Friday, January 4

The Roundtable with Brother Muhammad presents


The Roundtable with Brother Muhammad interviews Elner Clark, sister of the late Black Panther Party organizer for downstate Illinois, Mark Clark, who along with Fred Hampton, was assassinated on December 4, 1969 by a Chicago police task force under J. Edgar Hoover's FBI and the abusive COINTELPRO program, designed to discredit, disrupt and otherwise neutralize Black American Leadership, Black American organizations and Black American individuals who resisted racism, racial injustice and the discriminatory practices of the American government. 

Tuesday, October 22

From The Final Call Newspaper

Victimizing victims and the smearing of Black lives

By Charlene Muhammad National Correspondent @sischarlene

When Black men, women or children are gunned down by police, oftentimes a disturbing yet familiar pattern emerges. The victim is portrayed in a negative light and is subtly or not so subtly blamed for what happened to cause their death. In many cases, past indiscretions or personal details about their lives is made front page news.

Amber Carr, center, wipes a tear as her sister, Ashley Carr, left, and attorney Lee Merritt, right, listen to Amber and Ashley’s brother Adarius Carr talk about their sister Atatiana Jefferson during a news conference, Oct. 14. Photo: AP Irwin Thompson

A White, male police officer who shot a Black woman inside her Ft. Worth, Texas home said he saw a person at the window. But later authorities claimed Atatiana Jefferson’s traumatized eight-year-old nephew, who witnessed the incident, said she took a gun out of her purse and pointed it at a window.

Activists and advocates complained police in Ft. Worth Texas, added to Black outrage and agony by attempting to blame the victim and twisting the facts.

Sadly, it wasn’t the first time that a Black life was lost and police and other authorities tried, in some way, to smear the Black victim, they added.

In case after case across the country, from Trayvon Martin to Sandra Bland, “blaming the victim” in police killings and other racially connected killings of Blacks has been a constant strategy, activists and advocates argued.

Victim blaming happens as law enforcement and media seize on any blemish in the victims’ past to paint them as somehow being worthy of death or imply the victim caused their own demise. It can taint the court of public opinion and, when used in courtrooms, may impact conclusions of jurors.

Aaron Dean, who shot Ms. Jefferson to death and resigned days after the shooting, has been charged with murder. The 34-year-old was arrested on Oct. 14 and is out of jail on $200,000 bond.

“Right now, the city of Forth Worth is actively pushing a narrative that Aaron Dean was a bad cop on a good police force. It was the ‘good police force’ that interrogated an eight-year-old child. It was the ‘good police force’ that put out a photograph of a gun to insinuate some criminality upon the victim. It was a ‘good police force’ that released a warrant that rejected this clear evidence of the two trained professionals who didn’t mention a gun, and the video … and relied instead on the word of an interrogated, terrified, eight-year-old child,” Atty. Lee Merritt, who is representing the victim’s family, told The Final Call.

The eight-year-old was Ms. Jefferson’s nephew, Zion, who was with her when she was shot to death. When Ft. Worth police put out a warrant for the arrest of the killer cop, they reported that the child said his aunt pointed a gun toward the window. A bullet, fired by then-officer Dean, came through the window and killed Ms. Jefferson.

The police interrogation of young Zion is extremely problematic, said Atty. Merritt. “The child did not have counsel present. The child did not speak with their parent. They interrogated a child after murdering his auntie in front of him. They will face legal consequences for that unlawful interrogation. It was abusive. It’s altogether a separate issue, and nothing the child allegedly said should be relied upon by the public, and it will not be admissible in court,” Atty. Merritt said.

According to the arrest warrant, Mr. Dean did not report seeing a weapon, but the other responding officer, C.A. Darch, saw Ms. Jefferson in the window.

“If the gun was a factor—and I’ll say quite frankly it was not—the firearm that Atatiana legally owned would not have been able to be seen from outside in the dark with the shades drawn. We know that, because the officer didn’t say, ‘Gun! Gun! Gun!’ as they are trained when you see a gun. He said, ‘Show me your hands,’ ” observed Atty. Merritt.

In addition, he argued, frame-by-frame video analysis further contradicts the police account in the warrant. It shows the same angle Mr. Dean would have had and Ms. Jefferson’s figure in the window, but no firearm, which would have been significant enough to report, Atty. Merritt stated. “But what he (Mr. Dean) said instead was accurate. I saw a person, and that Black woman represented a threat to me; not a firearm. They said they later recovered a firearm within the bedroom,” Atty. Merritt continued.

“Using police jargon that the officer ‘perceived a threat’ without being clear about what the threat was and releasing pictures of a gun lying on Ms. Jefferson’s floor gives the impression that she would be blamed for her own death. That is irresponsible,” said the National Black Police Association in a press statement.

The organization chided the Fort Worth Police Department for parceling out small pieces of information, and said the incident highlights another violation of procedural justice, which calls for fairness, impartiality, and unambiguousness.

“The death of Black citizens by White officers has reached critical mass. The argument that we cannot prove that race plays a part in these encounters can no longer be ignored, and community members are traumatized. That these events do not happen in other communities at the rate that they do Black communities is becoming more and more apparent, and police departments all over the country should be taking a collective introspective look at the nature and culture of their organizations,” said the National Black Police Association.

Ms. Jefferson’s death comes on the heels of the conviction of an ex-Dallas police officer’s killing of her 26-year-old neighbor Botham Jean while he was eating ice cream in his apartment. Amber Guyger, a White female, was sentenced to 10 years in prison. She claimed she thought she had encountered an intruder in her own apartment. Mr. Jean’s apartment was one floor below hers.

Despite Mr. Jean’s sterling reputation as an accounting professional and active churchgoer, Dallas police reported the presence of marijuana in his apartment shortly after his killing. Many Blacks were incensed by the report in the face of his death.

“We learned in the trial of Botham Jean that when law enforcement not only commits a crime, but others within the law enforcement community actively conspire to blame the victim and to cover up, it undermines the integrity of the entire department. You realize that it’s not a lone wolf situation,” said Atty. Merritt.

The police killing of Ms. Jefferson is indicative of a pattern and practice of police slaying then blaming Black people in Fort Worth, which makes them suspicious of police, activists say.

“I was devastated to begin with, and now I’m being equally devastated to listen to them try to twist and spin the facts to make the narrative fit their defense, as opposed to the truth,” said James Smith. He is Ms. Jefferson’s neighbor who said he called police for a wellness check, because he was concerned for his neighbors’ safety. He noticed her door was open for an extended length of time, which was unusual, he said.

“That’s bothering me, for real … I’m feeling extremely guilty, not because I committed the act, but if I had not called them, she would still be alive, not that I had anything to do with it,” Mr. Smith told The Final Call.

“Now, they’re trying to say that my call wasn’t a well care call, it was a burglary call. Then the next couple of hours, they’re saying no! It wasn’t a burglary call. It was an open structure call. Well even so! This is what’s happening right now, and I’m getting frustrated and devastated all over again, because I see what they’re doing, and the reason I’m taking your call now, is because if they wanna play games, then every chance I get, I’m gonna repeat my statement and not let them brush this up under the rug,” said Mr. Smith.

“You’ll see a headline that says, well the officer, he wasn’t rushing to a welfare call after all. Oh yes he was! When did it change? Who changed the nature of the call, and when did you change it, because nobody told me!” he added.

A disturbing pattern

Defense lawyers used false “thuggish” images to portray young, Trayvon Martin as a menacing brute who overpowered volunteer neighborhood watcher George Zimmerman who shot the 17-year-old to death in February 2012 in Sanford, Fla. Photos of Trayvon wearing a common hooded sweatshirt or “hoodie” somehow became synonymous with young, Black males being troublemakers. The teen was portrayed as the aggressor despite Mr. Zimmerman being instructed by police not to follow the teen who was headed to his father’s home.

Court filings in the case showed that part of the defense strategy involved depicting Trayvon as a “troublemaker and pot head,” wrote the late journalist George Curry.

Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old found hanging in her jail in Waller County, Texas, was painted as an “angry Black woman” for questioning why a Texas State Trooper stopped her for switching lanes without signaling and for protesting her brutal arrest on July 10, 2015.

Arresting Trooper Brian Encinia called her combative and uncooperative in his arrest report. Harry Houck, former New York Police detective, said she had an “arrogant attitude.”

