UNPRECEDENTED ‘KATRINA’ OF TAX FORECLOSURES TO HIT DETROIT, WAYNE COUNTY MARCH 31

(L to r) Luis and Cecilia Mendoza, with Cornell Squires, point out abandoned, burnt out properties next to their home (at far left). They have paid $16,000 in property taxes but are facing foreclosure March 31. They have five children.
(L to r) Luis and Cecilia Espinoza, with Cornell Squires, point out abandoned, burnt out properties next to their home (at far left). They have paid $16,000 in property taxes since 2011 but are facing foreclosure March 31. They have five children and little income.

“Largest mass foreclosure in one city at one time in U.S. history”

62,000 homes on auction block, 37,000 occupied, most by families

Tax bills are criminal “crap shoot,” violate state laws requiring annual re-assessments; opponents say people should demand reimbursement

Numerous groups call for moratorium on foreclosures, cancellation of past tax debt, use of federal “Hardest Hit” funds to pay bills and refill city, county coffers;

Protest set for Tues. March 31 at 400 Monroe

 By Diane Bukowski

 March 28, 2015

Luis and Cecilia Espinoza with their five children and friends in 2011.

Luis and Cecilia Espinoza with their five children and friends, including Cornell Squires (center back row)  in 2011.

Detroit—“I want to take my family back to Mexico,” Cecilia Espinoza says of her husband Luis and five young children, Leonardo, Genoveva, Gavino , Pedro, and Luis III, ages 7 t0 17. “We have paid $16,000 in taxes on our home since 2011, and now they want to force us out.”

Mrs. Espinoza has treasurer’s receipts for $13,424.41, paid through May 8, 2014. She has not been able to keep track of off of all her paperwork, but her family’s property is worth far less than even that amount.

The Treasurer claims the Espinozas still owe $10,009 in taxes, for a total of $26,000. They live in a two story home on Tarnow off McGraw, next to two horrific burnt-out and abandoned houses, and across the street from a vacant field that became a dumping ground after houses there were demolished.

Lot across street from Espinoza home.

Lot across street from Espinoza home.

The Espinozas cleaned up that field, but still cannot let their children outside to play due to the deterioration of the neighborhood. They struggle to make a living with intermittent jobs. Detroit Human Services has refused the family cash assistance, providing only $1200 a month in food stamps and Medicaid.

The property is on the list of 62,000 foreclosures pending in 2015, published by the Wayne County Treasurer’s office in the Legal News.  It is likely the largest removal of a population in U.S. history, second only to the genocidal evictions of the land’s indigenous people, the Native Americans, and the kidnapping of millions of Africans from their homeland to support a slave economy whose effects redound to this day.

March31-TaxDemo-long-421x1024Cornell Squires of We the People for the People and RicoBusters said determination of property tax values has been nothing but a crap shoot in Detroit for the last 20 years, during which time no re-assessments have been performed, in violation of state law requiring annual assessments. (See MCL 211.1o, “Annual Assessment of Property,” at mcl-211-10 Annual assessment of property  and State Provisions for Property Reassessment. )

“The assessor’s office told me during the Kilpatrick administration that they had only two full-time assessors,” Squires said. “This is nothing but outright criminal fraud and racketeering, because the tax bills people are being forced to pay are illegal. State law requires annual assessments, or at the very least, reassessments every five years. It is a CRIME to force people to pay these amounts. Instead, they should be reimbursed for overpayments for the last 20 years, and the politicians in charge should go to jail.”

During the last two decades, conditions in Detroit have deteriorated drastically, due to the exodus of major employers including the auto industry, the privatization for profit of the public sector, the destruction of the city’s public school system, rising utility bills and shut-offs, and rising insurance rates on cars, homes, and other property. (See     for description of basis of property tax rate determination.)

Detroit “Mayor” Mike Duggan said in his state of the City address that he was initiating a re-assessment of all Detroit property taxes, to conclude in 2016. He said property taxes would be dropped from 0 percent to 20 percent according to neighborhood location. The southwest side is slated for only a 5 percent decrease.

Duggan pointing out selected areas of Detroit that will have taxes decreased.

Duggan pointing out selected areas of Detroit that will have taxes decreased.

He said the decreased taxes would allow more homeowners to pay. However, the Detroit bankruptcy Plan of Adjustment has tripled the city’s general fund debt through 2043, to $3 billion. That debt is backed by property taxes and state revenue sharing funds, so it is unlikely that the city’s debt holders will favor any moratorium or decrease in taxes.

“Those amounts will nowhere near reimburse taxpayers for the amounts they have overpaid in the last 20 years,” Squires said. He has had to battle for years to have his home on Detroit’s impoverished far southwest side re-assessed to a $900 a year payment, after buying it while it was burnt-out and refurbishing it.  However, it is on the foreclosure block again, with the Treasurer listing $7,194.49 as the amount due, including taxes prior to the reassessment.

Cornell Squires' home at 3380 Electric. It was burnt out when he bought it and he renovated it.

Cornell Squires’ home at 3380 Electric. It was burnt out when he bought it and he renovated it.

Neither Duggan, nor Wayne County officials Treasurer Raymond Wojtowicz, Executive Warren Evans or Sheriff Benny Napoleon have called a halt to tax foreclosures and evictions while the re-assessment proceeds. Such a moratorium has a precedent—in 2009, Evans, then Wayne County Sheriff, declared a nine-month moratorium on mortgage foreclosures in the county.

But city and county leaders along with the non-profits that are supposed to fight foreclosures  are waiting for the September and October tax auctions, during which foreclosed properties will be sold for as little as $500, many in bundles to wealthy speculators. These auctions are legally questionable as well, since the Treasurer does no title search on the properties being auctioned.

A heartbreaking tale of a neighborhood:

A heartbreaking tale of a neighborhood: block of Electric Street where Cornell Squires, his mother and his son still live in separate houses, in view of homes (l to r) where homeowner died, vandalized; Conrad Walker lived in middle home 50 years after parents died, lost to mortgage foreclosure, fire; 2012 tax foreclosure. Photos: Cornell Squires

A block over from Electric: Edsel street homes.

A block over from Electric: Edsel street homes.

Homes destroyed by fire, Edsel Street

Homes destroyed by fire, Edsel Street

In  2013, Detroit was forced to reimburse Wayne County $117 million it had advanced to cover properties that did not sell at the auctions, according to the city’s 2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. It expects to owe at least another $72 million in coming “post-bankruptcy” years, according to the Moratorium NOW! Coalition against Foreclosures, Evictions, and Utility Shut-offs.

Another Edsel home.

Another Edsel home.

Total devastation on Edsel.

Total devastation on Edsel.

In February, according to the southwest Detroit-based newspaper El Central, 50 Detroiters sat in at the city’s Tax Assessor’s office to demand justice from Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

“Homeowners were promised a massive reduction in interest and penalty rates, and an opportunity to have their property re-assessed to pay their fair share, a right granted to every Michigan homeowner” El Central said. “Instead, at last week’s Show Cause hearing at Cobo Hall, homeowners were met with demands by the Wayne County Treasurer’s office for huge down payments and unaffordable payment plans . . . .

“Homeowners said that the treasurer’s office wasn’t offering any type of reduction and that the fast-track payment plans were often in the range of $350-$400 a month extra on top of all their other bills. So essentially people must choose between putting food on the table or having a table with no home left to put it on.”

El Central_0001

In addition to the residents who sat in at the assessors’ office in February, numerous other groups including the Moratorium NOW! Coalition Against Foreclosures, Evictions and Shut-offs, the Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association, Michigan Welfare Rights, the Detroit People’s Platform, The North End Community Council, the Russell Woods Neighborhood Association, Detroit Eviction Defense, the Rosedale Park Improvement Association, and many more are battling the foreclosure Katrina.

Bill Davis, Pres. of Detroit Active and Retired Employees Ass. (DAREA) outside CAYMC March 24. He spoke at both county and city meetings to urge halt to foreclosures.

Bill Davis, Pres. of Detroit Active and Retired Employees Ass. (DAREA) outside CAYMC March 24. He spoke at both county and city meetings to urge halt to foreclosures.

Since February, Detroit and Wayne County residents have filled meetings of the Wayne County Commission, on March 19, and the Detroit City Council, on March 24, calling for an immediate moratorium. While most officials were favorable to passing resolutions for moratoriums, a speaker at the City Council hearing pointed out that Wojtowicz doesn’t need resolutions, that he has the executive authority to halt the foreclosures himself.

A coalition plans to demonstrate at the Treasurer’s office on March 31, D-Day for final tax payments. Treasurer Raymond Wojtowicz has not extended the deadline this year as he has in previous years, proving that he does have executive powers.

Krystal Price and Kamala El at Wayne Co. Commission meeting.

Krystal Price and Kamala El at Wayne Co. Commission meeting.

During the Commission hearing, Krystal Price and Kamala El of Ricobusters produced documents showing that there has been continuing fraud in the Treasurer’s office. They said some taxpayers are told to make out checks to “Raymond Wojtowicz” personally, not to the county, and that many foreclosures are carried out by non-authorized personnel in the Sheriff’s office.

“Two lives have already been lost due to the Treasurer’s practices,” El said, referring to the killings of two erstwhile landlords in Detroit’s Rosedale Park neighborhood who tried to evict a family by flashing guns. The Treasurer has not provided proper instructions to winning bidders to get legal evictions done through 36th District Court.

They noted that the day’s agenda included approval of the use of $4.5 million from the county’s “Delinquent Tax Revolving Fund” for the expansion of the first floor at 400 Monroe, the building where the Treasurer’s office is located on several floors. The County does not own the building, however. Eighty-six separate taxpayers occupy it according to the county’s own records.

The County builds the Delinquent Tax fund by borrowing money from the banks, based on delinquent taxes owing in all its municipalities. Thus it can actually pay the taxes of foreclosed homeowners directly. However, the funds are disbursed at the Treasurer’s sole discretion, according to the attached document from the Michigan Association of County Treasurers. Click on Delinquent Tax Revolving Fund.

Hardest Hit Fund recipientsSpeakers from the Moratorium NOW! Coalition pointed out that $251 million of the $498 million in federal Helping Hardest Hit Homeowners funds provided to Michigan to help occupants stay in their homes remains unspent and can be used to pay off the delinquent taxes in  a “win-win” situation. Residents would remain in their homes while the coffers of the county and municipalities would be replenished.

Instead, Detroit’s “Blight Removal Task Force,” headed by billionaire Dan Gilbert, has used most of the funds to pay for demolition of homes that were forced into foreclosure by the fraudulent lending practices of the country’s banks, leaving Detroit neighborhoods looking like war zones. Most of the funds are going to Adamo Demolition, a white-owned corporation with revenues of $13.4 million.

Gilbert and billionaire Mike Illitch are also busy gentrifying downtown Detroit and the former “Cass Corridor” for their profit, using public funds while driving Black Detroiters out of the areas.

The U.S. Treasury says on its website regarding the Hardest Hit progam, “Early in 2010, Treasury announced that the Hardest Hit Fund® would provide more than $7.6 billion in aid for homeowners in states hardest hit by the economic crisis. Since then, state housing finance agencies have used the fund to develop programs that stabilize local housing markets and help families avoid foreclosure.”

The Hardest Hit Fund language does not include demolition of properties. Many county residents complained at the hearings that they had been denied funds from Michigan’s Step Forward program, a part of the Hardest Hit Fund, while homes are being demolished.

Dawn DeRose at Wayne County Commission.

Dawn DeRose at Wayne County Commission.

“Declare a State of Emergency!” Dawn DeRose demanded at the Commission hearing. “There is fraud going on. There are veterans being evicted who are not supposed to be foreclosed. We are never going to stop blight if we don’t stop foreclosures. We need a moratorium to keep people in their homes. Government is for the people, not for business.”

State Property Tax law does not permit the evictions of veterans with honorable discharges.

Charles Armstrong, an elderly Detroit resident, testified at both meetings that he is facing foreclosure on his home, located on Detroit’s east side near Mack and McClellan, for a bill of a little over $800.

“I had $5000 in escrow with the City of Detroit to cover my taxes,” Armstrong said. “But they didn’t apply it to my taxes, and they didn’t give me my money back.”

Charles Armstrong faces foreclosure for only $852.

Charles Armstrong faces foreclosure for only $852.

The southwest side group which protested at the Detroit assessor’s office in February is demanding, “Wipe away all back taxes for anyone who could have applied for a poverty exemption,” another provision of state law that should apply  to the majority of Detroiters. Detroit is the poorest large city in the U.S. Fifty-nine percent of its children live under the federal poverty level.

Pastor Bill Wylie Kellerman called for a “Jubilee” on debt, a concept originating in the Bible which declares that all debts shall be forgiven every 50 years.

Wayne County Commissioner Martha Scott, who sponsored a resolution for a moratorium on foreclosures several years ago, was essentially the only Commissioner who spoke out strongly on the issue, saying she has her staff members preparing a resolution now.

“We are providing hundreds millions to build the M1 rail system on Woodward, but we are allowing thousands of people to be foreclosed, and thousands of people to have their pensions cut,” Scott said. “It is horrible what we have done to people. The businessmen are getting it all, with 40 to 50 percent tax cuts. It is time for us to open up our mouths and hearts to get something done, because people are losing all hope.”

G. Errol Jennings

G. Errol Jennings

Prior to the City Council hearing, G. Errol Jennings, President of the Russell Woods-Sullivan Area Association, led a protest outside with many of the area’s residents,  members of Moratorium Now, and other groups.

“We need to stop all foreclosures now,” Jennings said. “People are paying ridiculously high property taxes. We are going to bring the heat from the street on this one. The Mayor said in his State of the City address that he wants to be judged on how many people move back into the city—well, he better act now.”

Joan Jackson said she is facing foreclosure after losing her job with the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries, where she worked for 19 years. She said 60 to 70 others had also been laid off.

“I got denied unemployment because they hadn’t been paying into the state unemployment fund,” she said. “When I went to Michigan Step Forward for help with my taxes, I found out you had to have a job to qualify. Now my water is about to be shut off. I believe water should be free.”

Linda Campbell of the Detroit People’s Platform reads their demands to halt foreclosures to the city council March 24.

During the Council session, several members of the Detroit People’s Platform including Linda Campbell read their demands on the foreclosures into the record, saying they had delivered thousands of petitions demanding a halt on the foreclosures to the Treasurer’s office.

“Wayne County Treasurer Wojtowicz is in charge of foreclosing on 37,000 occupied homes for overdue property taxes on March 31st, affecting nearly 100,000 people,” Campbell said. “This represents the largest mass tax foreclosure in US history in one city at one time. Treasurer Wojtowicz has the power to stop it. Detroiters are being foreclosed upon due to incorrect tax bills with exaggerated property assessments and disputed water bill liens.

“Long-time residents are the heart and soul of Detroit. Ongoing displacement of our families from mortgage and tax foreclosures has been devastating. Public services are being cut and privatized, and Detroiters are being pushed out of their generational homes. To now lose another 100,000 residents would cut the city’s total population by 1/6 and tear a hole in the city’s cultural and economic fabric that can never be replaced.”

Mike Shane

Mike Shane

Mike Shane of Moratorium Now said, “This is an unprecedented crisis. This will mean that one out of every three families in Detroit have been foreclosed. The banks are responsible for this devastation of our neighborhoods. We need to sue them to force them to clean up our city.”

Cheryl West said she had lived in her home for 60 years, since childhood, but lost it to foreclosure in October, 2014.

“Now I have a landlady who is charging me $700 a month in rent, not including utilities. I applied for Michigan Step Forward funds before the foreclosure, but was denied four times,” West said.

One speaker summed it all up, quoting Ephesians 6:12, from the King James Bible:

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Links to some groups fighting foreclosures:

Detroit People’s Platform at http://www.unitingdetroiters.org/ and https://www.facebook.com/DetroitPeoplesPlatform Sign the petition to let the Wayne County Treasurer know that 100,000 Detroit residents need a place to call home!

Moratorium NOW! http://moratorium-mi.org/

RICObusters https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCd3xqk6Kc778ASLAsRpV5ag

Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association http://dareafights.blogspot.com/

 


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VIDEO SHOWS ‘ROBOCOP’ MELENDEZ, OTHER INKSTER COPS CHOKE, BEAT BLACK DETROITER NEARLY TO DEATH

“Justice is having the person that did this to me locked up”—Floyd Dent

“[Melendez] said he was a Black man in a Cadillac and he was going to stop him”—Dent’s attorney Gregory Rohl

Melendez sued for brutality numerous  times, tried by feds in 2004 as ringleader of “Ramparts”-style cop gang on Detroit’s southwest side

Inkster Police Chief Vicki Yost aided 3-time killer cop Eugene Brown in death of Lamar Grable while on Detroit police force

Protest planned to support Dent Wed. April 1, 4:30 – 6:30 PM

By Diane Bukowski

March 26, 2015 

Vicki Yost as Detroit Police Inspector. and  DPD’s liaison to the USDOJ under the former consent decree.

Lamar Grable, 20, “executed” by Detroit killer cop Eugene Brown, with his partner Yost,  1996.

Update: Inkster officials held a press conference March 26 asking for patience during the investigation of this near-fatal beating. What is there to investigate? They have the videotape. Please note Inkster police chief Vicki Yost’s past role on the Detroit police force, and the fact that she lied about immediately inviting the MSP in as indicated in the story below. She had to have known about Robocop Melendez’ vicious past on the DPD since she was there in an executive position when he and other Detroit cops were tried by the feds in 2004.

Justice delayed is justice denied. It’s the same old story. Since the beginning of this year, 200 people across the U.S. have been killed by police, and not ONE cop involved in the killings of Michael Brown and dozens of others has gone to jail. For account of Inkster officials’ press conference, read http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/wayne-county/2015/03/26/inkster-motorist-arrest/70478874/.

For account of police killings nationally since beginning of 2015, read http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/03/13/2-cops-shot-in-ferguson-after-police-in-u-s-kill-3-people-a-day-since-2015-began/.

Floyd Dent speaks at press conference March 25, 2015.

Floyd Dent speaks at press conference March 25, 2015.

Inkster, MI – Former Detroit “Robocop” William Melendez has re-surfaced in Inkster, star of a police dash-cam video that shows him punching Black Detroit motorist Floyd  Dent, 57, in the head 16 times while confining him in a chokehold January 28. Then a gang of white Inkster cops are shown tasing Dent, and beating and kicking him as two white State Troopers look on.

“Why are you doing this? What did I do?” Dent cries out as he is thrown up on the hood of a police car, bloodied and battered. Dent has been a Ford autoworker at the Rouge plant for 37 years and is a member of UAW Local 600. He was visiting a blind friend in Inkster when stopped, according to his attorney Gregory Rohl. He has no criminal record.

“Justice is having the person that did this to me locked up,” Dent said of Melendez, as tears flowed down his cheeks. He spoke during a press conference at Rohl’s offices in Novi. “I just saw this videotape for the first time the other day because I didn’t want to look at it. I just found out [about Melendez’s past record of brutality] and I couldn’t believe it. He’s a bad cop.”

William "Robocop" Melendez/Photo by Diane Bukowski, 2004

William “Robocop” Melendez 2004/Photo Diane Bukowski,

Melendez in armor

Robocop Melendez in SWAT style armor.

Rohl said Dent sustained injuries including a fracture of his left orbit (around his eye), subdural hematomas (bleeding in the brain), and four broken ribs. He was charged in Inkster District Court with assault and battery on Melendez, two counts of resisting and obstructing police, and possession of crack cocaine. After viewing the videotape, an Inkster judge dropped all charges except the drug charge.

Dent is scheduled for a court hearing on that charge in the Frank Murphy Hall on April 1. He refused a plea bargain on the count. His supporters plan to protest that evening from 4:30-6:30 pm outside the new Inkster Police Department headquarters at

Inkster police: 95% white.

Inkster police: 95% white.

“I saw them plant the drugs in my car,” Dent said. “An innocent man does not plead guilty.” Meanwhile, his car has been seized by the Inkster Police department.

Dent tested negative for all illegal substances. Melendez and the other officers involved were not themselves tested.

Rohl said the Inkster police force is 95 percent white. Inkster is 73.2 percent Black, according to U.S. Census data.

“The police officer in charge clearly admitted to racially profiling my client,” Rohl said. “He said he was a Black man in a Cadillac, and he was going to stop him. Then [after the beating] he was thrown up on the car like an animal.”

Rohl said he has asked for an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice into the beating. Earlier, protesters from the National Action Network picketed outside Inkster police headquarters, with some threatening to shut the city of Inkster down.

Family members of three people killed by Vicki Yost's partner Eugene Brown demonstrate outside Frank Murphy Hall after demanding charges. They include

Family members of three people killed by Vicki Yost’s partner Eugene Brown demonstrate outside Frank Murphy Hall after demanding charges. They include (2nd from left) father of Lamar Grable, Herman Vallery, (6th and 7th from l) Lamar’s sister Arnetta Grable,  Jr. and Mother Arnetta Grable, Senior, and the family of Darren Miller (4th, 3rd and 2nd from right). Cornell Squires, whose son was framed by Robocop Melendez in 2000, is shown 6th from r.) Despite expose of internal police report recommending charges against Brown, Wayne Co. Prosecutor Kym Worthy again refused to do so. (Photo: Diane Bukowski)

Inkster’s Police Chief is former Detroit cop Vicki Yost, also white, shown in the video above. She moved on to that position after numerous promotions in the Detroit Police Department subsequent to her participation with her partner Eugene Brown in the killing of Lamar Grable, 20, in 1996.

Eugene Brown being promoted to sergeant after killing three people at left.

 Vicki Yost partner Eugene Brown

Grable’s sister Arnetta Grable, Jr. and Cornell Squires, of the Original Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, shown above, attended the press conference. Squires’ son was framed up by Melendez in 2000 for attempting to carjack him and Officer David LeValley, with a gun that was never found. The two were in plainclothes.

During a civil trial, Brown admitted to chasing and shooting Grable eight times, including three times in the chest as he lay on the ground. Police reports saidt Yost, who was in close proximity to the shooting, took the gun they claimed Lamar fired at Brown home overnight before she turned it into the police lab.

Eugene Brown killed (l to r) Rodrick Carrington in 1995, Lamar Grable in 1996, and Darren Miller in 1999.

Eugene Brown killed (l to r) Rodrick Carrington in 1995, Lamar Grable in 1996, and Darren Miller in 1999.

After hearing testimony from Brown and Yost, countered by testimony from noted medical examiner Werner Spitz that Grable was “executed,” a civil jury awarded Grable’s family $4 million in 2003.  The verdict was upheld at the appeals and Supreme Court levels.

Preceding Yost in her position, which she assumed in August, 2014, was Hilton Napoleon, brother of Benny Napoleon, acting Detroit Police Chief in 2000. Benny Napoleon ditched an internal report on Brown which recommended criminal charges be brought against him, but the Michigan Supreme Court later ordered it disclosed.

Melendez box 3Melendez has been sued in federal court as least 12  times, with an early lawsuit involving the execution-style slaying of Lou Adkins, unarmed, on Detroit’s southwest side. Melendez and his partner shot Adkins 11 times as he lay on the ground after a traffic stop.  The most recent lawsuit involves an incident in 2011, during his tenure with the Inkster Police Department. Separately, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted him and 17 other Detroit cops in 2003 for a “Ramparts”-style campaign in the Third and Fourth Precincts.

Witnesses testified that the officers planted guns and drugs on them, beat them, sexually abused and strip searched them, threatened to kill them, and then falsified reports and lied in court. The USDOJ called Melendez and Matthew Zani the “ringleaders” of the group.  The indictment said Melendez had threatened to kill one witness if he testified against him.

(In fact, one witness who was scheduled to testify against the cops but did not, Kyle Smith, a 24-year-old Detroit woman, was shot to death outside the Superbowl in Detroit in Feb. 2006, under suspicious circumstances. Detroit police have never solved the case. See link to story below.)

In what federal prosecutors called a “nullification” verdict, the jury acquitted the first eight officers tried, including Melendez, even though 17 Black Detroit officers testified against them. U.S. attorneys had moved for a mistrial, after defense attorney Anthony Chambers said during his closing argument that “government witnesses with prior criminal histories would soon be moving into the jurors’ neighborhoods, unless officers like the defendants were allowed to stop them.”

Kevin Ernst, attorney for one witness, commented, “I’ve been a civil rights attorney for 14 years.  And never in that time have I seen a police officer testify against another officer, because of the blue code of silence. When you have other officers testifying, it’s hard to believe that it’s not true. . . .In fact, Melendez pled no contest to falsifying a police report in an earlier case. It’s obvious to me that the jurors just didn’t care if the civil rights of the witnesses got violated, because some [of the witnesses] were not upstanding citizens. But they have rights like everyone else.”

Melendez grabs Dent in choke hold that nearly suffocated him, beat him in the head 16 times.

Melendez (left) grabs Dent in choke hold that nearly suffocated him, and beats him in the head 16 times. Dent is clearly trying to protect himself.

Floyd Dent, blooded and seriously injured, thrown on top of police car.

Floyd Dent, blooded and seriously injured, thrown on top of police car.

During the press conference, Dent, who has two children and two grandchildren and is currently engaged, described the beating by Melendez and Inkster cops in detail.

“When he first pulled me out, he said, ‘I’ll blow your brains out,’” Dent said, referring to Melendez. “The officer must have had something in his glove. He was beating me upside the head while I tried to protect my face with my right arm. The officer damn near choked me to death. Then I heard someone say, ‘Tase the m-f.’

Dent said the brutal treatment continued as he was thrown in a police car and driven to the hospital, where he was chained to his bed and not allowed to use a urinal, under police guard for three days during which his family was not allowed to visit him. He added that “it’s been hard to go back to a normal life” since the incident. He is currently on medical leave from his job.

Floyd Dent and attorney Gregory Rohl, with Dent's family members behind the, address the media March 25, 2014.

Floyd Dent and attorney Gregory Rohl, with Dent’s family members behind the, address the media March 25, 2014.

Dozens of Dent’s family members attended the press conference, wearing shirts demanding, “Stop Police Brutality,” but were barred from commenting by his attorney.

An aide in Rohl’s office told VOD that although Yost told Channel Four on camera that she contacted the Michigan State Police immediately to investigate Rohl’s beating, Yost was not being truthful. The aide said when she contacted the MSP during the law office’s investigation well after the beating, she was told they had just received a referral from Yost.

National Action Network of Michigan recruited Inkster residents to march for justice for Floyd Dent March 25, 2015.

National Action Network of Michigan recruited Inkster residents to march for justice for Floyd Dent outside Inkster Police HQ March 25, 2015.

The aide said she was “amazed and flabbergasted” at Melendez’ arrogance when he testified during Dent’s preliminary examination. She said he winked at her as she left the stand.

In his report, Melendez said, “Due to Writer observations and the above Arr. [arrestee] refusing to pull over and Writer believing Arr. was fleeing from police exited the scout car with department issued weapon out. Writer approached the driver’s side vehicle and illuminated the interior of the vehicle and observed the Arr. open the above vehicle driver’s side door and turn his body to the right with his hands in the right and left hands on his right side body between his right hip and center council (sic—‘console’). Writer in fear that Arr. may be reaching for a weapon raised his department issued weapon at Arr. and advised Arr. to see his hands. Writer observed Arr. look at Writer with a blank stare as if on a form of narcotic. Writer then observed Arr. state “I’ll kill you” and continue to keep his hands away from writer. . . .Writer . . . .moved in to extract Arr. from vehicle. Writer then observed Aux. Officer Zielenieski grab Arr. left arm and pull Arr. to the ground. Writer then observed Arr. begin to struggle and resist officers. Writer then got on top of Arr. and placed arms around Arr. upper body head area in an attempt to control Arr. at which time Arr. then with his teeth bit down on Writer’s left forearm. . . .Writer in fear of being bit and un-aware if Arr. had any diseases struck Arr. several times with a closed right fist to Arr. Right side facial area.”

NAN protesters outside Inkster police HQ March 25, 2015.

NAN protesters outside Inkster police HQ March 25, 2015.

Melendez then reports that Sgt. Kritzer pulled out his Tazer gun and shot it at Dent three times, with Dent pushing it aside twice, until a “third dry stun” took effect. He said Police Officers Arnica and Randazzo approached, and Randazzo kicked Dent in his right arm.

In the report, Melendez’ race is reported as “White,” although he is biracial, with one Latino parent.

Rohl noted during the press conference that the video gives the lie to Melendez’ report, since there is an interval of only 2.6 seconds between the time Dent is stopped and the time he is dragged out of the car. There is no evidence on the video of Dent resisting arrest, only trying to remove Melendez’ arm from his neck. Dent said he was about to take his last breath.

In 2003, after the acquittal of the “Robocop” gang on federal charges, Cornell Squires, who lives on the southwest side, commented, “It’s a sad day for all Detroiters. Surely the city will suffer greatly, and there will be more people, mostly African-American, framed up by these deviant cops if they are allowed back on the force.”

After the press conference, Arnetta Grable, Jr., also known as A.J., vowed to organize youth and others across the country to build a new world that her six-year-old son, named Lamar after her brother, can safely grow and prosper in.

Inkster PD rally 2

Inkster Police Department 2Inkster Police Dept. at 26279 Michigan, Inkster, between Beech Daly and John Daly, west of Telegraph.

Related documents:

Serial Killer Kop and other stories MC

Squires Melendez MC

Prosecution threatens to jail witnesses in Squires trial MC DB

Cop faces brutality charges MC

Vendetta Son of prominent anti police brutality activist convicted in police frame up MC DB

Feds break blue wall Melendez et al

Jury frees cops Melendez MC

Robocop Melendez Freep

Alleged Victims Say Cops Harassed Them Melendez et al

Melendez PACER lawsuit listings

Related articles:

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-02-04-detroit-shooting_x.htm) (re: Superbowl death)

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/03/26/1373429/-Why-is-William-Bill-Robocop-Melendez-still-a-police-officer#

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2013/10/22/families-demand-no-police-state-under-detroit-chief-craig-top-cops/
 
http://voiceofdetroit.net/2013/10/18/httpvoiceofdetroit-net20131018chief-craig-intensifies-detroit-police-state-march-mon-june-21-9-am-as-trial-of-aiyana-jones-father-opens-in-frank-murphy-to-new-dpd-hq/ 
 
http://voiceofdetroit.net/2012/10/11/detroit-police-sex-scandals-who-is-monitoring-police-brutality-2/
 
http://voiceofdetroit.net/2012/01/22/aiyana%e2%80%99s-family-joins-other-police-victims-at-national-meeting-in-metro-detroit


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MISSISSIPPI GODDAM: LYNCHING OF OTIS BYRD ADDS TO STATE’S 21ST CENTURY LIST

MS noose

“EVERYBODY KNOWS ABOUT MISSISSIPPI GODDAM” — NINA SIMONE

By Diane Bukowski

March 22, 2015

Otis Byrd, lynched at Port Gibson, MS, 2015

Otis Byrd, lynched at Port Gibson, MS, 2015

Port Gibson, MS – The family of Otis Byrd, 54, found hanging by a white sheet from a tree 500 ft. from where he lived, weeks after he disappeared March 2, said they are planning to rally for justice for the riverboat worker March 23.

Byrd’s nephew Lee Kendrick Byrd told the AP that police who initially investigated the scene told them his uncle’s hands had been tied, but he had freed them and then tried to escape the noose.

Later reports from the police, the FBI and the Missouri Bureau of Investigation discounted that version. Even the head of the state NAACP has joined the authorities in calling for calm pending investigation, speculating that Byrd might have committed suicide.

But Byrd’s family and friends disagree.

Tracy Wilson

“He tried to turn his life around. He was going to church every Sunday,” his stepsister, Tracy Wilson told the AP. “Anybody could have done this. I just don’t see him doing it to himself.”

High school classmates Lora McDaniel and Anita Smith said “he always had a smile on his face. I just can’t see him committing suicide,” and “He was a quiet man. He didn’t bother nobody. He had been out nine years and all of the sudden this happens to him? Impossible.”

Byrd had served 25 years in the Mississippi prison system for “capital murder” in the killing of a white woman, convenience store owner Lucille Trim, in 1980 during a robbery. He was paroled in 2006. In Mississippi, the penalty for capital murder is either execution or life without parole. It is unclear why Byrd was allowed a sentence with parole, if he was actually guilty of the crime. Trim was the mother of retired U.S. Air Force Major General Martha Rainville.

Otis Byrds

Coroner’s vehicle waits at Otis Byrd’s home.

The allegation that Byrd may have committed suicide is gruesomely similar to three other cases in the Mississippi of the 21st century.

The U.S. Department of Justice previously found that three other Black men, and one Asian woman, found hung  in Mississippi committed suicide. A fourth man was deliberately run over and killed by teen white racists. They were:

Roy Veal, Woodville, 2004

Roy Veal, Woodville, 2004

Nick Naylor, 2003, Porterville

Nick Naylor, 2003, Porterville

Donna Gaio Dao, of Vietnamese descent, found hanging in Philadelphia, MS, from a very high oak tree in 2010

Roy Veal of Washington State in 2004, found hanging in Porterville, MS, where he was laying claim to his family’s land;

Nick Naylor in 2003, found hanging by one of his dog’s leashes in Porterville, MS after he took them for a walk in an area frequented by white hunters, and

James C. Anderson, Jackson, MS 2011

James C. Anderson, Jackson, MS 2011

Raynard Johnson, 2000 Kokomo

Raynard Johnson, 2000 Kokomo

Raynard Johnson, 17, of Kokomo, MS, found hanging by his own belt in 2000 after he and his friends dated white girls in the community.

James Craig Anderson, although not subjected to lynching by hanging, was attacked, beaten and deliberately run down and killed by three white teens, Darryl Dedmon, Dylan Butler, and John Rice in 2011 in Jackson, MS. They had been assaulting Black residents of that city for some time.

They each pled guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of committing a hate crime. A U.S. District Judge sentenced Dedmon to 50 years and five years, with his federal sentence to run concurrently with his state sentence; John Aaron Rice to 18 ½ years and five years to be served concurrently; and Dylan Wade Butler to seven years and five years to be served concurrently.

Deryl Dedmon, Dylan Butler, John Rice, killers of James Craig Anderson in Jackson, MS, 2011

Deryl Dedmon, Dylan Butler, John Rice, killers of James Craig Anderson in Jackson, MS, 2011

Where they are currently located is questionable.

The Mississippi Dept. of Corrections website says regarding Dedmon, “NOT APPLICABLE OTHER CUSTODY/AT LARGE,” but he is not listed on the U.S. Bureau of Prisons website. Dylan Butler is listed in BOP files as “Not in BOP [Bureau of Prisons], release date unknown.” John Rice is listed as “Not in BOP custody, release date 4/11/2028.” Neither are listed on the state MDOC website.

Raynard Johnson’s hanging in his front yard occasioned a national outcry, including marches led by the Rev. Jesse Jackson of Rainbow: PUSH. U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno assured his family that the Justice Department would thoroughly investigate the case.

Raynard Johnsons mother Maria Johnson, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Mable Till Mobley, mother of Emmett Till, lynched in 1955.

Raynard Johnsons mother Maria Johnson, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Mable Till Mobley, mother of Emmett Till, lynched in 1955.

But the final verdict was the same in all the hanging cases. Authorities told families to be patient and wait for autopsy results and further investigation, which they have said in Byrd’s case may take months, then declared they had committed suicide.

The likelihood of Black men committing suicide in the U.S. is extremely low. From 1999 through 2013, 70 percent of suicides were committed by white males, with only 5 percent by Black males, according to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control. Despite, or because of, the oppression endured in the Black community, many say they choose perseverance and life, not death by their own hand.

Oak Square plantation mansion, the largest in Port Gibson, invites guests for the night. Photo credit: Southern Living

Oak Square plantation mansion, the largest in Port Gibson, invites guests for the night. Photo credit: Southern Living

Media reports have portrayed Port Gibson as a 90 percent Black town with a high poverty rate, discounting the likelihood that whites would have been involved in Byrd’s death.

However, the New York Times reported in 2002 that Port Gibson also has “an entrenched population of whites, many of whom are related and have some historical connection to cotton.”

In other words, they are often the descendants of plantation slaveholders. Many plantation mansions still stand in Port Gibson as an attraction to tourists, including the largest in the state, Oak Square. A main industry in the town is the processing of cottonseed oil.

In addition to these lynchings of the 21st Century, “between 1987 and 1993, twenty two (22) black men were found hanging in Mississippi jails. All of their deaths were declared to be suicides. All of us are aware of the history of blacks being lynched in Mississippi. Between 1882 and 1968 there were 539 blacks lynched in Mississippi. Their murders were not solved because law enforcement officials made no effort to bring their murderers to justice. In many cases law enforcement officials were complicit in the murders,” writes Solomon C. Osborne in an online blog.

Below: the lynching of Nick Naylor in 2003.

BELOW: American Atrocity of Lynching African People, by Kenny Snodgrass


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NO INCREASE IN SALARIES FOR COUNCIL MEMBERS; PACK COMPENSATION MEETING MON. MARCH 23

The new Detroit City Council-elect comprises Gabe Leland, left, James Tate, Mary Sheffield, Scott Benson, Raquel Castaneda-Lopez, Andre Spivey, council president Saunteel Jenkins, Brenda Jones and George Cushingberry Jr. are sworn in Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, by Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey in the Wayne State Alumni House. / Mandi Wright/Detroit Free Press

The new Detroit City Council-elect comprises Gabe Leland, left, James Tate, Mary Sheffield, Scott Benson, Raquel Castaneda-Lopez, Andre Spivey, council president Saunteel Jenkins, Brenda Jones and George Cushingberry Jr. are sworn in Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, by Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey in the Wayne State Alumni House. / Mandi Wright/Detroit Free Press

Did they swear to serve the public or themselves?

Demand audit of Council members’ budgets

Next public meeting of the Compensation Commission is March 23 at 6 p.m. at Coleman A. Young Municipal Center; salaries are on the agenda.

Cecily McClellan, V-P DAREA

Cecily McClellan, V-P DAREA

Introduction by Cecily McClellan

Vice President of the Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association (DAREA)

City Council has done little to nothing for long term residents of Detroit for numerous years.  Turning a grant program (CDBG) into a loan program is cruel for low income residents living at or below poverty levels.

It’s amazing how this same council gave millions to millionaires to build a stadium, saved the DIA at the expense of workers/retirees [meanwhile giving away billions in art that belonged to Detroit] and gives tax abatements to the affluent.  But fails to prevent the outsourcing of city job and services to its’ current residents, and refuses to demand community benefit agreements for city contracts.  Welfare to the rich and loans to the poor. Low and moderate income residents no longer welcome in Detroit.

(VOD–Council President Brenda Jones voted in tandem with Mayor Mike Duggan to support the phony Detroit bankruptcy Plan of Adjustment, and along with City Clerk Janice Winfrey is pushing for the pay raises.)

By Joyce Moore

March 20, 2015

Joyce Moore

Joyce Moore

I spoke at the council meeting Tuesday, March 17, 2015, and I provided this information regarding the Community Development Block Grant Funds (CDBG) for Home Repair:

The United States Census Bureau Poverty Threshold for one person: under 65 is $12,316.00 and over 65 is $11,354.00 ANNUALLY.   These are the people the CDBG – Home Repair GRANT was designed and slated for. These are the people who are below the average median of approximately $25,000.00 annually that U. S. Housing Urban Development (HUD) uses as a criteria for requesting the CDBG funds.

After I made this presentation at the council meeting, I made a statement that council members make over $100,000.00 a year. Council Member Cushingberry challenged me and said something to the effect, “that our salary is approximately $75,000.00, $78,000.00 a year”. That may be, let me clarify, what I meant when I said “you make over $100,000.00 a year”, this is to include the benefit package, that means, dental and medical, in addition, that means the car, the gas put in the car, the maintenance of the car, the credit cards for needed expense (not sure of the limit) and phone to name a few. These items inclusive of salary are over $100,000.00.

City Council Pres. Pro-Tem George Cushingberry

City Council Pres. Pro-Tem George Cushingberry

There is no law or statute that I have read so far that does not allow the Compensation Commission to request an Audit of each elected City Council member. Therefore, we as residents and citizens of the City of Detroit should be requesting that every council member be AUDITED by the Compensation Commission currently and in any future salary increases.

These are the council members that we VOTED for and these are the council members (except Council Member Sheffield) that supported Mayor Mike Duggan in “REPURPOSING” the Community Development Block Grant Funds for Home Repair. These Council Members supported changing the CDBG GRANT Program for Home Repair to a LOAN Program for Low to Moderate income residents, more specifically Native Detroiters. Again, it is about POWER, MONEY AND GREED, not about the PEOPLE!

The war on the poor continues in Detroit.

The war on the poor continues in Detroit.


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SHOULD RHODES/ROSEN/ORR BE JAILED FOR FAILURE TO REPORT BANKRUPTCY FRAUD TO PROPER AUTHORITIES?

Detroit retirees accuse Rhodes, Orr, Rosen of grand theft, robbing workers, during protest.

Detroit retirees accuse Rhodes, Orr, Rosen of grand theft, robbing workers, during protest.

Will U.S. District Court Judge Friedman, hearing appeals, be likewise obligated? 

Fraud included $1.5 B POC deal with criminal banks UBS AG, BOA, which grew to $28.2 B; trio knew of fraud 

Should the entire fraud-based Detroit bankruptcy be annulled?

 DAREA, others appeal city’s motion to dismiss cases

By Diane Bukowski 

March 15, 2015

RORjail2DETROIT – Are U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Gerald Rosen, Rhodes’ appointed mediator in the Detroit bankruptcy, and former Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, guilty of federal felonies? They all failed to report criminal fraud involved in the $1.5 billion Pension Obligation Certificates deal of 2005-06, otherwise known as COPS, as well as the very filing of the city’s bankruptcy petition, based on fraudulent claims that the city was insolvent because it could not pay its entire debt, due over at least three decades, out of its current revenues.

Will U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman, currently hearing various appeals of the final bankruptcy plan of confirmation, be likewise responsible if such fraud is brought to HIS attention?

Cornell Squires, a member of the Legal Committee for the Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association (DAREA), and leader of the community group We the People for the People, thinks so. Squires has reviewed numerous federal statutes on bankruptcy fraud.

Late Atty. Leonard Eston

Late Atty. Leonard Eston

He has worked on such legal matters for years under the tutelage of the late, well-known activist attorney Leonard Eston, an associate of the late people’s attorneys Kenneth Cockrel, Sr. and Chokwe Lumumba. Squires and Eston did the research and were successful earlier in having Lumumba’s law license restored after it was illegally revoked because of his militant stances.

‘Criminal fraud the main issue on which bankruptcy can be overturned’

“Criminal fraud is the main issue upon which this bankruptcy can be overturned,” Squires said. “It was raised numerous times during the bankruptcy hearings by various objectors. Orr himself filed a lawsuit calling the COPS deal ‘void ab initio, illegal and unenforceable’ as part of the bankruptcy hearings, although he should have filed it in another court.

“He knew of problems with the COPS deal from the very first day he was appointed as EM,” Squires continued. “But he, Rhodes and Rosen never reported the likely fraud either to the U.S. Trustee or the U.S. Department of Justice as required by statute.  Such a report would have brought the bankruptcy proceedings to a screeching halt.”

The late Mayor Chokwe Lumumba with Cornell Squires at  hearing in Detroit Court of Appeals.

The late Mayor Chokwe Lumumba with Cornell Squires at hearing in Detroit Court of Appeals.

Squires said the real heist began March 1, 2o15, when city retiree checks were cut drastically, a cut that is expected to continue through 2023.

“How can retirees stand back when not only their pensions are cut, but the state raids their annuity savings accounts,” he asked. “That’s like them taking your ATM card and withdrawing your savings, and then adding interest.”

VOD reported March 16, 2013, “Detroit’s newly-appointed ‘Emergency Financial Manager’ Kevyn Orr was virtually speechless when VOD asked him what he would do about banks like UBS AG and others involved in the global  ‘LIBOR’ interest rate-rigging scandal, as it relates to Detroit’s gargantuan debt load of more than $12 billion. . . . VOD cited to Orr the fact that UBS loaned the City of Detroit $1.5 billion in 2004 in a predatory “pension obligation certificates” scheme, before the global economic meltdown of 2008. The city later defaulted on the loan twice, causing its debt ratings to plunge and interest rates to skyrocket.”

‘I’m aware of those things’–Orr

Orr talks to media after creditors meeting May 14, 2013. At left are Vickie Thomas of WWJ and Diane Bukowski of VOD.

“I’m aware of those things,” was Orr’s only response to VOD’s questions, during a March 14, 2013 press conference held by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and former Detroit Mayor Dave Bing.

Later, Orr met with city creditors at the Wayne County Airport June 14, 2013. His proposal to creditors included a statement, ‘The City has identified certain issues related to the validity and/or enforceability of the COPS that may warrant further investigation.” Under Public Act 435 (Section), Orr was obligated to investigate any criminal fraud that contributed to the city’s debt, but never reported the results of any investigation to outside authorities.

Judge Rhodes (center), at Municipal Distress forum Oct. 10, 2012 with (l to r), Treasury official Ray Headen, perpetrator of numerous municipal takeovers. Edward Plawecki, Em trainers Douglas Bernstein and Judy O' Neill (O'Neill was a co-author of PA 4), and most egregiously, Charles Moore of Conway McKenzie, a chief witness at the bankruptcy trial for Jones Day.

Judge Rhodes (center), at Municipal Distress forum Oct. 10, 2012 with (l to r), Treasury official Ray Headen, perpetrator of numerous municipal takeovers. Edward Plawecki, Em trainers Douglas Bernstein and Judy O’ Neill (O’Neill was a co-author of PA 4), and most egregiously, Charles Moore of Conway McKenzie, a chief witness at the bankruptcy trial for Jones Day.

VOD repeatedly questioned Orr about the POC deal at press conferences, and reported it to the U.S. Department of Justice. VOD editor Diane Bukowski, among others, gave explicit testimony  before Judge Rhodes as an official eligibility objector both to the POC deal and to Rhodes’ impartiality in the case. (See MDB objection from News article, MDB objection to 4th Amended Plan, and .) Rhodes hosted a forum Oct. 10, 2012 which advocated emergency manager laws and the use of bankruptcy against Detroit, a year before the bankruptcy trial began.

The State of Michigan under Governor Rick Snyder and Public Act 436 effectuated the emergency manager takeover of Detroit. It planned the filing of Detroit’s Chapter 9 bankruptcy as early as 2011, using the corporate crony law firms of Ernst & Young, Miller Buckfire/Stifel Financial, and Jones Day as consultants. There is no real question regarding how the state would vote.

Black community of Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma burnt to the ground in 1921. Three hundred residents died, and hundreds of Black businesses were destroyed.

Black community of Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma burnt to the ground in 1921. Three hundred residents died, and hundreds of Black businesses were destroyed.

In a “quo warranto” motion challenging Rhodes’ authority filed Feb 24, community activist and paralegal James Cole, Jr. along with dozens of other plaintiffs, called for all of the judge’s actions to be declared “null and void ab initio.” They contended that Rhodes has judicially supported “parties/agents/carpetbaggers (the financial 1% leaders) that pursue a fast-track policy of plundering and pilfering the assets of Detroit’s Indigenous Citizenry under the bankruptcy fallacy and fiction. Click on DB James Cole petition to read filing.

 

The motion compares the dismantling of Detroit to the horrific, racist 1921 burning and looting of Greenwood, a prosperous community in Tulsa, Oklahoma known as “The Black Wall Street,” during which 300 Black residents were murdered.

 Orr holds forth at Crain's Newsmakers luncheon as Rhodes listens.

Orr holds forth at Crain’s Newsmakers luncheon as Rhodes listens.

After the conclusion of the bankruptcy, Rhodes admitted to WDET Radio that the POC deal, “. . . was structured to be an intentional evasion of the legal debt limits that municipalities by state law are required to stay within. It was too innovative, it was too creative and um that by itself should of been a red flag at the time.”

During a luncheon sponsored by Crain’s Detroit Business, he showed further evidence of his partiality in the case, as quoted in a brief filed with U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman March 13, 2015 by the Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association (DAREA), advocating defined contribution instead of defined benefit plans for public employees:

 “It flies largely under the radar and it doesn’t get a lot of attention and it doesn’t get a lot of management and I’m deeply concerned about that,” Rhodes said.  “Because that’s money cities don’t have that they have promised to their retirees and I think that solution across the country, and including in Detroit, has to be at some point defined contribution (plans).

Retirees including members of DAREA march outside Crain's luncheon honoring Rhodes, Orr and Rhodes.

Retirees including members of DAREA march outside Crain’s luncheon honoring Rhodes, Orr and Rhodes.

The brief adds, “Rhodes also ‘suggested Detroit missed a chance to get out of the pension business altogether during the bankruptcy,’ a proceeding which he claims ‘was as much a political case as a legal case.’  These comments are shocking and demonstrate a risk of hostility and bias motivating the underlying decisions, which simply underscores the importance of having an Article III court independently review these novel and complex legal questions.”

States, cities have $3.5 trillion in bond debt due to court sanction of practices violating state debt limits

Public Sector, Inc.’s Steve Malanga reported Feb. 4, 2014, “There’s a rich irony in the news that current Detroit officials are suing in bankruptcy court to renounce the pension debt transacted by the administration of Kwame Kilpatrick back in 2005.”

Municipal bond debt in U.S. totals $3.5 trillion.

Municipal bond debt in U.S. totals $3.5 trillion.

The claim of Detroit officials today, that the $1.44 billion in borrowing was illegal because Detroit used elaborate gimmicks to circumvent debt limits, echoes lawsuits filed by taxpayer groups in many state courts over the years to stop similar borrowing ploys.

“That states and cities have accumulated some $3.5 trillion in bonded debt is attributable in part to the willingness of state courts to brush aside these lawsuits and sanction some of the very same gimmicks that a federal bankruptcy court is now being asked to overturn.”

See http://www.publicsectorinc.org/2014/02/detroit-pension-borrowings-what-a-tangled-web/.

Just before the POC lawsuit was filed, Orr testified before Rhodes, “There were theories that both the underlying COPS and swaps were void ab initio for different periods, fraudulently produced . . .It was my understanding that the city did not have the authority to enter into the underlying COPS of 2005-06 because state law prohibited further indebtedness. . . .[and that the casino] revenue stream was an improper way to pay the swaps.”

Orr is following by adoring media members as he leaves bankruptcy court after testifying Sept. 30, 2014. The mainstream media was highly influential in pushing the fraudulent Detroit bankruptcy.

He continued later, “There were a number of legal theories. The general basis was that the counterparties to the swaps [UBS AG, BOA] had superior knowledge to the city, that they represented to the city that [the deal was] low-risk, beneficial, when they knew or should have known that it was potentially volatile. They designed more or less a ticking time bomb, by designing the termination fee to be linked to credit ratings.”

In fact, the global economy crashed in 2008 as a result of criminal practices by mortgage lenders, among other factors. Detroit defaulted on the POC debt for the first time in 2009.

Orr left banks out of POC lawsuit

Yet, when Orr did sue regarding the POC debt, he designated the defendants as the fraudulent paper corporations which had been created by the parties, including Wall Street bond ratings agencies Standard and Poor’s and Fitch Ratings, and UBS AG and Merrill Lynch (BOA). The deal by-passed the state debt limit as well as city voters’ rights to approve or disapprove bond issues. Orr later withdrew the lawsuit as part of a lucrative settlement with the banks and their insurance companies, FGIC and Syncora.

Wallace Turbeville, senior analyst at DEMOS.

Wallace Turbeville, senior analyst at DEMOS.

“These banks did not simply provide interest rate swaps,” DEMOS senior analyst Wallace Turbeville wrote in March, 2014. Rhodes cleverly barred Turbeville from testifying during bankruptcy proceedings. “UBS was the also ‘senior managing underwriter’ of the infamous 2005 pension funding deal to which the swaps were attached that raised $1.4 billion to fund the city’s future liability to pensioners. And Merrill was in the managing underwriter group. . .

“UBS and Merrill very likely were central, if not dominant, players in coming up with the “certificates of participation” structure of the massive deal in 2005. For all the public knows they may have cooked up the idea and sold it to the city administration.”

Turbeville admonished, “But the city has not gone after the banks. In fact, in its recent proposed settlement of the related derivatives transactions, it has agreed not to sue UBS or Merrill for their roles in the COPs deal. The two banks must have considered liability for the COPs a real possibility since they bargained for this release. . .”

Detroit CFO Sean Werdlow, SBS/BOA blatant bribery

Werdlow_0001Detroit’s former CFO Sean Werdlow, now the COO of SBS Financial, a prominent lender to Detroit backed by Merrill Lynch (BOA), was subpoenaed to bring documents on the POC deal to the bankruptcy hearing and to testify, again making Judge Rhodes aware of the shady deal, and making himself part of the bankruptcy fraud.

Detroit Free Press business writer John Gallagher said of an unrepentant Werdlow’s talk to a Wayne State University audience after he testified, “Werdlow said the 2005 deal was prompted by a ‘rogue’ pension system and that without the deal Detroit city government would have gone bankrupt years ago.”

He quoted Werdlow, “We would have been having this discussion in this auditorium back in 2005 but for that transaction.”

In 2005, Werdlow brought S&P and Fitch Ratings to the council table to persuade them to vote for the risky, likely fraudulent transaction in 2005, then later that year became a top official with lender SBS Financial.  Fraud? Bribery? Both are cited in federal statutes regarding bankruptcy. Certainly worthy of investigation, an investigation that never happened during the bankruptcy hearings.

In the Eighth Amended Plan of Confirmation, Rosen negotiated, and Rhodes approved settlements of  billions of dollars paid to the insurers of the COPS parties, FGIC and Syncora, in cash and in city revenues from the Joe Louis Arena and other riverfront property and the Grand Circus Park garage. This was despite their knowledge of the fraud involved.

Werdlow’s boss Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick went to prison for 28 years for stealing far less than the money involved in the POC deal, which skyrocketed to $2.8 billion including interest and default penalties.

Jan. 31, 2005 (l to r) then Detroit CFO Sean Werdlow, Joe O'Keefe of Fitch Ratings, Stephen Murphy of Standard & Poors, and Deputy Mayor Anthony Adams tout POC deal to City Council. The following week, despite strong opposition from the retirement systems, unions and others, the Council caved and voted unanimously for the deal.

Jan. 31, 2005 (l to r) then Detroit CFO Sean Werdlow, Joe O’Keefe of Fitch Ratings, Stephen Murphy of Standard & Poors, and Deputy Mayor Anthony Adams tout POC deal to City Council. The following week, despite strong opposition from the retirement systems, unions and others, the Council caved and voted unanimously for the deal.

Rosen and Rhodes liquidated Detroit assets, opportunities for youth

After all, the bankruptcy affects not only retirees, but current workers who are taking daily wage cuts and have lost their health care benefits, as well as residents of Detroit, especially its youth.

DWSD’s Lake Huron water treatment plant. DWSD is the third largest water utllity in the country. It provides water service to almost one million people in Detroit and three million people in 126 neighboring Southeastern Michigan communities throughout Wayne, Oakland, Macomb St. Clair, Lapeer, Genesee, Washtenaw and Monroe counties.

DWSD’s Lake Huron water treatment plant. DWSD is the third largest water utllity in the country. It provides water service to almost one million people in Detroit and three million people in 126 neighboring Southeastern Michigan communities throughout Wayne, Oakland, Macomb St. Clair, Lapeer, Genesee, Washtenaw and Monroe counties.

After secret mediation sessions run by Rosen, many held in New York City, Rhodes signed off on a likely criminal deal to steal Detroit’s largest asset, the Water & Sewerage Department, and hand it over to a regional authority, in violation of the Detroit city charter which requires a vote of the people before any DWSD asset can be sold or transferred. For decades, DWSD provided a wonderful opportunity for union jobs for the city’s youth, particularly in the lucrative skilled trades.

Rhodes also approved the “Grand Bargain,” whose provisions, among others, gave away billions of dollars in DIA city-owned art to a bank trust.

Detroit has essentially been de-constructed and given away under a bankruptcy plan involving fraud. This was done with the complete knowledge of the bankruptcy conspirators. The only solution is to restore Detroit’s assets, and make the nation’s largest Black-majority city WHOLE.

Fraudulent bankruptcy petitions

Bfraud

Wallace Turbeville, a Senior Policy Analyst at the DEMOS think tank, and a former Goldman Sachs banker himself, said in a Nov. 2013 report that Detroit essentially was not eligible for bankruptcy.

“Detroit’s emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, asserts that the city is bank­rupt because it has $18 billion in long-term debt. However, that figure is irrelevant to analysis of Detroit’s insolvency and bankruptcy filing, highly inflated and, in large part, simply inaccurate. In reality, the city needs to address its cash flow shortfall, which the emergency manager pegs at only $198 million, although that number too may be inflated because it is based on extraordinarily aggressive assumptions of the con­tributions the city needs to make to its pension funds.

Municipal bankruptcies are about cash flow—a city’s ability to match revenue against expenses so that it can pay its bills. Under Chap­ter 9 of the United States Bankruptcy Code, a municipality is eligible to file bankruptcy when it is unable to pay its debts as they come due.”

Orr and his boss, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, were well aware that the City of Detroit had only a small cash flow problem in 2013, when the bankruptcy was filed. In fact, the city’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for 2013 showed it had just a $138 million deficit.

Snyder and Orr both knew that the State of Michigan owed Detroit at least $220 million related to an earlier revenue-sharing agreement. They were also aware that the state had deliberately cut Detroit’s statutory revenue-sharing by $732 billion over the previous ten years.

Orr and the other witnesses called by Jones Day during the bankruptcy hearing, none of them qualified as experts, falsely stated that the city’s total debt was $18 billion, improperly including DWSD enterprise agency debt as well as the Retirement Systems’ Unfunded Accrued Actuarial Liability (UAAL) as part of the total. DWSD debt is backed by the system’s revenues, whereas the UAAL of the pension systems is backed by continual payments from city workers, the city itself, and investments, and paid off over decades.

Bankruptcy mediator Judge Gerald Rosen bottom l), Mich. Gov. Rick Snyder

Bankruptcy mediator Judge Gerald Rosen (bottom l), grinning up at Mich. Gov. Rick Snyder, with EM Kevyn Orr in background.

But Orr conspired with Snyder, mediator Rosen, and others to come up with a confirmation plan that eliminated city payments to the pension systems until at least 2023, deliberately crippling them, and additionally conspired to hand DWSD with virtually all its revenues over to a regional Great Lakes Water Authority.

Orr himself admitted the day that the bankruptcy was confirmed, “What happened here in Detroit was a combination of leadership from the governor’s office — people forget that this process began in 2010 and 2011 and its culminating now, leadership from the legislature, tolerance and leadership from city officials, and the different set of rules and laws that applied in this case, as well as from the foundations and the DIA founders who brought in a significant sum of money to address those concerns.”

If the bankruptcy process was pre-ordained in 2010 (when Jones Day published its infamous White Paper on raiding pensions through bankruptcy), then Orr fraudulently filed bankruptcy on July 17, 2013, signed off on by Gov. Snyder. The bankruptcy ship sailed long before any petition was filed, and before any court hearings were held. Detroit was targeted as the largest Black majority city in the country, to become a model for what Wall Street would do to other cities and states.

According to 18 U.S. Code 157, Snyder, Orr, Rhodes, and Rosen all need to be jailed for at least five years for KNOWINGLY submitting a fraudulent bankruptcy petition, and making false, fraudulent statements about Detroit’s debt throughout the bankruptcy proceedings.

VOD: On Friday, March 13, the Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association (DAREA) filed the following documents with U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman, responding to the city’s motion to dismiss their appeal of the bankruptcy plan of confirmation. Judge Friedman issued the attached scheduling orders giving the city 30 days to respond.

DAREA corrected response and brief filed 3 13 15.compressed

DAREA exhibits for corrected response and brief 3 13 15

DAREA Friedman scheduling order 1

DAREA Friedman scheduling order

DETROIT ACTIVE & RETIRED EMPLOYEE ASSOCIATION (DAREA) NEXT MEETING WED. MARCH 18 @ 5:30 P.M. ST. MATTHEWS/ST. JOSEPH CHURCH WOODWARD AND HOLBROOK

PETITION: Sign the petition to halt changes to pensions and other benefits, to  U.S. Justice Department, at http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/selective-enforcement?source=s.icn.em.mt&r_by=9645222.

Hands off My Pension T-shirts sold by DAREA for $10.

Hands off My Pension T-shirts sold by DAREA for $10.

FUNDRAISING: To donate to DAREA’s LEGAL DEFENSE FUND, click on  http://www.gofundme.com/pensiondefensefund. Or checks can be made payable to the Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association (DAREA), at P.O. Box 3724, Highland Park, Michigan 48203.

“Hands off my Pension” T-shirts are available for $10 each. The fundraising committee will continue to sponsor events to cover what is anticipated will be substantial legal fees.

WEEKLY MEETINGS:  To receive notices of meetings, updates on the appeal and events information please provide your email address and phone numbers via email at Detroit2700plus@gmail.com or call DAREA at 313-649-7018.

Read DAREA’s position statement at DAREA Call/.

Retirees pack DAREA meeting Jan. 21, 2015.

Retirees pack DAREA meeting Jan. 21, 2015.

(VOD will be posting a story on Tom Barrow’s talk on the bankruptcy, given at a previous DAREA meeting, which stressed the utter racism behind it, shortly.)

Below is the obituary for the father of one of the retirees’ beloved leaders, Hassan Aleem. Together with Carl Williams and dozens of endorsers, they filed hundreds of objections to the fraudulent Detroit bankruptcy plan. Aleem’s father, Woodrow Williams, to whom he was very close, died in a car accident at the age of 87. Our hearts are with our brother Hassan during this time of sorrow.

Hassan Aleem is in

Hassan Aleem is second from right in second photo above, and third from left in bottom photo.

The life of Woodrow Williams, a well-known and generous businessman in Detroit.

The life of Woodrow Williams, a well-known and generous businessman in Detroit.

 


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2 COPS SHOT IN FERGUSON AFTER POLICE IN U.S. KILL 3 PEOPLE A DAY SINCE 2015 BEGAN

“Everywhere is war” – Bob Marley  

Jeffrey Williams

Jeffrey Williams

VOD UPDATE: As news breaks that two police officers in Los Angeles have also been shot (see http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-search-continues-gunmen-lapd-officers-20150316-story.html),  Ferguson police announced charges March 15, brought against Jeffrey Williams in the shootings of two cops there. Report from Reuters, at http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/suspect-charged-in-shooting-of-ferguson-missouri-police-officers/ar-AA9NB5K indicates that some local activists have celebrated his arrest, saying now they can get back to the business of protests.

Peaceful protests have not stopped police executions of nearly 200 people across the U.S. since 2015 began. There have been no charges against the killer cops either at the local or national levels. Those who choose to fight back to defend their communities from these killer cops, by WHATEVER MEANS NECESSARY, deserve our support, not our condemnation. Additionally, our court system presumably is based on the principle of “innocent until proven guilty.” For anyone to presume that Williams is NOT innocent at this stage is an absolute travesty. 

Killed by police Photos with accompanying articles are available on http://killedbypolice.net/,

Intro by Andre’ Gabriel Esparza – DontComply.com

Journalist Andre Esparza

Journalist Andre Esparza

Just a little over two months into 2015, there have been at least 191 individuals killed by police in the United States since the year began. That’s 191 people divided by 65 Days which equals 2.93. This averages out to three people killed by police each day or 1 life taken every eight hours by Law Enforcement Officers.

Killedbypolice.net has spearheaded the responsibility to track these statistics, which includes dates, full names, and press releases of the killings. Have ‘We the People’ turned into targets . . . 

“In Canada, all of last year they only reported 14 citizens killed by police, around 78 times fewer people killed than here in our country. The United Kingdom only had 1 person killed by a police officer in 2014 with 0 the year before. Germany between 2013-2014 their police didn’t kill anyone. China had 12 of their people killed by police in 2014 and their population is over four times our population. From 2010 through 2014, there were only 4 police shooting deaths in England a country of about 50 million. The country of Iceland since its inception have only had to take one man’s life and that was after hours and hours of deploying other strategies to remove him from his house that he had blocked off from entry.”

http://www.dontcomply.com/so-far-in-2015-police-have-killed-three-people-a-day/#sthash.JBMhTdPS.dpuf%20

Protesters of all ages march from the Wisconsin Dept. of Corrections to the Governor

On March 12, protesters of all ages march from the Wisconsin Dept. of Corrections to Gov. Scott Walker’s mansion in Madison, WI to decry murder of Tony Robinson, 18 by white cop. Photo: The Cardinal

 By Diane Bukowski

Editorial March 12, 2015

Ferguson cops raid home in manhunt for shooter who wounded two police.

Ferguson cops raid home in manhunt for shooter who wounded two police. To date, no arrests have been made.

DETROIT – Last night, two cops were shot and wounded, not fatally, outside the Ferguson police department, as a rally demanding more than the resignation of Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson was breaking up.

Jackson resigned in the wake of a USDOJ report slamming the vile racism characterizing the department, amid unmet community demands that the entire department be disbanded.

Read USDOJ report at USDOJ ferguson_findings_3-4-15.

Police in riot gear had already brutally attacked the protest, arresting three, prior to the shootings, according to news reports.

Eric Holder at NAACP

Eric Holder

Al Sharpton

Al Sharpton

U.S. Atty. General Eric Holder, Rev. Al Sharpton, and numerous so-called “civil rights” leaders condemned the shootings, with Sharpton particularly demanding that police not be targeted.

“Such senseless acts of violence threaten the very reforms that nonviolent protesters in Ferguson and around the country have been working towards for the past several months,” Holder said. “We wish these injured officers a full and speedy recovery. We stand ready to offer any possible aid to an investigation into this incident, including the department’s full range of investigative resources. And we will continue to stand unequivocally against all acts of violence against cops whenever and wherever they occur.”

Imam Luqman Abdullah

Imam Luqman Abdullah

VOD ASKS WHAT REFORMS, AS POLICE ACROSS THE U.S. CONTINUE THEIR SLAUGHTER?

What about the FBI’s killing of Imam Luqman Abdullah, leader of a mosque on Detroit’s poor west side, in 2009, sanctioned by Holder? Imam Abdullah, an ally of Imam Jamil Al-Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown of the Black Panthers,  was shot 21 times in an ambush.

Both Imams were carrying on the tradition of the 1960’s by peacefully organizing youth and neighborhoods for their very survival. HOLDER HOLDS COPS, BUT NOT RELIGIOUS LEADERS, SACRED?

Now the Ferguson police are conducting a dragnet for the shooters, raiding one home after news media, traitors that they are, claimed it was the source of the gunshots. This dragnet is just a continuation of the one that has taken place since the Ferguson rebellions after Michael Brown’s death. Police have charged protesters shown on video raiding local non-Black-owned stores during the rebellion, and even those who spoke out at rallies, including one who met with President Barack Obama as part of a task force.

Hayward Brown. 2nd from left, with supporters including Atty. Ken Cockrel, Sr.

Hayward Brown. 2nd from left, with supporters including Atty. Ken Cockrel, Sr.

There is no question this will grow into a manhunt similar to that which engulfed Detroit after Hayward Brown, John Percy Boyd, and Mark Clyde Bethune killed one cop among others who were protecting a drug house.

The city’s notorious S.T.R.E.S.S. killer cop unit (Stop the Robberies, Enjoy Safe Streets), had been busy killing dozens of Black men. Mass rallies across Detroit protested home invasions by the gangster cops.

Eventually Boyd and Bethune were killed by police in New York City and Atlanta. Hundreds attended their funerals. Hayward Brown was acquitted at trial, represented by the people’s attorney Kenneth Cockrel, Sr., but later died under suspicious circumstances when he returned to his hometown.

THIS IS WAR, AND THE PEOPLE DID NOT START IT.

Marley box

Michael Brown

Michael Brown, 18

Grand juries across the U.S. have refused to indict dozens of killer cops across the U.S. for slaughtering predominantly Black, Latin and other poor people over the years. Holder and the U.S. Justice Department refused to file civil rights charges against Darren Wilson for killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Aiyana Jones, 7

Here in Detroit, Wayne County Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway and Prosecutor Kym Worthy dismissed all charges against Detroit cop Joseph Weekley for blasting his MP5 submachine gun into 7-year-old Aiyana Jones’ head in 2010, as she lay sleeping, during a vicious SWAT-style raid of her home. There was supposed to be a federal investigation of that little girl’s killing, but it never happened. Holder holds the lives of cops, but not little girls, sacred?

Protester at march supporting Lovelle Mixon, in photo, and protesting police murder of Oscar Grant, in Oakland, CA, 2009.

Protester at march supporting Lovelle Mixon, in photo, and protesting police murder of Oscar Grant, in Oakland, CA, 2009.

What else is to be done? In 2009, protesters in Oakland, CA marched to support Lovelle Mixon, 27, after he was stopped by Oakland cops March 21, 2009 and opened fire on them, killing four. Oscar Grant had been brutally gunned down by a BART transit cop just days before. The video below gives the political background for the protesters’ support.

People of color and poor people have an absolute right to defend their lives from killer cops. It is not the people who have begun this war.

It is a war that has been waged from the days of the African Holocaust, the kidnapping, killing, and enslavement of hundreds of thousands that ensued, the lynchings carried out after the Civil War into the modern day, the genocide of Native Americans and Latinos, the “mass incarceration in the days of color-blindness,” as Michelle Alexander termed the fate of 2.5 million people in U.S. prisons.

The New Jim Crow bookThe U.S. has five percent of the world’s population, but 25 percent of its incarcerated populated, most of them people of color.

Activists in Ferguson and across the U.S. must not presume that those who shot the two cops in Ferguson were “agent provocateurs.” They must not condemn their form of rebellion, calling instead for “peaceful” protests. They must not INFORM on the shooters by giving details to the police who are the enemy, the real terrorists in the U.S. The origins of police in the U.S. are mired in the history of slavecatchers.

“I hate that it happened,” Michael Makin, 19, of Ferguson, told the Guardian.  “It could just make us all look bad. But no matter what happens, we have got to keep the movement going, keep it positive and make changes for the better. We can’t let youth go to waste.”

The Guardian also said, “Rev Starsky Wilson, who is a co-chairman of the Ferguson Commission established by Governor Jay Nixon to work out how to heal the St Louis suburb, delivered a biblical-style attack on the unidentified gunman. ‘We come to curse all of those who would stand in the midst of peaceful protest and cast forth shots that bring violence,’ he said.

Militarized police are taking over U.S. cities.

Militarized police are taking over U.S. cities.

WHO HAS BROUGHT THE VIOLENCE?

How are the powers in charge going to “heal” people in Ferguson and Detroit since Darren Miller and Joseph Weekley walk scott-free?

Support for the police only divides a movement which began in Ferguson and has continued most recently in Madison, Wisconsin, with young people taking over the state capitol and pouring into the streets every day since.

Some people claim that such actions will only increase the police war on the people, but if that is the case, it is not the fault of the shooters in Ferguson. How much more can the war on the people be increased before people stand up and fight back?

 


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COP SLAUGHTER OF BLACK MEN CONTINUES IN GEORGIA, COLORADO; MADISON STATE CAPITOL OCCUPIED


World News Videos | US News Videos

Video above:  High school students in Madison, Wisconsin occupied the state capitol building to protest the killing of 19-year-old Tony Robinson by white cop Matt Kenny March ; radio dispatches indicate cops knew who he was, and that he was likely unarmed. Meanwhile, killings by cops across the country have continued, with two fatal shootings of unarmed Black men in Georgia and Colorado. According to the following link, police have killed three men a day so far in 2015. The story links to a list of those who have been killed.

http://www.dontcomply.com/so-far-in-2015-police-have-killed-three-people-a-day/#sthash.JBMhTdPS.dpuf

There is also a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/KilledByPolice?fref=nf

UNARMED BLACK VETERAN, MUSICIAN KILLED BY DEKALB COUNTY COPS WAS ANTHONY HILL, 27

Anthony Hill's last Facebook post: "Where I once saw death, now I only see life.
Anthony Hill’s last Facebook post: “Where I once saw death, now I only see life.

“Where I once saw death, now I see life”–Hill’s last post on Facebook page

By Steve Visser

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 

March 10, 2015

The naked, unarmed man shot and killed by DeKalb County police Monday afternoon has been identified as 27-year-old Anthony Hill of Chamblee.

Hill was an Air Force veteran and a musician, according to his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/theycallmeant?fref=nf

And his name has already become a hashtag on social media, a platform hundreds of people have used in the hours since the shooting to express sadness, confusion and outrage.

“Something must be done about police training,” @historygal517 wrote in a Twitter post. “How could a naked unarmed man be dangerous enough to shoot? #AnthonyHill needed help. #Dekalb”

Still from video shows Hill hanging from apartment balcony moments before he was shot and killed by police. He was bipolar, according to news reports.

Still from video shows Hill hanging from apartment balcony moments before he was shot and killed by police. He was bipolar, according to news reports.

The GBI has been called in to investigate if the officer acted properly when he fatally shot the man, who appeared to be mentally ill Monday, said Cedric Alexander, director of the county public safety department.

According to Alexander, a DeKalb officer responded to an apartment complex about 1 p.m. on a “suspicious person” report in which a man, who lived in The Heights at Chamblee, was knocking on apartment doors, had disrobed and was crawling around naked.

“No weapon was found,” Alexander said. “The GBI is going to take the point on this investigation.”

Onlookers gather at Chamblee Apartments where Hill died.

Onlookers gather at Chamblee Apartments where Hill died.

The man ran at the officer and ignored demands to stop before the officer shot him twice, Alexander said. He said he did not know the distance between the officer and the man when the shots were fired, if the man was charging the officer or just running and if the officer should have deployed his Taser. That will all be part of the investigation, he said.

The name of the officer, a 7-year-veteran of the force, has not been released. The officer is on administrative leave.

Anthony Hill with friend Bridget.

Anthony Hill with friend Bridget, who wrote: Today was our 3 year anniversary. I love babe. I know you’re happy to see your granddad in heaven.

Today was our 3 year anniversary… I love you babe. Rest in paradise. I know you’re happy to see your granddad.

Alexander said the decision to call in the GBI was in step with a national move toward having independent agencies investigate officer-involved shootings. Alexander said it was not tied to recent unrest involving a DeKalb police investigation into an officer’s fatal shooting of a 44-year-old man who had called 911 for police help.

In that case, Alexander agreed to call in the GBI following demands by the man’s family members and protesters.

DeKalb officers receive some training in dealing with the mentally ill while in the academy before they join the force, Alexander said, but on Monday he said perhaps the training needed to be bolstered.

“That is becoming more and more apparent,” he said.

— Staff writers Ben Gray, Mike Morris, Alexis Stevens and Rodney Thrash contributed to this report.

Three of Anthony Hill’s songs are available on his Soundcloud page, where he uses the name Ant Lanta.

Hill's photo of family members on his Facebook page.

Hill’s photo of family members on his Facebook page.

 NAESCHYLUS VINZANT, ANOTHER UNARMED BLACK MAN, KILLED BY POLICE IN COLORADO: REPORTS

  @aaronlmorrison

March 9, 2015

International Business Times

Naeschylus Vinzant, photo from Colorado Dept. of Corrections

Naeschylus Vinzant, photo from Colorado Dept. of Corrections

As protests grew over the shooting of an unarmed biracial teenager in Wisconsin, police in Aurora, Colorado, announced an African-American man fatally shot last week also had been unarmed. Police Monday said the 37-year-old man, identified by the coroner’s office as Naeschylus Vinzant, was a parolee who had removed a Department of Corrections ankle monitor. The officer responsible for the shooting, who has not been named, was placed on administrative leave, the Denver Post reported.

Aurora Police Cmdr. Paul O’Keefe told a news conference Vinzant was on foot when he was shot once Friday. Officers were trying to arrest him  in a kidnapping and robbery investigation. The officer who did the shooting hired a lawyer and was being interviewed by investigators, O’Keefe said.

AURORA, CO - MARCH 06: Scene of an Aurora Police officer involved shooting near 12th Ave and Memphis St. March 06, 2015. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post)

AURORA, CO – MARCH 06: Scene of an Aurora Police officer involved shooting near 12th Ave and Memphis St. March 06, 2015. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post)

“Police actions are going to be questioned to a much greater degree,” said Nicholas Metz, chief of the Aurora Police Department, apparently referring to the national conversation about law enforcement prompted by several recent police-involved killings of unarmed black men and boys. Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice released a searing report detailing racial discrimination and targeting by police in Ferguson, Missouri, where white police Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed black teen Michael Brown last August. The Justice Department’s investigation in Ferguson cleared Wilson of civil rights violations in the shooting.

Public outcry Monday was growing over the shooting of Tony Robinson in Madison, Wisconsin, last Friday. The biracial 19-year-old, who reportedly suffered from anxiety and depression, was unarmed at the time white police Officer Matt Kenny shot him. Robinson, whose case was drawing comparisons to Brown’s in Ferguson, reportedly struck Kenny in the head before he was shot. Police had been responding to reports the teen allegedly assaulted two friends at a Madison apartment.

Protest after brutal killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO

Protest after brutal killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown by cop Darren Wilson  in Ferguson, MO


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BLACK TEEN TONY ROBINSON SHOT DEAD BY MADISON SERIAL KILLER KOP MATT KENNY; POLICE OUT NOW!

Tony Robinson, 18, killed by Madison, Wisconsin police March 6, 2015.

Tony Robinson, 18, killed by Madison, Wisconsin police March 6, 2015.

Update, March 8, 2015: According to a report from the Associated Press, the cop who killed Tony Robinson, 19, is Matt Kenny, who is white. . . .

Kenny, who had more than 12 years with the Madison department, also shot and killed a suspect in 2007, but was cleared of wrongdoing because it was a ‘suicide by cop-type’ situation,” said the AP. “In that shooting, Kenny responded to a 911 call of a man with a gun and shot him twice after police said he pointed the gun at officers. It turned out to be a pellet gun.”

Serial killer Madison kop Matt Kenny.

Madion serial killer kop Matt Kenny.

Predictably, news media has now also detailed a previous arrest and conviction of Robinson for home invasion, completely unrelated to his killing by Kenny. Police had said he was running in and out of traffic, and allegedly he had been involved in an assault and battery. However, a friend said he frequently runs across the street between his apartment and that of his room-mate’s mother.

Robinson was still alive when he arrived at the hospital where police took him, but no one from his family, including his mother Andrea Irwin, was allowed to see him. Irwin said her son was not a violent person, and she could not understand how he could die under such violent circumstances.

Daily CardinalBy

MADISON, WI — After an unnamed Madison Police Department officer shot teenager Anthony “Tony” Terrell Robinson in an apartment on the 1100 block of Williamson Street Friday evening, a crowd of nearly 150 gathered at the scene to protest what they said was another example of racial injustice. Robinson was a graduate of Sun Prairie High School.

Tony Robinson's grieving mother Andrea Irwin.

Tony Robinson’s grieving mother Andrea Irwin.

Family spokesman Michael Johnson said on Facebook that Robinson was a “loving and caring young man” who was about to attend Milwaukee Area Technical College to pursue a business degree.

Madison Police Chief Mike Koval said a police officer shot and killed a 19-year-old black man Friday evening, according to footage from a press conference published by Channel 3000. The family of the victim identified him as Anthony Robinson.

Koval said MPD received a report that Robinson was responsible for a recently committed battery. The first responding officer arrived at the apartment the man had entered and heard a “disturbance” coming from inside. The officer then forced his way into the building, where Robinson allegedly assaulted him.

“In the context of mutual combat in that sense, the officer did draw his revolver and subsequently shot the subject,” Koval said.

At the time of the press conference, police did not know if Robinson had a weapon, although an initial investigation ruled out the presence of a gun.

Protest at shooting site included Robinson's aunt (in brown leather jacket) and grandmother at right.

Protest at shooting site included Robinson’s aunt (in brown leather jacket) and grandmother at right.

Koval said the officer immediately aided Robinson with CPR, along with help from backup officers. He was taken to a hospital, where he died of the gunshot wounds.

The responding officer was knocked down by a blow to the head, but Koval said at the press conference, the officer would be treated and ultimately released.

State law mandates that an independent investigation be conducted. MPD froze the scene until the state Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation arrived.

Officers at the scene said DOJ investigators had arrived before 11:30 p.m.

“This is completely their oversight,” Koval said. “We will only supplement their needs as they request it.”

Hundreds of people rallied outside building where Tony Robinson was murdered.

Hundreds of people rallied outside building where Tony Robinson was murdered.

He said MPD will not have an instrumental role in the investigation.

“In light of so [many] things that have happened not just across this country, but in our own community, it’s understandable that the reaction at the scene amidst some of our citizens is extremely volatile, emotional and upsetting,” Koval said.

Demonstrators arrived on Williamson Street shortly after the incident, where they remained for several hours, chanting, singing and praying for Robinson’s family.

Shortly before midnight, Robinson’s grandmother, Sharon Irwin, and aunt, Lorien Carter, addressed the crowd.

He [Robinson] wouldn’t hurt a fly,” Irwin said. “He was unarmed. Why would you shoot him five times? What happened to your taser gun?”

Family members said they were not allowed to see Robinson after he was pronounced dead.

Protesters sit in at Madison City Hall to protest Robinson's killing.

Protesters sit in at Madison City Hall to protest Robinson’s killing.

 

‘WE WERE TOLD HE WAS EVIDENCE,’ NOT ALLOWED TO SEE ROBINSON

“We were told he was evidence,” Carter said. “He wasn’t referred to as ‘his son’ or ‘your son,’ just ‘evidence.'”

Protest organizers relocated the crowd to the City/County Building, where they said police were holding two demonstrators who had been detained from the scene earlier in the evening.

Protester weeps as demonstrations continued over the weekend,

Protester weeps as demonstrations continued over the weekend,

Police locked the doors to the building after half the group had already entered. They staged a sit-in along the halls of the building while the others chanted outside and knocked on the doors to the building.

The two protesters were released before 1:30 a.m., and the combined group of roughly 150 dissipated.

Irwin said she believed her grandson’s death was part of a larger national issue and similar to cases in Ferguson, Mo. and Miami Gardens, Fla.

“This can’t go on anymore,” Irwin said. “It’s going on across the United States and it’s ridiculous. You don’t have a license to kill. You have a license to protect, and that’s not what I’m seeing.”

Above all, family members asked for nonviolent demonstrations, like the one Friday night, to continue.

“Protest peacefully, please,” Carter asked. “Stand up, but stand up peacefully.”

selma-ferguson-detroit-aiyana-650px

VOD editor: This morning again, we wake up to hear of another Black youth whose life has been ended by a killer kop, after two men of color in LA were shot down like dogs by the LAPD March 1 and March 5. This is nothing but an ongoing massacre across the U.S. now, by the country’s own home-grown terrorists, its police forces.

Joseph Weekley in SWAT uniform with gun

Killer cop Joseph Weekley, all charges dismissed.

Peaceful protests do not matter, as killer cops are set free, from Joseph Weekley in Detroit, who deliberately shot Aiyana Jones, 7, in the head with an MP5 submachine gun on May 16 2010, to Darrell Wilson from Ferguson, MO, who deliberately killed 18-year-old Michael Brown Aug. 9, 2014.

The mainstream media lies, criminalizing the victims without fail, aiding and abetting the killers. It lied all through the years since Aiyana’s murder, claiming the shooting, part of a horrific SWAT-style raid on her home, was an “accident.” VOD was the only newspaper to report that the Medical Examiner testified that a contact gunshot wound would not leave stippling, as was the case with Aiyana, and that Weekley did not even have the safety on his gun engaged according to an inside source.

“He came to kill!” Aiyana’s grandmother Mertilla Jones cried out at the time. Yes, Weekley did, and yes, cops all over the U.S. are coming to kill members of Black, Latino and poor communities deliberately every single day.

Mike Brown, 18, shot to death by Darren WIlson in Ferguson, MO.

Mike Brown, 18, shot to death by Darren WIlson in Ferguson, MO.

The U.S. Department of Justice issued a report this week condemning the racist practices of the Ferguson Police Department, but never brought charges against Wilson.  Outgoing U.S Atty. General Eric Holder said the USDOJ may have to go so far as to dismantle the department.

YES! That must be done across the country and if the federal government does not do it, the people must!  Killer cop forces must be driven out of our communities, and those responsible for these murders jailed for life. The slaughter of our youth, people of color and poor people across the U.S. will never end until these ISIS-style occupation forces leave!

Revolutionary leader Frederick Douglass.

Revolutionary leader Frederick Douglass.

Frederick Douglass:

“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.

In the light of these ideas, Negroes will be hunted at the North and held and flogged at the South so long as they submit to those devilish outrages and make no resistance, either moral or physical. Men may not get all they pay for in this world, but they must certainly pay for all they get. If we ever get free from the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and if needs be, by our lives and the lives of others.

- See Frederick Douglass’ entire speech at:

http://www.blackpast.org/1857-frederick-douglass-if-there-no-struggle-there-no-progress#sthash.4X2eLOf7.dpuf


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LA COPS SLAUGHTER 2 IN 4 DAYS: HOMELESS BLACK MAN ‘AFRICA;’ LATINO DRIVER SERGIO NAVAS

VIDEO ABOVE BY THOMAS BLACKBURN, MARCH 1, 2015

VOD Editor: On March 1 and again on March 5, Los Angeles cops brutally killed two unarmed men of color, a homeless man called “Africa” or “Cameroon,” given name Charley Leundeu Keunang, killed by five cops  in downtown LA outside a homeless shelter, and Sergio Navas, 35, chased by police from North Hollywood to Burbank in what they claimed was a stolen car. A cop in the passenger seat of a pursuit car shot Navas numerous times as he sat in the driver’s seat of the car he was in, shattering its window.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck during press conference on shooting of Africa.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck during press conference on shooting of Africa.

Below are excerpts from various sources on the LAPD’s brutal killing of “Africa” March 1, and the subsequent killing of Navas on March 5. The LAPD, with other police in LA County, according to official figures posted below, has racked up an astounding record of fatal shootings by cops just since 2014. Protests have been taking place across the city.

Detroiters should note that Detroit Police Chief James Craig, earlier appointed by the city’s emergency manager Kevyn Orr, spent 28 years in command positions with the LAPD. He was on the internal panel that investigated and whitewashed the “Ramparts” scandal, before the U.S. Department of Justice intervened.

_____________________________________________________________

LA POLICE FATAL INCIDENTS

LAPD cops advance in battle gear.

LAPD cops advance in battle gear.

