In Albuquerque, NM, on a dark night in a quiet neighborhood, 23 year-old Iraq War Veteran Jonathan Mitchell was shot and killed in March 2013. He was killed by Donnie Pearson. Pearson has not been arrested due to a claim of self-defense.
The story given to police is Pearson’s and his neighbor’s story. Ventana Ranch resident Jose Beltran told police that when he came home from work, he saw a man with a gun in his driveway. Instead of parking, he drove away and called his family to warn them. One of Beltran’s family members then called Pearson and told him that Jose said he saw an armed man in the driveway.
Pearson told police that he then got his 15 year-old son, and they both got into Pearson’s SUV, and set out to look for the suspicious man with a gun. Read the rest of this entry
The case of Howard Morgan
Imagine being put on trial for four counts of attempted murder, four counts of aggravated battery with a firearm against a police officer, and two counts of discharging a firearm.
The jury acquits you of the two counts of firing a firearm and four counts of aggravated battery with a firearm. Logically, you would think that a finding of not guilty would also be entered on the charges of attempted murder, but the jury deadlocks on those charges.
According to your defense attorneys, ten jurors considered you not guilty of attempted murder, and two others would not agree. The judge declares a mistrial.
Then imagine being put on trial again and the court orders that the second jury cannot know that the first jury acquitted you on the charges of discharging a firearm and aggravated battery. The second jury enters a conviction for attempted murder, aggravated battery, and discharging a firearm. You are sentenced to 100 years in total, but since one sentence is 40 years, the judge orders that your sentences run concurrent meaning, you will serve 40 years in prison. At the age of 61, does it really make much difference?
Protesters and your family say that the second trial violated double jeopardy.
Okay, that started at what is now the present. Let’s go to the beginning. Read the rest of this entry
On January 12, 2013 in Frederick, MD, 26-year-old Ethan Saylor went to see the movie “Zero Dark Thirty” in a theater inside a mall. After the movie, Ethan wanted to see it again. Someone told him he needed to buy another ticket. Ethan had Down syndrome — a genetic condition that impairs physical growth and intelligence. Ethan does not carry cash. He had an IPhone. Because his mom later saw four, 4-1-1 calls on his IPhone, she believes he was using it to try to get information on how to purchase another ticket using his IPhone.
However, the off-duty sheriff deputies moonlighting as mall security didn’t listen to Saylor’s aide who told them to wait it out. Ethan’s mom was on the way and he just needed some time.
The deputies grabbed Ethan out of his seat. A heavy guy weighing 294 lbs, they drug him to the door and face-down, three deputies were on him in a heap putting on handcuffs, with Ethan on the bottom. Witnesses say that Ethan cried out “Ouch!” “Don’t touch me!” “I need help, Mommy.” Then he went silent. When the officers realized Ethan was no longer breathing, they turned him over and tried to resuscitate him.
Ethan’s mom was 5 minutes away from the theater when she received a call diverting her to the hospital.
An autopsy showed that Ethan’s larynx had been crushed and he died by suffocation. The medical examiner ruled Ethan Saylor’s death a homicide.
David Tolleson, Executive Director of the National Down Syndrome Congress, stated, “Advancements for people with disabilities have created more opportunities for inclusion in society, which means more people with disabilities are more likely to be “out in the community. It is critical that law enforcement agencies learn strategies on how to ‘support, serve and protect’ people with disabilities”
A grand jury cleared the three officers of wrongdoing. The case inflamed disability groups, some of which have started online petitions to demand justice for Ethan. Ethan’s sister has started a petition on change.org, requesting Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley to conduct an independent investigation and formal training of police.
More on this story here.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
There are many supporters for Justice for Trayvon Martin. Those supporters include family members of Trayvon Martin, civil rights activists, bloggers, and anyone else who deems that the killing of Trayvon Martin was unjustified in every regard.
Mr. Mark O’Mara likes to tell his spiel of how the Martin/Fulton family hired a publicist named Ryan Julison to champion their cause in getting media recognition. The fact of the matter is that it was Natalie Jackson who sought him out and hired him for the family. She knows as well as all people of color, a case like this will not get the media attention it deserves without a publicist.
