- Campaign Finance Reform
- Civil Liberties / Surveillance
- Civil Rights
- Economic Justice
- Government Accountability / Whistleblowers
- Gun Violence Prevention
- Law Enforcement
- Post Office
- Retirement and Healthcare
Weed Out Bad CopsMost police misconduct is caused by a few problem officers who have records of repeated complaints. Those few bad actors cause the public to distrust the police in general, and they make it hard for the overwhelming majority of competent officers to do their work. It’s in everybody’s interest to “weed out bad cops” from the profession. In Michigan the people responsible for licensing police officers – the “Commission on Law Enforcement Standards” -- are appointed by the Governor. The commission trains and gives licenses to young officers but has almost no power to take licenses away in mid-career from officers who prove incompetent. About the only way the Commission can take away an officer’s license is if the officer is convicted of a crime. Prosecuting bad police officers as if they were criminals is not a good idea. It’s too hard and often too harsh. Prosecuting cops is too hard. In practice it is almost impossible to convict a police officer of a crime. Juries rarely convict. Prosecutors rarely bring charges. Prosecuting police officers is too harsh. Cops are workers. We don’t usually put workers in jail if they are incompetent; we take them off work. Incompetent cops don’t usually need to be sent to prison; they just need to be taken off work. Since the Commission does not have the power to take licenses away from officers who prove incompetent, the main way members of the public can take action against an allegedly incompetent officer is to file a complaint with the police department. Leaving local departments to handle complaints against police officers is a bad idea. Police chiefs and sheriffs have bonds of loyalty and conflicts of interest. They almost always exonerate themselves and their colleagues. Even if a local department fires an officer it cannot take away the officer’s state license. A licensed officer fired in one town is free to find work in any other town. Do a search on “Gypsy Cops” for examples of how this works. Police officers are professionals. The state frequently takes away licenses from professionals who prove incompetent. There is no good reason why we shouldn’t treat incompetent police officers the same way we treat other professionals – nurses, teachers, accountants, electricians, plumbers, real estate brokers, builders, doctors, dentists, veterinarians, counselors, social workers, psychologists, optometrists, pharmacists, cosmetologists, barbers, architects, lawyers, stock brokers, engineers, undertakers, insurance agents, and on and on.
Release All Nonviolent Offenders in disaster zones immediately!Easing overcrowding immediately under federal directive would... Lower risk of lawsuits related to sanitization from both inmates and employees... Allow an immediate influx of willing cleanup workers into these disaster zones... Have little to no risk of VIOLENT offense because ONLY the release of Nonviolent Offenders is called for on this petition. To understand the most basic definition of "Nonviolent Offender" https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/ascii/pnoesp.txt
Pressure Donald Trump to release his tax returnsHe said on the popular morning show Good Morning America that he fights “very hard to pay as little tax as possible.” His claim to wealth has also been called into question.The best way for this refusal to hurt his campaign is to get news outlets to cover the issue. Urge multiple highly popular news companies to step up their game and start seriously pressuring Donald Trump to release his tax returns.Trump is never going to release his tax returns unless there are consequences for not doing so. You have a responsibility to keep important political candidates like this honest. We demand that you start adequately covering Trump’s failure to release his returns and continue putting on the pressure until he does so. The future of the entire nation is at stake.
Pardon Dr. Michael BransomeWe must honor dissenters as we honor in this case vets, and in this case because the dissenters were right, and we leave no one behind. When so many pardons are being given to convicted drug dealers, we should grant pardons to (as many) addiction experts (as possible), too. Doing the right thing is always important.
Protect and Strengthen Fresno’s Office of Independent Review“The mission of the Office of Independent Review (OIR) is to strengthen community trust in the Fresno Police Department by providing neutral, third-party review of police policies, procedures, strategies and internal investigations. The OIR works independently of the Fresno Police Department and provides the City’s leaders and the public with objective analysis of policing data, actions and outcomes” (from the City of Fresno’s website: http://www.fresno.gov/Government/CityManager/IndependentReview/default.htm). As concerned members of the Fresno community, we recognize the vital role police officers play in providing safety within our communities and the importance of cultivating trust with those they serve. Indeed, the motto of the Fresno PD is “Safety, Service and Trust.” Transparency and accountability are critical to the establishment of that trust, and the existence of the OIR ensures a systematic process of objective, third-party review of all complaints filed by citizens and all internal affairs investigations, including quarterly reports with recommendations on findings to increase thoroughness, compliance, quality and accuracy. Currently, the Fresno City OIR has been led by Richard Rasmussen, who was hired in September 2012, having just retired after serving 21+ years with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The Second and Third Quarter Reports of 2016 issued by the Fresno OIR are based on data provided by Fresno PD and reveal that African Americans and Hispanics are subject to more “Field Interviews” and “Traffic Stops” than their respective proportions in the population would predict. For example, although African Americans constitute only 7.7% of the population of the City of Fresno, they represent 13.2% of the traffic stops and 24.4% of the field interviews by Fresno PD--a statistically significant difference. The irony is that the same Fresno PD statistics reveal that only 3.03% and 2.42% of the Field Interviews of African Americans and Hispanics, respectively, result in arrest/detention, compared to 4.11% of the Field Interviews of whites (a statistically significant difference). Consequently, the recent OIR reports provide recommendations on how Fresno PD might build greater trust with the population served. Our most pressing issue must be to PROTECT our existing Office of Independent Review. The existence of the OIR is threatened by both 2016 mayoral candidates (Henry Perea and Lee Brand), neither of whom has expressed a long-term commitment to the OIR. Henry Perea “favors making the police auditor local, … does not support giving the position investigative and subpoena powers and also does not support any sort of community advisory board. He says there already are enough investigative layers as is” (Ellis, “Summer pushes new issues to forefront of Fresno mayor’s race,” The Fresno Bee). Lee Brand also believes the auditor should be local but that it would be too difficult to expand its investigative power. Instead, Brand would consider a Community Advisory Board (CAB), without mentioning how the CAB would be constituted and what “power” it would have. The community would like to not only keep but STRENGTHEN the powers of the OIR to include the ability to subpoena witnesses. In Salt Lake City, for example, they have an Independent Investigator and a Civilian Review Board (not just “Advisory”). The Investigator conducts a side-by-side investigation with the Internal Affairs Unit of the Police Department (as opposed to “after” the IA investigation currently in place in Fresno). The Investigator participates in all interviews, has access to all evidence, and may compel witnesses to be interviewed. Once the Investigator has finished the investigation, it is presented to the Civilian Review Board which deliberates and sends a recommendation to the Police Chief regarding whether or not the complaint should be sustained, along with any other recommendations. The Police Chief has complete and final authority over all disciplinary decisions but is required to take the recommendations of the Police Civilian Review Board into consideration. Fresno’s OIR has made recommendations in department policies and procedures that have been critical in reducing the number of officer involved shootings (OIS), increasing the use of de-escalation tactics, and requiring the use body cameras. It is because of the OIR that the public is able to get access to hard-to-obtain information such as racial data on police field interviews, traffic stops, and detentions (Hess, “Role of Fresno’s Police Auditor Questioned,” Valley Public Radio). Prior to Mr. Rasmussen’s arrival, more than two dozen lawsuits alleging excessive force and police misconduct by Fresno PD were winding their way through federal court. The price of fighting these legal battles, not to mention the payouts resulting from either settlements or findings against Fresno PD, cost us taxpayers millions of dollars. According to KMPH-KFRE.COM media reports, about 180 lawsuits were filed against the Fresno Police Department between 1997 and 2009, and the city paid out about $5.7 million in settlements and judgments, $2.8 million of which were specifically for civil rights violations. Since the re-institution of the OIR under Rick Rasmussen in September 2012, there have been no payouts resulting from any complaint to date (any recent payouts were from complaints filed prior to September 2012). The presence of the OIR seems can help build public trust and also save the city money.
repeal the 1947 NSA ACT and bury the NSA + CIAThe CIAs "Third World War" (1947-now) is the third bloodiest war in the history of the world. This is our (trillions and counting) Tax Dollars At Work. Imagine what positive effects that money could have accomplished, with no bloodshed or destruction. Major inroads on poverty,poor health,clean water,illiteracy....? Cheap word wide Solar Energy? Nuclear and other toxic waste solutions?