Social Stratification in Urban America | School Choice | School Voucher


Is $10.46 a Living Wage by Elyssa D. Durant, Ed.M.

As a former resident of the state of Tennessee registered in the 5th Congressional Disrict of Tennessee, I am a recipient of TennCare, and a member of the Daniels Class.

I am urging you to take immediate action. PLEASE sign the economic recovery package before it is too late.

As someone who has lived and voted in the state of Tennessee since 1996, I have witnessed several shifts in policy, both on the local and federal levels.

Governor Bredesen is currently “holding off in spending” until he learns what federal aid will become available to the residents of Tennessee.

Even under of the best of economic circumstances, the state has often been reluctant to release state monies until they are in physical receipt of all federal matching dollars. This delays program implementation and compromises the integrity of the research design.

Consistency is a critical component of effective program development and design. If we hold back state funds until the feds work put the details of this enormous, comprehensive package, our current programs will suffer as a result.

We cannot wait for a determination regarding federal funding before we to determine our state’s budget while the programs throw already are suffering financially.

When I was twenty-two years old I developed a medical condition, and it quickly became obvious to me that it would be a lifelong struggle to cope and adapt to having physical disability.

I purchased three independent policies, and was still covered under a terminal liability clause under a major medical ERISA (federal) plan.

As someone who also needed to turn to federal funds and intervention in a crisis, I know that if or when help does arrive, it usually too late.

That did not work. Let me assure you that when it comes to withholding critical items like food, housing, social services, it adds up exponentially. Withholding medical care simply because of procedure and bureaucratic red tape, is shameful and cruel.

The money is there, but it seems there should be a certain level of oversight and accountability if we expect it to be used effectively without delay and without excessive administrative delay and costs.

We need to have some level of accountability to ensure the timely and proper disbursement of funds. In my experience, there is little recourse for person’s individuals who are caught up in the complicated payment arrangements, complicated language, and the systematic, procedural delay when it comes to the processing and payment of claims.

Let me personally assure you, there is a very real human cost here as well… and unless there is immediate intervention, much more than just money will be lost.

Please sign the bill before any more jobs, homes, and future are ruined by because help did not fast enough. Please release the funds, because we are running out of time.

At 36 my spinal cord is damaged from years of delayed, sub-standard medical treatment as I attempted to navigate a system that simply does not work. I owe the federal government $179,982.00 in student loans.

When I am able to work, I make $10.46/hour as a substitute teacher in MNPS. That job comes with no security and no benefits.

I have an advanced master’s degree from an Ivy League Institution. I am nine credits shy of a Ph.D. in public policy.

Despite having maintained a 3.83 grade point average while earning my masters, and just over 3.2 during the three years I was enrolled full time in a doctoral program.

Despite havimg comparable coverage, the insurance company refused to give me COBRA and would not cover my pre-existing condition even through both Columbia and Vanderbilt Universities used the same underwriter for student medical insurance: Chickering US HealthScare.

I had no break in coverage, and even purchased a private HMO (Oxford) plan that cost several hundred dollars each month just so I could prevent becoming uninsurable before my 25th birthday.


Not only did I continue to pay for all three policies, I also had to pay for treatment and STILL wound up on TennCare and Medicaid.

Despite doing all the “right” things, I was still unable to transfer benefits from one graduate school to the next.

I am telling you this because it demonstrates the disconnect between policy development, implementation, and the need for regulation.

When left to their own devices, insurance companies will nogt and have not done the right thing.

They consitently deny legitimate claims, and complicate the appeals process to make it som difficult that even healthy people find it difficult to keep up with.

Despite considerabe efforts for intervention, each and every agency I contacted was unable to intervene and enforce public law.

They clearly identified the problem in a letter I received that sats, “While I sympathize with your dilemma, the Insurance Department does not have the authority to override the terms of this contract.”

Executives and attorneys employed by the insurance department companies, HMOs, and utilization review are fully aware of this fact, and recognize thazt although they are breaking the terms of the contract, the liklihood for any real intervention is marginal at best.

The only reourse for a person who has been mistreated (both legally, professionally, and ethically) by large insurers is in the judicial system.

Because of complicated legal maneuvering and the complicated lavbyrinth that s insurance law, there are stipulations in federal law, such as COBRA and ERISA that prevent the states regualtory authority (of which there is none) from taking action.

This is true of Medicaid (TennCare) populations as we’ll l. Historically, Medicaid recipients were protected by a federal law, but the state of Tennessee filed for a federal waiver thaqt now protects them from honoring the basic stipulations that were set forth in the Medicaid Act of 1965.

The Daniels Class is latest casulaty of such maneuvering and reulted from a decision to vacate protections for SSI recipients in receiving Medicaid in the state of Tennessee.

As many as 150,000 TennCare beneficiaries are at risk of losing their health care coverage. Thisis ih addition to the 270,000 that lost their coverage in 2005.

How can we possibly support Goivernor Phil Bredesen for a cabinet position in the new Obama administration?

He is not a champion of civil protections, he is a product and a reflection of the corrupt, for profit health care system that has not worked for Tennessee and will not work for America.

Now that Tennessee will be receiving additional funding fromnt eh federal government, it is the best ointerest of our state and our coountry to protect the public from falling victim of the health care industry.

We should not sacrifice the Daniels Class or any other protected class– or any resident of our state to be subjected to the subjective guidelines that determine eligibility and disabiity.

With more and more people losing their jobs, it goes without saying that many will be left without employer sponsored health insurance for themselves and their families.

COBRA is prohibitievely expensive and since TennCare is now closed, many people will be forced to go without coverage.

For those who manage to keep their TennCare or other form of health care coverage, they will have to pay more due to adverse selection and the simple fact that they will disproportionately carry the fuinancial burden of the growing number of uininsured.

This is not a value judgment; it is just business.

The business model has no place in the health care system.

The only way for iunsurance companies to profit is by (1) denying payrnt for services or (2) shifting the cost of the debtonto the individual consumers by raising premiums.

What this ultimately amounts to is a larhe number of uninsured or uninsured individuals who annot afford to pay the insurance premiums or the outrageous cost of medical care int his country.

Hospital such as Vanderbilt continue to stay afloat because they do not negotiate cost of care when it comes to providing care.

You can schedule an appointment only after insurance or credit history has been verified by the billing department, and if your lucky the insurance company might actually pay the claim.

In the event that they either reject the initial claim (not uncommon) for any number of reasons, and the payment or appeals process takes longer than 90 days (depending on the rules of the treatment facility and the billing department) you will be sued.

You will be contacted by a collectiomn agency, and you will have held repsonsible for the payment.

Even if the appeal does go through, you will then have to request reinmbursement by proving to them that there was a duplication of benefits.

This requires a the teduios task of contacting someone in utilization review to review your claim, and foward all EOBs (Explanaition of Benefits) so you can prove that their was an overpayment or duplicate payment.

How much time do you have???

Now lets say for a moment that you did not lapse on your policy, maintained conmparable and continuous coverage even if you did lose your job.

Or, inteaad perhaps you employers are managed to waut out the time waiting mandatory before you could enroll and then receive benefits.

Say you are super responsible citizen, and decide to even purchase a plan that offers interim, temporary coverage in the event that something just might happen during those 90 days before the new policy kicks in, or maybe if you have COBRA coverage with an 18 month extension.

You think your covered? Nope.

In the event that either of the other two policies (COBRA or your new policy with your new employer) they will send the bill to you. Chances are that you will appeal, and appeal, and appeal, and you may even win.

But it will probably take about 18 months and you will probably get so frustrated (or sick) that may, in fact, just wind up paying the fucking bill.

They know this.

They know that we, as a people, tend to be rather complacent and lack the fortitude, patience and comittment to follow through all the eay to the end. You have aappealed and a final judgment is made.


Now good luck getting the money back.

Alternatively, in the event that one or both policies just happen to approve the claim right away.

The excessive cost of medical care, allowing from the s simply the only way insurance companies can continue to profit is by it is one we already know how insurance, majority of people will most people will be left without of the and dseek to limit access to health care.

I have not been granted any leniency by extending the amount or time permitted to complete my degree– or allow me to transfer the credits towards another program at the same institution, and ultimately left me financially devastated and emotionally bankrupt.

Throughout the three year process of filing medical appeal after the next, I acquired over 1/4 million dollars in debt due the student loans I needed to pay for my unreimbursed medical expenses.

My life will never be the same.

My heart will never be the same.

And now once again, I face losing my healthcare that I fought so hard to get?

Where is the safety net?

Where is the American Dream I so diligently chased after ?

What was the point of investing so much in a future that I can never enjoy?

How can the you justify spending so money much on an education that will never be utilized?

I understand the how I just don’t understand why.

Maybe one of these days Vanderbilt University and the Department of Education will realize it might be cheaper to hire me that harass me.

I need a real paying job, but with the skyrocketing unemployment rate, it looks as though I will have a lot of competition.

Please do something and do it quick. I would not wish this experience on my worst nightmare.

Sincerely yours,

Elyssa D. Durant

A Homeless Person with a Camera Phone Is Worth a Thousand Words | End Homelessness |

Why do people assume that the poor and the homeless can’t have (and don’t deserve) items of any value? As the conservative Heritage Foundation continues to rail about the relative state of poverty in America versus the rest of the world — “89 percent [of households classified as poor by the U.S. Census] own microwave ovens” and “97 percent have a color television” — Americans continue to sink deeper into poverty. A microwave can be had at Walmart for less than $54, but a steady, well-paying job is not so easy to come by. What these critics are leaving out are the people so poor that they often don’t belong to a household: the homeless. Of course, when the homeless use technology, the holier-than-thou types are even more aghast.
My favorite example of this strange phenomenon happened in March 2009, when First Lady Michelle Obama famously visited the homeless at Miriam’s Kitchen in Washington, D.C. Since her husband was only 44 days into his presidency, she was trying to find her way as first lady and the homeless thought, if only for a brief moment, that she might make homelessness and poverty her area of focus. Instead, the focus in the following days unfortunately was on one diner who used his cell phone camera to take a picture of Obama.
There seems to be no shortage of people whose primary purpose in life is to ruin someone else’s moment of pleasure. After Obama’s visit, countless people attacked the man who had a camera phone and photographed the First Lady while someone else took a picture of him. People began disparaging him by asking things like, “How is it that he can afford a camera phone and can’t afford to pay rent?” The short answer is that, after you pay about $300 for the phone (if you buy it new), the monthly charge is somewhere between $20 and $50 , whereas the average rent in D.C. is $1,400 per month. It doesn’t take much day labor to pay for a camera phone, and the phone provides a literal lifeline.
At that time, people were surprised to learn that a homeless person can actually use a computer and that a considerable number of them own cell phones. Within weeks the local papers ran articles about how the homeless use technology (hint: in much the same ways as the housed). In April 2009 several other homeless advocates and I were interviewed by Russian TV. By June, I was on NPR Radio where the host mentioned how I use Twitter and Facebook to advocate for the homeless and that I have a blog about homelessness. (I now write for three.) Three days later, I was on CNN and it was more of the same. Everyone seemed surprised.
It doesn’t end there. In early 2010, an employee of the U.S. Department of Labor (whose headquarters is right across the street from the largest shelter on the east coast) pasted the photo of the homeless man snapping Michelle Obama into a DOL e-mail and sent it around with an offensive caption. A fellow homeless advocate received that e-mail and contacted the Department of Labor. He didn’t call for the employee’s termination, but rather used the occasion to forge a relationship with the department and is now in discussion with them about creating job training programs for D.C.’s homeless (about one-fifth of whom live right across the road).
And so the story goes. A picture is worth sometimes a lot more than a thousand words. There were some who made uninformed, if not stereotypical, remarks about the mundane incident at Miriam’s Kitchen. However, it blossomed into a major media event for the homeless, thus shedding more light on the issue. And, as this last anecdote indicates, when life throws you lemons, you can indeed make lemonade.
Photo credit: Moomettesgram

Police Brutality and Corruption in the City of Brotherly Love

Check out this website I found at

we were about Sweden [i think] they provide a safe harbor od sorts for wikileaks…. here’s a few more dots… the war on drugs? pleeeeze!
i may have to move to iceland sometime soon ;-@



snail: PO Box 1214, Belle Mead, NJ 08502

Vol. 1 No. 4 September 4, 1995



Vol. 1, No. 4, is a special issue dealing primarily with issues of

police brutality and corruption, particularly in Philadelphia. As

we deal with issues of the war on crime and the prison system, we

also have to consider, how some people end up in prison unjustly.

Currently this journal will be posted to the following lists:

I invite your suggestions of other lists that might be open to

publishing this journal and your feedback and invite you to forward

the journal to other lists and individuals yourself. To subscribe

to nj-speakout, send this message: subscribe nj-speakout

to this address:

This issue is broken into to posts, Vol. 1, No. 3 and Vol. 1, No.

4, due to length. The following are the contents of this post:





Posted by Bob Witanek 8/28/95

Today, the facts about the Philadelphia Police forces propensity

for manufacturing evidence, planting contraband and perjuring

themselves in court was finally the subject of a New York Times

article. The following is a recent news report by Jose Santiago,

radio journalist for our favorite listener sponsored, non-

commercial listener sponsored radio station WBAI-99.5FM (NYC):

JOSE: Attorneys for Mumia Abu-Jamal claim the activist was

persecuted by the local police and an adverserial judicial system

because of his work with the Black Panther Party, and because of

the nature of his journalistic work which often focused on the many

instances of police corruption and misconduct during the years when

Frank Rizzo served as police commissioner and then as mayor. While

Mumia’s appeal remains in a temporary holding pattern, the issue

of corruption and misconduct on the part of Philadelphia Police

moves ever closer to center stage. Right now in the City of

Brotherly Love, a US Justice Dept investigation is uncovering

evidence of widespread police misconduct and corruption, not back

in the Rizzo years, but today.

RECORDED CHANTING: Stop Police Brutality in the Black Community!

JOSE: A group of Mumia Abu-Jamal supporters chanted as they

gathered at the entrance of a recent fundraiser which published

reports had said would be picketed by police. While they were

there to block any attempts by police to disrupt their event, their

chant reflected the views of many Philadelphians who for the

umpteenth time in the city’s recent history are opening their pages

of their morning newspapers these days to find more revelations of

police corruption and misconduct.

WILL GONZALES: Some officers have confessed to arresting people on

false pretenses. Some officers have confessed to planting


JOSE: Will Gonzales is executive director of Philadelphia’s

Police-Barrio Relations Organization, a watchdog group that

monitors relations between the police department and various

sectors of the community.

LOU GONZALES: Officers have confessed to putting guns in people’s

mouths and playing Russian Roullette. Officers have confessed to

lying in court and falsely stating that people were involved in

criminal activity that has resulted in their arrest. These are

statements of officers themselves that have done it.

JOSE: For weeks he has been reading about what one local legislator

has described as the worse police scandal in Philadephia history

dwarfing even the 1979 Justice Dept lawsuit in which Philadelphia

cops were accused of widespread racist attacks against the city’s

Blacks and Latinos. In the current investigation, 5 Philadelphia

Police from the city’s 39th. police district have admitted they

maintained stashes of illegal drugs at local precints, drugs they

used in order to plant evidence on innocent people who in many

cases wound up spending time in prison for false arrest often made

on the basis of search warrants obtained under false pretenses,

and in most cases after police lied on the stand to obtain

conviction. Published reports say some of the 5 original officers

accused in the case have implicated other cops, and as many as 30

officers might eventually be indicted. In a related case, 2

officers have admitted they ran a fencing operation in which

property stolen by police from innocent victims was sold by cops

out of a Philadelphia store front. Representative David P.

Richardson, a longtime activist in the Philadelphia Black community

who has served in the state legislature for more than 20 years.

REP. DAVID: If anybody believes for the most part that there is not

conspiracy at times, with the police department, not only here in

this city, but across this nation, they’re crazy. We have

witnessed it not only as a legislator, but before, and what happens

at the 39th. district that has just been unveiled, it exists and

it happens every single day.

JOSE: Richardson and others say the scandal being uncovered in the

39th. District is but the tip of the iceberg. He says that only

fear keeps more from speaking out, a view echoed by WIll Gonzales:

WILL GONZALES: There is a very big fear factor that gets in the way

of people coming forward to testify, to make statements, to

officially do something about it. That’s the only way that the

authorities will get involved, if people will attach their name and

their address and phone number, and are willing to go as witnesses,

etc. It’s very frustrating to try to address the problem of police

abuse when people are so scared of coming forward.

JOSE: Authorities working on the investigation were not available

for comment. Published reports say that as a result of the probe,

40 people who were serving time in prison for false arrest have

been released. And according to one report, before the probe is

completed, as many as one thousand one hundred convictions may be

thrown out. That is one thousand one hundred people now doing time

in the Pennsylvania prison system whose convictions may have been

obtained through fabricated evidence, false arrests and police lies

on the witness stand, some of the same points being made by Mumia

Abu-Jamal’s attorney in his appeal. Again state representative

David Richardson:

REP. DAVID: People call here about cases that take place, a lot of

times you say to them, well, do you have any supporting documents,

information that can substantiate your point of view. Becauseyou

can’t go agaisnt hte police knowing that htey have the upper hand.

And the corruption that exist right now in the 39th., if you can

compare this to what’s taking place with Mumia, I have not heard,

any prosecutor, any DA’s office, saying anything negative about the

police and what should happen to them. But Mumia was assassinated

character-wise, as soon as a police officer was involved.



Posted by Bob Witanek 8/29/95

JOSE: While the scandal seems to indicate that the police should

be monitored more closely, there is a move in Pennsylvania to shut

down Philadelphia’s recently established civilian complaint review

board. The current board which was established despite Mayor Ed

Randell’s veto and for which Mumia Abu-Jamal and other activists

lobbied heavily since the early 1970’s could be dismantled under

a new bill now being debated in the Pennsylvania state legislature.

Pushed by the Fraternal Order of Police and supported by

soncervatives of both parties, the bill would eliminate

Philadelphia’s civilian complaint review board and force it to turn

over all of its investigations to the District Attorney, the same

DA that has never returned an indictment against a police officer

and who currently pursues the death penalty in a higher percentage

of cases than any DA in the country. In addition the bill would

make it illegal for any other municipality to establish a civilian

complaint review board. Juan Ramos, a Latino rights activist for

many years anad current member of Philadelphia’s civilian complaint

review board.

JUAN RAMOS: We expect that to be a very tough legislative battle

in Harrisburg … We think it’s going to be a very tough fight.

I’m not in a position to predict which way it will go but, all the

forces against the urban cities and the people in the big cities

like Philadelphia have really teamed up against us. We have a hell

of a battle up there.

JOSE: But that battle may not be limited to Pennsylvania. Nancy

Rose is with the NCOPA group, the National Coalition for Police


NANCY ROSE: These kinds of multi-pronged, multi-leveled strategies

to undermine police accountability seem to be a step up from what

has happened in the past. We’ve always had police guilds and

police lobbies be very well organized at the state level. In any

state you want to go to, there’s lots of piecemeal legislation that

occurs regularly that removes police from scrutiny, from our point

of view. This seems to be kicking it up to the next level, this

legislation that would actually bar any kind of citizen oversight

in an entire state. I think there’s some concern that if this

works in Pennsylvania, then in any other state police will try it.

JOSE: Across the country says Rose, police are lobbying and finding

much conservative support to limit the ways private citizens can

influence police conduct. One of the arguments that has been

echoed by Mayor Rudolph Guiliani in New York is that the civilian

review boards interfere with investigations being carried out by

local district attorneys. But Rose says that argument does not

hold water:

NANCY ROSE: That’s something that district attorneys and people who

oppose any kind of oversight tell the public. In fact, anyone

familiar with criminal or legal kind of investigations aknow that

multiple investigations are very common. This is not anything that

is rare or out of the ordinary. That there are often any number

of investigations going on. What happens is you set up a system,

there’s an order in which the investigations go, and some people

hold off and other people go first, and that’s normal. This really

is an insincer argument. And it plays on what lay people don’t

know about how the justice system works. There are often multiple


JOSE: The Pennsylvania anti-civilian complaint review board bill

is currently making its way through the leggislature, although it

has a ways to go before it is voted on. For progressive

Philadelphians who fought for more police accountability for years,

it is ironic that the civilian complaint review board that they set

up may be dismantled at a time when the city is facing numerous

multi-million dollar lawsuits from what might wind up being more

than 1000 people who have been falsely arrested. And also at a

time when the history of the police department’s abuses is under

such close scrutiny because of the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Again

Juan Ramos, who sits on the Philadelphia review board:

JUAN RAMOS: There’s a move to the right. And one of the targest

are these review boards. Just 2 years ago, 32 out of 50 major US

cities had civilian review boards. In the last couple of years,

with this change in Washington, there’s this move to get rid of us

at the local level. Interesting enough, recently I saw that in

Washington, the NAR and some other folks are proposing a civilian

type review board to overlook the FBI and the ATF. There’s a bill

in the house being proposed by republican legislators. They see

it as something good for them and this business of militias and gun

control, but they don’t see it as something that is good for the

cities, and I think because the cities are inhabited by minorities.

It’s good for them up there, but it’s not good for us down here.


Continuing this mini-internet series on Philly Cops, the following

is from the Monday, August 28, 1995 news report by Jose Santiago,

radio broadcast correspondent for listener sponsored, non-

commercial radio station WBAI-99.5FM (NYC). Included is an

interview with author Michael Novick which puts developments in

Philadelphia in a national context.

JOSE: New York City’s corruption plagued police department pales

in the light of the revelations of police misconduct and corruption

now surfacing in Philadelphia in a story reported here on WBAI

about 2 weeks ago (posted by nj-speakout in last 2 days). The New

York Times today ran a front page article detailing instances of

beatings, false arrests and perjury on the part of Philadelphia’s

39th. Police District, which covers one of the city’s largest Black

communities. In what one elected official has called the worse

police scandal in Philadelphia history, a justice department probe

has uncovered as many as 1100 cases in which people may be serving

time in Pennsylvania’s prisons as a result of false testimony and

in some cases evidence planted by police. The probe has focused

on 5 corrupt officers who have been named and as many as 30 who

already have been implicated but whose identity has not been

released. So far Pennsylvania’s corrections officials have been

forced to release about 50 people from prison because of the

pattern of false arrest. Many of those released are planning to

sue the city. One grandmother recently released after serving 3

years in prison for a crime she did not commit has already sued for

$7 million. Tonight as we continue to follow the situation in

Philadelphia, we bring you the comments of Michael Novick, author


REACTIONERY VIOLENCE. Novick knows that these days what is often

portrayed as the work of a handful of police officers is actually

part of a much braoder and sinister agenda:

MICHAEL NOVICK: My analysis of this is that these are not just

individual and isolated cases but represent both the tendency

within the police forces and a strategy of the white supremacist

groups to advance goals that both white supremacists and the police

have. What we’re seeing in the current period is an increasing

wole by police agencies and members of police departments and the

military, to play a role in politics that is exceedingly

reactionery. In California, we have a case where a Compton police

officer was recently elected to a city council locally and one of

the suburban cities and said that the problem with gangs is

insoluble because there are 200 years of gang members from father

to son in the Mexicano community. I know that in Philadelphia

we’ve been seeing a role played by the FOP trying to suppress any

support for Mumia Abu-Jamal, and apparently that is not only in

Philadelphia, but around the country, we’ve seen a great deal of

repression. There were mass arrests in San Francisco, over 200

arrested and charged with arson because someone set fire to a trash

can. We’ve heard of cases of intimidation of people attempting to

have programs. At Verso Books, they felt they couldn’t have a

tbale outside of an activity to support Mumia because they were

afraid it would draw attention from the police station. We’ve

heard of many similar stories of people trying to speak at public

activities, at libraries, where calls were received making threats

of police shutting down the facility if the events are held.

JOSE: You make an interesting connection between the right and the

police. Looking at what is happening in Philadelphia, in the

context of Mumia Abu-Jamal, many of the things his defense

attorneys have said went wrong, in terms of the police and some of

the evidence they came up with, and evidence they suppresses, back

during his trial, seem to be happening right now, in terms of this

39th. police district and some of the revelations that are coming

out today, with the New York Times story. A lot of the people who

were incarcerated on lies by police and lies on the witness stand,

planted evidence, it’s so difficult to be able to say, yes this is

part of a larger movement when the police are saying that it’s

basically 5 cops, an isolated situation. It always seems to come

down to 4 or 5 rogue cops taking the blame. Have you found a

connection between activity by individual cops to a larger


MICHAEL NOVICK: I think there’s a problem between the police

department and the prosecutors. For example, in Southern

California, there have been a number of cases. First of all, there

was a recent police shooting of a 14 year old Mexicano youth in Los

Angeles. The officer who did it was one of 44 so-called problem

officers identified on the force by the Christopher Commission,

Warren Christopher, at that time was investigating police brutality

in the wake of the Rodney King beating by the LAPD. And even

though these 44 rogue officers were identifies, 34 of them are

still on the LAPD, 4 years later. This particular one internally

was ordered expelled from the force by an executive agency of the

police department, and was reinstated on suspension by the police

chief, and retained on the force. This is a pattern we

particularly see around the white supremacy cases. We have a

situation on the LA Sheriff’s Dept, where an officer burned a cross

inside the county jail. It was investigated by the FBI. He was

fired and reinstated by the sheriff who is an elected official in

LA. Subsequent to that, he shot and killed a Mexican national in

an incident on New Years Eve where the man was firing a gun into

the air to celebrate New Years Eve and this Deputy Sheriff took a

gun out and told people he was planning to get somebody. The

latter half of this incident was reported by a commission that

investigated the sheriff’s department, a Judge Colts (?) here.

Colts specifically cited the fact that the district attorney

refused to press any charges against this officer as an example of

the inadequacy of the supervision of the sheriff’s by either the

sheriff himself or by the prosecuting officials in the county. He

never talked about the earlier incident of open white supremacy by

the same officer where he burned the cross. The pattern where the

district attorneys do not hold the police accountable or answerable

is something that goes on around the country, again here in Los

Angeles, the district attorney recently announced because of budget

cuts, he’s eliminating entirely the unit in his department that

prosecutes police for shootings and brutality. The situation is

that the prosecutors work together with police departments and

probably coach them. The system functions on this basis. Not that

there are one or two rogue cops who falsify evidence. They are

told what standard they are suppsed to meet to make a case and they

proceed to fulfill that standard by whatever means they have to,

to lock somebody up.

JOSE: I see the FOP and other police organizations to lobby at the

state level in a number of states, like Pennsylvania. The

situation in Philadelphia where the community has fought for 20

years to get a civilian complaint review board. They finally got

it and now there’s a bill being pushed by republicans in the state

legislature that calls for the disbanding of the board and turning

over of their investigations to the local district attorneys. Any


MICHAEL NOVICK: Its a longstanding trend. When I was in New York

in the 60’s, the PBA was instrumental in winning a referendum to

end the civilian complaint review board that was established by

Mayor Lindsey in New York at that time. They did so with the

support of the John Birch Society, and the American Nazi Party was

the lead group along with the PBA in opposing that. This question

of white supremacy linking up with police forces is a longstanding

problem. I think that civilian police review boards are a bandaid

solution at best. The Christopher Commission offered a brief

civilian review and reform proposal, what they served to do was

derail an organized effort from the grassroots for community

control of the police. That is a much different aspect where the

if the city had had that put on the ballot and passed in LA, from

the grassroots, the community would have elected boards supervising

the police entirely, not just reviewing their conduct in some

cases. It would have set up a special prosecutor to deal with all

police brutality and abuse cases. Civilian review boards in my

study have become coopted, by the agencies themselves proving to

be not too scary to the officers, in terms of holding them


JOSE: Here in New York, after an investigation, the best they can

do is make a recommendation which the commissioner does not

necessarily have to follow.

MICHAEL NOVICK: That’s pretty typical around the nation.

JOSE: We’ve seen here in New York, a couple of Sunday’s ago, there

was a what church goers out in Queens say was a police assault with

a helicopter, and apparently someone high enough in the police

department was able to get those light turned out on the entire

block. And down in Philadelphia, a few weeks earlier, there had

been a very similar situation, with police going in and arresting

a man that they could have arrested at any time but chose to to

arrest him at the largest Black Church while he was in the process

of being married. A lot of boldness there, are they sending a


MICHAEL NOVICK: When they talk about community based policing, we

sometimes talk about police based communities, and I think that

this whole view that police function as an occupying army, and that

there’s a role of terror. A group I’m with is called People

Against Racist Terror. And that terror is carried out not only by

nightriders in robes, I think that the police have a history of

terrorizing communities as a way to maintain control. There’s a

magazine called LAW AND ORDER, which is one of the police trade

magazines in which they communicate to each other and try to sell

the hardware for surveillance. This magazine pretty openly refers

to community based policing as the domestic equivalent of

psychological operations in warfare. They do have the mentality

that says that they’re at war, and both the military type of

activites they carry out, and the whole crime bill on the heels of

previous federal aid to police departments has basically been about

federalizing and militarizing the police. It is important for

people to see that community based policing is only an aspect of

that militarization. It is not a reform or transformation of the

role the police play.

JOSE: Are we headed toward a situation where we have a national

police state like some of the countries in Latin America?

MICHAEL NOVICK: We always have the federal system which has proven

resilient and useful for them in terms of increasing the size of

the police force. I doubt that they will completely nationalize

the police agencies. The federal division of local, state and

national police forces is being broken down ever since the law

enforcement assitance administration in the Nixon years continuing

with the crime bill, with the funding and the equipment coming from

the federal government. In the Waco hearings, it was startling

that they had one whole day of testimony from the military.

Unblinkingly, they didn’t mind at all the fact they said its

policy, this Southwest joint task force 6, that all law enforcement

is able to make use of, all the resources and the manpower,

training, equipment of the army, and other military forces in the

border region of the Southwest under the control of 6 federal

agencies that transfer along to local agencies. The border patrol,

the INS, DEA, ATF are able to call upon the army in joint

operations with local police forces throughout the Texas, Arizona,

Colorado . . .



Posted by Bob Witanek 8/31/95

“In Philadelphia, in many instances and parts of this city, when

you’re confronted with the criminal at one end of the block and the

police at the other, you don’t know which way to run.”

– Rev. Joseph Patterson



Philadelphia cops recently storm trooped in on a wedding ceremony

to arrest the groom at Philadelphia’s largest Black Church. Jose

Santiago, reporter for Pacifica radio station WBAI 99.5FM (NYC)

recently conducted the following interview with the Pastor from the


JOSE: Earlier today, we spoke with the Reverend Joseph Patterson,

President of the Black Clergy of Philadelphia, who described what

happened at the Zion Baptist Church earlier this summer, when

police raided the church during a wedding, interrupting the service

and arresting the groom who was wanted for missing a court

appearance. Here is a segment of the conversation we had earlier

today with the Reverend Joseph Patterson of Philadelphia:

REV. JOSEPH PATTERSON: In our church there are 3 major sacraments.

There’s the sacrament of Holy Baptism, Holy Community and Holy

Matrimony. The police went in during the ceremony, started some

pushing and shoving … They were walking on the pews in the

Church. And when they got outside, a larger scene was caused by

the police and the way that they had gone into the church, in gear,

in their uniforms, to apprehend a person who was wanted by the

police. They tried to make an issue to say that we were against

them arresting this fellow. We have no sentiments at all as far

as the criminal was concerned. That was not the case. The case

was that they violated the sanctity of the Church. This fellow was

not considered to be a public enemy number 1. He was not even

considered to be public enemy number 101. But when it came time

to arrest John Dillinger, they didn’t break into the theatre. They

waited until he came out because they said someone could get hurt

on the inside. Likewise, with Noriega. The whole army was after

him. The navy, the army, the marines and we chased him all over

Panama. And he ran into a church and we had Howlitzers, and

Sherman tanks and all sorts of weaponry. Aimed at that church, but

we would not go in because we wanted to respect the church. If we

could do that with the army, if we could do that with public enemy

number 1, then why would they go into our church.

JOSE: Is it your sense that the police had more than enough

opportunities outside the church to arrest this person?

REV. JOSEPH PATTERSON: Certainly. One of the reasons they said

they didn’t arrest him outside is because there was a fair going

on across the street in the parking lot. That was the weakest

excuse because where the fair was going on, there was an 8 foot

fence. That was about 100 yards away and so, there was really no

justification for what they did.

JOSE: I understand that the church and the police district these

officers are from, is that the same district where there has been

all the revelations of police corruption?


JOSE: Do you think that there’s any connection there.

REV. JOSEPH PATTERSON: I think that when you have a poorly

disciplined police station, you have a real problem, because first

of all you have men with a badge, with revolver and with the

authority to abuse people. They’re just discovering this. This

has been going on for a multiplicity .. you have men who have spent

time in prison because of the what the police like these fellow

have done. I think that is what gives impetus to the OJ Simpson

trial. To show you how police manufacture proof, or evidence,

against criminals, against people who have been incarcerated for

being criminals. Not fair! When you think of the lives of men

have been ruined. This 39th. district, they just discovered it in

yesterday’s paper. New revelations where they believe some of

those policemen beat a man to death.

In Philadelphia, in many instances and parts of this city, when

you’re confronted with the criminal at one end of the block and the

police at the other, you don’t know which way to run.

JOSE: Let me ask you, is your sense that what happened at the

church was just merely bad judgement or bad police practices on the

part of some cops, or do you have any sense that they were trying

to provoke something.

REV. JOSEPH PATTERSON: I wouldn’t say they were trying to provoke.

I won’t say that about the Sergeant. I think it’s bad judgement

and the abuse of power. I think that’s what it amounts to. But

there have been times when the police have tried to provoke things

in the city. They provide them, and once they get them started,

then they hide the hand. Throw the stone and hide the hand. ANd

then those persons who have been provoked into retaliation are then

labelled as troublemakers, renegades, what have you. This thing

going on in Philadelphia, especially up around that 39th. police

district, which is not the only district by itself. This thing is

widespread across the city but, it’s almost like nazi Germany.

When they began their takeover, it happened the same way. The

abuse and flagrant use of power against minorities in particular.

They have a field day in Philadelphia.

JOSE: It’s strikes me as ironic that this continues to happen while

at the state level there’s a move to disband the civilian complaint

review board.


JOSE: Is that something that the clergy has been involved in?

REV. JOSEPH PATTERSON: We’ve been trying our best to combat against

this. I’m not talking as a partisan man. But when you have

republicans who are hellbent on turning back the clock, when you

have them in authority, in high and key positions, there is very

little you can do. Because they are going to disregard whatever

you say with hope that they can go back to the good old days, as

they call them. There’s the frustration because we can’t go back

to those days. It’s the same thing with Moses not wanting to go

back to Egypt. You can rest assured, we’re not going back to those

good old days when we were abused and misused without any

consequences at all.

JOSE: How would you gauge the community sentiment in regard to the

increase in abuse by police.

REV. JOSEPH PATTERSON: The community is becoming more aware of it.

Before, there was little if any belief. They are now becoming more

aware of the truth about these things that we’ve been claiming over

the years. As a matter of fact, I got several letters from Jewish

groups offering there support to whatever we were striving to do.

The Catholic Community, they sent us letters, from Cardinal

Devolaqua (?), stating their dismay over what had happened in the

church. The community is beginning to wake up. We’re beginning

to face the 21st century. If we take these patterns in full bloom

into the 21st. century, our country is doomed for destruction, the

same way the things have come apart in Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia,

Poland and all these other places, … the same thing will happen

here. I don’t think it will be as devastating. But I think more

bloodshed will be realized when you begin to pit groups against

groups. That is the most ridiculous thing. And it has no positive

consequences, none whatsoever. This is where they’re headed with

all of this verbalization coming out of Newt Gingrich and Jesse

Helms and that crowd. All they’re doing is exciting the American

people and turning up some flames into the minds of those who have

some philosophical or social problems within their own being. I

think the city fathers need to really do some soul searching and

not allow this thing to get out of control. Especially in a city

like New York. The song “I like New York?” We all like New York.

Let’s not make New York the Selma, Alabama of yesteryear.



by Don Terry

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 23 – The congregation at Refuge Evangelical

BaptistChurch was rocking here last Sunday to glory songs,

trumptes, and the word of the Lord. But no one has a reason to

shout “Hallelujah,” louder than Betty (Mizzy) Patterson, a stout,

54-year-old grandmother in a flowered sun dress.

Mrs. Patterson, a widow, who cleaned other people’s floors and

clothes to keep her family together and now delivers newspapers

before dawn with her grandson, was framed by corrupt police

officers and spent 3 years in prsison in the early 1990’s after

being falsely convicted of selling crack cocaine.

Mrs. Patterson and her church always knew whe was innocent, but

only in the past couple of months has the rest of the city learned

the truth.

And although Philadelphia has been rocked by one police scandal

after another in recent years, the new charges reveal a group of

officers so corrupt, so calloused to the rights and welfare of

residents, that the details have shaken the city to its roots.

Mrs. Patterson is one of dozens, perhaps even hundreds of victims

of a band of 5 renegade offciers who for at least 3 years haunted

her predominantly poor and Black North Philadelphia neighborhood,

beating, robbing, lying and planting phony evidence on the good and

the bad, Federal and local prosecutors said.

“She went to jail for 3 years for something she was completely

innocent of.,” said Lynne Abraham, the Philadelphia District

Attorney, “This whole thing has made me physically ill. This is

the ultimate betrayal of the public trustm and it has some very

destructive consequences. It justifies people’s suspicions of the


Earlier this year, the officers pleaded guilty in Federal Court to

being criminals in blue; nearly 50 drug cases that they were

invovled in, including Mrs. Patterson’s have been overturned by the

courts and the District Attorney’s office. Hundreds more could

also be thrown out.

Scheduled for sentencing in October are Officer Hohn Baird, 40,

Sgt. Thomas BeGovanni, 44, Officer Steven Brown, 48, Officer James

Ryan, 39, and former officer Thomas Ryan, 38, who is on disability.

Most of them have apparently been cooperating with investigators.

A sixth officer, Louis J. Maier, 38, from the same district, was

charged today in Federal District Court with conspiracy to violate

civil rights. There are reports that even more officers will be

charged, expanding the scandal and the city’s potential liability.

Ken Rocks, a vice president of the local Fraternal Order of Police

said he expects more arrests any day, an expectation he called

“very, very distressing.”

“This is killing morale,” Mr. Rocks said of the department which

has already endured several brutality and corruption scandals over

the last 2 decades.

At least 1400 drug-related cases are expected to come under review,

and the scandal could cost the city millions of dolalrs in lawsuits

– dollars that Mayor Edward G. Rendell says “we desperately need

for human needs and basic services.”

Prosecutors and defense lawyers also say they expect several murder

convictions to be reviewed or thrown out as a result of the


Mrs. Patterson;s lawyer, Jennifer St. Hill said that 3 of 5

officersm who had already pleaded guilty, used a warrant secured

with lies to illegally search her client’s home, and at least one

of them planted drugs in her bedroom. None of the officers has

officially admitted doing thatm but during an interview with

investigators, one officer said his partner had planted drugs as

they searched for evidence against Mrs. Patterson’s 3 sons, who

were suspects in a drug related killing.

“When the police are indistinguishable from the bad guys,: Mrs.

Abraham said, “then society has a serious problem.”

So far about a dozen people have been freed from priosn or parole.

Mrs. Patterson was on parole before her case was vacated last

month, and most of the other overturned cases involved people on

probation, many of whom had criminal records.

“Shaking down drug dealers is no excsuse for breaking the law,”

Mrs. Abraham said.

Bradley S. Bridge, a local public defender asked the DA to dismiss

the cases after the foficers were indicted last February on Federal

charges including conspiracy, obsrtuctoin of justice and “pocketing

more than $100,000 ni cash they robbed from suspected drug dealers

through beatings, intimidations, illegal searches and denying

suspects their constitutional rights.:

The first batch of dismissals included 42 cases and nearly as many

defendants. Mr. Brudge has written prosecutors asking that another

60 cases be dismissed and, he said thaae other day with a sigh,

“The end is nowhere in sight.”

Mr. Bridges said the scandal could change how juries perceive the

police. IN the past, Mr. Bridges said, many jurors took what police

officers said on the witness stand almost as the gospel truth.

“Too much credibility has always been given to the police in

court,” Mr. Brudge said. Maybe that will change a little bit now.

Noe one who comes to court should be given a ticket to be


The revelations of police corruption have already given

encouragement to the supporters of Mumia Abu-Jamal, a Black radio

journalist condemned to die for killing a police officer here in

1981. MR. Abu-Jamal is seeking a new trial partly on the ground

that he had been framed by the police.

On the other side of the country, conjuring suspiscions of police

misconduct is a major strategy being employed by OJ Simpson’s

lawyers to convince a jury that he was framed in the slayings of

his former wife and her friend. Judge Lance Ito is considering

allowing Mr. SImpson’s lawyers to give jurors hours of tape

recorded conversations in which a former detective Mark Fuhrman

boasted of beating suspects and other abuses.

The 5 indicted Philadelphia officers were assigned to the 39th.

District, but they roamed through other rough patches of North

Philadelphia, a part of town plagued with unemploymentm poverty and

the deadly violence that often accompanies drug money.

Tjey were aggressive officers and several of them were well known

on the streets where drugs are almost as available as newspapers.

When the young men in he neighborhood saw the officers coming, they

would run or disappear in doorways.

The other day, Rashine Brown, 20, and Cynthia Taylor, 24, who works

for the IRS were puttng oil in their cars on their block in North

Philadelphia. Both said they had known about the renegade police

officers long before they were charged.

“I can’t even remember all the bad stories I heard about these

cops,: Mr. Brown said. “They used to beat people down, take their

money. A lot of people were scared of them.”

Mrs. Taylor said the officers operated for so long outside of hte

law because they patrolled a poor neighborhood ignored and

abandoned by the city, a naighborhood not ulinke Chicago’s South

Side or Harlem, where a scandal in the NYC police department is


“You can’t trust the cops around here,” Mrs. Taylor said. “They’re

in it for themselves, not the community. I guess they forgot why

they took the job. :

The human toll of the scandal will be difficult if not impossible

to calculate. Unlike Mrs. Patterson, George Porchea, 27, was still

in prison when the years of police lies became public. But on July

20 after being locked up for nearly 3 years, Mr. Porchea was able

to watch his daughter graduate from pre-school a few hours after

he walked out of a courtroom in City Hall a free man.

He has not seen his oldest daughter yet. She was placed in a

foster home in N. Carolina while he was in prison.

“I’m trying to geth her back,” he said. “i’m trying to get my

whole life back.”

Mrs. Patterson was released on parole in 1994, but long before that

she had much to be thankful for. Her church and its interracial

congregation stood by her since the day she was arrested in 1989.

And she remained loyal to her church. As soon as she could, Mrs.

Patterson got a job in the prison laundry, where she made less than

50 cents a day. Still ,each month she sent her $5 tithe, said the

Rev. Wilbert S. Richardson, her pastor.

To pass the time, Mrs. Patterson who made it to the 10th grade,

buried herself in her Bible and became a mother figure to many of

the younger inmates who called her “Miss P.”

One of the women was Patricia Lytle, who was serving time on a drug

charge that she admits she was guilty of. On Sunday, Mrs.

Patterson brought Ms. Lytle to her church.

“The whole time” in prison, Ms. Lytle said, “you wouldn’t believe

how the women would look to her. She was grinning and smiling

while the rest of us were crying. She was always hugging and

praying. Girls would come to her for comfort.”

Last Sunday, Pastor Ruchardson asked Mrs. Patterson to come forward

and testify about her faith. She carried her Bible to the front

of the church and read from the Acts of Apostles where Herod had

thrown Peter into prison unjustly.

“That’s me,” Mrs. Patterson told the congregation, her voice heavy

with the accent of her native south. “I, too was like Peter in

prison. When people see me they are amazed at what can happen to

a person..”

When she closed her Bible and smile, the church suddenly surged

with song and the sound of trumpets.

Mrs. Patterson waved her hand in the air and in a clear, free

voice, shouted, Hallelujah.”


Posted by Bob Witanek 09/01/95





Philadelphia, Aug. 31 (AP) – Federal prosecutors have subpoenaed

the records of more than 100,000 arrests in 6 police districts in

the city as part of a widening investigation of police corrpution,

a newspaper reported today. The subpoenas, some for logs dating

to 1985, were served on Monday, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

42 drug convictions have already been overturned because of

falsified police reports, illegal tactics and perjury by 6 police

officers in the 39th. District. In addition, 5 murder cases are

being reinvestigated because some of the officers were on the


On Wednesday a former 39th. District police officer, Louis Maier,

became the 6th. from his district to plead guilty to 1 count of

conspiracy to violate civil rights. Prosecutors said Mr. Maier and

his partner, John Baird, took the law into their own hands to

arrest drug suspects. They said Mr. Maier and Mr. Baird, both now

dismissed from the police force, took drugs from a district

building stash to use as evidence. They also said the former

officers lied on arrest reports to justify their illegal searches,

bullied suspects and stole their money. After pleading guilty

earlier this year, Mr. Baird gave investigators the information

they needed to charge his partner.

Mr. Maier, the 6th. officer from the 39th. District to plead guilty

in the growing scandal, admitted his part in 4 incidents in May and

June 1990. He agreed to cooperate with and ongoing Fed

investigation into police corruption in exchange for possible

leniency for his sentencing which is scheduled for Dec. 15. “He’s

been upset for a while now,” Mr. Maier’s lawyer Felipe Restrepo

said after his client’s appearance before Judge Harvey Bartle 3d

of Fed District Court here. “He feels very sorry.”

In May, 1990, the plea agreement said, Mr. Maier and Mr. Baird

repeatedly rammed John Clouse’s car with their unmarked police car.

When Mr. Clouse pulled into a parking lot, one of the men smashed

the driver’s side window, pulled Mr. Clouse from the car and

ordered him face down on the ground.

Mr. Maier and Mr. Baird charged Mr. Clouse with possession of 12

vials of cocaine. Mr. Clouse, who told investigators he was a drug

addict at the time, denied having any drugs but said that a female

companion might have dropped some in his car.

Mr. Baird falsified a police report that said he and his partner

saw Mr. Clouse buying vials of crack. The report said that they

got out of their car and identified themselves as police officers

and that Mr. Clouse then smashed into their car.


The following opinion piece by Joe Domanick, author of TO PROTECT


in today’s New York Times (9/1/95):

30 years ago, James Baldwin described the hate a white policeman

feels in every Black neighborhood in America: “He is facing, daily

and nightly, people who would gladly see him dead, and he knows it.

He moves … like an occupying soldier in a bitterly hostile

country, which is exactly what he is.”

This is the world Mark Fuhrman moved in for much of his career, and

it is clear from the hate-filled tapes in the Simpson trial that

this is exactly how the former detective felt. It’s not unusual.

The most common reaction for a white policeman is to sink into deep

cop cynicism that culminates in detesting everyone who doesn’t see

the world through his own narrow prism. After all, learning to

respect how hard it is for people in South Central LA and blighted

neighborhoods everywhere to survive their crushing lives requires

an effort and an empathy that most of us don’t possess.

So to claim that the former detective’s attitudes and apparent

actions are a gross aberration, as the LA political and police

union leaders are trying to do, is disingenuous at best. Mr.

Fuhrman’ attitudes toward minority groups and women are not unique

to LAPD. Cops, as Anthony Bouza, the former Minneapolis police

chief has pointed out “have been given the very confusing and

unpleasant task of being society’s char cleaners … so they lie

… and stick together.”

Just as the Knapp and Mollen Commissions revealed corruption

particular to, though not solely the province of, the NYPD, the

Fuhrman tapes tell us a lot about the LAPD: how 40 years of

unchecked power of the chiefs of police produced a tolerance, even

encouragement of racial attitudes and street justice. William H.

Parker, the chief from 1950 to his death in 1966, was so openly

racist that he would not allow patrol cars to be integrated until

the early 60’s. In 1959, expressing his feelings about Mexican-

Americans, he said, “Some of these people have been here since

before we were, but some of them aren’t far removed from the wild

tribes of Mexico.” During the 1965 Watts riots, he warned of the

growth of the Black population: “It is estimated that by 1970, 45%

of the metro area of LA will be Negro. If you want any protection

for your home and family .. you’re going to have to support a

strong police department. If you don’t do that, come 1970, God

help you.”

Ed Davis, the chief in the 70’s was not overtly racist, but he

found his own ways to echo Bill Parker. Mr. Davis seemed to think

that the only good cop was a white, male, x-marine. He railed

against the idea of women on patrol and bitterly fought increased

hiring of women and minorities. He said that homosexuals could not

become officers because no one would be able to use the radio

microphones in police cars after they did. He answered complaints

that too many Blacks were being killed by the police by pointing

out that more white people had been “fatally shot by police

officers last year than Black people … so we don’t discriminate.”

These attitudes continued under Daryl Gates, who became police

chief in 1978 and served until he was forced to resign after the

riots in 1992. He once differentiated Blacks from “normal people;”

“joked” that Latinos who were slow to rise through the LAPD ranks

just might be “lazy;” and advised the Senate Judiciary Committee

that casual drug users “ought to be taken out and shot.” The sign

sent by the leaders of the police force were crystal clear to the

Mark Fuhrmans on the force. So clear that the Christopher

Commission, which had been appointed after the Rodney King beating

to investigate the department, spent 23 pages of its report

documenting the extent and virulence of the LAPD’s sexism and


In response to that report, the new police chief Willie Williams,

was brought into root out these entrenched problems. Maybe the

Fuhrman tapes, postions of which will be used in the Simpson trial,

will now give him the backbone to do that. The message officers

received in years past was that a good cop was willing to confront

people constantly and be hard-nosed and aggressive as a matter of

course. As the complaints rolled in, the tacit understanding was

that they would be ignored. As the Christopher Commission

documentedm out od more than 2000 complaints of excessive use of

force filed by the public against the police from 1966 through

1990, only 2% were sustained.

None of this is any great revelation to anyone living ni LA. We’ve

seen the Fuhrman attitudes before from the shooting and chokehold

deaths of scores of unarmed suspects in the late 70’s and early

80’s to the baton blows to Rodney King’s back. When will the LA

political establishment stop pointing to Mark Fuhrman as if he

sprung out of a vacuum of just dropped down from Mars?


We recently posted the comments of Rev. Emmanuel Osei-Acheampong

regarding a police attack on his congregation in which roughly 30

of his followers were wounded. Yesterday, NYC Mayor Guiliani

endorsed the vicious assault, saying that the police were

responding to provocations, including bottle throwing. In response

to Guiliani’s comments, the Rev. Osei-Acheampong stated “When you

sit in this office and say that people coming out of a church with

Bibles are throwing things, it bothers me because its a revelation

that he has no facts.” (New York Times, 9/1/95)




Posted by Bob Witanek 08/30/95

Paterson Officer Heriberto Rodriguez, shot Colombian immigrant

Jiovani Ruiz on May 27. The officer claims that Ruiz was holding

a gun. Witnesses have disputed those claims. They say that Ruiz’s

hands were in the air when he was shot. A grand jury declined to

indict the officer, but instead has indicted Ruiz for unlawful

possession of a weapon. Ruiz faces a 3-5 year jail term and $7500

fine if convicted. He has suffered brain damage and has speech

problems from the shooting. The witnesses who refute the police

side of the story were not called to testify before the grand jury.

(Star Ledger, 8/30/95)



Posted by Bob Witanek 08/31/95

Austin Burke was a witness whose testimony helped convict Kearny

Cop Ronald Johnstone on federal police brutality charges. He says

that his head was bashed into the side of a cop car before he was

chargesd with damaging the car, and has filed a civil right suit

against the brutalizing cop. The lawsuit has been filed by

Denville Attorney Anthony Macri. It names the Town of Kearny and

Johnstone as defendants. The suit requests an extension of the

statute of limitations given alleged bad advise Burke received from

another attorney about such statute. Shortly after Johnstone’s

conviction, town workers received a request from the payroll office

to authorize ‘police brutality tax’ deductions from their

paychecks. Assistant US Attorney Lisa Russell-Charles who

prosecuted the cop, stated during the trial that Burke was

returning from a nightshift job when he was accosted by Johnstone

without cause. She testified that Burke was hospitalized as a

result of his head bashing. (Star Ledger, 8/31/95)




Posted by Bob Witanek 09/01/95

W. Orange Police Chief Robert Spina, already trying to fend off

repercussions from having been found guilty in civil court of wife

abuse, having been sued for alleged non-enforcement of a protection

order and having been suspended from the force in 1985 for admitted

cocaine use, has a new worry. W. Orange cop Gregory Boyle has

filed a lawsuit charging that the chief, who was asked to extend

a 6 week leave with pay by the township council, tipped off a

target of a police investiagation of illegal drug use and child

abuse that she was being so targeted. Boyle charges that he was

demoted from his detective rank when Spina, the son of W. Orange

mayor Samuel Spina, was given the police chief job 7 months ago.

He claims his demotion was retaliation for reporting Spina for

having tipped off the target of his investigation. (Star Ledger,