criminal justice

now browsing by tag

 
 

Freddie Gray May Get Justice

Maryland State Attorney Marilyn Mosley charges 6 officers with the death of Freddie Gray

In a shocking turn-of-events Maryland State Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced Friday that six Baltimore police officers involved in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, due to a severed spinal cord, will be charged criminally. Attorney Mosby stood on the steps of the War Memorial Building in Baltimore before a crowd of reporters and local citizens and delivered a well thought confident and resolute statement explaining some of the details she gathered from her independent investigation. During that investigation she found evidence that lead her to believe the initial arrest of Freddie Gray was not warranted. The officers who arrested him lied in their statements and said he had an illegal switchblade but Mosby said Freddie had a legal pocket knife. Marilyn Mosby is new to the office of State Attorney only being there for 3 months now, which I believed played a part in her decision to charge and prosecute. She has no obligations or improper relationships with the police department, and she hasn’t been there long enough to owe anyone any favors yet.

Warrants were issued for the arrest of all six officers, and here are the names and charges:

Officer Caesar Goodson Jr., 45, who was the driver of a police van that carried Gray through the streets of Baltimore, was charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter, second-degree assault, two vehicular manslaughter charges and misconduct in office.

Officer William Porter, 25, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.

Lt. Brian Rice, 41, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.

Sgt. Alicia White, 30, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.

Officer Edward Nero, 29, was charged with second-degree assault and misconduct in office.

Officer Garrett Miller, 26, was charged with second-degree assault, misconduct in office and false imprisonment.

If convicted of all charges, Goodson would face up to 63 years in prison. Rice would face up to 30 years and Porter, Nero, Miller and White would face up to 20 years.

Protesters in Baltimore protesting against police brutality

Protesters in Baltimore protesting against police brutality

It’s important to remember that this is just the beginning. It feels very vindicating to make it this far because we’ve seen prosecutor after prosecutor look the other way and decline to charge officers with anything when the life of an unarmed black man is taken. It’s ok to enjoy the relief we feel by crossing this first hurtle, but we have a long way to go before we can see true just justice. So don’t let this lure you into complacency or dampen the urgency and determination that has fueled protest and the #BlackLivesMatter movement. We’ve worked so hard to get the attention of our leaders and the world and as long as we keep the pressure on we’ll continue to make progress towards our ultimate goal of a total reconstruction of our entire criminal justice system and the removal of all institutionalized racism within the system.

Black Lives Matter Unity

Black Lives Matter Unity

After the murder of unarmed black teenager Mike Brown by a white Ferguson Missouri police officer, a protest movement began to emerge. The most visible and well organized movement was started by 3 women of color who were fed up with the injustice and wanted to do whatever they could to unite everyone around the idea that black lives have just as much value as any other and highlight the very apparent fact that a lot of police and other people in positions of power do not value black lives. This ugly truth has been verified by extensive studies and backed-up by police arrest/encounter statistics in every police department all over the country. I’ve written a number of blogs about the data and provided source information in every one of them, so if that’s what you’re looking for feel free to look through Socially Urban’s archives. This blog is about the 3 founders of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, and how some well-meaning misguided men are questioning the movement because the founders are gay women. Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi jumped right in from the very beginning in Ferguson even before the media arrived. They organized, they protested, they marched, they kept everyone up to date on twitter, and dedicated themselves to this movement. Black Lives Matter gave the movement a tangible legitimacy that it seemed to be lacking from the outside looking in.

When the movement went national they added another integral piece to the protest movement’s leadership and his name was Darnell L Moore who also happens to be gay. Keep in mind that none of these people are getting paid or doing any of this for money. Black Lives Matter is a nonprofit protest movement that started very small but quickly

#BlackLivesMatter

Black Lives Matter Protest

became the catalyzing force behind a well oiled tech-savvy social media explosion that allowed the protesters on the streets in different cities to pool resources and push for specific political changes in the cities where police brutality surfaced and gained national attention. Here’s how Alicia Garza puts it “We were humbled when cultural workers, artists, designers and techies offered their labor and love to expand #BlackLivesMatter beyond a social media hashtag. Opal, Patrisse, and I created the infrastructure for this movement project—moving the hashtag from social media to the streets. Our team grew through a very successful Black Lives Matter ride in Ferguson, led and designed by Patrisse Cullors and Darnell L. Moore.”

