Five Myths About Crime in Black America—and the Statistical Truths

From Colorlines

In the wake of Trayvon Martin’s death, we’ve seen a lot of discussion of the larger societal issues that play into how and when people are perceived as criminals. There were hoodies, there were marches, and there were frank talks from parent to child about how to minimize the danger of being a young person of color. On the other side, there were justifications of George Zimmerman’s actions: a smear campaign against Martin’s character, and plenty of writers explaining that statistically, blacks are simply more dangerous to be around.

That framing ignores the realities behind the numbers. Here are five myths about crime and people of color.

—Shani O. Hilton


Hannibal Shakur Of The Trayvon Two On Charges Getting Dropped


Reblogged from:

Hannibal Abdul Shakur and Tanzeen Doha were arrested during protests during the summer of 2013 in downtown Oakland, Calif., after the notorious George Zimmerman verdict was announced, where he was acquitted for the Feb. 26, 2012, murder of Trayvon Martin. At an Oct. 10 pre-trial readiness conference, the Oakland prosecutor finally admitted that they had “insufficient evidence” to go to trial, putting forth a motion to drop the remaining charges. Workers World interviewed Hannibal Shakur about their legal and political victory.

WW: How were you originally arrested?

HS: When Zimmerman was acquitted there were a series of protests and rallies I was attending in Oakland. At one of those marches I was snatched by the Oakland Police Department. I was taken to the police station, then to the hospital, and from the hospital I was taken to the County Jail at Santa Rita. I found out at the hospital that they were charging me with vandalism and claiming I had broken a window.

WW: How did this become a felony charge?

HS: It’s my understanding that the felony was determined by the DA based on the value of the window, exceeding $4,000. Tanzeen was arrested separately. One police officer went after him and claimed that he had broken a window, and a different one went after me. There were four or five others arrested for vandalism, with one charged with assault on a cop.

We were arraigned separately at first. The DA combined Tanzeen and I as co-defendants. Even though we were at the same march, for us two to be made co-defendants, excluding everyone else who had been arrested, was something we found suspicious. Tanzeen had already been released on bail, but when they combined our cases, they bumped Tanzeen’s charge to a felony, raised his bail and issued an arbitrary warrant.

WW: I witnessed the pre-trial hearing last spring for you and Tanzeen, when they were still pressing the felony charges, and from the witnesses your lawyer, Walter Riley, presented, it was obvious that the DA had no case then. The charges were dropped from felonies to misdemeanors by the judge over the prosecutor’s objection, but he insisted on pursuing the charges at that time. Why do you believe he did, despite the clear lack of evidence?

HS: There’s been a lot of pressure on the DA to clamp down on protesters. They’re looking for a scapegoat to make them think organizing marches isn’t worth it. One of the discouragements for corporations to invest in developing these areas is there’s such a history of protests here. It represents an uncertain financial future for corporations who want to come in and advance capitalism.

We have such a mobilized community: students, workers, even different churches and mosques. The movement keeps the rapid development at bay, because there are community ties holding things together. They want certain individuals. Get those individuals who inspire people with a political analysis and offer a platform for people to unify.

We were an intersection of some different communities in the spaces we build in. We’ve been very outspoken about the fact that these are international issues; these are human rights issues; these are issues of class and issues of economic exploitation — the results of this global capitalist system that we’re dealing with.

We’re both Muslims. We believe there’s something we’re accountable to that’s bigger than the world that we’re living in. We’re not afraid of the unjust system. It’s powerful and massive, but still we find ways to resist and triumph, despite the position the system has placed us in in this society.

The thing that’s special about us is we’re people who believe in working together, sacrifice and commitment for a better world for all of us. In the case of Trayvon Martin, this is a young man who could have gone on to do anything. We know he had a high GPA, and with a young person there’s no way to predict what they’re going to manifest. He could have developed a car that didn’t need fuel or some new treatment for heroin addictions. I like to imagine that he would have done something great, because it was possible. The only thing that stopped him is this man who took it upon himself to decide whose life has value and decided to end his life.

WW: Despite the victory, the original arrests and the long period of these charges being held against you, they were at some significant costs to the two of you, weren’t they?

HS: The $7,000 to $8,000 paid to the bail bondsmen is lost. I’ve been fighting cancer since 2011. One of the most critical factors in wellness, in general, and fighting a disease like cancer is to reduce stress. This has been like a noose around my neck for a year plus. It was creating all kinds of anxiety, hard for me to think straight and function. When they arrested me, they slammed me on the ground. I was in a holding tank (at Santa Rita), laying on a concrete slab for three days. In jail they don’t observe religious practices — this was during Ramadan (fasting during the day). They only served food during the day. If someone tried to save something for me, it often had pork in it. By the time I got out, my condition was really intense. I had head and knee injuries, could barely walk, my neck had swollen. It took about a week for me to recuperate.

WW: What plans do you have, now that the case is over?

HS: Put back those pieces of our lives; those things that have been disrupted. There’s something we’re not satisfied with. We were protesting a miscarriage of justice. We adamantly believe that Zimmerman needs to be held accountable. There’s a larger human rights issue, where if you’re a certain color in this society, then you can be murdered and it’s legal.

If someone stands up to say that your life has a value, then they’ll be punished. The government is encouraging fascism by punishing people for standing up. Looking at Ferguson, as another clear example where young people are being punished for saying that Mike Brown’s life has a value.

We have to make the bigger case in how this system is alienating us from life itself. That’s a human rights case. We’re dealing with an apartheid system, claiming to be a democracy. At the end of the day, they’re working for the corporations.

In the end, they had to dismiss the charges, because they were no longer able to continue to fight against us. We just have to persevere, keep looking for ways to bridge communities and struggles, let people know their lives are worth more than $7.50 an hour.

Friday: Towards (A) Communal Cypher

CommunalCypherPosterTowards (A) Communal Cypher Benefit Show is being coordinated to raise funds for the Trayvon 2. Engaging Hip Hop as a tool of Decolonization and the continued building of Black and Brown people struggles, we intend to support a thriving local, underground, creative, resistant hip-hop community and those targeted for speaking for the liberation of our people(s). More information coming soon at


Cyphers/Elements: Graffiti/Arsenal Culture, Bgirl Cypher, Comedians, raffles, vendors, food community bridging thru hip hoptrayvon-2-court-support.june13


The Trayvon 2 (Hannibal Shakur and Tanzeen Doha) were arrested while protesting the George Zimmerman not-guilty verdict in the murder of Trayvon Martin. The Trayvon 2 are the only people being charged and the only Muslims arrested, and are currently being railroaded through the judicial system on false charges. For more information, updates on developments in the case and ways to support the Trayvon 2’s freedom, visit   Continue reading

KPFA: Setting the Standard–Racial Profiling and Police Brutality

trayvon2-justiveFrom TheTrayvon2

Click here to listen to Hannibal on KPFA Radio’s Setting the Standard with Pedro Reyes. Hannibal from the Trayvon2 and Anthony from San Jose talk about racial profiling and police brutality. [Segment begins at 1:46:00]

For more info on the Trayvon2, see their support website here and donate to their legal fees here.

The Trayvon 2 Supporters Release a New Website

Reblogged from TheTrayvon2

Support the Trayvon 2, Hannibal Shakur (Lamar Caldwell) and Tanzeen Doha. They were arrested while protesting the George Zimmerman not-guilty verdict in the murder of Trayvon Martin. The Trayvon 2 are being railroaded through the judicial system on false charges. This web site will keep you updated on developments in the case and urge you to support the Trayvon 2’s freedom. [Note: This website does not represent the views of the Trayvon 2 (Tanzeen and Hannibal). This website is run by the supporters of Trayvon 2].


Why? Because Hannibal and Tanzeen have both been outspoken critics of the US racism and imperialism. Tanzeen worked actively on questions of race, religion, and colonialism at UC Davis and other universities like San Francisco State and San Jose State. Hannibal was active in the protests around Oscar Grant’s 2009 murder by police. They are being prosecuted for their activism against racism and imperialism.

The state has done this before. Police and prosecutors jail activists who have broken no laws and subject them to costly, time-consuming, and painful legal proceedings. In doing this, the state hopes to drain the activists’ resources, scare young people away from activism and break the resolve of a movement for justice. Other young Black activists, including Fly Benzo, Chris Moreland, J.R. Valrey, and several others, have been arrested, prosecuted, and jailed for being politically outspoken against the murders of Black men. And, as with the Trayvon 2, the evidence against them was questionable or nonexistent.

The state is trying to isolate and persecute activists and organizers who resist its genocidal practices right here in the USA and across the world. All of these protests have stemmed from the murders of Oscar Grant, Kenneth Harding, Trayvon Martin, and other Black people by the police state and white supremacists who serve as auxiliary to the police.

The District Attorney has yet to present evidence against them. The state has been dragging its feet, maximizing the impact of this lengthy prosecution on the lives of Tanzeen (who is a father) and Hannibal (who is battling cancer). One week, the state forgot the court date! And at the last court date, they asked for another continuance because the arresting officer has not responded to repeated subpoena attempts. The judge had to issue a warrant for the arresting officer.

Why is the state avoiding presenting its evidence? Why won’t the officer answer the subpoenas? The police and prosecutor are trying to stretch this out to maximize the level of inconvenience and the problems these two men face.

Let’s also not forget what the arresting agency is: The Oakland Police Department, a known criminal organization. They still operate under a consent decree because they have a long history of systematic abuses and cover-ups. By their own definition, they are a gang. Like the Los Angeles and New York police departments, the government has concluded that their own police department cannot be trusted to handle its own affairs. Somehow, known criminal organizations like the OPD enforce the law that they place themselves above. Make no mistake: The Oakland Police Department is itself a known gang.

Read the entire article and see the new website here.

Support the Trayvon 2 This Wednesday


From The Black Riders


When : Wednesday, November 20 at 10:00am
Where: 661 Washington St Oakland, CA 94607

The Black Riders Liberation Party calls on all comrades, allies, sympathizers and all Freedom loving peoples to participate in kkkourt watch observation for two innocent brothers Hannibal and Tanzeen (Trayvon 2), who were wrongfully targeted and framed for exercising their so-called constitutional rights to Freedom of speech and Freedom of assembly. These trumped up felony charges come from the brothers participating in a rally and march in protest of the acquittal of racist George Zimmerman for the lynching of Black teen Trayvon Martin.

When the actions in response to the Kangaroo kkkourt Zimmerman verdict happened, many people were doing many things to rebel against the system of exploitation and white supremacy. In fact at least four or five other people were arrested with these brothers and now they are the only two still facing any charges. We believe that these comrades were targeted not only because of them being outspoken organizers against injustice but also because they are Muslims and dark men. Continue reading

A Response to the Article “A Basic Explanation of Recent Events July 13-15, 2013”

GrayFistPosted on Anarchist News

The article written by Anon is a misunderstanding of how things went down in Oakland over those three days and how locally anarchists and other militants interact more generally in the streets. The play by play put forth by Anon is an informative account but most of the analysis is inaccurate and detrimental to an understanding of our present moment. There is an essentialization of both race and anarchy in Anon’s piece. This response offers a counter analysis that attempts to push the discussion about the tensions around race and insurgency into a fresher terrain that reflects our recent experiences and especially our excitement around building racial solidarity through lawlessness. The terms “black” and “white” are used throughout to cut to the main racial dynamics, but obviously ignore the aspects of racial diversity that adds layers of complexity to the discussion that this piece can’t touch on. Continue reading

From the Sonoran Desert to San Quentin: Solitary Confinement, White Supremacy and a recent mass murder by the US Border Patrol

DarkCellHandPosted by Carla Hays. Nogales, Mexico

In Nogales Sonora I met a man who had just been deported from the United States.  Before his deportation he was held in solitary confinement for three months.  He was arrested after the van he was traveling in was rammed off a cliff by Border Patrol agents in the hills of the Sonoran desert, in southern Arizona.  The van rolled down the side of the cliff and six of its passengers were killed.  15 people survived the crash, all of whom were arrested and taken into border patrol custody.  The man I met had also been held in solitary confinement up until his deportation – a period of three months.  He told me that another man arrested with him was stiill being held in solitary after being accused of being a guide for the group. Continue reading

Statement from Hannibal Shakur

Oakland, CA

The political nature of my charges cannot be over-stated here. To give human rights to a mechanical entity constructed solely for the sake of profit and exploitation is a perversion of those rights and what it means to be a human being. In Florida, a white man walks for the obvious murder of a black boy. That young boy, that black child, wasn’t even given the rights of a dog. When the verdict is released, black people across America rise up to protest our non-citizen status. What could be called a riot ensues. A handful of people are arrested with charges of felony vandalism of whom I am one defendant. Continue reading