On August 25, 2015, Benny Warr was back in federal court before Judge Marian Payson. Specifically, his lawyer Charles F. Burkwit, was demanding—again—that the City of Rochester hand over the discovery documentation that it was ordered to turn over in April. Mr. Burkwit has been battling with the city for discovery for over a year—since May 15, 2014 when he originally served papers on the city. In response, the city has been unwilling or unable to give Mr. Burkwit the requested documentation.
On May 1, 2013, Benny T. Warr was waiting for the bus in his motorized wheelchair at the intersection of Bartlett St. and Jefferson Ave., near his home. As he was waiting for the bus, a Rochester police cruiser rolled up to the intersection and told people to move on. When they approached Mr. Warr, he responded by saying he was only waiting for the bus. According to Mr. Warr, the officers then maced him in the face and proceeded to throw him out of his chair where he was kicked, punched, and kneed by police while on the ground. He was put in handcuffs for nearly two hours until he received care at Strong Memorial Hospital for his injuries. He sustained broken and fractured ribs, numbness in his hands, neck injuries, internal injuries, and cuts on his wrists. 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 January of 2015, Mr. Burkwit filed a motion to compel the city to release discovery documentation in federal court. What made the August 25 hearing so unique, was that Mr. Burkwit used a different tactic: rather than continuing to battle with the city, he subpoenaed the Center for Dispute Settlement (CDS), the non-profit corporation that administers the Civilian Review Board (CRB), as well as the panelists who reviewed Mr. Warr's case. The subpoenas demanded all documentation regarding complaints of excessive force from 2011 to 2014.
Going back, Mr. Warr filed a civil suit against the city, then-Police Chief James Sheppard, Sgt. Mitchell Stewart, and officers Joseph M. Ferrigno and Anthony R. Liberatore on September 19, 2013. The lawsuit seeks monetary damages, legal fees, and a change in policy regarding “policies and customs of 'Operation Cool Down,' 'Clearing the Block' and/or 'Clearing the Street'” that would restrict officers from “aggressively approach[ing], stop[ping] and engag[ing] citizens . . . without reasonable suspicion that a crime is occurring” and that this “policy or custom violates and infringes upon the constitutional rights [of the people of Rochester, NY] to be free from unlawful stops, searches and seizures and excessive force.”
At court that day, aside from the 12 – 15 Benny Warr supporters, were the city's lawyer Spencer Ash, CDS's lawyer, Ted Kantor, President and CEO of CDS Sherry Walker-Cowart, and Director Police/Community Relations Programs Frank Liberti. The folks from CDS seemed nervous at the hearing. From what was gleaned, they ought to be nervous.
Starting with Mr. Warr's case, some very important details came out. The first detail was that Mr. Warr's excessive force complaint was, in fact, reviewed by the CRB. This revelation was a complete turnaround from what Ash had stated in open court through an affidavit dated November 7, 2014, where he wrote that “there was no Civilian Review Board review of this matter.” The officers who were caught on video brutalizing Mr. Warr were exonerated by the CRB—meaning the board ruled in the officers' favor.
Another detail in Mr. Warr's case involved two CRB panelists who made questionable comments on their voting sheets. The comments and the panelists deserve to be investigated. One commented on Sgt. Andrew McPherson specifically. The actual comment was not read in open court. Mr. Burkwit argued that his client had a right to know what made Sgt. McPherson special enough to be commented on by the panelist.
Another CRB panelist who reviewed Mr. Warr's complaint was quoted by Mr. Burkwit in open court as writing on the voting sheet, “There are times—Civilian Review Board training may not be adequate enough to agree with Professional Standards Section's findings.”
Both comments are extremely problematic. If the court allows city attorney Ash to discuss the outcome of the CRB review with the jury at Mr. Warr's trial and Mr. Burkwit is denied the opportunity to depose the panelists who heard Mr. Warr's complaint, then this would create severe prejudice in the jury as Mr. Burkwit would be unable to adequately defend his client.
Judge Payson began by denying the motion to depose the panelists. After the issues regarding the comments were raised, she reserved decision on whether or not they could be deposed.
Let's move onto details about the CRB process itself. The city provided some documentation to Mr. Burkwit with each consecutive order from the judge. This leads us to the first important detail regarding the CRB process: 49% of excessive force complaints from 2011 to 2014 (72 complaints out of 146) apparently were not investigated by Professional Standards Section (PSS). City attorney Ash restated his case numerous times in court that he had handed over to Mr. Burkwit all documentation requested and ordered by the judge.
Mr. Burkwit explained that there were three parts to each excessive force complaint, that he needs, in order for the complaint to be of any use: the PSS investigation and summary, the findings and voting sheets of the CRB panelists in each complaint, and the chief of police's final determination in each complaint.
Of the 146 excessive force complaints registered between 2011 to 2014 that the judge had previously ordered the city to provide, Mr. Burkwit has gotten 74 PSS summaries (including Mr. Warr's), 2 findings and voting sheets from the CRB (Mr. Warr's case and PSS case No. 09-0971, which was ordered disclosed by the judge), and 14 final determinations from the chief (one is for Mr. Warr's case). There are, at this point, apparently 72 unaccounted for civilian complaints regarding excessive use of force that do not appear to have a PSS record number. Also, apparently none of the 72 complaints have been investigated by PSS, passed onto the CRB for a determination, and then ruled on by the chief as per the CRB law and the city's own website. The only case where Mr. Burkwit has been able to put the three puzzle pieces together are his client's—Mr. Benny T. Warr.
Judge Payson pointed out to Ash that when it comes to excessive force, the city's website regarding the CRB is clear:
“If your complaint includes excessive force or charges an officer with a crime, it will also be reviewed by a Civilian Review Board (CRB). The Board includes three citizens who are not members of the Police Department. The CRB will review your complaint, statements from all witnesses and reports from the investigation. The CRB may ask for additional information before making its recommendations to the Police Chief. The CRB may also choose to interview witnesses. The Police Chief reviews investigations and makes the final decision on all complaints.”
When the judge asked Ash why Mr. Burkwit had only 74 PSS investigative summaries (one being Mr. Warr's) but only two CRB findings (again, one being Mr. Warr's) and 14 final determinations from the chief of police (of which one was connected to Mr. Warr), his response was lukewarm. Ash said, “Your honor, I work in the law department for the city. The law department is not apart of the Rochester Police Department,” completely brushing off the judge's direct question and the legislation that gives the CRB power.
Another eye-opening detail about the CRB process itself is that when the CRB transmits its findings to the chief of police, they do not do it on their own or directly. According to CDS's attorney, Ted Kantor, the CRB leaves a voicemail message on the phone at the PSS office, which is then transcribed. That transcription is then transmitted to the chief of police by PSS—not the CRB.
When Judge Payson asked attorney Kantor about the CRB process, he also revealed that when the CRB panelists are deliberating on a complaint, there is no recording or stenographic transcription of their deliberations. Each panelist marks on their own tally sheet how they are voting. They have the option of leaving a comment on the sheet if they want. Aside from the voicemail and the transcription done by a PSS officer, no other record exists.
Court concluded with some very specific orders from the judge. City attorney Ash has until September 8 to provide an affidavit from the head of PSS, Lieutenant Michael Callari, explaining that PSS does not have the chief's findings or the CRB findings. Mr. Burkwit was given until September 1 to send the judge a letter outlining the cases he's asked for, what he has, and what's missing.
Mr. Burkwit complied–will city attorney Ash?
Additional information: Ivery & Warr in court: Demand city hand over excessive force documentation | Professional Standards Section: How they work (at least on paper) | Exonerating police misconduct: no accountability in Benny Warr case
Earlier this year the US signed a historic deal with Iran to assure its compliance with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which will prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. The treaty was negotiated with the United Nations Security Council members The US, UK, France, Russia and China along with Germany and Austrailia. Germany's participation is especially important because much of the technology for Iran's peaceful nuclear power uses comes from Germany. The treaty makes a strong distinction between peaceful nuclear power and nuclear weapons, and enforces it through inspections. It represents years of dilligent work of Secretary John Kerry's State department. Unfortunately the treaty has to be ratified by a Republican controlled Congress. Therein lies the problem as Congressional Republicans seem bent on blocking all of the Obama administration's accomplishments.
Of special concern to the people of New York State is Senator Charles Schumer's announcement that he intends to vote against approval of the treaty. Senator Schumer is a Democrat as is President Obama. He is also in line to become the Senate Democratic leader when the current leader Senator Harry Reid retires at the end of his current term. Other local representatives Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congress Member Louise Slaughter have announced strong support of the treaty.
Schumer's opposition appears to be coming from the pro-Israel lobby and the far-right Israeli government. Years ago former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made some threatening comments about Israel. Even some of his fellow Iranians described his rhetoric as "an incredibly low bar for dignified behavior." Iran is a democracy and like the US their president has a two term limit. Ahmadinejad has since been replaced by a much more moderate president Hasan Rouhani.
Rejection of this treaty could potentially lead to war with Iran which is why so many groups supported this rally. Some of those include MoveOn.org Metro Justice Peace Action and Education, Progressive Democrats of America , Just Foreign Policy, CodePink, Roots Action, United for Peace and Justice, Peace Action New York State, Credo, National Iranian American Council, The Daily Kos, Council for a Livable World, Win Without War, Veterans for Peace, Rochester Against War and Band of Rebels.
Even some prominent Israelis support the treaty, as explained by Doug Noble of Peace Action & Education
Local blogger and activist Judy Bello explains details of the agreement and explores Sen. Schumer's opposition. She has travelled extensively in Iran during the past several years.
More details on the treaty here
At the end of the 2014-2015 academic year, families from School #9 were informed, by mail dated June 18th, that the district was getting rid of the Boys Academy for 7th & 8th graders. Students would, instead, be sent to the Leadership Academy for Young men, currently house at the old Charlotte campus.
Since then, some courageous students, supported by their parents and community members, have stood up to fight against the decision.
This is their testimony.
We fully support the students from the Boys Academy at School #9. Join us tomorrow at the School Board meeting to show your support!
The school board meeting is Thursday, August 27, 2015, 6:30pm at the Board of Education, 131 W. Broad Street, Conference Room 3A.
Hello. My name is Abasi Kitt. I’m currently a Transit Operator at the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority (RGRTA). During my first career with this company, I got an approval letter in early November 2009 and started training on November 30, 2009 as a city bus driver. By January 2010 I had completed training and had my own rout as a part-time operator. On September 20, 2010 I was a full-time operator. Driving city bus was and still is the best job that I ever had. I get to do something that I’m good at and get to help the community as well by shuttling people who need a ride to where they need to go.
On February 10, 2011 I took a Fire Fighter exam and scored 100%. Although I really liked my current job I had a feeling that I could better serve my community by being a firefighter. In the spring of 2013, the City of Rochester Fire Department contacted me about joining the summer recruit class of 2013. What that meant was that I would be a Conditional Firefighter on the condition that I passed a roughly six month academy class that had two parts. The first part being a medical because Rochester firefighters are now required to be emergency medical technicians (EMTs). The second part was regular firefighter stuff. Any how I knew that I had to get my affairs in order with my job at Regional Transit Service (RTS). At the time of my decision RTS was still under a contract book effective from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2014. I believe we are still under that contract currently. On page 11, article 17 the last sentence said: “Employees off on a leave of absence shall not take any other employment without the consent of the Company and the Union." Upon understanding that I went to talk with Amalgamated Transit Union Local 282 President Jacques Chapman in the spring of 2013. I told him that I wanted to take a leave of absence to join the firefighter academy. He (Jacques Chapman) told me that I should lie to the company. He told me to tell the company that I was taking a leave for another reason. I didn’t agree with that. Later on that spring of 2013 I saw Janet P. Snyder who is the Director of Labor Relations at RTS. I told her about my ambitions to become a firefighter and requested to have a leave of absence. She said that she would get back to me. About a week later my direct manager; the Director of RTS Bus Operations Michael Capadano said that I have about two weeks to write him a resignation letter if I wanted to join the firefighter academy. So with a heavy heart I wrote my letter of resignation on June 23, 2013. My resignation was accepted July 3, 2013 and my last day of work was July 5, 2013.
On Monday, July 8, 2013 I joined the firefighter class as a recruit. During the morning we would study college courses on anatomy and do physical training during the afternoon. As the physical exercise increased and we had more workshops where we performed CPR on dummies, I felt sharp pains around my right abdominal area. On August 14, 2013 my personal physician Dr. Haris Aziz diagnosed me with having an abdominal hernia and ordered not to do strenuous activities. My doctor said that I would need surgery to fix this. I would not be able to pass the academy if I couldn’t do physical exercise and be out for surgery. On August 28, 2013 I was summoned to Executive Deputy Chief Bill Curran’s office. During this meeting which turned out to be an exit interview (present were Executive Deputy Chief Bill Curran, Deputy Chief Bill Holtz, Battalion Chief Rich Yackel, and Captain Bob Shaw) Executive Deputy Chief Curran told me that he had some bad news. He told me that the fire department couldn’t use me anymore. Curran presented me with two letters. One of the letters said that I voluntarily resigned my position as a firefighter recruit and that the executives treated me fairly. The other letter said that I was terminated for failure to satisfactorily perform during my probationary period. Bill Curran preferred that I signed the resignation letter. He told me that if I signed the preferred letter he would reach out to his contacts at RTS and try to get my position back as a full-time operator. If I signed the termination letter then he wouldn’t help me get back to RTS. I signed the resignation letter. Rick Yackel walked me to my locker to get my belongings then politely walked me off the premises. About a week later I got a call from an RTS recruitment manager. She said that she had an opening for me as a Lift Line employee until a position opened up as a part-time bus operator. Training for Lift Line only paid about $8.00 an hour. I was making $22 something before I left RTS. She said I had about a couple of days to decide if I want to accept the position. That same day I got a call from Bill Curran asking me if I got my job back. I told him the news. He told me that was not what he and RTS agreed on. He called them back and confirmed to me that he was unable to get my position back. He then sent me a letter of termination. I currently have a resignation letter signed by me and a termination letter signed by then-Executive Fire Chief Salvatore Mitrano.
I ended up accepting the position as a Lift Line operator. Then, on October 26, 2013, a part-time bus operator position opened up and I took that spot. By August 30, 2014 I was a full-time bus operator again. I went from making $22 per hour in July of 2013 to $8 per hour in September of 2013 to making $18.01 per hour as a full-time bus operator once again. The reason why the raises didn’t come so fast was because our local union president negotiated us into a backwards contract that hurt bus operators who were hired on or after March 7, 2013. Basically, it would take 8 years instead of 5 to achieve the same pay rate as people hired before that date. Thinking back on my situation, it makes sense as to why Director of Labor Relations Janet P. Snyder was so quick to help me push myself out the door. It is also understandable why my union president was scared to have my back and tried to steer me to do an illegal back door move to get a leave of absence. During the end of 2013 I had a conversation with then Chief Operating Officer Daniele Coll-Gonzalez about possibly getting my seniority back. She told me in so many words that I was lucky to get back in the door at RTS. I applied to be a road supervisor for when the Transit Center opened up late November 2014. I didn’t get an interview because I didn’t have enough experience. Were they judging me from 2010-2013 or from 2013 forward? Then some people were hired to road supervisor positions that had less seniority then I had--even dating back to my 2013 re-hire date. I don’t know--maybe they had some kind of military background. Because of my situation I was ridiculed by my peers. Some of my peers who had less seniority then me before I left would see me and address me as "Rookie." One driver said that he didn’t recognize me without my firefighter turn-out gear on. Some drivers who became road supervisors would routinely ask me if I became a full-time bus operator yet knowing that they asked me the same question the day before. Employment Practices Manager Lisa Tommasini actually laughed at my situation to my face along with someone who currently works in scheduling. Lisa said, “What's the matter Abasi? The fire department was too much for you to carry?” Lisa and the other lady, who shall remain nameless for now, giggled and walked away. Lisa did my exit interview when I resigned from RTS the first time. The scheduling lady would routinely ask to see my new badge number to see how far I fell in seniority. Everybody seemed to have jokes. Then sometime in early 2015, employees around the company were saying Chief Operating Officer Daniele Coll-Gonzalez was forced to retire due to having an inappropriate relationship with a bus operator who she later gave a road supervisor position to that he was not qualified for. That road supervisor was fired. RTS has not gone public with this information. But in a work environment like mine, it’s hard to keep that kind of thing a secret. Then another road supervisor was fired for allegedly showing nude pictures of the director of compensation and benenfits to his coworkers.The director, who shall remain nameless, was allowed to resign in August 2015. There are more people in authority positions who are on the cusp of termination for inappropriate behavior and they shall remain nameless for now.
In 2014, I wrote the International Union President Larry Hanley a letter about my situation. I explained how I pay union dues but my local union president (Jaques Chapman) didn’t represent me well and steered me to doing something illegal so that he didn’t have to face the situation. I wrote, “President Jacques Chapman shouldn’t be allowed to crawl back into the dark and act like this situation didn’t exist.” On December 1, 2014 I received a reply from Lawrence J. Hanley. He stated that the issues I raised in my letter are local matters and that he doesn’t have any authority to take any action. So basically he was going to stay out of it. But he didn’t because he either showed Jacques my letter or told him the contents. I know this because I have a taped conversation with Jacques on January 28, 2015 were he almost quotes a line from my letter. Say; “I guess I’ll go crawl back into the dark.”
I have another taped recording with Jacques on May 5, 2015 were he asks me why I didn’t lie to the company like he told me to do. He also tells me how he didn’t appreciate me throwing under the bus by discussing our conversation with Larry Hanley.
On June 9, 2015 I had a lawyer write Jacques requesting a copy of the letter that he was supposed to write the Company on my behave to receive a leave of absence. On June 23, 2015 their lawyer wrote my lawyer back saying that no such request for a leave of absence was made. On May 5, 2015 I had a taped conversation with Chief Executive Bill Carpenter about the issue I had at RTS. I told him that Daniele Coll-Gonzalez’s actions and other in positions of authority have made me feel insecure about the fairness of how system is run here at RTS. I went on to say that I tried many avenues within the system to get justice. But my calls have been ignored and that I was thinking about going to the media to be heard. He asked me if this was a threat. I said no. He said that my actions may result in slander and that they have a policy against talking to the media. I told him that a real threat would be to sue you (RTS). I’m not asking you (RTS) for anything. I talked to you before via email and you told me your hands are tied due to the laws of the contract. He suggested that I call the New York State Division of Human Rights. I asked to see RTS's policy against talking to the media. I told him that I’m talking about my personal situation and how I feel affected by this toxic environment of deceit and back room deals that leaves the little guy hanging. Chief People & Brand Officer Maryalice Keller escorted me out of Bill’s office. She took my email address and suggested that I get a lawyer. She also wrote down the number to the NYS Division of Human Rights and later emailed me the policy against talking to the media.
But the Policy made no mention of punishment/threats for doing so. I called her and asked for more details. She basically said that there are no more details to give--just that the company would prefer that I don’t talk to the media. But if I could find some media outlet to take that story, “Go ahead.”
Side bar: I am a member of Legal Shield. They are a company that charges you a monthly fee to put you in contact with lawyers at a discounted price for legal help. I wanted to look into if the University of Rochester medical team who does work for the Rochester Fire Department was liable for not diagnosing me with a hernia before giving me a clean bill of health to the join the academy. Legal Shield put me in touch with Dibble & Miller attorneys and counselors at law. They started working with me on November 24, 2014. I brought them a lot of documents that I already purchased from the City of Rochester. They charged me a $1,500 retainer fee and proceeded to bleed me dry until the retainer was all done in April of 2015. Then the lawyer who was working on my potential case named Craig D. Chartier told me that I didn’t have a case because of a document that I signed with the U of R. But it is the same document that I brought to him in November 2014. He could have told me this six months ago.
I took them to Arbitration with the Bar Association case number 15-025(434) to get my money back. Because of that, the law firm is charging me an extra $600. I also have taped conversations with the law firm showing their contradictions.
I have a hearing Wednesday, August 26, 2015, 2pm, at the Monroe County Bar Association (One West Main St., 10th floor).
All of this being said, I feel that it is time to bring to the light of justice to what couldn’t be resolved in darkness, while others are willing to accept the status quo and live like Of Mice & Men. I’m willing to accept whatever crucifixion that RTS and others might try to throw my way by shedding light on the situation. I’ll be your Jesus. I thank Rochester Indymedia and the Independent Media Center Network for standing with me and giving a voice to the so called voiceless and doing what other media outlets wouldn’t do or are too scared to do.
Related articles: Protest at RGRTA regarding decision to end transportation for the RCSD
See the original article here: http://takebackthelandroc.org/LizPledge
Watch Elizabeth McGriff's story:
Rochester resident, Elizabeth McGriff of 618 Cedarwood Terrace, facing eviction pledges to stay in her home with the support Take Back the Land Rochester. She has attempted to negotiate with Midfirst Bank to work out a fair settlement for her to stay in her home. As early as August 7th 2015 Midfirst Bank with the backing force of the Rochester police department could remove Elizabeth and her children from their home of over fifteen years. Below is a letter from Elizabeth to Midfirst bank written in September of 2014 detailing her struggles with the bank.
