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August 22nd, 2012

When it comes to police brutality, enough is enough

Lillie Howard
On Monday, August 27th, the family of Michael Lembhard will end their 15-day vigil with a “People’s Unity Rally”. The vigil started on August 13th directly across the street (55 Liberty Street) from the house where Michael Lembhard’s life was snatched away when two Newburgh police officers fired 15 shots into his body. Even though an Orange County Grand Jury did not indict the two officers, they are still considered guilty in many minds. The 15-day vigil is representative of the 15 bullets that were shot into Michael’s body on March 7, 2012.

This incident is just one of the many recent police shootings in this country, and something has to be done to stop this madness. Since January 2012, 110 African Americans have been killed by the police in this country and the majority of them were African American men. Wow! In our own community, Deonte Jones (2005), Antonio Bryant (2006), Nathaniel Cobbs (2007), Michael Lembhard (2012) and other questionable deaths have occurred and “not guilty” has always been the end result. Civil rights attorney Michael Sussman  recently brought forth almost 21 cases that ended in lawsuits against the City of Newburgh due to police misconduct. Enough is enough!

I find it very interesting that, as I’m writing this article, Soledad O’Brien (360) is on CNN talking about two recent police shootings which caused death. This madness is definitely out of control and something must be put in place to stop it. What?

In “I Have A Dream” - the quotations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - one of Dr King’s descriptions of ACTION is: (Direct and Legal) Direct action is not a substitute for work in the courts and the halls of government. Bringing about passage of a new and broad law by a city council, state legislature or the Congress, or pleading cases before the courts of the land, does not eliminate the necessity for bringing about the mass dramatization of injustice in front of city hall. Indeed, direct action and legal action complement one another; when skillfully employed, each becomes more effective.

Dr. King also said: “Any real change in the status quo depends on continued creative action to sharpen the conscience of the nation and establish a climate in which even the most recalcitrant elements are forced to admit that change is necessary.”

Sharpening the conscience of the powers that be in the City of Newburgh and throughout the nation is what the People’s Unity Rally will hopefully begin to do. Many of the guest speakers have personally experienced the lives of their loved ones being terminated by police and they’re coming forth on Monday, August 27th to share their pain and their actions regarding the loss of their loved ones’ lives. They will also be showing their support for Lembhard’s family, as well as the other families that have lost loved ones to police brutality in the City of Newburgh.

Omari Shakur, the spokesman for the Lembhard family, recently announced the guests that will honor our community with their presence at the August 27th rally: Cynthia McKinney (former GA Congresswoman and former presidential candidate), Danette Chavis (, Constance Malcolm and Frank Graham (parents of Ramarley Graham), Juanita Young (October 22nd Parents Coalition to Stop Police Brutality), Kenneth Chamberlain, Jr. (son of Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr.), Civil Rights Attorney Michael Sussman (attorney for Danroy Henry, Nathaniel Cobbs, and Michael Lembhard), Sanford Rubenstein (Civil Rights attorney for Danroy Henry, Amadou Diallo, Abner Louima, and the Herve Gilles families), Darrell Davis (Commuity Activist and WBNR and host), Damon Jones (Blacks in Law Enforcement NY State representative) Marc Pessin (Rockland Campaign against the New Jim Crow, and Sundiata Sadiq (Mumia Coalition).

Hopefully this will bring the necessary attention needed to cause the Justice Department to come into the City of Newburgh and conduct a serious investigation of the City of Newburgh police department. If not, why not? How many more bullets have to be fired by the police?  Enough is enough is enough! I Hope to see you there on August 27th, directly across from 55 Liberty Street.

One never knows who the next victim will be. Seriously think on that! This is Lillie’s Point of View!
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