Another Unjust Verdict

June 9th, 2019

On June 4th, a nearly all-white jury acquitted to Sheriff’s deputies of assault during their arrest of two Latino men.  This acquittal came despite clear video evidence that the men were handcuffed and in no position to offer resistance or danger to the officers.

We deplore this verdict as much as we deplore the actions of the deputies that brought them to trial. Despite crime being at historic lows, we continue to give the police wider and wider latitude in their use of force, and we continue to erode the few protections we have against police misconduct.  It is not a secret (or an accident) that the burden of this behavior falls primarily on people of color.

It’s time for our society to reckon, legislatively, judicially, prosecutorially, administratively and morally with our criminal “justice” system.  The system is designed to persecute the poor and people of color, and we need a system that is fair for all.

Therefore, we of the NAACP San Diego Branch call for the following reforms:

  • Legislative reform to make it clear that violent acts perpetrated by police will be subject to sanction.
  • Judicial reform to re-apply the protections of our Constitution against unreasonable search and seizure, against punishment without conviction, and for equal protection under the law.  Unjust precedents that allow for police violence must be overturned, unjust practices that allow for pro-police juries and verdicts must be discontinued.
  • Prosecutorial reform so that we pay as much attention to the documented crimes of law enforcement as we do to the alleged crimes of the poor.  We may be gratified that for once our District Attorney chose to prosecute a case against law enforcement officers. We wonder, however, if this is merely the exception to prove the rule that Law Enforcement is, in her eyes, above the law.
  • Administrative and policy reform inside the Law Enforcement agencies themselves.  The Police need to recognize that lawless behavior on their part subjects them in the end to more danger, not less.  They need to recognize that tactics of terror and violence will beget violence and not cooperation. They need better recruitment, better training, and a commitment to integrity and accountability.
  • And finally, we call for moral reform.  We as a society need to wake up and look at what we have allowed ourselves to become.  We must once again be shocked at shocking behavior, and not allow ourselves to be desensitized to injustice, just because it wears a badge.

The NAACP San Diego Branch stands ready to assist any agencies who would like to better understand how to protect the rights of the residents of San Diego, regardless of their color. These problems can be solved, if only we as a society recover our will to solve them.

It is time to return to the rule of law in our society.

Clovis Honoré, President
NAACP San Diego Branch

The State of Black America®

Every year, the Urban League publishes a report on the State of Black America. This year’s report focuses on voting rights, and the myriad ways they are under attack, both from the usual suspects and new threats made possible by the Internet.

Porter Elementary School is in Crisis

Many of you will already be aware of the situation at Porter Elementary School, as it was highlighted in multiple articles in the Voice of San Diego.

For those of you who aren’t, there are currently complaints filed with San Diego Unified School District, the California State Equity Office and the US Department of Education Office of Civil Rights. These complaints allege discrimination, safety violations, inadequate response to special needs, retaliation and more. San Diego Unified’s own investigative process has deemed the claims justified.

And yet, the response from the District seems to be entirely defensive. The only counsellor for 833 students has been notified that her hours will be reduced next year. NAACP representatives were told just yesterday that they must be confined to the counsellor’s office or leave school grounds; not only by Principal Chavez, but also by Area Superintendent Bivins. We have sent a letter of protest to the School Board.

The school has no PTA. One the day we were there, a parent was complaining about sickness being spread on school grounds; she was denied a conversation with Principal Chavez, who emerged from her office shortly after the parent left.

While the District has claimed that a “special team of counsellors” has been assigned to the school, these were not in evidence during yesterday’s (all too brief) NAACP visit to campus, nor has the current school counsellor met any of these alleged worthies. Indeed, the guidance assistant previously assigned to the school declined to return after sustaining multiple injuries on school grounds.

We urge all San Diego Residents who are concerned about the deplorable state of Porter Elementary and schools like to to go to the May 14th Board of Education Meeting, and demand that SD Unified do better for our children, and operate under truly equitable best practices. Please submit a public testimony request form if you would like your voice to be heard.

We’ll warn you–you’ll have to stay late. In what appears to be a further effort to suppress community input, the Board suddenly and quietly changed its rules to permit comment only at the ends of its meetings, not near the beginning as is customary for most public bodies.

Porter Elementary is part of the Lincoln Cluster, so to warm up for the SD Unified School Board Meeting, you might go to the Lincoln Cluster meeting on Tuesday, May 13th. At that meeting, one of the trustees who was present when the NAACP was booted off Porter’s campus will speak. The meeting will also contain a presentation on LCAP, which is one of the few ways we can try to ensure the School District spends our money fairly and in line with the needs of our kids.

Agenda_Lincoln-cluster-12.12.16-dragged

Political Action Committee Meeting: 6:00 pm TUESDAY April 16

The Political Action Committee will hold its first meeting of the year at 6pm on Tuesday, April 16th, 6pm at the Jacobs Center. New Chair Kamaal Martin is excited to get your input and involvement! Come if you care about law at the City, County or State level. Help monitor and influence legislation, the resulting policies, and the administration of those policies by government agencies and the courts. Encourage voting. All that is in the purview of the Political Action Committee.

Please note: this first meeting is on TUESDAY, April 16th, not Wednesday, April 17th as announced last week. Future meetings will be on the 3rd Wednesdays; only this first one is on a Tuesday.