WVUM 90.5FM | WE ARE THE VOICE | University of Miami

Posts Tagged ‘Miami’

Race and Justice in America: A Counterpoint Special

By Hyan Freitas | News Director | July 21st, 2013 |

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?

Counterpoint: Race and Justice Special Edition [Full Audio] by Wvumnews on Mixcloud

 

Counterpoint Race and Justice Special: Reactions to the Zimmerman trial by Wvumnews on Mixcloud

Counterpoint Race and Justice Special- Discussing Racial Profiling by Wvumnews on Mixcloud

Counterpoint Race and Justice Special: Race and the justice system by Wvumnews on Mixcloud

This special aired July 19, 2013 | Counterpoint airs live Fridays at 1pm EST on WVUM 90.5FM | WVUM.org

SCOTUS Decision: I’m Pleading the 5th

By William Ng | Counterpoint | June 26th, 2013 | SHOW COMMENT(1)

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.

USE IT.

 

MDPD’s Reign of Terror: A Lack of Cultural Understanding?

By Chloe Herring | June 18th, 2013 |

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.

Counterpoint: April 5 | North Korea, Gun Control Legislation

By WVUM News Staff | April 6th, 2013 |

 

 

A discussion of North Korea, Connecticut gun legislature, and Florida’s “Parent Trigger” law.

 

 

Counterpoint: 4/5 by Wvumnews on Mixcloud

Roundtable: Transit in Miami

By Hyan Freitas | News Director | March 8th, 2013 |

 

The Purple Line is a pop-up transit station. While real trains won’t be passing through, the idea is to give commuters a taste of what could be: a city hub that goes beyond just another train station. In a city they feel is lacking sufficient transit options, organizers Anna McMaster and Marta Viciedo hope that once the community sees what could be, they’ll never want to settle for anything less.

They joined ‘The Weekly Voice’ host Hyan Freitas to talk about their project. WVUM’s own DJ Swanky (Leah Weston) joined us as well. Her graphic comparing Miami’s rail line with other well known metro lines quickly went viral locally via social media.

Along with comments given by listeners via the WVUM Facebook page, so began the discussion of transit in Miami: the good, the bad and what can be done better.

The Weekly Voice; Every Wednesday from 2-3pm on WVUM 90.5FM in Miami, WVUM.org worldwide

Listen to the whole segment below!

Roundtable: Transit in Miami by Wvumnews on Mixcloud

A Conversation With Bill Nye the Science Guy | Part I

By WVUM News Staff | October 27th, 2012 |

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: