Zoot Suit Riots of Los Angeles

Kristeen Irigoyen-Hernandez aka Lady2Soothe

For several days in June 1943, uniformed members of the U.S. armed forces rioted throughout


Sailors, soldiers, and marines with wooden clubs during the Zoot

The L.A. Zoot Suit Riots of 1943 were a targeted attack on Mexican and nonwhite youths

Soldiers display pieces of the zoot suits they tore from Mexican American men during the Zoot Suit Riots in Los Angeles on June 9, 1943.

June 3, 1943
Contrary to popular opinion the “Tacuche” Zoot Suit did not start out in the Mexican community as rebellious acts against society. Friday’s brought an end to long hours toiling at menial jobs and what better way to start the weekend off than by getting cleaned up, stepping into a jazzy ensemble and hanging out with the Eses’. Chicano’s were classy dressers and going to a party or the club was a perfect stage to show off their slick machismo style. The Zoot Suit was the quintessential garment; high waist pants and boxy, roomy coats were flattering, as well as comfortable; the flowing look of the suit was unmistakably flashy on the dance floor giving the appearance of more substance; maybe even help getting some play from the chica’s.

Zoot Suit Riots, Zoot Suits, Los Angeles, Pachucos, Pachucas

However, the humble parents and elder familia weren’t quite as enamored by the ostentatious and flamboyant zoot suit considering them garish and bringing unwanted attention to the many anti-Mexican middle-class White Los Angelino’s. Soldiers and sailors resented zoot suiters due to the numerous yards of fabric it took to tailor them. Those who wore zoot suits were considered wasteful, unpatriotic and committing a criminal act in opposition to the code of rationing. The servicemen justified their racism as expressions of loyalty and allegiance to the war effort, judging the zoot-suited Chicano’s as un-American.

The unwarranted attacks against zoot suiters by servicemen, aided by the manipulation of media generated the impression the majority of crime was committed by zoot-suited gangsters. What originally began as a fashion statement evolved into symbols of defiance, resistance and violence. However what one must remember is the zoot suit wasn’t a Halloween costume, it was an expression of being hip, cool, suave and sophisticated; the zoot suit in and of itself was a form of politicizing independence and the homogenization of American and Mexican culture communicating freedom, confidence and self-determination.

Zoot Suiters Looking Cool


#LetOurVoicesEcho #SleepyLagoon #Incarceration #RacismThe “Sleepy Lagoon Murder” was the name Los Angeles newspapers used to describe the death of José Gallardo Díaz, who was discovered unconscious and dying on a road near a swimming hole (known as the Sleepy Lagoon) in Commerce, California, on the morning of August 2, 1942. Diaz was taken by ambulance to Los Angeles County General Hospital, where he died shortly afterward, without regaining consciousness. The hospital’s autopsy showed he was inebriated from a party the previous night and had a fracture at the base of his skull. This might have been caused by repeated falls or an automobile accident. The cause of his death remains a mystery to this day. However, Los Angeles Police were quick to arrest 17 Mexican-American youths as suspects. Despite insufficient evidence, the young men were held in prison, without bail, on charges of murder. The trial ended on January 13, 1943, under the supervision of Judge Charles W. Fricke. In 30 years on the bench, Judge Charles W. Fricke reputedly sentenced more criminals to death than any of his colleagues and presided over some of the flashiest cases in Los Angeles. Judge Fricke ruled he didn’t think the boys should have their hairstyle changed” since this would “make it difficult for prosecution witnesses to identify them.” It makes me wonder if having a hairstyle, with its association to the zoot suiter’s and lawlessness, was all it took to end up in jail for murder in 1943.

#LetOurVoicesEcho #Racism #SleepyLagoon #JoseDiaz1942

#LetOurVoicesEcho #Racism #SleepyLagoon 3

Mexican Americans arrested after Zoot Suit Riots, 1943

According to White people “They all look alike anyway”, so let’s go back to the beginning; “Mexican’s, who cares, so what”… Within a couple of weeks the Grand Jury was presented with statistics by the sheriff’s dept. According to the report; data gradually increased from a sympathetic angle and escalated to downright racial bias creating a parallel of Latino ancestors crossing the ice bridge from Asia to North America; in essence, drawing the conclusion Mexican’s were cousins to those dirty Japanese who attacked Pearl Harbor. “The Indian, from Alaska to Patagonia, is evidently Oriental in background – at least he shows many of the Oriental characteristics, especially so in his utter disregard for the value of life.”

It’s estimated between 300 and 400 people were arrested but police narrowed their investigation down to 40 members of the 38th Street group. Eighteen were able to retain private representations and acquitted, however, the other 22 defendants were forced to depend on a mere 7 attorney amongst them who weren’t allowed to confer with their clients. Talk about hitting the jackpot…

Nine of the defendants were convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to serve time in San Quentin Prison. The rest of the suspects were charged with lesser offenses and incarcerated in the Los Angeles County Jail. In October 1944, the state Court of Appeals unanimously decided the evidence was not sufficient to sustain a guilty verdict. It reversed the 12 defendants’ convictions in People v Zammora 66 Cal.App.2d 166. The appeals court also criticized the trial judge, Judge Fricke for his bias and mishandling of the case which is considered a precursor to the Zoot Suit Riots of 1943.

#LetOurVoicesEcho #Racism #SleepyLagoon

The Sleepy Lagoon Murder case was built on deliberate bad faith police manipulation; severely beating defendants into giving false confessions, irreparable misidentification by so-called witnesses and the balance of unethical suggestiveness from the prosecutor and sheriff’s dept.

When arrests have progressed through the judicial system to the point which the accused is actually brought to trial, the natural inclination is to believe the defendant committed the crime. Why else would they be on trial? So rather than the presumption-of-innocence, the 22 were tried on the presumption-of-guilt.

The premise of this sentence is zoot suiters are the ones who are supposed to be taught in this fight. It implies xenophobic mindset towards the Latinos because even if servicemen lost a battle overseas, the journalists would not describe it as “learn a lesson”.

#LetOurVoicesEcho #ZootSuitRiots 12

Pachucas being arrested during Zoot Suit Riots.

Migrant workers from Mexico were wanted when business was good but were expected to return to Mexico the moment the economy began to falter. The Mexican’s knew if they were willing to work harder, not challenge the political, social, or economic system they could survive in the U.S. although their standard of living would be less than that of the Whites.

The media characterized Mexican’s as simpleminded, gangster delinquents who openly defied US values and customs; the rational being “Mexican Americans had inherited their `naturally violent′ tendencies from the bloodthirsty Aztecs′ of Mexico who were said to have practiced human sacrifice centuries ago” and “would forever retain wild and violent tendencies no matter how much education or training he might receive. What the press neglected to inform the public was between 250,000 and 500,000 Hispanic Americans served in the Armed Forces comprising 2.3% to 4.7% of the Army.

The press having condoned the attacks ignored the fact most of the zoot suit defendants held down ordinary working class jobs and the servicemen who attacked them were deemed heroes both here and abroad. Racial profiling isn’t a new thing nor is the theory of; does it matter who goes to jail as long as we convict someone, anyone…

Interestingly enough, after Japan formally surrendered Sept. 2, 1945 and the US began the recuperation process “Large double breasted baggy suits with high waists, pleated trousers and wide brim hats returned to fashion just as they were in the 1930’s but now with a taste of the zoot in them as well.”

ZOOT SUIT WARS

Mexican-Americans Risked Their Lives Wearing Zoot Suits | History Of | Racked

The Zoot Suit Riots: A Race Issue

How Anti-Mexican Racism in L.A. Caused the Zoot Suit Riots | History

The Zoot Suit Riots

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Kristeen Irigoyen-Hernandez
Human Rights Advocate, Researcher/Chronological Archivist and member in good standing with the Constitution First Amendment Press Association (CFAPA.org)

1adam12 – 1adam12 – We got Negros and Mexicans – Send back-up

Kristeen Irigoyen-Hernandez aka Lady2Soothe

Mother’s Day 5-13-18
My son, Rudy TwoMoon and his wife, Dr. Julie TwoMoon have 3 kids. Those 3 kids have friends. So about 8-10 friends were at the house, actually, they pretty much have an open door policy for everyone, kids included. There are 2 signs posted, one on the front window facing out, the other facing in, both at eye level with house rules. They say things like No drugs, No alcohol, No fighting, be respectful of the house and neighbors, No littering, No loud music, No racing cars up and down the street, only park in front of the house etc. My son enforces these laws without question, no exceptions to the rules, period.

