Category Archives: Black history

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

Irene Morgan

On June 3, 1946 the US Supreme Court had found 6 - 1 in favor of Irene Morgan in Morgan v. Commonwealth of Virginia. The decision stated that segregated seating on interstate buses an "impermissible burden on interstate commerce."

Southern carriers managed to dodge the Morgan decision, however, by passing segregation rules of their own, and those rules remained outside the purview of state and federal courts because they pertained to private businesses.

Women’s Political Council

Jo Ann Robinson

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

The Women’s Political Council (WPC) of Montgomery, Alabama, was established in 1946 by Mary Fair Burks to inspire African Americans to ‘‘live above mediocrity, to elevate their thinking … and in general to improve their status as a group’ and in 1950, Jo Ann Robinson became WPC president.

As president, she began to study the issue of bus segregation, which affected the many blacks who were the majority of riders on the city system. First, members appeared before the City Commission to report abuses on the buses, such as blacks who were first on the bus being required later to give up seats for whites as buses became crowded. The commission had acted surprised, but did nothing.

In 1953  Robinson and other local black leaders met with Montomery's three commissioners and complained that the city did not hire any black bus drivers, that segregation of seating was unjust, and that bus stops in black neighborhoods were farther apart than in white ones, although blacks were the majority of the riders. 

The commissioners refused to change anything, but Robinson and other WPC members met with bus company officials on their own. The segregation issue was deflected, as bus company officials said that segregation was city and state law, but the WPC achieved a small victory, as the bus company officials agreed to have the buses stop at every corner in black neighborhoods, as was the practice in white neighborhoods. (Robinson bio)

Baton Rouge

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

On June 19, 1953,  Reverend T. J. Jemison of  Baton Rouge, La., led a boycott of the city's  bus system's segregated seating policy. They stop riding for eight days, staging what is believed to be the civil rights first bus boycott. Earlier in March,  the City Council had passed Ordinance 222, which permitted blacks to be seated on a first-come-first-served basis, but the drivers, all white, refused to comply.

On June 25, 1953, to end the boycott, the city and blacks agreed to a compromise: the two side front seats of buses were to be reserved for whites and the long rear seat was for African Americans. The remaining seats were to be occupied on a first-come-first-served basis.

Sarah Keys

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

In 1952, Women's Army Corps Sarah Keys, in uniform, was returning home from Fort Dix, NJ and refused to give up her seat. Her father, a veteran himself, encouraged her to challenge the policy.

On September 1, 1953, in Sarah Keys v. Carolina Coach Company,  Sarah Keys became the first African American to challenge "separate but equal" in bus segregation before the Interstate Commerce Commission. The initial reviewing commissioner declined to hear her case, but  on November 7  the Interstate Commerce Commission in Keys vs. Carolina Coach Company case that racial segregation on interstate buses a violation of the Interstate Commerce Act.

Rev Martin Luther King, Jr

January 24, 1954 King delivered a trial sermon at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. On April 14,  he will accept the call to Dexter's pastorate, and on May 2 he delivered first sermon as Dexter's minister. On October 31, he officially becames pastor of Dexter.

Claudette Colvin

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

On March 2, 1955,  nine months before the Rosa Parks arrest, 15-year-old Claudette Colvin boarded a Montgomery city bus after school to head home. As it filled up, a white woman was left standing, and the bus driver ordered the 15-year-old Colvin to get up and move to the back. She refused, police were called. They dragged Colvin off the bus in handcuffs.  

On March 18, 1955, she was convicted of refusing to move to the back of the city bus and having assaulted the policeman who removed her from the vehicle. (see Claudette Colvin for full story) (NYT article)

Aurelia Browder

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

On April 19, 1955 police arrested Aurelia Browder (36 years old)  for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white rider in Montgomery, AL.

Mary Louise Smith

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

On October 21, 1955, police arrested Mary Louise Smith (age 18) for the same reason. 

Smith, along with Aurelia Browder, Susie McDonald and Claudette Colvin) will be part of the Browder v. Gayle lawsuit.
Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

Rosa Parks

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

December 1, 1955: police arrested Rosa Parks after she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a crowded Montgomery city bus. The night of Parks’ arrest, Jo Ann Robinson called the other Women’s Political Council leaders and they agreed that this was the right time for a bus boycott. Robinson stayed up all night copying 35,000 handbills by a mimeograph machine at Alabama State College to distribute the next day. She called students and arranged to meet them at elementary and high schools in the morning. The boycott will last 381-days.
Friday 2 December 2

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

Jo Ann Robinson drove to the various Montgomery schools to drop off the handbills to the students and ask students to take them home for their parents. The handbills asked blacks to boycott the buses the following Monday, December 5, in support of Parks. By Friday night, word of a boycott had spread all over the city. That same night, local ministers and civil rights leaders held a meeting and announced the boycott for Monday. With some ministers hesitant to engage their congregations in a boycott, about half left the meeting in frustration. They decided to hold a mass meeting Monday night to decide if the boycott should continue.
Monday 5 December 1955
Rosa Parks was convicted and fined for refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a city bus. The Montgomery Bus Boycott, organized by Martin Luther King Jr., began on this day. Most of the 50,000 African Americans living in Montgomery supported the boycott by walking, bicycling and car-pooling. The one-day boycott was so successful that the organizers met on Monday night and decided to continue. 

They created the  Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA), It was under the leadership of Ralph Abernathy, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Edgar Nixon. Jo Ann Robinson served on the group’s executive board and edited their newsletter.
Thursday 8 December 1955
Black taxi drivers charged ten cents per ride, a fare equal to the cost to ride the bus, in support of the boycott. When word of this reached city officials on December 8, the order went out to fine any cab driver who charged a rider less than 45 cents. 
December 17, 1955
Rev Martin Luther King, Jr and other MIA representatives met with white leaders in an unsuccessful attempt to resolve the bus dispute. The boycott, initially launched as a one-day statement of protest, had been going on for nearly two weeks at this point.
December 30, 1955
Montgomery Mayor W. A. Gayle urged Montgomery citizens to patronize city buses or risk losing the bus company's business 

January 1956

January 3, 1956: Montgomery City Lines suggested to the city commission that unless fares were doubled, it would have to shut down because it was losing as much as twenty-two cents a mile. The fare increase was approved the following day.                     

January 12, 1956: in response to the Montgomery's rejection of its most recent offer to end the boycott, the MIA executive board decidedto boycott the buses indefinitely.

January 24, 1956: Montgomery Mayor Gayle urged whites to stop offering rides to blacks who work for them.

January 26, 1956: two motorcycle policemen stopped Martin Luther King  for traveling 30 mph in a 25 mph zone. He was arrested, fingerprinted, photographed, and jailed. 

Ralph Abernathy arrived to bail him out; as a crowd gathered at the jail, prison officials escorted King out of the jail and drove him back to town. According to King, on this day and the previous two more than one hundred traffic citations were issued to car pool drivers. Later that evening, a group of King's friends decided to organize protection for him. Seven Montgomery Improvement Association mass meetings were held to accommodate black residents interested in hearing the story of King's arrest. King begins to get threatening phone calls.

January 30, 1956,: speaking at an afternoon meeting held after his arrest on speeding charges and following reports of MIA dissension had appeared in the press, King insisted that MIA leaders should continue the bus boycott. He told the Executive Board members of the Montgomery Improvement Association, "If we went tonight and asked the people to get back on the bus, we would be ostracized....My intimidations are a small price to pay if victory can be won,"

At 9:15 p.m., while King spoke at a mass meeting, his home was bombed. His wife and daughter were not injured. Later King addressed an angry crowd that gathered outside the house, pleading for nonviolence.

February 1956

Browder v. Gayle begun
February 1, 1956: on behalf of five African American women [Aurelia S. Browder, Claudette Colvin, Mary Louise Smith, Susie McDonald, and Jeanette Reese] who had been mistreated on city buses, Fred D. Gray and Charles D. Langford filed a Federal District Court petition that becomes Browder v. Gayle. The Gayle named was the Mayor. The suit challenged the legality of separate seating on Montgomery’s municipal buses. 
Jeanetta Reese
February 2, 1956: Jeanetta Reese withdrew from the suit filed by Gray and Langford, explaining that she and her husband had been threatened with economic retaliation and violence.
White reaction
February 10, 1956: eleven thousand people attending a Citizens' Council rally in Montgomery cheered Mayor Gayle and Police Commissioner Sellers for their support of segregation on Montgomery buses. 

February 13, 1956: Judge Eugene Carter directed the Montgomery county grand jury to determine whether the boycott of Montgomery buses violated Alabama's anti-boycott law. 

February 18, 1956: Fred D. Gray was charged by the Montgomery Grand Jury with "unlawful appearance as an attorney" for representing Jeanetta Reese after she had withdrawn from the suit. 

February 21, 1956: a Montgomery grand jury indicted 89 leaders of the boycott, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rev. Ralph Abernathy, for violating a 1921 state statute forbidding boycotts without "just cause."

Grand jurors repudiated anti-segregation efforts in the grand jury report that accompanied the indictment. "In this state we are committed to segregation by custom and law; we intend to maintain it," the grand jury wrote. "The settlement of differences over school attendance, public transportation and other facilities must be made within those laws which reflect our way of life."

As the indicted boycott leaders surrendered themselves into custody at the police station, hundreds of African American supporters gathered outside in a show of support for their efforts to challenge racial discrimination and fight segregation in Alabama.

Of those indicted, only Dr. King was prosecuted. Despite defense evidence showing that the boycott was peaceful and that discriminatory bus service inflicted harm on the African American community, Dr. King was quickly convicted, fined $1000, and given a suspended jail sentence of one year at hard labor.

The indictment and Dr. King's conviction strengthened local African Americans' resolve to fight segregation and attracted national attention to the growing civil rights movement.

108 days after boycott began…

March 22, 1956: King was found guilty of violating the boycott statute in Montgomery, Ala. and fined $500. When he decided to appeal, the judge added 386 days of imprisonment. 

Browder v. Gayle continues

March 27, 1956: the Alabama Attorney General filed a motion urging dismissal of the Browder v. Gayle federal suit.

June 5, 1956: a three-judge panel of the US District Court for the Middle District of Alabama ruled 2-1 in Browder v Gayle that bus segregation was unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment protections for equal treatment. The court further enjoined the state of Alabama and city of Montgomery from continuing to operate segregated buses.

Supreme Court’s final non-decision

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott
Alabama Journal November 13, 1956
November 13, 1956: the US Supreme Court declined the appeal of a US District Court ruling in Browder v. Gayle that had declared unconstitutional Alabama's state and local laws requiring segregation on buses, thereby ending the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The Court affirmed the ruling by the three-judge Federal court that had held the challenged statutes "violated the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States."

December 19, 1956: federal marshals handed Montgomery Mayor Gayle official written notice that  the Montgomery buses be desegregated.

Aftermath

Snipers
December 28, 1956: the black community returned to the Montgomery buses but faced the threat of violence from some whites who resented the boycott and its results.

In a terrifying development, snipers began to target the buses soon after integrated riding commenced. On the evening of December 28, 1956, shots were fired into a desegregated bus traveling through an African American neighborhood. Rosa Jordan, a 22-year-old black woman who was eight months pregnant, was shot in both legs while sitting in the rear of the bus. She was transported to Oak Street General Hospital, but doctors were hesitant to remove a bullet lodged in her leg, fearing it could cause Jordan to give birth prematurely. She was told she would have to remain in the hospital for the duration of her pregnancy. After the bus driver and passengers were questioned at police headquarters, the bus resumed service. Less than an hour later, in approximately the same neighborhood, the bus was again targeted by snipers but no one was hit.

These shootings followed two earlier sniper attacks on Montgomery buses that occurred the week before but targeted buses carrying no passengers and resulted in no injuries. On the night of Jordan’s shooting, Montgomery Police Commissioner Clyde Sellers ordered all buses to end service for the night. The following day, three city commissioners met with a bus company official and decided to suspend all night bus service after 5:00 p.m. until after the New Year’s holiday. The curfew policy did not end until January 22, 1957.
Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Southern Christian Leadership Conference

January 10, 1957: following the Montgomery Bus Boycott victory and consultations with Bayard Rustin, Ella Baker, and others, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. invited about 60 black ministers and leaders to Ebenezer Church in Atlanta. Their goal was to form an organization to coordinate and support nonviolent direct action as a method of desegregating bus systems across the South. In addition to Rustin and Baker, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth of Birmingham, Rev Joseph Lowery of Mobile, Rev Ralph Abernathy of Montgomery, Rev C.K. Steele of Tallahassee, all played key roles in this meeting. 
Bombings
That same day, four black churches and two pastors' homes were bombed. All four black churches bombed - Bell Street Baptist Church, Hutchinson Street Baptist Church, First Street Baptist Church, and Mt. Olive Church - had supported the bus boycott and the targeted pastors were civil rights leaders: Reverend Ralph D. Abernathy of First Street Baptist Church who was a prominent boycott leader and proponent of desegregation and Reverend Robert Graetz, white minister of the predominantly black Trinity Lutheran Church, had actively supported the bus boycott.

January 12, 1957: Reverend Abernathy announced plans for Sunday service, telling a reporter that "despite the wreckage and broken windows we will gather as usual at our church" and offer special prayers for "those who would desecrate the house of God."

January 13, 1957: congregations held Sunday services amidst the bombed debris.

Two white men affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan, Raymond Britt and Sonny Livingston, were indicted in February 1957 after confessing to the bombings. An all-white jury acquitted them of all charges in May 1957, while spectators cheered.

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Timothy Russell Malissa Williams 137 Shots

Timothy Russell Malissa Williams 137 Shots

Timothy Russell Malissa Williams 137 Shots

November 29, 2012: thirteen officers shot and killed 43-year-old driver Timothy Russell and his 30-year-old passenger, Malissa Williams, after they led police on a 22 minute chase. It started when a second district officer said a gunshot was fired from their car as they drove passed police headquarters downtown. The thirteen officers fired 137 shots, striking Russell 23 times and Williams 24 times. No gun was found in the suspect’s vehicle.
60 days later…
January 29, 2013: Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, Safety Director Martin Flask, and Chief Michael McGrath reported that at least 63 Cleveland Police cars were involved in the pursuit or played some role in the chase that ended with police firing 137 shots.
192 days later
August 9, 2013: Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath announced that 75 officers faced discipline for their involvement in the 60-car high speed pursuit last Nov. 29 that began downtown and ended in East Cleveland. The internal charges range from engaging in a chase without permission to providing false information on duty reports. Nineteen of them also will have disciplinary hearings that could result in temporary suspensions. None will be terminated.
Indictments
Timothy Russell Malissa Williams 137 Shots
Malissa Williams gunshot diagram
May 30, 2014: a grand jury  indicted six police officers involved in the November 2012 car chase.

The grand jury indicted a patrol officer on two charges of manslaughter and five supervisors on charges of dereliction of duty for failing to control the chase.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty said, based on the law, he didn't seek charges against the other 12 officers who fired shots.

Patrol officer Michael Brelo, indicted on manslaughter charges, fired at least 15 shots, including fatal shots, while standing on the hood of the car after the vehicle was trapped by police cruisers and other officers had stopped firing.

"The driver was fully stopped. Escape was no longer even a remote possibility. The flight was over," McGinty said.
Officers return to work
June 12, 2014: the city of Cleveland announced that former Sgt. Michael Donegan would return July 11 as a patrol officer and would receive back pay since his termination in June 2013. He would return to the rank of sergeant. Officials said Donegan had "disengaged himself" from the chase even though he recognized the enormous scope of the situation.

Two other supervisors -- Paul Wilson and Ulrich Zouhar – demoted for violating various protocols, would also return in July to their previous ranks as a result of arbitration.
US Department of Justice
June 17, 2014: the Department of Justice opened a wide-ranging civil rights investigation into the Cleveland case that could lead to years of court oversight and mandated controls on the use of force.

July 11, 2014: Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge John O'Donnell refused to place a gag order on Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty in the case of an indicted Cleveland police officer Patrolman Michael Brelo who is accused of shooting unarmed suspects Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams.

O'Donnell said that Brelo's attempt at the gag order "falls short of demonstrating a substantial probability that his right to a fair trial will be prejudiced by McGinty's public statements.'' Brelo was accused of two counts of voluntary manslaughter and has pled not guilty to the charges.
Financial settlements
July 16, 2014: U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster announced that Cleveland had settled a federal lawsuit for an undisclosed amount of money with the families of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams. The settlement was dependent upon a judge's approval in Cuyahoga County Probate Court, where the estates were set up to oversee any awards from the lawsuit. A probate judge would decide whether the settlement is fair and just. Nothing had been filed on it Wednesday.

"The court held a settlement conference with clients and counsel on July 14,'' Polster wrote. "As a result of negotiations, the above captioned case has settled, subject to Probate Court approval.''

November 18, 2014: without any major filings or motions from either side, the city of Cleveland settled a wrongful death suit with the families of Timothy Russell and Marissa Williams for $3 million. Police killed Russell and Williams at the end of a car chase that most likely started when a cop mistook the backfire of a car for a gunshot.
Reverse discrimination claim
November 28, 2014: nine non-African American Cleveland police officers accused the police department of racial discrimination in the aftermath of the deadly November 29, 2012 chase in a federal lawsuit. The officers—eight white officers and one Hispanic—claimed the department has a history of treating non-black officers who shoot black residents "more harshly" than black officers involved in shootings, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court Northern District of Ohio. (see December 8, 2015)

March 17, 2015: Cuyahoga Common Pleas Judge John P. O'Donnell denied a request by Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty’s office to dismiss one of the attorneys representing Michael Brelo, the Cleveland police officer charged with the deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams. McGinty had argued that it was a conflict of interest for attorney Patrick D'Angelo to represent Brelo since the attorney also represented the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association, the union of rank-and-file officers. O'Donnell wrote in his decision that the situation "does not demonstrate an actual conflict of interest," and that Brelo's right to an attorney of his choice outweighs any risk of a conflict.

March 23, 2015: attorneys for the Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo charged in the deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams filed a motion asking to waive a jury trial. Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge John P. O'Donnell would consider the motion at a hearing Jury selection was scheduled to begin April 2.

March 26, 2015:  Brelo would not have his case heard by a jury. Judge John P. O'Donnell would decide the case.

Prosecutors had filed a motion opposing the move, arguing that dismissing a jury in this case would be an "injustice" to the communities of Cleveland and East Cleveland. The motion pointed out that the police officers involved in the shooting were all white, but the victims were black.

"It is only fair to the community that African-Americans have the chance to be a part of the jury in this case," the statement said.

O'Donnell rejected that argument, writing, "I have no basis in law to decline to allow Brelo to waive a jury."
Judge John P. O’Donnell
Timothy Russell Malissa Williams 137 Shots
Judge John P. O’Donnell
March 30, 2015: Judge John P. O'Donnell with the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court denied several requests by the attorneys of Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo to have his case dismissed.

Brelo's attorneys asked to have the case dismissed based on Garrity rights, which prevent a public official from making incriminating statements against themselves during investigations carried by their employers.

O’Donnal also denied a motion to have the case dismissed based on qualified immunity. Qualified immunity is a defense available to state and federal officials -- including police officers -- that asks whether the defendant knew whether they were breaking an established law at the time of the incident.

April 9, 2015:  on the third day of testimony, Cleveland police officer Michael Demchak refused to testify. Prosecutors had got through just a couple basic questions about the identity and work history of Demchak before he invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination on the witness stand.

According to a report from the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Demchak was one of the 13 officers that fired their guns on the night of November 2012, when the two unarmed suspects were killed. Investigators had concluded Demchak fired his gun four times.

April 27, 2015: Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge John P. O'Donnell declined to acquit Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo and bring an end to his voluntary manslaughter trial before hearing any defense witnesses. O'Donnell, ruling on a defense request for the acquittal, ruled that the prosecution has presented enough evidence in the trial to warrant hearing the other side's case.

In his ruling, O'Donnell wrote, "taking the evidence in a light most favorable to the state, at least 34 of Brelo's 49 shots were reasonable to deal with a perceived threat. If he is eventually found guilty of voluntary manslaughter beyond a reasonable doubt in the face of his affirmative defense that all of his shots were legally justified it will mean only that he was not justified in taking one or more of those last 15 shots to confront the perceived threat."
Brelo acquitted

Timothy Russell Malissa Williams 137 Shots

May 23, 2015: Judge John P. O'Donnell acquitted Michael Brelo. O’Donnell stated, ““The state did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant, Michael Brelo, knowingly caused the deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams.” (article) (see May 26)

 May 26, 2015: dozens of people marched through the streets of downtown Cleveland demanding changes to the city's criminal justice system, With chants of "We want justice, we want it now," and "We can't wait," the marchers said they were tired of waiting for authorities to make changes on their own. They delivered letters to prosecutors and the mayor listing their demands.  May 27, 2015: authorities said that Cleveland police Officer Michael Brelo allegedly engaged in a fight with his twin brother during a night of drinking. Michael Brelo and his brother, Mark, faced assault charges. The fight between the twins occurred at Michael Brelo's home after 4 a.m. on May 27, according to police in Bay Village, Ohio. May 29, 2015: while acknowledging that he cannot appeal an acquittal, prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty of Cuyahoga County said that Judge John O’Donnell made serious errors before finding officer Michael Brelo not guilty in the deaths of Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell, and he wants an appeals court to order the judge to correct the record. McGinty said that Judge O’Donnell’s reasoning in the voluntary-manslaughter trial of Officer Michael Brelo could set a legal precedent that would “endanger the public,” and that that Officer Brelo’s acquittal was based on the judge’s mistaken analysis of laws concerning police use of deadly force and on homicide involving more than one person who fired shots. He said the judge had also considered the wrong lesser charge — felonious assault — when he should have considered attempted voluntary manslaughter or aggravated assault. “As it stands, the trial court’s verdict will endanger the public, allow for one of multiple actors to escape culpability and lead to more unnecessary deaths by police-created crossfire situations,” Mr. McGinty said in his filing with the appeals court. “This court must return the case with the corrections of law to the trial court with instructions to deliberate and reach a verdict with the correct application of the law and correct determination of lesser offense of voluntary manslaughter — attempted voluntary manslaughter or aggravated assault,” he said. June 5, 2015:  East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton said the city decided not pursue charges against the 12 officers involved in the 137 shot police chase. "After further conversations with prosecutors, the prosecutors involved did say to me that it's unlikely that those charges will be filed based on the evidence available," Norton said” ...The reality is that we really were interested in bringing charges against those 12, because I really want to know was this within the bounds of the law or outside the bounds of the law? That's really my concern," Norton had previously stated the city was considering filing negligent homicide charges against the 12 police officers. (see June 7) June 7, 2015: Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo was charged with assaulting his brother .
Federal lawsuit
June 22, 2015: U.S. District Judge Christopher Boyko gave the green light to a lawsuit filed against the city of Cleveland by police Sgt. Johnny Hamm who claimed he was wrongfully suspended for Facebook posts he made about the 2012 police chase and fatal shooting of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams.

Boyko wrote that Hamm had a "plausible claim for deprivation" of his right to due process, if what Hamm alleges is true. Boyko wrote that the complaint over the Facebook posts was lodged by police Chief Calvin Williams and decided at a disciplinary hearing that was also presided over by the chief.

"These allegations raise the claim, beyond the speculative level, that Plaintiff was denied a meaningful hearing due to the bias and/or conflict of interest of the supervisory official, Chief of Police, Calvin D. Williams," Boyko wrote.
Misdemeanor trial
June 30, 2015: Cuyahoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty announced that the misdemeanor trial for five white Cleveland police supervisors accused of failing to control a high-speed car chase that led to two unarmed black people being killed in a 137-shot barrage of police gunfire would be held in a predominantly black suburb, not in county court.

