An Open Letter to RZA Claps Back at his Hurtful Remarks

Recently Wu-Tang founder and leader RZA stirred up a lot of controversy when he made some off-color remarks that suggested Black youth were victims to police terrorism because they dressed wrong. He asserted sagging pants and street gear should be replaced with nice suits to avoid police harassment. Rza also shouted out the police, said he always wanted to be a cop and concluded that ‘All Lives Matter’.. You can read his remarks HERE..

In response to RZA’s remarks was this powerful open letter penned by Demetrius Clayborne who tactfully reminded RZA how flawed hsi remarks were. He also reminded him of Wu-Tang’s unique role played over the years  influencing people and their style of dress..Read the letter below

Black man hung with suitDear #Rza,

Peace to the God. I come in the name of All Powerful Allah. I had the pleasure of meeting you in 2012 during the “Man With The Iron Fist” Tour in Detroit; I was one of the individuals responsible for promoting your event.

With all due respect, I must say that I was very disturbed by your comments in regards to black youth and their choice of style/dress as it relates to police brutality. A man of your intelligence and experience can’t possibly think that the way our youth dress will change how they are perceived by law enforcement. Surely you must know that logic only applies to the workforce, and even then it isn’t full proof.

How can you make such statements when in the 90s you, Power, and your associates fed us Wu Wear; making millions as we ate it religiously. Hoodies, denim, shoes, t-shirts, colorful button ups with bees on them and countless other ‘street’ and ‘hip hop’ fashion came directly from the Wu brand; your brand. You never sold us suits nor told us to button our shirts up because that was not the brand you were selling. I get the concept of growth and development however you should be careful in the words you choose to convey the message of your newfound understanding. Wu-Tang Clan helped born a generation of army fatigue wearing, hoodie rocking, Timberland boots sporting, hip hop lovers who never stepped foot on New York City soil; and now you condemn the product of the same people you helped create?

RZA

RZA

Brother we grew up and had children of our own and guess what…we played YOUR music for them. We showed them YOUR videos. Why? Because you were one of the few who weren’t sending negative messages to us so we knew it was safe for our children. Now you are telling us that the same image you advocated and made you the wealthy man that you are today is contributing to the rise in police brutality and senseless black death? Well if that’s true then you too my brother are directly responsible for the murder of our lost young brothers and sisters.

You cannot play both sides of the fence whenever it is convenient for you and we as black people can no longer have an open door policy for people who get rich and famous then switch channels on us. With all that being said, I respectfully disagree with you my brother and hope that the negative blowback of your statements forces you to reevaluate them. Besides, most of the slave and free blacks that hung from trees were well dressed or wearing suits. So I must ask you, why were they murdered?

Peace God, your brother in mathematics,

All Powerful Allah

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CE3hb__ylG4

 

 

Political Will To Prosecute Bill Cosby -but Not Killer Cops?

Davey-D-brown-frameSeeing how newly elected Montgomery County, PA  district attorney Kevin Steele with political ambition and hopefully a desire for justice, has gone full throttle to bring charges on comedian Bill Cosby for a sexual assault incident that took place over 12 years ago.

The first go round back in 2005 resulted in the prosecutor at the time, Bruce L. Castor, Jr. saying no charges would be filed against Cosby. At the time there was disappointment but not much fanfare, but over the past couple of years this issue has blown up. Cosby has become a hot topic with close to 50 women accusing him of rape and sexual assault.

After anger boiled over and outrages ensued, veteran DA Castor who many thought was a relatively safe position, found himself challenged by Steele in what would go on to be a contentious election.  His lack of prosecution for Cosby’s alleged crime 12 years ago was a central campaign issue.

Kevin Steele

Kevin Steele

The end result was Steele doing the impossible and beating the incumbent Castor. In keeping his election promise, Steele with less than a day before the statute of limitations ran out, brought charges on Cosby.

Many of us watched as Cosby was brought down to the police station where he posted a million dollar bond and now he’ll be going to trial. The expectation is that Steele will pull no punches to make sure Cosby spends some time behind bars…

What’s the take away from this?  When there is a political will, there is a way

Steele, a staunch Democrat came through and smashed on long time Republican district attorney, Bruce L Castor and let us all know what is possible when folks are on a mission to seek justice.

Now the question before us is when will we see the same political will being applied to all these cases where cops have killed unarmed men, women and children?

When will we see the same vigorous prosecution and push for justice around rogue police?

When will the lack of prosecution of killer cops by a sitting DA become a central theme in an election resulting in folks who are unwilling to prosecute being ousted from office?

Tim J McGinty

Tim J McGinty

What’s the take away from all this? We now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Cleveland DA Tim J McGinty could’ve prosecuted those cops who killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice

We now know that Sonoma County DA Jill Ravitch could’ve really went after killer cop Erick Gelhaus who shot and killed 13-year-old Andy Lopez back in October 2013 as he walked through a field near his house to return a toy gun.

We now know that DAs like: Bob McCulloch in St Louis, Jackie Lacey in LA,  George Gascón in San Francisco, Nancy O’Malley in Oakland, Anita Alvarez in Chicago and who knows maybe even Steele himself, can go after rogue police who kill and terrorize the people they are sworn to protect and serve.  We know the power they have. We know what they are capable of doing when they have political will.

The fact that all the aforementioned DAs are Democrats should also speak loudly to us… protecting women from a serial rapist? Two Thumbs up… Protecting a voting population that supports their party to the tune of 92-96% from killer cops?  Their record or lack thereof speaks for itself….

Where is Kamala Harris on this Mario Woods Killing?

Davey-D-purple-frameIn the wake of last week’s brutal police execution of Mario Woods by San Francisco police in Bayview Hunters Point, many are asking where is California State Attorney General Kamala Harris?

She was elected with the hope and expectation, naive as it may be, that she of all people would be out there weighing in and demanding justice for Mario. The hope and expectation was not only would she be sympathetic, but legislatively effective and politically impactful to issues of concern from the communities that backed her. In this case the issue front and center for many in California is police terrorism.

Shelly Tatum addressing the capacity crowd at Shipwreck

Shelly Tatum addressing the capacity crowd at Shipwreck

Kamala got her political jump off in the Bayview as was noted last week by her good friend and long time SF activist and promoter Shelly Tatum. He stood before a standing room only crowd of more than 500 people inside the St Paul of the Shipwreck Church and talked about how before anyone really knew who Kamala was, she had reached out to his family for help.

