BlackBox Radio

June 27, 2006

BlackBox Radio for June 27, 2006

Filed under: Weekly Show — blackboxradio @ 7:36 pm

On this week’s show, we talk to two filmmakers who are documenting Michigan’s community farms(producer: Kris Kaul), and an update from Elena Herrada about the latest wave of repression and intimidation aimed at Mexican immigrants living in Southeast Michigan (producer: Megan Williamson). Plus local, national, and international headlines.

Listen to the show: lower quality | high quality

Local Headlines:

Detroit Police Officers Transferred After Residents Speak Out

Proposed Legislation Would Create MI Death Penalty

Coalition Files Suit to Keep MCRI Off Ballot
National and International Headlines:

Transpeople Hold Pride March Despite NYC’s Exclusions

US Soldier Convicted of Killing Iraqi Civilian Release Early

Korean Groups Charge US with Pollution at Abandoned Military Bases

Israel Bars International Peace Activists from Entering Israel/Palestine

Local Headlines

Now, a follow up to last week’s story about the two Southwest Detroit police officers accused by multiple residents of sexual assault, molestation, and frame-ups. The Michigan Citizen reported this week that police officers Michael Osman and Michael Parish have been transferred from the Southwest District to the Western and Eastern Districts, respectively.

The information about the officers’ transfers surfaced at a preliminary examination for Byron Ogletree on June 19. Ogletree was arrested by Osman and Parrish after a stop for a cracked windshield. Numerous witnesses have stated that the officers threatened, beat, and sexually assaulted Ogletree in the parking lot of a Sav-A-Lot store. During the incident dozens of witnesses protested the officers’ behavior, shouting “Rodney King” and “Malice Green” in reference to the two black men who were murdered by police.

Osman and Parish gave their versions of the event during the June 19th examination. Osman said he beat Ogletree in the shins with his baton and punched him in the jaw. Parish said he pepper sprayed Ogletree, kicked him in “tender points” in his inner thighs and pointed his gun at the man’s temple while threatening to shoot him. They both claimed their actions were necessary to subdue Ogletree.

In response to the news that Osman and Parish were going to be transferred, Marcon Green, who testified that he had been molested by the officers, said, “People are going to be in trouble in those neighborhoods. They better watch out because those guys are up to no good no matter what district they’re in. They need to be locked up. They do not need to be police officers.”


As one of only twelve states without the death penalty, Michigan law mandates that a person convicted of first-degree murder is sent to prison without possibility of parole. State Representative Dan Acciavatti, a Republican from Macomb County, is seeking to change that. Earlier this month, he introduced a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow the death penalty to be considered in first-degree murder cases.

The Associated Press reports that Acciavatti acknowledges his proposal has faces an uphill battle in the state Legislature. Every attempt to allow capital punishment in Michigan has failed, including recent efforts in 1999 and 2004. But his proposal may spark a discussion about how to get tougher penalties in place for certain criminals.

If the death penalty doesn’t become an option, Acciavatti has said he will continue pushing for more severe punishment for Michigan convicts, including confining prisoners to high-security prisons for the duration of their sentences and denying access to exercise or recreational activities.

The death penalty proposal is called House Joint Resolution Y.


A lawsuit was filed in United States District Court last Thursday, seeking an injunction to prevent the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative from being placed on the November ballot. The lawsuit, filed by Operation King’s Dream/BAMN, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, the Macomb County NAACP, and numerous African-American and Latino individuals, charges that the MCRI’s financial backer Ward Connerly, the MCRI’s Executive Director Jennifer Gratz, the MCRI, the Michigan Secretary of State, and the State Board of Canvassers violated the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 during the collection of petition signatures and in making the decision to place the MCRI on the ballot. In addition, two of Detroit’s labor unions—AFSCME Local 207 and Local 312—signed on to the lawsuit due to the large number of members who believed they were signing a petition in support of affirmative action.

