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Getting Away With Murder – 10,000 Shootings…13 Convictions

Since 2005, only 13 cops have been convicted of murder. Using this year as a baseline where Police shot over 1,000 citizens…That could be 10,000 shootings in the last decade. We know that a lot of those shootings haven’t exactly been the stereotypical shootout with Bank Robbers. And to update the author of this piece…There is something wrong with this picture.

Here’s How Many Cops Got Convicted Of Murder Last Year For On-Duty Shootings

There’s something strange about this picture.

Many people viewed 2015 as a year of reckoning for police, with continued scrutiny of the use of deadly force spurring momentum for reform. In reality, however, the road to accountability remains a long one.

That point is clearly reflected in the number of police officers who were convicted on murder or manslaughter charges last year for fatally shooting a civilian in the line of duty.

In 2015, that number was zero.

And that’s not unusual. No officers were convicted on such charges in 2014 either.

In fact, since 2005, there have only been 13 officers convicted of murder or manslaughter in fatal on-duty shootings, according to data provided to The Huffington Post by Philip Stinson, an associate professor of criminology at Ohio’s Bowling Green State University. Stinson’s data doesn’t include cases in which civilians died in police custody or were killed by other means, or those in which officers only faced lesser charges.

One of the last successful convictions came in 2013, when Culpeper Town, Virginia, police officer Daniel Harmon-Wright was sentenced to three years in jail for voluntary manslaughter charges in the slaying of Patricia Cook, an unarmed 54-year-old, a year earlier.

On Feb. 9, 2012, Harmon-Wright responded to a suspicious vehicle call and found Cook parked in a local Catholic school parking lot. In court, Harmon-Wright said when he asked Cook for her driver’s license, she rolled up her window, trapping his arm, before beginning to drive away. Harmon-Wright responded by unloading seven rounds into Cook, with fatal shots hitting her in the back and head. But a jury didn’t find the officer’s testimony credible, returning a guilty verdict on three charges in the shooting death. After serving out his sentence, Harmon-Wright was releasedin 2015.

Some officers in these cases have served out yearslong sentences for their crimes. Others were in and out of jail in months. Some even became police officers again. But only a tiny portion of cops who kill while on duty ever face charges for their actions, much less actual punishment.

The inability to convict police on murder or manslaughter charges for fatal on-duty shootings contrasts with a recent increase in prosecution, Stinson said. In 2015, 18 officers faced such charges, a significant increase from an average of around five officers each year over the preceding decade. Many of these cases involved incidents from previous years and have yet to go to trial, but if history is any indicator, it seems unlikely that many of the officers will be convicted.

The tiny number of convictions in fatal police shootings looks even smaller when you consider just how many cases the criminal justice system considers each year. Although there are no reliable government statistics on civilians killed by police, data compiled independently last year by outlets like The Guardian and The Washington Post, or civilian tracker Mapping Police Violence, have led to estimates of roughly 1,000 deadly shootings each year.

Of that total, prosecutors and grand juries around the nation each year have determined that around five of these cases involve misconduct worthy of manslaughter or murder charges. And in the end, the criminal justice system typically concludes that only around one shooting each year is consistent with manslaughter or murder.

This means the overwhelming majority of police shooting cases are ultimately determined to be justified homicides, in which deadly force was used lawfully, often in what police say was an effort to protect an officer’s safety or to prevent harm to the public.

One reason for the lack of prosecution and subsequent conviction begins with the Supreme Court’s legal standard for use of lethal force. According to Graham v. Connor, the landmark 1989 case that established the standard, each “use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight.” The ruling specifically cautions against judging police too harshly for split-second decisions made in “tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving” situations. All of this gives officers plenty of leeway to explain why their actions were legal…Read the rest Here

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Central Park 5 Rally For Teacher

The Central Park Five case in the early 90’s was a modern day lynching and serves as a template of how young black men are demonized, and ultimately denied justice by racism. The case remains as a Hallmark of racial justice and injustice in the United States on a par with the Scottsboro Boys sham trial and attempted executions.

