12/28/2003 Newsletter


  • Stop the Railroad of Philander Jenkins
  • North Wales Police Recruits Forced to Sign Anti-Racism Contract
  • Mumia Abu-Jamal: A Few Words About "Good Policing"

Monday, December 29
9:00 a.m.
Hennepin County Government Center

One of the surest ways the local constabulary can cover their hindquarters when they have done something wrong is to bury their victim in the criminal justice system. 19-year-old Philander Jenkins is a case in point.

Last May, he and a friend went to visit some young women they had met. Moments after arriving at the women's house, the house was raided by police. Philander and his friend cooperated fully with police. They laid silently on the floor, face down. Police handcuffed them behind their backs. But then Officer Jeffrey Jindra (same officer who beat Titalayo Bediato's 14-year-old son and who is on leave for sexually assaulting Steven Porter with a toilet plunger) began kicking and beating Philander. During the beating, Jindra repeatedly kicked Philander in his face, shattering his jaw.

Police claim they found cocaine and an unregistered gun in the house. For some reason, only Philander was arrested and charged, even though he was only a visitor at the home. He was held at the Hennepin County jail for 10 days with no medical care. His mother bailed him out and took him straight to the hospital. He was taken immediately into surgery and had plates put in to repair his jaw. The prosecution tried to claim that Philander's jaw was broken BEFORE the raid and that he somehow "forgot" that his face was grossly swollen and that he was in terrible pain (yeah, right).

Part of the conditions of Philander's release so that he could get medical care was that he meet with a probation officer. He was also directed to re-enroll in school and get a job. Philander did exactly that--he enrolled in school and he found a job. Problem was, the job hours were the same hours he was scheduled to meet with the probation officer. He left messages for the probation officer to let him know that but the probation officer still had a warrant taken out on Philander.

When Hennepin County Sheriffs Deputies came to their house to serve the warrant, Philander's mother Brenda had just gotten home from work. Philander wasn't there, but deputies came into the home and brutalized Brenda and her significant other, William Neal. William was handcuffed then dragged from room to room and repeatedly bashed into shelving units, doorways and other furniture. His crime? He asked the deputies if they would like him to put up the family dog so they could enter the house safely (deputies replied they could just shoot the dog). William is a former police inspector from Illinois who also served as a police trainer. He knows good police practices. What he saw that day was anything but. William and Brenda were arrested. Brenda was released with no charges, William was charged with obstructing legal process with force. He was recently found not guilty of these charges in a jury trial.

When Philander learned of the warrant, he went with his lawyer and turned himself in. It was after he entered Hennepin County jail this second time that he was beaten and sexually assaulted by deputies in the jail and then denied an independent medical exam by Hennepin County judges. Their motivation for denying this exam became crystal clear when the Washington County prosecutor declined to prosecute the deputies who brutalized Philander, citing a supposed lack of medical evidence.

Since entering the jail the second time, Philander's lawyers learned that prosecutors have stacked other charges on him including the robbery of a cafe in which witnesses describe the perpetrator as someone who looks completely different from Philander (much taller and larger, different hair, etc.). It's as if they are looking to bury Philander with charges for every unsolved crime in Hennepin County. This kind of prosecution can only be described as vindictive and a serious effort at covering up the crimes of the Minneapolis Police Department and the Hennepin County Sheriff's Department.

Philander will be back in court on Monday, December 29th at 9:00 in the Hennepin County Government Center (check with the court information desk for courtroom number) on the original charges from the May incident in which his jaw was broken.

The criminal justice system has drawn a line in the sand with this case. Judges have shown bias against Philander in their rulings, members of Philander's legal team have been harassed and intimidated for visiting him at the jail, deputies have tried to intimidate Philander's lawyers and supporters in the courtroom. They mean to railroad this young man by any means they can get away with. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT WE STAND UP AGAINST THIS RAILROADING BY PACKING THE COURTROOM WITH SUPPORTERS AND COURT WATCHERS.

Philander's new lawyer, Jill Clark, will be presenting a whole host of motions to the judge. This will be our chance to see whether Judge Regina Chu will do the right thing or continue the railroading of Philander Jenkins. One outcome we're hoping for is a change of venue--it is clear as a bell that Philander can't get justice in the Hennepin County courts and that he is in danger at the Hennepin County jail.

Communities United Against Police Brutality is featured on the front page of the current edition of the Southwest Journal. Check out the article at http://www.swjournal.com/display/inn_news/news01.txt

Police recruits forced to sign anti-racism contract
Helen Carter
Wednesday December 24, 2003
The Guardian

All recruits to North Wales police are to be asked to sign an "anti-racism pact" after a documentary exposed widespread bigotry among rank and file officers. The force's chief constable, Richard Brunstrom, said the recruits would be forced to sign the personal contract with him if they wanted to proceed with their application.

