Google+

Attorney for the Brown Family Responds to Shooting of Police in Ferguson and to Recent Developments in Other Civil Rights Cases

 

Ben Crump

The “Ferguson” Interview

with Kam Williams

 

Attorney for the Brown Family Responds to Shooting of Police in Ferguson and to Recent Developments in Other Civil Rights Cases

pc_header_crump

Ben Crump is the attorney of record in many high-profile, civil rights cases, most notably representing the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Tamir Rice, the 12 year-old boy shot by a Cleveland, Ohio police officer a second after he got out of his patrol car.

 

Kam Williams: Hi Ben, I appreciate the time. I know how busy you are.

Ben Crump: You’re very, very welcome, Kam.

 

KW: What is your response to the recent shooting of the two police officers in Ferguson, Missouri?

BC: Together with the Brown family, I condemn the shootings and make an immediate appeal for nonviolence, as we have from the inception of this movement. The heinous act of this individual does not reflect or forward the peaceful and non-violent movement that has emerged in our nation to confront police brutality and to ensure equality for all people. An act of violence against any innocent person eludes moral justification, disgraces the millions of Americans and people throughout the world who have united in peaceful protest against police brutality, and dishonors our proud inheritance of nonviolent resistance. We support the imposition of the full extent of the law on the perpetrator, and our prayers are with the officers and their families.

 

KW: What do you make of Attorney General Holder’s recently declining to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting of Michael Brown?

BC: I just think that the Department of Justice has to stop sanitizing all these killings of unarmed people of color. When you look at the Justice Department’s report talking about the Ferguson Police Department’s rampant pattern of discrimination and its excessive use of force against African-American citizens, it’s hard to try to rationalize how this cesspool of racism doesn’t spill over onto the individual officers. For instance, Sergeant Mudd, the first officer on the scene after Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown. He was Wilson’s mentor and supervisor. He was one of the primary witnesses and main advocates for Darren Wilson in front of the grand jury. We now know that this was the individual who sent the racist email that was repeatedly forwarded around the Ferguson Police Department saying that Crimestoppers paid a black woman $3,000 to get an abortion. So you have this cesspool of racism, yet they’re trying to suggest that it’s not going to affect individual officers. The Attorney General says that you have this high standard that you have to show that at the time of the shooting the individual was thinking hateful or racist thoughts. That’s an almost impossible standard. It should be enough to show implicit bias, given all the attendant circumstances. If there’s a pattern and practice of discrimination and excessive force, you should be able to hold these officers accountable for killing unarmed citizens. The reason I say that, Kam, is because, if there are no real consequences for their actions, we won’t get any different results. We need real consequences to get real results. There’s no deterrent to these officers’ behavior when they continue to see the local and federal governments under the Obama Administration sanitizing the killings of unarmed black and brown people.

 

KW: Holder’s also just announced that there will be no arrest of George Zimmerman for violating the civil rights of Trayvon Martin. That shocked me because everyone heard the recording of the 911 operator ordering Zimmerman to stay in his car and to wait for the police to arrive. But he ignored the instructions and killed and innocent teen innocently walking down the street, just yards from home. And even that’s not considered a violation of the child’s rights? How insane is that?

BC: Absolutely! We keep seeing a reoccurrence of their sanitizing these killings. It almost encourages people to conclude that they did nothing wrong, since the government didn’t press any charges. We’ve got to somehow send a message to deter this conduct. Otherwise, we’re going to see it over and over and over again. It’s becoming almost like an epidemic.

 

KW: No kidding. Just since you and I last spoke, we’ve had police shootings of Jerome Reid getting out of a car with his hands up in New Jersey, a homeless man in Los Angeles, 19 year-old Tony Robinson in Madison, Wisconsin, and Antonio Zambrano-Montes in Spokane, Washington.

BC: We’re representing Antonio Zambrano-Montes’ family.

 

KW: Great! And there’s also Sureshbhai Patel, an elderly tourist from India who was left paralyzed by a cop in Alabama who thought he was a black man prowling around a white neighborhood. These incidents are happening about once a week now. What about the Tamir Rice case? The chief of police in Cleveland is a black man, so I was stunned when the city said the boy’s death was directly caused by his own acts, not by police officer Timothy Loehmann. How did you react to that conclusion?

BC: It was literally shocking that, based on what we see in that surveillance video, this 12 year-old child could be called responsible for his own death because he wasn’t being careful, versus what we see and know happened there; how these officers violated all their procedures, training and department regulations, and drove up to the scene recklessly in a way which escalated the situation. Tamir Rice was killed in less than one second which was totally disrespectful. And the pattern of disrespect continued when his 14 year-old sister ran up crying, “You killed my baby brother!” Instead of showing her any compassion, they tackled her, handcuffed her, manhandled her, dragged her through the snow and threw her into the back of the police car where she had to sit helplessly 4 to 5 feet away from where her brother lay kicking as he died. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the pattern of disrespect continued with how they treated their mother when she arrived. They told her she could either get in the police car with her daughter to go to the station or get in the ambulance to go to the hospital with her son. And now the pattern of disrespect to the Rice family continues with blaming Tamir for his own death in the answer to the complaint of wrongful death we filed. That was shocking and sends a loud message not only to the people of Cleveland but to people all over America.

 

KW: I’d also like to know how you feel about the video that surfaced of that Oklahoma fraternity singing that racist song on the bus.

BC: They may kick the fraternity off campus, but the thing that’s so unfortunate is that, no matter what they do, those students still felt it was okay to say what they said. So, you can’t help but wonder whether that’s how they really feel in their hearts. It reminded me of my personal hero, Thurgood Marshall. I’m reading Gilbert King’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book about the Groveland, Florida rape cases called “Devil in the Grove.”

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0061792268/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

In it, he talks about Marshall said he had two fears. First, how big a celebration there was going to be the day racists lynched him and hung him from a tree. But his second and worst fear, after seeing so many young children in pictures of lynchings, was knowing that one day they would grow up to be running society. And that’s what I thought about watching the video on that bus. That in 20 years or so, those fraternity and sorority members will be running corporations, city governments and other institutions. And I wondered, what will their mentality be like? How does this bode for the future?

 

KW: I agree. It’s very scary. Thanks again, Ben, and keep fighting the good fight.

BC: Thanks so much Kam. Call anytime.

Entertainment

Spectacular Disaster Flick Depicts Real-Life Events Surrounding BP Oil Spill

  Deepwater Horizon Film Review by Kam Williams Spectacular Disaster Flick Depicts Real-Life Events Surrounding BP Oil Spill On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, located 41 miles off the coast of Louisiana, exploded when high-pressure methane gas blew out the drill pipe. 11 members of the crew perished in the ensuing fiery inferno which engulfed the platform. The accident also caused the worst oil spill in U.S. history, with over 200 million … [Read More its Good for You...]

Books

Richards Rocks!

  Sandra L. Richards The “Rice & Rocks” Interview with Kam Williams Richards Rocks! The American-born daughter of Jamaican immigrant parents, Sandra L. Richards is the author of “Rice & Rocks.” She hopes that her debut picture book will serve as an educational resource for families seeking to teach their children the value of their heritage and the importance of cultural diversity. Sandra completed both her undergraduate and graduate studies at Seton Hall … [Read More its Good for You...]

Art

ART EXHIBITION: 150 Years After The Civil War

  Cynthia Groya 150 Years After The Civil War: A Contemporary Perspective January 10 - March 6, 2016 Artist's Reception: Sunday, January 24, 3:00 - 5:00 pm Nassau Club 6 Mercer Street  Princeton, NJ 08540 The ideas reflected in Groya's paintings express a conversation about struggle for equal rights in our culture, in our time. The origin of this struggle can be traced to The Civil War in our country, which ended 150 years ago. The … [Read More its Good for You...]

Real Estate

Castles in America

  Castles in America by Amy Lignor   Robin Leach and his “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” taught us all long ago that we absolutely love to sit and view ridiculous luxury (usually owned by people who inherited all of it and didn’t work a day in their lives). See that? We had to complain about something as we were beguiled by the amount of money people would send to own or create the “best of the best.” Even though some things were referred to as the “gaudiest of … [Read More its Good for You...]

Lifestyle

Richards Rocks!

  Sandra L. Richards The “Rice & Rocks” Interview with Kam Williams Richards Rocks! The American-born daughter of Jamaican immigrant parents, Sandra L. Richards is the author of “Rice & Rocks.” She hopes that her debut picture book will serve as an educational resource for families seeking to teach their children the value of their heritage and the importance of cultural diversity. Sandra completed both her undergraduate and graduate studies at Seton Hall … [Read More it Good for You...]

Outdoors

Apex Gear ACCU•STRIKE XS Series Bow Sights

  Apex Gear ACCU•STRIKE XS Series Bow Sights By Brad Fenson As an avid bowhunter, I’m always looking for a sight to not only help me acquire a target accurately and quickly but provide adjustability while being lightweight. It might be a lot to ask for but with a wide array of hunting situations, you have to be selective in your equipment to ensure you are always successful in the long run. The Apex Gear ACCU•STRIKE™ XS was obviously designed for an active hunter. I … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

There Are Superheroes Among Us

  There Are Superheroes Among Us by Amy Lignor   This story truly proves that a superhero does not require a cape, tights, or the ability to fly. In a world where all headlines seem to be centered around who shot who, who is being put upon, who’s “getting away with it” – all the way to who is getting divorced and who may or may not be kneeling at NFL games – negative stories seem to be the only ones covered anymore by the media. Does the American populace … [Read More its Good for You...]

Business

2016 Brings About Layoffs to a Variety of Industries

  2016 Brings About Layoffs to a Variety of Industries by Amy Lignor   From tobacco to alcohol, with brand names that have incurred huge amounts of cash during their long-term years in business, layoffs have still been announced at a rapid pace in 2016. Even from those companies that have increased their profits.   Altria is one with a very large brand name. Its cornerstone brand, Marlboro, has brought about retail sales that have grown higher for the fourth … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

Spotting the Wild Animal in the U.S. of A.

  Spotting the Wild Animal in the U.S. of A. by Amy Lignor   There are many camping spots, zoos, parks, and outdoor paradises across the globe; locales where wild animals roam and humans can get close to these amazing creatures. One of the most beautiful and talked about lies near Canterbury, Kent in the United Kingdom. Opened as a private zoo in 1957, this odd collection is known by many for being one of the most unorthodox. Breeding rare and endangered species, … [Read More its Good for You...]

Google+