In Minnesota, Philando Castile was shot and killed by St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez seconds into a traffic stop on July 6, 2016. Mr. Castile alerted the officer he was carrying a gun. The 32 year old cafeteria worker who had a permit for the weapon was still blamed by critics. Officer Yanez allegedly smelled marijuana in the car when he stopped the vehicle for a broken taillight, and then shot Mr. Castile five times point blank with his fiancée sitting next to him and her four-year-old daughter in the back seat. The defense argued Mr. Castile was high on marijuana and was pulling his gun out when the cop told him not to. The powerful National Rifle Association, staunch Second Amendment advocates criticized Mr. Castile. Mr. Yanez was acquitted of manslaughter charges.

Sacramento police officers fired 20 shots at Stephon Clark, striking the young, Muslim father of two, eight times on March 16, 2018. Prosecutors ruled the shooting lawful. District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert released text messages detailing domestic issues between Mr. Clark, 22, and his fiancée Salena Manni and information about his mental health.

Peter Bibring, senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and director of police practices for the American Civil Liberties Union of California, said it is important to distinguish between “victim blaming” and figuring out whether shootings are justified.

Under the laws in every state, or the Constitution, courts and police departments always decide whether shootings are justified by looking at the threat the officer faced and the options they had to resolve them, and some of that is going to involve considering the behavior of the victim, he told The Final Call.

“All too often, police and the media go beyond just looking at what happened in the incident and bring out accusations about criminal conduct in separate instances, often long ago, that the officer never would have known about. That’s no longer about looking at what happened in the incident and devaluing the worth of the victim and getting the public not to care about, and that’s not appropriate,” said Atty. Bibring.

Catherine Mendonca, a Cop Watch journalist with United Against Police Terror San Diego, argues victim blaming creates a divide between loved ones of armed and unarmed victims. Both obviously are a tragedy, but even when someone’s unarmed, police officers still shoot to kill, she stated.

“They don’t shoot to disarm, and they don’t put their lives on the line. There’s a lot of talk about officers put their lives on the line, but court cases have come out saying they have no duty to protect,” Ms. Mendonca told The Final Call. Multifaceted tactics are required to stop law enforcement and the system from victim blaming, she added.

Get rid of respectability politics which deem who is or isn’t worthy to be killed, and who dies based on if they approached police the right way or not, she said. Also, defund the police, said Ms. Mendonca.

“There’s always the dialogue that officers need just more training, so they don’t kill somebody, but that’s just an excuse to fund them, and that’s why they have so much power and have so much authority,” added Ms. Mendonca.

Alton Sterling, Eric Garner and even 12-year-old Tamir Rice, all died at the hands of police and were smeared or blamed for the actions of those sworn to protect and serve.

“District attorneys have repeatedly engaged in what victims’ families describe as cruel and painful smears of the dead. In some cases, prosecutors assigned to investigate killings present irrelevant and inaccurate information about victims and their pasts while exonerating the police – a kind of ‘character assassination’ that spreads in the media. The tactic, critics say, emboldens racist policing,” wrote Sam Levin in an article published by the Guardian titled, “Killed by police, then vilified: how America’s prosecutors blame victims.”

The root of the problem

The problem is rooted in the nature of Whites and Blacks, and their irreconcilable perceptions of reality, said Student Minister Dr. Ava Muhammad, national spokesperson for the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. Whites address all aspects of life through the prism of White superiority and Blacks are left to choose whether they want to accept the myth of Black inferiority or fight against it. That’s the root of every problem Blacks have, said Dr. Muhammad, a former prosecutor.

“The predisposition or the tendency to find fault with the victim is always connected to the race of the victim, and it’s Black! It’s a Black person. It’s your fault because you’re Black,” said the attorney, author and radio talk show host.

“Because you’re Black and you’re inferior, you are by nature engaged in unlawful activity. You are by nature in places you should not be. You are by nature doing what you should not be doing,” she said, illustrating the cause-and-effect mindset of White supremacy that surfaces in police killings nationwide.

The dilemma in Ms. Jefferson’s case is the Ft. Worth police chief has already sided with the victim’s right to protect herself in the gun-toting state of Texas, said Dr. Muhammad. Not only do they permit gun possession, but they’re very aggressive with the ownership and use of weapons, she said.

“What you can’t do is change the reality and the facts: She was in her house! … Just like Botham Jean was in his house,” Dr. Muhammad stated.

She recalled how one juror asked why was Trayvon Martin out so late? “It was six o’clock in the evening, but she was an old White woman. What she was alluding to is when she came up, in that town, there were ‘sunset’ laws, where Black people were not allowed to be out in the street after dark. So she’s saying why would you be out in the dark? You’re asking to be killed. We don’t allow you all to be out,” she said.

“The media is always complicit in these things, because they’re the filter that things come through … It’s this paradigm of racism that permeates every aspect of life in this country, so it’s not an either or. It’s everybody … Why do we have to prove that we’re contributing to society, to your society, you, a terrorist? They don’t have to say all that when it was a White victim. All they’ve gotta do is be White.”

(Final Call staff contributed to this report.)

Tuesday, October 15

From The Final Call Newspaper

‘The Beginning of Sorrows’ Farrakhan calls humanity to atonement on 24th anniversary of Million Man March

By James G. Muhammad Contributing Editor @jgm3000

CHICAGO—The stench of Satan’s world has fouled the whole of humanity and the earth is “entering a new day” where God and His Christ have come to take over rulership, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan announced to a cheering crowd at Christ Universal Temple church during the 24th anniversary observance of the Million Man March.

Mosques, churches and synagogues have become full of devils because of the effect of Satan and his lifestyle, and congregations have become full of people who read and quote scripture but refuse to live the word of God, he said, from a venue that was live streamed and viewed internationally.

“The Bible calls the human being the glory of God, but all of us have fallen short of the glory of God. Satan is like a snake and a skunk that has urinated on the human family. Satan has done a job on us. The rule of the earth under the wicked has been a horrible nightmare,” he said.

The stench of Satan’s world can’t be covered up with white garments, a suit, a bow tie, a cross or a collar, he said. The world is totally messed up, so where are the righteous; we’re in the church, the mosque, the synagogue, but Satan laughs, he added.

The Black man and woman in America are like the “dry bones in the valley” who have fallen so low that they are considered “lost souls” by God and His prophets, the Minister said. But it is the Black man and woman of America that God has come to resurrect and make rulers in the world, he added Oct. 13.

Calling the people of the world’s great monotheistic faiths—Christians, Muslims and Hebrews—back to the right path, the Muslim leader reflected on the day 24 years ago when the call was made for one million Black men to come to Washington, D.C., to atone for their sins and their failure to carry out their responsibilities.

“We called for one million men to come to Washington, not to picket, not to beg the government but to atone to God for our failure as men to shepherd our families, to be the guides for our people, good husbands for our wives, good fathers for our children,” he said.

When you don’t live right you bear the burden of your sins, the Minister said. “All of us are on our own cross. We’re walking upright and living downright funky and the battle is raging inside ourselves. We’re in a constant struggle against the flesh.”

“Allah is calling us. He doesn’t want us to go down with the devil, but the devil wants us to go down with him,” the Minister warned.

America under judgment

America is under the judgment and God is using the weather to curtail her resources, Min. Farrakhan said. The country is $22 trillion in debt that President Trump has no intention to pay, he said.

“That’s why he put $700 billion into the military. America will say to the world it owes, ‘don’t even try to collect. I’ll blow you off the face of the earth.’ He’s trying to frighten the world,” the Minister said. “But in a few minutes the bubble is going to burst.

“So begging the government is folly today. Whatever you think you want from the government ask them can they produce it. They’re broke,” he said.

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said God will use the weather against America, the Minister said, explaining that temperatures would drop from 70s and 80s to below freezing in just a few hours.

“Now it’s happening,” he said. This past spring 19 million acres of land failed to be planted because of the weather, and the land that was planted was planted late in the season. Now they expect two feet of snow in the Midwest, he said.

“What they thought would come out of the earth is buried under the snow. So, the words of the Master are coming true,” he said.

The 24th chapter of Matthew in the Bible speaks of wars and rumors of wars, famine, pestilence, earthquakes and nations rising against nation, the Minister said, but it’s just the beginning of sorrows.

“Have you seen the storm clouds of war gathering? They’re turning their pruning hooks into spears,” he said.

“America, you have to answer. You have cooked a hell of a meal for others, but now you are going to have to sit down and eat what you cooked for others because it’s all coming back to you,” he said.

The Minister explained the purpose of a 2018 trip he took to Iran as President Trump increased sanctions on the Muslim nation. He said the 90 million people of Iran live for the return of Al Mahdi (the Self-Guided One) who would return with the Messiah to turn the people back to God.

