My friend, Kathy Jennings, now A G of Delaware, strikes again with words of wisdom. I print her Commentary submission in its entirety, highlighting some parts.
Commentary from Kathy Jennings:
Thousands of Americans have poured into the town squares and city streets across our state and nation to protest George Floyd’s horrifying, senseless killing under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer.
Americans know the protests are not solely about George Floyd. We know they are a reckoning with something that has been broken in our country from its inception. They’re a reaction against the complicity of American institutions – and indeed, of Americans – in a system of black and brown repression that continues to pervade every corner of our society: from police brutality and criminal justice outcomes to economic opportunity, life expectancy and the effects of COVID-19.
Protest is righteously in our DNA as Americans. From the destruction of British property in Boston Harbor, to the civil rights movement, to today’s protests over systemic racism, mass protest is an indispensable instrument of progress when more conventional institutions fall short.
And yet, despite how endemic it is to our civic culture, protest makes us uncomfortable – and that discomfort is the point. Even though the nonviolent acts of civil disobedience that Martin Luther King Jr. and others carried out in the 1950s and 1960s are held today to be the holy grail of peaceful protest, polls from that time show that the American public believed the movement’s methods were more harmful than helpful to the cause of integration. They were wrong. Discomfort is a feature, not an accident. The very point of protest is to remove us from our comfort zones and to confront us with conversations we’ve avoided or ignored.
As an attorney and a longtime prosecutor, I also believe in the rule of law. And we are confronted with questions today – not least in the Department of Justice – about when protest violates the rule of law and how we answer that violation.
By and large, police throughout Delaware have shown excellent restraint by giving protesters room to demonstrate peacefully, while also making selective arrests when serious crimes were committed. With demonstrations in Delaware now entering their fourth week – and with disturbing examples of brutality against demonstrators in other states – our law enforcement’s rank and file deserve credit for knowing the wisdom of restraint.
Some of what’s come to light since the Camden protest raises legitimate questions. Prosecutors are actively reviewing all videos in the custody of the police departments that were present in Camden, and we are examining video that was sent to us by the public, including protesters. We’re also reviewing every arrest of every protester, both in the Camden incident and in protests throughout the state.
I have already spoken out about some of what occurred in Camden – I do not believe, for instance, that a photojournalist should have been detained and I was vocal in my insistence on his release from police custody – and I will have more to say about the demonstration when our review of the evidence is complete.
For now, I will say this: What happened in Camden clearly struck at something larger than the individual acts of any protester or police officer. This is a conversation about trust, about civil rights, about accountability and about the relationship between law enforcement and the community. It is not an indictment of every police officer to acknowledge that we need to recalibrate that relationship, just as it was not an indictment of every prosecutor or every judge when we set out to reform the criminal justice system.
On Friday, I met separately with both protesters and the Dover Police Department for several hours. I’ll continue to do everything in my power to help bridge the conversation between protesters and law enforcement. This is a time of incredible tension, but for many of us, it is also a time of hope for mutual understanding, healing and ultimately progress. The road ahead can lead to real growth for all of us, as a state and as a nation, but it will require some hard conversations. My personal hope is to see people of good faith come together to have those conversations and ultimately to effect and inform the change that we so desperately need.
And for all the good work that individual officers and departments do – and I am keenly familiar with that work – it is clear to many that the time for change is here. I was glad to see, and proud to endorse, the Delaware Black Caucus’ commitment to what I hope is only the beginning of a larger reform effort. And I continue to advocate for reasonable steps to ensure accountability for bad actors, giving the public greater buy-in and oversight of the police and honoring the public’s trust without penalizing good police officers.
I’ve called for 15 reform efforts inside the DOJ and in the Delaware Code, including an objective use-of-force standard, a statewide civilian review board, universal body cameras and a state law parallel to the federal law prohibiting the deprivation of civil rights. I’ve discussed them with law enforcement, with reform advocates and with policymakers, and there is broad common ground. These policies will not cure systemic racism or undo 400 years of oppression, but they would be tremendously beneficial steps forward for our state; they will not be easy to pass, but oftentimes, the right things to do are also the hardest; and they will not bring back George Floyd, Breonna Taylor or any of the lives lost to excessive force, but they may prevent these tragedies from reoccurring.
