No racial profiling of Juanita Young!
Published Aug 12, 2009 2:48 PM
The July 16 arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. for
“disorderly conduct” in his own home in Cambridge, Mass., exposed
once again the fact that racism is alive and well in the U.S. The ongoing
struggle of Juanita Young shows the state’s ruthlessness against those
who fight back.
STOP POLICE TERROR
An Aug. 10 press conference, rally and march to the 43rd police precinct
was held in Bronx, N.Y. to show solidarity with Black activist Juanita Young
and her family. On Aug. 8, the New York police physically assaulted and
arrested members of Young’s family during a cookout. Young, pictured far
left carrying a banner, has been outspoken against police brutality following
the 2000 shooting death of her son, Malcolm Ferguson, by a plainclothes
detective. The Aug. 10 protest was organized by the Oct. 22 Coalition and the
WW photo: Mike Eilenfeldt
For the simple, justifiable act of speaking out against being racially
profiled, Gates was arrested. For her continued activism against police
brutality—after the 2000 killing of her son by a plainclothes
cop—Young and her entire family have been arrested multiple times,
continually harassed and brutalized by the New York Police Department.
A press release from the Juanita Young Support Committee quotes an eyewitness
to the latest attack on Aug. 8, which occurred as Young was having a cookout
with her family, friends and neighbors: “Over a dozen cops seemed to
appear out of nowhere, broke the front door down, slammed JJ [Jason James,
Juanita’s oldest son] up behind the door, and beat him on the head while
cuffing him. This was all happening with kids and babies around (photos posted
at nyc.indymedia.org). ... The cops went upstairs into Juanita’s
apartment, made everyone get down on the floor, and also arrested her daughters
Saran and Naya, Saran’s baby’s father Tyrell, their cousin Jason,
and family friends Jonathan and Mike. ... After many phone calls to the
precinct from all over the country, JJ was eventually taken to a
Other than Jason James, everyone else was released with a summons for
disorderly conduct—the same charges Gates faced. JJ, who faced the most
brutality by the cops, has been charged with assaulting a police officer,
resisting arrest and possession.
Young’s son Malcolm Ferguson was killed in 2000, just five days after he
attended protests against the police killing of Amadou Diallo. Police officer
Louis Rivera shot the unarmed Ferguson point- blank in the head. Young was
awarded $10.5 million in 2007 by a Bronx, N.Y, civil court in her trial against
New York City and the NYPD. Since Ferguson’s death, Young has been a
tireless and courageous fighter against all repression.
True to form, the police have responded viciously, taking any opportunity they
can to attack Young and her family. In 2003 she was arrested for trespassing in
her own home as part of an illegal eviction. She was arrested again in 2005 at
an anti-war demonstration, and was denied medical attention when she suffered
an asthma attack in police custody. In 2006 police arrested her again, while
they were responding to a call for an ambulance at Young’s home for one
of her daughters.
If you are a person of color in the U.S., all of your rights are questionable
and subject to the will of the state. Yet speaking up and fighting back in the
face of state repression is considered a high crime, subject to long
imprisonment—like Mumia Abu-Jamal—or continued harassment—such as what the Young family faces on a regular basis. What
Juanita Young and other courageous survivors of police brutality know is that
we must fight back.
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