Friday, December 31, 2010

NAACP Finally Follows Media Spotlight and Dollars to Mississippi Scott Sister's Case

As soon as I saw the NAACP mentioned in the Washington Post article about the Scott sisters, I smelled that the NAACP would try to take credit for the outcome, even though I've never heard their name associated with the Scott sisters' case before.  I know with certainty that, although I read blogs and newspapers every day, the NAACP is NOT where I found out about this case.  And now, Benjamin Jealous plans to hold a joint press conference with arch-conservative Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour to celebrate this long-fought victory which then NAACP has so recently joined.

I imagine that if the case had occurred in Louisiana, Jealous would hold a press conference with David Duke.

In fact, although the Scott sisters have been in jail for sixteen years, while the NAACP's President Ben Jealous may have first mentioned the case to the media on September 15, 2010"NAACP backs pardon for Miss. sisters serving life", USA Today,   "The president of the N.A.A.C.P., is seeking a pardon from the Governor of Mississippi, announced the Red Mountain Post on October 15, 2010.  When the NAACP announces its support in a nationally-known case of injustice that has been advocated at blogs and community groups for years, and the NAACP's freshly-painted involvement becomes national news, you know that organization has lost its way.  It has gone from political leader to political opportunist, just as occurred in the Jena Six case, where "NAACP Spent More on Internal Jena Six Activities Than on Youths’ Defense Funds."

I think the current role of the NAACP is to show up at our victory parties and grab the microphone before anyone else has a chance to speak, so they can ask for donations that ultimately pay for NAACP overhead instead of being used to help the named victims of injustice.

Scotty Reid of BlackTalkMedia says that the NAACP ignored the Scott sisters' case until it became a media magnet, and then the NAACP jumped into the media fray as a "Johnny come lately," opening a financial donations account from which the Scott sisters allegedly have not received a dime.  "The NAACP has not contributed one dime to the legal expenses of the Scott sisters and nor has it stated that it will do so. . . " alleges Scotty Reid.

Leave it to the NAACP to announce a joint press conference with Haley Barbour, defender of the White Citizens Councils, and thereby putting the NAACP seal of Black approval on Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour.  , in the eyes of white people who thing the NAACP is a respected organization with real constituents.  Here's Haley Barbour's resume, in reverse chronological order, which facts Ben Jealous apparently has not read, or has dismissed in the rush for the media spotlight:

    Governor of Mississippi (Jan-2004 to present)
    National Policy Forum Founder (1993)
    Republican National Committee Chairman (1993-97)
    American Success PAC

    Americans for a Republican Majority

    America's Foundation

    Bayou Leader PAC

    Bluegrass Committee

    Bush-Cheney '04

    Bush-Quayle '92

    Campaign America Inc.

    Cantor for Congress

    Committee for the Preservation of Capitalism

    Defend America PAC

    Elizabeth Dole Committee

    Elizabeth Dole for President

    The Freedom Project


    Friends of Giuliani Exploratory Committee

    Friends of Katherine Harris

    Friends of Phil Gramm PAC

    Friends of Roy Blunt

    George W. Bush for President

    Keep Our Mission PAC

    JD Hayworth for Congress

    John McCain 2008

    Leadership PAC 2006

    Lindsey Graham for Senate

    McCain 2000

    McCain for Senate '98

    National Council for a New America Founding Member
    National Republican Senatorial Committee

    New Republican Majority Fund

    Northern Lights PAC

    Rely on Your Beliefs Fund

    Republicans Abroad Advisory Committee
    Restoring the American Dream Board of Directors
    Resurgent Republic Advisory Board
    Santorum 2000

    Senate Victory Fund PAC

    Spirit of America

    Washington Legal Foundation Legal Policy Advisory Board
    Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity

    Microsoft Washington lobbyist
    Barbour, Griffith & Rogers Founder, President, CEO (1991-99)
    Member of the Board of Amtrak

    Bush Pioneer 2000

The only thing missing so far is Barbour's conceivable involvement in the White Citizens Councils.  Now, I'd like to have one good reason why Ben Jealous wants to shake Haley Barbor's hand, if not for selfish fundraising goals and publicity after the fact.   See "Haley Barbour's Praise For Racist Group Gets Noticed" on NPR.  

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is getting much more national attention than he usually does this week following a Weekly Standard profile in which the Republican with presidential aspirations lauds a group that was part of the racist reaction to the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s.

Haley Barbour has tried to rehabilitate the imagine of the White Citizens Councils, but Amanda Terkel at Huffington Post says:

In a 1956 article in Commentary David Halberstam describes the White Citizens Council as an organization determined to "not just oppose integration in the public schools but to stop or at least postpone it. In most of the the Deep South, where hostility to integration is nearly universal, it is this militancy and dedication that make the Council member stand out. Despite occasional efforts by supporters to build the Councils up into a movement of broad conservatism, their only serious purpose is to fight the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Not only do they contest the NAACP's desegregation suits, but they seek to cancel much else that the Negro has gained over the last half-century by keeping him out of the voting booth."

Even Haley Barbour now recognizes that the hateful and pro-segregation work of the White Citizens Councils. His state governor website says, apologetically:

"When asked why my hometown in Mississippi did not suffer the same racial violence when I was a young man that accompanied other towns' integration efforts, I accurately said the community leadership wouldn't tolerate it and helped prevent violence there. My point was my town rejected the Ku Klux Klan, but nobody should construe that to mean I think the town leadership were saints, either. Their vehicle, called the 'Citizens Council,' is totally indefensible, as is segregation. It was a difficult and painful era for Mississippi, the rest of the country, and especially African Americans who were persecuted in that time."