Kathy Jennings is attorney general of Delaware.
The Whole Story:
Company Hawking Prison Phone Monitoring Technology as Way to Discover Coronavirus Infections – Stupid Idea – kra
As the article points out, this is a stupid idea, invades inmates’ privacy, and does not accomplish its intended goal!
Prison IS the worst place to get coronavirus because (1) the health care workers are lazy, incompetent, or worse, (2) they and prison staff have NO clue what they are doing, and (3) staff often ignore protocol and the law.
Excerpts from the Article:
A Los Angeles-based company has been selling to jails and prison systems phone-monitoring technology that searches for keywords, touting it as a way to discover COVID-19 infections early.
LEO Technologies developed the Verus system, which has already been deployed in at least 26 facilities in 11 states, including the Georgia prison system, at least seven Alabama county jails, and at least one facility in California. Some use LEO for non-COVID-19-related purposes. The prisons implement Verus by asking their prison phone service provider to share call data with LEO, which routes the data though Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud-computing division of Amazon. AWS sends LEO transcripts and the transcripts are read for keywords such as “coughing,” “sick,” “sneezing” or “COVID-19” by LEO staff. Could anything go wrong?
“Obviously, people talking about COVID-19 on the phone does not necessarily mean they are infected with COVID-19. The whole world is talking about the virus right now,” said Shilpi Agarwal, a senior attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California. “It’s not at all clear that any of the monitoring and analysis would be accurate; we know that voice recognition technology is deeply biased. Moreover, we also know that this kind of recording technology has been misused in the past to financially exploit inmates and to spy on their conversations with attorneys.”
LEO Technologies CEO Scott Kernan is a former California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation secretary who sits on the board of GEO Group, one of the largest private prison companies in the world. LEO Technologies is funded by Elliott Broidy, a former national deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee whose office was raided by the FBI in 2018 in conjunction with an investigation of money laundering and influence peddling. In 2009, Broidy pleaded guilty to New York felony bribery charges, admitting to providing payments to staffers in the state’s comptroller’s office.
Kernan admits Verus is not subject to any outside auditing for accuracy and there is no “hard and fast rule” about who handles prisoners’ call data and for how long. He said Verus has already transcribed over 84 million minutes of calls at a cost of 6 to 8 cents a minute.
But who is going to pay those 6 to 8 cents per minute? It will not be the prisons and jails, and LEO certainly is not going to provide the service for free. That leaves prisoners–or rather their families—who will be stuck with a bill just to be able to spend a few minutes on the line with their loved ones.
“While this may be well intentioned, it’s absurd to rely on eavesdropping on prisoners’ phone calls to identify those who may have COVID-19,” said David Fathi, director of the ALCU’s National Prison Project. “If prisons and jails want sick prisoners to self-identify, they should stop charging them for medical care, and eliminate the many other barriers and disincentives to seeking care that currently exist.”
“To be clear, the way we can actually protect folks from COVID-19 is to decarcerate the prisons and jails,” said Agarwal.
The scope of Putin’s criminal activities is mind boggling!
Wow! Incredible! Truly frighteningly clever and dangerous.Who is the World’s most dangerous criminal? Not some terrorist planning the next attack to kill thousands. Not the nut job planning to shoot up a school. No, the world’s most dangerous criminal is the leader of a mob of cyber wizards, none other than Vladimir Putin!
You must see the “A marriage made in hell ” segment of this 60 Minutes broadcast to get a taste of the scope, the wile, the guile, of this danger! It is astonishing. Sure, they have stolen trillions of dollars worldwide, but they pose even greater threats. Link to video: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10310274/
Can they shut down key U S computer systems at will? Department of Defense? Communications networks? Can they contaminate millions of computers with misleading or false information to influence the conduct of the viewer … as in elections?
I can only conclude that the answer to these and even more scary questions is “Yes”! Why? Our government is not doing enough to protect us! WATCH the video, the map showing infected computers.
A friend of mine who does not share some of my views said: “The queers won again.” I said, “No, freedom has won again.”
Excerpts from the Article:
The U S Supreme Court ruled Monday that existing federal law forbids job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, a major victory for advocates of gay rights — and a surprising one from an increasingly conservative court. The decision said Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it illegal for employers to discriminate because of a person’s sex, among other factors, also covers sexual orientation. It upheld rulings from lower courts that said sexual orientation discrimination was a form of sex discrimination.
Across the nation, 21 states have their own laws prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Seven more provide that protection only to public employees. Those laws remain in force, but Monday’s ruling means federal law now provides similar protection for LGBT employees in the rest of the country.
Gay rights groups considered the case a highly significant one, even more important than the fight to get the right to marry, because nearly every LGBT adult has or needs a job.
They conceded that sexual orientation was not on the minds of anyone in Congress when the civil rights law was passed. But they said when an employer fires a male employee for dating men, but not a female employee who dates men, that violates the law.
The ruling was a victory for Gerald Bostock, who was fired from a county job in Georgia after he joined a gay softball team, and the relatives of Donald Zarda, a skydiving instructor who was fired after he told a female client not to worry about being strapped tightly to him during a jump, because he was “100 percent gay.” Zarda died before the case reached the Supreme Court.
The Trump administration had urged the court to rule that Title VII does not cover cases like those, in a reversal from the position the government took during the Obama administration.
“The ordinary meaning of ‘sex’ is biologically male or female; it does not include sexual orientation,” the Justice Department said. “An employer who discriminates against employees in same-sex relationships thus does not violate Title VII as long as it treats men in same-sex relationships the same as women in same-sex relationships.”
The case came to the Supreme Court that no longer includes Anthony Kennedy, who wrote all of the court’s significant gay rights decisions. He was succeeded by Brett Kavanaugh, who is generally more conservative than Kennedy.
The Whole Story
Yack, yack, yack. Talking does not cut it. It is long past time for us to tackle M H issues in America. Our neglect of the mentally ill costs us – you and me – $444 BILLION every year! That’s no typo… $444 BILLION every year!
Excerpts from the Article:
The mental health crisis is defined by the family, noted Malia Boone, youth crisis services program manager for Mobile Response and Stabilization Services — especially when dealing with the emotional stress placed upon them now.
“I’m not sure that families know when it’s OK to call crisis,” she said in a livestream hosted by NAMI Delaware Wednesday. “There might have been a time where they called crisis and they were told their child didn’t meet the criteria, or something like that, for crisis intervention. But it’s so important for families to know that the way we view crisis service at this point is that the crisis is defined by the family.”
MRSS responds to the needs of children ages 17 and younger and their families when children are struggling emotionally or behaviorally and it can be difficult to de-escalate the situation.
The services will determine if there’s need for emergency services, assess risk and plan for safety, defuse crisis situations and connect families to resources. The service can help develop plans for children to stay in their homes and school, and also refer children to treatment based on risk and needs. MRSS services are the same statewide and they responds within the hour, though Ms. Boone said that Sussex County is larger, and it may take longer for response.
In May, in response to COVID-19, the Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health launched a phone line dedicated to helping Delawareans cope with stress and and other needs by connecting them with resources. Many of the calls MRSS is receiving now are a more serious situation, Ms. Boone said in a phone interview. “People are calling at the point there’s nothing else they can do but figure out some way to call, and sometimes that connection is actually occurring from the police department or from the emergency room that they’ve gone to because of how serious the situation got,” she said.
“We just really think it’s so important to reach families who might be struggling and maybe they’ve never had any connection to mental health services before because maybe there’s never been an issue before but we are in a pandemic now and that is just game changing for everyone,” Ms. Slease said. The pandemic and its economic impact is one factor that could contribute to stress. But civil unrest in response to racial injustice is another factor that can contribute to deterioration of mental health.
“I’m not sure that, especially youth, feel comfortable saying, ‘This is something that bothers me, this is something that causes me anxiety, that causes me depression,’” she said. “My hope is that people will start to see it as something they can reach out for support about — ‘I struggle with this anxiety about if I go out into public, what’s going to happen? Am I going to die?’”
She added that there has been an increase in the adult system seeking support.
If someone under the age of 18 is experiencing a mental health crisis, Youth Crisis can be reached at 1-800-969-HELP (4357). MRSS is available day and night, including weekends and holidays.
The Whole Story:
Acts such as done by this idiot accomplish nothing. As a deterrent, he should get the maximum fine. Moreover, it is important to remember that most cops are good cops. READ
Remember the Good Cops- Most Cops ARE the Good Cops! = http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/remember-good-cops-cops-good-cops/
Excerpts from the Article:
A 42-year-old Camden man accused of taking an ax to the back of a neck of a police officer memorial in Dover early Friday morning has been arrested, Dover Police said. They arrested him after finding evidence at the scene and watching video surveillance, according to police. Kyle Bullock was arrested for vandalizing a police memorial in Dover.
Police said Kyle Bullock left his cell phone at the scene where they found an ax, a vandalized statue of an officer kneeling, and two urine-soaked Delaware state flags. Shortly after 5:30 a.m. police discovered the damage to the memorial located on Martin Luther King Boulevard.
Police said Bullock came to the scene asking officers if they had seen his missing cell phone. They claim he lied and told officers he lost it while participating in a protest earlier that day.
Dover Police said that Bullock was seen around protest activity, which had been going on in Dover since May 31, but that he was never with the group of protesters. Police also said that he was disorderly with them and that protesters told them he was not a part of the protesting group.
Delaware’s law enforcement memorial, which was erected in 2010 to honor the state’s fallen law enforcement officers, was axed Friday morning and two state flags “soaked” in urine were left nearby, Dover police said.
Officers arrested Bullock Friday night and charged him with a single county of felony criminal mischief. He was committed to Sussex Correctional Institution on $5,100 cash bond.
Not enough time. Were he black he would have been hammered. Nothing worse than bad cops and bad prosecutors.
Excerpts from the Article:
Scott Bahner, the former chief of the Bucks County Rescue Squad, will spend months in prison for stealing from the squad. The former chief of Bucks County Rescue Squad will spend several months in prison for stealing more than $127,000 from the organization over multiple years.
The Bucks County District Attorney’s Office said Scott Mel Bahner, 50, of Bensalem, will spend six to 23 months in county prison.
Bahner pleaded guilty in December to charges of theft by unlawful taking, a felony, and a misdemeanor offense of access device fraud. He was sentenced in the case on Wednesday.
In addition to prison time, he was also sentenced to three years of probation, which will run concurrently to his prison sentence. He will also be screened for house arrest.
Bahner was ordered to pay $127,942.98 in restitution. The DA’s office said in a news release that an investment fund Bahner owns has been seized and will be liquidated to cover the full amount of restitution.
He must report to Bucks County Prison on July 6.
“Scott Bahner’s malicious and selfish acts almost ruined the lives of the employees of Bucks County Rescue Squad and tainted the the image of a longstanding, well respected and trusted EMS organization in the community,” Chief Martin Liczbinski said, according to the DA’s office.
During Bahner’s tenure, 78 checks totaling about $87,230 were fraudulently issued to Bahner, according to court documents. Of the 78 checks, 47 of them were issued directly to Bahner with “no legitimate purpose” or false information, according to Bucks County Detectives.
The former chief also used squad money to pay for vehicle maintenance for his son’s car, a drug rehabilitation center in Florida, as well as other services, which he covered up, court documents state.
He also stole $29,618.33 from Bristol Township when he submitted time, about 1,777 hours, that he did not work or was unapproved for, court documents state. That was when he worked as a part-time community service officer for the police department.
He served in that role from October 2014 until he resigned in 2017. Bahner reimbursed the township in November 2017 for the money he took then, according to authorities.
Detectives began investigating Bahner in October 2018, when they were informed of funds being misappropriated by a squad employee.
Bahner’s attorney did not immediately return a message seeking comment Thursday afternoon.
Why is this here? Voters elect politicians, and politicians enact the criminal justice laws.
NOTE: This was published at the top of page A 4 of the Delaware State News of 6/22/22. Yes! https://delawarestatenews.net/opinion/commentary/commentary-voting-and-race-in-2020-be-aware-of-impediments/
Commentary or Letter to the Editor – Voting and Race in 2020 – 6/12/20
Studies show that hundreds of thousands of non-White voters, in crucial states, failed to vote in 2016. All of us, and all candidates, should encourage them to vote. Some potential voters perceive the voting act to be worth less than the required effort; therefore, they’re unlikely to vote. This point incentivizes the voter-ID proponents to lead and mislead actual and potential racial, ethnic, older, and younger voters into believing the voting act requires substantial effort.
Voting barriers can include early registration deadlines, inconvenient polling sites, long wait-times, untrained election officials, lack of transportation, strict bosses who don’t allow employees the time to vote, or even photo-ID requirements. These examples can make voting seem troublesome. With statistical significance, the 2014 U.S. General Accountability Office series of studies determined that voter turnout declines in states that have voter-ID laws. It also provided evidence that while 93 % of Whites owned driver’s licenses, only 79 % of Blacks had them. Therefore, photo-ID laws discriminate against at least one historically disenfranchised group and violate the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
The Jim Crow system held many restrictive voting laws, which included “understand” (condescending) clauses, the White primary, and poll taxes. That structure shrank the electorate. Further, Republicans have embraced the mantra of Paul Weyrich, co-founder of the conservative think-tank Heritage Foundation and Reverend Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority. In 1980, he infamously suggested, “I don’t want everybody to vote … As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.” Voter suppression via strict ID policy is one way to demobilize voters. Two additional strategies involve campaign finance laws (“Citizens United”) and the suspect redistricting of voting districts (“gerrymandering”). All these strategies ruthlessly oppose U.S. democracy.
Claims that non-existent voter fraud is a more significant problem than are the electoral system’s structural, suppressive inequities have “justified” tighter voting restrictions. Yet, these repeated claims demonstrably are myths. We can cite about 50 specific academic studies that expose their fallacies, and not one credible study contradicts them.
To raise the concerns of engaged GOP voters, the conservative media outlets spread the propaganda of voter fraud and then argue for the need to implement restrictions. They first invent the problem; then, they broadcast it to their audiences. They claim that because vast numbers of people believe it, our elected leaders must act on those concerns. As critical-thinking citizens, we should ask, “How does the mass media create and challenge claims of expertise, and how do their audiences ‘consume’ the competing knowledge claims?”
Some argue for the voter-ID need by comparing it to photo ID “requirements” to board a plane, purchase beer, enter any government building, or buy cold medicine. While it’s true that life is much easier when carrying a photo ID, these statements aren’t necessarily even true. Moreover, they’re privileges and never should be referenced as civil rights or civic responsibilities, such as with voting rights. Therefore, such comparisons are irrelevant, false equivalencies.
Critical thinking allows us to contemplate whether large numbers of people would consider a reward worth the risk. With the threat of deportation, for example, it’s implausible that many without immigration documents would vote. They’re trying to stay under the radar! Therefore, the argument that undocumented immigrants would commit mass voter fraud is ridiculous. Furthermore, no credible, empirical research suggests otherwise.
In this internet and social media age of widespread misinformation, a real “fake news” perspective is critical. By spreading false propaganda designed to worsen social, economic, and political divisions nationwide and hurt Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential candidacy, the U.S. intelligence community confirmed that the concept of “fake news” arose from Russians exploiting American social media. We must be aware of all of these impediments to free elections and do our duty and VOTE!
Greg Williams, Ph.D.
Nonprofit Research Policy Analyst | Specializing in Democracy, Voter-Fraud Disinformation, and Voter Suppression
Former prosecutor and founder of Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE
Minneapolis police chief takes on union, promises change The Minneapolis Police Department is withdrawing from police union contract negotiations
This is what is needed, in departments nationwide. READ what I wrote about police unions years ago: Editorial Submission or Letter to Editor – Reform Police Contracts! – 1/10/16
Excerpts from the Article:
The Minneapolis Police Department will withdraw from police union contract negotiations, Chief Medaria Arradondo said Wednesday, as he announced initial steps in what he said would be transformational reforms to the agency in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
Faced with calls from activists and a majority of City Council members to dismantle or defund the department, Arradondo also said he would use a new system to identify problem officers early and intervene.
“We will have a police department that our communities view as legitimate, trusting and working with their best interests at heart,” he said at a news conference more than two weeks after Floyd died after a white officer pressed his knee into the handcuffed black man’s neck even after he stopped moving and pleading for air.
Advisers will look for ways to restructure the contract to provide more transparency and flexibility, he said. The review will look at critical incident protocols, use of force, and disciplinary protocols, including grievances and arbitration, among other things. “This work must be transformational, but I must do it right,” Arradondo said.
The union’s contract expired on Dec. 31 but remains in effect until there is a new one. Talks began in October and eventually included a state mediator; the last discussion was in early March, when the coronavirus led to talks breaking off.
Union President Bob Kroll didn’t immediately return messages.
Arradondo fired the four officers who were at the scene of the encounter with Floyd the day after his death. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter, and the other three officers are charged with aiding and abetting.
One of those officers, Thomas Lane, posted bail of $750,000 and was released Wednesday with conditions. Chauvin, J. Kueng and Tou Thao remained in custody.
“Nobody’s saying defund safety,” Ellison said. “What they’re doing is they’re challenging the 19th, 20th century model of how we deliver safety … how it’s not really working very well and coming up with alternatives.”
Arradondo, the city’s first African American police chief, joined the Minneapolis Police Department in 1989 as a patrol officer, working his way up to precinct inspector and head of the Internal Affairs Unit, which investigates officer misconduct allegations. Along the way, he and four other black officers successfully sued the department for discrimination in promotions, pay and discipline.
He was promoted to assistant chief in early 2017, then became chief later that year, after Harteau was fired for the way she handled the fatal police shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, an Australian native who had called 911 to report a possible sexual assault behind her home.
Many hoped Arradondo could alter the culture of a department that critics said too frequently used excessive force and discriminated against people of color. Arradondo made some quick changes, including toughening the department’s policy on use of body cameras. But critics have said more needs to be done.
Commentary or Letter to Editor – Public Warning! – 6/10/20 DON’T FALL FOR IT! – Make tRump Toast in 2020! kra
Why do I post this here? Because Douche Bag in Chief is as harmful to criminal justice as he is to everything else he touches! I just sent this to my email list of about 400 Press outlets.
Commentary or Letter to Editor – Public Warning! – 6/10/20
DON’T FALL FOR IT!
THE ADS ARE RUNNING NOW, and Trump’s ad agency does know how to push your “hot buttons” to try to manipulate you to vote for this hate filled, colossal moron!
A picture of Trump with the caption “Mr. nice guy doesn’t cut it” … to try to justify his inherently coarse approach to everything, suggesting that he is “tough” “to get the job done”. He’s just a rude, crude, dude, and we must remember that!
An interview with a voter who says: blah blah blah, “but he means well” or “but he loves our country”! Sounds wonderful, but WHAT A LOAD OF BULL. He does not “mean well” … he means to sew hatred and to take advantage of people. He does not “love our country”! He loves only himself and money, and will stop and nothing to promote himself – remember, his CORE is Conman!- and to take money from the poor and middle class and give it to the rich.
These are the FACTS, and his entire ad campaign is an insult to your intelligence.
He thinks he can hold a rally in Jacksonville, say “I love Jacksonville”, and “I love the people of Florida” and every Floridian will vote for him. HE DOES NOT GIVE A HOOT ABOUT YOU, NOR DOES HE GIVE A HOOT ABOUT FLORIDA!
His advertising this year is all kinds of lies, absurd promises, and baloney, just like 2016. Vote him OUT!
Ken Abraham, Dover, DE 302-423-4067