Category Archives: civil rights

Dylann Roof Wants a New Federal Trial – Argues Lack of Jurisdiction

Victims at AME ChurchABC reports that Dylann Roof, who was convicted for murdering 9 people in Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church in June 2015, has asked for a new federal trial.  Roof was sentenced to death.  Roof’s argument is that federal prosecutors lacked jurisdiction to bring their case against him.

Represented by attorneys, they claim that the federal government failed to prove that Roof’s use of the internet, the highways, and a gun manufactured out of state, were sufficient links to allow religious obstruction charges.  A similar argument was made in July 2016 as a part of Roof’s plea bargain that if the government took the death penalty off the table, that he would plea guilty as charged.  The court denied Roof’s motion.

A federal grand jury found that Roof violated subsections of federal law 18 U.S.C. 247 in that he intentionally obstructed, by force, the enjoyment of free exercise of religious beliefs.  That section requires that the circumstances takes place in or affects interstate or foreign commerce.

Roof is currently in custody in the Charleston County jail awaiting trial in state court.

 

Acting Attorney General Sally Yates Fired By Donald Trump. What It Means For America.

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Acting Attorney General Sally Yates

There’s so much in the news regarding President Trump’s Executive Order banning Muslims from 7 countries from entering the United States, that following it is almost like putting a jig saw puzzle together.  There are many, many pieces that make the whole.

On Saturday, a U.S. District Court judge placed a temporary injunction on Trump’s Executive Order.  A hearing is scheduled for next month.  That means that the federal judge is giving the United States (Trump) time to prepare and file a defense as to why the Executive Order is not in violation of the constitution.  It has now been reported that four federal judges have temporarily enjoined the Executive Order.

Earlier this evening, cable news reported that the acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, was not going to defend Trump’s Executive Order.  According to the New York Times;

“At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities, nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful,” Ms. Yates wrote in a letter to Justice Department lawyers.

Raw and other sources now report that President Donald Trump has “relieved” acting Attorney General Sally Yates of her duties as reported by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

Spicer made the announcement via Twitter, writing: “@POTUS has named Dana Boente, US Attorney for the Eastern District of VA as Acting Attorney General. Sally Yates has been relieved.”

The Danger In Trump’s Firing of Yates

Read the rest of this entry

Breaking News: Brooklyn Judge Stops Trump’s Immigration Ban

A cheer and toast to the ACLU! When it comes to the constitution, they know their stuff. I read the petition and among their arguments is that Trump is in violation of the Immigration and Naturalization Act which does not allow for discrimination based on country of origin. If Trump is going to ban the entry of non-citizens, he has to ban all and not just citizens of 7 countries.

Gronda Morin

donald-trump-signing-orders1485289256441On Friday, Mr. Trump issued an executive order banning immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries from being able to enter the USA (including even green card holders) under the auspices of national security. On Saturday, Mr. Trump was hit with a class-action lawsuit by the ACLU, which argued that this executive order was unconstitutional.

About an hour ago, Judge Ann Donnelly from the Eastern District of New York (federal court in Brooklyn) agreed with the ACLU, and issued a national injunction staying enforcement of Trump’s unconstitutional order anywhere in the country. Under this injunction, no one can be removed from the United States solely by virtue of President Trump’s Executive Order, and the Government must even provide the ACLU with a list of names of people who have been affected.

President Trump’s unconstitutional move was meant to please his followers despite the fact that there have been no refugees from any of…

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Marches Across America and The World Standing In Solidarity Against Donald Trump

I’ve spent most of today watching and reading the news about the  “Women Marches” happening today.   It is reported that in America alone, the numbers are over a million participating.

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Photo credit: (Meredith Blake/Los Angeles Times)

Teresa Shook of Hawaii is given credit for starting the march.  She invited her Facebook friends to join her in a march in Washington, D.C. and what began with 40 of her friends grew to 10,000.  Today, there is an estimated 500,000 in attendance in D.C.

In Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. Rep. John Lewis,  kicked off the proceedings.

“We all came to this land in different ships but we’re all in the same boat now,” Lewis told the crowd, to loud whoops and cheers. “Got on your marching shoes? Let’s do it!”

Others are marching in New York, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles,  Portland.  Women and men  around the world are also marching in solidarity and in opposition to the bigotry and hate that  Trump represents.   There are marches in  Sydney, Berlin, London, Paris and Cape Town, South Africa.

 

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Los Angeles, California

 

For about 2 hours now, MSNBC and CNN have reported that Trump’s press secretary is suppose to give a statement.

