Look at all the white people


Once again, the timer has run out on the ongoing discussion of American racism, so here’s a fresh thread for you all. I thought you might appreciate the magnitude of the Black Problem: black people get gunned down by the police. The police are far less trigger-happy when it’s a mob of hundreds of heavily armed white people shooting each other.

A composite image of handout booking images made available on 19 May 2015 by the McLennan County Sheriff's Department showing scores of men and women arrested and charged with crimes stemming from a large shootout and fight between biker gangs outside the Twin Peaks bar and restaurant at the Central Texas Marketplace in Waco, Texas, USA, 17 May 2015. Reports indicate that nine bikers were shot and killed and 18 other wounded. Police have announced that 192 people face charges of engaging in organized crime.  EPA/MCLENNAN COUNTY SHERIFF  HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY

epa04757409 A composite image of handout booking images made available on 19 May 2015 by the McLennan County Sheriff’s Department showing scores of men and women arrested and charged with crimes stemming from a large shootout and fight between biker gangs outside the Twin Peaks bar and restaurant at the Central Texas Marketplace in Waco, Texas, USA, 17 May 2015. Reports indicate that nine bikers were shot and killed and 18 other wounded. Police have announced that 192 people face charges of engaging in organized crime.

I think this suggests an easy solution to the problem of police brutality. Instead of 40 acres and a mule, give every black person in the country a black leather jacket and a shotgun.

Don’t worry, though. The Waco incident was completely thug-free.

Comments

  1. rq says

    Exhibit of Michael Brown’s death scene ‘atrocious’, activists say

    The goal of this exhibition, entitled Confronting Truths: Wake Up!, by New Orleans-based artist Ti-Rock Moore is to start a larger discussion on the violence she sees white privilege produce in America from her perspective as a white female artist.

    However, the exhibition has also been criticised on the grounds that it exploits the tragedy black Americans face for profit through the artist’s own white privilege.

    “I definitely didn’t want to go [at first],” Johnetta “Netta” Elizie, an activist and high profile leader of anti-police violence group We the Protesters told the Guardian after visiting the Chicago gallery. “I felt it would do me no good to go there as far as my spirit is concerned.”

    Elizie had read local reports of the installation at the exhibition that vividly recreates the murder scene of Brown, who was shot dead by police officer Darren Wilson and left for hours in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri.

    But when friends from Ferguson drove to see the exhibition and voice their disdain for something that used the death of Brown as an artwork so soon after the tragedy, she felt she needed to go and support them.

    “The artwork was atrocious,” she said. “The way she is using those images is just disgusting.”
    […]

    “I think what makes this exhibition really unique is that it’s really bold and blunt, and it’s right in your face,” Andre Guichard told the Guardian. “But when you really think about racism, racism can be bold and blunt and right in your face, too.”

    Guichard and his wife say the exhibition is not only timely but also responsible due its depiction of what they think art should engage with: our contemporary moment.

    “When you have people who are trafficking young ladies across the globe and the people speaking up for them aren’t the people being trafficked,” Frances Guichard told the Guardian. “The people [speaking up] are those who care about making sure that it’s just based on humanity and that’s Ti-Rock.

    “She’s not trying to be black or be part of the black experience,” Frances continued when asked if Moore was the art-world equivalent of viral sensation Rachel Dolezal, who identifies as a black woman but was born white. “If she was trying to be black, she would [for example] try to be somebody that infiltrated into sex trafficking and [being] victimized, but she didn’t do that.”
    […]

    “My whiteness carries an unearned advantage in the American system,” Moore said in a 2014 interview before her Brown installation had made its debut. “We’re living in a society of very complicated systems that create advantages for white people and disadvantages for others. That’s what my work is about.”

    Moore did not respond to requests from the Guardian to comment about her work and her latest exhibition at the time of reporting.

    The gallery plans to donate 10% of the money from any artwork sold to a charity aimed at ending police violence. They are currently deciding on the specifics of where that potential gift will go.

    “This [exhibition] is something that needs to stay alive because we need to do what Ti-Rock says and understand what white privilege does to the African American community,” Frances Guichard said.

    Seriously, viral sensation is how they describe Rachel Dolezal?
    Oh, and the gallery says Mike Brown’s mother supports the exhibit:

    Michael Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, was in Chicago last week and attended the opening night of the exhibition. Before arriving, she learned that the piece specifically about her late son was not a photograph, as she had assumed, but an actual recreation of the scene.

    She requested the gallery cover it up while she visited because it would have been too painful for her to witness, which they did.

    The piece is one of the few being shown that isn’t for sale.

    As posted yesterday, his father doesn’t.

    @GalleryGuichard Your response is misleading – Lesley asked to have the exhibit covered when she learned what it was.

    Mike’s mother asked for the life size “body” inspired by her son who laid in the hot son for 4.5 hours on Canfield to be covered up.
    Mike’s father called the “exhibit” disgusting. And yet this man thinks this “art” is acceptable. Nah.

    Study: We love a good personal responsibility message — when the audience is black

    Salter explained in a press release about the results that she was inspired to look into this topic by a 2008 Father’s Day address by Barack Obama that slammed black fathers. (“More than half of all black children live in single-parent households,” he told a predominantly African-American congregation. “Too many fathers are MIA, too many fathers are AWOL, missing from too many lives and too many homes. They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it.”)

    Salter suspected that it wasn’t just the general appreciation of the tough-love message about the disproportionate number of absentee black fathers (a framing of statistics that has since been challenged and largely debunked) that made so many people applaud the speech. Instead, she thought it likely had to do with the fact that listeners outside the church appreciated hearing this message of individual blame directed at a group of African Americans.

    “We were interested in whether the individual blame account of missing black fathers gained attention because it was given in front of a black audience,” she said. “We thought it may not be just what President Obama said in his speech, but to whom he said it that mattered.”

    The research confirmed her instincts: People indeed preferred the very same individual blame messages when they were given to black audiences compared with white audiences.

    […]

    In the first two experiments, participants were asked about their impressions of the beliefs of eight groups (black/African Americans, white/European Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, Asian/Asian Americans, Democrats, Republicans, men, and women) about the fairness of society, and about the extent to which different groups wanted or needed to hear messages about individual blame or systemic blame.

    Taken together, the results revealed that participants 1) believed that blacks, more so than other groups, reject the idea that society is fair, and 2) believed that black audiences “need to hear” messages about how individual failings versus systemic issues are to blame for their problems.

    In the third experiment, the researchers asked participants to read and respond to an excerpt from a speech. Some were told it was delivered to a white audience, and some were told it was delivered to a black audience.

    What they read was actually an excerpt from Obama’s 2008 Father’s Day remarks. But while some participants got the original text emphasizing personal blame and responsibility, others got an edited version tweaked to emphasize a systemic account of missing fathers.

    […]

    Study participants were asked to rate their agreement with statements including “How would you rate the speech overall?” “How much do you like the speech?” and “How important is the message of the speech?”

    The results: They consistently preferred the individual blame message when they believed it was given to a black audience versus when it was given to a white audience.

    How… interesting. Treat them as a monolith yet blame them individually, while white people escape the individual blame but are treated as individuals.
    Some more discussion of the results at the link.

    Protests in St. Louis after 16 year old #BrandonClaxton is shot by police, leaving him paralyzed from his waist down.

  2. rq says

    Amandla Stenberg Didn’t Attack Kylie, Leave Our Princess Alone!

    Alas, there has been some immediate lashing out against Stenberg for her comments under an Instagram picture of Jenner rocking cornrows, which was predicable. The remark (“when u appropriate black features and culture but fail to use ur position of power to help black Americans by directing attention towards ur wigs instead of police brutality or racism #whitegirlsdoitbetter”) nodded to a hashtag from a few days ago that was hijacked by Black Twitter and satirized White female privilege and notions of superiority over Black women and girls.

    As the 16-year-old again captures the hearts of feminists across the Internet for wise-beyond-her-years thoughts on cultural appropriation and the Black female image (the first time was with this video just weeks ago), Jenner fans and others who could care less about Black girls have been extremely harsh in responding. The social media trolling is at predictable levels of mercilessness—which would technically make this the second time Stenberg was subject to racist abuse online. Scores of Hunger Games fans who were surprised to learn the “Rue” character was Black infamously took to Twitter to complain when the first film was released in 2012—but a few famous folks have also joined the fray, namely Justin Bieber and Bravo host Andy Cohen.

    The singer chimed in via his own Instagram comment, defending Jenner’s youth because “were [sic] all trying to figure it out” and assuring anyone who may be concerned that his friend is no “racist.” Now, correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t recall Bieber, who’s career was shaped and inspired largely by Black men, ever using his voice for any “bigger picture” issues—not a #BlackLivesMatter tweet, an “I Can’t Breathe” shirt, nothing. But he’s got the cape ready for Miss Kylie because, of course.

    If you want to really feel annoyed, Google “Stenberg attacks Jenner,” because that’s the word a lot of these gossip rags felt the need to use: “attack.” Thoughtful critique from a 16-year-old to a 17-year-old is not an attack. A grown man calling Stenberg a “jackhole,” however, is another story. On Watch What Happens Live, Cohen gave his “Jackhole of the Day” dis to the teen for her criticism of Jenner last night. More disappointing? His guests for the evening, André Leon Talley and Laverne Cox both chose to answer his question “White girls in cornrows, is it ‘okay’ or ‘nay’ ” without taking the host to task for speaking of a little Black girl in such a way.

    If Jenner is in need of protection, I’d say it’s from a 25-year-old paramour who doesn’t seem to recognize the 17-year-old as a little girl, not from a non-bullying comment on an Instagram picture. Has Cohen called her alleged boyfriend Tyga a “jackhole?” What about the writers and editors who treat the two as if they were any celebrity couple, showing scores of teen girls that dating a full-grown man is totally cool? How could any reasonable person think of Amandla Stenberg’s words as threatening, yet ignore the implications of this alleged relationship?

    Earlier this year, an image of another White teen girl wearing braids made its way across the ’net. I expressed my own discomfort with it in what I thought was a nuanced and respectful way (not addressing her directing, stating clearly that there is never a reason to bully or harass a child online) but was subject to a lot of trolling over it. Ironically, most of the folks who complained about my remarks claimed they were doing so because I am an adult and she is a teenager.

    The response to Stenberg from adults proves that to be completely false; no matter who is older or more popular or powerful, there is a pervasive notion that White women and girls are consistently in need of protection from Black ones, that our critiques are “attacks”—even when we’re defending ourselves from what feels like a persistent pillaging of our culture from people who value our bodies, lips and fashion sense (and often our men) but could do without the actual Black female human beings who come with.

    NYPD union head on the city’s ‘obscene’ Eric Garner settlement – oh, these unions!

    I question: where is the justice for New York taxpayers? Where is the consistency in the civil system?

    In our civil courts, which are charged with the important responsibility of assessing liability and imposing damages in these types of cases, families are only awarded damages based on calculable, provable facts, such as indisputable misconduct, past earnings and conscious pain and suffering. Settlements such as this are regulated by legal and judicial professionals to ensure that neither politics nor emotion override common sense.

    In my view, the City has chosen to abandon its fiscal responsibility to all of its citizens and genuflect to the select few who curry favor with the city government.

    This is a repeat of the shameful settlement mandated by City Hall in the “Central Park Five” litigation. Unfortunately, the City remains on a slippery slope in abusing the trust of the hard-working, taxpaying citizens of New York.

    The settlement amount tendered to the Garner family is obscene: it is a stark departure from typical settlements in similar cases and is clearly an attempt by the Mayor’s Office to placate outside political agendas. While the death of Mr. Garner while resisting arrest was unforeseeable, this excessive and exorbitant settlement was not: although Mr. Garner did not provide his family with an abundance of wealth, it was clear from the outset that the Mayor’ s Office would: Mr. Garner’s family should not be rewarded simply because he repeatedly chose to break the law and resist arrest.

    The responsibility of the City in paying damages, if any, to Mr. Garner’s family should be proportionate to its responsibility for Mr. Garner’s death, which was at best, minimal.

    “Minimal”. Fuck you, Mr Police Union.

    A Stroll Through Harper Lee’s (and Watchman’s) Hometown, because tangentially relevant.

    High season for Monroeville is May, when the Monroe County Heritage Museums puts on a stage version of Mockingbird. The event is a morality play of sorts, a migration of pilgrims paying homage to the powerful sermon of the story. “People around here actually quote lines from the book like scripture,” one man told me.

    The homegrown cast stars, among others, a forester, the owner of an air-conditioning company, a firefighter, several teachers, and a few lawyers thrown in for good measure. “We always have a pastor play a role,” said Carol Champion, who sells souvenirs between acts. “The one year we didn’t was the year we got rained out.” (See more black-and-white photos of the Monroe Country Heritage Museums’ play version of To Kill a Mockingbird in Monroeville, Alabama.)

    Carol’s husband, police detective Robert Champion, plays Boo Radley, the neighbor whose reclusiveness captivates Scout and Jem, Atticus’s children. “Boo only has one line, so it’s all played in body language,” he told me. Tall, rangy Dennis Owens, who sells insurance, plays Atticus. “There is no way you can live up to the character of Atticus,” he said, “but I like to think you have a few moments in time when you do.”

    Charles McCorvey, a county commissioner, plays Tom Robinson, the falsely accused black man. “It’s 1935 and survival means ‘yassuh this and that,’ and being mindful and second-class,” says McCorvey. “I had a difficult time with the role until I could leave who I really am and realize I am not in the 21st century.”

    The cast volunteers their time. “We’re not putting on a play,” says director Kathy McCoy, “we’re sending a message of racial tolerance.” The show has traveled to Washington, D.C., Hull, England, and Jerusalem, where the jury, drawn from an Israeli audience, balked at finding Tom Robinson guilty. “We wondered what was taking them so long,” said McCorvey. “It turned out they wanted to acquit. They were arguing with the actor who plays the sheriff, who explained that they had to convict.”

    Though the actor playing the prosecuting attorney once went blank, asked to approach the bench, and was fed his line by the judge, the cast performs like pros. You get the feeling if Broadway called, more than a few would be on their way in a New York minute. They step into character and, sometimes, linger. “I’ve signed checks ‘Boo Radley’ and had them clear,” Champion said.

    The actors appear before sold-out audiences, but the one person in town who has never seen the play is Harper Lee. She abhors anything that trades on the book’s fame. As reported in the Chicago Tribune by Marja Mills, when the Monroe County Heritage Museums began selling Calpurnia’s Cookbook, a compilation of recipes from the cast (“before killing a chicken, be sure to put in coop or small pen and feed well for at least one week,” one entry instructs), Lee demanded it be yanked. (Calpurnia is the Finches’ housekeeper.) The museum dutifully complied.

    D’Army Bailey, 73, Activist Who Founded Museum Where Dr. King Was Shot, Dies

    D’Army Bailey, a lifelong civil rights crusader who successfully campaigned to transform the forlorn motel where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968 into a civil rights museum, died on Sunday in Memphis. He was 73.

    The cause was cancer, his brother, Walter L. Bailey Jr., said.

    By 1982, Dr. King’s legacy had been honored in shrines and street signs across the country. But Mr. Bailey considered the derelict Lorraine Motel in Memphis singularly sacred.

    Calling the motel “the site of the crucifixion,” Mr. Bailey said the National Civil Rights Museum would “signal to the world that Memphis has come to grip with the tragedy of Dr. King’s death here, and has drawn from it the tools to mold a unique educational tool.”

    Speaking at the museum’s dedication in 1991, the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson said: “To not have this museum in Memphis would be like the Christians celebrating Christmas and never celebrating Easter. Memphis, his last sermon. Memphis, the vision of the mountaintop. Memphis, the last march. Memphis, the last interruption. Memphis, the last breath.”

    […]

    As president of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memphis Memorial Foundation, he managed to buy the motel with $67,000 raised from local citizens, supplemented at the last moment by a $50,000 bank loan and a $25,000 contribution from the national public employees union.

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    The $9.7 million museum opened on July 4, 1991, at a ceremony attended by Rosa Parks, the Montgomery bus boycott pioneer, and Mr. Jackson (who had been present on April 4, 1968, when Dr. King was shot from across the street).

    The two rooms that Dr. King had rented were restored, the bloodstained concrete slab was reset on the balcony and exhibits were installed depicting five centuries of history. Last year, a $27.5 million renovation was completed.

    Mr. Bailey wrote two books, “Mine Eyes Have Seen: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Final Journey” (1993) and “The Education of a Black Radical: A Southern Civil Rights Activist’s Journey, 1959-1964” (2009). He also appeared in a number of films, including “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” in which Mr. Bailey, who had by then become a judge, played a judge.

    He retired as a Circuit Court judge in 2009 after serving 19 years, but he returned to the bench last year.

    In addition to his brother, he is survived by his wife, the former Adrienne Leslie, and two sons, Justin and Merritt.

    The King family was not involved in the museum and had cautioned Mr. Bailey against referring to Dr. King in its name.

    “I would have loved to have had their involvement at the time, but in retrospect I believe we ended up having a freer hand,” he said in 1995. He also rejected criticism that the location was too mournful.

    “This was a blessed project from the beginning,” Mr. Bailey said. “It’s living history, and I don’t see it as the scene of a defeat or one bit morbid. Everybody dies, and that’s the price we all pay. This is the place where Dr. King paid his price in triumph.”

    This past weekend New Shiloh Christian Center, a black church in Florida, was vandalized & attacked. #WhoIsBurningBlackChurches

    Police Union Chief Calls $5.9 Million Eric Garner Settlement “Obscene”. An opinion on the chief’s opinion.

    Sergeants Benevolent Association head Ed Mullins, meanwhile, had a different take. In an interview with the NY Post (who else?), Mullins described the settlement as “obscene” and “shameful,” asking the tabloid’s readers, “Where is the justice for New York taxpayers? Where is the consistency in the civil system? In my view, the city has chosen to abandon its fiscal responsibility to all of its citizens and genuflect to the select few who curry favor with the city government.” [Translation: AL SHARPTON AL SHARPTON AL SHARPTON.] [Also: AL SHARPTON.]

    “Mr. Garner’s family should not be rewarded simply because he repeatedly chose to break the law and resist arrest,” Mullins concluded. (Police claim Garner had been selling loose cigarettes outside a Staten Island deli when officers approached him.)

    […]

    Stringer’s settlement was considerably higher than some other famous wrongful-death settlements awarded by the city, including the $3.9 million for the family of Ramarley Graham. But it was considerably less than the $8.75 million awarded to Abner Louima, and slightly less than the $6.4 million settlement for David Ranta, who was imprisoned for 23 years after a wrongful-murder conviction. The Garner settlement is just the latest in a string of high-dollar settlements negotiated by Stringer, ostensibly to save taxpayers the high cost of a trial and a potentially higher jury payout. Garner’s estate had sought $75 million.

    Still, some wonder of Stringer’s determination to settle wrongful death lawsuits has “sidelined” the judgment of the city Law Department. “The determination of appropriate damage levels is a complex, nuanced process,” Victor A. Kovner, a former city corporation counsel, told the Times. “The notion that the comptroller, without the benefit of that experience, seeks to make these resolutions on his own is in my experience grandstanding and against the city’s interest.”

  3. says

    Why Direct Action?

    I have been involved in many direct-action protests, disruptions, marches, and other demonstrations before and after Trayvon.

    Direct action has the power to make private grief public and to demand an end to continuous violence.

    And those of us who participate in “in the streets” forms of direct action know that we will be the targets of criticism, emotional and physical violence – that even people who may claim to be “sympathetic” to our cause are the same that are angry about #BlackBrunch.

    We know this.

    Most of us shutting down city council meetings, or interrupting President Obama’s press conferences, or blocking traffic to end incarceration and deportations, know what both the cost and benefits are.

    Direct action is about disruption and courage – it demands that you acknowledge us, even for five minutes.

    The often hostile criticism that activists receive for taking action is often seeped in privilege and indifference to others’ suffering. And the indifference needs to be called out.

    Below are just some of the questions and comments I’ve commonly heard in response to direct action.

    ‘Why Can’t You Peacefully Ask For What You Want?’

    A group of all-Black activists did a Valentine’s Day action in the town of Walnut Creek, a predominantly white and upper-class neighborhood with a history of white supremacist politics and rallies.

    We took over local businesses to call out the names of Black people who had been murdered by the police. We demanded an end to complacency.

    We spent no longer than five minutes in each restaurants surrounded by white folks who refused to look at us – some plugging their ears, others calling out slurs, others mumbling that we “deserve to be shot.”

    None of us carried guns, none of us threatened anyone (aside from our presence as Black), and no one was harmed. That being said, the action was not “peaceful” because it wasn’t intended to be.

    A few days later, amidst allegations that we “bullied and harassed” people, a former peer (and aspiring police officer) sent me a long message expressing his outrage at what we had done.

    He asked me why we could not take a “less Black panther” approach and instead be more “peaceful” – maybe handing out flyers or working directly with the police department. (I wondered if he was talking about the Black Panther party that provided free meals and education to entire communities of Black children, but decided, probably not).

    I responded that, any time a group of Black people go anywhere to do any thing, we are automatically assumed violent or suspect.

    We are not allowed to take up space, and once we do – even if it is to beg that people see us as human and stop killing us – we are infringing upon the privilege and ignorance of those who who wish to remain blissfully unsympathetic.

    I responded that, if we had interrupted people’s brunches to perform a Valentine’s Day song rather than to protest police brutality, we would be entirely welcome. (Because Black people can entertain white people for centuries, but asking to be recognized as human is crossing the line!)

    I responded that we have, in fact, tried all of the “peaceful” tactics he had suggested – only to have our flyers thrown away, our request to view videos of police executions denied, our humanity denied again and again.

    The days of going up to someone with a gun and nicely asking them to sop murdering our people are over. There is nothing “peaceful” about the murders of Black and Brown people – and asking folks to “remain calm and civilize” is nothing but a justification for that violence.

    ‘Protests Are an Inconvenience’

    Those of us who participate in disruptive direct action tactics know that it will cause some level of inconvenience and discomfort. That’s the point of it.

    Direct action in particular arises out of the frustration that nothing else will get the public’s attention.

    The activists who were involved in the 1960s sit-ins were challenging “business as usual,” and were seen as outside agitators, inconveniences. For folks who have been receiving the benefits of white supremacy and racism their entire lives, being called out publicly should be an inconvenience.

    But most of the angry people I come face-to-face with are not upset about police brutality, mass incarceration, or the Charleston Massacre. They are upset that they cannot take their normal route to work or get their caramel macchiatos on time.

    In other words, they are being confronted with a reality they want to ignore.

    These are folks that, when inconvenienced, not only make the extent of their frustration clear – they may also be violent and oppressive in their doing so. They have no other perspective than what their individual needs are in that moment.

    There is a collapse of empathy in the people who spit at, yell at, and physically threaten people who are literally fighting for our right to live.

    Further, there’s also a lot of privilege in the notion of being inconvenienced alone.

    People of color are inconvenienced by white supremacy and institutionalized racism on a daily basis – we are denied equitable access to jobs, education, and healthcare; denied our humanity; constantly told we are less than.

    It’s hard to breathe.

    Being inconvenienced is one minor consequence in the struggle to eradicate oppression in the world. “Pardon the inconvenience: We are trying to change the world.”

    ‘I Don’t Condone Violent Protest’

    Without fail, protests and direct actions (whether they result in property damage or not) are almost always characterized as violent – but only when they involved Black and Brown people.

    While I’ve yet to personally throw a brick through a window during any action, I have felt enraged enough to do so. And the fact that, in the moment I described earlier was among the first times I felt such rage, is a privilege – many of the folks in my community have personally known violence right outside of their doorsteps.

    To condemn protestors (who destroy shit or not) as violent not only shows a lack of connection to their agony; it also shows me that folks don’t understand what violence is or isn’t.

    Violence is the forcible tearing of a people from their homeland and benefiting off their forced labor for centuries. Violence is Dylan Roof. Violence makes murdered Black children suspect and their murderers innocent, or at worst, “troubled.” Violence has been used to colonize, enslave, sexualize, and destroy communities of color and other oppressed people for centuries.

    Asking a people who have long been the targets of violence to “calm down and be peaceful” is oppressive and silencing.

    Violence and property damage are not one in the same.

    Being disheartened at the destruction of a community may be understandable to me, but having no sense of compassion for what may have led people to the point of that destruction is not.

    The vast majority of people in the streets don’t have the sole mission of destroying things – we are here to demand change, to grieve, and to be seen.

    More at the link.

    ****

    I, racist:

    What follows is the text of a “sermon” that I gave as a “congregational reflection” to an all White audience at the Bethel Congregational United Church of Christ on Sunday, June 28th. The sermon was begun with a reading of The Good Samaritan story, and this wonderful quote from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah.

    couple weeks ago, I was debating what I was going to talk about in this sermon. I told Pastor Kelly Ryan I had great reservations talking about the one topic that I think about every single day.

    Then, a terrorist massacred nine innocent people in a church that I went to, in a city that I still think of as home. At that point, I knew that despite any misgivings, I needed to talk about race.

    You see, I don’t talk about race with White people.
    To illustrate why, I’ll tell a story:

    It was probably about 15 years ago when a conversation took place between my aunt, who is White and lives in New York State, and my sister, who is Black and lives in North Carolina. This conversation can be distilled to a single sentence, said by my Black sister:

    “The only difference between people in the North and people in the South
    is that down here, at least people are honest about being racist.”
    There was a lot more to that conversation, obviously, but I suggest that it can be distilled into that one sentence because it has been, by my White aunt. Over a decade later, this sentence is still what she talks about. It has become the single most important aspect of my aunt’s relationship with my Black family. She is still hurt by the suggestion that people in New York, that she, a northerner, a liberal, a good person who has Black family members, is a racist.

    This perfectly illustrates why I don’t talk about race with White people. Even — or rather, especially — my own family.

    love my aunt. She’s actually my favorite aunt, and believe me,
    I have a lot of awesome aunts
    to choose from. But the facts
    are actually quite in my sister’s favor on this one.

    New York State is one of the most segregated states in the country. Buffalo, New York, where my aunt lives, is one of the 10 most segregated school systems in the country. The racial inequality of the area she inhabits is so bad that it has been the subject of reports by the Civil Rights Action Network and the NAACP.

    Those, however, are facts that my aunt does not need to know. She does
    not need to live with the racial segregation and oppression of her home.
    As a white person with upward mobility, she has continued to improve
    her situation. She moved out of the area I grew up in– she moved to an
    area with better schools. She doesn’t have to experience racism, and so
    it is not real to her.

    Nor does it dawn on her that the very fact that she moved away from an increasingly Black neighborhood to live in a White suburb might itself be a aspect of racism. She doesn’t need to realize that “better schools” exclusively means “whiter schools.”

    I don’t talk about race with White people because I have so often seen it go nowhere. When I was younger, I thought it was because all white people are racist. Recently, I’ve begun to understand that it’s more nuanced than that.

    There’s quite a bit more at the link.

  4. rq says

    Why Pan-Africanism is Important for the #BlackLivesMatter Movement

    Although the #BlackLivesMatter movement was birthed after the tragic murder of Trayvon Martin in 2012, the movement itself extends beyond the extrajudicial killings of Black people in the United States and addresses how other structural elements such as racism are embedded in American society. However, the ideological application of Pan-Africanism is essential and crucial to the Black Lives Matter Movement because it serves as a holistic, liberatory mechanism for all Black people in the African Diaspora.

    Just as Andre 3000’s poignant question on his black jumper he wore at Coachella alluded to — “Across cultures, darker peoples suffer. Why?” — the Pan-Africanism perspective must be embraced as a foundational premise to the movement because it speaks to the interconnectedness of the Black struggle, Black triumphs, and Black perseverance and resiliency within a global context. In this same vein, the articulation and reclamation of cultural, artistic and philosophical African legacies that have been continually denied and appropriated must be embraced to extend the movement.

    Examples of this contemporary, cultural Pan-African articulation include the resurgence of embracing natural hair styles, wearing African-inspired fashions and jewelry, enlightenment to African Diasporic literature and teachings, the creations of Pan-African organizations and support groups, and even the reclamation of indigenous, African religions and worship.

    Of course, with any such revolutionary movement, there are schisms present. With Pan-Africanism and its application, many barriers are evident much due to intercontinental divide and lack of cross-cultural understanding. Some of these barriers include stereotypes that African-Americans and Africans have of one another; the lack of understanding of race-relations in the United States; the inexperience of racism due to those who live in homogeneous societies; the way the media portrays African peoples worldwide; and those who are in fact Black but do not identify as a person of African descent.

    Although these divisions are thoroughly embedded in the psyches of many, the Black Lives Matter movement, in conjunction with Pan-Africanism, serves as a catalyst to defy these divisions via the continued mobilization for global, Black solidarity and consolidation.

    Black Girls Code Camps Aim to Build Interest in Computer Science

    The aim of the program, however, is the same for all of the girls: get them started on a path for a career in technology, where women, especially black women, are sorely underrepresented.

    “Women are overwhelmingly underrepresented in the tech space, and especially women of color are overwhelmingly underrepresented. And so we believe the creators of technology should reflect the consumers of technology,” said Reilly Ellis, a program coordinator from Black Girls Code.

    Black Girls Code is hosting more events in Durham this summer. They’ll learn things like HTML, CSS coding, mobile app development, and website design. More importantly, they’ll learn confidence.

    “Girls can do anything, so it’s not just boys and everything like that. So just, like, do your best and you can accomplish anything,” said student Torchea Bumpers.

    Barack Obama Says Prison Rape Jokes Are Never Okay, among several other excellent things on incarceration.

    President Barack Obama condemned the criminal justice system for being “skewed by race and by wealth,” and called for a number of prison reforms in a speech given at the NAACP National Convention in Philadelphia on July 14.

    One of the most striking points he made, however, had to do with how pop culture discusses prisons:

    “We should not be tolerating rape in prison,” he said. “And we should not be making jokes about it in our popular culture. That’s no joke. These things are unacceptable.”

    p[…]

    Obama has been actively pushing to raise awareness on issues plaguing state and federal prisons. Not only will he become the first sitting president to visit a federal prison next week, but he also officially granted clemency to 46 people convicted of nonviolent drug-related charges, bringing his total number of commutations to 89 — more than those of the last four presidents combined.

    “These men and women were not hardened criminals,” he said in a video announcing the commutations. “If they’d been sentenced under today’s laws, all of them would have already served their time.”

    With more on the speech, Obama calls for ‘smart’ criminal justice system.

    President Obama called for an overhaul of the criminal justice system Tuesday, saying it is all too often “skewed by race and by wealth” and often has a disproportionate impact on communities of color.

    “In too many cases, our criminal justice system ends up being a pipeline from underfunded, inadequate schools to overcrowded jails,” Obama told the NAACP convention in Philadelphia.

    The president said the system “is not as smart as it could be,” not as “fair as it should be.” He said African Americans and Latinos received harsher sentences for similar crimes committed by whites, and “about one in every 35 African-American men, and one out of every 88 Latino men, is serving time right now.”

    Obama also said that “in too many places, black boys and black men, Latino boys and Latino men, experience being treated differently under the law.”

    The United States is spending $80 billion a year on incarceration, Obama noted, money that could be spent on any number of more valuable projects.

    The good news is that congressional Democrats and Republicans are working together on improvements, Obama said, and “strange bedfellows” across the political spectrum are coming together to back criminal justice reform.

    “You’ve got the NAACP and the Koch brothers,” Obama joked to NAACP members, referring to the billionaire Republican political donors.

    The president has outlined a variety of general ideas, including an end to mandatory sentencing policies that lead to longer terms for relatively minor offenses. Obama also suggested more alternatives to prison like drug courts and better prison programs to help inmates “make the turn” to lawful behavior.

    While “there are a lot of folks who belong in prison” for murders, rapes, and robberies, Obama said there are also too many people doing hard time for non-violent drug offenses — many of them from poor and minority communities.

    “That is the real reason our prison population is so high,” Obama said in a speech highlighting a week in which he wants to spotlight inequities in the criminal justice system.

    Obama addressed the organization a day after granting commutations to 46 men and women who had been sentenced to long sentences for non-violent drug crimes

    A bit more at the link.
    I hope there’s a transcript of his speech somewhere soon.

    North Charleston community concerned over KKK fliers, extends post-Emanuel dialogue

    Cherri Delesline watched from her front yard as two pickup trucks she didn’t recognize drove down her street in North Charleston’s predominantly black Dorchester Waylyn community.

    “Not to be rude or anything, but they were full of white people,” the 28-year-old woman said. A Confederate battle flag waved in the wind as the trucks passed, she said.

    She approached her vehicle the following day, July 1, and was struck by what she saw: A flier purportedly from the Ku Klux Klan tucked beneath her windshield wiper.

    “Neighborhood Watch. You can sleep tonight knowing the Klan is awake,” the flier said. A sketch of a hooded Klansman with blackened eyes and a finger pointed toward the reader topped the page.

    […]

    The North Charleston fliers were dispersed two weeks after a gunman opened fire, killing nine parishioners at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, including the church’s pastor, state Sen. Clementa Pinckney. Authorities have described the mass killing as a racially motivated hate crime.

    The shooter intended to jump-start a war among the races, authorities said. Instead, the June 17 attack set off a wave of affirmations to strengthen racial relations. Roughly 15,000 people walked the Ravenel Bridge the Sunday after the killings to support the families and racial unity. Thousands waited in the streets to attend Pinckney’s funeral. And calls to take down the battle flag from the Capitol complex grounds ultimately were successful.

    Delesline hopes to continue the dialogue by holding a meeting 6 p.m. Wednesday at a park on Wye Lane, across the street from the neighborhood, to discuss the Klan’s presence in Dorchester Waylyn, which is off Dorchester Road just west of Interstate 26.

    “I think people need to be aware of everything that’s going on nowadays. This doesn’t need to come as a surprise to anybody,” Delesline said. “You never know what can happen, especially with it coming into our neighborhood. … Everyone needs to come together. What affects one affects all.”

    Delesline took matters into her own hands by passing out her own fliers that read “We say no to the KKK. This community stands together against racism.” Among the words is a single image — Two hands, one white and the other black, gripped in a handshake.

    […]

    Jesse Williams, the neighborhood association’s president, confirmed that residents in the community are concerned.

    “Why would you put a KKK flier in a black neighborhood?” asked Williams, who is of Hawaiian descent.

    He had no immediate estimate on how many residents received the KKK fliers.

    During Wednesday’s meeting, the community will encourage residents to display Delesline’s fliers in their windows, he said.

    Residents are right to be concerned, according to Kerry Taylor, an associate professor of history at The Citadel who has taught on race relations and the civil rights movement.

    “I think we’re seeing the beginning of another wave of mass resistance in response to the removal of the flag from the Statehouse grounds,” he said. “I think we have to take it seriously.”

    Remember, the KKK is holding a pro-flag rally on Friday (I thought it was Saturday, but it turns out to be Friday).

    The Racist Origins of Felon Disenfranchisement. I wonder if Obama has time to do something about this before the election next year?

    The state laws that barred nearly six million people with felony convictions from voting in the midterm elections this month date from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when Southern lawmakers were working feverishly to neutralize the black electorate.

    Poll taxes, literacy tests, grandfather clauses and cross burnings were effective weapons in this campaign. But statutes that allowed correctional systems to arbitrarily and permanently strip large numbers of people of the right to vote were a particularly potent tool in the campaign to undercut African-American political power.

    This racially freighted system has normalized disenfranchisement in the United States — at a time when our peers in the democratic world rightly see it as an aberration. It has also stripped one in every 13 black persons of the right to vote — a rate four times that of nonblacks nationally. At the same time, it has allowed disenfranchisement to move beyond that black population — which makes up 38 percent of those denied the vote — into the body politic as a whole. One lesson here is that punishments designed for one pariah group can be easily expanded to include others as well.

    The history of disenfranchisement was laid out in a fascinating 2003 study by Angela Behrens, Christopher Uggen and Jeff Manza. They found that state felony bans exploded in number during the late 1860s and 1870s, particularly in the wake of the Fifteenth Amendment, which ostensibly guaranteed black Americans the right to vote.

    They also found that the larger the state’s black population, the more likely the state was to pass the most stringent laws that permanently denied people convicted of crimes the right to vote.

    These bans were subsequently strengthened as the Jim Crow era began to take hold.

    […]

    The disenfranchisement laws flourished in both Northern and Southern states where large black populations were cast in the role of eternal outsiders, and proposals for allowing former felons to vote were often cast as heralding the end of civilization.

    The debate looks a lot different in Maine and Vermont, states where there are no black populations to speak of and racial demonization does not come into the equation. Both states place no restrictions on voting rights for people convicted of even serious crimes and have steadfastly resisted efforts to revoke a system that allows inmates to vote from prison.

    Maine residents vigorously debated the issue last year, when the Legislature took up — and declined to pass — a bill that would have stripped the vote from some inmates, whose crimes included murder and other major felonies. Families of murder victims argued that the killers had denied their loved ones the right to vote and therefore should suffer the same fate.

    Those who opposed the bill made several arguments: That the franchise is enshrined in the state Constitution and too important to withdraw on a whim; that voting rights keep inmates connected to civic life and make it easier for them to rejoin society; that the notion of restricting rights for people in prison was inconsistent with the values of the state.

    A former United States marshal and police chief argued that revoking inmate voting rights would strip imprisoned people of dignity and make rehabilitation that much more difficult. The editorial page of The Bangor Daily News argued against revocation on the grounds that, “Removing the right of some inmates to exercise their legal responsibility as voters in a civilized society would undermine that civilized society.”

    The fact that most states view people who have served time in prison as beyond the protection of the bedrock, democratic principle of the right to vote shows how terribly short this country has fallen from achieving its ideals.

  5. rq says

    There was a man in Denver named Paul Castaway. Police killed him. Here’s a signal boost.
    @deray @micnews can you please tweet about the Lakota man murdered in Denver by DPD yesterday? There’s a rally for him today #PaulCastaway

    Witnesses, surveillance video provide conflicting information in deadly police shooting

    There is conflicting information regarding an officer-involved shooting Sunday night in Denver between what a family says surveillance video shows and what police say happened.

    Police shot and killed a man they say charged at them with a knife. But witnesses and surveillance video say otherwise.

    The manager of Capital City mobile home park at 4501 W. Kentucky Ave. has the video. He wouldn’t give it to FOX31 Denver, but he did show it to reporter Tammy Vigil.

    It shows Paul Castaway, 35, coming up from behind a white mobile home, through a black iron fence onto the street and around a wooden fence, which is a dead end.

    He then turned back around onto the street with a knife to his neck the whole time, when an officer shoots him. The video seems to not match what police say happened.

    “We will miss him. We’ll miss him,” said Castaway’s cousin, Thomas Morado.

    Castaway’s family came to the street in the middle of the mobile home park where their cousin drew one of his last breaths.

    “He was probably trying to figure out a place to run. And they didn’t let him go. They trapped him like a mouse and they killed him,” cousin Rick Morado said.

    But Denver police said Castaway charged at two officers with a long knife before he was shot and killed. They say he had just threatened his mother with a knife at her nearby apartment at 4545 Morrison Road.

    “Next thing, we heard three shots. I walked outside and I saw two officers handcuffing a man,” said a neighbor, who only gave his first name of Irvin.

    He saw the aftermath and pointed out to police that surveillance cameras had captured everything.

    “Either way, these cameras going to tell,” said Rick Morado, pointing to surveillance cameras positioned outside the management office and laundry room. It’s video that Castaway’s cousins also got to see and now they’re convinced their cousin was murdered.

    “This is really hard for us,” Thomas Morado said.

    They lit sage on the spot where he laid dying. They said it is the proper way to send him home. A growing memorial pays tribute to a man who was a full-blooded rosebud Indian, a father and a man who made mistakes in his life — and paid for it in the ultimate way.

    “We don’t like the fact we lost another brother in the Native American community. It’s really a sad day for us,” Thomas Morado said.

    Police initially said Castaway had stabbed his mother in her neck but later said he had threatened her with the knife, leaving her with a very superficial injury to her neck. But the mom’s neighbor said she doesn’t have any injury whatsoever.

    Police said the surveillance video is a part of their investigation that will help determine who did what.

    I understand his mother herself has come forward to insist that she hasn’t been injured by her son at all.

    According to witnesses, #PaulCastaway’s last words before DPD killed him: “what’s wrong with you guys?” #DefendDenver

    Watch the dance @DenverDAsOffice does with the #policeshooting of #PaulCastaway. #Nationalnews eyes will be on #Denver once again.

    #PaulCastaway family has called for a drum circle tonight at DPDHQ. 13th & Cherokee

    Tense standoff at union station #PaulCastaway #DefendDenver

    Wait. Just yesterday DPD said Paul Castaway “stabbed his mother in the neck.” His uninjured mom Lynn Eagle Feather out here saying DPD LIED.

    A couple more articles lined up.

  6. rq says

    The previous comment is important, though it’s mostly tweets about Paul Castaway in Denver.
    Here’s more:
    Family, witnesses say video shows different version of police shooting

    Witnesses and family members of a man killed by Denver police are disputing early reports of what happened, saying surveillance video from a mobile home park shows a different version of events.

    Police Chief Robert White reported at the scene Sunday that one of his officers shot and killed a man after he came “dangerously close” with a long knife.

    However, family members said they believe the shooting was not justified after the manager at Capital City Mobile Home Park on West Kentucky Avenue showed them surveillance video of the shooting.

    Family members also are disputing police reports that Paul Castaway, 35, had stabbed his mother in the neck before he was killed by police.

    […]

    Castaway, 35, was shot four times and died Sunday evening at Denver Health.

    Gabriel Black Elk, Castaway’s brother, said the video shows his brother holding the knife against his own throat. He had tried to escape from police by running behind a fence, but there was no gate or opening.

    The video shows Castaway turning around and walking toward police, who were several feet away. The knife stays pointed toward his neck the entire time, Black Elk said.

    Thomas Morado, a cousin of Castaway’s, also said he had seen the video. His account matched that of Black Elk’s.

    “There was a different way to go about this,” Morado said. “It didn’t have to end in his death.”

    The mobile home park manager was not at the office, and one of his relatives said he had been told to stop showing the video to people, including the media.

    But a Fox 31 journalist reported that she had seen the video, and she described a similar scenario.

    A 15-year-old boy fainted after witnessing the shooting. His mother, Guadalupe Barrera, did not want his name in the newspaper, but she allowed him to describe what he saw to The Denver Post.

    Earlier, Castaway had run through the mobile home park, screaming in an angry voice at children who were playing, the 15-year-old said. Castaway jogged along a metal fence and turned behind a wooden fence.

    When he realized he was blocked in, Castaway turned toward police, who were responding to the scene.

    “He held the knife to his neck,” the 15-year-old said. “He came close to them, and that’s when they shot him.”

    The boy also said Castaway asked officers, “What’s wrong with you guys?” before he was shot.

    Other children saw the shooting and were still scared by what they saw, Barrera said.

    “All of the kids see,” she said. “I want a doctor to see the kids.”

    Police said they were called after Castaway stabbed his mother in the neck.

    The injuries were not life-threatening, police said.

    Lillian Castaway, the victim’s mother, said her son struggled with alcoholism and schizophrenia. He poked her in the neck with the knife, she said.

    “I called the police for help, not to kill my son,” she said. “They shot him while the knife was still to his own throat.”

    She called the police for help. For help. And they didn’t. Protect and serve.

    PHOTOS: Protest over Paul Castaway police shooting, photos from the protest.

    While on the subject of Colorado, Colorado laws allow rogue officers to stay in law enforcement.

    Colorado’s lenient police discipline system allows rogue officers to jump from department to department despite committing transgressions that would bar them from law enforcement jobs in many states.

    […]

    In Colorado, a police officer can be fired or resign for egregious violations of moral turpitude, such as destruction of evidence, lying under oath or excessive use of force. But so long as there is no conviction of a felony or one of the misdemeanors, the officer is free to seek employment at another agency. Small towns, eager to find officers willing to work for low pay, sometimes will hire them despite their past.

    “You’ve got to remember with smaller jurisdictions, down south or out east (in the state), it’s tough to get cops when you’re paying less than 20 bucks an hour,” said Tony Webb, the former Fowler police chief who hired Jimenez. “Everyone deserves one screw-up.”

    The Denver Post reviewed a decade of state police personnel findings as well as discipline logs at the Denver Police Department and hiring records at select agencies and found officers still working in Colorado despite serious transgressions.

    In some instances, these problem officers went on to commit crimes or cause harm.

    The extent of the problem is unknown. The Colorado attorney general’s office refused to release to The Post a state database that tracks the employment history of officers and would provide only limited information on hundreds of officers the newspaper submitted for review. The database contains information on about 9,000 law enforcement officers actively working at agencies and an additional 6,000 who are certified but are not employed in law enforcement.

    Colorado is one of only a handful of states to have such a high threshold for bringing an end to a career in policing.

    At least 39 states have rules that make it easier to ensure a rogue officer never polices again. At least 18 of those states also require agencies to inform state review panels when an officer is fired or resigns — something Colorado does not do.

    […]

    Roger Goldman, a nationally recognized expert on officer misconduct who has helped write laws establishing state police review panels, said Colorado’s lenient rules allow unfit officers to continue doing harm.

    “A lot of people think, ‘Well, we have a decertification system in place, and we’ve done what we need do,’ and that’s very misleading,” Goldman said. “You have to have a vigorous statewide agency that can protect people because there are these small, underfunded police agencies that are willing to hire these cops who are not fit to be on the streets. If you can just decertify for criminal convictions, that’s worthless. You need to broaden it.”

    Among The Post’s findings:

    • At least six Denver officers who were fired or resigned amid allegations of wrongdoing in the past decade found work at other smaller agencies.

    • Rogue cops can negotiate to keep past transgressions secret. Nadia Gatchell was fired from the Denver police force in 2012 for lies she told superiors during an investigation into abuse of off-duty secondary employment. The officer, who previously had been disciplined in Denver for destroying marijuana evidence, was able to keep the decision to fire her out of her personnel file by agreeing to drop a Civil Service appeal. The city’s safety manager at the time, Alex Martinez, agreed to remove her dismissal letter from her personnel file and have her file reflect that she had resigned.

    Gatchell, who declined to comment, went on to work at the Elizabeth Police Department for about a year after her firing. Now she’s working as a parole officer for the Department of Corrections, her fourth law enforcement job.

    • Officers who have their certificate for police work revoked often are repeat offenders. Of the nearly 280 officers who have been decertified in the past decade in Colorado, at least 29 had past serious personnel issues or arrests. Many more likely are repeat offenders, but how many could not be determined because many agencies in the state won’t release discipline or personnel files for public review.

    • About a third of those 280 decertified for police work in Colorado had worked at more than one police agency. Seven of those officers had shuffled to four or more police agencies before they ended up with a conviction that brought a final end to their careers in law enforcement.

    • The state’s review panel, the Colorado Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training, does not always keep up with those who aren’t employed by a police agency but remain certified for law enforcement work.

    Patrick Strawmatt, who resigned from the Lafayette police force in 1987, was arrested at least 10 times, including one that led to a felony conviction for animal cruelty after he shot a dog to death. It wasn’t until Strawmatt was convicted in 2007 of killing two teenagers while fleeing police in a drunken-driving homicide that the state review panel revoked his certificate for police work, records show.

    More at the link.

    US Judge Narrows Michael Brown Family Suit Against Ferguson

    U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber on Tuesday dismissed four of the seven counts from the suit and told lawyers for Michael Brown Sr. and Lesley McSpadden that they must make a more persuasive claim for damages on behalf of their late son. Brown’s parents didn’t attend the two-hour hearing in St. Louis.

    The lawsuit raises several constitutional issues.

    Webber says he dismissed two “redundant” counts against former Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson and former Officer Darren Wilson, who were sued individually and as representatives of the city. Both have since resigned.

    The judge said the Brown family could refile those claims later if other parts of the lawsuit that cover the same legal ground were dropped.

    Two of the dismissed claims dealt with state civil rights issues. Brown’s family filed the lawsuit in St. Louis County Circuit Court in April, but it was moved to federal court at the defense’s request. The two Brown family attorneys who appeared in court told Webber they did not oppose the removal of those counts.

    The hearing was held as the anniversary of Brown’s Aug. 9 death approaches. Wilson shot and killed Brown following an altercation. Brown’s death led to sometimes-violent protests in Ferguson and other U.S. cities, spawning a national “Black Lives Matter” movement seeking changes in how police deal with minorities.

    His family’s lawsuit cites a U.S. Department of Justice investigation that cleared Wilson of wrongdoing in Brown’s death but cited a systemic pattern of racial bias in the Ferguson Police Department.

    A DEATH IN WALLER COUNTY TEXAS!

    What happened to Sandra Bland?

    That’s the question that’s floating around Waller County this week.

    This is after Bland was arrested Friday and placed in the Waller County jail.

    Monday she was found hanging in her jail cell according to friends.

    Sources in the community say they spoke with Bland Saturday and she had a $5,000 bond for assaulting a police officer. We’re told she was originally pulled over for failing to signal by a State Trooper.

    Some in the racially charged community say they now suspect foul play. One friend tells the Factor the 28 year old just got a new job and had everything to live for.

    Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis confirms the Texas Rangers have been brought in to conduct the investigation.

    A representative at the Sheriff’s office says they will soon release a press release on the issue.

    In the meantime, some family and friends in the community say they plan to protest to the sheriff’s office until they get answers and justice!

    Cast of ‘The Wire’ reunion set for Artscape, for fans of the show.

  7. rq says

    Mayor renews pitch to sell city garages to fund rec centers

    Speaking Tuesday at the Rita Church Fitness and Wellness Center in Clifton Park, which opened in 2013, the mayor pitched a $136 million multiyear plan for park, pool and rec center improvements around the city.

    Selling four city-owned garages downtown would speed the pace of the renovations, Rawlings-Blake said. The city estimates a sale could raise $60 million.

    “This plan could happen in six years or 26 years,” Rawlings-Blake said. Money from the garages “would significantly help.”

    City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young has refused to allow the mayor’s bill to move forward, saying he wants the recreation plan to include two big new centers, on the east and west sides. Young also questions whether it is a good idea to sell the garages and forgo their revenue, saying the money could gradually pay for recreation improvements.

    […]

    The city operates 40 recreation centers and does not intend to close any of them, administration officials said. Rawlings-Blake came under fire three years ago for closing four centers and turning over 10 to other operators.

    She said Tuesday those “tough choices” put the city in a better financial position to improve other facilities, among them the Rita Church Center, an $8 million renovation of an old pavilion that now includes a fitness center, computer lab, kitchen, game room and multipurpose room. An expansion will open in 2016.

    Rawlings-Blake touted recreation projects already complete or in the works, including the $4.5 million Morrell Park Community Center that opened last summer, the $11.5 million Cherry Hill Fitness and Wellness Center that will open in 2017 and the $12 million Cahill Fitness and Wellness Center that is scheduled to open in 2017.

    The mayor’s plans unveiled Tuesday include rehabilitating or building 11 fitness and wellness centers that would cater to people of all ages at a cost of $84 million.

    Another $20 million would pay for renovating five community centers and $20 million more would go to upgrading four outdoor sports centers. Upgrades to four existing outdoor pools and three “spray pads” would cost roughly $13 million.

    Rawlings-Blake said her recreation plans will help achieve her goal of adding 10,000 new families to the city, both by attracting new families and giving current residents a reason to stay.

    15 Powerful Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Quotes To Make You Want To Read ‘Between The World And Me’. Because you need quotes from Coates in order to make you want to read his book, right?

    Cultural critic and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates has inspired us — and many others –through his writing on the intersection of the race and policy and their application to modern-day realities. He was recognized among this year’s TIME magazine’s list of the 30 most influential people on the Internet, ranking higher than Kim Kardashian and President Obama.

    In his forthcoming memoir, Between the World and Me, due Tuesday, Coates investigates the marginalization of the black community while also reflecting on personal experiences. The book, which is partly addressed to his son, has already earned rave reviews. The cover of the book is branded with praise from Toni Morrison herself, who writes: “This is required reading.”

    We rounded up some of Coates’ most powerful quotes. They intend to serve as a refreshing reminder of the words and intellectual wisdom Coates has shared over the years, across a variety of his pieces and platforms — whether it’s over 10, 000 words detailing “The Case for Reparations” or 140 characters lampooning the ignorance of racism, Coates’ matter-of-fact social commentary deals with the reality of being black in America.

    I’ve also realized that most of the quotes they have selected are rather wordy.

    This is the video Gardena police didn’t want you to see

    In the two years since Gardena police officers fatally shot an unarmed man, city officials fought to keep graphic video of the killing under wraps.

    The grainy videos, captured by cameras mounted in two patrol cars, show three men mistakenly suspected of stealing a bicycle standing in a street under the glare of police lights. With their weapons trained on them, officers scream at the men to keep their hands up.

    […]

    Gardena’s attempts to prevent the public from viewing the shooting met with defeat Tuesday, when a federal judge ordered the release of the recordings.

    In unsealing the videos, U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson said the public had an interest in seeing the recordings, especially after the city settled a lawsuit over the shooting for $4.7 million. Wilson rejected last ditch efforts by Gardena attorneys, who argued the city had paid the settlement money in the belief that the videos would remain under seal.

    The “defendants’ argument backfires here — the fact that they spent the city’s money, presumably derived from taxes, only strengthens the public’s interest in seeing the videos,” Wilson wrote. “Moreover, while the videos are potentially upsetting and disturbing because of the events they depict, they are not overly gory or graphic in a way that would make them a vehicle for improper purposes.”

    The judge’s decision was a response to a request from the Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press and Bloomberg, which challenged a blanket protective order that had prevented the release of the videos and other evidence in the court case.

    Wilson’s decision comes as law enforcement agencies nationwide increasingly have embraced the use of cameras worn by officers and placed in patrol cars to record police interactions with civilians. But few agencies have made their videos public, spurring a debate over the need to balance the privacy of those captured on the recordings and transparency in policing.

    After ordering the videos to be released, Wilson denied a request from Gardena attorneys that he set aside his order as they pursued an appeal of his decision. The city then filed an emergency motion with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, asking it to intervene.

    The Times, meanwhile, received copies of the videos from court officials. After The Times published the videos online, 9th Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski issued an order that “the police car camera video footage shall remain under seal pending further order of this court.”

    Gardena Police Chief Ed Medrano released a statement late Tuesday describing the shooting as “tragic for all involved.”

    “We have thoroughly reviewed our response and have initiated new training, including the tactical use of cover techniques to slow down fast-moving events,” he said.

    Huh.

    California’s drought has severe consequences that seem to run along class lines – and racial ones, too, with disparate effects. “For some Californians the drought means brown lawns. For others, it means nothing to drink.”  Welcome to Fairmead, California, Where You Have to Walk a Mile for a Sip of Water

     The tiny, dusty town of Fairmead, California, feels a long way from anywhere. It’s the kind of place where people come to start anew, hoping to silence the ghosts of hard times past. There are the African-Americans whose families migrated out of the segregated Deep South more than half a century ago, looking for farmwork and a place where they could hold their heads high. There are the migrants from Mexico, who came in search of a slightly better life than the one they had left south of the border. There are the Anglo descendants of refugees from the Oklahoma Dust Bowl. And there are elderly adventurers looking for something new—for a little land and a lot of quiet in which to live out their fixed-income retirements.

    Fairmead is unincorporated. It used to have a mill, a library, a hotel, and a small store, as well as a handful of restaurants. None of these remain. Located a few miles from the prison town of Chowchilla, Fairmead today has a Last Picture Show feel to it. It boasts a small elementary school, a Head Start program, a couple of churches, and a population of roughly 1,400, spread out along miles of rural back roads. The town’s avenues are numbered instead of named—some of them paved, others simply bumpy lanes of gravel and stone. They stretch out from what passes for the town center—a few neat streets lined by bungalows and ranch houses, with a city well and a recently built water-storage tank at its heart—into the orchards beyond.

    These days, while the almond orchards are kept a perfect green, the surrounding landscape is a dull brown, and the yards in front of most of the houses are little more than dirt and weeds. At least 25 families have seen their wells go dry in recent months. Many others are rationing what little water remains. Those lucky enough to be on the city’s system still have to strictly conserve to keep the town’s only well from going dry.

    Not that they want to use any more of the city’s water than they absolutely have to: The water quality is so bad in Fairmead, where tap water flows a milky white, that even those on the city well prefer to drink bottled water. Mostly low-income, they spend tens or even hundreds of dollars each month on drinking water, and many dollars more on gas to drive their cars out of town to someplace where the water quality is better, so that they can fill up large containers with safe water to use for showering, washing dishes, and watering their gardens.

    […]

    In a normal year, California gets most of its ­freshwater supplies from a handful of big storms in the fall and winter—storms that fill the lowland reservoirs and, more important, dump large amounts of snow on the majestic Sierra Nevada mountain range, where the water waits, frozen, until it is slowly released during the melting season. Those few, precious storms generate enough water to allow California’s tens of millions of residents to drink water as they please, to take showers and flush toilets, to wash cars, water lawns, and fill swimming pools. They allow oil firms to frack, golf courses to remain verdant, and farmers to grow crops. They allow, in short, the miracle of a hydrologic civilization, perched between desert and ocean, to flourish—and to do so with utter abandon.

    Every California resident uses between 150 and 200 gallons of water per day, Lund estimates. That is roughly five times what residents in sun-parched Israel use; it is far more, too, than what Australians, Spaniards, or residents of other hot, dry, sunny countries consume. Californians live on land a few failed storms away from desiccation, but historically they’ve consumed water as if they lived in Vermont or New York or any other saturated East Coast state.

     But these past four years have been far from normal for Californians, as the big rain-and-snow dumps have failed to come through. And while the last seven months did bring considerable rain to much of the northern parts of the state, it hasn’t been enough to compensate for the fact that the vital accumulations of snow high up in the Sierras failed to materialize, or to replenish groundwater systems sucked dry by the arid years. When Governor Jerry Brown visited the mountainous high country in the early spring, just before announcing mandatory 25 percent water-conservation measures for nonagricultural uses, the snowpack was at a dismal 6 percent of where it would normally be at that time of year.

    By then, 52 of California’s 58 counties were experiencing extreme drought conditions (the number has since climbed to 54). And despite the broader economy’s recovery from the 2008 collapse, some two dozen rural counties saw significant increases in joblessness, as agricultural workers and the employees of other local businesses reliant on regular water supplies, from carpet cleaners to car detailers, were laid off because of the lack of water.

    The figures are worrying. California agriculture, worth more than $40 billion in a good year, contracted by roughly $1.5 billion last year, as farmers plowed up crops they could no longer water and focused their efforts on preserving their most profitable harvests. Yet it was the farmhands who planted and picked the crops, trimmed the trees, and packaged fruit who suffered most. In a July 2014 report, researchers from UC Davis estimated that 17,000 seasonal and part-time jobs would be lost that year in California due to the drought. And 2015 promises to be at least as bad.

    […]

     Over the months ahead, California’s water districts will have to come up with extraordinary ways to make residents conserve anywhere from 8 to 36 percent of the amount of water they used in 2013, for a cumulative nonagricultural-water saving of 25 percent. For consumers in wealthy cities, this means a set of inconveniences: strict limits on when lawns can be watered, and for how long; cars buffed to a shiny perfection less often; toilets flushed according to the rules of that corny old jingle, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.” It means the introduction of water meters in cities where residents have long enjoyed cheap, one-size-fits-all rate plans. And it means that some people who flout the rules by overusing water will have irate neighbors inform on them and be forced to pay fines.

    Yet for most cities, the drought doesn’t mean calamity; the great majority of California’s urban hubs have the resources to buy water from elsewhere, and many have already stockpiled sufficient supplies to see them through several more years of drought. “Urban areas were very well prepared,” explains Professor Lund. “After the 1988–92 drought, they invested a lot of money getting ready for the next drought.”

    For less wealthy communities, however, the inconveniences quickly turn into catastrophes. In hundreds of poor rural spots—places too small to qualify as towns, too isolated to be incorporated into larger cities, and oftentimes condemned as “nonviable” by their county’s General Plan—the drought has literally meant the end of water. These settlements have long been at the mercy of ramshackle delivery systems, which pump unsafe water laced with arsenic, uranium, nitrates, and pesticides into family homes; now those wells are dry, too. And despite the passage of the state’s largely aspirational Human Right to Water Act in 2012, the large-scale investments needed to link these communities into the water systems of bigger towns, or to dig wells deep enough to allow them to survive off their own water supplies, haven’t materialized.

    In East Porterville, where the entire city has run dry, hundreds of families now rely on trucked-in water. ­Journalists have poured into town in recent months, lured by the headline of a city without water. But East Porterville is, in fact, only the tip of the iceberg. Smaller, more invisible settlements throughout the great farming valleys of California are in crisis—many from a lack of water, but also from a loss of jobs.

    […]

     Meanwhile, as thousands of California’s poorest residents struggle to survive without water, agribusiness has been rushing to grab what water supplies remain. Throughout the drought, the acreage devoted to water-intensive crops such as almonds has soared. By the end of 2014, according to National Agricultural Statistics Services data, the land used for almond production stood at a little over 1 million acres—an increase of about 200,000 acres since 2008. During the worst drought in California’s recorded history, in other words, the amount of land devoted to one of the state’s most water-intensive crops went up almost 25 percent. The numbers are similar for other water-intensive but profitable crops.

    For small family farms, like the 120-acre plot in Fairmead run by Elaine Moore and her husband, almonds represent relatively easy money. Over the past 50 years, Moore, 67, has planted everything from sweet potatoes to cotton, alfalfa to raisin grapes. For her, small farming is the “mystic side of life,” especially the extraordinary beauty of trees bursting with blossoms in the spring and dripping with gorgeously colored leaves in the fall. When the floor fell out of the price of raisins a few years back, Moore recalls, “it just about broke our backs. We decided to do almonds. It’s our eighth year in almonds—a lot less work.”

    Yet over the last four years, one well after another on the Moores’ small plot has run dry. A well they recently had drilled to nearly 600 feet, at a cost of over $20,000, is still pumping water, but she doesn’t know for how long.

    Meanwhile, huge almond concerns are buying up vast tracts of land, sinking ever-deeper wells at ever-higher costs, and sucking up the reachable water supplies. In Monson, a 41-home settlement in Tulare County, locals talk of a large agribusiness concern near their dry hamlet that has drilled a well, at enormous expense, down to a level of 1,500 feet. There are rumors that some other new wells probe down half a mile.

    […]

     This country has heating-assistance programs to help people who cannot otherwise pay their heating bills; we have food stamps to put meals on the table of those who might otherwise go hungry. But we have no national plans in place to give water-purchasing grants to the poor in parched regions of the country. Nor do we have any easy-to-access, state-funded programs whereby individuals like Flossie Ford-Hedrington or Caroline Rosiles can obtain grants or zero-interest loans to make it possible for them to drill deep wells on their land. These are all partial fixes that would be affordable and immediate in their impact, and they would make existing, but small-bore, federal and state programs more effective.

    The US Department of Agriculture, for instance, does provide Emergency Community Water Assistance Grants, which, in conjunction with state-sponsored emergency grants, fund roughly 20 projects in California. But the department caps its grants at $500,000 per project—far shy of what many small communities need to beef up their water infrastructure. And while California recently moved toward mandating that water districts come up with long-term sustainability plans, these limits—once proposed—won’t kick in for decades. In the meantime, there are no restrictions on how much water big agricultural combines can monopolize during a drought.

    For the state’s forgotten inhabitants, like Irma Rod- riguez, 43, a nurse who lives with her husband and six children in Orange Center, the options are limited. Since her own well ran dry, Rodriguez drives to and from her mother’s house each day to collect water, making sure it’s correctly divided into separate pots for flushing toilets, cooking, drinking, and showers. The circuit takes up to three hours, she estimates, but what other choice does she have? “People who live here don’t have the money to put in a down payment and move to an apartment or home downtown. This is their lives; their friends are here.”

    Rodriguez pauses, pondering her predicament. “We need water to live, to survive,” she says. “You can’t just ignore these rural communities.”

  8. rq says

    Is Abortion an African-American Genocide? The Problem with Conservatives Citing Margaret Sanger, via Libby Anne.

    Conservatives want to have it both ways. They argue that progressive support of welfare and affirmative action is racist in that it assumes that blacks need these things to succeed. Welfare and affirmative action take away from black agency and get in the way of black progress, they say, and are based in the racist assumption that African Americans are by nature dependent. Conservatives are, they say, all about restoring black agency and removing the chains of dependency—except, of course, when it comes to abortion. When it comes to abortion, African Americans’ agency and ability to make their own choices goes out the window as conservatives paint women of color as dupes participating in their own genocide.

    […]

    But you know what? No one forces women of color to have abortions. In fact, Planned Parenthood personnel are required to make sure that women who come to their facility for abortions are doing so through their own free will. When conservatives argue abortion is a plan dreamed up by Margaret Sanger to carry out genocide against African Americans, and that that is why higher rates of African American women have abortions, they are suggesting that black women should not have the ability to freely make their own reproductive choices.

    Who is trying to invalidate African Americans’ agency now?

    Let’s imagine for a moment that Margaret Sanger is everything conservatives claim she is. Let’s imagine that she pioneered abortion in an effort to decrease the nation’s African American population with a view toward eventual elimination. Even if that were true, it would have no relevance to the form abortion takes today. No one forces African American women to have abortions. There is no coercion. Indeed, African American women have on average more children than white women, which suggests that Sanger’s (imagined) plan is working out very badly.

    To the extent that there is any coercion—i.e. to the extent that women feel that they have no other option than abortion—it is conservative policies that are to blame. Conservatives favor cutting welfare and oppose government subsidies for childcare. Conservatives oppose better maternity leave policies and oppose raising the minimum wage. Conservatives are against providing effective birth control free of charge and against comprehensive sex education. The net result of these policies is that poor women, and especially women of color, will find themselves both unintentionally pregnant and unable to financially afford raising another child. To the extent that coercion exists vis a vis abortion today, this is what it looks like.

    More information at the link.

    Confederate flags filmed being stolen, destroyed in new social media challenge. I’m likin’ this one.

    This game of “capture the flag” is proving to know no rules or boundaries.

    A risky social media challenge of stealing and destroying Confederate battle flags has resulted in people filming themselves pulling off the brazen stunts while using the hashtags #DestroyConfederateFlag and #NoFlagginChallenge.

    In one video a man is seen tearing down a flag waving outside a home before jumping into an awaiting car and speeding away.

    In another video a man rips off flags attached to a pickup truck while it’s stopped at a traffic light.

    In yet another clip, a man is filmed pulling off what appears to be a magnetic flag from the back of a tractor-trailer while it’s stopped in traffic.

    “Snatch & run LMAO f–k the flag,” Jamari Williams posted on Facebook Saturday with the video of the theft seen outside a house.

    It’s not clear if Williams, who lists himself as being from Sarasota, Fla., is the source of the video.

    Sarasota police say they’re actively investigating the video but say no one in their jurisdiction has reported a theft.

    As of Tuesday afternoon the controversial video has received more than 4.5 million views, 14,000 likes, 63,000 shares and 43,000 comments.

    Most of the comments appear to criticize the culprits, some with threats.

    Zimbabwe Is Proposing to Return a Select Number of Farms to White Landowners

    A decade and a half after the Zimbabwean government seized large swaths of land from white farmers in the country, President Robert Mugabe has tentatively declared that he will return certain properties to their original owners.

    Under the suggested policy, the leaders of the country’s 10 provinces will draft a list of farms in their respective districts that they deem to be “of strategic economic importance,” the Zimbabwe Mail reports. The government will also establish a European Union–backed commission to evaluate the landgrab practices commenced in 2000, which were frequently violent.

    The property-seizure policy, which sent the country into economic crisis and left a number of civilian landowners dead, was both an exercise in kleptocracy and an attempt to wrest the country from its fraught colonial legacy. Many of the 4,000 white-owned farms taken by Mugabe’s government had been operated by the same families for decades — families that had come to the British colony of Rhodesia to make their fortunes in a system built on racial hierarchy.

    At present, only 300 white farmers remain on their original properties; meanwhile, a number of the farms seized in the past 15 years have ceased operations, requiring Zimbabwe — the erstwhile “Breadbasket of Africa” — to import food to stave off a hunger crisis.

    In spite of his government’s failure to sustain agricultural success on the reclaimed lands, Mugabe obstinately continues to defend his original decision.

    “Don’t be too kind to white farmers,” Mugabe said at a recent meeting of the Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front, the country’s ruling nationalist party, the Mail reports. “They can own industries and companies or stay in apartments in our towns, but they cannot own land. They must leave the land to blacks.”

    ICE releases hundreds of women, children from detention

    Immigrations and Customs Enforcement has released some 200 Central Americans, mostly women and children, from family-detention centers since last Friday. The move is part of a sweeping series of changes the agency has made in recent months to when and for how long families seeking asylum are being detained.

    The releases follow a long campaign by human-rights groups, since last year’s spike in migration from Central America, to end the Department of Homeland Security’s policy of detaining families as a way to discourage migration.

    On voter disenfranchisement: 23 percent of black voters can’t legally vote in Florida. Obama wants that to change.

    President Barack Obama on Tuesday called for an end to laws that prohibit people from voting after they serve their prison sentences.

    Obama, who briefly made the comment in his speech in front of the NAACP’s 2015 national convention, was referencing felon disenfranchisement laws. Only two states — Maine and Vermont — allow everyone to vote regardless of criminal record. Most states don’t let people in prison, on parole, or on probation vote, and 10 limit at least some felons from voting after they’ve completed their sentences, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

    As a result, more than 5.8 million Americans weren’t legally allowed to vote due to their criminal records in 2012, according to data analyzed by the Sentencing Project. Several states prohibited 6 to 11 percent of their electorate from voting. And since black Americans are likelier to go to prison, this had a disproportionate impact on the African-American electorate: While the overall disenfranchisement rate didn’t break 11 percent for any state, the black disenfranchisement rate topped 20 percent in Florida, Kentucky, and Virginia.

    This is one of the various collateral effects of prison. Other examples include restrictions on employment and bans on receiving welfare benefits, accessing public housing, or qualifying for student loans for higher education.

    So not only does prison deprive people of their freedoms while they’re incarcerated, but the punishment can follow people for the rest of their lives. This extended punishment can sometimes make it much more difficult for ex-inmates to get benefits that would allow them to get a job or an education, which might leave them with few options but crime to make ends meet. And since black people are more likely to be affected, these collateral effects can help perpetuate crime in African-American communities.

    Those are huge numbers of voters.

    Vandals Trash Fla. Church, Write ‘Charleston 2’ on Bishop’s Car – though it looks more like ‘Charleston[squared]’ to me.

  9. says

    Aversive racial bias in guilt and sentencing: Don’t treat racism, just belief:

    As of posting time, seven African-American churches have burned down since the racially motivated murders in Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina two weeks ago. One of those fires may have been caused by lightning, but there’s a concern that others may have been caused by a belief – namely, racism toward African-Americans. But that understanding of racism as a conscious and pointed belief can limit our understanding of the full spectrum of the bias. Those who say that racism is mostly a thing of the past, for example, might just be thinking of those who hold beliefs in racial inferiority and act in support of those beliefs, via discrimination or worse. Most of us honestly believe we would never treat anyone differently due to race, and in the perceived absence of expressed bigotry from others, we’re tempted to believe that for most people in most circumstances, racism is a previous generation’s problem, not ours.

    Social scientists, however, know better. They understand that racism can’t be placed into that neat box of overt animus. Sure, racism can be expressed in conscious beliefs and actions, but it also can be expressed through unconscious bias. For example, millions have taken the Implicit Association Test developed by researchers at Yale University and the University of Washington and most have been surprised at the extent to which the test can reveal subtle associations and preferences. The test documents a common form of racism that extends beyond the beliefs and attitudes that we’re aware of. Under the heading of “aversive racism,” current research is looking at the kinds of subconscious bias that can be exhibited by those who believe they have no racial bias at all. The Orange County Register features an article focusing on research by Cal State Fullerton psychologist Russ Espinoza who found that mock jurors are motivated to find reasons other than race in order to justify greater punitiveness toward minority defendants. This finding, as well as the broader view of racial bias that it suggests, bears not only on the criminal defendants they study, but also on the biases we anticipate and search for in cases generally.

    The Research: Aversive Racial Bias in Guilt and Sentencing
    The study that Russ Espinoza discusses in the newspaper article (Espinoza et al., 2015) was conducted in a Santa Ana, California courthouse using 320 Caucasian jurors called for jury duty. After they were dismissed, volunteers read through fictionalized trial transcripts that randomly varied the defendants’ ethnicity (Mexican or Canadian), immigration status (documented or undocumented), and socio-economic status (low or high). Not surprisingly, the team found effects for all three, independently and in combination: Low socio-economic undocumented Mexican defendants were more likely to be found guilty, and less likely to receive a recommendation of parole.

    Espinoza explains these results in terms of aversive racism, or the view that, “racial prejudice is subtle and exists even for persons who believe they are egalitarian.” That prejudice operated, in Espinoza’s view, when jurors relied on the non-race-related factors of socio-economic or immigration status more than on ethnicity. “When jurors can find other reasons besides race to place blame, such as low socioeconomic status,” he says, “they will tend to be more punitive toward minority defendants and feel that they are not being prejudicial.”

    Voir Dire for Racism
    In some cases, parties will need to do their best in order to uncover and strike potential jurors who harbor a racial bias. Here are a few clear implications from the implicit bias and aversion research.

    Don’t Rely on Questions that Are Variations on ‘Are You Racist?’
    Our conventional voir dire process is premised on the mistaken belief that potential jurors are generally aware of their biases. You might ask panelists, for instance, whether they harbor any animosities toward particular groups, or whether they would be unable to fairly judge people like your client. That might work to ferret out a few – those who are willing to voice an unpopular opinion, probably as a way of getting out of jury duty. But the rest will say, and genuinely believe, that they would not discriminate. The problem is that there is no reason to trust that self-diagnosis.

    Instead, Look for Aversion
    Nonverbal cues coming from the jury box aren’t always reliable either. But one cue I would look for is apparent aversion, because aversion is likely to be more reliable than expressed opinions. When a potential juror either studiously avoids eye contact with a party or attorney, or – on the other end of the spectrum – engages in a sustained glaring kind of eye contact, there is a good chance they are showing aversion toward you or your client. Asking about aversion is a little harder (see above), but might still be possible. Inquiring into experience, for example, can be better than asking about attitudes. Asking how regularly the panelist has interacted with members of a minority group, for example, might be a window into aversive behavior.

    And Aim for Diversity in the Seated Jury
    Even with good questioning though, it is probably impossible to eliminate implicit or aversive racial bias from your jury panel. Beyond the proper goal of minimizing it, attorneys also should conduct voir dire with an eye toward the diversity of the resulting panel. Diverse groups are less likely to fall sway to unexamined bias or groupthink, and more likely to engage in complete deliberations. So even if some end up on the panel with dangerous biases, diversity within the panel as a whole will serve as an important check against those biases playing too strong a role during deliberations.

    The bottom line for trial lawyers is not to confuse biases with beliefs. Powerful biases can be unexpressed and even unknown to those who bear them. And that goes not just for racial biases, but for all of them.

  10. says

    Zadie Smith makes her screenwriting debut with sci-fi film:

    Author Zadie Smith, best known for her novels such as White Teeth, On Beauty, and NW, will make her debut as a screenwriter on an upcoming science fiction film by famed director Claire Denis. It is the director’s first English language film.

    According to Screen Daily, the film takes place beyond the solar system in “a future that seems like the present”.
    Smith’s work as a novelist has been adapted for the screen before, with 2000’s White Teeth being made into a four part drama for the UK’s Channel 4, and a feature version of 2005’s On Beauty in the works from Film4.

    Smith can now add screenwriting to her list of many writing accomplishments, including receiving tenure as a Creative Writing professor at NYU, the Orange Prize for Fiction, and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award.

  11. says

    Dever police caught telling key lies about their fatal shooting of Native American Paul Castaway:

    On this past Sunday, Paul Castaway, a 35 year old Native American, was brutally shot and killed by Denver Police. This much we know.

    Castaway’s mother, Lynn Eagle Feather, says she called the police for help on Sunday after her son threatened her with a knife, telling cops he was mentally ill. Police allege Castaway charged at them with the knife, but according to witnesses and a surveillance video seen by a local reporter, Castaway was holding the knife to his own neck when he was shot four times.
    Speaking to Indian Country Today, Eagle Feather said the police shooting was racially motivated.

    “I want justice for my son. I want those cops to be reprimanded. These Denver cops love to kill Natives. They love to kill people of color here,” she told the network.

    Immediately after the shooting, though, police began telling key lies about what happened that have already been proven not to be true.
    First off, we have this.

    Pretty nefarious, right? It never happened.

    Below is a photo of Paul’s mother, who wasn’t stabbed at all, at a protest rally for him 24 hours later.

    No lie, though, is more nefarious than why police said they had to kill Paul. They said that he charged at them with a knife, but according to reporters who’ve seen the video of what happened, this is a lie as well.

    The manager of Capital City mobile home park at 4501 W. Kentucky Ave. has the video. He wouldn’t give it to FOX31 Denver, but he did show it to reporter Tammy Vigil.
    It shows Paul Castaway, 35, coming up from behind a white mobile home, through a black iron fence onto the street and around a wooden fence, which is a dead end.

    He then turned back around onto the street with a knife to his neck the whole time, when an officer shoots him. The video seems to not match what police say happened.

  12. rq says

    “This is our heritage,” Confederate flag supporters protest ahead of Obama’s Oklahoma arrival. It is your heritage. Your horribly hateful, racist heritage. I’m so glad you can be proud of that. :P A group of Confederate flag supporters were out in force near Durant on Wednesday before the president arrived in town.

    The group was visible from the interstate as they flew several Confederate flags from their trucks and vehicles.

    “We’re not gonna stand down from our heritage. You know, this flag’s not racist. And I know a lot of people think it is, but it’s really not,” said Trey Johnson, who drove three hours from Texas to join the protest. “It’s just a southern thing, that’s it.”

    “I believe that it is a flag that should not come down. It is about history. It’s not about racism at all because both black men, as well as white men stood side by side. They fought together for the beliefs that they believed in. And this is our heritage,” said Stephanie.

    Alyssa, a supporter of the group, said the group’s protest has nothing to do with the president, but rather a culmination of the events that have occurred in recent weeks.
    “Nothing to do with the president”. I have a hard time believing that.

    “Confederate lives matter”: Flag wavers to greet President Obama in Oklahoma

    President Barack Obama is visiting Oklahoma today to promote his initiative to expand high-speed Internet access to low-income and rural Americans and later to make a historic visit to a federal prison, but he will first be greeted by a rally of Confederate flag supporters, The Tulsa Frontier reports.

    Just what he needs!!!!

    They Are Greeting President Obama with Confederate Flags in Durant, OK

    President Obama will be in Durant, Oklahoma today to announce the ConnectHome program, which promises to bring high-speed internet access to low-income communities across America, particularly those in rural areas. Indeed, the White House plans for this pilot program to reach 275,000 households and 200,000 children who have no access to high-speed broadband.

    However, some a handful of citizens in Durant are lining the streets not to give Obama the honored welcome he deserves, but to shower him with images of hatred.

    Those three previous links via Lynna.

    NAACP Calls for Removal of Confederate Flag From Ala. State Troopers’ Cruisers, Uniforms

    Huntsville, Ala.’s NAACP is calling for the removal of the Confederate flag from the state’s Highway Patrol vehicles. Currently it is plastered on every state trooper vehicle, as well as on a patch that every uniformed officer wears, WAFF reports.

    n keeping with the recent national shunning of all symbols of the Confederacy, the local NAACP chapter said that it is high time that the uniform and vehicles were altered.

    “The time is right, and I just think it needs to be,” the Rev. Robert L. Shanklin of the NAACP told the news station. “We need to do a clean sweep. The state and local government, anywhere that that’s located.”

    According to the news station, troopers know about the controversy surrounding their gear but said that any changes would have to happen on the state level.

    Video of police shooting released after AP wins court decision. That’s again on the 2013 shooting in L.A.

    Judge Stephen V. Wilson unsealed the video so the public could see what led the city of Gardena to pay $4.7 million to settle a lawsuit with Diaz-Zeferino’s family and another man wounded in the shooting that followed a botched report of a bicycle theft early the morning of June 2, 2013.

    “The fact that they spent the city’s money, presumably derived from taxes, only strengthens the public’s interest in seeing the videos,” Wilson wrote in a 13-page decision. “Moreover, defendants cannot assert a valid compelling interest in sealing the videos to cover up any wrongdoing on their part or to shield themselves from embarrassment.”

    Against a backdrop of intense public scrutiny of police shootings nationwide, a lawyer for The Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times and Bloomberg argued the videos should be unsealed under a First Amendment right to access court documents.

    “The Associated Press, joining with other news organizations, believes it’s important that the public has access to videos like this to better understand the actions of their police officers,” spokesman Paul Colford said.

    The ruling comes amid public debates over what footage should be made public as police officers and cruisers are increasingly equipped with cameras to capture evidence that can be used against criminals or to hold officers accountable for their own behavior.

    Michael Overing, a lawyer and journalism professor at the University of Southern California, said that in addition to being cited in future court arguments the ruling could help provide guidance as lawmakers grapple with those issues.

    “Right now video is being suppressed,” Overing said. “This is going to help open the floodgates so the public can see it … and see if actions are justified.”

    Gardena was joined by police chiefs and officer groups around the state in arguing that making such videos public would dissuade cities from employing the technology.

    Wilson said that was a political consideration and not for him to judge.

    Bill Clinton: I Made Criminal Justice ‘Worse’. Wow, at least he admits to it.

    Bill Clinton said at a NAACP meeting in Philadelphia on Wednesday that he made a mistake by signing the 1994 Violent Crime Control Act that lengthened federal sentences for many crimes. “I signed a bill that made the problem worse. And I want to admit it,” he said. Clinton sounded a lot different when he signed the bill: “Gangs and drugs have taken over our streets and undermined our schools. Every day, we read about somebody else who has literally gotten away with murder.” The act, co-written by Joe Biden, promised greater federal funding for states if they enacted stricter sentencing laws for violent offenses. In addition, it provided money for extra prisons, funding for 100,000 police, cut higher education assistance for inmates, and created 60 new death penalty offenses. Finally, the bill created the Violence Against Women Act and banned the sale of assault weapons.

    Somehow, stricter sentencing for non-violent offenses also occurred. Funny, that.

  13. rq says

    Borked the quote after the first link.
    Obama to be greeted on Oklahoma visit by Confederate flags, the Tulsa Frontier on that.

    Riverside County to pay $500,000 to family of man fatally shot while handcuffed

    Riverside County agreed to pay $500,000 to the family of an 18-year-old man fatally shot in the back by a Moreno Valley deputy while handcuffed face-down on the ground, his family’s attorney said.

    The agreement was reached in June to award Jewell Allen, the mother of Lamon Khiry Haslip, after she filed a federal wrongful-death lawsuit against the county and the deputy.

    Allen’s attorney, Brian Dunn, said the shooting represents “an abuse of power.”

    “It’s one of the worst I’ve seen,” he said Wednesday.

    It’s also a shooting that occurred in 2012. Justice seems to be slow – even when it’s incomplete justice.

    StL Metro PD’s 2015 homicide clearance rate with black victims is 26% (23/87) and with white victims is 88% (7/8). There’s probably a multitude of factors contributing to that, incl. a distrust within the black community of police officers, even when they’re doing their jobs properly. But you know what? That’s still no excuse for such a huge disparity. And they (the cops) probably don’t even realize that they might be prioritizing some victims over others – not consciously, anyway. That’s the saddest part of all.

    Protesters Fly Confederate Flags To Greet Obama In Oklahoma, Huffington Post Black Voices.

    And here, the @ColoradoFOP offers insight re: Baltimore and the influence of the unions. FOP to FOP. See attached tweets.
    More: And the @ColoradoFOP, the police union, reminds us of “the American way.” Suing the police, the American Way.

  14. rq says

    Looks like StL Metro PD has cleared 6/7 (86%) homicide cases w/ white victims this yr. StL’s overall homicide clearance rate roughly 35%.

    Some Airway Heights residents concerned by mayor’s Facebook post Oh? What did the Mayor say?

    The mayor of Airway Heights, Patrick Rushing, doesn’t hold back his political views when it comes to his Facebook page. KHQ got a message from one of his followers who was extremely offended by a comment Mayor Rushing posted about President Obama and the First Lady.

    Normally this is not something we would ever repeat on air or in text, but since the person who contacted us found it so disturbing we felt we had to contact the mayor as to why he would post such a thing.

    The comment in full that was found on Patrick Rushing’s Facebook page read: “Gorilla face Michelle, can’t disagree with that. The woman is not attractive except to monkey man Barack. Check out them ears. LOL.”

    I showed Rushing the statement, and he confirmed he had posted it, so I asked him why he would write something like that.

    “It’s just playful back and forth banter that my friends and I do,” said Rushing.

    I also showed the statement to some people I spoke to in Airway Heights. Neither of them found it amusing at all.

    “Because I’m black, it’s offensive to me because many times blacks have been compared to a gorilla, a monkey. Some type of animal,” says Tommy Gilbert. “I’m a joking and jovial person but I know when something is acceptable or not and that is not acceptable under any circumstances.”

    Mike Larkins shared Gilbert’s opinion. “It’s just a terrible thing to say,” says Larkins. “Being compared to a monkey is offensive because we’re all human beings.”

    The update reads:

    On Monday, following Airway Heights mayor Patrick Rushing’s controversial comments on his Facebook page, all members of Airway Heights City Council asked Rushing to step down.

    Mayor Rushing didn’t agree with council members’ recommendations.

    “I will not step down. But I will do everything I can to turn the tide around.”

    Council members have directed the city attorney to draft a resolution outlining the dissatisfaction of the council, their concerns and possible sanctions. That resolution will be presented at the Council’s next meeting on Monday.

    Which sounds a lot like some kind of non-action.

    Stats wiz Nate Silver: For black Americans, US is about as dangerous as Rwanda. It’s a whole different country for them. There was that vignette by… I forget who, years ago, about two random aliens describing their home planets to each other via radio, describing two completely different worlds (one idealistic, the other downtrodden) – in the end, it turns out they’re both from Earth.

    For black and white americans, the difference between life and death is literally worlds apart. Although we may know this on some level, Nate Silver, the founder and editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight, has the startling statistics that demonstrate this reality.

    As he explained to me on the latest episode of The Katie Halper Show, “If you’re a white person your chance of being murdered every year is 2.5 out of 10,000… If you’re a black person it’s 19.4, so almost eight times higher.”
    ADVERTISEMENT

    To put this into context, Silver explained, the murder rate for white Americans is similar to the murder rate for people living in Finland, Chile or Israel. The murder rate for black Americans, on the other hand, is similar to the rate found “in developing countries that are war zones even, like Myanmar, or Rwanda, Mexico, Brazil, Nigeria, places that have vast disorder. To me that stat was so striking that I thought this was a case where even if you kinda zoomed out, that was a data point that helped to inform the discussion.”

    Silver also discussed police brutality.

    So I’m an editor now as well as a writer so we think when a story occurs is this a quote unquote “random act of violence” or is this representative of some broader trend and I think these stories about police brutality, it’s uncovering things that have been going on for a long time and that are very common experiences…

    Now that we do have video cameras everywhere it’s not a coincidence that all of a sudden now that we have means to record these things all of a sudden these things crop up all the time.

    Listen to the whole interview with Silver below, as well as interviews with Chris Cobb, who helped get New York City to acknowledge the site of a former slave market on Wall Street and mark it with a plaque, Desiree Burch, the black solo performer from California, who now lives in England, where she feels way safer walking around and or encountering the sees police, and political comedian Ted Alexandro, who talks about police brutality in his standup, and said, to Silver, “you said [the murder rate for black Americans is] more in keeping with places that have ‘vast disorder.’ Maybe vast disorder is the right term for the experience of black folks living here in the United States. That is their reality. So, when you said those words it kind of struck me.”

    Audio at the link.

    PETITION: The firing of Anthony Batts was a step in the right direction. Start to repair relations with the community, and bring Joe Crystal back to Baltimore. Crystal was the whistle-blowing cop who got pushed out of the force due to harassment and intimidation tactics from fellow employees. (Does he even want his job back?)

    Former Det Joseph Crystal was a rising star in the department, and he took his job seriously. That all changed the day he witnessed a handcuffed drug suspect beaten and his ankle broken by a fellow officer. When he reported it to his superiors, his nightmare began. Det. Crystal, testified against two officers who were involved, and helped secure convictions. Soon afterwards, he was labeled a rat, and he eventually found a dead rodent placed on the windshield of his car. Crystal was not only harassed by his ‘brothers in blue’, he was ostracized, and denied several promotions. Crystal became so overwhelmed with the harassment at the hands of his peers, it subsequently lead to his resignation in 2014. We applaud Crystal for coming forward and reporting misconduct. Baltimore is in desperate need of officers with strong integrity, such as Crystal to police our streets. We strongly urge the Baltimore Police Department to reverse Mr. Crystal’s resignation, so he can continue to serve the people. The City of Baltimore needs Joe Crystal.

    Black Children and Poverty

    Poverty has fallen for kids in White, Hispanic and Asian families in the last five years, but not for Black children, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center.

    About 38% of Black children are still living below the poverty line, according to Pew‘s study of Census data, and Black kids are still about four times as likely as White or Asian kids to grow up poor. And for the first time since 1974, there are more poor Black kids (4.2 million) than poor White kids (4.1 million), even though there are three times as many White children in America.

    IntelGroupNY Sits Down With Erica Garner…(Part 2)

    By now most of you either know or have heard about Eric Garner. His murder at the hands of the the NYPD sparked outrage across the nation. “I can’t breathe ” has become synonymous with the entire black lives matter movement. After Eric’s tragic death his daughter Erica took to the streets in search of the ever elusive justice for her father. Along with huge support from both local and national activists the fight continues to this day.

    Recently the NYPD has reached a settlement with the Garner family. In exchange for the 5.9 million dollars the NYPD awarded the Garners , the city avoids admitting any wrong doing and any further legal actions. At first the Garners were suing for 75 million dollars in a “wrongful death” suit.

    Not only do I believe the city got off light in this situation , but the fact that they don’t have to admit any wrong doing is another example of what’s wrong with the system today …

    Today we get to sit down with Erica and get to talk about some of these things and discuss the future…As some of you may recall Erica was our first guest back when we launched AnonIntelGroup.

    […]

    What does your family plan to do with the settlement?
    I can only speak for my self. Any money that would be given to me , I will use to provide for my 5 year old daughter. The money will help with things I want to see accomplished at the garnerwayfoundation toward the movement to insure this doesn’t happen again. Also the money will help me in the hiring of a criminal lawyer because all the lawyers we have at the moment are civil right attorney’s.

    Has the NYPD ever even remotely apologized to you or your family ?

    No… And that’s what I was hoping for throughout this whole ordeal. I was advised that if we agreed to the settlement , the city would not come out and say “we fucked up” . In other words they would rather pay us then to show liablity. But to me its just about being sorry . I mean my father was a human being , show some remorse for what his family is going thru . We are all hopeful in the justice department. They have other investigations that are being conducted but which are on hold until the justice department finally give my family and the world the answers we have all been desperately waiting for.

    What can the city do to really make progress when it comes to police brutality?
    Straight up and down …hold police officers accountable when they kill someone at anytime on duty or off duty. When cops learn that they aren’t above the law or when they learn that badge doesn’t give them the license to kill. We also need to stop the corruption and cover ups because its been a year since they killed my father and things have only gotten worse over the past months after seeing the cops basically get away with killing my father. After the grand jury failed to indict any of the officers involved in my dads killing. The city is protecting the release of Officer Panteleo conduct complaints filed against him…that right there screams cover up to me .. its sad …and I feel if the federal government would’ve done something sooner it would’ve made other officers across the nation take notice and maybe people like Walter Scott and Freddie Grey would still be alive today. Body cameras are a joke because now cops can simply just shut the camera off and state that it ‘Malfunctioned’ .

    More at the link.

  15. rq says

    He’s the (Famous) DJ, I’m the Son

    I had a very different childhood than most Black boys from Southwest Philadelphia in the early ’90s. My mother worked as an elementary school teacher at Philadelphia’s oldest African-American-owned and -operated private school. And my father was a musician, who was also an actor. My father could be seen every Monday on primetime TV with his best friend.

    My father is “DJ Jazzy Jeff” Townes.

    Growing up in Philly as my father and Will ascended to new heights with their musical and (later acting) careers had its ups, downs and all-arounds. My parents weren’t together, and for a long while, even wandering into my teenage years, I never understood why. But they tried their hardest and did a great job of making things work for me.

    Good grades in school pending, my Christmas tree would be stocked. I never had a need, but I was groomed to work for my wants. My mother never let me get into child acting (thank you, Ma). If I wanted to try hockey and football, let’s do it. If karate was next, sign Cory up. (Although I thought there was a fast track between novice and 3 Ninjas and was quickly humbled.)

    But it came with a cost. I rarely saw my father and I never could understand why, no matter how many times it was “explained.” What was even more confusing was, as many times as I would ask my mother where he was or why I couldn’t see him, there he was: every Monday night, just like clockwork, making the people laugh and having jokes. Every Tuesday, kids in school would tell me how funny he was the night before, would tell me how much they wished they were me.

    And to a kid who always wanted the simple things, a game of hoops with my father meant more to me than the latest Sega video games or the envy of classmates. I remember a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episode where my father got married to his on-show girlfriend, and I completely lost it. I can laugh at it now and I imagine my mother got her chuckles in while trying to console me, but in my childhood anger, I never felt so betrayed.

    In my eyes, Dad was on TV with his new wife, new kids and new family, and was going to forget all about me. I was livid, man. But after having so many talks of understanding, I learned to separate Jeff Townes (or Pops as I’ve called him for as long as I can remember) from the character Jazz. I remember going to the Fresh Prince set as a child and meeting the cast. The late James Avery’s billowing presence and famously deep voice turned to sheer terror as he channeled his inner Shredder from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon (one of the best shows of all time). I remember meeting Daphne Maxwell Reid, and how nice she was, doing The Carlton with Alfonso Ribeiro, and the first time I met Tatyana Ali. Man. At age 9, I learned about the willingness and dedication of “risking it all.”

    But as I grew up, the desire of having a father around clashed more with the understanding of putting food on the table and providing for me. By middle school and high school, my mother had a new boyfriend (and later husband), and I had a baby sister on the way. Tensions built between me and my stepfather, as I irrationally saw him trying to replace the father who wasn’t there, but was still there in my eyes.

    Focusing more on music after the show’s ending in ’96, my father helped create some of the biggest musical acts of the early 2000s with his patented A Touch of Jazz sound. And while it was a crazy experience to be around artists who would later strike big in their early stages, I just wanted to hang with my dad. Whenever my mother told me I’d be going to see him, I was excited to just be in his presence. I saw myself in Jeff Townes, his calm demeanor, his captivating presence when he was talking or telling a story, the way he’d phrase things, his hand motions. He was my biggest idol and I looked up to him. But it was frustrating and saddening to have to be canceled on when work came up, or if he had to bail out on seeing me, or if he had to work with someone during the precious times we had together. I became resentful. Angry. Cold.

    I’d never disassociate with my father, I’d never shy away from being his son. If someone asked, I’d say yes and be prepared to answer the same 32,000 questions that would normally follow. Even if there were times I hadn’t seen or spoken to my father in months, I’d act like everything was okay, as I was always taught, “family business isn’t for anyone else to know.”

    But that anger caused me to rift with both him and my step-father. I failed to understand then that he was trying to come into a situation of raising another man’s son in a city and time period rare for that. Slowly but surely,I started to give my stepfather a chance and let him into my life to become the mentor he is today. But issues with my father were left un-settled. This is the first time I’ve ever written about this, and as fingers hit computer keys, I realize I’ve carried this anger around by myself for a long, long time. “When you get older, you’ll understand.” That was a phrase I’ve heard many times from my father as a kid. I always wondered when that time would come, when I’d finally understand how and why our relationship wasn’t the perfect story I always wanted. After some of the darkest moments of our relationship throughout my college years, we’d all but given up on each other. We didn’t talk, check in with each other, anything. I’d check in on social media every once in a while to see what he’s up to and where he is in the world. (And knowing him now as I do, he probably did the same.) But that was the extent of our communication.

    More at the link.

    Confederate Street Names painted over in Jacksonville, Florida.
    “Black Lives Matter” written on a Confederate Memorial on the UNC campus.
    SHAME written across a Confederate Memorial to Robert. E. Lee in Dallas, TX

    Profiling Bill Creates ‘Accountability’ For Oregon Police

    The bill defines “profiling” as when a law enforcement agency or officer stops an person for questioning because of factors like age, race, ethnicity or gender identity.

    The ban also mandates a statewide complaint system for individuals to use if they feel they’ve been profiled — as well as to ensure all agencies have an in-house complaint policy. The state plans to give $250,000 to Portland State University’s Criminal Justice Policy Research Institute, where the complaints will be collected and analyzed.

    Rep. Lew Frederick, D-Portland, a victim of profiling himself and one of the only two African Americans in the state Senate, co-sponsored the bill. He shared his own history of being stopped by police almost every year in Oregon since he moved in 1974.

    “I have had a number of situations that have taken place in Oregon that have not been pleasant,” Frederick said. “I have been stopped in front of my house three times by a police officer asking if I was lost.”

    The Portland Police Bureau and other agencies — like the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office — already have in-house directives that prohibit profiling.

    “I take [profiling] very seriously and have zero tolerance,” said Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Staton. “We have a section in our policies with regards to appropriate action required, and also racial discrimination. It is very extensive in the policies which govern racial profiling.”

    Yes, but apparently those policies aren’t working.

    Road trip for suburban woman ends in jailhouse death

    Newly obtained video shows the arrest of 28-year-old Sandra Bland, a Naperville woman whose death at a Texas jail is being angrily questioned by her friends and relatives.

    Sandra Bland was found dead in a Waller County, Texas, jail cell on Monday at 9 a.m. after being arrested for allegedly assaulting a police officer during a routine traffic stop, the I-Team has learned. Authorities say her death appears to be suicide.

    In numerous emails and phone calls to the ABC7 I-Team, her friends and relatives say they do not believe the official version of what happened and say this is a case of foul play in a county with a history racial intolerance.

    Now, the I-Team has obtained video of Bland’s arrest. The video shows police on top of Bland, who is on the ground with several officers restraining her as she questions why they are being so rough. The video was shot by a bystander Friday morning, three days before she died in police custody.

    Bland was pulled over Friday for improper signaling a lane change, according to Waller County Sheriff’s Department officials. They say she was charged with “Assault on a Public Servant” and taken into custody by a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper.

    “After he pulled her out of the car, forced her and tossed her to the ground, knee to the neck, and arrested her,” says her friend Malcom Jackson.

    Bland’s friends say she had been with her family in suburban Chicago over the July 4th holiday, and drove to Texas for a job interview at her alma mater, Texas Prairie View A & M. Family members say she got the position and was to begin working in student outreach today.

    In the video of the arrest, an officer is heard telling the bystander taking the video to leave.

    In the video he shot, Bland is heard saying, “You just slammed my head into the ground. Do you not even care about that? I can’t even hear!”

    Then, as she is taken into custody, she repeats, “You slammed me into the ground and everything.”

    Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith says Bland “had been combative on the side of the road.”

    Combative? Or just mouthing off?

  16. rq says

    Anybody tired of hearing from Ta-Nehisi Coates yet? No? Good!!! Making Peace With the Chaos: An Interview With Ta-Nehisi Coates

    Ta-Nehisi Coates is running late. As a national correspondent for The Atlantic and author of the new book, Between the World and Me, everyone, it seems, wants a piece of the 39-year-old Baltimore native. His book—which Toni Morrison christened “required reading” and which the New York Times hailed a “profoundly moving account”—is a deeply personal examination of the ways in which American violence and racism have wreaked havoc on its black citizenry. “[T]he question of how one should live within a black body, within a country lost in the Dream,” Coates writes in the beginning portion of the book, “is the question of my life.”

    By the time we meet, on a late Tuesday afternoon in Midtown, he is gracious and candid as ever, despite having just come from another interview. “I feel freed,” he will later tell me, a wide smile cutting across his face. Over the course of the next half-hour, we discussed Coates’ early days at Howard University, traveling abroad, obligation, publishing’s lack of diverse gatekeepers, and what, if anything, it means to understand the fullness of history.

    An edited version of our conversation appears below.

    Interview at the link!

    ‘Between the World and Me’ Is for All of Us, Even if It Is Not About All of Us

    Ta-Nehisi Coates’ new book, Between the World and Me, is as beautiful as it is sobering. A letter from father to son about the visceral experience of being Black in America, the book is neither a call to action nor a plea for hope, but instead is a detailed cartography of the ways American racism has robbed, claimed, and destroyed Black people in this country. It is not a story of potential or redemption but a deeply rooted narrative of the ways hatred and entitlement have molded and shattered the Black body in America.

    The book made me think of my own father, a man who is also trying to parent Black children in a world hell-bent on their destruction. Not so long ago I was 15, and my father was telling me similar things, truths about the world I did not believe but have now confirmed.

    Unlike Coates, my father raised Black daughters. However, in a strange turn of events he has recently gained a surrogate son. Patrick and I became friends in eighth grade and managed to stay close even as the chasm between us widened: I left home for college and he cycled through arrests, rehabs, and court dates; I was starting law school when he was sentenced to prison. I was studying in the library when he called from jail to say he was getting out, and did I know of anyone who would pick him up? My dad agreed to give him a ride, which turned into giving him a place to stay for a few days, which, four years later, has turned into becoming a surrogate parent for him.

    I thought I knew my father as a parent. He raised me, after all, and between my sister and me we had surely pushed him to his limits. I was confident I had seen the whole spectrum of his pride, hope, disappointment.

    But I was wrong. He is parenting a Black man now, and that means something different.

    My dad is king of the worst-case scenario. He is always warning us of something as we walk out the door or hang up the phone, warning us of what lurks just beyond the nearest run to the grocery store or a casual dinner date with friends.

    When Patrick grabs the keys to go out my father fears for his body. He warns him of the police, of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. And when I’m the one walking out, he tells me to be careful too. He is less worried about the police and more concerned about the potential destruction of my body in other equally sinister ways.

    […]

    This trauma and fear is undoubtedly real. And yet—there is a still a disconnect for me in how Coates formulates the racist destruction of the individual. Yes, I recognize such physical destruction. I see remnants of it on the faces of the Black men around me; I hear it in their throats. I deeply understand the violence Coates identifies, but it does not quite fit in my personal paradigm. It is not that I am not susceptible to racial violence; it is not that I do not fear it. But my violence is of a different hue. My fear exists, but not in the exact ways Coates describes.

    That, of course, is because Coates is not writing about me. Not really. His story of the Black individual is, likely subconsciously, almost entirely a story about the Black male individual. In a BuzzFeed article, Shani Hilton noted that this is a tradition that has persisted in many of the greatest Black writers, including James Baldwin, the writer to which Coates is most often compared. Hilton laments adroitly that “the black male experience is still used as a stand in for the black experience.” Black women are still missing from the Black male story, serving as supernumeraries instead of co-stars.

    Days after finishing the book I am still grappling with a door that Coates left ajar, for which I am most grateful. Early in the book he says, “[R]ace is the child of racism, not the father.” White people are “a modern invention,” he says, and “their new name has no real meaning divorced from the machinery of criminal power.” I had not yet arrived at the realization that racism was constructed before race. Such a structure clarifies my perspective of not only the past and the present but the bleakness of the future. That this country has invented categories from our hatred, rather than derived hatred from already invented categories, is a reminder that humans will develop whatever caste systems necessary to oppress and violate.

    Yet, the physical violation that I have been threatened with or subject to is only partly due to the invention of racism and race. I believe in my core that racial violence has been a persistent cancer on this nation, and yet I know intimately that race is not my only physical liability. Perhaps it is not even my biggest one.

    That I am Black only tells part of the story. I am a Black woman. And while my race has “never been a matter of…physiognomy,” as Coates puts it, my sex and gender have. These two words are different and nuanced and spectrumized and complicated. But they are both real. And while race may be a modern invention, gender is not. The plunder and pillage of women’s bodies has existed for longer than my brain can comprehend. The persistence of patriarchy means that the subjugation of women is not only societal, but statutory. Across the nation, state legislatures have codified laws preventing me from making decisions about my own body. They tell me again that my body is not mine.

    The history of my body as up for public debate or consumption is not just an American tradition, but a tradition of our species. Like racism, I expect it will exist forever.

    I do not mean to imply that the effects of American racism on the Black woman are worse than they are on the Black man. I only mean to say that they are different in crucial ways. I wish Coates—one of the most amazing thinkers of our generation—had explored that more.

    […]

    Is this book for all of us? Yes. It is a deeply important work that everyone—and I mean everyone—should be forced to read and read again. Coates has fit so many experiences into fewer than 200 pages. I thought it was wonderful.

    But, this book is not about all of us. It does not include all of our stories.

    Perhaps that is too much to ask. Coates is a man writing a letter to his son. This is a man-to-man talk: a conversation about race and also about the way Black men are forced to navigate this world without ending up dead, jailed, or silenced. This is undoubtedly an important conversation. But, as Hilton noted, “The problem is that [t]his book about black male life is one that many readers will use to define blackness.”

    Would Coates write this book to his daughter? Would he feel like he had the right to that—to address her experience as a man? And if he did, what would it say? Would he map racial destruction of the body with the same confidence?

    ***

    It does not matter which of the three of us is walking out the door, my father reminds us to be safe. His fear is equally palpable with each of us, yet he is concerned about different things. A Black woman, after all, faces different villains.

    Whew.

    Marvel Salutes Hip-Hop w/ 50 Variant Covers Paying Homage to Classic Albums Covers, which are fun to look at.

    Marvel is having fun with a new series of more than 50 variant covers that are all homages to classic hip-hop album covers.

    “For years, Marvel Comics and hip-hop culture have been engaged in an ongoing dialogue,” Marvel EIC Axel Alonso said in a press release. “Beginning this October, we will shine a spotlight on the seamless relationship between those two unique forces.”

    Apparently, I just haven’t been paying attention folks, or it could be because I’m not a comic book reader, so help me out; what’s this ongoing dialogue between Marvel Comics and hip-hop culture that he’s referring to? Enlighten me.

    While I may not know comic books, I do know hip-hop – at least, the hip-hop I grew up with in the late 1980s/early 1990s, so I was able to immediately identify what classic album covers these Marvel interpretations are paying homage to. What about you?

    The move is part of the comic book giant’s plans to reissue some of its classic titles, which will happen this fall. This is just an early peek at what’s to come.

    And here’s a response to it: Can you explain why Marvel thinks that doing hip hop variants is a good idea, when absolutely no announced writers or artists on the new Marvel titles, as of now, are black? Wouldn’t correcting the latter be a much better idea than the former?

    Hi Tom! I hope you see this before it goes viral and you tune out the replies. I may be too late.

    The short version is here, in Whit Taylor’s “The Fabric of Appropriation.” The long version:

    Killer Mike, a rapper I grew up listening to and who Marvel recently paid homage to with the Run the Jewels variant covers, once said, “Closest I’ve ever come to seeing or feeling God is listening to rap music. Rap music is my religion.”

    I can relate. A few years ago, I found myself in Tokyo for work. I don’t speak Japanese, but that didn’t stop me and my friends from running wild over the city for a few days. One of my favorite experiences—a cherished experience—was when I ended up in Shibuya looking at shops. I found a streetwear spot that was down some stairs and around the corner. It didn’t look like a streetwear shop from the outside, but the signage and windows had a vibe, so I stepped in.

    Inside were a couple customers and two shop workers. I was the only black guy in the room, and it was small, so I shopped quickly and went to check out. The clerks didn’t speak English, but they definitely spoke hip-hop. They saw my shirt, a riff on Nas’s “Illmatic” cover, and we bonded over one of the greatest rap albums of all time, kicking favorite lines back and forth. I paid and left, richer for the experience. We connected because we’re part of the same culture.

    I say this not to brag, but to emphasize this: I’m squarely in the target audience for the rap covers you’re homaging, and I know first-hand how incredible rap music actually is.

    Rap is worldwide, but rap is black, too. There’s white in there, and where would rap music be without our latin brothers and sisters, but in terms of perception, coding, impact, and legacy: it’s a black art form. Undeniable, like saying “Midnight Marauders is the best A Tribe Called Quest album.” (That’s a rap joke, too.)

    One issue with Marvel publishing hip-hop-themed covers in the wake of not hiring black creators is that…a dialogue goes two ways. Axel Alonso said Marvel has been in a long dialogue with rap music, but that isn’t true. It’s a long monologue, from rap to Marvel, with Marvel never really giving back like it should or could. Break the Chain was decades ago, you know? (I did appreciate the Aesop Rock shout-outs in Zeb Wells & Skottie Young’s fantastic New Warriors from way back, however!)

    One has to do with the other because of optics. If you don’t employ black creators, and then you purport to celebrate a black art form for profit (and props on hiring a few ferociously talented black artists for the gig!), people are going to ask why that aspect of black culture is worth celebrating but black creatives aren’t worth hiring. I know how many black writers Marvel has hired and allowed to script more than two consecutive issues of a Marvel comic. Do you? Do you know how many black women have gotten to write for Marvel?

    Or, more directly: Storm is the highest profile black character in comics. Which is great! But…she’s mostly been written by white men, and a very small fraternity of black men, throughout the decades. Imagine what a black woman could bring to the character. Shouldn’t a black lady get a chance at bat? I grew up on Alison Sealy-Smith, and I’ve got a soft spot for Halle, but there’s a gap there.

    Back to optics: you can’t celebrate and profit off something without also including the group that you’re profiting off the back of. Marvel has made a lot of money off brown faces. A portion of X-Men’s juice is from the struggle for civil rights, and we all know what the phrase “black Spider-Man” has done for the perception of your company. (He’s Puerto Rican too, tho.) So to see Marvel continue to profit off something very dear to black people without actually giving black people a seat at the table…I was going to say it “stings,” but in actuality it sucks. It makes Marvel look clueless and it makes black people wonder why they bother with your comics.

    Whit Taylor’s “The Fabric of Appropriation” went up this week. It’s a measured look at cultural appropriation, both why it happens and how. Her last point (which I’m going to spoil, forgive me) is that “maybe it’s not so much about who has control over a design, but whether the people it originates from feel in control of their identities.”

    With these hip-hop covers? You’re in our house. (“Whose house?”) These albums changed lives, provided the soundtrack to our youth, or maybe just sounded really nice with the bass cranked and the treble at half on the EQ. To claim you’re paying homage (for profit, with no-doubt rare variant covers to be sold at a mark-up to an audience that often does not include the people these albums were created by) while simultaneously not being willing to hire the people who could bring those concepts to your comics in an authentic fashion…the optics are bad, man.

    Jay-Z once said, “I came back and it’s plain, y’all niggas ain’t rappin the same. Fuck the flow, y’all jackin our slang. I seen the same shit happen to Kane.” He was talking about biters, aka shark biters, aka culture vultures, aka cultural appropriators.

    If you’re going to homage hip-hop, do it in the best way possible: keep it real and put some people of color behind the pages in addition to on them.

    “Protons Electrons Always Cause Explosions.” Thus spake the RZA, whose favorite Marvel superhero is the Silver Surfer.

    Peace.

    Charles Darwin Would Be Ashamed of ‘Social Darwinism’

    Charles Robert Darwin (1809 – 1882) was an English naturalist and geologist, best known for his contributions to evolutionary theory. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors, and introduced the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection, in which the struggle for existence has a similar effect to the artificial selection involved in selective breeding. In modified form, Darwin’s scientific discovery is the unifying theory of the life sciences, explaining the diversity of life.

    More than any other person in history, Darwin shaped our fundamental view of life. Species diversification through natural selection is the principle through which we understand the great diversity of life on our planet, as well as the genesis of our own species.

    But the forces at work in nature, as Darwin observed them, are sometimes misapplied to human society under the term of Social Darwinism. In its mildest form, Social Darwinism describes how companies rise and fall in a free-market system. But history is littered with prejudiced ideas that use Darwin to claim legitimacy.

    Darwin himself cautioned that the strong logic of evolution should not come at the cost of human sympathy. He foresaw a time when slavery would be justified through naturalistic explanations, but Darwin refused to submit to them.

    I’m of mixed feelings about this article. Mostly because it also links to Karen Armstrong. But there it is. I wonder, though, if Darwin would see systemic racism, and if he did, would he fight against it? Write a really long book against it?

    2 Confederate memorials defaced in Charlotte – among all the others.

    Two Confederate war memorials in Charlotte were found defaced on Wednesday, including one that was the center of debate last week between Mecklenburg County commissioners and the public.

    Vandals apparently smeared liquid cement across both sides of an obscure monument unveiled in 1929 during the 39th reunion of the United Confederate Veterans, county officials said. The monument stands perched on a hill between the Grady Cole Center and American Memorial Stadium on North Kings Drive.

    Someone also spray painted “Racist” on the memorial on the grounds of Old City Hall on Trade Street. The Confederate Memorial Association of Charlotte erected the monument in 1977.

    Police are investigating both incidents. The crimes come as the nation debates the appropriateness of the Confederate battle flag and Confederate monuments.

    State lawmakers are expected to soon vote on a bill that would reclassify monuments and memorials on public property as “objects of remembrance” that can only be removed or altered with a state law. On Wednesday, the House Homeland Security Committee passed the measure, which could go for a full House vote by the end of the week.

    “The emotion behind it was clearly one of anger, frustration, darkness,” Dan Morrill, president of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission, said of the incidents. “It was not what you would call a very magnanimous or positive act.”

    Did I read that right? They took the flag down, but they’re going to make all other confederate memorials subject to state law only? What?

  17. rq says

    Unarmed Mississippi man died after 20-minute police chokehold, witnesses say – the Grauniad.

    State medical examiners provisionally found Jonathan Sanders died through homicide by manual asphyxiation, according to attorneys Chokwe Lumumba and CJ Lawrence.

    Sanders, who was 39, repeatedly told Stonewall police officer Kevin Herrington “I can’t breathe”, according to one witness.

    According to the attorneys, one witness alleged that Herrington said he was “going to get that n*gg*r” seconds before confronting Sanders in Stonewall on the night of 8 July, and several said the officer was the aggressor. Police have described the encounter as “a fight”.

    “We believe there is probable cause for a prosecution,” the attorney Lawrence said in an interview on Wednesday. “A determination should now be made by a jury at an open trial as to whether officer Herrington had any justification for choking Jonathan Sanders to death.”

    The attorneys are requesting that a special prosecutor take over the case, citing remarks at a town hall meeting on Tuesday by Clarke County’s district attorney, Bilbo Mitchell, that he had handled 15 cases of killings by police during his career and none had resulted in an officer being indicted.

    Warren Strain, a spokesman for the Mississippi department of public safety, did not respond to a request to confirm the preliminary conclusions of the medical examiner’s autopsy. Stonewall police chief Michael Street did not respond to a message requesting comment.

    Sanders’ attorneys said they were present this week while three witnesses, whom they declined to identify due to safety concerns, separately gave matching accounts of what happened to investigators from the Mississippi bureau of investigation (MBI) during filmed interviews.

    The Police Killing of a Black Man in Mississippi Just Took Another Disturbing Turn, Mic on Sanders.

    Jonathan Sanders was unarmed when Mississippi police Officer Kevin Herrington allegedly placed him in a fatal chokehold on July 8.

    And while the officer didn’t need to call Sanders a “nigger” for his death to fit a nationwide pattern of anti-black police violence, that’s exactly what happened, according to attorneys representing the victim’s family.

    The Huffington Post reports that 39-year-old Sanders crossed paths with Herrington at a gas station around 10 p.m., when he saw the officer arguing with a white man Sanders knew . Sanders told Herrington to leave the man alone and departed. According to the report, however, once Sanders had left, Herrington allegedly said, “I’m gonna get that n*gg*r.”

    Shortly after, Herrington got in his car. A civilian woman was reportedly with him.

    The Jackson Free Press reports that Sanders trained horses and was riding a horse-drawn buggy at the time, so it didn’t take long for Herrington to catch up. Herrington allegedly flashed his blue police lights at the last moment, startling Sanders’ horse into a bolt. Sanders allegedly fell from his buggy and started running to catch his horse.

    Herrington followed. What happened next — as described to the Huffington Post by Sanders’ family’s attorneys, C.J. Lawrence and Chokwe Lumumba — was seen by three eyewitnesses related to Sanders by marriage, one of whom works as a corrections officer:

    Herrington allegedly grabbed a headlight tied around Sanders’ head, pulling it down to his neck and yanking him to the ground. Sanders’ body was slumped down in a “praying position” as Herrington allegedly wrapped his arms around the man’s neck, placing him a chokehold, Lawrence said.
    The three witnesses in the home told the attorneys the officer would not release his grip. At the time, the witnesses said, they were not aware that the man in the officer’s grip was Sanders, their relative. One of the witnesses, who works as a correctional officer in Stonewall, came out to confront Herrington, allegedly asking the officer to let Sanders go. Herrington told the correctional officer that Sanders had reached for his gun, according to the attorneys.

    Herrington allegedly kept Sanders in the chokehold for up to 30 minutes before finally releasing him, the Jackson Free Press reported. By the time paramedics had arrived, Sanders was dead.

    St. Louis County Still May Charge Journalists Arrested While Covering Ferguson Protests. Remember that, when they arrested journalists?

    St. Louis County prosecutors will soon decide whether to bring trespassing charges against two journalists arrested while covering demonstrations last summer in Ferguson, Missouri.

    The Huffington Post’s Ryan Reilly and The Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery recently learned that there are open investigations related to their Aug. 13, 2014, arrests and that the cases have been referred to the county counselor’s office, which primarily handles local ordinance violations. The St. Louis County Police Department filed incident reports in late April of this year describing the reporters as trespassing when they were seized at a McDonald’s restaurant.

    Prosecutors have until Aug. 13 to bring charges of trespassing, or another offense, before the one-year statute of limitations expires. A conviction on trespassing in St. Louis County can result in a jail sentence of up to one year, a fine up to $1,000, or both.

    Trespassing in a McDonald’s. Sounds legit.

    Surveillance Video Proves Cops Murdered Native American Man and Lied To Cover It Up – Countercurrent News, hence the aggressive headline.

    His dying words were “what’s wrong with you guys?” Thomas Morado was an eye-witness to the police execution of Paul Castaway, 35-year-old full-blooded rosebud Native American man.

    Police initially tried to cover their tracks, saying that Castaway had “stabbed” his mother, and “charged” at officers with a knife.

    “He didn’t stab me in the neck. He was drunk,” Lynn Eagle Feather explained.

    “I told the cops he was mentally ill. He was schizophrenic. I called for help. I didn’t call for them to kill him,” Paul’s mother added.

    Now couple her testimony that says the cops lied and she was never stabbed with the fact that she was never medically treated for a stab wound.

    Now here’s the real game-changer: there is s surveillance video that shows the police were lying through their teeth. The only thing is, the manager of Capital City mobile home park has the video, but so far he will only let media and family watch it, though police say he made them a copy that is “part of an on-going investigation.”

    He doesn’t trust the police enough to turn it over to them, as he knows it will somehow conveniently “disappear” if he gives it to them.

    Those who have seen it say that it “shows Paul Castaway, 35, coming up from behind a white mobile home, through a black iron fence onto the street and around a wooden fence, which is a dead end,” according to local Fox 31 Denver.

    The officer shoots Paul, on the video, while Castaway has only threatened himself. No police, no family, no anyone else was threatened besides himself.

    The police lied. They lied to cover up an execution.

    There’s more at the link.

    This is the @ColoradoFOP dismissive attitude on citizen life while LYING & MURDERING #PaulCastaway #StayWoke “We are more concerned about the officer. Suspect decided his own fate.”

    .@denverpolice kill #PaulCastaway, @ColoradoFOP mocks the family. Calls them a ‘gaggle of clowns’. ‘Expressing meaningless ignorance at the expense of law abiding citizens’.

  18. rq says

    Unarmed Mississippi man died after 20-minute police chokehold, witnesses say – the Grauniad.

    State medical examiners provisionally found Jonathan Sanders died through homicide by manual asphyxiation, according to attorneys Chokwe Lumumba and CJ Lawrence.

    Sanders, who was 39, repeatedly told Stonewall police officer Kevin Herrington “I can’t breathe”, according to one witness.

    According to the attorneys, one witness alleged that Herrington said he was “going to get that n*gg*r” seconds before confronting Sanders in Stonewall on the night of 8 July, and several said the officer was the aggressor. Police have described the encounter as “a fight”.

    “We believe there is probable cause for a prosecution,” the attorney Lawrence said in an interview on Wednesday. “A determination should now be made by a jury at an open trial as to whether officer Herrington had any justification for choking Jonathan Sanders to death.”

    The attorneys are requesting that a special prosecutor take over the case, citing remarks at a town hall meeting on Tuesday by Clarke County’s district attorney, Bilbo Mitchell, that he had handled 15 cases of killings by police during his career and none had resulted in an officer being indicted.

    Warren Strain, a spokesman for the Mississippi department of public safety, did not respond to a request to confirm the preliminary conclusions of the medical examiner’s autopsy. Stonewall police chief Michael Street did not respond to a message requesting comment.

    Sanders’ attorneys said they were present this week while three witnesses, whom they declined to identify due to safety concerns, separately gave matching accounts of what happened to investigators from the Mississippi bureau of investigation (MBI) during filmed interviews.

    The Police Killing of a Black Man in Mississippi Just Took Another Disturbing Turn, Mic on Sanders.

    Jonathan Sanders was unarmed when Mississippi police Officer Kevin Herrington allegedly placed him in a fatal chokehold on July 8.

    And while the officer didn’t need to call Sanders a “n*gg*r” for his death to fit a nationwide pattern of anti-black police violence, that’s exactly what happened, according to attorneys representing the victim’s family.

    The Huffington Post reports that 39-year-old Sanders crossed paths with Herrington at a gas station around 10 p.m., when he saw the officer arguing with a white man Sanders knew . Sanders told Herrington to leave the man alone and departed. According to the report, however, once Sanders had left, Herrington allegedly said, “I’m gonna get that n*gg*r.”

    Shortly after, Herrington got in his car. A civilian woman was reportedly with him.

    The Jackson Free Press reports that Sanders trained horses and was riding a horse-drawn buggy at the time, so it didn’t take long for Herrington to catch up. Herrington allegedly flashed his blue police lights at the last moment, startling Sanders’ horse into a bolt. Sanders allegedly fell from his buggy and started running to catch his horse.

    Herrington followed. What happened next — as described to the Huffington Post by Sanders’ family’s attorneys, C.J. Lawrence and Chokwe Lumumba — was seen by three eyewitnesses related to Sanders by marriage, one of whom works as a corrections officer:

    Herrington allegedly grabbed a headlight tied around Sanders’ head, pulling it down to his neck and yanking him to the ground. Sanders’ body was slumped down in a “praying position” as Herrington allegedly wrapped his arms around the man’s neck, placing him a chokehold, Lawrence said.
    The three witnesses in the home told the attorneys the officer would not release his grip. At the time, the witnesses said, they were not aware that the man in the officer’s grip was Sanders, their relative. One of the witnesses, who works as a correctional officer in Stonewall, came out to confront Herrington, allegedly asking the officer to let Sanders go. Herrington told the correctional officer that Sanders had reached for his gun, according to the attorneys.

    Herrington allegedly kept Sanders in the chokehold for up to 30 minutes before finally releasing him, the Jackson Free Press reported. By the time paramedics had arrived, Sanders was dead.

    St. Louis County Still May Charge Journalists Arrested While Covering Ferguson Protests. Remember that, when they arrested journalists?

    St. Louis County prosecutors will soon decide whether to bring trespassing charges against two journalists arrested while covering demonstrations last summer in Ferguson, Missouri.

    The Huffington Post’s Ryan Reilly and The Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery recently learned that there are open investigations related to their Aug. 13, 2014, arrests and that the cases have been referred to the county counselor’s office, which primarily handles local ordinance violations. The St. Louis County Police Department filed incident reports in late April of this year describing the reporters as trespassing when they were seized at a McDonald’s restaurant.

    Prosecutors have until Aug. 13 to bring charges of trespassing, or another offense, before the one-year statute of limitations expires. A conviction on trespassing in St. Louis County can result in a jail sentence of up to one year, a fine up to $1,000, or both.

    Trespassing in a McDonald’s. Sounds legit.

    Surveillance Video Proves Cops Murdered Native American Man and Lied To Cover It Up – Countercurrent News, hence the aggressive headline.

    His dying words were “what’s wrong with you guys?” Thomas Morado was an eye-witness to the police execution of Paul Castaway, 35-year-old full-blooded rosebud Native American man.

    Police initially tried to cover their tracks, saying that Castaway had “stabbed” his mother, and “charged” at officers with a knife.

    “He didn’t stab me in the neck. He was drunk,” Lynn Eagle Feather explained.

    “I told the cops he was mentally ill. He was schizophrenic. I called for help. I didn’t call for them to kill him,” Paul’s mother added.

    Now couple her testimony that says the cops lied and she was never stabbed with the fact that she was never medically treated for a stab wound.

    Now here’s the real game-changer: there is s surveillance video that shows the police were lying through their teeth. The only thing is, the manager of Capital City mobile home park has the video, but so far he will only let media and family watch it, though police say he made them a copy that is “part of an on-going investigation.”

    He doesn’t trust the police enough to turn it over to them, as he knows it will somehow conveniently “disappear” if he gives it to them.

    Those who have seen it say that it “shows Paul Castaway, 35, coming up from behind a white mobile home, through a black iron fence onto the street and around a wooden fence, which is a dead end,” according to local Fox 31 Denver.

    The officer shoots Paul, on the video, while Castaway has only threatened himself. No police, no family, no anyone else was threatened besides himself.

    The police lied. They lied to cover up an execution.

    There’s more at the link.

    This is the @ColoradoFOP dismissive attitude on citizen life while LYING & MURDERING #PaulCastaway #StayWoke “We are more concerned about the officer. Suspect decided his own fate.”

    .@denverpolice kill #PaulCastaway, @ColoradoFOP mocks the family. Calls them a ‘gaggle of clowns’. ‘Expressing meaningless ignorance at the expense of law abiding citizens’.

  19. rq says

    The 35-Year-Old Georgia Mother Who Was Shot and Killed by Police

    This has been a long year already regarding the phenomenon of how police come to kill the people they are sworn to serve. The places are established and iconic—Ferguson, Baltimore, the first bad scene in Charleston. On Tuesday, the family of Eric Garner, who was choked to death for the crime of selling loose cigarettes, came to a settlement with the city of New York. In all of these cases, of course, race acted as what the arson-squad people call an accelerant to the largely justified outrage that followed the killings. But the problem of cops killing citizens is more vast than that, as an outbreak of actual journalism down in Atlanta has proven.

    Working with a local television station, Brad Schrade of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution examines the extremely aromatic five-year old case of Caroline Small, a 35-year-old mother of two who was shot and killed by two police officers in Glynn County, a warren of small towns along the Georgia coast. It is a perfect case study of the problems with police culture in this country—most notably, the near impossibility of getting the justice system to deal with police who kill people. It is a true American horror story.

    “If she moves the car, I’m going to shoot her,” an officer yelled. Small pulled forward. Eight bullets tore through the windshield, striking her in the head and the face. The shooting was captured on police dash cam video. So was what the two Glynn County officers said afterward. They compared their marksmanship. One told a witness how he saw Small’s head explode. Their words were as callous as Small’s death unnecessary. “This is the worst one I’ve ever investigated,” said Mike McDaniel, a retired GBI agent who supervised the 2010 criminal investigation into the officers’ actions. “I don’t think it’s a good shoot. I don’t think it’s justified.”

    The story has it all. A really bad shoot. Cops refusing to call EMTs after the shooting despite the fact that their victim was still alive and would live for another week. Cops making up a bullshit story to cover their own asses. Cops tampering with the crime scene evidence, also to cover their own asses. An ambitious local prosecutor so far in the tank to the police department that she won’t dry off until 2024. Attempts by outside law-enforcement to bring justice in the case that run into a stonewall so thick and high that open bureaucratic warfare breaks out between Glynn County law-enforcement and the detectives from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation tasked to look into the shooting. A grand-jury proceeding that is an embarrassment to 500 years of jurisprudence, so thoroughly rigged to no-bill the tewo officers that one of its members openly expresses his remorse for having been so completely hoodwinked. And, ultimately, no charges against the two officers and a quick-and-dirty dismissal of a civil suit brought by Caroline Small’s family. The temptation just to block-quote the whole story is strong, but here is one sample of how things went so badly wrong in this case.

    [Riding DA Jackie] Johnson waited a year to present the Small case to a grand jury. In the interim, she asked a mentor to review the evidence. Rick Currie, the DA in neighboring Waycross, had worked with Johnson when she was fresh out of law school. Currie told Johnson he thought the officers should be charged with felony murder, Currie told the AJC and Channel 2. Instead, Johnson undertook a highly unusual set of maneuvers. She cut a deal with the two officers, asking them to waive their right to a 15-day advance notice of any indictment. In return, she agreed not to offer an indictment for grand jurors to consider — unless they asked for one. Almost unheard of in grand jury proceedings, Johnson also shared the state’s case and evidence with the officers’ attorneys two months before the grand jury met, according to court records.

    Jack McCoy wept.

    We have two big problems in this country and this story brings them both into sharp relief. First, we have developed at almost every level a police culture that is thoroughly militarized both in its equipment and in the mentality it instills in too many of its officers. And, second, the institutions of civil justice are either completely incapable, or resolutely unwilling, to cope with the first problem. These problems are not exclusive to big cities or, as this story illustrates, to small towns. Caroline Small was the victim of a crime when she was alive, and the victim of several other crimes after she was dead. Like the kidz say, read the whole thing. When the president talks about criminal-justice reform, he should talk about this, too.

    Ironically, I quoted that entire article, because I didn’t know where to stop.

    The Black Church: Under Attack and Guilty of Assault

    Nine innocent Black lives were taken during the Charleston massacre, and “Prophet” Brian Carn has blamed them for their deaths (as seen in the ridiculous video below). Twenty-plus Black women pastors have been threatened with letters from a Black man saying they ought not preach. 60% of Black women and girls report having been raped before the age of 18, according to Black Women’s Blueprint. SCOTUS has ruled that marriage equality is legal, and faux social media theologians have posted more theologically irresponsible statuses than I can count. Studies show that suicide and depression have traumatically increased among queer and trans Black youth. Six Black churches have been burned to the ground throughout the nation. Domestic violence in the Black church remains under discussed. Stigma around HIV and other STDs fosters a culture of unsafe sexual practices. Pastors and preachers continue to preach, “Love the sinner, hate the sin,” when loving the “sinner” rightly means not calling people’s truth, “sin.”

    In short, our Black churches are simultaneously under attack and are guilty of assault. All of these issues have distinct nuances, but they are all interconnected by White supremacy.

    In this moment, as a follower of Christ, I am convinced that the church has let the gates of hell prevail against it. And no, the massacre that occurred in the Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church is no indication of this, for certainly, the only wrong those beautiful souls did was be Black. However, it is the pervasiveness of the sins of patriarchy, sexism, homo- and transphobia, elitism, and anti-Black religious rhetoric, that signal that hell is in our midst. Hell is in our pews, in pastors’ studies and pulpits, and the prophets who expose “our hell” are beaten like Jesus.

    Our communities are on fire and blessed oil applied maliciously, wrinkled Bible pages turned violently, and hateful religious incantations said in tongues can only further set us ablaze.

    In the words of Jesus, “If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” We can’t unite against white supremacy and deny the very real implications of gendered and sexualized terrorism in our churches. The gospel has always been holistic, the “rock” of the Christian faith is love, and Christ’s love “bears all things.”

    And another with a religious tilt, What I Talk About When I Talk About Black Jesus: A Lyric Essay

    Ever since black people came to this country we have needed a Moses. There has always been so much water that needs parting. It seems like all black children, from the time we are born, come into the world in the midst of a rushing current that threatens to swallow us whole if we don’t heed the many, many warnings we are told to heed. We come into the world as alchemists of the water, bending it, willing it to bear us safe passage and cleanse us along the way, to teach us to move with joy and purpose and to never, ever stop flowing forward into something grand waiting at the other end of the delta. We’re a people forever in exodus.

    Before Moses there was Abraham, and ever since black people came to this country we have needed an Abraham. We have always been sending each other away—for our own good, don’t you know it—and calling each other back, finding kinship where a well springs from tears. We are masters of the art of sacrifice; no one is more skilled at laying their greatest beloveds on the altar and feeling certainty even as we feel sorrow. And when we see the ram, we know how to act fast, and prosper, even as the stone knife warms in our hands.

    And before Abraham there was Eve, my own namesake. The first black woman who ever lived. She was the first person on this strange sunlit planet to know anything at all, though she paid for it with terrible cramps.

    But that’s the Old Testament. Back to Black Jesus.

    Denver Police caught telling key lies about their fatal shooting of Native American Paul Castaway, Shau King from DailyKos on that.

    The scene as President Obama’s motorcade arrived at his hotel in Oklahoma City tonight. Photo by @dougmillsnyt

    Remember how the LA Times hired a correspondent to correspond with Black Twitter? Here’s the first article. When ‘Black Twitter’ sounds like ‘White Twitter’

    Tyga was a trending topic on Twitter for most of the week, and anyone following it would see a flurry of homophobic and transphobic slurs. One popular tweeter wrote that Tyga didn’t know the difference “between a tranny and an [actual] woman.”

    As transgender rights activist Janet Mock explained in a video essay, Tyga is being shamed for allegedly loving an “unnatural” woman and Isabella is being shamed for existing. Not everyone doing this was black. But it was Black Twitter, the active community on the platform that is most in tune with hip-hop music culture, that led the charge.

    That’s not the face of Black Twitter the media fawns over in articles with headlines like “Black Twitter Flexing Muscles On and Offline.” The phrase “Black Twitter” itself is a little strange because the community has plenty of non-black participants, but we insist on calling it black. And according to Pew Research Center, 61% of Twitter users are white – but we never call that segment “White Twitter.” The label seems to have stuck, though, and most reporting on Black Twitter shows the community being one of two things: funny or progressive (sometimes both). But there seems to be a disconnect between that coverage and Black Twitter’s negative (if brief) fixation on Tyga.

    […]

    Black Twitter, like every other online community, is a diverse and tangled mess of opinions. We would be doing the community an injustice if we pretended otherwise. In other words, Black Twitter looks an awful lot like White Twitter.

    And just like White Twitter, Black Twitter does have a vocal minority that actively pushes back against all kinds of bias. On Sunday, Robert Jones Jr., who tweets as @SonofBaldwin, wrote a series of angry tweets about Black Twitter members who “support” Bill Cosby, despite the release of a 2005 deposition in which Cosby admitted to obtaining drugs to give to women he wanted to have sex with.

    This is exactly what Alicia Garza, one of the founders of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, has been fighting for the last two years. Last year, she wrote that many people only seem to pay attention to certain “charismatic black men,” leaving “sisters, queer, trans, and disabled [black] folk [to] take up roles in the background.”

    Both of these activists are knee-deep in a discussion that has plagued social justice movements for decades: the question of who, if anyone, should be “first in line” for equal rights. On Black Twitter – as in mainstream America – straight men usually come first. When the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide nearly three weeks ago, some Black Twitter users asked when it would be legal to be black. Some people meant this as a tongue-in-cheek joke. For others, it was an accusation: that rights for white gay people come at the expense of all black people.

    But on the other hand, plenty of Black Twitter users reject the idea that gay rights and black rights are mutually exclusive. Black Twitter rarely agrees with itself, which is only fair, because we don’t expect White Twitter to make up its mind about anything either. So if we’re going to praise Black Twitter as a community that pushes us forward, then we have to also recognize when it takes a step back.

    I see people being called out on Black Twitter. I’m not sure what the point of this article is.

  20. rq says

    High School softball coach calls black students’ hair “nappy and nasty’

    Questions have risen over where Richland High School and the Birdville school district of Texas stand on racial remarks made against black students. Softball coach Brenda Jacobson is accused of making negative remarks about various black students’ hair, skin and culture.

    Star-Telegram reports that Jacobson told player Kenzie Wilson that she wouldn’t do a drill “because there is water on the ground and black people don’t like water.” In April, Jacobson reportedly called a player’s hair ‘nappy and nasty.’ Other comments included telling black players that “the sun is more attracted to you because you’re black” and “See, everyone is white on the inside” after a player cut her leg sliding into base.

    The Richland coach was reprimanded for racially-insensitive remarks; however, questions over the severity have risen. In fact, the school’s principal didn’t acknowledge the claims as fact, arguing that the coach “may have made inappropriate comments to students based on race or skin color.” Jacobson was not suspended or fired and was only instructed to “adhere to professional communication.”

    The allegations against Jacobson have lead to further discussion of deeply-rooted racism within the high school. Richland High School’s current mascot, “the Rebels” is a gesture to Confederate soldiers during the civil war. Over the weekend, more than 100 community members held a rally in support for the Richland High School’s mascot, created a Facebook support page and partnered with the Johnny Reb’s and Dixie Belle student groups. Unfortunately, support has only grown after the softball allegations hit news waves.

    The racial comments and newfound support for negativity has proven to be too much for many black students. “I felt like it was enough and I shouldn’t be treated like that anymore, “ says student Kenzie WIlson in a WFAA interview. “There’s a difference in getting on a kid to get them to perform and just belittling the kid because of what their nationality is,” said her father Kenneth Wilson. “There is no way you say what you did to my daughter with witnesses, and you keep your job.”

    Clearly unsatisfied with the district’s response to the racial comments, the Wilsons have moved out of the school district and don’t plan to return. Many parents and school officials have reached out to the superintendent and are expected to present a petition at an upcoming school board meeting.

    First Look: See Parker Sawyers and Tika Sumpter as a Young Barack and Michelle Obama in Southside with You. I wonder if theyll get as many movies as Will and Kate did?

    Your young Barack and Michelle Obama are here!

    After a movie based on the president and the First Lady’s early romance was announced last year, the first photos of Parker Sawyers and Tika Sumpter as the young couple have been released – and the resemblance is uncanny.

    Looking relaxed and casual in the shots, the stars perfectly capture the classic style of the president and the First Lady.

    Sawyers is wearing a crisp blue button-down shirt with khaki pants while Sumpter wears a bright orange shirt and beige skirt.

    Opening the #ESPYS: sweet. Winning Best Breakout Athlete: even sweeter. #MoneDavis @espnW @ESPYS @ESPN

    One Year After the Death of Eric Garner, Reform Deferred – what else is new?

    “The world saw an African-American man in Staten Island die and people are confused, disgruntled, and angry,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared in his inaugural remarks on New Year’s Day, after being sworn in for his second term. “Today, sadly, too many people are questioning if the blindfold is still intact or does the justice system now see black and white or black and blue or rich and poor.”

    Weeks later, during the State of the State address delivered at Empire State Plaza Convention Center, Cuomo pledged various reforms intended to bolster police accountability and mend relations with constituents. Legislation included a statewide commission on police and community relations, appropriations for body cameras, and a ban on chokeholds. “The community has to trust and respect the police and the police have to respect and trust the community,” Cuomo said. “And we have to work to restore that trust and that respect.”

    But one year after Eric Garner drew his last breath on Staten Island, little has changed in New York: of the police reforms introduced in the State Assembly and Senate, none have become law. In the State Assembly, the body camera pilot program remains stuck in committee, as does a bill requiring a “refresher course” in “tactical communications and cultural and community awareness” for all police officers. A measure that would have banned police chokeholds went untouched. Legislation banning racial profiling and establishing a special office to investigate police involvement in civilian deaths, both proposed by prominent Democratic assemblyman Keith Wright, seem likely to die in the Republican-controlled Senate, which has focused primarily on issues of police safety. A bill to allow the attorney general to investigate and prosecute police misconduct went down in flames in a Senate committee. Meanwhile, a proposed civilian review board continues to languish in committee. While, just a few weeks ago, Cuomo finally appointed Attorney General Eric Schneiderman special prosecutor to handle civilian deaths at the hands of police, prior legislation designed to implement a more permanent prosecutor were blocked by the Senate. Even the measly $100,000 appropriation for Cuomo’s vaunted commission lingers in—no surprise here—committee.

    Americans may be rallying in the streets, but when it comes to substantive changes to the relationship between police and the communities they serve, lawmakers simply can’t be bothered to take action to stem the tide of civilian deaths at the hands of police officers.

    ***

    It might be easy to chalk this up to legislative jousting in Albany, but the problem is nationwide. In Missouri, the state legislature ended its session in May after passing just one bill out of hundreds of Ferguson-related pieces of legislation, which would have covered everything from body cameras to racial profiling to cultural awareness training. “We don’t have one piece of legislation that anyone here in this body can go home and say, ‘Hey, we did this for Ferguson,'” Missouri Representative Clem Smith told the Associated Press. “As it was this summer … it still is today. Nothing has changed.” This, despite the fact that a recent YouGov/Economist poll revealed that a vast majority of Americans support outfitting police officers with body cameras (88 percent) and outside investigations in instances of police misconduct (74 percent). Outrage over police brutality against (primarily black) Americans simply doesn’t seem to translate into legislative action.

    Regarding the ‘regaining the trust’ part, it was also said in response to Obama’s recent speech: you can’t regain what hasn’t ever been there; new ground needs to be broken, and that trust needs to be built in the first place.

    “What’s Wrong With You Guys?” #Anonymous Takes Down Denver Police Union Website for #PaulCastaway. Word is getting out.

    How for-profit prisons have become the biggest lobby no one is talking about. I shudder to think at the millions involved.

    Several industries have become notorious for the millions they spend on influencing legislation and getting friendly candidates into office: Big Oil, Big Pharma and the gun lobby among them. But one has managed to quickly build influence with comparatively little scrutiny: Private prisons. The two largest for-profit prison companies in the United States – GEO and Corrections Corporation of America – and their associates have funneled more than $10 million to candidates since 1989 and have spent nearly $25 million on lobbying efforts. Meanwhile, these private companies have seen their revenue and market share soar. They now rake in a combined $3.3 billion in annual revenue and the private federal prison population more than doubled between 2000 and 2010, according to a report by the Justice Policy Institute. Private companies house nearly half of the nation’s immigrant detainees, compared to about 25 percent a decade ago, a Huffington Post report found. In total, there are now about 130 private prisons in the country with about 157,000 beds.

    Marco Rubio is one of the best examples of the private prison industry’s growing political influence, a connection that deserves far more attention now that he’s officially launched a presidential bid. The U.S. senator has a history of close ties to the nation’s second-largest for-profit prison company, GEO Group, stretching back to his days as speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. While Rubio was leading the House, GEO was awarded a state government contract for a $110 million prison soon after Rubio hired an economic consultant who had been a trustee for a GEO real estate trust. Over his career, Rubio has received nearly $40,000 in campaign donations from GEO, making him the Senate’s top career recipient of contributions from the company. (Rubio’s office did not respond to requests for comment.)

    The Justice Policy Institute identified the private-prison industry’s three-pronged approach to increase profits through political influence: lobbying, direct campaign contributions, and building relationships and networks. On its website, CCA states that the company doesn’t lobby on policies that affect “the basis for or duration of an individual’s incarceration or detention.” Still, several reports have documented instances when private-prison companies have indirectly supported policies that put more Americans and immigrants behind bars – such as California’s three-strikes rule and Arizona’s highly controversial anti-illegal immigration law – by donating to politicians who support them, attending meetings with officials who back them, and lobbying for funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Showing just how important these policies are to the private prison industry, both GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America have warned shareholders that changes in these policies would hurt their bottom lines.

    When prisons are a business, it’s hard to enact any useful change, because of the money involved. This is silly.

  21. rq says

    Tamir Rice: Cleveland Police supervisors disciplined in hiring of Officer Timothy Loehmann. But Loehmann himself will most likely not be disciplined.

    Two Cleveland Police supervisors have been disciplined in connection with the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

    Lt. Gail Bindel and Sgt. Edwin Santiago were found guilty in a police department disciplinary hearing for “failing to adequately supervise an applicant’s background investigation.”

    The applicant is Cleveland Police Officer Timothy Loehmann who was hired by Cleveland despite being found unfit for duty by a suburban police department as well as handgun performance that was judged dismal.