I personally believe that Haley Barbour is trying to disassociate and immunize himself against attacks on his color-aroused background, perhaps because he was a member or collaborator of the White Citizens Council himself, or because his family members were.  That's just a hunch, but it's worth looking into it, because I believe Haley Barbour is running for president in 2012.

This is why I find it incredibly idiotic that Ben Jealous of the NAACP is planning to hold a joint press conference with Barbour.  He unwittingly or intentionally is helping to inoculate Barbour against charges of color aroused politics and helping to distract attention from Barbour's roles and affiliations in the Republican presidencies of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.  Meanwhile, Ben Jealous wants to get on television, pretending that his NAACP is still relevant, even though they didn't have a meaningful website during any of the days of the George W. Bush presidential administration.

Ben Jealous is prominently meeting with one of President Obama's most likely opponents for 2012, undercutting the obvious anti-Barbour opinion that Barbour is a color-aroused man from one of America's most color-aroused states.  I don't know who's worse:  The NAACP's Ben Jealous for helping Haley Barbour or Haley Barbour for being Haley Barbour.

Haley Barbour's motive is obvious, and Ben Jealous is seems blind to the political realities, except as they affect his own publicity and opportunities for an NAACP fundraising drive.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Justice Clarence Thomas's Nephew Treated Like a Black Man with Rasta Locks by West Jefferson Hospital Security

Is it possible that in the current purportedly "color blind" and "post racial" USA, a nephew of US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas could be treated as so many other Black men have been? According to the Star Telegram, a newspaper owned by the McClatchy company, US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' nephew was known by hospital emergency room security to be epileptic, but was shocked with a "Taser" electrocution and execution device anyway.
In July, a security guard used a stun gun on the nephew of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas after he allegedly became combative when trying to leave a Louisiana hospital against doctors' orders, The Washington Post reported.
ABC 26 WGNO reports:
MARRERO - Family members of Derek Thomas, nephew of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, are alleging that the younger Thomas, was punched and tased when he was admitted to West Jefferson Hospital Thursday.The family says the use of the taser caused Thomas to have a seizure.
According to at statement from the family, Derek Thomas, who is epileptic, refused to put on a hospital gown and tried to leave his examination after a possible suicide attempt. They say security "punched him in his lip, pulled out more than a fistful of his dreadlocks and tasered him to restrain him."
Doctors knew about Thomas' epilepsy, but ordered security officers to use the taser anyway, instead of sedating him, the family says.
The family is trying to have Thomas transferred to another facility.
Justice Thomas is expected to travel to New Orleans as soon as possible to check on his nephew.
Washington Post writer Philip Rucker reported:

A nephew of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas suffered a seizure after he was beaten and shocked during a scuffle with security guards at a New Orleans area hospital, relatives alleged Friday.
Derek Thomas, 25, was immobilized with a stun gun Thursday after he tried to leave the emergency room at West Jefferson Medical Center in Marrero, La., his sister told WDSU, a local television station. Security responded after Thomas refused a doctor's request to put on a hospital gown and started to leave, Kimberly Thomas said. 

"One of the security guards punched him in the lip," she told WDSU. "Another one pulled out more than a fist full of his hair and, from that point, they [shocked] him," possibly with a Taser.
Derek Thomas has epilepsy, she said, and he suffered a seizure shortly after the stun gun was used.
The same Washington Post article says:
Their mother, Dora Thomas, confirmed the account in an interview with The Washington Post. She said that she picked her son up from the hospital Friday and that he is resting at home.

"He's as well as can be expected," she said.

Clarence Thomas was planning to go to New Orleans to check on his nephew, Kimberly Thomas told the television station. A Supreme Court spokesman said the justice had no comment on the matter.

Reached at her home in Georgia, Clarence Thomas's mother, Leola Williams, said she, too, was joining the family in Louisiana. "I'm just worried about my grandson," Williams told The Post.

Justice Clarence Thomas has at least de facto joined the Republican Party and joined the extreme right-wing members of the US Supreme Court in decision after decision  His wife is a white woman.  What else can and must Justice Thomas do to assure that he and his family will be treated by security guards and police just as white people would be treated under similar circumstances?  Maybe his family's trauma in this case will cause Justice Thomas to think about the problem of color-aroused injustice when Thomas votes on Supreme Court cases involving color-aroused treatment of other Blacks.

Friday, December 17, 2010

African American Pundit Expresses Doubts in Esteban Carpio Case

African American Political Pundit says today:
As someone who was raised in Boston, and []known the family of Esteban Carpio for many years, I have always thought that he was wrongfully convicted of the murder of Providence Police Detective Sgt. James Allen. 

I have always wondered if he was beaten even before the officer was shot. 
Read more:
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution
It seems obvious to me that at some point Esteban Carpio was severely beaten about the face by police in Providence, Rhode Island.  African American Political pundit wonders whether he was beaten before he shot a policeman and jumped out a forth-floor window or after that.

The question is crucial.  If  a reasonable were in the position of being severely beaten during questioning, instead of calmly questioned with his lawyer present, and if police continued to beat said reasonable person until his face looked like hamburger, I can imagine how that reasonable person might take the only weapon he had at hand--the officer's gun--and shoot that officer in order to stop the beating.  That scenario is not the known truth of the matter, but the truth of the matter it is a question worth being asked and answered.

I have always assumed that Esteban Carpio was beaten by the police for shooting a fellow officer.  Is it possible that Esteban Carpio shot an officer to end a beating administered by police?  The question had never occurred to me until it was raised by African American Political Pundit

In any case, the Providence Police Department has learned, hopefully, that leaving one armed police officer in a room with a suspect charged with murder, when the suspect's family has warned police that the suspect is mentally ill, creates a life-threatening situation for that lone, armed police officer.  And maybe, just maybe, police have learned that beating a person until he is unrecognizable is unacceptable, particularly to the person being beaten.

