"I am pleased with our progress, but I am not satisfied," he said.
What are your views of the first 100 days?
"I am pleased with our progress, but I am not satisfied," he said.
"To help build a new foundation for the 21st century, we need to reform our government so that it is more efficient, more transparent, and more creative. That will demand new thinking and a new sense of responsibility for every dollar that is spent."
"The issue is not whether or not the taser can be used in a high percentage of cases to reduce death or physical trauma to officers and civilians alike. The issue is whether or not it's OK to kill the rest through ignorance and rationalization just because it's a small percentage ... The successes aren't the problem - the failures are. They're being told that tasers are non-lethal, so they blast away until people can't move. They're killing people by accident."
Dear Wayne,What say u?
I have an update on the Erie police scandal that I wrote to you about yesterday.
James Cousins II, the officer caught on the YouTube video making fun of a homicide victim and his grief-stricken mother, has been suspended for 10 days without pay. And he's been ordered to complete alcohol counseling.
It's a slap on the wrist. And it's not enough.
To add insult to injury, the Erie police department issued a badly written, typo-filled letter of apology to the victim's mother. And there has not yet been an apology from the mayor or police chief.
But, the good news is that the pressure that you, the NAACP, and thousands of other NAACP supporters put on the mayor of Erie, Pennsylvania is working. The officer's punishment for his inappropriate and shocking behavior has been increased. And we won't let up until the mayor orders an independent investigation into the practices and policies of the Erie police department -- a department with a history of racial bias and discrimination.
We've also requested that Attorney General Holder ask the Department of Justice to conduct a thorough investigation into the pattern and practices of the Erie Police Department.
I know that like me, you are committed to seeing justice done in this case. But more than this single case, together we must work towards highlighting the unfair and biased policing in our communities.
The NAACP is committed to ending racial profiling and curbing police brutality and other forms of unequal justice for African Americans and Latinos.
Thank you for standing with us,
Benjamin Todd Jealous
President and CEO
Depends on how you define younger. As a child I was cerebral, anxious, and a bibliophile. As an adolescent I was somewhat introverted, still anxious, uncomfortable in most social settings, and I read much less than I did as a child. In my 20s I went through a rebellious phase (I rebelled against systems and philosophies of authority, not against individual people and not in my behavior). I became more extroverted but still felt uncomfortable in social situations. I also drank a lot, which probably helped make me extroverted. Today I'm more comfortable in social situations, still enjoy the odd drink, and am reading again, though not as frequently or consistently as I'd like.Q2. Name a famous historical figure, living or deceased, you would like to meet and tell us why.
I would like to have met an African who had been ripped away from their homeland and forced into bonded servitude anywhere in the New World. I would like to have heard first-hand about the consequences of enslavement on the mind, body, and spirit of the African. I would have liked to know how s/he coped with the daily abuse and humiliation, how they felt about the people who controlled every aspect of their lives, and the hope, dreams, and aspirations they had had for themselves and their descendants before they were enslaved and what became of those plans after they found themselves in bondage.Q3. Name a person in your community who is relatively unknown to the rest of the world, who you believe is significant in some way, and that you would like the rest of the world to know more about.
There's a guy who's been running an English-language school in my neighborhood for about 20 or so years now. Who knows how many immigrants have passed through this school, and how can you measure the impact this school has had on people's lives.
Visit or live in India. Write a memoir.Q5. Describe your first experience on the Internet?
I remember using computers before there was Windows. Windows were introduced at my college in my freshman year. One day we went from the black screen with the orange text and the cursor that was a blinking underscore. The next day, we had windows, with icons, spinning hourglasses, and arrow-shaped pointers. I used the internet a lot for usenet groups, which had all sorts of information.Q6. Tell us about your current blogging career and how you got into it.
A friend of mine suggested I create a blog, because I was always ranting and raving about politics, social commentary, etc., basically stuff that bothered the hell out of me. I would also forward newspaper articles with my two cents attached, or respond to articles other people sent out with a running commentary. The blog was great for me: I was a natural. I wrote about everything: politics, race, social criticism, responses to current events, whatever. It was cathartic too, to get all that stuff out of my head.Q7. Who are the two bloggers you read the most and why? Include their links and tell us why we should subscribe to their feeds.
Despite being a blog writer, I'm not a dedicated blog reader. I guess I'm just not big on commitment. I read news and opinion articles online and the odd blog, but I'm not a dedicated reader of any one site. One of my favorite sites, however, is Unique Muslimah, written by a young Muslim woman. She's a great writer, very insightful, spiritual, and soulful. Her posts are intimate yet pure. As a modern, Westernized male, I find her perspective enlightening and her writing uplifting. Another favorite blog is Racialicious, a blog collective run by an Asian woman. Racialilcious, as the name implies, examines at contemporary race relations, including the way race and racialized images are portrayed in the dominant culture.Q8. Where are you taking your blog over the next 2-3 years?
I'm in a bit of flux right now as I'm finding my interests going in different directions. I'm torn between keeping my blog general or "specializing" in something like race/racism or religion. But my interests are too broad and I do enjoy voicing my thoughts on a variety of topics. In the end, I'll probably stay general. Most importantly, I'll be happy simply to continue writing. I'm afraid that I'm burning out...Q9. What is your 'killer post' over the past year ... the post you are most proud of?
Man, this is like asking a parent which of his kids he loves the most. As I said already, I've written on a lot of topics so some posts are great in the context of what they cover, but other posts might be better because of how they're written. I have to confess that I often return to reread some of my older posts. I also have to confess that I think I've gotten better as a writer so I like most my more recent posts more than some of my previous ones. So I'm going to have to pass on that one ... I'm proud of all my posts.Q10. What is your 'biggest noise post' over the past year ... the one that you took the most heat over from your readers?
Every post I've ever written on race/racism and hate crimes draws a lot of heat, mostly from overt racists and other ignorant people. I wrote a series of posts in response to Dr. Watson's thinly veiled reference to Black/African people's intelligence deficiency, and that brought a LOT of bigots out of the woodworks. The same thing happened in response to a series of posts I wrote in response to the beating death of Luis Ramirez, a Mexican migrant in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. But by far the most controversial post that had NOTHING to do with race or hate crimes was one I wrote about foodies.
For some reason, this one really rubbed people the wrong way. I basically argued that people who can afford to treat food and eating as a hobby—i.e., foodies—are over-privileged and out of touch with the reality that most of the world's population does not have the luxury of choosing when, let alone what, they will eat. It seemed people were upset that I would refer to foodies—who self-identify as such—as an affluent clique. After all, most of my detractors argued, foodies are simply people who enjoy food. All types of food. To which I say, everyone enjoys food. Some people just don't have the luxury to make a hobby out of it.
The lesson I learned is that affluent, over-privileged people don't like to be accused of being affluent, over-privileged, and out of touch.
"We have grave concerns about the chief because he has not treated this officer in the way one would expect," said Jealous, "We would expect that he (the officer) would be suspended without pay. We would suspect that they (police) would call on somebody from the outside to investigate. That's why we've gone to the DOJ."During the interview, Jealous decried Cousins' behavior and called for his resignation.
"That video is just despicable," Horton said. "And the thing is, is he just caught this time? Had he not been caught on video we'd just be going on as if we had no problems. When we all know we do."Villagers, I picked up on this video because the Erie cop in the video talks about his use of taser guns in the past. I'm convinced that police officers are not following the use of force continuum. Officer Cousins appears to be totally untrained and insensitive to his responsibility when it comes to using a taser or to being a compassionate human being.
Working with the NAACP, you can help change this situation:
First, e-mail Erie Mayor Joe Sinnott and ask him to order an immediate independent investigation into the practices and policies of the Erie police department and to establish an independent civilian review board to investigate citizen complaints.
Second, ask your member of Congress to co-sponsor legislation to provide long-needed regulation of harsh and careless police actions throughout the United States, the End Racial Profiling Act and the Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act. These bills are designed to curb outrages like the New Year's Day shooting of unarmed Oscar Grant by transit police in Oakland; the police shooting of Robert Tolan on his front lawn in Bellaire, Texas; and the questionable death of high school football player Billie Joe Johnson, killed in what was described as a "routine traffic stop" in Lucedale, Mississippi. NAACP branches are grappling with each of these cases.
The Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act also includes provisions to assist local law enforcement agencies in doing more effective screening of candidates for law enforcement jobs before they are given the power to use deadly force and then during in-service reviews. It also supports the creation of local police accountability and review boards with subpoena power, independent investigatory power, and staffing and other resources needed to provide local community oversight of their law enforcement officers.
While most police officers are courageous public servants, continued police abuses are harming our communities and eroding the trust needed to both prevent and solve crimes. Take action now and help us do something about it.
24 year old Michael Jacobs died Saturday, shortly after Fort Worth police shot him with a taser stun gun. Family Spokesperson Kyev Tatum says, "He did not need to die that way. He really didn't."Villagers, what are your thoughts on this case? Do you think that this young man deserved to die?
For that reason, family spokesperson Kyev Tatum says the family will be filing a federal civil rights complaint with the US Department of Justice for wrongful death. Tatum explains, "When the police department showed up at the house the first time, EMS Medstar showed up as well, the attitude of the police department was unwarranted because they sent EMS away."
Jacobs' parents called police to their home on Ava Court Drive about 10:30am yesterday to help control him because he'd gone off his medication. Tatum says the young man has been diagnosed with paranoid schzophrenia and bipolar disorder. Police say an officer tased Jacobs after he went from agitated and uncooperative to combative.
Kyev Tatum says Jacobs went unconscious and officers called EMS back, but did not do CPR on Jacobs in the meantime. He says, "For whatever reason noone tried to revive him. You send EMS away, you don't provide CPR and then from the time it takes EMS to get back to the scene, the young man expired. And that we believe is murder."
Sometimes we get in over our heads with all the obligations and things we have commited to do. We try to cope with feeling overwhelmed in order to get everything done. If we share our load with the perfecting presence of God our burden becomes easier and the load will be lighter. He is our help in whatever trouble we find ourselves in.
Anyone know what I'm talking about?
They have been to the house many times before and they know Charlotte," said Helena Wigfall, 37, a cousin of Michael Jacobs. "That’s why we don’t understand why today was so different."
"The family believes it was a wrongful death," Tatum said. "The mother was making a cry for help, and it has turned into a tasing death. There have been no answers as to why police used a Taser instead of the manpower that was available to them."Villagers, am I the only one troubled by the increased frequency of these taser-related executions?
"I've had a great experience in my Chapin schools," said Edwards, who said she sold Chick-Fil-A chicken sandwiches to raise money for a Dillon County school last year after seeing a documentary on the poor conditions at schools along the Interstate 95 corridor. "Every student should have that same quality of education."Well done little sista!
To execute Davis, in the face of a significant amount of proferred evidence that may establish his actual innocence, is unconscionable and unconstitutional.
The last time Reasha Ardis saw her little brother, he was begging her in typical teenage fashion to drive him to the store.Villagers, what are your thoughts as you learn more about this taser killing?
"Not now, Tazzy," she said because she was tired after work. "Next time I see you."
Robert Mitchell, nicknamed Tazzy by his family -- as in the Tasmanian Devil cartoon character because of his boundless energy -- died the next day after being zapped by a Warren police officer with an electronic stun gun.
"Now I'll never hear him ask to go to the store or to borrow a dollar, all that simple stuff," said Ardis, 25.
As the Macomb County Prosecutor's Office continued its investigation into the April 10 death, Mitchell's family readied for an 11 a.m. Saturday funeral at Second Ebenezer Church in Detroit.
They have called on Warren to at least suspend the two officers involved in the incident. But they're trying to focus on the good times they shared with 16-year-old Mitchell.
"He was the storyteller of the family," said Ramell Savage, 14, one of Mitchell's three brothers in a brood of seven.
Mostly, Mitchell was a normal teen, they said. He loved music, played football with his brothers and bummed rides from older relatives.
