Time indeed to rebuild our police departments. Enact meaningful laws controlling the police, restore community policing.
Excerpts from the Article:
The police department in the US city of Minneapolis will be dismantled and rebuilt, city councilors said late Sunday, after the death in custody of George Floyd sparked nationwide protests about racism in law enforcement. “We committed to dismantling policing as we know it in the city of Minneapolis and to rebuild with our community a new model of public safety that actually keeps our community safe,” Council President Lisa Bender told CNN.
Council Member Alondra Cano tweeted that the decision came through “a veto-proof majority of the MPLS City Council,” which agreed that the police department “is not reformable and that we’re going to end the current policing system.”
A white Minneapolis police officer has been charged with murder in the May 25 death of George Floyd, after bystander video showed the officer’s knee pinned on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes while he pleaded for his life and called for his mother.
Demonstrations were planned across the US on Sunday to demand racial justice after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody, with most more peaceful than the preceding week’s. It was the latest case of white law enforcement authorities being blamed for the death of an unarmed black person.
Floyd’s death has sparked two weeks of mostly peaceful demonstrations across the country against racism in US law enforcement. Some marchers have called for the police to be defunded. Last year, a black former Minneapolis police officer was sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison for the fatal shooting of an unarmed white Australian woman trying to report a crime.
Bender told CNN she was looking to shift police funding toward community-based strategies, and that the city council would discuss how to replace the current police department.
“The idea of having no police department is certainly not in the short term,” she added.
Letters to the Editor: When police fear going to prison, black people will stop dying -THAT is the ONLY way it will end – kra
As I have said for years, the ONLY way abuse by law enforcement will stop is vigorous prosecution.
READ http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/prosecution-imprisonment-will-stop-prison-abuse-demand-avoid-deaths-prison-guards/ = How to avoid the deaths of prison guards and inmates … or do you want to join the countless officials who refuse to acknowledge this huge problem called prison abuse?
To the editor: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar writes the truth about our institutional racism. I agree with him and others who speak of “conversations” we should have and making sure everyone is treated fairly.
But I also believe we’re talking this to death, literally, while policemen go on killing black people with almost no consequences.
Only one thing, I believe, is going to make them stop: They must know for certain that if they continue, they can be arrested, charged, tried, convicted and put in prison for years, just as every convicted killer is. If the justice system had acted this way for the past decades, so many families (black families predominantly) would not be grieving their many losses.
Fran Steketee, Westminster, Md.
We will see much of this, nationwide, and it is long overdue!
I will be meeting with Garrison Davis in the near future.
Excerpts from the Article:
DOVER — Garrison Davis hopes George Floyd’s death is the tipping point for greater police accountability during violent interactions with the public, particularly persons of color.
He’s uncomfortable with riots and looting during nationwide protests since the police-involved death in Minnesota, but believes it shows the high level of outrage existing today. The incident in Minneapolis left a police officer charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter and three others arrested.
The Delaware for Police Oversight organization — coordinated by Mr. Davis and Shyanne Miller — and several other groups are calling for a citizen-led community review board designed to evaluate police actions statewide.
This week, DEPO publicly announced the push and Mr. Davis said a 90-minute meeting was held with Gov. John Carney at his office, along with Attorney General Kathy Jennings and Wilmington Mayor Michael Purzycki. Around 30 persons attended and Mr. Davis said that included other organizations and community members.
“(The officials) were interested in pursuing a community review board and body cameras in Wilmington,” Mr. Davis said. “What we’re looking for is to hash this out and create a specific plan moving forward.
“Of course I’d like to see this done immediately and want quick action, but I also know there are a lot of hurdles and factors that need to be addressed to do it the right way.”
According to spokesman Mat Marshall the meeting was one several with AG Jennings and community members and that “she’s grateful for the organizers’ time and voice …”
Regarding DEPO’s call to action, Mr. Marshall said, “The AG is focused closely on the need for change and believes there are concrete steps that Delaware can take to enhance transparency, ensure accountability, and protect public safety in accordance with what the people of this state expect and deserve, and in accordance with the practices of our best police officers.
“She and our senior leadership have spent the last week meeting with advocates, police, and other stakeholders soliciting feedback on her thoughts and we plan to discuss those thoughts publicly as soon as possible.”
An attempt to reach Gov. Carney’s office for comment Thursday was unsuccessful.
In a news release, DEPO said its aim was to see power given back to the people “by allowing local law enforcement to be held accountable.”
Some of the other organizers include Colby Owens, Shané Darby and Madinah Wilson, Mr. Davis said.
Specific review goalsGroup calls for citizen oversight of Delaware’s police
DEPO cited specific goals for a community review board, including:
• Proactively prevent police violence, brutality, and/or use of force in Delaware communities.
• Prevent overpolicing in majority black, brown, and poor communities.
• Create a robust, community informed accountability process for when police violence, brutality, and/or use of force does occur.
• Establish alternatives to police presence in our communities.
• Review policing policies and make recommendations for changes.
• Provide a level of transparency for the public to police practices, policies, and operations.
• Access, analyze and interpret data on policing to make recommendations and for public consumption.
• Ensure officers are regularly held to the highest standards, and those who fail to meet that standard are reprimanded appropriately.
Regarding the committee makeup, DEPO pushed for:
• A majority of the formation committee be private citizens who are included at every step of the process.
• The final product and committees consist of a majority of private citizens.
• Leadership roles on the final review board only be held by private citizens.
• Funding be set aside to guarantee the sustainability of the final oversight committee through stipends for its members.
According to the DEPO news release:
“The past weekend has proven, we can no longer sit idle and hope the problem of police brutality and abuse of power goes away. It should be clear that such injustices are not only a hazard to the citizens of our great state, but they pose an economic threat as well.
“The recovery from this weekend’s has only begun, but by working with community leaders to establish a community review board, the Governor, Attorney General, and local government executives have the ability to ensure it does not happen again.”
Mr. Davis maintain there are widespread issues with police and how they negatively interact with the public.
“I can call up several people who can call up several people, all who have been abused and treated unfairly and likely know other people who have as well.”
A petition at change.org to support the cause had 1,271 signatures at just after 4 p.m. Thursday.
To contact DEPO, email Del4po@gmail.com, call 365-0913 or go to its Facebook page.
Other organizations listed on the news release included Network DE, Center to Dismantle the New Jim Crow and Building People Power.
Finally, all four are charged, but we must follow up through sentencing … no “slap on the wrist” for these bad cops.
I predict that this will not end the protests, as the abuse has gone on far too long! There needs to be systematic change.
Excerpts from the Article:
Prosecutors charged three more police officers Wednesday in the death of George Floyd and filed a new, tougher charge against the officer at the center of the case, delivering a victory to protesters who have filled the streets from coast to coast to fight police brutality and racial injustice.
The most serious charge was filed against Derek Chauvin, who was caught on video pressing his knee to Floyd’s neck and now must defend himself against an accusation of second-degree murder. The three other officers at the scene were charged for the first time with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
All four were fired last week. If convicted, they could be sentenced to up to four decades in prison.
Chauvin was initially charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Those charges still stand. The new second-degree murder charge alleges that Chauvin caused Floyd’s death without intent while committing another felony, namely third-degree assault. It carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison, compared with a maximum of 25 years for third-degree murder.
The other officers — Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao — face the same maximum penalties for aiding and abetting. All three men were in custody by Wednesday evening. Chauvin was arrested last week and is still being held.
The multiple charges against each officer would offer a jury more options to find them guilty.
The charges were sought by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who called the protests unleashed by the death “dramatic and necessary” and said Floyd “should be here and he is not.”
“His life had value, and we will seek justice,” said Ellison, who cautioned that winning convictions would be hard and said that public pressure had no bearing on his decisions.
Hundreds of protesters were in New York City’s Washington Square Park when the charges were announced.
