 113; Many outrageous Felonies perpetrated with impunity, 113; Large faith of the objectors who ‘can’t believe,’ 114; ‘Doe faces,’ and ‘Dough faces,’ 114; Slave-drivers acknowledge their own enormities, 114; Slave plantations in Alabama. Louisiana, and Mississippi, second only to hell,’ 114; Legislature of North Carolina, 115; Incredulity discreditable to intelligence, 115; Abuse of power in the state, and churches, 115; Legal restraints, 116; American slaveholders possess absolute power, 116; Slaves deprived of the safeguards of law, 116; Mutual aversion between the oppressor and the slave, 116; Cruelty the product of arbitrary power, 117; Testimony of Thomas Jefferson, 117; Judge Tucker, 117; Presbyterian Synod of South Carolina, and Georgia, 117; General William H. Harrison, 117; President Edwards, 118; Montesquieu, 118; Wilber force, 118; Whitbread, 118; Characters, 118, 121.
    OBJECTION II.–“Slaveholders protest that they treat their slaves well.” 121 Not testimony but opinion, 122; ‘Good treatment’ of slaves,’ 123; Novel form of cruelty, 125.
    OBJECTION III.–“Slaveholders are proverbial for their kindness, and generosity, 125; Hospitality and benevolence contrasted, 125, 126; Slaveholders in Congress, respecting Texas and Hayti, 126; ‘Fictitious kindness and hospitality,’ 128.
    OBJECTION IV.–“Northern visitors at the south testify that the slaves are not cruelly treated,” 128. Testimony, 128, 129; ‘Gubner poisened,’ 129; Field-hands, 130; Parlor slaves, 130; Chief Justice Durell, 131.
    OBJECTION V.–“It is for the interest of the masters to treat their slaves well,” 132; Testimony, 133. Rev. J. N Maffitt, 134; Masters interest to treat cruelly the great body of the slaves, 134, 138; Various classes of slaves, 135, 136; Hired slaves, 136; Advertisements, 136, 137.
    OBJECTION VI:–“Slaves multiply; a proof that they are not inhumanly treated, and are in a comfortable condition, 139. Testimony, 139; Martin VanBuren, 139; Foreign slave trade, 139; ‘Beware of Kidnappers,’ 140; ‘Citizens sold as slaves,’ 141; Kidnapping at New Orleans, 141; Slave breeders, 142.
    OBJECTION VII.–“Public opinion is a protection to the slave, 143” Decision of the Supreme Court of North and South Carolina, 143; ‘Protection of slaves,’ 143; Mischievous effects of ‘public opinion’ concerning slavery, 144; Laws of different states, 144; Heart of slaveholders, 145; Reasons for enacting the laws concerning cruelties to slaves, 147; ‘Moderate correction,’ 148; Hypocrisy and malignity of slave laws, 148; Testimony of slaves excluded, 149; Capital crimes for slaves, 149; ‘Slaveholding brutality,’ worse than that of Caligula, 149; Public opinion destroys fundamental rights, 150; Character of slaveholders’ advertisements, 152; Public opinion is diabolical, 152, 154; Brutal indecency, 154; Murder of slaves by law, 155, 156; Judge Lawless, 157; Slave-hunting, 159, 160; Health of slaves, 161; Acclimation of slaves, 162; Liberty of Slaves 162; Kidnapping of free citizens, 162; Law of Louisiana, 163; FRIENDS’, memorial, 164; Domestic slavery, 164; Advertisements, 164, 167; Childhood, old age, 167; Inhumanity, 169; Butchering dead slaves, 169; South Carolina Medical college, 169; Charleston Medical Infirmary, 172; Advertisements, 172, 173; Slave murders, 173; John Randolph, 173; Charleston slave auctions, 174; ‘Never lose a day’s work,’ 174; Stocks, 175; Slave-breeding, 175; Lynch law, 175; Slaves murdered, 176; Slavery among Christians, 176, 180; Licentiousness encouraged by preachers, 180; ‘Fine old preacher who dealt in slaves,’ 180; Cruelty to slaves by professors of religion, 181; Slave-breeding, 182; Daniel O’Connel, and Andrew Stevenson, 182; Virginia a negro raising menagerie, 182 Legislature of Virginia, 182; Colonization Society, 183; Inter-state slave traffic, 184; Battles in Congress, 184; Duelling, 185; Cock-fighting, 186; Horse-racing, 186; Ignorance of slaveholders, 187; ‘Slave-holding civiltzation, and morality,’ 188; Arkansas, 188; Slave driving ruffians, 189, 190; Missouri, 191; Alabama, 192; Butcheries in Mississippi, 194; Louisiana, 198; Tennessee, 200; Fatal Affray in Columbia, 201; Presentment of the Grand Jury of Shelby County, 202; Testimony of Bishop Smith of Kentucky, 204, 206.
    ATLANTIC SLAVEHOLDING REGION, 206. Georgia, 206; North Carolina, 209; Trading with Negroes, 209; Conclusion, 210.

