Archive for needless deaths

"Suppose an undercover officer 'looks like' a robber and I shoot him...My bad."

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shoot first ask never

Can a "good guy with a gun" shoot a "bad guy with a gun" with 100% accuracy? The answer is obvious, as is pointed out in today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor... because our voices matter:

Re "Gun madness in Georgia," Editorial, March 27

The National Rifle Assn. flourishes because people believe the big lie that there are good people with guns and bad people with guns.

No. There are only people with guns. When gun-toters get angry, greedy, frightened or psychotic, they shoot other people. Mix dense populations with easy gun access, and innocent people will be maimed and killed by bullets. That's inevitable.

Apparently no body count is high enough to stop the insanity. I just pray that I, and people I care about, can make it to the end of our lives without being shot.

Bonnie Sloane

Los Angeles

***

Suppose I'm legally carrying a concealed gun at a business when armed robbers show up. Fearing for my life, I just want to get out of the store, but the front door is the only way out.

Let's assume I can't tell who is whom by how they're dressed. How will I know which of these gunfighters to shoot as I try to get through the doors to safety? Should I just kill anyone between the door and me? Will any police officers who arrive know that I am not one of the robbers? Suppose an undercover officer "looks like" a robber and I shoot him, thinking I'm a "good guy with a gun" taking care of a "bad guy with a gun." What do I tell their families? "My bad"?

Jan Miller

Orange

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Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in Gulf Justice?

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A bird covered in oil from the BP Deepwater Horizon spill struggles to climb on to a boom in Barataria Bay in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo: theguardian.com

A bird covered in oil from the BP Deepwater Horizon spill struggles to climb on to a boom in Barataria Bay in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo: theguardian.com

Well, maybe there will be some justice for this poor bird and all the other people damaged by flat-out negligence from BP.  Take a look at this story:

From Daily Kos:

The U.S. Department of Justice claims Robert Kaluza's and Donald Vidrine's negligence caused the 11 rig worker deaths in the Deepwater Horizon explosion, which sent nearly 5 million barrels of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico. The 23 count indictment accuses them of mishandling a crucial safety test and failing to report abnormally high pressure readings that attorneys say were signs of an impending disaster.

Here's the original story:

Now I'd like to know why it took so long.  I certainly hope these people get locked away for a long, long time but they'll probably just get tax-deductible fines.

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VIDEO: Clinton Allen, a young, unarmed African American, was shot, killed by Dallas cop. His parents are suing.

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Clinton Allen new

Collette Flanagan:

"We want justice for Clinton."

Clinton Allen, a 25-year-old African American, was unarmed and "shot 7 times, once in the back" by a policeman. Please read my posts about this case here for the back story and heartbreaking details, including emails, videos, and information sent to me by both Peggy Allen, Clinton Allen's stepmother, as well as Collette Flanagan, Clinton's mother.

I've been in constant touch with Peggy and Collette. Both are smart, kind, lovely women, both are distraught over losing Clinton, both are appalled, devastated, and confused by the senseless killing of their loved one, who again, was not armed and didn't deserve to die.

Sadly, there will be no indictment of the Dallas police officer for this unnecessary, tragic shooting. The Dallas District Attorney has a rather questionable past that is described in that post, and Clinton's parents have always disputed the "official" version of events.

Today Peggy Allen sent me two links to update us on what's been unfolding in the past few days. Clinton's family is now suing Officer Clark Staller and the city of Dallas in federal court for “answers and compensation.”

Via The Dallas News:

On Friday Clinton Allen’s parents, Collette Flanagan and Ronderaline Allen, filed a wrongful death suit in Dallas federal court, claiming that Staller shot their son seven times on March 10 even though he was complying with the officer’s instructions and “not creating an imminent harm.” [...]

“Despite being unarmed and struggling to stay alive, Defendant Staller did not attempt to assist Allen,” says the suit. “In fact, he was observed telling another officer that he had to ‘unload and reload’ another clip. Several bullet holes were found on a vehicle parked at the Rosemont, suggestion that at least 10 or more shots were fired by Defendant Staller. As a result of Defendant Staller’s deadly and unlawful attack on Clinton Allen, Allen sustained multiple injuries, including injuries to his face, head, and extremities, in addition to the fatal gunshot wounds.

In the suit, a witness says, “Officer Staller arrived at the apartment complex, and before the caller had a chance to give him any information, saw someone walking towards the parking lot, and initiated a foot pursuit. Allen was only 10 yards from his car and was trying to leave... Allen was attempting to leave because he did not want to cause any problems.”

I will continue to cover this as long as Peggy and Collette continue their fight. They won't stop looking for justice, and they deserve a chance to be heard, because Clinton can no longer defend himself.

