Saturday, July 16, 2011

Detroit Judge Sentences Alleged Rape Victim to Jail, Next To Attacker - It's already extremely hard for rape victims to come to court and testify. This alleged rape victim says the only reason she came back was to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else.

This woman found the courage to come back to court and testify against one of the men who she says beat her with everything from a chair, to a two-by-four and raped her repeatedly before she found a way to escape from this Strasberg Street in Detroit.

That nightmare only continued at a Wednesday hearing , when she claims defense attorney Gabi Silver kept badgering her on the stand insinuating that she brought this attack on herself, causing this victim to snap in court.

"I said just get to the point bitch, it slipped out, it was inappropriate... all the bottled anger" says the alleged victim.

Without a warning, she says 36th District Judge Vanessa Bradley held her in contempt and ordered her to spend three days in jail.

After our story aired Wednesday, exposing what happened - the judge seemed to have a change of heart and released her a day early.

But to make matters even worse, she says her time in a holding cell was spent right next door to her alleged attacker who she says threatened her life, claiming the suspect who is still on the loose will come back and kill her. An investigation into this matter is underway.

In the end, the judge bound suspect Curtis King over for trial. The alleged victim says she's one step closer to justice, but she hopes no other rape victim will have to go through what she did to get it.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Anti-Police Letters to the Toronto Star

Re: Judge blasts 51 Division for ‘blind eye,’ June 29

This article makes it abundantly clear that Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair has passed his “best before date.” The litany of shortcomings that have occurred on his watch continues to grow. The culture of abusing people has grown unfettered under his command. A CEO who continually comes up short on major key performance indicators would be quickly shown the door for cause. As the head of the Toronto police force he must stop the obfuscation and accept responsibility for the actions of the members of the force. He should be given the chance to immediately resign or be terminated for cause. The tipping point has been reached.

Glen N. Tolhurst, Guelph

On Wednesday I read two articles in the Star about the Toronto police force and the things they do to citizens and get away with. Two officers beat up a man near 51 Division causing great bodily harm and the judge sentenced them to one year of house arrest, meanwhile the man they beat up went through hell. Another officer got off for threatening two handcuffed suspects with his Taser because of his diabetes. Stop putting police on a pedestal; they are not heroes, just people, and should be subject to the laws of the land.

Robert Mobbs, Blue Mountain

The judge who sentenced two 51 Division officers for the brutal beating of an innocent man decided not to send them to jail because “Jail is a particularly dangerous place for police officers.” Few would doubt this fact. To solve this vexing problem, I would like to suggest that one of the new jails Stephen Harper is planning on building be reserved for police officers. Just counting those who should be tried for the illegal beatings and abuses of peaceful G20 protesters last year, the new jail should be full in no time.

Vittorio Frigerio, Toronto

No Photo Ops, With the Fucking Cops

The Ladies Anarchist Solidarity Society is forming an anti-policing contingent at Toronto’s Pride Parade while the Toronto Police continues to march at this year’s event, the 30th anniversary of the Toronto bathhouse raids. Taking part in a parade that grew out of protest of police conduct is seen as a form of community dialogue by police who have increased their presence since Bill Blair became the first police chief to march in 2005.

Some members of Toronto’s queer community object to TPS’ presence and see it as another form of pinkwashing in addition to the ongoing corporatization of Pride. Ashleigh Ingle believes that “we should not see the presence of our violent oppressors at our celebratory protest as a victory... we should not want their acceptance.”

Problems with the police faced by the queer and trans communities have been many, from the criminalization of consensual sexual acts to systemic harassment and brutality.

The Ladies Anarchist Solidarity Society (LASS) has called for an anti-policing contingent at this year’s parade “to be vocal for the members in our community who can't because they are continually targeted by police” and to “remember the roots of Pride”. They see it as important to not forget past struggles of the queer and trans community against the police and not condone its continuation today by uncritically accepting or encouraging police participation.

A Pride Toronto organizer who declined to be named expressed conflicted frustration while justifying police presence, “On one hand, we don’t want to put our volunteers in danger -- if anything were to happen. On the other, how do you have police presence when large portions of your community have been marginalized or brutalized?”

Resistance by members of the queer and trans communities hasn’t just occurred in the distant past at events like Stonewall and local riots in response to police raids and brutality. Last year in response to the treatment of queer and trans detainees at the G20, community members stormed the 519 to interrupt a speech by Bill Blair. An OPP recruitment event targeting the queer community was also shut down this past fall by the Queer Resistance Network who advocated “finding our own solutions to our own problems without the state.”

FBI Amending Operations Manual to Allow More Intrusive Investigations

WASHINGTON — In the near future the noise you hear in your outside trash container might not be that pesky raccoon or the neighbor’s dog, but the FBI, looking for evidence to link you to some criminal or terrorist activity. That would be particularly true if you have had any contact knowingly or unknowingly, socially or otherwise with someone the bureau finds suspicious. If past experience is any guide, that could be nearly anyone.

According to recent news reports, officials of the national police force are preparing for another assault on our civil liberties. They are planning to give their agents more leeway to intrude into the lives of those they decide need further looking into by amending the domestic operations manual that sets out guidelines for conducting investigations. They would have enhanced ability to search not only household trash but also databases and could assign surveillance teams to scrutinize every aspect of American lives — shades of J. Edgar Hoover and his infamous Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO).

At the risk of overstating the case, that’s just plain scary.

Link that with reports of a mysterious FBI investigation into the activities of peace advocates and politically active labor organizers, and the past is not only prologue, it never went away. The Washington Post reported that the probe involving raids on seven homes and the issuance of subpoenas for 23 people last fall has triggered a major protest at the Justice Department. The investigation apparently is examining possible material support for Colombian and Palestinian groups designated as terrorists, the newspaper said.

There is no question that the bureau’s efforts to refocus its mission to counterterrorism have been largely successful. So much so that President Barack Obama has called off his search for a new FBI director and plans to seek a two-year extension of Robert Mueller’s 10-year term, which expires in September, despite the fact that the bureau’s surveillance tactics of advocacy groups and mosques have been severely criticized. An inspector general’s report four years ago said that the FBI had frequently misused so called national security letters that permit agents to obtain phone and other records without first receiving court permission.

Why the FBI would need an expansion of warrantless authority is unclear. There is enough existing machinery that allows agents and their supervisors to obtain expedited court permission for searches, especially in intelligence and national security cases where a special panel has been set up for that purpose.

During the Nixon administration when anti-Vietnam protest was at its height, a proposal by a minor White House functionary just out of college that would have suspended many of our civil liberties almost came to fruition. The plan was shelved only for the lack of a single signature. In one of that tumultuous period’s more ironic incidents, Hoover refused to sign off, relegating this dangerous undemocratic plan to a footnote in history.

Perhaps the same fate should be given this latest proposal.
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