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News ::
Defend Mitchell Crooks, political prisoner
12 Jul 2002
Modified: 15 Jul 2002
Whistleblower needs protection.
The videographer of the police beating of the 16 year old minor is now in police custody over some alleged "outstanding warrents" from a few years back. He was initially arrested for "jaywalking" which his lawyer says is untrue. The arrest occured outside of the CNN headquarters by undercover police while the whistleblower was waiting for a televised interview upstairs. Mitchell's arrest was also videotaped as he was seen and heard screaming and pleading for someone to "help" him as he was being placed in the police van. He had previously expressed tremendous fear of being apprehended and retaliated against by law-enforcement due to the video he filmed and made public. Apparently, his nightmare seems to be coming true as these words get typed.

Mitchell Crooks, 27, the tourist who videotaped the Inglewood, Ca. police officer (Jeremy Morse) ruffing up the 16 year old from his motel window has been arrested. Of course this takes place as the young man awaits his interview on CNN, in fact, just minutes before the interview was scheduled to begin.
The whistleblower, who's already appeared on various news shows, did a radio show early thursday explaining his view of the story as well as his fears, as the District Attorney (check resources for his name) came on the air and essentially ordered Mitchell to appear before court as he was being given a sopoena(sp) as well as being ordered to provide his home address. These orders were given *on the air*. Crooks immediately hung up the phone.

Hours later, he's now in police custody, no doubt undergoing a very traumatic experience as many "whistleblowers" of police brutality have been made to endure. I'm genuinely fearing for his physical and mental safety.

Activists and concerned people MUST stand up for this brave man and his human and constitutional rights. I hope something is or will soon be underway in order to defend Mitchell Crooks, who should be considered an inspiration to people who witness police abuse, brutality and misconduct.

We must NOT let Mitchell become a martyr, or slip through the cracks of public awareness.
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More info on charges
12 Jul 2002
One note--the CNN is reporting that Crooks is not wanted for jaywalking, but that

"He was arrested on an outstanding warrant for petty theft with a prior conviction, driving under the influence and hit-and-run in Placer County, in northern California."

The same article later elaborates,

"The Placer County sheriff's office said Crooks was arrested in February 1999 for stealing two VCRs from his mother's home. On his way to steal them, he was in a traffic accident and fled the scene; he was later charged with hit and run and driving under the influence for that wreck.

Crooks was convicted of the three crimes in March 1999 and sentenced to seven months in jail but failed to report for the sentence, leading to the warrant for his arrest, the Placer County sheriff's office said."

These are not horrible charges (though driving under the influence isn't okay). But they aren't jaywalking either.

So why do I bring this up? Because I'm a counter-revolutionary trying to tarnish his character Giuliani-style? No, actually. I'm writing this because it's important for those advocating for Crooks, or for anyone else, to have their facts straight.

If we start off by saying that he was picked up on a warrant for jaywalking, we do two things. One is that we mess up our credibility. It makes people less likely to believe all that we say.

Beyond that, though, we confuse the issue. Tell a false story about what warrants Crooks was arrested on, and that becomes the focuws of the discussion. In this case, it seems that whether Crooks had warrants for petty theft, jaywalking, bank fraud, or imitating an aardvark without a license, his arrest is not about that. His arrest helps to send a message to others that they shouldn't get involved with police monitoring or they'll find themselves the subject of this sort of harassment. That's not an okay message for the police force to send, regardless of what Crooks may have in his past.

I'm reminded somewhat of the Jaoudat Abouazza case. Initially, ANSWER was reporting that Jaoudat was stopped on the pretext of a "minor traffic violation." Other papers like the Weekly Dig have since reported that he was arrested for allegedly having stolen license plates and a prior warrant (also traffic related). This is still minor stuff, but it's not the illegal left or speed limit violation that many probably thought of when they read of a minor traffic violation.

But this half-truth muddled a lot of the case for Jaoudat's advocates. Many questioned if ANSWER was being truthful, especially on shocking charges that Jaoudat had teeth pulled without anesthetic. The July 3 Weekly Dig article is a good example of this--instead of focusing on the fact that Jaoudat was clearly mistreated as a Palestinian and an immigrant, and that he was interrogated by federal agents, it more looked at the dueling accounts of his arrest. If ANSWER had simply said that he was arrested for an illegal plate from the start, and had made clear that he still deserved nothing like the treatment he got, the defense might have been stronger.

People aren't stupid. They don't like injustice, and they also don't like being misled. We can tell the truth when we're organizing.
To Mr. G.
12 Jul 2002
Trust me, I don't think we see eye to eye on many things, but it's refreshing on Indy to see a plea for no b.s.

But hey, don't you know the 'truth' is just a Western construct forumlated by dead white imperialists?

Everyone has their -own- truth, equally valid.

LOL. Seriously. Perhaps some people here will listen, but I wouldn't expect the people at ANSWER to do so. They, as you no doubt know are a front for the International Action Center, which in turn is a front for the Worker's World Party.

In their version of the world, South Korea invaded North Korea, Slobodan Milosovic never touched a hair on a single Kosovar's head, among other things.

Thanks, Pat...but
14 Jul 2002
Thanks, Pat, but I fear that we do see eye to eye on very little, based on your previous posts. I remember how your reponse to the news of Jaoudat's arrest was to assume that he had committed terrorism. To me, that's BS too. As have been many of your other cruel statements, which seem to be attempts to provoke ugly reactions and distract people from the subject at hand.To speak the truth and be critical is one thing--to provoke and attack for the sake of doing so is another.

I am glad that we seem to have some points of commonality here--I suspect that there are others. But if your opposition to BS on Indymedia is true, I trust that I'll see a difference in what you post in the future.
To Mr. G.
15 Jul 2002
I don't believe I said that Jaoudat had committed a terrorist act.

I believe what I said is that if he had intended to come here to preach hate, then he should at least make sure he has his visa in order.

And I probably called him a 'dumbass'.

I stand by my position on all of the above.