Thursday, December 11, 2014
BOSTON (Reuters) - Potential Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton said on Thursday she was pleased the U.S. Department of Justice was investigating the recent deaths of unarmed black men in incidents with police.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Wednesday the Department of Justice would launch a civil rights investigation into the chokehold death of Eric Garner in the New York City borough of Staten Island in July.

There is also a federal probe into the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a white policeman in Ferguson, Missouri, in August. Grand juries in both cases decided not to indict the officers involved, sparking protests.

"Our hearts are breaking, and we are asking ourselves: 'Aren’t these our sons, aren’t these our brothers?'" Clinton told the Massachusetts Conference for Women in Boston.

"I’m very pleased the Department of Justice will be investigating what happened in Ferguson, what happened in Staten Island. Those families, those communities, and the country, deserve a full and fair accounting as well as whatever substantive reforms are necessary to ensure equality, justice and respect for every citizen."

She said the events in Ferguson and Staten Island highlighted "some hard truths about race and justice in America." 
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In December, the city of Chicago settled a lawsuit brought by Farmer's estate for $4.1 million without admitting wrongdoing. Still, Cook County prosecutors said their two-year investigation of the shooting showed that Sierra had reason to believe that Farmer was armed and posed a threat of "great bodily harm." They said that although Sierra fired his weapon 16 times, hitting Farmer seven times — including three times in the back — they did not think they could show that the shooting was unreasonable, a key component of proving that Sierra had committed a crime.

"Although Officer Sierra was mistaken in his belief that Flint Farmer had a gun, not every mistake demands the action of the criminal justice system, even when the results are tragic," State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said Tuesday in a letter to McCarthy. In addition to providing the Tribune with the letter to McCarthy, four officials from Alvarez's staff sat down with reporters for three hours to explain the investigation and make a video presentation.

They were: chief of staff Dan Kirk; Jack Blakey, chief of the office's special prosecutions bureau; spokeswoman Sally Daly; and Assistant State's Attorney Nick Trutenko, who conducted the bulk of the investigation. The Tribune ran a front-page story in 2011 raising questions about the shootings by Sierra. The prosecutors said although the videotape of the shooting was damning, showing muzzle flashes and suggesting Sierra stood over Farmer as he shot him in the back, the continued investigation yielded forensic and other evidence that led the prosecutors to conclude that the incident was more complex.
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The shooting is under investigation by the FBI, the Tribune has learned. Together, the three shootings raise questions about the department's efforts to detect and track officers involved in multiple shootings, even over a short period of time.

The shootings also renew long-standing concerns about the department's ability to investigate itself and reinforce the need for independent inquiries. Indeed, the shootings are under investigation by the Independent Police Review Authority, the city agency that independently investigates shootings by police

A 2007 Tribune investigation of a decade's worth of shootings by Chicago police found that the department often cleared officers of wrongdoing after only cursory investigations, even when the officers shot people in the back or from behind. The newspaper's investigation found that officials repeatedly failed to interview key witnesses and consider important forensic evidence in a rush to exonerate officers.

McCarthy told the Tribune the previous administration failed to recognize a pattern in police shootings and had no mechanism to track if officers were repeatedly involved in shootings. He also said the department did not have a system in place to monitor the emotional and psychological state of officers involved in shootings, suggesting they could be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and should be kept off the streets until they are as he shot him in the back, the continued investigation yielded forensic and other evidence that led the prosecutors to conclude that the incident was more complex.
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On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve ordered city attorneys to schedule depositions of McCarthy and Sierra in connection with the third shooting — the subject of a lawsuit brought by a girlfriend of the slain man, Flint Farmer. Roderick Drew, a spokesman for the city's Law Department, said the city is reviewing the ruling.

While responding to a domestic disturbance call last June 7 in the West Englewood neighborhood, Sierra fired 16 shots at Farmer, hitting him seven times, autopsy reports showed. A video camera mounted on a squad car appeared to show Sierra firing three shots as Farmer lay prone. Farmer was unarmed, carrying only a cellphone. The Tribune has reported that the FBI is investigating the shooting.

In court filings, attorney Craig Sandberg, who represents Farmer's girlfriend, made it clear he wants to question McCarthy about his comments about the officer to the Tribune editorial board last October. Without naming Sierra, McCarthy had referred to the case as "a big problem" and said the officer involved shouldn't have been on the street given his history of shootings.

Farmer and his girlfriend had a daughter who was 2 years old at the time of his death Before Farmer's death, Sierra, a patrol officer in the Englewood police district, had wounded a 19-year-old man in a shooting in March 2011 and killed Darius Pinex, 27, in another incident the previous January.
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THE URBAN TRANSLATOR SAYS... This case fits in with the same case that Hillary Clinton is talking about ( Staten Island - Eric Gardner).

The advantage the Mayor has is that he and McCarthy know that this officer is a bad guy and this case is being investigated by the DOJ. He should let the city, the country and the world know in general and the African-American Community in particular,  that he supports Hillary Clinton's call and that he's for an investigation of officer Gildardo Sierra.

It's the right thing to do! It's not an indictment of all the Chicago Police officers, just the ones who are bad cops. Man, if he does this before the holidays and before he takes off to enjoy precious time with his family, it will give hope to a lot of families. They will know that he is about being fair with regard to the people's concerns.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel needs to be “less arrogant and more collaborative,” but he’s still a far better alternative than his two strongest challengers, the City Council’s most powerful African-American alderman said Tuesday.

Ald. Carrie Austin (34th), chairman of the City Council’s Budget Committee, said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle “gave me pause” during the months-long period when Preckwinkle was pointedly refusing to rule out a race for mayor. But once Preckwinkle announced in July that she was not running for mayor, Austin said she had no qualms about supporting Emanuel.

“I believe he's been good for the city. I really, really do — arrogance and all,” Austin said Tuesday. “He’ll tweak some of that after his re-election. I’m sure that he will. I want to be here to help him do that. . . . You have to be a little bit more collaborative. You need to widen your advisory circle. Before you storm off and do things, make sure it’s things — I don’t want to say that race of people, but that unit of people want done. Just like [renaming Stony Island Avenue] for I had an uproar and I never expected that. If nothing else, it should have been put before the church.”

Austin then took aim at Emanuel’s strongest challenger: County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia. She argued that Garcia is a virtual unknown to most African-American voters, even though he was a close ally of the late Mayor Harold Washington whose election as alderman helped end Council Wars and give Washington control over the City Council.Bishop Brazier.

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Four years ago, Rahm Emanuel stood in a packed school gym on the North Side and announced that he would run for mayor of the city he loves because its leaders could no longer avoid making difficult decisions.

“The choices we make in the next few years will define Chicago for future generations,” he declared. “They will determine whether we remain a world-class city—or fall back.” Four years later, Mr. Emanuel, now 54, is seeking a second term with the pitch that he has done just that—tackling underfunded worker pensions, establishing a longer school day, cutting wasteful spending, slashing red tape and finding the money to revitalize public transit.

“We have laid a foundation,” he says in a recent interview in his City Hall office. “We are farther along getting to the other side than we are to going back to our bad set of practices.” But how far is that? How much has Chicago's flinty-eyed Energizer bunny of a mayor actually moved the city? The answer: More than some may think, but not as far as Mr. Emanuel would like, hobbled in part by his own polarizing style. To assess Mr. Emanuel's progress,

Crain's studied a wide range of data about the city's performance under this mayor, examining population, crime and employment figures, and zoning in on pension, debt and other financial measures. 
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THE URBAN TRANSLATOR SAYS...  I'm not a Johnny come lately to this movement against Bad Cops in general and the murder of Flint Farmer by officer Gildardo Sierra in particular;
A dozen protesters demanded that Alvarez resign or be removed from office by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle over her decision this week not to prosecute Gildardo Sierra in the 2011 shooting death of Flint Farmer.

The city agreed to a $4 million settlement earlier this year on that case, but Alvarez declined to file criminal charges. "It's real, real crazy," said Emmett Farmer, the victim's father, outside the Dunne Building during Friday's demonstration. In the six months prior to that incident, Sierra shot two others while on duty and killed one of them. He is now on an "administrative assignment," according to Chicago Police Department spokesman Adam Collins, pending a final finding by the Independent Police Review Authority.