    Lt. Bindel was given a two-day suspension and Sgt. Santiago received a written reprimand.

    Both supervisors received a disciplinary notice last week.

    The following two articles supposedly need an app download or something. Maybe someone can find more direct access.
    http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Audio-Missing-on-Police-Shooting-Video-315614491.html?akmobile=o&nms=y
    http://www.nbcchicago.com/investigations/City-Emails-Refer-to-Complications-In-Police-Version-of-How-Teen-Was-Shot-313075231.html?akmobile=o&nms=y

    Sandra Bland: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

    The family of an Illinois woman found dead in a Texas jail cell after she was arrested during a traffic stop is raising questions about how she died.

    Sandra Bland, 28, was found dead in Waller County, Texas, on Monday, the Chicago Tribune reports. Local authorities in Texas say Bland killed herself, but her family and friends don’t believe that is the case, and suspects that the true cause of her death is being covered up.

    Five main points of information at the link.

    Obama Doing Black-On-Black Racism To Bill Cosby, All Because Of A Few Measly Rapes, via Wonkette.

    Probably, the president is trying, just like CNN, to destroy Cosby, for being the kind of Strong Black Man who speaks truth to power (when he’s not raping all the ladies). The kind of truth that white conservatives love to hear, about how black people need to stop being so damned black if they wanna not be treated like they are black. Obama IS the real racist!

    Eric Garner’s unmarked grave in New Jersey cemetery goes largely unnoticed and unvisited

    Eric Garner’s grave, much like his family’s struggle for justice, is incomplete.

    Garner’s resting place is an unmarked grave in Linden, N.J. — a dozen miles from the Staten Island block where he took his last breath nearly a year ago.

    His remains lay amid several other unnamed burial sites on a kidney-shaped pasture in Rosedale Cemetery known as Elmlawn. The only thing distinguishing it from the rest of the plots is the thick, unkempt grass covering his coffin.

    It’s a deeper shade of green.

    […]

    A young black man visiting Rosedale with his family to buy a plot for a deceased loved one immediately recognized Garner’s name, but had no idea he was interred in New Jersey.

    “I thought he was still in the city,” said the visitor, who only identified himself as Shadrack. “Not that it matters. Nothing’s changed. Nothing’s gotten better or worse. Everything’s the same.”

    Cemetery Vice President Ed Faulkner said more reporters stand by Garner’s grave than grieving family members.

    Still, everyone who comes into the office looking for his plot is given a once-over.

    “We just check for vandals,” Faulkner said. “It’s always a little work to have someone who’s made news here.”

    Gwen Carr, Garner’s mother, said that the family was putting together the $3,000 needed for a bronze grave marker, which should be in place by the end of the month.

  22. rq says

    The Root on #SandraBland: Sandra Bland Drove to Texas to Start a New Job, So How Did She End Up Dead In Jail?

    On July 9, 28-year-old Sandra Bland of Naperville, Ill., drove to Texas to start a new job at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M. On July 10, police stopped Bland just outside the campus for allegedly failing to signal while changing lanes. Police claim that during the stop she became combative, was thrown to the ground, arrested and charged with “assault on a public servant.”

    On July 13, around 9 a.m., before her family could bail her out, Bland was found dead inside a Waller County, Texas, jail cell. Police claim she died from “self-inflicted asphyxiation.” Her family and friends say that is impossible; that the woman they know, who fought strongly against police brutality and had just gotten a new job, would never have committed suicide.

    “I do suspect foul play,” a friend, Cheryl Nanton, told ABC 7. “I believe that we are all 100 percent in belief that she did not do harm to herself.”

    Video obtained by ABC 7 of Bland’s arrest doesn’t appear to show Bland being combative with officers, but does show two officers on top of Bland, who can be heard questioning the officers’ methods of restraint.

    […]

    The news station reports that Smith said “jailers saw Bland at 7 a.m. Monday when they gave her breakfast and again at 8 a.m. when they spoke with her over the jail intercom. Smith says she was found dead an hour later.”

    In a press release from the sheriff’s department viewed by ABC 7, authorities claim that CPR was performed shortly after Bland was found unresponsive in her cell and that she was pronounced dead moments later.

    “I do not have any information that would make me think it was anything other than just a suicide,” Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis told ABC 7.

    Bland’s friends told the news station that the woman they know was excited about starting her new job on Wednesday, July 15, and that she would never have taken her own life.

    “The Waller County Jail is trying to rule her death a suicide, and Sandy would not have taken her own life,” LaNitra Dean told ABC 7. “Sandy was strong. Strong mentally and spiritually.”

    On Wednesday, several of Bland’s friends protested outside the Waller County Jail, which is 50 miles south of Houston. Family members told ABC 7 that Bland’s body will be brought back to Illinois for burial as soon as authorities release it.

    According to ABC 7, Texas state rangers are investigating Bland’s death and have not commented on the video obtained by the news station.

    Until the investigation is complete, Bland’s friends and family will continue to speak out about the tragic loss they believe is highly suspicious.

    “We’re very suspicious and we’re a very tight community and we’re very upset that this has happened and it seems like there’s nothing really being done about it,” Bland’s friend LaVaughn Mosley told the news station.

    PZ’s post So True It Hurts. Basically a recap of “I, Racist” from somewhere around comment 480-something previous page. And Tony on this page.

    At Point Lookout in Southern Maryland, Confederate flag still flies

    While the Confederate battle flag is coming down from the State House grounds in South Carolina and around the nation, it continues to fly here in St. Mary’s County, at the center of a privately owned monument next to the largest burial site of rebel soldiers in Maryland.

    Clinton Cole took pictures of the private monument last week and shook his head.

    “That flag stands for nothing but hate,” said the 49-year-old Longview Beach man, who is black. “This is 2015, and we’re still dealing with this?”

    But Jim Dunbar, who heads the group that built the monument, says the flag stands for his heritage.

    “It’s a symbol of the whole defiance against the federal government,” Dunbar said. “They were rebelling for the same reason their grandfathers fought in the Revolutionary War — freedom from a strong centralized government.”
    […]

    The flag, and others representing Maryland, prisoners of war and the Southern states, are clearly visible to visitors headed to the beaches of Point Lookout State Park. Below the nearly two dozen fluttering flags, a bronze statue of a bearded southern soldier stands on a raised platform, and small plaques and a garden pay tribute to the buried prisoners of war.

    “It’s probably the biggest memorial to veterans, period, in Maryland, outside of Washington,” Dunbar said.

    He noted that Confederate troops could be freed from Union captivity if they swore allegiance to the U.S. “They would rather starve to death in a prison camp than go against what they believed in,” he said. “That’s why we feel so strongly about it.”

    The long-controversial battle flag, flown by the Army of Northern Virginia during the Civil War and adopted by white supremacists in the 20th century, came under new criticism after nine black people were shot to death in a Charleston, S.C., church last month. The man accused in the killings had posed for pictures with the flag and had a history of activity on white supremacy websites.

    Public and private organizations denounced the flag as an emblem of racism and hatred. Supporters such as Dunbar disagree, arguing it represents Southern heritage.

    The South Carolina Legislature voted last week to remove the flag from a Confederate memorial on the State House grounds. The National Parks Service pulled “stand-alone depictions” of the flag from gift shop shelves at Antietam National Battlefield and other Civil War sites. Amazon, Wal-Mart, eBay and other retailers stopped selling merchandise bearing Confederate flags.

    Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz asked Baltimore City for permission to change the name of Robert E. Lee Park to Lake Roland Park. The park is owned by the city and operated by the county.

    No Confederate flag is flown on any state-owned property, and Gov. Larry Hogan moved last month to stop the Motor Vehicle Administration from issuing license plates bearing the image.

    But the Republican declined to review other Civil War-related symbols, and rejected a call to remove a statue of U.S. Chief Justice Roger Taney from the State House grounds in Annapolis. Taney presided over the Dred Scott decision, in which the court declared that “only white persons” could be U.S. citizens.

    “It’s political correctness run amok,” Hogan said. “They’re both part of our history.”

    Yep, political correctness running amok, when you care about the emotional well-being of your fellow citizens.

    A big part of the war on drugs is based on a huge myth, with video.

    One of the major reasons the war on drugs was escalated in the 1980s was a big lie: the “crack babies” myth.

    The pervasive myth, explained by the New York Times in the video above, is that children born to mothers who used crack during their pregnancy would have birth defects and stunted development. Politicians, scientists, and journalists touted one of the earliest studies on this issue, conducted in the 1980s, to warn of the dangers of crack. But the study looked at just 23 babies — a sample size too small to be meaningful. And it only included infants rather than adults who had been exposed to cocaine as infants, so it couldn’t measure long-term effects. As a result, its findings generally proved to be wrong through further research, including a huge longitudinal study that found poverty and the ills attached to it were likely the real cause of some babies’ issues.

    But the study helped fuel widespread hysteria about drugs, with the media constantly warning people of crack babies in the 1980s. And it was one of the reasons the federal government passed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, which greatly elevated prison sentences for crack and other drugs — in a way that disproportionately hurt African Americans.

    The myth should become a learning moment for lawmakers: Maybe sometimes it’s better to let the science settle before jumping to conclusions about what government needs to do.

    And Ebony: WHAT HAPPENED TO SANDRA BLAND?

    “Online county jail records show that Bland was arrested Friday and released Monday on $5,000 bond.

    Bland was found Monday morning by a female jailer who had gone to Bland’s cell to see if she wanted some recreation time, [Walker County Sheriff Glenn] Smith said.”
    If Bland was to have been released on Monday, why was she being offered “recreation time?”

    A spokeswoman for the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences in Houston told the Tribune that per an autopsy on Tuesday, Bland’s death “has been classified as a suicide, with the cause of death (listed as) hanging” and Walker Country police have suggested Bland simply committed suicide. After getting a new job. And getting arrested for a minor traffic violation. And being prepared to bond out and go home.

    Friends, family and Bland’s Sigma Gamma Rho sorority sisters have started a social media campaign to raise awareness about the case. Bland’s name began trending on Twitter last night, as users hope to force mainstream news outlets to begin coverage.

    While we can’t rule out the possibility that Bland actually did commit suicide, those close to her have stated that there was no indication that she was feeling anything but good at this point in her life. Mental illness and depression are complicated beasts, but so is the American system of policing. When it comes to the death of a Black person in police custody or during an encounter with officers, what reason do we have to believe “official” accounts of what happened, when videos and witnesses have made liars of officers over, and over, and over again? When people of other races are routinely stopped, questioned, arrested (or NOT stopped, NOT questioned, NOT arrested) and somehow manage to live to see another day?

    We need to know what happened to Sandra Bland but what clarity can we expect to get from the same people who arrested and jailed her? Police departments investigate themselves and return with an emphatic “nothing to see here, folks, the system is working!”

  23. says

    Autopsy finds Mississippi black man in buggy was strangled by white cop, attorney says:

    Chokwe Antar Lumumba told The Associated Press on Thursday that he was present when multiple law enforcement agencies briefed family members of Jonathan Sanders on Tuesday, telling them that he died from “manual asphyxiation,” and that the death was a homicide and not an accident.

    The finding is based on a preliminary autopsy report, according to the Jackson Free Press.

    Sanders died July 8 following a physical encounter with Stonewall Police Officer Kevin Herrington. Sanders was driving a horse and buggy in the town before Herrington stopped him in a residential neighborhood. Lumumba said relatives believe Herrington is at fault in Sanders’ death.

    Herrington’s lawyer, Bill Ready Jr., told the AP later Thursday that the 25-year-old officer stopped Sanders on suspicion that he had drugs and that Sanders resisted arrest in a physical struggle.

    “There’s always another version of what truly happened,” Ready said. “I think we need to all wait until MBI finishes its investigation.”

    Mississippi Bureau of Investigation spokesman Warren Strain has described the encounter as a physical “altercation.”

    Lumumba wouldn’t say what agencies briefed the family, but MBI has been leading the inquiry, assisted by the FBI.

    “All we can say at this point is the policy of the Department of Public Safety is that we don’t discuss ongoing investigations,” Strain wrote in a text to the AP.

    Jason Pack, supervisory special agent with the FBI’s Jackson office, also could not confirm the finding.

    “As in any case where additional resources might be needed, we’ve offered the FBI’s investigative and forensic capabilities to our partners at the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, who is the lead in this case,” Pack wrote in an email.

    Clarke County Coroner Greg Fairchild did not return a call seeking comment. Stonewall Police Chief Michael Street said Thursday that he was unaware of the finding.

    Authorities have confirmed that there are multiple witnesses, including Herrington’s wife, who was in the patrol car, and Rachel Williams, a resident who works as a jail guard in neighboring Lauderdale County. Lumumba’s law partner, C.J. Lawrence, is representing Williams.

    The autopsy finding doesn’t necessarily mean Herrington committed a crime, and he hasn’t been charged. Lumumba said he believes that there is enough evidence to show that Herrington committed a crime, and urged that Herrington be indicted. However, he said that he has not yet asked for authorities to conduct a probable cause hearing, required before police officers and some other public employees can be arrested in Mississippi.

    Clarke County District Attorney Bilbo Mitchell has said the case, like other deaths where a police officer is involved, will be presented to a grand jury. The next grand jury in Clarke County is scheduled to begin Aug. 31, Mitchell has said, although he said it might be possible to recall grand jurors who met in February. Mitchell could not be reached for comment Thursday.

  24. says

    rq:
    From your link @20-
    http://www.nbcchicago.com/investigations/City-Emails-Refer-to-Complications-In-Police-Version-of-How-Teen-Was-Shot-313075231.html?akmobile=o&nms=y

    Emails released by the city’s Law Department, following a Freedom of Information Act request, refer to complications in the Chicago Police Department’s story of how 17-year-old LaQuan McDonald was shot and killed.
    At 4:27 on the morning of Feb. 11 and again at 5:28 a.m., Ralph Price, an attorney for the Chicago Police Department, emailed Corporation Counsel Stephen Patton using the description in the link about the McDonald shooting posted on the website Slate: “A recently obtained autopsy report on the dead teen complicates the Chicago Police Department’s story.”
    McDonald was shot 16 times on the night of October 20, 2014 after being stopped by Chicago police who responded to a call of a man with a knife.
    According to attorneys for the estate of McDonald, a single officer fired the 16 shots, nine of which struck him in the back.
    The attorneys say an unreleased video from a camera in a police vehicle show McDonald was on the ground and in a fetal position when some of the shots were fired.
    On the scene the night of the shooting a spokesman for the Fraternal Order of Police said McDonald lunged at officers and the shots were fired in self-defense.
    On Feb. 10, at 8:07 p.m. the website Slate posted a story titled “Sixteen Shots” by independent journalist Jamie Kalven. The story detailed how a witness said McDonald was moving away from police, not lunging at them as the FOP spokesman originally said.
    Kalven also first outlined details from the Medical Examiner’s autopsy, writing: “The autopsy raises questions not only about how [McDonald] died, but about how the Chicago Police Department has handled the case since.”
    Minutes later at 8:23 p.m., Adam Collins, a Deputy Press Secretary in the mayor’s office, according to emails provided by the city, sent a link of the article to the Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Chief of Staff and two mayoral assistants, as well as to Steve Patton, the city’s Corporation Counsel.
    Early the next morning on Feb. 11, Ralph Price, an attorney for the Chicago police department, sent his email forwarding a link to Kalven’s story to the city’s top lawyer with what the city says was a Slate provided subject line: “A recently obtained autopsy report on the dead teen complicates the Chicago Police Department’s story.”
    Price included a link to Kalven’s story. Patton replied in a return email at 6:46 a.m.: “Thanks.”
    A city Law Department spokesman said the Price e-mail did not reflect the city’s viewpoint.
    The emails suggest officials in both the Corporation Counsel’s office and the mayor’s office were closely monitoring what was being reported with Chicago’s mayoral election, at the time, less than two weeks away.
    LaQuan McDonald was shot less than three months after Michael Brown was shot and killed by an officer in Ferguson, Missouri, prompting national attention on the police department in the St. Louis, Missouri suburbs.
    On March 6 attorney Jeff Neslund, who along with Michael Robbins represents the McDonald family, wrote to the Corporation Counsel’s office.
    The letter was released as part of the FOIA request and included the following: “This case will undoubtedly bring a microscope of national attention to the shooting itself as well as the city’s pattern, practice and procedures in rubber- stamping fatal police shootings of African Americans as ‘justified’ …. I submit this particular shooting can be fairly characterized as a gratuitous execution and as well as a hate crime.”
    The following month, the city announced it was offering a $5 million settlement in the case, although no lawsuit had been filed.
    On April 9 Collins, in an email sent to Patton, as well as one of his top assistants and an assistant to the mayor, wrote in the subject line: “Possible inquires: CPD/McDonald shooting” and noted the following Monday, April 13 the City Council Finance Committee would hear of the proposed settlement agreement.
    Two days later without debate the full city council approved the McDonald settlement.
    The FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office, as well as the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office have said they are investigating the McDonald shooting.

    And your other one-
    http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Audio-Missing-on-Police-Shooting-Video-315614491.html?akmobile=o&nms=y

    Video captured by an in-camera squad car on the night a Chicago Police officer shot and killed 17-year-old LaQuan McDonald does not contain audio, according to attorneys for the McDonald family, who have viewed the tape.
    On the night of October 20, 2014 McDonald was surrounded by approximately 10 Chicago Police Officers responding to a call of a man with a knife.
    City Emails Refer to Complications In Police Version of How Teen Was Shot
    McDonald died as a result of 16 gunshots fired by one officer, according to autopsy results and the city Corporation Counsel.
    The officer said he feared for his life, though attorneys for the McDonald family say the video clearly shows McDonald was moving away from the officer when the deadly shots were fired.
    Six Chicago Officers Named in Settlement Agreement
    In a March 6 letter to the city released through a Freedom of Information Act request, attorney Jeff Neslund, who along with Michael Robbins represents the McDonald family, wrote: “The dash cam video from unit 813R…captured what took place on Pulaski, including the fatal shooting.”
    “There are 5 Tahoe’s on the scene and none of the audio works as far as we know,” said Neslund in an interview. The video has not been made public.
    Missing Minutes From Security Video Raises Questions
    In 2007 then Police Superintendent Phil Cline told officers that after a successful pilot program, in-car cameras would become a standard part of policing in Chicago.
    “I’d like to take a few minutes to bring you up to date on a technology initiative that is part of the Department’s commitment to use state of the art technology,” Cline said in a DVD released through a Freedom of Information Act request.
    CPD Failed to Properly Probe Death of Teen Shot by Cop: Suit
    According to the Chicago Police Department currently “almost 800 vehicles are equipped with in-car camera systems.”
    Vehicles used in police districts were outfitted with a camera mounted on the windshield providing both front and back views and two wireless microphones, according to a video by Coban Technologies, which supplies the cameras.
    Chicago Council Approves $5M Settlement in Police Shooting
    According to the video, there are three ways to start recording: by turning on the roof lights, hitting a red recorder button or a large button on the microphone. But only one way to stop it: “By touching the square on the screen both video and audio recording will stop,” according to the company video.
    But while there was video the night McDonald was shot, the absence of audio remains a mystery.
    Feds Probe Death of Teen Shot 16 Times by Cop
    “There’s no audio so we can’t hear the number of shots,” Neslund said. “My understanding is that there are two audio microphones in every CPD Tahoe that are supposed to be charged up, in fact the officers are supposed to be wearing them clipped to their uniform. But there is no audio from any of these vehicles as far as we know.”
    Asked if they had received an explanation from the police department on the lack of audio, the McDonald attorneys said they did not.
    The Chicago Police Department responded to a NBC5 request for an interview and a specific question as to why there is no audio with the following e-mailed statement which reads in its entirety:
    “The Department remains committed to technological investments that improve officer and public safety, promote transparency and strengthen accountability. In-car cameras are vital in our efforts to gather relevant evidence and assist in the investigation and resolution of officer-involved incidents. Today, almost eight hundred vehicles are equipped with in-car camera systems. Chicago has one of the largest such deployments in the United States. The Department will continue to evaluate new technology and national best practices as it determines the possible expansion of camera systems.”
    Three months after the city announced a settlement with the McDonald family of $5 million, without a lawsuit being filed, questions remain as to why there is no audio from the shooting that October night.

  25. rq says

    Obama greeted by Confederate flags in Oklahoma

    A few protesters waving large Confederate battle flags greeted President Obama as he arrived at his hotel in Oklahoma City on Wednesday.

    Local media reported that Confederate flag supporters also staged an event at an earlier Obama stop in Durant, Okla.

    Obama has criticized the flag as a symbol of hate, and applauded South Carolina’s decision to remove it from the State House ground after the killings of nine African-Americans at a church in Charleston.

    With video.

    Y’all still managed to put a white person in this tweet. Which tweet? The one about this article: #GrowingUpBlack and other hashtags explore race – note very white hands holding phone in descriptive picture.

    Racial commentary in 140 characters or less isn’t always easy, but social media is pulling it off.

    Hashtags like #WhiteGirlsDoItBetter and the latest that’s trending, #GrowingUpBlack, often poke fun at, skewer and sometimes downright nail race and culture in the United States. Add in a dash of memes and it can be hilarious.

    These aren’t the serious, “Let’s talk about it and come up with solutions” hashtags like #BlackLivesMatter. These are the ones more likely to elicit guffaws than essays.

    Here are just a few examples:

    #GrowingUpBlack

    This one sparked some nostalgia as folks shared parts of the black experience which included having to dress like your sibling even if you weren’t twins and hearing “Go wash up; You smell like outside.”

    #WhiteGirlsDoItBetter

    This hashtag emerged shortly after Serena Williams defeated Maria Sharapova in the semi-finals of Wimbledon. It apparently gathered steam as a response to the sense that Williams doesn’t get her due as a champion because she’s black.

    #BlackCelebsBeLike

    African-American stars got raked over the coals a few months ago with the #BlackCelebsBeLike hashtag. Names weren’t named, but it was usually easy enough to figure out who people were talking about.

    Cost of Police-Misconduct Cases Soars in Big U.S. Cities, but I don’t have a subscription.

    Happy birthday to Assata Olugbala Shakur #AssataTaughtMe

  26. rq says

    Fearless Journalist And All-Round Badass Ida B. Wells Honored With Google Doodle

    When Ida B. Wells was 22, she was asked by a conductor of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad Company to give up her seat on the train to a white man. She refused, and the conductor attempted to forcibly drag her out of her seat.

    Wells wouldn’t budge.

    “The moment he caught hold of my arm I fastened my teeth in the back of his hand,” she wrote in her autobiography. “I had braced my feet against the seat in front and was holding to the back, and as he had already been badly bitten he didn’t try it again by himself. He went forward and got the baggageman and another man to help him and of course they succeeded in dragging me out.”

    The year was 1884 — about 70 years before Rosa Parks would refuse to give up her seat on an Alabama bus.

    Wells’ life was full of such moments of courage and principle. Born into slavery in Holly Springs, Mississippi in 1862, Wells was a vocal civil rights activist, suffragist and journalist who dedicated her life to fighting inequality.

    On July 16, Wells’ 153rd birthday, Google honored the “fearless and uncompromising” woman with a Doodle of her typing away on typewriter, a piece of luggage by her side.

    “She was a fierce opponent of segregation and wrote prolifically on the civil injustices that beleaguered her world. By twenty-five she was editor of the Memphis-based Free Speech and Headlight, and continued to publicly decry inequality even after her printing press was destroyed by a mob of locals who opposed her message,” Google wrote in tribute of Wells.

    The journalist would go on to work for Chicago’s Daily Inter Ocean and the Chicago Conservator, one of the oldest African-American newspapers in the country. As Google notes, she “also travelled and lectured widely, bringing her fiery and impassioned rhetoric all over the world.”

    Wells married Chicago attorney Ferdinand Barrett in 1895. She insisted on keeping her own name, becoming Ida Wells-Barnett — a radical move for the time. The couple had four children.

    Wells died in Chicago of kidney failure in 1931. She was 68.

    Every year around her birthday, Holly Springs celebrates Wells’ life with a weekend festival. Mayor Kelvin Buck said at this year’s event that people often overlook “the historic significance of Ida B. Wells in the history of the civil rights struggle in the United States,” per the South Reporter.

    10 Black Actresses Receive 2015 Emmy Nominations

    The 2015 Primetime Emmy Award nominations were announced this morning, and 10 Black actresses received nominations!

    Viola Davis and Taraji P. Henson have made history by being the first two black women to receive Emmy nominations in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category in the same year .
    Kerry Washington was nominated for this award in 2013 and 2014. Before Washington’s 2013 nomination, the last black woman to be nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series was Cicely Tyson in 1995. Unfortunately, a black woman has never won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama.

    Maybe it’s time one did!!!

    Alright, so. Sandra Bland. The sheriff there. More on him in article form, but here’s some of his background via twitter / internetz. The sheriff (R Glenn Smith) of Waller County, where #SandraBland died, was fired from his chief of police position in Hempstead, TX in 2008.
    In 2013, TX ACLU questioned Sheriff Smith about racial disparity in marijuana arrests by his officers. #SandraBland
    From a message board in 2008 when R. Glenn Smith was running for Sheriff of Waller County, TX. #SandraBland
    More from a message board in 2008 when R. Glenn Smith was running for Sheriff of Waller County, TX. #SandraBland
    I know message boards aren’t definitive.

  27. rq says

    PETITION: Take Over The Investigation Into The Death of Sandra Bland From The Waller County, Texas Police Department.

    On Monday July 13th 2015 Sandra Bland, a 28 year-old Black woman from the suburbs of Chicago was found dead in a Waller County, Texas jail cell. The circumstances surrounding her death are at best unclear and given known facts, very disturbing.

    Sandra Bland, a Prairie View A&M graduate, had recently arrived in Texas to start new employment in the state and was residing with her uncle. On Friday July 10th 2015, Ms. Bland was pulled over by local Waller County Sheriffs for failing to signal before changing lanes.

    What we know of what happens after that is unsettling.

    Local press affiliates were able to obtain a nearly 2-minute long video of her arrest. We see Ms. Bland lying face down in a grassy marsh immediately abutting a public sidewalk. There is a male police officer with both knees pressed down on top of her back. Her arms are being sharply pulled behind her back and Ms. Bland is screaming and crying. We can clearly hear her say, “I can’t feel my arms!” “I can’t hear!” “You slammed my head into the ground! I’m a female. Don’t you care that you slammed my head into the ground!?”

    Significantly – one of the other two police officers notices the unidentified pedestrian who was taking the footage and ON CAMERA immediately attempts to intimidate him and make him STOP FILMING. As you know, The Supreme Court just recently upheld the RIGHT of any United States citizen to FILM POLICE on public property (and even in some private properties). The SCOTUS judgment also specifically prohibited police from doing exactly what this police officer was shown on camera to do: attempt to intimidate & stop a private citizen from filming an arrest on public property.

    The next thing we (the general public) know for sure is that on Monday, July 13th 2015 at 9AM – local police said they found Sandra Bland dead. They said she was found “hanged” and are indicating that it was a suicide.

    Based on a number of factors:

    a) Sandra Bland had just RELOCATED from Chicago, Illinois to Texas to begin a brand new job.

    b) Evidence that she took this new employment seriously and enthusiastically is indicated by the fact that she relocated across the country to start that job.

    c) Per all family, friends and peers who have spoken publicly on this matter – Ms. Bland was a very bright, vital and happy person with absolutely NO indications of depression or suicidal tendency whatsoever!

    d) Ms. Bland is clearly seen and heard on video screaming that she had been very seriously physically assaulted and damaged. She cites lack of feeling in her arms. That her head had been bashed into the ground. and as significantly – that she couldn’t hear.

    All three concerns are extremely disturbing (and relevant) in light of what we know happened (her being found lifeless 2 days later) in that all three would be consistent with the onset of cerebral hemorrhaging.

    WE NEED AN OFFICIAL AUTOPSY PERFORMED OUTSIDE THE PURVIEW OF THE WALLER COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPT.

    And for that matter outside any local or state authority.

    The circumstances of this young woman’s death is highly suspect and it is in the interest of justice for an outside, disinterested party with the proper legal authority to assume jurisdiction over this investigation…to avoid any appearance of impropriety or concealment.

    The Department of Justice has to conduct an independent autopsy to determine the cause of death.

    Was there hemorrhaging due to her head being slammed to the ground (as she exclaimed twice)?

    It is in the public’s interest…and in the interest of justice that we find out

    WHAT HAPPENED TO SANDRA BLAND!

    A bit more at the link.

    Woman from Chicago area found dead in Texas jail cell, from the Chicago Tribune.

    Woman Dies In Jail After Being Roughed Up During Traffic Stop. Police Say It Was Suicide. ThinkProgress.
    I’m glad it’s getting out in the media.

    ‘Racism is a physical experience’, Chris Hayes and Ta-Nehisi Coates in video.

    Freedom on Rikers Island: Library Brings Books to Inmates. I don’t have much to say about this, except… it left me feeling slightly annoyed. I understand libraries are important, as is reading… but… somehow… could have been something more than a voyeuristic self-pat on the back for bringing enlightenment to the people trapped in the horrible conditions of Rikers? Maybe that was just me.

    The black president some worried about has arrived

    In the past four weeks, we’ve seen President Obama take up residence in a place that sits somewhere in-between.

    He’s spoken off the cuff about race relations on a widely circulated podcast (even using the n-word) and then eloquently followed that with what can only be described as a sermon on race relations in America before breaking into song. He’s challenged America to go deeper in its support of equality than retiring symbols of slavery (such as the Confederate flag) and impolitic words (such as the n-word).

    While eulogizing a slain minister and state lawmaker allegedly killed by a white supremacist in Charleston, S.C., he outlined a whole raft of ways in which discrimination remains and inequality continues to grow. And now, in the span of two weeks, he has announced two major reform packages — housing last week and criminal justice on Tuesday — that could, if ultimately implemented, be of particular benefit to people of color in the United States.

    Here’s the thing: This Obama might look or sound “brand new” to some Americans. He might even sound a little something like the black president some white Americans across the political spectrum feared (or hoped for). But to people who watch the White House closely, this is the President Obama who has been developing for some time.

    On Tuesday, Obama addressed the 106th national convention of the NAACP, the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. It’s worth noting here that the NAACP was founded by a cross-racial group of civil rights warriors ultimately responsible for some of the most sweeping legal reforms of the 20th century. But the NAACP isn’t as highly regarded these days as it once was. In the 1990s, the NAACP saw a sharp decline in membership and was itself focused on issues such as retiring the n-word, before rebuilding its membership by expanding its activism to include things like anti-death penalty work and school-funding reform.

    Still, in the eyes of some Americans, the NAACP is a partisan organization. Some on the right have even called it a “hate group.”

    But Obama came to the NAACP convention and laid out a criminal-justice reform agenda that included everything from calls for a close and hard look at what sends people to jail, which crimes and which defendants get the longest sentences, the use of solitary confinement and the loss of voting rights after release. That agenda, Obama said, also has to include resolving the massive disparities in school quality and discipline that federal data tells us begin in pre-kindergarten classrooms.

    When combined with a whole host of other inequities Obama mentioned — who graduates from high school and college, who is employed, who lives in the safest and best-equipped communities and how police view their responsibilities to different neighborhoods — these produce exceedingly elevated arrest, conviction and incarceration rates for black and Latino men. That in turn splinters families and concentrates long-term joblessness, poverty and a rather logical but dangerous degree of hopelessness in those same communities. You can read more about the specifics of the criminal justice reforms Obama called for here, here and here.

    […]

    Back in 2012, when Obama had just been reelected, the leaders of some of the country’s biggest civil rights groups often talked privately about the fact that Obama had made public commitments and taken concrete steps to advance the interests of environmentalists, immigrants and gay Americans. That same president, these leaders often said privately and sometimes publicly, could hardly be counted on to mention the word race, much less aggressively push ideas that might address racial inequality.

    But lots of reporters who watch the White House for a living say the Obama administration was stung by the 2010 midterm elections and Democrats’ staggering defeat, despite years of what they saw as pragmatic compromise. So the administration went big with executive orders and administrative actions on the environment, immigration, trade and other issues. There have also been some defeats — in court and in the court of public opinion — but then, there have also been some legal and social victories in the past eight weeks.

    And there have stunning moments — in Sanford, Fla.; in New York; in Ferguson, Mo.; in North Charleston, S.C.; in Baltimore and in Charleston, S.C. — that have made the continued significance of race harder for the White House and larger swaths of America to ignore. Combine that with the waning months of Obama’s presidency, and the timing makes sense.

    And there was something else that happened in that podcast with comedian Marc Maron. There was something Obama said long after that n-word exchange that should not be ignored.

    “I know what I am doing, and I’m fearless,” Obama said.

  28. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says

    This has made me sad and angry. On the bright side (?), attorneys have publicly stated there is probable cause for prosecuting the officer. So maybe they’ll actually be punished this time? Who knows.

  29. rq says

    A Georgia artist wants to add Outkast to the Confederate version of Mount Rushmore, which would be hilarious as hell.

    The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) wants to remove a carving of Confederate generals from Georgia’s Stone Mountain monument. But a local artist has a different idea.

    Mack Williams is proposing to add Atlanta-based rap duo Outkast, some of Georgia’s most-loved native sons, to the monument. Outkast’s Big Boi and Andre 3000—preferably in a Cadillac—would be featured alongside Confederate heroes Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jefferson Davis, who are all shown on horseback.

    Williams sent Quartz an image of his proposed monument addition.

    The carving’s current depiction of Confederate leaders “is upholding the white supremacy on which the Confederacy was founded and the war was fought,” said NAACP chapter president Richard Rose at a press conference this week. He told local media they could be sand-blasted off, or removed and sold at an auction.

    Rose added that a compromise would be to add other figures to Stone Mountain, some who have been “instrumental in bringing peace between the races” and in “elevating Georgia beyond the Civil War and Jim Crow eras.” Outkast could conceivably qualify—although the group was embroiled in a long-running legal feud with civil rights icon Rosa Parks over their song which bears her name and urges everyone to “move to the back of the bus.”

    There’s a link to a petition about this at the link.

    Ida B. Wells used data journalism to fight lynching

    Ida B. Wells, who would have turned 153 today, is usually called something along the lines of a “crusading journalist” or a “journalist and advocate.” Those are accurate descriptions — her journalism was in the service of ending lynching in the United States and promoting the civil rights of African Americans. But they’re also loaded phrases. At best, they imply that the journalism being done is based in emotion and rhetoric rather than facts: a particularly deeply felt hot take. At worst, they imply that the journalist in question is outright twisting the facts to shape her bias.

    Wells was an advocate, and she wrote plenty of editorial commentary attacking lynching at the turn of the 20th century. But she was also a rigorous journalist. In fact, today we would probably call some of her work “data journalism.”

    In 1895, Wells published The Red Record: Tabulated Statistics and Alleged Causes of Lynching in the United States, 1892-1894. She continued to use quantitative work on lynching throughout her career (including statistics compiled by her hometown newspaper, the Chicago Tribune). She used statistics not just to make her point, but to shape the terms of the debate — to force other critics of lynching, as well as defenders, to reckon with the facts about why white mobs lynched (mostly black) victims.

    Check out an article she wrote called “Lynching and the Excuse For It,” which was published in a magazine called the Independent in 1901 as a response to an essay by fellow Chicago justice pioneer Jane Addams. Addams was against lynching, but tried to give its participants the benefit of the doubt: that they “honestly believe that that is the only successful method of dealing with a certain class of crimes.”

    More of Wells’ response at the link.

    Online Campaign Questions Account of Black Woman’s Death in Custody – yep, the New York Times on Sandra Bland. The story is getting around. Good.

    Sandra Bland, 28, was arrested last Friday in Waller County by an officer with the Texas Department of Public Safety on a charge of assaulting a public servant. Her encounter with the police reportedly began when she was pulled over for changing lanes without signaling.

    A statement from the Waller County Sheriff’s office said that authorities tried to perform CPR on Ms. Bland after she was found not breathing in a cell on Monday morning, and that state authorities were immediately asked to begin investigating her death.

    The statement said that the cause of her death appeared to be from self-inflicted asphixtiation. An autopsy on Tuesday classified her death as suicide by hanging, according to The Chicago Tribune.

    Friends, family and supporters of Ms. Bland are not satisfied with the autopsy results, and are calling for federal authorities to look into her death. Since Tuesday, more than 31,000 people have tweeted using the hashtag #SandraBland, according to Topsy, a social media measurement tool. An online petition calling for the Justice Department to take over the investigation has been started.

    So #SandraBland hanged hrself in a TX jail on Mon. & 18 year old #KindraChapman hanged herself in an AL jail on Tues, 1hr after arrest? FOH!

    Repost, but well worth it: These 15 Black Women Were Killed During Police Encounters. Their Lives Matter, Too.

  30. rq says

    The Toronto Police Services Board meeting is being shut down by Black LIves Matter protesters. Hopefully pictures/articles will be available soon.

    Attorney: Police brutality against teen shown in video

    A video published by the Colorado Springs Independent Thursday allegedly shows a Colorado Springs Police officer taking down a teen.

    According to KOAA, police say the unnamed 18-year-old was intoxicated and kicked an officer in the groin after he shoved her. The teen was handcuffed and suffered trauma to the face when she was then lifted up and slammed to the ground.

    The Independent says the woman’s attorney has filed a Notice of Claim with the City of Colorado Springs for the the incident, which happened in 2013. This measure is usually a precursor to a lawsuit.

    KOAA reached out to the Colorado Springs Police Department but no statement was given due to the ongoing nature of the case.

    How your local jail became hell: An investigation, not just on incarceration rates, but conditions within jails. Which often sound like something only mildly better than the Middle Ages.

    You might think that Zurn’s story, while unfortunate, is relatively uncommon. You would be wrong. The modern American jail — which is distinct from prison, the place where those convicted of crimes go — primarily houses the legally innocent. There are 731,200 people inside American jails — substantially more than the population of Washington, D.C. — and three out of five of those inmates have not been convicted of anything at all.

    The American jail is a support apparatus that serves the needs of the rest of the criminal justice system. That vast network of institutions — the police, the courts, state and federal prisons, parole boards, and so on — rests on this foundation. Before anyone goes to an arraignment, a trial, or state or federal prison, they go to jail.

    Jails are locally administered. They are usually fairly small. And there are a lot of them. There are over 3,200 jails in the U.S., a vast archipelago spread across the nation. All but the smallest counties have at least one, and many municipalities have them as well.

    Technically, only dangerous criminals or flight risks are supposed to be detained before trial (which is an important service, to be sure). But the titanic machinery of the War on Crime, combined with sweeping cuts to public services, particularly in areas of mental health, have changed American jails into “massive warehouses primarily for those too poor to post even low bail or too sick for existing community resources to manage,” according to a comprehensive new report from the Vera Institute of Justice.

    Of course, not being convicted of a crime does little to change the character of time spent in jail. And because jails attract almost no media attention, because they are often run by corrupt or incompetent local officials, and because skinflint local governments often refuse to provide the money for decent conditions, in many cases jail time can be as unjust or brutal as that spent in state or federal prison — if not more so.

    How jails abandoned “innocent until proven guilty”

    The incarceration machine — or what scholars call the “carceral state” — started with Nixon’s war on crime and drugs, which drastically increased the harshness of American sentencing practices, particularly for nonviolent offenses. Reagan got even tougher in 1984 with the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984, which included the Sentencing Reform Act. The law created a commission to recommend uniform federal sentencing guidelines, ironically championed by Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts as a way to promote fairness and good government. But Reagan stacked the commission with hardliners, who drafted draconian rules strictly mandating harsh sentences with little room for nuance or mercy.

    While those guidelines were softened by a Supreme Court decision in 2005 that made them largely advisory, for more than a generation district judges were straitjacketed into handing down extremely harsh sentences, regardless of mitigating factors.

    As a result, the incarceration rate more than quadrupled from 166 per 100,000 Americans back in 1970 to 716 today, the highest in the world, save for tiny Seychelles. (Compare that to Great Britain’s rate of 147, or Norway’s 72.)

    Jails were sharply affected by this development, according to Temple University’s Melanie Newport, who studies the jail system. Jails were the first contact with a new flood of people being arrested, charged, and tried, and so were forced to increase capacity. “The number of jails doubled after World War II,” she says. (It has technically been fairly stable since the 1970s, as smaller jails were consolidated into larger ones.)

    State prisons form the biggest part of the American incarceration system, housing 1,362,000 inmates, according to a 2014 study by the Prison Policy Initiative. But jails are the second-biggest, with almost three-quarters of a million people incarcerated, more than triple the 209,000 convicts inside federal prisons.

    The average jail term is quite short, which means that there is colossal churn in and out of the system — vastly increasing the number of people ground through the incarceration machine. There are 688,000 people released from all prisons annually, but nearly 12 million jail admissions each year.

    Many of those people are mentally ill. The “deinstitutionalization” movement of the 1960s decimated state psychiatric hospitals by the mid-1980s. While this was a benefit to many people with minor mental problems or disabilities, very many of the seriously mentally ill were simply left without treatment.

    A huge fraction of those people end up in jails or prisons. More than 40 percent of people with a serious mental illness have been arrested at some point. A 2006 study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that 64 percent of jail inmates have some kind of mental illness. Roughly 20 percent have a serious mental illness, like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression. That makes almost 150,000 such people in jail, more than four times as many as in state hospitals.

    Jails and prisons are now the major American institutions for handling the mentally ill — which often means locking people like Zurn in solitary confinement for being a nuisance.

    Imagine being considered a ‘nuisance’ due to your mental illness, and not receiving the medication or support that you actually need. (I know, that’s kind of how it works right now, right?)
    More at the link.

    #SandraBland had degrees. Belonged to a Black Greek Organization. Was employed. She was all the things you tell us to be. And she’s dead. < THIS.
    ^ THAT.

    Texas sheriff involved in the death of Sandra Bland fired from previous post for racism. Previously I only posted screenshots from a discussion forum. Here’s more on the sheriff and his background:

    The first red flag is that Bland was officially arrested on Friday for assaulting a police officer. What we see from a bystander video is her telling the officers she is in pain and cannot hear after her head was slammed on the ground by the male arresting officer. The video is below.

    We have now learned that Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith, who made the first public comments about Bland’s in-custody death, was suspended for documented cases of racism when he was chief of police in Hempstead, Texas, in 2007. After serving his suspension, more complaints of racism came in, and Smith was actually fired as chief of police in Hempstead:

    Council members are reviewing video of four arrests and detentions over the past month. The officers and police chief, who are the targets of the complaints, are white. Some residents are calling for a third of the city’s 15 person police force to be suspended, disciplined, or fired.

    Allegations of racism have led to the Hempstead police chief being suspended and ordered to take anger management classes.

    The Hempstead city council has been reviewing the case since last week and finally came to a decision at around 2am Tuesday. A number of residents have come forward with claims of racism by at least four white police officers.

    The council reviewed the complaints, along with videotapes before making their decision to punish Chief Glen Smith. Some say it wasn’t enough. The chief says he respects the decision.

    “My action during the arrest did not meet professionalism as it should with language and I’m not above policy and procedure, no more than any officer of this city,” said Chief Smith.

    It would seem that once a law enforcement officer—a chief of police no less—is suspended and then fired for racism and abuse, his ability to serve in law enforcement would cease.

    That’d be too much like right, though.

    Hell, it made Glenn Smith popular in Waller County, where he then ran for the elected position of sheriff and won against—you guessed it—an African-American candidate, Jeron Barnett, who would’ve been the first black sheriff ever in Waller County.

    Woman Arrested After Traffic Violation Found Dead In Texas Jail Three Days Later, BuzzFeed.

  31. rq says

    This South Dakota Town Refuses To Take The Confederate Flag Off Its Police Uniform – nope, not the one in Alabama mentioned yesterday. Another one!

    The police chief and mayor of Gettysburg, South Dakota, aren’t backing down after criticism of a Confederate flag patch on the local police department’s uniform. Rather than remove the offending symbol, the town is embracing it even more.

    “If it had anything to do with racism we’d take it down and change it,” Mayor Bill Wuttke told The Huffington Post. “It has nothing to do with racism.”

    The patch gained local media attention after Lynn Hart, a black resident of a different town, learned of the emblem and publicly denounced it. The criticism was part of the national debate over displaying the Confederate flag that has followed the massacre of nine people at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina. After the attack — allegedly committed by a suspected white supremacist who had posed for photos with Confederate flags — the South Carolina legislature voted to remove a Confederate flag from outside the state’s Capitol building in Columbia.

    The Gettysburg Police Department defended itself against Hart’s criticism, and even announced on Monday that it had changed its Facebook profile picture to an image of the patch.

    Assholes much? Did their local FOP tell them to do that?

    https://twitter.com/bravenewvoices/status/621682210312208384
    Random thought.

    Where Brooklyn At? The Rise of Gentrification and the Fall of Hip-Hop

    The image of modern-day Brooklyn is often viewed as a haven for hipsters and the middle and upper middle class, with boutique shops, gyms, a giant arena, cafes, and structured parks. Brooklyn has become a face of gentrification in the U.S., but despite its vast economic growth and seemingly integrated neighborhoods, its history as a diverse hub for immigrants, African-Americans, and Latinos has not yet been forgotten.1 The original characteristics of the borough were produced from struggle, hard work, and the hope for a better life in the heart of the city.

    ‘Culture’ and ‘character’ are important, yet difficult-to-define concepts related deeply to gentrification. One major component of urban culture, and especially in New York City and Brooklyn, is hip-hop music. Rap music has been known for its ability to provide insight into the socioeconomic conditions of blacks and Latinos in the U.S. Born from the streets of the Bronx, hip-hop is deeply-rooted in the streets of urban centers. Scholar and cultural critic Tricia Rose states, “Rap music, more than any other contemporary form of black cultural expression, articulates the chasm between black urban lived experience and dominant, ‘legitimate’ ideologies regarding equal opportunity and racial inequality.”2

    Brooklyn, especially, is home to some of the most notorious MCs, who hold tight to their hometowns, representing and paying homage to the borough and its various neighborhoods in song. Artists like Jay-Z and Notorious B.I.G. gave audiences an explicit look into the daily life and culture in Brooklyn’s streets. Gentrification3 is at odds with the concepts of authenticity and history embedded in the roots of hip-hop, and Brooklyn appears far different than the lyrics heard in “Brooklyn” by Mos Def or the visual image portrayed in films like Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing.” The familiar faces of the working class and the comfort of local businesses have been driven out by the increase in property value, and Brooklyn’s founding culture has gone along with them. Through song lyrics, historical events, and opinions from rappers themselves, explaining the relationship between hip-hop and gentrification is made clear, and unveils how gentrification continues to damage the culture of hip-hop’s Mecca.

    […]

    Hip-hop was born in the streets of the Bronx, around the same time as the major demographic shifts in Brooklyn. In the mid 1950s, urban planner Robert Mosley developed the Cross Bronx Expressway (CBE); a six-lane highway that cut through several Bronx neighborhoods, displacing 60,000 people and resulting in the loss of nearly 600,000 jobs. “Few roads in America have histories as tortured as the Cross Bronx Expressway. The master builder Robert Moses gouged the highway through crowded neighborhoods, displacing tens of thousands of people and, critics say, helping set the stage for the arson and crime that ravaged the borough for a generation.” This itself is an early example of development-based displacement common to gentrification. However, the turmoil created by the development of the CBE sparked inspiration in young people to find solitude amidst despair. In the early 1970s, hip-hop emerged from the depths of this chaos.

    Bronx natives (many of whom were West-Indian immigrants) used lampposts to plug in their sound systems and experiment with turntables. Clive Campbell, commonly known as DJ Kool Herc, was the first of many popular hip-hop DJs to test sounds and energize the Bronx at public gatherings during the nascence of hip-hop. “Working two turntables, he switched between duplicate vinyl to keep the instrumental breaks playing and the dancing going indefinitely, and break dancers, shout-outs, MCs, and DJ rivalries all became part of the Kool Herc legacy.”5 The popularity of hip-hop gained momentum as it began to spread throughout the borough. Hip-hop’s beginnings started off as a community art form. It was a way in which local neighborhoods could come together and relieve themselves of the pressure of daily life.

    […]

    While Brooklyn had a great deal of issues with crime and poverty, hip-hop provided a platform for artists to discuss the problems their neighborhoods and families faced on a larger scale. Mainstream music and the rising popularity of hip-hop allowed for these important discussions about race and class to be broadcast. For example, the Brownesville neighborhood in East New York had a reputation for delinquency. In songs like “Welcome to Brownesville” rap duo, M.O.P publicized their experience living in the crime-ridden Brooklyn neighborhood. These lyrics were important for the outside world to hear, not for criminalizing blacks, but in shedding light on problems that plagued urban communities. But was the message received? The instinct now seems to be to remove the negative images that native rappers like M.O.P discussed in their music—by removing the people afflicted by them.

    Gentrification is a system that transforms the disposition of an urban space, generally towards one of white-dominated middle or upper-class-ness. Sharon Zukin, an urban sociologist, describes gentrification in a similar manner stating, “the conversion of socially marginal and working class areas of the central city to middle [and elite] residential use.”6 Gentrification affects numerous aspects of a neighborhood, some that are easily repaired and some that are not. Rent prices rise significantly as the value of living in gentrified neighborhoods increase, driving out low-income residents who can no longer afford the cost of living. Brooklyn has a unique energy that is heavily inspired by art and multiculturalism. However, gentrification uproots the minorities, artists, local business owners and groups of people that contributed to the making of an authentic urban space and community.

    Hip-hop is an integral part of urban culture and an indicator of the changes in it, including gentrification. This change in community disposition when outwardly disregarding a neighborhood’s current residents is harmful. Sensitivity to a city or neighborhood’s culture is important to its history and future, and hip-hop music is a large contributor to Brooklyn’s organic spirit. And if there’s one thing that is very clear about hip-hop, origin and history, where you’re from, they matter.

    […]

    When gentrification meets with a long-standing urban structure like hip-hop, there necessarily comes with it a great deal of change; from the refurbishment of the neighborhoods and street corners where Brooklyn rappers grew up, to the transformation of styles and sounds people associate with their music. One example is the friction over the creation of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, a project in which fellow rapper and Brooklyn native Jay Z played a huge role. Rapper Mos Def expressed his concerns over the development of the Barclays Center in a poem titled “On.center.stadium.status”:

    In an interview with Vulture, Mos Def expounded. “My concern is, none of those people who built that stadium know what it’s like to grow up in the projects. And the people in the neighborhood don’t yet benefit from the stadium’s presence in the community. I would love for Barclays and the NBA and whoever else to prove me wrong, by engaging in the community, not just on some [surface] level for the photo op. But to really be concerned with enriching the lives of people in that community.”

    Hip-hop culture was bred from the streets of the Bronx, but has played an instrumental role in global culture; inspiring artists, fans, and subgenres across the world. The Golden Age of the late 80s and early 90s was filled with distinct beats, varying soul and jazz samples, West Indian-inspired sounds and renowned DJs and MCs, spawning a larger cultural wave that spread widely. Brooklyn rappers at the fore of mainstream hip-hop were key contributors to this era. Brooklyn’s sound was most known for its dark and gritty beats, with samples from various genres, from jazz to country and rock n’ roll. The drop of a drum loop is synonymous with golden age hip-hop, a beat so distinguishable that today’s generation of hip-hop listeners could easily associate the sound with the era; the hallmarks were songs like the 1992 single, “Who Got The Props?” by Black Moon or the 1994 single “Crooklyn” by the Crooklyn Dodgers. Smif-N-Wessun’s “Sound Bwoy Bureill” and Notorious B.I.G.’s “Respect” were examples of the West Indian influence in Brooklyn hip-hop.

    […]

    Gentrification began killing one of hip-hop’s most vibrant and formative eras, the bedrock of modern rap, as it also uprooted the bedrock of the borough. It effectively dismantled a borough by taking those very people who were immersed in hip-hop culture, and displacing them, destroying the culture they managed to build from scraps. There’s the famous Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood and Jay Z’s home in the Marcy Housing projects. One of his more recent mentions was in his song, “Empire State of Mind” featuring Alicia Keys, in which he shouts out 560 State Street in the Boerum Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. In 2012, he surprised a young Jewish couple who now reside in his old apartment. The couple wrote about the encounter, explaining that Jay Z said 560 State Street was where, “[H]e started to gain real momentum in hip-hop . . . where he realized that he needed to cut out all the sh-t in his life and focus on his passion. While we waited, he spoke about how much 560 State had changed over the years–‘these trees weren’t here,’ he said. None of this was. He pointed to the impressive Viking grills that now lined the back wall of the courtyard, and joked about the make-shift grills he and his boys used to set up for cookouts.” Jay Z’s old apartment is just one example of a hip-hop landmark that has been gentrified in Brooklyn.

    […]

    As a result of gentrification, Brooklyn’s live music scene, part of the Golden Age’s lifeblood, has suffered as well. Southpaw, a popular music venue in the Park Slope neighborhood, was well-known for bringing a variety of musical acts, especially hip-hop artists, from Big Daddy Kane to Slick Rick to underground DJs and up and coming MCs. The venue was in business from 2002-2012, and was bought out by a New York Kids Club. Owner Matt Roff, explained the buy-out. “It would have been very difficult emotionally to see folks take control of the space if using it in the same capacity as we did. So after much deliberation with a few potential businesses we felt that the children’s business would use the space wisely and that the growing neighborhood around the club would eventually get great use from the kids club and hopefully appreciate the fact that its there and that we didn’t give it to Banana Republic or Starbucks.”

    […]

    Hip-hop is a sonic record of the black experience. Its lyrics are representative of many of the oppressions and tribulations black people face in America, with special regard to urban poverty. Many Brooklyn artists during the ‘80s and ‘90s made mention of the struggles and issues facing their neighborhoods and communities, but also to the borough’s positive attributes that helped bring them up and shape their world view. “Rap music, more than any other contemporary form of black cultural expression, articulates the chasm between black urban lived experience and dominant, ‘legitimate’ ideologies regarding equal opportunity and racial inequality.”3 However, with the displacement of blacks and Latinos, and the heavy influx of white and middle to upper class residents, characteristics of their beloved street corners and favorite spots cease to exist.

    Before Brooklyn rapper Talib Kweli’s career took off, he worked in the oldest African-American bookstore in Brooklyn, Nkiru Books in Park Slope. The bookstore’s purpose was to serve youth, and emphasize work by black authors. Kweli credits the store for influencing his artistry and encouraging him to further pursue his rap career. “I was already into hip-hop real heavy . . . my style was already based in positivity and spirituality because that’s the type of hip-hop I grew up on, but working at Nkiru gave me facts and history, [and] information to back up some of the things I was rapping about. So my rhyme style became more factual, more informed when I started working at the bookstore.” In 1998, Kweli and Mos Def bought the bookstore from the owner’s daughter. They transformed it into an education center for the neighborhood. In addition to selling books, they hosted open mics, spoken word events, workshops, and lectures. However, due to financial stresses, competition from larger bookstores, and the rise of gentrification in Park Slope, the bookstore was shut down in 2000. Its old location is now Penny House Café.

    Places like Nkiru were important because they promoted affirmative Blackness for the community. Nkiru provided young people a strong foundation and the resources to pursue the arts and stimulate their minds through knowledge and creativity. It promoted black authors and artists. The downfall of Nkiru and similar places hammers home the point that gentrification marginalizes both the physical and cultural aspects of Blackness.

    […]

    At its core, gentrification is modern, urban colonialism; a continuation of systemic racial and economic inequality. It privatizes public space that previously bred art, and has been an effective eraser of Black spaces, places, and cultural structures. However, Blackness is in part resilience, and no art embodies that more than hip-hop. Hip-hop has proven that it is a flexible culture, as people across the world have adopted it, whether they live in the streets or in the suburbs, though its indigenous culture buries some of its roots in New York City. No matter where gentrification strikes, its former inhabitants are capable of creating a new art form, refashioning the destroyed eras behind them; rising above the surface like a flower from the concrete. It’s the Brooklyn Way.

    I skipped a lot of Brooklyn history from the article, but it’s well worth a read.

    Alabama Guv Sued For Removing Confederate Flag From Capitol Grounds

    Melvin Hasting, an attorney based in Cullman, Alabama, filed suit Tuesday in Montgomery County Circuit Court against Bentley, the Alabama Historical Commission, and that agency’s acting director, Lisa Jones, with the aim of returning the Confederate flags to the war memorial from which they were taken.

    The suit alleged Bentley “overstepped his authority” in ordering the flags’ removal from the war monument, according to the report. Hasting’s suit also alleged that the Alabama Historical Commission abandoned its duty to “promote and increase knowledge and understanding of the history of this State,” per state code.

    Bentley had told reporters at the time that removing the flags was “the right thing to do,” adding that the issue “had the potential to become a major distraction” during budget negotiations. The governor also assured reporters that he made sure there was nothing in state law that prevented him from ordering the flags’ removal.

    You go on and win, governor of Alabama.

    Teen inmate hangs herself in Homewood City Jail, authorities say – no, not Sandra Bland. The other one. Kindra Darnell Chapman.

    An 18-year-old girl hanged herself in the Homewood City Jail Tuesday night.

    The Jefferson County Coroner’s Office identified the inmate as Kindra Darnell Chapman. Chapman was booked in the jail at 6:22 p.m., on a first-degree robbery charge. Homewood police said she robbed another person of a cell phone in the 1600 block of Lakeshore Court.

    Jailers last saw her alive at 6:30 p.m. She was found unresponsive at 7:50 p.m. Authorities said she used a bed sheet to hang herself.

    Chapman was taken to Brookwood Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.

    This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

    L.A. files few charges in Ferguson police shooting protests despite mass arrests

    There was no widespread violence, no burning stores or looting, but L.A. made national headlines for another reason: LAPD officers swept up hundreds of protesters in mass arrests. The numbers surpassed those in other cities such as Oakland, St. Louis and Ferguson, Mo., that experienced rioting and other violence.

    Eight months later, Los Angeles city prosecutors told The Times they had rejected filing criminal charges against the majority of the people detained by the LAPD during those demonstrations. The city attorney’s office has filed charges against only 27 of the 323 protesters arrested — fewer than 9% — and has formally rejected charges against 181.

    Most of the remaining cases were referred to informal hearings, where officials “make sure that everyone understands the law and consequences if this happens again,” a spokesman for the city attorney’s office said.

    Los Angeles Police Department officials said they stood by the arrests, despite the small number of charges filed. They noted police have a lower legal threshold — probable cause — for making an arrest than prosecutors do for proving a case.

    Capt. Jeff Bert, who oversaw the on-the-ground response to the demonstrations, said the LAPD’s primary objective was to allow protesters to exercise their 1st Amendment rights. But he said that when concerns arose about public safety — such as when protesters ran onto the freeway or blocked traffic — the department needed to take action.

    “There comes a point where enough is enough, when we are balancing the needs of the rest of Los Angelenos with the needs of a very small, relatively speaking, group of protesters who are no longer engaging in lawful activity,” he said. “Our actions, while not popular, were actions designed to protect and keep the city safe.”

    Larry Rosenthal, a former deputy city attorney in Chicago and law professor at Chapman University, said that it’s not uncommon to see only a few charges filed after a large demonstration resulting in mass arrests. In such chaotic situations, he said, police officers don’t always have the time to adequately record the alleged offenses.

    “There’s great tension between getting control of the scene and being able to document what’s been done in a way that will hold up in court,” Rosenthal said.

    But critics of the LAPD’s tactics said the city attorney’s decision bolstered their complaints that police went too far by arresting so many people.

  32. rq says

    The NAACP And Black Lives Matter Are Talking Past Each Other

    Black Lives Matter, the social media driven movement focused on police violence and ending white supremacy, was not far from anyone’s mind — not even the leader of the free world — at the NAACP convention this week.

    Whether it was in the likenesses of Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown on display outside the main convention hall, or the eyeballs on the few young people who wore t-shirts emblazoned with “Black Lives Matter” or “I love my blackness. And yours,” the protest movement that sprang to life over the last year was hard to miss.

    Also hard to miss was the underlying tension as the old-guard of a movement that had once championed an anti-lynching bill through Congress nearly a century ago confronted a new, digital-focused generation of protesters.

    The activists say the NAACP is beholden to the mainstream corporations; the NAACP seems perplexed by the decentralized relevance of Black Lives Matter. They are not fighting. They both agree there is a crisis. But their crossing paths in Philadelphia underscored how both movements differ on the grassroots moment the country is in, and which steps are the right ones to bring about change.

    […]

    Attendees also took their cue from Roslyn Brock, chairwoman of the NAACP’s board of directors, who said the shooting of unarmed blacks at the hands of blacks placed an indelible impression on the psyche of blacks in America and indeed that of the NAACP. “We will never forget their faces,” she said.

    “However,” she asked, “how do we explain” the murders of young people in Milwaukee, Philadelphia and 55 people who were wounded in Chicago? “How do we give life to the narrative that Black Lives Matter when we are doing the killing?”

    “Let me be crystal clear: Black-on-black crime must end in our community as we imbue new life and meaning into the often quoted hashtag Black Lives Matter,” she said.

    Activists working on police violence against unarmed civilians and, they say, combating white supremacy have something of a running joke (that has gotten stale): They can always tell when someone is about to say, “Well, what about black-on-black crime?”

    Race-on-race crime, the activists say, is not unique to black people. The question also provokes skepticism with Black Lives Matter activists: Why do some leaders attempt to police members of their own community, the activists argue, and want to talk about anything other than white supremacy?

    Activists often refer to this “policing” as engagement in the politics of respectability, or a preference by blacks to critique and to lay blame with black people, rather than address white supremacy “head on,” as one activist said. In an informal poll, principal movement activists said they were not invited to the convention — but had been drawn to Obama’s speech Tuesday.

    “I think we are highly supportive of Black Lives Matter, but I do think what we also are focusing on is the number of black-on-black crimes in our community as well,” said Brendien Mitchell, the 21-year-old Howard University student who sits on the NAACP board and spoke at the convention briefly before Obama told BuzzFeed News. “The need for us to say that black lives matter as it relates to black lives being taken non-people of color” is important, he said. “But I also do believe that we do kill ourselves in our communities.”

    […]

    David Johns, the executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, praised the movement but exhorted young people at a luncheon to do more than just engage with a hashtag on social media.

    That message stood out for Gaskins. He said for all of the talk about the movement over the course of the convention there was a sense that people did not know a whole lot about how it works, what it wants — and wondered if perhaps some of that responsibility could fall on Black Lives Matter.

    Gaskins wouldn’t really have a way to know what Black Lives Matter was doing. “Unless they like, looked it up on Google or something, you really don’t know anything about it other than the hashtag. It’s hard. Especially for the elders.”

    Ferguson mayor to begin listening tour with residents who backed his recall – I’m sure they’re thrilled about it. I suppose it’s not a bad idea, generally speaking…

    Weeks after Ferguson, Mo., activists fell 27 signatures short of forcing Mayor James Knowles to face a recall, the mayor says he is launching a door-to-door effort to touch base with city residents who considered his potential ouster.

    Knowles told USA TODAY that he and campaign volunteers have sifted through the petition signatures and that he will soon begin his outreach effort, perhaps as early as next week.

    The mayor faced ridicule from activists when he said in a television interview that his community had no racial divide shortly after unrest broke out in the St. Louis suburb last year following the shooting death of a black teenager by a white police officer.

    Backers of the recall also criticized Knowles for overseeing a city government that activists say was hostile to black residents long before the shooting death of Michael Brown, the unarmed teenager who was fatally shot after a confrontation with police officer Darren Wilson.

    “I’m hoping we can bridge some gaps, because right now we got to focus on how to bring people together,” Knowles said in a telephone interview.

    The group Ground Level Support gathered 1,787 valid signatures from registered voters in the city who backed the petition calling for the recall and 1,549 more that were thrown out by the St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners for a variety of reasons. The group needed 1,814 valid signatures, or 15% of registered voters to trigger the recall.

    The activists earlier this month filed a lawsuit calling for a judge to order that the recall be placed on the ballot. The plaintiffs claim that more than 28 signatures were invalidated because the election board found that they had “no signature” or a “wrong signature” when they were in fact valid.

    I said before, I think 28 signatures should be perfectly easy (or at least doable) to verify – esp. if these are signatures from old folks.

    How railroads, highways and other man-made lines racially divide America’s cities. Washington Post takes another look at segregation via city planning.

    Like many metaphors, “the other side of the tracks” was originally a literal epithet. Blacks were often historically restricted to neighborhoods separated from whites by railroads, turning the tracks into iron barriers of race and class.

    In many cities, these dividing lines persist to this day — a reflection of decades of discriminatory policies and racism, but also of the power of infrastructure itself to segregate.

    Look at racial maps of many American cities, and stark boundaries between neighboring black and white communities frequently denote an impassable railroad or highway, or a historically uncrossable avenue. Infrastructure has long played this role: reinforcing unspoken divides, walling off communities, containing their expansion, physically isolating them from schools or parks or neighbors nearby.

    Research, in fact, suggests that American cities that were subdivided by railroads in the 19th century into physically discrete neighborhoods became much more segregated decades later following the Great Migration of blacks out of the rural South.

    You can see echoes of that pattern in Pittsburgh today on this map drawn using the racial dot map created by Dustin Cable at the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service. Railroads there have historically amplified neighborhood divisions created by the city’s hilly topography:
    […]

    Segregation, in effect, has been built into the physical environment of many American cities, making it that much harder to undo.

    A century after many of those railroads were built, the pattern was repeated in a modern form: through the construction of even more imposing highways (many of which both destroyed and separated minority neighborhoods).

    A slew of maps and descriptions at the link.

    Mayor in Wash. State Calls Michelle Obama ‘Gorilla Face,’ Refuses to Step Down: Report, via The Root.

    Video shows that African-American woman who died in custody did not assault an officer as police claimed, Salon takes a closer look at the video of Sandra Bland’s arrest.

    Bland’s friends are not buying the official explanation as to her death. “I do suspect foul play,” Cheryl Nanton told ABC7. “I believe we are all 100 percent of the belief that she did not do harm to herself.”

    LaVaughn Mosley agreed, saying “we’re very suspicious and we’re a very tight community and we’re very upset that this has happened and it seems like there’s nothing really being done about it.”

    As did another close friend, LaNitra Dean, who said that “the Waller County Jail is trying to rule her death a suicide and Sandy would not have taken her own life. Sandy was strong. Strong mentally and spiritually.”

    In a statement, Sheriff Smith said that “any loss of life is tragic,” and that “[w]hile the investigation is being conducted by outside agencies, the Waller County Sheriff’s Office will continue to observe the daily operations of the jail to always look for improvements and/or prevention of these incidents.”

    The Texas State Rangers have taken over the investigation into Bland’s death, but have not commented on the video of her arrest at this time.

    Former Mississippi governor says it’s time to change state flag

    Former Mississippi Gov. William Winter said he believes that it’s time for a change.

    Winter helped design the 2001 statewide referendum on the state flag. By a two-to-one margin, voters said they wanted to keep the flag design with the Confederate battle emblem. Gov. Phil Bryant said the issue could come before voters again, but Winter said it should not be left up to voters.

    “It was obviously not the time then. We were not ready. We were not ready to take that step. I think we are now. The people are ready to make that step now and I hope that we will not go back to all the hullabaloo of a referendum. I hope the Legislature will step up and do it, and I think everybody will be glad to put it behind us,” Winter said.

    Winter said the 2001 vote was not legally binding.

    “It was an expression of opinion,” Winter said. “The Legislature has to enact the law. That was not a referendum in that it became actionable at that time.”

    “The Legislature never acted on it?” 16 WAPT’s Scott Simmons asked.

    “They never acted on it,” Winter said.

    Bryant said he will not call a special session on the issue, so the earliest it could be discussed by lawmakers is in January.

    State Sen. Dean Kirby, of Rankin County, said he believes the issue should be decided by at the polls.

    “If the people want to make changes, they can do so through initiative of referendum,” Kirby said.

    I think they should just take it down.

  33. rq says

    #WhiteGirlsDoItBetter: Why White Women Remain One of Racism’s Most Slept On Weapons.

    Christopher Emanuel is a 25-year-old Black South Carolinian. Syracuse law professor, Kevin Noble Maillard, crafted a brilliant report on the gauntlet of legal obstacles Emanuel overcame to be recognized as the father and sole custodian of his daughter, Skylar. Emanuel was deliberately excluded from his child’s birth, falsely branded a shiftless sperm-donor disinterested in and ill-equipped for fatherhood, and nearly stripped of his paternal rights.

    This Black dad’s nemesis wasn’t his state’s recently banished Confederate flag. It was his daughter’s white mother and white grandmother, who ultimately lost their parental rights while a South Carolina judge condemned their campaign of treachery and racism to steal a Black child.

    This is not our conventional notion of white supremacy. The enemy of Black people is habitually reduced to “the man.”

    However, there would be no racist white man, without a racist white woman.

    From Jim Crow legislation, to Black castration, editor and journalist, Chloe Angyal, correctly acknowledged that blubbering white women have prompted untold incidents of white terror. But her assessment is incomplete. White women are equally proficient as weeping victims of alleged “negro” mischief or aggressive, violent ambassadors of white power. Contrary to the rubric of white patriarchy, white women are equal co-conspirators in the devaluation of Black life.

    […]

    Few white women brandish police shields, but all white females and males are expected to enforce white supremacy, monitor and abuse Black people.

    Decades of feminism have not extinguished white women’s antagonism towards Black females. White females routinely malign entertainment mogul Shonda Rhimes and FLOTUS Michelle Obama as “angry Black women.” So imagine what white female teachers think of Black girls?

    If white women are underrepresented in the field of law enforcement, they compensate with overrepresentation in the early stages of the school-to-prison pipeline. It’s estimated that white women comprise 63 percent of K-12 teachers in the United States. So when the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles documents that “African-American students are three times more likely to be suspended than whites,” that’s not “the man.”

    The accusatory white woman who incited lynch mobs and genital mutilation is not extinct. She now flings allegations and suspensions in the classroom. Sabotaging the academic genius of Black students is an act of genocide. Educational psychologist Dr. Jamilia Blake documents teachers’ debilitating perception of Black girls and boys as threatening, unsophisticated and defiant. In Unsettling Whiteness, Dr. Lucy Michael writes that white women are central to the criminalization of Black students because they are “not blind to their own cultural practices, but deeply committed to them.”

    “Deeply committed” white women of McKinney, Texas instigated the racial melee that introduced the nation to CNN’s “Best Place to Live.” Officer Eric Casebolt, who has since resigned, assaulted and violated a 15-year-old Black girl in a bikini. But a white female duo was the root of the conflict.

    Eyewitnesses confirmed a pair of white women “made racist comments” and violently double-teamed a black female child prior to Casebolt’s appearance. These women weren’t arrested or charged, nor did they require white manhood to launch a terrorist attack. Days later, Andrew Guilford and his Black male comrades were bamboozled by an equally devastating claims by a woman. Guilford and other three black men were tossed to the ground and shackled by McKinney’s finest. No arrests were made, no weapons were found, but officers justified their detainment because a white “woman called claiming one of the [Black] men was going to shoot her and police.”

    […]

    Cliché assessments of white women’s purported inclination towards frailty and vulnerability impair our understanding of and defense against the maliciousness of Elberson, and other racist white women.

    Former Florida State Seminole quarterback De’Andre Johnson’s collegiate playing career was sacked by an altercation with a 21-year-old white woman. Johnson consoled his distraught Black mother, Pamela Jones, as he apologized for striking the woman and acknowledged that he should have walked away. He’s facing misdemeanor battery charges. Yet even Sean Hannity of FOX News was compelled to remind prosecuting attorney William Meggs that the footage reveals the White woman struck first. Additionally, she’s accused of spewing racial insults and striking Johnson in the groin before his retaliatory response. Her record and reputation remain, unblemished and white.

    Tears or talons, they’re lethally proficient.

    North Carolina’s unresolved deaths of Jonathan Ferrell and Lenon Lacy have the fingerprints of a racist woman. Lacy, 17, was found hanging from a swing set in the summer of 2014. His death was ruled a suicide, but Nick Fagge reported that Lacy’s 31-year-old “white girlfriend… says she believes their relationship led to his murder.” She had been warned not to date Black males in “Crackertown.”

