Sunday, December 11, 2011

Dr. Johanna Fernandez of Educators for Mumia Abu Jamal Speaks on the Latest Developments in Mumia Abu Jamal Case

Interview_with_Johanna_Fernandez.mp3 Listen on Posterous
On Wednesday, December 7th, Philadelphia's District Attorney's Office announced that it will not pursue the death penalty in the case of Mumia Abu Jamal.  Earlier this year, the Third Circuit Cour of Appeals ruled that because of unclear instructions delivered to the jury in Mumia Abu Jamals sentencing trial years ago, Mumia Abu Jamal should be allowed a new sentencing-phase trial or be sentenced to life-behind bars without the possibility of parole.

In the wake this partial victory for Mumia Abu Jamal and his supporters, Dr. Johanna Fernandez, assistant professor of history at Baruch College of the City University of New York and member of Educators for Mumia Abu Jamal, speaks to "On The Block Radio" about the significance of the decision and what's next for Mumia supporters.

Another Perspective onLibya: Libyan-American Educator Lutsi Taleb Reflects on Libya Under Qadhafi's Leadership.

Libya--Interview_with_Lutsi_Taleb2.mp3 Listen on Posterous
"On the Block Radio" talks to Lutsi Taleb, a United States educator about recent events in Libya, Libya in the early years of Qadhafi's rule, and his reaction to Cythia McKinney's speaking tour on Libya.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Prisoner Hunger Strike Resumes in California Prisons.

Issac_Ontiveros_Interview_on_2nd_Phase--9-30-2011.mp3 Listen on Posterous

On September 26, 2012, prisoners in California resumed a hunger strike that had been suspended at the end of July after receiving statements by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation that prison officials will meet some of prisoners' demands. 

The hunger strike was initiated in the middle of this past summer in protest of what prisoners have described as the cruel and unusual conditions endured by inmates in the state's prisons.  According to Laura Magnani, a member of the team mediating on behalf of prisoners with CDCR officials last summer, while some positive movement by CDCR officials has been made in the last few months in meeting the intial demands of inmates, "it is painfully slow for people who have lived under conditions of torture for years, and often decades in California's prison system.  While the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation tries to paint the prisoners as nothing more than 'dangerous gang members,' we see this strike as a courageous effort to work across all cultural and ethnic divisions through time-honored non-violent actions." 

Isaac Ontiveros of the Prisoners Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition, reports that based on accounts from family members and unconfirmed sources for the Coalition, the strike resumed on last Monday with 6000 prisoners taking part.

"On the Block" speaks with Isaac Ontiveros about the recent developments.

Cynthia Mckinney Speaks on Libya in Philadelphia, PA.

On Friday, September 26, 2012, Cynthia McKinney spoke at to an audience at Philadelphia's Calvary United Methodist Church about a trip she took to Libya earlier this year.  Above is a recording of her presentation.

NO_INTRO--cynthia_mckinney_speech_about_libya.mp3 Listen on Posterous

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Roundtable Discussion on Flash Mobs, Youth Uprisings, and Mayor Nutter's "Sermon."

flash--8-18-2011--edited.mp3 Listen on Posterous

On the heels of Mayor Nutter's address at a West Philadelphia church in which he spoke out against recent waves of youth striking out violently at folks walking down the street and gang robbing stores, a diverse group of Philadelphia residents sat down to share their perspectives on what has been described by some as "flash mobs" and by others as youth uprisings.

The roundtable participants were:

Keturah Caesar.
Activist and organizer of the Philadelphia Coalition of the Heart and the Hip Hop Party for the People.

Tommy Joshua.
Organizer and executive director of Beats, Rhymes and Life: Hip-Hop Multimedia and Mentoring Program.

Diop Olugbala.
Philadelphia's independent mayoral candidate for 2011.

Dr. Charles Williams.
Professor of education at Drexel University and director of the Center for the Prevention of School-Aged Violence.

An urban youth and a member of Beats, Rhymes and Life: Hip-Hop Multimedia and Mentoring Program.

An urban youth and a member of Beats, Rhymes and Life: Hip-Hop Multimedia and Mentoring Program.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

London Civil Unrest: An Interview with Former London Black Panther Darcus Howe.


On August 4th in the Tottenham section of London, 29 year-old Mark Duggan was killed by a police officer after the cab he was riding in was stopped. What followed within hours was a wave a violent attacks on property spilling into several sections of London and lasting for several days.

London community activist Stafford Scott explains that after waiting four hours for the police to make a statement about Duggan’s death to a crowd that had gathered around the Tottenham police station, the congregation of people began to leave in frustration. Moments later, with the torching of police cars, the peaceful gathering had turned violent.

“It was…an outburst…spontaneous outburst, because people saw, we’ve been here for four hours. Women were leading the demonstration. When the women said, ‘Look, four hours. Our kids are now tired, we’re going home.’ When the guys saw the women leaving, that’s when the guys said, ‘Wow, we’ve been here for four hours and nothing’s happened. Nothing’s changed. They haven’t come to speak to us.’ And then when they saw some police cars—which for some reason were just parked up, unmanned—that was like a red flag to a bull. And they just had their go.”

Darcus Howe, Trinidadian-born columnist and broadcaster, in attempting to place the events in the context of current racial dynamics in London, explains, “In England right now, black boys are seen by the police as pests.” For the past 2 years, he says, young Black Londoners have been subjected to being stopped and searched by police in the street without being given an explanation of reasonable cause.

As well, Howe argues that recent cuts in public spending have resulted in increased lawlessness among youth in London.

“And then came the cuts,” he explains, “There are no youth clubs. Nothing for young people. And everything is going up….[T]he cuts in public spending…locked the fridge. You get one meal a day. That is the poverty that is taking place in this country. And so they’re out on the streets in Putnam. If you had walked around that day [the day of Duggan’s death]…you will see four guys leaning on a lamppost…where usually they would have been in a youth club paid for by the local government. …Supervised, areas for sporting activities, and then there in another area you do your homework. [T[hey have been so ignored, that they will sit in your class at school, and you can’t, as we say, read the play. You can’t know what is going on with them….Watch it. Watch how his eyes start to dart around….and wanting to tell you the teacher, ‘Fuck off….’ And that’s been going on under their noses, beneath the surface; and it exploded on that fateful day when Mark Duggan was executed.”

Included in the acts of violence that communities of color are dealing with in London is Black on Black violence, Howe adds. But the wave of civil unrest that moved through the streets of London last week represents a shift--predicted decades ago by the Afro-Caribbean intellectual Franz Fanon--in the way that social unease is manifested by Black youth, Howe argues. “I am sure now, as Franz Fanon warned us, this internecine strife—killing each other—sometimes it reaches a stage where it turns against something else. I promise you, Black on Black violence is going to fall considerably in the next few months….The energies are targeted elsewhere. The energies are targeted against the police.”

Previously, in the 1980s, London also grappled with a series of insurrections in communities of color in response to police abuse of power. What distinguishes these two periods of civil unrest, Howe opines, is the body of intellectuals that shaped the social awareness of the two sets of youth.

“There has never been at anytime until 1981 a mass consciousness informed by the songs of Jamaica, by the Malcolm X autobiography, by Franz Fanon, by C.L.R. James, series of writings. And then they’d have the Panther newspaper here. Stokely came through and he gave lectures and stuff….That made the foundation. Huge intellects like CLR James and younger ones from India and Pakistan. We weren’t looking like lost children. [We were] full of energy and well-read; and trying to build a base for new ideas. [Rather] than simply saying, ‘No, no, no.’”

On this edition, we speak with columnist and broadcaster Darcus Howe about the recent acts of disobedience by youth in the streets of London.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Decarcereate PA and the Social Costs of a Growing Prison Industrial Complex.

The Decarcerate PA Coalition plans to rally outside the Philadelphia offices of Hill International on Wednesday August 17 in an effort to pressure the company to end its plan to manage the construction of a new Graterford Prison in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

Hill International has been awarded a 14 million contract to oversee the building of the new prison. That is a fraction of the 400 million dollars of Pennsylvania state funds slated for various aspects of the new Graterford Prison construction project. According to Dan Berger of Decarcerate PA, the larger aim behind the August 17 rally is the reprioritization of Pennsylvania’s social agenda.

“We are going to be out there rallying against the proposed construction of a new prison at Graterford…and really demanding that the money—the 14 million dollars that Hill has been given in various contracts so far and the 400 million dollars that the Graterford Prison is supposed to cost—not go into prison construction, and instead be spent on schools, jobs, healthcare and things that will actually sustain our communities,” Berger says.

According to the recent Sentencing Project report “On the Chopping Block: State Prison Closings,” 13 states in 2011 have either closed prisons or are considering doing so, creating the potential for a total decrease in prison capacity nationwide of up to 14,793 beds. Pennsylvania’s 400 million-dollar new Graterford prison construction project, however, is a move in a different direction.

We speak with 3 members of the Decarcerate PA Coalition--Dan Berger, Joshua Glenn, and Omar Shabazz--about the relationship of the Hill International contract to the larger issue of the social costs of the growth of the prison industrial complex.


1. In the interview, an incorrect meeting spot was given for the Decarcerate PA Coalition. The correct meeting location is: 21 South 12th Street, 7th floor.

2. In addition, in the interview it was stated that Hill International had built only a few prisons in the United States. After further exploration of the Hill International website, however, Dan Berger discovered a list of more than 30 jails and/or correctional institutions that Hill was involved in constructing.

Decarcerate_PA_Interview--8-11-2011.mp3 Listen on Posterous

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The End of the Pelican Bay Hunger Strike: Interview with Hunger Strike Mediator, Laura Magnani.

On this edition of "On the Block Radio," we speak with Laura Magnani, regional director of the American Friends Services Committee (AFSC) and one of the five mediators who communicated with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) on behalf of striking prisoners during the Pelican Bay Hunger Strike that began on July 1st.

She discusses the lead up to the end of the strike and the work that former SHU hunger strikers and their outside supporters will be engaged in since the ending of the strike in the interest of bringing change to what they consider to be oppressive conditions in California State prisons.

Interview_with_Laura_Magnani.mp3 Listen on Posterous

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pelican Bay State Prison Hunger Strike: Response from the California Prison System.

We speak with Terry Thorton, spokesperson for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (the California Prison System) about the hunger strike launched on July 1st by Pelican Bay State Prisoners housed in the prison's Security Housing Unit (SHU).

In a statement published under the byline SHU Short Corridor Inmates, Pelican Bay Prison, in the summer 2011 edition of California-based Prison Focus, the following demands were listed as goals of the hunger strike:

--Individual accountability.

--Abolish the Debriefing Policy, Modify Active/Inactive Gang Status Criteria.

--Comply with the U.S. commission 2006 Recommendations Regarding an End to Long-Term Solitary Confinement

--Provide Adequate Food

--Expand and Provide Constructive Programming and Privileges for Indefinite SHU Status Inmates

Prison Focus, Summer 2011.

Thorton responds to the demands and recent reports on the deteriorating health of hunger strikers.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Pelican Bay State Prison Strike: Update.

We speak with Taeva Shefler of the Prison Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition about recent developments in the hunger strike that was launched on July 1st by prisoners confined to the Security Housing Unit at Pelican Bay State Prison in California. The following five conditions have been listed as the core demands of strikers in statements made by Pelican Bay SHU prisoners explaining the goals of the strike:

1) Eliminate group punishments
2) Abolish the debriefing policy and modify active/inactive gang status criteria
3) Comply with the recommendations of the US Commission on Safety and Abuse in Prisons
(2006) regarding an end to long-term solitary confinement
4) Provide adequate food
5) Expand and provide constructive programs and privileges for indefinite SHU inmates."
--from the Human Rights Coalition PA Prison Report

She discusses reports of the spread of the strike into the general population at Pelican Bay and into other prisons in California and how women in California's prisons have responded to the hunger strike.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Jailhouse Lawyer Andre Jacobs: Some Background.

Below is an excerpt from a pamphlet published by the Committee to Free Andre Jacobs:

Andre is a 29 year old Black man unjustly imprisoned and heavily targeted for his filing of grievances and lawsuits in defense of human rights inside the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. We seek to build a network of civil and human rights organizations, human rights defenders, legal associations, and concerned citizens in order to provide financial, media, legal, and popular support for Andre. By highlighting Andre’s battles against wrongful convictions and solitary confinement, we aim to bring greater public awareness to the injustices of the U.S. criminal justice system.

Andre Jacobs’s childhood was plagued with abuse and alcoholism in his immediate family. In 1997, when he was only 15 years old, Andre was first sentenced to prison for non-violent offenses. In 2001 Andre was placed in solitary confinement in retaliation for a lawsuit he had filed after being assaulted by a guard, and the PA DOC illegally suspended his court-ordered mental health treatment. Andre remains in solitary confinement to this day.

In 2005, at the Federal Courthouse in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Andre was dragged onto an elevator by U.S. marshals in front of his grandmother and beaten unconscious after the completion of a civil rights suit he had brought. Federal marshals conspired to frame Andre for assaulting them, despite his being cuffed and shackled at the time, and he was sentenced to an additional 17 years in prison as a result.

In 2008, Andre was awarded $185,000 by a jury in a civil rights suit after they determined that PA DOC staff had violated his rights. This was one of the four civil suits Andre has brought to trial from his solitary confinement cell, where he is held 23-24 hours per day in conditions of extreme social isolation, sensory deprivation, and subjected to constant acts of retaliation.

Against all odds, Andre has persevered through the torture, received a degree from Blackstone University, and is now a certified paralegal. Because of his talents as a jailhouse lawyer and his uncompromising defense of his rights and the rights of all prisoners, Andre has become a frequent target of racist guards and ranking officials and repeatedly subjected to assault, destruction of property, unlawful confiscation of legal mail, food tampering, withholding of medical care, starvation and deprivation of water, and placed on indefinite/permanent solitary confinement status by the secretary of the PA DOC.

Andre's resilience and refusal to submit to arbitrary, racist, and lawless authority has placed him in harm's way repeatedly and transformed him into an exceptionally talented and committed human rights defender. His story needs to be heard, his rights protected, and his cause championed.

"I am being killed psychologically. I've never had a chance at life and here people are conspiring to take my future from me. This is my first time in prison and it is truly a nightmare! I call on every organization, attorney, and member of society to assist me in educating the world in what goes on behind prison walls in America."--Andre Jacobs.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Pelican Bay State Prison Hunger Strike: Interview with Ed Mead of California Prison Focus.

A group of prisoners housed in Pelican Bay State Prison's Security Housing Unit, a housing assignment in which prisoners are restricted to their cells in solitary for at least 23 hours a day, has announced plans to begin a hunger strike on July 1st. According to a formal complaint published by a group of prisoners in the Summer 2011 issue of Prison Focus, one of the goals of the hunger strike is the implementation of 5 demands by the administration of Pelican Bay Prison.

They are:

1) Eliminate group punishments
2) Abolish the debriefing policy and modify active/inactive gang status criteria
3) Comply with the recommendations of the US Commission on Safety and Abuse in Prisons
(2006) regarding an end to long-term solitary confinement
4) Provide adequate food
5) Expand and provide constructive programs and privileges for indefinite SHU inmates."
--from the Human Rights Coalition PA Prison Report

We speak with Ed Mead--editor of the California-based newspaper Prison Focus and one of the organizers of the outside support for the Pelican Bay State prisoner hunger strike--about the living conditions for prisoners inside of Pelican Bay State Prison and the development and structure of this latest planned prison protest.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Interview with Psychriatrist Terry Kupers on the Damaging Effects of Long-Term Solitary Confinement on Prisoners.

In the wake of the recently released publication by the Human Rights Coalition called Unity and Courage: Report on State Correctional Institute at Huntingdon which contains prisoner and eyewitness detailed accusations of human rights abuses against prisoners in SCI Huntingdon Prison's RHU (Restricted Housing Unit), we speak with Psychiatrist Terry Kupers. Dr. Kupers has served as an expert witness on several cases in which the use of solitary confinement in United States' prisons is placed in critical focus. Namely, he has been asked to testify in U.S. courts on the damaging effects of solitary confinement on prisoners for such organizations as the ACLU and on behalf of Black Panther Party members.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

An Interview with Journalist Linn Washington on the Recent Judicial Victory for Mumia Abu-Jamal.

In the wake of the recent decision by the Third U.S. Court of Appeals declaring Mumia Abu-Jamal's death sentence unconstitutional and granting him a new sentencing trial, we speak with Philadelphia Tribune journalist Linn Washington. As a blogger, writer with the Tribune, and a public speaker, Washington has been reporting on developments in the Mumia Abu-Jamal case for years.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Update on Jailhouse Lawyer Andre Jacobs.

Thanks for joining us for another edition of On The Block Radio, the show that takes a critical look at the United States criminal justice system.

On today's show:

PA Prison Report Headlines.

--A woman in solitary confinement is repeatedly denied medical care by prison authorities

--"Ban the Box" legislation is proposed in Pittsburgh and made law in Philadelphia

--Victims of police attacks in Philadelphia win a chance at publicly demonstrating the extent of police brutality, and more...


We talk with Elizabeth Springer, the grandmother of jailhouse lawyer Andre Jacobs. Andre has been locked up in Pennsylvania correctional institutions since he was 15 years old. Ms. Springer talks about his early childhood, his experiences with harassment while in prison, developments with his appeal on federal charges of assault against prison guards, and the federal civil rights lawsuit he filed this past December against the PA DOC.

In December of 2010, Andre Jacobs filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in the Middle District of Pennsylvania against Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and state law enforcement agents in which he charges acts of torture against him. He filed that lawsuit while at SCI Huntingdon.

On April 8th, Andre Jacobs was transferred from SCI Huntingdon to SCI Rockview. When asked to provide a reason for the transfer, SCI Huntingdon's Public Information Officer, Connie Green, declined to give an explanation.

In 2008, Jacobs represented himself in a case in which he charged Pennsylvania Department of Correction staff with confiscating and not returning important legal property to him. He won the case, and the jury issued a judgment of $185,000 on his behalf.

Subsequently, according to the claims in his recent civil rights lawsuit, he was harassed by prison officials. He has been the victim of physical assault, verbal abuse, and food deprivation.
In addition, Jacobs has continued to be held in soilitary confinement, or the hole, since 2001. This means he is restricted to a cell by himself for at least 23 hours a day.

Special Thanks.

The PA Prison Reports are compiled by Andy, Bret, and Amanda of the Human Rights Coalition based on the accounts of prisoner correspondents and the investigations of HRC members. From the compiled data, the reports are re-written by Andy into the narratives you hear on "On The Block Radio." Tonight's report was read by Hannah of the HRC. Many thanks. To access written transcripts of the PA Prison Reports, please go to:

Friday, February 18, 2011

Terrell Johnson: New Trial for Man Locked Up for a Crime Many Believe He Did Not Commit.

(To download mp3 file, please click here. )

Thanks for checking in for another edition of On The Block Radio, the show that takes a critical look at the criminal justice system. On today's show:

PA Prison Report Headlines.

-Action Alert for racial death threats at SCI Forest

-SCI Huntingdon represses protests against the starvation of prisoners

-End of "freezing cells" hunger strike at SCI Albion


A new trial has been set for Pittsburgh resident Terrell Johnson during which new evidence will be presented that supports his claim that he is innocent of the murder of government witness Verna Robinson in 1994. The trial was originally scheduled for February 28th; however, a recent decision was made to postpone it until April 2011.

Based largely on the testimony of Evelyn "Dolly" McBryde, Johnson was convicted of Robinson''s murder. However, the use of McBryde's testimony during the trial has raised questions about whether Johnson received a fair trial. One of the reasons being that McBryde waited two weeks after the murder of Robinson--after she had been charged with theft and faced up to 50 years in jail--to tell police that she had been a witness to the murder of Robinson, according to the Innocence institute of Point Park University. As well, her trustworthiness as a prosecution witness has been called into question because of her long line of run-ins with the police for her alleged involvement in drug use, theft, and prostitution of herself and her children.

In August of 2009, based on the statements made by Anthony Robinson, who said that McBryde was smoking crack with him at the time that she had originally said she had witnessed the Verna Robinson murder, Johnson was granted a new trial.

In September of 2009, Terrell Johnson was offered his freedom in exchange for pleading guilty to a lesser charge. He refused, choosing to risk continued incarceration for a chance to be completely exonerated of all current charges against him in relation to the Verna Robinson killing.

His new trial will take place on this coming Monday, February 28th, at the Allegheny County Courthouse in Pittsburgh.

Terrell Johnson's wife, Saundra Cole, was interviewed earlier this month for On the Block Radio. She provides important background information and explains recent developments in the case.

For more information on this case, listeners can link to the Justice for Terrell Campaign at

Special Thanks.

The PA Prison Reports are compiled by Andy, Bret, and Amanda of the Human Rights Coalition based on the accounts of prisoner correspondents and the investigations of HRC members. From the compiled data, the reports are re-written by Andy into the narratives you hear on "On The Block Radio." Tonight's report was read by Hannah of the HRC. Many thanks. To access written transcripts of the PA Prison Reports, please go to:

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Hole: Case 2.
SCI Greene, CFCS, Solitary Confinement, and Folino: A Mother Tells The Story of Her Sons' Incarceration.

This is the second in a series of interviews related to solitary confinement in United States' prisons. We speak with the mother of two young, African American men who have both been confined to solitary confinement cells, better known as "the hole," for more than a year. Life inside the hole in United States' prisons has been described as akin to being buried alive.

The mother spoke to us on condition of anonymity out of fear that her sons might face retaliation for her efforts to bring to light their plight within detention systems here in the United States.

One of her sons, she says, has been awaiting trial for four years in Philadelphia's Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility (CFCF), for a crime he says he did not commit. For almost a year, he has been confined in CFCF's hole.

The other, she says, on entering the Pennsylvania prison system, was struggling with severe mental health issues; but instead of being provided with psychological treatment, he was placed and in the hole. Later, after beginning his prison term in SCI Cresson's solitary confinement unit, she explains, he was eventually transferred to SCI Greene. He was assigned to the hole at Greene, she tells us, and remains there after being denied a request in December to be released into the general prison population.

The current administration of SCI Greene is headed by Superintendent Louis Folino. Under his supervision, cases of cruel and unusual punishment--such as the confinement of Russell "Maroon" Shoatz to 21 years in Greene's hole-- have persisted .

The mother asks that anyone interested in helping to end the cruel and unusual treatment of her sons contact the People at On The Block Radio, who will then forward the message onto her. Our email address is

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Special Post.
People's Tribunal Against Police Brutality and Misconduct-Philadelphia.

On January 15, 2011, members of the Askia Coalition Against Police Brutality convened a tribunal to address the incidents of police brutality in Philadelphia. This 17-minute radio piece contains excerpts from the testimony of expert witnesses and victims of police brutality (Basiymah Muhammed, Abdus Sabur, Annette Dickerson, among others); as well as interviews with members of the Askia Coalition Against Police Brutality.

The Askia Coalition Against Police Brutality was formed in the wake of the attack against Askia Sabur in West Philadelphia on September 3, 2010 as a vehicle for putting an end to the phenomenom of police brutality in Philadelphia.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Police Brutality Case 01.12.10: Jordan Miles.
Police Brutality Case 08.30.10: John T. Williams.

Thanks for joining us for another edition of "On The Block Radio," the show that takes a critical look at the criminal justice system.

On tonight's show, we will speak with Seattle activist, Fern Renville, about John T. Williams.

On August 30, 2010, John T. Williams was shot and killed as he walked down a Seattle street. He was a well-known woodcarver in the Seattle area, and minutes before he was killed, he was holding a knife that was 3 inches long--less than the minimum length that a knife needs to be to be considered illegal to carry in public.

He was 50 years old, a Native American, homeless, deaf, and many people believe a fatality of police brutality. Aspects of the incident were captured by a police car video camera. (Video of parts of the incident can be seen HERE.) On that video tape are heard shots being fired only four seconds after Williams was directed to drop the knife he was carrying. And according to Fern Renville, a community member actively involved in bringing about justice in this case, a medical examiners' report states that Williams appears to have been shot from the side, not from the front as one would have expected if he was lunging towards the officer with the knife.

An inquest into the case is scheduled to take place on Monday, January 10th.
Then, we will talk with Brandi Fisher of the Alliance for Police Accountability about Jordan Miles.

On January 12, 2010, Jordan Miles, an 18 year-old senior at CAPA high school in Pittsburgh, where he was an honor student, was beaten up by police as he walked to his grandmother's house. Over the course of the attack, he was hit with a tree branch and patches of his neat locks were pulled from his hair, according to Brandi Fisher of the Justice for Jordan Miles Campaign and the Alliance for Police Accountability.

According to a statement published by Jordan Miles' family and posted on the Justice for Jordan Miles Campaign website, the police officers jumped out of their car near Miles, yelling, "Where’s the gun, where’s the money, where’s the drugs?” Because the officers were in plain clothes and their car was unmarked, Miles did not immediately assume that they were cops. Instead, he thought he was being robbed and began to run. When the cops overtook him, he was beaten, arrested and subsequently charged with 2 counts of aggravated assault, loitering and prowling at nighttime, escape and resisting arrest. Although all charges were subsequently thrown out, his face was badly swollen and he faces permanent nerve damage, and according to Brandi Fisher, still struggles emotionally as a result of what happened that night.

The one year anniversary of his brutalization by police will be marked by a vigil at 7:00pm at the site of the police attack: Tioga and Rosedale Street in Pittsburgh.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Hole: Case 1.
Russell Maroon Shoatz Seeks Release From Solitary Confinement After 21 Years.

Russell "Maroon" Shoatz, former black panther member, has been in solitary confinement for 21 years. The Pennsylvania Department Of Corrections has recommended that Russell "Maroon" Shoatz be released into the general prison population after spending 21 years in solitary confinement. However, family members say there is strong evidence to believe that Superintendent Folino may block efforts to release him. Shoatz hasn't had any infractions in the last 21 years. He is to appear before the Program Review Board on Jan 5, 2011, regarding the question of his release from solitary confinement.

We speak with the son and daughter of Russell "Maroon" Shoatz--Teresea Shoatz and Russell Shoatz III--about their father's situation.
The family asks that individuals write the officials listed below or call their offices non-stop and request Russell "Maroon" Shoatz's release into the general prison population.

Superintendent Folino: Phone 724.852.2903.
Superintendent Folino's Addresss: 169 Progress Drive, Waynesburg, PA 15370
Secretary of Pennsylvania Prisons, Shirley Moore Smeal Phone: 717-975-4918

To download a petition form letter, please CLICK HERE.