President Obama makes a statement about Trayvon Martin and the verdict of the court trial that followed the Florida teenager’s death.
Tag: racial profiling
New York City’s police department is targeting Black and Latino residents — subjecting our communities to thousands of illegal stops, searches, and frisks each day that lead to unlawful arrests, constant harassment, and in some cases serious injury or death.1,2
Last year, NYPD officers made an astounding 700,000 stops3 — 89 percent of whom were Black or Latino and most were stopped without any suspicion of wrongdoing.4 For many young Black men, getting stopped and questioned by police has become part of daily life.5
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly defend the city’s Stop and Frisk program, claiming it’s necessary and must be focused in Black communities in order to save lives.6 In reality, Stop and Frisk is harmful to public safety and erodes community trust in the police — undermining safe, effective, and professional police practices.7
Recently, tens of thousands took to the streets of New York City demanding that the Mayor and Commissioner end Stop and Frisk and hold the NYPD to a higher standard of policing that does not include harassment, abuse, and racially-biased tactics.8,9 Please join us in calling on Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly to end New York’s Stop and Frisk program, it takes just a moment:
A recent report on New York City’s Stop and Frisk program provides damning proof of what Black New Yorkers have always known – that the NYPD subjects thousands of us to deeply offensive, humiliating treatment, based largely on the color of our skin.10 Many of the nearly 700,000 New Yorkers stopped in 2011 were belittled, subjected to degrading full-body searches, and forced to hand over all their personal belongings to police — some were even thrown to the ground or had guns drawn on them while walking in their own neighborhoods.11 These actions of the NYPD have created two New Yorks — where New Yorkers are treated differently on the basis of race, income, ethnicity, and where they live.
Lower-income Black folks living in public housing developments are routinely made to feel under siege in their own homes. Police commonly charge residents and their guests with trespassing if they are not carrying identification.12 In the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, a neighborhood with a high concentration of public housing units, the stop rate was 572 per 1000 residents last year.13
For victims of Stop and Frisk, these constant police stops are not a minor inconvenience, but they reflect a blatant disregard for civil liberties that leaves whole communities feeling scarred and violated. Stops regularly escalate to police harassment — and brutality — within minutes.14 In the case of Jateik Reed, police viciously clubbed and kicked the Bronx teen in front of his home because he complained about being frisked,15 and none of the officers involved have been held accountable.
Stop and Frisk myth
Supporters of the repressive policing program point to the decline in violent crime as proof that Stop and Frisk is protecting the Black community, but this is not true. Weapons were only recovered in 1.9 percent of the stops made last year.16 And the increase in stop and frisks came well after a steady decline in the number of murders, both in NYC and throughout the country.17
Thanks in large part to a diverse coalition of New York City activists, researchers, and lawyers called Communities United for Police Reform, the NYPD’s Stop and Frisk program has recently made national headlines. In February, a federal judge granted class-action status to a lawsuit brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York on behalf of four Black men who said they were racially profiled by the NYPD. The lawsuit asserts that the program is unconstitutional and should end.18 And this past Father’s Day, thousands marched in silence from lower Harlem down Fifth Avenue to Bloomberg’s townhouse, demanding an end to the practice.19
By calling for an end to Stop and Frisk in New York, we can shape the way police treat Black people throughout the nation, since many police departments copy and study the practices of the NYPD — the nation’s largest police department.20,21 Together, we can keep the national spotlight on the issue and continue to pressure Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Kelly to do what’s right. It’s time to make sure New York City’s residents can enjoy a shared experience of freedom, regardless of the neighborhood they live in or the color of their skin. Please join us in calling for an end to New York City’s Stop and Frisk program and when you do, please ask your friends and family to do the same:
Thanks and Peace,
— Rashad, Gabriel, Dani, Matt, Arisha, Kira, Kim, and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
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1. “Judge approves class action lawsuit over NYPD’s stop and frisk searches,” The Raw Story, 05-16-12
2. “After Detective’s Firing, Tensions Linger in Bell case,” The New York Times, 03-25-12
3. “Stop And Frisk, 2011 Report,” NYCLU
4. See reference 3.
5. “New NYCLU Report Finds NYPD Stop-and-Frisk Practices Ineffective, Reveals Depth of Racial Disparities,” The New York Civil Liberties Union, 05-09-12
6. “Stop and Frisk Policy ‘Saves Lives,’ Mayor Tells Black Congregation,” The New York Times, 06-10-12
7. “Beyond Stop-and-Frisk,” The New York Times, 04-19-12
8. “Protesters march in silence through upper Manhattan to protest NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program,” New York Daily News, 06-17-12
9. See reference 8.
10. See reference 5.
11. See reference 3.
12. “NYPD Sued Over Housing Project “Vertical Patrols,”” The Huffington Post, 07-15-10
13. See reference 3.
14. “Anger in the Bronx at police,” Socialistworker.org, 02-14-12
15. See reference 14.
16. See reference 3.
17. “Visualizing Stop-and-Frisk and Murder rates in New York City,” Forbes, 03-23-12
18. “Judge Grants Class-Action Status in Stop-and-Frisk Lawsuit,” New York Times, 05-16-12
19. See reference 8.
20. “Stop-and-Frisk Issues Taken to DC,” The Epoch Times, 06-08-12
21. “How New York Beat Crime,” University of California Berkley School of Law, 07-28-11
A federal lawsuit against a Florida school district alleges two black women who scored well on an adult skills test in 2010 were accused of cheating because, they were told, “you people don’t score that high.” The lawsuit, filed in Ocala on April 20 and announced Monday by the Florida Civil Rights Association, which is representing Lelia Jackson-Burch, alleged violations of civil rights, defamation and false imprisonment.
“Not only did the racially charged statement offend Plaintiff (Jackson-Burch), the manner in which it was stated reveals a level of comfort and bigotry that is usually reserved for private embrace,” the lawsuit states. FCRA president J. Willie David told Reuters that the civil rights group hopes to discover through the lawsuit whether a racist attitude is widespread within the Citrus County school system in west-central Florida where the incident occurred.
The lawsuit comes at a time of heightened racial tension in central Florida following the February 26 shooting death of an unarmed black teenager, Trayvon Martin, by a white, Hispanic neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman, in the town of Sanford, barely 80 miles south-east of Ocala. Jackson-Burch could not be reached for comment. A spokeswoman for the Citrus County School District said all executives were in a meeting, and none returned a call for comment.
The lawsuit states that Jackson-Burch and Aretha Thomas, who are relatives, took the Test for Adult Basic Education (TABE), an entrance exam for nursing school and other vocational training. Three administrators at the Withlacoochee Technical Institute in Inverness on Florida’s west coast accused the women of cheating, telling Thomas that they scored “too high,” according to the lawsuit.
Calls for comment to the administrators named in the lawsuit, director Judy Johnson, and assistant director Denise Willis, and Helena Delgado, a test administrator, were not returned. The lawsuit states that Willis and Johnson are white females and Delgado is a Hispanic female. The lawsuit describes the alleged chronology of events: Willis explained the administrators’ suspicions by saying “you people don’t score that high.” Although no other evidence of cheating was produced, the administrators demanded the women return their test scores and re-take the two-hour test. Jackson-Burch refused and got in her car but Johnson used her body to block the car from leaving. The administrators called 911.
Three deputies arrived, and Jackson-Burch allowed them to make a warrantless search of her cell phone, according to the lawsuit. In the subsequent sheriff’s report, a deputy wrote that they found no evidence of cheating and that Jackson-Burch believed the incident was racially motivated, the lawsuit stated. The administrators notified the Florida Department of Education, the Orange County School Board and Columbia College where Jackson-Burch had been a student for three years, that she had cheated, and refused to validate her TABE test score for eight months, causing her to miss out on a pre-planned nursing course, according to the lawsuit.
