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Now Available! ~ Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence

Killing Trayvons

Skin privilege. When you’re black it seems the hardest thing to explain to whites. Even the most conscious or liberal whites sometimes don’t quite get it. Or as Langston Hughes once said, “A liberal is one who complains about segregated railroad cars but rides in the all white section.”

The killing of Trayvon Martin in February 2012 rang yet another alarm about the costs of that privilege. Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence tracks the case and explores why Trayvon’s name and George Zimmerman’s not guilty verdict symbolized all the grieving, the injustice, the profiling and free passes based on white privilege and police power: the long list of Trayvons known and unknown.

With contributions from Robin D.G. Kelley, Rita Dove, Cornel West and Amy Goodman, Thandisizwe Chimurenga, Alexander Cockburn, Etan Thomas, Tara Skurtu, bell hooks and Quassan Castro, June Jordan, Jesse Jackson, Tim Wise, Patricia Williams, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Vijay Prashad, Rodolfo Acuna, Jesmyn Ward and more, Killing Trayvons is an essential addition to the literature on race, violence and resistance.

Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence is set to be released early Summer 2014.

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Editors:

Kevin Alexander Gray is a civil rights organizer in South Carolina and author of Waiting for Lightning to Strike!: The Fundamentals of Black Politics.

Jeffrey St. Clair is the editor of CounterPunch. His books include Whiteout (with Alexander Cockburn), Grand Theft Pentagon, and Born Under a Bad Sky.

JoAnn Wypijewski regularly writes for The Nation and CounterPunch. Her books include Painting by Numbers.

Published by CounterPunch Books.

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U.S. Gun Ownership & Gun Death Data

(Note: The following data is compiled from a list of sources included at the end of summary.  Please click links for more detailed information.  Does not include deaths from war or other government/state perpetrators to include “crimes” committed in war zones. Both Staff Sgt. Robert Bales and Major Nidal Hasan are cited in the overview. Doubtless, Hasan is included in current domestic crime statistics, Bales crimes are probably not included in domestic homicide stats.  I also encourage readers to check data presented against other sources.)

According to a 2007 Small Arms Survey by the Geneva-based Graduate Institute of International Studies, about 4.5 million of the 8 million new guns manufactured worldwide each year are purchased in the United States and the nation has about “90 guns for every 100 citizens.”   The US is it the most heavily armed nation in the world with its citizens “owning 270 million of the world’s 875 million known firearms.” 

The 2007 report estimated there were 650 million civilian firearms worldwide, and 225 million held by law enforcement and military forces.

Although the AR-15 assault-type weapon – the civilian adaptation of the standard military issue M-16  – is the most popular “sportsman’s weapon” in the US, some estimates are that during the last 60 years well over 100 million Kalashnikov AK47-style assault rifles – famously referred to as “the people’s gun” – have been put into circulation around the world.

The FBI also estimates that there are 250-270 million registered privately owned firearms in the US – 100 million handguns, 150-170 million shotguns and rifles. Others estimate 350,000,000, as there’s no way to know the number of unregistered, illegal foreign-made weapons in the country.  Add those owned by the military, law enforcement agencies and museums and that’s 1 weapon for every man, woman and child.

There are 129,817 federally licensed firearms dealers, 51,438 of which are retail gun stores. That compares with 10,787 Starbucks stores, and 143,839 gas stations across the country. And that doesn’t count gun shows. About 40 percent of guns are sold in unlicensed private sales.

The majority of guns are owned by whites.

Based upon surveys, the following are estimates of private firearm ownership in the U.S. as of 2010:

    Households With a Gun  Adults Owning a Gun  Adults Owning a Handgun
Percentage

 40-45%

 30-34%

 17-19%

Number

 47-53 million

 70-80 million

 40-45 million

A 2005 nationwide Gallup poll of 1,012 adults found the following levels of firearm ownership: 

Category

 Percentage Owning

a Firearm

Households

 42%

Individuals

 30%

Male

 47%

Female

 13%

White

 33%

Nonwhite

 18%

Republican

 41%

Independent

 27%

Democrat

 23%

In the same poll, gun owners stated they own firearms for the following reasons:

 Protection Against Crime  67%
Target Shooting  66%
Hunting  41%

The most current polls report that among those who own handguns, 75 percent reported in a national survey that self-protection is the primary reason for owning a firearm. A 2000 study published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology (link is to pdf for 2009 study) reported that US civilians used guns to defend themselves and others from crime at least 989,883 times per year. (Is a Gun an Effective Means of Self-Defense?) 

Other cite or argue:

  • The 2nd Amendment & constitutionally protected rights – “…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
  • The 2nd Amendment is “the rebellion clause” in the Constitution (“No Prior Restraint [1st Amendment]”Doctrine of Prior Restraint),
  • “The 2nd Amendment is there to defend the 1st.”
  • The government – to include the police and the military, shouldn’t have more guns than the people least we’d have a police-state,
  • The police can’t be around to protect one all the time.
  • Prevention from foreign invasion
  • Laurence Tribe on the 2nd Amendment Tribe, well-known as a liberal scholar, concludes that the right to bear arms was conceived as an important political right that should not be dismissed as “wholly irrelevant.” Rather, Tribe thinks the Second Amendment assures that “the federal government may not disarm individual citizens without some unusually strong justification.” Tribe posits that it includes an individual right, “admittedly of uncertain scope,” to “possess and use firearms in the defense of themselves and their homes.””
  • Laurence Henry Tribe (bio)  |   Harvard Law School bio

[So You Think You Know the Second Amendment? By Jeffrey Toobin – http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2012/12/jeffrey-toobin-second-amendment.html#ixzz2FSy4HiRc]

The Real And Racist Origins of the Second Amendment By Bruce Dixon – http://blackagendareport.com/content/american-history-black-history-and-right-bear-arms

United States — Gun Facts, Figures and the Law – GunPolicy.org – http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region/united-states

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Tupac Amaru Shakur | Clinton Correctional Facility Interview ~1995

Tupac~ The Lost Prison Tapes

Shakur [June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996] began serving his prison sentence at Clinton Correctional Facility on February 14, 1995.  He was released after serving eleven months of his one-and-a-half year to four-and-a-half year sentence. 

The Lost Prison Tapes presents a uncensored look into Shakur’s life, as he talks about his involvement with gang life to prisons in America to his relationship with his mother and American culture and politics. 

The Lost Prison Tapes’ were released on January 26, 2011.

“Capturing the intensity and passion of a fierce talent, “Tupac ~ Uncensored and Uncut: The Lost Prison Tapes” offers a glimpse inside the mind of the enigmatic artist whose music is, in his own words, “all about life.””

Shakur had sold over 75 million records worldwide as of 2010.  Rolling Stones magazine named him the 86th Greatest Artist of All Time.

Both of his parents- Afeni Shakur and his father, Billy Garland, along with several other family members, were members of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense.

On September 7, 1996, Shakur was shot four times in Las Vegas, Nevada. He died 6 days later at the University Medical Center. 

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James Rosemond Admits to Tupac Shakur 1994 Shooting Involvement: Report ~ http://www.billboard.com/column/the-juice/james-rosemond-admits-to-tupac-shakur-1994-1007420552.story#/column/the-juice/james-rosemond-admits-to-tupac-shakur-1994-1007420552.story

I shot Tupac Shakur in 1994 robbery on orders of rap manager, claims convicted murderer Dexter Isaac ~ http://articles.nydailynews.com/2011-06-15/gossip/29691900_1_tupac-shakur-james-jimmy-henchman-rosemond-czar-entertainment

Bio ~ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tupac_Shakur

http://www.amazon.com/Tupac-Uncensored-Uncut-Prison-Tapes/dp/B004KPUL4G

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Kevin Alexander Gray on State Violence and the Murder of Troy Anthony Davis

KPFA FLASHPOINTS

Execution of Justice by Kim Nicolini

With the murder of Troy Anthony Davis by the state of Georgia, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a 2009 capital punishment opinion of  conservative associate, Justice Antonin Scalia, in which he ruled: “[T]his court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is ‘actually’ innocent.”

Still, the ultimate victory for Troy Davis is that he inspired millions of people – around the world and here in the United States – who want to live in a more peaceful and less violent society. In that regard Troy’s life and murder by the government was not in vain. Sometimes it takes a single incident to shake people up.

Bruce Dixon, managing editor@Black Agenda Report: ” It’s great that so many people signed Troy Davis’s petition and made themselves so visible as opponents of the death penalty. But Troy was clearly and obviously innocent, and imprisoned for decades, ultimately executed anyhow. But until we stand up for the rights of ALL the imprisoned, convicted and formerly convicted, including all those whose innocence, however you construe that word, is not so obvious and those who may in fact not even be innocent —- till we stand for their human rights to education, to health care and a decent chance at life by radically shrinking and ultimately ending the institution of prison the machine that convicts the literally innocent will retain legitimacy and roll on, doing what it does. In other words, coming out to oppose the execution of an obvious innocent person like Troy Davis is low hanging fruit. It’s good that so many are wiling to reach for it. But we will rarely be able to save even these till we de-legitimize the institution of prison and chop down the whole rotten tree.”

Amnesty International

To hear Kevin Alexander Gray’s interview click on header@top of page.  To contribute time or money to organizations working to abolish the death penalty in the U.S. click on any or all of the provided logos.  Click on Kim Nicolini’s artwork of Troy to link to his website which is being maintained by family and friends.  Or start, help start or join an existing anti-death-penalty group.

National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

The struggle continues.

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

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Call for 100 Signers: Letter to SC Governor Nikki Haley

As you may  know SC SB 20 is on the Governor’s desk awaiting signature. We’re asking her to veto this legislation. Please reach out to community leaders, businesses, local organizations, etc. and ask them to add their name to this letter.  I will add names as you send them to me.  Since Governor Haley is expected to sign this bill ASAP, please send names/organizations by close of business Monday, June 27 so that we can get this letter to her quickly.

 Thank you all!

Amanda N. Jackson
Field Director
Church World Service
2062 N. Beltline Blvd
Columbia, SC 29204
cell: 803-394-4895
ajackson@churchworldservice.org
jacksona03@vzw.blackberry.net
twitter@CWSMsJackson Continue reading

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Demand Obama Administration Respect UPR Process

   
CALL TO ACTION: Demand Obama Administration Respect UPR Process, Adopt UN UPR Recommendation to Release U.S. Political Prisoners!

 
Atlanta, GA, – The U.S. Human Rights Network Political Prisoner/State Repression Working Group (USHRN PP/SR Wkg Grp) demands the Obama Administration adopt the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) recommendations to release COINTELPRO/Civil Rights Era political activists held in U.S. prisons, some more than 40 years.  
 
“The UPR shed global light on the United States’ dirty little open secret and propelled to the forefront the unfinished business of the modern U.S. Civil/Human Rights movement.   “We are working with activists across the country to put  America’s political prisoners on the global human rights priority list alongside other atrocities like the death penalty, racial discrimination, the absence of treaty ratification  and the lack of a national institution monitoring domestic human rights practices” Efia Nwangaza said. 

Harold Hongju Koh, Legal Adviser to the United States Department of State dismissed the significance of  the recommendations made by the Human Rights Council Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review in generally and, specifically, the call for the release of long imprisoned political activists.  Harold Koh, put the more than 230 recommendations into “3 categories:
 
1) Some in line with US policies
 
2) Some political provocation not to be taken seriously
 
3) Some to be considered.
 
Koh promised “all recommendations will be considered and taken back to branches for consideration before March, 2011. Further Koh remarked, “A small set of comments do not make bona fide recommendations for the UPR. These statements, those styled as “recommendations,” are actually political criticisms of U.S. policies or polemical comments about judicial cases, based on unsubstantiated or false allegations, which refer to individual matters that are either ongoing or already completed under court proceedings conducted under due process of law.”
 
1. We call on President Obama to use his presidential powers to grant clemency and commute the sentences to time served and release all COINTELPRO/Civil Rights Era political activists criminalized and held in federal custody.
 
2. We call on President Obama to direct U.S.  Attorney General Eric Holder and the U.S. Department of Justice to review the convictions of all COINTELPRO/Civil Rights Era activists in federal or state custody to identify and address civil and human rights violations perpetrated.
 
3. We call on the Obama Administration to create a national Truth and Reconciliation Commission for the release and compensation of all COINTELPRO/Civil Rights Era activists in federal or state custody.
 
Demand the Obama Administration Respect the UPR Process and Adopt UN UPR Recommendation to Release U.S. Political Prisoners (Recommendations  Numbers 92.153 and 92.154). Please call, fax, write, e-mail, the U.S. UPR Delegation and the Obama Administration to  Invite family, friends, neighbors, faith communities, social and professional organizations and elected and appointed officials to join this emergency campaign.
 
Contact information: 
Michael H. Posner, Asst. Secretary of State (Democracy, Human Rights and Labor) T: 202-647-2126/F:202-647-5283/E: PosnerMH@state.gov
 
Esther Brimmer, Asst. Secretary of State (T:202-647-4000/F: /E: )
 
Harold Koh, Legal Adviser to State Department (T:202-647-4000   /F:/E:)
 
Samuel Bagenstos, Principal Deputy Asst. Attorney General (Civil Rights Division) T:202-353-9065/F:202-3072572/E: samuel.bagenstos@usdoj.gov 
 
Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney General (T: 202-514-2001/F:E:AskDOJ@usdoj.gov)
 
President Barack Obama (T:202-456-1414/ 202-456-1111     /F: 202-456-2461/E: )
 
The US Human Rights Network formed to promote US accountability to universal human rights standards by building linkages between organizations and individuals. We strive to build a human rights culture in the United States that puts those directly affected by such violations, with a special emphasis on grassroots organizations and social movements, in central leadership roles. The Network is further committed to uniting the US human rights movement with the broader social justice movements both in the U.S. and globally. See U.S. Human Rights Network Reports to the UPR Working Group of the UN Human Rights Council: http://www.ushrnetwork.org/upr_reports.
 
Contact ushrnpp@gmail.com and firestormpp@gmail.com to report the number of e-mails and letters mailed/faxed.  Many thanks.  FREE ALL U.S. POLITICAL PRISONERS, NOW!
 

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The 1979 Greensboro Massacre

Nelson Johnson

Nelson Johnson at the body of Jim Waller

Late morning, November 3, 1979, at the corner of Carver and Everitt Streets in Greensboro, North Carolina, forty Ku Klux Klansmen and American Nazis handed each other shotguns and automatic weapons from the trunks of their cars and opened fire on black and white anti-Klan demonstrators and union organizers who had gathered at Morningside Homes, a black housing project.

ssmith
Sandi Smith

Sandi Smith, a nurse who’d been active in the black student movement and was at the time trying to unionize textile workers, was shot between the eyes. 

The KKK and Nazi members shot at anyone who wasn’t hiding while four television news teams and one police officer recorded the action.  They then got back into their cars and sped away after which the Greensboro police arrived and began arresting protestors.

In the aftermath five people were killed and 11 wounded in the attack.   All five were members of the Workers Viewpoint Organization (WVO), and four were rank-and-file union leaders and organizers.

*Murdered were:

Sandi Smith,  president of the student body and a founding member of the Student Organization for Black Unity (SOBU) at Greensboro’s Bennett College. She was a community organizer for the Greensboro Association of Poor People (GAPP) and became a worker at the textile mill where she and others formed the Revolution Organizing Committee (ROC) to unionize the plant. Sandi was a leader of a march of over 3,000 people in Raleigh to free the Wilmington 10, ten young activists jailed on false charges to stop them from organizing. In her work at a Cone Mills textile plant, she battled sexual harassment, low wages, and unhealthy working conditions.  

Jim Waller

Jim Waller

Dr. Jim Waller who received his medical degree from the University of Chicago and trained at the Lincoln Hospital Collective in New York City. In 1973 at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, Waller organized medical aid and set up a clinic to aid American Indian Movement activists under siege by the FBI. When he moved to North Carolina to teach at Duke University he coordinated Brown Lung screenings in textile mills, co-founding the Carolina Brown Lung Association. He later gave up his medical practice to organize workers becoming vice president of the AFL-CIO local textile workers union  Waller and went to work in a Cone Mills textile plant in Haw River. From inside he helped organize and eventually became president of the AFL-CIO union local after leading a strike in 1978 that helped the union grow from about 25 members to almost 200.

wsampson
Bill Sampson

William “Bill” Sampson was a student anti-war activist and president of his college student body. He studied at the Sorbonne in Paris during college, received his Masters degree in Divinity from Harvard in 1971, then studied medicine at the University of Virginia. As a medical student he organized health care workers to support the liberation struggles in southern Africa. Bill left medical school to work and organize in one of Cone Mills’ Greensboro textile plant, where he built the union and focused on training new leaders. The workers had chosen Bill to run for president of the local.

Cesar Cauce
Cesar Cauce

Cesar Cauce was a Cuban immigrant who graduated magna cum laude from Duke University, where he was a campus leader in the anti-war movement. He rejected a full scholarship to study history at the University of California at Berkeley and instead to help to unionize Duke Hospital workers. Cesar organized strike support for union struggles throughout NC and was a regular participant in the Goldkist strike, a campaign to organize poultry workers in Durham. He also traveled extensively throughout the South, writing about class struggles for the Workers Viewpoint.

Michael Nathan
Michael Nathan

Dr. Michael Nathan, chief of pediatrics at Lincoln Community Health Center in Durham, a clinic that helped children from low-income families. Nathan had been an anti-war and civil rights student activist at Duke University. He organized and led a chapter of the Medical Committee for Human Rights (MCHR), an organization that fought for improved health care for poor people. Mike studied child health and treated sick children in a mountain clinic in Guatemala in 1972 and 1973, and was a leader in a movement to send aid to liberation fighters who eventually toppled the apartheid system is what’s now Zimbabwe.

The permitted march and rally, declaring “Death to the Klan” was organized by the WVO, which was active in the poor neighborhoods and textile mills in the area. It advocated antiracism, unionism, and communist revolution. The group had previously clashed with Ku Klux Klan members prior to the deadly November encounter.  In July 1979 anti-racism protesters disrupted a screening of a pro-white supremacist film, “Birth Of A Nation” in China Grove, North Carolina. Continue reading

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