16 People shot dead by police in city of Los Angeles in 2014

252 People killed by police in LA since 2000

606 People killed by police in LA county since 2000

38 People killed by police in LA county in 2014

Source: LA Times Homicide Report

____________________________________________________________

Protest of Africa's death in downtown LA.

Protest of Africa’s death in downtown LA.

Homeless, unarmed man “AFRICA” shot five times, killed  after police dragged him out of tent in front of  Union Rescue Mission Shelter

Friends said he had been recently released from mental hospital

French consulate repudiates reports that he was French national called Charley Saturmin Robinet;  he has now been identified as native of Cameroon,

"Africa," shot to death by five LAPD cops March 1, 2015 outside his tent near homeless shelter

Africa,” shot to death by five LAPD cops March 1, 2015 outside his tent near homeless shelter

VOD Editor: Please note the original unedited video at top, by Thomas Blackburn, of the slaughter of “Africa.” Various mainstream media have shown it interspersed with stills and comments from so-called “experts” who claim Africa can be seen reaching for a cop’s gun. In fact, it is absolutely unclear from the stills what the object is.

Africa had just been dragged out of his tent and slammed to the ground without provocation by at least five cops with their guns drawn.  A similar tactic was used in St. Louis, MO after police killed 18-year-old Antonio Martin last year; a red circle was drawn around an unidentified object police alleged was a gun in a blurry gas station video still.

The mainstream media continues to vilify “Africa,” first wrongly identifying him as a French national, and then claiming without complete substantiation that he was a bank robber 10 years ago.  It has now been established that he was from Cameroon. The Miami Herald reports he is Charly Keundeu Keunang, 43, listed as being indigent and homeless, and dying  from multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Los Angeles County coroner’s office.

Despite a California Supreme Court mandate that the names of officers involved in such shootings be released, the LAPD has so far refused to do so.

 

VIDEO SHOWS FATAL SHOOTING OF HOMELESS MAN

Suzetta Shaw, a homeless woman at left, joins other homeless protesters at site of Africa's slaughter by LAPD.

Suzetta Shaw, a homeless woman at left, joins other homeless protesters at site of Africa’s slaughter by LAPD.

Buzz Feed

By Claudia Koerner and Mary Ann Georgantopoulos

Updated on March 2, 2015, at 7:33 p.m.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/claudiakoerner/video-shows-los-angeles-police-shooting-homeless-man#.rrv4zOzpaN

A video uploaded to Facebook shows officers responding to a robbery call and arguing with two people. Two officers pull one person away. The other officers, who are farther from the camera, surround a man.

A video from the BBC below gives reaction from witnesses at the scene:

The Los Angeles Police Department said the robbery suspect began fighting the officers and resisting arrest. At one point an officer punches the man to the ground. The officers attempted to use a taser, but the suspect continued fighting, according to a statement released by the LAPD (click on LAPD pr on killing of homeless man Africa). During the altercation, the man and the officers struggled over one of the officer’s handguns.

“Drop the gun,” officers shout several times with their own guns drawn. About five shots can be heard on the video.

Witness who recorded video says he didn’t see man reaching for cop’s gun; LAPD admits he was unarmed

Thomas Blackburn

Thomas Blackburn

Thomas Blackburn, the man who recorded the shooting, told CNN that he didn’t see the homeless person reaching out for an officer’s gun, contradicting the police’s version of events. “Why didn’t they simply “shoot the man in the leg?” Blackburn said. “He’s already on the ground.”

Paramedics responded and pronounced the victim dead at the scene. Two officers were treated for minor injuries and released. Witness also began shouting that they did not believe the man who was shot was armed.

LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith told CNN that the man was unarmed. “I don’t know what they found on this individual,” Smith said. “Obviously he didn’t have a firearm.”

Witnesses identified the man by his street name, “Africa,” according to the Los Angeles Times. Witnesses said he had been living in a tent on Skid Row for several months and had spent some time in a mental health facility.

There have been 12 fatal officer-involved incidents in downtown Los Angeles since 2000, according to the Times.

Mainstream media claimed this inset from video shows Africa reaching for cop's gun. Well, WHAT IS THAT?

Mainstream media claimed this inset from video shows Africa reaching for cop’s gun. Well, WHAT IS THAT?

The LAPD’s specialized Force Investigative Division is collecting evidence and will interview witnesses as part of their investigation to determine whether the use of deadly force was consistent with the department’s policies. In addition to the video posted on Facebook, LAPD Sgt. Barry Montgomery said there could be video from two surveillance cameras from buildings at the scene.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney will also review the incident.

The shooting took place across from the Union Rescue Mission, which provides a number of services to homeless people.

US POLICE SHOOT HOMELESS MAN DEAD IN LA 

BBC News

2 March 2015 Last updated at 05:55 ET BBC’s Alastair Leithead: “Five shots were fired”

Protesters hold impromptu memorial for Africa.

Protesters hold impromptu memorial for Africa.

US police have shot and killed a homeless man during an altercation in central Los Angeles, in an incident caught on video.

The graphic film shows a violent struggle between the man and several officers in the city’s Skid Row area.

Police say that three officers opened fire after the man tried to grab a gun from an officer.

Witnesses said the dead man was known as Africa and had been homeless after treatment for mental illness.

The LA police department said officers had been responding to reports of a robbery and had attempted to use a Taser to subdue the suspect but he had “continued fighting and resisting”.

A witness said five officers were involved in the altercation

No other gun was recovered at the scene, LA police commander Andrew Smith said.

Last year, highly publicised killings of black men sparked weeks of protests in the US.

Hours after the latest shooting, the hashtag #LAPDShooting was trending on Twitter in the US.

Shooting victim

  • Another memorial identifying Africa's home country as Cameroon, not France.

    Another memorial identifying Africa’s home country as Cameroon, not France.

    Nicknamed Africa, had been living on the street for months, eyewitnesses say

  • Said to have spent 10 years in a mental health institution before winding up homeless
  • Said by people who knew him to have not been violent but still exhibited “mental problems”

Sources: LA Times and ABC News

It is unclear from the video what exactly happened, the BBC’s Alastair Leithead reports from Los Angeles.

The video begins with what appears to be a black man swinging punches at four police officers in daylight, near the tents and cardboard of a pavement homeless camp. Two other officers run up to join their colleagues.

The video posted on Facebook showed the altercation leading to the shooting

Protesters conduct "die-in" on LA street.

Protesters conduct “die-in” on LA street.

As the man is knocked to the ground, a woman can be seen picking up a fallen police baton and a voice seems to shout “Give me my stick! Give me my stick!”

Several police officers turn to tackle the woman, in the foreground of the video, and her detention partially obscures what is happening with the man on the ground.

A voice can be heard shouting “Drop the gun!” four times before five shots ring out.

The police officers step away from the suspect lying on the ground. No-one approaches the body again for one minute and 13 seconds, by which time police reinforcements have arrived.

The man taking the video can be heard swearing as he records it.

After the shooting, he can be heard saying. “Ain’t nobody got no [obscenity] gun. I’m gonna record this [obscenity]… They just shot that man right here, man, they just shot that [obscenity] man right here, yeah.”

The man was shot dead in Skid Row, where many of LA’s homeless live.

Protester demands homes, not police.

Protester demands homes, not police.

Skid Row

  • Name given to a central district of Los Angeles with a large homeless population
  • Estimates of district’s population range from 8,000 to 11,000 people, predominantly black, with a homeless population of about 2,500, according to the LA Chamber of Commerce
  • Described by the Associated Press news agency as a “tenuous comfort zone for many who hit the rock bottom of their lives in America”
  • Homeless people tended to gravitate to the area historically as it was near a railway terminal – “the last stop on the train for the whole country”, according to the Union Rescue Mission charity
  • Other US cities have their own “skid rows”, with the term believed to have originated in Seattle, Washington state

“The video is disturbing,” LAPD Commander told reporters. “It’s disturbing any time anyone loses their life. It’s a tragedy.” The commander added that at least one of the police officers had been wearing a body camera.

According to an ABC News report, the three officers have been placed on leave pending the outcome of an investigation into the shooting. Steve Soboroff, president of LA’s Police Commission, told the BBC it was important to investigate the facts before making any conclusions.

 Eyewitnesses call fatal Los Angeles police shooting of homeless ... www.finalcall.com-350 × 243-Search by image From left, Skid Row activist “D.J.” General Jeff consoles Skid Row resident Ina Murphy ollowing LAPD shooting of homeless, mentally ill Black man/Photo Final Call


  From left, Skid Row activist “D.J.” General Jeff consoles Skid Row resident Ina Murphy ollowing LAPD shooting of homeless, mentally ill Black man/Photo Final Call

Witnesses told the Los Angeles Times that the man who died had been living on the street for four or five months.

Ina Murphy, who lives in an apartment nearby, said he had told her that he had recently been released after spending 10 years in a mental health facility.

People on Skid Row who knew him said he was not violent.

“What did he do?” said Steven Tugmon to ABC News. “He wasn’t an aggravated person. He wasn’t mad all the time. He just had mental problems.”

More on This Story

Related Stories

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2975139/Video-shows-Los-Angeles-police-officer-shoot-dead-homeless-man-broad-daylight.html

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-rall-lapd-skid-row-homeless-shooting-20150305-story.html

Witness describes LA shooting Watch

Angry protester after LAPD killing of homeless man called Africa.

Angry protester after LAPD killing of homeless man called Africa.

LAPD OFFICER FATALLY SHOOTS FLEEING MOTORIST AFTER HIS CAR COLLIDES WITH POLICE VEHICLE

 ‘There is no evidence to support he was armed.’

Man now identified as Sergio Narvas, 35

Cops shot him from their car as he sat in his driver’s seat, shattering window

(VOD: see second video at top of post.)

 March 5, 2015

LA NOW – Los Angeles Times

Body of Sergio Navas, 35, is under the white covering on street where he died.

Body of Sergio Navas, 35, is under the white covering on street where he died.

A man [now identified as Sergio Navas, 35, of North Hollywood] was killed by LAPD officers after a pursuit that ended in Burbank.

LAPD Sgt. Barry Montgomery said, “There is no evidence to support he was armed.”

The man was shot by an officer sitting in the passenger seat of a squad car when their two cars collided during the chase. Wounded, the man got out of the car and ran but officers chased him down and handcuffed him, said Officer Wendy Reyes.

He was declared dead at the scene after arriving paramedics tried to resuscitate him.

Anti-police brutality protesters..

Anti-police brutality protesters..

The chase began when the man sped away from LAPD officers who tried to pull him over at Magnolia Boulevard and Riverton Avenue in North Hollywood about 1:45 a.m., said Officer Liliana Preciado. Officers started following the car because it had paper plates and the suspect was “driving erratically,” she said.

Officers gave chase and followed him into Burbank, where the man drove into a short cul-de-sac off West National Avenue and Evergreen Street and was cornered. The man’s car collided with the passenger side of the LAPD car and the officer in the passenger seat started shooting, Preciado said.

“All I heard was sirens and gunshots,” said John Zunino, a resident who was woken up Thursday by the commotion and police helicopter. “I kept hearing them get louder and louder…then I hear pop-pop-pop-pop like five or six gunshots.”

Officials confer at site of Burbank killing.

Officials confer at site of Burbank killing.

Police initially said it appeared the man had deliberately rammed the vehicle. Further investigation showed “he was not ramming the vehicle, it was a straight collision,” Preciado said.

Montgomery said the pursuit lasted about 6 minutes before it ended in the cul-de-sac. He said experts would analyze skid marks and look for any kind of surveillance video to determine exactly what happened.

The officers involved in the pursuit had minor injuries, Montgomery said.

The car the unidentified suspect was driving, a gold Mercury Sable, had been reported stolen on Feb. 26 from a northeast L.A. neighborhood, the police sergeant said

Site of death of Sergio Navas, 35

Site of death of Sergio Navas, 35

Burbank resident David Lamb walked his bike from his second-story apartment Thursday morning, ducking under the yellow police tape that lined Pass Avenue after the early morning violence.

A black screen blocked his view of a white sheet covering the driver’s body.

Lamb said the early morning gunshots jolted him and his wife awake. Both rushed to check on their three children — 6 months, and 2 and 4 years old.

“We heard a lot of sirens and helicopters,” Lamb, 32, said. “From our window we could see the scene and we saw the body on the ground.”

Paramedics came shortly after, he said, and spent about 20 minutes trying to revive the suspect.

“It’s shocking that this happened in this neighborhood,” he said.

Neighborhood of Burbank killing, near Warner Bros. studios. Was LAPD protecting Hollywood stars?

Neighborhood of Burbank killing, near Warner Bros. studios. Was LAPD protecting Hollywood stars?

Diana Cruz heard the whooping police sirens before dawn and watched as white lights flashed throughout the neighborhood and into her home. Then she heard the gunshots.

“I thought I heard about four,” Cruz said as she walked her dog one street away from the scene of the shooting.

But she rolled over in bed and went back to sleep, convinced that that shots were either fake or came from far away.

“We live so close to Universal Studios and a couple of times they’ve put up signs saying that we’ll hear shots,” Cruz explained.

Jennifer Mendoza, 25, said that her boyfriend was awake at the time and rushed into the room to see if she had heard the gunfire.

“He said, ‘I think I heard gunshots. What if they’re in the alley?'” Mendoza recalled.

Falling in and out of sleep as he tried to tell her what he’d just heard, Mendoza found it hard to believe that there would be a shooting in the neighborhood.

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna and @ParviniParlance.

UPDATE: DEAD DRIVER IDENTIFIED AS SERGIO NAVAS, 35

North Hollywood Man Killed in Second Fatal LAPD Shooting in Four Days

By Paige Austin (Patch Staff) March 5, 2015 at 10:30pm

A car theft suspect who led Los Angeles Police Department officers on a six-minute chase from North Hollywood to Burbank was shot and killed today, in the second deadly LAPD shooting in four days.

The man was identified by the coroner’s office as 35-year-old Sergio Alexander Navas of North Hollywood.

LAPD motorist shooting

Site of car crash after which LAPD opened fire on Sergio Navas as he sat In driver’s seat.

Navas was shot about 1:45 a.m. in a cul-de-sac near the intersection of National Avenue and North Pass Avenue. The car driven by Navas collided with a patrol car collided at that location, according to the LAPD.

Police initially reported that the suspect had repeatedly rammed the patrol vehicle, but investigators later determined that was not the case, said LAPD Sgt. Barry Montgomery.

“I just want to clarify that in this particular case, there was no multiple ramming of the police vehicle,” Montgomery told Fox11.

Liliana Preciado, LAPD Communications

LAPD Officer Liliana Preciado said an officer on the passenger side of the patrol car opened fire on the suspect, who then ran off. He was chased by officers before collapsing near an alley off North Pass Street. No shots were fired during the foot pursuit, Preciado said.

Burbank firefighters pronounced Navas dead at the scene.

The LAPD’s earlier fatal officer-involved shooting occurred Sunday afternoon on Skid Row near downtown Los Angeles. Killed in that shooting, which was videotaped and sparked outrage among some activists and members of the public, was 43-year-old homeless Cameroonian Charley Leundeu Keunang, who allegedly tried to grab an officer’s weapon during a scuffle.

(VOD note: the LA Times reported that Navas had a number of drug and theft-related arrests, while other newspapers said he had convictions. VOD was not able to verify any of these from online LA County sources.)


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DETROIT LONG-TERM DEBT RISES 300% IN BANKRUPTCY; RETIREES FIGHT BACK WITH PROTEST, COURT APPEALS

Detroit retirees protest Orr, Rhodes, Rosen at Crain's luncheon Feb. 26, 2015. Poster of Aiyana Jones, 7 when killed by Detroit police in 2010, was prominently displayed.

Detroit retirees protest Orr, Rhodes, Rosen in freezing temperatures outside Crain’s luncheon Feb. 26, 2015. Poster of Aiyana Jones, 7 when killed by Detroit police in 2010, was prominently displayed. It’s not one thing–it’s everything.

Financial Review Commission report on current general fund debt: $3,008,162,089, up from 2013 total LTD of  $1,003,937,000 

“DON’T HONOR THIEVES” retirees shout outside luncheon for bankruptcy perpetrators Orr, Rhodes, Rosen 

Appeals of bankruptcy proceed in U.S. District Court

Next meeting of DAREA Wed. March 4 @ 5:30 pm, St. Matthew/Joseph Church at Woodward and Holbrook — Guest speaker Tom Barrow

DAREA VP Cecily McClellan at right.

DAREA VP Cecily McClellan at right.

By Diane Bukowski 

March 1, 2015 

DETROIT – As 32,000 members of Detroit’s city retirement systems lose huge chunks of their pension checks and annuity savings funds (ASF) accounts this week, on top of health care elimination, wage cuts, and lay-offs already in place, Wall Street is celebrating its $2 billion coup in the Detroit bankruptcy.

The Detroit Financial Review Commission (DFRC) published figures Feb. 16 that show the city’s total general fund long-term debt (LTD) from 2015-44 is now $3,008,162,089. According to the city’s last available Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) of 2013, the general fund LTD then was $1,003,937,000. 

LTD chartClick on City bond debt under bankruptcy for copy of chart; click on DFRC report for full copy of Financial Review Commission report.

,

Detroit Financial Review Commission:
Detroit “Mayor” Mike Duggan, Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, State Treasurer Kevin Clinton, State Budget Director John Roberts,
Darrell Burks former senior partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Stacy Fox, former deputy EM under Kevyn Orr, Dupont Senior VP, Roxbury Real Estate, Lorron James ,VP of James Group Int’l, military contractor with Lockheed Martin; Bill Martin, founder of First Martin Corp., a real estate, construction, and development firm; Tony Saunders, former director at Conway McKenzie law firm, prime player in Detroit bankruptcy.
Every decision on every dollar in Detroit goes through these nine men and women.

Detroit workers, retirees and residents are liable for the debt, to be paid BEFORE any spending on city services. Under terms of the bankruptcy plan, the DFRC is the final decision-maker on city finances. 

“The City pledges to pay the principal of and interest on the Bonds as a first budget obligation from its general funds and in case of insufficiency thereof, from the proceeds of an annual levy of ad valorem taxes on all taxable property of the City, subject to applicable constitutional, statutory and charter tax rate limitations,” says the bankruptcy exit plan.

The DFRC report says the city’s state revenue-sharing payments, already slashed by $7.32 billion over the last 10 years, will also back up portions of the debt.

Some of the furred and beweled supporters of bankruptcy pretend non-chalance.

Some of the furred and beweled supporters of bankruptcy pretend non-chalance as they are called “thieves.”

Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s celebrated the inclusion of state aid liens, giving four of the bond deals investment-grade ratings in the A range.

“Factors that strengthen the new credit and offset some of the weaker characteristics cited include the statutory lien on state aid, a first lien on debt millage from the city’s UTGO pledge, and the direct flow of state aid needed for debt payments from the state treasurer to the trustee as well as the direct flow of debt millage directly to the escrow trustee,” the Bond Buyer reported Dec. 22, 2014.

In other words, the state pays the debts directly to Wall Street without local government intervention.

Protester at entrance to MCC Sound Board.

Protester at entrance to MCC Sound Board.

“Thieves!” and “Al Capones!” a furious group of retirees shouted at well-heeled patrons arriving at a Feb. 27 Crain’s Detroit “Newsmakers” luncheon. The event honored former Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes, and bankruptcy mediator U.S. District Court Chief Judge Gerald Rosen.

“The banks got bailed out, we got sold out!” and  “Don’t honor thieves!” retirees chanted as the predominantly white attendees, including former EM Kevyn Orr and Jones Day attorney Heather Lennox, exited expensive cars, limousines and buses outside the entrance to the Motor City Casino’s Sound Board in downtown Detroit.

One group of retirees confronted Orr about the huge cuts they have taken to their pensions and health care. Orr responded, “You’re lucky I didn’t take it all.”

Protesters added a chant of “Newsmakers make up the news!” referring to what they said was biased coverage in favor of the bankruptcy by most of the mainstream media. During the luncheon, Orr and Rhodes congratulated the media for their coverage. The fact that the two spoke together with Rosen shed more doubt on the judges’ impartiality in the bankruptcy case.

Retirees confront luncheon attendees, who paid $70 a head, charging robbery.

Retirees confront luncheon attendees, who paid $70 a head, charging robbery.

VOD has already exposed Rhodes for chairing a one-sided forum Oct. 10, 2012 on Chapter 9 bankruptcy and Emergency Managers, which featured a chief witness for the “city” at the bankruptcy trial, Charles Moore of Conway Mackenzie. Also speaking were a co-author of Public Act 4, the predecessor to PA 436, EM trainers, and other pro-EM and Chapter 9 advocates.

“That constitutes not only an ethical violation, but Rhodes’ confirmation of the bankruptcy despite his knowledge of criminal fraud as exposed in the city’s lawsuit against the $1.5 billion ‘Certificates of Participation’ loan makes him liable for criminal charges as well,” retiree Cornell Squires of We the People for the People said.

“It is important that we are here today to show the world that we are still fighting, that the so-called ‘Grand Bargain’ was nothing but a ‘grand theft,’” Cecily McClellan, vice-president of the Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association (DAREA), told the crowd.

Jones Day atty. Heather Lennox arrives; she has been assigned to handle bankruptcy appeals.

“Many people don’t know we are appealing the bankruptcy plan in District Court because of its illegal injuries to retirees and residents. At the very least, we want the ‘claw-back’ of our annuity savings funds overturned, and at the most, we want the bankruptcy plan rescinded. It represents disparate treatment to African-Americans in the nations’ largest-Black majority city, which has been portrayed as a ‘failed’ city in world-wide publicity.  The ASF recoupment is aimed at employees who hired on after Coleman A. Young became Detroit’s first Black mayor. Judge Rhodes showed the institutional racism involved when he cited ‘the unique racial composition’ of Detroit to justify the bankruptcy.”

The mainstream media has completely ignored ongoing appeals in front of U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman, filed by DAREA, the Ochadleus Group/Quinn, Jamie Fields, and others. The city summarily moved to dismiss the appeals without filing responses to them on Feb. 21, as did the so-called Detroit Retired City Employees Association (DRCEA), headed by Shirley Lightsey.

The DRCEA even requested $50 legal donations from its members to cover their expenses in the case against city retirees. But Friedman has not set a date for a hearing on the dismissal motions. Instead, he has told the city to provide “responsive briefs” after the appellants provide their responses to the motions to dismiss. Copies of the pertinent motions are attached below.

“We’re in this to win,” DAREA President Bill Davis told retirees earlier, “even if we have to take it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

"Rebirth of Detroit:" Dan Gilbert affiliates moved tenants out of bldg. next door and long-time Black and disabled residents from Griswold Apartments across street in Capitol Park.

“Rebirth of Detroit:” Dan Gilbert affiliates moved tenants out of bldg. next door and long-time Black and disabled residents from Griswold Apartments across street in Capitol Park.

The media generally claims retirees are losing only 4.5 percent of their pensions, ignoring huge six-figure sums being ripped from many annuity savings accounts, as well as new monthly payments of as much as $1200 for retiree health care.

It has celebrated the bankruptcy as “the rebirth of Detroit,” refusing to acknowledge that it may be nothing but a house of cards if Detroit is not able to repay the $3 billion debt Wall Street has foisted on it.

“We think that it is more than ‘feasible’ that the city finds itself facing fiscal difficulties over the next five years,” Municipal Market Advisors (MMA), an independent advisory firm, reported in October, 2014. “In effect, Detroit may wind up, on its first day out of bankruptcy, as one of the most likely candidates for Chapter 9 in the state of Michigan.”

Detroit retiree protests on Grand River before moving to MCC Sound Board entrance.

Detroit retiree protests on Grand River before moving to MCC Sound Board entrance.

MMA cited the bankruptcy plan’s giveaway of many of the city’s major revenue-producing assets, which include most of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, the Joe Louis Arena and other riverfront and downtown land and revenues.

The state of Michigan imposes a legal debt limit on its municipalities, which is 10 percent of the total assessed value of all the entities’ real and personal property.

According to Detroit’s 2013 CAFR, the city’s total debt limit was $1,558,064,000, with total net debt applicable to the limit at $1,039,011,000.The $3 billion total LTD already exceeds the limit, while figures from the DFRC report show the city’s annual debt payments rising year by year, with no substantial increase in revenue.

Bosom buddies: Michigan Gov. Rick-tator Snyder, Detroit "Mayor" Mike Duggan

Bosom buddies: Michigan Gov. Rick-tator Snyder, Detroit “Mayor” Mike Duggan

Detroit “Mayor” Mike Duggan reported in his State of the City Address that income from property taxes is expected to decline at least through 2017. Wayne County’s chargebacks to the city for foreclosed property it bought from Detroit, but cannot sell at auctions, are a huge factor, amounting to $82 million last year. Duggan also cited declining property values and likely increased foreclosure activity. He did NOT cite the huge tax breaks being accorded to wealthy developers like Dan Gilbert and Mike Illitch.

Other “inherent risks” in the projected budget, Duggan said, include increased unemployment, rising interest rates, rising inflation, lowered consumer confidence, declines in state sales tax revenues apportioned to the cities, and “implementation risks due to deferred-delayed results from restructuring efforts.”

BELOW: VIDEO OF KEVYN ORR AND JUDGE STEVEN RHODES AT CRAIN’S LUNCHEON. SPEAKERS, ATTENDEES HAD MANY GOOD LAUGHS AS DETROIT RETIREES SUFFERED WORST ATTACKS IN U.S.

DETROIT ACTIVE & RETIRED EMPLOYEE ASSOCIATION NEXT MEETING WED. MARCH 4 @ 5:30 P.M. ST. MATTHEWS/ST. JOSEPH CHURCH WOODWARD AND HOLBROOK

Former mayoral candidate Tom Barrow

Former mayoral candidate Tom Barrow

Guest Speaker: Mr. Tom Barrow

PETITION: Sign the petition to halt changes to pensions and other benefits, to  U.S. Justice Department, at http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/selective-enforcement?source=s.icn.em.mt&r_by=9645222.

FUNDRAISING: To donate to DAREA’s LEGAL DEFENSE FUND, click on  http://www.gofundme.com/pensiondefensefund. Or checks can be made payable to the Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association (DAREA), at P.O. Box 3724, Highland Park, Michigan 48203.

“Hands off my Pension” T-shirts shown in photos above are available for $10 each. The fundraising committee will continue to sponsor events to cover what is anticipated will be substantial legal fees.

WEEKLY MEETINGS:  To receive notices of meetings, updates on the appeal and events information please provide your email address and phone numbers via email at Detroit2700plus@gmail.com or call DAREA at 313-649-7018.

Read DAREA’s position statement at DAREA Call/.

Retirees pack DAREA meeting Jan. 21, 2015.

Retirees pack DAREA meeting Jan. 21, 2015.

Related documents:

Detroit Four year financial plan Duggan

Motion to dismiss DAREA appeal

DRCEA motion to dismiss

City response brief 30 days after service of DAREA reply to motion to dismiss

Brf opposing Mot Dismiss – Mootness Quinn

Index of Exhibits Quinn

State Notice Re Conditions Precedent to State Contribution

Related from VOD:

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/02/21/rhodes-says-detroits-unique-racial-composition-led-to-bankruptcy-ignores-cops-fraud/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/02/18/a-tale-of-two-elections-in-michigan-its-all-black-and-white/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/02/03/retirees-carry-on-the-battle-for-detroit-appealing-bankruptcy-to-higher-court/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/01/23/detroit-workers-retirees-filing-briefs-in-8-appeals-of-citys-bankruptcy-plan/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/01/12/detroit-retirees-announce-federal-appeal-of-bankruptcy-call-for-massive-support/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/01/07/appeal-of-detroit-bankruptcy-accepted-in-u-s-district-court-press-conf-thurs-jan-8-10-am/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/12/14/leaving-bankruptcy-detroit-takes-on-1-28-billion-of-new-debt/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/11/20/judge-denies-all-but-pa-436-lawsuit-equal-protection-claim-after-detroit-bankruptcy-over/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/11/15/detroit-bankruptcy-plan-genocide-in-usas-largest-black-majority-city-rich-get-95-9-poor-get-13-5/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/10/28/bankruptcy-did-little-to-stabilize-detroit-municipal-market-advisors/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/10/21/why-the-poor-are-paying-for-detroits-bankruptcy/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/10/17/detroit-bankruptcy-creditor-fgic-to-get-joe-louis-arena-billions-based-on-fraudulent-poc-deal/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/10/16/detroit-retirees-officials-blast-bankruptcy-plan-em-at-last-minute-hearing/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/09/10/detroit-bankruptcy-great-lakes-water-authority-to-steal-largest-asset-of-largest-u-s-black-city-4/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/09/06/racist-bankruptcy-plan-hearing-sanctions-theft-of-detroit/

Related from other sources:

http://www.bondbuyer.com/news/regionalnews/standard-and-poors-gives-detroit-one-investment-grade-rating-1068987-1.html

http://www.publicsectorinc.org/2014/02/detroit-pension-borrowings-what-a-tangled-web/

http://www.demos.org/blog/3/10/14/detroit%E2%80%99s-bankruptcy-laboratory-study-corruption-municipal-finance


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