My name is Elizabeth McGriff, and I live at 618 Cedarwood Terrace in Rochester, NY. When I purchased my home in 2001 with an FHA loan, I was thrilled that I owned a part of “The American Dream.” My home is my safe place, a place of comfort for my children and me, a place of celebration for graduations, birthdays, and all the milestones of life that I cherish. However, when the economy took a downturn, like many people, I fell on hard times and I applied for a mortgage modification. MidFirst Bank denied my application and is choosing to put my family out in the streets, leaving us homeless. There is something wrong with this! An ethical bank should work with homeowners to help them stay in their homes, especially after MidFirst Bank was bailed out for the explicit purpose of helping homeowners stay in their homes. People who have paid their mortgage for years, kept their property up and paid their taxes should be given the opportunity to negotiate to remain in their homes.
I tried to reach an agreement through the court system and a number of home modification applications. MidFirst Bank rejected every plan set up by the Rochester Housing Council. Finally, through deceit, MidFirst Bank utilized the court system to obtain an unjust Judgment of Foreclosure and Sale. Even though banks are not allowed to dual-track the foreclosure (i.e., review a modification application and move forward on the foreclosure at the same time), that is exactly what they did.
I have invested 13 years into my home; I paid money to MidFirst Bank in interest, fees and principle, and the original selling price of my home was only $56,552.00. If MidFirst Bank gets my home, they will get reimbursed from the government, and then sell my home. MidFirst Bank would profit three times on my house. While I will be homeless and my credit ruined. I am not willing to give up my home without a fight. I have invested too much just to walk away with nothing.
The same MidFirst Bank which was bailed out by the federal government is now making a profit on FHA-backed loans by foreclosing, and getting still another bailout from the government through the FHA insurance fund. When President Obama was elected, he advocated for homeowners to negotiate with the banks through HUD. Today, FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac government programs are quickly selling properties at a lower than market value, often to investors. They should sell the homes back to the people who put time and labor into those properties, the homeowners. The city of Rochester resembles Detroit, Michigan with massive numbers of boarded up homes.. A change in policies could put an end to the ever-growing blight.
I am requesting a reasonable home modification with MidFirst Bank. I am hoping that you are willing to negotiate. If not, then with the help of Take Back the Land Rochester, we will stop the MidFirst eviction on Cedarwood Terrace through people power. I hope you will have for the foresight to work with us, not against us.
618 Cedarwood Terrace
Rochester, NY 14609
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Julian Castro
U.S. Federal Reserve, Division of Consumer and Community Affairs
U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Comptroller
Consumer Protection Financial Bureau
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
U.S. Congresswoman Louise Slaughter
New York Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren
Take Back the Land Rochester
Metro Justice of Rochester
Band of Rebels
Rochester's 2015 Pride parade blasted off on Saturday July 18. This years theme was science fiction. There were plenty of references to Star Trek, Star Wars, Dr Who, aliens and the Space Program. One of interest was the Rochester Kink Society's "Gender Bender" a reference to Bender the robot in the animated sci-fi series Futurama.
Some of the non-sci-fi notables were Rochester Red and Black/Metro Justice's "Fight for $15" contingent reminding us that poverty wages hurt everyone; raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. 2016 Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders had a large group of followers at the event as well. Congressmember Louise Slaughter and Monroe County executive hopeful Sandy Frankel were in force as well.
Several local and a few distant churches had marchers in the parade as well. A few religious extremist protesters met the parade near its end on Monroe Ave, in front of an antique shop. Perhaps that would be a good place to put their ideas. It is the 21st century after all.
Festivities continued at Martin Luther King Memorial Park.
The Rochester Coalition for Police reform convened a press conference on Tuesday June 16 at 10:30am on the steps of City Hall. The purpose was to 1. Proclaim a victory with $2 million alotted to Body Worn Cameras that was passed in the city's budget and 2. To indicate that the coalition wants a role in the shaping of the policies which will be approved by City Council at a later date. You can read CPR's body worn camera policy recommendations here. Also CPR has put out a guide to help people with the city's survey regarding body cameras. That guide can be found here.
CPR also renewed the call for the Community Safety Agenda which includes an independent and viable Civilian Review Board process with subpoena power and independent investigative authority; a curtailment of Sop and Frisk (racial profiling), improving community understanding of individual rights to consent to be searched, and anti-racism professional development training for police officers.
Related stories: Police reform group makes policy recs to city for body cameras | Professional Standards Section: How they work (at least on paper) | Pass OUR community safety act now, before another Ferguson happens | Ferguson Response Press Conference hosted by UCLM & CPR
Video above is courtesy of Ricky Six and Lisa.
Video above of eviction and some arrests is courtesy of Christian.
Police Escalation to Execute the Eviction used Extortion Tactic
This time Rochester Police escalated their tactics by using one of Joe’s daughters as collateral to coerce him to leave his home. Twenty year old Audrey was arrested and handcuffed after awakening to find police surrounding the house. She exited the home to see what was going on, and was arrested when she attempted to go back inside. After escorting her away, the police then used her as a bargaining chip to remove Joe and the rest of his family from the house. According to Mr. Woods, the police said, “We will release your daughter, if you leave your house.” Seeing the police threats were creating a volatile hostage situation and not wanting his daughter to be harmed, Mr. Woods agreed and vacated the house. Despite being assured that she would not be charged, when the police took him to retrieve his daughter, Woods learned that she had been charged with obstructing government administration. Meanwhile, Joe’s two other daughters were let into the house to retrieve their belongings, thus indicating their was no need to arrest Audrey in the first place, and providing proof that her arrest was a questionable ploy to scare Mr. Woods into leaving the home he did not plan to vacate.
On a national level, this immoral manipulation of Joe’s wish to protect his children is one of the largest escalations of police tactics used to displace black families. The Rochester police showed that they are capable of going to unconscionable lengths to support bank displacement of families in order to suppress their right to housing. Six other supporters were arrested for crossing the police barrier. Two of them were chained to the front porch via a concrete lockbox and were removed after the police sawed into the the concrete. Those arrested were following the adage, “When you come for one of our neighbors, you come for all of us.”
A moratorium on police enforced bank evictions. The City must insist that banks be partners in negotiating to keep homeowners in their homes, rather than profiteers looking for financial benefit.
An independent dual-track investigation into allegations of suppression of civil rights and the human right to housing for the Woods family and other struggling homeowners. An investigation into the underlying social, racial, and economic conditions that lead to police abuse and displacement of families of color..
Greater community control over land in the form of community land trusts which will stem the trend of mass displacement and unaffordable housing.
In order to stem the trend of police abuses around displacement and other forms of racial profiling, greater community control over the police in form of a Civilian Control Board of the Rochester Police which has power to set priorities, policies, and practices.
[This history is a part of a larger, unpublished report titled, “A comparative analysis of the Police Advisory Board and the Civilian Review Board.” The report will be released sometime in mid-June 2015. [Ed. note--citations are still being scanned and uploaded. Come back for updates. The author wished to thank the kind people at the Local History Department of the Downtown Branch of the Monroe County Public Library System.]
Some events that precipitated the creation of the Police Advisory Board included the cases of A.C. White1 (“...a Negro charged with drunken driving, resisted arrest and suffered a fractured arm among other injuries that took him to the hospital.”), Rufus Fairwell2 (“...a 28-year-old Negro [who] suffered two fractured vertebrae in a struggle with two policemen who attempted to arrest him as he closed the service station at which we was employed...”), and a case of police interference with a group of Black Muslims3 who were having a religious meeting, on the pretext that they had firearms (those arrested were charged with riot and third degree assault).
Below is a skeletal outline of the history of the Police Advisory Board using clippings from the Democrat & Chronicle and Times-Union newspapers. Though not comprised of oral histories or direct source documentation, this history is meant to give clues and a chronology of events according, primarily, to two biased sources, the Democrat & Chronicle and the Times-Union. There were hundreds of clippings and I didn't get to include them all. Many of my citations were against the board, but there were a fair number of clippings in favor of it as well. The clippings left out here may appear in a longer version of this history in the future. For this article, I focused primarily on the work of the board, the legal actions taken against it, and, quite frankly, the vast amount of opposition to it, both white denial of police brutality and anti-Black racism fueling the call for its abolition. Thus begins Act One.
On Tuesday, March 26, 1963, the Police Advisory Board (PAB) was passed into law4 by the Rochester City Council after a “stormy hearing” on March 12. The first nine-member board was appointed on May 20, 19635 and was comprised of three members of the clergy, a pediatrician, an accountant, a treasurer, a lawyer, the Labor Council president, and a history professor. David Gordon, from the Genesee Valley Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union, laid out the board's process succinctly:
“The board is empowered to receive complaints from citizens, refer them to the chief of police for investigation, and after it has received the chief's report make its own investigation. If the board does not agree with the chief it must consult with him privately and allow him to make another investigation. If it does not resolve its differences the board must notify the public safety commissioner and city manager. After this carefully controlled process the only power the board has is to make its findings public.”6
Part of the March 12 storminess was the petition of “40,000 names of persons opposing the creation of a Police Advisory Board” that was submitted to City Council by the Locust Club—Rochester's police union.7 There was also (at least) one full-page advertisement in the Democrat & Chronicle paid for by DeCarolis Trucking and Rental Co., Inc. President Louis J. DeCarolis, Peter V. Ereg, and Russell B. Sanguedolce against the PAB, published on March 10, just days before the March 12 Rochester City Council.8
The first complaint brought to the PAB was ruled outside of its jurisdiction and dismissed on on July 17, 1963.9 According to the legislation, the PAB was tasked with only hearing complaints that alleged “the use of excessive or unnecessary force.” On its first year of operation, according to a Times-Union article from August 7, 1964, the PAB received 20 complaints, dismissed 18 unofficial complaints, and went forward with two official complaints.10 Official complaints were complaints that fit the criteria for review and action by the board. Unofficial complaints were rejected because they fell outside of the scope of the board. Between June 1964 to October 1965, the board accepted 14 official complaints.11 In 1968, the PAB reviewed 10 complaints.12 No cases were reviewed from 1965 to 1968.
Of the 16 official complaints from 1963 to 1965, only three were decided upon.13 In the first case, patrolman Anthony D'Angelo was cleared of using excessive or unnecessary force.14 In the second case, patrolmen Vito D'Ambrosia and Michael Rotolo were also cleared of using excessive force by the board. The board's report stated that the officers “used no more force than necessary.”15 In the third case, John Graham, a black, 19-year-old arrested for public intoxication, stated that four Rochester Police Bureau officers beat him up and used “unnecessary force” while he was in police custody.16 It was the only case, up to that point, where the board and the chief disagreed publicly; this lead to the findings of both Police Chief William Lombard and the board to be placed in the officers' personnel files.17 Upon inspection of the newspaper clippings, no other reports regarding the PAB's case load could be found. The question is, why?
The Police Advisory Board came into existence on March 26, 1963. It functioned for two years weathering a storm of public disapproval18 until, on April 15, 1965, Supreme Court Justice Daniel E. Macken required “the board to show cause why its operation should not be stopped until the suit is decided.”19 He also ordered a “temporary restraining order enjoining the board from conducting any hearings or investigations or performing any other official acts” until the arguments were heard in the show-cause hearing on April 27, 1965.
Weeks before the court issued the restraining order against the board, Citizens for Abolition of the Police Advisory Board (CAPAB) formed on March 26, 1965. Taking a cue from the FBI's J. Edgar Hoover, the group put out a statement which said, “police advisory boards are detrimental to law and order.” Charles W. Quinn, president, at that time, of Rochester Local 4146, United Steel Workers, was elected chairman. Quinn told the Democrat & Chronicle that the group would formally announce its plans “to work for the abolition of the board 'through legal and honorable methods.'”20
The suit against the PAB, brought by the Locust Club and seven officers (John Hunt, Bennie Jaskot, George Signor, Richard Sterling, Anthony D'Angelo, Nelson Evans, and Joseph Favata), argued that police named in cases before the PAB have “no adequate legal remedy against actions of the board.” Specifically, officers were “forced to testify against themselves” and had “no redress against decisions of the board even though the board is investigating charges which are legally defined as crimes,” according to a Times-Union article from April 16, 1965.21 The officers listed in the suit stated in court papers that “they are all subjects of complaints to the board” and because of this, they have been “'damaged in (their) professional ability to perform (their) jobs'.” The police were represented by attorney Thomas G. Presutti.
On April 27, Citizens for Abolition of the Police Advisory Board “won the right to intervene as a friend of the court” against the PAB, according to a Democrat & Chronicle article published on April 28.22 Supreme Court Justice Charles B. Brasser allowed the request and postponed the hearing till the following Tuesday. Justice Brasser didn't see “how anyone's interests will be seriously prejudiced if the [restraining] order stays in effect one more week.” June Weisberger, representing the city and the board, objected to the “intervention” by the civic group on the grounds that they were not legally aggrieved and that the restraining order issued by Justice Macken was entirely “too broad.” The justice rejected the motion to modify the order.
A week later, May 6, State Supreme Court Justice Jacob Ark modified the restraining order against the board. The order was limited to the “three patrolmen against whom complaints are pending before the board—John R. Hunt, Joseph J. Favata and Nelson T. Evans,” according to a Times-Union article from May 7.23 This ruling meant that the board could once again do its work beyond the cases of the three named officers above.
While the court gave Presutti, representing the police, till May 20 to file a brief and May 27 for Rosario J. Guglielmino, representing the board, before a date for oral arguments could be set regarding a motion for a temporary injunction, the Police Conference of New York, Inc. made headlines in the Democrat & Chronicle on May 18 with the promise of financial and moral support to the Locust Club and its legal battle with the board. The Police Conference claimed 50,000 members in New York State with aid coming not only from them, but a nation-wide federation of law enforcement officers.24
In late April, Lawrence Jost from Gates, wrote to the Democrat & Chronicle exposing CAPAB as nothing more than a group of mean-spirited police advocates who would use intimidation and harassment against people supportive of the board. Jost was heading to a picket held by CORE and other civil rights group outside the Policemen's Ball on April 24 when he was accosted by CAPAB members because he refused to take their literature: “I was met by two men passing out leaflets urging the abolition of the Police Advisory Board. After seeing what they were passing out, I returned the card and began to walk up the steps.” His civility was paid in kind by one of the men calling out, “Are you going up there with those slobs?” Then, as he was entering the building, he was approached by different members of CAPAB. When he refused their literature, one of the men said, “You mean that you're with the enemy out there, CORE?” In the letter to the editor, he goes onto to chastise the organization and its members for not upholding their own proclaimed values of honor and legality. About a week later, Lawrence C. Conway from Citizens for Abolition of the Police Advisory Board, responded to Jost's letter. Conway ate crow on behalf of his organization.25
That fall, the CAPAB notified “approximately 500 city policemen that the five Republican and five Conservative candidates for City Council have pledged they will work for abolition of the controversial board if they are elected,” according to an article from the Democrat & Chronicle from September 17.26 CAPAB seemingly wanted to maintain a media presence and both the Democrat & Chronicle and the Times-Union wanted to help if they could.
Then, on December 31, 1965, Supreme Court Justice Jacob Ark ruled on the suit brought against the Police Advisory Board. Specifically, he ruled that, “the right of the board to investigate and make recommendations must be eliminated,” according to a Times-Union article, and “those functions should be performed by the commissioner of public safety.” The justice limited the board's powers drastically to “receipt of complaints only.” 27
In the 10-page decision, Justice Ark explained his decision stating that, “[the commissioner] is in a better position to make a judgement as to what force was necessary under a given set of circumstances and whether the police officer was faced with a situation in which he had no time for calm reflection but acted reasonably under the exigency that confronted him.” Aside from calling upon police expertise to determine if an officer used excessive or unnecessary force, Justice Ark also criticized the city's position with regard to making cases public: “The board overlooks the fact that although its membership consists of nine highly respected members of the community when it it makes a public statement it does not speak for them as individuals, but with the authority of an official body of the City of Rochester. Its public criticism of a police officer bears the imprimatur of the City of Rochester.” This represented a “reprimand” which could only be given by the commissioner after a finding of guilt was made against the officer in question. He also made clear that the board's activities were intertwined with the operations of the police bureau and the Department of Public Safety violating “the rights of a police officer against whom a complaint was filed.” Thankfully, and astoundingly, the story doesn't end here. The city, in an extremely progressive move, pushed ahead.
The headline, “City to Fight Ruling on Police Board” announced the start of Act Two in the PAB saga. On January 6, 1966, City Manager Seymour Scher stated that an early appeal would be made to the Appellate Division, Fourth Department by Corporation Counsel John R. Garrity.28 That appeal wasn't presented for over a year.
The hearing took place on October 16, 1967, according to a Times-Union article from October 10, 1967. The appeal was, “argued before five judges of the Appellate Division, Fourth Department.” The article said that if the court reversed the decision, “it in effect would restore the Police Advisory Board's powers.”29
Representing the Locust Club on October 16 was Ronald J. Buttarazzi. The attorney for the police argued that there was an “irreconcilable conflict” between the city's charter and the PAB ordinance. According to Buttarazzi, the safety commissioner should have “exclusive control” over the discipling of police. His said the “underlying issue” is that officers can be accused and convicted of crimes by the board without a “judicial trial.” He also took issue with the fact that “unnecessary” and “excessive” were not defined.
Representing the City of Rochester on that Monday was Ruth B. Rosenberg. She argued that the overlapping of powers between the safety commissioner and the board was done intentionally. It was created for the purpose of providing an “alternative and objective forum” to process complaints against officers for excessive and unnecessary use of force. The Times-Union article this came from highlighted portions of Buttarazzi's statements and didn't include much else in the way of how the case was argued. After arguments were made, “the court reserved decision” on the ruling, which took months to come down.30
Nearly three months later, the Appellate Division handed down its decision. The text of the decision, written by Justice Earle C. Bastow, appeared in the Times-Union on January 12, 1968. Justice Bastow opened with the particulars of the suit brought against the board by the Locust Club and then proceeded to write, “A proper understanding of the issues presented requires examination of the provisions of the ordinance.” From here he described the City Charter, how the advisory board functioned and its powers. Then, in the middle of the text, Justice Bastow quotes Justice Ark's finding: “...the functions of the Board have actually become intertwined with the operation of the Department of Public Safety, and particularly the Police Bureau in violation of the rights of a police officer against whom a complaint was filed.” Justice Bastow wasted no further ink as he spoke for the majority: “We reach a contrary conclusion. ”
The justice affirmed that the legislated power to City Council establishing the advisory board was “valid.” He wrote, “In summary, the creation of a (board) as proposed in this ordinance, allows complaints to be registered through a non-police agency while allowing regular police procedures full opportunity to satisfy the complainant.” Justice Bastow went on to specifically cite sections of the ordinance in regards to disagreements between the board and city officials. He wrote, “In the absence of any disciplinary power vested in the Board it is difficult to imagine a 'recommendation' that could exceed one that upon the facts presented some affirmative action should be taken by the city administration. The result would be a plain difference of opinion between city officials and the Board.” The justices did not feel the “concern” expressed by the police that such a recommendation would stigmatize the named officer. Neither did they “share the view” that publicizing the recommendation “would constitute a reprimand that only the Commissioner may impose.” In fact, the justices found that the ordinance, “in no way diminishes, dilutes, or infringes upon the statutory power vested in the Commissioner” to punish officers who committed misconduct. “At most such publication might result in direct or implied criticism of the police officer but it is difficult to conclude that such criticism would infect the official record of the officer,” he wrote.
Justice Bastow went on to write about the how the ordinance was trying to strike a “balance between the rights of the police officer and the rights of the citizen.” He then quoted from the report recommending adoption of the board: “The board should contribute rather than impair, the efficiency of police performance of allowing grievances, some real, some imagined, to be considered by a responsible body of citizens, rather than remain, as they often do, smoldering embers of mistrust and contention between police and citizens.”
Near the end of the decision, Justice Bastow dismissed the argument that publicizing a recommendation against an officer is “sufficient reason to strike down the ordinance.” The justice then referenced some case law telling the complainants that police, like judges, “are forced to make unpopular decisions,” and that they are supposed to be “men of fortitude, able to thrive in a hardy climate.” Essentially, the justices told the police that criticism was a part of the job—deal with it. He then dismissed the “other contentions” raised by the police because he found them “without merit.” He concluded, “The order should be reversed and judgement entered declaring chapter 17 of the Code [which created the legislative power to establish the Police Advisory Board] valid and constitutional.”31
The day after the Appellate Division found the board “valid and constitutional” and more than two years after the board was stopped from doing its work by court injunction, the Democrats in control of the city started to backslide. According to Democratic County Chairman Charles T. Maloy, “'a lot things have happened since the board was established almost five years ago, and I think you have a different climate here now.'” Democratic Councilman Andrew G. Celli, said he “has had no complaints or demands for investigation.” Public Safety Commissioner Mark H. Tuohey said he “doesn't feel there is a need for an advisory board.” Meanwhile, the police were determining if they wanted to appeal the decision of the Appellate Division. The president for the Police Locust Club, Ralph Boryszewski, said “it will be up to the membership to determine if the case is taken to the Court of Appeals.”32
Which, of course, they did. In a Democrat & Chronicle article dated February 6, 1968, the Police Locust Club announced that it was “filing an appeal” with the highest court in the state based on a decision from the Appellate Division, Fourth Department “which upheld the advisory board as legal.” Papers were filed by Buttarazzi on behalf of the Locust Club.33
On April 4, the Court of Appeals granted a motion to stay in favor of the police. The PAB's activities were halted by the courts on the condition that the police union “present its case against the Police Advisory Board (PAB) during the week of April 15.” The PAB, which had begun its work on February 1 and reviewed 10 cases of police brutality, was abruptly ordered to cease its activity on April 4. The article reported that a decision could be handed down sometime between May and June of 1968.34
Then, on June 14, 1968, New York State's highest court, the Court of Appeals, voted 6-1 against the Locust Club, affirming the decision of the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, and once again finding the Police Advisory Board to be constitutional. Associate Judge John Scileppi wrote the only (dissenting) opinion as the majority wrote nothing. Judge Scileppi said he didn't even get to the issue of constitutionality because the ordinance, in his opinion, “is in direct conflict with . . . the Charter of the City of Rochester . . . and 'therefore, invalid.'”35 And so we enter the final act of the saga.
The police union announced a few days later on June 16 in a Democrat & Chronicle article that it hoped to take the “case before the U.S. Supreme Court.” President Boryszewski told the paper that the club would have a special meeting to vote on whether or not to take the case to the highest court in the land. At the very least, the president said, he would “bring the police advisory board issue before the International Police Conference” the following month. He claimed the Court of Appeals ruling was “another step taken by this body to diminish further the power of the grand jury.” He called fellow officers a “minority of citizens” that were “restricted and denied the protection of the 14th Amendment.” He said the court's ruling, “opens the door for all cities to have this kind of board.”36
In an obvious move to protect a “minority of citizens,” on December 10, 1968, the Times-Union reported that the Locust Club had moved ahead and filed papers with the United States Supreme Court. The police were represented by Ronald J. Buttarazzi. The article laid out five points of argument brought before the court, although there were 10 all together: 1) “punishment [sic] might be imposed without trial of [sic] other due process of law,” 2) “the board [sic] may determine whether a man is a criminal without the right of an individual to confront his accusers,” 3) “it violates [sic] the Fifth Amendment in that a policeman can be forced to testify against himself or risk the loss of good name and public job,” 4) “it authorizes [sic] 'cruel and unusual punishment,' outlawed by the Eighth Amendment,” and 5) “it denies [sic] to policemen equal protection of the law granted all other citizens.” The article also stated that the board had “not been functioning because resignations have left it without a quorum.” At that time, there were only five members on the board. Quorum required six. Complaints, according to the board's executive director Rosario J. Guglielmino, “have been received and processed.”37
Nearly two months later, the legal saga of the Police Advisory Board ended. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the Locust Club's case and accepted the city's motion to dismiss the case “for want of a substantial federal question.” No opinion was written regarding the dismissal, a common practice, though Associate Judges Hugo Black and Byron R. White said “the court should have heard the case.” The action of the court left standing the New York State Court of Appeals decision that “upheld the city law establishing the police Review Board [sic].”38
With the board finally found constitutional by the Appellate Court, the Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court, the issue of the board went back to the local government for action. And there it sat with little action taken. On June 12, 1969, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a suit against the city on behalf of two board members and two people waiting to make complaints to the board for “excessive force.” The city had no comment.39
A little over a month later, the suit was dropped. Apparently, through some confusion, it was figured out that there were seven members on the board, not five as previously thought. According to a Democrat & Chronicle article, one member of the board verbally resigned, but not formally and in-writing. Another member was “on sabbatical leave” but returned.40
It didn't matter though. With Mayor-elect Stephen May, a Republican, moving into office, the die was cast regarding the PAB. The Democrat & Chronicle ran an article in December of 1969 asking the mayor-elect what would happen to the PAB. “We haven't discussed it in any detail for a long time,” said May. “It will be one of a number of policy questions the administration will be come to grips with when it is firmly established.” The article also noted that the board was under quorum again as James S. Malley requested that he not be reappointed. The outgoing Democratic Party administration “failed to reappoint persons to fill the vacancies, despite requests by remaining board members that it do so.” Republicans, the paper noted, had been “traditionally against such review boards.”41
Finally, in an article from the Times-Union dated May 14, 1970, it was announced that the Police Advisory Board was abolished: “The Republican City administration has decided to bury the Police Advisory Board which, for all practical purposes, has been dead for sometime.” The paper noted that neither the outgoing “Democratic city manager, nor the new Republican administration, appointed members to make it active again.” As an aside, it was also noted that with the abolition of the board, the executive director would no longer receive an annual salary which, would mean “a savings to the city of $5,000.”42 The abolition of the board was seen as “commendable” by the Times-Union in another article the following day.43
1Rochester History XXV, 4, “A History of the Police of Rochester, New York.” (October 1963), p. 25 (http://www.rochester.lib.ny.us/~rochhist/v25_1963/v25i4.pdf).
2 Ibid. P. 25.
3 Ibid. P. 25.
4 See a scan of the 1963 Police Advisory Board legislation as well as comments submitted to Rochester City Council for and against it, in .pdf format at: http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146813 & http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146877.
5 Spezzano, Vince. 1963. “9-Man Police Advisory Board Named.” Times-Union, May 20 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146822).
6 Gordon, David. 1968. “'Facts on Board Ignored'.” [Letter to the Editor] Democrat & Chronicle, February 6 ().
7 Spezzano, Vince. 1963. “Police Petitions Against Board Get 40,000 Names.” Times-Union, March 12 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146824).
8 DeCarolis Trucking and Rental Co., Inc. President Louis J. DeCarolis, Peter V. Ereg, and Russell B. Sanguedolce. 1963. Full-page advertisement. Democrat & Chronicle, March 10 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146875).
9 No author listed. 1963. “Police Unit In 1st Ruling.” Times-Union, July 18 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146823).
10 See both of these articles. No author listed. 1964. "Year's Score: 2 Cases for Police Board." Times-Union, August 7 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146865). No author listed. 1964. “'Business' Slow for Police Board.” Democrat & Chronicle, August 8 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146866).
11 Vogler, Bill. 1965. “Cases Rising, Police Review Board Reports.” Democrat & Chronicle, October 19 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146867).
12 No author listed. 1968. "10 Cases Reviewed By PAB." Democrat & Chronicle, February 2 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146868).
13 No author listed. 1965. "Advisory Board Denies Cops Used 'Extra Force'.” Democrat & Chronicle, October 12 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146870).
14 No author listed. 1964. "Year's Score: 2 Cases for Police Board." Times-Union, August 7 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146865).
15 No author listed. 1965. "Advisory Board Denies Cops Used 'Extra Force'.” Democrat & Chronicle, October 12 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146870).
16 No author listed. 1965. "Officials Critical of Police Probe." Times-Union, June 4 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146869).
17 No author listed. 1965. "Complaint Put Into Cops' Files." Democrat & Chronicle, June 4 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146871).
18 Editorials, letters to the editor and some articles from the Times-Union newspaper critical of the Police Advisory Board 1963 – 1965: "Does Police Board Need Executive Staff?," June 25, 1963 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146880); "City Must Answer FBI On Police Board Charges," October 1, 1964 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146882); "Would Abandon Police Board," August 14, 1964 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146893); "Police Board Opposed," August 12, 1964 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146894); "Lauds Police Board Criticism," October 1, 1964 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146896); "Police Advisory Board Should Be Abolished," January 11, 1965, "Police Board Hurts Crime Fight," January 15, 1965, "Feels Advisory Board Hampers Police," January 22, 1965, and "Raps Police Review Board," January 25, 1965 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146898); "Urges Elimination Of Police board," February 10, 1965, and "'Get Advisory Board Off Us,'" February 24, 1965 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146899); "Police Need Full Support To Help the War Against Crime," March 13, 1965, "Abolish Police Board," March 17, 1965, "Good Question," March 22, 1965, and "Calls for Abolishing Police Advisory Board," March 26, 1965 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146900); "Citizens Group Hits Police Board," April 2, 1965, "Sibley Unconvincing On Need for Police Board," April 12, 1965, and "Review Board Is a 'Group Libel'," April 27, 1965 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146901); "'Disband Police Board As Soon as Possible'," May 18, 1965 and "Police Board--No Confidence," May 27, 1965 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146906); "Supports Abolition Of Police Review Board," June 5, 1965, "Police Board 'Fundamentally Unfair'," June 5, 1965, and "Abolish Police Advisory Board," June 10, 1965 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146910); "'Time To Put End'," July 1, 1965 and "Ex-N.Y. Police Boss Is Still Bristling," July 21, 1965 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146911); "Strong New View on Police Board," September 22, 1965 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146914); "Police Board Opponents Get Their Lumps But Deserve Credit," October 2, 1965, "Comment on Bishop's Statement" and "Urges Abolishing Police Review Board," October 4, 1965, and "Police Boards Criticized," October 23, 1965 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146915); and "'Dump Police Review Board'," December 31, 1965 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146916).
Editorials, letters to the editor, some articles, and an advertisement from the Democrat & Chronicle newspaper critical of the Police Advisory Board 1963 – 1965: DeCarolis, Ereg, & Sanguedolce take out full-page ad against PAB, March 10, 1963 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146875); "Police Board's Work is Done," January 11, 1965 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146919); "'Advisory Board Unnecessary'," February 9, 1965 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146921); "'Advisory Board Should Go'," March 25, 1965 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146922); "'People Should Vote On Advisory Board'," April 22, 1965 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146923); "'City Doesn't Need Advisory Board'," May 2, 1965, "'Advisory Board Belittles Cops'," May 4, 1965, "'Police Board Foes Lacked Courtesy'," May 4, 1965, "Board Opponent Makes Apology," May 12, 1965, and "N.Y. Top Cop Quits Over Review Issue," May 19, 1965 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146924); "10 Vow to Fight Advisory Board," September 17, 1965 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146925); and finally, "All Police Advisory Boards Hit As 'Forced by Minorities'," October 23, 1965 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146926). It should be noted that the Democrat & Chronicle in 1964 focused a lot of their reporting on the possibility of a police review board in New York City.
19 No author listed. 1965. "Police Suit Fights Advisory Board.” Times-Union, April 16 ().
20 No author listed. 1965. "Group Will Fight Advisory Board.” Democrat & Chronicle, March 27 ().
21 No author listed. 1965. "Police Suit Fights Advisory Board.” Times-Union, April 16 ().
22 No author listed. 1965. "Citizens Group Role OK'd In Police Board Suit.” Democrat & Chronicle, April 28 (); No author listed. 1965. "Intervention Allowed in Board Suit.” Times-Union, April 28 ().
23 No author listed. 1965. "Police Board Curb Modified by Court.” Times-Union, May 7 ().
24 No author listed. 1965. "Lawmen Pledge Funds To Fight Advisory Board.” Democrat & Chronicle, May 18 ().
25 Jost, Lawrence. 1965. "Police Board Foes Lacked Courtesy.” [Letter to the Editor.] Democrat & Chronicle, September 17 and Conway, Lawrence C. 1965. “Board Opponent Makes Apology.” [Letter to the Editor.] Democrat & Chronicle, May 12 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146924).
26 No author listed. 1965. "10 Vow to Fight Advisory Board.” Democrat & Chronicle, September 17 (http://rochester.indymedia.org/node/146925).
27 Hoch, Earl B. 1965. “Police Advisory Board Curtailed By Court Ruling.” Times-Union, December 31 (). What's interesting about this date, is that the Democrat & Chronicle continually said the ruling happened on December 31, 1965 and the Times-Union, initially said December 30, 1965, but eventually switched it to the 31.
28 No author listed. 1966. "City to Fight Ruling on Police Board.” Democrat & Chronicle, January 7 ().
29 Boczkiewicz, Robert. 1967. "Police Advisory Case to Revive.” Democrat & Chronicle, October 10 () and No author listed. 1967. "Appellate Division Slates Hearing on Police Board.” Democrat & Chronicle, October 11 ().
30 Taub, Peter B. 1967. "Police Board Plea Aired.” Democrat & Chronicle, October 16 ().
31 Bastow, Earle C. 1968. "Text of Court Ruling on Police Board.” Times-Union, January 12 ().
32 No author listed. 1968. "Council Now Appears Cool.” Democrat & Chronicle, January 13 ().
33 Stearns, Anne. 1968. "Advisory Unit Case Appealed.” Democrat & Chronicle, February 6 ().
34 Gannett News Service. 1968. "Court Stalls Board.” Democrat & Chronicle, April 5 ().
35 O'Brien, Emmet N. 1968. "Local Police Board Gets OK from Court.” Democrat & Chronicle, June 15 ().
36 No author listed. 1968. "Police Advisory Board May Face New Appeal.” Democrat & Chronicle, June 16 ().
37 No author listed. 1968. "Rights Periled, Police Say; Asking Top Court Hearing.” Times-Union, December 10 () and Ringle, William. 1968. “Supreme Court Gets Advisory Board Issue.” Democrat & Chronicle, December 10 ().
38 Ringle, William. 1969. “Locust Club Loses Appeal.” Democrat & Chronicle, January 27 ().
39 Nauer, Mike. 1969. “Board Revival Sought.” Democrat & Chronicle, June 13 ().
40 No author listed. 1969. “Police Panel Suit Dropped.” Democrat & Chronicle, July 17 ().
41 No author listed. 1969. “Police Board Fate in Doubt Under GOP.” Democrat & Chronicle, December 30 ().
42 No author listed. 1970. “It's Official: Advisory Panel Buried.” Times-Union, May 14 ().
43 No author listed. 1970. “Police Advisory Board Abolished.” Times-Union, May 15 ().
Thirty-five people turned out at noon on May 23 at the Twelve Corners park in nearby Brighton to march in solidarity with the international March Against Monsanto taking place that day. Representatives of GMO-Free Rochester and the Northeast Organic Farmers Association were present but no political leaders attended. Even a show overhead by the US Navy Blue Angels did not distract from the message.
Monsanto is a large chemical corporation that is a leader in the development and deployment of "Genetically Modified Organisms" (GMO's) in our food supply. GMO's are suspected of causing health effects. They are also suspect in causing mass deaths of beneficial insects such as bees and monarch butterflies. The company has attempted and often succeeded in suppressing research into those effects.
The protesters are not demanding a ban on GMO's, only a label on GMO food alerting people that they are present in a particular food product.
Support and opposition to labeling fall largely along party lines with Democrats generally in favor of labeling and Republicans opposed. In DC, New York senator Gillibrand and representative Louise Slaughter have signed onto bills requiring labeling. Senator Schumer has not acted. Several states have proposed labeling requirements pending. You can see them here, and also read New York's proposed law. There is also contact information for your state and federal representatives.
In order to avoid lawsuits from Monsanto and other giant chemical and agricultural corporations, many of the states have a so-called "trigger clause" in their laws that prevent the law from taking effect until a number (often five) other states pass the same law. This is currently the case in Maine and Connecticut where laws have been passed but have not taken effect. New York's proposed law does not have a trigger but its passage would help those in neighboring states.