Other protest movements and community activist began to use the “Black Lives Matter” slogan and infrastructure in other protest related activities and events. But when they would call for permission they never wanted the input of the founders. They would write articles and stories and completely omit the 3 lesbian founders and Darnell L Moore. Now that all of them are speaking out about it and wanting to bring attention to the work the black lgbt community is doing in the anti-police violence movement. Some are trying to inject their personal homophobia into this situation by questioning the motives of the Black Lives Matters movement strictly based on the sexuality of the BLM founders. altogether. If you’re a black person gay or straight this attempt to divide and conquer should sicken you. Police brutality and how they devalue the lives of black people needs EVERYONE who’s willing and able to fight. Gay activist bring so much knowledge and know-how to the movement because we’ve been relentlessly fighting and protesting for the right to marry for the past decade. They patterned their “right to marry” movement after MLK’s civil rights movement in the late 60’s

#BlackLivesMatter

Protest in Baltimore

and because of that we now have legal gay marriage in 37 states with a case before the Supreme Court right now that will lead to gay marriage rights in all 50 states. You have to question the motivation of someone who’s willing to destroy an entire movement because gay people make them uncomfortable. The gay people protesting right beside you for the same cause is not the enemy. If we start thinking like that, we’ve already lost before we’ve even began. People like Tariq Nasheed who’s been one of the most vocal critics against lgbt people of color, has a history of misogynistic homophobic divisive hate-speech and if anyone cares about the movement against police brutality specifically against black men, they’ll see him for what he really is. A pseudo-intellectual idiot who should’t be taken seriously on any level. His message is outdated and counter-productive, and if listened to will divide and weaken the collective force the “Black Lives Matter” campaign has amassed. But no matter how hard they try to bury the 3 lesbian founders, we will continue to protest, speak-up, and march for what’s right. Whether we get the recognition or not.

Very relevant side note about a civil rights icon who most Americans haven’t heard of:

Martin Luther King’s most trusted adviser was a black gay man named Bayard Rustin. MLK knew Rustin was gay but saw the value he brought to the movement. Without Rustin there wouldn’t

Martin Luther King and Bayard Rustin 1956

Martin Luther King and Bayard Rustin 1956

have been a March on Washington, and MLK’s I Have A Dream speech wouldn’t have had the same grandeur and resonance without the image of 250,000 people of all colors uniting on the national mall all the way to the steps of the capital just to hear this extraordinary black leader speak. Whether there in person or watching on tv at home, the entire nation was captivated. That whole event was created and planned by Bayard Rustin. An out gay proud black civil rights hero who deserves to be recognized for his work within the movement.

 

Fox News Racist Views

Fox News Racist Views

If anyone is curious why I despise Fox News and everything they represent, the video clip below is a perfect example that explains why. You have 4 people pretending to have an intelligent debate on terrorism and policing in the wake of the recent terrorist attack in France, but if you listen to the overall theme of this phony debate you’ll see that it’s really another opportunity for Fox to make their viewers afraid of black and brown people. They try to make racism sound reasonable, to desensitize us all from that sick feeling we get when we realize we’re taking part in or doing something or saying something that we know is wrong. When we lock our car doors when we see a young black man approaching thinking he’s a criminal who might rob me. When we see a black mother and her kids in the grocery store with a cart full of food and think she’s probably paying with food stamps. When we see a Muslim man boarding our flight and hope that he was stopped for extra screening. Fox News and their guests are constantly telling their viewers that it’s not only ok to make racist assumptions, but those racist assumptions are most likely true. This ignorant moronic woman suggest that skin tone is an indicator of criminal behavior, or as she put it an indicator of who’s a “bad guy”. The man beside her takes this even further and connects the terrorist attack in France to the way policing is done in New York. He suggest that targeting black and Latino men, ignoring their rights as Americans, and policing ethnic neighborhoods with military style police armed with military style weapons will somehow prevent terrorism and make us all safer. Then another ignorant panelist adds something very telling. She says people like her will not be targeted so in her mind it makes it all ok. This was the only truthful utterance in this pathetic racist discussion. Everyone on that panel knows that their race would exclude them from the dangers and dehumanization of racial stereotyping and racial profiling. Even the African American female panelist would be excluded due to her gender.

This video encapsulates everything that’s wrong with Fox in 4 short minutes. After watching it a few times, I feel it’s necessary to challenge or break down some of the ridiculousness and speak directly to each problematic statement:

1. Militarizing the police or making them carry larger or more powerful weapons would not have prevented 9/11. Making police in France carry larger weapons would not have prevented the attack there. The police officer who died in France had a gun. Giving him 10 more guns wouldn’t have changed a damn thing.

2. Stop and Frisk in New York had absolutely nothing to do with the decrease in crime there. Every study that has been conducted to answer that question has shown that targeting people based on race is a waste of police time and resources and it has a negative effect on the relationship between minority communities and police. Stop and Frisk was an unconstitutional failure that should never be repeated anywhere.

3. The male panelist said he never felt like police looked at him as “the enemy”. Of course they didn’t because his race wasn’t targeted. That’s why it’s called racial profiling. Stop and Frisk made NYPD look at blacks and Latino’s as “the enemy”. NYPD officers were told that if they assume everyone they stopped potentially had a concealed weapon, that would make the encounter legal. So black and latino men weren’t looked at as law abiding citizens anymore, under Stop and Frisk they were all looked at as potential criminals.

4. NO ONE IN THE UNITED STATES IS BEING HUNTED BY ISIS. That ludicrous assertion needs no debunking or rebuttal from me.

5. The best way to be safe is arming everyone with guns. This is probably the most irresponsible piece of the Fox News ideology. First they convince their viewers that young black and brown males are dangerous, deserves to be targeted by police, and are most likely criminals; then after they are convinced of this they tell them all to go out and buy guns to protect themselves from the black and brown men who are out to get them. This is the kind of reporting that leads to unarmed men of color being shot and killed because the shooter perceived them as a threat, only later realizing that they posed no threat at all. Crime continues to drop in this country but when polled most Americans believe crime is at an all time high. That misconception is mostly due to media who use fear to sell products. Unfortunately that misconception is also costing lives.

6. If a terrorist sees a heavily armed police officer they might decide to call off their planned attack. This kind of thinking is almost laughable. The truth is if a terrorist is determined to attack Americans and take lives, there really isn’t a lot we can do to prevent this. Human’s aren’t perfect and neither is our government and law enforcement. For every 10 attacks that they prevent, there’s always going to be 1 or 2 that gets by them. That’s why I believe looking at the reasons that lead someone to become a terrorist and trying to address those issues in a realistic rational way would be much more effective than waging wars and stockpiling weapons and passing concealed carry laws that encourages citizens to be suspicious of those who do not look like them, and adopt the role of a vigil anti justice crusader.

7. The NYPD being exemplary in blending in with the citizenry and becoming part of the population without being the enemy? This statement is only true if you’re a white New Yorker which makes up about 33% of the city’s population. For the rest of the non white citizens this statement is not true, and even more so for the black citizens who make up 25% of the population. Choking an unarmed man to death on a sidewalk, forcing a man to strip naked while people on the street watch, or anally raping a man with a plunger is not what I would call an exemplary police force. But this panel at Fox if fine with all of that just as long as their white privilege protects them from it.

At the end of this video clip the panel talks about the bravery of those who worked for the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. I’m in total agreement with them on that, but “brave” is a word that becomes meaningless when it comes out of a Fox News anchor’s mouth. There is no bravery in ignoring the suffering of those who aren’t a part of your perceived “good guy” skin tone or race, and there’s certainly nothing brave about profiting from manufactured fear. Fox News and those who subscribe to their ideology are cowards. Racist predictable cowards. Charlie Hebdo’s cutting edge commentary that spared no one’s sacred cow is the antithesis of Fox News and their crusade against African American culture and the minority community.

 

Here’s a link to an older post that also points out Fox for their racist ideology. ttp://sociallyurban.com/video/how-fox-news-views-race/.

 

Tamir Rice New Video

Tamir Rice

More video of the events that took place after the murder of 12 year old Tamir Rice finally got released today (1/9/15) and it’s even worse than I expected. After watching the behavior of the officers in the video I thought to myself, this is what happens when life is devalued because of race. To people like me this video is sickening and hard to comprehend how children could be treated this way. A little boy murdered by police while playing on a playground. His older sister tackled and wrestled to the ground, forced in handcuffs then tossed in the backseat of a police car while watching her little brother bleed to death only a few feet away while police officers offer the dying kid no medical help at all. No one calls an ambulance, no one tries cpr, no one tries to stop the bleeding for a full 8 minutes. You can see them walk very casually around the bleeding dying kid with no sense of urgency. It was like Tamir’s life didn’t matter at all to them. It was more important to tackle and arrest his 14 year old sister who only wanted to help her dying brother.

If you read the account given by the officer before he knew this tragic incident was all caught on video, you’ll notice some disturbing similarities to the statements given by other officers who were also involved in shooting an unarmed African American. In the cases where there is no video, most officials and non minorities tend to believe the account given by police. But in every case where there is video of the event, the video directly contradicts the story given by police. What’s even sadder is even when there is a video that proves the officer lied or misrepresented the events that took place, the officer still does not get charged. Apparently murder, conspiracy, reckless endangerment, and giving false statements aren’t crimes when the victim is African American and the perpetrator carries a badge.

 

By watching the initial video of the shooting we’ve been able to confirm 5 lies that the Cleveland police department and Officer Timothy Loehmann have told:

1. Police said that Tamir Rice was seated at a table with other people.
TRUTH:  Tamir Rice was not seated at a table with other people.

2. Police said that as they pulled up, they saw Tamir Rice grab the gun and put it in his waistband.
TRUTH:  Tamir Rice does not appear to grab the gun and put it in his waistband.

3. Police said they got out of the car and told Tamir Rice three times to put his hands up but he refused.
TRUTH:  Police shot and killed Tamir in less than two seconds and could not have told him to put his hands up three times.

4. Police said that Tamir Rice then reached into his waistband and pulled out the gun, and was then shot and killed by Officer Timothy Loehmann.
TRUTH:  Tamir Rice absolutely does not pull the toy gun out of his waistband and brandish it in any way. This fact is crucial.

5. The officer who shot and murdered Tamir Rice (Timothy Loehmann) was described as a rookie.
TRUTH:  Timothy Loehmann was not a rookie, but had been an officer for over two years.

 

 

%d bloggers like this: