A black man was made a felon at 18 years old when his brain was not fully developed. He served 12 years in prison as a result. He is now 40 yrs old, owns a business, and has a significant other and five children, all under the age of 7. This is a story of oppression that is happening in real-time.
A black man, his significant other, and their five children were traveling from ATL to Chicago for a funeral.
They were stopped by TN Highway Patrol in Manchester, TN, for driving too slow and having tints.
The Mother and Father decided to stop at a gas station for safety since it was odd that they were being pulled over and were not speeding.
The Trooper told them why he stopped them, and before the man could give his registration, he was ordered out of the car with the Trooper claiming he smelled marijuana.
(In TN, it is still sufficient for the police to lie to create probable cause by claiming they smell marijuana, even though police nor experts can determine the difference between legal hemp and marijuana from merely smelling or seeing it.)
The man was handcuffed and put into the back of the police car during the search.
The man's five kids ranging from 3 months to 7 yrs, and his significant other were made to stand in the cold for hours while other Troopers came and helped search the truck.
Less than 2 grams of potentially legal hemp was found in their car.
(It is important to note: they were coming from GA and going to IL. CBD and medical marijuana are legal in GA, and recreational use is legal in IL.)
After finding the 2 grams of something the Trooper can't confirm the substance of, he decided to take the man to jail even though TN is a cite and release State for misdemeanors not likely to continue to occur. He decided to go a step further and charge the mom with the same marijuana he charged the dad with; however, she was given a citation.
Yet, for some reason, the mom is told to follow them to the jail.
Child Protective Services is waiting at the jail even though the mom is not arrested.
At some point before 3 pm, a Judge signed a Protective Order finding the children had been dependent and neglected AND that it was REASONABLE to make no effort to maintain the children in the home due to the circumstances of the family and the children and ordered temporary legal custody be awarded to the State of TN, DCS.
A van came to the jail and ripped the five children from the Mother, and drove off without giving any contact information about what was occurring and, more importantly, WHY it was happening because, remember, the mom wasn't under arrest.
The time is listed as 3 pm when her children are forcefully taken from her. The arrest of the Father occurred around 9:40 am. Over the course of 5 hours, what can only be described as an organized kidnapping of these children occurred, and it all stemmed from multiple violations of both the Mother's and the Father's constitutional rights.
This family of 7 went from joyously beginning their day together with a road trip to a funeral of a loved one to being ripped apart in 5 hours.
Finally, their day in Court comes, and they have hired a lawyer from the area. The Mother takes a urine drug test and passes. The Father takes a urine drug test and passes for everything except THC, which is legal for medical reasons where he lives.
This isn't good enough. They were then made to submit to a hair follicle test at 2:54 pm that could give immediate results, although research surrounding these types of tests says it takes 72 hours to confirm a positive drug test. Oh yeah, and the results of "Amp- Oxy-FTY" (Amphetamines, Oxycodone, and Fentanyl ) are handwritten in.
Learn more about hair follicle tests here: https://www.healthline.com/health/hair-follicle-drug-test#What-is-a-hair-strand-drug-test?
But don't you worry, the Mother hired a lawyer who is there with them while all of this is occurring, and I'm sure they will challenge this entire sketchy situation!
No such luck. The lawyer representing the Mother waived the juvenile court preliminary hearing.
What's a preliminary hearing?
Just a hearing in front of a Judge, where the State will put on enough evidence to show that the kids were "probably" dependent and neglected.
This is one of the most critical hearings ever for the person being accused. This is where law violations can be addressed, inaccuracies can be challenged, and, more importantly, the children can be returned if no probable cause is found!
So even if the Judge made a mistake in issuing the Order, he could have rapidly corrected it and lessened the impact on the family that same day!
But unfortunately, that didn't happen.
Guess what did happen, though?
Due to the questionably rapid hair follicle test results, an amended Petition was filed asking that the kids be found severely abused, and guess what that means?
DCS MANCHESTER WOULD GET TO KEEP THE BABIES EVEN LONGER!
Well, the parents decided to fire their lawyers and pleaded for assistance from anyone who could help expose what was occurring in Manchester, TN.
Luckily, they stumbled upon a lawyer who was ready and willing to organize a grassroots campaign around their cases and an organization that would assist in placing their kids with someone they felt comfortable with.
After a Motion to Withdraw/Revoke the Waiver of Preliminary Hearing was sent to the DCS Attorney, and the intent was made to challenge the drug test and move forward with the case, it wasn't much of a shock to hear they had decided against the placement they were scheduled to do on Wednesday (3/1) at 545pm.
Now they have a new Foster Care Worker and some not-so-shocking news to report: Dad is now "threatening" and "extremely volatile," and everyone is scared of just what he might do to them, so now they have to ask the Court to "suspend their visitation" immediately.
We all can clearly see what's going on here. Manchester, TN, is covering up something, and it's starting to appear that everyone could be in on it.
I believe this poor family was targeted, and something far more sinister beyond the surface is at hand.
It is time that we stop being swayed by the use of the words "felon" and "criminal." That's THEIR word to signify that "no one should care" about what happens to the least of us, the one branded from birth, the one whose life trajectory disproportionately includes the "capital F" no matter how violative, no matter how blatant, and no matter how severe THEIR intrusion is.
5 Babies: a breastfeeding 3.5-month-old, 2 yr old, 3 yr old, 5 yr old, and 7 yr old little black bodies forced into foster care over the simple possession of something the Trooper was not even sure was illegal! This Mother and Father may have lost their five kids all over legal hemp!
WHAT THE FUUUUUUCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKK?????!?!!!!!!???!??!?!????
Do you know the trauma that occurs to children, specifically black children in foster care?!
The trauma they endured from going from a road trip with their family while eating snacks, watching videos, playing games with their siblings, and enjoying family time together to sitting outside of their car while watching it be torn apart for hours while their dad was in the back of a police car.
The trauma they endured riding in the car on the way to the jail with just their mom because they had just seen their dad be arrested and taken away.
The trauma they endured when a van full of strangers snatched them from their screaming Mother.
The trauma they endured as they struggled to understand how their little lives had gone from a fun adventure to their worst nightmare.
The trauma they continue to endure that we can't even imagine is occurring in a city that is preying on black bodies.
I am calling out to all organizations (nonprofit and for-profit), clergy, elected officials, and concerned citizens in or around Middle Tennessee whose mission or platform has involved Criminal Justice reform to send at least one representative to the court dates for this Mother and Father for the Ultimate Court Watch protest.
I am also calling out to all who have not yet had their activism ignited but can no longer sit idly by and allow black bodies to be eaten by this Criminal Justice System of Oppression to join this movement. There is a place for you, and I can help you find something you are uniquely qualified to do to help!
This could easily have been any of us driving to Atlanta for a quick getaway who were harassed for Driving While Black.
This is NOT a drill; this is real life. Manchester, TN, has a creative way of harnessing little black bodies into a harmful system by utilizing minor crimes as the tool to do it!
They even created reasons why it was OKAY for them to make ABSOLUTELY NO effort to maintain the children with their parents!
I am organizing the Ultimate Court Watch Protest and have contacted multiple organizations with proactive disrupting missions. We will create actionable items to let Manchester know that we are watching and are concerned with their mistreatment of black bodies!
I will be hosting a free Court Watch Protest training via zoom for whoever will be joining the protest or for any organization who wants to send a representative to train on how to do a court watch protest next week. (Watch social media for updates).
To join this proactive movement and for more information on actionable items, grassroots organizing, ways to make a difference, and The Ultimate Court Watch Protest training: