Tuesday, December 02, 2014




Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:








Cops vs Free Speech
How police are threatening Mumia, convicts, teachers, and all of us with censorship as well as bullets!

Speakers and
Film: “Manufacturing Guilt”

7 pm Friday December 5th 2014
Theater at
La Pena Cultural Center
3105 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley
(just below Ashby Avenue)

$5 - $10 sliding scale at the door
(no one turned away)

Join the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, Prison Radio and Oakland Teachers For Mumia to hear how police are targeting political enemies with attempts to restrict free speech.

•  Keith Cook, brother of Mumia Abu-Jamal,

•  Cephus “Uncle Bobby” Johnson, uncle of Oscar Grant,

•  Eliot Grossman, former lawyer for Mumia, and

•  Spokespersons for Prison Radio, Oakland Teachers for Mumia, and the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal.

•  Film: “Manufacturing Guilt” — This riveting documentary makes it clear how cops and prosecutors framed Mumia Abu-Jamal for a murder he didn’t commit.

Join us!  We will discuss:

• The New “gag” law in Pennsylvania that seeks to silence prisoners. This law, cobbled together in days following Mumia’s recorded presentation to a commencement ceremony at Goddard College, was explicitly designed to “shut him up.” The targets of this blatantly unconstitutional law, however, include all prisoners convicted of violent crimes!

• A Law Suit has been filed to stop the “gag” law from being implemented!  Support for this effort is critical. Donations will go toward the fight against the “gag” law.

• The  suppression of the “Urban Dreams” web site by the Oakland School Board. This teacher-created site of voluntary curriculum ideas included one comparing the suppression of Mumia’s commentaries with censorship of Martin Luther King’s later writings. While the Superintendent of Schools has now promised to restore the site, we must remain vigilant!

• Both of these measures—the “gag” law in Pennsylvania, and the suppression of the Urban Dreams website—were taken at the behest of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP)!  The FOP is a highly politicized organization which seeks to silence social critics such as Mumia Abu-Jamal, and dictate the curricula in schools! The FOP and Democrat/Republican politicians will continue their attempts at intimidation and suppression, unless we act!

• Ferguson shows that black and Latino youth particularly are threatened by militarized and politicized police who shoot first and ask questions later, and frame their targets for crimes they didn’t commit. Chief targets have included Native American Activists like Leonard Peltier, militant working-class activists, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Black Panthers and Martin Luther King. Mumia is currently a top target to silence.  But anyone and everyone can be on their enemies list, and in their cross-hairs!  Fight back now!

Donate Now
to fight the “gag” law!
go to:

See you on December 5th!

The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
PO Box 16222  •  Oakland CA  •  510.763.2347


Support Prison Radio

$35 is the yearly membership.

$50 will get you a beautiful tote bag (you can special order a yoga mat bag, just call us).

$100 will get the DVD "Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary"

$300 will bring one essay to the airwaves.

$1000 (or $88.83 per month) will make you a member of our Prison Radio Freedom Circle. Take a moment and Support Prison Radio

Luchando por la justicia y la libertad,

Noelle Hanrahan, Director, Prison Radio


P.O. Box 411074 San Francisco, CA 94141

info@prisonradio.org 415-706-5222

Pennsylvania legislators are trying to stop prisoners from speaking about their ideas and experiences. Last week, PA Representative Mike Vereb introduced a bill (HB2533) called the “Revictimization Relief Act,” which would allow victims, District Attorneys, and the Attorney General to sue people who have been convicted of “personal injury” crimes for speaking out publicly if it causes the victim of the crime “mental anguish.”

The bill was written in response to political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal’s commencement speech at Goddard College, and is a clear attempt to silence Mumia and other prisoners and formerly incarcerated people. We believe that this legislation is not actually an attempt to help victims, but a cynical move by legislators to stop people in prison from speaking out against an unjust system.

While to us this seems like a clear violation of the first amendment, unfortunately the PA General Assembly doesn’t appear to agree, and they have fast-tracked the bill for approval and amended another bill (SB508) to include the same language. The legislation could be voted on as early as Wednesday.

If this bill passes, it will be a huge blow to the movement against mass incarceration. People inside prisons play a leading role in these struggles, and their perspectives, analysis, and strategies are essential to our work. Incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people who write books, contribute to newspapers, or even write for our Voices from the Inside section would run the risk of legal consequences just for sharing their ideas.

That’s why we are asking you to take action TUESDAY OCTOBER 14 by calling Pennsylvania lawmakers to tell them that prisoners should not be denied the right to speak.

Please call your legislators and demand that they vote NO on HB2533 and SB508. You can look up contact information at http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator/.

We are also asking folks to call the following Senate leaders and ask them to stop the bill from moving forward:

Senate Majority Whip Pat Browne  (717) 787-1349

Senate Minority Whip Anthony Williams  (717) 787-5970

Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi  (717) 787-4712

Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (717) 787-7683

Not sure what to say on the phone? Click here for a sample call script.

Want to write a letter to your legislators, or looking for more talking points? Click here for more info!

- See more at: http://decarceratepa.info/freespeech#sthash.TtdN3AkI.dpuf



March & Rally, 16th & Mission Sts, SF 

Sat., Dec. 6, 1pm

Stop the Epidemic of Racist Police Murders!

Justice for Eric Garner, Mike Brown, Alex Nieto, Tamir Rice...

As people were still taking to the streets across the country demanding justice for Mike Brown, this racist system delivered another outrageous injustice. A grand jury decided not to indict New York City officer Daniel Pantaleo for the murder of Eric Garner by placing him in a chokehold and, together with 3 other cops wrestling him to pavement. His last words were "I can't breathe."

The entire episode was caught on video, but the grand jury still declined to press charges! This latest murder is part an epidemic of police killings across the country including right here in northern California – Oscar Grant, Alan Blueford, Andy Lopez, Alex Nieto, Yanira Serrano, O’Shaine Evans and so many more. Just yesterday, the police street-executed an unarmed African American man, Rumain Brisbon, in Phoenix, Arizona, claiming that they thought a pill bottle was a gun!

Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in protest of this wave of police murder and the fact that the cops who carry out these killings are almost never held accountable. Grand juries do what prosecutors want them to do 99.9% of the time. The non-indictments of the Darren Wilson in Ferguson, and Pantaleo in New York were what the prosecution engineered. It’s the system itself that grants impunity to the police even when their killings are captured on video.

Join the ANSWER Coalition and many others for a rally and march on Saturday, Dec. 6, 1 pm at 16th and Mission Sts., in San Francisco. For more information, call 415-821-6545.

On Sunday, Dec. 7, 1 pm, there will be a vigil for O’Shaine Evans, killed by the SFPD on Oct. 7 at Oscar Grant Plaza, 14th & Broadway in Oakland. For more information, (510) 860-5476, Facebook Event




New Action- write letters to DoD officials requesting clemency for Chelsea!

November 24, 2014 by the Chelsea Manning Support Network
Secretary of the Army John McHugh
President Obama has delegated review of Chelsea Manning’s clemency appeal to individuals within the Department of Defense.
Please write them to express your support for heroic WikiLeaks’ whistle-blower former US Army intelligence analyst PFC Chelsea Manning’s release from military prison.
It is important that each of these authorities realize the wide support that Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning enjoys worldwide. They need to be reminded that millions understand that Manning is a political prisoner, imprisoned for following her conscience. While it is highly unlikely that any of these individuals would independently move to release Manning, a reduction in Manning’s outrageous 35-year prison sentence is a possibility at this stage.
Take action TODAY – Write letters supporting Chelsea’s clemency petition to the following DoD authorities:
Secretary of the Army John McHugh
101 Army Pentagon
Washington, DC 20310-0101
The Judge Advocate General
2200 Army Pentagon
Washington, DC 20310-2200
Army Clemency and Parole Board
251 18th St, Suite 385
Arlington, VA 22202-3532
Directorate of Inmate Administration
Attn: Boards Branch
U.S. Disciplinary Barracks
1301 N. Warehouse Road
Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027-2304
Suggestions for letters send to DoD officials:
  • The letter should focus on your support for Chelsea Manning, and especially why you believe justice will be served if Chelsea Manning’s sentence is reduced.  The letter should NOT be anti-military as this will be unlikely to help
  • A suggested message: “Chelsea Manning has been punished enough for violating military regulations in the course of being true to her conscience.  I urge you to use your authorityto reduce Pvt. Manning’s sentence to time served.”  Beyond that general message, feel free to personalize the details as to why you believe Chelsea deserves clemency.
  • Consider composing your letter on personalized letterhead -you can create this yourself (here are templates and some tips for doing that).
  • A comment on this post will NOT be seen by DoD authorities–please send your letters to the addresses above
This clemency petition is separate from Chelsea Manning’s upcoming appeal before the US Army Court of Criminal Appeals next year, where Manning’s new attorney Nancy Hollander will have an opportunity to highlight the prosecution’s—and the trial judge’s—misconduct during last year’s trial at Ft. Meade, Maryland.
Help us continue to cover 100% of Chelsea’s legal fees at this critical stage!
> > > Please donate today! < < <

War resister Sara Beining court martial set for Dec. 9 at Fort Carson, Colorado

sara beiningClick here to contribute to Sara Beining’s legal defense and prison fund
November 11, 2014. Courage to Resist and the Nuclear Resister
Facing a lengthy prison sentence, Army war resister Sara Beining is scheduled to be court martialed at Fort Carson, Colorado at 9am, December 9th, on two counts of desertion.
Supporters are encouraged to attend the trial, contribute to her legal and prison fund, and send her letters letter of support to: Sara Beining, A0305918 / Criminal Justice Center / 2739 E. Las Vegas St / Colorado Springs, CO 80906
Sara is a single mother and Iraq war veteran. She is being held in the civilian county jail prior to her military trial. Sara went AWOL a second time last summer after a nearly year-long delay in resolving the original charge that resulted when she left her unit at Ft. Hood in January, 2007.
Just over one year ago, September 14, 2013, Beining was stopped for a traffic offense and held on an outstanding military warrant, more than six years after she and her newlywed husband had together walked away from war service. She was briefly jailed, then given a plane ticket and orders to report back to Fort Carson, Colorado, where, she said, “I tried for another year to play the game” and be quietly processed out of the army as many other recent military refusers have been. But in her absence without leave, Beining had given birth to a daughter in September, 2008 and become an outspoken opponent of war.

Courage to Resist
484 Lake Park Ave. #41
 Oakland, CA 94610



Update on the legal fight to #FreeRasmeaNow
Rasmea Defense Committee 

Urgent Action Alert:
Demand that Sheriff Release Rasmea from Solitary Confinement

We just learned that Rasmea Odeh has been in solitary confinement for the past 12 days, arbitrarily punished by her jailers at the St. Clair County Jail in Port Huron, Michigan. She is not allowed any contact with other prisoners. Confined to her cell all day, except at midnight for a few short minutes, Rasmea can’t make phone calls and can’t receive visitors. This isolation punishment was initially set for 6 days, but when she had expected to go back to general population, it has been extended two days at a time, without explanation.

We have grave concerns about Rasmea’s well-being. She has not been eating well, due to ongoing dental pain as well as other health issues exacerbated by the conditions of solitary confinement.

1. Today, please Call the office of
St. Clair County Sheriff Tim Donnellon
(810) 987-1700 [choose option 0],
Tell him you are calling about Rasmieh [sic] Odeh (inmate #144979), and ask that he release her from solitary confinement immediately.

 2. Send a message on the county's webform

Go here and post the following webform message:
 “I am writing out of concern for the health and well-being of Rasmieh Odeh, inmate #144979. I urge you to take immediate action to end her solitary confinement.” 

Rasmieh Odeh #144979
St. Clair County Jail
1170 Michigan
Port Huron, MI. 48060

-- Fundraise and contribute to Rasmea’s commissary fund and to her ongoing defense. Donate at www.stopfbi.net/donate. Commissary funds allow Rasmea to purchase food, blankets, writing materials, and other items to make her more comfortable in the jail. Expenses continue to mount for Rasmea’s legal defense and ongoing community organizing. We will file an appeal of this unjust verdict, and that will take resources.

-- Spread the word! When publicizing on social media, use the hashtags #Justice4Rasmea and #FreeRasmeaNow.

www.uspcn.org and www.stopfbi.net
Donate to Rasmea! today


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Copyright © 2014 Committee to Stop FBI Repression, All rights reserved.
Thanks for your ongoing interest in the fight against FBI repression of anti-war and international solidarity activists!
Our mailing address is:
Committee to Stop FBI Repression
PO Box 14183
Minneapolis, MN 55414



 Justice for Michael Brown


Call for March on Washington to demand justice 

for Michael Brown and other victims of police 

killings of Black men and women


By The Labor Fightback Network

[Please forward widely.]

With demonstrations sweeping the country to protest the grand jury’s exoneration of Darren Wilson and to demand justice for Michael Brown, the need for deep and massive involvement of labor’s ranks in the streets and in the public discourse could not be clearer.
To provide a needed national focus and to sustain the momentum, we urge the civil rights and labor movements to join forces and organize a March on Washington. This would give impetus to the demand that the federal government indict Darren Wilson for the murder of Michael Brown.
The Black Freedom Movement urgently needs allies in this struggle.
The same is true of the labor movement, which also faces a critical fight for its survival against the corporate onslaught.
Labor acutely needs the support of its allies in its fight against such repressive anti-labor legislation as the misnamed “right to work.” But trade unionists should support the struggles of these allies if we expect them to support our struggles. It has to be a two-way street.
Police killings of unarmed Blacks are becoming virtually a daily occurrence. [Note: Police officers, security guards, or self-appointed vigilantes extra-judicially killed at least 313 African-Americans in 2012, according to a recent study. This means that a Black person was killed by a security officer every 28 hours. The report notes that it’s possible that the real number could be much higher.[1] 
One of the most flagrant and egregious examples was the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice on November 22, 2014 by a Cleveland police officer after a 911 caller said that someone was waving around a gun, which the caller said was “probably fake,” and added “I don’t know if it’s real or not.” (The dispatcher failed to convey this to police.) Within two seconds after their arrival, one of the two officers on the scene shot Rice in the stomach from ten feet away (which was captured on video and shown to the public at the Rice family’s insistence). The boy had never pointed the gun (a toy gun) at the police or made any threats. The police officers on the scene waited four minutes before administering first aid. Young Rice died the next day.
The killing of Michael Brown was followed by the deaths of two more Black men at the hands of police in the St. Louis Area. The litany of names grows nationally: Ezel Ford in Los Angeles, Eric Garner in Staten Island, John Crawford in Ohio, and many others. Tanesha Anderson, a mentally ill Black woman, was killed in front of her family in Cleveland. And just recently Akai Gurley was gunned down in New York. Meanwhile, George Zimmerman, the vigilante executioner of Trayvon Martin, remains unpunished.
So this epidemic of unjustified police killings constitutes a national crisis. And Black people—especially the youth—feel their lives are in peril as police continue to kill them off with impunity.

What is to be done?

Starting with that day in August when Michael Brown was gunned down, the Labor Fightback Network (LFN) has called for the immediate arrest of his killer. We said convening a grand jury was unnecessary, but if it was to be convened an independent prosecutor should be appointed and that Darren Wilson should be put behind bars in preparation for a public trial. Instead, prosecutor Robert McCulloch remained in place and proceeded to manipulate the grand jury into refusing to indict Wilson, who spent four hours testifying before it, with no cross examination.
But this is not the end of the fight to win justice for Michael Brown and his family. It is just the first round.
Remember what happened in 1992 when Rodney King was viciously beaten by police and his assailants were acquitted in a state court. Under pressure—and following the riots that took place in Los Angeles after the verdict was announced—the Justice Department tried the police under federal civil rights laws and won convictions of two of them, who were sent to prison.
The LFN fully supports continuing demonstrations in cities and towns across the country protesting not only Brown’s murder but also the killing of other victims wherever they take place. Such actions are also demanding an end to police brutality and racial profiling, along with other demands being put forward by the Black Freedom Movement.
We urge a united front of the civil rights and labor movements, along with progressive anti-racist community organizations, to demand Wilson’s indictment under the federal Civil Rights Act, and to make that demand a central focus of a march on Washington!
Some would-be academic scholars have expressed skepticism that federal charges against Wilson could result in his conviction because the required element of “willfulness” in killing Brown could not be proved. But these scholars are looking at this struggle from a narrow legalistic prism. The key to winning it is mass action in the streets to force the federal government to act and at last provide a forum where Wilson could be cross examined. And it is high time for the identity of those who allegedly supported his claims in the state court to be revealed so that their versions could be subjected to the kind of scrutiny that was lacking in the state proceedings.
As for “willfulness,” a New York Times article titled “Experts Weigh Officer’s Decisions Leading to Fatal Shooting” (November 27, 2014) cites a number of different courses Wilson could have taken, even if credence is given to his account as to the actual sequence of events, (and a number of publicly identified witnesses have shown by their statements that there is no basis whatever to give such credence! For example, two workers cutting nearby trees at the time have agreed that Brown appeared to be surrendering when he was shot dead and several other witnesses said the same thing.)
What about a Taser instead of deadly force? No, said Wilson, it’s too heavy to carry around. But why not put it in the back seat of the car?
What about pepper gas? No, said Wilson, it could blowback on him. But don’t police carry shields to protect themselves against blowback?
What about staying in his car while calling for police reinforcements and tailing Brown until they arrived? Wilson obviously preferred to go it alone in pursuing Brown.
The fatal flaw in Wilson’s desperate attempt to avoid responsibility for his actions is the undisputed fact that he shot Brown twice in the head instead of some other part of his body, like his leg. That’s what makes this a cold-blooded murder. That’s what provides the “willfulness.”
In any event, these are issues for a jury to decide in a public trial, not dismissed, in effect, by a prosecutor in a secret grand jury proceeding.

Enough is enough!

“ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!” That is the demand vocalized especially by the youth in Ferguson. Their anger is deep and pervasive. Millions around the country share it. A march on Washington, in the tradition of those called by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., has the potential to draw huge numbers into the streets and build a new movement, the likes of which we have not seen for decades. Labor should use the occasion to mobilize its forces, cement alliances, revitalize our ranks, and help turn back the reactionary, racist tide that threatens to engulf all progressive social movements.
Issued by the Labor Fightback Network.[2]

[2] For more information, please call 973-944-8975 or email conference@laborfightback.org or write Labor Fightback Network, P.O. Box 187, Flanders, NJ 07836 or visit our website at laborfightback.org. Facebook link:
Donations to help fund the Labor Fightback Network based on its program of solidarity and labor-community unity are necessary for our work to continue and will be much appreciated. Please make checks payable to Labor Fightback Network and mail to the above P.O. Box or you can make a contribution online. Thanks!



RH Reality Check

Two weeks ago, Cleveland police killed Tanisha Anderson in front of her family's home when they'd been called by her family to help her, after she panicked as they were taking her to a local hospital for a psychological evaluation. Her 16-year-old daughter was watching from a window [1] as an officer used a takedown move on her mother, forcing Anderson face down on the icy pavement and then pressing his knee into her back until she stopped moving.

The police told concerned family members that Tanisha Anderson was sleeping and left her there on the ground. When the ambulance finally arrived 20 minutes later, she was dead. Once again, an African American family was reminded that no level of government in the United States is set up to protect and serve the well-being of their loved ones, no matter where they choose to live.

Tanisha Anderson's family can't afford her funeral expenses, and as of now, they've only raised $1,501 of their $7,000 goal. Can you help them today?


Natasha Chart,
Campaign Director, RHRealityCheck.org

[1] - "Daughter of mentally ill Cleveland woman who died in police custody hopes for change," by Brandon Blackwell, Cleveland.com, November 18, 2014











1) West Virginia Coal Country Sees New Era as Donald Blankenship Is Indicted



2) Churches Urge Healing, but Also Activism, After Stormy Week in Ferguson



3) Daughter of mentally ill Cleveland woman who died in police custody hopes for change
  By Brandon Blackwell, Northeast Ohio Media Group
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on November 18, 2014 at 5:02 PM, updated November 24, 2014 at 3:10 PM

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Mauvion Green hopes her mentally ill mother Tanisha Anderson didn't die in vain.

The 37-year-old schizophrenic Cleveland woman was pronounced dead early Thursday about two hours after she lost consciousness in the hands of police outside her family's home on the city's East Side.

Police said Tanisha Anderson went limp while struggling with officers escorting her to a police cruiser. The woman's family said they watched Tanisha Anderson die after a cop used a takedown move to slam her to the pavement.

Green, 16, watched the scene from a window inside her family's home. The Cleveland School of the Arts student wants no other family to endure the same.

"I am hoping for a change in the police system," Green said. "If they have a job to protect people, that's what they should be doing."

Police were called to Tanisha Anderson's family home on the 1300 block of Ansel Road about 10:50 p.m. Thursday. It was the second time family called police that day to report Tanisha Anderson was disturbing the peace, police said.

After long talks with Tanisha Anderson and her family, officers were given permission to take the East High School graduate to St. Vincent Charity Medical Center for an evaluation, police spokesman Sgt. Ali Pillow said in a news release.

On the way to the police cruiser, Tanesha Anderson began to struggle with officers who placed her in handcuffs, Pillow said.

"The woman began to kick at officers," he said. "A short time later, the woman stopped struggling and appeared to go limp. Officers found a faint pulse on the victim and immediately called EMS."

Tanisha Anderson's family tells a different story. They contend Anderson sat herself in the back of the police cruiser, but quickly became nervous about the confined space and tried to get out. That's when officers began to use force, brother Joell Anderson said.

While struggling to get Tanisha Anderson back into the cruiser, an officer used a takedown move and brought her face down onto the pavement. He put his knee into her back and placed her in handcuffs, Joell Anderson said.

Tanisha Anderson's daughter said her mother didn't move or say a word in the 20 minutes it took for an ambulance to arrive.

"When they put her on the stretcher, her arms just fell over, lifeless," Green said.

An emergency medical crew drove Anderson to Cleveland Clinic, where she was pronounced dead about 12:30 a.m. The Cuyahoga County medical examiner is still working to determine what killed her.

Green reminisced Tuesday about her jovial mother, their spontaneous shopping trips to Tower City and the lessons she learned from a loving force in her life.

"She was real giving and she forgave a lot," Green said. "People would do so much wrong to her, but she still turned around and she forgave."

Still, Anderson believed in fighting for what's right, Green said, adding that she plans to continue her mother's legacy by working for the conscientious treatment of the mentally ill.

"I'm fighting for my mother, but I'm fighting for everyone else, too," Green said.

She navigated her family's grief-stricken home Tuesday with a sense of peace about her mother's passing.

"She's happy now," Green said. "That's all I ever wanted for her."



4) Another Killing in Ferguson Leaves a Family Grappling With the Unknown



5) Tamir Rice’s family blasts police at boy’s Cleveland funeral
The 12-year-old shot dead by a Cleveland police officer after cops mistook a pellet gun for a dangerous weapon last month was buried Wednesday. 'Police officers are public servants — not James Bond with a license to kill,' Tamir’s uncle, Michael Petty, said during the service.
December 3, 2014

The boy killed by a Cleveland cop over a fake gun has been laid to rest amid tears.

Tamir Rice’s family and friends mourned his death at the Mount Sinai Baptist Church on Wednesday morning, calling for justice for a life “snuffed out like a candle in the wind,” according to NBC News.

The 12-year-old died last month after Officer Tim Loehmann shot him twice in the chest at a Cleveland park without a moment’s hesitation after allegedly witnessing the boy reaching for a gun in his waistband.

The well-liked student at Marion C. Seltzer School, whose teacher, Carletta Goodwin, remembered as always singing at his desk, had only been in possession of a pellet gun.

“Tamir consistently came to school every day,” Goodwin said, as reported by NBC. “He would tap on his desk, he would sing to himself. I would say, ‘OK, that’s enough,’ because he would get the rest of the class going.”

Michael Petty, the child's uncle, also promised justice for Tamir, critizing the rookie officer for acting too quickly in the shooting death of Tamir.

“Police officers are public servants — not James Bond with a license to kill,” Petty said at the morning service attended by about 250 people. “He was suddenly and needlessly taken from us.”

Both Loehmann and his partner had taken the call of a possible gunman and found Tamir sitting at a gazebo outside the Cudell Recreation Center on Nov. 22 even though dispatchers advised the gun might have been fake.

The gunshots delivered at point blank left Tamir bleeding on the grass for four minutes before he received any medical treatment. He died at a Cleveland hospital the day after the shooting.

Loehmann and Officer Frank Garmback are being investigated internally and were put on administrative leave for just three days after the shooting.


1) The Eric Garner 'chokehold' grand jury decision has the earmarks of a gross miscarriage of justice
Lacking full facts, the panel’s determination that the evidence did not provide probable cause to charge NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo with even New York’s least serious homicide count — criminally negligent homicide — is beyond mystifying.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014, 6:39 PM

The grand jury’s vote to exonerate the police officer whose chokehold killed Eric Garner on Staten Island has glaring earmarks of a gross miscarriage of justice.

The ruling is painfully far harder to understand than the Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict for the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson.

To a large degree, the evidence against Officer Daniel Pantaleo was widely scrutinized by the public in the form of a on-scene video posted to the Internet by the Daily News. The image of Pantaleo wrestling Garner to the ground with his arm around Garner’s neck was horrifying.

Even granting that a cop has wide latitude in using force to make an arrest, Pantaleo’s sudden aggressiveness was unnecessary. The fact that it entailed a chokehold only reinforced the excessive quality of his actions.

After the medical examiner found that a chokehold and chest compression led to Garner’s death, the connection between cause and effect seemed enough to many people not only to indict but to convict Pantaleo.

Deep, intense skepticism about the grand jury’s ruling is fully warranted — while recognizing that no one other than the panel and Staten Island prosecutors have reviewed all the evidence and matched the facts against the law.

In Missouri, the district attorney released the grand jury testimony — sparking an informed debate over accounts by some witnesses that Brown had charged toward Officer Darren Wilson after attacking him in Wilson’s patrol car, and accounts by other witnesses that Brown was surrendering when Wilson shot.

The Garner case has no known conflicts among witnesses. And District Attorney Dan Donovan is barred from discussing the grand jury evidence, never mind releasing it. He was right to ask a court to approve dissemination of at least some evidence, and the court must do so quickly.

Lacking full facts, the panel’s determination that the evidence did not provide probable cause to charge Pantaleo with even New York’s least serious homicide count — criminally negligent homicide — is beyond mystifying.

In order to indict, the grand jury needed to find only that the weight of the evidence — a far lower burden of proof than beyond a reasonable doubt — indicated Pantaleo had failed “to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk” of death in using the chokehold.

Under the circumstances, the risk in Pantaleo’s action clearly appears to have been both substantial, because the NYPD has long barred chokeholds as potentially lethal, and unjustifiable, because Pantaleo and his team of cops clearly could have used less extreme tactics to arrest Garner.

Still more, the chokehold’s impact became immediately apparent as Garner repeatedly pleaded, “I can’t breathe” while he was pressed to the sidewalk — only to be left unassisted by cops or emergency medical technicians.

The grand jury’s apparent determination that Pantaleo had properly subdued Garner will heighten raw racial friction over the killings of black men by white cops here and elsewhere, and, still worse, intensify a belief that the justice system offers no redress.



7) ‘I Can’t Breathe’ Is Echoed in Voices of Fury and Despair
In Chokehold Case, Protesters Revive a Staten Island Man's Dying Words



8) Wave of Protests After Grand Jury Doesn’t Indict Officer in Eric Garner Chokehold Case


A Staten Island grand jury on Wednesday ended the criminal case against a white New York police officer whose chokehold on an unarmed black man led to the man’s death, a decision that drew condemnation from elected officials and touched off a wave of protests.

The fatal encounter in July was captured on videos and seen around the world. But after viewing the footage and hearing from witnesses, including the officer who used the chokehold, the jurors deliberated for less than a day before deciding that there was not enough evidence to go forward with charges against the officer, Daniel Pantaleo, 29, in the death of the man, Eric Garner, 43.

Officer Pantaleo, who has been on the force for eight years, appeared before the grand jury on Nov. 21, testifying that he did not intend to choke Mr. Garner, who was being arrested for allegedly selling loose cigarettes. He described the maneuver as a takedown move, adding that he never thought Mr. Garner was in mortal danger.

The decision came barely a week after a grand jury found no criminality in the actions of another white police officer, Darren Wilson, who shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black man in Ferguson, Mo.

After the news from Staten Island, a wave of elected officials renewed calls for Justice Department intervention, saying the grand jury’s finding proved that justice could be found only in the federal courts. By the evening, the department announced it would open a civil rights inquiry.

On the streets of the city, from Tompkinsville to Times Square, many expressed their outrage with some of the last words Mr. Garner uttered before being wrestled to the ground: “This stops today,” people chanted. “I can’t breathe,” others shouted.

While hundreds of angry but generally peaceful demonstrators took to the streets in Manhattan as well as in Washington and other cities, the police in New York reported relatively few arrests, a stark contrast to the riots that unfolded in Ferguson in the hours after the grand jury decision was announced in the Brown case.

President Obama, speaking in Washington, said the decisions in New York and Missouri highlighted the frustrations that many African-Americans have harbored about a legal system that has a long history of discrimination against black people.

“When anybody in this country is not being treated equally under the law, that is a problem,” Mr. Obama said, “and it’s my job as president to help solve it.”

Officer Pantaleo said in statement on Wednesday that he felt “very bad about the death of Mr. Garner,” just as he had told the 23 panelists of the grand jury when he testified before them for two hours.

During the proceedings, jurors were shown three videos of the encounter, and in his testimony Officer Pantaleo sought to characterize his actions as a maneuver taught at the Police Academy. He said that while holding onto Mr. Garner, he felt fear that they would crash through a plate glass storefront as they tumbled to the ground, said Stuart London, his lawyer. One of the officer’s arms went around Mr. Garner’s throat, as Mr. Garner repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.”

Appearing with the Rev. Al Sharpton in Harlem, Mr. Garner’s widow, Esaw Garner, said she did not accept the officer’s apology.

“Hell, no,” Ms. Garner said. “The time for remorse for the death of my husband was when he was yelling to breathe.”

She said that while she mourned, the officer could go home to his family.

“He’s still feeding his kids,” she said, “and my husband is six feet under and I’m looking for a way to feed my kids now.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio, speaking on Staten Island, said that it was a “deeply emotional day” for the Garner family and all New Yorkers, and that he had thought of his own son in considering Mr. Garner’s fate. But he implored demonstrators to voice their outrage peacefully and not engage in the destructive violence that followed protests in Ferguson over Mr. Brown’s death.

“Today’s outcome is one that many in our city did not want,” Mr. de Blasio said. “Yet New York City owns a proud and powerful tradition of expressing ourselves through nonviolent protest.”

An autopsy by the city’s medical examiner found that Mr. Garner’s death was a homicide resulting from the chokehold — a maneuver banned by the Police Department in 1993 — and the compression of his chest by police officers.

In early September, the Staten Island district attorney, Daniel M. Donovan Jr., impaneled the grand jury to weigh evidence; it heard testimony from the officers involved and 22 civilian witnesses. All of the officers, with the exception of Officer Pantaleo, were granted immunity.

The encounter exposed apparent lapses in police tactics and raised questions about the aggressive policing of minor offenses in a time of historically low crime. The officers involved, part of a plainclothes unit, suspected Mr. Garner of selling cigarettes on the street near the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, a complaint voiced by local business owners.Mr. Garner’s death hastened an effort to retrain all the department’s patrol officers and brought scrutiny on how officers who violate its rules are disciplined. Officer Pantaleo has been stripped of his gun and badge during the investigation.

Now, Mr. de Blasio said, the grand jury decision had accelerated the need for that overhaul. Earlier on Wednesday, the mayor announced the start of a pilot program to equip officers with body cameras to record encounters on patrol.

But how useful such technology will prove to be in settling disputes over police actions remains an open question. Mr. Garner’s relatives had believed for months that a widely circulated cellphone video of the violent arrest that caused his death would be enough to convince grand jurors that the case merited a criminal trial.

Jonathan C. Moore, a lawyer for the Garner family, said “We’re astounded by the outcome of the grand jury process.”

In a statement, Mr. Donovan said investigators also spoke with the emergency responders who provided medical treatment both at the scene and at the hospital, and expert witnesses in the area of forensic pathology as well as the procedures and training of police officers. He said that he was constrained by law from discussing details of their findings, but that he had petitioned the court for “authorization to publicly release specific information in connection with this grand jury investigation.”

He expressed his condolences to the family and said his office conducted a thorough investigation that “spanned four months.”

“I assured the public that I was committed to a fair, thorough, and responsible investigation into Mr. Garner’s death,” he said.

Grand juries determine whether enough evidence exists for a case to go forward to a criminal trial, either before a jury or a judge. By law, they operate in secret and hear only evidence presented by prosecutors, who also instruct the grand jurors on the law. Defense lawyers are barred from speaking. For a decision, 12 jurors who have heard all of the evidence must agree.

While the exact makeup of the grand jury was unclear, Mr. London said it was roughly half white, with the other half evenly divided among blacks and Hispanics.

With the criminal phase over, Officer Pantaleo’s fate moves into the realm of Police Department discipline. It is far from clear if he will return to enforcement duties, and Commissioner William J. Bratton said he would remain on suspension pending an internal investigation.

Even before Mr. Garner’s death, Mr. Bratton had been tasked by the mayor with repairing the fissures between the police and the communities they serve, moving away from street stops and minor marijuana arrests. Those changes, however, have yet to quell the anger that deaths such as Mr. Garner’s bring forth.

Reporting on the grand jury’s decision in the death of Eric Garner was contributed by Ronnie Cohen, Emma G. Fitzsimmons, Edna Ishayik, Mark Landler, James C. McKinley Jr., Benjamin Mueller, Kate Pastor, William K. Rashbaum, Marc Santora, Nate Schweber, Nikita Stewart, Alex Vadukul and Benjamin Weiser.


9) In Fast-Food Workers’ Fight for $15 Hourly Wage, a Strong Voice in Terrance Wise
“What we’re asking for is realistic. We took in $1,200 the other day at lunch hour at my Burger King. The six workers there cost them $60 or so for that hour. So I see they can pay us $15,”



10) Study Finds Violations of Wage Law in New York and California



11) The story of how a white Phoenix cop killed an unarmed black man
December 5 at 3:05 AM

It’s a pattern that by now has now become familiar. An officer confronts a man he believes is behaving suspiciously. The man runs. A struggle ensues.

The result, shown again this week in the killing of Rumain Brisbon, has been another death of an unarmed African American man at the hands of a white police officer. And now, as protesters deluge the streets of Chicago and New York to condemn what they describe as a failed justice system, some say his name deserves a spot next to those of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

Many facts about Brisbon’s death, however, remain sketchy. To police, Brisbon was a man with a criminal record who may have been in the middle of drug deal when a lone police officer confronted him. To friends, 34-year-old Brisbon was a gentle father of four who was dropping off fast food for his kids at his family’s apartment.

One matter beyond dispute: He was not armed when a police officer fired two bullets, killing him in the presence of his girlfriend and 15-month-old child. “What happened here is a police officer murdered my client,” attorney Marci Kratter, who represented Brisbon in a prior DUI case, told The Washington Post in a phone interview. “And what the police say happened, it doesn’t make any sense at all. There’s something not right with it.”

Police said the officer responded appropriately under the circumstances, and investigators did find a gun and marijuana inside Brisbon’s black Cadillac. Maricopa County court records show Brisbon pleaded guilty to felony burglary and possession of marijuana in 1998, and to driving under the influence in 2009.

The events that led to Brisbon’s death began with a tip, Phoenix police spokesman Trent Clump told reporters on Wednesday. The tipster said that a drug deal was going down inside a black Cadillac SUV parked near a 7-Eleven. So a nearby 30-year-old officer, who wasn’t named by police, responded to the call, later approaching the car, reported the Arizona Republic.

Clump claimed the officer saw Brisbon exit the car and remove something from its rear. When the officer asked Brisbon to show his hands, the man allegedly put them in his waistband. That prompted the officer to draw his weapon, and Brisbon took off running. “Witnesses indicated to us that the suspect was verbally challenging to the officer,” the Arizona Republic quoted Crump saying.

When the officer caught Brisbon, there was a scuffle. What happened next is a little confusing.

According to reports, Brisbon somehow made it to the house of his girlfriend, who had opened the front door — and the cop and Brisbon literally stumbled inside. Clump said the officer thought he felt the butt of a gun jutting from Brisbon’s pocket. “During the struggle, Brisbon put his left hand in his pocket and the officer grabbed onto the suspect’s hand, while repeatedly telling the suspect to keep his hand in his pocket,” the spokesman said. “The officer believed he felt the handle of a gun while holding the suspect’s hand in his pocket.”

Two shots were fired, killing Brisbon. And only afterward did the officer discover what had been inside Brisbon’s pocket: a prescription pill vial containing Oxycodone pills. The original label had been scratched off. There was no gun.

Crump said, as the Phoenix New Times reported, the officer was in the right. Investigators did discover a semiautomatic handgun and some marijuana inside the SUV. “Let’s be very clear: The officer was doing what we expect him to do, and that is, investigating crimes that neighbors are telling him are occurring in that apartment complex. This one went bad, from the standpoint of how it ended, but the officer was doing exactly what we want him to do.”

To neighbors and Brisbon’s attorney, what happened was a little more complicated. They say there was no drug deal — but a fast-food delivery. And indeed, according to the Arizona Republic, french fries were strewn outside the apartment door. To them, it’s also unclear why the officer acted alone.

“I’m not sure why a lone police officer would have felt the need to go in there,” Kratter told The Post. “If the officer felt a pill bottle and believed it was a butt of a handgun, it calls into question his competence because I don’t know anyone who can mistake a plastic bottle for a butt of a gun. How much larger is a gun than a pill bottle?”

The officer was said to be distraught after the killing. Kratter, who launched an investigation into the killing, said she spoke to one neighbor who heard what had happened that night. “He didn’t near any screaming or anything like that,” she said. “He heard what sounded like scuffling, then gunshots, then the officer screaming, ‘F–k! F–k! F–k!’”

But it was too late. Brisbon died there. “Who’s gonna argue with police?” friend Brandon Dickerson, who had been with Brisbon, told the Arizona Republic. “He had no death wish.”



12)  Officer Who Fatally Shot Tamir Rice Deemed Unfit for Duty in 2012
"Timothy Loehmann criticised by small Ohio force for breaking down while handling live gun and his performance was called ‘dismal’, records show"
By Tom McCarthy, Guardian UK
04 December 14

police officer who shot a 12-year-old dead in a Cleveland park late last month had been judged unfit for police service two years earlier by a small suburban force where he worked for six months, according to records released on Wednesday.

Officer Timothy Loehmann, who killed Tamir Rice on 22 November, was specifically faulted for breaking down emotionally while handling a live gun. During a training episode at a firing range, Loehmann was reported to be “distracted and weepy” and incommunicative. “His handgun performance was dismal,” deputy chief Jim Polak of the Independence, Ohio, police department wrote in an internal memo.

The memo concludes with a recommendation that Loehmann be “released from the employment of the City of Independence”. Less than a week later, on 3 December 2012, Loehmann resigned.

In March of this year, Loehmann was hired by the Cleveland police department. It is unclear whether the department had seen the Independence memo at the time of Loehmann’s hiring.

“I have not received any instruction about it, and I have not received the file” from Independence, said Sgt Ali Pillow, a Cleveland police spokesman. He said the Cleveland department had not commented on whether it had seen the memo from Independence before Loehmann was hired.

On a Saturday afternoon last month, Loehmann and a partner, Frank Garmack, were dispatched to Cleveland’s Cudell Commons Park after a 911 caller reported “a guy” in the park was pointing a “probably fake” gun at people. Surveillance video recovered after the incident showed Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old, handling a pistol-sized pellet gun.

Loehmann shot the boy dead within two seconds of a police car driven by Garmack arriving to the park and pulling to a stop within feet of the child. In the video, released by Cleveland police a week ago, Loehmann appears to fire his gun as he opens the door to leave the police car.

Loehmann has been taken off patrol duties in Cleveland and the shooting is under internal review.

The Independence police memo describes an episode in which a supervising officer suspended gun training with Loehmann after Loehmann had an emotional breakdown about a girlfriend.

“During a state range qualification course, Ptl Loehmann was distracted and weepy,” Polak wrote, naming the trainer as Sgt Tinnirello. “[Loehmann] could not follow simple directions, could not communicate clear thoughts nor recollections, and his handgun performance was dismal. Sgt Tinnirello tried to work through this with Ptl Loehmann by giving him some time. But, after some talking it was clear to Sgt Tinnirello that the recruit was just not mentally prepared to be doing firearm training ...

“Ptl Loehmann continued with his emotional meltdown to a point where Sgt Tinnirello could not take him into the store, so they went to get something to eat and he continued to try and calm Ptl Loehmann. Sgt Tinnirello describes the recruit as being very downtrodden, melancholy with some light crying. Sgt Tinnirello later found this emotional perplexity was due to a personal issue with Ptl Loehmann’s on and off again girlfriend whom he was dealing with till 0400 hrs the night before. (Pti Loehmann was scheduled for 0800 the morning in question).”

Some of the comments made by Ptl Loehmann during this discourse were to the effect of, “I should have gone to NY”, “maybe I should quit”, “I have no friends”, “I only hang out with 73-year-old priests”, “I have cried every day for four months about this girl.”

In recommending Loehmann’s dismissal, Polak listed what he said were other performance shortcomings, including Loehmann’s having left his gun unlocked, lied to supervisors and failed to follow orders.

“Due to this dangerous loss of composure during live range training and his inability to manage this personal stress, I do not believe Ptl Loehmann shows the maturity needed to work in our employment,” Polak concludes. “For these reasons, I am recommending he be released from the employment of the city of Independence. I do not believe time, nor training, will be able to change or correct these deficiencies.”



13) It Wasn’t Just the Chokehold
Eric Garner, Daniel Pantaleo and Lethal Police Tactics



14) We Must Stop Police Abuse of Black Men





































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