We’ve had two different groups of pigs stop us on two occasions today, both times searching through the car & tearing shit up with no probabale cause whatsoever.
The first dude, after saying he was going to give us a “warning” for going 85 in a 70 mph zone, goes back to his car, runs our records (both of us had multiple felonies – none drug related), talks to some mofos on the radio & then comes back and tells us he has to have K9 search the car, and searched me personally by pat down and then went into my pocket. I had, and we had, nothing illegal on our persons or in the car. We go sit in the other pigs car while he searches ours for quite a while, then he comes back, asks my homie if he can give him his Miranda warning & ask him some questions – which he agrees to. Asks about an axe in the back of the car the we use for camping. And then he lets us go, with a written “warning.”
We make it to Springfield for the IDOC hearing about 15 mins late due to this bullshit stop and search, find out they played games on that hearing again and canceled it for the second time in a row with no prior notice – and both times we had several carloads of peeps who traveled from Chicago to Springfield to make sure they didn’t pull some slick shit and to make sure they know and see that significant and growing groups of people are opposed to the state of Illinois’ use of the torture practice of long-term solitary confinement in the IDOC, along with some other more minor issues with the rule changes.
Later on, as we are leaving Springfield, right after we get on the road some undercover pigs pull us over in an unmarked Toyota truck. We have an almost identical repeat of the prior stop, except we had done no traffic violations at all when they stopped us. They tear up the car again, with no probable cause search us both and the car, find nothing again and let us go – after asking several questions that had no relevance to the stop whatsoever. Not even a pretense of giving us a traffic “warning” on paper.
Something very weird about both of those stops – the second one in particular. In the 10 years I’ve been out of prison, these are the first times I’ve been stopped & harassed by the police while driving in Illinois. Just need to document this shit – for the record.
We’ve got a lot of shit we’ve been working on coming together now, and these political predators want to snake our ass… Who could possibly spend a whole career based on lying and fucking with people – and with the intention of sending people to prison for years & decades for bullshit, many times completely fabricated? Sick fucking people. And the fucking “war on drugs” is such an unprecedented human rights disaster – how many lives ruined, lost? How many billions of dollars that could have been used to actually do something of social value?
Had a very serious and heavy conversation last night on Laquan McDonald, Ferguson, Resistance & Liberation on Miss Geraldine Smith’s Radio Show. Was a pleasure and honor to sit with brothers and sisters who have done time behind those walls, now on this side fighting in the struggle together. Thanks to Brian Nelson of Uptown People’s Law Center and Roosevelt Burrell for inviting me. I had just come back from out of town and didn’t know I would even be speaking, and the show is fairly freewheeling, but I tried to make some serious, salient points. As did all of the guests. We had some differences on ultimately what it is going to take to address this, but a real agreement that people need to continue to come together and stand up, that this system cannot keep doing what it is doing to people. Any system that murders people on a daily basis is completely illegitimate. We will not be swayed by frantic calls for calm in the face of these daily murders by the enforcers of this system, or backroom deals with those responsible for the policies and practices that count the lives of Black folks as less than worthy of the same humanity and respect that every person deserves. We will continue to stand firmly for liberation, and against the daily State violence inflicted by the U.S. upon us here and on our brothers and sisters around the world.
Join us for a workshop at the People’s Summit on Prison System Injustices: Racism, Solitary Confinement, and the Detention of Immigrants with Gregory Koger, Mark Clements, Lynne Jackson, and Anthony Rayson
Saturday, May 12th, 11:45am at 500 W. Cermack – Room 715
Mark Clements & Gregory Koger
Mark A. Clements, is a Chicago Police torture victim who spent 28 years inside Illinois prison for a crime that he did not commit. He serves today as Administrator over the Campaign to End the Death Penalty and Jail Jon Burge Coalition.
Gregory Koger spent over six years straight in solitary confinement during his eleven years held in Illinois prisons. During his time in solitary confinement, Gregory studied broadly and became increasingly politically conscious and developed as a revolutionary and communist. Since his release, Gregory’s life has been dedicated to struggling against the injustices of this capitalist system and for a radically more liberated world, and he speaks and writes on the horrendous conditions and torture in U.S. prisons, mass incarceration and the criminalization of the youth, as well as the vast potential for those that this system has cast off to transform themselves and the world. He will focus on the historically unprecedented and racist system of mass incarceration and the New Jim Crow, situating its development in the historical context of the foundational white supremacy of the United States and the dynamics of capitalism-imperialism.
Lynne Jackson of Albany, NY is a co-founder of Project SALAM (Support and Legal Advocacy for Muslims). Her involvement with the issue of preemptive prosecution began when two Muslim men in Albany, Yassin Aref and Mohammed Hossain, were sentenced to fifteen years in prison after being entrapped by the FBI. In 2010, Lynne organized the campaign for the Albany Common Council to pass the Albany Resolution, which urges the U.S. Justice Department to implement the recommendation of its own Inspector General and establish an independent panel to review the convictions of Muslims who have been preemptively prosecuted to ensure their fair treatment under the Constitution and Bill of Rights. She will focus on pre-trial and post-conviction solitary confinement conditions, as well as their effects on the prisoners, their families, and the community. Case examples will be given in detail, and letters and poems from prisoners describing their experiences will be read.
Anthony Rayson of the South Chicago Anarchist Black Cross will discuss the Crete Detention Center, ICE and the Corrections Corporation of America, as well as his experience with providing literature and zines to prisoners and the importance of letting the voices of prisoners be heard.
I was attacked, pepper sprayed and arrested by the police at the behest of the President of the Ethical Humanist Society of Chicago for filming a statement by Sunsara Taylor regarding her disinvitation to speak there on November 1st. Please contact the “Ethical” Humanist Society of Chicago and its parent organization, the American Ethical Union, to demand that they drop the charges against me and to condemn the suppression of Sunsara’s talk!
On my attorney’s advice, given the pending serious charges I face, I am not commenting on the specific details of my arrest and I’ve made parts of my website private until after the legal proceedings are resolved and I can speak freely.
The following is a news release issued on November 2nd:
On Sunday, November 1st, plainclothes and uniformed police who had been called in earlier by officials of the Ethical Humanist Society of Chicago (EHSC) dragged out, maced and arrested a man for videotaping Sunsara Taylor as she stood near her seat and made a statement before the start of that morning’s program about the shameful cancellation of her long planned talk to EHSC that day on the topic “Morality without Gods.”
The shocking incident took place at the insistence of the president of EHSC. About 40 people witnessed the videographer being brutalized by the police in the foyer of the facility. An attorney demanded that the police stop brutalizing him when five officers piled on him as he lay face down on the floor. 6 police cars arrived within minutes.
The day before, during a workshop on the same premises which the president and other board members of the EHS were at, Sunsara explained very clearly that she would be attending the opening of the EHS’s Sunday gathering and giving the EHS the opportunity to do the right thing and allow her talk to go forward, up until the last minute. If the EHS still refused to let her give her talk, she explained that she would leave and give her talk in “exile” at the nearby home of one of the EHS members.
Video of Sunsara’s statement on Oct. 31st at EHS-Chicago:
In her brief statement at the EHS on Sunday morning, Sunsara Taylor challenged the very wrong decision to cancel her speaking engagement and pointed out how this is contributing to a chilling atmosphere in society as a whole and has happened all too frequently to people who challenge the dominant narrative (like Ward Churchill, Noman Finkelstein and the director of Milk who was recently “disinvited” from Hope College, etc.). Taylor stated that while the group had the “bureaucratic right” to disinvite her, it didn’t make it any more “right” than the voters in California passing Prop 8. She also invited those who wanted to hear her speak to come to her “talk in exile” at the home of a member of the EHSC.
At no point during her brief statement was Sunsara asked to stop speaking or to leave the premises. And at no point was anyone who was there to support her, including the photographer, asked to leave. It is telling that the only person singled out by the police, at the request of the president of the Society, was the man documenting what Sunsara was saying.
The videographer was simply trying to document and guard the truth of what Sunsara was saying in her brief statement. Sunsara’s words had been grossly distorted and taken out of context by some members of the EHSC who were the driving forces behind canceling her speech.
What kind of ethics and morals is the EHSC upholding and modeling through the great lengths it has gone to in suppressing Sunsara Taylor’s talk on Morality without Gods? A number of their own members expressed disagreement with the cancellation and a number of prominent people from around the country wrote statements in support of Sunsara’s speaking and called on EHSC to rectify its wrong-headed decision. Instead, the board fortified and increasingly defended its decision and created an atmosphere of anti-communist hysteria, fear and rumor-mongering that had no relationship to reality.
The EHS had no legitimate basis to feel the police needed to be there in the first place, except for the rumors and hysteria that they themselves had created. Then, by choosing to set the police upon the person filming they went after the one person who was documenting the truth of Sunsara’s words and the fact that Sunsara and others there to support her were acting in no way to disrupt the replacement talk the EHS had planned.
What kind of Ethical Humanist group would create a situation that led directly to the brutal arrest of someone simply for filming Sunsara giving a statement at that point with simply a cell phone? In their zeal to suppress Taylor they went repeatedly against the stated purpose of the Ethical Humanist Society of Chicago which includes “the supreme aim of human life is working to create a more humane society…Our commitment is to the worth and dignity of the individual and to treating each human being so as to bring out the best in her or him.”
This attack was in stark contrast to the day before at the EHSC where Sunsara led a well-attended and lively discussion with much audience participation on “Women’s Liberation and the Emancipation of Humanity.” This whole program was videotaped by the same volunteer photographer.
To call upon the EHSC to drop charges against the photographer and to continue to express their disagreement with their decision to dis-invite Sunsara Taylor contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 847-677-3334
Corey Harris, a 17-year-old star athlete at Dyett High School on Chicago’s South Side, was walking home from school on Friday, September 11, 2009, when an off duty Chicago cop chased him down and murdered him – shot in the back, like so many of the other teenagers gunned down by the Chicago pigs. The cop claimed that he saw Corey shooting a gun earlier, but Corey had no gun when he shot him in the back.
On the Monday after his murder, I spoke to one of Corey’s cousins outside Dyett High School. She told me that Corey’s muder was “an outrage against our school and many other schools that the police system keeps doing this to our students… Police are getting away with everything. And this don’t make no sense. He was only 17-years-old, and just had one baby. And I can’t even see him no more.”
Corey was well loved by many of his schoolmates, and several youth told me how he was their best friend, “my man,” and that now they would never see him again. On the Friday after he was killed, several students came up to the mic outside the school to speak out about his murder. As soon as school got out, a carload of police drove up to the front of the school to try to intimidate the students from speaking out. But several students got on the mic anyway and had this chant to say about the cop who killed Corey – “Lock his ass up! Lock his ass up!”
One of Corey’s friends stood up defiantly in the face of this repression and stood in front of two huge posters of faces and names of many people shot or killed by the Chicago police recently to say: “All I really got to say is – the police, ya’ll was wrong for gunning down Corey. Corey, we love you and miss you, and I’ll be at your funeral. It’s been tough the last few days, I didn’t feel like getting out the bed, but I knew I had to come to school anyway… You told me last week that you wanted to go to the NBA, and I believe if they had not killed you that you would have been a great basketball player. So police, I’m not scared of you all – I’m mad as hell at you all.”
Chicago police have been stepping up repression against those speaking out against police murders. Last Wednesday a comrade and I were threatened with arrest for over an hour an a half by a group of pigs outside Columbia College for showing the posters of the faces of people they have shot or killed and organizing for the October 22nd National Day of Resistance to Stop Police Brutality, Murder and the Criminalization of a Generation. But we refused to back down or shut up, and eventually they wrote us some tickets for some fabricated charge related to selling Revolution newspaper on the street. I don’t know what the ticket actually says, because I refused to sign mine, and then they threatened to arrest me for not signing it. I told them to stick that ticket up their ass and continued to speak on the mic to the crowd of 50 or so people gathered there about youth like Corey Harris, Rakeem Nance, and all the other young lives that have been snuffed out by the police, and the need for people of conscience to stand up and refuse to allow these murders to continue.
Indict, convict, and send the killer cop to jail – this whole damn system is guilty as hell!
Recently, the Chicago police have killed 6 people and shot 12 within a period of four weeks. The corporate media in the city remains silent on this outrageous rampage unleashed on the people, instead focusing on the propaganda of the police in relation to youth violence. Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis announced an Iraq-esque militarized “surge” of police in the city to intimidate and terrorize communities, including conducting roll calls in the streets with patrol cars blaring sirens and flashing lights and SWAT teams in full gear. Weis has admitted that his goal is to intimidate the people with a militarized presence: “When people see police officers in uniform like this, it sends a message. I’ll admit they are a little intimidating and they do have more of a military presence, but if that will cause people to disperse an area or maybe not engage in criminal activity, I’m willing to send that message.”
Opposing this murderous rampage and campaign of intimidation and terror by the Chicago police is vitally important. To that end, a contingent marched this weekend in the Bud Billiken Parade, the largest African American parade in the United States.
A huge banner reading “Get in the Streets to Stop Police Terror! Indict – Convict – Jail the Killer Cops” was banned from entering the parade by parade organizers and police. A police sergeant stated that he didn’t want signs exposing and protesting the police shootings to “rile up the crowd.” Above is a picture of the banned sign, and below is a shot of the parade organizers and gang of police that stopped the sign from entering the parade.
Eventually the contingent was allowed to march in the parade, carrying and passing out 15,000 Revolution newspaper broadsheets with the headline “Chicago Cops Shoot 12, Kill 6 in 4 Weeks: Trigger Happy Police… and a Criminal System”, as well as posters of the victims. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the contingent was the only one in the entire parade to have four police ATVs “escorting” it the through the entire parade.
Many people in the parade threw up the fist and chanted along with the contingent calling for the indictment, conviction, and jailing of the killer cops. Others along the parade route were stopped by the police from entering and joining the contingent.
At the end of the parade, it started pouring rain, and people took shelter under a roof of a Citgo gas station. There was a massive police presence there, including numerous police on horses pushing through the crowd and several police wagons. After a period of time, the police announced to the people huddling under the roof to escape the torrential downpour that if they didn’t leave within 5 minutes they would all be leaving in the police wagons…
Today marks the fifth year anniversary of the start of the U.S. imperialist war of aggression in Iraq. Across the country thousands of people gathered to voice their opposition to the ongoing war, which has claimed the lives of over a million Iraqis and nearly 4,000 Americans. I attended the protest and march in Chicago.
The rally started at Federal Plaza, where a large group gathered before a stage to hear music and speakers. Throughout almost this entire time I was kneeling on the ground in an orange jumpsuit and black hood to visually remind people and bear silent witness to the torture being committed daily by the U.S. government, so I didn’t have the opportunity to take many pictures. I did a brief interview with a videographer concerning the nature of the orange jumpsuit and hood demonstrations and discussed the correlations between the policies, practices and techniques of torture being used by the U.S. government in the War of Terror and the methods and practices used in the U.S. prison system.
The above picture is from very early in the rally. After gathering together in Federal Plaza, we proceeded to march through the streets of downtown Chicago, most people carrying signs and banners, some drumming, others shouting for the end of the occupation of Iraq. Our voices echoed through the urban canyons of the Windy City as we made our circuitous march through the streets. We marched from Federal Plaza, around downtown and up Michigan Avenue – the city’s premier shopping strip – and through the Gold Coast.
As we ended the march we gathered in the street, many commiserating and dancing, showing solidarity with those around the country and the world who were protesting or feeling the brunt of the jackboot of U.S. imperialism. Before long the police attempted to force us out of the street, as they rushed in on ATVs and Segways.
Although they moved people a bit off the street initially, far too many people refused to move and at the time I left shorty thereafter a huge group of people were still gathered in the streets, dancing and cheering for the freedom of the people to oppose the monumentally disastrous agenda of the ruling class in America…