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Friday, June 29, 2007

Can We Save a Black Boy?

The only way to save a black boy is one child at a time. Today, it is Genarlow Wilson, The Jena Six, and Memory of Ron Pettiway.

Immediate Update:

Memory of Ron Pettiway

From: Cruse Pettaway said...
No Matter whats happens, My brother Ron I will Always Love U, I Miss the Days we spent together. I still remember the days you walk me back and forth to school. Even tho I know I couldn't see you at graduation, I know you were there. Before I go I wanted to say sorry for not making that song that night, not going bowling when u asked, and for leaving u there at Frozen Palace. But when we meet again I promise to make it up. Just know that I'll take everything u taught me and make it happen. But untill then I'm still waiting for you to walk through the front door.

shamaca Pettaway said...
OFFICERS ASSIA WARE AND MICHEAL BERNARD WILSON now have warrant application filed by my brother Roy Pettaway. We are not going to let the murder of my brother Ron die.

Our hearts go out to the Pettaway Family for The Loss of Ron. As reported by Francis L. Holland Blog:

Ron and Roy Pettaway, Shot from Behind by Fulton County, GA Police

Ron and Roy Pettway, Black men in Fulton County, GA, were partying in a bar when an argument broke out over an insult. Five minutes after the argument ended, the Fulton County Police arrived and ordered Ron Pettaway into the street. His brother Roy followed and saw police beating Ron, and he tried to help his brother. But, police shot Ron Pettaway in the back of the head, killng him, and they shot Roy in the back.

Both black men were unarmed, and both were shot in the back.

We need to ASK the Right People THE RIGHT QUESTIONS:

• Is there a current investigation of this shooting? If so, who is doing the investigating? Where is the Justice Department Civil Rights Division?

Here are the Telephone Numbers for Fulton County Board of Commissioners.

Telephone Numbers for Fulton County Board of Commissioners.

Gloria, Secretary to (African-American) Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard (404) 330-6100, said the District Attorney Howard had "just got the case," and she was unable to readily provide a statement about the status of the investigation.

We must hold law enforcement officers accountable for the actions and culpable to excessive use of force and murder-in-the-name-of-the-law. We have enough proof to show that the State of Georgia has returned to the type of lawlessness and violence against minority like in the days of Dr. Martin Luther King.

Call: Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue: (404) 656-1776

All-White Jury in Jena, Louisiana Swiftly Convicts Black Teenager
(The Jena Six Trials)

JENA, Louisiana -- Tears streamed down Melissa Bell's face Monday as the judge ruled in favor of LaSalle Parish District Attorney J. Reed Walters' motion to continue her son's trial more than a month. (“Racial demons rear heads”, Chicago Tribune, May 18, 2007)

According to the story, the white students guilty of the rope incident were suspended for three days. Black parents, who felt that the nooses signified a greater danger and threat, protested the ruling. It should have been treated as a racially motivated hate crime, in light of these subsequent events and chain reactions:

First, a series of fights between black and white students erupted at the high school over the nooses. Then, in late November, unknown arsonists set fire to the central wing of the school, which still sits in ruins. Off campus, a white youth beat up a black student who showed up at an all-white party. A few days later, another young white man pulled a shotgun on three black students at a convenience store.

Finally, on Dec. 4, a group of black students at the high school allegedly jumped a white student on his way out of the gym, knocked him unconscious and kicked him after he hit the floor. The victim—allegedly targeted because he was a friend of the students who hung the nooses and had been taunting blacks—was not seriously injured and spent only a few hours in the hospital.

But the LaSalle Parish district attorney, Reed Walters, opted to charge six black students with attempted second-degree murder and other offenses, for which they could face a maximum of 100 years in prison if convicted. All six were expelled from school.

Louisiana teen guilty in school beating case
Witnesses provide conflicting testimony

By Howard Witt
Tribune senior correspondent
Published June 29, 2007

HOUSTON -- An all-white jury in the central Louisiana town of Jena swiftly convicted a black teenager Thursday for attacking a white student in an incident that capped months of racial unrest and attracted the scrutiny of civil rights leaders concerned about the application of justice in the town.

Jurors convicted Mychal Bell, 17, of aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy charges despite conflicting testimony from witnesses about whether Bell was among a group of black students who allegedly jumped the victim as he emerged from the gymnasium at the local high school on Dec. 4, knocking him unconscious.

Bell, a former high school football star who has been jailed since the incident, faces the possibility of more than 20 years in prison when he is sentenced July 31…

The aggravated battery charge against Bell involved the use of a dangerous weapon. Although no evidence of a gun, knife or other weapon was introduced, Walters argued, and the jury agreed, that the tennis shoes Bell was wearing at the time of the attack qualified as a dangerous weapon…

Bell's court-appointed public defender, Blane Williams, had urged the teenager to accept a plea bargain on the eve of the trial, but Bell declined. Williams, who is black, did not challenge the composition of the jury pool, which included no African-Americans, and the defense rested without calling any witnesses. He also excluded the teenager's parents from the courtroom.

"Blane Williams did not want to go to trial, he was not prepared to go to trial and he was angry when he was forced to go to trial," said Alan Bean, director of Friends of Justice, a Texas-based civil rights group that has closely followed the Jena case. "So he just sort of plowed ahead and decided to go through the motions."

Sign the Petition

Petition to the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice

This is a petition to request that the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice review events surrounding the prosecution of six Black students in Jena, Louisiana, for evidence of racial discrimination. The six students are reportedly facing prosecution for second degree attempted murder — and possible prison sentences of up to 100 years — for allegedly participating in an unarmed school brawl that resulted in no serious injuries.

The brawl followed months of racial tension after hangman's nooses were reportedly hung from a tree at the students'; school.

The prosecution of these young men represents a gross miscarriage of justice, punishing Black students for opposing segregation of their schools while ignoring the threatening and provocative acts of those engaging in segregation.

From a Chicago Tribune article on the cases:

"There’s been obvious racial discrimination in this case," said Joe Cook, executive director of the Louisiana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, who described Jena as a “racial powder keg” primed to ignite. "It appears the black students were singled out and targeted in this case for some unusually harsh treatment."

In view of these facts, we the undersigned respectfully request that the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice launch a full investigation into events in Jena, Louisiana, beginning with the noose incident of August 31, 2006, and culminating in the alleged fight of December 4, 2006 to determine whether the civil rights of Jena residents have been violated.


THE CASE OF Genarlow Wilson

A Sin, Not a Crime
Friday, June 29, 2007

Once, he was the homecoming king at Douglas County High. Now he's Georgia inmate No. 1187055, convicted of aggravated child molestation.

When he was a senior in high school, he received oral sex from a 10th grader. He was 17. She was 15. Everyone, including the girl and the prosecution, agreed she initiated the act. But because of an archaic Georgia law, it was a misdemeanor for teenagers less than three years apart to have sexual intercourse, but a felony for the same kids to have oral sex.

He's 20 now. Just two years into a 10-year sentence without possibility of parole, he peers through the thick glass and bars, trying to catch a glimpse of freedom. Outside, guard towers and rolls of coiled barbed wire remind him of who he is…
[Who he was] Genarlow Wilson was a good student with a 3.2 G.P.A. and football scholarships across the country. Maybe that is why his story broke into ESPN NEWS.

June 13, 2007 Genarlow Wilson Update

On Wednesday, July 13, Monroe County Superior Court Judge Thomas Wilson ordered the release of Genarlow Wilson. Calling Genarlow’s eleven year sentence a “miscarriage of justice,” Judge Wilson declared: “If this court, or any court, cannot recognize the injustice of what has occurred here, then our court system has lost sight of the goal our judicial system has always strived to accomplish… Justice being served in a fair and equal manner.” Additionally, Generalow will not be placed on the Georgia sex offender registry.

Unfortunately, Genarlow’s struggle is not over. A few hours after Judge Wilson’s decision, Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker filed for an appeal, meaning that the Georgia Supreme Court will now determine Genarlow’s fate. We asked the District Attorney to agree to bond but he did not, so we have to wait until July 5th to try and get a bond from the Douglas County Superior Court.

Civil rights activists work to free Wilson
Prayer vigil planned July 5 at Douglas County Courthouse

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 06/26/07

A group of African-American civil rights activists spoke out today in support of freeing Genarlow Wilson from prison on bond pending an appeal of the 10-year prison sentence he got for having oral sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was 17.
The activists also announced plans for a prayer vigil on July 5 at the Douglas County Superior Court, where a bond hearing has been scheduled for Wilson
"Injustice to anyone is a threat to justice to everyone," the Rev. Joseph Lowery, a veteran civil rights activist and former Southern Christian Leadership Conference president, said at an afternoon news conference today.

"And we need to learn that. White people need to learn that. If they tolerate injustice for black folks, it is just a matter of time before injustice puts them on the calendar."

Lowery was joined by several other civil rights leaders and lawmakers, including Sens. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) and Emanuel Jones (D-Decatur) and Reps. Tyrone Brooks (D-Atlanta), Roberta Abdul-Salaam (D-Riverdale) and Rep. Al Williams (D-Midway), chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus.

What Can You Do?

1) Let District Attorney David McDade and other politicians of the state of Georgia know your outrage with the unjust incarceration of Genarlow Wilson. Sign our online petition demanding his freedom and that he not have to register as a sexual offender.

2) Donate to the Wilson Defense Fund. Monies collected will go to legal expenses and when released, an education fund for Genarlow Wilson.

3) Contact Attorney General Thurbert E. Baker
Phone: 404-656-3300
FAX: 404-657-8733

[ref. baby moses project]

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