By: Jolanda Jones
I’m proud to say that the trumped up Criminal Trespass charges against Brother Kofi Taharka, Sister Krystal Sonia and Maria Elena Castellanos were dismissed last Wednesday. In my respectful opinion, the decision to arrest my clients was a political one to keep District Attorney Lykos in a position to win in the republican primary against a right wing conservative. She managed to get herself into that pickle because she had agreed, the previous day, to meet with my clients at the request of Brother Kofi.
It all started after the injustice of the acquittal of the Houston police officer who participated in the brutal assault on Chad Holley. The Black Justice Coalition arranged a press conference to protest the unfairness of the Harris County criminal injustice system generally and used the not-guilty verdict of the police officer as the catalyst. Numerous persons spoke from victims of actual police brutality like Robbie Tolan, Ovide Duncantell and Anthony Childress to community leaders, like all three of my clients, etc.
The crowd was in the hundreds. Police were everywhere. Many people commented that the police were out looking for an excuse to brutalize more Black and Brown folks because they didn’t believe that Blacks and Browns could meet in numbers without being violent. A DEA agent told me that they were out there to protect the crowd from people who might cause harm to the protesters. Needless to say there was no violence. There was however a sit-in in front of the doors of the “Criminal Injustice” building. The media was there and weren’t going to leave until the protest was over.
The problem was that Brother Kofi and Sisters Krystal and Castellanos were not going anywhere until they got a meeting with DA Lykos. Quanell X acted as the go between for the request. At some point she finally relented; Quanell announced the meeting between my clients, himself and a few others for 9am the following morning; my clients agreed to leave; then and only then did the crowd finally disperse.
The next morning there was miscommunication. My clients were waiting outside for Quanell X so they could all go in together. They called him but there were no answer. My clients waited for about 20 minutes before I suggested that we go upstairs to Lykos’ office because the waiting caused them to be late. They took my advice. When they arrived upstairs they weren’t allowed in and told the meeting was going on with others. The meeting went on for another 45 minutes without my clients being allowed to participate. The whole time there were negotiations between Lykos’ surrogates and myself and Brother Robert Muhammad because there was an acknowledgment by Lykos, through her people, that it was my clients who had initially requested the meeting.
The negotiations for the meeting with my clients that never happened went on for about for about two and one half to three hours. The whole time my clients were exercising their First Amendment rights to Free Speech to protest the injustice of the criminal justice system and the right to peaceable assembly to redress government. They did NOT disrupt the office, they did NOT block any entrances; they were non-violent. All they did was speak, speak and speak some more.
The next thing I know is that Lyko’s company line is that since my clients were late that they waived their right to the meeting they requested. Then they started saying that they would give them a meeting if they went and formally requested another meeting. One of her people, who shall remain anonymous, that Lykos’ political people thought it would be a bad political move if she caved in to my clients’ demand to have the meeting that they requested that morning.
At some point Lykos made a decision that my clients better leave or they would be arrested. When that threat was relayed Sister Krystal suggested that my clients assume the Chad-Holley-Beat-Down position, lying on the ground, on their stomachs, with their fingers clasped behind their heads. Lykos then, during the middle of the business day in a public building, had some special law enforcement personnel, not the Sheriff Department Deputies who ordinarily police her building, come in and ask my clients to leave because they were trespassing in a public building during business hours. They were then peacefully arrested. [To Be Continued – it gets better…]
By: Jolanda Jones