• Protect Communities from Police Violence in West Memphis, Arkansas
    On November 17, 2019, West Memphis police officers accosted and attempted to arrest Shawanda Brookshire, a 33-year-old Black woman who had lost her 4-year-old daughter in a car accident the day before. The incident occurred while Shawnda stood outside a LaQuinta Hotel in West Memphis, Arkansas - mere hours after she’d seen her daughters body for the first time at a local funeral home. Officers drove up to Shawnda, who was on the phone, grieving - demanding proof of stay. Shawnda complied - showing her hotel key card, informing the officers that her daughter had just died and that she wanted to be left alone. The offending officers then demanded identification, which she said she left in the hotel room. The officers exited their vehicles, began to intimidate and surround Shawnda, prompting her to panic and call her family for assistance. One of the officers threatened arrest when she began to scream in fear. He then attempted to trip her and he fell to the ground. Aggravated, a second officer slammed Shawnda to the ground, handcuffed her, and placed the weight of his knee on her back. When Shawnda’s family and hotel staff attempted to intervene, verifying her residency at the motel and the circumstances surrounding her grief, they were threatened with arrest and ignored. Shawnda was thrown in the back of a police car while her family insisted she committed no crime and demanded her release. The United States has a long history of police violence against innocent civilians, particularly in impoverished Black and brown communities. The distrust resulting from the unequal treatment of minorities within the criminal justice system has spurred a rising tide of anger, frustration, and despair among people of color, especially the poor and working class. The city of West Memphis, Arkansas, is 61.4% Black, and Black people constitute 2 out of 5 of West Memphis residents living below the poverty line. These socioeconomic factors increase the likelihood of harmful interactions with law enforcement, which in turn reinforce the social and economic disenfranchisement--and consequently, the dehumanization-- of poor Black families. This incident is far from unique. What should have been a short, routine interaction respecting Shawnda’s civil rights, as well the dignity that a grieving mother deserves, in fact resulted in the isolation and assault of a woman in her most vulnerable emotional state. We demand accountability from the West Memphis PD. Shawnda deserves justice.
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  • #JusticeForGary
    My son, Gary White, should be at home with his wife and his three little girls right now. Instead, he is serving a 20 year prison sentence after an investigation full of police misconduct that happened under supervising Officer Brian Seyfarth’s watch. On a night in November 2017 on his way to the store, my son, Gary White accidentally hit a white woman, Megan Gunter Smith, who had just run straight into traffic. Multiple witnesses stated they would've hit the woman as well since she ran directly into traffic. Not realizing he hit a person (he thought it was an animal), Gary parked his car in a nearby Walmart parking lot. He went back to the scene, called his family, then stayed at the scene until the police arrived. But once they arrived, Officer Thomas Borum illegally drew Gary’s blood without his consent. He then stored that blood in a police locker for days, a clear mishandling of evidence. Officer Borum’s supervisor, Officer Brian Seyfarth, is running for election as Adams County Sheriff next week and intends to represent the people of Natchez, Mississippi. Yet, he has yet to make a public statement about why he allowed this police misconduct to happen under his supervision. In March of 2019, the courts used the blood that Officer Borum illegally drew from Gary to pile on additional charges, bringing his sentence from 2-3 years to 20 years. Gary is now in jail. His family has had no rights to visit him in county jail for almost 7 months and he was being deprived of water, food and air conditioning in his cell. As of last week, Gary has been moved to the Parchman State Penitentiary. The situation will most likely only get worse in Parchman. This conviction comes on the heels of 2 recent accidents in which black citizens in Natchez were killed by white motorists with no charges and no trial. But when a white woman was killed in an accident that several eyewitnesses have come forward to say wasn't Gary's fault, the punishment was swift, severe, and and completely life-altering. The message that this racial disparity in law enforcement sends is clear: Black people's lives matter less that anyone else's in Natchez, Mississippi. Mississippi has the 3rd highest incarceration rate in the country. Mass incarceration, over-policing and wrongful convictions of Black and brown communities in Mississippi are part of the systemic issues that have led to such a high statistic. We need to demand transparency and accountability in these cases to bring about a fair trial. As Officer Borum's supervisor, Officer Seyfarth failed to live up to his responsibility to ensure that evidence was not mishandled in the pursuit of justice. Let him know that no one who turns a blind eye to racist corruption in his own department is fit to serve in public office. Demand that Officer Brian Seyfarth make a public statement about the mishandling of evidence that happened under his watch immediately!
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  • Officers Who Killed Miles Hall Should Not Be On Active Duty During An Investigation
    Officers who killed Miles Hall should not be on active duty during an on-going investigation. On June 2, 2019 Miles Hall, a 23-year-old resident of Walnut Creek, was senselessly killed by Walnut Creek police officers. Miles was in the throes of a schizophrenic episode and both Miles’ mother and grandmother had reached out to police officers for assistance navigating through it. Miles’ parents felt they could trust, confide in and partner with Walnut Creek police, as they had assisted the family in getting Miles transported to mental health treatment facilities in the past. The Walnut Creek Police Department grossly violated that trust. Having received calls from Miles’ grandmother and mother about Miles’ erratic behavior and mental breakdown, police officers arrived at the scene and repeatedly yelled at Miles. When Miles attempted to run past them, several yards off to the side of the officers and in the direction of his home, an officer fired beanbags at him. A second or two later, a police officer with just one year of experience and another with four years' experience fired handguns at Miles, killing him. The three seasoned, trained officers did not draw any lethal weapons. Less than 12 days later, the officers who shot Miles were back on full duty while the investigation continues. This is not only a blatant disregard for the Hall family and the Walnut Creek community, but also shows little emotional and mental support for the officers who had just killed a young man. The officers’ continued active duty on the streets of Walnut Creek represents a breach of trust between law enforcement, the city and the community, and prematurely validates the officers’ actions. Please sign this petition to remove the two officers who shot Miles from duty until the investigation is complete.
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  • Police Accountability Monitoring Program & Enforcement Reform (PAMPER)
    COPWATCH AMERICA INCORPORATED HAS A PRIMARY GOAL TO MINIMIZE & ELIMINATE UNJUSTIFIED DEATHS DUE TO ILLEGAL ACTIONS OF LAW ENFORCEMENT IN AMERICA AGAINST CIVILIANS. COPWATCH AMERICA INCORPORATED USES UNITED STATES/STATE LAWS, FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT, CIVILIAN COMPLIANT REVIEW COMMITTEES, POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY MONITORING PROGRAMS, AND OTHER FORMS OF RESOURCES & ACTIONS TO ESTABLISH TRANSPARENCY & ACCOUNTABILITY IN EACH AND EVERY LAW ENFORCEMENT DEPARTMENT/AGENCY IN AMERICA.
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  • Fire LAPD Officers Ryan Lee and Martin Robles for the Murder of #GrecharioMack
    Grechario Mack was 30 years-old and suffering a mental health condition. He was allegedly talking to himself and holding a standard kitchen knife, inside a crowded Crenshaw-Baldwin Hills Mall (Los Angeles "Black mall"). Witnesses affirm that he was not attacking or threatening anyone. It is unclear who called the police. Upon arrival, LAPD officers reportedly bounded up the escalators "with every gun blazing" to the second floor where Mack was standing. Two officers, Ryan Lee and Martin Robles, began firing upon Grechario. They didn't even bother to clear the mall. Videos, photos, and reports from the scene include strewn baby bottles and strollers; store windows were shot out, as was the glass railing that secured the second floor of the mall. It is a wonder that mall patrons were not shot in the process. Then-Chief Charlie Beck acknowledged that the officers should have used "less-lethal" force. Grechario fell to the ground but survived the first shots. As he laid there, officers fired additional rounds into his body, killing him. In a rare ruling on March 19, 2019, the murder of Grechario Mack was found "out of policy" by the Los Angeles Police Commission, the civilian oversight body. However, the current Chief of Police, Michel Moore, has indicated that he will not fire or discipline the officers. Since the ruling, community organizations, including Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles, have met with the Chief, sent letters, and launched a call campaign demanding that he fire the officers. Grechario's family has attended Police Commission meetings and spoken directly to the Chief. There have been marches, banner drops, and news stories. Moore has been unresponsive. We know that Grechario was viewed as a threat, not as a man suffering an illness, because he was Black. We also know that the mall patrons' lives were endangered because they were predominantly Black. Police who murder our people must be held accountable. It's the only way that these killings will ever stop. Sign the petition and tell Chief Moore that Black lives are not expendable. #BlackLivesMatter Grechario was a loving father of two daughters.
