Thursday, September 3, 2015

(UMIO) Radazz Hearns Task Force Meeting Report

At a meeting at Shiloh Baptist Church in Trenton, NJ, which is on Calhoun aka Rev. Woodson Way, this past Wednesday, 9/2, of the United Mercer Interfaith Organization (UMIO) Radazz Hearns Task Force, about 30 clergy members as well as leaders of justice loving organizations met to discuss the case of Radazz Hearns, the 14 year old youth, unarmed according to his attorney, who was shot 7 times in an incident involving 3 unnamed officers, two NJ State Police officers and one Mercer County Sheriff Department officer on August 14.

The police are claiming that a gun was supposedly found 12 hours later under a fire department vehicle that was brought to the scene after the incident to illuminate the area to assist in evidence gathering.  There have been no reports of any DNA or fingerprint evidence lifted from this gun supposedly “found” at the scene.

As is typical in cases when police gun down an unarmed victim and the victim survives, it is usually the victim that is charged with a crime.  This is often done in an effort to thwart any attempt to hold the police officers, the department and the government agencies involved accountable civilly in suits that if successful could cost multiple millions in compensatory and punitive damages to the involved officers and the government agencies.   It is not surprising that the 14 year old child who may have life lasting disabilities due to the 7 times he was shot is facing charges based upon the half a day late gun to which he has no apparent physical connection.

So as he coalesces and begins his lasting physical and emotional healing process, he now faces the prospect of a potentially lengthy prison term.  On top of that, as is also typical in similar cases, the media is feeding at the trough in reporting discrediting information, including from the child’s confidential juvenile records that the media reports were provided by "confidential police sources".  There is little or no apparent effort by the media to even find out the names of the responsible police officers let alone to provide any information about those officers’ histories and records.  Of course, the media is protecting the identity of the “confidential” police sources that have provided the juvenile records which itself is a possible violation of the law.  In an invitation letter to the meeting, Rev. Lukata Mjumbe, who chaired the meeting, referred to the coordinated media campaign as the “violation, demonization and character assassination of a juvenile . . . “

Against this back drop, under the behest of United Mercer Interfaith Organization (UMIO) Radazz Hearns Task Force clergy and organizational leaders are organizing an effort to seek justice for Radazz Hearns, to end his character assassination by the media, especially The Trentonian, and to demand an independent investigation by the US Attorney’s Office. 
While the meeting was focused on providing support for Radazz Hearns and his family, and demanding independence, transparency and impartiality in the investigation of his shooting, there was stress also placed on the use of the multi-agency task force that participated in the assault, how they relate to local youth and the need to stay focused not just on the case of Radazz Hearns but on broader connected issues of demands for changes like the end of the grand jury when police kill and the need for independent community controlled civilian review boards.

The meeting was addressed by phone by Lawrence Hamm, Chair of the People’s Organization for Progress (POP) who described an event occurring 4pm on Wednesday, September 9th at the Newark office of U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman at the Rodino Federal Building, 970 Broad Street, Newark, New Jersey in coordination with other local and statewide organizations at a "Rally To Demand Justice." The purpose of the rally will be to call upon the US Attorney to take over several recent police shooting cases and to challenge the existing protocols for investigating police shootings in NJ.  Those in attendance at last night’s meeting agreed unanimously to add the case of Radazz Hearns to the other 3 cases being addressed at that event, all cases where Black NJ men have been gunned down.   Of the four cases, the 14 year old Radazz Hearns is the only one to have survived the shooting.  See details below.

The group is calling upon people in the Trenton area and throughout the state to attend the Newark event 4pm on September 9th.

Additionally, the (UMIO) Radazz Hearns Task Force has determined that it will organize a committee to press editors of area papers to end the character assassination of Radazz Hearns and to end its one sided coverage.  The group is also drafting a letter of unity around the issue.  

The meeting was attended primarily by area clergy as well as representatives of New Brunswick Black Lives Matter and the statewide Decarcerate the Garden State.  For more information, contact: Rev. Lukata Mjumbe <>.  

From Larry Hamm’s Facebook wall:
 There will be a "Rally To Demand Justice For Abdul Kamal, Kashad Ashford, And Jerame Reid," Wednesday, September 9, 2015, 4:00PM, U.S. Attorney's Office, Rodino Federal Building, 970 Broad Street, Newark, New Jersey. Please wear your POP t-shirt to the protest if you have one but come anyway if you don't. For more information call 973 801-0001.The purpose of this demonstration is to demand that the officers that killed Kamal, Ashford, and Reid be held accountable for their deaths. And to demand that the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, Paul J. Fishman, start official investigations into their deaths and bring civil rights charges against those officers that killed them. Kamal was unarmed when he was shot ten times and killed by Irvington police. Ashford was shot nine times in the head when he was killed by NJ State Police. In a dashcam video that went viral Jerame Reid is seen getting out of a car without any weapon with his hands open and raised when he was shot to death by Bridgeton, NJ police. Radazz Hearns, a 14 year old boy, who according to a witness had no weapon, was shot 7 times in the back and legs by police in Trenton, NJ.  He survived the shooting. Kamal, Ashford, Reid and Hearns are all African Americans.

Please send letters to the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey urging him to immediately launch civil rights investigations into the deaths of Abdul Kamal, Kashad Ashford, and Jerame Reid. Send your letters to:

Hon. Paul J. Fishman
U.S. Attorney for New Jersey
U.S. Attorney's Office
970 Broad Street Suite 700
Newark, New Jersey 07102

Make a follow up call to his office to make sure your letter was received. The number is 973 645-2704. If you are unable to send a letter call his office and make your opinion known.
The Million People's March Against Police Brutality, Racial Injustice, and Economic Inequality (MPM) was held Saturday, July 25th in Newark, New Jersey. The work of the March continues. This protest, the letter writing campaign, and the phone calls are some of the next steps to be taken in the struggle for justice. Stop police brutality!!! Power to the people!!!

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