“Anyone can paint what they want under their First Amendment rights.”
What about those who commit actual mass destruction, including Dan Gilbert, U-M fraternities?
By Diane Bukowski
February 25, 2015
This mural was found on the side of the Youthville building at Woodward and Grand Blvd. in central Detroit in January.
Detroit – Taylor Daramy and Marcelus Gray, the two teens charged with painting a mural of a child angel holding a gun on a cop with his hands raised on Detroit’s Youthville headquarters, are both due back in court Tues. March 3, according to the latest information available.
The 19-year-olds face charges of “malicious destruction of a building” under MCL 750.830. For destruction costing $1,000 to $20,000, a felony penalty of up to five years in prison is possible; for destruction costing $100 to $1,000, a one-year high misdemeanor penalty can be assessed.
Judge Michael Wagner, recently appointed to the 36th District Court bench by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, held separate preliminary exam hearings Feb. 17 in the cases. Wagner’s chambers are located not in 36th District Court, but in the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, Rm. 201.
Gray’s attorney Ryan Hill waived the exam and Wagner bound him over to Wayne County Circuit Court. Gray’s arraignment on the information there is set for March 3 at 9 a.m. in front of Judge David Groner. Daramy’s attorney Arni Chambers said his client will not waive her exam, but asked for more discovery information from the prosecution. Her preliminary exam was rescheduled to March 3 at 9:15 a.m. in front of Wagner.
Marcelus Gray, 19, Taylor Daramy, 19
“Anyone can paint what they want under their First Amendment rights,” Chambers told VOD after the proceeding. “The only issue might have been where it was painted.”
About a half-dozen Detroit youths came to court to support the teens.
The teens’ families and friends also accompanied them to the hearing, but deferred all questions to their attorneys. A storm of negative media coverage of the painting last month even included an attempted visit to Daramy’s home by Fox 2 News, according to Chambers. Most of the media portrayed the mural as a statement that youth should shoot police, treating it as an offense nearly tantamount to the rampant killings of youth by police across the U.S.
Ron Scott, president of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, Inc. also attended the hearing. He was quoted extensively in the media condemning the mural and the artists.
He told VOD, “I did not want prosecution, but mediation,” and claimed he would testify as a witness for Daramy and Gray. He said he has tried to call Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy several times about dropping the charges, but has not been able to reach her.
He denied taking photos of the mural, which were attributed to him or to the DCAPB in numerous newspaper and online captions. He said he has ties with various groups in Youthville and would ask them to intervene. So far, his attempts have been fruitless.
Maria Miller, Chief of Communications for the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office, said next week’s hearings are still scheduled as planned.
“Dan Gilbert’s people installed video cameras on 1515 Broadway and the Detroit Beer Company downtown, drilling holes in the bricks without the permission of the owners,” Mike Shane, of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition said. “THAT’s destruction of property, but nobody’s charging Gilbert.”
Dan Gilbert is watching you!
Camera at 1515 Broadway
Steve Neavling of the Motor City Muckraker wrote earlier, “Chris Jaszczak heard the high-pitched sound of a drill grinding into the brick wall of his coffee shop and black box theater in downtown Detroit. After peeking into the alley behind his building at 1515 Broadway, Jaszczak was shocked when he saw someone installing a surveillance camera on his brick wall. . . .Turns out, employees for Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate Services were ordered to place surveillance cameras on the rear of 1515 Broadway and the Detroit Beer Company without gaining permission from the owners, who are angry about the discovery.”
Demolition of Detroit home.
Gilbert’s cameras are all over the downtown Detroit area, including inside the Detroit News and Free Press buildings, newly-rented from him after he bought their old offices, according to a report from the on-line newspaper MFI-Miami.
Gilbert additionally heads the Detroit Blight Removal Task Force, which is busy tearing down hundreds of homes across the city using federal “Hardest-Hit” funds meant to keep families in their homes.
MFI-Miami, which investigates mortgage fraud, reports that it did a sample survey of mortgages supplied by Gilbert’s Quicken Loans.
“Of the 75 homes sampled that had Quicken Loans named as the original mortgagee sampled,” the paper wrote, “70.6% of these homes went into foreclosure within the first 24-36 months of being sold on the secondary housing market by Quicken Loans to either Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or to a private mortgage backed securities trust on Wall Street.”
TreeTops resort hallway after frat boys trashed it in January,
So Gilbert’s been getting paid the value of his foreclosed mortgages by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, then using federal funds to tear foreclosed homes down, homes worth massively more than the amounts cited in the charges against Gray and Daramy.
Also in contrast, hundreds of college fraternity members from the University of Michigan literally dismantled parts of the TreeTops and Boyne Highlands Ski Resorts in Michigan in late January after a week-end of “partying too hard” in late January. Michigan State Police politely “escorted” students from TreeTops, but no arrests have been reported.
Barry Owens, a general manager at Treetops, earlier told news media he estimated the damage there at $50,000, but photos taken by news crews show hallways and rooms that look like the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, with floors and ceiling tiles ripped out.
Owens told VOD that as far as he knows, no criminal charges have been brought against the perpetrators, but that the Michigan State Police are still investigating the matter.
Killed by police who have never been fired, convicted or jailed.
Meanwhile, the Detroit Youth Foundation, the organization that owns Youthville, site of the “malicious destruction” in the current case, dissolved itself August 1, 2014 according to state records. It ran a deficit of $1,175,000 in its last 990 filing with the IRS, from 2011.
Some local media called the building a “school.” In fact, it houses not only the Plymouth Education Center charter school, but also a branch of Don Bosco, the Detroit Parent Network (cited by public school advocates as a replacement for Local Community School Organization leaders at individual schools), the Motor City Dance Factory, and N C Management.
It also rents out space according to its 990 filing. Most of the officers listed in its 2013 annual report do not reside in Detroit, or have given only office addresses in Detroit. As a non-profit, Youthville pays no taxes to Detroit. A woman who answered the phone for Youthville/Don Bosco said their organization was not the complainant against Daramy and Gray, and referred VOD to building maintenance for that information, where the individual in charge was out sick for the day.
VOD editor: I know many Detroiters took this satirical article as serious business, and it’s no wonder considering the vicious suffering we have been subjected to at the hands of our fascist Gov. Rick Snyder, EM Kevyn Orr, Bankruptcy Czar Steven Rhodes, and “Mayor” Mike Duggan. But please be aware this is not for real and take some time out to laugh–it’s good for the soul, as we go on about our struggles. Our day will come! VOD would also recommend this Canadian newspaper, The Beaverton, at http://www.thebeaverton.com
DETROIT – In response to non-payment of property taxes, the City of Detroit has undertaken a massive city-wide effort to block sunlight from the homes of its poorest residents.
“They came at 5am to install the sun blocker over my house,” said Marcus Jones. “It was still dark out, so I didn’t notice it until hours later.” Jones then directed reporters to the property boundary of his darkened home, demonstrating how his neighbour still had bright noon hour sunlight.
Bat resembles Bankruptcy Judge Rhodes
Jones lamented, “How am I supposed to get rid of all these bats?”
