Political Roundup: Democrats Pimp Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown for Votes / Police Body Cameras / Race for Governor

This column appears in the September 4 – 11 edition of the Hartford News… Last week reports surfaced about the Democrats setting up voter registration booths at rallies for Michael Brown, the unarmed Black teen who was shot and killed by patrol officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. In 2012 and 2013 I wrote columns about the Democrats exploiting the lynching of Trayvon Martin. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/08/25/democrats-pimp-trayvon-martin-michael-brown-for-votes/ Author Kevin Powell et al. turned CNN’s coverage of Michael’s funeral into a Democratic Party infomercial, with the November elections weeks away. What we need is body cameras for cops (Ferguson officers have started wearing cameras). Memo to Powell: voting for Democrats won’t stop police murder. Urban areas occupied by police have been controlled by the Democrats for decades. Community residents must organize to address this issue. An inconvenient fact for Powell is that the Democrats. beginning with President Lyndon Johnson, have collaborated with the Republicans and the police in the containment of Black and Latino neighborhoods: Black Agenda Report commentator Glen Ford laid out the history of militarization of the police. http://blackagendareport.com/node/14372 Hillary Clinton added to the Democrats’ embarrassing handling of the Michael Brown case. Clinton ignored a reporter’s question about the shooting after a Westhampton, New York press conference promoting her memoir, Hard Choices. She finally made a crocodile tears statement in response to the subsequent backlash. Party operatives are working hard to lull Ferguson residents to sleep, with little success. Labor Day protests included community residents blocking Interstate 270.

Luis Anglero, Jr. appeared in court September 3 after being charged with interfering and breach of peace; the case was continued to October 15. The barbaric taser attack on August 19 by Hartford Police Det. Shawn Ware on Luis, which was captured on video, is an example of the brutal tactics police use to contain urban neighborhoods and underscores the need for state, county and local police to wear cameras. Criminal justice professor Charles Katz told MSNBC commentator Lawrence O’Donnell that there is a 40-60% reduction in misconduct when police officers wear cameras. Complaints against officers also dropped: in Rialto, California, the number of complaints fell by 88%. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_CwpgUvDic&feature=youtu.be My message to the buffoons in Hartford who call themselves “community leaders” is stop stepping and fetching. We cannot pray our way out of this problem; you know that. Instead of leading city residents in circles, you should grow a spine. Keep it real for the first time in your life: push elected officials to support public policies which will provide low income communities of color with a layer of protection against police violence. Every 28 hours a Black person is killed by police, security guards and vigilantes. The right-leaning Courant endorsed the cameras in a recent editorial. http://articles.courant.com/2014-08-28/news/hc-ed-cop-body-cameras-needed-20140828_1_body-cameras-police-force-police-department Lieutenant Troy Kelsay of the Iowa City Police Department described cameras as a “win-win” for community residents and officers. http://www.kwwl.com/story/26322224/2014/08/19/ferguson-shooting-shows-why-iowa-city-police-use-body-camera The Community Party will add a provision to our 2015 Trayvon Martin Act requiring state, county and local police to wear cameras. See our Resources section for the current bill language.

Corporatism on parade… Mayor Pedro Segarra cut funding for Marshall House and obliterated a proposed North Hartford supermarket, which would have anchored a desperately needed health and nutrition complex, while rabidly pursuing a baseball stadium. Last week Segarra bowed to public pressure and restored funding to Marshall House, one of just two shelters in the city that houses women and children (South Park Inn is the other). In July Martha Page, executive director of Hartford Food System and Rex Fowler, executive director of Hartford Community Loan Fund, the two organizations working to bring a full-service supermarket to Hartford, wrote an op-ed to the Courant. Page and Fowler advised against the city’s revamped stadium plan, which included a grocery store.

“We needed an operator with a unique skill set for a Downtown North store. We found one in Connecticut, one with decades of experience operating successful, community-oriented supermarkets in cities, serving highly diverse customer groups. The operator was eager to incorporate the supermarket into a larger vision for a ‘Healthy Hartford Hub’ that might include a community teaching kitchen, an in-store nutritionist, a walk-in health clinic, a pharmacy and a culinary training program for city residents. Following the announcement of the city’s new vision for Downtown North, no longer to be anchored by a supermarket but instead by a baseball stadium/entertainment venue, our operator and investors indicated the proposed development’s change in orientation increased the risk of our project too much. Many if not most of the supermarket’s projected shoppers would still be driving to a Downtown North store and might understandably opt to buy food in the suburbs on game days to avoid stadium traffic.”

The demise of the revolutionary Downtown North plan supported by Page and Fowler has been eclipsed during the debate over the proposed stadium. Coupled with the attempt by Segarra to euthanize Marshall House, it’s clear that health and human services is a nuisance to the Segarra administration, whose priorities are so far out of whack it isn’t even funny. Tuesday the Courant reported that the city selected DoNo Hartford LLC, a Centerplan Development LLC group, as the Downtown North stadium complex developer. Segarra has called a special city council meeting for Thursday at 6:00 pm to consider the stadium plan.

Last Friday Secretary of State Denise Merrill announced that independent gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Pelto failed to obtain the 7500 signatures necessary to appear on the ballot in November. Pelto turned in about 4,000 signatures. The announcement marked the end of an ill-fated campaign. Pelto totally ignored communities of color, as he excluded an urban agenda from his platform. Pelto infuriated liberals and progressives when he gave a petition to former Republican state chairman Chris Healy, then made the preposterous claim that he did not expect Healy to circulate the petition among his fellow GOP members. Healy said that he told Pelto he would circulate the petition; Healy’s publicly stated goal was to use Pelto to help challenger Tom Foley by bleeding votes from incumbent Gov. Dannel Malloy. When Pelto colluded with Healy, he officially crossed the line from third party candidate to being an agent of the Republicans. Last Sunday during the Fox CT Capitol Report program, Healy said that Malloy is “lucky” Pelto didn’t get on the ballot. Pelto’s confession that his organization had only obtained 4,000 signatures explains his alliance with the GOP, which was a sleazy attempt to gain ballot access. That stunt made it obvious that Pelto’s objective all along had been to settle his personal grudge with Malloy, who rejected Pelto’s application for employment with his administration. Congratulations, Pelto. You blew a once in a lifetime opportunity to force a seismic shift in Connecticut politics toward social justice. Malloy vs. Foley II now includes Tea Party member Joe Visconti (certified for the ballot the previous week), repeating the scenario in 2010 when conservative Tom Marsh made the ballot as an independent candidate. Marsh received 18,000 votes, which Foley blamed for his narrow loss to Malloy. Visconti made it clear that he would aggressively challenge Foley on his evasive stance regarding the gun violence bill, which was passed by the General Assembly in 2013 as a response to the mass shooting in Newtown. The divisive gun issue now looms as the possible deciding factor in the race for governor.

ICYMI Here’s a recap of the August 27 Malloy / Foley debate. Malloy: “You’re lying about Bibb Company.” Foley: “You’re lying about crime stats!” Very inspiring…

Watch this video before you believe Segarra communications director Maribel La Luz’s tweet during the debate about crime being down in Hartford. The classic HBO television series The Wire addressed the institutional practice known as “juking the stats”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ogxZxu6cjM Incumbents running for re-election will always tell you that things are getting better. Don’t believe the hype.

Follow CP on Twitter @CommunityParty1 for state, national and global headlines and updates on the Trayvon Martin, Safe Work Environment and Jane Doe Acts. Check out the CP Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/CommunityPartyAction Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcement on our social justice platform. Contact us at 860-206-8879 or samuelssloflo@aol.com.

Resources

The Community Party’s Trayvon Martin Act:

https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/community-party-trayvon-martin-act-bill-language/

Video of Hartford Police Det. Shawn Ware’s taser assault on Luis Anglero, Jr.

Malcolm X Grassroots Movement report on the extrajudicial killing of Black people:

http://www.operationghettostorm.org/

David Samuels
Founder
Community Party

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