David said Thomas later accepted a $2,500 settlement from the Citrus County School Board but Jackson-Burch refused the offer.
How much y’all think Jackson-Burch should get for this one??
Celebrities are honoring Trayvon Martin in a number of ways; from wearing hoodies toTweeting messages to their millions of fans, stars are looking for justice to be served to the young victim and his shooter George Zimmerman.
While Plies decided to release a tribute song to the teen on iTunes with all proceeds going to his family, Chaka Khan rounded up dozens of her famous friends for an honorary remake of one of her songs. Papoose sampled the spiritual song “Wade in the Water,” while Childish Gambino made a faux pas by using the slain student’s name as a punchline. A few used audio from the controversial 911 calls made, as well as recordings from President Obama’s speech. Listen below:
Wyclef, “Justice”: The former Fugees member’s reggae-tinged song comes soon after releasing his viral effort “I Am” focusing on global profiling.
“If you’re 17 / You should learn the law / Fight with your mind / Stronger than arms…”
Twitter trends for Trayvon:
My usual e-mail updates that I receive from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) which I am delighted to share with you.
Prosecutor Angela Corey just announced that George Zimmerman will be arrested and charged with murder.
Over the past six weeks you joined our tireless call for George Zimmerman’s arrest, and now we can take solace in knowing the wheels of justice are moving and the voices of millions of Americans have been heard.
Your hard work, petitions, and prayers contributed to this moment.
The arrest of George Zimmerman will not heal the hole that Trayvon’s murder left in our hearts. It will not bring him back to his family, nor will it bring back the countless other young, black victims of similar crimes.
But Zimmerman’s arrest can serve as a turning point. As we have seen, the system does not always work perfectly. But we have shown that when we stand together as a nation we can compel it to work.
For the NAACP, this case has always been about justice, fairness, and the rule of law. We anticipate and expect a thorough federal investigation of the Sanford Police Department and its role in exacerbating this tragedy.
In the weeks since Trayvon’s death, we have stood up to say our sons and daughters will not be victims of such senseless crimes, our nieces and nephews will not be taken from us far too soon, and our grandchildren will not be forced to walk the streets wondering, “What if?”
At this moment we can declare, “Trayvon is the last one.” Elected officials, law enforcement officers, and our nation as a whole must understand that racial profiling and the official neglect of the murders of young men of color will not be tolerated. Together we can make sure the world we leave to all of the Trayvons in our lives is a better and safer place.
We must build a movement to push our nation forward. Please take a moment to sign our name wall in memory of Trayvon, and to stand with us in securing justice for our children. In doing so, we each are committing that we will ensure all our children will be treated fairly and protected by those who have sworn they will do just that:
Thank you for your support,
Benjamin Todd Jealous
President & CEO
Twitter trends for Trayvon:
AMEN TO LORD JESUS ! Let’s praise the Lord for being so loving and a in-due-time Mater…
Proverbs 17, Chapter 17, Verse 23 “A wicked man accepts a bribe behind the back to pervert the ways of the justice.”
Proverbs 17, Chapter 17, Verse 15, “He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord.”
Angela Corey, the special prosecutor investigating the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, is scheduled to hold a 6 p.m. EDT press conference in Jacksonville, Fla., on Wednesday, where she is expected to charge George Zimmerman in the 17-year-old’s killing.
According to the Associated Press, Zimmerman will be charged with 2nd-degree murder. Corey’s office confirmed the press conference but did not elaborate on the details. According to the AP, Zimmerman is in custody. According to CNN, he turned himself in.
The announcement comes a day after Zimmerman’s attorneys said that they were dropping the case because their client had stopped communicating with them. On Sunday, Zimmerman launched a website seeking donations for his legal and living expenses.
Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman, shot and killed Martin on Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla., a gated community outside of Orlando. He told police he was attacked by Martin and was acting in self-defense.
Earlier this week, Corey announced the case would not go to a grand jury.
Twitter trends for Trayvon: