This Week on OUR COMMON GROUND φ “40 Years, $1 Trillion, 45 Million Arrests Later: “The Truth About the War Against Us” φ LIVE

OUR COMMON GROUND with Janice Graham

“The Truth About the War Against Us”
09-12-15 War on Drugs4
40 Years, $1 Trillion, 45 Million Arrests – the war still rages against our community. IT WAS NEVER ABOUT DRUGS

 Saturday, September 12, 2015

10 pm EDT
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This week on OUR COMMON GROUND, we review and examine the truth about the policies and intent of the “War on Drugs”. We need to talk about the money making behind the politics; how the drug war can be considered slow Nazi policy on the poor and the racial profiling used. We look at these destructive and failed policy and manipulation in its historical context and destructive outcomes. We will present audio clips for our discussion which will assist us in understanding just how much the “War on Drugs” was really never about drugs.

For sheer government absurdity, the War on Drugs is hard to beat. After three decades of increasingly punitive policies, illicit drugs are more easily available, drug potencies are greater, drug killings are more common, and drug barons are richer than ever. The War on Drugs costs Washington more than the Commerce, Interior, and State departments combined – and it’s the one budget item whose growth is never questioned. A strangled court system, exploding prisons, and wasted lives push the cost beyond measure. What began as a flourish of campaign rhetoric in 1968 has grown into a monster. And while nobody claims that the War on Drugs is a success, nobody suggests an alternative. Because to do so, as Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders learned, is political suicide.

As a community we need to understand how Drug War fever has been escalated; who has benefited along the way; and how the mounting price in dollars, lives, and liberties has been willfully ignored. Where are the policy maker offices where each new stage was planned and executed? What happened in the streets where policies have produced bloody warfare. This is a tale of the nation run amok – in a way the American people are not yet ready to confront. Are you?

You are invited to bring your thoughts about the pressing issues facing our community. Come listen and learn. SHARE please.

OUR COMMON GROUND where friends come to confer with allies.

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“Uprising: Resistance and Rebellion” ll OUR COMMON GROUND with Ajamu Baraka and Efia Nwangaza

OUR COMMON GROUND   with Janice Graham

       “Uprising: Resistance and Rebellion”

05-02-15 Resistance and Rebellion

               Depraved INDIFFERENCE – Beyond Baltimore
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Saturday, May 2, 2015 LIVE 10 pm ET
Guests: Ajamu Baraka and Efia Nwangaza
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Tonight we look back at this week’s uprising in Baltimore MD and explore where we go from here. How do we prepare a generation of people for a new, more militarized war on Black people? How do we get our people to see, “we are the Gaza?” Looking at the Freddie Gray murder charges and the overall fracture and failure of the Amerikkan judicial and government systems.

ABOUT OUR GUESTS

Ajamu Baraka,Human Rights Leader and Contributor, Black Agenda Report

Ajamu Baraka is a human rights defender whose experience spans three decades of domestic and international education and activism, Ajamu Baraka is a veteran grassroots organizer whose roots are in the Black Liberation Movement and anti-apartheid and Central American solidarity struggles.
Baraka is an internationally recognized leader of the emerging human rights movement in the U.S. and has been at the forefront of efforts to apply the international human rights framework to social justice advocacy in the U.S. for more than 25 years. As such, he has provided human rights trainings for grassroots activists across the country, briefings on human rights to the U.S. Congress, and appeared before and provided statements to various United Nations agencies, including the UN Human Rights Commission (precursor to the current UN Human Rights Council).

As a co-convener with Jaribu Hill of the Mississippi Worker Center for Human Rights, Baraka played an instrumental role in developing the series of bi-annual Southern Human Rights Organizers’ conferences (SHROC) that began in 1996. These gatherings represented some of the first post-Cold War human rights training opportunities for grassroots activists in the country.

He writes for the Black Agenda Report and is Editor of “A Voice from the Margins” http://www.ajamubaraka.com/

Efia Nwanga, Human Rights Attorney and Liberation Broadcaster, WMXP Greenville South Carolina

Sister Nwangaza, current director of the Malcolm X Center for Self Determination, is a former Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) organizer. The Malcolm X Center for Self Determination (http://wmxp955.webs.com/aboutus.htm ), is a volunteer grassroots, community based, volunteer staffed, owned and operated human rights action center, since 1991. It serves as a non-profit, public space for developing, testing, training and implementation of approaches to popular education, strategic planning, problem solving, and communications skill enhancement, with wide ranging performing and organizing skill development, using human rights frameworks and mechanisms for self-determination, community and self-advocacy. WMXP-LP 95.5 FM – The Voice of the People, http://wmxp955.webs.com/, is a community based, volunteer programmed, listener and local business supported non-commercial educational radio station. It’s mission is to give voice to the voiceless with local music, local talk, local news, local people doing local programming.

She clerked in the SNCC national office, worked the Julian Bond Special Election Campaign, and was a member of the Atlanta Project which drafted the Black Power, Anti-Vietnam War, and Pro-Palestinian Human Rights position papers popularized by SNCC,http://www.crmvet.org/vet/nwangaza.htm . At the behest of Malcolm X, SNCC worked and moved the 1960s U.S. Civil Rights movement to founding today’s U.S. Human Rights Movement. SNCC’s modern day call for Black Power/Self Determination united, elevated and invigorated resistance movements here and around the world. For fifty years of work as a human rights activist, her early career as a staff attorney for the Greenville Legal Services Program, and her contributions to numerous civic and human rights organizations . Nwangaza is an affiliate member of the Pacifica Radio Board of Directors as a representative of WMXP.

         BROADCASTING BOLD BRAVE & BLACK

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Remembering “Dr. Ben” ll In Conversation with Sirius/XM Host, Dr. Wilmer Leon,

OUR COMMON GROUND with Janice Graham

This Week

Tribute to Dr. Yosef Ben-Jochannan  In Conversation with Dr. Wilmer Leon
HOST, “Inside the Issues with Dr. Wilmer Leon
Sirius/XM Radio
March 21, 2015 10 pm ET LIVE

03-21-15 wilmer2

Join the broadcast Here: http://bit.ly/1bkVIxc

dr.ben2ABOUT Dr. Yosef Ben-Jochannan

He was one of the most courageous and inspiring scholars of our time would live for nearly a century, paying personal witness to dramatic transformations in the lives of Black people across the globe. Now a Beloved Ancestor.

ABOUT Dr. WilmerLeon Dr. Leon’s Prescription

Wilmer Leon is the Nationally Broadcast Talk Show Host of “Inside The Issues with Wilmer Leon” Saturday’s from 11:00 am to 2:00pm on Sirius XM (126).

Wilmer_Leon_2011-02-17_18-12-03_webWilmer J. Leon III, Ph.D. is a Political Scientist whose primary areas of expertise are Black Politics and Public Policy. Wilmer has a BS degree in Political Science from Hampton Institute, a Masters in Public Administration (MPA) from Howard University, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Howard University.Dr. Leon is also the host of XM Satellite Radio’s, “Inside The Issues”, a three-hour, call-in, talk radio program airing live nationally on XM Satellite Radio channel 126.”

Dr. Leon was a featured commentator on CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight and is also a regular contributor to The Grio.com, The Root.com, TruthOut.org, The Maynard Institute.com and PoliticsInColor.com. He is an OUR COMMON GROUND Voice for more than 5 years.

We will discuss with Dr. Leon about today’s urgent and pressing issues and events before African-Americans.


                                                                               

Sankofa 2015

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A Black Boy is Dead

A Black Boy is Dead

 

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Histories of gender and slavery focus overwhelming on women, as if gender and women are coextensive and men have no gender. This observation points to a problem with the conceptualization of sex and gender across academic disciplines. For if there is a structural neglect of manhood in studies of gender, and if womanhood is misunderstood to be synonymous with gender itself, then this approach signifies an extension rather than an analysis of gender ideology, which traditionally inscribes women as being gendered and men as being generic and beyond gender.

Greg Thomas—The Sexual Demon of Colonial Power—2007

Introduction:

Last week, Black America’s heart was broken and their hopes and expectations of fairness, justice, and equality shattered. The murderer of a young Black boy was freed. George Zimmerman gets to live his life an acquitted killer, and Trayvon Martin, his family, and other Black men and boys will forever be impacted by the reality that any confrontation with white men and/or women can mean death. Black men and boys remain invisible to conversations about gendered violence and death. Their existence and suffering is replaced by negation, or replaced with only the problematization of any scholarship that seeks to address their peculiar racial existence as being marginalizing to the their Black female counterpart. In short, any work seeking to speak to, and for Black male oppression is attacked for not being sufficiently feminist, and as such, worthy of dismissal and censor.

Being Black and Male is not a Privilege—It’s a Death Sentence

Within minutes of the verdict, Black feminists from across the web began posting and comparing the life of Trayvon Martin to that of Black women killed or incarcerated within the last year. On facebook, Black feminist postings about Rekia Boyd, Marissa Alexander, and Aiyanna Stanley-Jones, were on statuses and shared prolifically. Reiterating Jamila Aisha Brown’s piece, “If Trayvon Martin had been a woman…” these feminist posters/bloggers saw themselves making a point about the difference in the attention Black men’s and boy’s deaths receive next to these Black women’s lives. However, when one actually reads Ms. Brown’s piece one can only be amazed by how causality and history are vacated for ideology. Brown’s piece is written as a response to a Marc Lamont Hill’s interview where he was asked “How would things be different if Trayvon was a young Black girl? Hill responded “[Zimmerman] would have been convicted, because we have this history of seeing Black male bodies as dangerous and threatening and always worthy of lethal force.” Hill makes an observation many Black men and women across the country actually agree with, namely that Black men and boys are by and large the victims of state sponsored murder and violence and white vigilantism. This is not to deny Black women as victims, but to acknowledge the dangers of being Black and male in the United States. A point recently supported by Melissa Harris Perry’s admission that  America is so dangerous for Black men that she wishes her sons away, a burden only alleviated somewhat by “the relief I [she] felt at my [her] 20-week ultrasound when they told me [her] it was a girl.”

Unfortunately, the sentiments that express fear, anger, and hopelessness are lost on Brown and many of her readers. Despite the outrage of the Black community, the powerlessness endured by the parents of young Black men and boys, and the fear of death Black men/boys suffer, Brown seems to conclude these emotions are simply inconsequential to the larger identity politics needing to be advanced.  For Ms. Brown, any and all experiences of violence against Black women are examples that they could in fact have been Trayvon Martin. She begins her argument with a brief point that Black women have been lynched, a fact that has not gone unnoticed by historians or even anti-lynchers back in the 19th century given the cataloguing of Black women’s and girl’s names and alleged offenses in both Ida B.Wells-Barnett’s Red Record (1895) and John Edward Bruce’s A Blood Red Record (1901).  In Brown’s view, however, these women’s lives have been erased and go to prove that if “Trayvon Martin were a young Black woman, we would not even know her name.”  

 

On the face of it, this seems silly. All violence is not the same, so to suggest that Black women who have been focused on less regarding lynching, or police-state-sponsored violence means that an unarmed teenage girl who was shot by a white man on the claim of self-defense would not been known to Black America is non-sequitar. Ida B. Wells-Barnett was clear that lynching was justified against the manhood of the race and used as a weapon to discourage Black economic independence. Contrary to the popular account of Well’s anti-lynching activism as revelatory, Ida B. Wells-Barnett understood the unique vulnerability of Black men, because at one time she supported the lynching of Black men as justifiable. As she confesses in Crusade for Justice “…I had accepted the idea meant to be conveyed—that although lynching was irregular and contrary to law and order, unreasoning anger over the terrible crime of rape led to the lynching; that perhaps the brute deserved death anyhow and the mob was justified in taking his life.” After the death of her friend Thomas Moss, she began to understand that lynching was a punishment driven by the desire to murder Black men. When the white lynch mob declared to Ida B. Wells-Barnett that her “sex would not save her,” if she returned to Memphis, it reaffirmed the masculine ontology at the bottom of lynching. It was Wells-Barnett’s debasement to the status of Black maleness that threatened her life and erased her sex. Despite the historical evidence that give ample support for the view that anti-Black death (lynching, police state violence, and public executions) are directed primarily at Black men, Black feminists cannot conceptualize a reality in which Black maleness is a gendered vulnerability that warrants being the center of any account of American racism.

Brown claims that the deaths of Rekia Boyd, Deanna Cook, Aiyana Stanley Jones, and Tarika Wilson, despite being protested, taken up by the NAACP in their respective cites, and warranting lawsuits, are ignored because of “Black male privilege,” or the idea that “the victimization of young women is subsumed into a general well of black pain that is largely defined by the struggles of African-American men.” Are they not ignored by the asymmetrical power relationship between impoverished Black communities and the police state, or the general apathy for Black life? By asserting the existence of “a Black male privilege” that somehow remains unaffected by the exponential deaths, imprisonment, unemployment, and poverty of Black men and Black boys—conditions that deserve particular attention, these authors make acknowledging Black male privilege axiomatic, and indisputable.  In short, these feminists claim that regardless of the death historically associated with being a Black man, these Black men enjoy the political privilege of being male, and of being recognized even in death over Black women, some of whom are still living and breathing. Rather than being a serious analysis of how Black men concretely have privilege (education, wealth, mortality, health), this contention is about the ideological politics of academic recognition confined to blogs more than an empirical study offering insight into the tragedies that actually impact the Black community. In the death of Trayvon Martin, Black male privilege attempts to demonize a community that has lost Black fathers, sons, and husbands alongside mothers, daughters and wives for not holding a particular brand of feminist politics. These Black feminists pretend that despite the tragedy of losing a 17 year old Black boy, a child, they are ultimately the arbiters of what his life should mean for the Black community, or what his life would mean if the Black community was not blinded by the ignorance of their hetero-patriarchal pathology.

 

While the Black left, and Black independent news outlets have concerned themselves with the death of Black men and women, as well as Black boys and girls, Black feminists have not made the death of Black women killed by state violence, police brutality, racial profiling, or anti-Blackness their central agenda, unless of course those women were killed or brutalized at the hands of Black men, which makes their suffering fit nicely with their predetermined (Duluth) account of domestic violence. Voxunion presented evidence of Black men and women dying hourly, Redding News Review covered the death of Rekia Boyd, and Aiyana Stanley Jones, as well as the arrest of Marissa Alexander; I  constantly commented on these deaths as topics of conversation on my own radio segment, and Black Agenda Report has reported the deaths of Black women and children alongside their Black male counterparts. But given the gender ideology in the university, these Black feminists feel more than comfortable using the death of these women and children to point out why the death of Trayvon Martin should not be valued as much as it is because he is a Black boy.

Black Males are Victims of Racism and Sexism
It’s sickening that these individuals are now claiming they get to decide how Martin’s death should be valued, but say nothing against the specific white supremacists and institutions that devalued Black life in the first place. The central question posed by Piers Morgan in asking what would happen “If Trayvon Martin was a Black girl,” is whether or not a white vigilante could have claimed he feared for his life and used self-defense as a justification for killing her. Many commentators simply think Zimmerman would have been arrested for killing a Black woman, and the opposing feminist commentaries have offered no reason for this not to be the case. So, in an attempt to “one-up” Black male death, these commentaries pose endless hypotheticals that ask the audience to imagine the Black female victim being raped and sexually assaulted rather than simply being murdered in cold blood. Mind you, these hypotheticals are being embraced as fact, something that would necessarily happen to the Black female victim, despite Rachel Jeantel telling the American audience that she actually told Trayvon Martin that Zimmerman could have been a rapist. This sexualized aspect of racist violence is completely ignored when talking about Black men and boys.Eric Glover and Terrence Rankin were murdered to fulfill the necrophilia fetish of three white teens, and as expected not one “feminist” analysis on the particular gendered vulnerability of these Black men.  But this fear, the fear a young boy may have of being raped, is ignored, because as Greg Thomas explains, “for feminism, gender means for females only,” and as such, only females can fear, be assaulted by, be victims of, rape.

Why are these Black feminists not attacking the comparison between white men’s, women’s, and children’s lives next to the death of these Black women? Why are the deaths of Black men and boys the only comparable examples? Why are they not attacking their figureheads like Beverly Guy Sheftall for publically announcing the agendas of Black feminism in popular venues like the Root, but excluding Black death? Why are these Black feminists not writing about these women in their journals and blogs as analyses of anti-Black death and suffering rather than the reaction to the death of a Black boy? Why is it when a Black community mourns, the feminist response is to divest the meaning the symbolism a Black male life has taken on—a life embraced by Black men, women, and children alike, a life taken from Black families across the world, and a life that continues to represent the fear of growing up a Black boy who wonders if he shall live to become a man? Does this fear of death not warrant political organization around Black male issues and erasures?

In this case, Black Feminism isn’t any better than the white supremacist who denies the political possibilities held by Black manhood. Black manhood is not a pathology; a sickness to be cured by either death or by feminism. Angela Davis is clear in Women, Race &Class that Black men didn’t have male privilege during slavery, because it endangered the slave system, nor did they have it during the civil rights movement despite Michelle Wallace’s contention given the myth of the Black male rapist. Feminists are using this tragic incident to bring further attention to their political agendas. J.N. Salter’s article, “Am I A Race Traitor? Trayvon Martin, Gender Talk and Invisible Black Women” argues that Black women are expected to put their race before their gender and ignore the issues that black women have within our communities,” but this is not an issue for the black community, this is an issue for the Black feminist community who demands that the deaths of the Black women and girls they have handpicked garner the same attention recently afforded to Trayvon Martin.  Haydia Pendleton was killed in January, and her death, the death of a 15 year old Black girl sparked, national attention, so much so that the First Lady Michelle Obama attended her funeral, but this did not create the attention to Black women’s death by Black feminists that Trayvon Martin’s death did. Salter argues that “Black women are expected to put their race before their gender, to choose between their dual identities (“black” or “woman”) at the expense of their full humanity,” but this is untrue since many Black women from Ida B. Wells-Barnett to mothers like Sybrina Fulton have resolved this issue. This is a Black feminist issue that pretends being Black and being a woman should not be criticized, despite the fact that the identity politics lurking behind their idea of womanhood is about their political alliances with, and the benefits they receive from their relationships with white women. Our focus should not be on whether the Black person was/is a woman or a man it should be on protecting our communities from violence. It just so happens that in this case, the case of white vigilantism, Black men and boys deserve much of our attention.

A Conclusion
Of the 300+ Black people killed in 2012 by extra-legal violence, how many names do we know?  Every year,hundreds of Blacks are killed by police, most of them men, we don’t know who all of them are, and they don’t all get marches; some names are never uttered. Black children, little boys and girls, are killed and no one cries, mourns, or marches for them. A white vigilante kills an unarmed teen and suddenly the fear and sorrow felt by the death of a young Black boy is transformed into “the only death Black people care about.” Whereas Black feminism has no problem turning the pain and torture of a community—its families—into a metric measuring Black death and rationing this dehumanizing spectacle into the “meaningful” deaths of  Black women, and then everyone else; the Black community, the dead Black men, “we,” as their voices should.  Ideology (political, moral, or otherwise) is not the barometer of truth.

The indifference to the death of Black men and women from the near silence of this Black feminist academic cadre on issues like state violence, anti-Black death, and murder for their preferred discourses of recognition, be it phrased as: intersectionality, love, or education, is self-inflicted. Stop talking to white women and white people for academic recognition and write about the (Black) deaths of the people you claim should be at the center of consciousness. These posts that continue to react to the importance the Black community has attached to Trayvon Martin’s death, instead of suggesting any analysis of the conditions that gave rise to it, demonstrates the negating drive of Black feminist identity politics against Black men/boys, rather than concrete analysis of Black people’s vulnerability to sexual violence and murder—and how that acknowledgement helps the Black community. These posts show that vitiating Black masculinity is academically profitable, not that the death of a Black boy is tragic.

~ This post was written by guest blogger Dr. Tommy J. Curry, Associate Professor of Philosophy,Affiliated Professor of Africana Studies, Texas A&M University and his wife, Mrs. Gwynetta Curry.

9-14-13 Curry4

Boston Police Awards 3 Officers involved in High-Profile Brutality cases infused with race l The Blackstonian

Boston Police Awards 3 Officers involved in High-Profile Brutality cases infused with race

By   /   January 9, 2013  /

  © 2013 Blackstonian. // Black Boston 411 24/7

Boston Police Awards

BLACKSTONIAN EXCLUSIVE:
Boston Police Awards 3 Officers involved in High-Profile Brutality cases infused with race

The Boston Police department in its latest routine round of awarding officers for “outstanding performance” of their duties during the past year has named among its many recipients 3 officers in particular who were involved in some of the departments most highly publicized and controversial cases, all of which include elements of race and police brutality and use of excessive and/or deadly force.

These officers are: Brian R. Dunford, Michael T. McManus, Christopher R. Carr

These awards send a message of disregard and disrespect to the Black Community. Remember the outrage after the tragedy of DJ Henry when Officer Aaron Hess was awarded Officer of the Year by the Pleasantville Police Dept??? Here in Boston, these 3 separate cases are all hot buttons and the BPD is well aware of the message that these awards send to a community in constant struggle with its Police Department. Shame on the BPD, you dont have to be a detective to know this is not a good look.

Editor’s Note: We contacted BPD top brass and the official position of the BPD is that they stand by each of these officers and have their own reasoning and logic by which these officers are all worthy and deserving of these awards. The BPD noted that in the cases in question that these officers were all exonerated after an investigation by both internal affairs and Suffolk County DA Dan Conley. The BPD also stated that in the case of at least one of the officers they were disciplined for filing a false report and that no further punishment was needed and since then there have been no further incidents. The position of the Blackstonian which we expressed to the BPD is that the fact that these Officers were exonerated is only indicative of the problem, bearing in mind that 99% of officers are exonerated which is part of our contention that internal affairs and the Suffolk County DA are incapable of conducting fair investigations.

Note: 2 of the officers named below, Dunford and Carr were also part of a 2004 lawsuit against the City of Boston because they felt they were discriminated against because of their “Caucasian race”.
see it here: http://www.clearinghouse.net/chDocs/public/EE-MA-0020-0002.pdf

Now, on to the awards…

Officer Brian R. Dunford is awarded “The Department Medal of Honor” among other officers for their response to a call on October 16, 2011.
Officer Brian Dunford also happens to be the same officer who was involved with the vicious 3/23/08 beating of Boston Firefighter Wayne Abron. At the time Abron was villianized, but later (9/21/09) he was acquitted of all charges against him and is currently engaged in a lawsuit against the City of Boston and the BPD.
This is what Wayne Abron looked like after his encounter with Department Medal of Honor recipient Dunford.
Wayne Abron

see the results of a basic google search for BPD Officer Brian Dunford – click here

Dunford Award

click image for larger version

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Officer Michael T. McManus is awarded The Mayor’s Medal of Excellence among other officers for general performance of duty and achieving a cumulative count of over 250 arrests in B-2. In addition to this actual award McManus was also in a separate ceremony appointed to one of the most coveted and high profile assignments within the BPD. McManus was appointed by Commissioner Ed Davis to the BPD Fugitive Squad which we are told includes the much wanted perks of: unlimited overtime, make your own hours and a personal take home vehicle.

Office Michael T. McManus also happen to be the same Officer involved in 2 separate incidents which were some of the city’s most controversial cases. McManus only joined the force in 2007 and has made quite an impression.

A. The death of David Woodman – on June 18, 2008 David Woodman was being arrested in the Fenway after a Boston Celtics Championship. He died 11 days later and his family was subsequently paid a 3 million dollar out of court settlement by the City of Boston.
Woodman Family
http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2010/11/investigation_of_boston_police.html

B. The beating of 17 yr old boy at RCC – On October 22, 2010 a 17 yr old teenage black boy was apprehended by members of the BPD and DYS. The event was captured on video and went viral on youtube and became highly publicized. McManus was one of the officers in the video involved in the beating of this young man. A year later Suffolk County DA Dan Conley declared no wrong doing.

McManus Award

click image for larger version

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Officer Christopher R. Carr along with another officer, is awarded The Schroeder Brothers Memorial Medal; The Department Medal of Honor. It should be noted that the Schroeder Brothers Memorial Medal is the highest medal given by the BPD from the Boston Police Relief Association Memorial Award.

Also please note that this award is different from the others because in this case, which to the Blackstonian is the most despicable award, is for the specific incident in question. Unlike the other awardees who were awarded for other instances and not the particular one which was notorious and in question, this specific honor the very highest medal given by the BPD is specifically for the very incident that our community is so traumatized from.

Officer Christopher Carr is the same officer involved in the Sept. 7, 2011 police chase from Roxbury to Rockland, MA which ended in the death of Mark McMullen. For those who have been following the Blackstonian you know that we have organized around this very issue. We have sat with the family and this case is VERY MUCH in question.

Mark McMullen

The Blackstonian seriously questions how an officer can be awarded for a high speed chase 30 min out of the city, when BPD policy forbids chases out of city limits, except in the case where a suspect is fleeing a serious, violent felony and people are in imminent danger. this was not even remotely close to such a case.

Please read the narrative supplied by the BPD describing the incident for which this award is given.

Officer Carr Award

click image for larger version

 

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About the Blackstonian

A word used to symbolize the spirit and culture of Black Bostonians. We created the Blackstonian newspaper as a community service to the Black, Latino, Cape Verdean and other Peoples of Color in Boston and the surrounding area.

Who We Are

We represent Black Boston, centrally Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan but really all through the other burroughs and suburbs to wherever Black people are found in our extended midst. Our definition of Black is very inclusive, in Boston we have a lot of Brothers and Sisters from all over the Globe…Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Cape Verde, Africa, Trinidad, wherever…. in our eyes you are all Black People and we are family here in Boston aka The Bean.

Blackstonian Team

Jamarhl Crawford
Publisher

John Liu Urges Central Park Five Settlement

Janell Ross
 

John Liu Urges Central Park Five Settlement, Becoming First New York City Elected Official To Do So

Posted: 01/04/2013 10:17 pm EST

 
John Liu Central Park Five
 

NEW YORK — For the first time in the decade since a New York court overturned the convictions of five teenagers in the 1989 rape and beating of a woman known as the Central Park Jogger, a New York City elected official has called on the city to settle a $250 million federal civil rights suit brought by the now-grown men.

On Friday, New York City Comptroller John C. Liu said the city’s legal department and lawyers representing the men, known collectively as the Central Park Five, should sit down immediately for settlement talks. Liu cited concerns about mounting and likely multimillion-dollar legal costs in the now 10-year-old case. Similar cases of alleged police misconduct that were settled by the city after far shorter periods of litigation left New York to pay large legal bills and millions of dollars in damages to those harmed.

“As the financial steward of the City, my goal is to ensure that we strike a delicate balance between making those with meritorious claims whole while minimizing taxpayer costs,” Liu said in a statement released after his Harlem press conference. “In the case of the ‘Central Park Five,’ I am extremely concerned that the longer we wait, the more the legal bills mount.”

When queried by a reporter, Liu added that a settlement would also bring a long and notorious period in city history to a close.

“This troubling case has spanned the administrations of four Mayors — Edward Koch, David Dinkins, Rudolph Giuliani, and now Michael Bloomberg,” Liu said in his statement. “In the last year of his third term, Mayor Bloomberg has an historic opportunity to provide closure to all those involved. Let’s hope that 2013 is the year when all parties help close this terrible chapter in our City’s history, so that New Yorkers can finally put an end to the tragic ‘Central Park Five’ saga.”

In a statement from the city’s legal department, also released on Friday, officials denied that police or prosecutors had done anything wrong in the 1989 case.

“As we’ve said before, the City stands by the decisions made by the detectives and prosecutors,” said Celeste Koeleveld, a city lawyer who defends New York in public safety matters. She added, “The charges against the plaintiffs and other youths were based on abundant probable cause, including confessions that withstood intense scrutiny, in full and fair pretrial hearings and at two lengthy public trials, with all of the decisions being affirmed by the appellate courts.”

The Central Park Five have argued repeatedly that they were coerced into offering false confessions after 20 to 30 hours of interrogation during which police officers screamed at them, denied them anything to eat or drink, and fed them information about the crime. No physical evidence was ever found to conclusively link any of the five young men to the crime.

As city comptroller, Liu does not have the authority to force New York to settle the case but does play a role in civil suit settlements. He generally sets a budget for settlement offers and must approve any payout. On Friday, he discussed the need to close the Central Park Five case in mostly financial terms and raised questions about the length of the case.

Concern for the city’s coffers may not have been his only motivation in calling for settlement talks. Liu, an Asian American who is running for mayor in a crowded Democratic field, spent much of 2012 wrestling to keep his campaign on track after his campaign treasurer and a fundraiser were implicated in a fundraising scandal. A witness list in the case against the campaign manager also became public Friday.

Liu made his call for settlement talks in Harlem, not far from the building where most of the black and Latino men convicted in the Central Park Jogger case were raised.

“Certainly I think it enhances Mr. Liu’s standing in the progressive community and the African-American community,” said Ronald L. Kuby, a white civil rights lawyer who represented Yusef Salaam, one of the Central Park Five, in his appeal and his effort to avoid registration as a sex offender. “But in all fairness, this is also a welcome call from an elected official.”

“The Central Park Five were done a terrible injustice,” Kuby continued. “It is almost inconceivable what has happened to these men. It was an unspeakable wrong, and the people responsible for it have never admitted they were wrong, much less doing wrong, so what happened today should not be minimized.”

The city’s chief lawyer questioned why someone who has responsibility for New York’s financial health would recommend settling the case.

“We respectfully disagree with the Comptroller’s statements,” said Michael Cardozo, corporation counsel for New York City, in the legal department’s statement. “Indeed, the Comptroller is not privy to any confidential case information, per a court order. This is akin to publishing a budget report while missing half the data … It’s puzzling that the official charged with safeguarding the City’s fisc feels we should not defend the City, especially when we believe no constitutional violations occurred.”

In response to the legal department’s statement, Liu’s office emailed HuffPost: “The reaction from Corporation Counsel is exactly why this matter remains unresolved after 10 years. Shame on the Law Department for not being willing to sit at the negotiating table and finally settle a case that has dragged on for far too long. The Corporation Counsel should know better than anyone that the state of the City’s budget has no bearing on the relative merits of any civil-rights case. The Corporation Counsel misunderstands the duties of the Comptroller, which includes mitigating the City’s financial risks.”

For one of the men mostly deeply affected by the Central Park Jogger case, Liu’s call stands in sharp and meaningful contrast to the position the city has taken for the last quarter-century.

“It definitely caught me, I don’t want to say off-guard, but in a good way — I had chills as I was reading Liu’s statement,” said Salaam, now 38. Salaam was just 15 when he was arrested in the Central Park Jogger case. “To have someone of this magnitude coming out and saying you all need to settle, I think this is going to have a tremendous impact. He’s saying this has been drug out for far too long and there was a wrong here that must be righted.”

After serving seven years in prison for a crime he insists he did not commit, Salaam was released and forced to register as a sex offender. His conviction was overturned in 2002, and his name was removed from the sex offender registry. Today he works as a wireless communications administrator.

Any political benefit Liu may gain is well deserved, said Salaam.

On Facebook and Twitter, where Salaam said he communicated with the four men he still refers to as his “co-defendants” and with other friends on Friday, several expressed surprise, joy and something else. He said that some, including individuals who do not live in New York City, closed their tweets, retweets and Facebook posts with the words, “John Liu for Mayor.”

In November, another individual running for the city’s top elected slot, Tom Allon, also called on New York to settle the case.

Salaam does not have a specific settlement figure in mind, he said.

“Understand, this was never about money,” said Salaam. “It’s just that is the only legal means by which a city can acknowledge its wrongs … There’s so much irrevocable damage, there are so many indelible scars that have been placed on us that we will never be able to remove them. So a settlement would just be a good and big gesture for everyone involved. The city would get the opportunity to say, ‘You know what? We messed up, and let’s right this wrong. Let’s put a period at the end of this long story.'”

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