Tag Archives: Criminal Justice

Rand Paul Uses Kalief Browder As An Example Of The Need For Criminal Justice Reform

During a fundraiser in Baltimore County on Tuesday, GOP Presidential candidate and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul addressed current issues with criminal justice in the United States, and urged Maryland Republicans to think about why many African Americans mistrust the justice system.

Paul brought up the story of Kalief Browder, an African American who recently committed suicide, after spending three years in a jail at Riker’s Island, without trial. Browder was arrested in 2010, when he was 16, for allegedly stealing a backpack, and because he wasn’t able to make bail, he stayed at Riker’s until his case was dismissed.

I’ve been telling this story for about a year and a half, two years now,” Paul said. “It makes me sad. I thought about not telling the story again. But I think this young man’s memory should help us to try to change things. He died this weekend. He committed suicide. His name was Kalief Browder. He was a 16-year-old teenager from the Bronx. He was arrested, accused of a crime, and sent to Rikers.”

The New York Times noted that during his time at Rikers, Browder suffered psychological trauma from spending nearly two of the three years in solitary confinement, and physical trauma as a result of several beatings, including one incident when Browder was “brutally assaulted by a guard.

As Truth In Media previously reported, the Department of Justice released a report in Aug. 2014, which concluded that corrections officers at Riker’s Island “regularly violated the constitutional rights of teenage prisoners by consistently and swiftly resorting to violence in their handlings with them.”

“Are we going to let you be raped and murdered and pillaged before you’ve been convicted?” Paul asked. “He wasn’t even convicted! So when I see people angry and upset, I’m not here to excuse violence in the cities, but when I see people angry, I see where some of the anger is coming from.”

Paul said that although he can’t personally relate, looking at the odds young black men currently face in the US has helped him to understand the unrest and frustration felt by young men such as Browder.

“This young man, 16 years old,” Paul said. “Imagine how his classmates feel about American justice. Imagine how his parents feel. So the thing is until you walk in someone else’s shoes, I think we shouldn’t say that we can’t understand the anger of people.

Paul also said that he holds the Democrats accountable for the current conditions, and he believes they have “utterly failed our inner cities, and utterly failed the poor.”

“A lot of these policies came from Bill Clinton,” Paul said. “In Ferguson, for every 100 black women, there are 60 black men. That’s because 40 are incarcerated. Am I saying they did nothing wrong and it’s all racism? No. What I am telling you is that white kids don’t get the same justice.”

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Alice in Chains Singer Says Cops Detained Him, Accused Him of Breaking into His Own Home

According to the music news site Loudwire, Alice in Chains vocalist William DuVall, who took over as the band’s lead singer following the death of Layne Staley, recently described an incident, which he claims happened around five years ago, in which police allegedly detained him for 30 minutes at his own West Hollywood home, as he was pulling into his garage, under suspicion that he was about to break into it. He says that police held him despite the fact that his driver’s license confirmed that he lived at the address. He believes that his detention was racially motivated.

Following a grand jury’s decision not to indict NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the choking death of Eric Garner, a Twitter discussion on racial disparities in the criminal justice system emerged under the hashtag #AliveWhileBlack. Alice in Chains frontman William DuVall contributed to the discussion on December 4 with the below tweet, describing the alleged time when he was profiled by police.

When some news outlets reacted to the tweet by reporting that the detention had just taken place, DuVall clarified that he was referring to an incident that had occurred in the past.

He offered further comments on Facebook discussing racial disparities in the criminal justice system, saying, “I was inspired to recount [the detention] after reading the many ‪#‎AliveWhileBlack‬ and ‪#‎CrimingWhileWhite‬ posts coming up on Twitter yesterday. In my view, those entries provide one of the most riveting illustrations of the dichotomy at the heart of America that I have ever seen. What really struck me is the fact that those stories flooding in by the thousands are merely a fraction of the millions more we will never hear. These are the ‘small’ stories, the ‘everyday’ stories, the ones so deeply woven into the fabric of our lives that they almost become mundane. And therein lies the true nature and scope of the problem… Because what’s most tragic and sobering to me about ALL of these stories – whether they fall into the more graphically horrific category of an Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, or Michael Brown or whether they are of the more ‘mundane’ variety like many of the ones currently being shared on Twitter, including my own – is that, almost without exception, any of them could have just as easily taken place 50 years ago.”

A Facebook user replied to DuVall’s post, saying, “I’d bet there’s more to this story and a legitimate and articulable reason as to why you were detained.”

DuVall replied, “If by ‘more to the story’ you mean the fact that I’m a law abiding citizen with no criminal record whatsoever, zero history of any criminal activity, who pays plenty in taxes every year, who dared to pull into my own driveway after a day of work and running errands, then, yes, you’re right, there is more to the story. My bad.”

DuVall ended his comments on a positive note, saying, “We have made tremendous strides as a nation, many of them in my own lifetime. I remain extremely proud of that. In the name of our ancestors who sacrificed so much to get us here and our children who will inherit this earth in our wake, we can’t afford to idle and we can’t fall back now. We have before us a golden opportunity to take yet another step forward. For all our sakes, I sincerely hope we seize it.”