Black and Unarmed: A Growing List…
Justice for #TrayvonMartin protest - Boston - 14 July 2013
So this happened. Obviously Tom Joyner wants me to cry. I just read that he offered Rachel Jeantel a full scholarship to the HBCU of her choice and SAT prep prior. And, people who aren’t corrupt are needed so badly in the CJ system to help those persecuted AND to change the system. And to think, she speaks THREE languages (Creole, Spanish, English) and is from South Florida. If she returns to her area, she can help so many people as the Miami-Dade area is multilingual.
Yassss Tom Joyner!!!!!! <3
If anything structurally supports racism, it’s a collection of myths. Stereotypes and caricatures that a closer look at reality tosses to the wayside. Behind a lot of the support for George Zimmerman is a lot of these myths. And it’s possible to be racist without realizing it is racism. You just have to believe the myths. Being racist doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a nazi. It may mean you’re wrong. When you refuse to be corrected, then you get into more dangerous moral territory. Then you’re not falling into racism because of ignorance, but by choice.
But there’s a resistance to the charge of racism that’s hard to explain from a logical standpoint; if everyone tells you your shoe’s untied or your fly’s open, you check. You believe them. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t. If everyone tells you you keep spelling a word incorrectly, you check. You believe they may be right.
But if everyone keeps telling you you’re being racist, you do not check. You don’t believe them. And — if you’re a conservative — the more people tell you this, the more you claim to be the victim of some sort of slander. They’re constantly being warned about their racism and they’re constantly claiming to be the victims of a massive smear campaign because of it. They refuse to be corrected and make that choice.
The George Zimmerman trial and verdict is only the latest to bring this trend to the forefront. But every time an issue involving race arises, Republicans and conservatives take the side opposite whatever minority is at the center of the controversy. Like Stephen Colbert’s “colorblind” shtick, they pretend not to see skin color at all and want everyone to believe this means they aren’t racist — as if ignoring the specific and all too real problems faced by people of color is the very opposite of racism, rather than a hallmark of it.
Yesterday, I assumed that Rick Perry chiming in on the Zimmerman verdict (while being the quintessential “colorblind” racist that Colbert mocks) would be seen as a major gaffe for a man contemplating a presidential run. For some reason, I thought Republicans had finally learned their lesson about race and would know enough to just leave it alone. I was quickly proved wrong, as Republican after Republican lined up to politicize a verdict that left so many Americans deeply disappointed and angry. As always when an issue shocks the American conscience, Republicans are there to remind us all that the real victims aren’t the dead kids or the people turned away from voting booths.
No, the real victims are always healthy and wealthy white Republicans. That kid dead in the street? He got what he had coming to him. Despite having no criminal record, Trayvon Martin was a supposed “thug.” George Zimmerman, with a rap sheet that included assaulting an officer and domestic abuse, was the angelic hero, tragically forced to defend himself from a wanna-be Gangsta armed with Skittles of Mass Destruction.
This is a party that’s so alienated every other demographic that they pin all their 2016 presidential hopes on getting more white voters to the polls. And it’s not because they’re racist — not if you ask them, anyway. It’s because everyone else is racist against them.
It was a mistake for me to think that the GOP had learned some sort of lesson about race and politics. And my assumption wasn’t that they’d stopped being racist, but that they’d just be smart enough to shut up about it. But they can’t even do that. They have to go on national TV, shout their racism to the four corners of the nation, and remind us that whenever an African-American teenager lies dead in the street — killed for no good reason — the real victims are white Republicans.
“Rachel Jeantel wasn’t a good witness. She was not credible…I felt bad for her. I didn’t understand her. A lot of the time, she was using phrases I’ve never heard before. Clearly, she didn’t want to be there. I think she felt inadequate due to her lack of education and communication skills.”
Juror B37 from the George Zimmerman trial.
This is what we call cultural bias. In short, “She’s not credible because she’s black. I don’t understand them.” (via thechanelmuse)
She was poor and spoke funny = not credible. I see.
"I think she felt inadequate…" s2g, B37, if you project anymore you could be your own movie theater.
Howard Morgan, A Black Cop Who Was Shot 28 Times By Several White Cops, Faces Attempted Murder Charges
As much of the country follows the Trayvon Martin case, activists in Chicago are hoping to bring some of that attention to Howard Morgan, a former Chicago police officer who was shot 28 times by white officers — and lived to tell his side of the story.
Morgan was off-duty as a detective for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad when he was pulled over for driving the wrong way on a one-way street on Feb 21, 2005, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. While both police and Morgan agree on that much, what happened next is a mystery.
According to police, Morgan opened fire with his service weapon when officers tried to arrest him, which caused them to shoot him 28 times. His family, however, very much doubts those claims.
“Four white officers and one black Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad police man with his weapon on him — around the corner from our home — and he just decided to go crazy? No. That’s ludicrous,” Morgan’s wife, Rosalind Morgan, told the Sun-Times.
She was not the only person to doubt CPD’s side of the story. A Change.org petition signed by more than 2,600 people called for all charges against Morgan to be dropped, and now Occupy Chicago is getting involved.
“After being left for dead, he survived and was then charged with attempted murder of the four white officers who brutalized him," Occupy wrote on their website, adding that Morgan was found not guilty on three counts, including discharging his weapon. The same jury that cleared him of opening fire on the officers, however, deadlocked on a charge of attempted murder — and another jury found him guilty in January.
That jury was not allowed to hear that Morgan had been acquitted of the other charges.
Protesters and Morgan’s family say the second trial amounted to double jeopardy, and claim officers have gone to great lengths to obstruct justice in the case:“Howard Morgan’s van was crushed and destroyed without notice or cause before any forensic investigation could be done.
Howard Morgan was never tested for gun residue to confirm if he even fired a weapon on the morning in question.
The State never produced the actual bullet proof vest worn by one of the officers who claimed to have allegedly taken a shot directly into the vest on the morning in question. The State only produced a replica.”
“If they can do this and eliminate double jeopardy and your constitutional rights, then my God, I fear for every Afro-American — whether they be male or female — in this corrupt unjust system,” Morgan’s wife told the Sun-Times.
Howard Morgan will be sentenced Thursday. He faces 80 years in prison.
This post is over a year old, but since people are currently reblogging it, I should at least post an update.
Unfortunately, the protests and campaign to raise awareness about Howard Morgan’s case couldn’t spare him from our racist ‘Justice System’.
Howard Morgan, his attorney Sam Adam Jr., and Charice Rush (who testified in favor of Morgan), the only witness to the event, are all black. The four other officers involved are all white. The twelve-person jury that found Morgan guilty had ten white members.
On April 5, 2012, Howard was found guilty of attempted murder despite the lack of evidence supporting the white officer’s claims, the blatant disregard for double jeopardy laws (Howard was tried twice) and the reluctance to search for forensic evidence (like checking for gun powder residue on Morgan’s hands).
He was issued four sentences, one, 40 years, one, 35 years, and two for 25 years. These sentences were reported as 40 years because Morgan may serve them concurrently.
One of my favorite bands in the world, Against Me!, just released their acoustic EP, True Trans, for free, for a limited time. Check it out. And props to Laura Jane Grace for coming out. You’re brave and awesome.
Reminders about your friendly neighbourhood watchman:
I figured I couldn’t possible make her outfit look worse, so I added a grandma sweater… and cats.
That is so adorable. xD
Still on hiatus, but this was too cute/awesome not to share. :3
And yes that is supposed to be an old woman, but still with that one female body type except for the wrinkles on her face.
In late April in a courthouse in Madison County, Ala., a prosecutor was asked to explain why he had struck 11 of 14 black potential jurors in a capital murder case.
The district attorney, Robert Broussard, said one had seemed “arrogant” and “pretty vocal.” In another woman, he said he “detected hostility.”
Mr. Broussard also questioned the “sophistication” of a former Army sergeant, a forklift operator with three years of college, a cafeteria manager, an assembly-line worker and a retired Department of Defense program analyst.
The analyst, he said, “did not appear to be sophisticated to us in her questionnaire, in that she spelled Wal-Mart, as one of her previous employers, as Wal-marts.”
Arguments like these were used for years to keep blacks off juries in the segregationist South, systematically denying justice to black defendants and victims. But today, the practice of excluding blacks and other minorities from Southern juries remains widespread and, according to defense lawyers and a new study by the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit human rights and legal services organization in Montgomery, Ala., largely unchecked.
In the Madison County case, the defendant, Jason M. Sharp, a white man, was sentenced to death after a trial by a jury of 11 whites and one black. The April hearing was the result of a challenge by defense lawyers who argued that jury selection was tainted by racial discrimination — a claim that is difficult to prove because prosecutors can claim any race-neutral reason, no matter how implausible, for dismissing a juror.
While jury makeup varies widely by jurisdiction, the organization, which studied eight Southern states — Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee — found areas in all of them where significant problems persist. In Alabama, courts have found racially discriminatory jury selection in 25 death penalty cases since 1987, and there are counties where more than 75 percent of black jury pool members have been struck in death penalty cases.
An analysis of Jefferson Parish, La., by the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center found that from 1999 to 2007, blacks were struck from juries at more than three times the rate of whites.
In North Carolina, at least 26 current death row defendants were sentenced by all-white juries. In South Carolina, a prosecutor said he struck a black potential juror because he “shucked and jived” when he walked.
Studies have shown that racially diverse juries deliberate longer, consider a wider variety of perspectives and make fewer factual errors than all-white juries, and that predominantly black juries are less likely to impose the death penalty.
Excluding jurors based on race has been illegal since 1875, but after Reconstruction, all-white juries remained the norm in the South.
“It really made lynching and the Ku Klux Klan possible,” said Christopher Waldrep, a historian at San Francisco State University and the author of a forthcoming book about a lawyer who was able, in a rare case, to prove jury discrimination in Mississippi in 1906. “If you’d had a lot of black grand jurors investigating crimes, it would have made lynching impossible.”
Back then, judges and prosecutors often argued that blacks lacked the intelligence or education to serve. That such claims persist is evidence, said Bryan A. Stevenson, the executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, that jury selection remains largely unscrutinized.
“There’s just this tolerance, there’s indifference to excluding people on the basis of race, and prosecutors are doing it with impunity,” Mr. Stevenson said. “Unless you’re in the courtroom, unless you’re a lawyer working on these issues, you’re not going to know whether your local prosecutor consistently bars people of color.”
Prosecutors have claimed to strike jurors because they live in high-crime neighborhoods, are unemployed or are single parents. In one Louisiana case, a judge allowed a black juror to be dismissed because the prosecutor said he “looked like a drug dealer.”