• #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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Book Companies donate YOUR PROFITS made by Disgraced Central Park Five Prosecutor Linda Fairstein
    Unscrupulous Prosecutor Linda Fairstein should have been FIRED. Instead, she was able to parlay her career as head of sex crimes unit of Manhattan District Attorney from 1976 until 2002 to successful crime author. If she were FIRED because of her disgraceful actions that circumvent justice these prominent book companies would not have done business and donating the profits they made publishing this unscrupulous prosecutor Linda Fairstein must be donated to the Korey Wise Innocence Project.
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  • Bring Abdi Home! #FreeAbdi
    On December 13, 2017, Abdi was traveling home to his family in Columbus, Ohio when he was detained at JFK airport. Abdi, a legal permanent resident, had just passed through two levels of customs and immigration inspection, and his passport was stamped "admitted" when he was stopped by an officer who asked if he was from Mogadishu. CBP officers detained Abdi for fifteen hours and interrogated him without a Somali interpreter, even though he repeatedly asked for one. During his interrogation, Abdi was surrounded by armed CBP officers and threatened with years of imprisonment and deportation. Abdi was then transferred to Elizabeth Detention Center where he has been detained ever since, ten hours from his family. Due to Abdi’s unjust detention, his wife has been forced to raise their two baby daughters by herself, without his support. Despite being admitted with a green card, Abdi is now forced to fight for asylum to save his life. On November 12, 2018, three days before one of his multiple immigration hearings, Abdi was sent to a hospital in New Jersey because he was in excruciating pain, unable to get out of bed to eat, use the bathroom or see a doctor. Abdi had complained of pain in his chest to the medical staff at the detention center for eight months, but was only given pain medication and antacids. During his ten-day hospitalization, Abdi was chained to the bed by his legs and an arm, with two armed guards at the door at all times. His lungs were drained several times. Without an interpreter, he understood the doctors to be telling him he had a lung infection. He was tested and diagnosed with active TB. Had ICE doctors properly treated Abdi, they could have easily avoided this result. Instead, Abdi is now on a course of TB medications, some of which have serious side effects including fatal liver damage. None of these risks were explained to him. Abdi is back at the Elizabeth Detention Center, but his wife and attorneys are concerned that he is being held in the same place he developed his condition. He has not received the proper follow-up care as directed by the hospital. Despite the fact that the hospital recommended he get daily blood tests to check his liver function, Abdi does not know if he’s had his liver tested, and he has only had blood drawn a few times since leaving the hospital more than 125 days ago. As of now, neither ICE nor CoreCivic have been held accountable for Abdi’s lack of medical treatment. He has permanent scarring in his lungs, and still feels pain in his chest -- a pain he could live with for the rest of his life, thanks to ICE’s neglect. We’re asking that you and your organization consider signing on to our letter of support for Abdi to demand he be released to his family so that he may receive that life saving care he needs. You can sign our petition bit.ly/BringAbdiHome as an individual. If your organization is interested in supporting you can sign our statement of support bit.ly/Letter4Abdi
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  • #Free21Savage Stop the Deportation of She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph
    The hundreds of ICE assaults and detention of Black immigrants is an endemic in the United States, and is too often carried out with the assistance of local law enforcement. On February 3rd in the early afternoon, organizers were alerted to the arrest and detention of rapper, father, community activist and friend She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph -21 Savage. The circumstances of Mr. Abraham-Joseph's detention stand as a testament to the consistent and historically under-reported harassment and targeting of Black immigrants. The US' violent history of criminalizing Blackness intersects with its deadly legacy of detaining and deporting Black and Brown immigrants. This needs to stop today! There are around 4.2 Million Black immigrants in the U.S. - 619,000 are undocumented. Mr. Abraham-Joseph has been in the United States since he was a young child. Atlanta is his home. He has no current or prior criminal convictions and he is beloved by his friends, fans and family. It is shameful that he and so many Black immigrants are separated from their families on a daily basis as part of the US's heartless and racist immigration policies. Demand that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) stop the deportation of She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph - 21 Savage NOW!
