• Tell the Federal Government: Create an Interagency Task Force to Hold Police Accountable!
    American politicians point to the Constitution as the standard -bearer of law and order, but as the 14th Amendment is (and has historically been) violated as pertains to the treatment of black, brown and poor people, it is important to point out that black, brown and poor people are being denied "due process of law." The impulsive shootings and killings of African Americans by police officers are a violation and represent actions of misconduct in direct opposition to the United States' June 12, 2013 claim to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Until the laws and policies of police departments across this nation change, laws which in effect protect law enforcement officers regardless of evidence which has shown officers to be in the wrong, the indiscriminate killings of African Americans will continue. The killings themselves are repulsive and regrettable, but the fact that so few officers are held accountable when evidence shows them to be guilty, adds to the mental distress and emotional trauma of family members who are left to deal with both their grief and anger because of the lack of justice they receive. The trauma that African Americans have experienced because of excessive police force with little to no accountability has been proven to be genetically passed on, meaning that African Americans today are not only coping with present-day violations of their rights, but with the historic miscarriage and lack of justice which has been part of their narrative. We know that working to eliminate the trauma experienced by Black people in the United States is hard but we believe that establishing a task force, to police the police, will help. Please join us in demanding the immediate establishment of this task force!
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  • Fire Police Chief Charlie Beck for Leading the Most Murderous Police Force in the United States
    Hundreds of Black Lives Matter activists and allies have been sitting-in at Los Angeles City Hall since July 12, 2016, prompted by the ruling of the Los Angeles Police Commission that the killing of 30 year-old Black mother, Redel Jones, was “in policy.” Redel Jones, who stood 4'10" tall, was accused of stealing $80 with a kitchen knife from a local pharmacy on August 12, 2015. By witness accounts, she was running away from police when she was spotted in an alley and shot as she fled; her body laid on the pavement for hours and her family was not notified of her death for more than a week. Redel was the mother of a 7 year-old girl and a 13 year-old boy; her husband, Marcus Vaughn, travelled to Los Angeles by bus to be present for the ruling. Her family is still reeling from her death and outraged by the ruling. Sadly, Redel Jones is one in a long list of victims killed by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). For the last three years, LAPD – under the “leadership” of police chief Charlie Beck – has killed more of its residents than any other law enforcement unit in the country, killing 21 in 2015 and 10 so far this year, many of whom were unarmed people of color and/or people with mental health challenges. With only one exception, the chief has refused to condemn the acts of officers who kill residents, fire/discipline them, or recommend them for criminal prosecution. Moreover, he has refused to release information to the families of victims, most recently with the in-custody death of Wakiesha Wilson, killed in an LAPD jail cell on Easter Sunday 2016. Beck is also on-record as referring to former LAPD chief Darryl Gates (who headed LAPD during the Rodney King era) as his mentor and role model. This is not who we want in charge of the police force. For more than a year, Black Lives Matter and ally groups have been calling upon the mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, to fire Chief Beck. Every moment that Beck remains in his post, brings grave danger for community residents.
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  • Petition: Independent Special Prosecutor for Philando Castile
    The horrifying killing of Philando Castile, whose painful death was watched by millions around the world, must receive the highest level of attention possible to ensure the possibility of justice. We support the Castile family’s call for an independent special prosecutor to handle this case from start to finish. County attorneys work closely with local police departments, who are usually their primary source of information. They are often reluctant to challenge the police narrative or question their side of the story. Police officers have killed 148 Minnesotans since 2000. None have faced criminal charges of any kind. Time and time again in fatal police shootings, including in the case of Jamar Clark, we have seen county attorneys act as defense attorney for the police. This time must be different. By Minnesota state law, Governor Mark Dayton and Attorney General Lori Swanson can appoint a special prosecutor independent of any state prosecuting agencies. We need a truly unbiased prosecutor, who will not take police testimony as gospel truth, to handle this case if we are to have any hope of justice. For full transparency and accountability, this prosecutor must handle the case themselves without the use of a grand jury. An independent special prosecutor, unbiased and separate from any law enforcement agency, must handle the case of the police killing of Philando Castile.
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  • Take the Pledge: We Are the Movement for Black Lives
    Guided by love, we continue to stand together for justice, human dignity and our shared goal of ending all forms of state violence against Black people. We organize, occupy, demonstrate, march and chant for a new future: A future we can be proud of. We stand on the shoulders of our ancestors, who fought for their freedom and ours. Like them, we want a world where our lives matter. We want an end to the war being waged on Black people, in all its forms. Some people fear change, and that's ok. Many will attempt to halt our progress. That is not ok. Some will continue their attempts to undermine us, but we will remain undeterred. For far too long, our unjust deaths have meant business as usual in this country. No more. Our work remains undone until our lives are free of violence. That is the future we imagine. Until that day comes: We pledge togetherness--- we will not allow ourselves to be divided. We pledge to allow our thinking and actions to be guided by love. We pledge to bring courage and power into our communities, and stop their flow out. We pledge not to be controlled by fear, but instead by our dreams. Join us, and pledge to do the same: Stand with the Movement for Black Lives.
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  • Attorney General Lynch: America’s Most Murderous Police Force Doesn’t Deserve Awards!
