Political Roundup: State of Delusion/ DCF Plantation Report/Trayvon Martin Act

This column appears in the February 6 – 13 edition of the Hartford News… Community Update: The 2014 legislative session began on Wednesday. Next week we’ll have commentary on Governor Dannel Malloy’s State of the State address and his  budget plan…  The Department of Justice investigation of the East Haven Police Department, which resulted in the  convictions of four EHPD officers, revealed what the DOJ described as a “culture of corruption” at the department. Racial profiling by the EHPD officers was openly supported by their superiors, who attempted to protect the officers during the DOJ probe. Documents obtained from Connecticut Valley Hospital through Freedom of Information requests reveal a similar culture. While Black employees, who comprise 30% of the CVH roster, are fired at a rate of 70% compared to just 22% for whites, and disciplined 10% more often than all other employees, white managers are given a slap on the wrist for gross violations including criminal behavior, and sometimes not punished at all.
One manager submitted bogus information in an attempt to facilitate the promotions of two other managers. This criminal act of fraud, which involved taxpayer money used to pay state workers, resulted in a mere 15 day suspension for the violator. As I mentioned in a previous column, internal CVH emails revealed that this manager was involved in a structured effort to manufacture a complaint against me, while he was simultaneously violating CVH work rules (and the law) himself. Another manager used a vulgar sexual term in front of a female staff member and received no discipline. Yet another manager avoided being disciplined after yelling at an employee and slamming his office door in the worker’s face. The employee stated in his complaint that he felt physically threatened by this display of violent behavior. Meanwhile, Latino employees Rosa Badillo and Carlos Vargas were written up by a white manager for being five minutes late for their shift, even though they had arrived on time and had briefly left the building, then returned. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for reports on misconduct by CVH managers. Co-workers have reported to us that another manager was involved in falsifying records. 
Barack Obama gave his State of the Union address on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the murder of Hadiya Pendleton. Obama talked about  gun violence in malls, movie theaters and Sandy Hook but did not mention low income communities of color. Hadiya was shot in Chicago, Obama’s hometown, days after performing at his inauguration. Obama didn’t mention her either. I must give the power structure in this country credit. When they selected Obama to run for president they knew what they were doing. No matter how many times Obama betrays Black people, they still worship him like a god.
Obama can sign the National Defense Authorization Act into law, allowing citizens to be thrown into jail without charges or evidence, go to court with Eric Holder to keep the federal crack cocaine sentencing amendment from being imposed retroactively (keeping thousands of Blacks in jail), and Black people still love him. White liberals and leftists are no better. Liberals support this imperialist war monger as long as he addresses some of their pet issues. Leftists try to get Blacks to join campaigns like Occupy Wall Street but won’t reciprocate by supporting Black led mass movements. The left is a joke.

                                              DCF Plantation Report: Workplace Bullying Town Hall Reveals Pernicious Racism

                                                                                           by Cornell Lewis                                        
State Representative Matthew Ritter held a Workplace  Bullying Town Hall January 27, 2014 in Hartford, Connecticut at the Albany Branch library on  Albany Avenue. People arrived at the starting time of 5:30pm and spoke until  7:00pm. A room full of people [most of them women & men of color] described  the pernicious effects of how workplace bullying often masquerades as a new  racism. Places that were named as workplace bullying sites are Connecticut  Juvenile Training School, Connecticut Valley Hospital, and Department of  Children & Families. Listening to the tales of abuse was indeed hard to  endure, but what really struck me is the level of pain heard in people’s voices.  At one point a female black former employee of a state agency described moving  out of a living situation, borrowing money from friends, and contemplating  suicide all because of workplace bullying by white administrators.
Then  I noticed how all those telling their stories mentioned reprisals from white  administrators aimed at black or Latino employees. Several questions for State  Rep. Ritter from the assembled audience were about how state agencies can  continue to get away with blatant acts of selective racism. Statistics show 70%  of terminations at CVH targeted blacks or Latinos, while 66% of DCF disciplines  chose black men. In the room members from various CT Unions feverishly took  notes while shaking their heads at what was being described: a criminal  enterprise using strong arm tactics against employees of color and receiving  state & federal funding. How can something like this occur? One thing  certainly became clear at this meeting; the problem of workplace bullying is  more widespread than first believed within state agencies.
If any  meaningful change is to happen concerning workplace bullying then people are going to have to  demand change. At this juncture it is acknowledged how only a few people voiced  concerns about this issue: and as it continues to meander unchecked, workplace bullying targets  people of color and leaves them as shells of humanity. These state agencies have  resources to fight voices of dissent, while eliminating jobs of undesirables and cowing other employees with threats. As we prepared to leave the meeting a lady  asked one important question “what is it going to take [a tragedy] for someone  to address the issue seriously” and do something about it?  She does have a  point.
We are faced with a new form of racism in the workplace of 2014.  Agencies claiming to care for children and the less fortunate in society are  controlled by white administrators acting out a narrative toward blacks that is  centuries old. Before people in America prepare to celebrate Black History Month  in February. I suggest fighting for racial equality against a new version of  Bull Connor and White Citizen Councils within state agencies.

                                                  Community Party Trayvon Martin Act Bill Language

                                                                                                 by Mary Sanders
Introduction ~ It’s time to take action to stop racial profiling and police containment in Black and Brown communities here in Connecticut.  Every 28 hours a Black person is killed somewhere by police, security guards and self-appointed vigilantes like George Zimmerman, according to a Malcolm X Grassroots Movement report. http://www.operationghettostorm.org/ . Trayvon was shot and killed after being approached on the street by Zimmerman, an armed neighborhood watch leader.   Former Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer Johannes Mehserle murdered Oscar Grant in 2009 with no provocation or reason. See: http://sfbayview.com/2009/oscar-grant-young-father-and-peacemaker-executed-by-bart-police. We’ve had many unnecessary deaths right here in CT as well.  CP’s Trayvon Martin Act is aimed at addressing this public safety crisis.
 The Trayvon Martin Act calls for the creation of a legislative task force on police misconduct and includes some of CP’s original racial profiling bill language, although some of our enforcement provisions did pass during the 2012 legislative session. Nevertheless this crucial language was repealed last year in favor of a version emphasizing electronic data collection and analysis, instead  of our provision which stipulated that a copy of the police officer’s Traffic Stop Report be given to the motorist. We believe this copy is the only way for motorists to know how their race is being represented and is a proven factor in undetected biased policing.  We sat in on testimony of dozens of motorists of color from around the state who were stopped, harassed, given tickets with race recorded as White, and heard of many other biased law enforcement actions.
Problem: Drivers do not get a copy of the traffic stop report, which has allowed some officers to lie about the race of the people they stop.  Some victims of profiling may not complain because they don’t know officers are covering up the profiled stops. Beginning July 1, 2013 all motorists stopped were supposed to receive a copy of the Traffic Stop Report but that provision was overturned during the 2013 session.   
Add to current law:  1) “Traffic Stop Reports are to be filled out in duplicate so that each motorist receives a copy of the completed form from the officer, in addition to any ticket or summons if one is issued.  2) The copy of the report should be given to the driver as well as the information on filing complaints if motorists believe they have been profiled.  3) If the reports are entered into an electronic data collection system a copy will be immediately available to the detained driver.”
Problem:  Drivers and their passengers are being asked for I.D’s. and questioned about their immigration status even when they are clearly not involved in criminal activity.
Add to current law: “ 1) The driver shall only be asked for a: Driver’s License, the Vehicle Registration and Proof of Insurance and no other identification or questions about immigration status;  2) Passengers shall not be asked for any identification or questions about their immigration status unless they are being arrested for criminal activity.”
Problem:   Men of color are stopped and frisked or worse in every corner of our state; community residents have reported to us that if they dare question authority they are often thrown to the ground, cuffed and arrested; they often are abused then charged with resisting arrest. This happens to our teenagers in schools as well as on our streets.  Many have been beaten or shot by police or others with “authority”, some of them fatally. Every 28 hours a Black person in the United States is killed by police, security guards or self-appointed vigilantes like Zimmerman. http://www.operationghettostorm.org/
Add to current law:  “1)  Create a Legislative Task Force which would serve in the following capacities: a) investigate complaints of misconduct of state or local police officers/officials,  b) provide training and oversight to public school guards, university and transportation police,  c) provide training and oversight of neighborhood watch organizations and properly screen and monitor persons functioning in these roles;  2) the Task Force will reserve spots for urban lawmakers whose constituents are disproportionately affected by these issues;  3) the Task Force will conduct monthly public hearings around the state, days and  evenings, which would also be televised by the Connecticut Network for television and online viewing, either live or taped;  4) the Task Force will create a process whereby people could file formal complaints about misconduct by local police or other law enforcement authorities through their legislators’ offices or CHRO.”   
Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and global headlines and updates on the status of our Trayvon Martin Act and Safe Work Environment Act, including action alerts. https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1    Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for public service announcements on CP’s racial justice initiatives. https://www.facebook.com/wqtqfm Contact us at 860-206-8879 or info.community.party@gmail.com.
Coverage of the one-year anniversary of the murder of Hadiya Pendleton:
Cornell Lewis’ DCF Plantation blog:
Cornell Lewis Legal Defense Fund:
David Samuels
Community Party

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