Remember Kids, The Only Good Cop Is A Dead Cop

Defend Efia Nwangaza

From The National Office of the October 22nd Coalition to
Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation

Dear friend,

We're writing to tell you of a serious miscarriage of justice that is being perpetrated in Greenville, South Carolina. Attorney Efia Nwangaza is currently facing a criminal contempt charge by the Office of the Attorney General of the state of South Carolina for boldly and consistently standing for justice for victims of police abuse. Efia is accused of jury tampering for distributing flyers alerting Black motorists being brought before the court on warrantless stops that "Driving while Black or Brown" was not a crime. And, that she marched on the courthouse and jail in the October 22nd National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation event in Greenville, South Carolina. The central theme of the march was support for the Wafflehouse 2 -- two Black men jailed in the death of a sheriff's deputy. The community believes the deputy died by "friendly fire."

The October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality believes that Efia is a victim of political persecution aimed at stopping her from exposing and building resistance to abuse by the criminal justice system. This persecution also aims to deliver a message to other attorneys that there's a heavy price to pay if you refuse to stand by while the criminal justice system abuses people. We feel that this is a message that we cannot allowed to be delivered. We are confident that you agree with us on this point. We ask that you join us in supporting Efia in her fight against this political persecution. We further ask that you publicize this miscarriage of justice and call on legal organizations and other groups and individuals involved in the fight for social justice to also come to Efia's defense.

And finally we ask that you make a generous contribution to stop this miscarriage of justice. It will cost money to fight this politically motivated attempt to strip the community in Greenville of a determined legal advocate. We are enclosing the Attorney General's letter informing Efia of the criminal investigation, our statement on her case and some background material. If you need further information on this case, you can contact the October 22nd Coalition at 212 477-8062. Or you can contact Efia at:

Efia Nwangaza, 202 Lavinia Avenue FSD 10193 Greenville, SC 29603
Telephone: 864-242-3039 Fax: 864-242-2560 Email: Wangaza@aol.com

Statement Re Efia's Case

The Oct 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation firmly condemns the attempt by the South Carolina Attorney General to persecute Efia Nwangaza for opposing the abuses the criminal justice system inflicts on the people. You are threatening her with criminal charges for what? For alerting people in the vicinity of the court house to the systematic way police targeted Black motorists (Driving while Black or Brown--DWB) in August of 1999. And for expressing the strongly felt convictions of the Black community and others in Greenville that the Waffle House 2 are being framed up during the October 22nd National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality in Greenville. In effect, you are saying that those who stand up for justice for victims of police abuse face possible criminal proceedings in South Carolina.

We note that the chief prosecutor of Greenville County, Bob Ariail, who originated the criminal complaint against Ms Nwangaza, has himself made public statements on the case of the Waffle House 2. On December 2nd, he is quoted in The Greenville News as saying he has a solid death penalty case against one of the Waffle House 2. Is he being investigated for jury tampering too? Wouldn't his statements have the affect of impacting the opinions of people who are potential jurors in this adjudicative proceeding pending before the court? Or does the Office of the Attorney General in South Carolina consider public statements intended to aid in railroading the Waffle House 2 allowable while statements aimed at alerting the public to a frame up in progress are subject to criminal investigations?

As for the matter of DWB, studies from New York to California have shown that this is a widespread practice of law enforcement agencies. The fact that the court room in Greenville on the day in question was filled with Black motorists taken into custody following warrantless stops shows that racist traffic stops are also frequently done by law enforcement there. The October 22nd Coalition therefore must conclude that raising the specter of jury tampering charges on Ms Nwangaza is an attempt to defend this heinous practice from exposure and resistance.

We can only understand this attempt to silence Ms Nwangaza as trying to force attorneys to either support abuse by the criminal justice system or at least to stand by silently while it goes down. It is to Ms Nwangaza's credit that she has refused to do either and continues to oppose these injustices. The October 22nd Coalition supports her completely in fighting this attempt to silence dissent and in her efforts to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation.

We also wish to put Efia's persecutors on notice that we intend to make this unjust proceeding against her known to legal organizations and others interested in social justice across the country and to invite them to join us in supporting her. If this is the approach the criminal justice system in your state takes to those who fight for social justice, it is fitting that the flag of slavery flies over your official proceedings.