People's Tribunal on Police Brutality video part 11
Collection: People's Tribunal on Police Brutality
Video Item Type Metadata
Speaking here: Uncle Bobby, Rev. Leah Lewis, Ed McKinney.
Uncle Bobby: with the fact that they threw out the gun enhancement,... the judge threw out the gun enhancement, we asked the district attorney to move forward on the case, and he would not because he said that economically the district attorney did not have the money to pursue a case on our behalf. No, so, this is real, and most cases when it's a state crime like that, you can't move on your own to charge an officer for murder. It's really held by the district attorney, so, I'm saying economics plays in this in all aspect when it comes to us. A couple other points that I'll share really quick... is the um...inability… I said most of it, but the point that I'm getting at is that this movement is actually going to come from the grass root. What we're doing today is not built off of the fact that we have money to actually put this event on. This is a community of grass root organizations that's doing their best to highlight the issues of what we're experiencing today in our community, so that we as a community can see this and respond to it in a way to bring about change in our community. So, we have to be clear that it really doesn't matter how much... Henry Louis Gates, I don't know, how many of you remember the story? When he tried to go in his own home, he was accosted by the police. See what I'm sayin', and even President Obama called the police officer stupid, but he had to retract his words because of the police officers’ union. A prison guard union came after him then he made a national apology for calling officers stupid, and said that ‘Ya know what, we all can get along. We'll have a beer on this. Come to the White house.’ You see what I'm saying? So, what I'm getting at is that it really doesn't matter how much money you have when it comes to dealing with the police, ‘cause economically that doesn't matter when they first come up on you. Tamir Rice didn't have no criminal record. Andy Lopez did not have a criminal record. Nicholas Heyward did not have a criminal record. These children that I'm naming are 12 and 13-year-olds that have been killed by the police. Not because they had any kind of record, but because of the color of their skin. And we have to be clear that economics, only comes in part, when a family's suffering, and then the system says, ‘Well, let's give them $50,000 for taking their son's life.’ Which is nothing. You know, and they do that on a regular basis because of our economic status. And also, the other piece of it on the economic side that we don't know about is what happened to these bodies when they're in the custody of the police department. How many of you know, actually, that the body parts of our loved ones are being stolen? While they're sitting on the morgue in the police department custody because they're trying to determine whether they was under some influence. And they taking the body parts. There's a national investigation going on about body parts being stolen. And it happens when our bodies lay up in the morgue for a period of time, because usually the police department don't want to release it soon, because they claim they're trying to derive evidence. Ya know my wife was just doing her fingers because we know from experience how many families have questions. Just a quick example, Kendrick Johnson out of Valdosta, Georgia--the young man that was rolled up in a wrestling mat. The family buried their son. But then they decided they wanted to exhume him, and discovered that all his internal organs was missing. His body was stuffed with newspaper. Somebody benefited from his internal organs. (Audience: “Oh”) This is happening all over this country today. And that's not the first family that we know about personally. But the mass media's not talking about it. So, beside the criminal justice system guaranteeing these investors that they going to keep the prisons 92% full so that they can get some kind of real profit from their investment, that is real. Economics plays tremendously in this and when it comes to the black skin and the brown skin. That's all I wanted to share.” (Applause)
Rev. Leah Lewis—“You know, I agree with everything that has been said by my colleagues on this panel, but one thing I want to interject is: more than economics, our challenge is apathy. Apathy. Uncle Bobby has lifted up a number of issues that involve our political system, a number of issues that involve people we have elected into office. And those people who are elected into office appoint individuals. The city of Cleveland really is no different from Ferguson, Missouri. (Audience: "You can say that.") Right? We know that in Ferguson it is a majority African American community. So is the city of Cleveland. We're what's called a majority-minority city. That said, why don't more of our elected officials and our appointed officials not just look like the majority, but have the concerns and the interest of the majority citizens at heart? We need to begin… (Audience: Agreeing, applauding) Right? ...And I say this to you as an elected official in my small little village. We have people in office in this city who have been sold out to the corporate interests. And until we stop electing them to positions, we will continue to have these systemic abuses. We will continue to have people who pay us lip-service. And I want the people of Cleveland and the people of this nation to get over themselves. And what I mean by that is--lay your apathy down. (Applause) It is time to take responsibility for the society that we have cultivated. We are the ones who are either voting people into office, or we are the ones who fail to vote. And when we fail to vote, guess what? You're still voting them into office, by not exercising a right that is free. Now, we understand there are people blocking access to the ballot box, but again, if we get the right people in office, that's a non-issue. It's a non-issue. So, in addition to apathy, the other issue is ignorance. Right? We have to become more educated, more informed, and we cannot rely on other people to educate us. We must do it ourselves, right? (Applause) So apathy, ignorance. What we need to begin to exercise is our human agency. Anybody who is disaffected or disinterested by the story of Timothy Russell, Malissa Williams, Tamir Rice, the list goes on and on, your humanity is lost, and you need to become in touch once more with your own humanity. So all of the things that I've lifted up don't cost any money. Just some time and an investment.” (Applause)
Ed McKinney—“I shared with you during the introductions; I took you back to the 1930's. Most of you don't remember, can't recall. I guess I may be the most senior in this group. But, you know, as I sit here and listen to the testimonies, and I listen to the response of my colleagues here on the panel, and I'm thinking, I've been hearing this for 80 years. (Audience: Agreeing) Nothing's changed! We have just had the visit ...