Recently a NYC High School Teacher made the story of the Central Park 5 part of her lesson plan on history. She was promptly fired.

Central Park Five: Rehire Teacher Allegedly Fired Over Central Park Five Lesson

Administrators reportedly were concerned the lessons would cause “riots” among black students.

Two of the five men who were wrongfully convicted in the 1989 rape and assault of a woman in Central Park have expressed support for a New York City teacher who says she lost her job after teaching students about the case.

“We support her 100 percent,” Raymond Santana, a member of a group known as the Central Park Five, told The Huffington Post. “We’ll probably rally for her — go to the courthouse. I want her to keep doing what she’s doing. I hope this doesn’t discourage her.” He believes the teacher should be reinstated, he added.

Raymond Santana, right, Kevin Richardson, and Yusef Salaam, left, all members of the Central Park Five, react to supporters Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, in New York.

Jeena Lee-Walker, who taught English at the High School of the Arts, Imagination and Inquiry in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, filed a federal lawsuit last week alleging that administrators at the school feared her lessons on the Central Park Five might “rile up” black students and cause small “riots.” They asked her to take a more “balanced” approach in teaching students about the case, her lawsuit claims.

“I was stunned,” Lee-Walker told the Daily News Friday. “I was kind of like, the facts are the facts. This is what happened.”

Students, she told the paper, “and black students in particular, should be riled up.”

Trailer for the Documentary –

Headline From the NY Daily News Creating the Term “Wilding” to describe out o control minority youth. A term which would enter the lexicon after being repeated again and again by periodicals and TV news around the country.

“It was awesome — they were so engaged,” she said of teaching her students about the Central Park Five, adding that they were “really moved” by a 2012 documentaryon the subject. “They really identified with the teenagers.”

Lee-Walker says she received a series of bad performance reviews, and was ultimately fired, in retaliation for pushing back against criticism from administrators over her Central Park Five lessons.

Santana, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, Kevin Richardson and Korey Wise — all black and Latino men — were all under 16 years old when they were each arrested in 1989 for the beating and rape of Trisha Melli, a 28-year-old investment banker. The brutal attack dominated headlines, with the city’s tabloids stirring racially charged fears of “wilding” groups of violent black and Latino teenagers across the city.

Police zeroed in on the five teens, all of whom had reportedly been in or near Central Park at the time of the attack.

Each teen confessed to the crime during 24 hours of interrogation, but later claimed their statements had been coerced by police. They were all nevertheless convicted and sentenced to prison in 1990. (At the time, billionaire businessman and current Republican front-runner Donald Trump called for their execution.)

Santana, McCray, Salaam and Richardson each spent nearly six years in prison. Wise spent nearly 13 years in prison.

The convictions against the men were vacated in 2002 after a New York inmate named Matias Reyes confessed to raping Melli. Then-Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau announced that DNA evidence from the crime scene matched Reyes’ DNA.

In 2014, the city agreed to pay the five men a total of $40 million to settle a federal lawsuit they had filed. …Read the rest Here

 
 

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SCUMUS “Justice” Scalia’s Racism

This piece is an open letter by Kiki Petrosino, who is a renowned poet. As a half Italian-American, black person she sees sides of Scalia’s racist Affirmative Action spew that he refuses to recognize… To be frank – Justice Scalia should be remanded from the case entirely based on his obviously racist views which make him unable to render a judgement within the Law. With Scalia, Justice isn’t blind, it wears polarizing lenses based on the color and ethnicity of the plaintiff.

