Police Brutality in East Hartford/Meagan Hockaday Act

by David Samuels

This column appears in the December 22 – 29 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! http://www.sometroradio.com/ PROGRAM ALERT: Our Year in Review show has been rescheduled to December 27. 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

Visit No Sellout to listen to podcasts of past shows. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/04/08/podcast-community-party-radio-on-so-metro-radio/

Policy Watch: East Hartford Brutality Case Underscores Need for Proactive Police Reform

Systematic police repression of communities of color will not be stopped by opportunistic individuals who surface for high profile cases and disappear, until the next publicized incident of police abuse. Police brutality is a result of policy. Neoliberal economic policies by the Democrats and Republicans fuel poverty in urban areas, depriving these neighborhoods of jobs, resources and economic opportunity. Consequently, the underground economy (drug trade) and accompanying gun violence become a part of the fabric of these communities. The racist so-called War on Drugs and the prison industrial complex perpetuate a police culture that is based on targeting, arresting, brutalizing and incarcerating Black, Brown and Indigenous people. Former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper talked about the root causes of police violence during a July Democracy Now! interview. “I think what accounts for it—there are several factors, one of which is that in 1971 Richard Nixon famously proclaimed drugs public enemy number one—drug abuse—and declared all-out war on drugs, which was really a declaration of war against his own people. And overwhelmingly, young people, poor people, people of color suffered, and have continued to suffer over the decades as a result of a decision to put America’s front-line police officers on the front lines of the drug war as foot soldiers. And then we wonder why there’s such a strain in the relationship between police and community, and particularly those communities that are entrenched in poverty and other economic disadvantage, communities that historically have been neglected or abused or oppressed by their own police departments. So we really intensified and escalated the country’s war against poor people with that drug war. And we have spent $1.3 trillion prosecuting that war since the 1970s, incarcerated literally tens of millions. Please hear that figure: tens of millions of disproportionately young people and poor people and people of color. What do we have to show for it? Drugs are more readily available at lower prices and higher levels of potency. It’s time for us to end that drug war. That began the militarization of policing, without a doubt.” The link to the full interview with Stamper is available in our Resources section. The current system protects dirty cops, while officers who speak out against corruption, racism and brutality are quickly run off the force. Coming in 2017: The Community Party’s Trayvon Martin Act includes provisions that address racial profiling, police violence and the containment of urban neighborhoods. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/11/17/community-party-trayvon-martin-act-bill-language-4/

Dismantling and reforming a system that took decades to build requires grassroots policy work, which mostly takes place outside of the view of TV cameras and news reporters.

Report courtesy of Fox 61.

Man in hospital two weeks after he claims he was beaten by East Hartford Police

Posted December 14, 2016, by Jenna DeAngelis

HARTFORD – Two weeks after an incident, a man is still recovering in Hartford Hospital from injuries he claims he sustained at the hands of East Hartford Police officers.

Jermaine Feliciano, 33, says he has been in Hartford Hospital since Nov. 29, the day after his arrest.

An internal investigation is underway at the East Hartford Police Department. The State’s Attorney’s Office is also investigating.

The incident began when East Hartford Police responded to an apartment on Silver Lane for a verbal dispute on Nov. 28. The complainant stated they could hear kids crying.

According to a police report, upon police arrival, a male and female were yelling loudly in the hallway. Feliciano was involved in the dispute and fled at the sight of police.

Officer Jared Richards wrote in the report that he pursued the male, yelling clear and loud verbal commands for him to stop to which he did not comply with. When Officer Richards ran around the corner, he saw Feliciano at the bottom of a steep hill leading into a wooded area. He appeared to have fallen. Officer Richards said he yelled at Feliciano to stay on the ground and show his hands, but Feliciano got up and ran.

When the second officer on scene, Officer David Choquette, caught up to the pair, the report states, they placed Feliciano under arrest.

The police report does not indicate that any violence occurred.

Feliciano says police are leaving out what really happened.

“One of them dropped their knee down on my back, picked me up, put me against the wall and raised my hands up behind my back, and um, the other cop from the side just, I don’t know if it was the sticks or his fist but just began to hit me in the side,” Feliciano said. “When I was falling the other cops kept me up, and um, one of them started kneeing me. He was hitting me from the back and I was hitting the cement from the wall…I felt like I was gonna die.”

Feliciano, a father of six, admits he had a troubled past but says he turned his life around. He acknowledged wrongdoing for running from police.

“I was a little intoxicated, a little scared, you know, I haven`t gotten in trouble in years,” he said. “I just feel like it’s wrong, I was wrong for running but I don’t deserve the beating that they gave me.”

Feliciano’s attorney Andrew Crumbie said he was beaten by police and sustained critical injuries which includes seven broken ribs, a punctured lung, a ruptured spleen and a fractured shoulder.

Crumbie said Feliciano requested medical attention several times while incarcerated at the East Hartford Police Station, but never got it.

In a letter to the state’s attorney, Crumbie wrote:

Mr. Feliciano was held in a jail cell throughout the night while in excruciating pain and spitting and vomiting blood as a result of severe internal bleeding. Other prisoners housed with Mr. Feliciano attempted to flood the cell with water due to the voluminous amounts of blood expelled by Mr. Feliciano during his confinement.

The following day, after arriving to court for his arraignment, Crumbie said Feliciano was taken to Manchester Hospital. He was transported to Hartford Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.

“I myself was a police officer for 20 years and I have never seen such a reckless and callous disregard for human safety and human life in this instance,” attorney Crumbie said. “As he was being transported to the EHPD one of the officers kept saying to him — remember you fell down the embankment, right? — he basically cried as a result of thinking this was gonna be covered up.”

Crumbie’s letter to the state’s attorney, East Hartford Police and the U.S. Department of Justice demands “an immediate investigation into the actions and behaviors of the police officers involved in the assault on Mr. Feliciano as well as the actions of those who refused him medical attention.”

According to Crumbie, the state’s attorney said she is actively investigating the matter and seized video tape from the East Hartford Police Department.

“Per standard protocol, East Hartford Police began investigating this matter internally over a week ago, upon becoming aware of injuries Mr. Feliciano claims he sustained during his arrest on November 28th,” East Hartford Police Lieutenant Joshua Litwin said in a statement. “This investigation is ongoing.”

The charges against Feliciano include violation of protective order, second-degree breach of peace and resisting arrest/interfering with an officer.

In a comment, East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc said: “I trust in the integrity and professionalism of my police department.”

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 was not criminally charged. Coming in 2017: 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. Stay tuned for updates. Meagan Matters! https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/05/06/meagan-matters-police-murder-of-black-women-ignored-by-corporate-media-activists/

Resources

Police in U.S. kill more people than all other developed nations COMBINED:

http://thefreethoughtproject.com/cops-killed-8-hours-2015-early-graves-day/

Ex-Seattle Police Chief Condemns Systemic Police Racism Dating Back to Slave Patrols:

https://www.democracynow.org/2016/7/14/ex_seattle_police_chief_condemns_systemic

Hamilton, Ontario Police COAST Program:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/news/hamilton-police-send-mental-health-pros-to-the-front-lines-with-cops-1.3024000

https://www.stjoes.ca/health-services/mental-health-addiction-services/mental-health-services/coast

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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