Sen. Eric Coleman: Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and Delrawn Small Deserve Justice!

by David Samuels

This column appears in the July 14 – 21 edition of the Hartford News…

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio
Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. First, third and fifth Tuesday of each month. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific. Tune in! Replays on the Tuesdays that we’re not on live and every Wednesday, same time. Next show: July 19. Mary Sanders and I will talk about the police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and the attack on Dallas police officers. Guests: Dan Durso, Outreach Coordinator with the grassroots Bernie Sanders Connecticut Team, will join us for a preview of the Democratic National Convention July 25-28 in Philadelphia.  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/
Community Party Radio Podcasts
Josh Elliott, Candidate for State Representative
Check out CP’s No Sellout blog Election 2016 Candidate Tracker for a profile provided by Josh Elliott, a Bernie Sanders supporter who is running for a seat in the Connecticut General Assembly. Includes info on making a donation to his campaign. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/05/14/election-2016-candidate-tracker-josh-elliott/
Community Update: Hartford Housing Issues
Activists Mary Sanders, Debra Cohen, Jill Friedman and Evelyn Richardson spoke during Monday’s Hartford city council meeting, calling for housing reform. JoAnne Bauer and Luz Santana also attended. They requested that homes and apartments in the city that have security bars on the windows be modified, by installing bars with a safety release on the inside. A January 2014 fire on Bedford Street took the lives of 4-year-old Shantay Drake and her mother, Susan Therrien. Firefighters were delayed entering the home due to security bars on the windows that did not have a safety release. The other issue discussed involves snow removal: specifically the adoption of the current Manchester ordinance, which allows residents to call the town for snow removal services if the landlord does not clear the snow in a timely fashion. Delinquent landlords in Manchester are billed for snow removal services that are performed by the town. If the bill is not paid, a lien is placed on the property.
A Week of Violence
“Police practices follow public policy. Public policy has real consequences.” That’s a quote from Rev. Raphael Warnock, who gave the most insightful critique on police brutality that I’ve ever heard during a CNN interview last week. Warnock said the talk about good cops and bad cops misses the point, which is that the United States is the incarceration capital of the world, and police policies are directly connected to Black mass incarceration. Warnock pointed out the fact that the U.S. is responsible for 25% of the prison population worldwide, and described police officers as “cogs in a wheel” who carry out mass incarceration policies through their actions in the streets. Warnock called on presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to address the connection between Black mass incarceration, and police violence.  It’s time to talk about the racist so-called War on Drugs…President Obama’s Justice Department has prosecuted 0 police officers.
Lots of talk about “establishing trust” between police, and communities of color. The Connecticut Police Chiefs Association could do their part, by ending their practice of knee jerk opposition to any police reform legislation that is introduced at the State Capitol. Last week former NYPD cop Harry Houck blamed “anti-police rhetoric” and protests for the attack on police in Dallas. So let me get this straight: am I supposed to just shut up about the fact that police in this country kill people at 70 times the rate of other ‘first world’ nations? Am I supposed to shut up about the fact that Black people (um, that’s me) are being killed at a disproportionate rate? Am I supposed to tell Misha Charlton, Laurie Valdez, Toni Taylor and others who have lost loved ones to police violence to shut up, and get over it? No, I won’t be doing that. Unlike the bigots on the right who savor Black death, I don’t celebrate what happened in Dallas. I’m not cool with that at all. However the actions of a lunatic doesn’t mean that people who are speaking up against police violence are wrong. VIOLENCE IS WRONG!!!
Check out this bombshell, courtesy of  Daily Kos.  http://www.dailykos.com/

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I read a comment on Facebook that no police officers are speaking up against racism, brutality and corruption, which is not true. I have interviewed three cops who spoke up, including former LAPD officer Alex Salazar, on Community Party Radio. Cleveland police officer Nakia Jones condemned the Alton Sterling shooting in a viral video.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IOY2nyBkKA Unfortunately officers who do speak up are usually run off the force, while cops who engage in racial profiling, corruption and violence are protected by police union contract/bill of rights. Former NYPD officer Adrian Schoolcraft was tossed into a psych ward for complaining about corruption in the department. So for the record, I’m not a part of the ‘f— all cops’ faction.
Surveillance video has emerged that contradicts NYPD officer Wayne Isaacs’ claim that he fatally shot Delrawn,Small, an unarmed Black man, July 4 after Small walked up to his car and punched him in the face.  http://www.democracynow.org/2016/7/11/as_protests_erupt_nationwide_a_new
The Bahamas has issued a travel warning to citizens who visit the United States, due to police violence.
Body Cameras
Below is an email that was sent to Senator Eric Coleman, following the police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. 

Subject: PUBLIC SAFETY EMERGENCY: Mandatory Body Cameras for Police Officers

 

The live video that Diamond “Lavish” Reynolds took of the police murder of her boyfriend, Philando Castile, July 6 in Minnesota underscores the need for MANDATORY BODY CAMERAS FOR ALL POLICE OFFICERS. Police in the United States kill people at 70 times the rate of other ‘first world’ nations. 1140 people were killed in 2015, according to The Gaurdian newspaper’s The Counted database. http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2015/jun/01/the-counted-police-killings-us-database 580 people have been killed by police this year, according to the Killed by Police database. http://www.killedbypolice.net/  Young Black males are 21 times more likely to be shot to death by police, according to a ProPublica analysis. https://www.propublica.org/article/deadly-force-in-black-and-white  8 Black women have been killed already this year; 10 were killed in all of 2015. The Community Party is calling on Sen. Eric Coleman, Co-Chair of the Connecticut General Assembly Judiciary Committee, to introduce an amendment to the current body cameras law during the 2017 legislative session, requiring all patrol officers to wear cameras. Most police departments, including the Hartford Police, are not complying with the current body cameras law, which is voluntary and provides grant money to police departments that opt in. The HPD is currently being sued for brutality by two men, who were arrested following a June 4 car chase. It is time for state lawmakers to pass legislation that will hold killer cops accountable.
David Samuels
Mary Sanders
Debbie Duncan-Cook
Janet Frazao-Conaci
Jacqui Parker
Garland Parker
Christina Eva
Body cameras are just a start… NYPD cop Daniel Pantaleo was caught on crystal clear video using an illegal choke hold to murder Eric Garner. Pantaleo walked because of a rigged grand jury system, where prosecutors act as de facto defense attorneys for accused officers. Police union contract/bill of rights language further insulate killer cops from accountability. These systemic issues must also be addressed.
Resources
Community Party Radio interview with former LAPD officer Alex Salazar (two parts): 
  
Police in the US Kill Citizens at Over 70 Times the Rate of Other First-World Nations:
Walker Report: Baltimore Police Union Contract Impedes Accountability:
Community Party Sandra Bland Police Reform & Economic Justice Plan:
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, third and fifth 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  

 

 

                                       

 

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