Newark, NJ Police Harassment of Mother and Son.

Erika Hankerson and her son Travis

The weather Thursday was so beautiful and glorious I really wanted to ride my motorcycle. Unfortunately the destination of my ride was not so wonderful.  I attended a New Black Panther Party press conference protesting a Saturday, October 23rd police brutality incident. Speaking for Erika Hankerson, area Panther leader Zayid Muhammad described the occurrence. Hankerson along with her sister and niece were stopped by Newark police officers responding to a call about a fight between two women. Hankerson explained that they were leaving a neighborhood party and were not involved in a fight. She then continued to her car. The police officers grabbed and threw her into their squad car. As a result, her clothes were torn and her breasts exposed. She has quoted them calling her a “bitch,” telling her to “shut the fuck up” and “fuck her Miranda rights.” She was then charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and a host of other things. She must appear before a Newark court on November 4.

Read the New Black Panther Party statement of support for Ms. Hankerson here. See video of press conference here.

This outrageous incident follows the beating of her 15-year-old son, Travis Rattray, several months ago in March. It was caught on video. A undercover officer, Angel Pared approached Travis and stopped him for what appears to be no reason. He began to search his pockets and when the boy protested Pared punched the boy. As a result of the beating Travis had several dreadlocks ripped from his scalp and a bruised neck. The officer is now facing criminal police brutality charges outlined in an indictment returned by an Essex County Grand Jury. (see below story)

I do believe most police officers are good and are trying to serve the public they have been charged to protect. But the one who are bad are very bad. They make it bad for all police. There is already an inevitable tension between police and the rest of society. Police represent government authority and they have a license to kill. Any many ways they are some of the most powerful people in our society because they make life and death decisions nearly with impunity. Mistreating the public heightens tensions and deepens distrust. This is why police must be held to the highest standard and any abuse of the public even if the person is a known criminal must not be tolerated. Power corrupts the best of us. It is seductive and carries most people away if allowed to go unchecked.

Good cops, it is your duty to standup to the bad cops. It will help ensure a prosperous community and make your job easier. When I read and hear stories like this I wonder where are you Good Police Officers, where are you?

The news article:
NEWARK, N.J. (WPIX) — A Newark detective, already suspended for battering a 15-year-old boy, is now facing criminal police brutality charges outlined in an indictment returned by an Essex County Grand Jury.

On March 24th, a security camera caught Det. Angel Pared, 28, punching Travis Rattray and pushing him into a glass door. The teenager had been waiting for a friend in front of 55 Spruce Street, when Pared approached and began to search Rattray’s pockets. Pared, who was wearing plain clothes, then arrested the teen with the help of 3 other officers. They were not charged in the indictment.

Read the rest of the story here. Watch videos below.

This is an ABC Channel 7 NY, news story.

This is the surveillance video.

From Pix 11 NY news. Near the end of the segment please listen to what a family member says about what other officers should do when one of their own is in the wrong.

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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.