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Hip-Hop Activists Arrested In Seattle

Just days after hosting Seattle’s first

annual Hip Hop Summit and concert, featuring President & CEO of the Hip

Hop Summit Action Network, Min. Benjamin Muhammad and Hip Hop duo Dead Prez,

organizers Wyking Allah (Hon. Kwame Garrett), founder of the area’s recently

established Seattle Hip Hop Summit Action Network Youth Council, and Hip Hop

artist Onlee 1 Kanome (Merciful Allah) were attacked by police, allegedly for

jaywalking.

The incident highlights what many have dubbed

“police terrorism” or racial profiling, which has been a volatile

issue in black communiites across the nation. Both Wyking and Onlee 1 were pepper

sprayed, subdued with excessive force and incurred substantial injuries as a

result of police actions. After being denied proper medical attention the two

were charged with felony assault of a police officer. They are currently free

on bail

and awaiting trial.

Though police officials attest that the two attacked

the officers, a city of seattle employee has come forward stating that she witnessed

the altercation and that the police were the aggressors. In a written letter

to the Seattle City attorney’s office she added that the charges issued

by the police, which stated that Wyking pulled one of the officers from his

bike and held him in a choke hold are false. She also added that Onlee 1 took

no violent action during the altercation.

Wyking is the son of Omari-Tahir Garrett who

was accused and convicted, with inconclusive evidence, for striking a blow at

then Seattle Mayor Paul Schell in July 2001. Much of the media, particularly

local Seattle newspapers, have continued to portray father and son as militant

adversaries of the police and threats to society. Much of this arises from the

work they have done in the Seattle Black community that has often pitted them

against a city government rampant with racism.

Wyking was runner up for State Representative

in 1998 and Onlee1 established Cop Watch 206 to counter police terrorism in

1996. In addition to that, earlier this year Onlee1 also won a settlement after

being assaulted by police in 1999.

The two are well known for their work to establish

an African American Heritage Museum and Culture Center in Seattle. The city

is conspiring with the Seattle Urban League to steal the building designated

for the Black museum and turn it into condominiums.

The visibility and involvement Wyking and Onlee

1 have had in Seattle, along with the contested police reports, show the continuing

campaign to target, criminalize and neutralize members of the hip hop community

from multi-platinum artists like Jay-Z to street level movers and shakers.

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