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:
This article by Mr. Bethel is an interesting discussion of some of the issues involved with Black Lives Matter.
I don’t agree with some of what he says about the Constitution, and I shall ask him about that when (if) we meet. I am trying to track him down. He surely is spot on with this remark: “Black lives didn’t matter in the beginning, from 1619, through slavery, through the Jim Crow laws, and no, Black lives don’t matter to some people even in 2020.”
Excerpts from the Article:
Black Lives Matter doesn’t have anything to do with the disapproval rating of Donald Trump (Frank Daniels’ question “What is Black Lives Matter?” July 24). If anyone is a Marxist and an anarchist (yes, I do know the meanings), it’s Trump and his enablers in the Senate who have, time after time, turned a blind eye to his autocratic, demagogic, authoritarian way of ruining this country.
I have the utmost respect for you, Mr. Daniels, for serving your country as a retired colonel. What is disappointing to me is the fact that you still support this man after he’s used the military as a political stunt when he had them gas and clear out innocent protesters, just so he could do a photo op in front of a church. Trump has all but turned his back on not only the military itself by not taking the bounty attacks from Russia seriously, but he’s also turned his back on us as Americans during the coronavirus, by not listening to the scientists or anyone in his administration who repeatedly tried to warn him of the coming pandemic as many as a dozen times between January and February. Even some military retirees are now putting ads out against Trump to get him out of office. He is the most dangerous, incompetent, ignorant and worst president this country has ever had in the whole history of the United States of America — by far!
Black Lives Matter is not doing anything to Trump that he’s not already doing to himself. So, let’s not blame Trump’s ineptitude on Black Lives Matter. He has single-handedly destroyed the moral fabric of this country and distanced us from our allies while continuing to sow the seeds of racism and division.
Joe Biden will not destroy our neighborhoods and suburbs like Trump claims. The truth of the matter is that the president is losing suburban white voters. This is why he’s trying desperately to paint a picture of fear and trouble. However, that 2016 playbook of law and order and paranoia is not going to work on the majority of Americans who see Trump for what he really is: a shallow, weak and insecure man who has the attention span of a 3-year-old.
Trump has quit on this country at a time when we need real leadership. As of this writing, he still has no federal plan on how to combat the virus. Why doesn’t he attack the coronavirus like he attacked the peaceful protesters in Portland, Oregon, or in other cities? He is a coward who will not accept responsibility for anything and blames everything and everyone else for things that happened on his watch.
At least Joe Biden has some sense. He is compassionate, he listens, and he understands the needs of the American people! He will unify us, not tear us apart, unlike Trump, who only cares about Trump and what will be best for Trump.
He’s already trying to sow seeds of doubt about the election, due to increased mail-in ballots. Now he’s saying that he doesn’t know if he will accept the results if he loses. So we need to make sure that we see what he will do when he loses. We need to completely destroy him at the polls or by mail-in ballots, so that there is no doubt that he has to go!
Although I’m disappointed in the fact that a former military man like Mr. Daniels supports Trump, it doesn’t really surprise me. It doesn’t surprise me that the president still has his die-hard base standing by him no matter how racist and divisive he is. A lot of his base wants to go back to the “good old days” of the ’50s and ’60s, maybe even further.
Let’s journey back so we can see why we are where we are today in regard to Black Lives Matter. There’s a racial caste system that’s been going on since slavery, to Jim Crow, to mass incarceration today. The more times change, the more things stay the same for Black Americans. The structure and content of the original Constitution was to preserve slavery, while, at the same time, affording political and economic rights to whites, especially propertied whites. The Southern slaveholding colonies would agree to form a union only on the condition that the federal government would not interfere with the right to own slaves. Northern white elites were sympathetic to the demand for their property rights to be respected, so they wanted their property (slaves) protected. So, the Constitution was designed so the federal government would be weak, not only in its relationship to private property, but also in the relationship to the rights of states to conduct their own affairs. The language of the Constitution itself was deliberately colorblind. The words “Negro” or “slave” were never used. However, the document itself was designed for a compromise regarding the control of Blacks. Federalism (which is the division of power between the states and the federal government) was the device used to protect the institution of slavery and the political power of slaveholding states. Even identifying the winner of a presidential election (the Electoral College) was developed with the interest of slaveholders in mind.
Under the term of our country’s founding document, slaves (Blacks) were defined as three-fifths of a man, not a real, whole human being! I’m making a point as to why Black Lives Matter exists now. Black lives didn’t matter in the beginning, from 1619, through slavery, through the Jim Crow laws, and no, Black lives don’t matter to some people even in 2020.
Just take a look at all the Black men in some kind of prison system today. The war on drugs has put more Black people behind bars than for all other reasons combined. Drug arrests have tripled since 1980. More than 31 million people have been arrested for a drug offense, the majority of them Black. Once released from prison, they are reduced to not even second-class status, but a permanent underclass status in life. No really good job opportunities, no voting rights or housing assistance or any kind of government benefits. Let’s not even get into the countless acts of police brutality and violence against Blacks, which is one reason why Black Lives Matter formed. This is what it means to be Black in America.
Slavery defined what it meant to be Black (a slave), and Jim Crow defined what it meant to be Black (a second-class citizen). Today’s mass incarceration defines the meaning of Blackness in America: Black people, especially Black men, are seen as criminals. This is what it means to be Black in America.
The good news is that the majority of our country is made up of people who really want change. The majority of our country realizes that all lives will never really matter until Black lives do really matter.
Those “good old days” are gone, aren’t they, Mr. Daniels?
Francis A. Bethel III is a veteran of the U.S. Army and a Kraft Foods retiree after 32 years. He resides in Dover.
“Our girl”, Kathy Jennings, stays the course for real justice. I have known Kathy for more than 30 years, and she will do what she sets out to do!
Excerpts from the Article:
Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings insists her initiatives for criminal justice in Delaware are not designed to be for or against police officers throughout the state.
Rather, Ms. Jennings said her initiatives are designed to make the legal playing field more equal for everybody and were the result of long talks with a group of prosecutors in trying to create a fairer justice system for the state.
“When I was elected to be Delaware attorney general and came into office, my mission was crystal clear, and that was to make the criminal justice system fairer and more equal for everyone regardless of the size of their wallet, the color of their skin or the ZIP code where they live,” Ms. Jennings said.
“Voters across the state were demanding that the criminal justice system become a model system and not one that is fraught with racial injustice and injustice to low-income people, as well.”
Dover City Councilman Ralph Taylor heard her presentation recently and thought it would be a good idea to have her discuss criminal justice reform efforts during a virtual Council Committee of the Whole meeting July 28.
“I heard the presentation during the Racial Equality and Social Justice Collaborative meeting about two weeks ago, and I thought it was very informative,” Councilman Taylor said, “and in the wake of the civil unrest that we have been going through, I thought it important that these points, these initiatives, be brought before council and before our community for open discussion.”
Some of the highlights of Ms. Jennings’ 40-minute talk to Dover council members included:
• Adopting a statewide use-of-force standard for every police agency.
• The establishment of a statewide civilian review board.
• Reforming the Law Enforcement Officer Bill of Rights.
• Banning the use of knee- and chokeholds.
• Expanding community policing.
• Mandatory and universal body cameras.
• Reforming probationer search programs.
• Making police disciplinary hearings more transparent.
Ms. Jennings’ proposed criminal justice reforms have been discussed since well before the killing of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer during an arrest in Minneapolis on May 25, which sparked protests and demands for criminal justice change across the country.
“This is not a pro-police or antipolice issue. Quite frankly, this is a justice issue,” Ms. Jennings said. “I’ve heard many, many times over the past several months that there are no problems in policing in Delaware, and I do believe that the vast majority of police in our state are police officers because they want to help other people because they care deep in their hearts about the communities that they serve.
“But we know from past experiences and some pretty recent experiences that there are some officers that flagrantly disobey the law, who treat people unjustly. We cannot have that in our system and that’s how we end up as a community that doesn’t trust the police.”
She added, “It’s important to us that we are reforming a system to build community trust between police, between law enforcement and the people that they serve.” Ms. Jennings said that people suffering from addiction and mental illness should be diverted safely into treatment programs, rather than go directly to prison following an arrest.
“As a matter of police, in our office, we de-emphasize low-level drug crimes that have long been an entry point in our system for nonviolent offenders to go into prison and have disproportionately impacted Black people,” she said. “We are no longer seeking warrants because someone is unable to pay a fine or fee. That’s simply a hamster wheel of injustice where we are imprisoning poor people who can’t pay their fines and fees, taking them from their jobs and from their families.”
