David Leal is a young man with high career aspirations. Every day he gets closer to finishing his novel despite not being able to physically write it himself. By no means defined by the disease that weakens his muscles daily, David must still work around the effects muscular dystrophy has on his body. There can be no doubt as to the strength of his character and fortitude of mind and though his body grows weaker, his mind only increases in perception and creativity. David and his team join Shelly Lynn on an episode of ‘Not For Profit’ to talk about his upcoming novel.
Posts Tagged ‘Miami’
Victoria Morales and Barbara Padron lead outreach teams in Hialeah, Biscayne Blvd and Miami Beach. This is part of Sharing One Love Outreach program. http://sharingonelove.org/ They’ve been conducting outreaches for the entire year and have repeatedly come across locations and information about the possible sex trafficking of local runaway children. They also connect with local groups, law enforcement and business owners to increase awareness and the identification and rescue of children that are at-risk of being commercially sexually exploited.
A typical outreach includes the following activities:
- All first time volunteers receive street outreach training.
- Volunteers form into small groups and identify local businesses to share information on Human Trafficking and the vulnerability of runaway children to being commercially sexually exploited.
- Volunteers also handout flyers with red flags on on how employees can identify and report suspected human trafficking.
- Groups also show pictures of missing children from the community to employees and record and report and possible sightings and relevant information.
- Participants also complete surveys of areas that show signs of suspected commercial sexual activity. This data is used to identify areas that benefit or profit in facilitating human trafficking and other forms of commercial sexual abuse and exploitation.
Indie Film Club Miami is a non-profit organization that fosters the growth, skills and cohesiveness of the South Florida film industry, by working closely with filmmakers and digital media content creators. It hosts a variety of events including monthly screenings, as well as regular workshops, and networking events that bring together our diverse community. Diliana Alexander, Executive Director at Indie Film Club, spoke with us about the importance of independent cinema and transmedia. Shelly Lynn alongside Natasha Mijares and Diliana Alexander talk about the different facets of film and how crucial it is to our community, to encourage creativity and build upon it for a more expressive society.
Below you’ll find the full audio of Counterpoint’s roundtable discussion on race and justice in America. We dedicated the entire Counterpoint hour to these topics in light of conversations that have started across the nation following the not guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman.
We also split the show into three segments in case there is a specific topic that might be of more interest than another or if you tuned in late when it aired live. Each has its own player below.
Part I: Reactions to the Verdict
Part II: A conversation on racial profiling: Is it an issue?
Part III: The American Justice System: Is it unfair to minorities?
This special aired July 19, 2013 | Counterpoint airs live Fridays at 1pm EST on WVUM 90.5FM | WVUM.org
On June 17th, the Supreme Court decided to pass a “landmark decision” in regards to Salinas v. Texas which impacts how one can go about claiming the right to not incriminate oneself (otherwise known as “pleading the fifth”). The decision essentially stated that when an individual is not placed under arrest, the individual must explicitly evoke their 5th amendment right and that simply remaining silent does not mean their right has been evoked. Depending upon the circumstances, this silence can be used to infer possible guilt of the party in question.
To really understand the context of this ruling, let me first start with a quick background to this decision.
This all started with a murder case conducted in a Texas state court. In 1992, Houston police officers found two homicide victims. The investigation had then led officers to Genovevo Salinas. Salinas voluntarily agreed to accompany the officers to the police station, where he was then questioned. At this time, Salinas was not under arrest and had not been read his Miranda rights. Salinas had the ability to leave at any point while he was being questioned.
Salinas answered every question until an officer asked him whether the shotgun shells found at the scene of the crime would match the shotgun found in Salinas’ home. At this point, the defendant fell silent and “looked down at the floor, shuffled his feet, bit his bottom lip, clenched his hands in his lap, and began to tighten up” (according to the statements made by the state prosecutor).
A ballistics analysis later matched Salinas’ gun with the casings at the scene. Police also found a witness who said Salinas admitted to killing the victims. In 1993, Salinas was charged with the murders, but he could not be found until 15 years later.
During the trial, the prosecution introduced the evidence of Salinas’ silence and body language in response to the question about the gun casings. Salinas objected, arguing that he could invoke his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination. The trial court admitted the evidence and Salinas was found guilty and sentenced to 20 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
The question boiled down to whether or not Salinas’ body language is allowed to be presented as evidence.
I say YES!
First of all, Salinas had the ability to leave the questioning period any time he liked.
All of his answers from this questioning period were applicable to be used in court as evidence. Since he did not leave nor claim his right to not self incriminate, I believe that the answer his body language gave is also admissible in court.
There’s been plenty of dissenting chatter in the public sphere about Supreme Court’s decision to allow this piece of evidence stand. Personally, I think it’s time for these chatters of dissent to stop. Ladies and gentlemen please plead the fifth!
Now we are all very familiar with our fifth amendment rights. Just to recap a bit, the pertaining part of the 5th amendment in this case is “No person shall be…compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself”. There are other things the amendment guarantees such as our right in regards to double jeopardy, due process, and eminent domain. The important thing here to focus on is the ability to not self incriminate.
Some people will argue that to not self incriminate is a natural right.
I think they are only partially right.
If one really focused on the language of the Constitution, the key word is compelled. We are allowed the right to not be forced into incriminating ourselves but that does not stop you from doing it freely.
The Miranda rights are read to you because you are in custody, and you can’t just get up and leave. If you had incriminated yourself without explicitly knowing your rights under these conditions, the law enforcement officers are essentially forcing incriminating evidence out of you.
Under a different circumstance where you basically waltz into a police department and partake in a questioning period willingly then… anything you say or may do are going to be used against you! (sound familiar?)
There has been all types of people have used their 5th amendment rights in the past, and some of them have gotten off clean while others haven’t. People such as Don King, Colone Oliver North, Casey Anthony, and even O.J. Simpson have all claimed their right to not incriminate themselves when they were questioned, as well as they should have (and O.J. I’m talking about you especially).
Look, we have all watched enough Law and Order and CSI to know that when you are being questioned, and you get asked that one question where you might start to incriminate yourself…
What do you do?
You shut up and ask for a lawyer.
Salinas paid for his slip up during the questioning period, and he couldn’t answer because he got nervous. The police had hit the nail on the head. If he was really trying to evoke his 5th amendment right, we would definitely all be made aware of it (it’s really not that hard). He got nervous and couldn’t answer because the bullet casings did fit his shotgun. He got nervous and couldn’t answer because he did murder two innocent people in their own home. He got nervous and couldn’t answer probably because he started planning for his 15 years of hide-and-seek with law enforcement.
The take away from this Supreme Court decision?
You have the right to not self-incriminate.
Growing up as the significant elder of two younger brothers, it is striking to see the precautions my parents take to raise the two young, black men even in the 21st century. Even more disturbing is that for the black community there exist a common hyper-awareness of appropriate conduct in the presence of police. There is a universal understanding that black men shouldn’t run anywhere on the street for fear of police suspicion. My mother once told my brother never to believe that in the case of an altercation that police would let him go because he was “a nice kid.”
“They will slam your head on the cop car because you’re practically guilty until proven innocent,” she said. She explained to them, as many people believe, that black men cannot own large or luxury vehicles without the risk of becoming victim to racial profiling. Both of my brothers are under the age of fifteen.
It seemed difficult at first to believe that the police in Miami would engage in blatant, unacceptable, or racially-charged behavior considering the city’s hailed diversity. One of the four-pronged objectives of the Miami-Dade Police Department, according to the department’s government webpage, is to treat all people with respect through demonstrating an “understanding of ethnic and cultural diversity.” In fact, it would be difficult to authentically achieve the three other stated values of integrity, service and fairness without cultural understanding of the county’s diverse communities. However, the MDPD’s recent history of targeting a specific minority population does not uphold the standards they seek to meet.
The MDPD has led a legion of fatal attacks on black men, which may conjure the names of fallen men like DeCarlos Moore, Travis McNeil and Raymond Herrise. The recent arrest of a fourteen-year-old Tremaine McMillian for giving officers “dehumanizing stares” after verbal reprimand, only further validates the racially-charged persecution of black males that seems to be deeply imprinted in the county’s law enforcement agencies.
McMillian was roughhousing with another child on Haulover Beach this May but it was his body language while he was walking away that prompted police to “neutralize the threat” the teen caused by attacking and detaining him. The 2011 death of Raymond Herrise, who fell victim to over one-hundred bullets fired at his vehicle, was induced by what police officers say was a posed threat in a speeding car. Herrise’s car was actually at rest, according to footage from the incident, before several police shot and killed the man and injured four bystanders.
Community outcries of frustration at the MDPD’s questionably racist practices landed the department with a civil-rights investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice late 2011.
But often overlooked by the MDPD’s plausible police stereotyping, a violation of civil rights that is still undergoing examination, is a critical component of the violence that police have taken on the very citizens they seek to protect: fear. A fear, often noted, that is unsupported by physical evidence or substantial reason; a fear that can most easily be described as rooted in an obvious lack of “understanding and cultural diversity.”
The message that the MDPD sends to the black community is hardly one of respect when their services include the scrutiny and persecution of black males.
With populations of racial minorities on the rise, incidents of targeted police brutality need to come to an end. It is impossible, ineffective and ultimately futile for a police force to adequately serve a community that they fail to understand. Officers should be educated on the history of police relationships with black people in efforts to understand the pain that shapes common perception about law enforcement. This is important because the history of police brutality in the black community is not exclusively the story of black people – it is a shared past of both parties. If police officers could first learn about the concerns of the people, then they could take the appropriate steps to actually perform their jobs.
For most of Election 2012, climate change and other issues related to science haven’t come up as often as they should. In fact, not too much at all.
The Counterpoint team recently got a chance to address this issue, and they did so in spectacular fashion.
The one and only Bill Nye The Science Guy called-in to WVUM to discuss climate change and the future of American space exploration, among other science-y things!
In this first segment: an in-depth look at climate change: