Tuesday, August 07, 2012

GP RELEASE Green Party calls for citizens' review boards to probe police violence‏

For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
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/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
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
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,
"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
"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,"
"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
"Greens Call on Deal to End Torture in Georgia Prisons"
Georgia Green Party press release, June 25, 2012
Green Party Black Caucus
"Langdon condemns RPD arrests of anti-capitalist protesters"
Drew Langdon for State Assembly (Green candidate in Rochester, NY),
July 22, 2012
"Accusations of Police Misconduct Documented in Lawyers’ Report on
Occupy Protests"
By Colin Moynihan, The New York Times, July 25, 2012
Green Party of the United States http://www.gp.org
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Baltimore, Md. http://www.gpconvention2012.com
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