Political Roundup: Justice for Jordan Davis / Workplace Bullying in the NFL / DCF Plantation Report

This column appears in the February 20 -27 edition of the Hartford News… Trayvon Martin Act Update: The Jordan Davis murder trial ended last Saturday, as a Florida jury convicted Michael Dunn of three charges of attempted murder and another charge of firing into an occupied vehicle. Judge Russell Healy was forced to declare a mistrial on the first degree murder charge after the jury said it was deadlocked. The circumstances of this case are well documented; the verdict definitely sent a mixed message. Dunn faces 60+ years in prison when he’s sentenced in March. For the 47-year-old Dunn, that’s obviously a life sentence. Nancy Grace of HLN reports that Dunn will not be eligible for parole. However Dunn was not convicted of lynching Jordan, who was unarmed when he was shot by Dunn while sitting in the backseat of an SUV, according to the testimony of eyewitnesses. Dunn showed no emotion when the verdict was read. The Black community is rightfully angered by the jury’s inexplicable failure to convict Dunn on the murder charge, but they should express the same level of interest in the routine extrajudicial killing of Blacks in the United States. More on this shortly.
Apparently the Mister Rogers sweater Dunn wore during his testimony was enough to offset the fact that Dunn fled the scene, never called police or discussed the shooting with his fiancee. Rhonda Rouer testified that Dunn also never mentioned Jordan having a firearm, which totally contradicted Dunn’s claim that Davis was armed with a shotgun and Dunn acted in self-defense. After the shooting Dunn returned to a hotel with Rouer and ordered a pizza. The obvious rhetorical question is would Jordan have been able to spend the night in a plush hotel munching on fast food if he had shot a white, middle aged software developer? Not bloody likely. Even if Dunn had been convicted of murdering Jordan, the systemic issues which led to the killing remain. Every 28 hours Black people are killed by police, security guards  and armed vigilantes like George Zimmerman and Dunn. http://www.operationghettostorm.org/  Zimmerman and Dunn were simply imitating the behavior of killer cops who routinely get away with executing Black males.  
Dunn’s attorney produced a few character witnesses who testified about what a “peaceful” guy Dunn is. The jury never heard about Dunn’s racially charged jailhouse letters or Dunn’s neighbors, who told the Davis family lawyer about Dunn’s history of violence, fraud, drug use and racist behavior. Charles Hendrix said that Dunn attempted to solicit him to do a hit on a man who was suing Dunn’s software company. Hendrix added that he reported this crime to the local police, who showed no interest. Hendrix’s wife said Dunn used the word nigger on two occasions, and she had to admonish him not to use racial slurs in her home. Mrs. Hendrix went on to say that when her husband told her about Dunn shooting Jordan, her first thought was that Dunn always wanted to shoot someone. Jordan’s parents at least know that their son’s killer will spend the rest of his life behind bars. Unfortunately the extrajudicial killing of Black people remains rampant and Dunn was not held accountable for lynching Jordan. The State of Florida will retry Dunn on the murder charge. I totally agree with Grace, who said that Dunn must be retried on principle. The record should show that Dunn is guilty of murder. The Community Party’s Trayvon Martin Act is designed to address the extrajudicial killing of Blacks. Details on the Trayvon Act and our Safe Work Environment Act are available at the end of this column. Last Sunday would have been Jordan Davis’ 19th birthday. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1ja18joURw
Safe Work Environment Act Update: The National Football League has issued an official report on workplace bullying of Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Jonathan Martin by teammate Richie Incognito and other Dolphins players. The term workplace bullying is used to describe the abusive conduct towards Martin; Appendix A includes several workplace bullying articles. This is indicative of the increased awareness of this issue. You can read the report here. http://63bba9dfdf9675bf3f10-68be460ce43dd2a60dd64ca5eca4ae1d.r37.cf1.rackcdn.com/PaulWeissReport.pdf  Warning: The report includes strong language. This week we’ll share posts from Cornell Lewis’ DCF Plantation blog.   http://www.dcfplantation.blogspot.com/ 


The fanfare surrounding Black History Month in  February is felt all across America. In many communities pictures, films,  speeches and books will depict the struggle of black people in this country.  While all of this is going on I wonder if Black History Month resonates with  employees of color at Connecticut Juvenile Training School. During six years of  employment on the CJTS plantation I witnessed abuse of black employees not fit  for dogs. Yet only a few brave souls ever spoke out about the terrible things  foisted upon black employees. It is one thing to have a job and be grateful for  it; it is another thing to allow that job to silence you when injustice  occurs.
At this juncture you can be sure that Black History Month is  being celebrated at CJTS. There are white administrators and their black  sycophants trumpeting Malcolm X, Harriet Tubman, and Martin Luther King etc.  However many employees of color will not take a stand against racism / bias  before them; it seems to be better for black employees to be grateful for a  job, while being kicked in their arse by spiritual descendants of Mr. Charlie.  How can you celebrate a history you do not live?
In conclusion it is  hoped that these same fearful black employees at CJTS will one day get the  backbone to stand up to oppression. In the meantime Negroes you are not worthy  to speak about those people that endured much in order for you to have the job  at CJTS.
” All thought that does not lead to action is a disease.”      —Goethe

                                                            DEMYTHOLOGIZING THE  PLANTATION STORY

There is a habit among tyrants, oppressors and  despots to make certain aspects of a revolution, regime or event romantic and  appealing. In the case of Connecticut Juvenile Training School the myth foisted  on the public is how incarcerated males are being rehabilitated. After a certain  time frame these young men will be returned to society and ready to be pillars  of their communities. When this narrative is out in the public sector it acts as  a soothing balm; community groups are ecstatic, public officials nod in approval  and monies from sources pour in to support the myth.
If we look at  demythologizing in the dictionary a second definition is “to remove the  mysterious or mythical aspects from.” A careful inspection of the CJTS record of  treating employees of color reveals a different story than the popular  narrative; more male employees of color terminated than other ethnic groups (http://dcfplantation.blogspot.com/2012/11/dcf-disciplinary-2011-harsher-penalties.html?spref=tws). In  addition to getting rid of black males, CJTS has for years denied there is any  kind of racial animus at that facility; a former white employee harassed black  co-workers, a white female employee calling black residents porch monkeys,  management ignoring repeated complaints from staff about racism. In the midst of  this entire racial maelstrom at CJTS, management is led by a supervisor making  $100,000 plus a year. However for almost six years the CJTS head person had one  comment when informed about racial negativity at the facility, “I did not know.”  You can only sing that “I did not know” song a few times before it becomes  tiresome. In clinical social work there is a term for people that know the truth  but will not embrace it. If  a person must acknowledge something is wrong, then  they might have to confront, then fix it.
If you run a facility it is the  business of that administrator to know what is going on. Now we have a  Connecticut version of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie at CJTS. Christie  claims not to have known his administrators closed down a bridge for several  days. And now the main administrator at CJTS claims ignorance of any wrongdoing. Here again we must destroy the myth that CJTS is being run efficiently  with no problems of any kind as it relates to employees of color.
Well,  there is one thing about creating a myth; sooner or later truth destroys all  vestiges of any lie. In the words of rapper Biggie Smalls, “If you don’t know,  now you know.”
                                                                                              ACTION ALERT!     

We need folks to contact the Judiciary Committee and urge them to introduce the Community Party’s Trayvon Martin Act during the legislative session. Hartford residents call and email committee Chair Sen. Eric Coleman http://www.senatedems.ct.gov/Coleman.php and Vice Chair Rep. Matt Ritter http://www.housedems.ct.gov/RitterM/ .  The contact info for the other committee members can be viewed here. http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/MemberList.asp?comm_code=JUD You can read our bill language here. https://www.facebook.com/notes/stop-racial-profiling-obey-the-law/community-party-trayvon-martin-act-bill-language/617004948349355
Contact the Labor and Public Employees Committee and tell them to include CP’s Safe Work Environment Act amendments with any workplace bullying legislation introduced in 2014. Our amendments remove the legal requirement for an employee to prove malice and intent by an employer, which is basically impossible. We also want lawmakers to create a workplace bullying advisory board, which would solicit and implement input from public employees when they recommend future legislation. Municipal employees should tell committee members to expand the scope of any legislation introduced this year to include city employees, in addition to state workers. City teachers have reported rampant workplace bullying at Capital Preparatory Magnet School.   https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/01/25/jonathan-pelto-talks-about-rep-matt-ritters-workplace-bullying-town-hall-january-27/ Hartford residents should call and email labor committee member Rep. Brandon McGee. http://www.housedems.ct.gov/McGee/  The contact info for the other committee members can be viewed here. Correction: Sen Cathy Osten is still the committee chair.  http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/MemberList.asp?comm_code=LAB
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.
Jordan Davis murder trial verdict (courtroom video):
Jordan Davis’ parents post-verdict press conference:
Michael Dunn’s neighbors talk to Davis family lawyer:
Democracy Now! report on the Jordan Davis trial verdict:
Michael Dunn’s testimony:
The Root report on Michael Dunn’s racist jailhouse letters:
Rhonda Rouer’s testimony:
Cornell Lewis Legal Defense Fund:
David Samuels
Community Party

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