• Atlanta pave the way to future; update Atlanta’s Bill of Rights
    As Justice Impacted People, we know from personal experience—and the stories of our friends and peers—how felony convictions impact our daily lives. We know, for instance, how hard it is to re-establish ourselves financially after jail or prison, and to overcome the landlords' resistance to allowing people like us to rent their apartments. We live in Georgia, a state that allows private employers to learn about our incarceration history—and rarely give us a chance, before rejecting our application, to talk about who we really are. In re-establishing our lives, we have struggled with a host of structural barriers to employment: for example, laws that prevent people with felony convictions from getting accounting, banking, nursing, and real estate licenses. Even when we get a job, we have been denied advancement within the company because of stigma. People don’t necessarily know that Black women have a higher rate of unemployment and homelessness than any other demographic group of formerly incarcerated people; or that their children are systematically restricted and excluded like their Justice Impacted parents. People don't know that Justice impacted people are unable to get professional licenses and in some locations no driver's licenses. People don’t know that we are denied the right to be a parent, a caretakers to elderly parents and disabled children. People don’t know that there is a 42-113% increased risk of suicide for Justice impacted people. Now that you know the damage that Collateral consequences cause to the futures of Justice Impacted people and their children, you can help us change this! We've served our time. Tell your city council member to pave the way for a second chance without suffering the discriminatory effects of collateral consequences. SIGN THE PETITION: Help the City of Atlanta continue to pave the way to an equitable future by updating Atlanta’s Bill of Rights to include Justice Impacted People as a protected class.
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  • Make November 14th New Orleans Four Day Nationwide
    Segregation is happening all over again in schools across America. Segregation perpetuates the School -to-Prison-Pipeline and we must stop it in its tracks! The New Orleans Four, at 6-years old served their little black girl magic and showed the world that children can lead the way. These little emissaries were the epitome of what it means to have the audacity of hope. They broke barriers and opened hearts in 1960 and with this nationally recognized holiday they can continue to remind America and the World that we can ALL live, learn and work TOGETHER. In her speech during the New Orleans Four Day 60th Anniversary ceremony in New Orleans, Alana Odoms (Executive Director ACLU-Louisiana) stated "Since its inception, black girls and black women have shouldered the immense responsibility of perfecting our Democracy. The New Orleans Four were emissaries of justice and freedom, turning the tide of hate in this nation and calling us towards the liberties enshrined in the United States Constitution." Like Dr. Opal Lee, I believe that this national holiday can be a unifier and an inspiration to children and adults around the world. I believe it can be the bridge that brings people together to talk about the hard issues facing our country. The New Orleans Four were the light during a dark time in our country's history and their brave acts will always be a beacon of hope to show young people that they have a voice, they have a say and the wherewithal to create the CHANGE they want to see. Let them be the everlasting reminder of Freedom, Equality & Justice. Learn More: To watch the docuseries teaser and learn more about the project go to www.NewOrleansFourLegacy.com
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  • #BanFRT in Baltimore
    Facial recognition technology (FRT) is too dangerous to be unleashed on our communities. If this inherently-biased technology is deployed, the impact––intended or not––will be that anyone who is not white-presenting and male-presenting (i.e. darker-skinned people, women, Muslims, LGBTQ people and people who exist at any or all of these intersections) will have more frequent and brutal contact with police. Baltimore City has a temporary ban on facial recognition technology now, and with your help we can make it permanent.
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  • Stop Community Violence in Memphis: Listen to Youth
    In response to the recent tragedies in our community, the Youth Justice Action Council would like to first offer our sincere condolences to the victims, their families, and others in our community who have been impacted as they navigate this time of loss, grief, trauma, and uncertainty. Our YJAC family joins hands with Memphis & Shelby County, and offers support as we try to find peace and solutions in the coming days. YJAC is committed to designing solutions that get to the root causes of violence in our community by centering the voices of those who are directly impacted - youth who have experienced the justice system firsthand. In light of the recent tragedies in our city, many elected officials and community members have responded by claiming that more and harsher punishment would have prevented future acts of violence. However, we believe that the punitive and inhumane measures that are currently in place in our juvenile injustice system not only fail to stop the cycle of violence but also create more harm by traumatizing our youth who need support, not isolation. Our current system isolates youth away from their loved ones, community, and support systems that would actually allow them to change and grow. To truly address the cycles of violence in our community, we need to get to the root. Youth are not the problem. Our quick fixes, based on retribution and revenge, will never solve long-term problems - which are embedded in institutional and systemic oppressions like racism and poverty. Memphis ranks second in the nation for overall poverty, with 24.5% of our community members living below the poverty line and 39.6% of our youth living below the poverty line. For Black youth in Memphis, nearly half live below the poverty line. What we need are solutions that include the voices of those who are directly affected. Our 10 “Break the Chains” Demands were created by justice impacted youth in our community to offer truly transformative solutions that would allow young people to feel safe, supported, and empowered. Our public officials and local media’s responses to these events have pushed an existing narrative that Black and Brown youth should be feared and controlled. Now, more than ever, the voices of these youth need to be heard. This is what the Youth Justice Action Council embodies. As justice impacted & connected young people, we have already begun to create solutions & design alternatives to our current system. Over the past year, we have: -Released a research report on what justice impacted youth in Shelby County are experiencing and asking to be changed in our current system. -Provided Diversion Program Recommendations for the new Youth & Family Resource Center -Visited the Shelby County Youth Detention Center currently in development and sent key decision makers a memo on our experience with our questions, concerns, and recommendations -Submitted Public Comments on Proposed Changes to the Minimum Standards for Youth Detention Centers in Tennessee -Engaged and supported the Youth Law Center and Disability Rights Tennessee on the release of their Designed to Fail report. In the coming months, we will release recommendations on a continuum of care that should replace our current youth justice system. But, we cannot change this system alone. We are calling on youth and adults to join YJAC in our youth-led advocacy to transform our youth justice system and build a safer and more just community for us all. Join the YJAC movement by signing up as a “Break the Chains” Supporter and following us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Tiktok @YJAC901. We will need to combine our voices and advocacy to make sure leaders hear our demands and are held accountable to make them happen. Together, we can create solutions that center the voices of justice impacted youth in our community.
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  • #BringHimHome #JUSTICE4GMJ
    Seeing an innocent Black Man railroaded by this crooked justice system has darkened my spirit since a small child, when the same was done to my uncle. I'm writing because all too often, Black people are too afraid to speak up for their rights, or to speak up for those who are brave enough to fight back. I'm writing this because I am a mother of 3 Black humans (ages: 24, 21 and 15) and believe that Grand Master Jay's teachings and guidance would/can make an enormous impact on the lives of my children, as well as the lives of All Black People (any age). As history has shown, every strong, motivational, inspirational, spiritual and intellectually intelligent Black male figure, who has spoken up against this crooked justice system, and who talks only of Black pride and power, is either dead, in jail, or silenced. This is an undeniable fact.
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  • Alameda County Free Our Kids Youth Justice 10 Point Plan
    The Alameda County Free Our Kids Youth Justice 10 Point Plan was written by young people themselves! For the past year, youth leaders from 67 Sueños, Young Women's Freedom Center, Urban Peace Movement, Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice, and Genesis have gathered to create a Youth Justice 10 Point plan. Its purpose is to empower and center youth voices, and it gives the youth an opportunity to demand the justice they deserve and want to see in their communities. The Youth Justice 10 Point plan was completely youth-led, and draws from the inspiration of youth led movements from the past - and especially from the legacy of the Black Panther Party. We hope this platform will empower other youth to create similar 10 point plans that can help them create the change they want to see in their communities!! Alameda County spends nearly $500,000 per youth per year on incarceration and $23,000 on average per year to place a young person on probation. Nearly one in three youth incarcerated in Alameda County are later reconvicted. On the other hand, evidence-based restorative justice practices have a one-time cost of $4,500 and the County’s restorative justice alternatives produce recidivism rates of 5% when working with youth charged with specifically violent and serious offenses. We are safer and get a better return on our investment when we invest in the well-being of young people instead of locking them in cages and putting them under surveillance.
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  • KIDS DON'T BELONG IN AMERICA'S WORST PRISON!
    What is most heartbreaking is that our youth are the ones bearing the burden and the blame of the state’s failures to implement the solution we know works: a holistic model of care that is focused on prevention and rehabilitation. While the state continues to dump money into a failing and abusive system, these youth are enduring inhumane and violent conditions that trigger and aggravate their trauma. FFLIC believes that all children deserve: · Developmentally-appropriate interventions and supportive services in their home communities not behind bars. · The right to a quality education and mental health services. · The right to learn from youthful mistakes and receive supports that foster their development into healthy and productive adults. · A holistic continuum of care in their home communities, not cages and bars.
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  • Justice for the 110 aboard Clotilda
    Around March 1860, 52 years after the abolishment of the transatlantic slave trade and 40 years after amending the Piracy Act of 1819, Captain William Foster, funded by his co-conspirator, Timothy Meaher, set sail for Africa. Foster would set sail with 110 of the Africans he had purchased aboard the Clotilda. Upon his return to Mobile, he avoided customs agents, towed the Clotilda up the river, and put the enslaved Africans on the Steamboat Czar, owned by Timothy’s brother, Byrnes (aka Burns) Meaher. The enslaved Africans would then be transported to John Dabney’s Mount Vernon plantation and hidden in the swamp. Timothy Meaher, his brothers Byrnes and James, John Dabney and Foster were all given enslaved people from the Clotilda. Timothy Meaher and his co-conspirators used a sophisticated plan to hide the Africans who were on board, moving them from plantation to plantation while burning the Clotilda. Within two weeks of their arrival in America and over the next several months, court cases were opened (e.g., U.S. vs. William Foster and Richard Sheridan, U.S. vs William Foster, U.S. vs. Burns (Byrnes) Meaher, U.S. vs. John Dabney, etc.). In her book, Dreams of Africa in Alabama: The Slave Ship Clotilda and the Last Africans Brought to America, Diouf details the events leading up to these cases including the sophisticated plot to hide these illegal actions. We know that Timothy Meaher was arrested and accused of having “illegally imported negroes.” However, the presiding Judge over the case, William G. Jones was a friend of Timothy Meaher. Diouf writes, “Judge William G. Jones was such a friend that Meaher had given his name to one of his steamers. Everyone knew that when it came to importers of Africans Judge Jones was as lenient as he possibly could be.” This leniency is evident in other related rulings during the same time period. Also, the U.S. Attorney for the southern district of Alabama, Augustus Julian “A.J.” would become an attorney of the Confederate states and a confederate poet. Despite the evidence, Jones cleared Timothy Meaher of all charges. In addition, the courts were after Foster, not because he was a pirate, but because he avoided customs officials upon arrival from his voyage. Judge William G. Jones also issued orders to have Byrnes Meaher and Dabney appear at the next regular term of his court. On January 10, 1861, the U.S. vs. Burns Meaher and the U.S vs. John Dabney were dismissed by Judge Jones. Since the 110 Africans could not be found, no crime could be proven. On January 12, 1861, only two days after his ruling, Judge Jones resigned. Alabama broke away from the Union, and Judge Jones would eventually serve as a judge of the confederate district court for the district of Alabama from 1861 to 1865. Finally, Foster’s case would eventually be thrown out too. Records for several of the cases mentioned above reside at the National Archives in Atlanta and provide an account of the times. In May of 2019, Search Inc. prepared a report entitled “Archaeological Investigations of 1Ba704” for the Alabama Historical Commission summarizing their findings from the discovery of Clotilda. They confirm they have located the Clotilda and provide an investigative report that lays out the case for how the U.S. government turned a blind eye to the Meahers, Foster and all parties involved. It also draws the conclusion that “US government officials were perhaps less than diligent in seeking to find the Clotilda or the people brought aboard it against their will...” Just this month, the National Geographic released an article entitled “America’s Last Slave Ship is More Intact Than Anyone Thought.” In that article, Vice President of Search Inc., Jim Delgado, stated “this is the most intact slave ship known to exist in the archeological record anywhere. There’s actual direct physical evidence not just of the ship and its use, but also of the changes done by Foster and his crew to make it a slave ship.” Over 160 years later, evidence of the crime has now been uncovered. The cover-up of illegal activity is as bad as the smuggling crime. The finding of Clotilda should initiate an investigation into previous court cases and new cases should be opened where warranted. In the words of William Goldstone, “justice delayed is justice denied, “and we deserve justice. Crimes were committed and all involved should be held accountable.
