LEGAL FUNDRAISING CALL FOR AFRICAN-AMERICAN PHOTOJOURNALIST BEATEN BY TORONTO POLICE
November 2007- On the heels of autrocities like the Jena 6, African American journalists Tonye Allen and Ann Brown are still in a struggle for their freedom after being victimized by police in Toronto, Canada over a year ago! With a looming court date of November 21, the couple is enlisting the public's help for legal fees. _____________________________________________________________
It has been a year since African American journalists, Tonye Allen and Ann Brown hailed that cab last year on October 16, 2007 in Toronto, Canada. Blatant victims of racial profiling and police brutality, the couple has struggled since then to share their story, gain public support, and raise funds in their bid for freedom in a foreign land. Their case finally goes to trial on November 21, 2007.
On that fateful day, police from Toronto Division 51 detained the two without explanation. When the couple asked questions, the police turned violent, beating up and arresting photojournalist Tonye Allen, while assaulting journalist Ann Brown.
Allen was eventually charged with assault and resisting arrest. The couple had hoped by now the charges would have been dropped. The journalists, whose combined writing and photography credits include Essence, Black Enterprise, VIBE and Rolling Stone to name a few, have been trapped in Toronto legal system ever since, fighting for justice while trying to maintain their daily livelihood. Both are professionals with no prior criminal records.
The Crown, ( the city of Toronto's office of prosecution ) has filed formal charges and is pursuing a case against Allen; two counts for resisting arrest and two counts for assaulting a police officer. Allen still does not know what he was initially being arrested for, and maintains he never fought back. Photos of his brutalization pretty much corroborate his story.
Allen and Brown are still struggling to raise monies for lawyer fees and their hotel bill. Their blog, which posts details of their drama, can be accessed at www.TonyeAllenandAnnBrown.blogspot.com . To sign a petition in their support go to
"In recent months, the public's awareness of racial injustice has been heightened," expresses Brown. "The plight of the Jena 6 has shown what can happen in our own United States. It's sad to realize the conditions we as a people are being subjected to on an international level. Public support and outcry is our most potent weapon. We thank the media for bringing attention to our plight and humbly ask the public for continued support."
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The tough Georgia law that sent Genarlow Wilson to prison for having oral sex with a fellow teenager has been watered down. But in Georgia — and in many other states — it's still a crime for teenagers to have sex, even if they're close in age.
Legal experts say it's rare for prosecutors to seek charges. But, as the Wilson case illustrates, they can and sometimes do.
And the rising popularity of sex offender registries can often mean that a teen nabbed for nonviolent contact with someone a year or two younger might face the same public stigma as a dangerous sexual predator.
"It's ludicrous," Wilson's lawyer B.J. Bernstein said. "In order to look tough on crime they (lawmakers) are criminalizing teen sex." ( . . . )
Wilson was freed Friday after the Georgia Supreme Court found that the 10-year mandatory sentence he received for having oral sex with a 15-year-old girl at a New Year's Eve party in 2003 when he was 17 was cruel and unusual punishment. He had served almost three years in prison.
Wilson said in an interview Monday that he hopes to use his newfound celebrity to raise awareness among high school and college students. He said sex education classes are lacking.
"Most of the time they just tell kids, 'Use condoms,'" Wilson told The Associated Press
"That's not the only thing they need to know about sex. They need to know that they can actually go to jail."
Wilson will appear on behalf of an organization set up by his lawyer to help teens learn their rights. ( . . . )