    It’s a lot of reading, and again, a lot of it is rather horrifying. Not just rather, but a lot. But, I suppose, important.

    Black lives matter group blocked a highway and they were called thugs. White ppl celebrating a game block an ambulance’s way and nothing. In case you were starting to think that black protests and white sports riots were being policed and reported the same.

    I can’t figure out if I got this back in December, as the wording sounds familiar, but ehre it is again: The Unbearable White Ignorance of Annie Lennox. With an in-depth comparison of her interpretation, and that of Billie Holiday, of the song Strange Fruit. With notes on feminism and how it differs among white and black women.

  142. says

    Found a new news source: The Real News
    (I saw it listed among Anita Sarkeesian’s sources on her Feminist Frequency blog and decided to check it out)

    In a 4-part series, Jessica Desvarieux (one of TRN’s producers) hosts a series of town hall meetings to discuss police violence and militarization.
    Part 1. Video lasts 1:03:38

    Part 2. Video lasts 21:16

    Part 3. Video lasts 17:12

    I’m guessing Part 4 will be up sometime later this month.

  143. rq says

    This is sort of relevant. Critics pounce after Obama talks crusades, slavery at prayer breakfast. Can’t blockquote.

    After last night’s fuck up, we #Ferguson folks have been asked to speak at today’s plenary. And I have some shit to say. #CC15

    Feb 13th #BlackLoveDay -an alt to VDay, we want to affirm revolutionary love w/events around the idea of “Black Love v State Violence”. I can get behind this 100%.

    BIG ONE: 100+ LGBTQ Black Women You Should Know: The Epic Black History Month Megapost. Because all black lives matter.

    Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and transgender women represent a vibrant and visible portion of the LGBTQ community. In addition to the legends of the Harlem Renaissance and the decades of groundbreaking activism spearheaded by women like Audre Lorde, Barbara Smith and Angela Davis, many of the most prominent coming out stories of the past two years have been black women like Brittney Griner, Raven-Symonè, Diana King and Robin Roberts. Meanwhile, Laverne Cox and Janet Mock have become the most visible transgender women in media.

    So, in honor of Black History Month, below you’ll find over 100 lesbian, bisexual, gay, queer and transgender women you should know about. If she was still alive, the oldest person in this list would be 189 years old. The youngest person on this list is a mere 21 years of age. Like all our lists of this sort, this post aims to contain a wide variety of humans of all ages and backgrounds, from reality TV show stars (despite its numerous failings, Reality TV has been a major mainstream source of LGBTQ visibility dating back to the early ’90s) to State Representatives to actresses to game-changing activists.

    Keep in mind, there are so many more prominent black LGBT women than are represented below. This list isn’t representative or comprehensive, but I did aim to include the “big names” and beyond that, present a broad and diverse range of visible women. The hardest part of making this list was that it was originally twice as long! So please feel free to share some of your heroes in the comments and we’ll have more lists like this in the future!

    Portraits of women frmo the 19th century onwards! Wow.

  144. rq says

    BTW, that last link on 100+ LGBTQ Black Women you should know about is now a list that goes on for 3 pages and includes several activists, incl. at least 2 from Ferguson, MO.

    300 school leaders of color are meeting up with @TFAMetroAtlanta & @onedayallkids. Follow & join the conversation at #SLOC2015.

    Is it true that there will be a die-in at the Grammy’s? I’m asking for a friend. I hope yes!

    STL and land values: .@tonymess “Northside” for me is people, not just land. Clearing black people from valuable land is a STL tradition that I don’t support.

    Black Students at Top Colleges: Exceptions, Not the Rule

    Black students make up just 4% of undergraduate enrollees in the top decile of the nation’s four-year colleges, ranked by mid-career alumni earning figures. By contrast, 26% of students in the bottom rank of colleges are black […]

    Most of the small number of black graduates from the 92 schools in the top decile will go on to successful careers. The problem is that a vastly larger number of blacks – 59% – attend colleges ranked in the bottom half, with just 4 percent in top schools. By contrast, 9% of white students attend top colleges and 26 % of Asians […]

    Are things getting better? Not on this front. While the number of blacks enrolling in top colleges increased from 1980 to 2013, the share of black students at such colleges and the likelihood of a black college student attending top colleges have not. The change in black enrollment shares at top decile colleges between 1980 and 2013 was just 0.3 percentage points, and the percentage of black students attending such schools fell from 6 to 4 percent. Most of gains have been in lower tier colleges [..]

    These national trends masks considerable variation across colleges, however, which result in part from regional demographics. At a number of elite southern colleges, black enrollment rose appreciably. At Duke University in North Carolina black enrollment shares doubled from 5% to 10% percent. At Vanderbilt in Tennessee black enrollment went from 3% to 8%, and at Houston’s Rice University, enrollment went from 4% to 6%.

    In California, the picture is much worse. At University of California campuses in Irvine, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Berkeley, black enrollment shares fell by 1-4 percentage points, and currently stand between 1-2%. Just 4 percent of the University of Southern California’s students are black, compared to 7 percent in 1980. Meanwhile there have been large jumps in Californian enrollment rates for both Asians and Hispanics.

    Black Americans have a distinctly worse experience than other racial groups in terms of college quality. This is not to say the problem is solely with the college system: the gaps reflect the accumulated disadvantages of the prior eighteen years. But it serves as a stark reminder of the depth of the challenge.

    With graphs at the link.

    Tupac Shakur’s Newly Found Handwritten Letters Reveal He Wanted To Unify The East And West Coast

    Tupac Shakur reveals plans to unify the East and West Coast in newly found handwritten letters from the late rapper. While writing to his friend Big Lock, Pac discusses his plans to drop One Nation, a collaborative album that would have featured Greg Nice, Buckshot, Smiff-N-Wessun, Scarface, E-40 and OutKast. He had plans to drop the record in the summer, but it never came to fruition. Unfortunately, the letter isn’t dated, so who knows when these plans were made and why the album never happened.

    It seems like Pac’s beef with Notorious B.I.G. was already underway at the time of the letter. The west coast legend also discusses the success of his most recent record, which is unnamed. 2Pac tells Lock he doesn’t “sweat the b*tch made n*ggaz that try to playa hate” as he wraps up his note. “Tell my real doggz, my real true n*ggaz ‘One Love,’” he adds toward the end.

    Okayplayer confirmed the validity of the letter after speaking with ?uestlove. Apparently, The Roots were also contacted in the mid-90s to appear on the project. Hip-hop would have loved to hear such an album, especially a collabo with Tupac and OutKast.

    Bonhams, a privately owned British auction house and one of the world’s oldest and largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques, also recently announced that on March 1 they are launching an entertainment memorabilia auction. In the auction, there’s a collection of rare handwritten letters from Tupac Shakur for sale. These letters that Shakur wrote to his friend Desiree Smith while he was imprisoned in upstate New York in 1995 have never been seen by the public and offer a fresh perspective on this important period in the iconic rapper’s life. The letters are addressed to Pac’s friend Desiree Smith while he was imprisoned in upstate New York in 1995. It included who he believed was behind the shooting at Quad Records and who set him up on the sexual abuse charge that sent him to prison, as well as his feelings about imprisonment and his short-lived marriage to Keisha Morris. Also included in the offering is a statement signed by Shakur and witnessed by Smith, dated July 30, 1995, authorizing Death Row Records attorney David Kenner to negotiate on Shakur’s behalf. It is an important document marking the beginning of Shakur’s relationship with Suge Knight (who’s currently facing a murder and attempted murder charge.)

    The auction will preview on Feb. 27-28 in Los Angeles. Read the full letters above and below.

  145. rq says

    Random unsorted stuff because have to go to work, but here it is:
    There will be a march in Seattle tomorrow at 2pm at Cal Anderson park. The march will complete William Wingate’s walk with his golf club. (That’s the guy attacked for walking with a golf club.)
    The event information. #WilliamWingate. #Seattle.

    “This is what #Solidarity looks like. Standing next to them! Not standing in front of them” #cc15 #Ferguson2Denver

    The FBI and Chicago police murdered Fred Hampton, leader of the BBP in Chicago #BlackHistoryYouDidntLearnInSchool

    Speechless RT @sexymixedkid: all of this happened not even 100 years ago and i have to “get over it”? (See photos for human horribleness against black people.)

    The last few Antonio French tweets were in relation to this matter. Sorry for the lack of context, I had no media article and was too lazy to actually look it up on the internetz. St. Louis considers eminent domain power in effort to keep geospatial agency in city

    The agency is planning to move from its location south of the Anheuser-Busch brewery and is choosing between four potential sites: Fenton, Mehlville, St. Clair County and north St. Louis.

    The more than 100-acre site in north St. Louis, which includes the demolished Pruitt Igoe housing complex and a swath of land north of it, is filled with challenges. The city is seeking to redevelop the land around the site, buy property and force a number of land owners there to move.

    Under a proposed bill, the city could use eminent domain to buy up any property north of Cass Avenue in the redevelopment area to Montgomery Street. The site is bordered east and west by North Jefferson Avenue and North 22nd Street. Much of the land is vacant, but it does include houses of some longtime city residents.

    A good portion of the site is owned by developer Paul McKee, who had pledged he wouldn’t use eminent domain on homeowners for his massive NorthSide Regeneration Project.

    Now, if approved, the city would use eminent domain on homeowners and McKee requiring them to sell land in the redevelopment zone to the city at market rate.

    The immediate area around Pruitt Igoe is what drew McKee to propose his NorthSide project. McKee has said his dream was to stitch together enough properties to lure a corporate campus.

  146. rq says

    so proud of @brownblaze,@keenblackgirl,@bdoulaoblongata,@KWRose & other #Ferguson folk from #LGBT community at #CC15 #BlackLivesMatter
    The entire plenary has been taken over by Black queer and trans folks. #CC15 #BlackLivesMatter I say good!
    Malcolm X on Education…. #MalcolmX50 #BlackHistoryMonth

    Editorial: Time for Ferguson Commission to rally the region

    At the first meeting of the Ferguson Commission in December, co-chairmen Rich McClure and the Rev. Starsky Wilson pledged that the group would push for quick changes in problems underlying racial unrest in the St. Louis region even as it conducted more long-term research for its full report due later this year.

    The speed with which municipal court reform is being embraced by citizens and lawmakers is part of that two-tiered track. When the commission quickly endorsed and pushed for changes that would better respect the civil rights of people ensnared in the north St. Louis County traffic-court fundraising scheme, civic leaders responded with lawsuits and legislative action.

    Last week, Sen. Eric Schmitt’s, R-Glendale, Senate Bill 5, which would limit the amount of money municipalities could collect from traffic revenue, passed through committee. The bill is headed to the Senate floor.

    Last month, the Missouri Supreme Court changed a rule that should make it easier for poor people to pay fines in courts that have been taking advantage of them for decades. The court’s chief justice has made it clear the courts should no longer operate as “revenue generators.”

    Serious change is afoot.

    But change creates enemies.

    The Ferguson Commission’s various critics, many of them aligned with forces protecting a municipal status quo, are looking for opportunities for this very important commission to fail.

    To be sure, the commission has had a misstep or two. To help it get up and running quickly, as Gov. Jay Nixon called for when appointing its 16 members, the commission hired a few consultants to plan initial meetings and coordinate media without going through a state bidding process. The commission hired an executive director,