Green Party Candidate Harassment Ignored by Mainstream News
Gary C. Frazier Jr. and Rodolfo Munoz Faced Discrimination by Police and a Federal Marshal at GNC, and No One Noticed
– Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable. Give voice to the voiceless. — Journalist Ethics Code
Lookup coverage of the 2016 Green Party National Convention in Houston, TX, and you’ll find an assortment of summaries from news outlets otherwise too busy with Drumpf and Clinton scandal to dive into the Convention’s substance, and highlights on the Convention’s more famous appearances like Dr. Cornel West, controversial Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, and, of course, presidential nominee Jill Stein. You may even find one or two Op Ed’s critiquing the Convention’s lack of budget and control over message but these are usually written by people who think unwealthy, uncensored democracy is just gross, apparently.
Try and find news accounts covering how, not one, but two Green Party candidates faced harassment from authorities and you’ll run into an odd corner of the internet resembling a virtual desert town; tumbleweeds, rolling stale information to a couple of subject houses that are somewhat related to your search. This is unacceptable. Had the following series of events happened to delegates at the DNC or Democratic candidates, it would have made a headline.
Gary C. Frazier Jr. Cuffed by UHPD and HPD for 35 Minutes
A Green Party candidate running for City Council in Camden, NJ, Gary C. Frazier Jr. attended the 2016 GNC as the delegate representative for NJ. On August 5th, Mr. Frazier Jr. and a friend complied with university campus rules and went to smoke their cigarettes in one of the designated areas. Upon leaving, Mr. Frazier Jr. admitted to not taking his friend’s lighter with him. On August 6th, Mr. Frazier Jr. and his friend again complied with university campus smoking rules and went to their previous spot to try and find the lighter left behind the night before. The lighter was gone. Like any smoker or former smoker could testify, the usual next step is the asking of nearby strangers for a light. Residents of my Brooklyn, NY hometown will know exactly what I’m talking about. Thankfully for Frazier, one of the people he asked was Kathleen Williams; her significance will be clear in a minute. Other people were not so welcoming of Mr. Frazier Jr.’s presence. Someone alerted police. The result was Frazier having a nightstick held to his back, detained in the back of a police car, in handcuffs, with no A/C for 35 minutes. A City Council candidate detained for looking suspicious while looking to light a cigarette. In an interview with The Real News Network, the only media outlet to cover this story (via Facebook live video), Gary C. Frazier Jr. and Kathleen Williams explain what happened and why the Houston University Police and Houston Police eventually let Mr. Frazier Jr. go. Mr. Frazier Jr. is currently looking into legal options to hold both UHPD and HPD accountable.
“People out here just don’t know there’s a Green Party option”
If any politi-fans out there recognize Mr. Frazier Jr., it’s probably from his interview on behalf of the Black Men for Bernie during one of those CNN segments where they bring in an activist and try to place them on the hot seat. Frazier Jr. not only held his own, but the security in his conviction, be it on CNN or at the many rallies he’s attended, resonated among Black communities and contributed to Sanders’s growth in popularity among People of Color. It’s that fearlessness Frazier Jr. brings to his run for City Council in Camden, NJ and to his participation as a member of the Green Party. In Camden, he faces competition from Democrats who have traditionally held Assembly seats, and if elected, would be the first Green Party Assemblyman in Camden, NJ. “I’m from here, Camden is my home, people here know me. I fought for school reform, I’m out here educating my community about the environment; about what we can do for ourselves.” Frazier Jr hopes his community activism and history as a Camden resident will help motivate voters who would otherwise sit out elections. “People out here just don’t know there’s a Green Party option”, says Frazier Jr., adding he knows the more people are educated about what’s going in their communities, the more they’ll become empowered to vote their interests into office.
Rodolfo Munoz’s Community Threatened by Federal Marshal
San Antonio area lawyer Rodolfo Rivera Munoz is a member of the Coahuiltecan People, a tribe once thought extinct. He’s also the Green Party candidate for Supreme Court Justice, position 3 in Texas. In his GNC speech, he spoke about being escorted to an isolated room by a Federal Marshal on August 5th, and told a judge has sent message that if he kept filing legal grievances for tribe recognition in state courts, his entire community would face sanctions. Mr. Munoz’s speech starts at the 4:10 mark.
In a show a badassery, Mr. Munoz told the Federal Marshal to arrest him because it would, at least, make some court have to confront the recognition of tribal rights. Rodolfo Munoz gave permission to share his story but was not reachable for comment.
For all of the criticism which relies on painting Green Party candidates and supporters as privileged or, in Dan Savage’s case, “pasty white”, it is not Democratic candidates who find themselves subject to police abuse. It is not Republican candidates who have federal intimidation for challenging human rights violations. In that respect, perhaps the Green Party is more the people’s party than major network media and Green Party critics would like to admit.