By Center for Biological Diversity
By Center for Biological Diversity
Originally Posted to Courthouse News
BY PHILIP A. JANQUART
A federal judge refused to dismiss all claims that police and a deputy district attorney conspired to kill a man in a sting operation, and routinely use a “tool” to cover up police misconduct.
Charles Burns died on May 10, 2013 in a hail of gunfire after surrendering to law enforcement officers, his parents John and Tammy Burns said in a February 2014 lawsuit against 22 officials and officers, the cities of Concord and Antioch and Contra Costa County.
The 59-page lawsuit paints a chaotic and bloody scene in which Burns was the passenger in a car driven by co-plaintiff Bobby Lawrence. As the two returned from Wal-Mart, where Burns had bought a Mother’s Day card, several unmarked police cars rammed to a stop.
Lawrence said he was hauled out of the car, assaulted and illegally detained for a prolonged period of time.
Burns got out of the car and “jogged approximately 20 feet” before stopping and surrendering to police, three of them lining up “in firing squad fashion” and “unload[ing] their weapons,” even after Burns’ body lay lifeless on the ground “in a pool of his own blood,” according to the 30-page complaint.
His parents say a Concord Police Department dog was then released to attack their motionless son. The dog’s handler retrieved the dog and then stood over him, firing two more rounds into his body. Continue reading
A familiar West Oakland mural (formerly on Mandela Parkway and 12th Street) commemorating the 1968 Olympics “power salute” was razed last week. In 1968, Olympic medal winners Tommie Smith and John Carlos, gold and bronze medalists in the 200m run, stood during the national anthem with their heads down and black-gloved fists raised.
At a press conference after the event Tommie Smith, who holds seven world records, said: “If I win I am an American, not a black American. But if I did something bad then they would say ‘a Negro’. We are black and we are proud of being black. Black America will understand what we did tonight.” Smith said he had raised his right fist to represent black power in America, while Carlos raised his left fist to represent black unity. Together they formed an arch of unity and power. He said the black scarf represented black pride and the black socks with no shoes stood for black poverty in racist America.- BBC
The West Oakland mural, sitting on a private lot, paid respects to this historical moment. It served a double purpose for the owner who commissioned the piece to prevent tagging. It seemed to have worked. No one who has graph-writing ethics would dishonor it. The city’s priorities don’t match graffiti artists’…but that’s common knowledge. Oakland Councilmember Lynnette McElheney tried to get constituent points on her Facebook when she heard the news:
Speaking with the contractors, this was removing State water testing tanks that were installed to monitor WO groundwater contamination levels at this site which was once a gas station. They told me that the water is now testing within normal ranges so the state ordered the removal of the tanks and testing equipment and the demolition of the shed. The mural was commissioned by the owner to keep the shed from being tagged.
Nice try, McElheney. You hold the pen in drafting the demolition of West Oakland, aka the West Oakland Specific Plan [Read about WOSP here]. (And yes, they actually named that shit “wosp.”) Do you think you’re gonna convince us that the preservation of anything that is part of this historical neighborhood or a tribute to the struggle is suddenly your top priority? We already know what your priority is. It is not preservation of history or community. It is development.
McElhaney also says that people are unrealistic about development prospects. Developers want to build in San Francisco, but they do not want to build in Oakland, she said. The only one willing to build in the city are Oakland-based developers…“Oakland can’t beg a developer to come to the city right now. But the reality is that you can’t get (developers) to come here without incentivizing the development.” – The Post News Group, 17 July 2014
Development, by overlapping institutions of state, capitalism and white supremacy, destroys community. And the successful destruction of a community requires a short memory of the resistance that went before us. Whether every moving part of the gentrification process is deliberate or not, these small events are certainly part of the nature of the beast. A politician is a politician is a businesswoman. This is the mural after the message was changed a few years back. The image stayed the same:
This more recent wording came from Rage Against the Machine’s “Know Your Enemy:”
…Born with insight and a raised fist A witness to the slit wrist, that’s with As we move into ’92 Still in a room without a view Ya got to know Ya got to know That when I say go, go, go Amp up and amplify Defy I’m a brother with a furious mind Action must be taken We don’t need the key We’ll break in Something must be done About vengeance, a badge and a gun…
In Ashker v. Brown, we will prove that ten years in solitary confinement in the Pelican Bay SHU is cruel and unusual punishment (violating the 8th Amendment).
In an end-run around our lawsuit, CDCR has been transferring hundreds of prisoners out of that SHU. This is good news for some, but many prisoners are simply being transferred to other SHUs, most notably to Tehachapi. Four of our ten named plaintiffs have been moved there. Because the judge previously defined our 8th Amendment class as prisoners presently at Pelican Bay SHU for ten years or more, these plaintiffs and others are no longer considered part of the class.
In response, we recently filed a motion to expand the reach of the solitary confinement lawsuit to include prisoners who have spent 10 years or more at Pelican Bay SHU but have recently been transferred to other California SHUs.
As we wrote:
“the cruel and unusual treatment they experienced, and its debilitating effects, have not abated, but instead continue under a different name in a different prison.”
CDCR should not be able to thwart our 8th Amendment claim by transferring these long-suffering prisoners to a different SHU. These prisoners should be released from SHU, not moved to a different SHU. Granting our motion will give the court jurisdiction over these prisoners so that, when we succeed at trial, they will be included in the relief that the court orders.
Please attend the hearing on Plaintiffs’ (Prisoners’) Motion to Amend the Complaint. Your presence in the courtroom shows the judge that we care and are paying attention to decisions made about the torture in the SHU.
DATE: Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015
TIME: 2:00 p.m.
ADDRESS: U.S. District Court in Oakland, 1301 Clay Street(federal courthouse)
COURTROOM: Dept. #2, 4th Floor, Hon. Claudia Wilken, presiding
Note: The judge could take the hearing off calendar or postpone it. We will post any changes on this site immediately.
Information explaining the motion came from Carol Strickman,Staff Attorney, Legal Services for Prisoners With Children and Co-Counsel for Plaintiffs in Ashker v. Brown
We were lined up zip-tied in Santa Rita, the seven of us searched, stripped and patted down. 23 was the only other person of color arrested with me that day, a young black man who spent the bus ride over heckling the California highway patrol officers to the best of his ability. I told 23 in the bus ride over, “If you think CHP are a bunch of fucking pricks, wait till you meet the correctional officers. If you talk shit to them like you just talked shit to the CHP they will drag your ass into a little room and beat the fuck out of you.”
He said, “I appreciate the advice, but you do things your way, and I’ll do things mine, if I die in here, tell them my name is 23.”
When we were marched out and lined up, 23 resisted, a cop laughed, and slammed his face into a wall, seven or so officers grabbed him and dragged him kicking and screaming into a little room. “I’m not resisting!” he screamed through the sound of beatings. Consecutive sounds of flesh smacking against bone and concrete like a round of applause, their microphones’ were on, and connected to the sound system in the hallway we were kept in. We heard everything. The screams echoed through all of the halls of the cell.
The cops were laughing, yelling to one another, “Turn your damn microphones off!”
One officer paced behind us and calmly said,
“Me, I hate violence. Honestly, I am a pacifist. But if you give us trouble, you’ll end up like him. Now if you just behave, you won’t have to end up like him. What else can I do? If me or my officers are put in danger, I’ll have my hands tied, I’ll have no choice.”
Interesting that he said “hands tied” eh? Oh yes officer. Never has the narrative of the state been so clear to me. Oh officer, I praise your honesty. Your lynchings do not go unnoticed. Black is the bottom; it is of no coincidence that you made an example of 23, just as you did of other black youths. My upward mobility as a yellow fellow depends on how far I can push black people down. Black is perpetually made example of. I am juxtaposed to black objecthood. If I decide to join them, my wretched little lot and I will end up like them. I get it now. Never has your message been so clear to me. Oh yes, my honest pig, preaches nonviolence. Maintaining order depends upon systematic black death, that is the central logic of anti-blackness, of black objecthood of black social and material death. My assigned API identity is dependent upon the example made with black death. The line is drawn.
A new political climate, the stage is set.
Yes, do you hear it? The background is moving, the stage props are shaking, they are growing feet, little beady eyes taking form, they are living now, and taking center stage, and devouring the actors alive.
Slurp their fucking intestines up like noodles.
Demonstrators sprayed several officers with “bear mace” and vandalized shops as they walked from downtown Oakland all the way to Berkeley to protest the shooting death of an unarmed African-American teenager by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. One officer assaulted by protesters had to be taken to the hospital.
Written by Imani Asada Mohamed, with contributions from The Freedom Archives
as Salamu Alaykum, Greetings Comrades, Fam, Friends-and yes Foes!
I am writing in deep solidarity and service for our comrade Jalil Muntaqim, former member of The Black Panther Party for Self Defense. Jalil is also one of the USA’s longest held political prisoners. Comrade Jalil Muntaqim has roots here in the Bay area. He was born in Oakland in 1951, and lived in both San Francisco and San Jose. He was arrested at the age of 19 as part of a COINTELPRO target project. At the time of his arrest he was working as a social worker.
[Scroll below the videos for the rest of the essay.]
Interview with Jalil, Part I:
Interview with Jalil Part II:
I highly recommend reading the particulars about his case, his life, and learning about the strong, compassionate, intelligent man, who sacrificed his life in a quest to address racism, police brutality, oppression and injustice in our communities. Comrade Jalil is not only a Political Prisoner/Prisoner of War-but he is a beloved son, father, uncle, friend, and hero.
Jalil is not a number, he is a victim of the COINTELPRO slave chattel, gathered up to feed the Prison Industrial Complex and imprisoned for his political beliefs that oppression, injustices, and brutality against people is vile and wrong. He is a human being, punished for opposing the ills of this un-just system. Getting to know Jalil, opens a whole new door into how this system functions, why it must be changed, and revolutionary visions concerning how to create and implement positive changes. Anyone who views this as “threatening” has lost the ideals and meaning of what human rights are all about-for indeed these are human rights issues. Beyond the intellectual writings from his myrid of essays, books and interviews, Jalil is also a prolific poet. Jalil has written several volumes of poetry that causes one to pause, reflect and to contemplate deep seated feelings and emotions as his poetry speaks intensely on various issues both socially and personally, from the depths of the soul -from the belly of the beast; wherein over four decades of incarceration have produced some of the greatest creative and intellectual material written. Continue reading
CDCR: Political Retaliation Post-Hunger Strike: A Community Forum
Saturday, 14 June 2014 at 2PM
Alan Blueford Center for Justice
2434 Telegraph Ave, Oakland
After the extensive successful organizing of the hunger strike in the summer of 2013, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has used many tactics to suppress prisoner organizing. Many organizers have been moved, refused food and written-up as retaliation for their leadership and participation.
Most recently CDCr has issued proposed regulations to censor “obscene materials,” which includes “publications that indicate an association with groups that are oppositional to authority and society.”
We invite you to a discussion about the implications of these new proposed regulations on inside-outside organizing, correspondence and the fight to abolish solitary confinement.
There are some places in this world that are too good to be true, and when they are true, when those places exist, it is almost inevitable that groups of powerful people will want control over them. It is almost inevitable that they will do anything in their power to prevent these places from being enjoyed by those they deem unworthy. It is almost inevitable that these places will be commodified, bought and sold. It is almost inevitable that these places will cease to exist…almost.
The Albany Bulb is a place that is too good to be true, and yet, there it sits in very true beauty. It looks across the San Francisco Bay through its wild plant life and painted surface past curved rebar and steel. The sun shines on its face–this old landfill which exists as a free space, a space where people and animals come to find some peace, some air. In the wake of the City of Albany’s decision to evict Bulb residents and to continue its war on poor people, residents and supporters have rallied together to defend this space. They have fought the eviction of residents on many levels and continue to fight even after most of the residents have left. Supporters and residents have defied the almost inevitable odds of keeping this space alive.
In the last few days, they have been faced with another inevitable reality. The repression of the City, its Police and its (in)justice system have begun to target residents and supporters. On the evening of Tuesday, May 27, a vocal supporter was arrested in the city of Albany and remains in custody. The repression continued when on Thursday May 29, 12 officers came in at four in the morning to roust two residents and one supporter.They arrested them and their animals and destroyed their home of seven years. The three were later released and the residents are now struggling to pick up the pieces of the place they have called home for so long, the place that was too good to be true. This malicious act was a reaction to growing resistance to the eviction of residents. It became clear that the city was targeting those who had shown resistance when police arrested another Bulb supporter who was also not on the Bulb at the time. That person remains in custody as well.
There are many almost inevitable stories. The story of repression is one of them, but the other almost inevitable story is that when a place is too good to be true, it is worth defending. And people who defend those places are worth supporting. Together we are stronger than the inevitable, we are greater than the impossible. The struggle to save the Bulb needs your support, and here are some ways you can help:
1- We have supporters still in jail who need money for bail. Please visit this site and donate. Any amount helps:
2- Check out sharethebulb.org for upcoming events and come out to them
Como miembros de diversas comunidades autónomas y como estudiantes de La Escuelita Zapatista, nos reunimos hoy en el Consulado mexicano de San Francisco para demostrar nuestro dolor y digna rabia ante el asesinato del maestro Zapatista Galeano en la comunidad autónoma de La Realidad, Chiapas. Repartimos volantes con información sobre lo sucedido en La Realidad, y manifestamos nuestra rabia con gritos rebeldes y el ruido de las cacerolas. En respuesta al incremento de agresiones en contra de bases de apoyo Zapatistas en Chiapas, Mexico, como el pueblo digno y rebelde del área de la bahía nos hemos organizado a condenar en los términos mas fuertes, el escalamiento de los ataques en contra de nuestros compañeros y compañeras del sur.
El asesinato del querido maestro Galeano a manos de grupos paramilitares respaldados por el gobierno crea el imperativo de construir relaciones autónomas y liberatorias aquí en la área de la bahía. Como tales, representamos nuestra fuerza en los que están aquí pero también de los que faltan, para denunciar los gobiernos títeres de tanto Estados Unidos y Mexico por su impunidad y brutalidad cometida en contra de los pueblos indígenas del continente. Nos unimos a muchos otros quienes protestan en cuidades alrededor del mundo como parte de una Semana Global de Acción en solidaridad con los Zapatistas y recordando al compañero Galeano.
As autonomous community members and students of the Zapatista Little School from around the Bay Area, we gather today at the Mexican Consulate in San Francisco to demonstrate our dignified pain and rage while denouncing the murder of Zapatista schoolteacher Galeano, in the autonomous community of La Realidad, Chiapas. (Read the Zapatista communique here.) We distributed flyers with information about what happened in La Realidad, and we expressed our rage with our rebellious cries and the noise of our pots and pans. In response to the escalating aggression against Zapatista bases of support in Chiapas, Mexico, as the dignified and rebellious people of the Bay Area we have organized ourselves in order to condemn, in the strongest terms, continued attacks against our compañeros and compañeras in the south.
The death of endeared teacher, Galeano, at the hands of government-backed paramilitary groups creates the imperative to build autonomous and liberatory social relations here in the Bay Area. As such, we will show our force in numbers and expose both the U.S. and puppet government of Mexico for the impunity and brutality committed against the indigenous people of the continent. We do so joining the countlesss of others who are demonstrating in cities around the world as part of a Global Week of Action in solidarity with the Zapatistas and in rememberance of our fallen compañero Galeano. See here to read a denuncia coming out of the West Coast, signed onto by countless individuals and groups. See here for solidarity shown from Palestine.