Capital Region

Letters to the Editor Friday, April 23

PHOTOGRAPHER:

Floyd conviction is a wakeup call for U.S.

The extrajudicial murder of George Floyd is a massive wake up call for America.
The professional testimony presented by the prosecution was well prepared and proved the guilt of Derek Chauvin.
America rarely convicts a law enforcement agent; Eric Gardner was murdered on the streets of New York City for selling “loosies “ no charges. The healing of America will take a long time.
Unfortunately, I’m not optimistic that those who continue to resist change will have an epiphany any time soon. America must change if our republic is to survive. E Pluribus Unum.
Paul Santo
Rotterdam

 

Enjoyed Barber’s warm spring photo

The wonderful photograph taken by Peter Barber titled “Taking Flight” published on April 21 shows 5-year-old Hakeem Watson with his grandfather, Jesse Watson, flying a kite near the basketball courts in Central Park was delightful. What a wonderful spring image. I loved this warm, human, loving photograph.
Kathleen Roberts
Burnt Hills

Cuomo can’t hide behind Italian-ness

In response to Thomas Koch’s April 15 letter (“Impeachment must be for legit reasons”), Mr. Koch feels that Gov. Cuomo is within his rights to play touchy-feely with everyone because of his Italian background.
Good grief — he is the boss!
You don’t do this to your employees.
If the governor can’t keep his hands to himself, maybe he should go back to Italy where he can hug and kiss to his heart’s content.
Lorraine VanDerWerken
Rotterdam

 

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Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion

45 Comments

Joseph Vendetti

Mr. Santo:

The trial and outcome of the Chauvin trial was just and correct.

We rarely convict any police because:

As I have stated before – the vast majority of all (white, black, brown, etc) Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) are great people that want to serve, protect, and go home safe to their families after their shift. Out of the 60,000,000 LEO to civilian US interactions only .000004 end up with the civilian (white, black, other) dying.

These statistics don’t bare out any wide spread police targeting of any particular race or massive cover up of wrongdoing. Cell phone video & body cameras make scenes and actions more available then ever before, what we aren’t seeing are the millions of good encounters. Our media outlets, our politicians, our organizations pounce on such videos & use them as tools for racial divide.

Like any profession there are always room for improvements (further education, de escalation techniques, etc) but our Country needs more LEOs not less, they need more funding not less, because there will always be some percentage of bad people.

William Aiken

Out of the 60,000,000 LEO to civilian US interactions only .000004 end up with the civilian (white, black, other) dying.

Thank you Joseph, I’m glad to see someone is framing this issue in reality and its correct context. The mainstream media has long demonstrated as in the recent police shooting in Columbus, OH that they aren’t committed to journalism, but rather pushing a false narrative. They omit key details to fit that false narrative. Their dishonesty is demoralizing the police. The people who end up suffering as a result are poor minorities, who the MSM claim to care deeply about. They could care less.

LOUIS RESTIFO

Perhaps the following is part of the issue that Paul Santo is addressing:

April 19, 2018
“The Sentencing Project Submitted a report to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance.”

The following us a small portion:

“The United States criminal justice system is the largest in the world. At yearend 2015, over 6.7 million individuals1) were under some form of correctional control in the United States, including 2.2 million incarcerated in federal, state, or local prisons and jails.2) The U.S. is a world leader in its rate of incarceration, dwarfing the rate of nearly every other nation.3)
Such broad statistics mask the racial disparity that pervades the U.S. criminal justice system, and for African Americans in particular. African Americans are more likely than white Americans to be arrested; once arrested, they are more likely to be convicted; and once convicted, and they are more likely to experience lengthy prison sentences. African-American adults are 5.9 times as likely to be incarcerated than whites and Hispanics are 3.1 times as likely.4) As of 2001, one of every three black boys born in that year could expect to go to prison in his lifetime, as could one of every six Latinos—compared to one of every seventeen white boys.5) Racial and ethnic disparities among women are less substantial than among men but remain prevalent.6)
The source of such disparities is deeper and more systemic than explicit racial discrimination. The United States in effect operates two distinct criminal justice systems: one for wealthy people and another for poor people and people of color. The wealthy can access a vigorous adversary system replete with constitutional protections for defendants. Yet the experiences of poor and minority defendants within the criminal justice system often differ substantially from that model due to a number of factors, each of which contributes to the overrepresentation of such individuals in the system. As former Georgetown Law Professor David Cole states in his book No Equal Justice,”

LOUIS RESTIFO

Fred You hear only what you want, please address these aspects of the report posted.

African Americans are more likely than white Americans to be arrested; once arrested, they are more likely to be convicted; and once convicted, and they are more likely to experience lengthy prison sentences.

