Protesters outside suburbanite Mike Duggan’s State of the City address Feb. 11, 2015. Instead of holding it in downtown Detroit, he got as close to the white suburbs as he could.
Detroit “Mayor” Mike Duggan celebrates abominable “State of the City,” after candidacy ruled invalid by COA, faked election
Meanwhile, the people’s champion Rev. Edward Pinkney imprisoned in Marquette for trying to recall Mayor of Benton Harbor, without evidence
Pinkney hearing on pre-sentence motions Tues. Feb. 24, 9 AM St. Joseph, MI
By Jean Vortkamp
February 18, 2015
Rev. Pinkney at Detroit rally vs. mass water shutoffs. Benton Harbor’s water system has also been privatized. Photo: Daymon Hartley
Amongst the piles of dirty snow and dying White Pine trees of Pure Michigan a senior citizen and community leader, Reverend Edward Pinkney, sits in his cell in Marquette Prison, eating food not fit for dogs, but good enough to fulfill yet another scam of a private contract.
If they want to tear you away from your family, this Siberian-like place is the prison of choice. He has lots of time to think about the injustice he suffered being charged with “forgery under the Michigan election law” without real witnesses or evidence.
Meanwhile, in Detroit, the marquee in front of the Redford Theater shines brightly in the crisp winter air. There are people getting out of city owned vans to pack the State of the City speech. Inside a white man, Mike Duggan, from the most racist suburb near Detroit, Livonia, coos about his victories in his position as mayor of the bankrupted city.
Retiree from DAREA speaks at STATE OF THE PEOPLE RALLY outside Duggan’s rant, Feb. 11, 2015.
In reality six billion dollars are being stolen from pensioners and their new healthcare costs will now literally kill them, 70,000 homes go into foreclosure just this year, and Duggan/Bing shut off the water of about 30,000 homes. This white man who comes from the allegedly corrupt political legacy of the McNamara machine became mayor by allegedly winning the primary of a radical African American city with 40% of a write in vote, after a State Court of Appeals ruled he was not eligible to run because he had not established residency by the deadline.
Rev. Pinkney reads award to supporter Danny Glover at dinner in 2012.
Reverend Pinkney is facing up to ten years in prison for forgery in election fraud in which there were no real witnesses or evidence. He has been fighting the far right’s wayward plan of emergency management/asset theft/gentrification/genocide for decades now.
Earlier he and others in Benton Harbor tried to recall the mayor of Benton Harbor for refusing to institute a city income tax that would have brought tens of millions from Whirlpool, the ogre of a corporation.
Basking in this white male privilege is Fred Upton, a Republican congressman and Whirlpool heir. The Reverend already went to prison once (for quoting the bible). He sits in his cell in Marquette, wishing for more mail. Wondering how he will find justice in a place more akin to Hitler’s Germany than the land of the free and the brave.
Fred Upton, heir to the Whirlpool fortune.
Whirlpool used to have jobs for the people of Benton Harbor. Cheaper labor was found elsewhere but the Gold Coast of Michigan doesn’t move. Fred Upton lives on the Gold Coast near Jean Klock Park, with the boat slips and the silky sand. The main park used to be used by families in Benton Harbor. Then it was slipped out of public ownership by “friend of bankers” former Governor Jennifer Granholm and the deal finished off by Governor Rick Snyder and friends.
Now the PGA uses a new Jack Nicklaus golf course near the Park, sponsored by Whirlpool. Rev. Pinkney protested that the park belonged to the public, to the people of Benton Harbor. It does not belong to the crinkly old white men of privilege hitting a small white ball into a hole, over and over.
Whirlpool is a part of Doug Rothwell’s Business Leaders for Michigan, a group of giant corporations who are responsible for much of the sub-standard asinine decisions made in Michigan’s legislature. There you will find Upton’s company represented, along with Dick DeVos, Dan Gilbert, Roger Penske, Mike Ilitch, and a host of the greedy who are sucking community resources dry with their corporate welfare. They should really work for a living.
Sadly they think that because they use white privilege entitlement to run their businesses that they know better than the majority of the good people of Michigan.
Detroit’s first white “Mayor” in 30 years, Mike Duggan lays down the law at his State of the City address.
While in Detroit in those same decades Duggan’s office was raided by the FBI in connection to the political machine of McNamara. His multiple involvements in contracts (his most favorite things) for the DTW Airport and Detroit Public schools, in addition to his wife’s business have all been questionable.
He stands in front of the crowd in the theater in his suit, happy that he has cheated fate over and over. White privilege may do that for you. Favors owed, favors given.
He stands in the carcass of democracy, devoured by Snyder and the Business Leaders for Michigan, proud of the way he is funneling all tax money and public assets out of the public’s own hands. He shakes hands, smiles, puts on his “Well, gee guys, let’s work together” smile and lives guilt and conscience free. He even invites the Pope to Detroit.
After the primary election where he was declared the winner, the ballots, of which thousands were in a very obvious similar handwriting, were silently slipped around from authority to authority like a hot potato. The Department of Justice, the Secretary of State, the Wayne County Prosecutor, the Wayne County Board of Canvassers did not choose to do their jobs and crack open this piñata of injustice. They chose not to expose the truth about Detroit. – That it is not a democracy.
Ken Cockrel, Jr., Exec. Director of Detroit Future Cities, led Detroit into state takeover.
We, regular Detroiters, have not chosen to make Detroit like this. Duggan’s campaign supporters were many of the people who mysteriously supported the “Grand Bargain” (a/k/a “Grand Theft”) along with the man who spearheads the Detroit Future Cities gentrification plan, Ken Cockrel, Jr., who helped lead Detroit into a state takeover as City Councilman, and many from the Business Leaders for Michigan.
In Berrien County, regular people took the stand as the prosecutor witch-hunted the fine politically active Americans who took part in the political process there. Where does Rev. Pinkney’s group, BANCO, meet? Who is its leader? It was a string of questions that were more of an FBI investigation into some fringe group than anything about recall petitions. You see, they were saying that Rev. Pinkney wrote 1’s and 2’s on the dates to make the recall petitions fit in the time frame to turn them in.
They had no one who could say they saw Rev. Pinkney do it and the handwriting expert said he could not say who did it. There was even a witness who came forward to say she saw a particular woman do it. Contrast this to the ballots in Detroit where they had the candidates in the recount select the ballots for the handwriting expert. When the candidates said that the very similar ballots were spread throughout the precincts, they were allowed to choose ballots for examination by the handwriting expert from ONE precinct at a time, with as many ballots from that precinct that could fit on two tables. Cat and mouse.
So when the papers reported on the handwriting expert’s opinion they could say they were not similar. When ballots in an absentee case were opened and two matching ballots came out right next to each other on the table, the Board of Canvassers went and sat down away from the ballots and continued the meeting. They go on and on, the instances where the truth sat in the room and was ignored.
And so it goes. Reverend Pinkney sits in prison and Mike Duggan occupies the office overlooking the river. The barges serenely float by out the window, luncheons and dinners are served. Meetings are called, deals are made to complete the right wing takeover of the city.
Reverend Pinkney looks down at his slimy food, ironic because he used to help deliver food to the people in need in his community. Rev. Pinkney is an unwelcome prisoner, having been counseling African Americans suffering grave injustices for years at the hands of the Berrien County Injustice system. He spent his days in courtrooms being the spiritual adviser to the oppressed and accused. He may just be putting all kinds of ideas about justice into the heads of his fellow inmates.
They put his trial on his birthday so in the overflow room his outraged supporters from Chicago, Detroit and Flint sang him a rousing Happy Birthday. Once back in the courtroom, the judge made sure to tell the press not to record anything from the overflow room.
You can’t help but notice the stark contrast between fancy St. Joseph versus Benton Harbor. At the courthouse the Benton Harbor supporters of Rev. Pinkney need new shoes as they shuffle in to support him. They need good jobs. They need hope because they have been fighting so long ignored in this pocket of Michigan. It is very much like the gentrifiers of midtown Detroit versus most regular Detroit neighborhoods. Boarded up houses and schools versus shiny new buildings built with taxpayer money. Destruction from the war of the overstuffed rich on the ever skinnier poor, which starts at the ballot box.
Protesters hold electric “Stop Foreclosures” sign across the street from Duggan State of the City address, Feb. 11, 2015.
Contact BANCO at at http://www.bhbanco.org/. Site includes a PayPal donation button to send badly needed funds for Pinkney’s legal defense, or they can be mailed to BANCO, 1940 Union Avenue, Benton Harbor, Michigan 49022.
Two Black teens face up to ten years in prison for painting mural likely depicting a child angel arresting the cop who killed her.
19-year-old Black youths face up to 10 years in prison; preliminary exams Tues. Feb. 17, 9 AM 36th District Court, Judge Michael Wagner
Killer cop Joseph Weekley got off scott-free for killing Aiyana Jones, 7; so have killers of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and dozens of others
Killings by police grow across country by leaps and bounds this winter, some cited in stories below:
James Howard Allen, 74, Gastonia, N.C
Kevin Davis, 44, Decatur, GA
Antonio Zambano-Montes, Pasco, WS
Izzy Colon, Orlando, FL
Brian Fritze, Grand Junction, CO
By Diane Bukowski
February 10, 2015
Marcelus Gray, Taylor Daramy
DETROIT – The local mainstream media and Detroit police have perpetrated an outrage against two Black teens who allegedly painted an apropos depiction of a Black child angel arresting a white police officer on the side of the Youthville building at Woodward and Grand Boulevard, across from a police headquarters.
“It was a shocking image that has a community stunned, disgusted, and sickened,” Detroit’s Channel 7 News reported. It mistakenly said the building was a “school.” In fact it houses various “non-profit” youth-directed organizations. It was constructed after the closings of literally hundreds of public recreation centers and schools across Detroit.
Detroit cop Joseph Weekley shot Aiyana Jones, 7 to death May 16, 2010. All charges against him have been dismissed.
Since the Black child was an angel, the child was obviously dead. This author interpreted the mural to mean that the child was exacting justice against her killer.
Shortly before the discovery of the mural, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway dismissed all charges against Detroit killer cop Joseph Weekley Jan. 30. Weekley shot Aiyana Stanley-Jones, 7, in the head with an MP5 submachine gun May 16, 2010, killing her, during a horrific SWAT-style raid on her home.
The teens who allegedly painted the mural, Taylor Daramy, 19, of Southfield, and Marcelus Gray, 19, of Lathrup Village, were arrested Feb. 3. They face felony charges that carry up to 10 years in prison, “Malicious Destruction of a Building, $1,000 to $20,000,” and “Malicious Destruction of a Building, $200.00 – less than $1,000.”
Maria Miller, Communications Chief for Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, said the preliminary exam for Taylor Daramy is scheduled for February 17, 2015 at 9:15 a.m. before Judge Michael E. Wagner. The exam for Marcelus Gray is scheduled for February 17, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. She said no judge is yet indicated for Gray, but it is likely also Judge Wagner. Wagner was recently appointed to the 36th District Court by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.
Mackenzie Lynn Snitgen, 17. Esabella Mary Meteer, 18, and Mary Elizabeth Harder, 17, are shown at their arraignment on minor charges. They got probation and community service.
Graffiti painted on downtown Detroit czar Dan Gilbert’s bldg. by GPW teens.
Three white Grosse Pointe Woods teens, Mackenzie Lynn Snitgen, 17, Estebella Mary Meteer, 18, and Mary Elizabeth Harder, 17 defaced a building owned by Dan Gilbert last year with obscene graffiti, but were charged with misdemeanors and got probation, with community service. Meanwhile, other grossly ugly graffiti consumes the city like wildfire without investigation or retaliation.
“We’ve had enough murders this year and we don’t need to be extolling that,” Ron Scott, of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, Inc./Peace Zones for Life, told Channel 7 about the angel and the cop.
He went on, “The fact that somebody has the audacity to actually deface a building, trying to raise the consciousness of youths by putting something out there like that. That just reflects the kind of mentality that we don’t need. We don’t need it in law enforcement and we certainly don’t need it with people in the street.”
Apparently Scott has divorced himself from support for the heroic youth of Ferguson and other cities across the U.S. who rose up VIOLENTLY against rampant murders of Black youth, largely by white cops. Those murders have continued unabated, while grand juries exonerate the killer cops responsible.
Young demonstrator in Ferguson throws tear gas canister back at riot troops after killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Killer cop Darren Wilson went scott free.
This is open warfare—this is NOT time for “Peace Zones for Life” and egregious criticism of two youths who committed no violence, but only depicted angelic justice against a killer cop, criticism that likely abetted the charges against the teens.
Ever since the killings of the two New York police officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, last year, the mainstream media by and large has done an about face on its coverage of continuing murders by police. The fact that Jerame Reid, 30, of New Jersey was shot to death with his hands up Dec. 30 was not reported until weeks later. Just yesterday, police in Gastonia, South Carolina, shot and killed a 74-year-old man recovering from surgery in his home.
Extended video of Tamir Rice killing and police assault on his sister above
Tamir Rice, 12, another angel killed by cop
Meanwhile, the wait stretches on and on to see what a grand jury will decide in the killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio, and the abuse and arrest of his 14-year-old sister as she ran to aid her brother. A coalition has formed here in Detroit to protest a possible “no-bill” verdict.
A coalition SHOULD be forming to protest the dismissal of charges against Detroit’s Joseph Weekley. Aiyana’s family is still suffering unbearable misery in the wake of the little girl’s death, and the sentencing of her father Charles Jones to prison for 40-60 years based largely on “jail-house snitch” testimony. Aiyana’s mother Dominika Jones just posted on Facebook today, “The sun’s not shining; I don’t even want to get up.”
Allen’s sister Mary Battle is interviewed outside his home. “I am so shocked and hurt,” she said.
Gastonia, N.C. A family of a 74-year-old veteran was concerned about him after he got out of surgery. Due to work and other circumstances, they couldn’t check on him yet, so they called the police to ask them if they could do a “welfare check.” Now, officials in North Carolina are launching an investigation to figure out why police officers broke into the man’s house and killed him, instead of checking on him.
James Howard Allen, 74, killed by Gaston, N.C. cop Dec. 9, 2015.
Officer Josh Lafevers of the Gastonia Police Department shot and killed the elderly James Howard Allen on Saturday afternoon, according to The Charlotte Observer.
An officer arrived to Allen’s home around 10:20 pm on Saturday, but when he didn’t receive an answer at the door, he decided to break in.
The Gastonia Fire Department and Gaston Emergency Medical Services were contacted by 11:30 p.m. and a “decision was made to enter the house, concerned that he may be inside in need of emergency assistance,” Helton explained.
Gastonia’s Police Chief Robert Helton told us that Officer Josh Lefevers had announced himself before breaking in through the back door of the house, but Allen was inside and had armed himself with a firearm.
Gastonia killer cop Josh Lafevers, with Allen house in background.
He was challenged to lower the gun down,” Helton claims. But what he seems unaware of is the fact that the 74-year-old man was on lots of post-surgery medication. He likely could have slept through the officer knocking on the door, and thought that burglars had broken into his house.
“The gun was pointed in the direction of the officers, and a shot was fired that fatally wounded him.”
Now, Allen’s family is demanding answers.
“(He) probably woke up, someone’s breaking in on me, so when you’re by yourself you try to protect yourself,” Robert Battle, Allen’s brother-in-law, said in an interview with WSOC.
“You kicked the man’s door in,” Otis Thompson, a friend of Allen’s said. “He’s disoriented and he’s in his own house, privacy of his own home.”
FOR 2 DAYS, GEORGIA POLICE DENIED FAMILY VISITS TO DYING MAN THEY KILLED
Kevin Davis and family
By Jon Swaine
February 12, 2015
Girlfriend attacked by intruder, Davis called police
Police shoot pet dog on arrival; Davis thinks intruder had returned
Davis handcuffed to hospital bed despite paralysis from gunshots
Police to sister after death: “I guess you can go to Grady (hospital) now”
(VOD editor: Kevin Davis was shot by Decatur police Dec. 29, and died two days later. Why is this just now making mainstream national/world news?)
DECATUR, GA — Police in Georgia are to review why a man who was fatally shot by an officer at his home was handcuffed to his hospital bed for the last two days of his life and barred from visits by his family, who allege that he was isolated to stop him disclosing full details of the shooting.
Kevin Davis was detained at Grady hospital in Atlanta after being shot three times by a DeKalb County police officer on Dec. 29, who was responding to a 911 call made by Davis and his girlfriend when she was stabbed by another man at their apartment in the suburb of Decatur.
His sister, Delisa, spent his final hours begging police to allow her to see him, but they refused until he died. “They denied us access to him because they didn’t want him telling us what really happened that night,” she told the Guardian. In his last known remarks, Davis told a medic that an officer simply arrived at his home “and began shooting”.
Davis had been arrested and charged with aggravated assault against the police officer, Joseph Pitts, because he allegedly ignored an order to drop a revolver he was holding. Davis’s girlfriend, April Edwards, said he grabbed the unloaded gun and approached their front door after their dog was shot and they feared that her attacker may have returned with a gun.
Feb. 11, 2o15; Protesters at DeKalb County Courthouse keep up pressure for charges in Kevin Davis killing by Georgia police.
Pitts shot Davis in disputed circumstances. Police have said that Davis approached Pitts, who was in the corridor outside the apartment, shouting: “You shot my dog.” Pitts had shot the three-legged pitbull dead [named Totter] later alleging it “charged” at him after he opened the door to Davis’s apartment. Police also said Pitts ordered Davis twice to “put down the gun”.
But according to hospital files obtained by the Guardian, after arriving by ambulance Davis told an emergency room medic in his last known remarks “that police came to his house after there was an altercation with his girlfriend and began shooting”.
DeKalb Police car.
His family’s attorneys said witnesses did not hear Davis say anything to the officer, and that the 44-year-old did not even make it past the threshold to his apartment. They said neighbours recalled hearing shots fired almost instantly after an order to drop the revolver.
Hospital officials confirmed that relatives were able to visit patients in custody if the law enforcement agency involved granted permission. The DeKalb County sheriff’s office, which was responsible for Davis during his stay in hospital, said it granted permission “in the most grave situations”, yet Davis’s family was refused access even as he deteriorated fatally.
Despite being instantly paralysed by one of Pitt’s bullets, Davis was handcuffed to his bed to prevent a possible escape. “From the time I found out he had been shot, I was calling Grady, I was calling De Kalb County, and I couldn’t get anybody to give me a straight answer or let me see him,” said his sister. “They just gave me the runaround.”
Delisa and brother Kevin Davis
Police have not said how many times he was shot. His sister said she was told by doctors that they had found three bullets in his body – one lodged in his spine, one in his stomach and another in an arm. Medical reports from the hospital detail five separate wounds.
Delisa Davis said that when she was told that her brother had “expired” on 31 December, a detective told her: “I guess you can go to Grady now”. She said: “It was just so callous, like they weren’t dealing with humans.” Davis’s case has only come to light in recent days after his family belatedly recruited attorneys.
The DeKalb County sheriff, Jeffrey Mann, said in a statement that his department “routinely restrain arrestees, generally with handcuffs” in the interests of “the safety of the public and inmates” in their custody.
“It is also our practice not to allow inmate visitation except in the most grave situations, and then with the confirmation of that condition by the medical professionals at the facility,” said Mann. “Tragically, Mr Davis succumbed to his wounds while being treated at Grady Hospital. In the interest of transparency, however, we will review the circumstances regarding his condition and any visitation requests.”
Denise Simpson, a spokeswoman for Grady hospital, said she could not discuss specific detention methods used on patients in custody “as procedures may vary based on patient conditions, medical treatments required, etc.”
“Grady policy requires that anyone wishing to visit a custody patient contact the appropriate law enforcement agency and obtain approval from that agency,” said Simpson. “That agency then notifies our staff if visitation is approved.”
PASCO, WASH. POLICE KILL MEXICAN NATIVE ANTONIO ZAMBANO-MONTES FOR THROWING ROCKS
Niece shows photo of Antonio Zambrono Montes during protest.
February 11, 2014
PASCO, Wash. (AP) — Officers killed a man accused of hurling rocks in the fourth fatal police shooting since last summer, a death that is shaking this agricultural city of 68,000 in southeastern Washington and drawing criticism from as far away as Mexico.
The killing Tuesday of orchard worker Antonio Zambrano-Montes sparked protests after witnesses said he was running away when he was shot in a busy intersection in Pasco, a city about 215 miles southeast of Seattle.
Protest in police killing of Antonio Zambrano-Montes.
Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department on Thursday condemned the shooting of the man raised in that country. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said he was monitoring the situation.
“We are going to need to get to the bottom of understanding the circumstances of this,” the governor said. “There will be, and needs to be, a very complete assessment of all of the circumstances of what happened here.”
Franklin County Coroner Dan Blasdel, whose office was conducting an autopsy on Zambrano-Montes, said he was considering convening an inquest jury to look into the death.
“We don’t want another Ferguson here in Pasco,” Blasdel told The Seattle Times, referring to the unrest that followed the Aug. 9 killing of an unarmed black man in Ferguson, Missouri, and a grand jury’s decision not to indict the white officer who shot him.
In this still frame taken from a cell phone video provided by Dario Infante and taken on Feb. 10, 2015, Antonio Zambrano-Montes, left, turns to face police officers while running from them in Pasco, Wash. Moments later, Zambrano-Montes was shot and killed. Pasco police said he threw multiple rocks, hitting two officers, and refused to put down other stones. (AP Photo/Dario Infante) AP
But the coroner says he won’t decide until the investigation wraps up.
“This was really not a racial issue,” Pasco Police Chief Bob Metzger told KING-TV of Seattle. The chief met for two hours with Zambrano-Montes’ relatives.
“Three police officers against one man throwing a rock?” an aunt, Angela Zambrano, said to The Times. “This was murder in cold blood.”
Police say Zambrano-Montes’ threatening behavior led officers to open fire. The 35-year-old threw multiple rocks, hitting two officers, and refused to put down other stones. They say a stun gun failed to subdue him.
Below is bystander video of killing
He had a run-in with Pasco police early last year, having been arrested for assault after throwing objects at officers and trying to grab an officer’s pistol, court records show.
The shooting launched protests, and demonstrators say they will gather again Saturday.
Meanwhile, a handful of people showed up at Pasco City Hall on Thursday to support police.
“It’s important for these officers to know the entire community is not out to get them,” Chris Black, an Army veteran, told the Tri-City Herald.
Protesters outside Pasco City Hall
The police chief has appealed for patience during an investigation and an internal review.
“The officers are … on administrative leave — until they are reviewed and everything is done, they will not be back to work,” he said. “It’s important we get the right information.”
Some people who saw the shooting videotaped the confrontation.
In one recording, five “pops” are audible shortly after the video begins, and the man can be seen running away, across a street and down a sidewalk, pursued by three officers. As the officers draw closer to the running man, he stops, turns around and faces them. Multiple “pops” are heard and the man falls to the ground.
JOSÉ ANTONIO MEADE KURIBREÑA Mexico Secy Foreign Affairs
In three previous fatal police shootings in Pasco, prosecutors cleared officers with the Pasco Police Department and a sheriff’s deputy who was working on a regional SWAT team.
Zambrano-Montes was raised in Michoacan, Mexico, and has lived for about a decade in Pasco, where more than half the residents are Hispanic.
In its statement, Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department called the shooting one of the “events in which unwarranted use has been made of lethal force.”
The department said it was helping Zambrano-Montes’ family “with the aim of ensuring that all available legal avenues are explored and taken to their fullest extent.”
Family members told the Tri-City Herald that Zambrano-Montes battled depression after being separated from his two teen daughters.
“He was a kind person, family-oriented,” his cousin, Blanca Zambrano, told the newspaper. “He was hard-working.”
DOCUMENTS: ORLANDO POLICE INVOLVED IN SHOOTING DISCIPLINED BEFORE
Izzy Colon and family; photo from MySpace
By John W. Davis, Reporter News 13
February 12, 2015
ORLANDO, FLA — Internal affairs documents show two undercover Orlando Police drug detectives, who shot and killed one man and shot at another, have been disciplined before by the agency.
His use of force against a car theft suspect was justified by investigators. They said who said the suspect pointed a gun at officers and, fearing for his life, Hall fired three shots.
We’ve learned Detective Hall has been disciplined twice, including for being short $20 out of $112that was being placed into evidence.
He was also called out last year by then-Deputy Chief John Mina, who is now the chief of police, for what Mina considered excessive force for using a takedown technique Mina didn’t think was necessary.
However, Detective Hall’s takedown was ultimately approved by department standards and that case was closed and Hall was exonerated.
Meanwhile, Detective Amanda White has been with Orlando Police for six years and with the drug unit since last November.
Several complaints have been filed against White.
In most cases, she has been exonerated, except one in February 2013, when her supervisor counseled her for not writing an incident report when she learned of an allegation of domestic violence during an unrelated traffic stop.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is still investigating last week’s officer-involved shooting.
Detective White and Detective Hall are on paid administrative leave.
Izzy Colon (top center) and family at ceremony. Photo from brother Danny Colon’s GoFundMe page, asking for funds to pay for his brother’s funeral. In 4 days, $3660 has been raised.
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) — A man shot and killed by authorities along Interstate 70 in western Colorado struggled with drugs and alcohol and may have wanted to be killed by law enforcement, his father told a newspaper.
Brian Fritze, 45, of Parachute died Tuesday following a chase after he was accused of beating an unidentified woman.
After being stopped west of Glenwood Springs, he first pointed a handgun at his head and then was shot by one or both Garfield County sheriff’s deputies at the scene as he walked toward I-70 with a gun, authorities said.
His father, Melvin “Skip” Fritze of Norman, Oklahoma, told The Daily Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1zROWb7) in a story Thursday that his son had struggled with alcohol and drugs during periods of his life and recently returned to using amid marital problems.
Brian Fritze served time in prison in Oklahoma for assault and battery and, after moving to Garfield County, he was arrested multiple times on offenses including driving under the influence. In December, he was arrested on misdemeanor offenses related to domestic violence.
Melvin Fritze said his son had said he didn’t want to go back to prison.
“Personally, I feel that he let the law enforcement people do the job he couldn’t do,” Melvin Fritze said.
He said his son worked concrete and drilling jobs in Colorado and had good drug-free periods in his life.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation is probing the shooting. The two unidentified deputies are on paid administration leave.
Protesters block the entrance to contractor Homrich to stop water shut-offs July 18, 2014. Activist Baxter Jones, at right in front of banner, was first of nine to be arrested. Photo: Diane Bukowski
International human rights network intervenes in case challenging large-scale disconnection of water supply to tens of thousands of low-income residents in Detroit
Assist intervention by protesting at Duggan’s State of the City Address Feb. 10, 6 PM, Redford Theater (see link to VOD story at bottom).
February 9, 2015.
New York City — The International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net), a global network of over 220 groups and 50 individual advocates from around the world working to secure economic and social justice through human rights, has requested leave from the U.S. District Court to be recognized as amicus curiae in the case of Lyda et al.v. City of Detroitin support of residents challenging the City of Detroit’s decision to cut off water supply to thousands of households unable to pay their bills.
Baxter Jones was crammed into battered police van, sustaining injuries to his neck and shoulders during arrest.
As detailed in the plaintiffs’ complaint, by the end of August 2014 the City of Detroit had disconnected approximately 30,000 households of low-income persons and persons living in poverty from the municipal water supply and sewerage service, leaving them without access to drinking water and water for toilets and basic sanitation.
ESCR-Net, through its amicus brief, seeks to bolster the plaintiffs’ legal challenge by highlighting that the disconnections for inability to pay violate a range of legal obligations applicable to the U.S. under key international human rights treaties.
At the same time, ESCR-Net contends that Detroit’s City Charter, which includes a Declaration of Rights recognizing rights to water, sanitation and decent housing, must be respected. Pursuant to long-established principles of both U.S. law and international law, relevant domestic law must be interpreted consistently with treaty obligations.
Detroit resident, who has disease that requires her to bathe three times a day, explains her water shut-off to rapporteurs from the United Nations.
Chris Grove, Executive Director of ESCR-Net, said, “Access to justice is required for violations of human rights, and we welcome the opportunity to assist the U.S. District Court with material relevant to consideration of the issues at stake. These issues impact the health, security and human dignity of thousands of Detroit residents and implicate our vision of a just society.”
“A number of human rights are arguably violated by these disconnections, including rights to water, sanitation, adequate housing, health, life, freedom from cruel and inhuman treatment, and non-discrimination. The international human rights obligations of the U.S. also apply to the City of Detroit, and these obligations require that denial of access to water be reversed immediately,” he added.
The City of Detroit’s water disconnection policy has shocked the international community and has prompted, among other reactions, the visit of two United Nations Special Procedures human rights experts to assess the situation in October 2014. Despite the onset of winter, local groups report that the City has continued water shut-offs at the homes of low-income families, the elderly, and the infirmed.
It is hoped that the application of international human rights law will help the plaintiffs achieve a just and effective remedy, including renewed access to water and an end to any further disconnections.
Thousands including many from Canada massed in downtown Detroit July 18, 2014 to protest shut-offs.
ESCR-Net is the largest global network of human rights organizations, grassroots groups and advocates working to build a global movement to make human rights and social justice a reality for all. Please visit http://www.escr-net.org
This action is being led by ESCR-Net Strategic Litigation Working Group members Center for the Study of Law, Justice and Society (Dejusticia), the Global Initiative on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR), the Social Rights Advocacy Centre (SRAC), and the Social Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI).
For information regarding this amicus intervention, contact:
 An amicuscuriae (or ‘friend of the Court’) is a person or organization who, although not a party to a case, is granted leave to submit material to the Court relevant to the disposition of the case and not already brought to the Court’s attention by the parties.
Lyda et al.v. City of Detroit, Case No. 2:15-cv-10038-BAF-RSW, before Hon. Bernard A. Friedman in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division.
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is expected — as early as Tuesday — to ask Congress for new war powers, sending Capitol Hill his blueprint for an updated authorization for the use of military force to fight the Islamic State group.
Pres. Barack Obama ready to go to war again.
Haggling then begins on writing a new authorization to battle the Sunni extremists, who have seized territory in Iraq and neighboring Syria and imposed a violent form of Sharia law.
That will lead to the first war vote in Congress in 13 years — one of the most important votes faced by members of the House and Senate.
To get Congress to approve his request, Obama must find a balance between lawmakers who want wide authority to fight the Islamic State group and others, including members of his own party, who worry that a new authorization to use military force will lead to U.S. entanglement in another protracted war.
In 2002, Congress passed a resolution authorizing President George W. Bush to use force against Iraq — a vote that scores of Democrats have regretted and then-candidate Barack Obama used as a cudgel against his rivals to win the Democratic presidential nomination.
U.S. out of everywhere.
Obama so far has relied on congressional authorizations that former President Bush used to justify military action after 9/11. Critics say the White House’s use of these authorizations to fight the terrorist group is a legal stretch at best. The president earlier insisted he had the legal authority to deploy more than 2,700 U.S. troops in Iraq to train and assist Iraqi security forces, and conduct ongoing airstrikes against targets in Iraq and Syria. More recently, the president has said he wants a new authorization, but has not released details.
Lawmakers expect the White House to issue its language before the end of the week. Obama administration officials have had consultations with both Democrats and Republican lawmakers about provisions of the new authorization it is seeking. So far, no formal language has been submitted, although the White House has completed a draft, a senior congressional official said.
Another congressional official said the president will ask for a three-year authorization so the next president will have to seek renewed authority to fight IS. The official said Obama wants to leave open the option to send in combat forces if needed, but is not seeking an authorization that would permit a prolonged U.S. troop presence on the ground. The White House request also would not restrict the fight to certain geographic locations, but would limit the U.S. to fighting IS militants or any future group that evolves, the official said.
A congressional aide said Democrats will not rubber-stamp the White House version, but will seek to rewrite it to include bipartisan views. Another congressional staffer said the debate in Congress will not necessarily flow along party lines because, for instance, conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats alike have disagreed about two major sticking points: deploying U.S. combat troops and restricting the geographical area served by the new authorization. The second staffer said a final authorization will depend on the language decided on regarding these two issues.
The four congressional officials and staffers spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the ongoing negotiations with the White House.
U.S. spending on last war in Iraq: Money for homes, jobs, schools, hospitals, services in U.S.
Before Congress ended its last session in December, Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., who at the time was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, pushed his version of an authorization that would have limited operations against IS to three years and allowed ground forces in some circumstances. The legislation passed out of the committee, but was never voted on by the full Senate before the session ended.
Menendez said Monday that he has not seen the final language written by the White House, but said more work will need to be done.
“I think a good part of it is how we started in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,” said Menendez, now the ranking Democrat on the committee since Republicans took control of the Senate in January. “But there is a degree for some greater flexibility than what the Senate Foreign Relations (Committee) drafted.”
Menendez said: “Finding the balance is the challenge here.”
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said the new authorization should be flexible enough so it can be used not only against IS, but also against whatever form the group takes in the future, as well as any groups that associate with or support it materially.
“Most importantly, the authorization should not impose any artificial and unnecessary limitations such as those based on time, geography and type of force that could interfere with our strategic objective of defeating Islamic State,” Hatch said Monday on the Senate floor.
He said he disagreed with those who want to prohibit the use of ground forces or set an expiration date for the authorization.
Other lawmakers want the new war powers to be narrowly defined in a way that gives the president the authority to train and equip local forces and conduct airstrikes, but not launch a combat mission on the ground.
“I’ve been clear in opposition to boots on the ground, but I’d like to see what they propose and hear them out,” said Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii. “It’s traditional and expected for an administration to articulate their strategy to the Congress, so we want to give them a chance to do so.”
Evidence exposing who put ISIS in power, and how it was done: U.S., CIA.
VOD editor: this article is especially pertinent now as the mainstream media builds up hysteria about ISIS executions of hostages, and the U.S.. Jordan and the UAE carry out air strikes on Iraq, Syria, elsewhere
The Islamic militant group ISIS, formerly known as Al-Qaeda in Iraq, and recently rebranded as the so called Islamic State, is the stuff of nightmares. They are ruthless, fanatical, killers, on a mission, and that mission is to wipe out anyone and everyone, from any religion or belief system and to impose Shari’ah law. The mass executions, beheadings and even crucifixions that they are committing as they work towards this goal are flaunted like badges of pride, video taped and uploaded for the whole world to see. This is the new face of evil.
Would it interest you to know who helped these psychopaths rise to power? Would it interest you to know who armed them, funded them and trained them? Would it interest you to know why? This story makes more sense if we start in the middle, so we’ll begin with the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
The CIA-backed Libyan counter-revolutionaries targeted Black Libyans for lynching, execution.
The Libyan revolution was Obama’s first major foreign intervention. It was portrayed as an extension of the Arab Spring, and NATO involvement was framed in humanitarian terms.
U.S. Pres. Barack Obama, CIA headed overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, destruction of developed country’s infrastructure.
Not surprising, considering the fact that the leader of the Libyan rebels later admitted that his fighters included Al-Qaeda linked jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq. These jihadist militants from Iraq were part of what national security analysts commonly referred to as Al-Qaeda in Iraq. Remember Al-Qaeda in Iraq was ISIS before it was rebranded. With the assistance of U.S. and NATO intelligence and air support, the Libyan rebels captured Gaddafi and summarily executed him in the street, all the while enthusiastically chanting “Allah Akbar”. For many of those who had bought the official line about how these rebels were freedom fighters aiming to establish a liberal democracy in Libya, this was the beginning of the end of their illusions.
Muammar Gaddafi was respected across the continent of Africa. Here he is shown with other African leaders.
Mass protest against U.S. war on Syria in New York City’s Times Square.
Now after Gaddafi was overthrown, the Libyan armories were looted, and massive quantities of weapons were sent by the Libyan rebels to Syria. The weapons, which included anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles were smuggled into Syria through Turkey, a NATO ally. The Times of London reported on the arrival of the shipment on September 14th, 2012. (Secondary confirmation in this NYT article) This was just three days after Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed by the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi. Chris Stevens had served as the U.S. government’s liaison to the Libyan rebels since April of 2011.
While a great deal media attention has focused on the fact that the State Department did not provide adequate security at the consulate, and was slow to send assistance when the attack started, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh released an article in April of 2014 which exposed a classified agreement between the CIA, Turkey and the Syrian rebels to create what was referred to as a “rat line”. The “rat line” was the covert network used to channel weapons and ammunition from Libya, through southern Turkey and across the Syrian border.
Pres. Obama, Sec. of State Hilary Clinton; photo inset: U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens
FSA Commander Jamal Maarouf enters his secret office.
This distinction, however, had no basis in reality. In an interview given in April of 2014, FSA commander Jamal Maarouf admitted that his fighters regularly conduct joint operations with Al-Nusra. Al-Nusra is the official Al-Qa’ida branch in Syria. This statement is further validated by an interview given in June of 2013 by Colonel Abdel Basset Al-Tawil, commander of the FSA’s Northern Front. In this interview he openly discusses his ties with Al-Nusra, and expresses his desire to see Syria ruled by sharia law. (You can verify the identities of these two commanders here in this document from The Institute for the Study of War)
Moderate rebels? Well it’s complicated. Not that this should really come as any surprise. Reuters had reported in 2012 that the FSA’s command was dominated by Islamic extremists, and the New York Times had reported that same year that the majority of the weapons that Washington were sending into Syria was ending up in the hands of Jihadists. For two years the U.S. government knew that this was happening, but they kept doing it.
The U.S. and its covert allies want to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.
And the FSA’s ties to Al-Nusra are just the beginning. In June of 2014 Al-Nusra merged with ISIS at the border between Iraq and Syria. So to review, the FSA is working with Al-Nusra, Al-Nusra is working with ISIS, and the U.S. has been sending money and weapons to the FSA even though they’ve known since 2012 that most of these weapons were ending up in the hands of extremists. You do the math.
[UPDATE 9.03.14]: Retired Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney admits: “We Helped Build ISIS”: Note that the first version of this video I uploaded (here) was quickly taken down. To insure that this clip does not disappear we have provided a secondary download link here. So if the video below isn’t playing then use that link and upload it elsewhere.
Syria, we backed I believe, in some cases some of the wrong people and not in the right part of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) that’s a little confusing to people. So I’ve always maintained, and go back quite some time that we were backing the wrong types. I think it’s going to turn out maybe this weekend in a new special that Brett Baer is going to have Friday that’s gonna show some of those weapons from Benghazi ended up in the hands of ISIS. So we helped build ISIS.
In that context, the sarin gas attacks of 2013 which turned out to have been committed by the Syrian rebels, makes a lot more sense doesn’t it? If it wasn’t enough that U.N. investigators, Russian investigators, and Pulitzer prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh all pinned that crime on Washington’s proxies, the rebels themselves threatened the West that they would expose what really happened if they were not given more advanced weaponry within one month.
By the way, this also explains why Washington then decided to target Russia next. This threat was made on June 10th, 2013. In what can only be described as an amazing coincidence, just nine days later, the rebels received their first official shipment of heavy weapons in Aleppo. After the second sarin gas fiasco, which was also exposed and therefore failed to garner public support for airstrikes, the U.S. continued to increase its the training and support for the rebels.
Syrian government air strike destroyed a large part of the Douma area in Damascus where CIA-backed rebels are holed up on Feb. 5, 2015.
In February of 2014, Haaretz reported that the U.S. and its allies in the region, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel, were in the process of helping the Syrian rebels plan and prepare for a massive attack in the south. According to Haaretz Israel had also provided direct assistance in military operations against Assad four months prior.
Then in May of 2014 PBS ran a report in which they interviewed rebels who were trained by the U.S. in Qatar. According to those rebels they were being trained to finish off soldiers who survived attacks.
“They trained us to ambush regime or enemy vehicles and cut off the road,” said the fighter, who is identified only as “Hussein.” “They also trained us on how to attack a vehicle, raid it, retrieve information or weapons and munitions, and how to finish off soldiers still alive after an ambush.”
U.S.-backed ISIS executes civilians in Iraq.
This is a blatant violation of the Geneva conventions. It also runs contrary to conventional military strategy. In conventional military strategy soldiers are better off left wounded, because this ends up costing the enemy more resources. Executing captured enemy soldiers is the kind of tactic used when you want to strike terror in the hearts of the enemy.
It also just happens to be standard operating procedure for ISIS. One month after this report, in June of 2014, ISIS made its dramatic entry, crossing over the Syrian border into Iraq, capturing Mosul, Baiji and almost reaching Baghdad. The internet was suddenly flooded with footage of drive by shootings, large scale death marches, and mass graves. And of course any Iraqi soldier that was captured was executed.
U.S. ignored ISIS atrocities in Iraq while it carried out drone atrocities in Pakistan.
Massive quantities of American military equipment were seized during that operation. ISIS took entire truckloads of humvees, they took helicopters, tanks, and artillery. They photographed and video taped themselves and advertised what they were doing on social media, and yet for some reason Washington didn’t even TRY to stop them.
U.S. military doctrine clearly calls for the destruction of military equipment and supplies when friendly forces cannot prevent them from falling into enemy hands, but that didn’t happen here. ISIS was allowed to carry this equipment out of Iraq and into Syria unimpeded. The U.S. military had the means to strike these convoys, but they didn’t lift a finger, even though they had been launching drone strikes in Pakistan that same week. Why would they do that?
Though Obama plays the role of a weak, indecisive, liberal president, and while pundits from the right have had a lot of fun with that image, this is just a facade. Some presidents, like George W. Bush, rely primarily on overt military aggression. Obama gets the same job done, but he prefers covert means. Not really surprising considering the fact that Zbigniew Brzezinski was his mentor.
Those who know their history will remember that Zbigniew Brzezinski was directly involved in the funding and arming the Islamic extremists in Pakistan and Afghanistan in order to weaken the Soviets. By the way Osama bin Laden was one of these anti-Soviet “freedom fighters” the U.S. was funding and arming. This operation is no secret at this point, nor are the unintended side effects.
Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was aimed at protecting secular socialist government.
Officially the U.S. government’s arming and funding of the Mujahideen was a response to the Soviet invasion in December of 1979.
However in his memoir entitled “From the Shadows” Robert Gates, director of the CIA under Ronald Reagan and George Bush Senior, and Secretary of Defense under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, revealed that the U.S. actually began the covert operation six months prior, with the express intention of luring the Soviets into a quagmire. The strategy worked. The Soviets invaded, and the ten years of war that followed are considered by many historians as being one of the primary causes of the fall of the USSR.
This example doesn’t just establish precedent, what we’re seeing happen in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria right now is actually a continuation of a old story. Al-Nusra and ISIS are ideological and organizational decedents of these extremist elements that the U.S. government made use of thirty years ago. Continue reading →
Baxter Jones and friend Pat Driscoll leaving apartment late Feb. 5 to take him to a hotel, after landlord refused DTE access to restore his power.
Disabled walkway inaccessible, Jones misses doctor’s appointment
Landlord Patrick Dorn of CCNDC: “Jones brings all his problems on himself”
By Diane Bukowski
February 6, 2015
Editor’s note Feb. 7: For unknown reasons, the protest referenced above was canceled. Voice of Detroit was not told about the cancellation until we arrived to cover the protest.
Jones niece Psyche shows snow blocking entrance to disabled walkway. She feared her small car would get stuck. Later another car parked there, further blocking access. “Handicapped sign” is not visible for drivers.
DETROIT – Baxter Jones, a widely known activist with the Beat Back the Bullies Brigade and other organizations, had a traumatic day Feb. 5, 2015. Jones is wheelchair-bound. He could not get out of his Cass Corridor apartment building, the Coronado Apartments, to keep a doctor’s appointment due to mounds of snow that blocked the “handicapped” walkway.
Then DTE abruptly shut off his lights and heat, leaving him trapped in his apartment in subzero temperatures with no power for his breathing apparatus and other necessities. He repeatedly checked his blood pressure with a monitor as the day wore on.
That evening, his landlord, Cass Community Neighborhood Development Associates (CCNDA), whose executive director is Patrick Dorn, denied DTE access to the building that night. The DTE worker had come out on an emergency call to restore his heat. The landlord’s action forced Jones to relocate with great difficulty to a hotel.
The same day, Fox 2 News reported that Hazel Park veteran John Skelly, 69, died of hypothermia in his house after the power was cut.
Full view of street on Selden next to Coronado Apartments
“I’d been sick in bed all week with a cold,” Jones said the next day. “DTE did call me this morning and tell me they were able to get in today to turn on the power. But I should have been able to get in last night. I couldn’t sleep in the hotel because it was cold there and I was thinking about everything that happened during the day. The landlord and the people who work for him don’t understand what people with disabilities go through. The whole city is out of compliance. No one is enforcing the Americans with Disabilities Act.”
Katie Levy shovels a small portion of street so Jones’ niece can get her car in to get her uncle out of freezing apartment.
As this reporter drove down Second Avenue to Jones’ apartment that morning, there were numerous pedestrians, many elderly, with walkers and motorized wheelchairs in the streets. Many of the curb cuts for them were covered with snow, some of them after the plows came through and blocked them.
Jones’ niece, who had come to take him to the doctor, stayed with him through a frantic day and night as friends from around the city came to his support. One woman shoveled part of the road. Another contacted DTE to let them know that this was a medical emergency. That evening, a DTE supervisor called Jones to tell him his power would be back on that evening. Shortly thereafter, a DTE worker arrived to turn it on.
Patrick Dorn at his house next door after DTE was denied access to building Feb. 5, 2015.
Jones and his niece called the after-hours maintenance number so DTE could get into the basement. Then they waited—and waited—and waited, along with the extremely patient and sympathetic DTE worker. They were first told that maintenance would be out there in a half-hour. An hour later, they received a call back that maintenance was not coming because it was not an “emergency.” The DTE worker stayed with them as they called friends again for help, but finally had to leave.
This reporter spoke with Patrick Dorn, the Executive Director of the “non-profit” CCNDC, which renovated the building. Dorn lives right next door at 3547 Cass, in an antique building still sparkling with Christmas lights and decorations, evidently well supplied with heat and lights.
Dorn was told that Jones’ power was off. He was asked about several other complaints Jones had including the walkway, and insulation of Jones’ apartment, particularly the hardwood floor which has no sub-flooring to prevent heat escaping, the door which accesses the “handicap” ramp outside, and blockage on the ramp plus the landlord’s refusal to install a light on the dark corridor.
Patrick Dorn’s festive house next door to Coronado Apartments
“Jones brings all his problems on himself,” a hostile Dorn responded. He said the city had inspected the building and cleared it, and that the building was a historic building so changes to the floor could not be made.
He asked why Jones’ utility bill wasn’t paid. Jones pays $620 a month for rent, and an additional $200-$300 in utility costs during winter months. The Coronado Apartments and other buildings in the area were renovated for “low-income” occupants, beginning with $16.7 million in city, state and federal funds for two of the properties, according to Crain’s Detroit business (see link to article at end of story).
Walkway to Jones apartment, blocked by various appliances. Jones said landlord refused to install light in the dark corridor,
The Crain’s story lists the following public grants that went to the CCNDC development:
“One of the largest investors is Great Lakes Capital Fund, which invested nearly $9 million in equity by financing housing tax credits for the buildings. Other funding partners include:
Michigan State Housing and Development Authority
Detroit Economic Growth Corp.
City of Detroit HOME loan funds
Wayne County HOME loan funds
Cass Corridor Development Neighborhood Development Corp.
Dearborn Federal Savings
Michigan State Brownfield and Historic Tax Credits
Federal Historic Tax Credits
Smart Grant from the Detroit Economic Growth Council
Green Grant from Enterprise”
Dorn said the other buildings also charge tenants for heat, a practice becoming common among “non-profit” developers such as Southwest Housing Solutions. Traditionally, most apartment buildings in Detroit have charged only for lights.
After the non-productive maintenance call, Dorn told a friend of Jones that he didn’t have a key to the basement, despite his position with CCNDC and the fact that he himself could have called maintenance to tell them to let DTE in. Dorn was clearly quite comfortable with heat and electricity in his decorated house next door.
Pat Driscoll and niece Psyche help Jones out of her car so he can retrieve needed belongings for night at hotel. Driscoll had to shovel the street first.
When this reporter returned that night, Jones, his niece, and another friend were helping Jones remove needed items from his apartment so that he could spend the night in a hotel. He did not get there until after 11 p.m., a situation that was totally unnecessary since DTE was ready and available to turn his power back on.
“This morning, this guy Dorn can say a whole bunch of words,” Jones’ niece said. “But he already accomplished what he wanted to last night. His attitude was that he rules, and it’s not his problem. Last night Uncle B suffered for that. Nobody can live like that. I guarantee you that with Mr. Dorn it will not be long before there is another whole situation. I know he wants my uncle out of there, and he’ll keep making him uncomfortable, then he can let a whole other tenant move in and claim money for him. This is a money-collecting organization.”
In fact, IRS forms 990 for the “non-profit” CCNDC show that the vast majority of their income does not come from public grants or other public sources, but from “services,” meaning rent. Their non-profit status is thus questionable.
“Handicap” parking sign near disabled access walkway is not visible to drivers, even when vehicle not parked there, unless they happen to glance to the side while passing. Jones said he asked for a “reserved” handicap sign so others could not park there, but was refused. There is also no parking for tenants of the building except on the street, although there is a vacant lot in the rear of the building.
They are partnered with a dozen other FOR-PROFIT groups that own the various buildings they renovated, ostensibly for “low-income” residents.
“It’s false advertising,” Baxter’s niece said.
Addendum: Baxter Jones later told VOD that he was pressured to sign a lease with the building by Jan. 1 of the year he moved in, in order for the owners to get tax credits for having a disabled tenant. But he was not able to move in until March because of access problems. CCNDC, however, charged him rent for January and February. Later, they gave him an eviction notice because he had not put the utilities in his name, which was evidently specified in the lease. Jones, having been pressured to sign so quickly, had not seen that clause, which may have resulted in his NOT signing.
Members of DAREA sign appeal of Detroit bankruptcy plan of confirmation on Jan. 27, 2015.
Detroit bankruptcy appeals briefs contend:
Michigan state constitution AND PA 436 protect public pensions
Retirement systems separate from city, should not have been included in bankruptcy filing
Raid on Annuity Savings Funds illegal
Judge Friedman denies city motion to consolidate appeals
Victory in Stockton case gives hope to appellants
By Diane Bukowski
February 3, 2015
DAREA Pres. Bill Davis (2nd from l) , VP Cecily McClellan, and retiree Ezza Brandon confront AFSCME Council 25 Pres. Al Garrett after he said union would not appeal bankruptcy plan of confirmation, July 31, 2014.
DETROIT – “The city better realize we’re serious, because we intend to take this appeal of the bankruptcy plan all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary,” William Davis, president of the Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association (DAREA), told VOD after the organization filed its brief for the appeal Jan. 27.
“City of Detroit retirees suffered the brunt of the cutbacks and debt reduction in the Detroit bankruptcy,” DAREA says in its brief. “A reading of the Plan of Adjustment reflects that of $7.1 billion in debt reduction accomplished through the bankruptcy, $3.85 billion was accomplished by the virtual gutting of retiree health benefits, with expenditures reduced from $4.3 billion to $450 million. An additional $1.7 billion in debt relief came though cuts in pension payments, with the city not even contributing directly to the pension fund for the next 10 years. Thus, a total of $5.5 billion, or 78 percent of the total bankruptcy relief, comes off the backs of the city’s retirees.”
Later, DAREA cites two particularly egregious cases of the plan’s effect on city retirees.
Octavius Sapp, retired Detroit Substance Abuse Counselor with Masters Degree/WSU photo
“Octavius Sapp decribed how the cost of the 12 medications he needs to treat his end-stage renal disease have gone up from $10 to $20 per medication to a cost of $160 to $200,” DAREA says. The costs are a matter of life or death.”
DAREA says the cost of health care for Jesse Florence and his retiree wife Belinda Myers-Florence have skyrocketed from $152 a month to $1062 a month, in addition to a $3,000 annual deductible. After putting their children through school, DAREA says, they now face the possible loss of their home.
DAREA will hold its next membership meeting Wed. Feb. 5 at 5:30 p.m., at St. Matthew’s and St. Joseph’s Church at Woodward and Holbrook. The organization’s membership has been growing by leaps and bounds. They also have a very active fund-raising committee, committed to raising the necessary money to take the appeal all the way.
Three other major briefs have also been filed with U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman, by Jamie Fields (the Ochadleus appellants), John P. Quinn, and Irma Industrious/Dennis Taubitz. A total of eight appeals were filed, but it is unclear whether the other four will be considered due to technical issues.
Speaker at Detroit City Council, wearing “NO JONES DAY” button opposes hiring of firm April 9, 2013. A strong campaign was waged by hundreds of Detroiters to stop the contract. Jones Day previously represented the State of Michigan to engineer the bankruptcy.
U.S. District Court has authority over the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, with the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court above them.
The City of Detroit, still represented by Jones Day attorneys on contract, earlier asked Friedman to consolidate the cases, and allow it to reply to all of them in one 120-page brief, but he refused to do so Jan. 26.
“The appellants in each appeal are entitled to frame their arguments and cite to the evidence of record they choose,” Judge Friedman said. “While all of the cases arise from the same bankruptcy case, it is not apparent that the appeals will raise the same issues or rely on the same facts. To say the least it would be confusing for the Court, and most likely for the parties as well, to attempt to track the parties’ arguments if appellants’ individual briefs are countered by appellees’ ‘omnibus’ 120-page brief, which in turn are countered by appellants’ individual reply briefs.”
Friedman’s denial of the City’s first motion in the case contrasts sharply with U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes’ handling of the bankruptcy trial. From the outset, Rhodes granted nearly every motion by Jones Day and other law firms filed on behalf of the city under Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr. Rhodes promptly recognized Orr’s authority to file the bankruptcy, stayed all related proceedings in state and other federal courts, and held that federal law “trumped” Michigan state constitutional protection of public employee pensions.
The last finding was part of Rhodes’ eligibility decision Dec. 5, 2013.
Attorney Jerome Goldberg is interviewed June 10, 2013 after Kevyn Orr’s talk on bankruptcy.
“This is the worst decision in the country,” Attorney Jerome Goldberg, representing city water department retiree and objector David Sole, a leader of the Detroit Debt Moratorium Coalition, said at the time.
“It gives the green light for municipalities all over the U.S. to take similar actions,” Goldberg explained. “Judge Rhodes bought the arguments of Jones Day attorneys lock, stock and barrel. He made no mention of the global banks’ role in the destruction of Detroit. He summed up the malevolent character of his decision at its end, where he said that retirees, who have worked all their lives for their pensions, should now look to charitable institutions and social services to survive.”
In contrast, U.S. District Court Judge Christopher Klein later approved a plan of confirmation from the second stage of the Stockton, CA bankruptcy that protected pensions according to that state’s law, on Oct. 30, 2014. The plan still subjected public workers to hefty wage cuts and the loss of health care benefits, but pensions were held sacrosanct.
The Wall Street Journal reported then, “The resolution of the Stockton case is ‘unlikely’ to lead other U.S. cities to view bankruptcy ‘as an attractive option for resolving serious financial challenges,’ said Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services in a statement.
Marchers in Dublin, Ireland demand cancellation of bank debt that is destroying countries around the world.
The appeals of Detroit’s Plan of Confirmation, coming in the wake of the Stockton ruling, are thus in a strengthened position. They raise some key issues in common.
They all say Michigan’s constitutional ban on impairing pensions cannot be overruled by federal law, which requires a balance of powers between the state and federal governments. They also raise the fact that the city’s two retirement systems are structured as legal entities separate from the City of Detroit, which filed as the debtor. Therefore, the briefs say, the retirement systems should never have been part of the bankruptcy filing as debtors.
Marchers demand “Orr out the door” at hotel where he was living in Detroit, May 1, 2014.
“ . . . Judge Rhodes erred in ruling that the retiree pension benefits were subject to being impaired or diminished in the Chapter 9 bankrutpcy, despite the Michigan Constitutional ban on doing so encompassed in Article IX Section 24 of the Michigan Constitution,” DAREA’s appeal brief says.
It also prominently cites the fact that the state constitutional ban on impairing pensions is fully incorporated into Public Act 436, requiring any Emergency Manager such as Kevyn Orr to comply with it. In other words, even if PA 436 were to be found to be constitutional, the city had no right to hit pensions in the bankruptcy filing.
The DAREA appeal incorporates the Fields, Quinn and Industrious contentions that the recoupment of $190 million from workers’ Annuity Savings Funds (ASF), which are similar to bank savings accounts, is illegal and flawed.
“The funds in a pension trust belong to their beneficiaries,” say Jamie Fields and the Ochadleus appellants. “The retiree maintains an equitable property interest in the trust corpus and any investment gain generated therefrom. The City cannot use the fund’s assets for anything but their intended purpose.
Hundreds of thousands of anti-austerity protesters fill square in Madrid Feb. 3, 2015. Attack on workers’ pensions, wages, benefits, safety net is world-wide.
“The trustees are the ultimate arbiters of the pension trust, as long as they are acting within the law. The ASF program was legal. The pension trustees only owe their fiduciary duties to the retirement system’s beneficiaries, not to the City. The Michigan Court of Appeals addressed this very issue in a decision holding that pension trustees could use 25 million dollars in ‘excess earnings’ to reduce the City’s required annual contribution.”
Fields, Quinn and Industrious contend that raiding of the ASF funds is also discriminatory within a class, a violation of bankruptcy law, because only those who retired from 2003-13 are affected. Several briefs argue that there was nothing illegal about the 13th check that used to be given to retirees, because it was derived from excess earnings on investments, some of which were also turned over to the general pension fund.
Detroiters march outside Jones Day Cleveland office March 35, 2013.
Judge Friedman has granted an extension for the City to file its reply to the Fields/Ochadleus brief to Feb. 26, from Feb. 10, but also ordered that the appellants be given 30 days after receipt of the city’s appeal brief to allow time for them to rectify any errors in their own brief.
Jones Day has been contacting all the appellants since Friedman’s order denying their motion to consolidate briefs, to ask them to agree to more time to reply.
To donate to DAREA’s LEGAL DEFENSE FUND, click on http://www.gofundme.com/pensiondefensefund. Or checks can be made payable to the Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association (DAREA), at P.O. Box 3724, Highland Park, Michigan 48203.
Committee meetings Mondays, 11 AM, at Nandi’s Knowledge Café, 12511 Woodward, Highland Park, 48203. General membership meetings every Wednesday at 5:30 PM, at St. Joseph’s and St. Matthew’s Church, Woodward and Holbrook. To receive notices of meetings, updates on the appeal and events information please provide your email address and phone numbers via email at Detroit2700plus@gmail.com or call DAREA at 313-649-7018.
“Don’t ever doubt we are still in this struggle for Aiyana Monay Stanley-Jones”—grandmother Mertilla Jones
“So much wickedness against Jones family it is ungodly”–friend
Jessie Hernandez, Denver: “Officers came up to the car from behind, fired four times into the driver’s side window” – witness in car
Kristiana Coignard, Longview, TX: “They (3 cops) are grown men. I think there is something they are not telling us.” — aunt
Defense attorney Steve Fishman mocks Mertilla Jones’ testimony that Joseph Weekley pointed gun directly at Aiyana Jones’ head. In fact, ME testified that direct contact gunshot wound was possible. Fishman as well as much of local media has derided Aiyana’s family unmercifully since Weekley killed the little girl.
DETROIT – In an atmosphere figuratively still smoking with tear gas from national rebellions against the Michael Brown and Eric Garner grand jury verdicts, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has dismissed the only charge remaining against Detroit killer cop Joseph Weekley, Jr. Weekley shot seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones to death with an MP5 submachine gun on May 16, 2010 during a horrific SWAT-style raid on her home.
The announcement comes the same week as two 17-year-old girls, Jessica Hernandez and Kristiana Coignard, were literally slaughtered by Denver and Dallas police in circumstances condemned by witnesses and family and community members.
“Please continue to pray and hold our families up in prayer,” Aiyana’s grandmother Mertilla Jones said on Facebook. She was sleeping on a front-room couch with Aiyana when Weekley blew the child’s head apart.
“When I say our families I mean the Jones and Stanley families; don’t ever doubt we are still in this struggle for justice for Aiyana Monay Stanley-Jones,” Mrs. Jones continued. “But I speak for Mertilla Jones when I make certain statements. As my future daughter-in-law Dominika Jones has shown the City of Detroit and the rest of the world, she has a voice and she will be heard. I am so very proud of her. And to Prosecutor Moran [and] Officer Weak Assly y’all have got the battle but there is yet a war and when you meet your maker I don’t know if that’s going to be heaven or hell.”
Cornell Squires, a member of the Original Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, told VOD, “There is no justice in our court system, it is all corrupt. There has been so much wickedness brought against the Jones family it is ungodly. But God sees everything and he is going to do justice in good time.”
Wayne Co. Prosecutor Kym Worthy testifies at state legislature; Asst. Prosecutor Robert Moran is at her side. He prosecuted both Weekley and Aiyana’s dad Charles Jones.
In a statement, Worthy said, “Today we personally informed the family of Aiyana Stanley–Jones that we have made a decision that we would not be going to trial for a third time in the Joseph Weekley case. It is unfortunate that Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway granted a directed verdict dismissing the felony Manslaughter charged, leaving only the misdemeanor count of Careless Discharge Causing Injury or Death. Under the law her decision cannot be appealed. On Friday, January 30, 2015 at 9:00 a.m., we will move to dismiss the case.”
There was no explanation of why Worthy dismissed the charge of careless discharge of a firearm. During both of Weekley’s trials, which each ended in hung juries, extensive evidence was presented that his gun could NOT be fired accidentally, and that officers are trained to keep their fingers off the trigger under any circumstances. A confidential source who knows Weekley told VOD recently that his gun safety latch was not engaged.
Firearms expert who testified at both Weekley trials said his MP5 gun, shown in photo, could not be discharged accidentally. However, local media continues to claim Weekley killed Aiyana “accidentally.”
VOD predicted this dismissal in earlier stories, based on confidential statements from an individual close to the prosecutor’s office. He wrote last February that the planned scenario was to dismiss the felony charge and get Weekley to plead to the misdemeanor, with Weekley serving no time. He added that many members of the prosecutor’s office were upset at the handling of the case.
Assistant Prosecutor Maria Miller, communications director for Worthy’s office denied this was the case.
“As Prosecutor Worthy noted in her statement we were very disappointed that Judge Hathaway dismissed the manslaughter charge. She didn’t do so in the first jury trial and she heard the same evidence in the second jury trial so it was not in any way expected. As Prosecutor Worthy stated we believe she [Judge Hathaway] did not look at the facts properly and did not follow the law. The standard is that the judge must look at the facts that are most favorable to the prosecution when ruling.”
In fact, Worthy did appeal the dismissal of the felony charge, but an appeals court headed by notoriously right-wing, racist Judge Michael Talbot confirmed Wayne County Circuit Judge Cynthia Gray-Hathaway’s ruling.
Rafael Hardy, 14, leads march for Justice for his cousin Aiyana and her father Charles Jones April 23, 2012 at Frank Murphy Hall in downtown Detroit, grandmother Mertilla Jones at left, aunt LaKrystal Sanders at right.
Gus Burns, writing for Mlive.com, noted in an article titled Appeals Court Upholds Shocking Ruling in Aiyana Jones Manslaughter Case, “What made Hathaway’s decision so surprising is that she’d heard Weekley’s attorney, Steven Fishman, make the same motion during the officer’s first trial in 2013 — it ended with a mistrial because the jury couldn’t reach a unanimous decision — yet ruled in an opposite way. Fishman’s motion is one made almost customarily by defense attorneys after the prosecution ends it cases. They’re almost just as customarily rejected.”
Miller said, “Under the law a directed verdict cannot be appealed. Even though we knew that this is the law but we thought we had a very narrow opening because of the fact that the judge heard the evidence in the first trial and did not grant a directed verdict and the fact that she granted the dismissal in the second case with the same evidence should be considered by the court. Once we had a ruling we did not think that the higher court was going to rule differently.”
Video above shows earlier view of raid on Jones’ home. Man lying prostate on street with cop’s foot in his back is Aiyana’s cousin, who cried out to raid team that there were children in the home before they entered and killed Aiyana. Her two toddler brothers, with their parents, were also present.
Assistant Prosecutor Robert Moran prosecuted both Weekley and Aiyana’s father Charles Jones in what Jones’ attorney called a clear conflict of interest. Jones was in the home when his daughter was killed, with Dominika and their two toddlers. He was forced by police to crawl through broken glass, blood and bits of her brain during the raid, to sit for hours on the couch where she died, along with Dominika, both not being told their child was dead.
From Dominika Jones Facebook photos: collage showing Dominika and Charles at upper left, with photos of Aiyana. A love that will never die.
Jones is now serving a 40-60 year sentence on first-degree murder charges based almost exclusively on statements from jail-house snitches, which an appeals court allowed into evidence. Charges were not brought until 17 months after the killing of Jerean Blake, 17, the case in which he was charged. When Jones was arrested, police charged into his home with weapons drawn again, despite the presence of his young sons.
Dominika Jones, front, collapses after first mistrial in Weekley case. Her uncle Londell Fields (behind her) had to carry her out of the courtroom.
Aiyana’s mother Dominika Jones has said before that she wants an end to the mockery of two previous trials against Weekley, due to the trauma she has suffered attending and testifying at them.
She wrote on Facebook that she talked with Charles Jones after the announcement.
“Just got off the phone with my love so not a good day for me but I am going to make the best of it and always hearing his voice make it better even tho the situation we both going thru gets the best of us,” she said.
Dominika’s Facebook page is filled with photos of their family, the tale of a love that will never die. An attorney with the law offices of Geoffrey Fieger has filed an appeal of Charles Jones’ conviction. He is being held at the Oaks Correctional Facility in Manistee, Michigan, with a Security Level II classification, the second lowest.
Some community advocates have said they will file an appeal with the U.S. Department of Justice. However, the USDOJ just told Fox 2 News that they will not file charges in the case of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, shot to death 8 times by Ferguson, MO cop Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, 2014, sparking uprisings in Ferguson and St. Louis as well as protests across the country.
(VOD editor: this reporter has covered the Aiyana Jones case since the morning she was killed, in hundreds of stories. Put “Aiyana” in VOD search engine to see entire background of case.)
UPDATE: Hathaway congratulates prosecution, defense as she dismisses last Weekley charge, downplays Aiyana’s death as one of many.
Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway (l) has now dismissed all charges against killer cop Joseph Weekley (r) for shooting Aiyana Jones, 7, to death with an MP5 submachine gun.
By Diane Bukowski
Calls defense and prosecution attorneys “gentlemen and scholars”
Jan. 31, 2015
Aiyana’s mother Dominika Jones grieves at her firstborn’s grave. Facebook
DETROIT – Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway dismissed the last charge, reckless discharge of a firearm, against Detroit killer cop Joseph Weekley in the 2010 death of Aiyana Stanley-Jones, 7, during a hearing Jan. 30. Hathaway earlier dismissed the most serious charge, involuntary manslaughter, at the request of the defense in Weekley’s second trial, although she denied the same motion during Weekley’s first trial.
This time, instead of defense attorney Steve Fishman, it was Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy moving for dismissal. The hearing ended with Judge Hathaway congratulating both prosecution and defense for their behavior during the trials as “gentlemen and scholars.”
“A baby is dead and no one is held accountable,” courtroom observer Brenda Hill, of Mothers of Murdered Children (MOMC), told VOD. “We’re back at the Dred Scott decision. A child’s brains were blown out, and those who were supposed to protect and serve her failed her. She could have grown up to change the world. They used a Keystone cop defense that it was ‘accidental.’ But we are going to continue to fight so that Aiyana’s death will not be in vain. Detroit is the cradle of this nation and the world, but the police force here and across the U.S. is becoming more militarized every day. This is about Aiyana and all the Aiyanas to come.”
Andrea Clark said, “That child never had a chance to interact with the police, a chance to speak. She did not make a decision when she went to bed that she was going to die. The judge overstepped her bounds when she dismissed the manslaughter count. They set out from the beginning to distract us, throwing the blame on Aiyana’s family. This was not about Aiyana’s family or anyone else, it was about Aiyana, about her being killed by Joseph Weekley. No other names should have been attached.”
In rendering her ruling, Hathaway attached other names.
“This was a tough case, not only because one child lost its (sic) life, but the genesis of this case was that another child lost its (sic) life, and one was intentionally murdered,” Hathaway, who is married to a Wayne County Deputy Sheriff, said.
JeRean Blake, 17, killed May 14, 2010. VOD has published this photo numerous times.
“A high school student [JeRean Blake] was shot down for no apparent reason, which brought us this case. All young people deserve to become adults. To the media, have you ever showed a picture of this young man? I am disturbed that he was not brought to the attention of the public. Two juries decided that they could not reach a decision, one on both charges and one on the [gun charge]. The judge submitted the charges to the juries that I thought should be looked at. It isn’t the judge’s decision that caused these jurors not t0 make a decision.”
Judge Hathaway neglected to observe that while she was dismissing all charges against Weekley, Chauncey Owens and Charles Jones, Aiyana’s father, are serving lengthy prison terms, in the case of Owens, life without parole, related to charges in his death.
In fact, the media broadly covered the case of JeRean Blake, beginning with the first press conference on Aiyana’s killing, held by Attorney Geoffrey Fieger three days after Aiyana was killed. The first reporter’s question was, “Didn’t Charles [Jones] give the gun to Chauncey [Owens]?”
Atty. Geoffrey Fieger at second press conference with ( l to r) Aiyana’s father Charles, mother Dominika and grandmother Mertilla Jones. Aiyana’s Princess gym shoes are on table. Photo: Diane Bukowski
Fieger, looking shocked, asked the reporter, “What has THAT got to do with it?” Fieger has said that his law firm will continue with the civil suit it filed in the case, which was stayed pending the conclusion of the Detroit bankruptcy case.
Police had contended they were looking for Owens, who lived upstairs from the Jones family, when they conducted the raid. Police testimony showed, however, that they saw Owens several times during the day and could have arrested him on the street instead. But the raid team was being filmed by A&E’s “The First 48,” which considered Weekley and other team members TV stars.
Jones and Owens were eventually charged with first-degree murder in the Blake case, and convicted in front of Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Richard Skutt. In Jones’ case, most testimony came from two jail-house snitches, after Skutt’s ruling to bar one snitch’s testimony was overturned on appeal.
Co-defendants Allison Howard of The First 48 and Joseph Weekley.
Judge Hathaway repeatedly delayed Weekley’s trials, stating in open court that she was waiting for Jones and Owens to be tried first, although there was no legal connection between the cases. Weekley’s co-defendant was Allison Howard, the “First 48” producer who provided their tape of the raid to a third person, during a party she attended with a police officer. Hathaway let her off on a charge of obstruction of justice with probation, served long-distance in her home state and on-line.
No charges were ever brought against her or A&E executives for being accessories to the killing of Aiyana Jones. Many have contended that the raid team, whose photos including that of Weekley are featured on the previous A&E “Detroit Swat” website, was clearly playing to the cameras.
Meanwhile, Blake’s mother Lyvonne Cargill was featured on numerous talk shows and interviewed in the mainstream media repeatedly, casting aspersions not only on Jones and Owens, before they were even convicted, but on the entire Jones family.
George Hunter (Twitter photo)
Detroit News reporter George Hunter typified much of the mainstream media’s treatment of the Jones family when he asked this reporter in court, before Hathaway took the stand, “Did you know I had a photo of Aiyana making gang signs, taken at her house, but I didn’t publish it?”
Hathaway allowed Fishman to present Facebook photos from a Jones family member’s website to the jury at Weekley’s first trial, showing some members allegedly holding guns and making what he described as gang signs. The photographers were not identified, nor were the time, date and place the photos were taken. There were no guns found in the Jones family home, or upstairs where Owens resided, during the raid that killed Aiyana. Moran objected at length to presentation of the photos, without the jury present. He only briefly noted his objection while the jury was in session, not describing its content. Then the photos were passed out to the jury. The jury in the second trial was not present when Hathaway dismissed the manslaughter case against Weekley, and no explanation was given to them.
Jessica Hernandez, 17: Friend disputes Denver police account of teen death
Sadie Gurman, Associated Press
January 28, 2015
Protest immediately after Denver police killed Jessie Hernandez. The Denver Post reported that 200 more protesters swamped the prosecutor’s office yesterday.
Denver — A passenger who was in a car when a 17-year-old girl was shot and killed by Denver police has disputed authorities’ account of her death, saying officers opened fire before one of them was struck by the vehicle.
The passenger, speaking late Tuesday to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because of safety concerns, said her friend, Jessica Hernandez, lost control of the vehicle because she was unconscious after being shot.
Police have said the Monday morning shooting in a residential alley came after Hernandez drove a stolen vehicle into one of them.
Prosecutors on Tuesday promised a thorough probe of the shooting as a small group of angry protesters demanded swift answers and called for a special prosecutor to investigate the death.
Laura Sonya Rosales Hernandez, Jessica’s mother, is asking for an independent autopsy in her daughter’s death.
The shooting occurred amid a national debate about police use of force fueled by racially charged episodes in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City.
It was also the fourth time in seven months that a Denver police officer fired into a moving vehicle after perceiving it as a threat, and the city’s independent police monitor now says he will investigate the department’s policies and practices related to shooting at moving vehicles, which he said poses unique safety risks.
Police spokesman Sonny Jackson offered no new details about the case on Tuesday, citing the department’s open investigation.
Protesters at prosecutor’s office demand answers in case of Jessica Hernandez.
The shooting happened after an officer was called to check on a suspicious vehicle, Chief Robert White has said. A colleague arrived after the officer determined the car had been reported stolen. Police have said the two officers approached the car on foot when Hernandez drove into one of them, and they both then opened fire.
The car’s passenger said police had surrounded the car in the alley, and Hernandez was trying to flee, attempting to drive around one of the squad cars.
The officers came up to the car from behind and fired four times into the driver’s side window, narrowly missing others inside, the passenger said.
Hernandez wrecked the car into a fence after she was shot, according to the witness. Police said the officer suffered a leg injury for which he was treated at a hospital and released.
Memorial for Jessica Hernandez.
Officers with their guns drawn then pulled people out of the car, including Hernandez, who they handcuffed and searched. (VOD: Hernandez had already been killed.)
The passenger was unaware the vehicle was stolen and provided only vague details about what the group of teenagers was doing earlier in the night.
By law, police are allowed to use force to stop and overcome the resistance of another person. They can use it to match the force and overcome it.
Both officers involved in the shooting have been placed on routine administrative leave pending the investigation.
VOD: They have now been identified by Denver police as Daniel Greene, a 16-year veteran, and Gabriel Jordan, a 9-year veteran, both assigned as Patrol Officers in District 2.
Three cops, a 17-year-old and ‘a cry for help': why did Kristiana Coignard die?
By Tom Dart
January 28, 2015
Houston, Texas –Just after sunset last Thursday, 17-year-old Kristiana Coignard entered a police station in Longview, Texas, a small city two hours east of Dallas with a history of police violence not all that different from the rest of the United States – but no less mysterious.
Coignard picked up a red, wall-mounted phone in the police department lobby and asked to speak with an officer – for reasons that also remain unclear.
The teenager may have been “wielding a knife”, according to the mayor. Police say “they were confronted by a white female who threatened them” – after which she brandished some sort of weapon, “made threatening movements toward the officers and was shot”. Motives on either side are still relatively unknown.
What is clear, nearly a week later in Texas and six months after police killings and community relations starting coming under renewed scrutiny across the US, is that another teenager has died after being shot “multiple times” by local cops. Three officers are on paid leave, the Longview police told the Guardian. A preliminary autopsy report has ruled the death a homicide.
And in the case of Kristiana Coignard, as in what advocates and sheriffs agree constitute more than half of US police killings each year, the victim appears to have had mental health problems.
Call it “justifiable homicide”: FBI statistics counted 461 encounters between police and those they killed with the threat of violence in 2013. Some have dubbed it “suicide-by-cop”, as about one-third of such cases can be classified – in addition to undoubtedly many more undercounted deaths. The hacktivist collective Anonymous prefers “trained to kill”.
Doris A. Fuller of Treatment Advocacy Center
Whatever you call the overlapping patterns of police violence and brief encounters with young and possibly unstable citizens, mental health advocates insist the United States is “not keeping track”.
“We’ve deputised America’s police to be mental health workers,” Doris A Fuller, executive director of the Treatment Advocacy Center, told the Guardian. “We’re asking cops to make a split-second decision about whether someone is actually a threat to them.”
The teenager was taking medication, seeing a therapist and living with her aunt, Heather Robertson, according to an interview with Robertson at ThinkProgress. She told the website that Coignard had struggled with depression and bipolar disorder since her mother’s death when she was four years old. Robertson said her niece had been “only violent with herself”.
Kristiana Coignard Facebook cover photo, recently updated. Another photo declares, “We are in this world but not of it.”
“I think it was a cry for help,” Robertson said of the incident in the police department lobby. “I think they could have done something. They are grown men. I think there is something they are not telling us.”
There is video of the killing, Coignard’s aunt said the police told her.
A Longview police spokesperson, Kristie Brian, told the Guardian there are currently no plans to make footage available to the public. She declined to confirm the type of weapon Coignard allegedly brandished but said the department expects to release more details about the shooting later this week. The Texas Ranger Division is investigating the incident.
Brian said Longview officers “are trained in all kinds of different situations”, including dealing with people with mental health problems, and that the county has a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT), which sees specially trained officers dispatched to urgent psychiatric situations. She said she did not know whether the three officers currently on leave had been CIT-trained.
Detroiters including Marcina Cole (center) and David Sole (l) belatedly celebrate Rev. Pinkney’s birthday at rally Nov. 17, as Pinkney wipes tear away. His trial began on his birthday, Oct. 27, 2014.
Pinkney: “outstanding amount of support given by prison inmates.”
Rev. Pinkney asks supporters for email contact
By Diane Bukowski
January 28, 2015
Marquette Branch prison, isolated in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, a long drive the rest of the state.
DETROIT – World-renowned political prisoner Rev. Edward Pinkney has been sent to Michigan’s Marquette Branch Prison, isolated in the Upper Peninsula. It houses maximum-security inmates at Level 5 along with minimum security Level 1 prisoners, the Level to which Rev. Pinkney has been assigned.
As he awaits a hearing in St. Joseph, Michigan on four pre-sentencing motions, scheduled for Feb. 24, 2015 in front of Judge Sterling Schrock, Rev. Pinkney has sent the following up-beat message to his supporters.
“I am now in Marquette prison over 15 hours from wife & family, sitting in prison for a crime that was never committed. Judge Schrock and [prosecutor] Mike Sepic both admitted there was no evidence against me but now I sit in prison facing 30 months. Schrock actually stated that he wanted to make an example out of me. (to scare Benton Harbor residents even more…) ONLY IN AMERICA.”
Rev. Pinkney, who is 66 years old, is a long-time people’s advocate, in particular for the majority Black, impoverished and disproportionately incarcerated population of tiny Benton Harbor, Michigan, the first to fall under Michigan’s hated Emergency Manager Law, Public Act 436.
Benton Harbor child participates in protest May 7, 2011.
He is serving a term of 2.5 to 10 years on five counts of “forgery under the Michigan election law.” There was no concrete evidence presented during his pre-trial exam or his trial that he changed dates on five recall petitions directed against Whirlpool-backed Benton Harbor Mayor James Hightower. He was convicted by an all-white jury, despite the fact that Berrien County is 15.2 percent Black, on Oct. 3, and sentenced by Judge Schrock on Dec. 15.
The petitions cited Hightower’s backing by the Benton Harbor-based Whirlpool Corporation, which has closed all its local plants and taken over large swaths of the city’s public land. A Michigan State Police forensics lab technician testified twice that there was no way to tell who had changed any dates.
“I now have an army to help fight Berrien County,” Pinkney continued. “When I arrived at Jackson state prison on Dec. 15, I met several hundred people from Detroit, Flint, Kalamazoo, & Grand Rapids. Some people recognized me. There was an outstanding amount of support given by the prison inmates. When I was transported to Marquette Prison it took two days. The prisoners knew who I was. One of the guards looked me up on the internet and said, ‘Who would believe Berrien County is this racist.’
“Tell everyone they can jpay.com me as I will write them back. We must continue doing things to keep the pressure on this corrupt system. The conditions are impossible for a person to understand unless you are here — the inhuman conditions, the transportation is another money maker.
This is big business. Nobody will understand what this country has become. We are living in a time where the people must take control or they will crush us. Keep the struggle alive. Who would believe the prison system is a money maker. The prison system transportation system is how the prison is stealing money from the people, plus the food is not really food. The clothes are nothing but summer clothing, the shoes are rubber and the sox you must wear three pairs as if they were one.
(VOD: Marquette prisoners demonstrated against MDOC food, now provided by the notorious Aramark Corporation, on Nov. 12, 2014. Maggots have been found in food at a number of MDOC facilities. See Free Press story links below).
“We must make this struggle a victory for all who are victims of the economic crisis in every city, town, state and the country. We must boycott, boycott, boycott all Whirlpool products.”
JPay allows Michigan prisoners to send and receive emails and photos for a cost of 1 cent per page. It is also used to send money to prisoners to allow them to purchase food and health products within the prison. To sign up for JPay to communicate with Rev. Pinkney, go to https://www.jpay.com/login.aspx. New users must first input the prisoner’s ID number. Rev. Pinkney’s number is 294671, then enter information regarding their email addresses and method of payment.
Rev. Pinkney can also receive letters at the following address: Rev. Edward Pinkney, #294671, 1960 U.S. Hwy. 41 South Marquette, MI 49855.
Rev. Pinkney confers with appeals attorney Tim Holloway at earlier court hearing. Photo: Daymon Hartley
Motions filed Nov. 11, 2014, well prior to Pinkney’s sentencing, are scheduled to be heard Tues. Feb. 24, 2015 at 1 p.m. in the Berrien County courthouse, at 811 Port Street, St. Joseph, MI 49085. Rev. Pinkney’s defense committee is asking his supporters to turn out en masse. Rev. Pinkney himself should be present at the hearing, where he will be represented by Attorney Tat Parish, according to his appeals attorney Tim Holloway. According to state records, Holloway earlier filed appellate motions to quash the charges and to stay any verdict pending appeal, after Rev. Pinkney’s preliminary exam. Both motions were denied at the Appeals and Supreme Court levels. If Judge Schrock denies the new motions, an appeal should be filed with the State Court of Appeals.
The hearing was originally scheduled for Jan. 15, 2015, and should actually have been held prior to Rev. Pinkney’s sentencing. It is clear that Judge Schrock is deliberately delaying this process.
The motions include one for a directed verdict, which calls on the judge to overturn the jury decision and find that there was no evidence to convict him, a motion for a new trial based on the violation of Rev. Pinkney’s right to impartial jurors, and a motion for bond pending appeal. Among other issues, the motions cite improper charging in the case, based on an Oct. 23, 21o4 Court of Appeals decision in People v. Hall, which found that election petition violations are misdemeanors, not felonies, and the presence of juror Gail Freehling on the panel that convicted Rev. Pinkney.
Pinkney juror Gail Freehling.
Freehling is well-acquainted with the County Clerk, Sharon Tyler, a key witness, as well as other parties seeking Pinkney’s conviction, and did not disclose those facts during voir dire.
“My husband is the only voice in the community for the people,” Mrs. Dorothy Pinkney told VOD earlier. “It is so obvious how they pushed this trial even without evidence, in an attempt to silence him. He wants people to continue the battle to free Rev. Pinkney, and to boycott Whirlpool, Harbor Shores, and the Senior PGA in Benton Harbor. I am holding up, holding on to my faith and beliefs, strengthened by the support out there. I still remain hopeful that my husband will be released soon.”
Pinkney supporter Cornell Squires said, “The fact that they sent Rev. Pinkney all the way up to Marquette Prison just shows how vicious this system is.” Pinkney has been assigned a Level One clearance, the lowest-security designation, while Marquette is a maximum security prison.
Rev. Pinkney and wife Dorothy in earlier photo.
Aside from the travel distance to Marquette, many family members of those incarcerated in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula prisons complain that their loved ones are subjected to blatantly racist treatment by guards, and even torture, largely because of their isolation.
The website for Rev. Pinkney’s own organization, Black Autonomy Network of Community Organizations (BANCO), is at http://www.bhbanco.org/. It includes a PayPal donation button to send badly needed funds for Pinkney’s legal defense, or they can be mailed to BANCO, 1940 Union Avenue, Benton Harbor, Michigan 49022.