MediaMouse reports that the Civil Rights Commission gathered over a thousand pages of testimony outlining “systemic” fraud in the campaign to place the MCRI on the ballot. The text of the case filed last Thursday specifically charge that Connerly, Gratz, and the MCRI violated Section 2 of the Civil Rights Act in their systemic and racially-targeted fraud used to obtain ballot access for the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative. The filing goes on to state that the Secretary of State and members of Michigan’s Board of Canvassers have violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in supporting the MCRI’s inclusion on the November ballot without an investigation.

A decision in the case will be made before September 1st when ballots are printed for distribution overseas.


National and International Headlines:

Transgendered people and their allies met last Friday in New York’s Chelsea Park to protest New York City’s refusal to give them a permit to march as part of Pride Week. The city denied the groups a permit because they do not recognize transpeople as part of the city’s Gay Pride Celebration.

According to an account on New York Indymedia, the trans community came out in strong numbers despite the presence of police on motorbikes who lined the perimeter of the park. Many of the marchers held signs demanding an end to violence aimed at transpeople.

In June of 2000, Amanda Milan, a 25-year-old African-American transgender woman, was brutally murdered in the middle of an intersection near Port Authority Bus Terminal as onlookers cheered. Several participants in Friday’s march carried signs remembering Milan with the message, “not one more transwoman murdered.”

After several speeches and a rally in Chelsea park, the crowd successfully held an un-permitted march along 8th Avenue.


The Dayton Daily News reports that an American soldier convicted of fatally shooting a handcuffed Iraqi cow herder in 2004, was freed from a military prison in Oklahoma last Friday. His release comes more than a year before his sentence was up. The shooting was one of two of Iraqi civilians during a 10-day period by members of the same Hawaii-based platoon.

Sgt. Jeffrey D. Waruch, a member of that platoon who was present during the shooting of the handcuffed man, was also accused in the other shooting, in which a 13-year-old girl was killed and her mother and sister wounded. Waruch was discharged without being accused of a crime. Army officials determined it was unlikely they would find sufficient evidence against him.

Both shootings were examined by the Dayton Daily News late last year in a special report. The Ohio newspaper reported then that dozens of soldiers were accused of crimes against Iraqis since the first troops deployed for Iraq, but despite strong evidence and convictions in some cases, only a small percentage resulted in punishments.


Two groups, Green Korea and the Chuncheon Civic Group, have filed a lawsuit against the South Korean Ministry of Environment to gain the release of pollution data from abandoned U.S. military bases. Activists from these environmental groups allege that dangerous levels of pollution may exist at the former US military bases that are scheduled to be returned to South Korea.

According to Stars and Stripes Pacific Edition, the United States has tried to return closed bases for the past 18 months, but South Korea has declined. US military officials claim that the previous South Korean government agreed to take the land “as is.”Army officials have added that any further cleanup efforts should be handled by the South Korean government as “the price of peace.”

Earlier this year, a major South Korean newspaper published a report containing leaked data about the pollution rates at US military bases. The data showed unsafe levels of ground and water contamination at over a dozen military sites, including bases in Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas and North Carolina.

Meanwhile, South Korean environmental government officials have refused to comment on the leaked data and status of the bases in question.


Israeli Newspaper Maariv reported last week that the Israeli security services are preparing for a campaign to bar international peace activists from entering the occupied West Bank to participate in the “Summer Peace camp” organized by the International Solidarity Movement. Israel stated that international activists working with the ISM will be expelled for “supporting illegal organizations.”

On June 22nd, Israeli authorities at Tel Aviv’s International Airport barred eight international peace activists from entering the country. The activists were detained, strip searched, and interrogated by Israeli Intelligence for a total of eight hours before they were forced on a plane leaving the country. These international volunteers intended to participate in Freedom Summer 2006, a non-violent campaign coordinated by the International Solidarity Movement to aid the Palestinian residents in the occupied territories.

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