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Reposted from Angola 3 News by JoanMar

To all A3 supporters, please pick up the telephone and make 2 calls now.

Governor Bobby Jindal will be in London on Monday speaking at the House of Commons about democracy and human rights whilst the state of Louisiana impedes justice for Albert.

He has been invited by Damian Collins MP and The Henry Jackson Society so we need to call them now and let them know that Jindal should not be given a platform to speak as:

·      Louisiana incarcerates more people that anywhere in the world

·      He has refused to take action to end the injustice being perpetrated on Albert by the State of Louisiana despite his conviction being overturned 3 times

·      Albert is the longest serving prisoner in solitary in the world – 42 years.

Call / text / email today, over the weekend and Monday

1. Damien Collins MP 020 7219 7072 and 01303 253524 (and email damian.collins.mp@parliament.uk)

2. David Rutter +44 (0)20 7340 4520 or +44 (0)798 646 0557 for out-of-office hours (email david.rutter@henryjacksonsociety.org)

Discuss

Thu Jan 01, 2015 at 01:15 PM PST

Me and the Cops - Part 2

by legalarray

Reposted from legalarray by JoanMar

I have contended that the greatest power a license to practice law confers is the power to compel powerful people to testify under oath.  But police have developed a countermeasure.  It’s called lying. It’s a powerful device because it’s institutionally protected.  Few lawyers can beat them head on. They will always be “believed.” Cops sardonically call it “testilying.” However, there is a workaround.  It involves maneuvering them into telling the wrong lies.  To do this, you have to exploit a common character flaw - hubris. Cops who lie are generally infected with a compulsion for dominance.  They need to let you know they are lying and that you can’t do anything about it. That’s why I love to tell about the missing tape recording.

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Reposted from http://www.dailykos.com/user/bobswern by JoanMar

From the Guardian, Wednesday morning…


Federal officials may use little-known civil rights statute in police shooting cases

Department of Justice and FBI have for weeks been examining the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford III and now Dontre Hamilton

Paul Lewis in Washington
The Guardian
Wednesday 24 December 2014 08.39 EST

The families of at least four unarmed black men killed this year by police are pinning their hopes on possible federal prosecutions under a little-known civil rights statute that has only occasionally been used to indict officers in such cases.

The Department of Justice (DOJ), the FBI and local US attorneys’ offices have for weeks been examining the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and John Crawford III – all of whom were killed by police officers who grand juries later decided not to indict on state criminal charges.

Late on Monday, the DOJ announced it would review a fourth death: that of Dontre Hamilton, who was shot 14 times by a police officer following a confrontation in a park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in April.

The review was launched after the Milwaukee district attorney announced that Christopher Manney – the police officer who shot Hamilton, and who has since been fired – will not face charges.

In all four cases, federal officials are considering whether there is sufficient evidence to bring charges under a section of the US code that prohibits public officials from depriving an individual of constitutional rights under “color of law”…

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Reposted from Daily Kos by JoanMar
black man bound - screen shot from The Outer Limits of Solitary Confinement
It is incredibly important that news headlines, pundits, bloggers, and activists are once again discussing heinous tortures perpetrated by our government—excused and explained away by the torturers—and applauded by a certain element of the public in the unholy name of "national security." Too often we hear that the end justifies the means—to keep us "safe." One can only hope that the national outrage being expressed around the murder of people of color by police will spill over into an in-depth examination of the ongoing torture, and death inflicted upon men, and women, and children—many of whom are also people of color—held in our nations jails, prisons, and juvenile detention facilities.

There are some small signs that this might, just might, be happening. But too many people who are willing to vociferously condemn torture and brutality that has taken place not on our soil remain silent when it comes to denouncing what is happening every day behind bars. There are no rebellions in the streets or massive marches. Strikes by inmates themselves tend to be ignored, and the retaliation for their resistance that takes place afterwards does not usually make the nightly news.

It's not a secret. These practices have been denounced by major civil, legal, and human rights organizations for many years now. For example, consider the case of Latandra Ellington:

A Floridian prison inmate wrote a letter to her aunt saying she feared a corrections officer might kill her while behind bars — and ten days later, she was dead. The body of Latandra Ellington, 36, was found Oct. 1 at Lowell Correctional Institution in Ocala. Now Daryl Parks and Benjamin Crump, the attorneys who represented Trayvon Martin's family, are calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the woman's suspicious death.

In the letter, written Sept. 21, Ellington expressed her fear that she might not make it out alive because of an officer she identified only as Sgt. Q, the Miami Herald reported."He was gone beat me to death and mess me like a dog,'' she wrote in the letter, obtained by the newspaper. "He was all in my face Sqt. Q then he grab his radio and said he was gone bust me in my head with it.''

A private autopsy paid for by the family shows that Ellington—who had seven months left to serve—died of blunt-force trauma to her stomach consistent with kicking and punching, according to the family's lawyer.

Had she not written that letter, one wonders if there would even be an investigation. Help came too late for Ellington, but that does not have to be the outcome for countless others.  

Follow me below the fold for more.

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Reposted from dadadata by JoanMar

#IcantBreathe: Insensitive and brutal behavior isn't limited to major cities or white-cops-on-black-men.

“I can’t breathe, goddamit,” Bane says desperately. “Help me. I can’t breathe…. Help me, sir, please help me.”
The diary, below the chromosome, is reposted from September as a reminder to everyone that police are not only overly aggressive, but they are poorly trained to deal with disabled people of any hue.

They don't appear to understand plain English. What's wrong with them?

What's most egregious is that this bunch made absolutely no effort to determine if there was any medical difficulty involved in Mr. Bane's behavior.

Zero. "Help me, sir" hardly sounds like the ravings of a desperado.

And as an ex-, or perhaps semiretired, journo I promise to take a few days and look into where this has gone since September. Then I'll report back.

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Lost in the furor over "The Interview" getting ixnayed is a major dose of good news.  You may remember that two years ago, a severe outbreak of fungal meningitis was linked to injectable steroids supplied by the New England Compounding Center, a compounding pharmacy near Boston.  Following a state investigation that revealed staggering lapses in safety and cleanliness, NECC was driven out of business.  Yesterday, federal prosecutors in Boston indicted 14 former NECC executives and employees on a laundry list of felonies.  It alleges that from 2006 to 2012, NECC knowingly sent out mislabeled, untested, and contaminated injections--some of them without a matching prescription as required by law.  It also alleges that NECC knowingly made drugs in contaminated and unsanitary conditions.  Read the indictment here.

That was enough to slap six employees, including the pharmacy's part-owner and chief pharmacist, Barry Cadden, with a racketeering charge.  The most serious allegation charges the pharmacy's part-owner, Barry Cadden, with causing 25 of the 64 deaths resulting from the outbreak.  Prosecutors think this amounted to second-degree murder--and if they can convince a jury of this, Cadden could get life in prison.

While I wrote this up at Liberal America, I found myself thinking about another executive whose malfeasance resulted in people dying--Don Blankenship.  For those who missed it, Blankenship is facing a host of criminal charges for turning Upper Big Branch into a death trap--and thus creating the conditions that caused it to explode four years ago.  He could get up to 31 years in prison, but the only reason he's facing serious jail time is that he told shareholders that he did not tolerate mine safety violations--a statement that anyone who has followed this story knows is a transparent lie.  He filed this statement with the SEC as well.  The charges actually related to the conditions in the mine only carry six years--which isn't even a phrase.

Blankenship is charged with defrauding the Mine Safety and Health Administration by concealing rampant mine safety violations after getting advance notice that inspectors were on the way.  Since fraud is an indictable offense under RICO, why couldn't each specific instance of defrauding the MSHA over three years be a predicate act.  Had that happened, if prosecutors could prove two of them--ANY two of them--Blankenship would be staring down the barrel of an additional 20 years in prison, which when coupled with the other charges would all but assure he would die behind bars.  The significance?  If Massey had been a private company, a RICO indictment for Blankenship would still amount to a life sentence at his age.

Blankenship's actions are every bit as egregious as Cadden's.  So why didn't Booth Godwin, the U. S. Attorney in West Virginia, follow the lead of his counterpart in Massachusetts, Carmen Ortiz?  Had he done so, it would have been a deterrent to all scofflaw mine owners, not just those who run public companies.

Discuss
Reposted from Motor City Kossacks by JoanMar

Motor City Kossacks Banner

In the wake of no-bill decisions by grand juries investigating the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, we here in Michigan have our own shameful death-by-cop to examine carefully.

On Sunday, November 9, Ann Arbor police responded to a 911 call from a man regarding a domestic disturbance. A few short moments after the police arrived at a single-family home on the west side of town, a 40-year-old black woman, Aura Rosser, was dead. She had been shot by police who claimed that she was a threat, due to the fish knife she had in her hands when police arrived.

Rosser was a chef, an artist, and a mother of three. She had lived in various Michigan cities in the past few years, and had come to Ann Arbor because she wanted to get her life back on track after having some difficulties with drugs, according to an interview with her younger sister, Shae Ward.

From a follow-up story in the Ann Arbor News of 11/11:

Rosser was living at the home with her boyfriend, 54-year-old Victor Stephens, who told The Ann Arbor News that lethal force wasn't warranted in the case.

"Why would you kill her?" Stephens said on Monday. "It was a woman with a knife. It doesn't make any sense."

Adding poignancy to the outcome of the incident, from the interview with Ward:
Ward speculates that since Stephens has identified the knife as a "fish knife," and that her sister was in the kitchen before being shot in the hallway, that Rosser may have been cooking.

Rosser would cook when she was upset, according to Ward.

Why would armed police not have any other recourse than deadly force? Apparently the MI State Police are now conducting their own investigation into the circumstances of Rosser's death, upon the request of the City of Ann Arbor, and while that is in progress any efforts to FOIA relevant information have been stymied. The local ACLU discovered that when they sought to inquire about the incident.

The Ann Arbor City Council reacted on November 17 by reiterating their support for local police and for the investigatory process underway by the MI State Police. The  City Council member who is also the liaison to the city's Human Rights Commission,  Sumi Kailasapathy, said

commissioners want a policy discussion to take place, and they have questions about whether the city has a shoot-to-kill policy, whether officers use Tasers, whether officers should be equipped with body cams, whether financial issues are getting in the way of greater transparency and accountability, and whether officers are adequately trained to deal with mental illness issues.
The two police officers who were involved in the incident are currently on Paid Administrative Leave. No information about the actual shooter has been disclosed, other than his gender. The last police shooting to occur in Ann Arbor happened over 35 years ago. The long stretch between police-caused deaths is no consolation now to Aura Rosser or to her survivors.
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Fri Nov 28, 2014 at 09:41 AM PST

Why not a new grand jury?

by GarySeven

Reposted from GarySeven by JoanMar

It's interesting that so many seem to think that the grand jury ruling in the Wilson case is the final word. It's not.

And we're not even talking about a federal, civil rights case. Wilson can still be indicted under Missouri state law. All you need is a second grand jury.

The Fifth Amendment prohibition against double jeopardy does not apply ("attach" in legal parlance) until a case has been tried before a trial jury. Therefore, a prosecutor can simply seek a new indictment from another grand jury.

If people start demanding this, perhaps Wilson won't be off the hook.

Discuss
Reposted from Devil's Tower by JoanMar
St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch announces the grand jury's decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the August 9 shooting death on Michael Brown at the Buzz Westfall Justice Center in Clayton, Missouri, November 24, 2014.
St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch announces the grand jury's decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the August 9 shooting death on Michael Brown at the Buzz Westfall Justice Center in Clayton, Missouri, November 24, 2014
Following his long public hand washing and cheerful mocking of witnesses, St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch stood by for a few minutes of questioning. It was a frustratingly brief exchange, during which McCulloch was three times asked the one question that McCulloch had already said he could not answer: what was the actual vote count on the charges before the grand jury.

Thank you, "professional reporters" for wasting this unique opportunity to clear up a few matters.

But there are a few things they could have asked McCulloch. Things that needed to be said in front of a national audience, which you can read below the fold.

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Reposted from GreyHawk by Yasuragi

Facts matter. While it's true that multiple witnesses may each report the same event differently, there are underlying elements which investigators can draw upon to clarify what really happened. And those elements help solidify the "facts" gathered, reinforcing them with tangibles that should ensure justice when reviewed impartially by the law.

From an earlier comment I'd made,

What information was actually provided to the grand jury? Was the content, the gist and flow of evidence tweaked, and their review of it carefully guided & orchestrated, to minimize & mitigate facts that damned Wilson's story while the "preferred narrative" that provided weak cover for Wilson was augmented, reinforced and enhanced?
The manner and method with which evidence was introduced, parsed, processed and presented to the grand jury will matter.

What also matters is how officials choose to frame the situation - from the original shooting through the announcement of the Grand Jury decision. One thing I'd really like to see is a transcript of the ambling prelude to the actual announcement, particularly with an uninterrupted video accompanying it. I think parsing that would be quite telling.

Why? Because facts matter - and from what I gathered simply by watching and listening during the announcement, facts and reality are being actively skewed (and skewered) in order to paint a narrative where "the last ten shots" fired at an unarmed young man is delivered as an acceptable phrase that the speaker doesn't expect to set off alarm bells.

I'd like folks to use this diary to collect some hard, damning facts that differ from the official narrative. There are, unfortunately, some big ones. Of note:

If that's not Darren Wilson standing over Mike Brown's body, then who is the doppelganger officer?

Or this: remember how many times the official police narrative claimed that Michael was killed 35 feet from Darren Wilson's SUV?  

Video: Police lied. Mike Brown was killed 148 feet away from Darren Wilson's SUV

How exactly are they counting to 35?

...you get the idea.  If you know of a hard fact that needs to be remembered, please add it below. Watch out for letting your emotions, anger, disappointment etc. get the better of you - remember when the right-wing loonies posted that image they claimed was Wilson, showing a man with a beat-up face, only to learn that they had mustered their forces of madness & poutrage behind the image of someone entirely different? I do - and we need our list of facts to be reality based and as clear of mistakes as possible.

So, please - add any facts, including relevant links and/or images, to the comments below. If someone has done a diary on dKos that provides more detail, list the title with a link if you would. If each of us adds at least one overlooked, forgotten, downplayed or respun fact, with context, then perhaps we can still find some justice for Michael, and continue to work toward greater accountability, responsibility, and intelligent, ethical police behavior.

Let's get everything pulled together so we can share it widely, and specifically with the DoJ and people of Ferguson.

Thank you.

Discuss
Reposted from shaunking by a2nite
As the grand jury nears its decision on whether or not to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Mike Brown, three eyewitnesses have come forward to publicly state that they stand by their original accounts. Tiffany Mitchell, Piaget Crenshaw, and Dorian Johnson have each stated since the day Mike Brown was killed that they saw him surrender to Darren Wilson with his hands in the air. In the following videos they state that they absolutely still stand by this account.

Here Tiffany Mitchell and Piaget Crenshaw are interviewed by Don Lemon:

Here Dorian Johnson is interviewed by Don Lemon:



Should these three eyewitness accounts be enough to indict Darren Wilson?

Discuss
Reposted from Leslie Salzillo by Yasuragi
Florida domestic violence victim, and mother of three, Marissa Alexander, has just decided, on Monday, to accept a plea bargain from the State of Florida. My heart breaks knowing this woman will spend even more time behind bars, for defending her own life. Now, after already serving over 1000 days, she will have to serve 65 more days incarcerated, away from her children. To add insult, Marissa is also ordered to serve two years of probation, wearing a surveillance monitor. Meanwhile, her serial abuser husband, Rico Gray, walks free.

This case sends a horrible message out to past and present victims of domestic violence. It says don't defend yourself, and don't go to the police, because if you do, be prepared to be further abused by the courts. And if you don't, be prepared to join over 10,000 women who have been murdered by their boyfriends/husbands over the last 10 years.

Marissa Alexander clearly accepted the plea bargain out of fear of being prosecuted further by the District Attorney Angela Corey. This past year, Corey threatened to seek a 60-year sentence, against Marissa, for firing a warning shot, if the case went back to trial. With the reelection of Governor Rick Scott, who has continuously refused to act upon the public's outrage over Marissa's conviction, and the ever fucked-up Florida court system, Marissa undoubtedly made the right decision. I applaud her grace and courage.

Although there is some relief in knowing Marissa will not remain in prison for years, I am disgusted with the injustice. But as my good friend and songwriter, Alice Townsend, once wrote:

Fair is where you go ride the pony.
It becomes harder and harder for Americans to have any faith in this country's judicial system.

Thanks to the Daily Kos community and general public; I have no doubt that through our press, petitions, protests, calls to the Florida DA/Governor, and the amazing FreeMarissaNow campaign, we have all kept Marissa from falling through the cracks where she would have been left to serve her original 20-year sentence. It's hard to fathom how many victims get lost in the shuffle, and now live behind bars, ignored/forgotten. So how can we feel any kind of victory here? For what? A great injustice has been committed against to another victim; should we feel good that the sentence wasn't worse? No. Perhaps, we can be more celebratory when Marissa Alexander is out of jail and laws begin to change. In the meantime we will fight for the millions of victims of domestic violence who are imprisoned either by cell bars, or by cages created by their abusers in their own homes.

Here is the official press release. I will be adding an address where you can write Marissa Alexander in jail, once an address is given. She just went back into incarceration today.

NEWS RELEASE
Monday, November 24, 2014

From: Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign
FreeMarissaNow@gmail.com; www.FreeMarissaNow.org

Upon News of Plea Deal, Activists Vow to Organize Until Marissa Alexander is Free

Today, Marissa Alexander has chosen to accept a plea deal with the State of Florida.  The plea deal includes time served (1,030 days), an additional 65 days in Duval County Jail which will begin today, and two years of probation while wearing a surveillance monitor. Marissa Alexander is a black mother of three from Jacksonville, Florida who, nine days after prematurely giving birth, was forced to defend her life from a brutal life-threatening attack by her estranged husband, and subsequently prosecuted by State Prosecutor Angela Corey.  Alexander, her legal team, and thousands of supporters were preparing for a likely difficult trial to begin this December.  If found guilty, she would have faced a mandatory 60 year sentence.

The Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign supports Marissa Alexander’s self-determination to make the best choices she can while navigating the violent and impossible circumstances created by her abusive husband, Angela Corey, and Florida’s judicial system.

“The plea deal is a relief in some ways, but this is far from a victory,” said Alisa Bierria, from the Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign.  “The deal will help Marissa and her family avoid yet another very expensive and emotionally exhausting trial that could have led to the devastating ruling of spending the rest of her life in prison.  Marissa’s children, family, and community need her to be free as soon as possible.  However, the absurdity in Marissa’s case was always the fact that the courts punished and criminalized her for surviving domestic violence, for saving her own life.  The mandatory minimum sentences of 20 years, and then 60 years, just made the state’s prosecution increasingly shocking.  But we have always believed that forcing Marissa to serve even one day in prison represents a profound and systemic attack on black women’s right to exist and all women’s right to self-defense.”
In 2010, Alexander fired a single warning shot that caused no injuries while defending herself from an attack by her abusive husband who strangled her and threatened to kill her. In 2012, she attempted to invoke Florida’s Stand Your Ground immunity, but was denied and sent to trial where she was found guilty and sentenced to a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison.  Supported by an international grassroots movement, Alexander successfully appealed the verdict in September 2013, but Corey filed charges again, this time announcing that she would pursue a mandatory 60 year sentence for Alexander.  On November 27, 2013, almost exactly a year ago and after serving nearly three years in prison, Alexander was released and put under very strict house detention while she prepared for her retrial.  
The campaign vows to keep organizing for Alexander’s freedom and raising awareness about the issues surrounding her case.
“It is critical that we keep the momentum of our support and love going until Marissa is restored to her family and community,” said Sumayya Coleman, a Free Marissa Now lead organizer.  “In light of Marissa’s decision to not go to trial, we continue to stand in solidarity with her and her family.  Marissa has been consistent in her self-advocacy, including defending her life when attacked by her husband, rejecting a punishing three year plea deal offered to her in 2012, and taking the plea offered to her today.  As difficult as it is to see Marissa unjustly sent back to jail today, her supporters around the world stand by her. We are standing our ground that women have the right to defend themselves from violence, and that black women’s lives matter.”
Alexander’s case has unfolded in the context of the larger crisis of mass incarceration that disproportionately impacts black women and survivors of domestic and sexual violence. The ACLU estimates that 85-90% of people in women’s prisons have been victims of domestic violence or sexual abuse.  For the next 65 days, the campaign urges Alexander’s supporters all over the world to organize rallies and forums that raise awareness about Alexander’s case and the cases of other incarcerated women who face similar circumstances, such as Charmaine Pfender.  

Supporters are gathering at the following events this week:

Chicago, IL
When: Monday, November 24
Time: 6:30 pm
Where: Chicago Police Dept Headquarters, 35th & Michigan

New York City
Sabrina Lamb one woman show: "The Saga of Marissa Alexander"
When: Monday, November 24
Time: 7pm
Where: Cherry Lane Theater, 38 Commerce St.

Oakland, CA
When: Tuesday, November 25
Time: 6:00 pm
Where: Eastside Arts Alliance, 2277 International Blvd

Jacksonville, FL: Supporters are also invited to take action with Free Marissa Now in Jacksonville in December.  On December 6 the FMN Jericho Prayer March in Jacksonville, Florida will hold a peaceful march for all victims of violence to figuratively tear down walls of injustice through prayer, words of encouragement, and rallying.  Pastor Annie Theresa Bryant Montgomery of Abundant Peace Ministries and event coordinator says, “This March is for Marissa, but also bigger than Marissa.  This is a rallying cry for justice for all victims of violence.” On December 8th, the Monument Quilt will be on display in Jacksonville.  Supporters of Marissa Alexander are welcome to add a message to the Monument Quilt, details can be found at freemarissanow.org.

“We will not stop organizing until Marissa Alexander is free!” said Aleta Alston Toure, a Free Marissa Now lead organizer based in Jacksonville.  “During the next 65 days, we must continue to use the attention we’ve brought to Marissa’s case to highlight the broader ongoing crisis of mass incarceration, police violence, and prosecutorial abuse.  There are thousands of Marissa Alexanders still behind bars, still facing devastating prison sentences, and still being threatened in their own homes.  We must stay the course, spread the word, and change the system until all of our sisters are free.”
Free Marissa Now will keep Marissa Alexander’s supporters updated about the new address where she can receive mail and next steps for the Marissa Alexander Freedom Fundraiser.

The Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign is an international grassroots campaign led by a core of organizers representing the African American/Black Women’s Cultural Alliance, New Jim Crow Movement - Jacksonville, and INCITE! Women of Color and Trans People of Color Against Violence. For more information, see www.FreeMarissaNow.org.

If you are being abused, or know someone who needs help, please contact: National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1.800.799.SAFE.
They will help give you tools to get out of an abusive relationship. Thankfully, many are able to leave/escape and find happy and productive lives. The cycle can be broken. I know, because I am one who survived - and now I am one who thrives. Reach out. You are not alone.
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