CODEPINK PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 2, 2014
Alli McCracken, CODEPINK Press Coordinator, 860-575-5692, Alli@codepink.org
Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK Co-founder, firstname.lastname@example.org, 415 235 6517
DC Schedule of Events for Mothers Who Have Lost Children to Police Brutality; Traveling to DC Dec 9-11 to Demand Police Accountability
Washington, DC –– From December 9 - 11th, mothers who have lost children to police brutality will come to Washington to demand justice and accountability. This is the first delegation of mothers to visit the nation’s capital since the killing of Michael Brown put the issue of police brutality in the spotlight. The nine women—hailing from New York to Texas to California—are all dynamic speakers with heart-wrenching stories who are using their tragedies to stop the killing of other mothers’ sons. CODEPINK, the DC Hands Up Coalition, Mothers Against Police Brutality and the National Congress of Black Women have organized several public and private events for the mothers.
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Congressional Briefing / Press Conference
When: Wednesday, December 10 from 9:30am-12:30pm
Where: House Building Rayburn 2226
Co-sponsored by Congressmen John Conyers, Hank Johnson, Sheila Jackson Lee, Keith Ellison, and Charles Rangel. Open to press and Congressional staffers only.
Vigil at Department of Justice
When: Wednesday, December 10, 2014 at 5PM
Where: Department of Justice at the corner of 10th and Pennsylvania
Facebook invitation: RSVP and invite your friends here!
The delegation mothers will gather for a candlelight vigil at the Department of Justice to commemorate the lives of their sons and all others who have been lost to police brutality.
Public forum with the mothers
When: Tuesday, December 9, 2014 from 7:30-9pm
Where: First Trinity Lutheran church, 309 E Street NW, Washington DC 20001 (Judiciary Square Metro)
More information on the webpage for the event.
The mothers will tell their stories and advocate for changing existing laws that leave families vulnerable to police brutality and accountability loopholes.
“I’m coming to DC for several reasons,” said Reverend Wanda Johnson, the mother of Oscar Grant, who was killed in Oakland, California on January 1, 2009. “First, I want to get the laws changed about racial profiling. Second, I want to change the law that allows the District Attorney to try the indicted officer, which I believe is a conflict of interest. Third, I want officers to have to wear body cameras. Lastly, I want officers to be trained not to shoot to kill.”
“Our politicians have been epic failures in protecting our families. We have laws that protect policeman, but no laws that protect our families when someone is killed,” said Colette Flanagan, the founder of Mothers Against Police Brutality who is traveling to DC from Dallas, Texas. “Our elected officials often turn a blind eye to the killing of our children, so now we are taking our grief to their doorstep in Washington DC. They need to understand that our families are real, and that our sons—who were taken away from us so unjustly–– matter.”
The delegation is endorsed by the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Lawyers Guild, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Popular Resistance, World Beyond War, CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities, DC Campaign Against Police Abuse, UltraViolet, Defending Dissent and the No Fear Coalition.
VALERIE BELL is the mother of Sean Bell, a 23-year-old unarmed man killed on his wedding day, November 25, 2006, in a barrage of 50 shots fired into his car by New York plainclothes police officers. The officers thought his friend had a gun. The detectives involved in the shooting were eventually acquitted. Valerie Bell is the founder of Mothers of Never Again (MONA), and after 8 years she has finally recorded her thoughts in a book coming out in 2015 called Just 23 (Thoughts from a mother in spoken word by Kisha Walker).
JERALYNN BLUEFORD from Oakland, California started the Justice4AlanBlueford Coalition on May 6,2012 after her 18 year-old son Alan Blueford was shot and killed by a police officer in East Oakland. From there The Alan Blueford Center 4 Justice was established in Oakland, California, as a place to help heal the community. They offer our resources to help restore the community as they struggle against police brutality. She also organized Helping Heart 2 Heal, a conference to inspire, empower, and restore healing for mothers that are suffering with the pain of losing their children and loved ones.
DARLENE CAIN is a mother from from Baltimore, Maryland. On October 28, 2008, her 29-year-old son Dale Graham was killed by a Baltimore City police officer. Since then she has been dedicated to lifting the voices of those who have had a family member killed by the police but were never given true justice and closure. She is is President and founder of MOTHERS ON THE MOVE.
DANETTE CHAVIS from New York, New York, lost her 19-year-old son in October 2004. After being shot in a gunfire exchange (not with police), Gregory Chavis died just a block from Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx when police prevented him from receiving any medical treatment. Chavis has been active at demonstrations and is the head of National Action Against Police Brutality. She has launched a petition, now with over 30,000 signatures, that demands national action against police brutality and murder, for all families that have been brutalized and lost loved ones at the hands of the police.
DOROTHY COPP ELLIOTT’s son Archie ‘Artie’ Elliott was shot and killed June 18, 1993 in District Heights, Maryland when pulled over for the driving under the influence. Both officers claimed that that Elliot pointed a gun at them as he was handcuffed behind his back. Police officers claimed he had a handgun in his front pocket, but no handgun was found. He was struck 14 times from a total of 22 rounds. Both officers in the case, Jason Leavitt and Wayne Cheney, were acquitted. Cheney went on to fatally shoot another man just a year later. He was also acquitted for that murder
COLLETTE FLANAGAN from Dallas, Texas, lost her only son when he was 25 years old on March 10, 2013. Clinton Allen was unarmed and shot 7 times by a Dallas policeman (once in the back), who has since been on administrative leave from the police force, without a gun or badge. Flanagan is founder of Mothers Against Police Brutality, which lobbies for change in police enforcement practices and accountability measures.
MARCELLA HOLLOMAN's son Maurice Donald Johnson was murdered by Baltimore police on May 19, 2012. She called an ambulance when her mentally ill son began to exhibit erratic behavior at a children's gathering. Since Johnson’s episodic illness was registered in the police data base, Holloman expected they would take him to the hospital for treatment. Instead of waiting for an ambulance, the two responding officers entered Holloman’s home where Johnson was sequestered and shot him three times. Since then, his mother has been active and outspoken against police brutality.
WANDA JOHNSON’s son Oscar Grant was shot in the back and killed by transit Police Officer Johannes Mehserle at a train station in Oakland, California on January 1, 2009. Initially charged with second-degree murder, Mehserle was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Since the death of her son, Johnson has been active on the Board of Directors of the Oscar Grant Foundation, a resource for at-risk youth of all races who wish to turn their lives around in a positive way. A gospel minister and nation speaker, Johnson has made guest appearances on nationally syndicated television programs, universities and public forums to bring attention to injustices in law enforcement and the criminal justice system.
CONSTANCE MALCOLM is the mother of Ramarley Graham, who was 18 years old in 2012 when a New York police officer shot and killed him in his own home. Graham was suspected of carrying a gun in public, but no gun was found on him, in the bathroom he was shot in, or anywhere else in the house. Graham's 6-year-old brother and his grandmother witnessed the shooting. Constance Malcolm has since been a vocal advocate against police brutality and has been seeking justice for her son.
TRESSA SHERROD is the mother of John Crawford III, a 22 year old who was shot and killed on August 5, 2014 by police in a Walmart in Ohio. A caller phoned police, accusing Crawford of brandishing a gun, when it was really an unloaded BB air rifle on a shelf, an item that is sold in the store. Surveillance footage shows major discrepancies between a 911 caller’s account and what really happened. An Ohio grand jury decided not to indict the officer who was responsible for Crawford’s death, and since then his mother has been pursuing justice.