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Grand Juror sues Ferguson D.A. in Michael Brown/Darren Wilson case

Posted by Charles II on January 5, 2015

Via Shaun King at Daily Kos

A grand juror in the faux proceedings used by Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch to pretend-exonerate Officer Darren Wilson in the Michael Brown shooting has sued him to be allowed to speak about McCulloch’s malfeasance.

Posted in racism | 1 Comment »

Oh, yes… Ferguson Witness 10? Changed his testimony, presumably coached by police, and still “cannot fully recall”

Posted by Charles II on December 17, 2014


JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, and, of course, Witness 40 was—the importance of her testimony was that she, and there’s at least another witness, as I recall, Witness 10, who were the ones who said that Brown charged at police officer Wilson. And so, obviously, if her testimony is impugned, then the issue becomes: What about this other witness? And I want to turn to MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell. Late last month, he dissected the credibility of that other witness, Witness 10.

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: Witness number 10 was working in the neighborhood, and he begins his story to the police with: “I seen the two young guys walkin’ down the street on the same sidewalk that I was on.” Six weeks later, witness number 10 testified to the grand jury and changed his story about where Michael Brown was walking. He said under oath to the grand jury, “I seen Mike Brown and his friend walking down the street closer to the curb, not on the sidewalk.” That is the kind of thing the district attorney was complaining about last night—witnesses changing their stories to fit the publicly known facts.

Here is why witness number 10 was the most important witness to appear in Darren Wilson’s defense. This is what he described Michael Brown doing when Officer Wilson got out of the car and chased him: “[Michael Brown] stopped. He did turn. He did some sort of body gesture. I’m not sure what it was, but I know it was a body gesture. And I could say for sure he never put his hands up after he did his body gesture. He ran towards the officer full charge.” So there’s witness number 10 saying the magic words: He never put his hands up, and he ran towards the officer full charge.

In the grand jury, when the prosecutor asked witness number 10 to describe what he called a “body gesture,” he said, “I can’t say for sure what sort of body gesture. I cannot fully recall. All I know is it was not in a surrendering motion of I’m surrendering, putting my hands up or anything. I’m not sure if it was like a shoulder shrug or him pulling his pants up. I’m not sure.” So, there’s the district attorney’s favorite witness, the only one he quoted last night, saying, “I cannot fully recall. … I’m not sure. … I’m not sure,” within the body of an answer in which the only thing he’s absolutely sure of is that Michael Brown did not do a surrendering motion. In a real courtroom, when a witness begins his answer with “I can’t say for sure,” and then in the body of his answer he says, “I cannot recall fully,” and then says, “I am not sure,” twice within that same answer, that witness observation does not survive cross-examination. But there was no cross-examination in the grand jury room.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Lawrence O’Donnell on his show on MSNBC, Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell. And he went on from there. His final point about [witness] number 10 is that when he was asked by the police how far away he was, he said about a hundred yards—a football field away. When he goes into the grand jury, he says something like 50 yards—he cuts it in half—or 50 to 75 yards. Can he see? Does he wear glasses? None of those questions, because this isn’t a trial. This is a grand jury.

This certainly sounds like a witness who was urged by police or the prosecutor to change his testimony. If there are two witnesses who perjured themselves, then the likelihood that the prosecutor is guilty of having induced witnesses to perjure themselves is significant. Time for federal action.

Posted in corruption, racism | 1 Comment »

It would be constructive if…

Posted by Charles II on November 25, 2014

Crossposted as a comment on DK regarding the decision of the Grand Jury not to indict in the shooting of Michael Brown by Officer Wilson in Ferguson Missouri:

It would be constructive… (1+ / 0-)

In situations like these, emotion is not very helpful. I would like to see a careful deconstruction of the narrative that McCulloch constructed.

One example is McCulloch’s claim that Mike Brown suffered a “graze wound” to his thumb. Yet, as I understood his presentation, blood and tissue were spattered all over the car, both inside and out. This does not sound to me like a graze wound.

A second example has to do with the question of whether Mike Brown “charged” at McCulloch after being shot several times. If that’s so, there should be a blood trail that is miniscule when Brown allegedly turned, then much larger when he was hit by several bullets, leading a considerable distance to the place where he collapsed.

A third question is whether Officer Wilson had heard about the theft. McCulloch said yes. The reporting I heard early on said no.

Without seeing all the evidence, it’s hard for me to know what basis the Grand Jury made its judgment.

The most powerful rebuttal to an opponent is to take what they claim happened and interrogate it– carefully, without pre-judging, and without hyperbole.

The narrative that much of white America understands is that a young man, high on drugs, robbed a store. A police officer confronted him with the intent to arrest him, the suspect feloniously attacked the officer, the officer shot him and then pursued a fleeing felon. If I as a Grand Juror believed that narrative, I’d support Darren Wilson. As much as I see the clear evidence of racial bias in Ferguson, a juror has to focus on the facts of one particular case. But I don’t believe McCulloch’s narrative, because of all of these threads hanging off of the story begging to be unraveled. By someone. Someone who can set aside their feelings and make the precise truth plain.

It would be constructive to see a careful, dispassionate deconstruction of the McCulloch narrative. I haven’t seen it anywhere yet.

I don’t think we’ll see this done about this case.

By the way, if you want to see the quality of evidence presented to the Grand Jury, consider Witness #40 (via Betty Cracker). If that link–which shows that this is a legitimate item–fails, try this one from Chris Canipe of the Wall Street Journal. Very strange.

Posted in judicial rulings, racism | 4 Comments »

Florida, where magical things happen

Posted by Charles II on December 12, 2012

Richard Luscombe, The Guardian:

The scale of abuse at a notorious youth residential school in Florida has been laid bare with the release of a report by investigators who say they have evidence of almost 100 deaths at the institution.

Investigators say they believe more graves are yet to be uncovered at the Arthur G Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, which closed a year ago following revelations of the widespread physical and sexual abuse of youths sent there since early last century.

It means the enormity of the outrage, in which survivors have told gruesome stories of regular beatings, rapes and even murders by staff members, is much greater than reported by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in 2010, when the agency announced the presence of 31 grave sites.

“No understanding of the Florida State Reform School over the course of its history can be understood without consideration of the impact and implications of segregation, particularly those relating to criminal justice,” she said. “The majority of boys committed to the school and that died there were African American.”

Many of the deaths and abuse occurred within living memory. Some of the “law enforcement” criminals…er, officers… who committed these crimes are probably still alive.

When will there be justice for the sins of racism?

Posted in Florida (where magical things happen), racism | Comments Off on Florida, where magical things happen

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” –Faulkner

Posted by Charles II on November 23, 2012

Santayana said that those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it. He might better have said that those who do not know the history made by others are doomed to misunderstand their own. The more that one reads and understands the history of this country, with its great blessings and the curses that came with them, the more one comes to know that we will never be free of our evils until we air them–fully–and come to terms with them.

Thomas Jefferson recognized slavery America’s original sin, a deep and unrepented evil present at the founding that contaminates everything we do. In modern times, our knowledge of history is so eroded that we imagine that slavery was a southern matter. But this is a false history:

Ira Berlin, in his Generations of Captivity: A History of African-American Slaves, shows that the Northern states, despite having gradually emancipated their own slaves between the Revolution and the 1830s, were deeply implicated in the protection and preservation of slavery in the South. Northern free blacks agitated vigorously for the freedom of their brethren in bondage, but the discrimination and violence to which they were exposed in the North left them for the most part disfranchised, impoverished, and (especially after the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850) unsure whether they could maintain their own freedom against slave catchers and kidnappers.

And it is worse than even that, since pockets of slavery remained in the north. The most infamous of these was perhaps the Philipsburg Manor in Westchester County, yet slavery continued in New York State until 1827. Even so, there were diehards in New York State:

the counties most vociferous in their opposition and who voted, “nay” were Ulster, Dutchess, Richmond and King’s,

these being the rural counties that bracketed New York City from north and south.

And so I was struck today by a DemocracyNow show on the Battle of Peekskill Peekskill Riot (in Westchester County) in 1949:

AMY GOODMAN: Well, talk about the Peekskill Riots. Exactly what happened?

WILL KAUFMAN: OK, 1949, August, late August, early September of 1949, the Civil Rights Congress, through People’s Songs, got Paul Robeson to agree to sing a benefit concert at the golfing grounds up in—or the Lakeland picnic area up in Peekskill, Westchester County. And before Robeson even got to the grounds, he never—in fact, he never even made it to the grounds, because for the whole previous week, the Peekskill Evening Star and other local newspapers and the Ku Klux Klan and other right-wing organizations were firing up the populists to prevent Robeson and to prevent his followers from coming to Peekskill. Robeson—you know, it was all this Robeson, you know, Jew-loving commie kind of stuff like that, because Robeson had declared—his crime was declaring, in the midst of the Cold War, that no African American would voluntarily go to war with the Soviet Union. He’d been to the Soviet Union. He said he was treated with more respect there than he was ever treated in the United States. And for that heresy, he was met with a burning cross on the hills above Peekskill, which, you know, kind of proved his point. And so, he never made it to the grounds there, but the concertgoers did. They were on the grounds there, and they were met by masked gangs of men and women and teenagers hurling rocks and abuse and beating them up with, you know, fence posts and baseball bats, and destroying the grounds and what have you.

And so, Robeson is not able to sing at Peekskill that week. But he makes a declaration. He says, “I don’t get scared when fascism comes near, like it has at Peekskill.” And he says, “I’m going to come back in a week, and I’m going to sing this concert.” And in the intervening week, they amass between 20,000 and 30,000 supporters to protect Robeson and to protect the concertgoers. And they make it into the grounds. He sings the concert. He’s buzzed by police helicopters, FBI helicopters, who try to destroy the sound. But he sings the concert. And then, there’s no violence on the grounds, but the concertgoers, as they’re leaving, they are directed deliberately into an ambush road by the Westchester County police. And all along the road there, there are gangs of teenagers and mostly young people with rocks and boulders piled high at periodic staging posts along the road all the way towards the Bronx, on bridges overhead. And they are destroying the cars. They’re throwing boulders through the windows. Glass is shattering. Hundreds of people are getting injured. Pete Seeger was there. He recalled what it was like to have his car surrounded by mobs, rocked back and forth. He’s got, even now, embedded into his chimney breast in his home up in Beacon, New York, a huge boulder which had crashed through the windscreen and almost killed his young son Danny. And this is collusion between the Westchester County police and the Ku Klux Klan and the gangs and the newspapers and what have you.

The Ku Klux Klan was not only able to get about 4,000 people to engage in racially-motivated (though politically-rationalized) violence, they had the Westchester police and the FBI on their side– almost one hundred years after the civil war and in a liberal, northern state!
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in crimes, history, racism | 3 Comments »

Maybe if she’d had a gun: Minneapolis denies the right of self-defense against hate crimes/corrected

Posted by Charles II on April 27, 2012


A transgendered African-American woman is set to go on trial next week on charges of second-degree murder for an altercation after she was reportedly physically attacked and called racist and homophobic slurs outside a Minneapolis bar last year. Chrishaun “CeCe” McDonald received 11 stitches to her cheek, and was reportedly interrogated without counsel and placed in solitary confinement following her arrest. There were reports that the dead victim, Dean Schmitz, had a swastika tattooed on his chest.

So McDonald’s face was slashed open and then she killed the person who did that.

These are facts similar to those asserted in the Trayvon Martin case, but with some important differences. Compare McDonald to Zimmerman and the deceased Dean Schmitz with the deceased Trayvon Martin:

1) Schmitz did have a deadly weapon, while Trayvon did not have a deadly weapon, while McDonald had been assaulted and seriously wounded.
2) Schmitz pursued her, while Zimmerman alleges that he was assaulted by Trayvon, who Zimmerman was following.
3) Schmitz was allegedly tattoed with a hate symbol, while Trayvon had none.
4) Schmitz allegedly had a history of harassing McDonald, while Trayvon was unknown to Zimmerman.

Now, there’s one more similarity and one more difference. McDonald used a knife, scissors while Zimmerman used a gun. And both of the dead people, one an assailant, one allegedly a victim, were black.

One is reminded of an ancient (50 years ago) Dick Gregory joke: “You complain about us cutting people. Well, hell, you won’t sell us any guns!”

This appears to be a stark illustration of why we need to confront hate crimes and demand an end to the stirring of racial hatred by TV news. Every person, black or white, gay or straight, has an absolute right to mind his or her own business in safety. For Minneapolis to charge someone in fear of her life with second degree murder, while it took a national campaign and intervention by the Governor to get Zimmerman charged with the same crime is clear evidence that the scales of justice are not balanced in this oh-so-free-and-fair country.
Note on the corrections: apparently one of Schmitz’s female companions opened up the wound on McDonald by throwing a glass at her. So Schmitz was not carrying a deadly weapon. Also, Schmitz was apparently stabbed with fabric scissors. Sorry about the mistakes. Like Stormcrow (see comments) I was completely disgusted by this. I got careless in writing it up.

Posted in abuse of power, gay rights, gun issues, race in America, racism | 3 Comments »

About 100 years too late (UN investigates treatment of Native Americans)

Posted by Charles II on April 22, 2012

It is not widely appreciated, even in this country, that the US government haD an explicit policy of genocide toward Native Americans until the 1930s or that, after John Collier‘s service as Commissioner of Indian Affairs, the policy reverted to one of erasing Native culture. A Native man of my acquaintance reported being kidnapped from his family and forced to attend a school hundreds of miles from his family–in the 1960s. And today, the reservations are, for the majority of Native Americans, places of hopelessness, deep poverty, drug trafficking, and violence.

Ewen MacAskill, The Guardian:

The UN is to conduct an investigation into the plight of US Native Americans, the first such mission in its history.

The human rights inquiry led by James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on indigenous peoples, is scheduled to begin on Monday.

Many of the country’s estimated 2.7 million Native Americans live in federally recognised tribal areas which are plagued with unemployment, alcoholism, high suicide rates, incest and other social problems.

How this can go on in a nation which holds itself up as a beacon of liberty and justice is beyond me. That the UN has only gotten around to it at a time when the great nations, such as the Lakota and the Dene (Navajo) are at the edge of terminal decline is… well, better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, but only after thinking about it for a moment.

Posted in poverty, racism | 3 Comments »

The color blind society / You can help to halt a murder

Posted by Charles II on September 15, 2011

Maybe some day.

Frances Diep, Scientific American:

Compared with white American researchers, black American researchers are a third less likely to have an early-career National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant funded, according to an NIH-commissioned study published August 18 in Science. It’s a thorough study, experts say, but it leaves one major question unanswered: “Why?”

The difference persists even among black and white scientists who went to similar graduate schools, took part in the same NIH scientist training programs, have earned the same number of grants previously and have published the same number of scientific papers. “We have left no stone unturned in trying to find some explanatory variables,” says Donna Ginther, a University of Kansas economist and lead author on the study. Ginther and her colleagues found the effect after examining grant applications from 40,069 scientists, submitted between 2000 and 2006.

And from The Guardian, a letter from attorney Katherine Black regarding death row inmate and her client Duane Buck:

Dear Governor Perry,

In 2000, the Attorney General of the State of Texas concluded had violated the United States Constitution by using the color of Duane Edward Buck’s skin as a factor for the jury to weigh in favor of sentencing him to death.

To repair the integrity of the criminal justice system, then-Attorney General (now United States Senator) John Cornyn made solemn guarantees to the public that the Office of the Attorney General would take unprecedented steps to ensure that no death sentence obtained in such a constitutionally-offensive manner would ever be carried out.

In Duane Buck’s case, however, Texas broke its promise…

Perry refused this appeal. Instead, the Texas Supreme Court had to step in and force the state to stay the execution.

But Rick Perry is not a racist. He’s entirely color blind. In fact, he’s totally blind.

Added: Amy Goodman has a column on the impending judicial lynching of Troy Davis on September 21st. You can add your voice to that of Jimmy Carter and Desmond Tutu to stop this state murder here.

Posted in racism, Rick Perry | 4 Comments »

Koch Tea Partiers: More Racist, Bigoted, Authoritarian Than Most Americans

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 10, 2011

Because we still get people every so often claiming “The Tea Partiers aren’t racists so stop calling them that!”, here’s a little reality check for y’all from last year from the University of Washington, courtesy of Blue Texan:

The tea party is not just about politics and size of government. The data suggests it may also be about race,”said Christopher Parker, a UW assistant professor of political science who directed the survey.

It found that those who are racially resentful, who believe the U.S. government has done too much to support blacks, are 36 percent more likely to support the tea party than those who are not.

Indeed, strong support for the tea party movement results in a 45 percent decline in support for health care reform compared with those who oppose the tea party. “While it’s clear that the tea party in one sense is about limited government, it’s also clear from the data that people who want limited government don’t want certain services for certain kinds of people. Those services include health care,”Parker said.

Of course, as BT also pointed out, teabaggers love government spending, so long as it’s just for them.

Posted in 'starving the beast', (Rich) Taxpayers League, bigotry, racism, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, Tea Party | 1 Comment »

Another IMF riot and Israel goes Dixie

Posted by Charles II on January 10, 2011

Emad Mekay, IPSNews:

Arabs across the Middle East Watched in awe as online video posts and sporadic coverage on Al-Jazeera TV station showed Tunisians, with a reputation of passivity, rise up in unprecedented street protests and sits-in against the police state of President Ben Ali.

The Ben Ali regime exemplifies the “moderate” pro-Western Arab regimes that boast strict control of their population while toeing the line of Western powers in the Middle East.

The spark of the unrest, now about to end its second week, came when a 26- year-old unemployed university graduate, Mohammed Buazizi, set himself ablaze in the central town Sidi Buzeid to protest the confiscation of his fruits and vegetables cart.

the police responded with overwhelming force. There were reports of use of live ammunition, house-to-house raids to chase activists, mass arrests and torture of prisoners.

The fear of similar spillover into Arab countries pushed at least one Arab ruler to rush to aid Ben Ali. Libya’s maverick leader Muammar Qaddaif said he was immediately dropping all restrictions on the entry of Tunisian labour into Libya. Tunisians were free to travel to his oil-rich country for work, he said.

Opposition says the unrest was prompted by high prices and unemployment but now has turned political with some demonstrators calling on President Ben Ali to step down.

Tunisia, like other non-oil producing Arab countries has implemented a Western-inspired privatization programme and gradual cut to state subsidies to staple goods without offering alternative sources of income.

Hoocoodanode that if you won’t let people eat, they might not feel they have much to lose?

Meanwhile in Israel (Mel Frykberg, IPSNews:

A number of recent incidents discriminating against Israel’s Palestinian minority has prompted Israeli Knesset (parliament) members to debate whether Israel is becoming increasingly racist.

Ronit Sela from the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (Acri) has no doubts. “Israel’s democracy is under threat as an increasingly large racist element raises its collective head. A number of racist occurrences have taken place in a climate conducive to racism. This wouldn’t have happened prior to the current right-wing Israeli government,” Sela told IPS.

Recently an organisation called Jews for a Jewish Bat Yam (a suburb near Tel Aviv) held a protest against “assimilation of young Jewish women with Arabs living in the city or in nearby Jaffa.”

“It’s a local organisation of Bat Yam residents, because the public is tired of so many Arabs going out with Jewish girls,” explained one of the organisers, Bentzi Gufstein. “In addition to the protest, we will hand out pamphlets explaining the situation.”

Charming. We can expect anti-miscegenation laws are on the way.

And there are a number of other examples, including discriminatory housing laws, discrimination in stripping people of citizenship, and discrimination in funding education.

How far Israel has drifted from the ideals of its Founders.

Posted in colonial wars, Conflict in the Middle East, israel, racism | 25 Comments »

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