The best part of this settlement is the changes being made regarding no knock warrants. Read the article for details.
Excerpts from the Article:
Months after the police killing of Breonna Taylor thrust her name to the forefront of a national reckoning on race, the city of Louisville agreed to pay the Black woman’s family $12 million and reform police practices as part of a settlement announced Tuesday.
But Taylor’s mother and others who have taken up her cause said much more must be done to right the wrongs of racial injustice in America.
“Please continue to say her name,” Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, declared at an emotional news conference, evoking the call that has become a national refrain for those outraged by the shooting and police violence.
Taylor’s death sparked months of protests in Louisville and calls nationwide for the officers to be criminally charged. The state’s attorney general, Daniel Cameron, is investigating police actions in the March 13 fatal shooting.
“I cannot begin to imagine Ms. Palmer’s pain, and I am deeply, deeply sorry for Breonna’s death,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer in announcing the terms of the lawsuit settlement.
Standing nearby as the mayor spoke, Palmer said the police reforms were not enough.
“We must not lose focus on what the real job is, and with that being said, it’s time to move forward with the criminal charges, because she deserves that and much more,” Palmer said. “As significant as today is, it’s only the beginning of getting full justice for Breonna.”
The lawsuit, filed by Palmer in April, accused police of using flawed information when they obtained a “no-knock” warrant to enter the 26-year-old woman’s apartment. Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were roused from bed by police, and Walker said he fired once at the officers, thinking they were intruders. Investigators say police were returning fire when they shot Taylor several times. No drugs were found at her home.
Dissatisfaction with the settlement extended to “Injustice Square” in downtown Louisville, where demonstrators have gathered daily for 113 days, demanding justice for Taylor. Some who listened to the announcement over a loudspeaker near a memorial for Taylor said the price for a life seemed low, the promised reforms too little and too late. “It’s just not enough,” said Holly McGlawn, who noted how much Taylor might have made had she lived. She was young, she could have worked for another 40 or 50 years, she said.
“You can’t put a price on a Black woman being able to sleep at night and know she’s not going to get murdered,” McGlawn said. “Justice delayed is justice denied. There was a better way to handle this,” agreed Shameka Parrish-Wright who has been part of the daily demonstrations where the city often faced peaceful protesters with force. “I’m hearing apologies now that should have happened early on.”
Palmer left the news conference with one of her attorneys, Ben Crump, and met with protesters at the nearby park. She surveyed the original art of her daughter, prayed and wiped away tears.
She had just two words to say: “Pressure applied,” a saying her daughter often used as an emergency medical tech.
Crump said the $12 million payout is the largest such settlement given out for a Black woman killed by police.
The settlement, “sets a precedent for Black people,” he said. “When (police) kill us we expect full justice. We expect justice for the civil rights that you took from this human being. And then we expect full justice from the criminal justice system.” In the time since Taylor’s shooting, her death — along with George Floyd and others — has become a rallying cry for protesters seeking a reckoning on racial justice and police reform. High-profile celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and LeBron James have called for the officers to be charged in Taylor’s death.
Palmer’s lawsuit accuses three Louisville police officers of blindly firing into Taylor’s apartment the night of the raid, striking Taylor several times. One of the officers, Jonathan Mattingly, went into the home after the door was broken down and was struck in the leg by the gunshot from Walker. The warrant was one of five issued in a wide-ranging investigation of a drug trafficking suspect who was a former boyfriend of Taylor’s. That man, Jamarcus Glover, was arrested at a different location about 10 miles (16 kilometers) away from Taylor’s apartment on the same evening.
The settlement includes reforms on how warrants are handled by police, Mayor Fischer said.
Other reforms seek to build stronger community connections by establishing a housing credit program to encourage officers to live in certain low-income areas in the city. Officers will also be encouraged to perform two paid hours of volunteer work every two weeks in the communities where they serve. The city will also track police use-of-force incidents and citizen complaints.
The city has already taken some other reform measures, including passing a law named for Taylor that bans the use of the no-knock warrants. Police typically use them in drug cases over concern that evidence could be destroyed if they announce their arrival.
Fischer fired former police chief Steve Conrad in June and last week named Yvette Gentry, a former deputy chief, as the new interim police chief. Gentry would be the first Black woman to lead the force of about 1,200 sworn officers. The department has also fired Brett Hankison, one of the three officers who fired shots at Taylor’s apartment that night. Hankison is appealing the dismissal.
The largest settlement previously paid in a Louisville police misconduct case was $8.5 million in 2012, to a man who spent nine years in prison for a crime he did not commit, according to news reports.
