Ruling the anti-SLAPP law unconstitutional, Supreme Court sent lawsuit back to Thurston
The ongoing lawsuit aimed at forcing the Olympia Food Co-op to rescind its boycott of Israeli products continued with a hearing on October 2nd in front of Thurston County Superior Court Judge Erik D. Price. The hearing concluded with the granting of limited discovery and the issuance of a stay on depositions until the court resolves the defendants’ motion to dismiss the case.
The lawsuit was originally filed in September 2011 when five plaintiffs, purporting to represent the whole of the Olympia Food Co-op membership, sued sixteen current and former members of the Co-op’s board of directors. The lawsuit seeks to overturn the Co-op’s 2010 decision to boycott Israeli products until the state abides by international law and acknowledges full and equal rights for Palestinians.
Those who filed the lawsuit have claimed to only take issue with the process through which the boycott was implemented, arguing that the board of directors acted outside of the powers allotted to them when they reached consensus to observe the boycott and implement it at the Co-op stores. Other developments, however, suggest that the backlash over the boycott stems from the fact that it targets Israel, and is not related to disagreements over process.
Prior to the filing of the lawsuit, the now plaintiffs sent a threatening letter to those they would eventually sue, demanding that they “cooperate” to “rescind the Israel Boycott and Divestment policies.” The letter dictated further, “If you do what we demand, this situation may be resolved amicably and efficiently” or else the signatories of the letter would “bring legal action” that they threatened would “become considerably more complicated, burdensome, and expensive…” The lawsuit has been filed as an alternative to more democratic options that exist for those wishing to challenge the boycott, such as a member-initiated ballot procedure provided by the Co-op’s bylaws.
In February 2012, the lawsuit was dismissed under anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) legislation and the plaintiffs were ordered to pay attorney fees and restitution as stipulated by the anti-SLAPP law. The law itself was implemented in order to discourage frivolous lawsuits aimed at silencing free speech. Subsequently, in April 2014 the Washington State Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision. It wasn’t until a hearing before the State Supreme Court in May 2015, during which the anti-SLAPP legislation was deemed unconstitutional, that the case was remanded back to Superior Court. While Israel advocacy groups characterized the Supreme Court’s decision as a victory against the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS), the decision did not address the legality of the Co-op’s action, or the legitimacy of the boycott, but was rather a ruling only on the constitutionality of the anti-SLAPP law.
Perhaps the most troubling aspect of the lawsuit has been the revelation of significant involvement from outside forces, including national Israel advocacy groups and even the Israeli government itself. As Phan Nguyen has meticulously documented in outlets such as Mondoweiss, internal documents from the international organization StandWithUs show the group’s integral role in formulating the lawsuit, even though the group’s leadership has publicly denied its involvement. Even more important, however, is that the documents show active coordination between StandWithUs and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including a secret meeting in March 2011 with then Israeli Consul General Akiva Tor and the eventual plaintiffs, during which the prospects of a lawsuit were discussed. After denying direct involvement for several years, the Supreme Court decision appears to have emboldened StandWithUs, who have since openly admitted to providing a $400,000 bond to ensure that the case would be heard by the Supreme Court.
The next hearing in the lawsuit will take place on February 19, 2016, when the court will rule on the defendants’ motion for dismissal.
Andrew Meyer is Policy Analyst and Communications Manager for the Rachel Corrie Foundation and is a research assistant at The Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures. Follow him on Twitter @littlofalot
The Market With a Heart is patient-friendly alternative to corporate cannabis
Olympia is fortunate to have The Market with a Heart (TMWAH), an eastside medical marijuana (MMJ) farmer’s market held at Pauli G’s Deli and Pool Hall on Devoe Street every Sunday from 11-5. Patients or their direct providers who have MMJ authorization and are over 21 can access medications directly from growers and processors, most of whom are also experienced patients. More than just a venue, TMWAH is also a meeting place where caring happens and friendships are made.
Unfortunately, this small market is threatened by legislation designed to funnel patients into the 502 system, which is not yet designed to serve patients. Besides their medication being taxed, the legislature is prohibiting language describing the potential health benefits of cannabis. This will make it harder for patients to get the information they need. Kristi Weeks of the Washington State Department of Health is quoted by the Olympian as saying, “We believe marijuana is marijuana and the only difference between medical and recreational is the intent of the user.”
While on the surface that may appear to be true, it is not. Intent is not the only difference; patients often have complicated needs that go far beyond recreational users desire for a good buzz. Some patients are not even interested in cannabis’ psychoactive actions, and many use other cannabis products in multiple forms, such as topicals, for multiple purposes. Higher prices at 502 stores can be a challenge for those with low incomes, which due to their disability, is often the situation of patients with the greatest medical needs.
Paul Girard’s TMWAH is the place for those patients. Girard, a cancer survivor who credits cannabis for keeping him cancer free, opened the market “to give back to the patients and vendors who [had] been fighting so hard to make [cannabis] legal.” They include Lee Newbury, a glass artist and regular vendor, who formed the first chapter of NORML in Washington state, and worked on initiatives in 1996, 1997 and 1998, when MMJ was allowed in the state.
Vendors at TMWAH are well informed and willing to spend time with patients helping them determine the right cannabis therapy for them. A wide range of products are available besides flower: natural concentrates, capsules, Rick Simpson oil, coconut oil for cooking, tinctures, topicals and clones for the DIYer. Peggy Button, who vends weekly, carries Green Goop as well as hard to find full plant extracts and powders. Lee Newbury sells functional glassware, including dab units, at a reasonable cost and will also do special orders. Sometimes even the CannaFairy visits with cannabis themed gifts and accessories.
“I can’t thank all the lovely, caring and knowledgeable vendors enough,” says Linda Yeager, a patient who, following a car accident, was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, Raynaud’s Syndrome, osteo-arthritis and other conditions. Yeager, who lives off of disability payments, said discovering the market has helped both her budget and her ability to use fewer traditional pain medications which were “hard on [her] kidneys, liver and stomach.”
Do you know where your cannabis comes from?
Just as at a traditional farmer’s market, patients can talk to the grower and be assured their medications were grown with best practices. State regulations allow certain pesticides to be used without consumer labeling on cannabis sold in 502 stores. Many people who are ill need to avoid as many pesticides as possible and find security in having direct relationships with their suppliers.
In turn, working directly with patients allows vendors to incorporate feedback into their product selection. Currently a trend is toward lower THC cannabis in order to decrease intoxication and raise the anti-inflammatory and pain killing aspect of the plant. These strains can be harder to grow and hence riskier and sometimes less profitable in terms of yield. The Olympia Cannabis Company, a TMWAH vendor who grows organically, often carries higher CBD plants such as Harlequin, Cashy’s Honey and Remedy, both in clones and dried flower. OCC also specializes in strains reported to help pain and PTSD, as well as working with land race genetics.
TMWAH is also vendor-friendly. New vendors are always welcome, as long as they also have MMJ authorization and are over 21. In the interest of connecting patients with medication and keeping overhead low, Girard has a sliding scale for vendors: tables are either a flat rate of $80 or 20% of donations, whichever is less.
Out of the green closet
Another benefit of the market for both patients and vendors is the chance to collaborate, organize or just socialize. For many people who are seriously ill, the market is a place to find others who are sympathetic to their struggles. TMWAH is like a family, celebrating birthdays and other holidays, and welcoming newcomers with a friendly vibe.
Again, like regular Sunday markets, tasty lunches are available. Pauli G’s is also a deli and has some of the best subs in the city. Priced at a reasonable $12, including chips and a can of soda, is the infamous Glenroy—pepperoni, roast beef and turkey with pizza cheese and Italian dressing. There is no pool playing on Sunday, but since Pauli’s is a sports bar, the Seahawks game is shown on multiple screens. There is also a weekly raffle at 4:20 with a generous prize package containing vendor donations.
After years of living with drug war paranoia, it is liberating for patients and vendors to finally be able to assemble in an open and visible manner, freely sharing knowledge and cannabis. Under state regulations, the raffle would be prohibited and sampling is tightly controlled. Despite being legal, cannabis is far from free in terms of a producer being able to share their product or a customer being able to try a product before buying.
Still, gone are the days of talking in code, these are now the days of knowing a specific plant’s genetic code. Cannabis preparations and their use are growing in sophistication and a mass experiment in lay epidemiology is occurring at the grassroots level as vendors and patients learn what works best for what conditions. Because of federal regulations and the near inability to get approval and funds to do formal research, what is happening in places like Washington, Oregon and Colorado will become an institutional base of knowledge influencing the direction that cannabis research will take in the future.
There is also politics, and TMWAH has an element of libertine philosophy to it. Many in the MMJ community resent the incursion of corporate money into the subculture, especially those who took the early risks and who find their livelihoods in peril due to the legal market’s regulatory zeal. These pioneers simply do not have the capital and other resources to participate at the level the state is requiring. Places such as TMWAH gives disabled patients a chance to run a microbusiness to supplement their income, or as is often the case, to subsidize the cost of their own medication.
Corporate cannabis sees these small businesses as a competitive threat, but the real threat is not the current collective gardens, but growers and distributors who remain in the black market. They are not as easy a target, but closing collectives and markets will only encourage more entrenched black market activity by driving patients and providers back underground, which ultimately serves neither. The free exchange that came as a result of legalization may now be extinguished by it.
The future is uncertain for small growers and processors. Big changes, including a never before required rule making patients register with the state in order to avoid sales tax, are going to be implemented to the MMJ system in July 2016. These laws are being challenged, but are expected to go into effect. It is doubtful that the 502 market will have a heart as big as Paul Girard’s and all of the others found at TMWAH.
Candace Mercer is an artist/writer/activist who has lived in Olympia for 20 years. She has worked with the Thurston- Mason Crisis Clinic, Northwest Justice Project, Olympia Rafah Sister City Project and The Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice. She has written for Dissident Voice, electronic intifada and weedist.com.
Market With a Heart is open Sundays from 11 am to 5pm. You must be 21, have photo ID, and a current MMJ authorization.
Pauli G’s Pool Hall and Deli
527 Devoe St NE in Olympia
Market With a Heart has a Facebook page and, for more information, email email@example.com
When I saw the pictures of two teenagers, Turner Lupton and Nicholas Ross, on the front page of the September 16, 2015 issue of The Wewoka Times arrested on a marijuana charge, I was revolted, because of the disaster this can be to their young lives.
I am 84 years old and have never smoked marijuana or taken any illegal drugs in my lifetime. Yet, when I see such dumb, stupid laws still on the books that fill our jails with people who have harmed no one, not even themselves, because of a harmless plant that George Washington is believed to have once raised as a farm product, I am disgusted with the stupidity of it. This is an action that only fills the pockets of the prison-industrial complex. We should be growing hemp that can be used for many industrial products.
We saw what happened with prohibition a couple of generations ago. It created a crime cartel we are still fighting. Have we learned nothing? I am ashamed that Oklahoma still arrests these two young folks and probably set them on a lifetime of crime. Instead we pat a cop on the back for such an arrest that benefits the prison-industrial complex. Sure he has done his duty but why do we still have such laws on the books that, like prohibition, have created a criminal industry?
We must change the laws that are feeding the prison industrial complex or change the lawmakers who fail to act and yet still tolerate the real criminals, brokers and banksters on Wall Street who have done so much more damage to our people. While we are at it, for the sake of justice, why don’t we do away with the death penalty that causes too many innocent people to perish because of career climbers trying to make a name? We need a panel of professionals with citizen oversight to review the cases of all those in prison. Those deemed no longer a danger to society should be released to half-way-houses for training and rehabilitation to society. Also let’s do away with private prisons that make money on people’s misery. Incarceration is a state responsibility that should be answerable to our elected representatives, not private corporations. The money saved on housing prisoners could be used for education that cuts down on the number of people who go to prison. As children are trained, so they become.
Both the Democrat and Republican parties have become corporate toadies that have passed laws so that these financial crooks can get away with their crimes. We must get rid of the warmongers and corporate toadies and put new people in office that will look after the people’s interest.
Let’s not demonize our kids who may think that smoking weed is cool. Consider the effect that their identification with names and photos on the front page of the newspaper will have on their future. We need to support young people in the criminal justice system and help them to turn their lives around. Let’s hope these kids, Lupton and Ross, get an understanding judge who will not spoil the rest of their lives.
In 2013, a Spokane initiative to the people was filed that would have allowed voters to approve four demands:
The measure qualified to go on the ballot; however, a cabal of corporations and corporate front people used the courts to block the people’s vote.
Now, after that block was overturned in January of this year and the cabal again appealed, the matter goes to the Supreme Court. This will be the final word on whether a Community Rights Ordinance has the same right as all other ordinances to proceed to the people once it receives its quota of signature.
All such Ordinances contain an element of civil disobedience, but they are in the people’s interest and we say the corporate interests which would lose out should not have the right to block them.
Kai Huschke will also be coming to Olympia. He’s our contact in the Community Rights movement and a leader of the Spokane Community Rights initiative.
We can follow what happens
On November 9, there will be a pre-hearing orientation from 6 to 8 pm at the MIXX 96 Meeting Room (near State and Washington in downtown Olympia). Kai will give us an overview of the case and its issues, as well as what’s happening in the movement across the country and in Spokane.
On November 10, the hearing will take place from 9 to 11 am in the Temple of Justice.
After the hearing, we can meet for a post-mortem from 11:30 to 1:00 in the Columbia Room of the Legislative Building. This would be to analyze the hearing and to talk about the road ahead for Washington regarding community rights and the right of local community self-government. (That room is next to the Cafeteria; we can bring food over if we want.)
All are welcome to the hearing and the community meetings.
For addition information, go to the Envison Spokane website:
Janet Jordan is an active member of the Green Party of South Puget Sound.
The post Spokane’s Community Rights movement will defend itself before the Supreme Court on November 10 appeared first on Works in Progress.
Who really won the first Democratic primary debate?
I’m a Berning man, and throughout the debate, was excited to see our underdog candidate given the same airtime and exposure as ‘front-runner’ Hillary Clinton. Many of my fellow Berners were surprised after CNN’s first debate, however, when almost all media coverage declared Hillary Clinton the winner, despite poll numbers from almost every independent poll showing Bernie to be the audience favorite! They soon discovered that CNN is owned by Time Warner Cable, who donated some $500,000 to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. It is worth noting that Bill Clinton was in office when he signed off on the Telecommunications Act of 1996, a sweeping bill that heavily deregulated the telecom industry, setting the stage for a series of mergers and acquisitions by massive media corporations to reshape our media ecosystem.
So is it that simple? Is Time Warner simply protecting their ‘asset’ in the Clinton dynasty when their networks claim Hillary the winner of the October 13 debate?
Yes, it is. But you should also consider the following to gain a better understanding why elections are important to Time Warner, News Corp, Viacom, GE, and other radio, internet, television, news and media giants in the first place. A good place to start is in 1976, with a Supreme Court case called Buckley v. Valejo, whose decision would strike down limits on campaign expenditures by political candidates. Well, now campaigns could spend as much as they want, but what fun is that if there are still limits on how much an individual can contribute to a campaign? Over the next 40 years, a string of cases would weaken those limits, but we would have to wait until the Citizens United vs. FEC case in 2010 for the floodgates to be opened to contributors. Be ye corporation or wealthy individual, this ruling allows you to spend unlimited amounts on ‘independent’ political expenditures. This was the ruling that would lead to the SuperPAC.
If you don’t understand what a SuperPAC is, that’s understandable. Campaign finance law is confusing. A SuperPAC is a committee that can spend unlimited funds in order to ‘support’ a candidate, as long as they do not ‘coordinate’ with that candidate, and they are responsible for the steady upsurge of political television and radio ads over the past five years. Before 2010, individuals were limited to $2,500 per contribution per Political Action Committee, and corporations could not contribute at all.
Although Time Warner donated over $500,000 to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, and spends almost ten MILLION dollars on all political expenses, including lobbying, per election cycle, this is nothing compared to what SuperPACs do for Time Warner. According to NPR’s estimate, revenue collected by television broadcasters this election cycle could exceed four and a half billion dollars. And that is not including radio, print, or digital ads, which are expected to rise from $22 million to $1 billion from 2012’s election to 2016. That is a lot of money for the Time Warners, Viacoms and Comcasts of the nation.
The problem that I have with this is not that Bernie Sanders isn’t getting the recognition that I think he deserves from CNN. The problem is that all this money pouring into our elections undermines democracy. The 1952 election was the first election to have televised political ads. The New York Times: Upfront called 1960 ‘the first mass media election’ when over 70 million Americans (in a country of 180 million) watched the presidential debates. “That 1960 race changed a lot, and you can see its impacts still,” said Vanessa B. Beasley, a communications professor at Vanderbilt University. “It changed who ran for office.” Since 1960, television and mass media have played a bigger and bigger role in elections.
And the amount of money a campaign would have to spend to run in this new world of mass media elections would rise in lock step over the years. In order to raise that kind of money, what concessions does a politician have to make for the wealthy individuals and corporations who support their campaigns?
In a display of equal brilliance and irony, perhaps Donald Trump said it best, in what better place than during the GOP’s first primary debate on August 6th: “I will tell you that our system is broken,” he said. “I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And do you know what? When I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them, they are there for me.” So, returning now to the question of who won CNN’s first Democratic party primary debate on October 13th?
Time Warner won, obviously. And despite all of Hillary’s talk of opposing the Trans Pacific Partnership and the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, you have to wonder which candidate will be there when their wealthy corporate donors come calling.
Gabriel is a New York City transplant, glad to be living in the real jungle instead of the urban one. He is a senior at the Evergreen State College, and slap the bass for local rock outfit Fruit Juice.
Submitted by the author, this article was originally published in the Cooper Point Journal.
And then we mounted a hillside filled with blue daffodils.
“These weren’t here before.” Bluebells — fairies ring them
when they want to hold a gathering. The mountains are
hills where we’re going and gold robes their shoulders
like the city itself is noble. Waiting in the parking lot
Jewel came on the radio … these hands are small
I know… I leaned my head on Sarah’s shoulder.
The woman driving had cropped hair
and bare arms: and she said
we would make it
Gala Thomas is a poet recovering from a head injury in Olympia, Washington. She got the name “Gala” by accident, when a Benedictine nun switched the i for an l. She is keeping the new name as a reminder that life is a pageant of glorious and grotesque proportions.
Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck and her colleagues were interested in motivation. In particular, they wanted to understand why, faced with difficulties in school, some students are motivated to work at getting better while others aren’t, apparently lacking in motivation. What was that difference about?
Through their research with both young people and college students, Dweck’s team developed the model of a “growth mindset” to characterize learners who persist even when they encounter challenges in their areas of study. Neither a growth mindset, nor its opposite, a fixed mindset, are inherent traits. We develop them through experiences, including feedback from teachers, parents, and others in positions to comment on our performances.
“You’re a smart kid” is the kind of comment that contributes to a fixed mindset—the belief that my success or lack of success is due to the amount of my ability, rather than my effort. My smartness—however much I have—is something in me. It’s not something I can develop. The problem with adopting a fixed mindset is that sooner or later, and too often it’s sooner, I run into a limit in terms of what I can do: comments like “I’m not a math person” or “I’m not the creative type” reflect unexamined assumptions that the speaker just doesn’t have much of that stuff. Effort and intention—which are under the control of the speaker—are not part of the equation.
Dweck argues that we can do better. We can teach ourselves, and others, to adopt a growth mindset, an approach that focuses on our intentions to get better and our persistence in following through rather than whatever amount of ability we are born with.
A fixed mindset about political change
I confess to having had a fixed mindset about U.S. politics. While we have elected (and re-elected) two solidly liberal senators from Washington State, for the most part, decisions made at the federal level ease symptoms rather than address root causes of structural inequality and systemic racism. The same is true with climate change, whose looming specter casts a deepening pall on everything.
I believe that our politicial system is fixed—in at least two meanings of the word: it’s rigged in favor of the wealthy, and it’s immoveable. Given my belief in a fixed political system, I am not motivated to participate.
President Obama’s first campaign challenged my beliefs about our fixed political system. I participated in my caucus for the first time, and yearned to participate at the state level. I believed in what he said: that the war in Iraq was wrong, that our tax system was unfair, and that everyone deserves accessible, affordable health care.
By the end of President Obama’s second term, my beliefs in a fixed political system were cementing back into place. Change wasn’t possible. Small changes maybe, but not the large changes necessary to staunch the tide of inequality sweeping across the country. Being born poor in this country is a life sentence.
“I’d like the job of president”—the Democratic debate
In October, I watched the Democratic debate. Three of the four candidates introduced themselves as if they were candidates interviewing for a job. Martin O’Malley, former mayor of Baltimore and governor of Maryland, told us that as a husband with four kids, he’s learned things about the deep economic injustice that threatens to tear our country apart. Clinton reminded us that she is a grandmother and a mother. Only Bernie Sanders led with the issues, and not his biography. The pronoun “I” didn’t show up until later.
Anderson Cooper asked Bernie Sanders about the definition of a democratic socialist. Sanders replied like this:
“What democratic socialism is about is saying that it is immoral and wrong that the top one-tenth of 1 percent in this country own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent. That it is wrong, today, in a rigged economy, that 57 percent of all new income is going to the top 1 percent.
“That when you look around the world, you see every other major country providing health care to all people as a right, except the United States. You see every other major country saying to moms that, when you have a baby, we’re not gonna separate you from your newborn baby, because we are going to have—we are gonna have medical and family paid leave, like every other country on Earth.
Those are some of the principles that I believe in, and I think we should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway, and learn from what they have accomplished for their working people.”
Later in the debate, asked how his presidency would not simply be an extension of the Obama presidency, Sanders argued that the only way to transform the U.S. and make sure the government works for all of us is through a political revolution. The key to that revolution is getting people, especially young people, to vote. The only way to take on the right-wing Republicans, he said, is by having millions of people coming together. “If we want free tuition, millions of young people have to demand it. Same with minimum wage—workers have to come together and say, ‘vote against us, you are out of your job’. “
The limits of a fixed political mindset
The consequence of a fixed mindset for students is that when they face challenging problems in school, they are likely to quit. Why persist, when your ability is fixed and the external evidence suggests whatever ability you have isn’t enough to succeed? The problem with a fixed political mindset is nearly the same: why vote if the political system is fixed? And yet, the only way for the system to change, Sanders argues, is for people to make it so by voting: “Here’s the truth—no one can address these crises unless millions of people stand up against the billionaire class.”
Standing up against the billionaire class requires a growth mindset about the political system. I have to believe it can get better with effort, including my vote. Otherwise, nothing will stop the number of people living in poverty in this country—now 27 million—from growing. Nothing will slow the growth of the oligarchy that owes its current incarnation to Citizens United. Nothing will keep the remaining fossil fuels in the ground.
Writing for the New Republic, Elizabeth Bruenig points out that the two Democratic frontrunners, Sanders and Hillary Clinton, have radically different views about how to structure our economy. Clinton’s version is based on what Bruenig characterizes as an “opportunity-focused approach”—the Horatio Alger, anyone can make it if they have opportunity approach. Sanders is pushing for a more egalitarian “pro-equality” platform—the equality necessary in order for people to take advantage of opportunities at hand. Neither hungry kids nor adults who are tired from working low-wage jobs can take advantage of “learning opportunities”, no matter how enticing they are.
At the risk of revealing a nascent growth mindset about U.S. politics, I confess that I was persuaded by the Democratic debate that our votes might matter.
“What are your triggers?”
In a recent article for Education Week, Carol Dweck reflected on the dangers of oversimplifying the task of adopting a growth mindset. We are never one or the other, she wrote. We always contain a mix of both.
So, she writes, “watch for a fixed-mindset reaction when you face challenges. Do you feel overly anxious, or does a voice in your head warn you away?” A voice in my head, and history, warn me away from being optimistic that we can affect a political revolution through voting. And yet, even in the context of U.S. politics, where piles of evidence support the adoption of a fixed mindset, now is a good time to notice whether we can allow the possibility of change. The value of a growth mindset is that it creates a space for trying to do better. I appreciate Bernie Sanders’ work that invites us to occupy the space of possibility for our own version of democratic socialism, for as long as we possibly can.
Emily Lardner lives and works in Olympia, Washington.
The post A “growth mindset” needed for political change to occur appeared first on Works in Progress.
La psicóloga de Stanford Carol Dweck y sus colegas estaban interesados en estudiar la motivación. En particular, querían entender por qué, frente a dificultades en la escuela, algunos estudiantes están motivados para trabajar y mejorar, mientras que otros no lo están y al parecer carecen de motivación. ¿Cuál es la causa de esta diferencia?
A través de su investigación con jóvenes y estudiantes universitarios, el equipo de Dweck desarrolló el modelo de la “mentalidad de crecer” para caracterizar a los alumnos que persisten incluso cuando se encuentran con problemas en sus áreas de estudio. Ni la ‘mentalidad de crecer’, ni su contrario, una ‘mentalidad estática’, son rasgos inherentes. Los desarrollamos a través de experiencias, incluyendo comentarios de maestros, padres y otros en posiciones de comentar sobre nuestras actuaciones.
“Eres un chico listo” es el tipo de comentario que contribuye a la mentalidad estática -la creencia de que mi éxito o falta del mismo se debe a la cantidad de mis habilidades en lugar de mi esfuerzo. Mi inteligencia -por mucho que tenga- es algo en mí. No es algo que yo pueda incrementar. El problema con la adopción de una mentalidad fija o estática es que tarde o temprano, y a menudo es pronto, me encuentro con un límite en cuanto a lo que puedo hacer: comentarios como “Yo no soy una persona de matemáticas” o “Yo no soy de tipo creativo” reflejan supuestos no examinados que sugieren que el hablante simplemente no tiene mucho de esas cualidades. El esfuerzo y la intención – sobre los cuales el hablante tiene control – no son parte de la ecuación.
Dweck argumenta que podemos desempeñarnos mejor. Podemos enseñar a nosotros mismos, y otros, a adoptar una mentalidad de poder crecer, un enfoque que se centre en nuestras intenciones de mejorar y nuestra persistencia en seguir adelante en lugar de la cantidad de nuestras capacidades innatas.
Una mentalidad fija respecto al cambio político
Confieso haber tenido una mentalidad fija sobre la política estadounidense. Si bien hemos elegido (y re-elegido) dos senadores sólidamente liberales por el estado de Washington, en su mayor parte, las decisiones tomadas a nivel federal tienden solo a mejorar los síntomas en lugar de abordar las causas profundas de la desigualdad estructural y el racismo sistémico. Lo mismo ocurre con el cambio climático, cuyo espectro lúgubre se cierne empañando todo.
Yo creo que nuestro sistema político esta ‘arreglado’ (fixed) al menos en dos sentidos de la palabra: está amañado a favor de los ricos, y es inamovible. Dada mi creencia en un sistema político fijo, yo no estoy motivada a participar.
La primera campaña del presidente Obama desafió mis creencias acerca de nuestro sistema político fijo. Yo participé en mi caucus por primera vez, y anhelaba participar a nivel estatal. Yo creía en lo que Obama decía: que la guerra en Irak era equivocada, que nuestro sistema fiscal era injusto, y que todo el mundo merece atención médica asequible y accesible.
Al final del segundo mandato del presidente Obama, mis creencias en un sistema político fijo se fueron cimentando en su lugar. El cambio no era posible. Pequeños cambios tal vez, pero no los grandes cambios necesarios para detener la marea de la desigualdad que cubre todo el país. El haber nacido pobre en este país es una sentencia a cadena perpetua.
“Me gustaría el trabajo de Presidente” – el debate Demócrata
En octubre, vi el debate demócrata. Tres de los cuatro candidatos se presentaron como si fueran candidatos entrevistados para un trabajo. Martin O’Malley, ex alcalde de Baltimore y el gobernador de Maryland, nos dijo que como esposo con cuatro hijos, que ha aprendido cosas acerca de la injusticia económica profunda que amenaza con destruir a nuestro país. Clinton recordó que ella es una abuela y una madre. Sólo Bernie Sanders nos condujo a los problemas, y no a su biografía. El pronombre “yo” no apareció hasta más tarde.
El socialismo democrático
Anderson Cooper preguntó Bernie Sanders acerca de la definición de un socialista democrático. Sanders respondió así:
“Lo que el socialismo democrático dice es que es inmoral e incorrecto que una décima parte del 1 por ciento en este país posea casi tanta riqueza como el 90 por ciento de sus habitantes. Eso es un error, que en una economía amañada como la actual, que el 57 por ciento de todos los nuevos ingresos vayan a ser propiedad del 1 por ciento.”
“Que cuando usted mira alrededor del mundo, se ve como cada otro país importante proporciona asistencia medica a todas las personas como un derecho, excepto los Estados Unidos. Usted ve como otros países dicen a sus las mamás que, cuando tengan un bebé, no vamos a separarte de tu bebé recién nacido, porque vamos a tener, y tendremos licencia médica y familiar pagada, al igual que todos los demás países en la tierra.”
“Esos son algunos de los principios que yo creo, y creo que debemos mirar a países como Dinamarca, como Suecia y Noruega, y aprender de lo que han logrado para sus trabajadores “.
Más tarde, en el debate, se le preguntó cómo su presidencia no sería simplemente una extensión de la presidencia de Obama, Sanders argumentó que la única manera de transformar los EE.UU. y asegurarse de que el gobierno trabaje para todos nosotros es a través de una revolución política. La clave para esa revolución es hacer que la gente, especialmente los jóvenes, voten. La única manera de derrotar a los republicanos de derecha, dijo, es tener a millones de personas unidas. “ Si queremos educación libre, millones de jóvenes tienen que unirse y exigirla. Lo mismo con el salario mínimo vital. Los obreros asalariados tienen que unirse y decir, ‘Los que voten en contra nuestra, se quedan sin trabajo’. “
Los límites de una mentalidad política fija
La consecuencia de una mentalidad fija para los estudiantes es que cuando se enfrentan a problemas difíciles en la escuela, es probable que la abandonen. ¿Por qué persistir si su capacidad es fija y la evidencia externa sugiere que la capacidad que tienen no es suficiente para tener éxito? El problema con una mentalidad política fija es casi lo mismo: ¿por qué votar si el sistema político es fijo? Y, sin embargo, la única manera para que el sistema cambie, Sanders sostiene, es que la gente vote por cambiarlo: “Esta es la verdad – no se puede hacer frente a esta crisis a menos que millones de personas se levantan contra la clase de los multimillonarios”.
Enfrentarse a la clase de los multimillonarios requiere una “mentalidad de crecer” con respecto al sistema político. Tengo que creer que puede mejorar con esfuerzo, incluyendo mi voto.
De lo contrario, nada detendrá el número de personas que viven en la pobreza en este país, actualmente de 27 millones y en aumento. Nada va a frenar el crecimiento de la oligarquía que debe su actual encarnación a Ciudadanos Unidos (Citizens United). Nada va a hacer posible que los combustibles fósiles se mantengan en el suelo.
Escribiendo para la “Nueva República”, Elizabeth Bruenig señala que los dos principales candidatos demócratas, Sanders y Hillary Clinton, tienen puntos de vista radicalmente diferentes sobre la forma de estructurar nuestra economía. La versión de Clinton se basa en lo que Bruenig caracteriza como un “enfoque de oportunidades”, tipo Horatio Alger, ‘cualquiera puede triunfar si tiene la oportunidad’. Sanders está presionando por un enfoque más igualitario, “a favor de la igualdad”, una plataforma que concibe a la igualdad social como condición necesaria para que la gente tome ventaja de las oportunidades que puedan existir. Ni los niños hambrientos, ni adultos cansados, atrapados en el circulo vicioso de la pobreza y empleos de bajos salarios, pueden aprovechar “oportunidades de aprendizaje”, no importa lo tentadoras que estas sean.
A riesgo de revelar una ‘mentalidad de crecer’ si bien incipiente, pero que existe en la política estadounidense, confieso que fui persuadida por el debate Demócrata de que nuestros votos pueden importar.
“¿Cuáles son los factores desencadenantes?”
En un artículo reciente de la “Semana de Educación”, Carol Dweck reflexionó sobre los peligros de simplificar la tarea de adoptar una mentalidad de crecimiento. Nunca somos solo el uno o el otro, ella escribió. Siempre contenemos una mezcla de ambos.
Y nos llama a estar atentos para detectar si tenemos reacciones de mentalidad fija “cuando te enfrentas a retos. ¿Te sientes demasiado ansioso, o hay una voz interior que te advierte de las dificultades? “ Una voz interior, y la historia, me alertan y alejan de ser optimista y creer que podemos afectar a una revolución política a través del voto. Sin embargo, incluso en el contexto de la política de Estados Unidos, donde montones de evidencias apoyan la adopción de una mentalidad fija, ahora es un buen momento para darse cuenta si podemos permitir la posibilidad de cambio. El valor de una ‘mentalidad de crecer’ es que crea un espacio para tratar de hacer mejor las cosas. Aprecio el trabajo Bernie Sanders que nos invita a ocupar el espacio de posibilidad para nuestra propia versión del socialismo democrático, por el tiempo que nos sea necesario.
Emily Lardner vive y trabaja en Olympia, Washington.
The post La “mentalidad de crecer” como necesidad para el cambio politico appeared first on Works in Progress.
Pasco, Washington Ret. Colonel Felix Vargas of Latino Consejo in a letter written on March 3 asked the Honorable Prosecutor Shawn Sant of Franklin County to respectfully recuse himself from the case involving the shooting of Antonio Zambrano Montes.
Latino Consejo said Sant’s experiences as a police officer and a prosecutor would cause him to come to the aid and defense of the police; when the police officer’s actions came into question, Sant would be incapable of coming to an unbiased conclusion. Sant should recuse himself from the case.
Latino Consejo also complained that Shawn Sant’s direct involvement in the Special Investigation Unit conducted by the city of Kennewick from Benton county also did not allow for an independent investigation. He claimed Sant’s presence in the Pasco division police news conference concerning the Special Investigative Unit (SIU)–three times as the primary speaker–showed he had an ongoing relationship that was biased at the very least in favor of the police department. This is a police department with which he has certain professional loyalties and friendships–with the officers involved in the shooting. He should have had a independent prosecutor appointed to the case by the Washington State Attorney General because he was incapable of being neutral.
Prosecutor Shawn Sant responded to Latino Consejo in a March 12 letter saying that as a elected official the community had placed their faith in him to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of prosecutor and that he would make decisions based upon the law that he experienced as a police officer and a prosecutor would be able to do his job. He stated that he was not going to quit when the decision or the job got tough.
Should Shawn Sant have recused himself from the case?
Shawn Sant has not divulged whether or not he was an actual member of The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge # 7 of Kennewick. Sant was a Prosser, Washington police officer–a police department with officers who hold allegiance to the FOP. He also served as a reserve police officer in Richland.
Pasco Division has officers with membership in lodge #7 FOP as do the county police of Benton and Franklin Counties. FOP leaked Sant’s findings to the media even before Sant’s press conference of Sant’s decision based on the justifiable homicide law. Have officers Alaniz, Flanagan or Wright had memberships in lodge # 7 of the Fraternal Order of Police and how many of the police that investigated the shooting are also members of the Fraternal Order of Police. The Fraternal Order of Police is not a government agency.
Though Sant may have followed the Washington state justifiable homicide guidelines, his job is to be impartial. His job is to bias a jury or judge to find people guilty or not guilty. The officer’s involved in the shooting have worked for Sant’s office before as Felony charges are not brought to trial by Pasco municipal and instead sent to the Franklin county prosecutors–Sant’s office–for prosecution.
Should the three officers be prosecuted by another office or the Department of Justice?
The laws upheld were written to defend the actions of the those who enforce the law against those that are victims of the law. It is clear that the police shot and killed Antonio, the police investigated Antonio’s homicide and a former police officer justified the shooting death of Antonio by the police.
Following the Fraternal Order of Police news Conference when Sant said no charges would be brought against the officers, the protesters said in Spanish that the whole situation was simply “not fair”. Justifying a homicide is getting away with murder.
Governor Inslee ordered the Washington State Attorney General to finally investigate Shawn Sant’s determination. Earlier in the year on March 28, Governor Inslee had said no to requests to have Shawn Sant replaced by a special prosecutor.
John Chacon served in the Army as a 3 time volunteer. Completing two tours of duty in Iraq. Earning the Army’s Combat Action Badge for taking fire while performing his duty. He did not run over children for protesting the American presence in their country even thought the rules of engagement said he could he chose instead to risk his life and spare theirs.
My paper on judicial democracy and the rule of law is a thought manifested from the unfair maintaining of the law in some places of USA in response to police brutality and a system that allows brutality to happen.
A Judicial system that commits a grievous injury against a person, people or private property in it’s jurisdiction should forfeit its jurisdiction over the matter. A governance with in it’s leisure of government encompassing a civil or legal matter; where a member of government in employment, official and unofficial or in its judicial function; a employee or employees, officer or officers are under investigation for conduct that is unethical or could be considered a crime, causing real injury or criminal offence to a person, people, property or against the governance they are employed. That government should forfeit jurisdiction to a parallel or higher authority allowing for neutral arbitration or supreme judgment. No one is above the law even those that enforce and maintain it. For they will be held accountable by the people.
A government should relinquish jurisdiction; for in the course of action it holds blame and injury against the people or person as the officer or employee is an entity of the government, acting on it’s behalf in righteous benevolence or grieving malevolence. A government whose authority gives employees license to conduct official business on behalf of the state; employed by vote, oath, pledged, deputization or delegated responsibility to commence law or judge one’s conduct by the legislated code, to forcibly kill on behalf of the governance to maintain social order without fear of repercussion or consequence.
As a function of democracy it is incapable of holding a fair accountability of itself when the social standard of conduct for the entire entity is on trial and not just the individual. A prosecutor would not be allowed to prosecute one’s self. A judge not allowed to judge one’s self. Then a system as an entity would also be flawed if a judge or prosecutor was allowed to bring forth a person in employment of the government as part of the same entity.
This unfairness and partiality exist as rarely does a person cut off their own appendage regardless of flaw or blemish and only when the loss of life threatens the whole of the body, is it wise to remove it. Creating an unkind and bias form of justice for all those involved.
Only by the people can a limited authority be gained; as no power in a person’s hand can be absolute and final in the judicial function of a free and fair administering of the law, to a free and democratic people. A people who by the democratic process possess the power of government in each single vote. That authority of governance being equal regardless of societal degree rank or position each person’s vote equal to the next. The vote holding greater authority then the law legislated to them by a recognized fairly and democratically elected government. A government who in secret or by a blinding of witness and by legislation of judiciary means, revoke voting rights excluding the people from the process of government. In that leadership depriving the mass of democracy by removing them from the process to legislate law.
A governance whose identity reflects all people in the democratic voting process allowed to bring violators of a law to the justice of the peace, judge or jury that may examine them with in the limits and scope of the society’s understanding of morality.
A elected government or those in position of power are not comprising of perfect character as to be a human is to be dignified and reasonable in imperfection not ashamed of humility and in great an noble character capable of relinquishing power of jurisdiction and authority to exemplify the humanity that they with great care are entrusted to over watch. For if a person or people assembled to govern a free people, fails to allow itself to be examined it is no longer administering law to a free Democratic people.
That judicial body in it’s own vanity full of hubris has cast out democracy and has placed it’s own virtues of governance before the people creating a tyranny. Without the virtues of democracy it is no longer part and parcel comprised of the values and morals of the people.
If in its governance, it is incapable of relinquishing power to examine the aspects of its function to others equally accredited or appointed by the people of the state or union than that justice system is unregulated. It would be wise to dismantle such a system that infringes upon a people’s dignity by denying them the rights guaranteed in the Constitution of the United States of America. It was compelled by a revolution to expel a tyrant and dictator from the Americas.
If a police officer or employee of the state is considered an extension of the state and that state has begun to dismantle democracy to impose a tyrannical government on a people, then through law it would compel itself into greater authority as if it’s authority was a never ceasing principle of universe.
A governance failing to recognize the whole are part of the Constitution of the United States of America, neglects the people’s rights under the United States Bill of Rights causing injury to Liberty. That tyranny would justify its dismantling of democracy or exclusion of people from that democracy by the passage of laws that were never voted on or recognized as legitimate by a democratic people.
If a police officer or employee of state deprives a person of life, liberty or property and is allowed clemency without the people or person who the state deprived of its constitutional rights a fair precedent in the judicial process. Instead the governance decides not to allow for justice to be concluded by an independent Judicial authority. That by biased gathering of evidence, biased examination of facts; a prosecutor’s determination was formed on bias evidence and fact; leading the prosecutor to an interpretation by the power of authority, not by the law. Leaving the people without the insurances a fair Judicial Democracy exists for all people in the boundary’s of the jurisdiction but with a biased judgement on a prosecutor’s authority. Then that judicial system should be dismantled, reorganized and created a new eliminating the tyranny.
For the allowance of it to continue by a rational government elected by the people would show the inability of a freely elected government to control those placed in authority to over watch a democratic people. A people who gave authority to the government. Greatly offending those that endless petition the government peacefully, insult grievously those that serve in the military and forgetting those who died fighting in conflict to defend a constitutional democracy. That government in tyranny offending Liberty causing injury to all.
When a governance has a officer or employee commit a crime against a person in that jurisdiction the whole governance is now standing trial and should remove itself from the judicial processes to help establish a people’s understanding of justice keeping with the lusion of a Democratic judicial system. A government fails to uphold democracy when it allows itself to justify it’s own negligence. Tyranny that by arbitrary law arrest Liberty disabling the construct of The Constitution of the United States and in malicious action instills fear in a population, that tyranny should be dismantled by the people.
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Thurston County’s prosecutor, Jon Tunheim, charged with bias in failure to indict officer
The May 21 shooting of two black men, Andre Thomas and Byron Chaplin, by Officer Ryan Donald of the Olympia Police Department, is a case complicated by conflicting witness statements, unsympathetic victims and the taint of systemic racism. It has deeply divided the community while at the same time uniting activists in passionate protests opposing the charges filed by Thurston County Prosecutor Jon Tunheim against the two men.
Beyond the possibility of racism playing a role in the shooting, accusations of racism are being leveled at Tunheim due to perceived inequities in his charging decisions. Tunheim says his actions are based on his legal analysis: whether he believed he had enough evidence to go to trial and get a conviction. Tunheim’s report states: “To charge Officer Donald with any crime involving the use of deadly force requires me to conclude that this office could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Donald’s use of force under these circumstances was not justified.”
However, Tunheim determined there was enough evidence to charge Chaplin and Thompson each with two counts of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly attacking Donald. In addition, Chaplin is charged with fourth-degree assault for allegedly assaulting Safeway clerk Tammy Brown. On September 22, the men pleaded not guilty and their trial has been set for the week of December 14.
Some in the community feel that Tunheim filed charges against the men solely to exonerate Donald in perpetuation of a fundamentally unjust system. They believe had Tunheim not charged the two men with assault, it would have brought into larger question whether Donald’s use of deadly force was appropriate.
#Drop the charges
Emotions have run high and in response, local activists have organized multiple peaceful street protests, town meetings, dialogs and teach-ins. At a Full Circle United event on September 3rd, speaking as a concerned citizen, Public Defender Larry Jefferson asked, “Is this your vision of what justice means?” Jefferson called for Tunheim’s resignation, saying “Tunheim should remove himself as prosecutor…he must go and if he doesn’t go, you find someone to run against him.”
According to Jefferson, Chaplin and Thompson are looking at automatic jail time due to the felony charges. Another possibility is that Tunheim will accept a plea deal to lesser charges which still penalizes the men in addition to the injuries they sustained from being shot.
FCU, who staged a Responding To the Event protest on September 3rd, have three demands: Donald be fired, reparations be made to Thompson and Chaplin for legal and medical expenses and charges against the men be dropped.
Activists have engaged in frequent daily sit-ins at Tunheims’s office and arranged for a Prosecutor-Community Q&A Dialog on September 11. They are adamant about charges being dropped and had made plans to meet with Tunheim again. That offer was rescinded by Tunheim after two protesters, Caro Gonzales and Rasaki Lee Vandrush, were arrested for blocking the entrance to the prosecutor’s office on September 16. Vandrush, who uses a wheelchair, is quoted in the Olympian as saying, “As soon as they let me go, I’m going right back where I was.” Also in the Olympian, Gonzales said, “It’s up to Tunheim if he wants us to stop.”
As the September 22 arraignment of Thompson and Chaplin neared, protests and arrests escalated. On September 17, three activists, including a minor, were arrested for criminal trespassing when they chained themselves to a fence outside of Tunheim’s home. According to Caro Gonzales on Twitter, an unidentified neighbor of Tunheim menaced the protesters by pointing to the gun he was wearing on his hip.
Activists are also pressuring Governor Jay Inslee into authorizing an inquiry into the Thurston County Sheriff’s investigation of the shooting as well as Tunheim’s charging decisions. They held a rally at the State Capitol on September 21 where five activists were arrested when they refused to leave the Capitol building.
Despite the Thompson family’s request for non-violent protest only, the shooting has inspired a violent response by some allies in the community. On September 5th, in a brazen and well-armed attack, a group of anonymous black-clad activists broke five large custom-fabricated windows and a door on Olympia’s City Hall, which is also OPD headquarters.
According the Olympian, the group also assaulted a passing motorcyclist allegedly because he had two Confederate flags on his bike. The man, a pilot at Joint base Lewis-McChord, suffered bruises on his shoulder and back and eye irritation from being sprayed with Mace.
Damage to the building is estimated at $7000. A baseball bat, golf club and slingshot were left at the scene, according to a photograph on the OPD Twitter feed. No arrests have been made.
In the ten days before the assault on City Hall, downtown Olympia was the site of numerous 11×17 posters with photographs of police menacing protesters in Selma in 1965 above a contemporary photograph from the Black Lives Matter movement. The posters stated, “We are against the police…We stand as accomplices to those who are rebelling against the hate and oppression of capitalism and police…We offer our unending solidarity to Andre and Bryson Chaplin [sic]…Smash White Supremacy.”
Is Tunheim’s report fair?
Tunheim has been effective using public relation techniques to defend his office’s actions. Meeting with the public and releasing the investigation’s documents, a highly unusual move, appears an effort at transparency. However, there may a deeper motive on Tunheim’s part: making the documents easily available can prejudice public opinion, making the chance of a fair jury trial more unlikely. It will be harder to find an unbiased panel and for this reason, it seems imperative that the venue for the trial be moved outside of Thurston County.
At the prosecutor Q&A, Tunheim stated that while both the investigators and himself are “trained to look for racial bias” and neither could find indications of racism in the incident. He said Donald was not “questioned or tested for racial bias” and it would not be his job to do that. Tunheim can only refer to provided evidence, he does not have resources to generate new evidence. He did not request follow up investigations from the WSP because he felt his decision “could be reliably made with the reports we had.” He also said that implicit racial bias “could not be brought into a courtroom to prove a case.”
Officer Donald’s oral and written statements do appear to carry more weight with Tunheim. Chaplin and Thompson have not given full statements and while Tunheim invokes their right against self incrimination, it did seem to bear in his decision making. In the Officer Involved Shooting Review, dated September 2 he states:
“I have not considered the fact that they may have exercised their rights in determining any wrongdoing on their part. That being said, it is also important to understand that my review is based on the evidence and statements presently before me without speculation about what Mr. Chaplin or Mr. Thompson might say if they agreed to be re-interviewed. Accordingly, much of Officer Donald’s statement about these events is currently unrebutted [sic].”
The collected statements are fundamentally unequal in quality. Officer Donald was given five days to prepare a written statement, which he was allowed to refer to during his oral questioning. He also benefited from the presence of a Police Guild appointed attorney.
Circumstances under which the men’s statements were made were much different. Thompson was interviewed while intoxicated and wounded in the ambulance and later while at the hospital without the benefit of legal advice.
Thompson denied either of them using skateboards as weapons and said, “I told him like stop, stop, because we didn’t do nothing with it. [sic] And then shot me [sic], and I was on the ground…Because it happened so fast, I got shot so fucking fast dude. In my fucking stomach. I don’t remember nothin’.”
Bias can be found in the disparity between the above quote from Thompson, which includes broken English and the word fuck, with how Tunheim describes Donald, “When interviewed, Officer Donald provided a detailed statement of the events from his perspective, both verbally and in writing.”
At no time does Tunheim directly quote Donald, summarizing all of his statements. Why did he also not summarize Thompson as well? Is it a subtle attempt to portray him as “less than?”
Chaplin was interviewed at Harborview Medical a few days later, while recovering from surgery, possibly medicated. He answered a few questions and then refused to talk further without an attorney. He claimed not to remember much but that the cop pulled up and they started running and that he was hit while running. He thought his brother might be able to remember more.
Not having the full victim’s accounts adds to the mystery surrounding the case. Despite pressure from investigators, the prosecutor and media for Chaplin and Thompson to speak, in terms of their defense, it makes perfect sense for them to remain silent.
Psychological tunnel vision
Tunheim’s report notes multiple inconsistencies in Jasmine Thompson and Antonio Harry’s statements but neglects to mention inconsistencies in Donald’s, despite citing conflicting statements given by other OPD officers.
In his statement given May 26, Donald does not commit to knowing the number of shots fired in each of the three discharges of his service weapon, nor does he recall anything that either man said to him. When asked what he remembered, Donald stated, “I don’t. Honestly. It was something referencing me shooting his friend. But, I don’t recall. There were a lot of curse words in there…a lot of anger, a lot of aggression…”
When questioned by WIP, Tunheim blames this lack of detail on “psychological tunnel vision” which is a phenomenon that occurs when officers are involved in “high intensity incidents” and is an “instinctive human reaction” to being under extreme threat.
While that is certainly a possibility, it is also possible that Donald is being vague so that he can not be tied down to any specific version of events. Donald also avoids disclosing potentially volatile statements allegedly made by Andre Thompson the night of the shooting that might complicate Donald’s innocence.
Neighborhood witnesses heard what sounded like Thompson taunting Donald to shoot him. Mikki Brandell, 37, a resident of Tabitha Court, reported hearing a “man’s voice saying come at me bro, come at, what, bang, bang, bang, come at me and then everything went kind of quiet after that.” Her account is seconded by, James Ambrose, 43, who lives on the 1100 block of Cooper Point.
Two other witnesses, John and Janice Lyell, heard similar comments. John Lyell stated he heard a person yell “Hey bro! Bro, I’m ready to die, I want to die!” Yet another witness, James Stewart, 52, reports, “All I could hear was the word bro like something something bro something something bro kind of over and over being repeated.”
Tunheim again defended Donald on this point saying Donald had the “right level of detail” and that it was “convincing to him.”
More tunnel vision
Donald makes a big point about how alone he felt and how anxious he was for backup. He said “I did not see any vehicles…I was out on my own, by myself, with these two subjects…I didn’t see Officer Evers, anybody else arrive on this scene.” He also confirms this in his written statement, “Several times through the incident and after the first assault near my patrol car, I looked both north and south for incoming patrol units, but I did not observe any approaching or passing vehicles.”
This is directly conflicted by statements given by Officers Paul Evers and Luke O’Brien, who both report passing Donald standing on the side of the road with his weapon pointed at the wooded area the men had run into. Cooper Point is two lanes wide and Evers and O’Brien were “running code” which meant their emergency equipment was activated. A few moments after the police passed, Jasmine Thompson, the men’s sister, and her partner Antonio Harry also drove by Donald, who was then positioned closer to the middle of the road.
Responding to WIP questions about Donald’s exclusion of these details, Tunheim again blames tunnel vision and says that Donald’s lack of situational awareness corroborates his account and actually makes it more credible. He reiterated that “too many details would have made him suspicious.”
But is it realistic to think Donald, who had been explicitly watching for backup, could miss a car passing at most ten feet behind him, with its lights flashing? After Evers passed, Donald was in radio contact with him, confirming the suspects were still in the woods and armed with their skateboards. When Donald discharged his weapon for the second and third time, shooting Chaplin, then Thompson, he should have been aware that Evers and O’Brien were backing him up. Jasmine Thompson recalls seeing the officer’s flashlights in the woods and their car parked on 14th with the lights still flashing.
Perhaps Donald simply forgot these critical details. It is also possible he did not include them because they complicate his case.
Actual evidence of Donald being in danger is lacking, he was uninjured and WSP Crime Laboratory Reports show neither suspect’s DNA on the sleeve of his uniform where he alleged Thompson grabbed him. Tunheim felt that video footage of the men allegedly menacing Safeway employees with their skateboards gave credence to Donald’s account of later being assaulted in a similar way.
There was a patch of matted down grass at the rear of Donald’s patrol car suggesting a scuffle may have taken place per Donald’s narrative. This is where he first discharged his weapon and believes Chaplin was hit in that altercation. In his report, Tunheim describes two wounds that Chaplin may have received in the scuffle:
“The entry and exit would on Chaplin’s arm does not clearly indicate direction of travel but could have struck him from the front while his arm was raised. The two wounds, described initially by one officer at the scene as two gunshots wounds to the back, were actually corresponding entry and exit wounds from a bullet entering from the side and traveling a short distance and then exiting from the back. This suggests the bullet was fired to the side of Chaplin.”
Tunheim reports that Chaplin had two additional wounds: one to the chest and a grazing wound on his neck, which could have been fatal had it hit its mark.
In a June 3 statement reported by KING5, Chaplin’s attorney, David Beninger, is quoted as saying Chaplin was hit in the back of his arm. The WSP Crime Laboratory Report examined Chaplin’s sweat shirt and found “eight defects visually consistent with the passage of a bullet. One defect was in the middle chest area, one was on the lower right chest, two were on the back right sleeve, one was to the right back collar, and three were in the middle back.”
The lab also examined the shirt microscopically and chemically for gun shot residue and reports, “The defects tested negative for the presence of cooper [sic] and only the defect to the middle chest, the defect to the back collar, and the left defect on the middle back were positive for lead. No burnt, partially burnt, or unburnt gunpowder particles were observed or chemically detected around the defects.”
This evidence backs Donald up that he shot Chaplin from a distance but undermines the assertion that Chaplin was shot at close range in the scuffle. The lab report states, “The lack of gunpowder particles surrounding the defects on the black sweatshirt indicated that the muzzle-to-target distance was greater than drop-off distance…[which was] determined to be approximately 48 inches.”
In the Prosecutor Q&A, Tunheim downplayed the importance of gun shot residue saying it was “not confirmatory as to distance.”
What happened to Thompson’s shirt?
The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office Investigator’s report dated June 7, does not make mention of it, and there are no lab reports in the documents provided by the Prosecutor’s office. No mention of it is made in the Thurston County Sheriff’s final Investigative Report by lead Detective Claridge.
The Evidence Marker Report, included in materials released by the Prosecutor’s office, shows the shirt lying in the road, presumably after being cut off of Thompson by medics. The EMR also shows Chaplin’s sweatshirt though not his tank top, both of which were sent for testing. In a June 30 WSP Crime Lab Report that deals with the bullets and Chaplin’s two shirts there is a note that says, “Other items submitted were not examined for the purposes of this report.” It is not clear what items are being referred to. If they did include Thompson’s shirt, why wasn’t it tested? Was it tested but the results not released?
In Detective Ben Elkins report, he states that OPD Officer Paul Frailey had secured Thompson’s property from hospital staff and had locked it in his patrol car. The property included one “light shirt” but it is probably not the one in the street due to the timing of when the evidence photos were taken. Frailey retrieved it and gave it to Elkins who locked the evidence in his car but his report does not say what happened to it next.
Thompson’s shirt is important because there are inconsistencies in witness statements as to how close Thompson was to Donald when he was shot. Donald’s states Thompson so close that he could not extend his weapon away from his chest. Jasmine Thompson and Antonio Harry both put a greater distance between the officer and Thompson. Forensic testing of Thompson’s shirt could help clarify this discrepancy.
Not the first time
Officer Donald had been previously reprimanded when he went into another situation without appropriate backup. KING5 news obtained Donald’s OPD personnel records and in a June 23rd article, reports:
“In April 2013, Officer Ryan Donald was first on the scene to a disturbance involving ten people and ‘placed himself in a position where use of force was inevitable,’ when he did not wait for backup before physically taking down one of the subjects on his own, a memo in the case states. ‘I am worried that this is becoming a recurring theme for Officer Donald,’ the memo’s author, identified as Sgt. Allen, wrote about incidents when Donald acted alone in situations where common sense and sound Police tactics call for more than one Officer.’”
Donald received counseling after the incident.
KING5 also reported Donald was disciplined two other times. He received a written warning in November 2012 after he arrested the wrong person on a warrant by failing to verify their identification. Donald only realized his error when he was at the station about to book the suspect.
Two months earlier, a corrections officer raised concerns about Donald’s handling of a subject. When searching the subjects backpack, Donald found a bottle of Tramadol, a painkiller. The CO told Donald not to return the pills to the backpack, but Donald did anyway, which led to the chain of custody being contaminated and a potential narcotics charges lost.
Tunheim does not mention this disciplinary record in his report, but it suggests a pattern of sloppy procedure and disregard for safety that is of direct relevance to this case.
Men were intoxicated
Chaplin and Thompson’s judgment was most likely clouded by the high levels of alcohol in their system. Both tested with blood alcohol over double the legal limit, according to toxicology reports. Thompson’s was .18 and Chaplin’s was .19. Both men also tested positive for cannabis but no other drugs were present.
Had Officer Donald been more in control of the situation, it is possible the men may have reacted differently. He requested “the men have a seat in front of my car.” before identifying himself. Within seconds of making contact with the Chaplin and Thompson, his weapon was drawn, according to his statement. At that time, he sounds weak in his commands, “And I said, hey guys, Olympia Police Officer. You guys need to stop right there.”
They attempted to run past the car but Donald cut them off at the back where the scuffle and first shots occurred. Did he have to engage at this point? Couldn’t he have let them run? He knew help was on the way, including a K-9 unit.
After Chaplin and Thompson had just tried to overpower him, Donald chose to pursue when he could have hung back, which would have been safer for him, for the suspects, and ultimately the neighborhood which was also endangered when an errant bullet entered a second floor bedroom of a Cooper Point residence. Chaplin’s criminal defense attorney, George Paul Trejo Jr., said, “The community should not be at the hands of a reckless officer.”
Donald stressed the danger he felt he was in from being hit by the skateboards, but when Thompson was shot, he was unarmed, his skateboard by the side of the road approximately one hundred feet away. At this point had Thompson been intent on assaulting Donald, he could have picked up his brother’s skateboard, which was much nearer, but he didn’t. Since Thompson was unarmed, could he have been subdued by less lethal means?
These are all difficult questions, and no doubt Officer Donald did what his instinct told him, but in doing so, did he use more force than was necessary? The Olympia Police Department Internal Affairs is will be convening the week of September 28th to conduct an investigation to determine whether Donald faces disciplinary action. Hopefully, their report will help answer questions about whether Donald acted appropriately or not.
They got what they deserved
Jim Bamberger, an attorney who works at the Washington State Office of Civil Legal Aid, spoke out against Tunheim in a September 21 editorial in the Olympian. He did not speak in his official capacity, but said he was personally “offended” by Tunheim’s decision and that Chaplin and Thompson had been “dehumanized” by Officer Donald’s gun violence. He said of Tunheim, “His words and charging decisions made clear that, in his mind, these young black men got what they deserved.” Bamberger believes “justice demands that charges be dropped immediately.”
Candace Mercer is an artist/writer/activist who has lived in Olympia for 20 years. She has worked with the Thurston- Mason Crisis Clinic, Northwest Justice Project, Olympia Rafah Sister City Project and The Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice. She has written for Dissident Voice, electronic intifada and weedist.com.
Pasco citizens also wait for justice in the shooting death of one of their own
Antonio Zambrano Montes was shot to death by police on February 10, 2015 in Pasco, Washington. He is accused of throwing rocks at the police and resisting arrest. His primary language was Spanish. Were instructions given to Antonio in Spanish?
Thousands took to the streets in the days and months following the killing. Their cry “Justice for Antonio”, “LA RAZA UNIDA JAMAS SERA VENCIDO- The People United will never be defeated” “No Justice, No Peace, No Racist Police” “End Police Brutality” “Pasco, Ferguson, Baltimore” “Chinga La Policia”.
During World War II Pasco, Washington was a location to where Hispanic people, primarily Mexican-American and immigrants from Mexican, moved. [Pasco is one of three cities regionally referred to as the Tri-Cities: Pasco, Kennewick, and Richland. The Hanford Nuclear Reservation is nearby.] They helped to build the Hanford site — part of The Manhattan project – where the plutonium was produced for the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan.
“National security” racially excluded Mexicans from living at the Hanford site with the rest of the workers. The Hispanic community chose to live alongside the Black community that lived in Pasco. The primary industry of the Blacks in the area was seasonal agricultural work, but since World War II, Hispanic people have become the primary population of Pasco.
The immigrant Hispanic population pay taxes but do not always receive the same rights as American citizens. America- born Hispanics experience the same harassment as their foreign-born counterparts. There are urban legends of the American-born Hispanics being deported after being arrested and processed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Racial profiling in Pasco leads to the deportation of anyone without valid identification. Those brown skinned or Hispanic/Latino are targeted for deportation, 56 percent of Pasco is Hispanic or Latino. Fifty-one percent of homes in Pasco speak a language other then English as their primary language in the home. Twenty-six percent of the Population has emigrated from some other country. Twenty-one percent of residence live below the poverty line. Twenty percent of its 68 odd police officers employed by Pasco are Hispanic. These statistic come from the US Census 2010 and may be a current estimate. This statistic counts those permanent, not migrant or seasonal. in the summer months the region’s population swell to meet the farm labor demand.
Questions asked by the Sheriff Deputies in Franklin County Jail during processing lead to authentication of citizenship and identifying undocumented workers–questions they don’t have to answer. The agricultural community in Eastern Washington depends on migrant farmworkers (people whose primary source of income comes from seasonal work). This is a statistic not well counted by the Census Bureau or well reported by those who hire undocumented labor. Discrimination against those considered “illegal” by a conservative government are not allowed access to the American Dream because of racial discrimination and provide opportunity where business can violate labor laws; a practice that goes back one hundred and sixty years to the United States defeat of Mexico in the Mexican-American War.
Previous civil disobedience
Pasco has had other times in its history when riots have occurred. In 1970, protesters launched Molotov cocktails in the direction of law enforcement after 20 arrests were made during a narcotics raid on young people in Pasco’s Volunteer Park, which is across from the District Court House. At least a hundred youth launched an assault on the Franklin County Sheriff’s station throwing rocks and bottles injuring 20 Sheriff and Pasco police who deployed tear gas in an attempt to get the rioters to disperse. In 1987 another riot broke out. Just two nights before Tri-city’s annual water follies boat races, 2000 young people threw bottles and rocks at police.
These two events caused Pasco City officials to determine it necessary to conduct riot training for police the weeks before the water follies each year. This was the 28th year of annual militarization training for the Pasco Police. Pasco’s government has only developed ways to control the community instead of communicating with it citizens and is prepared to continue a tradition of violence against the Hispanic community–a community not satisfied with the city government nor the execution of the law in the city by the police and the court.
The department has also put out advertising to recruit police volunteers to increase its man power in time of need. Police volunteers can be authorized to use deadly force at the discretion of police under the Washington State Justifiable Homicide law.
The shooting of Antonio
Antonio Zambrano Montes, a Mexican national who was legally in the United States for the past decade, had a E.A.D also known as an Employment Authorization Card issued by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Without this legal identification he could have been placed in jail by Pasco city police if he was arrested on any infraction where he would then have been placed on an Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold (also known as an ICE hold).
Police had encountered Antonio on several occasions.
Antonio’s dream of a better life was supported by the work he found in the Apple orchards of Washington State. Antonio was estranged from his wife and children after his wife filed for a protection order in 2006. The report describes Antonio as homeless after he was pulled from his burning rental home in January 2015.
Video from one of the dash cams released by the city of Pasco shows Antonio pulling Taser probes from himself and two police officers dodging rocks thrown at them. (Reports indicate Alaniz and Flanagan had Tased Antonio.) It then shows Officer Wright shooting his gun at Antonio. Another angle taken by a bystander’s cell phone shows Antonio turn and start running as Wright pulls his weapon and starts shooting. It is not clear if Antonio’s action of running away was because the officer pulled his weapon and started shooting—a normal response. The officers started shooting when Antonio was 20 feet away from behind the police vehicle. Wright was quoted as saying “I had a clear shot so I took it”.
The same dash cam shows a fence for a few minutes. Then the officer gets back in the car and directs the police car camera towards the side of the street were Antonio’s body lay. The three police officers who shot Antonio until he fell fired at him a few times as he lay on the ground. It is assumed they shot him dead. Video shows they hand cuffed him and did not perform first aid. Did they let him bleed out? It is unknown whether he is dead at this point or critically wounded. It is not known how long it took the ambulance to respond to the crime scene to render first aid or take vitals or retrieve Antonio’s body.
What makes Pasco similar to Ferguson is the utter lack of compassion by police officers; the failure of police to attempt to save a person they had just shot. Does saving that person go against the philosophy of the police when they draw weapons they only shoot to kill? The dash cam video shows the massive police response to the gun fire. If Antonio were still alive, what explanation would he give for being shot 17 times? What would he say? After Antonio was shot dead the medical examiner said that Antonio’s blood contained amphetamines. It is not illegal to have amphetamines in your system or be homeless.
Could a more, less then lethal approach have been used to physically detain Antonio as he did not possess a firearm? Scott Surplus, a Benton County Sheriff Deputy swat team sniper, used deadly force in July 2014 after a man fired 68 rounds from four different guns. The swat sniper fired his weapon once killing the gunman. Corrections officer in prisons overtake violent felons using hand to hand when authorized, with the aid of Taser as fire arms are not usually allowed in side of institutions and jails.
The only other time Antonio was arrested was for assault on a police officer after he was reported to be hitting cars with a broom. This offense was not reported to be an aggravated assault–the type that would have gotten Antonio deported. He was convicted of a Misdemeanor Assault in the 4th Degree and spent five months in jail.
Antonio is described of having suffered in the past from mental health issues. The court never ordered Antonio to seek help. Pasco did not publish the drug test of the Police Officers after they discharged their fire arms or their mental evaluations prior to the shooting or after. The police were not required to make statements about their killing of Antonio for three months. With the police’s knowledge of Antonio’s mental health history shouldn’t they have engaged with him differently?
People from the movement Black Lives Matter have helped the Hispanic population of Pasco engage in civil disobedience. The American Civil Liberties Union has had representatives involved from the beginning one of whom is Gloria Ochoa, a Graduate of Pasco High and now a Law Adjunct Professor at Gonzaga University of Washington, Spokane. She serves the Spokane Tribe as the Chief Judge for the Tribal Court. She is also the ACLU Director of Local Government and Multicultural Affairs. She has served as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for Benton County. She was born in Mexico and has since become a naturalized citizen of the United States.
The Spokane Chapter of the NAACP, Branch #1137, The Washington State Commission on Hispanic affairs, along with many other groups have helped the Pasco residents address the national crises of police brutality in Washington State. Community leaders and business leaders have held press conferences on the Franklin County court house steps denouncing the police violence in Pasco. The community leaders have asked the government to find better ways to police the people without the violence of killing. They have asked the county government to bring charges against the three officers.
Thousands attended the protest either at 10th and Lewis (the site where the three Police Officers Flanagan, Wright and Alaniz shot Antonio) or at Volunteer Park, across the street from the Franklin County court house. Police have arrested many over the last eight months. Some have been arrested while exercising their first amendment rights; others have had charges brought against them unrelated to a peaceful assembly.
The Pasco Police’s preferred tactic for arrest is the “snatch and grab”. This is where the Police abduct by force snatching away from the crowed and arresting participants of the protest. Whisking the abducted away to jail and processing them into the mouth of the penal system, criminalizing them for being in dissent.
The Pasco Police sometimes claim to have telephonic warrants when making arrest but do not show the warrant at time of arrest. Police have charged protesters with a varied array of offences such as Malicious Mischief and Disorderly Conduct. A man wearing a Guy Fawkes mask was arrested for Inciting a Riot in April; he will remain Anonymous and was found in Possessions of Cocaine. Other offenses include Unlawful use of the Street and or Side Walk Interferences for blocking automobile traffic during a civil rights march around the town. Individuals are segregated from the group criminalized and processed into the prison industrial complex.
Two men, Mr. Alfredo Liamedos and Mr. Jose Manzano-Nieves, out on bail from May’s protest still wait for pretrial motions sometime in November. They have private legal representation with suspected ties to the ACLU. They participated in a protest organized by Community Solutions. These two men were arrest after a peaceful march was conducted May 9th. During May’s protest where approximately 30 armed police—not in riot gear but armed with their standard service fire arms—deployed against what seemed like an equal number of protesters exercising their First Amendment right to “peacefully address a grievance to the government”. The police would have only had the use of taser, mace, and hand guns. Not the shield and baton carried by Riot police. Would they have shot protesters for throwing rocks? Thirty police officers is about half of Pasco Division. The City of Pasco also hired camera men and photographers to document the civil disobedience that occurred on May 9, 2015. The City of Pasco reportedly took 300 photos of protesters and two hours of video to document dissidents.
Liamedos and Manzano-Nieves were stopped following the protest when they pulled their car into a taqueria. They were apprehended and arrested on telephonic warrants issued by Pasco Municipal Judge Petersen. Telephonic warrants are normally issued on the Authority of the District Court Judge and not by a Municipal Court Judge. And they are usually reserved for felony searches or felony stops when a police officer has established probable cause that a crime against Federal law has been committed, not on the whim or irritation of a judge for suspected of violating misdemeanors.
The city of Pasco Municipal court does not have a carbon paper it can use to issue telephonic warrants on. Judge Petersen allowed the Pasco police to modify the Franklin County document; crossing out Franklin District Court and writing Pasco municipal, and crossing out search and writing in arrest on his municipal court authority. Judge Petersen’s hip pocket dictatorial style of law would be better suited for a country founded on less free principles then the United States of America as it would lead one to believe it violates a person’s Fourth Amendment right guarding against illegal search and seizure.
A third man was “snatched and grabbed” after leaving the park on May 9. He was arraigned on the 11 and he recited from the first paragraph of the Bill of Rights in the United States Constitution that those protesting had “the Freedom of Assembly to address a grievance to the government peacefully”. This individual was unable to make bail and his charges were conditionally dismissed after 47 days of incarceration.
He attempted to have Judge Petersen recused for being the arresting authority that issued the warrants. The police did not arrest the protesters on their authority but on of the judge who having prejudices against the protesters making him incapable of conducting a fair trial.
Only three were arrested out of thirty that day, all male middle-aged anc Hispanic in appearance; the protest was multicultural and against police brutality.
The way the conservative government of Pasco handles protests for Civil Rights is a call for concern. The way the agricultural workers of the Columbia River basin are denied equal rights is an example of racism by the conservative government of Pasco. They deployed police in riot gear once at 10th and Lewis on the 14th of February and again without riot gear but in riot formation on 3rd Avenue near Pasco City Hall on May 9 against the Justice for Antonio demonstrators on at least these two occasions. The police, not the people, escalated the situation both time’s showing the municipality’s willingness to commit brutality against its people.
Protest is becoming the new American standard when dealing with police officers or city governance, for a people asking for change and justice.
Demonstrations of a few hundred people show a popular support to an Idea or cause. A law can become unpopular and a jury can ignore it if they feel it is unjust or find the defendant not guilty. Jury instructions are idea guidelines of the enforcement of the law and not a mandate to adhere to it as America has seen people convicted by racism alone in every state or their civil liberties completely ignored by courts.
Shawn Sant, Prosecuting Attorney for Franklin County, said after reviewing evidence on September 9, 2015 that he was not going to file charges against Flanagan, Wight or Alaniz—the officers who shoot Antonio. He said they “were unable to find any bias. The statute was very clear.” The Washington Law for Justifiable Homicide is RCW 9A.16.040. The way it reads is a person can be shot for fleeing or presenting a danger to the police and or public. It also reads that a lethal use of force is justified against rioters. Sant does not say what statute he is talking about. Even if one could prove that the Washington law for Murder was violated, Washington RCW 9A.32.030, the Justifiable Homicide law, reads a police officer is going to almost always be exonerated for discharging his weapon in the line of duty. Police officers are to work at the discretion of a competent court. Shawn Sant depends on the police to arrest and testify against anyone that has charges brought against them.
With his professional need for police to bring people to court it may be hard for a prosecuting attorney to bring charges against a police officer. The Police Officer’s Fraternal order of Police have a huge political influence and not just in Washington State. They lobby politicians nationally. To have one of their own brought to trial for committing homicide in the line of duty would question the authority the police exercise daily challenging the whole system. With a license to kill by fire arm, choke hold, car, Taser, club, and beanbag or rubber bullet while discharging of his duty, an officer can testify he felt threatened. The police can also be used by a government to suppress to constitutional freedoms as we have seen in Pasco at the direction of a “competent” court.
Washington State Governor Jay Inslee directed the Washington States Attorney General’s office to review the decision of Prosecutor Shawn Sant following his decision not to bring charges against Officers Wight and Alaniz. Charges were also not filed on Former Officer Flanagan who resigned from the police force in June and now oversees a Hispanic work crew for a construction company.
In response to Prosecuting Attorney Sant’s decision not to bring charges against the three officers, Director of the ACLU Jennifer Shaw, on September 9, called for changes in Washington State law regarding how police are brought before a court to answer for their actions.
The Defense of Actions Ordinance
Shawn Sant was present on January 21, 2015 at the Franklin county commissioners preceding from Commissioners Record 53 when the commission rescinded The Defense of Actions Ordinance 27-2002 and then enacted The Defence of Action Ordnance 2-2015, a municipal code relieving any police officer or city employee of legal or financial responsibility at the discretion of the commission and prosecutor. Protecting them against criminal and civil liability, while in the performance of their duty on the behalf of the government and placing the burden of responsibility on the city taxpayers should a criminal or civil case be brought against the officer or employee. The ordinance provides a county attorney will be provided if necessary, but will not cover the expense of a private one, if criminal legal proceeding against an officer or employee should manifest or for settlement of civil law suit should one occur in accordance with RCW 4.96.041. Sant asked three times if anyone would like to make any comments about how he summarized the new ordnance 2-2015. No one was present in dissent of the ordnance; present that day at the hearings was Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #7. This law gives employees universal protection if in the performance of their duties, which relieves them of financial penalty and responsibility for the laws they might break or the crimes they might commit. A group of people in governance and in collusion while in the employment of the government could deprive a person or people of life, liberty or property violating the Fourth Amendment without being held accountable for their actions by that government with whom they are in collusion in the passing of this ordinance. The local government is responsible for passing this law, not the people. Those people denying the residents of Pasco justice are the current elected officials both in Pasco and Franklin County.
