Thursday, February 23, 2012

Police brutality: Jeffrey Asher finally on trial-- and don't forget Michael Ververis!

Ellen, Holly and Dan dashed off to Chicopee District Court for the first day of former Springfield  police officer Jeffrey Asher's trial yesterday.  He's charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon against Melvin Jones.

Getting police accountability in Springfield is a battle many activists, including Arise and the NAACP, have been working on for years.  Last year Ward Four City Councilor E. Henry Twiggs held public hearings in an attempt to change the form of police oversight to a police commission or a civilian review board, only to be stymied by the terms of Police Commissioner Fitchett's contract.

Last year, Michael Ververis was beaten by the Springfield police but of course at the moment, all of the charges are against Michael.  this Monday, Arise members will gather at 8:45 am. at Springfield District Court for a short solidarity stand-out, and at 9 am., we'll watch the motions to dismiss that Michael's lawyer, Luke Ryan, has filed.  Turn up and support Michael!  Here's his website, Justice for Michael.

  Following  are some of Holly's observations and a link to Buffy Spencer's coverage for the Republican.

so, i was there for the tail end of the questioning of the woman who released the cell phone video tape...dan said she had been in sheer panic prior to testifying - though she did it.  i think it went ok.  then melvin jones came (after a court break).  the da's attorney went through all of her questions to him.  then for the defense....that lawyer (older white man, whose name i do not know)....was just like a gross lawyer would be trying to win his case.  went through every single solitary past crime (one by one, and unfortunately there were many) of melvin's. then focused a lot on melvin's attempting to run, and his "not remembering" things (because his head was bashed in) - and the lawyer kept on with, the questions like --- so, you don't remember kicking at the officer?"  so, you don't remember attempting to grab at the officer.."  etc....then there were a ton of objections and calling of the lawyers to the judges bench (which i don't know enough of the law to know what it was all about), and then lunch break- at which time dan and i had to leave.  melvin continued thereafter. 

it was, though, the truest display of the racist prison industrial complex so much in front of us - an all white jury (of melvin's 'peers'); all white lawyers- on both sides, from the DA's office to the defense; white judge; and then the all white press surrounding them all.  yikes is about all one can say...

dan and i are going to hold signs at 8:30 am tomorrow if anyone wants to join us.
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