Editor's Statement - #BlackLivesMatter
Local Prosecutors have Conflict of Interest Prosecuting Police
Special Prosecutor Needed when Police kills African American
No Secret Grand Jury #BlackLivesMatter
The Grand Jury
The grand jury
, a secret
, anti-democratic and coercive tool, has been used repeatedly by prosecutors
in the US to indict people whom they want to indict. If you're called before a grand jury, you have no rights, can't take a lawyer with you, and you're compelled to testify or face possible jail time. This process has been used and abused by prosecutors to produce indictments when that is the outcome that the prosecutor wants. It is this history that calls into serious question the prosecutorial conduct
in both the Ferguson, Missouri, murder of Michael Brown and the Staten Island, New York, murder of Eric Garner. Any reasonable person of goodwill can see that the death of these two young men should not have happened and that, in both cases, their killers should be brought to justice - at least tried in a court of law#BlackLivesMatter
. In both of these cases, there are two critical facts that jump out at you and expose the fundamental contradictions in the criminal justice system: The killers of both victims are white police officers
, and the murdered man and boy are Black
The Special Prosecutor
The police officers and the prosecutors have worked hand in glove to fill America's prisons with young black men. They are not adversaries. They are almost always on the same side. This fact makes it impossible for a local prosecutor to conduct a fair and impartial investigation when the accused is a police officer. The local prosecutor has an inherent conflict of interest when he or she is called upon to prosecute a police officer. One of the fundamental and necessary changes in this system is that a special prosecutor at the state or federal level should always have jurisdiction when a police officer is accused of a crime, especially the crime of killing or brutalizing an African American. This special authority should always supersede that of the local prosecutor.
Institutional Racism - An Occupying Army
The second fact that gets to the heart of the injustice in the criminal justice system is RACE
. The institutionalized racism in the criminal justice system almost always creates an environment where a predominantly white police force is occupying a black community. The history of racial oppression and subjugation of African Americans within the US has created a dynamic where one of the roles of the police has been to enforce that oppression. Thus, historically, white police officers have approached the African American community with a duality of purpose - do their jobs as law enforcement officers, but also maintain their role as a foreign occupying army. This fundamental conflict puts the African American community in an untenable position. On the one hand, we fear the occupying army. On the other hand, when we are victimized by crime, we have no choice but to call the police for help. In many African American communities, calling the police is a matter of last resort because we have had so many examples where we call the police for help only to end up being shot by them. They approach all African Americans as if we are the criminals. Some even refer to us as "animals"
No Post-Racial Society
For decades, the African American community has lived with the horrible reality of African American men and boys being killed at the hands of police. This is not new to us. Despite the pronouncements by many that the election of Barak Obama as US President ushered in a post-racial society within the US, the whole world now knows what African Americans have always known. American remains a racist society#BlackLivesMatter
. That racism runs deep throughout her veins and her history. Alas, it is the contradiction in the criminal justice system which once again exposes for everyone to bear witness that the racial subjugation of African Americans remains deeply institutionalized. For African Americans, it is hard to imagine any reforms which can change that reality. That being said, the institutionalization of the special prosecutor mentioned above is a necessary step to bring some partial relief to the African American community. But that will not be easy to accomplish.
#BlackLivesMatter African American Legislative Strategy
For decades, African Americans have called for the appointment of special prosecutors in such cases. Each time it has been a fight, and such a prosecutor has only been appointed after a long and intense political mobilization. In both Missouri and New York, the sitting Democratic governor was asked beforehand to make such an appointment. Despite the obvious reality of the African American vote being the only reliable Democratic vote, they did not
. So, there must be a national legislative strategy by the African American community and its allies to force the changes which will guarantee the jurisdiction of special prosecutors at the state or federal level when a white police officer kills an African American. The NAACP, Urban League, Rainbow Push, National Action Network, and all of the progressive organizations in the African American community have to join forces with other national, regional and local organizations, and the more radical organizations in the Black community, to define a state, local and national grassroots legislative strategy for African American voters. Political candidates need to be told in clear terms - if you want our vote, you have to support our agenda #BlackLivesMatter
. No more free rides. Those who are loyal and move to enact our agenda should be rewarded. Those who refuse, vacillate, or betray us, need to be punished and made an example of. It's time for action. And district attorneys running for office have to be told - when it comes to police misconduct
, brutality, and police murder of African Americans
, no more secret grand juries
The Dilemma - The FBI - Friend Today? Foe Yesterday
One of the more complex ironies in the American criminal justice system is that after decisions like those made by the Staten Island and St. Louis grand juries, the African American community turns to the federal government for relief. That relief comes from the US Department of Justice. The investigatory arm of the justice department is the FBI
. It takes a mobilized public and African American community to force such federal intervention. Elsewhere on this site, we link to video and other research material that documents the historical role of the FBI in destabilizing the black community and subjugating and destroying the Black Movement for social change and freedom. Go here http://www.blackpolitics.org/rbg-how-the-fbi-sabotaged-black-america-a-documentary-by-gil-noble-4/
What is a Grand Jury?
The grand jury process is slightly different than the legal process we typically see.
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Grand Jury 101
a brief description of what a grand jury does.
The Grand Jury Process in New York
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Institutional racism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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A grand jury is a legal body that is empowered to conduct official proceedings to investigate potential criminal conduct and to determine whether criminal ...
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The Iron Fist and the Velvet Glove: An Analysis of the U.S. Police
Center for Research on Criminal Justice, Susie Bernstein, published 1977, 232 pages
What is Institutional Racism?
Individual racism consists of overt acts by individuals that cause death, injury, destruction of property, or denial of services or opportunity. Institutional racism is ...
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Why black people don't trust the police - CNN.com
Mar 23, 2012 ... LZ Granderson says the way police have mishandled the Trayvon Martin killing shows less ... For the black community, this is familiar territory.
1 Black Man Is Killed Every 28 Hours by Police or Vigilantes - Alternet
May 28, 2013 ... 1 Black Man Is Killed Every 28 Hours by Police or Vigilantes: America ... police brutality and state repression in black and brown communities.
Police Brutality and Killing of African Americans
in Ferguson, New York, and elsewhere has been widely written about. We will continue to collect and link to authentic facts about Police Brutality and Killing of African Americans
in our continuing attempt to be a genuine source of information on this subject. In case you would like more information on Police Brutality and Killing of African Americans
, take a look at our other articles on the topic too.