Response to Sant’s announcement
Hundreds of people took to the street peacefully following Sant’s press conference. The police did make arrests over the following week of protest though the police chief, Bob Metzger, issued a statement that the police department was going to allow the demonstrators to demonstrate peacefully and that riot police were not going to be deployed against; however, he warned that there was a plan in case demonstrators became violent. The main body was allowed to demonstrate and the police even blocked traffic for them. Arrest were made, but for reasons other than unlawful use of the street. This single act by the Government of Pasco likely averted a repeat of The Zoot suit riots of 1943 of Los Angeles when the large Mexican population rioted against the racist establishment following the Sleepy Lagoon murder trial. The police had rounded up primarily the Mexican community many who were born in the United States like the generations before them.
The Antonio Zambrano Montes’ family attorney Benjamin Crump a notable civil rights lawyer known for representing the family of Trayvon Martin has filed a wrongful death suit for $25 million dollars against the City of Pasco in Federal court.
The president of Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto denounced the killing of Antonio, a Mexican national, calling “it was a disproportional use of force”.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has also been conducting its own review of events and situations leading up to the shooting of Antonio Zambrano Montes and the actions of the local government following the shooting. Many are eager for Federal charges to be brought against the people responsible for Antonio’s death. The FBI Civil Rights Division has not yet published their findings in Pasco as they did following the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
A coroner’s inquest
In the months to come the Franklin County Coroner Dan Blasdel is planning to hold an inquest. He is not getting much support from Sant’s office and is trying to have the inquest held in another county but finding it difficult to do so without Sant’s co-operation. Coroner Blasdel, a medical professional, has the authority to investigate the situation behind the shooting independently, where a jury reviews the evidence that is in possession of the state and allowed into trial. That jury will then make a recommendation to Prosecutor Sant if they think a murder has or has not been committed. Sant can still choose to ignore the jury’s finding.
It is clear three officers did not use their hand to hand training to subdue Antonio. Instead they chose to kill him though they outnumbered him three to one. The video shows no rocks in his hand as they gunned him down on a street full of bystanders. It shows him surrendering.
Laws and the enforcement of them can over time be found to be unjust and repealed. An example is the abolishment of slavery in the Thirteenth Amendment. The police officers’ actions in the writing of the law and the understanding of the statute by Prosecutor Sant, who is in collusion with the police, cannot find justification in bringing charges against the officers. That does not mean the three officers should have shot Antonio Zambrano Montes. People are not satisfied with the situation and they will not forget the murder of Antonio. If the people of Hispanic community want the rights afforded to them under the Constitution, then they will to continue to go into the streets and demand them.
More protests are expected in the future. A people united can change the law.
There is no Justice for Antonio Zambrano Montes in Pasco.
John Chacon served in the Army as a 3 time volunteer, completing two tours of duty in Iraq, earning the Army’s Combat Action Badge for taking fire while performing his duty. He did not run over children for protesting the American presence in their country even though the rules of engagement said he could. He chose instead to risk his life and spare theirs.
Regarding Terran Zander’s “No Place Like Home”
I enjoyed your publication for its comments even there seemingly were elements of strong bias. Zander’s article dwelt on what he writes as “hate”. Perhaps he should take more courses on American history. For example, what he writes about the Japanese is largely displaying his ignorance on what really did occur. Does he not realize that:
Ken Nordlund, Lacey
Dear Works in Progress,
The article in September’s Works in Progress entitled “More questions than answers” was reminiscent of an experience a friend recently endured—a crazed cop, gun drawn, screaming at him for, contrary to instructions, getting out of his car to retrieve his proof of insurance from his wallet. My friend is white. He was driving a new Prius.
His thoughts were: “There’s a crazy person threatening me with a gun. I can fight, I can run or I can place myself at his mercy.”
He chose the latter and came away with a newfound fear of the police. Black Lives Matter. But so do white lives and no race of people is now safe.
At some point this becomes a constitutional issue. Asset forfeiture in which the police, prior to trial, take and keep everything a person owns, their house their business, all their money, even though none of it was from illegal sources. Fifth Amendment states that “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of the law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.” The Eighth Amendment states that “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed”. The court then appoints a public defender who will only plea bargain a guilty plea. The Sixth Amendment states that every person is entitled to “assistance of counsel for his defense”, not in negotiating a guilty plea.
In addition to the constitutional issues, there are those involving methods such as entrapment, enticing someone into doing something they normally wouldn’t do, such as finding some pot for an attractive undercover cop that has infiltrated your high school. It seems quaint if we don’t consider the ruined lives. The standard here is “predisposition”, which could be interpreted to mean “all who take the bait”. Multi-jurisdictional drug task forces such as the Thurston County Drug Taskforce have perfected these methods in the War on Drugs. They›ve become customary…as has intimidation.
What should be an important and occasionally used tool becomes ever-present. These things have been disproportionately felt in black communities because working class people, especially the working poor, are targeted.
People need to trust the legal system. We need to trust that if we call the police they will work to diffuse a situation, not escalate it. We need to trust that we won’t see a young person shot in our yard. People need to be able to respect the legal system. To feel that laws will be applied fairly and justly. If we have no trust or respect in the system, then the system is in trouble. It only operates with the permission of “We the People.”
Harry Branch, Olympia
Call for a “Bill of Rights” to protect civilians from police use of excessive force
“A public officer or peace officer shall not be held criminally liable for using deadly force without malice and with a good faith belief that such act is justifiable.” So announced White Thurston County Prosecutor Jon Tunheim, September 2, in his decision not to prosecute White officer Ryan Donald in the shooting of two young Black males living in Olympia who were considered “armed” with their skateboards. What comparisons might we make with Tunheim’s conclusion with the reasoning of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in exonerating White officer Darien Wilson in the killing of unarmed Black 18-year old Michael Brown?
In the case of Ferguson’s officer Wilson, the DOJ concluded,
“Darren Wilson’s actions do not constitute prosecutable violations under the applicable federal criminal civil rights statute, 18 U.S.C. § 242, which prohibits uses of deadly force that are ‘objectively unreasonable,’ as defined by the United States Supreme Court.”
To go forward with a prosecution of Wilson or of any cop under 18 U.S.C. § 242, the DOJ explained that the feds would have to prove “Wilson fired the shots with the requisite ‘willful’ criminal intent.” Citing Supreme Court cases, the DOJ stated, “The use of deadly force is justified when the officer has ‘probable cause to believe that the suspect pose[s] a threat of serious physical harm, either to the officer or to others.’” Furthermore, “Federal law requires that the government must also prove that the officer acted willfully, that is, ‘for the specific purpose of violating the law.’”
In other words, if police officers can claim that that they were threatened and acting in self-defense, they can unload deadly force on civilians whether or not they are actually armed with a weapon. Even stupidity and ignorance is protected under 18 U.S.C. § 242, according to the DOJ: “Mistake, fear, misperception, or even poor judgment does not constitute willful conduct prosecutable under the statute.” To go forward with prosecution, the DOJ contended, “The only possible basis for prosecuting Wilson under Section 242 would therefore be if the government could prove that his account is not true.” The DOJ prefaced that remark with “Wilson’s account of Brown’s actions, if true” – which is an admission that Wilson’s version of events serve as the benchmark that must be proved as false “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Like Darien Wilson, Olympia officer Ryan Donald’s primary defense is his “good faith belief” in the use of lethal force was done “without malice.” According to the Thurston County Prosecutor, “Officer Donald was in actual fear of injury or death if struck with the skateboard and/or otherwise incapacitated or disarmed.” Therefore, “The degree of force used was necessary in light of the imminent and direct threat of serious physical harm.”
The Prosecuting Attorney cited Washington State law as the legal standard that allowed Officer Donald to shoot his two victims “armed” with their skateboards.
To summarize, in both the Olympia and Ferguson cases “the Constitutional right at issue is the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable seizures, which encompasses the right of an arrestee to be free from ‘objectively unreasonable’ force,” according the DOJ. Police and supposedly prosecutors determine what is “objectively reasonable” use of excessive force. Objectivity in both cases rests primarily on the subjectivity of the cops. If they feel threated in any manner, shot-to-kill is “reasonable.”
Because the nation-state “is usually defined by its monopoly over the legitimate use of violence,” geographer David Harvey explains, use of force by police rarely results in legal action against a police officer. The deck is definitely stacked in favor of the subjective judgment of cops in such shootings of civilians, especially when no investigation is conducted separately from police agencies and, most certainly, not by an independent, democratic process.
Washington state, however, can take the lead in providing state laws and requirements about what is “objectively reasonable” under federal statue 18 U.S.C. § 242 for police use of excessive force. As a start, we need a “Bill of Rights to Protect Civilians from Police Use of Excessive Force.” Here are some elements for concerned citizens to consider:
Together, let’s build on this draft of a Bill of Rights to protect unarmed civilians from police and judicial processes that currently provide police impunity from criminal charges in nearly any kind of violence that cops choose to inflict.
As I suggested in the September issue of Works in Progress (“Changing State Laws to Prevent Police Use of Excessive Force”), we need to seriously work with any sympathetic legislators to take steps to change laws in Washington State that look to protect civilians rather than just the police. The alternative is the continuation of police violence on vulnerable populations.
Dr. Michael Vavrus lives in Olympia and is a professor at The Evergreen State College. He is the author of Diversity and Education: A Critical Multicultural Approach (2015). For more information about Michael, including his recent commentaries, go to http://www.michaelvavrus.com/
Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney. (2015, September 2). Officer involved shooting – Press conference, p. 6. Retrieved from http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/pao/
United States Department of Justice. (2015, March 4). Department of Justice Report Regarding the Criminal Investigation into the shooting death of Michael Brown by Ferguson, Missouri Police Officer Darren Wilson, p. 5. Retrieved from http://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/opa/press-releases/attachments/2015/03/04/doj_report_on_shooting_of_michael_brown.pdf
U.S. DOJ, p. 10.
U.S. DOJ, p. 10.
U.S. DOJ, p. 11.
U.S. DOJ, p. 78.
U.S. DOJ, p. 78.
Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney. p. 9.
U.S. DOJ, p. 10.
David Harvey (2014). Seventeen contradictions and the end of capitalism. New York: Oxford University Press.; also, Human Rights Watch. (2014, October). Submission to the United Nations Committee Against Torture. Retrieved from http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/10/20/submission-united-nations-committee-against-torture