• Charge Darren Wilson for the Murder of Michael Brown
    McCulloch failed to give the grand jury proper direction and overwhelmed them with redundant and misleading information. As a result the grand jurors did not reach a majority decision that probable cause existed to charge Darren Wilson. Probable cause is a reasonable suspicion supported by circumstances that the facts are probably true. Grand juries typically indict over 90% of the cases brought before them. The grand jury does not determine guilt or innocence just probable cause to move forward with criminal charges. A lawsuit was filed against McCulloch by one of the grand jurors detailing the differences in how this case was handled compared to other cases before the grand jury and exposing their experience on the grand jury in this case. McCulloch admitted to allowing witnesses he knew were NOT telling the truth to testify before the grand jury. McCulloch thought he could avoid accountability, he was wrong. On Tuesday, August 8, 2018 the voters of St. Louis County made their power known by electing reform advocate Wesley Bell. Wesley Bell cannot ignore the voters of St. Louis County who have sent a mandate - secure justice for Michael Brown now.
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    Created by Attorney Jerryl Christmas, Attorney Ben Crump, Lezley McSpaddin
  • 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
  • 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
  • Let Anthony Go Home
    A judge determined that Anthony Swain was eligible for release, but set his bond at $650,000, an amount that no one but the very wealthiest would be able to afford. As a result, Anthony has suffered in jail for four years, waiting for a trial that never comes. He is a paraplegic man with a rare degenerative disease that affects his respiratory and immune system. Without proper medical treatment, the disease can be deadly. On top of that, Anthony was recently diagnosed with COVID19 and is now in isolation, dealing with incredible cruelty. The jail cannot care for him. Let Anthony Swain go home. Anthony is a 43-year-old Black man who is wheelchair-bound and has been paralyzed from the waist down for most of his life. In February of 2016, Anthony was arrested on drug charges. Before he was locked up, Anthony was a staple in his community. On any given weekend, he could be found at his church with his tight-knit family or doing fish fries to feed people in his neighborhood. Since he has been incarcerated, Anthony's condition has deteriorated. He was diagnosed with cystic myelomalacia in 2019, which causes respiratory problems and a weakened immune system. So when coronavirus hit Florida, Anthony knew he was especially at risk. He contacted Dream Defenders to file a lawsuit to secure the immediate release of medically vulnerable people like himself and wrote an op-ed to bring attention to the despicable conditions he has been forced to endure. Anthony believed that if he wasn't released immediately, he would catch the virus at the jail. He was correct. On Mother's Day, he could not breathe. He was taken to the hospital, where he tested positive for coronavirus. He was taken from the hospital back to the jail, where he is now in isolation in a tiny cell that can't accommodate his disability. Since he’s been in isolation, he’s been eaten by ants that have infested his cell, has open wounds all over his body from bedsores, and been unable to even clean himself. This is no way for a person to recover. In addition to immediate concerns about his health and well-being, Anthony is also at risk for long-term repercussions including blood clots, stroke, heart disease, neurocognitive disorders, and so much more. Anthony has been forced to endure utter cruelty for too long. An unaffordable bond shouldn't strip someone of their right to live a safe, healthy life.
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  • Stop Zoom from allowing Cyber Bullying
    I downloaded zoom so I could still meet with people. I began to talk to this guy through Facebook messenger. Then after a couple weeks he said he would like to see me (and said Zoom would be perfect). TBH I thought that we were going to have some sexual fun. I didn't tell him I was in a wheelchair, but I didn't think it would matter. Man! I was so wrong! When he saw that I was, the bullying began and continued in every way he could get in touch with me until I blocked him in EVERY way. I stated this campaign so no one else will have to experience what I had to experience, and if they do the person doing the bullying will be held accountable for their actions!.
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    Created by Cristal Griffin Picture
  • 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
  • Michigan Covid-19 Statewide Immediate Release of Vulnerable incarcerated People
    Covid-19 presents a threat to human life. We believe all human life is valuable, and are ensuring that those most at risk, like incarcerated individuals, are being granted the relief necessary to protect themselves and their families. The particularly vulnerable incarcerated community members and those currently being impacted by the system need support in this moment and not continued trauma. Action is crucially important now to avoid public health mishaps like the scabies outbreak at Huron Valley Prison in 2019. Now more than ever, we need transformative criminal justice action to limit the damage that the system can do during the pandemic outbreak.
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    Created by Tim Christensen
  • #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
  • COVID-19: Los Angeles Must Immediately Release People from the County Jails!
    We are not alone in recognizing this crisis of criminalization and incarceration here in Los Angeles and how COVID19 will exacerbate that crisis. Last week, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved the recommendations outlined in the Alternatives to Incarceration Working Group’s historic and unprecedented report, “Care First, Jails Last: Health and Racial Justice Strategies for Safer Communities.” Shortly thereafter, Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas published a letter outlining his concerns about COVID19’s spreads to the LA jails and calling for a reduction in jail bookings, early release, plans for quarantine and treatment, concerted efforts to reduce virus transmission and a plan for expected staffing shortages. We are also not alone in calling for significant and timely steps towards decarceration. On Saturday, March 14, Judges from the Cleveland, Ohio’s Cuyahoga County Court announced their intention to seek the release of hundreds of people incarcerated in their county jails. Like us, these judges recognize that jails pose threats to our larger community and the incarcerated people themselves. On Tuesday, March 17, the New York City Board of Corrections, the independent oversight Board for the city’s jail system, issued a call for incarcerated people at high risk to be immediately released and for the overall jail population to be rapidly and drastically reduced. Also on Tuesday, March 17, thirty one elected prosecutors from around the country, but not from Los Angeles, published a letter advocating that counties “implement concrete steps in the near-term to dramatically reduce the number of incarcerated individuals” to prevent the potentially “catastrophic” spread of COVID19. We also join epidemiologists in warning that it is not a matter of if COVID19 enters your facility -- but when. For these reasons, we demand that you, as correctional health care leaders, do your part. We ask that you: 1) Prepare a list of your incarcerated patients who are most medically vulnerable and who require immediate release. We demand that you prepare that list within one week, notify the public that the list has been made available to correctional authorities, the courts and city/state leaders, and advocate for their early release with linkages to housing and healthcare services. 2) Use the legal authority granted to you to declare COVDI19 a liable danger to those currently held in the county jails and advocate for their immediate release to safe and meaningful housing. 3) Identify, coordinate and provide the services incarcerated people need upon their release (e.g. HIV care for those who are HIV+, substance use treatment centers for those with substance use disorders, homes and shelters for those who are houseless, etc) to ensure their ongoing protection from this epidemic. The County should use the recently approved recommendations from the Alternatives to Incarceration Working Group to build infrastructure that addresses and also outlives this emergency to achieve our shared goal of reducing the jail population.
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    Created by Mark-Anthony Clayton-Johnson
  • Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 by Decarcerating Mecklenburg
    Dear local leaders: As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, we – a coalition of concerned organizations, attorneys, and community members – urge you to undertake all possible measures to prevent the spread of infection in Mecklenburg County’s jails. An outbreak of COVID-19 in the jails would be swift and deadly, and it would overwhelm the county’s hospitals and health system. The next week is crucial to limiting COVID-19’s spread. Now is the time for decisive emergency measures to save lives. COVID-19 poses severe risks whenever people are in close physical proximity with others, regardless of whether an individual has shown symptoms of infection. People in jail are unable to distance themselves from others and take the preventative measures that are necessary to prevent infection and protect the population. Worse, jails are particularly vulnerable to outbreaks because the underlying health conditions that can cause infection or exacerbate harm are very prevalent among incarcerated people. This will make the spread of COVID-19 inside jails fast and lethal, threatening everyone incarcerated in a jail, along with their loved ones, jail staff, and the state’s public health infrastructure at large. The safest way to ensure that the jail does not become a vector for COVID-19’s spread is to cut the jail population and halt new admissions. This is particularly imperative for anyone who a judge has already approved for release pending payment of money bail; anyone detained under an ICE hold; and anyone detained for a Failure to Appear or parole/probation violations. Release is also crucial for those who are elderly or have medical conditions that make them particularly vulnerable. In contrast to reducing jail populations, restrictive measures such as segregation and lockdowns will not contain infection. In a county jail, people are incarcerated for a relatively short period of time before returning to the outside community, and every day new people are booked into the facility if law enforcement continue making arrests. Jail staff necessarily come and go everyday as well, returning to their families and communities. This constant turnover will compromise any effort to contain COVID-19, especially since people may be infected and contagious but not show symptoms. Restrictive measures inside could also discourage incarcerated people from reporting symptoms or seeking care, which will multiply infection. Reducing the jail population is consistent with the county sheriff’s obligation to safely manage county jail populations and the guidance of correctional experts. Dr. Marc Stern, who served as Health Services Director for Washington State’s Department of Corrections, recently urged: “With a smaller population, prisons, jails, and detention centers can help diseases spread less quickly by allowing people to better maintain social distance.” Dr. Stern also explained that reducing the jail population will ease staffing burdens: “If staff cannot come to work because they are infected, a smaller population poses less of a security risk for remaining staff.” Jurisdictions across the country have already started taking the important public health measure of reducing their jail population. The Bail Project has worked to provide free bail assistance to people detained pretrial in the Mecklenburg County Jail. Since its tenure in Charlotte began in August 2019, the organization has posted bail for over 200 people, of which more than 90% then returned to court without any need for detention, even though their bail amount would otherwise have kept them incarcerated. We know from this experience that reducing the jail population to protect public health will be safe, lawful, and just. Every time the county introduces another person to the jail environment, there is a risk of worsening the spread of COVID-19 among the incarcerated population, jail staff, and the broader community. We urge you to undertake all possible avenues for limiting that peril and preventing deaths across the community. Signed, The ACLU of NC Global Missions of the A.M.E. Zion Church The Bail Project Beauty After the Bars Black Treatment Advocates Network (BTAN Charlotte) Project BOLT Charlotte Uprising Comunidad Colectiva Mecklenburg County Public Defender’s Office Poor No More Racial Justice Engagement Group of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte Southeast Asian Coalition Court Support Services Team TRU BLUE
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    Created by Decarcerate Mecklenburg
  • Tell U.S. Attorney Berman - Drop the Charges Against Therese Patricia Okoumou!
    I, the undersigned, am aware that Therèse Patricia Okoumou was found guilty at her trial on December 17th of three federal misdemeanors: trespassing, disorderly conduct and interference with government agency functions. Despite the real prospect of spending 18 months in prison, “We stand on the right side of history. I am not discouraged,” Patricia said after being sentenced. Our Lady Liberty remains steadfast in her mission to continue campaigning against the immoral and inhumane family separation policies of the Trump administration. Since Patricia's trial, new information has revealed that the extent of the Trump Administration's outrageous “zero tolerance” policy, which it has consistently LIED to the court and the American people about, is even worse than previously known. The federal government has ripped apart tender-aged children from nursing mothers. It has flown thousands of young children across the country away from their families and placed them in cages. Some of The Children are being forcibly drugged and others sexually molested in internment camps. There have been deaths of asylum seekers, as young as 7 years old, under the care and custody of border patrol agents and Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE). As part of our basic right to protest, outlined in the constitution, Patricia climbed the Statue of Liberty to increase awareness of this injustice, and I stand in solidarity with her! When we fell low as a country, Patricia went as high as she could to raise consciousness about these atrocities.
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    Created by Nina Smith Picture
  • Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey Should Resign
    Many of the families of those killed by law enforcement in Los Angeles County, Black Lives Matter, White People for Black Lives, Centro CSO, March and Rally, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Los Angeles Community Action Network, Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, California for Progress, Youth Justice Coalition, Community Coalition, and 40 additional community organizations, and hundreds of individuals – your constituents – have been rallying outside of your office since October 2017. The call to date has been for you to prosecute the police who kill our people. We have attempted to engage you in dialogue; you have refused and we are regularly met with hostility and disrespect. We are now calling on you to step down for refusing to serve “The People” whom you are duty-bound to represent. We began our current efforts by delivering a petition signed by more than 10,000 Angelenos demanding that you prosecute the police who kill our people, beginning with the five officers who were dismissed from Inglewood Police Department after killing Kisha Michael and Marquintan Sandlin while they were sleeping in their car. We then requested a community meeting with you, an invitation that you initially tentatively accepted during a December 2017 phone call and then reneged. A townhall was held, to which you were invited, but did not attend (despite confirming availability), on January 21, 2018. We have submitted hundreds of faxed, mailed, emailed, and telephone requests asking that you engage the community. You have refused. Most recently, on May 30, 2018, we attempted to deliver a letter as part of the national #RealChange campaign to pressure District Attorneys to be accountable to the people. Despite following the delivery instructions negotiated with your office, the Sheriff proceeded to lock us out of the public building that you occupy. More than 400 Los Angeles County residents have been killed by law enforcement on your watch. You have refused to file charges against a single officer, even when they have been found to have acted “out of policy” (as with Ezell Ford), are disciplined or dismissed as a result of their actions (as with Kisha Michael and Marquintan Sandlin), when there is an apparent cover up (as with Wakiesha Wilson), and/or are recommended for charges by their law enforcement units (as with Brendon Glenn). Your record is shameful and is indicative of a clear unwillingness to act on behalf of the people. Moreover, your complete unwillingness to do your job endangers the community that you are supposed to serve. For these, and many other reasons, we call on you to immediately vacate your position as District Attorney of the County of Los Angeles.
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    Created by Melina Abdullah Picture