Tag Archives: Police

How to build a clock

1256ckCOMIC-unpopular-mechanicsAnd thanks, Cynical, for the link.

Read “Forward Through Ferguson: A Path Toward Racial Equality”

downloadThe report was issued on Monday by the Ferguson Commission, a diverse 16-member volunteer group charged with looking at Ferguson and beyond, post-Michael Brown’s death.

I’ve started my way back through it a second time, and I have to tell you, the report takes a deep dive into race and makes, by its own count, 189 calls to action. This is one of the most important documents on race that I’ve read in the recent past, and it includes lines such as:

…make no mistake: this is about race.


The law says all citizens are equal. But the data says not everyone is treated that way.

I find this incredibly moving and am including it in the reading I’ve assigned for a class I’m teaching at Central Connecticut State University. You owe it to yourself to read it, as well.

This report comes in addition to the earlier report on the Ferguson police department, from the Department of Justice.

How Section 8 became a slur

In the recent McKinney, Texas, pool fight that resulted in charges of police brutality and one police officer quitting the force, one of the slurs yelled by white residents included Section 8 housing.

indexHere’s Vox’s take on what that means. And here’s the Washington Post’s Wonkblog, which contains this gem:

In a broad sense, this is an American tradition: conflating where people live with who they are. “We’ve been doing that as a society for a really, really long time,” says Lawrence Vale, an MIT professor who has written extensively about public housing. “And it’s been racialized for a lot of that history.”

Fascinating, yes? And thanks, Ebony, for the link.

I wrote this for Mother Courant on Sunday

11011484_10155669711305647_1017388975285121575_nAfter talking to Bishop John Selders, of Kinloch, Missouri, and pastor at Hartford’s Amistad Congregational Church, I realized he was making some excellent points: People who express surprise or dismay about the protests surrounding the mysterious death of African American men at the hand of some police officers really should read their Declaration of Independence.

You can read the column here.

Mr. Scott didn’t deserve this (NSFW)

Feidin Santana, the man who recorded the shooting death of Walter Scott, 50, in North Charleston, S.C., by a police officer, said, “Mr. Scott didn’t deserve this.” The death of Mr. Scott, who is black, came after a traffic stop.

The police officer, Michael T. Slager, who is white, has been charged with murder. Both men had served in the Coast Guard.

Sometimes? You just have to say no.

Some Atlanta police officers and movers refused to foreclose on a 103-year old woman and her 83-year old daughter. Their mortgage holder, Deutsche Bank (more on them here) — in collaboration with local lender Chase, which just got its credit rating lowered by Standard & Poor’s — got this message from Vita Lee:

“Please don’t come in and disturb me no more. When I’m gone you all can come back and do whatever they want to.”

Deutsche Bank relented and issued a second mortgage, in the face of seeing just how ugly such an eviction would be. That, and the public exposure might have moved them toward a change of heart.

And thanks, DickG., for the links.

The Occupy movement outside the camps

A few hours after police cleared out the vanguard encampment of the Occupy movement in New York, the scene at Occupy Hartford was quiet.

But Occupiers are there – or, if not physically in the tents at Farmington and Broad, they’re participating in the movement for economic justice. That’s Ron Paul liberatarians, Obama Democrats, Reagan Republicans, anarchists, socialists, marxists —  “dysfunctional as any other community,” said one self-described Obama Democrat.

Early Tuesday morning, police — some in riot gear — cleared out Zuccotti Park, which since mid-September has been the site of Occupy Wall Street. About 70 people were arrested. Later in the day, a judge said the sweep was legal, and that the city can ban protesters from bringing camping equipment to the park. An appeal is expected.

The move followed raids at Occupy sites in Oakland and Portland, Ore., but no such eviction is planned at Hartford’s Turning Point Park, said police chief Daryl K. Roberts.

“Right now, as along as we continue to communicate, I don’t foresee a problem,” said the chief. “We want to respect their First Amendment rights, but we can’t let them violate health codes in the process. We cannot allow them to oppose the law in order to get a point made.”

City inspectors are a nearly daily presence at the Hartford site, said Jay Kamins, a web designer who lives in Andover. (You can see his work at occupyhartfordct.com.) Ironically, keeping the site going has been a discussion from the moment the tents were pitched in early October, organizers say. Said one, who asked that her name not be used, “For Hartford – unlike Wall Street – the site itself is a subject of internal disagreement.” Organizers will discuss whether to continue the camp along with other issues at a meeting on Saturday, she said.

“We’re starting to see a time when transition is upon us,” said Kamins. “I think certainly the weather is making it clear that we have to prepare for a long stay, or are we ready to leave the camp behind. Have we established enough contacts?”

To strengthen those contacts, OH is hosting a community meeting with representatives from neighborhood and non-profit organizations, as well as grassroots activists at 7 p.m. Thursday at West Indian Social Club in Hartford.

Johnny E. Williams, associate professor of sociology at Trinity College, said New York’s moving the occupiers was a mistake.

“We don’t want to be put out of that park, ” said Williams, whose academic interests include social movements like Occupy. “But the movement is not about the space any more.” He said he thought New York police and city administrators made “a tremendous mistake. The movement is in people’s minds. Zuccotti Park was a symbolic location, but they’ve made the movement bigger than it is.”

“I’d like to thank Mayor Bloomberg for kicking off a new round of recruiting to Occupy Wall Street,” said Kamins.

Regardless, onsite Occupiers continue to observe Hartford’s rules such as no open flames. “We’re abiding by what they were concerned about,” said Williams. “They come back and check, and that’s fine as long as they don’t violate our First Amendment rights.”

Meanwhile, Hartford’s Occupiers have participated in several protests, including one against Bank of America earlier this month. They’re planning another protest against CL&P at 2 p.m. Nov. 19 at 56 Prospect Street in Hartford, for that company’s slow recovery after a freak October storm turned out the lights for most of the state.

“We’re learning as we go how to do this thing,” said Kamins. Meanwhile, General Assemblies – or organizational meetings — are held every three days rather than twice a day.

“We’re looking for other worthy causes to attach ourselves to,” said Kamins. “I think the criteria is always going to be will it affect Hartford and Connecticut and will it be an appropriate action consistent with how we account our internal values and objectives in dealing with corporate greed and mismanagement.

Wes Strong, who has been involved from the beginning, said the natural progression of the movement might be to focus on foreclosures. From RealtyTrac, the most recent figures say Connecticut had one foreclosure filing for every 1,127 households. Issues like that override the importance of a grouping of tents on public property, Strong said.