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As we watched the last two presidential terms fly by we reminisced on how we were so hype to see the first Black Man take the highest office of the United States of America. But something is troubling about the blatant disregard for issues that affect Black, Native people, Muslims and Immigrants. President Obama, being a former community organizer on the southside of Chicago with a beautiful black wife and daughters just seemed like the real CHANGE we all longed for. But increased killings of black youth by police during his watch and more cops were not charged although video evidence existed. What happened Obama? We can’t forget what you did to The Great Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi who was referred to as the hope of Africa. How could all this happen…we don’t know but we are sure there is a hidden hand.
Below are a few people we hoped Obama had granted clemency, pardoned, or commuted because we are sure this will never happen under Trump.
The iconic black nationalist and civil rights advocate died in 1940, but his son and several black activists have been in recent weeks urging Obama to issue a posthumous pardon for Garvey’s 1923 conviction for mail fraud, which they say was trumped up. “The point is the injustice has been allowed to sit for [almost] 100 years. It is a continuing injustice that needs to be corrected,” said his son Dr. Julius Garvey.
Jamal had his death sentence for murdering a Philadelphia police officer commuted to a life sentence. But his supporters have always argued about the circumstances around his conviction, including whether there was sufficient evidence to prove he shot the officer, whether all potential witnesses testified and the racial makeup of the jury.
Abu-Jamal became a cause célèbre when he was facing execution and has even written books from prison.
Obama, however, does not have the authority to commute state convictions, according to the Department of Justice. Abu-Jamal would have to be pardoned by the governor or some other state panel.
Shakur was convicted of killing a New Jersey State Trooper 43 years ago. Born Joanne Chesimard, she was a leader in the Black Liberation Army. Shakur was serving a life sentence when she escaped from a New Jersey prison 1979.
Activists such as Angela Davis have argued that Shakur was prosecuted “under highly questionable circumstances.” The National Lawyers Guild, which represented Shakur in her final trial said five members of the 15-person all-white jury had personal connections to state troopers.
“The judge cut funding for additional expert defense testimony after medical testimony demonstrated that Ms. Shakur—who had no gunpowder residues on her fingers, and whose fingerprints were not found on any weapon at the crime scene—was shot with her hands up and suffered injury to a critical nerve in her right arm, making it anatomically impossible for her to fire a weapon,” the National Lawyers Guild said in a statement on a now shuttered Change.org petition to pardon Shakur.
Peltier is a Native American activist who has spent more than 40 years behind bars for killing two FBI agents during a shootout on a South Dakota reservation. He has maintained his innocence. After two other members of the American Indian Movement were acquitted of the killings, Peltier’s supporters believes others were coerced into testifying that Peltier was the shooter. They also say that ballistics evidence that would have cleared Peltier was withheld. “The only thing I’m guilty of is struggling for my people. I didn’t kill those agents,” Peltier said in an Amnesty International video.
Undocumented Immigrants / Muslims
Donald Trump has threatened to deport millions of undocumented immigrants, build a wall on the Mexican border and possibly force Muslims to join a registry. According to experts, Obama could pardon undocumented immigrants for a variety of crimes such as overstaying a visa and crossing the border illegally. The pardon would not grant undocumented immigrants citizenship, only Congress can do that, but it could help put them on a path to citizenship.
Mr. Orta came to us at Nation19 Magazine to spread the word about his case…we did what we could on social media but Obama could have wiped it all away.
Here are the facts: Two years ago, Eric Garner died in Staten Island after officers wrestled him to the ground, pinned him down and applied a fatal chokehold. The man who filmed the police killing of Eric Garner, Ramsey Orta, is now heading to jail for four years on unrelated charges—making him the only person at the scene of Garner’s killing who will serve jail time. The Police were never charged for Mr. Garner’s death. Orta took a plea deal on weapons and drug charges. He says he has been repeatedly arrested and harassed by cops since he filmed the fatal police chokehold nearly two years ago.
Bonus: Edward Snowden
Experts believe Obama could issue a pre-emptive pardon for Snowden as some have urged him to do for his former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in case she is indicted for her e-mail scandal.
More than a million people signed a petition asking Obama to pardon the former NSA contractor who revealed a massive U.S. intelligence surveillance operation to spy on Americans without a warrant.
Swowden has been granted asylum in Russia and faces the death penalty if convicted of stealing government secrets. But in a letter to Obama seeking a pardon for Snowden, Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, Salil Shetty, secretary general of Amnesty International, and Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, all said Snowden was a “human rights hero” who had acted “to hold governments to account when power is abused” by turning the information over to journalists.
“As you well know, Snowden disclosed information to journalists revealing that the NSA had overstepped U.S. statutes, the Constitution, and international law by engaging in widespread, warrantless surveillance. In response, we’ve seen a global debate that has changed government policies and profoundly affected how people think about personal privacy,” the three leaders wrote.
Sike…just kidding. lol