Thursday, August 9, 2012

[Green Party of the US] GP RELEASE Green Party calls for citizens' review boards to probe police violence

GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES
http://www.gp.org

For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Contacts:
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-904-7614, mclarty@greens.org
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805, starlene@gp.org


The Green Party urges the establishment of independent citizens' review boards 
to probe surges in police violence and prosecute abuses

• Report cited on the extrajudicial killing of Blacks once every 36 hours in the 
US

• Greens seek measures to prevent police violence against peaceful protesters 
outside upcoming Republican and Democratic conventions


WASHINGTON, DC -- The Green Party called two recent reports on police violence 
evidence of systematic abuses of power by police departments, especially in 
their treatment of young black and brown men and of people who engage in public 
protest.

Green candidates and leaders said the reports are supported by numerous reports 
of incidents in which police used deadly force against people of color, 
immigrants, and nonviolent protesters.

"The police abuses taking place in many cities and states require independent 
investigation by citizens' review boards, followed by prosecution," said Don 
Cook, Green Party candidate for Congress in Texas' 22nd District and Harris 
County Green Party liason with the National Black United Front, New Black 
Panthers, and others in the Black Justice Tuesday Coalition. "When such crimes 
go unpunished, police believe they have a license to commit further crimes. 
Unless these patterns of crime and impunity change, we can consider ourselves to 
be living in a police state. This is not law, security, or order. It's the 
opposite of law, security, and order."

The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement has published a “Report on Black People 
Executed without Trial by Police, Security Guards and Self-Appointed Law 
Enforcers January 1 - June 30, 2012" which documented the extrajudicial killing 
of a Black person once every 36 hours on average for the first half of 2012. The 
number includes "the killing of 13 year-old children, fathers taking care of 
their kids, women driving the wrong cars, as well as people with mental health 
and drug problems." 
(http://mxgm.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/07_24_Report_all_rev_protected.pdf / 
http://mxgm.org/report-on-the-extrajudicial-killings-of-110-black-people/)

Greens also cited recent shootings and violent reprisals by police against 
Latino residents in Anaheim, California, in the wake of the killing of Manuel 
Diaz by an officer, as well as out-of-control border patrols, humiliating 
stop-and-frisk policies that usually target young people of color (most famously 
in New York City, with Mayor Bloomberg's support), police harassment and arrest 
of bystanders and citizens attempting to record police actions on cell phones 
and cameras, and the use of "Homeland Security" resources for civilian police 
work.

"What we need in our Latino communities is support for the people who live 
there -- support for hard working families regardless of their immigration 
status. We don't need taxpayer-funded violence which only serves to promote more 
violence. We need investment in our communities, not violations of the human 
rights of Latinos and African Americans," said Isabel Espinal of the Green 
Party's Latino Caucus (http://gp.org/latino).

See also "Stein, Honkala deplore shooting of unarmed citizens," press release 
from Green presidential nominee Jill Stein and vice-presidential nominee Cheri 
Honkala, July 24, 2012 
(http://www.jillstein.org/stein_honkala_deplore_shooting_of_unarmed_citizens).

Green Party leaders noted that President Obama has used the drug war as a job 
stimulus program, increasing funding for President Reagan's Byrne program and 
reinstating President Clinton's COPS program. These programs channel millions in 
federal funding to local police forces who wage the drug war locally by 
targeting communities of color, despite the fact that the majority of US drug 
users and dealers are white (See 'The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the 
Age of Colorblindness', book by Michelle Alexander, http://www.newjimcrow.com).

"The latest surges in police abuses can't be separated from developments in law 
enforcement and incarceration in recent years. The US has the world's highest 
prison population, with mostly black, brown, and poor people locked up to feed a 
private prison industry that profits from filling up cells. The War on Drugs has 
destroyed families and communities by placing thousands of young people behind 
bars, very often on nonviolent offenses. Zero tolerance and mandatory sentencing 
have also expanded the Prison-Industrial Complex," said Ken Wolski, Green 
Candidate for the US Senate from New Jersey 
(https://www.facebook.com/FriendsOfKenWolski).

"Stopping the failed and wasteful War on Drugs, ending the assaults on judicial 
discretion, and systematic remedies to end systematic police violence are taboo 
topics for Democratic and Republican politicians. Neither Barack Obama nor Mitt 
Romney will discuss them," said Julia Willebrand, Green candidate for New York 
State Assembly in the 67th Assembly District (Upper Westside Manhattan).

Greens said that similar mindsets and policies in many police departments have 
placed Americans in danger for exercising their First Amendment rights to public 
protest, especially after police responses to the Occupy protests since Fall 
2011. In many cases, police escaped punishment by hiding their names and shield 
numbers.

A report published by the Global Justice Clinic (NYU School of Law) and Walter 
Leitner International Human Rights Clinic (Fordham Law School) found "frequent 
alleged incidents of unnecessary and excessive police use of force against 
protesters, bystanders, journalists, and legal observers; constant obstructions 
of media freedoms, including arrests of journalists; unjustified and sometimes 
violent closure of public space, dispersal of peaceful assemblies, and 
corralling and trapping protesters en masse. Pervasive surveillance of peaceful 
political activity, arbitrary and selective rule enforcement, and restrictions 
on independent protest monitoring also raise serious concerns." ("Suppressing 
Protest: Human Rights Violations in the US Response to Occupy Wall Street," 
http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/403969-suppressing-protest.html)

"If violence occurs outside the Republican and Democratic conventions, it is 
reasonable to believe that the cause will be police, either by direct assault or 
provocation, used against peaceful protesters," said Howard Switzer, Green 
candidate for the US House in Tennessee (District 7) 
(http://howardswitzer.com/2012). "We seek guarantees against such tactics. The 
Green Party supports the right to such nonviolent protests and we anticipate 
that many Greens will join them. The federal government's training, aid, and 
assistance for civilian police operations, especially under the Homeland 
Security banner, means that the White House shares the responsibility for police 
abuses and that the abuses we're seeing should be considered an extension of 
larger security policy."

See also:

"Green Party seeks abolition of Prison Nation and Police State abuses in the US"
Green Party press release, March 16, 2012
http://www.gp.org/press/pr-national.php?ID=490

"Greens Call on Deal to End Torture in Georgia Prisons"
Georgia Green Party press release, June 25, 2012
http://www.gp.org/press/pr-state.php?ID=524

Green Party Black Caucus
http://www.gp.org/caucuses/black/index.php

"Langdon condemns RPD arrests of anti-capitalist protesters"
Drew Langdon for State Assembly (Green candidate in Rochester, NY), July 22, 
2012
http://drewlangdon.org/?p=99

"Accusations of Police Misconduct Documented in Lawyers’ Report on Occupy 
Protests"
By Colin Moynihan, The New York Times, July 25, 2012
http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/25/accusations-of-police-misconduct-documented-in-lawyers-report-on-occupy-protests/


MORE INFORMATION

Green Party of the United States http://www.gp.org
202-319-7191
• 2012 Green Party Presidential Nominating Convention, July 12-15 in Baltimore, 
Md. http://www.gpconvention2012.com
• Green candidate database and campaign information: 
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• Speakers Bureau http://www.gp.org/speakers
• Ballot Access Page http://www.gp.org/2012/ballot-access.html
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• Green Papers http://www.greenpapers.net/
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