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The Green Party protests the Zimmerman acquittal and a justice system 'stacked against people of color and the poor'
GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES
For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-904-7614, firstname.lastname@example.org
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805, email@example.com
Greens support NAACP's call for civil rights charges against Zimmerman
Green Party's 2013 Annual National Meeting in Iowa City, July 25-28: http://www.gp.org/meetings/Iowa2013
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WASHINGTON, DC Green Party leaders called the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin a miscarriage of justice and part of a pattern of evidence that the U.S. justice system is stacked against people of color and the poor.
"Underlying the acquittal and many of the arguments defending it is a racist assumption: that George Zimmerman had a right to defend his own life, but Trayvon Martin did not. We support the NAACP's call for the Justice Department to file civil rights charges against Zimmerman, based on his violation of Trayvon Martin's most fundamental rightthe right to life," said Darryl! L.C. Moch, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States. (NAACP petition: https://donate.naacp.org/page/s/doj-civil-rights-petition / ColorOfChange.org letter: http://act.colorofchange.org/signup/zimmerman_acquittal)
"There are uncertainties about what happened that night, but we know that George Zimmerman stalked Trayvon Martin and provoked a confrontation, ignoring a dispatcher's warning to stay in his car. We know that Zimmerman was an armed adult with a long history of assaults and menacing behavior. We know that Martin was an unarmed 17-year-old who stepped outside to buy snacks. We know that police declined to hold Zimmerman and investigate the case for several weeks, which surely damaged the collection of evidence. Somehow, this scenario got turned around in the courtroom so that it was made to look like Zimmerman who was acting in self-defense," added Mr. Moch.
Greens expressed strong support for the rallies taking place across the U.S. in protest of the case's outcome.
"For too many white Americans, a black teenager in a hoodie can never be considered innocent and black children are never considered 'our children'an attitude that infects the administration of justice in the U.S. The Zimmerman acquittal is a signal to black parents that their children have no guarantee of safety and that the promise of life and liberty still doesn't apply to them," said Thomas Muhammad, co-chair of the Green Party Black Caucus (http://gp.org/caucuses/black/index.php).
Greens noted that self-defense and "Stand Your Ground" statutes haven't been held valid in cases involving black defendants, as in the 20-year sentence for Marissa Alexander for firing a warning shot when threatened by an abusive husband (http://www.salon.com/2013/06/11/stand_your_ground_law_helps_white_defendants_a_lot_more_than_black_ones/ / Petition for Ms. Alexander: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/503/600/056/dont-imprison-marissa-alexander-for-standing-her-ground/).
"The outcome of this trial sets a dangerous precedent: a black teenager can be a victim of a hate crime, racially profiled, hunted down, stalked, killed and created into the perpetrator and criminal by the justice system. And the murderer and perpetrator can be declared innocent and even be handed back the murder weapon by the courts and walk away with no accountability. This is the systemic form of justice in this state and continues the open hunting season on black men and boys in the state of Florida," said Anita Stewart, co-chair of the Green Party of Florida (http://www.gpfl.org).
The Green Party has repeatedly protested the U.S. criminal justice system and prison-industrial complex and has called for far-reaching reforms. Greens said that the Zimmerman acquittal is part of the same systematic pattern that sends young black, brown, and poor Americans to prison en masse and that refuses to punish police for the extra-judicial killing of black, brown, and poor people.
The pattern includes mandatory sentencing, zero tolerance, abuses of the plea-bargain system, locking up minors in adult prisons, militarized civilian police forces, the War on Drugs, racial profiling, and wide racial disparities in sentencing that result in harsh punishment of people of color and poor on violations for which whites are not charged, acquitted, assigned community service, or given light sentences. The pattern is especially evident in drug cases, which send hundreds of thousands of young black, brown, and poor Americans to prison for nonviolent offenses.
The Green Party has called for dismantling the for-profit prison system, which has established a financial incentive to fill up more cells with more inmates. The prison-industrial complex is supported by both Democratic and Republican politicians and has grown exponentially regardless of which party occupies the White House or dominates Congress, thanks to the influence of lobbies from private prison firms and contractors.
"The U.S. now has the world's highest per-capita incarceration rate, with a growing prison-labor industry that replicates slavery and the worst aspects of Jim Crow. The continuing destruction of lives and communities deserves as much public outrage and demand for action as the Zimmerman acquittal. Until we address this national crisis, Attorney General Holder's promise of 'understanding, compassion, and truth' from the Obama Administration in response to the acquittal will ring hollow," said Sanda Everette, co-coordinator of the Green Party of California (http://www.cagreens.org).
"Shameful, heartbreaking Trayvon Martin verdict calls for action"
By Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala, 2012 Green national nominees, Green Shadow Cabinet, July 13, 2013
"Fruitvale, Trayvon Martin and the value of human life in America"
By Shamako Noble, Secretary of Culture, Green Shadow Cabinet, July 13, 2013
West Coast Greens (Florida), July 14, 2013
"Freedom Rider: If George Zimmerman Goes Free"
By Margaret Kimberley, Black Agenda Report, July 10, 2013
"1 Black Man Is Killed Every 28 Hours by Police or Vigilantes: America Is Perpetually at War with Its Own People. From the war on drugs to the war on terror, law enforcement's battle against minorities serves as pacification."
By Adam Hudson, AlterNet, May 28, 2013
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