Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Public invited to give police brutality testimony along with uncle of Tamir Rice, Ferguson protesters, others at the CSU Main Classroom Building, room, 201, from 12-4 pm on Saturday, April 11, 2015, the free event is spearheaded by Puncture the Silence Cleveland...Call Carol Steiner at (216) 932-3474 for more information, panelists include an uncle of slain California police victim Oscar Grant....Mother of Daniel Ficker also to testify..By Cleveland Urban News.Com, Ohio's leader in Black digital news

By Kathy Wray Coleman, editor-in-chief, Cleveland Urban News.Com, and the Kathy Wray Coleman Online News Blog.com, Ohio's most read digital Black newspaper and newspaper blog. Tel: (216) 659-0473. Email: editor@clevelandurbannews.com. Coleman, who is Black, is a 22-year investigative journalist and political and legal reporter who trained for 17 years at the Call and Post Newspaper in Cleveland, Ohio. 
(www.clevelandurbannews.com) / (www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com)

CLEVELAND, Ohio- Community activists groups, led by the local chapter of  the national Puncture the Silence-Stop Mass Incarceration Network, invite the public to join an uncle of Tamir Rice, a Ferguson Missouri activist, and others to give testimony on police brutality before a panel from 12-4 pm on Saturday, April 11 at the Cleveland State University Main Classroom Building (room 201) in downtown Cleveland at 2121 Euclid Avenue. (Interested media and others wanting additional information should contact Carol Steiner at (216)932-3474).

"It is free and we encourage the public to attend to bare witness to the stories of police brutality brought down on mostly people of color and those who dare to fight against oppression," said Carol Steiner, a founding member of Puncture the Silence Cleveland, a local chapter of the national grassroots organization.

The local Puncture the Silence group, started by Steiner and seven other greater Cleveland women, has staged sit ins and last year blocked streets and highways in Cleveland to bring attention to heightened police brutality that disproportionately targets America's Black community

"People can walk in to testify, but a call in advance to 216-396-8329 is preferred," Steiner told Cleveland Urban News.Com, Ohio's leader in Black digital news. 

Other activists groups supporting the initiative, which is also supported by the CSU Black Studies Department, include Revolution Books, Black on Black Crime Inc., the Black Man's Army, the Imperial Women Coalition, the Greater Cleveland Immigrant Support Network, the Greater Cleveland Civil and Human Rights Coalition, Stop Targeting Ohio's Poor, and the Carl Stokes Brigade. 

The police murder of 50-year-old Walter Scott by South Carolina police officer Michael Slager, a White cop who has been charged with murder and is currently in jail without bond, has people on edge nationally, not to mention local killings by Cleveland police of people such as 12-year-old Tamir Rice,  Tanisha Anderson, Timothy Russell, Malissa Williams, Brandon Jones, Daniel Ficker, Kenneth Smith, and the list goes on. 

Steiner said that some 25 people are already slated to testify, including Rice's uncle, 
Frederick Gladden, Daniel Ficker's mother, and a Ferguson, Missouri activist allegedly attacked by police during protests there last year over slain unarmed Black teen Michael Brown.

Rice, who was Black, was slain by a White rookie Cleveland cop last November for sporting a toy gun at a public park on the city's west side. 

Panelists for the police brutality forum are Bobby Johnson, an uncle of Oscar Grant, who was fatally shot by BART Police officer Johannes Mehserle in Oakland, California in 2009, Ed McKinney, Genevieve Mitchell, the Rev. Leah Lewis, Bill Swain, and Shemariah Arki.

The People's Tribunal as to the police brutality testimony forum comes as Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and federal officials deliberate on a consent decree demanded by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

The scathing DOJ report released last December found systemic problems in the largely White Cleveland Police Department, from illegal deadly force, to harassment, including tasing and pistil whippings, of innocent women, children, and the mentally ill. 

Similar DOJ reports were issued in New York City, Ferguson, Missouri, and elsewhere across the nation. (www.clevelandurbannews.com) / (www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com)