McGinty said officials in East Cleveland, where the November 2012 car chase ended and the shooting occurred, contacted his office about trying the case in that suburban city after a judge acquitted a white Cleveland patrolman last month on felony manslaughter charges for his role in the shooting deaths of driver Timothy Russell and passenger Malissa Williams.

McGinty said the same misdemeanor charges against the supervisors will be filed in East Cleveland and county prosecutors will help try the case, which had been set for trial in county court on July 27.

July 9, 2015: Cuyahoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty offered to drop charges against the five white police supervisors accused of failing to stop the 137 shot car chase . Both attorneys said their clients rejected the deal and were prepared to go to trial.
Timothy Russell Malissa Williams 137 Shots
Charges dismissed
July 24, 2015: Cuyahoga Common Pleas Judge John P. O'Donnell dismissed dereliction-of-duty charges against five Cleveland police supervisors involved. O'Donnell's ruling will likely result in the supervisors being tried in East Cleveland Municipal Court, where identical charges were filed on July 2.

"The fact that duplicative charges are pending in East Cleveland amounts to good cause to dismiss the indictment here," O'Donnell wrote, but officials are waiting for a decision from the 8th Ohio District Court of Appeals regarding whether the suburban court has jurisdiction in the case.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty wants the trial in East Cleveland and asked O'Donnell to dismiss the Common Pleas Court charges. Prosecutors have argued that since the supervisors face misdemeanor charges, they should be tried in municipal court, where misdemeanor cases are generally heard.
“No pay for killer cops!”

Timothy Russell Malissa Williams 137 Shots

November 17, 2015: “No pay for killer cops!” was what the family members of Malissa Williams were chanting earlier in front of Cleveland’s city hall in response to news that Michael Brelo would soon  be back policing the streets.

“Everybody knows this is murder,” said Alfredo Williams, Malissa’s brother said at a press conference. “I have never heard of anything like this in my life. He knows he did wrong.”
Reverse-discrimination lawsuit
December 8, 2015: U.S. District Judge James Gwin rejected a reverse-discrimination lawsuit in which eight white Cleveland police officers and one Hispanic officer claimed the city placed them on longer stints of restricted duty than their black counterparts.

Gwin concluded that the officers produced "no evidence" to support their claims. He wrote that what the group described as evidence were just "short excerpts from dated testimony in unrelated cases that consist of individuals giving general discussion about race" and the city. Records show that the length of restricted duty more depends on the facts of a case than the color of an officer's skin.
Firings
January 25, 2016: Cleveland officials said they were firing six police officers involved in the 137-shot barrage.

Those officers included Michael Brelo, a patrolman acquitted of manslaughter charges in May for having fired the last 15 shots of the barrage in East Cleveland. 

Six more officers who fired during the barrage faced suspensions ranging from 21 to 30 days, said Public Safety Director Michael McGrath, the former police chief. A total of 13 officers had been notified they faced administrative discipline, and one of them has retired, McGrath said. (see October 23, 2017)
Payments
August 8, 2017: the city of Cleveland announced that it would pay Jessica Barnes, Jasmine Bruce, Dominique Knox, Eric Maxwell, and Tanis Quach, and National Lawyers Guild Legal Observer Jordan Workman $50,000 each for being falsely arrested in May 2015 while they demonstrated against the acquittal of Michael Brelo.

The verdict had prompted several protests in and around downtown Cleveland.

The six were wrongfully arrested, jailed, and prosecuted for several months, before the charges were finally dismissed.

According to the lawsuit, Cleveland Police intentionally kept the protesters in jail to prevent them from returning to the streets to protest. While locked up for 36 hours, they were subjected to bed bugs, contaminated drinking water, and mold.
Latest
October 23, 2017: local Cleveland media reported that police officers Michael Farley, Erin O'Donnell, Christopher Ereg, Wilfredo Diaz and Brian Sabolik who had been fired after the 137 shot police chase were reinstated earlier this month after an arbitrator's ruling this summer. The sixth officer, Michael Brelo — the arbitrator ruled that he should remain fired.

On November 7, 2017: Cleveland settled a federal lawsuit filed by Lt. Johnny Hamm who said the city and police Chief Calvin Williams retaliated against him for a series of Facebook posts about the 22-mile police chase that left two people dead.

The notice that Hamm reach a settlement with the city was filed in front of U.S. District Christopher Boyko. The city refused to discuss the terms of the settlement

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Albany Georgia Civil Rights Movement

Albany Georgia Civil Rights Movement

 

Albany Georgia Civil Rights Movement

There were many American cities in which the black residents responded to their segregation, discrimination, and mistreatment in an organized way. The March to Montgomery is perhaps the most famous, but the demonstrations that took place in Albany, Georgia nearly four years earlier, was equally historic.

Charles Sherrod and Cordell Reagon

In October 1961: Students Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) members Charles Sherrod and Cordell Reagon traveled to Albany, to help organize the local black community. Although earlier protests had occurred, black residents were frustrated with the city commission’s failure to address their grievances. 

Sherrod and Reagon organized workshops around nonviolent tactics for Albany’s African American residents in anticipation of a showdown with the local police.

November 1, 1961: the day the Interstate Commerce Commission's new prohibition against segregated bus terminals was to go into effect. The Albany, Georgia bus terminal was located in the black section of town and on November 1st — with a neighborhood crowd watching — nine Black students attempted to use the terminal's "white-only" facilities. As planned, they left  when ordered out by the police and then filed immediate complaints with the ICC under the new ruling.

November 17, 1961: A coalition of SNCC, the NAACP and Southern Christian Leadership Conference members organized a series of civil rights actions. 

Police Chief Laurie Pritchett adroitly avoided confrontations that would bring unfavorable national publicity to him and the city. 

Bertha Gober

Albany Georgia Civil Rights Movement

November 22, 1961: when Albany (GA) State College students went to the bus terminal to return home for the Thanksgiving holiday, an Albany State dean — whose job depended on the all-white Georgia Board of Regents — was stationed there to direct them to the "Colored" waiting room. 

Five young people — 3 from the NAACP Youth Council and 2 from Albany State — defied the dean and the orders of Police Chief Pritchett to leave the white waiting room. They were arrested. Bertha Gober, one of the Albany State students, chose to remain in jail over the holidays to dramatize their demand for justice.

Bernice Johnson

Albany Georgia Civil Rights Movement
b Zellner, Bernice Reagon, Cordell Reagon, Dottie Miller (Zellner), and Avon Rollins singing in Danville, Virginia, June 1963
After the Thanksgiving holiday, more than 100 Albany State College students marched from campus to the courthouse where they picketed to protest the trial of those arrested at the bus depot. A mass meeting — the first in Albany history — packed Mt. Zion Baptist Church to protest the arrests, segregation, and a lifetime of subservience. At the end of the meeting they rise  to sing, "We Shall Overcome." Student song-leader Bernice Johnson (Reagan) described the effect, "When I opened my mouth and began to sing, there was a force and power within myself I had never heard before. Somehow this music ... released a kind of power and required a level of concentrated energy I did not know I had."

Albany State students Bertha Gober and Blanton Hall were expelled for disobeying the dean's orders to use the "Colored" waiting room. Students marched to the college President's office to protest the expulsions and 40 more were expelled for disagreeing with the administration. Gober will later compose civil rights song, “We’ll Never Turn Back.” 

Freedom Riders

December 10, 1961: nine Freedom Riders from Atlanta arrived at the Albany Trailways bus terminal and were met by a crowd of approximately three hundred black onlookers and a squad of Albany policemen. Chief Pritchett arrested the riders without incident, telling the press that white Albany would “not stand for these troublemakers coming into our city for the sole purpose of disturbing the peace and quiet in the city of Albany.”

December 11, 1961:  over four hundred people marched to city hall in downtown Albany, protesting the arrest of the Freedom Riders. The city gave the marchers permission to circle the block twice, and when the marchers refused to stop after the allotted distance, Chief Pritchett ordered the protestors arrested. Herding the protestors into the alley between police headquarters, Pritchett arrested 267 protestors. Pritchett informed the press that “We can’t  tolerate the NAACP or the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee or any other ‘nigger’ organization to take over this town with mass demonstrations.

Martin Luther King, Jr arrives

December 15, 1961: going against some of his Southern Christian Leadership Conference advisers, King accepted an invitation to Albany, Georgia and speaks at a rally in support of activists that had be arrested the previous day.

December 16, 1961: New York Times: The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 264 other Negroes and one white youth were arrested today as they marched on City Hall for a prayer demonstration. All were jailed. There was no violence, despite the tension aroused by week-long racial controversy and the breakdown of negotiations between white and Negro leaders aimed at restoring this city of 56,000 persons to normal.

Albany Georgia Civil Rights Movement

December 18, 1961: an agreement was reached that paved the way for the release of the King and about 300 other Negroes from prison.

January 5, 1962: Groups protested to state and college officials regarding the dismissal of students from Albany State College for participating in anti-segregation demonstrations,

March 26, 1962: the original Freedom Riders arrested in December went on trial. Charles Sherrod was beaten to the floor for sitting in the "white" section at the front of the courtroom and white SNCC activists Bob Zellner, Per Laurson, Sandra & Tom Hayden were violently dragged from the courtroom when they sit in the "Colored" section at the rear. (NYT article)

King & Abernathy jailed

July 10, 1962: Martin Luther King Jr and Ralph Abernathy, convicted of having violated a street and sidewalk assembly ordinance without a permit on December 16, 1961, went to jail to emphasize their nonviolent defiance of racial barriers. They had been given the choice of a $178 fine each or 45 days in jail. They choose jail.

July 12, 1962: King’s and Abernathy’s fines were anonymously paid and the two men were reluctantly freed. Years later it was revealed that Albany Mayor Asa Kelley paid the fines as a ploy to divide the movement and diffuse media attention on King's imprisonment.
Judge deems demonstrations deny equal protection

July 20, 1962: Robert Elliott, a Federal judge had issued an injunction against mass marches using the legal reasoning that demonstrations require the presence of policemen; policemen who are present during demonstrations could not handle other complaints of other citizens in the community; therefore, the demonstrations were denying other citizens — white citizens — equal protection of the law. 

Defying that injuntion, 160 protesters were arrested

July 22, 1962: Martin Luther King Jr. said that Federal District Judge J.Robert Elliott was engaged to an extent in a "conspiracy" to maintain segregation.  

July 24, 1962: Chief Judge Elbert P Tuttle of the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit overturned the ban on demonstrations, stating, “The trial court had no jurisdiction to enter this order at all.” Later that day, the Albany police dispersed a crowd of 2,000 protestors.

July 25, 1962: Martin Luther King Jr. canceled plans to lead a mass demonstration and declared a day of penance for the previous night’s outbreak of violence.

Dr W.G. Anderson

July 26, 1962: WG Anderson, president of the Albany Movement, warned that the group would give a “lesson” to white officials who had spurned repeated requests for negotiations over demands for desegregation of public facilities.

July 27, 1962: police arrest ten demonstrators in front of Albany's City Hall. After that arrest, a group of 17 demonstrators appeared. Police arrested them as well. 

July 28, 1962: Martin Luther King Jr and, twenty-seven were arrested and jailed during two prayer protests in front of Albany City Hall.

President Kennedy comments

August 10 1962: King agreed to leave Albany, ending his involvement in the Albany Movement. Almost all of Albany’s public facilities remained segregated after King’s departure.
Albany Georgia Civil Rights Movement

Continues…

August 11, 1962: Albany shut down its three public parks and two public libraries after small groups sought to desegregate them.

August 28, 1962: Albany police arrested and jailed seventy religious leaders from the North and Midwest during an anti-segregation protest at the City Hall.

August 31, 1962: Judge J Robert Elliot denied lawyers a preliminary injunction to stop Albany from practicing segregation. Martin Luther King asked President Kennedy to intervene in the racial troubles in Albany.

September 12, 1962: Martin Luther King Jr. decried the pace of civil rights progress in the United States. He also said that "no President can be great, or even fit for office, if he attempts to accommodate injustice to maintain his political balance

September 25, 1962: a pre-dawn fire at St. Matthew's Baptist Church in Macon, Georgia destroyed the building. It was the fifth black church to burn over the past month.

FBI and status quo

November 18, 1962: Martin Luther King, Jr accused agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Albany, Ga., of siding with the segregationists. “One of the great problems we face with the FBI is the South is that the agents are white Southerners who have been influenced by the mores of the community. To maintain their status, they have to be friendly with the local police and people who are promoting segregation. Every time I saw an FBI man in Albany, they were with the local police force.” 

1963

March 7, 1963: the Albany City Commission voted 6 – 1 to repeal all segregation ordinances. The Commission also voted 4 – 3  to re-open the library after being closed for seven months, though the city removed the chairs to prevent blacks and whites sitting together.

No action was taken regarding the city’s tennis courts, swimming pools, park recreation areas and teen centers which had been closed at the same time.

March 9, 1963: four black girls took seats at a white lunch counter at Albany Lee Drugs. There were asked to leave and the police were called. The girls were arrested a block away and charged with violating an antitresspassing ordinance.

March 12, 1963: five Black high school-age girls were turned away from two white theaters by the assistant manager for the chain. “We don’t want your business,” the manager told them.

March 13, 1963: Blacks resumed a 16 month fight against segregation in Albany, GA realizing that the March 7 announcement was simply a legal ploy. 

 A NYT article quoted Police Chief Pritchett, "I don't know of anything for them to be overjoyed about. You look around and see if anything's integrated and if it is, call me, will you?"

June 21, 1963: Albany, Georgia police temporarily closed all black businesses and banned blacks from sidewalks after an attempted walk by blacks toward the white shopping district for a sit-in at a lunch counter.

1964

April 6, 1964: the first step toward integration in Albany, GA came quiet­ly when five black children registered to attend classes the following fall with whites.

Three of the children registered at one elementary school and two at another. All were accompanied by their parents.

Medals of Freedom

June 4, 2011: President Barak Obamma presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Charles Sherrod and his wife Shirley at the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Southwest Georgia Project in Albany. 

 

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