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  • Stop the Construction of an Illinois Youth Prison
    The Final 5 Campaign is dedicated to the closure of the final five youth prisons in Illinois. Should it be constructed, the Illinois Youth Center at Lincoln (IYC-Lincoln) would be one of six fully functioning youth prisons in Illinois for a current population of just 130 youth. The failure of these youth prisons - or “Illinois Youth Centers" as they are officially called - to provide care and respect to young people is unacceptable. IYC-Lincoln is scheduled to be constructed at a state facility called Lincoln Development Center (LDC) - a facility that closed in 2002 after abuse and neglect, including preventable deaths, were reported. Despite the appalling history of LDC, and the fact that this is planned to be a locked-door, "secure" youth prison, advocates of its construction insist that it will be a "restorative" and "community-based" facility. To claim that this prison would be community-based is misleading and appropriative of real community-based solutions. With so few youth currently incarcerated, we have an opportunity to build something uniquely transformative. Young people and families deserve resources in their own communities and an investment in non-carceral approaches to harm rooted in healing and restoration. Young people need space to make mistakes and grow without the threat of carceral violence, and resources the state invests in should be grounded in that understanding. Help us hold the state of Illinois to a higher standard of care for young people. Sign our petition to #StopLDC and support us in pushing for the closure of the other 5 youth prisons in Illinois.
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  • #JusticeforZadok: Demand Justice For Matthew "Zadok" Williams
    Just eight days before the verdict that convicted Derek Chauvin, unidentified police officer(s) killed my brother, Matthew “Zadok” Williams in his own home moments after he asked the officers to identify themselves as he kneeled behind a piece of furniture. Like so many others, my brother was killed in broad daylight in his home. On April 12th, 2021, DeKalb County, Georgia police officers approached my brother and asked him to leave his own property. According to the police department, officers assumed that Zadok was a trespasser based on two 911 calls from a woman living in the condo behind Zadok’s condo. These calls have yet to be released. The police department has released some body camera footage and the media is only showing excerpts of the incident. We are calling on Chief Ramos to set an example by ending the secrecy that is rampant behind the blue line and promoting transparency. In the footage available, Zadok has a mental health crisis outside in an incident involving a knife after walking down his steps and being asked to leave his property. Zadok subsequently retreats into his home through an upstairs window. The police began to kick his door open. Once the door is breached, Zadok immediately kneels behind a cushioned piece of furniture to protect himself from gunshots as he tells the officers that he is defending his property and asks the officers to back up and speak to him through the doorway. Zadok is not a threat, and police begin talking to him telling him that he doesn’t have to die. The absurdity of the comment by officers at the scene reveals the culture of dehumanization that is deeply embedded in departments across the nation. A 911 call should not be synonymous with death for Black people. Instead of backing up and talking to Zadok from the doorway as he requested and helping him, police officers shot into his home and killed him while he was kneeling behind furniture. The officers and supervisor at the scene left him there for nearly an hour and a half to die. No medical aid was rendered and when SWAT teams and EMS arrived more than an hour after the shooting, my brother was subsequently pronounced dead. My family was notified nearly 24 hours after his death. Such an egregious disregard for my brother’s life speaks to the culture of policing in DeKalb County and across the country. Police officers are rarely held accountable for killing, harassing and assaulting Black people and my family is committed to doing everything in our power to ensure that these officers are held accountable and that other families in DeKalb County don’t have to endure what we have had to go through. It’s been a month since police officer(s) murdered my brother Matthew Zadok Williams, and the police officer(s) responsible still have not been held accountable. We don’t even know their full names. Zadok was a remarkable brother, uncle, and son, and he meant the world to our entire family. I strongly urge Police Chief Mirtha V. Ramos and Chief Executive Officer, Michael L Thurmond to hold the officers responsible for this ruthless action accountable and to provide my family with answers. Both Police Chief Ramos and CEO Thurmond have the authority to release all media related to Zadok’s murder, identify the officers to the public, and terminate the officers employment. We want these police officers to be held accountable. This is the first step towards true criminal justice reform here in DeKalb County. Sign the petition: Tell Police Chief Ramos and CEO Thurmond to terminate the employment of the officer(s) who killed my brother Zadok now! Update as of August 10th, 2021 The family of Matthew Zadok Williams has been made aware that the GBI has completed their investigation of the April 12, 2021 killing of Matthew Zadok Williams by DeKalb County police Sergeant Devon Perry. On what would have been Matthew Zadok Williams’ 36th birthday on August 3rd, the family instead prepared for their weekly “Wednesday Rally for Justice." The family and community rally at Dekalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston's office every Wednesday at 12:00 p.m. to bring awareness about Matthew Zadok Williams being shot by police in his own home. The bodycam footage shows that after Sgt. Devon Perry fired shots into Zadok's home, Sgt. Perry orders the police officers to back off. In the hour and a half that follows, Sgt. Devon Perry can be heard admitting that Zadok did not lunge at him with a knife before he fired shots into Zadok’s home. In fact, the bodycam footage shows that Zadok did nothing to justify shots to be fired into his home. After firing those unlawful shots into Zadok's home, Sgt. Devon Perry walked off and left Zadok to die a slow painful death. Sgt. Devon Perry's superior can be heard instructing Sgt. Perry on the phone that he has a duty to render medical aid to Zadok; no medical aid was rendered. In fact, DCFR EMTs were already on the scene responding to a separate incident and inquired about rendering aid to Zadok. EMTs were denied entry into the home! Police officers are heard laughing about Zadok bleeding out in the condo. Dekalb has released statements indicating that their policy does not allow aid to be rendered until the scene is deemed safe. They say that bunkers were needed to enter Zadok’s condo after he was shot. However, no bunkers were needed when the police kicked his door open and and shot him. The family’s independent preliminary autopsy has revealed that Zadok would have survived if aid would have been rendered. SWAT and EMS arrived nearly an hour and a half later after Zadok was shot, and Zadok was pronounced dead. The family was notified 24 hours later. Zadok’s family is heartbroken! The family now demands that Dekalb District Attorney Sherry Boston indict and prosecute Sgt. Devon Perry immediately and all the police officers involved in Zadok's senseless murder.
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  • Demand that Governor Pritzker Sign the Illinois Black Caucus' Racial Justice Omnibus Bill
    On January 13th, the Illinois legislature passed a landmark omnibus bill on justice reform. This momentous policy package, which was championed by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus (ILBC), would take crucial steps in advancing racial equity in Illinois by enacting sweeping reforms to anti-Black systems of police brutality and mass incarceration. The legislation includes provisions to standardize police use of force, eliminate key mechanisms of officer impunity, abolish prison gerrymandering, and end systems of wealth based pretrial incarceration. We are now mobilizing community members to demand that Governor Pritzker sign the ILBC’s bill on justice reform (HB 3653) in its entirety, without delay. Timely implementation of this omnibus package is vital to the safety, justice, and liberation of the nearly two million Black residents throughout the state. In September of 2020, when the ILBC released its preliminary racial justice policy agenda, Governor Pritzker pledged to support Black leadership in the Illinois General Assembly. Since that time, the ILBC has received an outpouring of public input, held a series of subject matter hearings, heard hours of expert testimony, and rigorously deliberated on a sweeping array of policy proposals to address racialized systems of police abuse and anti-Black sentencing practices. The ambition and strength of this historic racial justice legislation attests to the unequivocal imperative that public policy be led by the constituents and elected officials most impacted by the issues at hand. We now call upon Governor Pritzker to honor his commitment to stand with the ILBC and the millions of constituents its members represent, by signing HB 3653 in its entirety. We also urge the Governor to leverage the platform of his office to counter the dangerous narratives unleashed by White Supremacist groups that seek to undermine the ILBC’s racial equity legislation through divisive dog whistling and fear mongering tactics. As the nation looks on, it is incumbent upon the Pritzker administration to renounce toxic misinformation that equates racial justice with rampant crime and a Trumpian vision of “American carnage.” Join us as we call upon Governor Pritzker to help set a new tone for the nation by promoting an inclusive message of universal safety, justice, and liberation in Illinois, and enacting HB 3653 in its entirety.
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  • BLACK LIVES MATTER IN SMALL TOWNS TOO!
    This is important to me because I lived a complete near death experience at the hands of a police officer, he tried to kill me. This was so hurtful and traumatizing, I literally begged for my life. Hello, my name is Terry Williams and I have a story that should be told to the public I was shot on December,15th at the motel 6th on Victorian Avenue in Sparks, NV.  I tracked my lost Iwatch to that location. As I approached room (114) I noticed the door was slightly ajar but decided to knock on it anyway as I knocked  the door swung open and I saw several people in the room and one pointed a gun at me and shot me within 30 seconds of me arriving at the motel. I was in shock but my wife was in the car so I didn't want to return to the car for her safety. I looked up, saw surveillance cameras and walked around the building staying under the cameras. As I got to the end of the motel, limping and holding my fingers (I was shot in the stomach and hand) I turned and saw the same people coming in a car, they shot at me four more times. Just as they shoot I look across the street and see a Reno Police Officer.  When I see the officer I am relieved because I know he saw them shoot and would go after them but he did not. That confused me but I see him pull into the metro car wash where I am still relieved because I am going to get help quickly.  When I walk into the car wash the officer looks at me and pulls his truck to the ticket window, so I ask an employee am I hallucinating or dying or is that a police officer? The employee then told the officer, hey he is shot and needs help.  The officer got out of his truck and I sat on the curb now relieved because I could put my life in the officers hands and work on my breathing trying to stay calm because I have severe injuries. The officer asked me my name, date of birth, social security number which I gave to  him.  He returned to his truck and I assume entered my info into his computer (but maybe not) he then shut his truck door and got on his cell phone.  I yelled over to him my wife is still at the motel 6 across the street and the suspects left shooting at me four more times, please send someone over there because she could need medical or worse dead.  He got out of his truck and turned his back to me never saying a word or sending help for my wife.  I was so worried about her at the same time begging this officer to call the paramedics for me, at this point I have lost a lot of blood and realize I won't be able to hold on much longer.  I am now quite aware this officer is racist and going to let me bleed to death.  I ask one of the employees at the carwash do these surveillance cameras that are directly above me work? He said yes, and the officer smacked his lips. I was like omg he is going to let me die and has no intentions on helping me. I then asked one of the kids to call the paramedics but that agitated the officer and he demanded the kids to get against the wall.  Remember, I have no clue if my wife is dead or alive and he isn't sending help for either one of us.  My wife has been waiting for me for enough time that she starts to question where I am and why I haven't returned to the car. She doesn't see me so drives around the motel and spots me at the carwash. When she pulls in she jumps out of the car and asks what is going on because I am sitting on the curb and a police officer is standing over me.  First, I am relieved to see her alive and now I know I will get help because I am sure I am going to die.  I yell, I've been shot in the hand and stomach! Call the paramedics. She went crazy asking where's the ambulance? The officer tells her not to call saying he would.(admitting he hasn't called for help in over 30 minutes). I explain no you call. I've been sitting here with this officer this entire time begging him and asking him to call for help.So about 30 minutes later my wife called 911 after her call 5 minutes later the Sparks police, fire and ambulance arrived. The paramedics rushed over to me, cut my clothes off and transported me to Renown Medical Center. I was rushed to surgery with severe trauma to my hand and stomach.  The bullet shot my middle finger off as well as penetrated my stomach going through my urethra, bladder and prostate.  I woke up from surgery with a colostomy bag, and two urine bags. Two days later I had surgery on my hand. The doctor advised me there was a 90 percent chance he would need to amputate. The surgery went better than expected and they attached my finger with wires and poles but the outcome of the surgery is still unknown. This was a true life nightmare. First I am shot by complete strangers in the middle of the afternoon, then the person I think will help my wife and I tries to kill me. I have tried to obtain the police report, surveillance videos from the motel 6 and car wash to no avail. I was told the police report can't be released to me because the crime is still under investigation. I am the victim and question why I can't get a copy of my own case file.  They say because it's under investigation but if that is the case I will never get a copy because the detectives aren't even trying to solve the case.  I have only heard from them one time since the shooting.  My wife has texted them on many occasions asking the status of the case, she has yet to get a reply.  The car wash and motel 6 both say law enforcement has the video and I need to obtain a copy from them.  I called Reno Police Department and asked for the report number from their department (after all the Reno Officer was first on the scene). I was told that they didn't have a case number because Sparks Police took over.  I was like ok what is the Reno Officers name he said he didn't have that info either but hopefully it is in the Sparks report. So now 30 days after the crime I am unable to get the officer's name, my police report, any video's or help exposing this brutal officer.  He needs to be made accountable for his actions.
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