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To serve, protect–and frame

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The Way I See It-March 27, 2014

When I heard what Terry Robinson had done, I knew what kind of bravery this took. But I still wondered what the end game would be. A number of intersecting issues started flying around in my head – rogue cops, retaliation, prison recidivism, snitching, local control, transparency, etc.

Robinson, young and black, recorded two St. Louis cops on his cell phone allegedly pressuring him to come up with someone to plant a gun on or else they’d arrest him and charge him with gun possession.  Read more.

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Busted_book cover

 On the same note but in another city… Philadelphia Daily Newsreporters Barbara Laker and Wendy Ruderman uncovered allegations of corruption within the police department’s narcotics squad, including falsified warrants, robbing innocent store owners and sexual assault. Because of their expose’,  the female reporters caught hell from the Fraternal Order of Police who did dangerous stuff like post their home addresses on the FOP’s website, threaten their lives, etc.

This kind of corruption is not new but becoming more and more blatant. Citizens have the power to stop the abuse of police powers. In St. Louis, we need a real and effective civilian oversight board for the police department.

Gentrification from the lens of Dan Scott & Spike Lee

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Read additional commentary by Jamala on Dan, Spike Lee and gentrification  at BlackCommentator. The commentary includes video of Spike’s remarks at Pratt Institute.

I, too, sing St. Louis: The Dan Scott Saga

(This year is the 250th birthday of the City of St. Louis. This is the first of several articles throughout the year that share the stories of residents who have been excluded socially, politically and economically from the progress of the city. The series’ title is a take off from Langston Hughes’ famous poem,” I, too, sing America.” These citizens have been looked upon as second-class citizens, and their contributions or potential contributions have been blocked, discounted or stolen.)

Dan Scott_St. Louis PD photo

You probably would have never heard about Dan Scott had it not been for a rare and heavy-handed move by Alderman Joe Roddy and the St. Louis Courts. The story has gone national as yet another sad example of how this city chooses to deal with race relations.

After Scott’s arrest in May 2012, Judge Michael Stelzer set bail at $10,000 cash, gave Scott a curfew and ordered that he wear an ankle bracelet. He was banned from his home, youth programs and rental property for 17 months while waiting for his trial. All are located in the Forest Park Southeast (FPSE) neighborhood. Scott was charged with 5 counts of harassment and two counts of obstructing government operations and faced up to six years of prison. This act was designed to kill his spirit, destroy his livelihood and criminalize him. Read more