Daily Inspo The Black lawyer behind Breonna Taylor’s $12 Million settlement
Tamika Palmer's voice broke as she spoke about the city of Louisville, Kentucky's $12 million settlement and planned reforms after the killing of her daughter, Breonna Taylor, during a botched police raid.
"As significant as today is, it's only the beginning of getting full justice for Breonna," Palmer said during a news conference on Tuesday. "It's time to move forward with the criminal charges because she deserves that and much more.”
Standing right behind her was Benjamin Crump, an attorney nicknamed "Black America's attorney general" by civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton. Crump, 50, has represented the distraught families of a lengthy list of slain African-Americans in recent years, as they have faced some of the darkest moments of their lives in the public glare.
They include the families of Trayvon Martin, a Black teen shot dead in Florida; Ahmaud Arbery, a Black jogger killed in Georgia; and George Floyd, a Black man whose death in police custody in Minnesota sparked global protests this year.
Crump says one of his main roles is to keep the spotlight of media attention on the victims and their families.
"It's no guarantee that you will get to the court of law, but you first have to win in the court of public opinion if you're a minority in America who was killed by the police," Crump said in an interview with Reuters earlier this month.
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More of This The progressive prosecutor who made history
More of This 5 Black civil rights leaders share the lessons they’ve learned
They fought for change with distinct voices — delicate and determined, loud and unrelenting. For decades, these Twin Cities civil rights leaders marched and protested, rallied and fought against injustice that people today are still confronting in the same city streets and same government halls. Together, they changed Minnesota. But not as much as any of them would like. “I worry,” says civil rights icon Josie Johnson, “that our children have to keep fighting their ancestors’ struggle.”
In the wake of global protests sparked by the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, a quintet of long-serving Black leaders and activists — Johnson, Spike Moss, Sharon Sayles Belton, Mahmoud El-Kati and Nekima Levy Armstrong — share their histories and hopes. And yes, they are hopeful. They believe the movement’s latest chapter might be this country’s best chance to right itself, to redeem itself. So long as young people keep pushing. The interviews were edited for clarity and brevity.
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Less Of This ICE forced immigrant women to surgically remove their wombs
A WHISTLEBLOWER COMPLAINT filed this week with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General alleges that high rates of hysterectomies — sometimes without what the complaint called “proper informed consent” — have been performed on women detained in a privately owned immigration jail in Georgia.
The complaint, filed by the human rights group Project South, quoted a detainee from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Irwin County Detention Center saying that five women who had the procedure between October and December 2019 had told her that they “reacted confused when explaining why they had one done.” Multiple women claimed that they did not have access to proper interpreters and that medical staff often did not speak Spanish.
The accounts in Project South’s complaint — which included that of the whistleblower Dawn Wooten, a licensed practical nurse at the facility — were consistent with accounts given in separate interviews conducted by The Intercept with three other current detainees at the facility, eight advocates for detainees at the prison, and a former Irwin employee, all of whom requested anonymity for fear of reprisals against themselves and their clients.
“Everybody he sees has a hysterectomy — just about everybody,” Wooten, who is being represented as a whistleblower by Project South and the Government Accountability Project, explained in the complaint. “I’ve had several inmates tell me that they’ve been to see the doctor, and they’ve had hysterectomies, and they don’t know why they went or why they’re going.”
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Less of This Judge upholds Florida’s Jim Crow-style poll tax
Perry Grossman is a civil rights attorney in New York City.
On Friday, six judges of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals—a Trump Supreme Court shortlister joined by five Trump appointees--blessed Florida’s attempt to suppress hundreds of thousands of votes by forcing people convicted of felonies to pay court debt before regaining the franchise. Critics have called Florida’s voter suppression law a poll tax, but that doesn’t fully capture the perverse injustice of the measure. The state has not just forced many residents to pay a tax before voting; it has also refused to tell them how much they must pay. Florida’s law is not a mere burden on the right to vote, but a Jim Crow–style gambit to keep returning citizens locked out of the voting booth forever. By upholding the law, the federal appeals court advanced a frightening legal argument that would let more states revive poll taxes by another name.
Nearly 65 percent of Florida voters approved Amendment 4 in 2018 to restore voting rights to people convicted of felonies. The state constitution now provides that a returning citizen’s voting rights “shall be restored upon completion of all terms of sentence including parole or probation.”
Suddenly, nearly 1.4 million Floridians (including 1 out of every 5 Black adults in the state) were eligible to vote. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and GOP lawmakers rushed to abridge that right to restoration, and, in a strict party-line vote, they enacted SB 7066, which required that any returning citizen seeking to have their voting rights restored must first pay all their “legal financial obligations.” These debts include restitution, fines, and hundreds or thousands of dollars in fees that Florida imposes upon people who go through the criminal justice system. The vast majority of fees go unpaid.
SB 7066 makes a clear distinction: Those wealthy enough to pay these debts are deemed sufficiently rehabilitated to vote, and those too poor are not and are thus unworthy of the franchise. This scheme would appear to be blatantly unconstitutional, since the Supreme Court has said that “voting cannot hinge on ability to pay” and the 24th Amendment outlaws poll taxes.
Read the story on Slate
From our Library Community Safety in the age of police aggression
Townhall on Police Accountability
The deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor pushed front-and-center this nation’s longstanding issues with systemic racism and have led to public calls for more police accountability. However, in order to effectuate change, one must first understand our current police oversight system.
September 29 at 5:30PM PST. Register here
Is the Supreme Court helping or hurting?
Alexander Hamilton called the judiciary the least dangerous branch of government. But since its establishment in 1789, the Supreme Court has steadily grown in influence and impact. So far this year the Court has issued rulings on presidential power, Congressional oversight, subpoenas to the president, church and state, LGBTQ rights, Dreamers, abortion, contraception, and the electoral college.
October 11 at 3PM PST. Register here
California Indian Law Conference
Since 2000, CILA hosts an annual conference dedicated to the exploration of legal topics of interest to California Indian tribes and to provide continuing education on cutting edge legal issues for Native attorneys and attorneys practicing Native law in California.
October 15. Register here