On November 9, 2015, at around 11:30am, Scean Gordon and Daryl Appleberry were the victims of racial profiling, wrongful police arrest, and brutality—amid corporate media carelessness and police lies.
According to Mr. Appleberry, police had a description and picture of the man they sought. However, Rochester Police Department officers continued to arrest Mr. Appleberry before and after he, his family, and his friends informed the police of his identity. Mr. Gordon began filming the situation as soon as he could on his cell phone.
As Mr. Gordon and Mr. Appleberry greeted each other in the middle of a quiet Grafton Street and began crossing, a police cruiser rolled up on them and two cops jumped out yelling at the Mr. Appleberry, “What's your name!” according to Mr. Gordon.
Before Mr. Gordon began filming, Mr. Appleberry had identified himself twice to the police.
“When they first jumped out and yelled 'What's your name?! We can make this easy,' I told the them my name was Daryl Appleberry twice,” said Mr. Appleberry.
Mr. Appleberry then identified himself in Mr. Gordon's video before he asserted his right to remain silent and his refusal to be searched.
Mr. Gordon did the only thing he could do at that moment: he documented the scene with his cell phone. He and Mr. Appleberry's family became frustrated and angry when police refused to identify themselves and proceeded to handcuff and arrest Mr. Appleberry—forcing him into the back seat of the cruiser.
Video from Scean Gordon
The video above shows Mr. Gordon moving closer to the officers in order to get their images, name plates, and badge numbers after they refused to identify themselves. He also went into the street briefly to capture the license plates of the cruisers. As he did this, he also reminded Mr. Appleberry of his rights. Seeing the police as apparent kidnappers who wouldn't identify themselves, Mr. Gordon refused to comply with their orders.
Video from D. A.
As the cruiser was pulling away to the right with Mr. Appleberry in handcuffs in the back seat, officer Christopher Kosch stopped the vehicle—telling his partner “I have to get this guy for something [referring to Mr. Gordon],” according to Mr. Appleberry—jumped out, told Mr. Gordon he was under arrest, and proceeded to tackle him, threw him into the pavement, used a Taser on him, pepper sprayed and choked him. Mr. Gordon was eventually handcuffed and put into the back seat of a cruiser and taken away.
Mr. Appleberry was released shortly after Mr. Gordon was removed from the scene. When Mr. Appleberry asked to see the photo of the suspect, the officers remained silent. Officer Kosch's partner said, “Oh, you all look alike,” according to Mr. Appleberry.
Mr. Gordon was charged with obstruction of governmental administration, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest. After going to the hospital for treatment, where he was further taunted and humiliated by officers, he was booked downtown, spent the night in jail, and arraigned the following morning before Judge Ellen Yacknin.
Watch the full Rochester Indymedia interview with Daryl Appleberry and Scean Gordon below
Katherine Denison, a member of Enough Is Enough, was able to attend Mr. Gordon's arraignment before Judge Yacknin. Here's what she saw:
[photo: Judge Ellen Yacknin from the Democrat & Chronicle] Always enlightening, sitting in the shining presence of American justice. Gleaming pink and pale staff directing and berating brown and black accused. Gum-cracking, belligerent cop calling for respect for the judge as he smirks and flashes pink wads of gum at us. Yacknin looking haggard and disinterested, mumbling, refusing the mic, hand over her mouth as she rests her chin in her palm. She was only loud enough and lively when she was lecturing teenagers or reprimanding drunk drivers.
Mr. Gordon was dignified. He has a previous arrest for photographing a police interaction but faced no charges. DA pointed out he has no convictions, has just finished an audio course for his communications degree with shining grades, is father of 3, has a lovely wife. Yacknin let him go on his own recognizance.
Talked with Scean and his wife after. Sweet, both of them, very surprised at the support, and very grateful to learn they're not alone dealing with the photography issue.
Carelessness or lies? Police and corporate media accounts of what happened
Since November 9, the police and a couple of corporate media outlets released their stories about what happened to Mr. Appleberry and Mr. Gordon. Not surprisingly, two outlets—the Democrat & Chronicle and WHEC Channel 10 took on the police narrative also known as “The Truth”—the monumental, fundamental, singular, and True account of what happened. Incidentally, these two corporate news outlets were the only ones that picked up the story.
Three points need to be addressed with this so-called Truth: 1) the description and justification for the use of force on Mr. Gordon; 2) that Mr. Gordon was arrested because he was standing directly in front of a police cruiser preventing it from leaving; and 3) that Mr. Gordon was not tasered by the police.
Let's take a look at the first point regarding excessive use of force. On November 9, independent journalist David Vara put out one of the first—if not the first—story about what happened. Here's how he reported what happened:
After Rochester, NY cops place Appleberry in the cruiser and begin to pull off, the officer driving the cruiser abruptly stops the vehicle, gets out, and does a bee line straight to Scean Gordon, who is standing on private property, and tackle him.
"He wasn't dong anything wrong," Gordon's wife, who didn't want to be identified, out of fear of retaliation by the RPD, told me.
"He was simply video recording what was happening to his friend because the police had the wrong person."
"My husband suffers from post traumatic stress disorder from being beaten by police in New York City years ago, but he didn't do anything wrong."
Rochester Police officers tasered Gordon, and assaulted him, even slamming him on the driveway of the home.
Gordon was charged with resisting arrest and "O.G.A", or obstruction of governmental administration.
Both bullshit charges which police use when they have to come up with something to try and justify their illegal, unconstitutional actions.
Gordon was taken to Rochester General Hospital for his injuries.
Mr. Vara was straight to the point and right on. He didn't mince words. He stated what happened (a link to the video of the brutality is on his site) and then he called out the charges brought against Mr. Gordon as “...bullshit charges which police use when they have to come up with something to try and justify their illegal, unconstitutional actions.” Mr. Vara didn't make excuses nor did he question the language or anger expressed by Mr. Gordon in the video; this was illegal, unconstitutional, and completely bad policing.
Now let's examine how the Democrat & Chronicle reported on the use of excessive force. Jon Hand and Will Cleveland wrote about the incident in an article published on November 10:
A second video taken by Appleberry's sister, shows officers pulling away with Appleberry in their car.
Gordon, police said, at that time is standing in front of the police cruiser.
The video shows the cruiser travel just a few feet, then the driver's side door opens and an officer exits. As he walks to the front of the car, Gordon appears in the screen.
The officer says "you're under arrest" and reaches for Gordon, who evades him and begins to run. The officer and Gordon struggle and other officers join the arrest, pinning Gordon down and using pepper spray to subdue him. Appleberry said officers also used a Taser on Gordon but the videos do not show that, and police said it did not happen.
[Clinton Section Capt. Korey] Brown said his officers showed restraint throughout the arrest while several people were screaming at them while they did their investigation.
In the Democrat & Chronicle account, more detail was offered about the excessive force used against Mr. Gordon. However, the journalists relied on the police to explain away the brutality and misconduct of the officers instead of making their own, independent assessment of the situation based on the officers' accounts, the accounts of the victims, and the videos.
Gordon, “police said,” was standing in front of the cruiser, blocking it from leaving. While Mr. Appleberry, who was sitting in the back seat of the cruiser observing the actions of the officers, told the Democrat & Chronicle that he saw officers use a Taser on Mr. Gordon, the reporters retorted, “the videos do not show that, and police said it did not happen.” Thus, Truth was restored because the police said it was. And in case there was any doubt, because there never seems to be any doubt in the mind of a police officer, Clinton Section Captain Korey Brown said “his officers showed restraint throughout the arrest.” Case closed.
On November 10, WHEC Channel 10 reporter Berkeley Brean produced, perhaps, the very worst piece of chastising—I mean reporting—about the incident. Watching Brean's piece is a telling example of bad journalism and shoddy video work when looking at the use of excessive force on Mr. Gordon:
Moments later -- with Appleberry still handcuffed in the car -- the police car stops suddenly and police get out to arrest Gordon. Family members are hysterical. We met Appleberry and Gordon at the scene and reminded him police said he could record from the sidewalk.
The text for this article is actually a make-shift transcript for Brean's produced video. The video connected to the voice over of the above text showed Mr. Gordon being chased, tackled, and dragged with Brean's voice overwhelming the audio in the video stating, “We met Appleberry and Gordon at the scene and reminded him police said he could record from the sidewalk.” Brean used quick and specific cuts of the two videos Mr. Gordon and Mr. Appleberry gave to him, in order to paint the officers as reasonable people who made a simple mistake and Mr. Gordon as an angry, out-of-control Black man, who was swearing at the cops.
There was no description of what Mr. Gordon experienced and no attempt to convey to the audience what they were watching. Brean drove home the point that if Mr. Gordon had just been more compliant and less vulgar with his language then he might not have been beaten up.
Berkeley Brean's WHEC News Channel 10 segment
There was condescension for Mr. Appleberry and Mr. Gordon throughout Brean's nearly three minute segment. Mr. Appleberry didn't even make the cut to represent himself in the WHEC Channel 10 reporter's piece, even though Brean met with the two men and discussed what happened.
Berkeley Brean's full interview with Appleberry and Gordon [poor audio quality]
Let's move onto the second point: that Mr. Gordon was arrested because he was standing directly in front of a police cruiser preventing it from leaving.
According to a statement released on November 10, 2015 by the Office of the Chief of Police, Michael Ciminelli, "Mr. Gordon was standing in the street and refused to disperse so that motor vehicles could pass. Officers even attempted to move their marked police vehicle and Mr. Gordon refused to step away from the front of the vehicle."
The interesting thing about this statement is not that it can be contested using the video and statements from Mr. Gordon; the interesting part about this police narrative is how little time it took the corporate news media--in this case the Democrat & Chronicle and WHEC Channel 10--to adopt it as the one True account.
The Democrat & Chronicle parroted the police narrative perfectly. Unlike WHEC Channel 10, the paper didn't go so far as to say that Mr. Gordon wasn't in the video. Here's what the paper reported:
A second video taken by Appleberry's sister, shows officers pulling away with Appleberry in their car.
Gordon, police said, at that time is standing in front of the police cruiser.
Here's what WHEC Channel 10 reported in print with Brean's video:
Gordon was arrested after he refused to get out from the front of a RPD police car.
Police say they arrested Gordon because he was blocking the police car in the street. Gordon says he was standing in the driveway. The video does not show him.
Brean in print and video, stated, “Police say they arrested Gordon because he was blocking the police car in the street. Gordon says he was standing in the driveway. The video does not show him.” The WHEC Channel 10 reporter parrots the police line just like the Democrat & Chronicle reporters.
A minor bit of investigating on the part of Brean could have gone a long way. Contrary to the police narrative and Brean's declaration that “The video does not show him,” the video clearly showed Mr. Gordon's leg, foot, and shadow, which was consistent with the statement that he made in our interview above. Mr. Gordon explained that he was standing with Mr. Appleberry's family with his body in the driveway angled toward the leaving police cruiser so that he could get a side-angle shot when officer Kosch stopped the cruiser and got out.
At the end of the day, both the Democrat & Chronicle and WHEC Channel 10 did sloppy-to -zero investigative work and took on the police narrative as fact. Brean went a step further in his bad reporting by declaring that "The video does not show [Mr. Gordon]," when, in fact, it does.
Let's move onto the last point: that according to the police and the corporate media, Mr. Gordon was not tasered by the police. According to the Democrat & Chronicle,
Appleberry said officers also used a Taser on Gordon but the videos do not show that, and police said it did not happen.
Regarding the use of a Taser on Mr. Gordon, Cleveland and Hand write, "...but the videos do not show that, and police said it did not happen." In the video above of Mr. Gordon getting brutalized, an officer drew his Taser at around the 1:08 minute mark. While the Taser prongs may not have been fired into Mr. Gordon's body, the possibility does exist that the charged prongs may have touched his arm or torso, stunning him. The reporters at the the
Democrat & Chronicle fell back on the police statement, writing, "police said it did not happen."
"I was in the back of the squad car [and saw] where the officer actually pulls out--reaching, pulling out the stun gun, and the stun gun put to Scean Gordon," said Mr. Appleberry in our interview.
WHEC Channel 10 didn't report on the Taser use at all.
The last sentence of the first page of the statement from the police said, "Mr. Gordon was never Tased during this incident." If it never happened, why comment on it? The police do acknowledge that Mr. Gordon ran head first into a utility pole. In the video of Mr. Gordon getting brutalized, (picture 4 in the meme below) Mr. Gordon is very close to a utility pole when it appears he is Tasered. He might not have "ran head first into a utility pole" but rather been jolted into the pole after being Tasered. Again, if it never happened, why comment on it?
"Cops lie. Record everything."
David Vara has apparel branded with the phrase above and it couldn't be more true. It's vital, regardless of whether or not there are police body worn cameras, dashboard cameras, or surveillance cameras, that civilians—everyday people—continue to record and publish their interactions with the police on blogs, YouTube, and elsewhere. In New York State, it is completely legal to take video of police doing their jobs in public. The democratization of video technology in cell phones means that we all have greater power to hold police accountable.
Eye-witnesses and civilian video can make transparent that which police would rather keep secret. In Scean and Daryl's case, police came up with a narrative, made explicit statements that appear false, and then gave the story to the corporate media to report in full. The last step for the police, is letting the story fade from existence where it will whither under the proverbial rug.
The idea of police lying is open to interpretation. It depends on where your sympathies lie and how much time and effort you are willing to put into scrutinizing police and corporate media claims. For those that doubt that police lie, there are plenty of examples that show police lying, trying to stymie the public's right to know what happened, and covering their blue crimes.
For a very recent, national example, take the case of Laquan McDonald. Mr. McDonald was a 17-year-old Black teenager who was gunned down by Chicago Police Department officer Jason Van Dyke with 16 bullets--many of them entering his body after he was wounded and on the ground. (Read the original Chicago Tribune report here from a year ago.)
Journalist Jamie Kalven was interviewed by the Chicago Reporter about the cover-up of Mr. McDonald's murder by Van Dyke:
Kalven calls [Mayor of Chicago Rahm] Emanuel’s “reframing” of the narrative “essentially false.” He points out that “everything we know now, the city knew from Day One. They had the officers on the scene. They knew there were witnesses. They had the autopsy, they had the video.... They maintained a false narrative about those events, and they did it for a year, when it could have been corrected almost immediately....They spent a year stonewalling any calls for transparency, any information about the case.”
To make matters even worse, it came out that Chicago police went to a nearby Burger King in proximity to where Mr. McDonald was murdered and deleted 86 minutes of security camera footage. The dashboard camera video released on Tuesday showed the murder of Mr. McDonald and clearly refuted statements made by the department and the police union.
Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder and is sitting in jail awaiting a bond hearing.
In New York State, a story of national prominence is the case of Eric Garner. Mr. Garner was selling loose cigarettes and, for doing so, was strangled to death by officer Daniel Pantaleo. Pantaleo was not indicted by the Staten Island grand jury for the murder which sparked off countless Black Lives Matter protests and actions across New York City and the country. Without the civilian video recording of what happened, the police could have made up any story they wanted. In fact, as of December 2014 Pantaleo still claimed that he never choked Mr. Garner.
The case, however, isn't over. In February 2014, the Legal Aid Society filed a lawsuit in Supreme Court in Manhattan demanding that the Civilian Complaint Review Board release "a summary of Daniel Pantaleo's employment history, including complaints, charges, and number of allegations brought against the officer," according to Silive.com.
The organization, in demanding these files, stated that they could "help evaluate the potential weaknesses associated with the city's police investigation and disciplinary system," as well as offer some parity of history between Pantaleo and Mr. Garner as the day after his murder, Mr. Garner's criminal record was broadcast publicly.
The CCRB denied the initial Freedom of Information request under the auspices of New York Civil Rights Law 50-a. After the denial and no response to the appeal, the Legal Aid Society filed suit. Civil Rights Law 50-a, a law unique to New York State, says,
All personnel records, used to evaluate performance toward continued employment or promotion, under the control of any police agency or department of the state or any political subdivision thereof...shall be considered confidential and not subject to inspection or review without the express written consent of such police officer, firefighter, firefighter/paramedic, correction officer or peace officer within the division of parole except as may be mandated by lawful court order.
Currently, the city and the police are appealing a lower court ruling that agreed with the Legal Aid Society that told the CCRB to release the information. Civil Rights Law 50-a gives officers an overwhelming amount of protection in New York State--especially in the case of blue crime--from the very people who pay their salaries: the public.
Finally, looking at Rochester, there are plenty of cases where police have tried to obfuscate the truth or flat-out lied about what happened. For instance, Emily Good was arrested for videotaping a racially-motivated traffic stop in front of her home on Aldine Street in May 2011. Ms. Good released the video of her arrest in mid-June and it went viral. Her story was picked up by the Huffington Post and CNN. Eventually, amid public outcry, the district attorney decided to withdraw the charges against her.
A few days later, after the charges were dropped, Michael Mazzeo, Rochester's police union president of the Locust Club, lied directly to nearly every single news outlet except Rochester Indymedia as the union barred our entry to their "public" press conference. Specifically, he wanted to correct some "misconceptions" about Ms. Good's case: 1) she knew the people in the vehicle that was pulled over, and said, "
These are my friends, what's going on?" thus making the officers fearful, 2) that fear is what caused her arrest when she refused to comply with an order to go into her house, and 3) that videotaping was not the reason she was arrested.
On point one, it was the officer who engaged her and her friend standing in her lawn videotaping the traffic stop when officer Mario Masic said, "Hey, you guys need something?" On point two, according to Rochester Indymedia, "the video and the police report clearly contradict that she was in any way obstructing the officers from doing their jobs and by extension that the order was unlawful." Specifically,
According to Masic's arrest report, that has been widely reported on, the officer wrote that Good was at least 15 feet away. She was not antagonizing officers; she was in her pajamas, barefoot, standing on the far side of the sidewalk on the edge of her front lawn. It's curious that Masic in his opening salvo acknowledges that Good is standing with someone else and that Ryan Acuff, the person standing next to Good during this whole experience, is never questioned at all--he seems completely ignored by police. Acuff was in his regular clothing standing next to Good when the arrest happened. He's also a bit taller than Good and would appear to be the bigger threat if indeed officers, as they've been claiming, felt unsafe.
Regarding point three, all evidence indicated that no one else was told to go in their houses including her friend standing right next to her. It appeared that Masic was targeting her because he didn't want the incident taped. What's incredible is that Mazzeo felt the need to even call a press conference after the charges against her were dropped.
Another case where the police narrative was floated that didn't correspond with what people heard or saw was the police murder of Hayden Blackman on October 13, 2011, by officer Randy Book.
In this case, there was a domestic dispute and police were called. Things settled down and then later in the night, the police were called again for a domestic dispute. The Democrat & Chronicle explains the police narrative of what happened:
Sheppard said officers found Blackman, who lived in the upstairs apartment, holding a six-inch folding knife and threatening his 16-year-old stepson. The officers remained in the doorway of the apartment and directed Blackman to drop the knife several times, Sheppard said.
Blackman refused and turned toward the officers, Sheppard said. One officer fired multiple times, after which Blackman was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital. He was pronounced dead at 12:34 a.m. Sheppard declined to say how many times or where in the body Blackman was shot.
The paper interviewed Mr. Blackman's neighbor, Darryl Phillips Jr., who stated that "less than two seconds passed between the time the officers ascended the stairs to the second-floor apartment and the first gunshots." Police claimed Mr. Blackman was ordered multiple times to drop his knife. The neighbor claimed that within two seconds, he heard five gun shots and no commands from police when they entered the apartment.
I spoke to another source recently who was there the night Mr. Blackman was murdered, and he corroborated Mr. Phillips version of events. Police ran up the stairs, the door was forced open, no commands were given, and then shots were fired. After a protest on October 20 denouncing Mr. Blackman's murder, no other statements were made about his murder or the "investigation." The case literally disappeared over the course of two weeks.
Rally Demanding Police Accountability for the Murder of Hayden Blackman
Finally, there's the case of Benny Warr. On May 1, 2013, Mr. Warr was talking to some friends on Jefferson Avenue when police rolled up and started telling people to move on. Mr. Warr, seeing the cops, decided it would be best for him to catch the bus and get out of the area. As he was waiting for the bus in his motorized wheelchair, officer Joseph Ferrigno approached Mr. Warr and said, "Y'all move along!'
Mr. Warr responded, “Sir, I'm catching a bus. I'm going down to the other end.”
The officer's response was, “I told you to move the fuck on!”
Mr. Warr repeated, “Sir, I am catching a bus and I am going to the other end,” at which point, officer Ferrigno pepper sprayed Mr. Warr in the face and officer Anthony Liberatore rocked and threw him out of his chair where he was kicked, punched, and kneed all over his body and head by police while on the ground. According to one witness, Sgt. Mitchell Stewart arrived and gave Mr. Warr a few hard kicks to the head. He was put in handcuffs for nearly two hours until he received care at Strong Memorial Hospital for his injuries. The attack left him with nightmares, flash-backs, short-term memory loss, a change in personality, and physical mobility issues such as being unable to use his prosthesis.
In police reports, Mr. Warr was misidentified as "Benny Webb." He was also misidentified as a known "associate of the Chalk 'Em South gang." Simply put, the police narrative and (mis)identification of Mr. Warr is not corroborated by the facts: statements from witnesses, the videos from civilians, and the police's own surveillance camera footage.
Benny Warr attacked by police
Surveillance footage from police camera
Mr. Warr is currently fighting for discovery documentation from the City of Rochester for his civil lawsuit in federal court. When the city refused to hand over documentation for over a year, his attorney, Charles Burkwit, filed a motion to compel against the city. Part of the discovery he is seeking could fulfill a Monell claim--where Mr. Warr. would have the right to explore whether the city has tolerated a custom or pattern of excessive force on the part of its officers. While the city has started to comply with Judge Marian Payson's orders to release the information, she is considering granting Mr. Burkwit the ability to depose the Civilian Review Board panelists who heard his client's case--and exonerated the officers--because of strange comments left on their tally sheets at the conclusion of their deliberations.
The lengths that police, and the municipalities in which they work, will go to obscure, stall, and lie in cases related to officer misconduct is horrifying. And it continues with impunity. This isn't the case of a few bad apples, but a system rotten to the core.
Court Support and Demands
Mr. Gordon has court on December 7, 2015 at 9:30am before Judge Ellen Yacknin. He has asked for court support: please show up! Because of the way Rochester City Court operates, he may not appear at 9:30am when he is scheduled. His case may not be heard until later in the morning. Please come if you can. He is being represented by the Public Defender's Office.
Mr. Gordon has (at least) three demands:
- Drop the charges!
- An apology from the Rochester Police Department for the wrongful arrest of Mr. Appleberry and the brutality that he suffered.
- Discipline officer Kosch and the other officers who participated in the racial profiling, false arrest, and brutality.
Enough is enough!
Mental Health: A juxtaposition of Rochester police tactics | From Ferguson to Palestine to Rochester: the truth perseveres! Rev. Hagler speaks! | REMOVE THE CLOAK OF SECRECY! POLICE TRANSPARENCY NOW! | Civilian Review Board built to fail Benny Warr and other complainants | Your Friendly Neighborhood Police State -- a reading for EIE | Coalition praises council on body cameras; demands a voice in policy decisions
Apostle Nina Warr to be honored and celebrated at banquet recognizing her 16th ordination anniversary
In recognition of her good work in the community and her many years of spiritual service to the people, Apostle Nina Warr will be honored at a very special banquet recognizing the 16th anniversary of her ordination. The banquet is being organized by members of her church, Inner Faith Gospel Tabernacle.
Sister Felicia Abrams said of her pastor, “Pastor Warr is an exceptional woman of GOD. Her servanthood for the people comes from a loving heart that seeks the will of GOD diligently.
Apostle Warr was born and raised in Elmira, NY. At age 12, upon receiving the Holy Spirit, she accepted the Lord as her personal Savior. She was a member of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church where the Lord commissioned her to preach the gospel to a dying generation. She began to ful fill this mission under the pastoral-ship of Reverend Harry Morgan. While in this ministry, she served as president of the Junior Usher Board, vice-president of the Junior Missionary Board, and started the Youth Prison Ministry. The Youth Prison Ministry was the first to visit surrounding correctional facilities and sing the praises unto the Lord.
She attended Buffalo State and Corning Colleges with a focus in business administration. Throughout her years in college, she continued to serve faithfully in the ministry until she moved to Rochester, NY. In 1985, she fellowshipped with and eventually joined Guiding Light Spiritual Church, under the leadership of Elder Jack Rice. Under his leadership, her anointing made room for her many gifts which manifested themselves during this ministry. Those gifts included: preaching, teaching, speaking in tongues, discerning of spirits, and healing through the laying on of hands. Apostle Warr continued to serve God in whatever capacity and wherever her services would be needed. She served as superintendent of Sunday School I and II for five years, Bible schoolteacher for seven years, and Missionary Board president for three years, during which she founded the Young Adult Committee.
In February of 1993, Apostle Warr accepted the chair to lead and serve God's people. On June 9, 1993, she received her ordination from Bishop Elle Granger of Calvary Spiritual Church. In November of 1999, Pastor Warr, along with the Holy Spirit, established Inner Faith Gospel Tabernacle then located at 615 Portland Avenue in Rochester, NY. The church moved from Portland Avenue and is currently housed at 32 York Street. In June of 2013, she helped found and organize Enough Is Enough, an anti- police brutality organization after her husband was assaulted by the Rochester police. In 2014, she was voted in as the fourth vice-president of United Christian Leadership Ministry of Western NY.
Her sister, Cathy Ross, spoke of the love Apostle Warr carries with her: “We are daughters of a mother, Loretta Ross, whom loved us unconditionally and always said to look out for one and other. She showed us that no matter where you come from there's always love for others.” Ms. Ross continued, “Apostle Warr has taken up the cross and continues to carry this love for all forward.”
For the past 13 years to now, Apostle Warr's Outreach Ministry is continually blessing the community through its clothing and food distribution efforts. Those efforts occur now nearly every week at the church. Inner Faith Gospel Tabernacle has been hosting a free GED/TASC course through BOCES II, which has become highly successful. Apostle Warr has worked hard to forge partnerships in Rochester in order to better serve the needs of the community. Some of those partnerships include Rochester Works, the Department of Social Services (WEP program), Fidelis Care Insurance, the Rochester Probation Department, Wegman's Surplus, and the Flying Squirrel Community Space.
Apostle Warr continues to build on the wall, believing that taking both physical and spiritual responsibilities is what promotes the growth of individuals into their lives' missions.
The banquet was put together to recognize her continued commitment and love to bring forth the gospel to everyone. Inner Faith Gospel Tabernacle invites everyone to come celebrate and honor this remarkable woman. Gladly, tickets are sold out!
Related: Strategies for Fighting Police Brutality - Socialism 2013 | Inner Faith Gospel Tabernacle (on Facebook) | I Declare War Documentary | Video Reportback! Enough Is Enough! Community Rally and March! | Civilian Review Board built to fail Benny Warr and other complainants
A video of an incident on West Main Street on October 27, 2015 showed five Rochester police officers violently subduing a mentally ill, homeless, Black man. The incident lasted two minutes, according to the Rochester Police Department in a Democrat & Chronicle article.
What people may not know, however, was that about a week before on October 21, 2015, a similar incident happened on Clarissa Street involving a young, white man with mental health issues. The individual exhibited aggressive and belligerent behavior toward other people on Clarissa Street. During this incident, he removed his own clothing and proceeded to move up and down the street. The incident lasted a little over an hour.
Due to negative societal stigma attached to mental illness, Rochester Indymedia has made every effort to hide the face of the individual. We wanted to show the difference in how the police responded to both situations, and also question why there was a marked difference in police tactics. What happened on W. Main St. was not acceptable--regardless of police procedure.
Watch the video below of the incidents on October 27, 2015 and October 21, 2015:
Some questions that were raised for us as we watched both incidents were:
- Was the difference in police response racially motivated?
- Was the difference in police response class motivated?
- Was the difference in the police response due to training differences?
- Was the difference because of the location?
- Was the RPD's mental health response team called to the scene on W. Main Street and if not, why not?
- Would the incident on W. Main Street have happened if all five of those officers had the same training as the officers on Clarissa Street?
- Will the officers who brutalized the man on W. Main Street be held to any account by the Rochester Police Department or the community at large?
These are questions that need to be answered by the City and the Rochester Police Department. The incidents also raise the need for a community discussion about the treatment of mentally ill people in our community.
I (Susan) personally witnessed the incident on Clarissa Street and was impressed with the how the police handled the situation. First of all, the RPD officers took the time to assess the situation by observing the man. When they did start interacting with the individual, they spoke to the man calmly, but did not immediately approach him. The officers attempted to persuade the man to get into the car of someone who knew him that had volunteered to take the individual home. It appeared that the police were trying to avoid arresting him. When the individual refused to get into the person's car, the police calmly got him into their cruiser and called an ambulance. No harsh language or raised voices were used by the police. The man was moved into the ambulance after he was placed on a gurney in soft restraints, without force, and moved from the police cruiser. In total the police were dealing with the individual at the scene for a little more than an hour. The police acted in a way that did not escalate the situation. In the end, the man's and the community's safety were protected where humane and nonviolent tactics won the day.
Although I (Susan) did not witness the incident on W. Main Street, I have read the articles, watched the news reports, and viewed the video. The Democrat & Chronicle reported that according to the RPD statement, officers responded to the Open Door Mission, at 210 W. Main Street, for a man refusing to leave the property. The caller from the shelter stated that the man said, "Police will have to kill him to make him leave."
This could mean that the RPD were aware that they were going to be dealing with an individual with mental health issues. According to a Time Warner Cable News piece, Rochester Police Locust Club President Mike Mazzeo said, “The call that the officers got was that, 'if police come, they’re going to have to kill me,' so additional officers went because they anticipated officers having problems, and even with that amount of numbers there, that suspect was able to take a pair of handcuffs off an officer and use it as a weapon and resist in that way." Mazzeo continued, “They got to a point where another officer used a taser that didn’t work. They went with the continuum of the use of force that follows based on their training. They had no choice in that matter."
After witnessing what happened on Clarissa Street, it seems like there are choices that can be made, contrary to what the police union president said to the media.
Supposedly, there is a team of RPD officers that is specially trained to deal with mentally ill and emotionally disturbed individuals. Were they called? If not, why? The incident on W. Main Street does not appear to be that much different from the Clarissa Street incident--except for the response.
How mentally ill people are approached and interacted with can be the difference between de-escalating or escalating a situation. Laurie Jean Premo, a mental health professional stated, "When dealing with a person having a psychiatric episode, I speak in a calm voice. I do not approach the person or touch them unless they are in imminent danger to themselves or others."
On Clarissa Street, the police used the approach described by Ms. Premo and de-escalated the situation. On W. Main Street, it appeared that the officers almost immediately went to their use of force matrix and escalated the situation by approaching and touching the man. According to the Democrat and Chronicle, "The entire incident lasted about two minutes police said." The results are self-explanatory.
There was a meeting at Rochester City Hall between city officials, the RPD and community leaders on November 2, 2015 where the incident on W. Main Street was discussed. Those in attendance included Mayor Lovely Warren, RPD Chief Michael Ciminelli, Deputy Chief Scott Peters, Captain Kevin Costello and Officer Daniel Carlson. The following account is based on notes taken at the meeting by members of the Rochester Coalition for Police Reform.
While Officer Carlson was relaying the details of the incident between the five RPD officers and the mentally ill man, he repeatedly referred to the man as "the bad guy". He did change his terminology after the Chief interjected with the term "the individual". Using the term "bad guy" to describe a man with mental illness is troubling and raises questions about how those struggling with mental health issues are viewed by the RPD. Is the police perception that mental illness is equated with "badness" and is this use of language indicative of a police culture problem that uses terminology like "bad guy" to dehumanize people struggling with mental health issues?
Community members asked some questions of city officials regarding the incident. For instance, why didn't the RPD stop traffic instead of trying to physically remove the man from the intersection? The chief responded that a fight had started right away, which meant that the officers moved on the individual pretty quickly after arriving on scene. This is clearly different from how officers handled the incident on Clarissa Street: officers observed the individual that was naked in the street, they approached him calmly, they did not make physical contact with him, and they spoke calmly and compassionately. Again, why the difference in tactics?
The officials at the meeting acknowledged that the incident on W. Main Street was a mental health situation. The chief stated that the RPD has an Emotionally Disturbed Person Response Team (EDPRT), but none of the responding officers were trained. Why, when it was apparent from the 9-1-1 call that the situation involved a person with mental health issues, was the EDPRT not dispatched? Why aren't all officers trained in EDPRT tactics? Clearly, it is time to train all RPD officers in how to respond to individuals showing signs of emotional distress or mental health symptoms.
The juxtaposition of these two incidents is paramount to understanding how deficient the police response is most of the time. Out of nearly 730 officers, the chief said, at another meeting with police that happened on November 6, 2015, about 75 officers are trained in EDPRT tactics. An individual having a mental health episode is not a "bad" person or a "criminal"; they are in-need of direct support and must be treated as such. EDPRT training needs to given to ALL officers in order to effectively and safely intercede in situations like the one on W. Main Street. The five officers who mercilessly beat the man on W. Main Street need to be held accountable--regardless of police procedure. When interceding with an individual who is experiencing a mental health episode, it takes patience, calm, and proper training to de-escalate the situation resulting in a dignified and humane conclusion. The outcomes speak for themselves.
Related: Coalition praises council on body cameras; demands a voice in policy decisions | Family identifies man Tased by police | Rally Denounces RPD Murder of Israel "Izzy" Andino! | RPD, Health Care System and Community Negligent in Mental Health Issues | Edison Tech student athlete files civil rights lawsuit against police | Rally at the Rochester Police Department (Patricia Thompson) | THINK TWICE BEFORE CALLING ROCHESTER POLICE! (LaShedica Mason) | Vulnerable Populations/Critical Populations: The criminalization of poverty, homelessness, and dissent | "The Throwaways": discussion after the screening
After Rev. Graylan Hagler was dis-invited from speaking at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School and before he spoke at the Historic German House, Shurouq Hijazi and other student organizers with the Student Association for the Development of Arab Cultural Awareness (SADACA) scrambled to secure the Palestinian rights speaking engagement at the University of Rochester. In the interview she discusses the process for bringing him, the community conflict with his dis-invitation from the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, academic freedom, and why his message was important for students and community members to hear. The interview was conducted on September 28, 2015. Hijazi sets some of the context for the reverend's controversial visit to Rochester.
Rev. Hagler stopped at the University of Rochester to give a talk before speaking to a crowd at the German House on September 24, 2015. Once the U of R administration discussed security and the school's code against hate speech with Hijazi and the president of SADACA Abdulwahab Alhaji, the talk was secured and Rev. Hagler not only had the support of student organizations but also the U of R administration. The title of the talk was "Connecting the dots: From Ferguson to Palestine." It was a 40 minute talk and dealt specifically with pointing out the connections between apartheid in Israel and the Occupied Territories and the same kinds of humiliation and degradation that Black people and people of color experience in the U.S. on a daily basis by the police. This is part one which includes a brief introduction from Alhaji and Rev. Hagler's argument for connecting the dots.
Below is part two in which Rev. Hagler does a Q & A with the audience.
Related: Rochester Rally for Palestine | Rochester stands in solidarity with Palestine | From Ferguson to Palestine to Rochester: the truth perseveres! Rev. Hagler speaks! | New venue found for Palestinian rights speaker after divinity school rescinds invite | In Rochester: Rev. Graylan Hagler disinvited to speak on Palestine, sent death threats
Heavy rain did not deter some 50 demonstrators from rallying on October 16 in support of the people of Palestine. Palestine is a nation in the Middle East that is increasingly losing its territory to Israeli settlements. The settlements are in violation of several peace treaties and international laws. The Palestenian people are Arab, mostly Muslim, however nearly a quarter of them are Christians. They are considered second-class citizens by the Israeli government which enforces an apartheid-like regime.
The demonstration was called in solidarity with others around the country including one planned in New York City the following Sunday. It was not in response to a single incident but to ongoing killings in the occupied territory. An unofficial report mentioned 35 killed by the IDF (Israeli army) in one day. Often the IDF does not even return the bodies of the dead, instead burying them in secret. Many of those killed are children.
Amongst those present was Eli Mizrahi, an Israeli citizen. In his words: "This is not the Jewish religion...Judiasm is peaceful." "This is more like the Nazis." "They just shoot kids." Israeli is not respecting the Oslo accords. The accords call for Palestinian sovereignty and equality.
Groups sponsoring the event included the International Action Center, Palestenians Witnessing for Peace, Jewish Voice for Peace, the International Socialist Organization, Christian Eyewitness for Peace and the Islamic Center of Rochester. The group had initially planned to rally in front of the Federal Building where the offices of Senators Schumer and Gillibrand are located, as well as Congress member Louise Slaughter. The rain forced them to take refuge under the entrance of the Genesee Crossroads building two blocks down the street. However it did not dampen the spirit of the event.
The use of drones has become a major part of the U.S. military and CIA strategy overseas. Two bases that are being used in the drone warfare are in upstate N.Y. Harry Murray, a long time pro peace, anti drone activist speaks about the Undrone Upstate walk that is taking place in Oct. 2015. A group of pro-peace, anti-drone activists are walking from Hancock Air National Guard base near Syracuse, NY to the Air Guard drone control center at Niagara Falls, a 165-mile walk. The walk, Undrone Upstate, is a political demonstration and to educate the public on drone operations in the Western New York region.
For more information:
It is no secret that I question the sincerity of the Unite Rochester initiative of the D&C. They fail time after time to put their money where their mouth is. And, since they are a corporate, profit-making entity, this should come as no surprise. I want to share a letter I sent some time ago when the latest ACT Rochester stats came out for Rochester. The D&C did not publish it. No surprise there either. Anyway, here it is for your consideration.
Unpublished letter to D&C:
The City of Rochester in the latest report is fourth in poverty in the nation. For children in poverty we rank first. It's academic standing is last in the state.
So one would expect a look at the headlines in our local paper would be screaming out these terrible facts and crying for solutions. A look at today's online paper is a real trip down denial.
Roller coaster Jack Rabbit honored for its history. Whatever Happened To...Heaven nightclub? QB competition in full gear as Bills lose... Jarron Jones reportedly hurt during Notre Dame... Penfield-Brighton 14625 ZIP code hot. Hype builds for Twilight Criterium's return. How to survive your freshman year in college. Yes there were a couple of crime headlines about marijuana laws and a stalking Greece policeman. Where is the outrage? Where is the emergency warning? Where is the headline stating that for too many in our community, life is not going on day to day as the normal the rest of us know?
Does the D&C know that poverty is about real people? It is about our neighbors. Neighors who are desperately living without jobs. Desperately living in slum dwellings owned by absentee landlords with heating and plumbing problems including sewage in their basements and rats upstairs. Desperately trying to keep their little kids safe in neighborhoods where their evening lullabies are gunshots. Desperately trying to stretch their food budget to cover more days than it reasonably can until they can revisit the food cupboard, get their below-living-wage paycheck, or reach the first of the month and receive their assistance money. Desperate to figure out who is going to watch their sick child who can't go to school, probably for several days, so they can go to work or get fired from, again, their job that doesn't even pay a living wage. Or maybe it's two or three jobs. And how is the sick kid going to get to the doctor?
We have a real crisis here folks. With the rapid spread of poverty, these statistics can only grow worse. So don't look at your neighbor and think. “There but for the grace of God, go I.” There is no grace involved. It is greed, plain and simple. And it's coming for you and I next. Wake up! Get up! Get going!
Marchers met at Rochester's Liberty Pole on September 24 2015 in an event to call attention to Climate Change. The march coincides with Pope Francis' visit to the United States. In June the Pope published an Encyclical (official proclamation) in which he said “Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.”
Five points were addressed on the matter.
1. Climate change is real, and it’s getting worse.
2. Human beings are a major contributor to climate change.
3. Climate change disproportionately affects the poor.
4. We can and must make things better.
5. Individuals can help, but politicians must lead the charge.
Political candidates from the Democratic and Green parties were in attendance but no current office holders. Community organizations and major religions were also represented. There were speakers at both ends of the march and they are presented in their entirety in the videos.
Amid death threats, a change in venue, and pro-Israeli groups applying pressure to stop Rev. Graylan Hagler from speaking on the connections between the Palestinian struggle for justice and the Black Lives Matter movement, Christians Witnessing for Palestine and the Rochester chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace were able to secure a different speaking venue after his invitation to speak at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School had been rescinded. His tallk, "Connecting the dots: Ferguson to Palestine," was given on September 24, 2015, at The Historic German House in Rochester, NY.
Rev. Hagler spoke earlier in the day at the University of Rochester. Rochester Indymedia filmed that talk and did an interview with one of the student organizers. Both will be featured on Rochester.Indymedia.org later this week.
At The Historic German House, Rev. Hagler spoke to a rapt audience of 150+ people who listened to him drop truth and justice as he made the connection between the oppression of the Palestinians by the Israeli state and the oppression of black and brown people in Amerikkka by the police.
Part I -- introduction and Rev. Hagler's talk
Part II -- Q & A session
The evening started with a prayer by Rev. Richard Myers. Elaine Johnson from Christians Witnessing for Palestine was introduced, who in turn introduced two speakers before inviting Rev. Hagler to the podium.
Ms. Johnson invited Joshua Dubler, an assistant professor of religion at the University of Rochester, to speak on behalf of the Rochester Chapter of the Jewish Voice for Peace--a co-sponsor for evening event. Before he took the podium, Ms. Johnson called Jewish Voice for Peace "phenomenal" in all of its efforts to make sure Rev. Hagler would be able to speak in Rochester.
“These great enterprises—the United States and Israel—are not inherently virtuous, but nor are they inherently vicious. They are rather, what hence forth, we collectively think of them. No more and no less. This is our power and this is our duty. Can such a principle of collective responsibility truly be controversial to assert? If so, then I'm afraid that controversy is the only option available," said Mr. Dubler.
He continued, "Polemic is always easier than practical prescription. But polemic, and the call for abolition, is where we must collectively begin. To stand up and say 'No!' Not for the security of our homes and for the security of our children and certainly not for the cynical ambitions of powerful men who will not condemn the destruction of someone else's home or the murder of someone else's child. Not by missile, not by bulldozer, not by handgun, and not by nightstick. No to war, no to occupation, no to predatory policing, and no to mass incarceration.”
After Mr. Dubler, Tonya Noel was introduced by Ms. Johnson. Ms. Noel is a member of B.L.A.C.K.--Building Leadership And Community Knowledge--and went down with other members of B.L.A.C.K. to Ferguson last October for "FergusonOctober." Ms. Noel talked about her own journey of connecting the dots between the oppression in the U.S. and the oppression in Palestine.
She said, “My idea of going out to Ferguson [in October 2014] was that this is extremely patriotic. I'm going to take my American-made Jeep and drive across the country and protest because that's the American thing to do. But when you get there and you realize that the system that you've been saluting your whole life—that you think is sworn to protect you—is actually upholding a global system of oppression of white-supremacy is a big pill to swallow." She continued, "What we've learned from that is the resilience of people in Ferguson is the same as the resilience of the people of Rochester is the same as the resilience of the people in Palestine—that they will continue to work and fight to get free.”
"The whole damn system is GUILTY!" a community reportback from Ferguson
After Ms. Noel concluded, Ms. Johnson invited Rev. Hagler to the podium who received a standing ovation.
Rev. Hagler made it very apparent at the start of his speech, after thanking many people and organizations, that he was "not here to destroy anybody. I'm standing here to lift up the dignity and rights of all people in the world."
In talking about some of the connections between Palestine and Ferguson, he noted, as had Ms. Noel briefly, that large police stations around the country have sent their officers to Israel--not to learn compassion and respect, but to be better at counter-insurgency--to become a better occupying army.
He said, "Ask yourself a question if you really want to understand what's going on with Black Lives Matter. How can a domestic police department be trained by those who are trained to occupy a community? You end up as occupiers. That's your mentality. If that's the curriculum you're going in to study, then you're not there to form partnerships with people, you're there to occupy the community!"
In Rochester, NY, not so far away, according to the records access officer for the City of Rochester who handles FOIL requests, 93% of Rochester Police Department officers live outside the city limits while only 6% live within the city limits. It's practically the entire force--and depending on who you are and where you live--it's an occupying army.
Rev. Hagler continued by talking about some of the military equipment that gets shunted to local police departments. "The tear gas used in Gaza came from the same company in Pennsylvania that manufactured the tear gas that was used in Ferguson," he said. "Think about that relationship."
Later on, he seemed to admonish people who told him not to come to Rochester.
"When folks tell me that I should not come to Rochester to speak about this, I'm gonna come anyway," he said. "When you say that, you should know that I'm gonna come. Don't tell me that I can't come some place—oh the hell with that—I'm coming, I'm speaking, I'm doing what God has called me to do."
Before ending his speech by acknoweldging the importance of the affirmation "Black Lives Matter" and linking it with the Palestinians, he let people know that, "We—all of us—need to start speaking out about the injustice. We need to start speaking out about the Palestinians. We need to start speaking out about the injustices that go on in our own communities. We need to start speaking out before we become sensitized to the things going on that hamper and hinder human life."
It was a powerful delivery and a wonderful speech.
Witness Palestine Film Series
The Witness Palestine Film Series is in high gear! See the films coming up at the beginning of October as well as the cultural event scheduled for Friday, October 9, 2015, below.
Related: Threats against speaker are “not the Rochester way” | We believe one voice cannot speak for all Jewish people | New venue found for Palestinian rights speaker after divinity school rescinds invite
Rochester Indymedia is also selling DVD copies of the talk (both the introduction, talk, and Q & A on 2 discs) for a suggested donation of $10. All proceeds go to Rochester Indymedia. For more information, please contact Ted at Knight0440@yahoo.com.
Breaking Down Racial Barriers: A Community Pulling Together
This 3rd Annual Summit on Race--"Breaking Down Racial Barriers: A Community Pulling Together" hosted by Facing Race, Embracing Equity will take place on Saturday, September 26, 2015, 11 AM to 4 PM, at Wilson Foundation Academy (200 Genesee Street).
Rochester Indymedia has been highlighting some of the folks involved in this effort before the summit as a way to help spread the word. T. Forsyth interviewed two people on September 16, 2015 who were vital to the summit coming together:
Jean Carroll of the YWCA
& James Norman of Action for a Better Community.
This year’s Summit is their biggest yet and features 12 concurrent breakout sessions presented by various community members and organizations across Rochester. See those breakout sessions below.
For more information, see: http://faceraceroc.org/summit2015/
Please register here: https://www.regonline.com/builder/site/?eventid=1753479
**Please note that when registering, you can only select ONE breakout session**
This year’s breakout sessions are as follows:
|Witnessing Whiteness: The Need to Talk About Race and How to Do It
America is often referred to as a melting pot where people from various cultures, ethnicities, and races blend together to create a new American identity. What is that identity? What does it mean to be a white American? What does it mean to be a white person working to eliminate racism? To be a witness?
Facilitator: Jean Carroll, YWCA
|Re-addressing Power Imbalances through Cultural Humility
Cultural humility provides a framework for understanding the significance of the funds of knowledge that exist within each person’s cultural background and identity. By deepening our cultural humility, we are able to recognize and re-address power imbalances that exist within our immediate social and organizational structures. Join us for an interactive exploration of cultural humility and its potential impact for understanding the self, interpersonal relationships, and bolstering organizations and movements working for justice.
Facilitators: Kristin Hocker, Kit Miller, Malik Thompson, M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence
|Achieving the American Dream: How Can We Create a Practical Program of Land and Housing for All in Rochester?
Without equal access to land and housing (the “land” in the land of opportunity), the American Dream has proven elusive to many, especially communities of color. Historically, which groups have had more access to land and affordable housing and how does this affect our current problems with housing insecurity, displacement, and homelessness? What processes and solutions can we bring to extend housing opportunities that correct historic and present injustices?
Facilitator: Ryan Acuff, Take Back the Land Rochester
|A Conversation on Race and Poverty
Community conversations on race give us a larger lens to explore racial disparity, both personal and systemic. This conversation, developed by the Friends and Foundation of the Rochester Public Library and partner organizations, explores the ways race and poverty are interconnected. Using interactive, experiential guided discussion, participants can become more aware, knowledgeable and confident in engaging others through deeper, more meaningful dialogue.
Facilitators: Steve Jarose, James Thompson, Judy Toyer
Collaborating organizations: ACT Rochester, Asbury First Methodist Church, Center for Dispute Settlement, Metro Justice, M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, National Coalition Building Institute
|School to Prison Pipeline·
Participants will explore the structural racism built into the educational system and get an in-depth look at how the school climate is criminalizing young people in the Rochester City School District as well as nationwide and what can be done to end it.·
Facilitators: Velverly Caldwell, Ana Casserly, Pat Mannix, Eamonn Scanlon, Sallie Williams
|The Unite Rochester Challenge
The Unite Rochester Challenge is an open contest designed to spark creative community solutions to racism and socioeconomic inequality in our region. This is an exciting way for nonprofits, along with individuals, educational institutions, businesses and other organizations, to take action. The winning submission will receive financial support and mentorship to put the proposed project into motion.
Facilitators: Julie Philipp, Sheila Rayam, Unite Rochester, Democrat and Chronicle
|Police and Community Relations: How to Build Trust
Participate in a dialogue with members of local law enforcement and community organizations to explore issues, current activities, and important improvements in Police and Community Relations/Trust.
Facilitators: Kerry Coleman, Coalition for Police Reform; KaeLyn Rich, Genesee Valley/ NYS Civil Liberties Union; Wayne Harris, Rochester Police Department; Mike Mazzeo, Rochester Police Department; Ray Mayoliz, City of Rochester
|Judicial and Community Relations
Through dialogue about the existence of racial barriers and the lack of available resources in the judicial system, we will discuss ways to build community awareness, understanding, and trusting relationships between young adults and members of the local judiciary.
Facilitators: Judge Castro, City Court and Acting County Court; Judge Dixon, City Court; Judge Elliott, Drug and Mental Health Courts; Judge Nessler, Family Court; Young adults
|Raise the Age: A Comprehensive Reform
The Raise the Age initiative has near-term potential to become the most significant reform of New York’s criminal justice system in decades. It is designed as a positive disruption of the school to prison pipeline which has a disproportionate impact on peoples of color. After a short overview on the status of “Raise the Age”, attendees will engage in discussions and intimate workshop exercises alongside initiative architects, proponents and stakeholders.
Facilitators: Elizabeth Powers, The Children’s Defense Fund; Elaine Spaull, Governor’s Commission on Youth, Public Safety and Justice; Rosemary Rivera, Citizen Action of New York; Field workers from the Center for Youth
|Race and Justice Partnerships
Participants from multiple groups focused on race and justice issues and needs will dialogue with attendees about the importance of community-wide partnerships and what is required to make progress.
Facilitators: Mike Bleeg, Juvenile and Criminal Justice Workgroup; Cynthia Herriott Sullivan, Unite Rochester; Rev. Lewis Stewart, Coalition for Police Reform, United Christian Leadership Ministries; Rev. William Wilkinson, Greater Rochester Community of Churches, Roc ACTS
|Developing Authentic Alternatives: From the Streets to Jobs
Hundreds of young adults of color, failed by the education system, populate urban streets and corners. How do we help these individuals move from the streets into jobs? Who is on the streets, and why? How can we compete with the income in the drug trade? What are the obstacles to legal employment? Join us to wrestle with ways that local social institutions – education, employment training, businesses, and social services – can get outside the racial and socioeconomic box and engage talented people our community has written off.
Facilitators: Tim Weider, Neighborhood Consortium and Jobs and Economic Development Workgroup; unemployed neighborhood residents; representatives from education, employment training, businesses, and social services
|The Historic and Ongoing Impact of Racism on Public Education
This session will include an interactive, historical overview regarding the existence and impact of individual and institutionalized racism in public education, an interactive discussion on ways racism continues to impact public education, and brainstorming of potential short- and long-range solutions.
Facilitator: Howard Eagle, Race and Education Action and Change Workgroup
Related: Sweetland, Thompson, and Bleeg talk about the upcoming Summit on Race! | 52 years ago today a Black church was bombed and four little girls were killed | Dentzel Carousel protest at the Monroe County Building | Civilian Review Board built to fail Benny Warr and other complainants | Rochester’s Sport Caste-rs | Edison Tech student athlete files civil rights lawsuit against police | Yusef Bunchy Shakur: Restoring the Neighbor Back to the 'Hood | An Open Letter From Black revolutionary Assata Shakur | Black Rose Anarchist Federation Statement and Video on #BlackLivesMatter Movement | URMC medical students participate in national action: #WhiteCoats4BlackLives | A walkthrough of Vonderrit Myers' killing | "The Whole Damn System is Guilty!" From Rochester to Ferguson -- a community report back | No Justice, No Peace--a response to the non-indictment of Darren Wilson | Black Lives Matter March & Rally @ UR: a response to the Ferguson grand jury decision | Ferguson Response Press Conference hosted by UCLM & CPR | Spontaneous protest in response to Wilson non-indictment