Sandra Bland, other African American women, and police


This video from the USA says about itself:

Reader Request: #SayHerName

1 June 2015

The following is an excerpt from the article, ‘Say Her Name’ Turns Spotlight on Black Women and Girls Killed by Police.’

‘“Black lives matter.” For the past nine months, this rallying cry has permeated street corners, protests, tweets, news conferences, and even the cover of Time magazine.

Last August, the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer kick-started the efforts of activists protesting against police brutality and violence. By now, the names Eric Garner, Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, and Freddie Gray have become synonymous with the Black Lives Matter movement. But solely focusing on their stories has come at the expense of another group affected by police violence: black women.

[It was co-founded by three black activists: Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi.]

Rachel Gilmer, associate director of the African American Policy Forum, says the reason black women’s stories are excluded from the discussion is simple.

“Across the board, all the way up from the White House’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative down to the grassroots movements that we’ve seen rise in this country in response to state violence, men and boys are seen as the primary target of racial injustice,” she says. “This has led to the idea that women and girls of color are not doing as bad, or that we’re not at risk at all.”

African American women are three times more likely to be incarcerated than their white counterparts, and young black girls are suspended from school at six times the rate of their white female peers.

Indeed, in light of the challenges black women and girls face, the AAPF recently coauthored a policy brief and launched a social media campaign titled “Say Her Name.” The effort aims to amplify the stories of African American women and girls who have been victims of police violence.

“We wanted to launch ‘Say Her Name’ to really uplift the lives and experiences of those who have been killed by police and the many other forms of police violence black women experience,” Gilmer explains, noting that officer-involved sexual assault often garners little response.

On Thursday, thousands of protesters took to the streets across the nation to amplify the names of black female victims of state violence. In San Francisco, a group of topless black women took the streets to demand justice for slain black women. In New York City, thousands flooded the streets to uplift women such as Rekia Boyd, Shelly Frey, Yvette Smith, Mya Hall, Kendra James, Natasha McKenna, and Aiyana Stanley-Jones, who was just seven when she was killed by police.

The AAPF report noted that the controversial stop-and-frisk policing tactic, which is used by law enforcement officers across the nation, tends to be associated with males of color. However, in New York City, where the policy has been deemed unconstitutional because it unfairly profiles blacks and Latinos, 53.4 percent of all of women stopped by NYPD officers were black, and 27.5 percent were Latino. The numbers of black women accosted by law enforcement is on par with their black male counterparts, yet women are often absent from the discussion about police overreach.

These demonstrations are meant to address the violence against Black women and reinforce an often forgotten truth: Black women’s bodies are NOT for consumption or commodification.’

Thanks for watching.

By Terrell Jermaine Starr, AlterNet in the USA:

These 8 stats reveal just how badly the police state hurts black women

31 July 2015 at 23:34 ET

The outrageous shooting death of Sam Dubose by a Cincinnati cop is grabbing the headlines, but nearly two weeks after Sandra Bland died in a Texas jail after being stopped and brutally arrested for a minor traffic violation, her questionable detainment makes it clear that the criminal justice system is often as brutal to black women as it is to black men. As AlterNet recently reported, Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia overstepped his authority when he asked Bland to put out her cigarette, prolonging and escalating the stop.

Social media reactions to Bland’s stop, however, have been divided, in part along racial lines. Many white people have argued that Bland would have left the stop untouched had she simply not given Texas state trooper Brian Encinia an “attitude.” Black people, overwhelmingly, have pointed out that white women regularly engage police officers just as Bland did, yet don’t have to fear being abused for doing so.

Critics point to a New York Daily News photo of a white woman breast-to-chest with an NYPD officer and a video of a white woman defiantly challenging an officer during a traffic stop as offering sharp contrasts with Bland’s treatment, and anecdotal examples of how law enforcement treats white and black women differently.

Julia Jordan-Zachery, a professor of political science at Providence College whose research focuses on the treatment of black women in the criminal justice system, says Bland’s story and ultimate death is another example of the myth of the strong black woman, who somehow is impervious to pain.

“It wasn’t possible for anyone to understand that she could have been in pain,” Jordan-Zachery told AlterNet. “What we know from literature is that black women are somehow so strong that we can’t even experience physical pain or that our tolerance level for pain is so high that no one ever listens to black women when we say we are experiencing pain.”

Breea C. Willingham, assistant professor of criminal justice at State University of New York in Plattsburg, echoed Jordan-Zachery’s analysis, saying that the disregard for black women’s bodies by American law enforcement dates back to America’s inception.

“From slavery days, during the Civil Rights Movement, and the history of black women in America, black women’s bodies were never really their own,” Willingham, who is currently working on a book that addresses the treatment of black women in prison, told AlterNet. “We’re always under surveillance. If you take the case of 15-year-old Dejerria Becton, in McKinney, Tex., where the cop slammed her on the ground in her bikini, knee in the back of her head, that’s just one example of the fact that there is no regard for our bodies.”

A major barrier in understanding the ways in which the criminal justice system treats black women is the dearth of research on the subject. While statistics on how law enforcement engage black men are plentiful, similar data on black women is limited. But Bland’s death has sparked a rare national conversation that’s forcing the country to take a closer look at how law enforcement and the criminal justice system treat black women.

AlterNet was able to find eight statistically-backed ways in which law enforcement disproportionately abuses black women, despite limited scholarly research devoted to the issue.

Below are some of the most glaring findings, along with some commentary from Willingham and Jordan-Zachery.

1. Black women make up 6 percent of San Francisco’s population, yet made up 45.5 percent of all women arrested there in 2013.

San Francisco is known as perhaps the most liberal and inclusive city in all of America, but that reputation means little for the black women its police department places in handcuffs. According to the Center for Juvenile and Criminal Justice, black women have been arrested at higher rates than other races of women in the city for the last 23 years at least. In every major arrest category, including possession, prostitution, weapons, drug felonies and marijuana, black women far outpace other races of women. Perhaps the most notable arrest disparity cited in the report is that arrest rates of black women in San Francisco are four times higher than the rest of California.

2. In New York City and Boston schools districts, black girls are suspended and expelled at much higher rates than white girls.

During the 2011-2012 school year, 90 percent of all girls suspended were black, according to a recent report titled, “Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected.”  Not one white girl was suspended that year. Boston was no better. Sixty-three percent of the girls subjected to expulsion were black during the same time frame, but no white girls were suspended.

“As public concern mounts for the needs of men and boys of color through initiatives like the White House’s My Brother’s Keeper, we must challenge the assumption that the lives of girls and women—who are often left out of the national conversation—are not also at risk,” Kimberlé Crenshaw, the study’s lead author, said.

3. Black women were locked up in state and federal prisons at more than twice the rate of white women.

Overall, black women make up 30 percent of the prison population, despite being 14 percent of the U.S. population, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. There are a wide range of reasons why these disparities exists. A Huffington Post article cites a lack of economic resources, familial support, and systematic oppression as driving actors.

It is difficult to unpack that 30 percent figure because not much research is devoted to understanding black women and incarceration, and policymakers feel no pressure to allocate resources to understanding the issue. Jordan-Zachery says this is due to the either-or politics policymakers engage in. Under this model, they can only address the issues of black men or black women, with women normally being left out.

“We can either talk about black men under the umbrella of black politics, or we can talk about black women,” she said. “We can’t talk about both simultaneously. What I suggest is that it is not a politics of either or. It’s a politics of both and. We have to expand our understanding of politics in a way that sometimes go against the American understanding of politicians that leads us to make false choices. When we include black women, what we’re actually doing is expanding our politics.”

4. Black mothers in New Jersey are more likely than their white counterparts to be deemed “unfit parents.”

New Jersey Public Radio learned through its own investigation that the children of black mothers are four times more likely to be placed in foster care than the children of white mothers. Black children make up just 14 percent of the state population but account for 41 percent of those entering foster care. The report found that even if the mothers are at similar economic levels, the black mothers were still viewed as more unfit that white moms, so this is not a class issue.

Oronde Miller, of the Alliance for Racial Equity in Child Welfare, cited a Texas analysis of unfit parents that reveals poverty was not at play when that state found more black moms unfit than white moms. Instead, he argued that authorities were racially biased in determining who was deemed a good or bad parent.

Nationally, pregnant black women are ten times more likely to be reported to child welfare services for drug use than white women, according to the Drug Policy Alliance.

Jordan-Zachery says this data should inform us on how society views black motherhood.

“Even when we’re seen, we’re seen in a very negative way to justify punishment,” she said. “So, no matter what black women do, we become criminal elements.”

Laura Browder, a Texas mom who had to take her children with her to a child interview at a mall, was arrested for child endangerment a few weeks ago. This despite the fact that her children were a mere 30 feet away from her. We can only wonder if she would have been taken into custody for the same thing if she was white.

“Here’s a woman following the so-called rules, to use policymakers’ language,” Jordan-Zachery said. “But in that case, she is still seen as a criminal. What makes her criminal? What makes her criminal in this case is poverty and a lack of child care. This is another element of invisibility. What are you supposed to do? If you leave your children at home, you become a criminal. If you take your children with you, you become a criminal. So, what are black women suppose to do? Not work? If we don’t work, then we become the stereotype.”

5. Dark-skinned black women receive stiffer prison sentences in North Carolina than light-skinned black women for comparable crimes.

In a study titled “The Impact of Light Skin on Prison Time for Black Female Offenders,” researchers found that black women who were perceived to be lighter skinned received sentences that were 12 percent lower than darker skinned women.

The authors of the study researched the criminal records of black women imprisoned in the state of North Carolina between 1995 and 2009 and controlled factors such as misconduct in prison, prior records and conviction dates. What the findings reveal, the authors wrote, is that associations with whiteness play a crucial role in how black women are treated in the criminal justice system.

6. States that drug test pregnant women disproportionately jail black women.

At least 17 states consider drug use during pregnancy to be child abuse, according to Guttmacher Institute. Pregnant black women are no more likely to use drugs than white women during pregnancy, but they are reported to child welfare services for drug use at rates higher than white pregnant moms, according to a 2015 report by the Drug Policy Alliance.

The ACLU reports that the incarceration rate for black women for drug-related offenses since 1986 has increased by 800 percent, compared to 400 percent for other races of women. It is crucial to note that black and white women uses drugs at the same rate.

7. More than half of all of women stopped by the NYPD are black.

In 2013, the most recent year from which arrest data is available, black women made up 53.4 percent of all arrests in New York City. Latina women were second at 27.5 percent and white women made up only 13.4 percent.

8. Black girls make up 14 percent of the U.S. population but make up more than 33 percent of girls detained or committed at juvenile justice system.

Willingham, whose research focuses on the incarceration of black women, says we see a higher rate of black girls behind bars than white girls because they aren’t getting the same support at the juvenile level. A recent report that analyzed how the sexual abuse girls experience can lead to incarceration points out that black girls make up a third of female juveniles detained or committed. Most girls in the juvenile justice system have experienced some form of sexual assault at some point during their lives. However, Willingham says black girls are less likely than white girls to get the rehabilitative support needed to decrease their chances of recidivism.

“Even at a young age, they’re considered ‘bad,’” she said. “For white girls, it’s, ‘Oh, they just have problems, they’ll be OK. We can help them. But black girls, no. They’re just bad.’ And we don’t even get the benefit of the doubt.”

Hopefully, attention to how black women are treated by police and the criminal justice system will change that.

The only reason Americans are beginning to hear about the abuses black women experience at the hand of law enforcement is because of social media, Willingham says. In order to gather a more complete  understanding of how police brutality and incarceration impacts black women, more research has to be done. But the recent deaths of Sandra Bland, Kendra and, as of Sunday, Ralkina Jones, all symbolize that black women face many of the same kinds of law enforcement abuse as black men.

“Whether they’re slamming us to the ground or manhandling us, throwing us in jail and finding our dead bodies in them, there is no regard for us,” Willingham said. “It’s just like throwing the trash out. That is how I see the criminal justice system treats black women. It’s just taking the trash out.”

Bland Case, Other Jail Deaths Show Black Women Also Fear Police Violence: here.

Sandra Bland Driving While Black tells the UGLY story of how Black People Are Targeted: here.

Sandra Bland Protests In Minneapolis: ‘Black Lives Matter’ Demonstrators Take To The Streets: here.

The University of Cincinnati put police officers Phillip Kidd and David Lindenschmidt on paid administrative leave Thursday for the course of an internal investigation into their reports of the July 19 killing of Samuel DuBose by officer Ray Tensing. The family of DuBose has demanded that Kidd be charged for making false statements on a police incident report, claiming that he saw DuBose’s car dragging Tensing. This came after the release of the two officers’ body camera footage, in which they can be heard corroborating Tensing’s false claim that he only shot DuBose after being dragged by his car: here.

Sandra Bland, after her death in Texas, USA, update


This video from the USA says about herself:

Sandra Bland and Black Girls Matter

29 July 2015

Kimberle’ Crenshaw, law professor and co-founder of the African American Policy Forum, discusses the death of Sandra Bland in the context of her report, “Black Girls Matter: Pushed-Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected”.

See transcript of this here.

From Associated Press in the USA:

Sandra Bland’s death may bring new screenings in Texas jails

July 30 2015 11:10:55 PM CDT

AUSTIN, Texas –

The House Committee on County Affairs called for a hearing Thursday to get answers surrounding the arrest and death of Sandra Bland.

“It broke my heart to hear (about) Sandra Bland,” said Janet Baker.

Janet Baker testified and said she feels a strong connection to the case because a Houston police officer killed her son Jordan Baker last January.

“To hear her mom say that they took a road trip together and I just remember the last phone call that I had with Jordan and I replay it over and over again. I didn’t know it would be the last conversation we’d have,” said Janet Baker.

A grand jury cleared the officer in Jordan Baker’s case.

Janet Baker was one of several community members who spoke in front of the committee asking for change in our law enforcement and in our jail system.

“We know from her case, if you can make changes that would impact other people, where you won’t have something like this happen again no matter what it was, that’s a plus,” said Yannis Banks with NAACP Texas.

State Representative Garnet Coleman from Houston called the hearing, which at times became heated.

DPS Director Steve McCraw said his department will do a thorough investigation and agreed the trooper who arrested Bland violated policy.

“He clearly was rude and he had an opportunity to deescalate it, instead he escalated it,” said McCraw.

Brandon Wood with The Texas Commission on Jail Standards also testified saying jails need help identifying inmates with mental illnesses.

Counties need to be doing better and the state as a whole can possibly review to see if they can step up in certain areas such as additional funding for mental health,” said Wood.

As for Baker, she wanted officers to be held accountable for their actions. She’s hopeful something will be done.

“My faith tells me that yes there will be a change, there has to be,” said Baker.

Officials recommended revising the mental health assessment in jails and adding training for jailers to detect someone in crisis.

Committee members invited officials from Waller County, but none could make it to the hearing.

Bland was found dead in a Waller County jail July 13th, three days after she was arrested during a traffic stop. Authorities say she hanged herself, a finding her family has questioned.

Officials say Waller County jailers didn’t get additional mental health training they were supposed to receive.

Sandra Bland’s Only Crime: She Knew Her Rights: here.

A child holds a sign about Sandra Bland, who died in police custody, during a rally against police violence in New York July 22, 2015. Photo: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas trooper who arrested a black Chicago-area area woman after a confrontation that began with a traffic stop had been cautioned about “unprofessional conduct” in a 2014 incident while he was still a probationary trooper. The disciplinary entry regarding Trooper Brian Encinia of the Texas Department of Public Safety was contained in Encinia’s personnel file. The department released the file Friday in response to Freedom on Information requests: here. And here.

Texas Trooper’s Behavior Called ‘Catalyst’ in Sandra Bland’s Death: here.

A total of six African-American women have been found dead in police custody in just the last month. Most of the deceased women had been in jail for no more than two days and held for minor charges. Their deaths are all under investigation. The six women are: Sandra Bland of Texas, Kindra Chapman of Alabama, Joyce Curnell of South Carolina, Ralkina Jones of Ohio, Alexis McGovern of Missouri, and Raynetta Turner of New York: here.

Here are the five black women who have died in US jails in July: here.

Houston Police name two suspects who died in custody within eight days amid fallout over Sandra Bland hanging: here.

Sandra Bland

No mourning, no peace: Sam DuBose, Sandra Bland and why Black lives don’t matter (yet): here.

How the lack of police ‘discretion’ killed Samuel Dubose and Sandra Bland: here.

Sandra Bland, Samuel DuBose and the rise of ‘vehicular stop and frisk’. Racially based stops for minor traffic violations on the rise because of court action and police practice, say activists: here.

Looking Back on Cincinnati’s Long History of Police Brutality. April Martin spent nearly 10 years reporting on the 15 African Americans killed by police between 1995 and 2001 for her new documentary, Cincinnati Goddamn. Then another killing happened: here.

By Lonnae O’Neal: I am struggling mightily with the death of Sandra Bland. Struggling to understand it, struggling with the tragedy of it, and struggling especially with how utterly unnecessary and unfair it feels. And how depressing it is to watch the video of her initial encounter with police. I am struggling with whether the nation that watches the video can see itself: here.

This morning, a coalition of activists gathered in front of the Justice Department in Washington DC to deliver a petition containing 500,000 signatures demanding that Attorney General Loretta Lynch launch an investigation into Bland’s death. Last week, Senator Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) wrote to Lynch asking that she open an investigation; Bland was from Illinois: here.

Sandra Bland died in a Texas jail after what should have been a routine traffic stop. (Photo courtesy Facebook)

White supremacy, racism killed Sandra Bland: here.

Homeland Security Is Tracking Black Lives Matter. Is That Legal? Here.

Social Media Activism: Sandra Bland, Police Brutality and #BlackLivesMatter: here.

BEHIND THE PROLIFERATION OF RENT-A-COPS “In the United States, private police officers currently outnumber their publicly funded counterparts by a ratio of roughly three to one. Whereas in past decades the distinction was often clear — the rent-a-cop vs. the real cop — today the boundary between the two has become ‘messy and complex,’ according to a study last year by Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.” [NYT]

Sandra Bland, after her death in Texas, USA


Sandra Bland

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Sandra Bland’s death in police custody puts spotlight on Texas jail standards

More than 4,200 people in Texas have died in custody in the past decade, and Waller County, where Bland died, has repeatedly been found non-compliant with state regulations that could have prevented her death

Tom Dart in Houston

Wednesday 29 July 2015 12.00 BST

If it makes no logical sense that a young and seemingly happy woman would kill herself days after being offered a new job, then the death of Sandra Bland is an anomaly on a statistical level as well.

The official, hotly disputed account is that the 28-year-old hanged herself in her cell on 13 July. If that is true she is the first African American woman to kill herself in a Texas county jail since the state’s standards agency started keeping death records.

Brandon Wood, executive director of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, said that 140 inmates in Texas county jails have killed themselves since 2009, mostly white men. Suicide, usually by hanging, represents about one-third of the total deaths. Bland’s gender and race mark her out as unique.

Deaths in custody, though, are anything but rare. Officially, more than 4,200 people in Texas have died in custody in the past decade – a figure that includes those killed during attempted arrests or while restrained, as well as those who are incarcerated.

Half of them fell under the responsibility of the state prisons department, which typically holds inmates serving sentences of more than a year. Those in county jails are usually serving short sentences or are awaiting trial and have not yet been convicted, like Bland. At the end of 2013, according to federal statistics, Texas held 168,280 prisoners – more than any other state.

Across the country, 958 inmates died in local jails in 2012, according to an analysis last year by the Bureau of Justice Statistics – an increase of 8% from 2011. The average annual suicide rate for white inmates between 2000 and 2012 was at least three times higher than the rate for black or Hispanic prisoners.

In Houston alone there have been four deaths in the past eight days, one an apparent suicide of a man who had been screened for mental health issues about 12 hours earlier. “You have a constitutional right to be protected from harm in custody and that includes protection from harming yourself,” said Amin Alehashem, an attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project in Houston. The project plans to launch legal action against a Houston-area sheriff on Wednesday in a jail suicide case.

Alehashem said that as well as basic failings that vary from county to county, the length of pre-trial detention is a fundamental problem. The majority of inmates in Harris County’s jail, which encompasses Houston, are there because they cannot afford to make bond, he said.

Bland was seemingly unable to raise money for her bond immediately, meaning she was held over the weekend, alone in her cell. “Individuals that don’t have access to resources are confined and it has immediate consequences on mental health,” Alehashem said.

Bland was said to have asphyxiated herself using a plastic trash bag. Wood said that the use of trash bags is “not something that we are looking at prohibiting” because “she could just as easily have used her inmate clothing, her undergarments, her bedding, towels.”

But the Waller County jail, near Houston, has repeatedly been found non-compliant with state regulations in recent years, including after the 2012 suicide of a 29-year-old man.

An inspection in the wake of Bland’s death cited a failure to check on inmates in person at least once an hour and a lack of mental health training. The jail has 30 days to come up with a plan to rectify the problems. Wood’s agency has also spoken to officials about the failure to follow mental health assessment guidelines after she indicated on a screening questionnaire that she had previously attempted suicide and felt depressed.

That should have prompted jailers to contact a magistrate for a decision on whether to have her assessed by a mental health professional. But she was not even placed on suicide watch, which would have seen her checked more frequently and probably put in a cell covered by a camera.

Elton Mathis, the Waller County district attorney, released a toxicology report on Monday which indicated that Bland had marijuana in her system at the time of her death. Warren Diepraam, a county prosector, did not rule out the possibility that she had ingested the drug while in jail. Bland’s jail records and the dashcam video from the traffic stop that precipitated her arrest do not indicate that law enforcement officers suspected she was high on drugs at the time.

Michael McCabe, a toxicology expert with Robson Forensic in Philadelphia, reviewed the report for the Guardian and said that if the levels found in Bland’s blood had come from a living person they would indicate that she had smoked marijuana within a few hours of the sample collection. But, he said, given the faster rate at which the main chemical is released from body fat stores after death, it is not possible from the results to make a definitive conclusion that she was using marijuana or under the influence of marijuana at the time of her arrest or death.

Glenn Smith, the Waller County sheriff, said last week that he has asked a local attorney to form an independent panel to investigate his department’s procedures and performance. Mathis told reporters on Monday that he is forming a committee of outside attorneys to examine Bland’s case with a view to possible criminal charges that would be presented to a grand jury, probably next month.

Regardless of the autopsy results, for many in the local community and beyond, the jail’s errors, the mishandled traffic stop on the afternoon of 10 July that quickly escalated into confrontation and the context – a white trooper waiting in his car just outside the campus of a mainly black university who drives up behind Bland, prompting her to move across, then pulls her over for failing to signal a lane change – blame her death on institutional incompetence and bias.

“Waller County should be held accountable because she died in their care, custody and control,” said DeWayne Charleston, who became the county’s first black justice of the peace in 2003.

“Sandra Bland was entitled to proper medical care, entitled that everything about her care brought her safety and security,” he said, adding that he had previously spent time in the jail because of his activism. He speculated that anyone brought in on suspicion of assaulting an officer, like Bland, would not have received sympathetic treatment from staff.

He is not persuaded by Mathis’s announcement or his promises of a transparent and thorough investigation. “I don’t have any confidence in the fact that he has not made a commitment that he would bind himself to the recommendations,” he said. “I think he should just recuse himself. The trust is too far gone.”

Last week the sheriff’s office said in a statement: “All plastic trash liners have been removed from all cells in the Waller County Jail, pending further direction from the Texas Commission on Jail Standards. The two deficiencies noted by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards … are being corrected and all inmates are monitored hourly for face-to-face observation.”

The full dashboard video of Sandra Bland’s arrest is nearly fifty minutes long, and can be viewed on YouTube. It has the quality of nightmare, because it starts off so routinely and goes so badly. Sandra Bland was a twenty-eight-year-old African-American woman who was driving from Chicago to East Texas, to take a job at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M University. At home in Illinois, she was active in her church and close to her family. She had taken a keen interest in the Black Lives Matter movement and in the problem of police abuse of authority. At first, the conversation between Bland and Encinia is relatively civil; Bland expresses her unhappiness at being stopped. But she sounds calm, like a reasonable person educated about her rights, and in a hurry to be on her way: here.

‘My Baby Did Not Take Herself Out': Friends, Family Share Stories of Sandra Bland: here.

From Equality Texas:

In Sandra Bland’s Death, Echos of LGBT History

July 29, 2015

On March 8th, 1970, New York Police raided the Snake Pit Bar, a gay bar in Greenwich Village, arresting all 167 patrons and staff present.

Diego Vinales, a 23-year old undocumented Argentinian immigrant was one of those arrested. Depending on which account you believe Vinales either, fearing deportation, jumped from a 2nd story window in an attempt to escape and was impaled on the wrought iron fence below, or was pushed out of the window by police officers.

In a flyer protesting the police violence against Vinales the Gay Activist Alliance said “Any way you look at it, Diego Vinales was pushed. We are all being pushed… Anyone who calls himself a human being, who has the guts to stand up to this horror, join us.”

OHIO COP INDICTED FOR MURDER AFTER TRAFFIC STOP “A University of Cincinnati police officer who shot a motorist during a traffic stop over a missing front license plate was indicted Wednesday on a murder charge, with a prosecutor saying the officer ‘purposely killed him’ and ‘should never have been a police officer.'” Take a look at the latest graphic from The Washington Post regarding the number of people shot dead by the police this year, as well as The New York Times‘ compilation of videos that are “putting race and policing in sharp relief.” [AP]

Can This Software Prevent Acts of Police Brutality? Here.

