By Heinrich Buecker, November 13, 2020
From Co-op News: Antiwar Cafe Berlin
Hereby I declare my full solidarity with Darnell Stephen Summers, whom I know for quite a few years here in Berlin.
Here in Berlin we are very shocked to have been notified recently that authorities in the U.S. are again trying to set Darnell Summers up for a political prosecution using the same false charge of murder against him that have been used in the past.
And this even after the US-government’s own witnesses twice previously recanted their stories in 1968 and 1983, stating that their affidavits obviously had been scripted by the authorities.
This comes at a time, when African-Americans, together with many other progressive groups have been protesting against police violence, social injustice and discrimination in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd.
I have witnessed Darnell here in Berlin as an outspoken Vietnam veteran and anti-war activist. He was also very active as a documentary-filmmaker and musician. We worked together on some projects.
All this has parallels with the political persecution of people like Mumia Abu Jamal, Leonard Peltier and even Julian Assange. And it is in line with a prison-system in the U.S., which has to be fundamentally changed.
All this has to stop. We hereby strongly protest against the treatment and harassment Darnell Stephen Summers is subjected to.
Berlin, November 12, 2020
Coop Anti-War Cafe Berlin
Chapter World Beyond War Berlin
German Peace Council
Frente Unido America Latina
Facebook campaign: #KeepDarnellFree
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE PRESS CONFERENCE
FRIDAY NOVEMBER 13
Detroit Public Safety HQ/Michigan State Police Forensics Lab
Third & MIchigan, Detroit
In 1969 and again in 1984, charges of murder of a Michigan State Police “Red Squad” [political police] detective levelled against Mr. Summers were dismissed when the state’s so-called “witness” recanted their story as a fabrication scripted by authorities. Both times, the case was dropped “without prejudice,” meaning the state could try again to bring false charges against him.
But in 1984, then-Wayne County Prosecutor John O’Hair stated that there was “no factual, legal or ethical justification for proceeding with this case.” (“Murder Charge Dropped in 1968 Cop Slaying” Detroit Free Press, February 23, 1984)Now, in 2020, Darnell Summers is again being dogged and harrassed by the Michigan State Police.
On October 27 this year, MSP stopped Mr. Summers and produced a search warrant saying they could take a DNA sample and seize his cell phone. Previous to that, MSP had attempted to question Mr. Summers where he has been staying in Inkster; had traveled to New Orleans to “interview” his brother Bill, a famous jazz drummer; had questioned a friend of Darnell’s in Inkster; and had requested entry into Germany to interrogate Darnell there. When he arrived in the U.S. in early October, he was interrogated at the airport about his political activities.Attorney Jeffrey Edison stated, “After 52 years and two (2) separate dismissals of the charges against Mr. Summers, it appears that the present Michigan State Police actions are politically motivated.”
A number of activists against political repression will have statements at the press conference, including:
■ Attorney Jeffrey Edison
■ Poet and former political prisoner John Sinclair
■ Gerry Condon, past President of Veterans for Peace
■ Malik Yakini, Detroit Black Community Food Security Network
(institution for ID only)
■ Ed Watson, Founding member and spokesperson
for Malcolm X Cultural Center, Inkster
more information here :
THE POLITICAL PERSECUTION OF DARNELL SUMMERS — A TIMELINE
Darnell Summers in the 1960s
In the midst of the high tide of the Black liberation struggle in 1968, Darnell, a Black GI, is extradited from Vietnam, framed for the killing of a Michigan State “red squad” [political surveillance unit] cop who was sent to Inkster, Michigan to suppress the community’s outrage over the attempted closing of the Malcolm X Cultural Center there. Darnell is known as a leader at the Center. The frame-up fails when the key prosecution witness declares his testimony was totally false and scripted by the police. Charges against Darnell are dismissed “without prejudice,” meaning they can be re-instated by prosecutors.
Darnell Summers in the 1980s
Well known in Germany as a revolutionary musician, as a supporter of the revolutionary GI newspaper FighT bAck, and for his other revolutionary political activity among the U.S. troops, immigrants from Turkey and the youth movement in Germany — Darnell comes to the attention of U.S. and German authorities. „New evidence“ appears in the 13-year-old case. It is the same old discredited testimony, this time given by a second witness (who was arrested, herself threatened with prosecution for the killing, and then granted immunity in return for her testimony against Darnell). German authorities break speed records and rule books to extradite Darnell to Detroit in July of 1982. No sooner is he back than the second witness also recants, saying her testimony is false and extorted by the police. But no matter. The police produce that same first witness again (who is now serving a 60-to-90 year term on a separate, unrelated charge, but has a parole hearing the next year). He repeats the same lying testimony one more time and the railroad is on! Darnell Summers is now to stand trial for murder in the first degree, on the sole testimony of an admitted liar who 13 years earlier had renounced the same story.
Darnell Summers, February, 1984
Charges against Darnell are once again dismissed, but also without prejudice. The statement from the old “witness” is again recanted and discredited. Wayne County Prosecutor John O’Hair states that there is “no factual, legal or ethical justification for proceeding with this case.”
Darnell Summers, 1984 to 2020
In Germany, Darnell continues speaking out against imperialist wars. His voice as a Black Vietnam Veteran is heard by huge crowds at rallies against the 1991 Gulf War launched by the U.S. He and other Vietnam vets, along with then-active-duty U.S. soldiers in Germany launch the “Just Say No Posse” and strengthen the anti-war movement. They also support several resisters in the U.S. armed forces in Germany who refuse to fight. With Dave Blalock, another Vietnam vet and war resister, Darnell forms the “Stop The War Brigade” that campaigns against both the Gulf War and the U.S. illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003.In the 1970s and into the next century, Darnell returns often to the U.S. to film and produce several documentary films, including “Street of Dreams ‘Harrison Avenue’” 1993, (https://youtu.be/Q4nPpMKrR3c) and “The OTHER American(s)” 2008 (https://youtu.be/1aswndgqujs). During this whole time, Darnell has no further contact with U.S. law enforcement.
Darnell Summers, Fall, 2020
As Darnell prepares to visit Inkster and Detroit again to film his new documentary “No End in Sight,” he receives word that the Michigan State Police have paid visits to his brother Bill in New Orleans, and to a friend in Inkster. When Darnell lands in Detroit in early October, he is questioned by unidentified U.S. law enforcement officials. The next day, they pay a visit to where he is staying “just to ask questions.” Darnell answers no questions but he learns that the MSP had tried to go to Germany to question him, yet were rebuffed by German authorities because of Coronavirus entry restrictions.Then, on Tuesday, October 27, Darnell, along with his son and a friend, is stopped by Michigan State Police while sitting in a car at a gas station, in Inkster. The State Police produce a search warrant giving them authority to seize Darnell’s phone and to take a DNA sample from him, which they do alongside a gas pump.
THIS IS CLEARLY HEADING TOWARDS MURDER CHARGES BEING REINSTATED — A TOTAL OUTRAGE!
Darnell Summers, yet another political prisoner held in the ‘land of the free’.