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  • Protect Our Privacy! No More Surveillance for People in Michigan!
    The right to privacy and due process under the law belongs to everyone. Residents, technologists, organizers, activists, artists, educators and legislators are learning the implications of police use of facial recognition technologies. Inaccuracies in the technology for darker skin tones, women, and children place many Americans at risk of having their civil and human rights violated. This is a particularly troubling situation for Detroit, where the population is over 80% Black. This would be the largest experiment on Black people in the United States, in modern times. We don't deserve a justice system regulated by faulty algorithms. We don't deserve a justice system that relies on profiling, and we can’t trust a technology that has proven time and time again that it cannot be trusted. Facial surveillance technology does not keep us safe, in fact it does the opposite. Please support Senator (R) Peter Lucido's Senate Bill 342 (SB342), co-sponsored by Senator (D) Stephanie Gray Chang. The legislation would prohibit law enforcement officials from obtaining, accessing or using any facial recognition technology, along with any information gathered from such technology. Any information obtained in violation of the law would be inadmissible in court “as if the evidence, arrest warrant, or search warrant was obtained in violation of Amendment IV of the Constitution of the United States and section 11 of Article I of the state constitution of 1963.” In effect, the passage of SB342 would impose a total ban on the use of facial recognition technology by Michigan law enforcement. State Rep (D) Isaac Robinson's House Bill 4810, which would create a five-year moratorium on the use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement. HB 4810 will also prevent the use of facial recognition software to obtain warrants or otherwise enforce the law. The prohibition includes footage obtained from surveillance cameras, unmanned aircraft, body cameras, and street and traffic light cameras. The bill was co-sponsored by state Reps. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D-Detroit) and Jewell Jones(D-Inkster). Recently, the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners tabled a vote on the use of facial recognition technology to monitor city neighborhoods but approved the use of traffic cameras with the capacity to use the technology. Detroit Police Chief Craig recently admitted to using the technology under a standard operating procedure, through their Project Green Light Program for over a year. Until recently, there had been no public discourse around DPD's use of facial recognition technology. The Detroit Police Board of Commissioners is expected to approve the use of the technology despite public opposition. Serious concerns exist regarding the use of facial recognition technology as it has been shown to misidentify African-American faces, darker skin tones, women and children. It’s time for Michigan to show the world that we respect, and will protect our right to privacy and due process under the law. Urge your legislators to support SB342 and House Bill 4810 BYP100 - Detroit Chapter Black Out Green Light Coalition Detroit Community Technology Project Detroit Digital Justice Coalition Detroit Coalition for Peace
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  • Layleen Polanco: Enough is Enough Close Rikers NOW, No New Jails
    Dear Mayor Bill de Blasio, Layleen Polanco Xtravaganza, an Afro-Latina trans woman, died in solitary confinement. This PRIDE month I am saying enough. Layleen should not have been arrested by the NYPD. Even before her arrest as part of a predatory NYPD sting operation, she was struggling with homelessness. From there she was routed through every possible "progressive" criminal court and jail reform project: from a sex work "diversion" court to the Transgender Housing Unit in the Rose M. Singer Center on Rikers when a warrant was issued for her arrest after she missed a "supportive" service appointment. None of these "progressive" reforms that were designed to save her life worked. Layleen died in a cage on solitary after being criminalized for being trans, for being poor, and for engaging in sex work. Jails kill people. But now you are planning on keeping Rikers open until 2026, when the next mayor can keep the jails open indefinitely, after having spent $11 billion to build four new jails! We could close Rikers now without building a single new cage in NYC if we ended the unjust and dangerous practice of pretrial detention. Then, we could devote $11 billion to communities, not incarceration. The time is now. We must Close Rikers with No New Jails. Mayor De Blasio, we call on you to stop your jail plan and commit to closing Rikers with no new jails. I want $11 billion for Black trans women and all oppressed and criminalized communities, not for jails. Art Credit: Vienna Rye (@vrye)
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  • Justice for Lucca
    A 15-year old Black boy was brutally assaulted by Broward County Sheriff deputies in front of a McDonald’s in Tamarac, Florida -- for bending down to retrieve a friend's phone. Delucca “Lucca” Rolle was with a group of friends who gathered in front of a McDonald’s after their high school let out for the day when the police were called to respond to a fight happening on the corner. Although the fight had already ended by the time they arrived, police began arresting the young people who were still present. One of those boys was Lucca’s friend, whose phone slid out of his pocket as the deputies grabbed him and wrestled him to the ground. What happened next is all captured in horrifying detail on video. Instead of allowing Lucca to step back once he bent down to retrieve the phone, the police pepper sprayed him, body slammed him to the ground, and punched his head into the pavement, breaking his nose. Across the country, Black children continue to be brutalized by law enforcement both on and outside of school property with little to no repercussions. From Louisiana to Chicago, police attacks on Black minors have been well-documented but rarely result in consequences for the police in question. In his follow up report, Deputy Krickovich stated that as he and Sgt. LaCerra arrested Lucca’s friend, they saw Lucca “[take] an aggressive stance” and that he “feared for his safety.” The students who were there and the thousands who have seen the video since recognize the Deputy’s statement for what it is. A blatant lie. After his arrest, Lucca was charged with assaulting an officer and resisting arrest - charges notoriously levied against civilians who themselves are assaulted by the police. These charges have since been dropped -- but we know that this is not enough. As long as Deputy Krickovich and Sgt. LaCerra are allowed to remain on the force, there is little to stop them from continuing to brutalize the Black residents of Broward County, and their children, with impunity. The actions of the Broward County Sheriff Office have reinforced a hard truth. The police do not see Black boys like Lucca as children to be protected, but as threats to be eliminated. Demand justice for Lucca and accountability for our children now. Tell Sheriff Gregory Tony and the Broward County Sheriff’s Office to fire Krickovich and LaCerra immediately!
