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

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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rDESnEnrm8

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. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Works_Progress_Administration 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. https://talkinstuff.wordpress.com/2015/06/21/remembering-the-emanuel-ame-church-victims/ 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. http://blackagendareport.com/perils_of_politics_of_symbolism 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. http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/At-Least-Two-People-Shot-at-Hartford-Elementary-School-310344921.html 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:

http://www.newbritainct.gov/index.php/government/mayors-office.html

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

http://www.cga.ct.gov/

Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and world news headlines. https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1 Check out my Facebook page for daily news commentary. https://www.facebook.com/david.samuels.948 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

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