CODEPINK PRESS RELEASE
DC Hands Up Coalition to Stage Protest in front of Justice Department, Call for Justice for Mike Brown
Where: Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
When: December 1st at 4:00 PM
Washington, D.C.— The Washington-based Hands Up Coalition DC has called for an emergency ongoing action at the Department of Justice citing last Monday's Grand Jury exoneration of white Police Officer Darren Wilson for his August 9, 2014 shooting and killing of unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown.
"We cannot let this injustice stand," said Coalition spokesperson, Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo. "Darren Wilson's own Grand Jury testimony is replete with racially biased hate speech including referring to Michael Brown as a 'demon,' 'grunting,' 'crazy' and 'Hulk Hogan.'" Dr. Coleman-Adebayo won a Title VII civil rights complaint in 2000 against the EPA. "I was awarded a historic judgment because senior federal officials used hate speech against me. Officer Wilson's racist characterizations of Michael Brown rise to that same level—except that Wilson also used a gun. If the predominantly white Grand Jury in Ferguson is bias-blinded, the Department of Justice must find that Darren Wilson violated Michael Brown's civil rights."
The Hands Up Coalition DC calls on Attorney General Eric Holder to stand with the people of Ferguson—and every other community in the United States where white police routinely slaughter black citizens—and intervene in this case. Protesters in upwards of 170 cities across the United States have hit the streets in outrage at the racism that is particularly glaring in Missouri.
Speakers List for Hands- Up: December 1
- Verna Avery Brown, Emcee, WPFW
- Luci Murphy, Activist/ movement songs
- Marsha Coleman-Adebayo - Coordinator, Hands- Up Coalition, Editor and Columnist, Black Agenda Report
- Kevin Berends, Director of Communications, No FEAR Institute.org
- Kymone Freeman, Programming Director, We-Act Radio
- Barbara Wien, American University Professor, School of International Service
- Seema Sadanandan, DirectorPolicy & Advocacy Director American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation's Capital
- Matthew Fogg, Bigots with Badges, former US Marshal recently returned from Ferguson
- Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK
- Reverend George C. Gilbert, Jr. of the Holy Trinity United Baptist Church
- Benoit Bookens, former Department of Labor official and AFGE member
The Hands Up Coalition DC will peacefully assemble beginning on December 1, 2014 at the Justice Department, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, to demand:
1) The demilitarization of local law enforcement across the country. Strict limits on the transfer and use of military equipment to local law enforcement and the adoption of the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act of 2014. The federal government should discontinue the supply of military weaponry and equipment to and immediately demilitarize local law enforcement, including eliminating the use of military technology and equipment.
2) A comprehensive review of systemic abuses by local police departments, including publication of data on racially biased policing and the development of best practices. A comprehensive review by the Department of Justice into systematic abuses by police departments and the development of specific use of force standards and accompanying recommendations for police training, community involvement and oversight strategies and standards for independent investigatory/disciplinary mechanisms when excessive force is used. These standards must include a Department of Justice review trigger when continued excessive use of force occurs. A comprehensive federal review of police departments' data collection practices and the development of a new comprehensive data collection system that allows for annual reporting of data on the rates of stops, frisks, searches, summonses and arrests by race, age, and gender. These standards must also include a DOJ review trigger when departments continue discriminatory policing practices.
3) Repurposing of law enforcement funds to support community based alternatives to incarceration and the conditioning of DOJ funding on the ending of discriminatory policing and the adoption of DOJ Best Practices. The repurposing of DOJ funds to create grants that the support and implementation community oversight mechanisms and community based alternatives to law enforcement and incarceration—including community boards/commissions, restorative justice practices, amnesty programs to clear open warrants, and know-your-rights-education conducted by community members. The development of a DOJ policy to withhold funds from local police departments who engage in discriminatory policing practices and conditioning of federal grant funds on the adoption of recommended DOJ trainings, community involvement and oversight strategies, standards for use of force and for independent investigatory/disciplinary mechanisms.
4) Congressional hearings to investigating the criminalization of communities of color, racial profiling, police abuses and torture by law enforcement. Congressional hearings to investigate the criminalization of communities of color and systemic law enforcement discriminatory profiling and other abuses, especially at the local level—including an examination of the systemic structures and institutional practices. The hearings will explore how to elevate the experiences and voices of those most impacted. Congressional hearings will allow for a continuation of the national discussion about police abuse and its underlying causes.
5) Support the passage of the End Racial Profiling Act. Support for the passage of the End Racial Profiling Act (ERPA) codifying the prohibition of the use of profiling on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin or religion by law enforcement agencies.
6) The Obama Administration develops, legislates and enacts a National Plan of Action. The development and enactment of a Plan of Action for Racial Justice by the Obama Administration. The 'Plan' should be a comprehensive in addressing persistent and ongoing forms of racial discrimination and disparities that exist in nearly every sphere of life, including: criminal justice, employment, housing, education, health, land/property, voting, poverty and immigration. The plan would set concrete targets for achieving racial equality and reducing racial disparities and create new tools for holding government accountable to meeting targets.
The Hands Up Coalition DC encourages everyone concerned about police brutality, mass incarceration and justice denied to black communities terrorized by modern day Slave Patrols disguised as police officers to join the national text network. Text "HANDSUP" to 90975. This will enroll people in a nationwide database to be engaged in future mobilizations.