Posts tagged law.
This is one of the cards sex workers in South Africa can give to police officers to assert their rights. In a recent study by the Women’s Legal Centre and SWEAT, approximately 70 percent of sex workers report being abused by police. Image by Melissa Turley. South Africa, 2012.
— Michelle L. Meloy and Susan L. Miller, The Victimization of Women: Law, Policies, and Politics (via wretchedoftheearth)
A democratic state can rightfully impose guilt because guilt is focused on bad acts, and this specific focus on behavioral violation can encourage empathy and motivate the guilty to altruistic action. Something different happens when the state seeks to shame its citizens by imposing a lasting stigma on their very identity: it is proclaiming that the person herself or himself is defective. Rather than motivating restitution, shame debilitates and encourages avoidance.
For example, it is reasonable to imprison individuals who break the law, but when former inmates are stripped of the right to vote for the rest of their lives, the state has moved from punishing guilt to imposing shame. Lifetime disfranchisement marks the citizen as defective and unfit for participation in a democracy. The shamed ex-felon is not invited to rejoin the community but instead is forced to the margins.
Though we seldom think of it this way, racism is the act of shaming others based on their identity. Blackness in America is marked by shame. Perhaps more than any other emotion, shame depends on the social context. On an individual level, we feel ashamed because of how we believe people see us or how they would see us if they knew about our hidden transgressions. Shame makes us view our very selves as malignant. But societies also define entire groups as malignant. Historically the United States has done that with African Americans. This collective racial shaming has a disproportionate impact on black women, and black women’s attempts to escape or manage shame are part of what motivates their politics.
— Melissa Harris-Perry Sister Citizen; Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America (via brashblacknonbeliever)
Entire Indian tribe threatens to commit mass suicide after Brazil court rules they must leave sacred burial land
A entire tribe of 170 Indians have vowed to commit mass suicide after a court in Brazil ruled they must leave what they believe is sacred land, it was reported today.
The community of 50 men, 50 women and 70 children from the Guarani-kaiowa tribe are camped inside a ranch in Brazil’s southern state of Mato Grosso do Sul.
The Indians claim the land has been the graveyard of their ancestors for centuries, according to Brazil’s Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI).
A Guarani Indian family ride a horse-drawn cart in southern Brazil in 2004. The Indians claim the disputed land has been the graveyard of their ancestors for centuries
But this week, Judge Henrique Bonachela upheld a petition made by the ranch’s owner to have the tribe evicted from the land.
He decreed a fine of £150 for every day the tribe remains on the land, on the banks of Brazil’s Joguico River.
A spokesman for the tribe today said they do not intend to fight the judge’s decision but would rather die on the land than be made to leave.
And in a letter the tribe called on the Brazilian government to respect their wishes to be buried there along with their ancestors.
It read: ‘Because of this historic fact, we would prefer to die and be buried together with our ancestors right here where we are now.
‘We ask, one time for all, for the government to decree our extinction as a tribe, and to send tractors to dig a big hole and there to throw our dead bodies.
‘We have all decided that we will not leave this place, neither alive nor dead.’
Battle: A spokesman for the tribe said they do not intend to fight the judge’s decision but would rather die on the land than be made to leave.
Remote: The tribe is camped inside a ranch in Brazil’s southern state of Mato Grosso do Sul
A spokesman for CIMI described the development as of ‘exceptional seriousness’.
And Federal Deputy Sarney Filho warned of the ‘extremely worrying’ situation.
In a letter to Brazil’s Justice Minsitry, he wrote: ‘This tribe has had its culture and lands attacked for centuries. They could now go down in history as being the tribe which wiped themselves out by committing collective suicide.
‘We must take the necessary measures to avert the worst.’
Indian tribes in southern Brazil have for years been fighting for the country to recognise their traditional lands, many of which now belong to farmers and rich landowners.
“In a significant blow to New York City’s use of stop-and-frisk tactics, the Bronx district attorney’s office is no longer prosecuting people who were stopped at public housing projects and arrested for trespassing, unless the arresting officer submits to an interview to ensure that the arrest was warranted.
Prosecutors quietly adopted the policy in July after discovering that many people arrested on charges of criminal trespass at housing projects were innocent, even though police officers had provided written statements to the contrary.
By essentially accusing the police of wrongfully arresting people, the stance taken by Bronx prosecutors is the first known instance in which a district attorney has questioned any segment of arrests resulting from stop-and-frisk tactics.
Bronx prosecutors are now requiring that they interview the arresting officer in the “hopes of eliminating tenants and invited guest from being prosecuted unlawfully,” according to a letter to the Police Department from Jeannette Rucker, a bureau chief in the district attorney’s office.
Trespassing arrests in the Bronx have fallen 38.2 percent, year to date, compared with 2011.
In August, arrests for all second- and third-degree misdemeanor trespassing cases in the Bronx fell by nearly 25 percent from August 2011. In Manhattan and Brooklyn, trespass arrests were down less than 5 percent in August compared with August 2011, and in Queens trespass arrests actually rose considerably.
Steven Banks, the chief lawyer of the Legal Aid Society in New York, said that the new requirement put “a procedure in place to verify that the stop and subsequent arrest were proper.”
“This is exactly what prosecutors should be doing before proceeding with criminal prosecutions — namely making sure that formulaic statements by police officers actually have some basis to support the arrest and prosecution,” Mr. Banks said.
The city’s reliance on stop-and-frisk has come under intense scrutiny and legal challenges, as critics charge that the police disproportionately target minorities and harass innocent people. That sentiment is especially prevalent at housing projects, which account for about 10 percent to 15 percent of all police stops; the trespassing arrests occur when officers are unconvinced that a person lives at the housing project or is an invited guest.
Police officers typically would fill out a sworn statement and some check-the-box-type paperwork on such low-level arrests.
Steven Reed, a spokesman for the Bronx district attorney, Robert T. Johnson, said that the new policy of requiring interviews of officers “was discussed with the offices of the other district attorneys and the N.Y.P.D.,” but he would not comment further because of continuing litigation.
The new policy in the Bronx led to an Internal Affairs Bureau inquiry into the allegation of improper arrests, according to a letter sent by Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly to Mr. Johnson on Sept. 6. Mr. Kelly said that no misconduct had been uncovered, and that it appeared that Ms. Rucker’s “estimation of the issue was in error and that she overstated her perception of discrepancies regarding criminal trespass arrests in the Bronx.”
Mr. Kelly also suggested that Ms. Rucker was unable to provide specifics of the cases cited in her letter, and that she could cite only one example in which an arrest was dismissed because of a police error. Nonetheless, he added that the legal issues surrounding trespassing arrests would be addressed at training sessions at the precinct and borough levels.
Mr. Johnson has adopted some independent positions before. In 2006, he became the first prosecutor to use the state’s 2001 antiterrorism statute, doing so against a street gang member. He also issued a statement in 1995 saying he did not intend to pursue execution in first-degree murder cases.
The letter from Ms. Rucker, who is the chief of arraignments for the Bronx district attorney, was filed in federal court this week in a lawsuit challenging trespass arrests in New York.
Prosecutors in the Bronx have been “experiencing a great deal of problems with trespassing” arrests, Ms. Rucker wrote in the July 18 letter. She wrote that she had received numerous complaints from defense lawyers who claimed that many of the people arrested were not trespassers. Deciding to investigate further, she found that “in many (but not all) of the cases the defendants arrested were either legitimate tenants or invited guests,” she wrote.
In some cases, Ms. Rucker found, the police arrested people even when there was persuasive evidence that they were not trespassing, citing “several instances where defendants who were guests, had the person whom they were visiting verify this fact to the arresting officer, yet the defendant was arrested anyway.” In those cases, the deposition from the arresting officer “indicated the defendant did not know the name of any tenant or the apartment number.”
From 2009 to 2011, the police arrested more than 16,000 people on trespass charges in public housing, according to a report filed as part of the federal litigation over the arrests.
At the Mott Haven Houses in the Bronx on Tuesday, several tenants and neighbors said they had been wrongly arrested for trespassing.
Darren Jones, 28, said he was arrested in the elevator of his building in the development about two months ago because he did not have identification. He said he chose to pay a fine rather than contest the arrest.
Quanell Carwell, 27, a hairstylist who lives at the Mott Haven complex, said she was in the courtyard common area three weeks ago when she was arrested for trespassing. She was given a desk appearance ticket, but said she was going to plead not guilty because she did not do anything wrong.
In addition to stops in public housing, Ms. Rucker’s letter addresses stops in private buildings registered with the Clean Halls program, in which landlords of some 16,000 buildings have given the police permission to enter and patrol the hallways and stairwells. The Legal Aid Society and civil rights groups, including the New York Civil Liberties Union, have sued the city over trespass arrests in both public housing and buildings registered with the Clean Halls program.
According to another memorandum filed in the lawsuit, the Police Department had voiced its own concern about the legality of police stops at housing projects. In 2010, Katherine Lemire, the counsel to Mr. Kelly, told the Civilian Complaint Review Board that she had “found many instances in which officers were incorrectly stating the required standard for a question or stop” at public housing, according to a memo prepared by Meera Joshi, then a deputy executive director at the board.
Ms. Joshi wrote that Ms. Lemire pointed out that some officers were under the mistaken impression that they “were entitled to stop and question anyone inside” public housing.
In fact, legal experts say, the police require reasonable suspicion that a person is about to or has just committed a penal code violation before stopping that person.
After Ms. Lemire’s findings, Commissioner Kelly issued a directive reinforcing the legal standards and ordered intensive training for all housing officers and certain patrol officers. In all, some 3,000 officers went through a three-week training program, conducted by the department’s academy chief and overseen by the commanding officer of the Legal Bureau, according to Ms. Joshi’s Sept. 28, 2010, memo.
Even so, problems with trespassing cases seemed to persist.
“Unfortunately, as this most recent letter shows, these stops and arrests continue, and more drastic measures are needed,” Christopher Dunn, the associate legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said.
In Brooklyn, prosecutors shared their own concerns about potentially problematic trespass cases with prosecutors around the city and the Police Department’s legal bureau, according to Jerry Schmetterer, a spokesman for the borough’s district attorney. The topic surfaced about two years ago, he said.
“We found that there were times when the basis for the arrests might not have been the criteria we were looking for, and we addressed that through training,” Mr. Schmetterer said.”
It still shocks (and mostly just disappoints) me how SHOCKED people are when I tell them that it is 100% legal to be fired simply for being gay.
They look at me like I’m lying and say things like “nooooo, that can’t be right?”.
I have been fired twice (in Ohio) for being openly gay.
I have been asked:
- to not wear my wedding ring
- Not acknowledge my wife’s existence
- To “just say you have a husband”
- To just not answer “yes” when people ask if I’m married because “you’re not REALLY married”
- To not bring my wife to the company FAMILY Christmas party
- Let people just assume we’re sisters
- Just make it easier on everyone and “just say you’re divorced”
These were not requests made from some Mom and Pop shop, I was a corporate executive for a large chain of high volume restaurants. My boss was the Director of Human Resources, and she would walk into my office and say the most ignorant things you can imagine.
People in America need to be educated on the reality that is life as a gay person in this country.
It’s not all gay pride parades and appletinis.
We need a leg to stand on.
We need people to wake up and educate themselves on the rights we are denied.
We need people…gay, straight, and in between, to open their eyes, stop ignoring what doesn’t directly effect them, and educate themselves.
Good job, cops. Good job.