“It’s not enough,” protester Jonathan Roldan said, insisting all four officers should have been charged from the start. “Right now, we’re still marching because it’s not enough that they got arrested. There needs to be systematic change.”
Ben Crump, an attorney for Floyd’s family, called it “a bittersweet moment” and “a significant step forward on the road to justice.” Crump said Elison had told the family he would continue his investigation into Floyd’s death and upgrade the charge to first-degree murder if warranted.
The move by prosecutors punctuated an unprecedented week in modern American history, in which largely peaceful protests took place in communities of all sizes but were rocked by bouts of violence, including deadly attacks on officers, rampant thefts and arson in some places.
Nationwide, more than 9,000 have been arrested in connection with unrest. At least 12 deaths have been reported, though the circumstances in many cases are still being sorted out.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, speaking after the new charges were announced, said the state and nation need to “seize the moment” and use the wrenching events of the past week to confront the effects of racism, including unequal educational and economic opportunities.
“I think this is probably our last shot, as a state and as a nation, to fix this systemic issue,” he said at a news conference.
An overpowering security force — including officers from the FBI Hostage Rescue Team, the Secret Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Prisons and, according to a senior defense official, at least 2,200 National Guard soldiers — was out in force Wednesday as thousands of peaceful protesters demonstrated in the nation’s capital. Some remained near the White House while others marched toward the Capitol building.
Military vehicles were parked on streets near the White House, and an array of agencies kept watch from the air. An FBI plane, an Army surveillance plane and a Park Police helicopter circled overhead.
At one point near the White House, protesters began singing “Amazing Grace” as they knelt in view of law enforcement officers in riot gear. “We are not going anywhere!” they chanted. There were no signs of confrontations.
In New York City, where high-end stores were looted in earlier days, some retailers fortified their property. At the luxury department store Saks Fifth Avenue, windows were boarded up, then covered in chain-link fencing and razor wire. The front of the store was guarded by a line of tattooed men with dogs. There was scuffling in some parts of the city Wednesday night, but no signs of major clashes between protesters and police.
The protests have also taken root overseas. In Greece, police fired tear gas after young people attacked them Wednesday outside the U.S. Embassy in Athens. Some 4,000 protesters had been peaceful until near the end of the demonstration, when some threw gasoline bombs and stones at police. No injuries or arrests were reported. Other protests were held Wednesday in London, Helsinki, Rotterdam and Bogota, among other cities.
The anger over Floyd’s death has spilled into an array of racial issues across the U.S.
In Philadelphia, for example, a statue of former Mayor Frank Rizzo was removed by the city Wednesday after repeatedly being targeted by vandals. Rizzo presided over a police force widely accused of racism and brutality in the 1970s.
In Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam was expected to announce plans Thursday for the removal of an iconic statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from Richmond’s prominent Monument Avenue, a senior administration official told The Associated Press. The statue in the former Confederate capital has been the target of vandalism during the protests.
Clearly a good idea … one which must happen! Rev. Bullock, who hosted this speech, is a friend of mine and I have led rallies at this church.
Excerpts from the Article:
JOE BIDEN MET WITH black leaders at a church in his home state of Delaware on Monday to talk about police brutality, racism and the impact of the Trump presidency on minority America, marking the former vice president’s shift to in-person campaigning in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
With his medical mask lowered onto his chin, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee heard the concerns of community leaders in Wilmington about the relationship between police and people of color. He pledged to create a police oversight board within his first 100 days in office, an idea backed by reformers who say a national standard for police behavior is needed.
“The Band-Aid has been ripped off by this pandemic and this president. Nobody can pretend any longer what this is all about. Nobody can pretend who has been carrying this on their back. It’s been minorities,” Biden said.
The appearance was notable for its contrast with President Donald Trump and its location at a public building. Biden, whose campaign strength is in personal connections with voters, has been hamstrung by having to conduct a campaign from his basement and living room.
While Biden was sitting in Wilmington’s Bethel AME Church, Trump was talking to governors during a video conference call about the nationwide protests. Accounts of the call indicate the president berated governors, called them “weak” and insisted that protesters should be jailed for 10 years.
Biden, speaking to about a dozen local leaders, listened somberly, his chin in his hand, and talked about the institutional racism he said is damaging America.
“Hate just hides. It doesn’t go away. And when you have somebody in power who breathes oxygen into the hate under the rocks, it comes out from under the rocks,” Biden said in the church.
“This COVID epidemic has basically shut down the country in the last three months. And, by the way, if we’d shut it down a month earlier, we’d have probably another 45 to 60,000 people (who) would be alive instead of dead,” Biden said.
“I’m going to say something outrageous – he didn’t listen to guys like me in January, saying we have a problem,” Biden added.
A recent Columbia University study said that, had the nation implemented social distancing just a week earlier in March, 36,000 lives could have been saved. Trump, in response to the study, called Columbia a “liberal, disgraceful institution.”
Biden indeed raised alarm about the coronavirus in January. Trump has repeatedly said, meanwhile, that his Jan. 31 order restricting travel from China has greatly limited the spread of the virus.
Commentary – Here is the Crux of it – Racism – 6/2/20 – kra
By now we have heard all manner of comments about the death of Mr. George Floyd. As a former prosecutor and now criminal justice advocate, I am compelled to write this commentary.
All that is required to arrest anyone for a crime is “probable cause”. It is a relatively low burden of proof, but the videos which I and all of America saw provided more than enough probable cause! Yet the legal community in Minnesota fiddled and faddled and dawdled for days, and still are dawdling; they have charged one officer when they need to charge all four!
Let us admit the uncomfortable truth: if the victim had been white, and all the officers black, they all would have been behind bars in 24 hours!
It was just Monday, and the nation has erupted since then. Cannot say I am surprised. Protests and riots will continue until all four officers are prosecuted.
Unless we know the wording of the statutes in MN, we cannot say exactly what charges should be filed, and all of the “lawyer talk” by non-lawyers is just stupid. I DO know that in Delaware I could get all four of those officers convicted of murder first degree in about 20 minutes.
We certainly cannot rely on Bill Barr’s justice department in this instance. You may remember that in the savage beating of Rodney King, it was the U S DOJ which finally convicted the officers involved after a state jury acquitted them.
Rodney King… I am not surprised that America is on fire, and peaceful protesters are marching everywhere. We could easily name a dozen more black victims of police use of lethal force since Rodney King, and Mr. George Floyd was the final straw.
How long will our Black brothers and sisters, our fellow citizens, have to put up with this racism? Seriously, How long?
All lawmakers and politicians should call for calm not more violence on either side, and work on national standards for use of force by police.
Ken Abraham, former Deputy Attorney General and founder of Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE, Dover, DE 302-423-4067
They need to PROSECUTE any cops doing this. Sure looks to me like the California Gang Database unit needs an overhaul!
Excerpts from the Article:
Officers from an elite division within the Los Angeles Police Department (“LAPD”) are under investigation regarding allegations that they falsified reports and listed some innocent people as gang members.
LAPD Police Chief Michel Moore announced in January that he was seeking to fire one officer for his role in falsifying the records. “The California Gang Database is a critical tool for law enforcement in its efforts to solve violent crime,” Moore said. “The information entered must be accurate. We are committed to holding anyone who falsified information accountable and will also fully cooperate with the State Attorney General Office.”
In a letter sent on February 10, 2020, to the LAPD, Attorney General Xavier Becerra promised an independent audit of the department’s CalGang entries. “We do not have a full or clear picture of what occurred, but we know enough that we must act,” Becerra said.
While Becerra acknowledged that those wrongly added to the database could be subjected to additional police scrutiny, he defended CalGang as a “good policing tool that keeps the community safe.” Nearly 80,000 persons are listed in the database.
In 2016, a state audit of CalGang revealed racially biased entries, violations of civil liberties, inaccurate entries, including “gang members” younger than one, transparency problems, and failures to follow basic rules.
Young black men, old white women, and everyone else should RAISE HELL about this man’s death.
In recent years, only 1% of excessive force claims against police for attacking blacks have been prosecuted.
Excerpts from the Article:
Gwen Carr was horrified by what she saw in the video — a black man groaning on the ground with a police officer’s knee on his neck, his repeated cries of “I can’t breathe” — which brought back a painful memory for her. Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who died after he was held in an apparent chokehold by a New York Police Department officer in July 2014, said Tuesday that she could barely stomach this latest viral cellphone recording of the man’s Memorial Day death in Minneapolis, which has triggered a national outcry and an FBI investigation.
“It was déjà vu all over again,” Carr told NBC News about the parallels she noticed. “It’s like a reoccurring nightmare,” she added.
The man in the video, which was taken by a bystander, could be seen pinned by the officer on the roadside near the back tire of a police car.
“Please, please, please, I can’t breathe,” the man, later identified as George Floyd by his family’s attorney, is heard saying several times in the video. Police said he was unarmed.
Garner, a father of six, had uttered that same phrase — “I can’t breathe” — 11 times after Daniel Pantaleo, an NYPD officer in plainclothes, pulled him by the neck with his forearm and to the sidewalk in a case that was also captured on cellphone video. Garner, who was accused of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes, later died at a hospital, with nationwide protests erupting after a grand jury declined to indict Pantaleo. “I can’t breathe” was shouted at Black Lives Matter demonstrations, written on posters and worn on T-shirts, including by professional athletes at sporting events.
Carr said Floyd’s death was haunting for her after watching a portion of it.
“I don’t see any justification,” she said. “To put your knee on someone’s neck, you are obstructing their breathing. That is completely a no-no.”
Minneapolis police said the officers were responding to a report of a forgery in progress at a grocery store just after 8 p.m Monday night. Police said the man stepped out of his car when commanded, but then physically resisted. The officers were able to place handcuffs on him, but “he appeared to be suffering medical distress,” police said in a statement.
An officer placed his knee on the man’s neck for about eight minutes, doing so as the man appeared to remain unresponsive before paramedics arrived, the video shows. Police said that he was transported to a hospital, where he died a short time after.
Carr said the officer’s actions were jarring when it appeared that Floyd needed help. “Why would you keep your knee there?” she asked. “After three minutes, you don’t realize that this man is saying that he can’t breathe? And he’s struggling, struggling for life?”
The officers involved were not immediately identified and were initially put on paid leave, Minneapolis police Chief Medaria Arradondo said at a news conference Tuesday morning. But later Tuesday, Mayor Jacob Frey tweeted that four officers involved were fired.
The FBI was asked to assist in the case, Arradondo said, after a “community source” provided more context about the incident, causing concerns of possible civil rights violations.
While the federal agency is now leading the investigation, state authorities are also interviewing witnesses, and a completed review will be sent to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.
“Whatever the investigation reveals, it does not change the single truth that he should be with us this morning,” Frey told reporters about Floyd, adding, “Being black in America should not be a death sentence.”
Gwen Carr: I’ve waited five years for justice for my son Eric Garner. I’m still waiting.
While Minneapolis has moved swiftly to fire the officers involved in Floyd’s death, Carr said she hopes justice can be attained much sooner than it took in her son’s case. In the wake of Garner’s death, she called on Congress to pass a federal law barring officers from using chokeholds — aimed at creating more accountability for police departments.
“I hope this family doesn’t need to suffer like I suffered for six years,” she said.
RELATED ARTICLE: ‘I Can’t Breathe’: Man Dies After Minneapolis Police Officer Seen Kneeling On His Neck = https://www.huffpost.com/entry/minneapolis-man-police-death-cannot-breathe_n_5ecce405c5b648af37580559
We think of DNA evidence as infallible … but only if done right!
By the way, there are tens of thousands of innocent people in our prisons, for various reasons. It is the most dramatic evidence of how fucked up our criminal justice system has become.
Excerpts from the Article:
The NYC Medical Examiner’s office (“ME”) reviewed the DNA analysis procedure in a burglary case that was the only evidence used to charge Darrell Harris with the crime. They found that the DNA sample could have been contaminated, but only after Harris lost his job and $25,000 in legal fees.
Police responded on December 19, 2018, to a Queens, New York, break-in. DNA samples were collected off the window sill and sent to a lab for testing. The results indicated it was Harris’ DNA, and he was charged with the crime.
Harris had earlier pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor forcible touching charge of an 18-year-old woman. A Grenadian immigrant who had earned U.S. citizenship, Harris had obtained employment with Jet Blue at JFK Airport and pleading to five years’ probation on a misdemeanor allowed him to keep this job.
The Port Authority told Harris that with his pending felony charge, he could not maintain his job. He had to quit and pay $25,000 to an attorney for representation in a case that could earn him up to four years in prison. Harris continued to assert his innocence throughout the proceedings. “DNA is good in some ways,” he said. “But, it’s never 100%, and in my case you had no other evidence, no eyewitnesses. Yet, they were ready to incarcerate me.”
Harris submitted his cellphone and E-Z pass records to show he was at a side job as a disc jockey in New Jersey at the time of the incident. His parents gave statements saying they helped him pack his equipment for the job.
This prompted Assistant District Attorney Eric Rosenbaum to ask the ME’s office to reevaluate the test. The ME determined that Harris’ forcible touching DNA sample was processed just prior to the burglary sample. He concluded that the burglary sample could have been contaminated. The DNA sample was recalled and charges were dropped.
Aja Worthy-Davis, spokeswoman for the ME’s office, said that testing guidelines have since been clarified for better accuracy. Terri Rosenblatt of the Legal Aid Society’s DNA unit said the city’s unregulated DNA collection and database could cause more cases of this nature.
“Given the NYPD’s rampant DNA collection of countless New Yorkers, this person could have been nearly anyone … Lawmakers have an obligation to end this completely unauthorized practice before another New Yorker is wrongfully arrested and prosecuted,” she said.
We cannot forget that too many cops are too quick to shoot! We need more emphasis and training on use of non lethal force: bean bags and stun guns.
This reminds me of a story I posted about a year ago showing that cops took 14 times more by “asset forfeitures” than was taken all burglaries one year!
Excerpts from the Article:
Mass shootings in the U.S. “have claimed the lives of 339 people since 2015,” which, while certainly egregious, is a mere drop in the bucket compared to the 4,355 citizens killed by police during the same timeframe, according to thefreethoughtproject.com.
There is no question that some of these people were armed and dangerous, but way too many were innocent and unarmed, such as Daniel Shaver, a father of three who was killed in 2016 by Philip Brailsford, who was charged with murder but eventually acquitted. In fact, he was allowed to retire from the Mesa, Arizona, police force with an accidental disability pension and medical retirement.
Meanwhile, “If we compare the 399 citizens killed by police in the same time frame, the comparison is off the charts. We are talking about a 1,280 percent difference.”
According to The Washington Post, 1,004 individuals were “shot and killed by police in 2019,” or 12 more than the previous year. In the U.S., “the overall homicide rate is 4.9 per 100,000 among the citizens,” thefreethoughtproject.com reports.
Thanks to independent watchdog groups that decided to document this number on their own, we have a total number of citizens killed by police. “Given that America has roughly 765,000 sworn police officers, that means the police-against-citizen kill rate is more than 145 per 100,000.”
This is reported at a time when violent crime “has fallen sharply over the past quarter century,” according to pewresearch.org. “Using the FBI numbers, the violent crime rate fell 49% between 1993 and 2017.”
However, the “police kill rate,” The Free Thought Project reports, “is nearly 30 times that of the average citizen, yet somehow people still call for disarming citizens and say nothing about the police.”