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(en) US, Philadelphia, Defenestrator* issue 41 II. (2/2)

Date Sun, 04 Jan 2009 12:13:49 +0200



Join the Struggle! by John Diaz ---- Greetings, I had written to the defenestrator a while back and
told them about the censorship and confiscation of the defenestrator issue #40. They wrote back,
offered help and asked me if I would be interested in writing something for the defenestrator.
Actually, I wasn’t interested because I am a terrible writer. But if I want the struggle to succeed
then I know how important it is for us ALL to contribute something! Either to the defenestrator or
another group. ---- I am a prisoner at SCI-Smithfield, in Pennsylvania. I have been in the “hole”
since March 2006. Prior to that time, I was a brain dead prisoner more interested in television and
junk food than I was in improving my quality of life. ---- When I first came to the “hole” I moped
around and did nothing. After a while, out of boredom, I began to write.

Every address that I found, I wrote to. Luckily, some of these addresses were to folks that were
tired of watching the government abuse its power. I was fortunate to connect to some, including the
defenestrator. They let me know that I was not alone and that there were people out there in
solidarity.

I felt empowered with that solidarity. When there were a string of suicides here in the “hole,” I
wrote down all of the prisoners’ names and numbers that were witnesses. I wrote to my folks in
Massachusetts with this information, including the home addresses of the suicide victims that I had
obtained from other prisoners.

To make a long story short, they were able to organize a demonstration here at SCI-Smithfield, that
made the local news. This has gained further support for our struggle here and has blossomed into a
state-wide effort. There will be another demonstration in Philadelphia.

This all began because of some simple solidarity and a letter home.

I am not from Pennsylvania. My people came all the way from Massachusetts, not just for me, but for
my fellow prisoners.

I issue a challenge to all prisoners everywhere. Don’t expect one man from another state to fight
OUR battle by himself. Start by communicating to your fellow comrades. Quit the racial bullshit and
respect each other. White, Black, Native, Latino, Asian whatever. Christian, Muslim, Jew, atheist.
We must set aside our differences and focus on our similarities. Grab a pen and paper and write.
Let those on the outside know what we are experiencing. And I don’t mean bitching about the cost of
commissary or phone calls. Because we have it in our power to control these by boycotting these
two. We can’t expect people on the outside to make sacrifices and fight for us if we are unwilling
to do so.

Many of you are from Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. Your families don’t have to travel
from three states away to have an impact. They can do it in their own cities!

Most of my comrades that I have talked to about this say that their families will not get involved.
And I say, “How the hell do you know if you don’t ask!” We can have an impact and the time is now!

If ALL of us do SOMETHING, then there is nothing that we can not accomplish.

I have exposed myself to the prison officials and now experience retaliation. It sucks, but it will
have been worth it if YOU DO SOMETHING to join the struggle.

In Solidarity,
John Diaz DS-4803
Box 999
1120 Pike St.
Huntingdon, PA 16652

=======================================================

Critical Resistance 10

To celebrate 10 years of Critical Resistance, thousands will converge once more, September 26-28,
2008, in Oakland, California, for CR10, a 10th Anniversary Celebration and Strategy Session.

In September 1998, thousands gathered in Berkeley, California, for a conference that founded
Critical Resistance’s movement to abolish the prison industrial complex (PIC). Each participant,
with their own experiences of oppression and resistance, watched as diverse struggles were unified:
by humanity, hope, and the shared vision of a different world. We witnessed a vision of a world
with truly safe, healthy, and whole communities; a world with unconditional access to
self-determination and dignity for all; and, critically, a world without imprisonment, policing,
and other forms of punishment and control.

Over the past decade, the movement to eliminate the PIC has faced tremendous challenges. We have
witnessed rising levels of imprisonment in the US and around the world. We have endured passage of
the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, the Military Commissions Act of 2006, increasing surveillance and
policing in our lives. Meanwhile, US-led wars continue to ravage communities around the globe. We
have witnessed the increased repression and criminalization of migrants and immigrants, people of
color, young people, and queer communities. We have seen California prepare to embark on the
biggest prison building project in history as the Gulf Coast region continues to struggle and to
prevail in spite of ongoing neglect and militarization.

During this period Critical Resistance has also developed into a leading force fighting against the
use of imprisonment, policing, and surveillance as responses to social, economic and political
problems.
During the past 10 years we have:
Brought the idea of the prison industrial complex (PIC) into mainstream conversations;
Substantially increased collaboration of PIC abolitionists with organizers in environmental
justice, anti-violence, and queer movements;
Promoted prisoners, former prisoners, and their loved ones as the real experts on the system;
Provided a platform and jumping off point for new organizations and organizing efforts; and
Contributed to dozens of local and regional victories across the country.
We have seen only the beginning of what we can accomplish together. CR10 promises to propel this
momentum forward, with united, strategic force. Through workshops, skill shares, performances,
action, reflection and celebration, CR10 aims to reunite our voices, reinvigorate our collective
refusal to be silenced and strengthen our collective will to build a world without walls.
For more information, visit: www.criticalresistance.org

=======================================================

Homeland Security Shakedown in PA Prisons by dave onion

Last summer numerous inmates held at SCI Greene started hearing word that their letters were
arriving opened and taped back shut. Normally prisoners mail is only checked coming in while
outgoing mail will leave the prison unopened. When Saleem, a regular contributor to the
defenestrator, filed a grievance last June demanding to know why his outgoing mail was being read,
he was informed “You were placed on Mail Watch as a result of your own actions. Your continued
radical beliefs and involvement with questionable written publications are an issue that is of
concern to the security office.” Saleem not only writes for the defenestrator, but for several
other publications including Pittsburgh’s New People, and has been active pulling together a number
of collaborative writing and organizing efforts all focusing on social justice.

But while a number of other politically active prisoners and political prisoners have also been
subjected to mail restrictions and surveillance, Saleem and other politically active prisoners were
then additionally hit with cell searches despite their lack of recent write ups or disruptive
behavior. The real threat seemed to be the little trickle of light illuminating some of the day to
day abuses in US prisons. As Holbrook wrote in a recent letter: “So my mail is/was being monitored
because of my activism and ability to articulate a perspective of the D.O.C. in opposition to the
image/impression of prisons and prisoners the D.O.C. promotes.”

