Rev. Al Sharpton and the relatives of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice will stage the “Justice for All” march on Saturday along Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C. to protest the deaths of unarmed black males at the hands of white police officers. The march comes as Tamir Rice’s death was ruled a homicide. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by Cleveland rookie cop Timothy Loehmann.
The family of Trayvon Martin, the teen who was gunned down by volunteer neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman, will also be joining Sharpton for the march.
Members of several civil rights organizations will also take part in the march, set to begin at noon. There will also be speeches outlining the legislative agenda the protesters are calling on Congress to enact, including an end to police vilence and to reform that grand jury system, specifically when police officers are involved in deaths.
Al Sharpton said the reason for the march, “All over the country we all need to come together and demand this Congress deal with the issues, that we need laws to protect the citizens in these states from these state grand jurors,” USA Today reports. Other marches across the U.S. are also planned for Saturday.
The crowd around Freedom Plaza swelling. pic.twitter.com/dQy86WHoqX
— Trymaine Lee (@trymainelee) December 13, 2014
Minister Jonathan Gentry and National Urban League President Marc Morial clashed during an appearance on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” over Rev. Al Sharpton’s multiple roles and any conflicts those roles have caused. Sharpton hosts hhis own show, “Politics Nation,” on MSNBC, has the ear of President Obama and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, runs the National Action Network, and pops up when called by families grappling with cases of police officer-involved shootings.
“Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter wondered if Sharpton’s multiple roles posed one or multiple conflicts. Many have held similar positions on Al Sharpton. I must also add he appears on the Tom Joyner Morning Show once a week to give his take on any hot-button issues trending.
Stelter noted that Sharpton and Garner’s widow Esaw Garner both appeared on NBC’s Today show the day after the grand jury decision, just one example of Sharpton’s roles conveniently reinforcing each other; NBC is the parent company of MSNBC, on which Sharpton’s show appears.
“He wants to pick and choose issues that can keep himself relevant,” Minister Jonathan Gentry said. “This man wants to come in and just perpetuate hate into generations, when a lot of these incidences don’t even have to do with race. But when he comes into the equation, he makes it about race. He forces that down your throat, and wants to change the way you think, and poison a community into thinking it’s all about black and white.”
National Urban League President Marc Morial saw no problem with it. “We are in an age of opinion journalism,” he said. “It’s a different world when it comes to television hosts. When you look at cable television, you see lots of hosts who wear different hats. Sharpton may be more well-known, but I don’t think he’s that different.”
CNN commentator Errol Louis pointed out that Sharpton’s new platforms were a savvy evolution of his previous work. Source: Mediaite
The family of Akai Gurley, who was fatally shot by rookie cop Peter Liang in the stairwell of the Pink Houses, publicly dissociated itself from Rev Al Sharpton. TMZ reports, Gurley’s aunt, Hertenceia Peterson, who said she was speaking on behalf of the slain man’s mom, said, “Al Sharpton came in, put his name on the situation, but has not even made one single call to the parents to Akai.” She also said, “all Sharpton sees “is money and political gain and that he is turning the tragedy into a circus.””
Attorney General Eric Holder said the Department of Justice will launch an civil rights investigation into the Eric Garner chokehold death after a Staten Island grand jury cleared NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo. Holder said the probe into Eric Garner’s death will be “independent, thorough, fair and expeditious.”
Good evening. I want to provide an update regarding the case involving Eric Garner, a Staten Island resident, who died tragically in July.
Since Mr. Garner’s death, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, the Civil Rights Division and the FBI have been monitoring the local case closely while allowing the local investigation, led by the District Attorney’s office in Staten Island, to proceed first.
Earlier today, the grand jury declined to return an indictment in this case. Now that the local investigation has concluded, I am here to announce that the Justice Department will proceed with a federal civil rights investigation into Mr. Garner’s death.
This afternoon I spoke with the widow of Eric Garner to inform her and her family of our decision to investigate potential federal civil rights violations. I have been in touch with President Obama and Mayor de Blasio regarding our decision as well.
Our prosecutors will conduct an independent, thorough, fair and expeditious investigation.
In addition to performing our own investigative work, the Department will conduct a complete review of the material gathered during the local investigation.
We have all seen the video of Mr. Garner’s arrest. His death, of course, was a tragedy. All lives must be valued. Mr. Garner’s death is one of several recent incidents across the country that have tested the sense of trust that must exist between law enforcement and the communities they are charged to serve and protect. This is not a New York issue or a Ferguson issue alone. Those who have protested peacefully across our great nation following the grand jury’s decision in Ferguson have made that clear.
As the brother of a retired police officer, I know in a personal way about the bravery of the men and women in uniform who put their lives at risk every day to protect public safety. The vast majority of our law enforcement officers perform their duties honorably and are committed to respecting their fellow citizens civil rights as they carry out their very challenging work.
It is for their sake as well that we must seek to heal the breakdown in trust we have seen. Earlier this week, I traveled to Atlanta to begin a series of interactions to begin this process – and officials around the country at every level of the Department of Justice will continue this vital ongoing work. As the Justice Department’s independent investigations into the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner proceed, I will continue these conversations as we seek to restore trust, to rebuild understanding and to foster cooperation between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
I know that substantial numbers of people in New York and across the country will be disappointed and frustrated by the outcome of the state grand jury proceeding today. I know many will plan to voice their disappointment publicly through protests. This is the right of all Americans. But as I have said before, throughout our history, the most successful movements have been those that adhered to the principles of nonviolence. I urge all those inclined to demonstrate tonight and in the days ahead to remain peaceful in their demonstrations, and not to engage in activities that deflect our attention from the very serious matters our nation must confront. Source: Justice Department
DARREN WILSON RESIGNS: As if we didn’t see this coming, Officer Darren Wilson, who gunned down unarmed teen Michael Brown on August 9th, has resigned from the Ferguson Police Department.
He issued a letter stating that his “continued employment may put the residents and police officers of the City of Ferguson at risk, which is a circumstance that I cannot allow.”
“I, Darren Wilson, hereby resign my commission as a police officer with the City of Ferguson effective immediately. I have been told that my continued employment may put the residents and police officers of the City of Ferguson at risk, which is a circumstance that I cannot allow. For obvious reasons, I wanted to wait until the grand jury made their decision before I officially made my decision to resign. It was my hope to continue in police work, but the safety of other police officers and the community are of paramount importance to me. It is my hope that my resignation will allow the community to heal. I would like to thank all of my supporters and fellow officers throughout this process.”
He said he acted without receiving a severance package, although he said more talks may be held on that topic. He said he has been told he is not involved in any internal police investigation. Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
The fact is, he can’t be a police officer in any other city in the state of Missouri. If you kill someone and it becomes national news, then there’s little chance that you can go back to life as normal.
BLACKOUT BLACK FRIDAY BOYCOTT — that’s one response to the grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the Michael Brown shooting. The drum-roll beats louder on social media to hit Corporate America “where it hurts” over Brown’s shooting death.
The Justice for Michael Brown Leadership Coalition is organising the ‘No Justice, No Profit’ boycott campaign on Thanksgiving Day (27 November), through to Sunday. Black Friday is traditionally the day that kicks off the Christmas buying period with retailers across America offering big discounts to jump-start the busiest shopping days of the year.
Dacia Polk, of the New Black Panther Party, said the coalition wants the whole of St Louis to participate in the boycott this weekend.
“We are asking you to withdraw your participation the entire weekend,” she said. “There will not be business as usual in America while our people are being killed.”
“The death of Michael Brown was groundless, was senseless, it was a miscarriage of Mr Darren Wilson’s legal duty to serve and protect,” said the Rev Spencer Lamar Booker, pastor of St Paul AME Church. “No matter how convoluting his and others’ attempt to make a legal argument, an illegal act was committed called murder.” Source: IBT Times
The grand jury decision has led to rioting, looting and arson. Several businesses have gone up on flames. This is no way to protest against a perceived wrong.
It’s interesting to note that prosecutor Robert McColluch pulled off something very interesting in Ferguson. Check out what FiveThirtyEight had to say.
Former New York state Chief Judge Sol Wachtler famously remarked that a prosecutor could persuade a grand jury to “indict a ham sandwich.” The data suggests he was barely exaggerating: According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. attorneys prosecuted 162,000 federal cases in 2010, the most recent year for which we have data. Grand juries declined to return an indictment in 11 of them.
Wilson’s case was heard in state court, not federal, so the numbers aren’t directly comparable. Unlike in federal court, most states, including Missouri, allow prosecutors to bring charges via a preliminary hearing in front of a judge instead of through a grand jury indictment. That means many routine cases never go before a grand jury. Still, legal experts agree that, at any level, it is extremely rare for prosecutors to fail to win an indictment.
“If the prosecutor wants an indictment and doesn’t get one, something has gone horribly wrong,” said Andrew D. Leipold, a University of Illinois law professor who has written critically about grand juries. “It just doesn’t happen.”
The grand jury has reached a decision on whether to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the Michael Brown shooting case.
The Washington Post reports press conferences are being prepared by the county prosecutors’ office and Gov. Nixon.
The announcement gave no indication on whether Darren Wilson will be indicted for the teen’s shooting death.
Ferguson activist Bassem Masri (@bassem_masri) got into a heated discussion during his appearance on CNN during Michael Smerconish’s show Saturday morning. Smerconish challenged him whether he thought his heated rhetoric is helping the tense situation in Ferguson in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s shooting death by Officer Darren Wilson.
Bassem Masri responded, “I don’t think we should be looking at citizens about how they react towards their public servants [police]. It should be the other way around.”
Smerconish asked Masri how he could reconcile his stance towards the police when Michael Brown’s father, President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have called for peace in Ferguson. Masri was part of a group that attempted to shout down a live CNN reporter, Sarah Sidner, last month. He was also accused of spitting on a police officer. Masri said he has been “very calm.”
Masri told Smerconish that he knows what transpired during the fatal encounter between Officer Darren Wilson and Michael Brown, saying the teen was shot multiple times despite having his hands up. He said Wilson should have shot to apprehend and not to kill.
Bassem Masri challenged Smerconish over the media’s priorities saying, “There’s blood on the streeet and you’re worried about words. Come on man! That’s what journalists are missing right now. Why don’t you investigate something real. Why don’t you worry about us getting killed?”
Bassem Masri also had a very confrontational interview with Reliable Sources’ host Brian Stelter last Sunday. He is among a group of local activists rejecting the mainstream media for “distorting” the news. He told Stetler, “We’re not going to be just laying back and letting anybody paint whatever narrative they want when it comes to our community.”
Watch the heated interview between Bassem Masri and Mike Smerconish:
Here’s the reaction on Twitter about Bassem Masri’s CNN interview:
— Bassem Masri (@bassem_masri) November 22, 2014
— jay vii (@j7vii) November 22, 2014
— sebastian (@Jetboy6969) November 22, 2014
— ☆Homeboy Chris 2016☆ (@TheHomeboyChris) November 22, 2014
The New York Post sinks to a new low by publishing the mugshot of Akai Gurley, the 28-year-old unarmed man gunned down in the stairwell of the Pink Houses in Brooklyn by rookie cop Peter Liang. This is meant to drag the name of the victim through the mud and somehow blame him for the officer’s actions.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said the shooting was “accidental” and that Akai Gurley was a “total innocent.” Despite that fact, “innocent,” the New York Post chose to publish his mugshot.
Peter Liang, who joined the NYPD in January 2013, has been placed on modified duty after turning in his gun and badge, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio told the NY Times, “We don’t know enough yet, but it does appear to be an accident.” “This is a tragedy.” Meanwhile, the New York Post is content to dig up dirt on Akai Gurley as if to somehow suggest his murder by Officer Liang was justified.
District Attorney Ken Thompson issued a press release on the Akai Gurley shooting: “As we continue to gather the facts, the fatal shooting of this unarmed man is deeply troubling and warrants an immediate, fair and thorough investigation.”
Here’s a screengrab from the New York Post article on Akai Gurley’s shooting:
Officer Darren Wilson, who fatally shot unarmed black teen Michael Brown, is reportedly in talks with the Ferguson Police Department to resign. The police union believes he will not be charged for the teen’s shooting. Here’s a brief summary from CNN:
Wilson maintains he hasn’t done anything wrong, and the resignation talks have hinged on whether a grand jury returns an indictment against him in the death of Brown, people close to the talks said.
Wilson has told associates he would resign as a way to help ease pressure and protect his fellow officers. Wilson has expressed concern about resigning while the grand jury was hearing evidence for fear it would appear he was admitting fault.
Wilson could announce as soon as Friday his plans to resign, the same day a St. Louis County grand jury meets to deliberate and possibly decide on an indictment.
The talks could still collapse, these people said. Wilson doesn’t know what the grand jury will do and if they return charges he could change his mind.
CBS News reported that the police union does not expect Darren Wilson to be indicted, only to deny making the comments:
The suburban St. Louis police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown does not appear to expect criminal charges from a Missouri grand jury that has been investigating the case for several months, a police union official said Thursday.
Jeff Roorda, business manager for the St. Louis Police Officers’ Association, said he met Thursday with Ferguson officer Darren Wilson, who has remained secluded from the public eye since the Aug. 9 shooting that sparked tense and occasionally violent protests and drew national attention.
Wilson has been under a lot of pressure and stress but appeared confident in the outcome of the grand jury investigation, Roorda said.
“It’s fair to say that neither he nor his defense team expect an indictment,” Roorda said, offering his impression of the situation based on the meeting with Wilson
Local law enforcement has asked that they be given 48 hours notice before the grand jury decision is released. The decision is expected on Friday but may not be public until Sunday to accommodate for the 48-hour request. Either way, if Darren Wilson isn’t indicted there will be hell in Ferguson. I’m just saying….
STAND YOUR GROUND: If you weren’t concerned about Stand Your Ground laws, then you may change your mind after reading about a white Georgia homeowner, Philip Sailors, fatally shooting a Hispanic man, Rodrigo Diaz, who was simply turning in his driveway. Philip Sailors got no jail time, just probation and he didn’t even apologize to the family of the slain man.
GWINNETT COUNTY, GA– A Gwinnett County man accepted a plea deal Monday for the fatal shooting of a man, who mistakenly pulled into the wrong driveway.
Channel 2’s Kerry Kavanaugh was in the courtroom as Philip Sailors plead to the misdemeanor charge for the January 2013 shooting in Lilburn.
Channel 2 Action News broke the news Friday about the plea deal which reduced a murder charge to the misdemeanor charge of involuntary manslaughter and spared the homeowner any jail time.
People Kavanaugh spoke with were surprised that Sailors made no statement and offered no apology to the victim’s family during the hearing.
Rodrigo Diaz, the victim’s father, told Kavanaugh in Spanish he wasn’t expecting anything today.
Investigators say GPS misguided Rodrigo Diaz to the wrong house that night. Diaz was trying to get to the home across the street so he could pick up a friend to go roller-skating. When Sailors saw the strange car, he came out shooting. He fired once into the air.
Investigators say the second shot went through the window and struck Diaz in the head.
With his guilty plea Sailors will serve 12-months’ probation and pay a $500 fine.
[…] After the hearing, Diaz’s father, Rodrigo Diaz Senior. told Kavanaugh that Sailors could have received a stronger punishment, but he believed that would only end up destroying two families.
Here’s more on Philip Sailors’ slap on the wrist: