DETROIT POLICE, PROSECUTOR COVER-UP IN DEATH OF ANTHONY CLARK REED, 24?

ACLarkReed obit

‘I can’t breathe’—Young man died March 30 during Detroit police stop

 Autopsy report, police statement to father, say Clark Reed died from asthma attack, contradicting other police statements alleging he ingested drugs

Detroit officer Brian Gadwell, at scene according to his website comments, made those allegations, has record of previous brutality lawsuits 

Grieving family still has not received police reports, dashcam and store videotapes, son’s possessions 

By Diane Bukowski 

June 11, 2015

Leda Reed with son Anthony Clark Reed.

Leda Reed with son Anthony Clark Reed.

DETROIT – “He wasn’t just my son, he was my best friend,” Leda Reed, the grieving mother of Anthony Clark Reed, said. “He had a smile on every day, and was always doing something silly. He was my first-born. He never cried even when he was a baby. He worked in Wixom for four years, went to Henry Ford College, and had just been hired at Chrysler.”

Reed said her son, who was 6 feet, two inches and often drove his girlfriend’s new red Charger, was frequently stopped by police.

“He would always call me or his girlfriend on his cellphone right away and leave it on so we could hear what was happening, and he would always call me by 9 p.m. to let me know he was home.”

On the night of March 30 of this year, however, Reed received no such calls. After an unwarranted delay, she and Pastor Kevin Clark, the young man’s father, were told that their son was dead, after a Detroit police stop outside a store on W. Vernor and Lawndale, just around the corner from his father’s Springwells Avenue Baptist Church.

Pastor Kevin Clark, with twin daughters, sisters to Anthony Clark reed.

Pastor Kevin Clark, with twin daughters, sisters to Anthony Clark reed.

“They said they put [my son’s] hands behind his back [to handcuff him], which would have restricted the air flowing into his lungs, causing an asthma attack,” Reed said. “They didn’t have a reason to pull him over, they stereotyped him.”

Pastor Clark said, “I’m not claiming they did anything unless the videotapes show differently, but what occurred says they did not attend to his request that he could not breathe. Why were they so neglectful?”

The Wayne County Medical Examiner’s autopsy report says Clark Reed died of “natural causes,” an asthma attack.

But during his funeral, one of Clark Reed’s twin sisters left crying, “They killed him.”

Anthony Clark Reed's family surround casket at his funeral April 11, 2015.

Anthony Clark Reed’s family surround casket at his funeral April 11, 2015. Photo: Cornell Squires

Both parents said police and the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office continue to tell them the case is still “under investigation.”

“Why is this still going on, 45 days after his death?” Pastor Clark asked.

Police have given the parents conflicting stories about the reason their son was stopped. They have not given the family or their attorney written police reports, dashcam videos from at least six cars witnesses saw at the scene, and videos confiscated from cameras on nearby buildings. Witnesses said all the Charger’s doors and trunk were open after the stop.  Their son’s possessions, including two cell phones and cash, have also not been returned.

Youth at candlelight vigil for Anthony Clark Reed April 1, 2015, outside his father's church on Springwells.

Youth at candlelight vigil for Anthony Clark Reed April 1, 2015, outside his father’s church on Springwells.

Pastor Clark said a police lieutenant told him that his son was pulled over because he was reaching under his seat. His father he was likely looking for his inhaler if that was the case. Police have told various media outlets that Clark Reed was stopped because he had tinted windows, and that he had an asthma attack after the stop. They said they went inside the car to get his inhaler, then called EMS, but those efforts failed to revive him.

Detroit police officer Brian Gadwell reported a third version in comments on WXYZ TV’s website after Pastor Clark was interviewed by that station.

“He was pulled over and started eating his dope he had in the car ……. No one’s fault but his,” Gadwell said on the site. In response to another commenter critical of that remark, Gadwell said, “Where u there at the scene nope that’s right or I would of seen u, but go ahead and try blaming the police for some one else’s stupidity.”

John E BGood, pseudonym for Detroit police officer Brian Gadwell. Facebook

Detroit police officer Brian Gadwell/Photo  TV 2 News.

That comment, said Clark Reed’s mother, obviously implies Gadwell was present during her son’s death.

WXYZ has since changed the name of the commenter to John E BGood, whose Facebook page displays a photo of Good. It is identical to a photo of Gadwell published in a 2012 news report by Amy Lange on Channel 2. That report identified Gadwell as a Detroit police officer who had “thwarted a fence theft” in his Delray neighborhood while off-duty. See

Henry Sawicki commented on the John E Bgood Facebook page, “Damn john e bgood u look just like John E Bgood lol,” and “Lol just like brian gadwell I mean lol.”

Yolanda Delgado

Yolanda Delgado, Anthony Clark Reed’s aunt

Clark Reed’s aunt Yolanda Delgado preserved the original comments with Gadwell’s name on her Facebook page.

On that page, and on the WXYZ website, she said, “Officer Brian Gadwell is making false, unfounded allegations about a pending investigation into the death of Anthony Clark-Reed. He is inciting racial bias and prejudice and his comments are insensitive and unnecessary. Apparently he is attempting to create an alibi for the senseless death of this young man. He does not honor the badge or uniform of the US Law enforcement bureau and he needs to be removed from service. Our country will never mend their racial divide wounds as long as people like him serve in office.”

Numerous other commenters also castigated Gadwell’s comments. None supported him.

Barbara Reed Bolden

Barbara Reed Bolden Facebook

Barbara Reed Bolden said, “The last thing Detroit needs is Bad Cops PROFILING Men/Women shaking them down for their valuables and using a gun and badge to do so. This family lost a love[d] on. You are on Social Media Boasting about a case you personally had something to do with. You show no sensitivity nor respect, for this alone that badge and gun should be removed from you. Who are you serving and protecting?”

Click on Gadwell comments Yolanda Delgado for full list of comments.

Along with the medical examiner’s autopsy report, VOD obtained the ME’s “Case Registration Summary.”

It says “ER Dr. called to report the death of a 25yr male, who was stopped by police while driving swallowed a unknown substance and collapsed. Conveyed from Lawndale and Vernor in Detroit by EMS arriving asystole with no signs of trauma or foul play. Package of drugs found on person.”

The summary adds, “No labs, no film, hx (history) unknown.”

Police stopped Anthony Clark Reed in front of this store on W. Vernor and Lawndale March 30. He was dead shortly thereafter.

Police stopped Anthony Clark Reed in front of this store on W. Vernor and Lawndale March 30. He was dead shortly thereafter.

“It is my opinion that the cause of death is asthma,” Wayne County Assistant Medical Examiner Chantel Nijawi reported May 4. “The contributory factor is morbid obesity. Mr. Clark-Reed complained of feeling short of breath during a traffic stop. An inhaler which Mr. Clark-Reed instructed the police to remove from his car was administered multiple times; however the inhaler failed to work. An emergency medical unit was immediately called and police began cardiopulmonary resuscitative efforts. Upon arrival of the emergency medical unit to the scene, cardiopulmonary resuscitative efforts were continued and he was conveyed to the hospital where despite continued medical intervention he died. There were no signs of injury and no evidence of foul play.”

A good portion of Nijawi’s remarks are taken at face value from what he was told by police, a not uncommon occurrence at the medical examiner’s office.

California NORML: "Dedicated to reforming Californias marijuana laws."

California NORML: “Dedicated to reforming Californias marijuana laws.”

But Nijawi reported further, “The stomach is devoid of gastric contents.”

In other words, he found no evidence in the young man’s stomach that he had ingested anything, let alone drugs, as Gadwell alleged online.

The toxicology findings in the report do indicate the presence of 1.9 nannograms per millimeter (ng/ml) of Delta-9 THC, and under 5.0 ng/ml of Delta-9 Carboxy THC, components of marijuana, in Clark-Reed’s blood.

A scientific report by the California chapter of NORML says, “. . . high levels of THC may be correlated with impairment, though low levels less than 3-5 ng/ml are not.” In other words, the tests showed only low levels present in Clark-Reed’s blood.

Several lawsuits at the state and federal levels have been filed against Gadwell, although he was given a “Top Cop” award by the National Association of Police Officers in 2005.

NAPO report on "The Myths of Ferguson"

NAPO report on “The Myths of Ferguson.” Gadwell got their “Top Cop” award in 2005.

Two were filed by Jerry Ashley, who said in a sworn deposition that he grew up with Gadwell, who lived in the Delray area. He said Gadwell belonged to a gang called the Delray Mafia, while he himself belonged to a competing gang called the Counts. He said his brother “stole” Gadwell’s girlfriend Melissa, which caused subsequent animosity from Gadwell toward the Ashleys.

Later, Gadwell joined the Detroit Police Department, working variously on the gang squad and in special operations.

In 2007, according to a lawsuit filed by attorney Daniel G. Romano, Gadwell arrested Ashley, handcuffed him, then kicked him in the face, breaking the orbital bone around his eye and scarring his face. The lawsuit was later settled for $50,000, according to a City Council agenda for June 16, 2010.

Two other Detroit officers pulled Ashley over on April 9, 2010, telling him that Gadwell “wanted to see him.” Romano said in the lawsuit that the officers falsely arrested Ashley for non-existent child support warrants, then took him to the Second Precinct on Grand River and Schaefer, where one placed a “baton-like object” between Ashley’s arms while he was handcuffed, then twisted it, fracturing his elbow.

Ashley said that Gadwell later told him he heard he “got arrested and got f-cked up again.” The case evaluation in that lawsuit recommended payment of another $50,000.

Demonstrators march in New York, Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014, during the Justice for All rally and march. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Demonstrators march in New York, Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014, during the Justice for All rally and march. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

In another lawsuit, Javier Pointer vs. Gadwell, adjudicated in both state and federal courts, attorney Romano alleged that Gadwell trespassed into Pointer’s yard without a warrant, and told him to stop selling drugs, which Pointer denied doing.

Romano said Gadwell “showed him his badge and punched him in his face, plaintiff fell to ground and defendant kicked him. . . .The defendant fractured plaintiff’s nose, jaw, and wrist, and he humiliated him . . . . as the plaintiff lay on the ground,  the defendant continued to beat him.”

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Cleland

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Cleland remanded state-appropriate claims to Wayne County Circuit Court. On the federal civil rights violations claims, he found Gadwell not responsible because he was not “operating under color of law,” although he did not deny that Gadwell had beaten Pointer. He ignored the lawsuit’s contention that Gadwell showed Pointer his police badge.

The Detroit City Council later authorized legal representation for Gadwell on the state claims. An unknown settlement was reached in December, 2011.

Luis and Paricia Perales sued Gadwell, U.S. Homeland Security Officer Antonio Galvan, and two other individuals who were the target of a high-speed chase after they allegedly shot into a crowd during Cinco de Mayo festivities on May 6, 2012.

The lawsuit, again filed by Daniel Romano, alleged that Gadwell and Galvan negligently engaged in a “high-speed chase through the crowded streets of Southwest Detroit during the Cinco de Mayor Parade . . . continued the chase the wrong way down the one-way Morell Street, and hit or otherwise physically forced the vehicle operated by Defendants Gonzales and Garcia into Plaintiff Luis Pareles, thereby striking him violently and with great force.”

The lawsuit said Perales suffered “serious injuries to his face/head, brain, neck and other parts of his body . . .” that would likely cause lifelong impairment.

That case was administratively closed due to the Detroit bankruptcy filing, and later re-filed in 2014, with an unknown outcome.

Related:

http://www.wxyz.com/news/region/detroit/family-demands-answers-after-24-year-old-dies-during-detroit-police-traffic-stop

http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/19478763/off-duty-officer-thwarts-fence-theft-in-delray.

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/04/01/anthony-clark-reed-24-black-dies-during-detroit-police-traffic-stop-i-cant-breathe/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/05/10/mothers-march-in-dc-vs-police-killings-vod-honors-local-mothers-who-lost-fight-for-children/

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TAX PROTESTERS BLOCK STREET AT TREASURER’S OFFICE, AS EVANS, COMMISSION DEBATE BANK DEBT PAYOFF

Protester burns her tax bill as demonstrators take over street outside 400 Monroe, where Wayne County Treasurer Raymond Wojtowicz has HQ.

Protester burns her tax bill as demonstrators take over street outside 400 Monroe, where Wayne County Treasurer Raymond Wojtowicz has HQ.

‘Detroit homes haven’t been reassessed in 20 yrs.—THAT’S ILLEGAL

Detroit taxes 3 times higher than suburbs—THAT’S UNJUST

State mandates 18% interest on unpaid taxes—THAT’S CRAZY

80% of Detroit ‘blight’ caused by foreclosures—THAT’S DISGRACEFUL

Gilbert, Illitch receive huge tax breaks—so should Detroit—WHY NOT?’

Protesters declare "Black Homes Matter!"

Protesters declare “Black Homes Matter!”

DETROIT—After hundreds of protesters took the street outside Wayne County Treasurer Raymond Wojtowicz’ offices on Monroe in downtown Detroit, police threatened to arrest them, saying their action was “illegal.”

“We are not doing anything illegal,” chant leaders declared. “What is illegal is that we are being forced into tax foreclosures. Mike Illitch got $450 million of our taxes for his new stadium—I don’t think we’re going to let you put us out in the streets. Illegal water foreclosures mean—SHUT IT DOWN!”

Many protesters demanded immediate re-assessments of property values in Detroit, which have not been done for 20 years during which neighborhood conditions drastically deteriorated. State law requires annual re-assessments, so protesters said taxes people have already paid are illegal and should be paid back. They also said water bills attached to Detroiters’ tax bills should not force foreclosures either.

Protester demands that tax re-assessments, not done in Detroit for 20 years, be made retroactive.

Protester demands that tax re-assessments, not done in Detroit for 20 years, be made retroactive.

“Re-assess all taxes now!” they chanted.

Tijuana Morris pointed to a sign held by Bob Day of Detroit Eviction Defense, which graphically displayed the huge disparities between property taxes charged in Detroit, the poorest city in the country, and those paid by homeowners in Grosse Pointe Farms, Dearborn, Ferndale, and Hazel Park.

Tax bills in Detroit way too high; poster compares home values and taxes in Detroit and suburbs.

Tax bills in Detroit way too high; poster compares home values and taxes in Detroit and suburbs.

Abiyomi Azikiwe of Moratorium NOW! called out, “While Wayne County faces the possibility of an emergency manager like Detroit, it makes no sense to drive any more people out of their homes. Stop tax foreclosures NOW!”

Protesters carried banners declaring, “Black Homes Matter,”

After blocking Monroe for an hour, the crowd marched to the Detroit Water Board building on Randolph to demand a halt to re-instituted water shut-offs and related foreclosures. They swore to return to the treasurer’s office soon, saying that next time they would not leave.

Protesters timed the action to coincide with Wojtowicz’ arbitrary deadline for homeowners to apply for interest reductions on unpaid taxes, allowed under a new state law. Groups including Detroit Eviction Defense, Moratorium NOW!, the Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association (DAREA), National Action Network, the Russell Woods-Sullivan Neighborhood Association, and many more took part.

Protesters mob Monroe Street.

Protesters mob Monroe Street.

The protest also coincided with a battle between Wayne County Executive Warren Evans and the Wayne County Commission over how a $49 million debt to the county’s pension fund, mandated for immediate payment by the Michigan Supreme Court, will be paid.

Evans wants a one-time property tax increase, while a majority of Commissioners voted  June 5 to take the debt out of the Delinquent Tax Revolving Fund (DTRF). Evans vetoed their decision the same day. Commission Chairman Gary Woronchak wrote back that the body will likely take a vote to override the veto in several weeks.

Banners form barricade across Monroe to keep police out.

Banners form barricade across Monroe to keep police out.

“I have called for shared sacrifice from County employees, retirees, vendors and residents,” Evans said in his veto letter. “I had hoped to avoid any general tax increases as a solution, but in this circumstance the law mandates a tax levy to remedy those decisions made prior to my tenure.”

Either way, homeowners lose, because the revolving fund is there to help delinquent taxpayers avoid foreclosures.

Have you no shame? protesters ask Treasurer, county officials.

Have you no shame? protesters ask Treasurer, county officials.

The County builds the 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.

Evans claims the DTRF must be used to pay off the county’s structural debt instead, although Wojtowicz earlier used it to pay off $4.5 million for the expansion of the first floor at 400 Monroe, where the Treasurer has offices on several floors. The County does not even own the building.

"Ain't no power like the power of the people, and the power of the people don't stop!" chant leaders call out.

“Ain’t no power like the power of the people, and the power of the people don’t stop!” chant leaders call out.

“Dedicating any DTRF funds to satisfy the judgment is simply deficit spending,” Evans wrote. “It is spending money we don’t have and it will leave the county in deficit at the end of the current fiscal year and in future fiscal years.”

Under Public Act 436, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder could institute a takeover of Wayne County, as he has done to Detroit and other majority-Black cities,  if it does not produce a deficit reduction plan acceptable to the state. Wayne County is 39.6 percent African-American, contrasting with the state’s 14.3 percent Black residents, according to recent census figures.

Just as it did during the Detroit takeover and ensuing bankruptcy, Wall Street has been campaigning to get their debts paid first, before the needs of the people. Such a provision is actually part of the Detroit bankruptcy Plan of Adjustment.

Detroit retirees attended to warn county of disaster that bankruptcy caused; DAREA is among 8 groups appealing to federal circuit court.

Detroit retirees attended to warn county of disaster that bankruptcy caused; Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association (DAREA) is among 8 groups appealing to federal circuit court. Wall St. is now attacking county workers and pensioners as well, downgrading County bond ratings to rake in profits.

In February, Wall Street ratings agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s downgraded the county’s general obligation limited tax (GOLT) debt by three levels to junk, meaning it will be forced to pay higher interest rates on any new debt.

“We expect the county’s current liquidity position will remain sufficient to meet all obligations in the coming year, but will continue to degrade absent significant operating adjustments, the implementation of which could be challenging,” Moody’s said.

Hitler was legal too!

Hitler was legal too!

Fitch Ratings changed the county’s outlook to “negative.”

The County cited decreased property tax revenues, “unsustainable” defined benefit pension plans, health care inflation, and overspending in the Wayne County Prosecutor and Sheriff’s offices as responsible for an expected deficit this year. For the last three years, the County has run annual deficits of $50 million. Its total long-term debt is $5 billion.

In a move fraught with danger for County residents and workers, the County has hired the accounting firm of Ernst & Young to assess what can be done to cut the deficit.

State, county and city governments have given multi-billionaires Dan Gilbert and Mike Illitch hundreds of millions in tax dollars, tax breaks.

State, county and city governments have given multi-billionaires Dan Gilbert and Mike Illitch hundreds of millions in tax dollars, tax breaks.

Ernst & Young met with Detroit’s City Council in a closed session in November, 2011, after which it claimed, falsely as it turned out, that the city would run out of cash by June, 2012. That marked the beginning of the city’s slide into a state takeover under the EM law and a bankruptcy that has stripped Detroit of most of its major assets including the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, and impoverished its workers and retirees.

Meanwhile, Wall Street got the city’s long-term debt load increased from $1.1 billion in 2013 to over $3 billion post-bankruptcy, increasing profits for the banks.

The states of New York and New Jersey have sued Ernst & Young for losses they incurred during the crash of 2008, which began with the downfall of the global Lehman Brothers bank. Ernst & Young was the accounting firm for Lehman Brothers and cooked its books, according to the lawsuits.

Detroit police threatened to arrest protesters, but never did so.

Detroit police threatened to arrest protesters, but never did so.

 

Organizational contacts:

Detroit Eviction Defense, www.detroitevictiondefense.org; 313-740-1073 Click on DED fliers for facts on illegal taxes and foreclosures, City Council proposal, etc.

Moratorium NOW! http://detroitdebtmoratorium.org/; 313-319-0870

DAREA: http://dareafights.blogspot.com/; P.O. Box 3724 Highland Park, MI 48203 313-649-7018;  detroit2700plus@gmail.com;

https://www.facebook.com/StopTheGrandTheftofDetroitsPension

People’s Water Board: www.peopleswaterboard.org/

Detroit People’s Platform: http://www.unitingdetroiters.org/

Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management: www.d-rem.org/

Recent related articles:

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/03/29/unprecedented-katrina-of-tax-foreclosures-to-hit-detroit-wayne-county-march-31/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/01/01/stop-tax-evictions-drop-charges-vs-alonzo-long-jr-come-to-hearing-fri-jan-2-1-pm/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/10/26/we-charge-genocide-detroit-water-shut-offs-foreclosures-focus-of-un-visit/


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COPS ATTACK BLACK TEENS AT POOL PARTY IN DALLAS SUBURB, PULL GUN, BRUTALIZE 15-YR.-OLD GIRL

Thousands rallied in McKinney, Texas June 8 demanding that cop Eric Casebold be fired and racist police brutality stop.

Thousands rallied in McKinney, Texas June 8 demanding that cop Eric Casebold be fired and racist police brutality stop.

Video above by Brandon Brooks, YouTube, has been viewed over 7 M times; thousands marched in McKinney June 8 to protest cop assault on teens. 

dailymailcom_smlBy Kieran Corcoran and Lydia Warren For Dailymail.com

June 8, 2015

‘He shoved me and started pulling my braids': Bikini-clad girl, 15, tells how veteran cop pulled his gun and slammed her to the ground as he is blasted as racist over pool party raid 

  • A video shows the moment Dajerria Becton was thrown to the ground by Corporal Eric Casebolt in McKinney, Texas on Friday evening
  • He was one of 12 officers called to shut down a pool party after a fight broke out between teens and residents who said they should not be there
  • Footage shows the cop pulling his gun and wrestling the girl to ground 
  • One witness said racist comments sparked the fight between pool-goers 
  • Witnesses said the cops only targeted black or Hispanic guests, saying: ‘It was about race because they did nothing about the Caucasian people’
  • Casebolt, who is now on administrative leave, is under investigation
Dajerria Becton, 15

Dajerria Becton, 15

McKinney, Texas — A 15-year-old girl has recounted the terrifying moment a veteran police officer grabbed her and body-slammed her to the ground as she attended a pool party in Texas with friends.

Dajerria Becton was only wearing a bikini when McKinney Police Corporal Eric Casebolt grabbed her and pinned her down on Friday evening – in a startling incident caught on camera.

Casebolt had arrived at the pool following reports of an argument and the teen, who said she was an invited guest, recalled how he told her and her friends to keep walking.

‘I’m guessing he thought we were saying rude stuff to him,’ she told Fox4.

Cop Eric Casebold slams Dajerria Becton to ground.

Cop Eric Casebold slams Dajerria Becton to ground.

Casebold kneels on top of Dajerria Becton.

Casebold kneels on top of Dajerria Becton.

‘He grabbed me, twisted my arm on my back and shoved me in the grass and started pulling the back of my braids. I was telling him to get off me because my back was hurting bad.’

Her aunt added, ‘It wasn’t right, I think his force was excessive.’

Eric Casebolt (from Linked In site, now taken down)

Eric Casebolt (from Linked In site, now taken down)

The teenager, who said she had not been involved in the fight reported to police, said she hopes officials take the incident seriously.

‘Him getting fired is not enough,’ she said.

Corporal Casebolt, who has served ten years on the force, was named on Sunday as the officer seen in the video. He has now been placed on administrative leave while an investigation is carried out, officials said.

The video, which was posted online shortly after the incident, shows him pushing Dajerria to the ground and pinning her down by leaning on her with both of his knees.

The unarmed teenager is heard on the video screaming: ‘Call my momma! Call my momma! Oh God.’

As Casebolt struggles to maintain control, he is also seen pulling out his gun at two boys.

‘I felt like he was actually getting ready to hurt someone,’ one witness, 13-year-old Jahda Bakari, added to KTVT.

Casebold reaches for gun

Casebold reaches for gun

Casebolt points gun at two Black teens.

Casebolt points gun at two Black teens.

‘They were trying to make us leave, but if we ran, they’d chase after us, and if we stayed, then they’d arrest us.’

The fight at the Craig Ranch North Community Pool started when one woman insulted black people who were there and told them to go back to public housing, one witness said.

North Craig Ranch Community Pool

North Craig Ranch Community Pool

Most of the residents in the town, a suburb of Dallas, are white but many of the partygoers were black, CBS noted.

Emma Stone, 14, told BuzzFeed that adults who lived in the neighborhood starting telling the black youngsters to leave and go back to ‘Section 8 housing’, implying that they rely on the government.

Stone said this sparked a physical fight, which led to a total of 12 police officers, including Casebolt, being dispatched to the area.

The teen who filmed the encounter, which was sparked by the party at McKinney’s Craig Ranch North Community Pool, said he felt that Casebolt chose his targets based on race.

Jahda Bakari, 13, also filmed attack: "It was about race."

Jahda Bakari, 13, also filmed attack: “It was about race.”

Brandon Brooks, 15, told BuzzFeed: ‘Everyone who was getting put on the ground was black, Mexican, Arabic. [The cop] didn’t even look at me. It was kind of like I was invisible.’

Bakari, who lives nearby and has a pool pass, added in her interview with KVTV: ‘I honestly believe it was about race because mostly they did nothing to the Caucasians.”

‘They were acting like we were criminals. We were just there for a pool party.’

But not everyone agreed with the teenagers. Homeowners told Fox4 that they believed the officer’s actions were justified because the youngsters were not listening to orders.

‘[Officers] were completely outnumbered and they were just doing the right thing when these kids were fleeing and using profanity,’ one local woman said.

Residents put up "thank you" sign to cops who attacked teens.

Residents put up “thank you” sign to cops who attacked teens.

Photographs also showed that somebody had put up a sign at the pool over the weekend, saying: ‘Thank you McKinney PD for keeping us safe.’

In a statement released on Sunday, the McKinney Police Department said they had responded to a disturbance involving youngsters ‘who do not live in the area or have permission to be there, refusing to leave’.

‘McKinney Police received several additional calls related to this incident advising that juveniles were now actively fighting,’ it continued.

‘First responding officers encountered a large crowd that refused to comply with police commands. Nine additional units responded to the scene. Officers were eventually able to gain control of the situation.’

Although several people can be seen being detained in the video, only one 14-year-old boy was formally arrested, police said.

He was charged with interfering with police duties and evading arrest.

McKinney Mayor Brian Loughmiller at candidate party.

McKinney Mayor Brian Loughmiller at candidate party.

Mayor Brian Loughmiller said in a statement that he was ‘disturbed and concerned’ by the video.

‘Our expectation as a City Council is that our police department and other departments will act professionally and with appropriate restraint relative to the situation they are faced with,’ he said.

‘Our City Management and Police Chief are investigating the situation as required, and I have faith that they will conclude the investigation expeditiously and take appropriate action.

‘We will continue to monitor the situation through our City Manager’s office and will continue to work with community leaders as we follow this investigative process.’

Read more:

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3115231/Dajerria-Becton-15-recalls-moment-McKinney-Police-Corporal-Eric-Casebolt-bodyslammed-ground-Texas-pool-party.html#ixzz3cTrxeTHw Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

MORE PHOTOS OF RALLY MONDAY JUNE 8 IN MCKINNEY TEXAS:

News media reported that "thousands" turned out in McKinney on the evening of June 8 to protest police race riot at swimming pool.

News media reported that “thousands” turned out in McKinney on the evening of June 8 to protest police race riot at swimming pool. Photo: NY Daily News

 

McKinney rally against racist police brutality June 8.

McKinney rally against racist police brutality June 8.

 

Nest Generation Action Network marches with thousands at McKinney rally June 8, 2015.

 

Video above: McKinney police chief responds

McKinney police officer on leave after video shows him pushing teen to the ground Friday night

Dallas Morning NewsCrime Blog

June 7, 2015

By TASHA TSIAPERAS and CLAIRE Z. CARDONA Staff Writers

(Photos, videos added by VOD)

Dajerria Becton, brutalized by white cop Eric

Dajerria Becton, brutalized by white cop Eric

McKINNEY — A police call about unwelcome teenagers at a community pool thrust this affluent suburb into the national spotlight on race and police relations Sunday.

Police Cpl. Eric Casebolt was placed on administrative leave after a video surfaced showing him pulling a 15-year-old girl to the ground and pinning her down outside a pool party Friday night in the expansive Craig Ranch subdivision. Seconds later, he pulled his gun and pointed it at two teens who appear to try to come to her aid.

The profanity-laced seven-minute video, posted to YouTube on Saturday, had been viewed more than 1 million times Sunday. It shows white police officers trying to control black teens who had scattered as officers arrived at the pool.

McKinney Mayor Brian Loughmiller said that he expects city staff and police officials to quickly conduct an investigation into the officer’s actions.

How Eric Casebolt treats his own child/Twitter

How Eric Casebolt treats his own child/Twitter

“I am disturbed and concerned by the incident and actions depicted in the video,” Loughmiller said in a written statement. “Our expectation as a City Council is that our police department and other departments will act professionally and with appropriate restraint relative to the situation they are faced with.”

McKinney Police Chief Greg Conley, who declined to say what specific behavior in the video led to the investigation, said Sunday that the officer was immediately placed on leave.

“Any time you confront a large group of people, it’s a very dynamic situation and tensions can rise very quickly,” he said.

He said three officers responded after residents and a private security officer called police to complain that several teenagers did not have permission to use the pool and had refused to leave. The homeowners association limits pool use to Craig Ranch residents and two guests per household. Several people complained that the teenagers had started fighting.

Pointing, yelling

The department dispatched an additional nine officers because of the size of the crowd, he said.

The girl who was restrained in the video, Dajerria Becton, told KDFW-TV (Channel 4) that she followed police orders. “He told me to walk away and I did. Next thing I know I’m on the ground,” she said.

“Him getting fired isn’t enough.”

Toward the beginning of the video, one officer can be heard calmly speaking to several teenagers. He says, “Don’t take off running as soon as cops get here.”

Seconds later, Casebolt can be seen grabbing one teenager’s arm and pulling him to the ground. He then points to other teenagers, all black, and says, “Get your asses on the ground.”

Someone in the background can be heard saying, “Sir, sir. We just came here for a birthday party.”

Casebolt handcuffing Black youth as Dejerria Becton walks away prior to assault on her.

Casebolt handcuffing Black youth as Dejerria Becton walks away prior to assault on her.

“Don’t make me [expletive] run around here with 30 [expletive] pounds of gear on in the sun ’cause you want to screw around out here,” Casebolt says to two teenagers he orders to sit on the grass.

Moments later he grabs Dajerria after she starts to walk away from the scene. Two black teens run up toward Casebolt and the girl. The officer turns and pulls out his gun, pointing it at them. Two other officers intervene before the officer turns back to the teenage girl.

In the video, Casebolt can be heard yelling, “On your face,” as he pushes the girl to the ground. As he leans on the girl, he points to others standing nearby and yells, “Get out of here or you’re going, too.”

Dejerria Becton after assault is berated by cop and white McKinney resident.

Dejerria Becton after assault is berated by cop and white McKinney resident.

The video also shows several teenagers sitting on the grass with their hands cuffed behind their backs. Conley said Dajerria was released to her parents. No teenagers were arrested. One adult, who was not identified, was arrested for interfering in the police investigation, Conley said. No injuries were reported.

‘Fairly and equally’

At a news conference Sunday at the McKinney Police Department, about a dozen people expressed frustration that the officers in the video seemed to target only the black youths at the pool party. Many said that it’s another example of racism in the suburb.

La'Shadion Anthony is a local singer and leader of a band. Facebook photo

La’Shadion Anthony is a local singer and leader of a band. Facebook photo

“We’re not here to cause a riot or be Baltimore all over again,” McKinney resident La’Shadion Anthony said. “We’re just here to be treated fairly and equally.”

McKinney found itself in the national spotlight in 2004 after the Police Department’s tactics were called into question by the U.S. Department of Justice. Racial tensions between police and residents in an east-side neighborhood escalated following four execution-style slayings earlier in the year. VOD: To read local man’s account of numerous brutality cases, click on:

http://welcome2nicksplace.blogspot.com/2007/06/mckinney-police-hall-of-shame.html

About 75 percent of McKinney residents are white, and about 10 percent are black, according to 2010 census data.

But some say the incident Sunday wasn’t racially motivated.

“This is not a racist neighborhood,” said Benét Embry, a local radio personality who witnessed the incident. “There are a lot of good people in this community. It’s unfortunate that an event like this brings the spotlight.”

Benet Embry at event.

Benet Embry at event.

Embry, who is black, said he appreciated the police officers’ speedy response in calming a rowdy situation.

“That’s what they are supposed to do, protect us. I don’t know any other way he could have taken her down or established order,” he said.

Embry said that the teenagers started jumping over the fence into the party and causing a disturbance. He said the teenage girl seen in the video was talking back to Casebolt.

“She’s bringing more stress into an already volatile situation,” Embry said. “Out of a hundred kids, you probably had seven who are acting the fool. They totally spoiled it for everybody else.”

But others, in McKinney and online, said the officers appeared to unfairly target black teens.

Lincoln Turner, who is white, attended Sunday’s news conference at the police station to show support for the teenagers at the pool party. He and his children frequently use the pools at Craig Ranch, though they don’t live in the subdivision. He said he doesn’t want this incident to be what people remember about McKinney.

McKinney Texas street scene

McKinney Texas street scene

“Everyone should come to McKinney and have fun in our pools. That’s the message that we want to send to the world,” Turner said. “Not that they’re going to get harassed and patrolled and beaten down. Not get a gun drawn on them. That’s ridiculous.”

Pastor’s appeal

Derrick Golden, pastor at The New Covenant Fellowship Church, urged people to not jump to conclusions until the incident has been fully investigated. Golden, who is black, said that though it seems like the police were targeting black youths, people shouldn’t rush to call it racially motivated.

“I know that he responded too strongly, but I don’t know the whole story,” Golden said.

Attorney Peter Schulte

Attorney Peter Schulte

Dallas criminal defense lawyer Peter Schulte, who was not involved in the incident, said that after viewing the video he was most bothered by the actions Casebolt took in his role as a supervisor.

“This is a classic example of how something can escalate out of control very quickly by the actions of the officers, not by what was going on,” said Schulte, a former McKinney officer.

Schulte said that almost every time he pulled up to a party as an officer, people scattered. He said it is difficult to control a situation by making everybody get on the ground instead of calmly asking people to stand still.

Casebolt has been with the department since August 2005, according to his LinkedIn account, which had been deleted Sunday afternoon.

Prior to that, he was listed as a highway patrol trooper with the Texas Department of Public Safety from March 2003 to August 2005. He also served in the U.S. Navy as a member of the military police from 2000 to 2003 and an operations specialist from 1993 until 2000.

Executive Self-Defense and Fitness: photo from police training course

Executive Self-Defense and Fitness: photo from police training course

He also is an instructor trainee at Executive Self-defense and Fitness in McKinney, where his online biography that had also been removed listed him as having received in-depth training on handcuffing, pressure point compliance and armed and unarmed self-defense.

The biography also stated that Casebolt has “a strong working knowledge of human behavior, indicators of deception, criminal behavior, the development of situational awareness and experience in the use of all levels of force.”

Calls for firing

Next Generation Action Network conducts protest on Main Street in downtown Dallas, Dec. 2014. Facebook photo

Next Generation Action Network conducts protest on Main Street in downtown Dallas, Dec. 2014. Facebook

Local activist Dominique Alexander, said the incident was “definitely a racially motivated thing” and said Casebolt “acted like he was a wild animal, just running around.”

His group, Next Generation Action Network, plans to hold a march at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Comstock Elementary in McKinney.

Min. Dominique Alexander of Next Generation Action Network/Facebook

Min. Dominique Alexander of Next Generation Action Network/Facebook

No male officer “should ever touch a young girl, half naked, 95 pounds and slam her,” Alexander said. “That was out of line. He should be fired.”

Mothers Against Police Brutality, a local group, called for Casebolt to be permanently removed from his position.

The ACLU of Texas said in a statement Sunday that the incident “appears to be a textbook case of overuse of force.”

“A well-trained police department would have responded more cautiously, with less hostility, and using sophisticated crowd control methods that favor de-escalation not escalation,” the statement says. “Without question, guns were not needed and in fact risked turning a group of partying teenagers into a violent encounter that could have turned deadly.”

The group called on McKinney police to release the incident report and 911 call recording, along with the disciplinary history of the officer.

“Police departments are intended to be organizations that protect and serve their constituents,” the statement says. “But increasingly in this country we have two kinds of policing and we saw both in this incident: protecting and serving white communities and criminalizing and controlling black communities.”

Staff writer Joe Simnacher contributed to this report.

June 8 rally against racist police brutality in McKinney Texas also included whites.

June 8 rally against racist police brutality in McKinney Texas also included whites.


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CELEBRATE HOMEGOING OF LOVEY GODBOLDO, 102, MOTHER OF 13, MATRIARCH OF MANY MORE, TUES. JUNE 2

Members of the Godboldos' dance troupe at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, where homegoing ceremony for family matriarch Lovey Godboldo, 102, will be held Tues. June 2 at

Members of the Godboldos’ dance troupe at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, where homegoing ceremony for family matriarch Lovey Godboldo, 102, will be held Tues. June 2, 2o15

HOMEGOING of LOVEY GODBOLDO

Sunrise January 24, 1913; Sunset May 26, 2015

       Hartford Memorial Baptist Church

          18700 James Couzens Fwy., Detroit, MI  48234

Tuesday, June 2, 2015; Family Hour 10 am; Service 11 am

Viewing Swanson Funeral Home, 14751 W. McNichols, Detroit, MI 48235

LOVEY BOONE GODBOLDO

LOVEY BOONE GODBOLDO

Lovey Boone Godboldo was the third-born child to the union of Junius T. Boone and Sadie Thompkins.  She was born in a little city near Montgomery, Alabama, on January 24, 1913.  When she was three days old, the family moved to Detroit, Michigan, where she lived until her death at 102 years old.  She departed this life peacefully in her sleep on Tuesday morning, May 27, 2015.

Her parents, 7 siblings, and 2 daughters (the late Jewell Peggy Lile and the late Gail Diane Boudreaux) preceded her in death.   She met Walter Alonzo Godboldo and married him when she was 19 years old.  The couple had 12 children, 6 boys (Walter, Jr [Sonny], Dale, Derrick [Billy], Joel Allen, Junius [Dean], and Darwin) and 6 girls (Sylvia, Patricia [Patsy], Jewell, Gail Diane [Gailney], Penelope [Miss Penny], and Maryanne [May]. All but two of their children, Dale (Texas) and Billy (Florida), live in cities in Michigan.

Lovey was a very good mother.  We all know how difficult it is to raise 2-3 kids; we can imagine how difficult it must be to raise 12!  At one point when she only had 7 children, she went to work for a short time as a secretary to help bring in money for the family, even though her husband was a highly paid master mechanic at the time.  She did not attend church often during her child-raising period, but she read the Bible to her children daily and saw that all of her children did go to church often and even attend summer bible classes.  They knew to call on the name of Jesus when times or situations were tough! She taught them many great values of life, like honesty, faithfulness, patience, endurance, and the importance of believing in Jesus and being a loving person.

Gospel choir of angelsShe maintained a home until the age of 80 at which time her daughter Maryanne moved in and cared for her.  Five years ago she began decline and her daughter Penny and her husband, the late Stephen Brooks, cared for her together until his death two years ago.  Penny and other family members (Lisa, Darwin, and a good friend of the family Ms. Ellen Jackel-Rasool)  continued her care for her up to the end last week.

She was an adorable person who loved all of her children equally and was loved by all who knew her.  Lovey leaves to cherish her life and memory 10 of her children and their spouses, her many grand children and great grand children, a few cousins, and a host of in-laws and friends.  May she rest in peace.


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ILLINOIS SUPREME COURT: CONSTITUTION NIXES PENSION CUTS; RULING INVIGORATES DETROIT RETIREE APPEALS

Illinois pension cuts protest at State Capitol in Springfield, Ill.

Illinois pension cuts protest at State Capitol in Springfield, Ill.

“Crisis is not an excuse to abandon the rule of law. It is a summons to defend it”–Justice Lloyd Karmeier, Illinois Supreme Court

Pensions are promised by state–Sangamon Circuit Court Judge John Belz

Wall Street responds by downgrading Chicago bonds to junk level

“One more reason we should keep fighting”– Bill Davis, Pres. DAREA, Detroit retiree

DAREA meeting Wed. June 3, @ 5:30 pm/Sts. Matthew & Joseph Episcopal Church, 8850 Woodward at Holbrook; appellant Atty. Jamie Fields to speak

 By Diane Bukowski 

May 30, 2015 

DAREA Cecily and Bill 1 8 15

DAREA Vice-President Cecily McClellan and President Bill Davis at January 8, 2015 meeting.

DETROIT – “It’s one more reason we should keep on fighting,” Bill Davis, president of the Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association (DAREA), said of a unanimous Illinois Supreme Court decision rendered May 8. It passionately declared unconstitutional  a $105 billion legislative cut to pension benefits for half a million public workers.

“The people of Illinois give voice to their sovereign authority through the Illinois Constitution,” Illinois Justice Lloyd Kormeier wrote for the court. . . . “Article XIII, section 5, of the Illinois Constitution . . . expressly provides that the benefits of membership in a public retirement system ‘shall not be diminished or impaired.’ Through this provision, the people of Illinois yielded none of their sovereign authority. They simply withheld an important part of it from the legislature because they believed, based on historical experience, that when it came to retirement benefits for public employees, the legislature could not be trusted with more.”

The ruling said that economic crises like that cited by the legislature as cause for the cuts have come and gone since 1917 in Illinois, including during the Great Depression.

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier

Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge John Belz

Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge John Belz

“Crisis is not an excuse to abandon the rule of law,” Karmeier wrote. “It is a summons to defend it.”

The Supreme Court thus upheld an earlier ruling by Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge John Belz.

He said, “The state of Illinois made a constitutionally protected promise to its employees concerning their pension benefits. Under established and uncontroverted Illinois law, the state of Illinois cannot break this promise.”

No appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is planned, according to Illinois State Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who represented the state in the case.

Read full Illinois Supreme Court decision at Illinois Supreme Court pension ruling.

AFSCME Chicago RetireeDavis said DAREA will likely file an amended appeal of Detroit’s Chapter 9 bankruptcy plan in U.S. District Court citing the Illinois ruling. DAREA is one of eight entities that  appealed the Detroit Chapter 9 bankruptcy plan to the U.S. District Court of Southeastern Michigan.

Another group, Ochadleus et. al, has already done so.

“Here in Michigan, the racist apartheid state government overrode the people’s will when the Detroit bankruptcy plan slashed city workers pension benefits and health care,” Davis said. “Detroit is like two cities now. I think Snyder is trying to start a race riot in Detroit by treating Black folks the way he does. If the U.S. attorney general was doing his job, Snyder would be in jail.”

Over 51 percent of Michigan’s African-American population lives under dictatorial emergency manager (EM) rule, under Public Act 436. Detroit’s unelected EM Kevyn Orr, hired by Snyder, filed the Chapter 9 case. Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder refused to investigate Public Act 4, PA 436’s predecessor, as a violation of the Voting Rights Act.

Detroit bankruptcy protest: STOP PA 436!

Detroit bankruptcy protest: STOP PA 436!

Detroit is the largest Black-majority city in the U.S., with predominantly African-American public workers.

The bankruptcy plan also seized most city assets, unprecedented under Chapter 9. They include the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, which covers six counties, is the third largest system in the country, and employs large numbers of Black and women workers, including those in the skilled trades.

Davis invited all city workers to attend DAREA’s next general membership meeting, Wed. June 3 at 5:30 p.m. at St. Matthew and St. Joseph Episcopal Church, 8850 Woodward at Holbrook to discuss the Illinois victory and future plans. The guest speaker will be attorney and city retiree Jamie Fields, who represents the Ochadleus group.

Michigan ConstitutionThe Illinois decision “supports our fundamental contention that art. IX, section 24 of the Michigan Constitution prohibits reducing accrued vested public pension benefits,” Ochadleus et. al. say in their amended appeal. “The Illinois Constitution’s ‘Pension Clause’ is substantively undifferentiated from art. IX, section 24 of the Michigan Constitution. . . The Illinois Supreme Court said that ‘if something qualifies as a benefit of the enforceable contractual relationship’ that results from an employee’s membership in a public pension or retirement system, ‘it cannot be diminished or impaired.’”

The Illinois Supreme Court earlier struck down reductions in health care benefits to public workers as well. Detroit public workers have lost a large portion of their health care benefits before and since the confirmation plan signed by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Stephen Rhodes.

Applicable Michigan and Illinois constitutional pension protection clauses read: 

“Michigan Const. 1963 Art. IX, Section 24: The accrued financial benefits of each pension plan and retirement system of the state and its political subdivisions shall be a contractual obligation thereof which shall not be diminished or impaired thereby.”

“Illinois Const. 1970, Art. XIII, Section 5: “Membership in any pension or retirement system of the State, any unit of local government or school district, or any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.”

Illinois Public Act 98-599, signed into law by former Illinois Governor Pat Quinn in 2014, raised the retirement age for some employees, capped pensionable salaries, and limited cost-of-living increases. It cut annuity savings for members belonging to the state’s system before Jan. 1, 2011.

DAREA and supporters demonstrate outside big business luncheon honoring EM Kevyn Orr and bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes Feb. 25, 2015. DAREA and other groups have demanded cancellation of Detroit

DAREA and supporters demonstrate outside big business luncheon honoring EM Kevyn Orr and bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes Feb. 25, 2015. DAREA and other groups have demanded cancellation of Detroit debt to the banks instead of cuts to workers and residents. After bankruptcy, Detroit now owes over $3 BILLION in debt; prior to bankruptcy it owed $1 billion.

 

The Detroit bankruptcy also did its greatest damage to retirees by drastically slashing existing annuity savings fund payments for those who retired in 2003 or afterwards, claiming they were based on interest rates that were not compatible with market rates.

Both the Illinois circuit and Supreme Courts struck down all cuts, including those involving annuities, saying everything in the pension plans was constitutionally inviolate.

Representatives of Illinois We Are One Coalition.

Representatives of Illinois We Are One Coalition.

The Illinois We Are One Coalition reacted joyously to the Supreme Court decision.

“We are thankful that the Supreme Court has unanimously upheld the will of the people, overturned this unfair and unconstitutional law, and protected the hard-earned life savings of teachers, police, fire fighters, nurses, caregivers and other public service workers and retirees. . . . Because most public employees aren’t eligible for Social Security, their modest pension—just $32,000 a year on average—is the primary source of retirement income for hundreds of thousands of Illinois families. While workers always paid their share, politicians caused the debt by failing to make adequate contributions to the pension funds.”

The We Are One Coalition includes nearly all state unions representing public workers.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, U.S. Pres. Barack Obama's  former education cabinet member, counterposed with one of chief opponents, Chicago teachers, who have struck to stop school closings and other cuts.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, U.S. Pres. Barack Obama’s former education cabinet member, counterposed with one of chief opponents, Chicago teachers, who have struck to stop school closings and other cuts.

Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel is also attempting steep cuts to the pension benefits of active and retired city employees who participate in the Municipal Employees Annuity and Benefit Fund (MEABF) and the Laborers Fund, under SB 1922.

“We had hoped that a ruling with such a high degree of clarity on SB 1 would persuade Mayor Emanuel to forgo his attempts to make similar changes to City of Chicago pensions,” Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch said in a release. “Unfortunately, the mayor immediately issued a statement asserting that SB 1922 is based on different premises and therefore can pass constitutional muster.”

The Council 31 release continued, “We believe the Supreme Court’s ruling leaves no room for doubt that Chicago’s pension cuts also violate the plain language of the pension clause. In light of that decision and the city’s credit downgrade, we urge Mayor Emanuel to stop wasting time and money in a futile attempt to defend these unconstitutional cuts, and instead work with us to develop fair and constitutional solutions to funding city retirement plans.”

City retirees including Bill Davis, Cecily McClellan  confront AFSCME Council 25 Pres. Al Garrett July 31, 2014v after he announced the union would withdraw its 6th Circuit Court appeal of Detroit bankruptcy.

City retirees including Bill Davis, Cecily McClellan and Ezza Brandon confront AFSCME Council 25 Pres. Al Garrett July 31, 2014 after he announced the union would withdraw its 6th Circuit Court appeal of Detroit bankruptcy.

The fighting stances displayed by Illinois unions vary greatly from those of Michigan’s unions, and Detroit retirement systems and associations, which earlier withdrew their Sixth Circuit appeals of Rhodes’ decision affirming Detroit’s bankruptcy eligibility. They later agreed to a bankruptcy plan that forbade appeals, including any based on state constitutional protections, of huge cuts to public workers and to city assets.

Meanwhile, the Ohio Supreme Court ruling caused anger and panic on Wall Street.

As punishment, Wall Street ratings agencies downgraded the city of Chicago’s bonds to junk  level. (See video below.)

The Illinois government itself did not suffer the brunt of Wall Street’s wrath.

“The state government faces $111 billion of unfunded pension liabilities, the leading factor in driving the state’s bond ratings down to an A-minus level across the board, with negative outlooks hinting at further downgrades,” an article in the Bond Buyer said.

The Bond Buyer quoted Standard & Poor’s analyst John Sugden, “This action coupled with the implementation risk of the current fiscal 2016 budget proposal and second round of pension reform introduced by the Governor underscores the profound credit challenges facing the state from a budget and liability standpoint.”

Joe O'Keefe of Fitch Ratings and Stephen Murphy of Standard & Poor's press $1.5 billion "pension obligation" debt on Detroit City Council Jan 31, 2015. Despite declaring the debt "void, illegal and unenforceable," the city paid it off in the bankruptcy confirmation plan through bonds and release of city assets, while cutting workers, retirees and the poor.

Joe O’Keefe of Fitch Ratings and Stephen Murphy of Standard & Poor’s press $1.5 billion “pension obligation” debt on Detroit City Council Jan 31, 2015. Despite declaring the debt “void, illegal and unenforceable,” the city paid it off in the bankruptcy confirmation plan through bonds and release of city assets, while cutting workers, retirees and the poor. Photo: Diane Bukowski

A spokesman for Illinois newly-elected Governor Bruce Rauner said he plans to put a proposal for cuts to future benefits to the voters.

“What is now clear is that a constitutional amendment clarifying the distinction between currently earned benefits and future benefits not yet earned, which would allow the state to move forward on common-sense pension reforms, should be part of any solution,” he said in a statement. “Lawmakers must approve putting such a question to voters, making it unlikely the process could be completed in time to impact the fiscal 2016 budget.”

Whether Illinois voters would be likely to approve such cuts is questionable, given that 79 out of 83 Michigan counties previously rejected the first Emergency Manager Act, PA 4, in a referendum won by a coalition of unions and community groups. Much of the arguments for emergency managers focused on allegedly unaffordable public pension costs.

Protest against pension cuts in Salem, Oregon before partial victory at Supreme Court.

Protest against pension cuts in Salem, Oregon before partial victory at Supreme Court.

Voters in Cincinnati, Ohio overwhelmingly rejected a ballot initiative to change the public pension system there in 2013, and an effort in Tucson, Arizona was knocked off the ballot after a lawsuit.

The people were behind the Illinois Supreme Court decision, as well as a recent Oregon Supreme Court decision banning COLA cuts for retirees.

In New Jersey, Gov. Christie’s pension cuts are about to be considered by that state’s Supreme Court.

Protest in Greece against IMF banks and austerity measures.

Protest in Greece against IMF banks and austerity measures.

Meanwhile, across the U.S. and the world, banksters convicted of massive financial crimes are pushing austerity programs on retirees, workers, the unemployed, children, seniors and families so they can be paid back the gargantuan debt including huge rates of interest that governments have accrued globally.

From Greece to France to England to Third World countries, the people are rising en masse to stop the war of the International Monetary Fund, which represents the global banks, though general strikes, massive street protests, direct action,  military encounters, and other tactics.

Below is notice of Detroit Retirement Systems meeting June 10; VOD does not endorse their betrayal of Detroiters, workers and retirees, but this may be an opportunity to pressure them to rescind that action, and to gain useful information.

RSCD meeting June 10_0001RSCD meeting June 10_0002


Related story regarding the above meeting:

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/detroit-city/2015/05/31/city-retiree-health-funds-need-cash/28288969/

Sampling of other VOD stories on bankruptcy, pension cuts:

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/05/21/jail-banksters-reparations-now-protest-at-jpmorgan-chase-annual-meeting-in-detroit/ 

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/03/02/detroit-long-term-debt-rises-300-in-bankruptcy-retirees-fight-back-with-protest-court-appeals/ 

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/2014/10/16/detroit-retirees-officials-blast-bankruptcy-plan-em-at-last-minute-hearing/ 

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/06/05/dgrs-sells-out-retirees-barrow-call-for-no-vote-on-bankruptcy-plan/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/05/20/racist-detroit-bankruptcy-plan-11-5-billion-for-banks-0-for-retirees-vote-no-or-lose-appeal-rights/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/05/03/no-detroit-bankruptcy-deal-may-day-marchers-block-detroit-streets-banks-natl-retiree-systems-blast-rhodes/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/04/24/detroit-bankruptcy-plan-vote-no-shut-down-detroit-may-1-claw-back-debt-to-the-banks/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/04/09/detroit-bankruptcy-swaps-agreement-huge-cramdown-cuts-for-retirees-residents-billions-for-banks/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/02/11/em-lawsuit-v-cops-loan-demands-1-45-billion-back-to-city-make-the-banks-pay-no-detroit-pension-or-health-care-cuts/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/01/03/recuse-detroit-bankruptcy-judge-rhodes-mediator-rosen-em-orr-from-the-citys-future-abolish-the-em-law/


Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

DETROIT SHUTS WATER OFF AGAIN, VIOLATING UN DECLARATION; WHEN WILL CITY RISE UP?

Homrich ready for arrest 7 18 14

Protesters stop Homrich trucks from leaving to shut Detroiters’ water off on July 18, 2014. Nine were arrested. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of protesters gathered in downtown Detroit.

Homrich shut-off trucks began rolling May 26

1,000 households to be shut off this week alone

Rates will skyrocket to pay off DWSD debt, not reduced in bankruptcy

Great Lakes Water Authority plans further debt increases

 By Diane Bukowski 

May 27, 2015 

Homrich water shut-off trucks like these are coming to Detroit neighborhoods to shut off life-giving water for thousands of poor children, seniors, disabled and retirees. What should be done to stop them?

Homrich water shut-off trucks like these are coming to Detroit neighborhoods to shut off life-giving water for thousands of poor children, seniors, disabled and retirees. What should be done to stop them?

DETROIT – City contractor Homrich’s water shut-off trucks rolled out like thirsty beasts yesterday, targeting Detroit residents who owe more than $150 to the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department (DWSD) and are at least 61 days late on their payments.

The wave of shut-offs is the third in recent Detroit history, coming on the heels of shut-offs last year that occasioned huge protest marches, blockades of the Homrich facility, and a visit by two United Nations rapporteurs who condemned the shut-offs. Earlier, in 2002, shut-off trucks also rolled during the Kwame Kilpatrick administration, leading to global coverage of Detroiters’ suffering.

“As of today, DWSD expects that contractors will conduct 1,000 shut offs this week, however, that number is likely to drop as more account holders enter into payment plans,” a release from Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s office said.

Neighbor brings water to a family victimized by shut-off in 2002.

Neighbor brings water to a family victimized by 2002 shutoff.

DWSD Deputy Director Daryl Latimer estimated that 21,000 Detroit residential accounts are delinquent, but claimed most customers will enter into payment plans to forestall shut-offs. He said 30,000 customers are currently in payment plans, totaling over 50,000 delinquent accounts.

The release does not mention a plan to permanently shut off 8,335 households that turned their own water back on, which members of Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management exposed in their editorial (see end of this post).

“End the shut-offs, comply with UN” 

“We still say end the shut-offs period,” Demeeko Williams of the Detroit Water Brigade reacted angrily. “We all have to come together as a city, country and a world to comply with the declaration made by the United Nations last year after their representatives visited Detroit—that water is a human right, water is life. Detroit government is violating that declaration by shutting off people in a city where 59 percent of the children live in poverty, with a total poverty rate of 39 percent.”

Demeeko Williams speaks at May Day protest against Detroit bankruptcy in 2014.

Demeeko Williams speaks at May Day protest against Detroit bankruptcy in 2014.

Williams said mass water shut-offs are aimed at driving Detroiters out of their homes and out of their city.

Maude Barlow of Blue Planet, and a former senior advisor on water to the UN General Assembly, said during last year’s Detroit shut-offs, “This is the worst violation of the human right to water I have ever seen outside of the worst slums in the poorest countries in failed states of the global South.”

She said  hundreds of thousands of people, mostly African Americans, had their water ruthlessly turned off, resulting in families with children, the elderly and the sick being unable to bathe, flush their toilets, or cook.

Bills average $75 a month

Latimer said monthly bills currently average $75, with delinquencies averaging $755. Bills have risen at least 119 percent over the last 10 years, according to IPS News.

The city release said Duggan’s Detroit Water Fund, administered by the United Way, “will now pay 50 percent of all past due amounts on arrearages up to $2,000 and 25 percent toward future water bills for 12 months,” for “qualifying” low-income residents.

1 5th of world water supply DetroitRegarding payment plans, Williams said all of the people his group enrolled into the Water Fund fell off the plans when they could not continue payments. He said detailed personal information required to “qualify” for the plans prevents many from enrolling in them.

The Detroit Water Brigade supplies free water by the gallons to people without asking a single question.

THAW gets $1M from Miller Buckfire, which got $28M in bankruptcy fees, helped restore $2 billion in DWSD debt

Another non-profit, The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) announced May 25 that the investment banking firm of Miller Buckfire donated $1 million to assist it with paying water bills.

Kenneth A. Buckfire, CEO, Managing Director and co-founder of Miller Buckfire, speaks during the Reuters Restructuring Summit in New York, October 7, 2010. REUTERS/Keith Bedford

Kenneth A. Buckfire, CEO, Managing Director and co-founder of Miller Buckfire,. REUTERS/Keith Bedford

Miller Buckfire was a prime mover in the Detroit bankruptcy, which stripped the city of assets, retirees and workers of their pensions and health care, and residents of services. It charged the city of Detroit $28 million in fees for negotiating deals tied to city water and sewer debt and securing Detroit loans. Their efforts actually restored $2 billion in DWSD debt that creditors were originally asked to forego, of the total $5 billion load.

“Forty-six cents of every water bill goes to pay off that debt,” Williams said. Under terms of the Detroit bankruptcy Plan of Adjustment, all debts must be paid first before any improvement in services to the people takes place.

“Average Unit Cost must be increased to eliminate revenue shortfall,” a DWSD power point presentation to the Board of Water Commissioners (BOWC) said in February.

Profits from increased water debt will go to Wall Street, represented here by its bull.

Profits from increased water debt will go to Wall Street, represented here by its bull.

“DWSD optimization efforts have absorbed the revenue shortfalls—until now. Little progress is being made on lessening the borrowing need for CIP (Capital Improvement Plan) funding.”

In other words, the BOWC and later the GLWA plans to increase large-scale borrowing from Wall Street banks in the years to come.

The BOWC claims revenue shortfalls are due to the secession of the city of Flint from the DWSD operating system, as well as problems with payment from the city of Highland Park. A federal judge recently enjoined DWSD from shutting off water to that impoverished city due to its failure to pay its water bills.

Documents provided to the Board of Water Commissioners indicate that suburban wholesale customers of DWSD are responsible for 26.2 percent of the revenue shortfall, while Detroit retail customers are responsible for only 8.2 percent.

Great Lakes Water Authority to commit grand theft of six-county DWSD; Wall Street rejoices

The debt restoration was a key part of the bankruptcy agreement to create the regional Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA). Under its terms, DWSD assets and infrastructure paid for by Detroiters in bond issues throughout the last century are about to be stolen. Only minor pipelines in Detroit will remain under DWSD’s control. All water and sewerage treatment plants will go to the GLWA, along with thousands of miles of infrastructure in the six counties originally controlled by DWSD.

"Mayor" Mike Duggan shows what will be left of DWSD on map of six counties to be taken over by GLWA, during press conference.

Mayor” Mike Duggan shows what will be left of DWSD on map of six counties to be taken over by GLWA, during press conference.

The GLWA plans to “lease” the six-county, $6 billion DWSD enterprise agency for $50 million a year, beginning July 1. However, documents recently released to the Board of Water Commissioners show DWSD itself will be responsible for $14.4 million of the annual lease payment.

The “lease” will mean the loss of thousands of jobs for Detroiters in DWSD.

Mike Mulholland, vice-president of AFSCME Local 207, said in a recent release that DWSD “is cutting jobs to make work for contractors . . . Security is being cut at night, leaving the plants vulnerable to theft and sabotage and fresh water treatment plants are being run with only one operator. In the service centers, the lines go around the block because there aren’t enough staff which means making more money for contractors doing shutoffs. Safety is regularly ignored when repairing water mains.”

DWSD workers who stopped the water main break at the WWTP in January, 2015. Their jobs are in jeopardy. DWSD has had one of the highest percentage of Black skilled trades workers for years, but now "Mayor" Duggan says he can

DWSD workers who stopped the water main break at the WWTP in January, 2015. Their jobs are in jeopardy. DWSD has had one of the highest percentage of Black skilled trades workers for years, but now Mayoral aide and GLWA board member Gary Brown  says he can’t find qualified workers.

Retired DWSD worker Bill Davis, President of the Detroit Active and Retired Employees (DAREA), earlier told VOD that many sewage pumps at the Wastewater Treatment Plant no longer function due to the loss of staff. Instead of 24/7 maintenance, the pumps are checked only periodically.

Wall Street ratings agency Moody’s Investor’s Service reported earlier that the formation of the GLWA was likely a “credit positive” for DWSD bondholders. The GLWA is set to “refinance” the $5.2 billion DWSD debt, meaning the principal and interest will increase to the profit of Wall Street.

But Moody’s added, “The systems will, however, remain exposed to Detroit’s credit weakness as the city will likely become its largest wholesale customer.”

Water shutoff protest in Detroit, July 18, 2014. Banner at top refers to illegal $537 million interest rate swap that was not addressed during bankruptcy.

Water shutoff protest in Detroit, July 18, 2014. Banner at top refers to illegal $537 million interest rate swap that was not addressed during bankruptcy.

Unlike the City of Detroit, whose debt ratings have been bombed to basement levels by Wall Street over the past decades, DWSD until recently maintained high ratings. It was only as plans for the bankruptcy were being laid that Wall Street started to lower DWSD bond ratings, meaning higher interest payments would be required.

Municipal Market Advisors earlier said of the final Detroit bankruptcy plan that it ravaged the city of so many assets and revenue-producing functions that Detroit would likely be the next candidate in Michigan for another Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing.

Detroit water/sewer rates proposed to rise 20.1%; suburbs up 12.4%

More water shut-offs are likely once new water and sewerage rates proposed by the Board of Water Commissioners (BOWC) take effect July 1, if approved by the Detroit City Council.

Proposed increases in water rates for Detroit and suburbs.

Proposed increases in water rates for Detroit and suburbs.

Rates for Detroiters will rise a total of 20.1 percent, meaning an average bill will skyrocket to $90 a month. Detroit sewerage rates account for 16.7 percent of the hike. For over a decade, Detroiters have been penalized with higher sewer rates, allegedly to make up for higher delinquency rates.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines suggest that water bills should not exceed 2.5 percent of household income, Rev. Tom Airey of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, said at a BOWC public hearing Feb. 25.  Detroit’s median annual income is $26,119, so monthly bills should not exceed $54 a month for those at the median level. They should be proportionally less for customers falling below the median income level.

Suburban wholesale rates are expected to rise 12.4 percent, with only 1.1 percent going to sewerage.

DWSD $ shortfallsCharts provided to the Board of Water Commissioners indicate that suburban wholesale customers of DWSD are responsible for $26.2 million of the water revenue shortfall, while Detroit retail customers are responsible for $8.2 million, with a projected bad debt collection of 85 percent.

Suburban wholesale customers are responsible for $5.5 million of sewer revenue shortfall, with Detroit retail customers responsible for $19.2 million, again with an expected collection rate of 85 percent.  Of course, the Detroit sewer shortfall reflects the much higher sewer rates assessed to the city’s residents.

That totals $31.7 million in suburban wholesale revenue shortfalls, with $27.4 million in Detroit retail shortfalls.  So if revenue shortfalls are the main reason for rate increases as DWSD claims, why are Detroiters being hit with far higher rate increases than those in the suburbs?

The charts also do not include the loss of revenue due to water shut-offs in Detroit, which do not take place in the suburbs. An uncalculated number of Detroiters have been forced to leave their homes because they have no water, or because water bills are attached to their property tax bills and they are foreclosed. They likely have fled the city to more friendly environs, further reducing its tax base.

To read complete report just referenced, click on  Bowc_briefing_proposed_FY15-16rates_02-11-2015.compressed.

The GLWA pledged that water rates would rise no higher than 4 percent for the next 10 years, but now is rapidly backtracking,  indicating it was not referring to individual customer rates, but to budget revenue estimates.

Water affordability plan 

Protesters outside Coleman A. Young Municipal Center May 18 demand a water affordability plan.

Protesters outside Coleman A. Young Municipal Center May 18 demand a water affordability plan.

Detroiters called for a “water affordability plan” that would link rates to customer income after the shut-offs in 2004. Such a plan, authored by Roger Colton, was proposed by numerous groups including Michigan Welfare Rights, Michigan Legal Services, and the Michigan Poverty Law Center. After much haggling with the Kilpatrick administration, the City Council finally passed a watered-down version of the plan.

But even that plan went down the toilet after the Detroit Human Services Department, which administered it, was deactivated  by former Mayor Dave Bing.  Its federal funding and jobs went to Wayne Metro Community Action Agency in suburban Wyandotte.

Members of Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management, Gloria House and Shea Howell, raised the cry for another water affordability plan in the following passionate editorial published on the website of the People’s Water Board.

Detroit water payments should be income based

By Gloria House and Shea Howell

March 25, 2015

Homrich worker shuts off water last year.

Homrich worker shuts off water last year.

“According to the newly created Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA), nearly 36,000 households in Detroit are facing water shut-offs as soon as the weather clears.

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is targeting commercial accounts first with an outstanding debt of about $20 million. In the same breath, however, they list another “first:” They will permanently shut off 8,355 households that have turned their own water back on. Calling these “illegal hookups,” the water department is trying to criminalize desperation.

The fact that people have been driven to this extreme step, along with 26,000 other households behind on bills, is clear evidence of the inadequacy of Mayor Mike Duggan’s assistance programs. Clearly, Detroiters are still struggling despite the celebratory tone that greeted the end of official bankruptcy proceedings.

The sheer numbers of people slated for shut off should have been a wake up call to city leaders last year. It’s long past time for the water affordability plan (WAP) to be implemented. The WAP adjusts payments based on the reality of people’s income. It would keep the water and the revenue flowing.

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s infamous words to the Wall Street Journal.

The rationale for resistance to the WAP shows up in the minutes of the GLWA meeting and it isn’t pretty. The goal of the aggressive shutoffs is “changing the culture regarding the responsibility to pay for service.” But the only way a sentence like that can make sense is if you believe there is a current culture where people are irresponsible and not willing to pay for their services.

This is the same belief that Detroiters are not paying water bills or property taxes because, as former Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr said, we are “dumb, lazy, happy and rich.” Bill Nowling, then Orr’s spokesman, tried to get him out of that comment by saying he believed the comments were “about the attitude of the body politic of the city of Detroit, not Detroiters themselves.” Such nonsensical distinctions are offered to cover the deep-seated racism that characterizes the attitude of many people toward Detroiters.

This attitude pathologizes the people of Detroit. It casts us as deficient, ignores our history, denies our humanity, and disrespects and diminishes our lives. It functions to blind the public to both the pain and the strengths of the city. Most Detroiters know that we not only work hard, but we often do the hardest work.

Detroiters have survived ongoing catastrophes with responsibility and determination.

Detroiters have survived ongoing catastrophes with responsibility and determination.

With the disappearance of jobs and capital, we have been struggling to create new ways of living and working together. We have a long history of “making a way out of no way.” We pay our bills. In fact, we have willingly voted ourselves the highest taxes in the state in order to provide for our schools, parks, community colleges, museums, zoo and art programs. Now with jobs gone, pay cuts, pension cuts, increasing medical bills, increasing heating bills, the highest water rates in the state, predatory lending, overinflated property taxes and auto insurance more than double that of the suburbs, people are scrambling to keep home and hearth together.

That is why a water affordability plan, based on percentage of income, is the only sane response to the impending shut-offs of an additional 28,000 homes.”

Water Lawsuit slowly moves forward

Attorney Alice Jennings announces filing of water lawsuit outside bankruptcy proceedings.

Attorney Alice Jennings announces filing of water lawsuit outside bankruptcy proceedings.

A lawsuit demanding an end to water shut-offs, restoration of water service, and affordable rates, filed by numerous progressive attorneys during Detroit’s bankruptcy proceedings to great fanfare, is going forward at a snail’s pace, after U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes predictably deep-sixed it. It has now been appealed to U.S. District Court, where Judge Bernard Friedman is hearing it.

It was appealed to the District Court on January 7, 2015, with the last action, an exhibit list filed by the plaintiffs, on April 19, 2015. Click on WATER AFFORDABILITY FEDERAL LAWSUIT DOCKET to see actions taken. Click on DetroitWater-TRO to read plaintiff’s brief for a temporary restraining order on shut-offs until the lawsuit is resolved.

A May 29 through 31 international conference is planned in Detroit. See post below.

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Note: unfortunately, according to link associated with above poster, registration is closed and there is no more room for on site registrations. Hopefully some useful new strategies will arise from this conference.

WHAT IS TO BE DONE?

So far, mass protests and arrests, conferences, lawsuits, and other tactics have not worked against the gravely inhumane policy of shutting off water to people in the poorest and Blackest city in the country. As Detroiters enter this third era of water shut-offs, perhaps they should take a lesson from the people of Ireland, who have been flooding streets across every city in the country to demand an end to charges for water. Water was originally provided free of charge to the Irish people, financed by the government through taxes.

Irish people are flooding the streets week after week to stop water charges.

Irish people are flooding the streets week after week to stop water charges.

Detroit water shut-offs are part of the banks’ world-wide campaign of austerity against poor and working people as their global empire teeters on the brink of collapse.

Like the people of Ireland, Spain, Greece, Latin America, the Middle East, Asia and Africa, Detroiters must rise up en masse to save the actual lives of their children and their future in Detroit. The Baltimore rebellion was not only against police killings; water is being shut off to people there as well, creating a total atmosphere of unlimited war on the poor.

APRIL 22: Hundreds of people march through the streets of Baltimore to seek justice for the death for Freddie Gray who died from injuries suffered in Police custody in Baltimore, USA on April 22, 2015. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

APRIL 22: Hundreds of people march through the streets of Baltimore to seek justice for the death of Freddie Gray who died from injuries suffered in Police custody in Baltimore, USA on April 22, 2015. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

https://www.facebook.com/Right2WaterIreland

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/may/02/baltimore-rebellion-is-uprising-against-austerity-freddie-gray


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MEMORIAL DAY IS A HOAX: ‘WAR IS JUST A RACKET’

La Guernica

GUERNICA, BY PABLO PICASSO depicts the bombing of Guernica, a Basque Country village in northern Spain, and stronghold of the anti-fascist Republican forces. The bombing, by German and Italian warplanes, was requested by Spanish Nationalists, led by Francisco Franco, during the Spanish Civil War. The painting is considered one of the world’s most profound depictions of the suffering created by wars. The ultimate aim of the fascists was to prevent revolutions like that which had occurred in the Soviet Union.

 

Paul Craig Roberts photoPaul Craig Roberts logonew_transInstitute for Political Economy

May 21, 2015

By Paul Craig Roberts

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/

Memorial Day commemorates soldiers killed in war. We are told that the war dead died for us and our freedom. US Marine General Smedley Butler challenged this view. He said that our soldiers died for the profits of the bankers, Wall Street, Standard Oil, and the United Fruit Company. Here is an excerpt from a speech that he gave in 1933:

War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.

General Smedley Butler

General Smedley Butler

I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we’ll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.

I wouldn’t go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.

There isn’t a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its “finger men” to point out enemies, its “muscle men” to destroy enemies, its “brain men” to plan war preparations, and a “Big Boss” Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a revolutionary who used mass civil disobedience as one step to overturning an unjust system.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a revolutionary who used mass civil disobedience as one step to overturning an unjust system.

It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.

US invasion of Dominican Republic, 1916.

US invasion of Dominican Republic, 1916.

I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 (where have I heard that name before?). I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

Jade Helm diagram. For more information, see links below story.

Jade Helm diagram. For more information, see links below story.

Most American soldiers died fighting foes who posed no threat to the United States. Our soldiers died for secret agendas of which they knew nothing. Capitalists hid their self-interests behind the flag, and our boys died for the One Percent’s bottom line.

Jade Helm, an exercise that pits the US military against the US public, is scheduled to run July 15 through September 15. What is the secret agenda behind Jade Helm?

“Jade Helm 15 is an eight-week, [Special Operations Command-SOCOM] sponsored, joint-military and inter-agency, unconventional warfare training exercise, which will be conducted throughout parts of Texas, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada and Florida running this summer from July 15 to September 15. As part of the training, Special Forces from at least four branches of the military will role-play, conducting imaginary covert missions on territories labeled “hostile” in Texas, Utah and southern California, and travel from state to state in military aircraft.” —Truth-Out.org

The collapse of the Soviet Union hurt third world countries across the globe, which had benefited from the economic backing of the USSR. Here, Fidel Castro and the late Soviet premier Nikita Krushchev declare their solidarity shortly after the Cuban revolution.

The collapse of the Soviet Union hurt third world countries across the globe, which had benefited from the economic backing of the USSR. Here, Fidel Castro and the late Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev declare their solidarity shortly after the Cuban revolution.

The Soviet Union was a partial check on capitalist looting in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. However, with the Soviet collapse capitalist looting intensified during the Clinton, Bush, and Obama regimes.

Neoliberal Globalization is now looting its own constituent parts and the planet itself. Americans, Greeks, Irish, British, Italians, Ukrainians, Iraqis, Libyans, Argentinians, the Spanish and Portuguese are being looted of their savings, pensions, social services, and job opportunities, and the planet is being turned into a wasteland by capitalists sucking the last penny out of the environment. As Claudia von Werlhof writes, predatory capitalism is consuming the globe. http://www.globalresearch.ca/neoliberal-globalization-is-there-an-alternative-to-plundering-the-earth/24403 We need a memorial day to commemorate the victims of neoliberal globalization. All of us are its victims, and in the end the capitalists also.

Retirees in Spain stand to lose most of their pensions as a result of banks' assault on their country.

Retirees in Spain stand to lose most of their pensions as a result of banks’ assault on their country.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’ latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West and How America Was Lost.

Related:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/the-great-spain-robbery-pensioners-protest-as-they-watch-their-life-savings-vanish-into-the-banks-black-hole-8921419.html

http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/10/31/us-argentina-pensions-us-idUSTRE49T9N520081031

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/30939-jade-helm-15-is-not-a-federal-takeover-it-s-domestic-military-expansion

http://allnewspipeline.com/More_States_Added_To_Jade_Helm_15.php


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CLEVELAND COP NOT GUILTY OVER DEATHS OF 2 PEOPLE SHOT AT 137 TIMES BY POLICE

Protesters occupied streets in front of Cuyahoga County courthouse, for over a week before today's verdict.

Protesters occupied streets in front of Cuyahoga County courthouse, for over a week before today’s verdict. Photo: Urban Media Network

BELOW: PROTESTERS AT COURTHOUSE AFTER VERDICT, AND FLOODING 4TH STREET IN DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND

Protesters gather after Michael Brelo acquitted and discharged

Unarmed Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell were killed in 2012, Williams shot 24 times, Russell 23 times

No Black officers involved in pursuit by 100 police cars; Cleveland 53.3 % Black, cops 75 % white/other

The Guardian

 

By Daniel McGraw in Cleveland

May 23, 2015

Cleveland cop Michael Brelo

Cleveland cop Michael Brelo during trial.

A Cleveland police officer who stood on the hood of a car and fired his gun 49 times through the windshield at two unarmed passengers has been found not guilty on two counts of voluntary manslaughter.

Michael Brelo was also found not guilty of felonious assault, and discharged.

On Saturday morning, Cuyahoga County judge John P O’Donnell said prosecutors failed to prove without a reasonable doubt that bullets fired by officer Brelo were the cause of death of Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell, or that Brelo had no fear for his own life during the volley of gunfire that ended a high-speed car chase on 29 November 2012.

Cuyahoga County Judge John P. O'Donnell examines mannikins representing Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams during trial.

Cuyahoga County Judge John P. O’Donnell examines mannikins representing Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams during trial.

“The verdict should be no cause for a civilized society to celebrate or riot,” O’Donnell said in remarks preceding a lengthy reading of 10 pages of his 35-page verdict, in which he discussed the wounds suffered by Williams and Russell, which were indicated on two mannequins in court, and the views and actions of other police officers involved in the shooting.

After O’Donnell delivered his verdict, some African American spectators in the court house shouted: “No justice, no peace!”

After the verdict, about 40 protesters gathered outside the courthouse in downtown. The peaceful protest turned a little ugly as Brelo’s attorney, Patrick D’Angelo, made his way outside for TV interviews.

NEWS MEDIA ALONG FOR THE RIDE: Watch the unedited video as NewsChannel5 multi-media journalist Mike Vielhaber rides along with police on the night Cleveland officers shot and killed two people who were suspects in a chase.

The small crowd surrounded D’Angelo and some screamed “protector of killers” as he was escorted back into the court house by sheriff deputies.

Police quickly barricaded the roads around the court house, closing them to vehicle traffic but permitting people to protest in the street.

“This verdict was no surprise to the black community,” said one African American community activist outside the court house. “The law is written so the police can get away with abusing people of color, and this is proof of how that works.”

Protesters confront police outside courthouse after verdict. Photo: Daniel McGraw, The Guardian

Protesters confront police outside courthouse after verdict. Photo: Daniel McGraw, The Guardian

Brelo’s trial ended about three weeks ago, and was decided by a judge instead of a jury at the request of the defendant. The move allowed the decision to be made by a judge looking only at the strict legal interpretation of the case, rather than by a jury that might render a decision based more on emotion.

Sources have told the Guardian that O’Donnell waited so long to issue his verdict in order to give the city time to prepare for any resultant civic unrest of the kind seen recently in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore after cases involving deaths at the hands of police.

The judge picked a Saturday morning on a holiday weekend to announce the verdict, the sources said, to provide an extra day for law enforcement to calm the city, and also as a way to lessen problems that might be caused by high school students.

The front windshield of the car driven by Timothy Russell is shown Friday, April 10, 2015, in Cleveland. Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo, 31, is being tried on two counts of voluntary manslaughter in the November 2012 deaths of Russell, 43, and Malissa Williams, 30, after a high-speed chase. The defense attorney's, prosecuting attorney and the judge visited the warehouse where the car and two police cruisers involved in the chase are stored. (AP Photo/Aaron Josefczyk, Pool)

The front windshield of the car driven by Timothy Russell is shown Friday, April 10, 2015, in Cleveland. Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo, 31, is being tried on two counts of voluntary manslaughter in the November 2012 deaths of Russell, 43, and Malissa Williams, 30, after a high-speed chase. The defense attorney’s, prosecuting attorney and the judge visited the warehouse where the car and two police cruisers involved in the chase are stored. (AP Photo/Aaron Josefczyk, Pool)

In recent years, downtown Cleveland has experienced some acts of mob violence carried out by high school students – in particular on St Patrick’s Day this year.

Brelo, 31, joined the Cleveland police department in 2007, having served in the marine corps in Iraq. He was charged with two counts of voluntary manslaughter. Each count can carry a sentence of three to eight years in prison.

O’Donnell would also have decided the sentencing. The 50-year-old judge, in office since 2002 and elected as a Democrat throughout his career, ran for the Ohio supreme court but was defeated by a Republican.

Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell

Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell

Brelo’s trial resulted from a police chase on November 29, 2012, when Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell led police on a 20-minute pursuit that involved 60 police cars and about 100 police officers. The chase began when their car, a 1979 Chevy Malibu, apparently backfired as it passed police headquarters in downtown Cleveland. The noise was mistaken for a gunshot.

Williams, 30, and Russell, 43, were boxed into a middle-school parking lot when 13 Cleveland police officers fired 137 shots into the car in an 18-second volley. Brelo fired the most – 49 shots total – including 15 at the end of the barrage while standing on the hood of the car, aiming at the pair through the windshield. Even though a dozen other officers fired 88 bullets into the car, only Brelo was charged.

If Brelo was fearful that he or another officer or a bystander might get hurt, he was entitled to use deadly force [the defense argued].

Cleveland protesters block traffic earlier in the week.

Cleveland protesters block traffic earlier in the week. Photo: Urban Media Network

The prosecution also had to prove that Brelo’s actions led to the deaths of Williams and Russell, meaning the bullets fired from his gun were the ones that killed them. No forensic science experts could say with any certainty that any of Brelo’s 49 bullets resulted in death.

The prosecution’s expert witnesses testified that all the shots fired by police were justifiable – except for the 15 Brelo fired from on top of the car.

Brelo's attorney Patrick D'Angelo makes argument during trial as prosecutor listens. Prosecution appears to have thrown this case, as in Trayvon Martin killing, where medical examiner sued the prosecution for not presenting his evidence in toto.

Brelo’s attorney Patrick D’Angelo makes argument during trial as prosecutor listens. Prosecution appears to have thrown this case, as in Trayvon Martin killing, where medical examiner sued the prosecution for not presenting his evidence in toto.

Prosecutors conceded that those 15 shots would have been justified had Brelo not been standing on the hood. In other words, if Brelo had fired the same shots into the windshield standing in front of the car with his feet on the ground, he probably would not have been charged.

The Brelo case caused widespread outrage and led to an investigation of the use of excessive force by the Cleveland police department. In February 2013, the Ohio attorney general, Mike DeWine, found that the chase and killing of Russell and Williams represented “a systematic failure in the Cleveland police department”.

Last December, after a 21-month investigation sparked by the case, the then US attorney general Eric Holder released a report that found Cleveland police had engaged in a pattern and practice of excessive force, including unnecessary deadly force. The Department of Justice report alleged that the excessive force violated Cleveland citizens’ constitutional rights, and was based on more than 600 incidents between 2012 and 2013.

‘Chaotic and dangerous’ Cleveland police shamed in withering government report

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson has been in office for 10 years, during which time, according to a report in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “in more than 60 lawsuits, citizens accused officers of needlessly shooting at them, beating them during routine traffic stops, shocking them with Tasers while face-down on the ground in handcuffs or arresting them when they had committed no crime”.

Those lawsuits cost the city more than $8m to resolve, according to the report.

Adding to the Cleveland police department’s problems is the ongoing investigation into the killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. . The boy was holding a toy pellet gun when he was shot by police in a city park last November.

Protest against Cleveland police murder of 12-year-old Tamir Rice last year.

Protest against Cleveland police murder of 12-year-old Tamir Rice last year. A grand jury is still deliberating.

With expectations that a not guilty verdict might spark riots similar to those seen in Baltimore last month, Cleveland police and city leaders met various community groups in private,warning them to be wary of “outside agitators” who might try to turn peaceful protests violent. Neighborhood outreach teams included religious leaders, youth league coaches, business leaders, motorcycle club members and former gang members, in an effort to keep the peace regardless of the verdict.

VOD with redCleveland police earlier released the names of the 13 officers in the deaths of Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell. They are: Patrol Officer WIlfredo Diaz #350 Appointment Date: 11-03-08; Patrol Officer Michael Brelo #416 Appointment Date: 10-15-07; Patrol Officer Cynthia Moore #1277 Appointment Date: 10-15-07; Patrol Officer Michael Farley #409 Appointment Date: 04-08-96; Patrol Officer Brian Sabolik #1021 Appointment Date: 01-10-1; Patrol Officer Paul Box #2526 Appointment Date: 08-19-96; Patrol Officer Randy Patrick #1580 Appointment Date: 08-04-97; Patrol Officer Scott Sistek #1395 Appointment Date: 02-25-08; Detective Michael Demchak #1621 Appointment Date: 10-23-82; Detective Erin O’Donnell #1027 Appointment Date: 09-28-98; Detective Christopher Ereg #767 Appointment Date: 08-30-99; Detective Michael Rinkus #2182 Appointment Date: 01-06-92; Detective William Salupo #1969 Appointment Date: 02-17-98.

Above: David Russell, Timothy’s brother, testifies during trial, showing photos of his large family.

Related stories:

http://news.yahoo.com/latest-cleveland-verdict-feds-review-case-165719528.html

http://www.cleveland.com/court-justice/index.ssf/2014/07/patrolman_brelos_attorney_pros.html

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2013/02/26/cleveland-police-kill-two-with-137-gunshots-rally-fri-march-1-5-p-m/

http://www.wkyc.com/story/news/investigations/2015/02/09/police-cleveland-black-white-racial-disparity/23000499/


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STOP WATER SHUT-OFFS NOW, CANCEL #DETROITWATER DEBT; IRELAND DEMANDS ‘NO WATER CHARGES’

VOD with red

May 22, 2015

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) has announced that it is hanging water shut-off notices on Detroit residents’ doors this month, re-starting the internationally notorious, criminal program of cutting off the human right to water.

Demeeko Williams and Beulah Walker load water to carry to two Detroit residents, one a senior whose water has been shut off for a year, and another a young woman with a child who has been forced to squat in a Detroit home. Gallons of water are given out freely, with no questions asked.

Demeeko Williams and Beulah Walker load water to carry to two Detroit residents, one a senior whose water has been shut off for a year, and another a young woman with a child who has been forced to squat in a Detroit home. Gallons of water are given out freely, with no questions asked.

On April 21, VOD interviewed Demeeko Williams and Beulah Walker of the DETROIT WATER BRIGADE,  which estimates that 40 percent of Detroit residents and their families may face shut-offs soon.

The Detroit Water Brigade continues to deliver fresh water to those whose water has been shut off or anyone with no access to water. They are demanding that “the City of Detroit and the newly-formed Great Lakes Water Authority cancel the existing debts of Detroit Water and Sewerage customers and start afresh with simple, affordable rates: all customer past-due balances are wiped clean.”

They have published this report on their website:

“Last year, Detroit made international headlines when tens of thousands of residents lost their access to water through an aggressive shut-off program by the water department.

The city of Detroit has endured decades of economic turmoil, drastic depopulation and repeated mismanagement. The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) is over $5 billion in debt (over $4,500 per family in the metro Detroit area).To compensate, they have increased rates over 119% in the last decade.¹Residents who fall behind on their bills risk water shutoff, and in 2014 that’s exactly what happened to tens of thousands of Detroiters.

The shutoff program didn’t work, and the DWSD collected less than 3% of the over $100 million currently owed.² A large number of the families who entered into payment plans last year are now defaulting on them yet again because they lack sufficient income.

Home next door used for DWB water hub.

DWB water hub and HQ.

In contrast, a voluntary bond tender offer initiated during the shutoffs allowed the city to renegotiate high interest rates on municipal water bonds and save over $250 million in interest fees for the city.³

The bond markets know that Detroit’s water debt is junk and the city will unlikely ever be able to pay the current interest rates, which is why Default Trends proclaimed Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) its “Biggest Default of 2014″.⁴

Corruption in the DWSD has been rampant, with former Department head Victor Mercado currently serving an 8-month federal corruption sentence for “conspiracy to commit extortion” by padding department contracts and rigging bids that netted his business associates millions. Although many of those contracts are now being scrutinized by the city’s legal team, Detroiters are still paying dearly for the fraud of past leaders.

Nurses help lead last years' massive march against water shutoffs in downtown Detroit, July 18, 2014.

Nurses help lead last years’ massive march against water shutoffs in downtown Detroit, July 18, 2014.

The overbearing Detroit water debt has a human side, too: it has pushed Detroit into an outright humanitarian crisis. Rates of infectious disease and sickness are up dramatically, leading the National Nurses union recently to declare a ‘Public Health Emergency’ in Detroit.⁵

The water department is significantly under-staffed and water infrastructure is crumbling, leading to leaks that cost taxpayers tens of millions annually. The department is unable to address these time-sensitive issues due to lack of funding, as it currently spends 46% of its operating revenue on debt service to banks – the largest line-item by far in its budget.

Protesters blockage entrance to city contractor Homrich, which shut water off last year, likely because DWSD workers could not be counted on to do so.

Protesters blockage entrance to city contractor Homrich, which shut water off last year, likely because DWSD workers could not be counted on to do so.

Detroit’s existing water/sewerage rate structure is highly-regressive and unaffordable for too many families. We call on the city to implement the 2005 Water Affordability Plan to ensure that no family pays more than the EPA-recommended threshold for water, including “lifeline rates” for essential quantities of drinking/bathing water.

The water department acknowledges that 90% of its operating costs are fixed⁷, meaning they don’t depend upon how much water is consumed by users. Still, they charge usage-based rates that fluctuate dramatically with weather (up to 18% decrease in usage) and with broader demographic shifts in the region (2/3 of Detroit’s population has left the city since 1950).

"Mayor" Duggan shows how only Detroit will remain of six-county area previously run by DWSD Sept. 9, 2014, after Great Lakes Water Authority takes over. Even more drastic rate increases are expected at that time.

Detroit “Mayor” Duggan shows how only Detroit will remain of six-county area previously run by DWSD Sept. 9, 2014, after Great Lakes Water Authority takes over. Even more drastic rate increases are expected at that time, to pay off $5 billion in DWSD debt. Debt was originally to be cut by $2 billion under bankruptcy plan, but was restored under GLWA plan.

Creating a progressive rate structure based at least partially upon a family’s income – as is done with many public services like streetlights, schools, libraries, etc – would more equitably distribute the burden of operating a system relied upon by over 4 million people for essential drinking water.

The Detroit Water Brigade has provided emergency relief and advocacy to hundreds of families since June of 2014, including providing immediate financial assistance to families currently without water.⁸We’ve seen first-hand the disastrous effects of these harsh, debt-driven austerity policies.

We pledge to escalate this campaign in the coming months until we bring relief to the tens of thousands of metro Detroit families living without water today and the millions living precariously with unaffordable water rates. 

¹Source:http://archive.freep.com/article/20140624/NEWS01/306240181/John-Conyers-detroit-water-shutoffs 

²Source: DWSD Financials, Sep 15, 2014, p. 61  http://www.dwsd.org/downloads_n/about_dwsd/financials/Finance_Committee_Binder_9-5-2014.pdf 

³Source: http://www.kutakrock.com/successful-bond-tender-eases-detroits-bankruptcy-exit-10-03-2014/

Source: http://www.bondbuyer.com/news/markets-buy-side/defaults-reached-record-in-2014-1069491-1.html

Source:http://www.nationalnursesunited.org/press/entry/nurses-activists-cite-public-health-emergency-in-detroit-water-shutoffs/

Source:http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/sustain/affordability.cfm

Source:http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/wayne-county/2015/01/22/water-use-jeopardizing-four-percent-rate-cap/22187455/

Source:http://detroitwaterbrigade.org/waf/

100000 Irish March Through Dublin to Protest Against Water Charges

The Guardian (UK)

March 21, 2015

Ireland Ministry of Thirst

Marchers in Ireland protest government’s austerity measures including water charges.

In Ireland, with a population of 5 million, upwards of one hundred thousand took to the streets to protest the new charges for water. The Irish government’s austerity measure has sparked widespread public anger, with Saturday’s street protest the fourth since October.

Tens of thousands of people marched in Dublin on Saturday in the latest protest against the government’s new water charges. It is the latest show of public opposition to the austerity measure put in place by Ireland’s coalition government, which hopes the country’s economic growth will quell the discontent.

Ireland’s economy surged by a post-crisis high of 4.8% last year and is forecast to be the fastest-growing in the European Union again in 2015, but many have been left frustrated by the uneven nature of the recovery.

Irish protesters demand that no water meters be installed.

Irish protesters demand that no water meters be installed.

One year before it seeks re-election, the government has begun directly charging households for water use. It is the final piece of a seven-year, _30bn (£21.7bn) austerity drive, but also the measure that has elicited the largest public backlash. Saturday’s mass protest was the fourth since October.

Organisers said 80,000 protesters marched in the capital – many holding Greek flags to show solidarity with the stricken eurozone member. The national broadcaster, RTE, said the crowd was 30,000 to 40,000 strong.

“This government believes that the anti-water charges campaign is dying, that we are on our last legs. Well, today we have sent them a message,” said Lynn Boylan, a member of the European Parliament for the opposition Sinn Féin party.

“These families simply cannot take any more. The government is pushing people over the edge.”

“This campaign is going from strength to strength. We are on the march. And we will not stop until water charges are scrapped and Irish Water is abolished.

Protest in Donegal, Ireland.

Protest in Donegal, Ireland.

“Sinn Féin warned the government that Irish Water was nothing more than a toxic quango. The citizens of Ireland in their hundreds of thousands told [minister for the environment] Alan Kelly that they cannot and they will not pay.

“Europe has warned the government that their back of the envelope calculations do not stack up. How do they respond? By jailing protestors and spending _650,000 on a new ad campaign; not to mention wasting over _85m on private consultants, _539m wasted on water meters. Hundreds of Garda hours wasted on policing the ill-fated installation of water meters.”

Boylan also questioned how people could pay the charge when they “cannot afford to keep the roof over their head”.

Resign these logosShe said: “The lengths that this government will go to defend their precious Uisce Éireann [Ireland’s water company] is astounding. Local authorities have begun the process of handing over the details of tenants. Landlords are being forced to do the same. For Sinn Féin this is a red line issue. Let this message go out loud and clear;: water charges and Irish Water must be consigned to the dustbin of history.”

The trade unions affiliated to the campaign – the CPSU, CWU, Mandate, Opatsi and Unite – are also calling for a referendum to be held “following abolition of the charges” to enshrine public ownership of Irish Water in the Constitution.

The trade unions will present the outline of their draft water management policy at their forthcoming May Day conference.

Irish people demand: Water is a right!

Irish people demand: Water is a right!

BELOW: DETROIT WATER BRIGADE PARTICIPATES IN DUBLIN MARCH: FROM DUBLIN TO DETROIT, WATER IS A HUMAN RIGHT!

Detroit Water Brigade website: http://detroitwaterbrigade.org/

DWB Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/waterbrigade?fref=ts

Related VOD stories:

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/10/26/we-charge-genocide-detroit-water-shut-offs-foreclosures-focus-of-un-visit/

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/2015/03/02/detroit-long-term-debt-rises-300-in-bankruptcy-retirees-fight-back-with-protest-court-appeals/


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‘JAIL BANKSTERS, REPARATIONS NOW!” PROTEST AT JPMORGAN CHASE ANNUAL MEETING IN DETROIT

Protesters confront Chase shareholders at annual meeting in Westin Book Cadillac May 19, 2015/Photo: Stephanie Gordon

Protesters confront Chase shareholders at annual meeting in Westin Book Cadillac May 19, 2015/Photo: Stephanie Gordon

Chase, 5 other global banks just pled guilty to felony rate-rigging, agreed to pay $9 billion in fines, but serve no jail time 

Chase earlier paid a record $13 billion linked to sale of junk mortgages during housing bubble, another $4.5 billion settlement with institutional investors in those mortgages

Protesters say Chase crimes include slavery profits, foreclosures, water shut-offs, huge prison population, student loan debt

Retirees: Detroit bankruptcy appeal aided by May 8 Illinois Supreme Court ruling calling pension, annuity reductions violation of state constitution

 By Diane Bukowski

 May 20, 2013 

Chase shareholders held their meeting at the Westin Book Cadillac in downtown Detroit, formerly home to Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr. Photo: Stephanie Gordon

Chase shareholders held their meeting at the Westin Book Cadillac in downtown Detroit, formerly home to Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr. Photo: Stephanie Gordon

DETROIT – As global banks including JPMorgan Chase pled guilty to felony market manipulation charges, agreeing to pay $9 billion in fines, protesters at Chase’s annual meeting in Detroit demanded prison for the banks’ executives, and billions in reparations to re-build the City of Detroit. Chase is the world’s largest investment bank.

Chase’s portion of the fines followed a record $13 billion settlement linked to its sale of junk mortgages during the housing bubble, and another $4.5 billion settlement with institutional investors in those mortgages. Protesters questioned why Detroit and other poor cities across the U.S. have seen none of those settlements, since Chase made its money off illegal practices foisted on homeowners, workers and taxpayers.

“Chase had the gall to hold its shareholders meeting in the city of Detroit, which has been devastated by home foreclosures, many by Chase,” Abayomi Azikiwe of Moratorium NOW! said. “They have bragged about investing in Capitol Park and the rest of downtown Detroit, but we want to know what Chase Bank is going to do for the people of Detroit.”

Abiyomi Azikiwe of Moratorium NOW! and Bill Davis, Pres. of the Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association, marched on Chase meeting. In background is Kris Hamel of Moratorium NOW! telling Chase to leave Detroit. /Photo: Stephanie Gordon

Abiyomi Azikiwe of Moratorium NOW! and Bill Davis, Pres. of the Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association, marched on Chase meeting. /Photo: Stephanie Gordon

The protesters confronted shareholders going into the meeting at the Westin Book Cadillac, former home to Detroit’s Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr. He and his banking and corporate cronies virtually dismantled the City of Detroit through an involuntary and likely criminal Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

Detroit is the poorest and largest majority-Black city in the U.S. An astounding 59 percent of its children are mired in poverty, with an overall rate of 39 percent. In January, Chase admitted that it profited from slavery in the U.S. after it bought out Bank One and Citizens Bank, said Azikiwe.

“From 1831 to 1865, 13,000 slaves were accepted as collateral for loans from these banks,” Azikiwe said, “but all Chase offered was an apology and a $5 million scholarship funds. Millions of our people are in prison, but how many bankers are in prison or on death row?”

Errol Jennings of the Russell Woods-Sullivan Area Association said banks made $6.4 trillion in profits, using today’s dollar value, during the slavery era, 40 percent from cotton.

Elder Helen Moore of the Keep the Vote No Takeover Coalition protested the devastation of Detroit Public Schools through bank debt that has drained district of per-pupil funding.

Elder Helen Moore of the Keep the Vote No Takeover Coalition protested the devastation of Detroit Public Schools through bank debt that has drained district of per-pupil funding. In background is Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellerman. Photo: Stephanie Gordon

“They’ve been oppressing us ever since we set foot on U.S. soil,” he said. “The prison population right now is traded on Wall Street; how you do in middle school is being decided on Wall Street. They take our pensions and shut off our water because we got into a bad deal with derivatives. They caused the global economic crash of 2006-08, got $700 billion in our tax dollars to get bailed out, and now they’re growing at a faster rate than ever before.  They tell us, ‘We don’t need you, we’ll take your houses, your water, kill your schools, and see to it that your children kill each other on the streets.’”

Protesters chanted, “The blight is Chase.”

Multi-billionaire Dan Gilbert, who has close ties to Chase, ironically heads the city’s “Blight Removal Task Force,” as he buys huge parcels of city land and drives out Black and poor residents. The recent re-development of Brush Park and the conversion of the Section 8 Griswold Apartments in Capitol Park to high-end condos called “The Albert” are only two examples.

Detroit "Mayor" Mike Duggan meets with Chase CEO Jamie Dimon Feb. 11, 2015.

Detroit “Mayor” Mike Duggan meets with Chase CEO Jamie Dimon Feb. 11, 2015. Photo: Daniel Mears, Detroit News

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan met with Chase CEO Jamie Dimon Feb. 11, taking him on a tour of Eastern Market and lauding Chase’s support for Detroit. In early 2014, the global bank committed $100 million to support “economic development, blight removal and job training” in Detroit. Compared to the $2.6 trillion in assets the bank reported in 2014, that represents a demeaning drop in the bucket.

Many protesters carried signs denouncing water shut-offs in Detroit, which are scheduled to begin May 29.

“Save Detroit’s children! Don’t shut off their water!” they chanted.

JPMorgan Chase cost the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department $537 million in illegal interest rate swaps. Under the city’s bankruptcy provisions, DWSD will now control only a small part of the city’s water mains, while the Great Lakes Water Authority will control and profit from all water and wastewater treatment plants in the six counties originally under DWSD jurisdiction, as well as water mains and the remaining infrastructure.

Protesters said Chase is largely responsible for pending water shut-offs in Detroit, due to $537 million in illegal interest rate swaps it foisted on DWSD.

Protesters said Chase is largely responsible for pending water shut-offs in Detroit, due to $537 million in illegal interest rate swaps it foisted on DWSD. Photo: Stephanie Gordon

The DWSD workforce has been drastically cut and union representation essentially busted. The remaining workers have been forced to reapply for their jobs regardless of seniority and other union contract provisions.

“Over 200,000 people have fled Detroit after our communities were devastated by predatory mortgages and foreclosures that resulted in the global economic crash of 2008,” Pat Driscoll of Detroit Eviction Defense said.

Cheryl West, evicted last week from her home of 60 years, during protest at Wayne Co. Treasurer's office March 31, 2015.

Cheryl West, evicted last week from her home of 60 years, during protest at Wayne Co. Treasurer’s office March 31, 2015.

“People that took these predatory loans were in fact eligible for other loans. As of 2012, half of the foreclosed homes were owned by banks like Chase, who have not paid their property taxes. But this year the residents left in Detroit face the largest tax foreclosure crisis in history. Over 11,000 homes, about 33,000 people, face eviction, people like Cheryl West, who lived in her Detroit home for 60 years and was evicted last week. Detroit’s homeowners haven’t been bailed out like the banks were after the 2008 crash.”

Driscoll announced that a coalition of groups led by the Michigan American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) just sent a scathing letter to Wayne County Treasurer Raymond Wojtowicz demanding an immediate moratorium on tax foreclosures, in part because homeowners have been paying illegal tax rates for at least the last 20 years.

The groups, including Moratorium NOW!, the Russell Woods-Sullivan Association, the Detroit People’s Platform, the Sugar Law Center, and others, said the following in part:

“A moratorium on tax foreclosures is necessary where the local government has violated its statutory duty to assess property values, leading to unwarranted taxes based on grossly inflated home values before the Great Recession.

Instituting a moratorium on tax foreclosures of occupied homes is not only the right policy decision; it is required as a matter of law. Michigan law obligates local assessing units to determine property values on a yearly basis in order to ensure that residents pay taxes based on the actual value of their home.”

Yvonne Williams-Jones, DAREA officer, attended protest.

Yvonne Williams-Jones, DAREA officer, attended protest. She retired after 34 years with the City of Detroit.

Bill Davis and Yvonne Jones of the Detroit Actives and Retired Employees Association(DAREA) registered their outrage at what has been done to Detroit. (This reporter apologizes for her confused note-taking: their comments are combined here.)

“We must defend our home! Our home is Detroit! These devils have taken our health care and cut our pensions. Detroit is now a great city if you’re a white billionaire like Dan Gilbert, Mike Illitch, and Roger Penske. We can’t even go to Belle Isle anymore because Penske wanted it for his Grand Prix. We have to fight back, we have to take the water department and Belle Isle and the city back! The people can make a difference, whenever we show up and stand up and act up. No justice, no peace!”

They said DAREA has an ongoing appeal of the bankruptcy confirmation plan currently being heard in the U.S. District Court, despite threats by former Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr that retirees could not appeal a thing.

Justice Lloyd Karmeier of Illinois Supreme Court wrote passionate defense of his state's pension systems, declaring reductions unconstitutional.

Justice Lloyd Karmeier of Illinois Supreme Court wrote passionate defense of his state’s pension systems, declaring reductions unconstitutional May 8, 2015.

DAREA’s appeal is likely to be given a huge boost by an Illinois Supreme Court ruling on May 8. The Court held unanimously that Public Act 98-599, which drastically reduced the pensions and annuities of public workers across the state, was unconstitutional and therefore unenforceable.

The Illinois constitution’s  pension protections clause is very similar to Michigan’s. It provides: “Membership in any pension or retirement system of the State, any unit of local government or school district, or any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.” Ill. Const. 1970, art. XIII, § 5.

City of Detroit retirees at rally outside bankruptcy court April 1, 2014.

City of Detroit retirees at rally outside bankruptcy court April 1, 2014.

The Illinois decision is striking in its passion for upholding the will of the people as expressed in the constitution they enacted, in this case, the 1970 Illinois State Constitution.

“The people of Illinois give voice to their sovereign authority through the Illinois Constitution,” the ruling, authored by Justice Lloyd Karmeier, declared. “It is through the Illinois Constitution that the people have decreed how their sovereign power may be exercised, by whom and under what conditions or restrictions. Where rights have been conferred and limits on governmental action have been defined by the people through the constitution, the legislature cannot enact legislation in contravention of those rights and restrictions.”

The lawsuits filed by five pension systems in the state predominantly addressed the reduction of annuity payments to workers, also the most damaging provision of the Detroit bankruptcy plan. However, the Illinois court held that the annuity reductions could not be severed from the entire act, and therefore struck down all portions of the act.

Related documents:

ACLU of Michigan AND Other Groups Make Joint Call for Moratorium on Mass Tax Foreclosures in Wayne County

ACLU Letter to WCT

Illinois Supreme Court pension ruling

Recent related stories:

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/04/24/u-s-sues-dan-gilberts-quicken-loans-over-mortgage-fraud-one-cause-of-detroit-blight/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/03/29/unprecedented-katrina-of-tax-foreclosures-to-hit-detroit-wayne-county-march-31/

Four banks in conspiracy

 Six Banks to Pay $9 Billion, Five Guilty of Market Rigging

JPMorgan Chase, Citicorp, Barclay’s, RBS plead guilty to felonies, no jail time slated

Banks operated private chat rooms for members of the “Cartel”

USDOJ, Fed Reserve file charges

By David McLaughlin, Tom Schoenberg, and Gavin Finch

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-05-20/six-banks-pay-5-8-billion-five-plead-guilty-to-market-rigging

Bloomberg NewsBloomberg

May 20, 2015

Six of the world’s biggest banks will pay $5.8 billion [through U.S. Department of Justice settlement] and five of them agreed to plead guilty to charges tied to a currency-rigging probe as they seek to wind down almost half a decade of enforcement actions.

Citicorp, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Barclays Plc and Royal Bank of Scotland Plc agreed to plead guilty to felony charges of conspiring to manipulate the price of U.S. dollars and euros, according to settlements announced by the Justice Department in Washington Wednesday. The main banking unit of UBS Group AG agreed to plead guilty to a wire-fraud charge related to interest-rate manipulation. The Swiss bank, the first to cooperate with antitrust investigators, was granted immunity in the currency probe.

BOA 5 9 12 Cancel debt

Protesters demand cancellation of Detroit’s debt to banks in 2012.

The four banks that agreed to plead guilty to currency charges are among the world’s biggest foreign-exchange traders. They were accused of colluding to influence benchmark rates by aligning positions and pushing transactions through at the same time. Traders who described themselves as members of “The Cartel” used online chat rooms to discuss their positions before the rates were set and suppress competition in the market, the Justice Department said.

All of the banks that pleaded guilty said they received needed waivers from the Securities and Exchange Commission to continue managing mutual funds and raise capital quickly, a person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

“Brazen Collusion”

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch with Pres. Barack Obama

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch with Pres. Barack Obama

The scheme was a “brazen display of collusion,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement. “This Department of Justice intends to vigorously prosecute all those who tilt the economic system in their favor, who subvert our marketplaces, and who enrich themselves at the expense of American consumers,” she said.

The accords bring the total fines and penalties paid by the five banks to resolve the currency investigations to about $9 billion, the Justice Department said.

In the settlement with the Justice Department, Citicorp parent Citigroup Inc. will pay $925 million, the highest of the banks penalized. Barclays agreed to a fine of $650 million. JPMorgan will pay $550 million, and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc agreed to a $395 million fine. UBS will pay $203 million.

Separately, the Federal Reserve imposed fines of more than $1.6 billion on the five banks for “unsafe and unsound practices.” London-based Barclays will pay an additional $1.3 billion as part of settlements with the New York Department of Financial Services, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority.

Terminate Employees

As part of its settlement with New York banking superintendent Benjamin Lawsky, Barclays agreed to terminate eight employees engaged in currency trading between London and New York.

JPMG boxThe Fed also fined Bank of America Corp. $205 million for failing to detect and address conduct by traders who discussed the possibility of entering into agreements to manipulate currency prices, according to a statement.

“The resolution will come out of our existing reserves,” said Lawrence Grayson, a spokesman for Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America.

The penalties represent the first criminal resolutions in a two-year currency probe, which is ongoing, said Andrew McCabe, assistant director in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Washington Field Office.

Other firms, including Deutsche Bank AG and HSBC Holdings Plc are still under investigation. Cases against individual traders also may be forthcoming, people with knowledge of the probe have said.

“Calculated Move”

The settlements show the eagerness of bank executives to end one of the last big legal cases dogging the industry. Scandals involving the aggressive sale of mortgage bonds and interest-rate rigging helped reinforce the view that some firms are too big to manage properly and should be broken up.

“This is a very calculated move to get the Justice Department off their backs, because otherwise this could go on for years,” said Phillip Phan, a professor at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. “In a way, there’s anonymity in the crowd — you don’t know who’s more guilty than others.”

Although UBS wasn’t charged for currency manipulation, the government said the Swiss bank engaged in deceptive currency trading and sales practices after it settled a previous investigation in the manipulation of the London interbank offered rate in 2012. The conduct violated the non-prosecution agreement with the Justice Department.

UBS Markups

UBS traders and sales staff misrepresented to customers on certain transactions that markups were not being added, when in fact they were, using hand signals to conceal the markups, the Justice Department said in its statement. A UBS trader also conspired with other banks acting as dealers in the spot market by agreeing to restrain competition in the purchase and sale of dollars and euros, the government said. UBS’s collusive conduct occurred from October 2011 to at least January 2013.

Bank executives expressed embarrassment and frustration over the conduct, pointed a finger at a few bad apples and vowed to do better.

“The conduct of a small number of employees was unacceptable and we have taken appropriate disciplinary actions,” UBS Chief Executive Officer Sergio Ermotti and Chairman Axel Weber said in a statement.

JPMorgan said in a statement that the conduct underlying the antitrust charge against the bank is “principally attributable” to a single trader, who has since been dismissed.

“The conduct described in the government’s pleadings is a great disappointment to us,” said Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon. “We demand and expect better of our people. The lesson here is that the conduct of a small group of employees, or of even a single employee, can reflect badly on all of us.”

Operations Continue

Too Big to JailShares of both JPMorgan and Citigroup slid 0.8 percent at 12:05 in New York. UBS climbed 3 percent, RBS rose 1.8 percent, Barclays advanced 3.4 percent.

JPMorgan and Citigroup said they don’t anticipate a material impact on operations or their ability to serve clients.

The Justice Department had been aiming to extract pleas from the banks’ parent companies, people familiar with the talks had said. In its announcement, the department characterized the companies entering pleas as “parent-level.”

Drexel Case

Citicorp, the unit agreeing to plead guilty, is wholly owned by parent Citigroup Inc. Citicorp, in turn, contains the company’s main banking subsidiary, Citibank NA, which held 74 percent of Citigroup’s assets at year-end. Royal Bank of Scotland Plc is a unit of Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc.

JPMorgan Chase Chairman, President and CEO Jamie Dimon presents his driver's license to Justice Department security officer G. Rocher, as he arrives at the Justice Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

JPMorgan Chase Chairman, President and CEO Jamie Dimon presents his driver’s license to Justice Department security officer G. Rocher, as he arrives at the Justice Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The guilty pleas by Citicorp and JPMorgan are the first in criminal cases by major U.S. banks since Drexel Burnham Lambert admitted to six counts of mail and securities fraud in 1989. They follow pleas last year by the bank subsidiary of Zurich-based Credit Suisse Group AG for aiding tax evasion and BNP Paribas SA for violating U.S. sanctions. This year, a Deutsche Bank unit pleaded guilty for its role in manipulating interest rates.

Drone strike on banksThe foreign-exchange investigation began after Bloomberg reported beginning in June 2013 that traders were colluding to manipulate benchmark currency rates and profit at clients’ expense. Their efforts were focused on the WM/Reuters 4 p.m. fix, used to value trillions of dollars of investments worldwide and to determine the price some companies and fund managers pay to swap currencies.

In October of that year, regulators around the world announced they were opening formal probes. Within weeks, more than 25 foreign-exchange traders at banks including Citigroup, JPMorgan and Barclays were fired, suspended or put on leave.

What began as a narrow inquiry into rate-rigging was broadened into a wider examination of the industry. In recent months, authorities have looked into practices including banks charging excessive commissions, sales staff passing on tips to favored clients and traders.

Related documents:

Six Global Banks to pay USDOJ release

 

To purchase Brandon Garrett’s book, “Too Big to Jail,” click on http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674368316

To read about JPMorgan Chase as ringleader of banks just sued, and its ties with British Petroleum, click on http://prepperchimp.com/2014/12/31/the-rigging-triangle-exposed-the-jpmorgan-british-petroleum-bank-of-england-cartel-full-frontal/

http://billmoyers.com/2013/10/22/the-13-billion-jpmorgan-settlement-is-a-good-start-%E2%80%94-now-someone-should-go-to-jail/


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