The massive sun blocking devices are just the latest in the city of Detroit’s plans to recoup millions in lost tax revenue. In some cases entire neighbourhoods have had their light blocked out, while in other cases individual homes have been plunged into darkness.
The sunlight turnoff initiative is the brainchild of Detroit’s emergency manager trustee, Kevyn Orr. “There is no law that guarantees the right to free sunlight. Trust me, we checked,” explained the unilaterally appointed Orr.
Asked whether the cost of blocking the sunlight was greater than the lost revenue, Orr replied, “Certainly, but we’re counting on the costs to be offset by sales of scurvy medication.”
Fighting wolves resemble Republicans and Democrats.
Some have noted that many delinquent payees – notably Detroit’s high-end golf club, Joe Louis arena, and many commercial users – continue to enjoy both free sunlight, and its offshoot benefits like heat and photosynthesis. However, before receiving an explanation for the preferential treatment, these residents have generally been frightened off by the increase in nocturnal wolf activity.
Many residents are beginning to feel the lack of heat. Local labourer Scott Jenkins explained, “It wasn’t so bad at first, when I still had my job at the sun blocker motor plant. But then (Republican Governor) Snyder shipped the whole plant down to Mexico!”
Still, longtime resident Patty Hudson remains defiant regarding the health problems associated with sun blocking: “They tell us lack of sun can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, and depression. Well, I been living in Detroit for 40 years – I already got all of those. They’re gonna have to do better than that to get rid of me.”
At press time Detroit was bracing for a surge in vampire activity, of both the corporate and nosferatu varieties.
Crain’s Communications celebrates massive cuts to city retirees effective March 1 by honoring Detroit EM Kevyn Orr and Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes as “Newsmakers of the Year” at Motor City Casino Sound Board. (Perhaps Rhodes, shown at right, will bring his rock band “The Indubitable Equivalents”.) Call DAREA for more info at 313-649-7018.
Bucharest Grill owner Jerry Ballenger heatedly testifies against Illitch re-development plans for new Red Wings stadium, at City Council Sept. 5, 2013.
Jones Day (a/k/a Detroit) has filed 291 pp. motion to dismiss DAREA appeal of city bankruptcy.
The Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association (DAREA) and GODetroit are sponsoring the fundraiser above, at a downtown restaurant owned by Jerry Bellanger, a vocal opponent of Mike Illitch’s 60 percent publicly-funded re-development plans for a new Red Wings stadium.
This fund-raiser, and other contributions to DAREA for legal expenses, are currently vital because the City of Detroit (a/k/a Jones Day) has just filed a 291-pp. Motion to Dismiss DAREA’s appeal of the phony, fraudulent Detroit bankruptcy, being heard in U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman’s court. This bankruptcy affects not only retirees, but also represents the theft of the city’s most prime assets, including the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, which used to be avenues for good, well-paying union jobs with benefits for Detroit’s youth.
More to come on the city’s motion to dismiss and DAREA’s planned response in the Voice of Detroit shortly. Please support DAREA AND GODetroit!
To donate to DAREA’s LEGAL DEFENSE FUND, click on http://www.gofundme.com/pensiondefensefund. Or checks can be made payable to the Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association (DAREA), at P.O. Box 3724, Highland Park, Michigan 48203.
General membership meetings Mondays, 11 AM, at Nandi’s Knowledge Café, 12511 Woodward, Highland Park, 48203, alternate with Wednesday meetings at 5:30 PM, at St. Joseph’s and St. Matthew’s Church, Woodward and Holbrook. To receive notices of meetings, updates on the appeal and events information please provide your email address and phone numbers via email at Detroit2700plus@gmail.comor call DAREA at 313-649-7018.
Great white massa: “City in denial regarding its need for help.”
“Concept of civil unrest or civil disobedience not really on my mind, Rhodes says, despite running off the bench when pastor Bill Wylie-Kellerman stood up in audience, declaring, “Jones Day is not the City of Detroit.”
By Diane Bukowski
Feb. 21, 201
Judge Rhodes enjoys roller skating with granddaughter and friend in resort hometown of Cape May, NJ. The county there is only five percent Black.
DETROIT – As 32,000 active and retired City of Detroit workers wait for the ax to fall on their pensions, wages and health benefits March 1, plummeting many of them below the poverty level, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes is busy congratulating himself on the bankruptcy’s alleged success as he retires.
Now that he thinks he’s out of the line of fire, he played the infamous “race card” in an interview with the Free Press.
“Part of the decline of the city itself can be attributed to our unique racial circumstances,” he told the Free Press in an online video, attached to a brief article that left out most of what he said to the camera, as well as whatever else he discussed in a “broad-ranging 90-minute interview.”
“The city was desperate, and desperate people and desperate entities do desperate things,” Rhodes continued, psychoanalyzing Detroit’s Black population with regard to the notorious $1.5 Billion Pension Obligation Certificates deal of 2005-06 (known as “COPS”). He claimed the city should have declared bankruptcy then.
Part of massive Detroit rebellion against racist police in 1967.
“We see that in bankruptcy all the time,” Rhodes continued. “As I have said, the city was in denial regarding its need for help, regarding its insolvency, and could not psychologically contemplate public embarrassment or humiliation associated with filing bankruptcy. So they entered into this creative and quite likely illegal deal.”
He also told the Freep, “The concept of civil unrest or civil disobedience was not really on my mind,” despite Detroiters’ anger against the imposition of an Emergency Manager and of the bankruptcy.” However, when Pastor Bill Wylie-Kellerman rose during a hearing to tell Jones Day attorneys, “You are not the City of Detroit,” Rhodes ignominiously ran off the bench to hide.
(L to right) Detroit CFO Sean Werdlow, Fitch Ratings’ Joe O’Keefe, Standard and Poor’s Stephen Murphy, and Detroit Deputy Mayor Anthony Adams press City Council to approve the $1.5 billion COPS loan, on Jan. 31, 2005, Photo: Diane Bukowski
In a second interview with WDET Radio, Rhodes said the POC deal, “. . . was structured to be an intentional evasion of the legal debt limits that municipalities by state law are required to stay within. It was too innovative, it was too creative and um that by itself should of been a red flag at the time.”
Rhodes here admits for the first time in public that he knew of the illegalities and likely fraud involved in the POC scam. Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr as well as bond insurer FGIC both filed lawsuits against the case. Wallace Turbeville, a senior analyst at DEMOS and former Wall Street banker, pointed out the fraud involved in a paper published in Nov. 2012, but Rhodes refused to have him testify during the bankruptcy case.
The late Mayor of Jackson MS. and Detroit native Chokwe Lumumba, with Cornell Squires at federal court appeals hearing.
“As an officer of the court, a judge with integrity would first stop the proceedings, and investigate the legality of the debt,” Cornell Squires, a paralegal with We the People for the People, said. “Instead, they rushed the process, to make taxpayers and retirees responsible for billions of dollars that we shouldn’t have to pay back. This involves the doctrine of unclean hands. Rhodes doesn’t have any integrity whatsoever. His approval of the bankruptcy makes him a a stone racist, because the majority population of Detroit are people of color. No one’s above the law. He should be ashamed of himself. He did the damage knowing he’s going to leave and enjoy retirement, unlike city workers. This is differential treatment—worse than the South. As an officer of the court, he should have seen to it that criminal charges were brought. Detroit is a crime scene, with the banks destroying the city and our people. Kwame went to jail for 28 years. Why can’t they go to jail? How much time do you get for stealing a whole city?”
Rhodes set a trial date in June 2015 to hear the Orr lawsuit, but with the help of U.S. District Court Chief Judge Gerald Rosen, he pressed the trial to an early conclusion in December, 2014.
The late, world-renowned union organizer General Baker campaigns against VEBA plan for UAW. Detroit’s agreement includes two VEBA’s, neither of which guarantee health care.
The deal took place under the administration of former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. His CFO Sean Werdlow negotiated the terms with global Swiss-based bank UBS AG, and Siebert, Brandford and Shank (SBS), a partner backed by the Bank of America. Werdlow was appointed to an executive position with SBS in Dec. 2004 and is now its COO. Also at the table to press the deal were Wall Street ratings agencies Standand and Poor’s and Fitch Ratings.
But Rhodes implies in his comments that the deal was only Kilpatrick’s fault, who he termed the only city mayor to be federally charged. It wasn’t the fault of the greedy white one percent who control the wealth of Detroit and the U.S.
Resort town of Cape May, N.J. and home base for Judge Rhodes.
Other articles reported that if the POC deal was canceled, health care for retirees could have been restored. By the time of the bankruptcy, the POC debt had skyrocketed to $2.8 Billion, with interest, penalties and fees. Instead of cancellation, however, the Eighth Amended Plan of Adjustment provides healthy settlements for UBS AG, SBS, and Bank of America. In the shadows, it handed over control of key municipal properties and billions in revenues including the Joe Louis Arena, the Detroit Windsor Tunnel, and the Grand Circus Park garage, to bond insurers FGIC and Syncora.
Throughout the trial, Rhodes falsely portrayed himself as part of Detroit, throwing crumbs to let retirees and others testify pro se. However, an internet address search for Rhodes shows that his only addresses have been 1610 Arborview Blvd, Ann Arbor, MI 48103; 1503 Linwood Ave, Ann Arbor MI 48103; and 1005 Pittsburg Ave, Cape May, N.J.
If former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick got 28 years in prison for allegedly stealing about $400,000, how much time should Rhodes, Rosen, Orr, Jones Day and other law firms, and Wall Street bankers get for stealing the entire city of Detroit?
“Obama is a flame-thrower, a fire-spitter, a pyromaniac on a mission to incinerate humanity’s capacity to resist – a vision shared by the jihadist death cults.”
As U.S. imperialism loses its capacity to compete outside the military sphere, its foreign policy options shrink, accordingly.
“Since the U.S. is superior to the rest of the world ONLY in military terms, Washington finds its ultimate advantage in turning the whole world into a battlefield.” Permanent War follows the same logic as a death cult. In fact, one created the other – literally.
By BAR Executive Editor GLEN FORD
February 18, 2014
President Obama is a master of military supply and demand. His operatives and allies supply jihadists with enough weapons, financing and, in the case of Libya, a Euro-American air force, to plunge vast tracts of Africa and Asia into bloody chaos, thus creating a demand for intervention by the planet’s only “indispensable” nation: the United States. It’s a diabolical formula for fomenting hell on earth, driven by a simple logic: Since the U.S. is superior to the rest of the world ONLY in military terms, Washington finds its ultimate advantage in turning the whole world into a battlefield. U.S. imperialism in terminal decay sees no salvation except through global war.
Of necessity, Obama is a flame-thrower, a fire-spitter, a pyromaniac on a mission to incinerate humanity’s capacity to resist – a vision shared by the jihadist death cults America has incubated for the past four decades.
Libya before U.S.-NATO war; after in 2012.
ISIS, the Islamic State, begat by Al Qaida, which was begat by Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the U.S. in Afghanistan, now declares sovereignty over portions of Libya, having occupied much of Syria and Iraq and planted the black flag in southern Yemen and the suburbs of Paris, where its token presence is enough to drive millions of Europeans into a decrepit Crusader palsy. A subcontinent of thieves who have plundered the planet for half a millennia vow to send the dark Others back to “their own countries” – as if Europe had not stolen these African and Asian homelands long ago. In the end, however, what Europe will send is more weapons to the jihadists, mimicking Uncle Sam.
“Boko Haram has proven quite useful to the consolidation of U.S. military dominance in West Africa.”
Boko Haram fighters.
This week, as happens every year, France, Britain, Italy and other piratical European states join the U.S. Africa Command’s military Flintlock exercise, designed to deepen African militaries’ dependence on western weaponry, training and finance.
Chad, a client state of both Washington and Paris, is the nominal host of the exercise – as if any of the African participants could actually say No to an imperial proposal. The Flintlock maneuvers have converged with a regional military offensive against Boko Haram, the northern Nigerian jihadists that have gained so much ground since the U.S. and NATO turned Libya over to the tender mercies of Arab jihadists, in 2011.
Five allies of the U.S. in the Flintlock campaign against Boko Haram.
Libyan weapons flooded south across the Sahara desert, bringing instability to the vast Sahel region – which is like honey to the Pentagon bee.
The U.S. military has announced that it will “share communications equipment and intelligence” with the five nations preparing to battle Boko Haram around oil-rich Lake Chad – imperial double-speak for putting the Americans in charge of the command-and-control mechanisms of the armies of Chad, Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Benin. Boko Haram has proven quite useful to the consolidation of U.S. military dominance in West Africa.
Meanwhile, the jihadist rampage has come full circle in Libya, where both ISIS and Al Qaida have multiple strongholds. Jihadist “ultras” are most deeply entrenched in Derna, a port city east of Benghazi that accounted for the most jihadists killed or captured in Iraq during the American occupation. When U.S. and NATO finally destroyed Muammar Gaddafi’s forces after seven months of bombing, hundreds of jihadists were sent to Syria, hoping to repeat the process against President Bashar al-Assad. Many have since returned to Libya, bringing the black flag of the Islamic State with them.
Egyptian dictator Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Egyptian dictator Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, a supporter of one of three rump “governments” in Libya, bombed ISIS targets in Derna after the decapitation of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christian migrant workers.
Jihad is truly a blessing for U.S. imperial objectives – but there is nothing coincidental about it. The U.S. installed jihadists in power in Libya, leading directly to the destabilization of vast lands to the South, which in turn facilitated the U.S. Africa Command’s mission to militarily dominate the continent. The U.S.-led jihadist proxy war against secular Syria was the incubator for ISIS, providing the U.S. with a new portal into Iraq, an excuse to operate openly in Syria, and now a possible chance to re-enter Libya cloaked as a savior from the jihadist hordes that the U.S. armed, financed and empowered only four years ago.
ISIS has been such a boon to U.S. war-fomenting strategy, Obama has been emboldened to demand that Congress give him three years of virtually unlimited, renewable powers to reboot the War on Terror. Like George Bush before him, Obama refuses to put geographic limits on the scope of his crusade against ISIS and its “associates.” The world is his live-fire chessboard, he can call the pieces by whatever name he wants, and make up the rules along the way. Every move is calculated to lead to greater militarization of relations among nations and peoples, because the military is America’s strongest suit – in fact, its only suit.
The truth is, the rulers of the United States are as much a death cult as the Islamic State, although U.S. imperialism is infinitely more dangerous. Let us do our best to send them both to their respective Paradises.
Protesters outside suburbanite Mike Duggan’s State of the City address Feb. 11, 2015. Instead of holding it in downtown Detroit, he got as close to the white suburbs as he could.
Detroit “Mayor” Mike Duggan celebrates abominable “State of the City,” after candidacy ruled invalid by COA, faked election
Meanwhile, the people’s champion Rev. Edward Pinkney imprisoned in Marquette for trying to recall Mayor of Benton Harbor, without evidence
Pinkney hearing on pre-sentence motions Tues. Feb. 24, 9 AM St. Joseph, MI
By Jean Vortkamp
February 18, 2015
Rev. Pinkney at Detroit rally vs. mass water shutoffs. Benton Harbor’s water system has also been privatized. Photo: Daymon Hartley
Amongst the piles of dirty snow and dying White Pine trees of Pure Michigan a senior citizen and community leader, Reverend Edward Pinkney, sits in his cell in Marquette Prison, eating food not fit for dogs, but good enough to fulfill yet another scam of a private contract.
If they want to tear you away from your family, this Siberian-like place is the prison of choice. He has lots of time to think about the injustice he suffered being charged with “forgery under the Michigan election law” without real witnesses or evidence.
Meanwhile, in Detroit, the marquee in front of the Redford Theater shines brightly in the crisp winter air. There are people getting out of city owned vans to pack the State of the City speech. Inside a white man, Mike Duggan, from the most racist suburb near Detroit, Livonia, coos about his victories in his position as mayor of the bankrupted city.
Retiree from DAREA speaks at STATE OF THE PEOPLE RALLY outside Duggan’s rant, Feb. 11, 2015.
In reality six billion dollars are being stolen from pensioners and their new healthcare costs will now literally kill them, 70,000 homes go into foreclosure just this year, and Duggan/Bing shut off the water of about 30,000 homes. This white man who comes from the allegedly corrupt political legacy of the McNamara machine became mayor by allegedly winning the primary of a radical African American city with 40% of a write in vote, after a State Court of Appeals ruled he was not eligible to run because he had not established residency by the deadline.
Rev. Pinkney reads award to supporter Danny Glover at dinner in 2012.
Reverend Pinkney is facing up to ten years in prison for forgery in election fraud in which there were no real witnesses or evidence. He has been fighting the far right’s wayward plan of emergency management/asset theft/gentrification/genocide for decades now.
Earlier he and others in Benton Harbor tried to recall the mayor of Benton Harbor for refusing to institute a city income tax that would have brought tens of millions from Whirlpool, the ogre of a corporation.
Basking in this white male privilege is Fred Upton, a Republican congressman and Whirlpool heir. The Reverend already went to prison once (for quoting the bible). He sits in his cell in Marquette, wishing for more mail. Wondering how he will find justice in a place more akin to Hitler’s Germany than the land of the free and the brave.
Fred Upton, heir to the Whirlpool fortune.
Whirlpool used to have jobs for the people of Benton Harbor. Cheaper labor was found elsewhere but the Gold Coast of Michigan doesn’t move. Fred Upton lives on the Gold Coast near Jean Klock Park, with the boat slips and the silky sand. The main park used to be used by families in Benton Harbor. Then it was slipped out of public ownership by “friend of bankers” former Governor Jennifer Granholm and the deal finished off by Governor Rick Snyder and friends.
Now the PGA uses a new Jack Nicklaus golf course near the Park, sponsored by Whirlpool. Rev. Pinkney protested that the park belonged to the public, to the people of Benton Harbor. It does not belong to the crinkly old white men of privilege hitting a small white ball into a hole, over and over.
Whirlpool is a part of Doug Rothwell’s Business Leaders for Michigan, a group of giant corporations who are responsible for much of the sub-standard asinine decisions made in Michigan’s legislature. There you will find Upton’s company represented, along with Dick DeVos, Dan Gilbert, Roger Penske, Mike Ilitch, and a host of the greedy who are sucking community resources dry with their corporate welfare. They should really work for a living.
Sadly they think that because they use white privilege entitlement to run their businesses that they know better than the majority of the good people of Michigan.
Detroit’s first white “Mayor” in 30 years, Mike Duggan lays down the law at his State of the City address.
While in Detroit in those same decades Duggan’s office was raided by the FBI in connection to the political machine of McNamara. His multiple involvements in contracts (his most favorite things) for the DTW Airport and Detroit Public schools, in addition to his wife’s business have all been questionable.
He stands in front of the crowd in the theater in his suit, happy that he has cheated fate over and over. White privilege may do that for you. Favors owed, favors given.
He stands in the carcass of democracy, devoured by Snyder and the Business Leaders for Michigan, proud of the way he is funneling all tax money and public assets out of the public’s own hands. He shakes hands, smiles, puts on his “Well, gee guys, let’s work together” smile and lives guilt and conscience free. He even invites the Pope to Detroit.
After the primary election where he was declared the winner, the ballots, of which thousands were in a very obvious similar handwriting, were silently slipped around from authority to authority like a hot potato. The Department of Justice, the Secretary of State, the Wayne County Prosecutor, the Wayne County Board of Canvassers did not choose to do their jobs and crack open this piñata of injustice. They chose not to expose the truth about Detroit. – That it is not a democracy.
Ken Cockrel, Jr., Exec. Director of Detroit Future Cities, led Detroit into state takeover.
We, regular Detroiters, have not chosen to make Detroit like this. Duggan’s campaign supporters were many of the people who mysteriously supported the “Grand Bargain” (a/k/a “Grand Theft”) along with the man who spearheads the Detroit Future Cities gentrification plan, Ken Cockrel, Jr., who helped lead Detroit into a state takeover as City Councilman, and many from the Business Leaders for Michigan.
In Berrien County, regular people took the stand as the prosecutor witch-hunted the fine politically active Americans who took part in the political process there. Where does Rev. Pinkney’s group, BANCO, meet? Who is its leader? It was a string of questions that were more of an FBI investigation into some fringe group than anything about recall petitions. You see, they were saying that Rev. Pinkney wrote 1’s and 2’s on the dates to make the recall petitions fit in the time frame to turn them in.
They had no one who could say they saw Rev. Pinkney do it and the handwriting expert said he could not say who did it. There was even a witness who came forward to say she saw a particular woman do it. Contrast this to the ballots in Detroit where they had the candidates in the recount select the ballots for the handwriting expert. When the candidates said that the very similar ballots were spread throughout the precincts, they were allowed to choose ballots for examination by the handwriting expert from ONE precinct at a time, with as many ballots from that precinct that could fit on two tables. Cat and mouse.
So when the papers reported on the handwriting expert’s opinion they could say they were not similar. When ballots in an absentee case were opened and two matching ballots came out right next to each other on the table, the Board of Canvassers went and sat down away from the ballots and continued the meeting. They go on and on, the instances where the truth sat in the room and was ignored.
And so it goes. Reverend Pinkney sits in prison and Mike Duggan occupies the office overlooking the river. The barges serenely float by out the window, luncheons and dinners are served. Meetings are called, deals are made to complete the right wing takeover of the city.
Reverend Pinkney looks down at his slimy food, ironic because he used to help deliver food to the people in need in his community. Rev. Pinkney is an unwelcome prisoner, having been counseling African Americans suffering grave injustices for years at the hands of the Berrien County Injustice system. He spent his days in courtrooms being the spiritual adviser to the oppressed and accused. He may just be putting all kinds of ideas about justice into the heads of his fellow inmates.
They put his trial on his birthday so in the overflow room his outraged supporters from Chicago, Detroit and Flint sang him a rousing Happy Birthday. Once back in the courtroom, the judge made sure to tell the press not to record anything from the overflow room.
You can’t help but notice the stark contrast between fancy St. Joseph versus Benton Harbor. At the courthouse the Benton Harbor supporters of Rev. Pinkney need new shoes as they shuffle in to support him. They need good jobs. They need hope because they have been fighting so long ignored in this pocket of Michigan. It is very much like the gentrifiers of midtown Detroit versus most regular Detroit neighborhoods. Boarded up houses and schools versus shiny new buildings built with taxpayer money. Destruction from the war of the overstuffed rich on the ever skinnier poor, which starts at the ballot box.
Protesters hold electric “Stop Foreclosures” sign across the street from Duggan State of the City address, Feb. 11, 2015.
Contact BANCO at at http://www.bhbanco.org/. Site includes a PayPal donation button to send badly needed funds for Pinkney’s legal defense, or they can be mailed to BANCO, 1940 Union Avenue, Benton Harbor, Michigan 49022.
Two Black teens face up to ten years in prison for painting mural likely depicting a child angel arresting the cop who killed her.
19-year-old Black youths face up to 10 years in prison; preliminary exams Tues. Feb. 17, 9 AM 36th District Court, Judge Michael Wagner
Killer cop Joseph Weekley got off scott-free for killing Aiyana Jones, 7; so have killers of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and dozens of others
Killings by police grow across country by leaps and bounds this winter, some cited in stories below:
James Howard Allen, 74, Gastonia, N.C
Kevin Davis, 44, Decatur, GA
Antonio Zambano-Montes, Pasco, WS
Izzy Colon, Orlando, FL
Brian Fritze, Grand Junction, CO
By Diane Bukowski
February 10, 2015
Marcelus Gray, Taylor Daramy
DETROIT – The local mainstream media and Detroit police have perpetrated an outrage against two Black teens who allegedly painted an apropos depiction of a Black child angel arresting a white police officer on the side of the Youthville building at Woodward and Grand Boulevard, across from a police headquarters.
“It was a shocking image that has a community stunned, disgusted, and sickened,” Detroit’s Channel 7 News reported. It mistakenly said the building was a “school.” In fact it houses various “non-profit” youth-directed organizations. It was constructed after the closings of literally hundreds of public recreation centers and schools across Detroit.
Detroit cop Joseph Weekley shot Aiyana Jones, 7 to death May 16, 2010. All charges against him have been dismissed.
Since the Black child was an angel, the child was obviously dead. This author interpreted the mural to mean that the child was exacting justice against her killer.
Shortly before the discovery of the mural, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway dismissed all charges against Detroit killer cop Joseph Weekley Jan. 30. Weekley shot Aiyana Stanley-Jones, 7, in the head with an MP5 submachine gun May 16, 2010, killing her, during a horrific SWAT-style raid on her home.
The teens who allegedly painted the mural, Taylor Daramy, 19, of Southfield, and Marcelus Gray, 19, of Lathrup Village, were arrested Feb. 3. They face felony charges that carry up to 10 years in prison, “Malicious Destruction of a Building, $1,000 to $20,000,” and “Malicious Destruction of a Building, $200.00 – less than $1,000.”
Maria Miller, Communications Chief for Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, said the preliminary exam for Taylor Daramy is scheduled for February 17, 2015 at 9:15 a.m. before Judge Michael E. Wagner. The exam for Marcelus Gray is scheduled for February 17, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. She said no judge is yet indicated for Gray, but it is likely also Judge Wagner. Wagner was recently appointed to the 36th District Court by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.
Mackenzie Lynn Snitgen, 17. Esabella Mary Meteer, 18, and Mary Elizabeth Harder, 17, are shown at their arraignment on minor charges. They got probation and community service.
Graffiti painted on downtown Detroit czar Dan Gilbert’s bldg. by GPW teens.
Three white Grosse Pointe Woods teens, Mackenzie Lynn Snitgen, 17, Estebella Mary Meteer, 18, and Mary Elizabeth Harder, 17 defaced a building owned by Dan Gilbert last year with obscene graffiti, but were charged with misdemeanors and got probation, with community service. Meanwhile, other grossly ugly graffiti consumes the city like wildfire without investigation or retaliation.
“We’ve had enough murders this year and we don’t need to be extolling that,” Ron Scott, of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, Inc./Peace Zones for Life, told Channel 7 about the angel and the cop.
He went on, “The fact that somebody has the audacity to actually deface a building, trying to raise the consciousness of youths by putting something out there like that. That just reflects the kind of mentality that we don’t need. We don’t need it in law enforcement and we certainly don’t need it with people in the street.”
Apparently Scott has divorced himself from support for the heroic youth of Ferguson and other cities across the U.S. who rose up VIOLENTLY against rampant murders of Black youth, largely by white cops. Those murders have continued unabated, while grand juries exonerate the killer cops responsible.
Young demonstrator in Ferguson throws tear gas canister back at riot troops after killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Killer cop Darren Wilson went scott free.
This is open warfare—this is NOT time for “Peace Zones for Life” and egregious criticism of two youths who committed no violence, but only depicted angelic justice against a killer cop, criticism that likely abetted the charges against the teens.
Ever since the killings of the two New York police officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, last year, the mainstream media by and large has done an about face on its coverage of continuing murders by police. The fact that Jerame Reid, 30, of New Jersey was shot to death with his hands up Dec. 30 was not reported until weeks later. Just yesterday, police in Gastonia, South Carolina, shot and killed a 74-year-old man recovering from surgery in his home.
Extended video of Tamir Rice killing and police assault on his sister above
Tamir Rice, 12, another angel killed by cop
Meanwhile, the wait stretches on and on to see what a grand jury will decide in the killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio, and the abuse and arrest of his 14-year-old sister as she ran to aid her brother. A coalition has formed here in Detroit to protest a possible “no-bill” verdict.
A coalition SHOULD be forming to protest the dismissal of charges against Detroit’s Joseph Weekley. Aiyana’s family is still suffering unbearable misery in the wake of the little girl’s death, and the sentencing of her father Charles Jones to prison for 40-60 years based largely on “jail-house snitch” testimony. Aiyana’s mother Dominika Jones just posted on Facebook today, “The sun’s not shining; I don’t even want to get up.”
Allen’s sister Mary Battle is interviewed outside his home. “I am so shocked and hurt,” she said.
Gastonia, N.C. A family of a 74-year-old veteran was concerned about him after he got out of surgery. Due to work and other circumstances, they couldn’t check on him yet, so they called the police to ask them if they could do a “welfare check.” Now, officials in North Carolina are launching an investigation to figure out why police officers broke into the man’s house and killed him, instead of checking on him.
James Howard Allen, 74, killed by Gaston, N.C. cop Dec. 9, 2015.
Officer Josh Lafevers of the Gastonia Police Department shot and killed the elderly James Howard Allen on Saturday afternoon, according to The Charlotte Observer.
An officer arrived to Allen’s home around 10:20 pm on Saturday, but when he didn’t receive an answer at the door, he decided to break in.
The Gastonia Fire Department and Gaston Emergency Medical Services were contacted by 11:30 p.m. and a “decision was made to enter the house, concerned that he may be inside in need of emergency assistance,” Helton explained.
Gastonia’s Police Chief Robert Helton told us that Officer Josh Lefevers had announced himself before breaking in through the back door of the house, but Allen was inside and had armed himself with a firearm.
Gastonia killer cop Josh Lafevers, with Allen house in background.
He was challenged to lower the gun down,” Helton claims. But what he seems unaware of is the fact that the 74-year-old man was on lots of post-surgery medication. He likely could have slept through the officer knocking on the door, and thought that burglars had broken into his house.
“The gun was pointed in the direction of the officers, and a shot was fired that fatally wounded him.”
Now, Allen’s family is demanding answers.
“(He) probably woke up, someone’s breaking in on me, so when you’re by yourself you try to protect yourself,” Robert Battle, Allen’s brother-in-law, said in an interview with WSOC.
“You kicked the man’s door in,” Otis Thompson, a friend of Allen’s said. “He’s disoriented and he’s in his own house, privacy of his own home.”
FOR 2 DAYS, GEORGIA POLICE DENIED FAMILY VISITS TO DYING MAN THEY KILLED
Kevin Davis and family
By Jon Swaine
February 12, 2015
Girlfriend attacked by intruder, Davis called police
Police shoot pet dog on arrival; Davis thinks intruder had returned
Davis handcuffed to hospital bed despite paralysis from gunshots
Police to sister after death: “I guess you can go to Grady (hospital) now”
(VOD editor: Kevin Davis was shot by Decatur police Dec. 29, and died two days later. Why is this just now making mainstream national/world news?)
DECATUR, GA — Police in Georgia are to review why a man who was fatally shot by an officer at his home was handcuffed to his hospital bed for the last two days of his life and barred from visits by his family, who allege that he was isolated to stop him disclosing full details of the shooting.
Kevin Davis was detained at Grady hospital in Atlanta after being shot three times by a DeKalb County police officer on Dec. 29, who was responding to a 911 call made by Davis and his girlfriend when she was stabbed by another man at their apartment in the suburb of Decatur.
His sister, Delisa, spent his final hours begging police to allow her to see him, but they refused until he died. “They denied us access to him because they didn’t want him telling us what really happened that night,” she told the Guardian. In his last known remarks, Davis told a medic that an officer simply arrived at his home “and began shooting”.
Davis had been arrested and charged with aggravated assault against the police officer, Joseph Pitts, because he allegedly ignored an order to drop a revolver he was holding. Davis’s girlfriend, April Edwards, said he grabbed the unloaded gun and approached their front door after their dog was shot and they feared that her attacker may have returned with a gun.
Feb. 11, 2o15; Protesters at DeKalb County Courthouse keep up pressure for charges in Kevin Davis killing by Georgia police.
Pitts shot Davis in disputed circumstances. Police have said that Davis approached Pitts, who was in the corridor outside the apartment, shouting: “You shot my dog.” Pitts had shot the three-legged pitbull dead [named Totter] later alleging it “charged” at him after he opened the door to Davis’s apartment. Police also said Pitts ordered Davis twice to “put down the gun”.
But according to hospital files obtained by the Guardian, after arriving by ambulance Davis told an emergency room medic in his last known remarks “that police came to his house after there was an altercation with his girlfriend and began shooting”.
DeKalb Police car.
His family’s attorneys said witnesses did not hear Davis say anything to the officer, and that the 44-year-old did not even make it past the threshold to his apartment. They said neighbours recalled hearing shots fired almost instantly after an order to drop the revolver.
Hospital officials confirmed that relatives were able to visit patients in custody if the law enforcement agency involved granted permission. The DeKalb County sheriff’s office, which was responsible for Davis during his stay in hospital, said it granted permission “in the most grave situations”, yet Davis’s family was refused access even as he deteriorated fatally.
Despite being instantly paralysed by one of Pitt’s bullets, Davis was handcuffed to his bed to prevent a possible escape. “From the time I found out he had been shot, I was calling Grady, I was calling De Kalb County, and I couldn’t get anybody to give me a straight answer or let me see him,” said his sister. “They just gave me the runaround.”
Delisa and brother Kevin Davis
Police have not said how many times he was shot. His sister said she was told by doctors that they had found three bullets in his body – one lodged in his spine, one in his stomach and another in an arm. Medical reports from the hospital detail five separate wounds.
Delisa Davis said that when she was told that her brother had “expired” on 31 December, a detective told her: “I guess you can go to Grady now”. She said: “It was just so callous, like they weren’t dealing with humans.” Davis’s case has only come to light in recent days after his family belatedly recruited attorneys.
The DeKalb County sheriff, Jeffrey Mann, said in a statement that his department “routinely restrain arrestees, generally with handcuffs” in the interests of “the safety of the public and inmates” in their custody.
“It is also our practice not to allow inmate visitation except in the most grave situations, and then with the confirmation of that condition by the medical professionals at the facility,” said Mann. “Tragically, Mr Davis succumbed to his wounds while being treated at Grady Hospital. In the interest of transparency, however, we will review the circumstances regarding his condition and any visitation requests.”
Denise Simpson, a spokeswoman for Grady hospital, said she could not discuss specific detention methods used on patients in custody “as procedures may vary based on patient conditions, medical treatments required, etc.”
“Grady policy requires that anyone wishing to visit a custody patient contact the appropriate law enforcement agency and obtain approval from that agency,” said Simpson. “That agency then notifies our staff if visitation is approved.”
PASCO, WASH. POLICE KILL MEXICAN NATIVE ANTONIO ZAMBANO-MONTES FOR THROWING ROCKS
Niece shows photo of Antonio Zambrono Montes during protest.
February 11, 2014
PASCO, Wash. (AP) — Officers killed a man accused of hurling rocks in the fourth fatal police shooting since last summer, a death that is shaking this agricultural city of 68,000 in southeastern Washington and drawing criticism from as far away as Mexico.
The killing Tuesday of orchard worker Antonio Zambrano-Montes sparked protests after witnesses said he was running away when he was shot in a busy intersection in Pasco, a city about 215 miles southeast of Seattle.
Protest in police killing of Antonio Zambrano-Montes.
Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department on Thursday condemned the shooting of the man raised in that country. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said he was monitoring the situation.
“We are going to need to get to the bottom of understanding the circumstances of this,” the governor said. “There will be, and needs to be, a very complete assessment of all of the circumstances of what happened here.”
Franklin County Coroner Dan Blasdel, whose office was conducting an autopsy on Zambrano-Montes, said he was considering convening an inquest jury to look into the death.
“We don’t want another Ferguson here in Pasco,” Blasdel told The Seattle Times, referring to the unrest that followed the Aug. 9 killing of an unarmed black man in Ferguson, Missouri, and a grand jury’s decision not to indict the white officer who shot him.
In this still frame taken from a cell phone video provided by Dario Infante and taken on Feb. 10, 2015, Antonio Zambrano-Montes, left, turns to face police officers while running from them in Pasco, Wash. Moments later, Zambrano-Montes was shot and killed. Pasco police said he threw multiple rocks, hitting two officers, and refused to put down other stones. (AP Photo/Dario Infante) AP
But the coroner says he won’t decide until the investigation wraps up.
“This was really not a racial issue,” Pasco Police Chief Bob Metzger told KING-TV of Seattle. The chief met for two hours with Zambrano-Montes’ relatives.
“Three police officers against one man throwing a rock?” an aunt, Angela Zambrano, said to The Times. “This was murder in cold blood.”
Police say Zambrano-Montes’ threatening behavior led officers to open fire. The 35-year-old threw multiple rocks, hitting two officers, and refused to put down other stones. They say a stun gun failed to subdue him.
Below is bystander video of killing
He had a run-in with Pasco police early last year, having been arrested for assault after throwing objects at officers and trying to grab an officer’s pistol, court records show.
The shooting launched protests, and demonstrators say they will gather again Saturday.
Meanwhile, a handful of people showed up at Pasco City Hall on Thursday to support police.
“It’s important for these officers to know the entire community is not out to get them,” Chris Black, an Army veteran, told the Tri-City Herald.
Protesters outside Pasco City Hall
The police chief has appealed for patience during an investigation and an internal review.
“The officers are … on administrative leave — until they are reviewed and everything is done, they will not be back to work,” he said. “It’s important we get the right information.”
Some people who saw the shooting videotaped the confrontation.
In one recording, five “pops” are audible shortly after the video begins, and the man can be seen running away, across a street and down a sidewalk, pursued by three officers. As the officers draw closer to the running man, he stops, turns around and faces them. Multiple “pops” are heard and the man falls to the ground.
JOSÉ ANTONIO MEADE KURIBREÑA Mexico Secy Foreign Affairs
In three previous fatal police shootings in Pasco, prosecutors cleared officers with the Pasco Police Department and a sheriff’s deputy who was working on a regional SWAT team.
Zambrano-Montes was raised in Michoacan, Mexico, and has lived for about a decade in Pasco, where more than half the residents are Hispanic.
In its statement, Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department called the shooting one of the “events in which unwarranted use has been made of lethal force.”
The department said it was helping Zambrano-Montes’ family “with the aim of ensuring that all available legal avenues are explored and taken to their fullest extent.”
Family members told the Tri-City Herald that Zambrano-Montes battled depression after being separated from his two teen daughters.
“He was a kind person, family-oriented,” his cousin, Blanca Zambrano, told the newspaper. “He was hard-working.”
DOCUMENTS: ORLANDO POLICE INVOLVED IN SHOOTING DISCIPLINED BEFORE
Izzy Colon and family; photo from MySpace
By John W. Davis, Reporter News 13
February 12, 2015
ORLANDO, FLA — Internal affairs documents show two undercover Orlando Police drug detectives, who shot and killed one man and shot at another, have been disciplined before by the agency.
His use of force against a car theft suspect was justified by investigators. They said who said the suspect pointed a gun at officers and, fearing for his life, Hall fired three shots.
We’ve learned Detective Hall has been disciplined twice, including for being short $20 out of $112that was being placed into evidence.
He was also called out last year by then-Deputy Chief John Mina, who is now the chief of police, for what Mina considered excessive force for using a takedown technique Mina didn’t think was necessary.
However, Detective Hall’s takedown was ultimately approved by department standards and that case was closed and Hall was exonerated.
Meanwhile, Detective Amanda White has been with Orlando Police for six years and with the drug unit since last November.
Several complaints have been filed against White.
In most cases, she has been exonerated, except one in February 2013, when her supervisor counseled her for not writing an incident report when she learned of an allegation of domestic violence during an unrelated traffic stop.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is still investigating last week’s officer-involved shooting.
Detective White and Detective Hall are on paid administrative leave.
Izzy Colon (top center) and family at ceremony. Photo from brother Danny Colon’s GoFundMe page, asking for funds to pay for his brother’s funeral. In 4 days, $3660 has been raised.
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) — A man shot and killed by authorities along Interstate 70 in western Colorado struggled with drugs and alcohol and may have wanted to be killed by law enforcement, his father told a newspaper.
Brian Fritze, 45, of Parachute died Tuesday following a chase after he was accused of beating an unidentified woman.
After being stopped west of Glenwood Springs, he first pointed a handgun at his head and then was shot by one or both Garfield County sheriff’s deputies at the scene as he walked toward I-70 with a gun, authorities said.
His father, Melvin “Skip” Fritze of Norman, Oklahoma, told The Daily Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1zROWb7) in a story Thursday that his son had struggled with alcohol and drugs during periods of his life and recently returned to using amid marital problems.
Brian Fritze served time in prison in Oklahoma for assault and battery and, after moving to Garfield County, he was arrested multiple times on offenses including driving under the influence. In December, he was arrested on misdemeanor offenses related to domestic violence.
Melvin Fritze said his son had said he didn’t want to go back to prison.
“Personally, I feel that he let the law enforcement people do the job he couldn’t do,” Melvin Fritze said.
He said his son worked concrete and drilling jobs in Colorado and had good drug-free periods in his life.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation is probing the shooting. The two unidentified deputies are on paid administration leave.
Protesters block the entrance to contractor Homrich to stop water shut-offs July 18, 2014. Activist Baxter Jones, at right in front of banner, was first of nine to be arrested. Photo: Diane Bukowski
International human rights network intervenes in case challenging large-scale disconnection of water supply to tens of thousands of low-income residents in Detroit
Assist intervention by protesting at Duggan’s State of the City Address Feb. 10, 6 PM, Redford Theater (see link to VOD story at bottom).
February 9, 2015.
New York City — The International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net), a global network of over 220 groups and 50 individual advocates from around the world working to secure economic and social justice through human rights, has requested leave from the U.S. District Court to be recognized as amicus curiae in the case of Lyda et al.v. City of Detroitin support of residents challenging the City of Detroit’s decision to cut off water supply to thousands of households unable to pay their bills.
Baxter Jones was crammed into battered police van, sustaining injuries to his neck and shoulders during arrest.
As detailed in the plaintiffs’ complaint, by the end of August 2014 the City of Detroit had disconnected approximately 30,000 households of low-income persons and persons living in poverty from the municipal water supply and sewerage service, leaving them without access to drinking water and water for toilets and basic sanitation.
ESCR-Net, through its amicus brief, seeks to bolster the plaintiffs’ legal challenge by highlighting that the disconnections for inability to pay violate a range of legal obligations applicable to the U.S. under key international human rights treaties.
At the same time, ESCR-Net contends that Detroit’s City Charter, which includes a Declaration of Rights recognizing rights to water, sanitation and decent housing, must be respected. Pursuant to long-established principles of both U.S. law and international law, relevant domestic law must be interpreted consistently with treaty obligations.
Detroit resident, who has disease that requires her to bathe three times a day, explains her water shut-off to rapporteurs from the United Nations.
Chris Grove, Executive Director of ESCR-Net, said, “Access to justice is required for violations of human rights, and we welcome the opportunity to assist the U.S. District Court with material relevant to consideration of the issues at stake. These issues impact the health, security and human dignity of thousands of Detroit residents and implicate our vision of a just society.”
“A number of human rights are arguably violated by these disconnections, including rights to water, sanitation, adequate housing, health, life, freedom from cruel and inhuman treatment, and non-discrimination. The international human rights obligations of the U.S. also apply to the City of Detroit, and these obligations require that denial of access to water be reversed immediately,” he added.
The City of Detroit’s water disconnection policy has shocked the international community and has prompted, among other reactions, the visit of two United Nations Special Procedures human rights experts to assess the situation in October 2014. Despite the onset of winter, local groups report that the City has continued water shut-offs at the homes of low-income families, the elderly, and the infirmed.
It is hoped that the application of international human rights law will help the plaintiffs achieve a just and effective remedy, including renewed access to water and an end to any further disconnections.
Thousands including many from Canada massed in downtown Detroit July 18, 2014 to protest shut-offs.
ESCR-Net is the largest global network of human rights organizations, grassroots groups and advocates working to build a global movement to make human rights and social justice a reality for all. Please visit http://www.escr-net.org
This action is being led by ESCR-Net Strategic Litigation Working Group members Center for the Study of Law, Justice and Society (Dejusticia), the Global Initiative on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR), the Social Rights Advocacy Centre (SRAC), and the Social Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI).
For information regarding this amicus intervention, contact:
 An amicuscuriae (or ‘friend of the Court’) is a person or organization who, although not a party to a case, is granted leave to submit material to the Court relevant to the disposition of the case and not already brought to the Court’s attention by the parties.
Lyda et al.v. City of Detroit, Case No. 2:15-cv-10038-BAF-RSW, before Hon. Bernard A. Friedman in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division.
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is expected — as early as Tuesday — to ask Congress for new war powers, sending Capitol Hill his blueprint for an updated authorization for the use of military force to fight the Islamic State group.
Pres. Barack Obama ready to go to war again.
Haggling then begins on writing a new authorization to battle the Sunni extremists, who have seized territory in Iraq and neighboring Syria and imposed a violent form of Sharia law.
That will lead to the first war vote in Congress in 13 years — one of the most important votes faced by members of the House and Senate.
To get Congress to approve his request, Obama must find a balance between lawmakers who want wide authority to fight the Islamic State group and others, including members of his own party, who worry that a new authorization to use military force will lead to U.S. entanglement in another protracted war.
In 2002, Congress passed a resolution authorizing President George W. Bush to use force against Iraq — a vote that scores of Democrats have regretted and then-candidate Barack Obama used as a cudgel against his rivals to win the Democratic presidential nomination.
U.S. out of everywhere.
Obama so far has relied on congressional authorizations that former President Bush used to justify military action after 9/11. Critics say the White House’s use of these authorizations to fight the terrorist group is a legal stretch at best. The president earlier insisted he had the legal authority to deploy more than 2,700 U.S. troops in Iraq to train and assist Iraqi security forces, and conduct ongoing airstrikes against targets in Iraq and Syria. More recently, the president has said he wants a new authorization, but has not released details.
Lawmakers expect the White House to issue its language before the end of the week. Obama administration officials have had consultations with both Democrats and Republican lawmakers about provisions of the new authorization it is seeking. So far, no formal language has been submitted, although the White House has completed a draft, a senior congressional official said.
Another congressional official said the president will ask for a three-year authorization so the next president will have to seek renewed authority to fight IS. The official said Obama wants to leave open the option to send in combat forces if needed, but is not seeking an authorization that would permit a prolonged U.S. troop presence on the ground. The White House request also would not restrict the fight to certain geographic locations, but would limit the U.S. to fighting IS militants or any future group that evolves, the official said.
A congressional aide said Democrats will not rubber-stamp the White House version, but will seek to rewrite it to include bipartisan views. Another congressional staffer said the debate in Congress will not necessarily flow along party lines because, for instance, conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats alike have disagreed about two major sticking points: deploying U.S. combat troops and restricting the geographical area served by the new authorization. The second staffer said a final authorization will depend on the language decided on regarding these two issues.
The four congressional officials and staffers spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the ongoing negotiations with the White House.
U.S. spending on last war in Iraq: Money for homes, jobs, schools, hospitals, services in U.S.
Before Congress ended its last session in December, Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., who at the time was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, pushed his version of an authorization that would have limited operations against IS to three years and allowed ground forces in some circumstances. The legislation passed out of the committee, but was never voted on by the full Senate before the session ended.
Menendez said Monday that he has not seen the final language written by the White House, but said more work will need to be done.
“I think a good part of it is how we started in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,” said Menendez, now the ranking Democrat on the committee since Republicans took control of the Senate in January. “But there is a degree for some greater flexibility than what the Senate Foreign Relations (Committee) drafted.”
Menendez said: “Finding the balance is the challenge here.”
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said the new authorization should be flexible enough so it can be used not only against IS, but also against whatever form the group takes in the future, as well as any groups that associate with or support it materially.
“Most importantly, the authorization should not impose any artificial and unnecessary limitations such as those based on time, geography and type of force that could interfere with our strategic objective of defeating Islamic State,” Hatch said Monday on the Senate floor.
He said he disagreed with those who want to prohibit the use of ground forces or set an expiration date for the authorization.
Other lawmakers want the new war powers to be narrowly defined in a way that gives the president the authority to train and equip local forces and conduct airstrikes, but not launch a combat mission on the ground.
“I’ve been clear in opposition to boots on the ground, but I’d like to see what they propose and hear them out,” said Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii. “It’s traditional and expected for an administration to articulate their strategy to the Congress, so we want to give them a chance to do so.”