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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Black Bloggers urge Congressional U.S. Taser Torture Hearings

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- Tuesday April 28, 2009
Black bloggers call for "Congressional Taser Torture Hearings"

Wayne Hicks, Electronic Village,
LN Rock, African American Political Pundit
Eddie Griffin, Eddie Griffin-BASG,

A group of bloggers called the afrospear, a 2 year old coalition of black bloggers from across America (and around the world) held a day of Blogging for Justice standing up against pre-trial capital punishment by electrocution event on Friday. More

The Afrospear also established a p
etition to Congress calling on Senator leader Harry Reid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and members of the Congressional Black Caucus to speak out and organize public hearings on the systemic human rights violations occurring with Federal funding against black, Latino, Native American and other Americans.

Group member Eddie Griffin, of the blog, Eddie Griffin-BASG, said, "While there continues to be considerable media and congressional attention to torture in Guantanamo, there is comparatively little attention to the mounting evidence of human rights violations in the streets of America by a number of police departments across America, including torture and killings of black children, women and men through-out the United States through the use and abuse of Tasers."

LN Rock, a 2008 DNC Convention Blogger, who publishes the blogs, African American Political Pundit
and Tasered While Black said, "We want Congress to stand up with us against the police pre-trial electrocution of black children, women and men - by taser. He went on to say, "We believe that few Americans support spending our tax dollars on torture, which violates our moral, religious and legal traditions. Most Americans expect an American policing policy that ensures the rights of all individuals regardless of race, greed, color, national origin, sex, disability or political or religious affiliation."

Wayne Hicks, publisher of the blog, Electronic Village, said, "We believe most Americans would favor Congressional hearings as to whether our own U.S. police, policing policies and actions violate Federal and International laws prohibiting human rights violators. Evidence of widespread police abuse of tasers is more than enough to warrant our concern and justify a congressional inquiry." He went on to say, " We propose that Congress undertake serious oversight into the extent to which our taxes are funding human rights violations and torture by tasing, and provide an alternative roadmap to the restoration of our democratic values. We want Congress to make sure that police pre-trial electrocution of black children, women and men by taser stops."

The bloggers are asking for:

1. The U.S. Attorney General and the Justice Department to aggressively fulfill its most basic mandate of enforcing the law. Torture by tasing is a crime, and the Justice Department is the right place to initiate an independent top-to-bottom investigation of the torturing of black children men, women and children by local police jurisdictions throughout the United States. It's important that the general public understand the 'use of force continuum' used by law enforcement officials, and how it is abused by many in the law enforcement community. (See the use-of-force-continuum provided by the blog Electronic Village) Note: Although there is a Justice Department Review of TASER-related Deaths the on-the-spot pre-trial electrocutions continues.

2. Congress should investigate whether US police tasing policies violate Federal or international civil and human right laws, including the U.N. Convention against Torture, and international covenants against cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of citizens even in cases of so-called "state emergencies".

3. Congress should require the effective regulation of Taser use and require police/citizen review panels by Federal, state and local police and security agencies, including strict adherence to international human rights standards, or act to defund all such Federal, State and local police and security agencies who violate taser use regulations that would be established by Congress. No Federal stimulus dollars should be used to purchase tasers.

The bloggers point out UN's Committee against Torture has declared that Taser use can constitute a form of torture, while USA: Amnesty International has an on-going concern about the use of tasers on American citizens. With all the conversation about the Bush torture memos and torture in the United States, we the undersigned bring up the issue of torture of black Americans at the hands of police in the United States. We urge you to stand up against the police pre-trial electrocution of black children, women and men by taser.

Here is a sampling of what black bloggers are saying about the tasing of so many blacks in the United States.

“A day of blogging for Justice ... What bloggers are saying and thinking:
Wayne Hicks - Electronic Village -
LN Rock, African American Opinion -
Kathy - Daily Kos Blogger - Do White People Care About Tasing?
The Kid - Pirate satellite: A Day of Blogging for Justice -
Wayne Bennett, The Field Negro, Major side bar and link highlighting the importance of this day.
Purple Zoe - UltraVioletUnderground -
April Davis - Around
PaJoyner - PlezWorld -
Yobachi - Black -
Ms. Lady Deborah - From my Brown Eyed View -
Eddie Griffin BASG -
Rev. Sequoyah Kofi bin-Tomas, Intelligent Aboriginal News Service (IANS) - The Angry Indian - Inteligentaindigena Novajoservo: When "Non-Lethal" Weapons Kill
Wayne Hicks - Villager, OxDown. Firedoglake -
Wayne Hicks - Villager - Electronic Village-.. - Use of Force Continuum
SjP - Sojourners Place -
LN Rock - Post Racial Blog -
The SuperSpade -
Anyway I Have To -
Vanessa Byers- On The Black Hand Side -
It All Goes Here -
Independent Bloggers Alliance -
Rover's Morning Glory -
Assata Shukur Forum -
RiPPa - The Intersection between Maddness and Reality -
Lola - Whatever Lola Wants -
African American Political Pundit Report -
African American Political Pundit Blog -
Electrocuted While Black -
Scotty - Black Talk Radio -
Proud Black Blogger -
Carmen D. - Black Voices -
Chicago Cop Watch -

Here is a link to the Afrospear
Petition to request Congressional hearings on the Taser torture of Americans:

Friday, April 24, 2009

A day of blogging for Justice - Standing up against the pre-trial electrocution

AAPP Says: Today is a special day, it's a day when bloggers from around the United States, Canada, UK, Africa, Europe, Brazil, and other parts of the world have come together for “A day of blogging for Justice - Standing up against the pre-trial electrocution.” It's time to demand a congressional investigation into Taser Torture in America.

Here is what black bloggers are saying and thinking:


Today, Black bloggers around the web (including Afrospear members and The Electronic Villiage) are setting aside the day to stand up against the use of tasers by the police. The New York City Police Department (NYPD) refers to them as “Conducted Energy Devices (CEDs)”. Some of the bloggers refer to their use as “Police Pre-Trial Electrocution”.

- Villager, Electronic Village

AAPP says: Wayne Hicks has been tracking the tasing issue even before I began publishing the blog, Tasered While Black. Wayne takes a look at the tasing issue and details many of the abuses in today's post:

I've shared other examples on my blog in the past:
  1. Valreca Redden (Trotwood OH) - pregnant Black woman tased by Officer Michael Wilmer when she went to police department for help.

  2. Eugene Snelling (Austin TX) - tased by Officer Thomas O'Connor driving with his mother on Thanksgiving Day.

  3. Donnell Williams (Wichita KS) - deaf Blackman tased in his own home.

  4. Major Lemon (Madison WI) - Blackman tased while holiday shopping at the local mall.

  5. Xavier Jones (Coral Gables FL) - Tasers deployed by two police officers killed this Blackman.

  6. Darryl Turner (Charlotte NC) - unarmed 17-year old Black youth killed when Officer Jerry Dawson decided to fire at him with a taser gun.

  7. James Garland (Miami FL) - unarmed and naked 41-year old Blackman killed by police taser gun while disoriented in the street.

  8. Baron Pikes (Winnfield LA) - Police officer Scott Nugent indicted for murder because he tasered a handcuffed 21-year old Blackman to death.

  9. Terrance Kennedy (Dallas NC) - Police killed another Blackman in North Carolina with their taser guns.

  10. Marcus Moore (Freeport IL) - unarmed 40-year old Blackman killed by police with their taser guns.

  11. Robert Mitchell (Warren MI) - unarmed 16-year old Black youth killed police taser guns.

  12. Gary Decker (Tucson AZ) - unarmed 50-year old naked man killed by police taser guns while in his own hotel room.

  13. Michael Jacobs (Ft. Worth TX) - unarmed, mentally impaired 24-year old Blackman killed by police taser guns on his own front yard in front of his parents.
The successes aren't the problem - the failures are.

How many more Black folks need to be executed by the police before the Congressional Black Caucus does something about it? I encourage all villagers to immediately sign online petition demanding a congressional investigation into Taser Torture in America. More HERE

Asabagna of the Afrospear Think Tank says:

When I started to contemplate what I was going to write for this day of blogging action on the use of tasers… i.e., “electrocution” to control and/or stop what are considered dangerous, anti-social behaviors… what stood out in the forefront of my mind was that in the past, electrocution (called Electroconvulsive Therapy), was also widely used for a similar purpose: as an approved, standard medical/psychiatric procedure for “supposed” dangerous and anti-social behaviors deemed to be mental illnesses, which included homosexuality and political dissent.

As a police officer (in Canada), my initial point of view is that I will use whatever level of force I deem necessary, when dealing with a violent criminal suspect, to protect the life of others and/or prevent bodily harm, but more importantly… to ensure that I go home to my family at the end of my shift! Presenting my wife and son with a Canadian flag and a hug or handshake at the end of a memorial service in my honor, just isn’t a life-affirming ambition of mine. With that being said, the police organization I work for, like most if not all police services in North America, are mandated and trained to follow some sort of “use of force continuum model”, which dictates what level of force is to be used in a given situation.

However, what this type of model does not show are the individual, environmental and societal factors that may influence how an officer will react to a given situation or person. It does not consider what are the beliefs, values and more importantly, the prejudices that may spur an individual officer’s action or reaction, to a particular situation or person. More HERE

The publisher of says, is strongly against the use of tasers. We have based our decision on information revealed by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) and the fact that the use of tasers are harmful and dangerous to potentially innocent people. The NYCLU states that the NYPD has instituted the use of a leathal weapon without proper research or public dialogue. While the NYPD did conduct a Rand Study, according to Donna Lieberman (NYCLU executive director), the NYPD commissioned the study on important public policies without involving the public or anyone outside the NYPD. As a result, the NYCLU and doubt the thoroughness and objectivity of the study.

The Rand Report, which was supposed to be aimed at evaluating the racial disparities in NYPD practices following the Sean Bell Incident (two black men and one latino man were shot at 50 times by the NYPD [Sean Bell was killed]), focuses on supporting the increased use of tasers as a replacement for handguns. The use of these weapons has been linked to hundreds of serious injuries and fatalities.

Last year police fatally tased Iman Morales, a 35 year old man suffering from mental illness. The police responded to a call by Morales’ mother, who had resorted to calling the NYPD after her son had stopped taking his medication. The incident left Morales standing on a metal box that was on top of a store’s security gate, naked, screaming incoherently with an 8 foot fluorescent light tube in his grasp.

Lt. Michael Pigott issued the order to shoot Morales with a taser which was a clear violation of NYPD guidelines stating that “when possible, the CED (taser) should not be used in situations where the subject may fall from an elevated surface.” As a result of being tased, Morales fell head first onto the pavement below and was killed. The was incident was captured on camera by an onlooker. (Lt. Pigott committed suicide shortly after the incident occurred.)

Months before this tragedy 17 year old Alexander Lombard 3rd, son of a NYPD veteran, was tasered 4 times, hit 15 times with a nightstick and put in a choke hold by a NYPD officer. Lombard suffered serious injuries (video) as the result of excessive use of force by an officer at a community sponsored barbecue in Harlem. No charges were filed against Mr. Lombard indicating that he was neither resisting arrest nor carrying a weapon. The use of the taser against Lombard can only be described as excessive and unnecessary. More HERE

There is plenty more thoughts and opinions regarding the torture and tasering of black Americans. Kathy - a DailyKos Blogger wonders: Do White People Care About Tasing?

Blogger Francis L. Holland provides a history of Naming" it "Police Pre-Trial Electrocution and Execution"

Check out these great bloggers and their thoughts about the torture of black American by Taser, and what they think should be done.

Rock, African American Opinion -
Kathy - Daily Kos Blogger - Do White People Care About Tasing?
The Kid - Pirate satellite: A Day of Blogging for Justice -
Wayne Bennett, The Field Negro, Major side bar and link highlighting the importance of this day.

urple Zoe - UltraVioletUnderground -

April D.
- Around

PaJoyner - PlezWorld -

- Black -

Ms. Lady Deborah
- From my Brown Eyed View -

Eddie Griffin BASG

More Links to come...

Check out The Angry Indian's blog post on When "Non-Lethal" Weapons Kill

*This article is in response and solidarity with the call from fellow Afro-blogger African American Political Pundit's call for editorials concerning the use of Tasers on not just the African population but against free citizens in general. Follow the links immediately after this commentary. Check out more of the post HERE

AAPP: Hat tip to all the afrosprear, and other bloggers who contributed to this day of blogging for justice. Don't forget to sign the online petition demanding a congressional investigation into Taser Torture in America. The tasing of our children demand that our voices be clear.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

"Bloggers Roundup" established by Shawn Williams

It's been a few weeks since NPR’s News and Notes, and it's segment called Bloggers Roundtable with Farai Chideya went off the air. We all miss the News and Notes family.

Well there is good news folks, brother Shawn Williams, publisher of The Dallas South Blog, and producer of The Shawn P. Williams Show, and his co-host Kristin, are planning a new bloggers talk show on blogtalkradio called, "Bloggers RoundUp."

Starting this week on The Shawn P. Williams Show, Kristin and Shawn will host their first Bloggers Roundup on Thursday April 2nd.

Carmen D. from the blog All About Race and this African American Political Pundit will be the first guest of the program. Shawn has contacted a representative at NPR and Farai to let them know he plans to “take care” of the concept until they bring it back. More HERE

Spread the word check out The Shawn P. Williams Show,Thursday April 2nd at 10:00 PM E.S.T.