B. Dolan of Providence Rhode Island is one of those cats who you can always count on to not only speak truth to power but back up his words with impactful and thoughtful actions. Him and his partner Sage Francis in addition to putting out dope music, also founded a great website called Knowmore.org which helps raise consumer awareness and shine light on various movements that are pushing back on the increasing encroachment of corporations that undermine democracy, workers rights and human rights. It’s a great resource and folks are encouraged to check it HERE
About a year or so ago, B.Dolan decided to put out a video to a song that came out of his concern repressive actions of the police during the Oscar Grant Movement in Oakland. The cut was a remake of NWA‘s classic song ‘F– Tha Police’. This new one was called ‘Film Tha Police‘. Featured on the song are rappers Toki Wright of the Rhymesayers, Jasiri X out of Pittsburgh who is with One Hood and Sage Francis.
At the time Dolan thought it was incredibly important that more people do what was done around the tragic Oscar Grant shooting in terms of documenting police abuse with cameras. What he didn’t realize at the time was police all over the country were attacking and brutalizing citizens who they saw filming them. The night that Oscar Grant was murdered in front of hundreds on the Fruitvale BART station Jan 1 2009, cops stormed the trains and snatched as many cell phones as they could, claiming they needed them for evidence. To this day many have yet to get their phones or pictures back.
Dolan also wasn’t aware that when he did the video that the police had gone into overdrive and pushed to get laws passed that borrowed on antiquated wiretapping/eavesdropping laws which made it illegal to film the police in certain states.. In places like Illinois, people caught filming the police could get up to 15 years in jail. That’s right you read that correctly 15 years in jail. This had a chilling effect especially amongst those who were involving themselves in the Occupy Movements where incidents of police brutality was heightened and happening daily.
Earlier this week the United States Supreme Court decided not to weigh in on case that dealt with this issue. The justices decided to let stand a lesser ruling that took place in the 7th Circuit court that allows citizens in the state of Illinois to record police officers performing their official duties.
In the 7th circuit court the ruling read as follows; “The Illinois eavesdropping statue restricts a medium of expression commonly used for the preservation and communication of information and ideas, thus triggering First Amendment scrutiny” and that the “statute restricts far more speech than necessary to protect legitimate privacy interests,”
We talked with B.Dolan about this latest ruling and he expressed satisfaction. He noted that its a big victory for communities who are subjected to police abuse to have a powerful tool like their cameras. He also noted there are more steps we need to case to once and for all eradicate police brutality. Below is our interview B.Dolan expounds upon his feelings around this ruling. He also talks about the making of the video and what it entailed.
Dolan also talks about the racial dynamics of police brutality and how what was experienced during Occupy Movement at the hands of the police sent a clear message that anyone opposing the system in any form or fashion will be opposed by the state. The police are lackeys for the state.
We ended our interview by talking about crucial next steps as well as the new project B. Dolan has been doing around the plight of CeCe McDonald a Transgender women who is currently serving jail time for defending herself against a hate crime and attack.. You can get more info on Free CeCe McDonald campaign by clicking HERE
You can peep our interview w/ B.Dolan by clicking the link below
Which Side Are You On? CeCe McDonald