DETROIT SHUTS WATER OFF AGAIN, VIOLATING UN DECLARATION; WHEN WILL CITY RISE UP?

Homrich ready for arrest 7 18 14

Protesters stop Homrich trucks from leaving to shut Detroiters’ water off on July 18, 2014. Nine were arrested. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of protesters gathered in downtown Detroit.

Homrich shut-off trucks began rolling May 26

1,000 households to be shut off this week alone

Rates will skyrocket to pay off DWSD debt, not reduced in bankruptcy

Great Lakes Water Authority plans further debt increases

 By Diane Bukowski 

May 27, 2015 

Homrich water shut-off trucks like these are coming to Detroit neighborhoods to shut off life-giving water for thousands of poor children, seniors, disabled and retirees. What should be done to stop them?

Homrich water shut-off trucks like these are coming to Detroit neighborhoods to shut off life-giving water for thousands of poor children, seniors, disabled and retirees. What should be done to stop them?

DETROIT – City contractor Homrich’s water shut-off trucks rolled out like thirsty beasts yesterday, targeting Detroit residents who owe more than $150 to the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department (DWSD) and are at least 61 days late on their payments.

The wave of shut-offs is the third in recent Detroit history, coming on the heels of shut-offs last year that occasioned huge protest marches, blockades of the Homrich facility, and a visit by two United Nations rapporteurs who condemned the shut-offs. Earlier, in 2002, shut-off trucks also rolled during the Kwame Kilpatrick administration, leading to global coverage of Detroiters’ suffering.

“As of today, DWSD expects that contractors will conduct 1,000 shut offs this week, however, that number is likely to drop as more account holders enter into payment plans,” a release from Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s office said.

Neighbor brings water to a family victimized by shut-off in 2002.

Neighbor brings water to a family victimized by 2002 shutoff.

DWSD Deputy Director Daryl Latimer estimated that 21,000 Detroit residential accounts are delinquent, but claimed most customers will enter into payment plans to forestall shut-offs. He said 30,000 customers are currently in payment plans, totaling over 50,000 delinquent accounts.

The release does not mention a plan to permanently shut off 8,335 households that turned their own water back on, which members of Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management exposed in their editorial (see end of this post).

“End the shut-offs, comply with UN” 

“We still say end the shut-offs period,” Demeeko Williams of the Detroit Water Brigade reacted angrily. “We all have to come together as a city, country and a world to comply with the declaration made by the United Nations last year after their representatives visited Detroit—that water is a human right, water is life. Detroit government is violating that declaration by shutting off people in a city where 59 percent of the children live in poverty, with a total poverty rate of 39 percent.”

Demeeko Williams speaks at May Day protest against Detroit bankruptcy in 2014.

Demeeko Williams speaks at May Day protest against Detroit bankruptcy in 2014.

Williams said mass water shut-offs are aimed at driving Detroiters out of their homes and out of their city.

Maude Barlow of Blue Planet, and a former senior advisor on water to the UN General Assembly, said during last year’s Detroit shut-offs, “This is the worst violation of the human right to water I have ever seen outside of the worst slums in the poorest countries in failed states of the global South.”

She said  hundreds of thousands of people, mostly African Americans, had their water ruthlessly turned off, resulting in families with children, the elderly and the sick being unable to bathe, flush their toilets, or cook.

Bills average $75 a month

Latimer said monthly bills currently average $75, with delinquencies averaging $755. Bills have risen at least 119 percent over the last 10 years, according to IPS News.

The city release said Duggan’s Detroit Water Fund, administered by the United Way, “will now pay 50 percent of all past due amounts on arrearages up to $2,000 and 25 percent toward future water bills for 12 months,” for “qualifying” low-income residents.

1 5th of world water supply DetroitRegarding payment plans, Williams said all of the people his group enrolled into the Water Fund fell off the plans when they could not continue payments. He said detailed personal information required to “qualify” for the plans prevents many from enrolling in them.

The Detroit Water Brigade supplies free water by the gallons to people without asking a single question.

THAW gets $1M from Miller Buckfire, which got $28M in bankruptcy fees, helped restore $2 billion in DWSD debt

Another non-profit, The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) announced May 25 that the investment banking firm of Miller Buckfire donated $1 million to assist it with paying water bills.

Kenneth A. Buckfire, CEO, Managing Director and co-founder of Miller Buckfire, speaks during the Reuters Restructuring Summit in New York, October 7, 2010. REUTERS/Keith Bedford

Kenneth A. Buckfire, CEO, Managing Director and co-founder of Miller Buckfire,. REUTERS/Keith Bedford

Miller Buckfire was a prime mover in the Detroit bankruptcy, which stripped the city of assets, retirees and workers of their pensions and health care, and residents of services. It charged the city of Detroit $28 million in fees for negotiating deals tied to city water and sewer debt and securing Detroit loans. Their efforts actually restored $2 billion in DWSD debt that creditors were originally asked to forego, of the total $5 billion load.

“Forty-six cents of every water bill goes to pay off that debt,” Williams said. Under terms of the Detroit bankruptcy Plan of Adjustment, all debts must be paid first before any improvement in services to the people takes place.

“Average Unit Cost must be increased to eliminate revenue shortfall,” a DWSD power point presentation to the Board of Water Commissioners (BOWC) said in February.

Profits from increased water debt will go to Wall Street, represented here by its bull.

Profits from increased water debt will go to Wall Street, represented here by its bull.

“DWSD optimization efforts have absorbed the revenue shortfalls—until now. Little progress is being made on lessening the borrowing need for CIP (Capital Improvement Plan) funding.”

In other words, the BOWC and later the GLWA plans to increase large-scale borrowing from Wall Street banks in the years to come.

The BOWC claims revenue shortfalls are due to the secession of the city of Flint from the DWSD operating system, as well as problems with payment from the city of Highland Park. A federal judge recently enjoined DWSD from shutting off water to that impoverished city due to its failure to pay its water bills.

Documents provided to the Board of Water Commissioners indicate that suburban wholesale customers of DWSD are responsible for 26.2 percent of the revenue shortfall, while Detroit retail customers are responsible for only 8.2 percent.

Great Lakes Water Authority to commit grand theft of six-county DWSD; Wall Street rejoices

The debt restoration was a key part of the bankruptcy agreement to create the regional Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA). Under its terms, DWSD assets and infrastructure paid for by Detroiters in bond issues throughout the last century are about to be stolen. Only minor pipelines in Detroit will remain under DWSD’s control. All water and sewerage treatment plants will go to the GLWA, along with thousands of miles of infrastructure in the six counties originally controlled by DWSD.

"Mayor" Mike Duggan shows what will be left of DWSD on map of six counties to be taken over by GLWA, during press conference.

Mayor” Mike Duggan shows what will be left of DWSD on map of six counties to be taken over by GLWA, during press conference.

The GLWA plans to “lease” the six-county, $6 billion DWSD enterprise agency for $50 million a year, beginning July 1. However, documents recently released to the Board of Water Commissioners show DWSD itself will be responsible for $14.4 million of the annual lease payment.

The “lease” will mean the loss of thousands of jobs for Detroiters in DWSD.

Mike Mulholland, vice-president of AFSCME Local 207, said in a recent release that DWSD “is cutting jobs to make work for contractors . . . Security is being cut at night, leaving the plants vulnerable to theft and sabotage and fresh water treatment plants are being run with only one operator. In the service centers, the lines go around the block because there aren’t enough staff which means making more money for contractors doing shutoffs. Safety is regularly ignored when repairing water mains.”

DWSD workers who stopped the water main break at the WWTP in January, 2015. Their jobs are in jeopardy. DWSD has had one of the highest percentage of Black skilled trades workers for years, but now "Mayor" Duggan says he can

DWSD workers who stopped the water main break at the WWTP in January, 2015. Their jobs are in jeopardy. DWSD has had one of the highest percentage of Black skilled trades workers for years, but now Mayoral aide and GLWA board member Gary Brown  says he can’t find qualified workers.

Retired DWSD worker Bill Davis, President of the Detroit Active and Retired Employees (DAREA), earlier told VOD that many sewage pumps at the Wastewater Treatment Plant no longer function due to the loss of staff. Instead of 24/7 maintenance, the pumps are checked only periodically.

Wall Street ratings agency Moody’s Investor’s Service reported earlier that the formation of the GLWA was likely a “credit positive” for DWSD bondholders. The GLWA is set to “refinance” the $5.2 billion DWSD debt, meaning the principal and interest will increase to the profit of Wall Street.

But Moody’s added, “The systems will, however, remain exposed to Detroit’s credit weakness as the city will likely become its largest wholesale customer.”

Water shutoff protest in Detroit, July 18, 2014. Banner at top refers to illegal $537 million interest rate swap that was not addressed during bankruptcy.

Water shutoff protest in Detroit, July 18, 2014. Banner at top refers to illegal $537 million interest rate swap that was not addressed during bankruptcy.

Unlike the City of Detroit, whose debt ratings have been bombed to basement levels by Wall Street over the past decades, DWSD until recently maintained high ratings. It was only as plans for the bankruptcy were being laid that Wall Street started to lower DWSD bond ratings, meaning higher interest payments would be required.

Municipal Market Advisors earlier said of the final Detroit bankruptcy plan that it ravaged the city of so many assets and revenue-producing functions that Detroit would likely be the next candidate in Michigan for another Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing.

Detroit water/sewer rates proposed to rise 20.1%; suburbs up 12.4%

More water shut-offs are likely once new water and sewerage rates proposed by the Board of Water Commissioners (BOWC) take effect July 1, if approved by the Detroit City Council.

Proposed increases in water rates for Detroit and suburbs.

Proposed increases in water rates for Detroit and suburbs.

Rates for Detroiters will rise a total of 20.1 percent, meaning an average bill will skyrocket to $90 a month. Detroit sewerage rates account for 16.7 percent of the hike. For over a decade, Detroiters have been penalized with higher sewer rates, allegedly to make up for higher delinquency rates.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines suggest that water bills should not exceed 2.5 percent of household income, Rev. Tom Airey of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, said at a BOWC public hearing Feb. 25.  Detroit’s median annual income is $26,119, so monthly bills should not exceed $54 a month for those at the median level. They should be proportionally less for customers falling below the median income level.

Suburban wholesale rates are expected to rise 12.4 percent, with only 1.1 percent going to sewerage.

DWSD $ shortfallsCharts provided to the Board of Water Commissioners indicate that suburban wholesale customers of DWSD are responsible for $26.2 million of the water revenue shortfall, while Detroit retail customers are responsible for $8.2 million, with a projected bad debt collection of 85 percent.

Suburban wholesale customers are responsible for $5.5 million of sewer revenue shortfall, with Detroit retail customers responsible for $19.2 million, again with an expected collection rate of 85 percent.  Of course, the Detroit sewer shortfall reflects the much higher sewer rates assessed to the city’s residents.

That totals $31.7 million in suburban wholesale revenue shortfalls, with $27.4 million in Detroit retail shortfalls.  So if revenue shortfalls are the main reason for rate increases as DWSD claims, why are Detroiters being hit with far higher rate increases than those in the suburbs?

The charts also do not include the loss of revenue due to water shut-offs in Detroit, which do not take place in the suburbs. An uncalculated number of Detroiters have been forced to leave their homes because they have no water, or because water bills are attached to their property tax bills and they are foreclosed. They likely have fled the city to more friendly environs, further reducing its tax base.

To read complete report just referenced, click on  Bowc_briefing_proposed_FY15-16rates_02-11-2015.compressed.

The GLWA pledged that water rates would rise no higher than 4 percent for the next 10 years, but now is rapidly backtracking,  indicating it was not referring to individual customer rates, but to budget revenue estimates.

Water affordability plan 

Protesters outside Coleman A. Young Municipal Center May 18 demand a water affordability plan.

Protesters outside Coleman A. Young Municipal Center May 18 demand a water affordability plan.

Detroiters called for a “water affordability plan” that would link rates to customer income after the shut-offs in 2004. Such a plan, authored by Roger Colton, was proposed by numerous groups including Michigan Welfare Rights, Michigan Legal Services, and the Michigan Poverty Law Center. After much haggling with the Kilpatrick administration, the City Council finally passed a watered-down version of the plan.

But even that plan went down the toilet after the Detroit Human Services Department, which administered it, was deactivated  by former Mayor Dave Bing.  Its federal funding and jobs went to Wayne Metro Community Action Agency in suburban Wyandotte.

Members of Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management, Gloria House and Shea Howell, raised the cry for another water affordability plan in the following passionate editorial published on the website of the People’s Water Board.

Detroit water payments should be income based

By Gloria House and Shea Howell

March 25, 2015

Homrich worker shuts off water last year.

Homrich worker shuts off water last year.

“According to the newly created Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA), nearly 36,000 households in Detroit are facing water shut-offs as soon as the weather clears.

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is targeting commercial accounts first with an outstanding debt of about $20 million. In the same breath, however, they list another “first:” They will permanently shut off 8,355 households that have turned their own water back on. Calling these “illegal hookups,” the water department is trying to criminalize desperation.

The fact that people have been driven to this extreme step, along with 26,000 other households behind on bills, is clear evidence of the inadequacy of Mayor Mike Duggan’s assistance programs. Clearly, Detroiters are still struggling despite the celebratory tone that greeted the end of official bankruptcy proceedings.

The sheer numbers of people slated for shut off should have been a wake up call to city leaders last year. It’s long past time for the water affordability plan (WAP) to be implemented. The WAP adjusts payments based on the reality of people’s income. It would keep the water and the revenue flowing.

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s infamous words to the Wall Street Journal.

The rationale for resistance to the WAP shows up in the minutes of the GLWA meeting and it isn’t pretty. The goal of the aggressive shutoffs is “changing the culture regarding the responsibility to pay for service.” But the only way a sentence like that can make sense is if you believe there is a current culture where people are irresponsible and not willing to pay for their services.

This is the same belief that Detroiters are not paying water bills or property taxes because, as former Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr said, we are “dumb, lazy, happy and rich.” Bill Nowling, then Orr’s spokesman, tried to get him out of that comment by saying he believed the comments were “about the attitude of the body politic of the city of Detroit, not Detroiters themselves.” Such nonsensical distinctions are offered to cover the deep-seated racism that characterizes the attitude of many people toward Detroiters.

This attitude pathologizes the people of Detroit. It casts us as deficient, ignores our history, denies our humanity, and disrespects and diminishes our lives. It functions to blind the public to both the pain and the strengths of the city. Most Detroiters know that we not only work hard, but we often do the hardest work.

Detroiters have survived ongoing catastrophes with responsibility and determination.

Detroiters have survived ongoing catastrophes with responsibility and determination.

With the disappearance of jobs and capital, we have been struggling to create new ways of living and working together. We have a long history of “making a way out of no way.” We pay our bills. In fact, we have willingly voted ourselves the highest taxes in the state in order to provide for our schools, parks, community colleges, museums, zoo and art programs. Now with jobs gone, pay cuts, pension cuts, increasing medical bills, increasing heating bills, the highest water rates in the state, predatory lending, overinflated property taxes and auto insurance more than double that of the suburbs, people are scrambling to keep home and hearth together.

That is why a water affordability plan, based on percentage of income, is the only sane response to the impending shut-offs of an additional 28,000 homes.”

Water Lawsuit slowly moves forward

Attorney Alice Jennings announces filing of water lawsuit outside bankruptcy proceedings.

Attorney Alice Jennings announces filing of water lawsuit outside bankruptcy proceedings.

A lawsuit demanding an end to water shut-offs, restoration of water service, and affordable rates, filed by numerous progressive attorneys during Detroit’s bankruptcy proceedings to great fanfare, is going forward at a snail’s pace, after U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes predictably deep-sixed it. It has now been appealed to U.S. District Court, where Judge Bernard Friedman is hearing it.

It was appealed to the District Court on January 7, 2015, with the last action, an exhibit list filed by the plaintiffs, on April 19, 2015. Click on WATER AFFORDABILITY FEDERAL LAWSUIT DOCKET to see actions taken. Click on DetroitWater-TRO to read plaintiff’s brief for a temporary restraining order on shut-offs until the lawsuit is resolved.

A May 29 through 31 international conference is planned in Detroit. See post below.

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Note: unfortunately, according to link associated with above poster, registration is closed and there is no more room for on site registrations. Hopefully some useful new strategies will arise from this conference.

WHAT IS TO BE DONE?

So far, mass protests and arrests, conferences, lawsuits, and other tactics have not worked against the gravely inhumane policy of shutting off water to people in the poorest and Blackest city in the country. As Detroiters enter this third era of water shut-offs, perhaps they should take a lesson from the people of Ireland, who have been flooding streets across every city in the country to demand an end to charges for water. Water was originally provided free of charge to the Irish people, financed by the government through taxes.

Irish people are flooding the streets week after week to stop water charges.

Irish people are flooding the streets week after week to stop water charges.

Detroit water shut-offs are part of the banks’ world-wide campaign of austerity against poor and working people as their global empire teeters on the brink of collapse.

Like the people of Ireland, Spain, Greece, Latin America, the Middle East, Asia and Africa, Detroiters must rise up en masse to save the actual lives of their children and their future in Detroit. The Baltimore rebellion was not only against police killings; water is being shut off to people there as well, creating a total atmosphere of unlimited war on the poor.

APRIL 22: Hundreds of people march through the streets of Baltimore to seek justice for the death for Freddie Gray who died from injuries suffered in Police custody in Baltimore, USA on April 22, 2015. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

APRIL 22: Hundreds of people march through the streets of Baltimore to seek justice for the death of Freddie Gray who died from injuries suffered in Police custody in Baltimore, USA on April 22, 2015. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

https://www.facebook.com/Right2WaterIreland

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/may/02/baltimore-rebellion-is-uprising-against-austerity-freddie-gray


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MEMORIAL DAY IS A HOAX: ‘WAR IS JUST A RACKET’

La Guernica

GUERNICA, BY PABLO PICASSO depicts the bombing of Guernica, a Basque Country village in northern Spain, and stronghold of the anti-fascist Republican forces. The bombing, by German and Italian warplanes, was requested by Spanish Nationalists, led by Francisco Franco, during the Spanish Civil War. The painting is considered one of the world’s most profound depictions of the suffering created by wars. The ultimate aim of the fascists was to prevent revolutions like that which had occurred in the Soviet Union.

 

Paul Craig Roberts photoPaul Craig Roberts logonew_transInstitute for Political Economy

May 21, 2015

By Paul Craig Roberts

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/

Memorial Day commemorates soldiers killed in war. We are told that the war dead died for us and our freedom. US Marine General Smedley Butler challenged this view. He said that our soldiers died for the profits of the bankers, Wall Street, Standard Oil, and the United Fruit Company. Here is an excerpt from a speech that he gave in 1933:

War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.

General Smedley Butler

General Smedley Butler

I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we’ll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.

I wouldn’t go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.

There isn’t a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its “finger men” to point out enemies, its “muscle men” to destroy enemies, its “brain men” to plan war preparations, and a “Big Boss” Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a revolutionary who used mass civil disobedience as one step to overturning an unjust system.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a revolutionary who used mass civil disobedience as one step to overturning an unjust system.

It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.

US invasion of Dominican Republic, 1916.

US invasion of Dominican Republic, 1916.

I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 (where have I heard that name before?). I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

Jade Helm diagram. For more information, see links below story.

Jade Helm diagram. For more information, see links below story.

Most American soldiers died fighting foes who posed no threat to the United States. Our soldiers died for secret agendas of which they knew nothing. Capitalists hid their self-interests behind the flag, and our boys died for the One Percent’s bottom line.

Jade Helm, an exercise that pits the US military against the US public, is scheduled to run July 15 through September 15. What is the secret agenda behind Jade Helm?

“Jade Helm 15 is an eight-week, [Special Operations Command-SOCOM] sponsored, joint-military and inter-agency, unconventional warfare training exercise, which will be conducted throughout parts of Texas, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada and Florida running this summer from July 15 to September 15. As part of the training, Special Forces from at least four branches of the military will role-play, conducting imaginary covert missions on territories labeled “hostile” in Texas, Utah and southern California, and travel from state to state in military aircraft.” —Truth-Out.org

The collapse of the Soviet Union hurt third world countries across the globe, which had benefited from the economic backing of the USSR. Here, Fidel Castro and the late Soviet premier Nikita Krushchev declare their solidarity shortly after the Cuban revolution.

The collapse of the Soviet Union hurt third world countries across the globe, which had benefited from the economic backing of the USSR. Here, Fidel Castro and the late Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev declare their solidarity shortly after the Cuban revolution.

The Soviet Union was a partial check on capitalist looting in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. However, with the Soviet collapse capitalist looting intensified during the Clinton, Bush, and Obama regimes.

Neoliberal Globalization is now looting its own constituent parts and the planet itself. Americans, Greeks, Irish, British, Italians, Ukrainians, Iraqis, Libyans, Argentinians, the Spanish and Portuguese are being looted of their savings, pensions, social services, and job opportunities, and the planet is being turned into a wasteland by capitalists sucking the last penny out of the environment. As Claudia von Werlhof writes, predatory capitalism is consuming the globe. http://www.globalresearch.ca/neoliberal-globalization-is-there-an-alternative-to-plundering-the-earth/24403 We need a memorial day to commemorate the victims of neoliberal globalization. All of us are its victims, and in the end the capitalists also.

Retirees in Spain stand to lose most of their pensions as a result of banks' assault on their country.

Retirees in Spain stand to lose most of their pensions as a result of banks’ assault on their country.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’ latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West and How America Was Lost.

Related:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/the-great-spain-robbery-pensioners-protest-as-they-watch-their-life-savings-vanish-into-the-banks-black-hole-8921419.html

http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/10/31/us-argentina-pensions-us-idUSTRE49T9N520081031

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/30939-jade-helm-15-is-not-a-federal-takeover-it-s-domestic-military-expansion

http://allnewspipeline.com/More_States_Added_To_Jade_Helm_15.php


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CLEVELAND COP NOT GUILTY OVER DEATHS OF 2 PEOPLE SHOT AT 137 TIMES BY POLICE

Protesters occupied streets in front of Cuyahoga County courthouse, for over a week before today's verdict.

Protesters occupied streets in front of Cuyahoga County courthouse, for over a week before today’s verdict. Photo: Urban Media Network

BELOW: PROTESTERS AT COURTHOUSE AFTER VERDICT, AND FLOODING 4TH STREET IN DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND

Protesters gather after Michael Brelo acquitted and discharged

Unarmed Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell were killed in 2012, Williams shot 24 times, Russell 23 times

No Black officers involved in pursuit by 100 police cars; Cleveland 53.3 % Black, cops 75 % white/other

The Guardian

 

By Daniel McGraw in Cleveland

May 23, 2015

Cleveland cop Michael Brelo

Cleveland cop Michael Brelo during trial.

A Cleveland police officer who stood on the hood of a car and fired his gun 49 times through the windshield at two unarmed passengers has been found not guilty on two counts of voluntary manslaughter.

Michael Brelo was also found not guilty of felonious assault, and discharged.

On Saturday morning, Cuyahoga County judge John P O’Donnell said prosecutors failed to prove without a reasonable doubt that bullets fired by officer Brelo were the cause of death of Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell, or that Brelo had no fear for his own life during the volley of gunfire that ended a high-speed car chase on 29 November 2012.

Cuyahoga County Judge John P. O'Donnell examines mannikins representing Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams during trial.

Cuyahoga County Judge John P. O’Donnell examines mannikins representing Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams during trial.

“The verdict should be no cause for a civilized society to celebrate or riot,” O’Donnell said in remarks preceding a lengthy reading of 10 pages of his 35-page verdict, in which he discussed the wounds suffered by Williams and Russell, which were indicated on two mannequins in court, and the views and actions of other police officers involved in the shooting.

After O’Donnell delivered his verdict, some African American spectators in the court house shouted: “No justice, no peace!”

After the verdict, about 40 protesters gathered outside the courthouse in downtown. The peaceful protest turned a little ugly as Brelo’s attorney, Patrick D’Angelo, made his way outside for TV interviews.

NEWS MEDIA ALONG FOR THE RIDE: Watch the unedited video as NewsChannel5 multi-media journalist Mike Vielhaber rides along with police on the night Cleveland officers shot and killed two people who were suspects in a chase.

The small crowd surrounded D’Angelo and some screamed “protector of killers” as he was escorted back into the court house by sheriff deputies.

Police quickly barricaded the roads around the court house, closing them to vehicle traffic but permitting people to protest in the street.

“This verdict was no surprise to the black community,” said one African American community activist outside the court house. “The law is written so the police can get away with abusing people of color, and this is proof of how that works.”

Protesters confront police outside courthouse after verdict. Photo: Daniel McGraw, The Guardian

Protesters confront police outside courthouse after verdict. Photo: Daniel McGraw, The Guardian

Brelo’s trial ended about three weeks ago, and was decided by a judge instead of a jury at the request of the defendant. The move allowed the decision to be made by a judge looking only at the strict legal interpretation of the case, rather than by a jury that might render a decision based more on emotion.

