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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Community Teams With NAACP to Support Rajnii Eddins

posted by on April 14 at 23:52 PM

A small but determined group of sixteen of Rajnii Eddin’s friends, acquaintances and supporters gathered at Waid’s Place on 12th and Jefferson this afternoon to plan their next move. Eddins, a 26-year-old teaching artist from Rainier Beach High School, was charged with obstruction on April 5th after attempting to intervene on behalf of a student being arrested near the school. While Eddins was unable to attend the meeting, due to a prior commitment, his mother Randee Eddins was there to express her frustration and dismay over her son’s arrest. “As a concerned parent and a community activist, this seems like a trend,” she said, providing a foreboding tag-line for the group’s campaign to exonerate Eddins: “Rajnii today, you tomorrow.” Randee Eddins called on attendees to “flood [Seattle City Attorney Tom Carr]’s ass with e-mails,” to let him know “the whole community is watching. Drop the charges against Rajnii! Folks know that my son is a good guy. People know I raised him well.”

“We had so much energy in that courtroom last week,” exclaimed Eddins’ lawyer Danielle Anderson, referring to Eddins’ hearing on April 10th. Anderson then called on “everyone who has been marginalized at some point in their life to come forward” and support her client.

Randee Eddins proposed a name for the group: “Saving Ourselves, Lifting Ourselves.” S.O.L.O. is currently planning a benefit concert to raise money to hire an investigator to look into Eddins’ case as the Office of Professional Accountability, which provides citizen oversight of the police department, has not yet responded to complaints filed after Eddins’ arrest. Seattle’s Chief of Police Gil Kerlikowske recently opted not to fill an open position at the OPA, which may further inhibit the already glacially slow process of investigating citizens’ claims.

The president of the Seattle chapter of the NAACP, James Bible, was also at the Eddins’ meeting, pushing for “a vote of no confidence in the OPA.” During the course of the meeting, the OPA was repeatedly described as “toothless,” referencing the lack of accountability in the cases of Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes and DV-One. While Eddins’ description of the events surrounding his arrest varies greatly from the account given by officers in the police report, Bible astutely summarized the reality of the situation “he’s a teacher and he was doing what he needed to do for a student.”

The NAACP will hold a press conference at city hall on Monday, April 16th at 11AM.

Eddins’ next hearing is set for May 29th.

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