Cornel West To Discuss Race, Policing In Southeastern San Diego
Community, defendants in controversial 'Tiny Doo' case invited the philosopher
A Discussion with Dr. Cornel West in Southeast
Date: Dec. 4, 2015
Time: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Place: Lincoln High School at 4777 Imperial Ave.
Prominent philosopher Cornel West is scheduled to speak in southeastern San Diego next month.
The event continues the discussion around a controversial gang conspiracy law used to jail several men from the neighborhood.
West agreed to speak at Lincoln High School after learning San Diego prosecutors used Penal Code 182.5 to charge 33 men, including rapper Tiny Doo, for a string of shootings in 2013 and 2014. The prosecutors argued the men materially benefited from the shootings despite many of them being far away – even behind bars – when the incidents occurred, and that that made them culpable.
San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis recently told KPBS Midday Edition her office won't be using the law again any time soon.
"We used it. It was a novel use," Dumanis said. "And having listened to the community, we've decided not to use it anymore at this point."
Aaron Harvey was one of the defendants and said Dumanis' announcement doesn't mean the conversation should end.
"Was 182.5 right or wrong? If right, I think that needs to be explained why. And if wrong, then there needs to be something done and public apologies," Harvey said.
He added that those charged and their families had time taken from them because they spent time behind bars and in courtrooms. At least one defendant took a plea deal.
Two separate judges ended up dismissing the cases. At the time, Dumanis defended the charges as "a viable legal tool in our fight against violent crime committed by San Diego street gangs."
Police have documented Harvey and the other defendants as gang members. Harvey maintains he is not in a gang and that police wrongfully used Facebook photos to establish his affiliation.
Community members in southeastern San Diego have long been concerned the criteria for documenting gang members is too broad. That’s one of the issues driving a community empowerment project there called Reclaiming the Community.
Its organizers, including Harvey, invited West to speak. The professor, who's often tapped to speak nationally on race issues, will discuss the criminalization of black and Latino communities.