All posts by jasmynecannick

protesters in la hands up

Da 5 Footaz KneHi Releases ‘Black Lives Matter’ Song After Being Arrested at L.A. Protest

Ericka Martin, better known as KneHi (blue shirt) poses with other members of the legendary West Coast female rap group Da 5 Footaz.

Ericka Martin, better known as KneHi (blue shirt) poses with members of the legendary West Coast female rap group Da 5 Footaz.

KneHi from the legendary West Coast female rap group Da 5 Footaz (“The Heist,” G Funk Music) has just released her latest song–and it’s all about the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests in Los Angeles.

Ericka Martin, 37, better known as KneHi, was arrested on Wed. Nov. 25 in downtown Los Angeles during one of the LAPD’s infamous mass arrest operations of protesters protesting police brutality and killings.

Known for her work as one part of the all female rap group Da 5 Footaz, Martin used that experience to pen a song about the LAPD, police brutality, and being arrested. In the song she shouts out fellow arrestee well known political consultant and EUR columnist Jasmyne Cannick, Ezell Ford, who was shot and killed by the LAPD in August, and Mitrice Richardson who was found dead in 2010 after the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department arrested her and released her in the middle of the night with nothing.

Martin, along with at least 140 others will be going to court this week in Los Angeles.  She says that continues to stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and plans to fight the misdemeanor charges.

Other L.A. rappers spotted at Los Angeles Black Lives Matter protests include the Lady of Rage herself who was seen walking with protesters near the Staples Center on Mon. Nov. 23.

Later this week, many of those arrested by the LAPD will join Martin in South Los Angeles as she shoots the music video for “Black Lives Matter.”

“Black Lives Matter” was produced by Da Bad Guy.

You can follow KneHi on Twitter @KneHi_ and on Facebook here

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@Jasmyne Cannick: Putting White’s Support of Black Lives Matter to the Test

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*Just because you attend a rally or protest and lend your voice to chorus of those chanting that “Black Lives Matter” doesn’t mean that you really mean it or that you are using your white privilege for good. Similarly, just because you’re a registered Democrat and you gave money to the President’s campaign doesn’t mean that you can’t be a racist.

I’m sure that producer Scott Rudin and Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal didn’t intend to be racist as they joked back and forth in emails about the kinds of movies that America’s first Black president might like.

The leaked email exchange between Rudin and Pascal involved a discussion about a fundraiser breakfast with President Obama Pascal was to attend. They assume that Obama, because he’s Black, would prefer movies featuring blacks.

She suggested Django. He suggested 12 Years a Slave. She came back with The Butler.

“Ride-along. I bet he likes Kevin Hart,” Rudin replied.

The latest batch of hacked Sony emails has brought into the spotlight once again the inherent racism that continues to exist within the Democratic Party and with white liberals, many of whom have jumped aboard the Black lives matters bandwagon.

Over the past several weeks I’ve spoken with and watched hundreds of white people march through the streets of Los Angeles holding signs and chanting the phrase “Black lives matter.” I even had one woman recently tell me how she was using her white privilege for good by being out in the streets with those decrying police brutality and the killing of unarmed Black men.

But the reality is that while it’s nice to see so many white people genuinely concerned with the plight of Black people, their white privilege could better serve the same Black people that they care about behind closed doors when they’re at work.

If Black lives really matter I need for all of the white people in the position to hire someone who is Black to do just that—hire an African-American. If more Black people are working, that means that more Black lives are being provided for financially.

And if Black lives are so important, those same white people who work at banks and approve home loans should be willing to work just a little harder to see to it that Black families trying to buy their first home aren’t denied a loan. Their counterparts who make the decisions on who to rent to and who not to rent to can help the cause by seeing to it that more Black people are approved to rent apartments even if those apartments aren’t in the ghetto.

White people show that Black lives matter by using their privilege to admit more African-Americans into their colleges and universities.

The organizations and non-profits working to better the lives of Black people and who are actually run by Black people should always be funded by the same liberal white people who are chanting today that Black lives matter.

The lives of Black people aren’t just a trend or the latest catch phrase to put on a shirt to sell and make money with.

For Black people it’s a long overdue movement lead by a statement that has meaning and purpose.

White people can best support the theory that Black lives matter by putting it to a test and by actually doing the things that demonstrate that Black people matter. Our lives matter enough to hire, cast, lend to, rent to, give to, and accept into. Not just while it’s a trending hashtag and the news media is there.

As for Rudin and Pascal’s little email exchange, maybe now Black people will begin to challenge the Party that has benefited from their blind allegiance on it’s own issues with race. Writing a check to the president’s campaign coffers doesn’t absolve you from being a racist.

Jasmyne A. CannickSelected as one of ESSENCE Magazine’s 25 Women Shaping the World and one of the Most Influential African-Americans in Los Angeles Under 40, on radio, television, and in print, Jasmyne Cannick is a politics, race, and pop culture social commentator who has cultivated a national following.  She can be reached at www.jasmyneonline.com and on Twitter @Jasmyne.

Elder Roland Freeman

We Remember: Roland Freeman, Original L.A. Black Panther Dies at 68

Elder Roland Freeman

Elder Roland Freeman

Roland Freeman, Original Member of the Southern California Chapter of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense Dies at 68

Los Angeles, CA – Roland Freeman, an original member of the Southern California Chapter of the Black Party for Self-Defense died Wed., Oct. 15 in New York at the LaGuardia Airport. Freeman was bringing back the ashes of his brother Ronald Freeman, 69, also an original member of the Black Panther Party who had passed away a week before on Oct. 8 from cancer in New York when he had a heart attack and immediately died. Services are pending for both brothers. For those interested in more information, please call Mohammed Mubarack at (323) 697-6783 or email [email protected].

With the deaths of Ronald and Roland Freeman, three original Black Panther members from Los Angeles have passed away within the last two months including Wayne Pharr who died from cancer on Sep. 16.

Ronald and Roland Freeman joined the Southern California Chapter of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense in 1967. They were both a part of the original membership of fewer than 20 people and were active participants in the shoot out on Dec. 8, 1969 involving over 300 LAPD officers and the SWAT team.

Roland was also one of the few original L.A. Black Panthers who stayed involved with the Movement until its end and lived to tell about it. He was a co-executive producer and subject of the award-winning documentary film “41st and Central: The Untold Story of the L.A. Black Panthers.”

For the past 20 years, Roland was the director at the Community Youth Sports and Arts Foundation, a halfway house for troubled youth in Leimert Park.

Ronald stayed active with the Movement as well after moving to Oakland. He leaves behind to celebrate his life three daughters, two sons, and his life partner Carmelita Taylor.

Roland, a longtime resident of Leimert Park leaves behind to celebrate his life his daughter Mai Freeman, son Roland Toure Freeman, and his wife Beverly.

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@Jasmyne Cannick: LAPD Sergeant Did the Right Thing with Daniele Watts

LAPD Sergeant Jim ParkerDid The Right Thing With Daniele Watts

Jasmyne Cannick and LAPD Sergeant Jim Parker in Los Angeles, Calif. at the studios of KJLH-FM.

*Los Angeles police sergeant Jim Parker does not deserve to be fired for his role in the handcuffing and detaining of actress Daniele Watts when she refused to identify herself.  I know that probably isn’t going to go over well with some African-Americans, but that’s how I feel about the situation.

Daniele Watts and her man celebrity chef Brian Lucas have worked by last nerve regarding this situation.  Watts, whose claim to fame is her role in the film “Django Unchained” is still pissed about being detained after she refused to identify herself when the police were called to investigate two people possibly having sex in a car parked on Radford Avenue in Studio City.

Lucas wrote in Facebook post that the police had acted as though the couple had been engaged in prostitution because Lucas is white and Watts is Black.

Now what probably really happened is that it did look like prostitution to a passerby and who in turn called 911.  I’m not so sure looking at the both of them if I wouldn’t have had the same thought and that’s just keeping it real.

