COMMENTARY: Law And Order And White Supremacy

As a young child, I was unfortunate enough to have a trace of reddish hair and relatively pale skin for a Black person – remnants of an interracial rape three generations distant in my family tree.

While I measured my misfortune in personal terms – being taunted by my elementary schoolmates as “a little white boy” – the greater dilemma my physical appearance evidenced was the catastrophe of white supremacy that has plagued the entire world over the past four centuries.

The rape of my African American great-grandmother by a white man was ignored by law enforcement authorities in the western North Carolina county where the crime was committed because it was not that unusual an occurrence. The rape of Black women by white men at that time and in that part of our nation occurred frequently.

On the other hand, any suspicion of rape of a white woman by a Black man produced howls of rage and an execution, usually by lynching after torture.

The lynching of Black folk was almost always done in the name of “law and order.” Something of value to the white community had to be protected. It was this way during the days of slavery. It is this way today. And to clearly understand how this was able to take place all these years, we must understand what law is.

Law is a process of authoritative control, where certain empowered community members establish and maintain a particular public order.

In the 1880s in North Carolina, that particular public order allowed white men to rape Black women with impunity while dealing a death sentence to any Black man who was believed to have assaulted a white woman.

The laws were not written in the books that way, but neither are today’s laws that allow armed white murderers to be taken into custody alive, while unarmed Black men are summarily executed by police for selling cigarettes without a license. Law is more than the written statutes and the constitutions. It is also the implementation and execution of written and unwritten notions of public order. 

If a police officer or a judge deems it in the best interest of public order to treat Blacks one way and whites another, then that is the law unless and until a higher authority steps in. That is the law, but it is not justice.

Americans usually are not taught the difference between “law” and “justice,” and by conflating the two, we are blinded to the injustice of many laws and the manner of their execution. When the Nazis were empowered to establish and maintain their public order, it was “legal” in Germany to do the horrific things they did to Jews and members of other minority groups. But after World War II, the Nazis were no longer empowered, and under a new law of that land, their acts were declared criminal and several were hanged.

Many laws in America are unjust, and many more are executed in an unjust manner. Until we confront this and acknowledge it, we will live in a land plagued with injustice.

Race-based laws reigned supreme in the American South until the federal government developed the will to strip Southern states of their powers to allow the rape, murder, robbery and dehumanization of African Americans. But this was low-hanging fruit. The segregationists and race haters were so disgustingly vile that America could not hold its head up in the global community if it allowed their crimes to continue unchecked. 

Unfortunately, it took tragedies like the murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till for America to stop and reflect on what was happening. But once the low-hanging fruit was plucked and the Ku Klux Klan and segregationists like Alabama Gov. George Wallace were driven back into the shadows, the cancer of white supremacy was left to fester and metastasize throughout the body politic of this nation.

Today, we have the murder of George Floyd, yet another unarmed Black man, by yet another white police officer and there is a new awakening of the American conscience. Floyd’s murder is a clear symptom of the out-of-control cancer of white supremacy in this country. The whole world sees it and their protests let us know that they do not like it.

Americans who claim to be law-and-order advocates can now be asked: What law? What order? What justice? Why do those elected officials who claim to champion law and order go silent when a police officer breaks the law and murders a Black victim?

I do not expect the “law-and-order politicians” to respond to these questions. However, fair-minded Americans should weigh those hypocrites on the scales of justice, and if they find them wanting, remove them from office.

Oscar H. Blayton is a former Marine Corps combat pilot and human rights activist who practices law in Virginia.

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COVID-19 Changes Landscape, Highlights Need for Women in STEM

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The COVID-19 pandemic is having a dramatic impact on healthcare, the global economy, and people’s daily lives. FinTech executive Monica Eaton-Cardone notes that the crisis also underscores the need to encourage women to make careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.

TAMPA BAY, Fla., June 8, 2020 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — The novel coronavirus outbreak that began in Wuhan, China in December has expanded to touch nearly every corner of the globe—bringing with it widespread quarantine requirements and economic distress. As of late May, COVID-19 has caused nearly 350,000 deaths, with approximately 100,000 of them in the United States alone.

With society all but entirely upended, it has left a drastic need to push for more education in fields related to science, technology, engineering, and math—and this presents prime opportunities for women especially, says Monica Eaton-Cardone, an entrepreneur and IT executive specializing in risk management and fraud prevention. “It is very important that we continue to nurture the minds we will need to create our future—particularly those of young women seeking to enter the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,” Eaton-Cardone says.

