News Release

“Occupy the Justice Department”


Actor Danny Glover, activists and authors Frances Fox Piven and Norman Finkelstein and rapper Talib Kweli are among those participating in “Occupy the Justice Department” protests today. The protests demand an end to “systemic police corruption and civil rights violations in Mumia Abu-Jamal’s case and in the cases of hundreds of others across the nation.” They also demand that the government “Release Abu-Jamal; End mass incarceration and the criminalization of Black and Latino Youth; Create jobs, education, and health care, not jails; End solitary confinement and stop torture; End the racist death penalty; Hands off immigrants; Free all political prisoners.”

NOELLE HANRAHAN, globalaudiopi at
Hanrahan is the director of Prison Radio. She edited Mumia Abu-Jamal’s book “All Things Censored” and for years has produced his recordings from death row and now from prison (Abu-Jamal was recently released from death row). She said today: “Prison Radio brings the voices of prisoners into the debate on crime and punishment. We have a new recording by Mumia and by other political prisoners. Mumia’s case and voice is emblematic, it represents much of what is wrong in our society. There are 7 million people under correctional control, 2 million actually in prison. About 1 in 46 people will do time in their lifetime. We spend more on prisons than we do on education. It does not lead to public safety, it leads to the public sector not being able to provide what it needs to for a healthy society. What you do to people in prison directly impacts us on the outside — you have HIV and TB spreading in prisons. And it’s devastating to particular communities: 1 in 3 black men will do prison time.”

JOHN CARLOS FREY, via Ben Wyskida, ben at
John Carlos Frey is a documentary filmmaker and investigative journalist at the Nation Institute. His exposé on the death of Anastasio Hernández-Rojas aired on Friday on “Need to Know.”

This morning on Democracy Now he said: “Anastasio Hernández-Rojas was caught trying to cross back into the United States. He was detained by Border Patrol agents, went through the detention process. And in the process of being deported, this is when the story really begins. The Border Patrol agents, via their own press release and documents, say that he was combative, Hernández-Rojas was combative. They removed his handcuffs — this is actually in the document — they removed his handcuffs and applied the use of a taser. He fell to the ground, suffered a heart attack and subsequently died. That is what is actually in the police report.

“But the new video and eyewitness testimony proves otherwise. He was handcuffed. He was hogtied. He was not combative. The taser was applied at least five times. He was kicked. He was beaten. He suffered five broken ribs, bruises and cuts all over his body, misaligned teeth. None of that is in the official report. … The Justice Department has not asked any of the eyewitnesses for this information. … So, from our knowledge, it looks like the Justice Department has done absolutely nothing in investigating this case.”

[Note: A previous version of this news release incorrectly identified Talib Kweli as being affiliated with the group Public Enemy.]