How remarkably stupid can some cops get?! At least in this instance officials acted swiftly in firing the fools.Now they need to be PROSECUTED.
Excerpts from the Article:
Roderick Walker’s legs flailed as a Clayton County, Ga., sheriff deputy, who had pulled over the car he was riding in for a broken taillight, pinned him down on the street on Friday. While the officer leaned his full body weight onto Walker, who is Black, a second officer repeatedly punched his head.
“Get off him!” Walker’s girlfriend screamed, in a video of the violent arrest shot by a bystander.
When the officers, both of whom are White, finally stood up, Walker was unconscious, his face bloodied and swollen as the deputies flipped him over and put his wrists in cuffs.
On Sunday, the Clayton County sheriff fired the officer seen punching Walker, 26, “for excessive use of force.” Walker, who was charged with battery and obstructing officers, remains in custody, with the sheriff’s office saying he can’t be released due to a felony probation warrant from another county.
But Shean Williams, his attorney, noted he wasn’t “detained or arrested for being on probation or having an open case in another county.”
“Roderick Walker is in jail solely because he was illegally arrested after being assaulted by Clayton County Sheriff deputies, not because of anything he did during that incident or in the past,” he said. “Mr. Walker would not be in jail if it were not for this unlawful arrest that violated his legal and constitutional rights.”
Walker’s case is the latest civil rights flash point in Georgia. In late February, Ahmaud Arbery was fatally shot while running in Brunswick, Ga., and it took 74 days for authorities to arrest the suspects. The state has been racked with protests after George Floyd’s death in May, and again when Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed by Atlanta police officers in June.
Former Atlanta officer who shot Rayshard Brooks charged with murder, other offenses
Walker’s altercation with police started with a traffic stop. Walker and his girlfriend, Juanita Davis, had dropped off a rental car Friday and found someone to drive them, their 5-month old child, and Walker’s stepson home for a small fee, his lawyer said.
A sheriff’s deputy, who was in an unmarked car, pulled them over and asked for Walker’s identification. When he questioned why, since he was a passenger, the officers ordered him to exit the car, Williams said. Soon more deputies arrived at the scene.
Moments later Walker was on the ground with one officer pinning him down as the other punched him. He became unconscious at least twice during the struggle, according to Williams. Bystanders, including Davis, began recording the altercation and videos soon circulated online. In video of the incident, one officer accuses Walker of biting his hand — a claim Williams denied. The officers arrested Walker and brought him to the Clayton County Jail.
“Roderick was doing nothing wrong,” Williams said in a news conference Saturday outside the county jail. “How does a taillight being broke end up with a man being beaten, in the way he was beaten, in a chokehold, almost dying?”
On Saturday, Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill suspended the officer who punched Walker and ordered an internal investigation. On Sunday, the sheriff fired the officer. In a statement, the sheriff’s office said the Clayton County District Attorney’s office would take over a criminal investigation.
The Sheriff’s office also said Walker couldn’t be released on bond because he “has a felony probation warrant out of Fulton County for Cruelty to Children, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, and a Failure to Appear warrant out of Hapeville.” But at a rally on Sunday outside the county jail, Williams argued Walker never should have been arrested in the first place, saying deputies “lied and falsified a warrant for his arrest.”
The Georgia NAACP also urged the district attorney’s office to dismiss the charges against Walker and called for an independent investigation from the Georgia Bureau of Investigations.
“This issue is not just about Roderick Walker,” Williams said on Saturday. “This issue that we’re here about tonight, is something that unfortunately has come upon too many members of our community and Black members of our families.”
Williams added the news conference could have been like many others this summer, mourning the death of someone killed by police. “We have seen this happen [with] George Floyd, we’ve seen it happen on too many occasions and we are tired of it,” Williams said.
‘He’s a small child’: Utah police shot a 13-year-old boy with autism after his mother called 911 for help
He is not the only one! America’s number one health problem is not the virus, it is the neglect of our mentally ill! Police are not trained to deal with them; they need effective treatment, not prison! See so many related articles on this website!
Excerpts from the Article:
When Golda Barton dialed 911 on Friday, she hoped emergency responders could help hospitalize her 13-year-old son, who has Asperger syndrome and was having a mental crisis.
Instead, a Salt Lake City police officer repeatedly shot Linden Cameron after he ran away, leaving the boy in serious condition with injuries to his intestines, bladder, shoulder and ankles. Barton says he was unarmed, and police said they didn’t find a weapon at the scene.
“He’s a small child. Why didn’t you just tackle him?” Barton said in a tearful interview with KUTV on Sunday. “He’s a baby. He has mental issues.”
