Saturday, March 14, 2015

Ferguson is America, and Cobb is Ferguson!

One month ago I had a life changing experience when eight Cobb County Police cars swarmed over my driveway and lawn at 2 am in the morning to wrestle my 24 yr. old, diminutive , light skinned/black, daughter to the ground, and arrest her for an alleged brake light out, while my family and I watched in horror (and had to be restrained and held back by police from intervening). I have taken a month to calm down, while some friends attempted mediation with the police—however they have justified their “sweating the small stuff” tactics and policy that it is better to stop and arrest 20 non-criminals in order to catch the one real criminal (sic). So I am far from calm!

And yes, even though I fancied myself to be on the “front lines” of community activism, and had been going through what I thought were life changing experiences vicariously through Ferguson, NY, Ohio, etc. , along with the rest of the “conscious” nation and world—the wanton brutality, militarism, criminalization, and terror of blue on black crime, and blue attack on everyone, had to be brought to my own doorstep, literally, to finally awaken me from my relative bubble of white privilege; I was rudely and necessarily awakened to the reality that we are in a state of war—primarily an attack on communities and peoples of color and the poor, perpetrated by our entire plantation, plutocratic, authoritarian system of which the police (and military) are mere instruments, however unwitting, but still extremely dangerous and destructive.

I have therefore come to the personal realization that this is the evil of “militarism” referred to in the “triple evils” of Dr. King (Militarism, Racism and Poverty), which are all interrelated and together are destroying the very fabric of our society.  And that I must devote my energies to fighting this war (and it is a war—a war of terror and a so-called war on drugs, war on crime, which is code for war on people of color and the poor) , beginning here in Cobb and of course supporting others’ efforts across the metro and the nation. 

To that end I will be relinquishing my leadership role in the Cobb Immigrant Alliance (CIA) to Carlos Garcia, who will lead that organization which has been successful in helping to stop or slow the war on immigrants in Cobb—a success I don’t want to jeopardize by my new found militancy; a militancy which may necessitate direct confrontation with Cobb Police, to whom I have already issued an ultimatum calling for a negotiated “cease fire” (which means an immediate cessation of their practices of profiling, stopping, arresting and incarcerating all folk, but especially those of color, for minor crimes).   

I have already joined the largely youth led national “Black Lives Matter” and local “Shut it Down ATL” movements, and will bring them to Cobb when appropriate and necessary to “shut it down”.

Even though I had the local arrest statistics for years, it had to come to my doorstep, along with the recent release of the Ferguson DOJ report, to bring the rude awakening that the findings in the Ferguson report and the findings of our research into Cobb arrest statistics are eerily similar—and I would strongly suggest it is the same case in municipalities across the country—so the President is wrong and in an ivory tower when he says it is not endemic—Ferguson is America, and Cobb is Ferguson!

(Again, thank you for your past support and encouragement, and if you would like to keep abreast of and/or participate in these developments feel free to let me know.)


Rich Pellegrino

In Augusta

—> Sheriff's deputies above the law? Augusta, Ga. 3/4/2015 (WJTV) - In response to recent pictures showing Richmond County deputies parked in handicap spaces, the Sheriff's Office sent out a memo to deputies.

—> Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The drivers who were ticketed on River Watch Parkway after a speed limit sign error could likely see their tickets disappear.

Solicitor General Kellie Kenner McIntyre sent an email saying they "anticipate that those that were issued because of the error will be dismissed."

—> Police retirement fund, county programs benefit from traffic ticket fines

Jun 12, 2013 ... “The fund is not an incentive to write traffic tickets, by any stretch,” Executive ... After victim restitution is paid, Richmond County criminal fines, ...

—> Richmond County deputy kills man in traffic stop | The Augusta ...

Feb 10, 2011 ... Sheriff Ronnie Strength said Deputy Bill Walker had stopped a car driven by David Anthony Dawkins, 24, about 6:30 a.m. in the parking lot of ...

—> Georgia Legislature passes private probation bill | The Augusta ...
Mar 20, 2014 ... Richmond Co. ..... County run probation programs charge a probation supervision fee. ... There's no way that a speeding ticket should be a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail (plus $1000 + fees, plus traffic school, ...

—> Augusta woman sues Sentinel Offender Services | The Augusta ...
Oct 17, 2012 ... I know because of an unfortunate speeding ticket many years ago.

—> DUI arrest prompts dismissal of deputy | Columbia County News ...

Jun 8, 2012 ... Smith, a former Richmond County sheriff's deputy, has worked in .... then ticket someone for a generalized charge of "speeding in excess of the ...

More From DOJ Report on Ferguson


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