In a series of articles that began in August 2011, the AP documented that police had systematically spied on Muslim neighborhoods, listened in on sermons, infiltrated colleges and photographed law-abiding residents as part of a broad effort to watch communities where terror cells might operate. Individuals and groups were monitored even when there was no evidence they were linked to terrorism or crime.
The investigation revealed that then-police Commissioner Ray Kelly had brought in a CIA official to help develop an intelligence division unlike that of any other U.S. police department. It assigned people called rakers to ethnic neighborhoods, infiltrating enterprises ranging from booksellers to cafes, and people called mosque crawlers to Muslim houses of worship.
The tactics disclosed by the series stirred debate over whether the NYPD was infringing on the civil rights of Muslims and illegally engaging in religious and ethnic profiling. Hundreds of Muslims staged rallies to protest the spying, and the disclosures prompted more than a dozen religious leaders to boycott then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s annual interfaith breakfast. Source: NJ.com
Shopping While Black: Deadra Patton and her fiancé John Marsden said they were humiliated at Y Beauty Supply store in southeast Houston recently when they were overbilled for a $3 pair of earrings. Which Patton claims she never took. They were strip searched after the owner allegedly said blacks “always steal.” This is yet another case of “shopping while black.”
KHOU Houston: Deadra Pattum and her fiancé John Marsden have a bone to pick with Y Beauty Supply in southeast Houston. The couple said they were humiliated inside the store last week when they stopped by to purchase some hair extensions. “I’m not a thief,” said Pattum. They said they were over-billed for a pair of $3 earrings they never took. “I picked them up but I put them back,” said Pattum. “The owner said you people always steal,” said Marsden. “And he said give me the earrings and I call police. My rights were revoked.
The couple claimed they were threatened and forced to remain in that store. Marsden said he was intimidated by the manager and ordered to strip down and be searched. “So I took off my socks and shoes and I took off my pants,” said Marsden. “I was nervous.” Within minutes, a security officer showed up, and immediately looked at the surveillance video. “She never left the counter with those earrings in her hand,” the guard said. “There was no evidence of shoplifting.” Houston Police agreed. Their officers looked at the same video and found no evidence of shoplifting. Activist Quanell X is now involved.
“This was a classic case of racial profiling in its most humiliating form,” said Quanell X. “And something needs to be done about this.” The owners of the store refused to discuss the specific incident but said shoplifting is a big problem at their business. But Pattum insists she and her fiancé did nothing wrong.
“Everybody doesn’t shoplift,” said Pattum. “Everybody is not a thief. There are still honest people in the world.”
A new national poll conducted by Reason-Rupe reveals something most of us have known for a long time — a lot of Americans are concerned about police brutality and corruption.
The poll reveals while most Americans have a favorable attitude towards the police, the opposite is true for most minorities have. Reason: minorities are most likely to be subjected to racial profiling and discrimination by the police.
Half of the survey respondents believed that the police were generally not held accountable for their misconduct. That number rose to 66% for blacks and 64% for Latinos.
The poll also found that the lack of confidence in the police is even more evident when participants were asked whether police interactions with civilians should be recorded. An overwhelming majority believe that arrests and other arguments with the police should be taped.
Additionally, 41% of respondents believe police misconduct, involving the use of excessive force and corruption, has increased from the last 10 years. While 48% said police misconduct has remained the same, only 9% said it has decreased.
So, what does this all mean?
Considering a string of high-profile police misconduct cases, law enforcement agents have done very little to improve their public image. For example, James Murdough, a mentally-ill Marine vet, baked to death in his Rikers Island jail cell, after he was arrested for trespassing for trespassing in the enclosed stairwell on the roof of a Harlem public housing project. He was only seeking a warm place to sleep to get away from the bitterly cold weather.
Another mentally-ill man, James Boyd, was shot in the back by Albuquerque police officers. The Department of Justice has launched an investigation into the case.
D’Andre Berghardt Jr. was gunned down by two law enforcement officers on a Nevada highway. He was unarmed and could be seen on video trying to evade the officers, who responded with deadly force. Two men observing the police stop deemed the horror that unfolded before them as “redneck justice.”
Marcus Jeter was exonerated by a dashcam video after he was wrongfully arrested by two officers with the Bloomfield Police Department. He faced a myriad of charges, including eluding police and assault. He was cleared after the dashcam video contradicted the version of events given by the Bloomfield officers. The officers were indicted for falsifying reports. One has been charged with assault.
Technology has made it much easier to record and share violent law enforcement encounters with the general public. What’s more is that those videos are coming from law enforcement via cameras mounted on the officers or dashcams that allow the viewer to see the brutality.
Despite the negative attitudes towards police, the Reason-Rupe polls show that American still have faith in law enforcement. The system needs to be fixed and rogue cops weeded out. We can’t lose sight of the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of decent law enforcement officers out there who are serving their respective departments and the general public with dignity.
Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law is being expanded to include firing warning shots or displaying a weapon in self-defense. That’s thanks to a bill introduced in the legislature by GOP State Sen. Greg Evers, that was giving final passage on Thursday.
The bill would grant gun owners legal protection to fire warning shots or display their weapons. It is set to go to Gov. Rick Scott for his signature.
Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker, said the bill “is about self defense.” People who meet threat with threat would be granted immunity under the measure, that says threatening use of force would be allowable if they felt their life, home or property were at risk of harm.
Evers said the bill would safeguard against mandatory minimum sentences and the courts would have to apply four findings when making a decision.
The House passed the bill on March 20. It was sponsored by representatives Neil Combee, R-Polk City, and Katie Edwards, D-Plantation. Source: Orlando Sentinel
Here’s a breakdown of how they voted in the Senate for the expanded Stand Your Ground law:
Kobe Bryant is pulling a Tiger Woods on race and it’s not sitting well with #BlackTwitter. During an interview with The New Yorker, the Lakers star admitted he was not comfortable with the idea of being compelled to defend someone just because they are black. He was referring to the Miami Heat players who wore hoodies in honor of Trayvon Martin. Bryant said he would rather sit back and wait for all the facts to come out before taking sides.
ColorLines reposted Bryant’s exact remarks:
I won’t react to something just because I’m supposed to, because I’m an African-American,” he said. “That argument doesn’t make any sense to me. So we want to advance as a society and a culture, but, say, if something happens to an African-American we immediately come to his defense? Yet you want to talk about how far we’ve progressed as a society? Well, we’ve progressed as a society, then don’t jump to somebody’s defense just because they’re African-American. You sit and you listen to the facts just like you would in any other situation, right? So I won’t assert myself.”
Um, I recall when Kobe Bryant was appeared on television to issue a statement about cheating on his wife. He didn’t want anyone to judge him then and he shouldn’t be pointing fingers at the Miami Heat now. Seems to me, he could simply have expressed some sympathy for Trayvon Martin’s parents and moved on to the next topic.
The fact is, the protests in the aftermath of the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the teen’s murder wasn’t about racial solidarity. It was about an innocent teen being gunned down by a coward who hid behind the flawed and very controversial Stand Your Ground law. What if Kobe Bryant had been living in America during the height of the civil rights movement? Would he have questioned Dr. Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and others for taking a stand for what is right?
Reaction on Twitter:
— NIKKI (@NIKKINATION712) March 27, 2014
— Booboo Da'Foo (@oneandonlee) March 27, 2014
— Booboo Da'Foo (@oneandonlee) March 27, 2014
I wonder how many blacks supported #KobeBryant when he raped the white woman in Denver? Oh right…
— Lotus Waset (@WASET) March 27, 2014
I'm headed to Home Depot today for some paint. I saw a yellow shade called "Ignorant Coonery". I can paint #KobeBryant with it.
— Lotus Waset (@WASET) March 27, 2014
So #KobeBryant thinks black people, in particular the Miami Heat, ONLY supported Trayvon because he was black? What a pussy!!
— Roy or Beau ™ (@TheKonfident1) March 27, 2014
Suffolk County Police Sgt. Scott Greene, who was arrested for stealing money from Hispanic drivers, pleaded not guilty to hate crimes and other charges on Monday.
Greene pleaded not guilty to a 21-count indictment that includes six counts of grand larceny as a hate crime. He was released on his own recognizance.
Greene was initially charged with petty larceny and official misconduct after a video from a sting in January showed him pulling over an undercover officer and stealing $100. He did turn over the $100 when he was confronted.
Suffolk County District Attorney Tom Spota said, “In my view he’s clearly profiling Hispanics.””I had the car driven by a Latino undercover police officer from the District Attorney’s office to see if the sergeant would take the bait. And indeed, the first time we tried, he took the bait.” He added, “It’s always a sad day when we have to announce the arrest of a police officer.”
Spota said Greene allegedly targeted Hispanics in Medford, Coram and Farmingville. He said, “This defendant has used the authority of his badge for purely a thief’s motive.” He added, that “He would either pat them down and take their wallets from them or he would ask them for identification and they would give him their wallets.” Greene allegedly stole from at least seven different drivers using six different traffic stops.
Suffolk County District Attorney’s office spokeswoman Irma Solis said earlier this month that 13 people made complaints about Sgt. Scott Greene, in in addition to the three incidents he was already connected to. There are reportedly four other people who are afraid to speak out.
#StandYourGround: Georgia’s “Safe Carry Protection Act” (HB 875) seeks to expand the state’s controversial Stand Your Ground legislation. It would allow people to carry guns almost anywhere they choose, including schools, bars, churches, government buildings and airports. Lucia McBath, the mother of teen Jordan Davis, who was murdered by Michael Dunn after an altercation about ‘thug music,’ is leading the charge against this bill.
Stand Your Ground laws, which was made famous by the murder of Trayvon Martin by overzealous neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman, allowed armed citizens to defend themselves with deadly force if they feel threatened and believe they face physical harm.
HB 875, which was introduced by state Rep. Rick Jasperse, could be passed next week during before the current legislative session ends on March 20. Laura Cutiletta, a staff attorney with the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence told PolitiFact, “Of all the bills pending right now in state legislatures, this is the most sweeping and most dangerous.”
It should also be noted that Americans for Responsible Solutions, the gun reform advocacy group founded by former Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords who was shot in the head by Jared Loughner, called HB 875 the “guns everywhere” bill. Of course, the National Rifle Association is embracing this bill, calling it “the most comprehensive pro-gun reform legislation introduced in recent state history.”
- Removal of fingerprinting requirement for gun license renewals
- Ban the state from keeping a gun license database
- Repeal the state licensing requirement for firearms dealers (requiring only a federal firearms license)
- Expand gun owner rights in a declared state of emergency by prohibiting government authorities from seizing, registering, or otherwise limiting the carrying of guns in any way permitted by law before the emergency was declared
- Lower the age to obtain a concealed-carry license from 21 to 18 for active-duty military and honorably discharged veterans who’ve completed basic training
- Prohibit detaining someone for the sole purpose of checking whether they have a gun license (H/T Mother Jones)
I am urging the residents of Georgia who are against Stand Your Ground laws to call your state representative and let he or she know you don’t want this bill passed. It could mean more unarmed black and Hispanic teens will be gunned down by cowards hiding behind a so-called threat.
Trayvon Martin’s parents, Jordan Davis’ mother, Lucia McBath, and the family of Marissa Alexander were among those present.
Before the march began, Rev. Sharpton said, “To have laws that tell people that they can shoot first and then ask questions later is a violation of our civil rights. I believe that law is inherently wrong.”
Sharpton said, “The law in effect says based on your imagination, if you imagine I’m a threat, you have the right to kill me. He also called Florida “ground zero” in the fight against the controversial law.
There’s a fight brewing between Jordan Davis’ family and people trying to use his likeness for financial gain. The fight heated up on Saturday over a music video shoot involving the use of the teen’s image to promote the event without the family’s permission or knowledge, according to First Coast News.
[Davis family attorney John] Phillips says he received an email from Bobby Worthy, the event promoter, asking for the blessing of Jordan’s parents on Friday. A flyer about the event from promoter Worthy was sent to First Coast News Thursday.
According to Phillips, his firm contacted Worthy. Phillips said Worthy promised to cancel the video shoot — but then held it anyway Saturday afternoon. The video was shot at a car wash in the 6600 block of Powers Ave., just one block from Wolfson High School, Jordan Davis’s high school.
Phillips went on to write:
We truly appreciate the community support, but Jordan’s likeness, image and the use of his name –much less the use of promises to the public of family support and attendance- has become a big problem and presents a conundrum. We want people to think fondly of Jordan, memorialize Jordan and more, but we cannot tolerate victimization of the victims by false representations, unauthorized use of his likeness, using Jordan for publicity and profit and outright deception. Source: First Coast News
In newly released audio of phone calls made by Michael Dunn, who shot unarmed black teen Jordan Davis, said he was both the victor and the victim, even compared himself to a rape victim. He made racially charged comments about his fellow inmates. Why this stuff didn’t come into evidence during his trial is beyond me.
Recordings of nine calls from December 2012 released by the State Attorney’s Office Monday follows the earlier release of letters from Dunn disparaging African Americans. In one, he said, “The more time I am exposed to these people, the more prejudiced against them I become.” A jury found Dunn guilty Saturday on several counts of attempted second degree murder for shooting ten rounds into a car full of teens, but the jury was deadlocked on the question of whether Dunn was guilty of first degree murder for shooting and killing Jordan Davis.
In a call to his fiancée Rhonda Rouer, Dunn said:
I was the one that was being preyed upon and I fought back. It’s not quite the same but it made me think of like the old TV shows and movies where like how the police used to think when a chick got raped going, “Oh, it’s her fault because of the way she dressed.” I’m like, “So it’s my fault (laughing) because I asked them to turn their music down. I got attacked and I fought back because I didn’t want to be a victim and now I’m in trouble. I refused to be a victim and now I’m incarcerated.”
Dunn doesn’t explain how he was “attacked.” The shooting occurred after Dunn pulled up in a Jacksonville convenience store next to a sport utility vehicle with several teen boys. Tension erupted after he asked the boys to turn down their music. Dunn says he shot into the vehicle in self-defense because Davis threatened to kill him from within his vehicle and held up a gun, but no gun was found anywhere at the scene.
“I’m the f*** victim here,” he said, laughing, during one of the phone calls. “I was the one who was victimized … I’m the victor, but I was the victim too.”
During the call with Rouer, he also complained about being in a jail cell by himself, saying, “But I guess it would be better than being in a room with them animals.” He added a short while later, “I was in a room with three black guys,” CBS News reports. Source: Think Progress
Michael Dunn’s daughter, Rebecca Dunn, broke her silence last night, claiming her father isn’t the person they are portraying in the media. Um, how does she explain those racist letters and phone calls? How does she explain his disparaging comments about rape victims? It’s really unconscionable that the prosecution didn’t bring the jailhouse phone calls and letters into the trial or even talk more about Jordan Davis.