Dr. Issa and three of his children
Dr. Jahi Issa was a professor at Delaware State University in the History Department. His phd. is in U.S. History focusing on the South. When the racist leaflet distributed in Dover reached him at Delaware State University in February 2012, Dr. Issa began teaching about lynching and speaking out against the flyers.
In March his students decided to protest. Some students were upset about the flyers and they were concerned with Delaware State University, a Historically Black College/University, dismissing black faculty and replacing them with white faculty. Leaders from the Wilmington Delaware office of the ACLU advised Dr. Issa and a group of students to exercise their first amendment rights. Then the ACLU called the college and alerted campus officials that a protest was impending.
Dr. Issa was arrested at the protest, resulting in a separated shoulder and him being hospitalized with his blood pressure over 200.
Then the ACLU abandoned him. Dr. Issa is facing criminal charges that are completely groundless.
Of course the ACLU director and attorney that advised Dr. Issa and his students to exercise their first amendment rights were subpoenaed to his criminal trial. Unbelievably, the ACLU attorneys sought to have their subpoenas quashed and were successful.
This is beyond the pale. Their testimony and documentation is central to Dr. Issa's defense. It proves that his intention was to exercise his first amendment rights and that he was in a frame of mind to seek legal advice and act lawfully. This is important because he is charged with disorderly conduct.
It would appear that our ACLU has become politically compromised. Like the NAACP, the Dover Human Relations Commission, and too many other entities to count.
Even though he has been criminally charged, fired from his job and is struggling to support his family, Dr. Issa continues to investigate the death of Johnny Clark, the death of Charles Conley, and the attack on Henry Fordham.
Whether Dr. Issa's agenda is aligned with your values or not, we should all be able to agree that our first amendment rights, and our right to peaceably assemble should be sacrosanct.
On Tuesday December 4, 2012 at the Kent County Courthouse in Courtroom six a hearing on a pre-trial motion to suppress the arrest of Dr. Issa by Dover Police was begun. The state prosecutor introduced a document into evidence that had not been through discovery, defense objected, judge Welch allowed it.
The University attorney who was a witness actually crossed the bar in open court to pass notes to the prosecutors, apparently coaching them. Defense objected, the judge allowed it. Under oath the Campus Police Chief and Patrolman Buchwald admitted that they had no probable cause to arrest Dr. Issa until they put their hands on him. The case should have been dismissed.
Only two witnesses on a pre-trial motion were 'processed'. There is a courtroom full of witnesses and the judge couldn't even give a date when the trial would convene again. All of this time and effort for trumped up misdemeanors to cover the college's collective ass for violating the civil rights of one Dr. Jahi Issa.
How is this related to Delaware's Strange Fruits? Dr. Issa learned of the racist flyer in February of 2012. His students did not understand the historical implications so he began to teach about lynchings. He continued to speak out against DSU becoming a white institution. This incurred the ire of the administration.
Perhaps the straw that 'broke the camel's back' was Dr. Issa's discussion of irregularities in a recent audit of the University by the State Auditor.
Dr. Issa continues to investigate the deaths of two black men who died in Dover Delaware, hanging from trees by their own belts and also the assault on Henry J. Fordham. You have to wonder if the state would be so zealous in trying to pin these bogus charges on him were that not the case.
This was not Dr. Issa's first protest on campus. In 2010 members of the equestrian team enlisted Dr. Issa in organizing and conducting a protest on campus to include horses and riders in areas where people walk between buildings. No permit for that protest was every sought, there are no records of the protest at DSU.
However, white students and a white equestrian team riding horses around pedestrian areas apparently don't cause any concern. Black students and a black professor peaceably assembled at the Dr. Martin Luther King Student Center apparently require armed intervention in the persona of campus police.
To be present in that courtroom was to witness corruption of the prosecutors, reversible errors a'plenty on the part of the judge, and the overall horrid state of affairs regarding race relations in Delaware. This is the state that the civil rights movement largely missed.
Today it's just a professor with an afro-centric world view being leaned on for speaking his conscience. Who cares, right?
It's not just an academic with an axe to grind. It's all of us. It's me for the number of times I placed my large butt on the line to uphold my oath of office. It's my ancestors who have always served, going back to Jon Nicolson in the revolutionary war. We didn't risk it all so that 'elites' could play these kinds of games with the most important right we have. The right to freedom of speech.
How can the state pursue with such zeal a trumped up bogus disorderly person charge while ignoring the assault on Henry J. Fordham? Racism is the only answer that readily presents. Our Attorney General, Beau Biden could set this right quickly if he were so inclined. Apparently doing the right thing isn't a priority for the son or our Vice President. May God have mercy on us all.
Please join me in contributing to Dr. Issa's legal defense fund. This may be the most expensive defense of such trivial charges in U.S. History, but it has to be done. If Dr. Issa can be deprived of his rights, with his education and intelligence then who is safe?
Dr. Issa's legal defense fund appreciates any donations from anyone concerned with our First Amendment rights. Dr. Issa has been offered a plea deal with will result in no criminal record, but he can't confess to a crime he did not commit. He's willing to go to jail if need be to defend our First Amendment rights. Are you willing to help him? If you don't stand up now will there be anybody left to stand up for you?
Please contribute whatever you can: http://hbcuinstitute.org/
Consider calling President Williams of Delaware State University urging the school to drop charges and restore Dr. Issa to his chosen profession of teaching our young people. Reach President Williams at (302) 857- 6001.
You may wish to call Delaware's Attorney General urging him to drop all charges against Dr. Issa. Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III's office can be reached at (302) 577-8500.
UPDATE: Chief Downs testified that he identified himself, touched Dr. Issa's shoulder in a 'calming fashion' and that Dr. Issa said "fuck you" and hit him in the chest with a forearm blow. Then I saw this video. I say Chief Downs is mistaken at a minimum. You tell me.