Dover Delaware, 2012

On October 6, 2012 in Dover Delaware this blogger was confronted with claims of a lynching, an attempted lynching and a cover up that were not immediately credible ... Here is my weblog as I struggle to place in some kind of order all the information coming in since then. Although the topics in this blog have grown beyond the original case, still ongoing and unsolved to the minds of many, the focus is the same. Equal protection under the law.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dr. Jahi "Dred Scott" Issa

Dr. Issa and three of his children. 

 In February of 2012 a racist flyer reaches the notice of an Associate Professor employed by Delaware State University. DSU is a historically black college or university or HBCU. The flyer depicts a lynching and contains offensive and violent racially charged rhetoric directed against African Americans and other people  with dark skin.

 Dr. Issa has a phd in American History specializing in the African American experience during the post bellum period of the South. Lynchings are something he knows about and he took the threat communicated by the flyer very seriously. He began teaching his students about lynchings.

  Dr. Issa is also a vocal supporter of HBCUs and strongly favors maintaining HBCUs to provide the educational opportunity to young African Americans that might not otherwise be educated. This is a controversial subject nationwide and Dr. Issa's viewpoint isn't unique or without opposition.

  A state audit of Delaware State University raised other issues with management. A group of Dr. Issa's students decided to meet at the Dr. Martin Luther King student center and walk to the administration building to express their concerns. Dr. Issa joins them and provides a guest speaker for students who don't wish to participate in the field activity.

 The ACLU office in Wilmington Delaware is consulted for legal advice and Dr. Issa and his students are advised to exercise their rights. On March 1 Dr. Issa is arrested on four criminal charges including inciting a riot. The DSU spokesperson Carlos Holmes issues a statement that may appear to be printed as fact by the Dover Post.

  The ACLU weighs in publicly and initially supports Dr. Issa even finding a pro-bono attorney for the professor's criminal defense. 

The ACLU of Delaware has been representing Issa because DSU’s placing him on administrative leave and instructing him not to contact any DSU student or employee raise important issues under the First Amendment, ACLU Executive Director Kathleen MacRae said.

“At the time Dr. Issa was arrested students were gathering for the purpose of walking to the DSU Board of Trustees meeting to express their views on issues of importance to them,” she said. “DSU was not entitled to require a permit for that activity, any more than a town would have been under the circumstances.”

DSU spokesman Carlos Holmes declined to comment on this latest development.

From the first post on this blog:
  On May 12, 2012 Johnny Clark died at Silver Lake Park in Dover. A black man, the official Dover Police Department report indicated that he had committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree. For many reasons his family didn't buy the official story.

  There was no press release from the police, no local media coverage. Until very recently the only mention of Clark's death online was at

  That website post was challenged by WGMD News in the Morning host Bill Colley who subsequently interviewed Mr. Alston of Dover on air. Then the Antonio Prado of the Dover Post printed this report of a Dover Town Council meeting:

Then on September 21. 2012 Henry J. Fordham of Dover is assaulted at Silver Lake park by two men that Fordham claims confessed to killing Johnny Clark and Fordham further maintains that these two men were attempting to cut off his ear and penis and kill him. Police do not take the report seriously, limit their investigation to 'poking holes' in Fordham's story of how he came to be in the company of said two individuals.

  Despite having been fired from DSU and facing jail time for false charges Dr. Issa continues to investigate the death of Johnny Clark and begins investigating the attack on Fordham. At a candidates forum held at the Minority Outreach Center in Dover Delaware on October 6, 2012 I met Dr. Issa and expressed an interest into investigating what seemed to be specious claims.

  It was during this time that I learned of Dr. Issa's arrest and dismissal from DSU.

Attorneys from the Wilmington Delaware ACLU office receive subpoenas to appear at Dr. Issa's hearing, they manage to get the Judge to quash the subpoenas. This is outrageous. Bad enough they abandoned Dr. Issa after advising him to protest, now they can't even appear and testify? The case should be thrown out for that alone. Their testimony is key because it proves that Dr. Issa had no intent to be disorderly, he was intending to lawfully exercise his first amendment rights and had sought legal advice.

 This action and other issues prompt a letter to the Judge from Dr. Issa's attorney:

 On December 4, 2012 evidence was presented in a hearing on a pre-trial motion of defense to suppress the arrest and dismiss the charges. By this time the inciting charge has been dropped and DSU officials have now deviated from the narrative given by Carlos Holmes to the Dover Post.

Dr. Issa is the Dred Scott of our time. The system in Delaware is trying to discredit and even imprison him for something he never did. Video evidence is hard to argue, the Chief of Public Safety at DSU and a patrolman told the same false story. The odds of that being a good faith mistake are minute at best. 

  Dred Scott was denied justice not because of the merits of his case, but because the court determined that black people didn't have rights of other Americans. Are we really still doing this in 2012? Here is a motion to dismiss from Dr. Issa's defense attorney:

  Please consider a contribution to Dr. Issa's legal defense fund. The state hasn't even gotten through the pre-trial motions and Dr. Issa hasn't worked since March 1, 2012. They are trying to bleed him dry by dragging this out and he needs to keep a vigorous defense. This is the first amendment right of us all. If this man can be silenced any of us can. Paypal donations of any amount are appreciated at


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