Posts Tagged ‘law’

My Kid’s Name is Trayvon Martin

UPDATE JULY 14, 2013. Zimmerman has been acquitted. ONLY HAPPENS IN AMERICA. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/15/us/george-zimmerman-verdict-trayvon-martin.html?hp&target=comments#commentsContainer

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Update April 11. Zimmerman has been arrested and charged with a second-degree murder. Visit news at http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/george-zimmerman-to-be-charged-in-trayvon-martin-shooting-law-enforcement-official-says/2012/04/11/gIQAHJ5oAT_story.html

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“Trayvon Martin, 17, was walking home from a 7-Eleven in Sanford, Fla. on Feb. 26 when he was shot dead by a neighborhood watch volunteer who had called police and reported a “real suspicious guy” wearing a hoodie.

Martin was found dead, unarmed, with a bag of Skittles and an iced tea.

The neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, claims he acted in self-defense and has not been arrested.”

This is NBC news today. I therefore put it in quotes.

What is so special about the news? Which part is the one you don’t understand?

If you ask me, I understand all of it. Here’s how I understand it — point by point.

1. Trayvon Martin was a seventeen year-old kid.

(He could be my kid. He could be your kid. He could be anybody’s kid.)

2. He was walking home from a 7-Eleven in Sanford, Florida. It was February 26, 2012. It was after dark.

(He could be my kid. He could be your kid. He could be anybody’s kid.)

3. He was unarmed.

(That’s not a crime. Right?)

4. He only had Skittles and an iced tea with him.

(That’s not criminal, either.)

5. He was followed by a so-called neighborhood watch volunteer — whatever that means — who had a gun.

(That sounds scary to me — especially if I put my kid in that situation.)

6. Trayvon Martin, the seventeen-year-old kid who went to buy Skittles and iced tea at his neighborhood 7-11, wore a hoodie, this so-called neighborhood watch volunteer — whatever that means who had a gun — reported to police that he found a “real suspicious guy.”

(That sounds scary to me — especially if I put my kid in that situation. Wearing a hoodie is normally not criminal. What do you think?)

7. Trayvon Martin, unarmed except for his Skittles and iced tea on him, was shot dead. They found his dead body on the street.

(The kid is now dead. He was seventeen. He was suddenly killed by a man who thought the kid was “suspicious.”)

8. The so-called neighborhood watch volunteer whatever that means, George Zimmerman, claims he acted in self-defense.

(I want to act in self-defense too, if my kid is suddenly killed. What do I do? Please let me know. I shall follow your advice. I don’t have a gun. I don’t kill. What can I do?)

9. Therefore, from the NBC news report, it is obvious that the so-called neighborhood watch guy, George Zimmerman, meant his act was shooting and killing Trayvon Martin.

(In fact, the guy never denied it. Ever.)

10. The guy who shot and killed an unarmed seventeen-year-old boy was not arrested.

(He was not arrested even though he never denied he shot and killed an unarmed kid who went to to buy Skittles and iced tea at his neighborhood 7-11.)

As you can see, I understood the whole story. I have no confusion. I have no illusion.

I got more news tonight on Trayvon Martin.

His parents appeared Wednesday on the “TODAY” show and said their child had been frightened for his life because he was being followed by Zimmerman.

“He was on his way home. He had every right to have on his hoodie. It was raining. Why not put on his hoodie to prevent getting wet?” his father said on “TODAY.”

This is the ONLY part I do not understand. I have seen my kid wearing a hoodie even when it’s not raining. In fact, I myself wear a hoodie every time I get a chance — in sun, in rain, in cold weather, in pleasant weather.

In fact, I plan to wear a hoodie at the Million Hoodie March in New York. I plan to wear a hoodie in front of Fox studio here in New York, especially when Geraldo does his show in that big, jail-like building.

NY Post before 9/11. How fierce they’ve changed!

Have you heard about Amadou Diallo? No? Look it up. He was an immigrant from Guinea who lived in the Bronx. One cold night about twelve years ago, he was shot and killed by New York Police Department cops who thought Amadou looked suspicious. Amadou did not have a gun. He was killed instantly, with a barrage of bullets the cops fired at him. The cops who killed him were all acquitted by the American justice system.

Have you heard about Sean Bell who was killed in Queens on the night of his wedding? No? Please look it up.

I don’t know what will happen to the so-called neighborhood watch guy who thought Trayvon looked suspicious, and therefore followed him and then shot and killed him.

I cannot predict the American justice system. I only feel strongly tonight that my kid’s name is Trayvon Martin.

That’s all I wanted to say.

Sincerely Writing,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

Trayvon Martin’s Parents are Us

NYCLU, Me and My Poor Backpack!

Heck, I’m no lawyer! I hope I’m not breaking any law here by telling this personal tale.

In late 2004, when I was still a 9/11 community organizer at NICE, working our butts off against the rampant hate crimes against immigrants of New York City, the powerful New York Civil Liberties Union asked me if I wanted to be a plaintiff on their big subway bag search lawsuit against super-powerful New York Police Department.

At a major NYCLU rally on Wall Street denouncing Bush and Ashcroft’s mad-repressive USA PATRIOT Act, a lead NYCLU lawyer Christopher Dunn saw me being singled out by NYPD for a frisk and backpack search. Guess what: I was one of the speakers entering the speakers’ designated area behind the makeshift podium. Guess what: ever before I spoke, I was already a perceived criminal! So, attorney Dunn thought I could be an ideal plaintiff on their up and coming civil liberties lawsuit.

I said yes. I was scared about the unknown, uncertain prospects of it; especially as a poor, brown, first-generation immigrant with no political or money power, you should be scared, unless you’re absolutely crazy or naive. I was neither.

Yes, I was scared to death. Still, in hindsight, I’m glad I joined in on the lawsuit as one of the five high-profile plaintiffs. It was a difficult but rewarding experience.

I don’t want to bore you to death describing all the nitty-gritty details of the lawsuit. You can read about it online. I also do not want to comment on the verdict of the case; as I said, I have no legal expertise to do it. NYCLU and the five of us plaintiffs (four white males and yours truly) whom they represented, after going through the harrowing ordeal of standing on the much-publicized trial, going through many hours of examination and cross examination by big-name lawyers from our side and the government’s side, and in front of a big-name judge too, we lost on the lower courts.

Plaintiffs in Court

NYCLU decided not to move it further; I had personally hoped they’d taken it up all the way to U.S. Supreme Court; I thought our case had strong merit and moral uprightness. But the political climate was extremely adversarial; media did not do a good job telling people about the real reasons behind the lawsuit (surprise!). They did not explain how the people in power were using the post-terrorism climate of fear and apprehension to strip people away of their constitutional human rights and liberties, and scoring political mileage that way. Nothing new: we’ve seen the same repression and mass-spreading of fear and paranoia all across the world — under the false pretext of fighting war against terror and preserving safety and security. We’ve seen how they’ve used a phony WMD excuse too (read my previous posts on this blog).

Nowhere in the world governments of U.S., U.K. or India type have been able to protect the lives of the ordinary and innocent people efficiently and proactively. In fact, 9/11 in USA or 26/11 in India are two prime examples of that abject failure.

I thank and compliment NYCLU and ACLU for showing guts to stand up against mass-manufacturing of consent for repression and scapegoating. I feel privileged to have worked closely with them.

Of course, then, I had strange experiences of being harassed and insulted on the subway. I’ll tell you more about it soon. Please come back for those stories.

Sincerely Writing,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York