Barton said she’s gotten few answers from police. Salt Lake City’s mayor pledged on Sunday that an investigation into the incident would be quick. “No matter the circumstances, what happened on Friday night is a tragedy, and I expect this investigation to be handled swiftly and transparently for the sake of everyone involved,” Mayor Erin Mendenhall (D) said in a statement to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Local autism advocates also decried the shooting and called for changes to how police respond to mental health crises.
“Police were called because help was needed but instead more harm was done when officers from the SLPD expected a 13-year-old experiencing a mental health episode to act calmer and collected than adult trained officers,” Neurodiverse Utah said in a statement.
Nationwide, police have seriously injured and killed scores of mentally ill people when called by relatives or bystanders to help, including in recent high-profile cases like that of Daniel Prude, a 29-year-old Black man who died of asphyxiation after Rochester, N.Y., police put a hood over his head during a mental health episode in March. The problem is so acute some cities have moved toward sending non-police crisis units to respond to mental health emergencies.
Her son is a typical 13-year-old, she wrote in a GoFundMe page for his medical bills — a boy who loves “video games, four wheeling, and longboarding” and “is always looking for ways to help people out.” But he has also long battled severe separation anxiety when she leaves him alone, she told KUTV, and Friday was her first day back at work in almost a year. She called 911 when he suffered a mental breakdown, she said.
“You call them, and they’re supposed to come out and be able to de-escalate a situation using the most minimal force possible,” she told KUTV.
When police arrived, she said she told them that Cameron was not armed and just needed to be taken to a hospital.
“I said, ‘He’s unarmed. He doesn’t have anything. He just gets mad and he starts yelling and screaming,’” she said. “He’s a kid. He’s trying to get attention. He doesn’t know how to regulate.”
Police told her to stay outside while they entered her house, she said. Barely five minutes later, she said she heard them ordering her son to the ground and then, a volley of gunfire.
“Our investigators obviously will be looking at body-camera footage,” he said.
Barton said after the shooting, her son was handcuffed and police couldn’t tell her whether he was dead. She said she still doesn’t understand why officers would shoot him. “Why didn’t they Tase him? Why didn’t they shoot him with a rubber bullet?” she asked on KUTV. “You are big police officers with massive amounts of resources. Come on. Give me a break.”
Here we see the political split of what should be a NON POLITICAL issue: fair policing! All states should promptly ENACT THESE REFORMS!
The Virginia House of Delegates approved a sweeping package of police reform bills Friday that Democrats said would make it easier to reign in officers who abuse their authority but Republicans said would hamstring police and make their jobs more dangerous.
The legislation includes many of the measures protesters around the country have called for since the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, including prohibiting the use of choke holds and no-knock search warrants, requiring police officers to intervene to stop the use of excessive force by another officer and expanding the grounds to decertify officers who commit misconduct.
Democrats hailed the legislation as long-overdue measures to hold police accountable for their actions, while Republicans said the bills will only make it more difficult for police to protect law-abiding citizens.
The House narrowly rejected a bill aimed at making it easier to sue police officers for misconduct. The legislation sponsored by Del. Jeff Bourne would have allowed lawsuits by people who claim police have violated their constitutional rights to move forward in state court, ending the qualified immunity that often protects police from liability. “Really, it boils down to, are we going to afford Virginians who find themselves on the business end of excessive force the ability to better and more fairly fight for some redress in our state courts?” Bourne said.
Republicans argued that the legislation would it more difficult to recruit police officers because it would expose them to civil liability for doing their jobs. A similar bill failed in the Senate.
Among the legislation approved by the House are bills that would:
—Ban sexual relations between officers and people they arrest.
—Mandate the duty of a police officer to report the misconduct of another officer.
—Expand the definition of hate crimes to include false 911 calls or reports to police against another person on the basis of race, religious conviction, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, color or national origin.
—Strengthen the review of prior law enforcement employment records before hiring officers.
The special legislative session, which began last month, was called by Gov. Ralph Northam to address the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and to consider proposed police and criminal justice reforms in the aftermath of Floyd’s killing.
I have many articles on this, and the bottom line is that you can film the cops anywhere so long as you do not interfere with their lawful performance of their duties.
I suggest that any time you see someone – especially a black person – approached by cops… start filming! You can ignore their orders to stop; IF you get arrested, CALL me! I will help you for free. 🙂
Excerpts from the Article:
A string of recent polls suggests a dramatic shift in American public opinion about the use of force by police, especially against people of color. The Washington Post released a poll in early June that found 69% of Americans believe the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police is indicative of systemic problems in law enforcement, while 29% contend it’s an isolated incident. Six years ago, a poll taken after a similar killing showed that only 43% of Americans saw a wider trend of excessive police violence.
The new acknowledgment of problems in policing seems to cut across many social boundaries. Three-quarters of Americans support the protests sparked by Floyd’s killing, including a majority of Republicans and independents. A June poll released by Monmouth found that a strong majority of Americans, including half of White Americans, think police officers are more likely to mistreat Blacks than Whites.
The New York Times described this shift in opinion as a “drastic change,” and it is not necessary to look far afield to discover the impetus behind the change. While the influence of social justice activists and advocates for criminal justice reform should not be discounted, the most potent catalyst for changing public opinion has been very simple — a seemingly endless stream of shocking videos showing episode after episode of unjustifiable police violence.
Video evidence is compelling. It removes many of the clouds that can distort firsthand accounts, and video changes the victim of violence from a faceless stranger into someone whose humanity is undeniable. It is a very different experience, for example, to read about a police officer kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, as compared to watching nearly nine minutes of the non-chalance of the officer while Floyd pleads for his life.
The video of Floyd’s killing is an example of a remarkable transformation in American society over the last 20 years. Cameras have gone from an anomaly to omnipresence. Nearly everyone in America has a camera in his or her pocket and added to that is the astonishing network of traffic cameras, security cameras, dashboard cameras, and every other kind of camera imaginable.
Compare, for instance, the remarkable circumstances that allowed the beating of Rodney King to be filmed to the three bystanders who filmed Floyd’s murder. The ubiquity of cameras has transformed America into a place where nearly every public act is preserved, including public interactions with the police.
Police have, not surprisingly, tried to resist being included in this new reality. Early on, police would try to intimidate citizens with cameras or even try to destroy the video. Police unions protested dashboard and body camera for years, and in some jurisdictions, they succeeded.
It is not difficult to understand why police do not like cameras. Far too often, videos of police encounters have shown discrepancies between what police say happens and what the film shows.
After the video became public, Minneapolis police said Floyd died from a “medical incident.” In Buffalo, police said a 70-year-old protester tripped and fell; video showed he was pushed down by two officers while standing passively in front of a police skirmish line. Texas police said the officer who pulled Sandra Bland out of her car was threatened, but dashcam video showed the officer grew enraged because Bland refused to extinguish her cigarette.
The weight of video evidence is beginning to tell. Without this evidence, discipline was a rarity and prosecutions almost non-existent. Now, however, officers caught on video are being disciplined and even charged. The officers who pushed the protester in Buffalo were suspended, and the officers involved in Floyd’s murder have all been charged.
The lesson is clear — video is the key to holding police accountable, especially in communities that are routinely overpoliced and more likely to suffer from excessive force. Video also is critical in the continuing campaign to create widespread political pressure for policing reform.
This certainly is great news, although I am sure the numbers are worse than shown here; for many reasons, much police misconduct never is reported.
Excerpts from the Article:
USA Today, in conjunction with the Chicago-based nonprofit Invisible Institute, has compiled the largest database of instances of police misconduct — and it’s accessible by the public. The database contains disciplinary records for over 85,000 police officers for the past 10 years. These include “more than 30,000 officers who were decertified by 44 state oversight agencies.”
Amidst a call for more transparency in police departments across America, journalists from USA Today and its affiliated newsrooms began filing records requests under open records laws. They compiled 200,000 incidents of misconduct, 110,000 internal affairs investigations, and 30,000 decertifications from the nation’s 100 largest police forces and their surrounding departments. The latter was done to track movement of disciplined police among departments.
Police unions and legislators have conspired to enact special protections for records, keeping them from public scrutiny. They claim certain information if released could place police and their families in jeopardy. USA Today said it published these records to give the public an opportunity to examine departments and police misconduct as well as to identify police who have been decertified yet continue to work in law enforcement. It addresses the concerns that particular departments or individual police officers target minorities and needlessly employ excessive use of force. Still, certain states’ privacy laws, such as California’s, which also employs the largest number of police in the nation, are so stringent that records could not be obtained for the database.
Co-chair of the 2014 White House Task Force on 21st Century Policing, Laurie Robinson, said transparency of police departments is critical to establishing trust between the agencies and the public. “It’s about the people who you have hired to protect you,” she said. “Traditionally, we would say for sure that policing has not been a transparent entity in the U.S. Transparency is just a very key step along the way to repairing our relationships.”
Dan Hils, president of the Fraternal Order of Policemen of Cincinnati, said the public should reflect on the fact that there are more than 750,000 law enforcement members nationwide. “The scrutiny is way tighter on police officers than most folks, and that’s why sometimes you see high numbers of misconduct cases,” he stated. “But I believe that policemen tend to be more honest and more trustworthy than the average citizen.”
USA Today said President Trump’s administration has developed a policy that turns a blind eye towards police misconduct. Jeff Sessions, as Attorney General in 2018, said the Justice Department was going to leave policing to the local authorities, that federal probes hurt crime-fighting.
USA Today found most misconduct cases were minor infractions, but still, tens of thousands of cases were for serious offenses: 22,924 for excessive use of force; 3,145 for sexual misconduct; 2,307 for domestic violence; 2,227 for “instances of perjury;” and 418 for obstructing justice. Database records reveal that police have beaten people, planted evidence, harassed women, lied, stole, dealt drugs, and drove drunk.
Records show that while fewer than 10% of police have been disciplined for any reason, many have multiple disciplinary reports in their records. The current database contains records of 2,500 police officers who have 10 or more disciplinary reports and 20 who have 100 or more, yet they still retain their badges. In addition, it lists 5,000 police officers who are on Brady lists, many not permitted by prosecutors to testify in court due to previous perjury claims. The Rev. Al Sharpton said, “Until the law is upheld and people know they will go to jail, they’re going to keep doing it, because they’re protected by wickedness in high places.”
The author offers insights into the area where the latest police shooting, that of Jacob Blake, occurred. I have commented on most of these issues for the past eight years, and they apply to “everytown” USA!
Excerpts from the Article:
When video emerged of Jacob Blake being shot by officers of the Kenosha Police Department on Sunday night, I knew the place where it happened — a neighborhood called Wilson Heights. When I covered crime for the Kenosha News, I spent a lot of time there because of the gang activity, heroin overdoses, shootings and stabbings.
To be clear, the details of exactly what happened to Jacob Blake are still not widely known and there are a lot of unanswered questions about how police handled this call.
Still, protesters denouncing the shooting have told me their protests are about what happened to Blake — and about what it’s like to be Black in Wisconsin.
To ignore the social, civic and economic oppression that Black people experience is wrong. Wisconsin policymakers need to take a good hard look at these issues and stop pretending these police shootings aren’t related to failures in underfunded social systems. For decades, the southeastern Wisconsin region has seen its share of problems around race. Milwaukee is among the worst places for Black people to live in the country. Racine, the town I cover for the Racine County Eye, has much higher rates of infant mortality and unemployment for Black residents than White ones, according to the United Way of Racine County.
Kenosha similarly has struggled with issues of systemic racism. These areas all share the same problems — mass incarceration, high infant mortality, lack of mental health care access, unequal education, unemployment and drugs. But for the past 20 years, I feel like I’ve written the same story over and over. Until Wisconsin policymakers confront these issues around systemic racism and violence, I worry that I’ll just have to keep writing it.
The Black incarceration rate in Racine County remains one of the biggest issues. The percentage of Black people incarcerated from Racine County represented 53% of the jail population in 2017. But Black people represented only about 11% of the population of Racine County during that same time, according to the Vera Institute of Justice.
When I wrote for the Milwaukee Business Journal, I often heard CEOs of manufacturing companies complain about lacking a skilled workforce. They would say that people didn’t dress well, speak well or show up on time. Workers had an attitude or couldn’t problem-solve. The conversation would typically shift to the failed education system, failed family units and lack of resilience. And then the discussion took a U-turn around how not to pay state and local taxes.
As a business owner, I am not a fan of paying taxes, either. But I also want a skilled workforce.
To be fair, some of these issues in Wisconsin could be addressed (and some are being addressed) with trauma-informed care, more loans for minority-owned businesses, retooling educational models and simple things like offering free transportation for people seeking a job.
But there’s an elephant in the middle of the room called our criminal justice system, and it’s not a sexy topic for any politician.
When police shootings have happened before in Milwaukee, Racine, and Kenosha, protesters have spoken out against both the circumstances around the shooting and their economic and social uncertainty.
There’s a counterproductive mindset here. On one hand we have a “lock them up and throw away the key” focused policy, but we also want felons leaving prison to behave a certain way.
When people get caught up in the criminal justice system, are the criminals the only ones who pay? No. And we absolutely need to own that — as a state and a country.
When kids don’t graduate, when you come to school late because you are getting your little brothers and sisters to school, don’t have time to eat breakfast, struggle with homework because you didn’t have a bed to get some rest in the night before, when your neighborhood isn’t safe and all you hear is gunshots — that’s a different experience for a child than growing up in a safe middle class neighborhood.
When I covered Wilson Heights, where the shooting of Jacob Blake happened, I remember reporting on a gang-related shooting where an apartment building got shot up, and a bullet went through a wall, through the leg of a mother and into her daughter’s leg. They survived. But how do you live with that? Who pays for that untreated trauma?
We do. All of us.
Wisconsin taxpayers spend more than $1.3 billion each year for that criminal justice system, which deals with 105,000 people annually between its county jails, juvenile detention centers, federal prisons, community corrections, and prisons, according to a Legislative Fiscal Bureau Report. But these policies also cause a civic debt that disproportionately impacts Black people. One especially problematic question is why people are locked up in the first place.
In a story I reported in March about Wisconsin’s prison system reaching all-time highs, researchers told me that the increased prison population is not the result of an increase in crime, but rather policy choices by politicians.
People who violate the rules — whether out on conditional release from prison or on probation — can be ordered by a judge to serve out their remaining sentences behind bars. When that happens, it’s called a “revocation only” prison admission.That means they didn’t commit a new crime. Instead, the state chooses to send them back behind bars for violating the terms of their release.
Of the nearly 18,000 people sent to Wisconsin prisons in 2018, revocation only admissions were about 40%, according to the Department of Corrections. Violations can include not meeting with your probation officer, not notifying your probation agent of a job change, seeking credit or seeking permission to buy a car.
This issue is a symptom of a more significant, more systemic problem involving employment, wages, lack of mental health services, drug use, and lack of education. These issues disproportionately affect Black people.
A study by the Badger Institute framed the problem differently.
“The widespread failure of former inmates to stay out means too many children don’t have engaged fathers, and too many businesses don’t have enough workers,” wrote Mike Nichols, president of the conservative Wisconsin think tank.
Once they are released from prison, it’s hard for felons to find a job and develop a new life. Wisconsin law requires that people with felony convictions serve community corrections terms while on a conditional release that can exceed more than a decade, even though many violate some of the strict conditions of their release within just three years after leaving prison. I am reminded of what Rodney Prunty, the former executive director of the United Way of Racine County, said to me during an interview: “If you have a pond full of fish and a few of them die, you ask what’s wrong with the fish. But when the pond full of fish dies, we ask what’s wrong with the pond.”
In Wisconsin, it’s time we talked about what’s wrong with the pond.
Dover council OKs 5 new community police officers – Improving my Home Town – kra – With Letter to Editor – PUBLISHED 8/27/20
This is a smart move by the City. While supporting the measure, Commissioner Slavin said: ” … more isn’t necessarily better — better is better.” He is quite right, but I would and to that: “More of better is best!” Better relationship/communications between citizens and the police can help reduce crime and may prevent the ongoing nationwide outrageous misuse of deadly force, such as what killed George Floyd and has left father of three young kids, Jacob Blake, paralyzed.
Excerpts from the Article:
Seeing a need to change how the Dover Police Department is engaging with its city residents, City Council members unanimously voted in a virtual meeting Monday night to participate in a federal grant program — Community Oriented Policing Services — that will add five new community police officers next year.
Dover Police Chief Thomas Johnson presented the opportunity the grant program offered at a Council of the Whole meeting June 30, but it went without a recommendation from council until further discussions could take place between the chief and Councilmen Tim Slavin and Matt Lindell to answer some lingering questions.
Councilman Slavin said Chief Johnson adequately answered his questions, and he — and the eight other members of council — supported the addition of the five community officers, who will begin training in the spring.
“I had three primary concerns,” Councilman Slavin said. “One, it is a mid-year budget request in the middle of a budget cycle. Second, there was an issue related to the academy and being able to get our new recruits certified and on the street. The third was just really a rising concern in the community that more isn’t necessarily better — better is better. We are looking at new ways of policing our community.
“The approach that the chief explained to me was really to create kind of a new and much stronger emphasis on community policing, so that it’s not just more of the same … that we’re not trying to arrest our way out of problems like addiction or trying to arrest our way out of poverty.”
Councilman Slavin added: “I’ll be quite honest to tell you that I trust what (Chief Johnson) says and the way he said it to me. He has earned my confidence, and we hired him to come into the community to do a job, and to do that job, they asked for these resources, and I think he has taken it head-on.”
In late July, the chief presented the 2019 department recap and pointed to skyrocketing numbers of serious crimes, including firearms, robberies, assaults and drugs, among other concerns. A surge in shootings followed in the first six months of 2020, according to police reports. Increased community policing and outreach could help quell the violence, the chief said.
The COPS Grant will provide funds doled out by the U.S. Department of Justice that will cover $625,000 in associated costs from fiscal years 2021-24, while the city will kick in $1,037,385. The federal portion will pay 75% of the cost in the first year, 40% in the second and 15% in year three.
