New Black Panther Party’s Statement of Support for Erika Hankerson And for the American Civil Liberties Union’s call for a federal investigation of the Newark Police

Erika Hankerson stands with a family member and supporters in front of Newark, NJ City Hall. Zayid Muhammad, NBPP local leader describes the incident.

Stop Police Brutality! In the Black Community! By any means necessary! The New Black Panther Party wholeheartedly condemns the abuse and mistreatment of Erika Hankerson at the hands of the Newark Police.

This past Saturday, October23rd,  Hankerson, along with her sister and niece, were leaving a neighborhood after party when they were stopped by the police who said they were responding to a call about their being a ‘fight’ between females. Hankerson explained that there had been no fighting, and that she was with her sister and her niece. As they proceeded to their car, Hankerson was grabbed by the same police officers and thrown into their squad car. Her top was torn in the arrest and exposed her breasts. The officers called her ‘b and told her to shut the f up and f her Miranda rights. They then maced her sister and her niece, but did not arrest them. Ms. Hankerson was then charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and a host of other charges. She has to answer those charges in a Newark court on November 4th.

This traumatic incident comes on the heels of her fifteen year old son, Travis Rattray, being beaten by an undercover Newark police officer only months ago. Adding insult to injury, Newark police officers driving squad car 311 threatened her son Travis, telling him as they apparently looking for someone else in his neighborhood that “they can’t wait until he turns 18.”

These abusive encounters with Newark police have greatly traumatized Ms. Hankerson. She miscarried a pregnancy in the aftermath of her son’s attack several months ago. She is currently having troubling sleeping and anxiety attacks from these most recent incidents.

We are therefore demanding that the City of Newark immediately do several things to address this particular incident and this larger issue of police abuse and corruption.

For the Hankerson family, very plainly, we demand that all charges levied against Ms. Hankerson be dropped in the interests of justice. We demand that the officers involved in the incident be terminated. We demand that the City offer Ms. Hankerson a formal apology. This should come from either the mayor or the police director or both. We unite with the American Civil Liberties Union’s demand that the City immediately implements an independent monitor to oversee cases of corruption and abuse and that the federal government, the Justice Department, launches a full and thorough investigation of the Newark Police Department.

Sadly, but surely, the Newark Police Department is most simply put “out of control!” It is time for people’s to stand up and demand the proper intervention.

Hands off Erika Hankerson! Hands off Travis Rattray! Black Power! All Power to the People!

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About Michael T. McPhearson

Currently Michael is executive director of Veterans For Peace and co-chair of the Don't Shoot Coalition, A Saint Louis based coalition that formed in the aftermath of Michael Brown's police killing death in Ferguson, MO. From August 2010 to September 2013, Michael worked as the National Coordinator with United For Peace and Justice. He is a former board member of Veterans For Peace and as well as Executive Director from 2005 to 2010. He works closely with the Newark based People’s Organization for Progress and the Saint Louis centered Organization for Black Struggle. Michel also publishes the Mcphearsonreport.org expressing his views on war and peace, politics, human rights, race and other things. Michael also launched Reclaimthedream.org website as an effort to change the discourse and ignite a new conversation about Dr. Martin Luther King’s message and what it means to live in just and peaceful communities.