Rosa Parks’ home in Berlin, saving it from destruction by Detroit’s mayor

This video from the USA is called The Rosa Parks Story.

The mayor of Detroit in the USA not only threatens a graffiti artist with fifteen years in prison for graffiti art.

There is also this.

By Mary Papenfuss from the USA:

04/10/2017 03:27 am ET

What Is Rosa Parks’ House Doing In Berlin?

Detroit planned to demolish the home, so now it’s in artist’s yard in Germany.

If you want to visit the home where civil rights legend Rosa Parks lived, you’ve got a trip ahead of you — all the way across the Atlantic Ocean. That’s because her home is in the backyard of an American artist living in Germany.

It seems like back-of-the-bus treatment for the black woman who had the guts in 1955 to refuse to give up her seat to a white man in Alabama and go to the back of the bus. Instead, she gave birth to the civil rights movement.

Why is her home in Berlin? Short answer? Detroit planned to destroy it.

When Parks’ niece Rhea McCauley found out, she purchased the home for $500 and cast around for ways to save it. She reached out to artist Ryan Mendoza, who happened to be in Detroit at the time. Though they both appealed to Detroit’s mayor to protect the building, they said he had no interest. So they dissembled the home, packed it in shipping containers, transported it to Germany, and put it back together in an expensive operation that took several months, reported Deutsche Welle.

“It is something that is precious,” McCauley told The Associated Press. “It is priceless, yet it is being mistreated. That’s what I saw and that’s how it felt. So when I met Ryan and he said, ‘Let’s bring it to Berlin and restore it,’ I said yes.”

Mendoza, who was born in New York, is stunned that Germany ended up with what he considers a treasure. “The Rosa Parks house should actually be a national monument and not a demolition project,” he told Deutsche Welle.

“The basic question, the fundamental question I ask myself: ‘Is the house worthless or is the house  priceless?’ For the American institutions so far the house has been deemed worthless,” he told Agence France-Presse. “It was put on a demolition list; that’s not a detail.”

Mendoza believes it’s apt that the house stands in a country that tore down a wall, and has left a nation planning to build a wall.

Hundreds of people turned out to see the official unveiling of the home in Berlin last week. The interior still needs some work, but Mendoza has installed a sound exhibit for the home including a telephone interview with Parks.

McCauley said she hopes one day the U.S. will “grow up” and ask for its treasure back.

15 years jail for graffiti art in Detroit, USA?

Gabriela June Gibson, graffii artist

By Tyler Van Dyke in the USA:

Detroit woman faces 15 years in prison over graffiti incident

8 April 2017

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and his administration continue to pursue vindictive penalties in cases involving graffiti. Dozens of charges have been laid against graffiti artists since Duggan, a Democrat, took office in 2014.

In the most recent incident, Gabriela Gibson, 27, faces three felony charges carrying 15-year prison sentences. She is charged with lying under oath when questioned about the tagging of a long abandoned building on Detroit’s east side. Her license plate information was allegedly captured by an eyewitness while driving away from the scene after spray-painting faces on the building.

Prosecutors claim to have found information about other graffiti incidents while searching Gibson’s phone and text messages. Two other individuals, Nathan Koorhan and Craig Kowalski, face similar charges. Both face up to 10 years in prison for breaking and entering, and “malicious destruction” of one of Detroit’s many abandoned schools.

Detroit, America’s largest poor city, has been a target of graffiti for decades.

The three defendants are the latest victims of the crackdown against non-violent crimes by city officials.

The Duggan administration has also been issuing thousands of tickets to property owners in Detroit, giving them only seven days to remove graffiti from their buildings or be fined. Some residents, caught in the bureaucratic morass of the deeply underfunded and understaffed city, have been fined without being adequately warned about removing the graffiti.

Retired postal worker Freddie Jones, Jr. told the Detroit Free Press that the city had sent a crew to remove the tags off the side of his building and fined him $1,121 just three days after being warned.

“They’re doing it to get money,” Jones told the Free Press, “Had I been given an opportunity I would’ve done it no problem. I wasn’t even allotted the opportunity to clean up my own property.”

Another small business owner, Roosevelt Hendrix, barely avoided paying a $1,500 fine. He told the Free Press, “We just got lucky, man. I think we got lucky by doing it ourselves because $1,500–who has $1,500 for some graffiti, man? … $1,500 for nothing?”

Buildings where graffiti has been removed will often be tagged again in a matter of days.

The Duggan administration continues to try and present itself as “returning democracy to Detroit,” while working behind closed doors to turn the city of Detroit into a haven for big investors and speculators.

Duggan is up for re-election this year and will no doubt use his bullying policing tactics as an example of how he has helped the city by cracking down on petty crime. This is known as “broken window policing” or “quality of life policing,” the premise of which is that if small crimes are responded to harshly this will deter more serious crimes from occurring. The unconstitutional “stop-and-frisk” program in New York City is associated with this approach.

Duggan, a longtime proponent of “broken window policing,” said in 2003, when he was Wayne County prosecutor, “I consider these quality-of-life crimes serious issues,” and commented further that “They will have a ripple effect on other crimes.”

The “theory,” of course, is both unfair and anti-democratic and has no essential effect on conditions and crime rates that are the product of the overwhelming decay and devastation of America’s inner cities.

As great numbers of people realize full well, the true “vandals” in Detroit, guilty of “malicious destruction” on a vast scale, are the auto and other giant corporations that have destroyed hundreds of thousands of decent-paying jobs over the past 35 years, reducing the city’s population to levels of misery seen in so-called Third World countries. Duggan and the Democrats have presided over the social carnage, acting with one goal in mind: to suppress popular anger and protect the wealth of the city’s elite.

The imposition of tougher penalties for petty crimes, including the brutal treatment of Gibson, is intended to intimidate the population and muzzle potential opposition. Both the graffiti artists and the property-owners threatened with fines are victims of the same social process.

Duggan has received wide bipartisan support for his re-election bid, with many politicians and corporate figures already announcing support for him.

Health insurance corporation Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s political action committee, BluesPAC, sent out a letter in late February to “more than 1,000 Blue Cross employees … asking for donations of $1,000 for corporate officers, $500 for vice presidents, $250 for directors and $100 from managers and others to support the Mike Duggan for Detroit Committee,” according to Crain’s Detroit Business .

Duggan served as Wayne County Prosecutor from 2001 to 2004. Soon after leaving that office he took a position as president and CEO of the Detroit Medical Center. After DMC was sold to Vanguard Health Systems in 2010, Duggan walked away with more than $2.4 million, along with sizeable stock options.

After an attempt to run for mayor of suburban Livonia in 2011, Duggan decided to campaign for mayor of Detroit in 2014. Because of his reputation as a cost cutter, Duggan secured the backing of major sections of Detroit’s ruling elite.

Among those donating the nearly $2 million to the 2014 Duggan mayoral campaign were political action committees associated with Quicken Loans CEO Dan Gilbert; Ford executive Bill Ford; Compuware founder Peter Karmanos; Roger Penske and executives from Vanguard Health Systems. All of these firms and individuals have continued to prosper under Duggan’s administration.

Detroit, USA students about Trump and war

This video from the USA says about itself:

On Thursday, November 17 2016, members of the International Youth and Students for Social Equality at Wayne State University, led by Jerry White, the Socialist Equality Party’s 2016 US presidential candidate, visited Cass Technical High School in downtown Detroit. Students spoke on the election of Trump, the growing protest movement sweeping the nation, and the danger of war and dictatorship.

Jeff Sessions Was Deemed Too Racist To Be A Federal Judge. He’ll Now Be Trump’s Attorney General. He once joked that he only took issue with the KKK’s drug use and referred to civil rights groups as “un-American”: here.

Innocent Detroit, USA teenager released after eight years in prison

This video from Detroit in the USA says about itself:

9 June 2016

Davontae Sanford speaks with the media a day after being released from prison where he was sent after being wrongfully convicted of murder.

By Tom Hall in the USA:

Wrongfully convicted Detroit teenager released after eight years in prison

10 June 2016

On Wednesday, 23-year-old Davontae Sanford was finally released from prison after a Michigan judge vacated his sentence in a quadruple homicide that he did not commit.

Sanford, a mentally handicapped youth who is blind in one eye, was 14 at the time of the shooting in his Detroit neighborhood. He had served eight years in state prison based solely on a false confession coerced out of him by police.

Police took Sanford in for questioning for the murder, which occurred in a drug house in Sanford’s neighborhood, and interrogated him over the course of two days without the presence of a lawyer or his parents. Sanford finally agreed to confess to the crime when police told them that he could leave if he would “just tell them something,” according to the Detroit News.

Sanford’s confession contained numerous factual inconsistencies. He was unable to correctly name the type of gun he had allegedly used to carry out the murders, and all of those who he named as accomplices had alibis.

In flagrant violation of protocol, Sanford’s confession was not videotaped by the police. A second confession was staged and recorded by police, this time with more accurate details of the crime scene, which were almost entirely fed to him by the interrogating officer.

Based upon this confession, along with incompetent legal representation by a lawyer who told Sanford that the police had an airtight case, Sanford was convicted in 2008 and sentenced to between 37 and 90 years in prison. During the trial, then-deputy police chief James Tolbert perjured himself on the stand, falsely claiming that Sanford had drawn an accurate diagram of the crime scene under questioning.

Only two weeks after Sanford was sentenced, a known hit man, Vincent Smothers, confessed to the murders and provided detailed and accurate information about the crime to police. Smothers, currently serving a 50 to 100 year sentence for eight other murders, has repeatedly stressed Sanford’s innocence in sworn affidavits.

For eight years, however, prosecutors insisted against overwhelming contrary evidence, that the right person had been convicted. According to Smothers’ attorney, police studiously avoided interviewing him about his role in the Sanford case. “He’s been willing to testify Davontae Sanford had nothing to do with the killings,” Smothers’ lawyer told the press before Sanford was released. “Come on, now: He’s a very savvy guy; there’s no way he’d bring a 14-year-old disabled kid to help him with a hit.”

While in prison, a despondent Sanford attempted to commit suicide but was stopped by guards. While attempting to restrain him, Sanford allegedly “spit on one guard and kicked another,” according to a prosecutor. He was convicted of two counts of misdemeanor assault and sentenced to an additional year in prison or a $2,500 fine. In spite of having his prior conviction thrown out on Tuesday, Sanford would have had to have spent an extra year in prison, but family lawyers found someone to pay the fine.

Tuesday’s ruling came after the release of an 11-month review of Sanford’s case by Michigan state police. The report concluded that Sanford played no role in the shootings and recommended murder charges be brought against Smothers. It also recommended that Tolbert be charged with perjury.

The day after Sanford’s release, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy gave a press conference in which she refused to apologize to the Sanford family and whitewashed her office’s stonewalling of the case for eight years. She attacked “people who have perpetuated the myth that somehow we found out about evidence in an earlier year and that nothing happened until just recently,” and defended the police’s conduct during Sanford’s interrogation. Incredibly, she claimed that her office had not found Smothers’ confession credible, despite his intimate knowledge of the facts of the case and the obvious inconsistencies in Sanford’s own confession.

Speaking to the media after the case, Sanford’s family attorney Valerie Newman said, “The reality is there is a lot of injustice in the criminal justice system, and this case puts that on full display … about how a 14-year-old child can be coerced into giving a false confession. Confessions are coerced more often than people think. Confessions are not the be-all and end-all. That’s the lesson to learn here.”

Speaking to the Detroit News, Sanford’s mother, Taminko Sanford-Tilmon, expressed her frustration over her family’s ordeal. “I know all cops aren’t bad. But do I say the system is fair? Mmmm, I’m not going to say yes.”

The United States, which has a prison population of over 2.2 million, by far the largest in the world, imprisons tens of thousands of children every year. More than 50,000 children were in detention centers or other forms of “residential placement” in 2013. In Michigan alone, more than 20,000 children were convicted as adults between 2004 and 2014, according to the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency.