For those of you not living the day to day oppression of black people in America, it’s possible you didn’t notice right away that The Movement for Black Lives has almost entirely dropped from the mainstream media headlines since November.
There is no question that this is a direct casualty of the election of Donald Trump. Maybe things will change as Jeff Sessions begins flexing his Attorney General powers, but it’s important to remember that nothing has changed for black people in America since November. Unarmed black people of all ages and walks of life are still dying at the hands of police and the police are still getting away with it.
So if you have found yourself unengaged from the movement, your first action is to jump back in. Visit the websites and social media pages of organizations like Advancement Project, Alliance for Educational Justice, Color of Change, Dream Defenders, Law for Black Lives, and of course, The Movement for Black Lives.
Your next action is to get involved this week with Mama’s Bail Out Day, leading up to and happening on Mother’s Day, this Sunday, May 14th. The day is organized by National Bail Out, a partnership with Color of Change and The Movement for Black Lives, with the goal of reuniting families, resisting mass incarceration and ending the cash bail system once and for all.
The idea is simple: Local and national organizations participating in National Mama’s Bail Out Day are raising money to pay the bail of as many incarcerated mothers as possible, in all of their varieties - queer, trans, young, elder, and immigrant - and give them an opportunity to spend Mother’s Day with their families. Additionally, the organizations plan to build community through gatherings that highlight the impact of inhumane and destructive bail practices on our communities, particularly communities of color.
Why the focus on mothers? Women held in local jails represent the fastest growing group of incarcerated people in the United States. Since 1970, the number of women in US jails has increased by 14 times. Nearly 80% of women in jails are mothers and nearly half are in local jails for crimes they haven’t been convicted of. According to National Bail Out, we spend $9 billion on pre-trial incarceration in this country and the results are devastating. Even a few days in jail can catastrophically impact a woman’s family and community by putting her job, housing and even the custody of her children at risk. But if she can’t pay bail, she has no way out.
The idea of paying bail to release these women comes from the tradition of enslaved black people who used their collective resources to purchase each other’s freedom before slavery was abolished. The National Bail Out website states, “Until we abolish bail and mass incarceration, we’re gonna free ourselves.”
The more money National Bail Out can raise, the more women can be brought home for Mother’s Day and reengage with their communities. Visit NoMoreMoneyBail.org to donate and find the cities and organizations taking part in this action. You can also follow the movement on Twitter @NationalBailOut and engage with the hashtags #EndMoneyBail and #FreeBlackMamas.
So, if resisting the devastating impacts of mass incarceration and bail practices on people of color is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Supporting Mama’s Bail Out Day This Mother’s Day via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Locked Up for Being Poor (New York Times)
Federal judge: Harris Co. bail system unfair to poor, low-level defendants (Houston Chronicle)
Incarcerated Women and Girls (The Sentencing Project)
Posted May 9, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear this segment in the context of Best of the Left #1102: Racism built a system we all suffer under
Just a couple years ago, we were defending Net Neutrality from the Obama administration. Millions took action and raised their voices, and the battle was won. For the moment.
Today, in the upside-down world of the Trump administration, we have a former Verizon lawyer heading up the FCC. As his first order of business, Chairman Ajit Pai took steps to halt updates to Lifeline - an existing FCC program providing affordable telephone service that was in the process of expanding to provide affordable broadband to those in need. That’s just a taste of who this guy is.
Last week, after Congress voted to let internet service providers have their way with your data, Press Secretary Sean Spicer formally announced that next on the administration’s hit list is net neutrality. As a minority Republican member of the FCC in 2015, Pai voted against net neutrality, so we know where he stands.
But just as it was for Democrats, having the FCC revisit the net neutrality issue is going to be a political nightmare for Trump and Republicans. Pai has already said he will decline to enforce many of the consumer protections created during the Obama administration and that includes net neutrality, but he can only go so far with the rules still in place.
So here’s what you can do. Get involved right now with the organizations that will be at the forefront of this re-match. Head over to FreePress.net and the Electronic Frontier Foundation at EFF.org, and subscribe to these organizations’ email lists and follow them on social media (@FreePress and @EFF) so that you’ll get the latest updates and the calls to action. In the mean time, you should keep calling your Senators and Representatives and letting them know how upset you are about the latest attack on your privacy and how critical an open internet is to our democracy and a fair, just society. Let them know your vote depends on their response.
It’s infuriating to fight the same battles over and over again, but remember that this fight is not only about privacy. The fate of The Resistance may rest on this issue. FreePress.net put it more plainly than anyone else: “Everything people have been fighting for will be in jeopardy if we lose access to the open internet. The Trump administration will continue to threaten civil liberties, undermine a free press and strip away environmental protections. And we will be helpless to organize and resist without Net Neutrality.”
So, if saving a pillar of modern democracy is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Preparing to Save the Internet….Again via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Stay up to date on all the latest proposed legislation related to privacy on Countable.us
Net Neutrality Is Trump’s Next Target, Administration Says (The New York Times)
They Attacked Privacy. Net Neutrality is Next. (FreePress.net)The inventor of the Web predicts ‘a massive outcry’ over online privacy (The Washington Post)
The FCC is stopping 9 companies from providing federally subsidized Internet to the poor (The Washington Post)
Posted April 4, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communication Director, Amanda Hoffman.
Hear this segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1092: Under surveillance from all angles (Privacy Rights)
Jeff Sessions has been around for a long time. In the 1980s, Reagan tapped Sessions for a judgeship, but the Republican Congress at the time rejected him due to his long history of racist comments and questions surrounding his unfounded prosecution of a black civil rights activist for voter fraud. Yea, he was too racist for 1980s Republicans.
Since then, Sessions has only revealed more about himself that proves he is in no way fit to fairly uphold the law or the constitution of this country. In fact, he has really gone out of his way to target or offend nearly everyone, while advocating for authoritarianism at every turn.
Here are just some of his views: He is opposed to key provisions of the voting rights act. He is anti bi-partisan sentencing reform, pro police militarization and thinks America is experiencing an all time crime high, despite all evidence to the contrary. He is pro boarder wall and the National Immigration Forum said, “Sessions is opposed to immigration as we know it. Full stop.” He is anti marijuana, and only disavowed the KKK when he learned its members smoked. He is anti-LGBT rights and has actively tried to protect discrimination against LGBT people. He is anti-abortion, voted against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act and said that calling Trump’s comments about grabbing women by the genitals sexual assault was “a stretch.” He believes Islam is a “toxic ideology” and a “threat” and supports Trump’s proposed ban on immigration from Muslim countries. Oh, and he is also pro-torture.
And then, as if all of that wasn’t enough, there are his feelings about privacy. Even though many of his Republican colleagues supported it, Jeff Sessions fought against the bi-partisan bill to end the bulk collection of phone records. According to the ACLU, he has repeatedly pushed for greater surveillance authorities than law enforcement and intelligence agencies have even asked for. And when it comes to end-to-end encryption, Sessions is perhaps one of the fiercest critics out there - strongly backing the FBI in its case against Apple to force them to create back door access to the iPhone.
But despite all of this, on January 10th Sessions will yet again sit in front of members of Congress at his confirmation hearing - this time as Trump’s pick for Attorney General, the most powerful law enforcement office in the land. You can make sure every single bit of his dirty, anti-civil rights and anti-privacy laundry is exposed during this hearing by calling your Senators today, and often, to tell them how you feel about Sessions’ record, and to demand that the Senate Judiciary Committee leave no stone unturned when questioning Sessions at his hearing. Go to ACLU.org to read about Sessions record issue by issue, and then go to Senate.gov to find out how to reach your senator.
So if stopping a racist man with a long, documented history of fighting against your rights from becoming Attorney General is important to you, then be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Telling Your Senators to Expose Jeff Sessions’ Anti-Civil Rights and Anti-Privacy History via social media so that others in your network can take action too.
Stand up. Fight back. There is no time to lose.
Getting to know Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump's attorney general nominee pic.twitter.com/oKxWxQQABz— ACLU National (@ACLU) November 18, 2016
Call your Senators today and tell them why you oppose Jeff Sessions for Attorney General
Read ACLU’s “The Confirmation Sessions” for Jeff Sessions history, issue-by-issue
Call Senate Judiciary Committee Members who will question Sessions on January 10th.
Corporate Accountability Blunders Taint Sessions Record (Public Citizen)
Trump's pick for attorney general: 'Good people don't smoke marijuana' (The Washington Post)
Posted January 6, 20167; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear this segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1069: Trump and our National Security State (Civil Rights)
As you’ve heard today, the largest prison strike in history is happening right now. And if you’re listening to this wondering why you haven’t heard much of anything about it, you’re not alone. The mainstream media is hardly covering it.
For the last month, inmates at prisons around the US refused to show up for their prison mandated jobs, where they make pennies by the hour - or in some states nothing - at the benefit of major companies like McDonalds and Wal-Mart. They have nothing in the way of worker’s rights or worker protections or the ability to form unions….and our 13th amendment says that’s okay.
FreeAlabamaMovement.wordpress.com is the website run by the inmates at the Alabama prison spearheading this aptly named “Freedom Movement.” The site’s announcement of the strike proclaimed, “In one voice, rising from the cells of long term solitary confinement, echoed in the dormitories and cell blocks from Virginia to Oregon, we prisoners across the United States vow to finally end slavery in 2016.”
These inmates are striking in the face of retaliation. We already know that some have been put in isolation for their actions, but a few have been able to bravely speak to reporters via contraband phones. But while the rest of the media largely ignores the strike and prison wardens deny that anything serious is going on, calls for more public support are surfacing.
ItsGoingDown.org is a citizen-driven, repository of news and analysis on all kinds of acts of rebellion and revolt in North America. A post on this site is calling for a resurgence of actions in our communities October 15th to 22nd to show support for the inmates and amplify their message. You can find an action near you at the bottom of that post, or create an action and submit it to ItsGoingDown.org to be posted.
The New Yorker is one of the few major publications talking about the strike. In their article, an Alabama inmate said, “I want to clarify that it is not ‘slave-like conditions’ in prison labor—this is actually institutional slavery. Slavery was always about exploiting the labor of lower-class people in this country.”
From private prisons, to the school to prison pipeline, to the rights of prisoners and former prisoners, to criminal justice reform, we have a long way to go when it comes to upending our state of incarceration rooted in America’s institutional racism. So make these issues part of your theory of change by getting involved in the long term with organizations like The Advancement Project, the ACLU, the Brennan Center for Justice, Fair Vote, the Southern Poverty Law Center and other organizations working to achieve racial justice.
As Nelson Mandela once said, “No one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.” So if you want to work toward a society we can all be proud of, then be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about supporting prison strikers by joining actions around the country via social media so that others in your network can take action too.
Read the call to action post on ItsGoingDown.org and find an event near you at the bottom of the post.
Create your own local action to support the prison strikes and submit it to be posted by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why Prisoners Across the Country Have Gone on Strike (via Mother Jones)
A National Strike Against "Prison Slavery" (via The New Yorker)
DOJ Launches Investigation of Alabama Mens' Prison (via AL.com)
Free Alabama Movement (website of the inmates spearheading the strike in Alabama)
IWW Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (unrecognized union for incarcerated prison workers)
Posted October 7, 2016 * Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman.
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1048: Slavery in America is alive and well (prison labor)
Tell Your Legislators to Sign the “Pledge to Preserve & Protect Our Lives” via @NAACP #StayWokeandVote
Colin Kaepernick is successfully keeping a difficult conversation in the spotlight that many Americans would rather just ignore. The best way to show support for Kaepernick and his resilience under intense public ridicule is to directly support reforms to correct the systemic racial injustice in this country.
In the wake of the recent police shooting of Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man who was waiting for help on the side of the road in Tulsa, Oklahoma after his car broke down, the NAACP released a statement encouraging people to take to the streets and the polls with a clear path for reform.
The statement went on to say, “The video footage of Crutcher’s death tragically and horrifically shows us the futility of our cry: 'Hands Up, Don’t Shoot.'"
In the statement, the NAACP asked all elected officials and candidates to sign their “Pledge to Preserve and Protect Our Lives,” which acts as a promise to:
- cut off funding to law enforcement agencies that discriminate
- ensure independent investigation of law enforcement agencies,
- support detailed data reporting about police stops and uses of force,
- support comprehensive standards governing the use of force,
- and support civilian oversight of policing.
Ask your legislator or candidates to sign this pledge before November. Tell them your vote depends on it. Just go to this link (or go to NAACP.org and click on their “News” section in the side menu to find the organization’s statement on Terence Crutcher and the link to the pledge within the statement.)