Councilman Ralph Taylor is a veteran of the Dover Police Department and applauded the renewed focus on community policing.
Councilman Taylor said community police officers made a noticeable difference in the relationship between the city’s citizens and law enforcement, particularly by participating in activities such as the Police Athletic League, hosting homeowners’ association meetings and having bicycle patrols that were “everywhere.”
“Community police officers attended every event, and they built relationships, and that was the biggest thing that I think we’re missing right now,” said Councilman Taylor. “When you’re going from complaint to complaint to complaint to complaint, you don’t have time to build the necessary relationships. There were a lot of positive things happening that I know we can get back to if we have manpower.
“The municipalities in Kent and Sussex counties understand the need, and Dover has taken its rightful place as leaders in policing in 2020, when everything must change — it’s mandatory with our citizens that we cannot continue policing the way it is. I support this initiative 100%.”
The grant approval increases the Dover Police Department’s authorized strength from 101 to 106 officers.
“We’ve been hearing from a number of people in the 4th District,” he said. “We’re hearing from residents. We’re hearing from business owners, of the great need for this, and I’ve definitely seen it myself.
“This will be one part of a four-legged stool that will make our lives better. Community policing is one part of it, and there are other parts, as well, that we’ll need to discuss over the coming months, dealing with community development, economic development. … This is an essential part of it because in security lies the foundation of economic development and community development, and this gives us something to build upon.”
THIS LETTER WAS PUBLISHED IN THE STATE’S LARGEST NEWSPAPER, THE WILMINGTON NEWS JOURNAL, ON PAGE A 6, ON 8/27/20
Letter to Editor or Op Ed Submission – More of Better is Best! 8/26/20
The police chief and the City of Dover are moving in the right direction. They are improving my home town. Adding more officers to the force, properly trained in community policing, should prove that better relationship/communications between citizens and the police can help reduce crime and may prevent the ongoing nationwide outrageous misuse of deadly force, such as what killed George Floyd and has left father of three young kids, Jacob Blake, paralyzed.
While supporting the measure, Commissioner Slavin said: ” … more isn’t necessarily better — better is better.” He is quite right, but I would add to that: “More of better is best!” We all should commend the Chief and the City for their wisdom on this issue, and a police departments everywhere should heed the lesson learned years ago: we cannot arrest our way out of many criminal justice issues; new and more effective approaches are needed.
Ken Abraham, founder of Citizens for Criminal Justice, former Deputy Attorney General, Dover, DE 302-423-4067
LETTER TO EDITOR INSTRUCTIONS………………………………………………..
I get lots of letters published, and ghost write for others. THIS IS THE BEST WAY TO REACH THOUSANDS OF READERS! The keys to getting your Letter published are:
1. Keep it to 250 words or fewer.
2. Do not make it about “poor little old me”. Describe the problem as one which not only affects the individual, but is a senseless or ineffective measure, policy, or law which also harms communities and society. For example, with reentry, the obstacles make it unnecessarily difficult for the individual, but also harm society by making it hard to become productive, spending money and paying taxes in the community, and they cause increased recidivism = increased crime.
3. Speak from your heart.
4. Google any facts you are not sure about.
5. Do not name-call.
Do what works: Write that Letter!
Letter to Editor – sign name, town, state, and your phone number (they often call to verify that you sent it), and “Member of Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE” if you like – shows you are part of a large group.
Send the email to yourself, and put on the “bcc” bar the email addresses for Letters to the Editor for the top ten newspapers in your state and several national ones – The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, U S A Today (google the Letter to Editor email addresses). Any questions, CALL me at 302-423-4067!
GOOGLE THE EMAIL ADDRESSES FOR “LETTERS TO THE EDITOR” FOR THE TOP TEN NEWSPAPERS IN YOUR STATE AND SAVE THAT INFORMATION FOR REPEATED USE – Some papers will print a letter from you every 2 weeks, some every 30 days, some every 90 days. They have varying policies.
But if you really want to make a difference shoot them a new letter once a month! I send one out every 2 weeks.
Need a Letter on some criminal justice issue and not a great letter writer? NO EXCUSE! Email me a rough draft and call me and I’ll polish it up! email@example.com .
ANY QUESTIONS, CALL ME AT 302-423-4067.
The Whole Story:
It’s a start. Much work remains in the area of police reform.
Excerpts from the Article:
Governor John Carney on Thursday signed House Bill 350, which bans the use of chokeholds by all law enforcement agencies in Delaware.
