News and reports
April 9, 2004 | Pages 10 and 11
Stop police brutality
PORTLAND, Ore.--A multiracial rally of 700 people sounded their anger at the police murder of James Jahar Perez, the second unarmed Black motorist to be killed by city cops in 10 months. At the rally organized by the Coalition of Black Men, friends, family and other victims of police violence expressed their of fear of "DWD"--driving while black.
"We are not going to sit back and be brutalized anymore," said a Portland State University student representing the NAACP. "We need to take it to the streets where it belongs."
Within 30 seconds of being stopped by police officer Jason Sery for allegedly failing to give a turn signal, the officer shot Perez, who was sitting in his car, three times. After he was shot, another cop fired a tazer at him, zapping Perez with electric current for over three minutes.
The shooting comes 10 months after Kendra James, a young Black mother of two, was shot and killed by another cop, and two days before the third anniversary of the cop killing of Mejia Poot, a Mexican migrant.
This isn't Sery's first incident of brutality. Just three weeks earlier, he pulled his gun on a man who had his hands in his pocket, and was also the subject of a $5,000 lawsuit against the city.
The African American community is outraged. "Is there a vigilante group in the Portland police department?" asked Oscar Eason Jr., the president of the NAACP's state conference encompassing Oregon, Washington and Alaska.
NEW YORK--On April 3-4, student antiwar activists representing 21 schools, from Maine to Georgia, gathered for the Campus Antiwar Network's (CAN) East Coast conference.
Should CAN support a United Nations (UN) occupation of Iraq? Should CAN support the Iraqi resistance? These two debates were repeated in the workshops, evening panel and proposals throughout the weekend.
Workshops included discussion of the lessons from the Vietnam War, the 2004 election, and the Palestinian struggle. The evening panel put a human face on the occupation, with CAN's Khury Petersen-Smith reporting on his recent trip to Iraq and Mike Hoffman, a member of CAN and Vets for Peace, describing the horrific conditions faced by U.S. troops.
The conference passed some significant points of unity, including those against the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and against a UN occupation of Iraq. Resolutions passed included those that support the right of Iraqis and U.S. troops to oppose this occupation and call for the immediate withdrawal of troops from Haiti.
NEW YORK--Palestinian rights supporters will gather April 16-18 for the second national convention of Al-Awda the Palestine Right to Return Coalition. The event will bring together hundreds of activists, academics and organizers from the U.S. and around the world for workshops and strategy sessions dedicated to strengthening the fight for Palestinian rights.
"The fundamental right for Palestinians to return to their homes, from which they were forcefully removed, is under constant threat," Al-Awda states in its call for the convention. "The U.S.-sponsored 'road map' initiative, which, from its inception, has been a ploy to formalize the expansion of an already illegal occupation...to the Apartheid Wall that carves up Palestine into concrete ghettos, splits communities and isolates Palestinians...activists and people of conscience across the world refuse to waiver in their support for the Palestinian struggle for liberation, self-determination and return."
Visit www.alawdaconvention.org to register.
HARRISBURG, Pa.--Political activist Farouk Abdel-Muhti had his first hearing in federal court March 30 on his petition for release from immigration detention. Abdel-Muhti, a stateless Palestinian, was arrested on a 1995 deportation order in April 2002, a month after he began working with WBAI-FM to arrange live interviews with Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.
The government claims Abdel-Muhti can be deported under a new procedure in which Palestinians on Israel's population registry for the Occupied Territories can be repatriated through Israel. Yet Abdel-Muhti isn't on this registry, having left the West Bank in 1960, before the Israeli occupation.
April 26 marks the second anniversary of Abdel-Muhti's arrest. "We plan to mark the date with action," said David Wilson, a member of the Committee for the Release of Farouk Abdel-Muhti. "Hopefully, it will be a celebration and not another protest."
For more information, go to www.freefarouk.org, or contact the committee at 212-674-9499 or [email protected]