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Attorney John Burris and his law firm have been retained to represent the mother of Mr. Chinedu Okobi, the 36-year old African American man who was unarmed and repeatedly tasered and forcefully restrained by San Mateo County sheriff’s deputies until he fell unconscious and later died. He leaves behind a young daughter, grieving mother and a host of family, friends and colleagues.
On Tuesday, June 20, more than 500 Stop Urban Shield activists became ungovernable at the end of a six-hour Berkeley City Council meeting once it was clear that the Council would not pull the Berkeley police out of Urban Shield 2017. As Mayor Jesse Arreguin and other councilors discussed tepid motions and then began voting, the crowd drowned them out chanting, “Shame! Shame! Shame!”
A call for a national work stoppage was issued for Sept. 9, 2016, to inmates all across America to bring an end to the “exception” – the slavery clause – in the U.S. Constitution’s 13th Amendment upholding slavery for prisoners. Sadly, I, along with a very small sprinkle of inmates here and there on “the farm” (a reference to Angola, a former slave plantation turned into the largest prison in the country) answered the call.
As police murders accumulate, and police chiefs get fired and replaced because they cannot stop it – as in Oakland and San Francisco – the notion that this represents a political crisis becomes a truism. It is not a “crisis of policing,” which would suggest a situation beyond the capacities of the police. It is the police who have become the crisis.
Five hunger strikers dubbed the Frisco 5 – angered by new police murders of Black and Brown people – have been occupying half the sidewalk in front of Mission Police Station since April 21. It’s Day 13 of their liquid-only fast and they’re losing weight, but they vow to keep it up until SF Police Chief Greg Suhr resigns or is fired. The Frisco 5 hunger strikers are Maria Cristina Gutierrez, 66, Ilyich “Equipto” Sato, 42, Selassie Blackwell, 39, Ike Pinkston, 42, and Edwin Lindo, 29.
San Francisco’s Black and Latino/a communities came together March 18 on the steps of City Hall to launch a united campaign to end police impunity in the officer-involved murders of Mario Woods, Alex Nieto and Amilcar Pérez López. The new Black and Brown United Coalition coalesced after the shocking March 10 exoneration of police in a federal civil trial in the killing of Alex Nieto, 28, by a jury on which no Blacks or Latinas or Latinos had been selected to serve.
The City of Chicago has released, under court order, the dashcam video from the brutal killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by a Chicago police officer – and it’s as bad as we all expected. At the same time as they released the video, the county prosecutor announced she’d be pursuing first degree murder charges against McDonald’s killer, Officer Jason Van Dyke. Unfortunately, these are charges that should have been filed a year ago.
Leading Black women across the nation are expressing outrage this week over the videotaped violent incident showing a White police officer in Columbia, S.C., grabbing a Black 16-year-old female high school student around her neck, flipping her desk, then dragging her across the floor and tossing her across the classroom. Many fear the growth of such incidents unless corrective action is taken.
Police kill a lot of unarmed people. So far in 2015, as many as 100 unarmed people have been killed by police. So far in 2015, there have been around 400 fatal police shootings; one in six of those killings, 16 percent, was of unarmed people, 49 had no weapon at all and 13 had toys, according to the Washington Post. Here are 15 of the most outrageous reasons given by police to justify killing unarmed people in the last 12 months.
Local barbershop owner Derrick Jones was shot and killed by two Oakland police officers on Nov. 8, 2010. Five years later, this case is finally on the conveyor belt of cases to be heard at the federal appellate court on June 10. Attorney Ayanna L. Jenkins Toney will be arguing the case on behalf of the Derrick Jones estate. Here is what she had to say about the Derrick Jones case and the rampant police killings that are going on around the U.S. currently.
I listened as the supervisor at the Housing Authority of Monterey County rattled off a long list of reasons that they thought released their agency from any responsibility for the crisis of Bessie Taylor and her disabled son Devonte, who are now living houselessly in Salinas, California, because the Housing Authority took too long to move on the family’s reasonable accommodation claim, and they subsequently lost their home of 22 years.
There is a trick that the California prison administration pulls on African Americans in prison. It is to charge them with gang activity if they refer to “George Jackson” or any of his writings or ideas or to the “Republic of New Afrika” or the politics of New Afrikans. Thousands of people, mostly Black and Brown, have been held in solitary confinement for years and even decades, because “gang activity” constitutes a “security threat to the prison,” according to the Administration.
In May 2014, President Obama told graduating West Point army cadets, “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being.” One area in which the U.S. is unquestionably exceptional is the level of state violence directed against African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and working and poor people of all nationalities. U.S. police killings outnumber those in other developed capitalist countries by as much as 100-1!
Today we are proud to stand with our brothers and sisters across the United States and around the world in response to the recent police killings of Eric Garner, Mike Brown and countless other victims of state violence to say that “Black lives matter.” While it should be implicit that all lives matter, communities in recent days have risen up to reinforce the fact that Black and Brown human beings have an equal place on this earth, because often times it feels that we do not.
On so-called Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year in the U.S., members of the Blackout Collective and their allies obstructed BART trains on both sides of the track from moving out of the West Oakland BART station in an economic protest to the systemic wanton killing of Black people in this country, most recently symbolized by the police murders of Mike Brown and Eric Garner.
On April 4, 2013, the Oakland Film Festival premiered the long anticipated documentary “Crimes of Police,” directed by Ansar El Muhammad and produced by Derrick Bowman. Now the documentary has been chosen for the San Francisco Black Film Festival as well, screening Saturday, June 15, 5:45 p.m., at the Jazz Heritage Center, 1320 Fillmore St., San Francisco.
Perhaps you’ve heard or read the name Raheim Brown Jr. He’s the 20-year-old Black man who was beaten then shot and killed by Oakland School Police Department Sgt. Bhatt. What real justification can there be for officers – who were hired to secure a school dance on a school campus – to venture from their assigned duty posts and beat, shoot and kill innocent youth?
Oakland may seem like a local anomaly with its big increase in homicides in 2011-12 and the anti-crime hysteria which now engulfs it. But Oakland is just a prime example of the intertwining of crime and criminalization under capitalism, in which the ruling class divides working people one from another and targets particular groups for victimization.
The ink was barely dry on the convictions and plea bargains of 10 members of the New Orleans Police Department in the Danziger Bridge murders and coverup, when NOPD police gunned down Justin Sipp and unarmed Wendell Allen. Hundreds marched in protest of ongoing police murders of Black youth. The African American community is beginning to fight back.
With the current wave of uprisings across England ... and the insurgence of flash mobs across the United States ... it is appropriate to call on the history of rebellions by our people. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once stated, riot is the language of the unheard; and so it comes as no surprise that the language of our underclass is of the same dialect that it has been for decades and even centuries ...
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