PHILADELPHIA–On Tuesday, January 26, Shabaka Mnombatha, a co-defendant in the City Hall 2 (CH2) case was found guilty of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Municipal court judge Joseph Waters sentenced Mnombatha to three months in jail, then probated the sentence.
http://uhurunews.com/cgi-bin/imageconvert.cgi/content/news/stories/2009-07/another-judge-reassigned-to-city-hall-2-case/2009_03_19_PhilaCityCouncil6_JPEG-CONVERT-resize=400.JPEG?resize=400 style=”width: 300px; float: left; margin-right: 10px;” /> In March 2009 the Philadelphia branch of the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) leader Diop Olugbala and Mnombatha were brutally attacked by Philadelphia cops, then arrested. As usual, when Africans come in contact with any police agency in this country, they beat you up then charge you with assault. That's what happened in a nutshell.
InPDUM organizers and supporters, along with other community people were there at the city council meeting to protest the newly elected black mayor Michael Nutter's proposed controversial city budget.
It was a budget that was closing down libraries and other essential services in the African community while at the same time super funding the police department to the tune of more than $1 billion.
As the city with the highest incarceration rate and second highest hunger and poverty rates in the country, Philadelphia has a deep economic interest in police containment of the African community.
It is that sector of the State (police, prisons, courts) who keep our people separated from food, and locked up in prisons and jails.
The only “crime” that InPDUM and the CH2 committed was demanding that the billions of dollars which are currently used to wage war against the African community instead go towards reparations to the African community: economic development, jobs and businesses that serve our needs and independence: community control of schools, police and courts to bring the criminals in the government to justice.
Immediately following the city council attack InPDUM waged an intense campaign to free the CH2. This campaign led to a victory during the CH2 preliminary hearing on April 28, 2009 when a call in and write in campaign, fortified with a militant mass demonstration outside of the courthouse, forced municipal court judge Teresa Carr-Deni to drop the felony assault charges from the CH2 Case.
Soon after this victory however, the district attorney appealed Carr-Deni’s ruling to drop the felony from Diop’s case. After two judges recused themselves for fear of invoking INPDUM’s wrath, the DA was ultimately successful in having the felony replaced on Diop’s case. At the same time, the DA allowed for the felony to remain off of Shabaka’s case. This was clear evidence of the DA’s strategy and determination to see Diop behind bars while undermining the unity of the campaign.
Black Is Back in motion! InPDUM joins forces with People’s Organization for Progress to expose true nature of the State
http://www.uhurufiles.org/public/uhurunews.com/images/20100202_ch2/protest_shabaka_trial3.jpg style=”width: 300px; float: left; margin-right: 10px;” /> Members of the Philadelphia branch of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement joined forces with the People’s Organization for Progress (POP) New Jersey contingent led by Sister Comrade Angenetta Robinson to hold a militant demonstration in front of the Philadelphia Criminal Justice Center before entering the building to attend Shabaka’s trial.
Although the trial was set to begin at 9:30am the State made sure that they delayed it as long as possible. Immediately upon the CH2 contingent's entry into courtroom 606 we sprung into action, pushing for every inch of democratic space. Comrades from POP and InPDUM began handing out leaflets explaining the CH2 case, continuing the same work we had been doing in the streets since the campaign began. The court officers attempted to stop our organizers from handing out the leaflets, so the people began to distribute the leaflets amongst themselves.
When the trial finally began at 2pm the only ones in the courtroom were InPDUM and POP forces and CH2 supporters. The State succeeded in isolating the trial from the masses. The conviction hungry DA used every resource at its disposal to criminalize Shabaka and Diop: dirty pigs who who were eager to give a falsified, DA-written testimonial and a white nationalist judge. The result was Shabaka’s railroading.
The trial began with debate around whether or not the video of the city council attack should be admitted as evidence, and if so, what version of the video. The judge granted the DA the right to show the full video. Even though the video clearly shows the police unprovoked attacking Diop and Shabaka it was almost useless in Shabaka's defense. The DA persistently interpreted the video for the judge – convincing him (as if he needed convincing) that he was looking at an attack on the cops as opposed to an attack on the African community. CH2 lawyer Michael Coard persistently objected to this, but it didnt matter. The video was followed by testimonials by the pigs. Three pigs were called up, all of whom participated in the attack on InPDUM on March 19th. Needless to say, they all made up a story of how InPDUM was being “disruptive” (unlike all of the other organizations in the city council chambers who were standing up, holding up signs and yelling from the floor). Between the DA's interpretation of the video and police fabrications from the witness stand, the judge felt he had enough evidence to find Shabaka guilty.
Guilt vs. innocence not the question; white power vs. black power is
Notwithstanding all of the lies the State used to justify Shabaka's conviction InPDUM will not apologize for Shabaka and Diop’s acts of resistance and defense – not only of their own necks, but of the rights of the entire African community which is assaulted by the State all the time. But Shabaka and Diop are not on trial for fighting the cops or disrupting a city council meeting. These brothers are on trial for fighting for the freedom of African people.
The colonial court system has never brought justice to the colonized – especially those of us who fight for our freedom. What they call the “law” ain’t nothing but the opinion of the social force which controls the State. During slavery, the slave master controlled the State, so they made it illegal for slaves to run away. Today, the State is controlled by the descendents of the slave masters. The white ruling class makes up laws like “stop and frisk” and “3 strikes you’re out” to maintain the system of profit off locking up African people. The U.S. capitalist-colonial State legalizes billions and trillions of dollars for war budgets to enslave African and oppressed people.
Shabaka was found “guilty” because of his ideas – reparations and independence for African people – which go against everything the white ruling class relies on to maintain control of society. So we are not surprised, nor are we discouraged by yesterday’s ruling. In fact, we expected it in a certain kind of way.
Judge Waters' statement during Shabaka's sentencing confirmed our understanding of the political nature of the case when he referred to Shabaka as a "professional agitator" before sentencing him to 3-6 months probation.
Forward to Diop’s trial! We don’t need a good legal brief – we need black power!
http://www.uhurufiles.org/public/uhurunews.com/images/20100202_ch2/judge_roxeanne_covington.jpg style=”width: 300px;” />
Judge Roxeanne Covington (L)
While the State is an instrument of repression, protecting the interests of the white ruling class – it will only be able to do what is not met up with significant African resistance. Comrade Diop’s trial is scheduled for Wednesday, February 10. The judge’s name is Roxeanne Covington, an African woman. She has a history of defending the State, so it is not surprising that she was assigned to this case. During her seven year tenure as the Philadelphia assistant city solicitor with the City Law Department, Covington represented the Police Department, Fire and Rescue Department, and the Department of Human Services. She started her career in Washington, D.C. where she worked as a prosecutor.
However, we also know that Covington is ambitious and has aspirations to ascend in the colonial court and political system. As a judge, she depends on popular opinion to successfully maneuver. Our task is to let Covington know that she will not walk away from this trial without the black power fist permanently marked on her forehead if she does not concede to our demands.
Plan of Action: Call in to Covington’s Office – Demand the Freedom of the City Hall 2!
InPDUM, People’s Organization for Progress and supporters of the City Hall 2 like Cynthia McKinney, will be waging a strategic campaign demanding the right to free speech for the African community – demanding freedom for brother Diop.
What YOU Can Do:
Call judge Roxeanne Covington at 215-683-7142 on a daily basis with the following demand:
"I am calling to voice my complete disapproval of the attempt being made by the City of Philadelphia to convict Diop Olugbala, also known as Wali Rahman, with the trumped up felony charge of aggravated assault on police when it was clearly the police who attacked him and other innocent bystanders. His arrest represents an attack on the rights of African people to free speech and economic development. I unite with the demand for the immediate dropping of all charges against Wali Rahman and Franklin Moses."
Day of Action: Wed, Feb 10!
Attend Diop’s pre-trial rally/press conference. 8:00am
Attend Diop’s trial Courtroom 804 in the Philadelphia Criminal Justice Center. 9:00am
Join the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.