Free Esrail Britton

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On August 12th, Esrail Britton, a nineteen-year-old St. Louis native, was in Ferguson protesting Mike Brown's murder. At about 1am that morning, Esrail was shot by a St. Louis County police officer three times. The officer claimed Esrail pointed a gun at him from five feet away; a gun with none of Esrail's DNA or fingerprints was recovered far from the scene. Esrail was charged and released from jail on no bond; his judge determined that he was not in any way a threat to society and his health condition was so critical that the jail could not provide the care he needed. However, upon his release, the St. Louis County Police Union mounted an aggressive media campaign, saying they were "disgusted" with Esrail's release. 

A few weeks later, Esrail was put back in jail with a $200,000 cash-only bond. He has now been in jail for more than five months, has not been receiving proper medical care, and cannot move the shoulder in which he was shot, because he has not been allowed to attend physical therapy.

Earlier this week, Esrail's lawyer got his bond reduced to $20,000 cash-only. The Justice for Mike Brown Legal Support Fund can contribute $6,000 toward Esrail's bond, but we are still $14,000 short. Because this is an extremely severe situation, we--together with Esrail's family--are asking members of the movement to help by contributing to this bail fund. If we cannot post bail for Esrail, he'll be in jail until at least the end of the year, because his trial will not start until September at the earliest. Esrail's father is a member of the carpenters' union local 97; although he currently does not have the money to get Esrail out, he is offering to do carpentry for local folks in exchange for contributing to this fund. If you contribute to the fund and are interested in that, please email fergusonjs2014@gmail.com.

Esrail is yet another example of how our criminal justice system does not value Black lives. Please contribute to the fund and let Esrail know there is an entire movement that believes his life matters. 

Go here to contribute: https://secure.piryx.com/donate/mS25KFCe/MORE/freeesrail

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February 9 Legal Collective Update

This was an exciting week for the legal collective. See below for updates. 

Arrestee meeting

This Tuesday evening, we had our second meeting of arrestees to organize, build community and support one another. There were about 40 arrestees present at the meeting. We formed working groups, including:

  • Shut down the workhouse
  • Abolish municipal courts and bench warrants
  • Monthly support group for arrestees facing felonies
  • Drop the charges for protesters
  • Know Your Rights training/political education
  • Outreach/recruitment

Our goal is to organize with arrestees so that we are not only supporting them as they navigate the criminal “justice” system, but also organize to fundamentally change that racist system. These working groups will be meeting over the next couple of weeks. Our next all-arrestee meeting will be the first Tuesday in March, location TBD. If you are interested in joining any of these groups (even if you were not arrested in the protests), please email fergusonjs2014@gmail.com.

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Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE) calls for abolition of racist municipal courts, moratorium on municipal bench warrants

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 2, 2015

Media Contacts: Julia Ho, 806-535-4768 and Jeff Ordower, 314-267-4664

Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE) calls for abolition of racist municipal courts, moratorium on municipal bench warrants

Community group pressures County Exec Steve Stenger to take a stand on municipal court reform

St. Louis County--This afternoon, Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE) held a press conference in front of County Executive Steve Stenger’s office to release their study, “Transforming St. Louis County’s Racist Municipal Courts” and call on Stenger to take a stance on the issue of municipal court reform. In the wake of Ferguson,the St. Louis County municipal courts emerged as a prime example of entrenched, structural racism in the region. MORE called on County Executive Steve Stenger to use all powers at his disposal to correct the injustice and predatory of racism of the municipal courts.

 

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St. Louis Legal Collective 1/25/2015 Update

In 2015, we’ll be sending out weekly updates about the work we’re doing. The St. Louis Legal Collective formed spontaneously in response to the Mike Brown protests to provide accessible, democratic and accountable legal support to people fighting for social justice in St. Louis City and County. We currently have 15 core collective members and work with over 100 other movement volunteers. We are regular people (not lawyers) who refuse to allow the legal system to separate and silence us. To get involved email fergusonjs2014@gmail.com.

As mass arrests have decreased the focus of our work has shifted from primarily providing protest support (24/7 hotline, tracking people through the system, dispatching lawyers for jail visits, coordinating with arrestees friends and family, posting bail, dealing with warrants, giving rides home from jail, etc.) to helping people fight their court cases. We’ve scaled back the jail support hotline hours to Mondays and Thursdays from 9:30am - 1pm - is this correct. However if you’re planning an action and you’d like to arrange jail support we’re still here for you!  If possible please give us at least two days notice and email fergusonjs2014@gmail.com or call the jail support hotline (314-862-2249) during our regular hours.

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St. Louis Legal Collective 1/17/2015 Update

In 2015, we’ll be sending out weekly updates about the work we’re doing. The St. Louis Legal Collective formed spontaneously in response to the Mike Brown protests to provide accessible, democratic and accountable legal support to people fighting for social justice in St. Louis City and County. We currently have 15 core collective members and work with over 100 other movement volunteers. We are regular people (not lawyers) who refuse to allow the legal system to separate and silence us. To get involved email fergusonjs2014@gmail.com.

As mass arrests have decreased the focus of our work has shifted from primarily providing protest support (24/7 hotline, tracking people through the system, dispatching lawyers for jail visits, coordinating with arrestees friends and family, posting bail, dealing with warrants, giving rides home from jail, etc.) to helping people fight their court cases. We’ve scaled back the jail support hotline hours to Mondays and Thursdays from 9:30am - 1pm - is this correct. However if you’re planning an action and you’d like to arrange jail support we’re still here for you!  If possible please give us at least two days notice and email fergusonjs2014@gmail.com or call the jail support hotline (314-862-2249) during our regular hours.

 

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St. Louis Legal Collective 1/8/2015 Update

In 2015, we’ll be sending out weekly updates about the work we’re doing. Check out our first one! The St. Louis Legal Collective formed spontaneously in response to the Mike Brown protests to provide accessible, democratic and accountable legal support to people fighting for social justice in St. Louis City and County. We currently have 15 core collective members and work with over 100 other movement volunteers. We are regular people (not lawyers) who refuse to allow the legal system to separate and silence us. To get involved email fergusonjs2014@gmail.com.

As mass arrests have decreased the focus of our work has shifted from primarily providing protest support (24/7 hotline, tracking people through the system, dispatching lawyers for jail visits, coordinating with arrestees friends and family, posting bail, dealing with warrants, giving rides home from jail, etc.) to helping people fight their court cases. We’ve scaled back the jail support hotline hours to Mondays and Thursdays from 9:30am - 1pm - is this correct. However if you’re planning an action and you’d like to arrange jail support we’re still here for you!  If possible please give us at least two days notice and email fergusonjs2014@gmail.com or call the jail support hotline (314-862-2249) during our regular hours.

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End-of-Year Round-up for Ferguson Protests: More than 600 Arrests, At Least 18 Still in Jail with Serious Charges

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:  
Sarah Coffey
313-575-2332  
coffey529@gmail.com   

Kris Hermes            
510-681-6361
krishermes@earthlink.net

    
    

End-of-Year Round-up for Ferguson Protests: More than 600 Arrests, 
At Least 18 Still in Jail with Serious Charges
Community Groups Call for Amnesty


St. Louis, MO – As the year draws to a close, those providing legal support to people arrested in Ferguson and St. Louis City and County have taken toll of the official reaction to protests which have continued on an almost daily basis since the August 9th killing of Mike Brown. Over 600 people have been arrested, mostly on municipal charges, but 70 people are facing felony charges. St. Louis Artist and Activist Damon Davis said, “Protest and dissent are the most natural and necessary part of democracy. When people expressing their disdain with a power structure can be easily silenced by imprisonment, true democracy can be snuffed out in an instant. The jail support system gave people confidence in their ability to express contempt for the system without fear of being silenced in jail cells permanently. That confidence spread throughout the world and is a pivotal part of our protest infrastructure.”

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Updated Ferguson Jail Support Hotline Hours

Since we started jail support the week after Mike Brown was murdered, our goal has been to create an effective and trustworthy support structure that emboldens St. Louisans to be in the streets to demand justice. We believe jail support is one small part of building a movement powerful enough to create a world in which Black Lives Matter. We also firmly believe that an action, march, or rally isn’t really over until everyone is out of jail.

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Statement from MORE Jail Support Team on 9/25 Arrests in Ferguson

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, September 26, 2014

CONTACT: MORE Jail Support Team, 314-862-2249

 

MORE Jail Support Team Calls for Immediate Release of Arrested Ferguson Activists

Five activists remain in St. Ann Jail on 24- hour hold 

Last night, seven activists were arrested at a peaceful march in Ferguson calling upon Police Chief Thomas Jackson to resign.

Around 11:30 p.m., the police detained seven activists, including St. Louis independent journalist Umar Lee. Taurean Russell, one of the group’s police liaisons, then approached the police to try to persuade them to release the detainees. The police agreed to release the detainees if the group moved onto the sidewalk. However, after the group moved onto the sidewalk, the officers reneged on their promise and took the seven activists to jail in St. Ann.

One activist was released early this morning after being taken to the hospital for treatment of injuries he sustained after being beaten by the police. He was not charged.

The MORE jail support team has confirmed that five activists are still in jail in St. Ann, where they have all been put on a 24- hour hold. They have not yet been charged. MORE condemns the actions of the Ferguson police and calls for the immediate release of the five activists left in jail. We also condemn the St. Ann police for cooperating with the Ferguson police who so clearly have a wanton disregard for their residents.

“MORE has been involved with numerous arrestable and non-arrestable direct actions in the St. Louis region,” said MORE Executive Director Jeff Ordower. “Never before have we encountered a police department with such a reckless disregard for the safety, health, and wellbeing of protestors or a blatant unwillingness to cooperate to release them. ”

Over 200 activists have been arrested in conjunction with protests calling for justice for Mike Brown. Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed Mike Brown, is still walking free.

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Statement on 7 Arrested Last Night from the Legal Support Team

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 17, 2014

Contact: Legal Support Team, 314-862-2249

7 Arrested in Ferguson Were Sitting in Cars, Some Were Dragged Out by Hair

**Arrestees are available for interviews.**

Two different groups totalling seven people, charged with failure to disperse, were arrested in Ferguson this morning at approximately 1:30am. Five out of the seven people were released this morning at 7am. The Legal Support Team picked the arrestees up from the Buzz Westfall Justice Center in Clayton and received the following report of how arrests happened last night.

The first group was comprised of five people who had been at the Justice for Mike Brown march earlier in the evening. After leaving the march, they went to the home of one of their aunt’s on Kirk Drive. They were sitting in their parked car in front of the house smoking a cigarette when a swarm of police officers dressed in fatigues and what the arrestees describe as “military garb” rushed the car, put guns in their faces, and began pulling them out of the car. Two young women were pulled out of the car by their hair, and one was dragged through the dirt. All were told they were resisting arrest.

The second group was comprised of two people who were sitting in a parked car in a parking lot. Police instructed them to pull out of the parking lot and go home. As they pulled out of the parking lot, police pointed a rifle at them and directed them into the street. Police told them to stop the vehicle. After they stopped, an officer shot a rubber or wooden bullet straight into the windshield, cracking it. The two people in the car then stepped out and were arrested.

The Legal Support Team continues to be concerned about the ever escalating militarization of the police and what seems to be indiscriminate targeting of Ferguson residents.  

“It feels like I’m not human. It feels like I’m being treated like an animal--being told when I can come, when I can go, what time I can be out in my own community outside of my own house where I pay the mortgage and bills,” said Cieara Delaney, one of the women arrested outside of the house and dragged by her hair.  

Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE) is the community group that is currently hosting the collection of donations for the legal support fund. The legal support line for those who are in jail or who know those needing legal support is 314-862-2249. Donations can be madehttps://bitly.com/fergusonbailfund.

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