Community Party Trayvon Martin & Safe Work Environment Acts

This column appears in the January 8 – 15 edition of the Hartford News… The 2015 legislative session began Wednesday, January 7 and will adjourn Wednesday, June 3. Next week’s column will include commentary on Opening Day and an analysis of Gov. Dannel Malloy’s State of the State address. This week we’ll share information on the Community Party’s Trayvon Martin & Safe Work Environment Acts, which will both be introduced during the session. Rep. Matt Ritter’s racial profiling bill, An Act Concerning The Requirements Of The Alvin W. Penn Racial Profiling Prohibition Act, includes CP’s Trayvon Martin Act traffic stop receipt amendment. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/rep-matt-ritters-essay-on-his-2015-legislative-objectives/

“Maybe the NYPD can use their newfound love of back-turning the next time they see a dark skinned man walking the street doing nothing.” ~ Chris Rock

Trayvon Martin Act

* We will add provisions to this bill requiring state, county and local police officers to wear cameras and sanctions for police departments who retaliate against whistleblower officers.

Written by Mary Sanders. We’ll introduce this bill during the 2015 legislative session.

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 and Michael Dunn, according to a Malcolm X Grassroots Movement report . http://www.operationghettostorm.org/. The veracity of the MXGM report has been disputed. Check out the Washington Post editorial on the report, including a rebuttal by Arlene Eisen. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/wp/2014/12/24/the-viral-claim-that-a-black-person-is-killed-by-police-every-28-hours/?tid=pm_politics_pop Trayvon was shot and killed after being approached on the street by Zimmerman, an armed neighborhood watch leader. Dunn shot Jordan Davis during an argument about loud music. 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. The CT legislature passed some of our provisions in 2012 and they were scheduled to go in effect July 1, 2013. Last year our traffic stop receipt language was repealed in favor of a version emphasizing electronic data collection and analysis, instead of a copy of the mandated “Traffic Stop Report” going 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 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. As we mentioned previously our traffic stop language was passed by lawmakers in 2012 but was repealed due to pressure by the police before it was scheduled to become law in 2013.

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 challenge police officers in their neighborhood, they are often thrown to the ground, cuffed and arrested, 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”, often fatally as the MXGM report shows.

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 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 broadcast by the Connecticut Network for television or online viewing; 4) the Task Force will create a process whereby people could file formal complaints about profiling and harassment by police or other law enforcement authorities through their legislators’ offices or CHRO.”

The Community Party supports the demands of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, which are listed in their racial justice plan.

https://mxgm.org/national-demands-for-racial-justice/

Safe Work Environment Act

Sen. Gary Holder-Winfield will introduce the Community Party’s Safe Work Environment Act in 2015. http://www.senatedems.ct.gov/Holder-Winfield.php Stay tuned for updates!

The Safe Work Environment Act would provide workers with more protection than the Healthy Workplace Bill, while eliminating legal barriers that people currently face when they file a lawsuit against their employer. Our legislation eliminates the HWB requirement that an employee must prove malice and intent by an employer, which is basically impossible. Our language would also remove the HWB stipulation that an employee must provide proof of damage to their physical / psychological health. The federal employment discrimination law does not include either of the HWB provisions, which provide massive loopholes for abusive employers. We will also incorporate language from the Nevada workplace bullying bill (see below), which eliminates the burden of having to prove workplace bullying based on race or gender discrimination. 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. One bill will not stop workplace bullying, which is a constantly evolving issue. Legislation must evolve with it! The creation of a workplace bullying advisory board will ensure that this issue remains active at the State Capitol EVERY YEAR.

Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and global headlines and updates on the status of our Trayvon Martin and Safe Work Environment Acts, including action alerts. https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1 Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcements on our racial justice initiatives. https://www.facebook.com/wqtqfm Contact us at 860-206-8879 or info.community.party@gmail.com.

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