Category Archives: legal issues

Open Thread: Chavis Carter’s Autopsy Ruled A Suicide

21-year-old Chavis Carter. Courtesy The Grio

By Arturo R. García

The way Monday’s autopsy report for 21-year-old Chavis Carter reads, it’s almost as if the medical examiners on the case don’t quite understand their own findings.

“He was cuffed and placed into a police car, where apparently he produced a weapon,” the report says. “And despite being handcuffed, shot himself in the head,” the report says.

Apparently? How does apparently make its way onto this kind of document?
Continue reading

“Losing the Movement:” Black Women, Violence, And Prison Nation

by Guest Contributor MK, originally published at Prison Culture

Last week, I was privileged to organize an event for a project that I am affiliated with called Girl Talk. As part of the event, my friend, the brilliant Dr. Beth Richie, spoke about her new book Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America’s Prison Nation. I can’t recommend the book any more highly.

Beth suggested on Thursday that the book is to some extent autobiographical, in part tracing her personal involvement as an activist in the anti-violence against women and girls’ movement. In reading the book, I found my own story also represented in the history that she illuminates through her research.

Today, I want to focus on one key aspect of the thesis that Beth advances in the book. She contends that the “success” of the anti-violence against women and girls’ movement in passing legislation and gaining public legitimacy was in large part due to the increasingly conservative political climate that was emerging in a parallel way. That conservative political climate emphasized a “law -and-order” and “tough-on-crime” approach to addressing social problems.

Beth pointed out in her talk that many activists within the anti-violence movement (particularly women of color and queer people) spoke out about the fact that increasing criminalization would adversely affect certain populations. Their voices, however, did not win the day. Continue reading

Voices: R.I.P. Rodney King (1965-2012)

Courtesy: Melville House Books

Rodney King never set out to be a James Meredith or Rosa Parks.

He was a drunk, unemployed construction worker on parole when he careened into the city’s consciousness in a white Hyundai early one Sunday morning in 1991.

While he was enduring the videotaped blows that would reverberate around the world, he wanted to escape to a nearby park where his father used to take him. He simply wanted to survive.

He did survive, but the brutal beating transformed the troubled man into an icon of the civil rights movement. His very name became a symbol of police abuse and racial tensions, of one of the worst urban riots in American history.
- Joe Mozingo and Phil Willon, Los Angeles Times

Continue reading

Video: Jose Antonio Vargas And The Voices Of The DREAM Act

In the year since my essay went viral, at least 2,000 undocumented Americans — and we are, at heart, Americans — have personally contacted me and outed themselves. Their stories flooded in at public events and in late-night Facebook messages.

Across the country, more and more Americans are challenging how our politicians, the media — and even the Supreme Court (in its current deliberation on Arizona’s immigration law) — talk about immigration.

These brave deeds must be met with equal bravery from those of us who have the power to pass it on.

- From Define American

Race + Politics: Univision Flexes Some Muscle

By Arturo R. García

With the Latino electorate emerging more and more as a key constituency, the dust-up over this commercial highlights the tightrope both President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will have to walk in engaging with not only this diverse array of voters, but the media outlets they follow.

In the ad, Univision News anchor Jorge Ramos is shown saying, “Close to 46 million Americans do not have health insurance.” The ad–not Ramos himself–goes on to tout Obama’s Healthcare Reform Bill. The commercial is part of the opening salvo in a $4 million advertising campaign pitched toward Spanish-speaking households.

On Monday, Ramos, the host of Univision’s Al Punto, closed the program denouncing the Obama campaign for using his image in the ad. Courtesy of Mediaite, here’s Ramos’ commentary:

And here’s the English translation:

A few hours ago the Obama reelection campaign aired an ad using my image and that of Noticias Univisión. I want to make clear that I reject the use of my likeness and that of Noticias Univisión in any election campaign. We have let the Obama campaign and the White House know, and we want to leave a public notice of our disagreement. We have always defended our journalistic integrity and will always continue to do so.

Continue reading

Excerpt: The Village Voice On American Hypocrisy And Mexican Food

Illustration by Justin Renteria. Courtesy: Village Voice

A couple of years back, I put four white supremacists in prison. They had made the mistake of going into the Slater Slums of Huntington Beach, the city’s traditional barrio, to kill a random Mexican. They got as far as stabbing a man before the Slater Slums smackdown began: The community came out from their apartments and kicked the shit out of the KKKlowns—a beatdown of wonderful, ironic proportions. Not a single Mexican was arrested; the Candy-Ass Gang, as we called them, went away for years, convicted of hate crimes.I discovered that the crime was premeditated, announced on a white-power Internet radio show just weeks before. But I also discovered that the attackers loved Mexican food: a bunch of pictures a source forwarded to me showed the pendejos in various states of devouring burritos and tacos from Del Taco, the Mexican fast-food chain that’s known for being better than that Taco Bell mierda.

Race traitors? Hardly. Just following American policy: Hate the Mexican, love the Mexican food, assault the Mexican, get your ass handed to you by Mexicans. This has been America’s experience with Mexicans, a cycle of justice that must be remembered when considering what’s happening to this country right now in the wake of SB 1070 and its many copycats. Those Know-Nothing politicians, judges and voters who pass law after law trying to stop Mexicans from asserting themselves in this country are like King Canute commanding the tide to stop: The game is already over. We beat you with our Mexican food long ago, and we’re going to beat you on SB 1070 as well.

- From “Love The Beans, Hate The Beaner,” by Gustavo Arellano