Administrator’s note: Leon has concluded his Charleston trip and spent the day in nearby Charlotte, North Carolina where President Barack Obama was engaged in a question-answer session with women’s rights activists. Here is Leon’s report:
I came to Charlotte this afternoon to exploit another gathering of national media at the ImaginOn Center on East 7th Street. The president was here to answer questions on the subject of women’s issues including equal pay and child care. He arrived at 2:30 and was gone a little more than an hour later.
President Obama’s trip was highly controlled and scripted. Barricades were set to keep the general public as far away as possible from the building with police cars and large utility trucks blocking off street access two blocks away. If there were any protesters, he would not have noticed them.
This media event was nothing like the ones in Charleston that evolved by the minute. The session itself was not open to the public, and it was not clear that anything was accomplished by such a costly trip. A visit to nearby Charleston could have been added to this itinerary given the growing crises developing over a black father shot to death by a traffic cop to enforce a child support warrant.
For what it’s worth I was there to make a stand for abused, discriminated and killed fathers by sharing my report “We Are Fathers” with national media. Had our efforts been financed a fraction of the amounts given to the hosts of this “town hall meeting” as it was called, a similar event could have been staged to gain meaningful reforms in our nation’s family courts.
For this very reason, financing remains the principal theme of my report. While the people inside were lamenting the figure of 83 cents earned by women for every dollar earned by men, no one anywhere was lamenting Census Bureau reports that continue to show that 83% of people paying child support are men.
Interestingly the sponsors of this town hall meeting were a digital media corporation and women’s blogger network. According to its website BlogHer Inc. doled out $36 million to women bloggers for the purpose of influencing social media. Is this what it takes to get the president’s attention? If so, we need to do the same. That’s why I released my report and I’m asking all our followers to help us out.
Administrator’s summary; if you’ve been following recent posts on this site, then you know that Leon has been in Charleston, South Carolina this past week advocating for fathers’ rights in connection with the Walter Scott murder. He has been working diligently to shift government and media focus from the race aspects of this horrendous incident to the family court abuses which triggered it.
To that end he has been distributing his report made public last month in Nashville entitled “We Are Fathers” to civil rights leaders and government representatives. His progress reports can be found here at Leon Koziol.com, a site devoted to family law reform. After vocalizing his concerns before national media, Leon was featured on Charleston television yesterday.
As we become educated to these draconian support collection practices, it is increasingly clear that Leon’s efforts are vital because good fathers are now being killed by law enforcement for delinquent family court debts. Here no crime was committed. Instead a black father was shot in the back by a North Charleston police officer who is now in jail without bail on murder charges.
This father had long experienced the discrimination and abuses which convinced him that Justice was better served on the streets than in these courts. He just never expected he could be murdered by a cop for failing to pay his bills. It’s a scary incident which could occur to any father in America today given the false criminal stigmas and sexist slurs being advanced by our own federal government as recently as 2012 in Justice Department news releases.
The Walter Scott incident, preserved on a video seen around the world, shows an unarmed father fleeing arrest on a support warrant at a traffic stop for a broken tail light. The cop fired eight shots from a distance at the fleeing debtor with five bullets entering his back, one in the heart.
The white officer is then shown casually walking over to his victim and cuffing him face down as he took his final breath. Again there was no crime committed but the family court warrant was now executed with no money or daddy for the children. Here is how Leon finally managed to shift focus in Charleston:
It wasn’t easy, in fact I was beginning to think it was a lost cause. Despite all my appearances, participation in media events and interactions with civil rights protesters and government officials all across Charleston, South Carolina this past week, once again no one was listening. I reiterated my statements concerning the killer in the Walter Scott case, emphasizing not the cop named Michael Slager but the silent and insidious accomplice known as family court.
