View Full Version : The 'Crime' Of Walking While Black.....the DEADLY consequences for a 16 year old.

Peter Lemkin
03-20-2012, 09:21 PM
The Justice Department and the FBI have announced they will conduct a criminal probe of the killing of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and the ensuing police investigation that allowed his killer to walk free. Martin, an African-American student at Michael Krop Senior High School, was visiting his father in a gated community in the town of Sanford, Florida, on February 26 when he walked out to a nearby convenience store to buy candy and iced tea. On his way back, Martin was spotted by the shooter, George Zimmerman, who had been patrolling the neighborhood. Zimmerman has told police he was attacked by Martin from behind. But in the tape of Zimmerman’s own 911 call to the police, Zimmerman tells the dispatcher he is the one following Martin. The Miami Herald reports Zimmerman had taken it upon himself to patrol the neighborhood and had called police 46 times since January 2011 to report suspicious activity or other incidents. We play excerpts of the 911 calls and speak with Jasmine Rand, an attorney who heads the civil rights division at Parks & Crump Law Firm, which is representing Trayvon Martin’s family. "I think we have all of the evidence in the world to arrest him. And I think what the state attorney is trying to do is to try the case and the investigation, and that’s not the state attorney’s job," Rand says. [includes rush transcript]
Filed under Police brutality, Police, FBI

Jasmine Rand, attorney who heads the civil rights division at the Law Firm of Parks & Crump, which is representing Trayvon Martin’s family.
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Rush Transcript

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AMY GOODMAN: The shooting death of an unarmed African-American teenager in Florida has sparked a national outcry as apparent racial profiling claims yet another young life. On Monday, federal authorities announced the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the FBI will conduct a criminal probe of the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and the ensuing police investigation that allowed his killer to walk free.

Martin was a student at Michael Krop Senior High School. He was visiting his father in a gated community in the town of Sanford on February 26th when he walked out to a nearby convenience store to buy Skittles and iced tea. On his way back, Trayvon Martin was spotted by the shooter, George Zimmerman, who had been patrolling the neighborhood. Zimmerman has told police he was attacked by Martin from behind. But in the tape of Zimmerman’s own 911 call to the police, Zimmerman tells the dispatcher he is the one following Trayvon.

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: This guy looks like he’s up to no good or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining, and he’s just walking around, looking about.

911 DISPATCHER: OK. And this guy, is he white, black or Hispanic?

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: He looks black.

911 DISPATCHER: Did you see what he was wearing?

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: Yeah, a dark hoodie, like a grey hoodie, and either jeans or sweatpants and white tennis shoes.

911 DISPATCHER: Are you following him?


911 DISPATCHER: OK, we don’t need you to do that."

AMY GOODMAN: In the last part of that tape, some say Zimmerman can be heard using a racial slur: "these blank-ing coons." Shortly after this, police received another 911 call from a neighbor hearing someone screaming for help. Then there’s a gunshot. Then there’s silence.

911 DISPATCHER: 911. Do you need police, fire or medical?

CALLER: Maybe both. I’m not sure. There’s just someone screaming outside.

911 DISPATCHER: OK. And is it a male or female?

CALLER: It sounds like a male.

911 DISPATCHER: And you don’t know why?

CALLER: I don’t know why. I think they’re yelling "help," but I don’t know. Just send someone quick.

911 DISPATCHER: OK. Does he look hurt to you?

CALLER: I can’t see him. I don’t want to go out there. I don’t know what’s going on.

911 DISPATCHER: Do you think he’s yelling "help"?


911 DISPATCHER: All right, what is your [gunshot heard] number?

CALLER: Just, there’s gunshots.

911 DISPATCHER: You just heard gunshots?


911 DISPATCHER: How many?

CALLER: Just one.

AMY GOODMAN: Police have refused to arrest Zimmerman, saying even though Trayvon Martin was unarmed and nearly 80 pounds lighter, they can find no evidence to contradict Zimmerman’s self-defense claim and that they think it’s his voice on the 911 call screaming for help. But family members and witnesses say it was Trayvon Martin, not Zimmerman, whose pleas can be heard. In another 911 call, a different neighbor reacts to the sight of seeing Trayvon Martin’s dead body.

CALLER: Oh, my god! He shot—he shot the person. He said he shot the person.

911 DISPATCHER: Who’s saying they shot who?

CALLER: People out there. A guy is raising his hands up. He’s saying he shot a person. I think it’s a police officer that’s with him right now, arrest—oh, my god! Oh, oh, my god! Someone has been shot.

911 DISPATCHER: It’s probably going to be best if you stay inside your home for the time being, OK?

CALLER: I can’t believe someone was killed. He was saying "help." Why didn’t someone come out and help him.

911 DISPATCHER: Listen. We don’t know if they’ve been killed, OK? We know that they—probably someone—

CALLER: He just said he shot him. Yes, a person is dead, laying on the ground! I didn’t see because it was too dark, and I just heard people screaming, "Help me! Help me!" And this person shot him.

AMY GOODMAN: Now ABC News has obtained more details about the last moments of Trayvon Martin’s life from a teenage girl who was on the phone with him moments before he was shot dead. The girl told Martin’s attorney, quote, "He said this man was watching him, so he put his hoodie on. He said he lost the man. I asked Trayvon to run, and he said he was going to walk fast. I told him to run, but he said he was not going to run." The girl says Trayvon told her he lost Zimmerman, but then he returned. She told the attorney, quote, "Trayvon said, 'What are you following me for?' And the man said, 'What are you doing here?' Next thing I hear is somebody pushing, and somebody pushed Trayvon because the head set just fell. I called him again, and he didn’t answer the phone," she said.

Police arrived minutes later. After the shooting, Trayvon’s body was bagged and taken to the morgue, where he was tagged as a John Doe. Critics have noted that no one contacted Trayvon’s family even though police had his cell phone in their possession.

The Miami Herald reports Zimmerman had taken it upon himself to patrol the neighborhood and had called police 46 times since January 2011 to report suspicious activity or other incidents. Trayvon Martin was killed on February 26th, but it’s only weeks later that his story is gaining national attention after a campaign led by family members and the release of the 911 tapes last week.

On Monday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked about Trayvon Martin’s death.

PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY: Well, we here in the White House are aware of the incident, and we understand it. The local FBI office has been in contact with the local authorities and is monitoring the situation. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Trayvon Martin’s family. But obviously, we’re not going to wade into a local law enforcement matter. I would refer you to the Justice Department and to local law enforcement at this point.

REPORTER: Has the President himself expressed any comments about it? I mean, you know, the case of Professor Gates up in Cambridge pales compared to this, and the President did speak out about that.

PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY: I don’t have any conversations to report to you.

AMY GOODMAN: Trayvon Martin’s killing occurred less than four weeks after the shooting of another unarmed African-American teenager, Ramarley Graham, by a police officer in New York.

For more, we turn now to a number of guests in Florida.

From Talahassee, we’re joined by Jasmine Rand, an attorney who heads the civil rights division at Parks & Crump Law Firm, which is representing Trayvon Martin’s family.

In Orlando, we’re joined by the Reverend Glenn Dames, pastor of St. James AME Church in Titusville. He’s also president of the North Brevard Ministerial Alliance and former president of the North Brevard NAACP.

We’re also joined by Shelton Marshall, president of the Black Law Students Association at Florida A&M University College of Law. The group held a protest on Monday calling for a federal probe into Trayvon Martin’s death and also held a meeting with local prosecutors.

And we’re joined on the phone by Florida Democratic State Representative Mia Jones of Jacksonville, the chair of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus.

I want to first go to the lawyer for the Martin family to ask you to explain how it is that the shooter has not been arrested, Jasmine Rand.

JASMINE RAND: And I don’t think that I can explain why the shooter hasn’t been arrested. I think that’s exactly why we’re on the phone now, why the students are rallying, because there’s—there’s no explanation for it, especially with the amount of evidence that we have. You know, I think it’s rare in a murder case or a killing case to have this much evidence, to be able to hear, you know, the final moments of Trayvon’s life, to be able to hear the 911 calls of Zimmerman.

I mean, in particular, you have Zimmerman calling. You have him reporting a suspicious person. You have the police telling him, ordering him to stand down. And then you have him directly defying the officer’s orders and continuing to pursue Trayvon. And, you know, as we heard, we now have the 17-year-old girl that came forward that heard, you know, some of the final moments of Trayvon’s life. And what this witness is telling us is that Trayvon was being followed, that he was trying to run. At one point, he lost Zimmerman. What we have is Zimmerman actively seeking this child out with a nine-millimeter.

We also know that Trayvon did not have any type of weapon on him, that Zimmerman outweighed him by 80 pounds. So I think it’s a very clear-cut case of—I think it’s a clear-cut case of murder. You know, I think the kind of tag line of this case has been: "What’s Skittles up against a nine-millimeter weapon?" You have a kid walking home with a pack of Skittles, and you have a grown man following him, pursuing him, with a nine-millimeter weapon. You hear the gunshots, and, you know, you end up with a child dead.

So, I think we have all of the evidence in the world to arrest him. And I think what the state attorney is trying to do is, you know, to try the case and the investigation, and that’s not the state attorney’s job.

AMY GOODMAN: And what about the phone? How is it that the police had it in their possession, but they never figured out who he was for several days, that his body was not claimed, Trayvon’s body, for several days?

JASMINE RAND: I mean, I think it just—it shows that the Sanford Police Department—I mean, there was either corruption or just woeful ignorance on their behalf. They were calling the family, after losing their child, harassing the parents over his phone, wanting to get—you know, get to his phone, get in his phone. And they had the phone in their possession the entire time. So, you know, there are a lot of questions that I can’t answer, because they don’t make sense.

Albert Doyle
03-20-2012, 10:42 PM
An innocent person is walking down the street and somehow ends up being shot dead and the Florida cops think that's something that doesn't involve them and should be worked-out amongst themselves.

In all the wild west movies I've seen if you shoot an unarmed person dead you have to answer to the sheriff. Apparently Florida is even more lawless than the 1880's west.

Peter Lemkin
03-21-2012, 05:32 AM
An innocent person is walking down the street and somehow ends up being shot dead and the Florida cops think that's something that doesn't involve them and should be worked-out amongst themselves.

In all the wild west movies I've seen if you shoot an unarmed person dead you have to answer to the sheriff. Apparently Florida is even more lawless than the 1880's west.

Depends on the color of one's skin. Had an African-American man shot a deficient in melanin man or woman [more so if a sixteen-year old child] they'd be in prison from moment one with calls for their being summarily executed before trial. It is almost a month and they can't even get the man who admits to shooting Martin arrested or prosecuted. He was briefly 'questioned' and let go free. I think mob justice may just take over. The poor and non-white have no rights and little chance of survival in todays Reich. Photos of Trayvon Martin
Oklahoma just passed a new law [to come into effect in few weeks, where you can wear a pistol on your waist-belt in full view and use it any instance of PERCEIVED self-defense or to stop what you THINK will be the stopping of the commission of a felony [without punishment]. You can be sure that those so brandishing sidearms like in the wild west will NOT be poor and NOT be non-white. [they will be the ones killed and shot without any recourse to justice or accountability of who did it.] Juries will be asked only if they believed the shooter had reasonable belief they were shooting in self-defense or to stop the commission of a felony - nothing more.

Peter Lemkin
03-21-2012, 05:44 AM
AMY GOODMAN: The Justice Department’s statement that it’s prepared to step in with an independent investigation goes to some length to explain the burden prosecutors will face, noting that, quote, "With all federal civil rights crimes, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person acted intentionally and with the specific intent to do something which the law forbids — the highest level of intent in criminal law. Negligence, recklessness, mistakes and accidents are not prosecutable under the federal criminal civil rights laws."

We’re going to go right now to State Representative Mia Jones of Jacksonville, who is the chair of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus, joining us on the phone.

The FBI has now said, because of tremendous public outcry, that they’re going to step in. Your response?

REP. MIA JONES: As a caucus, we are very pleased that they have chosen to step in. We had also called for our governor to come forward and to get involved and engaged in this process with the FDLE, as well. And so, to wake up this morning and to hear that they are all becoming a part of what’s happening and to—hopefully, that we will get an impartial investigation underway and that Mr. Zimmerman will be brought up on charges and that the court system would be able to prevail in this matter.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about what’s happening right now in the Florida legislature around Trayvon’s death?

REP. MIA JONES: Actually, the legislature is out of session, and so we are not actively discussing what’s going on. But as a caucus, we have a number of members who have been impacted through their various constituencies, both down in South Florida, where Trayvon’s mother is, I understand, and up in the Sanford area, where his father is. And we have 24 members across the state, and we have a commitment to this family that we will stand with them. The legislative process is such that since we are out of session, there’s not a whole lot of law changing that can be done, but we know that the laws that are currently on the books in Florida make it difficult for prosecution to go forward. But we believe that this is a clear-cut case, as the attorney has stated. Listening to the tapes, listening to the various witnesses, it’s clear that he was not threatened, he was pursuing, and that this was simply a cold-blooded killing.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you explain the "Stand Your Ground" law that is so controversial that is being used as the defense for why Zimmerman has not been arrested?

REP. MIA JONES: Basically that law allows you to use, basically, deadly force if you feel that you’re being threatened and in fear of your life. And so, Mr. Zimmerman has claimed self-defense and indicated that that was why he acted the way that he did. And Florida law, being what it is, which I didn’t support when we passed it, and I think it’s something that needs to be changed. You should not have to wonder, if you’re walking down the street, whether or not someone will feel that they are being threatened simply as you take steps to go wherever you’re trying to get to. And so, as a legislative body, the caucus will address—look to address this issue when we go back into session next year. But for now, we just want to make sure that all parties involved, whether it’s the sheriff’s office in Sanford or whether it’s the FDLE or whether it’s the Justice Department, but that everyone looks at what role they were supposed to take and that they are held accountable for doing what they are charged with doing.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to talk more about this law, what some call the "shoot first" law, not only in Florida but in other states, in a moment, but I wanted to go to Shelton Marshall before he has to leave. He is with the Black Law Students Association at Florida A&M. He’s joining us from Orlando.

Shelton, you were involved in a protest yesterday. Explain what it is you’re calling for, and describe the protest. Who came?

SHELTON MARSHALL: Well, we characterized our event yesterday more as a rally for justice. And our demands were to seek for the imminent—the immediate arrest of George Zimmerman for the death of Trayvon Martin. Our purpose primarily was to bring awareness to the situation. We felt as though, from the outside looking in, there was no transparency. In addition to that, there was continuous attempts to cover up or hide or lack disclosure in a lot of the evidence that was out there. And we, as law students, were concerned because we are the advocates of the day—today and attorneys of tomorrow. And if this injustice can be done today, what happens when we go out to the legal field and we want to practice, and we have clients we want to defend or we’re trying to prosecute on behalf of one of our clients, and we have these laws that inhibit us from doing so?

And one of the major things that we noticed yesterday was that this self-defense claim—we’re still wondering where this has come from, because self-defense is a defense to a murder. It’s not a all-end-be-all that remedies you from being brought up on charges. It’s your defense to claim self-defense in the event that you do engage in a murder or activity, but you’re still arrested, and you’re still charged. There was no arrest. There was no charge. And the public outcry has been so overwhelming because of this, because it can be anyone. This isn’t just a matter that affects the African-American community; it affects the community at large. And we need to recognize that and join in on the movement, because justice for Trayvon is justice for all.

AMY GOODMAN: What about the audio clips that we heard, these 911 tapes that are so chilling? And we didn’t play the half of them. The voice that the police are saying they are investigating, saying they don’t know whether it’s the voice of the shooter, Zimmerman, or the voice of Trayvon.

SHELTON MARSHALL: Well, I think that’s utterly absurd, but when—I listened to the tapes no more than twice. I couldn’t listen to it more than that. It was like you said: "chilling" was the exact word that I used when I posted after my immediate response. You hear someone crying. You hear someone, outlie, crying for help. And my thoughts are that if a man that weighs almost a hundred pounds more than a child comes to or, how do you say, pursues him with a gun in his pocket, why is he crying out for help? I just don’t understand that. But that aside, you hear a child’s cry for help. You hear a plea for someone’s life. Then you hear a gunshot, and then you hear silence. You hear the life exit from the body of a victim. That is what you hear in that tape. You do not hear a grown man pleading for his life, for his safety, because he’s trying to protect the neighborhood.

AMY GOODMAN: Shelton, you’re with the Black Law Students Association. You’re a law student at Florida A&M, a young African-American man. How has this personally affected you, your friends, folks at the protest yesterday?

SHELTON MARSHALL: I would say that the impact of this has taken on a snowball effect. Initially, a lot of people have contacted me, like, "Is that really happening? Are you all, like—did that really occur in Florida? And like, can people get away with that?" And they thought it was something that was on like a reality—I mean, on some type of TV show rather than being reality. And it is—it’s disheartening to say that I live in an area where this can occur.

Initially, my thoughts were that it’s disgusting, that the behavior of the Sanford Police Department and the behavior of the community in relation to this case, that they did not see an issue with the behavior of the police department or the state attorney’s office in handling the matter. As an African-American male, I felt as though it was my duty to step up. I have been afforded the privilege of being in a position where I can advocate for those who do not—who are not able to advocate for themselves. And that is my responsibility as an African-American male who is in law school, because if I don’t stand for something, who will stand for them?

AMY GOODMAN: Are your teachers talking about this well? Are you discussing this in your classes? And what is your next step after yesterday’s protest? And are you satisfied about the FBI, Justice Department stepping in?

SHELTON MARSHALL: I would say that there has been chatter amongst campus about the matter. We are a very diverse campus. Although we attend what’s considered a HBCU law school, we still have a diverse group of individuals who have differing opinions on the matter. Has it been the upfront, foremost activity on campus? I would say no. And that’s why my organization and other entities on campus took hold of it to promote it, so it wouldn’t go by as just something of another black guy who just got killed, you know?

And as far as our next role within this movement, right now we want to serve as a supportive entity, to go to the local rallies that are already being set. We’re here not to distract from the movement, but to push if forward and support the rallies that we have on Thursday with Al Sharpton. There’s another event on Monday at the City Hall. And we have other local individuals who are doing candlelight vigils and services, in which we want to show up and show our presence. After these series of rallies that are going on in the next few weeks, we’ll probably convene to try to do a more national program to bring awareness at local colleges and law schools throughout America.

As far as satisfaction is concerned, like I stated yesterday after the meeting with the assistant state attorney for Sanford, Mr. Pat Whitaker—are we satisfied? No, because justice has not been served to Trayvon Martin and his family. Am I somewhat pleased with the national attention that has been brought to it? Yes, I do feel a little bit more comfortable that an outside organization such as the—such as FBI, Department of Justice, are taking a lead on this matter and doing their independent investigation outside of the state attorney’s office and FDLE, because there needs to be oversight in this matter. And one of the things that I was told yesterday that kind of—kind of put me back a little was that they felt as though the Sanford Police Department did a reasonable investigation in the matter. However, the state attorney’s office will have to supplement the information to get—to formulate proper charges against George Zimmerman. And that showed me that there was some type of lack or inadequacy in what was done in the preliminary matters as it pertains to the death of Trayvon Martin.

AMY GOODMAN: We see at the protest, and we’ve been showing images—for folks listening on the radio, you can see the images on our website at democracynow.org—students holding up Skittles. Can you explain, Shelton?

SHELTON MARSHALL: Well, the premise behind that—and in addition to the students from the college of law and my organization, we did have individuals from the local community. And what we’re taught in law school, from a theoretical perspective, is that in self-defense you need force for force. And force for force in this case was a pack of Skittles versus a nine-millimeter gun. So, in essence, you’re telling me, in Sanford, that a pack of Skittles is a deadly weapon that can warrant you being shot and it—and you can claim self-defense. In any other situation, that’s not true. You have to meet force with force. You had a larger male who was pursuing a young boy. And in addition to that, you had an individual with a nine-millimeter gun versus one without a weapon at all, a pack of Skittles. And it just shows you the disparity between the two—between the two concepts of, "Oh, I’m a grown man. I’m claiming self-defense," versus a young child who says that "I’m just trying to walk home." And it doesn’t match up. It doesn’t make sense. And for them to continuously try to make it sound as if self-defense is the ultimate claim here, it’s just ridiculous.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank you for being with us. I know you have to leave, Shelton. Shelton Marshall is president of the Black Law Students Association at Florida A&M. And we’re going to turn to the reverend in one moment, but I want to play now one of the witnesses of Trayvon Martin’s shooting who’s speaking out against the Sanford police. In a recent news conference, Mary Cutcher said police have ignored her testimony and rejected the police theory that it was Zimmerman screaming for help.

MARY CUTCHER: My point was, is that I feel it was not self-defense, because I heard the crying. And if it was Zimmerman that was crying, Zimmerman would have continued crying after the shot went off. The only thing I saw that night—I heard the crying. We were in the kitchen. I heard the crying. It was a little boy. As soon as the gun went off, the crying stopped. Therefore, it tells me it was not Zimmerman crying.

AMY GOODMAN: That was witness Mary Cutcher. Reverend Glenn Dames is also with us from Orlando. He’s pastor of St. James AME Church in Titusville. He’s also president of the North Brevard Ministerial Alliance and former president of the North Brevard NAACP.

Can you talk about what Mary Cutcher is saying, and also your response so far to where this case has gone, from the killing of Trayvon Martin February 26—we’re talking about weeks ago—to the FBI, the Justice Department saying they’re stepping in to investigate yesterday, Reverend?

REV. GLENN DAMES: Glad to be here on Democracy Now!

Amy, I think it’s clear, just as Mary stated, that this is absurd. How can you say that it was Mr. Zimmerman crying for help, when Mr. Zimmerman was the one holding the weapon the whole time? He was also 80 pounds heavier than Trayvon. That’s absolutely ridiculous, and it’s sad. It’s a sad day when Sanford police dismiss a credible witness in this particular case as being non-credible and not taking seriously her claim. That tells me that this has become a botched investigation, sadly, by the Sanford Police Department. And as I speak to law enforcement individuals who are friends across the state, they tell me privately that this clearly lacks sufficient merit, in terms of the Sanford police investigation. It’s absolutely ridiculous. It’s sad, because Trayvon is now dead.

But I think what we’re doing now, Amy, is we’re making sure that we, in essence, bring his voice back from the grave. And so, even from the grave now, we have become Trayvon Martin’s voice across the state, across the nation, even internationally. People as far as Japan are tweeting and Facebooking about the tragedy of this particular crime. And so, we’re holding rallies. Of course, we had a major rally in—last Thursday in Sanford, and again on Sunday in Titusville, where we drew close to a thousand people, who demanded Mr. Wolfinger bring Trayvon’s killer, murderer, to justice, because, make no mistake about it, Mr. Zimmerman is a murderer.

AMY GOODMAN: Reverend Glenn Dames, can you talk about Sanford, give us a history of the community?

REV. GLENN DAMES: Sanford is a town in central Florida that, believe it or not, has a history of doing some things as such questionable investigative practices. And now they have met their match, because the community and the nation has declared that we will not stand for this anymore. This is modern-day lynching. And we have decided that we will not accept what Langston Hughes called "strange fruit hanging from the trees," which was of course African Americans who were hung in that day and time from trees, publicly, for great outcry. And so now we’re making sure that this does not happen in 2012. And so, Sanford is a place that is now gaining national attention for a botched investigation.

It’s sad that—just the mere fact, Amy, that Trayvon’s parents had to file a missing person’s report on their son, who was sitting in the morgue, when Sanford police had the phone in their custody, that tells me that that’s insensitive and callous. How do you have a child? You have to know this is somebody’s child. You have the phone with you. You have experts. You could have traced the phone. You could have somehow found Trayvon’s parents to notify them—at least notify them of their son’s death. This is absolutely tragic that they could not be the first persons on the scene. His father lived in that particular neighborhood. Why was there not a canvas of every door? Every door should have been knocked on to say, "Hey, we have a young man who’s been fatally injured. Can you please help us?" They didn’t knock on any doors. They didn’t look for witnesses. And now you have a family that’s hurt, devastated and disappointment—disappointed in the Sanford Police Department. That’s absolutely ludicrous.

AMY GOODMAN: Unless, Reverend Dames, they thought that the boy was a stranger, that they assumed, the police assumed, that he did not come from the gated community.

REV. GLENN DAMES: How sad it is. I wonder why. Could that be because of the pigmentation of his skin? How dare he be a resident or have family in that gated community? How dare he? Because the color of his skin, clearly, he now is not a resident. Why was that not a first thought? Why did they not assume that he couldn’t be there? That’s a sad day, a sad commentary, when you have a police department who would assume a young 17-year-old black boy a stranger.

Well, we’re here to say Trayvon is not a stranger. He is our son. He is our brother. He is our cousin. He is our family. And you know what? We believe in family, especially in this nation, because we are all brothers and sisters. And so, people of all hues have come together to say that Trayvon, regardless of his color, is our brother, our nephew, our cousin. He is our family. And you know what? We’re speaking up for our family member, Trayvon Martin.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to bring attorney Jasmine Rand back into this, who works with the firm that’s representing Trayvon’s family. Can you talk about the state attorney and what he said yesterday, Jasmine?

JASMINE RAND: Yeah, I think the most astounding part of the meeting with the state attorney, to me, yesterday, when we initially sat down to talk to him and we asked him whether or not there was going to be an arrest made, he said that he was continuing the investigation of the Sanford Police Department to see if there was any evidence, enough evidence to prove a claim of self-defense. And when asked whether or not it was his job to prove self-defense or if that was the job of the defense attorney, he told us, "Well, no, that’s not really my job. My job is to prosecute." And it wasn’t until later in the conversation, when I asked him if he planned on pressing any charges, and if there were to be charges pressed, what those charges would be, he responded to me, "Manslaughter." You know, the fact that he did not begin the conversation by saying, "I’m continuing the investigation to see whether or not there’s a claim for manslaughter," he began the conversation by saying, "I’m trying to prove whether or not there’s a claim for self-defense" — his choice of words, I believe, are indicative of his mindset and indicative of what we’ve already seen from the Sanford Police Department, that they are investigating this case with a lens of trying to prove self-defense instead of investigating this case—investigating the case in a fair, impartial manner to see whether or not there is the possibility of a murder or a manslaughter charge. So, that was alarming to me.

The other thing, the other aspect of our conversation that was alarming to me was that when asked about race, you know, the state attorney just brazenly shook his head and wouldn’t even address the issue. He said, "We’re not talking about that." But what we heard was George Zimmerman talking about race. You know, we heard him say twice that Trayvon was black. You know, we heard him use expletives. We heard him say, "These blanks always get away with it." You know, some people have said that they heard him use the term "coon" on the audio tape, which is a very obvious racial slur, you know, against African Americans. And we also heard the neighbors come forward and say that, "Yeah, in this particular neighborhood, we look for young black males to be committing criminal activity." And that’s exactly what George Zimmerman did that night. He found a young black male that he did not recognize, assumed that he did not belong there, and he targeted him, and he sought him out. So, to say that, you know, "We’re not going to discuss race in this manner," in such a brazen term, State Attorney, that is your job. You’re prosecuting, and one of your jobs is to look and see if race did play into this, if race was a factor. So, you know, I was disappointed and disheartened by my conversation with the state attorney. And my fear is that we’re going to see more of the same from the state attorney that we’ve seen from the Sanford Police Department.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank you very much, Jasmine Rand, for joining us, head of the civil rights division at Parks & Crump Law Firm. We’re going to break. Reverend, I’d like to ask you to stay on with us. We’re also going to go to Washington, D.C., as we leave Tallahassee, to talk with Caroline Brewer, who’s director of communications at the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, to talk about the law in Florida that the police have invoked to say that the shooter, George Zimmerman, should not even be arrested. This is Democracy Now!, a special on the death of Trayvon Martin. Stay with us.

AMY GOODMAN: "Strange Fruit," sung by Billie Holiday, written by Abe Meeropol, the adopted father of Michael and Robby Meeropol, who were the sons of the Rosenbergs, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. For our radio listeners, during that song, we showed the images of Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Ramarley Graham and Amadou Diallo. And you can go to our website to see that music interlude. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman.

The killing of Trayvon Martin has brought renewed scrutiny to Florida’s controversial "Stand Your Ground" law. Backed by the National Rifle Association, the law expands the right of citizens to claim in self-defense in the killing of others. More than 20 states have similar measures in place. Now Oklahoma is poised to become the first state in seven years to let residents openly display handguns in public.

In a moment, we’ll be joined from Washington, D.C., by Caroline Brewer of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. And still with us in Orlando is Reverend Glenn Dames, who is the pastor of the St. James AME Church in Titusville, president of the North Brevard Ministerial Alliance and former president of the North Brevard NAACP.

I want to go to Caroline Brewer. Talk about this law. What exactly does it mean?

CAROLINE BREWER: What the law means is that people who have been licensed to carry concealed weapons can carry those weapons outside of their home in places where they, under the law, have a right to be, and they can use those weapons if they feel that their lives are being threatened or that they have witnessed someone who is about to commit a felony or who is in the commission of a felony.

AMY GOODMAN: The Stand Your Ground legislation, Reverend Dames in Orlando—the Stand Your Ground legislation, was it controversial at the time of the passing? Was the NAACP, was your church, involved with opposing it?

REV. GLENN DAMES: Everybody was involved. Most of the people in the community was always up in rage about this particular law, because we seen it as what some have dubbed it, "the John Wayne law," which means that you can carry your gun and kill anybody at will, and that the burden of proof then no longer lies with you to prove that you felt threatened. This is absolutely ridiculous, and we’re calling upon Governor Scott now to repeal this law, on legislators. You heard earlier Representative Mia Jones say that the Black Caucus, the State Black Caucus, black legislators was going to work hard to repeal this law. I think that to be the number one goal. And I think that we should call it Trayvon’s reversal, because this is a heinous law that should not be on the books, because, as you can see, you have people use it the wrong way, and it hurts and kills families, destroys them. And at a time when we should be focusing on the family, we don’t need people who destroy families with this law.

AMY GOODMAN: Caroline Brewer, talk about the NRA’s involvement with it and the legislation that some call the "shoot first" legislation, others call it "Stand Your Ground," that is spreading now, and the—what exactly is happening in Oklahoma, first state where you can carry—you don’t have to conceal your gun.

CAROLINE BREWER: Well, the NRA, back in 1987, was successful in getting Florida to pass the first concealed weapons law. So Florida has been the NRA’s utopia for testing terrible gun laws that loosen regulations about who can carry guns and where they can carry guns and how they can use those guns. So this has been going on for quite some time, where the NRA has been able to go to Florida and get the legislators to pass laws that liberalize who can carry guns. And what we’ve seen on a practical level in Florida is that just a year after the "shoot first" law was enacted, you had an exposé by the Sun Sentinel that found hundreds and hundreds of people who had these concealed carry licenses were people who had criminal backgrounds. They had arrests and had pleaded guilty to assaults, burglaries, child molestation. So you’re talking about people who are dangerous, people who are violent. And yet, just within a very short time after the law was passed, Florida had hundreds and hundreds of these people with these licenses to go out and kill somebody else. And pretty much it was their word against the other person’s.

And, you know, in the case of Trayvon, he is not alive, but there certainly are other witnesses, and there certainly are many circumstances to indicate that George Zimmerman did go after this young man, that he was not really a threat. But you have this happening in Florida, and you have it happening in states all over the country, where about half the states in the United States have "shoot first" laws. And the majority of states in the United States have some kind of concealed carry law. And right now in the U.S. Senate, just last week a bill was introduced by Senator Begich of Alaska that would allow people like George Zimmerman to travel across state lines and take their guns with them. They would legally be able to carry their guns, for instance, into Times Square. So these people—the NRA has been successful in allowing people who are dangerous and are criminal to be able to carry guns and to be able to use them against our families and people in our communities. They have made us a much less safe nation.

AMY GOODMAN: And, Caroline, Oklahoma?

CAROLINE BREWER: I am not up to speed on the recent legislation in Oklahoma, but I—you know, I do know that there have been—there has been an effort by the NRA to, once they are able to get concealed carry, then they go for permit-less concealed carry. They keep pushing and pushing until their vision is realized, where just about anybody can get a gun, and they can take that gun anywhere legally, and they can use that gun. So that’s what you see being done by the NRA in states all across this nation.