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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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  • Demand Gov. Cuomo Free Criminalized Survivors of Gender Violence
    Valerie Seeley is a survivor of domestic violence and in 1988 she was sentenced to 19 years to life in prison for killing her abusive partner while defending herself from a violent attack. In 2017, Valerie was granted clemency and released from Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester County, New York. Her release came after spending 17 years in prison for protecting herself. Governor Cuomo, like all state governors, has the power to grant clemency to people who have been convicted under state law. Valerie is the ONLY domestic violence survivor that has been granted clemency by Gov. Cuomo. In the last eight years Gov. Cuomo has ONLY commuted 12 sentences in total. Survived & Punished, has joined forces with Color Of Change to demand that Gov. Cuomo free all criminalized survivors of gender violence. In New York state history only three survivors have been granted clemency. Gov. Cuomo has the power to change that immediately. Today, there are many people behind bars in NY state prisons simply for fighting to survive. We must protect, not criminalize survivors of domestic and gender based violence. Women and gender nonconforming (GNC) folks have historically been incarcerated for domestic violence and Black women and GNC survivors of abuse are rarely granted the right to protect and defend themselves against their abuser, even less than other people. Throughout the country millions of women, girls and GNC people who are incarcerated are also survivors of domestic/ gender based violence. We must end the criminalization of survivors, we must protect Black women and we must free all people incarcerated for simply surviving. Demand Gov. Cuomo #FreeThemNY. Learn more about #FreeThemNY--http://freethemny.com/
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  • Tell U.S. Attorney Berman - Drop the Charges Against Therese Patricia Okoumou!
    I, the undersigned, am aware that Therèse Patricia Okoumou was found guilty at her trial on December 17th of three federal misdemeanors: trespassing, disorderly conduct and interference with government agency functions. Despite the real prospect of spending 18 months in prison, “We stand on the right side of history. I am not discouraged,” Patricia said after being sentenced. Our Lady Liberty remains steadfast in her mission to continue campaigning against the immoral and inhumane family separation policies of the Trump administration. Since Patricia's trial, new information has revealed that the extent of the Trump Administration's outrageous “zero tolerance” policy, which it has consistently LIED to the court and the American people about, is even worse than previously known. The federal government has ripped apart tender-aged children from nursing mothers. It has flown thousands of young children across the country away from their families and placed them in cages. Some of The Children are being forcibly drugged and others sexually molested in internment camps. There have been deaths of asylum seekers, as young as 7 years old, under the care and custody of border patrol agents and Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE). As part of our basic right to protest, outlined in the constitution, Patricia climbed the Statue of Liberty to increase awareness of this injustice, and I stand in solidarity with her! When we fell low as a country, Patricia went as high as she could to raise consciousness about these atrocities.
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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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  • Bring Back Good Time in Michigan's Prisons (HB 5666)
    Twice in April Michigan’s Good Time Bill, HB 5666, was not to voted on by legislators as expected. The Good Time Bill that was originally introduced in the House at the end of February and was scheduled to vote April 10th and was rescheduled for April 17th, legislators still have not voted on the matter and we cannot wait another election cycle for Good Time to be reintroduced again. Michigan is suffering from a clear problem and its hitting us hard. Michigan state keeps inmates much longer in comparison to other states. These extra years of men and women staying in prison is socially and economically expensive, driving up prison costs by millions and millions of dollars a year with incarceration consuming over a quarter of the state’s general fund. Not only is this problem costly economically on a state level but costly on a community level as African American families are heavily effected with over 44% of the states entire prison population being made of of non-white men. That’s almost half! Its more than disappointing, its disgusting to see the lack of the representatives’ interest in the demands of the people on correcting this gross issue. This Initiative petition requires at least 252,523 valid signatures by May 30th in order for the proposed legislation, the Good Time Bill, to override the legislators voting process. After the successful collection of signatures the bill must be put for a vote by legislators to be either adopted or rejected within 40 days. If the proposed bill is not immediately adopted and is rejected by legislators then it is given another opportunity to become a law by moving forward to proposed to the people in the state of Michigan’s next general election which would be November 6, 2018. This is our opportunity to bring Good Time back in the State’s prisons so that rehabilitated prisoners can rejoin society to support their families and communities. Whether the bill is adopted by legislators or voted into law in a general election, it is important that we give this bill a chance to become a law by showing our overwhelming support for the Good Time Bill. There are more than 40,000 men and women incarcerated in the State of Michigan whose sentences deserve to be reassessed according to the magnitude of their good behavior during their incarceration. Michigan is one of the very few states currently that don’t incorporate Good Time policies to allow a rehabilitated inmate to be released after effectively serving a portion of their sentence, this is a policy that is even instituted at a Federal Level. There is absolutely no reason why a person should lose more of their life just because of their misfortune of being incarcerated in Michigan.
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