Black Liberation: Justice for Armani Lee

“Until the story of the hunt is told by the lion, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” –African Proverb

Anti-Blackness is deep in our city, and the Sacramento institutions that hold power over Black lives consistently try to tell the story of diversity and unity while simultaneously silencing Black voices. We are NOT a world-class city committed to racial and social justice—despite the deceitfulness that falls from of lips of our leaders. We are instead locked in terror of the hunt—watching Black bodies bleed out in what should be our streets, watching Black minds being railroaded by racist law enforcement and held captive in our filthy jail cells, watching young people navigate anti-Blackness in our very own school-to-prison-pipeline, and watching as white supremacy steals not only Black lives, but rewrites the story to gaslight and criminalize those fighting to survive. The lion, tho…

Her roar, unwaveringly loud and centuries deep, has already cracked the foundation of these institutions of violence. She is now calling her siblings to her side, and when they surround the hunter they will reclaim their own, unlock the jail cell, and dismantle the classroom. This is the story that is being written right now.

Law enforcement is the club of the hunter. It knows no justice or mercy.

Sacramento PD has proven over and over that they cannot be trusted. That their very existence is rooted in over-policing marginalized communities. That they lie on Black people. That they harm Black people. That they kill Black people. In exactly one year from 4/11/16 to 4/11/17 Sac PD murdered two unarmed and unhoused Black men experiencing homelessness, and then choked and beat another Black man for crossing the street. Dazion, Joseph, and Nandi only had their story told because community members either filmed the assaults or family lawyers demanded the police footage. Not one officer has been terminated from their position, let alone indicted for their crime.

On February 10th Armani Lee knew he was being followed. He could feel those watching him and saw men stalking him. He had no reference for who or why they were there, only that he was being hunted. These men had no uniform on and their cars were unmarked. Stressed, Armani was scared for his life, which proved to be in jeopardy. Plain clothes detectives directed beat officers to arrest Armani, but somehow, they conveniently failed to turn on their vehicle’s dash camera. They said he was a suspect in a previous violent crime, but didn’t think it was necessary to follow video protocol? The plain clothes officers never identified themselves, only opened fire on Armani when they “feared for their lives.”

Armani was shot six times and suffered lethal injuries, through a miracle and multiple surgeries, Armani survived. Even that they wanted to steal from him. An officer called his family to notify them of his death—while he was still alive and needed emergency medical treatment. Armani lay bleeding and writhing in pain for thirty minutes until EMTs transported him to the hospital.

He could have died, and more over they wanted him to. Chief Brian Louie said as much while asking Sacramento City Council for an indefinite extension on the release of police video taken at the scene. Yes, that is right, they turned on their cameras AFTER they shot him. The police department tried, unsuccessfully, to delay and hide the video and audio. During his request to council, Chief Louie said that since he survived it “unfortunately” would take them longer to edit the footage. WTF? Even more disturbing, nearly 100 minutes of video is STILL missing. What are they hiding?

It is time for us to collect our family and community members stolen by Sacramento PD. Armani now sits in a grimy jail cell recovering from major physical and emotional trauma, while the hunters tell their tale of his culpability. He is being charged with attempted murder while the officers that actually killed Dazion and Joseph continue to patrol the streets. They have told us lies before, so we are no longer listening. Armani needs our support, our protection, and our voices uplifting his name.

#Justice4ArmaniLee

If law enforcement is the hunter’s club, then the education system is his net.

This weekend and next BLM Sacramento will be shredding that net, decolonizing minds, envisioning Black liberation, and celebrating Black knowledge. Freedom School 2017, a four-day event for black children and families, arose out of countless local instances of anti-Black racism from criminalizing students for having Black and African pride to promoting racist propaganda in the classroom. From Elk Grove to Folsom to Roseville, the entire Sacramento school system has been both complicit in and overtly promoting the school-to prison-pipeline. Freedom School scholars will be loved, safeguarded, taught accurate history, given the tools to organize for radical change, and a microphone for their voices and stories. Just like the criminal in-justice system, the education system cannot be reformed as is, because it is working as designed. Privileged children receive privileges, and marginalized children are silenced. We need to reclaim our PUBLIC schools from the hands of white supremacy, and create learning environments that Black futures can thrive in.

The urgency of Freedom Schools today is as great as it was during The Civil Rights Movement they were born of. While BLM Sacramento’s education team was prepping for the event, several El Camino High School BSU members came to volunteer and shared their experiences. These young people described being trapped by anti-Blackness without allies to prevent or even call-out their abuse. They spoke of a friend who had been suspended eighteen times for up to five days apiece—his education effectively stolen from him. They spoke of being subjected to racist slurs by the teachers during “lessons” and by their peers on social media. They talked about being sidelined, deradicalized, and ultimately silenced. They never spoke of feeling safe, cared for, or finding justice within their school.

But the lion, tho…

Black youth matter. Their stories will be told.

“First of all, to me, it sounds so strange saying anti-black racism because my experience with the education system has resulted in me using 'less harsh' words like for example inequity or non-inclusive. I have been conditioned to appeal to the less radical language in order to influence change. For 2 years my school specifically has implemented anti-black racism in the very threads of its structure. Whether it be the color of our staff, the number of kids getting sent out of class, or even who gets recommended for higher classes. Going to school every day as the president of the BSU, was excruciatingly painful. Although I loved being surrounded by intelligent black students, I hated becoming something I wasn't supposed to be. I had become the only advocate for all 14% of black students on campus. I was their mom, I was their friend, their confidant. Every time something racist happened I was called. I was out of class about 20% of my second semester as a senior because I was in the office. And why was I in the office; I was doing someone else's job. I was being the black teacher that those kids needed and that the district would make excuses not to hire. Our ally teachers themselves didn't use their privilege to their full capacity in order to push for equity and change. So, if I went to a school without anti-Black racism (which is virtually impossible without dismantling the entire education system), it would simply be a school where the teachers and administration looked like the students. The AP and honors classes were just as diverse as the school. The number of students of color sent to the office and suspended was not ridiculously disproportionate to their white counterparts. A school where if white students say the n-word with the harsh R repeatedly, school policy isn't circumvented in order for them to be able to walk at graduation while making all the black students extremely uncomfortable. A school where I could be free to be a student and just that."

--Joy Maina BSU President at El Camino High School

Upcoming Events

Freedom School

Press Conference: Demanding Justice and Transparency for Multiple Instances of Murder and Abuse by Sacramento Sheriff Department

5/5/ 2017 Ryan Ellis died while in transport to the Jail

According to the sheriff, this cuffed man managed to lay down on his back in a deputy car, bring his feet upto kick the window out, then got back up and managed to throw himself out of the vehicle all while a deputy was driving.

He suffered a severe head injury that resulted in his death.

Q: Why was he picked up at 7pm and not brought to the hospital till 12am? #WhatHappenedin5Hours

Q: How come there are no road burns or scrapes around his head injury if he fell out of a moving vehicle?

Q: How do you pull your body through a car window while your hands are cuffed?

Q How come the deputy didn't stop the vehicle while everything was going on?

Q Why wasn't he belted in? or was he?

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5/8/2017 Mikel Mcintyre was killed by Sacramento Sheriff

According to the FIRST story the sheriff dept gave, Mikel was "choking a woman" and throwing rocks at police and their dogs. So they feared for their lives and took Mikel's.

Later the sheriff changed the narrative and told the media that he was not "choking" a woman (his mother).

The truth is, he was not acting violently toward anyone. He was suffering a mental health crisis and needed help. Instead, our sheriff deputies chased this man and shot him 4 times in his back. Then used their K9 as a way to gain the public sympathy and vilify the name of Mikel Mcintyre.

Q: How do you fear for your life and kill, when you are the agressor?

Q: Where is the evidence that supports your version of events, despite the family who was there with a completely different version of their experience.

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4/11/2016 Patricia Hill Beaten by SacPD and then taken to jail and beaten by Sheriff Deputies

Patricia was driving a car she had just bought her son and turned on the windshield wipers when trying to turn on the blinkers to make a turn into a gas station to get gas. Police followed her and when she stopped, they accused her of drinking. They gave her a breathalyzer test and it came back with no alcohol. They tried several times and then searched her car. Nothing.

Upset that they didn't find anything, they violently put her in to the back of their car and while doing that breaking the bridge of her nose. She was unconscious and when woke up, was taken down to Sac County Jail where three deputies went on to mock her, call her names, and then pushed her down so hard on the ground it broke her eye socket. She was released the next day and got medical attention. Has tried to obtain any info from that day and has been denied by both SacPD and Sac Sheriff.

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We have done this dance with our sheriff before and it resulted with him losing the congressional election.

This department has cost this city over 15 million in law suits ranging from excessive force, sexual assault, and murder.

The people are tired of your lies, your killings, your abuse in our jails. These families pay your salary so we will have demands that need to be met.

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When: Thursday June 8 2017

Where: Sacramento Sheriff Main Office

Time: 12pm

Address: 711 G Street 95814


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