Sources have told the Guardian that O’Donnell waited so long to issue his verdict in order to give the city time to prepare for any resultant civic unrest of the kind seen recently in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore after cases involving deaths at the hands of police.

The judge picked a Saturday morning on a holiday weekend to announce the verdict, the sources said, to provide an extra day for law enforcement to calm the city, and also as a way to lessen problems that might be caused by high school students.

The front windshield of the car driven by Timothy Russell is shown Friday, April 10, 2015, in Cleveland. Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo, 31, is being tried on two counts of voluntary manslaughter in the November 2012 deaths of Russell, 43, and Malissa Williams, 30, after a high-speed chase. The defense attorney's, prosecuting attorney and the judge visited the warehouse where the car and two police cruisers involved in the chase are stored. (AP Photo/Aaron Josefczyk, Pool)

The front windshield of the car driven by Timothy Russell is shown Friday, April 10, 2015, in Cleveland. Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo, 31, is being tried on two counts of voluntary manslaughter in the November 2012 deaths of Russell, 43, and Malissa Williams, 30, after a high-speed chase. The defense attorney’s, prosecuting attorney and the judge visited the warehouse where the car and two police cruisers involved in the chase are stored. (AP Photo/Aaron Josefczyk, Pool)

In recent years, downtown Cleveland has experienced some acts of mob violence carried out by high school students – in particular on St Patrick’s Day this year.

Brelo, 31, joined the Cleveland police department in 2007, having served in the marine corps in Iraq. He was charged with two counts of voluntary manslaughter. Each count can carry a sentence of three to eight years in prison.

O’Donnell would also have decided the sentencing. The 50-year-old judge, in office since 2002 and elected as a Democrat throughout his career, ran for the Ohio supreme court but was defeated by a Republican.

Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell

Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell

Brelo’s trial resulted from a police chase on November 29, 2012, when Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell led police on a 20-minute pursuit that involved 60 police cars and about 100 police officers. The chase began when their car, a 1979 Chevy Malibu, apparently backfired as it passed police headquarters in downtown Cleveland. The noise was mistaken for a gunshot.

Williams, 30, and Russell, 43, were boxed into a middle-school parking lot when 13 Cleveland police officers fired 137 shots into the car in an 18-second volley. Brelo fired the most – 49 shots total – including 15 at the end of the barrage while standing on the hood of the car, aiming at the pair through the windshield. Even though a dozen other officers fired 88 bullets into the car, only Brelo was charged.

If Brelo was fearful that he or another officer or a bystander might get hurt, he was entitled to use deadly force [the defense argued].

Cleveland protesters block traffic earlier in the week.

Cleveland protesters block traffic earlier in the week. Photo: Urban Media Network

The prosecution also had to prove that Brelo’s actions led to the deaths of Williams and Russell, meaning the bullets fired from his gun were the ones that killed them. No forensic science experts could say with any certainty that any of Brelo’s 49 bullets resulted in death.

The prosecution’s expert witnesses testified that all the shots fired by police were justifiable – except for the 15 Brelo fired from on top of the car.

Brelo's attorney Patrick D'Angelo makes argument during trial as prosecutor listens. Prosecution appears to have thrown this case, as in Trayvon Martin killing, where medical examiner sued the prosecution for not presenting his evidence in toto.

Brelo’s attorney Patrick D’Angelo makes argument during trial as prosecutor listens. Prosecution appears to have thrown this case, as in Trayvon Martin killing, where medical examiner sued the prosecution for not presenting his evidence in toto.

Prosecutors conceded that those 15 shots would have been justified had Brelo not been standing on the hood. In other words, if Brelo had fired the same shots into the windshield standing in front of the car with his feet on the ground, he probably would not have been charged.

The Brelo case caused widespread outrage and led to an investigation of the use of excessive force by the Cleveland police department. In February 2013, the Ohio attorney general, Mike DeWine, found that the chase and killing of Russell and Williams represented “a systematic failure in the Cleveland police department”.

Last December, after a 21-month investigation sparked by the case, the then US attorney general Eric Holder released a report that found Cleveland police had engaged in a pattern and practice of excessive force, including unnecessary deadly force. The Department of Justice report alleged that the excessive force violated Cleveland citizens’ constitutional rights, and was based on more than 600 incidents between 2012 and 2013.

‘Chaotic and dangerous’ Cleveland police shamed in withering government report

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson has been in office for 10 years, during which time, according to a report in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “in more than 60 lawsuits, citizens accused officers of needlessly shooting at them, beating them during routine traffic stops, shocking them with Tasers while face-down on the ground in handcuffs or arresting them when they had committed no crime”.

Those lawsuits cost the city more than $8m to resolve, according to the report.

Adding to the Cleveland police department’s problems is the ongoing investigation into the killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. . The boy was holding a toy pellet gun when he was shot by police in a city park last November.

Protest against Cleveland police murder of 12-year-old Tamir Rice last year.

Protest against Cleveland police murder of 12-year-old Tamir Rice last year. A grand jury is still deliberating.

With expectations that a not guilty verdict might spark riots similar to those seen in Baltimore last month, Cleveland police and city leaders met various community groups in private,warning them to be wary of “outside agitators” who might try to turn peaceful protests violent. Neighborhood outreach teams included religious leaders, youth league coaches, business leaders, motorcycle club members and former gang members, in an effort to keep the peace regardless of the verdict.

VOD with redCleveland police earlier released the names of the 13 officers in the deaths of Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell. They are: Patrol Officer WIlfredo Diaz #350 Appointment Date: 11-03-08; Patrol Officer Michael Brelo #416 Appointment Date: 10-15-07; Patrol Officer Cynthia Moore #1277 Appointment Date: 10-15-07; Patrol Officer Michael Farley #409 Appointment Date: 04-08-96; Patrol Officer Brian Sabolik #1021 Appointment Date: 01-10-1; Patrol Officer Paul Box #2526 Appointment Date: 08-19-96; Patrol Officer Randy Patrick #1580 Appointment Date: 08-04-97; Patrol Officer Scott Sistek #1395 Appointment Date: 02-25-08; Detective Michael Demchak #1621 Appointment Date: 10-23-82; Detective Erin O’Donnell #1027 Appointment Date: 09-28-98; Detective Christopher Ereg #767 Appointment Date: 08-30-99; Detective Michael Rinkus #2182 Appointment Date: 01-06-92; Detective William Salupo #1969 Appointment Date: 02-17-98.

Above: David Russell, Timothy’s brother, testifies during trial, showing photos of his large family.

Related stories:

http://news.yahoo.com/latest-cleveland-verdict-feds-review-case-165719528.html

http://www.cleveland.com/court-justice/index.ssf/2014/07/patrolman_brelos_attorney_pros.html

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2013/02/26/cleveland-police-kill-two-with-137-gunshots-rally-fri-march-1-5-p-m/

http://www.wkyc.com/story/news/investigations/2015/02/09/police-cleveland-black-white-racial-disparity/23000499/


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STOP DETROIT WATER SHUTOFFS NOW! CANCEL THE #DETROITWATER DEBT AND START AFRESH: PETITION

VOD with red

May 22, 2015

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) has announced that it is hanging water shut-off notices on Detroit residents’ doors this month, re-starting the internationally notorious, criminal program of cutting off the human right to water. VOD is running a series on what is being done, and what can be done to stop this atrocity. This is the first of the stories in the series.

Demeeko Williams and Beulah Walker load water to carry to two Detroit residents, one a senior whose water has been shut off for a year, and another a young woman with a child who has been forced to squat in a Detroit home. Gallons of water are given out freely, with no questions asked.

Demeeko Williams and Beulah Walker load water to carry to two Detroit residents, one a senior whose water has been shut off for a year, and another a young woman with a child who has been forced to squat in a Detroit home. Gallons of water are given out freely, with no questions asked.

On April 21, VOD interviewed Demeeko Williams and Beulah Walker of the DETROIT WATER BRIGADE,  which estimates that 40 percent of Detroit residents and their families may face shut-offs soon.

The Detroit Water Brigade is collecting petitions with the language below to CANCEL PREVIOUS WATER BILLS AND START AFRESH WITH AFFORDABLE RATES. 

VOD asks that you sign and share this petition link with your friends, families, and neighbors. It is a start, hopefully to become a mass uprising against water charges like that in Ireland, where people are marching by the hundreds of thousands and burning their water bills, in a country where water used to be FREE, financed by tax dollars. The Irish activists hosted members of the DWB and expressed their solidarity with Detroit. (See second portion of this post.)

SIGN THE PETITION BELOW NOW AT:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/cancel-the-detroitwater-debt-and-start-afresh.

(Photos below are not part of the petition itself.)

We call on the City of Detroit and the newly-formed Great Lakes Water Authority to cancel the existing debts of Detroit Water and Sewerage customers and start afresh with simple, affordable rates: all customer past-due balances are wiped clean.

Park used for DWB activities off Woodward.

Private garden used for DWB activities off Woodward.

Last year, Detroit made international headlines when tens of thousands of residents lost their access to water through an aggressive shut-off program by the water department.

The city of Detroit has endured decades of economic turmoil, drastic depopulation and repeated mismanagement. The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) is over $5 billion in debt (over $4,500 per family in the metro Detroit area).To compensate, they have increased rates over 119% in the last decade.¹Residents who fall behind on their bills risk water shutoff, and in 2014 that’s exactly what happened to tens of thousands of Detroiters.

The shutoff program didn’t work, and the DWSD collected less than 3% of the over $100 million currently owed.² A large number of the families who entered into payment plans last year are now defaulting on them yet again because they lack sufficient income.

Home next door used for DWB water hub.

Home next door used for DWB water hub.

In contrast, a voluntary bond tender offer initiated during the shutoffs allowed the city to renegotiate high interest rates on municipal water bonds and save over $250 million in interest fees for the city.³

The bond markets know that Detroit’s water debt is junk and the city will unlikely ever be able to pay the current interest rates, which is why Default Trends proclaimed Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) its “Biggest Default of 2014″.⁴

Corruption in the DWSD has been rampant, with former Department head Victor Mercado currently serving an 8-month federal corruption sentence for “conspiracy to commit extortion” by padding department contracts and rigging bids that netted his business associates millions. Although many of those contracts are now being scrutinized by the city’s legal team, Detroiters are still paying dearly for the fraud of past leaders.

Nurses help lead last years' massive march against water shutoffs in downtown Detroit, July 18, 2014.

Nurses help lead last years’ massive march against water shutoffs in downtown Detroit, July 18, 2014.

The overbearing Detroit water debt has a human side, too: it has pushed Detroit into an outright humanitarian crisis. Rates of infectious disease and sickness are up dramatically, leading the National Nurses union recently to declare a ‘Public Health Emergency’ in Detroit.⁵

The water department is significantly under-staffed and water infrastructure is crumbling, leading to leaks that cost taxpayers tens of millions annually. The department is unable to address these time-sensitive issues due to lack of funding, as it currently spends 46% of its operating revenue on debt service to banks – the largest line-item by far in its budget.

We call on the City of Detroit and the newly-formed Great Lakes Water Authority to cancel the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department’s existing debts and start afresh with simple, affordable rates: all customer past-due balances are wiped clean.

Protesters blockage entrance to city contractor Homrich, which shut water off last year, likely because DWSD workers could not be counted on to do so.

Protesters blockage entrance to city contractor Homrich, which shut water off last year, likely because DWSD workers could not be counted on to do so.

Detroit’s existing water/sewerage rate structure is highly-regressive and unaffordable for too many families. We call on the city to implement the 2005 Water Affordability Plan to ensure that no family pays more than the EPA-recommended threshold for water, including “lifeline rates” for essential quantities of drinking/bathing water.

The water department acknowledges that 90% of its operating costs are fixed⁷, meaning they don’t depend upon how much water is consumed by users. Still, they charge usage-based rates that fluctuate dramatically with weather (up to 18% decrease in usage) and with broader demographic shifts in the region (2/3 of Detroit’s population has left the city since 1950).

"Mayor" Duggan shows how only Detroit will remain of six-county area previously run by DWSD Sept. 9, 2014, after Great Lakes Water Authority takes over. Even more drastic rate increases are expected at that time.

Detroit “Mayor” Duggan shows how only Detroit will remain of six-county area previously run by DWSD Sept. 9, 2014, after Great Lakes Water Authority takes over. Even more drastic rate increases are expected at that time, to pay off $5 billion in DWSD debt. Debt was originally to be cut by $2 billion under bankruptcy plan, but was restored under GLWA plan.

