Green Party supports Black Lives Matter activists on trial for blocking a Los Angeles freeway, calls for charges to be dropped
WASHINGTON, D.C. (3-13-16) -- The Green Party of the United States expressed its support for the BLMLA7: Seven Black Lives Matter activists who were arrested in Los Angeles, California, on November 26, 2014 for leading the shutdown of Freeway 101 and are now on trial. Rosa Clemente, Green vice-presidential nominee in 2008, is among the seven defendants
Greens demanded that the charges be dropped and called the two-week trial, now under way, for misdemeanor charges an attempt to silence protest against police violence targeting People of Color.
Among the BLMLA7 defendants is Rosa Clemente, an activist, journalist, and scholar and the Green Party's 2008 nominee for Vice President of the United States. (Interview with Ms. Clemente on the trial: http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=15837 ). The other defendants are Povi-Tamu Bryant, Damon Turner, Jas Wade, Todd Harris, Haewon Asfan, and Frederisha Dixon.
The freeway shutdown was one of numerous nationwide protests after the non-indictment of Officer Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9, 2014.
"The freeway demonstration was a nonviolent act of civil disobedience in a long tradition of peaceful protest against injustice," said Lena Buggs, co-chair of the Green Party of Minnesota and Green candidate for Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor for Ramsey County, Minnesota ( www.lena4soilandwater.com ). "The punitive nature of the BLMLA7 trial is an affront to that tradition. It confirms exactly what Black Lives Matter was protesting -- the racism that persists in the U.S. justice system."
Police arrested more than 323 participants in the four-day Los Angeles protest in solidarity with the people of Ferguson. For more information on the charges and trial and a press conference video, click here ( http://theantimedia.org/black-lives-matter-activists-go-to-trial-in-los-angeles-today ).
Green Party leaders have called mass incarceration, excessive police and prosecutorial power, and extreme racial disparities in arrests, prosecution, and conviction a national emergency that requires urgent measures.
The party has called for an end to racial profiling by police (including "Stop and Frisk" and "Broken Window" policies) and establishment of citizens' review boards with subpoena power to investigate allegations of police misconduct and ensure that officers who commit crimes on the job are punished.
"Black Lives Matter deserves praise for challenging presidential candidates and preventing the demand for racial justice from getting ignored during the election season. So far, the responses by public officials to the ongoing justice-system violations of the basic human and legal rights of People of Color have been superficial, inadequate, or nonexistent," said Thomas Muhammad, co-chair of the Green Party Black Caucus ( https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/gpblackcaucus/info ).