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St. Pete police out of control - Uhuru Movement to announce community defense plan

What: Press Conference
When: Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 12:00 pm
Where: Silver Lake Park, 13th Street & 11th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, Florida
Contact: 727-851-2099,
St. Petersburg, FL—On Thursday, November 21 at 12:00 noon, President Diop Olugbala of the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM), along with neighborhood residents and victims of police violence, including Jernorris Green and Debbie Newkirk (Anthony Newkirk’s sister) will talk with the press at Silver Lake Park about their demands for an end to heavy-handed policing, racial profiling, “extra-legal” arrests, brutality, civil rights violations and high-speed chases carried out by the St. Petersburg police and Pinellas County sheriffs.
They are calling on Mayor-elect Rick Kriseman to take immediate action and will announce the community’s own plans to put a stop to the attacks suffered by African residents at the hands of the police.
They cite three recent incidents as representative of a routine practice of violating the rights of African residents.
On November 8th, Jernorris Green, a 37-year-old African man, was assaulted by three St. Petersburg police in Silver Lake Park. Green had been approached by a St. Pete pig who told him to sit on a bench and wait.
After confirming that he was not being arrested, Green exercised his legal right to walk away. Police back-up arrived and three pigs threw Green to the ground, knees in his back and neck.
The incident was video taped by witnesses. The police seized the witnesses’ phones and then returned them after protest by the gathering crowd. Green awaits charges of battery against police.
On November 1st, Anthony Newkirk, a 32-year-old African man, was shot twice in the face and once in the chest as he sat in his car by a Pinellas County sheriff’s deputy during a sting operation.
Newkirk has been denied bond despite the fact that he has deep roots in the community, including small children who he takes to school. Newkirk is being denied medical attention, held in jail with open wounds.
On September 25th, Diop Olugbala was stopped by St. Petersburg police while riding his bicycle near 13th Street and 15th Avenue South.
When he criticized the police practice of harassing law-abiding residents of the south side, he was thrown against the police car and arrested for riding his bike on the wrong side of the street, obstruction and running a stop sign, despite there not being a stop sign where the police claimed he ran it.
High speed police chases throughout the African community have resulted in the loss of life and property of innocent bystanders.
Olugbala says that the recently published transcripts of police radio communications expose the St. Pete police department’s hostile and aggressive policy of occupation and disrespect of the African community.
Olugbala declares that, “We call on Mayor-elect Rick Kriseman to take immediate action to remedy these cases and to announce a policy change to ensure such practices will not continue. Kriseman was only elected because of widespread support from African voters. If he wants to make positive change in the city, he must first address this crisis confronting our community. We in the community are making our own plans to protect our people.”
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