Random musings on whatever subject strikes my fancy, published every other day.

Tag: education

What You Can Do Right Now About Police Brutality [UPDATED]

This article in Ravishly by Ijeoma Oluo caught my eye, because really, just feeling bad about racist policing is not doing anything about it.  Even writing distressed-sounding social media posts about it isn’t quite up to the bar.  So what, what can we do?  I read the article and…


Step 1: Educate yourself on your city’s police conduct review process.  OK!  That’s something I can do now!  It wasn’t even that hard to find for the Rochester Police Department (RPD).  Luckily there was a Wikipedia page with a link to a page that had a link to the process as published.  Sounds convoluted but not compared to what some cities have… or don’t have… online.

Reading the process online, I was looking for the gaps that Oluo said I might find, and I am not sure if I found one.  A bit of an inconsistency perhaps?  It certainly could be completely innocent.  Here is the passage I tripped on:

THE REVIEW

  • The Police Chief reviews every complaint after the investigation is completed and a report is written. 
  • If your complaint includes excessive force or charges an officer with a crime, it will also be reviewed by a Civilian Review Board (CRB). The Board includes three citizens who are not members of the Police Department.
  • The CRB will review your complaint, statements from all witnesses and reports from the investigation. The CRB may ask for additional information before making its recommendations to the Police Chief. The CRB may also choose to interview witnesses.
  • The results of investigations where there are no charges that the police officer used excessive force or committed a crime are also reviewed by the Police Chief.
  • The Police Chief reviews investigations and makes the final decision on all complaints.
I felt that the fourth bullet implied some other path if an officer was charged with excessive force or any crime, while the fifth bullet dispelled that idea with the one that the Chief has the final say on everything.
I have emailed the RPD for clarification, I will share what response they make and then my progress to Step 2 (if necessary).

UPDATE:

On the Memorial Day holiday, no less, I got this response from Lieutenant Mark Simmons, the RPD Commanding Officer of the Professional Standards Section:


Thank you for taking the time to reach out to the Professional Standards Section regarding your inquiry about the complaint review process. In sum and substance, the Chief of Police reviews every complaint after the investigation is completed and a report is written, as indicated in the first bullet point (The Police Chief reviews every complaint after the investigation is completed and a report is written).
The last bullet point further explains that the Chief of Police makes the final decision on the investigative findings for all complaints (The Police Chief reviews investigations and makes the final decision on all complaints).
The second to last bullet point was placed there to further solidify the point that despite the complaint’s eligibility to be reviewed by CRB, the Chief of Police will still review the case (The results of investigations where there are no charges that the police officer used excessive force or committed a crime are also reviewed by the Police Chief). Although I agree that this line may be perceived as redundant in nature, it was placed there to ensure citizens understood that their complaints will always be reviewed by this department’s highest ranking member.
I apologize if the line was confusing to interpret and am grateful to you for seeking clarity. If there is any further assistance that I can provide you in the future, please do not hesitate to contact me.

So the CRB can add investigative horsepower to a given case, but it seems that their result is purely advisory — ultimately a finding will be the decision of the Chief.

Conservatives Need a Stupid Electorate

And not just about science.

Are you still wondering whether conservatives in the US are in the pocket of the oil/gas/coal industry?  (Or as I like to call it, “Oxidize Carbon for Christ!, LLC”)  Well, you can probably put that to rest with their approach to climate science.  James Inhofe (R – Oil Industry), chairing the Senate’s Committee on Environment and Public Works has declared that climate change is no problem because God can fix it.  Or, perhaps, his top three campaign contributor categories: Oil & Gas, Electric Utilities and Lobbyists would just like him to keep stalling for a few more quarters.

But now take a look at Oklahoma conservatives’ objections to AP US History.  It takes a “consistently negative view” and fails to endorse “American exceptionalism.”

I presume they want to replace it with something that will better indoctrinate educate our youth as to why it was so Awesome that Columbus brought Jayzus to the Western Hemisphere, swept the continent clear to make it safe for white people and their slaves, and finally discovered humanity’s true destiny: ripping carbon from the ground in solid, liquid and gas forms (the holy trinity!), to finally find a use for all that surplus oxygen, and establish plutocracy as the Lord and the heirs of John D. Rockefeller intended.

The fact is that real education is the enemy of the US right-wing’s agenda.  Check the spelling on Tea Party signs if you don’t think this is so.  As the noted political philosopher Stephen Colbert has said,

“Reality has a well-known liberal bias.”  

Self-Documenting Republicans

South Carolina state Senator Thomas Corbin (R – of course) was quoted last week by a site called FITSNews, speaking to his lone female colleague, Katrina Shealy, regarding her gender.

“I see it only took me two years to get you wearing shoes,” Corbin told Shealy….  By way of explanation, lawmakers and legislative staffers have previously told FITS about statements made by Corbin – statements reflecting his belief that women do not belong in the S.C. General Assembly and should instead be “at home baking cookies” or “barefoot and pregnant.”  “He makes comments like that all the time to everybody – including Senator Shealy,” one Senate staffer told FITS. 

Corbin’s latest comments took his sexism to a whole new level, though. At one point in the conversation – which quickly escalated into a confrontation – Shealy is said to have angrily asked Corbin where he “got off” attacking women. His response – overheard by numerous lobbyists and fellow lawmakers – was one for the ages.  “Well, you know God created man first,” Corbin said, reportedly smirking at Shealy.  “Then he took the rib out of man to make woman.  And you know, a rib is a lesser cut of meat.”

When I first read this, I thought FITSNews was a lesser cut of The Onion.  I checked with some South Carolinians, though, who insist that, though it may be a bit rough around the edges, it is definitely a straight news site.  Not parody.  I read it again, and then I kind of desperately checked Snopes.  This made me sad.

Just as I was absorbing this, I saw that Mississippi Rep. Gene Alday (R – acist) is quoted in the Jackson Clarion Ledger:

The comments in question refer to African-Americans in his hometown of Walls, a small community in Desoto County. Alday, 57, said that he comes “from a town where all the blacks are getting food stamps and what I call ‘welfare crazy checks.’ They don’t work.” 

He also said that when he went to the emergency room one time, “I liked to died. I laid in there for hours because they (blacks) were in there being treated for gunshots.”

After this hit the paper, Alday protested that the blowup was all the fault of the reporter.  “I didn’t do anything wrong. The guy made me look like a fool.”  I don’t think it took any reporter to accomplish that.  The context of this enlightened discourse was a debate on an education bill, to which Alday is opposed because it will benefit the blacks who already get all those welfare crazy checks.  Whoever got stuck with the bill for Gene Alday’s education should demand a refund.

I do wonder, why don’t these outrageous statements hurt these idiots at the polls?  Are they all just one-term?  Nope.  Alday is in his third term as a legislator, and was mayor of Walls before that from 2005-11.  Corbin is in his second term in the SC legislature.

But just as in self-documenting code, their comments explain how they work.

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