(Video via CBS)

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Biz as usual: No indictment of Dallas police officer for fatal shooting of unarmed African American man

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clinton allen FB page

For the back story on this post, I urge you to read two previous posts that I wrote about the shooting of an unarmed African American man, Clinton Allen:

I continue to be in touch with both Peggy Allen, Clinton Allen's stepmother, as well as Collette Flanagan, Clinton's mother. Both are distraught over losing Clinton, but also appalled, devastated, and confused by the senseless killing of their loved one, who again, was not armed and didn't deserve to die.

Now the Dallas News is reporting this:

A Dallas County grand jury has cleared Dallas police Officer Clark Staller in the fatal shooting of an unarmed man.

Authorities have said 25-year-old Clinton Allen was choking the officer and had PCP in his system at the time of the March confrontation. The grand jury’s decision means that Staller will not face criminal charges for killing Allen at an East Oak Cliff apartment complex.

Per Collette, Clinton Allen did not have PCP in his system. District Attorney Craig Watkins said prosecutors conducted an independent investigation in the Allen case.

Daryl Washington, a civil rights attorney representing Allen’s family, said the family is disappointed by the grand jury’s decision and has lost confidence in the district attorney’s office. [...]

They are particularly upset that a witness, who said that Allen was not fighting the officer, was not allowed to testify before the grand jury. That witness, who was subpoenaed by prosecutors, swore in an affidavit that she heard Staller tell Allen to put up his hands several times and that Staller just began shooting.

“There was clearly excessive and deadly force,” Washington said. “This police officer shot an unarmed man seven times. Somebody has to look at that and say this doesn’t make any sense.”

Along with that link from Peggy Allen, I got the following email from Collette last night, which she has graciously allowed me to share:

This is the video that my camera captured unknowingly [see below].  If you listen to the very end of the tape, I ask him if I could have just 5mins of his time…he chuckles and says, “No.” [...]

5 days later, the DA office calls at 4:00 pm and says that the grand jury was meeting the next day.  We had been promised previously that we would get a 2 week notice before the grand jury met (until the DA confrontation with me.)

Of course, the all-White over 65 yrs old men on the grand jury (ex-cops) no doubt, issued a “no bill”

We saw so many horrible things (criminally while at the hearing, waiting):

1. Three Detectives was inside speaking with the grand jury the entire time they were in process.  Basically, “pitching” for Clark Staller.

2. James Bagnall- remember, I told you about him?  Dallas PD secret weapon.   He went to my Facebook and downloaded pictures of Clinton with a black do rag (most guys wear them his age after a fresh haircut) and showed it to the grand jury.

3. James Bagnall downloaded pictures of Clinton twins holding signs “Convict killer cops”  “Chief Brown is no friend to our community” and showed it to the grand jury.

4. James Bagnall subpoena our ‘star’ witnesses and did not let her testify, informed us that the grand jury “did not want to hear her testimony.” While in fact, everyone knows that a grand jury cannot dictate to the DA who they want to hear from and who they do not want to hear from. That is crazy!

5. We overheard some comprising statements that are being put into a complaint to the US attorney, FBI and DOJ.

 Here is the short video that Collette referred to at the beginning of her email:

Collette also sent me some articles to share, saying:

This is the DA of Dallas.  Look up current articles on him, he is known for ...using his office to be vindictive. ... Dallas Observer:  "Craig the Dick." 2.  Article last week in Dallas Morning News accusing him of getting all of his Black law clerks to run for judges.

Here are the links:

And this Dallas Observer link, which includes the "Dick" quote: "Maybe there are two Craig Watkins — twin brothers, Craig the Good and Craig the Dick." More:

That’s the only explanation we can come up with for Watkins’ recent misadventure, in which he sicced a grand jury on Criminal Court Judge Julia Hayes, who dared to insist that Watkins’ prosecutors obey the law.

Craig the Dick must be in town. Either that or there’s only one Craig Watkins, and he’s a hypocrite and bully of the first order.

You can see what they're up against.

[Edited to correct an error]

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In her own words: "Clinton Allen was/is my son. He was unarmed, shot 7 times, once in the back" by a policeman

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clinton allen closer

justice Clinton Allen

Yesterday I introduced you to Clinton Allen, an unarmed African American man who was shot and killed by a police officer. Please read it here: "We have a Trayvon situation here in Dallas, TX."

I'm not sure that it's exactly a "Trayvon Martin situation," but I certainly understand why Peggy Allen, Clinton's stepmother, put it that way. There are differences in the two cases, as you can see by the reporting, but yes, another young black man was shot and killed needlessly, and as his family is grieving, they are also doing everything they can to draw attention to the glaring brutality and racial issues surrounding his death.

I continue to be in touch with both Peggy Allen as well as Collette Flanagan, Clinton Allen's mother. Both are clearly distraught over losing Clinton, but also appalled, devastated, and confused by the senseless killing of their loved one, who again, was not armed and didn't deserve to die.

