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Archive for the 'Social Justice' Category

Thursday, May 21st, 2009


by A.man.I

These videos made me sick.

Birmingham police beating video

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009


by A.man.I

A King County (Washington State) police officer has been charged with fourth degree assault for beating a 15-year-old girl who was being detained under suspicion of auto theft.

AP Article

In the video, a deputy kicks the girl, pushing her back toward the wall. The deputy then strongly backs the girl against the wall and slams her to the floor by grabbing her hair.

Watch it for yourself courtesy KOMO 4 News (ABC) Reporter Shomari Stone.

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007


by A.man.I

As the Rev. Al Sharpton heads to Congress to discuss nooses and hate crimes, Mychal Bell, the 17-year-old who is the focus of many of the stories surrounding the “Jena 6″ is back in a juvenile detention facility after a brief taste of freedom.

The story of the six Louisiana teens stirs emotions for many people who have been following the case. It is easy to get caught up in the hype. This story is set in the deep south, where backwards attitudes still exist (ask me about my visit to Bosco Louisiana).

First nooses were hung on a tree at the high school where black students tried to gather in August last year, there were several off campus confrontations between some of the “Jena 6″ students and white students, then last December the “fight,” that left a white student, Justin Barker knocked out after one hit. Mychal Bell who was 16 at the time allegedly led the attack, and the others apparently stomped Barker after his lights were out.

Many believe the nooses were the catalyst for the situation, though U.S. Attorney Donald Washington says there isn’t a link between the noose incident and the beat down. That didn’t stop thousands from marching in the small town of 3-thousand people on September 20.

Some of the locals including District Attorney Reed Walters who is prosecuting the teens worried that Jena would be destroyed by the mob of angry Blacks. Walters even went so far to say that Jesus Christ intervened and protected Jena from the protestors. Anyone who knows the history of civil rights would understand that peaceful demonstrations are the rule in general. Personally, it was great to witness and report on the gathering of thousands who rallied for the cause.

The following week, I returned to do a follow up report after Mychal Bell was released. I spoke to a local Jena resident and the father of Jena Six student Theo Shaw. Both seemed to indicate the students were on a reckless path, not listening to the advice of their parents, or others in the community who warned them about their ways. It’s been widely reported that Bell was already on probation for another violent situation, when he decked Barker. A person familiar with all of the players in the case said the DA was trying to be reasonable with the teens until they mouthed off and showed no regard for their actions.

Walters has been stigmatized in the media as being a good ‘ole boy, though the U.S. Attorney’s office says he was within the bounds of law when he charged the teens as adults because the shoes used in the stomping were considered to be deadly weapons. Barker however was treated for minor injuries and attended a school event the same day of the assault. While in Jena, I spoke with several locals who said that problems of racism have been exaggerated by the media, though Blacks tend to feel like the town is still ass backwards.

Should the six teens have been charged as adults? It certainly seems excessive, but some in the community believe that Walters was sending a much needed message. Should the students who hung the nooses have been prosecuted for committing a “hate crime?” According to U.S. Attorney Washington, the students involved would have needed to have some sort of criminal history before they could be charged with a federal hate crime.

The actions of the six certainly can’t be condoned, and it’s interesting to see how some are getting star treatment. Two were spotted on the red carpet of the BET Hip Hop-Awards.

Will there be any justice? It’s evident that the law is going to keep Mychal Bell in jail because of his transgressions, but I believe youngstas need to understand that in America, Black males are targets, the law will use any excuse to incarcerate, and violence is never a solution regardless of the wrong committed by another.

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007


by A.man.I

Growing up in Northern California, my personal feelings about law enforcement were shaped early on. The police in the Bay Area were quick to turn on their flashers, and question this black male.

Nope, I’ve never been arrested, but the po-pos regularly pulled a brotha over back in tha day. Maybe it was because my ’67 Chevy Bell Air looked like the cars that the young dope boys pushed. Racial profiling was the rule not the exception as far as I’m concerned.

The icing on the cake was the Rodney King beating. That was truly a historic beat down, and it made it very easy to repeat the N.W.A. anthem “F*%$ Tha Police.”

Before I moved to Florida to continue my education at the University of Florida, my father gave me some sound advice.

“Don’t mouth off to those cops down there. They play by different rules in the south.”

Great advice pops.

I have to say that I’ve never had a problem with the boys since I’ve lived in the south. Too bad that isn’t the case with everyone.

15-year old Shelwanda Riley is learning a tough lesson from Florida’s Ft. Pierce Police. You have to watch the video.

First, Officer Dan Gilroy walks Riley in front of his dash cam to document the arrest. Riley apparently was violating the city’s curfew. It doesn’t help that she resists arrest, and then eventually bites the officer on the hand…Wrong move. He forces her head against the hood, and then whips out the pepper spray. Now she’s facing felony battery charges.

It’s hard watching a cop manhandle a female teen, but cops are going to be cops.

What’s equally interesting are some of the comments left by the readers of the TCPalm.

JerseyGuy: “i’m sorry but this vid gave a chuckle :)

HEAVENSENT: “Good thing i’m not a cop I would have shot her.”

iceman02: “I would of knocked out a couple of her teeth.”

TalkLeft provides more thoughtful commentary:

Even if arrest is warranted for a curfew violation, handcuffing a teen in back is unnecessary force. It’s painful. They are children. Surely he could have cuffed her in front. She’s screaming in pain and then he slams her face into the car hood. It’s not until afterwards that she finally bites his hand (which is protected by a glove.) Then he hits her and sprays the pepper spray directly in her eyes.

It’s hard to say who’s right or wrong in a situation like this. Riley was certainly resisting, but you have to wonder if there was a less physical way for the officer to handle the situation.

Link from FieldNegro.

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007


by A.man.I

A United Nations special envoy is meeting with Burma government officials to intervene in the government’s crack down on demonstrators.

from BangkokPost

“The secretary general asked his envoy to call on the Burma authorities to cease the repression of peaceful protest, release the detainees and move more credibly and inclusively in the direction of democratic reform, human rights and national reconciliation…”

…In Rangoon, the site of the largest protests, demonstrators dispersed at the weekend as the military and security forces were out in force on the streets.

email from Jesse Maceo Vega-Frey


If you haven’t heard much about Burma in the news during the past few days, its because the Burmese military junta has successfully managed to cut most lines of popular communication with the outside world.

This has enabled the regime to crack down on democracy activists under a veil of near darkness.

Reports of horrendous violence on lay people and on the monastic community have confirmed the fears of the continued willingness of the regime to degrade, brutalize and murder their own citizens.

Making sure that the world can witness what is going on within Burma is one of the only means we have of keeping the activities of the government under check and bring power back into the hands of the Burmese people.

There is a dire need to get video equipment and transmission equipment back into the country and into the hands of democracy activists so that the world can once again bring its attention to the needs of the people of Burma.

We are now in the process of purchasing a large number of “flip video” cameras which are very discrete, AA battery operated, tape-less cameras who data can be uploaded directly to a computer and then sent by satellite phone out to the world.

The cameras are only about $100 a piece and we need your help to purchase them and the more expensive transmission equipment needed to get the video out of the country.

Many people have already pledged their resources toward this endeavor. Please join them quickly so that we can open the widow back to Burma and hold the regime accountable for its actions.

Please click on this link to download an mp3 file of a group of Burmese nuns chanting the Metta [lovingkindness] chant.
You can imagine what it sounded like with 100,000 people chanting it in the streets, or a few thousand in their prison cells, a few hundred trapped in their monasteries, or a small family hiding quietly in their home.

Learn more about Stonecircles

Thursday, September 27th, 2007


by A.man.I

Though I’m sitting on the campus off Georgia State University, I’m thinking about Jena Louisiana. As a journalist I wish I could be there. Mario and I have been monitoring the events closely, but our assignment there ended last Friday.

Since then the parents of Mychal Bell traveled to Washington DC to speak to members of Congress, and according to CNN, LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters explained his reason for deciding not to fight a higher court’s ruling to move the case into juvenile court.

“District Attorney Reed Walters announced Thursday that he will not appeal a higher court’s decision to move the case against Mychal Bell, a black teen-ager accused of beating a white classmate in Jena, La., to juvenile court.

Walters said his decision not to appeal was based on what he believed is best for the victim in the case.”

The question is what will happen to Bell? Most folks believe he’s spent enough time behind bars. Bell’s been jailed since being arrested for the school fight last December. Everyone I’ve spoken to says there should be consequences for the students who were involved in the beat down; it is the severity of the charges that most people are opposed to.

As America continues to watch the developments, I can’t help but to think about what a special time it is to be involved in media. Bloggers, journalists, and activists can now share information via the Internet. At the same time it is very important to be able to distinguish between fact and fiction.

In journalism accuracy, and fairness is the foundation, but the same rules don’t apply in the blogoshere. Responsible bloggers however must continue to share information about important events, because sometimes the mainstream is slow to catch on.

In this case most news outlets have shed light on this controversy, and though the kind folks in Jena are probably sick and tired of all the attention, it is well deserved. The more people talk about it, the more we all will have a better understanding of the problems in America’s sometimes unjust justice system, and the media is a vital piece of the puzzle. These are just my thoughts.

You know what I’m looking for…



Thursday, September 27th, 2007


by A.man.I

The Associated Press is reporting that LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters won’t challenge the appellate ruling that sends the Mychal Bell case to juvenile court. The news comes from Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco’s office.

LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters had earlier said he would appeal the state appeals court’s decision that 17-year-old Mychal Bell’s second-degree battery conviction be set aside. The court ruled that Bell could not be tried as an adult.
Blanco said she had spoken with Walters and asked him to reconsider pushing to keep the case in the adult courts system. She said Walters contacted her Wednesday to say he had decided not to appeal the ruling.
“I want to thank him for this decision he has made,” Blanco said.

Looks like there’s a little political pressure coming from the Gov.

Thursday, September 20th, 2007


All I can say is we’re sleep deprived, and have to get up soon to cover the Jena Six story.

I can’t go into explaining why right now, but in the TV world, Murphy’s Law is the rule fa sho.

As for the latest developments, you may want to watch the news tomorrow. I’ll be working, and I’m guessing I won’t be posting much.

I’m not sure about all the media outlets who will be covering, but I know The story will be on HDNews, not to be confused with HDNet. CNN has been here all week, and I saw a CBS satellite truck here too.

One of the Jena 6 family members told me that The Montel Williams Show asked the family for pics, and we hear Oprah Winfrey or at least producers with her show are here as well.

I’ll be checking for all media, independent, bloggers, and the mainstream.

It’s hella early (that’s Cali slang), and I have to get up in a few hours.

Here’s some last minute info:

5:00 A.M.
Protesters assemble at the bus staging area and board buses at the Alexandria Coliseum (5600 Coliseum Blvd)

6:00 A.M.
Bus Caravan to LaSalle Parish Courthouse in Jena, Louisiana

7:00 A.M.
Rally in front of the Courthouse featuring Rev. Al Sharpton, Michael Baisden, Martin Luther King, III, Actor Tyler Perry and many others

7:30 A.M.
March from LaSalle Parish Courthouse through Jena, Louisiana, and then caravan back to Alexandria, Louisiana

Live rally at the Downtown Ampitheater broadcast to millions of listeners on Rev. Al Sharpton’s nationally syndicated radio show and Michael Baisden’s nationally syndicated radio show (Murray Street at the River, Alexandria, Louisiana)

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