In yet another news conference today at North Charleston City Hall, everyone was focused on race as a lawyer for protesters in Ferguson, Missouri announced a new wave of protests here. I had delivered my report to the local organizer of the event but the father issues remained without mention by anyone. So once again I asserted myself on the media side of the presentations before the keynote speaker.
In his riveting keynote address, Attorney Malik Shabazz, national president of Black Lawyers for Justice, described black men as the hunted ones, killed “like deer and dogs.” During subsequent media interviews, I raised the father discrimination aspects surrounding the Walter Scott murder which set this case apart from all other racially charged incidents across the country. I cited three status based factors which worked against this particular victim: he was black, a man and a father. I urged all in attendance to support my public appeal for a Justice Department investigation to prevent more of these incidents.
At the request of the event organizer, I was asked to hand deliver my report “We Are Fathers” to Attorney Shabazz at the podium. A resounding applause ensued when I did. The keynote speaker joined in the issues raised and went further. He agreed that the support warrant was a major concern and that he would study my report for answers and reform efforts.
Following this national media event, I was approached by African-American victims of court injustices. Of course I could not provide assistance due to the retributions experienced back in New York for my public predictions that materialized here. I was then asked to give a separate live interview on Charleston television. I will provide further details in a later post.
We’re making progress fellow parents, fathers and victims. Regrettably I feel like I’m doing it alone in Charleston but a profound statement had to be made here for all family court victims across America. We’ll continue to keep you informed.
Administrator’s note: Leon has been in Charleston, South Carolina seeking support for family court reform in light of the police shooting of an unarmed father fleeing an arrest for a child support warrant. We’ve shown you the video taken of this father shot five times in the back with no concern for his condition afterward. Leon traces the route of the same video taker at a vigil held today at the site of Walter Scott’s murder. The North Charleston police officer is in jail on murder charges.Here is what Leon reports from the vigil site.
I had an opportunity to chat with Al Sharpton today at the site of Walter Scott’s murder here in North Charleston. It was during a vigil ceremony with everything about the place coming across very surreal.
I have reviewed this travesty in my mind with horror, finding it hard to grasp that it was all caused by a child support warrant. Our government is actually killing fathers now for money. Of course we know that this cop who shot Walter Scott had to be deranged, but the fact is, that’s what happened here. Without the warrant, this killing would not have occurred.
I focused on the exact spot where Walter Scott fell in that video which continues to haunt me as a father myself. A collection of flowers marks the spot which might as well be sacred ground today. It should move all fathers to action. We cannot allow greed and money to be a cause for police force and debtor prisons. A planned rally on June 19th (fatherless day) at the Supreme Court should be everyone’s focus to secure respect and fair treatment in our family courts.
I retraced the route of this father fleeing yet another stint in prison for being a support debtor. I struggled with the sounds of eight gun shots, five which landed in the back and one through the heart. I examined the distance between the officer and the location where the victim fell. I recalled how the cop casually walked over and hand-cuffed the debtor as he took his final breath. The family court warrant had now been executed!
On the other side of a worn-out fence, I placed myself in the shoes of the video taker. I was amazed at how he had to be in the right place and the right time for justice to be served. Fortunately he had the courage and presence of mind to complete his vital mission under a profound fear of being shot himself.
Gradually the crowd and camera crews dissipated. I was among the last to leave when I noted a biker gang in an adjacent lot. Out of respect for the attendees, they waited patiently and largely unnoticed until the place was empty. Then they formed a loud circular procession in order to make their own statement, concluding with a united linear back-up to the vicinity where the cop committed his crime. I felt a bit like the video taker when I captured this scene from the other side of the fence.
Administrator ‘s note: Leon has been in Charleston, South Carolina this past week promoting fathers rights and racial justice in our family courts emanating from the Walter Scott murder. He’s been making headway at numerous events, becoming known among community leaders and protesters on a broad spectrum of attendees. Here’s what he’s reporting today:
The Los Angeles Times refers to him as the popular South Carolina mayor who’s weathered the storm over the police killing of an unarmed African-American father fleeing from a child support warrant. And I had a chance to meet him personally after sharing my purpose for being in his city.
His name is Keith Summey and he was accompanied by a very personable and helpful assistant who listened intently to my own ordeals as a fathers rights advocate. Later I participated in another media session outside the church in North Charleston after hearing a riveting sermon by Reverend Al Sharpton. Don’t ask how I managed to get in, but the kind ushers I’ve come to know at various events helped out.
Last night I spoke with leaders who sponsored a protest inside North Charleston City Hall. I’ve been handing out my 25-page report released last month entitled “We Are Fathers.” In it, I predicted continued violence and victimization among minority fathers due to a broad failure of our family courts and federal government to recall and reform draconian support enforcement practices. I also predicted that it would place law enforcement in harm’s way.
You don’t take a child away from its parents without proper cause. Support debts are not a valid cause, and you don’t come between a father and his children without risking serious emotional reactions. I shared my report with Fox News and other media on the scene of these daily events. Excerpts of that report have been published at Leon Koziol.com in a series entitled “King’s Chronicles.” Stay tuned for more updates to include a mass protest at City Hall tomorrow which was announced only moments ago.
Administrator’s Note: Leon is busy getting us news updates and family law reform in Charleston. He was at the Walter Scott Funeral today. Some media are steering clear of the fathers’ rights issues so we will give you the news as it’s happening here at Leon Koziol.com. Think of this site as the concerned parent’s portal to the issues affecting all Americans today. In fact, we know of media visiting this site to learn of cutting edge information which our followers have been getting all along.
Well he didn’t have a media pass while coming upon a congressman giving an interview surrounded by cameras and reporters from all across the country. But how was Leon Koziol to know? So he just joined the interactions.
Leon had paid his respects to family members at the funeral for Walter Scott inside the W.O.R.D. Ministries Christian Center when he came upon a crowd outside. The pastor inside had just taken aim at the state’s unjust child support practices and Charleston Congressman James Clyburn was giving his take on it.
Frustrated that no one was raising father discrimination as an overriding issue, what we have called the “elephant in the court room,” Leon cut in with questions: “Isn’t there a serious issue of fathers’ rights here?” he began. It continued with an exchange concerning “draconian support collection practices” as Leon described it.
Congressman Clyburn responded with a quip about his lack of authority in his own household. Eventually the Congressman admitted candidly, refreshingly but also surprisingly that he felt a bit uninformed on the issues raised by Leon. Yet, if you’ve been following our site, especially our recent posts, these practices are the cause for Walter Scott’s panic and flee from the scene of a simple traffic infraction. As we all know now, it led to his execution on April 4, 2015.
In the next interview featuring a family attorney, legislator and family representative, it was reaffirmed contrary to yesterday’s late media reports that in fact a “bench warrant” for support had been outstanding during the traffic stop. This prompted Leon to state that if sophisticated media was in conflict over the warrant, how could anyone expect Walter Scott to know of its existence.
A family representative explained that Walter was a wonderful father but job difficulties had caused him to fall behind in support. It landed him in jail a number of times. South Carolina has some of the most draconian “debtor prison” laws in the country. A father is prosecuted after only five days of delinquency and can be sentenced to a year in prison without committing any crime.
The impact on minority fathers is particularly devastating in this southern state. Local government and law enforcement responses were commended by the family (as we did in yesterday’s post). In response to another media question, the family representative stated that no definite conclusion of racial motive had yet been made due to a “lack of clear evidence.”
We will keep you updated on these fascinating developments. Whether a media pass was required to participate in this conference is still not known, but you can see now the profound benefit of secondary media and the internet which you folks capitalize on to help inform the public of all the important issues. Please share today’s post: http://wp.me/pXgi5-Pj
Charleston May be the Saratoga or Gettysburg in this War on Fathers.
By Dr. Leon R. Koziol
Here in Charleston, it’s not just another racially charged killing in America. It’s much more. A black man was shot dead in the back by a white cop because of a money debt called “child support.” This is the elephant in the court room which everyone is ignoring, almost as if such obligations were sacred simply because the word “child” is attached.
Yet because of this money debt and an arrest warrant from a support judge, this heinous murder occurred. Such warrants are doled out like candy and countless fathers do not even know they exist. Substandard notice procedures are employed because these are supposedly civil courts with no criminal implications. But as the Walter Scott incident abundantly proved, these warrants are anything but civil. Debtor fathers are treated like criminals in the end. Poor notice procedures are akin to being shot in the back as a defenseless man.
Indeed in my civil rights reports, I have shown how the federal government and our family courts are literally criminalizing fatherhood for revenue generating purposes. Any competent investigation by our Justice Department must include the judge, lawyers and participants of a court process which treats fathers as lower class citizens due to their birth status. These money obligations are imposed in discriminatory fashion with minority fathers especially abused.
It was all explained in my 2012 report hand- delivered to our Justice Department and a public initiative summary made public only weeks prior to this travesty entitled “We Are Fathers.” Child support is enforced through draconian means with debtor prisons as their ultimate outcome. If it was not for a court process which is getting increasingly out of control, a more routine ending would have occurred. A traffic ticket would have issued and Walter Scott would have been on his way home .
If these courts were truly family friendly, if fathers were truly respected as parents, and if greed did not trump the true best interests of our children, no warrant would have issued to cause a desperate father to flee the scene of a simple traffic stop. Fathers are not just second class citizens in our family courts, they have been reduced to sub-class status with less parental authority than teachers and teen baby sitters.
To be sure, fathers are routinely made to exercise a degrading form of parenting known as “visitation,” a term more properly applied to prisons and funerals. Whenever someone mentions child support, a male pronoun is always attached. Indeed, fathers do not even get the respect of having the phrase “dead beat dad” treated for what it is, a sexist slur.
Walter Scott ran from the scene not because of a broken tail light, not because he was black, not because of any crime he had committed. He ran because he had been in family court enough times to know that he could not get a fair shake there. He knew that child support was often used for purposes other than the child. It was a scene that could have played out anywhere in America.
This dad knew that if he surrendered to this cop, he would be thrown into a debtors’ prison, there would be no jury of peers to decide his fate, and one person in a robe, rewarded by the number of support orders to be enforced, could not rule impartially. Why even show up to such a kangaroo operation when the only crime that Walter Scott committed was that he was born the wrong way under antiquated laws.
Protesters are now running out of steam to maintain any ongoing purpose here. Unlike other racially charged incidents, the people and government of South Carolina are not trying to justify the aberrant behavior of Officer Slager. They had him promptly charged with murder, committed to jail without bail, and they even surrendered their investigative authority to outside agencies. Unless I’m missing something, what more could be done?
Well, if I may be heard, not only as a white man but as a civil rights attorney who took on the challenges that no one else would, you have an epic purpose here. It is one that could make civil rights history. But I assert this as a parent. It is a status I have in common with this victim and one that could unite all Americans behind a worthy cause to root out corruption in our nation’s divorce and family courts.
Walter Scott is someone I can relate to as a father. I have resisted the same draconian debt collection practices for reasons too numerous to state here. They are aptly provided in prior posts here at Leon Koziol.com. In short , these practices violate rights under the American Constitution which our military fights each day to preserve only to return to the same unjust laws.
Walter Scott’s sacrifice cannot be allowed to go without real purpose. He is our turning point in this war on fathers. When a loving dad is shot dead in the back fleeing from a child support warrant, all fathers become victims. This is our fraternal bond since the time of creation itself. My objective here in Charleston knows no color or origin. It remains the final frontier of civil rights reform left unchecked in America today.
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This is not just another racially charged incident, it is a fathers’ rights travesty. I warned of it, no one listened. Maybe they’ll listen now.”
By Dr. Leon R. Koziol
What crime did Walter Scott commit to warrant his execution in Charleston, South Carolina? We’ve seen the video; the cruel, cold and callous manner in which he was shot multiple times in the back. There was not even a rush to check on the victim’s condition by the police officer who casually walked over and planted a device upon the body.
The shooter was not seeking to defend himself, he was not in danger, there was no crime behind the detention of Walter Scott. Instead an American father was shot dead because of a money debt called “child support.” And the killer had a badge under an oath to protect the public. But who or what was he protecting here?
There will be those, publicly or privately, trying to downgrade the incident by noting that the victim was defying a police directive, he was fleeing the scene and could have sought recourse in a court of law. But this particular victim had three strikes against him: his race, gender and parental status as a father. Had the detainee been a white mother in debt, she would not have been shot dead.
As for recourse, Walter Scott had none. For starters, he would have been sentenced to a debtors’ prison even though such draconian practices have long been discontinued. We all know of fathers who have fallen behind in support obligations because of a job loss or inability to secure the kind of income a well paid judge thinks he can get. Fleeing the scene may have been this father’s best chance at justice or freedom.
It’s all part of a growing crisis being fomented by an antiquated divorce and family court system which has placed money over the genuine interests of families. The victim’s children here lost much more than “child support,” they forever lost their dad. Homeless fathers remain an overlooked by-product of this dysfunctional family court system.
As an accomplished civil rights attorney for more than 23 years, I predicted events that are now occurring. In 2010, I sponsored a forum to receive testimony from family court victims for a report to the Justice Department. It was triggered by a white police officer who committed a murder-suicide after leaving support court, leaving three children without parents. One month later, a black war veteran was mistakenly gang tackled by the same police department despite being a shooting victim at a domestic incident.
Federal child support laws were a focus of this forum because lawyers, bureaucrats and third parties are being rewarded through incentive grants to the states based on the number and magnitude of support orders manufactured in their family courts. All sorts of schemes have been concocted to maximize revenues and fees at the expense of struggling fathers who continue to comprise 85% of support debtors.
Despite hand-delivery of my report in Washington, the Justice Department refused to conduct an investigation. Meanwhile local operatives retaliated by targeting my law license and children. Ethics lawyers conducted a witch hunt but were fired in 2013 for falsifying their time sheets. No public charges were brought against them.
A family judge assigned to my custody case was removed from the bench for admitting to sexual misconduct upon his handicapped five year old niece. In response to my public criticisms, his replacement then imposed conflicting conditions on my parenting liberties to make it impossible for me to father my children, let alone see them on risk of contempt.
The combined retributions upon my First Amendment rights forced me to seek protection in Paris. In November, 2014, I filed an application for extraordinary relief before a federal appeals court in Manhattan, a case destined to reach the Supreme Court this year. I returned to New York after a threatened support warrant was never issued.
One month later, I informed family court that I would continue to resist these draconian practices in the civil rights tradition of Martin Luther King. Extensive justification was provided last month in a 25-page report entitled “We Are Fathers.” It was designed to incite reform nationwide with warnings that violence would escalate.
Emphasis was placed on veterans and minorities as the likely victims of arrest from these family court abuses. Again no one listened. The band played on, and today we see the horrendous consequence in Charleston. It begs the question: was the police officer acting alone when he killed Walter Scott or could we say he had an accomplice known as family court. Closer to home, I ponder how easily it could have been me resisting that support warrant.
Dr. Leon R. Koziol
Civil Rights Advocate
Administrator’s Request: Please help Dr. Koziol cover any travel expenses that he may incur on his way to Charleston, South Carolina where he plans to meet with civil rights advocates and media representatives in order to bring attention to the underlying issues that contributed to the killing of Walter Scott. Donations of $25 or more would be kindly appreciated. (Click Here)