Archive for March, 2016

Malloy + Bronin = Neoliberalism

March 25, 2016

This column appears in the March 24 – 31 edition of the Hartford News…

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio

Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. First and third Tuesday of each month. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific. Tune in! Replays the following Wednesday, same time. Next show: March 29. Co-host: Mary Sanders. Guests: Dan Durso, a retired Teamster now volunteering as the Outreach Coordinator with the grassroots Bernie Sanders Connecticut Team, will talk about the “Fairness for the 99%” March and Rally Monday, April 4 at the State Capitol in Hartford. Lisa Ganser of Poor Magazine will join us to discuss the deaths of Indigenous, Black, disabled and poor people in police custody. Montano Northwind will talk about his brother, Jacksun Keewatinawin, being killed by Seattle police http://sometroradio.com/ Check out our No Sellout blog for info on the rest of our Community Party Media lineup, including False Choice: the Bipartisan Attack on the Working Class, the Poor and Communities of Color. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/12/20/community-party-media-3/

Meagan Hockaday Act

Meagan Hockaday was murdered by Oxnard, California police officer Roger Garcia in front of her children on March 28, 2015. https://www.facebook.com/meaganmatters/timeline Garcia has not been charged. The Community Party’s Meagan Hockaday Act will include enhanced criminal penalties for excessive use of force by the police against mentally ill people and individuals in crisis, in addition to whenever children are present. Our legislation will implement a new international approach to policing, based on a successful model in the United Kingdom and Canada that emphasizes de-escalation and treatment. Public Health Committee co-chair Rep. Matt Ritter is collaborating with us on this bill. Stay tuned for updates and action alerts. Meagan Matters! https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/05/06/meagan-matters-police-murder-of-black-women-ignored-by-corporate-media-activists/ The official bill has been drafted: you can view it here. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/02/24/meagan-hockaday-act-bill-language/ Contact lawmakers and tell them to support our legislation. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/02/26/action-alert-support-the-meagan-hockaday-act/

Check out CP’s 2016 legislative package at our No Sellout blog. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/01/03/community-party-2016-legislative-package/

Policy Watch: Attack on the Working Class and the Poor in Connecticut

When Luke Bronin, former legal counsel for Gov. Dan Malloy, was elected Mayor of Hartford in November, I said in this space that Malloy now had a satellite office at City Hall. The budget plans of Malloy and Bronin are proof. Both consist of Wall Street supported neoliberal attacks on the state’s most vulnerable residents and public sector employees (I’m a state worker), in the form of human services cuts, layoffs and attempts to roll back wages and benefits. State employees have agreed to concessions twice since 2009. Bronin is pursuing legislation that would enable him to cut city workers’ pensions. Here’s the definition of neoliberalism, courtesy of CorpWatch.org.

The main points of neoliberalism include:

1.THE RULE OF THE MARKET. Liberating “free” enterprise or private enterprise from any bonds imposed by the government (the state) no matter how much social damage this causes. Greater openness to international trade and investment, as in NAFTA. Reduce wages by de-unionizing workers and eliminating workers’ rights that had been won over many years of struggle. No more price controls. All in all, total freedom of movement for capital, goods and services. To convince us this is good for us, they say “an unregulated market is the best way to increase economic growth, which will ultimately benefit everyone.” It’s like Reagan’s “supply-side” and “trickle-down” economics — but somehow the wealth didn’t trickle down very much.

2.CUTTING PUBLIC EXPENDITURE FOR SOCIAL SERVICES like education and health care. REDUCING THE SAFETY-NET FOR THE POOR, and even maintenance of roads, bridges, water supply — again in the name of reducing government’s role. Of course, they don’t oppose government subsidies and tax benefits for business.

3.DEREGULATION. Reduce government regulation of everything that could diminsh profits, including protecting the environment and safety on the job.

4.PRIVATIZATION. Sell state-owned enterprises, goods and services to private investors. This includes banks, key industries, railroads, toll highways, electricity, schools, hospitals and even fresh water. Although usually done in the name of greater efficiency, which is often needed, privatization has mainly had the effect of concentrating wealth even more in a few hands and making the public pay even more for its needs.

5.ELIMINATING THE CONCEPT OF “THE PUBLIC GOOD” or “COMMUNITY” and replacing it with “individual responsibility.” Pressuring the poorest people in a society to find solutions to their lack of health care, education and social security all by themselves — then blaming them, if they fail, as “lazy”.

Sound familiar? Malloy is lying to your face at his town hall propaganda events when he asks you if you want to pay higher taxes, in order to balance the state budget. Malloy knows damn well that there are many other ways he can balance the budget without cutting human services. However these options (taxing the rich, closing corporate tax loopholes) go against his neoliberal agenda, which he frames as the “new economic reality”. Neoliberalism brought lead poisoned water to Flint, Michigan, the result of a cost-cutting move by emergency manager Darnell Earley. In Detroit, there were water shut-offs for poor residents who couldn’t pay their bills, and an attack on city employees’ wages and pensions. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder used the economic woes in Flint and Detroit, both predominantly Black cities like Hartford, as an excuse to bring in unelected emergency managers. Democracy was suspended in both cities. http://www.democracynow.org/2016/3/7/a_democracy_problem_as_debate_brings There has been talk of a state takeover in Hartford.

Black Agenda Report commentator Glen Ford reported in 2014 on Detroit emergency manager Kevin Orr using extortion tactics to get city employees to accept a 4.5 percent cut in their small pensions. “Earlier this year, as part of the Shock and Awe of state-imposed bankruptcy, Orr threatened to cut pensions by 26 percent, in defiance of Michigan state constitutional protections. He was backed by federal bankruptcy court judge Steven Rhodes, who has brushed aside every objection from lesser, non-corporate beings. Rather than risk the loss of one-quarter of an already meager $20,000 a year pension, 73 percent of retirees and workers accepted the lesser cut, plus an end to cost-of-living increases.”

Flint activist Claire McClinton talked to Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman about the city’s water crisis. “There is a coordinated, aggressive effort to privatize our water system. And this is how we came to this poisoned water catastrophe. We don’t have just a water problem. We’ve got a democracy problem. We’ve got a dictatorship problem. We’ve got a problem of being stripped of our democracy as we’ve known it over the years.”

Connecticut Voices for Children recently put out a budget plan that would obliterate the $220 million budget deficit. You can read their archive of budget proposals here. http://www.ctvoices.org/publications?issue=1

March 2016

Revenue Options are Crucial to Maintaining Public Investments that Promote Prosperity

Derek Thomas, M.P.A.

In confronting the financial crisis looming over state budget decisions, the common-sense choice for Connecticut should be a balanced approach that includes revenue, rather than a cuts-only approach that threatens an already fragile economic recovery.

Alternatives available to lawmakers include:
• Collect a Larger Share of Taxes Due on Internet Sales: Implementing a version of Colorado’s reporting law would chip away at the estimated $65 to $70 million lost annually in uncollected sales taxes on Internet sales
• Increase Rates on Capital Gains or Personal Income: An increase in the tax on personal income and capital gains – 84 percent of which would fall on the top 1 percent of taxpayers – would result in an estimated $283.1 million in new state revenue
• Institute a Low-Wage Workers Fee: According to the state OFA, last year’s proposal to recoup state costs attributable to low-wage employers was estimated to generate $305 million in revenue in the coming fiscal year
• Create a Soda Tax: According to the OFA, an increase of one cent on each fluid ounce of soda would raise more than $85 million in the coming fiscal year
• Apply the Sales Tax to Digital Downloads: Applying the sales tax to digital downloads would have generated $7 million to $11 million in revenue in 2011
• Close the Expedia Loophole: The existence of the Expedia loophole is estimated to have resulted in a loss of $3 million to $4 million in 2010

Malloy goes into these town halls counting on you not knowing this information. Call Malloy on his neoliberal bs. Demand that he implement the CT Voices for Children recommendations. Their policy plan, combined with concepts such as a publicly owned bank, would generate revenue that could be used for municipal aid, eliminating Bronin’s excuse for his neoliberal attack on city employees. Remember that most of the money Bronin raised for his election campaign came from DONORS OUTSIDE OF HARTFORD. Now that Bronin occupies the Mayor’s Office, those donors will be looking for a return on their investment. We need an egalitarian state budget that will benefit the working class, the poor, and other vulnerable populations.

The announcement below is from the Hartford Rising website. Come and make your voice heard.

“Fairness for the 99%” March and Rally

Monday, April 4 at 5 PM – 6:30 PM


Join Unity, Equality and Democracy Connecticut and Hartford Rising! as we hold politicians accountable for fighting for all of us. The coalition will issue report cards based on how legislators have voted and then march to the State Capitol Building to directly hold our lawmakers accountable.

The event will take place on Monday, April 4th from 5:00 to 6:30 PM starting at the Emanuel Lutheran Church on Capitol Avenue in Hartford.

On Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, civil rights, community, and labor organizations came together to fight for Democracy, Unity, and Equality, and a new coalition was born. The groups agreed to continue Dr. King’s fight to end racial and economic inequality.

Let’s stand up for the public servants who stand up for us. And let’s hold accountable those who stand against us. It’s our state government. Let’s make sure it’s on our side!

5:00 PM Emanuel Lutheran Church, 311 Capitol Ave, Hartford 6:00 PM – State Capitol, 210 Capitol Ave, Hartford

Find tickets at hartfordrising.org

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 8:00 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

 

Advertisements

REPLAY WEDNESDAY: Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio

March 20, 2016

The planet’s PREMIER Soul, RnB and talk radio station.  Co-hosts: Mary Sanders and David Samuels. Guests: Dan Durso, a retired Teamster now volunteering as the Outreach Coordinator with the grassroots Bernie Sanders Connecticut Team, will talk about the “Fairness for the 99%” March and Rally Monday, April 4 at the State Capitol in Hartford. Montano Northwind will talk about his brother, Jacksun Keewatinawin, who was killed by Seattle police. 8:00 PM Eastern Time, 7:00 PM Central, 5:00 PM Pacific. http://www.sometroradio.com/

Resources

“Fairness for the 99% March & Rally”

“Fairness for the 99%” March & Rally

 

Malloy + Bronin = Neoliberalism

https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/03/25/malloy-bronin-neoliberalism/

 

The Truth Must Be Told: The In-Custody Death of Raymond Eacret

http://www.poormagazine.org/node/5425

 

Keewantinawin: The Wind That Goes North

http://www.poormagazine.org/node/5492

 

 

 

April 4 Economic Justice Rally at State Capitol

March 20, 2016

HELP MAKE LEGISLATORS ACCOUNTABLE TO
THEIR CONSTITUTENTS AND NOT BEHOLDEN TO THE RICHEST 1%!

On Monday, April 4, we will work to hold legislators accountable by calling out legislative “Zeroes” and “Heroes” during the 2016 legislative session. The coalition will issue report cards based on how legislators vote and then march to the State Capitol Building to directly hold our lawmakers accountable.

Monday, April 4 at 5 PM – 6:30 PM

Emanuel Lutheran Church, 311 Capitol Ave, Hartford 6:00 PM – State Capitol, 210 Capitol Ave, Hartford

Tickets Available
hartfordrising.org

What is the D.U.E. Justice Coalition?
On Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, civil rights, community, and labor organizations came together to fight for Democracy, Unity, and Equality, and a new coalition was born. The groups agreed to continue Dr. King’s fight to end racial and economic inequality.

Flyer:
http://aftct.org/sites/aftct.org/files/0404_due_justice_fairness_rally_flyr_1.pdf

Questions: email office@ctaflcio.org or call 860-571-6191

Safe Work Environment Act Report

March 18, 2016
This column appears in the March 17 – 24 edition of the Hartford News…
Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio
Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. First and third Tuesday of each month. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific. Tune in! Replays the following Wednesday, same time. Next show: March 29.  http://sometroradio.com/  Check out our No Sellout blog for info on the rest of our Community Party Media lineup, including False Choice: the Bipartisan Attack on the Working Class, the Poor and Communities of Color. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/12/20/community-party-media-3/
                                                   
Meagan Hockaday Act
Meagan Hockaday was murdered by Oxnard, California police officer Roger Garcia in front of her children on March 28, 2015. https://www.facebook.com/meaganmatters/timeline Garcia has not been charged.  The Community Party’s Meagan Hockaday Act will include enhanced criminal penalties for excessive use of force by the police against mentally ill people and individuals in crisis, in addition to whenever children are present. Our legislation will implement a new international approach to policing, based on a successful model in the United Kingdom and Canada that emphasizes de-escalation and treatment. Public Health Committee co-chair Rep. Matt Ritter is collaborating with us on this bill. Stay tuned for updates and action alerts. Meagan Matters! https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/05/06/meagan-matters-police-murder-of-black-women-ignored-by-corporate-media-activists/ The official bill has been drafted: you can view it here. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/02/24/meagan-hockaday-act-bill-language/  We’ll post action alerts on my Facebook page and the CP Twitter page. Details at the end of the column.  Check out CP’s 2016 legislative package at our No Sellout blog. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/01/03/community-party-2016-legislative-package/
 Thank You

Big shout out to everyone who has submitted public hearing testimony supporting the Meagan Hockaday Act. Check out our action alert for info on how you can contact the Connecticut General Assembly Public Health Committee. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/02/26/action-alert-support-the-meagan-hockaday-act/
                                                  

5 Ways Your Workplace Bully May Be Breaking The Law

‘Used and abused’ asks what a small staff can do

This week we’ll share a post from the AOL Jobs website on legal strategies regarding workplace bullying. http://jobs.aol.com/ The Safe Work Environment Act is a part of CP’s legislative package.
This reader faces a problem many employees encounter at work – the workplace bully.
Hi Donna,
What action would you suggest staff take when the Executive Director of a tax funded nonprofit organization, which is overseen by a board, is abusive to staff? Staff does not have access to HR; they report to the ED who reports to the board. Some incidents have been “investigated” by one or two board members and the HR of the employer of a board member. Nothing has improved. Incidents have been the ED slapping the hand, kicking, and yelling at an employee to “go do your f****** job,” commenting on how an employee is dressed, yelling at staff, “forgetting” they did or said something, not following policies and procedures consistently and speaking harshly as to show their superiority. We are at a loss as to what to do. We are not permitted to speak to any member of the board without the ED’s consent. We are a small staff, under 15 employees. Suggestions would be most welcome.
Thank you.
Used and abused

Hi “Used and abused,” It sounds like you’re dealing with a bully, which is all too common these days. A career counselor or health care professional might view things differently, but I’ll give my perspective as an employee-side employment lawyer.

I’ve written before about how workplace bullying is not illegal in any state. Although 23 states have tried to pass anti-bullying laws, none have succeeded. Eleven states currently have anti-bullying laws pending, but I’m not optimistic. Still, there’s hope for the bullied. Bullies frequently cross the line into illegal behavior at work.

Here are five ways your workplace bully might be doing something illegal:

  1. Targeting the weak: Just like playground bullies, workplace bullies target the weakest employees, or those the bully perceives as weak. While that’s not necessarily illegal, who does a bully consider weak? Disabled, pregnant and older employees are easy bullying targets because the bully knows you can’t lose your job. If you’re a caregiver for a disabled child, parent or spouse, you may be a target. Targeting these protected categories crosses the line into illegal discrimination.
  2. Targeting the different: Bullies hate people who are different from them. Who might be different to a bully at work? If you notice that you’re being targeted along with others of the same race, sex, religion, national origin, or color, then the bully is engaging in illegal discrimination.
  3. Sudden change: If you weren’t the bully’s target and suddenly are, maybe something changed for you. Did you recently turn 50? Take Family and Medical Leave? Return from military service? Make a worker’s compensation claim? Find out about a genetic condition? If so, the bully might be breaking discrimination, retaliation or other laws.
  4. Stalking: Your state may have anti-stalking laws that prohibit the bully’s behavior. For instance, Florida’s anti-stalking statute provides, “A person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person commits the offense of stalking, a misdemeanor of the first degree.” There are also specific cyberstalking laws in some states.
  5. Assault/battery: If your bully makes you fear you’re about to be hit, that’s assault. If they actually engage in offensive or harmful touching or hitting, they’ve engaged in battery. Both assault and battery are against the law in every state.
So, now that you’ve figured out that your workplace bully is breaking the law, what can you do? I’ll be writing next Tuesday about some things you can do to protect yourself against your workplace bully.

If you need legal advice, it’s best to talk to an employment lawyer in your state, but if you have general legal issues you want me to discuss publicly here, whether about discrimination, working conditions, employment contracts, medical leave, or other employment law issues, you can ask me at AOL Jobs. While I can’t answer every question here, your question might be featured in one of my columns, or in our upcoming live video chat.

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 8:00 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  

REPLAY WEDNESDAY: Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio

March 13, 2016

The planet’s PREMIER Soul, RnB, and talk radio station.  Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. Co-host: Mary L. Sanders. Guests: Marcus Musante is running for Congress in California on a police reform platform. Ricky Martinez was shot by a cop in Montana and lived to talk about it. He will tell us his story. Mary and I will talk about Mary’s public hearing testimony supporting CP’s Meagan Hockaday Act police reform bill, the Donald Trump protest in Chicago, and the neoliberal attack on public sector workers by Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy and Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific.  http://www.sometroradio.com/

Resources

Marcus Musante for Congress:

https://www.facebook.com/MusanteForCongress/timeline

Ricky Martinez Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/rick.p.martinez

Meagan Matters!

https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/03/10/meagan-matters/

Connecticut Voices for Children state budget proposal:

http://www.ctvoices.org/publications/revenue-options-are-crucial-maintaining-public-investments-promote-prosperity

It’s the Corporate State, Stupid:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article7260.htm
The Trump Effect:

http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/Racist-Flyers-Found-in-Southington-372058242.html?_osource=SocialFlowFB_CTBrand

http://www.democracynow.org/2016/2/25/winning_his_race_is_trump_the

 

 

Meagan Matters!

March 10, 2016

This column appears in the March 10 – 17 edition of the Hartford News…

 

 

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio

 

Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. First and third Tuesday of each month. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific. Tune in! Replays the following Wednesday, same time. Next show: March 15.  http://sometroradio.com/  Check out our No Sellout blog for info on the rest of our Community Party Media lineup, including False Choice: the Bipartisan Attack on the Working Class, the Poor and Communities of Color. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/12/20/community-party-media-3/

 

 

 

 

Meagan Hockaday Act

 

Meagan Hockaday was murdered by Oxnard, California police officer Roger Garcia in front of her children on March 28, 2015. https://www.facebook.com/meaganmatters/timeline Garcia has not been charged.  The Community Party’s Meagan Hockaday Act will include enhanced criminal penalties for excessive use of force by the police against mentally ill people and individuals in crisis, in addition to whenever children are present. Our legislation will implement a new international approach to policing, based on a successful model in the United Kingdom and Canada that emphasizes de-escalation and treatment. Public Health Committee co-chair Rep. Matt Ritter is collaborating with us on this bill. Stay tuned for updates and action alerts. Meagan Matters! https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/05/06/meagan-matters-police-murder-of-black-women-ignored-by-corporate-media-activists/ The official bill has been drafted: you can view it here. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/02/24/meagan-hockaday-act-bill-language/  We’ll post action alerts on my Facebook page and the CP Twitter page. Details at the end of the column.  Check out CP’s 2016 legislative package at our No Sellout blog. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/01/03/community-party-2016-legislative-package/

 

 

 

 

Meagan Hockaday Act Public Hearing Testimony

 

This week we’ll share testimony by Debra Cohen, co-founder of Activate CT, and my colleague Mary Sanders, supporting the Meagan Hockaday Act. Big shout out to everyone who has contributed testimony!

Visit No Sell Out to read my testimony. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/02/27/david-samuels-meagan-hockaday-act-public-hearing-testimony/

Please send your testimony to  phtestimony@cga.ct.gov and copy Rep. Ritter.  matthew.ritter@cga.ct.gov    https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/02/26/action-alert-support-the-meagan-hockaday-act/

 

 

 

My thanks to David Samuels and Mary L. Sanders for keeping the Hartford community informed of what is happening and how we can all be involved in working for change. I am writing to express support for legislation that will establish strengthened police training and the availability of mental health professionals during police interaction not only with people who have special needs, but also during crisis situation involving all members of the community. I believe the bill will prove more helpful and responsible with the following:

 

  1. a minimum number of 30 hours of Crisis Intervention training with mandatory annual refresher certification

 

  1. a clearly stated definition of “serious” mental illness so that emergency responses are not left to judgment and interpretation of individual dispatchers who may or may not have received the same training as responding officers

 

  1. inclusion of the phrase “or experiencing an emotional or physical crisis” in the language defining relevant situations. Not all situations where special training and the help of mental health professional will involve people with a history of mental illness. Those suffering an acute, first-time need will benefit from these services as well as those whose history is known to the police.

 

  1. guidelines for determining the presence of children at any scene to which police respond. Children can be especially traumatized by the need for police presence and can benefit from thoughtful and knowledgeable intervention at the outset of any situation.

 

  1. enhanced criminal penalties for police personnel who use excessive force in situations involving mentally ill persons or those experiencing a crisis situation. Penalties should be clearly defined and any review of questionable cases should be in the hands of a committee external to the police department involved. Thank you for your serious consideration of the suggestions raised here. We have the opportunity to greatly improve the services to our community.

 

Sincerely,
Debra Cohen, co-founder Activate

 

 

 

 

March 3, 2016

 

 

To the members of the Public Health Committee of the CGA:

I am writing in support of H.B. No. 5271 – An Act Concerning Mental Health Training in State and Local Police Training Programs and the Availability of Providers of Mental Health Services on an On-Call Basis with the enhancements listed below.

This is one of the issues that my colleagues and I have been concerned about for some time.  We have voiced our opinions regarding unnecessary force used by many police officers, sometimes leading to loss of life.  About half of the people killed by police (over 1,000) across the nation last year suffered some type of mental health issue or were experiencing a crisis; most of these were guilty of no crime and only a danger to themselves.  In fact a good number of the cases were suicide interventions.   Every day someone in crisis or with mental health issues is injured or killed by a police officer who lacks the appropriate training or skills to de-escalate a situation they are called to.  Some of the calls are initiated by family or friends who reach out looking for assistance or crisis intervention.  I’m sure there are so many more cases that we never hear of but I’ll mention just a few of the ones I know about:

Tanisha N. Anderson, of Cleveland, went limp in a police cruiser as they were transporting her to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. Tanisha was just having a bad day when her family called 911 to get her some help.  She panicked after she was in the cruiser and tried to get out but was forcefully restrained by the officers – she ended up dead. http://www.newsnet5.com/news/local-news/cleveland-metro/woman-dies-in-cleveland-police-custody

Caroline Small was a mom and a college student dealing with some mental health issues – the cops cornered her car and shot her after a car chase … they said they feared for their safety.  No attempt made to save her life was made.  See the story here:   http://investigations.myajc.com/caroline-small-shooting/

Christopher Torres was a schizophrenic and was home with his parents when officers jumped a fence to confront him in his back yard over a road rage warrant.  He was shot and killed by Alburquerque officers.   http://www.abqjournal.com/413552/news/judge-awards-6-million-to-family-of-man-shot-by-apd.html

Noel Mendoza told officers that he had eaten drugs when he drove into the Meriden police department parking lot seeking help.  He did become combative and officers used the Taser on him.  He was taken to Midstate Hospital where he died.  http://fox61.com/2013/06/11/man-who-died-after-being-shocked-with-taser-had-extensive-criminal-record/

Danielle Jacobs, a young woman with Asperger’s had once called Arizona the “worst mental health system across the U.S.”   Apparently the criminal justice system is just as bad because when she was suicidal, instead of de-escalating the situation, the police shot her to death.  Danielle had made videos of herself months before showing how her service dog could calm her down during her “self-harm and meltdowns”.   Mesa, Arizona police confirmed that Jacobs, 24, was the woman shot dead by officers responding to a suicidal-person call at her home https://www.veooz.com/news/GKNDV5M.html

Linwood Lambert was making noise at a hotel and someone called the police.  They were taking him to the E.R. for an evaluation due to his erratic behavior but when he started running outside the hospital the officers used the Taser on him repeatedly.  They decided to take him to the station instead of bringing him into the hospital but he died during the ride.  http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=lambert+died+after+tasers+used+by+police&view=detail&mid=0EECC2932E35E6A25E9D0EECC2932E35E6A25E9D&FORM=VIRE

With the ‘war against the poor’ in full swing many of our nation’s most vulnerable are victims of biased policing.   Many homeless individuals are also dealing with mental health issues; often they are unnecessarily arrested, injured or even killed by police.   One such man known as “Africa” was killed by L.A. police over the removal of his tent.  See more at:   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/01/lapd-fatally-shoots-homel_n_6780810.html

James Boyd, another homeless man, this time in Albuquerque, is shot while half dozen other officers who were trying to talk him into coming down the mountain just watch.  He’s then cuffed and left bleeding to death while they search his camp on the mountainside. http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/12/us/albuquerque-police-murder-charges/index.html

Meagan Hockaday was in crisis, we don’t know the history of this couple but it was a domestic violence situation.  Her boyfriend made the call and asked Oxnard, CA police to intervene but they shot her dead within seconds of entering the apartment.  She was holding a knife in her hand but wasn’t even told to drop it before shots rang out killing her in front of her 3 young children.  She may have been holding the knife in self-defense for all the officers knew.  She posed no threat to the police and was standing with her back towards them, oblivious to their entrance.    Meagan was only 26 and deserved a chance to live; she would have had that chance if a trained professional had been present to de-escalate the situation.  Meagan did not have to die at the hand of that officer and now her children have to live with that image in their memory.  http://www.bet.com/news/national/2015/04/01/meagan-hockaday-shot-and-killed-by-police.html

Although it may have been futile, attempts at first aid or interventions to save any of these victims were absent as we see in many police interventions where parties are injured.  This failure to provide medical attention when warranted is a dereliction of duty and should not go unpunished.

After much thought and consideration we came up with a few recommendations that can make a big difference.  I drafted language and forwarded the proposed Meagan Hockaday Act.

While many states or cities claim they do not have funds to pay for the CIT program, we are proposing an even better alternative … that of having mental health/law enforcement triage patrol teams.    Sending out an officer with the previously recommended 30 hours of CIT training would help but models like those in Hamilton and London are proving even more effective.  Having a psych nurse, licensed clinical social worker, or other credentialed person on the ride would allow the individual access to other services they might need.  Larger cities might need a couple people on call thru our numerous mental health institutions.   There are so many lives to be saved with the proper interventions vs. attempted detainment or a violent arrest.  The sight and calming voice of a helping figure vs. that of law enforcement could have saved many lives included that of Meagan Hockaday.  Instead we have her 3 children, left traumatized and motherless.

Recommendations:

1)      A CT Task Force should be established to study these Triage Patrol initiatives and compare it to whatever training programs may currently be in place at this time.  CT Departments should adopt policies regarding triage patrols and nonlethal methods of subduing mentally ill individuals and people in crisis.

2)      Dispatch will need more training in how to screen incoming calls and in cases of domestic violence, suicide threats, drug overdose, or other crisis intervention calls the police officers responding should be accompanied by a mental health professional who should take the lead in de-escalation and resolution attempts.  Police officers should intervene if there are no other alternatives and with the goal being that no one is injured.  Those needing safe shelter should be accommodated, those needing only detox services should be provided access without resulting criminal charges, other health related crisis should be attended to at the closest hospital’s Emergency Room.   If legislators deem this unworkable then the 30 hour CIT training should be part of the Police Academy standard training and a 4 hour yearly refresher course should be required.

3)      Dispatch should find out if children are present before sending officers to these types of calls and a mental health professional should be called in to remove the children from the situation.  Police officers should refrain from physically restraining, or injuring a parent or caregiver in the presence of minors.  Officers who use excessive force on mentally ill individuals or people in crisis, especially when children are present should face criminal penalties.  If a parent is shot by a police officer in front of their child, the officer who commits this crime should be charged with risk of injury to a minor, at minimal.  There have been numerous cases publicized where children are killed by officers pursuing others.  Those officers should minimally be charged with negligent homicide.

 

4)      Free counseling should be provided to surviving victims and the secondary victims, (immediate family/loved ones of victims) of excessive use of force by police.

 

5)      If all else fails and an officer ends up injuring someone during an arrest or intervention they should be duty bound to provide first aid or to call for emergency medical assistance and not leave them bleeding or convulsing after being shocked.

 

I know this is a lot to ask of our CT officers, especially since many other states have much worse track records.  I want to believe that our officers value all lives and I know these recommendations will save lives.  We can be proactive and be a model state for the nation.

 

Thank you so much for listening & May God guide you in your service to the residents of CT.

 

Mary L. Sanders

Hartford, CT

Community Party Member

 

 

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 8:00 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