Representative Nnamdi Chukwuocha and Senator Elizabeth Lockman are the prime sponsors of the legislation. The legislation is part of the Delaware Legislative Black Caucus’ ‘Justice for All’ agenda, which was introduced following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“We have heard the voices calling for change and we are focused on taking meaningful action in Delaware,” said Governor Carney. “This legislation is an important part of a broader effort to improve the relationship between law enforcement and communities of color following the brutal and senseless killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. I want to thank members of the Delaware Legislative Black Caucus for their leadership on issues around racial justice and law enforcement. Our work together will continue.”
House Bill 350 creates the crime of Aggravated Strangulation as a Class D felony. Under the legislation, a chokehold is only justifiable when a law enforcement officer reasonably believes deadly force is necessary to protect the life of a civilian or an officer.
“We hear far too often about ‘a few bad apples’ in our police agencies. And, far too often, we have seen those ‘few bad apples’ go unpunished, even when their actions result in the deaths of the very citizens they are sworn to protect,” said Senator Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman. “Every time that happens, we are sowing the seeds of fear, hatred and mistrust. Communities of color and our allies, both here in Delaware and across the country, took to the streets after George Floyd’s death, specifically to demand an end to those injustices. This legislation makes it clear that these chokeholds are illegal and we will hold the officers who use them accountable in a court of law.”
“Nobody should be above the law; but neither can anyone be beneath justice,” said Attorney General Kathy Jennings. “This is a real step forward for accountability in our state—one that codifies good work done by the Governor in his executive order and one that we owe to so many, including the sponsors of this bill and the advocates who have called for this reform and many others. We still have work left to do, but I am heartened by the progress we are making in Delaware and grateful to those who helped make it happen.”
This Article was sent to me by my good friend and great lawyer, Steve Hampton. If you know anyone who got coronavirus in any prison in America, you should call Steve!
Here we see more bad cops, and the all too familiar attempts to lie about what really happened. They need to be PROSECUTED.
Excerpts from the Article:
The family of a 22-year-old San Francisco man who was shot and killed by a Vallejo officer at a local Walgreens in June has filed a federal lawsuit, alleging that the officer who fired the fatal shots was “trigger happy” and “murdered” the young man.
The suit, filed Thursday by the family of Sean Monterrosa, also alleges that Vallejo police Chief Shawny Williams bowed to the department’s union by changing the narrative of the shooting, first saying that Monterrosa was on his knees when he was shot, then saying that he was “crouching” and appeared to be firing.
Monterrosa was unarmed when a Vallejo officer — identified by sources as Det. Jarrett Tonn — fired five times through the windshield of a moving police truck, striking Monterrosa once in the upper neck. Police say Tonn mistook the handle of a hammer in Monterrosa’s sweater for a gun.
The suit names Tonn and the city of Vallejo as defendants, and seeks unspecified damages. It was filed by the law offices of John Burris, a Bay Area civil rights attorney who has several active lawsuits against the city over fatal police shootings.
The city has not yet responded to the suit, and public officials are generally dissuaded from commenting on active litigation.
Tonn, along with other officers, was responding to reports of looting at the Walgreens on Redwood Street in Vallejo on the night of June 2. As the officers drove up in an unmarked police truck, Monterrosa was one of several seen running from the pharmacy. Tonn fired an AR-15 five times through the windshield, his fourth shooting as a Vallejo police officer.
“Defendant Tonn has a shocking history of shooting his guns at civilians as a police officer, including two two shootings in a six-week span in 2017, and another shooting in 2015 where he fired his gun 18 times in two seconds at a person he claimed was ramming his vehicle with a stolen vehicle,” the suit says. Tonn had never killed anyone in the prior three shootings.
After a news conference in which he said Monterrosa was on his knees, Williams “revised his public statement to line up with the police union’s claims” that Monterrosa was “crouching” and appeared to be readying himself to fire, the suit alleges.
The shooting has led to protests and controversy from the beginning. Vallejo police delayed announcing that an officer had killed somebody for almost two days after the incident. Days later, the Vallejo police union filed for a restraining order to prevent police from confirming Tonn’s name, though it had already been widely reported.
Last month, Williams placed two lieutenants on leave — including police union president Mike Nichelini — and launched an investigation into the destruction of the windshield that Tonn fired through. The attorney for both officers called the personnel decision unfair to both officers and predicted they’d be cleared, though Williams asked the FBI to look into the matter and called it a potentially illegal destruction of evidence.
On top of that, Williams has launched an internal investigation after the news site Open Vallejo reported that a “secretive clique” of officers existed within the department, which would celebrate fatal police shootings by bending a tip of their badge. Nichelini has called the allegations inflammatory and “lies,” though Williams said in a news release that two sources within the department reported hearing of the practice.
The Whole Story: