Archive for police officers

What If He Was Black?


Trey Radel

Justice, in Florida, seems to be as elusive as the mythical unicorn or Big Foot or even the famed Sasquatch. Sometimes supposedly spotted, but never actually caught. Fortunately for Southwest Florida's U.S. Representative Tray Ragel, he was in Washington D.C. when he committed his crime and his arrest took place.  But what if he wasn't? What if he was home in the Sunshine State. Would justice have been any different?

Ask  unarmed Black Trayvon Martin in his confrontation pistol packing white George Zimmerman in Florida. Or how about Marissa Alexander, the African-American woman who was arrested and sentenced to 20 years for discharging a firearm as a warning shot while being confronted by her abusive husband using the privileges of Stand Your Ground, in Florida?

Florida is a strange state and the case of Florida Rep. Trey Radel is the latest piece to the "What's up with Florida?" puzzle.


Rep Trey Radel (R-Fla.) pleaded guilty on Wednesday morning to possession of cocaine before a D.C. Superior Court judge and will be on supervised probation for one year.

He faced a maximum of 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000, but instead got probation. Now I'm not against that sentence. What I am wondering is what if Trey Radel was Black. First off, let's look at how the arrest went down:

The Associated Press, citing an unnamed DEA official, said Radel allegedly bought cocaine from a dealer in the Dupont Circle (Washington suburb) area who had been previously arrested as part of a federal probe. “Later that night, federal authorities went to his apartment and informed him that he would be facing criminal charges related to his purchase of cocaine,” the AP said.

If he had been in his own So. Florida district, do you think federal authorities would just go an knock on a Black citizen's door and "notify" him that he'd be facing criminal charges? More likely, his front door would be busted in by 10 armed agents, he'd be thrown to the ground, shot if he struggled and his entire home tossed for any other possible violations. If they didn't find any, they'd either have physically assaulted the cuffed man or planted something on him or his place, most likely a weapon so they could boost the charges.

And what about the wrist slap penalty? Rehabilitation is cheaper and more effective than imprisonment. We should all be for that. But that option is offered far less for Blacks than Whites.

According to the Human Rights Watch:

  • African Americans constituted 53.5 percent of all persons who entered prison because of a drug conviction
  • Blacks were 10.1 times more likely than whites to enter prison for drug offenses
  • A black man was 11.8 times more likely than a white man to enter prison for drug offenses

I'm just saying, maybe there's something to be learned from this congressman's case and sentencing.  Be white and don't be in Florida.

It sure would be nice if the law enforcement would add compassion and patience to their skill set list -- like they did for Trey Radel. But I'm not sure Florida is ready for that. So luckily for the congressman, he picked a good place to get nailed.


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


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)


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


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]


9/11 Redux-- First responders: Radios failed during #NavyYard massacre


failure to communicate

Sadly, very very sadly, there is a piece in The Hill that is all too reminiscent of an old post of mine, "Hey Rudy, can you hear them NOW?" Here's an excerpt:

On September 11th, 2001, this was heard from a police helicopter hovering over the World Trade Center:

''About 15 floors down from the top, it looks like it's glowing red,'' the pilot of one helicopter, Aviation 14, radioed at 10:07 a.m. ''It's inevitable.''

Orders were given to evacuate. There was just one hitch. One fatal hitch:

Yet most firefighters never heard those warnings, or earlier orders to get out. Their radio system failed frequently that morning. Even if the radio network had been reliable, it was not linked to the police system. And the police and fire commanders guiding the rescue efforts did not talk to one another during the crisis.

At least 121 firefighters died as a result.

That was over a decade ago. Heartbreaking. Infuriating. Fixable.

Not so fast:

Radios for federal firefighters and police officers failed during Monday’s mass shooting at Washington’s Navy Yard, according to union representatives for first responders.

Union officials said police and firefighters resorted to using their cellphones and radios from D.C.’s emergency responders to communicate with each other during the attack. [...]

After the first shootout with the gunman, one officer found his radio’s battery was dead, while another officer could not receive a signal from his radio and was unable to call for help. That forced them to use an officer’s cellphone to call others outside the building, according to Meely. [...]

[Anthony Meely, chairman of the Fraternal Order of Police Naval District Washington (NDW) Labor Committee], who was on the scene at Navy Yard and took part in the search for a potential second shooter, said problems with their radios have been “a known issue” on the base with radio batteries not being able to hold charge and being unable to receive signals inside buildings.

The union representative said he thought it was “sad” that police officers had to use a cellphone to call for help.

Firefighters + police + problems with their radio signals = Disaster-in-waiting. Preventable disaster-in-waiting.

It's 2013. 2001 was twelve years ago. After twelve long years, lives are still at risk from the same type of communication problems that existed on September 11, 2001. This is mind-boggling. And it is also unacceptable.

You'd think fixing something this crucial to the safety of our first responders and those whose lives they try to save would be a priority, wouldn't you?