Police may also have learned that questioning a mentally ill suspect without his lawyer present can have negative results not merely for the mentally ill suspect, but also for police officers.

One thing is sure:  Police will never credibly tell the public whether they beat Esteban Carpio until he shot an officer, or whether they beat Esteban after he shot the officer.  The world might never know, but the Providence Police know, and they know who was most responsible, and how, for the death of a fellow police officer.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

GA Prison Inmate Strike Enters New Phase, Prisoners Demand Human Rights, Education, Wages For Work

Story by Bruce A. Dixon, audio interview by Glen Ford

Georgia prisoners who began a courageous, peaceful and nonviolent protest strike for educational opportunities, wages for their work, medical care and human rights have captured the attention of the world. Black Agenda Report intends to closely cover their continuing story. Glen Ford recorded a conversation with activist Elaine Brown and one of the striking inmates in Georgia on Wednesday, December 15.

Click here for more information from Black Agenda Report.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Prisons and Jails: A Color-Aroused Caste System.

I received this letter from Color of Change and I think it addresses
well the systematic brutality of the criminal injustice system aimed at
perpetuating a permanent Black underclass in a color-aroused caste
Need a gift idea for the holiday?
This book is for anyone who wants to fix our broken criminal justice system.

Buy the book and join author Michelle Alexander in the new year to talk solutions.
Dear Atty,
We’ve all heard the statistics, and most of us have simply become numb to hearing them. For many people, the over-incarceration of Black people is simply a fact of life. It shouldn’t be.
Thanks to legal scholar and professor Michelle Alexander1 we now have a new book that explains how we ended up with a criminal justice system that targets and endangers Black communities, as well as ideas on what we can do to free ourselves from that system’s clutches.
When we put the book — The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness — in the hands of 20 ColorOfChange members to review, the response was unanimous. In addition to giving the book glowing reviews, they all wanted the entire ColorOfChange community to know about it.
It’s why we’re now inviting you to get your own copy (and one for your friends or family as well, in time for the holiday season), as well as participate in a conference call with Professor Alexander in the new year to discuss it.
You can get your copy here:
Professor Alexander’s book outlines the evolution of drug laws and how their ongoing effects on Black America parallel the role that segregation played in the period following the Civil War and preceding the Civil Rights Movement.2 And it raises questions about what it will take to build a movement that can reform the broken drug laws that fuel high incarceration rates.
Criminal justice reform is key to our community — a third of Black men will spend part of their lives in prison,3 and Black children are more than six times more likely to have a parent incarcerated than White children.4 ColorOfChange members have demonstrated time and again that they want to change the status quo. More than 59,000 ColorOfChange members called on Congress to remove the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine, and nearly 25,000 sent a statement to Senator James Webb of Virginia, thanking him for his attempts to overhaul our approach to incarceration.
We believe — and the ColorOfChange members who read and reviewed the book agreed — that the book will help us, as everyday people, stand with even more power to advocate for change. Ms. Alexander is herself a longtime member of, and she’s agreed to speak with those of you who read the book, and answer any questions you have. We’ll contact you again early in the new year with more information about how to participate in that conference call, which is sure to be informative and powerful.
Here’s what members are saying about The New Jim Crow:
“This book explains how this new Jim Crow came to be and how deeply ingrained it is now in the American psyche. Unless we really understand how this happened, we’ll never break this vicious cycle of African-American overincarceration… How many family members of prisoners lie about their relatives in the penal system in an effort to mitigate the stigma of criminality? This system penalizes entire families. [The book] was such an eye opener."
— Irma, Washington, DC
“This book will give you a good understanding of the system, its historical roots, its origins in the War on Drugs, the complicity of the police and legal system leading to mass incarceration of people of color, and the tragic result of creating a permanent caste system based on color. It opened my eyes and stirred my soul.“
— Larry, Freeland, WA
“This isn’t a fight for the lawyers. This is a fight for regular people, the non-experts, the advocates, the sympathizers, the human beings who care and want to care more. Fertile ground for change is wherever we are, however we are, and accessible to those of us with less than sizable monetary wealth or a law degree.”
— Thuha, Fountain Valley, CA
For more on The New Jim Crow and to get your copy, click here:
Thanks and Peace,
-- James, Gabriel, William, Dani, Natasha and the rest of the team
   December 9th, 2010
Help support our work. is powered by YOU -- your energy and dollars. We take no money from lobbyists or large corporations that don't share our values, and our tiny staff ensures your contributions go a long way. You can contribute here:
1. “The New Jim Crow,” article by Michelle Alexander in Mother Jones, 03-08-2010
2. “Legal Scholar Michelle Alexander on ‘The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness’,” Democracy Now, 03-11-2010
3. “Too Long Ignored,” The New York Times, 8-20-2010
4. “Collateral Costs: Incarceration’s Effect on Economic Mobility,” Pew Charitable Trusts, 9-2010
Additional resources:
“More than 1 in 100 U.S. adults are in prison,” New York Times, 2-29-2008

Historic 1-day peaceful strike by GA prison inmates today, Reports Black Agenda Report

In an action which is unprecedented on several levels, black, brown and white inmates of Georgia's notorious prison system are standing together for a historic one day peaceful strike today, during which they are remaining in their cells, refusing work and other assignments and activities. This is a groundbreaking event not only because inmates are standing up for themselves and their own human rughts, but because prisoners are setting an example by reaching across racial boundaries which, in prisons, have historically been used to pit oppressed communities against each other.