 

Department of Justice Investigative Findings Of The Chicago Police Department

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Photo credit (Jose Osorio / Chicago Tribune)

The United States Department of Justice completed a probe of the Chicago Police.  Its investigation was conducted over a period of 13 months. They found that the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) used biased techniques to investigate officers and a consistent unwillingness to probe or dispute officers’ statements.

The Chicago police force is one of the nation’s largest, with 12,000 officers.

The DOJ also found that the police received insufficient training in de-escalation techniques and poor training on all levels.

The investigation also found Constitutional violations, and violations of federal law by officers in the use of force, racial disparities and other systemic problems.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports;

“The Justice Department and City Hall have hammered out a pact, called a “statement of agreement,” which will detail remedies the city has already or will be taking to address problems that have ruptured relations between police and the people they serve, particularly minority communities.”

Attorney General Loretta Lynch will be out of office on January 20, 2017, and wanted to complete DOJ investigations in Baltimore and Chicago before the new administration takes over.  Read the rest of this entry

Dylann Roof Sentenced to Death

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Dylann Roof, found guilty of the murder of nine people, and sentenced to death.

The jury began their deliberations early this afternoon.   It did not take them long to decide that Dylann Roof, the murderer of nine people, receive the death penalty.

At closing argument, Roof reminded the jury that its decision must be unanimous.  Apparently, he was looking to impress upon just one juror not to sentence him to death.

Also during his closing argument, Roof told the jury,  “I still feel like I had to do it.”

It is reported that every member of the jury looked directly at Roof as he spoke for about 5 minutes.

The prosecutor’s closing argument included;

“They welcomed a 13th person that night … with a kind word, a Bible, a handout and a chair,” Richardson said during his closing argument. “He had come with a hateful heart and a Glock .45.”

 

Fourteen Year Old Charged With Cyber-harassment and Ethnic Intimidation

(Cross posted from Flightattendantfailures)

After an approximate 3-month investigation, a 14-year-old Northampton, PA student has been charged with cyber harassment and ethnic intimidation.  The 14-year old took a video of a 16-year old student eating lunch and posted it on Snapchat.  The 14-year old is White.  The 16-year old is Black.

Northampton County District Attorney, John Morganelli, said of the video;

“I reviewed the video today and I find it to be highly offensive and reprehensible. It depicts the 16-year-old minding his own business eating chicken wings while the 14-year-old records him and narrates it by describing the scene as ‘a N-word eating chicken.’

“The video demeans the 16-year-old with numerous uses of the N-word and references to being broke and on welfare. As bad as that is, the 14-year-old published the offensive video on social media including Snapchat that was viewed by numerous students as well as the 16-year-old male, …”

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Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli at a news conference on Jan. 3, 2017. (Rudy Miller)

However, the District Attorney did not know of the video until after the 16-year old Black student was arrested and charged with simple assault, harassment and disorderly conduct.  That’s because while at a football game attended by both student, the Black student retaliated by opening a can of whoop-ass on the 14-year old.

Neither teen has been publicly identified by authorities.

D.A. Morganelli will allow the 14-year-old to seek an “informal adjustment” in juvenile court. If he completes the probationary requirements, he will not be charged with the crimes.

The 16-year old Black student will also be allowed an “informal adjustment.”  Morganelli said the black student had previously been the subject of discrimination from a group of students calling themselves “the rednecks.” He said he had a confederate flag thrown on him when he transferred to the school from out of state. Read the rest of this entry

Dylann Roof Convicted

The jury in Dylann Roof’s federal trial deliberated less than 2 hours, and convicted him on all counts of hate crimes, obstruction of religion and weapons charges.

The panel of nine Whites people and three Blacks  will reconvene on January 3, 2017 to decide whether Roof is sentenced to death or life in prison without parole.

Minutes after the verdict was read, Roof told U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel he wanted to represent himself during the penalty phase.

Fox news reports; Read the rest of this entry

International Concern Over Killing of Arab Law Student By Police

I had no plans on writing any posts involving police use of excessive force for the rest of this year.   We are currently following the trial of Dylann Roof, who murdered 9 people in their church.  That came on the heels of following the trial of Michael Slager, who shot an unarmed running Walter Scott in the back.  The jury hung.  Slager’s trial came on the heel of the trial of Ray Tensing, who shot unarmed Sam Dubose in the head while he was sitting in his car.  That jury hung.

It’s not only the subject matter, but the judicial results that can be a burden on the heart and mind.  This afternoon, I threw off the burden when learning about another unarmed person killed by the police.   He was a human being.  He has a family. There are people who love him.  He will be missed.

The reason for this post is because I did not hear of the incident through major news sources when it happened.  There was no ticker across the bottom of the screen on CNN nor MSNBC.  (I don’t watch Fox News.)

Because I look for professional views regarding cases in court, I subscribe to Law.com in Practice.  Their Newsletters generally focus on what is happening in cases in courts and case decisions.  So, it was interesting when reading in their Newsletter about a dash cam video and a law student being shot dead by a police officer in Ohio.

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Saif Nasser Mubarak Alameri

This incident is one to watch because it involves another country that is interested in how the State of Ohio is conducting its investigation into the death of Saif Nasser Mubarak Alameri.

Saif Nasser Mubarak Alameri was 26-years old.  He was a student at Case Western Reserve University School of Law .  Saif obtained a bachelor’s in law at the United Arab Emirates University. He was in the United States on a student visa and academic scholarship.

There are scant details.  According to the National Law Journal and Arab news sources, the Ohio State Highway Patrol received a call about an erratic driver on Sunday, December 4, 2016.  Alameri was driving on the Ohio Turnpike about 2:46 p.m. when he sideswiped another vehicle and flipped his vehicle, according to Hudson police.  He then climbed out of his car and fled the scene before the Ohio State Highway Patrol arrived.

Nearly one hour later, Officer Ryan Doran, a Hudson, Ohio police officer, found Alameri in a nearby wooded area off of Hudson-Aurora Road. Read the rest of this entry

Victory at Standing Rock

Nel's New Day

CANNON BALL, ND - DECEMBER 04:  Fireworks fill the night sky above Oceti Sakowin Camp as activists celebrate after learning an easement had been denied for the Dakota Access Pipeline near the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on December 4, 2016 outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota. The US Army Corps of Engineers announced today that it will not grant an easement to the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under a lake on the Sioux Tribes Standing Rock reservation, ending a  months-long standoff.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) CANNON BALL, ND – DECEMBER 04: Fireworks fill the night sky above Oceti Sakowin Camp as activists celebrate after learning an easement had been denied for the Dakota Access Pipeline near the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on December 4, 2016 outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Protesters across the United States celebrated today after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it would “explore alternate routes” for the Dakota Access Pipeline instead of granting an easement the pipeline. Over 2,000 U.S. military veterans had joined the thousands of protesters at the site to protect them from the authorities, and federal officials had given them until tomorrow to leave the site .

Native American tribes began last April to block the part of the current 1,172-mile-long pipeline’s $3.8 billion project designed to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota at the confluence…

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Baton Rouge Settles Case With Black Lives Matter Protesters

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Activist Deray McKesson arrested in Baton Rouge. AP Photo/Max Becherer

In response to the killing of Alton Sterling on July 5, 2016, Black Lives Matter protesters gathered in the streets of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.   Police arrested 92 protesters.  East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore III said his office would not prosecute the protesters.  However, those arrested incurred bond, administrative fees and court costs in order to be released.  To have those arrests expunged requires more money.

Activist DeRay McKesson was among those arrested.

A federal class-action lawsuit was filed alleging that the militarized police were aggressive in their response to protesters and used “unconstitutional tactics” to infringe upon the protesters’ First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and assembly.  Fewer than 10 percent of the protesters in the class-action lawsuit were from out of town. Read the rest of this entry

Prejudice, Bigotry and the Safety Pin

safety-pinWhite people wearing a safety pin has become a symbol of being a safe person against racist, sexist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, and other hateful ideologies.  An idea behind the pin is that it’s a public pledge that the wearer will help de-escalate situations where the marginalized are under attack, whether verbally or physically.

Because of its controversy, yesterday I read as much as I could about the symbol of wearing a safety pin.  Christopher Keelty, a White bisexual man, wrote for the Huffington Post that the safety pin is an embarrassment for White people.

The general criticism is that it’s more of a sign of White-guilt.  There are articles which in summary, say how dare White people think that they can say what solidarity with minorities, immigrants and others should be; should look like.

Yes, I read allot yesterday and I also talked with others.  Nothing satisfied me one way or the other.  Then a light-bulb moment happened.

What is it that I believe?  I believe in equality for all.  On that foundation, I asked why Blacks, Muslims, LGBT, immigrants, Brown, Yellow and Red people cannot be safe for others who are subject to cruelty since the election of Donald Trump?  In fact, those who voted for Donald Trump who do not share in the phobias of hate might be safe people. Read the rest of this entry

How Can I Help Standing Rock? #NoDAPL

Thanks for giving us the information for how we can help.

Let Our Voices Echo

Kristeen Hernandez aka Lady2Soothe

Water is sacred, it gives life to everything and without water there is no life. Non-violent direct action Water Protectors have tried to stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (aka DAPL), which will traverse four states.

