Black History Month 2022

'jail' - 12 results

First Penitentiary Inmate Was Black



Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - The first penitentiary in the world opened in the United States. Its first inmate was a 'light-skinned Negro in excellent health.' The prison was called Eastern State Penitentiary. It closed in 1971.


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The Mann Act Went Into Effect



Washington, D. C. - The Mann Act, or White-Slave Traffic Act, became law. It was passed to stop boxing champion Jack Johnson, a Black American man, from travelling with the white woman, Lucille Cameron.

Whites tried to use Cameron to make a case against Johnson. She refused to help. Whites went to Belle Schreiber. She was a white woman Johnson knew before the Mann Act had passed (1909 and early 1910). In court, she said Johnson was with her. An all-white jury convicted Johnson of being with a white woman.

To escape jail, Johnson fled the country, for seven (7) years. When he came back, federal agents arrested him. Johnson was sent to the Federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas. He was behind bars from September 1920, until July 9, 1921.


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Groveland Four



Groveland, Florida - Norma and William Padgett, a white couple, falsely accused four (4) Black American youths of rape and kidnapping. They were Walter Irvin, Samuel Shepherd, Charles Greenlee, and Ernest Thomas.

William Padgett said his car had broken down, while with his 17 year-old wife, Norma. He said they had just left a dance. Padgett claimed the four (4) stopped and offered help. Instead, Padgett said they attacked him and kidnapped his wife.

There was a manhunt for the four (4). All were quickly arrested, except Thomas. The rest were taken to Lake County jail. In jail, the three (3) were tortured. Thomas was found a week later. All were charged with rape. Lake County Sheriff Willis McCall killed Thomas, before he was arrested.

As word spread, a mob of 100 whites demanded that McCall deliver the three (3) survivors to them. The mob was told the three (3) had been sent to state prison. In response, the mob attacked the small Black Americans community in Groveland. Black Americans were shot and their property was destroyed by the white mob.

At trial, medical exams found no proof of rape. Despite this, all three (3) were convicted of rape, by an all-white jury. Shepherd and Irvin were sentenced to death. Greenlee got life in prison.

The United States Supreme Court threw out the two (2) death sentences. Those cases were retried. As Shepherd and Irvin were headed back to trial, Sheriff McCall shot them both. Shepherd died. Irvin was injured. Sheriff McCall claimed self-defense. Greenlee never appealed his sentence, since it was not for death. He was 16 years of age.

A new all-white jury convicted Irvin. He was again sentenced to death. In 1955, it was reduced to life in prison. In 1962, Greenlee was paroled. In 1968, Irvin was paroled. He died a year later, of heart disease. Greenlee died in 2012, at 78 years of age.

Lake County Sheriff Willis McCall is pictured, on the far left.

Source:

Groveland Four


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SWAT Created



Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Special Weapons Assault Teams (SWAT) was created. It was formed as a reaction to the uprising of Black Americans, the previous month. This ultra-violent police squad became Special Response Teams (SRT).

SWAT used military tactics to attack and contain Black Americans. This included men, women, children, the elderly, and the disabled. It was most used during the War on Drugs, which began in 1981 and continued into the 2020s.

SWAT was used in routine drug raids on homes. These raids came with no warning to the people inside the house. Tear gas, flash bang grenades, and heavily armed, and armored employees were used in these raids.

SWAT raids became so common, the term 'SWATTING' came into use. SWATTING was a trick, though a very dangerous one. An anonymous caller told the police there were drugs in a target house (or some other type of unlawful activity). Without any evidence, the police sent SWAT to assault the home and the people inside.

Source:

The Story of SWAT

Origin of SWAT


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'War On Crime' Began



Washington, D. C. - Nixon's Attorney General, John Mitchell, gave a speech that announced the 'War on Crime.' This was the last piece in Nixon's plan to attack Black Americans in the United States. The first was the HMO, to limit access to health care. The second was the 'War on Drugs.'

The speech that started the 'War on Crime' was given at the Conference on Crime Reduction. It used Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) crime statistics. FBI crime counting often under-reported crime in white areas and over-reported it in Black American areas. This data was used to add funding for police and other punitive acts against Black Americans.

Source:

War on Crime


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President Reagan Declared 'War on Drugs'



Washington, D. C. - President Ronald Reagan declared the 'War on Drugs' at the Justice Department. This was the second time the United States government made drugs a policy focus. The first time was by President Richard Nixon, in 1971.

Reagan made his 'drugs' speech years before the crack cocaine hysteria of the 1980s. It came before the mass incarceration law that Reagan signed, in 1984. By the time crack cocaine appeared, all the pieces were in place to wage a legal, civil war against Black Americans. Over the next 20 years, prison rates of young, Black American men exploded.

Source:

Reagan's Drug War


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Mass Incarceration



United States - Whites began the process of putting Black Americans, mostly young men, in jail in massive waves of arrests. The pretense was that there was a crime problem and a drug problem. This combined with the supposed HIV/AIDS scare, which was targeted at Black American women.


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Mass Incarceration Began



Washington, D. C. - The Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 was signed into law. It took immediate effect. This was the first Federal law that began the era of Mass Incarceration. It targeted Black American men and boys, for jail and prison.

This act enabled the notorious mandatory minimum sentences. It eliminated Federal parole. Civil forfeiture powers were expanded.

The second act was the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986. It created the 100:1 sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine. Black Americans were charged with crack. Whites were charged with powder cocaine. Black Americans suffered 100 times longer time in jail and prison compared to whites, for the same act.

The third act was the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988. It restored the death penalty to Federal sentences, which focused on Black American men.

The final act of Federal law, was the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (1994). It expanded the Federal Death Penalty. Higher education for inmates was eliminated. The three-strikes provision was added to court sentences.


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Central Park Five (5)



New York, New York - White police workers and prosecutors falsely tried and convicted five (5) male teenagers of rape. Four (4) were Black Americans. One (1) was Latino. They were charged with the rape of a white woman, in Central Park. She survived.

Four of the youths served 6-7 years in jail. One was tried as an adult, at sixteen (16) years of age. He was in jail for thirteen (13) years.

In 2002, a man was found to be the rapist. The case against the youths was vacated (erased) by the New York courts. None of the white police, prosecutors, nor judge were punished for their actions against the teenagers.

The five sued the City of New York. In 2014, the courts gave them a $41 million total judgment. In 2016, The State of New York settled on a $3.9 million total.


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Joe Biden Promoted Crime Bill



Washington, D. C. - Future President, Joe Biden, made comments for what became the 1994 Crime Bill. This was the last new bill of the Mass Incarceration era.

Biden called Americans 'predators' and wanted them in jail. He called them criminals and single mothers and disadvantaged. He used all the racial code words of the Reagan and Nixon eras. Biden made it clear the police and sheriffs wanted this bill. Black Americans, the targets of the bill, were not asked about it, before it was written.

This Crime Bill sent hundreds of thousands of Black American men to jail, for non-violent drug crimes. It exploded jail and prison numbers. The cost, in public funds, was hundreds of billions of dollars.

Source:

Joe Biden Crime Bill


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1994 Crime Bill Signed Into Law



Washington, D. C. - President William Clinton signed into law the most expansive crime bill in United States history. It vastly increased funding for jails and prisons. Higher education for prisoners was stopped. The death penalty was now possible for more crimes.

The law had a 3-strikes section. Someone who was convicted 3 times of a crime, could face up to life behind bars. One of the crimes had to be a major violent felony. The other two crimes did not matter. Whether it was minor theft or a major felony, the third sentence in prison was severe.

The official name was the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. It is also called the Clinton Crime Bill or the Biden Crime Law.

The Violence Against Women Act was Title IV of this legislation. It was based on the Black American man rapist trope. It was created by whites, after slavery, as an excuse to lynch (murder) and castrate Black American men, without punishment. There was no provision for false rape accusations (Brian Banks story).

This law created the final form of mass incarceration that exists today.


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Bill Cosby Cleared of Crimes



Collegeville, Pennsylvania - Bill Cosby was freed from state prison in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled earlier that day, to end his prison term.

On April 26, 2018, Cosby was accused, tried, and convicted of aggravated indecent assault. All of the testimony was from white women. There was no physical evidence. No one backed any of their claims.

On September 25, 2018, Judge Steven O'Neill sent Cosby to jail for three (3) to ten (10) years. Cosby appealed the case and it was denied in the appeals court. It went to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, to be heard in 2021.

On June 30, 2021, the state Supreme Court made the decision that follows. 'As a practical matter, the moment that Cosby was charged criminally, he was harmed: all that he had forfeited earlier, and the consequences of that forfeiture in the civil case, were for naught,'

Cosby spent almost 3 years in prison on a false charge.


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