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Six years ago, on Jan. 1, 2009, Oscar Grant III, 22, was shot and later died of bullet wounds received when Johannes Mehserle, then a BART police officer, fired his gun at point blank range into Grant’s back – after Grant and his friends had been taunted with racial epithets and assaulted by Mehserle and other BART officers on the scene, while Mehserle’s partner, Tony Pirone, held Grant down with both hands and a knee on his head and neck.
Professor Michelle Alexander’s new book “The New Jim Crow” is a monumental, well researched piece of work that presents documented facts in down to earth English about the mass incarceration of Black people within the United States’ national concentration camp system. At one point in “The New Jim Crow,” Professor Alexander presents evidence that more Black people are enslaved behind bars today than were enslaved on the plantations in 1850, before the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.
The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals overturned a conviction obtained by San Mateo County Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe and published its reason – racially discriminatory jury selection – stating: “overwhelming evidence indicating that the prosecutor [Wagstaffe] ... acted with discriminatory intent when he struck M.C. [an African-American juror].”
In April, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider an appeal from death-row journalist and former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted of first-degree murder in the shooting death of white Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner in a 1982 trial deemed unfair by Amnesty International, the European Parliament, the Japanese Diet, Nelson Mandela and numerous others. Now Abu-Jamal's international support network is calling for a federal civil rights investigation into his case.
The U.S. Supreme Court's 1986 Batson v. Kentucky decision prohibited the state from removing Black jurors for racial reasons. Still, courts have been loathe to grant relief.
The U.S. Supreme Court announced today that they have rejected death-row journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal's appeal for a new guilt phase trial. Readers are urged to contact the White House to protest this unjust ruling. Call (202) 456-1111 or visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/CONTACT/.