British Islamophobes’ ‘racial holy war’ plans


This video from North America says about an extreme right ‘racial holy war‘ propagandist:

14 July 2015

Paul Craig Cobb better known as Craig Cobb, is an American Canadian White Nationalist, White Separatist, Neo-Nazi, antisemite and Holocaust denier who operates the video sharing website Podblanc.

By Luke James in Britain:

Operation Race Riot

Tuesday 28th July 2015

Campaigners expose far-right bid to launch a race war off the back of insulting cartoon exhibition of the Muslim prophet Mohammed

A RACIST plot to spark a “civil war” in Britain by staging a provocative exhibition of prophet Mohammed cartoons was blown open by campaigners yesterday.

Anti-fascist group Hope Not Hate published a 32-page dossier alleging that a September 18 exhibition will be at the centre of a plan to spark confrontations in multicultural communities.

Chief executive Nick Lowles called on the authorities to stop the event, saying it is “simply seeking to incite division, hatred and violence.”

Mr Lowles warned: “Some simply want to provoke a violent reaction from Muslims in order to present them in a negative and intolerant light.

“Others hope the cartoons will spark a series of tit-for-tat violence that will ultimately lead to civil war.”

The Sharia Watch group — run by Ukip general election candidate Anne Marie Waters — announced plans for the exhibition earlier this month.

The event at an undisclosed central London venue is to feature cartoons from “satirical” magazine Vive Charlie, which counts Sun columnist Katie Hopkins among its supporters.

Infamous far-right Dutch MP Geert Wilders, previously banned from Britain as an “undesirable” for his virulent Islamophobia, is to be the main speaker at the event.

A similar exhibition attended by Mr Wilders in Texas this year was attacked by two armed men, who were shot dead by police.

The Home Office appeared to suggest yesterday that Mr Wilders could be barred entry to Britain to attend the event.

A spokeswoman said the government doesn’t comment on individual cases before adding: “The Home Secretary has the power to exclude non-British nationals from the UK.

“The government makes no apologies for refusing people access to the UK if we believe they present a threat to our society.”

Organisers claimed the event was part of a campaign to defend free speech in the wake of the deadly attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices in January by Islamic extremists.

But Hope Not Hate’s year-long investigation has revealed the real and “sinister” motives behind the event.

The group has insider evidence that Ms Marie Waters and other white extremists discussed using the exhibition to ignite race riots.

She met last month with English Defence League founders Stephen Lennon (AKA Tommy Robinson) and Alan Ayling, as well as Britain First founder Jim Dowson, according to information passed to Hope Not Hate.

One idea allegedly discussed by the group was to hold a number of demonstrations in areas with large Muslim populations at the same time.

Racist activists would wave placards showing images of the prophet Mohammed in the hope of inciting a violent backlash from local Muslims.

“They believed that police would be too stretched to cope and at least one of the demos would lead to a riot,” the report states.

A source closer to Mr Lennon reported that “Isis sleeper sells within the UK would be activated to commit terrorist attacks” in response to the exhibition.

Mr Lennon was said to believe that ex-soldiers would then “take the law into their own hands.”

The report also highlights how British fanatics openly discuss plans for civil war scenarios online, including suggestions about urban warfare.

One recent fictional account of a civil war posted anonymously began with the publication of Mohammed cartoons.

Hope Not Hate says it is “highly disturbing” that people can openly talk about murdering Muslims in a civil war and face no police action.

Mr Lowles added: “This report is more than just an exposé of attempts to use the cartoons to incite a violent reaction.

“It is about a group of political extremists, as dangerous as the Islamists they claim to dislike, who are seeking to bring society to its knees and drive Muslims out of Europe through fear, violence and murder.”

Ms Marie Waters, who stood for Ukip in Lewisham East in May, denied the allegations and the party said it was standing behind her.

See also here.

German neo-nazi bomb attack against pro-refugee activist


Refugees welcome. Artist collective Dies Irae recently replaced bus stop ads in Freital in Germany with pro-refugee posters

By Polla Garmiany in Germany, 27 July 2015:

Pro-immigrants German politician bombed; neo-Nazis suspected

MAINZ, Germany – A German leftist politician who had faced threats for his work in support of refugees and immigrants escaped unhurt, after a bomb exploded outside his home overnight Monday.

The attack, targeting Michael Richter of the Die Linke leftist party, came in the the eastern German city of Freital, near Dresden. Richter and the leftist party are known for their work in support of refugees and immigrants.

Michael Richter’s car exploded in front of his house in Freital, but no one was hurt.

The Die Linke parliamentary group released a statement saying: “The perpetrator or perpetrators have to be swiftly identified and punished. The rule of law cannot stand idly by the increasing violence against refugees and against people like Michael Richter, who take a stand for the well-being of refugees.”

Martin Bialluch, spokesman for Die Linke, told Rudaw: “We have no proof about the perpetrators yet, but Michael Richter was often threatened for his work, by far right or racist groups.”

Neo-nazi anti-refugee sticker in Freital

After several attacks and rallies against refugees and immigrants in the last weeks, the German town of Freital gained renown as a center of far right activists.

In April, a Kurdish student from Syria was shot by neo-Nazis in the German city of Leipzig. Eastern Germany struggles with rising racist and anti-immigrant movements since the unification of East and West Germany in 1990.

“The Kurdish community in Germany condemns the bombing attack against Michael Richter utterly,“ said Mehmet Tanriverdi, chairman of the Kurdish community in Germany (KGD)

“We feel certain that this bombing attack and prior arson attacks against refugee camps are carried out by neo-Nazi gangs. The rising attacks on asylum seekers and refugee camps are alarming and worrisome. The government must do everything in order to provide protection to the people and to hold the perpetrators accountable for their actions,” Tanriverdi added.

Kurdish Ahmad Ibrahim, who has roots in Syrian Kurdistan and lives in eastern Germany, said: “This incident is very concerning. In April they shot this Kurdish boy, and now they even blow up a German politician’s car. My family and I were thinking of moving to Cologne, the people there are way more open.

“They understand that we didn’t leave our homelands for no reason. We left because of war and persecution, and speaking for my family, we would go back immediately after the war.”

Critics slam Danish anti-refugee ad plans: here.

Sandra Bland’s death in Texas in context


This 17 July 2015 video from the USA is called Outrage Grows After Mysterious Death of #BlackLivesMatter Activist Sandra Bland in Texas Jail.

On Saturday, hundreds of family members, friends and supporters attended the funeral of Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old African American woman found hanged in a Waller County, Texas jail cell on July 13, three days after being arrested during a traffic stop. The funeral was held at her lifelong church, DuPage African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Lisle, Ill., outside Chicago. … At Bland’s funeral, her family upheld her character, while maintaining that she would never harm herself. The last speaker was Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, who emphatically declared, “That baby did not take herself out of here”: here.

Texas county where inmate [Sandra Bland] died has history of racial tension: here.

Texas County’s Racial Past Is Seen as Prelude to Sandra Bland’s Death: here.

Take a short glance back into the legacy of Waller County and it’s no wonder that by the time 28-year-old Sandra Bland’s body was recovered in a jail cell here, the public’s faith in its institutions was already long-compromised: here.

Sheriff Where Sandra Bland Died Says There’s No Racism In His County: here.

Hundreds attend Waller County prayer vigil for Sandra Bland: here.

Heartbreaking images from Sandra Bland’s funeral: here.

One More Reason Sandra Bland’s Jail Cell Death Is Unusual. Why people like Sandra Bland are among the least likely to resort to suicide in a jail cell: here.

Whatever the circumstances of Sandra Bland’s death, blood is on the hands of the police: here.

The official account of how a black Illinois woman ended up dead in a Texas jail doesn’t stack up, says KELLY SINCLAIR: here.

A Native American activist was recently arrested and found dead in jail under conditions very similar to those of Sandra Bland in Texas. Rexdale W. Henry, 53, was recently found dead inside the Neshoba County Jail in Philadelphia, Mississippi, on July 14th: here.

Documents obtained by the Intercept establish that the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been spying on Black Lives Matter protesters since anti-police-brutality protests erupted following the police killing of Michael Brown in August 2014: here.

A video has surfaced alleging to be from the hacktivist group Anonymous – and they’ve placed the blame for Sandra Bland’s death at the feet of the authorities: here.

Sandra Bland Laid to Rest; First Black Judge in Waller County Demands Sheriff Resign over Her Death: here.