Legalized racketeering- only in Ohio

When Ohio voters amended the Ohio Constitution to allow casinos, they mandated the actual real estate for the casinos. When it came time to build the four casinos- a minor obstacle in Columbus- when the location they authorized wouldn’t work for the criminals who got the golden ticket had to move it. No worries, the legislature bent the voters over and moved it.

Now, we’re facing the same with pot growing operations. Vote for pot- and give 10 sites a monopoly on legal pot growing:

if Ohio voters approve a constitutional amendment in November to legalize pot for recreational and medical uses, documents released Monday show.

ResponsibleOhio released a 24-page summary of the ballot language that identifies where each of 10 grow sites will be. Investors bought or arranged purchase options on the 10 sites.

via Moraine site would grow marijuana if issue passes in November | www.mydaytondailynews.com.

The identification of specific parcels isn’t law- it’s racketeering.

ResponsibleOhio is backed by deep-pocket investors that include financiers, current and former professional athletes, real estate developers and others. It is opposed by anti-drug organizations, five statewide officeholders including Kasich and DeWine, and grassroots marijuana groups that believe carving out just 10 growing sites will unfairly block others who want to cultivate cannabis for sale.

ibid

If you don’t know what racketeering is-

Racketeering refers to criminal activity that is performed to benefit an organization such as a crime syndicate. Examples of racketeering activity include extortion, money laundering, loan sharking, obstruction of justice and bribery.

Just because it’s voted into law, doesn’t make it legal.

It’s time for a constitutional amendment in Ohio to stop granting unfair advantages by government to any business- be it limiting the locations of pot farms or casinos to specific sites, or the awarding of individual tax breaks, incentives or grants to a single business without offering the same benefits to their competition.

Racists, rapists and apologists

The head of the local Republican Party/Sheriff fired two of his employees on Friday, for unbecoming conduct. Three others got disciplined. It seems that all had been either sending or receiving racist jokes via text messages.

An Oakwood 19-year-old on an athletic scholarship to Stanford, was playing doctor on an unconscious woman in the bushes outside a fraternity party. He was inebriated, despite not being of drinking age.

Sheriff Phil Plummer made the hard call and took a stand saying there is no room for racist jokes, comments, or behavior under his command.

Stanford sent the swimmer away. They made a clear statement that non-consensual sexual behavior was unacceptable.

Then I see debate on Facebook. I see people using the First Amendment as justification for statements contrary to the founding beliefs that “all men are created equal.” I see people saying that because the swimmer used his fingers instead of his penis, somehow that was OK, besides he was always a “nice boy.”

When was the last time you heard a public figure step right up and admit they screwed up?

Brian Williams of NBC somehow thought he could tell a yarn about him being in a helicopter that got shot down. His first response?

“I don’t know what screwed up in my mind that caused me to conflate one aircraft with another.”

Am I guilty of conflation of the racists with the rapists? Certainly saying something politically incorrect is one thing, sticking objects in someone unconscious is another. Except, when you are an officer of the law, you have to be held to a higher standard of conduct- that’s why we trust you with a gun and a badge.

There is a go fund me set up to pay for the Captain’s legal expenses with a very long explanation of why he shouldn’t have been fired- it was put up by his wife. It blames the ex-wife of the deputy, the NAACP, the Sheriff- and the news media for slandering the Captain. The fact that when he got the first text his immediate response wasn’t “this isn’t acceptable” isn’t mentioned, nor is the fact that he erased his iphone and ipod before turning them in, against policy. When you are a leader- a higher level of accountability is expected.

There was a piece online trying to explain away the swimmer’s odd behavior. How about he’s already guilty of being drunk under age? The complaint clearly has eyewitnesses describing something that no one would wish for their daughter.

And, yes, we have courts of law to decide upon guilt or innocence, justifiable firing or not. But the court of public opinion, the debate we have with others- the thoughts we hold back, do they matter?

It’s a question of what kind of society you want to live in. If you don’t want to hear your news from a liar, you can always change the channel, but, when it comes to the guy who shows up with a gun and a badge, what kind of moral character do you want them to have? Or, if your daughter goes to visit a college campus, do you want her molested by a drunken athlete- and then be blamed for her actions?

For a society to function, the actions of a few miscreants is one thing, the willingness to apologize for them is a much greater risk to our community. I know many of you will argue that this is a stretch, but the liberators of the concentration camps had to march the townsfolk through the camps- because they didn’t believe it happened right under their noses.

Many are quick to blame all Muslims for the acts of a few extremists as well, but, that is no different than judging all Americans by the actions of Charlie Manson or Timothy McVeigh.

Morals, ethics, the standards of society are set by what we allow as OK. You don’t know how many times while I’ve been hanging basketball nets I’ve had to say that I don’t think using the N word is acceptable- and so far, I’ve not gotten my ass beat.

There are always at least two sides to every story- but, in the end, there is only one rule that is universal- the golden one. There is no excuse for racist jokes by cops, there is no excuse for doing anything to someone unconscious other than to protect them and get help- and there is no excuse for apologizing for their actions, or trying to say it’s OK- it was among consenting adults, or that they are “good people” because, they aren’t if what happened is true.

Dealing with a neighborhood cancer

Note, this is a long read. This is about a lot more than a demolition derby and a crime clan. Please take the time to read.

Friday, Dec 12, 2014. I had just settled into bed after playing hockey. Our game started at 10 p.m.- and we left the ice at 11:30. By the time I’m home, gear put up- showered it’s 12:15. I had watched about 15 minutes of TV when I started hearing an engine revving, and things going boom- soon followed by a car alarm going off.

Out the window I see little Brandon Crouch’s “new” Chevy pickup- sitting in my neighbor Marilyn’s front yard- facing my house. Her friend Doyle’s Hyundai Elantra is already sounding its alarm and flashing lights. I try to call 911 from the house phone- and must have misdialed, it wouldn’t connect- I run out the front door in my shorts (it’s 20 degrees out) and take a photo of Brandon’s truck now in the middle of the street- sideways- facing my house and me. He’s crashed Doyle’s car and is in the process of backing up and ramming one of my neighbor John’s VWs.

Branden Crouch driver of the one-man demolition derby

You don’t drive sideways on a side street (sorry about the sideways pic- no time to trouble shoot)

He then goes forward- ramming Marilyn’s Chevy Blazer that’s in front of my house. I go to open the passenger door, slug the little shit in the face- and pull the keys out of the car. Doyle, in his bathrobe- pulls him out of the truck- and he proceeds to run away from his house toward my office- I give chase and tackle him and hold him down on the pavement where he keeps fighting me- as I try not to kill him.

Brandon Crouch's truck after he hit 4 cars and 2 wrought iron fences

The final resting place of Brandon Crouch’s truck

Doyle and Marilyn gather around- and after holding him squirming on the ground for a couple of minutes he starts to calm down- and is talking about how he got hit in the face with a baseball bat. I’m covered in his blood and freezing my butt off- and am sick of doing a cop’s job. He won’t stay on the ground- but stands up and stays put for a minute or two- before he takes off again. I know who he is- and don’t feel like chasing him again. I call 911 from my cell- Doyle is calling from his house phone- I have to assume others have called- but who knows. People have come from blocks away to survey the carnage.

He had jumped the curb in front of John’s house- hitting the front of one of John’s 4 VWs- doing major damage to the car- then destroying all of John’s incredible wrought iron fence- as well as Marilyn’s fence. He had then rammed Doyle’s Elantra- to get back onto the street. This was the point where I had come out and the story started.

Fences at 108 and 114 Bonner after Brandon Crouch destroyed them

2 people lost their wrought iron fence because of Brandon’s criminal acts

When the cops and the medic showed up- Brandon was gone. The cops asked me why I hadn’t kept him there, as if it’s my job to wrestle with an 18-year-old for 10 minutes while they take their sweet time showing up.
The next morning- when I saw him pull up to the house and go in- I called it in, but he left again before the cops could get here.

I had a busy day- operating on about 4 hours sleep. And in the afternoon I called the Chief of Police and asked for a call back. To date, he’s not called. At around 6- a cop car was sitting on the street- they had just come out of the Crouch house. I asked if they’d arrested him- and got attitude from the cop- after he said he’d talked to Brandon, and it was up to the detectives. He wasn’t going to arrest him, just a traffic ticket. I wanted him arrested and screened for HIV and Hepatitis, the cop said he wouldn’t do that.

Yes, you and I get a traffic ticket for hitting another car- then we stop. We don’t plow through neighbors’ yards- then try to ram our way back to the street. I call and ask to talk to a supervisor- who basically says the same thing- it’s a traffic ticket, that’s all.

Unbelievably, he had insurance, but, that’s not going to replace John’s fence with anything like what was there before. It’s also not going to pay for misery this punk has brought to our block.

I wrote most of this Saturday night and started preparing the rap sheet of the Crouch family from the county’s websites, real estate taxes, purchase dates, criminal records. Doyle and Brandon’s uncle- who has lived on the block for 20 years and is the one Crouch who isn’t a criminal – told a story that goes something like this-

Brandon had bought an expensive video game (system?) for his little brother Cory- and his older brother, Tony Jr., had stolen it and sold it for $50 so he could buy heroin. Tony Jr. has a long list of turns in prison for a year or less for theft, burglary and receiving stolen goods. Brandon took Tony Jr. over to the guys who bought the game- and Brandon wanted to buy it back for $50- they proceeded to beat Brandon with a ball bat (Brandon stands 5’5″ and weighs in at 128; Tony Jr. is much bigger). Then supposedly they jump in the truck to return- “being chased”- and as they turn onto our block,  Tony Jr. hits Brandon again in the face- causing him to careen onto the sidewalk after clipping the VW-  Tony bails out (no video confirmation of this- his Uncle has all of this on his security system DVR- including our tussle in the street).

Sunday morning I wake up to see a long thread about an arrest of a Crouch. Yep, DPD has Brandon (misspelled “Branden” on the Sheriff’s site)  in lock up after there was a dust-up at 629 Oak St.- or nearby. 629 is owned by Christianna Crouch (unbelievably no relation) – and she owes $3,013.07 in back taxes. Oddly- this house has no record of purchase date. She lives on Beatrice.

Mugshot of Brandon Crouch

Brandon Crouch, just turned 18 and starts his life of crime

Branden Crouch 11/6/1996 is being charged with:

  • CARRYING CONCEALED W
  • USING WEAPONS WHILE
  • SALE LIQUOR UNDERAGE

Only the liquor charge has a bail at this point of $1,000, the other two are not entered.

There were some posts about gunfire in this area last night as well- but at this point I can’t connect the dots.