    The US Department of Justice has chosen the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) to receive an award for model policing, citing its exemplary use of “Technology and Social Media.” However, with 21 people killed in 2015 – more than any other law enforcement agency in the country – along with one of the nation’s most intrusive surveillance programs, LAPD should not be getting awards, they should be getting a federal investigation. Tell United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch that LAPD is NOT a model police force and should not be recognized and awarded. In 2015, President Obama convened the “President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing” following several high profile cases of police misconduct and the killing of unarmed Black citizens. The task force issued recommendations for ways police departments should improve accountability, transparency, and community relationships. Six police departments from across the country, including LAPD, were identified as models of 21st Century Policing. Later in June, Attorney General Lynch will visit Los Angeles to recognize LAPD. Urge her to reconsider. LAPD has a long and deep history of corruption that continues in their current practices. In 2015 LAPD was the most murderous law enforcement agency in the nation, killing 21 people, many of whom were unarmed people of color and/or people with mental health challenges. Officers who kill people are rarely fired or disciplined, and not one has been criminally charged in these killings. Moreover, with one of the nation’s largest urban homeless populations, LAPD has adopted practices that criminalize homelessness, citing and arresting individuals for having their possessions on the streets. The irony of LAPD receiving an award for “Technology and Social Media” is particularly outrageous. LAPD operates a massive surveillance, spying, and infiltration program, gathering vast amounts of data on the City’s residents. LAPD uses body cameras, automatic license plate readers, street cameras, Stingray devices and DRT boxes (used to track cell phones and jam signals). They also have two drones in their arsenal of military style hi-tech weaponry. Pervasive police misconduct has been documented with officers tampering with in-car recording equipment, breaking police car antennae used to monitor them, and creating Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) on residents who engage in activities as innocent as taking photographs in public; Black people, people of color, and poor people are particularly targeted. A growing number of Angelenos are recognizing LAPD’s repressive tactics and are calling for the firing of the police chief in a #FireBeck campaign. Tell Attorney General Loretta Lynch not to award one of the most authoritarian and delinquent police forces in the nation. Other police departments should not be encouraged to emulate LAPD. In fact, its policies, practices, and procedures should be recommended for federal intervention, not cited for excellence.
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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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  • 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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  • Don't Pay Dante
    For four years, the people of Chicago led by Rekia’s family have marched, protested, held teach-ins and attended Chicago Police Board meetings demanding that Dante Servin be held accountable for taking Rekia’s young life. May 19, 2016 would have begun the start of the termination hearing for Dante Servin, the Chicago police officer who murdered 22 year old Rekia Boyd on March 22, 2012. Instead, Servin resigned Tuesday, May 17, 2016, two days before an evidentiary hearing was scheduled to begin as the last stage in his firing process. Every step of the way, Rekia’s family and supporters have been met with bureaucratic red tape preventing justice. From unnecessary prolonged review periods, to the three years it took for the criminal case to face trial, to the technicality which enabled Servin to walk scot free while the presiding judge stated that he should have been charged with first degree murder, each step was met with government failure to the people of Chicago illustrating City government’s culture of complicity and “blue wall of silence”. Timeline: - March 21, 2012 - Rekia was shot by Chicago Police Department (CPD) officer Dante Servin. - March 22, 2012 - Rekia was taken off of life support after doctors declared her brain dead. - November 28, 2013 - Involuntary manslaughter charges were filed against Servin -- 617 days (or one year, eight months and one week) after Rekia Boyd's murder. - April 9, 2015 - The criminal trial against Servin began, 498 days (one year, four months and two weeks) after the charges were filed. - April 20, 2015 - Judge Dennis Porter granted the defense a directed verdict acquitting Servin of involuntary manslaughter, stating that he should have been charged with first-degree murder. The state's decision to undercharge Servin for his crime at the outset meant that he could not be convicted of a higher charge at the discretion of the court. Since double jeopardy attached the moment a jury was impaneled, Servin cannot be retried for the murder of Rekia Boyd. - September 16, 2015 - After five months of protests at the monthly Chicago Police Board meeting, the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) -- a city-run entity that has been widely discredited for rubber-stamping police violence -- recommended firing Servin. Per the guidelines, the superintendent had 60 days to respond. - November 24, 2015 - Seventy days later, the day the video of the murder of Laquan McDonald was released to the public after a court ruling, former Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy agreed with IPRA's recommendation to fire Servin. In the week following the release of the video, McCarthy was fired by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Per the firing guidelines, the Chicago Police Board had six months to schedule an evidentiary hearing for Servin. - May 19, 2016 - Six months later, the first date of the evidentiary hearing was scheduled to begin. Servin was only the second cop the Independent Police Review Authority recommended to fire for a shooting since its inception. Now that Servin has resigned, he can begin collecting his pension when he turns 50 in July of 2018. His salary, as of Dec. 31, 2015, was $97,044. Dante Servin has literally gotten away with murder. Join us in demanding that Dante Servin's pension be revoked. This is the least that the City can do. Join us in #RememberingRekia by saying #DontPayDante. Endorsed By: A Long Walk Home Assata's Daughters Peoples Response Team Women's All Points Bulletin The Let Us Breathe Collective American Friends Service Committee
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  • Tell Oakland City Council: Put Police Accountability Measure on Ballot
    For the past thirteen years, Oakland tax payers have spent OVER $30 MILLION on Federal oversight of the Police Department because rogue police officers profiled, harassed, abused, and planted drugs on hundreds of Black people in our city. When people experience this kind of police violence, trust is broken. And without that trust, community members are unlikely to report crimes or work with police to apprehend suspects, compromising the safety of everyone. That's why a coalition of organizations is working to pass a measure that will create a community-based Police Commission with the power to discipline officers and hold them accountable to ALL communities. This kind of community oversight will lead to more trust, more fair and equitable treatment, and greater police responsiveness to the community. We need the City Council to place this police accountability measure on the 2016 ballot by July. That's why we need massive public support to convince the City Council to do the right thing and help make policing fair and equitable for all of Oakland.
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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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