You can also show your own support for racial justice on social media by using the NAACP hashtag #StayWokeAndVote to remind people that the stakes are high in this election.
Make fighting for racial justice and reigning in abuse of power by police part of your theory of change by getting involved in the long term with organizations like NAACP, SURJ - Showing Up for Racial Justice, Million Hoodies for Justice, and other organizations fighting to change the status quo.
So if fighting systemic racism is important to you, then be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about telling legislators to sign the NAACP Pledge via social media so that others in your network can get involved too.
Send the NAACP's "Pledge to Preserve and Protect Our Lives to your legislators and candidates
Get involved with the NAACP's #StayWokeandVote campaign and use the hashtag on Twitter
"Tulsa police chief on fatal shooting of Terence Crutcher: 'There was no gun'" (Tulsaworld.com)
Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman.
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1045: "Systemic forces and how to fight them" (Racism)
We don’t need to tell you that the news has been awful. Everywhere you look are stories and videos of death and injustice. And we get that you may sometimes feel like you just want to just shut it all out. But we’re asking you today to allow yourself to get enraged by the news and to channel that rage toward making our broken and racist systems finally work for all.
According to the ACLU, a typical police cadet spends just eight hours on de-escalation training…just eight hours. That is not enough to counter inherent racial bias that leads to profiling and fear, and is sadly contradictory to the increasing militarization of our police departments. This conversation isn’t about “bad apples,” this is about a terrifying lack of emphasis on “protect and serve” and the deeply rooted racism at the core of those charged with keeping our communities safe.
Right now in Congress, there is a bill called the Preventing Tragedies Between Police and Communities Act of 2016. If passed, the Preventing Tragedies bill would require police to be trained on de-escalation techniques that focus on preserving life. The legislation builds upon Police Executive Research Forum guiding principles on use of force and its belief that “the preservation of life has always been at the heart of American policing.”
To show your support of this bill, take a second to sign the ACLU petition “End the Culture of Warrior Policing."
The ACLU also recently sent a letter to Congress urging them to pass the Preventing Tragedies bill as well as the following bills when they return from recess:
- The Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act (H.R. 2875, S. 2168), sponsored by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), provides law enforcement with resources for accreditation, best practices, training, and other resources to increase trust between police and community. The bill also mandates data collection on use of force and other police-community encounters, so the public can begin to knowwhat policing looks like in this country.
- The End Racial Profiling Act (H.R. 1933, S. 1056), also introduced by Rep. Conyers and Sen. Cardin, prohibits federal, state, and local law enforcement from engaging in racial profiling and other biased policing. The bill would help law enforcement meet this mandate through training, funding, and data collection. As the Department of Justice formally acknowledged at the end of June, “most people experience some degree of unconscious bias.” Implicit and explicit biases have no place in policing.
- The Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act (H.R. 1232, S. 1441), offered by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), would prohibit the transfer of some of the most dangerous military weapons from the federal government to state and local law enforcement. Tanks, grenades, bayonets, and other weapons of war have no business in our communities.
- The Police CAMERA Act (H.R. 1680, S. 877) is sponsored by Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.) and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and provides federal resources to state and local law enforcement so they can develop safe and effective body-worn camera programs that also protect civilians’ privacy rights. Communities and law enforcement agree that cameras can be a part of the solution, but they must be implemented the right way.
- The DUE PROCESS Act (H.R. 5283, S. 3045) is a response to the controversial practice of civil asset forfeiture from Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). The bill levels the playing field for individuals who want to challenge law enforcement’s seizure of their property by providing access to counsel, an increased burden of proof for the government, and other procedural protections.
So, if making sure our police departments truly protect and serve all is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Ending the Culture of Warrior Policing via social media so that others in your network can get involved too.
Please know that signing a petition and calling your legislators is NOT ENOUGH. These are just two things in a long list of things that you can do to help fight for police reform and support our persecuted brothers and sisters of color. So get mad, get in the streets, fight with your racist relatives and friends, vote for candidates who support police reform, and challenge America’s systemic racism every damn day. Because your silence says more than you’ll ever know.
Sign the ACLU petition “End the Culture of Warrior Policing."
You Can Be Pro Cop and Pro Police Reform (Brennan Center for Justice)
Showing Up for Racial Justice - Actions in Your Area (Showing Up for Racial Justice)
10-Point Justice Plan: National Urban League Police Reform and Accountability Recommendations (National Urban League)
Guiding Principles on Use of Force (Police Executive Research Forum)
Written by BOTL Communications Director Amanda Hoffman.
Hear the segment in the context of the show:
Best of the Left Edition #1030: "From Warriors to Guardians" (Police Reform)
White People: Get Mad, Get in the Streets for Black Lives via Organizations of the #BlackLives Movement
In our activism segment for Best of the Left edition #1029: "You can't reignite a fire that never stops burning," you heard from those in the Movement for Black Lives what white teammates and co-conspirators need to do. Black people are taking risks every day to fight for their liberation. To truly be supporting this movement, white people need to ignore any hesitation stemming from their privilege and take risks too. If you are white and want to educate yourself and find out how you can join the fight to end oppression, here are some organizations in the Movement for Black Lives that you should be aware of and that can provide the resources you need to become part of the movement and get off the side-lines.
SURJ - Showing Up for Racial Justice
SURJ is a national network of groups and individuals organizing white people for racial justice. You can find resources, actions and chapters and partner organizations in your area at showingupforracialjustice.org.
Advancement Project is a multi-racial civil rights organization founded by a team of veteran civil rights lawyers to develop and inspire community-based solutions based on the same high quality legal analysis and public education campaigns that produced the landmark civil rights victories of earlier eras. You can join campaigns, access resources and news around voting rights, the school to prison pipeline and more at advancementproject.org.
Hands Up United
HandsUpUnited aims to fulfill the political void that remains from the historical archives of the Black Power Movement and strongly believes liberation for oppressed Black and Brown people will be achieved solely through self determination coupled with traditional and nontraditional means of political education. Their community programs include Books and Breakfast, the Tech Institute and food and clothing disbursement and oppression support groups. You can learn more at handsupunited.org.
Dream Defenders is an uprising of communities in struggle, shifting culture through transformational organizing that believes the liberation necessitates the destruction of the political and economic systems of Capitalism and Imperialism, as well as Patriarchy. They also believe that nonviolent resistance is “the only morally and practically sound method open to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom” and are fundamentally committed to nonviolence as their means of struggle against a violent oppressor. You can learn more at dreamdefenders.org.
We Are Here Movement
The We Are Here Movement’s Racial Justice in America Moonshot campaign is requesting a radical transformation in racial justice and equality with the push for $150 billion directed at poor communities over the next 10 years to provide access to equal education, healthcare, quality housing, training and jobs, nutrition and an overhaul of the Criminal Justice System. You can sign the petition at weareheremovement.com/moonshot.
Million Hoodies Movement for Justice
Million Hoodies Movement for Justice is a racial justice membership organization confronting anti-black racism and systemic violence. Their mission is to build the next generation human rights leaders to end mass criminalization and gun violence through grassroots organizing, advocacy, and education. You can learn more at millionhoodies.net.
Find Showing Up for Justice actions near you
This is What White People Can Do to Support Black Lives Matter (Washington Post)
Tim Wise Website (TimWise.com)
It's Legal to Kill Black People (Hands Up United)
Rewire News - Racism (Rewire.com)
11 Major Misconceptions About the Black Lives Matter Movement (Black Lives Matter)
Only White People Can Save Themselves From Racism and White Supremacism (Washington Post)
Don’t Let California Lawmakers Undermine Smartphone Security via Electronic Frontier Foundation (@EFF)
By now we’ve all heard that the FBI, with the backing of the Obama administration, is going after Apple directly to force the company to create a backdoor entry to access encrypted data on our smartphones. What you may not have heard is that state officials on both coasts have begun introducing proposals to uphold that policy at the state level.
Assembly Bill 1681, introduced in January by Assemblymember Jim Cooper, would require any smartphone sold in California “to be capable of being decrypted and unlocked by its manufacturer or its operating system provider.” Any manufacturer or operating system provider who knowingly did not comply would then be subject to a civil penalty of $2,500 for each smartphone sold or leased.
This proposal might be even more drastic than the legal precedent at stake in Apple’s battle with the Justice Department. Not only is it unconstitutional due to its burden on interstate commerce, but, as EFF puts it...
“By impacting every smartphone user in the state, this bill would affect tens of millions of people who have done nothing wrong... If passed, it would leave Californians at risk for identity theft, data breach, stalking, and other invasions of privacy, with little benefit to law enforcement. It would be both ineffective and impossible to enforce.”
Unfortunately, the idea is still gaining steam. Similar proposals have already been made by a district attorney in Manhattan and a nearly identical bill is pending in the New York State Assembly.
Help fight for the privacy and safety of Californians so that your state isn’t next. Sign EFF’s petition to stop California lawmakers from undermining smartphone security for millions at act.eff.org/action.
Tell California lawmakers not to undermine smartphone encryption: https://t.co/SxYDYLL3nD— EFF (@EFF) March 10, 2016
Sign the EFF petition to fight California Assembly Bill 1681 at https://act.eff.org/action/don-t-let-california-lawmakers-undermine-smartphone-security
Follow @EFF on Twitter for the latest updates on the petition and other actions to protect privacy.
Donate to support the work of EFF at https://supporters.eff.org/donate/button
Read the entire Assembly Bill 1681
Hear the segment in context:
Episode #997 http://www.bestoftheleft.com/_997_privacy_encryption
Written by BOTL Communications Director Amanda Hoffman.
You’ve reached the activism portion of today’s show. Now that you’re informed and angry, here’s what you can do about it. Today’s activism: End Dragnet Government Surveillance.
President Obama has pledged to review and bring NSA surveillance in line with the Constitution. With his term running down, the clock is ticking for fulling this promise.
Executive Order 12333 is a Reagan-era spy program still on the books. And while action from Congress would be preferable as it would prevent subsequent administrations from reversing a reversal through new executive order, the White House can and should do what it can to bring domestic policy in line with the Constitution and international law.
The ACLU has sent a letter to the White House asking that the president prohibit dragnet surveillance and to make any exceptions as narrow as possible with clear time, purpose and geographic limitations. Visit WhiteHouse.gov/Contact to let the president know that privacy is a basic human right that the U.S. should respect abroad as well as domestically and you expect him to follow through.
Also, the law that the NSA uses to collect phone records of every single American — Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act — is set to expire on June 1 unless Congress acts. Sign the petition at ACLU.org to let your representatives know you oppose dragnet surveillance and therefore the extension of any part of the Patriot Act. We can’t rely on this Congress to pass a comprehensive law to end the practice, but with the entire House and part of the Senate in the midst of election season, we can let them know that we vote on this issue.
CONTACT the White House: Reverse EO 12333
Hear the segment in context:
Episode #797 "Trouble at the old pharm (Health Care)"
Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich
You’ve reached the activism portion of today’s show. Now that you’re informed and angry, here’s what you can do about it. Today’s activism: tell Attorney General Loretta Lynch to get justice for Tamir Rice.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty’s conduct in the Grand Jury supposedly seeking an indictment for Tamir Rice’s murder was — to use a generous word — atypical. The joke about being able to indict a ham sandwich didn’t develop for no reason; the purpose of the grand jury process is to present just enough evidence that ordinary people say “Sure, that person might have done it; there should be a trial to find out.”
McGinty actually presented experts that exonerated the target of the grand jury; this is unprecedented and would never be done in a case for someone who wasn’t law enforcement. The resulting lack of an indictment means that justice is no longer possible at the local level, so Tamir’s family is petitioning federal authorities.
Tamir’s cousin LaTonya Goldsby has a petition at Change.org simply titled “Justice For Tamir Rice” asking the Department of Justice to investigate McGinty and not allow the murder of a 12-year-old boy in broad daylight go unpunished.
Of the failed grand jury Goldsby says: "My family is saddened and disappointed– but we are not surprised” and she cites precedent for the request that needs your signature of support.
From the petition:
The Department of Justice has launched independent investigations into police killings of civilians before. Last year, they launched one in response to the killing of John Crawford, who, like Tamir, had a toy gun in his hand while shopping at a Walmart when police rushed in and shot him to death. A Change.org petition helped make that investigation happen and that’s why I need your signature.
Please sign and share the family’s petition; we can’t allow the grand jury to be the final word on the murder of a 12-year-old boy.
”For Immediate Release: Tamir Rice’s Family Mourns For Tamir After Non-Indictment of Officers” via the JusticeForJamil Tumblr
Hear the segment in context:
Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich