An African-American man, who went to prison for six years was awarded $13 million dollars in a settlement , which was agreed upon by the San Francisco board of supervisors .
According to NPR, Jamal Trulove, who is also an actor, was reportedly set up and served prison time for a 2007 murder he did not commit. His 2015 retrial proved his innocence, and he was acquitted for the crime.
In 2007, Trulove sued the SFPD, after he was arrested and sent to prison for the murder of his friend Seu Kuka.
A jury would later determine that San Francisco police officers Maureen D’Amico and Michael Johnson lied and falsified evidence in the case, and even coerced a witness to lie and claim that Trulove was the shooter.
If the case was not overturned, Trulove could of spent the rest of his life behind bar.
Today, I am going to share a poem I wrote and published about my late father, the poem is titled: “A conversation with my Father”.
“Kum Apem A. Apem Beba”
That is the exact Asante proverb, I said while speaking to my papa
translated from our Asante Twi, those words mean “Kill a thousand and a thousand more will come.”
Those are the exact words that our ancestors spoke when they went to war with the British Empire and won in 1823
So what that means to me is when I was a child and witnessed you get shot, while closing our family’s shop
That was in one of Detroit’s roughest spots
Yet you still went to work the next day
The only thing left for me to say, was that Asante warrior blood, is not just something that was passed down in our family DNA
But a code you actually live by day to day
As my father started to beam and smile at his proud son
I asked him to stay sitting with me, I will be finished in a little while
He said: o.k. Nana
Which is a word given to kings, Queens and Elders
But he calls me Nana, because I am named after my mama’s papa
I said “ you know what papa?”
Mama reminds me of the Asante Warrior Queen mother Yaa Asantewaa, who led the Asante Kingdom In a War Against British colonialism
I mean they both are strong beautiful queens who would go to war to protect their family
My father looked at me and smiled, giggled and kissed me on the cheek and said: Yes son I agree.
So why in the hell papa do you verbally demean and sometimes physically abuse mama, if she is supposed to be your queen?
My father knew there was nothing he could say to justify his sometimes explosive acts of violence
So, he said nothing and just looked at me very sad and silent!
As a kid like a lot of kids who grew up with an alpha-male and charismatic father in the house, I worshipped my father. To me he was a black Superman, an African Hercules, I seriously believed there was no one or nothing on earth he could not defeat if he had to.
I remember being next to him when he got shot in his head closing our family’s store in an extremely dangerous area of Detroit. A city he came to as an immigrant from Ghana, West Africa, to look for a better life for his family.
His idea of the American Dream was to open several liquor stores, all over Detroit and beyond, that we locally call “Party Stores”, that my father intended for my brother and I to inherit.
At one of those stores, I remember my mom walking in one day, it was after school, so my brother and I were in the store stocking shelves, when my mother walked in after her work, looking beat up and bruised like she just went 9 rounds with Mike Tyson.
She claimed she had gotten robbed, I believed her immediately, I had no reason not to.
At that time as an adolescent, I had seen another one of our family stores get burnt down to the ground, I had seen my father get shot and our family’s home get shot up after being mistaken for our drug dealing neighbor’s home. And at this time, Detroit was one of the most dangerous cities in America, if not the murder capital.
It would be years before I discovered my mother was not robbed and that she was beaten by my father after a hostile argument about his many affairs and financial issues. I would find out even though my father was far more verbally abusive than physically, there would be a few times in my teen years I would have to pull him off my mom. A few times I almost came to bloody blows with the man whose blood coursed through my veins; if it was not for my mother’s interventions, there is a good chance that one of us would of killed the other one.
I would go on to hate my father for years until I discovered that he was suffering for years with depression and suicidal thoughts, dementia and he was also dealing with various other mental health issues.
The hate I had for him would soon turn into a deep sadness and for the rest of his life, until his death last year we shared an improved relationship.
Fast forward two decades, I get a call from a “loved one”, late in the night. Despite the fact he works in law enforcement, he calls me for advice. He tells me his wife just snapped and battered him and their daughter.
I tell him to call the cops. Even though he knows he should, it takes me a while to convince him, he does not want to breakup his family and he does not want it to cost his wife her job.
Finally after his 5 year old daughter also tells him to please call the cops on his wife and her mom; who had this point had stormed out of the house, he eventually calls the cops.
After she finally was arrested a couple dayd, it would be discovered that she had stopped taking her anti-depressants medications, which made her go crazier than a cat on catnip.
Since them his wife has been taking better care of her mental health and they are now a relatively stable family.
You should learn that domestic violence is a lot more complicated than we’ve been led to believe.
Like the old saying goes: Love the sinner, hate the sin.”
Yes, people who commit domestic violence must be punished, but within that punishment, they must also be given the proper psychological treatment.
Too much do we as a society look to label people for life as evil and bad, without looking to see what they are going through to make them act that way.
We have to keep in mind that hurt people hurt people.
By: Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare
A small protest on front of the Valencia street police station in the Mission District of San Francisco.
The people peaceful gathered to demand justice for Amilcar Perez Lopez, who was an 21 year-old immigrant from Guatemala.
There is a war going on today, and it’s not in some far off land, rather it’s being fought here in the United States.
Not for oil or gold, but for justice, freedom and liberty.
This war has been fought since the creation of this nation.
This war and its many forms has been fought through protests, like the Boston Tea Party, the Abolitionist Movement, Women’s Suffrage Movement, the L.G.B.T.Q Movement, to the movements being fought today.
Today, I will explain how this war for justice, freedom and liberty is being fought today, between protesters and the rich and powerful.
I was deeply troubled when I heard of Republicans in Republican-controlled states, writing new laws to punish peaceful protests.
This is socially relevant, because in a time when we have a White House full of white supremacists, this is a dangerous time to have our 1st Amendment rights violated.
Today, I will tell you how peaceful protesters in states like New York, Minnesota and North Dakota are having their rights violated and freedom threatened by politicians trying to silence dissent.
In New York, a city that has a giant statue dedicated to liberty, protesters are having that very right violated by the men and women paid to protect it.
According to the New York Daily News ” protesters said the NYPD used undercover surveillance at the demonstrations over the chokehold death Eric Garner on Staten Island and shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.”
When Black Lives Matter protesters discovered this possible constitutional violation, they took the NYPD to court to discover what was collected and why.
A later New York Daily News article states ” the NYPD must disclose documents and video surveillance of Black Lives Matter protesters at Grand Central Terminal in 2014 and 2015, a judge ruled.
At this time the NYPD has not complied with the orders of the judge.
According to the same New York Daily News article ” the NYPD had argued that revealing its tactics would interfere with with law enforcement work.”
Now that you know about the illegal spy tactics being used against Black Lives Matter protesters by NYPD, let me inform you of the treatment of protesters in North Dakota.
If you were given two black and white photos, one of civil rights activists in Alabama in 1963 and the other Standing Rock Sioux activists in North Dakota in 2016.
It would be hard to tell they were taken 53 years apart. Both groups of people were attacked by armed men with trained attack dogs.
According to RT.com “Native Americans protesting the Dakota Access pipeline were reportedly attacked by security officers and their guard dogs.”
To my knowledge, not one person has been arrested for those harsh crimes.
Now that you know about North Dakota, let me tell you about Minnesota.
Republicans in Minnesota are advancing a Bill that will allow city governments to sue protesters.
The law if passed will profile African-Americans some people believe.
According to theGuardian.com ” Both critics and supporters of the Bill agree on one thing, it is a response to Black Lives Matter-inspired protests in the Twin-cities area over the last two years, particularly after an officer shot and killed Philando Castile in July” of 2016.
Minneapolis Branch President, of the NAACP called the Bill ” highly racialized “.
The Bill recently passed a Republican-controlled committee in the Minnesota House of Representatives.
In other Republican-controlled states…..
According to the Intercept.com ” Republicans in Washington state have proposed a plan to reclassify as a felony civil disobedience protests as economic terrorism.”
“Republicans in Michigan introduced and then last month shelved an anti-picketing law that would increase penalties against protesters and would make it easier for businesses to sue protesters.”
” And in Iowa a republican law maker has pledged to introduce legislation to crackdown on highway protests.”
Today I informed you on the current political war being fought between political activists and politicians.
I described how local police have spied on protesters, and how state governments have written new Bills to silence dissent.
One of the worst things any American can do is remain silent in the face of injustice.
Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback of the San francisco 49ers, in the home opener did something most professional athletes are too afraid to do these days and that’s stand up to systematic white supremacy, with as much bravado as they do to their opponents on the playing field.
Regardless if you agree with Kaepernick’s method of protest, by not standing and saluting during the national anthem, I don’t think any logical person, with knowledge of race relations in this country can deny that we have a huge issue when it comes to racism, so big that two years ago, the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination committee informed the United States that they needed to resolve their major issues with systematic racism, police brutality and economic disparities, which disproportionately affect the African-American community.
Yet, more fans are outraged by a man with black blood not standing for the national anthem than they are for unarmed black men being shoot and killed on tv by police, so outraged that some fans have decided to start burning Kaepernick’s Jersey to display their anger.
As a black man in America, I can only speak for myself and not the whole African-American community, but I salute you Kaepernick, for stand up against racism when most black athletes want to sit down, so that “White Daddy” does not take away their sports sponsorships.