An open letter to Justice Scalia

You assert that we can’t compete academically. As an artist and an educator of color, I feel compelled to respond

Dear Justice Scalia,

On Wednesday, as you heard arguments in the affirmative action case Fisher v. University of Texas, you suggested that black students should enroll at “slower-track school[s],” rather than study alongside white students at the university. “I don’t think it stands to reason that it’s a good thing for the University of Texas to admit as many blacks as possible,” you said. Your words reinforced a panoply of false stereotypes about the intellectual abilities of African Americans and underscored what many Americans fear: that our institutions of higher learning are somehow overrun with minorities who have “taken” white students’ rightful spots. You ignored the fact that the University of Texas’s holistic admissions program isn’t about “admit[ting] as many blacks as possible;” that it’s a tailored procedure designed to ensure diversity in each freshman class, and it follows guidelines endorsed by the Supreme Court in 2003. But your choice of wording telegraphs a message that many Americans are all too willing to believe: that black people can’t compete in academically rigorous environments. This is a message to which I, as an artist and educator of color, feel compelled to respond.

In 1994, I was a high school freshman when a book called The Bell Curve was published to extensive attention. The treatise, authored by Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray, argued that human intelligence is heritable and that various ethnic groups have measurably different levels of intelligence. In a series of now-debunked statistical analyses, the Bell Curve authors suggested that African Americans have lower intelligence (as measured by IQ) than whites or Asians, a factor that supposedly predestines us for a host of social misfortunes, like poverty and teen pregnancy. The book’s conclusions weren’t closely examined prior to publication, but that didn’t stop The Bell Curve from selling 400,000 copies in hardcover or spending fifteen weeks on the New York Times best seller list. Thousands of people were willing to hand over good money to buy into this book’s awful premise.

As a result, I entered high school knowing precisely how low an opinion many Americans had of black students like me. I already knew I’d have to work hard to achieve success, but the praise for that book—author interviews, pundit commentary—made me see what I was up against. While I was lucky to find supportive teachers and friends throughout my education, my mixed-race heritage baffled many of the other adults around me. I recall family friends congratulating me on my academic successes by implying that I “must have gotten that from Dad,” while my singing talent was ascribed to my African American mother. I responded to most of these statements with a healthy eyeroll, but I understood that my achievements continually would be “surprising” to certain observers, and that I’d have to keep proving that I deserved to be exactly where I was. This never ends, by the way.

When I was accepted to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, a friend who’d applied to the same program asked, pointedly, whether the fellowship I’d won was “something for African Americans.” In the moment, I understood his anxiety; he was still waiting for an acceptance letter. But this friend had never talked to me that way before; we’d never drawn asterisks beside each other’s achievements. As it happened, my fellowship from Iowa was for underrepresented students, but of course, you had to meet the highly selective requirements of your program first, and show exceptional talent. No “slower-track” needed, thanks. Even now, as a teacher, my color confounds. A colleague at one of my first teaching jobs once looked me up and down, and asked, “which half of you is black?” as if my body were divided by a secret equator, or dipped in invisible ink. At another moment in my early teaching career, a student who was unhappy with her grade surreptitiously snapped a photo of me at my lectern and tweeted that my afro made it impossible to take me seriously as a professor.   

Justice Scalia, I want to remind you that we share this country together. I’m descended from free and enslaved people. Some of them were black Virginians who worked hard to attain literacy and economic mobility in a nation that continually excluded them from the body politic. In fact, I hold a BA from the University of Virginia, where you spent four years as a Professor of Law, and an MA from the University of Chicago, another institution where you taught. And we share more than academics. My European ancestors arrived in America as Italian immigrants, just as yours did. You must know that the privileges of “whiteness” were not automatically bestowed on Italians. It wasn’t that long ago that Creuzé de Lesser wrote, “Europe ends at Naples, and ends badly. Calabria, Sicily, and all the rest belong to Africa.” At the height of the immigration wave, Italian Americans were subject to discrimination and violence, to negative stereotypes and offensive caricatures. In public schools, Italian children were discouraged from speaking their native language, even at home, while in the workplace, their parents often were barred from all but the lowest-paying manual labor jobs. The Johnson-Reed Act of 1924 was authorized, in large part, to curtail immigration from southern and eastern Europe. Today, we recognize how unfair all of this was, and we celebrate the contributions of Italian Americans in every sector of public life.

But as Republican presidential candidates call for sealing our borders to Muslim immigrants, and as increasing numbers of Americans react to world events with fearful xenophobia, your words feed into a stream of ugly “othering” that must end. I think you know that skin color is no predictor of intellectual acuity or future success in school. Students who are admitted to colleges and universities have the right to a rewarding education full of discoveries and challenges. This is the blessing of equal protection in public education. The Court must uphold it. Your comments this week show that you prefer to think of your fellow Americans, and especially African Americans, as points on a graph. But that approach reflects the exact type of one-size-fits-all thinking that you claim to oppose in affirmative action policy. Even worse, because you make no room in your comments for the health of the campus communities that admissions policies are designed to serve. Diversity benefits the whole campus. Every day, I’m thankful for the students I’m privileged to teach. They come from rural and urban areas, they practice Christian and non-Christian religions, they’re young parents and returning veterans and hopeful poets. We need them all.       

Allow me to describe something for you: in the mountains of Fumin County, in the southern Chinese province of Yunnan, there’s a slender village road that twists through a landscape of clouds and red earth. At the center of town is a Christian church where young people, dressed in colorful robes, gather to sing the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah in crystalline harmony. They do this each evening, after completing their farm work. The choir is famous. The singers know hundreds of songs and can sing in multiple languages. If you go there, as I did several years ago, they will sing for you. Afterwards, they’ll invite you to ask as many questions as you wish about their culture (the Miao people) and it’s only polite to return their invitation. What would you like to know about my country? You’ll ask. But the singers of Xiaoshuijing will have just one question: Tell us about your choirs.

Justice Scalia, I wish to imagine America as a great chorus of unfolding voices, a massive instrument. When I think of the Xiaoshuijing singers, of the mystery that moved through their question so beautifully asked, I’m nearly undone. But I’m a professor of poetry; I live for beautiful questions. As a Supreme Court Justice, you move in the realm of answers, interpretations, solutions. Sometimes I wonder whose voice you hear. What’s it like to hear the law speaking with a singular voice, immutable from the moment of ratification? Over the years, you’ve sparred with Justice Breyer and others about how the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision was reached. It seems that this vital ruling doesn’t square as neatly as you’d like with your originalist approach to constitutional interpretation. You’ve had to return to the issue in public comments, and you’ve consistently voted to weaken laws and policies, like affirmative action and the Voting Rights Act, designed to remedy the damage caused by our nation’s ongoing romance with structural racism.   

Where should black students study? What schools are best for them? These questions already have been settled as a matter of constitutional law and they are not before you in the current case. The problem we must resolve as a society is not where to send students of color, but how to acknowledge the humanity of every American and how to ensure an educated populace for future generations. When I left my hometown for college, I was a black student. So? What else? I was a woman, an Italian American, a singer, a writer, an intellectual. I made good decisions to attend UVA, Chicago, and Iowa, and those institutions made good decisions by accepting me. Just like any other student, it was my responsibility to seek success for myself, to find mentors, to compete in the academic environments where I found myself, and to try to leave the place a little better than I found it. Who were you when you left for college, Your Honor? I’m sure the answer would not fit comfortably into a single sentence, a solitary line of prose. Remember there are 350 million Americans who are just as complex as you are. Imagine the sound we could make with all of our voices. 

Kiki Petrosino is the author of two books of poetry: Hymn for the Black Terrific (2013) and Fort Red Border (2009), both from Sarabande Books. She holds graduate degrees from the University of Chicago and the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Her poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, The New York Times, FENCE, Gulf Coast, Jubilat, Tin House and elsewhere. She is founder and co-editor of Transom, an independent on-line poetry journal. She is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Louisville, where she directs the Creative Writing Program. Her website is http://wwww.kikipetrosino.com.
 
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Posted by on December 13, 2015 in The New Jim Crow

 

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Oklahoma Cop Convicted of Rapes of Black Women

In something of a surprise, Daniel Holtzclaw, former OKC Cop was convicted of at least some of the counts against him…

Former Oklahoma police officer found guilty of multiple rapes

It is unclear whether the counts will run concurrently or sequentially from the video.

A former Oklahoma City police officer has been convicted of sexually assaulting women he preyed upon in a low-income neighborhood he patrolled.

A jury convicted Daniel Holtzclaw of four charges of first-degree rape and 14 other counts. He sobbed while hearing the verdicts Thursday on his 29th birthday. He could spend the rest of his life in prison, based on the jury’s recommendation he serve 263 years.

The mother of his youngest accuser, who was 17, said the case should demonstrate the problem of sexual misconduct by officers isn’t limited to one police department.

“It’s a problem for the nation,” the mother told The Associated Press...Read Further Details Here

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2015 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Cop Under Investigation for Previous Murder Kills Neighbor

A certain, small percentage of Police Officers, like any other group/occupation in America have mental issues. The problem being that in situations where justice takes over a year to catch up to a cop, they are free to wander and carry weapons .

Rule 1 – As a weapons owner you don’t wave around a loaded weapon. You don’t hand it to anyone loaded, You  remove the clip or open the cylinder – remove the rounds, and in the case of a semi-automatic jack the slide and inspect for a round in the chamber before you hand it over. If you go to a gun shop and ask to look at a weapon, the clerk will lock the chamber open, and hand the gun to you in a position where 1) you can see it is unloaded, and 2) it cannot possibly be fired. That is Cop 101, as well as basic safety.

There are a number of accidental shootings every year by Cops. If a Cop, who carries a gun as part of his profession can’t handle gun safely 100% of the time…Why does anyone believe the common concealed carry bozo with little to no training isn’t a hazard to the public?

Deputy Already Under Investigation For A Shooting Allegedly Shoots Neighbor

An Ohio police deputy who is under investigation for his role in a deadly shooting earlier this year is facing separate charges after allegedly killing his neighbor last week, according to his sheriff.

Off-duty Pike County officer Joel Jenkins was in his home and allegedly intoxicated when he struck Jason Brady, 40, in the head with a single bullet on Thursday night. The department had not issued Jenkins the weapon used in the shooting, the sheriff’s office has said.

Instead of calling 911, Jenkins called a line at the sheriff’s department to report that his neighbor had been shot, according to the Chillicothe Gazette. Later, the deputy allegedly told state investigators that the gun accidentally discharged while he was showing it to Brady.

Jenkins has been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2015 in BlackLivesMatter, Domestic terrorism

 

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Minnesota Cop, Gun, and a Congressman’s Son

These poor Minneapolis Cops need a gun to defend themselves from a lone black kid with his hands up…Turns out the black kid in question happens to be the son of a Congressman.

More protests in Minneapolis over police shooting of Jamar Clark

Two people were arrested early Friday morning after dozens of people protested in front of the north Minneapolis police precinct Thursday night, close to where officers on Sunday shot and killed Jamar Clark, an unarmed black man. The controversy had spread through social media Thursday, after an image of a police officer pointing a weapon at U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison’s son Jeremiah at the protest went viral on Twitter.

Keith Ellison, D-Minn., said in a retweet of the image: “Photo is agonizing for me to see. My son is PEACEFULLY protesting w/ hands up; officer is shouldering gun. Why?”

Jamar Clark is the latest in a series of unarmed black people killed by police in the United States in recent years, fueling protests around the country and rekindling a national civil rights movement. The city’s 4th Precinct has been the center of protests since the shooting early Sunday morning.

On Thursday, Ellison said he supports protesters’ demands that investigators release video of the fatal shooting.

Last year, after a grand jury decided not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed black teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Keith Ellison had tweeted, “Worried for my sons.”

On Friday morning, th Minneapolis Police Department tweeted early Friday that two men were arrested on suspicion of felony damage to property. Police say they spray-painted walls and windows of a precinct building with profane messages during a protest.

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2015 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Is “The Fix” In on the Tamir Rice Investigation?

Commented that the two “experts” hired by the DA were questionable, at best in my last blog on this. In June, a judge found “ample probable cause” for the DA to file charges…But so far no charges have been filed.

