Department of Injustice


Tiny - Posted on 11 February 2014

Author: 
Rommie Whittaker/ POOR News Network

February 11, 2014

Governor Jerry Brown [D] California has recently asked for an extension on the federal deadline to release state inmates from California’s overcrowded prison system. Why not just release all of the people in state prisons on marijuana charges and kill two birds with one stone? The answer of course is that leaders like Jerry Brown hold more allegiance to law enforcement than they do to the constituents who elected them!

Nationwide, more people want marijuana to be legal rather than illegal. I can give two very good examples of how federal, state, and local authorities abuse their power to unjustly arrest, prosecute, and convict mostly poor black and Latino populations.


The first example, from my January 12, 2014 Facebook post:

This past Friday my friend Jose Guittierez was railroaded in Federal Court.
I wasn’t present for the event that led to his arrest so I cannot honestly say that the fact that he is Latino was a factor (I didn’t hear people call him bad names but did review part of the video footage). I am absolutely convinced that his exercising his right to free speech, bearing a sign with the words “Department of Injustice” while wearing a bull nose mask, is the reason for arrest. The arrest took place during the federal raid on Oaksterdam, Oakland’s version of Amsterdam, Netherlands.

He was arrested for allegedly assaulting a federal agent. He accidentally tapped a federal marshal with his protest sign.

The Judge seemed to be as angry with him for bringing a protest sign phrased
“Dept of Injustice” and wearing a bull nose mask, as for the actual “assault” that lasted less than a second. The Judge was brought in from another state, allegedly so Jose could get a fair trial. He accused Jose of “coming from another city to start trouble” (I can’t possibly be the only one who sees the irony in this).

The probation department recommended 6 months probation and 6 months in a halfway house. The Judge ignored their recommendation and instead sentenced him to a much harsher sentence of 5 years probation and abstinence from alcohol and illegal drugs. He grossly contradicted himself by saying halfway houses were for people with substance abuse issues. The Judge further contradicted himself by stating that the case was not about medical marijuana.

My questions are: If it’s not about medical marijuana, why so strong a message? Why were these raids conducted after President Obama promised federal raids would not occur on properties that followed state drug laws?

 

The second example, from my January 13, 2014 Facebook post:

Once again I was arrested for selling alleged marijuana brownies. This would be the fifth time I have been arrested for this alleged offense. Four police officers who I never even met before told me that it was SFPD policy not to arrest people for pot brownies.

If all charges aren’t dropped at my next court date, I want to be represented by Ann Irwin
(if she is still practicing criminal law in San Francisco). I feel that she’s the only attorney in the Public Defender’s Office who has been completely forthcoming with me and represented my interests.

I further feel that the retainer should be paid by wealthier people than me in the cannabis conscious community, or otherwise through fund-raising efforts.
Now is the chance to put your money where your mouth is!

My next court date is during the last week of Black History Month: February 24, 2014. And I am posting this on Martin Luther King, Jr. day. Yes indeed I have a dream!

It is important to note: later that evening I attended a Town Hall Meeting with gubernatorial candidate Luis Rodriguez, in my opinion a true revolutionary. He’s someone who would not just pay the people lip service and pretend to listen to them. It’s time for corporate sponsored leadership to com to an end!
 

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