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by Repost of Assata Shakur forums
Sunday, Dec. 09, 2007 at 1:41 PM
The state’s cases against T. A. C. O., Aryana and Stress, which T. A. C. O. described as “b. s.” to defense attorney Guillermo Suarez, are based on the testimony of an undercover cop who alleges that he approached the Black Riders, pretending to be Lebanese and connected to freedom fighters in the Middle East. He claims that the three defendants were involved in a plot to take possession of weapons and protective vests that he claimed to be able to provide them.
No weapons were ever involved. These charges are essentially for a “Thought crime” – allegedly conspiring to attempt to possess weapons.
theblackriders2.jpgmid.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x393
Special District Attorney Goudy told defense attorney Guillermo
Suarez, "You're lucky I wasn't here when you asked for reduced bail
for (Black Rider Liberation Party member) Aryana Gladney (a motion
which was denied by the judge, who left bail at half a million
dollars). I was planning to ask for an increase." Goudy went on to
get bails of $1 million each on two other leading members of the
Black Riders, General T.A.C.O. (Taking All Capitalists Out) and
comrade Stress. The three appeared briefly on Monday Dec. 3 in two
different courtrooms of LA. County Criminal Courts, on weapons
conspiracy charges. Aryana and Stress were in Div. 38 for a
preliminary hearing, where the judge agreed to a postponement until
Wednesday (the D.A. had asked for an additional week). T.A.C.O. was
brought separately and individually into Div. 30 for an arraignment,
where a deputy "alternate public defender" read him the charges
against him, and he pleaded not guilty. T.A.C.O. was manacled at the
waist and his wrists were shackled to the waist chain, and was
guarded by two armed deputies on his right and left.
He is under a "keep away" order, isolated from all other general
population prisoners, even while being brought into court. He is
being held under conditions of solitary confinement in a security
housing unit near the Twin Towers jail in downtown L.A. The LA
Sheriff's Department "accidentally" recorded his name wrong on his
booking so that friends and supporters could not find him in the
system for nearly a week until he was brought into court for the
arraignment. Aryana was moved around and ended up in the sheriff's
Lynwood jail, and Stress is being held up in Santa Clarita. The three
co-defendants have yet to be able to meet together. Stress was told
by his public defender that he might not be brought down for
Wednesday's court appearance, but only be shown the proceedings over
closed circuit TV. The preliminary hearing will probably result in
another postponement (just what the D.A. wanted), because T.A.C.O.'s
attorney will not have had any time to prepare.
Despite the seriousness of the felony conspiracy charges, which also
include a "gang enhancement," (even though the Black Riders are not a
gang but work with "gang" youth to defuse internecine violence), and
the extraordinarily high bails, neither the D.A.'s office nor the Los
Angeles Police Dept. have made the case or the charges public. They
are attempting, under the cover of a media white-out and the
separation and the isolation of the defendants, to carry out a
railroad and disrupt the efforts of the Black Riders to build gang
truces, Black-Brown unity, and a campaign to free political prisoners
like the San Francisco Eight (for Black Panther Party members and
associates). Separately, another leading member of the BRLP, sister
Nadia Shakur, is being held in San Bernardino County on weapons
charges that were filed and once dropped stemming from a raid of a
house in Highland, CA last summer. Nadia and T.A.C.O. had been
arrested in Pinole, CA, near Oakland in northern California on the
same day that Stress and Aryana were picked up on the streets of Los
Angeles. Nadia is not due to appear in court until Monday, December
10. A number of other members of the BRLP are also doing time or
facing less serious charges due to the constant criminalization and
harassment of the Black Riders as revolutionary community organizers
and street activists.
The state's case against T.A.C.O., Aryana and Stress, which T.A.C.O.
described as "b.s." to defense attorney Guillermo Suarez, are based
on the testimony of an undercover cop who alleges he approached the
Riders pretended to be Lebanese and connected to freedom fighters in
the Middle East. He claims that the three were involved in a plot to
take possession of weapons and protective vests he claimed to be able
to provide them. The charges are so specious that the D.A. filed an
amended complaint on Monday claiming only "attempted possession" of
automatic weapons (since there were absolutely no grounds presented
for the original charge of 'possession' -- no weapons were ever
involved). So, like the warrant on the San Bernardino raid (an event
which is wrapped into the narrative of the criminal complaint here),
these charges are essentially for a "thought crime" -- allegedly
conspiring to attempt to possess weapons. The actual crime of the
Black Riders are their actual thoughts -- revolutionary minded
advocacy of Black liberation and anti-capitalism. As the LAPD says in
the summary of their "investigation," "The BRLP, self-described as a
revolutionary communist organization out of South Central Los Angeles
... is known to be anti-government, anti-police and pro-Black unity.
BRLP members believe that the Black community would be better served
if they governed their own people. They also believe that the system
of capitalism is oppressive and dehumanizing to the Black community."
Of General T.A.C.O., the LAPD says: "He believes that instead of
rival gang members fighting each other, they should turn their anger
and rage at the real enemy, the oppressive state and the police." A
fairly accurate summary of the Black Riders' believe, and damning
admission of the true reason the state and the police are trying to
lock them up.
It's no accident or coincidence that the arrests took place while
several of the Black Riders were up in northern California building
support for the SF8 political prisoners, or that they were scheduled
to appear in court on December 3, the same day as a hearing was
scheduled in San Francisco on the SF Eight. The state is threatened
by the revolutionary example of the elders and the revolutionary
energy and commitment of the youth in the Black liberation struggle,
and seeks to disrupt their unity and the efforts of the BRLP to
develop struggle to free all political prisoners in the Black
community. It is also not coincidental that this attack takes place
after the BRLP helped lead a successful and widely publicized
Black-Brown mobilization against the white supremacist Minuteman
organization in Leimert Park. The L.A. Sentinel had just run a
feature-length article and interview with the Black Riders in the
wake of that demonstration. The attack on the Riders is an attack on
the Black community as a whole, on conscious activists seeking to
defuse Black-on-black violence and Black-Brown tensions, and on all
committed to liberation for oppressed people or freedom for political
The Black Riders Liberation Party can be contacted, and donations can
be sent to: Black Riders, P.O. Box 8297, Los Angeles, CA 90008.
Jericho Amnesty Coalition to Free All Political Prisoners is planning
a meeting on Sunday at 1:00 in the downtown area to map out a
campaign around this case. If you are interested in getting involved,
call 310-495-0299. We will have an update on what occurs in court on
Wednesday, and hopefully perspectives and participation from the BRLP.
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