From The Final Call Newspaper

Bullies In Blue: Powerful, unapologetic and angry police unions beating back demands for change

BY BRIAN E. MUHAMMAD STAFF WRITER @GLOBALPEEKS

Since high profile police killings of Blacks sparked national unrest in cities across America, there have been loud demands for overhauling policing and radical change in how law enforcement operates.


According to the watchdog group Mapping Police Violence, 1,098 people were slain by police in 2019. Although Blacks only make up 13 percent of the U.S. population, they were 24 percent of those killed, three times more likely than Whites to have a fatal encounter with law enforcement and more likely to be unarmed.

Now comes a backlash against critics and demands for change as powerful, caustic, and unapologetic police unions and their members strike back. Whether harsh words, political pressure, media campaigns or failure to come to work, the boys in blue aren’t going down without a vicious fight.

“For us to expect them to be accommodating … to recognize and understand, that will be almost like a fool’s paradise,” said Hamid Khan, director of Stop LAPD Spying, a grassroots anti-surveillance watchdog group in Los Angeles.

Much of the desired reform goes diametrically opposite the invested interests of police unions, Mr. Khan reasoned.

Critics say police unions have historically declared war over any firings or arrests of cops for wrongdoing or abusive conduct—and police unions have always flouted calls for accountability.

A reform activist and former police officer told The Final Call infractions have gone unpunished and reform have always been blocked because of the inordinate power and influence of police unions along with a justice system culture that doesn’t convict cops.






“The culture of police has to be addressed; the police unions have to be addressed. It is not going to go away by itself,” said Ron Hampton, retired Washington, D.C., police officer and former executive director of the National Black Police Association.

Mr. Hampton said police unions represent a serious obstacle to change. Unions wield too much influence outside of their scope, which is to protect officers and offer them legal assistance, he said.

“The police union shouldn’t be telling the police department what it can do or what it can’t do,” said Mr. Hampton.

Where an officer does wrong, he is entitled to his day in court and representation, but he is not entitled to be automatically pardoned and not held accountable when wrong, he continued.

“The unions have been an obstacle to the issue of accountability (and) transparency,” said Mr. Hampton, who led a group that has been a leading voice for fair policing and ending systemic racism in police departments.

How unions got powerful

Over the years, there has been a fall in union membership among many professions and industries, but police union membership has not declined, and unions are strong economically. Unions spend millions lobbying local and state governments to make sure officers have major protections and battle anything they see as a threat.

Financial contributions, fears of appearing soft on crime or labeled an enemy of cops often make politicians reluctant to speak strongly against police officers—even when they are wrong.

“Their lobbying goes very deep,” added Mr. Khan. “It’s not only related to the money, but it’s also about messaging and how they’re going to literally make or break political players,” he said.

Through collective bargaining, policies were built in police contracts that allowed a blue impunity where cops became untouchable, said activists and reform advocates.

A legal tool often used is “qualified immunity” which shields cops from personal liability and lawsuits for excessive force and other infractions in the line of duty. The law is a tool lawmakers are debating and some want eliminated as part of police reforms. Critics say the law helps maintain a “hands off police” culture cops have enjoyed and shields them from the consequences of their actions, including killing people.

A mid-June statement from a group of House Democrats, who recently passed a bill calling for police reform at the federal level, said, “It is long past time to remove this arbitrary and unlawful barrier and to ensure police are held accountable when they violate the constitutional rights of the people whom they are meant to serve.”

Out-of-control police are also costly: According to 2019 data, legal claims against police in America’s largest cities cost taxpayers over $300 million. Advocates say money defending police officers and payouts for lawsuits against cities for police abuses don’t come out of police budgets. The money comes from already financially strapped local governments, they note.

“Money for litigating these cases; that’s money out of the city’s coffers,” said Jennvine Wong, staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society’s Cop Accountability Project in New York.

Atty. Wong told The Final Call, through the city budget, taxpayers are also paying the tab of costly settlements in police misconduct cases.

It’s a domino effect where some cities have to borrow money to pay for civil judgments incurred from police wrongdoing on city time.

In addition to litigation and settlements costs, Atty. Wong said many officers are still able to collect six-figure salaries while under suspension or on modified duty—in some cases for years.

“That’s a lot of money … we are throwing at the police and essentially its going into the black hole of misconduct,” Atty. Wong added.

Analysis from the Urban Institute said between 1977 and 2017 the cost of U.S. policing ballooned from $42.3 billion to $114.5 billion per year.

The money spent, brutal and deadly actions for cops and no consequences have helped feed calls to defund police, or take money away from police departments and use it for things like mental health first responders and other approaches that would lessen encounters with cops.

Public perceptions of cops

Polls show a weariness with police behavior and dramatic shifts of opinion about policing and race. An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll found more Americans compared to five years ago believe police brutality is a serious problem that too often goes undisciplined and unequally targets Blacks.

The poll said more than two-thirds of the public agree the criminal justice system needs either major changes or a complete overhaul. Blacks are more likely than Whites to advocate a complete transformation. The poll said overall, 48 percent of Americans say police violence against the public is a serious problem, up from 32 percent in 2015.

That year, only 19 percent of Whites said police violence against civilians was an extreme or serious problem; now 39 percent say the same.

The survey was conducted after weeks of mass anti-police violence protests and calls by politicians and activists to “defund” police departments.

The National Black Police Association said systemic racism within police departments and the devaluing of Black life is the crux of the problem.

“The DNA of law enforcement is to send a message of fear to Black residents that creates a kind of psychological distress,” said Damon K. Jones of the National Black Police Association.

Mr. Jones said Black police professionals spent years demanding legislation and policies for police oversight.

“We recognize the pain of our communities; we are four degrees of separation,” he said in an open statement to elected officials. “We know the victim, we know someone who knows the victim; the victim is a family member, and in many cases even as Black law enforcement, we are the victim.”

What unions are protecting

According to the watchdog group Mapping Police Violence, 1,098 people were slain by police in 2019. Although Blacks only make up 13 percent of the U.S. population, they were 24 percent of those killed, three times more likely than Whites to have a fatal encounter with law enforcement and more likely to be unarmed. Mapping Police Violence also pointed out that 99 percent of killings by police from 2013-2019 have not resulted in officers being charged with a crime.

The low prosecution rate has a lot to do with the influence of police unions and laws that favor police—it is also driving calls for change.

The videotaped death of George Floyd, 46, a Black man who lost his life May 25 in the custody of Minneapolis cops, sparked global outrage. Weeks later an Atlanta officer fatally shot 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks in the back as he ran away in a Wendy’s parking lot. Cops involved in both cases were charged.

In Oregon, an officer lost his job and then returned to work after fatally shooting an unarmed Black man in the back. A Florida sergeant was let go six times for using excessive force and stealing from suspects, while a Texas lieutenant was terminated five times after being accused of striking two women, making threatening calls and committing other infractions, according to the Associated Press.

These officers were fired but rehired after an arbitrator reversed the decision.

This illustrates how police unions stand in the way of accountability, said experts.

“Arbitration inherently undermines police decisions,” said Michael Gennaco, a police reform expert and former federal civil rights prosecutor who specialized in police misconduct cases. “It’s dismaying to see arbitrators regularly putting people back to work,” he told the Associated Press.

“Change must come now,” declared California Democrat Maxine Waters in a June 21 statement after Andres Guardado, 18, was shot by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy.

For weeks, the American people and the world have marched to demand accountability, and an end to aggressive and violent police tactics, said the outspoken Black lawmaker.

“We will not stand for it, whether it is in Atlanta, or like this case, in South Los Angeles,” vowed Rep. Waters.

Union heads and law enforcement defenders blame politicians and government for the social conditions that produce problems. Politicians and city officials talk about reform but have sided with “protesters,” “anarchists,” and “law breakers,” they complain, including President Donald Trump.

Some things have changed recently with cops fired, arrested, and charged with misconduct, such as using an outlawed chokehold in New York and abusing anti-police brutality protestors.

Neither union leaders, nor many cops are happy about the scrutiny.

In Wilmington, N.C., three White cops were fired after being heard over squad car video discussing “slaughtering n****rs” and calling for a new Civil War. Each blamed stress from an “anti-cop” climate as a reason for their “venting.” (See story page 3.)

In Atlanta, many cops refused to come to work and after two officers were charged in the Brooks killing, they called in sick. Philadelphia cops threatened to get the “blue flu” over suspensions of two of their own for abusing demonstrators.

In New York, text messages circulated about an impending NYPD refusal to work on July 4 “to let the city have their independence without cops,” reported the New York Post.

“Over the past few weeks, we have been attacked in the streets, demonized in the media and denigrated by practically every politician in this city,” railed Patrick Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Association, in the article.

Mr. Lynch complained cops were unappreciated and abandoned.

“Now we are facing the possibility of being arrested any time we go out to do our job,” Mr. Lynch said.

Heavy violence in Chicago made national headlines but calls for “blue flu” over the July 4 weekend did not. The local CBS News affiliate reported June 22 “a new push by members of the police union to get officers on the street to stand down—and even stay home.” According to CBS 2, the move started with a text message about the need to send Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the City Council a message. “ ‘The FOP Lodge 7 cannot advocate for it because of the contract,’ the text message reads. But, it adds, ‘individual officers can,’ ” CBS 2 reported. The Fraternal Order of Police president didn’t authorize the move but didn’t necessarily oppose it, CBS 2 added.

“When something stupid like that happens to basically tell officers to abandon their post, that is the height of dereliction of duty,” said Mayor Lightfoot.

But despite the union threats some cities and states, feeling the pressure of protests have changed some policies.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order making N.Y. police disciplinary records public after decades of secrecy.

“We’re not going to be as a state government subsidizing improper police tactics. We’re not doing it,” Gov. Cuomo said. “And this is how we’re going to do it.”

The order also requires the roughly 500 police departments across the Empire State to develop a plan by April 1, 2021 to address systemic racism in their ranks. If a department refuses to comply Gov. Cuomo threatens to strip it of state funding.

“This is a historic win for New York and a long overdue change to the most restrictive police secrecy law in the country,” said Donna Lieberman of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The change was the result of years of work led by families whose loved ones were killed by police and who were routinely rebuffed while trying to find out what the department was doing about holding officers accountable.

Problematic police culture

A blue wall of silence permeates departments where cops look the other way from bad behavior permitting wrongdoing to go unchecked.

This permitted ex-cop Derek Chauvin, who kneeled on the neck of George Floyd for almost nine minutes, to keep working despite an extensive record of complaints spanning 19 years as a cop.

Former College Park, Ga., police chief Ron Fears said that culture dominates and influences cops who “stand by silently,” “do nothing” or even participate in wrongdoing.

“They’re not going to change things until the leadership from the very top says we’re not going to stand for that,” Mr. Fears said. Law enforcement is not there yet, he said.

Asked about Black officers challenging the culture, Mr. Fears wasn’t optimistic. “I think the culture is one where Black officers don’t step out and stand up because if you do, there is a price to pay,” he said.

(Final Call staff contributed to this report.)

From The Final Call Newspaper

Extremists killed Black cop, used anti-brutality protests as a cover, charge federal prosecutors

BY BRYAN 18X CRAWFORD CONTRIBUTING WRITER @ASIATIC 18X


The death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police officers sparked weeks of unrest across America. There were protests, riots and looting from coast-to-coast, and civil disobedience. 



David Patrick Underwood. Photo: MGN Online


The last time America saw nationwide civil unrest of this magnitude was when word got out that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had been murdered in Memphis.

But, the killing of George Floyd and the subsequent outrage was also an opportunity for far-right believers and groups to strike at the United States government. 

Federal prosecutors have charged an active duty military member with killing a Black federal officer at the height of protests, injuring another federal officer and later killing a sheriff’s deputy.

Air Force Staff Sergeant Steven Carrillo, 32, shot and killed 53-year-old David Patrick Underwood, a Federal Protective Service Officer who was working outside the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building, said federal authorities. The officer and his partner, who survived the shooting, were working the same night as anti-brutality demonstrators took to Oakland streets.

Initial speculation was the May 29 killing was tied to the protests. 



Air Force Staff Sergeant Steven Carrillo, 32, shot and killed 53-year-old David Patrick Underwood. Photo: AP/Wide World Photos

Prosecutors say Mr. Carrillo, and his partner, Robert Allen Justus Jr., who served as his getaway driver, committed the deadly acts.

Prosecutors allege both men have ties to the “Boogaloo Boys,” an extremist movement, and used the protests as a cover to strike at the United States government as part of efforts to ignite civil war. They were charged June 16.

The federal government said early on that left wing groups, like Antifa, and right wing groups were looking to wreak havoc during protests. While few proven Antifa connections have surfaced, right wing groups have been discovered in the ranks of demonstrators.

“The Black Lives Matter movement has had a tremendous infusion of a generation of young White folks who have not succumbed to the lie of White supremacy. The lies wear even thinner as the economy tanks,” said Omowale Clay of the New York-based December 12th Movement.

But, he added, “the fact that police know that there is an infiltration of anarchist and terrorists is much more concerning. It makes one think of the covert operations of the CIA and the National Security Agency. History has shown that in our movements, these people appear and we don’t know where they come from.”

Dr. Issa Muhammad, a history professor at Central Florida University told The Final Call, “The Boogaloo Group is an offshoot of the far right militia groups of the 1980s and 1990s. Many of these groups felt and believed that the United States government had become a barrier to the development of ‘Native,’ that is White Americans as a legitimate dominant entity in the nation.”

“The Boogaloo Group—a fringe group of anti-Black and anti-government individuals are interested in creating a civil war within the United States. Boogaloo, because of the dance movie—‘Breaking’ and the main character Boogaloo—they adopted the name. They like Charles Manson of years earlier use a vomit mixture of ideologies and motives to weasel their way into hip hop culture to spread corruption and division for their ultimate gain. Manson called it Helter Skelter.”

Charges filed in Oakland

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers said, “Indiscriminate targeting of law enforcement officers by those motivated by violent extremism of any stripe is contrary to our nation’s values and undermines the powerful message of peaceful protestors.” 

FBI San Francisco Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett said, “While we cannot bring Officer Pat Underwood and Sergeant Damon Gutzwiller back, we can hold those responsible for taking them from us accountable.”

Sgt. Gutzwiller was a local deputy who was killed June 6 as federal agents moved in on Mr. Carrillo, who was eventually shot and taken into custody, said prosecutors. 

The killing of Off. Underwood set off an eight-day manhunt that came to a crescendo after a witness reported an abandoned white Ford van in Ben Lomond, Calif, said authorities. 

“The van reportedly contained what appeared to be ammunition, firearms, and bomb-making equipment and an effort apparently was made to alter the van’s appearance with spray paint and a wheel covering to disguise a missing hubcap. Nevertheless, evidence from the van, led deputies from the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office to Carrillo’s residence in Ben Lomond. There, Carrillo allegedly opened fire on the deputies when they arrived at his property, killing one deputy and injuring a second. During the attack there was also an explosion on the property.”

Federal authorities said Mr. Carrillo was shot, fled initially on foot, and then carjacked a vehicle. “The chase came to an end when, still bleeding from his hip, Carrillo was taken into custody,” they said.

Recovered from Mr. Carrillo’s Ben Lomond residence were an AR-15-style short-barreled rifle fitted with a binary trigger that fired one round of 9mm ammunition at the pull of the trigger and another round at the release of the trigger, said authorities. 



Observers say opportunists have used the pain and suffering of Blacks to push their own agendas. Many fear any political or economic windfalls will bypass Black businesses and communities heavily damaged during the George Floyd protests. Photo: MGN Online

“The rifle was fitted with a silencer that suppressed the sound of gunfire from the rifle. In addition, Carrillo appears to have used his own blood to write various phrases on the hood of the car that he carjacked. The phrases relate to an extremist ideology that promotes inciting a violent uprising through use of militias,” said federal authorities.

Cell phone records tie him to Mr. Justus, who he communicated with in days leading up to the drive-by shooting in Oakland, they said.

Mr. Justus later surrendered to the FBI in San Francisco, authorities added. 

The case is being prosecuted by United States Attorney for the Northern District of California David Anderson and the Oakland Branch of the Office of the United States Attorney with assistance from the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

George Floyd was killed on May 25, which was Memorial Day. The following day, protests began in Minneapolis, and 48 hours later, much of the country was expressing their outrage over video showing the eight minutes and 46 seconds that former officer Derek Chauvin spent with his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck. 

Mr. Carrillo is not alone in being accused of committing violent acts against law enforcement. 

In South Carolina, 22-year-old Kevin Ackley was arrested and subsequently fired from his job as an EMS worker, when police said he’d thrown a bottle of water at police during protests in his area. When he was taken into custody, police allegedly found articles of clothing and other paraphernalia associated with the Boogaloo Boys movement in his home. 

In Columbia, S.C., 24-year-old Joshua Bernard was arrested, and like Mr. Ackley, was charged with inciting a riot and aggravated breach of peace. 

In Texas, 37-year-old Aaron Swenson was arrested and charged with making a terroristic threat against a peace officer when he went on Facebook Live and said that he planned on ambushing and murdering a police officer, and was in his truck, “hunting for red and blue lights.”

In Las Vegas, three men, all with U.S. military experience, and with alleged ties to the Boogaloo Boys, were arrested. They are accused of planning to use Molotov cocktails to firebomb businesses during protests in the area.

Andrew T. Lynam Jr., 23, Stephen T. Parshall, 35, and William L. Loomis, 40, all face federal charges of conspiracy to damage and destroy by fire and explosive, and possession of unregistered firearms. Mr. Lynam is in the Army Reserves, Mr. Pashall had enlisted in the Navy, and Mr. Loomis was in the Air Force. 

“White supremacists feel the government is taking away their freedoms. This is why many of these groups now advocate for state’s rights,” Tariq Nasheed, noted filmmaker, author and social justice advocate, told The Final Call. 

“The Boogaloo Boys is just another incarnation of the alt-right. It’s like a younger version of the Ku Klux Klan. And what they do is include a lot of these Latinos who identify as White, and Asians who also align themselves with Whites. They communicate on websites like 4chan, and they’re planning on trying to start a second civil war.” 

“They walk around with Hawaiian print shirts to identify each other,” explained Mr. Nasheed. “They’ve been organizing ambush hits on police. Some in law enforcement have been shot at by them, and there have been some who have even been killed.”