The United States in effect operates two distinct criminal justice systems: one for wealthy people and another for poor people and people of color. The wealthy can access a vigorous adversary system replete with constitutional protections for defendants.

All roads seem to lead to racism and white privilege

There are over 200 million adults in this country, and each one has on average 16 contacts each day. That amounts to over 1.1 trillion person-to-person interactions every year, and only 1.2 million violet crimes are committed each year which means only .000001 end up in a violent crime. Perhaps we shouldn’t focus on the interactions that result in violent crimes, but on all the other encounters that don’t result in violent crimes.

FRED BARNEY

“The professional testimony presented by the prosecution was well prepared and proved the guilt of Derek Chauvin.”

Paul Santo :How would you vote after seeing your name and address in the local paper?
In some cases BLM rioters and their enablers should be prosecuted for jury tampering

With respect to Eric Gardener you forgot to mention the considerable effort that he expended resisting arrest for breaking the tax laws covering cigarettes.

FRED BARNEY

Life for all of us if civil rights had not been decoupled from civil responsibility. For example consider what might have been if George Floyd’s family had chosen to deal with his drug problem!

LOUIS RESTIFO

Fred read the following quote and try thinking before you speak:

“It is better to be silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.”

FRED BARNEY

You show a great deal of self awareness. Tis a pity that that you have not supplied the readers with the reasoning that has led to your conclusion about who is a fool.

LOUIS RESTIFO

Well Fred, one thing I’m certainly self aware of is the fact I, unlike some people posting on this blog, am not a racist.

What in Sam Hill are you talking about?
So civil rights, in your weird world, are dependent on “civil responsibility” and Floyd’s murder is his family’s fault.
Tell us, what you know about his family and how they dealt with his issues. Please.

FRED BARNEY

your civil rights are my civil responsibilities towards you. As for his family can you provide any documentation that they tried to help a family member?

No I can’t, and neither can you.
But I’ll defer to my eyes and the video evidence and the expert testimony, thanks. Whatever else happened leading up to the murder is immaterial.

FRED BARNEY

George Floyd might be alive if he had gotten some help with his drug problem. In my view just because some are harder to see at night than others does not absolve them from doing the right thing.

LOUIS RESTIFO

Perhaps Tiny, Perhaps because the command from a police officer to a white male, as Cynthya previously pointed out, will be “license and registration please.” Where as to a black male, under the same circumstances, the command may very well be “Out of the car, hands in the air, get on the ground.”

That’s why.

William Aiken

Your speculation isn’t helpful. You are making up a broad generalization based on the media’s false narrative that police are out to get African-Americas. This narrative hurts the black community the most when police pull back from performing their job.

Google the Ferguson Effect.

See my post below with real facts.
There is no “false narrative” but there’s a whole crap-ton of Whites fearful of losing their place of privilege in American society. This is real.

William Aiken

Chuck D,

That’s president Obama’s strawman argument for which you have no evidence that it’s true. Show me the policy. Show me a Quote from a conservative that lends credit to this notion that whites are fearful of losing their place in society. You got nothing but speculation!

President Obama was never challenged on his racially divisive rhetoric or asked to give an example of whites being fearful of what he refers to others that don’t look like them.. This false narrative has taken hold in our culture due to a complicit media that acts as an arm of the Democratic party.

No William. This is not a false narrative and it’s taken hold because of blatant oppression and racism. Plain and simple, and it’s realized in the clumsy, ham-handed attempts by the Republican Party to maintain their tenuous hold on power.
You of course are aware that Republican registered voters are 89% White, right? Why do you think that is? (and ‘because Dems give out free stuff’ is not a legitimate answer)

Right. I don’t usually fall for the “give me one example” from the racially challenged, alt-right crew because it’s always their attempt to lure a liberal into their stupid game of Whack-a-Mole (as if *any* example would convince them otherwise…). But this came across my radar today and maybe provides “one example”.

Up there in ultra-White Idaho they’ve just passed House Bill 377.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
HB 377 would add another layer of control over what is being taught in Gem State schools as education and fiscal policy funneled through the language like “dignity and non-discrimination in public” schools. It would ban any subjects that suggest any sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin should be treated differently or favorably or blamed for actions committed by members of those groups in the past.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Evidence of this scary reality was provided by a substitute teacher lamenting the false lessons of “To Kill a Mockingbird”, that “white people are bad, black people are innocent victims, and the students were encouraged to believe that there was an endless era of black victimization”.

Putting aside the whole alt-right “cancel culture” hypocrisy, why do you think the White people want to put generations of Black oppression away in a closet so badly? Why do you think White people want to forget the historical fact that African-Americans didn’t really have a choice in coming to this country?

Why do you think so many White people don’t want to accept some responsibility for this situation and on humanitarian grounds, on the grounds of Christian values, do what they can to make the situation better for them? Why do so many “Christian” Americans feel free to bully and abuse another group of humans?

I do. And I, a white middle-aged, clean-cut, male with a clean drivers’ license, fairly new middle-aged Dadmobile, witnessed first hand how a cop can be fixated on escalating a minor situation into a confrontation. I was pulled over on 890 2 years ago for a minor speeding infraction and came face-to-face with a white State Trooper who for reasons I wasn’t aware of, insisted on taking every exchange between us as a cue to intensify the situation another step. I tried to be nothing but respectful with him and the situation but I felt like I was talking with a machine with one program.

My take-away was every cop needs to be screened for steroid use and other PEDs (performance enhancing drugs). Sadly they have their unions blocking the obvious.

People, mainly people of color, do comply and end up dead, or at least battered. It happens a lot.

LOUIS RESTIFO

I’ve had a driver’s license for 56 years, since I was 16. I’ve owned, licensed and driven everything from Corvettes and Harleys to RV’s, large trucks and pretty much every in between. Over that period I’ve had two ugly driving related Incidences with the police.

One incident was when I was heading west on Albany St. approaching Veeder Ave. Three police cars had Albany St. complete blocked off. I was instructed to turn around. With traffic piling up behind me it didn’t seem like a good idea to me.

One cop was leaning into a civilian’s vehicle talking to him. Turns out he was questioning him regarding someone welding a knife that may have committed a crime.

Five or six others were standing around like construction workers watching a guy dig a hole. Because nothing really seem to be happening I ask one cop if he would at least move one of the three cars blocking the street so traffic could get by. Well, that’s when the fertilizer really hit the fan.

He asked me who the f- – – I thought I was telling him how to do his job. I told him exactly who the f I was. I didn’t back down and the altercation wasn’t quiet or polite. Apparently their interview wasn’t that important because all the cops converged to my car threatening my arrest, to the point of pulling out handcuffs. I told him to go for it and stuck my hands out of the window. At that point with the commotion escalating, people were gathering around the incident. The owner of The Newest Lunch came out and told them I was a neighborhood business owner and we all cooled down a bit.

I pulled my car over and traded dirty looks and and defiantly waited for 5 minutes until they finally left.

Points being:
If I was Black and acted that, I have no doubt I would have ended up cuffed in the back seat of the cop car.

Second point; Black people that cops racially profile have to go through incidents like that every day, not twice in 56 years.

This just makes my point that racially tinged abuse of authority by cops is a subset of a larger issue with law enforcement.
And I’m fully onboard with the “defund the police” movement that says, take some of the money being spent on expensive toys that bear little fruit in terms of law enforcement (but help fill the pockets of some vendor or contractor somewhere) and put it toward stronger social services partners in law enforcement. We don’t need cops entering schools to put handcuffs on children.

James Prendergast

Lorraine,
I agree the Governor shouldn’t be touching etc. with any employee however your choice of words “go back to Italy” are off base. Makes it sound as though anyone with a family history of immigration is not really a citizen.

FRED BARNEY

Makes it sound as though anyone with a family history of immigration is not really a citizen.

No one should adapt to the culture of his new country. Alternatively he should go to a place where his behavior is acceptable. For example if you chose not to learn English you should learn to do without government documents in languages other than English or move!

Joseph Vendetti

Lou:

My wife & two daughters (all white) were pulled over on Liberty street at 10:45 pm, Tahoe surrounded, ordered out of vehicle because the it matched a Be on the Lookout (BOLO) description of shots fired. Detained, searched inside, and released when they realized it was the incorrect vehicle. No apology given, just jumped back into cruisers and continued their shift.

There was no incident because they all obeyed the instructions, showed their hands, and did as ordered.

The high rate of arrest and incarceration in this country has less to do about skin color and more to do about single parent homes, lack of teaching right from wrong, and respecting authority.

When I was attending Draper in 7th or 8th grade our Social Studies teacher brought us to the County Jail in a “Scared Straight” type of program. It was a wake-up trip for everyone that thought they were tough, or wanted to be a smart ass. My mom & dad also gave permission to all the teachers & principals that if my Brother or I got out of line they could use a paddle.

Those things don’t happen any more. The crime rates in NYC, Chicago, etc are out of control –

We need to stop making these racial accusations and start holding all people, kids, etc responsible for their actions regardless of color.

LOUIS RESTIFO

Joe, Regardless of what you or any else may say or think, facts are facts. These are not “racial accusations” they’re facts. There is no disputing people of color are discriminated against hugely disproportionate to whites by police. Period.

Reread my first response to you and William Aiken.

Joseph Vendetti

Lou:

As an engineer – there is no such thing as racial proportions. Meaning if African Americans make up 13% or so of the US population that we can surmise that 13% of all police officers, Dr’s, Pro Basketball Players, etc will be limited or even within 1 or 2 standard deviations of 13% of being black. So if Whites don’t make up 80% of the NBA, MLB or NFL should there be some theory as to why? Or are those organizations discriminating against Caucasians? No, of course not!! Because there is no theory of proportionality that says because your race makes up this % of the population then that proportion will hold universally across all things – jobs, sexual orientation, religion, incarceration, lottery winners, etc.

The simple fact is more minorities are born to single parent households. Unfortunately some things that are correlated to single parent households – teen pregnancy, arrests, incarceration, poverty, HS dropouts,

Of course there are always exceptions- outlyers – Larry Bird, Obama, etc.

LOUIS RESTIFO

Joe, we can all throw out statistics, numbers and facts, some, solid some skewed, but no matter how you slice it, the the plain and simple facts are that RACISTS AND BIGOTS, INCLUDING COPS, THAT DISCRIMINATE ARE OUT THERE, ADDITIONALLY WHITE PRIVILEGE IS REAL. Do you think BLM protesters are marching for exercise?

Joseph Vendetti

Lou:

My two African American sons are against any BLM rallies. They feel that while racism exists (white against black, black against white, etc). The police and law enforcement are not the enemy. To paint all LEOs as racist or bad is not accurate.

BLM was born from Michael Brown trying to get a police officers weapon. President Obamas AG investigation proved that the officer acted in self defense- yet some other narrative still exists. Read the AG report – DNA from michael brown was inside the officers driver door handle. Minorities are not being systematically hunted down by police officers.

If BLM was truthful and really cared about black lives I am sure they would support it. But there are thousands upon thousands of black on black crime, there are dozens of black LEOs that shoot and kill black/latino teenagers and adults yet what is being brought up over and over again boils down to less then a handful of cases per year. In 2020 – 260 (.000004) individuals (black and white) were killed by LEO. Of those 260 – 73% (190) killed by police officers were white – 27% minority (70). Of that – all but 8 (5 white & 3 minority) cases in 2020 were deemed justified. 8 (.00000013) out of 60,000,000 interactions were bad – bad cops, accidents, whatever.

You have a better chance becoming an astronaut, better chance having a surgeon cut off the wrong limb, better chance hitting regular lotto then by dying at the hands of a police officer – those are the facts.

FRED BARNEY

Has anyone heard of a BLM group turning in the few rioters at one of their by and large peaceful protests?

FRED BARNEY

Is it because of their skin color or is it because of their behavior? For example did George Floyd’s family try to help George deal with his drug problem?

I asked you above, Fred, what do you know about it?
Nothing.
But you’re very confidently trying to lay the blame on them, aren’t you?
Yes, you are.

Joseph Vendetti

Lou:

My wife & two daughters (all white) were pulled over on Liberty street at 10:45 pm, Tahoe surrounded, ordered out of vehicle because the it matched a Be on the Lookout (BOLO) description of shots fired. Detained, searched inside, and released when they realized it was the incorrect vehicle. No apology given, just jumped back into cruisers and continued their shift.

There was no incident because they all obeyed the instructions, showed their hands, and did as ordered.

The high rate of arrest and incarceration in this country has less to do about skin color and more to do about single parent homes, lack of teaching right from wrong, and respecting authority.

When I was attending Draper in 7th or 8th grade our Social Studies teacher brought us to the County Jail in a “Scared Straight” type of program. It was a wake-up trip for everyone that thought they were tough, or wanted to be a smart ass. My mom & dad also gave permission to all the teachers & principals that if my Brother or I got out of line they could use a paddle. Certainly afraid of ever getting my dad mad and even more afraid of my mom.

Those things don’t happen any more. The crime rates in NYC, Chicago, etc are out of control –

We need to stop making these racial accusations and start holding all people, kids, etc responsible for their actions regardless of color.

Joseph Vendetti

Chuck:

Do a ride along in an urban setting lime Albany, Schenectady, or Troy. Guarantee you will gain an appreciation for what its like on a night shift. 10-15 Be on the Lookouts (BOLOs) – that alone has Officers looking for matching cars, faces, age ranges of things that happened earlier in the day, another jurisdiction, etc. Then all the stuff (drug dealing, attempted robberies, shots fired, domestics, etc) that are happening during the shift.

So they always are in that heightened state. During traffic stops 103 officers in the US were killed in the line of duty in 2020. So if a police officer is short, aggressive, etc – there is probably another reason besides PEDs.

Are there bad cops? Of course, just like there are bad drs, nurses, cpa’s, cooks, etc, etc. CPA’s and cooks normally don’t have people following them around and cell phone videoing them! Or trying to shoot at them!

As I said before 60,000,000 citizen interactions with a pretty low bad outcome rate. But that is all we hear is Police Reform.

Joe, I’m not sure if you think I was born yesterday, or what. I haven’t done a “ride along” with a cop (have you?), but years ago I did work in the ER of Albany Med for a while, graveyard shift.
But what’s your point (again we ask)? Sounds like ‘everything’s fine! No need to trouble our LEOs!’
BS, Joe.
Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version: Black American men are more than twice as likely to be killed by a cop. And as we’ve plainly seen, there’s clearly a ‘shoot first, and let God sort it out’ mentality toward them.

statista_com/statistics/1123070/police-shootings-rate-ethnicity-us/com/statistics/1123070/police-shootings-rate-ethnicity-us/
Published by Statista Research Department, Mar 31, 2021
The rate of fatal police shootings in the United States shows large differences based on ethnicity. Among Black Americans, the rate of fatal police shootings between 2015 and March 2021 stood at 35 per million of the population, while for White Americans, the rate stood at 14 fatal police shootings per million of the population.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6080222/
Deaths Due to Use of Lethal Force by Law Enforcement
Findings From the National Violent Death Reporting System, 17 U.S. States, 2009–2012
Results:
Victims were majority white (52%) but disproportionately black (32%) with a fatality rate 2.8 times higher among blacks than whites. Most victims were reported to be armed (83%); however, black victims were more likely to be unarmed (14.8%) than white (9.4%) or Hispanic (5.8%) victims.

LOUIS RESTIFO

Thank you LJORDAN, Just read Wikipedia’s run down on the book and Author. Appears to be an extensively researched, well written book with fact and logic.

Chances of enlightenment are slim for people who wait in line to purchase blinders and earplugs when rationality, common sense and fact are presented in opposition to their cemented beliefs.

LOUIS RESTIFO

No Joe, I don’t agree with with your earlier line:

“BLM was born from Michael Brown trying to get a police officers weapon.”

In my view, BLM was “born” centuries ago when the Black people were were being raped, beaten and murdered, as well as bought and sold by their white “owners”.

Joseph Vendetti

Lou

Unfortunately Slavery and human abuse has been around since we crawled from oceans……. and still exists today.

Between pyramids being built, crops slung, diamonds dug the entire world has revolved around slavery & abuse. There have been no people spared – Jews, Chinese, Arabic, Italians/Romans, Africans, yet we want to keep bringing up these atrocities. Why don’t we have – JLM, CLM, ALM?

Women around the world are still being enslaved, abused, not allowed to learn, paid less wages then men – why not WLM?

Black Lives Matter is a political organization and their demands have more to do about politics then making any black life better –

Demand 1 –

Impeach, convict, and ban Trump from future political office:

Demand 2 –

Expel Republican members of Congress who backed Trump:

Demand 3 –

Launch full investigation into the ties between Capitol Police and white supremacy:

Demand 4 –

Permanently ban Trump from all digital media platforms:

Demand 5 –

Defund the police:

Demand 6 –

Pass the BREATHE Act: The BREATHE Act paints a vision of a world where Black lives matter through investments in housing, education, health, and environmental justice.

There is nothing in here about strengthening the nuclear family? Nothing about education about single parent households ills? Nothing about gang violence

LOUIS RESTIFO

Joe, all I’m thinking and saying is that Black people, in this country, have been crapped on since the first one stepped off a slave ship.

It sicken me that so many racist people in all walks of life, especially so noticeable in Republican politicians and law enforcement, are still crapping on them, with regularity, on a daily basis.

LOUIS RESTIFO

Tiny, I agree that’s a big part of it, but it’s not all of it. My father was a bit of an Archie Bunker, but I began to make my own judgement calls.

If you can possibly think of what it must be like to be a good, caring, honest, hard workin man who loves his family. He’s a Black man. Not a looter, or criminal, just a good man. – Can’t imagine how he feels when people look at him with hate in their eyes, prejudging him to be a no good piece of s- – – and they don’t have a clue as to who he really is. It truly breaks my heart, this happens to little Black kids as well. All the time. Think about being Black and living in a world of Fred Barneys.

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