Boston Police criticized for rough arrest

(NECN: Josh Brogadir, Boston) - Several community leaders are criticizing Boston Police officer for being too rough during the arrest of a teen in Roxbury.

The perception among some community leaders is that dialogue is not open with police.

They want these officers suspended without pay.

A call to prayer followed the call for change within the Boston Police Department, as community activists gathered out front of headquarters to denounce allegations of police brutality.

"I believe that it is time that the mayor tells the commissioner you must do the job right or step down," said former State Sen. Bill Owens.

The anger stems from this cell phone video of a Roxbury Community College entryway which shows police officers holding down, kneeing, and punching a 16 year old boy, who was wanted on multiple warrants and had escaped from a Department of Youth Services Center last Friday.

Police say he had grabbed handcuffs and was resisting, flailing, and throwing punches, injuring three officers.

According to a police narrative, "Officers struck SUSPECT multiple times with closed fists and used knee strikes as trained in the police academy in an attempt to control and bring SUSPECT under control."

"No I don't see any reason that could warrant that type of force particularly after the young man is subdued," said community activist Jamarhl Crawford.

That video was shot and posted on YouTube by first year RCC student Eusida Blidgen.

"This young man got beaten down. And I give the love and the respect to his family and anyone who's very close to him, because I'm still shaken up about the incident," she said.

Boston Police Internal affairs is now investigating, and Police commissioner Ed Davis called on Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley to review the case which his top prosector will do.

Community leaders urged a non-violent response as they await the findings.

"Young people I want to say to you, we want your response to be positive and constructive. There are issues that are clearly identified. I heard some young people said finally, we have evidence of what we've been saying to the adults for years,"
said Minister James Hills, community leader.

A rally for young people that may turn into a march will be held at Roxbury Crossing Friday night at 5pm.

Boston Police did not comment on the accusations made at today's protest.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Community Leaders Hold Press Conference Outside BPD Headquarters To Address Videotaped Police Beating of 16-year-old

One surefire way to rile activists is to beat a teenager in plain sight, and tell witnesses that they can't record the free-for-all. Needless to say, more than a few folks are furious in the wake of news that Boston Police Department officers jabbed and kicked a 16-year-old inside a Roxbury Community College building this past Friday.

At the time of this writing, more than 17,000 people have viewed a seven minute YouTube video (above) in which what appears to be a mix of plain clothes and uniformed officers repeatedly assault a juvenile in custody. Despite claims that the alleged fugitive resisted arrest – and a statement from Commissioner Ed Davis claiming that an investigation is under way – more than a dozen respected local leaders aired grievances this afternoon in front of BPD headquarters.

“It's on all of us to answer the question of 'Who wants to do something about this,'” said organizer Jamarhl Crawford, who also read from a prepared statement. “This press conference has been called after repeated attempts and pleas for the Mayor and Commissioner to open the table to new ideas from fresh voices in order to combat all violence in the city.”

Speakers brought more than just rhetoric. Representatives from the Boston Black Men's Leadership Group and the National Action Network demanded that a community civilian board be put in charge of reviewing the case; an attorney from the law offices of civil rights attorney Howard Friedman was also on hand to explain that it was perfectly legal for onlookers to record the incident. “The [police sergeant who told people they could not shoot video] should be disciplined,” said attorney David Milton.

It was also noted that police brutality is not a new issue for Boston; Crawford specified that the public is still in the dark about specifics surrounding the April killing of Manuel DaVeiga, who died in a shootout with state police and city officers. “The police must serve and protect,” said former State Senator Bill Owens. “We don't pay police officers to beat up on our children. We will not tolerate these atrocities.”

Despite this being the height of election season, most major news outlets came to cover speeches by local clergy and other concerned individuals. So it looks like this story might have legs after all. Tomorrow (Friday) afternoon, starting at 5pm, community residents – not united under any particular banner – will gather outside of the Roxbury Crossing T stop for a larger public rally.

“I'm here as a concerned resident,” said James Hills, a former special assistant to Mayor Menino and city liaison to the faith community. “We want the response of young people to this to be constructive and positive.”

Read more:

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Community Forum about the Secure Communities Program

Centro Presente invites you to a:
Community Forum about the Secure Communities Program

The Forum will be conducted in Spanish

As part of Centro Presente's informative campaign we are organizing a Community Forum about the Secure Communities Program.

When: Sunday,October 24th at 3:00 p.m.
Where: Casa de La Cultura
202 Maverick Street
East Boston, MA 02128

Do you want to know what is the Secure Communities Program that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is implementing?

Do you want to know how this Program is affecting immigrant communities?

Do you want to take action and support a campaign that seeks to educate people abut the effects of this Program on the immigrant community?

Come learn and participate in an informative session about the Secure Communities Program.

This federal program, under the direction of ICE, requires local law enforcement to cross-check digital fingerprints of anyone they arrest against a federal database to evaluate the arrested person's immigration status. If ICE determines the arrested person to be undocumented, that person will be detained by ICE and processed for deportation.

ICE claims that Secure Communities targets undocumented immigrants who have been arrested for felony offenses, but the program doesn't explicitly say that non-felony arrests are exempt from the program. This opens the door for local law enforcement to arrest people they suspect of being undocumented to cross-check fingerprints against the ICE database.

The program will help the Obama administration reach its goal of deporting 400,000 immigrants this year.

For more information please contact:
Patricia Montes- Centro Presente- 617 959 3108
Patrick McDermott- Centro Presente- 617 629 4731

Labels: , , , ,

Nov. 4th @7 PM-- Event for Mumia Abu Jamal and Tarek Mehanna


Two men locked up because of outrageous racism...
Two men in prison because of blatant injustice by the so-called "Justice" Department...

Two men who continue to stand for justice!

This is a critical time: For Mumia, a pivotal court hearing is scheduled for November 9th in Philadelphia. At stake is whether he will be executed, or granted a new jury trial on the question of the death penalty. For Tarek, this marks the one year anniversary of his arrest, and a critical time to bolster pre-trial support for this Muslim brother, who has been locked up for refusing to be an FBI informant.

Come out to support them!

NOVEMBER 4th @ 7 pm
(next to Ruggles T stop on the Orange Line)

Know your rights and learn more about how our communities can organize to stop federal repression!

*** Film excerpt from "Justice on Trial" *** Legal Updates on Both Cases *** How You Can Support Mumia and Tarek ***
*** Speakers *** Musical Performance *** Food

Free Mumia! Free Tarek! Free them all!

Sponsored by: Free Mumia Coalition, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Movement in Motion Boston/NYC, Tarek Mehanna Support Committee, Jericho Boston, Black Waxx

Mumia Abu Jamal, a renowned journalist for his award- winning reporting on police brutality and blatant injustice in communities of color, has been in prison since 1981 for allegedly shooting and killing Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. Despite a confession from the person who actually shot Faulkner, ballistics evidence proving Mumia's gun was not the gun fired on Faulkner, recanted testimony by several key witnesses in his trial, evidence of blatant police coercion of witness testimony, mishandling of evidence, and an openly racist judge who promised to **help convict** Mumia -- despite all this--Mumia Abu Jamal still sits in prison 29 years later, facing a possible death sentence.

Tarek Mehanna is a respected member of the Muslim community, with a doctorate in pharmacy--a brother, educator, mentor, and friend. For several years Tarek has been a victim of FBI surveillance and harassment. When Tarek consistently refused to be an FBI informant against members of the Muslim community, he was threatened with imprisonment and arrested in 2008. While Tarek was out on bail, FBI agents raided his home and arrested him again on Oct. 21st, 2009 subsequently charging him with "aiding and abetting terrrorism." The only "evidence" against Tarek is that which has been fabricated by paid FBI informants. Tarek Mehanna still sits in prison in solitary confinement, facing a possible life sentence.

You can download a flyer for this event at the following link:

Labels: , , ,

Centro Presente holds 'A New Era of Women in Politics,' a panel discussion

Centro Presente holds 'A New Era of Women in Politics,' a panel discussion to explore ways to increase civic participation and equal political representation of women in politics.

When: Thursday October 28th 2010 at 10:00 A.M.

Where: Nurses Hall, Massachusetts State House, Beacon Street at Park Street, Boston

Boston, MA- As part of 'Our Voices, Our Vote,' a civic participation campaign, Centro Presente is holding 'A New Era of Women in Politics,' a panel discussion to explore ways to increase civic participation and equal political representation of women in politics.

Last year Centro Presente launched a local campaign to encourage Latino immigrants to learn about and participate in the political life of their communities. Through this campaign Centro Presente wants to promote a dialogue between those women active in politics and their peers, especially women of color and from immigrant backgrounds.

Centro Presente is committed to empowering and educating immigrant women through programs which teach about women's participation in politics and policy-making, cultivate leadership skills, and build networks between women participating in politics and women community leaders.

Confirmed panelist are:

Lisa A. Wong
One of 11 female mayors in the State of Massachusetts, Lisa Wong, Mayor of the City of Fitchburg, is also the first Asian female mayor in the State. She is the daughter of Chinese immigrants and is seeking to spark a renaissance of the city of Fitchburg through revitalizing civic life and rebuilding local economic opportunities.

Carol Hardy-Fanta
Current Director of the Center for Women in Politics & Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She is the author of "Latina Politics, Latino Politics: Gender, Culture & Political Participation in Boston."

Jill Stein
Current Green Party candidate for Governor, Dr. Jill Stein is a mother, housewife, physician, longtime teacher of internal medicine, and pioneering environmental-health advocate.

Gloribell Mota
The first Latina to run for State Representative in East Boston, Gloribell worked as the Education and Training Director with the Massachusetts Democratic Party and is now the Lead Organizer with Neighbors United for a Better East Boston (NUBE).

Labels: , ,

ICE Stalks the Streets of East Somerville, MA.

Somerville, MA- Late Thursday evening Centro Presente received a panicked phone call from one of our youth members informing us that ICE agents were at his house. The agents had come for an individual who no longer lived at the apartment building. Although the person they were looking for was not in the building and they showed no search warrant, the ICE agents had gained entry and were now going to each apartment and asking for people's names and identification, which the understandably scared tenants were providing to them. When Centro Presente staff arrived shortly after the agents' departure, we found a family terrorized by this experience and worried about their future.

This story is all too common for the immigrants of Massachusetts. The immigrant community is frequently unaware of their rights and the limits of the power of ICE. No one needs to open a door for any law enforcement officer if they do not have a search warrant. You do not have to speak to any officer without your lawyer present. What ICE does with alarming frequency is abuse the fact that people are unaware of their rights. Late night knocks at the door by groups of men dressed in black are intimidating to anyone, but even more so to the vulnerable families of neighborhoods like East Somerville.

Centro Presente demands that the agents of ICE respect the rights of all people and stop these outrageous abuses of power. We will step up our existing efforts to ensure that our members and the entire Latino immigrant community are aware of their rights and are trained in the proper response to a visit by ICE agents.

Centro Presente is a state-wide, membership-based Latino immigrant organization that advocates for immigrant rights and for economic and social justice through the integration of community organizing, leadership development and basic services.

Join their Mailing List

Labels: ,

2pm Monday RALLY- anti-Columbus, pro-immigrant!

Anti Columbus Day Rally
No Hay Justicia Sin Libertad

Monday October 11
2:00PM - 4:00PM

Corner of Mass. Ave. and Melnea Cass (Outside Hampton Inn)
Mass. Ave. T / Orange Line #1 & #10 Bus to BMC

Stand in Solidarity with the Immigrants & Other Boston Residents Held Captive at the ICE Detention Center & South Bay House of Correction

Labels: , , , ,
All Power to the People