    Ferrell crashed his vehicle on a late summer evening in the summer of 2013. Unfortunately, he asked a white woman for help. She reported a prowler, and one of the responding officers, Randall Kerrick, needed a dozens bullets to suppress Ferrell. Kerrick’s manslaughter trial begins July 20.

    Family wary after Naperville woman’s death in Texas jail; grand jury to inquire, which is a good thing.

    Banner drop on the High Line right now for one year since the murder of #EricGarner. #StillCantBreathe ([camera emoji]: @AshAgony)

    And here’s more on Sandra Bland: Black Activist’s Death in Texas Jail Similar to 2012 Suicide

    Last week Sandra Bland drove to Texas from Naperville, Illinois, for a job interview. After arriving on Friday, she posted a series of photos on her Facebook account under the title, “The Official Welcome Back.”

    The official welcome back took a deadly turn, however, as the 28-year-old Bland was dead by Monday morning after an encounter with the Waller County Sheriff’s Office. Bland was apparently pulled over for changing lanes without a signal; she was arrested and charged with assault of a public servant.

    On July 14, the sheriff’s office posted a statement that said, in part: “On Monday, July 13th, at approximately 09:00 am, a female inmate [Sandra Bland] was found in her cell not breathing from what appears to be self-inflicted asphyxiation.”

    According to the press release, attempts by authorities to perform CPR on Bland were unsuccessful. The office further claimed that Bland was booked in county jail after she assaulted a police officer during a traffic stop on Friday.

    “Jailers saw Bland at 7 a.m. Monday when they gave her breakfast and again at 8 a.m. when they spoke with her over the jail intercom,” Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith told ABC 7 Chicago. “Smith says she was found dead an hour later,” the station reported.

    Smith was suspended in 2007, when he was chief of the Hempstead Police Department, after allegations of racism were leveled against him and several other white officers. “The predominantly black Hempstead City Council voted to suspend Smith for two weeks without pay after viewing videotapes and hearing allegations of racism from local residents against him and the other four officers,” reported the Houston Chronicle’s Helen Eriksen. The city council also placed Smith on probation for six months and ordered him to take anger management classes. The Daily Kos reported that Smith was fired in 2008. Dana Lewis, a spokesperson for the Waller County Sheriff’s Office, declined to comment on the 2007 allegations of racial bias.

    […]

    Bland’s demise is similar to the 2012 death of another Waller County Jail inmate named James Harper Howell IV. The Houston Chronicle reported at the time that Howell, like Bland, was arrested for assaulting a police officer.

    “On the day he was found hanging,” the paper reported, “he had been sitting in the day room by himself watching television. Jailers had routinely checked on him. He spoke with jailers and gave no indication he would engage in suicidal behavior.” In Howell’s mugshot, he can be seen with what appear to be bruises to his face. That death, which was ruled a suicide, was also investigated by the Texas Rangers.

    Meanwhile, Bland’s family and friends reject the theory that she committed suicide. Alana Taylor, one of Bland’s sisters, told the black Greek life news site Watch The Yard that “Suicide would be the LAST thing on her mind as she was on the brink of starting a new chapter of life: a new job, a strong cause to fight for and a thick network of support.”

    Indeed, Bland’s Facebook profile indicates she was an outspoken critic of police violence and brutality. Her Facebook cover photo is a cartoon drawing that shows a handcuffed black man, bloodied and beaten, in the back of a police cruiser seated next to white supremacist Dylann Roof, who is eating a hamburger. And her profile picture is one sentence: “Now Legalize Being Black in America.”

    New York Woman Says She Was Called “Dyke” And Attacked By Police – and I believe her.

    Stephanie Dorceant was on her way home from a concert in Brooklyn Saturday morning with her girlfriend, when she encountered the off-duty police officer. Dorceant, 29, was arrested and charged with assaulting a police officer, the public information officer at the Brooklyn 63rd Precinct Police confirmed.

    A spokesperson for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office told BuzzFeed News that they are aware of Dorceant’s hate crime allegation and “are in the process of investigating it in its entirety.”

    […]

    Allman, who was also present at the news conference, said that as Dorceant was being beaten by Aquino, she could see their taxi driver, who had dropped them off in the parking lot of the Brooklyn 63rd Precinct just minutes before, standing there staring.

    “He was yelling, ‘Call the cops,’” Allman said. It was then, after Aquino had been beating Dorceant and fighting off Allman, that he finally told them he was a police officer.

    “When other police officers showed up I thought we were saved,” Dorceant said in her statement. “That was not the case….Instead of helping me and my girlfriend and arresting our attacker, more officers piled on top of me, slamming me onto the pavement and putting their knees on my neck.”

    The officers then put both of the women into handcuffs and into a precinct holding cell. Allman said she was released after 20 minutes, while Dorceant says that, after being briefly treated at a nearby hospital, she was moved to Rikers Island jail complex and held for nearly three days, her lawyers said in a statement.

    “I didn’t know what time it was; I barely knew what day it was,” Dorceant said of her night in Rikers. “I was stuck into a room with 50 other women. It was honestly like being in a concentration camp. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.”

    After her $1,000 bail had been posted by her girlfriend, Dorceant learned she was charged with two felonies for attempted assault and assault of a police officer.
    […]

    Dorceant’s case has been put on a felony dismissal calendar, Moore said, which means that the case will be dismissed in January if nothing else occurs that would need to be taken into consideration by the court.

    Another attorney representing Dorceant said investigators told them that none of the surveillance cameras in the area appear to have captured the alleged attack.

    However, Moore said he’s confident the case will be dismissed earlier, as it is obvious the charges “make no sense.”

    Moore added that Dorceant will likely seek damages from the New York Police Department after the case is dismissed.

    Benjamin Zeman, another lawyer representing Dorceant, said she had not filed a formal complaint against the officer, as she has been advised by the DA’s office not to speak to any members of the NYPD. Womble added that an internal investigation is occurring within the NYPD per protocol, but they are not relying on it for any valuable information.

    “We’re at a tipping point here with the NYPD in this city,” Womble told the press. “We can put a [Civilian Complaint Review] behind the CCRB and another behind them, but all we really need is cops to stop being bullies.”

    Homophobia on top of racism – or, I guess, first the homophobia, then the racism on top, in this case. I’m glad the couple is (mostly) okay. What I would really like to see is charges against that horrible excuse of a police officer, though.

    How Racist Is Solitary Confinement? Do I really want to know?

    It hardly bears repeating that people of color like Cruz, who is Black Hispanic, are incarcerated in staggering numbers. But a new study authored by health officials with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) shows that racial disparities in jail run far deeper: black and Hispanic inmates are vastly more likely to be punished with solitary confinement than their white counterparts, and less likely to receive diagnoses of mental illness. The study, which is based on the records of 45,000 first-time inmates in the New York City jail system between 2011 and 2013, found that black people were 2.52 times more likely than whites to be put in solitary, where inmates spend 22 to 24 hours a day alone in a cell. Hispanics were 1.65 times more likely to enter solitary. And while blacks and Hispanics represented 40 and 46 percent of the study population, respectively, they comprised a much smaller portion of those admitted to the jail system’s mental health service: 16 and 13 percent. Twenty-two percent of mental health patients were white, though they made up just 9 percent of the study.

    The federal government does not keep track of the racial composition of the roughly 80,000 people in solitary in America, though the study findings fall in line with data from a handful of states suggesting that people of color in other jurisdictions are locked in extreme isolation at similarly disproportionate rates.

    “Jail is a microcosm of society,” said Dr. Daniel Selling, who ran mental health services at Rikers until mid-2014. “A lot of society thinks that black and brown people are criminals.” Diagnosing mental disorders is a very subjective process, he added. “You’re using objective criteria, but three different people could come up with three different diagnoses.” Racial bias creeps in. White inmates, the study found, are more likely to be diagnosed with mental problems that are generally thought to be more “legitimate,” disorders like anxiety or depression — afflictions that respond well to medication. White patients are also more likely to be diagnosed with “serious mental illnesses” like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, both of which exempt prisoners from solitary in New York state, can help them secure benefits when they’re released, and tend to elicit more sympathy. Whites are also more often diagnosed within seven days of being incarcerated.

    Although jail medical staff are less likely to give black and Hispanic patients a mental health diagnosis, when they do they will more often assign these inmates mood, adjustment or antisocial personality disorders. The latter can be “pejorative,” Selling said, meaning the diagnosis is more of a reflection of a negative interaction between the patient and the clinician, “where maybe somebody was a dick because they were angry or they were frustrated.”

    “It’s like a scarlet letter,” Selling adds. Clinicians who see the patient down the line will expect “someone who is going to be manipulative, who is going to be gaming the system, who is going to be aggressive.”

    According to the study, a black or Hispanic inmate is more likely than a white inmate to be diagnosed with a mental illness in conjunction with solitary, and later in his jail stay — meaning he’s more likely to receive a diagnosis either because he has already been psychologically damaged by solitary, or because he’s acting out to avoid the box, lighting a fire in his cell, say, or banging his head on the wall, or cutting himself. Among those with a late mental health diagnosis included in the study, close to 40 percent of blacks and 26 percent of Hispanics experienced solitary during their incarceration, while only about nine percent of whites did.

    […]

    “Racism is a blunt thing” in jail, said Five Mualimm-ak, the director of Incarcerated Nation, a group pushing to end the use of solitary confinement, who himself spent five years in isolated confinement in the New York state prison system. “You start talking to people and they’ll say, well, I was put in here because a guard said, ‘I don’t like black people.’ Like, literally. They’re like, “Hey, n*****, you’re going to the box.”

    Inmates can be disciplined for something as petty as refusing an order, or not returning a food tray, or talking back to an officer. Or for attempting suicide. And jail staff have broad discretion in sending someone to the box. Inmates have no right to counsel at disciplinary hearings, and lately at Rikers there have been “a lot of due process violations,” said Barbara Hamilton, a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society who represents New York City inmates appealing disciplinary tickets. She said that inmates prevail in about 10 percent of appeals.

    “When you have very little oversight and little controls on systems of extreme punishment, what you see is discrimination and animus works its way in,” said Amy Fettig, the senior staff counsel for the ACLU’s National Prison Project. “It’s an epidemic in nearly every place of correction in this country.”

    There’s more at the link.

  34. rq says

    Family of black Alabama teenager who died in police cell still waiting for answers

    The family of an 18-year-old black woman who died in police custody in Alabama are demanding to see video footage taken inside the jail cell where she was held for several hours before she was discovered lifeless.

    Sheneque Proctor, the mother of an infant boy, died in a holding cell at Bessemer city jail on 2 November. She had been arrested the previous afternoon for alleged disorderly conduct and resisting arrest outside a private party she was attending with friends.

    In their first media interview, members of the Proctor family told the Guardian that questions over Sheneque’s death have gone largely unanswered by city and state officials. They suspect neglect on the part of her jailers, and see her passing as the latest example of unequal treatment of African Americans in the hands of US law enforcement.

    The dead woman’s mother, Scherita Proctor, said that in her opinion the jail had failed to give her daughter medical help at a critical – and ultimately fatal – moment. “I don’t think she was treated fairly. She may have acted out, but that doesn’t mean you refuse to help her.”

    She also complained of the lack of information coming from official sources. “I don’t feel I’ve been given any respect, considering I lost my child. They should have at least have come to me and told me something.”

    The family’s lawyer, Hank Sherrod, who has experience of cases of death in police custody, said that the city police department had promised to release the video to the family by the New Year but had so far failed to honour the pledge. “This young woman was denied medical treatment while being recorded on videotape right before police eyes. The fact that they won’t hand the film over makes us wonder what they have to hide.”

    A rally is being organised on Saturday morning by the Alabama branch of the NAACP outside Bessemer city jail. A petition has also been launched on change.org that calls for a federal investigation into Proctor’s death.

    It’s almost like a theme or something.

    #SandraBland encouraged us in this video to use our voice to create change. Will you #SayHerName & demand answers?

    Today @johnlegend visited a prison in Portugal learning how they decriminalized all drugs to reduce prisons & crime.

    Here’s some stats on suicide, by race, which have been brought up in light of Sandra Bland’s prison suicide: from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

    Suicide Rates by Race/Ethnicity

    White males accounted for 70% of all suicides in 2013.

    In 2013, the highest U.S. suicide rate (14.2) was among Whites and the second highest rate (11.7) was among American Indians and Alaska Natives (Figure 5). Much lower and roughly similar rates were found among Asians and Pacific Islanders (5.8), Blacks (5.4) and Hispanics (5.7).

    Note that the CDC records Hispanic origin separately from the primary racial or ethnic groups of White, Black, American Indian or Alaskan Native, and Asian or Pacific Islander, since individuals in all of these groups may also be Hispanic.

    Mayor called Obamas “monkey man” and “gorilla face”, but “I’m not a racist”, via BoingBoing.

    Officer who pepper-sprayed student placed on leave

    A Waller police officer videotaped pepper spraying a student, seemingly unprovoked, has been placed on leave.

    Officer Adolphus Cannon is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation by the Waller Police Department. The Texas Rangers and Waller County District Attorney’s Office are assisting.

    The incident happened early Monday morning, October 6, outside the Meadows Apartments near Prairie View. Police responded to a large disturbance and Bobby Hall, A Prairie View A&M senior, grabbed his camera and started recording.

    “Yeah, it’s what I do. I’m a mass communication major here at our school,” Hall told Eyewitness News.

    The video shows a Waller Police Department officer using pepper spray on Hall. The department identified him as Cannon.

    From October 2014; that’s the same department where Sandra Bland was found hanged.

  35. rq says

    Back out for the 2nd day in a row. We want answers. #WhatHappenedToSandraBland #SandraBland #BlackLivesMatter
    A local resident just walked up and said this is the 3rd time. #WhatHappenedToSandraBland

    Another Fatal Police Shooting Caught on Video—and More Questions About a Dispatcher’s Role

    According to the Los Angeles Times, there may have been a miscommunication by the police dispatcher:

    The shooting occurred about 2:30 a.m. on June 2, 2013, after a bicycle was stolen from outside a CVS Pharmacy on Western Avenue. A police dispatcher mistakenly told officers that the crime was a robbery, which usually involves a theft using weapons or force, and officers headed to the area in search of two suspects.

    Gardena police Sgt. Christopher Cuff saw two men riding bicycles east on Redondo Beach Boulevard. The men were friends of the bike theft victim and were searching for the missing bicycle. Mistaking them for the thieves, Cuff ordered the men to stop and put their hands up, according to a district attorney’s memo written by a prosecutor who reviewed the police videos.

    The Gardena killing is the latest in a string of high-profile police shootings captured on video, which have brought scrutiny on police tactics and procedures. With the Tamir Rice shooting in Cleveland, evidence emerged that the dispatcher who relayed the 911 call did not include potentially key details about the suspect, as Mother Jones previously reported. And according to a recent Washington Post data investigation of police shootings of mentally ill suspects, “officers are routinely dispatched with information that is incomplete or wrong.”

    Meanwhile at the Zuiderpark, the old flowers have been removed and only the candles for #MitchHenriquez remain.

    President Obama Heads to Prison in Pursuit of Criminal Justice Reform

    During an historic visit to a federal prison in Oklahoma Thursday, President Barack Obama said that young people are prone to making mistakes and that the criminal justice system needs to determine how to better deal with and reform them.

    Obama made the comments at El Reno federal prison in Oklahoma, where he met with six inmates and prison officials as part of a VICE special to be aired this fall on HBO.

    The visit was the first by any sitting president to a federal corrections facility, and came amid a week of actions and events highlighting the inequities of a system that he said disproportionately affects minority communities and is costing taxpayers too much, while rehabilitation rates for prisoners remain too low.

    At the medium-security prison for nonviolent male offenders, Obama met with six inmates. He said the men’s stories and the mistakes they made were not dissimilar to those the president made in his own youth, when he admittedly smoked pot and took cocaine.

    “When they describe their youth and their childhood, these are young people who made mistakes that aren’t that different from the mistakes I made and the mistakes that a lot of you guys made,” Obama told reporters after the meeting. “The difference is, they did not have the kind of support structures, the second chances, the resources that would allow them to survive those mistakes.”

    America needs to distinguish between violent criminals and people “doing stupid things,” Obama said, adding that many young people who end up in prison for nonviolent drug crimes grew up in environments where drug trafficking is prevalent. Giving those people decades-long sentences is what is contributing to the country’s overcrowded prison system, and more resources should be directed to education, support and rehabilitation, he said.

    After his private meeting with inmates, the president was taken to survey the inside of an unoccupied prison cell.

    “Three full-grown men in a 9-by-10 cell,” he said, as he looked at the cell’s meager furnishings, among them a toilet, sink, bunk bed and a third bed placed against a wall. “Overcrowding like that is something that has to be addressed.”

    El Reno currently houses approximately 1,300 inmates out of a broader national prison population of roughly 2.2 million.

    On Tuesday, the president had taken his push for reform to Philadelphia, where he addressed leaders and members of the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights group. There, at the 106th annual NAACP convention, Obama outlined wide-ranging proposals to reform communities, courtrooms, and cellblocks in an effort to rebalance a system historically “skewed by race and wealth.”

    A bit more at the link.

    #JusticeForSandra and #SandraBland trending on Twitter as answers are demanded of Texas police who allowed her to die The death of Sandra Bland attracted little attention until today, and that’s probably how authorities in Waller County, Texas would have preferred it — but after video of her not assaulting an officer, as police had claimed, came to light, they have little choice.

    Even Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis is questioning the sheriff’s department’s official story that she died “from what appears to be self-inflicted asphyxiation.”

    “I will admit it is strange someone who had everything going for her would have taken her own life,” Mathis said of the young woman who had just moved back to Texas to take a position at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M University. “That’s why it’s very important a thorough investigation is done and that we get a good picture of what Ms. Bland was going through the last four or five days of her life.”

    “If there was something nefarious, or if there was some foul play involved, we’ll get to the bottom of that,” he added — and if the reaction on Twitter today was any indication, the Internet will hold him to his word

  36. rq says

    Borkquote sighting there – all text following the last link should be quoted!

    Sandra Bland’s death sparks online demand for answers, via the BBC.

    Police Shoot, Kill Mentally Ill Native American Man; Family Demands Justice, another article on Paul Castaway.

    As many as 100 people marched through the streets of Denver on Tuesday to protest the death of a mentally ill Native American man who was shot multiple times by police late Sunday.

    A Denver police officer, whose name has not been released, shot Paul Castaway, 35, four times in the torso after officers said Castaway had gotten “dangerously close” with a knife, The Denver Post reported.

    Castaway’s mother, Lynn Eagle Feather, who is Sicangu Lakota, told ICTMN that she had called the police on Sunday because her son, who suffered from schizophrenia, was experiencing an episode that evening, and that she sought help getting him back under control. Eagle Feather said she told the 9-1-1 operator that her son was mentally ill.

    According to police, Castaway had charged at them with a long knife, but security video at nearby Capital City Mobile Home Park tells a different story.

    Eagle Feather said she was able to watch the video, which shows her son holding the knife to his neck when police opened fire. A Denver Fox News affiliate KDVR reporter also viewed the video and confirmed that Castaway did not charge police with the knife while aiming it at them.

    Eagle Feather said she was on her porch across the street when she heard gun shots. “It was rapid fire – boom, boom, boom, boom. I didn’t hear no warning,” she said. Eagle Feather told KDVR that she regrets calling the police for help.

    Tuesday’s march was preceded by a rally outside the Denver Police Department headquarters where members of the American Indian Movement Colorado chapter and supporters shouted, “Justice for Paul!” Supporters arrived wearing T-shirts reading, “What’s wrong with you guys?” – which, according to witnesses, were Castaway’s last dying words.

    Cops laughed at our protest of their ongoing violence and pushed #PaulCastaway’s grieving mother. #NativeLivesMatter

    OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM ACLU-MS ON CHOKING DEATH OF JONATHAN SANDERS

    JACKSON, Miss – The ACLU-MS would like to extend our thoughts and condolences to the family and friends of Jonathan Sanders. Unfortunately this case is not an isolated incident. Far too many Black men die every year in police encounters, and many more are seriously injured. People of color are disproportionately affected by excessive use of force at the hands of the police.

    At this time we join the community in Stonewall, Mississippi in noting the importance of increased training for police on excessive use of force and transparency in police practices, especially in regards to interactions with communities of color.

    We support the Sanders family and call for complete police transparency and a thorough independent investigation into the death of Johnathan Sanders. We expect that in the aftermath of this horrible injustice, local law enforcement will fully respect the rights of the community to engage in peaceful assembly, prayer, and protest as they mourn this loss.

    Hey Mr @POTUS sorry about the confederate flag thing earlier..OK ranks 48th/50 in education. We literally have no idea what were doing.

  37. says

    Off-grid Rambo plotted to spark violence against Ferguson protesters by gluing gun to black mans hand:

    David Michael Hagler intended to kill police and then glue a gun to a black man’s hand in an attempt to get him shot and set off additional violence in the city where protests have continued for nearly a year since the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen by a white cop, reported the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

    Federal prosecutors say the 53-year-old Hagler made racist statements as he discussed his plans with two confidential informants, which led to a March raid of his St. Louis home that investigators say turned up more than 20 guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

    Hagler was charged with possession of a machine gun, making false statements during the purchase of a gun, possession of firearms after having been convicted of a domestic assault, and possession of firearms by a marijuana user, the newspaper reported.

    But his attorney argues that some of the evidence should be tossed out, arguing that the confidential informants made false statements to St. Louis police and the FBI.

    Defense attorney Matthew Radefeld concedes his client made racist and prejudice statements against blacks, but he argued that federal prosecutors had no evidence that he intended to carry out his plot.

    Hagler lived an “off-the-grid” lifestyle within city limits and had grown increasingly angry toward his ex-wife, events in nearby Ferguson, and fears that he would lose his property over unpaid taxes, one of the informants told federal investigators.

    One of the informants compared Hagler to the vigilante “Rambo” character played by Sylvester Stallone in several movies.

    ****
    #IfIDieInPoliceCustody Trends As People Look For Answers in the Death of Sandra Bland

    People are looking for answers when it comes to the death of Sandra Bland. Bland, a 28-year-old Illinois native, was road tripping to Texas to start her new job at Prairie View A&M University. But she never made it. Bland was allegedly pulled over for failing to use a signal to switch lanes. It was that traffic stop where the cop alleged she became combative and was arrested and charged with “assault on a public servant.”

    A day later, Bland was found dead in her jail cell. Authorities allege that Bland hung herself, but Bland’s family and friends aren’t buying that story. And neither is social media.

    Bland’s name has been a trending hashtag for the last two days. And on Thursday night, people on Twitter started echoing their own sentiments when it comes to the possibility of being killed while in police custody. #IfIDieInPoliceCustody is a sad sentiment about how people feel about those who were sworn to protect and serve.
    […]
    #IfIDieInCustody is reminiscent of #IfTheyGunnedMeDown that trended after the murder of Mike Brown, that took place almost a year ago in Ferguson, Mo. Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen countless black people die at the hands of law enforcement. And in the majority of those cases, the police officers got off scot-free.

    No one knows what happened to Bland. Her family deserves answers. Her friends deserves answers. And no one deserves to live in fear of law enforcement. But unfortunately this is a harsh reality we deal with.

    As an aside, I found one of the Tweets highly amusing:

    Do not let Don Lemon within 10 feet of whatever State I died in. Do not let him utter my name.

  38. rq says

    Two Republican Congressmen Scold Confederate Flag Wavers For Insulting President Obama

    You would think that Oklahomans might be excited to host the president, but upon his arrival in both Oklahoma City and Durant, protesters greeted his entourage by waving Confederate flags while shouting insults at the commander-in-chief.

    Since Oklahoma was not even a state during the Civil War, the president might have been astounded by the reception he received. Then again, Oklahoma being one of the reddest of the red Obama-hating states, he probably wasn’t surprised at all.

    The Confederate flag wavers however, did shock the sensibilities of at least two unlikely Oklahomans. Congressman Tom Cole, and Congressman Frank Lucas, both conservative Republicans, were so disgusted by the display they publicly chastised the protesters, electoral consequences be damned.

    In an interview with reporters Thursday, Rep. Lucas, (photo right) who is in line for a spot in leadership, took the extraordinary step of chastising the flag wavers:

    “Free speech is an amazing thing.” Rep. Lucas said. “Unfortunately this was an inappropriate use of it.”

    Rep. Cole (photo below right) went even farther, releasing this statement that would qualify as a heartfelt apology if he had just included the word “sorry.”

    “I was shocked and disappointed by those who showed up to wave Confederate flags soon after President Obama arrived in Oklahoma.

    “Their actions were not only disappointing but incredibly disrespectful, insensitive and embarrassing to the entire state. The unacceptable behavior displayed by these individuals certainly does not reflect the values and views of the vast majority of Oklahomans. No president should ever be confronted by such behavior, especially when the purpose of the visit was meant to celebrate and recognize some of our state’s greatest achievements.

    “The office of President of the United States is deserving of the respect of all Americans, regardless of how deeply we may disagree on issues or policies. Political differences are never a justification to insult the president, and I believe that such action shows disrespect for the office itself.

    “In this circumstance, I consider it to be particularly insensitive given the president’s personal graciousness when Oklahomans in Moore were devastated by tornadoes in May 2013.

    “Like me, I’m certain that the vast majority of people across our state are embarrassed and disappointed to see other Oklahomans engage in this sort of activity. Given the president’s purpose for visiting, all Oklahomans should have been proud to have him in the state and shown him the same hospitality that we routinely extend to those who visit our state.”

    It is a rare moment indeed for a conservative politician to split with his constituents to defend the president – especially this president. We advise our readers to keep one eye on the sky in case of flying pigs.

    Prosecutor investigating Sandra Bland’s death has troubling history of racial bias — just like the sheriff. Just proves that it’s the system, not the individuals (who contribute, but it’s the system that lets such individuals operate in the first place).

    Mathis, the prosecutor who is investigating the case, has a troubling history that suggests bias against blacks, reported blogger Shaun King of Daily Kos.

    Last year, the Rev. Walter Pendleton asked Mathis to provide documentation on prosecution rates by ethnicity in Waller County.

    Pendleton said the prosecutor responded to his public request with a string of abusive texts, telling the pastor he was “too stupid” to understand the term “selective prosecution” and apparently threatening to send law enforcement after his critic.

    “My hounds ain’t even started yet dumb ass,” Mathis wrote. “Keep talking. When I talk people will listen. Keep talking and I will sue your ass for slander. It works both ways. ‘Dr.’ Take your fake Dr. Ass and jump off a high cliff.”

    Pendleton, pastor of Pendleton Chapel Baptist Church, said he feared for his life because the prosecutor used a racially charged metaphor to threaten him.

    “What do hounds do? They hunt,” Pendleton said.

    Mathis admitted sending the texts, but he said he was simply attacking the pastor’s character.

    “Those statements were made by me in anger, but I stand behind them,” Mathis said.

    Good to know.

    Inside the Ku Klux Klan, via Reuters.

    A Klan group plans to hold a pro-Confederate flag rally at South Carolina’s capitol on July 18, where a statue of a former state governor who championed white supremacy was vandalised last month amid scrutiny of symbols associated with slavery.

    The Civil War-era flag and related monuments have become flashpoints after nine black men and women were gunned down at a historic church in Charleston, South Carolina.

    The suspected shooter, Dylann Roof, a 21-year-old white man, had posed with a Confederate battle flag in photos posted on a website that displayed a racist manifesto attributed to him.

    South Carolina removed the Confederate battle flag from the state capitol grounds on July 10, relegating a divisive symbol of the South’s pro-slavery legacy to a museum.

    The Loyal White Knights chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, based in Pelham, North Carolina, said it will rally at the South Carolina State House on July 18.

    “We’re standing up for the Confederacy,” James Spears, the chapter’s “great titan,” said on June 30.

    He said speakers would address slavery, then the Klan will hold a cross-lighting, or cross-burning, ceremony on private property.

    The Ku Klux Klan, which had about 6 million members in the 1920s, now has some 2,000 to 3,000 members nationally in about 72 chapters, or klaverns, according to the Southern Poverty Law Centre, an organisation that monitors extremist groups.

    The Klan is known for its history of violence toward African-Americans.

    The issue of race relations has risen to the forefront of American society in the past few years – and even more so in the past month.

    After the horrific church shooting last month in Charleston, South Carolina, my attention was drawn to a group of images I recently reviewed by freelance photojournalist Johnny Milano.

    His photographs of white supremacists in candid settings provide an intimate and behind-the-scenes look at a culture that – 150 years after the end of the Civil War – still exists on the margins in America today.

    As part of a yearlong photojournalism and documentary program in 2012, Milano started a long-term documentary project on white supremacists in the United States.

    To take his project further, Milano started to research white power groups and the rise of their ranks, particularly after the terrorist attacks in New York on Sept. 11, 2001.

    To pursue his goals he reached out to the regional head of the National Socialist Movement, a white supremacist group. After gaining access, Milano was invited to photograph meetings and events where he came to encounter Ku Klux Klan members.

    Months into his project, Milano travelled by a car from state to state to cover rallies and “cross lighting” ceremonies, which have come to symbolise the Ku Klux Klan.

    “The KKK is still a hard organisation to make more intimate photographs of,” he said.

    While photographing the gatherings Milano said he wasn’t scared but describes a recent incident where a Klansman said he would “break my neck” if Milano photographed him or any of his members. In the end, no altercation took place.

    The 26-year-old photographer said he plans to carry on documenting white supremacists. In doing so, Milano would like to “remind them (you) that history doesn’t go away so easily.”

    The Texas Sheriff Where Sandra Bland Died Was Previously Suspended for Racism, Mic on the sheriff.

    African American Suicide Fact Sheet, pdf. For reference purposes.

    When French Beauty Means White Beauty

    When we talk about French beauty, we’re often discussing a few select traits that reflect a monolithic and colourless idealization. The usual idols are brought up as universal representations of the epitome: Brigitte Bardot, Anna Karina, and Françoise Hardy to recent celebrities including Marion Cotillard and Audrey Tatou. These women represent an effortless, carefree femininity that involves perfectly rumpled bed-head, big eyes magnified by the steady flick of black eyeliner, and the allure of unbothered glamour captured by a simple yet timeless wardrobe. They are beautiful but their beauty is exclusive, meant to be replicated but impossible to genuinely duplicate. The aesthetics that define French beauty are unattainable for the average woman not born with the seemingly innate ability to roll out of bed and look like a sleepy-lidded sex kitten. The term French beauty acts as coded classification, referring to a type of aspirational and not inspirational beauty that rejects women who do not fit the mould, even women who are by all means French, but do not have pale, porcelain skin. French beauty is inherently associated with whiteness in the same way that “All-American” is connected to blue eyes and Farrah-Fawcett-blonde hair. For many people, the whiteness of French beauty is a prime example of why representation matters.

    […]

    As Americans, we subscribe to the belief that French culture is somehow a far-removed fountain of youth, a sophisticated slice of European je ne sais quoi that cannot compare to rough-hewn edges of its American counterpart. When Nathalie Dolivo, a writer for French ELLE, wrote a blog post about black fashion, she observed that the renewed interest in fashion among the black community was a cultural enlightenment triggered by Michelle Obama, an indication that the “black-geoisie” had adopted “white codes of fashion”. She noted that the black community had only known streetwear, thus implying that through the adoption of “dressing white,” black fashionistas had expanded their couture horizons. Dolivo seemed to deduce that fashion was overwhelmingly determined by race and that black French citizens needed the aid of their white peers to teach them how to be chic.

    […]

    When we speak of French beauty, not only are we admiring a laissez-faire attitude, but we are upholding a Eurocentric standard that places whiteness at the centre. Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that Europe is free of racism and/or colourism, or that such institutions do not shape cultural standards. In a recent French study, it was revealed that “racism is on the rise in France, with half of the French population admitting that they have a racial prejudice”. The superficial world of beauty may seem unrelated to the macro problems of cultural racism and discrimination, but these beauty ideals are unmistakably connected to larger cultural practices. People want to see an accurate reflection of themselves in the media that they knowingly consume. This certainly can apply to fashion, as evident by the vocalization of needing diversity on catwalks and in the overall modelling industry. This isn’t to say that the beauty and fashion industries in France are completely shuttered to non-white beauty. The Cut, frequent indulgers of the French school of beauty, spoke to Lili Barbery-Coulon, who is in charge of beauty at M magazine and is also a blogger.

    […]

    In January of 2014, African-French model Cindy Bruna appeared in a Prada campaign, making her the third black woman ever to do so. But the fact that Bruna is one of the few to join such ranks attests to the necessity of diversifying French beauty.

    The beauty and fashion industries may be built upon the notion that exclusivity equals a heightened consumer desire, but that does not mean both should champion the unquestioned worship of one rigid definition at the expense of the unrepresented and underrepresented. When we move away from such schools of thought, we speak to the multidimensional and multi-ethnic resonance of fashion and style.

    […]

    The current model of French beauty requires that women who do not conform to this look must seek out other forms, other expressions of physicality that have otherwise been ignored or devalued. The root of the problem is not so much the adoration or appreciation of French beauty, but the rules that dictate who can own such beauty.

    Meet the Radical Brownies. Dedicated to providing young girls of color relevant life experiences.

  39. rq says

    New York, New York.
    Cops used banned chokehold on ex-Marine after accusing him of trespassing at his own Brooklyn home: suit

    Cops assaulted and used a banned chokehold on a former Marine after accusing him of burglarizing and trespassing — at his own Brooklyn home, according to a new lawsuit.

    Rodric Small, 29, was outside his three-family Prospect Lefferts Gardens house last Dec. 14, inspecting the vacant first-floor apartment to make sure an actual intruder wasn’t there, when officers spotted him and mistakenly believed he didn’t belong, the Brooklyn Supreme Court suit said.

    “I was doing my usual tour of the house for the night, to make sure my family is safe,” said Small, whose family has lived at the Winthrop St. home for 15 years.

    “I had my flashlight and saw a light at the front, the person said he was a cop and waved for me to come to the front door,” Small told the Daily News.

    […]

    Small went to the porch to call for his mother’s or father’s attention and asked the officer if he could go upstairs to grab his ID.

    The officer agreed, but as Small tried to close the door, the officer put his foot in the threshold preventing it from closing, according to the suit, which was filed Wednesday.

    […]

    “He said he couldn’t allow me to close the door because he wanted to do an investigation without a warrant,” Small said.

    They argued about the grounds for a search when the officer grabbed Small — who served three years in the Marines before getting discharged — and pinned him against the wall of the cramped vestibule.

    Two more cops showed up and Small was “viciously punched” and a “chokehold was employed,” according to the lawsuit.

    “My father was at the stairs begging them not to choke me and my mother was screaming ‘What are you doing to my son?’” he said.

    Small’s parents continued to plead with the officers that their son lived there and wasn’t trespassing.

    “They were forcing me into the unmarked car and I still didn’t know why I was arrested. I kept asking and the sergeant said I’ll know when I get the precinct,” Small said.

    Small was charged with resisting arrest, trespassing, burglary and obstruction of government administration.

    “The police officers here illegally entered Mr. Small’s home and arrested him for no lawful reason. We seek to hold these officers accountable so as to prevent such unlawful uses of force and arrest,” said Small’s lawyer, Aymen Aboushi.

    At the arraignment, prosecutors offered him a plea deal that he quickly turned down.

    At the next court appearance, Aboushi presented evidence that Small actually lived at the building, including his driver’s license.

    The judge immediately asked prosecutors to drop the charges after seeing that his identification matched the location of the alleged trespassing, Aboushi said.

    “The judge apologized to me for what happened,” Small said.

    Small is seeking an unspecified amount for excessive force, false arrest and other charges.

    Confederate flag demand has Alabama company ‘absolutely swamped’. Sadly.

    When the controversy over the Confederate flag erupted last month, the owner of a Huntsville flag company said her business would make the flags even if no one else would.

    And that’s apparently what’s happened.

    “I’m not aware of another company in the United States making these flags,” said Belinda Kennedy, owner of Alabama Flag & Banner, in an interview Thursday with AL.com.

    So now you know why the website for the Governors Drive business near downtown Huntsville cautions visitors that all Confederate flag orders will take two to three weeks to be filled.

    “We are getting absolutely swamped,” Kennedy said. “It’s let up a little but what we’re finding is that people are still wanting the really pretty sewn, the ones that are more like a piece of art with the sewn stripes and the applique stars. Those are really labor intensive and it takes a long time. We’re still being flooded with orders for those. We’re getting tons of overseas orders. We’re going as fast as we can.”

    Kennedy hasn’t flinched in her stance regarding the confederate flag — which she has described as a historic flag and not a hateful flag. When flag protests began after the man charged in the South Carolina church shooting last month held the stars-and-stripes in a social media photo, Kennedy maintained her business would continue to sell it.

    And if necessary, make their own flags to sell.

    It’s about history. Yes, have you looked into that history?

    Along with the influx in confederate flags in this area, I’ve also seen several Gadsden flags flying from trucks.

    Sandra Bland Tried to Post Bail Before Allegedly Committing Suicide – I understand she was to be released??

    Before she was found dead of apparent suicide in a Texas jail cell, Sandra Bland called a bail bondsman hoping to get out.

    “I talked to her when she first went to jail,” Joe Booker of Hempstead told The Daily Beast on Thursday. “I called her mother for her.”

    Booker then hung up and didn’t respond to further requests for comment. It would have cost friends or family $500 to bail out Bland, Captain Brian Cantrell of the Waller County Sheriff’s Office said.

    Why she would take her own life after apparently working with Booker to secure her freedom is one of many questions surrounding her death.

    “Based on the Sandy I know, that’s unfathomable to me,” Bland’s sister Sharon said at a press conference.

    Bland did, however, say in March that she was dealing with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

    “I gotta be honest with you guys,” she told people in a Facebook video, “I’ve been dealing with something that some of you all may be dealing with now. It’s a little bit of depression as well as PTSD.”

    Bland also expressed her faith in God, who “blocked that depressing moment in my mind.” Bland closed the video with an apology for her lack of posts, saying, “Depression and post-traumatic stress disorder are things that affect everyone—black, white, it does not matter.”

    […]

    Bland spoke out against police, the deaths of blacks at the hands of law enforcement, and other issues affecting the African-American community on her Facebook page. She called the video dispatches “Sandy Speaks.” In one, she took on the subject of the Black Lives Matter movement.

    “What I need you guys to understand is that being a black person in America is very, very hard,” she recently said.

    I skipped the part where they go into her (very short) criminal record. Is that really necessary? Like, at all?

    The Texas County Where Sandra Bland Died Is Fraught With Racial Tensions.

    Whether or not it was suicide, Bland’s death comes amid an ongoing national conversation about race and criminal justice in America, and casts a spotlight on a county apparently rife with racial tensions. In 2007, Waller County Sheriff R. Glenn Smith was suspended—and eventually fired by city council members—while serving as police chief in Hempstead, a city in Waller County, following accusations of racism by community members. Less than a year after his firing, Smith was elected county sheriff. When asked about the accusations on Thursday, Smith said his firing in 2007 was “political,” and denied that he was a racist.

    The history of Waller County’s racial tensions doesn’t end there. In 2003, the Houston Chronicle reported that two prominent black county officials, DeWayne Charleston and Keith Woods, claimed they were the target of an investigation by the county’s chief prosecutor because of their race. Charleston had been accused of keeping erratic hours and falsifying an employee time-sheet record, according to the Houston Chronicle. Charleston and Woods claimed the Concerned Citizens of Waller County was behind those accusations, and said that the group was conducting a Ku Klux Klan-like campaign against black officials:

    Charleston, the county’s first black judge, said a county grand jury has interviewed him, although he declined to elaborate. And Woods, the four-term mayor of Brookshire, is facing questions about his role in the last city election.

    “I do believe race plays a big part in what DeWayne and I are facing,” Woods said. “I feel that way because we’re the ones obviously not being given the benefit of the doubt (when) we face contrary decisions by the district attorney.”

    Kitzman, 69, a retired state district judge, denies any racist implications in his interest in the two men. He says he’s simply doing his job by looking into complaints brought to him by residents.

    Houston Chronicle reporter Leah Binkovitz also pointed out that a disproportionately high number of lynchings have been recorded in Waller County. According to the advocacy group Equal Justice Initiative, the county saw 15 lynchings of African Americans between 1877 and 1950.

    Bland’s death has also raised questions about conditions at the Waller County jail, where in 2012, a 29-year-old white inmate named James Harper Howell IV, hung himself with the bed sheets in his cell. When asked about the 2012 death on Thursday, Smith responded that his staff had been monitoring inmates but that “these incidents occur in jails.”

    Ah, reddit, you have fixed nothing. ‘Coontown’: A noxious, racist corner of Reddit survives recent purge. THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS EXAMPLES OF HUMANS BEING RACIST SHITHEADS OF THE WORST KIND.

    Last week, Reddit interim chief executive Ellen Pao, who sought to remove some of the freewheeling, bulletin-board style Web site’s more objectionable content, resigned after a petition questioned her commitment to free speech.

    In damage-control mode after her exit, Huffman — who replaced Pao as chief executive and whose handle on the site is “spez” — laid out what content would no longer be acceptable on the site, including spam, child pornography, publishing confidential information and “anything that incites harm or violence against an individual or group of people.” Further explaining this last category of inciting harm or violence, Huffman wrote, “It’s ok to say ‘I don’t like this group of people.’ It’s not ok to say, ‘I’m going to kill this group of people.’”

    “We’ve spent the last few days here discussing and agree that an approach like this allows us as a company to repudiate content we don’t want to associate with the business, but gives individuals freedom to consume it if they choose,” Huffman wrote in one of Reddit’s “Ask Me Anything” sessions Thursday. “This is what we will try, and if the hateful users continue to spill out into mainstream reddit, we will try more aggressive approaches. Freedom of expression is important to us, but it’s more important to us that we at reddit be true to our mission.”

    Yet, despite Huffman’s comments, “r/CoonTown” lives on.

    CoonTown, as its loathsome name might suggest, is a subreddit for racists. CoonTown offers a buffet of crude jokes and racial slurs; complaints about the liberal media; links to news stories that highlight black-on-white crime or Confederate pride; and discussions of “black people appropriating white culture.”

    […]

    CoonTown might seem the perfect target for Huffman’s spiel against “anything that incites harm or violence against an individual or group of people.” Even before his comments, subreddits such as “r/FatPeopleHate” and “r/S—tN—rsSay” were bounced from Reddit.

    CoonTown persisted. Why? Huffman tried to explain, making quite the legalistic distinction.

    “We’ll consider banning subreddits that clearly violate the guidelines in my post — the ones that are illegal or cause harm to others,” he wrote. “There are many subreddits whose contents I and many others find offensive, but that alone is not justification for banning. /r/rapingwomen will be banned. They are encouraging people to rape. /r/coontown will be reclassified. The content there is offensive to many, but does not violate our current rules for banning.”

    CoonTown’s surprise at its survival didn’t prevent celebration.

    “It was a rare double-loss for n—ers today,” read one thread. “First they found out /r/Coontown would remain. Second, they found /r/RapingWomen was to be removed.”

    Reddit’s decision to reclassify Coontown as “NSFW” and to require an opt-in to view the discussion thread came on the same day that Pao weighed in on forces that have always been competing with one another on the Internet.

    “Balancing free expression with privacy and the protection of participants has always been a challenge for open-content platforms on the Internet,” she wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post Thursday. “But that balancing act is getting harder. The trolls are winning.”

  40. Saad says

    Nearly 40,000 people have signed a petition to remove a black memorial monument in South Carolina because it offends whites

    “The African American Monument depicts slave ships, mistreatment and words such as ‘segregation’ and ‘Jim Crow,’” the petition states. “This being the case, it is undeniable that this monument can and does serve to invoke in the white community feelings of shame, humiliation and offense, serving as a constant reminder of the dark history of slavery.”

    The petition had gathered more than 39,300 signatures by Friday afternoon, with a goal set for 50,000 signatures asking for the state legislature to remove the monument.

    Harmon said he hoped both monuments would remain on the statehouse grounds, but he said the African-American Monument should go if the Confederate flag came down — as it did July 10.

  41. rq says

    Okay so there’s a backlog on the work computer. Excuse, but here’s some overdue stuff:
    Larry Wilmore on Bill O’Reilly, via Mano Singham.
    Black Atheists Condemn White Terrorist Massacre at Charleston Black Church, via Black Skeptics (Black Skeptics Los Angeles, to be specific).
    Not Yours, Not Ever, via Stephanie Zvan.
    No more compliments, thank you very much, via PZ, though I may have posted this one already, I can’t remember.

    The confederate flag starts coming down, via Mano Singham.
    Civil asset forfeiture abuses curtailed, via Mano Singham.

  42. rq says

  43. rq says

  44. rq says

    First, three more from the Toronto Star:
    Friends say death of young woman in Texas police custody suspicious (on Sandra Bland);
    Saunders’ comments belong in a police state: Keenan (on the Toronto police);
    Burlington care centre comes under fire for ad specifying ‘Caucasian’ applicants (on discriminatory hiring practices).

    And last three from the CBC:
    New Reddit policies leave ‘racist’ forums up and running;
    Sandra Bland, found hanged in Texas jail, cited depression in her Facebook posts;
    Sandra Bland’s death in Texas jail questioned by family.

    The second CBC link gives a bit more detail into how she hanged herself, as well as other details, like how she was in distress, felt that her arm may have been fractured and was therefore in pain, etc. So while no police officer or employee may have put their hands on her directly, the sheer attitude of negligence and carelessness and a lack of compassion (not to mention the baseless arrest in the first place) are mostly direct, contributing factors to her death.
    At home I left a link where Sandra Bland declares that she will change the world.
    Sadly, she just might.

  45. rq says

    Rolly: Reining in the rednecks at Red Butte

    One significant result from this week’s Hank Williams Jr. concert is that Red Butte Garden’s executive director will now carefully review any potential controversial acts before his booking agents sign a deal.

    Director Greg Lee says he was taken by surprise the day of the concert when he learned that one of the concession stands would be selling Confederate battle flags with Williams’ logo stamped in the middle.

    Lee said he asked the concessionaire to refrain from selling the flags, but he refused. Contractually, bands that perform at the garden, like at most venues, bring their own concessions and have control over what is sold. Once the deal is signed, the venue cannot refuse the concessions unless the products are illegal.

    […]

    But some audience members were offended by the flaunting of that flag so soon after the South Carolina Legislature voted to remove it from that state’s Capitol grounds in the wake of a racially motivated mass murder at a black church in Charleston.

    One disconcerting fact: Under Utah law, the flag wavers could also have been carrying guns at the venue as long as they had a concealed-weapon permit.

    Several concertgoers left early, ill at ease over the atmosphere.

    Lee said Red Butte has been trying to diversify its shows, noting his booking agent is unfamiliar with the country genre and wasn’t aware of past controversies with Williams, who was fired from ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” show after comments he made on “Fox and Friends” comparing President Barack Obama to Hitler.

    Clanton police say someone drove thru predominantly black neighborhood w confederate flag, yelling racial slurs.

    Jonathan Sanders: Unarmed Mississippi man died after 20-minute police chokehold, witnesses say

    State medical examiners provisionally found Jonathan Sanders died through homicide by manual asphyxiation, according to attorneys Chokwe Lumumba and CJ Lawrence.

    Sanders, who was 39, repeatedly told Stonewall police officer Kevin Herrington “I can’t breathe”, according to one witness.

    According to the attorneys, one witness alleged that Herrington said he was “going to get that nigger” seconds before confronting Sanders in Stonewall on the night of 8 July, and several said the officer was the aggressor. Police have described the encounter as “a fight”.

    “We believe there is probable cause for a prosecution,” the attorney Lawrence said in an interview on Wednesday. “A determination should now be made by a jury at an open trial as to whether officer Herrington had any justification for choking Jonathan Sanders to death.”

    […]

    Sanders’ attorneys said they were present this week while three witnesses, whom they declined to identify due to safety concerns, separately gave matching accounts of what happened to investigators from the Mississippi bureau of investigation (MBI) during filmed interviews.

    According to the attorneys, the three witnesses are related to Sanders by marriage and one has 10 years of experience working in law enforcement. They said this witness told Herrington he was trained in CPR and had his own mask for use on a patient but was repeatedly prevented by the officer from using it on Sanders.

    The version of events given by witnesses, they said, is that Sanders was riding by a gas station on a horse-drawn buggy at about 10.30pm when he made a comment to Herrington, who had pulled over a driver. The attorneys said this driver had told them he was drunk and his registration tags had expired.

    The driver said his stop was abandoned when Sanders asked Herrington “Why don’t you leave that man alone?” or similar, said Lumumba. “According to the driver, once the officer saw Jonathan, his attention was piqued and he said: ‘I’m going to get that nigger.’”

    The attorneys said investigators from the MBI had informed them they were aware of the alleged racist remark and were in communication with the driver.

    Lumumba said a person they call Witness 1 was standing at the window of a nearby home seeking signal for a cellphone when he or she saw Sanders approaching on his buggy, wearing a light on a headband similar to those used by climbers.
    Advertisement

    “Then, Witness 1 saw officer Herrington’s blue lights come on,” said Lumumba. “Jonathan’s horse reared up, startled, and knocked Jonathan off his horse. His light slipped around his neck. Jonathan ran to get the horse and Officer Herrington came from behind him, yanked him down to the ground in front of the house with the light strap and placed him in a chokehold. Jonathan didn’t even see him.”
    […]

    The witnesses said Herrington was shouting to them that Sanders was reaching for his gun, despite the 39-year-old being unable to reach the weapon. The officer initially asked Witness 3 to help remove the gun from his belt, before changing his mind and asking for a woman who had been travelling with him in his patrol car to come out and remove the gun with Witness 3’s guidance.

    “The chokehold had been going on the entire time,” said Lumumba, who noted that Eric Garner died in about three minutes when placed in a chokehold by a police officer in New York City last year, prompting months of protests.

    “Witness 3 was saying ‘Let him up, let him up, he’s not breathing, let me do CPR’,” said Lumumba. “He is trained in CPR and had a mask in his home. But Herrington said ‘No, stand back’.”

    The witnesses said that after being instructed by the officer, Herrington’s companion attempted to call for backup but could not operate his radio system, according to the attorneys. Witness 3 again stepped in to help, and officers were dispatched, but they travelled to the wrong location and had to be redirected.

    “This time frame, according to Witness 3, is that Jonathan was in a chokehold for more than 20 minutes, close to 30 minutes,” said Lumumba, who said that when a support officer identified as “Officer Derek” arrived, Herrington told his colleague: “I think I put him to sleep.”

    Medics were called and used Witness 3’s mask, according to Lumumba, but they did not appear to competently administer CPR. After they sat Sanders upright, “blood starts rushing out of his mouth, and they are never able to get a pulse”, said the attorney. Sanders was put in an ambulance and taken to hospital, although the family’s attorneys say he was dead at the scene.

    The fuck the medics would sit him upright if he’s (most likely) unresponsive? That is piece-of-shit first aid, because if someone is lying on the ground and not responding (even if they’re faking) the last thing you should do is try and sit them up. Like hOLY SHIT.
    And that phrase, “Put him to sleep”. That’s what you say to your kids about your pet dog. Fuck.

    And all 3 witnesses have the exact same story. The prosecutor there reminds me a lot of Bob McCulloch in STL. #JonathanSanders

    Will protestors be blamed? Will the man be a part of the movement? All 4 suspects in custody in connection with shooting of police officer Tuesday morning.

    Everything We Know About Sandra Bland

    As questions and suspicions begin to grow about what exactly happened to Sandra Bland, here’s what we can tell you for certain about the bright young woman who was supposed to be driving toward a new beginning but ended up dead:

    1. She was stopped for failing to signal while changing lanes.

    Bland was reportedly pulled over during a routine traffic stop for not signaling a lane change. Police claim that during the stop she became combative and was then arrested and charged with “assault on a public servant.”

    However, video released of the incident doesn’t seem to show a combative Bland. Instead, officers can be seen restraining Bland who argued with them about the methods used to detain her. “You just slammed my head into the ground,” Bland is heard saying on the video.

    2. Bland was in Texas for a new job at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M University.

    Bland attended Prairie View A&M on a band scholarship and graduated in 2008 before going back home to Illinois. She was a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, which issued a statement Thursday (pdf) in response to her death. Early in July, she drove to Texas for a job interview at the university. She got the job and was to begin working in student outreach. Her death was two days before her start date.

    3. Waller County, Texas, where Bland was arrested, has a bleak history of racial intolerance.

    The small, rural county has a complicated and dark racial history.

    In 2008 the Houston Chronicl detailed how local cemeteries were still segregated. There were black cemeteries and white cemeteries and those were the rules. When one Waller County justice of the peace, DeWayne Charleston, attempted to bury the body of a brutally slain white woman in a black cemetery, his plea was overturned by Waller County Judge Owen Ralston. Ralston said it cost too much, saving taxpayers more than $400. The Jane Doe, whose body was never claimed after a year, was eventually buried in a privately owned and operated white cemetery.

    According to the Chronicle, a county resident of Hempstead sued the city for failing to maintain its black cemeteries. That lawsuit was successful. In 2007 the city of Hempstead’s police chief, Glenn Smith, was suspended after being accused of racism.

    4. Bland was outspoken against police violence, posting often on her social media sites in segments she called “Sandy Speaks.”

    Bland’s Facebook page posts include videos of her candidly speaking about race and racism in the nation in “Sandy Speaks.” “Black people are truly, we’re doing as much as we can … and we can’t help but get pissed off when we see situations when it’s clear that black lives didn’t matter,” she said in one video, addressing white people specifically.

    5. Sandra Bland’s life matters.

    It is unnerving that after Bland spoke out so publicly about black lives, her name is now added to the growing list of those who have suffered or died while in the custody of officers or a jail. Several hashtags—including the currently trending #JusticeForSandy and #WhatHappenedToSandyBland—have surfaced on Twitter in her honor, demanding answers and justice in her stead.

  46. rq says

    Rolly: Reining in the rednecks at Red Butte

    One significant result from this week’s Hank Williams Jr. concert is that Red Butte Garden’s executive director will now carefully review any potential controversial acts before his booking agents sign a deal.

    Director Greg Lee says he was taken by surprise the day of the concert when he learned that one of the concession stands would be selling Confederate battle flags with Williams’ logo stamped in the middle.

    Lee said he asked the concessionaire to refrain from selling the flags, but he refused. Contractually, bands that perform at the garden, like at most venues, bring their own concessions and have control over what is sold. Once the deal is signed, the venue cannot refuse the concessions unless the products are illegal.

    […]

    But some audience members were offended by the flaunting of that flag so soon after the South Carolina Legislature voted to remove it from that state’s Capitol grounds in the wake of a racially motivated mass murder at a black church in Charleston.

    One disconcerting fact: Under Utah law, the flag wavers could also have been carrying guns at the venue as long as they had a concealed-weapon permit.

    Several concertgoers left early, ill at ease over the atmosphere.

    Lee said Red Butte has been trying to diversify its shows, noting his booking agent is unfamiliar with the country genre and wasn’t aware of past controversies with Williams, who was fired from ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” show after comments he made on “Fox and Friends” comparing President Barack Obama to Hitler.

    Clanton police say someone drove thru predominantly black neighborhood w confederate flag, yelling racial slurs.

    Jonathan Sanders: Unarmed Mississippi man died after 20-minute police chokehold, witnesses say

    State medical examiners provisionally found Jonathan Sanders died through homicide by manual asphyxiation, according to attorneys Chokwe Lumumba and CJ Lawrence.

    Sanders, who was 39, repeatedly told Stonewall police officer Kevin Herrington “I can’t breathe”, according to one witness.

    According to the attorneys, one witness alleged that Herrington said he was “going to get that n*gg*r” seconds before confronting Sanders in Stonewall on the night of 8 July, and several said the officer was the aggressor. Police have described the encounter as “a fight”.

    “We believe there is probable cause for a prosecution,” the attorney Lawrence said in an interview on Wednesday. “A determination should now be made by a jury at an open trial as to whether officer Herrington had any justification for choking Jonathan Sanders to death.”

    […]

    Sanders’ attorneys said they were present this week while three witnesses, whom they declined to identify due to safety concerns, separately gave matching accounts of what happened to investigators from the Mississippi bureau of investigation (MBI) during filmed interviews.

    According to the attorneys, the three witnesses are related to Sanders by marriage and one has 10 years of experience working in law enforcement. They said this witness told Herrington he was trained in CPR and had his own mask for use on a patient but was repeatedly prevented by the officer from using it on Sanders.

    The version of events given by witnesses, they said, is that Sanders was riding by a gas station on a horse-drawn buggy at about 10.30pm when he made a comment to Herrington, who had pulled over a driver. The attorneys said this driver had told them he was drunk and his registration tags had expired.

    The driver said his stop was abandoned when Sanders asked Herrington “Why don’t you leave that man alone?” or similar, said Lumumba. “According to the driver, once the officer saw Jonathan, his attention was piqued and he said: ‘I’m going to get that nigger.’”

    The attorneys said investigators from the MBI had informed them they were aware of the alleged racist remark and were in communication with the driver.

    Lumumba said a person they call Witness 1 was standing at the window of a nearby home seeking signal for a cellphone when he or she saw Sanders approaching on his buggy, wearing a light on a headband similar to those used by climbers.
    Advertisement

    “Then, Witness 1 saw officer Herrington’s blue lights come on,” said Lumumba. “Jonathan’s horse reared up, startled, and knocked Jonathan off his horse. His light slipped around his neck. Jonathan ran to get the horse and Officer Herrington came from behind him, yanked him down to the ground in front of the house with the light strap and placed him in a chokehold. Jonathan didn’t even see him.”
    […]

    The witnesses said Herrington was shouting to them that Sanders was reaching for his gun, despite the 39-year-old being unable to reach the weapon. The officer initially asked Witness 3 to help remove the gun from his belt, before changing his mind and asking for a woman who had been travelling with him in his patrol car to come out and remove the gun with Witness 3’s guidance.

    “The chokehold had been going on the entire time,” said Lumumba, who noted that Eric Garner died in about three minutes when placed in a chokehold by a police officer in New York City last year, prompting months of protests.

    “Witness 3 was saying ‘Let him up, let him up, he’s not breathing, let me do CPR’,” said Lumumba. “He is trained in CPR and had a mask in his home. But Herrington said ‘No, stand back’.”

    The witnesses said that after being instructed by the officer, Herrington’s companion attempted to call for backup but could not operate his radio system, according to the attorneys. Witness 3 again stepped in to help, and officers were dispatched, but they travelled to the wrong location and had to be redirected.

    “This time frame, according to Witness 3, is that Jonathan was in a chokehold for more than 20 minutes, close to 30 minutes,” said Lumumba, who said that when a support officer identified as “Officer Derek” arrived, Herrington told his colleague: “I think I put him to sleep.”

    Medics were called and used Witness 3’s mask, according to Lumumba, but they did not appear to competently administer CPR. After they sat Sanders upright, “blood starts rushing out of his mouth, and they are never able to get a pulse”, said the attorney. Sanders was put in an ambulance and taken to hospital, although the family’s attorneys say he was dead at the scene.

    The fuck the medics would sit him upright if he’s (most likely) unresponsive? That is piece-of-shit first aid, because if someone is lying on the ground and not responding (even if they’re faking) the last thing you should do is try and sit them up. Like hOLY SHIT.
    And that phrase, “Put him to sleep”. That’s what you say to your kids about your pet dog. Fuck.

    And all 3 witnesses have the exact same story. The prosecutor there reminds me a lot of Bob McCulloch in STL. #JonathanSanders

    Will protestors be blamed? Will the man be a part of the movement? All 4 suspects in custody in connection with shooting of police officer Tuesday morning.

    Everything We Know About Sandra Bland

    As questions and suspicions begin to grow about what exactly happened to Sandra Bland, here’s what we can tell you for certain about the bright young woman who was supposed to be driving toward a new beginning but ended up dead:

    1. She was stopped for failing to signal while changing lanes.

    Bland was reportedly pulled over during a routine traffic stop for not signaling a lane change. Police claim that during the stop she became combative and was then arrested and charged with “assault on a public servant.”

    However, video released of the incident doesn’t seem to show a combative Bland. Instead, officers can be seen restraining Bland who argued with them about the methods used to detain her. “You just slammed my head into the ground,” Bland is heard saying on the video.

    2. Bland was in Texas for a new job at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M University.

    Bland attended Prairie View A&M on a band scholarship and graduated in 2008 before going back home to Illinois. She was a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, which issued a statement Thursday (pdf) in response to her death. Early in July, she drove to Texas for a job interview at the university. She got the job and was to begin working in student outreach. Her death was two days before her start date.

    3. Waller County, Texas, where Bland was arrested, has a bleak history of racial intolerance.

    The small, rural county has a complicated and dark racial history.

    In 2008 the Houston Chronicl detailed how local cemeteries were still segregated. There were black cemeteries and white cemeteries and those were the rules. When one Waller County justice of the peace, DeWayne Charleston, attempted to bury the body of a brutally slain white woman in a black cemetery, his plea was overturned by Waller County Judge Owen Ralston. Ralston said it cost too much, saving taxpayers more than $400. The Jane Doe, whose body was never claimed after a year, was eventually buried in a privately owned and operated white cemetery.

    According to the Chronicle, a county resident of Hempstead sued the city for failing to maintain its black cemeteries. That lawsuit was successful. In 2007 the city of Hempstead’s police chief, Glenn Smith, was suspended after being accused of racism.

    4. Bland was outspoken against police violence, posting often on her social media sites in segments she called “Sandy Speaks.”

    Bland’s Facebook page posts include videos of her candidly speaking about race and racism in the nation in “Sandy Speaks.” “Black people are truly, we’re doing as much as we can … and we can’t help but get pissed off when we see situations when it’s clear that black lives didn’t matter,” she said in one video, addressing white people specifically.

    5. Sandra Bland’s life matters.

    It is unnerving that after Bland spoke out so publicly about black lives, her name is now added to the growing list of those who have suffered or died while in the custody of officers or a jail. Several hashtags—including the currently trending #JusticeForSandy and #WhatHappenedToSandyBland—have surfaced on Twitter in her honor, demanding answers and justice in her stead.

  47. rq says

    Rolly: Reining in the rednecks at Red Butte

    One significant result from this week’s Hank Williams Jr. concert is that Red Butte Garden’s executive director will now carefully review any potential controversial acts before his booking agents sign a deal.

    Director Greg Lee says he was taken by surprise the day of the concert when he learned that one of the concession stands would be selling Confederate battle flags with Williams’ logo stamped in the middle.

    Lee said he asked the concessionaire to refrain from selling the flags, but he refused. Contractually, bands that perform at the garden, like at most venues, bring their own concessions and have control over what is sold. Once the deal is signed, the venue cannot refuse the concessions unless the products are illegal.

    […]

    But some audience members were offended by the flaunting of that flag so soon after the South Carolina Legislature voted to remove it from that state’s Capitol grounds in the wake of a racially motivated mass murder at a black church in Charleston.

    One disconcerting fact: Under Utah law, the flag wavers could also have been carrying guns at the venue as long as they had a concealed-weapon permit.

    Several concertgoers left early, ill at ease over the atmosphere.

    Lee said Red Butte has been trying to diversify its shows, noting his booking agent is unfamiliar with the country genre and wasn’t aware of past controversies with Williams, who was fired from ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” show after comments he made on “Fox and Friends” comparing President Barack Obama to Hitler.

    Clanton police say someone drove thru predominantly black neighborhood w confederate flag, yelling racial slurs.

    Jonathan Sanders: Unarmed Mississippi man died after 20-minute police chokehold, witnesses say

    State medical examiners provisionally found Jonathan Sanders died through homicide by manual asphyxiation, according to attorneys Chokwe Lumumba and CJ Lawrence.

    Sanders, who was 39, repeatedly told Stonewall police officer Kevin Herrington “I can’t breathe”, according to one witness.

    According to the attorneys, one witness alleged that Herrington said he was “going to get that n*gg*r” seconds before confronting Sanders in Stonewall on the night of 8 July, and several said the officer was the aggressor. Police have described the encounter as “a fight”.

    “We believe there is probable cause for a prosecution,” the attorney Lawrence said in an interview on Wednesday. “A determination should now be made by a jury at an open trial as to whether officer Herrington had any justification for choking Jonathan Sanders to death.”

    […]

    Sanders’ attorneys said they were present this week while three witnesses, whom they declined to identify due to safety concerns, separately gave matching accounts of what happened to investigators from the Mississippi bureau of investigation (MBI) during filmed interviews.

    According to the attorneys, the three witnesses are related to Sanders by marriage and one has 10 years of experience working in law enforcement. They said this witness told Herrington he was trained in CPR and had his own mask for use on a patient but was repeatedly prevented by the officer from using it on Sanders.

    The version of events given by witnesses, they said, is that Sanders was riding by a gas station on a horse-drawn buggy at about 10.30pm when he made a comment to Herrington, who had pulled over a driver. The attorneys said this driver had told them he was drunk and his registration tags had expired.

    The driver said his stop was abandoned when Sanders asked Herrington “Why don’t you leave that man alone?” or similar, said Lumumba. “According to the driver, once the officer saw Jonathan, his attention was piqued and he said: ‘I’m going to get that n*gg*r.’”

    The attorneys said investigators from the MBI had informed them they were aware of the alleged racist remark and were in communication with the driver.

    Lumumba said a person they call Witness 1 was standing at the window of a nearby home seeking signal for a cellphone when he or she saw Sanders approaching on his buggy, wearing a light on a headband similar to those used by climbers.
    Advertisement

    “Then, Witness 1 saw officer Herrington’s blue lights come on,” said Lumumba. “Jonathan’s horse reared up, startled, and knocked Jonathan off his horse. His light slipped around his neck. Jonathan ran to get the horse and Officer Herrington came from behind him, yanked him down to the ground in front of the house with the light strap and placed him in a chokehold. Jonathan didn’t even see him.”
    […]

    The witnesses said Herrington was shouting to them that Sanders was reaching for his gun, despite the 39-year-old being unable to reach the weapon. The officer initially asked Witness 3 to help remove the gun from his belt, before changing his mind and asking for a woman who had been travelling with him in his patrol car to come out and remove the gun with Witness 3’s guidance.

    “The chokehold had been going on the entire time,” said Lumumba, who noted that Eric Garner died in about three minutes when placed in a chokehold by a police officer in New York City last year, prompting months of protests.

    “Witness 3 was saying ‘Let him up, let him up, he’s not breathing, let me do CPR’,” said Lumumba. “He is trained in CPR and had a mask in his home. But Herrington said ‘No, stand back’.”

    The witnesses said that after being instructed by the officer, Herrington’s companion attempted to call for backup but could not operate his radio system, according to the attorneys. Witness 3 again stepped in to help, and officers were dispatched, but they travelled to the wrong location and had to be redirected.

    “This time frame, according to Witness 3, is that Jonathan was in a chokehold for more than 20 minutes, close to 30 minutes,” said Lumumba, who said that when a support officer identified as “Officer Derek” arrived, Herrington told his colleague: “I think I put him to sleep.”

    Medics were called and used Witness 3’s mask, according to Lumumba, but they did not appear to competently administer CPR. After they sat Sanders upright, “blood starts rushing out of his mouth, and they are never able to get a pulse”, said the attorney. Sanders was put in an ambulance and taken to hospital, although the family’s attorneys say he was dead at the scene.

    The fuck the medics would sit him upright if he’s (most likely) unresponsive? That is piece-of-shit first aid, because if someone is lying on the ground and not responding (even if they’re faking) the last thing you should do is try and sit them up. Like hOLY SHIT.
    And that phrase, “Put him to sleep”. That’s what you say to your kids about your pet dog. Fuck.

    And all 3 witnesses have the exact same story. The prosecutor there reminds me a lot of Bob McCulloch in STL. #JonathanSanders

    Will protestors be blamed? Will the man be a part of the movement? All 4 suspects in custody in connection with shooting of police officer Tuesday morning.

    Everything We Know About Sandra Bland

    As questions and suspicions begin to grow about what exactly happened to Sandra Bland, here’s what we can tell you for certain about the bright young woman who was supposed to be driving toward a new beginning but ended up dead:

    1. She was stopped for failing to signal while changing lanes.

    Bland was reportedly pulled over during a routine traffic stop for not signaling a lane change. Police claim that during the stop she became combative and was then arrested and charged with “assault on a public servant.”

    However, video released of the incident doesn’t seem to show a combative Bland. Instead, officers can be seen restraining Bland who argued with them about the methods used to detain her. “You just slammed my head into the ground,” Bland is heard saying on the video.

    2. Bland was in Texas for a new job at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M University.

    Bland attended Prairie View A&M on a band scholarship and graduated in 2008 before going back home to Illinois. She was a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, which issued a statement Thursday (pdf) in response to her death. Early in July, she drove to Texas for a job interview at the university. She got the job and was to begin working in student outreach. Her death was two days before her start date.

    3. Waller County, Texas, where Bland was arrested, has a bleak history of racial intolerance.

    The small, rural county has a complicated and dark racial history.

    In 2008 the Houston Chronicl detailed how local cemeteries were still segregated. There were black cemeteries and white cemeteries and those were the rules. When one Waller County justice of the peace, DeWayne Charleston, attempted to bury the body of a brutally slain white woman in a black cemetery, his plea was overturned by Waller County Judge Owen Ralston. Ralston said it cost too much, saving taxpayers more than $400. The Jane Doe, whose body was never claimed after a year, was eventually buried in a privately owned and operated white cemetery.

    According to the Chronicle, a county resident of Hempstead sued the city for failing to maintain its black cemeteries. That lawsuit was successful. In 2007 the city of Hempstead’s police chief, Glenn Smith, was suspended after being accused of racism.

    4. Bland was outspoken against police violence, posting often on her social media sites in segments she called “Sandy Speaks.”

    Bland’s Facebook page posts include videos of her candidly speaking about race and racism in the nation in “Sandy Speaks.” “Black people are truly, we’re doing as much as we can … and we can’t help but get pissed off when we see situations when it’s clear that black lives didn’t matter,” she said in one video, addressing white people specifically.

    5. Sandra Bland’s life matters.

    It is unnerving that after Bland spoke out so publicly about black lives, her name is now added to the growing list of those who have suffered or died while in the custody of officers or a jail. Several hashtags—including the currently trending #JusticeForSandy and #WhatHappenedToSandyBland—have surfaced on Twitter in her honor, demanding answers and justice in her stead.

  48. rq says

    FBI’s warning of white supremacists infiltrating law enforcement nearly forgotten

    Because of intensifying civil strife over the recent killings of unarmed black men and boys, many Americans are wondering, “What’s wrong with our police?” Remarkably, one of the most compelling but unexplored explanations may rest with a FBI warning of October 2006, which reported that “White supremacist infiltration of law enforcement” represented a significant national threat.

    Several key events preceded the report. A federal court found that members of a Los Angeles sheriffs department formed a Neo Nazi gang and habitually terrorized the black community. Later, the Chicago police department fired Jon Burge, a detective with reputed ties to the Ku Klux Klan, after discovering he tortured over 100 black male suspects. Thereafter, the Mayor of Cleveland discovered that many of the city police locker rooms were infested with “White Power” graffiti. Years later, a Texas sheriff department discovered that two of its deputies were recruiters for the Klan.

    In near prophetic fashion, after the FBI’s warning, white supremacy extremism in the U.S. increased, exponentially. From 2008 to 2014, the number of white supremacist groups, reportedly, grew from 149 to nearly a thousand, with no apparent abatement in their infiltration of law enforcement.

    This year, alone, at least seven San Francisco law enforcement officers were suspended after an investigation revealed they exchanged numerous “White Power” communications laden with remarks about “lynching African-Americans and burning crosses.” Three reputed Klan members that served as correction officers were arrested for conspiring to murder a black inmate. At least four Fort Lauderdale police officers were fired after an investigation found that the officers fantasized about killing black suspects.

    The United States doesn’t publicly track white supremacists, so the full range of their objectives remains murky. Although black and Jewish-Americans are believed to be the foremost targets of white supremacists, recent attacks in Nevada, Wisconsin, Arizona, Kansas and North Carolina, demonstrate that other non-whites, and religious and social minorities, are also vulnerable. Perhaps more alarmingly, in the last several years alone, white supremacists have reportedly murdered law enforcement officers in Arkansas, Nevada and Wisconsin.
    .[…]

    The white supremacist threat brings to light a dark feature of the American experience that some believed extinct. It rouses ingrained notions of distrusts between police and communities of color while bringing to bear the vital interest citizens of good will share in the complete abolishment of race as a judgmental factor.

    As the nation struggles to resolve the perplexities of police brutality, the white supremacist threat should inform all Americans that today’s civil discord is not borne out of a robust animosity towards law enforcement, most of whom are professional. Rather, it’s more representative of a centuries-old ideological clash, which has ignited in citizens of good will a desire to affirm notions of racial equality so that the moral ethos of American culture is a reality for all.

    Why is the same agency that arrested Sandra Bland investigating her death, too? And didn’t the media make a big show of saying how it would be an independent investigation?

    Captain Ian Cantrell at the Waller County Sheriff’s office told Fusion that all arrests made by Texas State troopers get funneled to local county jails.

    The distinction is important: Waller County police did not arrest Sandra Bland. State troopers arrested Sandra Bland. Which is why there’s a conflict of interest here.

    According to Captain Cantrell, the investigation into the death of Bland, who would have begun her first day of work on Wednesday at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M University, is being conducted by the Texas Rangers, a statewide law enforcement agency tasked with investigations into unsolved crimes, public corruption, and officer-involved shootings, among other things.

    The Texas Rangers are also comprised entirely of former Texas state troopers, the Texas Department Public Safety told Fusion, and are part of the same agency that oversees the state troopers who arrested Sandra Bland. In order to even qualify to become a ranger, candidates must have previously been troopers, according to the rangers website. Ranger applicants must also be currently employed with the Texas Department of Public Safety.

    This is a significant conflict of interest in the investigation into the death of Sandra Bland.

    More at the link, with a closer look at the investigation of Eric Garner’s death and the conflicts of interest present there.

    Colorado cop slams handcuffed teen to hospital floor, knocks her teeth out (VIDEO)

    A newly-published video shows a Colorado Springs police officer going to extremes during a November 2013 arrest, slamming a handcuffed 18-year-old woman face-down into the ground, knocking out her teeth while she was in hospital.

    The shocking video will be part of a lawsuit that is being prepared on behalf of Alexis Acker against the department. The footage was obtained by the Colorado Springs Independent daily.

    City Cop “Intentionally and Violently Grabbed and Pulled” Man’s Genitalia, Suit Says. Just going to leave that there as an example of cops behaving badly. And the attitude of entitlement and arrogance and disregard for others that seems to come with the uniform for many officers.

    Second Memorial for Paul Castaway Tonight at Shooting Scene

    Justice 4 Paul Castaway has announced there will be a second protest of his shooting death at the hands of Denver police, tonight at 8pm local time. This demonstration will take place at the shooting site, the Capitol City Mobile Home Park.

    I’m sorry, I missed announcing that yesterday.

    State Jail Commission Cites Waller County Officials After Investigating Sandra Bland’s Death

    In the wake of a woman’s in-custody death that has gained national attention and suspicion, the Texas Commission on Jail Standards on Thursday cited the Waller County Jail for sub-standard training in how to handle potentially suicidal and mentally disabled inmates.

    The jail was also cited for failure to personally observe an inmate at least once an hour, according to the Commission’s executive director, Brandon Wood. The jail was previously cited for violating the 60-minute observation standard in 2012, after an inmate hanged himself with a bed sheet.

    Wood said he could not elaborate on the notices of non-compliance, which were issued to Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith and Waller County Judge Carbett “Trey” Duhon III.

    State standards require jails to check inmates against a Department of State Health Services database to “determine if the inmate has previously received state mental healthcare,” and to assign mentally disabled and/or potentially suicidal inmates to “appropriate houses,” among other steps.

    And now everyone’s citing her facebook posts on depression and ptsd as incontrovertible evidence that she definitively committed suicide.

  49. says

    The real Lone Ranger was an African-American lawman who lived with Native American Indians.
    The title seems slightly misleading to me. To be more precise, he served as the inspiration for the Lone Ranger. Or is that just me splitting hairs?

    The real “Lone Ranger,” it turns out, was an African American man named Bass Reeves, who the legend was based upon. Perhaps not surprisingly, many aspects of his life were written out of the story, including his ethnicity. The basics remained the same: a lawman hunting bad guys, accompanied by a Native American, riding on a white horse, and with a silver trademark.

    Historians of the American West have also, until recently, ignored the fact that this man was African American, a free black man who headed West to find himself less subject to the racist structure of the established Eastern and Southern states.

    While historians have largely overlooked Reeves, there have been a few notable works on him. Vaunda Michaux Nelson’s book, Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal, won the 2010 Coretta Scott King Award for best author. Arthur Burton released an overview of the man’s life a few years ago. Black Gun, Silver Star: The Life and Legend of Frontier Marshal Bass Reeves recounts that Reeves was born into a life of slavery in 1838. His slave-keeper brought him along as another personal servant when he went off to fight with the Confederate Army, during the Civil War.

    Reeves took the chaos that ensued during the war to escape for freedom, after beating his “master” within an inch of his life, or according to some sources, to death. Perhaps the most intruiging thing about this escape was that Reeves only beat his enslaver after the latter lost sorely at a game of cards with Reeves and attacked him.

    After successfully defending himself from this attack, he knew that there was no way he would be allowed to live if he stuck around.

    Reeves fled to the then Indian Territory of today’s Oklahoma and lived harmoniously among the Seminole and Creek Nations of Native American Indians.

    After the Civil War finally concluded, he married and eventually fathered ten children, making his living as a Deputy U.S. Marshall in Arkansas and the Indian Territory. If this surprises you, it should, as Reeves was the first African American to ever hold such a position.

    Burton explains that it was at this point that the Lone Ranger story comes in to play. Reeves was described as a “master of disguises”. He used these disguises to track down wanted criminals, even adopting similar ways of dressing and mannerisms to meet and fit in with the fugitives, in order to identify them.

    Reeves kept and gave out silver coins as a personal trademark of sorts, just like the Lone Ranger’s silver bullets. Of course, the recent Disney adaptation of the Lone Ranger devised a clever and meaningful explanation for the silver bullets in the classic tales. For the new Lone Ranger, the purposes was to not wantonly expend ammunition and in so doing devalue human life. But in the original series, there was never an explanation given, as this was simply something originally adapted from Reeves’ personal life and trademarking of himself. For Reeves, it had a very different meaning, he would give out the valuable coins to ingratiate himself to the people wherever he found himself working, collecting bounties. In this way, a visit from the real “Lone Ranger” meant only good fortune for the town: a criminal off the street and perhaps a lucky silver coin.

    Like the Lone Ranger, Reeves was also expert crack shot with a gun. According to legend, shooting competitions had an informal ban on allowing him to enter. Like the Lone Ranger, Reeves rode a white horse throughout almost all of his career, at one point riding a light grey one as well.

    Like the famed Lone Ranger legend Reeves had his own close friend like Tonto. Reeves’ companion was a Native American posse man and tracker who he often rode with, when he was out capturing bad guys. In all, there were close to 3000 of such criminals they apprehended, making them a legendary duo in many regions.

    The final proof that this legend of Bass Reeves directly inspired into the story of the Lone Ranger can be found in the fact that a large number of those criminals were sent to federal prison in Detroit. The Lone Ranger radio show originated and was broadcast to the public in 1933 on WXYZ in Detroit where the legend of Reeves was famous only two years earlier.

  50. rq says

    Point of fact, a horse is never white, it’s always grey. A very light grey, but never actually white, unless it’s albino. :) So I find it funny that the Lone Ranger rode a white horse, and at one point, a light grey one. In horse language, that’s saying pretty much the same thing.

    +++

    Osheaga’s headdress ban shows festival’s zero tolerance for cultural appropriation

    On the website for Montreal’s Osheaga Music and Arts Festival, beneath the customary rules and regulations and frequently asked questions, there is a comprehensive list of items banned from the festival premises, including laser pointers, fireworks, drones and selfie sticks. This year the list boasts a surprising addition: traditional First Nations headdresses.

    The rule is clear and ironclad. Any attendee who shows up wearing a headdress will have it confiscated upon entry or be asked to leave and return without it.

    The First Nations headdress was much-discussed last week when a young white woman donned one at the Winnipeg Folk Festival. (She also sported a bit of vaguely aboriginal face paint, as if to double down on the offence.) A few surreptitious snapshots circulated on social media, arousing a maelstrom of outrage and indignation and within hours, the festival had issued a statement denouncing such gestures of cultural appropriation and insisting that the organisers consider banning headdresses from future events. They ultimately decided against an outright ban but said they would “certainly be asking patrons not to wear headdresses” in future.

    The incident has effected more substantive change elsewhere, as music festivals across Canada continue to speak out against appropriation and impose hardline bans. The Edmonton Folk Festival revealed on Facebook earlier this week that at “this time of greater awareness” it would like its attendees “to respect First Nations cultures and to not wear any type of First Nations headdresses during the festival”, adding that these items would in fact “be confiscated by festival security” should anyone opt to bring one anyway. The Calgary Folk Festival, following Winnipeg’s precedent, has publicly implored its patrons to leave headdresses at home but won’t officially forbid them.

    Osheaga, which attracts upwards of 40,000 people to its grounds each day, is the highest-profile music festival to ban headdresses in order to “respect and honour” the First Nations people. The Facebook announcement got more than 12,000 likes in only three days – and provoked serious conversation online and in the media about what can be done about cultural appropriation. The comments lurking under the post, of course, are rife with the expected discontent and hand-wringing about political correctness. But for the most part the reaction from indigenous people and non-indigenous people alike has been thankful, even celebratory.

    Everyone Should Be Reading These Intense #IfIDieInPoliceCustody Tweets Right Now – may be a repost, sorry, feeling lazy, so worst case, you get it twice.

    The tragic and widely debated circumstances around Sandra Bland’s death on Monday have sparked the Twitter hashtag #IfIDieInPoliceCustody.

    Its conceit is sobering: Black users across the social media platform — in part prompted by the suspicion that 28-year-old Bland did not, in fact, die by suicide in a Waller County, Texas, jail, but rather by more dubious means — are advising their readers what to do if they die under similar circumstances.

    The posts amount to a series of unofficial advance directives. That they feel necessary is both troubling and heartbreaking. But considering the long list of black women and men who have died or been killed while held by law enforcement in recent years — including Freddie Gray in Baltimore, whose death sparked days of unrest in April — it’s hard to imagine many alternatives.

    24 fine and tragic examples at the link.

    New report highlights cases of police brutality inside middle and high schools. It’s not just adult sthat get terrorized.

    In a new report written by Jaeah Lee of Mother Jones titled “Chokeholds, Brain Injuries, Beatings: When School Cops Go Bad,” at least 28 cases of extreme police brutality in American middle and high schools are highlighted, including one death.

    With the United States now averaging four people killed by our police per day, more time and attention is being given to the cause of police brutality than ever before.

    Yet, another disturbing police problem has drawn far less attention: Use of force by cops in schools. According to news reports and data collected by advocacy groups, over the past five years at least 28 students have been seriously injured, and in one case shot to death, by so-called school resource officers—sworn, uniformed police assigned to provide security on K-12 campuses.

    Indeed, it was only a matter of time until police officers who were violent outside of schools began imposing their violence on students inside of schools. In Lee’s report, she details incredibly disturbing cases of middle school students being choked unconscious by officers, students who were breaking up fights receiving traumatic brain injuries after being Tasered, and even a student being shot by an officer who claimed to fear for his life while pursuing a student who had been in a fight earlier that school day.

    While these reports are disturbing, they aren’t surprising. This past week in Troy, New York, two elementary school-aged boys were put handcuffs when police thought they matched the description for someone they were looking for in a robbery—only to let them go later.

    Profiling starts young.

    Should be a powerful weekend! Join us in #STL Aug 7-10 for the 1-yr remembrance of #MikeBrown #Ferguson #FightBack365

    The Witness, on Ramsey Orta

    amsey Orta’s footage of Eric Garner’s final moments—a seemingly routine confrontation with police that in a flash turned deadly–ricocheted around the world, turning a local tragedy into a seminal moment in what became the Black Lives Matter movement. But Orta has virtually nothing to do with the protests and social justice organizations that have sprung up since. And today, one year after Garner’s death on July 17, 2014, he occasionally wishes he hadn’t been a part of it all.

    “Sometimes I regret just not minding my business,” Orta tells TIME. “Because it just put me in a messed-up predicament.”

    Orta no longer resides in Staten Island. Instead, he lives in a small, narrow apartment with his mother and brother in the New York City area and has asked that more detailed information about the location not be published because of what he claims is a pattern of harassment by police since the Garner video was published. The doorknob on the building’s main entrance is broken. Its halls smell of urine. Inside, Orta sleeps on a mattress on the floor. When he’s not in court fighting a series of drugs and weapons charges, Orta’s usually here, watching TV or on his phone. Sometimes he pays attention to the latest high-profile incident involving police and unarmed black men. Sometimes he tunes them out.

    It’s likely that no one outside of Staten Island would ever know the name of Eric Garner without Orta’s video, which became the first in a wave of recordings of African-Americans in violent confrontations with white police officers to command national attention. A month later came Ferguson and Michael Brown, then Cleveland and Tamir Rice, Baltimore and Freddie Gray, North Charleston and Walter Scott, McKinney, Texas, and the pool party. At least a dozen incidents, some recorded, some not, have made national headlines since Garner’s death. And the phrase “I can’t breathe,” which Garner can be heard repeating in Orta’s video as police held him down, has been adopted as a primary rallying cry of the movement.

    But a year later, Orta says he would at the very least rethink his decision to pull out his camera. In two separate interviews with TIME, Orta expressed ambivalence and even outright regret over getting involved. And if he had to do it over again, he says he would release the video anonymously.

    Video at the link.

    DPS: ‘Violations’ of Department Procedure in Stop of Sandra Bland. That’s great. Now bring Sandra Bland back.

    Investigations are underway by multiple law enforcement agencies, including the Texas Rangers and the FBI, into both the traffic stop and the death of Bland.

    DPS says the employee involved in the traffic stop is now on desk duty as its investigation continues.

    Additional details on the violations were not released.

    “The District Attorney and DPS have also requested that the FBI conduct a forensic analysis of the videos related to this case,” a DPS statement Friday read. “The video footage will be shared with the public as soon as possible.

    “The Department of Public Safety (DPS) values and strives to demonstrate our commitment to protecting the public through our actions based on fairness, respect and courteously serving those we contact.,” the statement adds.

  51. rq says

    Via Tony, here’s something encouraging:
    NYC Swim Team Breaking Records and Busting Myths

    And while these young people are making waves on the competitive stage, they’re also breaking stereotypes about African Americans and swimming, and setting an example that could go a long way to saving lives.

    According to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, black children ages 5-19 drown in swimming pools more than five times the rate of white children. Their lack of swimming skills ends, all too often, in tragedy.

    […]

    Samuels, 33, understands many of the challenges his team faces. He learned to swim in high school and fell in love with the sport. Some of his friends tried to discourage his passion for swimming and suggested other sports that are more traditional for black athletes. But he ignored them and competed successfully at the state level.

    He admits that the Piranhas face some disadvantages. For one thing, most of them started competitive swimming later than their competitors did. And other teams have facilities to be able to practice year-round, while the Piranhas have to give up their pool to summer campers.

    However, Samuels levels the playing field by instilling commitment and hard work in his team. During the YMCA’s offseason, they practice “dry land” swimming, stretching and weight training to improve their speed.

    He also addresses the pink elephant in the room: race. Most of the other teams—and the spectators—are predominantly white. That could create a tremendous amount of pressure on his team.

    His pep talk goes something like this: “Look, the other kids have been swimming for a long time. But you’ve put in a lot of hard work, and we’re here for a purpose.” Despite the disadvantages, the Piranhas finish at the top.

    The disparity is rooted in this country’s racial history. During segregation, African Americans had few options if they wanted to learn how to swim. At the same time, erroneous academic studies said black people lacked the buoyancy whites have. That myth, says a diversity specialist with USA Swimming, continues to fuel the misperception that black folks can’t swim.

    More at the link.

    A lot of disappointment was expressed: Chief Dotson joins faith leaders, police at Mt. Carmel in N. #STL for prayer to stop the killing. @kmoxnews
    Faith leaders in North City lay hands on Chief Dotson, pray for peace, end of murder epidemic. #STL @kmoxnews

    Sheriff: Law enforcement taking NAACP threats, KKK fliers seriously

    Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies are working together to investigate Ku Klux Klan fliers that turned up in an area neighborhood and recent threats made against the NAACP.

    Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen, Assistant North Charleston Police Chief Reggie Burgess, Mount Pleasant Police Chief Carl Ritchie, and representatives from the State Law Enforcement Division and the FBI joined Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon during a news conference Friday at the Sheriff’s Office.

    “I just felt it was important that we reassure the community out there,” Cannon said. “We are on the job.”

    Klan fliers with the traditional hooded figure were left on car windows in the Dorchester Waylyn neighborhood in North Charleston earlier this month.

    Someone also called the Charleston chapter of the NAACP several times over the past two weeks and threatened their lives, President Dot Scott said.

    “We get threats all the time, but when you get direct threats that, ‘We’re going to blow your head off,’ we need to be serious about that. … Never before have we been threatened that they’re going to kill us,” Scott said.

    Scott acknowledged that the Klan has a right to pass out fliers, “but when we know that it’s being specifically placed in black neighborhoods, they’re not recruiting — they’re terrorizing.”

    Asked how many threats her office has received, Scott responded, “so much so that we had to stop answering the phone.”

    She thanked the law enforcement agencies for not turning a blind eye to the situation.

    Post-racial America, everyone. And no, the Klan ain’t a hate group, nuh-uh!

    Black Twitter users respond to jail deaths with heartbreaking #IfIDieInPoliceCustody hashtag, with some different examples than the previous link. But maybe the same as Tony’s.

    22 Times Amandla Stenberg Was The Ultimate Carefree Black Girl, for something fun.

  52. rq says

    Fists up for #EricGarner in #NYC! He was killed 1yr ago today. #StillCantBreathe #BlackLivesMatter
    LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device/”Sound Cannon”) at peaceful #EricGarner demo. #StillCantBreathe ([camera emoji] @JamesFTInternet)

    Prayer circle for the roughly 50 protestors outside the jail. #SandraBland
    While we were in the prayer, this truck drove past. #SandraBland #WhatHappenedToSandraBland – but the confederate flag is not about racist hate, nuh-uh!

    A letter to Baltimore’s interim police commissioner from Bealefeld and Bernstein

    Beginning in 2008, the number of homicides and shootings in Baltimore began to steadily decline, culminating with a homicide rate below 200 in 2011, which had not occurred since 1977 (nor been repeated since). The strategies we employed to achieve these remarkable results have been adopted in cities across the country. They are not complicated or novel; indeed, it is public safety 101. A few are discussed below, which you might consider as you take on the important and difficult role of police commissioner:

    Target the most violent offenders. In the last few years, this has become just a catch-phrase, while the nuts and bolts to effectively target and prosecute those individuals who are committing most of the violent crime in the city have been abandoned. “Bad Guys with Guns” was a multi-layered approach to first stem the wave of violence and then hold the perpetrators accountable. We accomplished this by getting the right people in the room (patrol officers, detectives, energetic and smart prosecutors, parole and probation officers, federal agents) to identify who the trouble-makers were in communities long plagued by violence and then go after them relentlessly. We showed how making fewer arrests could actually lower violent crime rates if you focused on the few who were the drivers of the violence.

    We did not do it alone. Federal prosecutors stepped forward and became a critical component in the crime fight. State prosecutors began using more comprehensive prosecution strategies to build cases against networks of violent offenders, resulting in more convictions and substantially increased sentences. Parole and Probation and the Department of Juvenile Services were crucial in helping to locate potential shooters and their intended victims to get them out of harm’s way. We required convicted gun offenders to register, and then dedicated and committed police officers visited them at home to monitor their activities and prevent violence before it happened. And Comstat, Gunstat and Policestat provided the data to tell us what was — and was not — working, holding us accountable.

    Engage the Community. In order to interact with the community, cops need to get out of their cars, which is a challenge with a 21st century work force that is wedded to technology but often lacks the personal skills and confidence necessary in police service work. Work stations in patrol cars are great tools, but smart phones clipped to their duty belts facilitate officers’ leaving their cars and working face to face with the people they serve. And you will need to invest in training to give your officers the confidence they need to get out of their comfort zones and engage with the people in the community. Many of your officers are more fearful than you might imagine, and that fear manifests itself in aggression and inaction. Remember that policing isn’t something the community wants done to them, or for them, rather they want policing done with them.

    You will have to make a significant personal investment in time and energy in getting to know the people of Baltimore. Accept the fact that you are not from here and get busy learning the history of neighborhoods and the people who live there. They will be eager to embrace you but will quickly perceive if you aren’t authentic.

    That’s a former police commissioners and a state attorney giving advice. There’s more at the link.

    ‘Wire’ actors to deliver lines from real-life Baltimoreans, but will this mean people will actually listen and hear what is being said?

    When the national media converged on Baltimore this spring, they told stories of the protests and violence following the death of Freddie Gray. But those portrayals didn’t ring true to the residents of the neighborhoods torn apart by unrest.

    Stepping into the fray now is the cast of “The Wire,” the acclaimed HBO series that ended seven years ago yet remains inextricably linked with Baltimore. They will reunite this week in the city to depict the truth as seen by those who lived through the turmoil. And they’ll do so as part of Artscape, the city’s signature arts event — and one of the largest public arts gatherings in the nation.

    Hmm. My guess is, it will all be considered interesting art, and those who should be listening will just pass it off as nothing worthy of note.

  53. rq says

    This was a part of a series of tweets in response to the #IfIDieInPoliceCustody hashtag. I only pulled these three, but I am horrified of a reality where this sort of precaution and preparation is necessary – where even thinking it is a reality.
    I hope that every Black person has had a discussion with friends & family about what to do if you are arrested. Is there a phone tree?
    Does someone in your life have access to your social media passwords? Can they take down your FB, Instagram, Twitter accounts?
    Who are your approved media spokespeople? Do you want your random ‘friend’ or ‘cousin’ who you actually despise speaking on your behalf?
    What kind of a world is this?

    Obama to wish Jon Stewart a fond farewell this Tuesday , a bit of fun.

    Interlude: Music! 50 Cent’s Business Sense

    In an interview a few weeks ago, rapper Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson was candid about the usefulness of his tough-guy persona. “It prevents people from playing,” he said.

    Mr. Jackson grew up in a rough neighborhood of the New York City borough of Queens, sold crack cocaine at age 12, and was shot nine times in front of his grandmother’s house at 24. Three years later, in 2003, his first major-label album, “Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” made its debut at No. 1 on the Billboard charts. It went on to sell nearly 28 million copies. “I got really cool, real fast,” he said.

    Since then, Mr. Jackson’s career has expanded into acting, boxing and movie producing, to say nothing of products like cologne, clothing and audio equipment. And that, he told me, was just the beginning of his planned business ventures.

    Activist Johnetta Elzie Talks Ferguson & Black Lives Matter

    During the 2014 protests in Ferguson, Missouri, following the murder of Michael Brown by Police Officer Darren Wilson, a few activists rose from the fray. Johnetta Elzie, 25, was one of those people along with her partner DeRay Mckesson, and as a St. Louis local, she was on the scene shortly after Brown was killed and police left his corpse on the ground for hours. That fateful day of racial terrorism affected Johnetta, known as @nettaaaaaaaa on Twitter, and pushed her to become an activist, bolstering the Black Lives Matter movement with We The Protesters, Mapping Police Violence and Stay Woke, all of which have grown beyond her own expectations.

    During this year’s Essence Music Festival, I met Johnetta outside of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and made plans to catch up later. In the shadow of Sandra Bland, Mike Brown, Eric Garner and the removal of South Carolina’s Confederate flag, here is our recent conversation, edited for clarity.

    […]

    Tell me about Mapping Police Violence and exactly what you and DeRay do.

    Before we created Mapping Police Violence, we had the Ferguson Protestor Newsletter and then it evolved to be called the Protestor Newsletter because we started covering more than just St. Louis. We didn’t think it would last as long as it did or that there would be so much news about black death. It was an informative tool for people who didn’t know where certain stories started and gave updates to other deaths and their corresponding cases. It was also a good way to keep events scheduled and people’s calendars organized. From there we made We The Protesters, a tool kit center with the list of demands that we’d gotten from different cities, policy think tanks and chants. If people needed chants to set the mood of their protest, we had a list of over 50 and vine clips of people showing the rhythms of how they were supposed to go.

    Then we made Mapping Police Violence which is special to me, I love it. It chronicles all of the unarmed black people who were killed in 2014 and if we could get their pictures, it’s there along with their age and story of how they died. The site makes sure we’re telling the truth of everyone’s story. It also has an interactive map with a red dot showing everyone who was killed in 2014, which is a lot to even see and know that they all died due to police violence.

    From there, we also created Stay Woke, a survey where people can input their skill set and how they want to help and plug into the movement. So far over 5,000 people have signed up and so we’re just working on the backend to catalogue everything and hand it to the people that are doing the work in their cities and states where people have volunteered.

    All of the things you mentioned sound like a full-time job, but do you also have a paying full-time gig?

    Yes! I’ve been working at Amnesty International as a field organizer for about the last seven months.

    Are they open to all you do?

    Working here has let me know that I’m more passionate about what I do with DeRay and the rest of our team. It’s hard to care or even pretend to care about the things that Amnesty focuses on. But Amnesty does have interesting pushes coming up like a new campaign about police accountability that just launched through a report that was released about the laws surrounding the use of deadly force. It was interesting to read and learn which states even have something on the books.

    You’ve called yourself a “modern day freedom rider,” what does that mean to you in this day and age of social media, which people like Rep. John Lewis didn’t have?

    Those are really big shoes to fill. What was done in the Civil Rights movement was very important and a legitimate life-long commitment because you knew that you could be killed at any moment for doing what you think is right. It’s similar to what’s happening now, for example there was a shooting at a protest and the protesters weren’t the people shooting. It’s frightening to know that you can die for just protesting though it’s your first amendment right. It makes me very numb knowing that that could happen at any moment but you have to come to terms with it. You can’t focus on anything else but doing the work and know that if death were to happen, the movement would continue.

    You’ve said the focus of your work is to change the awareness of Americans and those on social media so they can see that the violence happening to black people is routine rather than a horrible one-off news stories about just one or two dead people of color.

    It’s a legitimate problem and it’s all about changing hearts and minds. I see the changes personally when I’m talking to my grandparents because they’re of the Civil Rights era but something happened with their age group where respectability politics really got a hold of many of them. It can be frustrating to talk to someone of that age group and say “This is what the victim did but they didn’t deserve to die.” There’s something in respectability politics that will make those people say, “Well, they shouldn’t have done this or that” but it’s like “No, you know for a fact, and have lived through it, that you don’t have to do anything for a police officer or a white vigilante to kill you and get away with it. You know it doesn’t have to be anything other than the color of your skin.” It is unlearning that internal oppression.

    There’s more at the link. I also recommend following her on twitter.

  54. rq says

    “What happened in that jail?”: Everything you need to know about the tragic & mysterious death of Sandra Bland, Salon with video.

    Waller Cnty judge: “Social media distributes inaccuracies. Only listen to our office.” Sounds like Bob McCulloch’s GJ presser. #SandraBland

    Tuscaloosa Police Department asks FBI to investigate fatal arrest of Anthony Ware, the man who died after being pepper sprayed.

    The Tuscaloosa Police Department has asked the FBI to conduct an independent investigation of the fatal arrest of Anthony Ware, the department’s chief said Friday afternoon.

    Chief Steven Anderson said TPD and the county sheriff’s office, whose deputies are conducting their own review of the death, believe this is the next logical step in the investigation process.

    Anderson also said he hopes the move will demonstrate the department’s commitment to transparency and accountability following Ware’s death.

    “We also believe this will further demonstrate to the public our willingness to be open and honest regarding the case,” Anderson said.

    Police brutality protesters now have a Twitter bot to handle their haters, a much-needed tool.

    Arguing and engaging with even a few people on Twitter can easily turn into a full-time job for activists such as DeRay Mckesson, Johnetta Elzie and others members and friends of the nonprofit group We the Protesters, an organization that aims to draw attention to police killings of black people in America.

    Enter StayWokeBot, a new automated Twitter account that will do some of the arguing for them.

    “It’s for activists or people who deal with a lot of — I would say — people who expect to be given a free education,” Courtney Stanton, co-founder of Feel Train, the coding studio that designed StayWokeBot, told Mashable. “It allows you to distribute the same information over and over again very quickly.”

    For now, StayWokeBot will mostly tweet out little rewards for anyone who follows it. Much like the Hogwarts sorting hat bot, StayWokeBot sends messages that compare new followers to icons — including author James Baldwin, rapper Nas and Oprah Winfrey — by saying things like, “You are the bearer of our tradition, you hold it in your pen. Tell the truth and nothing less, because you embody James Baldwin.” It even has one for Riley Curry.

    Soon, however, StayWokeBot will work like this:

    Say an activist tweets about police brutality, and a Twitter user responds by saying, “What about black on black crime?” He or she is arguing that black people should be more focused on the crimes black people commit against each other rather than on crimes committed by police. There are plenty of problems with the logic of that argument. But instead of tweeting at this person several times with an explanation, activists can reply by looping in StayWokeBot, and asking it to tell this person “about black-on-black crime.”

    The bot recognizes whatever phrase comes after the word “about,” its designers told Mashable. StayWokeBot will then tweet a brief response to the user, followed by a link that explains the activist’s argument in greater detail.

    “I had never even thought about a bot for that, but I thought this could be really dope,” Mckesson told Mashable. “Twitter’s space is still relatively new, you know? There’s so much to explore in it, and to explore with a purpose.”

    StayWokeBot is powered by a Google doc, which functions as its brain. Anyone with access to the doc can plug in a brief argument (e.g. why the Confederate flag is a symbol of racism) and link. Once both are inside the doc, the bot will be able to tweet them out.

    That’s actually kind of neat…! Wow.

    The family of #PaulCastaway, Native American man murdered by @DenverPolice, needs help paying for his funeral https://fundly.com/justice-for-paul-castaway

  55. rq says

    Most of Canada’s prisoners have never been convicted of anything. Why are they in jail? So no, it’s not just a USAmerican problem.

    On any given day in Canada, there are more innocent people in prison than guilty ones.

    By “innocent people,” we mean those who have been accused of a crime and are being held on remand, awaiting a bail hearing or a trial. Across the country, 55 per cent of prisoners in provincial and territorial jails are not behind bars because of a conviction.

    It wasn’t always that way. In 2001, the majority of Canada’s prisoners had been tried and convicted, and were serving a sentence. But steady declines in the crime rate and in the number of convicted offenders in prison, coupled with an ever-tightening bottleneck in bail courts, has put the country in this absurd situation.

    This isn’t exactly news, by the way. In 2013, the John Howard Society of Ontario reported that the number of accused held on remand doubled from 2001-2010, and called for reforms to the bail system. The minister of justice of the day, Peter MacKay, said it was something that “we intend to look into.”

    Unfortunately, he made the comment just before heading into a meeting with victims’ rights advocates, which said everything. The Harper government has made “victims’ rights” the cornerstone of its legal outlook. Reforming the conditions under which people charged with crimes are allowed to remain in society is not something the Conservatives have shown much interest in pursuing.

    But it’s not just the Conservatives. No federal or provincial politician of any stripe with an instinct for self-preservation would take on the cause of the accused person in this country. They would risk being branded as “soft on crime,” with Prime Minister Stephen Harper likely leading the chorus.

    We are thus at a stalemate. The people elected to lead are ignoring a crisis that needs immediate attention. But the only response from governments to date has been the construction of larger remand centres, in Toronto and Edmonton, to hold the growing hordes of legally innocent people trapped in the system. The politicians run for cover while the crisis feeds on itself.

    More at the link.

    If you want some victim-blaming of Sandra Bland, you can go ahead and read this: Suburban Woman Found Dead in Jail Had Previous Encounters With Police. As someone on twitter mentioned, they once asked an officer where they were allowed to park. That’s an encounter with the police. Also on twitter, people were wondering why a black person having interactions with the police is making news. I mean, starting September, I will have daily encounters with the police. Why does this need to be news?

    The angry Black woman narrative is used to rationalize & legitimize direct & structural violence against Black Women. #SandraBland

    Sandra Bland And The Invisible Plight Of Black Women In The Justice System

    In McKinney, Texas, 15-year-old Dajerria Becton was tackled to the ground, kneed in the neck, and handcuffed by a police officer while she was wearing a bikini. In Cleveland, Tanisha Anderson, a schizophrenic and bipolar woman, was allegedly slammed to the ground in front of her family, before dying in police custody. In Chicago, 22-year-old Rekia Boyd was accidentally shot in the head by an officer who opened fire on a group gathered in an alley.

    And in Waller County, Texas, days before she was scheduled to start a new job at her alma mater, Sandra Bland died in police custody. Officers contend she hung herself, but family and friends suspect foul play — especially since video shows officers slamming her head to the ground three days earlier.

    Due in large part to social media, Bland’s death has received a lot of attention since the video of her arrest was circulated. And the FBI has already joined the investigation into her death.

    In general, though, it is rare for black women brutalized by police to receive this much attention.

    Across the U.S., countless black women are killed and targeted by law enforcement — a trend that the #BlackWomenMatter and #SayHerName protests called attention to in April. Yet public figures — including President Barack Obama — continue to overlook them.

    “The bottom line is that in too many places, black boys and black men, Latino boys and Latino men experience being treated differently under the law,” Obama said at the NAACP Annual Convention on Tuesday. “And one of the consequences of this is, around one million fathers are behind bars. Around one in nine African American kids has a parent in prison.” While he did discuss African Americans more broadly, he only said “woman” one time — and it wasn’t in the context of black women who experience discrimination in the criminal justice system.

    Today, one in six black men is incarcerated. But the number of black women behind bars has also skyrocketed. The number of incarcerated women has increased by 800 percent in three decades, and black women comprise 30 percent of people under state and federal jurisdiction. Currently, one in every 100 black women is behind bars, and black women are three times more likely to be incarcerated than their white counterparts.

    But presidential hopefuls have ignored them as well.

    […]

    Police brutality against black women comes in many forms. In addition to being killed outright, the sexual assault of black women by law enforcement is another prevalent issue. For instance, one Oklahoma City police officer will stand trial in October for reportedly sexually assaulting seven black women while on-duty. Allegations against him include stalking and rape. Indeed, patterns of sexual assault by cops leave many black women afraid to call law enforcement for help, out of fear of being re-traumatized by sexual violence.

    And patterns of sexual harassment and abuse extends to women and girls behind bars as well. A scathing report on the juvenile justice system found that sexual abuse is rampant in juvenile facilities, and young girls of color — including African American girls — are disproportionately incarcerated in those facilities. Many of those girls are detained and imprisoned for sex offenses, even though they were sexually trafficked. A significant number of girls experienced sexual abuse before entering the juvenile justice system, and are suffering from untreated trauma.

    ”Prevailing narratives around Black violability and anti-Black racial violence pivot around Black men and boys,” Dr. Treva B. Lindsey, assistant professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies told DAME. “Both historically and contemporarily, when many people working towards racial justice around the issue of racial violence, the presumptive victim is a Black male. From lynching to police brutality, the presumed victim is a Black male. Therefore, Black women and girls are viewed as exceptional victims as opposed to perpetual victims of anti-Black racial violence.”

    In front Waller County Courthouse for #SandraBland Crowd is chanting: “We want answers” (pictures from this protest in reverse chronology)

    Sandra Bland Tried to Bail Herself Out Just Before Her Death in Police Custody: Bondsman, Mic on that aspect of the story.

  56. rq says

    Two Charts Show How the Drug War Drives US Domestic Spying. While there’s no data on race, guess who is (most likely) disproportionately affected?

    Vandalism Wave Continues as Anti-Klan Demonstration Looms

    Attacks on Confederate statues, cemeteries, flags, and monuments continues throughout the South. This weekend in Columbia, South Carolina, people will rally and attempt to shut down a KKK demonstration supporting the Confederate flag.

    In Oklahoma City, a Confederate graveyard was vandalized with red paint. A report reads: “Workers at Oklahoma City’s Fairlawn Cemetery discovered Thursday that a Confederate veterans monument there had been vandalized with red paint. The monument honors 23 Confederate soldiers who are buried in the cemetery.”

    On Wednesday, two Confederate sites in Charlotte, North Carolina were defaced. A online story reads: “Police were called to the monument near Old City Hall around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. The monument had the word “Racist” scrawled across it in spray paint. Around 2 p.m. Wednesday, police received a report that the Confederate monument near Memorial Stadium was vandalized. Concrete was smeared across text and symbols on both sides of the monument.”

    Social media is buzzing with the trending hashtag of #NoFlagginChallenge, in which people record themselves taking down Confederate flags in public. Be safe folks! Cover your faces!

    As states across the South continued to bow to pressure to take down the Confederate flag, those on the right continued to mobilize to preserve them. Pro-Confederate protests took place in Raleigh, Oklahoma City, and with more planned. The KKK continues to openly recruit throughout the South through flyers and a planned demonstration on Saturday in Columbia, North Carolina.

    A counter-protest has been called to “Run the Klan Out of Town!” A call-out reads: “We call upon all those willing and able —#BlackLivesMatter activists, community organizers, anti-racists, anarchists and other radicals, and anyone else furious with racism and the police—to converge on Columbia, confront the Klan, and defy their message of white supremacy. History has shown—from the armed standoff against a lynch mob in Columbia, TN in 1946 to the 1958 Battle of Hayes Pond, from the Deacons for Defense to the armed defiance of Monroe, NC’s NAACP chapter, from the 1979 Greensboro Massacre to the 1997 confrontation with the Klan in downtown Asheville, NC—that we must oppose white supremacist organizing actively and physically, in our streets and neighborhoods.”

    Going to be catching up on twitter in a few moments, should be interesting.

    Crowd continues to grow. The plan is to march to the courthouse from the police station in Hempstead for #SandraBland (still from yesterday)

    Dylann Roof’s Past Reveals Trouble at Home and School – not going to cite, but feel free to compare and contrast this to the NBC piece on Bland’s previous encounters with police above. I dare you.

    Texas DA Intimates Sandra Bland’s ‘Mental Illness’ Caused Her Suicide. See? It’s all too convenient for them, if she was mentally ill, they cannot possibly be at fault for anything, not her distress, not her actions, nothing nothing nothing.

    The assertion that Bland killed herself due to mental health issues is suspicious to Bland’s family, who say she would have never committed suicide. Bland had just relocated to Texas to begin a new job at Prairie View A&M University, her alma mater, and was very excited. To boot, her sister Shante Needham told press that she was pulling together bail money for Sandy, as her friends and family called her, after Sandy had reportedly been injured during her rough arrest by Waller County police.

    “She informed me she had been arrested. She said they couldn’t tell her what she had been arrested for until an hour before she had called. She then proceeded to say the officer had put his knees in her back and that she thought her shoulder was broken,” said Needham. “She said her bond was $515. And I told her that I would work on getting her out.”

    Texas Rangers are now leading the investigation into Bland’s death. However Sandy’s family, and many others online, don’t believe she took her own life, especially when her story dovetails with Kindra Chapman, another of a black woman who reportedly committed suicide behind bars after she was arrested for theft of a cell phone in Alabama. Here we go again.

    Discriminatory auto loans bring Honda Buyers $24M restitution. Post-racial America. So much discrimination randomly appearing everywhere for no reason at all, just out of the blue.

    Just this week, Honda Finance Corporation (HFC) agreed to pay $24 million in restitution to borrowers of color as a part of a settlement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Department of Justice (DOJ), after investigators discovered HFC’s policy to allow dealers to mark up the interest rate resulted in borrowers of color paying more in interest than white borrowers.

    Unfortunately, Honda’s discriminatory auto practices are not an isolated incident.

    An earlier settlement that CFPB and DOJ’ reached with Ally Bank, in which Ally agreed to pay $98 million in civil penalties and restitution, to settle claims of discrimination. Black, Latino and Asian-American car buyers who financed with Ally paid more in interest on their loans than similarly-situated white borrowers due to car dealer interest rate markups.

    In September of last year, CFPB revealed that several lenders agreed to pay more than $50 million in fines and restitution due to supervisory examinations that revealed issues of discrimination. And, a recent settlement between the DOJ and Evergreen Bank found similar disparities in Evergreen’s motorcycle lending portfolio, also due to dealer interest rate markups.

    Consumer advocates welcomed the enforcement actions but cautioned that more work still needs to be done.

    “We continue to believe,” said Chris Kukla, CRL Senior Vice President, “that the only effective way to completely eliminate the discriminatory impact and the unfairness of hidden dealer interest rate markups is to end the practice altogether.”

    “This is a step in the right direction and we urge the CFPB and DOJ to continue pursuing the remaining cases,” Kukla continued. “However dealer interest rate markups remain an unfair and hidden practice with continued potential for discrimination. CFPB and DOJ must vigilantly monitor the data for discriminatory or unfair impact and act swiftly if and when that impact occurs.”

    For the moment, however, Richard Cordray, CFPB’s Director will mark the progress made as the journey towards fair lending continues. “Honda’s proactive decision to move to a new pricing and compensation system demonstrates industry leadership and represents a significant step towards protecting consumers from discrimination,” observed Cordray.

    More on the practice and how it works at the link.

  57. rq says

    Some stuff on books. Specifically two books, and I bet you can guess which ones.
    First, PZ’s post on Brooks: The ear of David Brooks, within whose comments (via AndrewD – thanks ever so much!) one finds Listening While Ashkenazi, from Mike the Mad Biologist.

    So why is it so difficult to believe that the ancestors of slaves–who lived in a government-sanctioned and -protected multi-generational labor camp where torture and terror were finely calibrated to maximize slave productivity–might view the American experience in a fundamentally different light than Ashkenazi Jews, who as you rightly note, have thrived in the U.S. This is not simply a matter of redistributing the pie better, though that is also a factor, but a fundamental question of whether African-Americans will ever, based on previous history, be considered ‘real Americans’ with all of the benefits and opportunities that entails, or if they will remain the Constant Other, against which other ethnic groups, including ours, can integrate.

    I don’t know if I share Coates pessimism, but our ancestors’ experience does not invalidate his experience or that of his forefathers. And it is a brutal experience, one that has become less brutal, but for too many African-Americans is still brutal and is still based on them existing as the Constant Other. Nor is it simply based on the evil in our hearts: it is a deep, structural Othering, one formulated and entrenched in local, state, and federal law–and the application of that law.

    Someone who is fortunate enough to teach at Yale should be able to understand how different groups (and individuals) can have vastly different perspectives because they have had very different experiences–ones based on structural and institutional phenomena.

    And a third point-of-view, one which compares and contrasts the worldviews expressed in Coates’ Between the World and Me, and Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman. I loved this entire essay, and I would make it required reading, because interestingly, as much as we went over To Kill a Mockingbird in high school, never once have I heard an opinion from a black person on it. Until now, and let me tell you, it makes you think (if you’re an ignorant white person like me, that is). Anyway. That’s an intro.
    Between the Words and Me: Reading Coates and Lee

    In eighth grade I was introduced to the Spartan goodness of a Mr. Atticus Finch, a figure transformed from fiction to some semblance of real by Gregory Peck’s booming baritone and bookish, horn-rimmed glasses. There was also the rambunctious Scout and the constellation of White characters flitting in and out to form the story interstitium between the two. On the absolutely periphery was the curiosity of the anguish of Tom Robinson, a character for whom “busting up a chiffarobe” is the only dialogue I have ever remembered.

    That same eighth grade year, one day my father, freshly victorious over his doctoral dissertation in African-American history at Howard University, took me to the book store. It was a joy we shared from my earliest memories. Whenever I wanted a book, he took me to buy it, although I suspect that by the size of his current library that he was the main exploiter of that dynamic. For every fiction work I read from a White author, his rule was that I always select a matching nonfiction title or a work by a Black author. On this particular day I chose Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, perhaps under the guise of fooling my father and believing it had some connection to the Wells story of the same name.

    By day I read and absorbed–in a classroom in which I was one of two students of color–To Kill a Mockingbird, a story of the war between the vicious fury of violent supremacy and the deafening sound of white pity in the South. Atticus Finch may have represented a great many things, and I believe I did admire him once, but never did he represent that most critical and democratic thing–agency. In fact, as a lawyer acting as the figurative and literary mouthpiece for an oppressed person he represented the exact opposite.

    By night I read and absorbed Invisible Man once, twice, three times in the same span. I researched all of the referenced and tried to emulate all of its coolness. I devoured it. My life was lightbulbs and paint cans and jazz. From there it was not too much of a jump to Baldwin and Wright and Hansberry. In particular, I dug into The Fire Next Time with gusto, and it stoked within me the beginnings of my righteous rage and echoed my own burgeoning struggle with my faith. These books, this canon, represented the exact opposite of what To Kill a Mockingbird meant. They were freedom. They were agency. They were encouragements to find my voice and use it.
    […]

    These experiences form a rather long preamble for the events of the week: the release of Harper Lee’s follow-up, Go Set a Watchman and of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me, a Baldwinesque address to a teenage son by a man identified as the heir apparent to Baldwin by one Toni Morrison. In devouring these releases without sleep as quickly as I could possibly consume them, I awakened that deep sense of conflict and hunger that first disturbed me in the eighth grade.

    First there was Lee’s novel. A much-questioned volume, it details a perceived reversal in Atticus’s character, one that puzzled Scout (now, Jean Louise) seemingly as much as it did critics. Atticus is revealed as a staunch segregationist and a legalist, a set of beliefs that somehow allow space for both his defense of Tom Robinson in the first book and his disdain for the NAACP in the second. Jean Louise acts as the audience surrogate, expressing shock and anger at his bubbling racism and culminating in her berating him from a position of power. For some, this is a confusing and illogical turn of events. For some, it is a crucial reversal on the first book’s idyllic view of race, in portraying characters who could fight for some Black characters on some grounds but still be driven by White supremacy to defend segregation. But truthfully, the book is neither.

    Above all things, Go Set a Watchman is a case study in and a continuation of the very lack of Black agency and voice displayed in To Kill a Mockingbird. The Black characters exist in a nebula of silent parts, zipping in and out of a morality play in which the sole centers of gravity are Jean Louise and Atticus. Characters like Calpurnia are lost between Jean Louise’s self-righteous indignation and absent-minded journey to discover her true self and Atticus’s blooming bigotry, as Tom Robinson was lost between Atticus’s sternness and the near-comical racism of the mob in the first book. Nowhere is there space for Blackness to breathe, to grow, to voice itself. Perhaps this issue is a manifestation of the central problem of the book: that it was released under dubious conditions of agency by parties secondary to its authorship.

    On the other hand and as loathe as I am to say it, lest it dampens my ambition to be the best, Coates has been the major inspiration of the past three years of my writing life and was the major reason I decided to dabble in the hectic life of an essayist. He has been both an aspiration and an unreachable horizon, an easy person to defer to and one who somehow always expressed the words that were in my heart but could never quite translate via the coursing veins of my ink pen. Between the World and Me is a summation of that course. It is not perfect, and as my colleague Josie Duffy points out, it misses a good deal of the mark with respect to the disrespect of Black women’s bodies in particular. This is a vital and salient concern, and while no work can encompass the whole of Blackness, a piece that misses something approximating half of that struggle is rightly criticized. Perhaps this is a domain in which the book’s well-noted brevity is limiting, and a key caveat to any point I make about agency and voice. However, Between the World and Me does manage to manifest much of what has percolated in the back of my (admittedly heteronormative and male) mind about the leviathan of race in America. Its format-a paternal epistolary that manages to remain compelling despite a slight tendency towards recursiveness-also brings me to all of those interactions with my own father and gives me the sight beyond sight to inhabit his fear for me and the future fear for my own.

    “And I felt in this a cosmic injustice, a profound cruelty, which infused an abiding, irrepressible desire to unshackle my body and achieve the velocity of escape[,]” writes Coates in the book’s gripping and elegant first act. This feeling of the need to escape has always been the primary motivation behind my desire to write, and a reason why I gravitated towards the fantastic, first emulating Butler and Delaney before I chose to try on Baldwin. It was my yearning.

    The kernel at the core of Coates’s book is of that yearning to express. It is agency in book form, and in his choice to abandon many of the arguments and standards Black intellectual works are usually reduced to repeating, of the obligation to hope and assuage White guilt and of the obligation to endeavor to fix the hole at the center of White supremacy, there is freedom. There’s a reason why Coates’s work inspires so many writers of color to write; because his work represents a sort of freedom that we all yearn to inhabit. The endeavor to find the answers eventually answers itself.

    And I had to laugh at this line:

    [White consumers] will inhabit a world in which lawyers who took up law because of Atticus Finch will anguish, while those who took up law because of Tom Robinson will not, because they do not exist.

    Because it’s probably the most fucking saddest, most distressing line in that entire essay. Once you really think about it.

    Unarmed black man allegedly strangled to death by Mississippi police officer, Mashable finds the Jonathan Sanders story.

    Emmy Noms Set Record With 64% Gain For African-American Actors – here’s to hoping that they all win in their categories!!! (And that there aren’t too many cancelling each other out.)

    You should publish all of the names that signed the petition so we can all see who racists are. This links to a link to the article posted above by Saad about the removal of a memorial for the slave-ships, due to causing offense to white people. Apparently they’ve gathered about 40 000 signatures. Sad.

  58. rq says

    And apparently Ta-Nehisi Coates has received criticism for not being diverse enough in his new book, which I find a kind of silly argument considering it’s a personal account of personal experiences as a black man…
    But here’s someone else who says it better:
    This critique of .@tanehisicoates of him not including women is grounded in the fact that we black folks are an underfed community.
    Because we’re only allowed “one” literary voice at a time, The One is forced to include The All, even if they can’t speak for All.
    If there were a broader, diverse set of black literary voices ordained to the masses, we wouldn’t ask .@tanehisicoates to write *everything*
    I didn’t expect .@tanehisicoates to write about my lived experience as a black woman. That’s not his area of expertise. We read who he is.
    And .@tanehisicoates being a “chosen” voice by mainstream media ain’t his fault. Don’t blame him for what white supremacy limits us to.
    A singular narrative is dangerous. But that doesn’t mean one person writes multiple narratives. That means *we* uplift multiple voices.

    I posted previously an article from a black woman reviewing his book, and yes, she mentions his lack of speaking about black women. But she also wrote how she understood that. The link to Seven Scribes also does mention this critique. It is valid, but at the same time, which opinion also appeared, it’s not his burden, not his story. And if he tried, he would be criticized for speaking on behalf of black women. So the answer is, of course, to signal-boost a variety of black voices. To make them available and heard, to cover as many experiences as possible.

  59. rq says

    The Quiet Racism of Instagram Filters, which seems like something silly to worry about, but… it really isn’t.

    People often think of technology as inherently unbiased, but photography has a history of racism. In Technologies of Seeing: Photography, Cinematography and Television, British academic Brian Winston writes, “Colour photography is not bound to be ‘faithful’ to the natural world. Choices are made in the development and production of photographic materials.” In other words, what you see in a photo is never pure reality—it’s the world as someone has chosen to depict it. And for the first hundred or so years of filmmaking, camera technology chose to ignore people of color entirely, leaving photographers’ tools with built-in biases.

    The way that racism operates aesthetically is to neglect or, in extreme cases, erase whoever is not white. In the 1950s, for example, Kodak measured and calibrated skin tones in still photography using a reference card featuring “Shirley,” a white model dressed in high-contrast clothing. Ultimately, Shirley ended up being the standard for image processing in North American photography labs. It didn’t matter if the photo in question contained entirely black people; Shirley’s complexion was still treated as the ideal.

    Kodak’s film was so bad at capturing the different hues and saturations of black skin that when director Jean Luc Godard was sent on an assignment to Mozambique in 1977, he flat-out refused to use Kodak on the grounds that its stock was “racist.” Only when the candy and furniture industries began complaining that they couldn’t accurately shoot dark chocolate and brown wood furniture did Kodak start to improve its technology.

    What was the problem, exactly? London-based artist Adam Broomberg, who co-produced a 2013 show of photos taken with old Polaroid film, explained to The Guaridan that black skin absorbs 42% more light than white skin. Picture a photograph with two women, one black and one white. If the photographer adjusts the light so that the black woman doesn’t resemble a dark blob with white teeth, the white woman, as a result, will become so light that her intensity will perhaps be blinding.

    Except, of course, that black people come in a variety of skin tones, so this argument is… kind of silly, even if true for a segment of the population. Anyway, more at the link, including examples of instagram filters.

    Sources: Tulsa Deputy In Eric Harris Video Must Attend Training Class. Shoot a man by accident, take some extra courses.

    Deputies Joseph Byars and Michael Huckeby are still working for the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office after disciplinary hearings Friday morning.
    The two deputies were shown on video holding suspect Eric Harris down after Reserve Deputy Bob Bates shot Harris in April.

    A source tells News On 6 Byars got no punishment.

    The source says the Huckaby has to re-attend a “custody and control” training class, in which deputies learn how to properly arrest and get control of someone who might be fighting deputies.

    Oh, the others. Same difference. How about some diversity training? Or something on unconscious biases? No?

    Cleveland police supervisors disciplined in hiring of officer who shot Tamir Rice (document) – still waiting to see what they’re going to do about Loehmann himself.

    Lt. Gail Bindel and Sgt. Edwin Santiago “failed to adequately supervise and review an applicant’s background investigation” and were found guilty of administrative charges including neglect of duty, according to documents.

    Bindel was suspended for two days, and Santiago received a written reprimand, according to the letters dated July 9.

    Loehmann was hired in 2014, after he resigned from the Independence Police Department on his first day. The police academy supervisor there wrote that Loehmann’s performance during handgun training was “dismal,” and that Loehmann had trouble following orders.

    Investigative documents released by the Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office earlier this year said that Loehmann was rejected by at least five different area police agencies before landing a job at a patrolman in the Cleveland department.

    Police acknowledged that background investigators never checked Loehmann’s personnel file from Independence during their background investigation.

    Well, that is, to say the least, irresponsible. And probably a dereliction of duty of some kind. Geez.

    Mosby says she learned from mistakes of family members in law enforcement

    “As a child, I personally observed their sacrifice and commitment to protecting my community. I learned at a very early age that everyone makes mistakes,” Mosby said Wednesday in a statement. “I also learned about the importance of taking responsibility for the choices and mistakes that we make.”

    Since being thrust into the national spotlight, Mosby has repeatedly referred to generations of police officers in her family, many of whom worked for the department in Boston where she grew up. She has rarely discussed the troubles that dogged their careers.

    “Everyone deserves a second chance at redemption, a chance to become a better person,” Mosby said in her statement. “These are the values that I learned growing up, and these are the values I have brought to my work as a prosecutor when applying justice fairly and equally.”

    Several other members of Mosby’s family waged legal battles against their law enforcement agencies. Her grandfather, a founder of a minority law enforcement association, alleged racial discrimination in a lawsuit against the Boston Police Department and lost. Another uncle sued the Massachusetts State Police, alleging discrimination, and was awarded $212,000 for back pay.

    […]

    David Jaros, a former defense attorney who teaches law at the University of Baltimore, said issues with Mosby’s relatives do not make her “incapable” of leading the prosecution of the six officers. Many prosecutors have dealt with family problems, he said, adding that those life experiences make prosecutors better.

    “Every person brings their own experiences,” Jaros said. “We ask them everyday to put aside their experiences and follow the law. ”

    The Fraternal Order of Police declined to comment. One attorney for the six officers declined to comment; the others did not respond.
    […]

    In the 1998 high school yearbook, the 93 members of the senior class were asked to predict where they would be in the future. It said Mosby would be “the next Malcolm X, MLK and Farrakhan all wrapped into one, with dreads, and preaching so the whole world can hear.”

    Robinson chuckled when reminded last month about the yearbook quote. “I was extremely proud of her,” Robinson said. “She’s been on this trajectory since she was 10. She made me proud to be a black woman.”

    Rochelle Ritchie, Mosby’s spokeswoman, said Robinson wrote the yearbook quote and put it next to Mosby’s name. Ritchie said that Mosby’s critics would unfairly seize on the reference to Louis Farrakhan, the controversial leader of the Nation of Islam.

    Mosby and her office declined to comment further.

    She still needs the dreads, but otherwise, not bad. For starters.

    Local photographer gives Baltimore a close-up, like the Humans of New York but for Baltimore.

    Rubino said the project was inspired by the popular photography blog Humans of New York for which photo-blogger Brandon Stanton posts pictures and personal stories from people he meets on the street. Since starting HONY in 2010, Stanton, a former bond trader, has grown a loyal social media following of millions and parlayed the brand into three books.

    Rubino said Baltimore’s need for a HONY spin-off became apparent after the city erupted with riots and violence after the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old who died in police custody in April. According to Rubino, city residents were misrepresented in the news and the city was portrayed as “a caricature of urban desolation.”

    “We needed to change the narrative about Baltimore,” he said. “We thought the best way to do that would be to talk to people who contribute to the rich life in the city and give a different a view than the one represented by the national media.”

    Rubino said he has already interviewed about 100 people in about a dozen neighborhoods — including Mondawmin, Hampden and Patterson Park — and that “90 percent” of people he has approached have been happy to participate.

    “What I’ve noticed, once you start talking to them, they’ll just keep talking and they really open up,” he said.

    Rubino said asking strangers for photos “doesn’t come naturally” to him, but that the responses he has gotten encourage him.

    “When this project came up, I wasn’t sure I could do it,” he said, but “the first couple days were tremendously exhilarating. My whole consciousness shifted from ‘How am I going to deal with the rejections?’ to ‘Isn’t this amazing?'”

    Good luck wit hthe project!!

    Orders rise for Sons of Confederate Veterans license plates as several states discuss banning them. Not sure why anyone would really want to be proud of that and wear that badge with such pride.

    In North Carolina, where the governor wants to stop issuing SCV plates, a spike in requests for the license tags sold out the state’s supply. In South Carolina, where there’s no plan to eliminate SCV plates, there was also a jump in orders in June, which increased the number of active SCV plates statewide by about 5 percent.

    “We can’t run out because they are printed as they are requested,” said Beth Parks, spokeswoman for the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles.

    Despite the surge in orders for the specialty plates, which help fund the Sons of Confederate Veterans, they are not very popular amid the many license tag options offered by South Carolina. More people have specialty plates supporting amateur radio or highway beautification.

    In Charleston County, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired, just 62 of the more than 330,000 vehicles in the county had SCV license plates in 2014, when The Post and Courier obtained the county’s motor vehicle tax records. More drivers had Boykin Spaniel Foundation tags.

    The license plates, however, have proved controversial outside of South Carolina as part of a larger debate over Confederate flags, statues, street and school names, and merchandise, including children’s toys.

    Okay, and the plates actually fund the Sons of Confederate Veterans? Seriously???

  60. rq says

    Police accused in Freddie Gray’s death say they gave statements under duress

    Three of six Baltimore police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray argued in court filings this week that they provided statements to police investigators under duress because they feared losing their jobs.

    Two of the officers said that when investigators asked them to provide statements about the circumstances surrounding Gray’s arrest, they were led to believe they were doing so as witnesses — not as suspects.

    Another said she provided a statement without being advised of her Miranda rights, then was ordered to return five days later to be read her rights and provide another statement.

    Now those statements are key evidence in the case. Defense attorneys for Lt. Brian W. Rice, Officer William G. Porter and Sgt. Alicia D. White — all charged with manslaughter — have asked that those statements be suppressed, which would prevent prosecutors from using them in court.

    It is unclear what information the officers provided in the statements that Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby turned over to defense attorneys as part of discovery.

    Attorneys for Rice, Porter and White argued that their clients were not properly advised of their rights during their interrogations. Two other defendants, Officer Garrett E. Miller and Officer Edward M. Nero, made the same argument in earlier filings.

    “Because the defendants subjectively felt that any refusal to cooperate in the investigation would result in their termination, and such belief was objectively reasonable, and because they were asked to waive their Fifth Amendment rights, their statements” should be suppressed, attorneys for Rice and Porter argued in a motion.

    Mosby’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

    A response: See, it’s likely that the @BaltimorePolice who “interrogated” the six officers who killed #FreddieGray violated procedures, intentionally.
    Actually, I can see them legitimately not expecting to be charged at all, therefore willing to make statements as witnesses. Not sure where the ‘duress’ part happens (is this a legal thing?), but I can believe that they gave statements freely because, well, nothing ever happens to the officers. Right?

    Nikki Haley in South Carolina Statement regarding the out of state KKK rally at the statehouse on Saturday

    The strength and grace the people of South Carolina have shown over the last three weeks have inspired our family, our neighbors and the entire world. Our family hopes the people of South Carolina will join us in staying away from the disruptive, hateful spectacle members of the Ku Klux Klan hope to create over the weekend and instead focus on what brings us together. We want to make the Statehouse a lonely place for them. In doing so, we’ll honor those we have lost and continue to make our state stronger.
    ‪#‎OneSC‬

    (That’s the extent of her statement.)
    If ISIS showed up in front of anyone’s statehouse, nobody would be talking about any amendments. A response to people saying it’s a first-amendment issue.

    @deray the fact that we even have to type the words Klan Rally without the numbers 1955 behind them is mind boggling. #nothingschanged

    CNN video: Obama: Inmates made ‘mistakes’ like I did.

  61. rq says

    Confederate flags fly high at Faster Horses festival – Detroit, Michigan. Whee! Isn’t that, like, the non-racist North?

    The raging debate over the Confederate flag and its meaning has done nothing to dull the flag’s presence at the three-day Faster Horses country music festival at Michigan International Speedway this weekend.

    While American flags could be seen on items ranging from pickup beds to barbecue grills, one didn’t have to look far to see the Dixie flag, some on display with “redneck” scrawled across the bottom, in the camping areas, especially in the infield.

    “I really don’t have a problem with it,” said Brandon Wascha, 23, of Swartz Creek. “We’re all Americans; we’re all free to do what we want. I do what I want to do, and I’m not going to tell someone else what they can do.”

    The “come as you are” attitude that Faster Horses attendees adopt extend to the use of the Confederate flag. Dereck Lehman wore it like a cape through the festival grounds Friday. He said reaction was mixed; some engaged with him, others thought the flag was in poor taste.

    “I’m doing it because I believe in what I’m doing,” said Lehman, explaining that the flag represents a personal freedom to do what you want and believe what you believe, free of the pressures from outside influences.

    “I take pride in what I do, and I don’t worry how others judge me.”

    So fucking free, they all are.
    Which I guess it’s true. But also free from compassion, and free from a proper education.

    The Destruction of a Black Suburb, on segregation and city planning and biases within the process – pretty overt, not really subtle.

    African Americans started coming to Cincinnati more than a century ago, fleeing the violence and economic constraints of the South for jobs and homes.

    But redlining and other restrictive zoning laws prohibited black families from buying homes in many of the city’s neighborhoods. So when developers started selling off lots of unincorporated land north of Cincinnati to black buyers, it seemed like a good opportunity, one of the few paths to homeownership in the segregated North.

    The land had no paved roads and no streetlights. Few homes had running water and there was no police or fire protection. Carl Westmoreland, who grew up in this village in the 1940s, remembers watching black men rush over a hill toward a burning home with a small fire cart they’d bought. They didn’t save it in time, but the neighborhood banded together and rebuilt the house together. He refers to the community at the time as “America’s Soweto” for the primitive living conditions there.

    When it incorporated in 1947, this village, called Lincoln Heights, was the first primarily black self-governing community north of the Mason-Dixon line. (Today, the city has one of the highest concentrations of African American residents in the state of Ohio—according to the Census, 95.5 percent.) Lincoln Heights thrived for a while, producing poet Nikki Giovanni, songwriters the Isley Brothers (who wrote “Twist and Shout”), and scholar Carl Westmoreland, who now helps run the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Hundreds of residents worked at the nearby Wright Aeronautical Plant, manufacturing the B-29 bomber, and at a chemical plant a few blocks away, putting away money to improve their homes and secure their places in the black middle class. So successful was Lincoln Heights in its early days that New York’s governor, Thomas E. Dewey, invited prominent officials to New York City for a ticker-tape parade to honor the village as one of the only self-governing African American communities in the nation, according to Lincoln Heights, by Carolyn F. Smith.

    “It really was a situation where people made something out of nothing,” Westmoreland said about the suburb.

    But today, Lincoln Heights is struggling. Its median household income of $25,568 is less than half that of Blue Ash, a nearby majority-white suburb. About 16 percent of residents are unemployed, and one-third of families earn below the poverty level. The schools are bad—parents of about 40 percent of students send them to other schools in the area. The town’s police and fire departments shut down in October 2014 after an insurance company pulled the village’s insurance after balking at the number of lawsuits filed over civil-rights violations, wrongful terminations, and wage disputes. The fire department reopened, but the county sheriff took over for the police department earlier this year. The sense of community and pride that governed the town’s early days have all but disappeared.

    How one of the first black suburbs in the country fell so far from its halcyon early days exemplifies how systemic racism hampered the goals of those who were trying to build a community there. The people of Lincoln Heights might have had their own suburb, but the world made sure they had little else. From the beginning, historians say, the town was doomed to fail.

    “The notion of suburbanization, of neighborhood opportunities, all of that is embedded in that fantasy that black people can move to freedom, and we can’t,” said Henry Louis Taylor, a professor of urban and regional planning at the University at Buffalo, who wrote his dissertation on Lincoln Heights.
    […]

    When the county finally allowed the city to incorporate, in 1946, the boundaries were radically different than black residents had once hoped, encircling about 10 percent—one square mile—of the original proposal. The village now included no major factories or plants and no industrial tax base.

    “They ended up in a situation like many of these smaller suburban communities, without the type of economic framework and base that’s going to be required to sustain itself for a period of time,” said Taylor, the University of Buffalo professor. “Without that type of revenue base, these little small places would eventually get into trouble.”

    In much the same way that large municipalities such as Detroit and Cleveland started to suffer when white residents fled to the suburbs, taking with them prospective tax revenue, black suburbs such as Lincoln Heights struggled without the resources of better-paid white residents and thriving businesses. The difference is that Lincoln Heights had those resources until the residents of nearby suburbs usurped them. Lincoln Heights didn’t have to lose population to fail, its failure was written in the way the county shaped its boundaries from the beginning.

    It’s an example of the type of structural impediments that have hampered black suburbs like Lincoln Heights and Ferguson all across the country.

    And much more at the link.

    U.S. Senate passes amendment urging pardon for boxer Jack Johnson

    The amendment was introduced by Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Harry Reid (D-NV), pushing for a posthumous pardon for Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight champion, for an unjust conviction in 1913. Johnson was charged with transporting a white woman across state lines, a violation of the Mann Act, which made it a crime to transport a person between states for the purposes of prostitution.

    “Jack Johnson is a boxing legend and pioneer whose reputation was wrongly tarnished by a racially-motivated conviction more than a century ago,” said McCain in a release. “While this resolution has passed both chambers of Congress several times in recent years, President Obama has refused to take action even though the practice of issuing posthumous pardons has clear precedent. I thank Senator Reid for his continued partnership on this issue and urge the House to send the resolution to the President’s desk. It’s past time for our country to right this historical wrong and restore this great athlete’s legacy.”

    Johnson famously defeated Tommy Burns in Australia in 1908 to become the world heavyweight boxing champion, and in the years that followed he became one of the world’s most prominent fighters. In 1915, Johnson brought a woman whom he was dating across state lines. The ruling in his case is believed to have been racially charged, and the conviction destroyed Johnson’s career and reputation.

    “I’m pleased that Senator McCain and I have secured passage of this resolution that corrects a historical injustice,” said Reid in the same release. “Jack Johnson was the greatest athlete of his time, a trailblazer for African-Americans and had his life and legacy tarnished by a racially motivated criminal conviction. As we have done for years, Senator McCain and I will continue to fight to restore his legacy and ensure that Jack Johnson is remembered for what he was, an incredible boxer sent to prison by an unfair system. I hope the President will pardon Jack Johnson and repair the legacy of this great man.”

    There again a white woman appears as justification for a racially-motivated conviction against a black man. Stop doing that.

    Tamir Rice Justice Committee to present 60,000 signatures calling for charges against 2 CPD officers

    The Tamir Rice Justice Committee is planning a march and press conference next week to present a petition to Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty calling for charges against the two officers involved in the 12-year-old’s death.

    According to the activist group, the petition has 60,000 signatures.

    The committee plans to meet July 23 at 1 p.m. at the Free Stamp in Willard Park. They will hold a press conference at 2 p.m. on the steps of theCuyahoga County Justice Center and present their petition to McGinty.

    Tamir Rice’s cousin, LaTonya Goldsby, told newsnet5.com Friday that the family has been waiting patiently for the prosecutor’s office to take action and are frustrated the investigation is not complete.

    In a statement, a spokesperson for the prosecutor said their review continues and any member of the public is welcome to present petitions to the office.

    The event will take place on the eight month anniversary of Tamir Rice’s death.

    Autopsy finds Mississippi black man in buggy was strangled, death a homicide, attorney says – pathologically a homicide, but still needs to be legally declared a homicide. Let’s hope that happens.

    An attorney for the family of a black man who died following an encounter with a white police officer in a Mississippi town says the cause of death was strangulation.

    Chokwe Antar Lumumba told The Associated Press on Thursday that he was present when multiple law enforcement agencies briefed family members of Jonathan Sanders on Tuesday, telling them that he died from “manual asphyxiation,” and that the death was a homicide and not an accident.

    The finding is based on a preliminary autopsy report, according to the Jackson Free Press.

    Cop who smashed 18-year-old woman’s face on ground remains on regular duty, in case you thought there might be some disciplinary action going on there.

  62. rq says

  63. rq says

    This happened: #blacklivesmatter #blm protest breaks out in the middle of @MartinOMalley speech #nn15 #NN15TownHall
    “Welcome to Arizona where Monica Jones, a black trans woman, cannot walk down the street, TODAY.” #nn15 #blackroots
    The activist on the mike at #nn15 is @Tia_Oso. She’s a Phoenix-based organizer; she’s demanding O’Malley “advance a racial justice agenda.”
    We have to “dismantle, not reform” structural racism. The protesters have questions for @MartinOMalley about how he will. #NN15 #blackroots

    KKK Plans Rally at S. Carolina Capitol, just a Daily Beast blurb right now:

    A local Ku Klux Klan chapter is planning a rally in front of the South Carolina State House on Saturday, the same day that an African-American group is planning a demonstration in the same place. Around 200 Klan members are expected at the rally from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET, overlapping with the time that Black Educators for Justice will assemble. “Our family hopes the people of South Carolina will join us in staying away from the disruptive, hateful spectacle members of the Ku Klux Klan hope to create over the weekend and instead focus on what brings us together,” Gov. Nikki Haley said in a statement. State officials finally removed the Confederate flag from the State House last week.

    Plantation Tours: Don’t Expect to Hear How Horrible Slavery Really Was, with a couple of exceptions mentioned.

    I’m not sure how I picked up the hobby of touring plantations. I think it started with my interest in architecture—picked up from my husband, who works in real estate—and my best friend of 20-plus years, who is an interior designer. Over the years, I’ve adopted their combined interests.

    I’ve been to four plantations and an antebellum home with slave quarters over the past few months. That certainly doesn’t make me an expert on slavery or plantations. But it has given me some perspective on the popular article “I Used to Lead Tours at a Plantation. You Won’t Believe the Questions I Got About Slavery,” written by Margaret Biser for Vox.

    Biser, who described herself as someone who once “worked at a historic site in the South,” shared her observations of some white people who visited the grounds and the sometimes bizarre questions they asked. I’ve had my own experiences with strange questions on the tours, notably all from black people, and also the bizarre commentary from white—always white, always women—docents.

    A very interesting recap of the author’s experiences follows.

  64. rq says

    Not really seeing the humour here: Amy Schumer Rewrote Her ‘Star Wars’-Themed GQ Cover And Now It’s Perfect, in case anyone wants to pick apart that image.

    KKK, African-American group plan rallies at South Carolina Capitol, Reuters.

    A Ku Klux Klan chapter and an African-American group plan overlapping demonstrations on Saturday outside the South Carolina State House, where state officials removed the Confederate battle flag last week.

    Governor Nikki Haley, who called for the flag’s removal from the State House grounds after the killing of nine African-Americans in a Charleston church last month, urged South Carolinians to steer clear of the Klan rally.

    “Our family hopes the people of South Carolina will join us in staying away from the disruptive, hateful spectacle members of the Ku Klux Klan hope to create over the weekend and instead focus on what brings us together,” Haley said in a statement posted to her Facebook page.

    The Charleston shooting rekindled a controversy that has long surrounding the Confederate flag. A website linked to suspected gunman Dylann Roof, a 21-year-old white man, contained a racist manifesto and showed him in photos posing with the flag.

    Opponents see its display as a painful reminder of the South’s pro-slavery past, while supporters see it as an honorable emblem of Southern heritage.

    The Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, a Pelham, North Carolina-based chapter that bills itself as “the largest Klan in America,” expects about 200 people to attend its demonstration, planned from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
    […]

    A Jacksonville, Florida, group called Black Educators for Justice expects a crowd of about 300 for its rally, planned for noon to 4 p.m. The group is run by James Evans Muhammad, a former director of the New Black Panther Party.

    The Black Educators group wants to highlight continuing racial inequality, which Muhammad says endures despite the Confederate flag’s removal.

    “The flag coming down is not progress. It is an illusion of progress,” he told the State newspaper in Columbia.

    Muhammad said his group would not interfere with the Klan rally during the hour the two groups occupy the north side of the Capitol building.

    Kindra Chapman Found Dead in Jail Cell

    An 18-year-old Alabama girl reportedly took her own life while being held at a local jail, AL.com reports.

    Kindra Darnell Chapman was reportedly booked at Homewood City Jail Tuesday at around 6:22 p.m. on a first-degree-robbery charge for allegedly taking a cellphone from another individual. She was last seen alive at 6:30 p.m. Jailers found the 18-year-old a little under an hour and a half later, at 7:50, unresponsive. According to officials, Chapman used a bed sheet to hang herself. The teen was taken to Brookwood Medical Center but was pronounced dead.

    The Waller County Sheriff’s Office just released this statement regarding the jail commission’s findings: #SandraBland See attached text, in short: they do not believe that any of the deficiencies contributed to Bland’s death (notably, going to her in person and not having their employees’ mental health training up-to-date).

    Man Who Covered Home in Confederate Flags After Church Massacre Is Arrested

    A North Carolina man who covered his home with Confederate flags after the South Carolina church massacre was arrested on a parole violation and put behind bars this week, according to the Daily Mail.

    The man, Edward Lee West, 69, of Rocky Mount, N.C., was taken to Nash County jail on Wednesday on a probation-violation charge ahead of an Aug. 5 court appearance, the report says.

    West, who has faced weapon-related charges in the past, is serving two years of probation for a misdemeanor conviction for an assault involving a gun, the Mail reports. A judge issued an arrest warrant last week when he failed to show up at a court hearing for the probation violation charge, the report says, citing court records

    It is unknown just how West violated probation, but if he is found guilty he could face prison time or a longer term of supervision, notes the report.

    West, who has lived in Rocky Mount, a predominantly African-American city, for 37 years, made headlines last month when he increased the number of Confederate flags outside his home after the killings of nine African Americans at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. He has collected more than 150 Confederate flags.

    Good for him. Stellar work.

    EXCLUSIVE: Smile of the cop who choked Eric Garner. NYPD officer is still under 24-hour guard a year to the day since death which set off race storm. “Race storm”? Not citing.

  65. roachiesmom says

    My daughter works at Sports Clips. Her store endured epic staff drama today that’s not on topic, but while she was telling me about it earlier, she mentioned a co-worker who quit recently had seen an email from the bosses stating that when she (the co-worker) was gone, to not hire any more blacks for the store, and that this message had been re-iterated today in advance of the new hirings they are about to have to do: no blacks, and no one heavy. After daughterspawn left, I did a little digging on the internet. There’s not much posted out there, but I found this link to back up what she told me.

    http://www.hotcomplaints.com/complaint-racial_discrimination___hiring_pratices_4091.html

    If this doesn’t fully meet the requirements for the thread, I apologize in advance.

  66. says

    Oh this is rich!
    Photo of black officer helping white supremacist suffering heat stroke goes viral, says it all:

    In the wake of South Carolina’s decision to pull down its shameful Confederate flag from statehouse grounds, there has been a strong backlash from people who either (wrongly) believe the flag is about Southern “heritage,” or know damn well that the flag represents racism-inspired treason and like it anyway. Those who fall into the latter camp held a “Heritage” rally at the state capitol in Columbia and it was a predictable trainwreck.

    Among several clashes between racist groups, including members of the KKK and various neo-Nazi organizations, were moments of almost surreal disconnect between those who came to rally for hate and those who were tasked to protect them. At many points throughout the day, pro-Confederate ralliers bit off more than they could chew, only to be saved by the very people they came to hurl racial slurs at. To be an African-American officer in Columbia, South Carolina this summer should practically qualify one for sainthood. Throughout it all, the professionalism exhibited in the face of such ugly hatred is a testament to the black men and women on the police force.

    While people in full Nazi regalia or proudly showing off KKK membership badges marched through the streets, again and again black officers kept things from getting out of hand.

    In a photograph that is quickly spreading around the world and may one day become a sickening symbol of how crazy this Confederate flag backlash really was, an African-American officer identified as Leroy Smith was tasked with helping a neo-Nazi get cooled down and re-hydrated after suffering a potential heat stroke in the hot South Carolina sun… just so the guy could get well enough to rejoin his friends again in arguing Smith was a member of an inferior race.

  67. says

    $1 million bond for man charged with hate crime in pellet gun shooting:

    Michael Groh, 45, face one felony count each of committing a hate crime, impersonating a peace officer and aggravated battery with the use of a deadly weapon, Chicago Police said. He was also charged with possessing a replica of a firearm, which is a misdemeanor.

    On Friday about 12:50 a.m., police said Groh got into an argument with a 39-year-old man at a bar in the 2900 block of North Pulaski. Groh asked the other man for his citizenship status and his national origin before taking out a pellet gun and shooting the man in the face and the back of the head, police said.

    The victim was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in serious condition, police said.

    Groh was arrested at the tavern, and the pellet gun was recovered, police said. Officers also found that Groh had two metal badges, handcuffs and a handcuff key. Witnesses told authorities that Groh had identified himself as a Chicago Police officer.

    Groh, of the 2900 block of North Keating, was ordered held on a $1 million bond, according to the Cook County sheriff’s office. He is next due in court July 24.

  68. says

    Flag dispute triggers clash at South Carolina capitol:

    At least five people were arrested on Saturday as white-supremacist and African-American groups clashed outside the South Carolina State House, where the Confederate battle flag was removed last week after a half-century, authorities said.

    Beginning at noon, a Florida-based group called Black Educators for Justice demonstrated on the north side of the capitol. Tensions rose quickly when a column of about 50 white supremacists, many carrying Confederate flags and one a Nazi flag, marched toward the south steps of the capitol at 3:15 p.m.

    Lines of state police separated them from a large crowd that jeered and booed. When the group reached the State House lawn, a scuffle broke out, and police moved in quickly to keep the fight from spreading.

    While no further violence broke out, the atmosphere, on a day when temperatures neared 100 degrees, remained tense. Several times, police had to separate people shouting obscenities at one another.

    Ambulances took seven people to hospitals, the South Carolina Department of Public Safety said in a statement that provided no information on the severity of the injuries. No police officers were hurt, it said.

  69. rq says

    ‘Black Panther Break Room’: Workers Accuse American Airlines of Racial Discrimination

    The law firm accuses managers at American Airlines in Philly and D.C. of using the n-word and other offensive nicknames for areas where mostly African-Americans worked such as “jungle,” “ghetto,” “Darfur,” “Black Panther break room,” and “chocolate break room,” the report says. The employees also complain that the terminal where they worked had racially segregated break rooms, control rooms, teams and job assignments, the report says.

    A spokesperson for American Airlines denied the allegations of racism in a written statement to NBC10.

    “Diversity and inclusion are fundamental to our airline,” the statement says. “Ours is a diverse workforce serving customers who are equally diverse, and we are committed to fostering a work environment that is based on collaborative teamwork and mutual respect. We will vigorously defend our company and the hard-working employees who provide top-quality service to our customers each and every day.”

    What Happens When Cubans Speak About Anti-Black Racism in Their Country

    Soandres told me that he grew up during the Soviet Union’s collapse. He saw what it did to Afro-Cubans, and he began to wage his own personal war on the silence that followed. Listening to him, I started to feel inspired. Soandres wants to see social reform—to see the lives of Afro-Cubans get better, now. He wants all of Cuba to recognize a little reality and to join him in his personal war.

    “What we do is underground rap,” he explained. “Underground rap informs the people of what is really going on. What is being shown to us on television is not really what is going on. On television, they tell us that everything’s good, that everything’s okay, that everything is going the way it should, that the economy is doing great, that the country is getting better. But in the poor areas, this is not true.”

    “We do everything in an independent way,” he went on. “Our strategy is to get our music to people, because government institutions don’t play us. We build our own recording studios, we burn our CDs, and we give them out at concerts. We decided not to wait for major Cuban labels to tell us what they want. We create our own possibilities.”

    I asked him about the two songs I’d been told he is not allowed to perform because they deal with racism. “Well, I’m kind of allowed to sing them,” Soandres said, looking at me sideways and smiling, “but it puts the success of the concert and my colleagues at risk. The police could stop the concert right then and there. I could maybe sing that song, but the next person might not be allowed on stage, and that would be a loss for the rap movement. We want hip-hop to continue.”

    Soandres told me the government wants to censor artists of all kinds, but it also wants to avoid criticism for doing it. So punishments are not always direct. Soandres and his fellow musicians just keep making their music and testing their limits.

    The Death of Sandra Bland Isn’t Helping My Fear of Driving While Black

    I tell myself that I am paranoid. That I am overthinking things. That in human history, I couldn’t be living in a safer place and time. And yet I live in a time when Sandra Bland could drive to Prairie View A&M in Texas to start a new job, get pulled over for a routine traffic stop, have that escalate into an officer’s claim of assault, and a few days later be dead of “self-inflicted asphyxiation” in a jail cell.

    She was from Naperville, Ill. I used to go to school in Illinois, and my father graduated from Prairie View. I was there in my youth. I also once drove to Texas early in my career to take a job at a newspaper in Midland. Then, before the fear, I expertly drove the wide expanse of Texas highways and through the small, one-light towns and speed traps. My mother rode shotgun and pestered me about going the speed limit and using my turn signals.

    “What for?” I thought as I tore down another highway that seemed to go on forever, highways that Texas is full of. I was trying to get where I was going.

    “But you don’t want to arrive dead,” my mother would fret.

    She was worried about a traffic accident. Maybe she should have been worried about a police officer stopping me for speeding? But that couldn’t, or wouldn’t, happen to me.

    We tell lies to ourselves so that we feel safe. That if you just obey the laws, you’ll be safe. That if you are just polite to the police officer, you will be fine. That if you dress conservatively, you won’t get sexually harassed. That if you just go about being a good citizen, don’t curse, behave yourself, mind your manners, never get mad, don’t lose your temper, always be perfect, you will be safe.

    But that’s not even how your own brain works. That’s not how anyone’s works. One person’s polite refusal is another’s “insubordination.” Curse words erupt under duress without consciousness. We’re all one bad police officer from getting tossed to the ground. But you tell yourself, “I’m in control. I choose my fate.”
    […]

    A friend asked how bad my fear of driving was, and I joked that I had no desire to white-knuckle it to get from point A to point B. I could get over the fear, as I’d done in the past, by simply forcing myself to drive, confronting my terror, but it might take several harrowing days of driving every day to overcome my anxieties and to enjoy driving again. I could take a week or longer to not be plagued by my fears. To not have heart-thundering panic attacks. To not start crying the minute I had to pull onto the interstate.

    I want to get over my fear. Want. Desire. Would like to. But will I, when Sandra Bland and so many other black women are the victims of violence at the hands of either civilians or the police? Have my irrational fears found a small shred of rationality in this madness? I tell myself that I will be safe. That statistically it is more likely than not that nothing will happen to me.

    But didn’t Bland tell herself she was safe? Didn’t McBride? Didn’t so many others?

    We need to believe that we are safe—otherwise we stop functioning—and my inability to drive was proof that part of me had stopped functioning long ago. I want to get my power back. But how do you overcome a delusion that’s actually not so delusional?

    To feel safe, I need to believe a lie.

    From L.A. Times Columnist Who Says It’s Not as Progressive, United as It Seems

    The premise of Dexter Thomas’ argument was fairly well-intentioned: Black Twitter shouldn’t be thought of as this monolithic group that comes down on the progressive side of issues all the time.

    The columnist penned an article at the Los Angeles Times arguing that black Twitter, “like white Twitter,” is made up of a diverse group of people with a variety of different opinions about a variety of different topics. They’re not this kumbaya liberal group that is wondrously accepting of all isms.

    Eh, but that didn’t really need arguing, and the way Thomas went about proving his point wasn’t all that effective. He cherry-picked a few examples of black Twitter users being transphobic to prove his point.
    […]

    It goes without saying that people of all races, ethnicities and political affiliations can be homophobic.

    Also, no one said that black Twitter agrees on everything all the time. But the way that black Twitter users have pulled together to coin and promote social-justice movements like #BlackLivesMatters, #IAmJada, #NotOneDime, #FireElizabethLauten and #IfTheyGunnedMeDown is fodder enough to safely characterize the de facto conglomerate as an entity that generally trends progressive.

    Black Twitter was not here for how Thomas, a guy who was hired by the Los Angeles Times to cover black Twitter, dropped the ball on his first official piece documenting the group.

    Maybe Thomas should heed the advice from black Twitter, and run his analysis by people before presenting it, and if he wants to cover black Twitter well, he should learn the ins and outs of this group first.

    Akilah Hilariously Explains Racial Discussion Fatigue Syndrome

    In her latest YouTube video, Akilah Hughes of Akilah Obviously explains Racial Discussion Fatigue Syndrome (or RDFS) and how you can work through it. She asks, “Are you constantly having to explain why certain viewpoints are problematic?” If you’re reading this, I’m sure you can relate.

    In her video description, Akilah writes, “The racial climate (sidenote: what a weird term) isn’t always so great in America, and with the past two years being some of the bloodiest post civil-rights-era, you have to learn to take care of yourself and not lose your mind.”

    2 minute video at the link.

    WATCH: CBS guest whitesplains ‘Black Lives Matter’ to Gwen Ifill by likening it to Donald Trump, because that makes sense?

    Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus argued over the weekend that the “Black Lives Matter folks” represented “unreasonableness on the left” just as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump had embarrassed the Republican Party.

    During a panel discussion on CBS News about how Republican candidates were reacting to Trump insulting Sen. John McCain’s war record, Marcus suggested that the candidate had attracted anti-immigrant supporters who were mirrored by opponents of police violence against the black community.
    ADVERTISEMENT

    “There’s one other thing that happened this week that I think we should talk about,” she interrupted. “This really bizarre encounter that Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley — the two other Democratic candidates — had at Netroots Nation.”

    “You have this segment of the Republican Party that seems to be semi-large that’s supporting Trump, but then you had on the other side,” Marcus continued, motioning to PBS broadcaster Gwen Ifill, “being shouted down while they were denouncing billionaires, while they were calling for an increase in a the minimum wage by the Black Lives Matter folks. And that was just this sort of outburst of unreasonableness on the left side of the party.”

    According to the Washington Post columnist, the Democratic candidates were “saying things that the base should be cheering, but there is a group shouting them down during their speech because they are not talking only about black lives matter.”

    “Or at all,” Ifill pointed out. “To be fair.”

    “Well, they might have gotten to it on their own,” Marcus speculated. “It seemed to me, watching this week, it was like the extremes of both parties had some kind of secret meeting where they got together and said, ‘How can we most alienate normal voters?’”

    “And they did a pretty good job,” she concluded.

    Wooooow…

  70. rq says

    ‘This is not a race issue’ but ‘I am here for white power’: Scenes from the KKK’s Confederate flag rally

    Dozens of Ku Klux Klan members gathered outside the South Carolina State House on Saturday to protest the removal of the Confederate flag from Capitol grounds—a movement that gained momentum after nine congregants of an historic black church were shot and killed on June 17.

    Bottles were thrown and fists were exchanged as scores of police officers worked to separate the demonstrators from the crowd that had formed around them—a number of whom had attended a counter-rally organized by the New Black Panther Party earlier in the afternoon. Here’s what people on both sides of the police barricade had to say.

    The title pretty much says it all – it’s not a race issue, it’s about white power. See how that makes so much sense? (Note: they did not talk to any women.)

    Group raises money to help transgender inmate

    Megan Rohrer, a transgender Lutheran minister who was born and raised in South Dakota, set out to raise $2,000 to post bail for Derez Darryl Flowers, who goes by the name Meagan Taylor. Taylor, a 22-year-old cosmetology student from Illinois, was arrested Monday at a West Des Moines hotel and charged with possession of prescription drugs, malicious prosecution and on an Illinois warrant.

    As of Saturday evening, Rohrer exceeded that goal and raised $2,173 for Taylor. The new goal is to raise $3,731.20 to cover a $1,731.20 fine Taylor received from Illinois, according the fundraising page.

    Rohrer said she didn’t know Taylor’s background or the circumstances of her arrest, but she wants Taylor to be able to get out of jail, find a lawyer and “make her own decisions about how to proceed.”

    Taylor is being held in the medical unit of Polk County Jail because officials didn’t know whether to place her in the men’s or women’s section of the jail.

    More on the circumstances of her arrest: A black transgender woman is in jail because police were called on her for being transgender

    Meagan Taylor, 22, was arrested Monday by Des Moines police after staff at the hotel she was staying with another transgender friend called police. According to the police report, officers were called by the hotel about “two males dressed as females who checked into the Drury Inn,” and that “staff was worried about possible prostitution activity,” according to the Des Moines Register.
    ADVERTISEMENT

    She is currently being held at Polk County Jail in isolation, because jail officials don’t know whether to place her with men or women.

    According to the Register, Taylor could be there for months. Her next court date is not until August 25. Her bail is only set at $2,000, meaning she could post $200 and be released. But because she was a visitor from out of state, she would need someone local to co-sign, and she doesn’t know anyone that lives in Des Moines. She doesn’t even have a lawyer yet.
    […]

    While federal guidelines under the Prison Rape Elimination Act take don’t say which sex transgender inmates should be housed with, it opposes long-term isolation and recommends decisions be based on the individual.

    “There is… no good reason for a 22-year-old nonviolent person like Taylor to be locked up indefinitely,” the Register’s Rekha Basu writes. “Maybe the real offense is a private business calling police on paying guests because they didn’t conform to gender stereotypes.”

    I just… they need guidelines?

    Sheriff Says Problems at Jail Played No Role in Death of Sandra Bland – No Role At All!

    The Texas sheriff’s office that runs a jail where a woman apparently committed suicide this week admitted problems with training and checking up on inmates, but said the deficiencies played no role in her death.

    Sandra Bland, 28, was found dead in her jail cell at the Waller County Jail on July 13, three days after she was arrested in Prairie View after allegedly becoming combative with an officer during a routine traffic stop on July 10. Authorities said it appears that Bland hanged herself, but her family has questioned that account.

    On Thursday, the Texas Commission on Jail Standards rapped the Waller County Jail for insufficient training and for failing to check on inmates face-to-face every hour, and ordered it to come into compliance.

    The Waller County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Friday that the two jailers involved did receive mental health training, just not in the past year, and jailers did check in on Bland, but used an intercom system rather than an in-person inspection as required.

    “At this time we have no reason to believe that either one of these deficiencies had any part on the death of Ms. Bland,” the sheriff’s office said in the statement, adding that it will come into compliance with the rules.

    “We will be working on any improvements that can be made to see that this type of tragic incident never happens again,” the sheriff’s office said.

    Taraji P. Henson And Viola Davis Have Made Emmy History

    Viola Davis and Taraji P. Henson made history on Thursday morning when they were both nominated for Emmys in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series — Davis for her role as powerhouse Annalise Keating on How to Get Away With Murder and Henson for hers as take-no-prisoner Cookie Lyon on Empire — making this the first time ever that two women of color have been nominated in the prestigious category.

    But their feat is all the more monumental considering that in 2013, when Kerry Washington snagged an Emmy nomination for her work as Olivia Pope on Scandal, it was the first time in more than 40 years that a black woman earned a nod for heading up her own drama series.
    […]

    When Davis and Henson last made history together in 2009 — both earned Oscar nominations for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for their work in Doubt and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, respectively — they didn’t take home statues, but that could change come September.

    In fact, the 2015 Emmy nominations could see a lot of actors of color take the stage, like Don Cheadle and Anthony Anderson who were nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for their work on Showtime’s House of Lies and ABC’s Black-ish — the last and only other time two black men were nominated for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy was 1983-84 with Sherman Hemsley and Robert Guillaume.

    Well, the Emmys seem to be taking black actors and actresses seriously.

    Grave of first male slave freed by Lincoln rediscovered, experts believe, kind of random.

    Researchers believe they have found the grave of a man who could be considered the first black male slave freed by Abraham Lincoln, after tracking his final resting place to the cemetery of a former Minnesota psychiatric hospital.

    William Henry Costley was just 10 months old in 1841 when Lincoln, who was still a young lawyer, won an Illinois supreme court case freeing Costley’s mother from indentured servitude – a status historians say would have been akin to enslavement for the black woman and child at that time. That was 22 years before Lincoln, as president, issued the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring slaves in rebel states not under Union control free.

    Nance Legins-Costley and her son William were from Pekin, a central Illinois community about 130 miles south-west of Chicago, which is what drew the interest of a local amateur historian, Carl Adams. Adams, who now lives in Stuttgart, Germany, spent years researching her and her children’s lives. Last year he published Nance: Trials of the First Slave Freed by Abraham Lincoln – a True Story of Nance Legins-Costley.

    In his book, Adams writes that after winning her lengthy legal battle for freedom, Legins-Costley, who had been born to slaves and sold twice before Lincoln took up her cause, lived to a ripe old age in Pekin. Military records helped Adams retrace her son’s steps, but finding his gravesite required the help of a curator at the Abraham Lincoln presidential library and museum in Springfield, Illinois, and a historical researcher in Minnesota.

    “We are 99.9% certain that this is William H Costley,” Adams said of the gravesite.

    More on the discovery at the link.

  71. rq says

    ‘This is not a race issue’ but ‘I am here for white power’: Scenes from the KKK’s Confederate flag rally

    Dozens of Ku Klux Klan members gathered outside the South Carolina State House on Saturday to protest the removal of the Confederate flag from Capitol grounds—a movement that gained momentum after nine congregants of an historic black church were shot and killed on June 17.

    Bottles were thrown and fists were exchanged as scores of police officers worked to separate the demonstrators from the crowd that had formed around them—a number of whom had attended a counter-rally organized by the New Black Panther Party earlier in the afternoon. Here’s what people on both sides of the police barricade had to say.

    The title pretty much says it all – it’s not a race issue, it’s about white power. See how that makes so much sense? (Note: they did not talk to any women.)

    Group raises money to help transgender inmate

    Megan Rohrer, a transgender Lutheran minister who was born and raised in South Dakota, set out to raise $2,000 to post bail for Derez Darryl Flowers, who goes by the name Meagan Taylor. Taylor, a 22-year-old cosmetology student from Illinois, was arrested Monday at a West Des Moines hotel and charged with possession of prescription drugs, malicious prosecution and on an Illinois warrant.

    As of Saturday evening, Rohrer exceeded that goal and raised $2,173 for Taylor. The new goal is to raise $3,731.20 to cover a $1,731.20 fine Taylor received from Illinois, according the fundraising page.

    Rohrer said she didn’t know Taylor’s background or the circumstances of her arrest, but she wants Taylor to be able to get out of jail, find a lawyer and “make her own decisions about how to proceed.”

    Taylor is being held in the medical unit of Polk County Jail because officials didn’t know whether to place her in the men’s or women’s section of the jail.

    More on the circumstances of her arrest: A black transgender woman is in jail because police were called on her for being transgender

    Meagan Taylor, 22, was arrested Monday by Des Moines police after staff at the hotel she was staying with another transgender friend called police. According to the police report, officers were called by the hotel about “two males dressed as females who checked into the Drury Inn,” and that “staff was worried about possible prostitution activity,” according to the Des Moines Register.

    She is currently being held at Polk County Jail in isolation, because jail officials don’t know whether to place her with men or women.

    According to the Register, Taylor could be there for months. Her next court date is not until August 25. Her bail is only set at $2,000, meaning she could post $200 and be released. But because she was a visitor from out of state, she would need someone local to co-sign, and she doesn’t know anyone that lives in Des Moines. She doesn’t even have a lawyer yet.
    […]

    While federal guidelines under the Prison Rape Elimination Act take don’t say which sex transgender inmates should be housed with, it opposes long-term isolation and recommends decisions be based on the individual.

    “There is… no good reason for a 22-year-old nonviolent person like Taylor to be locked up indefinitely,” the Register’s Rekha Basu writes. “Maybe the real offense is a private business calling police on paying guests because they didn’t conform to gender stereotypes.”

    I just… they need guidelines?

    Sheriff Says Problems at Jail Played No Role in Death of Sandra Bland – No Role At All!

    The Texas sheriff’s office that runs a jail where a woman apparently committed suicide this week admitted problems with training and checking up on inmates, but said the deficiencies played no role in her death.

    Sandra Bland, 28, was found dead in her jail cell at the Waller County Jail on July 13, three days after she was arrested in Prairie View after allegedly becoming combative with an officer during a routine traffic stop on July 10. Authorities said it appears that Bland hanged herself, but her family has questioned that account.

    On Thursday, the Texas Commission on Jail Standards rapped the Waller County Jail for insufficient training and for failing to check on inmates face-to-face every hour, and ordered it to come into compliance.

    The Waller County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Friday that the two jailers involved did receive mental health training, just not in the past year, and jailers did check in on Bland, but used an intercom system rather than an in-person inspection as required.

    “At this time we have no reason to believe that either one of these deficiencies had any part on the death of Ms. Bland,” the sheriff’s office said in the statement, adding that it will come into compliance with the rules.

    “We will be working on any improvements that can be made to see that this type of tragic incident never happens again,” the sheriff’s office said.

    Taraji P. Henson And Viola Davis Have Made Emmy History

    Viola Davis and Taraji P. Henson made history on Thursday morning when they were both nominated for Emmys in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series — Davis for her role as powerhouse Annalise Keating on How to Get Away With Murder and Henson for hers as take-no-prisoner Cookie Lyon on Empire — making this the first time ever that two women of color have been nominated in the prestigious category.

    But their feat is all the more monumental considering that in 2013, when Kerry Washington snagged an Emmy nomination for her work as Olivia Pope on Scandal, it was the first time in more than 40 years that a black woman earned a nod for heading up her own drama series.
    […]

    When Davis and Henson last made history together in 2009 — both earned Oscar nominations for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for their work in Doubt and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, respectively — they didn’t take home statues, but that could change come September.

    In fact, the 2015 Emmy nominations could see a lot of actors of color take the stage, like Don Cheadle and Anthony Anderson who were nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for their work on Showtime’s House of Lies and ABC’s Black-ish — the last and only other time two black men were nominated for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy was 1983-84 with Sherman Hemsley and Robert Guillaume.

    Well, the Emmys seem to be taking black actors and actresses seriously.

    Grave of first male slave freed by Lincoln rediscovered, experts believe, kind of random.

    Researchers believe they have found the grave of a man who could be considered the first black male slave freed by Abraham Lincoln, after tracking his final resting place to the cemetery of a former Minnesota psychiatric hospital.

    William Henry Costley was just 10 months old in 1841 when Lincoln, who was still a young lawyer, won an Illinois supreme court case freeing Costley’s mother from indentured servitude – a status historians say would have been akin to enslavement for the black woman and child at that time. That was 22 years before Lincoln, as president, issued the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring slaves in rebel states not under Union control free.

    Nance Legins-Costley and her son William were from Pekin, a central Illinois community about 130 miles south-west of Chicago, which is what drew the interest of a local amateur historian, Carl Adams. Adams, who now lives in Stuttgart, Germany, spent years researching her and her children’s lives. Last year he published Nance: Trials of the First Slave Freed by Abraham Lincoln – a True Story of Nance Legins-Costley.

    In his book, Adams writes that after winning her lengthy legal battle for freedom, Legins-Costley, who had been born to slaves and sold twice before Lincoln took up her cause, lived to a ripe old age in Pekin. Military records helped Adams retrace her son’s steps, but finding his gravesite required the help of a curator at the Abraham Lincoln presidential library and museum in Springfield, Illinois, and a historical researcher in Minnesota.

    “We are 99.9% certain that this is William H Costley,” Adams said of the gravesite.

    More on the discovery at the link.

  72. rq says

    ‘This is not a race issue’ but ‘I am here for white power’: Scenes from the KKK’s Confederate flag rally

    Dozens of Ku Klux Klan members gathered outside the South Carolina State House on Saturday to protest the removal of the Confederate flag from Capitol grounds—a movement that gained momentum after nine congregants of an historic black church were shot and killed on June 17.

    Bottles were thrown and fists were exchanged as scores of police officers worked to separate the demonstrators from the crowd that had formed around them—a number of whom had attended a counter-rally organized by the New Black Panther Party earlier in the afternoon. Here’s what people on both sides of the police barricade had to say.

    The title pretty much says it all – it’s not a race issue, it’s about white power. See how that makes so much sense? (Note: they did not talk to any women.)

    Group raises money to help transgender inmate

    Megan Rohrer, a transgender Lutheran minister who was born and raised in South Dakota, set out to raise $2,000 to post bail for Derez Darryl Flowers, who goes by the name Meagan Taylor. Taylor, a 22-year-old cosmetology student from Illinois, was arrested Monday at a West Des Moines hotel and charged with possession of prescription drugs, malicious prosecution and on an Illinois warrant.

    As of Saturday evening, Rohrer exceeded that goal and raised $2,173 for Taylor. The new goal is to raise $3,731.20 to cover a $1,731.20 fine Taylor received from Illinois, according the fundraising page.

    Rohrer said she didn’t know Taylor’s background or the circumstances of her arrest, but she wants Taylor to be able to get out of jail, find a lawyer and “make her own decisions about how to proceed.”

    Taylor is being held in the medical unit of Polk County Jail because officials didn’t know whether to place her in the men’s or women’s section of the jail.

    More on the circumstances of her arrest: A black transgender woman is in jail because police were called on her for being transgender

    Meagan Taylor, 22, was arrested Monday by Des Moines police after staff at the hotel she was staying with another transgender friend called police. According to the police report, officers were called by the hotel about “two males dressed as females who checked into the Drury Inn,” and that “staff was worried about possible prostitution activity,” according to the Des Moines Register.

    She is currently being held at Polk County Jail in isolation, because jail officials don’t know whether to place her with men or women.

    According to the Register, Taylor could be there for months. Her next court date is not until August 25. Her bail is only set at $2,000, meaning she could post $200 and be released. But because she was a visitor from out of state, she would need someone local to co-sign, and she doesn’t know anyone that lives in Des Moines. She doesn’t even have a lawyer yet.
    […]

    While federal guidelines under the Prison Rape Elimination Act take don’t say which sex transgender inmates should be housed with, it opposes long-term isolation and recommends decisions be based on the individual.

    “There is… no good reason for a 22-year-old nonviolent person like Taylor to be locked up indefinitely,” the Register’s Rekha Basu writes. “Maybe the real offense is a private business calling police on paying guests because they didn’t conform to gender stereotypes.”

    I just… they need guidelines?

    Sheriff Says Problems at Jail Played No Role in Death of Sandra Bland – No Role At All!

    The Texas sheriff’s office that runs a jail where a woman apparently committed suicide this week admitted problems with training and checking up on inmates, but said the deficiencies played no role in her death.

    Sandra Bland, 28, was found dead in her jail cell at the Waller County Jail on July 13, three days after she was arrested in Prairie View after allegedly becoming combative with an officer during a routine traffic stop on July 10. Authorities said it appears that Bland hanged herself, but her family has questioned that account.

    On Thursday, the Texas Commission on Jail Standards rapped the Waller County Jail for insufficient training and for failing to check on inmates face-to-face every hour, and ordered it to come into compliance.

    The Waller County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Friday that the two jailers involved did receive mental health training, just not in the past year, and jailers did check in on Bland, but used an intercom system rather than an in-person inspection as required.

    “At this time we have no reason to believe that either one of these deficiencies had any part on the death of Ms. Bland,” the sheriff’s office said in the statement, adding that it will come into compliance with the rules.

    “We will be working on any improvements that can be made to see that this type of tragic incident never happens again,” the sheriff’s office said.

    Taraji P. Henson And Viola Davis Have Made Emmy History

    Viola Davis and Taraji P. Henson made history on Thursday morning when they were both nominated for Emmys in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series — Davis for her role as powerhouse Annalise Keating on How to Get Away With Murder and Henson for hers as take-no-prisoner Cookie Lyon on Empire — making this the first time ever that two women of color have been nominated in the prestigious category.

    But their feat is all the more monumental considering that in 2013, when Kerry Washington snagged an Emmy nomination for her work as Olivia Pope on Scandal, it was the first time in more than 40 years that a black woman earned a nod for heading up her own drama series.
    […]

    When Davis and Henson last made history together in 2009 — both earned Oscar nominations for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for their work in Doubt and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, respectively — they didn’t take home statues, but that could change come September.

    In fact, the 2015 Emmy nominations could see a lot of actors of color take the stage, like Don Cheadle and Anthony Anderson who were nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for their work on Showtime’s House of Lies and ABC’s Black-ish — the last and only other time two black men were nominated for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy was 1983-84 with Sherman Hemsley and Robert Guillaume.

    Well, the Emmys seem to be taking black actors and actresses seriously.

    Grave of first male slave freed by Lincoln rediscovered, experts believe, kind of random.

    Researchers believe they have found the grave of a man who could be considered the first black male slave freed by Abraham Lincoln, after tracking his final resting place to the cemetery of a former Minnesota psychiatric hospital.

    William Henry Costley was just 10 months old in 1841 when Lincoln, who was still a young lawyer, won an Illinois supreme court case freeing Costley’s mother from indentured servitude – a status historians say would have been akin to enslavement for the black woman and child at that time. That was 22 years before Lincoln, as president, issued the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring slaves in rebel states not under Union control free.

    Nance Legins-Costley and her son William were from P-kin, a central Illinois community about 130 miles south-west of Chicago, which is what drew the interest of a local amateur historian, Carl Adams. Adams, who now lives in Stuttgart, Germany, spent years researching her and her children’s lives. Last year he published Nance: Trials of the First Slave Freed by Abraham Lincoln – a True Story of Nance Legins-Costley.

    In his book, Adams writes that after winning her lengthy legal battle for freedom, Legins-Costley, who had been born to slaves and sold twice before Lincoln took up her cause, lived to a ripe old age in P-kin. Military records helped Adams retrace her son’s steps, but finding his gravesite required the help of a curator at the Abraham Lincoln presidential library and museum in Springfield, Illinois, and a historical researcher in Minnesota.

    “We are 99.9% certain that this is William H Costley,” Adams said of the gravesite.

    More on the discovery at the link.

  73. rq says

    Okay, my previous comment might appear three times at some point. It had no bad words in it, but it won’t go through and I’m not sure why. Could be a bad link. Anyway, look for it later.

    UPDATED: In Contentious Netroots Speech, Bernie Sanders Shouts Over #BlackLivesMatter Protestors

    Facing raucous #BlackLivesMatter protestors who shut down Martin O’Malley’s interview at Netroots Nation just moments before, Bernie Sanders shouted over the protestors and stuck to his script rather than address their concerns directly.

    As protesters demanded answers about what he would do as president to address the epidemic of police violence against black men and women, Sanders largely dismissed them. “Of course black lives matter,” Sanders said. “I’ve been fighting for civil rights for 50 years.” He also spoke about his record as mayor of Burlington, Vermont encouraging community policing. But he didn’t offer specific plans to address police brutality.

    Instead, Sanders stuck largely to his script, talking about the minimum wage, college affordability, income inequality, and corporate power. He often raised his voice to be heard over the near-continuous chants of the protestors in the audience.

    The protests, clearly well-planned out beforehand, began during former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley‘s interview with immigration activist and journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, with dozens of people chanting about the people killed in police custody. One protestor, Tia Oso, was invited onto the stage and spoke for about 10 minutes as O’Malley stood waiting patiently for the protests to end.

    After another protestor, Patrisse Cullors, asked O’Malley what his plans were to end the brutality, O’Malley listed what he would do as president, including funding detectives for police forces to investigate complaints of police violence.

    But O’Malley had a misstep, too, saying “black lives matter, white lives matter, all lives matter,” a statement activists in the #BlackLivesMatter movement view as erasing the concerns specific to people of color.

    UPDATE: At a roundtable later in the day, O’Malley was asked about his “all lives matter” remarks. “It was a mistake, and I shouldn’t have said it,” he told the attendees.

    Sanders’ supporters keep citing his past record in civil rights. Maybe he should try doing better right now, too.

    15 pages deep in Between The World And Me and TNC has spoke on Renisha McBride,Marlene Pinnock, the women in his neighborhood & his grandma, for those who decry the lack of women in his book – ah, but how are those women shown?

    And of course there’s a response: In Ta-Nehisi Coates’ New Book, It’s Clear All the Blacks Are Still Men

    Baldwin’s poignant and, oftentimes, painful letter went on to be the cornerstone of The Fire Next Time, which shone a spotlight on America’s inability to deal with its deep-seated racism. These days, what the world has done to black folks is evident in the myriad unarmed black women and men cut down by those in power, and our defiant plea that no matter what happens to us, black lives still matter.

    Against this backdrop of extrajudicial killings and massive protests, The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates took a cue from Baldwin and penned a letter to his 15-year-old son, Samori, about America’s treatment of its black citizens.

    The result, Coates’ latest tome, Between the World and Me, takes an unflinching look at America and its mythological dream. Dreams we’ve been sold since birth—of equality, of access, of the chance to achieve. These dreams have been handed down through folklore, through spirituals, through calls for freedom, through sanitized Martin Luther King Jr. quotes. But as Coates writes, “The Dream rests on our backs, the bedding made from our bodies.” The dream, he surmises, just doesn’t exist for black people in America.

    Coates’ discussion about what America has built on the backs of black bodies has been hailed as revelatory. Critics have called the book “extraordinary” and “essential.” Toni Morrison, matriarch of the black canon, said it is “required reading” and proclaimed Coates heir to Baldwin’s venerable legacy. But like Baldwin, and so many other revered writers and thinkers who have grappled with being black in America—from Frederick Douglass and W.E.B. Du Bois to Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison—Coates’ exploration of the black experience once again sidelines women.

    In Between the World and Me we get a potent, full-throated description of young men and boys who stumble, fight and in some cases f–k their way through America, attempting to negotiate a world that is built on rendering them powerless. The young men of Coates’ youth “transmuted their fear into rage,” taking out their aggressions on one another in neighborhood battles for respect that the outside world refused to give.

    But what of the women? In Between the World and Me, black women are footnotes to the men’s stories—baby mamas, lovers, mothers, classmates, around-the-way girls, grieving mothers. As Coates recounts a world full of complex black men carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders, the same can’t be said for the women who bop down the same blocks, negotiate the same demons and are often victimized by the same men.

    As one reads Between the World and Me, it’s easy to get caught up in Coates’ brutally descriptive prose and his startling assertions about whiteness. At times I found myself getting lost in his world, and his ongoing conversation with his son hit me in the heart as a mother. Indeed, Coates is a writer’s writer whose pen game is so strong, I almost forgot that the black women in Between the World and Me are relegated to the same margins from which bell hooks hoped to escape.

    To be clear, Coates’ book is intensely personal, so his perspective as a black man writing to and about black men is somewhat expected. As he discusses the effects of systemic racism and capitalism on black bodies, he does so through the prism of his own life growing up in West Baltimore, attending Howard University and working as a writer in New York City. Still, I’m disappointed that yet another widely praised, “must-read” book about the black experience in America treats women like satellites of their more important male counterparts.
    […]

    As I read Coates’ book, I couldn’t help wondering why black female writers aren’t lavished with the same level of pomp and circumstance given to black male writers who write about race—or hailed as the second coming of Baldwin. After all, Coates isn’t the only person grappling with these issues today. In fact, black female writers, like Michelle Alexander, Nell Painter and Isabel Wilkerson—three women he’s mentioned in his blog—heavily influenced his work.

    Though some will assert that Coates’ book is one man’s perspective on the world, the accolades given to Between the World and Me have transformed this slim volume into more than just a memoir; rather, it’s a meditation on what it means to be black in America today. And apparently, 40 years after the inception of the Combahee River Collective, all the blacks are still men.

    Mother Morrison was right: Coates’ ambitious book is required reading, but not to understand the “black experience.” For that you’ll have to read his book in tandem with the writings of black female scholars like Barbara Ransby, Crystal Feimster, Deborah Gray White, Tamara Winfrey Harris and Blair L.M. Kelley. Only then will a fuller picture of black life start to come into view.

    Noted!

    A pro-police rally a week after @DenverPolice murdered #PaulCastaway is basically a rally celebrating such violence. #DefendDenver
    We have totally shut down this pro pig rally

    Update on #BrandonClaxton, who was shot & paralyzed by @SLMPD July 11. #STL #Ferguson #BlackLivesMatter

  74. says

    For anyone (like me) who might not know the Combahee Rive Collective mentioned in rq’s comment above:

    The Combahee River Collective, founded by black feminists and lesbians in Boston, Massachusetts in 1974, was best known for its Combahee River Collective Statement. This document was one of the earliest explorations of the intersection of multiple oppressions, including racism and heterosexism. For the first time in history, black women openly and unapologetically communicated their sexual orientations in the midst of their social justice work, no longer trading their silence for permission to engage in political struggle. The Collective’s name refers to a resistance action by Harriet Tubman in 1863 in South Carolina, the Combahee River Raid. Tubman freed more that 750 slaves in this unique military campaign, the only one in U.S. history conceived and directed by a woman. After attending the 1973 National Black Feminist Organization’s (NBFO) regional conference, the Collective’s founders began meeting on their own in Boston in 1974. They experienced much disillusionment with the second wave of American feminism from the 1960s along with the civil rights, black nationalism, and Black Panther movements. They thus knew from the beginning that their new platform would include struggles against racial, sexual, heterosexual, and class oppression. By summer of the Collective’s first year, the members broke from the NBFO to become a separate black feminist group. The group initially focused on consciousness-raising among black feminists and black women. Eventually they faced internal disagreements that reflected class and political differences among the members. Demita Frazier, Beverly Smith, and Barbara Smith were the primary authors of the Combahee River Collective Statement in 1977. They articulated the concept of multiple oppressions, critiquing both sexual oppression in the black community and racism within the wider feminist movement. The authors focused on identity politics and challenging racial-sexual oppressions. They sought to destroy what they felt were the related evils of capitalism, imperialism, and patriarchy while rejecting the belief in Lesbian separatism. Finally their statement acknowledged the difficulties black women faced in their grassroots organizing efforts due to their multiple oppressions. The Collective sponsored seven black feminist retreats between 1977 and 1980. These retreats, held mainly along the east coast, drew thousands of women. The meetings promoted consciousness-raising but they also allowed the gathering of information and generated needed support for many women who, heretofore, had worked in isolation. One example of the impact of their work came in 1979, after the murder of 12 African American women in Boston. In response, the Collective organized and linked coalitions across the community in a bi-racial effort to address this tragedy. The Combahee River Collective disbanded in 1980. Their greatest impact was in preparing the way for current-day community organizing among people of color who face both sexual and racial oppression.

  75. rq says

    Report on evidence found at Walter Scott scene helps decipher video of shooting

    The supplemental incident reports from police detectives and supervisors give details about evidence found at the scene. Released after a request from The Post and Courier, they are some of the first records that help interpret the cellphone video showing officer Michael Slager opening fire as Scott tried to run away on April 4.

    North Charleston detectives found two discharged Taser cartridges, Scott’s hat, some keys and shell casings, but what’s missing from their observations — the stun gun — indicated that Slager picked up the device before they arrived. Officers are trained to secure any loose weapons at a scene.

    What happened with the Taser was the focus of wide public speculation when the bystander’s video surfaced three days after Scott’s death, renewing nationwide scrutiny on officers’ use of deadly force on black men. The footage appears to show Slager’s Taser falling during the fight. After the shooting, Slager fetches it and drops it near Scott’s body, only to pick it up again seconds later.

    Neither Slager’s attorney, Andy Savage of Charleston, nor a spokesman from the State Law Enforcement Division, which investigated the shooting, would comment on the documents. Slager remains jailed without bail on a murder charge.

    The evidence that would be documented in the reports gave pause for family members and other onlookers who showed up at the scene that day. The distance between the site of the struggle and where Scott fell prompted suspicions of a North Charleston Police Department account that the 50-year-old man posed a threat to Slager when he was killed.

    There’s a very fine and detailed account of what happens to the taser in the video at the link.

    The confederate flag protests have gone from ‘it’s not racist!’ to ‘fuck it we’re actual Nazis’ in like a week. See photo.

    Black Police Applicant Frustrated by Opaque Hiring Process

    The newscast described the furor that erupted last month after Police Commissioner William J. Bratton cited criminal records of young black men as an obstacle to the department’s efforts to recruit African-Americans. Mr. Douglas, a 28-year-old black college graduate who is also a sergeant in the National Guard, knew the department’s problems ran far deeper.

    Mr. Douglas, who does not have a criminal record, passed the police officer exam in 2011. He went through orientation and started undergoing the required background checks in 2013. Then, the process stopped cold. No emails. No calls. No explanations. Silence. For a year and a half.

    This month, Mr. Douglas wrote to me, at a loss for what had gone wrong. He had no idea that his case highlighted administrative problems in the hiring process that have stymied many qualified African-American applicants, even as officials strive to diversify the department.

    Generations of New Yorkers have staked their middle-class dreams on passing the police test and getting through the long and sometimes bewildering hiring process. (Police officers earn a total compensation package of $90,829 annually after five and a half years. That does not include overtime.)

    In a statement posted on the department’s website last month, in which he sought to clarify his remarks about African-American recruits, Mr. Bratton said that while “young men with felony records do reduce the available pool of black police candidates,” the “recruiting challenge stems much more from problems with our own recruiting system.”

    The hiring process can take four years or more, Mr. Bratton said, leaving applicants who are unfamiliar with the system feeling adrift and discouraged.

    White applicants, who are far more likely than their black counterparts to have relatives, friends and neighbors on the force, often know someone who can help navigate the bureaucracy. By contrast, many African-Americans end up dropping out of the application process, police officials say.

    The statistics are stark: 55 percent of white candidates who pass the police exam get jobs with the department, according to figures released by the department last month. Of the African-Americans who pass the test, 9 percent get hired. Nine percent.

    Some of those black men and women who passed the test may have been disqualified by medical or psychological issues or because they lacked the 60 college credits required, officials say. But Mr. Bratton pointed to what he described as the “failings of the recruitment process” as a key barrier.

    Eliminating such hurdles is critical, officials say, particularly at a time of increased tensions between the police and minority communities and when the number of black graduates from the Police Academy has fallen sharply over the past decade.

    Lots more at the link.

    Police Release Video of Man Who Died After Being Pepper Sprayed – haven’t watched it, so I can’t really comment on anything within. Anthony Ware.

    My favorite thing from Comic Con was this print by @GynoStar of @BreeNewsome’s textbook act of civil disobedience.

    Fetty Wap’s Tweaked Sound Yields Hit in ‘Trap Queen’

    Last year, Fetty Wap released his debut single, “Trap Queen,” a serenade directed at a woman who remains true even in difficult circumstances. From its opening wink — “I’m like, ‘Hey, what’s up? Hello.’ ” — to its highly digitally processed cheerful boasts of bonding over illicit activities, it’s almost saccharine.

    And sticky, too: “Trap Queen” went to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, and it’s now at No. 5, after 24 weeks on the chart.

    That meant that the odd opportunities began to roll in, like the Adidas Originals-branded Songs From Scratch series, which pairs a rapper and an electronic music producer.

    In the video, posted in March, there was Fetty Wap, in a shiny red three-stripe tracksuit and a pair of Yeezy 750 Boosts, trying to find his way into a beat by Baauer, the producer who’s been trying to dodge the long shadow of “Harlem Shake” for the last three years.

    On record, Fetty Wap’s voice is unsteady, almost silly. It’s full of character and irregularities.
    […]

    “Trap Queen” is a joyous song about how in hard times, true love is loyalty, and Fetty Wap sings it with almost Disney-like glee.

    He and his partner cook and sell drugs — “I just want to chill, got a sack for us to roll/Married to the money, introduced her to my stove/Showed her how to whip it, now she remixed it for low.” Then he and the queen of his drug house exuberantly spend the spoils: “I just might snatch up a ’rrari and buy my boo a Lamb’/I might just snatch her a necklace, drop a couple on a ring.”

    In a promotional video posted last year, when he was still an unknown, he called the style “ignorant R&B.” And while it does blur the lines between genres, “Trap Queen” is a tender, hardscrabble hip-hop love song, every bit as essential as Method Man and Mary J. Blige’s “I’ll Be There for You/You’re All I Need to Get By” was in 1995.

  76. says

    Actor Matt McGorry weighs in on ‘Black Lives Matter’ vs ‘All Lives Matter:

    After discussing everything from female nipple censorship to awareness of transgender issues, noted feminist Matt McGorry has weighed in on a new social issue: the Black Lives Matter movement.

    The movement was originally born from outrage over the number of black Americans killed every year by police, and some have responded by using the phrase “All Lives Matter” instead. The Orange is the New Black and How to Get Away With Murder actor took to Twitter and Instagram to show his support for “Black Lives Matter” and discuss how using the phrase “All Lives Matter” undermines the movement’s effectiveness.

    “For people who think they are being more inclusive by saying #AllLivesMatter in response to #BlackLivesMatter, they are in reality (un)consciously undermining the purpose of the moment because THIS particular movement is about SPECIFIC issues, as any decently effective movement is,” McGorry tweeted.

    He’s a white guy. I really do appreciate it when white people use their privilege to speak up in favor of anti-racist social justice movements. And it appears his feminism is intersectional. How nice!

  77. rq says

  78. rq says

    Sanders and O’Malley Stumble During Black Lives Matter Protest

    Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley was midsentence when the chanting began. “What side are you on black people, what side are you on!” rang the chorus of around four dozen mostly black protesters streaming into a convention hall in Phoenix, Arizona, on Saturday.

    A woman named Tia Oso grabbed the microphone as the protestors stormed the room.

    “We are going to hold this space and acknowledge the names of black women who have died in police custody, and then Governor O’Malley we do have questions for you!” Oso said as the former two-term governor and his interviewer, Jose Antonio Vargas, watched helplessly. “As leader of this country will you advance an agenda that will dismantle structural racism in this country?” Oso asked.

    “Yes,” O’Malley managed to answered, before he was drowned out again.

    O’Malley was speaking at Netroots Nation, the country’s largest gathering of progressive activists when the proceedings broke down in a cacophony of boos, cheers and heckles on Saturday. Shortly afterward, Bernie Sanders, another Democratic candidate for president, was also silenced on the same stage by the group of Black Lives Matter protesters. Chanting, the activists shouted out the names of black women who have died in police custody and peppered the candidates with questions about their civil rights records.

    A sea of mostly white progressives, including unions, labororers, bloggers, activists and musicians sat watching the drama unfold.
    […]

    “Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter,” O’Malley said to boos and jeers.

    After O’Malley exited, Sanders took the stage and flashed with annoyance. “If you don’t want me to be here that’s okay,” he said. “I don’t want to out-scream you.”

    The Democratic presidential candidates have all addressed race on the campaign trail, each in their own way. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—who was absent from the Phoenix conference—has called for automatic voter registration and fundamentally reforming the criminal justice system. Sanders has proposed for a massive jobs programs and raising the minimum wage, and O’Malley has discussed reforming policing and enhancing civilian review boards, among other measures.
    […]

    O’Malley stood mutely watching for some ten minutes as protestors jeered, and when he finally edged in a word, he spoke broadly about “all of the lives that been lost to violence” and aroused the protestors anger by saying “all lives matter.” (O’Malley later said he “meant no disrespect.”)

    Despite watching O’Malley fumble, Sander immediately began with his prepared stump speech, criticizing the media and calling for a political revolution, trying to speak over the protesters. “What are we doing here?” he grumbled to Vargas, who was unable to control the crowd. Halfway through his time, Sanders looked at the protesters and finally said “Black people are dying in this country because we have a criminal justice system that is out of control.”

    Even at Netroots Nation, a Shangri-La for progressive idealism where protesters in the hot Phoenix sun pass around sunscreen and water bottles and gather afterwards for group meditation sessions, some attendees were flummoxed by the outpouring of racial anger. Many in the crowd said later they were confused and uncomfortable, though sympathetic. As the protesters chanted, one man called out “Let the Governor speak!”
    […]

    “We have to center this conversation around blackness and anti-blackness. We cannot keep disguising structural racism as income inequality,” Angela Peoples, co-director of GetEqual and one of the hecklers, said afterward in an interview. “What we saw at this conference was a lack of acknowledgement of movement for black lives.”

    The organizers of the conference said that racial justice stands at the center of Netroots Nation.

    “Although we wish the candidates had more time to respond to the issues, what happened today is reflective of an urgent moment that America is facing today,” said a spokeswoman for Netroots Nation. “Netroots Nation stands in solidarity with all people seeking human rights.”

    The Netroots Nation conference featured a number of panels on racism, including ones called “Building Black-Brown Coalitions,” “Examining Racial and Gender Bias,” “Reclaiming Media in the new Dawn of Black Liberation” and numerous others. A day earlier, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren told a crowd to loud cheers that “black lives matter,” marking an important moment at the conference.

    But Black Lives Matter activists are calling on the presidential candidates to make racial justice a central part of their campaigns, and demanded more from the Netroots organizers.

    “They did not answer any of our questions,” Monica Simpson, one of the Black Lives Matter organizers said of Sanders and O’Malley. “Race has to be centered in all presidential candidate’s platforms.”

    Observers said that O’Malley and Sanders both flubbed their shot on stage.

    “It was a missed opportunity for both candidates. What Bernie did is he treated them as hecklers instead of a movement,” Charles Chamberlain, the executive director of Democracy for America, said in an interview. O’Malley’s comments were “incredibly tone deaf,” Chamberlain added.

    O’Malley has promised to lay out a plan to reform the criminal justice. O’Malley said afterword in an interview with the digital show This Week in Blackness that he regrets that as Baltimore mayor and Maryland governor he did not push to expunge misdemeanors from nonviolent offenders’ records and seeking to lead the way on a body camera program for police officers.

    The kerfuffle at Netroots for Sanders was especially pointed. As a student at the University of Chicago in the early 1960s, Sanders participated in one of the first sit-ins in the North protesting racial segregation, and was active in pushing to desegregate Chicago public schools. But Sanders tends to view racial injustice through an economic lens, putting forth jobs platforms intended to help the poor. When he was able to put in a word on stage, Sanders said the U.S. needs to create “an economy where people have good jobs and good wages”—a sentiment that did not satisfy the protestors.

    With the group continuing to chant toward the stage, Vargas said it was time to wrap up. “Okay, good,” Sanders said.

    To many in the audience, the Black Lives Matter showdown was an inspiring example of activism. “It was a moment we could stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement,” said attendee Alexandra Thebert, who is white. “It was a terrific example of how you can make change in the world.”

    But only a few joined in when the protestors left the hall singing the African-American spiritual, “Oh, Freedom” — “Oh freedom, oh freedom … Before I’ll be a slave, I’ll be buried in my grave.”

    Hundreds turn out for funeral of Jonathan Sanders

    A standing-room only crowd of hundreds of mourners gathered Saturday in the Family Life Center Church in Quitman to remember the life of 39-year-old Jonathan Sanders.

    Sanders, who had been driving a horse and buggy, died after an altercation Wednesday with a Stonewall police officer in neighboring Lauderdale County. There is no consensus of what occurred on that night.

    The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is looking into the death.

    WTOK-TV in Meridian reported that family and friends described Sanders as unselfish and a man who loved everyone. Others called the funeral a time for reflection, mourning and celebration of Sanders’ life.

    The Rev. Spencer Richardson, who delivered the eulogy, told Frances Sanders, Jonathan’s mother, that the healing now starts for the family, as does the search for justice in the investigation of his death.

    “This not just about being black or white. This not just about being rich or being poor. The picture is a lot bigger than that. This is not just about a flag hanging on the pole. I need you to understand that this is a whole lot bigger.

    “Today, Mrs. Frances, your healing starts, but for us today, justice begins,” Richardson said.

    Chokwe Antar Lumumba, the Sanders’ family lawyer, said, “We’re all the Lord’s vehicles so we can’t get mad at him when he calls home what is rightfully his. What we have to do is thank him; thank him and praise him for giving us Jonathan in the first place.”

    Burial followed the service at East Galilee Cemetery in Rose Hill, about 100 miles east of Jackson.

    S.F. police post far-out comments on union’s Facebook page, probably reflecting an attitude endemic to every single police union.

    We reviewed the union’s Facebook page and several editions of its monthly journal and found some musings that are, well, pretty far out there for San Francisco in 2015.

    Earlier this month, for example, the union’s Facebook page had a post about the killing of Kathryn Steinle on Pier 14, allegedly at the hands of an undocumented felon who’d been deported five times and released from jail in accordance with San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy.

    “He is an ILLEGAL ALIEN not an undocumented immigrant and if he was where he belonged (Mexico) this innocent victim would still be alive,” the post reads.

    In the June edition of its journal, former POA President Gary Delagnes wrote that the national conversation about racism in policing in light of myriad recent shootings of African American men by police officers is misguided. “There is no evidence, statistical or otherwise, to prove systemic racism in American policing,” he wrote.

    Instead, Delagnes said African Americans simply commit crimes at much higher rates than white people because of “poverty, lack of education, lack of opportunity and nanny-state dependence that have plagued the African American community for centuries. … Cops are thrust right into the middle and told to analyze it, control it, fix it, and do so with kid gloves.”

    While the POA did condemn the racist and homophobic text messages that were exchanged between 14 officers and made public in March, it is providing attorneys to the officers for their legal defense.

    The POA also printed in the May edition of its journal a column by a Mission Station sergeant stating that the officers had every expectation the texts would remain private. (The texts included “Cross burning lowers blood pressure! I did the test myself!” and “All n— must f— hang.”)

    “It has been said loudly and often that the erstwhile private conversations reflect a character that is incompatible with that required by the policing profession,” the POA column said. “This, however, is a dangerous tack to take. … The use of offensive words in private conversation is not by itself an indicator of poor character.”

    Another column in the April journal says that “attacks on police officers in San Francisco … are well orchestrated by race baiters, ambitious mediocre politicians, purveyors of bad grades in journalism school, and other assorted miscreants.”

    POA President Martin Halloran said he stands by every word and regrets nothing the union has printed. “I’ve made my positions very clear in the last few journals of the POA,” he said. “If it’s not clear in the journal, I don’t know how much more I can say it.”

    No regrets all’round. And people wonder why things don’t change.

    O’Malley apologizes for saying ‘all lives matter’ at liberal conference, a nice gesture. But is it a real apology?

    Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley apologized on Saturday for saying “All lives matter” while discussing police violence against African-Americans with liberal demonstrators.

    Several dozen demonstrators interrupted the former Maryland governor while he was speaking here at the Netroots Nation conference, a gathering of liberal activists, demanding that he address criminal justice and police brutality. When they shouted, “Black lives matter!” a rallying cry of protests that broke out after several black Americans were killed at the hands of police in recent months, O’Malley responded: “Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter.”

    […]

    Later that day, O’Malley apologized for using the phrase in that context if it was perceived that he was minimizing the importance of blacks killed by police.

    “I meant no disrespect,” O’Malley said in an interview on This Week in Blackness, a digital show. “That was a mistake on my part and I meant no disrespect. I did not mean to be insensitive in any way or communicate that I did not understand the tremendous passion, commitment and feeling and depth of feeling that all of us should be attaching to this issue.”

    Judith Butler, a philosopher at the University of California, Berkeley, recently explained why some find it offensive to respond to the “Black Lives Matter” movement with the “all lives matter.”

    “When some people rejoin with ‘All Lives Matter’ they misunderstand the problem, but not because their message is untrue. It is true that all lives matter, but it is equally true that not all lives are understood to matter, which is precisely why it is most important to name the lives that have not mattered, and are struggling to matter in the way they deserve,” Butler said in an interview with The New York Times. “If we jump too quickly to the universal formulation, ‘all lives matter,’ then we miss the fact that black people have not yet been included in the idea of ‘all lives.'”

    ‘Still a racist nation’: American bigotry on full display at KKK rally in South Carolina

    More than a week ago, South Carolina lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to take down the Confederate flag from its prominent position on the statehouse grounds. The controversial decision, which followed a racially motivated 17 June shooting that left nine African American men and women dead inside a historic Charleston church, prompted competing rallies between white supremacist and black activist groups.

    The Loyal White Knights, a North Carolina-based group thought to be the largest KKK faction, scheduled the protest to stop the removal of the flag. The group decided to carry on regardless. They received support from other KKK factions, National Socialist Movement members and Christian fundamentalists.

    “The blacks have been out here attacking people, stealing people’s property, taking their flags,” said Steven Johnson, a South Carolina father of two who was among those waving Nazi flags during the rally. “I’m scared of what my family’s about to grow up with.”

    Forgoing their notorious hoods, more than 50 protesters brandished flags and yelled racial epithets at minority onlookers from behind the protection of steel barricades, watched by dozens of law enforcement officers. According to Bader, some KKK members had planned to hold a church burning, wearing the infamous Klan uniforms.
    […]

    Earlier in the afternoon, black activists from several groups called for further progress in breaking down racial barriers. Members of Black Educators for Justice, a Florida-based group founded by a one-time New Black Panther Party leader, as well as Black Lawyers for Justice and other organizations wore military fatigues and yelled chants associated with the Black Power movement.

    “White America is going to have to come to grips with all people of color,” said Nancy Thomas, a Michigan resident who had traveled to Columbia for a family reunion and watched part of the demonstration.

    “I’m glad they took the flag down, but the flag is a piece of material. The hearts of the people whose minds are so set on the flag remaining, their hearts need to be changed.”
    […]

    Despite the KKK’s visible presence on Saturday, the group’s national influence has dwindled. Mark Potok, a senior fellow with the Southern Poverty Law Center, estimated that the KKK has fewer than 4,000 members, down from four million at its peak in the 1920s and roughly 40,000 members at the height of the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Current Klansmen, he said, are fractured into nearly two-dozen groups, many of whom are odds with one another.

    “The Klan today is weak, small and poorly led,” Potok said. “It’s without any real influence in the political mainstream. It’s a far cry from what it was before.”

    For some activists, like Columbia resident John Holmes, the irony of white supremacists touting the flag, after a month filled with southerners proudly defending its place in their heritage, did not go unnoticed. A descendant of a South Carolina lynching victim, Holmes wore a sign around his neck that said “unarmed black man, don’t miss”. The military veteran said it was important to rally against the KKK because the removal of the Confederate flag was only a small sign of change, especially in a state like South Carolina.

    “South Carolina has only been first in one thing: seceding from the United States,” Holmes said, referring to the outbreak of the American civil war in 1861. “They come in last in everything else – minimum wage, education, Medicare. The flag needed to come down first before they could address the other social issues.”

    Dr Lonnie Randolph, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) South Carolina chapter, said his organization had a policy of not counter-protesting rallies, in part because the KKK has the “right to protest and the right to be wrong”. Like Holmes, he did not believe race relations had improved – aside from in college athletics. He said the state’s schools remained segregated, lawmakers continued to pass laws hurting African American people, and people still believed in the principles behind the Confederate flag.

    “Hate groups are as common as baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and racism in America,” Randolph said. “America is still a racist nation. South Carolina is still a racist state … We’re in denial and won’t admit it.”

    More at the link.

    Jonathan Ferrell was just starting his life in Charlotte

    On his last night in Charlotte, Jonathan Ferrell joined his co-workers at one of their favorite spots and took on what his family members say was a familiar role.

    Ferrell, never a big drinker, volunteered to give a friend a ride home.

    Early on the morning of Sept. 14, 2013, after the gathering had broken up, Ferrell went miles out of his way to drive co-worker Max Funderburke to Bradfield Farms, a sprawling suburban neighborhood east of Charlotte, court documents say.

    That’s just the way Jonathan was, friends and family say. Whatever the occasion, he pitched in.

    “He did not like to see people down, so he would help anyone he could,” says Quenton Williams, who had been friends with Ferrell since fifth-grade science class in their hometown of Tallahassee, Fla.

    “Listen, if you were to meet Jonathan, his appearance – big and muscular – well, he had the softest heart of anybody.”

    Throughout his life, Ferrell built a reputation for quiet dependability, a strong work ethic and a respect for authority, those close to him say.

    And he spent his last year building a life in uptown Charlotte with fiancee Caché Heidel, whom he had first proposed to during their junior year in high school.

    Now his family is bracing for how defense lawyers may portray Ferrell during the trial of the police officer accused of killing him.

    Wes Kerrick’s attorneys have argued in pretrial motions that Ferrell was out of control after smoking marijuana at Funderburke’s house and then wrecking Heidel’s car.

    They’ve claimed that the 6-foot, 225-pound former college football player then tried to rob a home with a woman and infant inside. Minutes later, they say, he ignored repeated police orders and plowed into Kerrick.

    Not once, they will argue, did Ferrell tell anyone that he’d been in an accident and needed help.

    Confronted with that depiction, Ferrell’s loved ones respond with disdain.

    If Ferrell had robbery on his mind, they say, he left himself no way to escape. He had no car. He had lost his cellphone and shoes, and he was some 17 miles from home.

    More (positive) details on Ferrell’s life, as well as the last night of his life, at the link.

  79. rq says

    After Liberal Protesters Heckle Him for Saying ‘All Lives Matter,’ Democratic Presidential Hopeful Rethinks Things

    As Democratic presidential contender Martin O’Malley endured protests at a liberal blogger convention Saturday — primarily undergirded with the rallying cry “Black lives matter!” — O’Malley countered with an alternate point of view.

    “Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter,” O’Malley told the Netroots Nation convention audience, as some heckled and booed him.

    Well, O’Malley was singing a new tune about “all lives matter” just hours later.

    “I meant no disrespect,” he said in an interview on This Week in Blackness, a digital show, CNN noted. “That was a mistake on my part and I meant no disrespect. I did not mean to be insensitive in any way or communicate that I did not understand the tremendous passion, commitment and feeling and depth of feeling that all of us should be attaching to this issue.”

    Here’s a clip that includes O’Malley saying, “Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter.” His statement, which he repeated, comes at the 5:30 mark:

    Love the first line, about how O’Malley ‘endured’ protests. I think other people have been enduring protests far longer and far better. But that’s just me.

    This Powerful Photo Shows a Surprising Moment of Humanity From the S.C. KKK Rally, from Mic, with examples of twitter responses.

    JAMES BALDWIN : HIS VOICE REMEMBERED; Life in His Language , Toni Morrison’s eulogy to him in 1987. Worth a read.

    Mothers of #TrayvonMartin, #TamirRice, #MikeBrown & #EricGarner at vigil in Brooklyn earlier today. #StillCantBreathe

    Our Racial Moment of Truth

    FOR as long as many Americans have been alive, the Confederate flag stood watch at the South Carolina capitol, and Atticus Finch, moral guardian-father-redeemer, was arguably the most beloved hero in American literature.

    The two symbols took their places in our culture within months of each other. The flag was hoisted above the capitol dome in April 1961, on the centennial of the Civil War during upheavals over civil rights. Atticus Finch debuted in July 1960 in Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a novel that British librarians would later declare the one book, even before the Bible, that everyone should read. Given life by Gregory Peck in the 1962 Oscar-winning film, Atticus Finch would go on to be named the top movie hero of the 20th century.

    Nearly at once, both icons have fallen from grace in ways that were unimaginable just months ago. They are forcing a reckoning with ourselves and our history, a reassessment of who we were and of what we might become.

    The flag was lowered and placed in storage on July 10 after the South Carolina Legislature voted to take it down in response to the massacre of nine black parishioners at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston. The following Tuesday, as if receiving a message from the gods of history, the world was introduced to a new Atticus Finch with the publication of “Go Set a Watchman,” a young Harper Lee’s earlier manuscript, set 20 years after the fictional events in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” making it as much artifact as literature. Rather than the Atticus who urges his daughter, Scout, to climb into someone’s skin to understand him, this Atticus is now an old-line segregationist, a principled bigot who has been to a Klan meeting and asks his now-grown daughter visiting from New York City: “Do you want Negroes by the carload in our schools and churches and theaters? Do you want them in our world?”

    It has seemed as if the force of history has led us to this moment, stirred as we have been by the recorded killings of unarmed black people at the hands of the police, the uprisings and hashtags, a diatribe of white supremacy from the young man accused in the Charleston rampage, a former slave ship captain’s “Amazing Grace” sung by a sitting president. History is asking us to confront the wistfulness that we had ever escaped racism’s deep roots.

    “It is building up to a crisis for those who want to will this away,” the historian Taylor Branch told me. “Things are starting to shake loose, and I keep thinking that things are rumbling to the surface,” he said.

    Coming to terms with Atticus Finch as Harper Lee originally imagined him to be means confronting what the country wishes to believe it stands for. “It’s being sent to us as a gift,” the South Carolina poet Nikky Finney said. “It’s a blueprint to decode, something that we need to be better than we are.”

    The importance of this new Atticus is that he is layered and complex in his prejudices; he might even be described as a gentleman bigot, well meaning in his supremacy. In other words, he is human, and in line with emerging research into how racial bias has evolved in our society. He is a character study in the seeming contradiction that compassion and bigotry can not only reside in the same person but often do, which is what makes racial bias, as it has mutated through the generations, so hard to address.

    “This complex pattern of behavior is not unlike the actual racism that resides in many Americans today,” David R. Williams, a Harvard sociologist who studies the effects of implicit bias on health, said of the new characterization of Atticus Finch. “As an American raised in this society with negative implicit biases against black people, you are not a bad person. You are simply a normal American. We have to come to grips with the reality that this racism is so deeply embedded in our culture that it shapes how we see the world, it shapes our beliefs, our behavior, our actions toward members of other groups. We have to examine ourselves in a profound way.”

    Where are the “heritage not hate” apologists today? Shouldn’t they be out there telling these people that?

  80. rq says

    Working thru trauma of their mother being tazed 3x by #STL #police #BlackLivesMatter #BWLM #ABanks #PoliceBrutality

    Black group, KKK stage rallies outside South Carolina Statehouse

    Hundreds of people crowded outside the South Carolina Statehouse Saturday and taunted each other during separate rallies staged by groups from outside the state.

    Black Educators for Justice, a Florida-based group, held its rally on the north side of the Statehouse, where the Confederate flag was removed earlier this month. Later, the North Carolina-based Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan held a rally on the opposite side of the building to protest the flag’s removal.

    William Bader, the imperial wizard of the Kentucky-based Trinity White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, said its members plan to take back America, according to The Post and Courier.

    “They’re taking our heritage from us,” Bader said. He also said he wants to see the Confederate flag back on Statehouse grounds.

    The South Carolina Department of Public Safety said about 2,000 people showed up for the rallies. Spokeswoman Sherri Iacobelli said five people were arrested and 23 people needed medical attention. A statement from Richland County Emergency Service said many of the 23 were treated for heat, but no specific number was given.

    Several people carried the Confederate flag along the margin of the crowd at the black educators rally. At least 40 members of the KKK marched up the Capitol steps and waved flags. Many in the crowd jeered.

    The Post and Courier reports Klansmen and sympathizers clashed with counter-protesters outside the barricades. Protesters screamed obscenities at the Klansmen leading to the slew of arrests. The tensions forced police to keep the demonstration to about an hour, the newspaper reported.

    Interlude: make-up! Selena’s Colorful Spirit Brought To Life In New M.A.C. Makeup Line.

    Black women murdered by police #SayHerName, a tumblr with a list. An excerpt:

    Miriam Carey was a 34-year-old dental hygienist who made a wrong turn near the White House and was fatally shot by federal law enforcement officers in 2013.

