19 November, We Remember: Chuy Huerta and Joe Hill, Presente!

Two years ago today, Durham lost Jesus “Chuy” Huerta, who died in the back of a police cruiser in the parking lot of the Durham Police Department Headquarters, after being detained by patrolman Samuel Duncan for an old trespassing warrant. To this day, DPD chief Jose Lopez has not publicly acknowledged that his department is responsible for Chuy’s death. One of Lopez’s last acts, before his ‘retirement’ Dec. 31, should be to be accountable to Chuy’s family, his friends, classmates, and the entire Durham community, and admit his own fault, as well as Duncan’s and the entire department’s. And perhaps our charge as residents should be to make the swath of grass and gardens at Trinity and Washington streets a memorial to Chuy, to a life cut short by police, and as a reminder to never forget.

 

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Reaching a little farther back in history, we also take a moment today to pay tribute to the legacy of Joe Hill, as it marks 100 years since the state of Utah killed him by firing squad. The great bard and songwriter of the Industrial Workers of the World was in that state organizing miners when the authorities framed him on a murder charge. While these two deaths may seem to have little in common but a date, they both produced collective outpourings of grief and rage. Whereas a century ago, the state was in the business of framing and putting to death radical immigrants who organized to overturn the status quo, these days, although repression of radical activists is alive and well, the state–in the form of the police–more often sows fear by cutting down young Black and Brown people before they can even grow to full bloom. When Joe Hill told the firing squad “Fire” (his last word), he knew full well he was dying a martyr. Oscar Grant, Jonathan Ferrell, Chuy Huerta, Michael Brown, and so many others had no such knowledge when they inexplicably lost their lives at the hands of police. Thus, we may want to update Joe Hill’s famous directive to Take time to mourn–and ORGANIZE.

joe-hill-a-pamphletAnd despite Joe saying no one ever reads a pamphlet more than once, we also offer again this pamphlet, written at the time of the protests surrounding Chuy’s death in 2013.

 

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‘If the jail were demolished would it be missed?’

June 19

Hello,

This letter that u sent on June 1 and received by DCJ June 4 delivered to me June 19. Crazy huh.

How are you? I’m fine under the circumstances. I’ve read and understand all of the documents sent and am moved with compassion knowing that we are not forgotten. Continue reading

Lies and more lies

We got the letters from the sheriff slid under our doors around 2 AM the night of the protest (April 17). This letter, just like their statement on the news, is full of lies.

He says that it is not punishment but implemented for safety issues. If that were the case–why were all of the blocks placed on lockdown instead of the offending parties?

He states that it has to do with assaults on officers–even you said that on the news they said it was because an inmate overpowered an officer–this is not true. Even when one of us so much as kicks his door or refuses to go to his/her room, they “call code,” which means they speak a code over the radios, and any free officer in the building rushes to that block in case they need to get “physical.” I’ve witnessed officers break up fights between inmates and beat them in their faces with their fists just cause they were mad or just cause they could. No inmate(s) would jump on an officer cause we know that we might not survive it. Continue reading

Ripping Our Black Families Apart

Well, I am currently incarcerated for drug charges and weapon charges. Yo, I am writing this letter to let you guys know how I feel. First, I would like to say that this ‘stop the police violence’ protest is very well needed. I myself have been assaulted by the so-called law enforcers. I mean, this is just scratching the surface.

First, let’s talk about this unjust court of law. We are guilty until proven innocent. You are in front of a judge and the DA. One is there to make you look like a monster, the other is there to judge you. How can one talk about you and judge you when they are just as dirty? They hide what they do behind closed doors.

Second thing is corrupt police. To me, they are the biggest gang in the world. Let me take you back to 2004: the murder of Antonyo Rochell (Smurf) who was gunned down by a police officer. He was suspended with pay. WTF kind of punishment is that for taking a young black life in Durham, NC? Let’s fast forward to 2013 when a hispanic man was murdered in the back of a police car in Durham. Let’s talk about multiple reports on Durham police assaulting, harassing, and beating our young black males or our black males period. Also, putting fake and stacking additional charges on our people. And this is not just us blacks but our hispanics as well.

What do we do as a people? How do we protect ourselves from the police? Who protects us from the police – ‘the law’? Last time I checked they uphold the law. It’s already crazy in those streets. You have gangbang shootings every night, in turf wars. I mean, I am confused. I feel safer and take my chances with the gangbangers than the police. And that’s only the half.

The way I see, we are all out for our self. We as a people, the government, has and have ripped my family and our black families apart and continue ripping our family apart—by letting the police get away with murder, by giving us long lengths of time in prison, and jail cells leave a black woman and baby to raise a black man by herself. I am just saying, we need to fix this. It’s been real.

Sincerely,
C.B.

‘The Government oversteps its bounds with anyone that isn’t rich or one of them’

—,

It’s been a while since I’ve written but I have charges in other counties and have been back and forth between them in the last month.

I did, however, get to see the “lay-down” demonstration in front of the jail. I must say that I am impressed. I really didn’t think that people would go to those extremes without negating their cause. Let me explain: Too many times people will have a demonstration against racism against Blacks only to end up damaging and looting black-owned businesses.  Continue reading

‘We might as well be sleeping outside’

12-12-14

Dear I.O.A.

What’s up, glad you finally received my letter sooner than later. It always brighten my day up when I receive a letter from you right along with the monthly feedbacks. I just wanted to say I did receive more books to read, which was wonderful.  Continue reading

‘No one seems to hear the ongoing issues’

Hope this letter finds you in best of health and spirits. As for myself I’m still on the ‘hold them till they plea/will we make money/hold him till we find a reason. I’ve now been here 1 year and have wrote or heard from your organization (several times). I have another attorney said he could not represent me in no upper class felonies and they gave me another attorney. She already have taken the district attorney side by having my motions dismissed because of how she feel not what’s in my best interest, only her ego. I’m sitting here without any help to know my best welfare or how my life stands because of the corruption of lackeys used by Durham Police and court system. Continue reading

‘The real injustice is in law enforcement and the court system’

Unfortunately, I am old enough and have started my “criminal career” early enough to have done time in ’98 and got to see what happens when people stand together. From what I’ve seen…people don’t do that anymore. The government has found ways to steal America’s backbone. Continue reading

‘The police are committing criminal acts…’

—-,

I’m currently incarcerated in Durham County Jail, and was given this address by another inmate who has been here some years. Unfortunately I am not in a great situation financially and am starving for books to read! I read almost anything, but my favorites are: sci-fi/fantasy–Neil Gaiman, R.A. Salvatore; Christian–Ted Dekker, Matt Bronliewe; Mystery/Thriller–Harlan Coben, James Patterson; Nonfiction/Conspiracy–Texe Marrs, Mark Dice. If you could provide anything along these lines I would greatly appreciate it. Continue reading