The Water Protectors are concerned oil will leak into the tribe’s water supply. Other tribes and environmental groups are among those who have joined the tribe’s cause and as of Sept. 26, 2016 there are 280 nations and allies with more than 4,000 people making Standing Rock the 15th largest city in No. Dakota, but they need OUR help.

3 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT INDIGENOUS EFFORTS AGAINST THE DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE

1. It’s Not Political – It’s Life and Death
2. This Is a Women-Led Issue ~ Women are the protectors of water and life
3. Our Movement Is Non-Violent Direct Action ~ No guns…

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“A Shameful Moment for This Country”: Militarized Police Injure Peaceful Protesters In North Dakota

“A Shameful Moment for This Country”: Report Back on Militarized Police Raid of DAPL Resistance Camp”

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What Began in 1993 Finally Results in Closure in 2016 For A Wrongfully Convicted Man

chicago-heightsIn 1994, Chicago Heights Deputy Chief of Police Sam Mangialardi was indicted after four years of investigation by federal authorities.  He was convicted on 16 counts of corruption that included racketeering, aiding and abetting a drug conspiracy, extortion to allow a drug ring to flourish,  money laundering, theft of government funds, civil rights conspiracy, filing false tax returns, and witness tampering.  Mangialardi accepted $10,000 monthly payments to protect the city’s top drug dealer.

In 1995, Mangialarid was sentenced to 10 and a half years in federal prison, ordered to pay $1.1 million in restitution, and fined more than $20,000.  Federal prosecutors described Mangialardi as being a “Godfather” like figure.

Sam Mangialardi, who was 46-years old when sentenced in 1995, was unapologetic and defiant.  At his sentencing, he presented that he was awarded Law Enforcement Officer of the Year by the American Police Hall of Fame for exchanging himself for a hostage and then overpowering his armed captor.

Mangialardi was not the only public official investigated, indicted and sentenced.  Then an  Assistant U.S. Attorney John Gallo said that the Chicago Heights Police Department was not run by the mob, but it was run like the mob.   Gallo did not seek the maximum penalty for Mangialardi because Mangialardi promised cooperation with future investigations.

Former Chicago Heights mayor Charles Panici, along with 14 other public officials and 6 Chicago Heights police officers were convicted of federal charges including civil rights violations, racketeering, witness tampering, bribery, extortion, and money laundering. Read the rest of this entry

A Change Is Gonna Come

Sam Cooke wrote and sung the original “A Change Gonna Come.”  The video below is a live performance of the song by Al Green.

 

 

Charging Affidavit For Betty Shelby, Tulsa Officer Who Killed Terence Crutcher

 

 

What Happens When the Miami-Dade Corrections Dept Doesn’t Think You Look Like A Woman

Pichardo de Veloz.

Fior Pichardo de Veloz

Fior Pichardo de Veloz is a lawyer.  She is also a local elected official in the Dominican Republic.   In November 2013, she flew into the Miami International Airport in Florida to witness the birth of her grandchild.  She was taken into custody on a federal, 1988 warrant for a drug charge in a case that she thought had been resolved.

That was two years ago, and on September 13, 2016, Fior filed a lawsuit in federal court; not because of the mix-up with the warrant, but because a nurse at the Miami-Dade jail assumed that Fior had been born male and had her placed in a general holding cell with 40 men.

According to her lawyers, Fior was initially placed into a jail cell as a woman, but a nurse alleged to evaluating her for exhibiting “non-traditional male characteristics.”  The nurse alleged that she determined Fior had male reproductive organs and she was then sent to Metro West Detention Center, a male-only facility.  Read the rest of this entry

Kaepernick, Black Lives Matter, and Trigger Happy Cops

I can barely keep up with the names and the cities and states where it happened — nor the numbers which appear to increase weekly.

Blissfully Single

So I haven’t written a new blog post in a minute (or maybe more), but I’m so damn tired of so many white Americans losing their shit over a pro-football player taking a stand against oppression of people of color in this country, and yet the same people turn a blind eye when yet another killing of a black, or Latino, or Native, occurs. Honest to God people, wake up!

I don’t even know the name of the latest victim of a trigger happy cop. I know that he had his hands up the entire time. I know that he presented zero risk to the cop. I also know, considering how other cases like this have gone in the past couple of years, that said cop will be placed on paid leave (paid vacation), and that there will almost certainly be no charges file. If there are charges filed, the…

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Were You Scared? What Killed Terence Crutcher.

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A few days ago, a beloved former student of mine (a black man) from the charter school where I used to teach tagged me on Facebook with the following meme:(It’s probably good to note here that I’m one of those teachers that is better in retrospect than I am in the present moment. I’m kind of […]

via Were You Scared? — Maureen O’Leary

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