Cop Body Cameras Threaten Civil Liberties

President Obama wants to spend $75 million to equip cops with body cameras. However, Shahid Buttar, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee warned that “body cameras will ultimately be used to create a mountain of new evidence” against citizens, leading to even higher rates of mass incarceration. “These cameras monitor people without any individualized basis for suspicion” of committing a crime, said Buttar. “The best thing to do is prohibit those police from arresting residents who capture police activities on their phone cameras.”

Mumia Abu Jamal’s Lawyers Challenge Silencing Act

The Pittsburgh-based Abolitionist Law Center and two other legal outfits filed a motion to halt Pennsylvania from enforcing the so-called Silencing Act, designed to muzzle the voice of the nation’s best known political prisoner, Mumia Abu Jamal. The law gives victims of personal injury crimes the right to sue people convicted of such offenses for inflicting “mental anguish” by virtue of their subsequent, undefined “conduct,” including by speech, written word, or other communication or action. Abolitionist Law Center executive director Bret Grote said the law is irredeemably unconstitutional. “The whole purpose of it was to target Mumia Abu Jamal, whose conduct has been recognized by the courts as constitutionally protected.” Thousands of other Pennsylvania prison inmates and convicts that have served their sentences, as well as civilians who do business with such persons, could also be prosecuted under the Silencing Act.

Mumia: Blowback in France

“Wars have a way of returning home in the most unexpected of ways,” said Mumia Abu Jamal, in a report for Prison Radio. The Iraq War still generates new violence, ten years after the invasion. “We’re seeing that now, in France,” said Abu Jamal. “Perhaps we shall see it here, as well.”

Racist Mythology Props Up U.S. Ruling Class

The U.S. social order is largely built on the myth that cops, judges, jailers and prosecutors “are all that stand between us and rampant crime, anarchy and ruin,” said BAR managing editor Bruce Dixon. Rather than provide a decent standard of living for its people, America brands Black and poor folk as unworthy and irredeemable. For that reason, said Dixon, “the burgeoning movement against police immunity and impunity really is a threat to so-called national security, a menace to the privileges of banksters and employers, of privatizers and gentrifiers, and of the prerogatives of the 1%.”

Lynne Stewart: Abolish Grand Juries

In an article published in Socialist Action newspaper, people’s lawyer Lynne Stewart called the grand jury system an “anachronism” that “puts another roadblock in the way of the people. It’s a way in which the prosecution keeps the playing field for itself; it controls all the moves,” said Stewart, who spent five years in prison before she was released a year ago, suffering from Stage Four breast cancer. Only two or three times in her 30 years as an attorney has a grand jury refused to go along with the prosecutions wishes, said Stewart.


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