Voices of Grief and Struggle:Mothers Come to Washington DC to Demand Police Accountability
On December 10th WPFW, Pacifica Radio in Washington DC, aired a live broadcast of a Congressional briefing featuring the mothers of young men of color who were killed by police. The briefing was co-sponsored by House of Representative members Conyers, Ellison, Johnson, Jackson Lee, and Rangel.
The speakers are
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.
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.
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.
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.
Representative Hank Johnson
Nicole Lee statement
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, deadly force policies, and accountability measures.
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.
Congressman John Conyers
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.
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).
Representative Sheila Jackson Lee
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.
We'll hear about Medical Complicity with Torture, and the Danger Facing Humanity and the Planet Due to Climate Change