Monday, May 4, 2015

POLICE VIOLENCE, MILITARIZATION, RACISM NEWSLETTER #4

OMNI
POLICE USA, VIOLENCE, MILITARIZATION NEWSLETTER #4, May 4, 2015.
COMPILED BY DICK BENNETT FOR A CULTURE OF PEACE AND JUSTICE
(#1 August 17, 2014; #2 September 3, 2014; #3 November 24, 2014)

What’s at stake:

Newsletters
See Militarism, Racism, Violence
Index:
See: Militarism, Nonviolence, Violence,


Contents US Police Newsletter #4 

Militarization of Police
Veterans for Peace vs. Militarization of Police       
NationofChange BullHorn, Global Protests of US Police State
War Resisters League and YaYa Network Workshop on Resisting
War Resisters League Chicago Conference
NYPD Police Union Vows “Wartime Policing”
War Resisters League vs. NY Police Commissioner Bratton
Flash Grenades

Racism and Police Violence
Dallas, Collette Flanagan, Mothers Against Police Brutality
David Troutt, Is Racial Justice Possible in USA?
Ferguson, MO, Mike Brown, Daily Kos, Police Lied and Other Questions  
United for Peace and Justice, Resources
NYC, Eric Garner
Cleveland, Brandon Jones
Alexandrov, History of Police Brutality in Baltimore
Robert Greenwald’s New Film, Racism Is Real

Defense of Police, Google Search






Dick, Act Now to Demilitarize Police & Build Peace with Iran!
Inbox
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Veterans For Peace via uark.edu 3-17-15
4:10 PM (17 hours ago)
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to James
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March, 2015


Dear Dick,
VFP’s legislative focus continues to grow.  Our first VFP national lobby days are the week of May 18 – 22.  We encourage those who can to join us in Washington, D.C.  If you can’t make it to D.C., you can schedule a conference call from the local office with the foreign policy or military policy aide in the D.C. office.  We will be providing information and materials in the coming weeks.  Stay tuned and start planning!   
March Legislative Priorities
1.    Congressman Hank Johnson has reintroduced H.R. 1232: Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act.  This bill would:
·  Prevent transfers of equipment inappropriate for local policing, such as military weapons, long-range acoustic devices, grenade launchers, weaponized drones, armored military vehicles, and grenades or similar explosives. 
·  End incentives to use equipment inappropriately. Under the 1033 program, police are required to use the equipment within a year of receiving it, incentivizing unnecessary use. This bill would eliminate the one year requirement.
·  Prohibit re-gifting and require recipients to account for all DOD weapons and equipment.
If your Representative is one of 42 co-sponsors, thank them.  If not, tell them why you want them to co-sponsor. Remember to tell them you are a member of Veterans For Peace.

2. The Senate continues to try to prevent a diplomatic resolution of concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.   The Corker legislation (S. 615) would allow Congress to veto a nuclear deal and prevent the sanctions from being lifted, and the Kirk-Menendez bill (S. 1881) would impose even harsher sanctions.

Popular opposition has stalled these efforts since January -- keep it up!  Send a Letter to the Editor of your local papers using this template.  If you include your Senator’s name you can be sure they will see it.
On the Horizon
The People’s Budget of the Congressional Progressive Caucus will be released this week.  Get ready for reason and humanity.  In the military area, the CPC calls for modernizing our defense posture to create sustainable baseline defense spending, ending emergency funding for Overseas Contingency Operations and increasing funds for diplomacy and for job transitions.

Debate continues over President Obama’s request for a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) for the war against ISIL.  Obama's proposal would last for three years, repeal the 2002 authorization for the Iraq War, but leave in place the 2001 authorization the administration is using now to justify the war against ISIS.  VFP opposes any further authorization and calls for repeal of the 2001 AUMF.

                 

Michael T. McPhearson     


Veterans For Peace,
1404 North Broadway, St. Louis, MO 63102, 314-725-6005           
www.veteransforpeace.org



Make a tax-exempt donation to VFP today!
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We also encourage you to join our ranks
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GLOBAL PROTESTS
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Live Coverage: Protesting the Rise of the American Police State
Have media you want to share? Contact us at:   editor@nationofchange.org   [A large collection of reports.  Don’t miss scanning it.  Dick]
- See more at: http://bullhorn.nationofchange.org/live_coverage_protesting_the_rise_of_the_american_police_state#sthash.e32MK1z9.dpuf
http://bullhorn.nationofchange.org/live_coverage_protesting_the_rise_of_the_american_police_state


USA
MILITARIZATION OF POLICE

  WRL presents "Buy 10 Guns, Get 2 Tanks Free"
Want to stop police militarization in your community?
 We can’t build a movement without building consciousness.  Here's one building tool:
Militarized policing has continued unchecked for so long because it was hidden in the shadows. Many of us were unaware of its extent. The people’s movement in Ferguson is shining a spotlight on racist policing and raising our national consciousness. The War Resisters League (WRL) hopes to expose more of the roots of the problem by sharing our work to stop police militarization with you and your community.

In that spirit, we present Buy 10 Guns, Get 2 Tanks Free, a participatory workshop co-created with the Ya-Ya Network. The workshop highlights the successful cross-community organizing initiated by Oakland, CA’s Stop Urban Shield Coalition.

To stop police militarization in your community:

Firstsign on to our campaign’s demands.

Second, click here to download our participatory curriculum.

Third, let us know if you want to build consciousness by facilitating a workshop within your community! E-mail tara@warresisters.org. Together, let’s build a movement. 

Graphics by: Leani Auxilio

     

CONFERENCE IN CHICAGO TO END VIOLENCE
WRL VS. POLICE MILITARIZATION

War Resisters League via mail.salsalabs.net 
10:52 AM (26 minutes ago)
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to me  4-9-15
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Bridging Movements to End Violence 
On March 26th, War Resisters League joined activists from across the movement spectrum at INCITE’s Color of Violence 4 (COV4): Beyond the State: Inciting Transformative Possibilities in Chicago, IL. Fifteen years in the making, COV4 brought together social justice practitioners who are building strategies to “end colonial, racial, and gender-based violence against women of color, trans and queer people of color, and our communities.”
WRL traveled by van from NYC to Chicago, riding with organizers from the Audre Lorde Project, FIERCE, Mutant Legal, YA-YA Network and Ayotzinapa Caravan. Thank you for everyone who supported us in getting to Chicago and shared in difficult political and personal conversations.
We are still in awe of having shared space with many beautiful and transformative leaders including Angela Davis, Rasmea Odeh, CeCe McDonald and Andrea Smith, walking with each other towards the vision of the world we need.
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"WRL's workshop was interactive and informative. The facilitators were thoughtful in both presenting the content and allowing for difficult conversations during the workshop.” --Angel Sutjipto
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back the lessons and incorporate them into my work with Mutant Legal and Just Info. It opened with a wonderful breakdown of police militarization and how it ties into and supports existing systems of oppression that transcend borders. Through empowered learning, me and other participants challenged the notion that police militarization and other forms of systemic violence are separate issues.” --Nathan Sheard
“The contextualization of police militarization as a fruit on the capitalist tree rooted in sexism, racism, hetero-patriarchy, imperialism and the like is perhaps one of the most important connections to understand. This understanding underscores all the work we do and serves as the pinning of efforts toward real freedom.” --Denise Romero
INCITE's COV4 conference was momentous for our movement looking to uproot violence by creating space to prefigure our visions through organizing. We will continue drawing on lessons learned there as we strive to end all war and its roots causes. 
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POLICE VIOLENCE

NYC POLICE EXPRESS FEAR AND ANGER, DECLARE “WAR”
Published on Sunday, December 21, 2014 by Common Dreams
As NYPD Union Vows 'Wartime Policing,' Questions Of 'Have We Learned Nothing?'
"An eye for an eye is not our vision of justice," declared #BlackLivesMatter in a statement released Sunday
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"It is irresponsible to draw connections between this movement and the actions of a troubled man who took the lives of these officers and attempted to take the life of his ex-partner, before ultimately taking his own," said Ferguson Action in a statement issued Sunday. (Photo: Webfan29/Wikimedia Commons)
A declaration by the New York Police Department Union that it will engage in "wartime policing" in response to Saturday's killing of two city law enforcement officers has raised alarm among protesters and civil rights advocates, who ask: "Have we learned nothing?"
A statement released Saturday by the New York Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association—the union for the NYPD—reads, "The mayor’s hands are literally dripping with our blood because of his words actions and policies and we have, for the first time in a number of years, become a 'wartime' police department. We will act accordingly."
Steven Thrasher, writing for the Guardian, responds, "Wartime? These are the marching orders to the 35,000 armed members of the biggest police department in the United States. This is the message now sent to protesters around the nation who have been finding novel and peaceful forms of expression to resist oppression—who have been protesting in reaction to police violence, not causing it."
Meanwhile, Pat Lynch, president of the PBA, made the unverified claim at a press conference on Saturday that ongoing protests and mobilizations are to blame for the killing of the police officers, stating, "There is blood on many hands tonight. Those that incited violence on the street under the guise of protest, that tried to tear down what New York City police officers did every day. We tried to warn it must not go on, it shouldn't be tolerated."
But Ferguson Action, a broad, Ferguson, Missouri-based coalition behind mass organized response to police killings and violence, declared in a statement, "It is irresponsible to draw connections between this movement and the actions of a troubled man who took the lives of these officers and attempted to take the life of his ex-partner, before ultimately taking his own," referring to reports that the gunman shot a woman in Maryland prior to the incident in New York.
"Today’s events are a tragedy in their own right," the statement continued. "To conflate them with the brave activism of millions of people across the country is nothing short of cheap political punditry."
New York-based Communities United for Police Reform agrees. The campaign stated, "As the details of today’s shootings continue to come to light, there are people who would seek to exploit this tragedy and use it to condemn the growing national movement to end police violence and discriminatory policing. Attempts to link today’s tragic events with a movement that holds justice, dignity and respect for all as its core values are cheap political punditry, and dangerous in their divisiveness."
 #BlackLivesMatter, which describes itself as "a national grassroots and social media driven movement at the heart of much of the recent mobilizations against police violence," said in a statement"Our hearts grieve with New York, a community already reeling from the losses of Eric Garner, Ramarley Graham, Kimani Gray, Akai Gurley, Islan Nettles and many more. An eye for an eye is not our vision of justice, and we who have taken to the streets seeking justice and liberation know that we need deep transformation to correct the larger institutional problems of racial profiling, abuse, and violence."
The statement continues:
At the heart of our movement work is a deep and profound love for our people, and we are rooted in the belief that Black people in the U.S. must reassert our right to live be well in a country where our lives have been deemed valueless. Together, we champion a complete transformation of the ways we see and relate to one another.   
Now is our moment to advance a dramatic overhaul of policing practices. Now is the time to direct more resources into community mental health services and practices. Now is a moment for empathy and deep listening. Now is the time to end violence against women and trans people. Now is our moment to come together to end state violence. 
"Our movement, grown from the love for our people and for all people, will continue to advance our vision of justice for all of us.  Let’s hold each other close as we work together to end violence in our communities—once and for all.

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Dismantle Bratton's Army
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Act now, and join us in condemning this dangerous escalation. Sign this petition and share this message, by WRL’s Demilitarize Health and Security campaign calling to roll this process back. We need to lift up community wellness and resource our basic needs, not expand Bratton’s army. What happens in one corner of the U.S. ripples outward. Let’s come together and work to demilitarize all of our communities.

From our new statement: "We situate this recent effort to build the NYPD's arsenal within a continuum of racism and the suppression of dissent in the U.S. and worldwide. Further, placing SRG units in every borough is an extension of the logic of police occupation in poor neighborhoods and communities of color. When Bratton states that they will be “trained in ways our normal officers are not”, we look toward other Department of Homeland Security funded programs like Urban Shield - which alsoequates protesters with terrorists, uses heavily racialized scenarios to practice "emergency response", and sparked a powerful movement against police militarization in Oakland this past year."

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FLASH GRENADES
Every day, police toss dangerous flashbang grenades during raids, with little oversight and horrifyi...




RACISM AND POLICE VIOLENCE

DALLAS, MOTHERS AGAINST POLICE BRUTALITY
DPC Banner

Celebrating 33 years of  Peacemaking in North Texas and Beyond

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2014 Peacemaker of the Year
Collette Flanagan
 Founder, Mothers Against Police Brutality

https://ci3.googleusercontent.com/proxy/fIBMCcGjQoWjH1z7ppXSnNOy5bRjelKN--QWUxGPdlbAq0wBkxjFDtEprTv4KieS8A9ta6T8SpHL3RYCKlP8V6EOfYxFHN0FJvQ0lwpmingq6Xg=s0-d-e1-ft#http://ih.constantcontact.com/fs177/1102801309150/img/688.jpgCollette Flanagan founded Mothers Against Police Brutality (MAPB) after her son, Clinton Allen, was shot to death by a Dallas police officer in March 2013. Clinton was unarmed; he was shot a total of seven times - once in the arm, five times in the chest, and once in the back. Mrs. Flanagan's experiences in the aftermath of this official homicide - the indifference of Dallas City Hall, the lack of any assistance to the surviving family, the vilification of her son in the media, and finally the impunity enjoyed by the killer - turned her grief into anger and then into action.

 The purposes of MAPB are to stop the killing of unarmed and mentally ill persons by law enforcement agencies; to change the City of Dallas deadly force policies and practices; to support families who have lost loved ones to police violence; and to help restore trust between the police and the communities they are sworn to serve and protect.

A former IBM executive, Collette Flanagan has, in a very short time, built MAPB into an inter-generational, multi-ethnic, multicultural organization with both a local and national presence. She went to Oakland, California, to meet and begin a partnership with the family of Oscar Grant, a young man killed by transit police in 2009, and the subject of the film Fruitvale Station.  She went to New York to join the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, co-founded by Dr. Cornel West.  Dr. West later came to Dallas at Collette's invitation, to meet with local activists and attorneys and to speak out against police brutality at Friendship West Baptist Church on behalf of MAPB. More recently, Collette represented MAPB in Ferguson, Missouri, in the national protest against the police shooting of Michael Brown.

https://ci3.googleusercontent.com/proxy/ty67dtYwtXMfLlJ6QLbhtRL1zIuQscaIjvD5HOPEN0xtkRHY19e-W5XIbuJAOhoPaYTxao0TuNHHc_8M3bGsX20BoHzMEumT65sXRmZ4T3uO1rU=s0-d-e1-ft#http://ih.constantcontact.com/fs177/1102801309150/img/697.jpgMAPB has pressured the Dallas Police Chief to be more transparent in the investigations of fatal police shootings.  In two controversial shootings in 2014, MAPB was the first to release the autopsies of the victims - which showed that both victims were shot in the back. Chief David Brown announced in October that the department would display information on police shootings on the DPD web site.  MAPB advocated officers should be suspended for 30 days following a shooting, when existing policy mandated only a 3-day leave.  This change was also announced by Chief Brown in October. In November, MABP, under Collette's leadership, presented the first ever public hearing of testimony by the relatives of the victims of police homicide.

 Collette developed and maintains MAPB's web site, Twitter, and Facebook accounts.  She keeps a heavy schedule of meetings and speaking engagements to churches, student groups, and community organizations. In the coming year, MAPB will be working with groups around the country to bring a delegation of mothers to Washington, DC, to demand a national response to the crisis of police violence against the public and to press for federal reforms to end abusive, militarized, and biased policing, particularly of African-American and Latino communities. "My fight was and is still inspired by my children, and by others families and victims of police brutality," said Mrs. Flanagan at the recent hearing. "I will not let my son, and their sons, fathers, and brothers, be forgotten."

With the founding and initial work of Mothers Against Police Brutality, Collette Flanagan has emerged as one of America's most effective advocates for peace and justice.

Click on the link to learn more about Mothers Against Police Brutality:  MAPB





Is Racial Justice Possible in America?

We need law and policing reform, but first we have to want to end state-sanctioned violence against African-Americans.
   |    This article appeared in the December 29, 2014 edition of The Nation. Is Racial Justice Possible in America?   [“Imagining Racial Justice in America”].   http://www.thenation.com/article/192617/racial-justice-possible-america#
We need law and policing reform, but first we have to want to end state-sanctioned violence against African-Americans.

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http://www.thenation.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/main_node_view_image/tamir_rice_protest_ap_img.jpg
Demonstrators block Public Square in Cleveland, November 25 (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
As the countless protests, tear gas, National Guard deployments and looting proved, police brutality provokes more anger than other outrages because it’s the supreme violation of our individual rights in a democracy. It is the state actor, as another person, violently snatching our breath away “under color of law.” That the state’s victims throughout our history have been overwhelmingly African-American stamps it as an indelible “badge of slavery,” which means that nothing makes you feel more black in America than experiencing police mistreatment. Very few modern oppressions convey the permanence of racism—individual and institutional—like the ritual of unpunished police abuse.
Yet despite this, not even black people dared show surprise when a grand jury in St. Louis County, Missouri, couldn’t find probable cause to indict Officer Darren Wilson for shooting dead an unarmed black teenager, Michael “Big Mike” Brown, in August. When, right after the announcement, the first black president of the United States awkwardly assured us that ours was a nation of laws, it was as if the cynical thought was proclaimed official truth: the law will never subject police brutality to justice. Ever. Surrender to the fact.
A New York grand jury’s refusal to indict the officer whose videotaped choke hold—a practice banned by the NYPD—caused the death, according to the medical examiner, of Eric Garner, another large black man, signals yet again that his resistance, and ours, is futile.
Surrender is the heart of the legal standard for the use of deadly force by police. When confronted with an officer’s weapon, you must back down quickly and unambiguously or die. The law demands surrender, and men like Michael Brown do not show enough of it. This terrible fact—a one-sided battle of stereotypes and a conversation cut short between two young men—leaves us to wonder what justice would be in cases like this.
Lost in the accounts of how St. Louis County prosecutors defended the accused, ridiculed their own witnesses and then dumped a sea of grand-jury documents on the public is a legal standard for police use of deadly force that would have made a trial conviction difficult, but not impossible. Mike Brown had been running away from Officer Wilson. Missouri is one of a handful of states that took a 1985 Supreme Court decision on shooting fleeing suspects, Tennessee v. Garner, to the extreme.
Cops in St. Louis County may use deadly force to stop a fleeing suspect when they reasonably believe two things. First, the officer must believe it’s “immediately necessary” to stop him or her; second, the officer must tie that belief to whether the suspect has committed a felony, is using a deadly weapon, or may endanger life or inflict serious injury. Only one of the three conditions even includes the suspect being armed.
The law in Missouri doesn’t have to make indictment so difficult. It could say “may use force only in rare circumstances,” which would guide a police officer’s judgment toward the value of preserving life at all costs. It could emphasize life over death with adjectives that emphasize the suspect must be a “verifiable” or “demonstrable” threat. It could single out unarmed suspects for mercy. As it is, the law does not imagine innocence or urge de-escalation. Instead, it’s a vague and malleable standard that privileges police justification and promotes narratives that render even the innocent justifiably dead.
The legal standard doesn’t merely determine convictions. It frames the stories that prevent trials in the first place. In the death of Brown, the grand-jury proceedings became a familiar battle of stereotypes: the maniacally possessed, sub/superhuman black kid versus the hyper-authoritarian, hotheaded, racially threatened cop. Law and culture intersected to ensure it was not a fair fight.
Whether or not his account is true, Wilson—to avoid trial—had to establish that he did nothing wrong, that he had a good basis to believe Brown was a criminal, that Brown was the aggressor at every phase, and that even after shooting him, any reasonable officer would have kept shooting at this charging, angry giant in order to avoid death. In his view, he rightfully demanded surrender and got none—or, at most, an unacceptably ambiguous response—from Brown. Indeed, trained in Missouri legal standards, coached by his lawyers and helped by gentle prosecutors, Wilson gave an account that leaves absolutely no doubt about the correctness of his actions on August 9. It’s a perfect narrative of exoneration.
In Wilson’s version of the initial encounter, he’s polite—“Why don’t you guys walk on the sidewalk?”—while Brown is profane: “Fuck what you have to say.” Wilson, contradicting multiple accounts, claims to know that Brown has probably just committed a felony. (Brown is plainly carrying the cigarillos he stole from a convenience store, but Wilson never asks about them.) In Wilson’s story, Brown immediately becomes an aggressor with a death wish, beating up the cop through the police truck window, frightening him, reaching for his gun, all with a “demonic” look on his face.
None of this is questioned by prosecutors. In fact, they keep Wilson on track, making sure the jurors understand at what critical points Wilson feared for his life.
In his version of the fateful foot chase, Wilson does not fire his weapon until Brown suddenly turns around and “charges” him. Brown makes a fist, shows the demonic face again, reaches under his T-shirt as if for a weapon and continues to charge, superhuman-like, even as Wilson is firing his gun at him. Brown’s pure zombie rage appears unstoppable. It is almost too magical for even Wilson to believe: “[Brown’s] whole reaction to the whole thing was something I’ve never seen,” he testified. “I’ve never seen that much aggression so quickly from a simple request to just walk on the sidewalk.”
Wilson’s is a story of how he became a victim of a monstrous young man. To support the monsterization of Brown, the prosecutors gratuitously offered a hypothetical marijuana theory based on a witness’s innocuous reference to “waxing,” a method of smoking that was unknown to Brown (and probably everyone else) but, forty-four references later, a useful suggestion linking his prior pot use with a bloodlust for cops.
* * *
Why is this about culture as well as law? Because culture makes legally credible the same hackneyed tropes about suicidal black male conduct against the police that Richard Pryor joked about in the 1970s. Cultural associations teach our brains how to think in stereotypes, even when common sense would suggest otherwise. Maybe Michael Brown really did lose his mind at the sight of Officer Wilson, despite multiple witnesses who disagreed. Normally, a trial decides the truth. But a compelling story rooted in stereotypes may circumvent that.
Of course, culture weighs in from the other side, too. Social science is replete with stories of how people in marginalized—in Wilson’s words, “not very well-liked”—neighborhoods such as the Canfield area of Ferguson experience the police and how the police view them. A lot revolves around the circumstances of the encounter between Wilson and Brown that day. Mutual hostility characterizes most interactions, and many more occur within the context of order-maintenance policing—“broken windows” stuff like jaywalking enforcement.
The problem, as one study puts it, is one of police legitimacy—that is, do people stopped by police feel they are being treated fairly and with the respect necessary for effective law enforcement? The answer for most young black men is no—they feel arbitrarily harassed, insulted and degraded. Police violence is not uncommon.
As one St. Louis teenager interviewed for the study said, “We look thuggish, so [the police] treat us like thugs…. But if you grew up in a perfect neighborhood, the [police] treat you like you’re a human being.” Black men’s perceptions were the same for both law-abiding and law-violating subjects; the police saw them in the same light.
Other recent studies show how police officers’ routinely negative perceptions of young black men reveal layers of implicit bias. Officers act on antagonisms and assumptions of criminality of which they’re unconscious. These discoveries help explain a phenomenon perhaps at the bottom of the fatal encounter, the practice of racial profiling in St. Louis and the grand jury’s unwillingness to indict: dehumanization.
Generations ago, black scholars used to write of the invisibility of the Negro. The concern now isn’t that Michael Brown could not be seen, but that the figure Wilson described for the grand jury could not be recognized as fully human. Forgotten in the monster narrative is that Brown had no criminal record and was to begin college two days after his death. That there were gaps and inconsistencies in witnesses’ accounts is precisely what trials decide. In an analysis of the grand-jury testimony by PBS, eleven out of fourteen witnesses believed that Wilson shot at a fleeing suspect. Twelve of fourteen said Brown’s hands were raised when he was fired upon. Five said Brown charged the officer, while four said he did not. We should be surprised that Wilson was not at least indicted.
And then there is the counternarrative offered by Dorian Johnson, the only other eyewitness to the entire encounter, who can provide important context, yet whose version has been overshadowed by Wilson’s. Johnson’s story supports another stereotype, that of the outsider policeman who demands complete surrender to his authority and gets mad—violently mad—when it doesn’t follow.
According to Johnson, Wilson tells them to “Get the fuck on the sidewalk” (again, nothing about cigarillos or the convenience store). When they don’t immediately comply, he whips his truck dangerously backward, almost bumping them, opening the door so violently it bounces against both young men and closes again. “What did you say?” Wilson says, obviously angry. From the window, he then grabs Brown around the neck and the scuffle ensues.
With Johnson describing Wilson as the aggressor who initiates the assault, the prosecutors interrupt Johnson’s account for twenty transcript pages before he is allowed to go on. The prosecution wants to discuss Brown’s “defiance” in walking down the middle of the street, but Johnson wants to describe the policeman’s anger. “After [Wilson] pulled [his truck] back, there was no more sidewalk talk, there was nothing, it was just anger.”
Again, the prosecutors interrupt to go back in time and ask why Johnson, a good guy, a neighborhood mentor, would continue to hang out with a “brash,” “threatening,” “macho” guy such as Brown. “He owns the street right there, right, kind of?” asks Kathi Alizadeh. But Johnson won’t follow the prosecution’s new narrative. Nor does he believe he was obligated to pay for the cigarillos Brown stole, as Alizadeh oddly suggests.
To Johnson, the hothead in the encounter remains clear—Officer Wilson—and the logic familiar. “Just basically trying to, like he was trying to pick up a kid or something like that,” Johnson said. “It is still, the whole ordeal, more still looking like chastisement from a father to a son type of deal.” Rather than aggressing, Brown was trying to prevent the cop from shooting him and ran when he got the chance, Johnson said. Johnson testified that Wilson shot at Brown while he was running away and killed him as Brown stumbled toward him with hands raised, trying to surrender, telling him he had no gun, angry that the cop kept shooting. To Johnson, Wilson demanded Brown’s total surrender to his authority and was unwilling to accept it when it came too late.
These dueling narratives are clearly enough for probable cause, and a trial should have followed. We would have heard testimony of the crazed giant black aggressor versus the paternalistic cop who expected childlike submission. We would learn whether Brown legally surrendered enough to remain breathing.
In the end, Wilson might have been acquitted, and many of us still would have demanded justice under the law. It’s that probability that complicates the question of what justice is in police-brutality cases.
* * *
We probably don’t need another national conversation about race as much as we need one about law reform. And let’s be clear: justice is far from impossible to imagine. What’s required is more constructive policing methods to rebuild trust:
§ Cops must wear cameras and microphones to preempt exculpatory storytelling.
§ Cops must be well trained in avoiding implicit bias, so they don’t dehumanize the public they serve. In fact, judges should be urged to allow juries to hear evidence of implicit bias among police officers.
§ Police departments must finally keep reliable records on their use of deadly force so we can stop guessing at the numbers.
§ Prosecutors should more aggressively seek manslaughter charges rather than murder charges, so that lethal mistakes don’t go unpunished.
§ The appointment of special prosecutors in questionable cases should be routine, to avoid the conflict of interest between prosecutors and police.
And when the local politics are insurmountable, we need an amended federal statute with a legal standard that cherishes the protection of life—the greatest civil right. These reforms would bring a lot less shooting and a lot more accountability. That would bring us closer to justice.
But first we have to want this bloody ritual to end. We have to want to end police brutality as much as we want to end pedophilia. Police brutality, along with rape and domestic violence, has to become one of those issues that the law treats like terrorism.
It all goes back to something Johnson said about the hours before Wilson arrived. He and Brown were walking around the neighborhood, the older man a mere five-foot-seven, the younger one, six-foot-six. Shortly before Big Mike Brown lay dead in the hot August street, he was asking his older friend about how to make a life as a man.
“We were talking about future goals and stuff like that, what we were planning on,” Johnson testified. “And basically he is asking me questions on how I did transform to coming from where I was and getting on track and now I have my own apartment and stuff like that. I was just telling him a few things that I went through in my life that made me change…. I’m telling him about my life story and how I come up from a bunch of tragedies.”
Justice is being able to finish that conversation without any question of surrender. Like Tamir Rice (age 12), it is being able to play with a toy gun without the lights going out two seconds after a squad car reaches the park. Like John Crawford III (22), it is the freedom to talk on your cellphone and shop for a Walmart air rifle without being ambushed. Like Akai Gurley (28), it is being able to take the darkened stairwell when the elevator won’t come. Like Eric Garner (43), it is being able to sell loose cigarettes yet keep breathing. The only thing these human beings have in common, other than their race, gender and recent killing by police, is that they did not surrender fast enough.
Humanity is sometimes the right to do the small things in life uninterrupted.
Read Next: Dani McClain says, “It’s 1963 Again.”



FERGUSON
From: "Daily Kos Special Coverage" <campaigns@dailykos.com>
Subject: Bombshell video: Police lied. Mike Brown was killed 148 feet away from Darren Wilson's SUV
Date: Mon, Dec 1, 2014 5:01 PM


As the outrage continues, this is a list of our most in-demand content on #Ferguson:
OTHER INCIDENTS OF POLICE VIOLENCE



MESSAGES RE FERGUSON POURING IN.  WHY SO MUCH ATTENTION TO SUCH A MINUSCULE EVENT, COMPARED TO US PERMANENT WAR AND PERMANENT CLIMATE CHANGE, AND MUCH MORE?
EXAMPLES:
United for Peace & Justice
THE VERDICT IS IN: STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH FERGUSON
“As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they ask -- and rightly so -- what about Vietnam? They ask if our own nation wasn't using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr., Beyond Vietnam – A Time to Break Silence, April 4, 1967, Riverside Church, New York City
Dr. King understood the fundamental connections between the war at home and the wars abroad. In the wake of yesterday’s grand jury decision not to indict Darrenhttps://ci5.googleusercontent.com/proxy/BXdEFDqrNDQr4-ksK-U4tOG1_3K03Pe-FrwHkWvS8RpYyqUdiYYbZJAsTEPBg6T2r8GG-ZESmkvrVRE9npu8YCs8lqE4U8o5TRZFPn81PQRI6rygc8sl_Miak18cgvWhyQ=s0-d-e1-ft#http://interoccupy.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/usa-missouri-shooting.jpg
Wilson for the murder of Michael Brown, United for Peace and Justice continues to stand in solidarity with Mr. Brown’s family, the people of Ferguson and communities around the country who are committed to transforming this tragic miscarriage of justice into a powerful movement to replace racism, injustice, violence and the militarization of police with economic and social justice for all.
In the days to come, we call on groups around the country to express their solidarity by joining or organizing local nonviolent actions.
Here are links to resources you can use:
Ferguson Action: Action listings, demands and resources: www.fergusonaction.com

Don’t Shoot Coalition: Press release, demands and resources: www.dontshootstl.org/

Ferguson National Response Network: Listing of actions around the country: http://fergusonresponse.tumblr.com/

Take the Pledge: Build Political Power in Ferguson: Sign the petition

Participate in #BoycottBlackFriday this week 

Text alerts: Text “HANDSUP” to 90975 to stay connected

Words to Action: 
Sign up for email updates directly from Ferguson: http://thisisthemovement.launchrock.com/

On October 3, UFPJ held a national briefing call about Ferguson, featuring Michael McPhearson. To listen to the recording: Playback Number: (712) 432-1219; Meeting ID: 446-724-667#; Recording number: 7#

Send a note to info.ufpj@gmail.com to let us know what your group is planning. [Note corrected e-mail address.]

If you appreciate receiving timely information alerts like this, please make a donation to UFPJ so that we can continue to keep our member groups and dedicated activists linked together for effective action and impact.
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Help us continue to do this critical work: Make a donation to UFPJ today.
UNITED FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE
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www.unitedforpeace.org/email


www.nytimes.com
A Staten Island grand jury declined to charge a white New York City police officer who used a chokehold...


CLEVELAND, BRANDON JONES
Reign of police violence continues with killing of unarmed teen in Cleveland By Gabriel Black.    World Socialist Web Site, 23 March 2015.
Cleveland police shot and killed an unarmed eighteen-year-old on Thursday. Brandon Jones had allegedly broken into a grocery store and was carrying out a few boxes of cigarettes and some coins when police cornered him and eventually shot him.
According to police, two officers confronted Jones when he was walking out of the store just after 2:00 am on Thursday. A struggle ensued, and one officer shot Jones at close range. While the cops involved have not been identified, they are both African-American, as was Jones.
Jones’s mother, Tanya Brown, exclaimed after the shooting: “If he’s unarmed, and there’s two of you all and one of him, why is my baby dead?”
Calthonia Pearl, Brandon Jones’s grandmother, told a crowd at a vigil Saturday night, “I’m upset because my grandson was killed on the ground. They wrestled him to the ground. They could have tased him. We’re paying them to kill us.”
An unnamed witness who spoke to WKYC News, said, “They did not have to shoot that man. They probably could have tackled him or tasered him.”
The Cleveland Police Department has reportedly opened an investigation into the shooting, and the officers involved have been placed on administrative leave.
Police in Cleveland have a long and bloody record of abuse and killings. It was in Cleveland that police shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice on November 22 of last year, as the boy was playing with a toy gun.
report from the Justice Department last year found that Cleveland police frequently employ force “as punishment for the person’s earlier verbal or physical resistance to an officer’s command” that is “not based on a current threat posed by the person.” The report, which found a litany of chronic abuses of power, has not led to any criminal charges.
The killing of Jones is part of an unending reign of police violence in the United States. Since Thursday alone, at least 19 people were shot and killed by police officers in the United States—a staggering rate of 4.75 per day, or 1,733 per year.
Among the victims:
• March 19, Shane Watkins, a 39-year-old working-class white man in Lawrence County, Alabama. Suffering from schizophrenia, Watkins called police to tell them that his mother was trying to kill him. He allegedly confronted police with a box cutter and refused to drop it. He was shot four times.
• March 19, Brandon Rapp, a 31-year-old working-class white man was killed at his house in Middleton, Idaho when police responded to a domestic disturbance call. Police saw Rapp come outside with a pistol and decided to release several rounds, killing him. There is no report of Rapp firing or making gestures to do so.
• March 19, Garland Lee Wingo I, a 64-year-old white man in Tallahassee, Florida was shot and killed by a police officer for walking in the street with a weapon. Police have not explained what caused them to fire on Wingo. Wingo never fired the gun.
• March 19, an unidentified person in Washington State was shot and killed after struggling with a US Border Patrol agent. The man, who the US Customs and Border Protection agency said was a suspected “illegal border crosser,” was unarmed.
By all available measures, the number of people killed by police is increasing. The Bureau of Justice Statistics recently estimated that on average 928 people died at the hands of law enforcement between the years 2003 and 2011—about double what is officially reported by the FBI or the Justice Department.
In recent years the violence has escalated. In 2014 there were 1,101 deaths at the hands of police, according to killedbypolice.net. If the average of roughly 3.2 police killings per day since the beginning of this year keeps up, 2015 will set a record of 1,168 deaths. In this scenario, the years 2014-2015 would represent a 22 percent increase in the amount of police homicides per year compared to the previous average.
The author also recommends:


BALTIMORE, FREDDIE GRAY
A Bloody History of Police Brutality in Baltimore
When the media says that violence erupted among rioters last week, they need to check their history. Violence erupted in Baltimore a century ago at the hands of police.    BY: NICK ALEXANDROV.   Posted: May 4 2015 3:00 AM.

GREENWALD, BRAVE NEW FILMS, RACISM IS REAL

Dear Dick, 

To be a person of color in 2015 comes with shocking racial bias and discrimination in many aspects of your everyday life. Study after study has proved this through facts on hiring, criminal justice and more*. 

How to take those facts and reach an audience that would rather have a root canal than read a study was the task at hand for us at Brave New Films. 

And so we created, Racism is Real- the #BaltimoreUprising is a symptom of a much larger problem.

From understanding that reality, change can happen.

This video has already reached over 29 million people on Facebook and YouTube! Major press outlets like the Washington Post, Time Magazine, Huffington Post, and BuzzFeed have featured it. And now we need you to share it with even more people!

Join us. Fight back against racism. 

Robert Greenwald, President
BRAVE NEW FILMS

P.S.  Our next video will take police brutality head on! We are racing to raise the money to get the short film done. Donate what you can today to help us make this film! 

*Read more about the studies used in this piece here.
Racism Is Real: The Real Reason Behind Baltimore Uprising
Posted: 04/29/2015 1:03 pm EDT Updated: 04/30/2015 8:59 am EDT
o     
The death of Freddie Gray at the hands of Baltimore police sparked outrage and protests by thousands of Baltimore residents and people of color around the world. It seems that almost daily, the headline "Unarmed Black Man Killed By Police" has pulled back the veil on what many white Americans, liberal and conservative alike, have been blinded to by privilege: racism is real in American society. Our new film, which we have shared here, highlights it.
With the 2008 election of Barack Obama, the success of entrepreneurs like Oprah and Tyler Perry, and the increase in African Americans attendance in college, about half of white American's have wrongly concluded that the US has entered a "post-racial" phase, where race is no longer the determining factor in inequality.
This couldn't be further from the truth.
The crux of much debate surrounding the death of Freddie Gray and the subsequent civil unrest by both moderate and conservative media and pundits lay the blame squarely on the backs of the protestors and victims of such assaults. They contend that these deaths and protests are a result of those unwilling to take responsibility for their actions. That criminal activity and arrests are a result of poor choices and poor moral character. That, in this post racial society, everyone has equal ability to change their circumstances if only they try hard enough.
What happens when we try to qualify those beliefs?
Well, we find that blacks and whites use marijuana at similar rates, but blacks are four times more likely to get arrested for itand six times more likely to go to prison. This certainly proves that arrest has a whole lot more to do with what you look like than the actual crime.
Or what about when we compare resumes, and find that identical resumes sent to the same employer have a 50 percent less chance of being called if they have a "black sounding" name. This certainly demonstrates unequal ability to change your circumstances.
Want to complain about all of this to your local Congressperson? Good luck. People with black sounding names consistently see less responses from their representatives -- in both parties. So much for taking responsibility!
The truth is, Jim Crow grew up, cleaned up, and started writing laws. Laws that create institutionalized racism without having to have a sign that reads "whites only." Our current policies and criminal justice system do that implicitly. To get a real handle on what is going on in Baltimore, Ferguson and around the nation; to understand why people feel stuck, angry, and frustrated, we have to be willing to face the fact that racism has not disappeared. It has instead morphed into less conspicuous white privilege and social and economic inequality. One that many American whites are unwilling to face out of guilt and the belief that they have somehow "earned" a position in life that they have, in fact, inherited by virtue of simply being white. At Brave New Films, we have produced a short film entitled Racism is Real that can be seen here. It highlights institutionalized racism in America. It is by no means exhaustive. But it is a start. If America wants to hold onto the belief that what we inherit is unabashedly what we deserve, then we must be willing to acknowledge that we force minorities to inherit inequality at no fault of their own.
Follow Robert Greenwald on Twitter: www.twitter.com/robertgreenwald
MORE:



DEFENSE OF POLICE
Here’s what I turned up for Police Violence Defense of Police, Google Search, May 4, 2015
www.washingtonian.com/.../cop-writes-washington-post-op-ed-defendin...
Aug 19, 2014 - In the wake of Ferguson, a cop argues in the Post that it's up to the people, not the police, to prevent police brutality.
www.nationalreview.com/.../its-time-conservatives-stop-...
National Review
Jul 21, 2014 - It's Time for Conservatives to Stop Defending Police .... It's easy to dismiss eyewitness claims of police brutality, but a lot harder to ignore ...
www.cnn.com/2014/08/20/us/ferguson-column-police-reaction/
CNN
Aug 20, 2014 - A veteran police officer's column saying everyone should submit topolice ... have fomented violence, through gunshots and Molotov cocktails.
In the news
4.    Protest over alleged police brutality in Israel turns violent in Tel Aviv  CNN - 13 hours ago ... in Tel Aviv at a demonstration over alleged mistreatment, police said. ... a uniformed Israel Defense Forces soldier of Ethiopian descent being ...Protests Against Police Brutality Turn Violent in Israel
Los Angeles Times - 2 days ago
www.copblock.org/.../free-travis-magill-stop-police-brutality/
Cop Block
Jan 6, 2015 - Police Brutality ... He acted in self defense. .... Filed Under: Videos Tagged With: arrested for self defense, assault, Brutality, Civil rights, cop ...
www.csmonitor.com/.../A-legal-look-Reas...
The Christian Science Monitor
Aug 14, 2014 - A legal look: Reasonable force or police brutality against Mike Brown? ... a self-defense scenario – Brown's death may more closely resemble ...
www.andrewflusche.com/blog/police-brutality-appropriate-self-defense/
In the Levar Jones case, did the officer make the best decision he could with the information he had at the time or is it police brutality?
www.truth-out.org/.../28357-police-violence-body-cams-are-no...
Truthout
Jan 6, 2015 - Police Brutality and the Failure of Liberal Democrats ..... grassroots organizer and executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee.
www.freep.com/story/...police...brutality.../21455681/
Detroit Free Press
Jan 8, 2015 - To oppose police brutality is not to oppose police. No one with a brain stands against police when they do the dangerous and often-dirty job of ...
www.theamericanconservative.com/seven-re...
The American Conservative
Jul 2, 2014 - These stories are a small selection of recent police brutality reports, ... time through payments into police 'defense' funds provided by the cities.

Searches related to POLICE VIOLENCE DEFENSE OF POLICE



END POLICE VIOLENCE, MILITARIZATION, AND RACISM NEWSLETTER #4


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