Posts tagged Charlotte

Rapists on patrol (#7). Officer Marcus Ramon Jackson.

Trigger warning. This post includes extended quotations from a newspaper article that includes narrative descriptions of sexual violence, battery, and other forms of abuse committed by a male police officer against four different young women. It may be triggering for past experiences of sexual or physical abuse.

Officer Marcus Ramon Jackson, rapist on patrol.

Officer Marcus Ramon Jackson, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Charlotte, North Carolina. Last week, the Charlotte city government’s police force fired and then arrested Officer Marcus Ramon Jackson, for using the power of his badge and the threat of arrest to pull over, abduct and then rape at least two different young women off the street within a period of a week and a half in late December. The police force’s spokesman is keeping mum about it, but apparently Jackson was still out on patrol after the first woman came forward to the police — and raped the second victim during the time he was allowed to stay on the road. This is what Police Spokesman Captain Brian Cunningham considers act[ing] in a swift and appropriate manner.

On Wednesday, Jackson, 25, was arrested after two young women told investigators he had pulled them over on traffic stops and sexually assaulted them. He was on duty in a marked patrol car at the time, according to police.

The first incident allegedly occurred on Dec. 18 but wasn’t reported until Monday. Police Chief Rodney Monroe said Jackson — wearing his uniform and driving his police cruiser - pulled over a 17-year-old girl, forced her into his car, drove to another location and forced her to commit sex acts.

CMPD began its investigation after a relative of the girl called police Monday.

As detectives investigated the allegations, Monroe said, a 21-year-old woman reported Tuesday night that she too had been assaulted by Jackson under similar circumstances. That assault, she said, occurred on Monday.

Police would not say what time on Monday they received the first complaint, or how much time passed before the second attack occurred.

— Ely Portillo and Gary Wright, Charlotte Observer (2010-01-01): Ex-officer had past reports of violence

The reason that Officer Marcus Ramon Jackson was given a badge and a gun and the power to detain and arrest in the first place is because the city government’s police force decided to hire him even though he had already been taken to court two different times for threatening violence and battering women:

Court documents reveal that Jackson’s past included two allegedly violent episodes in Mecklenburg County. The first was in 2003 when Jackson, then 19 and a student at UNC Charlotte, was dating a 15-year-old Harding High School student.

The girl’s mother sought a restraining order against him in May 2003. The defendant threatened my daughter by telling her she was going to get hers and catch one, the mother wrote.

Jackson tried to hit the teen with a car and pushed her into a locker, according to the mother’s complaint. He was later summoned to court after being accused of violating a restraining order, but was found not guilty in August 2003.

In 2005, Jackson was working at Off Broadway Shoes on South Boulevard and still studying at UNCC when his 21-year-old girlfriend sought a restraining order against him.

The defendant grabbed me by the face several times, screaming and yelling…, the girlfriend wrote in her complaint. The defendant hit me in the back of the head, slapped my face, pushed me down in the floor, forcing (me) in (a) walk-in closet.

The judge ordered Jackson to stay away from the victim and not own or carry any firearms [for the duration of the restraining order].

— Ely Portillo and Gary Wright, Charlotte Observer (2010-01-01): Ex-officer had past reports of violence

The police admit that they were already aware of the 2003 domestic violence complaint when they decided to hire and arm Jackson. They claim that they weren’t aware of the 2005 restraining order — but, of course, they claim to do background checks before they hand out badges and guns, and the restraining order was a matter of public record, and could easily have been discovered if they took the time to follow up on the 2003 complaint, to see whether it was part of a pattern of behavior. In other words, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department chose to hire, train, arm, and put out on patrol a man who they already knew, or already should have known, to be a hyperviolent control freak with a history of violence against women. Who then went on to become a serial rapist, using the legal and martial weapons that they gave him to single young women out, force them into his car, abduct them, and force sex on them against their will. Police Chief Rodney Monroe has mentioned to the press that he thinks it would be naïve to believe that Jackson hadn’t raped other women while out on duty.

Yes, it would be. Men who attack women typically do so repeatedly; men with a known history of violence against women will do it over and over again, unless and until they are stopped. So how naive is it to hire a man with a known history of abusive rages and physical violence against women, heavily arm him, and putting him out on patrol, where he effectively holds the power of life or death over any woman that he chooses to single out?

See also:

ALL you need to know about organizing is what you can learn on the web

Alliance of the Libertarian Left Ad Hoc Global Organizing Committee

ALLies,

First things first. Do you know any individualist anarchists, agorists, mutualists, left-Rothbardians or others on the libertarian left in or nearby any of the following metropolitan areas, who might be interested in getting involved, or getting more involved, in local activism and organizing? (If that description matches you yourself, that’s good enough, too.)

If so, please drop me a line with their contact information. I have some requests from prospective local organizers who are looking for people to start locals for the Alliance of the Libertarian Left. I would love to be able to put them in touch with anyone locally who might be interested.

Which brings me to my broader topic. In principle, one of the great things about a decentralized outfit like the Alliance of the Libertarian Left is that it’s easy for supporters to organize new locals and begin building alternatives in their own community. Since there’s no central bureaucracy you need to ask for permission and no paperwork to fill out, all you need to do is find people in your hometown, declare yourself a cell of the A.L.L., and start working on actions and projects in your own community. That’s a pretty low barrier to entry. But Just organize in your own community! is a bit easier said than done. One of the downsides of a decentralized outfit like the Alliance of the Libertarian Left is that there’s little in the way of a ready-made structure or resources for people to find each other, or to know how to move the organizing forward once a core group has managed to find each other. If we’re going to do this decentralism thing, one of the things we’ll have to do is to work out decentralized methods of making these resources available to new organizers who want or need them.

Recently I’ve gotten a number of e-mails from people who are looking for local ALL contacts, or who want to start an ALL but need help with some of the logistics (for example, with getting web space for their group). In order to help make it easier to start up new locals, I’m proposing that we establish an ALL Ad Hoc Global Organizing Committee. In fact, it’s so ad hoc, that I’ve already started it: http://libertarianleft.org/.

The purpose of the Organizing Committee is to serve as a clearing-house for currently active ALLies to help put other ALLies in touch with each other and to provide some information, some advice and some resources that will help people get going on local organizing. Any and all ALLies who are interested in participating are invited to do so. Here’s a couple ways that you can help right now.

  1. Help us network to put local ALLies in touch with each other — I’ve set up an Organizing Committee listserv for two purposes. One purpose is to do some brainstorming and scheming about methods of outreach and resources for newbie organizers to make available through the Organizing Committee website or by other means. (About which, see below.) The other important function is to for us to network so that we can help prospective local organizers find other people in their own neck of the woods. If you happen to know a lot of libertarians or anarchists outside of your hometown (or know people who know a lot of libertarians and anarchists outside of your hometown), you can help out a lot just by signing up to the list as a sort of activist matchmaker — so that if someone gets an inquiry from an ALLy in Walla Walla, say, we can check in with each other to see if anyone knows good contacts in Walla Walla.

  2. Brainstorming useful resources, information, and advice to make available through the page — for example, there’s currently a rudimentary page for helping solitary local left-libertarians find ALLies in their area for the purposes of organizing an ALL local. The page currently consists of a landing-pad that encourages them to e-mail members of the organizing committee, along with Shawn Wilbur’s ALL Frappr map as a means for people to find each other based on geographical location. What it could use are some links to useful resources and some concrete advice on other ways to get the word out. What would you suggest for things to add to this page, either in terms of services that existing ALLies can directly offer, or links we can point to, or advice we can give, on finding other like-minded people in your community?

    More generally, what would you like to see on the Organizing Committee website as a whole? What kind of services can we offer that would be most useful to you, or to prospective local organizers? What kind of information and advice do you think would help out the most? Let’s discuss in the comments section.

Finally, I’d like to mention that, as part of the Organizing Committee effort, I (Rad Geek) am making subdomains and webhosting space available to ALL locals that need them. If you are organizing, or hope to organize, a local ALL chapter, and you want web space for your group (to make contact information available, to provide some information about what A.L.L. is all about, to put up news and announcements, to provide an online landing-pad for people who see flyers or other literature that you might distribute around town, etc.), then I can hook you up. You will get use of a subdomain name of your choice (in the format yourhometown.libertarianleft.org), and, if you need it, I can provide you with free web hosting space on my own web servers. As long as traffic remains relatively low, the hosting will be completely free. If in the course of the Revolution traffic should spike to the point that I need to upgrade my servers or Internet connection to handle it, I would just ask a small cost-price-based fee to help handle the upgrade—good mutualist practice, and far less than anything you’d get from buying a commercial web hosting plan. (Solidarity economy and all that.)

Onward.

Someone must have slandered Thomas W….

(Story via Freedom Democrats 2008-01-25.)

The primary reason that you should oppose government immigration laws is that the system of international apartheid is based on morally despicable premises, and necessarily involves massive State violence against peaceful people. Immigration laws involve the State in discrimination against, and violation of the basic human rights of, peaceful immigrants. But that’s not all that they do. And if you understand the stupidity and the evil of immigration laws, but don’t yet feel that you personally have a reason to stick your own neck out to actively oppose them, maybe this will help change your mind.

FLORENCE, Ariz. — Thomas Warziniack was born in Minnesota and grew up in Georgia, but immigration authorities pronounced him an illegal immigrant from Russia.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has held Warziniack for weeks in an Arizona detention facility with the aim of deporting him to a country he’s never seen. His jailers shrugged off Warziniack’s claims that he was an American citizen, even though they could have retrieved his Minnesota birth certificate in minutes and even though a Colorado court had concluded that he was a U.S. citizen a year before it shipped him to Arizona.

In Warziniack’s case, ICE officials appear to have been oblivious to signs that they’d made a serious mistake.

After he was arrested in Colorado on a minor drug charge, Warziniack told probation officials there wild stories about being shot seven times, stabbed twice and bombed four times as a Russian army colonel in Afghanistan, according to court records. He also insisted that he swam ashore to America from a Soviet submarine.

Court officials were skeptical. Not only did his story seem preposterous, but the longtime heroin addict also had a Southern accent and didn’t speak Russian.

Colorado court officials quickly determined his true identity in a national crime database: He was a Minnesota-born man who grew up in Georgia. Before Warziniack was sentenced to prison on the drug charge, his probation officer surmised in a report that he could be mentally ill.

Although it took only minutes for McClatchy to confirm with Minnesota officials that a birth certificate under Warziniack’s name and birth date was on file, Colorado prison officials notified federal authorities that Warziniack was a foreign-born prisoner.

McClatchy also was able to track down Warziniack’s three half-sisters. Even though they hadn’t seen him in almost 20 years, his sisters were willing to vouch for him.

One of them, Missy Dolle, called the detention center repeatedly, until officials there stopped returning her calls. Her brother’s attorney told her that a detainee in Warziniack’s situation often has to wait weeks for results, even if he or she gets a copy of a U.S. birth certificate.

Warziniack, meanwhile, waited impatiently for an opportunity to prove his case. After he contacted the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, a group that provides legal advice to immigrants, a local attorney recently agreed to represent him for free.

Dolle and her husband, Keith, a retired sheriff’s deputy in Mecklenburg County, N.C., flew to Arizona from their Charlotte home to attend her brother’s hearing before an immigration judge.

Before she left, she e-mailed Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C. After someone from his office contacted ICE, immigration officials promised to release Warziniack if they got a birth certificate.

After scrambling to get a power of attorney to obtain their brother’s birth certificate, the sisters succeeded in getting a copy the day before the hearing.

On Thursday, however, government lawyers told an immigration judge during a deportation hearing that they needed a week to verify the authenticity of Warziniack’s birth record. The judge delayed his ruling.

I still can’t believe this is happening in America, Dolle said.

Warziniack began to weep when he saw his sister. They still don’t believe me, he said.

Later that day, however, ICE officials changed their minds and said that he could be released this week.

— Marisa Taylor, McClatchy Washington Bureau (2008-01-24): Immigration officials detaining, deporting American citizens

In the real world, outside of statist power trip la-la land, if you grabbed somebody off the street and locked him up in a hellhole jail cell against his will all through a complete mistake, and you kept him there and stole weeks of his life away from him, all the while failing to notice your fuck-up because of your arrogance and negligence, you would pay for what you did. You’d pay for it on a civil level in the form of restitution to your victim, and you’d pay for it on a criminal level with charges of kidnapping. Morally, the immigration cops who did this should be in jail. But, wait—once you strap on a badge and a gun, suddenly some sanctimonious buck-passing and excuse-making, with an Oops, our bad tacked on along the way, is close enough for government work:

On Thursday, Warziniack finally became a free man. Immigration officials released him after his family, who learned about his predicament from McClatchy, produced a birth certificate and after a U.S. senator demanded his release.

The immigration agents told me they never make mistakes, Warziniack said in an earlier phone interview from jail. All I know is that somebody dropped the ball.

Officials with ICE, the federal agency that oversees deportations, maintain that such cases are isolated because agents are required to obtain sufficient evidence that someone is an illegal immigrant before making an arrest. However, they don’t track the number of U.S. citizens who are detained or deported.

We don’t want to detain or deport U.S. citizens, said Ernestine Fobbs, an ICE spokeswoman. It’s just not something we do.

… ICE’s Fobbs said agents move as quickly as possible to check stories of people who claim they’re American citizens. But she said that many of the cases involve complex legal arguments, such as whether U.S. citizenship is derived from parents, which an immigration judge has to sort out.

We have to be careful we don’t release the wrong person, she said.

— Marisa Taylor, McClatchy Washington Bureau (2008-01-24): Immigration officials detaining, deporting American citizens

Of course, if you really give a damn about avoiding mistakes, you might actually take some steps towards investigating, presuming innocence, and following some kind of basic due process before you throw living people down a legal memory hole. But that would require actually granting suspected illegal immigrants the as good or better legal privileges and immunities as are offered to suspects in a normal court proceeding, rather than presumptively throwing them into a detention center and then running them through a parallel, unaccountable administrative process for today’s federal Fugitive Alien Law. And what La Migra gives a damn about is proving to bellowing Know-Nothing busybodies that they are doing something to crack down on illegal immigration—the lives, liberties, and livelihoods of bystanders be damned.

An unpublished study by the Vera Institute of Justice, a New York nonprofit organization, in 2006 identified 125 people in immigration detention centers across the nation who immigration lawyers believed had valid U.S. citizenship claims.

Vera initially focused on six facilities where most of the cases surfaced. The organization later broadened its analysis to 12 sites and plans to track the outcome of all cases involving citizens.

Nina Siulc, the lead researcher, said she thinks that many more American citizens probably are being erroneously detained or deported every year because her assessment looked at only a small number of those in custody. Each year, about 280,000 people are held on immigration violations at 15 federal detention centers and more than 400 state and local contract facilities nationwide.

Unlike suspects charged in criminal courts, detainees accused of immigration violations don’t have a right to an attorney, and three-quarters of them represent themselves. Less affluent or resourceful U.S. citizens who are detained must try to maneuver on their own through a complicated system.

It becomes your word against the government’s, even when you know and insist that you’re a U.S. citizen, Siulc said. Your word doesn’t always count, and the government doesn’t always investigate fully.

While immigration advocates agree that the agents generally release detainees before deportation in clear-cut cases, they said that ICE sometimes ignores valid assertions of citizenship in the rush to ship out more illegal immigrants.

Proving citizenship is especially difficult for the poor, mentally ill, disabled or anyone who has trouble getting a copy of his or her birth certificate while behind bars.

Pedro Guzman, a mentally disabled U.S. citizen who was born in Los Angeles, was serving a 120-day sentence for trespassing last year when he was shipped off to Mexico. Guzman was found three months later trying to return home. Although federal government attorneys have acknowledged that Guzman was a citizen, ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice said Thursday that her agency still questions the validity of his birth certificate.

Last March, ICE agents in San Francisco detained Kebin Reyes, a 6-year-old boy who was born in the U.S., for 10 hours after his father was picked up in a sweep. His father says he wasn’t permitted to call relatives who could care for his son, although ICE denies turning down the request.

The number of U.S. citizens who are swept up in the immigration system is a small fraction of the number of illegal immigrants who are deported, but in the last several years immigration lawyers report seeing more detainees who turn out to be U.S. citizens.

The attorneys said the chances of mistakes are growing as immigration agents step up sweeps in the country and state and local prisons with less experience in immigration matters screen more criminals on behalf of ICE.

[ICE officials] said they were able to confirm [Warziniack’s] birth certificate, but they didn’t acknowledge any problem with the handling of the case.

The officials blamed conflicting information for the mix-up.

The burden of proof is on the individual to show they’re legally entitled to be in the United States, said ICE spokeswoman Kice.

I want to stress that the point here is not that this kind of treatment is wrong because the people being treated this way aren’t really illegal immigrants. I’m not saying that we need procedural protections for suspects because it’s better for a hundred guilty people to go free than for one innocent person to be punished. That’s not my point because morally, illegal immigrants aren’t guilty of a damned thing. U.S. citizens aren’t entitled to special treatment just because they are Estadounidenses; they’re entitled to be treated better than this because they are people. If there is no excuse for making U.S. citizens disappearing into legal limbo in a system of prisons and administrative law where they have no real civil liberties and no recourse to due process protections, and no excuse for trashing their lives and livelihoods by locking them up and exiling them from their homes, on the unspeakably arrogant presumption that it’s the citizen who has to prove to the government’s satisfaction that she has a right to live peacefully in her own home, then there’s no excause because there’s no excuse for treating anyone that way, no matter what their nationality and whether or not they have a permission slip to exist from the federal government. The thing itself is the abuse.

But the point that I do want to make is that if you’re a U.S. citizen, and you’re not convinced of the central importance of immigration law—if you believe that you can reliably secure your own freedom without paying attention to the way that governments treat undocumented immigrants—then you need to think a lot harder about what a system of immigration control necessarily entails. International apartheid requires mechanisms for detecting, and then either interdicting or rounding up, unauthorized immigrants. But to discover and then interfere with their presence in the country, it necessarily entails a system of paramilitary border control, and it also necessarily entails immigration dossiers, passbooks, and government surveillance. But these systems have to be inflicted both on citizens and on immigrants for them to make any sense at all; by definition, the government can’t discover immigrants who bypass the official documentation system by getting documentation of their undocumented status, so instead the border control State has to force everyone else to carry papers, to submit to La Migra’s surveillance, and to take on the burden of giving affirmative proof of our status whenever some prick with a clipboard demands it. There’s no way to block off opportunities for undocumented immigrants to move or to get jobs except by limiting everyone’s freedom of motion or employment to government-controlled chokepoints where papers can be demanded and inspected. And there’s no way to make undocumented immigrants disappear into legal limbo without also, at the same time, creating an ominous threat to any citizen who might come under La Migra’s suspicion or might have trouble producing her own papers on demand. There is no way for international apartheid to be enforced on immigrants without massive invasions on the privacy and liberties of non-immigrants, because the basic concept — the concept of a government with the power and prerogative to systematically screen who is and who is not allowed to exist within its territory — requires everybody, whether their presence is authorized or unauthorized by the government, to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so.

What immigration law does to illegal immigrants is despicable. There is no excuse and it should be abolished immediately. But if you, reader, recognize this, but still don’t see how it personally concerns you, then you should look harder at the effects that immigration law necessarily inflicts on the rest of us in everyday life. Immigrant and citizen, documented and undocumented, the fact is that we are all in this together, and if we let the State spy and stomp on any of us, the system for implementing the policy is necessarily going to spy and stomp on all of us in the end.