Tatum talked fondly of Harris. He talked about how he saw her go from assistant district attorney in Oakland to two term district attorney of San Francisco of San Francisco to two term state Attorney general of California. She is perched to replace out going US Senator Barbara Boxer. “She was someone to believe in”, he noted.

Gwendolyn Woods

Gwendolyn Woods

Shelly told, Mario’s grieving mother Gwendolyn Woods, what took place was beyond egregious. He added, that he had never asked Kamala for any favors but promised he would personally call her and press her to get involved with this case.

Tatum then turned to the audience and somberly stated: “Kamala, I say this to you. I love you. We love you. Bayview Hunter’s Point, the Black community of San Francisco, helped get you to where you are today… and today, we need you.”

He then asked the capacity crowd to repeat loudly in unison: “Kamala Harris!…. We need you today!”.

Kevin Epps

Kevin Epps

In the days that followed we seen and heard a number of other prominent folks from the Bayview public call for Harris to step up including ‘Straight Outta Hunter’s Point’ film maker Kevin Epps as well as Minister Christopher Muhammad of Mosque 26. He is on widely circulated video calling for Chief Greg Suhr to his face to step down and calling for Kamala Harris to get involved.  Sadly Harris has thus far been pretty much absent from the fight.

https://vimeo.com/148163570

Now in the past, people have given Kamala  Harris a bit of a pass when she was running for State Attorney General where she would replace then outgoing Jerry Brown who is now our governor. People figured they’d hold back and not upset the proverbial apple cart so she could get into the top position and then make moves. Once she became State Attorney General, instead of going hard on police accountability, Harris has been currying favor with police unions.

Here’s a breakdown on this…

THE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN DAs & POLICE

kamala Harris

Kamala Harris

Back in January of this year (2015) during her inauguration Kamala Harris  pledged to do a series of reforms to help restore trust between police and communities of color. She gave the usual line of calling for more sensitivity training, pushing body cameras and insisting on community policing.

She completely sidetracked the main police accountability measure that has been vigorously pushed up and down the state by damn near every organization fighting for police reform which is special prosecutors in cases of police shootings. Folks have been crystal clear, that the day to day relationship local prosecutors have with police puts victims of police terrorism at a severe disadvantage. There’s an inherent conflict of interest.

This conflict was glaring during the Oscar Grant case back in 2009. Many forget that in the beginning Alameda County prosecutor Tom Orloff refused to investigate, much less charge BART cop Johannes Mehersle. I was present when over 100 black ministers, elected leaders and community activists came to his office on the morning of Grant’s funeral and demanded he step up and press charges on Mehersle.

At first Orloff refused to meet, with folks.  Alameda County supervisor Keith Carson convinced him otherwise. He then tried to hand pick two or three people to speak with and that was rejected by the crowd at hand. Finally everyone piled into his conference room where he dragged his feet and made no commitment to go after Grant’s killer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biU2Eza9p50

It was only after intense political pressure both locally and nationally that Orloff finally pressed charges. It was an unusual move but resulted in a conviction. That was the first time that had happened in California history. Mehesrle was due to get 14 years, but the pro-cop judge Robert Perry down in LA where the trial was moved, vacated 10 years, claiming he ‘made a mistake’.

With regards to district attorneys  we’ve seen time and time again from place to place, a reluctance for prosecutors to go after ‘killer cops’. From Ferguson to Staten Island to Cleveland to LA, to Houston to Chicago and beyond, the bonds between cops and DAs are too strong. Their political ties are even stronger.

We saw those strong political ties in Ferguson in the case around Mike Brown and DA Bob McCulloch.  We’ve seen this playing out in Cleveland around the Tamir Rice case with DA Timothy J. McGinty.

THE ANDY LOPEZ CASE

RIP Andy Lopez

Andy Lopez

Here in the Bay Area, we witnessed how the political interests of district attorney Jill Ravitch and Sonoma County sheriffs trounced over justice around the case of Andy Lopez.

For those who are unaware, in October of 2013, 13-year-old Andy Lopez was gunned down in Santa Rosa, California by a Sonoma County deputy sheriff named Erick Gelhaus as he was walking in field to return a toy gun that a friend had left at his home.

The field Andy was walking by was a well known spot where neighborhoods kids frequently do target practice with their pellet guns. It’s the same field where they hold pellet gun and paint ball leagues. In short holding an Airsoft rifle like the one Andy was holding, was not an unusual site in Santa Rosa.

Erick Gelhaus

Erick Gelhaus

Gelhaus upon seeing Lopez claims he thought the gun was real because it didn’t have an orange tip. He drove his patrol car up behind him and told the kid to stop. As Lopez turned around, the officer claimed he ‘feared for his life’ and shot him 7-10 times. Month’s earlier, Deputy Gelhaus had penned an article in a police trade publication instructing officers how they can clear themselves of wrongful shootings especially if it involves toy guns…

The shooting set off 60 days of protests in Santa Rosa, led mostly by Lopez’s middle school classmates who were devastated at the loss of the popular student. It was 54th killing in 10 years in that area with the Brown/Latino community being disproportionately on the receiving end of many of those deaths. They had enough and pushed the for the DA Jill Ravitch to press charges. Initially she stalled on making a decision and then she flat out refused.

Santa Rosa DA Jill Ravitch

Santa Rosa DA Jill Ravitch

It was revealed there was this political relationship between the sheriff and Jill Ravitch, meaning they were both campaigning and pushing for each others respective re-election bids and attending each others fundraisers. In fact the sheriff directly contributed to Ravitch’s campaign…

According to Civil Rights lawyer Jon Melrod who was key organizer around the Justice for Andy Lopez efforts, numerous calls were placed over and over asking for Kamala Harris to intervene. The community called for an independent special prosecutor to eliminate what they perceived as conflict of interest.. Those calls were met with deafening silence.

KAMALA’S  SILENCE GETS POLICE UNION SUPPORT

Kamala HarrisMany figured Kamala who was gearing up for the 2014 re-election was trying to stay above the fray and not piss off California police unions whose endorsement she wanted but did not actually need. Many forget that in her first election, most police unions in Cali got behind her opponent and she still won.

