• Reopen the investigation into the murder of Justus Howell
    Here's my story: On April 4th, 2015 I got a call that no mother wants to get, but one that is all too often made in America. My son, Justus, was dead, shot twice in the back by officer Eric Hill of the Zion police department. Like every other mother of a Black son, who fears this outcome, on that day, it became my reality. Officer Hill, with all of the state and union protection offered to those with a badge, painted an ever expanding portrait of what happened that day. He changed or “forgot” details, and added them when it was convenient. He trembled while on the stand during my family's lawsuit, spilling his water out of nervousness, discomfort and the stress of lying while under oath. I left the courtroom in tears-- angry, hurt and disgusted that once again someone who swore an oath to serve and protect might get away with murder. What Officer Hill didn’t know was that there was surveillance footage of his actions. Despite what this Officer and others said in reports, my son did not have a gun in his hand, the surveillance footage shows that fact. Instead, my son was running in the opposite direction of Officer Hill and at no point did he turn and point anything at the Officer . The Officer shot him in the back. To add insult to injury the Zion police department was , in my opinion, derelict in , not calling the Lake County Coroner’s to the scene of the crime immediately, which provided an opportunity to potentially tamper with evidence, and to stage the crime scene and craft a story that would exonerate those involved . The Lake County Coroner updated the death certificate to include Criminal homicide as a cause of death. Despite such evidence, Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim has done nothing to help ease my pain or that of other families and because of the inaction of this office, I've asked the public and those impacted by police brutality and violence to join me in my call for justice for Justus and to reopen the investigation with a fresh set of eyes. Together I know that we can gain justice for not only my family but be able to usher in a change in Lake County, ensuring that police officers are held accountable and that we are represented by a state’s attorney that cares about Black lives also. For five long years I’ve continued to fight for justice for my son because the Lake County State’s Attorney's office and State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim continue to turn their backs on my family and the Black community in Lake County in our cries for justice from police brutality. As his mother, I've asked the public and those directly impacted by police who continue to beat, maim and murder Black and Brown bodies across America and around the world to join me in my call in demanding that his case be reopened and a grand jury be convened through the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office or under the laws of the state of Illinois, the 19th Circuit District Court Lake County Grand Jury in it’s own right. I know the feelings of emptiness well, but I’ve come to understand that I am not alone, the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office has a history of doing little in addressing complaints and investigating wrongdoing of officers within the county. Many of us have heard the stories, have felt the pain and misery of being left out in the cold in our cries for justice and equity. The State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim, his office and/or the Grand Jury can do something about it and we are demanding they do so now by reopening Justus Howell's case. Those who have signed are demanding that you take action. Don't let another Black life and family feel the pain of not having equal justice. If our cries for justice are not heeded, we will remember in November. As our elected representative, the Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim has a significant and powerful role in not only holding officers accountable for wrong-doing, but the criminal justice system as a whole. We are taking action now to ensure that no mother feels what I’ve felt and what I feel every day knowing that my son’s killer walks free and still has a job. To know that at any given time, I can run into Officer Hill and feel powerless in his presence knowing that he shot my child in the back and got away with it by lying and saying that he was afraid. When will my fear go away? When will the fear of many of the mother’s of Black son’s be eased? When will our Black lives and stories matter? When will the injustice end? Justice for Justus, now and forever! LaToya Howell & Family
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    Created by LaToya Howell
  • Demand for the University of Washington Administration to Meet the Needs of Black Students on Campus
    The University of Washington prides itself on diversity which barely exist at the institution. After numerous conversations between President Ana Marie Cauce and the Black Student Union about our experiences and how we can better improve the diversity at this university, President Cauce has overlooked our experiences and refuses to take the actions necessary to making BIPOC students feel safe and welcome on campus. We have had enough. Thus Black Students will work together with faculty, allies and local activist to ensure that our demands are met. Below are brief descriptions of each demand: 1. BREAK ALL TIES WITH SPD. Both formal and informal in the form of contracts, agreements, and MOUs. We suggest taking the following steps: a. Immediately stop handing over people detained by UW Police Department to SPD custody b. Stop using SPD to respond to public safety needs, including referrals for welfare checks under the Safe Campus program. c. Stop using SPD for additional security for any events, including sporting events, concerts, and ceremonies. 2. DISARM AND DIVEST FROM UWPD. Arming UWPD officers is excessive and unnecessary. Black students are already traumatized by the violence perpetrated to Black individuals by the hands of police. Arming the UWPD only puts Black individuals in constant fear, worry and frankly more at risk. The use of police dogs must be banned. Many communities of color in the US associate police dogs with the terror of state violence. We need to divest from UWPD and reallocate those funds into our community 3. ALLOCATE FUNDS TO BLACK RSO’S AND THE AMERICAN ETHNIC STUDIES DEPARTMENT. Instead of spending a ridiculous amount of money on UWPD, the University of Washington should invest in departments/resources that cater to the needs of its black students. It should not be students' jobs to spend out of pocket money to make students more comfortable, and or raise money for scholarships for its students. There also needs to be an increase in funding for the AES departments. This would not only help students have more resources and to help expand their learning, but increase the pay for the faculty who work in those departments. 4. HIRE MORE BLACK FACULTY. According to the Diversity Metrics Data Book by the Board of Regents, as of 2018, 68% of faculty is white, while 1.7% is Black. This statistic is embarrassingly low for an institution that prides itself on diversity and equity. The demand for more Black faculty dates back to 1968, with the first year of the Black Student Union here at the University of Washington. Today, 52 years later, this demand has not only been ignored, but is still necessary with the growing population of the UW. The lack of representation of Black faculty not only prevents students from having role models who they can relate to, but it sends a subtle message that only white people are capable of teaching at a higher level, which is simply, untrue. 5. INCREASE THE DIVERSITY CREDIT REQUIREMENT AND MAKE AFRICAN STUDIES A MAJOR. The current diversity requirement for UW students is 5 credits. Again, for an institution that prides itself on diversity, this is embarrassingly low. One 5 credit class will not provide students with enough historical background to enter the world an anti-racist. Students must be exposed to the atrocities that have been committed upon Black and brown folks, and how these communities are impacted to this day. Finally, African Studies should not only be an option for a minor, but a major. It is unjust that there is a major for Asian Studies, European Studies, and Latin American Studies, but not African Studies. 6. REMOVE STATUES OF RACIST FIGURES. Statues in place at the University of Washington are preservers of our dark past. The George Washington statue, in particular, symbolizes a man who owned over 300 Black slaves and profited from their labor. This is not a history that should be glorified and celebrated as it perpetuates white supremacy and preserves its historical imposition. Thus, the George Washington Statue, along with all others that symbolize racist figures, should be removed from the University of Washington. 7. FUND AND EXPAND MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES FOR UW STUDENTS. Currently, the waiting time to talk to a mental therapist can be more than 3 consecutive weeks. For Black students, the detriment of such a long waiting time is exacerbated by the severe lack of Black therapists, who tend to understand and empathize with our experiences. It's been shown that Black students feel more comfortable talking with Black therapists as opposed to non-black ones; how can one Black therapist be enough for the population of Black students at UW and why should we have to wait for urgent mental issues? In addition, the students are limited from accessing mental health services as they are often costly and require insurance coverage, which may not be affordable for students. Thus, the University of Washington should expand and fund affordable services, along with hiring more Black therapists. #DownWithWashington #KeepThePressureOn #DisarmUWPD
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    Created by Black Student Union UW
  • Justice for BJ Statler
    On March 27, 2019, Inglewood Officers Julian Baksh and Jonathan Rivers responded to a call at the Inglewood Church of Scientology in Inglewood, CA. During the interaction with my brother, Brian Leslie Statler, Jr. (BJ), they killed him with a single gunshot wound to the head. He died before making it to the hospital. An investigation had been declared since both officers sustained non-fatal gunshot wounds that they incidentally gave to each other. My family was not notified of his death by the Inglewood Police Department (IPD) and it took incessant calling to the LA Coroner's Office to confirm his body was there, three days after the police took his life. I was interviewed by Detectives Michael Han and Cesar Jurado, who asked any question they could to villainize BJ, to justify their colleagues killing him and to close out their investigation. It's been over a year and a half that the investigation has been going on and we have no reason to believe the officers have been fired, suspended or held accountable. It's not a stretch to believe, since they killed once, they will do it again. These officers are not fit to serve the community and need to be removed. Additionally, the Inglewood Police Department needs to implement training and execution of de-escalation policies because deadly force should never be an option! According to The Washington Post Fatal Force report, BJ was the only man shot and killed by the IPD in 2019 and they've neglectfully handled his case. In their continuing to allege its ongoing investigation, our attorney has not had access to any of the reports of BJ's death, his personal belongings or any information that would bring understanding to what happened that fateful day. They possess custody of and control all of it and have not made any effort to share it with us. Our attorney has confirmed that a trial date has been set. It'll be nearly 3 years after his murder before we have the opportunity to hold these officers and the Inglewood Police Department accountable. The trial date is set for November 9, 2021. His family deserves to know what happened. He should be alive and we demand justice! *** What are we asking for? I. The Inglewood Police Department's negligence to transparency and lack of cooperation needs to be held accountable. We believe they've conspired to justify and cover up their misconduct by preparing and filing false reports of the shooting. II. Officers Baksh and Rivers need to be held accountable for their actions to the fullest extent of the law. Their conduct was willful, malicious, and done with a reckless regard for the rights and safety of BJ. Their gross mishandling of the situation is evident by the fact that they shot each other in addition to killing BJ. Murder is still a crime no matter who committed it. III. Mayor James Butts should devote considerable resources and time to the shooting. BJ was killed on his watch and by his officers. We ask of him, why isn't BJ's case a larger priority? Doesn't yet another black man being killed by the police warrant your time and attention? In fact, the Coroner ruled it a Homicide. Does that not warrant expedient action? IV. The Inglewood Police Department has provided inadequate training in the use of deadly force and policy reform needs immediate attention to implement de-escalation policies to ensure another family is not broken apart by their misconduct.
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    Created by Krystle Statler Picture
  • Abolish laws that allow Police officers to have sex with detainees
    Anna Chambers is an 18 year old girl who was smoking weed in a car in Brooklyn last year with two of her guy friends. The officers smelled the weed, arrested only Anna, and let the two boys go. They then took her in the back of the police van, handcuffed, and took turns raping her. The officers in court said they were “seduced” and the act was “consensual”, an excuse that (horrifyingly) often works because this law is in place, and because the judiciary system places way too much trust in law enforcement officers. In 32 states, police officers have the legal right to engage in sexual acts with people in custody. Rape is technically still illegal, but the power dynamic that is present in the case of police officer and prisoner/detainee makes consensual sex impossible. Especially when the justice system is predisposed to giving police officers extreme and unethical amounts of immunity when it comes to committing acts such as murder and rape. If a 17 year old classmate cannot legally have sex with their 18 year old classmate because of the questionability of the validity of that 17 year old's consent, WHY can police officers have sex with prisoners? This is not a one-off event! This Law needs to change. “In the six-year period from 2009 to 2014, about 550 police officers had lost their badges for rape, sodomy and other types of sexual assault; and a further 440 for possession of child pornography and other sex crimes; or sexual misconduct such as propositioning citizens, sexting juveniles, or having consensual but prohibited sex while on duty. That number was “unquestionably an undercount because it represents only those officers whose licenses to work in law enforcement were revoked”, wrote the AP. ‘Not all states take such action’.”
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    Created by Emily Hime
  • Defunding BGPD
    During our council meeting on 6/22/2020, many concerned residents commented that the city council needs to reconsider their proposed budget for The Bell Gardens Police Department. However, individuals who oppose the defunding of BGPD created a petition that was not representative of our community’s needs and concerns. Their petition received a mere twenty signatures. A problem expressed via their petition was that the Police Explorers program would be heavily impacted. However, this program receives only four-thousand dollars (to pay salaries for police officers) of the BGPD’s 15 million dollar budget. The program depends on extensive fundraisers, NOT the police budget. If funds were reasonably invested, we would be able to fund many community programs that offer a space for youth development. This petition is meant to demonstrate to the city council that many Bell Gardens residents do not support a budget that allocates 53% of our funds to BGPD. Many residents believe that we should divest (incrementally remove funding from the police budget) in our police department and invest into other resources in our community. This petition will record Bell Gardens’ community members responses to our proposed city budget and alternatives to funding.
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    Created by Estephanie Garcia Picture
  • Justice and Bodycam footage for Kwamae Jones
    JSO refused to notify Kwamae’s mother of his death. They lied on multiple occasions about the age of the victims of the shooting, stating initially that it was two 22 year old males. It was almost 2 weeks before his mother was able to see his body. JSO has a pattern of murdering young black males and not being held accountable.
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    Created by Christopher Walker
  • Tell D.C Leaders: We Demand Police-Free Schools!
    The same police that are killing Black people in the streets and that continue to harass Black youth in the community, are the same police that are in our schools. We cannot continue to put our youth in harms way! We demand POLICE FREE SCHOOLS! We demand an end to the school-to-prison pipeline. It is simple: Black youth in D.C have been screaming "Love Us. Don't Harm Us"- divest from police in our schools and invest in the social-emotional health and well-being of youth! D.C is the MOST POLICED jurisdiction in America and Metropolitan Police Department's largest contract is with D.C. Public Schools. MPD currently receives $25 million to police and criminalize our youth! This increases the likelihood that adolescent behavior or responses to trauma will not be met with support but further harm. 74% of Black youth will not get the support they need. Instead: - Nearly 100% of all school expulsions are of Black youth, nearly 100% of school based arrest are of youth of color - D.C. police are also responsible for harassing and handcuffing Black youth as young as 9 years old. - 60% of girls arrested in D.C are under the age of 15. - Black girls in D.C are 30 times more likely to be arrested than white youth of any gender identity. - Often girls are disciplined and referred to police for their responses to sexual violence. This creates an unsafe and unwelcoming environment for girls, and compounds the trauma that survivors of gender base violence experience. Always, but especially now, our Black youth need love, not harm! We need to ensure that our young people have what they need to learn, that our young people have increased access to mental health professionals to address the heightened trauma caused by COVID -19 and, rampant police violence and racism. We need your support to protect Black and Brown youth from further harm and to preserve their right to live and thrive!
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    Created by Samantha Davis Picture
  • After the smoke clears... Arrest Juan DelaCruz for the senseless murder of Pamela Turner
    Because I too suffer with mental health issues and have been beaten by the police and plenty of counterparts on many horrific occasions, because of me failing to take my medication and becoming manic; so this could have been me, but only for the Grace of God. Her story resonates with me through and through, and come to find out, there's many others who've met a terrible demise like Pamela, due to police officers not being properly trained to deal with the mentally ill.
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    Created by Paulette Williams Picture
  • Health Not Handcuffs: Stop Unnecessary Arrests in New Orleans
    As New Orleans becomes the new epicenter of the COVID-19 virus, our first priority must be to protect community members inside and outside of the jail and public servants from contracting the virus. In jails and prisons, social distancing and quarantine is impossible, and healthcare is insufficient at best. An outbreak of COVID-19 in our jails and prisons would mean certain death for many of our community members inside, for jail staff, and for healthcare workers in our carceral system. As of April 21, 56 people in the Orleans Parish jail have tested positive for COVID-19, while 47 Sheriff's Office employees and 11 medical staffers have tested positive. As staff and community members filter in and out of the local jail, they come in contact with their families and neighbors--no matter how effectively we socially distance ourselves from one another. An outbreak in our jails endangers everyone in our community. Since this outbreak began, we have closely monitored which arrests have received bail hearings. So far, the data is clear: NOPD is still making custodial arrests for non-violent crimes. Between March 19 to April 17, 35% of people who were booked and required to receive a bail hearing were arrested for crimes that don’t pose a risk to the public. Regular updates are posted to Court Watch NOLA’s Twitter on Fridays at 5:30 PM CST. Minimizing the number of people introduced to the jail is crucial to slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our city, because every new person sent to the jail leads to an almost certain additional exposure to the virus that could have been avoided. Unnecessary arrests mean unnecessary deaths. Mayor LaToya Cantrell and NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson have the power to reduce the risk of contagion by ordering an arrest protocol to stop locking New Orleanians up for low-level and non-violent offenses where there is no sign of clear and present danger of imminent physical harm. NOPD officers must utilize summonses in lieu of custodial arrests for nonviolent offenses. Sign our petition and demand Mayor Cantrell and Superintendent Ferguson change NOPD’s arrest protocol and stop locking New Orleanians up for non-violent, non-domestic, non-sex offenses. When you sign this petition, an email will be automatically sent to select New Orleans city officials. Thank you for continuing to fight for justice in the face of this global crisis.
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    Created by Chloe Dewberry
  • Kym Worthy-COVID-19 Demands
    The decarceral guidelines below are designed to prevent three things: social spreading, jail “churn,” and the deaths of vulnerable people. Social Spreading In order to prevent the rapid growth of COVID-19 from overburdening our health-care system and claiming lives, both those in secure facilities and the people who work in them, it is the responsibility of decision-makers at every level to prevent and contain the spread of the virus by taking action to promote the most effective strategy in abating the pandemic: social distancing in order to slow “community spread.” The Particular Issue of Jail and Prison “Churn” Jails and Prisons combine the worst aspects of a cruise ship and a large public gathering and, thus, can be the perfect breeding ground for the spread of COVID-19. People are constantly booked into and out of jail and prison facilities and each night guards, vendors, and other jail staff are going home while others are coming in- which results in a massive turnover. For example, more than half of the people in jail are only in there for two to three days. Further, enclosed structures like jails can cause COVID-19 to spread like wildfire and introducing just one person with it can lead to it impacting not just everyone inside the jail or prison but anyone leaving the facility—whether a person who is released or staff returning back to their homes— who then interact with their communities. Preventive Measures Cannot Be Taken in Jails and Prisons. Experts recommend that to protect the people most vulnerable from death or serious illness from COVID-19 that they are appropriately separated through social distancing. Yet separating sick people from well people to prevent the disease from spreading can be nearly impossible in prison due to logistical considerations.
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    Created by Nicholas Buckingham
  • We've Had Enough!
    Our human and civil rights are at stake. For years, Black people have been treated unfairly when visiting Miami Beach. The constant maltreatment of Black visitors on Miami Beach during high impact days such as Spring Break, Memorial Day weekend and others will no longer be tolerated. We've had enough of being racially targeted, assaulted, and shot by the City of Miami Beach police and nothing being done about it! We are demanding changes to take place now. Let's make changes happen together. Sign this petition today! For more information, email miamidadecommunications@gmail.
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    Created by Dwight Bullard
  • #JusticeForVerdant
    In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, colleges and universities nation-wide have been calling for the evacuation of their campuses. The students at NCA&T State University were asked to pack up and evacuate the campus with very short notice. In an attempt to comply with the request of the university, Verdant Julius and two friends, all students at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, were assisting each other in the packing of the dorm rooms. On March 18, 2020, while at McCain Residence Hall on the campus of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Julius and his friends were asked to show their student IDs to a campus security guard and local police officer. After presenting their IDs, proving they were currently enrolled, they were then asked to swipe into the residence hall as an added measure to prove that they belonged on campus. One of Verdant Julius’ friends, a young lady, was told to leave because she was not a resident of McCain Hall. Hearing that his friend who was there to assist him was being asked to leave, Verdant Julius asked the campus security guard and police officer for an explanation. The officer responded to this request by saying, “If you take one step closer I am going to have you arrested for obstruction of an investigation”. This was the first time the officer informed Verdant Julius and the other two students that an investigation was in progress. Verdant and the other students began to ask the officer questions in order to gain an understanding about what was going on, when the officer suddenly and violently attempted to place Verdant Julius under arrest. As shown in the video of the arrest, Verdant Julius posed no threat to the campus security guard or the police officer and was not resisting arrest. Verdant Julius calmly asked for the person recording to take his keys and phone. To which the officer replied, “If you resist, I am going to mase you”. No college student deserves this type of abuse and harassment from campus security guards or local police officers on their college campus -- especially during a global pandemic. The over-policing of Black students is an ongoing problem at many colleges and universities in the United States. It is outrageous and disappointing to witness this unnecessary use of force used on a student who was simply trying to go to his dorm room with friends and fellow students. Verdant Julius and the students of NCA&T deserve the rights and freedoms that should be afforded to all university students. They deserve to feel safe and protected on their campus. We strongly urge Chief Wilson to: - immediately drop charges against Verdant Julius - Issue an official statement addressing and correcting the actions of the officers - establish a police review committee to review police hires and complaints Find the video of the arrest here: http://bit.ly/verdantvideo (Petition updated at 9am on March 19, 2020 for continuity and expansion of background story as developments happened)
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    Created by Mantryll Williams