Sandra Bland Action Alert/ Samuel DuBose: Racial Profiling Leads to Murder/ Pedro Segarra vs. Luke Bronin = False Choice

This column appears in the August 6 – 13 edition of the Hartford News… 

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio 

Next show: Tuesday, August 18 at 9:00 PM. Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. Tune in!  http://www.sometroradio.com/

Trayvon Martin Act Update 

Sunday, August 9th marks the one-year anniversary of the fatal shooting of unarmed Black teen Mike Brown by Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson. The Mike Brown case sparked a nationwide movement against racial profiling and police violence.

“Personally I can not NOT watch them. It is recorded proof that there is an agenda here… These are not case by case scenarios it is the new culture of policing and its aim is on my people. The videos show the behavior of police officers.” ~ Misha Charlton on the graphic Samuel DuBose police murder video. Misha’s sister Meagan Hockaday was killed by Oxnard, California cop Roger Garcia in March. Coming in 2016: the Community Party’s Meagan Hockaday Act. This legislation will be introduced in California and Connecticut. More details in the coming months. We will also submit the Trayvon Martin Act, which addresses racial profiling and police containment of low income communities of color.  https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/trayvon-martin-act-report-3/

Visit our No Sellout blog for information on our Sandra Bland Action Alert. Tell the Texas Department of Public Safety to release the dashboard camera video from the second police cruiser that arrived at the scene of Sandra’s arrest (driven by Prairie View police officer Goodie). Waller County DA Elton Mathis claims that the second cruiser dash cam didn’t record the Sandra Bland arrest, because the memory was full. The truth is that police dash cams operate in loop mode: they will continue recording over the oldest file when the memory is full. The dash cam in the second cruiser may have recorded at least a portion of the struggle between Sandra and state trooper Brian 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. The video may provide proof that Encinia is guilty of false arrest.  https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/07/25/action-alert-tell-texas-dps-to-release-this-sandra-bland-dash-cam-video/  See our Resources section for a piece by a prison nurse who believes that Sandra was murdered.

Racial profiling can lead to murder. Cincinnati.com reported that former University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing, who was indicted for murder after shooting Samuel DuBose in the head during a traffic stop, disproportionately stopped Black drivers at a shocking rate. 81 PERCENT of the drivers stopped by Tensing in 2015 were Black. Overall, 62 PERCENT of the drivers stopped by UC officers this year were Black.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters, who is working the Samuel DuBose case, freely acknowledged that the traffic stop by Tensing was bogus. Samuel was stopped for not having a front license plate. Deters called this a “chicken crap stop”.

The Connecticut General Assembly and the so-called Racial Profiling Prohibition Project, a bastardized version of CP’s advisory board amendment that was passed by the CGA in 2012, continue to resist strengthening the state racial profiling law by blocking our Trayvon Act language. One of the most powerful members of CRP3 is a police officer, Redding Police Chief Douglas Fuchs. Fuchs testified against the Trayvon Act and other police brutality legislation during the 2015 legislative session, while the Hartford Police and other urban departments simultaneously talked to residents in low income communities of color about their desire to “build trust”. Mayor Pedro Segarra, his election opponent Luke Bronin, City Council President Shawn Wooden and the city council board better take note of this case, and use state grant money to equip HPD officers with body cameras when the money becomes available. Body cameras aren’t the only answer, though. The system which protects corrupt, brutal, killer cops must be dismantled and reformed.

Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! talked about Tensing claiming that he shot Samuel because he was being dragged as Samuel drove off. Goodman pointed out that video from Tensing’s body camera shows the car didn’t start moving until Tensing shot Samuel in the head. The car rolled down the street with Samuel dead behind the wheel and crashed. CNN showed a cellphone video of a previous traffic stop by Tensing. Former LAPD officer Cheryl Dorsey and attorney Joey Jackson broke it down. The driver and passenger were Black. Dorsey said Tensing exhibited the same behavior he did when he stopped Samuel: Tensing made an unlawful request for the occupants of the car to exit the vehicle, because he wanted to show them that he had the power (just like Encinia  did to Sandra Bland). Dorsey added that Tensing could have simply called in the information that he had on DuBose, who would have been arrested later for fleeing the traffic stop.

Jackson said that because the body camera video contradicts Tensing’s claims of shooting Samuel because he was being dragged by the car, the best hope for his lawyer is to reduce the charge to manslaughter. The murder charge carries a 15 year to life sentence, while manslaughter would be 3 to 11 years. Jackson brought up a U.S. Supreme Court ruling which basically cuts cops some slack because “they have to make split second decisions”. Jackson said if he was defending Tensing, he would tell the jury that Tensing made a poor decision in the heat of the moment, but did not intend to kill Samuel DuBose when he pulled him over. Former FBI assistant director Tom Fuentes, another CNN law enforcement analyst who usually defends the police, said that Tensing was wrong to reach into the car and should not have shot Samuel.

Hartford Mayoral Election

The showdown last week between Segarra and Bronin at the Democratic Party nominating convention was great theater, but an examination of the two on a policy level reveals candidates who have more in common than they do differences. Neither man has a policy plan to address the city’s poverty rate, which annually hovers between 30 and 40 percent, Black/Latino unemployment, which is at Depression era levels, or the racial wage/wealth gap. Blacks and Latinos earn about 60 cents for every dollar whites make, and possess about 10 cents of net wealth for every dollar whites have. The Democrats have controlled the Mayor’s Office for decades. Likewise the city council headed by outgoing president Wooden, who in addition to also avoiding racial disparity issues, seems to really get spooked by certain visitors to City Hall.

The common denominator in the constantly deteriorating economic conditions in Hartford is the Democratic political machine. The Republicans aren’t any better: both parties favor corporatist policies which result in prosperity for the ruling class and struggle for the working class and the poor in this country. Hartford GOP mayoral candidate Ted Cannon was interviewed last Sunday on Face the State. He pushed the tired more cops solution when asked how he would deal with gun violence in the city if he is elected. Cannon said, “We need more boots on the ground.” Whoa, that sounds like occupation (already the case in poor urban neighborhoods), not a solution. Hartford is not Afghanistan or Iraq, Cannon.

Segarra portrays Bronin as a blow-dried, silver spoon carpetbagger. Segarra is playing the role of the people’s champion who is “taking it to the streets”, but the incumbent has lived in this city for 41 years and has clearly demonstrated through his economic policies that he is also an elitist, who has no intention of ending the corruption, classism and institutional racism which are at the core of politics in Hartford. In 2013, an internal audit revealed that Segarra charged $700 to his city issued credit card for a New Year’s Eve dinner that included caviar, rack of lamb and oysters. Taxpayers in this poverty stricken city got stuck with the bill. Segarra didn’t pay back the money until after the contents of the audit became public.   http://wnpr.org/post/hartford-taxpayers-pay-caviar-rack-lamb-mayor-and-friends-0#stream/0

The primary on September 16 isn’t about the people of Hartford, it’s about the political careers of Segarra, Bronin, and the other candidates involved in the municipal election. This is underscored by the horrific economic conditions and the corresponding low voter turnout rate. Decades of economic hardship has shown residents of this city that no matter who occupies City Hall, their conditions will not change. Gun violence spawned by poverty and the lack of economic opportunity will continue to spike like clockwork every summer. Families will continue to grieve as privileged politicians talk about the more cops strategy, which has proven year after year to be the equivalent of placing a Band-Aid on a hemorrhaging wound.

The corporate media perpetuates the stereotype of Blacks in North Hartford as shiftless spooks who don’t vote. These people aren’t stupid; they know that choosing between Segarra and Bronin is the equivalent of choosing between creamy and chunky peanut butter. There is no difference in their urban policy plans; neither candidate has a real one. Unfortunately there isn’t a third party movement to challenge the Democrats’ stranglehold on the city. The Sandra Bland and Samuel DuBose cases are directly connected to the economic policies of the Hartford Democrats. Police brutality/murder and poverty are all forms of state sanctioned violence.

Resources:

A Prison Nurse’s Look at Sandra Bland’s Death :

https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/08/01/a-prison-nurses-look-at-sandra-blands-death/

Slow motion video of the police murder of Samuel DuBose:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhV2DDybdpI

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 the first and third Tuesday of each month at 9:00 PM 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 archive 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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