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Fugitive Summons Issued for U.S. Black Anarchist, Lorenzo Komboa Ervin

February 26, 2013

lorenzo

From Memphis Black Autonomy Federation

Greetings,

In an attempt to disrupt the anti-police brutality work in Memphis, Tenn., USA. and the city’s March 30 Anti-Klan protest, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s department in Chattanooga, Tenn. (very likely working with other law enforcement agencies in Tennessee), has issued a “fugitive” summons for U.S. black anarchist, Lorenzo Komboa Ervin. He is the author of Anarchism and the Black Revolution and the co-founder of the Black Autonomy Federation, whose chapter in Memphis has organized several protests against police brutality and made the national call for the upcoming Anti-Klan protest.
Background
The summons stems from court costs the county claims that Lorenzo owes in connection with a 12-year-old misdemeanor conviction.  Damon McGee, Mikail Musa Muhammad (Ralph P. Mitchell), and Lorenzo  were convicted in January, 2001, for disrupting a Chattanooga (Tenn.) City Council meeting in 1998 where they went to protest against police brutality. At the time, Chattanooga had the highest number of people killed by police in U.S. cities with populations under 200.000..
Damon has also received a “fugitive” summons. Mikail died in 2006. There is no statute of limitations in the U.S. on the collection of court  fees and fines, and Damon and Lorenzo could be arrested at any time.
The Chattanooga 3, as  they were called, were convicted for violating Tennessee’s “Disrupting Meetings Law,” which makes it illegal for anyone by “physical action or verbal utterance” to  interfere with a lawful meeting. The law should be declared unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment rights of free speech and assembly.
At the May 19, 1998 city council meeting, the chairman of the council had agreed to allow Lorenzo to speak on behalf  of the Coalition Against Police Brutality  to present a proposal for community control of the police. More than 100 people packed the meeting to back the proposal. But when the time came, the city council president would not allow Lorenzo to speak. Police arrested him when he attempted to read the proposal from the speaker’s podium. Damon and Mikail, who were at the podium with Lorenzo, were also arrested.
The Chattanooga 3 went on trial in a kangaroo courtroom. For one thing, the jury pool was tainted. One juror was a neighbor of the prosecutor. Worse, a married couple was on the same jury pool! The judge refused to allow defense attorneys to use the First Amendment in arguing their cases.
The conspiracy against the Chattanooga 3 became crystal clear after sheriff’s deputies allowed a black man to bring a gun into the courtroom. The man, who said he was a supporter of Osama Bin Laden, claimed that Lorenzo told him to bring the gun to the courtroom. The defendants had to remove some of the jurors prior to jury deliberations because of this prejudicial orchestrated event.
The Chattanooga 3 had support from activists around the world, who sent hundreds of emails to the Hamilton County district attorney. This international support and the fact that two days prior to sentencing, supporters held a big rally in Chattanooga that was widely publicized in the ruling class media, forced the judge to give the three activists suspended sentences.
The Chattanooga 3 case was Lorenzo’s second conviction for violating the disruption meetings law. In 1994, he and another activist were convicted for protesting against police brutality across the street from a memorial service for police held in Chattanooga in 1993. In this case, the Tennessee Supreme Court refused to hear Lorenzo’s appeal.
What You Can Do To Help:
1. Contact  Criminal Court Judge Rebecca Stern, who presided over the Chattanooga 3 trial. Email , call or fax her and demand that she withdraw the “fugitive”  summonses issued for Lorenzo and Damon McGee. Send email using the URL below.
If you are in the U,S., call Stern at (423)209-7500 or send a fax to her at (423)209-7501.
2. Make protests to Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond, using the URL below for email)
Call the sheriff at( (423)209-7000, or send a fax to (423)209-7001 (if you are in the U.S.)
3. Circulate this email widely to ABC, autononmist and left groups around the U.S.and internationally.
Peace and love,
JoNina Ervin
Acting Chair
Memphis Black Autonomy Federation
P.O. Box 16382
Memphis, Tennessee USA 38186-0382
(901)674-8430
9 Comments leave one →
  1. jake permalink
    February 27, 2013 12:13 am

    for the email it says to ‘What office do you want to send this email to?’ and i’m not sure which one to choose…

  2. February 27, 2013 12:37 am

    A couple of them seem like good options. We did a few of the relevant ones like sheriff, court clerk, etc.

  3. February 27, 2013 3:48 am

    Reblogged this on tantriclemons.

  4. Cate permalink
    February 27, 2013 9:56 am

    Two questions:
    1) What’s going on to actively try and get the Disrupting Meetings Law declared unconstitutional–what suits have been filed and how can one help with that?
    2) How much are the court costs they’re supposed to owe? If those fees go away, the fugitive summons should be dropped, right? Is there a way for people to make protest contributions so this summons can go away and stop being a distraction for the ongoing anti-police brutality work in Memphis?

  5. February 27, 2013 10:00 am

    Reblogged this on Wessex Solidarity and commented:
    FW Lorenzo’s book ‘Anarchism and the Black Revolution’ can be found on the the Wessex reference library page.

    • February 27, 2013 6:30 pm

      i believe this is also available on our resources tab; we send it in quite frequently to prisoners in a zine format.

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