As far as I’m concerned, and this is just my way of thinking, cars are for transporting you from one place to another.  Not for making out in.  Why even be in the position of having someone think that you are having sex in your car in public in the first damn place? And if you are caught in the act of whatever the hell it is that you’re doing, before you scream racism, just show the cop your frickin’ ID and then carry on.  IDs were made to ID.  But hey, that’s just how I look at it.

This story has taken off all over the place and just when I think it’s died down, I find something new on my damn Twitter feed about it.  The latest being Watts’ op-ed in the Los Angeles Times defending her position and Tuesday’s appearance of Sgt. Parker at the Police Commission meeting.

Yesterday, before the Police Commission Parker defended giving the September 11 recording to celebrity news site TMZ in an effort to “avert a potentially volatile racial controversy.”

Quoted in the L.A. Times, Parker said, “I had to make a decision. We were facing another racial, tumultuous incident in L.A.  I said, ‘This has to stop right away.’ I drove to my station, grabbed the recording and called TMZ. It stopped the next day.”

This is new territory for the LAPD who in recent months has seen quite a few members of the rank-and-file speak up about the internal dealings within the department (good for them).  As you know, the department generally frowns upon its officers publicly releasing confidential records, including audio recordings (let us not forget Lygagate).

“Is it against department policy? Yes,” Parker said. “Is it the right thing to do? Yes.”

Again, good for him.  It’s about time.

What I’m absolutely sure got Chief Charlie Beck’s panties/boxers in a bunch is Parker’s description of him as “one head of a multi-headed snake on this department.”  That comment alone is probably enough for the department to find some way to excuse him from his position.

I spoke with Parker today and he told me he’s pretty sure the department is going to try and relieve him of duty.

He said that he’s on a 30-day medical leave right now and that he was told he was going to be removed from patrol and ordered to have no contact with the public.  I understand that attorney Ira Salzman (yes, Detective Frank Lyga’s Ira Salzman) is representing him.  Good luck with that.

I believe in fighting police misconduct wherever it rears its ugly head here in Los Angeles, but this ain’t a case of it.  This is about a woman and her man not being able to wait to get it it on at home and then when caught, the woman causing a big ole’ scene for no apparent reason other than publicity.

Black people have real issues with law enforcement and quite frankly it’s a waste of my damn time and others to have to deal with Daniele Watts and her man.

There are police officers beating the shit out of Black people.  There are police officers killing unarmed Black people and getting away with it.  There are police officers actually racially profiling Black people, but this isn’t one of those cases.

What’s going to be really interesting is seeing just how expeditiously the department moves on trying to relieve Parker of duty, especially when they have done pretty much nothing about Detective Frank Lyga’s little meltdown or any of that nasty business going on over at Newton Division which we discussed in previous posts.

Parker, while I hope this isn’t the case, may just become another poster child for all that is wrong with LAPDs disciplinary system. Parker from what I can tell is not sponsored or related to anyone in command staff so his chances of escaping the wrath of Beck aren’t looking so good.  If they don’t nail him on the Watts handcuffing and detainment then they’re probably going to nail him on releasing the recording (but really for calling Chief Beck a snake).  All of which is going to help morale in a department that’s already so low, it’s hard to believe it can get any lower.

The public is always talking about how they want cops who do the right thing patrolling their streets and neighborhoods.  Well this is a perfect opportunity to back a cop who did the right thing.  You and I both know if Parker hadn’t have released that recording it would have likely never seen the light of day.  I mean we are talking about the LAPD.

While I have no real faith in the Police Commission given their past track record when it comes to officers stepping up to expose the department’s dirty laundry and trickery, for those who actually care about Sgt. Parker’s outcome—now would be the time to reach out to the Police Commission, Mayor Eric Garcetti, and members of the Los Angeles city council to voice that support.  His job is on the line.

All of this is political, it shouldn’t be, but it is.  Nobody wants angry Black people in front of their office or down at city hall screaming about the LAPD.  But I think most Black people are smart enough to see that while we may have issues with the LAPD, this isn’t one of them.  This is just a woman and her man (but really more the woman) trying to push an issue that isn’t really there and make a bigger name for herself in the world.  She might have succeeded in the latter, but I doubt it’s the name she was going for.

We’re not against the police.  We’re not against the police department, but we are against police who commit misconduct (and those who help to cover it up)–this just isn’t one of those cases.

Jasmyne A. CannickJasmyne A. Cannick is a native of Los Angeles and writes about the intersection of race, pop culture, class, and politics.  She was chosen as one of Essence Magazine’s 25 Women Shaping the World and One of the Most Influential African-Americans in Los Angeles Under 40. She can be found online at jasmyneonline.com. Follow her on Twitter @Jasmyne and on Facebook at facebook.com/jasmynecannick.

(LAPD Sergeant Jim ParkerDid The Right Thing With Daniele Watts)
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WATCH: LAPD Destroys Home of Elderly Couple with Battering Ram

Warren Johnson, 81, of South Los Angeles was forced to return home early from vacation with his wife after he was told that the Los Angeles Police Department had raided his home.

Upon arriving from LAX airport on Friday, August 22, he was devastated to learn that the LAPD had (1) arrested his 18-year-old grandson and (2) destroyed his home with the battering ram.

Apparently the LAPD executed a search warrant looking for three items in Mr. Johnson’s home believed to be in the possession of one of his grandsons—an Apple iPhone, a laptop computer, and a Bose speaker.

West L.A. Division traveled across Los Angeles into Southwest Division to Mr. Johnson’s home on King Blvd. and Normandie Ave. and without warning knocked in the front door with the battering ram.  From there, witnesses say that the police proceeded to use the battering on several other doors in the house, except for the door to the bedroom of the grandson.

While the grandson and his twin brother along with other relatives were detained outside, the police systematically went through Mr. Johnson’s home and seemingly used the battering ram on nearly every door in the house.  When asked why they did this, witnesses were told by the LAPD that they needed to see inside of every room to make sure that no one was in there.

For the record, that’s the kind of stuff you see on television.  No cop that wants to make it through his or her shift alive relies on the use of a battering ram to tell them if someone is waiting on the other side of a door with or without a weapon.

Officers repeatedly tried to knock down one particular door so hard with the battering ram that they separated the frame of the door from the house and cause major structural damage.

In addition to destroying the Johnson’s lovely craftsman style home that they’ve lived in since 1964, the police covered up or moved the homes security cameras.

The only room searched by the police was the grandson’s room.  All of the other rooms that had doors kicked in and knocked off the hinges were not searched.  Just destroyed by the battering ram.

When they were done, they took the grandson into custody (he’s since been released) and have told the family nothing about whether they found what they were looking for.  The police did however according to witnesses say that they’d be back and do it again if the grandson came back home.

The couple is scared.  Their home has sustained thousands in damage. The family wants the LAPD to pay for all of the unnecessary damage done to their home and they want answers as to why the LAPD would intentionally destroy their home and why they threatened to do it again before leaving.

In addition, the family feels that had this been the home of a white person on the Westside there’s no way the police would have caused this much damage and came in the way that they did.

The battering ram is no stranger to many in South L.A.  Around the corner from the Johnson’s exactly 24 years ago this month, LAPD SWAT, under then police chief Daryl Gates, engaged in what is remembered as the 39th Street and Dalton Avenue raids.

From the Huffington Post, Raid Of The Day: The 39th & Dalton Edition, February 5, 2013:

One of the more notorious incidents of collateral damage in Gates’ war came on Aug. 1, 1988, when a Los Angeles SWAT team raided four apartments on the corner of 39th Street and Dalton Avenue in the southwest part of the city. Again, the raid was in response to legitimate concerns. The neighborhood was infested with gang activity and drug dealing. When one family complained, gang members shot out their security lights and threatened to firebomb their home.

The problem was that the reaction, once again, was blunt, indiscriminate, and oblivious to the rights of the people the police were supposed to be serving and protecting. The police believed the apartments were serving as stash houses for the drug dealing gangbangers. They were also likely particularly angry because a man they believed to be one of the neighborhood gang members had recently called in a death threat to the local police station.

According to a report later released by LAPD internal affairs, Capt. Thomas Elfmont gathered his officers the night of the raid for a pep talk in which he urged them to “hit” the apartments “hard,” to “level” them, and to leave them “uninhabitable.” (He later denied saying any of this.) Elfmont didn’t go on the raid itself. In fact, there was no one on the raid with a rank higher than sergeant. The lone sergeant was Charles Spicer, head of LAPD’s anti-gang task force for the southwest part of the city. In subsequent interviews with internal affairs, he admitted to telling the unit to “kick ass,” but said that though he was on site during the raid, he had no idea his officers were committing any sort of misconduct.

The cops certainly took their superiors’ advice to heart. The internal affairs report later documented 127 separate acts of vandalism at the apartments. As the raid began, a caravan of police vehicles surrounded the building and more than 80 police officers emerged. Resident Tammy Moore was sitting on her porch holding her 7-month-old son as the police pulled up, rushed out of their vans, and ordered everyone out of the building. One of them struck Moore in the neck, causing her to drop her son to the concrete. He remained unconscious for 30 minutes. One man was struck in the face with a flashlight. A woman, lying on the ground, said an officer dropped a flashlight on her head, then responded with a nonchalant, “Oops.” One admitted gang member was accosted across the street. One officer held his legs apart while another repeatedly kicked him in the crotch. They then ran a wire across his throat and choked him. Another man was struck four times by an officer wearing a weighted-knuckle sap glove. This was all before they had even entered the apartments.

Though he wasn’t actually on the gang task force, rookie officer Todd Parrick, a former Navy SEAL, was permitted to go on the raid. He had heard the chatter about the raid — that Capt. Elfmont wanted the apartments “taken off the map.” So Officer Parrick brought his own ax. In the first apartment, Parrick had some trouble opening a pair of sliding wooden doors. So he used the ax. He then struggled to remove the grate from a furnace. So he used the ax. For reasons not made entirely clear, he then took the ax to a thermostat. (Perhaps he was cold?) He next put the ax in the dining room wall, the living room wall, and the side of a cupboard. When he couldn’t jimmy open a drawer in the kitchen, he hit it with his ax. He also took his ax to the toilet. At one point, he nearly took his ax to a colleague, Officer Charles Wilson. Parrick would later say that as he drove home that night, he was pretty sure he’d get some sort of commendation for his ax-wielding. When he boasted of all of this to his wife, she brought him down to earth. She told him he would probably get fired. (He didn’t, at least for what he did that night. Three years later, he’d be fired for head-butting a suspect, then lying about it.)

Officer Charles Wilson brought a toy of his own. When he learned about the raid, he went to a friend’s welding shop to create his own customized battering ram, which he then proceeded to smash into a number of walls (not doors). When word got out that there might be an internal affairs investigation, he dumped the ram into the city sewer.

Resident Gloria Flowers was taking a bath when the police came in. She was made to stand up, naked, then lie down on the floor before an officer eventually threw a blanket over her. She asked what was going on. They told her, “You’re being evicted.” One officer then smashed her fish tank, for no apparent reason.

Raymond Carter, 21, had gone out to get pizza before the raid. As he tried to return home, he was pulled over. When the officer saw the address on his license, Carter claims the office said, “Oh yes, you’re one of them,” then detained him and put him on the ground in the front yard with the others.

Of the 37 people detained, the police arrested seven. They were again beaten, then taken to the police station, where they were made to whistle the tune to The Andy Griffith Show. Those who didn’t, or couldn’t, were beaten again. None of them were ever charged with a crime.

Before they left, the officers had shattered family photos, emptied refrigerators onto the floor, poured bleach on piles of laundry, and slashed through furniture upholstery. They also spray-painted “LAPD Rules” and “Gang Task Force Rules” on the walls.

They had achieved their charge for the night. The apartments were uninhabitable. The Red Cross provided housing for 10 adults and 12 children displaced by the raid. LAPD’s haul: Six ounces of pot, and less than an ounce of cocaine.

By the time all the lawsuits were settled, the city paid out $4 million in damages for the 39th and Dalton raid, a record at the time. In 1991, Parrick, Spicer, and Elfmont were charged and tried for vandalism and conspiracy. The Los Angeles County Prosecutor’s Office said there wasn’t enough evidence to press assault or battery charges. The jury acquitted the officers of all but one charge, which was later dropped. In interviews, jurors said they thought the police witnesses were “flat-out lying” to protect one another, but said they acquitted because amid all the lying and dissembling, they had no way of knowing which officers committed what acts. The only officer to be convicted of a crime was Wilson, who took a plea bargain in exchange for his testimony against the others. Only two of the 80+ officers were fired, although a couple dozen were given suspensions and reprimands. When asked for his reaction to the acquittal of the officers involved in the raid, Gates responded that he was “pleased.”

Excessive use of force in Black and brown communities applies to our property as well.  Our homes it seems are not valued in the same way that homes in other areas are.  The LAPD should be held responsible for the unnecessary damage caused to the Johnson’s home.  Bottom line.  They are owed an apology from the officer’s involved as well as from the Chief of Police Charlie Beck.  There should be an independent investigation into why the LAPD raided the Johnson’s house as if it were the corner crack house or a house full of gang members and a look at how to change the policy on procedures on the use of the battering ram inside of people’s home.  This is 2014 not 1988.  We can do better LAPD.

Jasmyne A. Cannick

@Jasmyne Cannick: On Police Brutality, Democrats Need to Sh*t or Get Off the Pot

Former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton

Former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton

*Democrats need to shi*t or get off the pot when it comes to standing up for civil rights issues for Blacks in 2014.

Now I specifically said civil rights for Blacks because we already know that Democrats have no reservations about raising their voices on civil rights for illegal immigrants and gays.  But I have to say that in 2014, Democrat’s loyalty to the race of people who have been the backbone of their Party is questionable.

Some days I’m not sure which is worse—Democrats benefiting from Black’s blind allegiance or Republican’s refusal to seemingly even acknowledge the passage of the 15th Amendment granting Blacks the right to vote.

As someone who has spent my entire career working in politics and mostly for Democrats, it’s awkward to see the lack of anything to say or even visible concern from some of the Party’s most ardent members on the issue of police killings and police brutality.

I know the issue of policing is not as glamorous as supporting gay marriage and Democrats probably can’t raise as much money addressing it, but there seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding between campaigning on representing the voice and will of the people and actually doing the work of the people.

It’s that same misunderstanding that has the Los Angeles City Council mulling over ways to incentivize voting to increase voter turnout.

Quote me: the best way to increase voter turnout in 2014 is to give people a reason to vote.

The lack of interest in voting is more a referendum on the people in office than it is on those who abstain from voting.

Every Sunday before the Tuesday of an election, here come the politicians.  I call it church run Sunday.  And after Tuesday, you usually don’t see them again until the Sunday before the Tuesday of their re-election campaign.

I’m actually fine with that as long as the time in between is spent taking care of the people’s business.  But most times it isn’t.  A perfect example of that is the silence from politicians from coast to coast on all of these police shootings that result in the death of someone who is usually Black.

It’s no secret that the police union contributes money to the campaigns of politicians.  It’s the accepted and expected way of doing business in politics.  I know it, they know it, and now you know it.

However, if taking that money means that Democrats look the other way and have nothing to say when one of these questionable shootings arise, I think it’s time to find another political party to support or another candidate for office.

For me, it’s this exact type of behavior that has me trying to find the difference between Democrats and their GOP counterparts.

Even if the people who are upset and protesting the rash of recent deaths by the police didn’t vote in the last election, Democrats have a responsibility to not just sit by idly. They didn’t campaign to represent only those who voted–no–they campaigned to represent everyone.

The bottom line is that Democrats—including Hillary Clinton who is no stranger to showing up at Black churches in Black voice courting the Black vote—should not get a pass on taking up the issues of the people, no matter what those issues may be including police killings and brutality.

Jasmyne A. CannickJasmyne A. Cannick is a native of Los Angeles and writes about the intersection of race, pop culture, class, and politics.  She was chosen as one of Essence Magazine’s 25 Women Shaping the World and One of the Most Influential African-Americans in Los Aneles Under 40. She can be found online at jasmyneonline.com. Follow her on Twitter @jasmyne and on Facebook at facebook.com/jasmynecannick.