    Yvette Smith was a 47-year-old woman who was shot and killed by Texas police officers as she opened the door to her home for police in 2014.

    Natasha McKenna was 37 years old when she was restrained by Virginia police, shackled at the legs and shot with a stun gun four times earlier this year. She stopped breathing and died at a hospital several days later.

    Rekia Boyd was a 22-year-old woman living in Chicago when she was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer.

    Mya Hall was a 27-year-old transgender woman who was shot and killed by National Security Agency guards after crashing a car into a government facility.

    Shelly Frey was a 27-year-old mother of two who was shot by Wal-Mart security who accused her of shoplifting.

    Darnisha Harris was only a teenager when Louisiana law enforcement officials fired two shots into the car she was driving in 2012.

    Malissa Williams, 30, died after Cleveland police fired 137 times into the car that she was riding in with Timothy Russell.

    Alesia Thomas was 35 when she was kicked to death by a Los Angeles Police officer.

    That’s a not particularly large excerpt.

    The Highlander Rule of PoCs from Skepchick.

    “Things”? What kind of “things”? How about the boards of tech companies? Darold Cuba states in The Loud Fight Against Silicon Valley’s Quiet Racism that “Just three companies—Microsoft, Oracle and Salesforce.com—have a black or Hispanic person on their boards.” Emphasis totally added, y’all. The Chemical & Engineering News list of the ‘Talented 12‘ includes one PoC, Dr. Hosea Nelson. What other things? Scripted TV or news shows, science fiction & fantasy writers? Check and check and check!

    Racial turmoil in Md.’s ‘Friendliest Town’ after black police chief is fired – uh-oh!

    The crowd gathered outside City Hall last week, demanding that their community’s first black police chief — fired amid allegations leveled against white officers of departmental racism — be given his job back.

    In a place that bills itself as the “Friendliest Town on the Eastern Shore,” angry residents marched with posters that read “We Support Chief Kelvin Sewell” and jammed inside the quaint red-brick building to voice their outrage to the Pocomoke City Council.

    Pocomoke City has been on edge since Sewell was fired by the council June 29. According to the former chief and his supporters, he was sacked for refusing to dismiss two black officers who described working in a hostile environment.

    The officers alleged in complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that they faced racism that was overt and rampant — allegations the city denies. Among the incidents alleged: a food stamp superimposed with President Obama’s face that was left on a black detective’s desk and a text message that read, “What is ya body count nigga?”

    “This is one of the most egregious cases of primary racial discrimination and retaliation for assertion of rights before the EEOC that I’ve seen,” said Andrew G. McBride, co-counsel for the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, which is representing Sewell. “Chief Sewell has a fantastic record as a police officer. He was terminated because he stood up for two African American officers who filed an EEOC complaint.”
    […]

    On Monday night, dozens of residents praised Sewell’s performance, pointing out that arrests have risen and serious crimes have fallen since he took over the department. His supporters told the five-member council that Sewell helped get rid of drug dealers who did business on Pocomoke City’s streets. He championed community policing, requiring officers to get out of their patrol cars and walk their beats. He checked on elderly residents.

    “You terminated a man who made a difference,” said the Rev. James Jones, pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church, who presented the council with a petition with 500 signatures seeking Sewell’s reinstatement.

    So there you see another example of what happens to the good (or at least better) cops.

  81. rq says

    Ku Klux Klan and New Black Panther Party Protest at South Carolina Capitol

    With police officers watching from nearby rooftops and a din of racial slurs heard on the pavement below, members of the Ku Klux Klan and the New Black Panther Party appeared at dueling rallies outside the South Carolina State House on Saturday, eight days after officials here removed the Confederate battle flag from the Capitol grounds.

    Despite sporadic scuffles and hours of inflammatory rhetoric from white and black demonstrators alike, the authorities largely maintained order and prevented any significant violence. The police made five arrests, and the South Carolina Department of Public Safety estimated that the State House crowd, including onlookers, had at one point swelled to about 2,000 people. They chanted — or at least heard — volleys of incendiary speech and shouts of “white power!” and “black power!”

    Bystanders watched people wave flags celebrating Pan-Africanism, the Confederacy and the Nazi Party. And they watched as black demonstrators raised clenched fists, and white demonstrators performed Nazi salutes.

    Much of the day’s drama was on the south side of the State House, near a statue of former Senator Strom Thurmond, where a few dozen people associated with the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan held a demonstration. A Columbia newspaper, The State, reported that it was the first Klan rally outside the State House since the late 1980s.

    Saturday’s protesters, who were predominantly men, did not don the Klan’s traditional white hoods and robes. Even as they denied being members of a hate group, their message was a relentless one of white supremacy.

    “This is my country,” one shouted at a group of black onlookers. “My ancestors founded this country!”

    “Peace is over with,” said William Bader, who said he was a Kentucky resident and the imperial wizard of the Trinity White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. “There is no peace.”

    Mr. Bader, who said he planned to wear his Klan regalia for a cross burning on Saturday night, added, “What do I want to see happen? White revolution is the only solution.”

    But on Saturday afternoon, Mr. Bader and the other demonstrators who championed a vision of white supremacy were vastly outnumbered as they protested for an hour in a barricaded area of the State House grounds and sometimes became involved in angry shouting matches with black people in the crowd.

    Yep, all the ancestors of those white people founded that country… on the backs of black people and Native Americans and anyone else they could take advantage of.
    Some heritage.

    Counterprotest at today’s Pro-Police Brutality Rally in Denver. #DefendDenver #ftp

    Rachel Dolezal Says Her Black Identity Is ‘Not a Costume’, in case anyone still wants to read about her.

    Vigil being held at #PrairieView A&M for #SandraBland.

    Jidenna: “To all my Nigerian brothers and sisters”

    Last week, “Classic Man” emcee Jidenna unexpectedly unleashed a storm on Nigerian Twitter following an interview with the U.S.-based hip-hop video news site Vlad TV. In the clip, posted July 9th, the 30-year-old Nigerian-American musician was asked to respond to how being light-skinned and having a certain texture of hair has affected how he functions within the Black community. Jidenna, who was born in Wisconsin to an American mother and an Igbo father, responded by noting that he’s had what he refers to as a very particular type of upbringing in comparison to the “traditional” experience of light-skinned, mixed African-Americans in the states. The artist went on to explain his childhood experience spending time in southeast Nigeria as a light-skinned Igbo-American.

    And there was backlash, and he wrote an open letter, and it’s interesting insight into the life of one bi-racial person and his experiences.

    Sandra Bland Family Seeking Independent Autopsy of Woman Found Dead in Texas Jail

    The family of a Chicago-area woman found dead in a Texas jail cell last week is ordering an independent autopsy, their lawyer says.

    Attorney Cannon Lambert says Sandra Bland’s family expects autopsy results within 48 to 72 hours, ABC News reported Sunday. Lambert did not return a phone call from The Associated Press seeking comment.

    Authorities say Bland hanged herself with a plastic bag three days after being pulled over by police for a traffic violation and then arrested for allegedly kicking an officer during the stop. Friends and family have questioned that account.

    The 28-year-old black woman’s death at the Waller County jail, about 60 miles northwest of Houston, comes amid increased national scrutiny of police after a series of high-profile cases in which blacks have been killed by officers.

  82. rq says

    Report raises questions about Ferguson-related donations

    A group of youth advocates is questioning how money donated to programs for young people in the aftermath of the unrest in Ferguson has been spent and whether the funds have made an impact.

    During a community meeting on Saturday, St. Louis Advocates for Youth released the preliminary findings for its Resource Allocation Project. The report focused on donations to services and programs for adolescents and teens, ages 10 to 18 years old, in the St. Louis region. It sought to find out what youth-related programs were supported by donations, what outcomes are expected, and who are the young people participating.

    “There ought to be some standardized way: ‘Here’s the money, here’s where it went, and here’s how many people it served, and here’s what happened as result of them getting that money.’ Are poverty rates going to go down? Are test scores going to go up? Those are legitimate questions when you’ve got this kind of money flowing into a community that small,” said group leader Jamala Rogers of the report’s main questions.

    But even after research, Rogers said many of these questions remain unanswered.

    “The concern from the Ferguson residents, like, ‘Why weren’t they involved in some of the decision-making about where the monies were going?'” Rogers said. “When you get ready to bring money in, you bring the community together and say what are the needs. So that piece seems to be missing, so we want to make sure we double back and bring those folks into the fold.”

    If I Die In Police Custody…

    In 2k15 America, Black people now have to proactively and publicly declare for the record that we, like anyone else, would neither lynch ourselves nor commit suicide while in police custody.

    This is (apparently) necessary now because if we are caught being human and – even once – state that we were even momentarily sad or depressed, that single statement alone can and will be used against us by corporate media and the police to blame us for our own murders…at the hands of the police.

    #SandraBland #SayHerName #BlackLivesMatter #JusticeForSandra

    (to hear all of these Black women’s voices and to watch their full videos, please go to the tumblr or twitter of youth activist/organizer, millennialau. see full videos here)

    (via jaedabatax3)

    With gif statements, and link to video.

    On what would have been his 80th.. Happy birthday Frantz Fanon.

    A Black Teen Died This Week In An Alabama Jail Cell, And Authorities Say It Was Suicide

    An Alabama teen died in her jail cell earlier this week, just over an hour after she was booked into the facility. Authorities claim the cause of death was suicide by asphyxiation.

    According to AL.com, officials with the Homewood City Jail said Kindra Darnell Chapman, who was black, was processed on Tuesday at 6:22 p.m., following an arrest for first-degree robbery. Police say Chapman, 18, stole a cell phone from another individual on the street.

    Chapman was last seen alive at 6:30 p.m on Tuesday, when staff conducted an initial welfare check. At 7:50 p.m., jailers returned to find Chapman unresponsive. Authorities say she hanged herself. She was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.

    The Homewood police are investigating her death, according to local WSFA. Bill Yates, chief deputy coroner for Jefferson County, told The Huffington Post that the results of Chapman’s autopsy are still pending. Calls to the Homewood city jail and police department were not immediately returned.

    As The Root notes, Chapman’s death comes amid increasing anger about the death of 28-year-old Sandra Bland, found in her cell at the county jail in Hempstead, Texas.

    #BlackLivesMatter founder @aliciagarza breaks down our action at #NN15 for those of you riding the hype train:

    Police must balance enforcement with safety in high-speed pursuits,

    Pursuits are highly risky and come with a huge toll measured too often in lives lost, painful injuries and multimillion-dollar lawsuits that drain taxpayer funds. The National Institute of Justice estimates that one of every 100 high-speed pursuits results in a fatality, and FBI data show that 55,000 people are injured annually as a result of pursuits. Other studies indicate that there is, on average, a pursuit-related fatality daily and one-third of those are innocent victims. This year, communities including Antelope, Calif.; Flint, Mich.; Kansas City, Mo.; and Houston have been rocked by pursuit-related incidents that have killed many innocent bystanders.

    Milwaukee criminals are definitely stealing more vehicles this year. Milwaukee police officers are still restricted in their ability to pursue solely for vehicle theft. So, with limited means of enforcement, what’s to stop criminals from continuing their thieving ways? The answer is a combination of policing tools.

    First, the continued quality investigative work by the Milwaukee Police Department has allowed it to recover most stolen vehicles. According to the Journal Sentinel, “As of July 5, 85% of stolen cars in 2014 had been recovered. Two-thirds of those recovered cars had minor or no damage, suggesting they were used for joy riding.”

    Second, there are tools that enable police to apprehend suspects without resorting to a chase. Cities in a dozen states including Austin, Texas, and St. Petersburg, Fla., have implemented a technology that enables law enforcement to tag and then track fleeing vehicles with a GPS device launched from the front grill of their cruisers. Using GPS tagging is one example of an excellent tool that allows police to safely apprehend these criminals without the need for a dangerous chase.

    Pursuit alternatives and technology requires investment, which some resourceful police departments have been able to address by accessing government grants. Funding is limited, however, and there are many competing demands from police departments nationwide that depend on these grants for tools and training. Law enforcement, the media and the public must push and educate our local and national legislators to do their part by making existing funds and grants available for training and technologies aimed at saving innocent citizens’ and police officer lives.

    Milwaukee officials took a huge step by limiting pursuits for violent felonies, and for that I applaud them, but limited pursuit policies are not the only long-term solution for law enforcement. Police must balance public interest and safety while still enforcing the law, and making funds available for pursuit training and technology must be a priority for policy-makers to address.

  83. says

    After 8 months, the Cleveland PD finally admits it was wrong to ever hire the officer who killed Tamir Rice:

    Over eight months after Cleveland Police Officer Timothy Loehmann shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice, ignored him as he struggled to live, and let him die, the Cleveland Police Department has finally admitted what we already knew—it was a mistake to ever hire Loehmann in the first place. So incompetent and mentally unstable was he at hispolice academy, his superior specifically stated that he should never serve in law enforcement.

    Five other departments checked on this and refused to hire Loehmann.

    The Cleveland Police Department now admits it failed to check Loehmann’s background when they hired him. Their response, giving one supervising officer a two-day suspension and another officer a write-up in his file, amounts to a proverbial “oopsy.”

    There’s a lot of information at the link, including a look into Loehmann’s records and documents detailing how he was turned down from as many as 7 other police departments. But the Cleveland PD hired him.

  84. rq says

    Tony>
    The PD will take the fall, and Loehmann will suffer no consequences in the end. This is my guess.

    +++

    Pleasanton Police Accused Of Covering Up Facts Surrounding Deadly Officer Shooting

    Attorneys for the family of a man shot and killed by police during a confrontation outside a Pleasanton auto dealership earlier this month have accused the Police Department of covering up the facts of the shooting.

    In a statement released Thursday, the law firm Geragos & Geragos accused the department of inconsistencies in its accounts of the shooting and obstruction in responding to questions about the case.

    Police last week released a lengthy account of the July 5 confrontation outside Specialty Sales Classics, a car dealership specializing in antique and exotic cars at 4321 First St.

    Initial police accounts said that 19-year-old John Deming Jr. was found outside the dealership when police arrived at about 2 a.m., but the revised account said he was inside but visible through the dealership’s large glass windows.

    Police said he was acting threateningly and erratically, throwing a 50-pound floor jack through the window. Officers tried to subdue him with beanbag rounds but missed.

    The officers went in after Deming with a dog, and attorneys for the family said police dispatch records indicate that only 22 seconds passed between officers entering the business and Deming being shot.

    According to police, once officers entered they found Deming in a back room. He escaped out a broken window and was chased by Officer Daniel Kunkel. Deming then turned to fight Kunkel, knocking him to the ground and punching him repeatedly in the head.

    Kunkel twice used a Taser on Deming but that failed to subdue him, so he shot him once. But Deming continued the attack even then and finally Kunkel shot Deming twice more, including once in the face.

    Police said Deming continued to resist officers as they tried to handcuff him. Kunkel was knocked unconscious, according to the police account.

    The family’s attorneys said it is impossible for the confrontation as described to have lasted only 22 seconds. They also questioned why Kunkel was reportedly released from the hospital later that day given the severity of the described attack.

    Also unclear is whether Kunkel was wearing a body camera at the time of the shooting and captured the incident on video. The firm has accused police of inconsistent statements in this regard, at first saying the incident was captured on video but later saying it was not.

    All that, followed by a 30-second character assassination of Deming. :P

    Black Deaths Matter

    For generations, black frustration with policing has been best described in a two-part statement: Cops don’t care enough to solve crimes in our neighborhoods—they just come and harass our kids. Novelist Walter Mosley even built a best-selling detective series around a tough private investigator who does all the serving and protecting that cops won’t do on the black side of town.

    The bitter irony is that it was this same complaint that helped spawn the aggressive policing tactics now under attack from Ferguson to New York City. In the 1980s, when crack and heroin syndicates swept through black neighborhoods, black parents and pastors were some of the first and loudest voices to demand a war on drugs. What they got was “broken windows” policing—an emphasis on curbing petty offenses to prevent more serious crime.

    What they also got were mandatory minimum sentences for shoplifters, indiscriminate stop-and-frisk sweeps, and deadly choke holds on men selling loose cigarettes. There’s little evidence that these tactics contributed much to the national decline in crime. But they did erode trust in law enforcement across many communities—leaving places like Chester increasingly bereft of the protection they badly need. With residents both fearful of police and worried about being targeted for talking to them, detectives can’t find the witnesses they need to solve crimes, breeding further distrust and a vicious cycle of frustration. A 2014 New York Daily News investigation found that in 2013, police solved about 86 percent of homicides in which the victim was white. For black victims, the number was just 45 percent. And in high-minority communities like Chester, says David Kennedy, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, clearance rates for murder—and even more so for nonfatal shootings—can get “pathetically low. They can easily fall down to single digits.” [we recently saw similar numbers for STL]
    […]

    What determines the likelihood of a murder case being solved? One factor appears to be police response in the hours and days after a killing: According to a study published in the National Institute of Justice Journal, the faster officers secure the scene, notify homicide detectives, and ID witnesses, the more likely it is the killer will be brought to justice.

    But that can be hard in a place like Chester, says Cory Long, a community leader who worked on the city’s anti-violence task force, because the relationship between police and community is so strained that residents are often reluctant to come forward. Witnesses not only fear police won’t protect them from retaliation, they simply don’t believe law enforcement will help them find justice.

    “Some of these issues have been going on with the same neighborhoods,” Long says. “You know, generations under them. One guy gets locked up. His younger brother or cousin or relative will take [the retaliation] on, as they get a little older. It just keeps recycling and recycling.” There was a time when homicides mostly resulted from turf wars between neighborhoods, but now, he says, “it has spiraled a little more out of control. It’s a free-for-all.”

    Homicide, at its core, is an intimate crime. In any given city, criminologist Kennedy points out, gun violence is concentrated among a small number of residents in struggling neighborhoods. When someone gets shot, the news travels quickly. “People know what happened,” Kennedy explains. “So if the criminal-justice system isn’t taking care of this, the likelihood that you’ll get your friends and a gun and take care of this goes up.”

    “The person wanted for a homicide today has been shot three times by rivals over the past three years,” he says. “Many of these men are involved in violence because people are trying to hurt them. The moral territory is much murkier than we think it is from a distance.” When cops lack trust in the tiny geographic areas where most shootings occur—and where the penalties for talking to police are well understood—lots of shootings go unsolved, which leads to more shootings, and so on.

    But Kennedy points to cities that turned things around. “Paterson, New Jersey, is a very tough environment that nonetheless has managed to keep its clearance rate way above the norm,” he notes—partly thanks to a community-policing model in which law enforcement agencies prioritize building trust with neighborhood groups and residents.

    Chester has made its own efforts to turn things around. In 2010, after a string of homicides left four people—including a two-year-old boy—dead in just eight days, then-Mayor Wendell Butler Jr. declared a state of emergency, imposing a 9 p.m. curfew on five of the city’s most violent neighborhoods. Anyone who couldn’t give a good reason for being outside at night could be cited and charged.

    Community leaders also put together anti-violence rallies, where families and residents joined police officers and city officials in National Night Out-style parties. Long says he would take neighborhood guys out to dinner on Butler’s tab as a sign of good faith. But after a while, he says, the rallies stopped and the community’s trust in the police department waned.

    In his spacious office overlooking the industrial riverfront, Chester Mayor John Linder moves deliberately like the social-sciences professor he once was. As a black teenager in the 1960s, he hung out with friends at Bennett and William Penn and watched as tension between the two housing projects seeped into the schools. “I had friends on both sides,” Linder says, laughing. “I’ve always been a politician. Nah, man. It was rough. I had to fight my way out of the William Penn sometimes.”
    […]

    Last May, Chester launched another crackdown on violence, with its officers joining state and federal agencies to sweep the city for parole offenders. District Attorney Jack Whelan promised regular gun sweeps, and throughout the summer, officials went door to door and urged residents to file tips anonymously. In November, the city also received $1.1 million to install surveillance cameras over the span of 25 high-crime blocks.

    “You can’t stop crimes with cameras,” Linder says. “But you can solve cases with it. People are intimidated to come to court. You have the cameras, and the camera becomes the witness.”

    And yet, 2014 had the highest number of homicides in Chester’s history, even as overall violent crime continued to fall. There were nine homicides in the first six months of 2015, and at press time, one of them had been cleared.

    … And that’s how it works: people worry about black-on-black crime, but they never stop to wonder about what happens with that crime – do people care enough to solve it, too? But no. “Black-on-black crime” is a dismissal.

    Family: Officer killed 19-year-old after mistaking him for someone else

    Read more: http://www.wsmv.com/story/29578116/man-dead-after-struggle-with-mpd-officer#ixzz3gVUW1jBi

    A teen is dead after being shot by a Memphis police officer late Friday night.

    The MPD officer stopped a car for a broken headlight in the 5700 block of Winchester Road. The officer issued the driver a ticket and let him go. However, the passenger in the car had several warrants for his arrest.

    Darrius Stewart, the 19-year-old passenger, was placed in the back seat of the police car to verify the warrants.

    Investigators said when the officer opened the back door to handcuff Stewart, he kicked the door and attacked the officer. During the fight, Stewart grabbed the officer’s handcuffs and swung them at him. The officer grabbed his gun and shot Stewart to end the fight.

    Stewart went to Regional Medical Center in critical condition where he later died.

    The officer had several cuts and bruises from the fight, but he did not need to go to the hospital. He is relieved of duty pending the outcome of this investigation.

    “Words can’t express how I feel,” Stewart’s mother said. “If my son attacked this officer, why didn’t he use a taser? There were two officers and only one of my son.”
    […]

    “They told him he could leave because he wasn’t the one they were looking for, but to be safe, because there is someone out there with the same name and a lot of warrants,” she said.

    Police said Stewart had a warrant in Iowa that was believed to be for a sex offense and another warrant in Illinois. When asked why Stewart was not handcuffed, police said they do not have a policy about handcuffing people in the car.

    Stewart’s mother said her son was going to attend the University of Memphis in the fall. He planned to become a doctor, and he has never been arrested.

    Police said they could not provide answers about the warrants at this time.

    He hit the officer with handcuffs, so he just shot him. Just like that.

    Family of Sandra Bland has Ordered Independent Autopsy, the Root.

    how not to get shot by a cop. Cartoon. Black man in suit giving advice on how not to get shot (incl. not wearing hoodies and saggy pants), having a gun pointed at himself at the end.

    Cop impersonator goes on racist rant in Chicago bar before shooting Latino man in the face with pellet gun – giving the cops a bad name or just acting like a cop?

    A Chicago man with a history of hate crimes was arrested once again after going on a racist rant at a local bar and shooting a man he believed was an illegal immigrant in the face with a pellet gun while claiming to be a police officer, reports the Chicago Tribune.

    Michael Groh, 45, is being held on $1 million bail after being charged with a felony hate crime, impersonation of a peace officer and aggravated battery, police stated. He was also charged with possessing a replica firearm, a misdemeanor.
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    According to police reports, Groh accosted a 39-year-old Latino man, calling him “a f*cking Mexican” and demanding to see his green card after the man said he was from South America.

    Assistant State’s Attorney Barry Quinn said Groh continued to yell racial slurs at the man, who responded back before attempting to leave the bar. Groh then announced that he was a Chicago police officer and pulled out a Smith & Wesson pellet gun. He shot the man three times in the head, hitting him once in the eye.

    Groh was subdued by the bartender until police arrived and took him into custody.

    So nobody shot him for being threatening, I guess.

  85. rq says

    Millionaires, Kid Rock and a Detroit Lion found in Oakley police reserve applications

    The documents read like a “who’s who” of Detroit-area movers and shakers.

    There are company CEOs and presidents. There are physicians, attorneys and millionaires who make news in Michigan and beyond.

    Mixed into the documents is a copy of rock star Kid Rock’s passport and the driver’s license of former Detroit Lion Jason Fox. Detroit casino developer Michael Malik Sr.’s information is there, too.

    The paperwork is held in the files of the tiny village of Oakley, a one-traffic-light community of 300 in southwest Saginaw County. The documents are applications to join the village’s reserve police force.

    Membership to the force has its privileges.

    Reserve officers have worked on patrol with certified officers, according to Oakley police incident reports. Some Oakley reservists have their own uniforms, village records show. Some reservists have received Oakley Police Department badges and ID cards that name them as officers, village records and reservists themselves admit.

    And under Michigan law, a police reservist can seek an enhanced concealed-pistol license to carry their weapon in areas such as schools and bars.

    Oakley Police Chief Robert Reznick has said his department is doing nothing wrong in attracting high-profile out-of-towners to serve on the village’s reserve force. He’s fought to keep the identities of those reservists a secret.

    A recent court order compelled disclosure, though, and the documents released by the village show the connection between Reznick’s reserve force and dozens of well-heeled Metro Detroiters.

    Some of those people have helped fill Oakley’s coffers, records show, as tens of thousands in donations have rolled in to fund the police department and other municipal activities in the village.

    Well, it’s nice to see which people and what kind of people want to be cops for fun.

    Sandra and Kindra: Suicides or Something Sinister?

    Although the mantra “Black Lives Matter” was developed by black women, I often worry that in the collective consciousness it carries with it an implicit masculine association, one that renders subordinate or even invisible the very real and concurrent subjugation and suffering of black women, one that assigns to these women a role of supporter and soother and without enough space or liberty to express and advocate for their own.

    Last week, the prism shifted a bit, as America and the social justice movement focused on the mysterious cases of two black women who died in police custody.

    […]

    The deaths seem odd: young women killing themselves after only being jailed only a few days or a less than a couple hours, before a trial or conviction, for relatively minor crimes.

    And the official explanations that they were suicides run counter to prevailing patterns of behavior as documented by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, which has found that, on the whole, men are more likely to commit suicide in local jails than women, young people are less likely to do so than older people, and black people are the least likely to do so than any other racial or ethnic group.

    That doesn’t mean that these women didn’t commit suicide, but it does help to explain why their coinciding deaths might be hard for people to accept.

    Indeed, because state violence echoes through the African-American experience in this country, it is even understandable if black people might occasionally experience a sort of Phantom Lynching Syndrome, having grown so accustomed to the reality of a history of ritualized barbarism that they would sense its presence even in its absence.

    We have to wait to see what, if any, new information comes out about these cases. But it is right to resist simple explanations for extraordinary events.

    These black women’s live must matter enough for there to be full investigations of the events surrounding their deaths to assure their families and the public that no “foul play” was involved.

    Women are not adjuncts to this movement for social justice and the equal valuation of all lives; they are elemental to it.

    The same week that news broke about these black women found dead in their jail cells, Google celebrated the 153rd birthday of anti-lynching advocate Ida B. Wells with a Google Doodle image. There seemed to me a fortuitous righteousness in the timing, an aligning of stars, an act of cosmic symmetry: celebrating a black female civil rights icon at the very moment that black females were the singular focus of the present civil rights movement.

    Wells once said: “Somebody must show that the Afro-American race is more sinned against than sinning, and it seems to have fallen upon me to do so.”

    I think that this burden of proof remains, and in this moment has gathered onto itself an increased, incandescent urgency, “like the light from a fire which consumes a witch,” as James Baldwin once phrased it.

    In this moment, it falls to many of us to take up the mantle and articulate and illuminate the balance of the sinning against, vs. the sinning, for both black men and women alike.

    This week that means investigating the “suicides” of Sandra and Kindra.

    City fires investigator who found cops at fault in shootings

    A Chicago investigator who determined that several civilian shootings by police officers were unjustified was fired after resisting orders to reverse those findings, according to internal records of his agency obtained by WBEZ.

    Scott M. Ando, chief administrator of the city’s Independent Police Review Authority, informed its staff in a July 9 email that the agency no longer employed supervising investigator Lorenzo Davis, 65, a former Chicago police commander. IPRA investigates police-brutality complaints and recommends any punishment.

    Davis’s termination came less than two weeks after top IPRA officials, evaluating Davis’s job performance, accused him of “a clear bias against the police” and called him “the only supervisor at IPRA who resists making requested changes as directed by management in order to reflect the correct finding with respect to OIS,” as officer-involved shootings are known in the agency.

    Since its 2007 creation, IPRA has investigated nearly 400 civilian shootings by police and found one to be unjustified.

    WBEZ asked to interview Ando, promoted last year by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to head the agency. The station also sent Ando’s spokesman questions about sticking points between IPRA investigators and managers, about the agency’s process for overturning investigative findings, and about the reasons the agency had reversed many of Davis’s findings.

    The spokesman said there would be no interview and sent this statement: “This is a personnel matter that would be inappropriate to address through the media, though the allegations are baseless and without merit. IPRA is committed to conducting fair, unbiased, objective, thorough and timely investigations of allegations of police misconduct and officer-involved shootings.”

    The performance evaluation covered 19 months and concluded that Davis “displays a complete lack of objectivity combined with a clear bias against the police in spite of his own lengthy police career.”
    […]

    Davis says he helped investigate more than a dozen shootings by police at the agency. He says his superiors had no objections when his team recommended exonerating officers. The objections came, he says, after each finding that a shooting was unjustified. He says there were six of those cases.

    “They have shot people dead when they did not have to shoot,” Davis said about those officers. “They were not in reasonable fear for their lives. The evidence shows that the officer knew, or should have known, that the person who they shot was not armed or did not pose a threat to them or could have been apprehended by means short of deadly force.”

    Davis says he can’t go into detail about the cases because some are still pending and because the city considers them confidential. Emanuel’s office did not respond to WBEZ questions about Davis’s termination or about IPRA’s record investigating shootings by officers.

    Former IPRA Chief Administrator Ilana Rosenzweig, who hired both Ando and Davis before leaving the agency in 2013, declined to comment about the termination.

    Anthony Finnell, a former IPRA supervising investigator, says he considers Davis a mentor. He says the two would confer on cases.

    “When the investigators would bring cases to us, as supervisors, we would look, first, to see if the officer was justified in his actions,” said Finnell, who now heads a police-oversight agency in Oakland, California.

    Finnell, who left IPRA last year, says the agency’s investigators were better situated than its management to size up a case.

    “Many times we would look at the situation and say, ‘Well, I don’t think that reasoning makes sense or that officer is not being as truthful as I think he should be,’ ” Finnell said. “In fact, many times we may have thought they had lied.”

    Finnell, who worked at IPRA only 15 months, says he was never asked to change findings. If he had been, he says, he would have followed Davis’s example.

    “As an investigator,” Finnell said, “I wouldn’t just change findings because someone told me to.”

    I don’t really know what to say to this.

    Eric Garner’s Death Marked With Week-Long Protests In NYC

    Over the last week, New Yorkers marked the one-year anniversary of Eric Garner’s chokehold death with over a dozen events and actions across the city, from banner drops, to rallies with victims of police violence from around the country, to a march with over 1,000 people leading to dozens of arrests.

    The actions kicked off last Monday with a march on Staten Island organized by NYC Shut It Down (NYCSID) and led by Erica Garner, Eric’s oldest daughter and founder of the Garner Way Foundation. “It’s important to keep bringing actions to Staten Island,” Erica told ANIMAL, “because the police still haven’t reformed out there.”

    The march hit many locations directly connected to Eric Garner’s story, from the courthouse where the Grand Jury failed to indict Officer Pantaleo, to the NYPD’s 120th Precinct, where Pantaleo still works, to the spot where Eric died, just seven blocks away. At each location, and while taking the streets between them, Erica led protesters in chants of, “No Justice! No Peace,” and “Pantaleo Has To Go!”

    After the march, NYCSID dropped a banner reading “I Can’t Breathe” on the Staten Island ferry. This was a marked change in tactics from the past year, when protesters explicitly stated they would not demonstrate on the ferry in order to keep peace with the DOT. “After one year and still no justice, it is important to increase the pressure,” said an organizer with NYCSID who asked to remain anonymous.

    During the week, the group also dropped the banner at two other iconic locations: on the balcony inside Grand Central Station, and from the High Line. At Grand Central, one MTA officer and three State Troopers stopped the group as they left, told them they weren’t allowed to do what they had just done, and needed to get a permit next time.

    The largest demonstration took place Friday night, with more than 1,000 participants. Dozens were arrested. The rally and march was organized by Millions March NYC, NYC Shut It Down, and the People’s Power Assembly. Before the march made it three blocks, the NYPD arrested one prominent member from each of the three groups that organized the event, prompting calls from protesters that they were targeted for their role in organizing and not engaging in activity that other protesters were not.

    More at the link.

    A Confederate General’s Final Stand Divides Memphis

    But this month, the Memphis City Council voted unanimously to begin an intricate process of removing the brass statue from the park — along with the remains of Forrest and his wife, encased since 1905 in its marble base. This effort joins a national wave of casting off Confederate icons since the massacre last month at a church in Charleston, S.C.

    Efforts to take down public flags or monuments associated with the Confederacy are being renewed in communities like New Orleans; Tampa, Fla.; Austin, Tex.; and Stone Mountain, Ga. Yale and the University of California, Berkeley, are among educational institutions being pushed to rename campus buildings honoring people connected to slavery and the Confederacy.

    But because of Forrest’s notoriety, Memphis’s harsh racial history and the fact that advocates want to disinter bodies, not just take down a flag or monument, the issue has particular resonance.
    […]

    In 1905, white Memphis society scions created the park to be Forrest’s new resting place. They dug up his body and his wife’s, 28 years after his death in 1877, and moved them there. They commissioned the statue, which was designed in New York and built in Paris, to sit atop the remains.

    Then the park was dedicated, just as streetcar segregation laws were coming into full force here.

    Many of the Confederate monuments being reconsidered now were put up then. Part of the intent behind them, said Beverly G. Bond, a history professor at the University of Memphis, was to intimidate black people. “I am pretty sure,” she said, “nobody ever took a vote among African Americans here in 1905 asking, ‘Do you want this statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest in this park?’ ”

    Myron Lowery, 68, the City Council chairman, is leading the removal effort. He is fully aware that as a black man, he would not have been a public official in 1905, and that if he had opposed the statue then, he said, “I could have been lynched.”

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    The Council’s resolution did not settle things. But it initiated two separate, complex processes — one to move the remains and another to move the statue.

    Predicting a backlash, Mr. Millar stirred the crowd at the recent Confederate rally. “They’ve got a lot of obstacles ahead of them,” he said. “I like to think one of them is us.”

    The resolution started legal procedures to move the remains back to the cemetery where they were originally buried. That case will be heard in the Chancery Court, which sits on Adams Avenue, directly across from where Forrest once sold slaves.

    The resolution also began a six-week ordinance procedure to remove the statue. After that, the Tennessee Historical Commission will have to vote in October on waiving a 2013 state heritage law prohibiting war monument changes.

    The City of Memphis owns the statue of Forrest. If the waiver passes, the city will have the statue on hand, for sale, in the fall. Mr. Lowery said they were already fielding offers from lots of potential buyers.

    I think they should auction it off for the highest possible price and thus have revenue for the city to use for good causes.

    Sandra Bland Mourned From Illinois to Texas

    Sandra Bland began her Facebook videos by greeting viewers as “kings and queens.” Those close to her believe she truly meant it.

    “She talks to us as kings and queens,” one of her sisters, Shavon Bland, said outside the family’s church in Illinois on Sunday. “That’s how she went around the world speaking. From here to Chicago to Texas — wherever she went.”

    On both ends of the path that marked Bland’s 28-year life — the western suburbs of Chicago where she grew up, and the Texas town where she died — family, friends and supporters continued to raise questions Sunday about her startling death in the Waller County jail as they took time to remember, honor and reflect.
    […]

    Multiple agencies, including the Texas Rangers and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, have announced investigations into her death, and Waller County officials have promised they would hide no information from the Bland family.

    A Prairie View A&M graduate, Bland had returned to take a temporary job with the school’s extension service.

    In the wake of her sister’s death, Cooper said her family has found support in the Waller County community.

    “I can’t tell you how connected we have become to you all throughout this last week,” Cooper told those at the Prairie View prayer vigil. “Until we were able to physically be here, the people that were our voice and our ears and our eyes were from this community.”

  86. rq says

    #RichWhiteLivesMatterToo — Update – It’s a look at David Brooks’ response to Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book, and down at the end, there’s a whole list of other people responding to David Brooks’ response.

    Confederate flag under siege, but U.S. hate groups alive and well (CBC)
    Mourners gather to remember Andrew Loku, shot dead by Toronto police (Toronto Star)
    Sandra Bland’s arresting officer on desk leave (Toronto Star)

    Sandra Bland’s death in Texas jail to be treated like murder probe: prosecutor (CBC) – I thought I’d left a comment to this effect before I went out and about today, but apparently I did not. This is a small piece of good news.

    Photo of black cop helping man with racist T-shirt at KKK rally goes viral (Toronto Star)

  87. says

    Sovereign citizen arrested after twice trying to grab one of six loaded guns in his confederate flag car:

    A Towns County sheriff’s deputy and an agent from the Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office stopped 30-year-old Dustin Lee Gunnells, of Hiawassee, for an unspecified misdemeanor traffic offense Wednesday, reported WKRK-AM.

    “Immediately the driver exhibited aggression towards the officers and began making statements consistent with ‘sovereign citizen type beliefs,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. “Rather than comply with deputies, the driver reached for a gun.”

    The deputies feared for their safety but did not shoot, and instead broke out a window in Gunnell’s car and physically removed him from the vehicle.

    Gunnells then tried to reach for a gun he kept in a holster at the small of his back, deputies said, but they were able to subdue him and take away his weapon.

    One of the deputies suffered minor injuries from broken glass, and they said Gunnells refused medical treatment for minor injuries.

    Deputies said they found six guns — a 9mm hand gun, a .45-caliber handgun, a .40-caliber handgun, a .44 magnum caliber short rifle, and a .223-caliber AR-15 military-style rifle — and extra ammunition inside Gunnells’ car.

    Each of the weapons was loaded, and all but the AR-15 had rounds within the chamber, authorities said.

    ****
    TX trooper who arrested Sandra Bland claims the Black Lives Matter activist assaulted him.
    Can’t copy paste because you have to have permission to reprint.

  88. Saad says

    Samuel Dubose, 43-year old black man, shot to death by police officer in University of Cincinnati police officer during traffic stop

    Cincinnati police are investigating the fatal shooting of an apparently unarmed black man by a University of Cincinnati police officer after a confrontation during a traffic stop Sunday.

    The dead man, who was shot in the head, was Samuel Dubose, a 43-year-old father of 13 children, according to CNN affiliate WKRC-TV. A CNN records search showed that Dubose had more than 60 arrests.

    Authorities identified the officer as Ray Tensing, who has five years’ experience in law enforcement and who has worked for the University of Cincinnati Police Department for more than a year. He is white.

    [. . .]

    Tensing asked several times to see Dubose’s driver’s license, Cincinnati police said. Instead, police said, Dubose handed the officer a bottle of alcohol.

    According to police, Tensing asked Dubose to step out of the car, at which point a struggle ensued.

    “There was a struggle at the door with Mr. Dubose in the vehicle and the officer outside the vehicle, and the vehicle sped away,” Cincinnati police Lt. Col. James Whalen told reporters.

    Police said Dubose then stuck his key back in the ignition and sped away as Tensing fired a single shot, hitting the driver in the head.

    Tensing fell to the ground as he fired the shot, bruising his legs and tearing his uniform, Cincinnati police said.

    It appeared that Dubose did not have a weapon, according to police.

    [. . .]

    The officer has been placed on administrative leave with pay. He has not yet been interviewed, nor have two other officers who arrived on the scene, as they are allowed 24 to 48 hours to work with their attorneys first.

    Tensing was wearing a body camera, police said. They also said they have received surveillance video from nearby buildings but have yet to view it. No dashboard camera video is available, police said.

  89. says

    How slavery built Charleston:

    July 12, 2015, marked the 197th anniversary of “Mother Emanuel” African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Its senior pastor, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, was not there to celebrate the occasion—he was among the nine African Americans shot dead on June 17 by Dylan Storm Roof, a follower of white supremacist screeds.

    Instead, Rev. Dr. Norvel Goff Sr., Emanuel’s interim pastor, presided over the anniversary service, receiving gifts from church visitors as far away as Africa. His sermon theme was “Things to Remember,” which focused on the Bible passage Joshua 4:21.

    “And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones?”

    In front of the church is an elaborate stretch of flowers and memorials occupying a sizable chunk of Calhoun Street in Historic Downtown Charleston, which can’t be missed by anyone driving or walking by. What also can’t be missed, a block away from the site of one of the nation’s most horrific acts of domestic terrorism, is another memorial: a towering bronze statue of the man the street is named after, John C. Calhoun, the former U.S. Secretary of War and forever defender of slavery. It stands on a long, granite pedestal hoisted from Marion Square, an expansive green space operated (though not owned) by the city. Not long after the Emanuel shootings, someone spray-painted “RACIST” along the base of the Calhoun monument.

    Calhoun’s is but one of many public monuments honoring slavery’s advocates in South Carolina. When Klansmen and New Black Panthers clashed over the weekend at the state’s capitol, they did so below a monument dedicated to Confederate soldiers, which still stands right in front of the state house building, just yards from where the Confederate rebel flag waved before it was taken down on July 10.

    There are plenty more Confederate monuments standing in plain sight throughout the state—over 170 as of 2001, according to this letter from former state Attorney General Charlie Condon. Notably, the Confederate Soldier Memorial in Columbia and the Calhoun monument statue in Charleston are both inextricably stitched into each city’s fabric. The function they serve is that they help tell their respective city’s histories. They also project who should be considered the heroes among grand narratives that focus on war.

    The black descendants of the enslaved victims of these heroes, meanwhile, have grown up in these cities asking themselves the question Mother Emanuel’s pastor referenced in his sermon: “What mean these stones?”

    Roughly 44 percent of black children in Charleston lived in segregated areas characterized by concentrated poverty between 2009 and 2013, compared to just 5 percent of white children, according to the Annie E. Casey’s Kids Count Data Center. The perseverance of these Confederate stones and monuments may provide some context for the ongoing segregation seen today, but that examination is obscured when the conversation focuses squarely on the valor of men who fought and died in Civil War battles.

    Edwin C. Breeden, a graduate student at Rice University’s Department of History, and Joseph McGill, founder of The Slave Dwelling Project, are hoping to change this discussion. Rather than focusing on the Civil War generals, commanders, and plantations that Charleston’s historic landscapes and tourism industry rely heavily upon, they are urging the city to recognize the places where imported Africans were sold and purchased. These are locations that aren’t just about slavery, but also the centrifugal forces of commerce that set the city’s economic and physical formations in motion.

    “Slave labor created the wealth that built all of these buildings, or they were physically built by the slaves themselves,” says McGill as he walks me through Charleston’s French Quarter, a tourist-driven district in downtown where swanky new taverns and bistros share shadows with centuries-old banks and libraries. “[The city] sells history to the public through these architecturally, historically significant buildings, but these same buildings were centrally involved in the institution of slavery.”

    There’s a lot more at the link.

    ****
    4 things you should teach your kids about racism right now:

    For the past three years, ever since Trayvon Martin was murdered for walking while black and reports of unarmed black people being killed by cops and wanna-be cops have surged, leading to the Black Lives Matter movement and push-back from black communities all over the country, I’ve wondered how, and if, we’re ever going to beat anti-black racism. I don’t even mean eliminate it. I just mean…get a leg-up. Because sometimes it seems as if we’re getting nowhere, and getting there really fast.

    In the wake of the South Carolina church shootings, when South Carolina governor Nikki Haley said, “Parents are having to explain to their kids how they can go to church and feel safe,” I wondered what those parents have been teaching their kids about anti-black racism all this time.

    More importantly, what is everyone (who actually cares) teaching their kids about anti-black racism?

    “Don’t say the N-word, Bobby!”

    “Be nice to people no matter what the color of their skin is, Malik!”

    “The Ku Klux Klan is bad, Madison! Don’t ever put on a hood and burn a cross on someone’s lawn! Okay, nap time!”

    Is this the gist of it? God, I hope not. Jokes aside, I suspect that it’s not much more nuanced than this. And it really needs to be.

    As informed, non-presidential black people have been saying forever, and as one presidential black person, President Obama, recently said, too: anti-black racism isn’t just saying the N-word.

    It’s not just being in a hate group, either. Or being mean to people because of the color of their skin. It’s way more complicated than that.

    As someone who is working on baby-making with my partner, and is already auntie to the cutest nephew ever, I’ve tried to imagine what, exactly, I’ll tell my kids about racism, and especially anti-black racism, that will make them less likely to internalize it when they encounter it, which, as black children, they absolutely will. There are a few things I’ve identified as especially important for them to understand as soon as they’re able to, and I think these are good things for everyone (who actually cares) to teach their kids about anti-black racism.

    Here are two of the ways:

    2. Don’t trust the mainstream media, Mateo.

    We all grow up watching, reading, listening to, and being influenced by the mainstream media. Without a basic understanding of the ways the MSM works to uphold systemic racism, kids are ill-equipped to avoid its trappings.

    We should all teach kids that the U.S. media isn’t fair and unbiased, but rather that it’s made up mostly of people who benefit from white supremacy and anti-blackness, and who hold white supremacist and anti-black biases themselves.

    Teach your kids to constantly question the media’s narratives, especially about black people, including what stories the media tells and doesn’t tell, what images they show and don’t show, and the ways that black people and other people of color are made less than human by the media, while white people, even mass murderers, are allowed full humanity. Point out to them the differences in headlines and language used to describe people of color vs. white people and make sure they understand the motives behind them.

    3. Being “colorblind” is not the answer, Tiffany.

    The “I’m colorblind” or “I don’t see color” or “I don’t see you as black, just as a person” approach is one of the major ways that racism actually gets perpetuated. The fact is that everyone sees race, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The problem occurs when we make assumptions about people of color based on race, when racialized people are stereotyped and denied access based on race.

    Most of the black people I know, most of the people of color I know, don’t want their race, culture and heritage ignored or erased. They also don’t want their experiences of racialized oppression ignored or erased. They simply don’t want to be treated as less human because of their race.

    Also, if you have to pretend my blackness isn’t there in order to see my full humanity, you might be racist (j/k you’re definitely racist).

    We have to teach kids of color that being surrounded by “colorblind” people is no kind of goal to have, and teach white kids that “not seeing race” isn’t possible, isn’t necessary, and, in fact, perpetuates racism.

  90. says

    Another day, another black person killed by a LEO:

    Prosecutors are intensively reviewing the fatal shooting of an unarmed Cincinnati man by a University of Cincinnati police officer who had pulled the driver over for having a missing front license plate and fired on him after a brief struggle, authorities said Tuesday.

    The man, Samuel Dubose, 43, who was African-American, was shot once in the head as he sat behind the wheel of his car Sunday night, university and city police said. The officer, Ray Tensing, who is white, was placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.

    The deadly shooting occurred amid a national conversation of race and policing, with critics alleging that black suspects are more likely to have force used against them during encounters with police.
    Cincinnati police said Tuesday that they have taken over the investigation at the request of the university. Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said in a statement that his office is “rapidly investigating” the shooting.

    “This incident didn’t involve a Cincinnati Police Department officer, but it happened in our city, and it is our job to ensure this investigation is handled with the attention it deserves,” City Manager Harry Black said Tuesday.

    University Police Chief Jason Goodrich said the campus department has an agreement with Cincinnati police to patrol shared areas near campus.

    ****

    Guardian database is up to 637.

  91. says

    I news that will come as a surprise to pretty much no one the dashcam video of Sandra Bland’s arrest was edited:

    The dashcam video released to the public of the violent arrest of Sandra Bland was edited.

    Bland was a 28-year-old Black Lives Matter civil rights activist and vocal critic of police brutality who died in police custody after a Texas officer pulled her over for a traffic violation, ordered her out of her car when she refused to put out her cigarette, and aggressively arrested her. Police say Bland committed suicide, yet the Waller County prosecutor says Bland’s case is “being treated just as it would be a murder investigation.”

    The Texas Department of Public Safety uploaded dashcam police video of the arrest to YouTube on 21 July. Parts of the approximately 52 minutes of footage it uploaded have clearly been doctored.

    A man leaves the truck in the center of the frame at 25:05. For the next 15 seconds, he walks toward the right of the frame and leaves. At 25:19, he suddenly appears again, promptly disappears, then returns at 25:22. The same footage of him walking is subsequently repeated.

    This is not the only part of the video that was edited.

    At 32:37, a white car drives into the left side of the frame, then promptly disappears in the middle of the road. Seconds later, the same car drives back into the frame and subsequently turns left. This footage is later looped several times.

    A different white car also drives into the left side of the frame and turns left from 32:49 to 32:59. The previous white car again briefly enters the frame at 33:04, and once more at 33:06, yet it suddenly disappears both times. When these cuts are made in the footage, the lights on top of the truck in the center of the frame also abruptly cut out.

    At 33:08, the exact same footage from 32:37 is repeated, followed by the same second white car at 33:17.

    Similar edits and loops are made throughout the video.

    Someone clearly cut footage out and looped part of the video in order to correspond with the recorded audio of Texas state trooper Brian Encinia speaking. Who exactly edited the footage is unknown, but the video was recorded by police and released by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

    UPDATE:

    Award-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay also agrees that the video has been edited.

  92. rq says

    Memphis cop fatally shoots black teen after mistaking him for someone else, family says – as reported by Raw Story.

    Ebony photoessay (Sept. ’70) on African-American contributions to #space program and #Apollo11 (2/2) (I missed part 1/2.)

    Family Attorney: Dashcam Video Of Sandra Bland’s Arrest Shows Texas Trooper Trying To Pull Her Out Of Her Car – I think that’s the one that’s probably edited as mentioned by Tony above. It also never ever shows Sandra Bland attacking the officer.

    The attorney for Bland’s family, Cannon Lambert, told a radio show Monday that the dashcam video of her arrest showed a Texas state trooper reaching into her car and trying to pull her out. Lambert told the Tom Joyner Morning Show that Bland did not strike the state trooper in the video footage that was shown to the family. Lambert said the two argued about Bland smoking in her car and the trooper tried to open her door as she attempted to record him with her cell phone. The video then showed the trooper pulling his taser out after which Bland complied and got out of her car, Lambert said.

    An official from the Waller County Sheriff’s Office told BuzzFeed News her death “appears to be a suicide for now,” but her friends and family told ABC 7 they suspect foul play. The official said the autopsy report could “take several more days.”

    Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said at a Thursday news conference that Bland used a plastic bag to hang herself from a partition in her cell, the Chicago Tribune reported. The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences, which conducted Bland’s autopsy, had earlier listed her manner of death as “suicide,” with hanging as the primary cause.

    On Friday, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) announced that it had “identified violations of the department’s procedures regarding traffic stops and the department’s courtesy policy.”

    Pending the outcome of the Texas Ranger and FBI investigation into the incident, the officer involved in the arrest has been assigned administrative duties, the statement added.

    The location of Bland’s phone, I understand, is currently unknown. Or what material there might be on it.

    Black women speak out about their experiences with police violence – I will add, as long as they feel safe doing so.

    The names of black men shot and killed by police became synonymous with the slogan “black lives matter.”

    But that doesn’t mean black women and girls are unaffected by state violence.

    A new report and campaign called Say Her Name addresses the lack of accountability for the deaths of black women and girls—and puts faces and names to the black and brown women whose lives have been cut short.

    But what do the survivors and families of victims have to say about the realities of policing black and brown communities?
    […]

    Andrea Ritchie, a black police misconduct attorney and co-author of “Say Her Name,” has been raising the issue of how black and brown women are policed for 20 years, she says. “Unfortunately, I’m no longer surprised by stories, but I continue to be deeply enraged by them,” Ritchie said.

    Article from July 1.

    More vandalism, in Denton (link won’t load for me).

    U.S.
    A Startling Third of Black Children Live in Poverty: Census

    Impoverished black children (4.2 million) may outnumber impoverished white children (4.1 million) for the first time since the U.S. Census began collecting poverty data in 1974, says a new Pew Research Center report, released Tuesday.

    Overall, 20 percent of children in the U.S., or 14.7 million, lived in poverty in 2013, down from 22 percent in 2010. The rate declined for all races and ethnicities during that period, except black children. Their poverty rate held steady at around 38 percent throughout the same period.

    While black children were almost four times as likely as white children to be living in poverty in 2013, more Hispanic children lived in poverty than any other group (5.4 million that year). This has been true since at least 2008, as the Hispanic population is larger and younger than the other minority populations.

    That’s HUGE.

  93. rq says

    Sure, Whites Are Privileged—but Not Me Personally! As removed from the Lounge.

    In their minds, white privilege may exist, but its impact on them is effectively negated by other, unrelated factors. “Importantly, this discounting of personal privilege is ultimately associated with diminished support for affirmative action policies,” write Stanford University scholars L. Taylor Phillips and Brian S. Lowery.

    In the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, the researchers describe three experiments that provide evidence backing up this assertion. The first two featured 94 and 91 white Americans, respectively, who were recruited online via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk.

    “Participants completed two ostensibly unrelated surveys, the first regarding beliefs about inequality in America, and the second about childhood memories,” the researchers write. In the first, they were asked the degree to which they believe white people have “certain advantages minorities do not have in this society.”

    Half addressed this touchy question cold, while the others did so after reading a paragraph describing the reality of white privilege in such realms as academics, housing, and health care.

    The “personal memory” questionnaire included five items addressing hardships, including the assertion “I have had many difficulties in life that I could not overcome.” Participants expressed their level of agreement with each on a one-to-seven scale.

    “In both experiments, we found that whites exposed to evidence of white privilege claimed more hardships than those not exposed to evidence of privilege,” the researchers report. In other words, evidence that their race was an advantage prompted white people to move toward a victimhood mindset.

    The final experiment, featuring 234 white Americans from a national online pool, found “people claim more life hardships in response to evidence of in-group privilege because such information is threatening to their sense of self.” What’s more, “these denials of personal privilege were in turn associated with diminished support for affirmative action policies—policies that could help alleviate racial inequity.”

    Altogether, the results suggest “people may accept that in-group privilege exists, but change their perceptions of their own lives in order to deny the role of systemic advantages in their success,” Phillips and Lowery conclude.

    8 months later, the Cleveland PD admits it was wrong to ever hire the officer who killed Tamir Rice, I think Tony posted this upthread. The culmination of an internal investigation, I suppose, that saw two supervisors mildly punished for hiring Loehmann. And still nothing for Loehmann himself.

    DA: Sandra Bland’s death being treated like murder investigation – CNN on that positive step.

    “It is very much too early to make any kind of determination that this was a suicide or a murder because the investigations are not complete,” Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis told reporters. “This is being treated like a murder investigation.”

    He said the case would go to a grand jury.

    “There are too many questions that still need to be resolved. Ms. Bland’s family does make valid points that she did have a lot of things going on in her life that were good,” Mathis said.

    So there you go.

    Hillary Clinton said it. Black lives matter. No hedge. Did she say it online or live?

    She said it. She really did. Actually she typed it. But still, there was no hedge.

    In a live Facebook Q&A set up primarily for average people interested in asking Hillary Clinton questions, some reporters popped in too. Ok, a lot of reporters popped in, since Clinton hasn’t exactly been too open about taking questions from reporters. Among the online attendees was the Post’s own, Wesley Lowery. […]

    “Black lives matter.” With those three little words, Clinton acknowledged that there are myriad ways that race continues to shape life in America that have almost no relationship to pocketbooks, educational credentials or class. There’s ample evidence that income, education and the like do not deliver the same results in black lives that they do in others.

    After three successive summers filled with news about the nation’s rocky racial landscape, it’s probably fair to say that at least some of the people running for office in 2016 expect questions about the way the police do their work and how the country responds when something goes wrong.

    But for a group of activists who first organized loosely online under the hashtag #blacklivesmatter in the hours after a jury acquitted George Zimmerman on all charges in the death of unarmed, black teen, Trayvon Martin, just getting someone in the 2016 field — especially the heavy favorite to be the Democratic nominee — to acknowledge that black lives are in particular peril is pretty huge.
    […]

    More than a few activists and supporters of this cause disagree with the campaign’s characterization of Clinton as a full and long-term ally. And some of Clinton’s more recent choices haven’t helped.

    In June, Clinton went to a Missouri forum, held in a church not far from the place where another unarmed black teen was shot and killed by a police officer whom a grand jury later opted not to indict. At the time, she said this while connecting the struggles of young black Americans and her own mother’s deeply difficult upbringing : “All lives matter.”

    It was, whether intentional or not, the phrase to which opponents of the Black Lives Matter movement have most often turned. And that’s the kind of equivocation that can, to some ears, sound a lot like minimization or worse, outright rejection.

    Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, has offered up his own assessment of the singular way that race shapes policing in the United States and the relationship between economic isolation and continued racial inequality.

    But Sanders has also used that same phrase, “All lives matter,” when pressed. And, this weekend, when activists in Phoenix deeply concerned with the way that police do their work in communities of color stormed into a liberal gathering, Sanders wasn’t as forceful on the issue as Clinton.

    “Black lives of course matter,” he said. “But I’ve spent 50 years of my life fighting for civil rights. If you don’t want me to be here, that’s okay.”
    […]

    So late Monday, Hillary Clinton, habitual avoider of direct contact with reporters has said on the record: “Black lives matter.” She didn’t add qualifiers. She didn’t hedge. She didn’t find a way to connect, compare or somehow associate the systemic and wide-spread challenges that black and Latino communities face with policing right now to difficult circumstances in individual white lives in the past. That is indeed a moment worth noting.

    And, perhaps that’s a moment that came in the nick of time. Black Lives Matter groups from around the country are set to convene in Cleveland this weekend to talk tactics, platform and strategy. Critique what you will, but Black Lives Matter has certainly evolved beyond a hashtag.

    Lookin’ at you, Bernie.

    Request for protective order in Freddie Gray case denied

    A judge has denied the request of State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby to keep attorneys in the Freddie Case from publicizing evidence before the trial.

    Mosby, who is prosecuting six police officers in Gray’s death, wanted a court hearing to argue for a protective order that would bar the release of any evidence — or, if the officers’ attorneys agreed, to post all of it online.

    Mosby said she was concerned that the defense attorneys would leak only evidence that supported their clients’ defense, jeopardizing the ability to conduct a fair trial.

    Gray, 25, died in April after sustaining a severe spinal cord injury while in police custody.

    In a ruling issued Monday, Judge Barry G. Williams rejected Mosby’s request without a hearing. He wrote that the state “does not suggest there is anything in discovery that warrants restricting disclosure.”

    “The Court notes that discovery was turned over on June 26, 2015, and as of this date, the court is not aware of the dissemination of any discovery information by Defendants,” Williams wrote. “The only discovery item that has become public as of this date has been information from the autopsy report, and at the time of the alleged disclosure, the report had not been turned over to Defendants.”

    Williams concluded that “there simply is no basis in the assertions presented to the court for the broad and extraordinary relief sought in the motion.”

    Weeellll, I wouldn’t put it past them.

    Denver Police Keeps “Spy Files” on Peaceful Protesters

    On February 7, 2003, the Denver Police made public 1,500 pages of the so-called “”Spy File”. More than 300 people jammed police headquarters, wondering whether they were the focus of police intelligence. Representatives of 70 groups also showed up. The document was the product of nearly five decades of intelligence-gathering and contained more than 3,200 people and 208 organizations.

    Many of those people did nothing more than attending peaceful protests and conferences. Some of them did more activist work, such as volunteering with Amnesty International and the American Friends Service Committee (both of which are recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize).
    […]

    The ACLU of Colorado also obtained documents that indicate that the FBI’s Joint Terrorist Task Force (JTTF) has been gathering information and creating files on the activities of peaceful protesters who have no connection to terrorism or any other criminal activity.

    The terms of agreement ACLU reached with the Denver Police to resolve the Spy Files lawsuit became effective on May 7, 2003 with Judge Nottingham’s signed order:

    “”Denver has agreed to put an end to its decades-long practice of monitoring and keeping files on peaceful critics of government policy who have no connection to criminal activity,”” said Mark Silverstein, Legal Director of the ACLU of Colorado. “”The end of this political spying enhances the professionalism of the police department and is a victory for the First Amendment and for the civil liberties of all people in Denver.

  94. rq says

  95. rq says

  96. rq says

    Being Black in America vs. Being White in America. On parenting.

    Death Of Woman Found Hanged In Texas Jail Cell Will Be Investigated As Murder, NPR with the news.

    Mathis: Bail bondsman who spoke to #SandraBland says she was afraid for her safety. Only had $100, not enough to post $500 bond.

    In Prairie View, tx #sandrabland “Signal lane change or sheriff may kill you”.

    Mapping Hate: Pro-Confederate Battle Flag Rallies Across America

    In the aftermath of the June 17 massacre of nine black churchgoers by a white Confederate battle flag enthusiast in Charleston, S.C., the symbol that has long been revered by the Ku Klux Klan and other defenders of the antebellum South has come under bitter attack. The flag has been removed from both the South Carolina and the Alabama state Capitol grounds, banned by commercial giants like Amazon, Walmart and eBay, and denounced even by an array of conservative Republicans who had never criticized it in any way.

    But as calls continue to mount around the country for the removal of the flag and other monuments to the Confederacy, a major backlash from enthusiasts of the Lost Cause has set in. Most dramatically, the North Carolina-based Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan is staging a July 18 rally in support of the flag in Columbia, S.C., just over 100 miles from Charleston. In the run-up to that rally, there already have been nearly 90 such events with thousands of participants around the country, and more than 20 others are planned in the coming weeks.

    If you know about a rally that isn’t on the map, let us know.

    [interactive map]

    The Southern Poverty Law Center compiled the information in this map from lists created by other human rights organizations, hate groups and its own research in order to give a sense of the size of this reactionary movement. When available, event organizers, hate groups and key members involved, source information and crowd sizes at past events have been included. When not explicitly reported by credible news sources, the number of attendees has been estimated from photos and video evidence. Our hope is that the map will serve as an interactive resource for those seeking to understand the scope of the forces supporting the embattled flag.

    Tears and anger at funeral of ‘police chokehold victim’ Jonathan Sanders – I find it interesting that the Guardian has been covering that story so much, maybe more than US media. Or maybe it just seems that way to me.

    Mourners packed into a church here on Saturday morning, to grieve the loss of Jonathan Sanders and to grapple with the circumstances of his death.

    Sanders, 39, died on 8 July, allegedly choked to death by a local police officer in a case state and federal authorities are now investigating. Sanders was black. The officer, Kevin Herrington, is white. Police have appealed for residents to stay calm until the investigation is finished. But at Sanders’s funeral, the grief was mixed with protest.

    A thousand people turned out – as many as live in the entire town of Stonewall – and many wore shirts printed with the slogan “Justice For Jonathan”.

    “When you put heat to the kettle, the pressure begins,” said speaker Dennis Evans, in remarks that brought the congregation to its feet. “When you turn up the heat, the water starts to boil. And finally when the pressure gets too high, the kettle whistles. That’s us whistling, now, calling for justice for Jonathan.”

    Sanders’s mother, Frances, wept in the first pew, as ushers – ladies in white dresses and white gloves – fanned her.

    One of those women, Lisa Johnson, 51, is a distant relative of Sanders.

    “This is a sad day, Jesus,” she said. “We have a bad history with the police here. Five years ago they beat my cousin to death. Believe and trust me: we have a problem here.”
    […]

    The Sanders case has gripped Stonewall, where neighbors view their town with a new fear and suspicion. The day before the funeral, Sanders’s 21-year-old cousin, Sierra Sanders, visited the impromptu memorial at the site of his death. As she described to a visitor the events that led to Sanders’s death, a white pickup truck came barreling into sight, skidding to a stop diagonally across the road.

    A man, Derek Williams, jumped out of the driver’s seat and said he owned the property on which Sanders died. He demanded to know the visitor’s interest in the case.

    “Everything’s fucked up right now. My kids are scared to death,” he said. “That cop didn’t look dangerous either. He’s supposed to protect and serve. And look what happened.”

  97. rq says

    Let’s make this pic and of Me and other Black fathers & Daughters go viral @deray #BlackLivesMatter

    How Baltimore schools became aware of ‘purge’ threat on day of unrest

    Dorsey’s message was sent nearly 12 hours before the first notice of the 3 p.m. “purge” — a reference to a movie in which crime is made legal — at Mondawmin Mall reached city schools headquarters at North Avenue. At 12:23 p.m., the flier dropped into the inbox of Maj. Akil Hamm, deputy chief of the Baltimore City School Police Force.

    “The flier has been circulating on social media and I believe it to be creditable [sic],” wrote Joe Orenstein of the Baltimore City Police Department. “If you could, please have the officer who reports to the Watch Center (Unified Command) briefed and knowledgeable about what has been occurring in schools Monday.”

    From there, emails detailing lists of schools and their close proximity to Freddie Gray’s funeral, crisis plans and talking points for educators to help students through trauma began to bounce back and forth between school officers.

    Plans were also firmed up for the mayor to speak to a group of Gilmor Elementary School students before heading to Gray’s funeral.

    The next morning, it was still unclear whether the planned “purge” would happen, though rumors had been swirling that a group of students from Frederick Douglass High School —located directly across the street from Mondawmin — were planning to walk out at 3 p.m.

    School police had also devised a plan — five officers and two detectives would be stationed at Mondawmin Mall, with two officers stationed at schools in the area.

    Douglass’ principal, Iona Spikes, sent an email at 7:56 a.m. to her staff, asking for “all hands on deck” and for staff to be “on point.”

    Media calls began to grow by 9:11, according to a school communications staff member, not just about a planned purge, but also a shooting threat at City College.

    By 11:15 a.m., city schools Police Chief Marshall Goodwin was fielding emails from City Hall.

    One came from a staffer in City Council President Bernard “C” Jack Young’s office, asking, “Do you think it’s actually going to happen?”

    “Unsure,” Goodwin responded. “We have many rumors at this time. Some have not happened thus far today.”

    At 1:34 p.m., Fred Damron from the Maryland Transit Administration emailed Hamm, asking if the district could delay bell times to decrease traffic at Mondawmin Mall, which serves as a major bus hub for students.

    “That’s a big ask,” Hamm wrote. “I’ll check with my higher-ups.”

    Follow-up interviews indicated that such a request came within an hour of when 99 schools were due to dismiss.

    Schools CEO Thornton said in a recent interview that such a request was nearly impossible to fulfill.

    “We basically said: We can’t turn it in 40 minutes,” Thornton said. “We can’t get kids ready to go home, notify parents, and ensure their transition home.”

    Eight minutes after the request, the first concerns about transportation came from a school official, saying that the MTA No. 22 bus, the primary mode of transportation for students from Reach Academy, wasn’t running.

    School officials did not realize that transportation at the Mondawmin hub — where more than 5,000 students transfer per day — had been halted.

    And that is how schoolchildren came to be stranded and surrounded by riot cops. And people are surprised that emotions were running high.

    Wale Teams Up With Michelle Obama for Reach Higher Initiative and Will Perform at the White House

    According to a press release, Obama, Wale and scholars will participate in a panel that will address the students who “have overcome substantial obstacles to persist through high school and make it to college.”

    “I believe that the youth are the first step in creating a better country, so to be involved in a program that aims to enrich their lives is truly the greatest reward,” Wale stated. “Having grown up in Washington, D.C., being invited to the White House by the first lady is a dream come true. Thank you to Mrs. Obama and her entire staff for this opportunity.”

    The Reach Higher Initiative was started by the first lady to inspire all students in America to take charge of their future by completing their education past high school, whether at a professional training program, a community college, or a four-year college or university.

    Just got text from #BlackLivesMatter Alabama that #KindraChapman protestors are IN JAIL! And cops pulled a gun on an organizer IN THE JAIL!

    MSNBC Maps ‘the Geography of Poverty’

    MSNBC’s Trymaine Lee and photographer Matt Black are collaborating to highlight the sobering truth about what it means to be poor in one of the world’s richest countries. “The Geography of Poverty” will take the award-winning journalists to more than 70 cities and towns across the United States in which 20 percent of residents fall below the poverty line. About 45 million Americans are living at or below the official government poverty benchmark ($23,850 a year for a family of four; $11,670 for an individual), and this figure doesn’t even include the millions of people who fall into the working poor category. Many others are earning only slightly more than that, according to MSNBC.

    We spoke with Lee about the project and what poverty means for people of color in the U.S.

    […]

    EBONY: What are your thoughts on Blacks and Latinos serving as the face of poverty in this country?

    TL: When you see 27 percent of African Americans living below the poverty line and 24 percent below for Hispanics, that’s not a stereotype. Those are realities. But again, those are realities that have created over a very long time by bad, sometimes racist policy, all the way around. It’s kind of this pathway to the present of “how did we get to this point?” That’s the not the stereotype that is concerning. The stereotype that is concerning is that poor people are poor by their own doing and that poor people are poor because they’re lazy or because they’re criminally inclined or whatever. That’s the stereotype that we need to be concerned about, not just the reality that there are disproportionately more people living on the poverty line who are people of color. By the numbers, there are more White Americans on welfare than people of color, but we’re talking about proportions here, not sheer numbers, because we’re only 13 or 14 percent. We’re concentrated in certain places. When you’re talking about the middle of the country, we’re not out there. We are concentrated in places where there had once been booming industries. Look at Detroit. Look at parts of New York, where people were, during the Great Migration, coming up to work. Again, that industry dried up. So you have all these Black folks in these communities that have moved up for good jobs and a better life and when that dried up, so did their prospects at a better quality of life.

    EBONY: What is the current state of the American Dream for immigrants? Do you think it’s still attainable at this point?

    TL: I think many people are willing to die trying for the American Dream. For some, they succeed. Others, again, its kind of this perilous journey into America hoping for something better. Again, when you look down in Texas, so many people who are coming just to try to make a living and try to support their families and feed their children are literally dying along the way. We see this isn’t unique to the border with Mexico, but you see it with the Haitian exodus. All around the world, people are willing to put their lives on the line for the American Dream, for something better.

    EBONY: What do you hope to accomplish with this project?

    TL: I think on one end, it’s to show the true face of poverty in America and that face is white, it’s Black, it’s Latino, it’s Native American. It’sfrom coast to coast, from border to border. I think a big chunk of this is awareness. Because we live in such a segregated society, we simply don’t live near each other. Society, as a whole, is often blind to the reality that so many of us face. When you talk about what’s going on on Native Americans reservations, who’s gonna be in South Dakota? There’s no reason for you to be there if you don’t live there. Who’s gonna be out in the Badlands in the Southwest? You’re certainly not gonna be there. Look at the South Bronx for that matter. Who’s really going to the South Bronx? If you don’t live there, there’s not much for you there. Look at Appalachia or Flint, Michigan with the poor white folks. It’s to bring awareness that poverty is still a staggering issue in America. This is the face of it. These are the kind of lives that people are living. For the most part, it’s awareness. We’re not trying to be prescriptive here. At the end of this, I don’t think I’ll be able to offer some golden nugget that will change things.

    There are no easy answers here. The end goal is awareness and to show this is an issue that we’re dealing with. We all have to shoulder the burden of poverty in America.

    What do white millennials think about whiteness? Jose Antonio Vargas is on a mission to find out.

    If you ask one of our country’s preeminent scholars on race, there’s a huge problem with how we think about whiteness. The issue? We don’t think about it. Not really.

    “Whiteness is on a toggle switch between ‘bland nothingness’ and ‘racist hatred,’” historian Nell Irvin Painter wrote recently. Clearly, it’s more than that. So what is it, exactly?

    In his new documentary for MTV’s Look Different initiative, which aims to tackle racial, gender and anti-LGBT bias, immigration activist Jose Antonio Vargas travels around the country asking white millennials to do something. According to MTV’s own polling, that “something” doesn’t happen very often: thinking about race, and moreover, thinking about whiteness.

    Vargas’s documentary is an addition to an atmosphere where discussions of race are seemingly inescapable — he’s certainly not the first person to focus on whiteness. But his focus on the racial attitudes of millennials is noteworthy.

    Vargas is a former employee of The Washington Post who was part of the Pulitzer prize-winning team that covered the Virginia Tech massacre. He is also an undocumented immigrant, which he revealed in a 2011 story in the New York Times Magazine. Vargas now runs Define American, his advocacy organization centered around immigration reform.

    In the film, he meets Lucas, a white student at Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash., who teaches a white privilege workshop to other white students. Lucas says he never talked about race with his parents growing up, something that’s fairly typical for white millennials, according to MTV’s research. Lucas finds himself at odds with his mother Lauresa and stepfather Mark, whose media diet consists of a heavy stream of Fox News, particularly “The O’Reilly Factor.”

    Vargas and the cameras are present as Lucas attempts to engage Lauresa and Mark in a conversation about race based on his work. The tension around the dinner table is palpable when Vargas asks Mark what he thinks.

    “When Lucas mentioned ‘white privilege,’ I went on Google and started looking it up. Most of the stuff I saw was so slanted against white people,” Mark says.

    “So it’s almost like an attack? As if it’s attacking white people?” Vargas asks.

    “A little bit,” Mark replied. “You get a bad feeling. … You can’t just slam it into me and say ‘you’re a jerk.’”

    Mark’s reaction, and the reflexive defensiveness that characterizes it, is a familiar one that knows no class or geographical boundaries.

    More on the hurt feelings of white people at the link.

  98. rq says

    #BernieSoBlack creator explains why he’s so frustrated with Sanders’s supporters

    On Saturday, progressives watched #BlackLivesMatter activists confront Bernie Sanders at the Netroots Nation conference. Sanders didn’t exactly handle the interaction well — he told the protesters that he could leave if he wasn’t wanted, but didn’t (in their estimation) do much to address the issues they were raising about deaths of black women at the hands of police.

    By Sunday, the rift between Sanders supporters and critics had gotten contentious. Roderick Morrow, a 36-year-old podcaster and comedian in Charlotte, North Carolina, pulled up a tried-and-true coping mechanism: the joke hashtag. #BernieSoBlack ended up trending nationally and fed a continuing controversy about whether Sanders and white progressives are taking racial inequality seriously enough.

    Vox spoke to Morrow on Sunday evening about why he wasn’t impressed with Sanders or his online fans, and whether he thinks the campaign and the progressive movement is responding to the demands of black progressives.

    Dara Lind:So how did the #BernieSoBlack hashtag get started?

    Roderick Morrow:Bernie Sanders, while he does have a good track record on race in the past, he’s kind of been avoiding talking about certain racial issues now. Whenever he’s asked a question, he goes into a spiel on economics — which is fine, obviously, people do want wage and class equality. But certain issues are race issues, and they do need to be talked about, at least from a candidate that I would like to vote for.

    And it seems like any time black people bring this up on Twitter, there’s all these people who, I don’t know, they’re just sitting around searching his name on Twitter or something, they just come and get in your mentions and start harassing you, they start saying the same things over and over to you, like, “He marched with Dr. Martin Luther King,” and, “He was at a sit-in,” and they send you a picture of him at a sit-in from 1960-something. That’s all well and good, and I’m not denigrating that work, but it’s almost as if they’re trying to say, “You shouldn’t expect him to continue this” or, “Because he’s done stuff in the past, you shouldn’t question him now.”

    I thought it was happening to just a few people — apparently it’s happening to a lot of us.
    […]

    Dara Lind:So I assume your mentions were an absolute disaster area at that point.

    Roderick Morrow:Sort of. The thing about the Bernie Sanders fans is while they’re very obtuse and they don’t listen, they are more polite than the people who just call you the n-word or a racial slur or something. It’s more like that passive-aggressive “We’re on the same side, man!” where clearly they don’t want you to talk about anything that their candidate can do better, but they do want you to just vote for him.

    There’s a lot of “You’re not saying this stuff to other candidates,” but we are. He just kind of had a bad 48 hours or so. I’m not expecting him to drop out of the race; I think he’ll be fine. Hopefully, from the tweets I’ve seen, I think his campaign’s listening, and hopefully they’re going to regroup and hopefully reform and be more vocal around some of these issues.

    Dara Lind:But while this is all kind of targeted at Sanders’s campaign, it’s also targeted at the people who are just sitting around waiting for someone to talk smack about Bernie Sanders, right?

    Roderick Morrow:Oh, it’s mostly about them.

    Dara Lind:So the Sanders supporters who aren’t with the campaign, did you see any receptiveness from them, or was it just a lot of unironic “#BernieSoBlack he marched with MLK,” which missed the point completely?

    Roderick Morrow:Oh, yeah, there’s a ton of that. Honestly, the joke is not even on Bernie Sanders. That’s what’s so funny — the joke is on the defense of him, which is, if you extrapolate to the furthest extent, he can do no wrong on race. Like, we should not even expect anything of him, he put in his time already, we need to just shut up.

    I’m sure it does happen, but I can’t imagine people doing this to other constituencies, because you do rely on those votes. At Netroots Nation, you’re going to be addressing a very diverse but very black-centric audience, and to not really be prepared to talk about race there is a little bit of a slap in the face. So for us — and when I say “us,” I just mean black people, I’m not any level of an activist or anything — for us to just say, Hey, you kind of did a bad job, hope you do better in the future, and then get bombarded with “He marched in 1968!” it’s like, All right, man, I don’t know what to tell you.

    And it’s kind of scary, too, because on a deeper level, when he talked about Ferguson, he was like, “Well, the real problem is that there’s not enough jobs.” And while I agree — jobs are definitely a problem, and opportunities are a problem, and you definitely want people to be working — Mike Brown was going to college. He was on his way to school in a couple of days. I don’t think that was necessarily the problem in that situation. I hope it’s not just him saying, “If these Negroes were working there wouldn’t be any problems,” because ooh, that’s not too far from some really bold negative statements that we’ve heard about the black race in the past. I don’t think that’s what’s underlying it, I just think he needs to be more vocal and speak with some authority about it because he seems to run from talking about it. I don’t think it’s that hard to talk about it. Elizabeth Warren knocked the socks off the room, because she was talking about the economy, but she just happened to mention, “Hey, black lives matter, we do need people working, we do need to get people out of jails.” She was very vocal about it, but I didn’t feel like she was just coming there to kiss butt. I felt like she was just being sincere.

    More at the link.

    Sandra Bland Case: Update, from Shakesville. A nice summary of the latest information and opened investigations.

    Federal Investigators to probe racism claims in Pocomoke City

    Federal Department of Justice investigators are expected to visit a small riverfront city on Maryland’s Eastern shore this week to look into ugly allegations that the firing of a popular African-American police chief was motivated by racism.

    Former Chief Kelvin D. Sewell was fired June 29 after he backed a pair of African American officers who had filed Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Complaints. Sewell also raised questions about how a federal grant meant to hire an additional police officer had been spent by town officials. Sewell filed his own EEOC complaint, claiming he was being pressured by the city’s mayor to fire the two officers.

    Town officials refuse to comment or explain their position because of the legal actions. However, the city’s attorney denies any wrongdoing by city officials.

    Meanwhile, a town council meeting last week drew a large crowd in support of Sewell, who is seeking his job back.

    “We want our chief back,” said Tonya Ginn of Pocomoke City after Monday night’s mayor and city council meeting at City Hall.

    It was so packed for the meeting that many people were standing in the lobby, crowding around the entrance to Council Chambers, shushing each other at times to try to hear what was being said. It was hot, and people were fanning themselves.

    The group listened as people spoke to the mayor and council, sometimes telling the others who was speaking for those who couldn’t see.

    Even though Sewell is not the chief anymore, some still think of him that way.

    “I came out to help support Chief Kelvin D. Sewell and I still call him chief because that’s how I look at him,” said Pocomoke City resident Vanessa Jones, wearing a T-shirt with Sewell’s photo on it. “He has done so much for the Pocomoke community.”

    Tyler Bivens of Pocomoke City also came to support Sewell. “I call him my chief,” he said at one point.

    Jones came “demanding answers,” she said.

    “How do you take a public figure off of a job without letting the public know about it?” she asked Monday. “Totally wrong. So we are out here tonight to demand answers and we would love to see him reinstated — tonight.”

    The community response is encouraging.

    Police Target Journalists and Organizers in Recent Anti-Police Brutality Protests

    Protests in Denver continue in the wake of the killing of Paul Castaway by Denver police officers. Paul Castaway, a 35 year old enrolled member of the Rosebud Lakota nation, was killed July 12, 2015 after his mother called police for “mental help assistance.” His last words were, “What’s wrong with you guys?” as he held a knife to his own neck. Police claimed that Castaway ran at them with a knife, but local witnesses contradict police claims. Also contradicting the police claims is a yet to be released video reviewed by a local reporter who stated that it showed Castaway standing still at a distance when police shot him.

    While the #BlackLivesMatter protest movement continues to sweep across the country, Castaway’s protesters & allies have used the hashtag #NativeLivesMatter tying it to the ongoing #BlackLivesMatter movement. On Monday, July 20th, protesters continued to take the streets in Denver demanding justice for Paul Castaway’s death and gathered outside a Police Chiefs meeting. The police reacted by targeting journalists & protesters. Denver Police used what one journalist called a book that looked like a year book from High School with photos of people they were targeting. @elisabethepps, also shot this video which shows an officer holding the book.

    One of Unicorn Riot’s producers was also targeted and arrested at Monday’s protest. We spoke to a member of the Direct Autonomous Media collective who told us that the Denver Police ran right past @DAM_collective videographer to grab our journalist as he documented the event. He stated, “He was targeted. He was standing right next to me filming. They just pushed me aside and grabbed him.” Direct Autonomous Media also gave us this video showing the arrest.
    […]

    The New York Police Department targeted organizers from three different organizations at the protest. As we inch our way to the 1-year anniversary of the killing of Michael Brown by the St. Louis police department, which ignited the #BlackLivesMatter movement, these coordinated police actions against people using their 1st amendment rights to protest police brutality & killings are cause for alarm. It’s not hard to imagine that police departments, the FBI and a large list of agencies are collaborating through a string of Fusion centers to unravel the growing anti-police brutality protest movement. It’s already been shown through a Freedom of Information Act by the Partnership of Civil Justice Fund which detailed nationwide coordination to unravel the Occupy movement four years earlier. In 2015, it’s not hard to believe the same to be occurring again as anti-police protests go on across the country.

  99. rq says

    Atticus Was Always a Racist: Why Go Set a Watchman Is No Surprise

    The final tableau of To Kill A Mockingbird has always given me a sour feeling toward the book—it ends with the black man dead, the poor white man also dead, the law uninterested in prosecuting their murders. The white gentleman and his children are sadder and wiser, but the wisdom imparted is essentially about the hopelessness of defending black people and poor white people from one another. I used to think Mockingbird was a shameful book to hand out in a high school classroom, all things considered, given that it’s a race story that scarcely passes the black-person version of the Bechdel test. It’s about white people within white culture making Tom Robinson’s life and death about themselves.

    So, when the news broke about Go Set a Watchman’s Atticus being racist—in contrast as people said, to Mockingbird’s Atticus, I went back to read both books, wondering: hasn’t it always been this way? Hasn’t he always been racist? As Malcolm Gladwell pointed out in the New Yorker, his defense of Tom Robinson is based on segregationist principles—he works for “accommodation, not reform.” The new book gives the impression that Lee knew what much of her audience didn’t: that her character’s principles didn’t constitute justice. By itself, I thought To Kill a Mockingbird was a racist book. Now, with the publication of Watchman, it stands to be redefined as a book about racism not just in Maycomb County, but within the Finch household itself.

    More at the link.
    And I am re-reading To Kill a Mockingbird before I try for Go Set a Watchman.

  100. rq says

    INJURIES TO SANDRA BLAND LIKELY TO BE RELEASED WEDNESDAY!

    A limited number of autopsy photos showing injuries (neck, arm, and back) to Sandra Bland will likely be released Wednesday. Officials with Waller County have received a preliminary autopsy report from the Harris County Medical Examiner. However, as you can see below the completed version is not done or hasn’t been released to the public just yet.

    New Video Shows Aggressive Arrest of Sandra Bland Prior to Her Death in a Texas Jail – first of a couple more on the video release, in addition to those on how it hs inconsistencies and cuts.

    On Tuesday, Texas officials released a police dash cam video showing the July 10 arrest of Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old black woman from Illinois who died three days later in a Waller County jail cell, in a case ruled a suicide by local authorities. The footage shows Texas state trooper Brian Encinia aggressively confronting Bland after pulling her over for a traffic infraction and ordering her out of her car. “I’m going to drag you out of here,” he says, reaching into Bland’s vehicle. He then pulls out what appears to be a taser, points it at her and yells “I will light you up!” After Bland emerges, they walk out of the frame where the argument continues and Encinia eventually forces Bland to the ground violently as she continues to protest the arrest. (The confrontation can be heard on the police footage, and was already seen widely since late last week, after a different video recorded by a bystander appeared online.)

    By Tuesday night, questions were swirling on social media about what appeared to be glitches in, or possibly edits to the dash cam video; a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety told the Guardian that he did not have an immediate explanation for the inconsistencies.

    In a press conference on Tuesday, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety said that Encinia failed to “maintain professionalism” throughout his interaction with Bland, and that he has been taken off the street and placed on administrative duty for duration of the investigation into Bland’s death. In answer to a reporter’s question, Texas state Sen. Royce West said that the dash cam footage showed that Bland should not have been taken into police custody.

    The subsequent death of Bland has continued to raise troubling questions since she was found hanged on the morning of July 13. A medical examiner report and the county sheriff’s office ruled her death a suicide, but during the three days Bland spent in jail, Bland’s family members said they spoke to her on the phone about posting bail, and that a suicide seemed “unfathomable.” An hour before she was found, Bland had asked to use the phone again, county officials said.

    On Monday, officials in Waller County released additional details about the morning Bland died, including surveillance video footage showing the hall outside of cell 95, where Bland was held. Citing interviews with family members and with the bail bondsman who was among the last to speak with Bland, Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said it is “too early to make any kind of determination” and that “this investigation is still being treated just as it would be a murder investigation,” signaling that he had not ruled out any motives and would explore all leads and evidence, including videos, fingerprints in her cell, and the plastic bag found around her neck.

    The Texas Rangers are currently leading the investigation into Bland’s death, with the FBI overseeing the process. The family’s attorney has also asked the US Department of Justice to open a federal investigation. Mathis said he will take the case to a grand jury, which is expected to be impaneled in August.

    Y’all, #SandraBland knew her rights. She knew that officer was wrong. & she was waiting for her day in court. And they killed her.

    DPS releases video of Sandra Bland’s arrest, ABC.

    The DHS Planned to ‘Plug’ Federal Officers Into the Ferguson Protests, Documents Show

    As the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri considered whether to indict police officer Darren Wilson over the shooting death last August of unarmed African American teenager Michael Brown, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was working on a plan to “plug” federal officers into protests to “perform surveillance” and “collect intelligence in the crowd.”

    The disclosure is contained in more than 700 pages of documents VICE News obtained from DHS in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, and comes just a couple of weeks before the one-year anniversary of Brown’s death, which helped spark national debate about the targeting of African Americans by police.

    It’s unclear, however, whether DHS executed the plan. Some information in the documents was withheld on grounds that it would reveal law enforcement techniques, procedures, and trade secrets, or potentially endanger the life of an individual, DHS said.

    Kade Crockford, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Technology for Liberty project, told VICE News that sending officers into protests “to spy on dissidents is both relatively routine and extremely problematic.”

    “The First Amendment protects our right to criticize the government and agitate for social and political change, and this kind of law enforcement activity directly threatens that right,” she said. “DHS’s choice to spend taxpayer dollars spying on today’s black civil rights activists shows that federal law enforcement continues to view black people’s demands for basic rights and equality as somehow threatening.

    “Congress or inspectors general of the FBI and DHS should investigate how federal law enforcement agencies have been spending precious government resources keeping track of activists. The results of such investigations should be made public so we have a more complete picture of how and where the Feds are dedicating funds and staff to monitoring black dissidents in the wake of Ferguson.”

    Protesters raised concerns at the time on social media about the presence of DHS vehicles at the protests. It is not uncommon for DHS and other federal law enforcement agencies to keep tabs on protests, particularly in cities where federal buildings and parks are located (St. Louis has both). But it has become increasingly clear over the years, internal government documents show, that federal law enforcement also views such high-profile protests as a possible breeding ground for domestic terrorist activity and a good source of intelligence.

    Police officer shoots man to death in Cincinnati traffic stop, CNN on the traffic stop posted by Saad above.

  101. rq says

    Racist Readers Need Not Apply, “In which reactions to an advertisement provoke a reaction from us”.

    Recently, we heard about a doctor in Tomball who, like many of his ilk, has a waiting room in his office. In that waiting room, just as in the waiting rooms of many, many physicians in our area, you can often find an issue of Houstonia. And if you can’t find one, there’s a good chance that someone has slipped it into a purse or pocket, this being the sort of magazine whose qualities have often enough seduced upstanding, law-abiding citizens into lives of crime.

    Still, the remarkable thing about the disappearance of our June issue from Dr. Tomball’s waiting room is not that it was snatched improperly, but that Dr. Tomball himself was behind the improper snatching. This he did, by all accounts, not for the usual reason, i.e., to selfishly reserve its literary glories for himself. Nor was he motivated by a desire to protect his patients from said glories, an impulse we see on occasion, however rarely.

    No, Dr. Tomball’s action was apparently provoked by something he saw on the very first page of our June issue, in an advertisement by the Ashton Martini Group, a residential real estate agency. The ad, you may recall, featured a family of five Houstonians—a husband and wife, and the couple’s three children—relaxing in the living room of their home. To the lion’s share of our readership, one imagines, such a tableau must have looked almost aggressively typical. Perhaps they observed that the husband is black, the wife is white, and the couple’s three adorable children biracial, but that’s all it was for most, an observation.

    Not so Dr. Tomball, who on May 26 sent an email to the Ashton Martini Group registering his disapproval. The note, which I have seen, carries the subject “Disgusting Ad,” and explains: “Your ad in the June Houstonia magazine is DISGUSTING! I will not put this magazine in my reception area! If you care to discuss this,” the note concluded, “I am available.”

    As it happens, we did care to discuss this with Dr. Tomball, who oddly was not available when we attempted to make contact.

    Exactly one week later, we heard from a second man, this time a resident of the Memorial area, who called to say that although he usually likes Houstonia, he “just can’t go for racial mixing.” The caller—identifying himself only as Fred—voiced his concern that children might see the ad and “get it into their heads that this is okay.” To ensure that that did not happen, the man informed us that he’d taken our June issue straight from the mailbox to the trash can, although he declined our invitation to cancel his subscription altogether. He counts himself among this magazine’s fans, he told us.

    Well, we are not fans of him. Indeed, if Memorial Fred ever finds the courage to call and give us his full name, we will remove him from our subscription rolls immediately. I’m not sure if Dr. Tomball is a fan of this publication or not. I do know that if so, he will have to go get it himself, as we will no longer be sending copies to his office. Houstonia’s championing of diversity does not extend to bigots, and while we are by definition dedicated to discovering the best things about this city, we’ll never ignore the worst. On the contrary, our magazine’s mission is to maintain standards of quality always and everywhere, in burgers, in bike trails and in readers, Dr. Tomball included.

    And if he cares to discuss this, I am available.

    Scott Vogel
    Editor-in-Chief

    *furiously supportive applause*

    FEATURE: The Satirical ‘Black Body Survival Guide’ From Creative Collective Intelligent Mischief

    Take a look at the ‘Black Body Survival Guide’, courtesy of creative collective Intelligent Mischief. The on-going multi-media project is a satirical guide for black people, providing tips (in book form) to survive the surreal and absurd racism experienced by many in the United States. Intelligent Mischief tell us: “Our goals are to use the healing elements of laughter and validate many forms of anti-Black oppression through humor. Through this process, we will build political movement and consciousness.” Check out some tips from the guide below, and CLICK HERE to support the project via Indiegogo (illustrations by Col Williams and race cards by Felicia Perez).

    It would be hilarious if it weren’t so tragically true…

    People who Pro-Confederate flag are calling for the Black Panther Monument in Detroit to be removed….. Because they’re totally the same things.

    Sandra Bland arrest video has continuity problems, anomalies, LA Times weighs in.

    In the video, which is more than 52 minutes long, there are several spots where cars and people disappear and reappear. When it released the video, the department did not mention any editing. The audio ends more than a minute before the video images do.

    One of the more conspicuous spots comes 25 minutes and 5 seconds into the video, when a man walks from a truck off screen and then reappears suddenly at the spot where he began walking. The image flutters for a moment before resuming.

    That’s a small fragment.

    Sandra Bland and the Long History of Racism in Waller County, Texas

    Waller County, Texas, has had a complicated racial history since the days when it was a part of Mexico. At one of its first settlements, Bernardo Plantation, about 100 slaves grew cotton on a large farm on the banks of the Brazos. Yet in the years before Texas fought Mexico for its independence, the area became a magnet for free blacks from elsewhere in the South who sought a welcoming home.

    The messy, confusing double legacy of that history has persisted to the present, most recently embodied in the death of Sandra Bland in a Waller County jail cell. Bland, a 28-year-old from Chicago, was on a road trip to start a new job at her alma mater, historically-black Prairie View A&M University, when she was pulled over by a state trooper for failing to signal a turn. Somehow, that apparently routine stop escalated and ended with Bland with an arm injury, under arrest for assaulting an officer. She was found dead in her cell three days later, on July 13, of what police say was suicide by asphyxiation. Her family disputes that account, saying she had no inclination to suicide and was upbeat about her new job.

    We’ll need more information to understand what happened to Bland. As Radley Balko notes, jailhouse suicide is disturbingly common. Regardless of the circumstances of Bland’s death, however, a routine stop for failing to use a blinker should not end in several days of imprisonment and death. That has brought a natural focus on Waller County and the figures involved.
    […]

    The history is especially painful because Waller County was for a time a beacon of black progress. During Reconstruction, an office of the Freedmen’s Bureau opened in the county seat of Hempstead, and federal troops—including, for a time, some commanded by George Custer—occupied to keep the peace. Not coincidentally, the Ku Klux Klan also set up shop. Nonetheless, Hempstead became a locus of black political activity and hosted the Republican Party’s statewide convention in 1875. In 1876, the predecessor of Prairie View A&M was established, and in the 1880 Census, the county was majority black.

    But the last two decades of the century saw an influx of white immigrants from Eastern Europe, and that dilution of the black vote, along with the end of Reconstruction, reduced blacks to a minority and slashed their political power. After a 1903 law established “white primaries,” African Americans were effectively shut out of politics—such that in a county with some 8,000 black voters, only 144 Republican votes were cast in 1912, according to The Handbook of Texas. Waller County, as Leah Binkovitz notes, had among the highest numbers of lynchings in the state between 1877 and 1950, according to a comprehensive report by the Equal Justice Initiative.

    This may seem like distant history, but it set something of a pattern for the county’s race relations through to the present—and as the events of the last year have made clear, a place’s history is often an effective predictor of how it treats its black residents, from St. Louis County to Cuyahoga County. In fact, the disenfranchisement of black voters in Waller County has continued to be a source of contention.

    More at the link.

    Dashcam Video of Violent Arrest of Sandra Bland Was Edited

    A man leaves the truck in the center of the frame at 25:05. For the next 15 seconds, he walks toward the right of the frame and leaves. At 25:19, he suddenly appears again, promptly disappears, then returns at 25:22. The same footage of him walking is subsequently repeated.
    […]

    At 32:37, a white car drives into the left side of the frame, then promptly disappears in the middle of the road. Seconds later, the same car drives back into the frame and subsequently turns left. This footage is later looped several times.

    A different white car also drives into the left side of the frame and turns left from 32:49 to 32:59. The previous white car again briefly enters the frame at 33:04, and once more at 33:06, yet it suddenly disappears both times. When these cuts are made in the footage, the lights on top of the truck in the center of the frame also abruptly cut out.

    At 33:08, the exact same footage from 32:37 is repeated, followed by the same second white car at 33:17.
    […]

    It appears that someone cut footage out and looped part of the video in order to correspond with the recorded audio of Texas state trooper Brian Encinia speaking. Who exactly edited the footage is unknown, but the video was recorded by police and released by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

    I wonder if the audio was edited, too?

  102. rq says

    104 weeks of peaceful protests & @BaltimorePolice thought they needed 24+ cops for 2 year anniversary of #TyroneWest

    33 black people were killed by police last year in situations that started with a simple traffic violation. #SandraBland

    Meet the two black men in law enforcement who were fired when they stood against injustice

    Two seasoned and highly respected black men in law enforcement in two different cities were each fired this summer—not for corruption, not for misconduct, not for poor management, not for sexual harassment, but because they each stood up against injustice inside their own departments.

    In 2007, the city of Chicago created an “independent” review board to monitor fatal shootings by police. I put those quotation marks around independent because the boards are often stacked with retired police officers who are often anything but independent in their views of their comrades. Of the 400 cases they reviewed, only one shooting of the 400 was found to be unjustified.

    Lorenzo Davis was the supervising investigator for the review board and the facts in many of the cases just weren’t adding up to him. He had been a Chicago police officer for 23 years and served as a commander, the head of a detective unit, then the head of an entire district, and eventually oversaw the entire public housing unit until he retired and joined the review board.

    Soon, Davis began determining that many more police shootings in Chicago weren’t justified at all. He found that six shootings were unjustified. That may not seem like a lot, but it’s a 600 percent increase from the one shooting that was deemed unjustified in the previous eight eight years. His supervisors demanded that he reverse the rulings. He refused, and on this past July 9, he was fired. Chicago doesn’t even deny that this is why they fired him.
    […]

    Chief Kevin Sewell of Pocomoke City, Maryland, the first African-American police chief in the city’s history, was fired June 29 after he stood by two fellow African-American officers who were experiencing over racism from white officers in the department. According to the Washington Post:

    The officers alleged in complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that they faced racism that was overt and rampant — allegations the city denies. Among the incidents alleged: a food stamp superimposed with President Obama’s face that was left on a black detective’s desk and a text message that read, “What is ya body count nigga?”

    “This is one of the most egregious cases of primary racial discrimination and retaliation for assertion of rights before the EEOC that I’ve seen,” said Andrew G. McBride, co-counsel for the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, which is representing Sewell. “Chief Sewell has a fantastic record as a police officer. He was terminated because he stood up for two African American officers who filed an EEOC complaint.”

    Both of these stories are deeply disturbing and reveal that cities are fighting against even the most basic decent reforms to address police brutality and racism within their own departments. It’s absurd that two honorable men who were award-winning public servants were basically taught that if they wanted to be in the system, they had to play the deadly game of pretending like injustice is imaginary. It isn’t, and we must demand answers in both of these terminations.

    Dashcam video shows officer threatening Sandra Bland with taser, Mashable.

    You can watch the video, below. The verbal confrontation begins around the 8:35 mark with Officer Encinia ordering her out of the car at the 9:20 mark. The confrontation gets physical, with Officer Encinia reaching into the car, at 9:55 in.

    In the video, Encinia appears to get irritated after Bland questions why he asked her to put out her cigarette (the 9:00 mark). He then opens the door and tells Bland he will “yank her” out of the car if she doesn’t step outside (9:55). When she refuses, he appears to pull his taser, at which point Bland gets out (10:29) as Encina yells at her, “I will light you up.” Encinia handcuffs her (11:30), and then a struggle seems to take place just off camera (13:10). Bland winds up on the ground.

    Encinia filed a report saying Bland had kicked him and he had “pain in my right leg.” Encinia never cries out in pain during the video. You can read the full affidavit at the bottom of the article.

    Taylor Swift Caught In Nicki Minaj’s VMAs Outrage Tweetstorm

    Apparently upset by missing out on a nomination for Video of the Year at the forthcoming MTV Video Music Awards, Nicki Minaj vented, as one does, on her Twitter account.

    And then Taylor Swift took it personally.

    #JusticeForDariusStewart

  103. rq says

    ELI5: Why is it so controversial when someone says “All Lives Matter” instead of “Black Lives Matter”? That’s a DoNotLink link to reddit.

    Imagine that you’re sitting down to dinner with your family, and while everyone else gets a serving of the meal, you don’t get any. So you say “I should get my fair share.” And as a direct response to this, your dad corrects you, saying, “everyone should get their fair share.” Now, that’s a wonderful sentiment — indeed, everyone should, and that was kinda your point in the first place: that you should be a part of everyone, and you should get your fair share also. However, dad’s smart-ass comment just dismissed you and didn’t solve the problem that you still haven’t gotten any!

    The problem is that the statement “I should get my fair share” had an implicit “too” at the end: “I should get my fair share, too, just like everyone else.” But your dad’s response treated your statement as though you meant “only I should get my fair share”, which clearly was not your intention. As a result, his statement that “everyone should get their fair share,” while true, only served to ignore the problem you were trying to point out.

    That’s the situation of the “black lives matter” movement. Culture, laws, the arts, religion, and everyone else repeatedly suggest that all lives should matter. Clearly, that message already abounds in our society.

    The problem is that, in practice, the world doesn’t work the way. You see the film Nightcrawler? You know the part where Renee Russo tells Jake Gyllenhal that she doesn’t want footage of a black or latino person dying, she wants news stories about affluent white people being killed? That’s not made up out of whole cloth — there is a news bias toward stories that the majority of the audience (who are white) can identify with. So when a young black man gets killed (prior to the recent police shootings), it’s generally not considered “news”, while a middle-aged white woman being killed is treated as news. And to a large degree, that is accurate — young black men are killed in significantly disproportionate numbers, which is why we don’t treat it as anything new. But the result is that, societally, we don’t pay as much attention to certain people’s deaths as we do to others. So, currently, we don’t treat all lives as though they matter equally.

    Just like asking dad for your fair share, the phrase “black lives matter” also has an implicit “too” at the end: it’s saying that black lives should also matter. But responding to this by saying “all lives matter” is willfully going back to ignoring the problem. It’s a way of dismissing the statement by falsely suggesting that it means “only black lives matter,” when that is obviously not the case. And so saying “all lives matter” as a direct response to “black lives matter” is essentially saying that we should just go back to ignoring the problem.

    TL;DR: The phrase “Black lives matter” carries an implicit “too” at the end; it’s saying that black lives should also matter. Saying “all lives matter” is dismissing the very problems that the phrase is trying to draw attention to.

    Why “All Lives Matter” instead of “Black Lives Matter” is such a stupid thing to say, which just links to the previous link.

    3 Killings by Chicago Police Covered Up, Ex-Investigator Alleges

    Three people killed by police in Chicago should be alive today, according to a retired cop who says he was fired for reaching that conclusion after investigating their deaths for the city.

    If the allegations made by Lorenzo Davis are true, then the authority charged with investigating the Chicago Police Department for police shootings and claims of misconduct since 2007 can no longer be trusted—if it ever was.

    Davis, a former supervisor at the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) who previously had a 23-year career with the Chicago Police Department, tells The Daily Beast that he was fired after refusing to obey orders to reverse his findings that police were not justified in shooting suspects six times in the past eight years. In three of those incidents, the suspects died.

    “Bad shootings,” Davis says in police parlance for unjustified officer-involved shootings.

    IPRA boss Scott Ando was responsible for the orders to reverse the findings, Davis said, adding that when Davis refused to whitewash the incidents, Ando fired him. Davis, despite his decades in law enforcement, was accused by Ando of having an “anti-police bias,” he said.

    “He made it clear that supervisors there serve at his pleasure,” Davis said. “Our jobs are completely at-will. He doesn’t have to have a reason to fire us.”

    IPRA spokesman Larry Meritt declined to comment directly on Davis’s allegations.

    Police investigator: I was forced to call shootings ‘justified’

    The agency that investigates police involved shootings in Chicago is coming under fire for allegedly having a pro-police bias. And a recently fired supervisor said the Independent Police Review Authority has an agenda.

    “The agenda is to not embarrass the city. The agenda is, so far, the agenda has been to justify all of the shootings,” said Lorenzo Davis, a former Supervising Investigator.

    Davis believes IPRA has lost its independence, and with that the public’s trust.

    Prosecutor: Too Soon To Know How Sandra Bland Died In Texas Jail Cell, Talking Points Memo.

    Texas releases full police dashcam video of Sandra Bland’s arrest, BoingBoing.
    I think the police are going to get more shit for editting the video than for the wrongful arrest of Bland. Sadly.

  104. rq says

    Interlude: musicals! How Taye Diggs Is Transforming the Role of Hedwig

    The man standing before you, stumbling over the gnarled roots of a fake German accent, is Taye Diggs. That’s right. Taye Diggs, the buffed, straight, 44-year-old African-American sex symbol Ebony magazine once called ‘‘the black Clark Gable.’’ The star who gave Angela Bassett (and most other warm-blooded animals) a love catharsis in ‘‘How Stella Got Her Groove Back’’ (1998), with a complexion smoother than osmosis and a solar smile. He’s an actor who radiates as much sex appeal when he’s wearing a suit, a pair of thick glasses and a fedora as when he’s naked to the waist.

    Hold up, though — is this not madness? Black America’s most eligible bachelor is about to play a glammed-out Teutonic genderqueer mash-up of Nico and Axl Rose?

    Yes. More at the link.

    And because ALL black lives matter, Ga. Transgender Woman Charges Repeated Sex Assaults in Prison, Again Sues for Safe Housing – she has appeared on this thread before, and apparently, her ordeal is not over yet. TW for transphobia.

    Attorneys for a Georgia transgender inmate are attempting to have her moved or, at minimum, want to hear the state prison’s plan to keep her safe after she says she was again sexually assaulted while in prison custody, the Macon Telegraph reports.

    In February, as an imate at the Baldwin State Prison in Milledgeville, 36-year-old Ashley Alton Diamond filed a federal lawsuit against the state Department of Corrections demanding safe housing and the hormone treatments she has been denied.

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in February that Diamond, who had been receiving hormonal treatments for 17 years before being imprisoned, was denied the necessary treatments and was allegedly told by prison officials that she had lost her right to express her female identity when she was imprisoned.

    The warden at the time reportedly referred to Diamond as a “he-she thing” in front of guards and inmates, and Diamond was also placed in solitary confinement as punishment for “pretending to be a woman,” the lawsuit stated.

    Diamond, who has been in prison since 2012 on theft, obstruction and escape convictions in Floyd County, may be imprisoned until 2023.

    This month her attorneys, as well as the lawyers representing prison officials, filed a joint status report saying that Diamond was sexually assaulted last month while being held temporarily at Georgia State Prison in Reidsville while on a trip to Augusta for a medical appointment, the Macon Telegraph reports.

    Diamond accused her cellmate of assaulting her. While being driven with that same inmate to Rutledge State Prison in Columbus, Diamond claimed that the attacker threatened her, telling her not to say anything. After reporting the assault to officials in Columbus, the prisoner was placed in “segregation” until being relocated to another facility.

    Diamond, however, says that the prison warden told inmates about the alleged assault, including identifying information about the alleged attacker. Diamond says that she was then called “a snitch” by other inmates who allegedly pressured and threatened her to retract the complaint, according to the news site.

    And yes, she fears for her safety.

    Just saw word some asshole(s) desecrated the memorial for #PaulCastaway, who was murdered by @DenverPolice a little over a week ago.

    Brian Encinia: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know – this is the officer who arrested Sandra Bland.

    Trooper Brian Encinia is the officer who stopped 28-year-old Sandra Bland on June 10 in Waller County, Texas, for failing to properly signal a lane change.

    After Encinia arrested Bland on a charge of assaulting a police officer, Bland was held in the county jail until the morning of June 13, when she was found dead in her cell. Authorities say it appears Bland killed herself, but the investigation is ongoing and her family says they don’t believe she would take her own life. She was about to start her dream job at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M, and had just moved from Illinois to Texas to do so.

    Police are also investigating whether Encinia committed any wrongdoing during the traffic stop, which was recorded by a dashboard camera and a bystander.

    He’s only been a trooper for a little over a year. Is this the aggressive training still rearing its head?

    Sandra Bland Death: Texas to Look Into Alleged Edits of Dashcam Video

    Texas Department of Public Safety authorities said late Tuesday they were looking into alleged edits to a 52-minute dashcam video of the traffic stop and arrest of Sandra Bland, who subsequently died in her jail cell three days after her arrest.

    Police say Bland committed suicide but her death has raised the suspicions of her family and supporters and has become the latest rallying cry among activists suspicious of the treatment of blacks by law enforcement. Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said Monday that prosecutors would handle the case as thoroughly “as it would be in a murder investigation,” adding that it was “too early” to determine what happened.

    So they’re looking into the edits.

    New Ferguson interim police chief to be announced Wednesday

    The new Ferguson interim police chief is scheduled to be announced at a 9 a.m. press conference Wednesday.

    News 4 This Morning’s Laura Hettiger was outside the Ferguson Police Department Wednesday morning and met Andre Anderson, the new interim police chief. Anderson was previously a commander with the Glendale, Arizona Police Department.

    Anderson told News 4 he first arrived in the area on Monday and officially found out he was hired as the chief on Tuesday.

    Two years ago, Anderson applied to be a police chief in a small Arizona town and, during the hiring process, stated he had a “very diverse background in working with different diversity and different groups.”

    Anderson will join Ferguson’s new interim city manager, Ed Beasley. Beasley was formerly the city manager in Glendale.

    Yep, a black man to lead Ferguson’s mostly-white force. Here’s to hoping it’s not a career-killing move for Anderson.

  105. rq says

    Witnesses say 23yo man shot was at a memorial gathering for a neighborhood friend who died in a car crash three years ago.
    Witnesses: Cops pulled up, man ran away with a cup in his hand and two officers fired at least 10 shots from 10-15′ away. “He was no threat”
    Activists form peace circle after 23yo man shot by CPD in Englewood

    As usual, the media portrays Nicki as “the black angry woman” and Taylor as “the blonde sweetheart”.

    Dylann Roof indictment on federal hate crime charges is imminent, sources say

    A grand jury indictment of Dylann Roof on federal hate crime charges was expected this afternoon, a move that would make the 21-year-old man a defendant in one of the worst racially motivated attacks since the Civil Rights era, according to sources close to the investigation.

    Roof, who is white, is accused of fatally shooting nine black worshippers during a June 17 Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston.

    That night, authorities first stated that the shooting would be considered a hate crime. The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division also sent FBI agents into the field to investigate the possible motive for what was thought to be South Carolina’s worst racial hate crime in history.

    An indictment could bring that aspect of the crime that has sparked conversations about race relations nationwide into the courtroom for the first time. Multiple sources confirmed that the indictment by a Columbia grand jury was imminent and could come as early as 2 p.m. today. They requested anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss a grand jury action.

    U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch was expected to address reporters during a 3 p.m. a news conference, the Justice Department announced without providing specifics of her planned remarks.

    “This is a very novel situation,” Miller Shealy, a professor at the Charleston School of Law who has served as a prosecutor in state courts and at the Justice Department. “This has never happened in South Carolina before, where a defendant has such infamous celebrity. … This case is in the spotlight, and the feds want to make a statement.”

    And PZ on Sandra Bland, Changing lanes while black.

  106. rq says

    Selma Director Ava DuVernay and Los Angeles Times Say Sandra Bland Dash-Cam Video Was Edited

    Since the release of the Sandra Bland dash-cam arrest video, many people have wondered if the video was edited. To the naked, untrained eye, it looks like a simple play-by-play version of an unedited video, but professionals who work with editing and directing videos see something totally different.

    Ava DuVernay, director of Selma, tweeted that the video was indeed doctored.
    […]

    The Los Angeles Times also reported that it looks as though the video was indeed edited, and pinpointed similar issues with the video.

    “In the video, which is more than 52 minutes long, there are several spots where cars and people disappear and reappear. When it released the video, the department did not mention any editing. The audio ends more than a minute before the video images do,” the Los Angeles Times wrote.

    This brings to issue the dubious nature of the Texas Department of Public Safety and the police department involved and the fact that someone is clearly attempting to cover up what exactly happened to Sandy Bland.

    SEE IT: Sandra Bland arrest video released following jail death; some question apparent edits in footage, New York Daily News.

    After a University of Cincinnati officer shot #SamuelDubose in the head, here is the U of Cincinnati’s statement: basically, police officers risk their lives and any death that results is a tragedy. Doesn’t sound particularly sympathetic or apologetic.

    Bernie Sanders, learning from confrontation on race, calls #SandraBland video “totally outrageous.” Except he goes more ‘police reform’ instead of ‘dismantling white supremacy’.

    Ferguson, Mo. hires a black officer as interim police chief

    The City of Ferguson, Mo. will announce Wednesday — almost one year after the police shooting death of Michael Brown — that it has chosen a black officer from Arizona as its interim police chief.

    City officials will name Andre Anderson, 50, a commander with the Glendale, Ariz. police department, as Ferguson’s new interim chief, giving him control of a 45-officer suburban police department that has faced international scrutiny following the shooting of Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old, by Darren Wilson, a white officer, in August.

    “He is extremely well-qualified,” Ferguson Mayor James Knowles told Reuters. “He will bring us a fresh perspective coming from outside the St. Louis region.”

    The incident and subsequent investigations by the Department of Justice prompted a massive upheaval in Ferguson city government, including the resignations of then-police chief Tom Jackson and city manager John Shaw.

    Ferguson hiring new interim police chief from Arizona city, from the St Louis Post-Dispatch.

    Mayor James Knowles and city spokesmen declined to comment Tuesday, but a press conference to name a new interim chief was set for Wednesday morning.

    Anderson was making about $125,000 in Glendale. It’s unclear what he would be paid here; sources said his contract has not been finalized.

    Tom Jackson, who was chief when Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot Michael Brown and during the protests that followed, resigned shortly after a report from the Department of Justice in March. It strongly criticized the city’s police and court operations. Jackson’s salary was about $95,000.

    Deputy Chief Al Eickhoff had been interim chief since. He will remain in the department, sources said.

    Anderson worked with Beasley in Glendale, a city of 226,000 northwest of Phoenix. In 2013, Anderson was a finalist for chief in Casa Grande, Ariz., a town of about 50,000.

    He is listed as an executive board member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives on the group’s website.

    In 1999, the Arizona Republic wrote about how Anderson, as a police officer, mentored and coached at-risk youth at a boxing gym. The profile says Anderson grew up in Philadelphia, boxed his way through the Army as a “formidable amateur” and later moved to Arizona and won two professional fights. Injuries from being hit by a car while fixing a flat tire ended his boxing career.

    He then worked as a prison guard in Arizona before joining the Glendale police Department.

    His online résumé lists his title as Criminal Investigations Commander for Glendale police, and says he holds a master’s degree in education and leadership from Northern Arizona University.

  107. rq says

    Dashcam Video of Violent Arrest of Sandra Bland Was Edited, I think it’s the same article by Ben Norton just via the Medium instead.

    And here is the official statement where they say they did not edit the #SandraBland dashcam video. Soooo apparently they’re going to address uploading issues because they tried to upload video and audio simultaneously and some things got messed up in the process, so they’re going to try again later. I mean holy shit. As someone on twitter said, let’s hope the second edit is better than the first.

    Black Man Samuel Dubose Shot in Head by Cincinnati Cop Ray Tensing

    Prosecutors are reviewing the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a University of Cincinnati police officer who had pulled the driver over for having a missing front license plate, authorities said Tuesday.

    Samuel Dubose, 43, was shot once in the head following a brief struggle as he sat behind the wheel of his car Sunday night, university and city police said. The officer, Ray Tensing, who is white, was placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.
    […]

    Cincinnati police said Tuesday that they have taken over the investigation at the request of the university. Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said in a statement that his office is “rapidly investigating” the shooting.

    “This incident didn’t involve a Cincinnati Police Department officer, but it happened in our city, and it is our job to ensure this investigation is handled with the attention it deserves,” City Manager Harry Black said Tuesday.

    University Police Chief Jason Goodrich said the campus department has an agreement with Cincinnati police to patrol shared areas near campus.
    […]

    After a brief struggle, the car began rolling forward and Tensing was knocked to the ground, Goodrich said. Dubose was shot very soon afterward, police said. Tensing, a member of the force since April 2014, was treated at a hospital for minor injuries and released.

    Cincinnati police said that Tensing was wearing a body camera and that the video confirmed that there was a struggle. The video won’t be released until the investigation is complete.

    Asked at a news conference whether Tensing reached into the car at any point, Cincinnati police Lt. Col. James Whalen said: “I don’t have clarity on that yet. I’m waiting to enhance this video to get a better answer to that.”

    Friends and relatives held a vigil Tuesday demanding to see the video and seeking answers to why Dubose had been shot. They said he was the father of 12 children and was engaged to be married.

    A friend, J.B. Smith, told NBC station WLWT that Dubose was a gentle and non-confrontational man.

    Hadassah Thomas, a friend and neighbor, told the station: “Everybody in the community loved Sam. He was so helpful, and he was always around. He used to baby-sit for my daughter.

    “What men do that?” she asked “He didn’t carry a gun, so why did he get shot?”

    Activists demand answers in Ohio traffic-stop death, USA Today on the same.

    Officer Ray Tensing had worked at the University of Cincinnati Police Department for a little more than a year when he shot and killed Samuel Dubose, 43, during the traffic stop on Sunday. Tensing, who earns $51,604.80 a year, is now on paid administrative leave.

    When Tensing asked Dubose to produce his license, Dubose gave the officer an unopened bottle of alcohol instead, university police Chief Jason Goodrich said. They then struggled through the car door.

    Tensing drew his gun, fired one shot and was knocked to the ground, Goodrich said. The officer, who was treated at a hospital Sunday and released, sustained bruised legs and his uniform was torn during the struggle.

    Interesting. This version says a shot was fired before the officer was knocked to the ground, while the previous mentions shots fired only after the officer was knocked to the ground.

    Councilman asks Mosby to reopen investigations into three in-custody deaths

    Praising the prosecution of six officers in the death of Freddie Gray, the chairman of the City Council’s public safety committee wants State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby to reopen investigations into three earlier deaths in police custody.

    Councilman Warren Branch said Tuesday that he’s asking Mosby to review the deaths of Tyrone West, Anthony Anderson and Maurice Donald Johnson.

    No charges were filed in those cases, which occurred while Mosby’s predecessor was the city’s chief prosecutor.

    “I’m asking on behalf of the families if she would reopen these three cases and reinvestigate these three cases,” Branch said before a City Hall hearing on West’s death. “Many people were impressed with the actions the state’s attorney took in the Freddie Gray case.”

    Mosby’s office did not respond to requests for comment. Interim Police Commissioner Kevin Davis promised transparency in misconduct cases.

    “You have my word that we will move heaven and earth to get to the bottom of the circumstances that led up to that loss of life,” Davis said.

    Rodney Hill, the chief of the city’s internal affairs division, told the council the agency is improving.

    “Mr. Tyrone West did not die in vain,” he said. “I assure as a result there will be changes in the Baltimore Police Department.”

    Branch had asked medical examiner David Fowler to attend the hearing, but he declined. The council has no legal authority to compel him to attend.

    I wonder what interesting things might be dug up in those cases? Tyrone West’s family has been out every Wednesday demanding answers.

    Fundraiser for ‘Baltimore 6’ to Feature Blackface Performance, because blackface is still a thing that happens…

    I received a photo of an invite to a fundraiser for the six Baltimore Police officers charged in the death of unarmed 25-year-old Freddie Gray. According to the flyer, a “bull roast” (a popular Maryland tradition) is scheduled to take place on November 1st at Michael’s Eighth Avenue and features a pretty hearty menu for $45, including various pork dishes, cake and beer and a cash bar option.

    That members of the Baltimore Police Department and/or their supporters would have a fundraiser for these cops is unsurprising and would not have warranted much of a reaction from me. The “Blue Lives Matter” phrasing, which appears twice on the invite, also fails to be shocking; we’ve heard that appropriation of protest language since August of last year.

    However, one of the planned performances for the evening tells a more interesting story. A number of “entertainers” are also advertised, including a few lounge singers and instrumentalists, and at the end of that list is “Bobby “Al Jolson” Berger-out of retirement.”

    According to The Baltimore Sun, Berger was dismissed from the Baltimore Police Department in 1984 due to his off-duty performances as the late Jolson, one of history’s most well-known Blackface performers. His dismissal came after 3 years of tension between the officer and his employer due to his act, with both parties spending a decade in court as a result. Ultimately, Berger settled with the city in 1991.

    One struggles to think of a stranger way to raise funds for a group of police officers implicated in the death of a Black man than a Blackface performer, especially considering that 3 of the accused officers are Black themselves. Did the organizers think they could keep this event hidden from the public? Or do they simply not care about the optics? If “Blue Lives Matter” isn’t a direct counterpoint to “Black Lives Matter,” where exactly does Blackface fit into the equation? And are Black officers/supporters not invited?

    I contacted Berger at the number listed on the invite and though I was prepared for some hesitation to speak to me about the fundraiser, he opened up immediately. “I’m hosting the event,” he informed me when I asked who was responsible for putting the event together.

    Berger says that he empathizes with the 6 officers because he knows what it’s like to lose his job (“I was a Baltimore city policeman…and then I had no income, no insurance, and a wife and child. We’re trying to get something together for them for Christmas”) and insists, most incredulously, that there is nothing “racial” about his performance as Al Jolson, though it is in Blackface.

    “There really isn’t. I know it sounds crazy,” said the 77-year-old.

    He says that many Black people have attended his shows over the years and support this assertion. Among them: a Black reporter from a local newspaper who he knew from high school and boxing great Joe Frazier, who Berger claims joined him in song after watching one of his performances (“The only thing I can tell you is that the heavyweight champion of the world isn’t going to stand by and watch me mock Black people.” He claims to have some footage of this interaction somewhere.)

    “I was on Montell Williams in Blackface and he said on national TV that there was nothing racist about it. Ben Vereen commented on the show, he was fine with it,” says Berger. Though I could not find footage of the Montell Williams appearance, the talk show host famously turned his back on Ted Danson at his notorious Friars Club performance. What exactly is the difference?

    “What Danson was doing was making fun, being mean-spirited. I am just performing as Al Jolson.”

    I believe Montell Williams isn’t the ultimate authority on what constitutes something racist or not.
    More excuses at the link.

  108. rq says

    Interestingly, the video linked to here has been removed – is that because it’s the original? Or what? Dashcam video shows #SandraBland changing lanes without signaling BECAUSE of cop speeding aggressively behind her https://youtu.be/yf8GR3OO9mU?t=1m33s

    Anyway, here’s a newer version: Texas Department of Public Safety releases new version of #SandraBland traffic stop: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CaW09Ymr2BA

    Chappelle: Unarmed black deaths taking a toll

    Comedian Dave Chappelle is growing weary of seeing headlines about unarmed black people being killed by police, he told the Associated Press over the weekend.

    “A kid gets killed by the police and I buy a T-shirt and before I can wear that one, there’s another kid (killed) and I’m running out of closet space,” he said while on Long Island for the Art for Life benefit, where he received an award from Russell Simmons’ Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation.

    He added that celebrities have a responsibility to get more involved in social justice and to help everyday people unpack heavy issues like race and police brutality.

    “The biggest enemy of an artist is apathy. … This is a very surprisingly emotionally charged time, so people like me, I think, are very relevant and necessary in sorting through all this information and emotional content.”

    Chappelle, who stepped away from the spotlight after a meteoric rise to stardom on Comedy Central, says his reemergence just happens to coincide with this turbulent period of race relations in the USA, but he didn’t plan it that way. “I think it is important to be out now, but what’s going on in the world isn’t why I initially came back out.”

    He also joked that he’s happier away from Hollywood and away from the pressures of work.

    “I can say honestly that I’m happy, that I can sit at home on a Tuesday night and watch Key and Peele do my show and it doesn’t hurt me.”

    “Dear Publishing Industry: Fix Your Own Racism Before You Beg for Diverse Books”

    Mixed feelings. That’s what I get when I see a “We Need Diverse Books” logo. Mixed feelings because I love the campaign and everyone in it, but I also get so frustrated with the campaign for many more reasons.

    I’m a writer of color writing characters of color who deal with issues of color. My book’s characters are almost all of color, and my book explores black culture, black family, black viewpoints, black frustrations with white society and racial oppression, and black truth.

    In querying, I failed, drastically. Despite my beta readers’ assurances, my crit partners’ praise, I didn’t get a single request from many dozens of queries. The personal rejections I got came around to, “This isn’t for me, but please query me with your next project,” or, “The writing is beautiful, but subjectively this isn’t for me.”

    I’m aware, as I write this post, that I have to tread softly, for people will think of me as simply another writer upset at rejection and playing the ‘race card’. Yes, I am upset. Furious. And here’s why. A movement supposedly for me has failed me.

    I am no stranger to rejection. I’m a constant member of the online Twitter community, I’m respectful and polite. I know how the industry works, I am not just an upset rejected writer. I’ve been rejected over a hundred times for past works – I have tough skin.

    When I got rejected so constantly despite years of revision, I started to think – do I have to make my book less ‘radical’? Don’t get me wrong: there was no call for ‘white genocide’ or ‘all white people are horrible,’ but the book honestly reflected some of my own experiences and my friends’ experiences, experiences that people that aren’t black don’t always understand and might be frightened of. The book reflected black individuals’ frustrations with white society. I knew that if I watered the book down, I would not be writing the truth.

    What should I do? And then I decided, let’s research! I realized every single agent I queried was white. I need to search for black agents who might understand.

    From the major NYC agencies, I could only find a few black agents – I can count them on one hand and still have many fingers left over.

    Almost all are comprised solely of white agents. Here’s a few: Wolf Literary, Laura Dail, Harvey Klinger, Donald Maass, Fine Print, Corvisiero, The Book Group, Curtis Brown, Writer’s House, the Gernet Company, the Knight Agency, Waxman Leavell, and Folio. Some of these have over a dozen agents. But if you take into account the major agencies that have no black agents, the list goes on and on: Foundry, Fuse, The Bent Agency, just to name some (these three only have one non-white agent). The only agency that has many writers of color is Serendipity, and that agency was created specifically in response to the lack of institutional support for writers of color. (It scares me, though, that Serendipity does not accept submissions from currently incarcerated authors, since for many black people, the prison system is the greatest oppressor.)

    The lack of diversity is a big part of the reason why truly diverse books – books with characters that people of color can relate to – haven’t been on bookshelves as much as they should. Even if people write diverse novels, they must first be filtered through a very white institution.

    “But how are you deciding if these agents are white?” you say! “That’s racist, you can’t tell if people are of color simply by their pictures.”

    I used a flawed system and I deeply apologize for that – there was no better way, but that is no excuse for my propagation of erasing the identities of people who identify with color but may not look of color. This erasure is a major issue (people of color needing to ‘prove’ their color) and I’m sorry for falling into this oppression. I used something called the Paper Bag Test. If you know the history behind this test, you should be horrified and appalled at the idea that I used something like this.

    There is more at the link. None of it pretty.

  109. rq says

    The #OurSignaturesMatter rally in #Ferguson, continuing efforts for to recall Mayor Knowles in Ferguson.

    Official: Church shooting suspect to face hate crime charge, AP on the anticipatory news-but-not-yet-news noted above.

    #UnionMLP read this from @pastortraci – a poem, of sorts.

    Transgender Woman Of Color Killed In Tampa, Florida – not by cops, but still.

    India Clarke, 25, was found dead on Tuesday after suffering blunt force trauma to the upper body, according to police in Tampa, Florida, who described the killing to BuzzFeed News as a murder. Clarke is the ninth confirmed transgender woman of color killed in a homicide this year — marking the latest in a trend of homicides that anti-violence advocates are calling an epidemic.

    Police have not identified a suspect and are asking for the public’s help.

    However, law enforcement and media have consistently misgendered Clarke — by describing her as a man in a dress, using Clarke’s former male name, and using male pronouns. And while trans women of color appear to be killed at disproportionately higher rates than most populations, police don’t believe gender identity is a factor in this case. Rather, police told BuzzFeed News, Clarke’s “history of prostitution” may appear to have played a role, but they have offered no evidence that sex work was a factor in the homicide.

    “We are not going to categorize him as a transgender. We can just tell you he had women’s clothing on at the time,” Detective Larry McKinnon, a spokesman for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, told BuzzFeed News. “What his lifestyle was prior to that we don’t know — whether he was a cross dresser, we don’t know.”

    Initial calls to 911 descibed the victim as a woman but a medical examiner later identified her as male, McKinnon said.

    “He is a male,” McKinnon continued. “I can’t tell you he is a female.”

    In her Facebook profile, however, Clarke identifies as a woman, uses female pronouns, and presents as female in all her photos.

    LGBT anti-violence organizations have long warned that misgendering transgender victims and quickly downplaying gender identify as a factor in investigations can alienate people who know the victims and who could provide tips that identify a suspect.

    Are they ever going to learn? Is it really that hard, to grant them that small dignity? Fuck them. Sideways.

  110. says

    Don Cheadle’s directorial debut ‘Miles Ahead’ to close 53rd New York Film Festival:

    The Film Society of Lincoln Center has lined up “Miles Ahead,” Don Cheadle’s highly-anticipated directorial debut, as the Closing Night Film for the upcoming 53rd New York Film Festival (NYFF). The screening will mark the film’s world premiere.

    The Oscar-nominated actor (“Hotel Rwanda”) also stars in the biopic as Miles Davis, one of the 20th century’s greatest and most fascinating artists. Cheadle’s film will focus on the legendary jazz musician’s crazed years in the late 1970s, during which he struggled with a variety of ailments while also contending with memories of past triumphs and falls. His years with Frances Taylor (Emayatzy Corinealdi), the love of his life, are also explored.

    NYFF Director and Selection Committee Chair Kent Jones said, “I admire Don’s film because of all the intelligent decisions he’s made about how to deal with Miles, but I was moved—deeply moved—by ‘Miles Ahead’ for other reasons. Don knows, as an actor, a writer, a director, and a lover of Miles’ music, that intelligent decisions and well-planned strategies only get you so far, that finally it’s your own commitment and attention to every moment and every detail that brings a movie to life…”

    Don Cheadle added, “I am happy that the selection committee saw fit to invite us to the dance. It’s very gratifying that all the hard work that went into the making of this film, from every person on the team, has brought us here. Miles’ music is all-encompassing, forward-leaning, and expansive. He changed the game time after time, and New York is really where it all took off for him. Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center… feels very ‘right place, right time.’ Very exciting.”

    The 53rd NYFF runs from September 25 to October 11. Check out the “Miles Ahead” NYFF promotional still below.

  111. says

    Here are 10 things black people fear that white people don’t or don’t nearly as much:

    3. Not being able to get a job. The black unemployment rate has been twice the rate of unemployment for whites, basically forever. According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2013, the unemployment rate for black Americans has been about double that of whites since 1954.

    The current unemployment rate is 5.7 percent overall. For white people, it’s 4.9 percent; the percentage is 10.3 for AfricanAmericans, a little more than double.

    Not much has changed for us since the ’50s, has it?

    This one has been in the back of my mind a lot. I’ve been unemployed for 2 months now and today was the first time I got a call back (though I wasn’t hired bc they’re just conducting interviews). I worry that people don’t want to employ me bc of my ethnicity as if it has some sort of bearing on my ability to perform a job. Then that reinforces my frustrating, feelings of melancholy, and worthlessness. It’s a fucking vicious cycle is what it is.

    4. Our daughters being expelled from school because of “zero tolerance policies.” According to a 2015 report titled “Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected,” that analyzed Department of Education data from the New York City and Boston school districts, 12 percent of black girls were subjected to exclusionary suspensions compared to just 2 percent of white girls. In New York City, during the 2011-2012 school year, 90 percent of all girls subject to expulsion were black. No white girls were suspended that year.

    Let that marinate for a minute. Before you do, data from the Department of Education reports that “black children make up just 18 percent of preschool enrollment, but 48 percent of preschool children suspended more than once.”

    The black kids aren’t being suspended simply because they aren’t as well-behaved as the white children.

    5. We are much more likely to be harassed by police than by white residents in NYC. Though the NYPD has legally put an end to its racist stop-and-frisk policy, the department’s “Broken Windows” policy is in full effect. What the policy does is arrest people for smoking small amounts of pot, peeing on the streets, riding a bike on a sidewalk, selling cigarettes on the corner and other minor offenses. Between 2001 and 2013, roughly 81 percent of the summonses issued have been to African Americans and Latinos, according to the New York Daily News. Most of the arrests were made in black and Latino neighborhoods, as if white people never pee on the sidewalk or smoke pot on their stoops.

    NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton swears by the policy, saying it keeps the city safe. Eric Garner, who was apprehended for allegedly selling loose cigarettes, likely wouldn’t agree. He died after an officer on the scene put him in a chokehold.

    Every black person walking the streets of New York City knows he or she could be the next Eric Garner. That’s not just a fear, it’s our reality.

    6. Being bullied at work. Fifty-four percent of African Americans claim to be victims of workplace bullying compared to 44 percent of white respondents, according to the 2014 Workplace Bullying Survey.

    A recent example of workplace bullying comes from Portland, Oregon, where two current and two former black employees of Daimler Trucks North America are suing the company for $9.4 million. Joseph Hall, 64, says half a dozen white employees threatened him with violence, wrote graffiti showing “hangman’s nooses” at his job, and placed chicken bones in his black co-worker’s locker. There’s much more ugly racism alleged in the case, if you have the stomach to read it.

    Black people who just want to earn an honest buck sometimes have to put up with crap like this.

    7. Being pulled over by the police. Black drivers are 31 percent more likely to be pulled over than white drivers, according to the Washington Post. We fear this pretty much every time we enter our vehicles. Sure, we sometimes violate traffic traffic laws. But we get stopped even when we don’t.

  112. says

    Oops. The above article is from March, so it’s probably already been posted. Oh well.

    ****
    Dallas firefighter under investigation after threatening to delay treatment for black people:

    “We can’t have one bad post affect what we do for a million people every day,” department spokesperson Joel Lavender told WFAA-TV.

    The investigation against driver-engineer Chad Tyson stems from a Facebook thread on a contact’s personal page on Sunday, after Tyson posted a story regarding a stabbing attack against two San Diego firefighters, Ben Vernon and Alex Wallbrett, last month. The story indicated that 34-year-old Ryan Allen Jones would stand trial in connection with the incident.

    “I understand the initial post,” Lavender said. “The response is what causes us some concern.”

    A retired firefighter identified as Sandy Bell responded to the story by posting, “Sad but true. But remember black lives matter.”

    Tyson concurred, writing, “Sadly, I will delay treatment for more of them as well.”

    According to WFAA, Tyson has refused to comment on the post, saying he was not allowed to do so out of his “personal policy.” But officials began looking into his statement after being notified by the station. Department policy restricts what employees can post online while identifying themselves as working for the city. The post containing Tyson’s remark has since been deleted.

    “We’re looking into it, with an idea toward discipline,” Lavender said.

    ****

    ‘Apprentice’ alum says Donald Trump is creating the next Dylann Roof:

    “Everyone is entitled to their opinion,” Jackson said, “but what you’re not entitled to do is create a toxic environment that creates this whole poisonous ecosystem where people hear these dog whistles of ‘Mexicans are taking over, they’re all rapists, black people are out to get your money, your jobs, gay people are ruining traditional marriage.”

    “All of those things,” Jackson said, “are corrosive dog whistles that create this toxic ecosystem that weak minded people act on. Dylann Roof, Tim McVeigh, those are people who hear those things and go out and have direct action and everyone says, ‘oh, I don’t know how that happened.’”

    He went on to say that repeating those things with such vehemence, Trump is creating the next Dylann Roof or the next Tim McVeigh, but that when it explodes, Trump will take no blame.

    Jackson appeared on The Apprentice in 2004. He was runner-up, but immediately after the show, job offers began rolling in. Trump rival Mark Cuban was the first to offer Jackson a job but he ended up working for himself, saying that, “It’s betting on yourself. It was never about ‘How do I get to work for Mr. Trump?’ I’m not trying to work for Trump — I’m trying to be Trump.” Now, he’s a successful entrepreneur and, fortunately, he failed at “being Trump.”

  113. rq says

    This is a few cross-posts (I think) and pick-ups from PZ’s post on Sandra Bland.
    Man Calls 911 To Report Burglary, Police Show Up and Shoot Him While Criminals Speed Off, it’s from May, but I don’t know if it got posted then.

    Two men had broken into his house when Bryant Heyward called 911. He called the cops, hoping that they would arrive and help. But when the sheriff’s deputies arrived to the mobile home in Hollywood, South Carolina on Thursday morning, they saw the armed home owner and opened fire.

    Now the sheriff says there is an internal investigation to determine what happened. But few members of the community believe there will be any sort of justice for the victim – who was twice victimized: once by the home invaders and another time by the responding officers.

    The deputies reported seeing a man standing in the doorway of his own home. They claim he “refused to drop his gun,” but witnesses say there was no time between the yelling of this order and the discharging of police weapons for him to react.

    On the way to the hospital, Heyward told police that he was simply trying to protect himself and his home from home invaders and he didn’t know the police were even there until they had shot him in the neck.

    A Message From Elon James White, in response to Sanders supporters who are still mad about black people interrupting his speech.

    Oh, hello.

    It has come to my attention that some of the Daily Kos community are very angry over the disruption that occurred at #NN15’s Town hall with Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley. And on top of said anger it seems that some of you have decided that I either started, planned, or participated in the interruption based on my twitter stream which clearly voiced support for the action.

    So for the record, I did not plan the action. That was done by amazing Black Women organized by Tia Oso. I was not even in the same venue that the action was planned in. I was hosting the #TWIBnation #NN15 party. And when the protest started I was actually standing on the TWiB! Media Stage at NN dealing with the theft of all of our cameras the night before. I ran into the auditorium and immediately started covering the action as I have done across the nation from NYC to Ferguson to Baltimore to Berkeley.

    Some of you have called for my firing from Netroots Nation. Some of you have said I helped destroy a progressive space. And to these folks I say, what do you think Netroots is? Every year there are protests. This shouldn’t be a surprise. And while yes I am affiliated with Netroots, my stance on these issues and actions are quite public. And why in the world would Netroots Nation be upset at me for being the exact person that was hired in the first place. I’ve been a member of this space before my official capacity for years. I would think that many of you would be happy that NN is a space that’s accepting of strong voices and wouldn’t ask us to tone down or silence us.

    Also, Netroots Nation released a message in support of the action that took place. Why would you want this progressive space to be simply a spot where people drop stump speeches and not listen to the people? Do you know how White Netroots has been? And now you’re angry that PoC are actively coming to this space and demanding a place at the table? I find this very problematic. Your desire to protect politicians is being placed above the state of Emergency that is Black Life in America. So just to be clear, I will continue to be as vocal as I have been because I actually give a shit about the progressive space. I want it to be inclusive and supportive of voices that are constantly be silenced and give them a platform to make people listen. We’ve seen it start to work already.

    So as opposed to throwing anger towards the protestors or myself, perhaps you should throw that same energy towards the candidates so that they will get their shit together. If you care about a coalition that can win then maybe you should care about the voices that have been ignored for decades.

    Exercise:
    Watch the following video, then tell me (a) what is missing and/or never mentioned in the video? and (b) exactly what Sandra Bland did not do according to the video? How To Survive A Crazy Cop. It might help if I point out to you that the people surviving are white and the people still getting shot are black.

    14: The number of times Sandra Bland asked why she was being arrested without an answer.

    On July 10, Sandra Bland was confronted, assaulted, and arrested by police in Waller County, Texas, near the campus of Prairie View A&M University. On Tuesday evening, footage (seen below) of this encounter with Officer Brian Encinia was released. In it, many conclusions can be drawn and determinations can be made, but none are clearer than the indisputable fact that Sandra Bland asked the officer FOURTEEN times why she was being arrested without once receiving a respectable answer of any kind.

    Fourteen.

    She asked him from inside of her car, outside of her car, while he had his hands on her, while he was cuffing her, and he gave her no credible answer whatsoever.

    In what world is any person going to calmly and willfully submit to an arrest without being given any true answer on what they are being charged with? This entire arrest, from start to finish, was completely despicable.

    Short little piece, but where’s the common courtesy an officer should be granting those he (supposedly) serves?

    So mad, @Deray! #SandraBland’s Epilepsy was IGNORED as was Blunt Force Trauma & Hearing Loss. Her Epidural Hematoma = an Asphyxiation Death.

    @blogdiva thread is so relevant right now – she talks about Sandra Bland’s mug shot and several interesting points about it, including the weird (but somehow not implausible) idea that Bland is already dead in her mugshot (all depends when they took it, don’t it?). Yes, it is a bit conspiracy, but then, Sandra Bland died in police custody.

  114. says

    Stunning images show how American Indian fashion looks without cultural appropriation:

    It’s bigger than fashion.

    That’s the first thing to know about Bethany Yellowtail’s work, a vibrant, elegant melding of classic style and the staples of her Native upbringing. Elk teeth line the sleeves of one gown, drawn with intricate floral beadwork, that drapes, glistening black, on the body of Jade Willoughby, an Ojibwe model from the Whitesands First Nation in Northern Ontario, Canada.

    All of Yellowtail’s collaborators are indigenous: Thosh Collins, the photographer, is Onk Akimel O’Odham, Wah-Zah-Zi and Haudenosaunee. Martin Sensmeier, another model, is Tlingit, Koyukon and Athabascan. Promotional video director and poet Tazbah Rose Chavez, is Nüümü and Diné.

    And all have converged behind Yellowtail’s vision, a fashion collection that bears the unmistakable mark of Native American influence and history, but with a twist — it’s actually made by a Native American.

    This is rarer than one might assume. Indigenous designers are scarce in this space, and for most of its existence, the mainstream fashion industry’s relationship with Native peoples has been one of appropriation and — put bluntly — theft.

    Today, this trend is apparent every time Pharrell Williams graces the cover of Elle magazine in a warbonnet or Heidi Klum arranges a Project Runway fashion shoot starring white models in face paint, feathers, headdresses and animal pelts.

    “My brother is a chief, and those warbonnets are how we honor him,” Yellowtail told Mic in an interview. “You don’t just run around and parade in it.”

    Perhaps the most vivid example of appropriation from Yellowtail’s own experience occurred at this year’s Fashion Week in New York City. In a widely documented incident, London-based design label KTZ sent a model onto the runway wearing a dress that bore striking similarities to one Yellowtail herself had designed — including a multi-colored print bearing the distinctive hourglass pattern native to her Apsáalooke people.

    “That design I did comes from a bag that my great-grandmother made,” she told Mic. “I can’t even describe that feeling — here I am, trying to reclaim our voice and represent myself, and this designer acts as if [Native women] are not alive, like we can’t do this ourselves.

    “It felt personal. It really lit a fire under me.”

    ***

    Some good news-
    Ex-deputy indicted after no-knock raid that injured child:

    A former Georgia deputy sheriff was indicted Wednesday on federal charges for her role in setting up a “no-knock” drug raid that severely injured a toddler when a flash grenade detonated in his playpen.

    A federal grand jury indicted Former Habersham County Deputy Nikki Autry, 29, on charges of providing false information in a search warrant affidavit, Acting U.S. Attorney John Horn said. Autry also is charged with providing false information to obtain an arrest warrant.

    During the raid on the northeast Georgia home in May 2014, a flash grenade detonated in 19-month-old Bounkham “Bou Bou” Phonesavanh’s playpen, blowing his chest and face open and burning him.

    The Phonesavanh family was staying with relatives temporarily at the time of the raid because their home in Wisconsin had recently burned down.

    A Habersham County grand jury in October found that the investigation that led to the raid was “hurried” and “sloppy,” but the jury recommended no criminal charges be brought against the officers involved.

    Prosecutors said Autry, a 10-year department veteran, gave an affidavit to a Habersham County magistrate judge saying a reliable informant bought drugs from someone standing outside the home where the Phonesavanhs were staying. In the affidavit, Autry told the judge the informant had in the past provided information that led to criminal charges, investigators said.

    Prosecutors said that the informant was actually “brand new,” and that it was not him but his roommate — who was not working with the task force that executed the raid — who allegedly bought a small amount of methamphetamine, but there was no surveillance to verify the purchase.

    Investigators said that Autry knew the informant didn’t buy drugs from anyone inside the house, that the new informant wasn’t a proven reliable source, and that Autry didn’t confirm there was heavy traffic coming and going from the house before she gave the affidavit to the judge who issued the “no-knock” warrant, which was executed roughly two hours later.

    Prosecutors said the judge issued the warrant based on false information Autry is accused of providing. The flash grenade a deputy sheriff tossed into the house through a side door landed in the baby’s playpen, critically injuring him.

    The suspected drug dealer whom authorities had been looking for was not in the house, and was arrested at a nearby home afterward.

    Federal court records do not list an attorney for Autry, who could not be reached for comment.

    The toddler’s parents, Alecia and Bounkham Phonesavanh, in February filed a lawsuit in federal court in Gainesville seeking damages from Sheriff Joey Terrell and members of the task force that was involved in the raid.

    The lawsuit asks for a jury trial and seeks damages, including for phys