Police were upset with Harris and avoided endorsing her because as San Francisco district attorney she refused to seek the death penalty against David Hill a man from the Bayview who was accused of killing police officer Isaac Espinoza back in 2005. They held that against her in 2010 when she first ran for State Attorney General.  This time as she is running for US Senate, she wanted police union support in hand. This is important to note and here’s why …

Kevin McCarthy

Kevin McCarthy

In January of 2015 around the same time Kamala announced her package of police reform proposals, Sacramento Assemblyman Kevin McCarty proposed bill AB 86 the Peace Officers: Department of Justice: independent Investigation bill. Basically his bill would mandate that the Attorney General’s office would review and handle all police shootings. This is what folks had been fighting for all these years. The California Peace Officers’ Association opposed the bill before it even hit committee.

Kamala side stepped it and by publicly stating she is ‘philosophically disinclined to take away the discretion of local elected officials’. In short,  lets keep the status quo and lets not piss off the police unions.

One month after stating her position the Los Angeles Police Protective League came out and endorsed her bid for US Senate. Many political pundits feel that move derailed any chance of former LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa who was threatening to challenge Harris in her Senatorial bid to jump into the race. Read about that HERE- http://lat.ms/1R9Ukzz

More police unions are expected to line up behind Harris as the latest newspaper headlines detail her opening up campaign offices on Sacramento K Street, the Democratic Party expressing concern that she is spending too much money on her campaign and medical marijuana clubs throwing weight behind her republican opponent because she is distancing herself from them.  What we have not seen or heard publicly is Kamala Harris weigh in the Mario Woods killing. See for yourself HERE- http://bit.ly/1R9UcAf

She hasn’t even weighed in on the recent major 5 part expose by the UK Guardian that shows the most dangerous police department in all the US is located here in Cali’s Kern County. What routinely takes place here is heart wrenching. 13 people have been killed by police in 2015. 79 have been killed since 2005. The expose has been met with stone walled silence Read about that HERE-http://bit.ly/1jO27oa

Robert Murray

Robert Murray

Perhaps we should not be surprised when you consider that Kamala Harris has a rather interesting relationship with law enforcement in that county. Earlier this year Kern County deputy prosecutor Robert Murray admitted to falsifying a confession transcript that he provided to a defense attorney during plea negotiations.

The false confession would’ve sent the defendant away for life. When this false confession was realized, the judge threw out the case and Murray was facing possible suspension from the state bar.

In this particular case,  Kamala Harris did intervene. She stated to the appeals court that the prosecutor’s actions were “not outrageous” and that only physical abuse would warrant the dismissal of the charges. Yes indeed she said that. The courts rejected her arguments. You can read about that HERE- http://bit.ly/1SO2gnK

CONCLUSION

Kamala HarrisKamala Harris in her political ascent has attempted to remain above the frey and absent from some very important fights. Her absence leads one to wonder, what good is it to have Black and Brown faces in high places if they are not going to step in and change the game when the community needs them most?

Harris has the power to change the game right now as state Attorney General, not as US Senator where she has to obtain favorable votes from the majority of 49 other senators to get a bill passed. As AG she can jump into controversial cases where the community is crying out and level the playing field.

When running for her current position, Kamala Harris said she was there to protect the most vulnerable and voiceless people. From Santa Rosa, to Kern County and now the Bayview, vulnerable people are crying out.  We should not forget that vulnerable and voiceless people came out for her big time in 4 major elections. There is no doubt Kamala is expecting folks to come out and generously support her bid for Senate. When will Kamala come out for them is the 64k question?

PS Today Dec 9th 2015, The SFPD Police union has just come out backing the actions of the officers who executed Mario Woods..Will Kamala  back the unions or the people who voted for her??

written by

Davey D

People are urged to call or write to Kamala Harris Let her know the following

The San Francisco Police Department has lost our confidence after the shooting death, recorded on video, of Mario Woods. We demand that California Attorney General Kamala Harris immediately appoint a special prosecutor in this case. The San Francisco Police Department cannot police itself.” How’s that?

Attorney General’s Office
California Department of Justice
Attn: Public Inquiry Unit
P.O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550. Public Inquiry Unit
Voice: (916) 322-3360 or
(Toll-free in California)
(800) 952-5225
Fax: (916) 323-5341.
Email contact form: https://oag.ca.gov/consumers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Opb-LNkFXng

 

Did the Police ‘Fear for their Lives’ in Colorado Springs?

Davey-D-brown-frameToday was a tragic day as a number of innocent people were shot killed and injured at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood. The circumstances surrounding this raises alot of questions..

Earlier this week we saw a video of police in Chicago shooting a 17 year old teen 16 times as walked away from police with a small pocket knife. The incident happened last year in 2014 and was hidden from the public.. The claim was made then and even now via the police union and the lawyer of police officer Jason Van Dyke that he ‘feared for his life’ and hence had no choice but to shoot and kill Laquan McDonald.

Two weeks ago in the city of Oakland, 39 year old Richard Perkins was gunned down by police who were doing paperwork as they investigated sideshow activities. For those who live outside the Bay Area, sideshows are when drivers gather and do illegal maneuver like spins and donuts. On this particular evening, over 200 cars and motorcycles were involved…

Richard Perkins

Richard Perkins

According to Oakland police, Perkins was not involved with the sideshow or wanted for any sort of criminal activity. Nevertheless, OPD says he walked up on 3 rookie officers and a veteran sergeant and pointed his a toy gun at them. The officers said they ‘feared for their lives‘ and shot him dead..They say it was a case of suicide by cops. Witnesses on the scene see it differently. Perkins was the 5th Black man killed by Oakland police this year and the 1000th killed by police nationwide.

demouria HoggEarlier this year Oakland police killed their first civilian in 2 years when they attempted to wake up a sleeping man named Demouria Hogg who was passed out in his car. Police broke a back window and shot bean bags in the back off the car, Hogg remained unresponsive. Instead of waiting it out, OPD who had been on the scene for less than an hour, gathered up more than a dozen officers to swarm the car.

According to OPD, a startled Hogg finally woke up and reached for a gun. Police said they feared for their life and had no choice but to shoot him…

A couple of weeks ago Minneapolis police responded to a domestic violence call involving 24 year old Jamar Clark. According to their reports, Clark interfered with EMT workers trying to help the victim.. Police claimed they feared for their lives when Clark supposedly attempted to grab one of the officer’s gun and thus they shot him. Witness after witness noted that Clark was handcuffed when these fearful police shot him..

Jamar Clark

Jamar Clark

The Clark case is interesting because it led to nightly protest in front of the 4th Ave precinct police station.. In fact people camped out in front of the station. It was here that protesters were confronted by armed white supremacist wearing bullet proof vests who showed up on several occasions to intimidate them. In some instances, the white supremacist live streamed their aggressive antics. The last encounter ended with the white supremacist shooting 5 Black Lives Members protesters who were all unarmed.. The Minneapolis didn’t seem to fear the gun play in front of their door steps when it was white supremacist kicking up dust.. 3 were arrested and lived to tell the tale.

Andy Loipez

Andy Lopez

We can go on and on citing case after case.. From D.J. Henry to Kenneth Chamberlain Sr to Kenneth Harding to 13-year-old Andy Lopez to 12-year-old Tamir Rice to 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley Jones to Yanira Serrano-Garcia to Kayla Moore to Akai Gurley to Alex Nieto to Rekia Boyd…. police in every one of these cases claimed they ‘feared for their lives‘..

Somehow today in Colorado Springs a man named Richard Lewis Dear, who killed 3 people including a police officer and held them off for 6 hours before he was taken away alive and well. How does that happen??

Richard Lewis Dear

Richard Lewis Dear

Am I saying this brutal killer who committed what many feel was an act of terrorism should’ve been killed?? No, what’s being pointed out is that with all resources, training and most importantly, discretion and public trust given to police officers, they can and in many cases find ways to bring in a suspect without unloading their guns, talking about they ‘feared for their lives’…

During the press conference held after his capture,, it was noted that police spent considerable time reaching out, making contact and talking the gunman down. This is what many of us would say is ‘good police work’.

Now the public can see what was behind this act of terror. Was the person an out of control sadistic killer, someone with mental challenges or someone who was part of a larger operation designed to wreck havoc??

Again, here we have man who actually killed a cop and injured several others. He was not playing and clearly intended to kill… Such was not the case in the cases of aforementioned victims of police terror, yet they all wound up dead by highly trained officers with a sadistic police union and complicit, sensationalistic, butt kissing corporate media claiming that the victims were somehow at fault. The reasons given for Black and Brown people being killed by police are:

1-They didn’t follow police instructions. Just listen to the police is the mantra, even when some are mentally challenged and were suffering from episodes related to their mental condition, emotionally distraught or simply couldn’t hear or understand. We know the shooter in Colorado Springs wasn’t listening yet he got to live..

Tory Russell2-They were dressed like a thugs and thus police have lots to fear because of past situations it was hoodie wearing sagging pants wearing, menacing Black males who killed police. Such notions fly in the face of ‘plain as can see’ evidence that year after year shows the overwhelming number of police killed are done at the hands of white men…

In 2014 they were 50 police officers killed nationwide… 26 of those deaths came at the hands of white men including a number of deliberate ambushes. One was racially motivated where white guys sought to kill a Black officer.

Officers were killed 11 times by Black people and 9 times by Latinos, with half of those killings happening in Puerto Rico where the officer shot was also Latino. I looked up each of those cases myself and read the articles around them.. You can look at the various Officer Down Memorial pages which keep tabs on the number of officers killed.

The 50 shot by police is in sharp contrast to the estimated 1100+ people killed by police in 2014 and the 700+ in 2013 (please note this data is gathered from Killedbypolice.com which started tracking police killings in 2013. In 2013, they were only able to track from May-December). It’s estimated that more than 1000 were killed by police in 2013 if you add in the other months.

March to DOJ Carl Dix3-Black Lives Matter and other groups protesting police accountability are creating an anti-cop atmosphere. When you hear such rhetoric, one is supposed to believe gunmen like the one who attacked this Planned Parenthood clinic did so after watching BLM protests. That’s absolute hogwash.

If you search on line you can see there are scores of militia, biker gangs, Anti-authoritarian and white supremacist groups that call for the elimination of police. In fact if you search on line, you can find a tape of avowed racist and Neo-Nazi head Tom Metzger praising the New Black Panther Party and plainly stating that they all share a common enemy-The Police…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCer_VUT_DA

Since we know police are capable of facing the most horrific scenarios from today’s Planned Parenthood shoot out to the recent biker gang massacre and manage to keep suspects alive, then we should push and expect the same treatment when it comes to dealing with people in Black, Brown and poor communities where the acts of aggression are far less dangerous and threatening….

To those who lost their lives today, condolences to their families and may they Rest in Piece..

written by Davey D

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlE4sVeN9CA

70 Arrested at DOJ in St Louis Seeking Justice for Mike Brown

St Louis (08-10-15 ) During the historic march to the Department of Justice in St Louis one year after the killing of Mike Brown, faith and movement leaders read off a list of demands and attempted to deliver them to the DOJ.. Department of Homeland Security police erected barricades and blocked the entrances. Marchers attempted to get by those barriers.. Over 70 people were arrested…

March to DOJ Arrests

DOJ March St Louis

DOJ March St Louis

DOJ March St Louis Neeeeta

DOJ March St Louis Neeta arrest

DOJ March St Louis arrest

DOJ March St Louis arrest

DOJ March st louis sit

doj March riase

doj March ending

Which Side Are You On? REMIX – Rebel Diaz ft. Dead Prez and Rakaa Iriscience

Rebel Diaz

The homies from Rebel Diaz team up with dead prez and Rakaa Iriscience of Dilated Peoples to go in on their hit song Which Side Are You On? Nice intro from the Blastmaster KRS-One..

Hillary Clinton: ‘There Is Something Profoundly Wrong’ In Our Criminal Justice System

Sadly Hillary Clinton seems to be saying more about the situation and Baltimore and police terrorism in general then President Obama… Of course she’s on a mission to win our votes, so there’s no doubt she’s gonna say what she thinks we wanna hear…

The real proof will be seeing what sort of policies she actively and aggressively pushes. What we need to be paying attention to is watching to see if Clinton gets  behind policies that specifically hold police accountable. Hillary_Clinton_official_Secretary_of_State_portrait_cropSource: Hillary Clinton: ‘There Is Something Profoundly Wrong’ In Our Criminal Justice System

Everyone But Us (Sobering Thoughts on Ferguson & Racial Justice )

Lots to think about in the aftermath of the St Louis Grand Jury decision not to indict Darren Wilson.. Racial Justice scholars David J Leanord and J Love Calderon offer up some keen insight and resources to tap into..

Mike BrownThe announcement that the St. Louis Grand Jury’s decision would not indict Darren Wilson was about much more than his potential prosecution; yes, it was yet another reminder of America’s creed, where justice for African Americans remains a dream deferred and where politically, culturally, and morally black lives don’t matter.  “Police violence, a lack of due process, surveillance, presumptions of black guilt, and the absolute devaluation of black life are all everyday business in America,” notes Imani Perry. “The American criminal justice system is so rotten, perhaps it is a fools errand to ever seek justice or fairness from it.”

The stench of white supremacy renders black bodies as inherently suspect and criminal.  At every turn, white supremacy is equally about the protection and the declaration of white innocence.  The announcement was, thus, about the exoneration of Wilson, and the Ferguson police; it is ABOUT affirming the innocence of whiteness. It is about the guilt of everyone but US – yet another exoneration of white America and its rotten system.

Bob McCulloch

Bob McCulloch

The endless assault on Mike Brown’s character continued as Darren Wilson’s defense attorney masking as a prosecutor Bob McCulloch used his platform to further demonize the victim.  As with Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride, and so many others, Brown was transformed from victim to assailant.  According to McCulloch, Brown was “no angel” and therefore Darren Wilson was justified in gunning him down.   The decision not to prosecute Darren Wilson, which was clearly made long before November 24th, is not simply about the “evidence,” the “forensic science” or even the law, but a cultural refusal to see the possibility of black innocence.   As Eric Mann wrote following the George Zimmerman trial, “[d]eep in the white American psyche” rests the controlling belief and script that sees “the impossibility of black innocence.”

The efforts to deny the innocence of Brown and other black victims, in the name of preserving the innocence of the likes of Darren Wilson, of white America, and the nation as a whole is commonplace.  “State violence is always rendered invisible in a world where cops and soldiers are heroes, and what they do is always framed as “security,” protection, and self-defense. Police occupy the streets to protect and serve the citizenry from (Black) criminals out of control,” writes Robin D.G. Kelley.  “This is why, in every instance, there is an effort to depict the victim as assailant – Trayvon Martin used the sidewalk as a weapon, Mike Brown used his big body.   A lunge or a glare from a Black person can constitute an imminent threat.”  Irrespective of age, gender, sexuality, class, musical taste, profession or the absence of a belt resulting in sagging pants, black victimhood remains illegible in the dominant white imagination.

Just this week, less than 24 hours after the announcement a 12-year old black child was shot dead by a Cleveland police officer.  Playing while black. The fact that he, like thousands of white children, was holding a TOY gun is irrelevant since last we checked none of them were shot multiple times – if the toy gun is the problem, there are plenty of toy companies that deserve our outrage.

Tamir Rice

Tamir Rice

In response, the media did what it does best: criminalized and demonizes the boy and his family. Cleveland.com published a piece that seemingly justified his death since his mom was on probation.  Noting that, “Lawyer representing Tamir Rice‘s family defended boy’s mom in drug trafficking case” and that this was not her only conviction, the article makes clear that the public should feel little remorse.  In fact, the piece seemingly blames Rice for inviting his death.  According to a psychology professor quoted in the article: “Growing up in such an environment can be confusing for a young person, They could have questions about how to react in certain situations …or how to react to police depending on what their previous interactions with law enforcement have been like.” Beyond its simplicity and irrelevance, not too mention its racist trafficking in culture of poverty narratives, the endless effort to exonerate white America through criminalizing and demonizing black bodies highlights the entrenched danger in anti-black racism.

As well, we have been struck by how much of the media response & political discourse is intent on demonizing & shaming black rage. Rather than hear the anger, to examine the expressions of rage as a mirror into the pathologies of anti-black racism and the unfulfilled promises of racial justice, there has been an effort to contain and silence.  In fact, what has become commonplace within the media, and from the political establishment is to focus on “looting” and property damage as the only story.  There have been demonstrations and protests that have taken many forms, yet those are in most cases invisibilized.  Instead, it has become yet another moment to depict the black community as “criminal,” as “savage,” and as THE problem.  This requires not only ignoring the activism, the organizing, the 100 days of action, the Black Life Matters rides, and countless more, but in delegitimizing the political expressions evident in looking.  In a culture that seemingly ignores white riots as (“kids being kids” or “black Friday”) and that seeks to understand and explain white behavior, there has been little effort to hear and listen to the statements emanating from the streets of Ferguson. As Martin Luther King Jr. noted, “A riot, is the language of the unheard.”   The question is are WE listening.

John Crawford

John Crawford III

It is telling that neither the “accepted” forms of protest nor those deemed as “unproductive” or “simply criminal” have been seen or heard.  It is telling that there has been more focus on a few burned down buildings, and not the killings of Eric Garner, Ezel Ford, Kajieme Powell, Vonderitt D. Meyers, Jr., Akai Gurley, John Crawford III, Cary Ball Jr. Aura Rain Rosser, Renisha McBride and Tamir Rice.  It’s telling that President Barack Obama, Governor Jay Nixon, Fox and CNN, and countless on social media are more concerned with broken glass than shattered lives.  It’s telling that on the day the verdict was announced Marissa Alexander reached a plea deal for defending herself against abuse, just days after Rice and Gurley were killed, that on the anniversary of the killing of Sean Bell, in the aftermath of Grant, Diallo, Morrison, Martin, and so many more, the national conversation fixates on Brown’s size, allegedly stolen cigarillos and some rioting.

It is telling that Bob McCulloch spent much of his press conference to blame social media and activists for standing in the way of truth and justice.  “The 24-hours news cycle and its insatiable appetite for any and everything to talk about, following closely behind were the nonstop rumors on social media.”  Yet again, we are told that the problem isn’t anti-black racism, white supremacy, racial profiling, hyper policing within inner city communities, and implicit bias, but political correctness and misinformation fueled by social media. McCulloch, unwilling and unable to hold himself (and a racist system) accountable, turned the focus on everyone but US.  Celebrating a system as one of “rules,” “fairness” and “process” requires imagining black bodies as inherently criminal and characterizing outrage and protest as irrational. Resembling the ways that discourses around race invariably blame black America for “playing the race card” and inserting race, McCulloch and friends ability to deny the racial meaning at the core of Ferguson and deflect through scapegoating everyone else is a sobering reminder of the insidious realities of American racism.

Ferguson ProtestsIn the face of daily injustices, police violence, and a system unwilling and unable to be accountable, primarily black activists and organizers have stood up to say #enough. “Waiting for this [decision] is the ritual of black life in America: dying, grieving, fighting, demanding, mourning, mounting protests, hoping, voting, being disenfranchised, shot at and dying again,” notes Salamishah Tillet.  “Right now, I am wondering how to stop a cycle that African-Americans neither created nor condone and how far from freedom we still remain. This has not been a ritual for white America; yet another privilege, yet another reminder of how the entire system says and shows that white life matters.  Yet, White America, as a whole, has been both silence and absence

What matters in this moment, in this new verdict but very very old reality is taking a stand, raising your voice, and being in consistent, organized action. There are many different ways to get involved, and some really important grassroots organizations and campaigns who have been on the ground organizing for a very long time. We want, we need, all hands on deck folks.  Do your part, in a way that feels right to your spirit and your ideals.  Here are just some ideas to get you connected. The more that THIS conversation of racial justice becomes THE conversation we can impact the dominant narrative, create culture shifts, break down systemic / institutionalized racism, and build a new day…..we must fight, ‘til the white day is done.

Stand up for what’s right
JLove and David

See, Judge, ACT for Racial Justice:

URGENT ACTION MONDAY DECEMBER 1ST !
Monday: Mass Walkout #HandsUpWalkOut -#FergusonAction is asking you and your organizations to support a mass walk out on Monday at 12:01pm—the time that Mike Brown was murdered. Folks can put their hands up as they leave their job, schools or wherever they are and gather together. Please share widely on social media using #HandsUpWalkOut.  Click here for an image to share.

The request from Ferguson is for ongoing actions at the Department of Justice and Us Attorneys Offices this week (ideally by Thursday). We are still identifying point people across the country. For more information and / or to volunteer please email: info@showingupforracialjustice.org

Identify the location and time for your action.

For US Attorneys’ offices near you, look here:  http://www.justice.gov/usao/districts/
For a list of DOJ buildings, look here: http://www.justice.gov/crs/about-crs/regional-and-field-offices 
If there is not a DOJ location in your city, please consider a location that represents the systemic issues we are trying to address. Some other locations include local police stations, city halls, and state capitol buildings. Even if your action is already planned for a different location, consider if you can march to an appropriate target.

Other Organizations, Responses, & Actions!

Showing up for Racial Justice

Sankofa

Which side are you on? A SURJ response to the Grand Jury In Ferguson

African Voices

Black Youth Project

Dream Defenders

Blackout for Human Rights

Ferguson Action 

Organization of Black Struggle

Black Life Matters

Ferguson Defense Fund

Youth Justice Coalition

DRUM NYC

Color of Change

Ferguson Next

About the Authors
David J Leonard is a professor in the Department of Critical Culture, Gender, and Race at Washington State University. http://drdavidjleonard.com/
JLove Calderón is a conscious media maker, social entrepreneur, author and member of SURJ. www.jlovecalderon.com

Police Terror: Cop Pimps Wife..Others Beat Man to Death..Terrorize Witnesses

Police are doing Big Pimping in Baltimore

Police are doing Big Pimping in Baltimore

Woke up this morning to news about a Baltimore police officer being arrested for pimping his wife..Yep you read that correctly, an officer sworn to uphold the law was running around pimping his wife..

According to local reports..Lamin Manneh is the officer accused of the crime.. His wife, Marissa Braun-Manneh was busted for soliciting an undercover cop working the Human trafficking division.

 Marissa Braun-Manneh gives him her money and he drives her from “date-to-date,” according to court records. She also said that he posts the online ads using his credit card. Police said Manneh acknowledged his role in an interview with detectives, records show.Elena Russo, a state police spokeswoman, said both husband and wife were charged because they appeared to be “working as a team.”Manneh, of the 2400 block of Marbourne Ave. in Baltimore, is an officer assigned to the Baltimore Police Department’s Eastern District. State police said he was suspended without pay and that the city police internal affairs would investigate.”This allegation is a disgrace and embarrassment to every member — both current and retired — who serve with the Baltimore Police Department,” Baltimore’s Deputy Police Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez said in a statement.

Kern County copsWhile all this is going on in Baltimore, 3000 miles away in Kern County California, 8 sheriff deputies beat a man to death in front of multiple people and then ran around confiscating cell phones and terrorizing those who witnesses the tragedy. Some say they fear for the lives. Others have been arrested on trumped up charges.. The video below explains the horrific beating of David Silva.

Folks should keep in mind Kern County is where sheriff deputies killed unarmed former NFL player David Lee Turner back in 2011.. A lot of horrible things go on in that part of the country with the police and courts.. If you get a ticket in Kern County there’s a good chance you may wind up going to jail… That is no joke.. Folks not only need to be warned, but a serious purging and investigation needs to take place..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uyd_NldNSiM

If folks think this is out of the ordinary..Here’s a report of another man being beaten to death in Southern Cali.. This took place in Fullerton

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=178sYI8gtrc

Last year in Northern Cali..home of the liberal Bay Area, we had  a number of police terrorism incidents. The most notable involved Alan Bluford who was shot by a former New York City cop who had a lots of complaints on NYPD and moved to cali where those records remained hidden from the public..  He stood over Bluford and shot him as he begged for his life.. The officer than shot himself and liedd about being in a shootout.. he was busted on that lie, but never suspended and still works the beat..

Not too long afterwards we had this incident in Vallejo.. which is North of San Francisco.. They had a record 8 people killed by police last year.. Here’s one as described by the sister of the victim…

Mario Mario Romero was murdered in front of his on September 2, 2012 by Vallejo Police officer Dustin Brent Joseph as he waited for someone to open the front door, not because he was going in right away but because he was letting his brother -inlaw out of the car and was going around the corner to pick up his daughter and wife who were at her mothers. a call was placed inside of the house and one of his sisters came outside and hid on the side of the house attempting to scare them but in the moments from the phone call and her getting outside and hiding Mario’s car was illuminated with a police light and to officers hopping out of their car both beginning the sentence “put your hands up” but only one officer completing the sentence and the other firing his weapon repeatedy and at one point hopping onto the hood of Mario’s car and continuing to unload his weapon as family members and neighbors knowing the character of the men inside of the car pleaded for them to stop shooting.

Mario Romero was shot at 30+ times in his face, his mouth, his hands, his wrists, under his arm and in his chest. He was also mutilated by the knife that was used to cut him out of his seatbelt by the officer who killed him. his body was drug onto the ground and his corpse was arrested, ziptied and removed from the scene of the crime. Officers then held Mario’s family hostage in their home for hour as they shined bright lights through the windows to prevent them from seeing officers plant a gun inside of Mario’s car and steal his seatbelt.

Officers then told people who questioned what happened that it was a drive by shooting. Vallejo Police changed their stories multiple times. first saying that Mario jumped out of his car when approached by police and aimed a fake gun at them then hid behind his car door firing his weapon, the second story was that Mario got out of his car and a handgun could be seen in his waistband which caused officers to fire. The press conference held by Police chief kriens has the police chief stating that Mario pulled a fake gun on officers because he was on parole and afraid of going back to prison, however Mario Had never been to prison nor had he ever been on Parole. Mario’s Car door was broken as well as his seat belt. His seat belt was tied in a knot because he was afraid of getting a ticket and his car door had to be opened from the outside. Vallejo Corporal Stanly Eng was witnessed planting the gun inside of Mario’s car as well as stealing Mario’s seat belt before investigators arrived on the scene. Mario’s body was held and hidden for a month as an initial request for an independent Autopsy was ignored. Vallejo Police have since constantly harassed and used intimidation tactics to scare Mario’s family from demanding accountability from officials.

I hope this story is something that sparks your interest , I have met with quite a few reporters on this story, these reporters have not mentioned that high number of officer involved shooting in Vallejo nor have they mention that none of the officer involved shootings besides this one included officers reloading their guns without any return fire.

I am pleading to every outlet possible to have this story exposed, I have traveled many miles to tell this story and have learned that the police will lie on a person to make their life seem insignificant and their murder appear justified.

An Oscar Grant supporter talking to a Johannes Mehserle supporter. pt 1

An Oscar Grant supporter talking to a Johannes Mehserle supporter. pt 1

by Ner City

Yesterday Charles posted information regarding a rally in support of Johannes Mehserle in Walnut Creek (In front of the courthouse). 30 minutes later Tiana posted the facebook invite link on my page. I went into the invite and became very upset. Not only did I see that the invite had 25 people within the first 10-15 minutes RSVP’ing but there were a lot of people that had changed their avatar (Main picture) with a photo of Johannes Mehserle and written underneath was “I support Johannes Mehserle”

So, instead of bashing the people, start name calling and all that other non productive bs I decided to think outside of the box and friend request as many of the supporters that I could. Doing that I thought that I would be able to talk to them one on one. Out of the 5-6 people that I requested only one was brave enough to not only accept my friend request but also have a respectful dialog with me about her feelings on the entire Grant/Mehserle situation.

Here is that dialog. PLEASE SEE- This is not a forum to bash Kristin, though we do not agree I do give her credit for even having this dialog with me. I WILL NOT allow any ignorant post on this note. I will not only delete the post but I will also delete you from my friend’s list.

Between You and Kristin********

Kristin ********* July 13 at 4:15pm

hello…and thank you for the friend request. Yes I support Johannes Mehserle….NO I do not think Oscar Grant should have died. I believe it was a tragic accident. One that would not have happened if he had complied with the officers commands. or maybe not have happened if the police had more training…did you know it takes longer to become a barber than a cop?? Thats insane…

I truly do not believe he intended to kill or hard Mr. Grant…only to subdue him. do you really feel in your heart that Johannes wanted him dead? ner city July 13 at 4:32pm

This conversation between us is revolutionary and brave and I appreciate you accepting my request.

To answer your question “Yes”, in my heart I do believe that Johannes Mehserle wanted to shoot Oscar Grant. “Why?” you may ask. Because of the situation he was in. We both agree that the police training is a joke. We also probably agree that a police officer’s job is one of the hardest jobs in the world, who knows what ANY officer would’ve done that night on the Bart platform. But with that little training Mr. Mehserle had it still was training”. Now in the US studies have shown that there were roughly around 39 incidents where an on duty police officer accidently shot a man with his pistol instead of his taser. 38 of the 39 officers tried to save the person’s life that they accidently shot, rode either behind the ambulance or in it to the hospital with the suspect. The 1 out of the 39 that didn’t was Mr. Mehserle. Not only did Mr. Mehserle shot him, but he THEN put handcuffs on a shot man.

Now here’s a question for you, we know that Oscar Grant had a past history with resisting arrest, but did you know that Mehserle not only was kicked out of the school that voted him “Most Huggable” for slapping a Latina woman, but also had incidents before where he tased suspects who either had a weapon, or he thought they had weapons.

I honestly believe that Mehserle not only shot Grant on purpose but he also did it to impress Officer Peroni who is another story and person that should’ve been arrested with Johannes.

Kristin******* July 13 at 4:48pm

My heart is heavy that you feel this way….I truly trukly believe otherwise. I do not know why Mehserle didn’t ride in the ambulance…I do not know if his superiors would have let him. I also believe (as does my sister who has her PHD in Psycology (I can barely spell it) believe he went into a state of shock…Mehserle seemed dazed after to me.

I’m not sure why it matters that Mehserle had tased before….I did NOT know he slapped anyone. 10 years ago my nephew snapped a bra of a girl that had said something smart to him in class, the teacher saw and he was suspended for assault…Assault?? really?? they said it was sexual assualt. But of course I did know Oscar has a past history….

I can imagine with all the jaw flapping in the background and Grant resisting that the situaltion was getting chaotic….I wonder why Peroni (whom I believe has been on the force much longer)

Kristin******** July 13 at 4:51pm

did not step in and help difuse the situation. Why would Mehserle think killing somebody and shooting them in the back no less would impress ANYONE???

I just don’t think anyone would ever think that would be a move that would impress anyone….unless you lived in some scary inbreed ozarks kind of place…. ner city July 13 at 6:33pm

Kristin my heart’s been heavy over this situation for years. You say that Mehserle “went into a state of shock”, correct? Is this before or after he shot Oscar Grant? And if so then what was his state before he shot him?

Was it “Shock” that had Mehserle’s first excuse he thought Oscar was going for a gun changed to “I thought my gun was my taser”? How can you change excuses? Why would you change excuse unless the defense and Mehserle knew that the video clearly showed Oscar’s hands were not reaching for a gun which means that defense would’ve failed miserably.

It is not fair or right to give Mehserle the benefit of the doubt of snapping or going “into a state of shock” but not give those same rights to Oscar. There isn’t any proof that Oscar was one of the people fighting on the train so if a police officer pulls an innocent man off a train for no reason then might the person in “shock” is Oscar Grant? That “shock” would have some people asking “Why are you doing this?”

What about the “shock” you may be in when you have the weight of two men weighing over 250 pounds on top of you?

Now please know that I am not saying Oscar was a saint. I do not know the entire situation but what I do know is that he did not deserve to get tased while he was already held down and really didn’t deserve to be murdered.

Kristin we live in two different worlds within the same state. This is not an insult to your intelligence by any means. I “assume” that you live in a world that believes in the police & the justice system. That police believe and uphold the “Serve & Protect” slogan for their citizens. If anybody breaks the law then they have the right to use necessary force. But the thing is I live in the world where police murder black & Latino men and uses the “I thought he was going for a gun” excuse while hiding behind the ‘Blue Wall’.

Abner Louima, Amadou Diallo, Ayana Jones, Rodney King, Fred Hampton Sr. and the list goes on and on regarding police officers using excessive force and/or murdering men of color.

Kristin, Johannes Merhserle doesn’t deserve your support. What your nephew did cannot compare to what Mehserle did. Did you know that woman he slapped was a teacher? That is why he got kicked out of school, it’s because he slapped a person of authority. After years that same person becomes a police officer.

Kristin******* July 13 at 7:39pm

First of all…I don’t know that he was dazed I just thought he looked dazed…my own opinion. Also, it is my understanding that he did not change his defense…it appears in the video that Oscar is reaching for something in his pocket so Mehserle was going to grab his taser and hopefully subdue him to get the cuffs on.

Im going to give you shock for Oscar as well….but at some point don’t you comply?

I want to make this clear… I SUPPORT JOHANNES MEHSERLE..I am supporting this incident…not a “blue wall” when that happens….I will support otherwise.

Does the Dr. that prescribed Michael Jackson the meds that killed him deserve to be tried for murder? Of course I would want to hear his reasons but I assume it was out of greed..I am sure Michael was paying him top dollar to get the prescriptions he wanted. Do I think the Dr. (or Nurse) that gave the meds to Dennis quaids twins should be tried for attempted murder? well at the end of the day that was an mistake not hing was to be gained from it. Does this analgy make sense?CLearly you are intelligent and I thank you for listening to me…but I feel sadly at the end of the day we are just never going to understand where each other stands.

ner city July 14 at 8:24am

Kristin,

I understand the analogy that you used but honestly it really doesn’t apply here.

And since you have a photo of Johannes Mehserle on your avatar to show your support for him you really should understand/know as much as you can about this man.

These are facts that you should research-

-Mehserle got kicked out of school for slapping his teacher.

-Mehserle did not ride off to the hospital or even try to see if Oscar Grant was ok after he shot him.

– He did not offer his condolences to the family until July 4th in a letter 18 months after the fact and a few days before his verdict was coming down.

-Oscar Grant did not have a weapon.

– His taser is bright yellow and doesn’t have the same amount of safety precautions as his more heavier police pistol.

– Mehserle did change his defense from “I thought that he was reaching for a weapon” to “I thought that I grabbed my taser”.

Now, Kristin we come from and live in two different worlds we both understand that, we probably live two different lifestyles, we probably of two different colors, and maybe even different religions and political stances but there is ONE thing that we both are and that is “Human”. And as a human Kristin ask yourself, would you shot a man and not even check and see if he was alright? Would you cuff him and go on about your way? If you THOUGHT that he was going for his gun but then found out that he was unarmed wouldn’t the “Human” side of you check and see if he was alright? Would the “Human” side of you wait 18 months (just a few days before the verdict was about to be released) to apologize to the Grant family? Even if you thought that you were reaching for your taser, even if you thought he was reaching for a gun would you Kristin wait 18 months? Even if your lawyer told you? That’s not what humans do.

I would not yell “I am Oscar Grant” if I didn’t know as much as I could about this man. I would not make a mistake of supporting a person that didn’t need to be supported, but I honestly feel that you are doing that with Johannes Mehserle. You aren’t really even supporting Johannes Mehserle, more than supporting good police officers (Which I believe they’re out there), but Kristin Johannes is NOT one of the “good guys”.

Even a “Jury of his own peers” convicted him of a criminal act.

Think about it- The trial was moved out of Oakland

No African Americans were on the jury

5-6 jury members had either police officers as friends or family members

And they STILL came back with “Involuntary Manslaughter”. Which I thought was wrong he should’ve at least got manslaughter but even still they thought Johannes committed a criminal act and abused his powers and you’re STILL telling me that you support him?

You still want to have his picture on your avatar? These are the facts not hopes, not beliefs but facts Kristin. You are supporting a criminal. I don’t care if he went into “Shock” he “Snapped” whatever a jury of his peers that didn’t have any bias when convicting him. So in ways it’s an oxymoron because you believe in the justice system with Mehserle but not in the justice system convicting him. Which one is it?

Again how can you support a convicted criminal?

I would like to keep this line of communication open. I would also like for you to create a note on your facebook, tag as many of your friends that support Mehserle and post this dialog between us. Let them see the facts, I will do the same, I will not allow any of my supporters to bash, call you names and I would hope that you can do the same for me because that won’t get us anywhere, I want to promote a dialog between both sides because I too want to believe what you believe (Not in Mehserle but believe in the system) but we both need to clean house and not support injustice. Injustice like rogue cops, or injustice like rogue black men & women that looted stores or commits “Black on black crimes” in my community. Until we both start making these changes these problems will always come around. 4 more police officers will be murdered (Which I don’t support), while people like Oscar Grant will be murdered by criminals like Mehserle.

original story:http://www.facebook.com/notes/ner-city/an-oscar-grant-supporter-talking-to-a-johannes-mehserle-supporter-pt-1/404415966830

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