From the Archive
HandsUp Coalition DC to Bring ‘Coffin’ to Department of Justice
Up CoalitionDC To Bring ‘Coffin’ to Department of Justice
January 13, 2015, Washington, D.C .—Washington-based Hands Up Coalition DC will deliver a coffin to its ‘Justice Monday Vigil’ at the Department of Justice Monday, January 12, 4:00 PM. The coffin symbolizes the deaths of two mentally ill African Americans recently killed in police custody. We will also honor the life of unarmed Emmanuel Okutuga murdered by police.
“While most Americans observed the year-end holiday season, the slave patrol/ police force did not,” said Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo. Citing the deaths of Matthew Ajibade, a bipolar sufferer who died in solitary confinement in Savannah, Georgia on New Years Day; and a January 2 ruling of homicide as the cause of death of schizophrenic, Tanisha Anderson in a Cleveland jail late last year. “Sadly,” Coleman-Adebayo added, “we mourn two more blacks killed while in police custody.”
Justice Mondays began after grand juries failed to indict the police officers responsible for the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo and Eric Garner in New York City.
This week the Hands Up Coalition DC will be joined by Witness Against Torture who will be emphasizing the link between Ferguson and Guantanamo. They will be highlighting the connection between white silence and state violence and calling for resistance to both anti-black racism and Islamaphobia. As a community that has focused largely on accountability for the government’s policies and practices of torture, they’re joining the Black Lives Matter movement in demanding accountability for rampant police brutality and murder of black people across the United States.
“There are specific, immediate and urgently-needed steps that Attorney General Eric Holder can take today,” said Kimone Freeman, Program Director of We Act Radio. “In the two years since AG Holder promised to investigate Trayvon Martin’s murder, George Zimmerman has threatened to kill 4 other people. Just this week, the courts took his guns away.”
Why we march in front of the DOJ
- According to the Supreme Court: “[to] act willfully…[is to] act in open defiance or reckless disregard of a constitutional requirement…” of the Fourth Amendment right to be free from excessive force. Travon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and countless othersdeserved those same protections. AG Holder—with existing court precedents—could bring charges against the officers in these cases—today.
- In civil rights investigations regarding the murders of unarmed black boys and men, DOJ should release it’s findings as to whether the evidence merits bringing cases to trial. AG Holder could bring charges against the officers in these cases—today.
- There is no place in domestic policing for the militarization of police forces nationwide. AG Holder could withdraw all funding for militarization of police—today.
- There is widespread misuse of the Grand Jury process in cases involving police killing of blacks. Robert McCullough’s handling of the Michael Brown Grand Jury is a perfect example. McCullough is under investigation for ethics violations and a Michael Brown grand juror has sued to be relieved of a gag order. AG Holder could reopen that case—today.