People's Tribunal on Police Brutality video part 10
Collection: People's Tribunal on Police Brutality
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Speaking here: Genevieve Mitchell, Bill Swain, Uncle Bobby.
Genevieve Mitchell: ... that the public in the state of Ohio alone is expending, while our schools go down the tubes, our road infrastructure is terrible. We don't have street lights in some communities. There are traffic lights that are flashing. You have a foreclosure crisis that is just…ya know, to the exponential power, that has not been addressed through these agencies and services that are out here. And these prisons are categorically, uh, have been privatized. There is a move to continue to privatize these prisons. And it is inextricably linked to wealthy people and corporate interests who are shareholders in these prisons, who are lobbying to make sure that each and every one of these beds is continually filled. And once they get into the privatized prison systems, what they're not doing is any kind of rehabilitative training or education. They're hiring guards that have less training and experience and they're experiencing greater amounts of violence and rape, and all kinds of just horrendous activities are happening inside these prison systems. And all of this has been developed and designed and signed off on by the benefactors, who are the shareholders of CCA, which is Corrections Corporation of America and what have you. These cases are being routinely adjudicated through the courts, and primarily because of lowlevel, you know, drug offenses or low level economic crimes. And these individuals, they’re saying, could have been rehabilitated in much better fashion had they went to a diversion 22 programs, which some of the courts are seeking to set up. It is absolutely unbelievable what is happening. People need to first educate themselves, be made aware, and then we need to develop a plan and act because this cannot go on. If the taxpayers think that expending over a billion dollars a year for prisons is the way to go, you know, I beg to differ. It's horrendous. (Applause) I stand corrected, that is a billion."
Bill Swain—“Yeah, I wanted to say, look, what people are saying is very good. The testimony is very sharp. I think what we wanna say is this: This cannot go on, and what we need to do, we need to look at Ferguson. Ferguson set a model that they said, ‘No more.’ and they went to the streets. They were thrown tear gas, rubber bullets, the whole works, and they stayed in the streets. They did not allow the people that run this country and the police and Eric Holder and all the rest, to slow that down. It's been slowed down, and that's what we have to get back on track. Because actually, we need to do much more than we did on the 137 shots. That, like you said, that was an assassination. That was a lynching. And yet our response wasn't what it needs to be. We have to go over the top just like Ferguson did. When Ferguson came here, they stepped us up. And people said, ‘Oh no, we didn't need them.’ Oh, we did need them, and uh, we don't necessarily need them, but we need a movement that really says, ‘No more!’ And takes risks, steps over the line and uh, that's what I want to say, ‘cause we can go out a here and say, ‘Well, we know all the things that are wrong, but how are you ever gonna stop it?’ It's a formidable task. Don't get me wrong. You think it's easy to stop a ruling class from genocide when they've been doing this from the minute Africans came on this shore?! For the slave catchers, for, after slavery, it was the new Jim Crow. The New Jim Crow, et cetera. Uh, but I think it can be done. But it's gonna take a lot of thinking and a lot o’ action that's actually much more radical than it is at this point. We have to get back to a Ferguson-type model. Then I do think for those... I think it will take a revolution, because I don't wanna..., I won't be here in 50 years. But I don't want other people in this room that are younger to be here in 50 years doing the same thing. And it will happen over and over again, whether it's Tamir, whether it's Tanisha, um, this man with the screwdriver, uh, Scott, Mr. Scott. This will go on because of a genocidal attack on black and brown people. That's the oppression. That's the suppression. The…, look, one last thing--in the ‘60s, black people shook this country to its foundation. Not just The Black Panthers, but they were really in the forefront. And they're afraid of that. They know these youth (a lot of them are killing each other, and we need to work on that) but they know if that stops, they're gonna be the enemy. It's not gonna be Jerome. It's not gonna be Delonte. It's gonna be the people up at the top, in the government and the ruling class and that's what they're afraid of. So when people say, ‘Well, black people don't have it together, and we don't have it together, none of us have it together.’ Uh, well, we need and we're getting it together. But I think that's…that we really need to have our sights on. Uh, what type of things do we have to do, and what's our strategy. And that's it for now.” (Applause)
Uncle Bobby—“So the question was, ‘How does the criminal justice system play within poverty and economics?’ Did I hear that correct? I jotted down a couple of thoughts that I had. And I'm a try to tie this to what we're here for today. So, of course, we know definitely that poverty and economics plays tremendously in this. But what about a family that has been affected by, uh, police terror or has been incarcerated for a period of time? How does that affect? One good book that we all can read, if you haven't read it, is Michelle Alexander's book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the age of Colorblindness. So, if you haven't read that book, that'll help bring clarity to that particular question. But how I'm gonna try to tie this is a few examples from experience. One, I'm gonna talk about Robbie Tolan's case. Robbie Tolan was a young man that was killed.... uh, well, he wasn't killed, but he was shot on the same night Oscar was shot, as well as Adolph Grimes, who's out of New Orleans. But Robbie Tolan's son, Bobby Tolan, who was a famous baseball player for the St. Louis Cardinals, and they lived in a well-to-do neighborhood. So, first we have to be clear that you don't just have to be poor to be killed by the police. Obama could be killed by the police simply walking down the street ‘cause he's black. We've been killed not because of economic standing. We're being killed because of the color of our skin. So, we have to be clear about that. But there are some issues behind the economic aspect. And what Robbie Tolan, being that his family lived in a well-to-do neighborhood and was shot, of course, the officer was found justifiable in the shooting. Ya know that's a whole other story, but I'm gonna talk about the civil aspect. They filed a lawsuit and the lawsuit was throwed out. They appealed it. Most families don't have the ability to appeal, because we don't have the economics to move forward. But they appealed that case, and the judge reprimanded the family for wasting the court's time for appealing it! Now remember, they sold their home! You have to hear this. They sold their home because they believed that their son was wrongfully shot and that they were entitled to some form of redress. And they pursued it and the judge made the family pay the officer! For shooting their son. (Audience: “Oh, no.”) They had to spend seven thousand dollars to pay this officer for shooting their son and then they alleged him for wasting the court's time. But being that they had a little money, they was able appeal it to the 5th Circuit of Appeal, and the 5th Circuit of Appeal basically granted them the right to pursue the case. Anyway, I'm gonna make a long story short. Behind that, they ended up going to the U.S Supreme Court. All nine justices ruled in their favor. And they brought it back down to the lower court; so, they still in court, but to make a long story short, uh, because we don't have the finances to move forward with cases becomes the issue that the system knows that is real. ‘Cause our own personal experience with the fact that they threw out the gun enhancement,... the judge threw out the gun ...