Brandon Crouch and his family of criminals entered our lovely neighborhood 18 Aug. of 2008. I had just moved my elderly parents down from Cleveland in June of that year almost directly across the street from their house, 121 Bonner St. The house had been owned by the Bowling family for years- their daughter had married the Crouch kids’ good uncle and lived at 105 Bonner peaceably for years. The Crouch home, 121 Bonner,  went into foreclosure and was bought by a Florida investor- who was paying me to maintain the yard that summer. I’d asked him about purchase price and he was evasive.

Turns out he sold it for $14K to Anna Lockhart- the baby momma of Tony Crouch Sr. and parents to a gaggle of kids- including Cory, Dillon, Brandon, Dustin, Tony Jr. and 2 daughters, Casey and Candace- who left the house early- getting hooked up and pregnant.

Anna currently owes $1,864.82 in back taxes on the house.

They were able to buy the house because someone won a judgment in a worker’s comp case. Anna already had a judgment out against her for $85K after her youngest- Cory, burned down 27 McGee Street back in 2004. She was arrested in 2012 for possession of cocaine- but the case was dismissed.

Tony Sr. did an 8-month turn for domestic violence back in 1999. But, generally, other than being drunk and obnoxious, he manages to stay out of trouble and works as a mover when he can.

Can’t say that for the boys.

Tony Crouch Jr. born 24-MAY-87

  • BREAKING AND ENTERING (unoccupied structure) 7 Months 17-MAY-06
  • ATTEMPTED GRAND THEFT (MOTOR VEHICLE) 7 months each count- 2 counts 17-MAY-06
  • BURGLARY 7 Months 17-MAY-06
  • BURGLARY (habitation/person present or likely) dismissed 19-NOV-09
  • THEFT (2913.71 PROPERTY) 12 Months 24-FEB-10
  • THEFT (2913.71 PROPERTY) THEFT (2913.71 PROPERTY)
  • RECEIVING STOLEN PROPERTY ($1000 but less than $7500) 7 Months + 12 Months 02-JAN-13
Mugshot Dustin Crouch

Dustin Crouch, mugshot 20 Jan 2015

Dustin Crouch born 12/18/88

  • RECEIVING STOLEN PROPERTY (MV) + ATTEMPTED GRAND THEFT (MOTOR VEHICLE) 9 months 25 Aug 08
  • THEFT ($500)(WITHOUT CONSENT) AGGRAVATED ROBBERY (deadly weapon) + ROBBERY (use of force) 10 Months 14 Feb 11
  • GRAND THEFT (MOTOR VEHICLE) 7 Months 20 Sept 07
  • BURGLARY (occupied structure/person present) + AGGRAVATED ARSON (harm to person) NO BILL 13 Jun 08
  • Parole Violation (PV-Robbery) and Petty Theft booking 20 Jan 2015.

And now add Brandon. Note, he’s only been eligible to be in the big boys’ jail booking for a month and a half.

There are still 2 more in the pipeline to enter the system- Dillon and Cory.

Since they’ve moved in, we’ve experienced a crime wave. The police have responded to that house at least 20 calls a year every year (I’ll be collecting the exact reports this week). We’ve had drug overdoses, fights, truancy, searches for Tony Jr. or Dustin the works.

16 DEC 14 The Crime Stats

I’ve received the crime stats- in the three years previous to the Crouch’s moving in, one police call;

DateIncident AddressPriorityInc_Dsptch_Code_DescInc Dispo
6/3/2008121 BONNER ST4BURG2

Note- this was when the house was empty- and someone broke in and stole the copper etc. Might have even been the future homeowners for all we know, since the DPD has a lousy record of catching and prosecuting scrappers.

In the three years after they moved in 49 and counting-

DateIncident_AddressPriorityInc_Dsptch_Code_DescInc_Dispo
14-Sep-08121 BONNER ST2911U1
14-Sep-08121 BONNER ST4FT1
15-Sep-08121 BONNER ST9THEFT1
15-Sep-08121 BONNER ST6THEFT1
14-Sep-08121 BONNER ST6THEFT1
21-Sep-08121 BONNER ST6THEFT1
07-Nov-08121 BONNER ST4FT1
07-Nov-08121 BONNER ST8MISC1
07-Nov-08121 BONNER ST4FOUNDJUV2
08-Nov-08121 BONNER ST4FOUNDJUV1
23-Oct-08121 BONNER ST4WANTED2
08-Oct-08121 BONNER ST2DOMVIO2
26-Jan-09121 BONNER ST2DOMVIO1
01-Mar-09121 BONNER ST1DIST2
06-Jun-09121 BONNER ST2DOMVIO1
17-Jun-09121 BONNER ST1OD1
09-Aug-09121 BONNER ST1OD2
16-Sep-09121 BONNER ST3DIST3
20-Aug-09121 BONNER ST4WANTED1
22-Oct-09121 BONNER ST2DOMVIO1
14-Oct-09121 BONNER ST4ASSIST1
14-Jan-10121 BONNER ST7TRANS1
12-Mar-10121 BONNER ST1OD1
16-Jan-10121 BONNER ST4MISSJUV2
11-Jan-10121 BONNER ST4MISSJUV2
12-Jan-10121 BONNER ST4FOUNDJUV2
18-Jan-10121 BONNER ST4MISCINV1
11-Mar-10121 BONNER ST4MALARM2
03-Jun-10121 BONNER ST4FT1
18-Apr-10121 BONNER ST4WANTED1
09-Apr-10121 BONNER ST4WANTED2
11-May-10121 BONNER ST4FT2
24-Jun-10121 BONNER ST4ASSAULT2
10-Apr-10121 BONNER ST4FT1
12-May-10121 BONNER ST2DOMVIO1
12-May-10121 BONNER ST4DWI3
17-May-10121 BONNER ST4DRUGS2
19-May-10121 BONNER ST4MISCINV1
03-Jul-10121 BONNER ST4WANTED2
24-Jul-10121 BONNER ST3FIGHT1
05-Nov-10121 BONNER ST6DWOC2
20-Oct-10121 BONNER ST2911D1
11-Dec-10121 BONNER ST4BURGN
24-Dec-10121 BONNER ST1MEDICPF
30-Dec-10121 BONNER ST4WANTEDL
20-Feb-11121 BONNER ST3SCL
09-Mar-11121 BONNER ST2911N
24-Jun-11121 BONNER ST2911N
06-Jul-11121 BONNER ST8MISCF

End of crime stats update

I moved to 113 Bonner on Jan. 28, 1986- the day the first Space Shuttle blew up. In the 22 years before the Crouch Criminal Clan arrived, I’d had my garage broken into once- with very little stolen. A walk board stolen off scaffold at my office. My contractor’s tools stolen out of the cottages that were being rehabbed in 1998 and that was it. Since the Crouches, the house and my office have been broken into, the garage has been broken into twice, and cars on the street broken into repeatedly.

The reason I bought the cottages across the street was to provide a good place for my parents to live- and to get rid of crappy tenants who were also constant problems- but not thieves. From 1998 to 2008, this block was quiet and peaceful. After the arrival of the Couch clan- it’s been hell.

The house next door to them had been bought and rented to UD Law students for a number of years- they were getting broken into regularly. The next tenants, some hearty good people with kids- got sick of the BS after about a year and a half and left. The turning point? A major ruckus ensued when one of the Crouchs’ compatriots- who drives an older red Jeep Cherokee kept drag racing down the street. The tenants asked him to stop- and the Crouch Clan all piled out and threatened to fight the tenant. They left- despite their older kids just renting a house behind them.

The crazy thing was that even Tony Sr. agreed the next day that speed racer was being a jerk, the next day- but, in the mob the day before, was egging the fight on.

Other neighbors live in fear and don’t come out much. They’ve come to think this is the status quo- and that there is nothing they can do. The cops claim that unless prostitution or drugs are being dealt, they can’t nuisance the house. Housing inspection doesn’t cite them for broken windows. Amazingly, they take pretty good care of the front yard, but often do open burns in the backyard- mostly melting plastic off stolen air conditioners to separate the metal from the plastic.

I believe we can take the crime stats, the calls, and the latest fiasco, and file a civil suit against them as a neighborhood. This is the plan of action we will begin to proceed with, if they won’t accept an offer to buy the house on the condition they leave South Park.

The city would be in better shape purchasing and moving them out- considering the cost of the constant police calls and ambulance runs in and out of this house. For all the work the people of South Park have done to improve our properties and make our neighborhood so desirable that our property taxes have gone up, you’d think that they could find the money. They didn’t have any problem pouring millions into Wright Dunbar to achieve less.

The preamble of the Constitution clearly states that the reason we have our government is to:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence,  promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

It’s time to establish justice and insure domestic tranquility on Bonner Street. This is the first responsibility our city government has- not the tax-seeking behaviors they call “economic development” or “job creation.”

I sent an email to the Mayor, Commissioners Williams and Mims- and haven’t heard back. (note- Mims and Williams reached out on Sunday – still no call from the Chief or the Mayor)

The demolition derby was the last straw. It’s time for peace and safety to return to South Park and to Bonner Street.

To be continued…

Another blow to the American dream

Come to America, where everyone can become a millionaire.

Thing is, a million ain’t what it used to be.

It’s been a long time since I served with the U.S. Army Special Forces. We liked to think of our special operations units as the “quiet professionals.” We didn’t like to have our pictures taken, we’d keep a low profile, identifying marks on our bodies that weren’t put there by god weren’t approved of. (A friend, Tim G., got busted 2 ranks and put in a shit job for getting “YANKEE” tattooed across his chest just before being shipped to Nicaragua to train people we had no business training). When “Mark Owen” wrote the book “No Easy Day” about the operation to get Bin Laden, I pre-ordered it and read it the weekend I got it.

I didn’t see anything that even remotely seemed like a security leak, or disclosure of classified info or special ops weapons or tactics. I’d read most of Dick Marcinko’s “Red Cell” books- and gleaned a lot more there.

And while it’s OK for Hillary, Bill, and Barack to make millions from their books- apparently, it’s not OK for an enlisted man to make a dime.

Matt Bissonnette, a former member of Navy SEAL Team 6, will probably have to forfeit at least $4.5 million in book royalties over his failure to allow the Pentagon to review his best seller on the Osama bin Laden raid for possible security breaches, according to court documents filed by his lawyer. The documents say Mr. Bissonnette would also have to give up movie rights to his book “No Easy Day,” worth at least $900,000, and would lose the security clearances needed to do military-related consulting work.

via Former Navy SEAL, Author of Bin Laden Best Seller, May Face Costly Penalties, Lawyer Says – NYTimes.com.

Let’s see the differences:

Bissonnette signed a blank check to the people of the United States guaranteed with his life. He trained harder than 99.99% of Americans. He risked his life many times over.

Hillary, Bill and Barack- got elected. They smiled and waved at cameras, told people what they wanted to hear, and took billions in donations to reach their goal. Hell, even Monica Lewinsky got paid for her near toppling of our government over her sloppy blow job.

Charlie Sheen pretended to be a Navy SEAL- and got paid millions. Why shouldn’t Bissonnette? He’d even promised most of the proceeds to go to families of Navy SEALs who were killed in action, although the foundation refused his donations according to Wikipedia sources.

Generals have made millions from their book deals- I’ve got a signed copy of General Tommy Frank’s book, Colin Powell has a book, McChrystal has a book- after he had to resign for talking to Rolling Stone while still on duty. Look at what all the generals get to do once they retire- sit on boards, work for defense contractors, lecture tours.

Guys like Matt who did their dirty work, make up the largest segment of America’s homeless.

The American dream isn’t what it used to be. Even the guys who make it possible for it to continue to survive- have to fight tooth and nail to get their share.

I hope the Pentagon drops this stupidity before they make bigger fools of themselves.

The Sexist Selective Service System

Selective Service Manual cover with the words "No Girls Allowed" superimposed

Selective Service System is still a good ole boys club

When I turned 18, I went to the post office and registered for Selective Service. About 6 months later, I volunteered to enter the U.S. Army, where I served with women who weren’t required to register.

From the Selective Service System website:

Almost all male U.S. citizens, and male immigrants living in the U.S., who are 18 through 25, are required to register with Selective Service. It’s important to know that even though he is registered, a man will not automatically be inducted into the military. In a crisis requiring a draft, men would be called in sequence determined by random lottery number and year of birth. Then, they would be examined for mental, physical and moral fitness by the military before being deferred or exempted from military service or inducted into the Armed Forces.

via Selective Service System: Fast Facts.

I hadn’t given it much thought lately until I heard a PSA on WDPS reminding young men to register. It warned that failure to register could stop eligibility for “student financial aid, loans, or grants; vocational training under WIA; government employment; and security clearances.”

In light of changes to the rules about women in combat, as of Jan. 24, 2013, when:

a unanimous recommendation by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta today announced the end of the direct ground combat exclusion rule for female service members.

via Defense.gov News Article: Defense Department Expands Women’s Combat Role.

it would seem to me that it is discriminatory to force the “Selective Service System” only on men, and only penalize men for not registering for the draft that probably would never happen. It’s time to level the playing field and ask women to make the same commitment to their country as men, if they also want access to financial aid, loans, grants, etc.

It’s been a long time for this country to live up to the words of the founding fathers – in our Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Women can vote, women can go to war, women can become presidential candidates- it’s time for women to register for the Selective Service System.

 

Time to change the national anthem and chuck the constitution: Police militarization

Photo by Whitney Curtis for The New York Times

Ferguson MO militarized police photo- Whitney Curtis for The New York Times

It’s this photo that makes my stomach turn. This is not a police force to “Serve and protect”- but a police force to deny free speech, the right to peaceably assemble and to protest.

We are no longer the home of the brave and land of the free.

When gun nuts talk about needing to own an assault rifle, because they are afraid of the government overstepping its bounds, they now have the poster photo to prove the crazies are right.

Let me count the ways that this is wrong. The idiot on the top of the “Urban Assault Vehicle” is actively sighting a target. If he had a legitimate reason to do this, all those “riot police” should be on the deck- with their weapons pointed at an imminent threat. If anyone else held a fully automatic assault rifle like that, they would be shot by the police with the excuse that they were inciting panic. In Beavercreek Ohio, you can get killed for talking on a cell phone with a BB gun in a Walmart- this is an order of magnitude worse.

The mismatched uniforms- with desert boots and woodland camouflage also make these “police officers” look more like extras on a low-budget Hollywood war movie. Why wear BDU’s at all? Are they police- or soldiers? Police officers work for us- have pride in their community, and represent us- soldiers are here to repress us. The moment you don a military uniform, you are no longer serving and protecting me, at least that’s the way this former soldier sees it.

No matter how much police forces train to use this gear, it’s not suited for police work. Good cops know their first and most effective tool, is talking to people, trying to establish rapport and common ground. Note to cops: the moment you don your GI Joe gear you throw all that “one of us rapport” out the window. If we really need an MRAP on the scene, you’d do better to let it be the National Guard in it, because after the shit storm is over, they go home outside the community- and you, well, you’ve permanently distanced yourself by actively taking arms against our citizenry.

SWAT was a bad TV show- that forever changed the idea of what cops should and shouldn’t do. It probably did as much or more damage to the idea of “community based policing” than Jack Bauer on 24 did to interrogation techniques. No, physical torture doesn’t get you good intel or accurate intel- it just makes you guilty of war crimes. Want a lesson in the Geneva Convention- ask Senator John McCain, don’t ask “John McClane”- the cop character in the Die Hard movies which also distorted the reality of what happens when most people shoot other people- even highly trained people shooting other people. The reality is, most cops don’t shoot very often, and this kind of BS isn’t why they got into policing. Any chief who orders his officers to go out with automatic weapons and point them as if to shoot- should be relieved of command.

For those who need a refresher- the United States is probably the only country that glorifies a war battle in its national anthem, and not even the revolutionary war, but the war of 1812. We seem to still be confused as to what a “land of the free and the home of the brave” means. Are we now brave, to walk in protest, facing our fellow countrymen armed to the teeth, to protect our freedoms which have been slipping away from us since September 11, 2001?

The Constitution, starts with this preamble. Read it. Then look at the photo above. Do the two go together?

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Habeas Corpus- the right not to be be unlawfully detained, and to have a judge and jury determine your fate:

The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

When police show up with the firepower to go to war, our collective rights are being stripped from us. Those which are guaranteed in the Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments to the Constitution).

They read in brief (from this post)

  1. Freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly and petition.
  2. Right to bear arms.
  3. Right not to quarter soldiers.
  4. Freedom from unnecessary search or seizure.
  5. Due process of laws.
  6. The right to a speedy trial.
  7. The right to a trial by jury.
  8. No cruel or unusual punishment.
  9. Constitutional rights do not deny other rights.
  10. States rights

Look again at the photo above. The Third amendment specifically applies to this-

“the Third Amendment subordinates military authority to civilian control and safeguards against abuses that can be perpetrated by standing armies and professional soldiers.” via The legal dictionary/free dictionary.

Do those cops look like cops, or professional soldiers to you? They do to me.

We have a constitutional law expert as our president. Now is not the time for him to be on vacation. What is happening in Ferguson MO is a danger to the state of our union, and demands his attention. It’s time for a come-to-Jesus meeting about police militarization, because if this is how my police serve and protect, I say they are doing neither.

Right after I posted this- Butler Township Trustee Nick Brusky tweeted the following:

The crime scene instant replay hypocrisy

The first thing the rabble rousing reverends call for in the recent police shooting of a young black man in a lily white communities Walmart is to see the store video- all of it.

Yet, the exact same people rail against traffic cams installed to monitor speed and stop lights.

Don’t forget the ones who screamed bloody murder over the high resolution drone surveillance either.

Our society has been spoiled by instant replay from every angle to figure out if a penalty in football was called correctly or if the players foot stepped on the line, that we seem to expect the same from some Chinese DVR taking low rez photos at 10 frames per second in a store.

Some police departments are experimenting with personal video recorders attached to the shirts of their officers, to provide “evidence” of what “really happened” in a police interaction. This is after “dash cams” became the norm- letting the public voyeurs see some things as horrible as when a few local white supremacists decided to do a Bonnie and Clyde move- shooting an unsuspecting State Trooper on a routine traffic stop. Hyped by media that still lives by the adage “if it bleeds it leads” we’ve turned into junkies for “Reality TV” of real life tragedies which often happen when idiots and guns mix. Even pellet guns- as was the case in the Beavercreek Walmart.

One person wrote into the Dayton Daily news wondering what would have happened in the Walmart had a private citizen packing now legal heat at decided to take out the bb gun waving, cell phone talking black man, instead of the police? Or what would have the police done had they seen one of those Concealed Carry people waiting with gun drawn- in case the pellet gun genius came their way? It’s sad that just the hysteria caused by this incident also took the life of a young woman who died as she tried to flea the scene by yet undetermined causes.

What does store security video do to change all of this? We’re yet to find out. Most of it comes without sound- so unless the Feds have lip readers, ways to enhance video like on crime scene shows (I work in video and can tell you that most of that “resolution enhancement” you see on CSI is total BS) we may just end up with more questions than answers. This isn’t an NFL game with 13 cameras following the ball at all times from all angles.

At least ten years ago- I sat in a Greene County Court room where a young black man was about to be sent away for three years in prison. The evidence then? A dash cam recording – which coupled with mandatory sentencing laws, decided the case for the judge. The crime? A drunk black man, in cuffs in the back of the cruiser, says on camera to the officer “you won’t live to see your next birthday.” A mandatory 3 year felony stint for threatening the life of a law enforcement officer. Had the black man just hit the cop- 6 months and a minor misdemeanor.

The judge said in the sentencing- “In all my years on the bench, we usually have two parties telling different stories about the same event, and somewhere in the middle is the truth. Here, all we had to do was press play” and a life was changed for saying something stupid.

Video replay of crimes can’t always be the gold standard for deciding guilt or innocence, at some point common sense has to enter into the equation.

I don’t envy the cops who had to make a split second decision about if a gun is real or not real, and if the person acting irrationally (yes, walking through a store with anything like a firearm un-holstered or pointed anywhere other than the floor or ceiling is irrational) could prevent that officer from going home to his family that night. It’s in those split seconds where photographic evidence isn’t the end all and be all. If it shows a gun being pointed anywhere other than floor or ceiling- what the commands were, if they were followed, timing- don’t really matter anymore in my book. The possibility of a tragedy brought on a real tragedy and second guessing it isn’t solving the problem.

The real questions should be is what other shoppers saw- what they thought? Does one persons account via a 911 call make this a situation calling for SWAT? Should the 911 caller be questioned for inciting panic? These are some of the questions that need to be answered.

As to our constant monitoring by video and its effect on our civil liberties, that cat is so long out of the bag it’s time to stop arguing about it, and consider what our real expectations are for a civil and moral society that doesn’t break down into dysfunction at the drop of a dime.

Why having the sheriff as a political party chair is a bad idea in Montgomery County

When Robert Scott stepped down as chair of the Montgomery County Republican Party last October, the party machinery didn’t quite work the way it was supposed to. Typically, there is an order of ascendency, and the vice chairmen would become chairman. However, vice-chairman Nick Brusky stepped down too, and next on the pecking order was Dave Landon who should have been made party chair- but since he was already on the County Patronage Payroll at the Board of Elections and couldn’t be party chair and get paid, so he abdicated as well.

Apr 23 see comment below- Co-chair was Kate Burch, who stepped down, leaving Landon, who couldn’t and then second vice-chairman, Nick Brusky, who should, technically be leading the party

There should have been an election, with a quorum of the Precinct Captains voting. A quorum is 50 percent plus one of the central committee. That meeting/election never took place. For a very short period, Landon was representing himself as acting party chair. See this PDF of the filing with the Ohio Elections Commission case about the “endorsement” by the party of a candidate, even though the party wasn’t actually functioning at the time: Landon at Ohio Elections Commission

Screen shot of Ohio Republican Party site showing Phil Plummer as party chair

Here is a screen grab from the Ohio Republican Party Site showing Plummer as chair

Somewhere along the line, Landon realized he could lose his high-dollar job, and then Montgomery County Sheriff, Phil Plummer anointed himself  chair. Never mind the election wasn’t held, thereby breaking state law, but it is highly unlikely that Plummer would be able to get the votes, since Scott took over the party by getting a majority of the precinct captains elected who supported his brand of Republicanism. It was a message that the good-ole boy days were over, and yet, that’s exactly who is back in power now.

While the equally dysfunctional Democratic party in town can laugh about all this, there is one major problem with having the sheriff as the head of one political party in Ohio- he’s the guy you call when you have an election day problem. Yep, the person who is to enforce order on election day, the one you call if someone is within 100 feet of the polls doing electioneering, the one who oversees the safe transportation of the ballots- is the sheriff in Ohio.

You need to read this Memo from Secretary of State Jon Husted  of October 22, 2013, outlining the Special Powers and Responsibilities of Sheriffs on Election Day via http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/upload/elections/memos/2013/2013-10-22.pdf

“Election officials are charged with preventing violence and disorder at the polls and may call upon the sheriff or other peace officers to aid them in enforcing the law, including the arrest of violators.
The sheriff has a statutory duty to respond immediately to such a request.

“At least one policeman shall be assigned to duty in each precinct on each day of an election, when requested by the board or the secretary of state. Such police officer shall have access at all times to the polling place, and he shall promptly place under arrest any person found violating any provisions of Title XXXV [35] of the Revised Code.”

Mixing politics with his elected duties is not only a very large potential conflict of interest, it also opens a big can of worms if something ends up in court. Plummer should resign as party chair, or as sheriff immediately.

Right now, Plummer has one of his officers, a “Detective of Special Investigations” J.M. Clymer, out doing the Ohio Democratic Party’s dirty work. Although the Board of Elections has already accepted the required number of signatures on petitions submitted for Larry Ealy, the long-shot Dem candidate for governor in the upcoming primary, Plummer’s pogue is out trying to harass Ealy’s circulators with the threat of felony charges for submitting questionable petitions. Considering that current Dayton City Commissioners have turned in petitions with as many as 40% failing signatures, why these circulators are being harassed is questionable, and the credibility of Plummer’s office in the case is nil. You can’t be a political party chair and the criminal investigator for election law at the same time.

The Dayton Daily news has written about this investigation twice- even trying to infer that one of the circulators had a previous case for election fraud- stemming from a questionably legal eminent domain case in Moraine and his attempt to vote once he was made homeless. Here is what they published on Feb 18:

Petitions to run for governor submitted by Trotwood resident Larry Ealy were forwarded to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted for investigation of possible fraudulent signatures, said Steve Harsman, deputy director of the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

Husted spokesman Matt McClellan said the office had not yet received the complaint, but would ask the local board to do the formal investigation in conjunction with the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s office. Harsman said election falsification is a fifth-degree felony. The maximum penalty for a fifth-degree felony in Ohio is 12 months in prison.

via Fraud probe launched in candidate’s run for governor | www.mydaytondailynews.com.

My only question is who is going to investigate Plummer- our illegitimate Republican Party Chair/Sheriff who has illegally elected himself? Shouldn’t that be a fifth-degree felony as well?

 

 

A step to end modern day slavery: NCAA vs. student atheletes’ union

When the coach of the football team makes more money than the university president, you have a problem. When the athletic director gets paid an $18,000 bonus because one of his wrestlers won a national championship, you have a problem. When the football program has virtually unlimited funding, but the price of college skyrockets- you have a problem. All built on the fallacy that college sports are “amateur” endeavors.

That idea just got a serious challenge from the National Labor Relations Board in a ruling today:

Peter Ohr, the regional NLRB. director, questioned that familiar construct. He called Northwestern an employer and deemed all its scholarship football players eligible to form a union based on a litany of factors, including how much time players devote to football as many as 50 hours during some weeks and the control exerted by the coaching staff and their scholarships, which Ohr called compensation. “It cannot be said that the employer’s scholarship players are ‘primarily students,’” the decision said.

via College Players Granted Right To Form Union – NYTimes.com.

The ruling, which will be contested, somehow only applies to private universities, not to public ones, but, if allowed to stand, and only private schools pay players, you’ll see a giant sucking sound as talent moves to the money. Ohio State would become “Little sisters of the poor” faster than Gordon Gee can tie a bow tie.

The reality is, being a college coach is a better job than working in a bank any day of the week (no offense to any of my banker friends) and that it’s not a job you initially go into for the money. It’s hard work, long hours and a lot of ridiculous rules thanks to the NCAA trying to maintain its stranglehold on one of the last great monopoly/slave trade operations going.

If the money that is generated by television contracts and ticket sales and licensing were divided reasonably between the players and the coaches, and the rest of it went back to the universities to help lower the cost of tuition, we’d be a long way toward reducing the skyrocketing costs of education. We’d also not be a nation of hypocrites, who believe that hard work is rewarded fairly. If you want to talk about communism in this country- how is it that every athlete gets paid the same tuition on a team (of those on scholarship) regardless of performance? While the bosses (coaches, AD’s etc.) get paid wildly well for the fruits of their labors.

It’s long overdue to change this system and pay the athletes. It’s also time to stop pretending that a coach is worth more than a university president.

Thank you NLRB for finally stepping in and doing the right thing, and congratulations for the smart players at Northwestern who stood up for their rights and called the entire country out on this disgraceful injustice.

The Eric Spicer diversion

In Dayton, it’s hard to not be separated by about 1.2 degrees of separation. Especially in political circles. I met and got to know Eric Spicer when I last ran for Congress and he was running for the Republican nomination for State Representative against the disgraced drunk Jarrod Martin and the eventual winner, Rick Perales who has his own issues.

Spicer came off as a straight-up, stand-up guy. Trusted friends told me that as well. But when I read the paper about his Termination from the Greene County Sheriff’s office for undeclared reasons, I don’t scratch my head at all, I know it’s political.

Greene County Sheriff, Gene Fischer, had placed Spicer on admin leave for 7 months before yesterdays confirmation.

“He was placed on leave after the Yellow Springs police standoff ended in the death of Paul E. Schenck, a resident, who fired more than 100 shots at law enforcement officers on July 30.”

according to the DDN today

For the record, only one person died, or was wounded in that standoff- Schenck. There is no lawsuit pending against the County for neglect or incompetence. Also for the record, Spicer wasn’t the highest ranking Sheriff’s office at the scene either.

And while I hate to report third hand, a quick search finds this blog piece with allegations of what’s really going on, from a blog maintained by a friend of Schenck:

inside information that Eric Spicer was being set up as a fall guy. I emailed the person who left the comment and here’s the bullet points of what they told me:

That contrary to what has been reported, Eric Spicer was not in command. His only command decisions were to call for a SWAT negotiator and a helicopter.

That Greene County Sheriff Gene Fischer and Chief Deputy Mike Brown were on hand. They were the ones in command.

That Eric Spicer was trying to remove neighbors to safety in order to eliminate the sense of urgency to kill Paul. With nobody in danger, Spicer hoped that SWAT and the other agencies would cease antagonizing Paul, allow the sun to come up, and let the professional negotiator talk him out.

That if that plan had been allowed to proceed, Paul would be alive.

But instead of allowing that plan to work, that SWAT was using armored vehicles to deliberately provoke Paul into firing.

That Paul was only firing when he was provoked.

That one of the two men in charge, Chief Deputy Mike Brown, smelled of alcohol.

That there had been complaints about Brown’s drinking in the weeks and months leading up to this incident.

via Eric Spicer » Kick Him, Honey.

For an in-depth look at what happened that night, the same writer, Benjmin Whitmer, has a pretty decent essay, simply titled “Paul Schenck” It was his follow up post about Spicer’s firing that elicited some people to comment and step up for Spicer.

Information that’s come to me from trusted sources tell a story of Sheriff Gene Fischer being an absentee Sheriff, who is happy to be a politician instead of a cop, and delegating down to his Chief Deputy Mike Brown, who was promoted when Fischer faced a challenge from former Sheriff’s office employee Charlie Barrett. Fischer circled wagons, handing out promotions to people to guarantee support for his campaign instead of Barrett’s, who was the union boss. What’s funny about this is Barrett, who was a Sgt. before having to step down to run against Fisher, complained of Spicer being a political hire:

Barrett charged that Fischer brought political buddies into the office such as Capt. (and now Major) Eric Spicer and that destroys the morale. Fischer was Spicer’s campaign treasurer for Spicer’s unsuccessful bid to become a state representative in a primary race against incumbent Jarrod Martin and Rick Perales, who will face Democratic candidate Bill Conner for the 73rd state house seat.

via Greene County Sheriff’s race pits incumbent against former… | www.daytondailynews.com.

As much as Montgomery County is run by a Monarchy of Dems, Greene County is run the same way by Republicans. It’s what happens when we allow every office to be politicized and patronage jobs to be the currency of our community.

Unfortunately, Greene County Dispatchers who have recordings of Brown calling into dispatch, sounding intoxicated, meddling in stops, or the road supervisors complaints of mos-management will all stay firmly swept under the rug as long as the politicians feel they can make Spicer the scape goat. Just remember, Fischer was Spicers campaign treasurer, before he turned on him and hung Spicer out to dry. Anyone who feels safe in their job based on the political winds in Greene County is clueless. Eventually, ships full of holes sink and take all hands, no matter what.

The fact that Spicer isn’t filing for disability like another former Sheriff’s office commander- John DiPietro, speaks volumes more about Spicer’s character.

Undoubtedly, many tax dollars will be spent sorting this out, after Spicer sues for wrongful termination, and years will pass as those in power hope to outlast his bank account (as long as taxes are collected, politicians will deny the inevitable and continue to waste money on lawsuits- I know from personal experience). In the mean time, Spicer will have a hard time finding a job using his 25+ years experience.

This is what happens when we continue to vote for smiling faces with big campaign war chests instead of the best qualified people- and have a media that can’t write the hard stories.

The public needs real proof that Spicer needed to be fired, instead of demoted or admonished. We shouldn’t have to pay to allow costly political executions rule our government. If the mainstream media outlets ask for the right public records, there will be some interesting documents questioning the inner workings (or non-workings) of the Sheriff’s office.

If some Greene County employees have some guts- you can add comments here safely and anonymously. Please stick to facts, and not personal attacks. You can help save the tax payers a lot of money and wasted circus time with your input.