police brutality

Freddie Gray Case Judge Rules it is Unreasonable to Expect Cops to Obey the Law

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The prosecution in Baltimore wanted the cop that arrested Freddie Gray to be convicted of assault, because Gray had done nothing illegal. But “the judge seemed to think it would be ridiculous to treat every arrest as criminal just because there were no grounds for arrest.” The officer was acquitted, affirming the American criminal justice principle that nothing is illegal – including murder – when the cops do it.

 
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There’s Only One Cure for Chicago Police Lawlessness: Black Community Control

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel thinks he can squelch Black rage against the police by appointing a Black cop as superintendent. But the new top cop climbed the ranks of a force that has “no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color.” He’s part of the problem, not the solution. Young activists demand nothing less than community control of the police.

 
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They Call Me MISTER Picasso!

by Dan De Leon

A Latina high school student created the art work, above, inspired by a previous work titled A Tale of Two Hoodies. However, she was later ‘persuaded’ by the Denver schools’ public relations director that the picture did not foster good police-community relations. “Notice he didn’t say it could be done by having killer cops arrested, charged, convicted and sent to prison.” Apparently, her elders had never seen Picasso’s Guernica.

Black Agenda Radio for Week of April 4, 2016

Carolina Youths Demand Black Community Control of Police

The city of Greenville, South Carolina witnessed two large funerals in recent weeks: one for a white cop, the other for 17 year-old Deontaye Mackey, who police claim killed the officer and then committed suicide. Black young people don’t buy the cops’ version, and believe the deaths occurred as part of a police scheme to flood the community with drugs and guns. “This was a dirty cop, he harassed the Black community,” said Efia Nwangaza, director of Greenville’s Malcolm X Center for Self-Determination. Black youth “are committed to developing their own patrols and calling for Black community control of police,” and plan to “launch their own ‘people’s investigation’ into what actually happened.”

Cornel West Blasts Neoliberalism, Jesse Jackson Redefines “Socialism”

Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., the Rainbow-PUSH leader who ran for president in 1984 and 1988, and Dr Cornel West, the nation’s best known Black public intellectual, discussed “Politics, Black Lives Matter and the 2016 Election” at Columbia University, in New York City. Rev. Jackson has endorsed no one in this year’s Democratic presidential primaries, but praised Bernie Sanders’ goal to “democratize capital” – which Jackson said means “the same thing” as socialism. Dr. West, who has been stumping for Sanders, described Hillary Clinton this way: “When you hear the word integrity, her name is not the first one that comes to mind. Granted, Hillary Clinton is better than the neofascist in-the-making, Donald Trump,” said West. “But neoliberals are still dangerous.”

Flint Water was Poisoned on Purpose

BAR editor and columnist Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, a former federal Environmental Protection Agency official who blew the whistle on her bosses nearly two decades ago, said the massive contamination of Flint, Michigan’s water system was “intentional.” “We know that the EPA and the State of Michigan knew this community was being poisoned for at least nine months,” but refused to do anything about it, said Coleman-Adebayo. “The Flint crisis makes the Tuskegee Experiment look like child’s play.” In light of Black people’s experience in this country, “How many times are we going to keep saying, ‘Oops, they made a mistake?’”

Don’t Confuse DeRay McKesson with Black Lives Matter

“I would separate DeRay McKesson from the founders of Black Lives Matter,” said Umi Selah, the former Phillip Agnew, of the Florida-based Dream Defenders. “McKesson is a self-proclaimed activist from an Ivy League school and from Teach for America, that created an online persona for himself and is now able to parlay that into huge revenue and a fledgling campaign for mayor of Baltimore,” he said, in an interview with Pascal Robert, a frequent contributor to Black Agenda Report. Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi “have a history of doing deep grassroots organizing. What they created is something we haven’t seen since Occupy,” said Selah.

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Black Agenda Radio for Week of March 28, 2016

Colonial Chickens Come Home to Roost in the West

In the wake of the Brussels bombing, we hear variations of the same old theme: “They [Muslims] hate us [the ‘West’] because of our freedoms.” However, “the reality is, it’s not who we are, but what we do” – wage war in Muslim lands – “that is the problem. It’s our foreign policy, not our cultural values,” said Arun Kundnani, author of The Muslims are Coming! Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror. Kundnani, a British citizen of Indian extraction who lectures at New York University, said polls consistently show that “people in the Middle East do not have any antagonisms to the United States, itself, or its values. What they have antagonisms to is U.S. foreign policy in the region.”

No Slavery Remembrance Day at the White House

The United Nations marked a Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Slavery and the Atlantic Slave Trade, March 25, but there was no sign of the occasion – “no commemoration, not even rhetoric, nothing” – at the White House, said BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka, a co-founder of the U.S. Human Rights Network. Baraka also attended this month’s 15th anniversary of the UN World Conference Against Racial Discrimination, whose ongoing activities are widely known as the Durban Process. Since the genocide of Native Americans and enslavement of Africans “served as the material base for the ascendancy of Europe, then justice demands that some type of repair – reparations – needs to be considered,” said Baraka. However, Europe, the United States and other white settler states have resisted the Durban Process at every turn.

Newark City Council Approves Police Review Board

In a unanimous vote, the city council of Newark, New Jersey, authorized the creation of a Civilian Complaint Review Board, with subpoena powers. The council’s action means the board will not go out of existence when its initiator, Mayor Ras Baraka, leaves office. However, “the implementation will still be stymied because the police unions have vowed to go to court to stop it,” said Larry Hamm, chairman of the People’s Organization for Progress, one of the community groups with a seat on the review board.

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Black Agenda Radio for Week of March 7, 2016

New FBI Guidelines for Targeting Classroom “Radicals”

The nation’s teachers will soon be getting revised FBI guidelines on how to spot “radicalized” students. “The modern FBI ‘counter-violence and extremism’ program is directed primarily at the Muslim community, right now,” said Michael German, a former FBI agent who is now a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice. “But the conceptual part of it applies to any ideology, and in the past has applied to civil rights organizing, anti-war organizing and many other types of legitimate social advancement, in the name of protecting security.”

Executed for Sleeping While Black

Kisha Michael, a 31 year-old mother of three sons, and Marquitan Sandlin, a 32 year-old father of four daughters, were shot to death by an Inglewood, California, SWAT team after being discovered asleep in a car at 3:00 in the morning. “If they get away with this, they’ll say, ‘In two months we’ll go out there and kill us another couple,” said Ms. Michael’s aunt, Virginia Sewell. “It makes me feel really threatened because it seems as though they’re laughing about it.”

Were Marquitan and Kisha executed for failing to wake up? “Yeah, and that they were Black,” said Keith Jackson, of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, who helped the victims’ families organize protests. “I say that because this is racially targeted throughout the country. It is really like a genocidal onslaught.”

Don’t Put it All on Trump: White Supremacy and Capitalism in Crisis

Beginning in the 1960s, according to Dubois scholar and Black Radical Organizing Committee member Dr. Anthony Monteiro, the Republicans methodically reorganized their party “based upon one ideological position: white supremacy.” Now, with both the capitalist economy and white supremacy in crisis, “working class and lower middle class Republicans are in an existential crisis.” Monteiro believes a “more positive rebellion” is occurring among Democrats. “The Black Left has to begin to shape and give guidance to a rebellion that will include Black people, as well as whites and Latinos and others.”

Why Europe Owes Africa and the Americas for its Wealth and “Civilization”

Although both presidents Bush and Obama did their best to sabotage United Nations conferences against racism, in Durban, South Africa, in 2001 and 2009, the “Durban process” still lives, and its 15th anniversary will be commemorated in the Netherlands, later this month. Veteran activist and BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka, a founder of the U.S. Human Rights Network, will lead a panel at the event. “We said that ‘Europe’ was, literally, a creation of Africa and the America’s; that the hegemony of Europe was a consequence of the invasion of the Americas, the subjugation and attempted extermination of native people, and the importation and exploitation of African labor,” said Baraka. “That was the foundation for Europe’s ‘civilization’ and capitalism.” The analysis formed “the basis for the demand for reparations in terms of relationships between the states in the North and the various states in the African Diaspora.” That’s why the Europeans, Americans and Israelis undermined and boycotted Durban I and II.

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Black Agenda Radio for Week of January 25, 2016

Dismantling Capitalism and Imperialism

This month’s conference on the Black Radical Tradition, held at Temple University, in Philadelphia, was an historic gathering of 21st century Black “anti-capitalists and anti-imperialists,” said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, one of the organizers of the event. “Not only were we talking about a different foreign policy, but about dismantling the military-industrial and police state in the U.S.,” said Monteiro. He envisions “massive civil disobedience that will take place over extended periods of time, where you make those who benefit from the police state and the military-industrial complex pay a price.”

Flint Takes U.S. Ethnic Cleansing to a New Level

The lead poisoning of Flint, Michigan’s water system is “a crime against humanity – part of the ongoing story of ethnic cleansing in the United States,” said Black Agenda Report editor and columnist Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, who two decades ago blew the whistle on corruption and racism at the Environmental Protection Agency. Dr. Coleman-Adebayo said the EPA “completely and totally abandoned its mission” to safeguard Flint’s water quality, and the agency’s regional administrator “should be sent to jail,” instead of just being forced to resign.

Uhuru! Sign the Genocide Petition

Despite frigid weather, the Uhuru Movement set up tent encampments in Jackson, Mississippi, New York City, Chicago and Washington, DC, where the United Nations has been holding hearings on human rights violations against Black people in the United States. International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement president Herdosia Bentum said “this cold is not as brutal as the system that has been on our backs for 600 years.” Uhuru activists are collecting signatures on a petition charging the U.S. with genocide against Blacks.

Campus Tour: No More Stolen Lives

The Stop Mass Incarceration Network, founded five years ago by Carl Dix and Dr. Cornel West, is holding regional conferences in cities around the country “to forge the kind of movement that can stop the horror of police getting away with murder in this country, said Dix. The gatherings in New York, Charlotte, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles will put the finishing touches on a “No More Stolen Lives” tour of college campuses, to bring more students into movement politics.

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Freedom Rider: Black Community Control of the Police and the Politicians

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Like macabre clockwork, prosecutors and their grand juries refuse to indict killer cops – most recently in the case of Tamir Rice. The Black response has been woefully inadequate. “Every announcement of a killer cop going free sets off a sad parade of ultimately useless activity.” These atrocities will not cease until “the police know they will answer for their crimes” and passive Black politicians are “consigned to political oblivion.”

Black Agenda Radio for Week of January 4, 2016

Building a Black “Movement” from the Current “Momentum”

Dr. Cornel West, the nation’s best known Black public intellectual and a keynote speaker at this weekend’s conference on the Black Radical Tradition, at Philadelphia’s Temple University, said Black America is not yet experiencing a mass social movement. “I would say it’s significant motion and momentum that can become a movement if we can sustain it. We’ve got a significant number of brothers and sisters who have broken the back of fear,” said West, a co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. The path to a full-blown movement starts “with the criminal justice system, and we connect it to mass unemployment, mass underemployment, then connect it to a critique of capitalism and a critique of empire.”

Chicago’s Mayor Failing the “Pacify the Blacks” Test

Rahm Emanuel “is not doing his job,” said activist, scholar and author Paul Street. “One of the main jobs for a mayor of Chicago, frankly, is to keep the Black community in line and non-rebellious, so that downtown finance and real estate interests can continue their endless gentrification and expansion, free of disturbance.” Calls have intensified for Emanuel’s resignation or recall from office for covering up police crimes against Blacks.

Obama to Press for TPP in State of the Union Address

President Obama will “make a very big push” for congressional passage of his Trans Pacific Partnership corporate trade treaty in his January 12 State of the Union Address, said Kevin Zeese, of Popular Resistance. However, Zeese believes TPP can be defeated. “We’re going to have our people out in force on-line, in the Twittersphere and social media, getting out the facts, because we expect a lot of dishonesty from the president,” said Zeese, who notes that the top Democratic and Republican candidates to succeed Obama oppose TPP.

The Semantics of Terror

On January 25, the U.S. and its allies will meet with the government of Syria and its Russian ally to discuss which of the West’s jihadist proxy armies might be considered legitimate players in any future peace process. Washington considers all of the armed groups except ISIS and al-Qaida to be “moderate rebels.” Sara Flounders, of the United National Anti-War Coalition (UNAC), said: “They asked Saudi Arabia to head up the countries that will be vetting these terrorist groups. Now, who is most directly responsible for the arming and funding – from ISIS on through – of terrorist groups operating in Syria and Iraq and throughout the entire region?” The whole exercise, said Flounders, “is an outrageous fraud.”

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Black Agenda Radio for Week of December 28, 2015

Ideology and Practice for the New Movement

The Black Radical Tradition is alive and kicking in the 21st century, said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, an organizer and keynote speaker for a conference titled “Reclaiming Our Future: The Black Radical Tradition in Our Time,” set for January 8 through 10 at Temple University, in Philadelphia. “We observed in the framework of the anti-police state Black Lives Matter Movement a need for, and a call for, a conference that would address ideological as well as practical issues,” said Monteiro. “The Black Radical Tradition is alive and on the verge of reasserting itself.” Other keynoters include Angela Davis, Cornel West, Charlene Carruthers and Vijay Prashad.

U.S. Imperialism No Longer Seen as Unbeatable

“You’ve got a whole generation who’ve seen North Korea, Iran, [Hugo] Chavez and other people around the world tell the U.S. to stuff it,” said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. “The appearance of absolute world dominance has been fractured,” he said. “The proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back” in Black America came in August, 2014, with the rebellion in Ferguson, Missouri.

Teacher’s Death Prompts Call for Community Control of Police in DC

The mother of Alonzo Smith, a 27 year-old Southeast Washington DC teacher who died at the hands of private Special Police, said she’s not interested in wasting time trying to get the U.S. Justice Department to intervene in the case. Netfa Freeman, an organizer for Pan African Community Action (PACA) said Beverly Smith supports their effort to bring her son’s case before the United Nations. “We feel that the only way to stop” police killings of Blacks “is community control of police, in line with the call from the Black Panther Party in the 1960s,” said Freeman.

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Youth Leads the Struggle in Chicago

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The supremely arrogant Mayor “Rahmbo” Emanuel has been temporarily chastened by the drumbeat of protests against the killing of Laquan McDonald, shot 16 times by a Chicago cop. Even much of the local Black Misleadership Class has found it necessary to “take a stance in opposition to Mayor Emanuel and the white corporate forces that he represents” – if only for the moment. Young people must stand fast with their “transformative demands.”

 
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Black Agenda Radio for Week of November 30, 2015

Two Rights Groups Refuse to Sign Off on Sentencing “Reform” Bill

Legislation is moving through the U.S. House and Senate that would retroactively shorten sentences for crack cocaine possession and, its backers claim, substantially roll back mandatory minimum sentences for other crimes. However, the National Urban League and Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) are refusing to give their blessing to the Sentencing Act, which actually expands the list of crimes subject to mandatory prison terms. The bill “will have a disproportionate effect on minority communities,” according to FAMM president Julie Stewart. “They have created a new class of crime that can now trigger” a sentence of 25 years, she said. Gun possession and crimes of domestic violence would also carry mandatory penalties.

New Film in the Works on Black Panther Party

Former Black Panther Party chief of staff David Hilliard and Emmy Award-winning director Dante James hope to have a documentary on the party completed in time for the 50th anniversary of the BPP’s founding, next September. “Our film is not going to be a response or reaction” to The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, directed by Stanley Nelson, Jr. and distributed by PBS. “For many, many years,” said James, “the corporate media has defined the Black Panther Party from the outside-in.” This time, the party will by defined, not by “fringe or part-time party members, but by people who were there from the very beginning, who knew and worked with Huey P. Newton.”

First Cop Goes on Trial in Freddie Gray Killing

The manslaughter trial of Baltimore police officer William Porter began on Monday, the first of six cops charged in the death of Freddie Gray, last April. Porter drove the police van in which Gray was fatally injured. Jill Carter, a Maryland state legislator and lawyer, told The Real News Network that some of the cops should have been charged with murder. “We all saw in the video that an assault happened prior to Freddie Gray ever being placed in the van,” said Carter. “If there was an illegal arrest that was contemporaneous with an assault, I would argue that would be first degree assault and attempted murder, with cumulative charges for everything that happened after that.” Baltimore erupted in street rebellion in the wake of Gray’s death.

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Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: one hour.
 
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Following the Underground Railroad: A Black Man Seeks Asylum in Canada

by BAR editor and columnist Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

Ever since the founding of the United States, many Black people have clung tightly to their claim to citizenship in the racist Republic. However, Kyle Canty, a Black man from Oregon, is seeking asylum from U.S. white supremacist violence in Canada. In doing so, “he has disturbed the centuries-long premise of unconditional African-American commitment to American citizenship – regardless of the intensity of oppression.”

FBI Chief Gets the “Ferguson Effect” All Wrong

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Cops that think they’ve been abandoned by the Obama administration are out of their minds. “Obama is only seeking to put a smiling face on an even more intrusive, higher tech Mass Black Incarceration State.” His so-called “community policing” schemes would increase police penetration of Black America, while leaving police impunity essentially intact.

 
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Black Agenda Radio for Week of September 28, 2015

Black Families and Women Bear Burden of Mass Incarceration

A survey of 1,000 former prison inmates and their families by the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, in Oakland, California, “showed that it’s mainly African American women who bear the brunt of a loved one’s incarceration,” said Darris Young, a local organizer for the center who is himself a former inmate. “When an individual is incarcerated, then the impacts on the family, which translate back into the community, are enormous,” said Young. For example, “nearly one out of five families involved in our survey faced eviction – they were denied housing or did not even qualify for public housing once their formerly incarcerated family member returned.”

October Rising: Mass Protest in NYC

“We are coming out of a year of police literally getting away with murder,” said Carl Dix, co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and an organizer of Rise Up October, a series of demonstrations set for October 22 through 24in New York City. “We’ve reached a crucial turning point, because the authorities have not only doubled down on releasing their police to brutalize and murder people, but they are trying to demonize the protest movement, talking about it being responsible for a non-existent war on cops.” In reality, cop killings are at an historic low. “We have to meet that with redoubled resistance,” said Dix.

U.S. Foments Chaos and Death in Syria

“From the beginning, the war in Syria has been about tearing down the government of Syria and creating a completely chaotic, destabilized state, which leaves Israel and the U.S. as the strong forces in the region,” said Sara Flounders, of the United National Anti-War Coalition, UNAC. Washington pursues its goals by “sending in mercenaries” to fight alongside the Islamic State, “which was funded by Saudi Arabia and Turkey – both U.S. proxies in this war,” said Flounders.

Washington Caused Flood of “Regime Change Refugees.”

James Paul, former executive director of the Global Policy Forum and author of Syria Unmasked, said the U.S. has a long history of promoting jihadist warfare: “If we go back to Afghanistan, the U.S. pattern of supporting Islamic fundamentalist groups and movements is very consistent – it’s almost the standard playbook,” said Paul. “The biggest gift that the Europeans could give to the refugees in their countries is to look into ending these military interventions.” Paul describes most of the current Middle Eastern and North African migrants as “regime change refugees.”

 
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Police “Training” is the Problem: They are Trained to Oppress Blacks

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Black people don’t need more “training” of the cops that patrol their communities. What’s needed is a new mission for the police – one that is radically different than the current armed occupation – and Black community control over both the project and the personnel. U.S. police are already well trained – in containing, controlling, terrorizing and incarcerating Black people. “For decades, the essential U.S. police mission has been military in nature.”

The Assassination of Sandra Bland and the Struggle against State Repression

by BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka

The Black Lives Matter movement has another martyr, as it prepares for a national conference in Cleveland, this weekend. Sandra Bland’s murder in Texas shows, once again, that “defending one’s dignity in an encounter with the police is a crime that that can lead to a death sentence.” The emerging movement must be clear on the political nature of Bland’s death, and that only real power in the hands of the people can break the cycle of oppression.

The Violence of Police Politics

by Steve Martinot

The “dementia” of police behavior is reflected in U.S. prisons, where punishment is justified by the fact of incarceration. “Solitary confinement is imposed on those who think critically and politically.” On the street, police dementia is policy. “In profiling, the police commit an act of suspicion, and then look for a crime with which to charge their suspect.” Profiling renders everything that follows “beyond the law.”

Mass Protests Trigger Washington Post Study of Police Killings

by BAR editor and columnist, Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

The federal government has never gathered meaningful statistics on police killings of civilians. Now the Washington Post has begun an ongoing examination of deaths at the hands of police, in cooperation with two existing web sites that have tried valiantly to fill in the gap. The Post’s count shows “385 people were shot and killed by police nationwide during the first five months of this year, more than two a day.”

I'm a Black Ex-Cop, and This is the Real Truth About Race and Policing

by Reddit Hudson

Black cops are keenly aware that racism permeates policing in the United States. “The reality of police abuse is not limited to a number of ‘very small incidents’ that have impacted black people nationwide, but generations of experienced and witnessed abuse.” Black cops often fear for their own lives when out of uniform.

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