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August 28, 2014 0

Moving Forward From Ferguson

“His­tory sim­mers beneath the sur­face in more com­mu­ni­ties than just Fer­gu­son,” Attor­ney Gen­eral Eric Holder aptly rec­og­nized dur­ing his visit there. The con­ver­sa­tion about Fer­gu­son can­not start with the death of Michael Brown, a young unarmed black man shot to death by a white police offi­cer.  Though tragic in and of itself, the story goes back much further.ferguson-civil-rights

It is a sad tru­ism that America’s laws—and the peo­ple charged with enforc­ing them—have not always pro­tected com­mu­ni­ties of color.  In the infa­mous Dred Scott case, which orig­i­nated just miles from Fer­gu­son, the Supreme Court shame­fully ruled in 1857 that African Amer­i­cans had “no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”  Though the case served as a cat­a­lyst for the Civil War and the 13th, 14th and 15th Amend­ments rat­i­fied shortly there­after to super­sede the rul­ing, deep-seated racism continued.

Jim Crow laws seg­re­gated soci­ety and rel­e­gated African Amer­i­cans to second-class cit­i­zens. Lynch­ings ter­ror­ized com­mu­ni­ties.  All too often not only did law enforce­ment fail to pro­tect African Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties, but police offi­cers par­tic­i­pated in the lynch mobs.  Dur­ing the Civil Rights Move­ment, now-infamous images cap­tured police offi­cers using dogs, fire hoses and billy clubs against peace­ful protestors.

Since the Civil Rights Move­ment half a cen­tury ago we have worked hard as a nation to move towards a more just and equal soci­ety. We have come a long way, but Fer­gu­son stands as a stark reminder that we still have a long way to go.

In address­ing the cri­sis in Fer­gu­son, the first step must be open and respect­ful dia­logue.  We can­not move for­ward unless and until we face the past.  Part of that dis­cus­sion must be about the role of law enforce­ment and their rela­tion­ship with the com­mu­ni­ties they have sworn to serve and protect.

Since 1999 the Anti-Defamation League, in part­ner­ship with the United States Holo­caust Museum, has con­ducted train­ings for law enforce­ment—from police chiefs and the head of fed­eral agen­cies to recruits and new FBI agents—exploring what hap­pens when police lose sight of the val­ues they swore to uphold and their role as pro­tec­tors of the  peo­ple they serve. By con­trast­ing the con­duct of police in Nazi Ger­many, and the role that law enforce­ment is expected to play in our democ­racy, the pro­gram under­scores the impor­tance of safe­guard­ing con­sti­tu­tional rights, build­ing trust with the peo­ple and com­mu­ni­ties they serve, and the tragic con­se­quences when there is a gap between how law enforce­ment behaves and the core val­ues of the profession.

We know from our work that the vast major­ity of offi­cers care deeply about the com­mu­ni­ties they serve.  But that is not to say police are infal­li­ble.  None of us is.  And there are cer­tainly some within law enforce­ment who engage in mis­con­duct, as is the case in every pro­fes­sion.  But the bad acts of some can­not and do not define law enforcement.

Amer­ica is strongest and safest when there is mutual under­stand­ing and trust between law enforce­ment and com­mu­ni­ties.  We must seek to build those bridges by rec­og­niz­ing our trou­ble­some past, acknowl­edg­ing the prob­lems per­sist­ing today, and com­mit­ting to changes that move us for­ward to a more per­fect union.

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August 15, 2014 5

New Black Panthers Inflame Michael Brown Incident In Missouri

The lead­ers of the New Black Pan­ther Party (NBPP), the largest orga­nized anti-Semitic and racist Black mil­i­tant group in Amer­ica, trav­eled to Fer­gu­son, Mis­souri, inflam­ing the already tense sit­u­a­tion fol­low­ing the fatal shoot­ing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by police.black-panther-nzinga-shabazz-ferguson-missouri

The NBPP’s lead­er­ship, includ­ing Chair­man Hashim Nzinga, Chief of Staff Chawn Kweli, and for­mer Chair­man Malik Zulu Shabazz arrived in Fer­gu­son ear­lier this week and held press con­fer­ences, set up a “field legal office,” and inter­acted with the victim’s fam­ily, pro­test­ers and law enforcement.

State­ments from NBPP lead­ers prior to and dur­ing their pres­ence in Fer­gu­son  have fea­tured calls for vio­lence against police. Shabazz wrote on Face­book yes­ter­day that if the name of the offi­cer who shot Michael Brown is not released, he will release the officer’s name and address to “give the demon­stra­tors a clearer target.”

Kweli posted a state­ment on Face­book on August 10 that read: “IF NEED BE PUT AS MANY AGGRESSORS IN THE COFFINS THEY PICKED OUT FOR YOU IN SELF DEFENSE…IF YOU DIE, DIE LIKE A WARRIOR.”

Nzinga addressed the NBPP on the August 11 online broad­cast of Black Power Radio titled “Mur­der In Mis­souri– Michael Brown And Blood Thirsty Pigs– The Bat­tle Is On!” Nzinga claimed that white Amer­i­cans are com­mit­ting “geno­cide” against Black males: “The Black male is being exterminated…The ones who are not being exter­mi­nated, they’re push­ing them to be gay and fags so they won’t be pro­duc­tive on repro­duc­ing babies. This is about genocide.”

Nzinga injected anti-Semitism into the dis­cus­sion, blam­ing the recent inci­dent on the sup­pos­edly Jewish-controlled media. “Jews’ media and the Jews’ TV, they have made it look like we’re the vil­lains of Amer­ica…” said Nzinga. He also blamed vio­lence in Chicago on Mayor Rahm Emanuel who he described as “a Jew, and that Jew is a mas­ter at propaganda.”

Addi­tion­ally, Nzinga described sup­port the NBPP has received from St. Louis based media and real estate mogul Michael V. Roberts. “Our bil­lion­aire friend Mike Roberts, I’ve been on the phone with him all week. He will be bring­ing us in again,” said Nzinga.

Kweli, the host of the often racist and anti-Semitic Black Power Radio, expressed sim­i­lar sen­ti­ments to Nzinga’son the August 11 broad­cast, describ­ing police actions in the after­math of the shoot­ing in Fer­gu­sonas “state-sponsored ter­ror­ism against our peo­ple” and as “a war.”

In the same broad­cast, Shabazz sug­gested the next tac­tic for police in Fer­gu­son is to set up con­cen­tra­tion camps. “The SWAT team is out and all the plans and the plots of the con­cen­tra­tion camps are out,” he said.

The NBPP com­monly takes on racially-charged issues under the guise of cham­pi­oning civil rights as they also did in the after­math of the Trayvon Mar­tin inci­dent. The group’s demon­stra­tions, con­fer­ences, and other events often blend inflam­ma­tory big­otry with calls for vio­lence, tar­nish­ing its efforts to pro­mote Black pride and consciousness.

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June 25, 2014 0

King Samir Shabazz Said To Be Arrested On “Gun Related Charges”

New Black Pan­ther Party (NBPP) National Field Mar­shall King Samir Shabazz was arrested “on alleged pro­ba­tion vio­la­tions and gun related charges” accord­ing to for­mer NBPP leader Malik Zulu Shabazz.samir-shabazz-arrested-new-black-panther-malik

While the details of his reported arrest are still unclear, Samir Shabazz was pre­vi­ously arrested in June 2013 in New York for car­ry­ing a loaded, unli­censed firearm and ille­gally wear­ing body armor.

In an online radio inter­view on June 17, Shabazz, whose for­mer name is Maruse Heath, announced that on July 5 he would be speak­ing in Char­lotte, North Car­olina, and that he intends to start a Char­lotte chap­ter of the NBPP.

In the same inter­view, Shabazz ranted about the “damn lying bas­tard, the white man,” stat­ing, “I don’t plan on com­mit­ting no damn sui­cide. Damn it, I’m prepar­ing for some homi­cide, on my enemy.”

Such vio­lent rhetoric is noth­ing new for Shabazz, who pub­licly stated that NBPP mem­bers should press their uni­forms so the crease could “cut that cracker’s throat in half and watch his head roll down the street.”

In an August 2012 NBPP online radio broad­cast, he went on a vicious tirade describ­ing white nurs­eries and churches as legit­i­mate tar­gets for bomb­ing stat­ing “You’re going to have to go into the God damn nurs­ery and just throw a damn bomb in the damn nurs­ery and just kill every­thing white in sight that ain’t right,” and “Well we gonna throw a bomb in that God damn church, burn up the cracker, burn up the cracker Jesus, and burn up some cracker white supremacy.”

In 2009, Shabazz was impli­cated in a U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice suit after a voter intim­i­da­tion inci­dent while he was head of the NBPP’s Philadel­phia chap­ter. Addi­tion­ally, he was arrested and released in 2008 for dis­or­derly con­duct after he and oth­ers inter­rupted a rally in Atlantic City.

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