The Postcard Justice Project was sparked by an instagram post on @blkgirlculture. These five women were listed, Breonna Taylor, Korryn Gaines, Deborah Danner, Pamela Turner and Sandra Bland, two of whom I didn't know about. Under the names it read, "Black women's lives matter and are worthy of justice." Seeing this post got me thinking about how Black women are often forgotten about and their cases are not pursued with the same energy for justice. In all of these cases, the officer is free and in most cases, still work for the police department in some capacity.
Cards are completed in sets of five, 88% of participating artists are artists of color. Artists are paid for their time and skills. On the back of each postcard is the corresponding district attorney's office. Along with each set of cards, there is an info sheet to help the writers stay informed and to understand what the families and their attorney's are asking for.
I am now shipping the second set of cards, the first set has been shipped across The United States. If you would like the second set of cards, I will ship them to you for free, it would be best to send multiple sets and for you to write these with your friends. There's no limit on the amount of sets you can order but please keep in mind that each set comes with five cards total. Please know that the more cards ordered, the more responsibility you are taking on. Thank you to all the writers who have participated, the project can't move forward without you.
Through donations from my community of artists, friends and family, I have expanded this project to consist of at least three sets, 15 portraits total. After the third set is completed, I will be asking for donations again. The last part of the order form allows writers to donate, but please do not feel obligated, your writing is a gift!
Below is a gallery of the all the portraits, along with artist information.
Thank you to Rasheedah Crawley for her direction in finding the appropriate and best person to contact to advocate for justice. Lisa McLymont is responsible for the design and overall branding of this project, thank you Lisa!
Artist Lisa McLymont // @lisamclymont
Polanco, 27, died in solitary confinement on June 7 of last year after an epileptic seizure, according to a medical examiner’s report. New footage outside the Rikers Island jail cell in New York City where transgender woman Layleen Xtravaganza Cubilette-Polanco died last June reveals that guards tried to wake her for approximately an hour and a half before calling for help. Her family says the 10 hours of footage taken from a surveillance camera inside the restrictive housing unit where Polanco’s cell was located shows that Rikers staff failed to provide her with medical care that could have saved her life.
The New York City Department of Investigation concluded that staff members at Rikers Island’s Rose M. Singer Center were not criminally responsible for Polanco’s death. That same report found that staff members at the women’s facility left Polanco alone for up to 47 minutes around the time of her death, a violation of corrections policy requiring checks on prisoners in solitary confinement every 15 minutes. The jail staffers maintain they thought Polanco was asleep in the hours before her cell was finally opened and she was found unresponsive.
The family of Layleen Polanco asks that Riker’s staff be held criminally responsible for her death.
Artist Caleb C. Keitt // @kindanchordesign
On March 15, 2012, Shereese Francis was suffocated and murdered by four New York Police Department (NYPD) officers in her family home in Rochdale, Queens, New York. Although she was diagnosed with schizophrenia while studying at Nassau Community College, she was able to control it through the use of medication. On the night of her death, Francis was having a bad mental episode as a result of not having the medication. Her sister, Shauna, called 311 for help administering her meds, but was transferred to 911 operators who ensured help was on the way.
At 10:20 p.m. four NYPD officers arrived to the Francis family home. At the sight of the officers’ arrival, Francis became frightened and overwhelmed. The officers pursued her through the home and cornered her in bedroom located in the basement. All four officers then tackled Francis down on a bed, piling on their weigh on her back. As they held her face down into the mattress, they attempted to handcuff her. Within 20 minutes of the officers arriving, Francis was no longer breathing as Emergency Medical Responders called to the scene attempted to revive her.
The Francis family says the police officers did exactly what you shouldn’t do with an agitated and emotionally disturbed person: they escalated the situation.
Artist Nasreen Khan // @heyitsnasreen
Atatiana Koquice Jefferson, a 28-year-old woman, was fatally shot in her home by a police officer in Fort Worth, Texas, United States, in the early morning of October 12, 2019. Police arrived at her home after a neighbor called a non-emergency number, stating that Jefferson's front door was open. Police body camera footage showed that when she came to her window to observe police outside her home, Officer Aaron Dean shot through it and killed her.