Creating a progressive rate structure based at least partially upon a family’s income – as is done with many public services like streetlights, schools, libraries, etc – would more equitably distribute the burden of operating a system relied upon by over 4 million people for essential drinking water.

The Detroit Water Brigade has provided emergency relief and advocacy to hundreds of families since June of 2014, including providing immediate financial assistance to families currently without water.⁸We’ve seen first-hand the disastrous effects of these harsh, debt-driven austerity policies.

We pledge to escalate this campaign in the coming months until we bring relief to the tens of thousands of metro Detroit families living without water today and the millions living precariously with unaffordable water rates. 

¹Source:http://archive.freep.com/article/20140624/NEWS01/306240181/John-Conyers-detroit-water-shutoffs 

²Source: DWSD Financials, Sep 15, 2014, p. 61  http://www.dwsd.org/downloads_n/about_dwsd/financials/Finance_Committee_Binder_9-5-2014.pdf 

³Source: http://www.kutakrock.com/successful-bond-tender-eases-detroits-bankruptcy-exit-10-03-2014/

Source: http://www.bondbuyer.com/news/markets-buy-side/defaults-reached-record-in-2014-1069491-1.html

Source:http://www.nationalnursesunited.org/press/entry/nurses-activists-cite-public-health-emergency-in-detroit-water-shutoffs/

Source:http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/sustain/affordability.cfm

Source:http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/wayne-county/2015/01/22/water-use-jeopardizing-four-percent-rate-cap/22187455/

Source:http://detroitwaterbrigade.org/waf/

100000 Irish March Through Dublin to Protest Against Water Charges

The Guardian (UK)

March 21, 2015

Ireland Ministry of Thirst

Marchers in Ireland protest government’s austerity measures including water charges.

In Ireland, with a population of 5 million, upwards of one hundred thousand took to the streets to protest the new charges for water. The Irish government’s austerity measure has sparked widespread public anger, with Saturday’s street protest the fourth since October.

Tens of thousands of people marched in Dublin on Saturday in the latest protest against the government’s new water charges. It is the latest show of public opposition to the austerity measure put in place by Ireland’s coalition government, which hopes the country’s economic growth will quell the discontent.

Ireland’s economy surged by a post-crisis high of 4.8% last year and is forecast to be the fastest-growing in the European Union again in 2015, but many have been left frustrated by the uneven nature of the recovery.

Irish protesters demand that no water meters be installed.

Irish protesters demand that no water meters be installed.

One year before it seeks re-election, the government has begun directly charging households for water use. It is the final piece of a seven-year, _30bn (£21.7bn) austerity drive, but also the measure that has elicited the largest public backlash. Saturday’s mass protest was the fourth since October.

Organisers said 80,000 protesters marched in the capital – many holding Greek flags to show solidarity with the stricken eurozone member. The national broadcaster, RTE, said the crowd was 30,000 to 40,000 strong.

“This government believes that the anti-water charges campaign is dying, that we are on our last legs. Well, today we have sent them a message,” said Lynn Boylan, a member of the European Parliament for the opposition Sinn Féin party.

“These families simply cannot take any more. The government is pushing people over the edge.”

“This campaign is going from strength to strength. We are on the march. And we will not stop until water charges are scrapped and Irish Water is abolished.

Protest in Donegal, Ireland.

Protest in Donegal, Ireland.

“Sinn Féin warned the government that Irish Water was nothing more than a toxic quango. The citizens of Ireland in their hundreds of thousands told [minister for the environment] Alan Kelly that they cannot and they will not pay.

“Europe has warned the government that their back of the envelope calculations do not stack up. How do they respond? By jailing protestors and spending _650,000 on a new ad campaign; not to mention wasting over _85m on private consultants, _539m wasted on water meters. Hundreds of Garda hours wasted on policing the ill-fated installation of water meters.”

Boylan also questioned how people could pay the charge when they “cannot afford to keep the roof over their head”.

Resign these logosShe said: “The lengths that this government will go to defend their precious Uisce Éireann [Ireland’s water company] is astounding. Local authorities have begun the process of handing over the details of tenants. Landlords are being forced to do the same. For Sinn Féin this is a red line issue. Let this message go out loud and clear;: water charges and Irish Water must be consigned to the dustbin of history.”

The trade unions affiliated to the campaign – the CPSU, CWU, Mandate, Opatsi and Unite – are also calling for a referendum to be held “following abolition of the charges” to enshrine public ownership of Irish Water in the Constitution.

The trade unions will present the outline of their draft water management policy at their forthcoming May Day conference.

Irish people demand: Water is a right!

Irish people demand: Water is a right!

BELOW: DETROIT WATER BRIGADE PARTICIPATES IN DUBLIN MARCH: FROM DUBLIN TO DETROIT, WATER IS A HUMAN RIGHT!

Detroit Water Brigade website: http://detroitwaterbrigade.org/

DWB Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/waterbrigade?fref=ts

Related VOD stories:

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/10/26/we-charge-genocide-detroit-water-shut-offs-foreclosures-focus-of-un-visit/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/09/10/detroit-bankruptcy-great-lakes-water-authority-to-steal-largest-asset-of-largest-u-s-black-city-4/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/03/02/detroit-long-term-debt-rises-300-in-bankruptcy-retirees-fight-back-with-protest-court-appeals/


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‘JAIL BANKSTERS, REPARATIONS NOW!” PROTEST AT JPMORGAN CHASE ANNUAL MEETING IN DETROIT

Protesters confront Chase shareholders at annual meeting in Westin Book Cadillac May 19, 2015/Photo: Stephanie Gordon

Protesters confront Chase shareholders at annual meeting in Westin Book Cadillac May 19, 2015/Photo: Stephanie Gordon

Chase, 5 other global banks just pled guilty to felony rate-rigging, agreed to pay $9 billion in fines, but serve no jail time 

Chase earlier paid a record $13 billion linked to sale of junk mortgages during housing bubble, another $4.5 billion settlement with institutional investors in those mortgages

Protesters say Chase crimes include slavery profits, foreclosures, water shut-offs, huge prison population, student loan debt

Retirees: Detroit bankruptcy appeal aided by May 8 Illinois Supreme Court ruling calling pension, annuity reductions violation of state constitution

 By Diane Bukowski

 May 20, 2013 

Chase shareholders held their meeting at the Westin Book Cadillac in downtown Detroit, formerly home to Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr. Photo: Stephanie Gordon

Chase shareholders held their meeting at the Westin Book Cadillac in downtown Detroit, formerly home to Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr. Photo: Stephanie Gordon

DETROIT – As global banks including JPMorgan Chase pled guilty to felony market manipulation charges, agreeing to pay $9 billion in fines, protesters at Chase’s annual meeting in Detroit demanded prison for the banks’ executives, and billions in reparations to re-build the City of Detroit. Chase is the world’s largest investment bank.

Chase’s portion of the fines followed a record $13 billion settlement linked to its sale of junk mortgages during the housing bubble, and another $4.5 billion settlement with institutional investors in those mortgages. Protesters questioned why Detroit and other poor cities across the U.S. have seen none of those settlements, since Chase made its money off illegal practices foisted on homeowners, workers and taxpayers.

“Chase had the gall to hold its shareholders meeting in the city of Detroit, which has been devastated by home foreclosures, many by Chase,” Abayomi Azikiwe of Moratorium NOW! said. “They have bragged about investing in Capitol Park and the rest of downtown Detroit, but we want to know what Chase Bank is going to do for the people of Detroit.”

Abiyomi Azikiwe of Moratorium NOW! and Bill Davis, Pres. of the Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association, marched on Chase meeting. In background is Kris Hamel of Moratorium NOW! telling Chase to leave Detroit. /Photo: Stephanie Gordon

Abiyomi Azikiwe of Moratorium NOW! and Bill Davis, Pres. of the Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association, marched on Chase meeting. /Photo: Stephanie Gordon

The protesters confronted shareholders going into the meeting at the Westin Book Cadillac, former home to Detroit’s Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr. He and his banking and corporate cronies virtually dismantled the City of Detroit through an involuntary and likely criminal Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

Detroit is the poorest and largest majority-Black city in the U.S. An astounding 59 percent of its children are mired in poverty, with an overall rate of 39 percent. In January, Chase admitted that it profited from slavery in the U.S. after it bought out Bank One and Citizens Bank, said Azikiwe.

“From 1831 to 1865, 13,000 slaves were accepted as collateral for loans from these banks,” Azikiwe said, “but all Chase offered was an apology and a $5 million scholarship funds. Millions of our people are in prison, but how many bankers are in prison or on death row?”

Errol Jennings of the Russell Woods-Sullivan Area Association said banks made $6.4 trillion in profits, using today’s dollar value, during the slavery era, 40 percent from cotton.

Elder Helen Moore of the Keep the Vote No Takeover Coalition protested the devastation of Detroit Public Schools through bank debt that has drained district of per-pupil funding.

Elder Helen Moore of the Keep the Vote No Takeover Coalition protested the devastation of Detroit Public Schools through bank debt that has drained district of per-pupil funding. In background is Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellerman. Photo: Stephanie Gordon

“They’ve been oppressing us ever since we set foot on U.S. soil,” he said. “The prison population right now is traded on Wall Street; how you do in middle school is being decided on Wall Street. They take our pensions and shut off our water because we got into a bad deal with derivatives. They caused the global economic crash of 2006-08, got $700 billion in our tax dollars to get bailed out, and now they’re growing at a faster rate than ever before.  They tell us, ‘We don’t need you, we’ll take your houses, your water, kill your schools, and see to it that your children kill each other on the streets.’”

Protesters chanted, “The blight is Chase.”

Multi-billionaire Dan Gilbert, who has close ties to Chase, ironically heads the city’s “Blight Removal Task Force,” as he buys huge parcels of city land and drives out Black and poor residents. The recent re-development of Brush Park and the conversion of the Section 8 Griswold Apartments in Capitol Park to high-end condos called “The Albert” are only two examples.

Detroit "Mayor" Mike Duggan meets with Chase CEO Jamie Dimon Feb. 11, 2015.

Detroit “Mayor” Mike Duggan meets with Chase CEO Jamie Dimon Feb. 11, 2015. Photo: Daniel Mears, Detroit News

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan met with Chase CEO Jamie Dimon Feb. 11, taking him on a tour of Eastern Market and lauding Chase’s support for Detroit. In early 2014, the global bank committed $100 million to support “economic development, blight removal and job training” in Detroit. Compared to the $2.6 trillion in assets the bank reported in 2014, that represents a demeaning drop in the bucket.

Many protesters carried signs denouncing water shut-offs in Detroit, which are scheduled to begin May 29.

“Save Detroit’s children! Don’t shut off their water!” they chanted.

JPMorgan Chase cost the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department $537 million in illegal interest rate swaps. Under the city’s bankruptcy provisions, DWSD will now control only a small part of the city’s water mains, while the Great Lakes Water Authority will control and profit from all water and wastewater treatment plants in the six counties originally under DWSD jurisdiction, as well as water mains and the remaining infrastructure.

Protesters said Chase is largely responsible for pending water shut-offs in Detroit, due to $537 million in illegal interest rate swaps it foisted on DWSD.

Protesters said Chase is largely responsible for pending water shut-offs in Detroit, due to $537 million in illegal interest rate swaps it foisted on DWSD. Photo: Stephanie Gordon

The DWSD workforce has been drastically cut and union representation essentially busted. The remaining workers have been forced to reapply for their jobs regardless of seniority and other union contract provisions.

“Over 200,000 people have fled Detroit after our communities were devastated by predatory mortgages and foreclosures that resulted in the global economic crash of 2008,” Pat Driscoll of Detroit Eviction Defense said.

Cheryl West, evicted last week from her home of 60 years, during protest at Wayne Co. Treasurer's office March 31, 2015.

Cheryl West, evicted last week from her home of 60 years, during protest at Wayne Co. Treasurer’s office March 31, 2015.

“People that took these predatory loans were in fact eligible for other loans. As of 2012, half of the foreclosed homes were owned by banks like Chase, who have not paid their property taxes. But this year the residents left in Detroit face the largest tax foreclosure crisis in history. Over 11,000 homes, about 33,000 people, face eviction, people like Cheryl West, who lived in her Detroit home for 60 years and was evicted last week. Detroit’s homeowners haven’t been bailed out like the banks were after the 2008 crash.”

Driscoll announced that a coalition of groups led by the Michigan American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) just sent a scathing letter to Wayne County Treasurer Raymond Wojtowicz demanding an immediate moratorium on tax foreclosures, in part because homeowners have been paying illegal tax rates for at least the last 20 years.

The groups, including Moratorium NOW!, the Russell Woods-Sullivan Association, the Detroit People’s Platform, the Sugar Law Center, and others, said the following in part:

“A moratorium on tax foreclosures is necessary where the local government has violated its statutory duty to assess property values, leading to unwarranted taxes based on grossly inflated home values before the Great Recession.

Instituting a moratorium on tax foreclosures of occupied homes is not only the right policy decision; it is required as a matter of law. Michigan law obligates local assessing units to determine property values on a yearly basis in order to ensure that residents pay taxes based on the actual value of their home.”

Yvonne Williams-Jones, DAREA officer, attended protest.

Yvonne Williams-Jones, DAREA officer, attended protest. She retired after 34 years with the City of Detroit.

Bill Davis and Yvonne Jones of the Detroit Actives and Retired Employees Association(DAREA) registered their outrage at what has been done to Detroit. (This reporter apologizes for her confused note-taking: their comments are combined here.)

“We must defend our home! Our home is Detroit! These devils have taken our health care and cut our pensions. Detroit is now a great city if you’re a white billionaire like Dan Gilbert, Mike Illitch, and Roger Penske. We can’t even go to Belle Isle anymore because Penske wanted it for his Grand Prix. We have to fight back, we have to take the water department and Belle Isle and the city back! The people can make a difference, whenever we show up and stand up and act up. No justice, no peace!”

They said DAREA has an ongoing appeal of the bankruptcy confirmation plan currently being heard in the U.S. District Court, despite threats by former Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr that retirees could not appeal a thing.

Justice Lloyd Karmeier of Illinois Supreme Court wrote passionate defense of his state's pension systems, declaring reductions unconstitutional.

Justice Lloyd Karmeier of Illinois Supreme Court wrote passionate defense of his state’s pension systems, declaring reductions unconstitutional May 8, 2015.

DAREA’s appeal is likely to be given a huge boost by an Illinois Supreme Court ruling on May 8. The Court held unanimously that Public Act 98-599, which drastically reduced the pensions and annuities of public workers across the state, was unconstitutional and therefore unenforceable.

The Illinois constitution’s  pension protections clause is very similar to Michigan’s. It provides: “Membership in any pension or retirement system of the State, any unit of local government or school district, or any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.” Ill. Const. 1970, art. XIII, § 5.

City of Detroit retirees at rally outside bankruptcy court April 1, 2014.

City of Detroit retirees at rally outside bankruptcy court April 1, 2014.

The Illinois decision is striking in its passion for upholding the will of the people as expressed in the constitution they enacted, in this case, the 1970 Illinois State Constitution.

“The people of Illinois give voice to their sovereign authority through the Illinois Constitution,” the ruling, authored by Justice Lloyd Karmeier, declared. “It is through the Illinois Constitution that the people have decreed how their sovereign power may be exercised, by whom and under what conditions or restrictions. Where rights have been conferred and limits on governmental action have been defined by the people through the constitution, the legislature cannot enact legislation in contravention of those rights and restrictions.”

The lawsuits filed by five pension systems in the state predominantly addressed the reduction of annuity payments to workers, also the most damaging provision of the Detroit bankruptcy plan. However, the Illinois court held that the annuity reductions could not be severed from the entire act, and therefore struck down all portions of the act.

Related documents:

ACLU of Michigan AND Other Groups Make Joint Call for Moratorium on Mass Tax Foreclosures in Wayne County

ACLU Letter to WCT

Illinois Supreme Court pension ruling

Recent related stories:

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/04/24/u-s-sues-dan-gilberts-quicken-loans-over-mortgage-fraud-one-cause-of-detroit-blight/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/03/29/unprecedented-katrina-of-tax-foreclosures-to-hit-detroit-wayne-county-march-31/

Four banks in conspiracy

 Six Banks to Pay $9 Billion, Five Guilty of Market Rigging

JPMorgan Chase, Citicorp, Barclay’s, RBS plead guilty to felonies, no jail time slated

Banks operated private chat rooms for members of the “Cartel”

USDOJ, Fed Reserve file charges

By David McLaughlin, Tom Schoenberg, and Gavin Finch

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-05-20/six-banks-pay-5-8-billion-five-plead-guilty-to-market-rigging

Bloomberg NewsBloomberg

May 20, 2015

Six of the world’s biggest banks will pay $5.8 billion [through U.S. Department of Justice settlement] and five of them agreed to plead guilty to charges tied to a currency-rigging probe as they seek to wind down almost half a decade of enforcement actions.

Citicorp, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Barclays Plc and Royal Bank of Scotland Plc agreed to plead guilty to felony charges of conspiring to manipulate the price of U.S. dollars and euros, according to settlements announced by the Justice Department in Washington Wednesday. The main banking unit of UBS Group AG agreed to plead guilty to a wire-fraud charge related to interest-rate manipulation. The Swiss bank, the first to cooperate with antitrust investigators, was granted immunity in the currency probe.

BOA 5 9 12 Cancel debt

Protesters demand cancellation of Detroit’s debt to banks in 2012.

The four banks that agreed to plead guilty to currency charges are among the world’s biggest foreign-exchange traders. They were accused of colluding to influence benchmark rates by aligning positions and pushing transactions through at the same time. Traders who described themselves as members of “The Cartel” used online chat rooms to discuss their positions before the rates were set and suppress competition in the market, the Justice Department said.

All of the banks that pleaded guilty said they received needed waivers from the Securities and Exchange Commission to continue managing mutual funds and raise capital quickly, a person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

“Brazen Collusion”

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch with Pres. Barack Obama

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch with Pres. Barack Obama

The scheme was a “brazen display of collusion,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement. “This Department of Justice intends to vigorously prosecute all those who tilt the economic system in their favor, who subvert our marketplaces, and who enrich themselves at the expense of American consumers,” she said.

The accords bring the total fines and penalties paid by the five banks to resolve the currency investigations to about $9 billion, the Justice Department said.

In the settlement with the Justice Department, Citicorp parent Citigroup Inc. will pay $925 million, the highest of the banks penalized. Barclays agreed to a fine of $650 million. JPMorgan will pay $550 million, and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc agreed to a $395 million fine. UBS will pay $203 million.

Separately, the Federal Reserve imposed fines of more than $1.6 billion on the five banks for “unsafe and unsound practices.” London-based Barclays will pay an additional $1.3 billion as part of settlements with the New York Department of Financial Services, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority.

Terminate Employees

As part of its settlement with New York banking superintendent Benjamin Lawsky, Barclays agreed to terminate eight employees engaged in currency trading between London and New York.

JPMG boxThe Fed also fined Bank of America Corp. $205 million for failing to detect and address conduct by traders who discussed the possibility of entering into agreements to manipulate currency prices, according to a statement.

“The resolution will come out of our existing reserves,” said Lawrence Grayson, a spokesman for Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America.

The penalties represent the first criminal resolutions in a two-year currency probe, which is ongoing, said Andrew McCabe, assistant director in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Washington Field Office.

Other firms, including Deutsche Bank AG and HSBC Holdings Plc are still under investigation. Cases against individual traders also may be forthcoming, people with knowledge of the probe have said.

“Calculated Move”

The settlements show the eagerness of bank executives to end one of the last big legal cases dogging the industry. Scandals involving the aggressive sale of mortgage bonds and interest-rate rigging helped reinforce the view that some firms are too big to manage properly and should be broken up.

“This is a very calculated move to get the Justice Department off their backs, because otherwise this could go on for years,” said Phillip Phan, a professor at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. “In a way, there’s anonymity in the crowd — you don’t know who’s more guilty than others.”

Although UBS wasn’t charged for currency manipulation, the government said the Swiss bank engaged in deceptive currency trading and sales practices after it settled a previous investigation in the manipulation of the London interbank offered rate in 2012. The conduct violated the non-prosecution agreement with the Justice Department.

UBS Markups

UBS traders and sales staff misrepresented to customers on certain transactions that markups were not being added, when in fact they were, using hand signals to conceal the markups, the Justice Department said in its statement. A UBS trader also conspired with other banks acting as dealers in the spot market by agreeing to restrain competition in the purchase and sale of dollars and euros, the government said. UBS’s collusive conduct occurred from October 2011 to at least January 2013.

Bank executives expressed embarrassment and frustration over the conduct, pointed a finger at a few bad apples and vowed to do better.

“The conduct of a small number of employees was unacceptable and we have taken appropriate disciplinary actions,” UBS Chief Executive Officer Sergio Ermotti and Chairman Axel Weber said in a statement.

JPMorgan said in a statement that the conduct underlying the antitrust charge against the bank is “principally attributable” to a single trader, who has since been dismissed.

“The conduct described in the government’s pleadings is a great disappointment to us,” said Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon. “We demand and expect better of our people. The lesson here is that the conduct of a small group of employees, or of even a single employee, can reflect badly on all of us.”

Operations Continue

Too Big to JailShares of both JPMorgan and Citigroup slid 0.8 percent at 12:05 in New York. UBS climbed 3 percent, RBS rose 1.8 percent, Barclays advanced 3.4 percent.

JPMorgan and Citigroup said they don’t anticipate a material impact on operations or their ability to serve clients.

The Justice Department had been aiming to extract pleas from the banks’ parent companies, people familiar with the talks had said. In its announcement, the department characterized the companies entering pleas as “parent-level.”

Drexel Case

Citicorp, the unit agreeing to plead guilty, is wholly owned by parent Citigroup Inc. Citicorp, in turn, contains the company’s main banking subsidiary, Citibank NA, which held 74 percent of Citigroup’s assets at year-end. Royal Bank of Scotland Plc is a unit of Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc.

JPMorgan Chase Chairman, President and CEO Jamie Dimon presents his driver's license to Justice Department security officer G. Rocher, as he arrives at the Justice Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

JPMorgan Chase Chairman, President and CEO Jamie Dimon presents his driver’s license to Justice Department security officer G. Rocher, as he arrives at the Justice Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The guilty pleas by Citicorp and JPMorgan are the first in criminal cases by major U.S. banks since Drexel Burnham Lambert admitted to six counts of mail and securities fraud in 1989. They follow pleas last year by the bank subsidiary of Zurich-based Credit Suisse Group AG for aiding tax evasion and BNP Paribas SA for violating U.S. sanctions. This year, a Deutsche Bank unit pleaded guilty for its role in manipulating interest rates.

Drone strike on banksThe foreign-exchange investigation began after Bloomberg reported beginning in June 2013 that traders were colluding to manipulate benchmark currency rates and profit at clients’ expense. Their efforts were focused on the WM/Reuters 4 p.m. fix, used to value trillions of dollars of investments worldwide and to determine the price some companies and fund managers pay to swap currencies.

In October of that year, regulators around the world announced they were opening formal probes. Within weeks, more than 25 foreign-exchange traders at banks including Citigroup, JPMorgan and Barclays were fired, suspended or put on leave.

What began as a narrow inquiry into rate-rigging was broadened into a wider examination of the industry. In recent months, authorities have looked into practices including banks charging excessive commissions, sales staff passing on tips to favored clients and traders.

Related documents:

Six Global Banks to pay USDOJ release

 

To purchase Brandon Garrett’s book, “Too Big to Jail,” click on http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674368316

To read about JPMorgan Chase as ringleader of banks just sued, and its ties with British Petroleum, click on http://prepperchimp.com/2014/12/31/the-rigging-triangle-exposed-the-jpmorgan-british-petroleum-bank-of-england-cartel-full-frontal/

http://billmoyers.com/2013/10/22/the-13-billion-jpmorgan-settlement-is-a-good-start-%E2%80%94-now-someone-should-go-to-jail/


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DEMONSTRATE AT JPMORGAN CHASE ANNUAL MEETING: DETROIT, TUES. MAY 19 @ 9 AM; STOP FORECLOSURES

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REST IN PARADISE, AIYANA STANLEY-JONES; YOU WILL BE IN OUR HEARTS FOREVER; SIGN PETITION TO PRES. OBAMA

Empress JonesAiyana Mo’Nay Stanley-Jones (July 20, 2002 – May 16, 2010)

EmpressJones

May 16, 2015

From Diane Bukowski, the staff of VOD, and many others:

Aiyana multiple

Aiyana Jones, from her mother Dominika Jones’ FB page.

First, please sign the petition at the bottom of this post, to President Barack Obama and three others, asking for justice for Aiyana.

Also see information on the May 21 Black Spring Campaign for Women of Color killed by the police below that.

Today is the fifth anniversary of beautiful little Aiyana Jones’ death at the age of 7. VOD hopes to comfort her family with this post, her mother, Dominika Jones, her father Charles Jones, her grandmother Mertilla (Maria) Jones, and the dozens of  extended family members we have met since May 16, 2010.

Many stories on Aiyana’s killing by Detroit cop Joseph Weekley, now back on the streets, and a vicious police raid team, as well as her father’s frame-up have been posted on VOD–just put “Aiyana” in the search engine and they will all come up. But this is not a news story–this is a tribute. Our hearts still ache for this precious little girl, but we want her family to know she will live on in them forever. Everywhere across this city, this state and this country that we have seen the young people of the U.S. rising up against police murders, we have seen Aiyana’s name and photo on signs and banners.

AIYANA WILL BE LOVED AND REMEMBERED FOREVER!

March on April 26, 2015 for Terrance Kellom, 19, killed by police April 19.

March in Detroit on April 26, 2015 for Terrance Kellom, 19, killed by police April 19.

PAUL SHUKER
Published on Mar 12, 2015
“Youth Of The Nation (Acoustic Version)” by P.O.D

Demonstration in Philadelphia in Nov. 2009 to save Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Demonstration in Philadelphia in Nov. 2009 to save Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Video and song by nationally-known recording artist J. Cole, dedicated to Aiyana Jones. He dedicated his 2013 show to Aiyana in Detroit, and met with her mother Dominika Jones and other relatives.

*

Dominika Jones backstage with J. Cole after 2013 concert.

Marchers for justice for Floyd Dent in Inkster carry sign for Aiyana April 3, 2015.

Marchers for justice for Floyd Dent in Inkster carry sign for Aiyana April 3, 2015.


Three Little Girls – Jasiri X

Written by Jasiri X of San Francisco, and featuring 10 year old Hadiyah Yates, “Three Little Girls” was produced by GM3 and directed by Paradise Gray.

“Three Little Girls” tells the stories of the senseless murders of Christina Taylor Green (9 yrs old), killed during the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Brisenia Flores (9 yrs old), gunned down by anti-immigrant militia intent on starting a race war, and Aiyana Jones (7 yrs old), shot to death while asleep in her home, by the Detroit Police Department, while they were filming a reality TV show.

City of Detroit retirees carry Aiyana's sign outside Crain's luncheon honoring Detroit EM Kevyn Orr and bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhoes, Jan. 2015.

City of Detroit retirees carry Aiyana’s sign outside Crain’s luncheon honoring Detroit EM Kevyn Orr and bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes, Jan. 2015.

 

Poster for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Detroit, 2015.
Poster for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Detroit, 2015.

Sky banner flown across Detroit on the third anniversary of Aiyana's death, by the Justice for Aiyana Jones Committee.

Sky banner flown across Detroit on the third anniversary of Aiyana’s death, by the Justice for Aiyana Jones Committee.

 

Jewell Allison and her daughter Honesti of New York City organized this march for Aiyana on June 26, 2010.
Jewell Allison and her daughter Honesti of New York City organized this march for Aiyana, held in downtown Detroit on June 26, 2010. Photo: Herb Boyd

 Justice for 7 year old Aiyana Stanley-Jones

Petitioning President Barack Obama and 3 others

Please click on link above, as requested by Aiyana’s family, to sign petition to get justice for their little girl. Five years have gone by, and Aiyana’s killer walks the streets while her father is in prison, framed-up.

Women of Color Killed by Police

 

They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds. Now Black Spring is in full bloom… May 21st, join the campaign to stop police violence against women and girls of color! For more info: https://www.facebook.com/events/825982420817036/ ‪#‎blackspring ‪#‎invisiblevictims ‪#‎aptp ‪#‎blackbrownsolidarity Raquel Manzo-Portillo Cadine Williams La Mesha Irizarry Mollie McKinnon Costello Ralowe Trinitrotoluene Ampu Irina Contreras Cat Brooks Trishia Andrea Daniela Kantorová Melissa Or Shakes Yvonne Metiche Xan West Asantewaa RN Florencia Rojo Adriana Camarena Alma Jurado Marissa M Carolyn Shmarolyn Luz Calvo Catriona Rueda Esquibel Zakiyyah Iman Jackson Sharena Diamond Thomas Eric Stanley Carroll Fife Robbie Clark INCITE Community News Incite L.A. Wild Tigers Antoinette Chen See M.i. Jazz Freeman Inés Ixierda


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DUGGAN, GILBERT TARGET BRUSH PARK AFTER MURDER, ARSON, EVICTIONS DROVE BLACK RESIDENTS OUT

The ongoing white-out of Detroit: over 800 largely Black Brush Park residents were driven out from late 90’s through recent years

 Only 20 percent of housing in new $70 million plan for “low-income” residents

Dan Gilbert’s 8.4 acre project part of 30 acre Brush Park plan including Brewster Wheeler Rec Center, Brewster Douglass site

 Rec Center awarded to suburbanite whites Curt Catallo, Keith Crain

By Diane Bukowski 

March 14, 2015 

Architects' rendering of plan for portion of Brush Park, controlled by Dan Gilbert.

Architects’ rendering of plan for portion of Brush Park, controlled by billionaire Dan Gilbert.

DETROIT – Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, with his  crony Steve Rosenthal of billionaire Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate Services, announced a $70 million plan May 6 to re-develop 8.4 acres of Detroit’s 100-acre Brush Park neighborhood.  So far, the price the developers are paying for the land, which is adjacent to downtown, mostly city-owned and “primarily vacant,” has not been disclosed.

The plan still must be approved by the Detroit City Council, a mere formality since the state-appointed Detroit Financial Review Team (DFRT) still dictates what the city’s elected leaders do under terms of the city’s bankruptcy. Ironically, one member of the “Brush Park Redevelopment Partners” (BPDP) handling the project is Darrell Burks, who sits on the DFRT.

Buddies in white-out of Detroit:  "Mayor" Mike Duggan, billionaire Dan Gilbert

Buddies in Detroit white-out, “Mayor” Mike Duggan, billionaire Dan Gilbert

During a press conference, the developers said they will rehab four historic mansions and build 337 units of housing for sale and rent, as well as retail and green space.  They announced that home mortgages will be available through Gilbert’s Quicken Loans, currently being sued by the federal government for fraudulent lending practices.

“I love these old houses, and I love seeing them restored,” Duggan said. “The city let too many of these treasures go. This is a red-letter day. People will want to live here.”

Only 20 percent of the housing would be set aside for “low-income” residents, with a household income of $21,060, 80 percent of the city’s average median income. Detroit families have a 39 percent poverty rate, with children at 59 percent. Only families with 4 or more members could meet even that income rate.

Duggan and cronies at Brewster Wheeler press conference. They said culinary arts classes will be provided for Detroit youth, who have virtually no public recreation centers left. See photos of Catallo and Crain below for real beneficiaries.

The 8.4 acre BPDP redevelopment is only part of the complete “white-out” of Brush Park and its history.

Keith and Mary Kay Crain

Keith and Mary Kay Crain

Curt Catallo, wife of Clarkston, MI

Curt Catallo, wife of Clarkston

Duggan earlier announced a $50 million redevelopment of the former Brewster Wheeler Recreation Center in Brush Park, with a restaurant, 150 residential units, and retail stores. That project has been awarded to restaurateur Curt Catallo of Clarkston, Michigan, and Keith Crain of Crain Communications, who has dozens of prestigious addresses ranging from Bloomfield Hills, MI to Vero Beach, FL.

The city also plans to redevelop the 18 acres of land where the former Brewster Douglass housing projects stood, for a total of 30 acres of land. The last of the Douglass high rises were demolished in 2014, completing the goals of President Bill Clinton’s “HOPE VI” plan which has razed low-income housing across the U.S.

Gwen Mingo at home in Brush Park.

Gwen Mingo at home on Watson Street in Brush Park.

“They’ve come out with a lot of plans and allocated a lot of money over the years, but all I’ve seen is people chased out, and the neighborhood burnt up,” said Gwen Mingo, a Brush Park resident renowned for the long battle she waged in the late’s 90’s and 2000’s to save the homes and apartments of predominantly Black residents in her district.

“It was my obligation as head of the Brush Park Citizens District Council to fight to protect the rights of everyone living in that district,” she said.

Mingo was also chair of the city-wide CDC panel.

It is estimated that over 800 mostly Black residents living in both homes and apartment buildings there were driven out during that period. City officials and developers used tactics ranging from de-funding of the CDC’s, mass evictions, arson, asbestos contamination, arrests (Mingo herself faced ongoing harassment by the police), and likely even murder.

This map by the Detroit News shows the small area of Brush Park involved in the Duggan-Gilbert development. Note its proximity to Mike Illitch's new Red Wings arena and retail site, as well as Comerica Park and Ford Field. Brush Park's original area ranged west of Woodward to east of 1-75.

Map shows the small area of Brush Park involved in the Duggan-Gilbert development. Note its proximity to Mike Illitch’s new Red Wings arena/residential/ retail site, as well as Comerica Park and Ford Field. Brush Park’s original area ranged W. of Woodward to E. of 1-75.

Former Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr abolished the CDC’s in October, 2014 with a stroke of his bankruptcy pen, replacing them with neighborhood “managers” appointed by the mayor. His action was part of a long assault on the CDC’s which began during the Archer administration, which included de-funding and other strategies.

But, Mingo said, “They still can’t re-design the area without our input. They’ve never approached me or sent me a letter about the new plan. They know I’m still here. This is illegal. Anytime they develop an area, they are supposed to consult with anybody in a certain radius. They’re just tearing up and banking the land and it’s going to be a disaster once again.”

Gilbert already owns over 70 parcels of prime downtown Detroit property, most of them as yet incompletely developed. Of those that are complete, most, marked by “Opportunity Detroit” signs, are still unoccupied.

Brush Park burns as city drives out Black residents in previous years.

Brush Park burns as city drives out Black residents in previous years.

Mingo lives in a historic home on Watson, adjacent to the parcel targeted by the Gilbert consortium.  She said the devastation of the original Brush Park neighborhood began in in the 1970’s and even before.

She noted Brush Park boundaries originally extended west of Woodward and east of I-75 to include the fabled Paradise Valley of Black-owned businesses and entertainment venues, parts of the “Black Bottom” neighborhood, occupied by Black participants in “The Great Migration” from the south beginning in the 1920’s, and the Brewster-Douglass apartments and townhomes, the first housing project built to provide decent housing for Blacks in the U.S., under the auspices of Eleanor Roosevelt.

Flame Show Bar in Paradise Valley. Black business district was wiped out by construction of 1-75 freeway though its heart.

Flame Show Bar in Paradise Valley. Black business district was wiped out by construction of 1-75 freeway though its heart.

Reporter Ron Seigel chronicled the city’s deliberate devastation of  the remainder of Brush Park in an extraordinary series in the now-defunct Michigan Citizen. He describes what happened in a companion article for the Voice of Detroit (shortly to come). Meanwhile a chronological compilation of his articles is available in a link below this story.

In contrast, the City’s Request for Proposal (RFP) on the project claims, “The 1960’s saw the Brush Park neighborhood substantially deteriorate, with a high incidence of vacancy, crime, and abandonment with subsequent demolition. Since the mid 1990’s the City of Detroit has initiated an aggressive campaign in order to save the remaining historic properties, and to promote historically influenced residential infill of the vacant land left by demolition.”

That “historically influenced” infill has so far included the blandly modern Crosswinds Communities condominiums lining Woodward, built by notorious real estate mogul Bernie Glieberman, who defaulted on $100 million in corporate loans in 2009.

Crosswinds “Garden Lofts” on Woodward replaced much of historic Brush Park.

According to the project RFP, the city has invested $39 million over the last 13 years in Brush Park, “inclusive of infrastructure, demolition, acquisition and historic rehabilitation,” Mingo, however, states that figure is more likely in the hundreds of millions.

BPDP, however, is spending a mere $7.8 million on the project. Duggan denied the project is getting tax credits, so the remaining financing is still a mystery.

 

Brush Park players 2In addition to principal Steve Rosenthal, the BPDP also includes:

  • Marvin Beatty, a board member of the Greektown Casino owned by Gilbert;
  • Sam Thomas of Star Development, involved with the Whirlpool Corporation in the ongoing takeover of public land in Benton Harbor;
  • Darrell Burks, a member of the state-appointed Detroit Financial Review Commission, whose authority supersedes that of Detroit’s elected officials;
  • Freman Hendrix, CEO of Advanced Security & Investigative Solutions, which includes former local, regional and federal law enforcement agents;
  • Pamela Rodgers, president of Rodgers Chevrolet and a member of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy board, which controls much of the city’s east riverfront land.
Charlie Beckham

Charlie Beckham

“This neighborhood goes back to early 1800’s and used to be called Little Paris,” Charlie Beckham, Duggan’s group executive for Detroit neighborhoods, said during the press conference. “You see some of the architectural renderings and motifs on the buildings here. We’re going to try to maintain that. Hopefully the families of Brush and Adelaide and Edmund and a lot of the names that you see on the streets right here will be happy with what we’re doing.”

Joe Foster, a major Black landholder in Brush Park through the late 20th century, must have been ready to rise up from his grave at Beckham’s remarks. He and his fiancée were murdered in 1997 in cases that have never been solved. Many felt their deaths were linked to a land grab by whites abetted by the city government.

Joe Foster, Jr. owned FIne Arts Theater in Brush Park until his murder in 1997. The city drove it out of business the following year.

Joe Foster, Jr. owned FIne Arts Theater in Brush Park until his murder in 1997. The city drove it out of business the following year, raiding it with helicopters and SWAT as  middle-class patrons attended a jazz concert.

Beckham’s comments were historically inaccurate. According to various records, Edmund Brush, the wealthy son of Elijah Brush, the second mayor of Detroit in 1806, developed the area for the city’s “elite” citizens, naming the streets Edmund, Alfred, Adelaine and Brush after his family members.

Elijah Brush held African Peter Denison in indentured servitude for a year. When he tried to free him, Denison’s “owner” Catherine Tucker appealed, winning a decision by Judge Augustus Woodward which upheld slavery status for all who had been kidnapped before 1796, when the British turned the Michigan Territory over to the U.S.

Denison became a prominent leader, heading a Black militia that fought alongside U.S. forces and Native Americans against British forces in the War of 1812, then migrating to Canada, where he was no longer considered a “slave.”

Mona Ross at earlier press conference with Duggan et al.

During the press conference, Duggan thrust Mona Ross, of the Brush Park Community Development Corporation (also known as a CDC), into the spotlight, falsely claiming it was the first time neighborhood representatives have been involved in planning new developments.

Ross, who runs a bed and breakfast out of one of Brush Park’s historic mansions, gave thanks to God, then to Duggan, Gilbert, and other BPDP partners, for the opportunity.

“This is nothing but identity theft,” Mingo reacted. “They are making people think the Citizens District Council is involved because of the same initials, but a Development Corporation is not an elected or governmental agency. It’s a private corporation.”

Gwen Mingo speaks against takeover of entire city of Detroit during bankruptcy proceedings, at protest May 1, 2014.
Gwen Mingo speaks against takeover of Detroit during bankruptcy proceedings, at protest May 1, 2014.

 RELATED DOCUMENT:

Brush Park articles 1995 to 2004 Michigan Citizen Ron Seigel

RELATED ARTICLES:

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2010/09/29/detroit-works-project-violate-state-law/

http://www.bhbanco.org/2006/02/city-commissioners-clear-way-for-take.html

http://www.mlive.com/news/detroit/index.ssf/2009/11/report_michigan_housing_chief.html

http://www.mlive.com/news/detroit/index.ssf/2015/04/50_million_development_coming.html


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HUNDREDS PROTEST EXONERATION OF MATT KENNY, MADISON COP WHO KILLED TONY ROBINSON, JR.

Protesters march in Madison, Wisconsin, on Tuesday, May 12, 2015, after a prosecutor announced that a police officer will not be charged for killing 19-year-old Tony Robinson.   Reuters/Ben Brewer

Protesters march in Madison, Wisconsin, on Tuesday, May 12, 2015, after a prosecutor announced that a police officer will not be charged for killing 19-year-old Tony Robinson. Reuters/Ben Brewer

WISCONSIN DA: NO CHARGES V. COP IN TONY ROBINSON, JR. KILLING

Young, Gifted & Black calls for school walk-outs, recalls Aiyana Jones, 7, killed by Detroit police May 16, 2010 

Protesters flood Madison streets

May 13, 2015

Tony Robinson, Jr. at high school graduation.

Tony Robinson, Jr. at high school graduation.

MADISON, Wis. (AP)

The mother of an unarmed biracial man who was killed by a white Madison police officer March 6 is questioning the official investigation of the incident.

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne said Tuesday that he won’t charge Officer Matt Kenny for shooting and killing Tony Robinson. The announcement triggered new protests Tuesday and Wednesday from those who want Kenny to stand trial.

Andrea Irwin says she doesn’t think the authorities have released all of the facts regarding her 19-year-old son’s death. She disputes Kenny’s account of the moments leading up to the shooting.

Kenny told investigators that Robinson hit him in the head and he feared Robinson would take his gun. Irwin says there’s no way Kenny’s story could have played out in such a short amount of time.

1:15 p.m.

People angry about a prosecutor’s decision not to charge a white Madison police officer for killing an unarmed biracial man have conducted a mock trial of the officer in protest.

Madison cop Matt Kenny shot Tony Robinson, Jr. 7 times, killing him.

Madison cop Matt Kenny shot Tony Robinson, Jr. 7 times, killing him.

About 150 to 200 protesters marched through the streets of Wisconsin’s capital city on Wednesday before gathering outside of the Dane County Courthouse to stage the fake trial.

The crowd cheered when actors said they would charge Officer Matt Kenny in the March killing of 19-year-old Tony Robinson. Members of the Young, Gifted and Black Coalition, which has led protests since the killing, said the demonstration was intended to represent the processes they wished Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne had used.

Ozanne said Tuesday that he believes Kenny’s actions were justified and didn’t warrant charges.

11:50 a.m.

(M.P. King/Wisconsin State Journal via AP). Andrea Irwin, center, mother of Tony Robinson, and her boyfriend, Jeff Jackson, center right, participate in a protest march on Williamson Street, Tuesday, May 12, 2015, in Madison, Wis. Dane County District.

(M.P. King/Wisconsin State Journal via AP). Andrea Irwin, center, mother of Tony Robinson, and her boyfriend, Jeff Jackson, center right, participate in a protest march on Williamson Street, Tuesday, May 12, 2015, in Madison, Wis. Dane County District.

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin says any protesters who break the law should expect to be arrested.

Scores of people are marching through the city to protest a prosecutor’s decision not to charge Madison police Officer Matt Kenny for shooting and killing an unarmed biracial man in March. Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne said Tuesday that he believes the shooting was justified.

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin

Soglin says the city will provide “the greatest latitude” for anyone expressing their beliefs. But he says police won’t tolerate illegal acts such as the blocking of ambulances. He also urged protesters not to interfere with the arrests of others.

The mayor acknowledged that many community members are unhappy about Ozanne’s decision, but he said there are many who support it.

11:30 a.m.

Hundreds of protesters are blocking a downtown Madison intersection as they rally against a prosecutor’s decision not to charge a white police officer in the death of an unarmed biracial man.

The crowd blocked the intersection for about five minutes Wednesday morning during a march to the Dane County Courthouse, where they plan to stage a street trial of the city’s police department. The demonstration’s leaders say they need to put their bodies on the line to show the public that black lives matter.

Officer Matt Kenny shot 19-year-old Tony Robinson in an apartment house on March 6. According to investigative reports, Robinson was high on mushrooms and punched Kenny in the head.

9:39 a.m.

Olga Ennis touches a memorial on Wednesday, May 13, 2015, on the porch of the Williamson Street home in Madison where Tony Robinson Jr. was killed by police. Ennis said she is a neighborhood resident who knew Robinson. Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne said Tuesday, May 12, that he wouldn't file charges against Madison Officer Matt Kenny in the March 6 death of Robinson, saying the officer used lawful deadly force after he was staggered by a punch to the head and feared for his life. (Photo: John Hart/Wisconsin State Journal/AP)

Olga Ennis touches a memorial on Wednesday, May 13, 2015, on the porch of the Williamson Street home in Madison where Tony Robinson Jr. was killed by police. Ennis said she is a neighborhood resident who knew Robinson. Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne said Tuesday, May 12, that he wouldn’t file charges against Madison Officer Matt Kenny in the March 6 death of Robinson, saying the officer used lawful deadly force after he was staggered by a punch to the head and feared for his life. (Photo: John Hart/Wisconsin State Journal/AP)

Scores of protesters have gathered outside of an apartment house where a white Wisconsin police officer shot and killed an unarmed biracial man in March.

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne said Tuesday that he wouldn’t charge Madison Officer Matt Kenny in 19-year-old Tony Robinson’s death because he believes the shooting was justified.

Outside apartment building where Tony Robinson, Jr. was killed, protesters march May 13.

Outside apartment building where Tony Robinson, Jr. was killed, protesters march May 13.

About 100 demonstrators had gathered by 9:30 a.m. and were shouting protest slogans, including “No justice, no peace, no racist police.”

They plan to march downtown and conduct a street trial of the Madison Police Department. Volunteers from community groups such as 100 Black Men and the Urban League are watching the protesters and plan to advise anyone who appears to be on the verge of committing a crime to think twice.

9 a.m.

Protesters are gathering outside an apartment house where a white Wisconsin police officer shot and killed an unarmed biracial man in March.

The Young, Gifted and Black Coalition (http://www.ygbcoalition.org/) is asking people to leave work and school Wednesday and join them on a march from the apartment house to downtown Madison, where they plan to set up a street court to try the Madison Police Department themselves.

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne said Tuesday that he wouldn’t charge Officer Matt Kenny in Tony Robinson’s death because he believes the shooting was justified.

About a dozen people had gathered at the apartment house as of 9 a.m. with wagons loaded with coffee and water bottles.

1 a.m.

An activist group that has led several demonstrations over the police shooting of an unarmed man in Madison is calling for a widespread walkout.

Aiyana Jones, 7, killed by Detroit police May 16, 2010 was recalled by Young, Gifted and Black in Madison, WI.

Aiyana Jones, 7, killed by Detroit police May 16, 2010 was recalled by Young, Gifted and Black in Madison, WI.

Young, Gifted and Black is calling the effort Black Out Wednesday. They say it recognizes the death in March of Tony Robinson Jr., as well as struggles such as poverty and mass incarceration that blacks face in America.

The group is staging its effort one day after a Wisconsin prosecutor declined to charge a white police officer in the death of Robinson, who was biracial. The prosecutor said the officer used lawful deadly force after he was punched in the head by Robinson and feared for his life.

Some 300 people staged a peaceful march Tuesday from the apartment building where Robinson was shot to the Capitol.


YGB PETITION TO THE UNITED NATIONS

YGB needs your voice in order to get an investigation by the United Nations as we elevate the conversation of oracial disparities in Madison and fight for justice for Tony Robinson, the unarmed black teen murdered at the hands of officer Matt Kenny of the Madison Police Department. SIGN THE PETITION HERE.


Dane County, District Attorney Ismael Ozanne announced Tuesday afternoon that he would not bring criminal charges against the Madison, Wisconsin, police officer who shot and killed unarmed 19-year-old Tony Robinson, Jr. on March 6 of this year.

Dane County DA Ismael Ozanne wipes sweat from his face as he announces decision not to charge white cop in Tony Robinson, Jr. death March 6.

Dane County DA Ismael Ozanne wipes sweat from his face as he announces decision not to charge white cop in Tony Robinson, Jr. death March 6.

Nervously dabbing sweat from his face during his 30-minute statement, the DA told reporters that he had concluded that Matt Kenny used a “lawful amount of force” when he ended Robinson’s life.

The killing of Robinson sparked walkouts and protests by thousands of students and workers in the state capital. Kenny, who had previously shot and killed a mentally disturbed white man in 2007, was placed on paid administrative leave.

To prove his bona fides, Ozanne began the speech by referring to the fact that, like Tony Robinson, he is biracial, and that his African-American mother participated in the civil rights movement in the 1960s. He also drew attention to the fact that he is the first non-white DA in the history of the state.

“My decision will not bring Tony back. My decision will not end racial disparities that exist in our criminal justice system. My decision is not based on emotion. Rather, this decision is based on the facts as they’ve been investigated and reported to me—guided by rule of law and the oath I took to uphold the constitution of the United States and the state of Wisconsin,” he said.

Video above: part of massive protests across the state after Robinson killing

He then launched into an official account of the moments before Robinson’s killing. According to Ozanne, Kenny and other officers were responding to 911 calls reporting that Robinson had assaulted one of his friends and was assaulting pedestrians and disrupting traffic. The young man was apparently having a negative reaction to hallucinogenic mushrooms that he had ingested a short time before.

As Kenny arrived on the scene Robinson had already returned to his friend’s apartment. Ozanne reported that Kenny then entered the second floor flat through a door that had already been broken open by Robinson after he heard a disturbance.

According to Ozanne, the officer announced himself, after which Robinson allegedly rushed the officer, hitting him in the face with his fist, knocking him back against the stairwell wall. As he retreated backward down the stairwell the officer opened fire seven times, emptying his gun into the unarmed Robinson, hitting him seven times. Robinson was pronounced dead at the hospital with bullet wounds in his head, torso, and right arm.

Dashcam video released by police shows cop shooting rapidfire into the building Tony was in; there is no footage of Tony himself.

The family’s attorney, John Loevy, questioned the DA’s accounting of the event, highlighting video evidence that reportedly shows the police officer firing the seventh and final shot which killed Robinson from outside the house. Loevy also stated that Kenny was warned by dispatchers not to pursue Robinson and unnecessarily escalated the situation.

The district attorney concluded his news conference Tuesday by quoting Martin Luther King, Jr. as a warning to those who might protest his decision, encouraging them to instead turn their anger and frustration back into the electoral system. “I am reminded that true and lasting change does not come from violence but from exercising our voices and our votes,” he stated. “The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said ‘violence brings only temporary change, violence by creating many more social problems than it solves never brings permanent peace.’”

(VOD with redSee commentary below on Ozanne’s slander of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s real beliefs on violence.)

Jeff Jackson, left, comforts his girlfriend, Andrea Irwin, the mother of Tony Robinson, while escorting her during a protest march on Williamson Street, Tuesday, May 12, 2015, in Madison, Wis.  (M.P. King/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)

Jeff Jackson, left, comforts his girlfriend, Andrea Irwin, the mother of Tony Robinson, while escorting her during a protest march on Williamson Street, Tuesday, May 12, 2015, in Madison, Wis. (M.P. King/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)

Ozanne’s remarks gave expression to the deep concern amongst the ruling elite about growing social opposition, especially in the wake of mass protests against the killing of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland, where the National Guard was deployed for a week in order to suppress popular anger.

Police officers were mobilized in advance of the DA’s news conference to respond to any spontaneous protests in response to his decision. Several hundred protestors holding banners which read “#JusticeforTony” and “Black Lives Matter” marched on the State Capitol building Tuesday evening. The protest organization Young Gifted and Black has called for students to walk out of school Wednesday to protest the decision not to bring charges.

Robinson was just one of more than 100 people killed by the police across the United States in March. According to killedbypolice.net Robinson was the 192nd person killed by police since the beginning of 2015, and since his death another 227 people have been killed as the result of an encounter with the police.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/no-charges-in-madison-wisconsin-police-killing-of-unarmed-youth-tony-robinson-jr/5449220

VOD with redThe DA arrogantly and cynically misconstrued Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s approach to revolutionary violence. Dr. King said:

As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problem. I have tried to offer my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through non-violent action. But they asked, and rightfully so, “What about Vietnam?” Their questions hit home and I knew I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government.”

Dr. King's historic meeting with Malcolm X, both revolutionaries.

Dr. King’s historic meeting with Malcolm X, both revolutionaries.

A Jan. 15, 2015 Counterpunch article by Eric Mann titled “Martin Luther King and the Black Revolutionary Tradition” explains how Dr. King used non-violent civil disobedience as a strategy, while aiming at the overturn of the entire racist, imperialist, capitalist system in the U.S.

Click on Martin Luther King and the Black Revolutionary Tradition or go to internet link at http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/01/19/martin-luther-king-and-the-black-revolutionary-tradition/.

Related articles:

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/03/07/black-teen-tony-robinson-shot-dead-by-madison-serial-killer-kop-matt-kenny-police-out-now/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/01/29/cops-kill-girls-charges-dismissed-in-death-of-aiyana-jones-7-two-teens-dead-in-colorado-texas/


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MOTHERS MARCH IN DC VS. POLICE KILLINGS; VOD HONORS LOCAL MOTHERS WHO LOST, FIGHT FOR CHILDREN

Mother's Day march in Washington, D.C. by mothers who lost their chidren to police violence, May 9, 2015. It was organized

Mother’s Day march in Washington, D.C. by mothers who lost their chidren to police violence, May 9, 2015. It was organized by Maria Hamilton, mother of Dontre Hamilton, 31, killed by police office last year./Linda Davidson, the Washington Post

(VOD is re-publishing this article by an independent writer,  from the Washington Post, to remember all our mothers throughout Detroit and surrounding areas who have lost their children to the police, or fought relentlessly to free their children from prison or from the hands of State Child Protective Services. Some of their photos have been inserted, but they represent only a few of the many who have lost children to police killings or who have had children snatched by the criminal justice system or by Child Protective Services.)

By Brigid Schulte May 9 at 9:15 PM

Dominika Jones, mother of Aiyana Jones, with Aiyana's father Charles Jones at upper left. Aiyana was murdered by Detroit police May 16, 2010.

Dominika Jones, mother of Aiyana Jones, with Aiyana’s father Charles Jones at upper left. Aiyana was killed by Detroit police May 16, 2010.

They wore photos of their dead sons’ faces on buttons pinned to their chests, like joyless Mother’s Day corsages. They wore T-shirts emblazoned with their dead sons’ names. They carried signs that read, “Stop Racist Police Terror” and “We Are Not Criminals” and “They are ALL our sons.”

Like incantations, they chanted the names of their unarmed sons who they said were shot in the back, shot point blank in the chest, shot 14 times, shot on their bikes, shot in parks, shot after leaving a dance, or left to bleed to death in the street. They chanted the names of those whose deaths inflamed a nation: Freddie Gray. Michael Brown. Amadou Diallo. Tony Robinson.

Mertilla Jones, grandmother of Aiyana and mother of Charles, who was framed by police and is now serving a 40-60 year sentence.

Mertilla Jones, grandmother of Aiyana and mother of Charles, who was framed by police and is now serving a 40-60 year sentence.

And the names of those perhaps remembered only by the grieving mothers themselves, such as Tremaine Flythe, who was shot by two D.C. police officers while walking to his mother’s house for breakfast the day after Christmas in 2009.

For several hours Saturday afternoon, more than a dozen mothers from around the country whose sons or daughters had been killed by police, or who died while in police custody, were joined by several hundred protesters in a “Million Mom March” to the steps of the Justice Department to demand sweeping police reforms.

“Not another life. Not another son. Not another daughter. We will not stop. We cannot stop until the killing ends,” pastor Traci Blackmon, of Ferguson, Mo., shouted to the mournful and angry crowd.

Nelda Kellom, mother of Terrance Kellom, executed by a Detroit police task force April 19, 2015, shot nine times,

Nelda Kellom, mother of Terrance Kellom, 19, executed by a Detroit police task force April 19, 2015, shot nine times.

“We have come here because a blue uniform does not make you God.”

The march, which is not associated with another Million Mom March to protest gun violence in 2000, was organized on a shoestring by Maria Hamilton, who founded Mothers for Justice United in Milwaukee after her son, Dontre, 31, was shot and killed by a police officer in 2014.

Dontre Hamilton, who had a history of mental illness, had been sleeping in a park when employees from a nearby Starbucks called the police to complain three times. A scuffle with a police officer who responded ended when he shot Hamilton 14 times.

Arnetta Grable (center), mother of Lamar Grable, executed by three time killer cop Eugene Brown in 1996, with her family, lawyers and supporters, celebrating victory in civil lawsuit that took 10 long hard years of struggle.

Arnetta Grable (center), mother of Lamar Grable, executed by three time killer cop Eugene Brown in 1996, with her family, lawyers and supporters, celebrating victory in civil lawsuit that took 10 long hard years of struggle.

Maria Hamilton buried her son one year ago to the day. Organizing the protest, she said, was a way to help with the shock and numbness that set in after he died. The recent death of Freddie Gray, who suffered a severe spine injury while in police custody in Baltimore, steeled her reserve.

Jacquelyn Porter, (2nd from l) with husband Tommie Staples Sr. at her left, and their children. Detroit police killed Staples Sr. for advocating for children stopped by police in their neighborhood.

Jacquelyn Porter, (2nd from l) with husband Tommie Staples Sr. at her left, and their children. Detroit police killed Staples Sr. for advocating for children stopped by police in their neighborhood.

“This is something that had to be done,” she said, noting that, in many of the cases, including Dontre’s, the officers have gone unpunished.

“The officer shot Dontre 14 times, emptied his clip, reloaded, and shot him in the back. And the district attorney found that that wasn’t excessive force. I won’t be satisfied until I see true change.”

After a spirited but peaceful march down Constitution Avenue, in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol, the mainly African American mothers and a diverse crowd of marchers waited on a hot day for nearly an hour to deliver their 13 demands for police reform.

Maryanne Godboldo, who stood off a Detroit police SWAT team for 11 hours as they tried to seize her daughter Ariana and medicate her with a dangerous drug,

Maryanne Godboldo, who stood off a Detroit police SWAT team for 11 hours as they tried to seize her daughter Ariana and medicate her with a dangerous drug,

They want the Justice Department to compile a public directory of all officer-related deaths in the past five years, as data like that is hard to come by; to require independent investigations when someone’s been shot or killed by a police officer; body cameras and better training; and to put an end to racial profiling and arming local police with military-style weapons.

Kevin Lewis, a spokesman for the Justice Department, took the demands, promised that the department would review them and spoke briefly to the crowd.

“No officer should be above the law,” he said.

Many of the mothers met with White House officials Friday in what Lewis described as a “productive and very emotional” meeting.

Taminko Sanford-Tilmon, fighting for her son Davontae Sanford, falsely jailed for 8 years since the age of 14 for murders to which hitman Vincent Smothers confessed,

Taminko Sanford-Tilmon, fighting for her son Davontae Sanford, falsely jailed for 8 years since the age of 14 for murders to which hitman Vincent Smothers confessed,

Many of the group’s demands are already under consideration — including gathering better data on police shootings, better training to reduce bias and examining the distribution and use of military-style weapons — as part of the soon-to-be-released recommendations of the White House Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

Obama appointed the task force to assuage what he called “deep-rooted frustration” over law enforcement practices in communities of color.

Marchers thrust photos of dead sons, dead nephews, dead brothers at Lewis as police sought to lead him out of the crowd.

Leda Reed with son Anthony Clark Reed, 24 when he died during a Detroit police traffic stop March 30, 2015.

Leda Reed with son Anthony Clark Reed, 24 when he died during a Detroit police traffic stop March 30, 2015.

“I’m sorry for your loss,” he told one. Just before he addressed the crowd, Lewis, 32, who is African American, embraced a weeping Maria Hamilton. “I told her I very well could have been her son,” he said.

Marion Gray-Hopkins, a retired bank executive in Maryland, marched so the world would not forget her son, Gary Hopkins Jr., who was shot and killed by police in November 1999 after a dance at a local fire station. He was 19.

Andrea Irwin flew in from Madison, Wis., so the world would not forget her son, Tony Terrell Robinson, who was shot in the chest, face and back by police officers March 6. He was 19. She wore a T-shirt with a photo of the 6-foot-4 Robinson, smiling and dressed in a suit.

Lidjinet Barber with poster remembering her son Ian May, 18, killed by a retired Detroit cop with a past,

Lidjinet Barber with poster remembering her son Ian May, 18, killed unnecessarily by a retired Detroit cop with a brutal past,

“I called him my gentle giant,” she said, wiping her eyes.

Janet Baker, a recently laid-off human resources worker, paid her own way to come from Houston to remember her only child, her son, Jordan, who was killed by an off-duty police officer while riding his bike because the officer thought the 26-year-old looked like a suspect.

“I feel like I’m walking around with a terminal illness, like I have no heart,” she said. “He was my everything. Now, fighting for justice for Jordan is my everything.”

Betty Flythe found out about the march Saturday morning. And though nearly crippled with arthritis, she leaned on her cane and marched to remember her son, Tremaine.

The late Jamiliah Sombai 2nd from l) with daughter Akua Tuere. Their son and brother Rahaab White was killed by Detroit cop in 1996.

The late Jamiliah Sombai (2nd from l) with daughter Akua Tuere (l). Their son and brother Rahaab White was killed by Detroit cop.

“It felt good to yell out his name. To finally tell people his story,” she said. “And to let them know, he would have had a good life.”

Brigid Schulte

Brigid Schulte

Brigid Schulte writes about Good-Life: work-life issues, time, productivity, gender and income inequality. She is the author of the bestselling Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play when No One has Time.


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