“So, when you hear them talk about being anti-government, they mean they want the government to not interfere with anything they want to do; including doing harm to Black people. They want to be able to do with us, whatever they want to do,” he said.

New day, same game?

Anarchists using the pain and suffering of Black people aren’t new. They were on the ground in Ferguson, Mo., when people took to the streets outraged over the killing of Mike Brown, Jr., by a White police officer in 2014. 

“The fact that these people had been in the service, and were planning to kill their own military and law enforcement comrades shows you what kind of mindset they have,” said Anthony Shahid, a longtime community activist based in St. Louis. Ferguson is a nearby suburb and Mr. Shahid is an advisor to Mike Brown, Sr., whose son was killed. Mr. Shahid also led protests and demands for justice in the case.

“They’ve come to the realization that this government is no good, going all the way back to the way they slaughtered the Native Americans, to how they treated Black folks during slavery, and they know that America’s foreign policies aren’t right,” Mr. Shahid said. “But the only problem he has is they use us, Black folks, as a shield. They throw rocks, and then they hide their hands. And the next thing you know, some brothers—or sisters—are getting the hell beat out of them by the police. Or, they’re getting pepper sprayed or shot with rubber bullets, you name it. And all of that comes because of White people who come out there already mad, and trick us into thinking they’re supporting our movement, when really all they’re doing is making it harder for us.”

Elaine Brown, former chairwoman of the Black Panther Party, who now serves as a prison activist, feels Whites who hide behind Black movements to start their so-called wars are cowards. They’re not actually willing to pay the price that comes with being out front and center and expressing their revolutionary ideas and tactics, said the Bay Area activist.

“The White people who are against the government haven’t had to pay a price yet,” Ms. Brown told The Final Call. “They’re having fun tearing down symbols, but they aren’t tearing down the government. They’re still trying to figure out who they should vote for. They’re not really trying to tear down America; they love America. They wear a flag every day. They’re not going to take a true anti-government position that we (the Black Panther Party) took.”

Mainstream media has focused little attention on the Boogaloo Boys and the charges against Steven Carrillo.

Mr. Nasheed believes that’s by design. “The media is going out of its way to not show all of these White people ambushing Black people, or causing police to become violent with Black people, because they know if we keep seeing it, we’re going to start retaliating. That’s why they’re trying to downplay this story, and others,” he argued.

Despite any outside agitators, infiltrators or extremist groups, demonstrations calling for justice for Black men and women brutalized, and oftentimes murdered by police, must not stop, said Ms. Brown.

“If you quote me on anything, quote me on the fact that we have to keep soldiering on,” she said, adding, “Whatever the setbacks are, we have to fight on. You have to know who the enemy is.”

Steven Carrillo is currently facing 19 charges, some of which include murder, six charges of attempted murder, assault on a firefighter, and two counts of attempted carjacking. 

His attorney, Jeffrey Stotter told the media Mr. Carrillo suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2009 and has been scarred over his wife committing suicide. If convicted on the federal counts alone, Mr. Carrillo could be put to death. And he faces a maximum of up to 20 years in prison on the attempted murder charge. His alleged accomplice faces similar charges and penalties.

(Final Call staff and Nisa Islam Muhammad contributed to this report.)

From The Final Call Newspaper

‘We are tired’ Police killing of Black man takes toll on his family and those familiar with heavy handedness of police

By Brian E. Muhammad and Eric Ture Muhammad The Final Call @TheFinalCall




ATLANTA—The young mother and wife was poised initially, holding her child and facing the media at an extremely difficult time. Her words, however, and clear pain were heartbreaking.

“There is no justice that can ever make me feel happy about what was done,” said Tomika Miller, whose heartrending words were broadcast live. “I can never get my husband back, I can never get my best friend,” she said, fighting back her tears. “It’s just going to be a long time before I heal … before this family heal,” Mrs. Miller lamented.

The grief of the 27-year-old widow of Rayshard Brooks, who was shot to death while running away from Atlanta police officers, and his tight knit family was palpable.


Rayshard Brooks, 27, was shot and killed by Atlanta police after they responded to a call about someone being asleep in a Wendy's drive thru. Photo: MGN Online

They spoke from their hearts, they spoke of who the father of three girls, and a 13-year-old stepson was. They cried. Then together, they walked away from the cameras and microphones—still hurting, still broken.

Silently echoing through the room was a simple but profound question, what is justice? What equals the loss of a father, a husband, a brother, a nephew, a cousin, a friend? How can the void of his loss be filled?

Protestors were still in the streets filled with rage, anger, hurt, frustration and a spirit of resistance near a now-torched Wendy’s and other places 21 days into anti-police brutality protests that have rocked America—but not stopped cops from killing.

Mr. Brooks’ cousin, Decatur Redd, is demanding answers from a city he “thought was better” than this.

“We’ve been watching this happen for so many years, with young Black boys around the country just dying in vain,” said Decatur Redd, who cried over the death of his cousin. Cameras from CNN and other outlets captured his words.


A protester marches, June 13, near the Atlanta Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed by police following a struggle in the restaurant’s drive-thru line. Photo: AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

“I didn’t think it would hit right here … I thought this city was better than that. They’ve got to answer. Somebody’s gotta say something,” he said. Tears flowed.

“We need to at least know that the city is with us,” Decatur Redd said.

Other family members spoke of their pride in living in Atlanta and their sense that this was their city. They hurt when buildings were burned and windows smashed during protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, a White cop kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes on Memorial Day.

Now, said family members, this has happened in our city. The death was senseless, they said. It didn’t have to happen and should not have happened, they added.

Police were called to the Wendy’s with a report of a man asleep in a car in a drive thru. Two officers, both Caucasian, eventually were on scene and initial contact, captured on body cam seemed to be cordial. Mr. Floyd told cops June 12 he had plans for his daughter’s birthday and could walk to a relative’s house nearby. Police say he failed a breathalyzer.

Officers moved to handcuff him, and he twisted to get away. The officers and the young Black man tumbled to the ground. One officer tried to tase him. Mr. Brooks got control of the taser and ran away.

The officers chase him; he turns taser in hand and runs away. An officer fires shots; two strike him, according to a medical examiner. He dies from his injuries.

Fleeing an officer, grabbing a taser and even drunk driving are not capital offenses, say advocates, attorneys and ordinary Black people. Many point to online videos of Whites who fight, beat, take officers’ tasers, steal their patrol cars and don’t die.

Paul Howard, Jr., Fulton County district attorney, told CNN that his office will decide the charges, if any, against officer Garrett Rolfe, who was quickly fired. The other officer, David Bronsan, was put on administrative leave and could face charges.

“(Mr. Brooks) did not seem to present any kind of threat to anyone, and so the fact that it would escalate to his death just seems unreasonable,” Mr. Howard said.

“If that shot was fired for some reason other than to save that officer’s life or prevent injury to him or others, then that shooting is not justified under the law,” he added June 15.

The Fulton County medical examiner ruled Mr. Brooks’ death a homicide, an autopsy found he was shot in the back twice and died from organ damage and blood loss.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, his death marks the 48th officer-involved shooting the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has been called to look into in 2020 alone.

Abdul Sharrieff Muhammad, who heads the Nation of Islam mosque in Atlanta, watched the videos and heard accounts of what happened.

He sees the results of a false sense of entitlement that ofttimes comes with police officers’ authority. “This speaks directly to what the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan says dealing with the ego. His (the shooting officer’s) ego got the best of him,” said Min. Sharrieff Muhammad. “He believed the act of running challenged his authority. Training becomes the issue with law enforcement everywhere when dealing with the citizens who they have pledged to protect.

“And who is to say that there won’t be more deaths like this in a few days?” he asked. “Everything leads to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s call for separation. Everything leads to separation.”


Demonstrators react after getting onto I75 and shutting down the interstate in Atlanta, June 13. Photo: Ben Gray/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

Former city police chief Erika Shields resigned but will stay employed, said Mr. Muhammad. “She will get another job. She will replace her salary and she will be replaced I believe with a Black police chief. That in this case is a swift necessary action, but it is not going to stop or heal anything. God has his hand on this moment all over the world. And when His voice, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, speaks to the world July 4, we will gain a full understanding of where all of this is heading.”

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued new orders June 15 regarding use of deadly force, calling for reasonable use of force, and directing that de-escalation be used before deadly force.

“We do want everybody’s support; we’re looking forward to the D.A.’s findings in this situation,” said L. Chris Stewart, an attorney for the Brooks family.

“One thing that we could ask for is some semblance of an idea of justice because there is no definition anymore of what it is. But what we do know right now is that a man’s life was taken when it should never have happened,” said Atty. Stewart.

Besides being a father, Mr. Brooks comes from a large family of siblings and cousins.

Days earlier, family attorneys described the impact of the police killing. “We sat and watched them (Mr. Brooks’ children) play and laugh and be oblivious to the facts that their dad was murdered on camera,” said Atty. Stewart.

“A scene that we keep repeating as we watched Gianna Floyd play in Houston, oblivious that her dad (George Floyd) was knelt on and murdered. How many more examples will there be?” asked Atty. Stewart, who also represents the child who lost her father in Minneapolis.

Protests began at Wendy’s and flowed into nearby streets in the nights that followed. Highways were blocked. Protestors marched June 15 through downtown Atlanta and to the state capital.

“I am tired of them constantly killing us. They still see us as three-fifths of a human being. So until they value our lives we have to keep saying Black Lives Matter! There’s an obvious distinction between us and them,” said a Black registered nurse who joined the protests.

Brandi, who preferred to be identified by her first name, added, “When they do mass killings like Columbine shooting and Dylan Roof at the church, they will talk a White man down and allow them to live. But here’s a Black man sleep in his car and he ends up dead. That’s not right.”

John Wade was part of a morning protest in downtown Atlanta and sometimes spoke through a bullhorn.

“After the 20 or 30 minutes conversing with Brooks, they decided to handcuff him. I believe he was scared. So, my question is why not give him the option to sober up and then try to put him in handcuffs? I feel that was a tactic that they were using to pretty much lynch him and get rid of him for whatever reason. He was a positive role model in the community, Rayshard Brooks. He had three children by one woman,” said Mr. Wade.

Standing among the remains of what was once a Wendy’s restaurant, Gerald Emerson Rose of the New Order National Human Rights Organization, said, “What we need to do is stay woke. Another Black man killed at the hands of the police. People are angry. We are still reeling from the George Floyd murder. I just got back from Brunswick, Ga.,” he said. Ahmaud Arbery, a young Black man, was killed by a White man who chased him in a truck in Brunswick.

“I can go on and on. We are tired. We are tired. You’ve asked for our vote; you keep asking us to be patient, but people want some solutions.”

“There is a turning point … they (police departments) have to do it now, (because) the consequences are too great with all that’s happening,” commented Ron Fears, a retired College Park, Ga., police chief.

“Society is being overwhelmed,” he said. “White society is scared. This is different for European Americans.” They didn’t see it coming, said Mr. Fears.

“George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbury and Rayshard Brooks were all Black fathers,” said khalid Kamau, councilman in the city of South Fulton, Ga. “This is an assault on Black fathers, this is genocide.”

Pointing to the bevy of police killings over the last several years—particularly of Black males—Councilman khalid said its hunting season on Black men. He spells his first name lowercase and prefers to be identified as Councilman khalid.

He told The Final Call as an elected official, he agrees with calls for defunding police departments.

“I don’t normally talk about defunding the police, I talk about reimagining policing,” explained Councilman khalid. “Let’s reimagine calling somebody other than an institution that was built on fugitive slave catchers and incarcerating Black men for Jim Crow era forced labor.”

Advocates say modern American policing is an outgrowth of White supremacy and Black oppression that evolved from slave catching. Police also enforced racist laws or customs, like keeping Blacks out of White neighborhoods, grabbing Blacks for loitering or arrests for not obeying dictates to get out of town before sundown.

“That’s what that institution is about,” said Councilman khalid. “Maybe that’s not the institution you want to call for Black people when they’re in trouble,” he said.

He argues cops were not endangered by Mr. Brooks but were suffering from bruised egos after the taser was taken.

Yonasda Lonewolf, a Black and Native American activist based in Atlanta, said the Covid-19 pandemic has forced people to be “still” and tune in to phones and television where they are regularly exposed to injustices.

“We were able to visually see White supremacists’ gun down and kill Ahmaud Arbury, we were able to see a White cop putting his knee on a Black man, George Floyd,” she noted.

“Now we’re seeing what injustices have been happening to Black and Brown people—not just nationally, but locally and globally,” said Ms. Lonewolf.

Heru Ranesi-El, Grand Sheik of the Moorish Science Temple of America in Atlanta said the police are more like an “occupying force” than a “protect and serve” unit in Black communities. His group had made efforts to bridge the widening gap between Blacks and law enforcement. “It makes it impossible to bridge the gap when these types of murders are taking place,” said Sheik Ranesi-El.

Some see the police chief’s quick resignation and termination of officers in recent incidents as a result of protests and unrest.

“It had to take the city to burn,” observed Ms. Lonewolf. “Much of the resistance was necessary because a shift is happening across America where the police is being dismantled and defunded. And, they’re actually listening to those that they have swept under the rug for so many years,” she said.

According to Brooks’ family attorneys, Justin Miller and L. Chris Stewart, Mr. Brooks’ daughter had her birthday dress on the morning after his death, waiting for her dad to come pick her up and take her skating.

“They were having a birthday party for her, her eighth birthday with cupcakes while we were sitting there talking to her mom about why her dad was not coming home,” said Mr. Miller.

“We have more family members at that house than I could count. A ton of brothers and sisters that love him more than life.”

Mr. Stewart told the press he was tired and out of answers. “There’s not much more we can do or say as a society. If people that are refusing change, not understanding that now is the time for a complete and full systematic change, take a look. Compare it to all of the other videos online where there was a White individual that had a deadly weapon and wasn’t killed. We are trying to understand why they didn’t get shot and why did Rayshard have to while he is running?”

(J.A. Salaam contributed to this report from Atlanta.)

From The Final Call Newspaper

Questions remain in the fight for justice for George Floyd and Black America

By Nisa Islam Muhammad and Michael Z. Muhammad The Final Call @TheFinalCall |


In the days since the country erupted in protests after the death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police officers, a public memorial service was held in that city, followed by another memorial in Raeford, N.C. before the father, brother and uncle was laid to rest in Houston.

Emotions are still raw despite the cops being fired and charges being filed. Millions witnessed White officer Derek Chauvin press his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes as the 46-year-old Black man lost his life.


George Floyd’s memorial service held in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo: MGN Online


After explosive uprisings and demonstrations in cities large and small, murder charges were filed against Mr. Chauvin with the three other former officers involved—J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao—charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. All four men are behind bars with bails set with million dollar bonds or close to it.

While some saw charges filed as a victory, others cautioned it was only the first step in the ever-elusive fight for justice for Black people and question remains: What is next?

“I want us to not sit here and act like we had a funeral on the schedule. George Floyd should not be among the deceased. He did not die of common health conditions. He died of a common American criminal justice malfunction. He died because there has not been the corrective behavior that has taught this country that if you commit a crime, it does not matter whether you wear blue jeans or a blue uniform, you must pay for the crime you commit,” said Rev. Al Sharpton who delivered remarks at the June 4 memorial in Minneapolis.

The Minneapolis city council banned the use of chokeholds by police and requires them to report and intervene when they see another officer use unauthorized force. Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero said the changes are necessary to stop ongoing harm to people of color “who have suffered generational pain and trauma as a result of systemic and institutional racism.”

“This is just a start,” she said. “There is a lot more work to do here, and that work must and will be done with speed and community engagement.”

By June 7, the Minneapolis city council was saying it wanted to disband the police department and create something better with an expanded view on what constitutes safe and delivering services with less focus on the use of force. In other cities and towns, police departments have been disbanded and county police or sheriffs’ departments have taken over law enforcement. It does not mean zero officers will be on the streets.

Community control of police

The no chokehold provision requires court approval and would be enforceable in court. This ban is different from the police department’s current policies on the use of force and officer responsibilities to intervene when excessive force is used. The new ban requires officers to immediately report to their superiors when they see use of any neck restraint or chokehold.

Eliminating chokeholds is part of the solution, said Zaki Baruti, president of the African Peoples Organization. But he stressed that there must also be community control of the police. “The police force should reflect the racial ethnicity of the community and live in the community they serve. There must also be a civilian oversight board with subpoena power. We also want chokeholds and kneeling on necks barred. If an officer has more than three or four complaints he is suspended,” the St. Louis-based activist said.

“We also want proportional political power. We are 13 percent of the population. We only hold 4 percent of political offices. If we held more that would open up more jobs and contracts with conscious elected officials. There’s not one Black governor and that’s a damn shame,” he said. “In Ferguson, (Mo.) which was 68 percent Black before Mike Brown’s death, we only had one Black person on the city council. A police force of 53 officers only had 3 Blacks. This shows a lack of political power.”

He added, “We need to appeal to the African Union and CARICOM (the Caribbean Community regional organization) to condemn the U.S. for its treatment of Black people. To ensure reforms, we want sustained economic boycotts. You kill us, we kill your economy so says Rev. Clinton Stancil from St. Louis.”

In the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser responded to moves by President Donald Trump to bring the military into the District by renaming a street in near the White House “Black Lives Matter Plaza.” She had the slogan painted on the asphalt in massive yellow letters to honor demonstrators urging changes in law enforcement.

Salim Adolfo, a D.C. Ward 8 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner and national secretary of the Black United Front, said, “Unfortunately, there is no way to legislate against the ill-will or the hate someone may hold towards another person. However, what we can do as elected officials is implement policies that work towards protecting the human rights of our residents.”

He suggests people become actively engaged in organizations, or financially support groups working toward improving the quality of life for Black people. He also advised holding voter education and registration forums on how to nominate, finance, elect and back progressive politicians in support of radical police reform. People should file police complaints and become part of a Citizen Advisory Council, he added.

Reasons for skepticism

Dr. Issa Muhammad, history professor at the University of Central Florida, is skeptical about what he’s seeing. “Real change will come from the outside—that is, the people of the world. Pressure such as economic sanctions on the USA that is being discussed now and a global investigation of human rights violations; again, something that is being discussed among several representatives in the UN. However, the African American community lacks the full strength of taking the resistance movement to the next level,” said Dr. Muhammad.


A woman lights a candle in front of a display of images commemorating victims of police violence, during a peaceful demonstration denouncing racism and calling for justice, in Mexico City, June 4. Photo: AP Rebecca Blackwell

“If you listen to my peers, political pundits, and religious leaders—they are all saying the same thing. That is, giving an analysis on race that we all know; and creating review panels, registering people to vote and developing new legislation. In the meanwhile, Whites are becoming more grounded. That is, increased arms, radical anti-Black polemics and an ideal that its ‘us against them.’ They’re seeing this as their last stand. Remember, Custer?”

Whites are ready to “go the distance,” Dr. Issa Muhammad explained. “I am not quite sure if we are. Our rebellion stops as mentioned before—voting, court cases, and legislation. Also, note, the narrative now is not being pushed by the grassroots any longer. But by political-corporate entities who will manipulate this setting for themselves.”

Keith Howell, an educator and activist from Newark, New Jersey, told The Final Call he has mixed emotions because “we have been through this before.” “It looked like it was going to be justice only to have the rug pulled from under us. I just don’t know. First the police officers should be convicted. If they are not, then a tremendous fight will lay before us,” he said.

Youth have to be galvanized, added Mr. Howell. “They have had enough. I think we are looking at revolution. Being a student of history, we are witnessing history in the making. It’s larger than just police killings. I’m not convinced a conviction is forthcoming.”

Pam Africa of MOVE agrees that involvement of youth is a key in moving forward. “We can’t make the mistakes of the past by relying on politicians. This protest to me was more spiritual with support from people around the world. Politicians speaking more strongly than they have ever spoke before. It is our job to keep the pressure on and don’t back up,” said Ms. Africa. MOVE is all too familiar with police terrorism and brutality. The Black revolutionary organization was the victim of one of the most heinous acts of terror in American history when their compound was bombed by the Philadelphia Police Department in 1985 killing 11 people including children.

“The focus going forward should be local, in Philly, with our city council,” argued Pam Africa. “Let’s check police budgets. We need people from the community to voice how things in the future should go,” she added, before cautiously noting that the fight is not over.

“Right now the power structure is trying to figure out how to get around this movement. I have watched. I have seen them turn people against one another. People have got to stay consistent. They need to stand on truth, the principle of righteousness, and don’t move from it. This protest movement was not an organized thing; it was a spontaneous thing. It was organized by a much higher force. It is up to us to keep this momentum going. Now people are going back into their communities and they need to teach. There are a lot of people who still don’t know the real issues,” said Ms. Africa.


Photo: MGN Online

“We have enough history behind us to know all the tricks. For the young folks today enough is enough for them. They are tired of business as usual. What we have to look out for now is the diversion. We saw it in the Vietnam War demonstrations, 9-11, the War on Iraq, etc., all diversions to take the peoples’ focus somewhere else. Here we are again. We cannot allow the energy of young people to be railroaded or watered down.”

“We must not allow division,” she continued. “The issues are at a level where they have never been before. We must keep that momentum going. For us in MOVE it has been a very good year. All of the MOVE 9 are out of jail and home. The issue of police terrorism is front and center, the (former Philadelphia police commissioner and mayor Frank) Rizzo statue came down. What a great year. The power of truth is final.”

Confronting systematic problems

In 1987 Ford Heights, Illinois, was considered the poorest suburb in America. Not much has changed if you ask Emir Hardy, executive director of that city’s F.U.T.U.R.E. Foundation. It was established in 1987 to improve the quality of life in Chicago’s south suburbs.

“People have basic needs that must be met before they can be a good citizen or a good neighbor. They need food, clothing, shelter and love. We’ve never been accepted here. We’re not feeling love here. We need to get to the basics after that we can get to the other things,” he told The Final Call.

“Some of the people looting were opportunistic but others were just getting things they needed. We need to know these changes will take time. I’ve been doing this for 35 years. These problems are systemic. People have seen their parents in this situation. In Ford Heights there are no grocery stores, no fresh fruit, only corner stores,” said Mr. Hardy.

The problem with corner stores in the Black community was a catalyst that led to cops being called on George Floyd. He was suspected of passing a counterfeit $20 at a corner store and a clerk called the police. There are challenges with immigrant-owned businesses in predominantly Black inner city neighborhoods.

IMAN (Inner City Muslim Action Network) in Chicago launched The Corner Store Witness initiative on June 5. The initiative begins with the presumption that there is no “race-neutral” space in America and that many corner stores, gas stations, food and liquor establishments in inner city communities across the country occupy a highly charged and racialized space crafted by decades of disinvestment, redlining, food deserts, criminalization and violent policing tactics.

Rami Nashashibi, IMAN executive director, said at the initiative launch, “These Palestinian store owners in Southside Chicago are behaving in a manner similar to Israeli settlers on occupied Palestinian land. Go beyond logic and dictates of capitalism. This logic abuses people,” he explained.

The initiative will provide trainings for store owners on how to properly interact with the Black community.

Dr. Tony Monteiro, a Philadelphia-based activist, said the question of what must be done moving forward is an important one. “I think what we have witnessed over the last 10 days is an emotional outpouring. We watched demonstrations in large cities with significant Black populations. But, the majority of marchers were White. It is as if it was a collective psychological outpouring of White folk trying to come to terms with White guilt over White supremacy,” said Dr. Monteiro.

“As for the question of going forward, some significant reforms have to be made rather than ‘willy nilly’ ideas of the past. Reforms including taking money from police budgets and transferring it to social programs,” he said.

The fight continues

For many what’s next is more protests and demonstrations. That concerned Chicago’s Khadijah Willis when she saw how protestors were getting beat with batons by the police. She gathered friends and together they are producing care packages for community protestors that include goggles, drawstring backpacks, water, heat resistant gloves, snacks, bandanas and face masks.

“I researched how demonstrators protected themselves in other countries like Chile and China. They were able to sustain their protests because they were prepared. We are raising funds to purchase supplies and we will give them to Chicago protestors,” she told The Final Call.

“The question of the hour for me is the exclusion of the ‘Excluded Middle,’ the Black community led by its religious, civic and political organizations. We are not in it yet. We need to reshape the battlefield. Again, the larger question is who is organizing these marches?” asked Dr. Monteiro.

Student Minister Dr. Ava Muhammad, national spokesperson for the Nation of Islam and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, said the 90-year-old Islamic movement offers a solution to continued problems plaguing Black people in America as taught by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad—separation.

“The latest cycle of violence from Ahmaud Arbury to Breonna Taylor to the brother in Central Park to the torture of George Floyd, God is showing us there is another solution, an independent safe haven of states where we control the environment and we can move into the world with respect,” said Student Minister Ava Muhammad.

“Dissatisfaction in all people has reached 100 percent. They are looking for divine leadership. People who are righteous are looking for freedom, justice and equality in leadership. The U.S. completely failed us in Covid-19, the U.S. completely failed us in the justice system. We need a more permanent solution.”

Final Call staff contributed to this report.


From The Final Call Newspaper

Questions remain in the fight for justice for George Floyd and Black America

By Nisa Islam Muhammad and Michael Z. Muhammad The Final Call @TheFinalCall |


In the days since the country erupted in protests after the death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police officers, a public memorial service was held in that city, followed by another memorial in Raeford, N.C. before the father, brother and uncle was laid to rest in Houston.

Emotions are still raw despite the cops being fired and charges being filed. Millions witnessed White officer Derek Chauvin press his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes as the 46-year-old Black man lost his life.


George Floyd’s memorial service held in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo: MGN Online


After explosive uprisings and demonstrations in cities large and small, murder charges were filed against Mr. Chauvin with the three other former officers involved—J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao—charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. All four men are behind bars with bails set with million dollar bonds or close to it.

While some saw charges filed as a victory, others cautioned it was only the first step in the ever-elusive fight for justice for Black people and question remains: What is next?

“I want us to not sit here and act like we had a funeral on the schedule. George Floyd should not be among the deceased. He did not die of common health conditions. He died of a common American criminal justice malfunction. He died because there has not been the corrective behavior that has taught this country that if you commit a crime, it does not matter whether you wear blue jeans or a blue uniform, you must pay for the crime you commit,” said Rev. Al Sharpton who delivered remarks at the June 4 memorial in Minneapolis.

The Minneapolis city council banned the use of chokeholds by police and requires them to report and intervene when they see another officer use unauthorized force. Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero said the changes are necessary to stop ongoing harm to people of color “who have suffered generational pain and trauma as a result of systemic and institutional racism.”

“This is just a start,” she said. “There is a lot more work to do here, and that work must and will be done with speed and community engagement.”

By June 7, the Minneapolis city council was saying it wanted to disband the police department and create something better with an expanded view on what constitutes safe and delivering services with less focus on the use of force. In other cities and towns, police departments have been disbanded and county police or sheriffs’ departments have taken over law enforcement. It does not mean zero officers will be on the streets.

Community control of police

The no chokehold provision requires court approval and would be enforceable in court. This ban is different from the police department’s current policies on the use of force and officer responsibilities to intervene when excessive force is used. The new ban requires officers to immediately report to their superiors when they see use of any neck restraint or chokehold.

Eliminating chokeholds is part of the solution, said Zaki Baruti, president of the African Peoples Organization. But he stressed that there must also be community control of the police. “The police force should reflect the racial ethnicity of the community and live in the community they serve. There must also be a civilian oversight board with subpoena power. We also want chokeholds and kneeling on necks barred. If an officer has more than three or four complaints he is suspended,” the St. Louis-based activist said.

