New Documentary About Cleveland Youth Advocacy and Arts Organization

Photo courtesy of Amanda King.

Photo courtesy of Amanda King.

Less than a year since being founded by 28-year-old law student and artist Amanda King, Shooting Without Bullets has developed a dedicated core of teens telling their stories through art.  Their stories will be showcased in Under Exposed, a documentary film.

King began Shooting Without Bullets as a response to the tumultuous local socio-political climate kickstarted by the death of Tamir Rice in the fall of 2014. After she was named to the ensuing Cleveland Community Police Commission and serving on it for a year, King realized that it still fell short in communicating with portions of the population it was created to serve. 

“The way it was structured – very meeting-oriented, very recommendation-oriented – wasn’t conducive to interactions with teenagers in particular,” she says. 

This notion of invisibility and disconnection is echoed by the young people involved in the program.

“Some people acknowledge us, but for others it’s in one ear and out the other,” 16-year-old photographer Leilani Williams, a student at John Hay’s Cleveland School of Architecture and Design, comments. “Especially as black youth, we get pushed off so easily.”

“People shake us off like we’re not there or only acknowledge us for the bad things,” reiterates 20-year-old Charles Mosley, also a student at CSAD.

Follow the link to find out more about their work.

Obama's use of unreliable gang databases for deportations could be a model for trump

PRESIDENT-ELECT DONALD TRUMP’S reaffirmation of his campaign trail vow to immediately deport 2 million to 3 million undocumented immigrants has roiled communities across the country. Local leaders have attempted to calm their constituents, with authorities in California offering particularly strident opposition. California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De León called Trump’s plan “catastrophic” and vowed that the state would “aggressively avail ourselves of any and all tools” to protect the rights of undocumented residents.

Remarks by Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck about his agency not cooperating with any new deportation push garnered the highest praise from the national press and immigrants’ rights advocates.

“We are not going to work in conjunction with Homeland Security on deportation efforts. That is not our job, nor will I make it our job,” Beck said on November 14.

The reality of street policing in California is quite different. Police and sheriffs in California — including the LAPD — and across the country have been routinely cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement for years to deport people accused of gang ties. Joint federal-local gang task forces targeting transnational gangs such as Mara Salvatrucha and 18th Street were formed during George W. Bush’s presidency as part of Operation Community Shield, and they have continued to operate through Barack Obama’s two terms. Today, the deportation of people accused of gang membership or association is strongly emphasized under the Obama administration’s Priority Enforcement Program, which focuses on identifying and deporting undocumented immigrants with criminal records.

Click here for more from The Intercept.

Long-secret Stingray Manuals Detail How Police Can Spy on Phones

Photo: U.S. Patent and Trade Office.

Photo: U.S. Patent and Trade Office.

Harris Corp.'s Stingray surveillance device has been one of the most closely guarded secrets in law enforcement for more than 15 years. The company and its police clients across the United States have fought to keep information about the mobile phone-monitoring boxes from the public against which they are used. The Intercept has obtained several Harris instruction manuals spanning roughly 200 pages and meticulously detailing how to create a cellular surveillance dragnet.

Harris has fought to keep its surveillance equipment, which carries price tags in the low six figures, hidden from both privacy activists and the general public, arguing that information about the gear could help criminals. Accordingly, an older Stingray manual released under the Freedom of Information Act to news website TheBlot.com last year was almost completely redacted. So too have law enforcement agencies at every level, across the country, evaded almost all attempts to learn how and why these extremely powerful tools are being used — though court battles have made it clear Stingrays are often deployed without any warrant. The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department alone has snooped via Stingray, sans warrant, over 300 times.

Richard Tynan, a technologist with Privacy International, told The Intercept that the “manuals released today offer the most up-to-date view on the operation of” Stingrays and similar cellular surveillance devices, with powerful capabilities that threaten civil liberties, communications infrastructure, and potentially national security. He noted that the documents show the “Stingray II” device can impersonate four cellular communications towers at once, monitoring up to four cellular provider networks simultaneously, and with an add-on can operate on so-called 2G, 3G, and 4G networks simultaneously.

And the Harris software isn’t just extremely powerful, Tynan added, but relatively simple, providing any law enforcement agent with a modicum of computer literacy the ability to spy on large groups of people:

The ease with which the StingRay II can be used is quite striking and there do not seem to be any technical safeguards against misuse. … It also allows the operator to configure virtually every aspect of the operation of the fake cell tower. … The Gemini platform also allows for the logging and analysis of data to and from the network and “Once a message to/from any active subscriber in the Subscriber list is detected, Gemini will notify the user.” How many innocent communications of the public are analyzed during this process?

Tynan also raised questions about the extent to which Stingrays may be disrupting the communications infrastructure, including existing cellular towers.

Click here for the full article on The Intercept.

 

Community Mourns #JesseRomero, the 14-Year Old Killed by LAPD for Alleged #Graffiti-Writing

Don't Shoot ,  by Bambi in Shoreditch, East London. Photo courtesy of  Dream Deferred .

Don't Shoot, by Bambi in Shoreditch, East London. Photo courtesy of Dream Deferred.

Police say the Boyle Heights boy allegedly fired at them while running away. But one witness says the gun went off when Romero tossed it against a fence during the pursuit.

At a press conference on August 10, 2016, Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Robert Arcos presented its account of the fatal officer-involved shooting of Jesse Reomero, a 14-year-old Mexican-American boy that Hollenbeck Gang Enforcement Detail officers were chasing for allegedly writing gang graffiti.

In a Los Angeles Times video of yesterday's press conference, Arcos said the incident began when the police received a radio report of vandalism suspects near Chicago Street and Cesar Chavez Avenue in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles. After police arrived Romero ran. As officers approached the corner of Breed Street and Cesar Chavez, they allegedly heard a gun shot. When they turned the corner, one of the officers fatally shot Romero. Police presented a picture of an antiquated handgun at the conference.

Arcos said that a witness had seen Romero point a gun at police and pull the trigger. But another witness told the L.A. Times that she saw Romero throw the gun toward a fence as he ran and the gun went off.

Click here to read the full Colorlines article for the witness' account.

 

QUOTAS AND QUOTES: Multimedia Art Exhibit and Panel Discussion Organized by Police Reform Organizing Project (PROP)

QUOTAS AND QUOTES: A Multimedia Art Exhibit and panel discussion focused on NYPD’s quota-driven “Broken Windows” arrest and summons practices that inflict hardship and harm on vulnerable New Yorkers, especially low income people of color, the homeless, and persons with a history of trauma.

Opening Reception: June 21st, 2016, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm, followed by a panel discussion.

Location: El Barrio’s Artspace PS 109, 215 East 99 Street, New York, NY 10029

RSVPelbarriosartspace@gmail.com

As applied by high-level NYPD officials, quotas refer to the aggressive pressure placed on street cops to engage in a certain number of punitive interactions such as arrests, summonses (tickets), and stops.  As a result, everyday our city’s courts devote considerable resources to the administration of injustice, applying sanctions in hundreds, if not thousands of cases where the charges involve at worst, petty infractions and where the defendants are almost always people of color.

The Police Reform Organizing Project (PROP) believes that increased awareness of these everyday injustices by the public, the press and political leaders will lead to a shift in the political landscape regarding policing and prosecution.

Featured art mediums include: mixed-media, scultpure, graphic design, painting, photography and a live interactive installation. 

PROP: Exposing and ending the NYPD's discriminatory and abusive practices that routinely and disproportionately affect our city's low-income communities and people of color. 

Curators: Rolinda Ramos and Jasmine R. Castillo 

Design Team: Maesha Meto, Bog Gangi, Rolinda Ramos, Kim Sanchez, Donald Bajema, Robert Lee. 

Participating Artists: Angie LMV x JT Leiss, Yazmeen Collazo x Adon Wone, Jimmy Aponte, William "BI" Sloan, Amar Bennett, Antony Posada, Atikur Abdule and Harlem Artist Collective. 

For more information, email: Rolinda Ramos, Maesha Meto or Bob Gangi.

www.policereformorganizingproject.org