Archive for March, 2015

Rep. Bruce Morris Passionately Supports H.B. 5437, Urban Lawmakers Hold Police Accountable

March 25, 2015

This column appears in the March 26 – April 2 edition of the Hartford News… Last Friday the Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on H.B. 5437 An Act Concerning The Alvin W. Penn Racial Profiling Prohibition Act., Rep. Matt Ritter’s racial profiling bill ( http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&which_year=2015&bill_num=5437). Community Party member Mary Sanders, who wrote our Trayvon Martin Act bill language, testified in support of the legislation, which includes CP’s Trayvon Act traffic stop receipt amendment. Mary appears at about the 8 hour, 24 minute mark of the Connecticut Network video. http://www.ctn.state.ct.us/ctnplayer.asp?odID=11330 Evelyn Richardson also attended the hearing in support of the bill; Nicole Hutchings contributed written testimony. Rep. Bruce Morris passionately endorsed the receipt provision, which would require that a motorist receive a copy of the traffic stop report patrol officers are required to fill out. The receipt would have to be provided whether the officer gives the driver a ticket, written/verbal warning or not. The report includes the date/time/location of the stop and the officer’s identifying information. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/community-party-trayvon-martin-act-bill-language/ Morris became emotional as he talked about being racially profiled by a police officer days earlier, after leaving the Legislative Office Building late at night. You can watch Morris’ comments at about 4 hours, 32 minutes. Sen. Gary Winfield called a spade a spade, calling out the police for opposing any legislation aimed at holding them accountable. You can watch his remarks at about 4 hours, 44 minutes. Rep. Angel Arce put Farmington Police Chief Paul J. Melanson in check for attempting to challenge his account of being racially profiled by Farmington cops. His remarks, which include a history lesson about racism by the Avon police, begin at about 4 hours, 54 minutes. Rep. Robyn Porter told a chilling story about being stopped by a cop who told her he had to make sure her legislative plates weren’t stolen. She talked about the need for accountability and how police body cameras have been successful in Hamden, her district. Porter advised the police chiefs who testified at the hearing to reach out to the Hamden police, who have implemented a privacy protocol regarding usage of the cameras. Her comments begin at about 5 hours, 7 minutes.

Redding Police Chief Douglas Fuchs, a member of the Penn Act advisory board, spoke in opposition to motorists getting the receipt. Fuchs and Judiciary co-chair William Tong agreed that the traffic stop receipt wouldn’t promote “understanding” between cops and immigrants. The receipt is not meant to be a conversation piece. East Haven police officers Dennis Spaulding and David Cari were convicted in federal court in 2013 of racial profiling and violating the civil rights of Latinos. http://www.fbi.gov/newyork/press-releases/2013/east-haven-police-officers-found-guilty-of-federal-civil-rights-offenses The Department of Justice investigation found that Spaulding and Cari falsified traffic stop reports, entering Latino drivers as white in an effort to cover up their racist activities. If a motorist gets a copy of the traffic stop report, they will immediately know if their race has been misrepresented. The motorist will also have evidence that the traffic stop took place. If an officer knows that he or she has to give the motorist a copy of the report, this will obviously be a deterrent to falsifying the form or making stops based on race. Fuchs wants ‘conversations’ instead of the police being held accountable. Tong should not fall for Fuchs’ attempt to kill this legislation. As we reported last week, the DOJ found that the Ferguson police conspired with the city to generate revenue by racially profiling poor Black residents. The city has been using money from fines and court fees to balance their city budget: fines for low level offenses were the second highest source of revenue for Ferguson in 2013. A subsequent investigation by the New York Times found that other Missouri municipalities were making even more money than Ferguson from biased policing. The Hartford Police have refused to cooperate with CP’s FOI request for data on traffic fines in the North, South, West End and Blue Hills neighborhoods. We plan to approach the City Council about the HPD’s refusal to cooperate. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/03/18/judiciary-committee-public-hearing-friday-ferguson-sae-synergy-of-corporatism-the-police-state/

In 2010 former state trooper Andrew Crumbie told Mary and I that the most blatant form of racial profiling occurs when the motorist is not given a ticket or written warning. We then came up with the traffic stop receipt concept and brought it to Rep. Ritter (then a city councilman), who has supported the provision since he was elected later that year. The police have fought to kill the receipt every year since then. The receipt language was one of three CP Penn Act amendments passed in 2012. Due to political pressure from the police, the receipt was repealed before going in effect July 1, 2013. Rep. Ritter again added the receipt to his bill this year, over the objections of the advisory board. During his testimony Fuchs talked about the need for ‘communication’ about racial profiling between the police and community residents. This is the same guy who told me during an interview in 2013 that the advisory board had not reviewed or discussed the findings of the DOJ investigation of the EHPD. When I asked why, Fuchs said, “That’s not our charge.” Fuchs’ assertion was that the board didn’t need to “look back” at a racial profiling scandal that made national news, exposed what the DOJ described as a “culture of corruption” at the EHPD and resulted in the conviction of two EHPD officers for violating the civil rights of Latinos. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/03/22/2013-column-on-penn-act-advisory-board/ Fuchs became upset when I challenged him about the absurdity of his remarks, going as far as to question my “professionalism”. In my opinion, that was coded language for saying that I was acting uppity. Bill Dyson, the advisory board’s Black figurehead, said that the board members had not read the DOJ report and didn’t need to. When I said that the board members absolutely should have read the report, Dyson had the effrontery to ask me why. Last year the board used CT News Junkie to spin revisionist history: Dyson continued to contradict Fuchs and himself in an interview, repeating his preposterous claim that the EHPD case was the impetus for their work.

http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/connecticut_group_works_on_racial_profiling_with_issue_on_national_stage/

Evidence exists which show that police departments’ compliance with the current law has been poor. Members of the advisory board admitted to me that they received complaints from community residents about patrol officers not giving them the card they are supposed to receive during a traffic stop. The card contains information on how to file a racial profiling complaint. An activist in New Haven told us that residents in her neighborhood weren’t being given the cards. Rep. Morris told Patrick Gaynor, President of the Connecticut Council of Police Unions, that constituents in both his and Rep. Porter’s districts had not indicated to them that police were giving them the cards. Morris said he was not given the card after he was stopped last week. These reports refute Gaynor’s attempt to minimize the racial profiling issue by telling lawmakers that the Office of Policy and Management has only received 12 racial profiling complaints since October 2013, and his assertion that the money in Rep. Ritter’s bill that would be used to install printers in police cruisers would be better spent on initiatives to “build trust” between community residents and the police. Ha!

Rep. David Baram attempted to throw cold water on the hearing by talking about the diversity scam: you know, how everything will be peachy-keen if departments add Black and Latino officers to their rosters. The blue first mantra stating that cops are cops before they’re any color is well known. In February, Elson Morales was one of two Bridgeport police officers who pleaded guilty to violating the civil rights of Orlando Lopez-Soto during a physical assault that was caught on video. http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/Bridgeport-Police-Officers-Plead-Guilty-in-Brutality-Case-262625621.html Diversity sure didn’t help the Black teen who was knocked unconscious by a Black NYPD cop, who then taunted the teen’s friends who were recording his brutal assault by telling them to make sure they got it on film. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQvhHdEPINA In another video, a Black NYPD officer stands by passively as a white detective punches a Black twelve-year-old boy.

My co-worker John Hollis, who has worked hard to help pass CP’s Safe Work Environment Act workplace bullying legislation, shared his thoughts on the racial profiling issue. “It’s usually the police chiefs that are against the rights of the people in general. Those are political jobs. Their primary objective is to protect the ruling class while keeping the rest of us in check. They don’t want any laws that would interfere with their objective. A retired Hartford cop told me that.” The state racial profiling law is named in honor of the late Sen. Alvin W. Penn, who spoke out after being racially profiled in 1996. http://www.nytimes.com/1998/07/26/nyregion/policing-the-police-on-racial-profiling.html

As Rep. Morris said Friday, biased policing is alive and well in Connecticut and nationwide. Stay tuned for updates. Contact Judiciary Committee co-chair Sen. Eric Coleman and politely urge him to support H.B. 5437. http://www.senatedems.ct.gov/Coleman.php

Check out the Connecticut Post’s coverage of the public hearing. http://blog.ctnews.com/dixon/2015/03/23/tensions-raged-between-minority-lawmakers-and-police-chiefs/ As this column went to press, Christine Stuart of CT News Junkie and Daniela Altimari of the Courant, two of the most prominent State Capitol reporters, have not covered this story. Any Capitol ‘journalist’ who ignores the events at last week’s public hearing is a stooge for the police.

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 Check out our No Sellout blog (https://hendu39.wordpress.com/) for the complete archive of CP columns and Northend Agent’s for selected columns (http://www.northendagents.com/) . Contact us at 860-206-8879 or info.community.party@gmail.com

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2013 Column on Penn Act Advisory Board

March 22, 2015

Racism Report: Penn Act Advisory Board/West End Civic Association Members Push Back
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This column appears in the October 10 – 17 2013 edition of the Hartford News… Community Update: Check out the Community Party’s Stop Racial Profiling – Obey the Law! Facebook page for continuing coverage of the East Haven police civil rights trial. http://www.facebook.com/PennAct You can read the archive of New Haven Register correspondent Evan Lips’ reports on the trial here. http://www.nhregister.com/search?text=east+haven+police+trial

The members of the Connecticut Racial Profiling Prohibition Project, the puppet Alvin W. Penn Act advisory board of Gov. Dannel Malloy, have not mentioned the Department of Justice investigation of racial profiling by the East Haven Police Department during any of their meetings which were televised on the Connecticut Network, nor have they mentioned the 2012 DOJ indictment of EHPD officers David Cari, Dennis Spaulding, Jason Zullo and Sgt. John Miller or the trial of Cari and Spaulding on their website. http://www.ctrp3.org/ Last week I left messages with advisory board members Ken Barone, American Civil Liberties Union legal director Sandra Staub and Redding Police Chief Douglas Fuchs asking for an explanation. Predictably, Staub did not return my call. Fuchs told me that informing the public about the East Haven case or studying the DOJ investigative report on the EHPD isn’t something that the advisory board, which is supposedly working to stop racial profiling in this state, needs to do. “That’s not our charge,” Fuchs said. “Our job isn’t to look backward. Our job is to collect traffic stop data in the best manner possible.” I then asked about the disparity in the reactions to the Newtown school shooting and the East Haven case.

Following the spree killing at Sandy Hook, a legislative task force on gun violence was created. The task force visited suburban towns, including Newtown (while excluding gun violence plagued cities Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport) to discuss possible solutions. The gun laws in Connecticut were subsequently strengthened. Police officers were assigned to selected schools. I pointed out to Fuchs that clearly the state “looked backward” at the Newtown shooting and implemented measures designed to prevent that tragedy from happening again. The reaction by the state, reflected by Fuchs’ comments, to the East Haven case has been the exact opposite. After a lengthy pause, Fuchs reiterated his position that the East Haven case is not the advisory board’s concern. After questioning my “professionalism” Fuchs would not respond when I asked him if he had anything to say to the Latino East Haven residents who have testified at the trial about being harassed and brutalized by Spaulding and Zullo. Testimony by EHPD Sgt. Anthony Rybaruk supports residents’ testimony against Zullo. The advisory board’s stated purpose of data collection is to determine if racial profiling is happening in Connecticut (duh). The East Haven case is irrefutable evidence of biased policing which the board has chosen to ignore.

Barone, who has been the public face of the advisory board and is listed as the contact person on their website, would not answer my questions and ever so politely referred me to Bill Dyson, the advisory board chair/figurehead (and the Black guy). Dyson started off by totally contradicting Fuchs, as he said that the East Haven case was the impetus for the formation of the board, and that the board is formulating policies in direct reponse to the case. Dyson then said that he has not read the DOJ investigative report of the EHPD! Like Fuchs, Dyson had no answer for why the advisory board hasn’t discussed the case during their televised meetings and community forums or during any legislative hearings and why there is no mention of the case on the advisory board’s website. Dyson had a problem with my contention that he could not effectively develop policies to respond to the case if he didn’t know squat about what actually happened. I submit that the board has not mentioned the DOJ investigation of the EHPD or the trial of Cari and Spaulding because their true assignment is to protect the police. My conversations with Fuchs, Barone and Dyson and Staub’s display of cowardice have strengthened my belief. In an astonishing display of arrogance, Dyson repeatedly asked me why the advisory board should study and discuss the DOJ report. I challenge Dyson to ask the Latino East Haven residents who have suffered at the hands of Cari, Spaulding, Zullo and Miller that question, if he has the guts. I’ll address this issue further in the coming weeks; the DOJ report on the EHPD is available in our Resources section.

The government shutdown, the latest manufactured crisis from Congress, underscores the importance of services for the poor. Check out our Resources section for links to reports on how the shutdown will impact vulnerable populations and an analysis of the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare. Kerri Provost ( http://www.realhartford.org/) posted an open letter by West End Civic Association members who opposed WECA’s failed attack on the Grace Seventh-Day Adventist Church food pantry. This week we’ll share the letter in this space.

September 27, 2013

An Open Letter to Members of the WECA Board

WECA’s Southwest Sector met Tuesday evening, September 24, and discussed at length the recent actions taken by WECA regarding the food pantry run by the church adjacent to Elizabeth Park on Prospect Avenue. We were deeply disturbed and disappointed by the WECA Board’s actions, and we wish to bring the following points to the Board’s attention in the hope that the Board will take them into consideration in the future.

1. We regret and disagree with the motion passed by the Board at its September meeting regarding WECA’s position on the food pantry. We feel that the decision behind the motion was not only wrong with regard to the facts—there were, evidently, no zoning or licensing problems with the food pantry—but more importantly as a matter of principle. An organization that looks to its bylaws and finds “zoning enforcement” before “social responsibility” and “helping those in need” is not an organization of which we can be proud members.

2. We want to state clearly that we support the concept of food pantries as a welcoming, inclusive, and humane practice and a means of reaching out to individuals in our neighborhood, in Greater Hartford, and beyond. Moreover, we feel strongly that this sort of service to humanity far outweighs the inconveniences of crowded sidewalks or traffic slowdowns.

3. We deplore the harm that WECA’s actions have done to the organization’s good name and reputation, and especially the harm it has done to us in the esteem of those we struggle most to reach and embrace: the neighborhood’s low-income and needy residents. While sound decision-making cannot be based primarily on “public relations,” this was not sound decision-making, and we strongly urge the WECA Board to take steps to repair WECA’s reputation as a welcoming, inclusive, socially responsible organization rather than one devoted to its wealthier members’ material comforts. While these steps should certainly include outreach to the church, it must also go beyond that to ensure those whose impression of WECA has been soured might come to view us in a better light.

4. Most importantly, we are deeply disappointed in the decision-making process that led to this deplorable decision, and we urge WECA to take steps to make sure that this sort of misguided practice ceases.

a. First, we feel that the rush to judgment at the September Board meeting was a violation of the spirit and maybe even the letter of WECA’s established procedures. We have a Zoning Committee, to which zoning concerns should be referred for investigation and opinion gathering.

The committee organizes and publicizes meetings that allow residents to have their say—but that was not done in this case. We have heard that there was a claim of urgency: that WECA had been asked to state its position at a meeting with L&I two days after the Board meeting. But the food pantry had been in operation for some time. The urgency was false, and the WECA Board should have respected its established procedures and told L&I that we needed the time to do so.

b. Second, we feel that the heavy reliance at the meeting on responses to an e-mail sent to the membership was a serious mistake. It is important to remember that people who disagree with the status quo—in this case, with the existence of the food pantry—are much more likely to respond to an e-mail like this one than those satisfied with the existing situation. But more important, it is essential to understand that inclusion on WECA’s e-mail list, access to e-mail generally, and the time and linguistic confidence to respond are not evenly distributed in our neighborhood. Relying on e-mail responses to make a decision as significant as this one disenfranchises a large and distinct group of West End residents. This is all the more troubling given the under-representation of just this group on the WECA Board.

c. Third, WECA’s bylaws require the Board to seek consensus in its decision-making. We feel that this principle was ignored in the making of the food pantry decision. It was clear that while a majority of Board members agreed with the decision, a significant minority was strongly in disagreement. Moreover, that minority was largely if not entirely made up of the Board’s south-of-Farmington members. It is true that there comes a point when consensus cannot be reached and a vote must be taken. But we do not think that point had been reached after the relatively brief discussion of the food pantry. When such an obvious divide exists, we would urge the Board to try especially hard to build consensus.

Over 75% of the West End’s residents are renters and many of them are low-income. The vast majority of these residents live south of Farmington Avenue. When WECA acts in a way that excludes or discounts these residents’ opinions and interests, we in the Southwest sector feel marginalized—and we can only imagine how our neighbors in the Southeast sector must feel, if they are even paying attention to WECA any more. We began our sector meeting Tuesday evening with introductions: name, street, and length of residence in the neighborhood. Most of us have been in the West End for more than a decade—and a few for nearly five decades. This is our neighborhood, whether we pay $75 to go to the Dine Around or bring SNAP coupons to the Farmer’s Market. We are proud West Enders—but we aren’t proud of our civic association today.

Respectfully submitted,

Elvia Strom & Alan Paluck, SouthWest Sector Representatives

On behalf of the SouthWest Sector of WECA

It’s telling that some of WECA’s own members see that the organization is viewed as elitist, which it is. Martin Luther King said, ”True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.” The latest U.S. Census reports that the poverty rate in Hartford is 38%. The child poverty rate is 53%. This letter is a great first step; it would be good if WECA members who wrote and support the letter and community residents who denounced WECA’s attack on the food pantry talked with residents of the Southeast sector about pushing WECA to address the poverty issue in this city. WECA has the power to do it. This could be done by requesting meetings with Mayor Pedro Segarra, Council President Shawn Wooden (who are both West End residents), the city council board and lawmakers and pushing them to enact policies and legislation aimed at eradicating poverty in Hartford.

Noteworthy in the wake of WECAgate; the Connecticut Mirror reported on September 30 that food pantries will play an important role in the state’s government shutdown plans. “The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, better known as WIC, serves about 58,000 Connecticut residents and is funded entirely from Washington. The Connecticut Department of Public Health expects to have an assessment of the impact of a shutdown on that program in the next few days. The agency also has a contingency plan which included referring WIC clients to community based programs and services, including food pantries.”

Check out CP on Twitter @CommunityParty1 and our Plan C: The People’s Budget of Connecticut Facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/pages/Plan-C-The-Peoples-Budget-of-Connecticut/134064293347049) for coverage of the government shutdown. Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcement on our social justice platform. You can contact us at 860-206-8879 or samuelssloflo@aol.com .

Resources:

Department of Justice investigative report of the East Haven police:

http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/spl/easthavenpd.php

Connecticut Mirror report on the impact of the government shutdown on the poor:

http://www.ctmirror.org/story/2013/09/30/connecticuts-poor-most-likely-feel-shutdown-impact-first

Black Youth Project article on the effect of the government shutdown on low-income moms and children:

http://www.blackyouthproject.com/2013/10/how-the-government-shut-down-affects-low-income-moms-and-children/

Jonathan Pelto’s column on poverty in Connecticut:

http://jonathanpelto.com/2013/09/27/connecticut-poverty-state-highest-per-capita-income/

Analysis of the Affordable Care Act aka ObamaCare:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/03/health/millions-of-poor-are-left-uncovered-by-health-law.html?emc=edit_tnt_20131003&tntemail0=y&_r=2&pagewanted=all&

http://www.pnhp.org/news/2013/october/despite-aca%E2%80%99s-improvements-many-big-holes-and-problems-will-remain

David Samuels

Founder

Community Party

Judiciary Committee Public Hearing Friday/ Ferguson & SAE: Synergy of Corporatism & the Police State

March 18, 2015

This column appears in the March 19 – 26 edition of the Hartford News…

” Stripping resources from our local communities is state violence. Cutting hundreds of millions from the (University of Wisconsin) is state violence. The non-taxation of corporations and the over-taxation of the poor and middle class is state violence.” ~ Wisconsin activist Brandi Grayson

Judiciary Committee Public Hearing Friday, March 20

The public hearing on Rep. Matt Ritter’s racial profiling bill, which includes the Community Party’s Trayvon Martin Act traffic stop receipt amendment ( https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/community-party-trayvon-martin-act-bill-language/), is scheduled for Friday, March 20. CP’s traffic stop receipt would provide a layer of protection for people of color. If you or someone you care about has been a victim of racial profiling, now is your chance to be heard. The public hearing agenda can be viewed here. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/03/14/judiciary-committee-public-hearing-friday-march-20/

Here’s the Judiciary Committee email address for written testimony on the racial profiling bill. judtestimony@cga.ct.gov You can read my testimony at CP’s No Sellout blog. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/03/15/david-samuels-judiciary-committee-hearing-public-testimony/

Ferguson

Police apologists have attempted to seize the opportunity to use the shootings of two Ferguson police officers last week to smear all peaceful protestors against police repression. No sane person would endorse random violence against the police. That being said, the Ferguson municipal government and the police department created a climate of violence in that city a long time ago with their economic exploitation and repression of poor, Black city residents: this is described in the Department of Justice report on corruption within the Ferguson PD. http://search.justice.gov/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&affiliate=justice&query=ferguson+police+department&commit=Search Democracy Now! reported that the shots which injured the two officers didn’t come from the area where the nonviolent protestors gathered. Protestors could have easily been wounded or killed by the shots. Jeffrey Williams, who was arrested Sunday, was not a part of the Ferguson movement, despite attempts by the police and the corporate media to identify him as a ‘protestor’. http://www.democracynow.org/2015/3/12/eyewitness_to_ferguson_police_shooting_gunfire

There was plenty of racist rhetoric from law enforcement Saturday on CNN. Milwaukee County Sheriff/House Negro David Clarke rattled off numbers about the percentage of Blacks involved in violent crime and the ‘false narrative’ of the disproportionate killings of Blacks by the police. Of course Clarke didn’t talk about how poverty, Black unemployment and lack of opportunity factor heavily in the involvement of Black males in criminal activity. A study by the Center for Social Inclusion, which included parts of Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Westchester County, Long Island, found that the unemployment rate for young Black males between the ages of 18-25 is as high as 50%. During an interview with Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman, CSI director Maya Wiley explained what this statistic means. “We’re talking about communities where you literally have no economy that is supporting those communities.” http://www.democracynow.org/2009/3/17/report_communities_of_color_bear_heaviest As a result of these bleak economic conditions, young Black males are forced to turn to the underground economy, where violence is an occupational hazard, to get paid. The racist message Clarke delivered for his white masters was simple: Blacks are animals who must be controlled by any means necessary, including extrajudicial killings. Former NYC police commissioner and current CNN commentator Bernard Kerik, who served four years in federal prison for conspiracy, tax fraud and lying under oath, recycled the old southern politicians’ complaint about ‘outside agitators’ stirring up the ‘good negroes’ in Ferguson. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thJXKW43pnM Every 28 hours, Blacks in this country are killed by police, security guards or vigilantes. https://mxgm.org/we-charge-genocide-again-new-curriculum-on-every-28-hours-report/

The Ferguson movement has been vindicated by the DOJ report and subsequent investigative reports by media outlets such as the New York Times, who found that as bad as Ferguson is, the city isn’t even close to being the worst offender in Missouri. See our Resources section at the end of this column for the link to the full NYT article. “If the shooting of Michael Brown had taken place about 500 yards to the southeast, he would have died not in Ferguson, Mo., but in the neighboring city of Jennings. The court system there, which is overseen by a white judge but has almost exclusively black defendants, routinely sends people to jail for failure to pay minor traffic fines, a new lawsuit alleges. Had the shooting occurred three and a half miles to the north, the world’s attention might have turned to the city of Florissant, where in 2013, the police stopped black motorists at a rate nearly three times their share of the population. Less than four miles to the northwest, in Calverton Park, court fines and fees accounted for over 40 percent of the city’s general operating revenue last year.” Anyone who attempts to use the shootings of the two Ferguson officers to justify biased policing and shutting down the Ferguson protests is a stooge for law enforcement. The DOJ allowed George Zimmerman and former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson to walk free after lynching Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, respectively. The Obama Justice Department has not prosecuted anyone for the extrajudicial killings of Blacks.

The Ferguson Model is now being used in Wisconsin, where activists protesting the police shooting of unarmed Black teen Tony Robinson have united with union workers against the racist, classist, corporatist policies of Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Think Progress reported on the protests (see Resources ).

” ‘ The purpose of this march and this movement is connect the dots between the different forms of injustice and how it all leads back to state violence,’ said Brandi Grayson with the Young, Gifted and Black Coalition. ‘Stripping resources from our local communities is state violence. Cutting hundreds of millions from the UW is state violence. The non-taxation of corporations and the over-taxation of the poor and middle class is state violence.’

Wisconsin already had the some of the worst racial disparities in the country when Governor Scott Walker took office, but those demonstrating say he has made the situation much worse. Soon after taking office, he defunded a program that tracked the race of people stopped by police, even though black residents of Madison’s Dane County were found to be more than 97 times more likely to go to jail for a drug crime than a white resident. Now, the Governor’s new budget proposes an $8 million jail expansion in Dane County, at the same time many social services are being eliminated.”

The Ferguson Model is historically significant. Activists are now making the connection between economic exploitation and biased policing. Right here in Connecticut, Gov. Dannel Malloy’s budget proposal, which includes $25 million in proposed human services budget cuts is a blatant display of racism, as low income communities of color would be disproportionately impacted. Patrick J. Johnson, Jr., interim executive director of the CT Association of Nonprofits, Inc., wrote an op-ed to the Connecticut Mirror on Malloy’s budget proposal that is the best I’ve read. Johnson’s commentary included a chilling prediction. “With over $50 million cut from the Department of Developmental Services over the past five years and almost every line item in the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services budget cut, as well as vital cost saving services like teen pregnancy prevention, the fatherhood initiative, covenant to care, neighborhood centers and family support services, one is forced to ask—where is the safety net? I see the impact of two decades of abuse and neglect on the state’s nonprofit partners and know that when tragedy strikes because of this neglect, the state will point the accusatory finger and blame us because our staff fell asleep while working two jobs to feed their own families.” Johnson’s entire op-ed can be read here. http://ctmirror.org/2015/03/13/op-ed-connecticut-nonprofits-are-in-an-abusive-relationship-with-the-state/ Sunday Hartford Courant content manager John Ferraro summed up the warped priorities in Hartford with this tweet, “Some day there might be as much outrage at how many kids live in poverty in Hartford as there is over minor-league baseball names.” While Malloy attempts to decimate human services funding, the U.S. Census Bureau found that poverty in Connecticut continues to rise. http://www.ctvoices.org/publications/poverty-income-and-health-insurance-connecticut-cities-and-towns-summary-2011-2013-data Malloy’s so-called Second Chance Society is a mere bone being thrown to the urban community. Urban policy makers were excluded from the process of drafting Malloy’s bill. CP’s Trayvon Martin Act addresses the layered socioeconomic issues related to police repression of Black/Latino neighborhoods.

SAE Scandal

I’m not as concerned about the racist Oklahoma Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity video, as I am about the NPR report I heard last week on the fraternity’s close ties with Wall Street. Former members of the Oklahoma chapter are now in positions where they can channel their racist views and influence public policy. A member of the Oklahoma SAE chapter told NPR that he didn’t like the racism he saw there, but he wanted to use the fraternity to get a Wall Street job. Last week I watched a speech by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), who is considering a presidential run in 2016. Sanders said his constituents keep telling him that Congress has to impose strong regulations on corporations, but corporations are regulating Congress with money. Wall Street of course is a powerful ‘regulator’ of Congress. The SAE lynching song was obviously meant to condition members of the Oklahoma chapter into maintaining the fraternity as a vehicle of white supremacy through economic and political power, with an added message about lynching Blacks: there’s that connection to state violence again… Extrajudicial killings of Blacks are the modern version of lynching.

Residents in low income communities of color should stop listening to anyone who tells them to blindly trust law enforcement, or to close their eyes, bow their heads and pray in response to police brutality, which is what happened following the barbaric Taser attack on Luis Anglero, Jr. by HPD Det. Shawn Ware. Luis is lucky to be alive. David Werblow, 41, died Sunday night after a Branford police officer shocked him with a Taser. These ‘nonlethal’ weapons should be banned. Over 500 people have died since 2001 after being tased. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/08/13/taser-death-of-graffiti-artist-israel-hernandez-llach-revives-debate.html

The Miami Beach Police Department bans use of a Taser on someone who is exhibiting “passive physical resistance”, which means that they are ignoring officers’ commands, but not actually engaging officers in a physical confrontation.

NBC Connecticut reported that Werblow was tased after he ignored officers’ commands to exit a vehicle. http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/State-Police-Investigate-Possible-Stun-Gun-Death-Report-296410201.html The Register-Citizen corroborated the NBC Connecticut report. “After Werblow ignored police requests to exit the vehicle, a Branford police officer deployed his Taser, enabling police to remove Werblow from the vehicle and place him in handcuffs. The release said officers then ‘immediately’ noticed that Werblow was in ‘medical distress.’ EMS then responded to the scene near Burban Drive and Jefferson Road, where neighbors said they saw a heavyset man receiving chest compressions. Town records show 134 Burban Drive is owned by Continuum Management Corp., 67 Trumbull St., New Haven. Continuum of Care, Inc. operates mental health services in 30 locations in the state, according to its website.” A source told me that Werblow suffered from mental illness and that 134 Burban Drive is a group home. Surveillance video showed that Luis had obeyed Ware’s command to stop running toward him and was standing still, when Ware took a step toward Luis and tased him. Sincere activists, community residents and workers must unite to push back against the powerful synergy of corporatism and the police state in this country. Holding the police accountable doesn’t mean that you hate cops, it means that you’ve got love for your community. Racial profiling, extrajudicial killings of Blacks and human services cuts are connected!

Resources

New York Times investigative report on economic exploitation and biased policing in Missouri:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/08/us/ferguson-became-symbol-but-bias-knows-no-border.html?emc=edit_th_20150308&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=55721302&_r=1

Think Progress report on protestors against police violence and union workers in Wisconsin uniting against Gov. Scott Walker:

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2015/03/11/3632325/unions-black-lives-matter-activists-join-forces-scott-walker/

OpenSecrets.org Center for Responsive Politics:

http://www.opensecrets.org/

Information Clearing House commentary on corporatism:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article7260.htm

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 Check out our No Sellout blog (https://hendu39.wordpress.com/) for the complete archive of CP columns and Northend Agent’s for selected columns (http://www.northendagents.com/) . Contact us at 860-206-8879 or info.community.party@gmail.com

David Samuels

Founder

Community Party

David Samuels’ Judiciary Committee Hearing Public Testimony

March 15, 2015

Community Party founder David Samuels’ testimony for the March 20 Judiciary Committee public hearing on Rep. Matt Ritter’s racial profiling bill, which includes CP’s traffic stop receipt provision.

I am writing in support of H.B 5437 AN ACT CONCERNING THE ALVIN W. PENN RACIAL PROFILING PROHIBITION ACT. The Department of Justice findings in their investigations of the East Haven Police Department, and subsequent convictions of EHPD officers Dennis Spaulding and David Cari for violating the civil rights of Latinos, and the Ferguson Police Department, is proof that racial profiling is not a ‘perception’, as some at the State Capitol have described this issue, but a reality. The DOJ found a culture of corruption at both departments, but the Ferguson investigation has revealed a motive deeper than bigotry. The DOJ report found that the Ferguson municipal government and the police department have conspired to generate revenue for the city through the racial profiling of poor, Black residents. A subsequent investigative report by the New York Times has revealed that while Ferguson has become a symbol of racial profiling in America, there are multiple other municipalities in Missouri with even more egregious patterns of extortion of Black residents: Ferguson isn’t even close to being the worst offender. Several months ago, my colleague Mary Sanders and I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Hartford Police, asking for data on fines for low level offenses in the North, South, West End and Blue Hills neighborhoods. We have not received a response, and will follow up with the City Council about the HPD’s refusal to cooperate.

There are certainly other municipalities outside of Missouri that are using racial profiling as a means of solving their fiscal problems. Legislators at the Capitol are all too familiar with the stress of budget deficits. The added element of profiteering to biased policing makes strong legislation in this state a must. I have worked with Assemblyman Matt Ritter on the racial profiling issue for several years. His bill in its current form is a significant step toward curbing biased policing in this state. This legislation should not be watered down for the sake of political expediency. No longer can racial profiling be explained away as the act of ‘a few bad apples’. The DOJ and NYT findings in East Haven, Ferguson and other municipalities in Missouri are just the tip of the iceberg. It’s time for the General Assembly to acknowledge the fact that biased policing is a layered issue which will require constant vigilance.

David Samuels

Founder

Community Party

Hartford, CT

Community Party Update: Racial Profiling & Human Services Cuts Are Connected!

March 15, 2015

Please forward widely! Pick up the Hartford News at these locations. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/hartford-news-locations/ Check out the archive of Community Party Hartford News columns at our No Sellout blog. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/ Selected columns are available on the Northend Agent’s website. http://www.northendagents.com/

David Samuels

Founder

Community Party

” Stripping resources from our local communities is state violence. Cutting hundreds of millions from the (University of Wisconsin) is state violence. The non-taxation of corporations and the over-taxation of the poor and middle class is state violence.” ~ Wisconsin activist Brandi Grayson

Wisconsin activists protesting the police shooting of unarmed Black teen Tony Robinson have joined forces with union workers to protest the racist, classist, corporatist policies of Republican Gov. Scott Walker. http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2015/03/11/3632325/unions-black-lives-matter-activists-join-forces-scott-walker/ Stay tuned for the next Community Party Hartford News column: Judiciary Committee Public Hearing Friday/ Ferguson & SAE: Synergy of Corporatism & the Police State.

If you cannot attend the Judiciary Committee public hearing on Rep. Matter’s racial profiling bill, you can submit written testimony. See the updated announcement below for details. Visit Assemblyman Ritter’s website: http://www.housedems.ct.gov/RitterM/

Judiciary Committee Public Hearing Friday, March 20

The public hearing on Rep. Matt Ritter’s racial profiling bill, H.B. 5437 AN ACT CONCERNING THE ALVIN W. PENN RACIAL PROFILING PROHIBITION ACT ( http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&which_year=2015&bill_num=5437 ), which includes the Community Party’s Trayvon Martin Act traffic stop receipt amendment ( https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/community-party-trayvon-martin-act-bill-language/ ), is scheduled for Friday, March 20. CP’s traffic stop receipt would provide a layer of protection for people of color. If you or someone you care about has been a victim of racial profiling, now is your chance to be heard. The public hearing agenda can be viewed here. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/03/14/judiciary-committee-public-hearing-friday-march-20/
Here’s the Judiciary Committee email address for written testimony on the racial profiling bill. judtestimony@cga.ct.gov

Patrick J. Johnson, Jr., interim executive director of the CT Association of Nonprofits, Inc., wrote an op-ed to the Connecticut Mirror on Gov. Dannel Malloy’s propos ed $25 million human services funding cuts that is the best I’ve read. http://ctmirror.org/2015/03/13/op-ed-connecticut-nonprofits-are-in-an-abusive-relationship-with-the-state/

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 Check out our No Sellout blog (https://hendu39.wordpress.com/) for the complete archive of CP columns and Northend Agent’s for selected columns (http://www.northendagents.com/) . Contact us at 860-206-8879 or info.community.party@gmail.com

Judiciary Committee Public Hearing Friday, March 20

March 14, 2015

The public hearing on Rep. Matt Ritter’s racial profiling bill, which includes the Community Party’s Trayvon Martin Act traffic stop receipt amendment (https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/community-party-trayvon-martin-act-bill-language/), is scheduled for Friday, March 20. If you or someone you care about has been a victim of racial profiling, now is your chance to be heard. Here’s the Judiciary Committee email address for written testimony on the racial profiling bill. judtestimony@cga.ct.gov

Judiciary Committee

PUBLIC HEARING AGENDA

Friday, March 20, 2015

10:30 AM in Room 2C of the LOB

I. BILL RESERVED FOR SUBJECT MATTER PUBLIC HEARING

1. Proposed S.B. No. 652 AN ACT CONCERNING THE INVESTIGATION OF THE USE OF DEADLY FORCE BY A PEACE OFFICER THAT RESULTS IN THE DEATH OF A PERSON. (JUD)

II. COMMITTEE & RAISED BILLS FOR REVIEW

1. S.B. No. 1065 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING THE RECORDING OF POLICE ACTIVITY BY THE PUBLIC. (JUD)

2. S.B. No. 1092 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING COMPELLED DISCLOSURE OF CELLULAR TELEPHONE AND INTERNET RECORDS. (JUD)

3. S.B. No. 1093 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING EVASION OF RESPONSIBILITY IN THE OPERATION OF A MOTOR VEHICLE. (JUD)

4. S.B. No. 1094 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING ASSAULT WITH ENHANCED PENALTIES. (JUD)

5. S.B. No. 1104 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING THE MILITARIZATION OF LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES. (JUD)

6. S.B. No. 1105 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING MINOR REVISIONS TO THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE STATUTES. (JUD)

7. S.B. No. 1106 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING THE INDEMNIFICATION OF LAW ENFORCEMENT PROFESSIONALS. (JUD)

8. S.B. No. 1107 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING OVERSIGHT WITHIN THE DIVISION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE. (JUD)

9. S.B. No. 1108 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING THE ZERO-TOLERANCE SAFE SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT ACT. (JUD)

10. S.B. No. 1109 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING EXCESSIVE USE OF FORCE. (JUD)

11. H.B. No. 5437 (COMM) AN ACT CONCERNING THE ALVIN W. PENN RACIAL PROFILING PROHIBITION ACT. (JUD)

12. H.B. No. 7013 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING DNA TESTING FOR PERSONS ARRESTED FOR MURDER OR SEXUAL ASSAULT. (JUD)

13. H.B. No. 7025 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING THE OPERATION OF A MOTOR VEHICLE WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF INTOXICATING LIQUOR OR ANY DRUG, AND WHILE A CHILD IS IN THE MOTOR VEHICLE. (JUD)

14. H.B. No. 7026 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING AN ACCIDENT REPORT FOR A MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT IN WHICH A PERSON WAS KILLED. (JUD)

15. H.B. No. 7027 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING REVISIONS TO CERTAIN CRIMINAL STATUTES. (JUD)

16. H.B. No. 7028 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION, ACCESS TO THE FIREARMS DATABASE BY PAROLE OFFICERS, AND PRESENTATION OF A CARRY PERMIT. (JUD)

Alvin W. Penn Act

March 14, 2015

This the draft of Rep. Matt Ritter’s racial profiling bill, H.B. 5437 AN ACT CONCERNING THE ALVIN W. PENN RACIAL PROFILING PROHIBITION ACT, that has been filed by the Connecticut General Assembly Judiciary Committee. Rep. Ritter’s bill includes the Community Party’s Trayvon Martin Act traffic stop receipt provision. Stay tuned for updates.
http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&which_year=2015&bill_num=5437

Mary Sanders Speaks at Budget Hearing/Ferguson & Hyacinth Yennie/Safe Work Environment Act

March 12, 2015

This column appears in the March 12 – 19 edition of the Hartford News….

Policy Watch

Spanish Speaking Center Faces Closure

Spanish Speaking Center of New Britain, CT Executive Director and Community Party member Mary Sanders was the last person to testify at last Friday’s Appropriations Committee public hearing on Gov. Dannel Malloy’s proposed $25 million in human services cuts. You can watch her testimony at approximately the 7 hour, 6 minute mark of the Connecticut Network video of the hearing. http://www.ctn.state.ct.us/webstream.asp?odID=11280&odTitle=Appropriations%20Committee%20Public%20Hearing%20on%20the%20Governor%u2019s%20Budget%20for%20DPH%2C%20DDS%2C%20DMHAS%20%26%20Dept.%20of%20Veterans%u2019%20Affairs&caption=true Mary stated that SSC faces closure on July 1st, as Malloy’s proposed budget would eliminate 85% of the 50-year-old SSC’s funding. SSC provides culturally and linguistically appropriate services to 3,000 low income residents with a budget of $175,000 in New Britain, a town with a 40% poverty rate and a 35% Hispanic population.

Mary suggested that lawmakers explore revenue streams such as a 1% increase in the state’s sales tax and the creation of a publicly owned bank. Rep. Susan Johnson (D-Windham) is sponsoring a public bank study bill. http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&which_year=2015&bill_num=5973 Rep. Matt Ritter sponsored the Community Party’s public infrastructure bank bill in 2013. The Bank of North Dakota is the nation’s only publicly owned bank. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KX8pcADnsEs BND generates an average of $30 million in revenue annually; during the last decade the bank has produced $300 million for the state’s General Fund. North Dakota uses this money to fund social services programs and infrastructure projects, at NO COST to taxpayers. BND also facilitates principled lending, which benefits small businesses and homeowners. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZdzVzAUBuI Mary concluded her testimony with these words, “I can live in a cold state, I can’t live in a cold hearted state.” Stay tuned for updates on the plight of SSC and the human services community. Connecticut Voices for Children just released their latest policy plan; legislators, take notes. http://www.ctvoices.org/publications/funding-our-future-child-and-family-friendly-revenue-options

Biased Policing = $$$

serendipity – The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

Last week’s Hartford News included a letter by Hartford Police apologist Hyacinth Yennie, who ignored the statistics and reiterated her opposition to police body cameras with more tired rhetoric aimed at shielding the HPD from accountability. One day earlier, the Department of Justice released a report which included findings (originally revealed by the St. Louis activist group Arch City Defenders months earlier) that the Ferguson Police Department was engaged in racial profiling. See our Resources section below for the full report. The hidden agenda of biased policing was also exposed, as the DOJ found that the City of Ferguson has been using revenue generated by the disproportionate fines of Black residents to balance their budget. Fines of Black residents comprise the second highest source of revenue for the city. http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/03/15-most-outrageous-examples-of-police-misconduct-in-the-doj-report-on-ferguson/ The report described how this oppressive over-policing of Blacks fueled the distrust and anger that led to protests and at times violent rebellion after unarmed Black teen Michael Brown was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who was cleared of wrongdoing by a local grand jury and subsequently by the DOJ, one day after the announcement about their findings against the Ferguson PD, despite flaws legal experts discovered in the grand jury ‘investigation’: e.g. jurors were given a definition of justifiable use of force that was struck down by the Supreme Court 30 years ago. The DOJ discovered racist emails by city employees. CNN provided details.

“Police officers Capt. Rick Henke and Sgt. William Mudd resigned Thursday over the emails discovered during the U.S. Department of Justice investigation of racial prejudice in the city’s police and judicial system, city spokesman Jeff Small said on Friday, citing the city attorney.

The city’s top court clerk, Mary Ann Twitty, was fired earlier this week in connection with the emails, Small said.

Several employees forwarded the emails but until now none had been disciplined, the report said.

Examples of the racist emails include one sent in October 2011 that showed a photo of bare-chested dancing women, apparently in Africa, with the caption ‘Michelle Obama’s High School Reunion.’ A June 2011 email described a man trying to put his dogs on welfare because the canines were ‘mixed in color, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English and have no … clue who their Daddies are.’ Some critics have called for the department to be disbanded and for Police Chief Thomas Jackson to resign (Jackson resigned March 11).”

It would be interesting to see how Ferguson Blacks would react to Yennie’s condescending blather. Yennie said, “As community members, we should take the time to be informed and stop looking at complicated issues in ‘us vs. them’ terms. Let’s keep an open mind as to what could be.” The DOJ report shows that Yennie needs to take her own advice, as it shatters the ‘few bad apples’ bs that is often used to explain away biased policing. The City of Ferguson and the Ferguson PD have been engaged in a criminal conspiracy to make money by targeting poor, Black residents. The HPD has not responded to CP’s Freedom of Information request, sent several months ago, for a breakdown by neighborhood of fines for low level offenses in Hartford. We intend to follow up with the City Council about this, as Ferguson isn’t the only city in Missouri making big bank from racial profiling. Missouri lawmakers are talking about amending a law that puts a 30% cap on the amount of money made from fines that can be used toward a municipal operating budget. Legislators are considering lowering the cap to 10%, because of noncompliance. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/09/us/ferguson-one-of-2-missouri-suburbs-sued-over-gantlet-of-traffic-fines-and-jail.html We intend to talk to lawmakers about passing a similar law here in Connecticut. The DOJ findings on the use of disproportionate, excessive fines and incarceration of poor Ferguson Blacks as a revenue generator for the city show how over-policing of low income communities of color feeds the prison industrial complex in this country. My question to Yennie is, should the Black/Latino community in Hartford trust a police department that won’t respond to our FOI request?

Yennie’s argument about cameras being an anti-police tool is baseless. A study by Cambridge University found that the use of body cameras reduced police use of force by 59% and citizen complaints against police officers by 88%. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unKwsam7vIc The cameras obviously protect clean cops as well as community residents. Yennie isn’t really concerned about fiscal issues: she just doesn’t want the cameras, which makes no sense given the mutual benefit for residents and officers. If the city can find the dough for a luxury like a new baseball stadium, it can do the same for body cameras. Yennie responds to facts about police violence against Blacks and the effectiveness of body cameras with rhetoric and anecdotes, a sure sign of someone with a self-serving agenda. Yennie is actually correct when she says that cameras alone aren’t the solution, but her hire more cops/community policing smokescreen is not the answer. CP supports the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement Racial Justice Plan, which can be found in our Trayvon Martin Act bill language. Rep. Matt Ritter’s racial profiling bill includes our traffic stop receipt amendment. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/community-party-trayvon-martin-act-bill-language/

The MXGM policy paper includes demands such as abolishing the so-called War on Drugs, which is really a war on people of color, and ending the economic exploitation (e.g. Ferguson criminalization of Blacks) which fuels poverty, the root cause of the pervasive urban drug trade and accompanying street violence. Blacks and Latinos earn approximately 60 cents for every dollar whites make, and possess about 10 cents of net wealth for every dollar whites have. The unemployment rates for Blacks and Latinos are at Depression-era levels (see Resources). Hartford annually has one of the highest poverty rates in the country: a U.S. Census report finds that the poverty rate in this city and other urban areas continues to rise. http://www.ctvoices.org/publications/poverty-income-and-health-insurance-connecticut-cities-and-towns-summary-2011-2013-data Yennie must acknowledge the links between the Democrats’ apathy regarding the poverty issue, which is reflected in Malloy’s proposed budget, and the conditions in Hartford. Two years ago CP sent invitations to Mayor Pedro Segarra, City Council President Shawn Wooden, other Democrats on the council board, then New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, Malloy and urban legislators to participate in an Action Poverty Conference. The objective was to begin the process of developing new antipoverty policies with the input of community residents and grassroots activists. Out of all of these Democrats, Assemblymen Ritter and Douglas McCrory were the only ones who agreed to participate.

The commemoration last week of the Bloody Sunday police attack on Civil Rights activists in Selma, Alabama 50 years ago should not be viewed as ‘ancient history’. Segregation still exists today in the form of racial economic disparity. When Martin Luther King shifted the focus of his work to economic justice, he said that many white allies “walked off with the aggressors”. http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=767&Itemid=74&jumival=7810 Dr. King realized that it didn’t do any good to integrate a restaurant if a Black person didn’t have the money to buy food there. He told Harry Belafonte he was haunted by the thought that Blacks were “integrating into a burning house”. President Obama gave lip service to racial justice during his Selma speech last Saturday. The First Black President has not addressed Black unemployment, wage/wealth disparity, mass incarceration, or extrajudicial killings since he has been in office. Instead of acting as an agent for the HPD and arguing to maintain the status quo, Yennie should support the overdue changes that are needed in the urban community.

Workplace Bullying

The hit piece by Healthy Workplace Bill volunteer Kathy Hermes that appeared last week in the op-ed section of the Connecticut Mirror is pure propaganda. HWB is a weak bill that is designed to be palatable to conservative lawmakers, as it includes loopholes that benefit employers. CP’s 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, 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. Unfortunately only our advisory board provision has been included in raised bill 1035. http://www.cga.ct.gov/2015/TOB/S/2015SB-01035-R00-SB.htm We’re talking to lawmakers in an effort to get our enforcement provisions added. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/real-protection-against-workplace-bullying-safe-work-environment-act/ Sen. Gary Winfield has just introduced another bill, S.B. No. 432. http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&which_year=2015&bill_num=432

Resources:

Department of Justice report on racial profiling by the Ferguson Police Department:

http://search.justice.gov/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&affiliate=justice&query=ferguson+police+department&commit=Search

Policing by Fleecing, in Ferguson & Beyond:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/in-ferguson-and-other-cities-jailed-for-being-poor/2015/03/06/e8cb5896-c42a-11e4-9271-610273846239_story.html

Missouri bill which would lower the cap on traffic fines cities can use as part of their operating budgets from 30% to 10%:

http://www.senate.mo.gov/15info/BTS_Web/Bill.aspx?SessionType=R&BillID=160

United for a Fair Economy report on racial economic disparity and policy plan for low income communities of color:

http://www.faireconomy.org/news/state_of_the_dream_2010_drained

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 Check out our No Sellout blog (https://hendu39.wordpress.com/) for the complete archive of CP columns and Northend Agent’s for selected columns (http://www.northendagents.com/) . Contact us at 860-206-8879 or info.community.party@gmail.com

David Samuels

Founder

Community Party

Connecticut Voices for Children State Budget Recommendations

March 10, 2015

Read, share, organize… http://www.ctvoices.org/publications/funding-our-future-child-and-family-friendly-revenue-options

Spanish Speaking Center of New Britain, CT Faces Closure

March 7, 2015

Spanish Speaking Center of New Britain, CT Executive Director and Community Party member Mary Sanders was the last person to testify at Friday’s Appropriations Committee public hearing on Gov. Dannel Malloy’s proposed $25 million in human services cuts. SSC, which has been serving the needs of low income Hispanic residents in New Britain for 50 years, faces closure on July 1st due to Malloy’s cuts. You can watch her testimony at approximately the 7 hour, 6 minute mark of the Connecticut Network video of the hearing. http://www.ctn.state.ct.us/webstream.asp?odID=11280&odTitle=Appropriations%20Committee%20Public%20Hearing%20on%20the%20Governor%u2019s%20Budget%20for%20DPH%2C%20DDS%2C%20DMHAS%20%26%20Dept.%20of%20Veterans%u2019%20Affairs&caption=true
We’ll have a full report on Mary’s testimony in next week’s CP Hartford News column.