Jul 3, 2020

Madison, Wisconsin — A Young Generation Inspires

Minneapolis? Baltimore? This is Madison, Wisconsin
in 2015, with an enlightened police force that Chief
Mike Koval (ret) described as "cordial." In the shot
above just a bit more force and this non-violent,
young protester objecting to police killing could have
been the recipient of a police-inflicted fractured
vertebrae. Or choked to death. Quite sure that would
have been good for a few chuckles from Madison
Police. Photo: Reproduced from video by
Leslie Amsterdam
Madison, Wisconsin — A beautiful June Sunday at James Madison Park near the UW-Madison campus saw a crowd of some 150 people speaking on police violence and racism, behind a sign calling for the resignation of Matt Kenny, a killer employed by the Madison Police Dept.

Young park and beach-goers lounged near-by on blankets taking in the Sun, Lake Mendota and determined voices calling for justice.

Four years before, after Madison Police killed another human being in 2016, Mayor Paul Soglin (ret) said he lied in bed, thinking, "We’ve got a problem here," (WISC-TV, Mal Contends).

The perceived problem was not racism, not police entitlement to kill, not the ingrained adversarial attitude towards the public.

No, Soglin assured us, the problem is people don't follow police orders quickly enough, and Soglin was helpless to stop the police from killing.

This exemplified Soglin's problem, and not just Soglin's.

Said Soglin in an incredible statement:
We have to get to a point where it's understood, unequivocally, that when a police officer gives an order and gives a command that the only options are to fully cooperate or to go limp. Resistance is not an option. ... I'm very concerned, as we go further into the summer and the Fourth of July [2016] weekend, that if we get situations where police are called and it's a situation where they have to protect property and lives and they give an order, that they are not followed and obeyed.

Soglin' statement was bloodless, a typical reaction to what had become routine police killings, and hostile dealings from the black-and-blue, trained into delusions of monarchy.

Four years later, in 2020 Black Lives Matter and young police abolitionists across the nation are acclaiming humanity against police, against getting blinded permanently as police shoot out eyes with rubber bullets, as police beat, gas, pepper-spray, and arrest citizens for speaking the truth.

On a societal-level, a cult has developed in America, and police, "officers," are demi-gods — their every screamed whim and command is to be followed to the letter, or you faced imprisonment, death, beating, jailing, charge-stacking, defamation, character assassination, years in prison, or $1,000s in fines.

In Madison, the mayor had the cops' backs, (Isthmus, Mal Contends).

Soglin never encountered police killings to which he publicly objected, even going so far as to complain about several multi-million-dollar settlements with grieving families, victims of police assassinations.

See, for example:
  • Ashley DiPiazza, gunned down by Madison Police in 2014, resulting in a record $7 Million verdict against Madison. A new record, and still standing
  • Tony Robinson, gunned down by Madison Police in 2015, resulting in a $3.5 Million settlement against Madison. A short-lived record 
  • Paul Heenan, gunned down by Madison Police in 2012, resulting in a $2.3 Million settlement against Madison. A short-lived record

The city of Madison criticized every settlement.

These three young people were gunned down by miserable people to whom life means little.

The partial list of killings above is not intended to minimize other police killings here, bogus arrests and citations, harassment and inflicted trauma. For that, the community deserves $100s of millions.

But reinsurance companies speak loudly. So, police reluctantly adopted a policy mandating, roughly, thinking before shooting.

Even as the Wisconsin citizenry increasingly said, 'no' to police killing, police unions and associations and then Chief, 'never-saw-a-killer-cop-I-didn't-like' Mike Koval bemoaned the new thinking-before-killing policy.

For victims of killer cops, trauma is never healed. Not ever. No matter the time passed.

It got to the point where even civil liberties and objecting community groups normalized police killing in Madison.

In 2016, a local group, the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County, announced it was hosting a "discussion for teens to teach them how to interact with police. The teens will receive 10 rules that can help them deal with police encounters. Law enforcement officers have also been invited to join the conversation to talk about the importance of de-escalation tactics and how they respond to these incidents without taking someone's life," (Mal Contends).

This discussion occurred days after Soglin publicly gave his renewed green light to cops to kill citizens.

Here are some rules, Johnny and Suzie, these will help police not to kill you. And for you police, here's how not to kill. Jesus.

I recall thinking, instead of a class on how not to be killed, blocking down the operation of the City is needed. Noone should ever have to receive lessons on how not to be killed, not from parents, not from community groups.

The next year, in 2017, Soglin's ally, outspoken Chief Koval (ret), said he canceled his subscription to watch NFL games amid "taking a knee" protests against racism and police brutality that he termed "self-absorbed ... diatribe," (WISC-TV).

Black folks taking a knee was too much for Koval to handle.

Three months prior to Chief Koval's insight on the nature of those protesting police violence, Lt. (then Det) Angela Kamoske of the Madison, Wisconsin Police Dept sent a letter to the St. Paul Pioneer Press on June 25, 2017 objecting to the police execution of Philando Castile in neighboring Minnesota.

It's was an extraordinary communication at the time; cops typically do not voice objection to their fellow cops executing the citizenry, much less a letter from a cop in a different state.

Soglin is gone. Koval retired because he was turned down after he requested more cops. Kamoske was promoted to Lt.

There is a new mayor, Satya Rhodes-Conway, who actually gives a damn about people.

Soglin lost badly to Rhodes-Conway, in the April 2019 election in large part because Soglin was perceived as out-of-touch and uncaring.

Groups such Urban Triage and Freedom, Inc work with 1,000s to keep pounding the message that Black lives do matter, and police need to act like human beings — controversial positions.

But rampant law enforcement's work against the public continues.

A young man was just charged with federal criminal extortion after using a bullhorn in a State Street restaurant to voice his opinion that people should be fed, instead of arrested by police. Federal criminal extortion? C'mon.

A pro-drug war Wisconsin State Sen. Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) antagonized a group of protesters in Madison last week, grabbed some headlines and continues his crusade against minorities following his decades of service in the drug war. The sap, Carpenter didn't show up to Madison for support.

Carpenter is a cop-wanna-be who brags he "completed the Milwaukee Police Department Citizen Academy in 2018," and made the Wisconsin Professional Police Association Law Enforcement Honor Roll, (Drug Task Force).

Carpenter also helped killed marijuana reform during the 2007-11 period when the Democrats controlled both the Wisconsin state legislature and the governor office.

Police, prosecutors and wanna-be cops like Carpenter won't change.

We need to defang them.

I hate reading about cops preying on people.

On more than one occasion, I reread Angela Kamoske's letter on the execution of Philando Castile.

St. Paul Pioneer Press on June 25, 2017:

Philando Castile's Life Mattered

By Angela Kamoske

I have been a police officer for 19 years. I love my job and serving my community. I have learned over the course of my career to never assume anything. As I watched the events unfold on July 6, 2016, on a Facebook Live feed, I thought that there must be more that happened. There must have been such a threat that wasn’t captured on this video, that forced Officer Yanez to feel his only option was to shoot into a vehicle with a child in the back seat.

Over the past two days, I have listened to the audio interviews. I have read the documents. And then I watched the dash cam video. And it broke me. Officer Yanez was in a position that if he perceived a threat, he could have disengaged. He could have taken other steps to ensure everyone’s safety, and not have forced this outcome.

Shooting a seat-belted man, with a child in the back seat, was not the only option. Until those of us who wear the badge are willing to stand up and speak out when we see things that are wrong, and lead hard conversations, how can we ever expect change? How can we ever expect to rebuild trust within our communities? Barbecues and pick-up basketball games are nice, but that’s not going to do it.

So today, I stand up and speak out, even if it means standing alone. To the family of Philando Castile, to those that loved him, and to everyone who watched that video and felt broken inside, I am sorry. This shouldn’t have happened. His life mattered.
Broken and dead. We keep fighting.

Have a fun and safe Summer.

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