Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks interviews two American heroes, Baltimore activists Tawanda Jones and Abdul Salaam. See links in description below.
Abdul Salaam, who recently won a $70,000 judgment against three Baltimore police officers who assaulted him during a traffic stop in front of his home while his three-year-old son was in the car looking on. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-abdul-salaam-20160329-story.html
Tawanda Jones, whose brother Tyrone was killed by Baltimore police during a routine traffic stop three years ago. Ms. Jones now conducts a weekly protest around the city of Baltimore to honor her brother and bring attention to the issue of police violence. http://www.wbaltv.com/news/prosecutors-will-not-reopen-tyrone-west-case/39027684
In this TYT interview Tawanda Jones, Abdul Salaam and Cenk Uygur cover a range of topics, including:
– Abdul Salaam’s personal experience with police brutality by Baltimore Police Officers.
– Tawanda’s brother Tyrone West’s murder by Baltimore Police Officers.
– What do people who haven’t had this experience (of being black and living in a virtual police state like Baltimore) need to understand about what happens in your communities?
– How did “West Wednesday” come about and how has it evolved over time?
– What impact has Marilyn Mosby had?
– What has changed about Baltimore in the past few years regarding police violence and the willingness of community members to speak out and take action?
– Do you think police in Baltimore are more concerned today about facing consequences for violent conduct against citizens?
– What message would you like the viewing audience to know about your struggle and what you’re trying to achieve? Do they have hope that it will change?
More about Tawanda Jones:
In July, 2013 her brother, 44-year-old Tyrone West, was killed by Baltimore police officers during a routine traffic stop.
West was pulled over while driving through Northeast Baltimore. Police and witnesses claimed that he fought with the officers, but Jones and other family members maintain that he was beaten to death. An autopsy found that West died of a heart condition exacerbated by the encounter.
None of the police officers involved in West’s death were charged with criminal wrongdoing, yet an independent panel created to review his death determined that officers did not follow basic policies and made tactical errors that “potentially aggravated the situation.”
– She says West’s body at the funeral home looked as if law enforcement had reconstructed his face so she wouldn’t be able to tell that he had been beaten.
– Witnesses say that West was pulled over for allegedly doing a u-turn and dragged out of his car by his hair, tased and violently beaten.
– Between 2011-2014, Baltimore paid roughly $5.7 million in lawsuits brought by community members who claimed they were victims of police brutality.
– Jones, sometimes with supporters and family members and sometimes alone, holds “West Wednesdays” each week in a different part of the city – protests in which they fight to keep West’s story alive and discuss ways to finally attain justice.
– Her rallies, which bring out different community voices, have become a hub and connecting place for human rights activists and many in the city fighting apartheid conditions and police brutality.
– Jones met with Attorney General Loretta Lynch and others in the Department of Justice who said they will look into her brother’s case and whether charges should have been brought.
– She and her family are suing in federal court.
– She has received praise from city councilmen and won awards from community organizations and Johns Hopkins University for her dedication to social justice.
More about Abdul Salaam:
On July 1, 2013, Salaam was stopped by police in NE Baltimore in front of his home for seat belt and cell phone violations and allegedly beaten. Neighbors came outside and recorded the incident. He filed a civil suit alleging brutality against three Baltimore police officers and this past March a Baltimore Circuit Court jury awarded him $70,000 in damages.
– Salaam was driving home from shopping with his 3-year-old son in the car when he was stopped.
– Both Salaam and one of the officers wound up in the hospital.
– Tyrone West’s death occurred just three weeks after Salaam’s incident, and involved two of the same officers.
– Salaam says that if not for the presence of his neighbors, he believes the police officers would have beaten him to death.
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