D.A. Seth Williams must go to jail! End the mass imprisonment of African people!

PHILADELPHIA-The Black Is Back Coalition’s Black Community Control of Police working group attended a demonstration organized by Black Lives Matter, PA centered on the demand for the resignation of district attorney Seth Williams on March 27, 2017.  

The Black is Back Coalition (BIBC) is clear that it is not enough to only call for Williams’ removal. Williams must go to jail for malicious prosecution and participation in selling prisoners for profit.

The FOP (Federal Order of Police), Black Lives Matter and Mayor Jim Kenney all called for Williams’ resignation. However, none of these entities have proposed a solution to the problem of mass imprisonment of Black people that began long before Seth Williams took office.

The government cannot justify holding any African in prison that was locked up by Seth Williams. He has already been indicted by the Feds for 23 counts related to corruption, taking bribes and more.

Earlier this month, the neocolonial Philadelphia district attorney (DA) Seth Williams announced that he would not run for the office in the next election. Many attributed this to the recent exposure of his acceptance of hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes accepted from other court officials and lawyers.

In an article published by the Philadelphia Daily News, it was reported that Williams was accepting gifts from defense lawyers whose clients were prosecuted by Williams’ office. The argument of the ruling class is that acceptance of these gifts presented a “conflict of interest[s].”

The DA’s office upholds colonial oppression through imprisonment of Africans

While that may be true, it cannot be overlooked that the real bribery and corruption began when Williams accepted the post of district attorney in a court and prison system built on slavery and colonial oppression of African people. He won that election by promising to uphold that oppression.

During his 2010 campaign for DA, Williams vowed to cut homicide in Philly by arresting more black men. Seth Williams bragged that he would open up a prosecution office in every black neighborhood.

Williams received a campaign endorsement from the FOP after promising to execute Mumia Abu Jamal, freedom fighter and political prisoner. This is the real bribery and corruption!

In 2010, Williams prosecuted then-Philadelphia organizer of the International Peoples Democratic Uhuru Movement Diop Olugbala for leading a protest inside a city council meeting where the local government was to unveil its annual budget, one fourth of which ($1 billion) went to police, prisons and courts.

Over the last eight years, Williams has led a vicious campaign of repression by the police and colonial indictment of the entire African community by refusing to prosecute not one cop who had murdered an African.

When Williams became DA in 2009, Philadelphia had the fourth largest jail population in the country, three times larger than New York City’s jail population. Although the state transferred many of those prisoners to state prisons to make it appear that Philly’s jail population had shrunk, the fact is that the arrest and conviction rate continued at the same level.

The police terrorize Africans while attempting to dismantle our communities

Stop and frisk, which is the term white media has coined to describe the routine mass harassment, detainment and arresting of African and Indigenous workers by colonial occupying police forces, is a link in the chain of imprisoning of black people for profit. It has nothing to do with making the people in the community safe.

Philly police initiated more than 200,000 stop-and-frisk encounters in 2014. The American Civil Liberties Union conducted a random study of 2974 of those stops and found that out of 2519 stops and searches that occurred, only 58 resulted in confiscation of ‘contraband’ (weapons, narcotics etc.).

It was also revealed that one white person is “unreasonably stopped” in Philadelphia for every 4.36 black persons who faces the same unfair situation (or 3 for every 13)

White colonialists supplied drugs and weapons to African communities. Any resultant so-called crime that does exist in the African community is due to the elements that were placed in our communities by the same oppressor nation that kidnapped us and held us as slaves and forced us to live under the worst oppression for the last 500 years.

The police are clearly not the solution. In fact, it is clear through the above listed stats that the police are the problem! How many of the cops involved in the unjust stopping and frisking of 200,000 predominantly African people have been charged for abuse of their power and authority? At what point will the district attorney begin to lock up the police who illegally stop, search and arrest our people?

It is Williams’ inability to move on these pressing questions, not his accepting of gifts from defense lawyers, that truly expose Williams’ and this system’s criminality and crookedness. While all of this is going down, Williams receives $168,450/year. His “party planner,” Monique Wescott receives $75,000 a year!

That is the real bribery and corruption!

All of this evidence underscores the fact that the very core of the U.S. judicial and prison system is fueled by profit and capital––not the interests of the people.

This is why the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice Peace and Reparations demands:

  1. Black Community Control of the Police.
  2. End to mass imprisonment of African people: Immediate release of all those imprisoned and convicted by Seth Williams and new hearing by a jury of their class and community members to determine the legitimacy of their prosecution.
  3. Immediate withdrawal of the Philadelphia Police Dept from the Black Community.
  4. Right to armed self-defense of the poor and exploited Black Community. 
  5. Reparations to the African community; the families and peers of the victims of Seth Williams’ malicious prosecution. 

Philly DA Election: Vote for Black Community Control of Police AND Prosecution!

Other forces who have come out demanding Seth Williams’ resignation, namely all of the DA candidates who are running in the election coming up in May of this year. Joe Khan, Rich Negrin, Lawrence Krasner, Michael Untermeyer, Tariq El-Shabazz, Teresa Carr Deni, and John O’Neill are the Democrats running for the position. Beth Grossman is the only Republican in the race.

However, if Black people are to vote for any DA in this election, we must make sure they unite with our demands. Otherwise, what interest do we have in voting for them?

The Black Community Control of Police working group is working to have a resolution be passed as a referendum, or law by local election. Such a referendum will result in the establishment of a Black Community Control of Police Commission with power to hire, fire, train and subpoena police forces in our community.

At the same time, we are preparing to file a class action lawsuit against the DA’s office and the city of Philadelphia’s government for malicious prosecution and human trafficking.

It will be a Black Working Class Action Lawsuit that will be filed as tool to wage struggle for the stated demands within the U.S. judicial system itself.

Most importantly, we are building a committee whose primary responsibility is to advance our people’s struggle for Black Community Control of the Police (BCCP) and self-determination. We will distribute our newsletter, which contains know your rights info and updates on our political work in order to get petitions signed. The committee also intends to take political action to advance our demands.

On April 8th and 9th, the BCCP working group will travel to St. Petersburg, FL to participate in the BIBC Electoral School where we will undergo training on how to effectively run an electoral campaign in order to push the types of initiatives raised in this article, as well as other strategic initiatives of the coalition, including reparations. 

Jail Seth Williams!
Black Community Control of the Police!

Join the Black Is Back Coalition! 


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