Showing posts with label David Couper. Show all posts
Showing posts with label David Couper. Show all posts

Apr 9, 2014

Racism Thriving, Scott Walker Is Counting on It

Former Madison, Wisconsin Police Chief David Couper has a new piece out in which he writes, "my family is bi-racial. My wife and I adopted two Asian daughters. They are now adult women. As they grew up, I could have written an article similar to (Prof. Christopher E Smith's), 'What I learned about racism by watching my two minority daughters grow up in a liberal Midwest city.'"

Couper refers to what should be Smith's literary sensation shocking the conscience of America, What I Learned About Stop-and-Frisk from Watching My Black Son - The 'special tax' on men of color is more than an inconvenience. A father shares his firsthand observations and fears.

Smith writes:
When I heard that my 21-year-old son, a student at Harvard, had been stopped by New York City police on more than one occasion during the brief summer he spent as a Wall Street intern, I was angry. On one occasion, while wearing his best business suit, he was forced to lie face-down on a filthy sidewalk because—well, let’s be honest about it, because of the color of his skin. As an attorney and a college professor who teaches criminal justice classes, I knew that his constitutional rights had been violated. As a parent, I feared for his safety at the hands of the police—a fear that I feel every single day, whether he is in New York or elsewhere.
While the Republicans Party and many racist, vicious police continue their organized campaign against younger people of color, the stories appear to be getting worse every day.

I often walk to the Meadowood shopping center on Madison's far-west side on Raymond Road.

On almost every occasion, I see a white person nervously grab a look or cast a look of askance at a young black man walking by. It seems young black men know better than to walk as a group, or god forbid: Run.

I could have written a similar piece of Smith's about growing up in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin and the entire Fox Valley for that matter.

Anecdotal, but one gets the distinct impression American white people are becoming increasingly moronic.

Here in Wisconsin without Paul Ryan, the Koch brothers and the Republican Party constantly sounding their racist dog whistles, not to mention obstructing the votes of people of color and that "urban vote," vermin such as Scott Walker would not stand a chance.

Lots of good folks around. I recommend The Advancement Project, the Grio,  and the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Feb 25, 2013

Chief Couper on Police Investigating Police Misconduct

Why was this peaceful man shot and killed in 2012?
"It is very difficult (and painful) for a police department to criticize or discipline one of its own. Why? Because in many instances of police review, those who are doing the reviewing know that 'there but for the grace of God go I.' This has a chilling effect especially when it comes to the use of force. Policing is a difficult job. And a community needs to support their police when they are doing a good job and ask for change and improvement when they are not."
- Madison Police Chief David Couper (ret), author of Arrested Development - A Veteran Police Chief Sounds off About Protest, Racism, Corruption, and the Seven Steps Necessary to Improve Our Nation's Police

Thoughtful discussion is needed; though none of this will have an effect on Paul Heenan and his loved ones. Heenan was unarmed and shot and killed by Madison Police Officer Stephen Heimsness on November 9, 2012.

I know many law enforcement personnel. And they are appalled when an innocent man is killed.

But the fact is police do gin-up police reports, act on prejudices and biases, cover-up, and in the words of Alan Dershowitz: Routinely testi(lie) in open court.

Outside investigation (Madison Mayor Paul Soglin is open to the idea) is not an option; it's an imperative.

Paul Heenan's father, John: "John Heenan told 27 News' his lifelong confidence in the actions of police officers was close to shattered by his son's death. 'I used to trust them. I used to not question anything. I question things now,' he said."

Jan 26, 2013

Wisconsin GOP: Cracking down on Wisconsin citizens

Will Wisconsin's Scott Walker, Walker's disgraceful political hit-man Chief David Erwin and the Republican Party succeed in suppressing citizens' popular will at the Wisconsin state capitol?

A lot of bystanders around.

And the Wisconsin Democratic Party has since before the Recall refused to speak out for the rights of citizens attacked (literally) practicing their constitutional rights.

In Wisconsin, citizen groups and pissed-off lawyers are responsible for ensuring the rights of Wisconsin citizens.

The state Democratic Party has taken a pass, and continues to do so.

Dec 18, 2012

Madison's Police Chief Couper (ret) on Newtown

A.J. Muste [1885-1967]
Strongly recommend reading David Couper's thoughts.


"I have restrained myself from commenting on the Newtown tragedy until I have had some time to listen and think. And what has come into my mind in my life experiences as both police officer, sociologist and pastor is a number of thoughts and images(.)"

I think Couper's contributions to spreading love over his career, what I read as radical pacifism, into the world will live on, perhaps unparalleled from law enforcement. The relevancy to Newtown is obvious.

But peace seems alien to our political culture.

I do not see, virtually anywhere outside of the narrow sphere of progressive writers, the accusation that GOP politicians are engaging in a massive deception sustained by hate. Plenty of examples in Wisconsin. Lies and hate lead to tragedy.

Commitment to truth seems alien to our political culture.

Next April, we have a state Supreme Court race coming up, a race for the top appellate court that above all ought to decide what the law is, without regard to the station of any litigant.

Fidelity to the rule of law, and a candid job description of what a supreme court justice ought to be have been virtually absent from Wisconsin's supreme court races, with two recent exceptions.

We have an opening for peace, truth and the rule of law becoming part of our politics, perhaps given a push by the sickness.

Sep 16, 2012

It's Not Just Walker and the DOA; Chief Erwin Is Out of Line

David M. Erwin
Chief of Police
Wisconsin Capitol Police

Update: It's 2013 and Erwin is still sending out three police officers, with two squads, to people's houses for the charge of having sung a song at the state capitol; and then named another song. Erwin is a disgrace and a hack for Scott Walker. Sarah Jones has the story.
Capitol Police Chief David Erwin is a problem, and being silent and averting our gaze towards Scott Walker is no solution, as our friend John Nichols has advised.

"Our men and women of the [Capitol Police] Department serve not only as police officers but as ambassadors at the seat of Wisconsin's government," writes Chief Erwin on the Capitol website. "... Please contact us if there is any matter with which we may assist you."

Ambassadors? Let's put that aside. There are matters pertaining to your conduct as Chief at our Capitol that require your personal assistance and a conversation.

Chief Erwin, time for a public Q and A, or a private chat with me, if your inclination and time permit. I can be reached at:

Arrested Development: A Veteran Police Chief
Sounds Off About Protest, Racism, Corruption
and the Seven Necessary Steps to
Improve Our Nation’s Police - David Couper

It's well past the time you revisit that oath you swore as a U.S. Marine and consider its relevancy to your actions as Chief.

In advance of a meeting, please consider looking up former Madison Police Chief (and now Episcopal priest), David Couper (1972-1993), and author of a new book on policing.

By Giles Goat Boy at Daily Kos

In the past three weeks, a number of Wisconsin Kossacks, including me, have been documenting the abuses being perpetrated by Wisconsin Capitol Police officers upon peaceful citizens protesting in the state Capitol. Those abuses have been orchestrated by the new Capitol Police Chief, David Erwin. Chief Erwin has also launched a media attack against those same peaceful protesters alleging all kinds of wild behavior.

On September 10th, he suggested that sign-holders and singers have been "terrorizing" staffers, legislators, and visitors, without giving any specifics. His officers have made dozens of arrests of "regular protesters" in the past few weeks, none of them for anything other than holding signs, draping banners over the rotunda, and failing to get a permit to sing If I Had a Hammer inside the building. You would think with all this terrorism and intimidation going on, we would have seen people arrested for something serious. Instead, people are being charged with violating obscure sections of the administrative code dealing with hazardous materials and heavy machinery left in the hallway.

The chief even said that people holding signs hurled insults at Red Cross volunteers at a blood drive being held on the opposite side of the rotunda one day. I didn't see anything like that while I was there but surely, with all the cops and video cameras they had swarming around the protesters that day, they arrested someone for that, right? That seems like a fairly straightforward violation, right? Easy to prosecute, got it all on video. Instead,they arrested people for holding up T-shirts they had received from Muslims for Life, an organization that encourages blood donations that had a display next to the blood drive that day. If he weren't a Chief, I'd swear he made the whole thing up.

So you might be asking why? What's the Chief trying to accomplish? Here's my theory, but keep in mind I've never met the Chief. Unlike his predecessor, he doesn't talk to regular people. I think the Chief keeps pursuing this ridiculous strategy of manufacturing tales of terrorism in the building while harassing peaceful protesters because he comes from a military background, then served in the State Patrol before becoming Chief of the Capitol Police. Citizens with loud mouths aren't citizens, they're just maggots that need to be broken down, and when they refuse to be broken down, he needs to teach them a lesson. When they still won't obey orders, they become the enemy. That's my theory, anyway.

He also can't wrap his head around the idea that there are no leaders among us. He is attempting, like a good military strategist, to cut the head off the snake, but what he sees as a snake is just a song circle. There is no head or tail. Like a neighborhood pick-up basketball game, there is no formal structure. Everyone knows that if they show up in the Capitol from noon to one weekdays, there will probably be people there singing. That's all it is.

The people who bring signs or chalk the sidewalk? They are just citizens who oppose the policies of the current administration. Some of them sing along while they hold their signs, but there's no plot, no secret funding, no terrorist organization, no political party, no roster, no dues, no clubhouse, no secret handshake, no marching orders, no union bosses, not even a meeting. People are just pissed off.

Yes, believe it or not, when the government strips basic rights from large classes of people, when they "drop the bomb" on public workers, when they admit they advocate the use of violence to break up peaceful protests, when they pass laws suppressing voting rights in a democracy, and when they openly mock and dehumanize 48 percent of the people or refuse to even have a conversation with legislators in the minority party, citizens don't like it. Shocking, isn't it? The Capitol rotunda was designed as a public forum, so when citizens in Wisconsin have an urge to petition their government, that's where they go, just like they go to the playground when they have the urge to play basketball.

A reporter from a local paper asked me on Friday what I thought the "strategy" of the Solidarity Sing Along was going to be now that Chief Erwin had made these aggressive moves against protesters. "I can only speak for myself, but probably show up on Monday and sing for an hour," was my answer. There was an awkward pause, like he expected more, but there is no more. There is no "they" there.