Anyway, my son looks out the window and the cops are talking to 2 of the kids, getting their ID. So my son goes out and asks what the problem is and the cop was very nice and said the neighbor called the police claiming she was in fear of her life because there is always kids at the house and she was afraid they were going to come in the middle of the night and rape and kill her.

The cop is kinda rolling his eyes like “wtf”, so my son explains the rules and the cops’ like “cool” then leaves.

My son Rudy goes across the street to talk to the White lady and find out if something happened. The White lady calls the police back and tells them he was threatening her on HER property, so my son talks loud enough so dispatch could hear. “No I’m not threatening her, and because I don’t want police coming here and me getting shot I’m going back across the street till the police get here”

The same officer comes back and this time my son and his wife go out. Dr. Julie asks White lady “What is it we can do to make you feel comfortable and safe” The White lady turns the question back around and says “Well how would you feel, what would make you feel safe in your own home?” Wife tells her “this isn’t about what makes me feel safe, I want to know what we can do to make you feel safe” White lady goes back to her same question avoiding wifes’ question. The cop is rolling his eyes and they walk back across the street in front of my son’s house. The cop asks how long have you lived here. Son “13 years” – “Well how long has she lived here?” – Son “about 6 or 7 months”. The cop rolls his eye again, apologizes, and says “This is ridiculous; unfortunately when someone calls we have to come out.”

That’s the end, but even though it won’t happen again tonight, my son expects she’ll wait until she thinks that cop is off-duty and will try again.

Bet the White lady thought she’d pull off a Becky (is that what we’re calling Ms. Raisin potato salad from the Barbecuing While Black video?) expecting better results. I hope the neighbor is monitoring my son’s FB page.

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Kristeen Irigoyen-Hernandez
Human Rights Advocate, Researcher/Chronological Archivist and member in good standing with the Constitution First Amendment Press Association (CFAPA.org)

The Broken Criminal Justice System

Kristeen Hernandez aka Lady2Soothe

Black Lawyer Exposes How Corrupt The American Justice System Is

In the United States criminal justice system is not represented by a single, all-encompassing institution. Rather, it is a network of criminal justice systems at the federal, state, and special jurisdictional levels like military courts and territorial courts. Criminal laws at these levels vary, although these are all allegedly based on the US Constitution.

The federal criminal justice system handles cases national in scope: treason, espionage, assassination of top-level government officials, among others. Meanwhile, state criminal justice systems handle crimes having taken place or, in certain situations, have evident involvement in the state. The same process goes for the criminal justice systems within special jurisdictions.

LAW ENFORCEMENT

The wheels of law enforcement are supposed to start grinding when a crime is detected. Detection takes place when law enforcement body receive a report from the victim or a witness, or catch the crime perpetrator. Thereafter, the law enforcers allegedly verify the information furnished and proceed with the investigation. But as we’ve seen time and time again, evidence of innocence is irrelevant.

Law enforcement duties allegedly include: arresting suspected offenders, gathering and preserving evidence, establishing the motive, and completing police/arrest reports by stating results of the investigation. Responsibilities should but rarely include: upholding the rights of offenders (although the majority of law enforcement officer’s do not), victims, and witnesses; and they are supposed to conduct police procedures within rules prescribed by law. However a 2006 FBI report admits White supremacists have a significant presence in law enforcement. The system was born in White Supremacy. It is soaked through and through with White Supremacy. The police who serve this system have no more legitimacy than a KKK lynch mob.

At the federal level, there is a law enforcement body designated to cover particular areas of criminal law. i.e. the Department of Homeland Security, which addresses the problem on human trafficking. Another would be the US Department of Justice (DOJ), which is made up of agencies like the FBI who have police powers over crimes of significant nationwide impact such as terrorist acts.

Meanwhile, state and other local-government police organizations vary in structure, as well as in names. However, the mission should be the same as the others’: to enforce laws, maintain peace and order in the communities they serve, and provide their constituency’s safety and security. However law enforcement doesn’t have to serve nor do they have to protect. Regardless of what’s painted on the side of police cars, for the past 30 plus years the Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled “police officers at all levels of the government have no duty to protect the citizens of this country. It is the job of police officers to investigate crimes and arrest criminals” so to even remotely believe all cops serve and protect is a lie! They only protect the government and don’t care about regular citizens.

Cops were invented during 2 separate periods in time….the 1st was to keep the people from overthrowing the crown while it’s soldiers were out pillaging and raping for more gold, silver and land for crown riches… 2nd was to keep the slaves from killing the slave masters.The origin of the modern US police organization was the “Slave Patrol” The first formal slave patrol was created in 1704 and had three primary functions: (1) to chase down, apprehend, and return to their owners, runaway slaves; (2) to provide a form of organized terror to deter slave revolts; and, (3) to maintain a form of discipline for slave-workers who were subject to summary justice, outside of the law, if they violated any plantation rules. Following the Civil War, these vigilante-style organizations evolved in modern Southern police departments primarily as a means of controlling freed slaves who were now laborers working in an agricultural caste system, and enforcing “Jim Crow” segregation laws, designed to deny freed slaves equal rights and access to the political system. Early US police departments shared two primary characteristics: notoriously corrupt and flagrantly brutal.

Today law enforcement hasn’t changed much. Police are government-sponsored street gangs whose only functions are 1) to funnel people into an increasingly for-profit justice system, 2) to extort funds beyond the scope of taxes and reasonable fines, and 3) to force civilian compliance with police and governmental measures regardless of constitutionality with threats or the use of violence and murder.

Progress produces fear in the oppressor in the form of the loss of power, and they retaliate. Every little gain is met with greater pushback. Police violence provides a twisted form of entertainment and Officers have FUN when they shoot, kill or at the very least beat people. Dishonorable cops feel entitled to dispense “street justice” largely because enough Americans have historically displayed a high collective tolerance for government-authorized police violence and killings.

Whether it’s through emotional immaturity, tactical incompetence, outright belligerence or the inability to separate personal problems from their job they are the ones creating situations and circumstances in which people are being deprived of their constitutional rights because they’re not held to the same standards as civilians, they operate under policy not law; this is the difference between legal and lawful. They’re even going so far as arresting people for criticizing law enforcement on the internet. Being awake, conscious and having an opinion is dangerous. How does it feel to be a criminal?

The Fraternal of Police is the single most adamant opposition to police accountability and reform. Instead of working with Black communities to address concerns they’re defending violent cops, blocking criminal justice reform, and promoting divisive Blue Lives Matter bills to mock the real pain…. blocking real solutions for police reform and undermining the justified demands of Black communities with their hateful rhetoric and policies like Blue Lives Matter laws.

Government has flooded social media with videos of “nice guy” cops playing basketball with kids, interacting kindly with community members, having a barbecue with Black people, and they have even hosted “hug a cop day” events in which people gather to hug police officers, as the police dance and act goofy. These are obviously staged PR stunts. Whose interests does this heartwarming police propaganda serve? Does it decrease the level of police violence? Does it increase accountability? Does it lessen the power of the police? Does it increase the strength of communities? No, it does not. These barbecues and hug a cop events are not community initiatives, they are police initiatives, which happen on police terms in the interest of protecting, perpetuating, and expanding police power. It is disempowering for those of us who have been victims of police violence to meet with our oppressors on their terms for heartwarming propaganda events because even the nicest, friendliest cop will brutalize, arrest, and jail me if he is ordered to, and he has the full power of the state upholding him in doing so.

A cop might have “good intentions”, but these good intentions don’t change the fact they’re a part of an institutionalized system. Policing isn’t a question of individualism. It is not as if a random individual gets a gun, a badge, a police car, and a blue uniform. The police are a highly organized institution with systemic power. The institution of modern day policing as stated above evolved from the slave patrol system. Enslaved Black bodies were the foundation of the American economy, as enslaved Africans were more valuable than America’s industrial capital combined. To suggest there are good cops is like saying there’s good slave patrols or good colonizers. If you are only “anti-police brutality” you’re simply saying you think slave patrols are good just as long as the those slave patrols doesn’t beat anybody.

“There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of law and in the name of justice.” ~ Montesquieu, French political thinker and philosopher (1689-1755).

TO ALL THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE LEO RELATIVES: Your POLICE OFFICER is not gonna come home and admit he kicked the shit out of some kid….or tell you, “yeah, I didn’t tell on a brother officer”. I’m sure your he never comes home and says I gave tickets to 10 Black guys today and warnings to 20 White guys. Your Police Officer may actually be a cop with integrity, then again maybe he only works White neighborhoods. Or he’s never been in a position to do anything more than hand out parking citations or write speeding tickets. Maybe your police officer hasn’t been one to raid wrong houses shooting residents, killing bystanders with stray bullets, shoot first and ask questions later, inflict brutality and great bodily injury or death, speed though town hitting pedestrians and causing major accidents killing or maiming passengers because no matter how grave and allegedly regrettable, it’s deemed collateral damage by officials; thereby reducing and/or justifying the perception of culpability. Police commit murder and walk away with impunity, exempt from punishment, free from the consequences of their actions. So to those people who have LEO relatives I have one question “Shouldn’t good cops be the people most outraged by police brutality?”

ADJUDICATION:

The adjudication of a criminal case involves court processes. In plain terms, adjudication refers to the legal process by which a judgment is pronounced by the court to the parties in a case. As with the law enforcement component of the criminal justice system, the courts are organized at federal, state, and special-jurisdiction levels.

PRETRIAL SERVICES: The adjudication process starts when the law enforcement body has submitted the police/arrest report to the prosecutor. The prosecutor, in turn, determines whether or not the incident will prosper into a criminal case, in which the suspected offender will be charged with the crime. It is not uncommon for the prosecutor to drop or dismiss charges altogether, for reasons that include: lack of evidence and weak police investigation. It is the prosecutor who takes the side of the victim , or as is a majority of case, no victim other than the government and, accordingly, the state (society or community), which the crime has also affected. But it’s more uncommon for the prosecutor to completely ignore evidence, such as pre-trial justice; citizens routinely show up for mug-shots with black eyes, and bruises not present at the time of arrest.

ARRAIGNMENT: If the prosecutor decides to press charges against a suspected offender, the adjudication process advances to arraignment. During arraignment, the suspect is read the charge/s filed against him or her. With the aid of a Defendants who is stuck with attorneys who lack the time, resources, or ability to zealously represent their clients as guaranteed by the Constitution, legal counsel especially if it’s state appointed legal counsel spends less than 10 minutes reading the file and speaking with the suspect who is now a defendant and enters a plea of either guilty or not guilty.

BAIL: Bail was originally created to keep high risk offenders from missing their court date or being a potential danger to society. Now it is being unjustly used as an indicator of wealth not risk. 500,000 un-convicted Americans are in limbo and waiting in jail for days, months and sometimes years to see a judge. The majority isn’t even high risk, violent offenders -they just can’t afford to pay their bail. Pretrial defendants make up 60% of our prison population. The US spends $14 billion a year to keep those 500,000 people in jail because the median bail bond amount nationally is almost a full year’s income for the typical person unable to post a bail bond.

TRIAL: The arraignment progresses into trial to determine the guilt of the suspect (if the not-guilty plea was not entered). In the event of a guilty verdict, the offender is convicted and the court will determine the sentence.

A trial is characterized by an argument which has two sides: the prosecution and the defense, but since the public defender is an employee of the court, it’s generally a one sided argument. An overzealous prosecution, inadequate defense resources and a pattern of racial bias and exclusion. On the one hand, the prosecution represents the interests of the victim and in effect, the society (or state) the offender is suspected to have violated. On the other, the defense asserts the innocence of the offender and often makes less than half-hearted attempts to get the offender acquitted, but is open to plea deals to push thru as many “suspects” as possible to fulfill their quota.

A trial often results in an appeal, in which the disadvantaged side (prosecution or defense) will try to shift the advantage. In this instance, the case is elevated in a higher court, which either upholds or overturns the earlier decision. However getting an appeal takes months and months and if the defendant, now an inmate is indigent and cannot afford a private attorney, they’re pretty much shit out of luck.

SENTENCING: A court conviction corresponds to a sentence, which is the penalty imposed on the offender who has been found guilty as a result of the preceding trial. The sentence is meted out by the judge, who follows prescribed guidelines, standards, and limitations in punishing convicts.

If convicted the suspect/defendant may get a stiff fine, but more than likely if the suspect/defendant is a person of color i.e. Black/Indigenous/Latinx a severe jail sentence is imposed.

66% of Black defendants were prosecuted for felonies, while 69 percent of Whites were prosecuted for felonies; Among Blacks prosecuted in urban courts, 75 percent were convicted of a felony, while 78 percent of Whites were convicted of a felony and 3) The average state prison sentence received by Blacks convicted of a felony was five and one half-years, one month longer than their White counterparts. Yet among Black defendants convicted of a felony, 51 percent received a prison sentence, as opposed to 38 percent of Whites.

One could, however, draw a vastly different conclusion regarding the role of race in the criminal justice system because Blacks/Indigenous/Latinx tend to get substantially longer prison terms than Whites convicted of the same crimes, even when the Black person is a first time offender and the White person a second- or third-time offender. For murder Blacks serve 91.7 months versus 79.8 months for Whites; for rape, 55 months for Blacks versus 43.9 for Whites; for kidnapping, 41 months for Blacks to 37 for Whites; and for robbery, 37.4 for Blacks to 33.3 for Whites.45

DEATH PENALTY: Generally, United States laws permit the death penalty for convicts who have committed heinous crimes, although the practice of capital punishment is on a case-by-case basis.

In principle, the Federal Death Penalty Act of 1988 sentences to death all offenders convicted of homicide. But in practice, capital punishment is more an exception than the rule. For example, most of the convicted terrorists on death row have yet to be meted out their sentences.

“An execution is not simply death. It is just as different from the privation of life as a concentration camp is from prison. It adds to death a rule, a public premeditation known to the future victim, an organization which is itself a source of moral sufferings more terrible than death. Capital punishment is the most premeditated of murders, to which no criminal’s deed, however calculated can be compared. For there to be an equivalency, the death penalty would have to punish a criminal who had warned his victim of the date at which he would inflict a horrible death on him and who, from that moment onward, had confined him at his mercy for months. Such a monster is not encountered in private life.” ~ Albert Camus, French writer and philosopher.

DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS

The third component of the criminal justice system is corrections. While it implies reform and rehabilitation, corrections encompass all sentenced offenders, including those who are on death row.

Federal and state criminal justice systems hold “corrections” as the replacement for “penology” that many find harsh and unforgiving. In any case, the corrections component manages incarcerated convicts and those who are conditionally released, as well as those who are merely slapped with punishments that do not require imprisonment but who need supervision anyway.

The corrections network includes publicly run and privately operated institutions, along with the personnel and other stakeholders, and its administration is supposed to adhere to lawful standards. The process should involve reform and rehabilitation programs to prepare eligible convicts for reentry and reintegration into society as free individuals, however the majority do not.

Between 1972 and 2007, the nation’s imprisonment rate more than quintupled—increasing from 93 to 491 per 100,000 people. The number of prisoner-years per murder multiplied nine times. Prisons that had housed fewer than 200,000 inmates in Richard Nixon’s first years in the White House held more than 1.5 million as Barack Obama’s administration began. Local jails contain another 800,000. The current system of criminal law and enforcement has grown obese.

The US treats people as less than human and puts them in literal cages, intentionally inflicting harm and suffering on them and then expect this will somehow improve them. It’s nonsensical, immoral, and counterproductive.

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Kristeen Irigoyen-Hernandez
Researcher/Chronological Archivist/Writer; and member in good standing with the Constitution First Amendment Press Association
(CFAPA.org)Citations:

Policing for Profit ~ 18 U.S. Code § 981- Civil Forfeiture

Kristeen Hernandez aka Lady2Soothe

In rem forfeiture is a legal term describing the power a court may exercise over property (either real or personal) or a “status” against a person over whom the court does not have in personam jurisdiction; Latin phrase meaning “directed toward a particular person” which arose from medieval ideas, rooted in the ancient law of deodand a thing forfeited or given to God, specifically, in law, an object or instrument which becomes forfeit because it has caused a person’s death. The English common law of deodands traces back to the 11th century and was applied, on and off, until Parliament finally abolished it in 1846.

Kings, for example, could seize an instrument which caused the death of another in order to finance the deceased’s funeral mass. The idea arose from a superstitious belief objects acted independently causing death. While the concept of deodand gives rise to the “guilty property” legal fiction, American forfeiture law did not arise strictly from this concept but rather from the British Navigation Acts of the mid-17th century.

In the mid-1600s, a set of laws known as the British Navigation Acts permitted the seizure of any ship refusing to sail under the British flag. The Acts were passed during England’s vast expansion as a maritime power and required imports and exports from England to be carried on British ships. If the Acts were violated, the ships or the cargo on board could be seized and forfeited to the crown regardless of the guilt or innocence of the owner. Later, during the colonial period, Congress based certain laws on the Navigation Acts to help in tax collection. While these early colonial practices helped the government generate revenue Civil Forfeiture Laws, these laws were recycled in the 1920’s Prohibition era when alcohol sales and production were illegal in the United States. Anyone found buying or selling alcohol would be subject to the seizure of the product and their cash.

The practice of civil forfeiture made a booming comeback in the 1980s illegal drug trade became a big problem for law enforcement agencies, and lawmakers were determined to find a solution so in 1984 they enacted the Comprehensive Crime Control Act which overhauled the federal criminal code, allowing federal and state agencies to share the proceeds of seized assets. Though civil-asset forfeiture has a long history, it took off in the U.S. following passage of several amendments to the Comprehensive Drug Abuse and Prevention Act allowing police to keep and spend forfeiture proceeds. This gave law-enforcement agencies a direct financial incentive to expand their reach and confiscate more assets which led the Institute for Justice labeling it Policing for Profit. In 1986 the Federal Asset Forfeiture Fund took in $93.7 million.

Teaching Cops Around America To Seize Millions In Cash
http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/investigative/2014/09/07/police-intelligence-targets-cash/
Desert Snow has trained cops around the US on the art of roadside asset forfeiture, which grants police to take cash and/or other assets they claim have been illegally obtained. Police can expropriate these assets from people even if they’re never convicted of or even charged with a crime.

Desert Snow works closely with Black Asphalt Electronic Networking & Notification System a private intelligence network for police enabling communication between Road Officers, Narcotics Officers and Federal Authorities to share reports and chat online throughout the nation. This association allows Road Officers to pass roadside investigative information to active investigators in source and destination areas, helping them to conduct immediate follow up investigations to identify and apprehend additional criminals and also has serve as a social hub for a new brand of highway interdictors (a military term for the act of delaying, disrupting, or destroying enemy forces or supplies en route to the battle area). In recent years, the network had more than 25,000 individual members that one Desert Snow official has called “a brotherhood.” Among other things, the site hosts an annual competition to honor police who seize the most contraband and cash on the highways. As part of the contest, Desert Snow encouraged state and local patrol officers to post seizure data along with photos of themselves with stacks of currency and drugs.

At least three Desert Snow employees impersonated officers in Caddo County Oklahoma while working with them to stop motorists in exchange for 25% of the cash seized.

The Equitable Sharing Program allows the proceeds of liquidated seized assets by asset forfeiture to be shared between state and federal law enforcement authorities. With Equitable Sharing, state police can skirt state restrictions on the use of funds thereby local police can evade their state’s rules against forfeitures or restricting use of forfeitures by bringing in federal officers thereby receiving as much as an 80% kickback. . By 2010 more than $500 million was distributed through the program and over $5 billion in net assets since the program was launched in 1984. In December 2015 the Department of Justice suspended some equitable sharing however loopholes have allowed several states to continue.

No longer is civil forfeiture tied to the practical difficulties of obtaining personal jurisdiction over an individual. Released from its historical limitation as a necessary means of enforcing admiralty and customs laws, the forfeiture power has instead become a commonly used weapon in the government’s crime-fighting arsenal. Congress and states have expanded its application beyond alleged drug violations to include a plethora of crimes at the federal and state levels. Many Law Enforcement Agencies view civil forfeiture as a fundamental source of income.

The reason law enforcement prefers Civil Forfeiture over Criminal Forfeiture is the procedure stacks the deck against property owners because in civil proceedings the government only needs to prove the property’s connection to alleged criminal activity by a mere Preponderance of Evidence not proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt as in criminal cases.

Few property owners can meet the burdens of civil forfeiture and regularly aren’t able to challenge a seizure, especially when government seizes property which exceeds value of time, attorney fees and other expenses to battle the case in court; therefore the government retains the property by default.

In 2000, Congress passed the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act (CAFRA), amending various provisions of federal forfeiture law. CAFRA offered a number of modest reforms, but it didn’t change how forfeiture proceeds are distributed or otherwise alleviate the profit incentive law enforcement agencies employ so many states don’t require their law enforcement agencies to report how much money was raised or how the money has been spent.

Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture
Forfeiting ordinary citizens property, the state only needs to show it’s more likely than not the property is related to criminal activity and thus subject to forfeiture. Law enforcement agencies have a colossal financial incentive to Police for Profit and they’re taking full advantage of lenient forfeiture statutes and deceptive practice of padding their budget, justifying acceptability to generate revenue putting the property of ordinary citizens at risk. To recover seized property, an innocent owner bears the burden of proving his innocence the property is not derived from illegal activity.

