Darrell Cannon, Survivor of Police Torture and Wrongful Conviction, Speaks at the IMC and University YMCA

Darrell Cannon, survivor of police torture, wrongful conviction, and 24 years in prison spoke to large crowds at the Independent Media Center and University YMCA today. Mr. Cannon was tortured by Chicago police in 1983 and then again though nine years of solitary confinement in Tamms prison. He fought continuously for his innocence, finally succeeding in 2008. His civil suit against the City of Chicago is still pending.

Mr. Cannon shared the horrific details of his torture, pausing to tap his cheek for strength and comfort. He was captured by three Chicago police detectives who cracked his front teeth with the barrel of a shotgun - they shoved it in his mouth and pretended to fire. They hung him by handcuffs, wrenching his shoulders. After each of these events he refused to confess to the murder they accused him of. Then they shocked his genitals with a taser electroshock stun gun. He finally confessed. It was this forced confession, without proof or witnesses, that was used to put him away for life.

FCC Votes to End Predatory Phone Rates for Inmates and their Families

After a campaign by CU Citizens for Peace and Justice in 2005, Champaign County ended its phone contract that gouged local inmates and their families while providing a financial kick back to the county. You can read about this historic victory in the IMC archives. 8 years later, the Federal Communications Commission has taken similar action to reduce barriers to prisoners connecting with loved ones. As an anchor in the Media Action Grassroots Network which has led the national campaign for Prison Phone Justice, UCIMC would like to recognize all the hard work of Steven Renderos and the Center for Media Justice, Prison Legal News, and Working Narratives. Here is the press release from Center for Media Justice.

What Is a nüz/böx? One Way to Join the Movement for Hyperlocal Media

What is a nüz/böx?

First, it’s spelled with an X, a Z, two ümlaüts and a slash/. Even the name calls your attention. The pronunciation of nüz/böx is intentionally ambiguous. How do you pronounce it?

Pronunciation, like many aspects of a nüz/böx, is something the curator(s) – which is you if you decide you want to do it – give(s) form and direction to. A nüz/böx is purposely designed along minimalist lines, of concept, architecture, labor, and materials. It’s easy to do.

In simple terms, a nüz/böx is a hyperlocal, off-the-grid nexus of news, media and arts hosted by one or more households. There’s just one so far in the whole world, but I think it has wide appeal. Your neighborhood can have one …or more! I intentionally designed it to be a flexible concept, but can see networks of people joining together to put nüz/böxes along streets around town

Prison Activist Gregory Koger Sent Back to Cook County Jail

Gregory Koger’s three and a half year long saga with the Cook County courts came to an end today as police whisked him away to begin serving the remainder of a 300 day sentence. Koger’s conviction emerged from a 2009 incident where he attempted to video an anti-censorhsip  talk by Sunsara Taylor on the premises of Chicago’s Ethical Humanist Society. Instead of capturing a video, Koger ended up face down on the floor of the building while police handcuffed him, took him into custody, and ultimately charged him with three misdemeanors―trespassing, resisting arrest, and simple battery―despite the absence of any evidence that he was ever asked to leave the premises.

From the outset Koger maintained his innocence but the justice system did not concur. They insisted on pressing the charges, with Koger and his lawyer Jed Stone appealing the conviction each step of the way.

Photos from National Rally for Trayvon Martin

Approximately 150 people in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois took part in the national march called by the NAACP for a federal civil rights case against George Zimmerman who last week was acquitted for stalking and murdering 17 year-old African American youth Trayvon Martin. Sponsors included: Champaign County NAACP, CU Citizens for Peace and Justice, National Council of African American Men, Citizens with Convictions, NorthEnd Breakfast Club, Sisternet, Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, an AON CCAD.

The march kicked off from Martin Luther King, Jr. Park in Urbana. Youth led the march carrying a sign to remember Kiwane Carrington, a 15 year-old black youth killed by Champaign police in 2009. Aaron Ammons led the march on bullhorn.

Marchers raised up their hoodies in memory of Trayvon as they went down University Avenue.

Another Senseless Arrest of African-American Youth

A twenty-three year-old African-American man came to a CUCPJ meeting July 13 to tell us the horrors of his encounter with the Champaign Police.

Shooting the Messenger: Reflections on the Trial of Whistleblower Bradley Manning

A first-hand account of the Bradley Manning trial by local peace activist Niloofar Shambayati.

June 25: Community Justice Task Force Report on the Jail

On June 25, at 6 p.m., the Community Justice Task Force will be presenting a final report with its recommendations for the current proposed jail expansion. The meeting will be at Brookens Administration Building (Lierman and Washington St. in east Urbana).

The Task Force has been working for over a year to develop alternatives to the county's original plan to build a multi-million dollar extension of the satellite jail. CUCPJ urges people to attend the session on the 25th and hear what the Task Force recommends. Hopefully their report will provide some concrete ideas for taking the county's criminal justice system in a new direction.

A draft report on the jail by ILPP was released on April 30 and can be read here. Below is a response from CU Citizens for Peace and Justice. A final report from ILPP will come at the end of the summer.

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