Safer communities…

Feb 8, 2021

Choosing Real Safety: A historic declaration to divest from policing and prisons and build safer communities for all

The link provides a declaration about what constitutes a safer community and the failed role of more policing, more policing costs, more prisons and more prison building.  It enumerates a list of better investments for a safer community.  It is supported by the organizations listed at the end of the declaration.  The groups also invites your signature, or your group’s signature.  Related article: Globe and Mail – Barbara Hall and Alex Mukherjee   Now is the time for Toronto to address its policing challenges

Globe and Mail – Marcus Gee
‘I surrender. Just please help me’: A son’s moving note to his parents underlines the pain of addiction

Here’s part of a note from an adult child to parents when addiction became totally overwhelming:  “I’m not this person and I know that this is it – the end of the line. I need you guys more than anything. I’m so sorry. I want to do whatever I can to help you help me. I surrender. Just please help me. I don’t know how and I’m sorry that I am so messed up with this. I’m going to do whatever I can. Call me? You are all I have. Love you so, so much. Don’t give up on me, please. I’m scared!”  A year later, despite repeated and desperate efforts, the parents had a phone call saying their son was dead from fentanyl.

Montreal Gazette – Paul Cherry
Bissonnette decision cited again in denying consecutive sentences for killer – In 2018, Christian Pépin pleaded guilty to murdering his mother and grandmother. Weeks later he killed a fellow inmate at a federal penitentiary.

A Quebec Court has clarified the sentencing for second degree murder.  The Bissonnette decision imposed a life sentence with no parole possible until 25 years is served.  Pepin murdered another prisoner while already convicted of murder and the crown sought consecutive sentences, one after the other.  “Justice Michel Pennou said he was bound by the decision made late last year by the Quebec Court of Appeal in the case of Alexandre Bissonnette, who admitted he murdered six people in the 2017 Quebec City mosque massacre.”  The interpretation is that a life sentence is a life sentence.  The crown has the Bissonnette decision under appeal.

CBC News
Family facing deportation from Canada say return to Portugal puts ‘our lives at risk’ – Immigration lawyer ‘surprised’ CBSA moving ahead with removal during pandemic

The case of Portuguese family already in Canada for eight years and apparently suffering from poor legal advice on paperwork has surfaced another issue about whether there should be deportations in the middle of the virus and especially to Portugal where the virus is severe. CBC News (Montreal) Canada resumes deportations, but ‘guardian angels’ in Quebec will be spared, says CBSA – CBSA says people who could qualify for permanent residency under ‘guardian angels’ policy will not be deported   

The Narwhal – Sharon J. Riley
Alberta’s ‘back door’ plan to free up billions of litres of water for coal mines raises alarm

Jason Kenney say activists is planning to risk considerable portions of Alberta’s water in a government plan to assist coal mining.  The water for the coal mining will be “free” driving ranchers in the areas for the proposed open pit coal mines to raise concerns about the water safety of the rivers.  Alberta’s licensing system for water has, as of 2006 and in some of the areas impacted, already reached the limit with only small percentages dedicated any to coal mines.  Kenney’s government is proposing significant changes to what can be allocated to industry in an already tightly scheduled area for water access. Related reference: Twitter feed – Maude Barlow

Denverite (US) – David Sachs
In the first six months of health care professionals replacing police officers, no one they encountered was arrested – DPD Chief Pazen, who is fond of the STAR program, says it frees up officers to do their jobs: fight crime.

Cities like Denver which have embraced the distinction between 911 calls for mental health vs police response have begun to report success in their undertaking.  For the last six months, Denver mental health responded to 748 call (daytime only – not enough funding for 24-7) without resorting to police and without arrests.  “STAR (Support Team Assisted Response) represents a more empathetic approach to policing that keeps people out of an often-cyclical criminal justice system by connecting people with services like shelter, food aid, counseling, and medication. The program also deliberately cuts down on encounters between uniformed officers and civilians.”  (Link includes graphics on people helped.)  Related article: The Marshall Project –  Keri Blakinger and Maurice Chammah    He’s Too Mentally Ill to Execute. Why Is He Still on Death Row After 45 Years? – Raymond Riles has been on death row longer than anyone in America. He’s one of many who have languished there for decades with severe mental illnesses.   Related article: Associated Press –  Michael Chael Tarm, Michael  Balsamo and Michael R. Sisak    AP analysis: Federal executions likely a COVID superspreader  Related article: Washington Post: David Von Drehle   Opinion: The death penalty is in the death throes

 The (US) – John Washington
 ICE Threatened to Expose Asylum-Seekers to Covid-19 if They Did Not Accept Deportation – Amid a rush of deportations, four detainees at two different ICE detention centers said that guards threatened to put them in Covid-19 wards.

If you imagine that immigration regulation by law in the US is easily achieved after President Joe Biden changed the rules, think again.  Here’s what some detainees at the Pine Prairie ICE Processing Center in Louisiana say that a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement guard told them while trying to get agreement from the detainees to self-deportation:   “They were forcing us out of the dorm, pushing and dragging us,” Fozao said, explaining the altercation when the guards tried to force them to submit to the deportation. “They threatened to call the SWAT team. They said they were going to put all of us into Bravo-Alpha, which is for quarantine, where they keep everyone with coronavirus.”  The effort was part of a surge by ICE following a temporary injunction from a Texas judge to Biden’s order to halt deportation for 100 days.  Related article: The – Ryan Devereaux   The Border Patrol Calls Itself a Humanitarian Organization. A New Report Says That’s a Lie. – Arizona aid groups reviewed thousands of 911 calls routed to the Border Patrol. They uncovered inaction, indifference, and obstruction.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (US)
The Year in Hate and Extremism: Far-right extremists coalescing in broad-based, loosely affiliated movement

White supremacy movements are only a surprise to white Americans.  Black people have long endured both terrorism and the impact of white supremacy.  “The insurrection at the Capitol was the culmination of years of right-wing radicalization but more recently the product of Donald Trump’s support for and encouragement of radicalized individuals and groups to buy into conspiracy theories about a ‘stolen election,’” said Susan Corke, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project. “Trump may no longer be in the White House, but the white nationalist movement he emboldened and incited is not going anywhere – and may grow more dangerous to our country.”    Full report: The Year in Hate Report (landing page has related articles.)  Related article: Washington Post – Toluse Olorunnipa and Michelle Ye Hee Lee   Trump’s lie that the election was stolen has cost $519 million (and counting) as taxpayers fund enhanced security, legal fees, property repairs and more