ACORN 8 Gets “POPULAR”
Grassroots Groups Challenge Justice Department to Protect America’s Poor and Middle Class
Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) July 7, 2009 — More than 50 years ago, the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) committed itself “to upholding the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans, including some of the most vulnerable members of our society.” Prosecuting hate crimes and official misconduct remains the “core mission” of America’s DOJ, Civil Rights Division, Criminal Section.
According to the Citizens’ Commission on Civil Rights, hate crimes and official misconduct “disproportionately victimize racial minorities”. However, “race is not the largest common denominator among America’s most vulnerable people” says Zena Crenshaw-Logal, Executive Director of POPULAR, Inc. (POPULAR).
Speaking for POPULAR, Crenshaw-Logal contends that “relative lack of wealth” literally defines the most vulnerable segment of American society. She explains, “when it comes to resources for effectively fighting serious corruption, the overwhelming majority of Americans are poor; not in the sense of being impoverished, but as compared to certain corrupt forces we are compelled to resist.”
Shortly after his election, POPULAR hastened President Obama to “foster a Justice Department that is conspicuously pro-average American.” Ironically, disenfranchised members incorporated as the ACORN 8 L.L.C. (ACORN 8), need that objective realized to reform the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, historically an advocate for low and moderate income Americans.
As reported by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, on January 7, 2009 the ACORN 8 submitted complaints to15 District U.S. Attorneys, alleging the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now violated federal criminal law in expelling them from the group. Today, POPULAR and the ACORN 8 forwarded their first joint complaint number 7709 to the Criminal Section of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division. The two organizations teamed to promote fervent prosecution of “Conspiracy Against Rights” and “Deprivations of Rights Under Color of Law”.
“We will continually submit compelling evidence of various 18 U.S.C. sections 241 (conspiracy against rights) and 242 (deprivation of rights under color of law) violations and publicize the DOJ’s response” says attorney Michael McCray, national spokesperson for the ACORN 8.
The current POPULAR and ACORN 8 complaint describes events that reportedly “chilled First Amendment rights”. It indicates that residents of Abilene, Taylor County, Texas gathered on multiple occasions to complain about their local, state, and federal law enforcement, essentially crediting it with “systematic or consistent victimization of residents lacking political influence.” POPULAR and the ACORN 8 suggest that “in teaming to address local governance with one or more national grassroots reform organizations . . . complainant witnesses Michayl Mellen and George Stokes evoked the wrath of . . . some targeted institutions.”
POPULAR and the ACORN 8 tentatively link their current DOJ complaint to the 30 year sentencing in 2007 of two teenagers, Juan Manuel Albarado (Case No. 15959B) and Moishe Curtis Turner (Case No. 7646D), by the 104th and 350th District Court at Abilene, Texas respectively. “Their families also worked closely with outside advocates and fear the young men were wrongfully convicted and harshly sentenced as a result” explains Crenshaw-Logal. Among other things, POPULAR and the ACORN 8 have asked the DOJ to collect and review “relevant comparative data, currently withheld by the Taylor County, Texas District Attorney.”
Ironically the DOJ will consider POPULAR and ACORN 8 submissions amid claims from an April 17, 2008 Majority Staff Report of the House Judiciary Committee entitled “Allegations of Selective Prosecution in Our Federal Criminal Justice System”. The report and related updates confirm the committee’s investigation of allegations that the DOJ was used and abused to convict wealthy Democrats and their supporters during the Bush Administration. Yet in the words of House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich), as reported on June 25, 2009 by the Washington Times, the “powers that be” do not want an investigation of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.
In February 2009, POPULAR wrote Chairman Conyers suggesting the referenced Democrat supporters “are better positioned to correct trial and/or appellate error without legislative action than most American litigants, respondents, and defendants.” Rather than applaud the congressional investigation as a bulwark of equal protection, POPULAR concluded it distinguishes America’s general response “to the alleged persecution of its elites versus that of its marginalized citizenry.”
“When Congress is as apt to chasten prosecutors and judges on behalf of powerful, wealthy people as it is for low and moderate income Americans, its commitment to equal protection will be clear” says Crenshaw-Logal. She adds, “well into a millennium of non-stop political scandals, credibility and high station in life are hardly synonymous.”
Nearly a decade after the DOJ pledged to protect federal rights, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights deemed its promise broken as to African Americans and activists contending with the apartheid of America’s South. The 1965 Civil Rights Commission confirmed by national report that the failure of local, state, and federal law enforcement to protect these people and their federal rights, “interferes as decisively with the exercise of those rights as would a direct prohibition.”
Speaking for POPULAR and the ACORN 8, attorney McCray notes that “the strength of our government as a meritocracy lies in the ability of everyone to participate and compete.” He contends “we all suffer when low and moderate income people cannot receive due process or simple justice in court; worse still, America suffers when private conspiracies against rights and deprivation of rights under color of law are tolerated by the U.S. Justice Department.”