Dean's training records from his first year on the job note concerns from supervisors. These concerns included that he had "tunnel vision" and "needs improvement on communicating with the public and fellow officers.” Based on footage from Dean's body camera which captured the shooting, a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was arrested at his attorney's office on October 14, 2019 and charged with murder. Aaron Dean resigned before he could be fired. He was quickly arrested and in December he was indicted for murder, but the trial has been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Artist Michol Childress // @mchildress46
Police operators received a 911 call from Victor Stephens, Rosser's boyfriend, who said that the two were fighting and requested police officers to escort her from his house. When officers arrived, Stephens said that Rosser, who reportedly suffered from a mental illness, was brandishing a fish knife. Officers simultaneously tased and shot her. She died from a chest wound. No officers were charged, and a state prosecutor recorded the death as "justifiable homicide."
After reviewing an investigation conducted by Michigan State Police, Washtenaw County Prosecutor Brian Mackie announced Friday that Ann Arbor Police Officer David Ried had acted in lawful self-defense
Artist Yazmine Symone // @yazminesymone
Mya Hall took a wrong turn on March 30 and wound up on the wrong exit of a Fort Meade, Md. parkway, which led to the Baltimore headquarters of the NSA.
Local police have said Hall and the passenger in the vehicle were picked up by a 60-year-old man in Baltimore and arrived with him at the Terrace Motel on U.S. 1 in Elkridge at about 7:30 a.m. Monday. The man told police the pair stole his car when he went to the bathroom. They arrived at the NSA gate shortly before 9 a.m. Mya Hall was killed after security opened fire on her vehicle, apparently causing it to crash into the gates of the compound.
It’s important to note that wrong turns at that particular exit are an extremely frequent occurrence that should not result in death. It's not the first time someone has disobeyed orders at an NSA gate. In July, a man failed to obey an NSA officer's command to stop as he approached a checkpoint. That man drove away, injuring an NSA officer and nearly striking a barricade. He was later arrested and is awaiting trial on federal charges.
The FBI is investigating and working with the U.S. attorney's office in Maryland to determine whether federal charges are warranted.
Artist Alecia Vera Buckles // @aleciavera
Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician, was fatally shot by Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) officers on March 13, 2020. Three LMPD officers executing a no-knock search warrant entered her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky. Gunfire was exchanged between Taylor's boyfriend Kenneth Walker and the officers. Walker said he believed that the officers were intruders. The LMPD officers fired over twenty shots. Taylor was shot eight times. Taylor's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit two months after her killing, claiming charges of battery, wrongful death, excessive force, negligence and gross negligence. The no-knock warrant issued by police included Taylor's house because, according to a police affidavit for a search warrant for the raid, which was obtained by CNN affiliate WAVE, authorities suspected a man involved in a drug ring was receiving packages of drugs at her home.
On May 21, the FBI's Louisville office announced they were opening an investigation into the circumstances surrounding her death. Since these legal announcements, there has been little movement in Taylor's case. The three officers involved in her shooting are still on administrative leave, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. But they have not been charged with any crimes.
We ask for swifter movement and progress in Breonna Taylor’s case. We ask that the officers involved are arrested and charged with murder.
Artist Jazzy Okami // @jazzy_okami
Deborah Danner, 66, was fatally shot by New York Police Department Sgt. Hugh Barry on October 18, 2016, in her home in the Bronx, New York. Danner’s family expresses that she struggled with Schizophrenia. According to police sources, she was armed with first a pair of scissors and then a baseball bat. According to an emergency medical technician, police interrupted when she was trying to de-escalate the situation. Sgt. Hugh Barry was arrested and charged with second-degree murder on May 31, 2017. On February 14, 2018, Barry was acquitted by a judge in a non-jury trial. The judge ruled Barry as innocent of all charges.
We are asking that Sgt. Hugh Barry be stripped of his badge indefinitely, in 2018 he was up for a promotion. We ask that police deal with mentally ill civilians in a more productive way, that death is not the punishment for schizophrenia.
Artist Tyler Davis // @fartmag_usa
Monday, May 13 - Baytown patrol officer Juan Delacruz approaches 44-year-old Pamela Turner in her apartment complex at 1601 Garth Road. He claimed that Pamela Turner had an outstanding warrant, which she did not. Turner grabs for Delacruz’ taser and the encounter turns violent, Delacruz shoots Turner multiple times. Turner is pronounced dead at the scene. A lawyer for Turner’s family says video of the incident and a private autopsy show Delacruz shot Turner in the stomach, chest and face while a “safe distance” away. According to Benjamin Crump, the civil rights attorney representing Turner’s family, Delacruz should not have had any fear for his life. That’s because the kind of Taser Delacruz was carrying cannot be fired twice automatically, the model of the Taser confirmed that.
The case reportedly remains under review by the local district attorney’s office. Delacruz is still employed by the police department and has not been charged.
We are asking the Delacruz be charged with murder, arrested and fired from the Police Department. We ask that the District Attorney sees that Delacruz was not at risk and that he acted with lethal violence.
Artist Khaila Carr // @2oothdust
On the morning of Aug. 1, officers with the Baltimore County Police Department arrived at the Randallstown apartment of Korryn Gaines to serve warrants on her and her fiance, Kareem Courtney. After a standoff that lasted about six hours, Gaines was dead from police gunfire. County prosecutors would rule the shooting justified, and no charges would be filed against officers.Gaines' death gained attention from across the nation. Gaines' family alleged police wrongdoing, and filed a lawsuit in September. Baltimore State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger declined to file charges against Ruby and the other officers involved in the incident. In mid-October, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced that the Baltimore County Police Department would fast-track its efforts to equip county officers with body cameras.
Gaines' family filed a lawsuit against Ruby and the county. They say Ruby shot Gaines out of frustration, not fear. "My counsel and my clients believe that Officer Ruby was acting in a cowboy style," said J. Wyndal Gordon. He asked why Ruby fired when another officer near him did not. In their lawsuit, Gaines' family alleges the officers' entry into the apartment was improper. Shellenberger said it was legal under a 1980 Supreme Court ruling.
The family lawsuit quotes a neighbor, Ramone Coleman, who said he heard Gaines say she would surrender if police put down their guns. Ruby, a 16-year veteran of the department, was also involved in a deadly shooting in 2007. In that case, he was one of two officers who fatally shot a suicidal 24-year-old man, Adam Benjamin Rothstein, in Parkville. The shooting was ruled legally justified.
We ask the Gaines’ case is reopened, that Officer Ruby is investigated, charged and arrested for the murder of Korryn Gaines.
Artist Alecia Vera Buckles // @aleciavera
Bland, 28, was discovered hanging in her jail cell outside Houston days after being arrested in July 2015. The circumstances leading to her death, which was ruled a suicide, sparked large protests and became a flash point in the debate over the treatment of black people by police. The dashboard video released after the incident had shown a sudden escalation in the confrontation when Encinia requested that Bland extinguish her cigarette and she refused, leading him to demand that she step out of the car and then trying to yank her out before threatening her with the Taser. A new video released only one year ago, shows a calm and controlled young woman at the mercy of an increasingly agitated officer towering over her with a Taser pointed in her face and yelling, “Get out of the car. I will light you up. Get out. Now.” Referring to the officer: “That video shows he’s not in fear of his safety and she’s not reaching for anything. It’s already in her hand as she’s recording it,’’ Bland family lawyer Cannon Lambert told WFAA. “I’m in disbelief of what I’m seeing.’’
Encinia was fired in 2016 after a grand jury indicted him on a perjury charge for his claim that he demanded Bland get out of the car merely to conduct the traffic stop in a safer manner. The charge was later dropped in exchange for Encinia agreeing never to work in law enforcement again.
Bland’s family and attorney are asking that the case be reopened after new footage has been released. We ask that Encinia and all other officers be investigated. Sandra Bland’s “suicide” is suspicious and deserves to be investigated. A minor traffic stop should not lead to death.