President Trump targets Iran as a so-called sponsor of terrorism; ask Mr. Trump to show in Iran’s history where they attacked another nation trying to take their wealth as America does, the Minister said.

Since Iranians expect the return of Al Mahdi, Min. Farrakhan went with a message that Al Mahdi had visited Black people in America and raised up the Honorable Elijah Muhammad as His Messenger and Messiah. “And I represent the two of them to you,” he told Iranian leaders. The Minister also told them that America is number one on Al Mahdi’s list to be destroyed.

“Since you’ve been looking for the Mahdi and I come to you representing him then it would be wise for you to study me, study the message, study the man who taught me, study the two that back me then answer your question, is he the Mahdi,” he told Iranian leaders.

“He comes to set down every tyrant. He comes to set justice in the earth,” he said.

Demonstrating how one allows Jesus to take over his or her life, the Minister explained that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad once asked if he would give up his popularity as a musician for him (Elijah)?

“Without hesitation I said, ‘yes sir.’ When I gave up all that, then I could put myself in a position to be fed that he could make me into himself. Jesus can’t use you if there’s anything in your life you love more than him and his Father,” the Minister said.

“I say this to Mr. Trump. Don’t even think about harming me. The day you think it and move to do it, that’s the day you sign your own death warrant with God,” he warned.

Home to the Nation
For decades, Christ Universal Temple—under the leadership of its founder the late Rev. Dr. Johnnie Colemon—has opened its doors to Min. Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam, student Minister Ishmael Muhammad said in opening remarks, a statement repeated by senior pastor Derrick B. Wells.

“On behalf of the entire Christ Universal Temple family, I am happy to welcome our Nation of Islam family home, welcome home. The Rev. Dr. Johnnie Colemon is my spiritual mother and I’m blessed to have as my spiritual father, your spiritual father, the Honorable Minister Farrakhan,” Rev. Wells said. “I am truly your brother, and this is truly your home. Happy anniversary. I pray that Almighty God, Allah, will move in a mighty way on this afternoon.”

Student Minister Tairah Muhammad, 22, who was asked to represent the generation that wasn’t born during the time of the march, said when you see the magnitude of the Million Man March, some would call it a phenomenon.

“But there’s really nothing questionable about what happened that day because when you have a man backed by the Supreme Being you can expect the extraordinary,” she said.

“What does that day and the principles of atonement mean for me as a 22-year-old Black woman and my generation? The principles laid out were eternal. The principles of atonement and reconciliation are forever. This is how we learn to love ourselves and learn to love God.

“My generation has grown up under such hate and the violence that permeates our community is of such magnitude that all we see is wrongdoing. We are surrounded by hate and conflict when all we want is love and peace,” she said.

A short video titled “Project Separation” was shown and laid out the case for Black descendants of slaves to be separated in a land of their own and supported for 20-25 years by the U.S. government as reparations as laid out in the Muslim Program of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Project Separation is a national campaign where town hall meetings are held to gauge the opinions of Blacks on the issue.

Describing the Million Man March as “the greatest gathering in history,” Min. Ishmael Muhammad said, “never in the history of the world has a call been made for a million men and a million men answer the call bringing with them nearly another million of their brothers.”

Oct 16, 1995 fell on a Monday and many said if you want it to be successful you should have it on a Saturday or Sunday, Min. Ishmael Muhammad said. “But this was not the call of a man. This was the call of God through a man for all of us,” he said.

Acknowledging the national and local leaders who helped to organize the march, Min. Ishmael Muhammad asked the men to stand and give a round of applause to the many women throughout the country who encouraged their men and sons to attend the march.

The Day of Atonement is not a 24-hour day, but it represents a period of grace and mercy from God for a sin-sick nation to acknowledge their shortcomings and seek forgiveness, he said.

“They were expecting a riot or uprising, but the very opposite occurred. It was heaven that day,” he said.

Before God punishes a people for their rebellion, He always extends mercy, Min. Ishmael continued as he introduced Min. Farrakhan. A watchman is placed among the people and when he sees the hand of God coming against the people, the watchman alerts the people that God’s wrath is at the door.

“Our beloved Minister has been a faithful warner. If America fulfills the modern Babylon, the modern Egypt, then there has to be a modern man of God. The Minister has given his all to us. He has kept the faith; he has fought the good fight. He has not compromised the message and warning of God given to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad,” he said.