“We also want proportional political power. We are 13 percent of the population. We only hold 4 percent of political offices. If we held more that would open up more jobs and contracts with conscious elected officials. There’s not one Black governor and that’s a damn shame,” he said. “In Ferguson, (Mo.) which was 68 percent Black before Mike Brown’s death, we only had one Black person on the city council. A police force of 53 officers only had 3 Blacks. This shows a lack of political power.”

He added, “We need to appeal to the African Union and CARICOM (the Caribbean Community regional organization) to condemn the U.S. for its treatment of Black people. To ensure reforms, we want sustained economic boycotts. You kill us, we kill your economy so says Rev. Clinton Stancil from St. Louis.”

In the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser responded to moves by President Donald Trump to bring the military into the District by renaming a street in near the White House “Black Lives Matter Plaza.” She had the slogan painted on the asphalt in massive yellow letters to honor demonstrators urging changes in law enforcement.

Salim Adolfo, a D.C. Ward 8 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner and national secretary of the Black United Front, said, “Unfortunately, there is no way to legislate against the ill-will or the hate someone may hold towards another person. However, what we can do as elected officials is implement policies that work towards protecting the human rights of our residents.”

He suggests people become actively engaged in organizations, or financially support groups working toward improving the quality of life for Black people. He also advised holding voter education and registration forums on how to nominate, finance, elect and back progressive politicians in support of radical police reform. People should file police complaints and become part of a Citizen Advisory Council, he added.

Reasons for skepticism

Dr. Issa Muhammad, history professor at the University of Central Florida, is skeptical about what he’s seeing. “Real change will come from the outside—that is, the people of the world. Pressure such as economic sanctions on the USA that is being discussed now and a global investigation of human rights violations; again, something that is being discussed among several representatives in the UN. However, the African American community lacks the full strength of taking the resistance movement to the next level,” said Dr. Muhammad.


A woman lights a candle in front of a display of images commemorating victims of police violence, during a peaceful demonstration denouncing racism and calling for justice, in Mexico City, June 4. Photo: AP Rebecca Blackwell

“If you listen to my peers, political pundits, and religious leaders—they are all saying the same thing. That is, giving an analysis on race that we all know; and creating review panels, registering people to vote and developing new legislation. In the meanwhile, Whites are becoming more grounded. That is, increased arms, radical anti-Black polemics and an ideal that its ‘us against them.’ They’re seeing this as their last stand. Remember, Custer?”

Whites are ready to “go the distance,” Dr. Issa Muhammad explained. “I am not quite sure if we are. Our rebellion stops as mentioned before—voting, court cases, and legislation. Also, note, the narrative now is not being pushed by the grassroots any longer. But by political-corporate entities who will manipulate this setting for themselves.”

Keith Howell, an educator and activist from Newark, New Jersey, told The Final Call he has mixed emotions because “we have been through this before.” “It looked like it was going to be justice only to have the rug pulled from under us. I just don’t know. First the police officers should be convicted. If they are not, then a tremendous fight will lay before us,” he said.

Youth have to be galvanized, added Mr. Howell. “They have had enough. I think we are looking at revolution. Being a student of history, we are witnessing history in the making. It’s larger than just police killings. I’m not convinced a conviction is forthcoming.”

Pam Africa of MOVE agrees that involvement of youth is a key in moving forward. “We can’t make the mistakes of the past by relying on politicians. This protest to me was more spiritual with support from people around the world. Politicians speaking more strongly than they have ever spoke before. It is our job to keep the pressure on and don’t back up,” said Ms. Africa. MOVE is all too familiar with police terrorism and brutality. The Black revolutionary organization was the victim of one of the most heinous acts of terror in American history when their compound was bombed by the Philadelphia Police Department in 1985 killing 11 people including children.

“The focus going forward should be local, in Philly, with our city council,” argued Pam Africa. “Let’s check police budgets. We need people from the community to voice how things in the future should go,” she added, before cautiously noting that the fight is not over.

“Right now the power structure is trying to figure out how to get around this movement. I have watched. I have seen them turn people against one another. People have got to stay consistent. They need to stand on truth, the principle of righteousness, and don’t move from it. This protest movement was not an organized thing; it was a spontaneous thing. It was organized by a much higher force. It is up to us to keep this momentum going. Now people are going back into their communities and they need to teach. There are a lot of people who still don’t know the real issues,” said Ms. Africa.


Photo: MGN Online

“We have enough history behind us to know all the tricks. For the young folks today enough is enough for them. They are tired of business as usual. What we have to look out for now is the diversion. We saw it in the Vietnam War demonstrations, 9-11, the War on Iraq, etc., all diversions to take the peoples’ focus somewhere else. Here we are again. We cannot allow the energy of young people to be railroaded or watered down.”

“We must not allow division,” she continued. “The issues are at a level where they have never been before. We must keep that momentum going. For us in MOVE it has been a very good year. All of the MOVE 9 are out of jail and home. The issue of police terrorism is front and center, the (former Philadelphia police commissioner and mayor Frank) Rizzo statue came down. What a great year. The power of truth is final.”

Confronting systematic problems

In 1987 Ford Heights, Illinois, was considered the poorest suburb in America. Not much has changed if you ask Emir Hardy, executive director of that city’s F.U.T.U.R.E. Foundation. It was established in 1987 to improve the quality of life in Chicago’s south suburbs.

“People have basic needs that must be met before they can be a good citizen or a good neighbor. They need food, clothing, shelter and love. We’ve never been accepted here. We’re not feeling love here. We need to get to the basics after that we can get to the other things,” he told The Final Call.

“Some of the people looting were opportunistic but others were just getting things they needed. We need to know these changes will take time. I’ve been doing this for 35 years. These problems are systemic. People have seen their parents in this situation. In Ford Heights there are no grocery stores, no fresh fruit, only corner stores,” said Mr. Hardy.

The problem with corner stores in the Black community was a catalyst that led to cops being called on George Floyd. He was suspected of passing a counterfeit $20 at a corner store and a clerk called the police. There are challenges with immigrant-owned businesses in predominantly Black inner city neighborhoods.

IMAN (Inner City Muslim Action Network) in Chicago launched The Corner Store Witness initiative on June 5. The initiative begins with the presumption that there is no “race-neutral” space in America and that many corner stores, gas stations, food and liquor establishments in inner city communities across the country occupy a highly charged and racialized space crafted by decades of disinvestment, redlining, food deserts, criminalization and violent policing tactics.

Rami Nashashibi, IMAN executive director, said at the initiative launch, “These Palestinian store owners in Southside Chicago are behaving in a manner similar to Israeli settlers on occupied Palestinian land. Go beyond logic and dictates of capitalism. This logic abuses people,” he explained.

The initiative will provide trainings for store owners on how to properly interact with the Black community.

Dr. Tony Monteiro, a Philadelphia-based activist, said the question of what must be done moving forward is an important one. “I think what we have witnessed over the last 10 days is an emotional outpouring. We watched demonstrations in large cities with significant Black populations. But, the majority of marchers were White. It is as if it was a collective psychological outpouring of White folk trying to come to terms with White guilt over White supremacy,” said Dr. Monteiro.

“As for the question of going forward, some significant reforms have to be made rather than ‘willy nilly’ ideas of the past. Reforms including taking money from police budgets and transferring it to social programs,” he said.

The fight continues

For many what’s next is more protests and demonstrations. That concerned Chicago’s Khadijah Willis when she saw how protestors were getting beat with batons by the police. She gathered friends and together they are producing care packages for community protestors that include goggles, drawstring backpacks, water, heat resistant gloves, snacks, bandanas and face masks.

“I researched how demonstrators protected themselves in other countries like Chile and China. They were able to sustain their protests because they were prepared. We are raising funds to purchase supplies and we will give them to Chicago protestors,” she told The Final Call.

“The question of the hour for me is the exclusion of the ‘Excluded Middle,’ the Black community led by its religious, civic and political organizations. We are not in it yet. We need to reshape the battlefield. Again, the larger question is who is organizing these marches?” asked Dr. Monteiro.

Student Minister Dr. Ava Muhammad, national spokesperson for the Nation of Islam and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, said the 90-year-old Islamic movement offers a solution to continued problems plaguing Black people in America as taught by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad—separation.

“The latest cycle of violence from Ahmaud Arbury to Breonna Taylor to the brother in Central Park to the torture of George Floyd, God is showing us there is another solution, an independent safe haven of states where we control the environment and we can move into the world with respect,” said Student Minister Ava Muhammad.

“Dissatisfaction in all people has reached 100 percent. They are looking for divine leadership. People who are righteous are looking for freedom, justice and equality in leadership. The U.S. completely failed us in Covid-19, the U.S. completely failed us in the justice system. We need a more permanent solution.”

Final Call staff contributed to this report.

From The Final Call Newspaper

Seeds of anger, days of rage:Fed up with oppression, police violence emotions are high, U.S. cities explode

By Naba’a Muhammad and J.A. Salaam The Final Call @TheFinalCall



Former NBA player Stephen Jackson (center wearing ‘fck facism’ tee) was George Floyd’s friend. He is standing with Floyd family. Photo: JA Salaam


MINNEAPOLIS—Unrest gripped the city in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, in the custody of a White police officer. His Memorial Day death ignited deep anger, frustration and outrage that included an outbreak of rioting and rebellion, and a massive police presence composed of officers around the state, the National Guard and city cops.

But the Twin Cities, which includes nearby St. Paul, were the epicenter of an explosion in 30 cities across the country with half the states in the country having activated their respective National Guard units. In Washington, D.C., President Trump vowed to send in military personnel if governors were too weak to stop those who he has derided as lawbreakers and looters.

His words helped inflame an already fiery mood in the United States, with businesses and buildings robbed and destroyed from coast to coast.

Speaking June 1 in the Rose Garden of the White House, Mr. Trump declared himself the “law and order president,” and invoked Insurrection Act of 1807, saying he would end civil unrest and use military personnel to do so—especially if governors did not act. He hardly mentioned police misconduct, racism, brutality or justice for the man whose death has inspired one of the watershed moments in U.S. history.

Analysts and some governors rejected the president’s words, saying he had no authority to deploy U.S. soldiers on America soil without the approval or invite of governors.

Mr. Trump, on a call earlier in the day, blasted governors as too weak, saying they must “dominate the streets,” and an “overwhelming military presence” was needed.

The president, in the Rose Garden, said he would protect peaceful demonstrators and bring in thousands of troops, including military police. Yet U.S. Secret Service Police, National Guardsmen, and U.S. Park Police used tear gas, flash bang grenades, pepper balls and rubber bullets against peaceful protestors in a park opposite the White House because the president wanted to walk to nearby St. John’s Episcopal Church for a photo op. The church had been set afire over the May 31 weekend.

Two helicopters were airborne, and a massive security presence accompanied the president, according to a CNN correspondent reporting live from the scene. Mr. Trump stood in front of the boarded-up church holding up a Bible, saying America was a great country, would be made greater and it would not take long. He was joined by Attorney Bill Barr, Defense Secretary Mike Esper and some members of his staff. Everyone was White. An Episcopal bishop condemned the use of the church as a political prop, saying the president’s talk of military might and disrupting peaceful protest were against the teachings of Jesus.


Flames light the sky as buildings burn during Minneapolis uprising. Photo: Amir Brandy of RealStlNews


Tributes and tragedy

Drones and military helicopters circled the southside of Minneapolis as family and friends of Mr. Floyd, who came up from his hometown of Houston and its Third Ward, were on the scene. They came out to the place where a nine-minute video captured the death of Mr. Floyd. His life ebbed away while he begged for relief, called for his mother and told an officer whose knee was jammed into his neck: “I can’t breathe.” Three other officers stood nearby and did nothing despite calls from witnesses who urged the officer to remove his knee from the neck of a man who was dying.

Despite a county coroner’s report to the contrary, experts contracted by lawyers for the Floyd family said he died because of asphyxiation, not any underlying health causes, with oxygen cut off from his brain.

Former NBA player and longtime friend Stephen Jackson, who referred to Mr. Floyd as “Twin,” vowed to do everything to get justice. “My brother’s death won’t be in vain. When you hear George Floyd, it’s going to be the name of change. It’s time to get some policies changed so these laws can be equal. Y’all ain’t going to be treating us like shit. Or we’re going to burn everything down!” he declared angrily. Many in the crowd cheered.

“Riots are the music of hate because they are not hearing us. So, we got to riot, they got to feel our pain. That’s the only way y’all are going to hear us. This shit really hurt, this is our brother, this is my real pain, I don’t have no pride in being here. I don’t have any pride in crying. This is real, so if you’re not going to stand with us, get the fuck on, and I mean that! We from Texas, this is our family and we appreciate all of you for coming here,” said Mr. Jackson.

Other Floyd family members stood with him on that Saturday and two days later, some family members returned to again honor George Floyd’s memory and one of his brothers called for peaceful protests as America spiraled out of control.

Many department stores and businesses in Minneapolis and St. Paul were hit. Some snatched merchandise, others stacked cases of water, food, Pampers and other supplies on sidewalks for the taking.

“I’ve been in this city and in the struggle since 1966 and I have won all the lawsuits I’ve had against the city of Minneapolis, but I have lost every case against a White man and police. I have never seen a White police arrested,” said Spike Moss, a longtime Black community activist and Twin Cities resident.

“This is the first time I’ve seen a White police officer charged for killing a Black person here in Minnesota. There’s a big difference between us and the generation out there protesting now. We were organized, structured, determined and had a goal compared to our youth today. They are angry, hurt, lost and confused,” he said.

Shortly after huge protests against the officers involved in the death of Mr. Floyd, all four were fired and Mr. Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. A court appearance was postponed until June 8 as angry protestors and Floyd family members demanded that all the officers be arrested and charged.

A lack of confidence in the Hennepin County, Minn., prosecutor led the governor to hand over the lead prosecution in the Floyd death investigation to state Attorney General Keith Ellison. Mr. Ellison said, via Twitter, “We are going to bring to bear all the resources necessary to achieve justice in this case.”

He also admitted getting any conviction of a police officer was difficult, and evidence would be challenged at every point.

Activists from around the country came to Minneapolis to show support for the demand for justice.

Anthony Shahid, who was a leading advocate for justice for Mike Brown, Jr., who was killed in 2014 by a White officer in Ferguson, Mo., drove up with the young victim’s father.

The third-degree murder charge was B.S., he said. “The simple fact is that for 8 minutes and 26 seconds, he had his knee on Brother George’s neck. The whole entire time. This wasn’t something that he didn’t know he was doing; he was clear with what he was doing and was posing. He posed no differently than when a person shoots an elephant. He posed no different than when a person shoots a giraffe. He posed just like they did when (Whites) took pictures after they were burning us up and when they were hanging us. He posed the same goddamn way! So, I feel as though it should be first-degree murder,” said Mr. Shahid.

Mike Brown Jr., whose unarmed 18-year-old son was shot to death by a cop, said, “We traveled to Minneapolis to show awareness and show strength, because to me presence is everything. I want to let the people know that I’m not too busy. I have to come out and support everything that’s going on and show my love from St. Louis to Minnesota.”

“I feel that what you are seeing happening everywhere is the signs of the ancestors. Some things people do differently to show respect and homage to families. Overall, I’m not mad at no one; the way you express yourself is the way you express yourself. I’m all for it and I’d never down anyone that feels a certain type of way. I’m glad that the world is watching,” he said.

An upset Minneapolis business owner whose shop was ransacked, told the Final Call, “I’ll be honest with you. I feel like we have racism problems in the city of Minneapolis or in the state of Minnesota in general and it didn’t just start. This has been a problem for a long time. If you can recall about a year or so ago there was a police officer that shot a White lady, he was a Somalian guy and they gave him twelve and a half years in prison. Well, I believe that is part of the issue today. I believe that everybody got a different reason for being out here and I believe that this is not just about Floyd anymore. Because the other officer got twelve and a half years then they need to give this officer life in prison and then put the rest of the officers in jail,” said Tawana Jackson, owner of Tweak the Glam Studio. Mohamed Noor was convicted and sentenced in June 2019 for the murder of Justine Damond, a White woman from Australia who was living in Minneapolis.

Still the painful episode wasn’t over even with thousands in the streets of America: A Twitter post, which was attributed to Los Angeles police radio traffic, included officers saying it was time to start “shooting to kill” as President Trump had said and to get a bounty for killing Blacks and Mexicans. In Louisville, a police chief was fired after cops shot and killed a Black business owner, David McAtee, 53, but failed to have their body cameras activated. Officers had been ordered to activate cameras following the March police killing of Breonna Taylor during a botched raid. The officers and National Guardsmen, who allegedly were fired, were trying to enforce a city curfew. The cops involved were placed on administrative leave.

From The Final Call Newspaper

No safe haven? The problems of domestic abuse, sexual exploitation during Covid-19 pandemic

By Charlene Muhammad National Correspondent @sischarlene



Many cities across the U.S. implemented stay-at-home orders to offer protection during the global coronavirus pandemic. But homes have not been safe for Black women suffering domestic violence or subjected to sexual harassment or exploitation.



Not only have they endured abuse, but with courts and services shut down, many fear there isn’t much help available, said advocates.

Detectives in Vallejo, Calif., said 50-year-old Raymond Jackson shot and killed his 53-year-old girlfriend and her 14-year-old daughter before turning the gun on himself in a double-murder-suicide. All three were Black. Mr. Jackson was living with his girlfriend at the time of the incident, police told The Final Call.

Her 12-year-old daughter was able to escape, according to police, who say Mr. Jackson was previously arrested for misdemeanor domestic violence and was legally prohibited from possessing a firearm.

Domestic violence was the number one topic on recent calls with San Francisco’s District Attorney Advisory Board and the Mothers in Charge advocacy group, according to Mattie Scott, a Bay Area-based victims’ rights and anti-gun activist.

“One mother on the call said she’s listening out, because she knows reports have gone up. But right now, it’s so quiet, you can’t really hear anything,” said Ms. Scott.

“Usually, it’s so loud, everybody could hear when something’s happening, but that’s even scarier (now) because you don’t know what’s going on in folks’ homes, if they’re alive or not. So, people are doing phone calls and check-ins. We are highly concerned about that and the fact that they’re not coming in for their normal meetings because of the shutdown,” she added.

Domestic violence-related tragedy has also struck close to home for Ms. Scott. Her family is mourning the death of a young relative. The mother of a three-year-old and her mother were shot by an ex-boyfriend after she’d ended a relationship when he became abusive, according to Ms. Scott.

“Because of that, people are scared! They are afraid to speak out,” she said.

Numbers vary but need for help is great


Service providers in the District of Columbia saw an initial uptick in calls for help and support, and crisis response teams have spent longer times on calls, according to Andrea Gleaves, strategic partnerships manager for the D.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Those reaching out for help need additional time and support to talk about what is happening, including their personal safety in this uncertain time, she explained.

“It’s really difficult at this point to have a really clear picture of how many calls and what the increase looks like and who is it impacting most. But we know from previous natural disasters and other sorts of public health emergencies that it’s not unusual for survivors to wait until after a crisis is over before they reach out for help,” Ms. Gleaves said.

Not all of the news, however, is bad and stats and circumstances vary depending on the place or part of the country.

Jan Christiansen, executive director of the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence, believes the state’s community-based shelters and programs have done an amazing job in figuring out how to keep their doors open and quarantine people if needed.

Shelters are using hotels, the FaceTime video call application and even collecting information during food deliveries, she explained.

While some agencies across the country chart a rise in domestic violence through increased hotline calls and requests at shelters, advocates said few survivors were willing to speak to media for fear for their lives.

Josh Rubenstein of the Los Angeles police department could not offer specific numbers about increased domestic violence incidents. But, he said, calls for service were not only up for LAPD, but advocates were also seeing increased hotline calls.

In Los Angeles, existing emergency protective orders have been extended from one week to 30 days due to the pandemic, and law enforcement officials launched a “Behind Closed Doors” campaign asking people to report suspected domestic, elder and child abuse.

It asks delivery personnel, home repair workers, neighbors, family and friends to text or call 911 if they believe someone needs help. Grocery stores distribute posters which include free hotline numbers, shelter information and legal resources available to domestic violence victims.

In the Big Apple, the police department is taking reports and checking on New Yorkers in all five boroughs through phone calls instead of face-to-face visits, while sharing safety plans and code words to communicate with anyone facing danger.

Domestic violence has progressively declined since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and protections put in place with New York’s state of emergency declaration, said a police spokesperson.

Since the beginning of the year through March 31, domestic violence reports dropped to 2,809 from 2,826, and fell to 902 cases from 1,065 for March 2020 compared to March 2019, the NYPD spokesperson reported.

“New York City has seen a reduction in overall domestic violence complaints in April, though our NYPD leaders remain concerned that these figures reflect underreporting by victims,” she added.

Physical abuse from lovers or loved ones is not the only concern during the pandemic. Black women are also dealing with unscrupulous landlords. One suburban New York activist said many of her clients have been sexually pressured.

“He tells you if you’re short or something on your rent, meet him down in his office. And if you do give him sexual favors, all he’s gonna give you is $40 off your rent,” she told The Final Call.

“This is happening right today, during coronavirus! One girl I know, she pays $1,200. She has a studio, four children in this studio, and two of her kids suffer from autism, and her apartment is a mess. No doors on the bathroom, roaches, bed bugs, and he knows this is going on, and the social service system, they’re not on our side,” she complained.

This landlord has been known to assault tenants, she continued.

“He’s actually broken a tenant’s arm … broke her arm because she filed a complaint against him,” she said.

The activist asked not to be identified. While people need to be held accountable across the board and she’s compelled to speak out, she is also worried about retaliation.

“If we complain … where does she take her children? But it’s not just her! It’s all of us who live in this community, because we live in a very low income area, and that’s the Black women, so I can imagine what he’s doing to the Hispanic and undocumented that live in this building,” she continued.

There have been other reports of landlords offering to forgive rent payments in exchange for sex. The practice is illegal.

An eviction moratorium on some federally supported housing programs was included in the multi-billion dollar bipartisan federal CARES Act signed by President Donald Trump. It expires July 24, 2020.

The moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent and fees and related penalties applies to all tenants under the federal low-income housing programs like Section 8 or project-based vouchers, and programs administered by the Office of Public and Indian Housing. It doesn’t matter if employment was affected by Covid-19, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Any rent missed will still be due at the end of the eviction ban. Renters must also sign a repayment agreement.

The Trump Administration and Coronavirus Task Force also authorized the Federal Housing Administration to implement an immediate foreclosure and eviction moratorium for homeowners with federally-insured single family, reverse mortgage, and direct home mortgages until the end of April.

The moratorium applies to all properties with a federally insured mortgage, such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and properties covered by the Violence Against Women Act, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council.

Nearly 40 states, commonwealths and territories have moratoriums on Covid-19 evictions, according to research led by Emily Benfer, visiting associate professor at Columbia Law School. Tenants may access a map of eviction moratoriums, which is updated daily, at https://www.rhls.org/evictionmoratoriums/. Evictions provisions vary by state.

Generally, landlords issue eviction notices, file lawsuits with courts, courts hold hearings, issue rulings, and sheriffs physically remove tenants who lose their cases. Few states cover all five stages despite the moratoriums.

New York has extended its moratorium until August 20, banned late fees and missed payment fees during that time period, and issued stays on orders or judgments.

The federal moratorium does not apply to eviction proceedings in process before Covid-19.



Los Angeles County expanded its rent freeze and eviction moratorium to cover all residential and commercial tenants in the county, except in cities that have already enacted their own policies.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed banned all residential evictions until July 22, except for those due to violence, threats of violence, or health and safety issues.

Oakland’s moratorium on evictions and rent increases above 3.5 percent during the crisis is set to end on May 31.

Evictions in the District of Columbia have been stayed until May 15, according to D.C. courts.

America under ‘house arrest’

“The entire nation is virtually under house arrest. As a result of that, many people
 

Student Minister Ava Muhammad


have undergone dramatic changes in their way of life that we don’t see through mainstream media,” stated Student Minister Ava Muhammad, national spokesperson for the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam.

People are generally seeing visual images of the upper middle class to wealthy, who have the space, environment, and ability to satisfy the need for privacy, she said. They can retreat to swimming pools, basketball courts, and in-home gymnasiums, but most of the U.S. population doesn’t live like that, particularly Blacks, she observed.

Prior to Covid-19 stay home orders Blacks were often living in spaces inadequate for the number of people who stayed there, Dr. Muhammad noted. And, she continued, many deliberately stayed out all day or night to distance themselves from conflict and a lack of comfort in their apartments or homes.

“The problem is there’s been an environment created where there’s almost no relief because you’re not allowed to be outside unless you’re en route to a supermarket, a pharmacy or some ‘essential service’ and even then, not everyone has private transportation to do so,” she said.

Other people in domestic violence situations before the pandemic may have felt it was manageable, but things escalated with the virus, said Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis, an L.A.-based psychologist.

The abuser may now have the ability to restrict the movement of victims, she explained.

“This person may know all of their contacts. This person may not really let them out of their sight with all the surveillance, not to mention the psychological bondage, where they break the victim down so that emotionally, they don’t feel capable,” she explained.

Women who feel able to seek help or leave are confronted with challenges of finding somewhere to live in the middle of a crisis, Ms. Bryant-Davis said. There is the challenge of fleeing an offender and uncertainty about where to go, she said.

“Any form of abuse, mistreatment, disrespect is not love. Even the stress of the virus or if your partner was laid off, or whatever they’re facing still does not make it excusable or okay,” said Ms. Bryant-Davis.





Sadiyah Karriem, a Houston-based criminal attorney and advocate, has found that despite the abuse and having no place to go themselves, women often don’t want to put their husbands or significant others out.

The women fear there is no place for the abuser to go outside of jail, she said.

Domestic violence victims in Houston can press charges, but abusers will just be released due to efforts to keep jail populations down to avoid the spread of Covid-19, the lawyer added.

“Victims’ rights are really down because of the stay at home orders so people feel mentally that they’re forced to stay with the abuser. Children are suffering most, due to added stressors on parents, but no one’s really talking about that,” said Atty. Karriem.

“Our arrest and detention policies regarding those charged with domestic violence haven’t changed during the pandemic,” countered Jason Spencer, a spokesman for the Harris County, Texas Sheriff’s Department. Houston is in Harris County.

“We definitely respond to domestic violence calls and make arrests when we have probable cause,” he said.

Harris County Sheriff’s Department statistics indicate domestic violence calls shot up nearly 20 percent in March (1,558 calls) compared to an overall 10.28 percent decrease between January and February.

Police policy in the City of Angles hasn’t changed either, according to Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore.

“However, the courts have specifically changed the bail policy, and those that are kept in custody, and that has impacted persons who are being held, accused of domestic violence,” he admitted. “It has resulted in a number of their release, and in other instances, early release from sentences,” Chief Moore told The Final Call during a Covid-19 update call with Black community leaders and media.

Chief Moore said he’s deeply concerned about the release of some who were in custody on charges of domestic violence driven by changes to the bail policy and shortened sentences to downsize jail populations.

Police are taking steps to warn victims of perpetrators’ early release, he said.
And, Chief Moore added, through philanthropic agencies, Los Angeles has been able to increase the number of domestic violence shelters by 50 percent.



Those needing shelter or services available through Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Project Safe Haven’s Covid-19 Emergency Shelter and Support Services can call several hotlines.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), connects callers to over 5,000 shelters and service providers across the country. The hotline also helps with protective orders, counseling, support groups, legal help, and more.