Tag Archives: Civil Rights

Welcome to ColorofLaw.Org

29 Mar

Police are the entry point, the gate keepers, of the criminal justice system. They make discretionary decisions everyday about who is likely to commit a crime and who should be targeted by the criminal justice system; about who should be stopped, questioned, searched and arrested. These decisions are made on the basis of individual police officers life experiences—their training, their instincts, their prejudices and biases. And all too often, they are decisions informed by race. 

Maya Harris, Former Associate Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California

Why is police brutality still such a hot topic? Are black men specifically targeted by the criminal justice system? Why should you care? What is the truth and what is fiction? And what are communities doing to change the status quo? This website aims to shed light on these questions. We also intend to provide resources to those who need assistance in fighting cases of racially biased excessive policing that affects their families and communities.

  • From 1995 to 2000, there were almost 10,000 cases of police use of excessive force reported in the U.S.; Black Americans made up 47.5% of them
  • 1 out of every 9 Black men aged 20-34 is currently serving time behind bars. Nationwide, 1 out of every 100 adults is currently serving time.
  • The National Urban League‘s 2005 study found that the average Black male convicted of aggravated assault serves 48 months in prison, one-third longer than a comparable white man.

Statistics never lie.  Twisted, turned and spun as they often are, the simple truths they represent will ultimately leap up at us from their pages (or computer screens) and cry out for our attention.  These numbers scream at us that true “equality,” in its myriad of forms (social, economic, judicial, legislative, political, etc), is not yet a true reality for Blacks and other minorities living in the US.

Battles we’ve won (led by the Harriet Tubman’s of our nations slavery era to President Barack Obama) have given hope. But recent unnatural and undeserved deaths in the national spotlight — the murder of Trayvon Martin, the death of Anna Brown, the shooting death of unarmed driver Travis McNeil and six other African-American men shot by Hispanic police officers in Miami in 2011 , the deaths of Oscar Grant Sean Bell and police officer Omar Edwards — as well as the racist practices that have led to targeting, assaulting, arresting, excessive discriminatory charges, false convictions, and wrongful imprisonment brought against black men and boys like the Jena 6 and countless others across the U.S. — all support a deeply disturbing fact: our nation is still halfheartedly fighting a civil war for racial equality. And all too often, the critical battles in this war are fought on the grounds of police brutality and racial bias in the criminal justice system.

I was born in Miami, FL, only a couple of years following the infamous McDuffie “Race” Riot which took place there in 1980. My uncle, Clarence Page Jr., was shot and killed, unarmed, by a police officer’s bullets when I was three months old. My father is a retired police Captain who served with the City of Miami for 23 years. Hence, my relationship with the criminal justice system has always been complex.  I have met and loved many wonderful men and women who happened to be law enforcement officers. However, my family also suffered a senseless loss at the hands of that very community. As such, I join tens of thousands of nieces, nephews, daughters, wives, fathers and mothers, like me, who have asked “what went wrong?” at the oft times deadly intersection of race, class and authority.

We cannot afford to sit by silently while this nation continues its largely unchecked oppression of people of color.  It’s a degradation to the moral fiber, prosperity, spirit and beauty of this country. Whether you live in a small town in Southern Mississippi, or a low-income housing project in Brooklyn, you have as much right to life, freedom, respect, lawful policing and opportunities as anyone else.  And if you have any doubts about this, or your ability to stand-up and defend these rights, simply browse the pages of our work-in-progress site and empower yourself with the resources we have provided.

We look forward to connecting with you,

Noelle & The Team at ColorofLaw.org