• Accountability in Raleigh Policing
    On February 29th, a Raleigh police officer shot and killed Akiel Denkins, a 24-year-old man. His death highlights the urgent need for change in Raleigh policing but it was by no means an isolated incident. It's a culmination of a pattern of biased policing that targets black and brown communities and feeds a complex and profitable prison system. On a daily basis, the rights of people in the community where I grew up are constantly violated: tickets for jaywalking, getting stopped for walking down the street in your own neighborhood and getting asked where you’re going, the so-called smell of marijuana being used as an excuse to search your car. Just the other day someone shared with me that he was stopped for driving too slow, at first. Then the officer changed his story and interrogated him about drinking when this man doesn’t even drink. A young man who comes to my barber shop told me he got pulled over for speeding. He was then subjected to an undue search because the officer claimed to smell marijuana. The search yielded nothing. I was questioned and searched leaving my cousin’s house one night as part of an “on-going” investigation. Does that sound like policing in your neighborhood? It is the daily reality for many young people and people of color in Raleigh. • National studies show that black and white populations use marijuana at about the same rates; yet in Wake County where RPD is the largest law-enforcement agency, black people represent 67% of low-level marijuana arrests but only 21% of the population. • From 2010-2015, black drivers were 2.7 times more likely to be searched by police following a traffic stop but 10% less likely to have contraband. • From 2002-2013, black men under age of 30 were searched at a rate of about 7%, whereas white men were searched at a rate of 4%. As men of color age, the likelihood of being searched significantly decreases. We need common sense policy changes to stop tragedies like the use of force that took Akiel’s life but also the every day human rights violations common in our community.
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    Created by Alex Walton
  • Dutchess County Legislators: We Don't Need a New $300 Million Jail!
    The rush to build a 569-room jail and Sheriff’s complex in Dutchess County will end up costing taxpayers approximately $300 million over 30 years. This threatens the county’s fiscal stability and does little to address criminal justice priorities. Declining crime and reform efforts are leading to less prison facilities, lower incarceration rates and evidence-based, fair and effective diversion programs in New York and around the country. It doesn't make sense that Dutchess’ plan goes the opposite direction. The county's population is going down, but the proposal still calls for a 15% increase in jail beds. More disturbing is the fact that Dutchess saw its incarceration rate increase 41% between 2006 and 2015 when most other counties in New York saw their rate remain flat or decrease. The human cost of incarceration is also disproportionately borne by Dutchess County’s black residents, who make up 11% of the county population but 39% of the inmate population. The jail proposal sends a terrible message to black youth that they are seen as threats rather than valued residents and future leaders. This project is moving too fast and without appropriate safeguards and disclosure. We call on you to to reject the jail expansion project in current form and work with the community on reforming Dutchess County's criminal justice system first.
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    Created by Rasonia Squire
  • No Grand Jury #Justice4Jamar
    Grand juries consistently fail to deliver justice in cases of fatal police shootings. In grand juries, prosecutors often rely on evidence gained solely from police. Moreover, the process is extremely secretive: the prosecutor and the grand jury members may not reveal what occurred in the grand jury room to the public, including any evidence or videos presented. Since 2000, 142 Minnesotans have been killed by police. Grand juries have returned indictments in zero of these cases. In fact, no police officer in Minnesota has EVER been indicted for a fatal shooting. While Mike Freeman insists grand juries have been a part of Minnesota’s justice system for 35 years, this is exactly the reason to eliminate their use in cases of fatal police encounters. The criminal justice system has been purposefully failing people of color for centuries. It is time to change our approach. Grand juries are neither effective nor required by law. California recently became the first state to ban grand juries in cases of deadly force by police. The governor of New York has appointed a special prosecutor for these cases. Recently, the city of Baltimore directly indicted police officers in the death of Freddie Gray without resorting to a grand jury process. A special prosecutor can and should decide whether to pursue charges directly, without obstructing justice via a grand jury.
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  • Life Saving Treatment Now for Mumia Abu-Jamal
    My name is Keith Cook, and I am Mumia Abu-Jamal’s brother. My loss, and my pain, have been constant for three decades since my brother has been in prison. He needs to come home, like so many of the men from our community. Mumia is very ill. I was in the waiting room of the Intensive Care Unit, just feet from where he lay nearly dying, for 28 long hours in Pottsville, PA before the guards would let me see him. He was chained: his right arm and left leg shacked to the hospital bed. Did you know that there is absolutely no reason for him to suffer? There is a cure for Hepatitis C — just one pill a day. I see my brother. But the Department of Corrections and the courts see “a prisoner”. Wasn’t Jesus a prisoner? Wasn’t Nelson Mandela a prisoner? Dr. Paul Noel, Director of Health Care for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and Dr. Carl J. Keldie Chief Clinical Officer of Correct Care Solutions would let incarcerated people die from this disease. Yes, Mumia is supported by Amnesty International and Desmond Tutu, among many others. But he is also just like any other Black man in prison. Together we must stop this shameful practice of denying lifesaving health care to Mumia Abu-Jamal and all prisoners. And we must expose the public health imperative of treating Hepatitis C inside and outside of prisons. As the drug’s inventor Michael Sofia notes, “How can you deny people access to a cure?”. Right now, my brother is in the infirmary at SCI Mahanoy, and he is receiving absolutely no treatment. We are in court, right now with a petition. You can make sure that the U.S. District Court Judge Mariani, and Magistrate Mehalchick see and hear more than the word “prisoner”. We know these folks are our mothers, fathers, and brothers. We know they deserve to be treated with dignity and with respect. We need your voice to be heard. Tell them you know that intentional medical neglect is a violation of the 8th Amendment and their Hippocratic Oath. Medical apartheid must stop. Please join me. - Keith Cook, Retired Command Sergeant; Major, US Army; Former Chairman Orange, County School Board; Past President, North Carolina Caucus of Black School Board; District Director, NC NAACP Conference of Branches
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    Created by Keith Cook
  • End School-Sanctioned Violence Against Children, Parents and Communities
    We wish this story was an isolated incident, but it is not. It’s one of many other stories of children who find themselves the victim of the school to prison pipeline. A system that will arrest children because they had a bad day. Children who may or may not have a disability. Children who may have lost a family member, a friend, or someone in the community. Children who may have recently become homeless, or had a parent or sibling incarcerated. Poor black and brown children are the ones who most frequently are targeted by this pipeline, thanks to the racism and classism that is a widespread part of our society. Nationwide African-American children represent 26% of juvenile arrests and 44% of youth who are detained. Taxpayers spend an estimated $70 billion on corrections and incarceration, yet over half of the children who are incarcerated are incarcerated for nonviolent offenses. This call to action demands that: Our schools treat every child, every family, and every community with dignity and respect. Our children should not be arrested or made to leave school for things that all children go through. Our teachers and paraprofessionals who educate our most vulnerable populations should not be given the lowest pay and inadequate training. The average paraprofessional salary in Louisiana was $19,970 per year in May 2014, which ranked 46th of the 50 states. By comparison, in 2012, at least 45 New Orleans charter school executives made more than $100,000 a year. Our parents should not be subjected to economic abuse and hardship, from charging $60-$80 for school uniforms, to causing parents to lose their jobs, their incomes, and their livelihoods when they are frequently called to school for minor misbehaviors.
