The Green Party supports Black Lives Matter activists on trial for blocking a Los Angeles freeway, calls for charges to be dropped
Rosa Clemente, Green vice-presidential nominee in 2008, is among the seven defendants
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Green Party of the United States expressed its support for the BLMLA7: Seven Black Lives Matter activists who were arrested in Los Angeles, California, on November 26, 2014 for leading the shutdown of Freeway 101 and are now on trial.
Greens demand that the charges be dropped and call the two-week trial an attempt to silence protest against police violence targeting People of Color.
Among the BLMLA7 defendants is Rosa Clemente, an activist, journalist, and scholar and the Green Party's 2008 nominee for Vice President of the United States. (Interview with Ms. Clemente on the trial). The other defendants are Povi-Tamu Bryant, Damon Turner, Jas Wade, Todd Harris, Haewon Asfan, and Frederisha Dixon.
The freeway shutdown was one of numerous nationwide protests after the non-indictment of Officer Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9, 2014.
"The freeway demonstration was a nonviolent act of civil disobedience in a long tradition of peaceful protest against injustice," said Lena Buggs, co-chair of the Green Party of Minnesota and Green candidate for Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor for Ramsey County, Minnesota. "The punitive nature of the BLMLA7 trial is an affront to that tradition. It confirms exactly what Black Lives Matter was protesting -- the racism that persists in the U.S. justice system."
Police arrested more than 323 participants in the four-day Los Angeles protest in solidarity with the people of Ferguson. For more information on the charges and trial and a press conference video, click here.
Green Party leaders have called mass incarceration, excessive police and prosecutorial power, and extreme racial disparities in arrests, prosecution, and conviction a national emergency that requires urgent measures.
The party has called for an end to racial profiling by police (including "Stop and Frisk" and "Broken Window" policies) and establishment of citizens' review boards with subpoena power to investigate allegations of police misconduct and ensure that officers who commit crimes on the job are punished.
"Black Lives Matter deserves praise for challenging presidential candidates and preventing the demand for racial justice from getting ignored during the election season. So far, the responses by public officials to the ongoing justice-system violations of the basic human and legal rights of People of Color have been superficial, inadequate, or nonexistent," said Thomas Muhammad, co-chair of the Green Party Black Caucus.
Greens to rally for racial justice at Ferguson Police Dept
Press release: Green Party of the United States, July 17, 2015
Green Party: Crisis of ongoing police violence, mass incarceration, racial disparities requires a deep overhaul of the justice system and the nation's response to racism
Press release: Green Party of the United States, June 19, 2015
Green Party supports ongoing protests against the Ferguson grand jury decision and racist police actions
Press release: Green Party of the United States, December 3, 2014
Black Lives Matter - Los Angeles (fundraising page)
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