Black Lives Matter

Groups Organize To Shift More Political Power To Miami’s Black And Brown Communities

What’s New With This Story: 

-A gathering of political activist groups gathered at Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens to discuss ways in which more power could be shifted to black and brown communities.  

-The conversation was heavily dominated by the issue of policing.

-Florida has never had an African-American Governor or Senator. 


Watch More: Did this South Florida Entrepreneur Just Invent The Next Tofu? 

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AUDIO: North Miami Police Chief Tells FDLE How Dysfunctional Department Is

In audio recorded during a Florida Department of Law Enforcement interview with North Miami Police Chief Gary Eugene in the aftermath of the Charles Kinsey shooting in July, 2016, Eugene outlined some troubling things about his department.

Eugene who took over as the North Miami Police Chief six days before the shooting of Kinsey made his department sound like a more crooked version of the Keystone Cops.

Some highlights from the audio obtained by the Miami New Times:

The cop who shot Kinsey knew the autistic kid was holding a toy and not a gun

“I [Chief Eugene] heard the shooter, Officer Aledda, make a statement to the nature of, ‘Be advised, I have clear shot [at] subject. Later on, a sergeant … got on the air and said, ‘I have a visual, it is a toy. Is it a toy? QRX.’ That means, ‘Stand by, don’t do anything.’ Then, there is a conversation back and forth. The next transmission was by [another officer saying] ‘Shot fired!’”

The North Miami police are horribly trained

“The scene was a mess, to be honest with you… People were walking all over the place. Thank God [Kinsey] did not die. I realized I have a problem with the training of my staff. We’re talking about some 15- or 16-year veterans, but in North Miami, a 15- or 16-year veteran may have less experience than a two-year cop in Miami.”

Some of the cops don’t like each other very much 

“I find out that that commander who got suspended and Angel Rivera, who was the commander at the scene- they don’t like each other, it is dangerous… I realized there is so much animosity among them that anything I say can be used for the officer against the officer.”

Chief Eugene was worried that his department couldn’t fairly investigate the shooting

“They were more concerned about clearing the officer of any wrong doing than actually conducting an impartial investigation… I realized the chemistry of what was going on. At that time I decided not to talk to anyone…because I have a better picture of what is going on in my department… it is sad but it is the reality.”

City Manager Larry Spring refused to listen to Eugene

“I said, ‘City Manager, I’m telling you, listen to this CD and make a decision based on this CD,'” Eugene said. “[Spring] slapped his hand on the desk and said, ‘You don’t understand what I’m telling you. Get control of your people!'”

Assistant Chief Larry Juriga lied to Eugene

From the Miami New Times story:

“Eugene said he immediately went to Spring and City Attorney Jeff Cazeau with the information. They all agreed to suspend Hollant. But on the drive home, Eugene had second thoughts. He recalled that Juriga and Hollant didn’t get along, so he decided to listen to the audio from the shooting himself. That’s when he realized Juriga had lied.”

The State Attorney’s Office is “Very Close” to coming to a decision on whether to indict Jonathan Aledda 

Ed Griffith, a spokesman for Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle’s office, told the Miami New Times that, “we are very close to coming to a decision” in the case.

A RISE NEWS investigation previously found that the cop who shot Kinsey had not been properly trained for how to deal with people who have developmental disabilities.

In fact, the North Miami police department does not any “specific policies” in terms of how its officers interact with people with disabilities, including autism.

Aledda shot unarmed therapist Charles Kinsey three times in the leg in a North Miami street. Kinsey was in the street trying to help an autistic patient.

Listen to the full interview:

 

READ MORE:

North Miami Police Have “No Specific Policies” For Dealing With People With Disabilities, FOIA Request Finds

This Photo Of 8 Year Old Jada Page’s Mom Lying On Her Grave Should Wake Us All Up About Gun Violence

Jada Page was a typical happy-go-lucky eight year old living life in Miami.

But in late August, she was gunned down in her front yard.

Her father was also shot in the incident and the perpetrators are still on the loose, with little information for the police to go on.

It was a massive local news story in South Florida but her death has since faded into the background.

But this photo might change things a bit.

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The heartbreaking photo shows Jada’s mother, Dominique Brown lying on her daughter’s grave in a near fetal position. The agony on her face only blocked due to the angle.

The photo was posted on Facebook this morning by anti-gun violence activist Tangela Sears.

“Amazing how our Community is quick to switch the subject after a Police shooting in another State,” Sears said in the Facebook post. “I live in Miami and our kids are not being killed by the police, but we seem to be outraged by police shootings.”

Jada’s killers are still on the loose.

She was murdered.

She was eight.

What is this community going to do about it?

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Photo Credit: Tangela Sears

1ne Bullet: The BLM Inspired Non-Profit Working To Prevent Others From Becoming A Hashtag

A Miami-based nonprofit foundation is working to raise awareness about police brutality and anti-black racism through affordable t-shirts.

“Truth is, we’re all one bullet away from being a #hashtag,” is a quote that’s been making its rounds on social media ever since 2014.

It can be seen written on cardboard signs at #BlackLivesMatter protests across the country.

It’s also the quote that inspired Marcus Spady and Paul “JoJo” Ghartey to call their foundation “1ne Bullet” when they established it in July of 2016.

The name is the perfect way to emphasis how quickly black lives seem to end.
If the name isn’t enough to generate interest, then the website certainly will be.

The first thing you notice when you visit www.1nebullet.org is the black and white protest photos, most of which are pretty famous on social media.

You can click through and see photographs of a protester with a chain around his wrist.
Another photo shows a woman holding a sign reading, “Who do you call when cops murder?”

The second thing you’ll notice is that Michael Jackson’s “They Don’t Care About Us” is on auto play, and starts blasting after a few seconds on the home page.

“We are at a time where we must unite in order to bring changes to a system that targets and systemically oppresses Black people in America,” the about us page reads. “America has never been a safe place for Black people and due to recent events, we are at a time of necessary action and a consciousness shift.”

The plan is to unite people through the #ItCouldveBeenMe (ICBM) shirts. The shirts are black and have a very simple design: the wearers’ name on the front with a hashtag next to it and the phrase “It could’ve been me” on the back.

Each shirt is customized to who purchases it: you have to specify a name when you place the order. They are available in sizes small-3XL.

The shirts are $15 flat.

Since 1ne Bullet is a non-profit, the price only covers the cost of manufacture and shipping. According to the 1ne bullet website, any proceeds that could be gained will be donated to charities and families of those who have been affected by police brutality.

Spady and Ghartey, the two men who are guiding the one-month-old foundation, are pretty young themselves.

They are both recent graduates of the University of Miami.

1ne Bullet’s own, co-founder, Marcus Spady with Sybrina Fulton (Trayvon Martin’s Mother) 

A photo posted by 1ne Bullet Foundation (@1nebullet) on

They are also both members of the black Greek organization Kappa Alpha Psi, also commonly referred as the Nupes.

They are two black men in their 20s—a demographic category that is often highlighted in discussions surrounding police brutality and its victims.

“Outraged with the tragedies surrounding the murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of the police, we saw these tragedies as something that we could easily become a victim to, and we wanted a way to give the community a platform in order to reflect on what it means to be Black in America,” the site reads.

The two are common features of the University of Miami’s Kappa Instagram page, and have been photographed alongside members of the University of Miami administration, including university president Julio Frenk.

Spady even has a picture with Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin.

He met her at the Back to School Extravaganza hosted by the Trayvon Martin Foundation.
“Ms. Sybrina loves the idea!” the photo’s caption reads.

Although 1ne Bullet’s social media accounts are still pretty new, it is the main way the word is getting out about the shirts.

The Instagram accounts features a photo of a young woman who had purchased the shirt and customized it with her full name, a sign that the 1ne Bullet team is taking the right steps forward.

There’s also word-of-mouth: another way for Spady and Ghartey to tell as many as possible about their mission.

And if their mission statement rings true, they will be telling the world about 1ne bullet.

“We cannot stand and let one of us become another #hashtag,” the last line reads. “The time is now.”

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Black Lives Matter Group Plans Protest Outside Of Graceland During Elvis Week

By Courtney Anderson

Why Graceland?

Memphis,TN residents and the city’s chapter of the Coalition of Concerned Citizens have planned a Black Lives Matter protest outside of Graceland during Elvis Week.

It’s a bold move that has many questioning its appropriateness.

After all, Graceland is a major tourist attraction for Memphis.

Tourists, both national and international, pay good money to travel to Elvis’s home and participate in Elvis Week impressions, tours and vigils.

Protesting in front of it could potentially cause an economic hit to the attraction.

But maybe that’s the point.

According to a statement released by the Coalition of Concerned Citizens, the protest is a demonstrative rally against the “social injustice, police brutality, and socio-economic disparity” in the city of Memphis.

The socio-economic disparity felt by many in the city is a major concern for local leaders.

According to the group, that’s why Graceland is an appropriate place of action.

“Graceland was chosen as a protest site because it demonstrates one of Memphis’s most common forms of financial inequity,” the group’s statement reads.

Graceland is located right in the center of Whitehaven, a predominantly Black and almost entirely working-class neighborhood.

And while the museum brings in a lot of money, many citizens of Whitehaven don’t see that money being reflected in the state of roads, housing, and places of employment surrounding the house.

Whitehaven is victim to unevenly paved roads with potholes, empty buildings lining the streets and low-wage jobs moving in and only employing a few people.

The city of Memphis has made a promise to revitalize the area.

According to a report from WMC Action News 5, the Memphis City Council advanced a $43 million plan that would “expand and enhance the Whitehaven community.”

“This is Whitehaven, and the people of Whitehaven care about their community,” councilman Harold Collins said during that meeting in 2012.

The reconstruction is set to take place on Elvis Presley Blvd and includes new restaurants, businesses, new light fixtures and repaved roads.

There is also supposed to be a gate to Elvis Presley Blvd from the interstate.

So far, the only project that is underway and near completion is a new 450-room “Guest House” at the Graceland Hotel.

According to WREG News Channel 3, the Guest House cost $92 million and is set to open on October 27, 2016.

A recent Memphis Daily News editorial also claimed that $38.7 million of that money came from a “5 percent tourism surcharge on Graceland tickets and other Graceland items.”

The Graceland estate released a statement saying that those claims were false, and that the Graceland project has not received any money from the city or county.

“All financial risks associated with the construction, completion and continuing operations of expansion projects in Whitehaven will be borne by Graceland and related entities, not the taxpayers of Memphis and Shelby Count,” the statement reads. “The tax incentives for the project are based solely on Graceland’s performance and are site-specific, limited to the Graceland campus.”

Members of the coalition remain skeptical of the benefits of the Guest House to the larger community of Whitehaven.

“Project developers and city officials promised Whitehaven residents the project would be an economic boon to the community but, as has been case for decades, residents have seen little if any of that money ‘trickle down’ into the middle-class neighborhood’s economy. This is not an uncommon story,” the coalition’s statement reads.

That’s why the Graceland protest, named #OperationBlueSuedeShoes, is still a go for 6 p.m. on Monday, August 15, 2016.

Stay with RISE NEWS as we bring you updates to this story as it develops.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Photo Credit: Lindsey Turner/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

American Sailor Says He Had Gun Pulled On Him By Police, Told To “Check His Attitude”

Travis Bridges Jr. is an active duty sailor in the American Navy.

He’s based in Norfolk, VA and played football for Navy in college.

He’s a pretty straight-laced and squared away guy.

So that’s why many people are upset on social media after he posted a story about a run-in  he had with a police officer yesterday in Norfolk.

Here is his full post, which has since gone viral: (Emphasis added is our own)

“My license tag expired yesterday, my dad renewed it for me and took a photo of the information before putting it in the mail.. I was just pulled over for an expired tag, long story short, I had a gun drawn on me for reaching for my phone “in a swift manner” to show him the picture, after I clearly asked him twice if I can reach for it.

The encounter resulted in an hour search of my car while I was handcuffed because “I smell like Marijuana”…His supervisor let me go and thanked me for my compliance but told me to check my attitude because I did not feel comfortable answering all their questions.

I do not smoke, I was on the way home from work(which was on a Naval Warship), nothing in my car has been anywhere near weed since I got it in 09, and I’m clearly shaken that I had a gun about a foot away from my face.

I have all the officers information and the individuals involved will not get away with this, hopefully the Norfolk Police Department has higher standards than these individuals working for them. If anyone has any advice or wants to help, you are more than welcomed to contact me.”

RISE NEWS has reached out both to Bridges and the Norfolk Police Department for further information. We’ll update this story as we get more information. 

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Travis Bridges/ Facebook

North Miami Police Have “No Specific Policies” For Dealing With People With Disabilities, FOIA Request Finds

A public records request from RISE NEWS has found that the North Miami police department does not any “specific policies” in terms of how its officers interact with people with disabilities, including autism.

We first requested the information on July 25th and were emailed the findings today.

The request was prompted by the police shooting of unarmed therapist Charles Kinsey three times in the leg in a North Miami street.

The officer who shot Kinsey, Jonathan Aledda was apparently aiming at Kinsey’s autistic patient according to the Miami-Dade police union president.

The shooting made national headlines and brought the issue of racial bias and violence against disabled people into the fore.

In responding to our request of any and all policies and procedures that the North Miami police department may have in dealing with people with disabilities, Major Franzia Brea said that “There are no specific policies regarding this topic.”

You can see for yourself:

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 1.31.33 PM

 

While this new disclosure underscores the fact that North Miami has no specific policies dealing with people with disabilities, that doesn’t mean that their officers aren’t familiar with the issue.

North Miami police spokeswoman Natalie Buissereth told RISE NEWS that roughly 85% to 95% of North Miami officers have received Crisis Intervention Team Policing training (CIT).

CIT is often cited by police departments as a top local training method for officers to learn how to deal with people with mental illnesses.

Of course mental illness and developmental disability are two different things.

The CIT training only includes a small section (one page) about Autism and other developmental disabilities.

jonathan-aledda

North Miami Police Officer Jonathan Aledda.

While the CIT training may be lacking, at least it is something.

READ MORE: Unclear Whether Cop Who Shot Charles Kinsey, And Almost Shot Autistic Man Was Properly Trained

But it is not at all clear that Aledda even received CIT training.

His personnel jacket does not include information regarding the training.

“If you don’t see it, it’s not there,” Buissereth said of Aledda’s missing CIT training certificate in his personnel jacket.

While much of the focus of the shooting has rightly been focused on Charles Kinsey, perhaps we should start asking why our police officers aren’t being properly trained on how to deescalate situations with people who have disabilities.

READ MORE: Autistic Lives Matter Too

Do you have a news tip about excessive police force involving people with disabilities? Send us a news tip to editor@risenews.net. 

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Meet The 18 Year Old Who Is Leading Black Lives Matter Miami

Miami is not known as a politically active city. Civic engagement is not exactly our strong suit.

But with issues regarding racial injustice and police brutality highlighted in the news lately, even sleepy Miami is starting to wake up.

At the forefront of that social awakening is an unlikely figure- an 18-year-old girl named Emmanuella Enemor, who just graduated from high school a few months ago.

Enemor is one of the main driving forces behind Black Lives Matter Miami.

We first met her at a rally she helped organize in front of the North Miami police station.

The event was not heavily attended, maybe a few dozen, but it sent a message to local authorities that people were not going to forget about the shooting of Charles Kinsey.

Emmanuella Enemor, the recent high school graduate at the heart of Black Lives Matter Miami.

Emmanuella Enemor, the recent high school graduate at the heart of Black Lives Matter Miami.

“We want to see that this guy doesn’t come back to us,” Enemor said of the officer who shot Kinsey, an unarmed black therapist who was shot three times when he tried to talk his autistic patient out of the middle of a North Miami street. “It might be a stretch that we want him convicted but at the very least, we don’t want him working here.”

Enemor lives in the southern portion of Miami-Dade County but has been rapt on the news coming out of North Miami.

Read More: Unclear Whether Cop Who Shot Charles Kinsey, And Almost Shot Autistic Man Was Properly Trained

“I see the things happening and it doesn’t sit well with me,” Enemor, a graduate of Ronald Reagan High School in Doral said. “I’m black so it’s a problem that affects me directly.”

Enemor said that she felt limited as to what she could do in terms of advocacy in high school but now has a new outlook.

She’ll be attending Howard University in the fall, but in the meantime she is working to get Miami more engaged in matters of racial injustice.

She has been involved in organizing rallies and marches in Miami and in coordinating efforts online.

“We’re just trying to start passion and heart here in Miami,” Enemor said. “It’s been going pretty well.”

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Emmanuella Enemor/ Facebook

Unclear Whether Cop Who Shot Charles Kinsey, And Almost Shot Autistic Man Was Properly Trained

The personnel jacket of North Miami police officer Jonathan Aledda does not include information regarding whether he was properly trained to interact with people with developmental disabilities like Autism, a RISE NEWS investigation found.

Aledda has come to national attention after he shot unarmed therapist Charles Kinsey three times in the leg last week in a North Miami street.

The Miami-Dade police union president said that Aledda was not trying to shoot Kinsey, but rather his autistic patient named Arnaldo Eliud Rios.

The jacket, which was released by the police department last week details Aledda’s history as a police officer in the city of North Miami.

It also shows some of the trainings Aledda received.

Notably missing from the document is any indication that Aledda received Crisis Intervention Team Policing training (CIT) from the Eleventh Circuit Court.

CIT is often cited by police departments as a top local training method for officers to learn how to deal with people with mental illnesses.

The training also includes a small section (one page) about Autism and other developmental disabilities.

North Miami police spokeswoman Natalie Buissereth said that roughly 85% to 95% of North Miami officers have received CIT training.

“If you don’t see it, it’s not there,” Buissereth said of Aledda’s missing CIT training certificate in his personnel jacket.

READ: Personnel Jacket Of The Cop Who Shot Charles Kinsey

However, Buissereth also said in a phone interview with RISE NEWS, that she would follow up to double check whether Aledda was CIT trained.

Calls to the CIT office have not been returned.

According to information found on the Eleventh Circuit website, CIT officers are pretty important.

“CIT officers respond to crisis calls involving possible mental health issues,” a frequently asked question page about the program says. “They evaluate and de-escalate potentially volatile situations and as necessary transport individuals suffering from a mental illness to community-based facilities for evaluation, treatment, and referrals, instead of subjecting them to immediate arrest when appropriate.”

WATCH: RISE NEWS report from the scene of the Charles Kinsey shooting

Aledda’s personnel jacket paints him as an ambitious and talented young officer who is always volunteering for extra responsibilities.

“Officer Aledda reports to work with a clean and pressed uniform,” A performance evaluation from June of 2016 reads. “He represents a good image for his peers and employees to follow.”

While it is not clear whether Aledda was trained in how to deescalate stations with people who have developmental disabilities, his personnel jacket does show that he is trained in a number of other areas, including as a member of the SWAT team and as a volunteer member of the Strategic Action for Enhanced Enforcement and High Intense Visibility and Enforcement teams.

According to a performance review from August 2014, Aledda “productivity” is “consistently substantially above his peers.”

For example, in July of 2014, Aledda conducted 26 arrests, answered 82 calls for service and issued 138 traffic citations.

For comparions sake, 1 out of every 68 people are autistic.

 

READ: Personnel Jacket Of The Cop Who Shot Charles Kinsey

The North Miami Police Department has released the personnel jacket of officer Jonathan Aledda, the man who shot Charles Kinsey three times in the leg last week.

Here is the document:

 

North Miami Officer Jonathan Aledda Personnel Jacket by Rich on Scribd

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