She added that Delaware has stopped a “three strikes and you’re out” program for those convicted of drug offenses and that has helped people receive treatment rather than extended prison time.
Gov. John Carney applauded Ms. Jennings’ work towards criminal justice reform.
“We have a responsibility to make sure Delaware’s criminal justice system is fair to all Delawareans,” Gov. Carney said in a statement. “We’ve been focused on helping all offenders in Delaware successfully reenter their communities once they have served their time.
“These policy changes at the Department of Justice represent another real step forward, by ensuring that our resources are focused on prosecuting crimes that represent the greatest threat to our communities. I want to thank Attorney General Kathy Jennings for her leadership on this issue and for all of her efforts to make Delaware’s criminal justice system more fair for all Delawareans.”
She said her office’s efforts have helped crime statistics decline within the state.
“In our own office, we have dramatically reduced the number of times when prosecutors seek habitual-offender status for nonviolent crimes, and those have been reduced by 90% during the first year of my administration,” said Ms. Jennings. “Crime overall continues to fall. I know in Wilmington and in Dover, there is a gun violence issue that dominates, and we are laser beam focused on gun violence.
“So, when I talk about the fact that crime overall continues to fall, I’m still cognizant of the fact that we need to prioritize the prosecution of gun violence, as well.”
Ms. Jennings said a lot of bipartisan work toward social justice reform has taken place with the leaders in the General Assembly, changing how the criminal justice system functions. However, she said there is a lot more difficult work that needs to be done.
“I think as human beings, we know that it’s quite easy for us to blame others and point a finger at other people and say, ‘You need to change,’ before we’ve really done a hard look inside our own shop and inside ourselves and say, ‘What are we doing that is furthering the system that is not fair for everyone?’” Ms. Jennings said.
“These are big changes that we are proposing. Not one of these changes is going to be easy, though I do believe we can reach a consensus. It only happens when we all work together to make change.”
Wherever you are in America, tune in! YOU can learn from my friend, Attorney General Kathy Jennings, on this vital issue.
Excerpts from the Article:
A statewide task force created to address systemic racism and police brutality toward people of color in Delaware is set to start meeting next week.
The 18-person group selected by the Delaware General Assembly includes one ex-police Democratic lawmaker, two Republican lawmakers and the state’s pro-reform Democratic attorney general. It also includes several police chiefs, a police union lobbyist and a handful of advocates for Black communities in the state.
The group will meet for the first time via Zoom on Thursday, Aug. 6, at 10 a.m. The meeting will be livestreamed, and there will be time for public comment from virtual listeners.
The task force, which was created in response to anti-racism protests across Delaware following the death of George Floyd in May, is part of an eight-item list of promises that the Delaware Legislative Black Caucus announced in June.
State Representative Nnamdi O. Chukwuocha and other elected officials called for new legislation to address police brutality and racial injustice in Delaware. The agenda also includes pushing for every officer to have a body camera and banning police chokeholds and kneeholds unless the officer feels it’s necessary.
The latter was quickly written into a bill that lawmakers scrambled to pass before the General Assembly ended its session on June 30. The bill is still waiting for Gov. John Carney’s signature to become law. The governor could sign the bill as early as next week, but a date hasn’t been nailed down yet, according to his office.
Some members sitting on the task force, including Democratic Attorney General Kathy Jennings, are pushing for reforms that go beyond what the Black Caucus promised, including increased transparency in police departments.
The task force is headed by Darryl Parson, a deputy attorney general in the Delaware Department of Justice’s Civil Division, and Rep. Franklin Cooke, D-New Castle, a former New Castle County police officer in the Black Caucus. Representative Franklin D. Cooke (D) District 16, will be part of a new police reform task force.
The task force includes police advocates who have so far been resistant to some reform measures. One of them is Sen. Brian Pettyjohn, R-Georgetown, who was one of a handful of Republican senators in late June to vote against the bill to stop police from using chokeholds and kneeholds.
Task force members
Rep. Franklin Cooke, D-New Castle (co-chairman)
Darryl Parson, deputy attorney general in the Delaware Department of Justice’s Civil Division (co-chairman)
Rep. Ruth Briggs King, R-Georgetown
Sen. Brian Pettyjohn, R-Georgetown
Attorney General Kathy Jennings, a Democrat
Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings speaks at a press conference about the need to pass legislation to address police brutality and address racial injustice in Delaware.
James Liguori, a defense attorney in Kent County and chair of the Criminal Justice Council
Spencer Price, director of the state government Statistical Analysis Center (ex-officio)
Brendan O’Neill, chief defender of the Office of Defense Services
Thomas Brackin, president of the Delaware State Troopers Association
Fred Calhoun, lobbyist and president of the Delaware Fraternal Order of Police
Fred Calhoun is a lobbyist and president of the Delaware Fraternal Order of Police
Patrick Ogden, chief of University of Delaware Police and chairman of the Delaware Police Chiefs Council
R.L. Hughes, chief of Georgetown Police and former Delaware State Board of Education member
Melissa Zebley, Delaware State Police superintendent
Larry Johnson, a former Naval Police Force patrolman who has trained officers in response to civil disobedience, including crowd control and civil dialogue
Michelle Taylor, president and CEO of United Way of Delaware
Michelle Taylor is President and CEO of the United Way of Delaware.
Bernice Edwards, executive director of the First State Community Action Agency
Ron Handy, member of the NAACP
Sherese Brewington-Carr, member of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women Inc.
During the first meeting, the task force will announce who will head up its four subcommittees and name members of each, according to a news release from the Delaware General Assembly. The subcommittees will look at proposals and make recommendations to the full task force for potential law changes.The subcommittees are:
1. Use of Force and Imminent Danger: This group will look at a use-of-force standard and a “definitive imminent danger policy” to “encourage police officers to employ all tactics necessary to avoid using deadly force.”
2. Workforce Development: This group will look at recruitment, hiring and retention practices to make sure police departments have an “appropriately diverse complement of officers.” The group will also look at deescalation training.
3. Community Policing and Engagement: This group will look at expanding “citizen-involved public safety outreach across the state.” It will also look at increasing crisis intervention services and “ongoing proactive mental health care for every police officer in Delaware.”
4. Transparency and Accountability: This group will look at amending the Law Enforcement Bill of Rights that delineates how officers are disciplined for bad behavior and how much of that disciplinary information is publicly available. It will also look at creating civilian review boards for non-police to independently review police misconduct, as well as a database of police misconduct findings.
How to watch the meeting:
The meeting will be live-streamed on the General Assembly’s YouTube channel, which is titled “Delaware General Assembly.”
The public can offer comments during the public comment portion of the meeting or beforehand via email at LEOTaskForce@delaware.gov.
Comments submitted by email will continue to be accepted and included as part of the official record through Friday, Aug. 7, according to the General Assembly’s news release.
Progress! The “duty to intervene” should not even be necessary, but, sadly, it is. Officers must know to do the right thing.
Excerpts from the Article:
New Castle County Council unanimously passed two police reforms Tuesday night after delaying them earlier this month. Many described the measures as just the beginning.
One ordinance bans the use of chokeholds by New Castle County police —except when an officer decides deadly force is necessary. The second requires officers to try to intervene when another uses excessive force, or face punishment as if they used excessive force themselves. Between Tuesday’s meeting and the previous one, primary sponsor Councilman Dave Carter modified the ordinances to clarify language and add training for use of chokeholds.
Carter said the tweaks were made in consultation with New Castle County Police Chief Col. Vaughn Bond, Jr. Carter mentioned during an interview last week that in the course of discussions, he modified the original duty-to-intervene draft to prevent punishment of officers who make a “good faith effort” but are unsuccessful in stopping excessive force.
“No one should be afraid that the police is going to beat them up because of the color of their skin, and that’s exactly what’s going on, and everybody knows it,” he said. “Delaware is part of these United States of America, and New Castle County is a part of Delaware. There’s nothing so privileged and great about Delaware.”
Mike Brickner of the ACLU of Delaware called them “preliminary commonsense changes that need to happen.”
“Really the key to establishing good police relations is trust,” he said. “And what we’re hearing right now is that a lot of folks in the community don’t trust policing right now. And that’s going to take a very long time and a lot of hard work to undo, but these ordinances are I think concrete steps to helping to build that.”
Ordinances have been introduced that would redirect funds from the New Castle County police salaries and benefits budget toward community initiatives supporting racial justice— and that would limit the release of information about arrested juveniles, including mugshots.
Council does not meet again until late August.
These tRump contrived invasions of our cities clearly ARE unconstitutional. I like what the mayor of Philadelphia said: If they come in here with anonymity – no IDs on their uniforms, and start taking peaceful protesters off the streets, I’ll send in the police and arrest them for kidnapping!
Excerpts from the Article:
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Oregon on Friday called actions of federal officers against protesters in the northwestern city of Portland “flat-out unconstitutional.”
“What is happening now in Portland should concern everyone in the United States,” said Jann Carson, interim executive director of ACLU Oregon. “Usually when we see people in unmarked cars forcibly grab someone off the street, we call it kidnapping.”
Gov. Kate Brown said Trump is looking for a confrontation in the hopes of winning political points elsewhere. The protests following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis have often devolved into violent clashes between smaller groups and the police.
Homeland Security Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli speaking on NPR’s “All Things Considered” Friday said federal agents had used unmarked vehicles to pick up people in Portland. But he said it was done to keep officers safe and away from crowds and to move detainees to a “safe location for questioning.”
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said Friday he wants President Donald Trump to remove the militarized federal officers. “Keep your troops in your own buildings, or have them leave our city,” Wheeler said following reports that the officers had apprehended people in Portland who were not on federal property.
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said she is filing a lawsuit against the federal government for detaining people without probable cause.
Crowds protested Friday for the 51st consecutive night since late May. Federal officers again were reported to have used tear gas against the demonstrators.
On Thursday, Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, who was in Portland meeting with federal law enforcement officials, issued a statement calling the protesters “violent anarchists.”
Brown revealed she had told Wolf to remove all federal officers from Portland’s streets, saying that Wolf was “putting both Oregonians and local law enforcement officers in harm’s way.” In response to Wolf’s and the DHS leadership’s visit on Thursday, Wheeler, the city’s mayor, stated: “We’re aware that they’re here. We wish they weren’t.”
Wheeler also responded to news about the White House press secretary reportedly telling Chicago’s mayor, Lori Lightfoot, to request federal help to secure the city.
“This is clearly a coordinated strategy from the White House,” Wheeler stated Thursday. “It is irresponsible and it is escalating an already tense situation. Remove your heightened troop presence now.”
The ACLU of Oregon Friday sued the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Marshals Service to block federal law enforcement from dispersing, arresting, threatening to arrest, or using physical force against journalists or legal observers.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of legal observers and local journalists and adds the federal agencies to an existing lawsuit the organization filed last month against local law enforcement.
The Oregonian/OregonLive reported that Andrew Jankowski, a freelance journalist, was booked and released from the Multnomah County Detention Center early Friday.
Jankowski’s arrest comes a day after U.S. District Judge Michael Simon extended to October 30 an injunction blocking such action by law enforcement.
Policing is irrelevant for public safety — but these alternatives are proven to work – Some Good Points Here! – kra
I would not go so far as to say policing is irrelevant for public safety. Without policing we would have chaos. But, wait a minute! What we have on so many streets, in so many towns and cities, IS chaos. Shootings galore, to which the police respond. Countless unsolved burglaries. AND ANYONE IN THE SYSTEM KNOWS THAT AT LEAST 85% OF ALL CRIME IS CAUSED BY OUR “WAR ON DRUGS”! Google it … read the studies.
The war on drugs is such a colossal failure that it has prompted the notion that we don’t need police! Let THAT sink in.
This Article Makes us Wonder …
Excerpts from the Article:
Recent protests, catalyzed by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, call for an end to racist police violence. With their actions, the protesters have also moved beyond many of the stale policing debates of the recent past. Defund, disband, abolish—people who would never have even heard these words in discussions about the police are now seriously considering them.
The breakthroughs in the police debate would not have been possible without the protesters, who have remained steadfast despite being beaten and abused by police everywhere in the United States. But this is not about making a breakthrough in the debate. This is about life and death. To stop police from killing people, 1,000 a year, year after year, changes will have to be made to the system. The protesters will be vindicated only if the changes made are the right ones.
Reform programs will only be successful if they start from the premise that the policing institution has lost its social legitimacy, which it never deserved. Reforms that assume police legitimacy—whether they involve more body cameras, better oversight, a more diverse force, or more prosecution of killers among the police—do not do the job.
Once the police are viewed as an illegitimate institution, we are well on our way. As Mariame Kaba argues in the New York Times, we could do worse than to make a 50 percent cut to police budgets and let the logic of austerity get the job done, as it has with the rest of the public sector. But 50 percent can be bargained down to 10 percent, and 10 percent to 2 percent, as long as police and their advocates can continue to link public safety with policing. The backlash against abolishing police as “politically unrealistic” in light of public safety has begun at the local level where the issue is being debated.
The goal has to be to abolish the class of people who have the legal right to end lives (and to lie to you while you must tell the truth).
Do police currently have the right to kill? Absolutely. Using conservative estimates and public data, writer Lee Camp calculated that police killed an average of 900 people per year—in other words, at least 12,600 people from 2005 to 2019. In this period, Camp writes, a total of three police officers were convicted of murder and had those convictions stand up to appeal. That is less than one-tenth of one percent, but it rounds off cleanly to zero.
The license to kill, above all, must be taken away from police. It survives because of a mystique—helped by ubiquitous cop shows, books, and movies—which is based on three notions: the idea that they are courageous because their job is dangerous, the idea that they keep society safe, and the fact that you can call them in an emergency.
Courage? Yes, policing is the 16th most dangerous job in America, behind logging workers, fishing workers, pilots, roofers, refuse collectors, truck drivers, farmers, steelworkers, construction workers, landscapers, power-line workers, grounds maintenance workers, agricultural workers, construction trade helpers, and the first-line supervisors of mechanics, installers, and repairers. But no worker in any of the top 15 most dangerous jobs has the option of killing when they subjectively feel unsafe—police do.
Safety? Police have no special function keeping society safe. In Alex Vitale’s book The End of Policing, he cites criminologist David Bayley’s earlier book Police for the Future, in which Bayley calls this one of the “best kept secrets of modern life. Experts know it, the police know it, but the public does not know it.” We have known for 50 years that police don’t help public safety. French anthropologist Didier Fassin, in his 2013 book Enforcing Order, cites the Kansas City experiment of the 1970s:
“This unprecedented study, unique at the time, compared three zones of the city: in the first, ‘reactive,’ crews limited their activity to responding to residents’ calls; in the second, ‘proactive,’ they at least doubled the time they spent on patrol; in the third, serving as a ‘control’ zone, they continued their previous mixture of activity. The results of a full year of operations and measurement appeared identical: neither attacks on persons, whether assault and battery, sexual assaults or muggings, nor attacks on property, whether burglary or damage to vehicles, varied significantly as a result of the different systems implemented; similarly, the experience of crime and the feeling of insecurity as reported by residents and business owners showed no variation between the zones, nor did the level of satisfaction with the police; and it turned out that in all three cases, 60 percent of the officers’ time was spent on activities not directly related to law enforcement, including a quarter bearing no relation at all to police work… Ultimately, it was evident that the patrols used preventatively had no effect on crime, either in terms of offenses recorded by law enforcement or from the point of view of residents’ perception of risk.”
The results were ignored: police kept patrolling for the next five decades. Fassin, who hung out with Paris police as part of his study, made his own calculations of how they spent their time: “In my experience, time spent in response to calls often amounted to approximately 10 percent of the shift time; it was rare that it rose to 20 percent (five calls per team per night shift was a maximum that was rarely reached), with the rest of the time being devoted to random patrols, and to the administrative recording of actions taken.”
“A number of studies conducted in the United States reveal that officers on patrol spend between 30 and 40 percent of their time responding to calls (on average five calls per team per hour in cities), only 7–10 percent of which are related in some way to offenses or crimes, and between 40 and 50 percent of their working day on random patrol and paperwork, with the rest of the time devoted to various tasks.”
Here’s how Fassin describes the daily work of the police he observed: “Cruising around quiet streets and peaceful neighborhoods, the police wait for occasional calls that almost always turn out to be pointless, either because they relate to mistakes or hoaxes, or because the teams arrive too late or bungle the case due to their clumsiness, or because there is no cause for any official questioning or arrest.” Fassin cites a criminologist from Ontario, Richard Ericson, who in 1982 found that police spent 76 minutes out of an eight-hour shift responding to calls, arguing that “the presence of police officers has become an end in itself.”
So, police have the 16th most dangerous job, and they are irrelevant for public safety—but society needs someone to call in an emergency. This role can be filled by trained civilian workers who will have to learn to solve daily social problems without a license to kill, which could be the direction Minneapolis goes given city councilors’ vow to disband the police in their city. Last year Canada’s Globe and Mail reported about a police force in Yukon that carried no weapons and could lay no charges. Some cities have child protection workers that operate to protect children with greater or lesser degrees of intrusiveness. Social workers can be trained to intervene in domestic disputes and in active mental health crises in the field. They can be deployed in teams that ensure one another’s safety, like in other professions. There are detailed proposals for taking responsibility for safety into the hands of the community—Olúfémi O. Táíwò describes one in Dissent Magazine; Zach Norris reframes the issue in his new book We Keep Us Safe; and Ejeris Dixon and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha describe community approaches to safety in their edited volume Beyond Survival: Strategies and Stories from the Transformative Justice Movement.
There should be some cultural reforms too. Boots Riley suggests removing police and military consultants, who act like state censors, from movie and TV production. The #MeToo movement led to the creation of an intimacy coordinator role in film production, to ensure that sex scenes could be filmed without sexist exploitation. Studios could be responsive to this movement by drastically reducing their cop show production while removing censors for the shows that remained. This would go some way to reduce police mystique and police worship.
Police advocates may argue there might be some financial losses from abolition. Some police forces “eat what they kill” through civil asset forfeitures, fines, and tickets, keeping taxes low while making poor people’s lives miserable. Overall, however, money will be saved.
Initially, much of the money saved by defunding police would have to go to easing the transition of the people currently in police roles into other jobs. Pensions are a mechanism for taking police off the line for whatever reason, which police organizations use generously indeed. But pensioning every police officer indefinitely, while it would save lives, would not make any resources available for public safety. Instead, governments can provide retirement and retraining packages (the courageous police might look at retraining for one of the 15 more dangerous jobs) for them, as they do with other workers who are laid off.
For the duration of current union contracts, police could be paid to prepare for other jobs or simply to stay home—expensive in the short term, but it would save thousands of lives. After that initial period, the hundreds of billions of dollars that are spent on policing could be redirected to create and expand public services. The possibilities would be limited only by the number of billions that could be moved from police. Social workers, certainly, are a strong candidate to redirect funds toward, as well as free transit and other free basic services (especially health care in the United States).
Criminological data has told us for decades that police are irrelevant for public safety. Other data tells us a lot about what does influence safety. British researchers Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett in their classic 2009 book The Spirit Level show that a large number of social problems, including violence, correlate strongly with inequality. Their work also shows different options for achieving equality: high wages by private employers (as in Japan) or high taxes and redistribution (as in Northern Europe). In the United States, every option for increased equality has been blocked by the wealthy who have—as Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page make clear in their important 2014 study—captured politics. A real Green New Deal would do more for public safety than any conceivable police reform short of abolition.
This is nothing short of outrageous! Vote our wannabe dictator OUT! OUT! Who is going to investigate this crap and hold someone accountable?
Excerpts from the Article:
“Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech … or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Something terrible, something dangerous — and, yes, something unconstitutional — is happening in Portland, Ore. It must be stopped.
“Federal law enforcement officers have been using unmarked vehicles to drive around downtown Portland and detain protesters since at least July 14,” reports Oregon Public Broadcasting. “Personal accounts and multiple videos posted online show the officers driving up to people, detaining individuals with no explanation of why they are being arrested, and driving off.”
The report continues: “The tactic appears to be another escalation in federal force deployed on Portland city streets, as federal officials and President Donald Trump have said they plan to ‘quell’ nightly protests outside the federal courthouse and Multnomah County Justice Center that have lasted for more than six weeks.”
Of course, authorities — and we’ll get to the matter of what authorities in a bit — have the power to prevent violence. But that doesn’t seem to be what’s happening in Portland, where nightly protests have been taking place since early June. Law enforcement agents aren’t targeting protesters who engaged in violence; they appear to be sweeping up random people who have exercised their rights under the First Amendment.
Like Mark Pettibone, 29, who was heading home in the early hours of Wednesday morning when, according to The Post’s Katie Shepherd, “several men in green military fatigues and generic ‘police’ patches sprang out of an unmarked gray minivan.” Pettibone was detained, searched, driven to the federal courthouse, placed in a holding cell and read his Miranda rights against self-incrimination. He declined to waive them. And then, about 90 minutes later, he was released.
“I just happened to be wearing black on a sidewalk in downtown Portland at the time,” Pettibone told Oregon Public Broadcasting. “And that apparently is grounds for detaining me.”
This is not America.
As much as I revile what President Trump is doing to the country, I have not been among the alarmists who warn of incipient authoritarianism, of festering fascism. I believe — I have believed, anyway — in the rule of law; the steadfastness of the courts, even larded with Trump-appointed judges; the strong tradition of the U.S. military refraining from being used to serve partisan interests. But to have watched live as federal agents attacked peaceful protesters near Lafayette Square, and now to read the reports from Portland, is to worry: Perhaps that was over-optimistic.
This is not America because of the First Amendment, quoted above. It is not America because we are a federal system, something you would think Republicans, who supposedly believe in states’ rights, understand and respect. So we are a country in which governors can summon federal help, are authorized to call out the National Guard — not a country in which unbadged federal police are loosed upon innocent citizens of a state over the objections of its governor. In this case, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, joined by Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who have beseeched the feds to leave.
Yes, President Dwight D. Eisenhower deployed federal troops to Arkansas. That was to protect black students attempting to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, and to enforce a federal court order. It was to protect the students’ constitutional rights, not undermine them.
“This political theater from President Trump has nothing to do with public safety,” Brown, a Democrat, said in a statement. “Deploying federal officers to patrol the streets of Portland” is “a blatant abuse of power by the federal government,” she said, adding that Chad Wolf, acting secretary of homeland security, who visited the city on Thursday, “is on a mission to provoke confrontation for political purposes. He is putting both Oregonians and local law enforcement officers in harm’s way.”
Wolf, for his part, said Portland “has been under siege for 47 straight days by a violent mob while local political leaders refuse to restore order to protect their city. Each night, lawless anarchists destroy and desecrate property, including the federal courthouse, and attack the brave law enforcement officers protecting it.”
But Wolf’s list of terrible depredations allegedly committed by the Portland protesters was less than convincing — and, in any event, in no way justified the kind of random, unprovoked arrests that have been described. The tally from July 15: There is a difference between solving a legitimate problem (the destruction of public property) and picking a political fight. Trump, understandably terrified of losing reelection, appears intent on doing the latter. “A federal courthouse is a symbol of justice — to attack it is to attack America,” Wolf thundered in his statement.
But there is a more important symbol of justice than a brick-and-mortar building. It is called the Constitution. To ignore it is to attack America.
“It’s a little thing” you say? Not if YOU are the one so abused. The right judge did the right thing!
Excerpts from the Article:
A former police officer in Hawaii was sentenced to four years in prison Wednesday for forcing a homeless man to lick a urinal to avoid being arrested.
“I’m here to judge you on the worst thing you’ve done in your life,” US District Judge Leslie Kobayashi told the former Honolulu cop, John Rabago, at his sentencing. “You took from [that man] his only possession: his dignity as a human being,” Kobayashi told Rabago.
Rabago, 44, and another officer, Reginald Ramones, had responded to a nuisance complaint at a shopping mall in 2018 when they found the man in a stall in a public restroom.
The 37-year-old told the cops he would do “anything” to avoid getting arrested, according to court papers. “If you lick the urinal you won’t get arrested,” Rabago told the man.
Rabago threatened to beat him and shove his face in a toilet if he didn’t lick the urinal, Kobayashi said.
Both officers had been charged with depriving the man of his civil rights.
Ramones, who also left the department, is scheduled to be sentenced next week. At Wednesday’s sentencing, Rabago apologized to the victim and his family.
“Two years ago I made a decision I’m not proud of,” he said. “My actions changed the course of life for all of us.”
The man, who filed a lawsuit against the Honolulu Police Department and the city, was “pleasantly surprised” by the four-year sentence, his lawyer, Myles Breiner, said.
“He was under the impression that they would coddle him and give him a minimum term, a very low sentence,” said Breiner.