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

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. http://www.ct.gov/foi/cwp/view.asp?a=4161&Q=488540&foiNav=|

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. http://www.rt.com/usa/236689-ferguson-police-traffic-stops/ Gov. Jay Nixon recently signed a bill which curbs profits on traffic tickets and municipal court fines. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/10/us/missouri-governor-signs-curbs-on-profits-from-traffic-tickets.html 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. http://www.bing.com/search?q=philadelphia+fire+department+security+bars+quick+release+device&form=IE10TR&src=IE10TR&pc=CPNTDFJS

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! https://www.facebook.com/meaganmatters

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. http://www.sometroradio.com/ Check out The podcast of the So-Metro Radio interview with Misha Charlton, Meagan’s sister. https://www.spreaker.com/user/thebwegroup/cc-prime-time-meagan-hockaday-show?fb_action_ids=1008953495801972&fb_action_types=spreaker_radio%3Aupload&fb_ref=image_bigbutton&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%5B1141869799161917%5D&action_type_map=%5B%22spreaker_radio%3Aupload%22%5D&action_ref_map=%5B%22image_bigbutton%22%5D

Sandra Bland Case

Visit my Facebook page for updates and commentary on the Sandra Bland death investigation. https://www.facebook.com/david.samuels.948

From heavy.com, “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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuPvDMN73hQ Well, it’s not quite the whole video: the tape has been doctored! http://bennorton.com/dashcam-video-of-violent-arrest-of-sandra-bland-was-edited/ 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 http://dianafrazao.com/

*****

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). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_DiBiase

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. http://www.dol.gov/wb/stats/recentfacts.htm 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. 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 and So-Metro Radio for commentary on urban issues http://www.sometroradio.com/ 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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