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  • Stop Los Angeles From Building a $4 Billion Mental Health Jail
    The #JusticeLA campaign, a broad coalition made up of local and national stakeholders and community members and born from the work of family members in Los Angeles who have had loved ones harmed and killed by the Los Angeles jail system has been struggling with the Board of Supervisors on their dissonant plan to invest at least $4 billion dollars into jail expansion in Los Angeles County for almost a decade. The #JusticeLA campaign is partnering with health workers from across the spectrum of service and health advocacy to demand the long overdue end to caging as a response to public health issues. Jails and all forms of incarceration are bad for human health. Achieving humane, high quality and accessible health care for the roughly 170,000 people who are incarcerated every year in Los Angeles, the largest jail system in the world, is an urgent task, specifically because jails and other forms of incarceration are not health care institutions. On the contrary, jails are fundamentally harmful to human health. Understanding people inside primarily as criminals, not patients, jails isolate people from their families and communities, deprive people of control and agency over their bodies, subject people to unsafe environments and cause long-lasting trauma. Recent scholarship has outlined many of these harms on incarcerated people and their communities, showing, for example, how incarceration worsens mental health disabilities (Schnittker 2015) and shortens lives (Nosrati et al 2017). The previously approved $4 billion jail plan poses a significant and urgent threat to the health of those most criminalized, including Black and Latinx people across Los Angeles. The county is already home to the largest mental health facility in the country, Twin Towers jail. Eighty percent of the current jail system population is either Black or Latinx and an alarming 70% of the current jail population reports having a serious medical, mental health disability, or substance use condition. Over one thousand people per year die in local jails across the country. Half of all deaths of people incarcerated in local jails are the result of some type of illness including heart disease, liver disease, and cancer. As the largest jails system in the world, the Los Angeles County jail system contributes to all of these trends as reported by incarcerated people, their families, and by health workers themselves who provide services in the jails and as loved ones return home. Expansion of the function, scope, geography, or size of the current jail system will continue to result in both the reproduction of these harmful trends and/or the reliance of law enforcement contact and justice system involvement for what has historically proven to be inadequate and harmful “treatment.” Negative health outcomes in jails disproportionately affect marginalized communities. For example, roughly one out of every three deaths of Black people in local jails is the result of a heart attack which could be prevented in community-based treatment. While Black people make up less than 9% of the Los Angeles County population, Black people constitute 30% of the County jail population and 43% of those incarcerated with a serious mental health disability. Additionally, 75% of incarcerated women in Los Angeles are women of color. In the seven-year period between 2010 and 2016, Black women were sentenced to 5,481 years of jail time for charges that can be solved using public health strategies that build our communities rather than law enforcement which often undermine them. The construction of a women’s jail will exacerbate these trends and other negative health outcomes as incarcerated women of color will be further isolated from their families and communities. On Febraury 12th, The County has a historic opportunity to break away from the public health crisis of criminalization and incarceration by stopping this jail construction plan and diverting resources towards community-based alternatives that prioritize the dignity and wellbeing of our families and loved ones throughout Los Angeles.
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  • Bring Back Supper & Sports For Oakland Students!
    Despite community demands to make cuts at the top and keep cuts away from students, OUSD made cuts closest to the kids. Now 3,000 low-income kids will lose daily meals and 500 kids will lose sports programs. When studies clearly show that: kids who are hungry struggle to learn, kids need safe places to go after-school, and sports can provide pathways to academic success for underserved kids. To protect our most vulnerable children, we demand the Board and the Superintendent: 1. Immediately Reinstate Funding to bring back the Free Supper program and the ten Oakland Athletic League sports programs 2. Adopt the following Student Equity Criteria: ● No cuts to direct services to kids in classrooms or on campus that are core to kids’ ability to learn and succeed in school. ● No cuts that disproportionately harm students with highest-need by conducting an impact assessment for any proposed cuts. Moving forward, in order to resolve our budget crisis AND protect our students, we need a new public budget process and stronger community oversight to ensure the hard decisions required (to shift significant resources out of Central Office to schools) can be made. What the first round of budget cuts has shown is, that without greater community control over resources in the district and a collective vision for equity - the students most in need will have their supports cut first. HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW! ● SIGN and SHARE this petition tinyurl.com/reversecutstokids ● EMAIL Board members to Bring Back Supper and Sports for all Oakland Kids! tinyurl.com/emailousdboard ● ATTEND the Board Fiscal Vitality Ctte meetings from now through December to protect the highest need students in any future cuts (the board will make up to $60M in cuts over the next two years)! The Justice for Oakland Students Coalition (J4OS) is a group of deeply concerned students, parents/families, teacher allies, and community organizations who came together around four pillars that center students with highest need – so all kids can learn and succeed! 1) Shift money from Central Office directly to schools; 2) Stop the proliferation of charter schools and re-invest in making all in-district schools excellent; 3) Divest from school police and reinvest in a culture of restorative justice, real school safety and inclusion; and 3) Honor the principles of equity, meaningful engagement of students and parents, democratic decision-making and shared governance.
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  • Justice for Anthony Wall
    On May 8, a 22-year-old Mr. Anthony Wall, a Black man who is openly gay, escorted his younger sister (age 16) to the prom. Later, he took her and her friends to a local Waffle House in Warsaw, NC. After sitting down at a table that had not yet been cleared, staff members got into a heated argument with Mr. Wall and his teenage sister. According to Mr. Wall and witnesses at the scene, Waffle House employees began using offensive racial and homophobic slurs and threatened to inflict physical harm on them. They called him the N-word and f**got and one staff member went so far as to take his shirt off readying himself for a fight. The police were called and when Officer Frank Moss of the Warsaw Police Department arrived on the scene, he began choking Mr. Wall and throwing him against the window. He then violently threw Mr. Wall to the ground and placed him under arrest. The traumatic incident was captured on video with a cell phone and it has since gone viral. The video captures the officer choking and slamming Mr. Wall against the outdoor glass and then onto the pavement. During the violent exchange, Mr. Wall screamed that he could not breathe and pleaded for his safety with other officers who were on the scene. It is evident from the video footage, that because of what he had just been through, he was fearful for his physical safety and his life. When he was being handcuffed, Mr. Hall requested to be transported with any officer, but not with Officer Moss, who had just brutally assaulted him. His requests were ignored, and not only was he forced to ride with the same officer who inappropriately and unprofessionally handcuffed him, but there was an aggressive police canine accompanying them inside the vehicle. Mr. Wall has since been charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Eric Sutherland, Warsaw police chief, said that an officer can use physical force on a subject if the person is not complying. Notably, Mr. Wall was not only unarmed but the officer was more than twice his size. The Mayor of Warsaw released a three-and-a-half minute statement in support of Officer Moss, attempting to justify the treatment of Wall during the arrest. We will be closely monitoring the response from not only the Warsaw Police Department but also District Attorney Ernie Lee with the State Bureau of Investigation; the FBI; and the N.C. Department of Justice's Law Enforcement Training and Standards Commission which we understand are also investigating the incident. As a civil and human rights community, we demand answers and a thorough investigation of what has transpired and that the results of this investigation be made fully available to the public. No human being should endure the type of verbal and physical abuse that Mr. Wall experienced and any charges against him should be dropped immediately. Please join us in signing this petition to ensure justice for Anthony and Chikesia. Remember none of us are free until all of us are free!
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  • Stop Children from Dying During Divorce and Custody Proceedings
    A mother who is a veteran had to return home from Iraq and fight the battle for her children. The children were taken from her safe and sustainable home, and 50/50 custody order. The mother was falsely arrested. The charges where dismissed but the ramification lingered. Nine years later the mother and her children have no relationship. The children were forced to live full-time with their abusive father leaving them vulnerable to mental, physical and emotional abuse at critical developmental stages in there lives. The court's decision has traumatized the mother and placed the children in danger. As of September 24, 2018, at least 657 children have been murdered by a parent involved in a divorce, separation, custody, visitation, or child support situation in the U.S. since 2008. Abusive parents are often granted custody or unprotected parenting time by family courts—placing our nation’s children at ongoing risk. Researchers who interviewed judges and court administrators following some of these tragedies found that most believed these were isolated incidents. Needed reforms have not been implemented. Many court-related child homicides occurred after family courts granted dangerous parents access to children over the objections of a protective parent. We recognize that the women's right's movement is still a work in progress. Marginalized women face multiple oppressions, and we can only win freedom by bringing awareness on how they impact one another. The women of color need a national movement to uplift the needs of the most marginalized women and children. As women of color we need to stand for our human rights to parent the children we have in a safe and sustainable community.
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