UPDATE from Bro. Ervin March 29, 2013: New Assembly Point for Memphis Anti-Klan March
Due to the police security zone, we will assemble at 12 noon [on March 30] in Court Center Square (between Madison and Jefferson) in downtown Memphis. Spread the word. Email email@example.com if more information is needed.
Governments use different techniques to censor activists. Memphis, Tennessee plans its KKK rally on March 30, 2013. The NAACP and Sons of Confederate Veterans agreed they would respond by ignoring the Klan. The Memphis Black Autonomy Federation and Ida B. Wells Coalition Against Racism and Police Brutality have a different response: They plan an anti-Klan protest and invited all people of conscience to rally against the Klan in Memphis on March 30. Obviously, the expectation was that everyone would follow the lead of the NAACP and Sons of Confederate Veterans. A fugitive summons was issued for Lorenzo Ervin, who co-chairs Memphis Black Autonomy Network. Memphis is the city where Larry Neal, my mentally, physically disabled brother, and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. were murdered. Larry was secretly arrested (kidnapped) and murdered after 18 days of secret incarceration in 2003. Please see below a request for assistance from JoNina Ervin, chairperson of Memphis Black Autonomy Network, and help if you can. See also a March 3, 2013 press release after the initial article entitled "Black Autonomy Vice Chair Seeks To Overturn 2001 Conviction."
In an attempt to disrupt the anti-police brutality work in Memphis, Tenn., and the city's March 30 Anti-Klan protest, the Hamilton County Sheriff's department in Chattanooga, Tenn. (very likely working with other law enforcement agencies in Tennessee), has issued a fugitive summons for Lorenzo Ervin. Lorenzo is the vice chair of the Memphis Black Autonomy Federation, which has organized several protests against police brutality and put out the national call for the upcoming Anti-Klan protest in Memphis.
The summons stems from court costs the county claims that Lorenzo owes in connection with a 12-year-old misdemeanor conviction. Damon McGee, Mikail Musa Muhammad (Ralph P. Mitchell), and Lorenzo were convicted in January, 2001, for disrupting a Chattanooga (Tenn.) City Council meeting in 1998 where they went to protest against police brutality. At the time, Chattanooga had the highest number of people killed by police in U.S. cities with populations under 200.000..
Damon has also received a “fugitive” summons. Mikail died in 2006. There is no statute of limitations in the U.S. on the collection of court fees and fines, and Damon and Lorenzo could be arrested at any time.
The Chattanooga 3, as they were called, were convicted for violating Tennessee's “Disrupting Meetings Law,” which makes it illegal for anyone by “physical action or verbal utterance” to interfere with a lawful meeting. The law should be declared unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment rights of free speech and assembly.
At the May 19, 1998 city council meeting, the chairman of the council had agreed to allow Lorenzo to speak on behalf of the Coalition Against Police Brutality to present a proposal for community control of the police. More than 100 people packed the meeting to back the proposal. But when the time came, the city council president would not allow Lorenzo to speak. Police arrested him when he attempted to read the proposal from the speaker's podium. Damon and Mikail, who were at the podium with Lorenzo, were also arrested.
The Chattanooga 3 went on trial in a kangaroo courtroom. For one thing, the jury pool was tainted. One juror was a neighbor of the prosecutor. Worse, a married couple was on the same jury pool! The judge refused to allow defense attorneys to use the First Amendment in arguing their cases.
The conspiracy against the Chattanooga 3 became crystal clear after sheriff's deputies allowed a black man to bring a gun into the courtroom. The man, who said he was a supporter of Osama Bin Laden, claimed that Lorenzo told him to bring the gun to the courtroom. The defendants had to remove some of the jurors prior to jury deliberations because of this prejudicial orchestrated event.
The Chattanooga 3 had support from activists around the world, who sent hundreds of emails to the Hamilton County district attorney. This international support and the fact that two days prior to sentencing, supporters held a big rally in Chattanooga that was widely publicized in the ruling class media, forced the judge to give the three activists suspended sentences.
The Chattanooga 3 case was Lorenzo's second conviction for violating the disruption meetings law. In 1994, he and another activist were convicted for protesting against police brutality across the street from a memorial service for police held in Chattanooga in 1993. In this case, the Tennessee Supreme Court refused to hear Lorenzo's appeal.
What You Can Do To Help:
1. Contact Criminal Court Judge Rebecca Stern, who presided over the Chattanooga 3 trial. Email , call or fax her and demand that she withdraw the “fugitive” summonses issued for Lorenzo Ervin and Damon McGee. Send email using the URL below.
Call Stern at (423)209-7500 or send a fax to her at (423)209-7501.
2. Protest to Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond, who enforces summonses at the direction of the courts.
Call the sheriff at ( (423)209-7000, or send a fax to (423)209-7001.
3. Write a letter to the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct (see link below), complaining about Judge Rebecca Stern's 12-year harassment of Lorenzo Ervin and Damon McGee in the Chattanooga 3 case.
Peace and love,
Memphis Black Autonomy Federation
P.O. Box 16382
Memphis, Tennessee 38186-0382
Since slavery was "abolished" in the United States, the very criminal justice system has been used to keep Africans in America in our "place." Persons like Lorenzo Ervin who actively resist oppression are ordinarily subdued by misuse of that system. See Part 4 of a Press TV documentary embedded below that illustrates how mass incarceration is used to subdue millions of Africans in America and relegate the race to a permanent underclass: "FAÇADE of the American Dream," http://youtu.be/uSiLTmmFS7Q
Thank you for your attention, prayers, and practical support for Lorenzo Ervin. The struggle continues.
A biography for Lorenzo Ervin, former Black Panther Party member and internationally known freedom fighter is available in BuggStories blog
Additional articles in the Memphis Klan rally series (a growing list):
Memphis Hosts KKK Rally March 30
Memphis Anti-Klan Protest March 30
Retribution Against Memphis Black Autonomy Network's Co-Chair, Lorenzo Ervin (this article)
Black Genocide - Maafa21
Website: Wrongful death of Larry Neal.com
(Memphis, Tenn.) - Charging that Tennessee's “disrupting meetings” law violates the First Amendment rights of free speech and assembly, a veteran black anti-police brutality activist has asked the federal court in Memphis to overturn his 2001 misdemeanor conviction for breaking the law.
Lorenzo Ervin, vice chair of the Memphis Black Autonomy Federation, seeks a hearing in the U.S. District Court of Western Tennessee to challenge the law, which he says is “blatantly unconstitutional.”
Ervin, Damon McGee, and the late Mikail Musa Muhammad (Ralph P. Mitchell) were convicted in January, 2001, for disrupting a 1998 meeting of the Chattanooga City Council where they had gone to protest against police brutality. Last month, fugitive warrants were issued for Ervin and McGee for failure to pay the court fees and fines related to their trial 12 years ago.
There is no statute of limitations in the United States on the collection of court fees and fines, Ervin said, and he and McGee could be arrested at any time. The fugitive warrants have, in effect, reopened the case, allowing Ervin to request a hearing in federal court. His previous appeals in state court failed.
Ervin said he's been branded a fugitive to sabotage his current work as the coordinator of Black Autonomy Copwatch in Memphis, where he is organizing a March 15 protest and a March 16 conference against police brutality and an anti-Klan protest on March 30.