He was with two older relatives April 10 when police pulled over the car Mitchell was riding in to investigate an expired license plate, authorities said.
Mitchell, who had no criminal record and was a special education student, allegedly ran, leading officers into an abandoned house in Detroit.
Warren police have said that one of the officers shocked Mitchell once with a Taser when the teen resisted arrest. He quit breathing afterward. Attempts to revive him failed.
But Ardis said she doesn't want her brother to be remembered just for his final moments.
"He was the jokester," she said. "He could just come up with a joke out of the blue and get you laughing.
"I'll miss that."
ESSENCE.COM: You've received a lot of support from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. Do you believe Carl was struggling with his sexuality?Read the rest of the interview.
WALKER: No, there was no indication of that. Carl was just 11 years old. I don't even think he reached puberty yet. His voice hadn't started to change. This is bigger than a gay issue. In fact, I'm worried about one of Carl's friends who is being picked on as well because she's overweight. That's why it's bigger than a gay issue. These kids will tease you over anything.
ESSENCE.COM: What happened on the day Carl died?
WALKER: Usually I drive Carl to the bus stop, but that morning I had an early conference call at work. When I got home that evening, he was sitting on the couch with his backpack. He has a big, rolling backpack that apparently knocked into a TV stand in his classroom that day. Carl told me that the TV [accidently] hit a student and she went off saying, "I'm going to kill you." And that's how it started. Carl came home very upset thinking he was going to be suspended. I started making supper and then he just went upstairs. I called his name and he didn't answer me. I went up to get him and that's when I found him.
Dear Senator Webb,We stood up last November and voted for change. Now it is time to be the change. What say u?
Thank you for your devotion to reforming America's broken criminal justice system and addressing the deep inequities that have come to define it. By introducing the National Criminal Justice Commission Act, you've helped spark an honest conversation about the serious problems plaguing the system, and created an opening for the kind of broad, sweeping reform that is so badly needed. I want to thank you for your courageous leadership on this issue. I pledge to stand with you in your continued work for a more just and effective approach towards stopping crime and keeping our communities safe.
Be on the look out for AMERICAN VIOLET--a dramatic and troubling new film produced by Samuel Goldwyn Films. It is an excellent film that opens in many cities on April 17th. This is not a comedy about a Black Woman going to jail--it is a REAL STORY about a REAL BLACK WOMAN--Regina Kelly (shown in photo)
If you are interested in hosting a screening in your City call Goldwyn Films and ask for Winnie or Liza @ (212) 367-9435.
Based on true events during the 2000 election, AMERICAN VIOLET tells the astonishing story of Dee Roberts (critically hailed newcomer Nicole Beharie), a 24 year-old African American single mother of four young girls living in a small Texas town public housing project, who is barely able to make ends meet. (Dee Roberts's story is a fictionalized version of Regina Kelly's true story)
While police drag Dee (Regina) from work in handcuffs, dumping her in the squalor of the women’s county prison, the powerful local district attorney (Academy Award® nominee Michael O’Keefe) leads an extensive drug bust, sweeping her housing project with military precision. After 17 hours in jail, Dee learns she has been charged as a drug dealer.
Even though Dee has no prior drug record and no drugs were found on her in the raid, she is offered a hellish choice: plead guilty and go home as a convicted felon or remain in prison, jeopardizing her custody and risking a long prison sentence. Her choice is even more difficult since the father of her girls is living with a woman who is a convicted child molester.
Everyone should see this film. It helps explains why millions of citizens from our community are in prison and why people who plea bargain and lose their rights are ending up on the streets.
Regina Kelly, mother of 4 girls who is the true woman behind this story, is a brave sister and deserving of our support. She survived years of harrassment from the District Attorney for having the audacity to sue him and win. She is a public speaker--please keep her in mind if you have conferences and need a speaker.
LET'S PROMOTE THIS FILM, REGINA AND THE NEW ACTRESS NICOLE BEHARIE! YES WE CAN AND YES THEY DID
An internal investigation done by the Frederick City Police shows that deputies never checked Gray's pulse after he'd been shocked twice. His pulse wasn't checked until emergency medical personnel got on the scene four to five minutes later. The medics discovered Gray was in cardiac arrest and started doing CPR.
Gray, who is hearing impaired, had been one of four people fighting in the parking lot of the Gresham Court East townhouse complex around 5 a.m. Nov. 18. Cpl. Rudy Torres had said he ordered all four people to show their hands, and when Gray did not comply, he used a Taser.
The internal investigation includes interviews with two men and a woman who were friends of Gray's and with deputies on the scene. One witness told investigators Gray, who had his hands in front of his pants, was very drunk on Grey Goose vodka and didn't want his grandmother to see him that way.
Witnesses on the scene had yelled to Torres that Gray was too drunk to comply with an order to show his hands. Gray, according to Torres, repeatedly told him he was not doing anything.
None of the witnesses said Gray moved, spoke or showed any sign of consciousness after the first shock. Yet, 23 seconds after the first shock, Torres tasered Gray a second time because Gray refused to show his hands.
Another deputy on the scene told investigators that after Gray was tasered, he was on the ground with his hands beneath him. He said it looked as though Gray was struggling to keep his hands beneath him. The deputy thought Gray "must have something very important he doesn't want us to see." When Gray was rolled over by deputies, the deputy said he thought Gray had "passed out."
Torres, who has been cleared of wrongdoing by a grand jury, said he didn't realize Gray was in medical distress until CPR was being done. Gray died three hours later.
The medical examiner said the cause of Gray's death was a combination of the method of restraint, in this case the Taser, alcohol intoxication, and Gray's anatomical unique makeup.
"Texas is a unique place. When we came into the union in 1845, one of the issues was that we would be able to leave if we decided to do that," Perry said. "My hope is that America and Washington in particular pays attention. We've got a great union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, who knows what may come of that."Perry also was asked whether the tea party anti-tax rallies are part of a growing national movement.
"I have never seen the power of the grassroots as antimated and as focused and as coordinated...It is a very powerful moment in American history.Is the anger and frustration of the Republican Party so strong against the Obama administration that they are actually talking about pulling out some Confederate Civil War strategy in the 21st century?
"I would suggest that members of congress who are filing for election or re-election in eight months are listening."
"They're hearing everyday working folks saying, 'Listen, it's out of control. We're trying to live our lives and you're strangling us with your spending and your taxation."
On April 6, Sirdeaner Walker came home, walked up the stairs to the second floor of her home, and saw her son suspended from a support beam in the stairwell, swaying slightly in the air, an extension cord wrapped around his neck, according to police. He apologized in a suicide note, told his mother that he loved her, and left his video games to his brother.Days prior to Carl Walker-Hoover's suicide, he confronted a female bully who verbally accosted him... serving as a catalyst to his suicide. The school’s response was to have the two students sit beside one another during lunch for the next week to encourage conversation.
Walker said her son had been the victim of bullying since the beginning of the school year, and that she had been calling the school since September, complaining that her son was mercilessly teased. He played football, baseball, and was a boy scout, but a group of classmates called him gay and teased him about the way he dressed. They ridiculed him for going to church with his mother and for volunteering locally.
"It's not just a gay issue," Walker said. "It’s bigger. He was 11 years old, and he wasn't aware of his sexuality. These homophobic people attach derogatory terms to a child who’s 11 years old, who goes to church, school, and the library, and he becomes confused. He thinks, Maybe I'm like this. Maybe I'm not. What do I do?"
“You can’t overlook the tragic death of a human being,” Fouts said.I wish that Mayor Fouts went a step further and demanded the resignation of the two officers involved in Mitchell's death.
"I'm not a critic of the Taser nor am I a devotee," he said. "What I am interested in (are) the facts," Fouts said. "Anytime there is a tragic death you need to re-evaluate. We want to make sure we have a safe, crime-free city and balance that with no tragic, needless death."
"It was just senseless," said his grandmother Charlotte McGlory of St. Clair Shores. She described Mitchell as a quiet boy who stayed out of trouble. "That was a misuse of power," she said. "We want justice."Can anyone provide an explanation for why this young teenager had to die?