A personal visit from a higher up in the prison bureaucracy, shed some additional light on the
situation: the cell searches hadn’t even been carried out by DOC staff, but by agents going over
the heads of the prison admin. Though unconfirmed, several of those who were searched and activists
involved in prisoner support feel that it was the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) stepping
over the prison hierarchy as part of a campaign to crack down on imprisoned radicals.
Some prisoners believe, the DOC is now taking advantage of DHS’ attention toward prisoners to
further target “activist” or “political” prisoners. Under national security pretexts the D.O.C. Can
further isolate the activist prisoners who are already deeply isolated from the activist movements
on the outside. Saleem writes: “The prevention of a connection between prisoners and activists and
community/social activists is the objective, not combating terrorism or radicalism.”
Maroon Shoatz, Black Panther Party / BLA political prisoner also at SCI Greene was among those who
felt the repression that ensued. In 2006, his cell was searched and most of his belongings
confiscated for being “revolutionary material”.

DHS’ presence in prisons seemed to have stepped up when Muslims imprisoned in Colorado’s Supermax
facility in Florence were discovered to have exchanged letters with those responsible for the
Madrid train bombings. Citing the potential of prisons as breeding grounds for domestic terrorism,
mail surveillance shot up and DHS searched cells of politically active prisoners across the
country. Working in tandem DHS and the FBI announced plans to flood the prisons with federal
snitches, fund “intelligence units” in state prisons, and “train more prison staff to recognize
signs that prisoners are turning to extreme propaganda, sharing radical views and attempting to
convert other inmates” (USA Today November 11 2006).

That the feds’ definition of radical or extreme is left vague and undefined doesn’t help the matter
either. While fundamentalist Muslims responsible for the Madrid bombings and 911 may have been
dubbed “radical” doesn’t mean that our people in prison, the revolutionaries and freedom fighters,
are in turn “terrorist” or have even the slightest inclination towards violent attacks on random
civilians. This of course can’t be said for their jailers, who as an organization prove uncontested
even by the like of Al Qaeda in wreaking havoc on lives of civilians from New Orleans to Iraq to
Philly.

=======================================================

Keeping Every Cell Full at SCI Greene An Inside View by Sadot Williams

The administration at the PA State Correctional Facility at SCI Greene in South Western PA is doing
its best to keep PA instep as one of the states with the biggest prison population by keeping its
five hundred plus bed long term confinement unit that sits outside of the main prison filled. It is
filled with hundreds of prisoners, mostly Hispanic and African-American that the only thing keeping
them from making parole is the administration not letting them do programs mandated by the PA
Parole Board.

Prisoners are being locked down on A/C administrative custody for years after completion of their
30, 60, or 90 days in the Restricted Housing Unit (RHU or Hole). And a large number of these
prisoners are being locked down for non-violent misconducts or for misconducts four or five years
ago from other prisons.

When the PA Parole Board mandates a prisoner does a program- drug and alcohol classes, violence
prevention or a thinking for change class, to name a few, and these programs are not completed when
reviewed for parole, the prisoner is guaranteed to be denied. This happens even when the prisoner
has remained misconduct free for a year, locked down on the long term confinement unit.

Also, the prisoners that are denied parole and are housed in the long term confinement unit receive
much longer parole review hits than prisoners that are denied parole in general-population.

The administration here at SCI Greene will not let prisoners take these programs in the long term
confinement unit and basically with the refusal to accommodate prisoners in this regard, set things
in motion for much longer and a lot of times unnecessary parole hits.

This is just one of many ways the executive administration at SCI Greene is working to insure that
they keep every cell full.

=======================================================

UPENN Constructing “Autonomous Robots” for the Military” by crash

Yes, it sounds like a bad sci-fi novel and no, this isn’t a joke. In an article featured in the
University of Pennsylvania Almanac titled “Penn Engineering’s Largest Research Grant in School
History to Lead Robotics Consortium,” Dr. George Pappas, Dean of Penn Engineering stated “Our goal
is to combine scientific principles with new engineering technologies to make autonomous aerial and
ground robots work together, work independently, adapt, survey and ultimately become a reality in
the field.”

The goal,” the article states, “is autonomous machines that operate with little or no direct human
supervision and can support security or rescue personnel operating in dangerous environments. In
venues as disparate as buildings and caves, the machines must be able to organize into sub-teams
and clear and secure areas, track hostile targets in a three-dimensional environment and find
victims or explosive devices by crawling, climbing, flying or hovering.”

In the single largest grant that UPENN has ever received, the Army Research Laboratory will provide
Penn Engineering with $22 million plus over ten years to invent and improve technology “that will
put unmanned machines on the front lines of battle.”

Recently in Iraq, a gun-equipped robot malfuntioned and turned its weapon in the wrong direction.
While it may be a leap of logic to say that robots are rising up against the human race (the gun
did not fire) it still raises some questions.

What happened to R2D2 and Robbie the Robot? Wasn’t artificial intelligence supposed to elevate
humanity to another level of living and free people from the endless labor of daily life? Didn’t
Issac Asimov predict that the 21st Century would commence with the construction of super computers
that control the world economy, evenly dividing up the Earth’s resources so no one goes hungry? I
guess the global economy has other plans for the future. Hasta la vista, baby.

=======================================================

Philadelphia Police Harrass Homeless Philadelphians

The subterranean halls of Suburban Station and the catacombs below City Hall have long served as a
place where Philadelphians without homes turn as a last resort for shelter from the cold.
Non-profit homeless shelters can be unsafe and unwelcoming, places where one’s belongings can be
stolen while one sleeps, doors close early, and restrictive policies result in many being turned
away. Drop-in daytime cafes, run in winter months, offer a heated place to sit (although sleeping
is officially prohibited) but “dropping in” requires trips to various agencies to get one’s name on
a list, and even then the cafes are open only for 8 hours a day and their capacity is limited in
the worst cold emergencies to only 125 people -- while the lists include nearly double that many names.

With few other workable options, many find a place to sit out of the cold in the public train
stations underground. However, in January, Center City’s Ninth Police District began what they
disturbingly call a “quality-of-life initiative,” designed to promote arrests of those who the city
deems undesirable. (“Two Sides of the Street,” Philadelphia Inquirer, Sun, Feb. 24, 2008). Police
have been aggressively hounding those who appear to be homeless in Suburban Station. They have also
repeatedly threatened to arrest volunteer groups, including Food Not Bombs and local churches, for
sharing food in or near the Station. In January, police began to patrol the Station in groups of up
to six officers, where before they patrolled the halls by themselves. These gangs of officers have
been observed driving people out of the station, discriminating based on appearance, and smashing
people’s personal property in their efforts to force them out into the streets. The station’s halls
are now often littered with cardboard mats and bags of belongings, apparently left behind as police
drive people out into the cold.

These evictions occur regardless of temperature, during snowstorms, and even during “Code Blues” --
or city-declared cold emergencies. When temperatures plummet to unsafe levels, Code Blue emergency
services go into effect. Teams in vans patrol the streets offering rides to shelters, where relaxed
regulations permit extra cots and beds to be stuffed into nooks and crannies. But now, the City has
changed the way it defines Cold Blue -- altering the threshold by several degrees and refusing to
take wind-chill into account. On nights when the temperature is 35 degrees, but winds create frigid
sub-freezing conditions, shelters are held to stringent regulations and lower maximum occupancies
levels are enforced.

Meanwhile, Nutter has been giving mainstream press interviews expressing disdain and outright
animosity to homeless Philadelphians. In the same Inquirer article, he claimed that at night,
“Center City becomes ‘a Philadelphia version of a South African shantytown.’” As spring nears, it
remains to be seen what new forms the mayor’s drive to “clean-up” Center City by endangering not
only the basic liberties, but at times the very lives, of those he and the Philly Police deem
“undesirable” will take.


=======================================================

Justice Denied: A Political Decision that Cannot Be Allowed to Stand --- written by Michael
Schiffmann for the German Network Against the Death Penalty and to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

On Thursday, March 27, the 3rd U.S. Court of Appeals decided to lift the death sentence against
Mumia Abu-Jamal and deny him a new trial.

The lifting of the death sentence is a big victory for the movement against the death penalty and
for the life and freedom of Mumia.

That the court denied Mumia a new trial is a bitter defeat.

The defense will now seek a decision by the full court instead of the three judge panel that handed
down the March 27 decision.

So all is not lost and the struggle continues.

A hopeful sign was that one of the three judges dissented and wrote a 41-page commentary in which
he criticized the decision of his colleagues.

In its decision, the 3rd Court of Appeals has followed the precedent of other courts from the Court
of Common Pleas in Philadelphia to the U.S. Supreme Court in deciding one way in a host of cases,
and another way in the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal.

The clearest such case was in the early 1990s when the U.S. Supreme Court granted a neo-Nazi
prisoner a new sentencing hearing since the prosecutor had used the defendant’s membership in the
ultra-violent, racist prison gang Aryan Brotherhood to argue for the death penalty, but denied such
relief to Mumia even though the prosecutor in his case had argued for Mumia’s execution merely
because he had been a member of the Black Panther Party – 12 years before the trial!

There are multiple other examples of this sort where the courts singled Mumia out for special
treatment – and always to his disadvantage.

In the present stage of Mumia’s case, the court once again did so with regard to Mumia’s claim of
racism in the jury selection. Generally, to be granted at least a hearing on this issue, the
defendant must make a so-called “prima facie” case that the prosecutor excluded jurors because of
their race.

Generally, the threshold for such a prima facie case is quite low, and mere statistics – black
potential jurors were statistically at least 10 times as likely to be excluded by the prosecutor
than white potential jurors – and a whole array of other evidence should certainly have been enough
to make such a prima facie case for Mumia.

Not so for the 3rd Circuit Court majority. It does not even discuss the possibility that it might
not have been a good idea to exclude blacks with a ten times greater likelihood than whites.
Rather, it points to all sorts of data that Mumia allegedly did not supply, citing the resulting
lack of information as the reason to deny an evidentiary hearing – as if such an evidentiary
hearing were not supposed to supply exactly information of this sort!

In other words, the two majority judges do not seem overly concerned that an evidentiary hearing
might reveal information that would convince even them that racism prevailed during the selection
of Mumia’s jury. Once more, Mumia is singled out for “special treatment” and denied relief.

The court also denied Mumia’s other two claims for a new trial or post-conviction hearing, citing
similar allegedly purely formal grounds.

The myriads of formalism in which this decision drowns elementary considerations of justice cannot
hide the fact that it was not these formalisms that produced the decision. It was a political
decision, a decision designed to please the powers that be, in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania.

If the court’s decision is allowed to stand, the consequences for other prisoners will also be severe.

The court will then have sent a message that 1) racism in jury selection is so harmless and
tolerable that you need an unachievable mountain of evidence to get relief, 2) that prosecutors can
deceive the jury at will about its responsibility, as Mumia’s prosecutor Joseph McGill did when he
asked the jury to convict the defendant since in that case he will have “appeal after appeal”
anyway, whereas if acquitted he will be able to simply “walk out,” and finally, that 3) a behavior
as blatantly unfair as original trial judge Albert F. Sabo’s behavior during the 1995-97
post-conviction hearings is also tolerable since it is not in the domain of federal courts to
review it (this is the reason given in the decision to deny relief in that particular point).

The March 27 decision by the 3rd Circuit Court marks a sad day not only in the struggle for Mumia,
but also in the general struggle for the rights of defendants in court and for civil and human rights.

But this is not the final word. As I said above, the struggle goes on, in the legal as well as in
the political arena. This is not the moment to give up, but rather, to intensify our fight, for
truth, justice, and the life and freedom of Mumia Abu-Jamal.

=======================================================

MOVE 9 women denied parole By Hans Bennett

The Philadelphia Inquirer announced on April 22nd that the three remaining MOVE 9 women (Debbie
Sims Africa, Janet Hollaway Africa and Janine Phillips Africa) were denied parole by the PA Parole
Board. The Inquirer quotes parole board spokesperson Leo Dunn as saying that parole had been denied
because the three MOVE prisoners had “minimized or denied the ‘nature and circumstances’ of the
offense, ‘refused to accept responsibility’ and lacked remorse. He said the fourth reason for the
rejections was the ‘negative recommendation’ by the prosecutor.”

The parole board used several of the stipulations that MOVE spokesperson Ramona Africa had
predicted that they would try and use to deny parole, including that they “refused to accept
responsibility” and lacked remorse.... The unfairness and arguable illegality of this is so
obvious, because how can you expect someone to “admit guilt” when they’ve always said they are
innocent? Where does remorse come from if someone is actually innocent?

The “nature and circumstances” stipulation is a blatant re-sentence, since the serious nature of
the charges were considered by the judge at the time when he ruled that MOVE should be eligible for
parole after 30 years. How can this fairly be used to deny parole?

A further outrage is that the women never even faced weapons charges, unlike the male MOVE 9
prisoners. Because of this, it had been thought by many observers that the women would have a
better chance of receiving parole.

Therefore, if this is any indication, it does not look good for the MOVE 9 men, for whom the parole
decision is still pending. If supporters want to make a difference and hold the parole board
accountable for these blatantly unconstitutional parole stipulations, we must increase public pressure.

This blatantly unfair decision can only serve to validate the argument that the MOVE 9 are indeed
“political prisoners”.

At move9parole.blogspot.com there are resources for contacting the parole board. As well as
articles, and a new video-series focusing on MOVE 9 parole that feature new interviews with Ramona
and Mike Africa Jr. mixed in with archival footage from the recent documentary on MOVE by Cohort
Media, narrated by Howard Zinn.

=======================================================

“My Granny Made Me An Anarchist:" General Franco, The Angry Brigade And Me by Stuart Christie *
Reviewed by James Generic

Some people are just naturally born rebels. Stuart Christie is such a person. He was born in 1946
in working-class Glasgow, Scotland, into a world split in two by the ever-present sectarian rift
between the Catholics and Protestants. Christie was a member of the Orange Order growing up, an
anti-Catholic Protestant fraternal organization. When he came of age, however, he went through a
metamorphosis of left-wing thinking. After meeting with members of the Coal Miners’ Union, Christie
became an anarchist. He was 16. From that point on, his life would revolve around anarchism, a
philosophy based on social justice, community autonomy and individual liberty.

Soon after, Christie became involved with the anti-nuke movement in Scotland, where he saw all the
different varieties of the radical movement, from pacifist liberals to labor party hacks to
Trotskyites to anarchists. He quickly became impatient with the nonviolent protest marches, which
were seemingly ignored and longed to do more. Through talking to older Anarchists, he learned of
the fight in Spain a mere twenty-five years before, when the ideas of Anarchism nearly achieved
success in the farms and factories of Catalonia, in Eastern Spain. If it hadn’t been for their
betrayal by the Stalinist forces, the anarchists could have beaten Franco’s fascists and prevented
the dictator from taking power. This recent history had a huge effect on the young Christie and he
decided to attempt to kill Franco, under the assumption that the end of Franco would mean the end
of his regime.

In 1964, at only 18 years of age, Christie linked up with a Spanish Anarchist group and made his
way to Spain through France. Upon entering Franco’s Madrid, he was almost immediately arrested by
Brigada Politico Social (BPS), the Spanish secret police, who were supplied information on his
arrival by the British Scotland Yard. That the British secret service would collaborate with the
fascists amazed Christie. During the interrogation and beatings, his explosives were quickly
discovered by the police, and the only thing that saved him and the Spanish anarchists arrested
with him from a quick execution were his foreign citizenship. Because Spain at the time was trying
to soften it’s image to attract tourism and foreign money, they didn’t want to scare either away by
executing foreigners or those involved with them. Christie entered Spanish prison on a thirty year
prison term and met the “politicos” or political prisoners, which are a variety of trade unionists,
anarchists, socialists, communists and any other dissenters in Franco’s Spain. Later in his life,
while in British prisons, Christie realized that the liberal democracy of Britain’s jails were much
worse than the jails of Franco’s fascist Spain in brutality, isolation, food and exercise, among
other things. He quickly became the center of an international campaign for his freedom, though he
was ignored by Amnesty International for accepting violence and because he admitted guilt.

In 1967, after three years in a Spanish prison, Christie was freed when his grandmother wrote to
Franco and Franco decided to score points in order to attract more British and other European
tourists to Spain by showing mercy. When he returned to Scotland, dogged by the press, he noticed
that Britain had changed a lot during his years in jail. Rebellion, disobedience and rock music had
become the new norm for the youths of England and the rest of the West, protesting the US war in
Vietnam, nuclear weapons and attacking the established order. Christie did his best to fit back
into the world, moving to London and becoming an electrician for a trade. He joined Albert
Meltzer’s Wooden Shoe Bookshop on Compton Street, and restarted the Anarchist Black Cross which
fights for political prisoners. He also co-founded the long-running “Black Flag” magazine with
Meltzer, an anarchist investigative and analytical magazine and helped raise money for the “First
of May Group”, a Spanish-anarchist group resisting Franco’s regime. However, these activities also
brought him near-constant police harassment, surveillance and media attention calling for his
imprisonment.

In 1970, as the war in Vietnam roared on and the limits of pacifism and peaceful demonstrations
became apparent, Christie goes on to tell us how many left-wing youths started to turn to more
militant and violent actions, like the Weathermen in the US, the Red Brigades in Italy, the Red
Army Faction in Germany and the Angry Brigade in the UK. These groups, with varying levels of
success, took the guerrilla warfare aspects of Mao Zedong and Che Guevara to “bring the war home”
in actions such as bombing campaigns, kidnappings, propaganda deeds and acts of sabotage. The Angry
Brigade, a group influenced by anarcho-syndicalists and situationist politics but never outward
about their politics, claimed responsibility for 25 bombings in the UK from 1970 to 1972, targeting
government offices, banks and the homes of conservative politicians, though only targeting property
and not killing anyone , as well as releasing political statements explaining their actions.
Christie, though sympathetic to the Angry Brigade, had nothing to do with their activities and
stayed away from any extra-legal activities. This did not stop Scotland Yard from trying to pin
him, a well-known Anarchist, as as a member of the Angry Brigade.

In 1972, Christie was arrested on charges of “conspiracy to cause explosions” from planted evidence
by the British “bomb squad” which had been organized to catch the Angry Brigade. He was arrested
along with a dozen other British radicals. After a long trial, he was found not guilty of all
charges and the others only guilty of conspiracy. Christie notes that one of the keys to their
victory was that in the trial, they made sure that the jury was as working class as possible. Why?
Because during the course of the trial, the defense proved that the defendants were simply normal
working class people, with regular worries and jobs, with different political beliefs who were
being persecuted by the crown as scapegoats, to the point of even having evidence planted on them.
After the trial, Christie also notes that the British prosecution of political trials from then on
would be held outside of the cities and in middle-class dominated areas, similar to how in the US,
many trials against Blacks are stacked with White jurors.

Stuart Christie helped run Cienfuegos Press, a radical publisher which he founded, from 1974 until
1982, and continues to be active in anarchist publishing projects in the UK. “Granny Made Me An
Anarchist” is a humorous book, and one thing I enjoyed was that he never assumed that you knew the
terms he was talking about, and therefore inserts many excerpts throughout the book, explaining
terms, periods, groups and historical events; such as Anarchism, The First of May Group, Francisco
Franco, the Angry Brigades, etc. He examines his past with a critical eye but never apologizes for
anything he’s done, since he has nothing to be ashamed of and remains true to the values and
actions of his youth (though he hasn’t tried to blow up any dictators since then.) He doesn’t take
himself too seriously at any point. You can tell that he came from humble beginnings and never
really got away from his upbringing by his Granny and Mum. This book is a great find for anyone who
has trouble staying idealistic in troubling times.

=======================================================

Philadelphia Police Harrass Homeless Philadelphians

The subterranean halls of Suburban Station and the catacombs below City Hall have long served as a
place where Philadelphians without homes turn as a last resort for shelter from the cold.
Non-profit homeless shelters can be unsafe and unwelcoming, places where one’s belongings can be
stolen while one sleeps, doors close early, and restrictive policies result in many being turned
away. Drop-in daytime cafes, run in winter months, offer a heated place to sit (although sleeping
is officially prohibited) but “dropping in” requires trips to various agencies to get one’s name on
a list, and even then the cafes are open only for 8 hours a day and their capacity is limited in
the worst cold emergencies to only 125 people -- while the lists include nearly double that many names.

With few other workable options, many find a place to sit out of the cold in the public train
stations underground. However, in January, Center City’s Ninth Police District began what they
disturbingly call a “quality-of-life initiative,” designed to promote arrests of those who the city
deems undesirable. (“Two Sides of the Street,” Philadelphia Inquirer, Sun, Feb. 24, 2008). Police
have been aggressively hounding those who appear to be homeless in Suburban Station. They have also
repeatedly threatened to arrest volunteer groups, including Food Not Bombs and local churches, for
sharing food in or near the Station. In January, police began to patrol the Station in groups of up
to six officers, where before they patrolled the halls by themselves. These gangs of officers have
been observed driving people out of the station, discriminating based on appearance, and smashing
people’s personal property in their efforts to force them out into the streets. The station’s halls
are now often littered with cardboard mats and bags of belongings, apparently left behind as police
drive people out into the cold.

These evictions occur regardless of temperature, during snowstorms, and even during “Code Blues” --
or city-declared cold emergencies. When temperatures plummet to unsafe levels, Code Blue emergency
services go into effect. Teams in vans patrol the streets offering rides to shelters, where relaxed
regulations permit extra cots and beds to be stuffed into nooks and crannies. But now, the City has
changed the way it defines Cold Blue -- altering the threshold by several degrees and refusing to
take wind-chill into account. On nights when the temperature is 35 degrees, but winds create frigid
sub-freezing conditions, shelters are held to stringent regulations and lower maximum occupancies
levels are enforced.

Meanwhile, Nutter has been giving mainstream press interviews expressing disdain and outright
animosity to homeless Philadelphians. In the same Inquirer article, he claimed that at night,
“Center City becomes ‘a Philadelphia version of a South African shantytown.’” As spring nears, it
remains to be seen what new forms the mayor’s drive to “clean-up” Center City by endangering not
only the basic liberties, but at times the very lives, of those he and the Philly Police deem
“undesirable” will take.

=======================================================

A Lone Activist Survives the Shelter System By Anon

A Philly native talks about life inside the city’s homeless shelters -- and getting kicked out of
one for his activism (the author’s name and other identifying information have been removed to
protect the innocent).

By Anon

The shelters are like a warehouse of men. Guys who go to work have to fill out a “late return.” And
you can fill out the paperwork, but if the person on duty doesn’t put it in the proper place, you
lose your bed.

They put everybody in a classification that comes from Narcotics Anonymous, that you couldn’t
manage your life, so somebody has to do it for you. “We’re gonna strip you down and build you back
up, and we’re gonna make you the man that you couldn’t be.” To a person who, you’re having trouble
with your wife, and you have a home, if you could just patch things up. People might have mental
health problems, you might have HIV, or had a disaster, like a fire. Some just got out of jail.
Some guys are coming out of rehab. But I’ve found that I’m 45 years old – you can’t strip me.

They want to manage your money. You use the shelter’s address, and you can get welfare benefits.
You pay shelter fees, and then you put most of the rest of the money into a savings plan. When I
was living in another shelter, I needed carfare to go be with my wife, but they said I had to pay
those shelter fees or they were going to kick me out. My wife has cancer. I felt that saving money
would mean nothing if my wife was to pass away.

I had to involve some higher-ups, so I talked to a gentleman my city council person’s office. After
that, it seemed like I was on a blacklist. Two people the next day were badgering me. They come
around in the mornings and say, “get out of bed.” I was getting dressed, and the one woman said, “I
better not say nothing to him, because he’s going to tell the politicians on me.” I didn’t say
anything back.

The day I had a colonoscopy, I went back to the shelter and they had cut my locks, packed up
everything and had it in a big tub, and said, “You’re out of here.” A person comes into the shelter
with all they own, their worldly possessions. And I said, “Look, I’ve got this note from my doctor,
I need to rest,” but they kicked me out. I had to lift my belongings.

They said, “We feel that you’d be better suited somewhere else.” Some of the shelters are run like
jails. The one they tried to send me to after that, nobody wants to go up there. One time, I just
got there, and somebody broke in the soda machine. But their theory is, “Don’t nobody tell who did
it, then nobody can’t go out.” What about the guys that got to go to work? What about that I have a
doctor appointment? While I was there, I came down with Scarlet Fever, and I went to the hospital.
I never got my stuff back.

That’s why people don’t have faith in the system. And my savings, at the shelter that kicked me
out, they say it’ll take 4 business days to get it back -- it took a month. Even if you did take
that money and put it to an apartment, you’ve got first month’s rent, and security. Where’s next
month’s rent going to come from? You’re selling me this dream, and it’s unworkable. It’s a puff of
smoke.

The present place I’m at, it’s cold as ice. It’s a gymnasium. This is just for the winter
initiative -- it’s going to dissolve at the end of March. We sleep on cots. We arrive at the gym
about 12 midnight, and we have to get up at 5. I’m sleep-deprived. I’m not getting any younger. I
can’t stay up past 9 o’clock at night. I fall asleep in the chair, I find a little corner. And
really, they don’t want to you fall asleep. They come wake you up. I get waked up about 10 times a
night, before 12 o’clock. I get this thing when I sit down too long now. The doctor was saying
something about a sciatic nerve.

There’s so much unprofessionalism, it’s a shame. I think that people who work in this capacity need
to listen. I would let people express themselves, and I think I would get a better response. Rather
than “OK, shut up, let me tell you what I want you to do.” They’re provoking people. A guy could
come there and be at his exceeding limit, and they’re not trained to notice anything like that.
Something could trigger him, and he goes into a rage. –––
The person that talks to themselves on the street, you’ll find that they’re really saying
something. Maybe we can’t connect with it, but they’re saying something that relates to why they’re
in the situation that they’re in. It’s like a skipping record. Maybe it’s a secret, and they’re
holding it in, and they never had anybody who would listen to them. How do we get them back on
track? It doesn’t always have to be that they don’t want to participate in life, it sometimes comes
down to a mental health problem. It’s not so much the drugs. The drugs are a means of escaping
whatever pains they’re feeling. And then society says, “After work, it’s Miller time.” It really
makes me take note of how misdirected I was on how to enjoy my life. Where I was a follower, I
don’t have to be that follower.

People get homeless, and at that time, the barriers drop and we come together and help each other.
It’s amazing. You really need a belt, and he takes the belt off his waist, if you’ve got an
interview or something. It’s not the shelter giving you clothes, it’s other guys giving you
clothes. It feels good when guys in the shelter say, “How’s your wife doing? Is she getting around
alright?” It’s guys that if you looked at them, you’d never think they had it in them like that –
big, tough guys. You’re all depressed, but you’re sitting in there, and you find something to laugh
about. It sounds crazy, and you’ll be like, “What are we laughing about? Look where we’re at.” But
a little stupid thing happens -- it could be bad, but we find something to laugh about. I guess
that’s what lets you know you’re still alive.

Most of the shelters, they’re going to be making them leave soon, because they’re in a family
section and nobody wants to see homeless people. This is the next thing that’s coming up. Where
Ridge shelter is, they’re refurbishing an old hotel to make condominiums around the corner from one
of them to make condominiums. That shelter’s not going to be there in a couple of years.

During the mayoral election, with the Vote for Homes campaign, I went out with Project HOME and got
people to vote, and we had a homeless rally at City Hall. We had the candidates come out, and we
shot some questions at them. And they gave us their plans for homelessness in the city. So far,
none of what they said came up or anything. When John Street was mayor, the shelter system stayed
the way it was. Nutter’s mayor now, and the only thing they’re offering is transitional housing. If
it’s private-run, that’s like a slumlord. You’re going from living with a bunch of men to living
with less men. If you had your own little room, in a sense, then you’d have your self again.

In order for a person to take care of themselves mentally and physically, be nourished, take their
medicine, you name it, every person should have a home. That’s just one of your rights. It’s across
the world, really, that people are homeless. My solution would be to build small homes, big enough
to sleep two people, a kitchen, bedroom, sitting area, and bathroom, solar heat and electric. If
people had homes, went back to being families that ate at the same dinner table and went to church
and interacted with their kids, it would counteract a lot of the violence. My father took us
places, me and my friends, like out to the park after school to play baseball.

I’ve got to be with my wife. I want to have my granddaughters over and play with them on the floor.
Without all that, I’m like this 4th class citizen. I have no sense of belonging, in a place that
gets paid for me to sign my name, but I can’t stand in front of the building. They say, “Go walk
down the street.” Well, all of us stay here.

But it’s like I’m some kind of protester when I open my mouth. Because I knew enough to go and see
somebody, they were like, “Oh, we don’t want him, because if what he’s got is catching, we’ll be in
real trouble.” But that’s what they need. You can’t be a lone activist and have some punch.
Everybody looks at you like you’re crazy – like you’re at the Phillies game and you’re rooting for
the Padres. And they’re like, “he must be nuts.”

=======================================================

“50 Shots Equals Murder!” By John Tarleton

Sean Bell Supporters Take It to the Streets on Friday Winding, 4-hour March Stirs Passionate
Responses in Jamaica, Queensprotest

from nyc.indymedia.org

By John Tarleton

The march had finally stopped as people assembled in a small plaza located between several of the
South Jamaica Houses to listen to speakers who climbed atop a childrens’ jungle gym. It was a
surreal, almost cinematic moment, as an NYPD helicopter circled over the projects, its powerful
spotlight moving across the crowd. Veteran revolutionary Carl Dix exhorted those present to change
the world. “The system has no future!” He cried out to a roar of applause. “What has a future is
revolution!”

Chanting “50 shots equals murder!” a crowd of about 800 demonstrators marched through several
Queens neighborhoods Friday evening denouncing the acquittal of three police officers implicated in
the shooting death of Sean Bell.

The march began near the Queens Criminal Court building where Judge Arthur Cooperman issued his
verdict Friday morning and wound its way to the site of the Kalua Cabaret where Bell, 23, was
killed and two of his friends severely wounded in a barrage of police gunfire in the early morning
hours of Nov. 25, 2006. All three of the men were unarmed.

Before the march began, anti-police brutality activists and several family members of people slain
by the NYPD spoke to the crowd which gathered in a grove of trees off to the side of the court
building.

“Today coming over brought back all the pain of when they killed my son and my nephew,” said
Margarita Rosario, who lost her son Anthony and nephew Hilton Vega in 1995 when they shot by a NYPD
detective while lying face down on the floor. “I can’t imagine how the Bell family feels today—it’s
like burying your son all over again.”

“I feel pain on top of pain,” said Nicholas Heyward Sr, whose 13-year-old son was killed by the
NYPD in 1994. “I’ve been doing peaceful protests for 14 years and all they do is go on killing us
back-to-back.”

“We have once again seen how the justice system is showing it has no respect for our communities,”
said Juanita Young, whose son Malcolm Ferguson was killed by police in 2000.

The rally and march were organized by the People’s Justice Coalition, a coalition of New York-based
grassroots organizations that have joined forces to win community control over the NYPD. The
coalition’s demands include a call for the end of militarized policing in predominantly
people-of-color neighborhoods, the creation of a permanent independent prosecutor for all cases of
police brutality in NYC; and increased efforts for community control over the police through
creation of community Cop Watch patrols.

Before the crowd stepped into the streets, a spokeswoman for the Justice Committee challenged
people to do something with their anger. “When we say ‘no justice, no peace’ what do we mean?” She
asked. “If we’re not organizing ourselves on a daily basis, our words mean nothing.”

Once underway, the march headed east on Queens Boulevard before turning north on Jamaica Ave. and
then east again onto Sutphin Ave. The mostly young, multi-racial demonstrators drew stares and
scattered support from bystanders and stranded motorists as they moved through Kew Gardens and
Briarwood. The crowd had a flashing police escort clearing the way in front and a caravan of cop
cars following behind prompting one young marcher to ask, “why are our enemies, the police, leading
our march?”

By the time the marchers surged into the heart of Jamaica, they were greeted by a cacophony of
honking horns. On streets lined with small shops and stores, people came out to the sidewalk to
wave and cheer as the marchers passed by.

Standing in front of the Corner Fish Market at 91st and Sutphin, a woman with a lilting Caribbean
accent denounced the verdict. “We need justice. Justice was not served. They murdered the boy!”

“They [the police] were in there drinking and touching the women like everyone else,” said a man
standing next to her. “When [Michael] Oliver reloaded his gun and started shooting again, what was
he thinking? … I need to know the definition of reckless endangerment. If this isn’t it, I don’t
know what is.”

“Diallo gave them [the NYPD] a permit to kill,” added Charles Campbell, 50, of Jamaica. “Today,
Bell gave the cops a license to kill. It’s just like when you start driving. First you have to get
a permit and then you get a license. I mostly feel bad for my son. He’s a 21-year-old black man and
he could get hurt.”

Unlike some of the marchers who called for firing the entire police force or abolishing all police
and prisons, Campbell said he was left with mixed feelings about the NYPD. “They make me feel
comfortable and uncomfortable,” he said. “It’s like fire. It can keep you warm, but it can also
burn your house down … When I was a kid, a cop was a hero. Ask any black kid today and they won’t
say that.”

When the crowd reached the Kalua at about 8 p.m., candles were lit and placed on the sidewalk
outside the building. The majority of the crowd gradually dispersed to a nearby subway station but
for some the march was just starting.

“We’re Taking It To The Projects!”

With some helpful prodding from members of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), a crowd of
200-300 people re-amassed around a blue van with its sound system on full blast and headed back up
Sutphin before turning onto Jamaica. One young white activist raced by encouraging people to rejoin
the march--“We’re taking it to the projects!”

Police cars trailed at a distance behind the rejuvenated crowd, but the streets belonged to the
protesters who were greeted with repeated bursts of horn-honking support as they marched back up
Sutphin and turned onto Jamaica Ave. chanting “We are Sean Bell. NYPD go to hell!” The breakaway
march lasted for three hours and made its way first to the South Jamaica Houses and then to the
103rd Precinct Station.

The march would become a sprint as the front of the group walked at top-speed. Jean, a Haitian
immigrant, held the hand of his two-year-old son Zaheed as he skipped along keeping pace with the
adults without crying or complaining.

“I got a little one,” Jean said. “Something could happen to him. I got to start him early to defend
himself … Those 50 bullets could have been for me or my brother or anyone else I know.”

As the march made its way through the South Jamaica Houses, the trailing squad cars peeled away.
Meanwhile, people were coming to the windows of their apartments to wave and cheer and in some
cases run out and join the demonstration.

“This protest, I agree with it 100 percent,” said Brent Holloway who was driving around the
neighborhood in his mother’s car with three of his friends. “Ain’t nothing going to change until
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly retires … If it was a black man who shot a white cop, he would be
going to prison for life.”

A young friend of Holloway’s wearing a red ballcap leaned across the driver’s seat and shouted,
“They can suck my dick! They can suck my dick! They can suck my dick all day long! They killed that
nigger! They can suck my dick! Quote me on that. They can suck my dick! They can suck my dick! I
know I’m using curse words but it’s not like I’ve shot someone.”

The march had finally stopped as people assembled in a small plaza located between several of the
South Jamaica Houses to listen to speakers who climbed atop a childrens’ jungle gym. It was a
surreal, almost cinematic moment, as an NYPD helicopter circled over the projects, its powerful
spotlight moving across the crowd. RCP national spokesperson Carl Dix exhorted those present to
change the world. “The system has no future!” He cried out to a roar of applause. “What has a
future is revolution!”

Many others listened supportively from a distance and took various leaflets and newspapers that
were being handed out.

“We want change,” said Frank Quinn, a South Jamaica Houses resident. “We’re tired of this. We just
want to live in peace.

“I can’t blame you as a white person for what happened,” he added, “but I want you to feel my pain.”

The march resumed, looping its way through South Jamaica and offering locals the chance to join in
as they headed for the 103rd precinct station. For some, it was irresistible while others hesitated
and stayed behind. “I’m not going to jail,” said one young girl as several other kids ran off to
join the crowd.

Seeking to channel the energy of the crowd, one of the march organizers walked along the left side
of the crowd urging people to keep a positive non-violent focus. “Let’s go about this in the most
mature way possible,” he said. “Let them make the first move. We’ll make the second move. They’re
playing checkers. We’re playing chess.”

When the crowd arrived at the 103rd Precinct, they found a 50-yard long line of riot cops standing
behind metal barricades. The building behind them was a four-story red brick fortress. At least a
half-dozen more cops looked on from the roof.

Sean Bell’s step-brother Joseph led a brief prayer (“I pray in Jesus’s name to look over us and
keep us safe, and Fuck the Police!”) before others took their turns on the bullhorn. The crowd
would count out the 50 shots (“37!-38!-39!-40!-41!...”) and mill around in the street while some
went straight up to the cops to heckle and flip them off. When someone tossed something over the
barricades at the police, cooler heads prevailed and persuaded the 200 or so people still remaining
to march off together toward the Jamaica Center subway station. It was about 10:45 p.m.

As the scattered crowd moved down 93rd Ave., some youths ran down the street banging on metal bus
signs and turning over trash cans while nearly two dozen police vehicles trailed in the distance.
“Don’t do that!” One female bystander screamed. “This is our community!”

Before the night was over, there would be at least two arrests.

For Carl Dix, the long march through Jamaica had been a success. “We’re coming back tomorrow,” he
said. This isn’t a one-day thing. We’re going to challenge these youths to become long-distance
runners. A lot of youths want to run a sprint. But, fighting for justice is a marathon.”

For Antoinette, a 34-year-old city worker, graduate student in public policy and Jamaica resident,
the night had been a revelation. She had been stuck in traffic several hours earlier when the crowd
poured down Sutphin Ave. Already surprised and upset by the Sean Bell verdict, she caught up with
the march at the South Jamaica Houses by following the position of the police helicopter spotlight.
When she got out of her car and heard speakers urging people to join the march, she was ready to act.

“I just knew it was something I had to do,” she said of her decision to hit the streets. “It’s my
first time but I’m going to get more active. I’m going to start going to more protests and meetings
and become more involved in the community. If we just sit around and don’t do anything, nothing
will change.

“If African-Americans hadn’t protested, we would still be segregated and riding on the back of the
bus,” she added. “We African-Americans have great teachers we can learn from.”

When I asked her what she would be doing if she hadn’t joined the march, she chuckled at the thought.

“I’d be doing my calculus homework.”

A small band of demonstrators continued marching past the Jamaica Center subway station with a long
line of flashing cop cars slowly creeping behind them. I suggested to Antoinette that she call it a
night as cops often unleash their aggression at the very end of a march but she said she was going
to continue. She was enjoying herself and after waiting 34 years to start marching, she wasn’t
ready to stop.

=======================================================

Jury says Michael Ellerbe was shot intentionally by PA State Troopers: Awards $28 Million to Family
By Andalusia Knoll

When State Troopers in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, killed 12-year-old Michael Ellerbe in 2002, his
family along with neighbors and members of People against Police Violence, launched a campaign to
bring those responsible for his death to justice. They demanded answers; why was an unarmed
12-year-old black boy shot in the back as he was running away from state troopers?

Despite strong community pressure a state inquest found the officers innocent. If the case ended
there, Ellerbe would have joined the ranks of the 2000+ others whose lives were cut short by U.S.
law enforcement officers who are rarely held responsible for their deaths.

Michael Hickenbottom, Ellerbe’s father, unsatisfied with a ruling of innocence, filed a civil suit
against the troopers. On March 11 2008, more than five years after Ellerbe’s death, a Jury in
federal court ruled that Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Samuel Nassan and Corporal Juan Curry
used excessive force and intentionally shot Michael Ellerbe. The jury awarded more than $28 million
dollars in punitive and compensatory damages.

This verdict refuted Trooper Nassan’s claims that he only fired his gun after hearing his partner’s
gunshot, which he mistook for a shot from Ellerbe. Corporal Curry had claimed that his gun had
discharged as he hopped a fence while in pursuit of Ellerbe who was supposedly running from a
stolen vehicle. Testifying during the trial, a former Pennsylvania State Police sergeant James
Baranowski, who was the ranking officer on the scene shortly after Ellerbe died, said he became
suspicious of the officer’s claims after seeing a lack of gunpowder on the fence and the location
of the shell casings. No ballistics tests were conducted on the bullet found in Ellerbe’s body, to
determine its weapon of origin.

Baranowski said that when he voiced his opinion about the case he was reprimanded and pushed to
retire after his 17 years of service with the state police. He filed a civil suit, which he has
since lost, against the state police for their condemnation of his concerns and his forced resignation.

These discrepancies between forensic evidence and officers' testimony were never investigated in
the original case of the troopers. After a brief inquest on January 27, 2003, the Fayette County
Coroner recommended that no charges be filed against the Troopers and that the homicide was
justifiable. When the Fayette County D.A. declined to file charges, the Ellerbe family approached
the U.S. Attorney’s office to charge the two State Police officers with violating Michael’s civil
rights. After 23 months, U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan closed the case, stating that there was
not enough evidence to support criminal charges against the two Troopers.

Renee Wilson, an activist with People against Police Violence questioned why they didn’t call other
witnesses, including Uniontown residents who witnessed the shooting. The impartiality of the State
Police was also questioned, as they were the ones responsible for investigating the wrongdoings of
their own state troopers.

In a press conference on March 11th, following the jury’s verdict Hickenbottom’s Lawyer Geoffrey
Feiger said that the state police acted like a “Gestapo” and were complicit in Ellerbe’s Death.

“These officers actions could not have been hidden and covered up as long as they were without the
hierarchy of the state police,” said Feiger.

Feiger also indicted the media for their involvement in this cover-up, for believing printing and
legitimizing the trooper’s version of the story. While Ellerbe’s case was being heard in federal
court headlines such as “Boy’s conduct caused high-risk action” ran in the Pittsburgh
Tribune-Review (Wednesday, March 5, 2008). Articles and TV News have continually attempted to
discredit Ellerbe by highlighting his move between various family members and examining their
criminal records.

Despite the initial cover-up, this civil suit was able to unearth new evidence. “That’s what this
trial was really about was for answers that I never got and I had to hire attorneys to get me those
answers,” said Hickenbottom.

With the jury ruling that the officers intentionally shot Michael Ellerbe, his father said that the
decision has left a major question unanswered.

“Why did you shoot? As my lawyers didn’t believe, and I don’t believe also that the gun discharged
on the fence. I just want to know why did you shoot him in the back,” said Hickenbottom.

Hickenbottom added “I haven’t put a headstone on my son’s grave yet and that is to symbolize that
we are still fighting.”

Anti-Police Brutality activists say that part of that fight is preventing incidents like this in
the future. “I’m hoping that this will send a clear message to police everywhere, that you can not
just kill anyone like this and not be punished,” said Taylor.

Following the jury’s decision the Black Political Empowerment Project (B-PEP) recommended that City
County and State police review their policy regarding deadly force. In a press release Tim Stevens
of B-PEP stated that the “Citizens of our Commonwealth should not be subjected to reckless and
irresponsible actions on the part of those paid to “protect and serve” the public.”

The B-PEP press release also references former Leon County Florida sheriff Ken Katsaris testimony
during the trial as further cause for a policy revision. “…If I taught officers to do that, we’d
shoot everybody. We don’t want to stack bodies because someone turned around and looked at them,”
said Katsaris in his testimony.

Andrew Fletcher, defense lawyer for Trooper Nassan and Corporal Curry said they would appeal the
decision. The Pennsylvania State Troopers Association issued a statement calling the verdict an
injustice and said the troopers should be absolved of responsibility “…These troopers should not be
held liable because a split-second decision was made when it appeared one trooper had been shot.
They did not know it was a 12-year-old. These are good men and good troopers who have risked their
lives time and time again to keep our communities safe.”

Celeste Taylor, a long time Anti-Police Brutality activist, hopes that this case will improve
racial relations between law enforcement and the public in Pittsburgh and the nation at large.
“This verdict is so important to dealing with the issue of racial profiling to the dehumanization
the criminalization of our young people. This will definitely help in saving some lives because not
one more life should be stolen by an act like this,” said Taylor.

“The use and abuse of police brutality is one of the most historically based disconnects between
those in the Black Community and those representing government,” said Tim Stevens. Stevens also
added that it wasn’t so long ago that “Police Officers were under some of the hoods of the KKK and
that some of these people in these towns who were paid to protect were in fact causing destruction,
causing frictions between the African American community and the Police Department.”

While many have celebrated this case as a victory against police brutality, others have stated that
lives can’t be replaced with any amount of money. Donna Thomas of Uniontown, who lives on the
street where Ellerbe was killed told the Post-Gazette that $28 million dollars, is ”not going to
replace the boy. Money rules the world, but it doesn’t make somebody come back.” The 28 million
dollars will come from taxpayers’ money, which led Tim Stevens of B-PEP to recommend a review of
deadly force policy not only to save lives, but also to prevent future costly lawsuits.

While the Jury has ruled that the troopers intentionally shot Michael Ellerbe, the officers will
not go to prison, nor lose their jobs. In fact Corporal Curry has been promoted since Ellerbe’s
death. John Vogtas, who was responsible for Johnny Gammage’s death by asphyxiation in 1995, was
also acquitted and eventually promoted. No officers were held responsible for the deaths of Bernard
Rogers, Charles Dixon, or Jerry Jackson, all unarmed black men killed by local Pennsylvania law
enforcement.

There is a possibility that Ellerbe’s case may end differently. Following the jury’s verdict and
the urging of Hickenbottom’s lawyers, U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan has agreed that she would
review the transcript of the civil trial to determine whether reopening the federal criminal
investigation is warranted. If the case is reopened and the officers are found guilty they will
serve prison time.

To listen to a Radio accompaniment to this article go to the Free Speech Radio News Website:
http://www.fsrn.org/

=========================================
* "defenestrator the a newspaper of refusal and optimism"
"Us here at defenestrator don't adhere to a strictly defined
ideology, but we generally derive our ideas from an anarchist
or autonomist tradition, which proposes a revolutionary
transformation of society, the abolition of property and of
all hierarchies and coercive power."
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