AMY GOODMAN: Reverend, Reverend Dames, there’s going to be a town hall meeting tonight. Is that right? It’s being held at—by the NAACP at the Allen Chapel AME Church on Olive Street in Sanford. Talk about what your plans are here on in, what you’re calling for, what actions are being taken in Florida.

REV. GLENN DAMES: Well Amy, there is a rally and a public forum tonight, as you stated, sponsored by the Seminole County, which is the home incident county, branch of the NAACP at the Allen Chapel AME Church. As well, there’s also, of course, a major rally on Thursday with Reverend Al Sharpton at Shiloh Baptist Church in Sanford. And there’s, of course, scattered rallies in between those times. And as well as Monday coming, the 26th, there is a major rally again at City Hall in Sanford. I’m going to pull that permit today, as a matter of fact, on behalf of our organization to have this rally.

We want George Zimmerman brought to justice. He is a racial profiler. Amy, I’m not sure if you
know, but some more 911 tapes were released, and come to find out that George Zimmerman, in the months leading up to this tragic death of Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman identified four times a suspicious black male, which in my mind makes him a racial profiler. For those who say race is not an issue in this particular piece, it’s not the only issue, but rest assured, it is an issue. As well, he always referred to them as "suspicious." The majority of times, every time he says something, it’s always a "suspicious black male." That tells me, in my mind, that George Zimmerman was on a hunting trip, and he was looking to hunt him, what some have heard him say or say that they heard him say, "a coon," in essence. He had these feeling, and for those who try to dismiss them, it’s unfair and also an insult to Trayvon’s memory. He was racial profiling. And he finally found him a victim in Trayvon Martin, in which he gunned down, needlessly, and did not care about Trayvon or his family, as you can hear the 911 caller say.

AMY GOODMAN: Reverend Glenn Dames, I want to thank you very much for being with us, pastor of the St. James AME Church in Titusville, right near Sanford. And I want to thank Caroline Brewer, as well, director of communications, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

Christer Forslund
03-22-2012, 08:56 PM
Parents of slain Florida teen to join Million Hoodies March (http://www.legitgov.org/Parents-slain-Florida-teen-join-Million-Hoodies-March)
& No-confidence vote for Sanford police chief (http://www.legitgov.org/Trayvon-Martin-case-No-confidence-vote-Sanford-police-chief)

March 22, 2012 by legitgov

Parents of slain Florida teen to join Million Hoodies March (http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/21/us-usa-florida-shooting-newyork-idUSBRE82K1H520120321)
21 Mar 2012 reuters
The father of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed teen shot dead by a neighborhood watch captain in Florida, said on Wednesday he would join A Million Hoodies March in New York to demand justice for his slain son who "didn't deserve to die this evil way." Organizer Daniel Maree said the rally in Union Square Park, north of Greenwich Village, was intended to "put pressure on whoever it takes to charge George Zimmerman and prosecute him." The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and the FBI said on Monday that they had opened an investigation into the shooting. A state grand jury was also being convened.

Trayvon Martin case: No-confidence vote for Sanford police chief (http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-trayvon-martin-sanford-police-chief-20120321,0,4163905.story)
22 Mar 2012 latimes
In a tense meeting Wednesday that highlighted growing tensions over the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager, local officials in Sanford, Fla., passed a vote of no confidence in the police chief as protests spread north to New York City, where the slain youth's parents joined a Manhattan march demanding the killer's arrest. The no-confidence measure passed 3 to 2 after more than an hour of debate, and though it was not binding, the outcome and the public groans and applause that punctuated the debate underscored the anger pulsing through the Orlando suburb nearly a month after 17-year-old Trayvon Martin's death on Feb. 26.

Peter Lemkin
03-22-2012, 10:29 PM
The Police Chief just 'temporarily' 'stepped down'..but the murderer is still free and NOTHING is moving toward his arrest. The way the law was structured, his saying he FELT that his life was in danger and he fired in self defense - whether either part of that is a lie - is 'defense' enough. Apparently. Sick, sick country. How does this look from the rest of the World?

Magda Hassan
03-23-2012, 12:58 AM
It look insane. Why on earth is the murderer walking around free? We know things would have been handled quite different if the positions were reversed.

Peter Lemkin
03-28-2012, 03:25 AM
How ALEC Is Creating Florida-Style Messes in Other States
John Nichols on March 26, 2012 - 12:18 PM ET

Wisconsin is a rod-and-gun state, with a hunting history that has fostered traditions of broad gun ownership and respect for the right to bear arms.

So how did Wisconsin get saddled with a “Castle Doctrine” law that mirrors some of the worst aspects of the Florida legislation that's now at the center of the controversy over the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Not because sportsmen and women, law enforcement officers, legal scholars or grassroots citizens decided Wisconsin should borrow bad ideas from distant states.

Wisconsin has a "Castle Doctrine" law because the American Legislative Exchange Council, the corporate-funded group that aligns special-interest organizations and corporate donors with pliable legislators, made the Florida law "model legislation." Then ALEC-aligned political insiders such as Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder, a national ALEC task-force member, and Governor Scott Walker, an ALEC alumnus, introduced, passed and signed “Castle Doctrine” legislation—despite warnings from Wisconsin law enforcement leaders and responsible gun owners that it was a poor fit for the state.

How poor a fit became evident last week, when the district attorney in Wisconsin's Washington County announced that he would not pursue a serious inquiry into the death of Bo Morrison, a 20-year-old Wisconsinite who was shot and killed in the village of Slinger. Morrison, who had been at an underage drinking party that was broken up by the police, was one of a number of young people who ran and hid in the surrounding neighborhood. He was hiding on the porch of an adjacent home when the homeowner—who knew police were in the area—shot him in the chest. The DA determined that the homeowner was protected from prosecution by the state's new "Castle Doctrine."

The Wisconsin case is complicated, and no one has suggested that Morrison was a perfect player. But he was unarmed. And there is no evidence that he physically or verbally threatened the shooter. For that reason, the decision of the DA , and the narrowing of options for a proper investigation by the "Castle Doctrine," has provoked outrage from citizens and some legislators. State Representative Chris Taylor, a Madison Democrat and a lawyer who was outspoken in her opposition to the measure last year, now says: “It is heartbreaking that the legislature allowed this reckless law to go forward and now a young man is dead,” concluded Taylor. “This law encourages people to resort to vigilantism and use deadly force instead of calling the police. This is a barbaric law that must be immediately repealed.”

But how did the legislature enact a measure that is so out-of-synch with the state's traditionally well reasoned approach to gun rights, self-defense protections and the rule of law?

Wisconsin circumstance is like that of many states that find themselves with laws that owe more to the heavy hand of the American Legislative Exchange Council—and the determined lobbying of the National Rifle Association—than to realities on the ground of the concerns of citizens.

The genesis for the Wisconsin law Wisconsin was a 2005 Florida law, which provided immunity to individuals who use deadly force against unarmed persons whom they imagine to be threatening. The Wisconsin law provides that immunity for shootings that take place on or around dwellings, businesses and vehicles, while the Florida law includes broader "stand your ground" language that protects shootings in public spaces. But the distinction is slimmer than it seems, as Wisconsin statutes extend the definition of a "dwelling" out to porches, fence lines and sidewalks.

Florida's law was sponsored by Republican legislators who were ALEC members. They dismissed explicit and repeated warnings that this measure would encourage shootings like that of Trayvon Martin. The same went for Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who signed the measure and declared it a “common sense” reform.

While the ink was still drying on the Florida law, ALEC moved to take it nationwide. Working with NRA lobbyists and representatives of big retailers that profit from gun sales, ALEC's "Criminal Justice Task Force" (now the "Public Safety and Elections Task Force") developed "Castle Doctrine" model legislation for promotion in other states.

For the most part, ALEC’s model legislation is designed to ease taxes and regulations for corporations, while weakening unions and undermining tort laws. But the shadowy Koch brothers–funded network—which brings together state legislators who cannot think for themselves with corporate interests and pressure groups that are more than happy to think for then—dabbles in electoral and public safety issues.

That's what happened seven years ago, when ALEC's members approved model legislation that mirrored the Florida law’s assertion that a gunman can use "deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary."

ALEC-aligned lawmakers in states across the country began promoting the model legislation—sometimes in mirror form, sometimes with modest alterations—advanced. After Republicans gained complete control of state legislatures in states such as Wisconsin after the 2010 elections, the process accelerated. According to the Center for Media and Democracy, which organized the ALEC Exposed project, “Since becoming an ALEC model, sixteen states have passed laws that contain provisions identical or similar to (Florida's law)."

ALEC even highlighted the fight on its "legislative scorecard”—giving states extra credit for passing it. Wisconsin did so last fall, when Assembly Majority Leader Suder and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald moved a "Castle Doctrine" bill to the top of the legislative agenda.

Suder and Fitzgerald, of course, deny they are ALEC automatons. But Suder has for a number of years been a member of the ALEC Public Safety and Elections Task Force that taken the lead in promoting the "Castle Doctrine" model legislation. He has also served as ALEC's legislative chairman for Wisconsin. Fitzgerald has been a regular as national ALEC events and went out of his way as he assumed the majority leader position to talk up his enthusiasm for legislative initiatives he learned about at the group's post-2010 election conference in Washington.

Suder, Fitzgerald and Walker advanced the ALEC model legislation in Wisconsin even though the state a strong tradition of respecting "self-defense" claims in shooting cases, and even though the State Bar of Wisconsin's Criminal Law Section argued that new legislation was unnecessary to protect homeowners from unfair prosecutions. Indeed, Marquette Law School Professor Gregory O’Meara, a former chairman of the Criminal Law Section, warned with regard to the "Castle Doctrine" proposal that: “It could actually give a presumption in favor of a murderer."

What happens when legislators pass laws without considering their consequences—or the unique circumstances of the state in which they are being passed? The Florida Department of Law Enforcement suggests that killings that have gotten a "justifiable homicide" pass have tripled since Jeb Bush signed that state's law. And as Representative Taylor noted after the Washington County prosecutor deferred to the "Castle Doctrine" in the Slinger, Wisconsin, case, “Now a young man, like in Florida, has been killed, and a family mourns the loss of a son. What a senseless tragedy.”

Florida may have been the pioneer. But thanks to the American Legislative Exchange Council, it is now just one of many states, including Wisconsin, that have enacted variations on the "Castle Doctrine." These laws are not products of the political or legislative processes of sovereign American states, nor are they smart extensions of necessary protections for gun ownership. They are one-size-fits-all legislative "fixes" for problems that never existed—imposed upon states that now must deal with the messes that ALEC creates.

Adele Edisen
03-28-2012, 04:02 AM
On the TV news today, on MSNBC, it was announced that the lead dectective of the Sanford Police Department, on the day of the shooting, wanted to arrest George Zimmerman to be held on the charge iof manslaughter. The then State Attorney blocked this and Zimmerman was allowed to leave the Police Station with his clothes and gun. The lead detective filed an affidavit citing his action in the matter. Since then a special attorney was appointed by the Governor of Florida to conduct an invstuigation.

Sorry that I don't have all the names, but it should be on the news tomorrow morning..


Magda Hassan
03-28-2012, 06:47 AM

Peter Lemkin
03-28-2012, 03:30 PM
Now we're talking 'business'! Great! Anyone want to write a life insurance policy for Mr. Z? I liked the old Black Panthers, and I like the sound of the New Black Panthers too.

Magda Hassan
03-29-2012, 02:14 AM
‎"THIS JUST IN: Now we know why George Zimmerman didnt get arrested....No Words.......According to court records George Zimmerman is the son of retired Supreme Court Magistrate Judge Robert J Zimmerman, his mother Gladys Zimmerman is a court clerk....He has three closed arrests 7/18/05 for resisting arrest with violence and battery on a law enforcement officer div 10........8/9/05 for domestic violence div 44..... And again on 8/10/05 domestic violence div 46 *** Throws hands up and drops the mic***

New details have emerged regarding the history of George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin (http://globalgrind.com/tag/Trayvon-Martin) inside a Sanford, Fl gated community complex on February 26th.
New court documents revealed that Zimmerman went to court in 2005 and 2006 for accusations of domestic violence, tussling with a police officer and speeding.According to MSNBC (http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/27/10894561-zimmerman-accused-of-domestic-violence-fighting-with-a-police-officer), the three incidents took place in Orange County, Fla.:
In 2005, Zimmerman, then 20, was arrested and charged with “resisting officer with violence” and “battery of law enforcement officer,” both which are third-degree felonies.
The charge was reduced to “resisting officer without violence” and then waived when he entered an alcohol education program.
Contemporaneous accounts indicate he shoved an officer who was questioning a friend for alleged underage drinking at an Orange County bar.
In August 2005, Zimmerman’s ex-fiancee, Veronica Zuazo, filed a civil motion for a restraining order alleging domestic violence.
Zimmerman counterfiled for a restraining order against Zuazo. The competing claims were resolved with both restraining orders being granted.
In December 2006, Zimmerman was charged with speeding. The case was dismissed when the officer failed to show up in court.

Trayvon’s case has sparked nationwide outrage and his parents, along with their supporters, have called for Zimmerman’s arrest.The case has drawn national attention and thousands have rallied across the country for Trayvon’s cause.Bill Lee, the Sanford police chief, has temporarily stepped down from his post, while the FBI and Department of Justice and the state of Florida are investigating.

Read more: http://globalgrind.com/node/829145#ixzz1qT4wEruf

Peter Lemkin
03-29-2012, 05:54 AM
Just the kind 'O guy who should have a rifle and patrol the neighborhood.....and get off scott-free when he kills someone in cold blood! All of the 'stand-your-ground' laws are insane and backed by ALEC, the gun lobby and the ultra-insane. Where's Marshall Dillon when we need him?!...since we have gone back to the Wild West of the 1840s.

Peter Lemkin
03-30-2012, 05:14 AM
JUAN GONZALEZ: As the shooting death of Trayvon Martin continues to draw national attention, today we look at another controversial shooting of an African-American male that has received far less scrutiny. On the morning of November 19th, a 68-year-old former marine named Kenneth Chamberlain with a heart condition accidentally pressed the button on his medical alert system while sleeping. Responding to the alert, police officers from the city of White Plains, New York, arrived at Chamberlain’s apartment in a public housing complex shortly after 5 a.m. By the time the police left the apartment, Kenneth Chamberlain was dead, shot twice in the chest by a police officer inside his home. Police gained entry to Chamberlain’s apartment only after they took his front door off its hinges. Officers first shot him with a taser, then a beanbag shotgun, and then with live ammunition.

AMY GOODMAN: Police have insisted the use of force was warranted. They said Kenneth Chamberlain was emotionally disturbed and had pulled a knife on the officers. This is David Chong, public safety commissioner in White Plains.

DAVID CHONG: The officers first used an electronic taser, which was discharged, hit the victim, and had no effect. While the officers were retreating, the officers then used a shotgun, a beanbag shotgun.

AMY GOODMAN: Relatives of Kenneth Chamberlain have questioned the police portrayal of events that led to his death, and they say audio and video recorded at the scene back up their case. According to the family, Kenneth Chamberlain can be heard on an audio recording of his call to the medical alert system operator saying, quote, "Please leave me alone. I’m 68 with a heart condition. Why are you doing this to me? Can you please leave me alone?" Officers allegedly responded by calling Chamberlain a racial slur while urging him to open the door. The audio recording of the incident has not been made public and remains in the possession of the Westchester District Attorney’s office.

In early December, Kenneth Chamberlain, a retired marine, was buried with military honors. The family posted video of part of the ceremony.

Several months after his death, the name of the officer who killed Kenneth Chamberlain has yet to be released. The DA has vowed to convene a grand jury to determine if any of the officers should face charges.

We invited the White Plains Police Department and the Westchester DA’s office on to the program, but they declined to join us or issue a comment. But we are joined by Kenneth Chamberlain, Jr., the son of Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr., the victim, and by two of the family’s attorneys. Mayo Bartlett is the former chief of the Bias Crimes Unit of the Westchester County District Attorney’s office and the former chair of the Westchester County Human Rights Commission. Randolph McLaughlin is a longtime civil rights attorney. He teaches at Pace Law School.

We welcome you all to Democracy Now! Our condolences to your family, Kenneth Chamberlain, on the death of your father.


AMY GOODMAN: Tell us what you understand happened early in the morning of November 19th.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: Well, it’s my understanding that, from what I’ve gathered right now, that my father accidentally pushed his medical pendant around his neck. He could have possibly turned over on it. We don’t know. We can only speculate about that.

AMY GOODMAN: Why did he wear it?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: He has a heart condition, and he also suffered from COPD. And when he—the pendant was triggered—

AMY GOODMAN: You’re holding that in—


AMY GOODMAN: —his hand.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: This is his pendant right here. It was triggered, and the medical company—there’s a box inside his home. The medical company asked him if he was all right. They didn’t get a response. So, automatically, if you don’t get a response, they send medical services to your house. They informed the police that they are responding to a medical emergency, not a crime. And once they arrived at my father’s home, my father did tell them that he was OK. But for some reason, they wanted to gain entry into my father’s home. I don’t know why. And in the audio, you hear my father telling them that he’s fine, he’s OK.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Now, this is an important point, that there was audio going on throughout this between the firm and your father.


JUAN GONZALEZ: And so, much of the activity of the police was caught on this audio.


AMY GOODMAN: So the box on the wall records everything that’s—

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: It’s actually a box that just sat on his table in the—in his dining room area. It just sat there. And it’s connected to the phone company. So if he does trigger it, as I said, you hear a loud beeping noise. And then the operator, from their central station, will come on, and they say, "Mr. Chamberlain, are you OK? You triggered your alarm. Is everything all right?" And, of course, if they don’t get a response, they then contact the officials.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Now you were able to hear this audio because the DA’s office allowed you to hear it? How did you—


JUAN GONZALEZ: But it has not yet been released.


AMY GOODMAN: So, continue. You hear your father through the door telling the police he’s OK. This is about 5:00 in the morning?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: Yes. He’s saying that he’s OK. He’s saying that he did not call for them. But they were very insistent. They were banging on the door, banging on the door, banging on the door. So you hear one of the officers say to him, "Well, you pushed your—you triggered your alarm now." He said, "That’s because I want you to leave me alone." And they just kept telling him, "Open the door. Open the door. Let us see that you’re all right." At some point, the door was cracked open, because the police officers have a taser that has a camera on it, and it also has audio. So you could see where the door was cracked open. So, once you’ve gotten a visual, and you’ve seen that my father is OK, and he’s telling you that he’s OK, why would you still insist on getting into the apartment? Which is the question that I have. And they weren’t responding to a crime. He was sleeping and accidentally triggered his alarm.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And the officers then did what?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: Ultimately, after using expletives and racial slurs, they broke down the door. You can see on the video from the taser that they fired a taser at him. And I’m assuming that both prongs didn’t go in. He stood about maybe eight to 10 feet away from them with his hands down to his side. And at one point, you hear one of the officers say, "Cut it off." And it was at that point they shot and killed my father.

AMY GOODMAN: They shot him with beanbag also?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: Well, we didn’t see that. So I can’t—I can’t confirm or deny that.

AMY GOODMAN: Did you hear what the police officers were saying, were shouting to him before they—did they take the door off the hinges?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: They took it completely off the hinges.

AMY GOODMAN: To get in.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: Yes. There were no orders given to him once they knocked the door down, though, which you would have expected, that they would have given some type of verbal command and said, "Get down on the floor. Put your hands up. Get against the wall." None of those things were said.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And the allegation that he tried to attack them with a weapon first through the crack in the door and then once they got in the house?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: I didn’t see that. I can’t say that it didn’t happen, but from the video that I’ve seen and from what I gathered from the audio, I didn’t see where my father attacked them. And he was inside his home, so where was the immediate threat?

AMY GOODMAN: What exactly did you hear your father say? He was inside the house as the police are coming inside, and the medical pendant company is recording all of this.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: I’ve heard—I heard several things on there. One thing you hear is my father pleading with them to leave him alone. Excuse me. You hear him asking them why are they doing this to him. He says, "I’m a 68-year-old man with a heart condition. Why are you doing this to me? I know what you’re going to do: you’re going to come in here, and you’re going to kill me." You also hear him pleading with the officers again, over and over. And at one point, that’s when the expletive is used by one of the police officers.

AMY GOODMAN: What did they say?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: Where they say, "I don’t give a F." And then they use the N-word. And then, as I said, ultimately, they bust down the door. And it hurts because, as I said, it didn’t have to go to that point. You also hear the operators from the LifeAid company call the police station and say that they want to cancel the call, Mr. Chamberlain is OK. And at one point you hear the officer there at their central office say, "We’re not canceling anything." They say, "Call his son. Contact his son." And they say, "We’re not contacting anyone. We don’t need any mediators."

JUAN GONZALEZ: I’d like to bring in Mayo Bartlett, because you’re not only an attorney for the family in this case, but you are also a former prosecutor—


JUAN GONZALEZ: —in Westchester County, so you’re familiar with police procedures in cases like this. I’m struck by the fact that the identity of the police officer involved has not yet been revealed. That’s something that’s pretty routine in cases like this, certainly by this time, because we’re talking about an event that happened in November.

MAYO BARTLETT: Absolutely. I think that anybody who lives in the city of White Plains has to ask themselves whether this individual is working right now. And if so, in what capacity? And I think that it’s just—it’s atrocious that that name has not been released and that the officers involved are not at least on desk duty, some type of modified duty.

Looking at it as a former prosecutor, whenever you talk about a use of force, you always look at a use of force continuum, and it’s an escalation of force. And generally, police departments have rules and protocols which suggest that you should first start out with a verbal command, if in fact there’s even a need to do that and if that’s the least intrusive manner that you can address an issue. And after that, it goes generally to a light hands application, and it goes up from there to possibly a baton, pepper spray, possibly a taser. And you use deadly force only when it’s necessary to prevent deadly force from being used.

And in this case, Mr. Chamberlain didn’t have a gun. Mr. Chamberlain, when I saw the videotape, did not have a knife when he was in his apartment. You see a 68-year-old man with no shirt on and boxer shorts and his hands down at his sides. And I didn’t see any weapon in his hands there.

And the other thing that’s troubling to me is the fact that a taser was used at all, because you’re there for a medical response. You’re not there investigating a criminal act. You are there with the understanding that there may be a person who needs medical assistance.

AMY GOODMAN: For a man with a heart condition, no less.

MAYO BARTLETT: Absolutely. And so, if you understand that, to use a taser, which is going to send significant electricity through that person’s body, would be, at best, reckless. And that alone could cause his death. And the thing that’s extremely troubling to me is that, again, the police were not there to respond to criminal activity. They went to the gentleman’s house at 5:00 in the morning to give him assistance. The only reason that he had the LifeAid pendant to begin with was so that his family and that he would be comfortable that if something was to occur, he would be able to get assistance.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to read part of the initial news coverage around the killing of Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr. The headline on the News 12 website read, quote, "Officer fatally shoots hatchet-wielding man." TheDailyWhitePlains.com website posted an article titled "Police Fatally Shoot Disturbed Man Carrying Knife." The story begins, quote, "White Plains police say an officer discharged two rounds, fatally shooting an emotionally disturbed White Plains man who attempted to bar officers from entering his apartment with a hatchet and then turned towards police with a butcher’s knife." Randy McLaughlin, would you respond to this?

RANDOLPH McLAUGHLIN: Well, first, one of the problems in a wrongful death case like this is, you’ve got a decedent, the person who’s dead, and the police initially put out their spin. And that’s a spin. That’s clearly a spin. The videotape had—there’s also a videotape of what happened in that hallway. There’s an audio tape. There’s a videotape of Mr. Chamberlain when they come at him with the taser. This is a clear violation of criminal law and of constitutional rights. In our country, we have a Fourth Amendment that says we’re supposed to be secure in our own homes. Mr. Chamberlain wasn’t attacking anyone. He was in his home. This idea that they—he attacked anyone with a hatchet is, frankly, a lie. That’s what it is. It’s a cover story to cover up what they’ve done here. And we’re meeting with the district attorney this afternoon, of Westchester County, to press for a full prosecution of the highest crimes in this state. There’s a petition, and online petition, that Mr. Chamberlain has put out, and we’re presenting that petition to her today, as well.

JUAN GONZALEZ: It would seem to me that given the fact that they have the audio and the video, and they hear their own officers using racial epithets, would immediately say to the brass of the police department, "We have a problem here," because that’s going to be in court before a grand jury at some point, and that they had a responsibility at that point to begin doing their own investigation of what’s going on here.

RANDOLPH McLAUGHLIN: They have so many problems here. Mr. Chamberlain’s niece was in the hallway right at the time when they were banging on the door. She said to them, "I’m his niece." They pushed her away.

AMY GOODMAN: She lived upstairs?


RANDOLPH McLAUGHLIN: On the fifth floor. Another officer who was present had a full head-to-toe body shield that could stop bullets. And rather than secure the situation—let’s assume for the sake of this discussion that they had a right to see him to make sure he was OK. OK, so the door is open. You see him there. Why are you entering his apartment? It’s kind of like Zimmerman. You provoke a situation, then you respond to it, "Oh, I had to use deadly force to protect myself." No, you provoked the situation. You had no right to cross that man’s threshold in his home. That’s what led to the problem.

AMY GOODMAN: Last week, New York State Senator Suzi Oppenheimer wrote a letter to Westchester County District Attorney voicing support for an investigation into the killing. She wrote, quote, "I ask that you do everything in your power to ensure that there is a full and fair investigation of this incident and that all relevant information is presented to the grand jury for its consideration." She has so far been the only state legislator to speak out, is this right, Mayo?

MAYO BARTLETT: Yeah, that’s correct. And the thing is, I want to follow on what Randy just said in terms of Mr. Zimmerman. I think that this—and I don’t—I’m not comparing the two tragedies. I don’t like to do that. But what I do think is this. Mr. Zimmerman is a private citizen. This is individuals who are acting under color of law. These are people who are employed by the government to give you assistance. So I think that that’s even more egregious than an individual who may exercise terrible judgment or have bias in their heart.

And I think that it also is—it is a travesty that we don’t have any reaction from public officials. And if you simply reverse the roles here, if Mr. Chamberlain had shot at a police officer or harmed a police officer, even if it wasn’t with deadly force, if an officer ended up having a bloody nose, in all likelihood Mr. Chamberlain, 68-year-old 20-year retired corrections officer and a gentleman who served this country in the Marines for six years, would have been charged with a felony assault. And we would have heard from all of our elected officials. They would have talked about him probably in disparaging ways. They would have possibly called him an animal, as sometimes people who are alleged to have committed these crimes are referred to.

JUAN GONZALEZ: I’d like to ask you about this issue, that they’re talking about bringing this case to a grand jury in April. This happened in November. We’re talking now five or six months later that they’re empaneling even a grand jury to discuss the facts, not necessarily to charge—possibly to charge someone. But it seems to me a long time to wait for—even for a grand jury on this.

MAYO BARTLETT: Well, it is a good amount of time. And part of it is an investigatory process, but it is a long time. And the biggest concern I have with respect to the grand jury is that we do not have an opportunity to present information to a grand jury in New York state. The only person who does that is the district attorney’s office. So we can’t even determine whether they’re going to play the audio tape at all. if there will play the audio tape, or, if so, whether it’s going to be redacted. So we’re really stuck with a good faith offering from the district attorney that it’s going to be fully presented.

AMY GOODMAN: Kenneth Chamberlain, Jr., tell us about your dad, Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: When people ask me about that, I tell people he was a father like anyone else. I mean, he agreed with some things that you did, and he disagreed with others. But my father would never hurt anyone intentionally. He wouldn’t go after anyone. I mean, he was law enforcement himself. He was a marine. I’m sure whatever he’s seen when he served, that that was enough violence for him. And for them to look at my father that way, without—I mean, no regard for his life, every morning I think about it, just the circumstances, because I guess maybe around 5:00 in the morning I tend to think about all of this. And it disturbs me about the fact that it hasn’t been presented yet, because I do know, as my attorney said, that if the roles had been reversed, this would already be in a grand jury.

AMY GOODMAN: When did you hear your father had been killed?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: I found out from a friend of mine that Saturday morning. I was up, and my phone rang. And a friend of mine called me, and he said—who also lives in the building—he said, "You need to get out to White Plains right away." And I asked him why. He said, "Something is going on with your father. I don’t know what it is." And I asked him, I said, "Well, what’s going on?" And as he was getting ready to tell me, he just yelled out, "Oh, my god!" And I asked him what happened.

AMY GOODMAN: I’m really sorry to put you through this again, to make you relive it.


AMY GOODMAN: You’re holding your father’s ID card, as well?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: Yes. I have his Marine ring and his veteran’s card. My father was—

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Kenneth Chamberlain, Jr., the son of Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr., who was killed by police on November 19th, 2011, in his home. His medical alert pendant went off, and the company called the police to check on him.


AMY GOODMAN: Go ahead, Ken. It’s fine.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: Yes, I have his Marine ring, his veteran’s card. He was proud to be a marine. And even on the audio, you hear the police officers making fun of the fact that he was a marine. And—

AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: They asked my father to open the door. He refused. He said, "I’m not opening my door." They said something to the effect that they were going to knock it down. He said, "I won’t let you in." And he said "Semper Fi." So they said, "Oh, you’re a marine. Hoo-rah. Hoo-rah." And this is somebody that served this country. Why would you even say that to him? And my father always said, "Once a marine, always a marine," if he was ever in trouble and couldn’t get help from anybody else, to call on a marine. And a lot of those things come back now, where things that I had—just I thought went in one ear and right out the other, but in light of these things, when you hear the audio, when you look at the video, all of these things come back.

And in 45 years of me being on this earth, that was the very first time that I ever heard my father where he was pleading and begging for his life, someone who I looked at as being extremely strong, to hear him beg for his life, to say that this was his sworn testimony on the audio, which the police did not know that was being recorded. He said, "My name is Kenneth Chamberlain. This is my sworn testimony. White Plains police are going to come in here and kill me."

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, and the amazing thing about this is that they were supposed to come there to assist him—


JUAN GONZALEZ: —that there was no indication of any kind of a crime—


JUAN GONZALEZ: —and that he would have depended on them for help, and instead this happens.

RANDOLPH McLAUGHLIN: I think it’s important—you know, we’re lawyers. This is what we do. But I think it’s important to always remember and look at this case not as a case, but as a human being who lost his life over a needless situation, and look at the impact that this kind of senseless killing has on his family. This man lost his father. He gets a call at 5 a.m. "My father is in—having a difficult" — why didn’t they call him? He could have been there in five minutes. I mean, the lack of professionalism in this department is shocking. The fact that they—that no public official in the city of White Plains has come and said to this man, "I’m sorry over the loss of your father." I mean, Mayor Bloomberg has done that in New York. Whether I agree with everything he’s done, at least he has the decency to do that. No one has reached out to this man at all.

So, we have prepared to take this case to the fullest extent. We filed a notice of claim on behalf of the family, and we’re waiting a little time to give the DA a chance to do what she has to do. But if they don’t do the right thing in White Plains, we’re coming to Manhattan to seek justice in the Department of Justice with the U.S. attorney’s office.

MAYO BARTLETT: Randy, if I can just follow on what you’re saying also, it’s interesting that the very first coverage of this comes from the White Plains Police Department. And the White Plains Police Department neglects to mention that they were there for a medical emergency. They don’t state that. They lead you to believe that they were there to deal with a person who was out of control, who was a threat to the community, who was somehow out there and required their assistance. And I remember watching it as it occurred, and I’m sitting down with my friend and his sons, who are in high school. And it had a picture of the White Plains police car and a target on the police vehicle, as if the police had been targeted. And there was a statement immediately made that it was a justified shooting. And that statement had to have been made before they were aware that there was audio and that perhaps some of the video contradicts that. And it’s very similar to Mr. Zimmerman suggesting that he had a bloody nose, and now you look at the video, and it doesn’t appear to be the case. And that really makes you question what we’re being told sometimes by government with respect to these types of matters.

And to any degree that Mr. Chamberlain was emotional, it was because he was taunted. They created the situation. They escalated a situation. And police are trained. They’re trained to deal with people who are emotionally disturbed. They’re not trained to kill those individuals, and certainly not an individual who’s 68 years old when you have a ballistic shield and a dozen officers and firefighters that are present who could have simply gone in. But there was a suggestion that Mr. Chamberlain had left his home and that the officers were retreating. That never occurred. The minute they got into the house, they didn’t even give him one command. They never mentioned, "Put your hand up." They never told him to lay down on the bed. They never did any of that. The first thing they did, as soon as that door was finally broken off the hinges, you could see the taser light up, and it was charged, and you could see it going directly toward him. Now that was 100 percent unnecessary.

And when you see that video, which I wish was public, because I think that the grand jury is used as a shield, and it shouldn’t be. It’s a shield for people who have committed crimes and generally a shield for law enforcement, because, again, these same videos are made public, very public, when they involve civilians who are charged. And I think that the shielding provision of the grand jury, the secrecy provision, is to prevent people from organized—being threatened by organized crime figures, not to protect you from your own police department.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you all for being with us and end on a final question to Kenneth Chamberlain, Jr. When you heard of the killing of Trayvon Martin, your thoughts, as you’re going through what you’re going? They’re saying they, too, in Florida, will be convening a grand jury, apparently at about the same time as the grand jury will be convened in the case of the death of your father that occurred months earlier.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: My heart definitely goes out to that family, because I know exactly what it is that they’re feeling right now. And it took me a while before I actually listened to the released 911 tapes of that day with that young man. And when I finally got up the nerve to listen to it, to hear him in the background yelling for help—and I think it was about maybe three times—and then you hear a gunshot, and you don’t hear him anymore, it brought tears to my eyes immediately. And it—of course, it also made me think about my own father, because I hear him pleading for his life, too. And it’s the same thing that happened with this young man. So I would just encourage that family to just keep up the fight and don’t give up, the same as I’m doing.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Kenneth Chamberlain, I want to thank you very much for being with us. You have a petition online right now?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: I just took the petition down, but I also have a Facebook page that says "Justice for Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr." that a lot of people have gone on and requested to be a part of, where I just keep people updated about the events that are taking place. Very recently, I just posted that I was going to be here. And before that, I spoke about the fact that no elected officials in White Plains have spoken to my family, and why haven’t they? They haven’t commented. And you would think that they would. But I guess that’s another question for another day.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we certainly will continue to follow this case.


AMY GOODMAN: Kenneth Chamberlain, Jr., Mayo Bartlett and Randolph McLaughlin, thank you very much for being with us.

Peter Lemkin
03-30-2012, 05:54 PM
The death of a homeless woman in St. Louis, Missouri, last year is now drawing national scrutiny over revelations of how she died in police custody. Twenty-nine-year-old Anna Brown had gone to the hospital seeking emergency medical treatment for leg pain. When she refused to leave the emergency ward, she was carried to jail by her arms and ankles and left on the floor of her cell. Within 15 minutes, she had stopped moving and was soon after pronounced dead. The officers who arrested her reportedly suspected she was at the hospital seeking drugs. But an autopsy later revealed she had had blood clots in her legs and lungs and had no drugs in her system. The St. Louis police never announced Brown’s death. Her story only came to light six months later after an anonymous caller tipped off the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper. Brown, who was African American, was the mother of two children. Her family is reportedly considering bringing a wrongful death suit against the hospital and police.

Peter Lemkin
03-30-2012, 05:57 PM
JUAN GONZALEZ: New questions are being raised in the Trayvon Martin case over George Zimmeman’s claim that he shot the 17-year-old in self-defense last month in Sanford, Florida. Speaking anonymously to Anderson Cooper by phone, a witness to the shooting said last night he observed a struggle between Zimmerman and Martin from a nearby window. While Zimmerman told police he was attacked by Martin, the witness said Zimmerman did not show any signs of injures after he shot the teenager. The witness’s voice was distorted to protect his identity.

WITNESS: I can’t say I actually watched him get up. But maybe only within like a couple seconds or so, then he was walking towards where I was watching, and I could see him a little bit clearer, could see that it was a Hispanic man, and he was—you know, he didn’t appear hurt or anything else. He just kind of seemed very—you know, I can’t speak for him, but very worried or whatever, walked like on the sidewalk at that point and his hand up to kind of his forehead. And then another man came out with a flashlight.

AMY GOODMAN: That interview was on CNN. In other developments, the New York Daily News has revealed the mother of a young witness said her son was "pressured" by police. Police have said that 13-year-old Austin Brown saw Zimmerman lying in the grass crying for help just before the slaying, but Brown’s mother says her son only saw one person lying in the grass, and he couldn’t tell who it was because it was too dark. The Daily News is also reporting a former co-worker of Zimmerman says the gunman was fired from his job as an under-the-table security guard for, quote, "being too aggressive."

Meanwhile, a white supremacist hacker has claimed to have broken into Trayvon Martin’s Gmail, Yahoo!, MySpace and Twitter accounts and posted his private messages online. Some commentators have described it as part of a racist smear campaign against Trayvon Martin.

Meanwhile, members of George Zimmerman’s family have begun speaking to the media. Zimmerman’s father, Robert Zimmerman, appeared on Fox 35 in Florida and explained what he understood to have happened the night Trayvon Martin died.

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN: Trayvon Martin walked up to him, asking, "Do you have a [bleep] problem?" George said, "No, I don’t have a problem," and started to reach for his cell phone. At that point, he was punched in the nose. His nose was broken, and he was knocked to the concrete.

JUAN GONZALEZ: George Zimmerman’s brother, Robert Zimmerman, Jr., appeared on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight. He stood behind his brother’s claim of self-defense even though police surveillance video showed Zimmerman walking into the Sanford police station with no visible signs of blood minutes after he shot and killed Trayvon Martin.

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, JR.: What I think I see is a swollen nose. Now, I’m not a physician. You’re not a physician. A lot of these injuries take time—24 hours, 36 hours—to show the bruising. Sometimes the bone breaks, and the blood is swallowed, like in the case of, for example, if your hand would be on someone’s nose and mouth preventing them from speaking out.

PIERS MORGAN: Does he have any injuries now?

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, JR.: His nose is still broken.

PIERS MORGAN: It’s still broken?

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, JR.: His nose is still broken, yeah.

PIERS MORGAN: A month later, it’s still broken.

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, JR.: His nose. I don’t know about the back of his head. I mean, his nose is still healing. It’s not healed. He’s not—he has very severe emotional injuries. He has very—he’s been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

AMY GOODMAN: While you could see Robert Zimmerman, Jr.’s face on Piers Morgan, when his father went on Fox TV, he was in silhouette.

Well, for more, we go to Orlando, Florida, where we’re joined by Natalie Jackson. She is the attorney for Trayvon Martin’s family, founder of the Women’s Trial Group.

Welcome to Democracy Now! Thank you so much for joining us, Natalie Jackson. Can you respond to these latest stories being presented by George Zimmerman’s father and brother?

NATALIE JACKSON: Clearly, they are trying to protect their family member. And I guess they have a right to do that. But the problem is, they don’t have a right to destroy Trayvon’s memory in the process. Trayvon was an innocent child. There is nothing that he was doing wrong. He was not involved in any criminal activity, and he had a right to be where he was.

My response to them is that, you can tell us whatever you want to, but we have the call that George Zimmerman made, where he said, "These A-holes always get away." He was told not to get out of his car; he continued to get out of his car. And he also said that Trayvon was running away from him. We also have telephone calls that Trayvon made and prove—telephone records—that he was on the phone when George Zimmerman approached and attacked him. We also have, now, a video that shows that George Zimmerman did not have the injuries that his family members are claiming and that he claimed.

So, it comes to where there is no explanation for people who were not there, such as me and his family members. People who want to know the truth, all they have to do is listen to the video—I mean, listen to the audios and view the videotapes. It’s there for people to see.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And, of course, you have raised serious questions about the initial investigation. And the new police chief there is actually—was part of that investigation?

NATALIE JACKSON: He was a part of that investigation, we’re told. Now, what your audience has to remember is that the family has not been given any information about the investigation into the death of their son. Everything that they are learning is coming from the media. It’s coming from people who are sources, and it’s coming from—it’s coming at the same time that the public is getting it. This is a family who lost their child, their 17-year-old child. And the law enforcement has not released any information to them. That’s why they started this campaign. They want to know what happened when their son was coming home from the store and George Zimmerman got out of his car with a nine-millimeter and shot him dead.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to play more from the eyewitness who spoke to Anderson Cooper on CNN last night. He says he observed the struggle between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin from a window. The witness’s voice was distorted to protect the person’s identity.

WITNESS: I couldn’t hear the words, but it was like, OK, this is not a regular conversation. You know, this is someone aggressively, you know, yelling at someone. Saw two men on the ground, one on top of each other, obviously thinking, OK, something really horrible is happening. And at that point, not looking out the window, I heard the yell for help, one yell for help, and then I heard another, as I described this, excruciating type of yell. It didn’t even almost sound like a "Help." It just sounded so painful. But I wasn’t watching out the window during that. And the next time I looked out the window there, the same thing: two men on the grass, one on top of each other. I kind of thought like they—I couldn’t see a lot of movement, because it was very dark, but I felt like they were scuffling. And then I heard the gunshot, which, to me, were more like pops than they were like a bang.

AMY GOODMAN: Witness that was talking to Anderson Cooper on CNN. Can you—Natalie Jackson, can you talk about the significance of this person coming forward?

NATALIE JACKSON: This person is another witness. You know, there are many witnesses in this case, and there’s a lot of ear evidence and eye evidence that needs to be presented to a jury. I can’t talk about the credibility of this witness nor any other witness, nor George Zimmerman. That is a question for a jury. This case has not—it won’t get to a jury if George Zimmerman is not brought to trial. And that is what happened in this case. When these parents found out that their child had been shot and killed by George Zimmerman, they were told law enforcement could do nothing about it because it was self-defense. That is not the way our system works. That’s not America. He needs to be brought before a jury of his peers. Let them decide who’s credible, who’s not credible, and whether or not he can claim self-defense. There is no doubt who the shooter is. The shooter is George Zimmerman.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, it would seem to me also that the forensic evidence, which is bound to come out—it should obviously be presented in a grand jury, but certainly in a trial—would indicate a lot about the proximity of Zimmerman to Martin when the shooting occurred and a lot more in terms of the angles of the bullets. But we have not heard anything about that so far.

NATALIE JACKSON: Yeah, and all of that is for a jury. The point is, is that these parents are told there was not even probable cause to arrest. After we have all of this evidence, these parents—and they were told there was no probable cause to even arrest George Zimmerman. That’s not a satisfactory answer. And it’s especially not a satisfactory answer now that we see all of the evidence that is coming out.

AMY GOODMAN: Natalie Jackson, can you talk about the significance of both the police chief of Sanford stepping aside, though he has said not permanently, as well as the state’s attorney, the person who originally said, after tremendous pressure, after the Justice Department announced an investigation, that they would convene a grand jury in a few weeks, Norm Wolfinger?

NATALIE JACKSON: Well, the significance is, is that now this family feels like they may get some justice for their son. There has been a special prosecutor assigned. This is a prosecutor that is not from the area, does not know the people. And there has been a grand jury convened that is supposed to convene on April 10. The family is feeling more positive. Now, I will say, actions speak louder than words, because this family has heard a lot of words. But they’re feeling more positive that perhaps a fair and equal treatment will be given to this case.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you explain something, Natalie Jackson, that we haven’t seen in the media? First of all, where was Trayvon shot? How was he shot, in what part of his body? And how was it that his family didn’t find out for several days that he was the John Doe in the morgue that had been not—that had not been identified?

NATALIE JACKSON: OK, we haven’t received the autopsy yet, so everything we know about where Trayvon was shot comes from the person who prepared the body. And it was in the center of the chest. The release of the body—the parents knew where Trayvon was the next day, when they filed a missing person’s report. However, he was labeled a John Doe for three days, even after the parents identified [him] as [their] son. That is the problem. So that was a little bit of people not quite understanding what happened.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you explain that?

NATALIE JACKSON: No, we can’t. The parents asked for the release of the body. He was labeled a John Doe. They would not release the body for three days.

JUAN GONZALEZ: So, in other words, they were informed by the next day that he was dead?


AMY GOODMAN: But was that only after they had filed a missing person’s report?

NATALIE JACKSON: That is correct, after they had filed a missing person’s report.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And what are the next steps for your legal team? And what are you calling for, what you believe has to happen immediately?

NATALIE JACKSON: We believe what has to happen is that we have to continue these media tours to inform the public so that the public will keep the pressure on. There was an online petition to arrest George Zimmerman. That online petition has over two million signatures. This is two million people of all nationalities, all races and all political affiliations, two million people who look at this evidence that is presented and says George Zimmerman needs to be arrested and brought to trial. And as of now, that has not happened. So, until that happens, until he’s brought to trial, then we will continue to put the pressure on.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And you’ve had to hire your own investigators because of the terrible job that has been done so far by authorities in ascertaining the facts in this case?

NATALIE JACKSON: Yes. And, you know, I don’t know if it’s a terrible job or just they thought it was inconsequential to do the job. You know, there’s—whether or not it was important to do or it was bungled, we don’t know. But we had to go out and investigate this case. We hired an investigator that got the phone records. And once we saw Trayvon’s phone record, because he was on the—he had his phone with him, and we saw that he was on the phone when this incident purportedly happened. We contacted the person he was on the phone with. It was a young girl. And she told us that she heard Zimmerman approach Trayvon. And this is very extraordinary, because she and Trayvon—according to the phone records, there was a phone call at 7:12. The phone call lasted for four minutes. That would make it 7:16. According to police records, they were on the scene at 7:17, and Trayvon was dead. So, this young girl is a very important witness.

AMY GOODMAN: And the issue of Trayvon’s life, his reputation being attacked, I mean, his mom saying, "First they kill my son, then they kill his reputation" — what do you know of this white supremacist who supposedly hacked into the—his Twitter account, Facebook, email? What do know about this?

NATALIE JACKSON: We don’t know anything. We know that he’s ignorant, and he’s just as ignorant as the black militia who put out bounties on people. These are ignorant people who are divisive. There is a whole group of people who are united together in justice, and they are united across all races, all nationalities, all political affiliations. We cannot let these people divide and distract from what really happened. This is about the evidence that will be presented, the factual evidence, not everyone’s subjective opinions or their baggage that they’re bringing into this.

AMY GOODMAN: Natalie Jackson, we want to thank you for being with us, local co-counsel for Trayvon Martin’s family. She’s the founder of the Women’s Trial Group. She’s speaking to us from Orlando, Florida, about a half an hour from Sanford, where Trayvon Martin was killed.

Peter Lemkin
03-30-2012, 06:00 PM
JUAN GONZALEZ: For more on Trayvon Martin, we’re joined by Cynthia Dagnal-Myron. She is a former reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times and the Arizona Daily Star who has also spent over 20 years as a teacher and administrator. Her own fifth-grade teacher was Mamie Till Mobley, the mother of Emmett Till, who was murdered at the age of 14 in Mississippi in 1955. Her most recent piece appeared on Salon.com; it’s called "For Trayvon and Emmett: My 'Walking While Black' Stories."

Welcome to Democracy Now!


JUAN GONZALEZ: Could you tell us a little bit, in terms of the article that you had, how the Trayvon Martin incident had an impact on you and the article that you wrote?

CYNTHIA DAGNAL-MYRON: The first thing that happened was I was thinking about all the confusion that was going on about what had actually happened, and as a black woman, I was just thinking about my own life experiences and how none of this really surprised me, because of the things that had happened to me. So, as all this was swirling—and it’s beginning to get worse—I was just thinking about how most of us, most black women and men, have had experiences—we call it "walking while black." We’ve all had these experiences. So, for us, this was just another instance of someone being mistaken for a thug or something he was not. And it was just—I was angry. That’s all I can say. I was just angry.

AMY GOODMAN: You have a remarkable story. I was just looking at a piece you wrote, Cynthia Dagnal-Myron, as assistant principal of the Pistor Middle School in Tucson, Arizona, about your fifth-grade teacher, Mamie Till Mobley. Can you tell us the story of Mamie Till Mobley and her son Emmett Till?

CYNTHIA DAGNAL-MYRON: I was a fifth grader. So what we knew as children was that we had a very famous teacher. My experience was being horrified at—I think the entire community was horrified at the pictures that we saw. And what I remember most was that Mamie—or Mrs. Mobley, as we called her—was very, very determined to make sure that her son was not forgotten. She was also very, very determined that we, as students, would excel and go on to be on the front lines to do something about the ignorance that had killed her son. And so, I remember her just as a very remarkable woman, a strong-willed woman who was not going to let her son be forgotten or his death be in vain.

AMY GOODMAN: She did something incredible. I mean, here, this was her only child, and she sends him to Money, Mississippi, for the summer to get out of the city, to get out of Chicago, to be with his aunt and uncle and cousins. He is ripped out of bed in the middle of the night by a white mob, and he ends up in the bottom of the Tallahatchie River. And when his body was dredged up and taken in a casket back to Chicago, she said she wanted the casket open for the wake and the funeral. She wanted the world to see the ravages of racism and the brutality of bigotry. What did she tell you? And we are showing those images now; for folks listening on the radio, you can go to our website at democracynow.org. You know, his distended, mutilated head, thousands saw. Black publications like Jet magazine actually published them. Talk about—

CYNTHIA DAGNAL-MYRON: Yes. What did she tell us about him?

AMY GOODMAN: Yes, tell us about that and how you see it relating to Trayvon.

CYNTHIA DAGNAL-MYRON: Well, first of all, she didn’t talk about it overtly in class. But we knew why she was so absolutely insistent on our learning, on our excelling in classes. She wanted—she loved excellence. She demanded excellence of us, because she really wanted us to act on behalf of her son, and so she was extremely, extremely adamant that we learn and that we do our very, very best.

How this is connected is that we have—again, we have a young man, a beautiful young man, with an almost cherubic Cosby kid face. He’s totally against the stereotype that most people have about young black males. Very articulate parents, who are also determined, just as Mamie was, to make sure that this case is not forgotten, that the investigation is done, and that justice is also served. And so, I see them as—they’re sort of—they’re very much like Mamie was. They are absolutely determined to make sure that everything is done. And I think that that’s the parallel that I see.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, the death of Emmett Till and the public outrage and the mass outpouring that occurred after his death is often credited as being sort of the beginning of the modern civil rights movement. Your thoughts that here we are, more than half-a-century later, and supposedly all the progress that has been made in race relations in the country, and yet these incidents like the one with Trayvon Martin, like the one we reported about of the marine veteran in Westchester County, continue to happen? And you made the distinction in some of your writings about the — "walking while black" is also very distinct for what happens to African-American men versus African-American women. I’m wondering if you could talk about both of those things.

CYNTHIA DAGNAL-MYRON: I think "walking while black" for men, they’re more in fear of being killed. We, as women, are disrespected. And I think I wrote about that in my article. I was taken for—if I was standing on the street at a certain—at night, or even sometimes in the daytime, if I’m standing alone, I was immediately—there was an assumption that I was a prostitute sort of plying my trade, and I was approached very disrespectfully by white men, mostly. African-American men, as I’ve said, are more in fear for their lives. I was just insulted constantly. And it’s something that’s in the back of your mind all the time. You’re a little bit nervous about how you’re being perceived, so you’re always trying to behave—you’re always trying to be better than or even trying to be—as Mamie told us, you’re going to have to be superior. You’re going to have to do so much better than anybody else would have to do, because people immediately expect you to be—they have a stereotype of you, and you’re going to have to defy that. And you have that feeling all of the time. And that’s for black men and black women.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And this question of the progress made versus the progress not made?

CYNTHIA DAGNAL-MYRON: I don’t feel as though—I mean, I live with this every day, and I think a lot of people forget this. I don’t know how much progress has been made. We look—every now and then we see someone who makes it. We have Obama. We have these—we have things like that. But your everyday life, your day-to-day life, if you’re an African-American woman or man, you still feel the things that my parents felt. You’re still nervous about the things that my parents were nervous about. You’re still mistaken—or, you’re still treated the way that my parents were afraid that I would be treated. It’s just an everyday thing for me. So, for those who think that it’s over, they’re not walking in our shoes. We know what goes on every day. We feel this every day.

AMY GOODMAN: In February 2000, we broadcast Mamie Till Mobley, the mother of Emmett Till. She reflected on the painful moment when she learned about her son’s murder.

MAMIE TILL MOBLEY: When we knew that Emmett was dead, our first action—we couldn’t take time to cry. As I announced to the family what was happening, of course there were screams. People were hitting the floor, and the hysteria was setting in. I remember standing, announcing that "We don’t have time to cry now, we’ve got to do something. I don’t know what to do, and you’ve got to help me come to make some decisions."

AMY GOODMAN: That was Mamie Till Mobley. Your final thoughts on this, Cynthia Dagnal-Myron?

CYNTHIA DAGNAL-MYRON: First of all, my parents also took me to the South—sorry, my parents also took me to the South every summer so that I would witness how they had grown up, would drink from colored fountains and not be able to go into movie theaters or to have to go in the back doors of restaurants. And the fact that we are still talking about these things now, the fact that we are still having the experiences that we’re having, when I listen to Mamie, what she was saying just now, and I realize that this has happened again, now, after all this time, I don’t know what to say. I’m outraged, and I’m sad.

Peter Lemkin
03-30-2012, 06:01 PM
AMY GOODMAN: I also want to bring into this conversation the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, poet, activist, Alice Walker. In a moment, we’re going to be talking about the death of Adrienne Rich and her significance. But first, Alice, thank you so much for joining us at this early hour in Berkeley, California. And I wanted to ask you about your thoughts on the death of Trayvon Martin.

ALICE WALKER: A great deal of sadness, of course, and also a real deepening and ever-flowing love for my people, because we’ve suffered so much from just this kind of news about our children, about our families, about our fathers and our mothers. So I send out to all of us a very big, warm, love—loving hug, because we need it. We have been abused for such a long time here in this very misguided civilization. I think, too, that what moved me was that he’s from Sanford, and this is a part of Zora Neale Hurston’s home territory, so it feels very special to me.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about Zora Neale Hurston, a woman who you have made an alliance with after her death. Her grave, you restored. Zora Neale Hurston, the great author, Their Eyes Were Watching God.

ALICE WALKER: Well, Zora was from that part of the world, and she was from it before it became such a nightmare. She lived in the all-black town of Eatonville, Florida, which is 10 miles from Sanford. And in fact, in her books, people are always going to Sanford or coming from Sanford. So she made a special effort to understand them and to preserve for us some of the ways of these people, and they were really wonderful people. You know, they had not been so tortured, because they did not have white authority always on their necks. And this is one of the reasons we love her. We love her because she’s one of the few African Americans who grew up in a situation where she could fully be herself. And so herself was this quite vibrant, wonderful person.

AMY GOODMAN: It’s remarkable to remember these women on this last days of Women’s History Month, but Mamie Till, Zora Neale Hurston. Zora Neale Hurston studied with Margaret Mead and Franz Boas anthropology at Columbia. She was a famous writer, but went home to Eatonville—her mother, we believe, is buried right in Sanford, actually—but died a pauper, which is how you got involved, Alice.

ALICE WALKER: Well, I did, because I loved her book, Their Eyes Were Watching God, so much, and also I used some of her work in one of my early short stories. I couldn’t believe that she had died penniless and had been buried in a place that no one knew where it was, so I decided that, as her spiritual descendant, it was my responsibility to go and find her grave and to put a marker there, which I did. And I’m very happy to have done it. I think she was so free that maybe she wouldn’t have cared, but I think, for all of us, when people give us so much, the least we can do is to offer some form of remembrance and appreciation.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And Alice, having traveled through that area decades after she lived there, does it surprise you, this latest incident that’s happened in Sanford?

ALICE WALKER: Well, I think it’s happening a lot in places other than Sanford also, and I think it’s a symptom of our illness. We are very—we are a very sick country. And our racism is a manifestation of our illness and the ways that we don’t delve into our own wrecks. You know, I mean, we—as a country, we are a wreck. And part of it is that we have never looked to see where it was we went off the trail, you know. So, as shocking, as painful—I could barely look at what had happened for several days. And now I am looking at it, and I just—you know, I feel so much for this young man, because he was beautiful, and he was ours. And I don’t mean just, you know, ours, black people, but all of ours. I mean, these children, they are our future, and they have to be protected.

And I also feel that what is happening, people seem so mystified about why Zimmerman has not been arrested. But if he’s arrested, the police department is in big trouble. So, he knows so much about that police department. And I would think, too, that he should be under some kind of guard now. And if I were his family, that is what I would be concentrating on, if they care about him, keeping him alive, so that whatever happens, he will be able to speak.

Keith Millea
03-30-2012, 06:16 PM
The death of a homeless woman in St. Louis, Missouri, last year is now drawing national scrutiny over revelations of how she died in police custody. Twenty-nine-year-old Anna Brown had gone to the hospital seeking emergency medical treatment for leg pain. When she refused to leave the emergency ward, she was carried to jail by her arms and ankles and left on the floor of her cell. Within 15 minutes, she had stopped moving and was soon after pronounced dead. The officers who arrested her reportedly suspected she was at the hospital seeking drugs. But an autopsy later revealed she had had blood clots in her legs and lungs and had no drugs in her system. The St. Louis police never announced Brown’s death. Her story only came to light six months later after an anonymous caller tipped off the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper. Brown, who was African American, was the mother of two children. Her family is reportedly considering bringing a wrongful death suit against the hospital and police.

Full story with video of Anna Brown and her arrest/death.Too sad.....


Lauren Johnson
03-30-2012, 08:40 PM
The death of a homeless woman in St. Louis, Missouri, last year is now drawing national scrutiny over revelations of how she died in police custody. Twenty-nine-year-old Anna Brown had gone to the hospital seeking emergency medical treatment for leg pain. When she refused to leave the emergency ward, she was carried to jail by her arms and ankles and left on the floor of her cell. Within 15 minutes, she had stopped moving and was soon after pronounced dead. The officers who arrested her reportedly suspected she was at the hospital seeking drugs. But an autopsy later revealed she had had blood clots in her legs and lungs and had no drugs in her system. The St. Louis police never announced Brown’s death. Her story only came to light six months later after an anonymous caller tipped off the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper. Brown, who was African American, was the mother of two children. Her family is reportedly considering bringing a wrongful death suit against the hospital and police.

Full story with video of Anna Brown and her arrest/death.Too sad.....


The family will win the suit. I used to do ultrasound back in the day. It doesn't take much to get a venous ultrasound out of the ER with people complaining of leg pain. Clots are very easy find. I once saw a clot waving in the blood. I quite right there; called the radiologist; I wheeled her to her hospital bed where we gently lifted her. That family is going to get a lot of money.

Peter Lemkin
03-31-2012, 06:11 AM
The death of a homeless woman in St. Louis, Missouri, last year is now drawing national scrutiny over revelations of how she died in police custody. Twenty-nine-year-old Anna Brown had gone to the hospital seeking emergency medical treatment for leg pain. When she refused to leave the emergency ward, she was carried to jail by her arms and ankles and left on the floor of her cell. Within 15 minutes, she had stopped moving and was soon after pronounced dead. The officers who arrested her reportedly suspected she was at the hospital seeking drugs. But an autopsy later revealed she had had blood clots in her legs and lungs and had no drugs in her system. The St. Louis police never announced Brown’s death. Her story only came to light six months later after an anonymous caller tipped off the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper. Brown, who was African American, was the mother of two children. Her family is reportedly considering bringing a wrongful death suit against the hospital and police.

Full story with video of Anna Brown and her arrest/death.Too sad.....


The family will win the suit. I used to do ultrasound back in the day. It doesn't take much to get a venous ultrasound out of the ER with people complaining of leg pain. Clots are very easy find. I once saw a clot waving in the blood. I quite right there; called the radiologist; I wheeled her to her hospital bed where we gently lifted her. That family is going to get a lot of money.

I hope you are correct, but they'll never get their loved one back and the police and hospital personnel will very likely go unpunished and do the same the next time. Its the mentality [or lack of it] that makes America what it has become and is disintegrating into further. Not that it was ever a paragon of virtue.......

Keith Millea
03-31-2012, 02:06 PM
The family will win the suit. I used to do ultrasound back in the day. It doesn't take much to get a venous ultrasound out of the ER with people complaining of leg pain. Clots are very easy find. I once saw a clot waving in the blood. I quite right there; called the radiologist; I wheeled her to her hospital bed where we gently lifted her. That family is going to get a lot of money.

This is exactly how my mother died.Although thankfully,NOT ON A PRISON CELL FLOOR.....

Peter Lemkin
04-06-2012, 05:01 PM
AMY GOODMAN: Juan, you have an important follow-up piece in the Daily News, as you have been crusading in the last days, finding out more information on the death of 68-year-old former Marine Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr., November 19th, 2011. His medical alert button went off. Maybe he rolled over it in the middle of the night. The company couldn’t reach him, so they called the police to help him, said it was a medical emergency, not a criminal one. They came to the door. He woke up. He said he was fine. The police broke down his door, and as he told them, "I am fine, you can go way," they shot him with a taser, and then they shot him dead. Juan, in today’s piece (http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/kenneth-chamberlain-niece-details-night-shooting-deadly-confrontation-police-ve-avoided-article-1.1057144) in the New York Daily News, tell us what you have found.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, the most—the new evidence is we finally were able to get a photo of the police officer, who we revealed yesterday (http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/sources-identify-white-plains-anthony-carelli-triggerman-fatal-shooting-retired-marine-article-1.1056394) in the Daily News, who fired the two shots that killed Kenneth Chamberlain. His name is Anthony Carelli. And more importantly, the police union came out, the White Plains police union, blasting the release of his name, even though authorities have tried to keep the identity of all the cops involved in this incident secret now for more than four months. So the police union blasted the release of that evidence and said, "We are very disappointed that anybody would release the name of this officer during an ongoing investigation."
And they also said, "Officer Anthony Carelli has numerous commendations and has been an excellent police officer, both on and off the job, and he deserves the right to a fair and impartial inquiry." And Kenneth Chamberlain’s son, Kenneth Chamberlain, Jr., yesterday said he absolutely agrees that Officer Carelli deserves a fair hearing, but he—and said, "Let the facts speak for themselves. But," he said, "did my father get a fair hearing? No, he (Carelli) played judge and executioner right then and there." And so, there’s been a back-and-forth between the union and the family.
More importantly, I had an interview with the niece of Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr., who was in the building the night of the incident, actually lived upstairs. And she gave new details of what had happened that night, that she had come down. Her mother had called her on the phone, because the mother, who was the sister of Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr., had received a call from the LifeAid company, that—and so the mother said, "Can you go downstairs and check on your uncle?" And when she went down the stairs in her pajamas, she saw the four police—five police standing in front of the door. And she said, "I’m his niece." And they totally ignored her. When she ran back upstairs to get a coat to cover her pajamas, she came back down, and now, she says, the police had their guns drawn. All the while, she said, her uncle kept yelling, "I’m OK. I didn’t call you. Please leave me alone." But the police continued to ignore her.
Most importantly, she called her mother on the cell phone, and the mother then asked to speak with one of the policemen. So the sister of Chamberlain actually spoke with one of the policemen on the phone. Still, they did not seek any kind of family intervention to try to help defuse the situation. And then it was sometime later that the niece, Tonyia Greenhill, heard two booms, and she asked one of the firemen at the time, she said, "Have they shot my uncle?" And a few moments later, the medics pulled his body out in the stretcher and rushed to the hospital, where he died later. So that it’s clear that the—if the police had sought to defuse the situation, they could have asked some of the relatives to intercede or try to talk to Mr. Chamberlain in his house before taking off the door and bursting in with the tasers and eventually shooting him.
AMY GOODMAN: And for people who want to see a full discussion of what took place, with Kenneth Chamberlain, Jr., we had him on our broadcast yesterday (http://www.democracynow.org/2012/4/5/exclusive_cop_in_fatal_shooting_of) as well as last Thursday (http://www.democracynow.org/2012/3/29/killed_at_home_white_plains_ny), as well as his attorneys. And the reason they know as much as they do about what took place on that fateful night, on November 19th, 2011, is because the LifeAid company, that has a box in his father’s apartment so they could talk to him if there was a problem, if the medical alert pendant went off, also not only sends all audio back to the LifeAid’s offices, but records everything that took place. Also, on the taser gun was a video, until they turned it off before they killed Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr.
On that audio tape, which Kenneth Chamberlain, Jr., and also his lawyers have been able to listen to, though it hasn’t been released publicly and they are calling for that, they hear one of the people outside, one of the officers, refer to Kenneth Chamberlain as a racial epithet. They also hear when he says—when he says, "It is clear that the police are going to kill me," and you hear this on the audiotape, "Semper fi," because he was a Marine. He was also a retired corrections officer. The officers outside saying, "Hoorah, hoorah," mocking him. That is when Ken Chamberlain, Jr., on Democracy Now!, broke down, saying, "mocking my father’s military service to his country." There is a grand jury that’s been convened.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Yes, the grand jury is expected to begin hearing testimony next week. And, of course, we also revealed in the Daily News that the same officer, Anthony Carelli, who fired the fatal shots, is about to go to trial in a separate federal civil rights complaint case, a $10 million complaint, over his alleged beating of two young Jordanian men during an arrest in 2008.
AMY GOODMAN: Jordanian-American men.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Jordanian-American men, where he called—according to them, he called them "rag heads" as he beat them in the White Plains police headquarters.
AMY GOODMAN: And so, that’s a $10 million lawsuit that’s going forward at the same time as this grand jury hearing.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Right, and that comes to trial, starts—the trial starts April 23rd.
AMY GOODMAN: So, Trayvon Martin, the grand jury investigation into his death is April 10th. The grand jury investigation into the death of Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr., is April 11th. And the civil rights lawsuit trial will take place against White Plains Police Officer Anthony Carelli, who shot Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr., dead in this call to his home for a medical emergency, will begin on April 23rd.
JUAN GONZALEZ: April 23rd, that’s correct.

Peter Lemkin
04-06-2012, 05:04 PM
Police in Newport, California, drew their guns on all-star Major League Baseball player Torii Hunter outside his own home on Wednesday. The police arrived after an alarm had accidentally been activated at the home of the African-American player. Hunter tweeted, "They didn’t believe I lived here in Newport Coast so they walked me upstairs at gunpoint to get my ID." Soon after, one of Hunter’s teammates tweeted, "That’s racist." Hunter responded, "LOL ... Now you know I can’t say that." Hunter is a winner of the Branch Rickey Award for service and a two-time finalist for the Roberto Clemente Award, which recognizes players for community involvement and sportsmanship.

Magda Hassan
04-08-2012, 04:08 AM
Neo-Nazis patrolling Florida town where Trayvon Martin was killed
By CYNTHIA R. FAGENLast Updated: 5:03 PM, April 7, 2012Posted: 2:27 PM, April 7, 2012

A heavily armed troop of Neo-Nazis are goose-stepping around the Florida town where Trayvon Martin was killed.
Members of the Detroit-based National Socialist Movement are patrolling Sanford, Florida proclaiming they’re prepared for violence in case of a race riot, its commander Jeff Schoep told the Miami New Times.
“We are not the type of white people who are going to be walked all over.” he said.
“Whenever there is one of these racially charged events, Al Sharpton goes wherever blacks need him. We do similar things. We are a white civil rights organization.”
He said the patrols will protect “white citizens in the area who are concerned for their safety.”
Schoep cited that a group calling itself the New Black Panther Party put up a $10,000 reward for the citizens’ arrest of George Zimmerman, Martin’s shooter.
“But if we called for a bounty on someone’s head, I guarantee we’d be locked up as quick as I could walk out of my house,” he said.
Martin was killed Feb. 26 by Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who claimed he fired in self defense under Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law. He has since gone into hiding.
The neo-Nazi patrols are comprised of 10 and 20 locals and “volunteers” from across the state, including some from Miami.
Schoep said he wasn’t taking sides in the shooting.
“I think there is some confusion going on. A lot of people think that this guy who shot Trayvon was white, but he’s half Hispanic or Cuban or something. He certainly doesn’t look white to me.”
“You can either be prepared or you can be blind-sided. This way, if something were to touch off a race riot, we’d already be in the area.”
A Martin family spokesman blasted vigilantism — from both sides.
"The family has consistently voiced their opposition to anyone on either side of this issue taking the law into their own hands. This is simply about a family's quest to find lawful justice for their son," Ryan Julison told The Post.

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/neo_nazis_patrolling_florida_town_5d9tjFKDIkiCkJKv WJ4zEJ#ixzz1rQ0qJaCR

Peter Lemkin
04-08-2012, 04:41 AM
Neo-Nazis patrolling Florida town where Trayvon Martin was killed

By CYNTHIA R. FAGENLast Updated: 5:03 PM, April 7, 2012Posted: 2:27 PM, April 7, 2012

A heavily armed troop of Neo-Nazis are goose-stepping around the Florida town where Trayvon Martin was killed.
Members of the Detroit-based National Socialist Movement are patrolling Sanford, Florida proclaiming they’re prepared for violence in case of a race riot, its commander Jeff Schoep told the Miami New Times.
“We are not the type of white people who are going to be walked all over.” he said.
“Whenever there is one of these racially charged events, Al Sharpton goes wherever blacks need him. We do similar things. We are a white civil rights organization.”
He said the patrols will protect “white citizens in the area who are concerned for their safety.”
Schoep cited that a group calling itself the New Black Panther Party put up a $10,000 reward for the citizens’ arrest of George Zimmerman, Martin’s shooter.
“But if we called for a bounty on someone’s head, I guarantee we’d be locked up as quick as I could walk out of my house,” he said.
Martin was killed Feb. 26 by Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who claimed he fired in self defense under Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law. He has since gone into hiding.
The neo-Nazi patrols are comprised of 10 and 20 locals and “volunteers” from across the state, including some from Miami.
Schoep said he wasn’t taking sides in the shooting.
“I think there is some confusion going on. A lot of people think that this guy who shot Trayvon was white, but he’s half Hispanic or Cuban or something. He certainly doesn’t look white to me.”
“You can either be prepared or you can be blind-sided. This way, if something were to touch off a race riot, we’d already be in the area.”
A Martin family spokesman blasted vigilantism — from both sides.
"The family has consistently voiced their opposition to anyone on either side of this issue taking the law into their own hands. This is simply about a family's quest to find lawful justice for their son," Ryan Julison told The Post.

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/neo_nazis_patrolling_florida_town_5d9tjFKDIkiCkJKv WJ4zEJ#ixzz1rQ0qJaCR

Sadly, by Florida's insane gun laws these neo-Nazi protectors of the White 'mastermice' are likely allowed to carry guns and use them if they feel 'threatened'. Farther forward into the PAST goes my country! That Zimmerman is still free, after killing a child is sick! Vile! Antithetical to Justice!...but then the Nation sets the example of injustice and violence with impunity with its own governmental policies and actions, time and time again! The most prolific purveyor of violence on the Planet now.....the citizenry is now, apparently, allowed to follow the example the Nation sets, as long as they don't 'mess' with the Big Boys in control.

Albert Doyle
04-08-2012, 04:54 AM
And Leah Bolger gets 6 months for speaking the truth to the war pigs...

Peter Lemkin
04-08-2012, 11:17 AM
Washington, April 8 (ANI): The US police, including the FBI, are hunting for a gunman, who has shot five African-Americans, killing three and injuring two, in a bloody shooting spree in Tulsa.

According to the New York Post, the authorities are looking for a white man driving an old white Chevy pickup truck who was spotted around the attacks at 3 am on Saturday.

Tulsa City Councilor Jack Henderson said that the gunman would drive up to pedestrians, ask for routes and later killed them after they turned away.

Police are not ruling out the possibility of a hate-fueled rampage.

"Obviously if that's where our investigation takes us, that's where we'll go," Tulsa Police Department Officer Jason Willingham said.

The shootings occurred within three miles of each other in Tulsa's predominantly black north side.

Homicide detective Sergeant Dave Walker said that the investigators do not have the results of forensic tests of the dead yet, but the police believe the attacks were linked because they happened around the same time in the same general area and all five victims were out walking when they were shot.

Black community leaders met on Friday evening in an effort to calm unrest in the area and provide safety.

NAACP Tulsa president, Rev. Warren Blakney Sr., told the Tulsa World that someone appeared to be "targeting black people".

North side residents were worried about the possibility of an armed extremist roaming on the streets to target them.(ANI)

Albert Doyle
04-08-2012, 03:11 PM
It's important to cite the contempt and lawlessness of the Bush administration in precipitating this as well as nascent Republican right-wing politics.

Peter Lemkin
04-10-2012, 08:39 PM
Prosecutor: No Grand Jury for Trayvon Martin Shooter George Zimmerman

The special prosecutor investigating the shooting death of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin has ruled out using a grand jury in the case, meaning her office alone will decide whether to charge shooter George Zimmerman with a crime. The decision means Zimmerman will not be charged with first-degree murder — a serious charge that would indicate the crime was premeditated and would require the convening of a grand jury in Florida. The special prosecutor, Angela Corey, said her decision "should not be considered a factor in the final determination of the case."

George Zimmerman Launches Defense Website

George Zimmerman, the alleged killer of Trayvon Martin, has launched his own website in an attempt to raise money for what he described as his "living expenses and legal defense." The website contains photos of pro-Zimmerman slogans, including a sign at a rally by Koran-burning pastor Terry Jones and a photo of a vandalized black cultural center at Ohio State University where someone spray-painted the words "Long Live Zimmerman." Every page on Zimmerman’s website includes this quote from Edmund Burke: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

Fox Criticized for Calling Neo-Nazis a "Civil Rights Group"

In media news, a Fox affiliate in Florida is facing criticism after it referred to a neo-Nazi group as a "civil rights group" in a report about Trayvon Martin’s killing. Here is part of the Fox report that includes an interview with Jeff Schoep of the National Socialist Movement.

Anchor Jennifer Bisram: "There’s another civil rights group in town: the National Socialist Movement."

Jeff Schoep: "A lot of people in the community, in the white community down there, had been contacting us out of concern for their safety just because of racial tensions."

Anchor Jennifer Bisram: "Racial tensions after 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman. Zimmerman is claiming self-defense and has been in hiding now for weeks."

Jeff Schoep: "We’re a white civil rights organization, and we go into areas where we’re needed and where white citizens need our help."

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the National Socialist Movement has its roots in the original American Nazi Party. It is now one of the largest neo-Nazi organizations in the country. The group openly idolizes Adolf Hitler and calls for the deportation of every non-white person in the country,

Police: White Shooters Confessed to Killing Black People in Tulsa

Two white men accused of shooting five black people in Tulsa, Oklahoma, killing three of them, have reportedly confessed to authorities. Tulsa police say 19-year-old Jake England has admitted to police that he shot three of the victims, and 33-year-old Alvin Watts has said that he shot two others. Police said the suspects drove through the streets of north Tulsa, a predominantly black neighborhood, and randomly shot pedestrians. Both men were ordered held on bail of more than $9 million during their first court appearance on Monday.
Chicago: Lawsuit Launched over Shooting Death of Unarmed Woman by Off-Duty Cop

The family of a 22-year-old woman who was fatally shot last month by an off-duty police officer in Chicago has filed a wrongful death lawsuit. A lawyer for the family of Rekia Boyd said Detective Dante Servin shot Boyd and a man she was with after getting into an argument with the man, 39-year-old Antonio Cross. The lawyer said neither victim was armed. Police originally claimed Cross had pulled a gun, but no gun was found at the scene. Boyd was shot in the back of the head and died a day later.

Lawyer: Autopsy Shows Kenneth Chamberlain Did Not Have Weapon

There is a new development in the case of the police killing of 68-year-old Kenneth Chamberlain, the former Marine who was killed in his own home in White Plains, New York, after a medical alert. According to an autopsy report obtained by Juan Gonzalez of the New York Daily News, Chamberlain died from a single bullet that entered his right arm and ripped through both lungs. A lawyer for Chamberlain’s family said the autopsy contradicts the police account of his death. Police say Chamberlain was holding a butcher knife when police officer fired two shots to stop him. But an attorney for Chamberlain’s family said the trajectory of the fatal bullet suggests Chamberlain was neither facing the police nor holding up a weapon.

Magda Hassan
04-11-2012, 10:48 PM
I doubt he will be convicted. Apparently the cops were told by their bosses not to collect crime acene evidence. Looks like they are just going through the motions to satisfy the public.

(Reuters) - A Florida prosecutor filed a murder charge on Wednesday against the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot and killed unarmed, black teenager Trayvon Martin in a case that has captivated the United States and prompted civil rights demonstrations.
George Zimmerman, 28, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Martin, according to Angela Corey, the special prosecutor appointed by Florida's governor to investigate the racially charged case.Corey said at a news conference on Wednesday that Zimmerman turned himself in to authorities, who then arrested him. He remains in police custody.Zimmerman, who is white Hispanic, said he acted in self-defense during a confrontation in a gated community in the central Florida city of Sanford on February 26. Police declined to arrest Zimmerman, citing Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, which allows people to use deadly force when they believe they are in danger of getting killed or suffering great bodily harm.The shooting that took place 45 days ago received only scant local media attention at first and went unnoticed nationally until Martin's parents and lawyers kept making public calls for Zimmerman's arrest, eventually leading to a fire storm of media coverage, and celebrity tweets, and a comment from President Barack Obama: "If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon."The disputed facts of the case have been picked apart endlessly by television commentators while dominating the headlines and reigniting a national discussion about guns, self-defense laws and what it means to be black in America.Zimmerman went into hiding shortly after the shooting.Zimmerman's relatives and supporters say he is not racist and has been unfairly vilified. They said he feared for his life during his altercation with Martin and was justified in using deadly force.


Peter Lemkin
04-12-2012, 06:56 AM
Magda, I think that Zimmerman is very likely to be sent to prison....perhaps not under 1st degree murder [as I think he likely deserves], but manslaughter. However, it should not be necessary to have hundreds of thousands demand the arrest of a murderer - or even have a trial! What is wrong is the inherent racism in the system, and the insane 'stand your ground' and similar laws now being pushed by ALEC and others. Those I fear will not change - not yet. America is still asleep as it is rapidly drawn into the whirlpool of neo-fascism. For sure some in America are awake to what is going on [and some always have been!], but the numbers, sadly, are not yet a critical mass. I fear it soon will be too late....for who has the power to liberate the military giant that is America - only the Americans themselves, I fear. Awake America! Soon! Or pay the ultimate price with loss of all of your remaining freedoms.

Dawn Meredith
04-12-2012, 01:36 PM
It is frightening to see the results of polling on this case, how many ( alleged) white people believe this was a justified killing. I am proud of the special prosecutor for charging him with the highest count she could -2nd degree murder- without going to a grand jury. I fear that a grand jury in that county would not have indicted him for first degree murder, which from the evidence I have seen, is what he should be charged with.

Next will be the hearing on stand your ground where the judge alone can dismiss on a mere preponderance. Another chilling figure I saw is that of the 130 arrests there have been under this "stand your ground" law in Florida, there have only been 19 convictions. This is the old west and racism has never been more rampant.


Jan Klimkowski
04-12-2012, 05:33 PM
Dawn - thank you for those professional insights.

From the deep political perspective, it can be argued that the creation of a "stand your ground" law was always likely to lead to incidents of racial strife. I doubt many young black men have even considered using "stand your ground" as a defence.

Obama's "If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon" intevention was clearly politically calculated, although the consequences may not be those anticipated by his immediate spintourage.

The death of this young man provides deep political structures with an opportunity to create Chaos, should they need or desire such...

Peter Lemkin
04-12-2012, 05:42 PM
Newly obtained audio shows a man who died following a brutal altercation with North Chicago police was begging for his life during the arrest. Darrin Hanna died a week after the police beating last November. An autopsy found six wounds on Hanna’s face and 11 taser marks on his back. Hanna, an African American, can reportedly be heard on the tape saying, “I was down! I was down!” and “They’re killing me!” His family played the audio tape for a North Chicago City Council meeting Monday night and called for the officers involved to be fired.

Peter Lemkin
04-12-2012, 06:03 PM
JUAN GONZALEZ: A grand jury met for the first time on Wednesday to determine if charges should be filed in the fatal police shooting of the retired Marine Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., who would have turned 69 years old today. Chamberlain was shot dead by police in his White Plains, New York, apartment in November after he accidentally set off a medical alert. Police arrived at Chamberlain’s apartment after being contacted by the LifeAid medical alert service to check on his health. After Chamberlain refused to open his apartment door, saying he was OK, police took the door off its hinges. Officers first shot him with a taser, then a beanbag shotgun, and then with live ammunition.
Lawyers for the Chamberlain family now say police violated the White Plains Police Department’s own regulations when they shot him with the taser gun. According to those regulations, tasers should not be used on, quote, "obviously elderly subjects." In addition, the regulations say police are supposed to give a, quote, "clear verbal warning" prior to firing the taser gun. According to the Chamberlain family and legal team, no such verbal warning was issued.
AMY GOODMAN: In addition, the attorneys have raised questions about the police account of Chamberlain’s death based on the findings of his autopsy. Police have claimed Chamberlain was holding a butcher knife when a police officer fired two shots, but attorneys say the autopsy suggests Chamberlain was neither facing the police nor holding up a weapon.
We’re joined now by two attorneys representing the Chamberlain family, Mayo Bartlett and Abdulwali Muhammad. Mayo Bartlett is the former chief of the Bias Crimes Unit of the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, former chair of the Westchester County Human Rights Commission.
We welcome you both to Democracy Now! These reports, the taser instructions—first he’s shot with a taser. Now, we’re making a big deal of this, but then he was shot with live ammunition and killed. This is a heart patient. The LifeAid company calls the police to come, saying, "This isn’t a criminal matter, it’s a medical alert, medical emergency. Please head over." And then they canceled their call, but the police went forward anyway. Mayo, talk about the taser.
MAYO BARTLETT: Absolutely. Yeah, the taser is just one more step that shows that the police disregarded their own policies, or else that they weren’t aware of what their policies were. And the taser specifically—the policy, as we understand it, specifically prevents them from using it against obviously elderly people. We’ve actually had some discussions with members of law enforcement with respect to whether Mr. Chamberlain was an elderly person. And at the time, he’s 68 years old. He’s a retired veteran, six years in the United States Marines, 20-year retired corrections officer. And I would suggest that anybody that’s 68 years old fits the criteria of being elderly, as much as we may not want to admit that as we get older. But the fact that they disregarded this is very significant. And the reason they have these protocols is because they’re aware that the taser is a very dangerous device, and if you’re using that on an elderly person, you greatly increase the risk of tremendous injury, if not death, on that person.
AMY GOODMAN: And a heart patient.
JUAN GONZALEZ: And the regulations also talk about the warning, that you’ve got to give a verbal warning beforehand that you’re about to taser a person, because, the regulations say, often the warning alone is enough to get a person back under control. But you know for sure, because you’ve looked at the video and the audio that was on that taser, that no such warning was issued.
MAYO BARTLETT: Not only was no such warning issued, but there were no warnings or no commands issued at all. No one stated to Mr. Chamberlain that he should put his hands up, that he should do anything. There were no police commands whatsoever. And even more telling is that the video shows that Mr. Chamberlain was not advancing toward police at that time. He’s standing with his hands at his side. He didn’t say a word, and the police didn’t say a word. They immediately charged the taser and fired it at him, as soon as the door was off the hinges.
AMY GOODMAN: And just to be clear, this video was mounted on the taser gun, which is why you were able to view this at the DA’s office, and you heard the whole thing—
MAYO BARTLETT: Absolutely.
AMY GOODMAN: —through the audiotape of the LifeAid company, the medical pendant company, that has a little box in his apartment so they can hear what goes on in the apartment, and they recorded everything, even after the police said they were turning off the taser gun video.
MAYO BARTLETT: Absolutely.
JUAN GONZALEZ: And Abdulwali Muhammad, the autopsy report, I reported (http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/marine-shot-white-plains-police-died-bullet-entered-arm-ripped-lungs-autopsy-reveals-article-1.1058986) on that in the Daily News earlier this week. Your sense of what the autopsy report, that you were able to obtain, shows?
ABDULWALI MUHAMMAD: My sense is that he was shot from the side. The bullet entered his right arm and traveled across like this.
AMY GOODMAN: Across his chest.
ABDULWALI MUHAMMAD: Across his chest. And that’s what ended—
JUAN GONZALEZ: And it punctured both lungs.
ABDULWALI MUHAMMAD: That is correct. And that’s what ended his life.
JUAN GONZALEZ: But the issue of whether he was actually facing police at the time of the shooting—I talked to a Dr. Michael Baden, the former New York City medical examiner and forensic pathologist, who said, yes, that appears to be that he was shot from the side; however, he says, there’s always the possibility that as an officer began to raise their gun, that he might have turned to the side to make less of a target, and—but that, clearly, there’s at least a greater likelihood that he was not advancing on police, from the trajectory of the bullet.
ABDULWALI MUHAMMAD: What happened the second before, of course, we don’t know right now. The video ends on the taser, before that. But the possibility still exists that he wasn’t advancing towards the police. From what you do see in the video, he was at the door. If he had advanced towards the police, he would have advanced towards the police, again, in his boxer shorts.
AMY GOODMAN: Because that’s all he was wearing.
ABDULWALI MUHAMMAD: That’s all the man was wearing.
AMY GOODMAN: It was 5:00 in the morning.
ABDULWALI MUHAMMAD: That is correct.
AMY GOODMAN: In light of the Trayvon Martin special prosecutor handing down second-degree murder charges against the shooter, in this case, well, Juan discovered the name of the police officer, Anthony Carelli. He is—his case is going on trial in just a few weeks, against two other men, for beating them and calling them "rag head." Their parents are Jordanian immigrants. In this case, Mayo Bartlett, you heard a racial epithet hurled at Kenneth Chamberlain on the audiotape.
MAYO BARTLETT: Absolutely. The audiotape was crystal clear to me, that you can hear an individual in the background stating, when Mr. Chamberlain said, "Sir, please leave me alone. I’m a 68-year-old heart patient. I’m an old man. Please leave me alone," and we believe that an officer at that point says, "We don’t give an F—-," and calls—and then they call him the N-word. Now, we’ve been advised that the officer who used the racial epithet is not Officer Carelli, but normally—
AMY GOODMAN: Who shot him.
MAYO BARTLETT: Who shot him and killed him. But it begs the question, well, who is this officer, and why don’t we know this person’s name? That should all be made public. It should not be a hide-and-seek adventure here, where if we’re fortunate enough to have reporting that uncovers who that officer is, that they will confirm who the officer is.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Now, I’ve also been told by Carelli’s lawyer that he will testify at the grand jury, which is, to me, is unusual in these cases, because usually if you’re the target, a potential target, of a grand jury investigation, you don’t testify and incriminate yourself. So that must mean that either he’s decided to waive immunity, most likely, in order to testify before the grand jury and give his side of what happened.
MAYO BARTLETT: That’s a good possibility, that he’s waiving immunity. I can’t confirm what has occurred here, because that would just simply be between Mr. Quinn and Mr. Carelli. But that is, in all likelihood, what occurred.
AMY GOODMAN: And the significance of this grand jury in light of the Trayvon Martin case? I mean, it’s taken five months, a lot of outcry against Westchester County DA Janet DiFiore. Why wasn’t this case investigated at the time of the killing of this ex-Marine?
MAYO BARTLETT: Well, I want to be clear that we did have conversations with this district attorney’s office very early on, and we were assured, even as early as November, that they were going to present the matter to the grand jury. And in fairness, we want to make that that’s clear. And they’ve done that. And we were advised back in November that they may make the presentation in March. And we have been in touch with them, and they did advise us that it was going to take a little bit longer. But the bigger question that I have is, the fact that most cases are not initiated in a grand jury, so any of my—
AMY GOODMAN: Five seconds.
MAYO BARTLETT: Any of my criminal defendants who commit a charge get charged by a felony complaint, just as Mr. Zimmerman was in Florida. And that could have occurred here, as well.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to leave it there, but we’ll continue to follow the grand jury on the case of the killing of Kenneth Chamberlain. Thank you, Mayo Bartlett—
AMY GOODMAN: —and Abdulwali Muhammad.

Peter Lemkin
04-12-2012, 06:18 PM
Two people were killed on Sunday night when "an unknown number of subjects in camouflage clothing armed with rifles" ambushed a truck carrying 20 to 30 undocumented immigrants near the southern Arizona town of Eloy," according to the Pima County sheriff's department.

Border Patrol agents and police found one body in the bed of the pickup truck and the other nearby in the desert. The identities of the victims have not been released.

Five other border crossers were found hiding in nearby brush and were turned over to Border Patrol after being questioned. The rest managed to escape into the desert on foot.

When asked if investigators suspect the attack was orchestrated by a militia, sheriff's department spokesperson Deputy Dawn Barkman said investigators are "looking into every possibility but nothing is conclusive."

The truck carrying the immigrants was traveling in a wash that is commonly used for "human smuggling," according to the sheriff's department. A wash is a river in the desert that is often without water.

This is not the first deadly attack by people reportedly dressed in paramilitary-style gear in the area. In 2007, four men armed with an assault weapon and wearing camouflage and berets ambushed a vehicle 40 miles north of Eloy and killed a smuggling suspect and wounded another person.

The attack comes as the Arizona legislature is considering a bill that would create a volunteer, state-sponsored and fully armed militia to aid the Border Patrol along the United States-Mexico border. Militia members would be able to pursue, arrest and detain individuals. The 300-person militia would cost taxpayers $1.4 million annually and would be under the control of the governor.

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Arizona) criticized the bill last month after an appropriations committee approved it.

"This legislation is not just silly and irresponsible, it's a public safety threat," Grijalva said. "To arm individuals, provide paper-thin weapons training and deliberately place them in danger disrespects the taxpayers of our great state and cheapens the professionalism of our border security agents."

Crossing the border can be a dangerous task beyond the threat of attack. Immigrants often die of dehydration or malnutrition while crossing the harsh Sonoran Desert and attempting to avoid arrest. The humanitarian aid group No More Deaths has documented 71 deaths of immigrants attempting the cross the Mexico-Arizona border area since October 2011.

Albert Doyle
04-12-2012, 06:26 PM
The 'Stand Your Ground' gun violence law originates from desperate Republicans trying to expoit the sympathies of the militarily-compliant south for political purposes.


Jan Klimkowski
04-12-2012, 06:46 PM
The 'Stand Your Ground' gun violence law originates from desperate Republicans trying to expoit the sympathies of the militarily-compliant south for political purposes.


Albert - at the surface level, I suspect that's correct.

However, at the deeper level, "Stand Your Ground" was pretty much guaranteed to lead to white men shooting black men and claiming a form of justifiable homicide permitting their legal exoneration.

And giving white men a free ticket to shoot black men was always going to lead to racial strife and the opportunity to create Chaos - if so desired.

Read your Manson and understand the philosophy of Helter Skelter.

Then remember the origins of Helter Skelter in L Ron Hubbard.

Who controlled Scientology?

Which intelligence agency employed Charlie's controller?

Some clues in the following DPF threads:

The MK-ULTRA Iceberg (https://deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/showthread.php?223-The-MK-ULTRA-iceberg&highlight=manson).

Mae Brussell: Operation Chaos (https://deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/showthread.php?2031-Mae-Brussell-Operation-Chaos&highlight=manson).

Was Charlie Manson sheep dipped? (https://deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/showthread.php?107-Was-Charlie-Manson-sheep-dipped&highlight=manson)

Keith Millea
04-12-2012, 06:54 PM
The attack comes as the Arizona legislature is considering a bill that would create a volunteer, state-sponsored and fully armed militia to aid the Border Patrol along the United States-Mexico border. Militia members would be able to pursue, arrest and detain individuals. The 300-person militia would cost taxpayers $1.4 million annually and would be under the control of the governor.

I think that's what you call a posse........

Definition of POSSE

: a large group often with a common interest

: a body of persons summoned by a sheriff to assist in preserving the public peace usually in an emergency

: a group of people temporarily organized to make a search (as for a lost child)

Jan Klimkowski
04-12-2012, 06:58 PM
I think that's what you call a posse........[/B]

Definition of POSSE

: a large group often with a common interest

: a body of persons summoned by a sheriff to assist in preserving the public peace usually in an emergency

Some deep political satire:


Magda Hassan
04-12-2012, 11:41 PM
When “stand your ground” fails (http://www.salon.com/2012/04/11/when_stand_your_ground_fails/singleton) John McNeil killed a white man who assaulted him on his property. But, unlike George Zimmerman, he's serving life By Rania Khalek (http://www.salon.com/writer/rania_khalek/)

http://media.salon.com/2012/04/zimm_mcneil_color-460x307.jpg George Zimmerman and John McNeil (Credit: AP)

Topics:Crime (http://www.salon.com/topic/crime/), George Zimmerman (http://www.salon.com/topic/george_zimmerman/)
Trayvon Martin's tragic murder has brought much-needed scrutiny to "Stand Your Ground" laws. If you read or hear about a local "Stand Your Ground" case that isn't getting much national press, blog about it on Open Salon (http://open.salon.com/blog/emily_holleman/2012/04/11/open_call_stand_your_ground_watch).
As the shooting death of Trayvon Martin and the failure of authorities to arrest his killer, George Zimmerman, continues to grab headlines, many conservatives and gun rights advocates insist that race has nothing to do with it. Some have also rallied to the defense of Florida’s “stand your ground” law, the self-defense legislation under which Zimmerman was able to avoid arrest. Yet not all stand your ground claims are so successful. Not too far from Sanford, Fla., a black man named John McNeil is serving a life sentence for shooting Brian Epp, a white man who trespassed and attacked him at his home in Georgia, another stand your ground state.
It all began in early 2005, when McNeil and his wife, Anita, hired Brian Epp’s construction company to build a new house in Cobb County, Ga. The McNeils testified that Epp was difficult to work with, which led to heated confrontations. They eventually decided to close on the house early to rid their lives of Epp, whom they found increasingly threatening. At the closing, both parties agreed that Epp would have 10 days to complete the work, after which he would stay away from the property, but he failed to keep up his end of the bargain.

On Dec. 6, 2005, John McNeil’s 15-year-old son, La’Ron, notified his dad over the phone that a man he didn’t recognize was lurking in the backyard. When La’Ron told the man to leave, an argument broke out. McNeil was still on the phone and immediately recognized Epp’s voice. According to La’Ron’s testimony (http://caselaw.findlaw.com/ga-supreme-court/1418360.html), Epp pointed a folding utility knife at La’Ron’s face and said, “[w]hy don’t you make me leave?” at which point McNeil told his son to go inside and wait while he called 911 and headed home.
According to McNeil’s testimony (http://caselaw.findlaw.com/ga-supreme-court/1418360.html), when he pulled up to his house, Epp was next door grabbing something from his truck and stuffing it in his pocket. McNeil quickly grabbed his gun from the glove compartment in plain view of Epp who was coming at him “fast.” McNeil jumped out of the car and fired a warning shot at the ground insisting that Epp back off. Instead of retreating, Epp charged at McNeil while reaching for his pocket, so McNeil fired again, this time fatally striking Epp in the head. (Epp was found to have a folding knife in his pocket, although it was shut.)

The McNeils weren’t the only ones who felt threatened by Epp. David Samson and Libby Jones, a white couple who hired Epp to build their home in 2004, testified (http://caselaw.findlaw.com/ga-supreme-court/1418360.html) that they carried a gun as a “precaution” around Epp because of his threatening behavior. According to Jones, Epp nearly hit her when she expressed dissatisfaction with his work at a weekly meeting. The couple even had a lawyer write a letter warning Epp to stay away from their property. Samson testified that after they fired him, Epp would park his car across the street and watch their house, saying “it got to the point where my wife and I were in total fear of this man.”
After a neighbor across the street who witnessed the encounter corroborated McNeil’s account (http://caselaw.findlaw.com/ga-supreme-court/1418360.html), police determined that it was a case of self-defense and did not charge him in the death. Nevertheless, almost a year later Cobb County District Attorney Patrick Head decided to prosecute McNeil for murder. In 2006, he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

McNeil’s attorney Mark Yurachek told Salon that “DAs throughout the country enjoy that kind of flexibility of deciding who to prosecute, but it’s curious that he took a year to do it.” While he said there’s no way to know what swayed the DA to prosecute, Yurachek revealed that letters, which he obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, were written to the DA’s office demanding that McNeil be charged. “They were mostly emails from people cajoling prosecutors to investigate,” says Yurachek. “One was from Epp’s widow. Others were written anonymously.”
In 2008, McNeil appealed (http://caselaw.findlaw.com/ga-supreme-court/1418360.html) his case to the Georgia Supreme Court with all but one of the seven justices upholding his conviction. The sole dissent came from Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears who argued, “the State failed to disprove John McNeil’s claim of self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt.”She went on to write:

Even viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict, the evidence was overwhelming in showing that a reasonable person in McNeil’s shoes would have believed that he was subject to an imminent physical attack by an aggressor possessing a knife and that it was necessary to use deadly force to protect himself from serious bodily injury or a forcible felony. Under the facts of this case, it would be unreasonable to require McNeil to wait until Epp succeeded in attacking him, thereby potentially disarming him, getting control of the gun, or stabbing him before he could legally employ deadly force to defend himself. This is not what Georgia law requires.
As a leading gun rights state, Georgia has both a stand your ground law (http://www.georgiapacking.org/GaCode/?title=16&chapter=3&section=21) that permits citizens to use deadly force “only if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury,” as well as a Castle Doctrine law, (http://www.georgiapacking.org/GaCode/?title=16&chapter=3&section=23) which justifies the use of deadly force in defense of one’s home.
Thus far, gun rights advocates such as the NRA and former Cobb County congressional Rep. Newt Gingrich have been silent on McNeil’s conviction, though it’s unclear whether they are aware of the case. The NRA did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Still, Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP State Conference, argues, “The NRA would be screaming about the injustice of his conviction if John had been white and shot a black assailant that came at him on his property armed with a knife.” (McNeil grew up in North Carolina, where the local NAACP chapter, led by Barber, was the first to pick up on his case in Georgia.)

Barber was clear that the NAACP remains firmly against stand your ground laws because “they give cover to those who may engage in racial profiling and racialized violence,” adding that “There is a history and legacy of discriminatory application of the law” that continues to this day. “African-Americans are caught in curious position. On one hand, we fight against stand your ground laws, but once the laws are on the books they aren’t applied to us.”
Civil rights activist Markel Hutchins agrees and has filed a federal lawsuit (http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-government/lawsuit-challenges-georgias-stand-1411841.html) challenging Georgia’s stand your ground law because the law is not applied equally to African-Americans. He accuses the courts of accepting “the race of a victim as evidence to establish the reasonableness of an individual’s fear in cases of justifiable homicide.”

Meanwhile, Barber argues that McNeil’s treatment stands in stark contrast to that of George Zimmerman, who has been afforded the benefit of the doubt despite his victim being unarmed. “America’s always had a difficult issue dealing with race, so rather than face it when it’s exposed, the tendency by some is to try and dismiss it. But the reality is you do not see this kind of miscarriage of justice when it comes to whites.” He adds, “John’s whole life has been taken away from him. His wife is very ill with cancer and she has lost a husband, his sons have lost a father and society has lost a man that was contributing to his community.”

Peter Lemkin
04-13-2012, 05:11 AM
American society is rascist and classist - and getting WORSE on both accounts at the current time! The Police have long been known for their unequal treatment of dark skinned and poor people; as have prosecutors, judges and the whole system - legal and otherwise. Its as American as baseball and apple pie.

Albert Doyle
04-14-2012, 05:02 PM
All things considered, I think the elephant in the room here is the gun...

Peter Lemkin
04-14-2012, 06:06 PM
All things considered, I think the elephant in the room here is the gun...

Well there certainly are a hell of a lot of guns in the USA [registered and known about I believe three for every person; unknown weapons likely several time that]...but it is not just the weapons - it is the laws; the attitudes toward weapons use and the mentality of many with those weapons....and finally the example the country itself sets on how to 'settle' a 'situation' [i.e. most often with violence and deadly force]. Its a mess.

Keith Millea
04-14-2012, 07:05 PM
Well there certainly are a hell of a lot of guns in the USA [registered and known about I believe three for every person; unknown weapons likely several time that]...

And you can bet your bottom dollar,that if the people didn't own these weapons,the PTB would already have put their serf tattoo on our asses!

Albert Doyle
04-14-2012, 08:46 PM
And you can bet your bottom dollar,that if the people didn't own these weapons,the PTB would already have put their serf tattoo on our asses!

Don't look down Keith, lol...

Peter Lemkin
04-23-2012, 05:21 AM
Zimmerman was allowed to be out on a tiny bail [for killing a person, almost unheard of!] of $150,000. For killing a person they usually do NOT grant bail or if they do it is millions of dollars. A black man accused of killing a white man likely has NEVER EVER been granted bail - I've never heard of it.

Peter Lemkin
05-05-2012, 05:00 AM
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We begin today’s show with the latest on the shooting death of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., the 68-year-old African-American veteran who was shot dead inside his own home by a White Plains New York police officer in November. On Thursday, the Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore announced a grand jury declined to indict any of the officers involved.
JANET DIFIORE: The death of Mr. Chamberlain inside his apartment and during the encounter with White Plains police on November 19th was a tragedy on many, many levels. A grand jury heard all the evidence on the use of physical force and deadly physical force by the police in this encounter. The grand jury also heard the evidence of the threatened use of deadly physical force by Mr. Chamberlain during the encounter. After due deliberation on the evidence presented in this matter, the grand jury found that there was no reasonable cause to vote an indictment.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: The police were called to Kenneth Chamberlain’s apartment after he accidentally set off his LifeAid medical alert device. After Chamberlain refused to let officers into the apartment, police broke down the door and then shot him with a taser, then with bean bags fired from a shotgun, and finally a white police officer named Anthony Carelli shot him dead. Police claim Chamberlain tried to attack them with a knife.
Randolph McLaughlin, an attorney for the Chamberlain family, said they would now seek a federal probe into the shooting.
RANDOLPH McLAUGHLIN: We’re moving beyond Westchester County now. We’re going to put this case in the hands of the United States attorney general. We’re good to be drafting a letter for release tomorrow morning to Eric Holder and to the U.S. attorney for the Southern District, Preet Bharara, and calling for a full investigation not only in this case, which we think was a civil rights violation, given what happened here, but given what we’ve learned about the other cases pending and threatened in this county involving White Plains police officers, we’re going to ask the U.S. attorney and the attorney general to use their powers under federal law to conduct a full investigation of this department. And we believe, when they do that, they will find civil rights violations.

AMY GOODMAN: In a moment, we’ll be joined by Mayo Bartlett, the attorney for the Chamberlain family. But first we turn to a remarkable series of audio and video recordings from the morning of Kenneth Chamberlain’s death. Much of the audio was recorded by Chamberlain’s LifeAid medical alert device. The video was recorded from the police taser gun used to shoot the 68-year-old man before he was shot dead. We begin with the initial call that prompted the police response.
OFFICER CIANCI: White Plains Police Officer Cianci.

LIFEAID OPERATOR: Good morning. This is LifeAid reporting a medical alert.


LIFEAID OPERATOR: One thirty-five—


LIFEAID OPERATOR: South Lexington Avenue.

OFFICER CIANCI: OK. Apartment number?

LIFEAID OPERATOR: One-B, like "boy."

OFFICER CIANCI: One-B, OK. Medical alert?


OFFICER CIANCI: OK. What’s the name of the resident?

LIFEAID OPERATOR: Last name is Chamberlain, first name Kenneth.

OFFICER CIANCI: OK. Did you get a response from him at all or no?

LIFEAID OPERATOR: No, nothing at all from him.

AMY GOODMAN: After the White Plains police arrived at Ken Chamberlain’s apartment, Chamberlain told an operator from LifeAid that he was not sick and did not need assistance.
LIFEAID OPERATOR: This is your help center for LifeAid, Mr. Chamberlain. Do you need help?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN SR.: Yes, this is an emergency! I have the White Plains Police Department banging on my door, and I did not call them, and I am not sick!

LIFEAID OPERATOR: Everything’s all right, sir?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN SR.: No, it’s not all right! I need help! The White Plains Police Department are banging on my door!

LIFEAID OPERATOR: Mr. Chamberlain, go to your door and answer it.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN SR.: [inaudible] Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

LIFEAID OPERATOR: Open your door for the police, Mr. Chamberlain.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN SR.: I didn’t call the police. I did not call the police!

LIFEAID OPERATOR: That’s OK. Go to your door and let them know you’re all right.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN SR.: I stay right there. They hear me. They say they want to talk to me.

LIFEAID OPERATOR: OK, go and talk to them, sir. I’ll stay on the line with you.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN SR.: I have no reason to talk to them.

LIFEAID OPERATOR: Mr. Chamberlain? Mr. Chamberlain?


LIFEAID OPERATOR: You pressed your medical button right now. You don’t need anything, let the police know you’re OK.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN SR.: I’m OK! The police department is knocking on my door, and I—

LIFEAID OPERATOR: Yes, I understand. Go to the door and tell them you’re all right.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN SR.: I will not open my door.

LIFEAID OPERATOR: Sir, go to the door and tell them you’re OK.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN SR.: I will not open my door.

AMY GOODMAN: After Kenneth Chamberlain told LifeAid he was OK, but afraid of the police at the door, the LifeAid operator attempted to cancel the call for police assistance.
OFFICER CIANCI: White Plains police emergency.

LIFEAID OPERATOR: Good morning, sir. I’m attempting to cancel that dispatch for Kenneth Chamberlain at 135 South Lexington.

OFFICER CIANCI: OK. You know, we have—we have units on scene right now.

LIFEAID OPERATOR: Yeah, he’s—we’re on the line with him on a two-way communication, and he’s saying he’s not going to open the door and is scared he’s going to bust his door down.

OFFICER CIANCI: Right. They’re going to make entry anyway.

LIFEAID OPERATOR: OK, so, hold on. Give him a chance to come to the door to open it, because he’s OK to open it.

OFFICER CIANCI: OK. I mean, they have a key they can open it with anyway, so...

LIFEAID OPERATOR: Oh, they have a key?

OFFICER CIANCI: Yeah, they’re not going to break it down.

LIFEAID OPERATOR: Oh, because they’re banging on it. We can hear on the line.

OFFICER CIANCI: What’s that?

LIFEAID OPERATOR: They’re banging on it. We can hear on the line. They’re—

OFFICER CIANCI: Yeah, yeah. We have units going over there right now. They get in.

LIFEAID OPERATOR: Oh, OK. And your name and number?




AMY GOODMAN: Kenneth Chamberlain went on to tell the LifeAid operator that the police had drawn their guns and were attempting to break down his door. Listen closely.
LIFEAID OPERATOR: Officers, this is LifeAid. Are you inside Mr. Chamberlain’s home?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN SR.: They’re breaking in my door! They’re breaking in my door!

LIFEAID OPERATOR: Mr. Chamberlain, I heard you say they’re breaking in your door. Are you OK?


LIFEAID OPERATOR: Mr. Chamberlain, are you OK?


LIFEAID OPERATOR: OK. You pressed your medical button. That’s why the officers are there. Can you go to the door and speak to them?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN SR.: I [inaudible] the door. They’ve got their guns out! They have their guns out!

LIFEAID OPERATOR: OK. Do you have weapon, Mr. Chamberlain?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN SR.: I [inaudible] weapons. I am just protecting myself.

LIFEAID OPERATOR: OK. They’re not there to hurt you. I’m here on the line.

POLICE OFFICER: Mr. Chamberlain, we’re not here to help—hurt you. We’re here to give you a hand, help you out.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN SR.: I’m OK! I told you I was OK! [inaudible] I’m OK! I’m fine! Leave me alone! I’m fine!

AMY GOODMAN: A video camera on the police taser gun recorded the next sequence. You can hear Kenneth Chamberlain say the police have stun guns and shotguns. He then predicted the police would probably kill him. Again, listen closely.
KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN SR.: They have stun guns and shotguns! [inaudible]

POLICE OFFICER: Mr. Chamberlain! Mr. Chamberlain!

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN SR.: They’ve come to kill me with that, because I have a bad heart.

POLICE OFFICER: It doesn’t have to happen that way. [inaudible] just have to open the door.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN SR.: Get out! I didn’t call you! I did not call you. Why are you here? Why are you here?

POLICE OFFICER: Life alert called us.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN SR.: Why are you here?

POLICE OFFICER: Life alert called us.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN SR.: They have their nine-millimeter Glocks at the ready. They’re getting ready to kill me or beat me up.

POLICE OFFICER: Open the door.


POLICE OFFICER: Let them check you out. And then we will leave.


POLICE OFFICER: Yeah, but I’m not a doctor.


POLICE OFFICER: No, nothing here.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN SR.: Leave. I’m fine. Now leave. I’m fine.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: While the police were threatening to break down Kenneth Chamberlain’s door, Chamberlain’s sister called the police in an attempt to defuse the situation.
OFFICER CIANCI: White Plains police emergency.

CAROL MATTHEWS: Yes, good morning. My name is Carol Matthews. I’m—I understand that the police are down with my brother, Kenny Chamberlain.


CAROL MATTHEWS: And I’m—you know, I’m trying to get through to him. You know, he is on medication.

OFFICER CIANCI: He is on medication, right, yeah.

CAROL MATTHEWS: Yeah, he has the paper that he’s supposed to carry around with him.

OFFICER CIANCI: OK, no problem.

CAROL MATTHEWS: And, you know, he’s like really—he seems like he’s done snapped, you know what I mean?


CAROL MATTHEWS: I just don’t know what to do at this time.

OFFICER CIANCI: OK, well, it’s no problem.

CAROL MATTHEWS: The number that I have—

OFFICER CIANCI: Just, you know what? We’re going to handle it on our end.

CAROL MATTHEWS: Yeah, but I mean, I don’t—you know, they say he has a—someone said he has a knife or something?

OFFICER CIANCI: Who said that?

CAROL MATTHEWS: The people from the station, you know, from the alert station, life alert.

OFFICER CIANCI: Yeah, I don’t know. I’m not sure. Whatever it is, though, we’re going to handle it. And then he can—

CAROL MATTHEWS: Yeah, but that’s—

OFFICER CIANCI: —certainly get in touch with you as soon as he can.

CAROL MATTHEWS: Because I don’t want them to shoot him, you know.

OFFICER CIANCI: No, it’s not going to come to that.

CAROL MATTHEWS: Well, they said that—my daughter is there also. She said that they—that they have their guns out. They’re trying to talk to him, you know, but that’s—

OFFICER CIANCI: Right, right. Well, you know what, ma’am? Listen, just stay in contact with your daughter. She knows more than I do. I’m inside right now. I don’t really have any of the information, so you just talk with her, and she’ll relay you any information that she gets. She’ll probably get it to you faster than I could.


OFFICER CIANCI: OK? Have a good evening. All right, bye-bye.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Soon after Kenneth Chamberlain’s sister was assured the police would not shoot her brother, that is just what happened. Police video shows the moment police broke down his door and shot him with a taser. TV viewers will see a few quick glimpses of Kenneth Chamberlain. The 68-year-old man was wearing boxer shorts and no shirt. This video was recorded by a camera on the police taser. Listen closely and you can hear the sound of the taser.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN SR.: Shoot! Shoot me! No! Shoot me! Shoot me!

POLICE OFFICER: Need another cartridge?


AMY GOODMAN: You can actually see the electricity shooting Kenneth Chamberlain. The video cuts out at this point. Within minutes, Kenneth Chamberlain was shot dead by the police.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re joined on the phone right now by Kenneth Chamberlain Jr., the son of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., the African-American former Marine who was shot dead by police in his home on November 19th, 2011, when his LifeAid medical alert pendant went off and the LifeAid company called police for medical assistance at his home.
Kenneth Chamberlain, the grand jury has just come back. There will be no charges against police officers involved in the killing of your father. Your response?
Kenneth Chamberlain, can you hear us? Ken—ah, it looks like he’s in a TV studio, and he’s not able to hear us right now, problems with the sound. So we’re going to go to Mayo Bartlett, the attorney for the Chamberlain family, for Kenneth Chamberlain Jr. Your response to the grand jury decision not to indict the police officers?
MAYO BARTLETT: Well, from the very beginning, we were interested in getting an independent arbiter with respect to this, because we know that grand juries are secret in New York, so you can basically present the same information any number of different ways. We don’t know what charges were actually presented. We don’t know who the target was. And it appears to me that the grand jury was more of an investigative grand jury that would give you a report than it was one that targeted actual suspects. And one of the things about that presentation is that if the district attorney’s office had a good-faith belief that one or more of these officers were guilty of a crime, they could have simply charged them by misdemeanor information or by felony complaint, and then, afterwards, presented the matter to the grand jury, which would be the norm for anyone else who’s arrested. Instead, the grand jury is often used to cover politically for a figure, for a district attorney. So if the grand jury indicts, it’s not the district attorney’s fault. They simply presented the evidence, and the grand jury indicted. If the grand jury chooses not to indict, well, then the grand jury essentially is blamed, but that’s an anonymous group of 23 individuals.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, Mayo Bartlett, I especially would like to ask you about this whole issue how this—the law enforcement handled this investigation, because there have been many cases in the past where, in high-profile cases, the grand jury not only does a—reviews the evidence, but actually issues a report. It happened, for instance, in the Tawana Brawley case many years ago. It happened in the killing of Kevin Cedeno when Manhattan District Attorney Morgenthau issued a complete report. But in this case, what happened was the district attorney only announced the finding of the grand jury not to indict. And then, within moments, the Westchester Police Department released, to me, an unprecedented amount of its internal documents to the press, so the DA did not have to comment on anything, and the department then sought to do the damage control, basically, to justify what the grand jury had decided. Have you ever seen this enormous release of internal records of the police department and of these tapes so quickly after a grand jury concludes its deliberations?
MAYO BARTLETT: I have absolutely never seen that. And I believe very strongly that if this information had been released earlier, we may have had an indictment, because the grand jury would have been in a position to ask different questions. We don’t know whether they heard all of these tapes, whether they heard them in context. If you hear things out of context, for instance, you may be given the impression that Mr. Chamberlain is making threats early on and that Mr. Chamberlain is unstable early on. But when you have the complete tapes, you know that he’s telling them repeatedly, for at least 15 minutes, that he’s fine, he’s OK, and he doesn’t need help. So one of the problems is the fact that all of this information is released, but I think it’s released in a very self-serving manner.
And generally, you would expect a grand jury to take direction from the prosecution. So, quite often in criminal cases, we get grand jury minutes when a witness is about to testify. And when you read those grand jury minutes, you see that the grand jurors themselves are actually asking questions, and quite often the district attorney determines that those questions are not relevant, especially when those questions go toward credibility or go toward the strength of the case. So they never really get to fully explore the case.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to go to another part of the LifeAid recording that we haven’t played. Now, just let me explain why there are these recordings. This is the LifeAid medical system where the patient, Kenneth Chamberlain, had a weak heart, wears this LifeAid pendant. We actually saw it on the video when you could see through the crack in the door. He had something around his neck. So, it’s not clear how it was triggered, the LifeAid pendant. Maybe when he was sleeping he rolled over. It was 5:00 in the morning. That alerted the LifeAid company. They have a system to record in the apartment of the patient. And that’s why we have this audio recording that was released by the police. So this recording is recording not only what’s happening in the room, and you hear those discussions between Kenneth Chamberlain’s sister and the LifeAid operator. So this is a part of the recording that we have not played. You can hear a police officer banging on Kenneth Chamberlain’s—banging on Kenneth Chamberlain’s window after Chamberlain said he’s OK. The officer responds by using a curse and the N-word. Listen closely.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN SR.: Don’t do that, sir. Don’t do that. Don’t do that, officer. Don’t do that. Don’t do that. Don’t do that. Do not do that! I’m telling you I’m OK!

OFFICER STEPHEN HART: I don’t give a [bleep], nigger!

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN SR.: I’m telling you I’m OK!


KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN SR.: I’m telling you I’m OK.

AMY GOODMAN: And I want to replay just a bit of that, if you missed what the police officer was saying outside the window the first time.
OFFICER STEPHEN HART: I don’t give a [bleep], nigger!

AMY GOODMAN: Mayo Bartlett, explain.
MAYO BARTLETT: Well, it’s inexplicable, because just that alone, you would think that if a district attorney’s office is presenting this case fully, that means more than just presenting a charge of murder in the second degree for a grand jury to consider. We don’t know what they presented or with respect to whom. But if you only present murder in the second degree, you’re asking a jury to find that the officers arrived at Mr. Chamberlain’s house with the sole intent of killing [him] and that they formed an intent to actually deprive him of his life. And that’s—that’s a difficult thing to ask that jury to find when they were responding to a medical call. But if you give them the full gamut of charges, you allow them to consider reckless conduct, reckless endangerment, criminally negligent homicide, manslaughter, official misconduct. And I would think that simply that language right there, cursing at Mr. Chamberlain, taunting him—
AMY GOODMAN: And saying what exactly?
MAYO BARTLETT: And saying, quote-unquote—
AMY GOODMAN: But don’t say the words.
MAYO BARTLETT: "I don’t give an F," and then using the N-word, is unbecoming and unprofessional. And the entire course of conduct leaves so much to desired, that it’s a breach of their actual protocol.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Yeah, Mayo, that—the officer who uttered those words, the district attorney’s office has confirmed that those words were said and that that’s being—the police department is looking into the actions of that officer. But that officer was identified in the minutes of the—in the transcript of that recording as a Police Officer Stephen Hart.
What I noted in my column (http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/westchester-grand-jury-decision-raises-questions-article-1.1072345) in the Daily News today was that there were at least three officers at the scene that night who were, at that very moment, facing a civil—federal civil rights claims against them in federal court by citizens who had claimed they had abused them.
There was Carelli himself, who actually shot Mr. Chamberlain, who’s facing a—still about to go to trial in a civil federal lawsuit of civil rights violations against two Jordanian immigrant brothers who alleged that he beat them while arresting them in a precinct and called them "ragheads."
There is Stephen Hart himself, who was at the window and used the N-word, who is also facing claims by an African-American woman that he used a—
AMY GOODMAN: Hart, as you write—
AMY GOODMAN: —was caught on tape, "facing his own civil suit in federal court from a young Hispanic man."
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Hispanic man, right. The vice president of a—
AMY GOODMAN: Edgar Maurado.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: The vice president of a bank, who claimed that he threw him to the pavement, beat his head on the pavement, broke his nose, while arresting him for disorderly conduct.
And then, finally, Sergeant Fottrell, one of the supervisors on the scene, who is facing a—who just finished a trial from an African-American woman who claimed that he used a stun gun on her while arresting her, although he was acquitted in that trial.
Three of them were facing, at that very moment that they were in Chamberlain’s house, charges by citizens who claimed that they had abused them. So, this is part of what you’re looking at in terms of calling for a federal investigation of the White Plains Police Department?
MAYO BARTLETT: Absolutely. We know that people are not going to be perfect. We know that the officers won’t be. But when the officers exhibit this type of behavior, the department has the responsibility of overseeing them and determining whether they’re still fit to serve as police officers, and if so, in what capacity. And it’s clear that the White Plains Police Department and the city of White Plains as a whole turns a blind eye to these things. And if these officers engaged in this same conduct without being able to hide behind a badge and a shield, they would be charged with felonies, serious felonies. They would very well be in jail.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I’d also like to ask you about the issue of—because the police have claimed that Mr. Chamberlain advanced on them twice with knives—once inside the apartment and once as they were trying to break down the door. Now, the video of the police attempts to break down the door are really chilling, because you don’t really get a sense of the fear that that can put in you, because they were—they were using crowbars. There were using axes. There was an ax visible, a police ax, as they were attempting to break down his door. But there was a claim that Chamberlain had tried to use—initially it was reported as an ax, put through the door, that the police grabbed away from him. Then it was later downgraded, because—and I know by discussions with the district attorney’s office—they said it was a meat cleaver, not an ax. And now it turns out that in the reports of the police officers on the scene, it was an eight-inch butter knife that went through—that he tried to put through the door and was taken away from him. In fact, you hear the police officers say, "We got the knife away from him," before they even entered the apartment. Now, there is an issue of what happened inside the apartment, whether there was a second knife that he attempted to use against them. Your response to this claim of the weapons?
MAYO BARTLETT: The police can make anything a weapon. If they came in here right now, they could take this mug I have in front of me and say it’s a weapon, because I could use it as a dangerous instrument. But the police took, I guess, what they claim is a butter knife without incident. And what’s important to remember here is that that occurred fairly well into this entire episode. Mr. Chamberlain was in his home 5:00 in the morning, and he had advised police and LifeAid numerous times, over a 15- to 20-minute period, that he was OK and didn’t need assistance.
The police department’s own protocol requires them to call people when they go on a medical emergency to make sure that they can establish contact with the person that way. And if they can in fact do that, it can end even there, if they’re satisfied that that’s the person. Now, they claim that they knew Mr. Chamberlain, so they knew who they were going to speak to, and they knew who they were speaking with. And he said he was fine. LifeAid actually asks to withdraw and recall their call for assistance. And once the door is taken down and the police are advancing into Mr. Chamberlain’s home, the video shows that Mr. Chamberlain standing, not advancing toward the police. And it’s important to note that at no point in time is it even alleged that Mr. Chamberlain ever left his house to confront anybody.
AMY GOODMAN: On the audiotapes from the LifeAid company released yesterday, you can hear attempts by the LifeAid dispatcher and Kenneth Chamberlain’s sister, Carol, trying to defuse the situation. At one point, Kenneth’s sister Carol wants to call her brother to see if she can help him calm down. So the LifeAid dispatcher calls the police to relay this idea to them.
OFFICER CIANCI: Yeah, White Plains Police. This is 64.

LIFEAID OPERATOR: Yes, Operator 64. This is Operator JR01. I not too long ago spoke to you.

OFFICER CIANCI: Yeah, what’s going on?

LIFEAID OPERATOR: OK, I gave Carol—well, she actually gave us a call back. She would like to call Kenneth’s home, and she would like for you to tell the officers to tell him to answer his phone.

OFFICER CIANCI: Ma’am, we’ve got a—we’ve got a pretty serious situation going on over here, OK?

LIFEAID OPERATOR: That’s what I told her.

OFFICER CIANCI: So, tell her to relax. We’re trying to work it out on our end. But right now we’re not going to play mediator or anything between the two of them. OK? We can’t play those games right now. We’ve got a serious situation going on, and we’re trying to figure it out. We’re trying to get a resolution going. So just—

LIFEAID OPERATOR: No, I understand completely.

OFFICER CIANCI: We want to do our best. I know it’s not your fault. You’re just relaying her message. But right now, you know, we don’t need to relay her messages to us at this point. Just tell her that we’re trying to resolve the situation the best we can. OK?

LIFEAID OPERATOR: OK, I’ll let her know that.

OFFICER CIANCI: So, thank you very much.

AMY GOODMAN: That is Kenneth Chamberlain’s sister—the LifeAid operator, rather, talking to the police. Mayo Bartlett?
MAYO BARTLETT: Well, when you have family members that can assist in situations like this, it’s negligent, at a minimum, to ignore those individuals and not to let them try to help out. I mean, that would have possibly defused the entire situation.

Keith Millea
05-18-2012, 03:19 PM

05.18.12 - 11:01 AM
Stand Your Ground (Unless You're A Black Woman)

by Abby Zimet

The surreal case (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-57434757-504083/fla-woman-marissa...) of Marissa Alexander, a 31-year-old Florida woman who fired warning shots into the ceiling - with a registered gun - to escape a beating by her abusive (http://www.examiner.com/article/marissa-alexander-proves-the-stand-your-ground-law-does-not-protect-women) husband, against whom she had already taken out a protective order. Charged with attempted murder, she claimed (http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/story/another-case-involving-self-defense-claims-roils-florida-community) self-defense under Stand Your Ground law, lost, and under the state's strict minimum sentencing requirements was sentenced (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/17/stand-your-ground-marissa-al...) to 20 years.

See also post #42 for added confirmation that Florida's African Americans are indeed still slaves,and unworthy of being treated like normal Human Beings.Way to go Florida!!!!

Peter Lemkin
05-18-2012, 09:06 PM
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We turn now to the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The office of special prosecutor Anglea Corey released a trove of documents late last night revealing new details about the night George Zimmerman shot dead the teenager in Sanford, Florida. The evidence indicates a fight occurred between the two men but police determined the deadly encounter between Zimmerman and Martin was "ultimately avoidable" if Zimmerman had "remained in his vehicle and awaited the arrival of law enforcement." The police also concluded, "there is no indication that Trayvon Martin was involved in any criminal activity at the time of the encounter." Among the released documents was Trayvon Martin’s autopsy. It showed Martin had died from a single gunshot wound to the chest fired from intermediate range. In addition, traces of marijuana were found in his blood.
New photos and medical records show Zimmerman suffered a broken nose, bruises and cuts on the back of his head. The new documents also show Sanford police received an anonymous tip less than two full days after the shooting before it became widely known to the public. The caller refused to identify herself but said that Zimmerman "...has a racist ideologies and... is fully capable of instigating a confrontation that could have escalated to the point of him having to use deadly force." The caller was never tracked down. In a few moments we will be joined by NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Jealous, but first, we turn to a chilling recording of the police interviewing Trayvon Martin’s girlfriend. She and Trayvon were talking on the phone in the moments leading up to his death.
PROSECUTOR: I want to focus on that day, February 26, when you know
obviously he was unfortunately killed, and I’m sorry to ask you about
this. But did you have conversations with him that day?


PROSECUTOR: At some point did you find out that Trayvon was going to the store?

GIRLFRIEND: Around 6 something.

PROSECUTOR: OK, and did he tell you what store he was going to?

GIRLFRIEND: No. He just said [inaudible] store.

PROSECUTOR: OK, did he say why he was going to the store?


PROSECUTOR: What did he say he was going to the store for?

GIRLFRIEND: Yeah, his little brother. Some food and some drink.

PROSECUTOR: OK, yeah, tell me what happened as he’s talking to you when
he’s leaving the store on his way back home.

GIRLFRIEND: It started raining.

PROSECUTOR: It started raining, and did he go somewhere?

GIRLFRIEND: Yeah, he ran to the, um, mail thing.

PROSECUTOR: I’m sorry what?

GIRLFRIEND: Like a mail, like a shed.

PROSECUTOR: Like a mail area, like a covered area, because it was raining?
So did he tell you he was already inside, like, the gated place?

GIRLFRIEND: Yeah. He ran. That’s when the phone hung up.

PROSECUTOR: I’m sorry?

GIRLFRIEND: The phone hung up and I called him back again.

PROSECUTOR: And what else did Trayvon tell you?

GIRLFRIEND: And like —

PROSECUTOR: And I know this is difficult for you but just take your time
and tell us what you remember happened.

GIRLFRIEND: A couple minutes later, like, he come and tell me this man
is watching him.

PROSECUTOR: OK, did he describe the man that was watching him?

GIRLFRIEND: Yeah, he said white.

PROSECUTOR: OK, did he say whether the man was standing, sitting…?

GIRLFRIEND: He was in a car.

PROSECUTOR: He was in a car? And what did he say about the man who was watching—-

GIRLFRIEND: He was on the phone.

PROSECUTOR: He was on the phone? OK, and what did Trayvon say after that?

GIRLFRIEND: He was telling me that this man was watching him, so he,
like, started walking.

PROSECUTOR: He, Trayvon, started walking?

GIRLFRIEND: He gonna start walking. And then the phone hung up and
then I called him back again. And then, I said, 'What are you doing?'
He said he’s walking, and he said this man is still following him,
behind the car. He put his hoodie on.

PROSECUTOR: He, Trayvon, put his hoodie on?

GIRLFRIEND: Yeah, 'cause, he said, it was still a little bit dripping
water so he put his hoodie on. So I said, ’What's going on?’ He said,
this man is still watching from a car. So he about to run from the
back. I told him, go to his dad’s house. Run to his dad’s house.

PROSECUTOR: Go to what?

GIRLFRIEND: Run to his dad’s house.

PROSECUTOR: To his dad’s house?

GIRLFRIEND: Yeah. So he said he was about to run from the back, so the
next that I hear, he just run. I can hear that the wind blowing.

PROSECUTOR: So you could tell he was running at that time? OK. And then
what happened?

GIRLFRIEND: Then he said, he lost him.

PROSECUTOR: He lost what, the man?


PROSECUTOR: So was Trayvon, at that time, you could tell he was, like, out
of breath, like excited?


PROSECUTOR: OK. Take your time, I know this is difficult for you.

GIRLFRIEND: So he lost him. He was breathing hard. And by the sound of
his voice, his voice kind of changed.

PROSECUTOR: Who, Trayvon’s?


PROSECUTOR: OK. What do you mean by that? His voice changed?

GIRLFRIEND: [inaudible]

PROSECUTOR: I’m sorry?

GIRLFRIEND: I know he was scared.

PROSECUTOR: I know what you are trying to tell me but if you could
describe to me how you could tell he was scared.

GIRLFRIEND: His voice was getting kind of low.

PROSECUTOR: So you could tell he was emotional, like somebody who was in fear?


PROSECUTOR: He was breathing hard?

GIRLFRIEND: He said he had lost him and he was breathing hard and I
told him 'Keep running.'

PROSECUTOR: So Trayvon said he started walking because he thought he had
lost the guy?



GIRLFRIEND: I said, 'Keep running.' He said he ain’t gonna run. 'Cause
he said he is right by his father's house. And then in a couple
minutes he said the man is following him again. He’s behind him. I
said, 'Run!' He said he was not going to run. I knew he was not going
to run because he was out of breath. And then he was getting excited,
the guy’s getting close to him. I told him, 'Run!' And I told him,
'Keep running!' He not going to run. I tell him, 'Why are you not
running?' He said ’I’m not gonna.’ He was tired. I know he was tired.

PROSECUTOR: I am sorry, Trayvon said he was not running because — he’s
not going to run he said because you could tell he was tired? How
could you tell he was tired?

GIRLFRIEND: He was breathing hard.

PROSECUTOR: Real hard?

GIRLFRIEND: Real hard. And then he told me this guy was getting close!
He told me the guy was getting real close to him. And the next I hear
is, 'Why are you following me for?'

PROSECUTOR: OK. Let me make sure I understand this so, Trayvon tells you
the guy is getting closer to him and then you hear Trayvon saying


PROSECUTOR: And what do you hear Trayvon saying?

GIRLFRIEND: 'Why are you following me for?'

PROSECUTOR: 'Why are you following me for?'


PROSECUTOR: And then what happened?

GIRLFRIEND: I heard this man, like an old man say, 'What are you doing
around here?'

PROSECUTOR: OK, so you definitely could tell another voice that was not
Trayvon and you heard this other voice say what?

GIRLFRIEND: 'What are you doing around here?'

PROSECUTOR: 'What are you doing around here?' OK.

GIRLFRIEND: And I call Trayvon, 'Trayon, what's going on? What’s going on?’

PROSECUTOR: This is you saying that?

GIRLFRIEND: Yeah. Then, I am calling him and he didn’t answer.

PROSECUTOR: No answer from Trayvon?

GIRLFRIEND: Yeah. I hear some like 'bump.' You could hear someone had bumped Trayvon. I could hear the grass.

PROSECUTOR: OK. So you could hear there was something going on, like something hitting something?

GIRLFRIEND: Yeah. I could hear the grass thing.

PROSECUTOR: Out of the…?


PROSECUTOR: OK, and then what happened?

GIRLFRIEND: And then, I was still screaming, I was saying, 'Trayvon! Trayvon!'

PROSECUTOR: And there was no response?

GIRLFRIEND: Yeah and then the next thing the phone just shut off.

PROSECUTOR: The phone shut off?

GIRLFRIEND: It just shut off.)

BEN JEALOUS: It’s heartbreaking. It’s absolutely heartbreaking to listening to his childhood girlfriend, his childhood friend talk about the experience of listening to him be hunted on the street just before he was killed. I think it dramatizes for people the experience of millions of young people across this country every year when they are racially profiled, whether it’s by community watch volunteers or by cops. In New York City, last year, there were more stop and frisks, more racial profiling incidents of young black men in that city than there are young black men in that city. Hopefully, this will help people understand just how our young people feel, how their friends feel when they are humiliated, degraded, mistreated, sometimes even killed simply because of their color.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Ben, the other material that was released last night, again, unusual in these kinds of situations that so much of the investigative work is being released, even before trial occurs. Your response to some of the other material you have heard about?
BEN JEALOUS: From what I have been able to read and go through, the most important thing that was released yesterday was a report that the top law enforcement officer on the scene, the lead investigator that day, said that this killing—-said that there was no reason this killing should have happened, if Mr. Zimmerman had stayed in his car. Said that Mr. Zimmerman should have been charged for killing Trayvon and that that lead investigator, that top law enforcement officer on that scene that day, that his judgment was not respected by his superiors. And this gets down to why we need a different chief in Sanford. That his superiors said that we know you think Mr. Zimmerman should be charged, but we say no he should not be charged, and that’s absolutely disturbing and outrageous that you would have a dead teenager on the ground, that the lead investigator would say that his killer should be charged, and then the superiors would say no don’t charge him, and then they would go on to not even investigate it, not even knock on the door 70 feet away where his father was or call back that phone where his girlfriend had just listened to him be hunted down on the street.
AMY GOODMAN: Following up on these recordings that have been released, we wanted to play a few more. These are the audio recordings the police released last night of three witnesses who gave conflicting accounts of what they heard in the moments before George Zimmerman fatally shot Trayvon Martin. We’re going to begin with two women who were in a house close to the scene of the shooting in Sanford.
WITNESS 1: First of all, I was in the kitchen, making some coffee for me and my friends, and I had my window half up, and I hear somebody crying, like a young boy crying. So by the time — me and my friends wear hear like a shot.

WITNESS 2: Gunshot.

WITNESS 1: Gunshot


WITNESS 1: Gunshot. But I mean I thought it probably was something, kids playing with something. I walked out to my porch and I saw two
guys. I mean, it was very dark. It was night and most of the houses haven’t turned on the lights. So I saw two persons, one lying on the floor, and the other one on top of him.

WITNESS 2: I mean that little kid was so skinny compared to him.

POLICE: Exactly, yeah, that’s the impression that we all got. As far as —

WITNESS 2: And I can tell you there was no fighting going on at the time that the gun went off. Because we were both in the kitchen making
coffee, the window was open, there was no fighting. And the fight that happened started way down the sidewalk, because the person on the very end of this block is the one who called the police originally because the fight broke out. Now the kid got shot way down here, you know, five doors down. I know they were not physically fighting at the time that gun went off, when we heard the shot, and the kid hit the

AMY GOODMAN: While the two women said that Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman were not fighting at the time of the shooting, another local resident gave a conflicting account.
WITNESS: There was a black man with a black hoodie on top of either a white guy, or now that I found out I think he was a Hispanic guy with a red sweatshirt on on the ground, yelling out ‘Help!’ And then you know I tried to tell him, ‘Get out of here,’ you know, ‘Stop,’ or whatever. And then the one guy on top in the black hoodie was pretty much just throwing down blows on the guy kind of MMA-style...yeah, like a ground-and-pound, on the concrete at this point. So at this point I
told him I was calling 911, I locked my door, went inside, heard a pop, never heard a gunshot before so I didn’t know if it was a rock or something like that. We ran upstairs. As soon as I got upstairs I
looked down below and then I saw the guy in the black hoodie pretty much just laid out on the ground.

AMY GOODMAN: Again, these are recordings that were released by police in this trove of hundreds of audio recordings, photographs and police documents. Ben Jealous is joining us from Miami, Florida, not that far from Sanford where Trayvon Martin was killed. Ben, your response as you listen?
BEN JEALOUS: This and a bunch of information came out yesterday. You go through all of it and what has not changed is the basic facts that we know; that George Zimmerman is somebody about whom there were many complaints, that people thought he treated them in a way that was racist. George Zimmerman is somebody about whom there were many complaints, that people thought said he was a bully. George Zimmerman is somebody who had called the cops multiple times that year, always about a young black man that he thought was suspicious. George Zimmerman was somebody who was told to stay in his truck that day by the cops who he called and he chose to get out with a gun and track down a young man on the street trying to get away from him because he was afraid of him. And that young man is dead as a result.
It’s not surprising to hear local residents have different perceptions. We know that many of them knew Mr. Zimmerman because he was their neighbor and some of them indeed might be trying to help with his defense by skew the story this way or that. But the basic facts have not changed. Trayvon Martin is dead. An innocent teenager is dead because a man with a gun who was told by the cops to stay in his car chose to get out with the gun and hunt down that young man on the street.

Peter Lemkin
06-12-2012, 08:46 PM
NY Cop Indicted for Killing Unarmed Black Teen Ramarley Graham

A New York police officer has been indicted on manslaughter charges for the fatal shooting of an unarmed African-American teen. Eighteen-year-old Ramarley Graham was shot at close range in his grandmother’s apartment on February 2nd after being chased into the house by narcotics detectives. Graham was trying to empty a bag of marijuana into the toilet before he was killed. The indicted officer has been identified as 30-year-old Richard Haste. He is expected to turn himself in on Wednesday.

Peter Lemkin
06-17-2012, 05:07 PM
Rodney King was found dead in his swimming pool at about 5:30 AM....yet, it was immediately declared as 'not suspicious'. Time will tell...but that does seem a bit early for a swim.....

Magda Hassan
06-18-2012, 12:45 AM
Yes, does seem rather early for a swim. Do you know what Rodney's life has been like since his encounter with the violent police in Los Angeles Peter?

Peter Lemkin
06-18-2012, 04:34 AM
Yes, does seem rather early for a swim. Do you know what Rodney's life has been like since his encounter with the violent police in Los Angeles Peter?

Not only is the hour of his 'swim' a bit unusual, but it was, almost to the day, the anniversary of the brutal beating he took from four rascist and brutal policemen - who were all acquitted of all charges - even though doctors said King had been almost beaten to death [for speeding in his car - his crime, along with being Black]. Yes, and you can now find all over the internet how his life was. After the riots that followed the acquittals in Los Angeles, he mostly led a quiet life - appearing a few times on TV or at lectures. He wrote one thin book on the events. He seemed confused by the fame it had caused him. He had just married, I believe. He was 47 and nothing wrong with his health. For the police - the same police dept. that almost beat him to death to immediately say there was 'nothing suspicious' about him being found drown in his own pool at sunrise strikes me as 'typical police work' [i.e. those that deserve to be dead in Police eyes never have died suspiciously - no investigation needed]. It is too high profile for there not to be an autopsy, but I'm sure there will be forces [police forces?] that will not want one. We shall see. I, an educated White American have had my own problems with Police in the USA - I can't imagine what it is like to be Black and have to deal with their hate, violence and bigotry. The riots after the Police acquittals [by an all-White jury - already an almost illegal and obscene fact] were the largest and most violent ever in Los Angeles. I just hope the Police or some friend of the Police was not doing 'pay-back' in their eyes. I'm sure in the next days someone good will summarize his life and the events that propelled him to fame. I'll keep my eyes out for it - as well as the autopsy report.

Magda Hassan
06-18-2012, 04:55 AM
Thanks Peter :thumbsup:

Peter Lemkin
06-19-2012, 07:33 PM
AMY GOODMAN: Today, a Democracy Now! special on the life and death of Ramarley Graham, a teenager who was shot dead by a New York police officer inside his own bathroom in the Bronx. His death occurred on February 2nd, three weeks before Trayvon Martin was shot dead in Florida by George Zimmerman, the self-appointed night watchman. Trayvon was 17 years old, Ramarley 18. While Trayvon Martin’s death gained international attention, the Ramarley Graham killing received far less attention.
Police initially said Graham ran into his building fleeing from officers, but surveillance footage showed this to be untrue. New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly initially said Graham, quote, "appeared to be armed," but no weapon was ever recovered. Ramarley’s grandmother and six-year-old brother were inside the apartment at the time the police killed him.
Last week, a New York police officer was indicted on manslaughter charges for the fatal shooting. The officer, Richard Haste, pleaded not guilty to charges of first- and second-degree manslaughter in a Bronx courtroom. He was released on $50,000 bail.
Last Thursday, Democracy Now! covered a vigil held by the Graham family outside their home in the Bronx. I spoke to Ramarley’s older sister, Leona Virgo. I began by asking her to describe her brother Ramarley.

LEONA VIRGO: Marley was very different from the other brothers. He was into slow jams. He knew how to cook. He taught me some things about cooking. Everybody knows that I’m not a cooker, but Marley is. He even showed me how to make milkshakes and just like little weird things that people wouldn’t really do at home.

When we were younger, we used to always get in trouble. We was always doing something, if it wasn’t me bothering him, provoking him to do certain things, and us getting in trouble by our mother. And there always was laughs after, always jokes. We played a lot of video games together coming up. Our favorite was Halo for the Xbox. And even before the Xbox, there was Super Nintendo, and it was Mario Brothers.

So, we did a lot of, you know, sister and brother activities. My momma’s fun was our fun. Wherever she went, we were right there with her, tagging along. Even when I would go to the courts, he was right there tagging along. Even though he didn’t know how to play basketball, he wanted to be around me and just catch on to the game.

Yeah, so, something like this that’s going on, it’s like really hard, because, you know, I actually grew up with him. We grew up—we lived in the same house. So it’s really weird at times not to see the person that you grew up with at the house with you. It does get lonely, because, you know, that’s—he’s like my protector, like, you know, in arm’s length. I do have other brothers, but, you know, arm’s length, that’s my protector. You know, if anything was wrong, he was always checking on me.

AMY GOODMAN: But he’s your little brother. He’s four years younger.

LEONA VIRGO: He’s my little—four years younger, but he, at times, seemed like an older brother. Like, even though he’s my little brother, I always called him my older brother. That’s just how he was. He was very, you know, mature for his age. And a lot of people realized that, you know, the more they was around him. He used to really amaze me how observant he was. Like, I secretly idolized him. I never told him, you know, when he was alive, and I wish I would have told him. You know, things happen, so...

AMY GOODMAN: Can you tell me about the picture that is in the pin that you’re wearing, and what does it say?

LEONA VIRGO: The pin says, "I am Ramarley. You see my hands. No gun. Why did you shoot?" Every Thursday, we hold this, you know, vigil in Ramarley’s name, 18 Thursdays to represent his 18 years of life living on this earth. We do it on a Thursday because he was killed on a Thursday. So we ask, you know, for anybody to come out and, if you do come out, to bring two people with you, at least, just to support the cause, because at the end of the day, even though he’s gone, it could happen to someone else. And all we’re trying to do is prevent that from happening and to shed light on this situation here, because it does occur every day, and sometimes the stories do get unheard. But we’re not going to let that happen in our situation, because they want us to forget, but we’re not going to forget, you know?
AMY GOODMAN: Ramarley Graham’s older sister, Leona Virgo. In the evening, Ramarley’s dad, Frank Graham, addressed the crowd who had gathered for the weekly vigil in memory of his son.

FRANK GRAHAM: Marley, look at this. People love you, and they want to see justice for you. We want to see justice for all the other kids, men, women, that has been killed and go unnoticed. And with the help of our attorney and you, the community, the clergy, the activists, I think this one is going to happen.


CROWD MEMBER: We’re going to make it happen!

FRANK GRAHAM: As [inaudible], this one is different, and they messed with the wrong set of people. We’re not going to stop. No justice!

CROWD: No peace!

FRANK GRAHAM: No justice!

CROWD: No peace!
AMY GOODMAN: We continue our coverage on the death of Ramarley Graham, the 18-year-old shot dead by a New York police officer in his own home on February 2nd. Yesterday, Democracy Now!'s Juan González and I sat down with Ramarley's mother, Constance Malcolm; also the lawyer for the Graham family, Royce Russell; and Carlton Berkley, known as Chucky, a close friend of the Graham family, a former New York police detective on the force for 20 years. I began by asking Constance Malcolm what happened to her son on the day he was shot dead.

CONSTANCE MALCOLM: I wasn’t there. I was on my way from work, and I got a phone call. And the person said to me, am I home? And I said, "No, I’m on my way from work." He says, "There’s a whole bunch of cops in the backyard." I said, "OK, I’m on my way." Later, like a couple of minutes, I’m calling back, I’m not getting the same person that called me. So after I finally got him now, he said, "Just hurry up and come." I’m like, "OK." At this time, my son was dead, but he didn’t want to tell me. So when I got there, the block was cordoned off. A whole bunch of cops was there. I went to them, and I told them who I was. I told them—I said, "I live here." I gave them my ID. It was like about five different cops that came up to me. "Wait. Wait. Wait." Finally, one came and said I had to go to the precinct with him. I said, "Fine," because I didn’t know what was going on. I didn’t know the procedure. I said, "Fine, I’ll go with him."

I got up to the precinct with them. They took me upstairs. It’s like where they do their investigation. There was a bench in the hallway. He said to me, the officer that took me to the precinct, "Can you sit right here and wait for me?" while he proceeded to go over to the—there’s a little half-a-counter type thing, to speak to somebody behind there, and he went to introduce himself to the police officer behind the half-a-counter. And he said—told me his name. I can’t remember his name. But then he said, "I’m coming from the homicide." And that’s how I found out actually that my son was dead.

AMY GOODMAN: Did he tell you Ramarley is dead?

CONSTANCE MALCOLM: No, he was talking to another police officer. He told me to sit in the hallway and wait. And that’s how I found, when he said, "I’m just coming from the homicide."

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And did they, at any point during that day, tell you anything about what had happened?

CONSTANCE MALCOLM: No. They were so busy telling me I have to sit in the hallway, and finally here come my mom. They ushered her in. And she said to me, because my mom call me "Little Miss," she said, "Little Miss, they killed Marley." And at that time, it’s like I froze. I didn’t know what happened after that.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And how did the incident between him and the police begin, from what you can tell from what they’ve claimed so far.

ROYCE RUSSELL: It’s my understanding, because Ramarley is not here, and he cannot tell us exactly what happened, and we have to read between the lines—as you see in the media, one story went out immediately: Ramarley Graham was running, they were chasing after him. And then, lo and behold, when we have surveillance that shows that he wasn’t running, then it becomes a different story.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean surveillance?

ROYCE RUSSELL: Well, it just so happened that the two-family home for which Constance live in, she’s a tenant there, and the owner of the home had security cameras outside of her place of residence. So, those security cameras showed Ramarley walking to his door, walking to his apartment, oblivious of anything else that was going on around him, casually taking out his keys, casually opening up the door, and casually walking in.

So, as many times before history has shown us, as soon as there is a police shooting where there is probably misconduct on the police part, there is what I call a character assassination of the victim. You hear about the person’s background. You hear about—they may have domestic problems, how dysfunctional their family is. You hear an array of things that really try to diminish the character of the deceased. And in this case, you heard the same. You heard about Ramarley’s background, which it really wasn’t any, but you heard about his background. You heard that he was running, and then you find out later on that he was not running. And I still haven’t seen a full retraction of that by the commissioner or by anybody else to say, "You know what? We got the facts wrong. He wasn’t running. We’re going to investigate." What we heard is just a kind of bumbling over, a kind of stomping—stomping through what they said to kind of move on to the next issue.

AMY GOODMAN: So, as you understand it, he uses the key to go in the bottom—the first floor of the house.


AMY GOODMAN: You all—he lives on the second floor.


AMY GOODMAN: So he walks up the stairs.


AMY GOODMAN: And then what happens?

ROYCE RUSSELL: Well, from the video, from which you can see, is that minutes go by. Minutes. And I’m not an expert in police protocol, but we have one here. He’ll tell you what should have been done. I’m going to surmise, during my years of experience of practicing in this area, that when you have minutes go by, you call for emergency service unit, so they can come in backup, right? And they can assess the situation. But they don’t do that. They—the video shows, and everybody has seen, how this police officer is trying to bang down this door, unsuccessfully, banging and banging, kicking, kicking, stomping, trying to get the door open. Finally, they succeed in getting the door open, my understanding, from around the back. They enter that apartment, guns blazing, startling that family, because they didn’t realize—

AMY GOODMAN: You mean guns drawn.

ROYCE RUSSELL: Guns drawn. Didn’t realize that it was a two-story family house, that one family lived downstairs and another family lived upstairs. So, guns out, questioning those people, and then to find out that it was another apartment. Still time to wait, assess: "What are we doing? Maybe we need to have backup." And even if you take their theory that Ramarley had a gun, which we know is not true—there is no gun, there was never no gun, and there will never be a gun—but if you were to take that thinking and just take it a step further, why would you charge up the stairs and try to kick down that door down with somebody who has a gun there?


JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And this is, just to be clear, kicking down a door with no indication that there is any crime in progress or anything of that nature. We’re talking basically, without a warrant, just kicking down the door.

ROYCE RUSSELL: It’s a violation, clearly, clearly a violation.

AMY GOODMAN: And then they go upstairs. And what happens?

ROYCE RUSSELL: And they go upstairs, and they kick that door down. And that’s—

AMY GOODMAN: Where the grandma was—


AMY GOODMAN: —where your six-year-old son was, as well as Ramarley, who’s 18.

ROYCE RUSSELL: Right. And then, to Ramarley’s demise, he’s shot fatally one time in the body.

AMY GOODMAN: In the bathroom.

ROYCE RUSSELL: That’s right.

AMY GOODMAN: Carlton Berkley, how did you come onto the scene? And then, what did you see?

CARLTON BERKLEY: As I came into the house, I interviewed witnesses myself and ascertained the same thing that Royce was saying. But the first door that—and I believe it was a sergeant—the first door that Ramarley had entered to enter the residence, a sergeant came running and tried to kick that door in. That’s the first door. Officer Haste had went around the back, and he was checking out the back, and for about—minutes went by, about a good six, seven minutes. Now, being an experienced detective, you would know that, right then and there, you’re not going to go inside, because you can’t go inside. There was no hot pursuit. Hot pursuit stops when the doors close. If the door was open, you can pursue. The law says that, and that’s what they taught us in the academy. But they also say, once the door closes, you back up, and now you, you know, ascertain the facts, huddle, if you’re going to get a search warrant or if you’re going to let the situation go away.

AMY GOODMAN: Police claim that they shoot Ramarley as he is flushing a baggie of marijuana down the toilet?

CARLTON BERKLEY: OK, well, being a retired detective, right, I’m—who’s to say that that’s what Ramarley was doing? I believe—I believe there wasn’t any marijuana. You know, there’s—you’ve got to remember, this is a narcotics unit. It’s called SNEU, Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit. Sometimes as a narcotics officer, sometimes we would have narcotics on us, which we take off of suspects. Who’s to say that somebody didn’t have a bag of weed and threw that down to try to justify them breaking in or, again, right, to victimize the victim again with this is—this is what he was doing?

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And even by the police version, as I understand it, Haste, after shooting Ramarley Graham, then yells, "Gun!" that he yells after the fact, after he shot him?

CARLTON BERKLEY: Well, from what I heard, some people said that he didn’t hear "gun" — they never heard "gun." But police are told that when you mess something up, you’ve got to cover it up. So now when you have some time to think about it, you’re going to put your story together which coincides with what you was taught in the academy. And it’s always, "Yes, that’s the first thing I said, was 'police,' you know, 'put your hands up.'" You know, from what we understand, Haste says, "Show me your hands." In the academy, you’re not taught, "Show me your hands." In the academy, you’re taught to "Put your hands up." So, I don’t know where he got his training from. And then to come to find out, he had no training for narcotics, none at all, so he shouldn’t have been in that unit. The only way he got in that unit was either through a favor from somebody, or he knew somebody.

AMY GOODMAN: So, Constance Graham, Officer Haste was charged with first- and second-degree manslaughter. What is your reaction?

CONSTANCE MALCOLM: I thought he should have been charged with murder, because that’s how I see fit for him, because manslaughter—I just think it was murder, very simply. You can’t just kick somebody’s door in and go in and murder somebody and get a charge for manslaughter. It was so much other charges they could have charged him with, but they decided not to.

AMY GOODMAN: Chuck Berkley, you’ve arrested a lot of people over your 20-year history as a New York narcotics detective. There were a number of police officers involved with this. What happens when you would go after a group of people?

CARLTON BERKLEY Well, usually, the whole unit—in this particular case, I was expecting that that whole unit, right, would have been taken off the street, immediately.

AMY GOODMAN: That was there at the house that night—

CARLTON BERKLEY Right, if you go back—

AMY GOODMAN: —that day. What time was it, by the way?

CARLTON BERKLEY It was in the evening, like I think 3:30, around that time. But usually, you have a whole module. When something goes wrong with that module, from the highest-ranking officer to the officers, everyone is taken off the street immediately. In this case, that didn’t happen. People were still allowed to go on, right, with their routine activities. So that kind of—it kind of surprised me, because we all know that—being in the police department for over 20 years, being a member of the 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, the National Latino Officers, we all said at times that if we had a black unit or a Hispanic unit that would have did something like this in a different neighborhood, you can rest assured all of us would have been taken off the street right away. This didn’t happen.

Let me just say something else. The statute, right, of burglary, right, is you have any intent to break in someone’s house, right? The statute states that in the commission of a burglary—a felony, right? In the commission of a felony, you cause the death of someone, an innocent person, you have to be charged with felony murder, right? Have you ever heard of anyone killing a cop and getting charged with manslaughter? You know? So, are we saying that cops are treated much differently from the average citizen? Something is wrong with that.

AMY GOODMAN: You’ve coined a new term, talking—you were just talking about if someone is a cop killer, what would happen to them.

CARLTON BERKLEY Well, we need to treat cops that kill people unjustifiably the same as cop killers. So, you know, killer cops need to be treated as cop killers.

AMY GOODMAN: Constance Malcolm, can you talk about who Ramarley was, your 18-year-old son?

CONSTANCE MALCOLM: Ramarley was a fun-loving child. He loved his brother, his sister. Him and his sister, when they was younger, I used to dress them alike, so people would think they’re twins, because they’re only a couple of years apart.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Leona.

CONSTANCE MALCOLM: Leona, yeah. So, you know, him and her was—they was close. They was close. You might not see them much outside, but when they was younger, because my daughter played basketball. She used to always take him to the court to play. Ramarley was never a basketball person. He didn’t like the roughness. So he would just sit on the sideline. They always tease him that he don’t want to play ball. He loves to listen to music, R&B, because a lot of times when a lot of songs comes out—because I listen to mostly R&B. Like, for instance, when Alicia Keys first came out, "Fallin’," he’s the one that told me about it. Karyn White, "Witness in Me," he’s the one that told me about it. So he likes music. He likes to exercise with his little brother, Chinnor. You know, they used to do push-ups together. And Chinnor would love that. He takes Chinnor to go to school. He picks him up sometimes. You know, Marley was just a loving person. He will help anybody. He will have his [inaudible] and give it to anybody. That’s just who he was. And that’s how I grew all my kids, to respect people and to, you know, respect people in the way you want to be respected. He was just a loving kid.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And in terms of this whole issue that we’ve been discussing, the march on Sunday, stop-and-frisk, had he had problems in the past of being stopped by police, as well as many teenagers and other young folks around the city have had numerous situations where they’re just stopped on the street by police?

ROYCE RUSSELL: Well, let me answer that question, in that, as you see, from commentary, from those that you ask, "Have you ever been stopped and frisked before?" it’s probably highly unusual that you can grow up in New York City, African American or Latino, and walk the face of this earth, to and from school, in Bronx County, Kings County, Queens, Manhattan, and not be a subject of a stop-and-frisk, which we all know that doesn’t mean you were doing something wrong, but be subject to a stop-and-frisk. I wish Ramarley was here to maybe tell us the stories of when he was stopped and frisked, if he was stopped and frisked, because we know oftentimes that many kids don’t even reveal that to their parents. It’s become such the norm that they don’t even come home and say, "Hey, Ma, you know what? Today a police officer pulled me over and went through my bag." It is a norm. And part of what I do, not only practicing law in this area, is do seminars to tell kids, "It is not the norm. Don’t think that this is the way life is supposed to be, that you walk out your house, you walk down the block, and somebody’s supposed to say, 'Hey, let me see your ID.' You haven’t done anything."

AMY GOODMAN: Or walk down the corridor of your school.

ROYCE RUSSELL: Or walk down the corridor of your school, wherever it may be. So, we answer that question in that it’s a high probability. It happens to me.

AMY GOODMAN: Was he stopped earlier that day?

ROYCE RUSSELL: No, he was not.

AMY GOODMAN: And so, what are you calling for now? Are you calling for other officers, the sergeant who was on the scene, for others to be charged, as well? And also, just one quick comment. You talked about other high-profile cases. Between the time that Ramarley was killed and Officer Haste was indicted, the Trayvon Martin case happened.

ROYCE RUSSELL: Right. And I think that shed a national light on what I call the errors of law enforcement. And I’ve said this before. In the Trayvon Martin case, you had someone who idolized law enforcement or who maybe wanted to be a law enforcement officer. And when you make the analogy that children learn from their parents, right, they learn from people of authority—they learn what to do and what not to do, how to sit properly at the table, how to conduct themselves when they’re out at dinner, use your library voice, don’t use your loud voice when you’re out at the restaurant. When you look at cases like Ramarley Graham, Sean Bell, Baez, Amadou Diallo, when someone who idolizes to be law enforcement, and they see how law enforcement treats people of color, how could you not have a case like Trayvon Martin? It seems like it’s so within the norm, right? Someone that’s going to brutalize someone of color because they think they’re in a position of authority and a position of law enforcement. So I think that tragedy brought light to a situation nationally, because what brought light to Trayvon Martin is that we dealt with citizens. See, had it been police officers, I don’t think it would have gotten the sensationalization that it did. See, it dealt with citizens—but a citizen who wanted to be part of law enforcement, so you see how it groups and it comes together when you look at Ramarley Graham.

AMY GOODMAN: How is Chinnor, Constance, your little boy?

CONSTANCE MALCOLM: Chinnor is not doing so good. He thinks all cops are bad, so I have to sit there every day and try to tell him not all cops are bad. You are bad when you see bad things going on, and then you don’t try to correct it.

AMY GOODMAN: A lot of young—a lot of parents, African-American and Latino parents, have to warn their kids about going outside.


AMY GOODMAN: Your child was killed inside, in his own apartment. What message do you have today?

CONSTANCE MALCOLM: It seems like we’re not safe anywhere. If you’re not safe in your own home, where are you safe? This is becoming so widespread about—with the police. You know, you could just stop a person outside. OK, fine, it’s not right, but when you run into somebody’s house and violate their house like that, how could people trust you? You’re supposed to protect them. That’s what you’re paid for. And for you to do this—it’s hard. And the community is very upset right now. I don’t know how can they fix that.
AMY GOODMAN: Constance Malcolm, the mother of Ramarley Graham. He was killed by New York police on February 2nd, 2012, in his own apartment, his family’s apartment, in his own bathroom. We were also speaking with the family lawyer, Royce Russell, and Carlton Berkley, known as Chucky, a close friend of the Graham family, a former New York police detective. He was with the department for more than 20 years.

Keith Millea
08-21-2012, 06:12 PM
Please! Please! Please!

This is God Damned murder!

Officers of the law only YOU can stop this needless brutality!

Are You:

the protector of the people!


The Shogunate's executioner!

08.21.12 - 11:21 AM
Another "Firing Squad Dressed In Police Uniforms"

by Abby Zimet

Again?! Milton Hall of Saginaw, Michigan died (http://www.rippdemup.com/2012/08/mentally-ill-black-man-shot-46-times-killed-saginaw-police/)last month when police fired between 30 and 46 shots into him outside a strip mall after Hall argued with a store clerk. He was carrying (http://www.mlive.com/news/saginaw/index.ssf/2012/08/national_police_expert_analyze.html)a small knife. He was black, poor, and mentally ill. He was known to police, having been jailed for minor offenses like vagrancy, but was not violent and everyone in the community (http://www.abc12.com/story/19300591/community-cries-out-with-questions-nearly-six-weeks-after-saginaw-homeless-man-police-shooting)evidently knew that. The Justice Department is investigating. (http://www.mlive.com/news/saginaw/index.ssf/2012/08/justice_department_civil_right.html) Video from a bystander. Warning: graphic. Again.
"It appeared to be a firing squad dressed in police uniforms," said his mother Jewel Hall. "There was another way. They did not have to kill him. He had not done anything."



Bob Gaebler
09-24-2012, 09:44 PM
To go with all the good Democracy NOW! transcripts, here is the Frederick Leatherman Law Blog:


(http://frederickleatherman.wordpress.com/2012/09/13/zimmerman-some-questions-to-ponder/)A ton of entries are over here.

One thing, for sure, in my mind, GZ ended his phone call, to SPD, to approach TM, still on the phone, to his gf Dee Dee.

GZ was diagnosed, with ADHD, and he at least had Temazepam, in his system, which he admitted to paramedics he had taken, prior to the murder. GZ also had a scrip, for Schedule II CS Adderall, an amphetamine. Naturally, GZ's blood was not tested, to see if he was tweaking, from something he took or DID NOT take, prior to the murder, of TM.

GZ failed to identify himself, he likely started any conflict, and a witness describes GZ was apparently not injured, with the suspicious, uniformly deep scratches, which leaked blood, in a downward trickle, not in splatters, or with an injured nose, before he fired a gunshot, into TM's chest.

Moreover, witness Mary Cutcher saw and GZ admitted he was on TM's back, with his hands on TM's neck, after the gunshot.

It turns out, GZ intended to finish TM off, since TM was a material witness, to tweaking GZ's assault. SPD tried to blow off Mary Cutcher.

So GZ perped murder 1, but he is only charged, with murder 2, which allows Mark O'Mara to act out and continue a case, which should be decided, with a plea deal, for murder 2, IF murder 1 were only the charge! Now, O'Mara gets to collect, to challenge any judge, which shows a sign, of noticing GZ has been getting over.

Normally, a DA would over-charge, to try to coerce a plea deal, even if that is illegal. I guess when GZ's daddy turned out, to be a former Florida Supreme Court Justice, the SPD let him tweak, with a gun, and he ignored SPD instruction, "We don't need you to do that," to immediately approach TM, shoot him, and make sure TM died, at the scene.

GZ could have updated the 911, to call for paramedics, but he didn't do THAT. His contact with TM indicates dementia, sufficient, to prove murder 2, but hey! GZ did murder ONE, as soon as he sat on the fatally wounded TM, to make sure he died, without speaking, to an investigator. Of course, this will go to trial, risking mistrial, all the way home.

But a capias should have returned a murder 1 charge, by the end of February 2012.

Bob Gaebler
09-24-2012, 09:46 PM
To go with all the good Democracy NOW! transcripts, here is the Frederick Leatherman Law Blog:


(http://frederickleatherman.wordpress.com/2012/09/13/zimmerman-some-questions-to-ponder/)A ton of entries are over here.

One thing, for sure, in my mind, GZ ended his phone call, to SPD, to approach TM, still on the phone, to his gf Dee Dee.

GZ was diagnosed, with ADHD, and he at least had Temazepam, in his system, which he admitted to paramedics he had taken, prior to the murder. GZ also had a scrip, for Schedule II CS Adderall, an amphetamine. Naturally, GZ's blood was not tested, to see if he was tweaking, from something he took or DID NOT take, prior to the murder, of TM.

GZ failed to identify himself, he likely started any conflict, and a witness describes GZ was apparently not injured, with the suspicious, uniformly deep scratches, which leaked blood, in a downward trickle, not in splatters, or with an injured nose, before he fired a gunshot, into TM's chest.

Moreover, witness Mary Cutcher saw and GZ admitted he was on TM's back, with his hands on TM's neck, after the gunshot.

It turns out, GZ intended to finish TM off, since TM was a material witness, to tweaking GZ's assault. SPD tried to blow off Mary Cutcher.

So GZ perped murder 1, but he is only charged, with murder 2, which allows Mark O'Mara to act out and continue a case, which should be decided, with a plea deal, for murder 2, IF murder 1 were only the charge! Now, O'Mara gets to collect, to challenge any judge, which shows a sign, of noticing GZ has been getting over.

Normally, a DA would over-charge, to try to coerce a plea deal, even if that is illegal. I guess when GZ's daddy turned out, to be a former Florida Supreme Court Justice, the SPD let him tweak, with a gun, and he ignored SPD instruction, "We don't need you to do that," to immediately approach TM, shoot him, and make sure TM died, at the scene.

GZ could have updated the 911, to call for paramedics, but he didn't do THAT. His contact with TM indicates dementia, sufficient, to prove murder 2, but hey! GZ did murder ONE, as soon as he sat on the fatally wounded TM, to make sure he died, without speaking, to an investigator. Of course, this will go to trial, risking mistrial, all the way home.

But a capias should have returned a murder 1 charge, by the end of February 2012.

Charles Drago
09-24-2012, 10:20 PM
Robert "The Whacky Wanker" Morrow has posted on the EF Swamp the following thread:

"Here are some good JFK assassination books to read"

Now comes "Bob Gaebler" with "A really good law website frequently reviews State v. Zimmerman".

Good. Really good.

But not quite good enough.

Don't unpack your bags, "Gaebler."

Peter Lemkin
10-08-2012, 04:43 PM
Unarmed National Guardsman Shot Dead by NYPD

An unarmed 22-year-old Hispanic-American man has been shot dead by New York City police. Noel Polanco was driving on the Grand Central Parkway in Queens when police approached him at a traffic stop. Police say Polanco was shot after reaching for something in his vehicle, but a witness says his hands remained on the steering wheel the entire time. Polanco was an Army National Guardsmen who had hoped to one day join the police force. He was traveling with an off-duty police officer when he was killed. On Sunday, dozens of people rallied outside NYPD headquarters to protest the shooting of another person of color, Mohamed Bah, who was shot dead inside his Harlem apartment last month after reportedly lunging at police with a knife.

Keith Millea
10-08-2012, 08:28 PM
The stupid (Ex-NYPD) cop said he was in a shootout.He actually shot himself in the foot.:monkeypiss:

September 19, 2012

The Shooting of Alan Blueford
Searching for Answers to a Police Killing


All summer long the slaying of teenager Alan Blueford by a police officer festered in the city of Oakland, a metropolis already stained by its troubled police department which for nearly ten years has been spiraling toward federal receivership due to its institutionalized culture of brutality and misconduct. It was no surprise then that the first meeting of the City Council last night, in its new session after the Summer recess, was met by over one hundred outraged protesters and the family of the young man whose death at the hands of OPD frustratingly remains a mystery, with all known facts indicating an unjustifiable murder. The internal police department investigation of Alan Blueford’s killing drags on, as do virtually any and all other official investigations, studies, and reports intended to bring about transparency and accountability within Oakland’s police department. Nothing seems to be working.

“According to the Coronor’s report, my son’s body was removed at 1:25 in the morning,” said Alan’s father, Adam Blueford, before the council, describing the haste with which the police cleaned up the scene of Alan’s demise. “How can a murder investigation be done in less than one hour?!” he asked incredulously.

Alan Blueford was shot by officer Miguel Masso around 12:25 am on the morning of May 6 around 92nd Avenue and Birch Street in deep east Oakland after a brief foot chase. Alan had been waiting with a friend for a ride home after watching a boxing match. Police initially said Alan was in a “gun battle” with the officer, but then backpedaled when evidence showed Blueford hadn’t fired a shot. There had been no shootout, only a one way volley of gunfire. Blueford had committed no crime or offense prior to being confronted and chased by the police.

The next police claim, that Blueford was taken to the hospital after being wounded, was also later proven false; days after his death it became known that Alan died on the scene from gunshot wounds. The officer, who it turns out also shot himself in the leg, was taken to the county medical center. These were only the first false reports in a series of troubling claims. “Lies,” say the family.

“Why did this cop chase my son five blocks and murder him? He had no reason to stop or Chase my son,” said Mr. Blueford as members of the public murmured in support. The family has not yet sued the city over Alan’s death, even though they have retained the services of John Burris, a renowned civil rights lawyer who sued Oakland in the early 2000s over a particularly violent clique of cops known as the Riders, and set in motion federal oversight of the police department. The Blueford’s say they simply want justice and lasting changes that will prevent future police violence.

The deep east where Alan Blueford was killed is a part of Oakland devastated by the economic crash and foreclosure crisis that commenced in 2008. But the problems there go back much further. Blocks around 92nd Avenue encompass a region that was attacked by decades of divestment by both the Bay Area’s white middle class who fled to East Bay suburbs, and by corporations which shut down local factories sited on Oakland’s waterfront and busy railway and freeway corridors. Banks redlined much of east Oakland for decades, and only began extending credit through subprime loans in the late 1990s, often in a very predatory manner.

Local and state leaders abdicated any responsibility to the area’s growing black population and abandoned it, lavishing state resources instead on Silicon Valley, San Francisco, downtown Oakland, and nearby suburbs. While in the 2000s downtown Oakland, picturesque Lake Merritt, and the “Temescal” neighborhood were loci of artsy gentrification and real estate developments, the deep east declined further, sharing in none of the associated benefits of urban revitalization efforts promoted by various mayors, most notably Jerry Brown.

Meanwhile the police department spiraled out of control, disfigured by their own gangs of criminal officers who have infamously brutalized and framed hundreds of residents, and more systematically shaped by an internal rank and file culture that holds Oakland’s majority population in open contempt. Today 91 percent of OPD officers live outside city limits, mostly in majority white suburbs where the schools haven’t been destroyed by decades of tax cuts, and the where the Black population is less than 5 percent to Oakland’s 30 percent, places where there are jobs, clean air, and parks. In many Oakland neighborhoods, especially in East Oakland, cops are seen as an occupying army of outsiders, mercenaries prone to make arbitrarily brutal, even lethal decisions when patrolling, especially when approaching young Black and Latino men (http://www.eastbayexpress.com/ebx/the-high-costs-of-outsourcing-policeandnbsp/Content?oid=3306199).

Family members of Alan Blueford have taken to speaking of a cover up, a purposeful effort by the Oakland Police Department to suppress the truth, an effort aided in no small part by the inaction of a do-nothing City Council that has become all the more paralyzed in an election season. In a city divided by sharp racial lines and harsh economic inequality, Oakland politicians skirt a fine line between pandering to the city’s hill residents, mostly white middle and upper class homeowners who demand a Reaganesque war-on-crime politics and low taxes, and the working class flatlands majority who are as worried about the cops killing their children as they are about drug dealers and car jackers.

The City Administrator, a power-hungry technocrat trained in the purposefully de-politicizing profession of city management, Deanna Santana, seems more interested in preventing a federal takeover of the police force than undertaking a genuine effort to weed out bad cops and rebuild a department capable of respecting and protecting Oakland’s majority of working class residents. In fact Santana has been as much an obstacle to police accountability as anyone else in her short tenure as the city’s de-facto boss (http://www.eastbayexpress.com/ebx/deanna-santana-tried-to-alter-damning-report/Content?oid=3341245).

Alan Blueford’s mother Jeralynn opened the public comment period of Oakland’s first City Council meeting of the new session demanding answers: “We still don’t have the police report, Mr. Reid,” she complained, calling out Larry Reid, a fifteen year veteran of the Oakland City Council and major political force in city politics. “Back in May we came here asking for your help. You came to our son’s services, Mr. Reid, saying you would help.” The seeming inaction of Council members over the summer to provide the Blueford family and community with answers about Alan Blueford’s death has stoked widespread outrage. Monthly rallies downtown and in East Oakland routinely drew dozens of concerned residents. It’s not uncommon to randomly spot posters pasted to light posts around town with Alan Blueford’s face and the word “justice” printed boldly across the top. It’s equally common to spot youngsters sporting t-shirts with Alan’s handsome face. An image of Alan dressed in a white tux with bow tie, probably for his prom, has become a symbol of the movement.

“Where’s Howard Jordan!” The public at last night’s council meeting took every spare moment to demand the appearance of Oakland’s chief of police who was scheduled to give a crime reduction strategies report, but who was nowhere in sight.

“Howard is a coward!,” rang another chant after it became clear the brass would not make an appearance. There again would be no answers forthcoming as to why a young black man guilty of no crime was summarily gunned down by a police officer. It quickly became clear the city would not even provide the police report that the family had been demanding for months.

Speaking shortly after Blueford’s family was Cephus Johnson, the uncle of Oscar Grant, the young man who was executed by a Bay Area Rapid Transit Police Officer three years ago on New Year’s Eve. Johnson became a leader of the Oscar Grant Movement and was key in organizing the rallies and articulating the sentiment that drove the rebellion of Oakland youth following Grant’s murder. That rebellion, as painful and costly as it was, was widely credited for forcing the local power structure to take action, and to charge a police officer with manslaughter.

Johnson warned the Council of the consequences of their inaction: “We have an opportunity to resolve this before it turns violent. It behooves you to at least investigate officer Masso and fire him for lying, and for his violation of the police officer’s code of conduct.” Echoing sentiments held widely in Oakland’s neighborhoods where the police are viewed as a brutal occupying force that often brings summary judgement and death, Johnson warned, “This has to be addressed before the community explodes.” These days it’s a matter of conjecture as to what will happen first; will the community explode from grief and anger at police brutality, or will the police department implode from its own misconduct and ineptness?

After hearing an hour of testimony from Blueford’s family and a few supporters, City Council president Larry Reid called for a ten minute break. It could have been an attempt to disrupt the momentum of the public’s call for the police chief, and answers to the dubious circumstances Alan Blueford’s killing. It could have also been a goodwill effort to contact the police chief, and have him produce the report on Alan’s slaying.

After twenty minutes of this ten minute break, with the public impatiently waiting and council members walking among them, attempting to feel the pain and demonstrate concern, it became clear to many that the council had either executed a stalling tactic, or else the city’s police chief was refusing to appear. After thirty minutes a chant again arose – “Where’s Howard Jordan!? Where’s Howard Jordan!?”

Ignacio De La Fuente, the longest serving member of the Council reconvened the meeting while Reid was elsewhere, perhaps attempting to broker some kind of face-saving appearance. De La Fuente unfortunately attempted to move the city onto other business, creating an irony fit for the ages. On the city’s agenda was a resolution that would deem Oakland a “city of peace,” formally stamping September 21 as Oakland’s “international day of peace.” The City Clerk’s recital of the absurdly timed and obviously inappropriate peace resolution elicited an angry and flabbergasted boo from the audience, and a new chant – “no justice, no peace!”
“No justice, no peace!”

The chambers became a deafening roar of booing, chanting, clapping and whistling, all
intended to prevent any business as usual from occurring until the police chief appeared or substantive answers were provided to address Alan Blueford’s death.

Within minutes Council president Larry Reid re-entered the chambers attempting to gain control of the meeting, but it was too late. Months of abdication and irresponsibility by the city’s leaders had allowed a questionable killing of a teenager to go unanswered, even while new facts emerged that indicated Alan Blueford was quite simply murdered. There was no way the people of Oakland seemed ready to entertain any business as usual.

Reid picked up his papers and made for the exit under a storm of jeers and cries of “shame!” from the galleries. “We’ll be back!, We’ll be back,” chanted Alan Blueford’s family and their supporters who exited City Hall to gather on its steps in the early evening darkness for a rally.
“I can’t bring Alan back, but I can stand up for him today,” said Jeralynn Blueford.

Darwin Bond-Graham is a sociologist and author who lives and works in Oakland, CA. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1849351104/counterpunchmaga).

And the next board meeting:Near riot

Keith Millea
10-10-2012, 05:27 PM

Published on Wednesday, October 10, 2012 by The Nation (http://www.thenation.com/article/170413/stopped-and-frisked-being-fking-mutt-video)

The Hunted and the Hated: An Inside Look at the NYPD's Stop-and-Frisk Policy

A secret audio recording of a stop-and-frisk in action sheds unprecedented light on a practice that has put the city's young people of color in the NYPD's crosshairs.



Peter Lemkin
10-10-2012, 05:48 PM
Thanks for that Keith...an important little video....a little glimpse at a very BIG problem.....

Keith Millea
10-11-2012, 04:55 PM
I have to change my opinion about this shooting.The teen apparently pulled a gun on the officer.This would give the officer full authority to use deadly force.That's the way it is.......:nono:

Oakland cop cleared in slaying of teen

Teen who died pointed pistol at officer, report says

Demian Bulwa

Updated 10:31 p.m., Tuesday, October 9, 2012

http://ww4.hdnux.com/photos/13/06/76/2912147/20/628x471.jpg Alan Blueford, 18, was shot to death by an Oakland police officer on May 6. Photo: Blueford Family / SF
Alan Blueford, 18, was shot to death by an Oakland police officer...

(Page 1 of 2)
The Oakland police officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Alan Blueford during a foot chase this year acted in self-defense and will face no criminal charges, Alameda County prosecutors said Tuesday.

In an 18-page report on the controversial May 6 shooting, Senior Deputy District Attorney Kenneth Mifsud (http://www.sfgate.com/?controllerName=search&action=search&channel=crime&search=1&inlineLink=1&query=) said Officer Miguel Masso (http://www.sfgate.com/?controllerName=search&action=search&channel=crime&search=1&inlineLink=1&query=) shot Blueford three times in the chest and left shoulder after the fleeing teenager pointed a loaded semiautomatic pistol at him.

"Officer Masso actually and reasonably believed that his life was in danger after he had made eye contact with Mr. Blueford and that if he did not shoot, he would be killed," Mifsud wrote.
Mifsud quoted Masso - whose account of the shooting was revealed for the first time - as saying he "went into survival mode."

The officer shot himself in his right foot during the chaotic encounter, the prosecutor said, and had to be carried from the scene because he "was in a state of shock and unable to move his legs."

The shooting happened just after midnight at 92nd Avenue and Birch Street. The prosecutor said a 9mm pistol - a .380-caliber Sig Sauer P230 - was found "several feet" from where Blueford was shot, and had his left thumbprint on its ammunition magazine.

Mifsud noted that the gun had been taken during the burglary of a police officer's home in Mountain House on Nov. 29, 2011 - "some 12 miles from Blueford's residence in Tracy."

Two sources said the burglary victim did not work for the Oakland police force. According to the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Department, the thief kicked in two doors, then made off with a safe holding six firearms.

Blueford's father, Adam Blueford (http://www.sfgate.com/?controllerName=search&action=search&channel=crime&search=1&inlineLink=1&query=), said Tuesday that he was disappointed by the district attorney's conclusions.
"We thought it might go this way," he said. "My son didn't commit any crime at all other than running. This is alarming."

The report was made public Tuesday but was given to Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan (http://www.sfgate.com/?controllerName=search&action=search&channel=crime&search=1&inlineLink=1&query=) on Oct. 3, the day after Jordan - under pressure from Blueford's family - released a set of investigative reports into the shooting.

The family has led demonstrations against the shooting and has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit claiming Blueford did not have a gun when he was shot and did not pose a lethal threat.

The family's supporters protested angrily at a City Council meeting last month, prompting officials to shut down the meeting and draft new rules limiting public access to the chambers.
The family's attorney, John Burris (http://www.sfgate.com/?controllerName=search&action=search&channel=crime&search=1&inlineLink=1&query=), said he was not surprised by the report.

"The standard of proof (in a criminal prosecution) is beyond a reasonable doubt, and without a video, it's very difficult to prosecute a police officer," he said.

When Blueford was killed, he was nearing graduation from Skyline High School (http://www.sfgate.com/?controllerName=search&action=search&channel=crime&search=1&inlineLink=1&query=) in Oakland, where he commuted to attend. He had earlier been convicted of a burglary in San Joaquin County, police said.

Masso was hired in 2008 after working as an officer in Morgan Hill and New York, and as a military police officer for the Army.

The report by the district attorney's office said Masso and his patrol partner, Officer Joe Fesmire (http://www.sfgate.com/?controllerName=search&action=search&channel=crime&search=1&inlineLink=1&query=), watched Blueford and two companions from afar as one of the other teens "moved his right hand to his waistband" as if he was concealing a gun, and then appeared to toss something through a fence.

After the officers got out of their patrol car and detained the teenagers, the report says, Blueford initially complied with orders to sit down before jumping up and running.
Masso said he gave chase because he thought Blueford might have a gun.

According to the report, Masso said he shouted 10 to 15 times at Blueford, ordering him to stop, and threatened to shock him with a Taser. The officer said Blueford ran for nearly three blocks with his left hand on his jeans and his right hand at his waist, as if he was armed.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/Oakland-cop-cleared-in-slaying-of-teen-3933240.php#ixzz290bl19eH

Peter Lemkin
08-12-2013, 07:01 PM
Stop And Frisk Violated Rights Of New Yorkers, Judge Rules

Posted: 08/12/2013 9:42 am EDT | Updated: 08/12/2013 12:56 pm EDT

A judge has ruled that the NYPD's controversial use of the stop-and-frisk tactic violated the rights of thousands of New Yorkers (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/13/nyregion/stop-and-frisk-practice-violated-rights-judge-rules.html?hp&_r=0), The New York Times reports. Judge Shira Scheindlin's decision Monday called for a federal monitor to watch over the police department to ensure cops are in compliance with the constitution.
From the Associated Press:

The New York Police Department deliberately violated the civil rights of tens of thousands of New Yorkers with its contentious stop-and-frisk policy, and an independent monitor is needed to oversee major changes, a federal judge ruled Monday in a stinging rebuke for what the mayor and police commissioner have defended as a life-saving, crime-fighting tool.U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin said she was not putting an end to the policy, but rather was reforming it. She did not give many specifics on how that would work but instead named an independent monitor who would develop reforms to policies, training, supervision, monitoring and discipline. She also ordered that officers test out body-worn cameras in the police precinct where most stops occurred.
"The city's highest officials have turned a blind eye to the evidence that officers are conducting stops in a racially discriminatory manner," she wrote. "In their zeal to defend a policy that they believe to be effective, they have willfully ignored overwhelming proof that the policy of targeting `the right people' is racially discriminatory."
For years, police brass had been warned that officers were violating rights, but they nevertheless maintained and escalated "policies and practices that predictably resulted in even more widespread Fourth Amendment violations," Scheindlin wrote in a lengthy opinion.
She also cited violations of the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure.
"Far too many people in New York City have been deprived of this basic freedom far too often," she said. "The NYPD's practice of making stops that lack individualized reasonable suspicion has been so pervasive and persistent as to become not only a part of the NYPD's standard operating procedure, but a fact of daily life in some New York City neighborhoods."

Four men sued the department in 2004, saying they were unfairly targeted because of they were minorities. Scheindlin issued her ruling after a 10-week bench trial, which included testimony from NYPD brass and a dozen people - 11 men and one woman - who said they were wrongly stopped because of their race.
She found that nine of the 19 stops discussed at the trial were unconstitutional, and an additional five stops included wrongful frisking.
Stop and frisk is a constitutional police tactic, but Scheindlin concluded that the plaintiffs had "readily established that the NYPD implements its policies regarding stop and frisk in a manner that intentionally discriminates based on race."
There have been about 5 million stops during the past decade, mostly black and Hispanic men. The judge said she determined at least 200,000 stops were made without reasonable suspicion, the necessary legal benchmark, lower than the standard of probable cause needed to justify an arrest.
The class-action lawsuit was the largest and most broad legal action against the policy at the nation's biggest police department, and it may have an effect on how other police departments make street stops, legal experts said.
Lawmakers have also sought to create an independent monitor and make it easier for people to sue the department if they feel their civil rights were violated. Those bills are awaiting an override vote after the mayor vetoed the legislation.
The court monitor would examine stop and frisk specifically and could compel changes. The inspector general envisioned in the legislation would look at other issues but could only make recommendations.
The city had no immediate response to the ruling, but officials planned an early afternoon news conference to discuss it.
City lawyers had argued the department does a good job policing itself with an internal affairs bureau, a civilian complaint board and quality assurance divisions.
The judge rejected their arguments. "The city and its highest officials believe that blacks and Hispanics should be stopped at the same rate as their proportion of the local criminal suspect population," she wrote. "But this reasoning is flawed because the stopped population is overwhelmingly innocent - not criminal."
Scheindlin appointed Peter L. Zimroth, the city's former lead attorney and previously a chief assistant district attorney, as the monitor. In both roles, Zimroth worked closely with the NYPD, the judge said. He did not respond to a call seeking comment.
The Center for Constitutional Rights, the nonprofit group that represented the plaintiffs, said in a statement: "Today is a victory for all New Yorkers. After more than 5 million stops conducted under the current administration, hundreds of thousands of them illegal and discriminatory, the NYPD has finally been held accountable. It is time for the city to stop denying the problem and work with the community to fix it."

Police stops in New York CIty have soared some 600 percent over the past decade since Mayor Michael Bloomberg took office. New York's finest stopped and interrogated people 684,330 times in 2011, according to The Wall Street Journal. 92 percent of those stopped were males, and 87 percent of those stopped were black or Hispanic. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/13/nypd-stop-and-frisk-peter-vallone-jumanne-williams-debate_n_1342163.html)

Peter Lemkin
09-27-2013, 10:15 PM
George Zimmerman’s Wife Expresses Doubt About His Innocence in Travyon Martin Case

George Zimmerman’s estranged wife, Shellie, is expressing doubts about claims Zimmerman acted in self-defense when he killed Trayvon Martin. Shellie Zimmerman has filed for divorce and recently called 911 to report George Zimmerman had threatened her and assaulted her father. She was interviewed by NBC’s Matt Lauer.

Matt Lauer: "So you now doubt his innocence, at least the fact that he was acting in self-defense on the night that Trayvon Martin was killed?"

Shellie Zimmerman: "I think anyone would doubt that innocence because I don’t know the person that I’ve been married to."

Peter Lemkin
10-10-2013, 06:18 PM
Relatives of a slain African-American man in Georgia are accusing police of shooting him dead without cause in his own home. Police were apparently summoned to the home of Jack Lamar Roberson by accident after his fiancée called 911 to seek emergency medical help. Roberson was diabetic and had apparently been acting erratically. When police showed up instead of an ambulance, officers say Roberson was armed with two knifes. But his fiancée, Alicia Herron, tearfully denied the police account.
Alicia Herron: "He didn’t have nothing in his hands at any time or period at all before they came, any time while they was here, or anything. They just came in and shot him. He didn’t say nothing. The police didn’t say nothing, anything. It was like a silent movie. You couldn’t hear anything. And all you heard was the gun shots go off, and I seen them going into his body, and he just fell down."

David Guyatt
10-11-2013, 07:57 AM
Relatives of a slain African-American man in Georgia are accusing police of shooting him dead without cause in his own home. Police were apparently summoned to the home of Jack Lamar Roberson by accident after his fiancée called 911 to seek emergency medical help. Roberson was diabetic and had apparently been acting erratically. When police showed up instead of an ambulance, officers say Roberson was armed with two knifes. But his fiancée, Alicia Herron, tearfully denied the police account.
Alicia Herron: "He didn’t have nothing in his hands at any time or period at all before they came, any time while they was here, or anything. They just came in and shot him. He didn’t say nothing. The police didn’t say nothing, anything. It was like a silent movie. You couldn’t hear anything. And all you heard was the gun shots go off, and I seen them going into his body, and he just fell down."

It's just too sick to properly contemplate.

Peter Lemkin
10-11-2013, 09:33 AM
Relatives of a slain African-American man in Georgia are accusing police of shooting him dead without cause in his own home. Police were apparently summoned to the home of Jack Lamar Roberson by accident after his fiancée called 911 to seek emergency medical help. Roberson was diabetic and had apparently been acting erratically. When police showed up instead of an ambulance, officers say Roberson was armed with two knifes. But his fiancée, Alicia Herron, tearfully denied the police account.
Alicia Herron: "He didn’t have nothing in his hands at any time or period at all before they came, any time while they was here, or anything. They just came in and shot him. He didn’t say nothing. The police didn’t say nothing, anything. It was like a silent movie. You couldn’t hear anything. And all you heard was the gun shots go off, and I seen them going into his body, and he just fell down."

It's just too sick to properly contemplate.

That is the SECOND Black man mentioned in this thread killed inside his home, having no weapon, and having called for medical help - not the police; but the police came, broke in and killed both of them without reason nor provocation. They never should have entered! Who says we don't have Death Squads operating in the USA?! In the USA it is dangerous to call for medical help [as the killer police may come instead - it is the same number. It is even more dangerous to call for the Police - 1000x more so if you are Black or Poor!

Peter Lemkin
10-23-2013, 06:18 AM
As the October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation holds protests in several cities today, we bring you the shocking story of Mohamed Bah, a 28-year-old college student from the African nation of Guinea. He was shot dead by New York City police officers on September 25, 2012. Police arrived at Mohamed Bah’s apartment after his mother, Hawa Bah, called 911 because she thought he was depressed, and wanted an ambulance to take him to the hospital. Police claimed he lunged at officers with a knife. But many questions remain unanswered. We are joined by Hawa and her attorneys, Mayo Bartlett and Randolph McLaughlin, both longtime civil rights attorneys. http://www.democracynow.org/2013/10/22/deadly_911_calls_nypd_kills_african [for transcript or video/audio]

Peter Lemkin
11-07-2013, 05:25 AM
NYPD Officer Risks His Job to Speak Out Against "Stop-and-Frisk" Targeting of People of Color

The New York City Police Department’s controversial "stop-and-frisk" program was a major issue for voters going to the polls in the city’s mayoral election. The issue drew widespread attention in August when U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin found stop-and-frisk unconstitutional, saying police had relied on a "policy of indirect racial profiling" that led officers to routinely stop "blacks and Hispanics who would not have been stopped if they were white." While she did not halt use of the tactic, Scheindlin appointed a federal court monitor to oversee a series of reforms. In a dramatic development last week, those reforms were put on hold. On Thursday, an appeals court stayed the changes, effectively allowing police officers to continue using stop-and-frisk. We get reaction from a police officer who has spoken out about problems with the program he and thousands of others are asked to carry out. Adhyl Polanco became critical of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy when his superiors told officers to meet a quota of stops, or face punishment. Polanco made audio recordings of the quotas being described during meetings in his precinct and brought his concerns to authorities, but he said he was ignored. He then took his audio tapes to the media, including The Village Voice, where reporter Graham Rayman wrote a series called "The NYPD Tapes," featuring several police officers like him. For several years, Polanco was suspended with pay. He has returned to work on the police force, where he has been put on modified assignment. "You cannot treat the whole black and Latino community as if they are all about to commit a crime," Polanco says. "I’ll handcuff anybody who’s committing a crime. But when you take a male black [and say]: 'Cuff him, he doesn't look like he belongs here.’ Cuff him for what?"

Transcript This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We turn right now to an issue that we actually have addressed in the last few minutes, and it’s the issue of stop-and-frisk. Nermeen?
NERMEEN SHAIKH: The New York City Police Department’s controversial stop-and-frisk program was a major issue for voters going to the polls in the city’s mayoral election. The issue drew widespread attention in August when U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin found stop-and-frisk unconstitutional, saying police had relied on a, quote, "policy of indirect racial profiling" that led officers to routinely stop "blacks and Hispanics who would not have been stopped if they were white." While she did not halt use of the tactic, Judge Scheindlin appointed a federal court monitor to oversee a series of reforms. New York City’s Republican mayoral candidate, Joe Lhota, vowed to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Meanwhile, the victor in Tuesday’s race, Democratic Bill de Blasio, vowed to begin the reforms right away, saying any delay would "result in irreparable harm." Then, in a dramatic development last week, those reforms were put on hold. On Thursday, an appeals court stayed the changes, effectively allowing police officers to continue using stop-and-frisk.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, we’ve brought you response (http://www.democracynow.org/2013/11/1/court_blocks_nypd_stop_and_frisk) to the ruling from one of the lawyers who helped argue the case. Now we’re going to reaction from a police officer who has spoken out about problems with the stop-and-frisk program he and thousands of other officers are asked to carry out. Adhyl Polanco joined the New York City Police Department in 2005. In 2009, he became critical of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy when his superiors told officers to meet a quota of stops or face punishment. He made audio recordings of the quotas being described during meetings in his precinct, and brought his concerns to authorities, but he said he was ignored. He then took his audio tapes to the media, including The Village Voice, where reporter Graham Rayman wrote a series (http://www.villagevoice.com/specialReports/the-nypd-tapes-the-village-voices-series-on-adrian-schoolcraft-by-graham-rayman-4393217/) called "The NYPD Tapes," featuring several police officers like him. Officer Polanco also testified in the recent trial challenging the constitutionality of stop-and-frisk. For several years, he was suspended with pay. He has returned to work on the police force, where he has been put on modified assignment. Officer Polanco was recently featured in a video produced by the group Communities United for Police Reform.

ADHYL POLANCO: Believe it or not, I’ve been stopped by police after I became a cop. I used to walk to Washington Heights with two other cops friend of mine, and we would get thrown against the wall, just for walking down. I’m not saying don’t stop the criminal; I say don’t stop the innocent people.

My name is Adhyl Polanco. I’ve been a police officer since 2005. I came to New York when I was 10. I came from a Third World country, the Dominican Republic. I grew up in Washington Heights. There was shootings almost every night; it was a daily thing. The 34th Precinct used to have a cop come into my sixth-grade class. She used to come every Wednesday, and I used to look up to her like, "Oh, my god! This is what I want to do." I mean, this is what I told my father: "I think I want to be a cop." For me it was a dream.

In 2009, the commanding officers required us to have a one-20-and-five quota system. One-20-and-five means one arrest per month, 20 summonses per month, and five stop-question-and-frisk. So, basically, they wanted to stop at least one person a day. But what happen the day you don’t see the crime? What happened the day you don’t see the violations? People start getting creative.

We would stop a person on the street and on a corner, because the sergeant says, "Stop him." Why? You don’t ask. You just stop him, you frisk him. If it’s possible, you search him. And these kids, sometimes they’re just walking home from school. They’re just walking to the store. They’re just—they’re not doing absolutely anything. They’re not doing absolutely anything. And it’s a really humiliating feeling. When they go through your pockets, when they stop you, you don’t have no freedom. If you stop and then tell the officer, "I’m not—I don’t have to give you my ID. I don’t have to give you my name," which is within the law—the law allows you to do that—you’re going to get hurt. In the Bronx, you are going to get hurt.

My turning point was with a bunch of kids on a corner stopped by the commanding officer. There was a 13-year-old Mexican in the group. "Polanco, cuff him." I said, "For what?" "Cuff him. You don’t ask me questions. Cuff him, bring him back." His brother come to ask, "Why? What’s going on with my brother? He’s walking home from school. Officer, did he do anything stupid?" The commanding officer looked at my partner, told her, "Cuff him, too. Bring him in." "For what?" "Oh, we will figure it out later. Just bring him in." And that was my turning point. That was the time I said, "You know what? Why should I do it to a kid that’s just walking home from school, that we know is not doing anything? Why should I do that? This is not what I became a cop for. This is not what I wanted to do."

I live for my kids. And I think of them. I think of them one day being slapped by a cop, like it happens so many times on the street. I’m thinking of them being handcuffed and screaming to the cop, "I haven’t done anything! I haven’t done anything! What are you—why are you arresting me? I haven’t done anything!" I don’t want them to go through that.

If you get violated by a cop, how are you going to trust that cop? How are you going to come up to him when you see something? If this is the same cop that threw me against a wall and this is the same cop that went through my private parts looking for crack that I didn’t have, why should I help him? He should be working with the community. It’s written like that. He should be getting community trust. There’s a lot of things that can make the community safer. Stopping and harassing innocent people is not going to make the community safer.
AMY GOODMAN: That was NYPD Officer Adhyl Polanco in a video produced by the group Communities United for Police Reform. When we come back, he joins us in our studio. Stay with us.
AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to a New York police officer, Adhyl Polanco, who’s been a vocal critic of the police department’s stop-and-frisk program. I spoke to him yesterday and asked him to respond to last week’s court ruling that puts on hold a sweeping set of changes to the New York City Police Department’s controversial stop-and-frisk program. In August, U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin found the program unconstitutional, saying police had relied on a policy of indirect racial profiling. She appointed a federal court monitor to oversee a series of reforms, but the city appealed her ruling, and last Thursday an appeals court stayed the changes, effectively allowing police officers to continue using stop-and-frisk. That’s where I began with Officer Polanco, asking him to respond to the appeals court ruling.

ADHYL POLANCO: Basically, I have to start with a legal statement saying I’m not here on behalf of the police department. That covers my legal—I’m obviously not here on behalf of the police department. I’m here as a citizen, which allow me to express myself in the way.

It’s a slap in the face. It’s a—you don’t expect this from a federal court. You expect this from the Board of Regents, where Bloomberg sends his people to lobby them. You expect this from a lower court that they’re politically influenced over this. You don’t expect this from the—they’re going against one of the most honorable judges they have. And that was not an appeal. People think that was not a formal appeal. That was more of a political favor, is what I call it. When the decision came over, years and years after we’ve been struggling trying to get this through there, Mayor Bloomberg asked one thing and one thing only: for the implementation not to go while he was in power. That’s all that he asked for. They created the mess. They did not want to listen to me. They did not want to listen to the City Council. They did not want to listen to some of the city lawyers who told them this was not a good lawsuit to pursue. The only purpose of this decision is to grant Bloomberg’s wish, which is that he doesn’t want to be watched while he’s in power. And it’s a shame. It’s really a shame.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn to New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly reacting to the appeals court ruling.

COMMISSIONER RAY KELLY: I have always been—and certainly haven’t been alone—concerned about the partiality of Judge Scheindlin. And we look forward to the examination of this case, a fair and impartial review of this case based on the merits.

AMY GOODMAN: Your response, Officer Polanco?

ADHYL POLANCO: He’s out of touch. Ray Kelly, when was the last time he walked the beat? When was the last time he or his family went through a stop-and-frisk? Well, we know issues with his family. But when was the last time that they went down and they asked the cops how do we feel about doing stop-and-frisk? Because I’m not the only one. I’m just the only one that had the nerve to bring it out. There’s a lot of cops under there. There’s a lot of supervisors under there, great cops, who are under fear. And for that fear, they won’t speak about what they all know is wrong. I’m not against stop-and-frisk. I’m not against stop-and-frisk the way it’s supposed to be done.

AMY GOODMAN: How is it supposed to be done?

ADHYL POLANCO: When you are—as a police officer, when you feel that somebody is about to commit a crime, had committed a crime or is in the process of committing a crime, you have the right to stop that person. You have the right to search that person, if necessary and if you [inaudible] the search. I’m not against that. And reality is that in New York, most of the people you are going to stop, regardless of what the crime is, they’re going to be black and Hispanic. That’s—we’re not arguing that. But you cannot treat the whole black and Hispanic community as we’re all about to commit a crime or as we all committed a crime or we are about to commit a crime. It’s not right. It’s not right.

AMY GOODMAN: You, yourself, have been stopped and frisk?


AMY GOODMAN: Explain what happened.

ADHYL POLANCO: As a police officer, and they couldn’t give me the courtesy of telling me why I was stopped.

AMY GOODMAN: You weren’t in uniform.

ADHYL POLANCO: No, I was not in uniform. I was walking in Washington Heights near my mom’s house and with two more officers. We are walking down, and all of a sudden cops roll out in an unmarked car and hit the wall. They push us against the wall. They did not ID themselves. They did not tell us, "We are cops." Obviously we knew they were cops.

AMY GOODMAN: Were they—they were undercover.

ADHYL POLANCO: Yeah. And they—we asked them, "What’s going on? We’re on the job." That’s how—you know, and they say—they looked at us and say—

AMY GOODMAN: You weren’t off duty at the time.

ADHYL POLANCO: I was off duty, yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: Oh, you were?

ADHYL POLANCO: And they look at us and say, "What kind of job are you on?" This is how a cop talking to another say: "Look in my pocket, and you’ll see what kind of job I’m on." And they look in my pocket, and, sadly, they gave me the ID back and kept walking. They did not say, "I’m sorry." They did not say, "Officer, this is the reason why I stop you." Nothing. They just kept walking.

AMY GOODMAN: And do you know them? Did you know them?

ADHYL POLANCO: No, no, no. This is—

AMY GOODMAN: And you never saw them again?

ADHYL POLANCO: Never saw them again.

AMY GOODMAN: And then talk about the moment you describe in the videotape that really made you reassess everything, that—where you were being told to stop and frisk and detain.

ADHYL POLANCO: It’s the quota system. The quota is illegal. They deny it, even with all the audio out there, even with all the victims that are coming out, even with the billions of dollars that they’re paying to cover police-related lawsuits—billions. Do you know how many after-school programs can be opened with that money, how many kindergarten and pre-K can be opened? But instead they pay a policeman’s conduct with it. It’s a really bad feeling. When they have a top-down management—Kelly and Bloomberg are synchronized: Whatever Bloomberg says, Kelly does. And they want numbers.

I would think that if crime is lower, like they say it is, which it’s not, that if things are so well in New York, you should be arresting less people, not more. You should be stopping less people, because obviously crime is lower. They’re shoving crime under the table. And I’m a big example of that. I know; I’ve done it. We were forced to do it.

AMY GOODMAN: How? Tell me what you were forced to do.

ADHYL POLANCO: You were called to a scene where the robbery happened, and they will look at the CompStat number for that week and tell you, "Oh, we’re not taking that robbery. That will put us over the top," or, "Take the robbery, make it a lost property or make it a—anything." Or sometimes even this—

AMY GOODMAN: It will put you over the top of too many crimes to report—


AMY GOODMAN: —make the city look bad.

ADHYL POLANCO: Too many high crimes to report, so that that way they can keep saying that crime is lower. I’ve been to shootings where I’ve been told, "In the report, don’t put that a bullet went through the car. Put that a sharp object went through a car," so now that shooting is not going to show up in the annual report of shootings. And that’s what they would do. And I do not understand how can Kelly go up on TV with a straight face and say this is not happening. I’m Officer Polanco. Officer Borelli, Officer Schoolcraft, Officer Palestro, all from different precincts, all from different around the city, we’re all saying the same thing in different precincts. But yet nobody wants to believe. And they keep saying that this is a—

AMY GOODMAN: Does this put people in danger?

ADHYL POLANCO: Of course. You hire less cops, because supposedly the crime is lower. Now you’re going to justify not hiring enough cops, because supposedly you’re doing the job.

AMY GOODMAN: So, the moment that you were being told to take kids into custody, explain that, in the Bronx.

ADHYL POLANCO: That was my breaking point. I was an assistant dean in a high school. I was a baseball coach. I have kids of my own. If you want me to arrest somebody—and I have never, ever stopped putting cuffs on anybody because they’re white, because they’re black, because they’re blue. I will handcuff anybody who’s committing a crime. But when you take that he’s a male black, he’s 14, 15, he’s walking down the corner, he doesn’t look like he belong here—"Cuff him." "Cuff him for what?" "Cuff him. We’ll figure out inside." What happened behind that is that the commanding officer goes to his office, and he sees the number of summonses that were written last year that he’s going to be compared to next week. So if he doesn’t have enough stop-and-frisks to match that number or double it, and if he doesn’t have enough summonses to match that number, or arrests, he’s going to go out there, he’s going to create it himself. And the quota is illegal. No matter how you cut it, it’s illegal.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to go back to 2009 to a recording that you made. In this clip, we hear a delegate from the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association speaking during a roll-call meeting at the 41st Precinct where you, Officer Polanco, work.

ADHYL POLANCO: Forty-first.

AMY GOODMAN: Forty-first in the Bronx. The captain refers to 20-and-one, a reference to the demand that officers make 20 summons, five street stops and one arrest per month. So listen closely.

PATROLMEN’S BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION DELEGATE: I spoke to the CO for about an hour and a half on the activity, 20-and-one. Twenty-and-one is what the union is backing up. They spoke to the trustees, and that’s what they want. They want 20-and-one.

AMY GOODMAN: You can hear on that tape the captain of the 41st Precinct saying, "20-and-one is what the union is backing up. They spoke to the [union] trustees. That’s what they want. They want 20-and-one." Twenty-and-one is a reference to the demand that officers make 20 summons, five street stops and one arrest per month So the union is backing this?


AMY GOODMAN: Officer Polanco?

ADHYL POLANCO: Yes, the union is. And it’s sad. It’s really sad, because when you are there as an officer, you have nobody to go to. You have absolutely nobody to go to. Am I going to go to my union, who’s telling me what I have to do? Am I going to go to internal affairs, who’s not going to do anything? I thought they were. They have no integrity. When it comes to investigating themselves, they have absolutely no integrity, because they have shown. So who are we supposed to go to? Our union is not there for us. Our union is there for the police department, sadly, sadly to say.

AMY GOODMAN: So, Officer Polanco, you testified in this stop-and-frisk trial. Talk about what happened after you signed a deposition.

ADHYL POLANCO: I got approached by the Civil Liberty Union in 2009. They saw the piece on ABC-7, where I—I had nobody else to go to. I couldn’t. I was deposed in March of 2010. The next day that I show up to work—I was off for the two days that I gave the deposition, with many city lawyers—they didn’t like what I provided. They didn’t like the recordings. They didn’t like my testimony. So I was placed on a suspension, with no reason given, for about three years. I was suspended with pay for about three years, where my job was to go to internal affairs every day for five minutes in the morning, sign a piece of paper, get my full salary as a cop and go home. For three years.

AMY GOODMAN: Because they wanted you out, to stop witnessing.

ADHYL POLANCO: Because they wanted me out.

AMY GOODMAN: Perhaps to stop recording.

ADHYL POLANCO: They wanted me to isolate—they wanted to isolate me away from. But then they—about a year ago, they sent me to—I live in Rockland County. They sent me to Utica Avenue in Brooklyn, where I drive an average of five hours a day to get to work. It’s called "highway therapy." And I pay five tolls every day to go to work.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to play the response of the NYPD’s deputy commissioner of training, James O’Keefe, when he asked about police officers who have audio recordings of officials calling for stop-and-frisk quotas. O’Keefe was questioned by reporter Kim Lengle.

KIM LENGLE: Commissioner, we’ve heard from former law enforcement officials, including current police officers, who say the training is not the problem, that the training is actually great. They’re saying it’s the pressure from the higher-ups, being forced to make more and more stops.

JAMES O’KEEFE: I don’t—I don’t know that to be true. My responsibility is to be sure that they are prepared and well trained to do what they’re required to do.

KIM LENGLE: Can you comment on the recordings that have been circulating for the past couple years?

UNIDENTIFIED: Recordings, did you say?


JAMES O’KEEFE: Recordings?

UNIDENTIFIED: What [inaudible] What recordings?

JAMES O’KEEFE: I’m sorry, what recordings?

KIM LENGLE: I mean, there’s recordings from, you know, officers that they’ve collected during roll calls. They’ve testified in court that they’ve collected these recordings showing that top commanders are pressuring them to make more and more stops, get more and more 250s, more and more C7s.

JAMES O’KEEFE: I wouldn’t know how to respond to a blanket statement like that.

KIM LENGLE: It’s not a blanket statement. I mean—

JAMES O’KEEFE: Yeah, I don’t know what all those recordings are. I don’t know exactly which ones you’re referring to. Our responsibility here—

KIM LENGLE: They’re in the class action lawsuit.

JAMES O’KEEFE: Our responsibility here is to be sure that everybody is properly educated and trained and prepared to do what the job assignment is. That’s—that’s the realm of what we do here.

AMY GOODMAN: So that’s New York Police Department Deputy Commissioner of Training James O’Keefe, when asked about police officers who have audio recordings of officials calling for these stop-and-frisk quotas. Your response to Officer O’Keefe, Officer Polanco?

ADHYL POLANCO: Denial, denial. He’s denying it. They’re denying it at all cost. Imagine if I didn’t make the recordings. How would I prove what I’m proving? And they’re listening to the recording, and they’re still denying it?

AMY GOODMAN: Are they targeting certain neighborhoods?

ADHYL POLANCO: Yeah. And you can make the argument that the neighbors that they ask—are targeting are the neighborhoods that have the most crime committed by black and Hispanic. But what percentage of black and Hispanic are committing this crime? And what percentage of black and Hispanic live in the neighborhood? Because one out of a hundred, when you stop—when you have one criminal, and you have 200, 300 people who are not, why will you treat everybody as a criminal?

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think the Department of Justice should investigate?

ADHYL POLANCO: They should. There’s no question that they should. What is going to be left of the black and Hispanic community after stop-and-frisk? What is going to be left? Because if you educate yourself—and I’ve seen examples of kids who are arrested for trespassing where they live, kids who are given summonses for trespassing where they live. The automatic disorderly conduct obstructing governmental activity charge, that’s when the cops stop you and you say, "I don’t have—I don’t have to talk to you. Officer, why are you going through my pocket? Why are you throwing me against the wall?" Once you ask that, then you’re going to get arrested for this kind, disorderly conduct. You’re going to spend a night in jail; the city is going to pay for it. But now you’re going to go educate yourself, like a lot of black and Hispanic do. Now you’re going to get a degree, and now you’re going to go look for a job, that’s going to deny you the job because you were—you have an arrest record. How is that helping the community?

AMY GOODMAN: Can you relate these large, you know, massive stop-and-frisks—we’re talking about what? More than 700,000 in a previous year, of largely young Latino and African-American kids—to shootings, police shootings?

ADHYL POLANCO: Ramarley Graham. Ramarley Graham is a perfect example.

AMY GOODMAN: Ramarley Graham was a teenager—

ADHYL POLANCO: Ramarley Graham, who was—

AMY GOODMAN: —who ran into his home, is flushing marijuana down the toilet of his grandmother’s apartment, and he is shot dead.

ADHYL POLANCO: That’s what they said, that he was flushing marijuana. There’s no reason to—there’s no reason to pursue somebody for marijuana. There’s no reason to go to their houses for marijuana. There’s no reason to go in the bathroom for marijuana. And there’s not a reason to put a bullet in some kid’s chest because of marijuana—if marijuana was there, because we’re getting the statement from the police department. It’s—instead of saving lives, that’s an example of taking lives, in reality.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you tell your children?

ADHYL POLANCO: I—they’re not old enough to have that conversation. I did have it with my 10-year-old. And like I said, it’s a conversation that unfortunately only some of us have to have with our kids. It’s not everybody who has to have this same conversation. Stop-and-frisk works great, it works beautifully—with white people. You know why it works so well? There’s a study out there that said that white people, when stopped, are way far more likely to have drugs or contraband on them. You know why? Because the caution is taken before stopping them. You’re not stopping them because they walk on the corner. You’re not stopping them because they’re coming from school. You are taking your time, and you have a reason to stop them. Stop-and-frisk will work beautifully if instead of 700,000 stops, you get 100,000 stops. But what is going to be your outcome rate is going to be a lot greater, because you are taking the time to police. You are taking the time to do observation.

And a lot of cops say Bloomberg is a sucker, because they go out there and they grab the first guy at the corner two hours before tour. They want to make overtime, which is not honest at all. A lot of cops want to—it’s easy. It’s the easiest way to be a cop, is to go out there and pick whoever’s at the corner, bring him back, instead of being a real cop, where you go, you interact with your community, they tell you who the drug dealers are. It takes time for you to know who’s who. But the police department don’t want time; they want numbers, and they want them right away.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you just briefly summarize the case of Officer Adrian Schoolcraft, what happened to him?

ADHYL POLANCO: Adrian Schoolcraft, almost at the same time that I spoke up, he did the same thing. He did some recordings. I was not aware. I don’t know him. And one day—I don’t know the whole full story—they went to his house, and they put him in a psych ward and did not even notify his family that he was in a psych ward for three days.

AMY GOODMAN: So he couldn’t reach his father.

ADHYL POLANCO: He couldn’t reach his father. He couldn’t do anything. And they’re still justifying everything. And those people that did that against him, there’s no accountability. Nothing happens to them.

AMY GOODMAN: And is Schoolcraft an officer today?

ADHYL POLANCO: No, he left. He left.

AMY GOODMAN: Are you concerned about continuing to speak out? Even after your years suspended with pay, you’re back on the force.

ADHYL POLANCO: I’m not giving up. I’m not giving up. Nobody’s speaking for us. I started talking against stop-and-frisk when nobody was involved, absolutely nobody.

Magda Hassan
11-07-2013, 05:49 AM
Got to love whistle-blowers and people to stand up for what's right and don't take the path of least resistance.

Peter Lemkin
11-13-2013, 09:02 PM
"Criminalizing Black Corpses": No Charges Filed After White Man Kills Detroit Teen Renisha McBride

Anger is growing in the Detroit area over the killing of Renisha McBride, a 19-year-old African-American woman who was shot dead by a white homeowner on his front porch. Her family says she died as she was seeking help after a car accident. The homeowner told police he believed McBride was trying to break into his home, but he claimed his gun accidentally fired at her. No charges have been filed. An autopsy revealed McBride was shot in the face by a shotgun, but not at close range. We are joined from Detroit by Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations; and by dream hampton, a writer, activist and filmmaker.

Transcript This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Outrage is growing in the Detroit area over the killing of Renisha McBride, a 19-year-old African-American woman. In the early hours of November 2nd, McBride was shot dead on the front porch of a man’s home, where she had reportedly gone to seek help after a car crash. On Tuesday, local media aired audio of a Dearborn Heights police dispatcher who sent police to investigate the shooting after the homeowner called 911 to say he had shot an African-American woman he did not know on his porch.

911 DISPATCHER: [Just received a 911 call] from a male saying he just shot someone on his porch. Then he hung up. We’re trying to call back. [inaudible] Units responding. We have the male on the line, states he doesn’t know this person. Trying to get further.

RESPONDING OFFICER: There’s somebody down on the porch. It appears it’s going to be a black female.

911 DISPATCHER: Copy. Black female.
AMY GOODMAN: The homeowner, whom police have not publicly identified, told police he believed Renisha McBride was trying to break into his home, but he claimed his gun accidentally fired at her. The homeowner, who is white, has not been arrested. An autopsy revealed McBride was shot in the face by a shotgun, but not at close range. McBride’s family says McBride suffered a concussion in the car accident, was seeking help at the time of the shooting. The car accident occurred just before 1:00 a.m. The homeowner reported the shooting at 4:45 a.m. Gerald Thurswell, an attorney for McBride’s family, told the Detroit Free Press he doesn’t believe the homeowner killed McBride by accident.

GERALD THURSWELL: It’s very, very, very hard to believe that it was an accident when the gun is in her face and it goes off accidentally. Somebody had to have their finger on the trigger. He was in a safe place. He was in his house. And he didn’t have to open the door. He could have called 911 to protect himself. And if she was seeking help, he could have called 911 to get her help. So, I don’t think this is justifiable, and I don’t think this is accidental.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Many observers have compared Renisha McBride’s death to the shooting of Trayvon Martin. On Friday, supporters of McBride rallied in Detroit.

PROTESTERS: Renisha McBride. Renisha McBride. Renisha McBride. Renisha McBride.

PROTESTER 1: It doesn’t make sense why he isn’t here, right now, locked up in a cell on some sort of charge of murder, manslaughter, whatever. It is not just. Why is he still at home?

PROTESTER 2: Renisha could have easily been me. She had a life that was worth us gathering here today.

PROTESTER 3: Every life in our community is valuable, whether you’re in Detroit, whether you’re in Dearborn, whether you’re in Inkster—in particular for us, black life. The fact of the matter is, here’s a person who was in an accident, and she’s trying to seek help, gets a bullet in her head.

PROTESTER 4: I’m sick and tired of seeing black women murdered, raped, beaten, shot, and nobody’s talking about it. I’m sick of the apathy. I’m sick of the apathy in the community. I’m sick of the apathy in the media. And it’s—enough is enough! Where is this man? Who is he connected to? And why don’t we know who he is?
AMY GOODMAN: For more, we go now to Detroit, Michigan, where we’re joined by Dawud Walid, the executive director of the Michigan chapter of CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
We’re also joined by dream hampton, a writer and activist, a filmmaker from Detroit, currently directing a documentary about the brutal murder of a 19-year-old trans woman named Shelley Hilliard. She’s also a campaign consultant with MomsRising, a million-member-plus organization that advocates for family economic security.
Democracy Now! reached out to Cheryl Carpenter, the lawyer for the homeowner, and to the Dearborn Heights police, but neither returned our request for an interview.
We want to welcome you both to Democracy Now! Dream hampton, what do we understand at this point where the story is?
DREAM HAMPTON: Well, that’s part of the problem, Amy. The Dearborn Heights Police Department has been the opposite of transparent. We’re calling for transparency on this case. We’ve been calling for transparency on this case. I find it problematic that the media continues to refer to Ted Wafer as a 54-year-old homeowner.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, you’re—you’re naming him now. When you say Ted Wafer, that is the name of the man who shot her?
DREAM HAMPTON: The Voice of Detroit, a local paper, named him four or five days ago. You’re reporting that the homeowner, the 54-year-old homeowner, shot Renisha McBride. Records show that that homeowner is 54-year-old Ted Wafer. I think that he does not deserve anonymity. He’s neither a minor or a rape victim. This kind of is a collusion, in my mind. And I’m not accusing you of colluding with the Dearborn police, but I’ve not seen media protect a shooter in this way, even if it were an accidental shooting. When accidents are reported, often names are divulged. So I find that incredibly problematic from the outset, and it just indicates the opaque way that the Dearborn Heights Police Department has dealt with the public from the outset of this tragic killing.
AMY GOODMAN: And what is the explanation for this man not being arrested?
DREAM HAMPTON: His whiteness is the only explanation I can come up with; you know, her black body, justification, de facto. We know that the Dearborn police—Dearborn Heights Police Department is an all-white police force. I have no idea what the conversation was when they arrived at his porch at 4:45 or—it was hours after, it appears to be. And, you know, this is the latest, that we got this call yesterday, the 911 dispatch was released. And we had had earlier reports that—from her autopsy, that she died at 2:45, around 2:45. We have a call coming in from 911 dispatch at 4:45. What happened in those two hours? We have reports initially that her family was told her body was dumped. I mean, this could be a far darker story than any of us could imagine. And I believe that a 19-year-old unarmed teenager being gunned down, being shot in the face in the middle of the night on someone’s porch, seeking help, is tragic enough.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: I’d like to turn to comments made by Cheryl Carpenter, an attorney for the homeowner, who spoke to Michigan Radio.

CHERYL CARPENTER: There was a lot of banging. There was a lot of noise. And it didn’t sound like just knocking. This is a tragedy for everybody involved. And the homeowner is completely torn up. He realizes another person’s life was taken. It was a young woman. And he is devastated by that fact.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Dream hampton, that was Cheryl Carpenter, the attorney for the homeowner. Could you clarify: Has the homeowner even been charged?
DREAM HAMPTON: No, the homeowner has not been charged. The homeowner wasn’t even inconvenienced with a trip to the precinct to explain what happened the night of Renisha McBride’s killing in the precinct. It’s kind of unfathomable that we have to show up at the Dearborn Police Department ourselves, a hundred of us, and demand transparency, demand an arrest. We’re responsible for the discharge of our weapons, just as we’re responsible for our vehicles. This would be manslaughter, if it truly is an accident. This man should come forward. There is no history of revenge killings when it comes to racial killings in this country. So this—that’s another presumed—like, it’s another presumption of black guilt, that somehow if you release his name and he comes forward and apologizes to the family himself in front of the cameras, that we will hunt him down. I mean, the lack of transparency in this case is deeply, deeply troubling.
AMY GOODMAN: So, there was a toxicology test given to the victim, to Renisha McBride’s body, but Ted Wafer was not tested? Is that the case?
DREAM HAMPTON: I mean, unless they—unless the Dearborn Heights Police Department produces a toxicology report from that night, which would, to me, seem standard procedure—if someone claims that there was an accidental shooting at their home, then it seems that—it would seem that they would be tested for alcohol or drugs. A toxicology report on Renisha McBride’s body is more criminalization of black corpses. I don’t make the analogy to Trayvon in this case. I think Jonathan Ferrell, killed in North Carolina by the police while he was seeking help after an accident, is a far—
AMY GOODMAN: Now, he was the Florida A&M football player who gets in a car accident, is running toward police, and they shoot him dead.
DREAM HAMPTON: Yes, he’s a better analogy, if we need make one; I don’t think that we need to. I think that we can deal with Renisha McBride and the life that was lost on its own merit. But this criminalization of black corpses is deeply troubling, as well. We saw this happen with Trayvon. We saw his public record, his school record, his attendance record, whether or not he had ever smoked pot—you know, this teenager, like, kind of criminalized even as he was a corpse. I’m not interested in seeing that happen again with Renisha McBride. Like the family, I’m hopeful that Prosecutor Kym Worthy, who, as you know, Amy, has a very serious reputation, will do the right thing and bring justice for the McBride family.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, Renisha McBride’s aunt, Bernita Spinks, spoke to the local Fox News station about the shooting last week.

BERNITA SPINKS: This man just came to the door, by somebody just knocking. She didn’t break in his house. She didn’t break a window. What, you’re seeing somebody on your porch, and you just start shooting? And then you say it was accidental? That wasn’t accidental. That wasn’t accidental. No. Half of her face is gone. You know, we have to go and bury her, and they’re not even knowing if she’s going to be able to have an open casket. This is a senseless death. My niece is gone. I feel it was not right. Now, the way I’m feeling, I’m feeling it was racist. You’re seeing this black African young lady knocking—not breaking in your house, not breaking a window—knocking for help. He didn’t even try to see what kind of help she needed. He killed her. And he’s out of jail? Wow! Could I possibly do that? Somebody knocked on my door, and I pull my shotgun out, and I shoot them while they’re leaving off my porch, instead of finding out what was the problem—would I be standing here? No, I’d be in jail without a bond.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: That was Renisha McBride’s aunt, Bernita Spinks. Dawud Walid, could you talk a little bit about the significance of the shooting having occurred in Dearborn Heights? Explain what this area is like.
DAWUD WALID: Well, the first thing is that people should understand that Metro Detroit suffers from something which is called hypersegregation, in which there are various communities of people who have little to no interaction. It’s actually been designed that way. The city of Dearborn Heights, which borders Inkster—Inkster is one of the blackest areas in the city, in the state of Michigan. Dearborn Heights is about 80 percent white. There’s really no, like, intersection between these communities. There are basically like invisible fences between communities in southeastern Michigan. And to add onto that, there is a history within Dearborn, as well as Dearborn Heights, of being basically a de facto apartheid or the northern Jim Crow, in the sense there’s a history of racism and racial profiling that has gone on for decades and decades in terms of law enforcement with people of color.
AMY GOODMAN: What about Kym Worthy, Kym Worthy, the Wayne County prosecutor, Dawud?
DAWUD WALID: Well, we’ve had, you know, a history with Kym Worthy, both positive and negative. I will say that in the case of—we had a Michigan imam who was killed about three years ago by the FBI. He was shot 20 times, African American by the name of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah. Kym Worthy, she refused to go forward and investigate that case, because the FBI refused to turn over certain information that Prosecutor Worthy wanted, which then it got kicked up—the case got kicked up to the Michigan attorney general at the time, former one, Mike Cox, who’s a Republican, who acquitted and found no wrongdoing by the FBI. And actually, at CAIR Michigan, we have a wrongful death lawsuit relating to the FBI right now.
We’re hopeful that Prosecutor Worthy is going to do the right thing in this case. But it’s also noteworthy that the Dearborn Heights Police Department has also not given Prosecutor Kym Worthy all the information that she needs in order to level the right charges. And this is the important part of civil rights organizations and advocates that we continue to talk about this case and to agitate, that we want Kym Worthy to not kick this case up to Bill Schuette, who is the Michigan attorney general, because we’re afraid that if it gets in the hands of Bill Schuette, who’s also a Republican like Mike Cox, that he might not file charges at all. And at the least, as dream said, if it was—if this was indeed an accident, which I think it was not an accident, at the least, this man, Mr. Wafer, should be charged with involuntary manslaughter, if it’s accidental, as he claims. There has to be some sort of criminal liability regarding this case.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, dream hampton, very quickly, before we conclude, Michigan has a law that’s comparable to the "Stand Your Ground" law.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Could you talk about the significance of this potentially in this case?
DREAM HAMPTON: Well, the Self-Defense Act of 2006—I mean, Michigan is quietly one of the testing grounds where the Koch brothers and other conservative think tanks are backdooring this kind of conservative policy. You know, we saw what happened with Governor Snyder when he basically stripped unions of all rights to negotiate, very quietly, during what was supposed to be almost a holiday season in session. We will—as the Dream Defenders, we are willing to look at—the Dream Defenders, of course, in Tallahassee, agitated and sat in and just organized to have a hearing to repeal Stand Your Ground in Florida. We find ourselves in reactionary positions when it comes to these laws, again, because they are backdoored in into legislative sessions that are often near lame duck. So, if we need to look at the Self-Defense Act of 2006 and consider repealing it, that’s something that we absolutely will do. But first, we want justice for Renisha McBride.