Help Mitchell Crooks
On July 6, 2002, Mitchell Crooks saw police beating a peaceful and defenseless teenager. He grabbed his video camera and secretly taped the incident.
In the police report, the cops claimed 16-year-old Donovan Jackson had assaulted them and they had only used enough force to stop him. Thanks to Crooks's video tape, we know the truth. The tape shows one of the cops (Jeremy Morse) pick up the handcuffed (and apparently unconscious) youth and slam his face against a car. A minute later, Morse punched Jackson in the face. Jackson, it should be noted, had no criminal record (not so much as a parking ticket), while Morse had been the subject of a number of complaints during his three years working as a cop.
When Crooks came forward with this evidence, he knew police would retaliate, and he was right. In 1999, Crooks had been convicted of petty theft, drunk driving, and hit-and-run driving. He was sentenced to seven-months in jail, but he never showed up to serve his time. In three years, police never bothered to go to his house and pick him up. But when Crooks stepped forward to present evidence of a crime committed by police, the police department decided it was time to lock him away.
Not one of the cops who attacked Jackson has yet to see the inside of a jail. Two have been charged but are allowed to remain free until they are convicted, which will probably never happen since cops in our society do not get jail-sentences for attacking "minors". But Crooks is in jail and he needs our help.
No one here condones hit-and-run driving or petty theft. (I, in fact, have been the victim of a hit-and-run driver. Of course, I've also been arrested for witnessing police misconduct, so I understand these issues all too well.) Crooks should have been jailed three years ago. But to arrest him now, to punish him for stepping forward and presenting the truth, is wrong. It is an attempt by bad cops to intimidate good citizens into silence. This is the time to raise our voices.
How you can help
Progressive Congresswoman Maxine Waters and the Black Women's Forum are raising money for Crooks' defense. Send a check or money order to:
Black Women's Forum
3870 Crenshaw Blvd., Suite 210
Los Angeles, CA 90008
Make your check payable to "Black Women's Forum" and write "Mitchell Crooks" in the memo section.
Every dollar helps.