Archive for October, 2015

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio Election Day Special

October 31, 2015

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio. Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. Next show: Election Day special Tuesday, November 3 9:00 PM Eastern Time 8:00 PM Central 6:00 PM Pacific featuring Donna Jones, Mary L. Sanders and Arshad Saalik. Donna will talk about the election of a new Prime Minister in Canada, where liberal challenger Justin Trudeau defeated conservative incumbent Stephen Harper. We’ll also discuss United States citizen Kyle Lydell Canty applying for asylum in Canada, due to his fear of police violence in this country. Mary and Arshad will join us for a conversation about the bipartisan war on the poor and the 2016 presidential election. Replays Wednesday, same time. Tune in!


False Choice Event November 2 /Sandra Bland Policy Paper/ Safe Work Environment Act Report Part 1

October 30, 2015

This column appears in the October 29 – November 5 edition of the Hartford News…

Loose Cannon

Last Sunday Face the State host Dennis House interviewed Republican Hartford mayoral candidate Ted Cannon. Neither House nor Cannon mentioned Black/Latino unemployment or poverty once during their conversation. House said that “most people” want more police as a solution to gun violence in the city, a position that Cannon of course supports. Hartford’s poverty rate is annually among the highest in the nation (between 30%-40%). The unemployment rate among Black males age 18-25 in some parts of the city is as high as 50%. Black/Latino unemployment rates are at Depression era levels. Poverty and lack of economic opportunity are root causes of urban gun violence, not genetics as House and Cannon would lead you to believe. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have any interest in addressing poverty in Hartford.

A Public Bank for Connecticut

Don’t be fooled: Connecticut’s budget is and will continue to be a mess because of corporatist fiscal policies. Economist Farid Khavari talks about how a publicly owned SuperBank would benefit state finances. Check out the Community Party’s A Public Bank for Connecticut Facebook page. State Representative Matt Ritter collaborated with CP on a public infrastructure bank bill that he introduced in 2013.

Community Party Media

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio

Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. Next show: Election Day special Tuesday, November 3 at 9:00 PM Eastern Time 8:00 PM Central 6:00 PM Pacific. Mary Sanders, Arshad Saalik and I will analyze the Hartford mayoral election, city and state politics and the 2016 presidential race. Tune in! Replays the following Wednesday, same time.

False Choice: The Bipartisan Attack on the Working Class, the Poor and Communities of Color

Trebol Press has published my first nonfiction book on politics. The Democrats and Republicans spar publicly, but the reality is that these two parties have more in common than they have differences. This duopoly is run on corporatist economic policies that benefit the ruling class, at the expense of the workers and the poor. Global hegemony is at the core of the foreign policies of the Dems and the GOP. False Choice is a diary of national and global issues, set against the backdrop of the Connecticut gubernatorial election between Gov. Dannel Malloy and Republican challenger Tom Foley that was rated as the most negative in the country in 2014. The book also features commentary on politics at Hartford City Hall, including analysis of the highly controversial baseball stadium deal orchestrated by Mayor Pedro Segarra and City Council President Shawn Wooden. Visit the Trebol Press website for ordering info. Check out the False Choice Author Page on Facebook for commentary on the Democratic/Republican duopoly and coverage of third party politics.

False Choice Event

Debbie Duncan Cook and Mary will host an event to promote my book at Trinity College, 300 Summit Street in Hartford on Monday, November 2 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM. I will be available to listen and respond to your opinions on state, national and world politics, and how we can change the current system to benefit the working class, the poor and communities of color. FREE FOOD AND BEVERAGES! This event will be in Rittenberg Lounge in Mather Hall. See the campus map here.

No Sellout

Visit our blog for news and commentary you won’t get from the corporate media.

Sandra Bland Police Reform & Economic Justice Plan

This week we’ll share the final excerpt from our Sandra Bland policy paper. You can read the entire plan at No Sellout.

Poverty and the Need for TANF Reform in Connecticut (continued from last week)

by Mary Sanders

CT was already cited by the feds for their inability to get SNAP applications processed quickly enough and for disqualifying too many who actually qualified. People should not be going hungry, especially the kids. Their parents should have decent employment but if they do need assistance, their food stamps also shouldn’t run out mid-month. In another case, the young mother with a 4-year-old shouldn’t have been cut off of her cash benefits after 21 months when she hadn’t finished preparing for her HS exam. Now she sleeps on the couch at her mom’s house with her son on a cot near her. Someone should give her a housing voucher, daycare, a good educational/vocational program and help her, not punish her for missing an appointment and denying her extension. I opted our agency out of participating in the Jobs First model; I didn’t want to be part of that because I knew that most people needed more time. We run a food pantry and have a social worker but we also have English and GED classes and help people go to college. I don’t want to send people out to look for work if they have education and training needs. Some of the regulations have eased up a little, allowing people minimal training & education opportunities, but the majority of recipients of public assistance are still denied real vocational training or college, which would truly help towards self-sufficiency.

Tell our public officials that money needs to be allocated for the hiring of additional caseworkers to handle the backlog; we need timely processing of applications for assistance. We also need to be able to speak with caseworkers directly and not be relegated to a phone system that routes calls to full voice mailboxes. Tell them that more time needs to be allowed on public assistance while folks are going through adult education and vocational training or higher education so they can reach self- sufficiency (New York City recently implemented reforms, see our Resources section below). SNAP benefits also need to be increased, as food prices continue to climb and more housing vouchers need to be issued for all municipalities, not just urban areas. Those becoming homeless or jobless are flocking to the cities in search of services that are already stretched thin. Additionally, a committee of diverse stakeholders should meet regularly to assess the progress the department is making towards the goal of true client self-sufficiency. The department should not take credit for reducing welfare rolls when half of those exited simply were deemed non-compliant and were therefore removed. There are hungry children out there whom the department has forgotten about.

At the federal level, we already know that poor people are not a priority, and military and corrections systems are more fully funded than education, health and social services. Government officials believe it is more important to avoid taxing the rich and corporations, than to make sure kids have their needs met. It is time we rethink our priorities and come up with ways to protect our most vulnerable. There have been a few active grassroots community groups and non-profits trying to improve the lives of families living in poverty, a couple of them in Hartford have been around for years, organizing and meeting with legislators. The Community Party is also part of the discussion and we have some ideas on how to come up with the money needed. Plans to address hunger, affordable housing, healthcare, and education for low-income CT residents are the topics I want to see on the candidates’ platforms. Why aren’t they discussing these critical issues? Why are they afraid of the “P” word?

We will continue to enhance this plan in the coming months. Follow the Community Party on Twitter for updates. We will present this policy paper to legislators.

David Samuels

Contributors: Laurie Valdez, Janet Frazao-Conaci, Misha Charlton, Wendy Bueno, Arshad Saalik

This week we’ll share Part 1 of a post from the Undercover Lawyer blog site. Coming in 2016: the Community Party’s Safe Work Environment Act, an anti-workplace bullying bill. Visit the Undercover Lawyer:

1. Don’t Blame Yourself

When we are bullied, we tend to think that it means we are not a good worker, or perhaps even not a good person. In other words, we start to believe the words that the bully is saying, or implying about us. We start to blame ourselves.

But please, REMEMBER THIS! You don’t deserve to get bullied! No one does, but the bully wants you to think they you do. Don’t give into the lies. No one is perfect, and if you are trying your best to do a good job, that is all anyone can ask of you.

If they are unhappy with some specific aspect of your performance, they are obligated to tell you in a professional, direct way, not to intimidate you into not believing in yourself.

According to this BullyOnline, a site from the U.K. devoted to helping with bullying, a target is often chosen because of their strength, not their weakness.

This goes against the stereotype of a culture of a victim being a weakling man on the beach having sand kicked in his face by a muscular winner, but I think there’s a bit of truth in both paradigms.

First of all, the abuser is bothered by a strength he sees in his target that he does not have. Perhaps it’s that she is more intellectual, or more organized. Then, the bully will be bothered by that strength, out of jealousy, and find a way to “get in” and bother that person, a weakness, if you will.

So, there is a good chance you are actually being picked on because you are a good person, an honest person, a hard worker. Maybe people feel comfortable with you. It DOESN”T MEAN YOU ARE A BAD PERSON!

So, remember don’t blame yourself. This is hard to do, but you have to try. This is a test of your emotional, mental and spiritual strength. It is not easy to be belittled, ostracized and called out for no reason. It’s not easy but I do believe that we come out stronger from the experience.

2. Don’t Obsess About It

If you are experiencing work problems, it is sometimes very difficult to let things go. It is easy to go over and over in your mind, wondering why it is happening, and considering what you could have done differently.

This is a mistake. Obsessing about it takes away all your power, and makes you start to feel weak. This behaviour can also mean that you start to feel confused, wondering how much is your fault and how much is their fault.

An unwavering fixation on the problem can lead you into addictions, as you try to escape from what is happening. Recent parliamentary changes in Canadian laws acknowledged a connection between suicide and workplace bullying.

This moving article tells of the author’s own experience with her father committing suicide from experiencing workplace abuse. There is no doubt that it is very hard to not fixate on it. In order to get out of the cycle, it is usually necessary to take some kind of action, either by getting intervention, receiving counselling, or doing something to confront your intimidator. Doing nothing leads to internalizing it more and more, sometimes being unable to control the feelings.

During your time off, try to stop thinking about it for a while, and focus on other things. You won’t solve it by thinking about it day and night. If you have faith, I would also recommend prayer.

3. Don’t assume things will get better.

It’s often hard to know if it’s really bullying or if it’s just normal work relations. But if you really are being bullied at work, there’s a very good chance it won’t get better. The dynamic has been set up, and there is a good chance it will continue until some action is taken to stop it.

Many bullies are serial offenders, which means that they will choose one or two people to target, and keep bullying that person until they are forced to stop, or find a better target. If it wasn’t you, they would have to find someone else, because it’s part of their make up.

It is their problem, which means it is natural for them. The only motivation for them to stop will be when someone proves that they refuse to be bullied, or another person forces them to stop. In fact, it will likely get worse as the harasser becomes more confident in her ability to get away with inappropriate behaviour.

4. Don’t Fail To Document

Documenting your experience is the NUMBER ONE thing to remember when dealing with a bully at work. If you don’t keep track of what is happening, then in the eyes of the law, and other people, it didnt’ happen.

The only hope you have of ever confronting the issue in any formal manner, is to show what happened. You can only do that through documenting every incident, even if it is small, so that you can show the pattern of what is happening.

This article tells you more about how to document incidents as they happen. You need to write it down if you are going to ever be able to get help, or even prove that it was happening. There is now even an app to help in the documenting process called BullyProofAssistant.

This is important for whatever you decide to do. If you try to fight it through Human Resources, they will need a written record of what was happening. If you go to a lawyer or your union, they also will need to see documentation.

Even if you decide not to pursue recourse, you will rest easier knowing that you could, if you wanted to. Documentation is even good for your mental well-being, as you can view evidence that you have not been making these things up.

How to document bullying: April 11, 2012: This morning I finishing up some paper work, when my boss came into the office and came directly to my cubicle and asked loudly, “what are you doing, Cynthia? You should be keeping busy even when I am not around.” She said this in a serious tone that did not indicate a joking manner. She then walked away.

At 2:00 p.m., during the staff meeting, I brought a suggestion about hiring a person for the summer and she ignored me, and immediately started talking to another staff member. When I tried to bring it up again, she did not respond to my request at all, and asked a question of someone else.

Part 2 next week.

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 the first and third Tuesday of each month at 9:00 PM for commentary on urban issues Check out our No Sellout blog ( for the complete archive of CP columns and Northend Agent’s archive for selected columns ( Contact us at 860-206-8879 or

David Samuels
Community Party

“We’re on the Verge of Picking Someone Who Can’t Do the Job”: Fraying GOP Holds 3rd Primary Debate

October 30, 2015

Check out the Democracy Now! website:

With the campaign at roughly the halfway point between its opening summer debate and the Iowa caucus next year, Wednesday’s Republican debate was the first with business mogul Donald Trump no longer leading the polls. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson has surpassed Trump in recent days, though the two are still way ahead in the crowded Republican field. The surge of these two relative outsiders has thrown the Republican Party into turmoil. The more established political candidates are scrambling to gain ground as party leaders grapple with Trump and Carson’s outlandish views—and the potential that one of them might end up the nominee. We assess the debate and the state of the GOP field with four guests: John Nichols of The Nation, New Republic editor Jamil Smith, Imani Gandy of RH Reality Check and This Week in Blackness, and Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter David Cay Johnston.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: The third Republican presidential debate was held Wednesday night in Boulder, Colorado. With the campaign at roughly the halfway point between its opening summer debate and the Iowa caucus next year, it was the first debate with business mogul Donald Trump no longer leading the polls. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson has surpassed Trump in recent days, though the two are still way ahead in the crowded Republican field. The surge of these two relative outsiders has thrown the Republican Party into turmoil. The more established political candidates are scrambling to gain ground as party leaders grapple with Trump and Carson’s outlandish views—and the potential that one of them might end up the nominee. In his early remarks, former Ohio Governor John Kasich voiced exasperation at the current state of the Republican primary.

JOHN KASICH: This stuff is fantasy, just like getting rid of Medicare and Medicaid.

JOHN HARWOOD: You said yesterday—

JOHN KASICH: Come on, that’s just not—you don’t scare senior citizens with that. It’s not responsible.

JOHN HARWOOD: Well, let’s just get more pointed about it. You said yesterday that you were hearing proposals that were just crazy from your colleagues.


JOHN HARWOOD: Who were you talking about?

JOHN KASICH: Well, I mean right here, to talk about we’re just going to have a 10 percent tithe, and that’s how we’re going to fund the government? And we’re not—we’re going to just fix everything with waste, fraud and abuse? Or that we’re just going to be great? Or we’re going to ship 10 million Americans or 10 million people out of this country, leaving their children here in this country and dividing families? Folks, we’ve got to wake up. We cannot elect somebody that doesn’t know how to do the job.

AMY GOODMAN: Ohio Governor John Kasich. He was speaking right after Trump and Carson were questioned about their campaigns and some of their proposals.



JOHN HARWOOD: You’ve done very well in this campaign so far by promising to build a wall and make another country pay for it—


JOHN HARWOOD: —send 11 million people out of the country, cut taxes $10 trillion without increasing the deficit—


JOHN HARWOOD: —and make Americans better off because your greatness would replace the stupidity and incompetence of others.

DONALD TRUMP: That’s right.

JOHN HARWOOD: Let’s be honest. Is this a comic book version of a presidential campaign?

DONALD TRUMP: No, it’s not a comic book, and it’s not a very nicely asked question the way you say that. Larry Kudlow is an example, who I have a lot of respect for, who loves my tax plan. We’re reducing taxes to 15 percent. We’re bringing corporate taxes down, bringing money back in, corporate inversions. We have two-and-a-half trillion dollars outside of the United States which we want to bring back in.

As far as the wall is concerned, we’re going to build a wall. We’re going to create a border. We’re going to let people in, but they’re going to come in legally. They’re going to come in legally. And it’s something that can be done. And I get questioned about that. They built the Great Wall of China. That’s 13,000 miles. Here, we actually need a thousand, because we have natural barriers. So we need a thousand. We can do a wall. We’re going to have a big, fat beautiful door right in the middle of the wall. We’re going to have people come in, but they’re coming in legally. And Mexico is going to pay for the wall, because Mexico—I love the Mexican people; I respect the Mexican leaders, but the leaders are much sharper, smarter and more cunning than our leaders.

BECKY QUICK: Dr. Carson, let’s talk about taxes. You have a flat tax plan of 10 percent flat taxes, and I’ve looked at it, and this is something that is very appealing to a lot of voters, but I’ve had a really tough time trying to make the math work on this. If you were to take a 10 percent tax with the numbers right now in total personal income, you’re going to come in with bringing in one-and-a-half trillion dollars. That is less than half of what we bring in right now. And by the way, it’s going to leave us in a $2 trillion hole. So what analysis got you to the point where you think this will work?

DR. BEN CARSON: Well, first of all, I didn’t say that the rate would be 10 percent. I used the tithing analogy.

BECKY QUICK: I understand that, but if you—

DR. BEN CARSON: OK, but the rate—the rate—

BECKY QUICK: If you look at the numbers, you probably have to get to 28 percent.

DR. BEN CARSON: The rate is going to be much closer to 15 percent.

BECKY QUICK: Fifteen percent still leaves you with a $1.1 trillion hole.

DR. BEN CARSON: Well, let me finish. You also have to get rid of all the deductions and all the loopholes. You also have to do some strategic cutting in several places. Remember, we have 645 federal agencies and sub-agencies. Anybody who tells me that we need every penny and every one of those is in a fantasy world. So, also, we can stimulate the economy. That’s going to be the real growth engine, stimulating the economy, because it’s tethered down right now with so many regulations—

BECKY QUICK: You’d have to cut—you’d have to cut government by about 40 percent to make it work with a $1.1 trillion hole.

DR. BEN CARSON: It’s not true. And when—

BECKY QUICK: It is true. I looked at the numbers.

DR. BEN CARSON: When we put all the facts down, you’ll be able to see that it’s not true, it works out very well.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Ben Carson and Donald Trump being questioned by CNBC’s Becky Quick and John Harwood. The Republican debate also saw new fissures between rival candidates struggling to catch up with Carson and Trump, including third- and fourth-place contenders Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush. Several candidates also took shots at Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton and the news media. Days after her testimony on Benghazi, Marco Rubio called Clinton a “liar” and said the media acts as her super PAC.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO: You know, the Democrats have the ultimate super PAC. It’s called the mainstream media, who every single day—and I’ll tell you why. Last week, Hillary Clinton went before a committee. She admitted she had sent emails to her family saying, “Hey, this attack in Benghazi was caused by al-Qaeda-like elements.” She spent over a week telling the families of those victims and the American people that it was because of a video. And yet the mainstream media is going around saying it was the greatest week in Hillary Clinton’s campaign. It was the week she got exposed as a liar.

AMY GOODMAN: In her closing remarks, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina called herself “Hillary Clinton’s worst nightmare.”

CARLY FIORINA: I may not be your dream candidate just yet, but I can assure you I am Hillary Clinton’s worst nightmare. And in your heart of hearts, you cannot wait to see a debate between Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina. I will tell you this: I will beat Hillary Clinton. And with your votes and your support and your prayers, I will lead, with the citizens of this great nation, the resurgence of this great nation.

AMY GOODMAN: For more on the Republican debate, we host a roundtable with four guests. In Washington, Imani Gandy is with us, senior legal analyst at RH Reality Check and co-host of the podcast, This Week in Blackness Prime. Her most recent piece at RH Reality Check is headlined “Ben Carson Is Saying Stupid Things About Abortion—Again.”

John Nichols is a political writer for The Nation. His latest piece is “A GOP Debate Without a Winner—Or Much of a Point.”

Jamil Smith is with us in New York, senior editor at The New Republic. He’s also the host of Intersection, a podcast about race, gender and identity. His most recent piece at The New Republic is headlined “Ben Carson Is Saying All the Right Things.”

And David Cay Johnston also joins us in New York in our studio, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter. Previously with The New York Times, he’s currently a columnist for Al Jazeera America as well as contributing writer at Newsweek. He has covered Donald Trump at various publications for decades.

Well, Jamil Smith, let’s begin with you. Your assessment of the third Republican presidential debate held in Boulder, Colorado, the first time the debate was held when Ben Carson, the neurosurgeon, is ahead in national polls of the Republican contenders?

JAMIL SMITH: Indeed. And I thought that it was interesting that he wasn’t actually the focus of the debate, given that he surged to the lead in a national poll just this week and is certainly far out ahead of Donald Trump in Iowa. That said, I think it speaks to the fragility of success in the Iowa caucuses for Republicans. I mean, the last two winners were Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee, neither of whom sniffed the nomination. So I feel like, you know, what we saw last night is a candidate who, frankly, almost admitted that he’s not really up to running for president, doesn’t really—didn’t really see himself as president. And frankly, he just gave a bunch of answers that weren’t very substantive, that dodged the issue, and specifically on the tax point actually were untruthful. And I think, you know, when people call the Republicans, including Carson, on those policies, they’re not unfair questions, they’re simply substantive questions.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, David Cay Johnston, you’ve covered Trump for decades. How would you evaluate his performance last night?

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Well, Donald was very subdued. Donald has a real problem: What’s he going to do as he slowly fades? Presumably, he’s going to end up with a TV contract at the end of this, but he has to find a way to exit. But he did say something astonishing. He talked about the wall in China being 13,000 miles—that’s halfway around the planet. And he continues this assertion that Mexico is going to happily pay for this wall he wants to build, which, of course, will do nothing to stop the immigration, which is currently flowing in the other direction.

AMY GOODMAN: He said the wall on the Mexico border would be, what, a thousand.

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Thousand miles.

AMY GOODMAN: As compared to 13,000—


AMY GOODMAN: —of the wall of China, which is actually 1,300.


AMY GOODMAN: Imani Gandy, your overall reaction to last night’s debate?

IMANI GANDY: I was disturbed that there were no questions about either reproductive rights and women’s health, about fair pay, and particularly about Black Lives Matter. It seems to me that in this current environment with the attacks on Planned Parenthood and the ongoing uprising, I think you could say, of black people in this country demanding that their lives matter, I think it’s pretty shocking that those questions were not addressed at the debate last night.

AMY GOODMAN: Although Planned Parenthood was mentioned, though far less than it was in the previous debates, and we will get to that. John Nichols, your overall assessment?

JOHN NICHOLS: Yeah, I think it was a pretty bizarre debate. I’ve covered hundreds of debates. I’ve even moderated a few at lower levels on the political food chain. And I was struck by the fact that—I thought the moderators confused interview questions and debate questions. And some of the candidates were getting very precise questions about their political experience or their personal experience about companies that they are pitchmen for, as Carson got one. Other candidates were getting broad-sweep questions. And I think it made the debate a little incoherent.

What that resulted in was a situation where people took away kind of sound bites or applause lines. And by that standard, Marco Rubio did very well, because every time he was hit with a legitimate question, he went for a—usually, an attack-the-media applause line. Now, that was very effective in the room. But as you know, most people don’t watch the entire debate. Most people see the sound bites and the clips the next day. And I would suggest that that clip you played from John Kasich criticizing the rest of the field may be the takeaway clip, not just for the broad mass of Americans, but actually for a good number of Republicans.

“Donald Creates His Own Reality”: David Cay Johnston on Trump Rewriting History at 3rd GOP Debate

October 30, 2015

Check out the Democracy Now! website:

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking about last night’s third Republican debate in Boulder, Colorado. Let’s turn to CNBC moderator Becky Quick questioning Donald Trump at last night’s debate.

BECKY QUICK: Mr. Trump, let’s stay on this issue of immigration. You have been very critical of Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, who has wanted to increase the number of these H-1Bs.

DONALD TRUMP: I was not—I was not at all critical of him. I was not at all. In fact, frankly, he’s complaining about the fact that we’re losing some of the most talented people. They go to Harvard. They go to Yale. They go to Princeton. They come from another country, and they’re immediately sent out. I am all in favor of keeping these talented people here, so they can go to work in Silicon Valley.

BECKY QUICK: So you’re in favor of increasing them?

DONALD TRUMP: So, I have not been at all critical of him.

BECKY QUICK: Where did I read this and come up with this that you were—

DONALD TRUMP: Probably—I don’t know. You people write this stuff. I don’t know where you—

BECKY QUICK: I didn’t write this stuff. … You had talked a little bit about Marco Rubio. I think you called him Mark Zuckerberg’s personal senator because he was in favor of the H-1B visas.

DONALD TRUMP: I never said that. I never said that.

BECKY QUICK: So this was an erroneous article the whole way around?

DONALD TRUMP: He’s got another gentleman in Florida, who happens to be a very nice guy, but not—

BECKY QUICK: My apologies. I’m sorry.

DONALD TRUMP: Somebody’s really doing some bad fact checking. …

BECKY QUICK: Mr. Trump, I want to go back to an issue that we were talking about before, the H-1B visas. I found where I read that before. It was from the website. And it says—it says that, again, “Mark Zuckerberg’s personal Senator, Marco Rubio, has a bill to triple H-1Bs that would decimate women and minorities.”

AMY GOODMAN: So, there you have it, the questioning of Donald Trump. He says, “I never said that Marco Rubio was, what, the personal senator of Mark Zuckerberg.” David Cay Johnston—of course, he did say it; it was right on his website, and it was reported widely in every newspaper.

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Well, you have to understand, Donald creates his own reality. Whatever Donald says at the moment is, to Donald, the truth. And he believes his own stuff. And this is partly Carson’s problem. You know, there’s no objective reality out there. You know, Carson doesn’t seem to understand it took an enormous army of multiple countries to to defeat the Nazis. He thinks a group a persecuted people with, you know, small weapons are going to stop the Nazis. But this is very typical of Donald, and his views are highly flexible depending on what he sees as his momentary negotiating advantage.

Flat Taxes, Ending Medicare-Medicaid, Banning All Abortions: Meet New GOP Front-Runner Ben Carson

October 30, 2015

Check out the Democracy Now! website:

AMY GOODMAN: Our roundtable today to analyze the third Republican presidential debate—it took place in Boulder, Colorado—is John Nichols of The Nation; Jamil Smith of The New Republic; David Cay Johnston of Al Jazeera and Newsweek, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist; and Imani Gandy of RH Reality Check, is joining us from Washington, D.C.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: During Wednesday’s Republican debate hosted by CNBC, Ben Carson defended his flat tax proposal, saying it wouldn’t shortchange government coffers.

DR. BEN CARSON: Let me just say, if you’re talking about an $18 trillion economy, you’re talking about a 15 percent tax on your gross domestic product, you’re talking about $2.7 trillion. We have a budget closer to $3.5 trillion. But if you also apply that same 15 percent to several other things, including corporate taxes and including the capital gains taxes, you make that amount up pretty quickly. So that’s not by any stretch pie-in-the-sky.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: That was Ben Carson speaking last night at the third Republican presidential debate. So, Jamil Smith, could you respond to what he said about his tax plan and also about his rather confusing healthcare plan?

JAMIL SMITH: Well, as far as his tax plan goes, I feel like, you know, he doesn’t account for the fluctuations of the market, and certainly he’s depending upon the success of the overall populace to make up for any deficiencies that his numbers create in the budget. And when he was called upon it, he simply refused to acknowledge that that’s actually true, that it’s going to—40 percent, you know, of the funding for the government is going to have to be made up, if in fact his tax plan was implemented. Now, what you have there is a tax plan that’s based upon, as he has said, the model of tithing in churches. And I just don’t understand how that is necessarily applicable to government.

Underlying his entire plan, though, is a philosophy of “I’m going to be the, you know, head of a system that is based upon making sure that people are able to succeed, and whoever succeeds, they deserve it.” And when you’re Ben Carson and you’re a world-famous neurosurgeon, life has worked out for you. And so, you can have that point of view. It’s not quite so easy when you’re talking about people on the ground, though.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And what about his healthcare plan, this thing of slashing funding for Medicare and everybody having their own individual health savings plan?

JAMIL SMITH: Yes, he’s proposed to slash—he’s proposed not to slash, but to end Medicare, end Medicaid, in favor of creating health savings accounts that are funded by the government to the tune of $2,000 per year. Now, that is, of course, a politically suicidal idea, to say nothing of financially ludicrous. So, I just think that, you know, he’s, first of all, not accounting for growth in population. He’s not accounting for a growth in healthcare costs, certainly, and when he was asked about the growth in healthcare costs last night, in a substantive question from Jim Cramer, he deflected and actually said that government should be less involved with regulating the extraordinarily high spikes in drugs, in specialty drugs. So, everything I heard from him with regards to health plans and in his—with regards to pricing was very discouraging last night.

AMY GOODMAN: You’ve written about him. You’ve profiled Ben Carson. Tell us who he is.

JAMIL SMITH: Ben Carson is a man who has been a hero, specifically to black Americans. I remember, certainly in my church growing up, we had copies of Gifted Hands handed out to most of us. And it’s something that everybody read. And, you know, he’s been a man who’s lionized for his Horatio Alger-like narrative. That said, it’s tailor-made for the Republican view of race in this country, is a man who’s perceived to have grown out of poverty and made a success of himself, and all the while espoused Christian values.

AMY GOODMAN: And explain the Gifted Hands idea, as a neurosurgeon, his accomplishments.

JAMIL SMITH: Yes, yes. Gifted Hands was the title of his 1990 book, that was—you know, it’s a classic. It’s widely read. It’s his life story. It tells how he came up from the ghettos of Detroit to be the—you know, one of the foremost neurosurgeons in the world. That said, I think what he’s doing is completely damaging his legacy right now. Right now, I mean, especially the younger folks that have not read Gifted Hands and don’t know that man, they know him now as an incompetent presidential candidate.

AMY GOODMAN: And on his tax plan, David Cay Johnston? You have analyzed many tax plans.

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: His tax plan won’t work at all. It’s in the same league as Donald Trump’s plan. These are just fantasies for voters. And significantly for Carson, tithing is not a simple 10 percent concept. I actually teach this in the law school and the graduate business school at Syracuse. It is a very complex issue with all sorts of rules. And the poor were beneficiaries of the tithing system in the ancient world, not payers into that system.

AMY GOODMAN: One issue not raised at last night’s debate was abortion, but it has been a major issue for the Republicans and Democrats. On Sunday, in an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, Dr. Carson said abortion should be illegal in all cases, including rape and incest. He responded to a question from Chuck Todd.

CHUCK TODD: What if somebody has an unwanted pregnancy? Should they have the right to terminate?

DR. BEN CARSON: No. Think about this. During slavery—and I know that’s one of those words you’re not supposed to say, but I’m saying it. During slavery, a lot of the slaveowners thought that they had the right to do whatever they wanted to that slave—anything that they chose to do. And, you know, what if the abolitionists had said, “You know, I don’t believe in slavery. I think it’s wrong. But you guys do whatever you want to do”? Where would we be?

AMY GOODMAN: So that is Ben Carson on Sunday. Imani Gandy, RH Reality Check, can you respond?

IMANI GANDY: I think it’s—setting aside the fact that it is, I think, fundamentally creepy and weird to compare human sentient people—slaves, black Americans—to fetuses, setting that aside, I think when he talks about abolitionists saying, “Well, I’m against slavery, but you can do whatever you want,” that’s sort of the position that he held, himself, in the ’90s, when he was a practicing neurosurgeon. He would routinely refer women to abortion providers, should they need one, whether it be because the pregnancy was unwanted, or specifically he spoke about referring women whose fetuses had genetic anomalies to abortions. And I’ve reported on a lot of abortion providers, a lot of anti-choice abortion providers, and it’s hard to reconcile his current staunch, quote-unquote, “pro-life” stance with his prior comments and behavior with respect to acknowledging that women deserve to have a choice and should make that choice with their doctors, and actually advocating for abortion, not by performing them himself necessarily, but by referring women to other providers. So I think there’s a fundamental hypocrisy there and a disconnect between his current position and his prior positions.

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s go back to 1992, Ben Carson, then a renowned neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital, appearing in an ad urging Marylanders to vote against Question 6, a ballot initiative to preserve the right to choose in the state should Roe v. Wade get struck down. Here’s a clip from that ad.

DR. BEN CARSON: Life is hectic, and it’s sometimes easy to let important decisions be made for us. Ballot Question 6 could be like that.

AMY GOODMAN: After the commercial ran, Dr. Carson found himself in the center of a political firestorm and reversed course. He asked the pro-life Vote kNOw Coalition, which sponsored the ad, to pull the commercial, and he then held a news conference organized by Maryland for Choice.

DR. BEN CARSON: My message is not to vote for or against Question 6, but to educate yourself. I did not understand that the tagline “Vote against Question 6” would be included in the ad. I don’t believe it is appropriate for a public figure of my nature to try to tell people how they should vote. … Subsequent to doing that ad, I have had an opportunity to do quite a bit of background research, and it became quite apparent that there were things that could easily be misconstrued.

AMY GOODMAN: Ellen Curro of the Vote kNOw Coalition said Dr. Carson appeared to have bowed to political pressure.

ELLEN CURRO: He may have said that today, but when he agreed to do the spot, he had signed off with approval to encourage people to vote against Question 6. And I think he’s just gotten tremendous pressure from the other side because of the political nature of this argument.

STACIE SPECTOR: I see it as a victory for Dr. Carson to be able to thoughtfully and legitimately explain how he feels about the issue.

AMY GOODMAN: The second speaker was Stacie Spector of Maryland for Choice. Imani Gandy, that controversy was 23 years ago. What does that tell you about today’s Dr. Ben Carson?

IMANI GANDY: I think it tells you that he doesn’t really have a solid position on abortion. I think that he has been driven to say more extreme things about abortion, to devolve into extremist rhetoric about abortion, because he’s a Republican presidential nominee. I also think that given that—there’s a lot of question in the anti-choice community about Donald Trump’s commitment to life, quote-unquote, “life,” and I think that sort of opens up a hole or a—there’s an opening there for Ben Carson to tack to the right of Donald Trump on abortion and to appear to be far more extreme than I actually believe that he is. I mean, even as recently as August, his communications director, Douglas Watts, as reported in Politico, said that Ben Carson believes that you shouldn’t—you shouldn’t legislate morality. He believes that abortion is going to have to be won in the hearts and minds of Americans, and he believes that women should be able to make a choice based on the medical evidence, and he believes that patients should have medical evidence. That doesn’t jibe with this current “I think Roe v. Wade should be overturned; I believe in banning abortion in all instances, including incest and rape.” So I think it’s just there’s going to—he’s going to have a problem, I believe, with the anti-choice community, should it come down to him and Trump or him and Rubio, for example, who has been very staunchly anti-choice, including in instances of rape and incest. So I think it shows that he hasn’t quite solidified his position, and he’s going to be attacked, I think, based on that.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Jamil Smith, I want to ask you about other recent statements that Ben Carson has made. He said the Affordable Care Act, for example, is the worst thing since slavery, which is a rather odd claim for a doctor to make. And after the mass shooting in an Oregon community college recently, he said the Holocaust would have been less—wouldn’t have been as likely if Jewish people had had firearms to fight back. So what do you think—I mean, given these statements, which seem at least bizarre a little bit, what accounts for his rising popularity?

JAMIL SMITH: Well, as I wrote, I feel like Ben Carson is saying all the right things—for the right. I think, you know, to Imani’s point, I feel like whatever he’s—whatever is coming out of his mouth is really tailored for the Republican electorate that, you know, we’re encountering in 2015. So, I think this is more—speaks more to who is voting for Republicans rather than the Republicans themselves. I feel like what Carson is saying is—you know, it’s kind of extremist stuff that gets headlines. I mean, there should be a Carson’s law similar to Godwin’s law, “Don’t invoke Hitler”: Don’t invoke slavery, either, unless you’re actually talking about slavery. I feel like when you also talk about his position on guns and his reference to the Holocaust, that’s actually historically inaccurate. So, these are the kind of things that he eventually will be caught on and will, I think, matter should he magically, mystically become the nominee.

Black Man Applies for Asylum in Canada to Escape Police Violence in U.S.

October 30, 2015

An African-American man has applied for asylum in Canada, saying he fears he will be killed by police in the United States because he is black. 30-year-old Kyle Lydell Canty argued at his immigration hearing in Vancouver that black people are “being exterminated at an alarming rate.”

False Choice Event November 2

October 29, 2015

Trebol Press has published my first nonfiction book on politics. The Democrats and Republicans spar publicly, but the reality is that these two parties have more in common than they have differences. This duopoly is run on corporatist economic policies that benefit the ruling class, at the expense of the workers and the poor. Global hegemony is at the core of the foreign policies of the Dems and the GOP. False Choice is a diary of national and global issues, set against the backdrop of the Connecticut gubernatorial election between Gov. Dannel Malloy and Republican challenger Tom Foley that was rated as the most negative in the country in 2014. The book also features commentary on politics at Hartford City Hall, including analysis of the highly controversial baseball stadium deal orchestrated by Mayor Pedro Segarra and City Council President Shawn Wooden. Visit the Trebol Press website for ordering info. Check out the False Choice Author Page on Facebook for commentary on the Democratic/Republican duopoly and coverage of third party politics.

False Choice Event

Debbie Duncan Cook and Mary Sanders will host an event to promote False Choice at Trinity College, 300 Summit Street in Hartford on November 2 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM. David will be available to listen and respond to your opinions on state, national and world politics, and how we can change the current system to benefit the working class, the poor and communities of color. FREE FOOD AND BEVERAGES! This event will be in Rittenberg Lounge in Mather Hall. See the campus map below.

Chokeholds, Brain Injuries, Beatings: When School Cops Go Bad

October 29, 2015

Check out the Mother Jones website:

Jaeah Lee

Over the past year, video footage from around the country of law enforcement officers killing citizens, many of them black, has brought scrutiny on policing in the streets. Yet, another disturbing police problem has drawn far less attention: Use of force by cops in schools. According to news reports and data collected by advocacy groups, over the past five years at least 28 students have been seriously injured, and in one case shot to death, by so-called school resource officers—sworn, uniformed police assigned to provide security on K-12 campuses.

As with the officer-involved killings that have been thrust into the national spotlight, government data on police conduct in schools is lacking. And while serious use of force by officers against school kids appears to be rare, experts also point to a troubling lack of training and oversight, and a disproportionate impact on minority and disabled students.

Chokehold and a brain injury: In March, Louisville Metro Police officer Jonathan Hardin was fired after his alleged use of force in two incidents at Olmsted Academy North middle school: He was accused of punching a 13-year-old student in the face for cutting the cafeteria line, and a week later of putting another 13-year-old student in a chokehold, allegedly knocking the student unconscious and causing a brain injury. In April, a grand jury indicted Hardin on assault and misconduct charges for the chokehold incident, and his trial is pending. The Jefferson County Attorney’s Office is also considering charges against Hardin over the punching incident, a spokesperson for the attorney’s office told Mother Jones. Hardin’s attorney declined to comment, citing the ongoing criminal litigation.
◾Beating with a baton: In May 2014, Cesar Suquet, then a 16-year-old high school student in Houston, was being escorted by an officer out of the principal’s office after a discussion about Suquet’s confiscated cell phone. Following a verbal exchange, police officer Michael Y’Barbo struck Suquet at least 18 times with a police baton, injuring him on his head, neck and elsewhere, according to the lawsuit Suquet’s family filed against the Pasadena Independent School District. In its response to the incident (which was captured on video according to court documents), the school district admitted that Y’Barbo struck Suquet but denied allegations of wrongdoing. Y’Barbo, in his response, denied striking Suquet on the head, stating that he acted “within his discretionary duties” and that his use of force was “reasonable and necessary.” A spokesperson for the school district told Mother Jones that Y’Barbo remains on regular assignment including patrol.
◾Taser-induced brain injury: In November 2013, student Noe Nino de Rivera was trying to break up a fight at Cedar Creek High School in Bastrop County, Texas, when two officers arrived and told Nino de Rivera to step back. Within moments, one of the officers, Randy McMillan, tased the 17-year-old, who fell to the ground and hit his head. Nino de Rivera was taken to a hospital, where he “underwent surgery to repair a severe brain hemorrhage and was placed in a medically induced coma,” according to the family’s lawsuit against McMillan, Bastrop County, and the school district. The teen remained in a coma for 52 days, a family attorney told CNN. Attorneys representing the county said that Nino de Rivera had failed to comply with orders and that McMillan “used the reasonable amount of necessary force to maintain and control discipline at the school.” In May 2014, a grand jury declined to indict McMillan, and that month he received a promotion. Three months later, the county agreed to pay Nino de Rivera’s family $775,000 to settle the lawsuit.

Shot to death: On November 12, 2010, 14-year-old Derek Lopez stepped off a school bus outside of Northside Alternative High School, near San Antonio, and punched another student, knocking him to the ground. Officer Daniel Alvarado witnessed the altercation and ordered Lopez to freeze, and then chased a fleeing Lopez to a shed behind a house, where he fatally shot him. Alvarado later testified that Lopez had “bull-rushed” him as he opened the shed door. Lopez, who was unarmed, died soon afterward. In August 2012, a grand jury declined to indict Alvarado. The Northside Independent School District school board later agreed to pay a $925,000 settlement to Lopez’s family. Alvarado has since been terminated from Northside for unrelated reasons, an attorney for the school district told Mother Jones.

The US and state governments do not specifically collect data on police conduct in K-12 schools. But some data has been gathered at the county and state level by the ACLU and other advocacy groups, including in Texas and North Carolina. Using news reports, the Huffington Post identified at least 25 students in 13 states recently who sought medical attention after getting tased, peppersprayed, or shot with a stun gun by school resource officers. (For more on these harsh tactics and a lawsuit they led to, read this Mother Jones story.)

The US Justice Department spent $876 million to fund nearly 7,000 school resource officers nationwide after Columbine, and another $67 million following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary.

From the war on drugs to “zero tolerance policies,” cops have been utilized in K-12 schools for decades. But the mass shooting at Columbine High School in 1999 caused their ranks to swell, with the number of police officers patrolling K-12 campuses approximately doubling to 20,000 by 2006, according to the National Association of School Resource Officers. The US Department of Justice spent an estimated $876 million after Columbine to fund nearly 7,000 school resource officers across the country. Since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012, the DOJ has spent another $67 million to fund an additional 540 cops in schools. Many school districts and local police departments have funded their own sworn law enforcement personnel for the job.

But much about this field remains unclear: According to a recent report from Philip Stinson, a Bowling Green University criminologist, “The existing research offers few answers to such basic questions as to how SROs are selected, the nature and extent of SRO training, and the strategic uses of SROs.”

Michael Dorn, a former school district police chief in Georgia, says that misconduct cases by school cops are rare and that overall their presence has helped improve campus safety. But the programs need to be better evaluated based on data, he adds. Studies in some school districts have shown that school cops helped reduce crime, truancy, and bullying. But others have found that the presence of cops in schools leads to increased ticketing and arrests for minor infractions. Jason Langberg, an attorney in Virginia who has represented victims of alleged abuse, explains that many officers end up stepping into matters of routine student discipline. They deal with “minor scuffles, a bag of marijuana, or even just talking back,” he says. “The vast majority of incidents don’t involve guns in schools.”

Dewey Cornell, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia who studies school safety, suggests that the rise of school cops has been based on misguided fear. After Sandy Hook, the NRA proposed putting them in every single school in America. But relative to overall gun violence, “schools are one of the least likely places for a shooting to occur, and pulling officers off the street and putting them on guard in a school lobby is short-sighted and dangerous,” Cornell says. “The fear of school shootings has been greatly overestimated because of the attention to a handful of tragic cases.”

Black students are arrested by school cops at a disproportionate rate, according to recent data from the US Department of Education.

Last March, the US Department of Education reported that 92,000 students were subject to school-related arrests in the 2011-2012 academic year, the first time the agency collected and published such data. Black students comprised 16 percent of the total students enrolled but accounted for 31 percent of arrests. And a quarter of the total arrested were students with disabilities, despite that they comprised only 12 percent of the student population. In recommendations to the White House published in May, the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing advised that law enforcement agencies analyze data on all stops, frisks, searches, summons, and arrests—and separate out the data for school detentions. “Noncriminal offenses can escalate to criminal charges when officers are not trained in child and adolescent development,” the report noted.

Often young police officers are on the job, according to the advocacy group Strategies for Youth, which works with police departments and school districts on training. Yet, a national survey conducted in 2013 by the group found that police academies in only one state, Tennessee, offered training specifically for officers deployed to schools. The majority of academies, the survey noted, “do not teach recruits how to recognize and respond to youth with mental health, trauma-related and special education-related disorders.”

In February, Michael Reynolds, a black high school student in Detroit, testified to the task force about an interaction with a cop at his school. “Before I could explain why I did not have my [student] badge I was escorted to the office and suspended for an entire week,” he said. “Many young people today have fear of the police in their communities and schools.”

Black Teen Attacked by School Cop has Multiple Injuries — and is an Orphan Who Recently Lost Her Mother

October 29, 2015

Check out the Raw Story website:

Travis Gettys

An influential South Carolina Democrat plans to represent a teenage girl thrown to the ground by a school resource officer — and he intends to change a state law that allows police to arrest students for being disruptive in class.

Richland County Deputy Ben Fields was fired Wednesday for violating agency policy when he picked up the 16-year-old girl and threw her across a classroom during the arrest at Spring Valley High School.

State Rep. Todd Rutherford (D-Columbia) told WLTX-TV the 16-year-old girl suffered arm, neck and back injuries when Fields grabbed her by the throat and threw her to the ground after the teen refused to hand over her cell phone to a teacher.

“He weighs about 300 pounds,” Rutherford said. “She is a student who is 16 years old, who now has a cast on her arm, a band aid on her neck, and neck and back problems. There’s something wrong here.”

Rutherford told the New York Daily News that the teen recently lost her mother and is living in a foster home. The teen’s foster mother said the girl was “devastated and emotionally traumatized by all that has happened to her,” according to the Daily News.

Rutherford said that lawmakers must tighten up restrictions on use of force by school resources officers such as Fields — who students say was “known for slamming” pregnant women and teenage girls to the ground.

“The legislature needs to take action, and make sure our students are not the targets of rogue police officers called ‘Officer Slam’ who are going to walk in and brutalize them at a moment’s notice,” Rutherford said.

Rutherford, who serves as the Democratic Minority Leader of the South Carolina House of Representatives, also plans to represent 18-year-old Niya Kenny — who was also arrested for “disturbing school” while video recording the violent attack on her classmate.

“We passed that law several years ago, and when we did arrests of students shot through the roof,” Rutherford told the TV station. “They were getting arrested for everything because it meets with the statute. The statute is unconstitutionally broad, and everyone knows it.”

The lawmaker said he was shocked by the deputy’s actions — which he said were completely unjustified.

“I had no words because that was something that simply should not happen,” Rutherford said. “It was a classroom. We’re not talking about a roadside setting where you’re worried about the safety of an officer, we’re not talking about any setting where the officer’s safety is in jeopardy and he needs to make sure he controls the situation. It was a classroom.”

He said school resource officers are placed in schools to protect students from outsiders and threats involving guns or knives — and not to punish students for showing disrespect.

“Law enforcement officers simply need to establish a line that they cannot cross,” Rutherford said. “Unfortunately, that line is blurry, and it leads a lot of people to believe that if you don’t do exactly what a law enforcement officer asks, that he gets to brutalize you and beat you up in front of other people — and that’s not true.”

Her Name Was India Kager: Police Gun Down Navy Vet While Her 4-Month-Old Son Was in the Backseat

October 29, 2015

Check out the Clutch Magazine website:

by Britni Danielle

Four Virginia Beach police officers have been placed on administrative leave after they fired upwards of thirty rounds at a parked car, killing a man and a woman while their four-month-old son was in the backseat.

India Kager, 28, and Angelo Perry, 35, died during the tragic incident; thankfully, their four-month-old son was not harmed.

According to Virginia Beach Police Chief Jim Cervera, Perry was suspected in a homicide and had been under surveillance for 30 minutes by officers in an unmarked car when they approached his vehicle.

“He was a person of interest in a homicide case. And we did know that he was armed — we knew that he was heavily armed. We did have credible information that he was going to commit a violent act in our city,” Cervera said in a press conference

Cervera said Perry, who had an extensive rap sheet, shot at officers first, but none were injured. Instead, officers fired 30 rounds into the car hitting Kager who was sitting in the driver’s seat. She was not a target of the investigation.

The entire encounter lasted just 15 seconds.

After her death, Kager’s mother, Gina Best, wondered why police chose to confront Perry even though they knew he wasn’t alone.

“It was very clear to me that India was not part of the police investigation based on the responses I got from police. She had nothing to do with it. She was totally innocent,” Best told the Washington Post. “Did they find any weapons on India? Did she pose a threat? Why did [police] shoot into a car with a baby and woman who had nothing to do with their investigation?”

Best continued: “My greatest fear is it will be doctored … to make India seem like she’s part of dark behavior. India was not of that element,” she explained, telling reporters Kager’s father and grandfather were both retired police officers.

During a recent press conference, Cervera admitted officers knew Kager was in the car with Perry but they approached the pair anyway because they believed he was going to commit a crime, although they didn’t specify which crime. However, they did not know the couple’s infant was in the backseat until paramedics began administering aid to Perry and Kager.

“Virginia Beach Police Department and our officers believe in the sanctity of life. We do everything we can to mitigate violent conflict,” Cervera explained, nothing officers went to a nearby Walmart to buy formula and diapers for the baby until child protective services arrived.

Best said the whole ordeal was unnecessary and her daughter, a postal carrier and a Navy veteran, did not deserve to die.

“I’m devastated because she should still be alive nursing her son, my grandson,” she explained. “We’re talking about a very beautiful soul that should still be here. She was unarmed, she was completely innocent. They shot indiscriminately.”

In addition to her infant, Kager also leaves behind a four-year-old son from a previous marriage.