In a recent study, the Institute of the Future estimated that about 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 have not been invented yet. Whatever these job titles and responsibilities turn out to be, they will mostly be filled by STEM graduates: already today, 75% of the fastest-growing occupations in the U.S. workforce require significant math or science skills.

To fill these positions, notes Eaton-Cardone, the nation will need to better leverage the skill of women, who have historically been underrepresented in STEM fields. While significant progress has been made in healthcare—more than 60% of physicians under the age of 35 in the U.S. are female (5)—women still constitute a small minority of recent graduates in engineering (19.7%) and computer and information science (18.7%). Statistics suggest that underrepresentation is far more significant for women of color— in 2015-2016, of bachelor’s degrees across all STEM fields in the U.S., 5.0% went to Asian women, 2.9% went to black women, and 3.8% went to Latinas.

Improving these numbers and maintaining female participation in fields where it is already high is important not just to the young women who would flourish in such careers, but to society as a whole. As an example, Eaton-Cardone points to the currently headline-grabbing field of epidemiology.

According to a recent survey, a majority of epidemiology students, and about 40% of the nation’s infectious disease doctors, are women. These specialists are essential not only to eventually controlling COVID-19, but to understanding the impact of climate change on the growing incidence in the U.S. of outbreaks of diseases formerly rare or unknown on these shores, such as Ebola, chikungunya, West Nile, and Zika virus.

“Boys and girls demonstrate near-parity in terms of science and mathematics test scores,” says Eaton-Cardone, “which demonstrates that girls have the same capability to perform in tech-related fields but are not pursuing those opportunities. Equity for gender and race in STEM leadership will come from a balance of education and mentoring, and it will not happen until technology is democratized and the economic playing field has leveled.”

Tracey Brame, Civil Rights Expert and Law Professor, Weighs in on Death of George Floyd

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Professor Tracey Brame, civil rights expert

Prior to this weekends protests around the United States over the death of Georg Floyd and others persons of color who have died while in custody of police, WMU-Cooley Associate Dean and Professor Tracey Brame, a civil rights expert,  spoke with media outlets in Michigan regarding the use of force, and shared her personal experiences.

Brame spent several years as a public defender; has spent hundreds of hours on racial justice work in Alabama, where she conducted research, interviewed inmates and their families, and compiled statistics on racial bias in jury selection; and helped prepare arguments to be heard in front of the  US Supreme Court.

While part of a discussion on protests against police use of excessive force on Michigan Public Radio’s Stateside, Brame said, “While laws are in place to protect people from being discriminated against, the law, unfortunately, can’t touch the fundamental problem of the lack of respect that our country still has for people of color, and like George Floyd, are automatically seen as dangerous criminals to be subdued.

“It’s become a cycle and it’ll continue to be that way unless somewhere along the way we can establish a sustainable commitment in being proactive – and not reactive – in improving the state of relations between people in the country and the state of being of African Americans.”

During an interview with FOX 17 in Grand Rapids, Michigan,  Brame said while changes to the law have occurred in the past, it’s going to take a nationwide, systemic and cultural change to prevent things like this from continuing to happen.

“I think the law has done what it’s can to put people of color on equal footing, legally, and to hopefully enforce the rights of every American citizen. But one thing that the law can’t do and that we have to do as citizens is to really address the heart and mind issues. You can say you can’t discriminate against this person because of color but you can’t make someone respect them as a person. I often say, and I think this very deeply that our country in general has a lot of work to do around the issue of race around unpacking our history.”

Links to interviews

Scholarship Named for Departing Trustee Creates Opportunity for African American Students

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A new scholarship named for Florida Polytechnic University Trustee Frank T. Martin is designed to provide more opportunity to African American students and help them achieve their STEM career ambitions.


LAKELAND, Fla., June 4, 2020 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — A new scholarship named for Florida Polytechnic University Trustee Frank T. Martin is designed to provide more opportunity to African American students and help them achieve their STEM career ambitions.

The Frank T. Martin Single Year Scholarship was established through the American Public Transportation Foundation (APTF) and will be available to African American students pursuing a degree in engineering, transportation, computer science, or data analytics. Students will need to attend Florida Poly, Tennessee State University, or Fisk University, a historically black university in Nashville, Tennessee. Martin earned his graduate and undergraduate degrees at the latter two institutions.

“The purpose of this scholarship is for persons of color to have better representation in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields,” Martin said. “It is a way to increase their credentials and become skilled professionals, fully prepared to compete for high-paying jobs.”

Martin has worked tirelessly for decades to improve higher education and public transportation. He is an inaugural Florida Poly Trustee and former member the Florida Board of Governors. Currently, he is the executive director and CEO of the Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority in Birmingham, Alabama, and president of Frank T. Martin Consult, LLC.

Martin has been involved in shaping Florida Poly’s future from its earliest days. And although he ends his tenure on the Board of Trustees on July 15, he is committed to continue making an impact by helping others pursue their educational goals.

“Education is the key to open the door,” said Martin, who previously served on the APTF board and the board of directors of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). “I want to make sure that we provide opportunities for African Americans to get the undergraduate and graduate degrees with the right skills and education they’ll need to succeed.”

Martin said he is proud of his service to the higher education and transportation bodies on which he has served over the years.

“I call it paying civic rent – getting involved in organizations throughout my professional career,” he said. “It’s always been something I’ve done and it’s something that can make a difference within a community.”
Don Wilson, chair of the Florida Poly Board of Trustees, said Martin’s support and contributions to the University’s future are invaluable.

“Frank and I served together as Florida Poly Trustees for eight years and his longstanding commitment to the Board has been tremendous,” Wilson said. “We are deeply grateful for his impactful work for the University, and know his expertise and leadership in education has paved the way for students throughout the state to have better opportunities and future success.”

ATPF is accepting monetary contributions to the Frank T. Martin Single Year Scholarship. Click here to learn more. Interested students can apply here.

SOURCE Florida Polytechnic University

Trooper Vandalism: Still Waiting to Hear from the President

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On June 1, President Trump castigated the nation’s governors for not being “tougher” on the protestors who were throwing rocks at police. “You’ve got to arrest people, you have to track people, you have to put them in jail for 10 years and you’ll never see this stuff again,” Trump said.

It appears, though, that not only did some of the protestors engage in vandalism– law enforcement officers did, too. Mother Jones has published a video collection showing systematically puncturing the tires of every car in a K-Mart parking lot on May 30 and under a highway overpass on May 31. Not one of those cars is believed to have thrown any rocks or broken any windows.

According to the Star Tribune, the persons responsible were members of two law enforcement agencies– state troopers and Anoka County deputy sheriffs– and they can be seen in a video stabbing holes in the sidewalls of the tires. That’s important to note because sidewall punctures can’t be plugged. The tires will have to be replaced. Vandalism (ie., property damage) pure and simple.

Whenever you find bad behavior like this in any institution, you can be sure that the problem is at the top of the hierarchy. Law enforcement officers don’t get to be mean and vindictive– and unlawful– simply because they’re pissed off. Sheriff’s spokesman Bruce Gordon had to admit what the videos showed– law enforcement officers involved in slashing tires– but instead of condemning the clearly illegal activity (destruction of other people’s property), he chose to defend it.

“State Patrol troopers strategically deflated tires […] in order to stop behaviors such as vehicles driving dangerously and at high speeds in and around protesters and law enforcement,” Gordon said.

The vehicles were all parked. Legally. But put that aside for the moment. The justification continued:

“While not a typical tactic, vehicles were being used as dangerous weapons and inhibited our ability to clear areas and keep areas safe where violent protests were occurring.” 

Hmm. I didn’t realize parked cars could be used as dangerous weapons. And does flattening all four tires on every car actually prevent them from being moved (without a tow)? In point of fact, though, the area was never “cleared” by police, making the explanation both disingenuous and self-serving.

This type of “covering up” is what allows law enforcement officers to place themselves above the law, and to negate the rights of those they are hired to protect and serve. It allows police to engage in criminal behavior without fear of retribution. Unless they definitively knew that the cars belonged to criminals who might use them for “getaway,” the troopers’ actions were in fact criminal.

It would be a hard sell for police to claim that Los Angeles documentary and television producer Andrew Kimmel intended to return to his car and then use it as a dangerous weapon. But his tires were also flattened by the uniformed thugs.

I’m waiting on the President to post a tweet to the governor and tell him this type of conduct won’t be tolerated, and that if they do it again they should be put in jail for ten years.

I’m waiting, but I won’t hold my breath.

Reemployment Assistance Update – June 8

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — As of June 7, DEO has paid 1,248,308 claimants a total of $4.6 billion ($4,618,940,050).

PANDEMIC EMERGENCY UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION: The Federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program is now available. This program, offered through the federal CARES Act and administered by DEO, provides up to 13 weeks of benefits to a claimant who has exhausted their Reemployment Assistance benefits.

Floridians will need to apply for PEUC benefits once the balance of their current claim is exhausted. Floridians who have already exhausted their benefits or have a Reemployment Assistance claim that expired after July 1, 2019, will also be able to apply.

Click here for PEUC Application Process. Click here for PEUC Frequently Asked Questions. Click here for COVID-19 Employment Scenarios.  
PANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE: The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program provides unemployment benefits to those that may not otherwise be eligible under Florida’s state Reemployment Assistance program, including independent contractors and individuals who are self-employed. Individuals who have been impacted by COVID-19 and believe they may be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, can visit www.FloridaJobs.org and select “File a Claim” to apply and be considered for PUA. 

ADDITIONAL UPDATES: DEO will be conducting nightly maintenance to the CONNECT system to process claims and payments. CONNECT will be available from 8 a.m. to 7:59 p.m. daily. This schedule does not affect individuals that wish to file a new claim. Individuals can file a new claim 24 hours a day, seven days per week at www.FloridaJobs.org and select “File a Claim.”    

HOW TO APPLY FOR REEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE: DEO has a mobile-friendly online application for individuals filing a new Reemployment Assistance claim available here. For a step by step guide on how to apply read more here. For the Reemployment Assistance Resource Guide which includes frequently asked questions, please click here. For additional information about Reemployment Assistance benefits visit www.FloridaJobs.org/COVID-19.

TGR COMMENTARY: Every Department is a Police Department

By Lucius Gantt

     Almost every day you turn on your radio or television set, local broadcast stations and national news will gather their hand-picked colored commentators to explain to angry protestors why a few bad apple officers are making other law enforcers look really bad.

     To me, a few is at least 30 per cent.

      If there are one million police officers in the United States, there are at least 300,000 racists, white nationalists and white supremacists wearing badges that are deployed into your communities nationwide to do what they want to do to you, handle you how they want to handle you, speak to you how they want to speak to you and kill you if they want to kill you!

      Every governmental department is a “police department”. Every governmental department, every government agency and every governmental commission, every governmental task force and every governmental study group looks at and treats Black citizens and Black taxpayers differently!

     Your city councils and county commissions deal with Black citizens the same way as law enforcers.

    Government employees come from the same labor pools that policemen come from. If ku klux klansmen, skin heads, neo-nazis, boogaloo brothers and other racists are desired on police forces, what makes you think that kind of person never works in public housing, public health, recreation, public utilities and other government departments?

     Do you want to be a “parking lot protestor” that goes to marches to take selfies to post on social media? Do you go to protests to fight the power or to chase the protest cats?

     Regardless of your intent, corporate America will look at you as a trouble maker or a rabble-rouser  who gains popularity in a democracy by exploiting emotions, prejudice, and ignorance to arouse the common people against elites, whipping up the passions of the crowd and shutting down reasoned deliberation.

     Nowadays, the first place businesses go to see who potential employees really are is to look at job applicants’ social media pages. What’s on your profiles?

     If you’re serious about equal rights and justice, you’re not just serious about a protest, you’re serious for life!

     Mr. Floyd, Mr. Garner and others of all races that were murdered by law breaking police officers have said “I can’t breathe!”

     Well, the Black people that live near environmental hazards can’t breathe, the Black people that live near waste treatment facilities can’t breathe and the Black people that live near leaking nuclear power facilities can’t breathe either!

     Black people should be tired as hell of catching hell!

     We should listen to, believe in and follow Black men and women that have a plan for Black American and worldwide Black progress.

      Blacks are protesting worldwide because Blacks are being discriminated, denied, deprived, disgusted, disparaged and disrespected worldwide.

     In my mind, if we want to go forward, we have to go back. I’ll explain that in future columns.

     Young people are repeating quotes they heard when they watched a Malcolm X movie. But they don’t want to repeat Malcolm’s views about Black nationalism and self-determination, they don’t want to reveal and expose modern day house negroes and, in this time of a very important election, young protestors are told not to even dream about repeating the words of Malcolm’s “Ballot or the Bullet” speech.

     If our youth have no desire to seek advice from their American elders that have been freedom fighters all their lives they will continue to be misled, led astray, tricked, trapped, bamboozled and jacked by 2020 cracker jacks who want to give you as little equal rights and justice as they can. So called laws that youth are seeking will be watered down like unsweetened Kool-Aide.

     I’m no prophet. Many of the things I write have been said and written before.

    Read Frantz Fanon’s “Black Skin White Masks, Marcus Garvey’s “The Tragedy of White Injustice” or “Emancipated From Mental Slavery” and other books by Black and African revolutionaries.

     I have a plan for Black progress. Other Blacks have plans. I encourage Black colleges and universities to put together forums or debates that will give our people the opportunity to decide which Black voices are best and what Blacks voices are dull knives, talking loud and saying nothing!

      An army of Black sheep led by a Black panther, can easily defeat an army of white wolves led by a sheepish clown!

         Every department is a “police department” designed to hold you back. Believe that.

TGR COMMENTARY: How to Curtail Police Murders

The Gantt Report, by Lucius Gantt

     Reverend Al Sharpton has announced plans for a march on Washington. The march, planned for August on or near the same date when Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech, will also feature MLK III and reportedly the George Floyd family and other families victimized by police murders and misconduct.

     Sharpton and King may have good intentions, but the proposed march may benefit politicians more than it does victims of law enforcement violence.

     The Gantt Report talked about police training at least 25 years ago and the Negro leaders that you love ignored the TGR message and the columnist that urged the Black community to address the training issue.

      Training remains the main way to fight police misconduct and I’ll get back to that but first let me tell you what the people who say they are fighting for you are up against.

      The Minnesota Attorney General and the lawyers for all the families that have been victimized by police misconduct suggest that it will be hard to try and convict lawless law enforcement officers.

     It is hard but I know why. Let me explain. The politicians you love probably will hate my explanation.

     It’s all about the money!

     The Floyd family and the other families mourning the illegal and wrongful deaths of their loved ones will pay celebrity attorneys to represent them in the “hard” court battles, that will string out for years, but grieving families also contributed to paying the salaries of the policemen that killed their family members.

     The taxes paid by victims of police murders and police misconduct also pays the salaries of the government prosecutors and judges that minimize and/or dismiss the heinous, beastly and devilish actions of law enforcement officers.

     Let me tell you how police misconduct is dealt with by government.

     When a complaint is filed there is always a discussion that takes place that includes the police chief, city or county manager and the government attorneys and they decide how to proceed.

     More often than not, they decide to fight the case. Governments could never pay all of the citizens victimized or mistreated by law enforcers.

     They decide to circle the wagons. Governments will lie to complainants, hide evidence, destroy evidence and delay the release of evidence like police body cam video and audio pertinent to the police murder case.

     The government will quickly approach family lawyers and offer to pay their legal fees if they get families to drop or settle their cases. If that doesn’t work, the government will sweeten the lawyer pot by offering lawyers “risk management” contracts for the family lawyers to work on government legal cases. Some lawyers and their family members are even charged with law violations themselves because they file charges against government.

     The Negro leaders, “movement” leaders and other people news networks pay to speak on your behalf will tell you what they are paid to tell you.

      Your hand-picked leaders say, “We need laws to address police murder and misconduct.”

      Come on! Who are you kidding? There are laws in the books right now against murder that are never enforced when people of color are victimized by police murders and misconduct!

     If you want American and worldwide change in police and government behavior, attack the money! Your government uses your tax dollars to hurt you so why don’t you and the highly paid lawyers you love to hire attack the money of government officials that rubber stamp, parrot and vote to support whatever the police chiefs tell them to support?

     In 1989, in Tallahassee, Florida, I was arrested and charged with Felony Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer. Government lawyers said I beat a police officer so bad the officer had to have neurosurgery for the wounds he suffered.

     If you violently attack a police officer in the presence of other officers, the other officers have the authority to shoot, or kill, you, if you don’t know.

      I was cuffed and transported to the police holding cell for processing. When placed inside the holding cell, I was handcuffed to the cell bars, torture style, with my hands over my head and no one else in the cell was handcuffed at all, just me. Imagine what could have been done to me. The hand cuffing of inmates inside of holding cells doesn’t even happen in Hollywood!

     After about three hours of incarceration, I was “un-arrested”, whatever in the hell that means, and I walked out of the cell and the jail.

     I filed a suit in federal court, but no local lawyer would take my case, so I represented myself, Pro Bono    

     Every day the government filed motions to dismiss my case. Even though I never took a law class in my life, my case went all the way to the jury.

     Why? Because I focused my case on training and federal case law supported my legal approach.

     Lawyers that constantly get million dollar fees will not tell victimized families that elected officials can be held publicly, and personally liable, if they voted to finance police training that trains police officers how to falsely arrest, beat, choke and murder innocent and law abiding citizens.

     If lawyers don’t know the law, they can find it using “Westlaw”, a program that searches cases. I used “Brown vs. the City of Oakland, California, a 1992 case. (Or, search Lucius Gantt vs. Wilton Dozier, the City of Tallahassee, et al)

     Using that case law, I, a person who never read a single law book, was able to bring the Tallahassee Mayor, City Commissioners, Police Chief, Deputy Chief  and other government employees to court and make them testify about the millions of tax payer dollars they voted for to ineffectively, inappropriately and insensitively train police on how to commit and basically cover up police misconduct and police murders.

     Yes, the elected officials in Minnesota, Texas, Georgia, Kentucky and other states all vote to defend police murderers. (I think they spent about $500,000 to fight against little old me but you’ll never know because government will never release how much tax money is used to defend police accused of misconduct.)

     When you start suing politicians for their votes to support police and to defend police misconduct, I promise you there will be fewer votes to defend devilish law enforcement officers!

    African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics and other people of color can change the world by suing governments and elected officials and getting rid of officials that maintain the police status quo.

     You tell me. Why do your political, religious and other leaders tell you to march, pray and sing about justice when everybody knows that tactic has not worked? They tell you to protest but only protest in the way acceptable to the people in power that hate you.

     Think about it. No one needs special laws in America but Black people.

     The Gantt Report has always said, in a capitalist society, capital, or money, is the primary motivating factor.

     The worldwide protests will get a few people a few jobs but it will not change how laws are enforced, it will not change equal access to capital, it will not create affordable housing or better healthcare, we have to fight with strategies that will hurt our exploiters, our oppressors and our racial enemies!

     And, voting for the party you love will not get the results you want. Vote, but vote for elected officials that will vote for you.

     Believe it or not, most State Attorneys and State Prosecutors are Democrats. They are reluctant to prosecute police murders that kill Black men, women or children but you run to the polls to reelect them anyway.

     Too many of the people that disguise themselves as Democrats, in reality, are really Dixiecrats who, behind closed doors, vote to support, defend and finance devilish lawmen with your tax dollars that kill people like George Floyd.

     If you learn, the political game you can win the battle you’re trying to win!

     Let’s consider every strategy instead of relying on the old and failed tactics of the past.

Man accused of human trafficking across several states

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (WPEC) – Derrion Kirby is in jail today accused of trafficking two women across multiple states, including Florida.

According to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded to La Quinta Hotel on Okeechobee Boulevard in West Palm Beach to a complaint that a trafficked 18-year-old woman was being held against her will.

The 30-year-old Kirby was arrested early Saturday morning. He is accused of traveled through several states with at least two female victims, whom he sold to buyers for money. He arranged all the dates and he kept all the money, the sheriff’s office said.

Kirby threatened his victims with violence and withholding their personal documentation as a means of control. He faces two counts of sex trafficking adults and two counts of deriving proceeds of prostitution.

Human trafficking claims victims as young as 8 years of age.

Congressional Black Caucus Leads House and Senate Democrats to Introduce the Justice in Police Act of 2010

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Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass (D-CA), Senators Corey Booker (D-NJ) and Kamala Harris (D-CA), and House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) introduced the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, the first-ever bold, comprehensive approach to hold police accountable, change the culture of law enforcement and build trust between law enforcement and our communities.

Bass said: “What we are witnessing is the birth of a new movement in our country with thousands coming together in every state marching to demand a change that ends police brutality, holds police officers accountable, and calls for transparency. For over 100 years, Black communities in America have sadly been marching against police abuse and calling for the police to protect and serve them as they do others. Today we unveil the Justice in Policing Act, which will establish a bold transformative vision of policing in America. Never again should the world be subjected to witnessing what we saw on the streets in Minnesota with George Floyd.”

What we saw was the brutal, slow killing of an unarmed black man who was lying on the ground completely subdued by three officers, one who was kneeling on his neck. He pleaded with police to just let him stand up. He told them he could not breathe. He begged them: Please. Over and over again, he asked. He bled from his nose. He called for his mother as he must have known he was about to die. Captured on camera for the whole world to see.

As his last breaths left his body, a murderous cop ignored him. Every one of those badge carrying criminals ignored the pleas of the people filming this process of death by asphyxiation, as Derek Chauvin intentionally refused to take his weight off of Floyd’s neck and let him stand up. Police knew he was suffering because he told them so. Over and over again he said so. As he struggled to breathe he begged for his life. But they did not listen, because they did not care. They had no respect for this man’s plight. They had no respect for George Floyd’s life. And so he died. In the street like a dog. Needlessly. Whatever his past transgressions, he did not deserve the treatment he received that day. He posed no threat to anyone. It was murder by cop. Live. Film at 11.

Senator Booker said it’s time to hold law enforcement officers accountable for their lawlessness:

“America has a serious and deadly problem when it comes to the discriminatory and excessive policing of communities of color – and that policing exists within a system that time and again refuses to hold police accountable for their brutality. For too long, this has been accepted as a cruel reality of being black in this country. We are forced to figure out how to keep ourselves safe from law enforcement and we are viewed as a threat to be protected against instead of people worth protecting. And for too long, Congress has failed to act. That ends today with the landmark Justice in Policing Act which, for the first time in history, will take a comprehensive approach to ending police brutality. On the back-end, the bill fixes our federal laws so law enforcement officers are held accountable for egregious misconduct and police abuses are better tracked and reported. And on the front-end, the bill improves police practices and training to prevent these injustices from happening in the first place.”

What has long been needed is an institutional process for exposing and removing police officers who break the laws they are sworn to uphold.  

Senator Harris said this legislative effort is required to begin the process of actually stopping police brutality. Real public safety, she said, requires community trust and police accountability:

“America’s sidewalks are stained with Black blood. In the wake of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor’s murders, we must ask ourselves: how many more times must our families and our communities be put through the trauma of an unarmed Black man or woman’s killing at the hands of the very police who are sworn to protect and serve them? As a career prosecutor and former Attorney General of California, I know that real public safety requires community trust and police accountability. I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this historic legislation that will get our country on a path forward,” Harris said.

The proposed legislation is bold, and if enacted would target actions like those Derek Chauvin used in killing George Floyd, but from the early days of this nation’s troubling division over the issue of black slaves, anti-blacks have repeatedly touted the issue of “state action” and told the Fed it cannot dictate what states do.

Chairman Nadler addressed state action indirectly in his remarks, saying: “We have heard the terrifying words ‘I can’t breathe’ from George Floyd, Eric Garner, and the millions of Americans in the streets calling out for change. For every incident of excessive force that makes headlines, the ugly truth is that there are countless others that we never hear about. This is a systemic problem that requires a comprehensive solution.  I am proud to work in lockstep with the Congressional Black Caucus to craft the Justice in Policing Act. This bold, transformative legislation will finally ban chokeholds at the federal level and incentivize states to do the same, it will help end racial profiling, get weapons of war off our streets, hold police accountable, increase transparency and require and encourage greater use of body cameras. It does all of this while ensuring that our law enforcement agencies adhere to the very highest standards in training, hiring and de-escalation strategies to address systemic racism and bias to change the culture of law enforcement in America and ultimately save lives.”

The Justice in Policing Act of 2020:

  • Prohibits federal, state, and local law enforcement from racial, religious and discriminatory profiling, and mandates training on racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling for all law enforcement.
  • Bans chokeholds, carotid holds and no-knock warrants at the federal level and limits the transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement.
  • Mandates the use of dashboard cameras and body cameras for federal officers and requires state and local law enforcement to use existing federal funds to ensure the use of police body cameras.
  • Establishes a National Police Misconduct Registry to prevent problematic officers who are fired or leave one agency from moving to another jurisdiction without any accountability.
  • Amends federal criminal statute from “willfulness” to a “recklessness” standard to successfully identify and prosecute police misconduct.
  • Reforms qualified immunity so that individuals are not barred from recovering damages when police violate their constitutional rights.
  • Establishes public safety innovation grants for community-based organizations to create local commissions and task forces to help communities to re-imagine and develop concrete, just and equitable public safety approaches.
  • Creates law enforcement development and training programs to develop best practices and requires the creation of law enforcement accreditation standard recommendations based on President Obama’s Taskforce on 21st Century policing.
  • Requires state and local law enforcement agencies to report use of force data, disaggregated by race, sex, disability, religion, age.
  • Improves the use of pattern and practice investigations at the federal level by granting the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division subpoena power and creates a grant program for state attorneys general to develop authority to conduct independent investigations into problematic police departments.
  • Establishes a Department of Justice task force to coordinate the investigation, prosecution and enforcement efforts of federal, state and local governments in cases related to law enforcement misconduct.

(For a review of court action over the years on the subject of police use of force, see How to Change Lethal Force Rules for Police, by Austin Sarat, associate provost and associate dean of the faculty and William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science at Amherst College.)

The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 has the support of a broad coalition of civil rights organizations including: Demand Progress, Lawyers’ Committee For Civil Rights Under Law, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, National Action Network, National African American Clergy Network, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP), Black Millennial Convention, and the National Urban League.

“The National African American Clergy Network supports the Justice in Policing Bill. It affirms sacred scripture that everyone is created in the image of God and deserves to be protected by police sworn to value and safeguard all lives. Failure by police to uphold this sacred trust with Black Americans’ lives, requires systemic changes in policing nationwide,” said Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, Dr. Otis Moss, Jr., Dr. T. DeWitt Smith, Jr., Co-Conveners, The National African American Clergy Network (NAACN).

“It’s time to close the chapter on a dark era of unchecked police violence in our country that has wreaked havoc on African American families across the country. The Justice in Policing Act is historic and long overdue legislation that will put our country on a path to reform.  This Act is responsive to many of the urgent demands being pressed for by our communities and by the people protesting for racial justice and equity across our nation. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law commends the Congressional Black Caucus for their leadership on policing reform and this critical legislation, including Chair Karen Bass, Senator Cory Booker and Senator Kamala Harris,” said Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

“Sometimes difficult circumstances present a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring about historic change,” said Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League. “The brutal actions of police in George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, along with botched execution of a no-knock warrant that killed Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and the brazen vigilante execution of Ahmaud Arbery in Glynn County, Georgia, have pushed the nation to the tipping point.”

“For the past four-plus centuries, Black people have continuously been made to endure unfair, unjust, and inhumane treatment in this country. We have been made to believe in that if we worked hard, never complained, and accepted what the world offered that would be enough. What the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others have taught us is that obedience will never be enough; liberty and justice for all applies to everyone but us; and by us, we mean Black Americans, African Americans, Afro-Americans, or plainly put, Black people,” said Waikinya J.S.Clanton, MBA Black Millennial Convention.

Full text of the legislation is available here.

A section-by-section summary of the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 is available here.

In addition to Bass and Nadler, co-sponsors of the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 in the House of Representatives are Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), John Lewis (D-GA), Alma Adams (D-NC), Pete Aguilar (D-CA), Colin Allred (D-TX), Nanette Barragán (D-CA), Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Ami Bera (D-CA), Don Beyer (D-VA), Sanford D.Bishop, Jr. (D-GA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Brendan Boyle (D-PA), Anthony G. Brown (D-MD), Julia Brownley (D-CA), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Andre Carson (D-IN), Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Kathy Castor (D-FL), Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Judy Chu (D-CA), David N. Cicilline (D-RI), Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY), Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Joe Courtney (D-CT), J. Luis Correa (D-CA), Jason Crow (D-CO), Danny K. Davi (D-IL), Susan Davis (D-CA), Madeleine Dean (D-PA), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Antonio Delgado (D-NY), Val B. Demings (D-FL), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Mike Doyle (D-PA), Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Veronia Escobar (D-TX), Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Dwight Evans (D-PA), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Jesús “Chuy” García (D-IL), Sylvia R. García, (D-TX), Al Green (D-TX), Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX), Deb Haaland (D-NM), Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Denny Heck (D-WA), Brian Higgins (D-NY), Steven Horsford (D-NV), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (D-GA), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Bill Keating (D-MA) Mike Kelly (D-PA), Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-MA), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Dan Kildee (D-MI), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Annie Kuster (D-NH), Jim Langevin (D-RI), Brenda L. Lawrence (D-MI), Al Lawson (D-FL), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Nita Lowey (D-NY), Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA), Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Lucy McBath (D-GA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), A. Donald McEachin (D-VA), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), Grace Meng (D-NY), Kweisi Mfume (D-MD), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL), Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA), Richard E. Neal (D-MA), Joe Neguse (D-CO), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ),  Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Scott Peters (D-CA), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Stacey E. Plaskett (D-V.I.), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), David E. Price (D-NC), Jamie Raskin, (D-MD), Cedric L. Richmond (D-LA), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Bobby L. Rush (D-IL), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Linda Sánchez (D-CA), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Bradley Scott Schneider (D-IL), Bobby Scott (D-VA), David Scott (D-GA), Jose Serrano (D-NY), Terri Sewell (D-AL), Donna Shalala (D-FL), Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Adam Smith (D-WA), Greg Stanton (D-AZ), Tom Suozzi (D-NY), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Mark Takano (D-CA), Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Dina Titus (D-NV), Rashinda Tlaib (D-MI), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Norma Torres (D-CA), Lori Trahan (D-MA), David Trone (D-MD), Lauren Underwood (D-IL), Marc Veasey (D-TX), Filemon Vela (D-TX), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Peter Welch (D-VT), Frederica Wilson (D-FL) and John Yarmuth (D-KY).

In addition to Booker and Harris, co-sponsors of the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 in the Senate are Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Carper (D-DE), Bob Casey (D-PA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tom Udall (D-NM), Mark Warner (D-VA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).