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Special “Justice” fo “Special” People and The Case of Bresha Meadows

Just yesterday, a white man attacked a black man, dragged him from his car and shot him dead…And was released from jail without charges.

Bresha Meadows is a 14 year old girl, who after years of domestic abuse and beatings by her father, shot him dead. She was locked up immediately, and 6 months later is still incarcerated awaiting trial.

Once more “justice” in America depends a lot more on the color of the purported criminal…Than the commission of a crime.

Bresha Meadows Isn’t a Murderer. She’s a Hero.

After years of suffering abuse at the hands of her father, a 14-year-old girl picked up a gun and put an end to it all. Now, she faces a new monster: the criminal justice system.

Bresha Meadows knows what monsters looked like. 

She saw one daily, his presence unavoidable as he tormented her family through the shadows of the night and even in the broad daylight. She watched helplessly as he brutalized her mother, threatening and beating his children, hoping against hope that the looming horrors would end.

Jonathan Meadows, she says, repeatedly threatened to kill them all.

But when the then 14-year-old Ohio girl picked up a gun and shot her father in the head last July 28, ending a years-long campaign of terror, she woke to a new monster—one that was supposed to protect her: the criminal justice system.    

Bresha was arrested and held in a Warren County juvenile detention center, charged with aggravated murder. Warren County prosecutors fought to push to try her case into the adult system where she would face a possible life sentence. The district attorney reversed course Thursday, but the question remains: Should she face charges at all?

Like Bresha, I’ve met my share of monsters. There was my father who pushed my mother’s face through a plate glass window and, later, her live-in boyfriend forced me into a bathtub filled with scalding hot water. I was five years old at the time, but I can still see the redness and the yellow blisters that swelled on my pale bony legs. I can still hear my screams roaring in my ears. My then 14-year-old brother Donnie kicked down the bathroom door and pulled me from the tub. My sister Lori Ann, who was 12, called my mother at work.

Mama shot Tony in the leg that night, leaving him with a permanent limp. Years later, she brandished her pistol again after he threatened to kill her and dump her body in the Mississippi River.

She was arrested on a gun possession charge. Nearly four decades later, my mother thought the case was closed until it was discovered in a background check for a concealed carry license.

I will never forget the night that Tony beat her savagely, upending our living room furniture as she struggled to get away. My brother Christopher, best friend Debbie and I locked ourselves in a bedroom, stuffing metal and wooden toys into pillow cases and barricading the door. We were children– eight and nine years old– preparing to defend ourselves with anything we could get our hands on.

I ran away from home at least twice that year, trying to escape the madness. Debbie helped me pack an overnight bag with clothes, a few toiletries, my favorite dolls and a sandwich she took from her mother’s kitchen. But, at eight years old, I had barely enough money—between my allowance and hers– to catch a Bi-State bus down St. Charles Rock Road in St. Ann, Missouri and cross into the city limits of St. Louis to get to my Aunt Doris Jean’s house.

Tony circled the block, looking for me. I hid out in the county library, clutching the bus schedule, until the next one came by. I watched him turn the corner, then I hurried aboard, dropped two quarters into the slot and slunk down into the nearest seat. I didn’t feel safe until the bus reached the stop near Martin Luther King Drive and Taylor Avenue. I walked the last block, lugging my suitcase down an unpaved alleyway. 

Nobody was home when I got to my auntie’s run-down, walk-up apartment, except her feral old cat Samantha and a mutt named Lady. I waited on the porch with the dog until my Uncle Willie Byrd stumbled in drunk after nightfall.

That was 1976. 

Our physical wounds have healed, but the emotional scars remain. I was told that Anthony Gino Delgado died in prison after he was convicted on capital murder charges. My brother Donnie said Tony was in jail because he decapitated a man with the sickle.

Like my mother, I would later face down my own abuser. I repeatedly tried to leave and was stabbed in the back the day I finally got out. We were lucky.

“Approximately 75 percent of women who are killed by their batterers are murdered when they attempt to leave or after they have left an abusive relationship,”researchers found, and “women are 70 percent more likely to be killed in the two weeks after leaving than at any other time during the relationship,” experts say.

One in three women are victims of domestic violence, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and the presence of a gun in the household increases the likelihood by 500 percent. “One in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90 percent of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence.”

Children are not only witnesses, but are often victimized—as both Bresha and I were– by the same abuser. The impacts are life-long.  We are “six times more likely to commit suicide,” according to Brian F. Martin, who founded the nonprofit advocacy group Children of Domestic Violence.