The pioneering step follows the BBC's The Secret Policeman documentary, which uncovered deeply entrenched racist attitudes among police recruits.

Since the programme, nine officers have resigned, including one from the North Wales force, and two from Cheshire and six from Greater Manchester police.

The documentary, filmed by an undercover journalist, Mark Daly, showed North Wales recruit PC Rob Pulling wearing a Ku Klux-Klan style white hood. In the footage, he said he would bury an Asian under a railway track.

His claim that the murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence deserved to die was also captured by the documentary.

In the immediate aftermath of the broadcast, senior officers agreed a seven-point plan to combat racism. Within a week, every chief constable or police commissioner had met with their local Black Police Association and interested groups to talk through the impact of the documentary.

A spokeswoman for North Wales police said all prospective officers would be sent a recruitment pack containing the pact. Any breach of the contract would lead to dismissal and possible prosecution.

The document says: "North Wales police is committed to promoting tolerance, respect for diversity and human rights in all that it does. Ultimately, though, we cannot force people to change how they see the world.

"If you cannot honestly say: 'I have respect for people whose abilities, beliefs, cultures, race, sexual identity or other characteristics are different from my own,' then you are not someone who has a place in this organisation and you should not continue with this application."

Mr Brunstrom said: "Individuals may be able to hide deep-seated prejudice for a time but the organisation will root out unacceptable behaviour and enforce the strongest penalties possible.

"The very least we expect from our recruits is a commitment to basic standards of decency and respect."

The force's acting deputy chief constable, Clive Wolfendale, said: "This a personal contract between the chief and the new recruit and that's the issue. It has to be personal, people coming into the force should know this is the expectation."


Mumia Abu-Jamal
[Col. Writ. 12/7/03]

"Here we go again," laments a Cincinnati religious leader as local and national TV stations broadcast the harrowing footage of cops beating a black man, striking him with long truncheons perhaps two dozen times.

The Rev. Damon Lynch, Jr., pastor of New Jerusalem Baptist Church, is not alone in that sentiment.

Cincinnati is but the latest of a long train of abuses, this latest is based on that often-used pretext: 'the Big Nigger Defense.'

It was used in the infamous beating of Rodney King in L.A. (one of the cops charged spiced up the imagery by likening him to a "gorilla"). A decade before Rodney King became a household name, a man named Delbert Africa was beaten, rifle-butted, and repeatedly kicked while giving up after the 1978 Phila. police assault on the home and headquarter of the MOVE Organization.

Initially, the city's police chief denied Africa was beaten (in fact, all the men were beaten that day) but the videotapes made it difficult to disprove Delbert's pummeling.

When a trial took place, the cops took the stand to announce they were in fear of Delbert because of his muscles. (The judge would dismiss the jury and proclaim them 'not guilty', *ignoring videotape evidence*!).

Now, a man named Nathaniel Jones is beaten to a pulp on tape in Cincinnati. When he dies, the first thing the corporate media proclaims is his size. On some early reports, Mr. Jones was described as "nearly 400 pounds."

It took a day or so to shrink to around 350 lbs. Still, we see the rudiments of the BND: 'Big Nigger Defense.' Six cops, each armed with a variety of weapons, were threatened by the BND syndrome.

Of course, almost predictably, drugs have been introduced into the case.

If it were not so tragic, it would be almost comical. One is reminded of a stand-up routine by comedian Dave Chappelle. He describes cops beating a Black person into the concrete. The cops get together, and one tells the other, "OK--let's just sprinkle some crack on 'em, and get outta here."

The line never fails to score laughs from the audience.

It is so deep in American consciousness, that it's become a national, private joke.

It is a joke that stems from something deadly serious. And it stems from a national problem that shows no signs of abatement.

For far to many men and women, it is no laughing matter.

There is not a social explosion in the last half of the 20th Century that did not stem from events of just this nature. From Watts of 1965 to Los Angeles of 1992, the trigger has been the same -- police violence against Black people. Courts have issued judgments up into the billions (in total), but to no avail.

Like cancer, it goes on and on... and on.

It matters not a whit what color the police chief, or mayor is.

It matters not whether there is a police accountability board or not.

It matters not whether there is a Republican or Democratic Administration in power, nationally, or locally.

How many politicians, whether they are running for president or dog catcher, have raised the issue? How many have offered anything close to a solution?

The solution will not come from City Hall. Indeed, often, City Hall is the problem!

The solution will come from the people themselves, who organize themselves to make a difference, directly.

Our history provides many examples of average, everyday people, organized to change social problems.

That time has come again.

Copyright 2003 Mumia Abu-Jamal

Communities United Against Police Brutality
2104 Stevens Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867)

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