Exposing how tasers, when abused, can become a high tech torture instrument.
Asking the question should
the penalty for resisting arrest be death?
Our plan, to track all incidents of taser torture against black folks....
Have you or a member of your family ever been tasered by the police? Was it reported in the newspaper, police report, or other news outlet? Write: TasedWhileBlack@gmail.com and tell us what happened. Want to make a donation to Tasered While Black? Write us at: TasedWhileBlack@gmail.com We will be glad to hear from you.
Friday, May 22, 2015
More taser Torture in America this time from Fredricksburg, Maryland.
Hat Tip to the Fredrickburg Police Department for firing this cop.
It appears that Tyler Perry was a victim of racial profiling when he was stopped by city police last month.
Lets call it the way it really was, it looks like Tyler Perry could have been about 5 seconds from being shot by Atlanta Police or being Tasered While Black.
Yes, and this could have turned into Tyler Perry being "Tasered While Black." folks. Tammy Joyner over at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting on how the Atlanta police are investigating a racial profiling allegation by the filmmaker
Get this, here is what Tammy Joyner over at the Atlanta Journal had to say:
According to Perry, police said he made an illegal turn when he turned left from the right lane. He was driving a car with tinted windows after leaving his southwest Atlanta studios near Greenbriar Mall. Perry said he made the maneuver to determine whether he was being followed.
Perry, named the highest paid entertainer by Forbes magazine, wrote on his Facebook fan page Sunday that he was “badgered” by two white police officers. Perry, who is black, said he was left shaken after one officer banged on the passenger side window to get him to roll it down and the other officer tried to turn off the car engine.
The two officers who stopped Perry did not recognize him, Perry wrote on Facebook, and questioned why he felt he might be followed. It was not until a third officer, who is black, arrived, recognized Perry and told his colleagues of Perry’s celebrity status that tensions apparently subsided. Perry was not issued a ticket.
Perry did not file a formal complaint with APD but wrote of the incident on Facebook, which received about 20,000 comments as of Wednesday. Repeated attempts by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution to get details from Perry’s publicist were unsuccessful.
A spokesman for the Atlanta Police Department confirmed that Perry was stopped by two of its officers. The matter has been turned over to APD’s Office of Professional Standards to see whether any department policies or procedures were violated, APD spokesman Carlos Campos said.
Examples of racial profiling include the use of race to determine which drivers to stop for minor traffic violations, commonly referred to as “driving while black or brown,” according to the American Civil Liberties Union’s website. Read more at ajc.com
There is more: According to eonline.com Tyler Perry says he was a victim of some not-so-civil treatment by Atlanta police.
An internal investigation has been launched into the filmmaker and TV producer's claim that two officers acted hostilely toward him during a traffic stop because he is black, and only relented when a black officer showed up and apparently recognized Perry, E! News confirmed Wednesday.
So, what does Perry have to say about the incident?
The Good Deeds director described his version of events in detail on his Facebook page on Sunday, writing that he was driving to the airport from his Atlanta-area studio without his usual security detail and was pulled over for making a left turn from a right lane—a maneuver he attempted to ensure he wasn't being followed.
According to Perry, the officer who approached his window asked, "Why do you think someone would be following you?" After which, he wrote, another cop banged on the passenger-side window.
The second officer, Perry wrote, asked, "What's wrong with you?" and when the driver's-side officer explained that Perry thought he might be followed, the officer repeated, "Why do you think someone is following you? What's wrong with you?"
Before he could answer, Perry recounted, the driver's-side officer ordered him to put his foot on the brake, then reached for the car's on/off switch.
"I finally realized that he thought that switch was the key," Perry wrote, "so I told him that it wasn't the key he was grabbing. I reached down into the cup holder to get the key, not realizing that the key had a black leather strap on it. As I grabbed it they both tensed up and I dropped it as I heard my mother's voice from when I was a little boy.
"My mother would always say to me, 'If you get stopped by the police, especially if they are white policemen, you say "yes sir" and "no sir," and if they want to take you in, you go with them. Don't resist, you hear me? Don't make any quick moves, don't run, you just go.'"
Perry claims that the officers continued to badger him about why he might be followed
"It was so hostile. I was so confused," he wrote. "It was happening so fast that I could easily see how this situation could get out of hand very quickly. I didn't feel safe at all. But one officer stopped his questioning and said, 'We may not let you go. You think you're being followed, what's wrong with you?' At this point, I told him that I wanted to get out of the car. I wanted the passersby to see what was happening."
MORE: The Richest Guy in Hollywood Is Not Who You Think
When he got out, Perry wrote, another cop pulled up—a black cop—and "took one look" at Perry, "an 'oh no' look on his face."
"He immediately took both officers to the back of my car and spoke to them in a hushed tone," he continued. "After that, one of the officers stayed near his car while one came back, very apologetic. I said all of that to say this: do you see how quickly this could have turned for the worse?"
"RACIAL PROFILING SHOULD BE A HATE CRIME INVESTIGATED BY THE FBI!!!" Perry concluded.
The Atlanta Police Department said in a statement to E! News that they have confirmed that Perry was involved in a traffic stop with two officers and that his claims, "as expressed by him publicly," have been referred to the department's Office of Professional Standards.
"OPS has opened an investigation to determine if Mr. Perry's claims can be substantiated, and whether any departmental policies or procedures were violated during the stop," police said.
Dion Lefler over at the Wichita Eagle is reporting on how Black people are five to six times as likely as white people to have Tasers used on them by Wichita police, according to city statistics released Monday.
More black people than white people were stunned with Tasers in the first seven months of 2010, the most recent statistics immediately available.
Police Chief Norman Williams said he thinks the numbers don't necessarily show that officers are more likely to use a Taser on black suspects than white suspects.
"It doesn't matter what race or gender you are, if you comply with the officer, you're not going to get tased," he said.
According to the U.S. Census, black people make up 11.5 percent of the city population.
Over the past five years, since Tasers were introduced into the police arsenal, 42.2 percent of people they've been used on are black, city records show.
Non-Hispanic white people make up 64.5 percent of the city population and 46 percent of the people who were stunned with Tasers, the records show.
The race statistics were part of a larger report presented Monday to the City Manager's Review Board, a panel appointed to try to build trust between police and residents.
In addition to the report, the board received information on the medical effects of Tasers and a demonstration of the usually nonlethal weapon, which fires darts attached by wires to a high-voltage electrical source. A person hit with Taser darts generally loses the ability to resist officers until the current is cut.
The report showed that in 2007, the city's record year for Taser usage, the weapon was used on 556 white people and 475 black people. That gap has been narrowing ever since.
In 2008, Tasers were used on 431 white people and 386 black people.
In 2009, they were used on 119 white people and 113 black people.
And for the period in 2010 from Jan. 1 until July 22, where the city records stopped, Tasers had been used on 54 black people, compared with 52 white people.
Sgt. Robert Bolin, who briefed the Review Board, said after the meeting that nearly all cases of Taser usage are in response to calls of a crime in progress and that police have no control over the racial breakdown of the people involved, be they suspects, victims or witnesses.
"We have no control over who decides to resist and who doesn't," he said.
The records also show that Taser use has declined dramatically since peaking in 2007, a year after the weapons were introduced in Wichita.
Black people in Denver are pissed over the killing over a black man in a zoo with a taser by police. As reported by the Denver Post. black religious leaders Saturday questioned how the coroner could rule the death of a man at the Denver Zoo a homicide without any criminal charges being filed.
"There is a lot of concern and a lot of talk about a double standard with law enforcement," said Fidel "Butch" Montoya, founder of the Latino Ministerial Alliance in Greater Metro Denver.
Montoya and several other pastors, including the Rev. Leon Emerson, president of the Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance, met with city officials including City Attorney Douglas Friednash on Saturday afternoon at Agape Christian Church. The meeting came a day after Dr. John Carver of the coroner's office announced that the July 18 death of Alonzo Ashley was a homicide and District Attorney Mitch Morrissey said he would not file criminal charges.
Friednash explained that homicide is one of five terms used to categorize a death — along with suicide, accidental, natural and undetermined — and that it has a different meaning than the legal term homicide.
"We hear the word homicide and it conjures up images," said Friednash. However, it is a medical term and does not address whether actions taken are justified, he said, adding, "I'm disappointed in the use of the term 'homicide' " in Ashley's case." In an interview Friday, Morrissey said actions taken by police officers, zoo security officers and bystanders to subdue a highly combative Ashley were all justified.
"This clearly is not a homicide under Colorado law," said Morrissey, further explaining that the coroner did not attribute the death to any particular cause. In fact, the autopsy mentions that Ashley's actions contributed to his death, he said.
Ashley died July 18 after an incident in which witnesses said he claimed to be a lion and assaulted zoo staff and police. Officers said Ashley bit them before they stunned him with a Taser. He began convulsing and stopped breathing.
Although invited to the meeting, Morrissey had a prior commitment and said he will meet with the pastors later this week. Read more at the denverpost.com
As reported the blog African American Pundit, this blog Tasered While Black and CounterPunch.org, the nyclu.org is reporting that Police officers throughout New York State are consistently misusing and overusing Tasers. Yes, according to a report released today by the New York Civil Liberties Union NY Police have gone taser crazy!
The report, Taking Tasers Seriously: The Need for Better Regulation of Stun Guns in New York, analyzes 851 Taser incident reports from eight police departments across the state as well as 10 departments’ policies and guidelines for using the weapons, which deliver up to 50,000 volts of electricity and have caused the deaths of more than a dozen New Yorkers in recent years.
The NYCLU’s analysis found that an absence of sound policies, training and guidelines to direct the lawful use of Tasers is contributing to the disturbing pattern of misuse and overuse of the weapons and putting New Yorkers at risk.
“Our analysis shows that police officers are using Tasers in inappropriate, irresponsible and downright deadly manner,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “This disturbing pattern of misuse and abuse endangers lives. Law enforcement agencies that choose to use Tasers must adopt clear and effective policies governing their use, and they must do so without delay.”
Among the NYCLU’s findings:
Nearly 60 percent of reported Taser incidents did not meet expert-recommended criteria that limit the weapon’s use to situations where officers can document active aggression or a risk of physical injury.
Fifteen percent of incident reports indicated clearly inappropriate Taser use, such as officers shocking people who were already handcuffed or restrained.
Only 15 percent of documented Taser incidents involved people who were armed or who were thought to be armed, belying the myth that Tasers are most frequently used as an alternative to deadly force.
More than one-third of Taser incidents involved multiple or prolonged shocks, which experts link to an increased risk of injury and death.
More than a quarter of Taser incidents involved shocks directly to subjects’ chest area, despite explicit warnings by the weapon’s manufacturer that targeting the chest can cause cardiac arrest.
In 75 percent of incidents, no verbal warnings were reported, despite expert recommendations that verbal warnings precede Taser firings.
40 percent of the Taser incidents analyzed involved at-risk subjects, such as children, the elderly, the visibly infirm and individuals who are seriously intoxicated or mentally ill.
People of color are overwhelmingly represented in Taser incidents. Of all incidents in which race was recorded, 58 percent involved blacks or Latinos.
With the exception of the NYPD’s Taser guidelines, the policies studied do not comply with the recommendations of national law enforcement experts that have developed model policies for Taser use. The vast majority of the law enforcement agencies appear to rely exclusively on training materials provided by TASER International, the weapon’s manufacturer—an approach that experts widely condemn.
I have been meaning to report on a number of police taser torture incidents in the color aroused and bigoted state of Georgia.
Take for instance the taser torture at the hands of Georgia’s Effingham Police.
Police video shows two of their cops sucker punching and attacking a Black man while in his car. Then comes the taser torture!
As reported by The Light NC.com Bernard Wallace was on his way home with brother Calvin Lee, when the police pulled them over on a routine traffic stop. While Lee and Wallace were arguing in the car, the police approached with guns drawn. Lee attempted to drive off while Wallace tried to cooperate. Wallace ended up being tasered and physically attacked by the police officers.
That's not the only incident. Check out this one out of Powder Springs, Georgia:
This one was out of Powder Springs, Georgia. Check this out, police are (so-called) investigating a man's claims that an officer grabbed his genitals and shocked him with a stun gun during a traffic stop, Channel 2 Action News reported last week.
"It was very frightening," 23-year-old Brice Wilson told Channel 2.
As reported by the AJC, Wilson said the officer pulled him over at the intersection of Old Austell Road and Atlanta Street because his license plate light was out. The officer then asked Wilson to step out of his vehicle because he smelled marijuana. Wilson denied having any marijuana and none was ever found, the report said.
After the officer called for backup, the dashcam video of the incident appears to show the officer grabbing Wilson's genitals while searching him. Wilson grabbed the officer's hand before being put into a chokehold and subdued by both officers. The officers said they used a stun gun because Wilson wouldn't be still. Wilson still faces a resisting arrest charge, the report said.
"Once we became aware of the incident we immediately launched an internal affairs investigation," Maj. Matt Boyd told Channel 2. More HERE
Black men and the homeless are being Tasered to Death throughout America. As reported today in the csmonitor.com, a naked man on drugs died in Wisconsin this weekend, after police used a Taser stun gun to subdue him. A student died at the University of Cincinnati after balling his fists and getting tasered by police. A man high on drugs in Manassas, Va., also died this weekend after police tasered him as he escaped, partially handcuffed, after punching an officer and a firefighter. Read more at: csmonitor.com.
All three deaths are being investigated. One of the departments, the University of Cincinnati Police Department, has suspended the use of Tasers by its officers. About 15,000 US police departments, including 29 of the nation's 33 largest cities, use a total of 260,000 Tasers. The devices have been the objects of controversy since first being deployed broadly in the 1990s.
It's been a long time since updating this website. We apologize for the time lapse in our reporting of the hundreds of Taser Tortures in America.
At this time we have to give a big shout out and soul clap to the family of the late Darryl Wayne Turner, who was killed by a Taser shock that was fired by a police officer in 2008. We are thankful that the family filed a lawsuit against the Taser maker, Taser International back on Tuesday, March 16, 2010. The good news, They Won! In the name of their late son Darryl Wayne Turner.
The complaint was brought by Devoid Turner and Tammy Lou Fontenot, the parents of Darryl Turner, who was 17 when he died in a supermarket in Charlotte after being shot in the chest by a Taser Model X26 electronic control device on March 20, 2008.
According to the Taser death lawsuit, the manufacturer was negligent in failing to warn law enforcement that shooting their stun gun weapons into the chest of a subject could cause cardiac arrest.
Following trial in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, a federal jury awarded $10 million in damages. More HERE
Darryl Turner died after a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officer shot him with his Taser in an attempt subdue him. The officer used the Taser to stun Turner for 37 seconds, after which he ceased moving. The officer stunned the unresponsive Turner again for five more seconds for refusing to put his hands behind his back. According to testimony by the Mecklenburg County medical examiner, Turner was not on drugs nor did he have any signs of heart disease prior to the incident.
The lawsuit contended that Taser International did not warn its users that if a person is Tased near the chest that the outcome could be lethal. The suit centers around Darryl Wayne Turner, 17, who was killed on March 20, 2008 after being shocked by a police officer at a Food Lion store, where Turner had worked, located at Posterity Church Road. Police officials were reportedly called to the store after a Food Lion store manager asked him to leave and he refused.
An autopsy revealed that the 17-year-old’s “heart was pumping so fast and chaotically from the stress of the confrontation and the Taser shot that it stopped pumping blood properly.” An investigation determined that Dawson violated the department’s policy by holding the trigger of the Taser for 37 seconds. Dawson was subsequently suspended for five days without pay and had to complete extra training. Turner’s family received $625,000 from the city of Charlotte in August, in which the city did not admit any wrongdoing. The payout was the largest police-related claim the city has had in 10-years. Read more at Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for personal injury lawyers.
OK, This case is not about the Tasering. But it so so bad, that I had to post it on this blog.
Why are black bloggers, the afrospear, the afrosphere, black news outlets, black media, Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights, Progressive White Bloggers, Black Journalist, Black Investigative Reporters, Old School Civil Rights Icons, Black Activist, The National office of the NAACP and yes, major news outlets not talking about or investigating the death of Billey Joe Johnson, Jr.?
Why is the U.S. Department of justice not investigating this 21st century Civil Rights Crime or better yet, human rights crime? Maybe if the family of Billey Joe Johnson had an open casket, and Jet Magazine had a copy of the photo in its magazine people would have been outraged. Yes, maybe a public funeral service with an open casket to show the world the brutality of the killing would have worked. But that didn't happen, there was not tens of thousands attending Billey Joe Johnson's funeral or viewing his casket and images of his mutilated body were not published in black magazines, black blogs and black newspapers. No, no rallying black support and white sympathy across the US for Billey Joe Johnson.
OK, well act like this picture is a picture of Billey Joe Johnson and not Emitt Till. But it's not 1955, this happened, yes, again in Mississippi in 2009.
This gruesome photo of Emmett Till helped spark the civil rights movement. It demonstrated the brutality of southern violence towards African-Americans, and created outrage across the nation. Emmett's mother, Mamie, insisted at his funeral that he be given an open-casket, so others could see what they had done to her boy. Photo Courtesy of the Chicago Defender
Billy Joe Johnson - A Foul Play? The Killing of Billy Joe Johnson in Mississippi
UPDATE: The Killing of Billey Joe Johnson in Mississippi
You remember the story about Billy Joe Johnson, star running back for George County High, Mississippi, who died on a December morning in deep Mississippi alleged by a "self-inflicted" gunshot wound during a traffic stop.
Johnson, hailing from Jackson, Miss., rushed for more than 1,500 yards his last season, totaling over 4,000 for his career, and received scholarship offers from a number of major schools including Alabama, LSU and Mississippi as a top-rated recruit by both Scout and Rivals.
It's not clear why 17-year-old Billey Joe Johnson was stopped in Lucedale, but authorities say the junior tailback shot himself with a shotgun after the deputy walked back to the patrol car to run a license check.
"The deputy was sitting in his patrol vehicle ... when he heard a gunshot and saw the victim laying on the ground by the driver's side door of the vehicle that Johnson was driving. A shotgun was lying on the victim," according to a statement from the George County Sheriff's Department.
Authorities would not immediately say whether they believed the shooting was a suicide or an accident.
The last portion of that quote is particularly perplexing, because it is hard to believe that Johnson would have attempted to pull a shotgun on police officers ...although equally confounding is the notion that Johnson would kill himself at what, according to all current reports, appears to be a basic traffic stop.
Nothing is ever certain, but this story appears to be so odd, at least in the manner of death, that it would be even more shocking if further details didn't at least emerge as to why the young man apparently panicked and pulled a gun that resulted in the tragic and early end to his life. More MORE
Many in the black community suspect foul play.
Billey Joe Johnson Sr. has a difficult time accepting the police department’s explanation of his son’s death. “They must have tortured my baby,” he says.
(Dan Wetzel/Yahoo! Sports)
As reported by yahoo sports local authorities stopped Billey Joe for a traffic violation on the morning of Dec. 8, and they say the truck is simply the site of a terrible tragedy. But to the elder Johnson, it’s a crime scene. Nearly two months later, only one fact is certain: Instead of running out of George County as a football hero, Billey Joe was buried beneath it at the age of 17.
The George County Sheriff’s Department claims that on that fateful morning, Billey Joe attempted to break into the home of an on-again, off-again girlfriend in the nearby city of Lucedale. According to the sheriff’s department, he left the scene and ran a red light at 5:34 a.m. After a 1½-mile pursuit, Billey Joe got out of his truck, met sheriff’s deputy Joe Sullivan and handed over his license. Then Billey Joe returned to his truck, put a 12-gauge shotgun he used to target deer to his head and committed suicide. It was 5:40 a.m.
Sullivan’s patrol car was not equipped with a camera, and his is the only account of the event. Billey Joe’s friends and family don’t believe the story.
Billey Joe was black. Sullivan is white. The case, as such, is shrouded by race in this small community in the Deep South. Everyone wants answers. No one is getting them. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and the local district attorney – the two bodies in charge of the case – have issued neither a ruling nor many pertinent details.
Tony Lawrence, the district attorney running the state’s investigation, met with the family Dec. 19 and urged patience.
“I have said from the beginning that this investigation will be exhaustive and not based on any timeline other than that which leads to the truth,” Lawrence said at the time. His office declined further comment this week.
With no answers and a state investigation that is dragging on, the region has descended into a cauldron of speculation, suspicion and conspiracy. Theories are easy to find, the truth all but impossible.
Johnson fixates on the truck that is stained with what is left of his son. The day after the incident, police returned it to the family as is. Rather than wash it, junk it or sell it, Johnson keeps it in a garage, driving it out to re-examine. He stares at it. He imagines his son.
He’s convinced someone forced Billey Joe on his knees, shoved the shotgun barrel in his mouth and pulled the trigger.
“They must’ve tortured my baby,” Johnson says.
Here is what the police say about Billey Joe’s death: During a routine traffic stop, Billey Joe Johnson Jr. shot himself in the head.
Billey Joe’s truck had notes from multiple female admirers, and his friends said he enjoyed the attention offered to a star athlete. He’d already run for 4,000 yards in his high school career and helped make George County a state powerhouse. Everyone knew him. Many wanted to be with him.
One girl, whom Yahoo! Sports will not name since she is a minor, had been around the longest. It was a typical high school relationship – “they’d break up every day and then get back together,” said one of his friends, Drew Bradley. The fact that she was white bothered some people.
“It’s George County, it’s a little Southern town,” said Bradley, who is white. “You’ve got a bunch of racist people down here. You have people who hated on them because it was black and white.”
The alleged timeline of events on Monday, Dec. 8, 2008, leading up to the death of Billey Joe Johnson:
4:30 a.m. – Billey Joe Johnson Sr. hears his son showering and preparing to leave the family’s Benndale, Miss. residence. He believes his son plans to go hunting before heading to school.
5:34 a.m. – George County Sheriff’s Deputy Joe Sullivan witnesses Billey Joe Johnson’s maroon Chevy Silverado run a red light at the corner of Church Street and Winter Street. He pursues the truck with his blue lights flashing and witnesses the truck running a stop sign at the 4-way stop of Winter Street and Old Highway 63.
5:37 a.m. – The Lucedale Police Department receives a 911 call from Esther Parker, who says her daughter called her and informed her that someone was attempting to break into a trailer where her daughter and ex-husband were living. Parker informs the LPD that her daughter is home alone.
5:39 a.m. – After a pursuit of nearly 1½ miles, Sheriff’s Deputy Sullivan witnesses the truck pulling into a service entrance near Benndale Carpet. Billey Joe Johnson exits the truck and informs Deputy Sullivan that he was on the way home “because his mother was sick”. Deputy Sullivan takes his license and instructs Johnson to return to his vehicle.
5:40 a.m. – While attempting to call in the license number, Deputy Sullivan informs dispatch that Johnson has shot himself and requests assistance.
5:40 a.m. – LPD Sgt. James O’Neal arrives at the trailer and secures the perimeter. He makes contact with Parker’s daughter, who informs him that the person who attempted to enter the residence was Billey Joe Johnson Jr. She says Johnson left before police arrived, but that she would like to go to the police station and “sign charges” against him.
5:48 a.m. – LPD Sgt. O’Neal departs for the police department, following Parker and her daughter in a separate vehicle. While in transit, he is informed by dispatch that Johnson had shot himself at service road near Benndale Carpet.
5:50 a.m. – LPD Sgt. O’Neal arrives at Benndale Carpet, where he observes the vehicle of deputy Sullivan as well as Johnson’s maroon Silverado, which is parked with the door open. As he pulls forward to make room for the pending arrival of an ambulance, O’Neal observes Johnson lying on his back on the ground, with his head pointed away from the open door of vehicle. Sgt. O’Neal observes a shotgun on top of Johnson’s body, and blood on the ground around his head.
5:55 a.m. – Paramedics arrive on scene. Dispatch is informed that Johnson is DOA.
UPDATE: Get this, A grand jury has ruled that his death was accidental.Many in the black community, including this AAPP still suspect foul play. What do you think?
AAP: That was then, thisis now: FAST FORWARD TO TODAY, Family members rallied hoping to encourage witnesses to come forward with evidence and testimony. Billey Joe Johnson, Jr. was the highly recruited football star from Benndale, MS who was mysteriously killed during a traffic stop with a George County Sheriff’s deputy on December 8, 2008. Even after independent investigations raised serious questions about the plausibility of Johnson’s wounds being self-inflicted, the local justice system ruled this incident an accident and charges have yet to be brought. READ MORE HERE
Community members are renewing their efforts because Johnson’s death and subsequent investigations leave more questions than answers. Given the long history of corruption and cover-ups in George County law enforcement, many community members feel law enforcement and the District Attorney’s office colluded to execute a wide spread cover-up. Community members also point to what they call a pattern of racial profiling and the use of fear and intimidation on behalf of law enforcement. “Law enforcement’s investigation left a lot of holes and many of us believe there was foul play. Because of the amount of discrimination we experience every day, we have little faith in the local justice system,” said Mr. Bobby Perryman of Immaculate Heart Community Development Corporation.
Johnson’s family calls on the Lucedale community to come forward with information about the case and believe many have stayed quiet for fear of retribution or being shunned by friends and family members. “Nobody wants to tell on their neighbor, but the fact is that a young man was killed and his family and this community need closure,” said Pastor Garrett of Prince Garrett Ministries. George County is a very small community and is still very segregated. A few large families and their extended networks own most of the businesses and play influential roles in city and county government. George County, where the incident occurred, is 89% white with very few Black residents. “We know there are good folks in George County who have knowledge about the incident. We know you are afraid but we need you to come forward. Black or white - none of us are free when there is a suspicion of murder,” Garrett added.
“We are tired of the corruption, the cover-ups and the abuse we suffer at the hands of police,” said Ms. Lucy Wilson, President of the Human Rights Taskforce of George County. The Human Rights Taskforce is one of key local organizations calling for the event. It was established as a result of the travesty of justice felt by many around the Johnson case as well as growing tensions between the Black community and law enforcement. The event is co- sponsored by George County Human Rights Taskforce, Immaculate Heart Community Development Corporation, George County NAACP, and American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi.
Caravans of concerned citizens traveled from Atlanta, Jackson, Mobile and New Orleans. Speakers at the event include Ms. Nsombi Lambright, Executive Director of the ACLU-MS, Ms. Lucy Wilson, President of the George County Human Rights Taskforce and a spokesperson for Billey Joe Johnson, Jr.’s family.
AAP says: I'm glad the family is taking a stand. Don't you think it's time America did? It's time for the Justice Department to get involved. That's my thought. Write the U.S. Attorney General and President Barack Obama, and let them both know how you feel.