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Fly Benzo does not stand alone: Occupy Fly’s hearing!

April 25, 2012

Pack the courtroom Friday, April 27, 9 a.m., Department 27 or 29 at 850 Bryant, San Francisco

by Earl Black

Fly Benzo, known for his mentoring of youth, holds Nailah Amari Bey, one of his staunchest supporters. – Photo: Malaika Kambon
We should call for everyone to “Occupy Fly’s hearing.” This young Black man is alive now. We should help him now before it is too late.

We should not just sit by doing business as usual while his freedom is about to end. We have an opportunity here to make a difference. We must mourn and seek justice for our dead, but we should just as strongly fight for the freedom of our living.

We need to own that courtroom. Occupy Oakland can do it: “Occupy Fly’s hearing.” Hundreds of people will make a difference.

This case is about Fly taking a stand. He is not a “defendant”; Fly is putting the SFPD on trial. The right to videotape police is on trial here. This case has immense educational value for all of us.

We need to own that courtroom. Fly is putting the SFPD on trial. The right to videotape police is on trial here.

“Occupy Fly’s hearing” and everybody video the police, not in the courtroom but in the hallways and outside. Occupy Oakland is organized. We can do this. “Occupy Fly’s hearing.” Bring your phones, cameras and camcorders and use them. Post this everywhere!

Standing up for righteousness: Interview with Claude Carpenter

Earl Black: Claude Carpenter talks about a life of “standing up for righteousness” and what that means for him, his wife and his son, Fly Benzo (DeBray Carpenter). As happened to his father before him, Fly Benzo faces jail time for standing up for rightousness against the police, against state repression and against housing and employment discrimination in his community of Bayview Hunters Point, San Francisco.

At least 80 people from all over the Northern California Bay Area packed the courtroom April 20 in support of Debray “Fly Benzo” Carpenter, unjustly convicted for exercising his First Amendment right to photograph the police and organize for justice after the SFPD murder of Kenneth Wade Harding Jr. on July 16, 2011. – Photo: Malaika Kambon
Claude Carpenter (video transcript): I’m Fly Benzo’s father. I’m also a political activist like my son. I’m very proud of the fact that my son chooses to stand up for what is right and yet there’s consequence that go along with that.

Whenever you are willing to stand up and tell the truth, you’re going to find a whole lot of opposition because some people just don’t want to be exposed for where they’re coming from, [especially] when you choose to stand up for righteousness like Fly Benzo is doing.

Myself, his mom, the types of examples we set as being business people but yet we come from the ghetto; we come from the projects. We just had a chance to upgrade our economic standards by standing up for our rights and not just accepting things for the way they are.

Barbara Banks, mother of Debray “Fly Benzo” Carpenter and a contractor and community leader in her own right, is always there standing firm, side by side with her son. Here she reviews some legal documents at the initial April 20 session of his sentencing hearing. – Photo: Malaika Kambon
And now that my son is standing up, he’s being victimized. It’s just, you know, our young people. [Society] doesn’t give very much credit to the African American younger generation, so it takes people like Fly Benzo that’s going to stand up and speak out about injustices.

And what enables him to do this is his intelligence. He’s a very intelligent young man. I’d say he’s a chip off the old block. His mom is a very intelligent African American woman; his father is a very intelligent African American man. And DeBray is a chip off the old block.

I never thought that he would turn out to be a political activist, but I am so proud that my son chooses to stand up – and I stand up alongside him. Every opportunity he gets he stands up for me and his mom, and that is one of the most beautiful things that you can experience as a father: your son standing up for our people you know, where you can just step back.

You know, when he stands up, I step back and I let him do the talking because we have to prepare our young people to assume the torch, to be able to take over and continue to stand up for what they believe. And this is what my son does; this is what Fly Benzo does.

I experienced it myself. I experienced being taken to a jury trial just for standing up for righteousness, so I know what it’s like for my son.

Photographer-videographer Earl Banks completes an interview with DeBray Carpenter’s father, Claude Carpenter, who spoke to the court on behalf of his son, clearing the record of misinformation introduced by the prosecution. – Photo: Malaika Kambon
It’s very difficult for me as a father to see him subjected to what this society is taking him through, but I do believe as long as we stand up with him to where he knows and this society knows he’s not standing alone.

We have to come out in force. We have to be at his sentencing hearing Friday. We have to stand up with him to let him know that he is not standing alone.

There’s people who believe in what he’s standing for that’s willing to stand up with him, so what we have to do, we have to come out in force. We have to be at his sentencing hearing when he comes back for sentencing [on Friday, April 27, 9 a.m., at 850 Bryant in Department 27 or 29], and we have to come out in numbers to let them know you just can’t make an example out of Fly because he’s standing up for what he believes.

And if we believe in Fly, we have to stand up by his side to where he’s not alone. It’s difficult to see your son when you know how decent a person he is being subjected as a political prisoner, because that’s what he is, someone that’s willing to stand up for what he believes.

They haven’t discouraged Fly, but we have to stand up with him to let him know that he is not standing alone.

Bay Area writer, photographer, videographer and activist Earl Black can be reached at ephilipblack@netscape.net. Transcription by Adrian McKinney.

On Oct. 18, 2011, police who have been stalking Fly Benzo ever since he began protesting the SFPD murder of Kenneth Harding on July 16, 2011, viciously beat him when he video-recorded them in response to their video-recording of him. On Feb. 22, 2012, Fly was convicted of three misdemeanors for assaulting the police. He faces up to three years in jail at his sentencing Friday, April 27, 9 a.m., in Department 27 or 29, 850 Bryant, San Francisco. Pack the courtroom!

 

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