******* Will the cop who killed Reefa be allowed to stand his ground too?
By Subhash Kateel
This past week another young man from Miami with a promising life was cut down needlessly. Another mother is left to mourn her son while spending the next several holidays staring at an empty chair. Another group of friends will reflect in the past tense about a friend that is no longer with them. And yet again, another killer will likely walk the street, spend holidays with his family and hang out with his friends. This time the killer will probably even get his job back…as a Miami Beach Police Officer.
By now you probably know that young man’s name is not Trayvon Martin, it is Israel Henandez-Llach. His friends and Twitter call him Reefa. He was killed Tuesday after police caught him spray-painting an “R” on the wall of a vacant MacDonald’s in North Beach (where most people are familiar with the building’s abandoned-ness and ugliness). Several police chased the 18 year-old for ten minutes before catching up to him and tasing him to death, reportedly to avoid “physically restraining him.”
There are plenty of differences between Reefa and the also-needlessly dead Travyon Martin. Reefa was originally from Colombia, Trayvon was born and raised in Miami. Reefa was 18 when he died, Trayvon was 17. Trayvon’s killer was a neighborhood watchman while Reefa’s killer is Miami Beach Police veteran Jorge Mercado. Trayvon was never accused of a crime when Zimmerman started following him, Reefa was tagging a vacant building when cops started chasing him, a crime many consider an art form. But the similarities are just as important to note. Like Trayvon, legions of Miamians loved Reefa. In both cases, there is plenty in the law to charge and convict the killers of both teenagers, but the system is stacked against either ever seeing a day in prison. Finally, the way the public responds to both teenagers’ deaths has the potential to change the system so that no young person will ever again meet their fate.
As I have said a million times before, Florida law, however flawed it may be, does not allow a person who provokes a conflict to categorically claim self defense as George Zimmerman did. He should have never been able to claim he stood his ground. But the system (the police, prosecutors, judge and jury) never followed the law as it is written. The law In Israel’s case even more clear, yet the system is not used to treating law enforcement officers as if the laws they enforce should ever apply to them. In other words, officers who act above the law have almost always been allowed to do what Zimmerman did, claim they are standing their ground even when they aren’t.
Florida State law, (the same set of statutes that contain Stand Your Ground) clearly says that an officer is justified in using force in three circumstances:
1. [In] which he or she reasonably believes [it] to be necessary to defend himself or herself or another from bodily harm while making the arrest;
2. When necessarily committed in retaking felons who have escaped; or
3. When necessarily committed in arresting felons fleeing from justice…
The Miami Beach Police Department’s own guidelines say that the first five factors an officer is suppose to consider when using force are:
1. Seriousness of the crime committed;
2. Size, age and weight;
3. Apparent physical ability;
4. Weapons possessed by or available;
5. Known history of violence
Additionally, their guidelines for when an “Electronic Control Device” (X26 Taser) is to be used on humans (as opposed to animals) is limited to when:
a. The subject is not in the physical control of the officer yet posses a threat; (misspelling is theirs, I assume it is meant to read “poses”)
b. The officer, based on objective reasonableness, perceives an imminent threat of physical force against himself, other persons, property or self-inflicted injury; “
Reefa’s detractors declare that he was a criminal who tagged a privately owned building, however objectively ugly and abandoned it may be, and therefore was asking for it. But the likely crime he was being chased down for was a misdemeanor (punishable by few months in jail and a fine) not a felony as the law kind of indicates it should be if police are going to use force. Furthermore, by all accounts, Reefa stood about 5 foot 6,weighed 150 pounds and “hardly posed a threat to anyone.” He had no weapons and no criminal history. Under no objective measure can it be said that he was a threat to several well-armed police officers who allegedly high-fived each other as his tased body laid dying in the street.
Those are the facts based on the law and on the Miami Beach Police Department’s own policies. With those facts there is enough evidence for the Miami Dade State Attorney (prosecutor) Katherine Fernandez Rundle to file criminal charges against Officer Jorge Mercado immediately. There is enough evidence for the US Attorney in Miami (a federal prosecutor)Wilfredo Ferrer to file Federal criminal charges against Mercado immediately. There is also enough evidence for the Miami Beach Police Chief, Raymond Martinez, to fire Mercado immediately. Every minute that goes by that none of these things happen is a minute in which the agencies that are tasked with upholding the law are failing at their jobs.
In the coming weeks there is bound to be a plethora of spin, excuses and justification for why the man who murdered Reefa is not a really murderer, why Reefa is not really a victim and why his killing was not really illegal. People will talk about how safe Tasers are as opposed to real guns, even though over 500 people have been killed by them since 2001, more than have been killed in mass shootings in the same period. The officers will likely claim that they felt threatened by Reefa, even though their alleged actions seem to indicate the opposite. Prosecutors will likely say that the law prevents them from charging Mercado, even though the letter of the law disagrees. Lastly, there is bound to be tons of Internet trolls that cast Reefa as a thug and the Cop who killed him as a hero. The loved ones, friends and supporters of Reefa should acknowledge all of these things for what they are, excuses for murder, and prepare themselves for the long fight for justice.
Translation found in Athens Indymedia: https://athens.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=el&article...85197
Following the contributions of each of the speakers, there will be a Q&A session. A number of Saor Eire veterans will be in attendance and hopefully will take part in the discussion. These include Frank Keane -Des Keane and Liam Sutcliffe.Event date and time: Thu, 2013-09-12 19:30
Just a pure essence of the Israeli settler colonialist rational: State responds to two High Court petitions to stop planned evacuation of eight villages in south Hebron hills (of the occupied west bank). "Israel: Eviction of 1,300 Palestinians necessary to save IDF time, money" see From the Israeli daily http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-...39057 The Bedouin struggle refute the claim that within the 1948 borders Israel is a normal state. The joint struggle of the anarchists against the wall with the Palestinian popular grass root comities against the separation fence and colonialist settlers encroachment on their spaces is a constant call out for international action of solidarity - not for "the national liberation of the self determination of statehood" of the Palestinian elite, but for the end of occupation and transfer of the Palestinian People. [http://www.anarkismo.net/article/26046]
After putting much of our efforts in the cross Canada Speaking Tour on Combative Unionism, a debate on Combative unionism took place inside and outside of Prairie Struggle giving way to PSO's first position paper. In this position paper we hope to contribute to the relevant work and theoretical development that has been done or is already underway. We salute our comrades within the revolutionary left that are active in undermining bureaucratic control over working class power.
On May 29, Dr. Henry Morgentaler, renowned for the key role he played in the abortion movement in Canada, died at 90 years old. Morgentaler, a Holocaust survivor who moved to Canada in the 1950's, used legal and illegal avenues to contend with anti-abortion laws that had been in place since the passing of the nation's first criminal code in 1892. In 1969 Morgentaler defied this law to open up an abortion clinic in Montreal, the first of a series of abortion clinics in major Canadian cities. These clinics became the target of twenty years worth of aggression and legal battles, until January 1988, when the Supreme Court of Canada struck down Canada's existing abortion laws as unconstitutional—citing violation of section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms for infringing upon a woman's right to "life, liberty and security of person."
The Movement for Justice in El Barrio was founded by immigrants and low-income people of color of East Harlem to fight for dignity and against neoliberal displacement.
Movement operates on a commitment to self-determination, autonomy, and participatory democracy.
Driven by multi-national corporations and profit-seeking landlords,and facilitated by city officials, gentrification has swept New York City, causing the wholesale displacement of low-income people of color and immigrants from their communities. East Harlem is experiencing a wave of harassment, abuse, and intimidation as greedy landlords attempt to evict the community from their homes in order to raise rents and increase profits. With over 750 members, Movement has gone door-to-door, building-to-building, and block-to-block to organize with their fellow neighbors to build a neighborhood-wide movement for dignity and justice.
By a Common Cause Toronto member
On the eve of International Women’s Day, so-called men’s rights advocates at the University of Toronto hosted an event confronting women’s studies and academic feminism. This was a follow-up to their event in November featuring self-proclaimed ex-feminist Warren Farrell, author of the book the Myth of Male Power. Warren Farrell is best known for his statements about women making false accusations of rape and his argument that incest can be a positive experience, if only women were not socialized to be victims. Though figures like this, who have written that, “before we called this date rape and date fraud, we called it exciting”, make it tempting to point to these inflammatory quotes to justify our outrage at these groups, it is their fundamental discourse that we must contend with.
By Richard R
It has been over a month since the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) held their one-day protest of the provincial Liberal Party leadership convention, mobilizing some 15,000 people on the streets of Toronto and then sending them all home again around 4:00 PM. The protest was part of the trade union response to Bill 115, which enabled the provincial government to circumvent collective bargaining and mandate the terms of new “collective agreements”. Within the bill were draconian provisions for any attempt to challenge the legislation, through the courts or in the workplace. It is worth noting that while the union leadership were pushing for this day of action, they were also cynically hedging their bets in the form of thousands of dollars in union dues being funnelled into contributions to Liberal leadership candidates. In one case $10,000 was donated to Eric Hoskins, a leadership contender who had in fact voted in favour of Bill 115.
By Tammy Lee
On the early evening of January 28th protestors gathered outside of the Grand Valley Institution for Women (GVI), a federal prison in Kitchener, ON. Approximately 30 people came out to show their support for the women inside, and to draw attention to the ongoing abuse at the institution, which in recent months has garnered substantial media attention in the wake of a drugs-for-sex scandal.
By Paul M
The IWW and members of Common Cause Toronto have been hitting the picket lines in support of striking refuelers employed by Porter Fixed Base Operations (FBO) at the Toronto Island airport. The strike has been bravely fought by a mere 22 workers fed up with unsafe working conditions and low wages. Injuries due to poor training and heavy turnover have not been uncommon, and the workers currently earn an abysmally low 12 dollars an hour. As the workers continue their fight against their bosses at Porter, anarchists must keep up the support until the dispute is won.