End Mass Criminalization of Black and Brown Youth

End Racism and Discrimination

Tuesday, 24 November 2015 00:00

Trial of Democratic Water Warriors Homrich 9 Takes Dramatic Turn at 11th Hour

Written by Detroit Legal News Publishing
Trial of Democratic Water Warriors Homrich 9 Takes Dramatic Turn at 11th Hour Photo Courtesy of People's Water Board

Moments before going to trial, members of the “Homrich 9” — so-called because they intentionally blocked the entrance of a company that performs water disconnections for the city of Detroit, Homrich Inc. — held an early-morning press conference Wednesday to discuss their nonviolent resistance to massive water shutoffs.

Two of the nine, Marian Kramer and Bill Wylie-Kellermann, arrested for blocking the trucks of the Homrich Inc. water shut-off crews for more than eight hours last summer, went to trial before Judge Ruth Garrett in 36th District Court. But other members of the group had their participation in the trial delayed at the eleventh hour by a prosecution appeal to deny their use of the “necessity defense” (a legal defense which demonstrates that breaking a law may be justified in order to prevent an imminent harm). The two spoke out about the necessity defense, the need to defend Detroiters’ right to water, and the need for affordable water.

“The necessity defense means that we were working to keep people --children, pregnant women, the elderly and most vulnerable -- from being harmed by having their water shut off,” said Bill Wylie-Kellermann, pastor of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. “We believe Detroiters know massive water shut-offs are devastating and inhumane. That’s why the prosecutors separated Marian and me from the rest and moved to deny us use the necessity defense. Now, they are trying to delay the other five defendants’ trial and also preclude them from using this defense. It’s clear they don’t want a jury to hear all the facts in this case. Everyone knows water is a very basic necessity.” 

The defendants also spoke about what they see as the irony of being put on trial for nonviolent defense of people’s right to water.

“The true crime is that thousands of people who are struggling to pay their bills are being deprived of a basic necessity of life,” said Marian Kramer of Michigan Welfare Rights Organization and Highland Park Human Rights Coalition. “Instead of implementing the Water Affordability Plan, which would tie water rates to income and which Detroit City Council supports, Mayor Dugan chooses to shut off the water of thousands of Detroiters. Who is the real criminal?”

About a decade ago, Michigan Welfare Rights Organization worked with economist Roger Colton to draft a Water Affordability Plan that would bill residents for water based on income.  A recently released legal opinion developed for the Detroit City Council verified the lawful and constitutional feasibility of such a plan.

Homrich Inc., along with Mayor Duggan, is currently under investigation for inflated demolition costs. As the prosecution goes forward, shut-offs by DWSD continue.

The People’s Water Board advocates for access, protection, and conservation of water. We believe water is a human right and all people should have access to clean and affordable water. Water is a commons that should be held in the public trust free of privatization. The People’s Water Board promotes awareness of the interconnectedness of all people and resources. Water is life. http://www.peopleswaterboard.org/

Link to original article from Grand Rapids Legal News

Read 4207 times

Latest Economic and Social Justice News

  • 1

Willie Nelson - Keeping the Postal Service Alive

Latest News

  • Repealing the Jim Crow law that keeps 1.5 million Floridians from voting. +

    Repealing the Jim Crow law that keeps 1.5 million Floridians from voting. A seismic political battle that could send shockwaves all the way to the White House was launched last week in Read More
  • Nuclear Weapons: Who Pays, Who Profits? +

    Nuclear Weapons: Who Pays, Who Profits? In an interview with Reuters conducted a month after he took office, Donald Trump asserted that the U.S. had “fallen Read More
  • Sessions issues sweeping new criminal charging policy +

    Sessions issues sweeping new criminal charging policy Attorney General Jeff Sessions overturned the sweeping criminal charging policy of former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. and directed Read More
  • Bush’s Iraq Lies, Uncontested, Will Haunt Us Under Trump +

    Bush’s Iraq Lies, Uncontested, Will Haunt Us Under Trump The CODEPINK Tribunal taking place December 1 and 2, and live streamed by The Real News, is a historic collection of testimonies about the lies Read More
  • The System IS Rigged!—The Electoral College and the 2016 Election +

    The System IS Rigged!—The Electoral College and the 2016 Election Donald Trump was right: the system is rigged! But it is rigged for the Republicans, not the Democrats, for conservatives, Read More
  • 1

Economic and Social Justice Calls

  • 5-4-2016 Economic and Social Justice Call
    The team explores the concept, economic theories and realities of achieving Full Employment in the current economy. Guests include Conor Williams, the secretary of the Transitional Jobs Collaborative in Milwaukee and Michael Darner, Executive Director of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
  • 02-03-2016 Economic & Social Justice
    Listen to this month's call led by Jim Carpenter as we discuss the state of our current economy, the impact of poor economic choices, and the other factors that play into the declining situation around the country, and in the world in this open and guided conversation.
  • 01-06-2016 Economic & Social Justice
    PDAction Board Member Donald Whitehead, and former Ex. Dir. of the Coalition for the Homeless leads the discussion on homelessness, with input from Joel Segal, PDAmerica founding member and National Director of the Justice Action Mobilization Network. Special focus is given to the housing crisis, the role of the banks, programs used by other countries to alleviate the problem, as well as the fact that women are the most adversely affected by this issue. H Con Res 98 - Resolve to Eliminate Homelessness - has been introduced in Congress by Rep. Alma Adams (NC-12) and is endorsed on this call.