#APDProtest and #Justice4Cecily Updates

Good morning, everyone.

First up, #Justice4Cecily

Cecily McMillan, egregiously convicted of felony second-degree assault on the cop who sexually assaulted her on March 17 of 2012 will be sentenced on Monday in Judge Zweibel’s city courtroom in NYC. For a brief synopsis, this video is excellent, and is accompanied by the Staple Singers’ great and heart-wrenching civil rights song ‘Why am I treated so bad?’ I’m embedding the Tweet, as the warning is so profound.

On May 8, several days after the jury found her guilty, the Guardian reported that once the jurors were released from duty, they read that the conviction carried a maximum penalty of seven years in prison; many claimed complete ignorance, figuring that she might be sentenced to community service…or something. The paper said that they had’ obtained’ a copy of letter from nine of 12 jurors.

‘She was denied bail and is being detained at Riker’s Island jail.

However, nine of the 12 jurors who unanimously reached the verdict have since taken the unusual step of writing to Judge Ronald Zweibel to request that he not give her a prison sentence on 19 May.

“We the jury petition the court for leniency in the sentencing of Cecily McMillan,” they wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Guardian. “We would ask the court to consider probation with community service.

“We feel that the felony mark on Cecily’s record is punishment enough for this case and that it serves no purpose to Cecily or to society to incarcerate her for any amount of time.”

The letter, which was signed by juror number two, Charles Woodard, was copied to all other members of the panel and to McMillan’s attorney, Martin Stolar.’

Petitions at change.org to Judge Zweibel and DA Cyrus Vance will be delivered within the hour; 43K for Zweibel, 43K for Cy Vance.

This is the text of Cecily’s 5/9/14 letter from Riker’s Island posted at justiceforcecily.com:

‘Good morning. I’m writing from the Rose M. Singer Correctional Facility, dorm 2 East B on Rikers Island – where I’ve been held for the past 4 days.

Admittedly, I was shocked by the jury’s verdict on Monday, but was not surprised by the events that followed. An overreaching prosecutor plus a biased judge logically adds up to my being remanded to Rikers.

I was prepared then, as I am now, to stand by my convictions and face the consequences of my actions – namely that of refusing to forsake my values and what I know to be true in exchange for my “freedom.”

Packed into a room with 45 other women – often restricted to my cot – I’ve had nothing but time to measure the strength of my beliefs alongside that ambiguous concept – “freedom.” (I’ve come to the conclusion that it is far easier to weigh such tradeoffs from the comfort of one’s own bed.)

At Rikers, the day begins with 4:30am breakfast. Milk cartons in hand, the women echo a common set of concerns – “can’t reach my lawyer, my family won’t speak to me, no commissary” – and I become painfully aware of how privileged I am, despite what is supposed to be the great equalizing suffering of the prison experience.

Unlike my peers, I have a hell of a lawyer – Marty Stolar – who made the long journey to hold my hand and promise “I will not stop fighting for you.” I also have a gifted team of friends and organizers – #Justice4Cecily – that continue to provide around-the-clock care and mobilize public support. Finally, I’m incredibly lucky to have a vast and very much alive movement at my side, sending me “Occupy Love” from across the world.

Despite how obscenely unbalanced our circumstances are, my new-found friends – who have quickly become my comrades – are outraged by my story and resolve to do their part to keep me out of prison. After lunch, they spend their free time writing letters to Judge Zweibel, defending my character and pleading for leniency.

At 6:00pm dinner, the cramped circle of ladies ask me “What exactly is social justice organizing?” Over the complex choreography of food trading I tell them about Democratic Socialist leader Eugene Victor Debs. How nearly 100 years ago he publicly criticized U.S. involvement in WWI – in violation of the Wartime Sedition Act – and was sentenced to 10 years in prison for exercising his constitutional right to free speech. “Sort of like that,” I explain, “But he’s way out of my league – he’s my hero.”

By lights out, a subtle peace has begun to wash over me. I page through a book stopping at Debs’ speech to the Federal Court of Cleveland, Ohio – I read and reread, as if a personal mantra, these opening lines –

“Your honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said it then, as I say it now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.”

At the close of the night, I smile and shut my eyes. As I drift off, “Somehow,” I think, “this is all a part of the plan.”

Have good thoughts, say good prayers for her *and* for every other political prisoner the US has imprisoned to make life easier for the Empire as well. This is NOT just about McMillan. I’ll try to report on her sentence on Monday.

#APDProtest updates

This is long-time activist and historian David Correia speaking eloquent truth at a recent locally organized TEDx talk, ‘How Do We End Police Violence in Albuquerque?’  He provides the painful historical narrative of the present having been built on top of colonialism, both past and present.  ‘Racialized violence’ he says, is not a theme that is recognized, as it is such an Uncomfortable Truth.   It allows us all to understand that in NM, ‘(un)Occupy’ was chosen to represent the 99%.  Do listen, please.

Durango, CO investigative reporter Rod Barker wrote of the grievous an evil events in his book The Broken Circle’; Indian murders in Cortez, not far north and west of Farmington used to be uninvestigated and unprosecuted. That has hanged in recent years with the pressures brought to bear by the CO Civil Rights Commission.

Will the APD be ‘reformed’?

Hmmm; not so one might notice. Russell Contreras reports in ‘Albuquerque police promote commander accused of burning off part of homeless man’s ear in 2002’:

‘Albuquerque police promoted a commander who was accused in a lawsuit of burning off part a homeless man’s ear with a stun gun, officials announced Thursday.

Albuquerque Police Department Chief Gorden Eden said in a statement he was promoting two Albuquerque commanders to the newly created rank of major in response to a harsh U.S. Justice Department report that was critical of Albuquerque police’s use of excessive force and demanded the agency adopt a number of reforms.

Foothills Area Commander Timothy Gonterman and Criminal Investigations Commander Anthony Montano will now oversee the East and West Side Field Services Divisions respectively, Eden said.

In 2006, a federal jury awarded a former homeless man $300,000 and found that Gonterman and two other officers used “excessive force” in the man’s 2002 arrest.

Gonterman gave the man second- and third-degree burns with his stun gun, the lawsuit said. The man’s lawyer says he lost part of his ear from burns.

In a statement, Gonterman called his actions during the 2002 arrest a mistake and said it took place 12 years ago when the stun gun technology was new and before officers had the training they have now. “It was a mistake, and I have learned from that mistake. I have taken responsibility for it,” Gonterman said. “Since that time, I have become a use of force instructor and a less lethal technology instructor to train officers to use the minimal amount of force necessary to make an arrest. I am also trained in crisis intervention.”

Gonterman said his training and experience has given him great perspective to guide and teach others’.

No, Chief Eden did not mention that history when announcing the two po-po’s promotions.

Correia and others have announced that there will be a ‘massive civil rights march planned in #ABQ against police violence. June 21 @ 11 AM. Tentative route: Tingley Beach-Tiguex Park’

And in other sad and sick news, he Tweeted this news:

Last but not least, the White House emailed this Fun Stuff recently:

President Obama and Vice President Biden Honor America’s TOP COPS’ I will do you a favor and not embed the video.

Remember: ‘We are part of the fire that is burning…from the ashes we can build another day…’

(cross-posted at My.firedoglake.com)

17 responses to “#APDProtest and #Justice4Cecily Updates

  1. in other verrrrry interesting news, (and good on her):

  2. michaelcavlan

    Oh Dear GAWD. Wendye- tell me what do we need to know about the Intercept? Has Greenwald gone bad? it it really a case of

  3. michaelcavlan

  4. michaelcavlan

    Greenwald is one of the very few that I have any respect for. If he has “gone bad’ then i shall simply crawl under a rock and call upon Creator to get it over for all of humanity. If it is Her will. Sigh.

  5. michaelcavlan

    With your very kind permission, could you make this a story here? It was today 40 years ago. i was in Ireland (in the north) when it happened.
    Feeling kinda weird about it. Bringing back some bad stuff, ya know?

    I have been accused of being ‘cynical’ at times. perhaps this may explain it. Well that and watching all the ‘progressive’ betrayals I witness here as well.

    On this the 40 year anniversary of the infamous Dublin Monaghan Bombings. A bomb that was planted by an extreme right wing pro-British death squad, the UVF. With the assistance and guidance of British Military Intelligence and probably authorized at the very highest level of the British Government. Which was a “left wing” Labour Government it should be noted. These are the words of Robbie Dunne who was a survivor of the attack.

    Dublin Monaghan Bombings 40 years ago today I was walking up the street and the bomb went off in front of me the two women in front of me were killed. I was the head chef in Powers Hotel on the corner of Kildare Street I had stopped to talk to another chef for 30 seconds on the corner of Grafton street that 30 seconds saved my life. It later transpired that MI6 on the instructions of the British goverment made the bombs and gave them to the Paramilitaries who drove the cars and planted the bombs in Dublin and Monaghan. Nobody has been charged with the murders of the 33 people and the 238 who were injuries. They have tried to air brush these murders out of the history books it was the worst single atrocities of the recent war in the 6 counties Go to Robbie Dunn http://www.jango radio

  6. hmmmm. i won’t speculate about greenwald, but this comment of hugh’s (formerly at fdl, now great commenter a naked capitalism) i support in the main:

    “Hugh on May 16, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    The Intercept/First Look seemed like a good idea but with no follow through and burdened from the outset by its dubious connections to Omidyar, or its connections to the dubious Omidyar, whichever. I expected first class staffers and recruiters to be hired who really knew how to put a news operation together and who also knew how to deal with the new breed of journalist bloggers. I expected too to get some idea of the media they were going use, what areas were going to be covered, and how. And I expected to have at least a general idea about all this some months ago. But none of that happened.

    Aside from a few names on a masthead, there seemed to be no there there. Without the Snowden material, it is hard to see First Look happening at all. But if it is all or mostly about Snowden, it is hard not to see it as just a ploy by Omidyar to control this material. Omidyar as gatekeeper to Greenwald and Poitras who in turn act as gatekeepers to the Snowden files. Everyone else becomes superfluous. So congrats to Marcy for getting out. I can only see this as a brand tarnisher for anyone who stays in it.”

    pierre is a schmuck, and greenwald claims never have looked into his financial dealings that have been shown to be quite dark in many directions, but include funding NGOs that seem to be funneling money to kyiv’s putsch, therefore the neo-nazis that are doing such evil things to everyday citizens. greenwald still says ‘pierre’ isn’t making editorial decisions, so who knows?

    marcy’s reasons for separating from TI and FL we may never fully know, but at the very least it’s clear that she needs to raise some money; perhaps that all these months later she’s floored that they’ve published exactly one of her pieces there and so hasn’t earned anything much? she said it has nothing to do with anything she’s written about ukraine… but then, the dearth of content there is sick, given their vast resources, the assembled talent, etc.

    sure, glenn, scahill, maybe others, are out on their book tours, but how many others could be putting out the investigative work they said would ‘change everything’?

    even the blogging software is crap. shoot, the big plans were to have a whole tech side to the new ‘venture’. extraordinary it is not. but to me, it’s another cautionary tale about lauding folks as ‘heroes’.

    content is so meager, fans are so dedicated that they’re creating their *own* content in the comments, although a few dissenters sit on the site as well. myownself, i had a bit of a ‘come to jesus moment’ when someone linked to gg’s article supporting scotus’s decision on citizens united. ish.

    anyhoo, guess we’ll see one day if the venture becomes a helpful game-changer, or just huff-po with an edge. eight months? crikey.

  7. now your link went nowhere, michael cavlan, and i couldn’t dig anything up in the google cache. but things like this are exactly why we keep an Open Menu, so that anyone can create content without writing a more formal diary. that feature is always at the top of the CATEGORIES list just under the comments on the right sidebar. do stick it in!


  8. Gone way OT on the comments here, but EW leaving The Intercept is big news. Lack of production is putting an interesting spin in the name ‘intercept’, init?

    Firefox is crapping out on me (on Ubuntu) and my.fdl has been unavailable to me for some time (last night + this am). Glad to see this site is still up. Last nite, FF problems ate comments on the APD topic that I was almost ready to post @ FDL. They were about: What is same and different about: Jerome Hall, Jewel Hall and Milton Hall?

  9. And now I am right into FDL after this site forced me to log into WordPress… hmmmm

  10. dunno about your other tech problems, but fl goes down a hell of a lot, and was down quite awhile this morning. how odd that you had to log into wordpress again, or at all. but juliania may have mentioned something similar last year.

    yes, its a big deal, or might be depending on the reasons, eh? ‘the intercept’: yes, ironic. :) but srsly, this a.m. when i wondered what the name even meant, all i could think of was: snowden having intercepted the nsa files? nah. prolly nothing so pedestrian. and not OT at all.

    on jon cooks ‘seder’ piece, i finally decided to make my first comment there. got it all ready, pressed submit…and discovered that they had shut down comments after 1647 or something. lololol.

    hope you give the answer to the riddle, lemoyne, and tell us of any further plans. damn, the jerome hall stuff was evil doin’s.

  11. Well, very interesting comments here and dutiful me was coming to put in an OT that really links to the subject of the Albuquerque police nastiness (and yes, I do know there are some good cops.) Please excuse me if this has been discussed somewhere – I think wendye calls it RL, does intrude sometimes.

    As an intro, “all roads lead to Rome.” Well said, whoever said that. Or, all bad cops end up in the FBI perhaps?


    Maybe we can take some comfort in the possibility that the bad guys are running out of bad guys.

  12. Oh yes, juliania not OT at all. Shot in the back and multiple fatal wounds… Move along No ultra-violence here…. Pah – they serve us Dead Gahk.

    That freakish pic of Oakland’s new COP makes him look like an alien. The family picture with all different skin tones (4of9) and the linked article actually made me feel like Oakland did a good thing here: as IA officer he actually asked probing questions (quelle surprise!) and the police union’s very lukewarm acceptance is a real plus. As the union guy said: It is what it is. I add: Time will tell.

  13. What is the same about Jerome Hall, Jewel Hall and Milton Hall?
    The last name and the dark skin color usually called black.
    Jerome and Jewel won six figure judgements in lawsuits against police violence.
    Jerome and Jewel were/are in Albuquerque, NM.

    What is different about Jerome Hall, Jewel Hall and Milton Hall?
    Jerome was shot once at night with no known witness in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, a small community surrounded by the city of Albuquerque.
    Milton was shot dozens of times caught on a cell phone video in broad daylight on a busy street in Saginaw, MI.
    Jewel, the eldest of the three and the only female, is still alive.

    I have heard a rumor that Jewel’s activism as head of the MLKjr Memorial Center was mentioned in relation to her son Milton’s shooting, as in something like, ‘that should shut her up’ D-X ~~~ Total fail of course. Was an honor and pleasure to reiterate her point at a meeting yesterday that the APD violence is not just related to homelessness and mental illness, but also to disparities and barriers related to race (or more properly, skin color). Jewel also made the point that women commonly suffer a different form of coercion that does violence to the body and soul if not the obvious ultra-violence that happened to Mary Hawkes. I added the point that 60% of the homeless may suffer mental illness, but they are all poor. Couldn’t hep myself and said ‘regulators’ when Jewel described how black people seem to need a note from a homeowner or an ID showing nearby residence to walk unmolested through the NorthEast Whites Heights at night.

    The local native people (hispanic ~50%(?) and original american ~10%) are a plurality in Abq and combined with other groups (SE Asian [boat people], Islamic, black, other immigrants, etc.) and the poor whites (~?20%?) one can see why it looks like a continuous open season for APD violence. From the instant I heard of Mary Hawkes death I have felt &/or thought she refused to be suborned and therefore knew too much and so…

    Black people are a tiny fraction of Albuquerque’s population (<0.5%?) and yet they continually appear as victims of APD, including Jonathan Mitchell (2013 Iraq War vet left to die by APD) and Armand Martin (latest 2014 shooting victim).

    I will take this to FDL later…

  14. juliania: yes, it’s extremely topical, and i’d totally forgotten to mention it on either thread. i’d taken this version to the most recent boston bombing thread, failing to remember that they always monitor the boston globe, and had it the day before, arrgh. but i don’t keep up with those threads at all, so…


    but lindorff’s was quite good, and he gave more context to the general atmospherics of police murder and brutality, i think.

    lemoyne: i have a big ol’ headache, so am rather fuzzy minded, but: which photo slideshow of the alien-looking chief whenten or whatever his name is are you referring to?

    and…the lists of content at my.fl are still down after two or more hours, so i just emailed the editors to advise them. i also said that i was disappointed that they hadn’t promoted these update to the front page, it having been a site supportive of occupy back in the day..

    i’ll take a bit of a break, try to do some magic on my hegg-ache, and be back in a bit to read your answer on the 3 halls, listen to the video. and i love your avatar, by the way.

  15. Wendy, the collection of photos was just under the freaky Outer Limits head shot (head shot == photography term!) on the link on your FDL comment #24 — http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Sean-Whent-named-permanent-Oakland-police-chief-5477982.php — the little thumbnails expand to replace the main pic. Sorry I got my wires crossed there: thought the SFgate article was linked here. Other pics show Chief Whent looks like a normal human being when he is at work: one shows him teaching the negotiation class to cadets as Deputy Chief. Although I think Oakland may have made their best possible choice here please don’t extrapolate that into an endorsement for someone like Gonterman to be Abq COP. The fact that he is moving along that track has me *shudder*

  16. oh, dear, lemoyne. when i was having some quiet time i did twig to the fact that you must have read my SFgate link about Whent and i went over yonder and discovered that i’d missed the slideshow. yes, i agree that former cop from IA might be just what the doctor ordered for now, but that said, i wish we could see film footage slowed down to read his micro-expressions and other body language. cynically cautious of me, but…there it is. :)

    i appreciate your having include Burque’s racial/color demographics, and applaud you for reminding the assembled meeting of jewel’s perceptions as informing your own, as they should all citizens of good will. as buffy has always said and sung, ‘third worlders see it first’, and she didn’t just mean in terms of sociocide, genocide by those who commit assaults of the planet’s people for resource extraction, of course.

    i hadn’t brought any of the discussion and inks over yonder to the Café since no one had commented here.

    chePasa had mentioned that the anger and activism for justice and against cavalier cop killings was bolstered mightily by social gospel (my words, not his). but i do wonder if t wouldn’t be a very good thing to ask the community to ask their church members if they might not like to support the big june protest/vigil in june. also, since silence worked so well, it occurs to me that candlelight might not be of inspirational help: bring the light to dispel the Darkness, which is of course, and integral part of Life.mr. wd and i adopted a black/azteca son and a ute daughter. son jordan would agree with jewel’s take on ‘permission slips’, and i really can’t comment on male v. female, except that it seemed to be quasi- policy in come cities to accost women sexually before arrests.

    good on you for all you’re doing. so different than keyboarding the events of the times. and tomorrow we will hear cecily’s fate, knowing that so many other political prisoners never caught the attention or support that she has.

    sleep well and restore yourself as you are able.

  17. juliania, you made me laugh with ‘the bad guys are running out of bad guys’ and they might end up at the fbi. it is a conundrum, as in ‘how do you appeal to the humanity in person X so that they might reset their perceptions at serving the elite class, or the racist class, or whatever’s afoot.

    i do hope you watched the video with david correia at the local TedX event.
    he laid out the history of colonialism in NM, then spelled out an alternative moral vision, *and* mentioned the possibility of restorative justice as a possible way to reach the offenders and miscreants in the APD. it would be a wonderful way forward, but doesn’t seem likely for now, give the promotion of the cop (gonterman) who tased off a ‘suspect’s’ ear.

    for those who didn’t read:


    good night. :)

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