Further, in the Kangaroo Grand Jury, neither officer has been requested to testify.

Things appear to following the path of the Michael Brown Grand Jury.

Is the grand jury process stacked in favor of the cop who killed the 12-year-old?

Tamir Rice’s sister and mother at the park where the 12-year-old was gunned down.

On Saturday, October 10, the prosecutor overseeing the Tamir Rice grand jury investigation released two reports authored by independent experts and concluding that Timothy Loehmann, the cop who killed the 12-year-old African American boy in Cleveland last November, acted within the law. The Cuyahoga County prosecutor, Timothy McGinty, knew this was an unusual move to make during grand jury proceedings. “Historically, the norm in most places has been that there’s an incident, and then a long investigation shrouded in secrecy, followed by a conclusion that sometimes mystifies large segments of the public,” a spokesperson for McGinty’s office told Mother Jones regarding the publication of the two reports. “We’re trying to break that pattern.”

But the reports have sparked outrage from Rice’s family and supporters, who saythe grand jury investigation amounts to “a charade aimed at whitewashing” and are demanding that a special prosecutor take over the case. Some legal experts suggest that the reports could improperly influence the pool of people serving on the grand jury, who began hearing evidence in recent weeks and will ultimately determine whether Loehmann should face charges. The development adds to a cloud of questions hanging over the case ever since Rice’s death almost a year ago—including why Loehmann and his partner who drove the squad car, Frank Garmback, have never spoken to investigators.

Delores Jones-Brown, a former prosecutor in New Jersey and a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, says it was unusual that McGinty enlisted a Colorado prosecutor and a former FBI agent to analyze the evidence and then release their findings. “I have never seen an incident in which that happened before,” she said, adding, “Normally it would be the defense attorney’s responsibility to get those kinds of experts.”

Tim Young, the director of Ohio’s public defenders office, sees McGinty’s release of the reports as “a measured attempt to try and reduce potential backlash” if the grand jury decides to not indict Loehmann. “The idea that this is somehow making it more fair and transparent, I think, is disingenuous. They’re still going to present this case in a private proceeding that you may or may not get to see the transcript of. We won’t know how they present Tamir.”

As fatal officer-involved shootings have fueled a nationwide debate about policing and racial injustice in America, prosecutors and grand juries have come under scrutiny. Some prosecutors have taken unconventional steps in response to criticism; after a grand jury declined to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Michael Brown, St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch released the evidence reviewed by jurors in that case. In August, California became the first state to ban the use of grand juries in officer-involved shootings.

Prosecutors are now in a tough position, says Dave Klinger, a former police officer and a criminologist at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. “No matter what happens, the prosecutor is going to get criticized,” he says. The use of outside investigators by a prosecutor, he adds, is not unheard of in grand jury proceedings. “The goal in a situation like that is to explain to the grand jurors in detail about things that perhaps the prosecutor really doesn’t know him or herself, about police training, practice, or tactics, so that the jurors can have a better understanding of what it is that officers are supposed to do.”

The experts who reviewed Loehmann’s use of deadly force, Colorado prosecutor S. Lamar Sims and former FBI agent Kim Crawford, emphasized that the circumstances leading up to and immediately following the shooting were not relevant to their findings. “To suggest that Officer Garmback should have stopped the car at another location is to engage in exactly the kind of ‘Monday morning quarterbacking’ the case law exhorts us to avoid,” Sims wrote. Some policing experts have said that Garmback’s pulling up to within 10 feet of Rice just seconds before Loehmann shot him was among glaring tactical errors made by the two officers. And neither Sims nor Crawford mentioned the fact that for several minutes following the shooting, Loehmann and Garmback stood around without administering first aid to Rice while he lay bleeding on the ground.

“To say that the actions were constitutional does not [necessarily] relieve the officers of negligence or recklessness,” says Jones-Brown. That decision is ultimately up to the prosecutor and the grand jury, she says, adding that a special prosecutor should be appointed. “I’m afraid the damage may have already been done by disseminating these reports.”…Read the Rest Here

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2015 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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