The shooting of Trayvon was on local TV in Florida. For two weeks, other than those locally in Florida, no one else knew about the killing of an unarmed teenager in Sanford, Florida. Considering the options left for the family, since no arrest was made, a publicist was an option to use. Tracy and Sybrina were interviewed on CBS News Morning. They have done what other parents do; get on TV and plead their case. I have often viewed news cast of tragedies happening to families, but the majority of those people who get to have their say on TV are generally white. Most news media outlets will put the face of a white child missing more often than a black child missing. Most media outlets will put the face of a killing of a white person more often than the killing of a black or brown person. This is the bias of the media outlets. This practice of media bias has been done for a very long time.
The sheer fact that a publicist had to be employed speaks to this mindset and recognition of media bias. A crime committed against a black person is not as newsworthy as a crime committed against a white person.
Which leads me to the power of the internet.
Through a law school linkserv, Kevin Cunningham learned about the killing of Trayvon Martin on March 8th 2012, 11 days after Trayvon was killed.
Kevin Cunningham, 31, of Washington, D.C., attended Howard University. The student body of Howard University today consists of 80% black and 1% white.
Kevin Cunningham used the power of the internet. He created the petition on Change.org. This petition garnered more attention than what the publicist was trying to do at the time.
O’Mara loves to rant and rave about how Martin/Fulton hired a publicist to get “their” message out. He is so wrong, I just had to call it out.
Granted the publicist did some work, but it was the petition that made it national and global news through the use of the internet.
The petition, from its inception garnered 100 signatures the first day. After a few days, it was 10,000.
A spokesperson, Megan Lubin from Change.org contacted Kevin Cunningham and suggested, which is a rare thing for this organization to do, would be to turn over the petition to Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton.
Quote from Sybrina Fulton:
“When we heard about the petition, we were overwhelmed that someone we didn’t know would take the time and effort to raise awareness about our son,” Trayvon’s mother said.
She speaks not only for the efforts of Kevin Cunningham, but for all those who signed the petition.
The petition in its final tally was 2,278,303. It is currently, the largest petition in Change.org. history. On April 11, 2012, it was announced that a capias for the arrest of the neighborhood watch captain that killed Trayvon Martin was issued, charging him, George Michael Zimmerman, with 2nd degree murder. State’s Attorney Angela Corey said that they were not pressured by outside forces to arrest George Zimmerman. The results of the investigation give evidence of 2nd degree murder, but that investigation would not have happened if not but for the efforts of Tracy, Sybrina, lawyers, ordinary people, and Kevin Cunningham who posted a petition that let everyone know that George Zimmerman should be held accountable for the killing of Trayvon Martin.
O’Mara doesn’t like pointing out the fact that the petition and the will of the family did more in a matter of days than any publicist would or could have done in the same time frame.
O’Mara and company would like to have the American & Global Public believe that if not for the hired help of a publicist, the killing of Trayvon Martin and the pending case of Fl vs GZ would not have been in the public eye.
HE IS DEAD WRONG!
We are included in those 2,278,301. The public outcry on the streets and on the internet are the reason why the killing of Trayvon Martin is front and center. Not because of the sole work of a publicist.
We demanded Justice — this call came from everybody.
We intend to get that Justice for Trayvon Martin.
If not for people like Kevin Cunningham who had the courage and the idea of starting a petition, I believe this case would have never gotten to where it is now. It’s the people who spoke up against the injustice of it all that has gotten to where we are now, and a lot of those people are on the internet. We don’t have access to big media outlets. We don’t have the money to buy air time. But our voices are just as powerful if not more than the media and radio.
Case in point: The defendant’s family has been on TV an Radio. It has gotten them, nothing, nada, zilch.
No amount of TV coverage can speak as much as our signatures, petitions, marches, blogs, and our continued support for Trayvon Martin and his family.
The internet can be a powerful tool to use for creating awareness. I am proud to be a part of the positive work and continuing efforts in our quest for Justice for Trayvon Martin.
The one year anniversary of the death of Trayvon Martin is in three days. I thought it was appropriate to go back and look at who and when people got involved.
Kevin Cunningham was at the front of the line.
Kevin Cunningham, from our home here at BlackButterfly7, thank you from the bottom of all of our hearts.
#True Warrior Kevin Cunningham