Thought Candy:

(2) lollypopThe politicians and the media have made a big ado about the militarization of our police forces. It all comes from the events that occurred after the tragic death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. There riots broke out and some of the police used military like equipment to put down the riots. Not mentioned in all of the lamenting over the actions of the police is that not one person was seriously hurt nor did anyone die because of the manner in which the police dealt with the situation.

Here’s today’s candy for thought:

“Would that same result have come about had the police not been militarized?”  

6 thoughts on “Thought Candy:

  1. Right Matt!
    It is like asking if the FBI can do it’s job without informants,eh?

    Courthouse News Service
    Monday, August 25, 2014Last Update: 4:42 PM PT

    FBI Informant Wins Retrial for Aiding Arson

    http://www.courthousenews.com/2014/08/25/70733.htm

    An FBI informant was improperly convicted for driving Staten Island mobsters to set a house on fire because the trial court improperly excluded a recording of an agent assuring him he’d done nothing wrong, the 2nd Circuit ruled.
    In January 2006, Volkan Mergen, a paid FBI informant operating inside mob families since, warned the agency that a crew on Staten Island was planning an arson.
    Special Agent Anthony Zampogna, Mergen’s then-supervisor, told him that he could not participate in the arson and that the FBI would do whatever was necessary to prevent it, even ending his role as an informant.
    The FBI further instructed Mergen to call Special Agent Lauren Regucci, posing as his girlfriend, and say the code phrase “I’m running late” shortly before the arson was to occur.
    But conversations Mergen recorded leading up to the arson show that he passed up opportunities to warn the FBI, according to the agency.
    Indeed, after Mergen drove to the target, crewmember Joseph Young ran out of the car, firebombed the house, and together they drove away in the wee hours of Jan. 27, 2006.
    Minutes later, Young left Mergen’s car, and the informant called and alerted Agent Zampogna that “[t]hey” had committed the arson.
    By the time firefighters put out the fire, the homeowner had suffered cardiac arrest.
    Zampogna later testified that he and Agent Regucci were unaware the arson would occur.
    On June 5, 2006, Mergen signed a cooperation agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in June in which he pleaded guilty to a Travel Act offense for buying gas for the arson in New Jersey.
    The government, in return, handed Mergen a “substantial assistance” sentencing letter, and tolled the statute of limitations for several other prosecutions based on, among other things, his statements to the feds, his testimony, or leads he provided.
    But when Mergen breached that contract months later by falsely denying knowledge about a $75 theft of three watches, the feds decided to without the sentencing letter and said he must also plead to a false statement charge.
    When Mergen refused, the government charged him with the Travel Act offense, drug distribution, attempted robbery, firearm possession, and related conspiracies.
    At trial, the feds used Mergen’s own recordings and testimony from witnesses Mergen had ensnared, while Mergen, the sole defense witness, testified that prior to the arson, the FBI said that everything was “under control,” and he feared being caught and killed by the mob.
    After six days of trial, a jury convicted Mergen on all counts, and he was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
    But the 2nd Circuit reversed the convictions and remanded the case for retrial Thursday, despite finding that Mergen failed to show that he was implicitly authorized to partake in the arson.
    “[T]he district court erred by excluding, on hearsay and authentication grounds, a recording in which an FBI agent assured Mergen that he had done nothing wrong in connection with the underlying arson,” U.S. Circuit Judge Dennis Jacobs wrote for a three-judge panel.
    Jacobs added: “The jury heard only Agent Wright’s testimony (originally solicited by the prosecution) that Agent Wright was of the consistent view that Mergen was criminally culpable; impeachment evidence that would have subverted that view was withheld from the factfinder. ‘In a case … that depends on whether the jury believes the word of the defendant versus the word of an FBI agent, exclusion of such impeachment evidence is not harmless error.'” (Parentheses in original).
    The court also reversed Mergen’s remaining convictions, holding that “the wording of Mergen’s cooperation agreement did not toll the (expired) statute of limitations for those offenses.” (Parentheses in original).

    1. MSFREEH: It sounds like Whitey’s appeal could hang its hat on that last sentence: The court also reversed Mergen’s remaining convictions, holding that “the wording of Mergen’s cooperation agreement did not toll the (expired) statute of limitations for those offenses.” (Parentheses in original). Remember, Whitey’s judge would not even allow any mention of O’Sullivan’s promises to Whitey allegedly holding him blameless.

  2. By Walter E. Williams
    Blacks Must Confront Reality

    Though racial discrimination exists, it is nowhere near the barrier it once was. The relevant question is: How much of what we see today can be explained by racial discrimination? This is an important question because if we conclude that racial discrimination is the major cause of black problems when it isn’t, then effective solutions will be elusive forever. To begin to get a handle on the answer, let’s pull up a few historical facts about black Americans.

    In 1950, female-headed households were 18 percent of the black population. Today it’s close to 70 percent. One study of 19th-century slave families found that in up to three-fourths of the families, all the children lived with the biological mother and father. In 1925 New York City, 85 percent of black households were two-parent households. Herbert Gutman, author of “The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom, 1750-1925,” reports, “Five in six children under the age of six lived with both parents.” Also, both during slavery and as late as 1920, a teenage girl raising a child without a man present was rare among blacks.

    A study of 1880 family structure in Philadelphia found that three-quarters of black families were nuclear families (composed of two parents and children). What is significant, given today’s arguments that slavery and discrimination decimated the black family structure, is the fact that years ago, there were only slight differences in family structure among racial groups.
    Coupled with the dramatic breakdown in the black family structure has been an astonishing growth in the rate of illegitimacy. The black illegitimacy rate in 1940 was about 14 percent; black illegitimacy today is over 70 percent, and in some cities, it is over 80 percent.

    The point of bringing up these historical facts is to ask this question, with a bit of sarcasm: Is the reason the black family was far healthier in the late 1800s and 1900s that back then there was far less racial discrimination and there were greater opportunities? Or did what experts call the “legacy of slavery” wait several generations to victimize today’s blacks?

    The Census Bureau pegs the poverty rate among blacks at 28.1 percent.

    A statistic that one never hears about is that the poverty rate among intact married black families has been in the single digits for more than two decades, currently at 8.4 percent. Weak family structures not only spell poverty and dependency but also contribute to the social pathology seen in many black communities — for example, violence and predatory sex. Each year, roughly 7,000 blacks are murdered. Ninety-four percent of the time, the murderer is another black person. Though blacks are 13 percent of the nation’s population, they account for more than 50 percent of homicide victims. Nationally, the black homicide victimization rate is six times that of whites, and in some cities, it’s 22 times that of whites. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between 1976 and 2011, there were 279,384 black murder victims. Coupled with being most of the nation’s homicide victims, blacks are also major victims of violent personal crimes, such as assault, rape and robbery.

    To put this violence in perspective, black fatalities during the Korean War (3,075), Vietnam War (7,243) and all wars since 1980 (about 8,200) come to about 18,500, a number that pales in comparison with black loss of life at home. Young black males had a greater chance of reaching maturity on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan than on the streets of Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Oakland, Newark and other cities.

    The black academic achievement gap is a disaster. Often, black 12th-graders can read, write and deal with scientific and math problems at only the level of white sixth-graders. This doesn’t bode well for success in college or passing civil service exams.
    If it is assumed that problems that have a devastating impact on black well-being are a result of racial discrimination and a “legacy of slavery” when they are not, resources spent pursuing a civil rights strategy will yield disappointing results.

  3. Henri Barth & Matt: Blacks served and were killed and wounded in Vietnam at the exact same percentage as their representation in the general public. (About 11-12% then). Black Servicemen and Women have always made exemplary soldiers; equal to all other races and/or ethnic groups. In World War I, the most highly decorated fighting outfit was the Harlem Hellfighters (all black); in WWII the most highly decorated for its size (battalion I recall) was an all Japanese-American regiment (?) that stormed Italy’s Mount Casino to rescue a Texas regiment trapped there. 2. The breakdown in all families and the sky-rocketing rise of Illigitmacy in white, latino (white and black) black (African-American) and Native-American families can be traced to the FEDs allowing drugs to saturate our communities then arresting those who traffick in or use drugs. IT’S DRUGS that’s decimating Americans and destroying the American family—and the WALL STREET FAT CATS and DC LOBBYISTS AND BANKERS who skim the Drug Trade, and the Pols they subsidize, just keep getting Fatter. DRUGS. DRUG, A FOUR LETTER WORD AND IT’S NOT PLAY.

    1. Bill: This just in from the Maine Whisper Stream.

      http://hiphopwired.com/2014/08/25/black-filmmaker-wrongfully-gets-arrested-beverly-hills-photos/

      Black Filmmaker Wrongfully Gets Arrested In Beverly Hills [PHOTOS]
      charles-belk-arrest-fe

      The scrutiny that law enforcement all across the country is facing as of late is the underlying stereotype that all Black people look alike and fit the description of the common criminal.

      Unfortunately the latest case involving acclaimed producer and filmmaker Charles Belk does little to dispel that notion of racist cops running amuck on their respective forces.

      This is his story via Facebook:

      It’s one of those things that you hear about, but never think it would happen to you.

      On Friday afternoon, August 22nd around 5:20pm, while innocently walking by myself from a restaurant on Wilshire Blvd, to my car up LaCienega Blvd my freedom was taken from me by the Beverly Hills Police Department.

      Within seconds, I was detained and told to sit on the curb of the very busy street, during rush hour traffic.

      Within minutes, I was surrounded by 6 police cars, handcuffed very tightly, fully searched for weapons, and placed back on the curb.

      Within an hour, I was transported to the Beverly Hills Police Headquarters, photographed, finger printed and put under a $100,000 bail and accused of armed bank robbery and accessory to robbery of a Citibank.

      Within an evening, I was wrongly arrested, locked up, denied a phone call, denied explanation of charges against me, denied ever being read my rights, denied being able to speak to my lawyer for a lengthy time, and denied being told that my car had been impounded…..All because I was mis-indentified as the wrong “tall, bald head, black male,” … “fitting the description.”

      I get that the Beverly Hills Police Department didn’t know at the time that I was a law abiding citizen of the community and that in my 51 years of existence, had never been handcuffed or arrested for any reason. All they saw, was someone fitting the description. Doesn’t matter if he’s a “Taye Diggs BLACK”, a “LL Cool J BLACK”, or “a Drake BLACK”

      I get that the Beverly Hills Police Department didn’t know that I was an award nominated and awarding winning business professional, most recently being recognized by the Los Angeles Business Journal at their Nonprofit & Corporate Citizenship Awards. They didn’t need to because, they saw someone fitting the description.

      I get that the Beverly Hills Police Department didn’t know that I was a well educated American citizen that had received a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California, an MBA from Indiana University (including a full Consortium Fellowship to business school) and an Executive Leadership Certificate from Harvard Business School. Hey, I was “tall”, “bald”, a “male” and “black”, so I fit the description.

      I get that the Beverly Hills Police Department didn’t know that I was a Consultant for the NAACP, a film and tv producer, a previous VP of Marketing for a wireless application company, VP of Integrated Promotions for a marketing agency, ran Community Affairs for the Atlanta Hawks, was the Deputy Director of Olympic Village Operations for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, was a Test/Quality/Mfg Engineering Manager for IBM and was a Bond Trader on Wall street. Surely, folks that fit the description wouldn’t qualify as any of those.

      I get that the Beverly Hills Police Department didn’t know that throughout my entire life I have been very active in serving the communities that I have lived in, including Chapter President and National PR Chair for NSBE, a USC Student Senator, a USC Trojan Knight, a USC Engineering Student Council Member, a USC Black Students Council Member, and a Resident Assistant; as well as a founding board member of the RTP NBMBAA, a member of Durham County Transportation Advisory Board, Durham City / County Planning Commission, Atlanta House of Love for the Homeless Board, Cobb County Transportation Advisory Board, Georgia CASA Board, United Way of Greater Atlanta VIP Selection Committee, Jomandi Theater Board, Silver Lake Film Festival Board, Downtown LA Film Festival Board, Chaka Khan Foundation Fundraising Dinner Committee, and the USC Black Alumni Association Board. Nawl, not a “black male”, especially a “tall, bald” one.

      I get that the Beverly Hills Police Department didn’t know that just hours earlier, I was at one of the finest hotels in their city, handling celebrity talent at a Emmy Awards Gifting Suite, as part of business as usual, and, invited to attend a VIP Emmy pre-party that very night in their city. The guy doing that, just DON”T fit the description.

      What I don’t get………WHAT I DON”T GET, is, why, during the 45 minutes that they had me on the curb, handcuffed in the sun, before they locked me up and took away my civil rights, that they could not simply review the ATM and bank’s HD video footage to clearly see that the “tall, bald headed, black male”… did not fit MY description.

      Why, at 11:59pm (approximately 6 hours later), was the video footage reviewed only after my request to the Lead Detective for the Beverly Hills Police Department and an FBI Agent to do so, and, after being directly accused by another FBI Special Agent of “…going in and out of the bank several times complaining about the ATM Machine to cause a distraction…” thereby aiding in the armed robbery attempt of a bank that I never heard of, or ever been to; and within 10 minutes……10 MINUTES, my lawyer was told that I was being release because it was clear that it was not me.

      The sad thing is, prior to my freedom being taken from me for an easily proven crime I did not commit, I was walking back to my car, by myself, because I needed to check my parking meter, so that I wouldn’t get a ticket and break the law. In fact, if it wasn’t for a text message that I was responding to, I would have actually been running up LaCienega Blvd when the first Beverly Hills Police Officer approached me. Running!

      I want to thank GOD, Robin Lola Harrison of the NAACP Hollywood Bureau, Robert Dowdy and Attorney Jaaye Person-Lynn , without whom, I am certain that I would still be locked up in the custody of the Beverly Hills Police Department. Based on comments made by a Beverly Hills Police Officer during my booking, and an FBI Special Agent, it appeared that they had tried and convicted me.

      To everyone, especial black males (regardless of height, hair style or particular shade of “black”) – Hari Williams, Michael Marcel, Reginald L Shaw, Shawn Carter Peterson, Devon Libran, Aaron D Spears, Cedric Sanders, Cornelius Smith Jr, Catfish Jean, Ashford Thomas, Drew McCaskill, Carlton Jordan, Jawn Murray, AS Lee, Bertrand L Roberson Sr, Deron Benjamin, Hawk Oau, James Alan Belk, Juhahn Jones, Darryl Dunning II, Darrin Dewitt Henson, Stephen Bishop, Logan Alexander, Brandon Dmico Anderson, Jon Covington, Lamar Stewart, David Mitchell, Gerald Andre Radford, Gerald Edwin Rush II, Gerald Yates, etal, – I have always stayed as far away from being on the wrong side of the law as much as possible; so please, be careful. If something like this can happen to ME, it can certainly happen to ANYONE!

      Time has come for a change in the way OUR law enforcement officers “serve and protect” us.

      We all do not, FIT THE DESCRIPTION.

      Peace and Blessings…

      Scroll through the pictures below to see how big of a mistake the LAPD lite actually made.

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