All Things Harlem & Beyond - news, info and newsworthy links
NY1 - A Bronx judge has thrown out the indictment on manslaughter charges filed against the officer accused in the shooting death of Ramarley Graham, saying the grand jury was accidentally misled by the district attorney's office. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
Constance Malcolm, the mother of Ramarley Graham, couldn't hide her feelings when Judge Stephen Barrett threw out the manslaughter indictment against police officer Richard Haste.
"You killed my God damn child, you son of a bitch," Malcolm yelled in the courtroom.
Haste shot and killed the unarmed teen last year. He said he thought Graham had a gun.
Judge Barrett said Bronx prosecutors made a major mistake in the grand jury process.
"I believe that inadvertently, the district attorney's instructions did mislead the jury," the judge said.
Officer Haste has said he chased Graham into the teen's home because other officers put over the police radio that the teen had a gun. Haste shot and killed Graham in the bathroom, but no gun was found.
Judge Barrett ruled that the grand jury should have been able to consider what other officers reported.
"In effect, the grand jury was told, by both commission and omission, that the communications of other officers to officer Haste were not relevant," Judge Barrett said. "That's my conclusion in reading this instruction, and that is error."
Outside court, supporters of Graham's family were outraged.
"We will continue to fight wherever this fight leads," said Franclot Graham, Ramarley Graham's father. "If we have to go to the Justice Department, then that's where we'll go."
"The people of Bronx County and the citizens of America will not go away, will not cease and desist against police violence, excessive force, against, obviously, murder," said Attorney Royce Russell.
Inside the courtroom, Haste didn't say a word, but his union said the judge made the right decision.
"No police officer ever wants to draw their weapon and be in this situation, so it's a difficult time for everyone," said Pat Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association.
Everyone involved in the case knows it's likely to continue. Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson said his office will decide if it will appeal the judge's ruling or present the case to another grand jury.
Following the decision, the Rev. Al Sharpton released a statement, saying, "This is an outrageous miscarriage of justice and an insult to the family and supporters of Ramarley Graham. We demand that a new grand jury is convened immediately and that the case is re-presented."
Story from NY1.Com
Message From Ramarley Graham's Mother
Dear Ramarley's supporters,
I am not sure if everyone is up to date as to what happened on the last court date but we were not given the impression that a trial will start anytime soon. A trial date was not set due to some " TECHNICALITY". Now, there was no technicality when this murderer illegally gained access to my building, ran upstairs, and kicked off my apartment door and murdered my son. There were no technicality when they were all smirking in my backyard because they did a good job murdering Ramarley in cold blood. There were no technicality when at his first court appearance he was greeted with applaud by his fellow comrades.
By: Joseph "Jazz" Hayden
At a recent event against drug prohibition I was asked to speak, as I was asked to speak the year before. Well, my views on drug prohibition have been consistently consistent----prohibition is sheer bull---t! It is my opinion that the entire narrative around drugs in this country (and the world) has to be changed. For far too long we have framed the discussion in terms of law and public policy. It is time for a change because that conversation is not going anywhere. The conversation has to be reframed in terms of “human rights” and an individuals inalienable right to choose what he/she can put in their bodies. Noone should have the power to tell another human being what they can and cannot put in their bodies. Each one of us is trapped in the “castle of our skins” for the duration of our short stay on this planet. We feed, exercise, clothe, house, and take care of our bodies 24/7. I watch the pharmaceutical commercials on television and I am amazed at the glaring contradictions in the way that pharmaceutical drugs are treated and the way that so-called “illicit” drugs are treated. A pharmaceutical drug that has one possible beneficial effect, and fifteen side effects that can maim or kill you is presented to potential customers who are given this information so that they can make a choice. The provision of all research information to the potential consumer and the leaving of the decision up to them is the way that all drugs should be treated. Why isn’t this universally applied? Why do we have so many human beings in cages for simply “self-medicating”, making choices about what to put in their bodies? How do we rationalize designating them as “criminals” and branding them as second class citizens for the rest of their lives? This is madness! The human cost of this failed policy is horrendous! The economic cost is off of the charts…
Drug War Statistics
Did you know....
Amount spent annually in the U.S. on the war on drugs: More than $51,000,000,000
Number of people arrested in 2011 in the U.S. on nonviolent drug charges: 1.53 million
Number of people arrested for a marijuana law violation in 2011: 757,969
- • Number of those charged with marijuana law violations who were arrested for possession only: 663,032 (87 percent)
Number of Americans incarcerated in 2011 in federal, state and local prisons and jails: 2,266,800 or 1 in every 99.1 adults, the highest incarceration rate in the world
Fraction of people incarcerated for a drug offense in state prison that are black or Hispanic, although these groups use and sell drugs at similar rates as whites: 2/3
Number of states that allow the medical use of marijuana: 18 + District of Columbia
Estimated annual revenue that California would raise if it taxed and regulated the sale of marijuana: $1,400,000,000
Number of people killed in Mexico's drug war since 2006: 70,000+
Number of students who have lost federal financial aid eligibility because of a drug conviction: 200,000+
Number of people in the U.S. that died from an accidental drug overdose in 2009: 31,758
Tax revenue that drug legalization would yield annually, if currently-illegal drugs were taxed at rates comparable to those on alcohol and tobacco: $46.7 billion
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that syringe access programs lower HIV incidence among people who inject drugs by: 80 percent
One-third of all AIDS cases in the U.S. have been caused by syringe sharing: 354,000 people
U.S. federal government support for syringe access programs: $0.00, thanks to a federal ban reinstated by Congress in 2011 that prohibits any federal assistance for them
This article from the Village Voice gives a detailed look at Abyssinian Baptist Church's Reverend Calvin Butts and the big money dealings of their real estate arm known as the Abyssinian Development Corporation.
Village Voice - From the church pulpit, like the Powells before him, the always crisply attired Butts has talked his way into a role as one of Harlem's key political power brokers—a position that is not without its benefits. In 1998, Butts endorsed the Republican incumbent governor, George Pataki. The following year, Pataki appointed him president of SUNY–Old Westbury, where he continues to earn $200,000 a year. And while he was a harsh critic of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, once calling him a "racist," Butts not only endorsed the Republican Michael Bloomberg, but has said hardly a word against his policies. Bloomberg's City Hall has lavished $68.6 million in government money on the organization, according to the city comptroller's office. The mayor himself has made repeated charitable donations to ADC, and once sat down at a fundraiser and wrote out a $1 million check on the spot. After Senator Hilary Clinton secured $1.5 million in earmarks for ADC, Butts endorsed her for president.
Mayoral candidates were invited to Convent Avenue Baptist Church in Harem by the faith based community of New York City. The Ministers of many churches created a covenant with the mayoral candidates, demanding that they be included in discussions of all matters related to their communities.
The candidates discussed a range of issues including health care, mayoral control of the education system, and police community relations. Democratic candidates John Liu, Bill de Blasio, Christine Quinn and Bill Thompson all participated.
Faith community begins the event
Police violence in the community
Mayoral control of the education system 1/2
This young crew of kids impressed some passengers and left others annoyed or frightened with their acrobatic break dancing moves inside this New York City train car. They are tremendously talented and entrepreneurial. Many people find these young crews annoying to see during their subway commutes. What do you think?
This man seemed to be enjoying whatever was playing in his headphones cause he was singing and dancing to himself as if know one else was around. Do you think he was crazy or just really feeling the music?
Two systems of criminal justice have once again been confirmed, this time on the international stage with the exposure of one of the largest banks in the world, HSBC, as one of the biggest money launderers in the world.
It has long been my position that the criminal justice system that poor and oppressed people desire already exists. It is a system of restitution, fines, community service, and non-incarceration; unlike the totally punitive system of jails, prisons, chain gangs, death penalties, and harsh prison conditions.
There has always been this duplicity that has been based on power and privilege in America. Racial control of the power structure and white-skinned privilege has unabashedly designed these two systems to meet their needs for social control.
To show the glaring disparity between how the rich and powerful are treated, in contrast to how the poor and vulnerable are treated, I need only relate a chapter in my life experience.
By Joseph "Jazz" Hayden (In response to: The Crime of “Saggy Pants”?)
Some say that Black youth subculture has reinforced every negative stereotype attributed to Blacks in America from slavery to the present? And that Black entrepreneurs, with the support of governmental and private media forces, have facilitated the creation of a black youth subculture that has been antithetical to everything that blacks have struggled for since our forced kidnapping from the shores of Africa and our subsequent enslavement and brutalization to this very day.
The transition from a culture of racial pride, unity, and resistance to a culture of ignorance, self-abasement, and widespread fratricide against other people of color did not happen in a vacuum.
The forties, fifties, and sixties in Harlem was a community of heightened political awareness, i.e., Marcus Garvey movement, Nation of Islam, NAACP, Black Panthers, Young Lords, Father Divine, and Daddy Grace, with a sense of black pride and community. This was reflected in the politics, religion, activism, and foremost in the music of the times; Jazz, gospel, rhythm and blues, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, and the Temptations. This was the Civil Rights era, Black Power movement, racial pride, activism, community organizing, Black Nationalism, self-defense, and black students organizing all around the country. Today’s black youth culture could not have even been imagined then ---- much less gained any traction. It took governmental policy and its Lap Dog Media to make today’s black youth sub-culture possible.
Click picture for video.
Tyrone "Alimoe" Evans who was also known as "The Black Widow" passed away last week from complications of a seizure. He was 37. Alimoe was one of the best basketball players to ever come out of Harlem. He was most publicly known for his streetball skills touring with the And1 Mixtape Tour, appearing in cities around the country and on television and video tapes. But anyone who saw him play knows he should have played in the NBA and would have been very successful. Take it from former NBA star, Shaquille O'neal, who said, “He was 6-7. He could handle the rock. He could shoot. He actually had the whole package, and he should have been in the league. Rest in peace, Alimoe. Love you, brother.”
Thanks for the memories Alimoe.
Actor and artist Lou Meyers passed away February 19, 2013 from a heart related emergency. Meyers was most known for his role of Mr. Gaines on the television show, "A Different World' and appearances on "The Cosby Show." Many people were unaware of his role as an activist. All Things Harlem got a chance to hear Lou Meyers speak and community forum about the criminal justice system and mass incarceration. Below is video of the event from our archives. Mr. Meyers begins speaking around 2:10 mark.
Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping honor, All Things Harlem Founder, Joseph "Jazz" Hayden with Sainthood for his work on ending Stop & Frisk.
The new form of slavery has the same intent and purpose as the old: to rob us of our labor and to keep us powerless.
By: Joseph "Jazz" Hayden
THIS IS African History Month. For the past week, I have been watching and re-watching The Abolitionists, a two and a half-hour documentary on PBS. It covers the abolitionist movement from the early 19th century to the Reconstruction period.
Watching the dynamics of that struggle for the ending of slavery had me glued to the screen and taking notes. The chief players were William Lloyd Garrison, the publisher of the anti-slavery newspaper, The Liberator; Nat Turner, who led am 1831 slave rebellion that killed slave owners and freed slaves; Harriet Beecher Stowe, who wrote the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin; and Frederick Douglass, former slave, orator, publisher of the North Star and organizer. Oh, and the most prominent figure, Abraham Lincoln.
The Abolitionists is a historical documentary about the struggle to end slavery. The ending of the most brutal war in American history and the passage of the 13th Amendment were supposed to be the definitive ending of that period in American history. However, when I look back from the perspective of the present, I am confronted with the question: What has changed? I can't avoid the answer: Very little.
Today is the 48th Anniversary of the killing of the brilliant hero, Malcolm X. While he may have left us in the physical sense, his message and spirit are still present. Today more than ever we continue to need Malcolm's message because many of the issues he fought against surrounding racism and human rights violations are still present in our society. We often wonder what Malcolm would have to say if he were here today. Thankfully we can still draw from his writings and speeches. Take the time out to do so for yourself and get connected/reconnected with this brilliant man. You can find many of his famous speeches on youtube these days so take a look and listen up.
In this election year in New York City, we thought sharing this speech made by Malcolm known as, "The Ballot of The Bullet" to be very appropriate. Enjoy.
Click Picture for Video
Throughout the subway system you can find talented musicians singers and dancers. All Things Harlem filmed a few different musical groups in the subway ranging from "Ebony Hillbillies" to classic doo-wop. Enjoy the videos and keep a look out for other great talents underground.
On January 15, 2013 potential Democratic Mayoral candidates debated issues at Al Sharpton's Nation Action Network headquarters in Harlem. The annual event was in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community members and other politician were also in attendance.
The potential candidates included City Comptroller John Liu, Public Advocate Bill Deblasio, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Former City Comptroller Bill Thompson and former City Council Member Sal Albanese. They discussed issues important to the Harlem community like, improving education, the NYPD's stop and frisk policy, and who they would make next police commisioner.
Click on the picture below for video of the debate.
All Things Harlem's take on this debate is that the candidate with the most clear answers to the questions was John Liu. For example, he was the only candidate to make a clear distinction on the issue of stop and frisk saying that he would do away with the policy completely. All the other candidates answers were much more ambiguous but were leaning more towards reforming the program and not ending it.
What do you think about the debate? Do you have a better idea of who you would support in the Democratic primary?