Archive for July, 2015

ACTION ALERT: Speak Up Against Police Brutality in Cleveland!

July 27, 2015

Cleveland Division of Police Publications Manager Jerome Masek is handling calls regarding the pepper spraying incident at the Black Lives Matter event in Cleveland. 216-566-5173. The officer’s name is Sean O’Neil. Call now!


ACTION ALERT: Tell Texas DPS to Release Second Sandra Bland Dash Cam Video!

July 25, 2015

This alert appears in the July 30 – August 6 edition of the Hartford News…

Activist Kelly Wick posted this photo of a police cruiser that arrived after Texas state trooper Brian Encinia called for back up during his traffic stop of Sandra Bland. Although it’s not clear when the cruiser arrived on the scene, it is parked at an angle where its dashboard video camera may have recorded at least a portion of the struggle between Sandra and Encinia, which took place out of the view of Encinia’s dashboard camera. Encinia claimed that Sandra kicked him, which is the reason why she was charged with assaulting a police officer. Check this out from the arrest transcript. A second officer says THE KICK BY SANDRA WAS CAUGHT ON VIDEO!

Encinia: She started yanking away and then she kicked me, so I took her straight to the ground.

Female officer: And there you got it right there… I’ll search it for you if you want.

Female officer: Yeah.

Second male: I know one thing for sure, it’s on video.

Female officer: Yeah

Waller County DA Elton Mathis claims that the second police cruiser dash cam didn’t record the Sandra Bland arrest, because the memory was full. If the camera is in loop mode, it will continue recording over the oldest file when the memory is full. Logic dictates that a dash cam in a police cruiser should always be in loop mode. If not, that’s a crutch police departments can use in cases like this!

Call the Texas Department of Public Safety and ask about the status of the dashboard camera video from the cruiser seen in the photo. Texas DPS customer service: (512) 424-2000. The DPS office opens at 9:00 AM Eastern Time, 8:00 AM Central 6:00 AM Pacific. Dial 0 for operator and choose the Media and Communications option: they handle calls from the public and media. Leave a voicemail if there is no answer, so the department will know that you called. Please be polite. DPS did not return a phone call seeking comment. Please share this alert with your friends. JUSTICE FOR SANDY! BLACK WOMEN MATTER!

Transcript of Sandra Bland arrest:

HPD “Bad Boy” Cops List/Community Party Radio Premiere July 28/Justice for Sandy/Working Moms

July 23, 2015

Community Update

This column appears in the July 23 – 30 edition of the Hartford News…

A source told me said there is a list of 31 “bad boy” cops that the Hartford Police does not want released, even though it’s supposed to be public info. The source said that these cops have had between two and four civilian complaints sustained against them, and suggested that I send a Freedom of Information request to the city to obtain the list. I’ll provide updates as more information becomes available. I suggest that readers of this column make a similar request: specify that your request pertains to Division 5, section e of the Municipal Code regarding Accountability. Check out the FOI website for info on how to make a request.|

Mayor Pedro Segarra is not being endorsed by his party for re-election. Two more homicides in the city brought the total to 18 for the year. Segarra cancelled his scheduled appearance on Face the State. As I worked on this column I watched the video of a public safety press conference with Segarra and city council members Kyle Anderson, Ken Kennedy and Cynthia Jennings. They threw around the “building trust” phrase which has been used by the HPD, while the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association simultaneously worked to kill racial profiling and use of force/body cameras legislation at the State Capitol during the 2015 legislative session. The Centralized Infractions Bureau has not responded to the Community Party’s Freedom of Information request for data on traffic tickets issued in Hartford during 2014. Our objective is to find out whether or not residents in low income communities of color are being disproportionately fined.

Reports by the Arch City Defenders and the Department of Justice found this pattern of biased policing in Ferguson, Missouri. Gov. Jay Nixon recently signed a bill which curbs profits on traffic tickets and municipal court fines. We sent a follow up request this week. The city council housing committee continues to duck the issue of fire traps in Hartford. The committee ignored a follow up email we sent regarding privately owned apartment buildings and multi-family homes which have security bars on the windows. We have identified multiple buildings with bars that do not include a quick release device which can be used by tenants in the event of a fire. The Philadelphia Fire Department issued a report on the danger of security bars that cannot be opened from the inside. Stay tuned for updates.

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio will premiere Tuesday, July 28 at 9:00 PM. Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. Our first topic will be CP’s Meagan Hockaday Act, legislation aimed at addressing police shootings of mentally ill people, individuals in crisis and police use of force when children are present. This bill will be introduced in California and Connecticut. Meagan Matters!

Tune in! We’ll host a special report on the Sandra Bland case Tuesday, August 4th at 9:00 PM. Our regular show schedule will be the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. Check out The podcast of the So-Metro Radio interview with Misha Charlton, Meagan’s sister.

Sandra Bland Case

Visit my Facebook page for updates and commentary on the Sandra Bland death investigation.

From, “The family of an Illinois woman found dead in a Texas jail cell after she was arrested during a traffic stop is raising questions about how she died. Sandra Bland, 28, was stopped by a Texas state trooper on Friday and found dead at the Waller County, Texas, jail on Monday, the Chicago Tribune reports. Local authorities in Texas say Bland died by suicide, but her family and friends don’t believe that is the case and suspect that the true cause of her death is being covered up. Bland was being held on $5,000 bail after a Saturday court appearance. Her friends say they planned to post her bail on Monday. The Texas Jail Commission announced Friday that they have cited the Waller County Jail for failing to properly monitor Bland. And the Texas Department of Public Safety says its preliminary review has found violations of the department’s procedures regarding traffic stops and the department’s courtesy policy.”

Sandra Bland’s family and friends should stop saying that she couldn’t have committed suicide because she was “strong”, which implies that those who succumb to mental illness and take their lives are weak. Depression, which Sandra said she suffered from in addition to PTSD, is a disease. There is a major stigma regarding mental illness in the Black community, which discourages people from getting the help they need. Sandra saying she suffered from mental illness doesn’t make the circumstances surrounding her death any less suspicious. Monday Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said that the Sandra Bland case will now be treated as a murder investigation, based on the statements of witnesses who spoke to Sandra before her death. Sandra told a bail bondsman that she feared for her safety. Activist Kelly Wick has the best take I’ve heard from anyone on the Sandra Bland case. Kelly said, “I am … thoroughly disgusted, appalled and physically sickened and I didn’t even watch the entire video. They are responsible for the death of ‪#‎SandraBland‬ regardless of HOW she died. And this bastard is on desk duty.”

State trooper Brian Encinia instigated and escalated the confrontation with Sandra. The Texas Department of Public Safety has suspended Encinia for violating protocol regarding traffic stops and violating the department’s courtesy policy, which is glaringly obvious when watching this video from start to finish. Encinia had just left another traffic stop and sped up as soon as he saw Sandra’s car. She spotted him in her rearview mirror and did what I’ve done when a cop was sweating me, which is change direction (she changed lanes). Encinia used this as a pretext to stop her. Encinia got pissed because Sandra called him out on the fact that the traffic stop was bogus. She was rightfully upset.

Encinina responded by trying to punk Sandra, telling her to put out her cigarette. When she refused to do so he gave her a command to step out of the car, which is totally ridiculous. We all know the rest of the story. Sandra may have committed suicide, but either way her blood is on Encinia’s hands. He started the chain of events that led to her death. If she did kill herself, it was obviously the trauma of Sandra’s arrest that triggered her mental/emotional crisis. What I saw on the video was an overzealous cop who was trying to inflate his stats. He just couldn’t take it when a Black woman called him on his bs. THAT’S what set him off. This case underscores AGAIN, the importance of dash and body cams. We not only saw the entire Sandra Bland traffic stop and arrest (except for when they went out of view), we saw that it occurred literally seconds after he stopped someone else, which to me is highly significant. You can watch the full video here. Well, it’s not quite the whole video: the tape has been doctored! Justice for Sandy! Black Women Matter!

Guest Column

This week we’ll share commentary by blogger Diana Frazao on gender issues. You can check out her posts at


Working Moms

Published April 27th 2015 by Diana Frazao

l like to tell people that my sister, Janet, was born a social worker. When we were growing up she was the quintessential middle child: she was forever mediating between my brother and me, just wanting to keep the peace. Janet is such a sensitive soul. Each time a “Save the Children” commercial aired, she begged our parents to donate. “It’s only the cost of a cup of coffee per day!” she pleaded. And when we watched wrestling, Janet scolded my brother and me for laughing at the atrocities The Million Dollar Man, Ted DiBiase, inflicted on his assistant, Virgil (looking back, WWE’s casting of Virgil was in very poor taste, but at around five or six years old I did not understand that).

Of course when we were kids I didn’t know my sister would be a social worker. Social worker is usually not at the top of the list of children’s dream careers (ask a kid if you don’t believe me). For a long time we thought Janet might become a lawyer because she loved watching those lousy daytime court shows (our parents thought I might become a lawyer, too, because they said I liked to argue with them). What I did always know was that Janet wanted to go to college and have a career. She’s done both—she received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UConn, and, after a lot of hard work, she became a licensed clinical social worker.

I often make fun of my sister because she gets so excited about her job as a substance abuse counselor—can’t she just come down with an incurable case of the Mondays like the rest of us? Truly I am happy that all the work she’s put in has resulted in her being happy with her career. That’s why I was quite surprised when Janet, while pregnant, told me people were asking her if she was going to become a stay-at-home mom.

Look, stay at home parents are great. I know a few moms putting a lot of energy and creativity into that job. I am amazed at the activities they come up with to keep the kids from climbing the curtains. However, staying at home with hypothetical kids is just something neither Janet nor I never really considered for the long-term. Our mom, aunts, grandmother, and most of our friends’ mothers worked outside the home, and I guess we just figured that’s what we would do, too. I can’t figure out how anyone who knows Janet got the idea that she planned to stay home. I suppose asking if the mommy-to-be plans to stay home or keep working is just a way of making conversation. It wouldn’t seem so bad if people thought to ask dads the same question.

At least no one asked my brother-in-law if he planned to stay home. He just laughed when my sister asked him if he’d received such questions. He did not go through near the amount of schooling and training hours as Janet, yet no one figured he out to stay home with the baby. Why does the burden of parenting still fall mostly to women in 2015?

I think most people just regard this as the natural order of things. Most mothers carry and give birth to their babies ( although not all do, and I wonder if they feel any less pressure to stay home), so they are seen as the de facto caretakers. Breastfed babies are especially attached to their mothers for the first few weeks of life. However, aside from breastfeeding (which many mothers choose not to do), there is nothing particularly gender-specific about childcare. I would describe childcare as daunting, exhausting, repetitive, and sometimes amusing, but not requiring any particular set of genitalia. In fact my dad took care of me while my mom went to work during the day from the time I was around three months old. And I turned out, well… I turned out.

When I’ve asked people why so much childcare falls to the moms, I’ve been told that sometimes kids just want Mom, and no one else will do. I can understand that. I remember being a child and asking for Mommy when I was sick or hurt or scared. But the reality of any kid’s life is that there are times when Mommy can’t be there. Often when I wanted Mommy I was with my dad. Sometimes I was with my grandmother. Often when I wanted a cheeseburger from Wendy’s I got a turkey sandwich instead. Oh, well, right? Since my sister is working it is my mother who watches my nephew during the day. I get the feeling that people find that a lot less odd than they would my brother-in-law being a stay-at-home dad. Why does it seem more natural for a baby to be with another female relative than a parent?

So we know that mothers are natural caregivers (certainly none of us has ever met a woman who is about as nurturing as a hunk of steel wool), and that kids just need mommy. With all the pressure that women face to stay home I was surprised to learn that almost 70 percent of all mothers work outside the home. For mothers of children ages six through seventeen that number is closer to 75% (notice a lack of statistics on working fathers on that page, because who cares?). Surely, I thought, there cannot be so many negligent, power-hungry females out there enjoying a day at the office while their poor kids are stuck eating cookies and watching Elmo with Grandma. But, alas, my anecdotal evidence matches up with the raw numbers.

What is so wrong with going to work when you’re a mom, anyway? I’ve seen so many women tear themselves up over doing what is expected of men. I don’t feel there is any reason for moms who want or need to work outside the home to feel guilty. They, like stay-at-home-parents, are working hard to make good lives for their children. They’re setting examples for their children the same way stay-at-home parents do. Unfortunately neither going to work nor staying at home is always a choice, but even when there are choices no one should be made to feel ashamed for them. What parents should feel guilty about is allowing their young children to watch racist pro-wrestling segments with no supervision.


Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and world news headlines. Check out my Facebook page for daily news commentary. Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcements on our racial justice initiatives and So-Metro Radio for commentary on urban issues Check out our No Sellout blog ( for the complete archive of CP columns and Northend Agent’s for selected columns ( . Contact us at 860-206-8879 or

David Samuels


Community Party

Real Estate Investing Seminar

July 22, 2015

Click on the link for details!

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio

July 19, 2015

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio will premiere Tuesday, July 28. Time – 9:00 PM Eastern Time 8:00 PM Central 6:00 PM Pacific. Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. We’ll have an update on the Sandra Bland case with activist Kelly Wick. There also will be a discussion on CP’s Meagan Hockaday Act, legislation aimed at addressing police shootings of mentally ill people, individuals in crisis and police use of force when children are present. This bill will be introduced in California and Connecticut. Meagan Matters! Our guest will be Janet Frazao-Conaci, a substance abuse counselor in Connecticut.

Tune in! We’ll be on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. Check out The podcast of the So-Metro Radio interview with Misha Charlton, Meagan’s sister.

Honor Hartford Gun Violence Victims with a New Deal/Safe Work Environment Act Report

July 15, 2015

This column appears in the July 16 – 23 edition of the Hartford News…

Samuel Bryant/Hartford Police Brutality Case Update

Thanks to So-Metro Radio for having Misha Charlton, Mary Sanders and I on Monday and Tuesday as guests to discuss the Meagan Hockaday Act, the Samuel Bryant case and the Trayvon Martin Act. You can listen to the podcast of a previous interview with Misha here. We’re looking forward to a productive partnership with this Black-owned internet radio station.

Ex-Baltimore Cop Michael Wood Exposes Police Culture Of Corruption & Abuse (Interview with Cenk Uygur): Since the police murders of Mike Brown, Eric Garner and Freddie Gray sparked national protests, we’ve been hearing a lot of propaganda from the Hartford Police Department about “building trust” in Black neighborhoods, while the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association has been simultaneously working on the state level to kill racial profiling and police use of force/body cameras legislation. The Samuel Bryant case is a horrifying example of state sanctioned violence. Wood exposes the core institutional racism behind policing in low income communities of color. He talks about being assigned to patrol a white, wealthy section of Baltimore but driving into a poor, Black neighborhood nearby to boost his arrest statistics and keep his bosses happy. Wood said he did not want to risk getting into trouble by arresting some white judge’s son in the wealthy area. Other topics include Wood’s take on the Tamir Rice case, the criminalization of Black males, racial profiling, cops lying on suspects, the so-called War on Drugs, including treating substance abuse as a public health issue instead of a criminal matter, and money in politics. Follow Michael Wood on Twitter: @MichaelAWoodJr Friday marks the one-year anniversary of the lynching of Eric Garner by NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo. The city reached a settlement Monday with his family for $5.9 million.

A New Deal for Hartford

Monday there was a meeting in downtown Hartford to discuss putting up a memorial for victims of urban gun violence. I agree with what pastor Marcus Mosiah Jarvis said in a Courant op-ed after he confronted Al Sharpton at a peace rally last month. “We don’t need a memorial with the deceased victims’ names etched in stone — another grave marker. The pain from the families who lost loved ones due to gun violence cannot be replaced by a statue of wasted dollars.”

The best way to honor the victims of Hartford gun violence is to challenge Mayor Pedro Segarra, City Council President Shawn Wooden and Democratic Party council board members to abandon their corporatist philosophy and implement economic policies to directly address the root causes of gun violence in this city: poverty and lack of economic opportunity. Black/Latino unemployment rates are at Depression era levels. The unemployment rate for Black males age 18-25 in some areas of Hartford is as high as 50%. There are neighborhoods in this city with no economy.

The New Deal Works Progress Administration program was formed in 1935 to address unemployment during the Depression. From Wikipedia: “The Works Progress Administration (renamed in 1939 as the Work Projects Administration; WPA) was the largest and most ambitious American New Deal agency, employing millions of unemployed people (mostly unskilled men) to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads. At its peak in 1938, it provided paid jobs for three million unemployed men and women, as well as youth in a separate division, the National Youth Administration. Headed by Harry Hopkins, the WPA provided jobs and income to the unemployed during the Great Depression in the United States. Between 1935 and 1943, the WPA provided almost eight million jobs. Full employment, which was reached in 1942 and emerged as a long-term national goal around 1944, was not the WPA’s goal. It tried to provide one paid job for all families in which the breadwinner suffered long-term unemployment.

The WPA was a national program that operated its own projects in cooperation with state and local governments, which provided 10–30% of the costs. Usually the local sponsor provided land and often trucks and supplies, with the WPA responsible for wages (and for the salaries of supervisors, who were not on relief). WPA sometimes took over state and local relief programs that had originated in the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) or Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) programs.” 2012 Justice Party and Green Party presidential candidates Rocky Anderson and Jill Stein (Stein recently announced she will run again in 2016) respectively included a New Deal/WPA type of program in their campaign platforms. Anderson and Stein talked about the need for a New Deal during the Democracy Now! Expand the Debate special. Third party candidates were excluded from the debates between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Check out the summary of the Green Party’s Green New Deal concept. As this column went to press, the city’s 17th homicide was reported. Marcus McDade, a 38-year-old father of six children, was shot to death on Pliny Street.

Workplace Bullying – HR is Not Your Friend

This week we’ll share a column from the Undercover Lawyer on how employers’ Human Resources departments are complicit in workplace bullying and mobbing by supervisors and managers. Visit the Undercover Lawyer website. Coming in 2016: Community Party Safe Work Environment Act.


Hostile Work Environment — Why Human Resources Doesn’t Care About You

Updated on July 22, 2009

The H.R. Department Is NOT Where to Turn for Help With a Hostile Work Environment

In the course of the last year I have counseled hundreds of employees over the phone and via email who are suffering at their jobs, dreading the act of going into work each day, and full of panic that they may soon be fired. Usually a supervisor, and often a new supervisor, has turned the employee’s otherwise likeable job into a series of run-in’s, each one more humiliating and degrading than the last. When the employee reaches their absolute wit’s end, they muster up their courage, write out their thoughts on a yellow pad, and sneak off to the Human Resources Department “to file a formal complaint.” When the distressed employee arrives he or she doesn’t know their legal rights or have a grasp of what actions a supervisor can legally take at work. So the employee sits down in an office with a smiling H.R. Rep on the other side of the desk. It’s so nice to have someone to talk to, someone to finally listen, that the employee spills out all their throughts and frustrations that have been building up inside. The H.R. Rep smiles and nods and writes down some notes. The employee is comforted by the smiling and nodding, and so the employee keeps talking, telling H.R. every unfair or hurtful thing the boss has said or done.

The H.R. Rep Will Smile and Nod While You Talk About Your Boss

When The Meeting With H.R. is Over

After meeting with H.R. most employees feel better about their situation. They feel “heard”; they feel like the company is taking their concerns seriously. The employee is confident that it will not be long until their bullying boss gets what is coming to them.

H.R. typically says “We will thoroughly look into the important issues you’ve raised,” and “We’ll get back to you next week.” The week goes slowly, but it does seem like the boss is treating the employee better that week. The employee wonders if H.R. already interviewed the boss, who now understands that his or her bullying ways had better change, or they could lose their job.

Human Resources Will Conduct an Investigation

The Post-Investigation Meeting With H.R.

The employee who “filed a formal complaint” with Human Resources feels better for the week in between meetings with H.R. The employee then hears from the H.R. Rep, who says that the investigation is complete. The H.R. Rep would like the employee to “come meet with me to go over it.” The employee imagines reading through the pages of an investigation report that confirms the boss is a serial harasser and employee abuser. The employee imagines the boss being demoted or suspended, and possibly even fired.

It’s with these thoughts in mind that the employee goes to the Human Resources Department for the follow up meeting. The H.R. Rep greets the employee at the entrance to the department — the Rep is still smiling and seems genuinely happy to see the employee. The employee smiles back.

The H.R. Rep guides the employee past the office where they talked before, and gestures instead to a confernence room. The employee steps inside, and as the H.R. Rep shuts the door behind them the employee receives the shock of her life.

Have You Ever Put Your Trust in Human Resources?

The Tables are Turned

The employee walks into the conference room and looks at who is sitting at the table. Seated across it is the scowling VP of H.R. and the employee’s own boss. The employee’s boss is grinning.

What happens next is the workplace version of a bloodbath. The H.R. Rep sits down next to the employee (and the H.R. Rep is still smiling) and says “We thoroughly investigated your complaint and we were unable to substantiate any of the issues you mentioned. Because there is no illegal discrimination here, your complaint is now closed.”

“However,” says the VP of HR with a furrowed brow, “your own job performance, or lack there of, is very concerning.” As the VP of H.R. says this he opens a thick file, and passes around copies of a five page document titled “Employee Mid-Year Performance Review.” The bully supervisor continues to sit there in silence, nodding and smirking.

The employee is so shocked and distraught that he or she has difficulty remembering the details of what was said for the rest of the meeting. An hour later the employee leaves the conference room in stunned silence. The employee leaves carrying a two page document titled “Final Employee Written Warning>” The employee does not go back to working for the rest of the day, but instead drives home and goes to bed. The next day the employee calls in sick, and is thinking that resigning may be the only option.

“What happened?” The employee keeps asking, over and over. “How did that happen?”

Who Does H.R. Work For?

If you put your trust in H.R. to help you fight back against your bully boss, this is what will happen to you, too. Not to say that you should never go to H.R., but don’t count on them to fix anything for you. In fact, you should expect them to attack and undermine your complaint.

Why? Because this is what H.R. is paid to do. Human Resources’ purpose is to save the company money by defending the company against claims by employees. H.R. is paid to be on the other side. HR is the other side.


Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and world news headlines. Check out my Facebook page for daily news commentary. Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcements on our racial justice initiatives and So-Metro Radio for commentary on urban issues Check out our No Sellout blog ( for the complete archive of CP columns and Northend Agent’s for selected columns ( . Contact us at 860-206-8879 or

David Samuels


Community Party

Samuel Bryant Police Brutality Case/ So-Metro Radio Interview July 13 & 14

July 8, 2015

This column appears in the July 9 – 16 edition of the Hartford News…

Misha Charlton, Mary Sanders and I will be guests on the So-Metro Radio Community Connection show featuring Jacey Cofer Monday, July 13. Time: 10:00 PM. We’ll be talking about the Meagan Hockaday Act, legislation named in honor of Misha’s sister, who was murdered by Oxnard, California police officer Roger Garcia in March. Meagan Matters! We’ll be talking about the Samuel Bryant/Hartford Police brutality case and the Community Party’s Trayvon Martin Act on Tuesday, July 14th. Time: 10:00 PM.

Samuel Bryant, the Brown Paper Bag & Poverty in Hartford

The HPD has been in spin mode, trotting out their NAACP puppets for the media in an attempt to get ahead of the developing firestorm over the video of Bryant being beaten with a baton by HPD officer Robert Fogg, as he was held up by Detective Brian Salkeld. The HPD has already issued a statement saying that the use of force was appropriate. Folks should be asking if the police have talked to Lashon Barrett, the man who videotaped the incident; he said on the video that Fogg pistol whipped Bryant with a Taser gun before he started recording. If HPD officers were already wearing body cameras, we would know exactly what happened. This is the video of the assault on Bryant.

Last week I received a copy of the Bryant arrest report from the HPD. Fogg should consider a career as an author, because his report is pure fiction. Fogg said that he pleaded with community residents in the area to help him as he and Salkeld attempted to subdue Bryant, but the “crowd” responded with threats and he feared that they would attack. The video shows Salkeld holding Bryant in a bear hug as Fogg tells Bryant to “Get on the f—— ground”. The “crowd” Fogg described consisted of four people who stood on the sidewalk silently watching Fogg beat the crap out of Bryant, while Salkeld held Bryant up. The only yelling that can be heard is a woman who says that she is taping the incident and is going to report the officers. She never threatened them. Fogg says in the report that he struck Bryant in the head with his Taser gun (claiming self-defense). Barrett said that Fogg struck Bryant with the Taser before he started recording, but he is adamant that it was an act of brutality.

After the corporate media made a big show of calling Bryant a felon during their coverage of the HPD brutality case, it should be noted that Fogg and Salkeld jacked up Bryant because they saw him on the corner drinking out of a bottle in a brown paper bag. The officers from the department that has been yapping about “community policing” clearly went against that philosophy. For years, the understanding between residents in low income communities of color and the police has been that as long as you keep your alcoholic beverage in a brown paper bag and don’t bother other residents, the cops won’t bust you for public drinking. Major Bunny Colvin talked about the history of the brown paper bag civic compromise in an episode of the classic HBO series The Wire.

David Simon, executive producer of The Wire, was a police reporter for the Baltimore Sun. Ed Burns, one of the show’s producers, is a former Baltimore police detective. The Wire isn’t a “cop show”, it’s insightful commentary on how institutions such as city and state government/law enforcement work, or more specifically how they don’t work (see Resources). Fogg and Salkeld going after Bryant is an example of police oppression of residents in urban neighborhoods. Foley actually made the inference to me that the police go after every person they see in Hartford drinking out of a bottle in a brown paper bag. Really? HPD cops must not have time to do anything else, if that’s the case. Foley, does the HPD carry out raids to see if people rip that tag off of their mattresses, too? You know, the tag that says don’t remove under penalty of law? Foley will certainly cluck about drugs and money being found on Bryant. My response is that as I’ve been saying repeatedly in this space and Foley himself has admitted, poverty is the root cause of the problems in this city. Lack of economic opportunity fuels the dope game in Hartford.

The unemployment rate for Blacks/Latinos is at Depression era levels; the jobless rate for Black males age 18-25 in some areas of this city is as high as 50%. The absence of a mainstream economy in the poorest sections of Hartford forces individuals to turn to the underground economy to get paid, where violence is an occupational hazard. A New Deal/Works Progress Administration type of program would be an effective tool against gun violence and drug dealing in low income communities of color. The aforementioned links in our Resources section at the end of this column feature Simon and journalist Bill Moyers talking about how drug trafficking has served as a form of welfare and inverted capitalism in urban areas like North Hartford with no economy. The police murders of Mike Brown and Freddie Gray have forced conversations about racial economic disparities in Ferguson and Baltimore. The same thing must happen here.

Police “Build Trust” While Killing Legislation, Segarra’s Secret Gun Violence Meetings, Reentry Crisis, Human Services Budget Cuts

I sent this email to Foley in response to an email he sent to me defending Fogg and Salkeld’s brutal assault of Bryant, a beating which was recorded on a video that has gone viral.

“Where do I begin after such a condescending response? I guess I’ll start with the last sentence. The same guy who talks about ‘building trust’ with the community tells a community resident who wants to meet, ‘While I have no idea who you are, I’ll meet with you.’ You blew off a respectful, private email request to meet with Mary and myself, but you were quick to respond when I confronted you on social media about a police brutality issue that you, your bosses at the Hartford Police Department and Mayor Pedro Segarra are desperately trying to keep from turning into another Ferguson/Baltimore. I don’t need to list my resume as an activist for you or anyone. However you have made it quite clear that I’ll never be invited to one of Segarra’s secret damage control meetings to discuss how to make him look good, while bullets are flying all over Hartford. Only his puppet ‘community leaders’ get a VIP pass to those meetings.

Segarra obviously fears being confronted by people he can’t control in a public forum while he’s running for re-election, so community residents will continue to be excluded from a conversation about the violence gripping this city. I actually thought that you might be different after your comments to the media about the link between poverty and Hartford gun violence, but your remarks on the Rawson shooting, coupled with your attempt to defend Fogg and Salkeld when a viral video exposed Fogg’s Samuel Bryant arrest report as fiction speaks volumes. No, it’s better that a nobody like me not waste your time meeting with you. Foley, your last email is Exhibit A – well actually, Exhibit B, this report is Exhibit A ( for why Black people in this country don’t trust or respect the police. But you already know that. Justice for Mike Brown. Justice for Freddie Gray. Justice for Walter Scott. Justice for Meagan Hockaday. Jail killer cops.”

I was going to share Foley’s email but I didn’t want to promote his propaganda in my column. He was saying what in my opinion was racist crap about how Bryant shouldn’t be allowed to walk around the community. I guess Bryant should just jump in front of a bus and kill himself. Formerly incarcerated people need support, gainful employment and housing. Bryant told the police that he’s an alcoholic. Foley’s attitude is an example of how the disease of addiction is criminalized. How about getting Bryant into a substance abuse treatment program instead of beating him up? The recently passed state budget includes deep cuts to mental health and substance abuse treatment. Those cuts reverberate in the streets of Hartford and other urban areas. Mary is executive director of the Spanish Speaking Center of New Britain, CT. For 50 years SSC has been providing services to the poor, until June 28 when the nonprofit closed its doors due to budget cuts. Mary is fighting for money to reopen, but SSC may be shut down for good.

Instead of writing off Bryant like Foley wants to do, the system should be working to truly rehabilitate him and turn Bryant into a productive citizen. Like a typical right-wing bigot, Foley talked as if people who go to jail stay there forever, never to bother us again. The reality is that almost all incarcerated people are coming home. A USA Today article reported on reentry issues faced by formerly incarcerated individuals. “Throughout the USA, inmates released from prison have traditionally been given little more than a few dollars and a ride to the bus station. Often, they don’t even have valid state identification cards, further hindering them when they try to find work. At least 95% of all state prison inmates will eventually be freed, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, prompting communities to reconsider how they deal with hundreds of thousands of inmates released every year from correctional facilities.” I would prefer that formerly incarcerated individuals return with the support, opportunities and life skills they will need to get on their feet and stay there. That’s a win-win for them and the communities they’re coming back to. Real rehabilitation enhances public safety. Foley’s callous remarks about Bryant underscore Black Panther Party co-founder Huey P. Newton’s assessment of the police.

During our email exchange I remembered that I wasn’t talking to Foley, I was talking to the Hartford Police Department. Foley is a company man who isn’t going to say or do anything to jeopardize his career; he wants to be a chief someday. Foley talks out of both sides of his mouth. He goes on and on about serving community residents, yet he is complicit in Segarra’s effort to freeze these residents out of a conversation about gun violence in their neighborhoods. Foley, the HPD and the other police departments in urban areas in this state are trying to scam Blacks and Latinos. While they talked about “building trust”, “communication” and “community policing”, the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association was at the State Capitol testifying against racial profiling and police use of force/body cameras legislation. The combative attitude of the police drew stern rebukes from urban lawmakers such as Sen. Gary Winfield and Rep. Angel Arce at the March Judiciary Committee public hearing on these bills.

Rep. Bruce Morris demanded that the police support Rep. Matt Ritter’s racial profiling bill, which includes CP’s Trayvon Martin Act traffic stop receipt amendment. During the hearing Morris revealed that he had been racially profiled days before after leaving the Capitol late at night. I suggest that city residents ask Foley and “community leader” Hyacinth Yennie why the police opposed these bills. Yennie has been vocal in her opposition to body cameras for HPD cops. She used cost as her primary argument, but also repeated the police mantra about “building trust”, which she said should be the focus instead of cameras. Studies found that body cameras dramatically reduce use of force by police officers and citizen complaints against officers.

The San Diego Police Department describes the cameras as a “win-win” for them and community residents. Yet the police use of force/body cameras bill would not have been passed by the State Senate here if the legislation made cameras mandatory for municipal officers. Only state troopers will now be required to wear the cameras, even though the vast majority of brutality cases and extrajudicial killings of Blacks and Latinos involve municipal officers. Body cameras have been proven to be a deterrent of frivolous complaints against cops. The state is providing grant money for municipal departments to purchase the cameras, if they choose to equip their officers with the devices, so cost is no longer an excuse that the police or Yennie can use. The only plausible explanation for the CT Police Chiefs’ opposition to the bill is that they’re afraid of the cameras capturing misconduct by municipal officers like the beat down of Bryant. The police are trying to lull communities of color to sleep, so they can go back to business as usual. Stop falling for this bs.

My message to Rep. Brandon McGee and any groups that are ready to pounce on the Bryant case: you should have made your voices heard before. I didn’t hear McGee call for the police use of force/body cameras bill that was just passed by the legislature to include language making body cams mandatory for municipal officers. I didn’t see any Moral Mondays/Black Lives Matter folks at the Judiciary Committee public hearing on the bill. That was the time to speak up, not now because it’s politically expedient or a publicity opportunity.


Bill Moyers interviews The Wire executive producer David Simon. Topics include the so-called War on Drugs:

Part 2 of the Moyers interview with Simon:

Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and world news headlines. Check out my Facebook page for daily news commentary. Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcements on our racial justice initiatives. Check out our No Sellout blog ( for the complete archive of CP columns and Northend Agent’s for selected columns ( Contact us at 860-206-8879 or

David Samuels


Community Party

So-Metro Radio

July 3, 2015

Misha Charlton, Mary L. Sanders and David Samuels will be guests on the So-Metro Radio Community Connection show featuring Jacey Cofer Monday, July 13. Time: 10:00 PM Eastern 9:00 PM Central 7:00 PM Pacific. We’ll be talking about the Meagan Hockaday Act, legislation named in honor of Misha’s sister, who was murdered by Oxnard, California police officer Roger Garcia in March. Meagan Matters! We’ll be talking about the Samuel Bryant/Hartford Police brutality case and the Trayvon Martin Act on Tuesday, July 14th. Time: 10:00 PM Eastern 9:00 PM Central 7:00 PM Pacific.

Emanuel AME Terror Attack/If Black Lives Matter, Support Legislation/ Segarra + Malloy = BS

July 1, 2015

This column appear in the July 2 – 9 edition of the Hartford News…

Trayvon Martin Act Update

The NBC Connecticut report on the video of 34-year-old Samuel Bryant being struck repeatedly with a baton by Hartford Police officer Robert Fogg shows the importance of body cameras. The report is entitled “Video Shows Officer Striking Felon With Baton, Investigation Launched”. The word felon is used to create bias against Bryant. The NBC CT report gives the police version of events that led up the beating. If the police officers involved in this incident were wearing cameras, we could see for ourselves exactly what happened. The man who taped the beating can be heard in the video saying that Fogg pistol-whipped Bryant in the head with a Taser gun before he started to record the incident. Fogg yells at Bryant to get down on the ground, but he is being held up by Detective Brian Salkeld and clearly can’t move. Salkeld then takes Bryant down to the ground. Unfortunately the police use of force/body cameras bill that was passed by the Connecticut General Assembly on Tuesday does not require municipal officers to wear body cameras. Only state troopers will be required to wear the cameras, while municipal departments will have the option of using state grant money to purchase cameras for their officers. The Community Party’s Trayvon Martin Act includes a provision requiring all police officers in Connecticut to wear body cameras. Stay tuned for updates on this developing story.

Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty used the Emanuel AME terror attack and the shooting of a pastor in North Hartford to push the Democrats’ gun control agenda, during her June 21 appearance on the Fox CT The Real Story political program. I support gun control, but the Emanuel AME mass shooting was caused by racism. Esty did not say the word racism once when she talked about the attack on Emanuel AME. Co-host Al Terzi mumbled something about terrorist Dylann Roof being a white supremacist, but otherwise avoided talking about the fact that the mass shooting was racially motivated. Gun control will not stop spree killers. The most effective form of gun control in Hartford would be targeted job creation through a New Deal/Works Progress Administration type of program. Gainful employment opportunities would provide an option to Blacks/Latinos who are currently forced to turn to the underground economy to get paid, where violence is an occupational hazard. Black/Latino unemployment is at Depression era levels. The jobless rate for Black males age 18-25 is as high as 50% in some areas of Hartford. Esty, don’t politicize murder. The Talking Stuff blog posted a Mother Emanuel Nine tribute by the Charleston Post and Courier. Their Lives Matter!

My friend Janet Frazao-Conaci summed up the Confederate flag debate perfectly on Facebook. “Sorry, but I find it super odd that people in CT are so into the Confederate flag. And it no more stands for being a patriot than a pickle does. I just don’t get it. That flag represents hate and division, and if you don’t agree with me I really don’t care.” John Tecklenburg, former Director of Economic Development for the City of Charleston under Mayor Joe Riley and a current mayoral candidate, told CNN that removing the Confederate flag from state capitol grounds is only a symbolic gesture, and that racial economic disparities must be addressed. Like the rest of the nation, South Carolina has huge gaps in poverty, unemployment, wages and wealth between whites and Blacks. Black Agenda Report commentator Glen Ford talked about how the Black Misleadership Class has reaped the benefits of the Emanuel AME terror attack and the subsequent uproar over the Confederate flag, while avoiding issues such as police containment of low income communities of color. President Obama put on a great act at Sen. Clementa Pinckney’s funeral, but the fact is that he has not talked about poverty, Black unemployment, racial wage/wealth disparity or Black mass incarceration during his annual State of the Union address since he has been in office, nor has he introduced legislation to address these issues.

Hartford Black Lives Matter passed up a golden opportunity to have an impact on racial profiling/police brutality laws during the 2015 legislative session. The “Hartford 17” got a lot of attention recently, but things won’t change until the laws change; there’s no way around that. Folks have to get involved on the policy side and stay involved. If Hartford Black Lives Matter had supported Rep. Matt Ritter’s racial profiling bill and a stronger version of the police use of force/body cameras bill when there was a Judiciary Committee public hearing in March, that would have been huge. Blocking traffic in downtown Hartford AFTER the legislative session ended obviously isn’t going to impact policy on the state level, which is necessary to bring change to low income communities of color throughout Connecticut.

The policy response to racial profiling/police brutality protests from President Obama and most of the lawmakers in this country has been pitifully weak. It will take the drafting of legislation by sincere grassroots activists and community residents to force comprehensive changes. A Black Lives Matter protestor told the media that the purpose of the downtown Hartford action was to force policy makers in Connecticut to come to the table and talk about solutions. Well, the lawmakers who craft policy regarding the police were sitting in full view of the public on live TV for 12 hours on March 20, listening to testimony on racial profiling/police brutality legislation that was active at the State Capitol. That was the perfect opportunity to put the heat on and have that conversation about solutions. Everything happens or doesn’t happen in this country because of policy.

25-year-old Angel Feliciano became Hartford’s’ 13th homicide victim June 16. Another man was shot in the leg on Martin Street on June 18. The city’s 14th murder occurred last Saturday. James Headen, 41, was fatally shot in the head when a gun battle broke out during a youth basketball tournament at a city park next to Sarah J. Rawson Elementary School at 260 Holcomb Street in the Blue Hills neighborhood. Headen was an innocent bystander, as were two other people who were injured. Roosevelt “Roe” Holmes, 23, of Windsor, was arrested and arraigned on multiple charges on Monday; he was also wounded. Still not a word from Mayor Pedro Segarra or City Council President Shawn Wooden about addressing the socioeconomic causes of gun violence in the city. Segarra has again been proven to be a liar. The Courant reported that Segarra held a second closed door meeting on Hartford gun violence June 5 with Wooden, councilman Kenneth Kennedy and “community leaders” Hyacinth Yennie, Rev. Henry Brown and Pastor Sam Salor.

Reporters Jenna Carlesso and Vanessa De La Torre obtained emails which showed that Segarra lied about having the first private meeting on May 29 because those who attended preferred this. The emails show that Segarra wanted the public excluded from the meet. This isn’t hard to understand. Segarra is running for re-election, and obviously fears that he will suffer politically if he is confronted by people he can’t control in a public forum. Segarra’s tone deaf response to the Rawson shooting is not surprising. He was quick to talk about how the middle class neighborhood is “stable” and “quiet”, which doesn’t mean squat. The gun violence which has gripped the city can spill over anywhere; it will not remain confined to low income neighborhoods. Deputy Chief Brian Foley’s tone changed as he parroted Segarra’s remarks, saying the shootings were “unfair” to the Blue Hills neighborhood. Lieutenant Foley, Hartford gun violence is unfair to ALL communities in this city, not just the ones where people make more money.

Following the 2012 Sandy Hook spree killings, Gov. Dannel Malloy talked about the importance of enhancing mental health services. Malloy broke down in tears on two occasions while speaking publicly about the mass shooting in Newtown. Malloy has cut funding for mental health treatment every year since then. Malloy’s 2015 budget proposal defunded some human services providers completely. Last week Malloy told reporters that the Democrats had reached a consensus to implement Malloy’s proposal to roll back corporate tax hikes in the recently passed budget, and offset the loss in revenue with additional human services cuts. Envelope please… And now the 2015 Oscar award for Best Acting Performance by a Governor Following a State Tragedy goes to… Dannel Malloy! Segarra and Malloy lie with impunity because they know that liberals will not hold them accountable.

Tuesday the Connecticut General Assembly passed an amended state budget, the police use of force/body cameras bill and Malloy’s so-called Second Chance legislation. The Democrats caved to the corporations and rolled back the state tax increases on computer and data processing: the rate will remain at 1%. The unitary reporting provision which will stop companies from dodging taxes by hiding out of state income has been delayed until January. We’ll have to pay more taxes, though. As I mentioned earlier, municipal police departments will not be required to equip their officers with body cameras, even though the vast majority of brutality cases and extrajudicial killings of Blacks/Latinos involve municipal officers. The racist drug free school zone mandatory minimum sentence for sale of narcotics within 1500 feet of a school, even when the school is closed, remains in effect. Addicts can be hit with a felony for drug possession on a third charge, so the disease of addiction will continue to be criminalized. The Spanish Speaking Center of New Britain CT, which has been providing services to the poor for 50 years, closed its doors Monday and may not reopen; other human services providers in the state face a similar fate due to funding cuts. The status of Rep. Matt Ritter’s racial profiling bill was still unclear as this column went to press, due to contradictory information about funding. Stay tuned for an update.

Spanish Speaking Center of New Britain, CT Closes Due to Budget Cuts

Statement by Mary Sanders, SSC executive director.

“Dear Friends – starting today we are laid off until further notice … speak with your mayor and your state representatives so that they will give us the money to reopen. If not – the Center doors will remain closed. We will be here on Friday July 3rd holding a big TAG SALE from 12 to 4 pm .. Thanks for your support!

Bueno amados/as – empezando hoy estamos de layoff hasta nuevo aviso … hablen con su alcaldesa y los representantes estatales para que nos devuelvan nuestro presupuesto. Si no – el Centro no podrá abrir las puertas de nuevo. Estaremos aquí el viernes 3 de julio con un TAG SALE grande … de 12 a 4 pm Gracias por tu apoyo!”

New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart’s office:

You can find your legislators and their contact info on the Connecticut General Assembly website:

Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and world news headlines. Check out my Facebook page for daily news commentary. Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcements on our racial justice initiatives. Check out our No Sellout blog ( for the complete archive of CP columns and Northend Agent’s for selected columns ( . Contact us at 860-206-8879 or

David Samuels


Community Party