Today Collette emailed me and has graciously permitted me to share that email. Bolding is mine, and I added the blockquote from the Dallas Morning News. I will be updating this story as details emerge:

My name is Collette Flanagan, Clinton Allen was/is my son.

Thank you so much for you willingness to post our story. I have a bountiful of information I have discovered about the city of Dallas, Dallas Police Department and the DA’s office. Despicable at best.

When Clinton was first murdered, I couldn’t imagine my son being executed by a policeman. It was as if someone told me, my 80 year old mother had been murdered by a policeman.

I began to search and realized that this cop, Clark Staller, badge #9514 had been given a mere pass and a slap on the wrist for attempted murder in 2011. (Dallas Morning News). Staller, also falsified the police record and has had excessive force issues in the past.

[ADDED: A Dallas police officer was recently suspended for 20 days over January 2011 incident in which he hit a vehicle burglary suspect with a squad car.

Officer Clark Staller, who was hired in 2008, received the suspension during a disciplinary hearing last month.

According to Dallas police records, internal affairs investigators found he placed another person in greater danger than necessary when he used his squad car to block a fleeing suspect, that he was untruthful to a supervisor when he told him that he hadn’t hit the man and that he entered inaccurate information into a police report.]

Imagine my horror.

I since discovered through Open Records that ... 68 UNARMED Black and Brown (96% Black) have been killed in Dallas by policemen. Records show that 98% of the policemen killing these men are White. We know through these same records that Black officers are not killing unarmed White men. We know that there is a certain police substation (Southeast) that is notorious for accepting “problem transfers.”

Instead of firing these problem officers, the city transfers them into certain zip codes, where the citizens are poor and these problem cops are allowed to “hunt”

Clinton was only 25 yrs old, unarmed, shot 7 times and once in the back. We have 6 sworn witness statements that say everything different that Staller reported.

I would love to speak or continue correspondence with you and I am appreciative of your efforts to tell our story.

Peggy is Clinton’s step mother and she loved him very much and I thank her every day for her passion.

P.S. I’ve attached a bonus Open Record for you which include FBI internal emails between DPD admitting that Chief Brown had not implemented a formal process to notify the FBI when an officer involved shooting occurs. Chief Brown never implemented any of the policy changes after the James Harper shooting (in report). The Foot chase pursuit policy-had he implemented it as promised after the James Harper, Clinton would be alive.

Clinton did nothing wrong, he had twin boys, 14 months, at the time of his murder and he is gone from us forever. For nothing. I am fighting for other mothers who simply can not overcome the grief to fight for their sons.

I look forward to speaking with you.

Peace and blessings,

Collette L. Flanagan

Clinton R. Allen Foundation, Founder

Families Living with Justice  

She added this after I asked her a series of questions that needed asking about rumors about her son's past. Collette is my new hero:

My goal is to be totally transparent. Because to defend a lie that would make me feel better would be to represent Clinton in the light that they are trying to portray him. He was no thug. He went to college(Texas Southern Univ) and majored in criminal justice, he was a star football player in high school. He had just posted on his Facebook last year that he was getting his body in shape and was going to walk on for the Dallas Cowboys.

Does any of that sound like a thug to you? I am an ex- IBM executive and a US patent holder., but most of all a mother. Being a mother is the psalms of my soul. I am still his mother even in death. But I am committed to expose Dallas even if it cost me my life, and it may. But if you are not willing to die for something, then you have lived for nothing.

One more thing: I asked if Officer Staller was still employed and the answer was "yes." Collette emailed me the following details along with a PDF of a Dallas Police Department "Fusion" chart which doesn't translate well here, but I included it anyway:

We had to protest like we were protesting for a stay of execution just to get him off the streets. He is now working a desk job at Police Headquarters, but get this… he’s working at high security surveillance department called the Fusion Group. They only do surveillance on Black men. You can’t make this stuff up! It’s a disgrace and “good ole boy” dysfunctional local government at his best.

clinton allen Fusion chart Dallas Police Dept

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"We have a Trayvon situation here in Dallas, TX."

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peggy allen clinton allen twitter profile

This morning I discovered a new Twitter follower, Peggy Allen. The above screen grab is of her Twitter profile page, and we only just started to communicate. I volunteered to write up the story of her stepson, 25 year-old Clinton Allen, who was shot seven times by a Dallas police officer.

clinton allen grave siteCollette Flanagan, Clinton Allen's mother:

"This is where my child is, because he was murdered by someone of authority who we trusted."

Flanagan says Clinton had gone to an apartment to retrieve a TV set, where he was not welcome.

Collette Flanagan, mother of Clinton Allen, spoke with The Dallas Weekly:

"DA Craig Watkins has been in office since 2006. Over 20 unarmed men have been murdered by policemen, of which 96% of the victims are Black. 98% of the cops doing the killings are white, and he (Watkins) has never indicted one. How is that possible?

Via a July article from The Dallas Weekly:

[I]t should not surprise anyone after weighing these facts that many in the Black community believe that a police officer can shoot and kill an unarmed Black person and somehow have the shooting be judged as justifiable by the powers that be. But what happens when some of the powers that be are Black, like Chief David Brown and District Attorney Craig Watkins? Would police shootings of unarmed Blacks still be viewed as always justifiable? If you ask Collette Flanagan, who lost her only son, Clinton Allen to the gun of Dallas police officer, Clark Staller, the answer is no. She wants to know, where’s the justice? She says it has not been found, for her or the mothers of the other 60 or so unarmed Black people who lay dead by the hands of the Dallas Police Department over the years. Their search for justice continues.

An eye witness:

"[I] saw Clinton Allen with his hands up and the officer pointing his gun at Clinton… I heard 4 to 5 gun shots. I am an ex-military man and I know aggression when 1 see it. Clinton was not showing any signs of aggression towards this officer. I doubt Clinton would have challenge this officer that was standing only about six feet from him with a gun pointed at him,” stated a witness from a sworn affidavit in regards to the shooting of Allen the night of March 10, 2013. Staller, who is white, was allegedly responding to a 911 call from the apartment of a woman who did not welcome or want a visit with Allen at the time. She purportedly called the police when he came to her home and knocked on the door several times.

Another witness said, "The young man was trying to comply but he had been shot so many times, he put his right hand up again as he was falling to the ground... He never gave him a chance, I witnessed 5 shots and it was like seeing a helpless person executed.”

More details here and here at Dallas News. Per the reporting, neither Staller nor Allen were perfect, and you can read about their past histories at the links and judge for yourself. But no matter what one might infer (based on the vicious attacks on Trayvon Martin, I'm not sure I want to know), Allen was not armed and was shot to death, so the questions remain:

Why the need to unload so many bullets on an unarmed man? Why was it necessary to kill him? And if Officer Clark Staller is still an active Dallas police officer (he was as of July), and he has such a nasty record, why is he still out there?

And why are so many young black and brown men needlessly shot and killed (and of course, racially profiled)? Where is the accountability? As The Dallas Weekly managing editor wrote, the "search for justice continues."

Here's a petition you can sign to support the indictment of Clinton Allen's killer.

peggy allen tweetLink

And if you're on Facebook, you can "like" the Justice 4 Clinton page here.

clinton allen FB page

"On the rainy early morning of March 10, 2013, 25 yr old Clinton Allen, UNARMED was murdered by Dallas Police Officer Clark Staller Badge#9514."

Via Justice for Clinton Allen:

September 10...

clinton allen FB page photo

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U.S. relies on appalling death toll from #Syria attack to make case, but our casualty figures "much higher than others'"

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drumbeat to syria

Via a New York Times email alert:

A divided Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday approved an authorization of force against the Syrian regime, setting up a showdown next week in the full Senate on whether President Obama should have the authority to strike.

President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are pushing as hard as they can to persuade us that bombing Syria is the right thing to do. In fact, per another email alert I received, Kerry is saying that the administration wants a “trigger” that would authorize military action for 60 days each time al-Assad’s regime uses chemical weapons.

But they're getting a lot of resistance and for good reason. There are still unanswered questions, Americans are queasy about jumping into yet another conflict in a volatile region, and some of the answers we've gotten don't sound as convincing as they should.

And now this from the Los Angeles Times:

The death toll given by the Obama administration for an alleged Syrian chemical weapons attack is far higher than confirmed counts of two key allies and a main activist group, which said it was shocked by the U.S. figure.

In pressing Congress to authorize a military strike against Syria, the administration has asserted that the government of President Bashar Assad killed 1,429 people, including at least 426 children, in an Aug. 21 attack on the suburbs of Damascus.

But Britain and France have cited far lower numbers of confirmed deaths, raising questions about the intelligence the White House is using to make its case to launch missile strikes against Syria.

"Raising questions about intelligence" is not a welcome phrase right about now.

British intelligence came up with 350 as the number of people who had been killed. French intelligence said there were at least 281 confirmed deaths, but maybe as many as 1,500.

But so what, right? The point is that civilians were murdered. Not so fast.

The casualty figures are important because the administration is resting its case for military action in part on the scale of the attack.

If we're going to commit an act of war (and yes, bombing another country is an act of war), then it goes without saying, especially after the fraudulent Iraq debacle, that we should base our actions on reliable intel.

The precision of the U.S. figure, given the initial confusion surrounding the attack and the often contradictory reports of the violence in Syria, also raised questions among some observers.

But never mind all that.

drum beat smaller

Also for your consideration, Mark Karlin at BuzzFlash has posted this: What Congress Will Be Voting on Is Another War, Not a "Limited Punitive Strike"

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