By Floyd D. Harris, Jr., and Jean Kennedy
Dr. Jean Kennedy, a professor and radio host who spends time in both California and Georgia, plans to submit an Action Plan to the California State Senate requesting draft legislation on reciprocity between the State of California and the State of Georgia to protect California residents who plan to visit Georgia for more than 30 days (at which time a change in residency is required). This action is being taken in response to Dr. Kennedy’s traffic arrest case, which was dismissed in March 2014 thereby making it a “wrongful arrest.” Dr. Kennedy also plans to sue the State of Georgia for wrongful arrest.
According to Dr. Kennedy, her case is similar to Sandra Bland’s in Texas and Eric Garner’s in New York. If the “Terry stop” law were adopted nationwide, these individuals would still be alive today and Dr. Kennedy would not have been arrested.
“An individual would be given an opportunity to speak with a judge and/or mail a letter of explanation regarding their citation instead of having an arrest record,” states Dr. Kennedy. This could happen to other Californians faced with a citation who are unable (for whatever reason) to pay that citation “on the spot.” However, in states such as Georgia, debtor prison still exists, so Georgia is not worried if the residents of California do not push back on its law.
Now, Dr. Kennedy is fighting a wrongful arrest record. She intends to file a civil case in federal court if she can raise the funds to do so before her statute of limitations expires in February (the anniversary of her arrest date).
“This fight is not just for her but for others who will face a similar situation in the future. This is like a Rosa Parks situation,” states Rev. Floyd D. Harris, Jr., who received her call when Dr. Kennedy was arrested in February 2014. He was the one who contacted her family to break the bad news.
Kennedy, 60, was visiting family in February 2014 when a Smyrna police officer pulled her over. When Dr. Kennedy was asked to pay her citation on the spot and she indicated she could not, the officer ordered her to drive her own car and follow him to the “detention center.”
Once inside the detention center and being processed, the full weight of her arrest set in. “I felt violated,” says Dr. Kennedy. “I felt violated when they put their hands all over my body and between my legs. Then they told me to remove my (hair) clips. It was when they went and got me a pair of scissors to cut out my ethnic hair shells from my hair that it dawned on me just what was happening to me. I thought my God! They insisted I cut out my shells and put on jail scrubs. I complied. They locked me in a bathroom, unsupervised with a pair of scissors.”
Dr. Kennedy is now on a mission to get some proper laws in place, laws that will not harm another Californian in Georgia, but rather protect them from being placed in debtor jail/ prison while traveling in another state.
Dr. Kennedy will speak a Town Hall meeting at New Light for New Light Church of God (1106 W. Woodward Ave.), on Nov. 12, where she will share her experience and address the new legislation she hopes to craft with the support of California state legislators. She already has support for this action from a Georgia senator, but California must take the lead so that California residents can travel beyond 30 days without intimidation or fear of arrest whether it is for job opportunities or visiting the grandkids and family members.
There are numerous reasons for someone to visit a state for more than 30 days. Just think about it, we are already protected under interstate commerce laws, therefore we should not fear been arrested if we decide to stay beyond 30 days to conduct business or for personal/family reasons. Like Dr. Kennedy, there are others who maintain their residency in California, pay taxes here and own property here. California is one of six states that does not have reciprocity with Georgia.
Rev. Floyd D. Harris, Jr., is the president of National Network in Action. Contact him at 559-213-5886 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Jean Kennedy is an organizational industrial psychologist and educator and a radio host on Blog Talk Radio Real Talk. Contact her at 559-270-1023.
DR KENNEDY-VS- THE STATE OF GEORGIA
CHALLENGING DEBTORS PRISON
CALIFORNIANS’ ARE MOST AT RISK
SPEAKER: DR. JEAN KENNEDY
NEW LIGHT FOR NEW LIFE CHURCH OF GOD
LOCATION: 1106 W WOODWARD AVE FRESNO CA 93706
For more information call 1559-790-4277
NOVEMBER 5, 2015
DOORS OPEN AT 6:00pm
Meet and Greet
Town Hall Discussion to Follow Presentation
An Action Plan will be submitted requesting the California State Senate to draft legislation regarding reciprocity between the State of California and Georgia that protects residents of California who plan to visit Georgia for over 30 day.
Dr. Jean Kennedy is an organizational/industrial psychologist & educator. Her Facebook is: https://www.facebook.com/Dr-Kennedy-Vs-the-State-of-Georgia-476669385847462
For More Information contact Rev. Dr. Floyd D Harris, Jr. (559)790- 4277 or Email email@example.com or Facebook: Floyd Harris Jr.