The action is taking place today in at least half a dozen of Georgia's more than one hundred state prisons, correctional facilities, work camps, county prisons and other correctional facilities.  We have confirmed reports that authorities at Macon State prison have aggressively responded to the strike by sending tactical squads in to rough up and menace inmates.  

Outside calls from concerned citizens and news media will tend to stay the hand of prison authorities who may tend to react with reckless and brutal aggression.  So calls to the warden's office of Georgia State Prisons during this day are welcome.

Macon State Prison is 978-472-3900.  
Telfair state prison is 229-868-7721
Valdosta State Prison is 229-333-7900
Hays State Prison is (706) 857-0400
Baldwin State Prison is (478) 445- 5218
Smith State Prison is  (912) 654-5000

This is all the news we have for now, more coming.
One in every thirteen adults in the state of Georgia is in prison, on parole or probation or some form of court or correctional supervision.  

Press Release
Thousands of Georgia Prisoners to Stage Peaceful Protest
December 8, 2010…Atlanta, Georgia
ContactsElaine Brown, 404-542-1211,;Valerie Porter, 229-931-5348,; Faye Sanders, 478-550-7046,
            Tomorrow morning, December 9, 2010, thousands of Georgia prisoners will refuse to work, stop all other activities and remain in their cells in a peaceful, one-day protest for their human rights.  The December 9 Strike is projected to be the biggest prisoner protest in the history of the United States.
            These thousands of men, from Baldwin, Hancock, Hays, Macon, Smith and Telfair State Prisons, among others, state they are striking to press the Georgia Department of Corrections (“DOC”) to stop treating them like animals and slaves and institute programs that address their basic human rights.  They have set forth the following demands:
·         A LIVING WAGE FOR WORK:  In violation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution prohibiting slavery and involuntary servitude, the DOC demands prisoners work for free.
·         EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES:  For the great majority of prisoners, the DOC denies all opportunities for education beyond the GED, despite the benefit to both prisoners and society.
·         DECENT HEALTH CARE:  In violation of the 8th Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments, the DOC denies adequate medical care to prisoners, charges excessive fees for the most minimal care and is responsible for extraordinary pain and suffering.
·         AN END TO CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENTS:  In further violation of the 8th Amendment, the DOC is responsible for cruel prisoner punishments for minor infractions of rules.
·         DECENT LIVING CONDITIONS:  Georgia prisoners are confined in over-crowded, substandard conditions, with little heat in winter and oppressive heat in summer.
·         NUTRITIONAL MEALS:  Vegetables and fruit are in short supply in DOC facilities while starches and fatty foods are plentiful.
·         VOCATIONAL AND SELF-IMPROVEMENT OPPORTUNITIES:  The DOC has stripped its facilities of all opportunities for skills training, self-improvement and proper exercise.
·         ACCESS TO FAMILIES:  The DOC has disconnected thousands of prisoners from their families by imposing excessive telephone charges and innumerable barriers to visitation.
·         JUST PAROLE DECISIONS:  The Parole Board capriciously and regularly denies parole to the majority of prisoners despite evidence of eligibility.
Prisoner leaders issued the following call: “No more slavery.  Injustice in one place is injustice to all.  Inform your family to support our cause.  Lock down for liberty!”

Bruce A. Dixon
Managing Editor,
Black Agenda Report

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Real Pat-Down Outrage

Cord Jefferson at The Root points out that the frisk procedures that whites are now going through at the airport are not entirely unlike the daily stop and frisk that Black people experience every day, whether we fly or not. 

One significant difference I see is that whites know they will be friskes at the airport, while New York's Blacks can be stopped and frisked at any time, in any public place, with no notice or opportunity to prepare for the dehumanizing process.

Cord Jefferson says at The Root:
"If the media want to focus on embarrassing frisks, they should look at what black and Hispanic Americans routinely deal with, courtesy of the police department.
If the media want to focus on embarrassing frisks, they should look at what black and Hispanic Americans routinely deal with, courtesy of the police department.
As the fevered pitch around the Transportation Security Administration screenings gets even more fevered on the busiest travel days of the year, it's worth noting that, for some Americans, embarrassing frisks are de rigueur.

The man who first pointed this out to me is New York Times reporter David Carr, who tweeted, "White people aren't used to having the hands of state on them. Black folks know all about stop and frisk."
Carr is right about that, at least as far as New York City goes. According to the New York Civil Liberties Union, the NYPD's stop-and-frisk tactic, in which officers stop citizens on the street and search their bodies and bags, was used on 149,753 New Yorkers in the first three months of 2010. Of those frisked, 85 percent were black or Latino. Even more shocking is that 87 percent of those stopped were completely innocent.
More at the Root.
I felt sorry for whites who got this treatment at the airport, until I realized that Blacks suffer this everyday, everywhere, and whites don't raise their voices in unison against these frisks of Blacks.  Maybe we can chalk this up to "sensitivity training" in which whites suddenly realize some aspect of what Blacks experience evert day, except that these pat-downs are unlikely to result in police beat downs and false charges of criminal behavior.

Friday, November 5, 2010

White Dallas Police Shoots Unarmed Black Man 8 Times?

I don't have the bandwidth necessary to watch this video, so I would like for readers to watch it and then describe it or comment upon it in the comment section below.
White Dallas Police Shoots Unarmed Black Man 8 Times; 11 year old boy caught in crossfire.

Link to tragedy in South Oak Cliff:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Do Blacks and Whites Benefit Equally from the Word and Concept of "Race"

There is an informative article in The Root  by Professor Lawrence D. Bobo, W. E. B. Du Bois Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University, confirming that enormously expensive state and federal "tough on crime" programs have mostly been tough on Blacks:
For the first time in more than 30 years, state prison populations have shown a slight decline. But the federal prison population continues to grow. And the heavily disproportionate incarceration of minorities, especially poor blacks, for low-level drug offenses continues largely unabated.
However, I wrote the letter below to Professor Bobo, challenging his use of the word "race" in the article:

Professor Lawrence D. Bobo, Ph.D.
W. E. B. Du Bois Professor of the Social Sciences
Harvard University

Dear Professor Bobo:
I am a Black blogger researching the use of the word "race" among America's Blacks.  I would like to pose a question regarding your use of the word "race" in an article at The Root entitled, "Time to End the Criminal-Punishment Binge."  

I concur with the position of your article.  However, in your sentence as follows, what difference would it make if you removed the word "race" and inserted the term "skin color" instead?

Let us be the generation that undoes the connection between race and who populates our jails and prison.
I ask this question because if there is one thing that white supremacists and Black intellectuals can agree upon, it is the continued fundamental nature and necessity of the word and concept of "race." For example, here's what the white supremacist Nationalist Party USA says about "race:"
The Nationalist Party embraces the differences in Cultures and races, and allows for each group to embrace their own heritage -- while recognizing the right to live separately, if we choose; and to preserve our unique Culture and heritage. Nationalist Party USA (Emphasis added.)
Clearly the Nationalist Party's belief in different "races" rationalizes, in their minds, their belief in and advocacy for segregation and white supremacy. And why not? Do we not segregate the dog species from the cat species at the dog pound?

It seems to me that as soon as we concede that we and whites are from different "races," we supply intellectual and moral support for white supremacists' belief in segregation, with separate and unequal roles for whites, Blacks and Latinos in society. 

Here's another quote from the same website:
"The question is not why anyone would believe the races are unequal, but why anyone would believe them equal."
As Prof. Levin points out, a book like Why Race Matters should not have to be written. The only sensible conclusion to be drawn from simple observation is that races differ: "To put the matter bluntly, the question is not why anyone would believe the races are unequal in intelligence, but why anyone would believe them equal." For centuries, people as different as Arabs and Englishmen have judged Africans to be unintelligent, lascivious, jolly, and keen on rhythm. Today, in whatever corner of the globe one looks, blacks behave in certain consistent ways." Nationalist Party USA  (Emphasis Added.)
There you have it. White supremacists agree with many Black intellectuals, including Harvard University professor Lawrence D. Bobo, Ph.D., that Blacks and whites are from separate "races."  With white supremacists and Black intellectuals in agreement on this point, why should we even bother to consult the relatively new and opposite findings of the  U.S. Department of Energy's Human Genome Program which says:
The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Human Genome Program devoted 3% of its annual Human Genome Project (HGP) budget toward studying the ethical, legal, and social issues (ELSI) surrounding the availability of genetic information. Some of these projects studied potential effects of ELSI, and others sought to educate professionals through literature, conferences, workshops, and multimedia. Among the programs funded by DOE ELSI were educational materials for physicians, educators, students, clergy, and judges and other legal professionals. 
DNA studies do not indicate that separate classifiable subspecies (races) exist within modern humans. While different genes for physical traits such as skin and hair color can be identified between individuals, no consistent patterns of genes across the human genome exist to distinguish one race from another. There also is no genetic basis for divisions of human ethnicity. People who have lived in the same geographic region for many generations may have some alleles in common, but no allele will be found in all members of one population and in no members of any other.
Ari Patrinos, Director for Biological and Environmental Research, Office of Science, US Department of Energy, says on behalf of the DOE, in 'Race' and the Human Genome,

With very rare exceptions, all of us in the US are immigrants. We bring with us a subset of genes from our homelands, and for many Americans, often first-generation but more commonly second-generation, the plural noun 'homelands' is appropriate. From this perspective, the most immediately obvious characteristic of 'race' is that describing most of us as Caucasian, Asian or African is far too simple. Despite attempts by the US Census Bureau to expand its definitions, the term 'race' does not describe most of us with the subtlety and complexity required to capture and appreciate our genetic diversity. Unfortunately, this oversimplification has had many tragic effects. Therefore, we need to start with the science

( . . . )

In the end, each person must be treated as an individual with his or her own medical issues, rather than as an exemplar of a race. We anticipate a future in which accurate predictive medicine, based on one's individual genetic profile, will promote longer and healthier lives and a better ability to manage interactions with our environment and the challenges it constantly presents, be they allergens, diseases or environmental hazards. If nothing else, among so many potential benefits, the kind of solid science presented and discussed in this issue and at the Howard conference is providing proof that oversimplified concepts of race simply don't work in any objective realm. It's bad medicine, and it's bad science.   'Race' and the Human Genome,
Clearly what we have called "race" does not exist as a matter of science, yet the premise of "race" continues to be the single most fundamental commonality between white supremacists' arguments and those of Black intellectuals.  Do white supremacists and Blacks benefit equally from the ubiquitous use of the word "race'?  Historically, did we all benefit equally from the "N" word, whose use is just about as old as the word and concept of "race"? 

Words and concepts can empower and disempower whole classes of people.  We must either believe that whites gave Blacks the word "race" to empower us, or whites gave themselves the word "race" to empower whites. 

I propose that we Blacks challenge white supremacists, as well as journalists, newspapers and websites of all skin colors to cease and desist using the word "race," based on the new Human Genome Project declarations.  Rather than agree with white supremacists about "race," our strongest political high ground comes from insisting, based on new genomic science, that the word "race" be must be dropped from all public discussion of skin color, because the word "race" is nothing more than a pseudo-scientific and highly controversial political synonym for "skin-color group." 

Those who insist on continuing to use of the word "race" are "racists."


Atty. Francis L. Holland

Friday, June 4, 2010

Justice Sonia Sotomayor Criticizes Majority Ruling on Miranda Rights

The US Supreme Court majority, in WARDEN v. THOMPKINS, decided June 1, 2010, has effectively withdrawn much of the protection that Miranda once provided, by requiring a "clear statement" of an arrested person of his his/her decision to remain silent, before police must stop questioning a suspect.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a strongly dissenting defense of the system that has been in place for two generations, denouncing the Supreme Court majority's new requirement that a suspect must clearly say that he will not say anything, in order to invoke his right to remain silent.  Justice Sotomayor criticized the US Supreme Courts June 1 WARDEN v. THOMPKINS decision, saying:
Today’s decision turns Miranda upside down. Criminal suspects must now unambiguously invoke their right to remain silent—which, counterintuitively, requires them to speak. At the same time, suspects will be legally presumed to have waived their rights even if they have given no clear expression of their intent to do so. Those results, in my view, find no basis in Miranda or our subsequent cases and are inconsistent with the fair-trial principles on which those precedents are grounded. Today’s broad new rules are all the more unfortunate because they are unnecessary to the disposition of the case before us. I respectfully dissent. WARDEN v. THOMPKINS
I personally hope this case indicates that Justice Sotomayor (soon to be joined by Justice Kagan on the Court) will defend the rights of public when faced by often brutal, atrocious and coercive police officers.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Critical Look at TASER Policy and Effects

Thanks to Eddie G. Griffin (BASG) for providing the following:
May 10, 2:54 AM · Edward Nelson - NY Public Policy Examiner
With the recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Bryan v. McPherson, 590 F.3d 767 (9th Cir. 2009), law enforcement heads across the nation are gradually revising their use of force policies surrounding TASER deployment.

The Bryan Court dealt with a 21-year-old Carl Bryan who exited his vehicle at a distance of 20 to 25 feet away from Officer Brian McPherson who had pulled Carl Bryan over for a traffic violation. Standing on the asphalt ground Carl Bryan was wearing tennis shoes and boxer shorts and was positioned with his back facing Officer McPherson. At that point, Officer McPherson deployed his TASER causing Carl Bryan to suffer a non-minor injury as a result of falling face first onto the asphalt fracturing four of his teeth and damaging his face. Finding that a jury could conclude that Officer McPherson used excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment, the court allowed Carl Bryan’s lawsuit to proceed to trial and denied Officer McPherson’s request for summary judgment on qualified immunity grounds. A reasonable officer would have known that in a situation where force is at its lowest, the target is a nonviolent and stationary misdemeanant, would have concluded that deploying intermediate force without warning was not justified.

If you didn’t know, TASER is an acronym for Thomas A. Swift’s Electronic Rifle.

What’s significant about the Bryan Court’s decision is that it recognized that TASERs can actually cause death. In the past, TASER International, Inc. had a practice of suing researchers for making that conclusion. In fact, some researchers have accused TASER International, Inc. of employing intimidation tactics to discourage and prohibit them from publishing research that contends with the “less than lethal” stigmatization strategically associated with TASERs. Normally, researchers make findings and subject their work to the criticisms of their peers if their findings cannot be replicated. Why does that concept not apply to TASERs? Rick Smith, CEO of TASER International, must evaluate his SWOT analysis to include a new externality. America’s courts are now an externality that Mr. Smith must recognize as one of TASER International’s weaknesses and threats. The author John Grisham shows how easy it is for a company to purchase a judge to favor its position in his latest book titled, “The Appeal.” However, that would be a serious invocation of Game Theory on the part of TASER International.

Nationally, TASER International has placed itself in a powerful, yet, unique position of steering policy for law enforcement agencies nationwide. Law enforcement heads are forced to rely entirely on TASER International’s training and policies on use, deployment, and research methods. Unfortunately, the Chiefs of Police that use TASERs have delegated their duty to protect the public to a Fortune 500 business like TASER International whose sole concern is its bottom line. A government functions on inputs that maximize outputs. Apparently the TASER is the input and the death of a citizen is the output. Even an insignificant number like 1% of the nation dying from in custody death syndrome and excited delirium syndrome is too much. Stated another way, the trade off is more officers living and a marginal number of citizens dying. As government officials, law enforcement administrators should be concerned with protecting the individual rights of each individual citizen; a publicly traded IPO company like TASER International, trading under the ticker symbol TASR, is not concerned with individual rights.

While TASER International can write-off the deaths of 334 citizens mentioned by Amnesty International between 2001 and 2008 as collateral damage, law enforcement administrators must consider the individual rights of each person on a case-by-case basis. If not, they are deliberately indifferent to the Constitutional rights of the population of citizens they are hired to serve. Everyday anecdotal evidence is mounting and increasingly shows that TASERed citizens are dying in the custody of police officers. However, with TASER International steering the policies of law enforcement on TASER usage and training, the in custody death syndrome immediately following TASER usage is remarkably written-off as if death is the cost of not complying with police officers. If the officer, victim, or bystander is not facing an imminent threat from a subject, the deployment of a TASER would be unreasonably excessive. On March 3, 2010, an officer TASERed a 17 year old Philadelphia Phillies fan simply for running on the baseball field. The incident has caused a lot of public clamor because the officer, a victim, nor bystander was threatened by the 17 year old when he ran onto the baseball field. Unfortunately, the lesson behind the incident is that it shows how officers arbitrarily and capriciously use their TASERs.

Law enforcement officials have tenaciously maintained that TASERs save lives. Agreed! When used appropriately, TASERs can save lives. But an inappropriate use of a TASER by law enforcement is a rare finding. Statistically, the chance of finding a citizen dead from in custody death syndrome is greater than finding an officer improperly used a TASER. Even law enforcement officers have sued TASER International claiming that they were injured by a TASER during their training. In another instance, an officer’s TASER malfunctioned as he pursued a perpetrator and he was shot six times. TASER International was sued as a result. Therefore, the claims against TASER International and law enforcement aren’t isolated to members of the public. Moreover, it begs the question of whether TASER International knows, or, expects deadly malfunctions in its TASER product prior to marketing.
TASER International has warned that TASERs can contribute in death if the following variables are present within a TASERed subject:

alcohol intoxication
So why are officers deploying TASERs on drug abusers when there is a real possibility of death occurring? If law enforcement agencies have no policy directing officers to refrain from deploying their TASERs on the above category of individuals, the answer is clear: It’s because their municipality has become deliberately indifferent to the individual rights of intoxicated /drugged citizens. A well informed law enforcement agency would know from anecdotal evidence collected on excited delirium syndrome and in custody death syndrome that those citizens who are intoxicated, high on cocaine or methamphetamine fall within a category of individuals that are likely to die post-TASER deployment. Unfortunately, post-TASER deployment has a medical aspect that makes most law enforcement administrators appear acutely obtuse and woefully incapable of understanding the injurious nature of TASER weaponry. Over the years, a medical examiner’s finding of excited delirium syndrome or in custody death syndrome is the only justification required to relieve an officer of liability for a citizen’s death. Today, excited delirium syndrome is a questionable medical condition in the medical community.

Lawyers that are worth their salt have quickly learned that the preparation of litigation against TASER International and law enforcement requires that they be as savvy as TASER’s medical experts regarding excited delirium syndrome and in custody death syndrome. Commonly, the coups de grace in TASER litigation involves a showing of death or non-minor injury resulting from brain injury, cardiac arrest, short term loss of memory, cardiac infarction, and metabolic acidosis proximately caused by a TASER. As alluded to earlier, TASER International is an aggressive publicly traded company concerned about its bottom line and answers to a board of directors. To maintain a pristine public image, TASER International strategically uses sneaky semantics, omissions, lawsuits, dry threats, scandalous and vexatious comments to fend off any undesired comments that can potentially have a negative economic impact on its TASER product. TASER International has successfully sued medical examiners to change the cause of death on a death certificate from being associated with a TASER to being “accidental.”

Unlike most weapons that cause visible superficial wounds, the TASER permeates the human body internally using voltage and amperes to overwhelm neurotransmitters emanating from the brain. In other words, it has a subtle way of causing damage to the body’s internal biological functions. It’s the fluctuating AC (alternative current) power source that causes the muscles within the body to experience a condition called tetany. Meaning the AC power source actually causes the muscles within the body to contract when in contact with an AC power source. However, a DC (direct current) power source pushes a person away when contact is made. The electricity from a TASER travels through the body looking for a place to ground. However, for the brief moment that it takes residence within the human body, the electricity from the TASER quickly transforms plasma glucose into lactic acid which ultimately forms a condition called metabolic acidosis. It’s important to note that a primary source of energy for the brain is glucose. Now imagine your brain’s primary source of energy being transformed into lactic acid. That’s a problem! Even a person with minimal medical experience would know that the heart is the biggest muscle in the body. Yet, researchers are divided as to whether a TASER can cause cardiac arrest.

Comparatively, TASER litigation reminds me of the long and hard fight attorneys had with cigarette companies. Remember the days when cigarette companies said their product was safe? Well, the federal government must have the same feeling because the National Institute of Justice is currently soliciting to fund research for a “less-lethal” weapon that is safer than a TASER. This article is dedicated to the memory of all those American citizens who gave their lives so law enforcement officers could enjoy deploying their new toys in the absence of perceiving an imminent threat to themselves, bystanders or victims. It’s because all of you existed that others are inspired to find the truth concerning your deaths. May your souls find rest!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Are Small Town Rhode Island Police Officers Overzealous With Traffic Fines?

In a little-city suburb of Providence, Rhode Island, there is a police officer who is notorious for sitting in his squad car, hidden at the side of the road, and waiting for drivers to pass by, traveling at rates as little as two miles per hour above the speed limit. He writes an extraordinary number of speeding citations for minor deviations from the speed limit, and he writes an extraordinary number of other citations for offenses that many local citizens consider to be de minimus infractions.

Can any reader tell me the name of the town, the name of the officer, and the name of the judge(s) who review these tickets when these cases are appealed and come before the courts?

Is this officer appropriately zealous in protecting the public by enforcing traffic regulations to the letter of the law? Or is he giving Rhode Island government and law enforcement a bad name by harassing law-abiding citizens who are doing their best to drive safely and whose only meaningful "offense" has been to drive down the same road where this allegedly over-zealous police officer is hidden in waiting?

If you have an experience to recount about small-town Rhode Island traffic enforcement and you would like to do so anonymously, please feel free tell your experiences anonymously in the comments below, but please do include the name(s) of the town(s), location(s), policing officer(s), judge(s) and traffic court(s) with jurisdiction over traffic citations.

Please feel free not to include names of private citizens, who do have a right to their privacy and should not be targeted for retribution.

If we find that there is a pattern (or patterns) of over-zealous and inappropriate persecution of mild-mannered small-town Rhode Island drivers, who are going about their own business conscientiously way, then maybe some readers would like to report their experiences using their names for attribution (or send a confidential e-mail to this blog at francislholland at (remember to include the @).

My belief is that Rhode Island newspapers like the Providence Journal will investigate over-zealous officers, if they read significant numbers of sufficiently specific complaints in blogs such as this one, about those officers who are supposed to protect and to serve, particularly when they wear a badge and operate under color of law.

No one wants to make herself the target of an already-over-zealous police officer, so please feel free to comment anonymously, including as much detail as you comfortably can.

Although I am a trained attorney who has practiced law in the United States, I am not currently admitted to the Bar of any state and cannot offer legal advice in public or in private. I write and discuss police brutality with readers strictly in my capacity as a citizen journalist.

Whatever your experience with Rhode Island traffic police, please remember the brighter side: at least you didn't end up looking like Esteban Carpio did when Providence police officers brought him to court with his face turned to virtual hamburger, which police covered with an (to my experience) unprecedented white Batman mask.

NYC Minorities Frisked More but Arrested at Same Rate

The New York Times says in a very informative article about the overwhelming difference between stop and frisk rates of whites and others in New York City:
Blacks and Latinos were nine times as likely as whites to be stopped by the police in New York City in 2009, but no more likely to be arrested.
( . . .)
According to the analysis of the 2009 raw data by the Center for Constitutional Rights, nearly 490,000 blacks and Latinos were stopped by the police on the streets last year, compared with 53,000 whites.

But once stopped, the arrest rates were virtually the same. Whites were arrested in slightly more than 6 percent of the stops, blacks in slightly fewer than 6 percent. About 1.7 percent of whites who were stopped were found to have a weapon, while 1.1 percent of blacks were found with one.

What I find most troubling is this: If police are able to find just as much reason to arrest whites even when whites are stopped and frisked only 1/10th as much as Blacks and Latinos, then if police INCREASED the stop and frisk rate of whites then they would probably also increase the rate of arrests made of whites.

Look at it this way, in the land of driverless white and black drone cars: If ALL cars have weapons in them but the white cars are stopped half as often, then police will find the same rate of weapons among both groups of cars, but white cars will proceed with weapons unmolested, even though increasing stops of white cars would increase the number of weapons found in white cars.

Or, let's look at it another way: In spite of an all out effort to find crime among Blacks, targeting Blacks almost ten times as much as whites, police have been unable to show that Blacks are more likely to have weapons than whites. Perhaps if the police stopped every single Black person who left his house, the police still wouldn't find more reasons to arrest Blacks than whites. And that's what these statistics are showing.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Is a Small Jail in Illinois Ground Zero for Taser Abuse?

Submitted by Ruth.

Just about an hour south of Chicago sits an obscure Kankakee County jail, the Jerome Combs Detention Center, a 668-bed facility that may just be one of the country's worst centers of Taser abuse. Inmates have filed at least 15 lawsuits over the past four years regarding Taser-related abuses — an unusual number, according to law enforcement experts. Some of them describe Taser use while inmates were already in restraint chairs or handcuffs. One described an inmate being Tased while weak from a hunger strike; another inmate described being "shock[ed] almost to death." Yet another inmate said he was Tased multiple times while officers taunted him with racial slurs.

According to an investigation by The Chicago Reporter and The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute, at least 101 inmates in the jail were shocked by a Taser between mid-August 2007 and mid-December 2009, and a quarter of these incidents occurred while the inmates were restrained. Only 4 percent of the Taser firings were officially reported.

Since 2005, Chicago has been sending inmates from its own overcrowded Cook County Jail to be housed at the Jerome Combs facility, bringing in $1.4 million in revenue for Kankakee County. Several potentially unjustified Tasings occurred in response to these detainees protesting mistreatment at their new home.

The investigation, "Taser Timeout," was reported by Kelly Virella and appears in the May/June 2010 issue of The Chicago Reporter. It is available on-line here:

Press inquiries may be directed to Ruth Baldwin at The Nation Institute, at or 212-822-0266.

We hope you enjoy the read!



Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Stories Of Black Men Who Have Been Murdered By Law Enforcement Officers.

I saw the following at a MySpace page that has plenty more examples to which readers can follow links:


Última Atualização: 14/3/2010

Enviar MensagemMensagem InstantâneaEnviar por E-mail para um AmigoInscrever-me

Sexo: Male
Status: Solteiro
Idade: 36
Sinal: Áries

Estado: Georgia
País: US
Data de Inscrição: 20/9/2007

Quem dá Kudos:

Entre Nessa Rede
Invista no Seu Futuro Profissional. Inscrições Vestibular 2010 Unijorge
        sábado, outubro 20, 2007 

Modo atual:  acordado
Click on the links to read the full stories of these unarmed men that have been choked, beaten, neglected and shot to death by law enforcement officers in the United States.

This Monday is October 22. It will be a National Day Of Protest Against Police Brutality with protests planned all over the United States. If there is no rally in your area, why not reach out to a family that has lost a love one to thi senseless "shoot-first" justice the police departments are practicing on people of color across this country. This weekend, surf the web for emails and/or street addresses of Mothers, Wives and Children of these or other innocent, unarmed people that have fell victim to the murderous "Boys In Blue" and let them know you are praying for them and you support them! 


Johnnie Cromartie, 40, Murdered May 25, 1993 in New York, NY by Manhattan Police officers -'>FULL STORY

Anthony Baez, 29, Murdered December 22, 1994 in New York, NY by officer Francis X. Livoti Jr.'>FULL STORY

Read more "Stories Of Black Men Who Have Been Murdered By Law Enforcement Officers." Do these stories check out? Do they anger you? Do they make you feel sad, embarrassed . . .?  Are they even true?  Check it out and report back in the comments!