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    Created by Families and Friends of Louisiana's Incarcerated Children Picture
  • Protect DC's Black Communities from Police Violence: Say NO to Mayor Bowser's Crime Bill
    Bill 21-0357 will effectively criminalize entire Black neighborhoods in the District. It seeks to flood communities with police endowed with the power to conduct illegal aggressive and dangerous searches and seizures, and to incarcerate people almost at will for minor and non-violent offenses. Without the support of any data, the Mayor places the blame on returning citizens for the District’s recent spike in crime and seeks to target people on parole probation or supervised release for surveillance and broken windows policing. The Mayor does not understand the issues that affect the District’s most underserved areas. Instead of responding with knee-jerk proposals that will only increase the rates of arrests and incarceration without reducing crime, the Mayor and the DC Council should invest resources in creating jobs with living wages, support “ban the box” measures to help eliminate obstacles to employment and housing for Returning Citizens, create and protect truly affordable housing, prohibit displacement, significantly improve access to healthy and affordable food and other services that make our community safer. In Solidarity, Black Lives Matter DMV and Stop Police Terror Project #TakeBackOurStreetsDC
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  • Take Down ALL Symbols of White Supremacy in New Orleans
    Since 2015, we've organized to have four statues removed in New Orleans. And in May of this year, Mayor Mitch Landrieu delivered a powerful speech that supported the notion that there space for reverence of the Confederacy in New Orleans. We must continue organizing until all property dedicated to people who fought to keep slavery is renamed and repurposed. Two weeks ago, white supremacists swarmed the streets in Charlottesville armed with lit torches and blunt objects to terrorize Black people. This modern-day lynching mob crowded around a Confederate statue, and in honor of the false idol, killed a peaceful protester and critically wounded dozens more. There is no doubt that white supremacists use these statues to validate their racism and violence. Now more than ever, we have to remove all Confederate symbols and emblems to white supremacy. Our local government has a responsibility to protect its Black communities from the kind of terrorism and bloodshed that rocked Charlottesville. The New Orleans family is defined by the diverse, inclusive nature of its culture in spaces both public and private. Public spaces are for everyone and should not be used to promote the abhorrent views of the white ruling class to uphold symbols of Black oppression. Not only that but our tax dollars should no longer be used to maintain these structures. We walk to the river, to work, to school, to visit a friend, and look up into the faces of men who traded human beings as property and fought to protect the ability to do so. There is no basis to support the continued littering of our public squares and buildings with monuments, street names and public schools named after white supremacists. These memorials only serve as constant reminders of the past and present domination of black people by the rich white ruling class. They are insulting to anyone with a sense of history and who supports progress and democracy. These symbols also represent present day reality where most decisions and government policy are determined by those who accept white supremacist notions that Black people and all non-white people are less and deserve less than white people. Some people believe that the struggle to remove white supremacist symbols is a deflection from the more meaningful struggle to end present day discrimination. They couldn’t be further from the truth. These monuments and signs are so much more than symbols of bygone days. They are active parts of an abusive system in which intentionally unequal distribution of power and resources goes unchecked. The white supremacist ideas represented by these symbols permeate USA society and result in actual discrimination and murder. That is why policemen with white supremacist conceptions of young Black people can murder them so easily. This is why the so-called criminal justice system can practice mass incarceration of Black people with the approval of most white people. This is why we have over 50% unemployment for Black men in New Orleans and there is no editorial outcry by the white ruling class press. If our New Orleans family is to have a chance at real racial reconciliation, we must remove all obvious symbols of white supremacy to show our collective will to address entrenched systemic oppression, which is wreaking havoc in the minds, homes, and neighborhoods of our families citywide. Now is our opportunity to be proactive. All over the USA, especially in the South, progressive Black people and their allies are leading struggles to rid the South of the symbols of treason, domestic terrorism and racist oppression. State governments in South Carolina and Alabama have removed the Rebel Flag. The Memphis city council has voted to remove the statue and the body of confederate General and founder of the KKK, Nathan Bedford Forrest. The Georgia NAACP has called for the removal of the Stone Mountain memorial to the confederacy.
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  • Fire Officer Frascatore -- history of excessive force, then attacks tennis star James Blake
    Former tennis star James Blake was tackled and violently slammed to the ground by Officer Frascatore of the New York City Police Department. Not only was he innocent, the crime the Officer thought he was responsible for — identity theft — in no way required violent policing. It’s a question that has to be asked: would the officer have tackled and slammed James Blake on the ground if he was a white Wall Street banker accused of a financial crime? But it turns out that this isn’t the first time that Officer Frascatore has done something like this. According to an investigation by WNYC, over a seven-month period of 2013, Officer Frascatore was the subject of five civilian complaints. He has also been named in two federal lawsuits — including for falsely arresting, beating, and pepper spraying a Queens man. He even once yanked open a car door during a traffic stop, punched the driver in the mouth, and then sued the driver for biting his fist! NYPD Commissioner William Bratton needs to fire Officer Frascatore immediately. James Blake hit the nail on the head when he said: “I don't think this person should ever have a badge or a gun again.” When officers like Frascatore are allowed to continue in their jobs despite a history of excessive force, it is sadly often just a matter of time before someone is seriously hurt or killed. What if James Blake had attempted to fight back against what he could easily have seen as an unprovoked attack, from a plainclothes officer with no visible badge or gun? James Blake was lucky -- after 15 minutes, he was released from handcuffs with cuts and bruises. And as a high-profile sports figure, he can tell his story to the world. But If this can happen to James Blake, what is happening every day to Black and brown New Yorkers who aren't as famous, and who end up injured, in jail, or even dead as a result of overpolicing? This has to stop -- Commissioner William Bratton needs to step it up and do whatever it takes to fix this over-policing epidemic. Demand that he take action, starting with firing Officer Frascatore and then conducting a review of all other officers with a documented history of excessive force.
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    Created by Keith Goodman
  • Stop Black Lives Matter activists from being monitored and attacked by NYPD
    The Black Lives Matter movement is working to dismantle structural and institutional racism and white supremacy. Unfortunately the police and the current criminal justice system serve and uphold these institutions. It is our duty and our right to demand accountability from our criminal justice system, and from the police that are supposed to protect and serve us, but instead terrorize, harm and kill us. We will not remain silent while police remain violent and we must protest in order to affect change.
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  • Justice for Sandra Bland
    Sandra Bland was days from starting a new job with her alma mater, Prairie View A&M University, when DPS Trooper Brian Encinia pulled her over, alleging she had failed to signal a lane change. The incident was so minor that Encinia was ready to end it with a written warning. But instead of giving her the warning and letting her go, in a split second Encinia became enraged that an African American woman dared exercise her rights. He then tried to pull her out of her car and threatened to taser her. “I’m going to light you up,” he said. Encinia then threw Bland to the ground and planted his knee on her back. She was arrested, and after spending three days in jail, she died in her cell. Bland's story of being targeted by police and treated inhumanely, unfortunately, is a familiar one with Texans of color. We don't have to tolerate this. We can fight back to get the police force we deserve. A police force that keeps us safe, not one that endangers our lives. A police force that keeps our streets safe, not one that pulls us over without cause, based solely on the color of our skin. A police force that treats us all equally. By signing this petition, you're engaging in the fight for the police force we need, that we deserve.
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  • Release the 911 calls that prompted Corporal Casebolt’s response at the Craig Ranch Community Pool!
    This is important because this incident is one in a long line of incidents that continue to demonstrate that Black youth are routinely dehumanized in our society. Implicit bias and perceptions of Black youth directly impact they way that they are engaged. Because these youth were seen to not belong in the area, the officers did even attempt to engage them as residents or even guests but rather as intruders. This is evidenced by the fact that the teenager who filmed the incident was white and therefore was not engaged by the police at all - despite capturing the entire event on camera. We have seen in past, how these interactions can quickly turn deadly. The community can not begin to heal until these issues are exposed and confronted in a honest and transparent fashion.
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    Created by Vickie Wilks
  • Release McKinney Police Corporal Eric Casebolt’s full disciplinary record.
    The public deserves to know if Corporal Casebolt has any previous incidents of brutality. Demand the McKinney Police Department release his disciplinary record. This is important because this incident is one in a long line of incidents that continue to demonstrate that Black youth are routinely dehumanized in our society. Implicit bias and perceptions of Black youth directly impact they way that they are engaged. Because these youth were seen to not belong in the area, the officers did even attempt to engage them as residents or even guests but rather as intruders. This is evidenced by the fact that the teenager who filmed the incident was white and therefore was not engaged by the police at all - despite capturing the entire event on camera. We have seen in past, how these interactions can quickly turn deadly. The community can not begin to heal until these issues are exposed and confronted in a honest and transparent fashion.
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    Created by Ameen Olorunnimbe Picture