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.

Endangered snails back in Tahiti


This video is called Endangered Snails Sent Home to Tahiti From Detroit Zoo.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Endangered snails sent home to Tahiti from Detroit zoo

Effort to restore a south Pacific species that became extinct in the wild have put it on ‘the road to being saved’, zoo says

Wednesday 27 May 2015 02.44 BST

A hundred endangered snails are on their way to Tahiti to restore a species that became extinct in the wild, the Detroit zoo said on Tuesday.

The zoo has been working for decades to preserve the tiny Partula nodosa snail, one of several species driven out of their native south Pacific habitat by efforts to control another invasive snail species that went awry.

In 1989 the Detroit zoo was sent 115 snails from five related species. The zoo asked other institutions to focus on four species and concentrated on breeding Partula nodosa.

At one time, the zoo had all the known Partula nodosa snails in the world.

“Our efforts and successful breeding of the snails resulted in the rescue and recovery of the species,” said Scott Carter, the zoo’s chief life sciences officer,. “Currently there are 6,000 individuals living in North American zoos, all descendants from the Detroit zoo’s original small group.”

The disappearance of the species and its cousins in the wild was a result of an effort at biological control of giant African land snails, which were introduced to Tahiti and other south Pacific islands in 1967 as a human food source. Some escaped, bred rapidly and began eating farmers’ crops.

To control the African snails, Florida rosy wolf snails were introduced about 10 years later, but the wolf snails instead developed a taste for the Partula nodosa and its cousins.

“With the sufficient growth of the captive population and the establishment of a protected area on Tahiti, this species is officially on the road to being saved,” Carter said.