Tag: “Stand Your Ground” Law

FX Picks Up John Singleton’s TV Pilot “Snowfall”

Director/Producer John Singleton
Director/Producer John Singleton

According to Deadline.com, John Singleton’s take on the beginnings of the crack cocaine trade in Los Angeles has found a new home. Originally bought by Showtime, John Singleton’s Snowfall pilot has now been picked up by FX, Presidents of Original Programming Nick Grad and Eric Schrier announced today.

Snowfall takes us on a wild ride through one of LA’s most fascinating cultural and social periods, and no one can tell this story better than John Singleton,” said Schrier. “The pilot script by John and Eric brilliantly depicts the era through the story of three captivating characters, and we can’t wait to see John’s execution of it.”

Singleton (“Boyz In The Hood”, “Baby Boy”, “Higher Learning”, “Shaft”) co-created and co-wrote the early-1980s set Snowfall pilot with Eric Amadio and will direct the pilot for FX Productions, with production set to start this summer. Justified’s Dave Andron will serve as an Executive Producer along with Singleton, Groundswell Productions’ Michael London, Amadio and Trevor Engelson. With the drug storm about to come, Snowfall focuses on a trio of main characters – ambitious dealer Franklin Saint, ex-Mexican wrestler and now gangster Gustavo Zapata and prodigal son Logan Miller.

“I have always been fascinated with that volatile moment in time before crack changed everything,” added Singleton. “It’s a tense, insane and sexy era that touched every aspect of our culture. I couldn’t have better partners for this journey.”

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

Marissa Alexander Finally Released From Jail

Marissa Alexander walks by her dad Raoul Jenkins and surrounded by her legal team and supporters after her sentencing in Jacksonville, Fla., Jan. 27, 2015. (Photo by Bob Mack/Florida Times-Union/AP)
Marissa Alexander walks by her dad Raoul Jenkins and surrounded by her legal team and supporters after her sentencing in Jacksonville, Fla., Jan. 27, 2015. (Photo by Bob Mack/Florida Times-Union/AP)

Marissa Alexander, the Florida mother whose case became a rallying cry for anti-racism activists and survivors of domestic violence, was released today after three years of incarceration.

Alexander had faced up to 60 years behind bars for firing a single shot near her abusive husband, unable to convince a jury she had feared for her life. A hearing Tuesday confirmed the terms: Having pleaded guilty to assault in exchange for credit for time served, she will be subject to two years of electronic monitoring and house arrest, except for approved appointments and employment.

Circuit Court Judge James Daniel acknowledged that the case had drawn national attention but claimed his decision was “not based on any public opinion of any larger issue of public interest or social concern, but on the specific facts of the case.”

Alexander’s case has long sparked outrage about the unequal application of the law for both black Americans and women. Alexander was prosecuted by Angela Corey, who was also the prosecutor in the trial of George Zimmerman, who was acquitted in the February 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin. Corey did not appear at Tuesday’s hearing.

“We are thrilled that Marissa will finally be reunited with her children, her family, and her community,” said Sumayya Coleman, co-lead of the Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign. “Today’s hearing revealed that Alexander intends to attend school to become a paralegal and she is a wonderful mother to her children who urgently need her. Amazingly, the State continued their campaign of punishment by trying to add two more years of probation.” But the state didn’t get its way.

In November, Alexander pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated assault with a weapon in exchange for credit for time served. A second trial had been planned for December, when Corey had planned to seek a 60-year sentence, triple the 20-year sentence Alexander got in her first trial.

The Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign and The Monument Quilt wrote on Facebook that “350 quilt squares containing stories from survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault will blanket the Duval County Courthouse lawn to let Jacksonville and the world know Marissa is NOT ALONE.” A fundraiser on Alexander’s behalf exceeded its goals, raising $58,297 from 1,122 backers on the site GoGetFunding.

“We have always believed that forcing Marissa to serve even one day in prison represents a profound and systemic attack on black women’s right to exist and all women’s right to self-defense,” the Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign said in a statement after Alexander’s plea deal.

The incident in question took place in 2010, nine days after Alexander, now 34, gave birth to a daughter. Alexander testified that her estranged husband, Rico Gray, had physically abused her several times and that on that day, he threatened to kill her. No one was injured, but a jury convicted her in about 12 minutes.

article by Irin Carmon via msnbc.com

OPINION: Black Millennials Are Emerging as the ‘Movement Generation’

Michael Brown protest
Christina Bijou holds a sign during a rally outside the Department of Justice, August 27, 2014, in Washington, to call on the Attorney General Eric Holder to help secure justice for Michael Brown and the people of Ferguson. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

On August 22, almost two weeks after Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, The Washington Post published an op-ed by Columbia University professor Fredrick Harris titled “Will Ferguson be a moment or a movement?

I started working on my piece about the new era of black activism (which you can read here) months ago, and so I read Harris’s op-ed with the same level of irritation that made me want to write that piece in the first place. Not that there isn’t any value in what Harris wrote, because there certainly is. But if you’re asking the question “Where is the movement?” you simply haven’t been paying attention.

“A moment of trauma can oftentimes present you with an opportunity to do something about the situation to prevent that trauma from happening again,” Charlene Carruthers, national coordinator for Black Youth Project 100, told me in an interview for that piece, and the millennial generation has been presented with trauma after trauma. The killing of Sean Bell, the over-prosecution of the Jena Six, the killing of Oscar Grant, the killing of Aiyana Stanley-Jones, the killing of Trayvon Martin and so many more moments that may not have captured the national media attention but those events have defined the late adolescence and early adulthood of black folks of the millennial generation. As part of that demographic, let me say: the trauma has been fucking exhausting.

So, too, has been the haranguing from older generations that we have been too apathetic, that we have been too “post-racial,” that we have not done our part in upholding the legacy of the civil-rights movement. And so I wanted to write a corrective to that narrative, as I’ve seen my generation take up the fight and organize and begin along the hard road to movement building. It’s happening at this very moment. It was happening before Michael Brown was killed.

Harris writes: “What may keep Ferguson from becoming a national transformative event is if “justice” is narrowly confined to seeking relief for Brown and his family. If the focus is solely on the need for formal charges against Wilson, a fair trial, a conviction, a wrongful-death lawsuit—rather than seeing those things as part of a broader movement that tackles stand-your-ground laws, the militarization of local police, a requirement that cameras be worn by police on duty and the need for a comprehensive federal racial-profiling law. If justice remains solely personal, rather than universal.”

But that work had already begun before Ferguson erupted. The Dream Defenders traveled to the United Nations to present a case against “stand-your-ground” laws, and BYP100 recently organized an action at the Chicago Police Department headquarters to address discrepancies in marijuana arrests. The movement is here. The pictures are not as arresting as what comes from a moment like Ferguson, and therefore aren’t as compelling to media outlets only interested in the sensational. But the criminalization of black youth has emerged as the central focus of organizing efforts for the millennial generation and the work is being done.

On Twitter, filmmaker/writer/activist dream hampton called millennials the “Movement Generation.” It fits.

article by Mychal Denzel Smith via thenation.com

“Stand Your Ground” Protest March Scheduled for March 10th in Tallahassee

Black community leaders are taking a stand against the controversial “Stand Your Ground” law.  On March 10, 2014 in Tallahassee, Florida, leaders across the country including Reverend Al Sharpton and the National Action Network are gathering in the Sunshine State to rally and a hold a prayer vigil in protest of SYG.

Sharpton will also be joined by Attorney Ben Crump and the parents of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis.  The march begins at 9:30am ET at the Tallahassee Leon County Civic Center,  located at 505 W Pensacola St, Tallahassee, FL 32301.  After the march is completed, the rally begins at the State Capitol located at 400 South Monroe St, Tallahassee, Florida, FL 32301.

article via blackamericaweb.com

Florida Prosecutor Angela Corey says State Will Retry Michael Dunn For 1st-Degree Murder

Michael Dunn is seen in the courtroom before the jury reached a verdict on Saturday. (Bob Mack, Associated Press / February 15, 2014)
Michael Dunn is seen in the courtroom before the jury reached a verdict on Saturday. (Bob Mack, Associated Press / February 15, 2014)

During a press conference following Michael Dunn‘s murder trial, Florida state special prosecutor Angela Corey said he will be retried for the murder of 17-year-old Jordan Davis.

RELATED: Michael Dunn Convicted on 4 of 5 Charges in Jordan Davis Murder Case

“We intend to fully push for a new trial….Justice for Jordan Davis is as important as it is for any victim,” said Corey.

As previously reported, Dunn, 47, has been found guilty of 3 counts of attempted second degree murder and one count of hurling a deadly missile. A mistrial was declared on the first-degree murder charge in the shooting death of 17-year old Jordan Davis.

The jury deliberated for four days and remained deadlocked on the 1st-degree murder charge and lesser charges, including second degree murder, manslaughter, justifiable homicide, or excusable homicide.

Protesters have begun marching over to the prosecutor’s office and demanding Corey’s resignation for, what they feel, is her failure to get justice for Davis.  Corey was also the special prosecutor in the George Zimmerman murder trial.  Last year, Zimmerman was found not guilty of murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Both Martin and Davis were killed when they were 17-years-old. Tomorrow, February 16, would have been Davis’ 19th birthday. Trayvon Martin would have been 19-years-old on February 5.

article via newsone.com

Trayvon Martin’s Parents Stand By Jordan Davis’ Parents

Jordan Davis trayvon martin

If anyone understands the pain that Jordan Davis’ parents are feeling at this moment, it’s Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin. The parents of Trayvon Martin offered their support to Lucia McBath and Ron Davis this weekend, who heard Michael Dunn’s verdict on the eve of what would have been their son’s 19th birthday.  In a statement, Sybrina and Tracy said that this case is “yet another reminder that in Florida, racial profiling and stereotypes” may serve as the basis for illegitimate fear “and the shooting and killing of young teenagers.”

Dunn, a 47-year-old software developer, fired 10 rounds at a SUV carrying four teens in a Jacksonville gas station parking lot after an altercation over loud rap music. On Saturday, a jury found him guilty on three counts of attempted second-degree murder and one count of shooting a deadly missile into a vehicle. However, the 12 jurors could not reach a decision on the top count of first-degree murder — meaning he was not convicted for three of the 10 shots that hit 17-year-old Davis and ultimately cost his life.

Although the jury did not convict her son’s killer of premeditated murder, Lucia McBath still expressed gratitude for the verdict. “We are so grateful for the truth,” she said. “We are so grateful that the jurors were able to understand the common sense of it all.”  “[Dunn] is going to learn that he must be remorseful for the killing of my son,” father Ron Davis said at the post-trial press conference, “it was not just another day at the office.”

article by Myeisha Essex via hellobeautiful.com

Michael Dunn Convicted on 4 of 5 Charges in Jordan Davis Murder Case

Michael Dunn is seen in the courtroom before the jury reached a verdict on Saturday. (Bob Mack, Associated Press / February 15, 2014)
Michael Dunn is seen in the courtroom before the jury reached a verdict on Saturday. (Bob Mack, Associated Press / February 15, 2014)

A jury has found Michael Dunn, the Florida man accused of shooting unarmed teenager Jordan Davis to death during a dispute over loud music, guilty of four charges, but the jury was unable to reach a decision on the top count, first-degree murder.  Dunn, who is white, fired 10 shots into an SUV, killing Davis, 17, who was black. The shooting in a convenience store parking lot in Jacksonville erupted after Dunn asked the teenagers in the vehicle to turn down their music.

Dunn was charged with first-degree murder, three counts of attempted second-degree murder and one count of firing into a vehicle in the Nov. 23, 2012, shooting. The jury couldn’t reach a decision on the first-degree murder charge, but convicted on the other four.  Dunn contended he acted in self-defense. Prosecutors suggested that Dunn, 47, was angry because he was being disrespected by a young black man.

Dunn was remanded to the custody of authorities. Sentencing, which could total as much as 75 years in prison, was set for around March 24.  The sequestered jury began its deliberations Wednesday, a week after opening statements began. That Dunn had fired into the SUV and killed Davis was never in question. What the jury had to determine was whether Dunn had acted in self-defense.

Continue reading “Michael Dunn Convicted on 4 of 5 Charges in Jordan Davis Murder Case”

Marissa Alexander Won’t Return To Jail; Judge Says Violations “Unwillful”

marissa alexanderA judge has ruled that Marissa Alexander can remain free on bond after the Florida State Attorney filed a motion claiming that the defendant violated her release conditions numerous times, The Florida Times-Union reports.  Circuit Court Judge James Daniel denied Assistant State Attorney Richard Mantei‘s request to revoke Alexander’s bail for “going out shopping for clothes, driving family members to the hair shop and airport, getting a new driver’s license, visiting the bank and seeing a sister-in-law.”

Mantei’s stated to the judge that Alexander, 33, was on home detention while performing her errands. The conditions of her detention prohibit her from leaving her residence except for court appearances, medical emergencies and to satisfy any requirements of her pretrial services program. She has been free on bond since Thanksgiving after getting a new trial in her aggravated assault case for firing a warning shot during an altercation with her husband, Rico Gray.

Alexander’s lawyer, Bruce Zimet, countered the state’s argument by saying that all of his client’s actions were approved by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, which angered Judge Daniel. Zimet said the court ordered Alexander to speak with Jacksonville authorities before making her trips, which they approved without checking with the judge. Since Alexander did not knowingly violate the bond, Judge Daniel saw fit to allow her to remain in home detention.

April Wilson, an 18-year veteran of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, was present for Friday’s hearing. Wilson approved all of Alexander’s trips, stating in her tearful testimony that her understanding of the court order would allow for these brief stops she made while under house arrest. After today’s hearing, however, it appears that both sides understand Judge Daniel’s orders and will move forward from there.  “I think it was handled how it needed to be handled. The judge is now aware and everybody else is now aware of what was going on. Things got brought out in the open that’s always a good thing,” said Mantei, as reported by Florida Times-Union.

Continue reading “Marissa Alexander Won’t Return To Jail; Judge Says Violations “Unwillful””

Bill That Would Change Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law Advances

Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, answers questions with her lawyer Benjamin Crump, right, during a press conference with members of the National Bar Association in which they were calling for a repeal of Florida's Stand Your Ground Law. (Photo by Angel Valentin/Getty Images)
Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, answers questions with her lawyer Benjamin Crump, right, during a press conference with members of the National Bar Association in which they were calling for a repeal of Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law. (Photo by Angel Valentin/Getty Images)

Florida Senate Judiciary Committee advanced a bill that made some changes to the state’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law.  The bill, which was passed by a vote of 7-2, has been strongly supported by the family of Trayvon Martin. The 17-year-old was shot and killed by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was charged with second degree murder and was acquitted by a Florida jury in July.

“Tracy and I have said from the beginning that our hope is that the tragedy of Trayvon’s death can be turned into real change so that other parents don’t have to experience the grief we have endured” Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, said following the announcement of the bill’s advancement.

“The work here is not done, and we fear an uphill battle going forward to achieve real change in our son’s name.”  Stand Your Ground allows citizens to use deadly force if they feel their life is in danger.  New changes to the bill would include providing proper training for neighborhood watch programs, ensuring a proper investigation is conducted after Stand Your Ground is claimed, allowing lawsuits against people acting in self-defense if they negligently injure or kill an innocent bystander and limit the use of the law when aggressors claim it.

“I see this as an important first step in making sure that Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law properly protects victims and applaud the committee for taking this first step,” said Martin family attorney Ben Crump in a press release. “In light of current events in Washington D.C., It is refreshing to see legislators compromising and working together so that Florida’s citizens are protected.”

article by Carrie Healey via thegrio.com

Today, Across the Nation, Vigils Will Call for ‘Justice for Trayvon’

Protester at Trayvon Martin Rally in Los Angeles, 7-17-13 (Photo by Lesa Lakin)
Protester at Trayvon Martin Rally in Los Angeles, 7-17-13 

Ira Acree spent two hours passing out fliers in front of the Dirksen Federal Building in downtown Chicago, hoping to spread the word about a “Justice for Trayvon” vigil at noon Saturday — one of at least 100 planned in cities across the nation.  On the way back to his car, Acree, a pastor, spotted a television in the lobby of the parking garage. A crowd had gathered in front, as if “watching the football game,” Acree said. President Obama was speaking.

In his first comments since a six-woman jury acquitted George Zimmerman of murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, Obama spoke frankly and reflectively, relating his experiences with race and racial profiling. “Trayvon Martin could have been me,” the President said. Obama’s earnest words moved Acree almost to tears.  “I just think that the president’s words may help whites across the nation at least understand us,” Acree said. “And be a little bit more emphathetic toward our actions tomorrow.”  Acree chairs the board of a social justice group in Chicago called the Leader’s Network, which is helping organize Saturday’s vigil.

The 100-city “Justice for Trayvon” vigils, which the RevAl Sharpton announced Tuesday on the steps of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., will be staged mostly at federal court buildings across the country. In California, rallies are scheduled in Los Angeles, Oakland, Palmdale, Riverside, Sacramento, San Francisco and the Monterey County city of Seaside.  Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, and Martin’s brother, Jahvaris, will attend a rally in New York City, along with Sharpton. Martin’s father, Tracy Martin, is attending a vigil in Miami.

With the vigils, organizers are hoping to build momentum for the filing of federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman.  A day after the jury delivered a not-guilty verdict, Sharpton’s civil rights organization, the National Action Network, held a conference call with local organizers.

Continue reading “Today, Across the Nation, Vigils Will Call for ‘Justice for Trayvon’”