Tag Archives: #bluelivesmatter

An attempt to foster trust: Seattle-area transgender cops featured in HBO documentary

I’m sure this will foster more trust with the Seattle Police…until a victim has to wait more than an hour for the police to respond.

From The News Tribune: Two local transgender law enforcement officers — one a Seattle police officer and the other a King County sheriff’s deputy — are the subjects of a documentary on HBO.

“VICE News Tonight” correspondent Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani interviewed Officer Tori Newburn and sheriff’s Deputy Jamie Deer for the program.

Newburn is the first openly transgender officer on Seattle’s force. He had begun his transition to male when he enrolled in a police academy in 2014. “People wouldn’t know I was transgender unless I told them,” Newburn said.

Deer began his career in the Sheriff’s Office as a woman. When he began to transition he knew he had to come out as transgender.  “I would rather face an armed suspect … than having to come out to 700 co-workers,” Deer said. “To open yourself up like that was terrifying.”

Newburn and Deer said they hope their coming out will foster trust between the transgender community and law enforcement agencies. “It’s a long process to earn trust back when trust has been broken in the past,” Newburn said. “My hope is that me coming out as a transgender police officer will be another layer in building that bridge.”

“Trans Law Enforcement” premiered Thursday on “VICE News Tonight.” It is available on HBO Go, HBO Now and HBO On Demand.

As the transgender community has gained visibility, legislation affecting them has increased in the form of so-called “bathroom bills” that require transgender people in public buildings to use the bathroom that corresponds with the sex on their birth certificate.

In Washington, proponents failed to get a measure on the ballot in 2016.

h/t Maziel!

DCG

North Kitsap school district blasts teacher’s Facebook comments

First Amendment applies here. Yet we also have the same right to offer opinions of those who disparage the men and women who put their lives on the line for the public. They would be the ones rushing to any school if a deranged shooter was present.

Fallen Officer Jake Gutierrez

Fallen Officer Jake Gutierrez

From Kitsap Sun: A Kingston High School teacher’s Facebook comments on a thread about a fallen police officer have been denounced by North Kitsap School District.

Kim Smith weighed in on a Dec. 9 post by the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office honoring Tacoma Officer Reginald “Jake” Gutierrez, who was fatally shot Nov. 30 while responding to a domestic dispute. A video on the post showed a long line of law enforcement vehicles ready for a procession before the memorial for Gutierrez, who was a Kitsap County resident.

“I hate this stupid display of the police,” Smith wrote. “If we’re going to do this for cops, we should do it for those they murder. It’s obscene.”

Smith’s comment unleashed a backlash of livid responses. Although Smith did not initially identify herself as a teacher, others did. “This was the wrong time and place … to post such disrespect for those who might save your life someday … as a teacher? Shame on you,” wrote one commenter.

“How do you sleep at night? This is a heartbreaking comment,” wrote another commenter. “How would you feel if someone said something like this after Sandy Hook?” Others piled on to shame Smith, some calling for her dismissal.

Superintendent Patty Page

Superintendent Patty Page

On Thursday, Superintendent Patty Page posted a statement distancing the district from Smith —without naming her  — and from the rampant, two-way vitriol that persisted through the week. “On behalf of the North Kitsap School District, please be advised that the district strongly disagrees with and condemns the personal comments posted by a district teacher regarding the tragic death of Tacoma Police Officer Jake Gutierrez,” Page said. “The district has not authorized, approved or encouraged the teacher’s comments.”

Page said North Kitsap had received complaints and is reviewing them under the school board’s policy on “complaints concerning staff or programs.” The policy cites state law outlining a teacher’s right to due process and appeal before any “adverse change in contract status.” Page would not say what actions if any the district is considering. “At this point I am not commenting on action, as I am considering it a personal matter,” Page said. “I believe my post reflects my position.”

School districts don’t typically jump into the fray on social media, even when they are directly or indirectly the subject of discussion. Page said North Kitsap has had social media issues in the past, but every situation is different. She acknowledged this situation is a first. “We have not publicly weighed in as a district other than to correct misinformation in the past,” Page said.

Teachers union president Mike McCorkle said he met with Smith Friday morning to discuss the issue. McCorkle said there is nothing in the contract that speaks to statements or public positions teachers take outside the classroom. “We want to protect our teachers’ due process to have a private life and have private opinions,” he said.

McCorkle had no comment on the district’s statement but said he understood its position. “We want a balanced approach, and we can understand why the district has to do it’s due diligence in looking into the matter,” McCorkle said.

Some commenters expressed concern that Smith would present a one-sided viewpoint in the classroom. The contract does speak to “academic freedom” within which teachers are called on to present a “balanced point of view,” McCorkle said.

McCorkle said Smith teaches a class on “ancient civilizations” and he understood from her “this is not something she would talk about in her classroom.”

Sheriff Gary Simpson

Sheriff Gary Simpson

Sheriff Gary Simpson on Thursday stepped in on the Facebook post and ensuing comments. Simpson encourages dialog and constructive criticism, “but I’m not interested in the continuation of bantering and personal agendas associated with those who use this venue for such matters.

“A personal perspective is one thing, while petty character and opinion exchanges are another… and they’re not appropriate for this page,” he said. “If readers want to talk about specific issues with a goal of improving public safety and the quality of life in Kitsap County, then let’s get together and do just that. However arguing on a social media site gets nowhere and is unproductive.”

Simpson told readers to take the debate elsewhere, and he said further postings on the thread would be removed. “People have said their piece… it’s time to move on,” he said.

Smith has been a teacher for 15 years, 10 at Kingston High, according to her webpage on the school’s site.

DCG

Loyola University says alleged discrimination against police officer was ‘a misunderstanding’

triggered-meme

From WWL TV: Loyola University says that a Facebook post claiming a student, who is also a police officer, was discriminated against isn’t the full story. According to the university, the story posted by Josh Collins claiming that his classmates and professor discriminated against him because he was in his police uniform during class is “a misunderstanding.”

Collins, a law enforcement officer and Loyola student, took to social media Wednesday night to air his grievances with the university after he was allegedly discriminated against during a class.

“You know, as a white male conservative, I have put up with a lot of prejudicial and biased comments directed towards me while attending Loyola University New Orleans,” Collins wrote. “I usually think the comments are funny … But today made me sad for the youth and the college I have attended for 8 years.”

Collins was running late to class that night after finishing a shift with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office and did not have time to change out of his uniform, according to his post.

Obviously, being in full police uniform, I was armed. This is the first time after having six previous classes that anyone became aware of my profession. Shortly after my arrival, a fellow classmate complained to the professor of their uncomfortableness of having an armed police officer in the class,” he wrote.

Collins said the professor then called the police “behind (his) back” and pulled Collins out of class to tell him about the call. “The police obviously never came and told him over the phone that I was perfectly within the law,” Collins wrote.

Collins then wrote that the student who reported his gun to the professor is an “over sensitive indoctrinated liberal flower petal” that is “scared of going to school with a uniformed police officer.”

special snowflake

“Loyola University, a Jesuit Institution, prides itself on its commitment to social justice. However, in creating an environment where everyone is accepted for who they are, you have now created an environment where I have been ostracized,” Collins wrote. “As a police officer, I feel as though I must hide my profession in order to obtain a fair education.”

Loyola University representatives say Collins’ post isn’t the whole story and that this whole situation is “one big misunderstanding.”

According to university representatives, Collins’ was wearing standard SWAT fatigues, not a typical blue and black police uniform, and the student didn’t know he was a police officer.

“A student in the class saw another student with a firearm, and during a class break said something to the teacher,” an official statement from Loyola said. “The teacher contacted campus security to determine university policy. Campus security directed the teacher to confirm that the student with the firearm works in law enforcement. The teacher confirmed that the student worked in law enforcement and the class resumed at the end of the break.

According to Laura Kurzu, Loyola’s VP for Marketing and Communications, all of this occurred during a 15 minute break in the class and was handled privately.

Loyola has since reached out to Collins to apologize for the misunderstanding after seeing how upset he was, according to Kurzu. “We are grateful for all our students and their contributions to our programs and want everyone on our campus to feel safe, comfortable, and included,” Kurzu said. She added that by contacting campus police, the professor was following university policy.

In light of recent campus shootings across the country, Loyola has encouraged its community to follow a “If you see something, say something” policy when it comes to safety on campus.

“Loyola University New Orleans unequivocally supports police officers and the courageous women and men of our nation’s armed forces,” a statement from the university read. “These men and women protect us all, and they protect our Constitutional rights. We are without question grateful for their service.”

h/t Campus Reform

DCG

Seattle teachers organize Black Lives Matter day

blacks protesting black-on-black crimes

From MyNorthwest.com: Seattle teachers are organizing a Black Lives Matter demonstration next week.

The demonstration will simply be teachers wearing Black Lives Matter T-shirts on Oct. 19. The teachers are planning their demonstration during the kick-off event for Seattle Public Schools’ effort to close the achievement gap between black and white students. The plan is separate from the effort.

The scenario is familiar to last month when teachers planned to wear Black Lives Matter T-shirts during an unrelated event. The demonstration was received as controversial by some and was ultimately cancelled. The annual Black Men Uniting to Change the Narrative event at John Muir Elementary School was canceled as well — the same day teachers planned to wear Black Lives Matter T-shirts — after there were threats against the school.

KIRO 7 reports that about 1,000 teachers in the district have ordered Black Lives Matter T-shirts ahead of time. And that Hamilton Middle School teacher Sarah Arvey organized the demonstration in response to the threats directed at John Muir Elementary.

black-lives-matter-ferguson

An email was sent from Seattle Public Schools to families on Oct. 7 explaining the school district’s plans, and the teachers’ demonstration. It explains that the district is starting an effort to close the achievement gap between its white students and students of color.

“While Seattle Public Schools outperforms like districts academically and is considered a high performing urban district, we still have unacceptable opportunity and achievement gaps. We have the 5th largest academic achievement gap in the nation between black and white students.”

As a result of that gap, the Seattle district is debuting a campaign called “Close the Gaps.” The district is starting the effort with events during Oct. 16-22.

The email also notes that during the kick-off week, the district is promoting Oct. 19 as a “day of solidarity to bring focus to racial equity and affirming the lives of out students — specifically students of color.” The district points out that the Seattle Education Association — the teachers union — is organizing the Black Lives Matter demonstration.

“In support of this focus, members are choosing to wear Black Lives matter t-shirts, stickers or other symbols of their commitment to students in a coordinated effort.”

The email ends by saying the teachers union is leading the t-shirt effort and “working to promote transformational conversations with staff, families, and students on this issue.”

Ferguson looter

Additional information from Q13Fox:

Throughout the week, they’re encouraging teachers to have race-related lesson plans and they’re offered resources to guide the conversation.

From the TV screens to social media to the classrooms at Garfield High, students are talking about racial injustices and Black Lives Matter.

It’s important for us to know the history of racial justice and racial injustice in our country and in our world and really in order for us to address it.   When we’re silent, we close off dialogue and we close the opportunity to learn and grow from each other,” said Arvey.

I would say that it’s not a political agenda. I would say we’re here to support families. We’re here to support students. As Rita from the NAACP said, when black lives matter, all lives matter,” said Avery.

DCG

The NFL is blaming its horrible ratings on the election

As Dr. Eowyn reported in September, the NFL is losing viewers in Kaepernick blowback. The ratings continue to slide and yet, somehow, it is the fault of the elections. The NFL is stuck on stoopid.

kaepernick-taking-a-knee

From Yahoo: The NFL is blaming its horrible TV ratings on the election, according to a leaked memo to team owners obtained by the Wall Street Journal.

Every single one of the NFL’s primetime offerings (Sunday, Monday, and Thursday Night Football) is down double-digits, according to Sports Illustrated. Overall, NFL viewership is down 11% this year.

The NFL wrote that the drop in primetime was likely because of “unprecedented interest in the Presidential election.” The letter went on to reference the 2000 election as another period of time when NFL ratings went down.

The NFL is not the only one to make the connection. In an interview with Sports Business Daily, Mike Mulvihill, a senior VP at Fox Sports, said the current season reminded him of fall of 2000, a year which included the race between Al Gore and George W. Bush. 2000 was the only year during the decade 2000-2010 where the NFL saw a downtick overallSports Illustrated notes.

nfl-players-taking-a-knee

One thing the NFL said was not affecting ratings was fan backlash against players protesting police brutality by not standing during the national anthem. “In fact, our own data shows that the perception of the NFL and its players is actually up in 2016,” the NFL wrote.nfl-players-blm-movement

Alternative theories

There are a few other theories on what might be affecting ratings this year, however, that have nothing to do with Donald Trump. In a meeting with analysts at Pacific Crest, CBS, one of the NFL’s TV partners, cited three reasons:

  • Small sample sizes (there haven’t been enough games yet)
  • Injuries
  • Unfavorable matchups (for instance, NBC’s last “Sunday Night Football” had a Steelers-Chiefs matchup that was down 26% from last year, but last year’s game was Saints-Cowboys, and the Cowboys are the NFL’s biggest TV draw)

Lastly, there is a far more troubling explanation: people are losing gradually losing interest in live sports, and big TV “spectacles” in general.

NBC had a disastrous TV showing at the Olympics, which saw a sharp viewership dip for the first time since 2000. NBC’s Olympics primetime broadcast was down 15% versus 2012. The damage was even greater among younger people. Among 18- to 49-year-olds, there was a 25% drop for the bulk of the games, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.

DCG

‘Kill white people’ is spray-painted on a highway wall and Black Lives Matter graffiti scrawled on Trump election signs

kill-white-people-sign

From Daily Mail: ‘Kill white people’ and ‘BLM’ are among graffiti that has been spray painted across highway walls, homes and election signs in a week. Workers were forced to paint over a section of wall on Gornto Lake Road in Brandon, Florida, on Wednesday to conceal the words ‘kill white people’. At a nearby home, a Trump For President election sign was defaced with the letters BLM, which stands for Black Lives Matter, abcactionews.com reports.

Tampa has played host to a number of the movement’s protests in the wake of police killings of black men.

trump-for-president-sign

It is not clear who is responsible for the graffiti but it is the latest in a string of racially charged incidents in and around the city. ‘For us it’s criminal mischief, it’s definitely racial. It’s racially indicative, it’s hate speech,’ said Larry McKinnonn on behalf of the sheriff’s department.

Earlier this year hundreds gathered to march in a Black Lives Matter Tampa protest. In July a local lawmaker proposed plans for a ‘Blue Lives Matter’ law to categorise police killings as hate crimes. More than 1million people have liked a local Blue Lives Matter Facebook page which promotes merchandise emblazoned with the slogan ‘hold the line’.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department has not yet traced who is responsible for the latest graffiti.  Detectives are appealing to members of the community for information.

Read the rest of the story here.

DCG

Walmart employees refuse to make ‘racist’ Blue Lives Matter police cake for police retirement party

cake

From Daily Mail: A Walmart store has been accused of refusing to bake a cake decorated with the ‘police officer’s flag’ because workers said it was ‘racist’. The store in McDonough, Georgia, about 30 miles southeast of Atlanta, allegedly refused to make the Blue Lives Matter cake on Friday for a retirement party.

‘My buddy’s sister went to Walmart in McDonough, GA to have a cake made for their father’s retirement party,’ Taylor Wilkies, a police officer from Georgia, wrote on Facebook. ‘She asked Walmart to make a “thin blue line” cake to commemorate his extensive and honorable service as a dedicated police officer.  Walmart refused to honor her request due to it being “racist”. To me, this is appalling. People CHOOSE to make EVERYTHING about race. I’m so tired of it. It’s literally exhausting for me to think about now. “

cake2

The claim was then picked up by conservative Fox News host Todd Starnes who wrote about the alleged incident. Starnes says he spoke to the daughter of the police officer on Saturday night, however he does not include any details of the family or the woman.

He wrote that the daughter said: ‘I was so shocked… One of the bakers told me the design could be perceived as racist and nobody feels comfortable decorating the cake.’

Starnes claims the woman told him she was ‘disappointed’.

‘I just wanted to make my dad a cake to show how much i appreciated him,’ the unidentified woman said, according to Starnes.

The Fox News host then goes on to say the workers were told to make the cake after complaints were made to the store’s manager, but they still allegedly refused.

‘The manager offered to make and decorate a new cake. But there was just one problem — the cake decorators refused to comply,’ he claims. ‘I’ve attached photographs of Walmart’s handiwork — it’s absolutely embarrassing and unacceptable. Walmart needs to make this right and they can start by delivering a professionally decorated cake to the police officer’s family. The three cake decorators need to be told: either decorate the cake or be fired.’

Since Starnes tweeted the story, the Walmart alleged of refusing to make the cake has been flooded with criticism.

‘Why do you not hold your employees to the job requirements they agreed to, decorate cakes? Fire them or as a Patron I’d worry you would poison the cake or other food I might purchase there because your employees hate cops,’ Lisa Victoria angrily wrote.

‘Shame on you walmart!!!!! Hopefully you will take action upon your bakery department,’ Erik Fowler said.

However another person claims the store’s manager told them the allegations were false.  ‘She was very polite, was familiar with the story, and denied that any of this was true,’ David Sauls said. ‘I asked her if I wanted to have the bakery decorate a cake depicting the thin blue line would they do it, and she said that they would be more than glad to, that it’s ridiculous for anyone to make this claim, and that she doesn’t understand why someone would make it.

‘I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt at this point.’

DCG