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
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
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.