Sierra's original report said he believed Flint Farmer had a gun, which turned out to be a cellphone. Emmett Farmer said that didn't explain dashboard video showing Sierra "shooting him while he was lying down defenseless." "We are asking that the United States government investigate Anita Alvarez, the State's Attorney's Office, and ask her the question why she's engaged in the cover-up of police torture and police murders," said Wallace "Gator" Bradley of the group United in Peace.

"This is not the end," Farmer said. "We want Attorney Alvarez to resign or we want Toni Preckwinkle to impeach her. We want her out of office. And then we want to take this to the federal grand jury." 
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THE URBAN TRANSLATOR SAYS... The world is speaking out and this country is screaming because there is a solution,
NEW YORK (AP) — From the White House to the streets of some of America's biggest cities, the New York chokehold case converged with the Ferguson shooting and investigations out of South Carolina and Cleveland to stir a national conversation Thursday about racial justice and police use of force.

A day after a grand jury cleared a white New York City officer in the death of a black man, civil rights leaders pinned their hopes on a promised federal investigation. Thousands of demonstrators protested for a second night in New York, with multiple arrests reported.

They carried replicas of coffins across the Brooklyn Bridge, and blocked traffic on bridges, tunnels and major thoroughfares. Protesters also turned out in such cities as Denver, Detroit and Minneapolis. And politicians and others talked about the need for better police training, body cameras and changes in the grand jury process to restore faith in the legal system.

"A whole generation of officers will be trained in a new way," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed as he and his police commissioner outlined previously announced plans to teach officers how to communicate better with people on the street. President Barack Obama weighed in, saying one of the chief issues at stake is "making sure that people have confidence that police and law enforcement and prosecutors are serving everybody equally."

Even before the decision in the Eric Garner case came down, racial tensions were running high because of last week's grand jury decision not to charge a white officer in the shooting death of black 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
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Ordinance to be introduced banning chokeholds in Chicago
Posted: 12/08/2014, 10:48am | Michael Sneed
Sneed hears four City Council aldermen led by Ald. Ed Burke (14th), will introduce an ordinance today making Chicago a no-choke city. Translation: Banning the use of chokeholds in Chicago. The ordinance, which is being backed by Ald. Michelle Harris (8th), Ald. Carrie Austin (34th) and Ald. Will Burns (4th), will ban the use of a chokehold not only be Chicago cops but any private security guard or private detective who comes into contact with people they plan to detain or arrest.

It will be introduced this morning and go directly to the finance committee, which Burke chairs. Burke is praising a story by Sun-Times columnist Rick Telander, who wrote about basketball great Derrick Rose’s decision to wear a shirt reading “I can’t breathe” during warm ups before the Bulls game Saturday.
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THE URBAN TRANSLATOR SAYS... I am not against the Chicago Police Department , I do believe in fair law enforcement but I'm against BAD Police who uses the enforcement of law to cover-up their crimes. This video got almost 5 million views and close to 200,000 shares :
We Charge Genocide is a grassroots, inter-generational, volunteer effort to center the voices and experiences of young people disproportionately targeted by police and impacted by police violence, in Chicago.

We offer a vehicle for necessary organizing to resist police violence in Chicago, aimed at social transformation. The name, We Charge Genocide, comes from a petition filed to the United Nations in 1951 that documented 153 racial killings and other human rights abuses across the United States, mostly by the local police.

Today, police violence in Chicago continues to violate human rights principles—seen in the daily harassment, abuse, and targeting of youth of color by Chicago police. Following the legacy of our name, We Charge Genocide has submitted a report to the United Nations Committee Against Torture, "Police Violence Against Chicago’s Youth of Color."

The report reveals the disturbing and intolerable truth that police officers regularly engage in torture. Specifically, the Chicago Police Department is in violation of Articles 2, 10, 11, 12, 13 & 14 of the Convention of Torture, through the cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of youth of color in Chicago. To many an American the police are the government, certainly its most visible representative.
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GENEVA — A U.N. anti-torture panel that is investigating the United States said Friday it was deeply concerned by what it described as the high incidence of police brutality and shootings — especially against African-Americans — in the U.S., was troubled by what it called harsh conditions in many prisons and was worried about the interrogation methods used on detainees.

The experts on the United Nations panel called for declassifying evidence of torture by the U.S. — in particular Guantanamo Bay detainees' accounts — and declassifying and promptly releasing, with minimal redactions, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's report about the CIA's secret detention and interrogation program.

"We express concern at the reported current police violence in Chicago, especially against African-American and Latino young people, and deep concern at the frequent and recurrent police shootings or fatal pursuit of unarmed black individuals," said Alessio Bruni, a member of the panel and a lead investigator in the review of U.S. compliance with the 1984 Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment. The U.S. ratified the 156-member-country convention in 1994. Bruni, an Italian, said the 10-member panel recommended "that all instances of police brutality and excessive use of force by law enforcement officers are investigated promptly, effectively and impartially by an independent mechanism with no institutional or hierarchical connection between the investigators and the alleged perpetrators." On Nov. 12-13, nearly 30 senior officials from the U.S. Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security, along with the attorney general of Mississippi, presented evidence and were examined by the U.N. panel. The session was part of the periodic review of U.S. compliance with the anti-torture convention. The U.S. was last reviewed in May 2006.
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THE URBAN TRANSLATOR SAYS... Urban/ Public Safety Agenda : " Fund trade schools; open certification programs at CPS schools citywide; create job opportunities through abandoned housing financing & rehabbing; model safe zones across city; advance in-school motivational speaking to troubled youth populations by anti-violence groups (UIPI); foster job training & placement with city businesses; fund community patrols.
Chicago City Council Approves Emanuel’s $8.9 Billion Budget
Aldermen demand diversity from financial firms tied to bond deals
Zoning Committee Approves Softer Crackdown on Medical Marijuana
THE URBAN TRANSLATOR SAYS... "EX-FELONS and people who have been arrested or ticketed for drugs need to read the Illinois State law on who will be able to get treatment."   United in Peace Inc. community group President Wallace "Gator" Bradley, who spoke in support of the regulations during Thursday's hearing said he is glad Burke and Solis have been proactive in dealing with public-safety issues related to the facilities. "I think what happened in Colorado is pretty much a blessing for the city of Chicago because you know what to expect so you know to prepare for the inevitable," he told the Daily Whale.
Council Committee Approves Medical Marijuanna Facility Rules If Chicago police have video of teen shooting, let's see it: advocates Six ways Democrats lose out in the 2015 spending bill
Mayor challenges Willie Wilson petition signatures
Mayor Emanuel Challenges Opponent Willie Wilson's Petitions
THE URBAN TRANSLATOR SAYS... I find strange that Wilson's attorney would say that a challenge to Mr. Wilson's signature is racist. It's the rules of the game! I agree with 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett,  “It’s not about race, it’s about either you are capable and qualified to run for office or you’re not,” Burnett said. “And the qualifications to run for office are you have to have good signatures, you have to have good circulators and you have to get on the ballot.”
Gadfly's about-face changed complexion of mayoral race
Labor leader cries foul over $250K to Garcia mayoral fund
THE URBAN TRANSLATOR SAYS... After reading Congressman Davis' statement, saying he initially supported Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) then Cook County Comm. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, whom he has known since activist Rudy Lozano was killed, who was his “next guy,” Rep. Davis announced his firm support for Dr. Wilson’s campaign.

I’m here because of Willie Wilson. If somebody else were running, Davis said he probably wouldn’t be there. It appears that he has lost confidence in Alderman Bob Fioretti and Commissioner Jesus " Chuy" Garcia. At the end of the day, only Mayor Rahm Emmanuel has the advantage to implement an inclusive Urban/Public Safety Agenda within the next 60 days. The other candidates can only tell you what they would like to do in the form of a campaign promise.
" This is why I'm going with the Mayor in the February 24, 2015 elections". Sam Adam Jr. forms exploratory committee to run for state’s attorney
New City Treasurer unveils 90-day plan to boost local investments
Naming successor to Topinka could prove a bumpy road
THE URBAN TRANSLATOR SAYS... JUDY BARR TOPINKA was a great woman, and she will be surly missed.
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