• After the smoke clears... Arrest Juan DelaCruz for the senseless murder of Pamela Turner
    Because I too suffer with mental health issues and have been beaten by the police and plenty of counterparts on many horrific occasions, because of me failing to take my medication and becoming manic; so this could have been me, but only for the Grace of God. Her story resonates with me through and through, and come to find out, there's many others who've met a terrible demise like Pamela, due to police officers not being properly trained to deal with the mentally ill.
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    Created by Paulette Williams Picture
  • Tell Atlanta to Move $18 Million from Cuffs to Care!
    In a time of public health crisis and a $40 million budget deficit, it is unconscionable for the City of Atlanta to spend $18 million to lock people in cages for jaywalking and disorderly conduct. We can, in no way, allow for this jail - and potential hotspot - to exist any longer in our community, wasting desperately needed resources, criminalizing people for being poor, and making us all less safe.
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  • #Decarcerate NE: Prevent a COVID-19 Outbreak in Nebraska Jails & Prisons
    Incarcerated and detained Nebraskans are facing a high risk for a COVID-19 outbreak. Not only are these facilities operating above 150% capacity, but people live in unsanitary spaces. It is not a question of if COVID-19 will enter these facilities, but when. “It doesn’t matter what crime you committed. This pandemic is affecting everyone,” Dominique Morgan, Executive Director of Black and Pink explains, “If you were selling a little bit of dope, it shouldn’t be a death sentence. But that’s what COVID-19 is. These people inside can’t choose to social distance. They can’t say, ‘No, you can’t touch my body and shake me down.’ They don’t get to decide who comes into their institutions. They have no autonomy over their body. Imagine going through this pandemic and the fear we have as a community. Now imagine having no power. Being Black. Being trans. You have to have empathy at this time.” Pain and violence are a virus themselves. Not only do they spread without urgent corrective action, but punishment replicates pain and violence. We have space for meeting people where they are at and for healing at home in our communities. We see them everyday. Maybe we give a smile or a nod. Put people in cages, isolated and separated from communities, and we lose their humanity. We forget they too are worthy of respect and love and life. They too have inherent value. We recognize their value. That’s why Black and Pink, along with 13 other Nebraska community organizations, joined in solidarity to demand clear and specific actions for Governor Ricketts and NDCS Director Frakes to immediately implement and reduce the impact of COVID-19 including: 1. Reducing the dangerous overcrowding conditions in NDCS facilities, including the immediate release of individuals at high risk of contracting COVID-19 2. Issuing a publicly accessible Crisis Management Plan, including accountability measures for handling an outbreak 3. Prioritizing the health and safety of currently incarcerated individuals by ensuring appropriate access to medication, prohibiting use of punitive processes, and prioritizing COVID-19 treatment at hospital settings NOT facility medical units/infirmaries. The full text of the letter can be found here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1J0sAfQIF57WJwJ5gHw__855VSa_X0uJ9/view?usp=sharing Join us in demanding that state officials release their COVID-19 emergency response plan and share how they plan to protect the health of incarcerated Nebraskans during this health crisis! #DecarcerateNE #HealthNotHell HELP US AMPLIFY: Share this petition on Twitter (copy text): Join me and sign this petition to demand that @GovRicketts and @necorrections Director Frakes release their COVID-19 emergency response plan and take immediate action to protect incarcerated people! #DecarcerateNE #HealthNotHell https://bit.ly/2Uy7TA4 Share this petition on Facebook (copy text): I refuse to wait silently while state officials endanger the health and lives of incarcerated Nebraskans. Join me today and sign this petition to demand that Governor Ricketts and NDCS Director Frakes release their COVID-19 emergency response plan and take immediate action to protect incarcerated people! #DecarcerateNE #HealthNotHell https://bit.ly/2Uy7TA4
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  • Kym Worthy-COVID-19 Demands
    The decarceral guidelines below are designed to prevent three things: social spreading, jail “churn,” and the deaths of vulnerable people. Social Spreading In order to prevent the rapid growth of COVID-19 from overburdening our health-care system and claiming lives, both those in secure facilities and the people who work in them, it is the responsibility of decision-makers at every level to prevent and contain the spread of the virus by taking action to promote the most effective strategy in abating the pandemic: social distancing in order to slow “community spread.” The Particular Issue of Jail and Prison “Churn” Jails and Prisons combine the worst aspects of a cruise ship and a large public gathering and, thus, can be the perfect breeding ground for the spread of COVID-19. People are constantly booked into and out of jail and prison facilities and each night guards, vendors, and other jail staff are going home while others are coming in- which results in a massive turnover. For example, more than half of the people in jail are only in there for two to three days. Further, enclosed structures like jails can cause COVID-19 to spread like wildfire and introducing just one person with it can lead to it impacting not just everyone inside the jail or prison but anyone leaving the facility—whether a person who is released or staff returning back to their homes— who then interact with their communities. Preventive Measures Cannot Be Taken in Jails and Prisons. Experts recommend that to protect the people most vulnerable from death or serious illness from COVID-19 that they are appropriately separated through social distancing. Yet separating sick people from well people to prevent the disease from spreading can be nearly impossible in prison due to logistical considerations.
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  • Michigan Covid-19 Statewide Immediate Release of Vulnerable incarcerated People
    Covid-19 presents a threat to human life. We believe all human life is valuable, and are ensuring that those most at risk, like incarcerated individuals, are being granted the relief necessary to protect themselves and their families. The particularly vulnerable incarcerated community members and those currently being impacted by the system need support in this moment and not continued trauma. Action is crucially important now to avoid public health mishaps like the scabies outbreak at Huron Valley Prison in 2019. Now more than ever, we need transformative criminal justice action to limit the damage that the system can do during the pandemic outbreak.
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  • #JusticeForVerdant
    In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, colleges and universities nation-wide have been calling for the evacuation of their campuses. The students at NCA&T State University were asked to pack up and evacuate the campus with very short notice. In an attempt to comply with the request of the university, Verdant Julius and two friends, all students at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, were assisting each other in the packing of the dorm rooms. On March 18, 2020, while at McCain Residence Hall on the campus of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Julius and his friends were asked to show their student IDs to a campus security guard and local police officer. After presenting their IDs, proving they were currently enrolled, they were then asked to swipe into the residence hall as an added measure to prove that they belonged on campus. One of Verdant Julius’ friends, a young lady, was told to leave because she was not a resident of McCain Hall. Hearing that his friend who was there to assist him was being asked to leave, Verdant Julius asked the campus security guard and police officer for an explanation. The officer responded to this request by saying, “If you take one step closer I am going to have you arrested for obstruction of an investigation”. This was the first time the officer informed Verdant Julius and the other two students that an investigation was in progress. Verdant and the other students began to ask the officer questions in order to gain an understanding about what was going on, when the officer suddenly and violently attempted to place Verdant Julius under arrest. As shown in the video of the arrest, Verdant Julius posed no threat to the campus security guard or the police officer and was not resisting arrest. Verdant Julius calmly asked for the person recording to take his keys and phone. To which the officer replied, “If you resist, I am going to mase you”. No college student deserves this type of abuse and harassment from campus security guards or local police officers on their college campus -- especially during a global pandemic. The over-policing of Black students is an ongoing problem at many colleges and universities in the United States. It is outrageous and disappointing to witness this unnecessary use of force used on a student who was simply trying to go to his dorm room with friends and fellow students. Verdant Julius and the students of NCA&T deserve the rights and freedoms that should be afforded to all university students. They deserve to feel safe and protected on their campus. We strongly urge Chief Wilson to: - immediately drop charges against Verdant Julius - Issue an official statement addressing and correcting the actions of the officers - establish a police review committee to review police hires and complaints Find the video of the arrest here: http://bit.ly/verdantvideo (Petition updated at 9am on March 19, 2020 for continuity and expansion of background story as developments happened)
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  • COVID-19: Los Angeles Must Immediately Release People from the County Jails!
    We are not alone in recognizing this crisis of criminalization and incarceration here in Los Angeles and how COVID19 will exacerbate that crisis. Last week, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved the recommendations outlined in the Alternatives to Incarceration Working Group’s historic and unprecedented report, “Care First, Jails Last: Health and Racial Justice Strategies for Safer Communities.” Shortly thereafter, Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas published a letter outlining his concerns about COVID19’s spreads to the LA jails and calling for a reduction in jail bookings, early release, plans for quarantine and treatment, concerted efforts to reduce virus transmission and a plan for expected staffing shortages. We are also not alone in calling for significant and timely steps towards decarceration. On Saturday, March 14, Judges from the Cleveland, Ohio’s Cuyahoga County Court announced their intention to seek the release of hundreds of people incarcerated in their county jails. Like us, these judges recognize that jails pose threats to our larger community and the incarcerated people themselves. On Tuesday, March 17, the New York City Board of Corrections, the independent oversight Board for the city’s jail system, issued a call for incarcerated people at high risk to be immediately released and for the overall jail population to be rapidly and drastically reduced. Also on Tuesday, March 17, thirty one elected prosecutors from around the country, but not from Los Angeles, published a letter advocating that counties “implement concrete steps in the near-term to dramatically reduce the number of incarcerated individuals” to prevent the potentially “catastrophic” spread of COVID19. We also join epidemiologists in warning that it is not a matter of if COVID19 enters your facility -- but when. For these reasons, we demand that you, as correctional health care leaders, do your part. We ask that you: 1) Prepare a list of your incarcerated patients who are most medically vulnerable and who require immediate release. We demand that you prepare that list within one week, notify the public that the list has been made available to correctional authorities, the courts and city/state leaders, and advocate for their early release with linkages to housing and healthcare services. 2) Use the legal authority granted to you to declare COVDI19 a liable danger to those currently held in the county jails and advocate for their immediate release to safe and meaningful housing. 3) Identify, coordinate and provide the services incarcerated people need upon their release (e.g. HIV care for those who are HIV+, substance use treatment centers for those with substance use disorders, homes and shelters for those who are houseless, etc) to ensure their ongoing protection from this epidemic. The County should use the recently approved recommendations from the Alternatives to Incarceration Working Group to build infrastructure that addresses and also outlives this emergency to achieve our shared goal of reducing the jail population.
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    Created by Mark-Anthony Clayton-Johnson
  • Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 by Decarcerating Mecklenburg
    Dear local leaders: As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, we – a coalition of concerned organizations, attorneys, and community members – urge you to undertake all possible measures to prevent the spread of infection in Mecklenburg County’s jails. An outbreak of COVID-19 in the jails would be swift and deadly, and it would overwhelm the county’s hospitals and health system. The next week is crucial to limiting COVID-19’s spread. Now is the time for decisive emergency measures to save lives. COVID-19 poses severe risks whenever people are in close physical proximity with others, regardless of whether an individual has shown symptoms of infection. People in jail are unable to distance themselves from others and take the preventative measures that are necessary to prevent infection and protect the population. Worse, jails are particularly vulnerable to outbreaks because the underlying health conditions that can cause infection or exacerbate harm are very prevalent among incarcerated people. This will make the spread of COVID-19 inside jails fast and lethal, threatening everyone incarcerated in a jail, along with their loved ones, jail staff, and the state’s public health infrastructure at large. The safest way to ensure that the jail does not become a vector for COVID-19’s spread is to cut the jail population and halt new admissions. This is particularly imperative for anyone who a judge has already approved for release pending payment of money bail; anyone detained under an ICE hold; and anyone detained for a Failure to Appear or parole/probation violations. Release is also crucial for those who are elderly or have medical conditions that make them particularly vulnerable. In contrast to reducing jail populations, restrictive measures such as segregation and lockdowns will not contain infection. In a county jail, people are incarcerated for a relatively short period of time before returning to the outside community, and every day new people are booked into the facility if law enforcement continue making arrests. Jail staff necessarily come and go everyday as well, returning to their families and communities. This constant turnover will compromise any effort to contain COVID-19, especially since people may be infected and contagious but not show symptoms. Restrictive measures inside could also discourage incarcerated people from reporting symptoms or seeking care, which will multiply infection. Reducing the jail population is consistent with the county sheriff’s obligation to safely manage county jail populations and the guidance of correctional experts. Dr. Marc Stern, who served as Health Services Director for Washington State’s Department of Corrections, recently urged: “With a smaller population, prisons, jails, and detention centers can help diseases spread less quickly by allowing people to better maintain social distance.” Dr. Stern also explained that reducing the jail population will ease staffing burdens: “If staff cannot come to work because they are infected, a smaller population poses less of a security risk for remaining staff.” Jurisdictions across the country have already started taking the important public health measure of reducing their jail population. The Bail Project has worked to provide free bail assistance to people detained pretrial in the Mecklenburg County Jail. Since its tenure in Charlotte began in August 2019, the organization has posted bail for over 200 people, of which more than 90% then returned to court without any need for detention, even though their bail amount would otherwise have kept them incarcerated. We know from this experience that reducing the jail population to protect public health will be safe, lawful, and just. Every time the county introduces another person to the jail environment, there is a risk of worsening the spread of COVID-19 among the incarcerated population, jail staff, and the broader community. We urge you to undertake all possible avenues for limiting that peril and preventing deaths across the community. Signed, The ACLU of NC Global Missions of the A.M.E. Zion Church The Bail Project Beauty After the Bars Black Treatment Advocates Network (BTAN Charlotte) Project BOLT Charlotte Uprising Comunidad Colectiva Mecklenburg County Public Defender’s Office Poor No More Racial Justice Engagement Group of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte Southeast Asian Coalition Court Support Services Team TRU BLUE
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    Created by Decarcerate Mecklenburg
  • 3 years without Justice for Desmond Phillips
    Why are we making these demands? It has been three years with no #JusticeforDesmond Phillips. A cover-up investigation was conducted by Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey. The investigation, conducted by officers in the killer's own department, assumed the officers innocence from the beginning. The Phillips family met with California Attorney General Anthony Bercerra to ask him to investigate the Ramsey coverup and re-open the criminal investigation. Becerra declined to do so, after failing to review the case directly. AG Becerra also cited that the law at the time did not allow for the officers to be prosecuted. The Phillips family filed a civil lawsuit against the City of Chico and 3 Chico Police officers involved in the original investigation, Alex Fliehr, Jeremy Gagnebin, and Jared Cumber. The conservative judge dismissed the case. The Justice4Desmond team have consistently made the case at the Chico City Council for common-sense reforms to police training and accountability. So far our demands have been ignored, by conservative and liberal council members alike. More information: https://www.mic.com/articles/190556/the-chico-police-shooting-of-desmond-phillips-still-rattles-the-family-as-justice-remains-uncertain https://www.chicoer.com/2019/04/03/police-squandered-chance-to-safely-detain-desmond-phillips-before-fatal-shooting-family-expert-claims/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLXpJdcHiTE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLXpJdcHiTE
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    Created by David Phillips
  • Baltimore City Council: Say no to spying on your constituents!
    Baltimore is the latest city with plans to invest thousands of taxpayer dollars into a rebate program that will allow it to spy on its own residents. Just last week, councilman Eric Costello, introduced legislation that would give Baltimore residents up to $150 to install a private doorbell camera system, like Ring or Nest, in their homes. The catch? To receive the money, residents first have to sign up for the police department’s CitiWatch Community Partnership program. This will allow the police to identify and target all the homes that have those camera systems installed. In order to qualify, residents must also agree to point the camera into a public space for at least two years. The dangers of a program like this are too many to list. In major cities across the nation, the police have already used this kind of footage to carry out sting operations, make targeted arrests, and push legislators to enact “broken windows” policies to imprison countless poor people throughout the country. That’s why any council member who claims to care about their constituents will refuse to allow this legislation to move any further. We know mass surveillance and broken window policies don’t keep our communities safe. With no oversight for the use of this footage, Black Baltimore residents run the risk of winding up in a unregulated police database, or even arrested and prosecuted, due to the disproportionate use of this technology against our people. Police violence against Black people is at an all-time high and we cannot allow lawmakers to ignore how surveillance partnership programs with law enforcement so often result in potentially violent interactions with the police. The city should not be paying residents to spy on each other, they should be investing that money in resources that actually keep people safe: things like good schools, quality mental health care institutions, trauma centers, and employment opportunities. It’s time for Baltimore City Council to protect their constituents, not put them in harm’s way. Sign to make your voice heard today. Tell Baltimore City Council to say no to mass surveillance!
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    Created by Native Son
  • 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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    Created by Marcie White Picture