90 percent of U.S. bills carry traces of cocaine which binds to the green dye in money, bank tellers working with cash-counting machines are subjected to cocaine dust. These bank tellers breathe in cocaine daily getting into their system proving a bank teller would test positive. In the course of its average 20 months in circulation, U.S. currency gets whisked into ATMs, clutched, touched and traded perhaps thousands of times at coffee shops, convenience stores and various other businesses and every touch to every bill brings specks of drug residue. How hard is it to prove innocence when bills are tested?

When an innocent person with an interest in the property seeks to protect their interest, the burden should not be on the citizen to prove their innocence but the government to prove criminal liability. There must be a clear and convincing amount of evidence for cash or assets associated with criminal activity to be required beyond just a “reasonable doubt”.

The 10th Amendment of the United States Constitution states “delegate to their political subdivision to enact measures to preserve and protect the safety, health, welfare and morals of the community and any power that is not given to the federal government is given to the people or the states, and protects against government overreach” Civil Asset Forfeiture IS government overreach. So let’s call it what it really is because taking property against someone’s will is not “forfeiting”, it’s LARCENY, the theft of personal property plain and simple.

18 U.S. Code § 981 – Civil Forfeiture
https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/981

18 U.S. Code § 241 – Conspiracy Against Rights
https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/241

press
 
 
Kristeen Irigoyen-Hernandez
Human Rights Advocate, Researcher/Chronological Archivist and member in good standing with the Constitution First Amendment Press Association (CFAPA.org)

160 million MORE White people in the U.S. than Black people

Kristeen Hernandez aka Lady2Soothe

Expendable

Granted police killed nearly twice as many Whites as Blacks in 2015, but according to U.S. census data out of the 323,730,000 people listed as US citizens, there were nearly 160 million MORE White people in the Unites States than there were Black people.

According to the July 2015 United States Census Bureau White people made up 71.1% of the U.S. population while Black people comprise only 13.3 % of the population; however Black’s accounted for 37% of murder victims by police compared to only 7% of White murder by police victims signifying Blacks are 3.5 times more likely to be executed by police; five times higher per-capita.

1,134 people were killed by police in 2015; at least 102 unarmed Black people, nearly two every week. Roughly 1 in 3 was identified as unarmed, though the actual number is likely higher due to underreporting. Of all the unarmed people murdered by police, 42% were young Black men, 25% were unarmed, compared with 17% of White people, even though Black males made up only 6% of the Black population. Therefore young Black men were assassinated at a rate disproportionate to the percentage of U.S. population. Additionally Black people were found to be twice as likely to NOT to be armed with a weapon.

Only 10 of the 102 cases in 2015 where an unarmed Black person was killed by police resulted in officer(s) being charged with a crime, and only 2 of these deaths resulted in convictions of the officers involved. Only 1 of 2 officers was convicted for their involvement and sentenced to 1 year in jail and allowed to serve his time exclusively on weekends while the other is still awaiting sentencing.

71% of LEO killed in 2015 were killed by White men. Seventy-one percent of police who’ve been shot and killed this year weren’t murdered by Black men with cornrows or hoodies. They weren’t gunned down by Latinx gang members in low-rider drive-bys. Those stereotypes would be all too convenient; instead, AND 71% of police who’ve been shot and killed so far in 2016 have been killed by good old-fashioned White men.

So far in 2016 police have assassinated 509 people; 238 Whites, 123 Blacks, 79 Latinx, 69 Unknown victims. 484 were male, 25 female, 124 suffered from mental health conditions and 35 were confirmed unarmed. About 6 percent of fatal shootings this year have been captured by body cameras, yet police most frequently refuse to publicly release video. In more than half the cases in which body-cam footage was available, police declined.

Although the FBI is charged with keeping statistics on shootings they do not collect the data; law enforcement agencies provide it to the FBI, which then compiles the reports. Even though it’s mandatory for police dept.’s to forward their stats, most don’t and so far the FBI hasn’t enforced their rule which is a sad post analysis of FBI data which shows fewer than half of the nation’s 18,000 police departments report their incidents to the agency.

More than 3,700 people have been killed by U.S. police since May 1, 2013

Remember