Justice Sotomayor, meet our Sheriff, Phil “The Torturer” Plummer

Title slide for Torture in Montgomery County Jail videoOn Feb 2, 2017 I released video from the Montgomery County Jail on Youtube. It showed the barbaric point-blank pepper spraying of the restrained inmate, Charles Alexander Wade. After they pepper sprayed him, they left him, tied down- without treating his burning eyes, for hours. Think about that. Torture, pure and simple.

The way I spliced together the series of camera angles, sound and told the story of this incident garnered 31K views.

I also supplied all the individual camera footage- and the handycam footage got 34K views. Every local news org EXCEPT Cox- used my footage in their coverage- which was watermarked. Cox waited several days until they could get the same footage raw- and never credited me for breaking the story.

In the meantime- exploitative online sites like “Now This” recut my footage and got over a million views in less than 24 hours. Current stats 1.8M views, 1.2K comments, 6.2K shares.

This morning two things happened. I read this:

Another problem with this execution is Tennessee’s new protocol for lethal injection. The first drug administered in an execution is supposed to put the inmate to sleep so he can’t feel the effects of the other two drugs: the one that causes paralysis and the one that stops the heart. But midazolam, the sedative in Tennessee’s execution cocktail, doesn’t always render complete unconsciousness. It’s possible for the inmate to feel the effects of the next two drugs, and what he feels is akin to being suffocated and burned alive at the same time.

The United States Supreme Court had declined to delay the execution, but Justice Sonia Sotomayor strongly dissented: “In refusing to grant Irick a stay, the court today turns a blind eye to a proven likelihood that the state of Tennessee is on the verge of inflicting several minutes of torturous pain on an inmate in its custody,” Justice Sotomayor wrote. “If the law permits this execution to go forward in spite of the horrific final minutes that Irick may well experience, then we have stopped being a civilized nation and accepted barbarism.”

Source: Opinion | America Has Stopped Being a Civilized Nation – The New York Times

And Youtube- a year and a half later- put an adult content sticker on one of the intake footage clips.

“Hi ElectEsrati,

As you may know, our Community Guidelines describe which content we allow – and don’t allow – on YouTube. Your video Cruel and Unusual Punishment in Montgomery County Jail – Supplemental Raw Footage was flagged to us for review. Upon review, we’ve determined that it may not be suitable for all viewers and it has been placed behind an age restriction.

Video content restrictions

If a video contains violent or graphic content that appears to be posted in a shocking, sensational, or disrespectful manner, it’s less likely to be allowed on YouTube. We also don’t allow content that’s intended to incite violence or encourage dangerous activities. We review content on a case by case basis and will only make limited exceptions for appropriate educational, documentary, artistic, and scientific contexts, where the purpose of posting is clear.

In light of this, we ask that uploaders post as much information as possible in the title and description of their video to help us and viewers understand the primary purpose of the video. Please note, even with this additional context, it’s still not acceptable to post violent or gory content that’s primarily intended to be shocking, sensational”

If you ask me- we stopped being a civilized nation a long time ago, when we declared a war on poor people and started locking them up at record speed. How we treat people in the Montgomery County Jail- with over $10M and counting in settlements should have Sotomayor pissed off, and a hell of a lot of other people- but, so far, all we have is one video- with an age restriction.

And, Phil “the Torturer” Plummer is running for State Representative… go figure.

Mohamed Al-Hamdani; the prince of pious

Before this school board was elected, I warned the citizens of Dayton that William Harris was a mistake:

Harris has said “I won’t be anyone’s puppet” as part of the slate- yet, that’s comically what he is. I don’t think he brings any of the critical thinking skills we need to this board, nor do I think he has the intellectual horsepower to move the district forward at a critical time. He’s Ron Lee 2. Pass, please.

Source: Evaluation and endorsements of the Dayton School Board candidates – Esrati

I also said it was time for Joe Lacey to go. Luckily, the voters agreed, and Joe wasn’t re-elected. Unbelievably, Harris makes me forlorn for Lacey.

On my non-recommended list, was the political climber Mohamed Al-Hamdani:

This guy has political aspiration signs coming out of every side of him- in neon, with strobe lights. This board run is his first step to his long future political career. And, he’s arrogant, by the truckload. Early on, I asked a question about the hiring of Burges and Burges and how much it cost- and why they didn’t buy local talent- and he tried to sidestep it and said they hadn’t paid them a dime. I don’t need to be lied to ever, and especially before you have been elected.

Mohamed thinks he knows it all. He has a smugness that rubs people the wrong way. He thinks he has all the answers. He probably reminds people of me in some ways- but, with the establishment nod. His campaign rhetoric has been full of bullshit about all the teachers that taught him- and his story of coming to America- all nice and fine, but missing any substance. He may indeed have all the answers, but, I’ve not heard them, and his testiness will bring back some of the rancor to the board that we can’t afford. He has a law degree- which would and might be handy, but, so does McManus- and it hasn’t kept us out of trouble. One of the biggest mistakes Americans make at the polls is thinking that being a lawyer makes you a good lawmaker- and that’s actually the opposite. Good lawmakers and only the best lawyers, understand that their profession is actually the art of compromise. Too many think it’s to win at all costs. Mohamed is a total wildcard. He may be smart, he may have a good story, he may even understand the issues, but I’d put Mario and Jocelyn ahead of him for my slate. He’s also been the one to say that if “The slate” is elected, they won’t disagree with each other as much in public- lending me to believe he’s planning on operating behind a curtain.

Source: Evaluation and endorsements of the Dayton School Board candidates – Esrati

So far, my predictions have been totally proven correct. Al-Hamdani, started with trying to have secret illegal meetings of the School Closing Task force before he was even sworn in- leading to my lawsuit against the district over the Open Meetings Act.

But, last month, when I decided to push my speech over the 3 minute limit- after Harris had let a whole bunch of people speak for well over 5 and as long as 10 minutes in the June Meeting- I mentioned that maybe, Harris practiced discrimination- since he doesn’t interrupt African American speakers- and referenced Sheila Taylor’s  nomination of him for board president as a rookie- because he was “African American.” You can watch my video: A racist on the Dayton Public Schools Board of Education 2017.

Al-Hamdani, Wick-Gagnet, Jocelyn Rhynard, John McManus, Robert Walker and William Harris were all sitting there- and didn’t say a thing then- but, when I bring it up, Al-Hamdani, the pious one, wants to make me out as a racist for reminding them how Harris got to the center seat.

“So I want to apologize to you on behalf of this community, to insinuate that your only qualification was your color, um was interesting to hear, um there’s people, as a community, we’re better than that sir, so I’m sorry that we had to hear that today, but that’s the world we live in today” ~ Mohamed Al-Hamdani

When I tried to go up with my camera to question Al-Hamdani after the meeting- the security forces played bouncer. You can watch the entire meeting here.

Word has gotten back to me, that someone is telling people that I said the “N” word. Nothing farther from the truth.
What you need to watch is how smug Al-Hamdani is as he plays this out. Note also- if you watch the DPS video feed of this meeting- you’ll never hear my outburst.
It’s sad that this is the best we can do for a school board. They all need to be removed. All of them, suffer from amnesia apparently, totally forgetting how they followed Sheila Taylor’s racist rationale for picking Harris as board president.

Nothing Trumps the Learning" sign at Belmont High School in Dayton Ohio, where a large proportion of the students are immigrants

Apparently, we’re now evoking the Trump brand at Belmont HS in Dayton.

And, while we’re at it. As part of his campaign trail story, Al-Hamdani liked to talk of his path to success as a poor immigrant child coming to America, not speaking English- and how he owes all his success to his DPS teachers and their acceptance of him.

A source has sent me a photo of new signs in Belmont High School “Nothing trumps the learning”- the DPS school where most of the immigrants are, a sign that has many of the international parents terrified. This is, after all, the country where children are now separated from their parents in deportation camps, thanks to President Trump.

A final note: Al-Hamdani, right after getting elected to the school board, was handed a high-paying patronage job in the Montgomery County Clerk of Courts office by his Democratic Party buddy Russ Joseph, who was just appointed to be the clerk when Greg Brush left town.

9 years of an unsolved murder

Dayton Daily News cutting about SGM Woodall Murder

Gone, but never forgotten. SGM Woodall, US Army Special Forces

The original link to the Dayton Daily News story is a 404 error now.

It happened in 2009. Here we are in 2018, and no one has been brought to justice in Dayton Ohio for this unspeakable crime.

U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. (Ret.) North E. Woodall was found bloodied and unconscious by a neighbor about 11:30 p.m. Monday, July 27, at 1028 Walton Ave. after an apparent home invasion, police said.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The front door to the home was kicked in, and Woodall was found on the floor near the door, Lt. Brian Johns said….

Woodall served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam before retiring as an E-9 sergeant major, U.S. Army Special Forces , also known as a Green Beret.

The recipient of two Silver Stars

Source: Unforgiveable – Esrati

Lt. Johns is now Maj Johns, and in charge of the detective division.

Sgt. Maj Woodall is still dead, and his murderer is still unknown, running the streets.

This should bother you. It still bothers me.

What bothers me most, is I swear to write this post every year, on the anniversary of his death. I don’t put it on my calendar, I don’t write the post in advance, I have to think about it. Remind myself. The article, with his picture still is above my desk, slightly behind my monitor- yellowing. I thought about it a few days ago, but didn’t immediately sit down to write. For that, Sgt. Maj. I’m sorry.

Every year I hope I would have been writing a different story. One of some jailhouse confession, or someone ratting the punk out that stole this hero from us. Instead, I’m just reminded that sometimes the world just stinks.

To the murderer who did this- I hope someone returns the favor to you- killing your father, or your kid, and gets away with it… because, you don’t deserve to be loved, not after what you did.

There is still a reward offered for tips leading to the solving of this crime.

Hopefully, this is the last time I have to write one of these. But, I made a promise, until this case is solved, I’m never going to forget you Top.

Make Orwell Fiction Again T-shirts

Make Orwell Fiction Again T-ShirtI saw this on a cheap looking hat on Facebook.
I liked it so much- I said “I think I want a T-shirt” – and the shirts that were out there were also fugly.
So- here is the David Esrati designed “Make Orwell Fiction Again” T-shirt in black, with Cheeto Orange ink-

printed on my favorite t-shirt, the Gildan 64000 softstyle in men’s and women’s styles and sizes – for sale. The moment I hit 50 sold, we’ll print. So order yours here today:

Shirts are $10 in normal sizes, and $14 in the big ones.
Shipping is $5 for the first shirt- and add $2.50 for each additional up to 6- where shipping is free!

Thank you for your support.

Update: A few people don’t seem to get the shirt. This surprised me. First- the country was bamboozled with the Trump campaign’s “Make America Great Again”- which has turned this country into a farce of what it was meant to be.

George Orwell wrote two books I read while in high school; “Animal Farm” and “Nineteen Eighty-Four”. The first, published in 1945 was a jab at the evolution of communism in Russia from Marxist ideals to something more resembling an oligarchy. Orwell turns it into a fairy tale where the animals take over the farm, slaying the evil human overlords to make a socialist society. Over time, the pigs (not a very well veiled allegory) put themselves in charge and start emulating humans. The famous line- “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others” comes into play in the story. Of course- it’s fiction- but based on facts.

When we have 1% of the population controlling so much of the wealth and capital- Orwell’s fiction has become reality.

In “Nineteen Eighty Four” published in 1949, just before his death, Orwell predicted that by 1984 we’d be engaged in perpetual war, have omnipresent government surveillance and the government would be actively involved in public manipulation. The leader, “Big Brother” may be real or may not be- but thrives on a cult of personality.

When it came out- it was a warning, and while frightening and depressing, when I read it, a mere 6 or 7 years before it was supposed to happen, it was still dystopian fiction.

Now, with the release of Edward Snowden’s documentation of perpetual surveillance on American’s without warrants, a never ending war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Trump routinely calling the fourth estate fake news, it has become a sad reality.

That the religious right overlooks “Big Brother Trump’s” marital mishaps, his misogyny, the stream of lies, and attacks on the press is a reason to wish that “Make Orwell Fiction Again” is even more of a battle cry than the simple attack of “Impeach Trump.”

If you really want to Make America Great Again- which was always questionable in its validity- with our history of racism, slavery, internment of our citizens and even medical experiments without consent, you should want to “Make Orwell Fiction Again” and begin to move this country back from a place where children are separated from their families, where getting cancer is a surefire route to bankruptcy and graduating college means a lifetime of debt.

Order a shirt. Wear the change you want to see in our country proudly.

The Trotwood Turnaround

Trotwood Madison School mission statement

Trotwood’s mission statement. Not that I love mission statements on the walls.

I left a school board meeting last night and didn’t feel dirty.

That’s the total opposite of every visit I make to the cesspool that doubles as the Dayton Board of Education.

Trotwood schools are currently 608 out of 608 districts in the state. Dead last. Bottom of the barrel, but going to a school board meeting run by competent, intelligent, caring, well adjusted folks is a joy.

Yesterday was a work session. The board president opened the meeting and immediately spelled out what kind of meeting it was, how many meetings they have, the purpose of the meeting and thanked the audience for being there. There was a constant flow of information, with the goal of transparency and purpose. They are committed to “608 to great” but I’m pretty sure that by mid-September they will be well above 608 which will now be owned exclusively by the folks on Ludlow- who deserve it.

The primary purpose of the meeting was to onboard new staff. Much like the supposed purpose of DPS’s Monday Maelstrom meeting where the board engaged in additional board business that could only be viewed as an end-run around public scrutiny.

New acting Superintendent Tyrone Olverson had a 16 page booklet printed with brief bios of every new hire. They were invited on stage to be welcomed by him and the board. Their academic backgrounds were highlighted. It was a celebration of hiring. Sort of like when your sports team gets first pick in the draft and gets LeBron James. Compared to Dayton, where hiring seems more like a revolving door function.

I’ve been in Trotwood’s High School before, but never in the auditorium. It’s not yet the ideal place to have a board meeting, but there is hope with a few adjustments to lighting, seating arrangement and better tech. But, I’ve been in every DPS high school, and the only one that compares is Stivers- a building that wasn’t built or the reconstruction managed by DPS folks.  Trotwood felt like a school. DPS buildings, for the most part, feel like they were designed as baby prisons, which makes total sense as they are a first stop on the school to prison pipeline.

At the end of the meeting, the board made some announcements. The first one was from Rev  Scearce– addressing the new staff, it was a clear indication that this district is on a mission, when he announced that “in Trotwood, you’ll never have to reach into your own pocket to buy anything for our kids, if you need something, ask, and it will be secured.”

It’s easy to see why so many quality former DPS staff are now happily working in Trotwood.

The board president came over to talk to me, thanking me (and my video camera) for being there. She was ebullient and epitome of professionalism. We discussed the meeting and she shared that all board members have to read 12 books a year. I asked her if she was familiar with the Dolly Parton Imagination Learning Library program and she immediately understood the value proposition and the problem it addressed, and wanted me to send a link and handed me her professional district card.

The board acknowledged the public officials in the audience- including County Commissioner Dan Foley, County Auditor Karl Keith and the vice Mayor of Trotwood. I can’t remember seeing that many public officials at a DPS shitshow unless they were invited.

The other intriguing issue was the discussion of the upcoming board retreat. Without getting into issues of the Open Meetings Act, they were overjoyed at the assistance being rendered to them by the chief of the Montgomery County Educational Service Center former Centerville Superintendent Frank DiPalma. He’s made many visits to work with them, and has secured a national caliber facilitator, Dr. Ventura Rodriguez, to help them work through issues for next to nothing. They’ve also had several visits from the head of the State board of education to help guide and mentor them through their planning to move Trotwood from 608 to Great as we will bear witness to the “Trotwood Turnaround.”

I can’t remember when the Dayton Board of Education has listened to anyone, other than paid consultants who take the money and run as just another run through the chaos generator that is DPS. Speaking of which, there has been an outpouring of frustration with yet another one of Dr. Lolli’s overpriced hires- who apparently has decided to ignore the work of her competent predecessor and has told everyone that she’s starting her operation from scratch. More will be coming as I gather the rest of the stories.

If you saw the Dayton Day-old news article yesterday, where Lolli apparently learned to count to three, realizing that DPS is in year 2 of the watch and that at the end of next year the district will be primed for takeover, you’ll realize that the State takeover can’t come soon enough. This quote was classic DPS PR #FAIL:

“We need to focus on anything that we can change immediately that will affect the results…. We were going to start doing analysis when the (official) scores were released, but now we’ve actually started that (Wednesday).”

Source: Dayton schools could face state takeover in year – Dayton Daily News

What have you been focusing on Dr. Lolli?

If you want some pointers, I’d get on the bus to Trotwood, and take the whole board and all your high priced central office people, up the road to see how a functioning school system addresses the exact same issues of poverty, funding and failures of previous administrations to create a professional learning community, because, well, Trotwood gets it- and you, well, you got started 2 days ago…