Despite the facts of the Meadows case and the body of research that clearly spells out the dangers of domestic violence, prosecutors chose to charge Bresha in her father’s death. The announcement that her case will be tried by a juvenile judge was welcome news. However, if convicted, Bresha, who is the niece of a Cleveland police officer, can still be incarcerated until her 21stbirthday.

“I am obviously thrilled with the decision by the prosecutor to keep Bresha’s case in the juvenile court,” defense attorney Ian Friedman said. “This doesn’t change our position that this was a self-defense scenario and we will press on with our effort to get Bresha home with her family right away. Today is a great day.”

There is a national movement to free Bresha. “Over 100 domestic violence organizations have endorsed a call to drop the charges against her and grant her an immediate release,” according to Huffington Post. “A petition with the same request has over 24,000 signatures.” 

Before the shooting, Officer Martina Latessa said Bresha ran away from home and opened up about her father’s brutality. She reportedly told her aunt that her father had beaten her mother and “threatened to kill the entire family.” Bresha, she said, was “suicidal.”

“We didn’t know for months what was going to happen,” she said. “Now we know she will not spend the rest of her life in prison, no matter what.” 

That isn’t enough. The charges should be dropped altogether and the family should be given the resources necessary to rebuild their lives. The profound and traumatic impacts to Bresha, whose mother called her a “hero,” will be long lasting. By the time Bresha makes the next court appearance on January 20, she will have spent nearly six months behind bars.

That will be six months too long.

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2016 in Domestic terrorism, Men, The New Jim Crow, Women

 

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Teen Shake Up How New Jersey Counsels Teen Abuse Victims

Wow…Making it better for Teen abuse victims…

These Teens Just Made It A Lot Easier For New Jersey Kids To Get Counseling

When one young man was let down by the system, he decided things had to change.

It all started three years ago, when Jordan Thomas, then 16, decided he needed to talk to a counselor.

At the time, Thomas was experiencing emotional and physical abuse at home, and he wanted to talk to a professional. Because Thomas was a minor, New Jersey law said he needed the consent of a guardian to do so. But when Thomas asked his mother for permission, she said no.

“I have no idea why she would say no,” said Thomas, now a freshman at Rutgers University. “All I know is that she did say that.”

Thomas, now 19, was never able to get his mother’s permission, but his experience ignited in him a desire to fix the system. Working with his peers at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hudson County, Thomas helped fix the law that had stopped him from accessing mental health services.

Thomas and the BGCHC were the driving forces behind the Boys & Girls Clubs Keystone Law, which passed this month in New Jersey. Thanks to their efforts, New Jersey minors no longer need permission from a guardian to receive therapy.

Not every teen experiencing abuse is as lucky as Thomas, who had a support system of peers and adults in the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hudson County, of which he was president in 2014. He ended up entering the foster care system just a few months after his request for counseling was rejected.

At the same time that Thomas was struggling to find help, the Keystone Club — the service branch of the BGCHC — was looking for ways to address the problem of teen suicide. In 2014, the National Keystone Project called on participants to address the issue. Jordan shared his story with Keystone members, leading others to speak up about their own experiences.

“A parent might not want to give consent to a kid seeking mental health services… because sometimes they might not want outside people to know what’s going on in their house,” said Damiya Critten, 19, a member of BGCHC’s Keystone Club. “They might say, ‘What happens in the house stays in the house.'”

The teens met with the family of Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers University student who took his own life in 2010 after being cyberbullied. They also met with state Assemblymen Carmelo Garcia and Raj Mukherji, who agreed to sponsor a bill on the topic. In October 2014, four members of the BGCHC testified before the New Jersey Legislature.

“[Thomas] ended his testimony saying that he easily could have become another teen suicide statistic had it not been for the Boys and Girls [Clubs] and the support he got here,” said Janet Wallach, director of program development and teen services at BGCHC. “But not every child in New Jersey has that support, and he wants to make sure there are not other young people in that situation.”

The teens said the two-year process of getting the bill passed was a lesson in civics for all of them….More

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2016 in Giant Negros, The Post-Racial Life

 

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The Cycle of the Carceral State

America incarcerates more citizens than Communist China and Russia combined. This country has the single largest prison population in the world. “Getting tough on crime” has had serious societal impact in terms of ripping apart social structures, and promoting inter-generational poverty.

Report: One in 14 children have had incarcerated parent

One in 14 children have at least one parent behind bars and children in these situations suffer from low self esteem, poor mental and physical health, and other problems, a national research organization says.

Child Trends, an organization based in Bethesda, Md., is releasing its report Parents Behind Bars: What Happens to Their Children? on Tuesday. The group hopes the findings will prod prisons, schools and lawmakers to make changes that will help young people who have incarcerated parents.

“The issue of what some people have termed mass incarceration in the United States has really attracted a lot of attention so we were interested in looking at this issue,” David Murphey, report co-author and senior research scientist at Child Trends, said in a telephone interview with USA TODAY. “We feel it’s important to put this on the radar screen” and help people “realize there’s more to it than the adults themselves,” Murphey said.

The 20-page report indicates that when it comes to black children, the number who have had an incarcerated parent rises to one in nine, and poor children are three times more likely to have had an incarcerated parent than children from higher income households. Rural children are more likely than urban children to have had an incarcerated parent, the report says. In the 6-to-11 age group, children who have had parents behind bars have problems in school, and the likelihood of such problems increases among older children, according to the report.

“Most research finds negative outcomes for these children, such as childhood health and behavioral problems and grade retention,” Murphey said. “Children who grow up with a parent in prison are more likely to suffer from poor mental and physical health in adulthood.”

The report also indicates that parental incarceration doesn’t happen in isolation. Often, children who have had a parent behind bars also have experienced other childhood traumas, such as divorce or living with a parent with a substance abuse problem, Child Trends reports. More than half have experienced divorce, compared to one in six of other children, and more than a third experienced domestic violence, compared with one in 20 of other children, according to Child Trends.

Deborah Jiang-Stein, a Minneapolis-based author and inmate advocate, was born in prison and believes that it is good that the report will likely generate conversation on the topic. Families tend not to talk about this issue, and Jiang-Stein said she has met many incarcerated mothers who have told their children they are away at college.

“The stigma and shame associated with it is haunting, so that’s why the more awareness the better,” she Jiang-Stein, founder of the unPrison Project, which empowers women and girls, and author of Prison Baby: A Memoir. “Addiction and trauma and developmental delays impact every kid that I’ve said has a parent in prison. Part of it is the loss that no one talks about. And the less we talk, the more damage it is.”

The problem is growing too, Jiang-Stein said. Ten years ago, there were 60,000 children in the country with a parent in prison. Today, there are 2.7 million, and that is due to a spike in the rate of incarcerated women, she said. She attributes this to more women responding to domestic abuse.

According to Hope for Miami, an organization that advocates for the children of incarcerated parents, such children often experience depression as well as shame at having a parent behind bars. They also are more likely to have encounters with the law themselves, the organization reports. Services to help these children are lacking and too few, the group says on its website.

Child Trends recommends reducing the stigma tied to having a parent who is incarcerated, improving communications between children and incarcerated parents, and making prison visits less stressful for children by creating child-friendly visiting areas and relaxing security procedures for children.

The organization based its report on data taken from the 2011-2012 National Survey ofChildren’s Health, a telephone survey sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Data was collected between Feb. 28, 2011, and June 25, 2012. The survey included 95,677 interviews.

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2015 in American Genocide

 

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Trayvon Murderer Arrested Again for Aggravated Assault

Surprise, surprise! George Zimmerman has been arrested for a violent crime…Again.

The hero of the racist right, a virtual one man crime spree – yet again is unaccountable to the law.

Special laws for special people in Florida.

Man acquitted in Trayvon Martin case charged in domestic dispute

George Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch volunteer acquitted in a fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager in 2013, was charged with aggravated assault on Saturday after his arrest in connection with a domestic disturbance in Florida.

Zimmerman, wearing a blue jumpsuit and handcuffs, appeared before Florida Circuit Judge John D. Galluzzo who offered him a $5,000 bond, ordered him to turn over any firearms and restricted his travel to Seminole County in central Florida.

“Anywhere else in the state and we have a problem,” the judge said.

Zimmerman’s lawyer, Don West, could not immediately be reached for comment.

In February 2012, Zimmerman gained national notoriety by claiming he acted in self-defense when he shot and killed Trayvon Martin, 17, during a neighborhood watch patrol in Sanford, Florida.

His trial and acquittal in 2013 polarized the U.S. public on issues of race, gun laws and drew international attention to Florida’s “stand your ground” law.

Zimmerman has since had several brushes with the law.

Police in central Florida arrested him in November 2013 after he allegedly pointed a gun at his girlfriend during an argument. A month later, prosecutors dropped the charges, saying his girlfriend, Samantha Scheibe, withdrew allegations.

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2015 in Domestic terrorism

 

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