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Police brutality in America

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    Police brutality: Alive and well in America By Saeed Shabazz Mar 26, 2005 http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/article_1873.shtml Juanita Young addresses an
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 7, 2005
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      Police brutality: Alive and well in America
      By Saeed Shabazz
      Mar 26, 2005
      http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/article_1873.shtml


      Juanita Young addresses an anti-police brutality rally.
      Photo courtesy of the October 22nd

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      (FinalCall.com) - Juanita Young is legally blind and suffers from
      asthma. But that did not stop the New York Police Department from
      arresting her in June 2003, charging her with trespassing, holding
      her for 35 hours and refusing her medical attention.

      According to Ms. Young, she was asleep in her bed when officers from
      the 40th Precinct in the Bronx ordered her and her three children to
      get out of the apartment due to an order of eviction. However, she
      maintains that she was never served with eviction papers. She
      further alleges that a police officer dragged her in handcuffs down
      the steps of the apartment building.

      Activists say her outspokenness against police brutality made her a
      target in the continuing campaign to intimidate those who stand up
      against police crime. Ms. Young, according to activists, had become
      a powerful voice for social justice.

      This case is approaching its 19th month, without any resolution.
      There have been 12 scheduled court appearances. Originally charged
      with three counts of criminal trespass, she now faces only two
      trespass charges and must appear in a Bronx courtroom on March 30.

      "We are ready to go to trial," offered Steven Reed, spokesman for
      Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson. Mr. Reed said that the
      reason for the continual delays was due to Ms. Young's health, and
      the legal problems facing her activist-attorney Lynne Stewart. He
      said that Ms. Young's legal team rejected an offer for an
      Adjournment Contemplating Dismissal (ACD). The District Attorney's
      office has not made any public comments on the case, which has
      become a cause celebre in the national fight against police
      misconduct.

      "I am innocent and the ACD implies guilt," argues Ms. Young. She
      states that the only thing she is guilty of is uncovering the facts
      surrounding, what she calls, the "point-blank execution" of her son,
      Malcolm Ferguson, at the hands of a NYPD Street Crime officer in
      March 2000.

      Ms. Young said police had targeted her son because of his
      participation in rallies protesting the 1999 killing of Muslim
      immigrant Amadou Diallo. She stressed that there are too many
      unexplained details in Malcolm's death. She joined the October 22nd
      Coalition Against Police Brutality; started attending anti-police
      brutality rallies, gave lectures around the nation against police
      brutality¬óliterally becoming a thorn in the side of the NYPD.

      "We are continuing to stand with Juanita Young, because people must
      realize that police brutality has not ended in America; it is on the
      rise," claimed Steven Yip, director of the New York City October
      22nd Coalition. Mr. Yip claimed that, from Los Angeles to Miami,
      police misconduct was increasing. On the October 22nd website
      (www.october22-ny.org), there are names of four persons who have
      been killed by law enforcement so far in 2005.

      On March 30, three members of the Brooklyn-based Malcolm X
      Grassroots Movement are scheduled for a court appearance to answer
      charges against them for assault and obstruction of government
      administration. The three are members of the organization's Cop
      Watch Unit.

      "I cannot speak to the specifics of the charges," explained Asha
      Bandele, media spokesperson for the group. They started the cop
      watch program because there were too many police shootings in the
      city and someone had to step up to the plate, she stressed.

      According to observers, the three members had responded to a report
      that the police were beating a Black man in the street and, as they
      began to film the police activity, officers allegedly told them to
      move on, but an argument ensued.

      "We must maintain our vigilance," argues Ann Braden of the Kentucky
      Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, which is located
      in Louisville. Her organization is currently fighting the decision
      by the Louisville Police Department to pay a White officer $59,000
      in back pay after he was exonerated by a jury in the January 2004
      death of 19-year-old Michael Newby. The police department said the
      officer was guilty of excessive use of force. The officer, who
      claimed that the teenager had tried to get his gun, shot Mr. Newby
      four times in the back.

      "There is a double standard in Louisville. The police chief recently
      fired four White officers in the beating of a White man, but Blacks
      cannot get justice, and we must say that this is wrong," Ms. Braden
      said. She argues that the Louisville Police Department continues to
      de-humanize Black men, because they do not feel that Black life
      matters.

      "This city must face the racism on the police force. This community
      needs justice. We are not going to be quiet about the Michael Newby
      case," she insisted. "We are not giving up. Our voices must be
      heard."


      © Copyright 2005 FCN Publishing, FinalCall.com

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