ON THE MONDAY OF JULY 27TH, 2020,
OMARI AND THE PEOPLE CAME TO THE “SEATTLE MUNICIPAL COURT BUILDING”, AND DEFEATED THE BOGUS CHARGES AGAINST THIS ELDER.
The Courthouse Marshals attempted to convince Omari that he did not have any court hearing scheduled on that morning, when in fact he did. Fortunately, Omari did not listen to their “advice”. If he had listened to them, another bogus “Failure To Appear Warrant” would have been issued for his arrest instead of the case against him being dismissed. (The Marshals later claimed to have been confused by the difference between his African name and his “legal” name in the settler states, while also claiming to have known him and been friends with him for “many years longer” than the members of his defense committee.) The final hearing against him took place without him present in the courtroom, because this “court” refused to allow him to enter his own trial unless he would leave his legal team outside. Watch this video to see exactly how the “hearing” happened.
-by the Omari Tahir Defense Committee
OMARI CHALLENGES THE FOUNDATION
OF EUROPEAN SETTLER COURTS
IN THE AMERICAS
In spite of numerous congratulatory articles (1) by the establishment media, praising developers and Seattle city government for allegedly reserving the southernmost 20% of the former MidTown Block’s footprint at 23rd and Union for the Africatown community, the Lake Union Partnerscorporation ordered Seattle Police to arrest Africatown elder and founder Omari Tahir on his Birthday, May 4th, 2019, simply for being present on this very 20% of the land in question.
The SPD promptly carried out the corporation’s order. According to the 47 page rambling police report (“Incident Number 19-159226”), the NGO known as Capitol Hill Housing also collaborated with Lake Union Partners in its effort to have this elder arrested. The Africatown Community Land Trust says that they were not part of the effort to arrange this arrest, and that they were never contacted about it. Omari Tahir has personally been a commercial tenant of all three of those entities since late November of 2018, after having also served the previous owners of the block as a caretaker for approximately a decade, and having resided near this block since his birth on May 4th of 1946.
Lake Union Partners acquired the full city block in an ethnically exclusive covenant sale in May of 2017, even though the Africatown Community Land Trust had bid a higher dollar amount to try to buy this same land from the same seller in the same year. (The Africatown Community Land Trust bid $29 million, but LUP was given the land for $23 million, $4.5 million of which was subsidized for them by the City of Seattle.)
Ethnically exclusive covenant sales are explicitly banned by Section 8 of the Civil Right Act (aka the Fair Housing Act of 1968). Although wealthy Seattle developers no longer fear that any judge—or even any Seattle-based “civil rights attorney”—will dare attempt hold them accountable for violating this federal law, the law is still technically on the books, and it is still possible for a company’s reputation to be somewhat damaged as a cost of being the primary beneficiary of such an overt violation of the Act.
To protect Lake Union Partners from any such potential bad press, the City of Seattle’s Office of Housing subsidized the covenant sale by paying Lake Union Partners $4.5 million to publicly allege that it was selling the 20% of the footprint to the Africatown community.
The City’s subsidy to Lake Union Partners was dispensed in the form of a loan to the NGO Capitol Hill Housing, which in turn agreed to own a controlling 51% of a new entity named “Africatown Plaza LLPL”, of which Africatown Community Land Trust in theory owns the other 49% but does not get to actually control even one square inch of the block. Settler law will expect both the controlling and non-controlling owners of “Africatown Plaza LLPL” to “pay back” the $4.5 million that the City gave Lake Union Partners, since they agreed to be the channel through which the gift was routed.
Omari was handcuffed and placed in the back of an SPD patrol car which began to transport him toward jail, triggering an attack of his well known and documented severe hypertension. Medical staff found his physical condition too compromised for booking, and ordered the police to take him to hospital instead. He was later released from hospital on personal recognizance.
The first notice Omari received of his court case for this arrest (Seattle Municipal Case # 647909), was on October 15, 2019in the form of an October 7th Bench Warrant accusing him of having failed to appear at at September 26 2019 intake hearing he had not received notice of. He promptly came to the courthouse the next day with his copy of the warrant and a witness, to demand an authentic court date instead of trial by surprise. The warrant was quashed and an intake hearing was scheduled for November 6, 2019. Omari of course appeared in court on November 6, plead Not Guilty, and informed the court that he would be defending himself in person, exercising his right to receive standby counsel instead of a public defender. A pre-trial hearing was set for December 9, and a standby counsel was appointed on November 8. Omari of course appeared in court again on December 9 and exercised his right to demand fully discover and investigate the nature and origin of the charge against him and the evidence on which it based. The appointed standby counsel refused to cooperate with Omari, choosing to directly intervene and interrupt Omari’s self defense instead of standing by and taking direction from the client. The standby counsel and judge jointly tried to pressure Omari into agreeing to a beginning trial date without having received his full discovery or been afforded the opportunity to investigate it. The hearing ended without the next trial date having been agreed to, leaving Omari dependent on mail correspondence from the court to discover when the next one would be. The next notice Omari recieved consisted of a January 10 2020 Bench Warrant accusing him of failing to appear at a December 30 hearing he had not been notified of, and ordering him to come to court on January 17 to defend himself against the charge of “failure to appear”. Of course, Omari appeared and defended himself on January 17. The bench warrant was quashed, and the original trial matter resumed. A new pre-trial hearing was set for February 18.
Omari came to court on February 18th, 2020, to defend himself against this false charge, but the Judge, Prosecutor and Assistant Prosecutor (aka “Court appointed Standby Counsel”) refused to properly identify themselves at the opening of the the proceeding, thus compelling Omari to take a knee in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick to insist that the court follow its own rules. The standby counsel had requested to be allowed to withdraw from the case four days prior (on February 14th), but still persisted in directly intervening, talking over Omari and sabotaging his efforts at demanding his full discovery and right to investigation on February 18th. The judge retaliated against Omari by having the marshals force him to leave not only the courtroom, but the entire courthouse altogether. Omari was later notified by mail that his next regular court date was March 9th.
Then, when Omari again came to court on March 9th, he was accused of having “failed to appear” on the February 18th date on which he’d been kicked out of the court. After quashing that false charge, Omari then requested his discovery, which he still has not received. A new (and hopefully authentic) standby counsel was assigned to Omari, and Omari entered motions into the record requesting his full discovery and right to investigation. However, the judge allowed the prosecutor to unilaterally set trial for April 14th, even without providing discovery to Omari.
All court dates in April, May and June, However, were suspended due to COVID related courthouse closures. However, additional notices were sent to Omari ordering him to appear in court on May 27th. Given the previous attempts to entrap him on bogus “failures to appear”, the 74 year old had no choice but to risk the trips downtown in both April and May in the middle of the pandemic, only to be confronted with a closed courthouse.
For his part, Omari Tahir says that the settler court has no legitimate standing to prosecute him for his presence on any part of Duwamish land, and that only a Native American Tribal would have the true authority to bring such a charge against him. He called upon all people of good will to show up and fill the gallery at his COURT DATE on MONDAY, JULY 27TH, 2020, 9 AM ON THE 10TH FLOOR OF THE “SEATTLE MUNICIPAL COURT BUILDING” ROOM 1001!
Many were there! -The Omari Tahir Defense Committee
The Omari Tahir Defense Committee (OTDC) always accepts donations.
Creating a blueprint for a Community Land Trust