Archive for March, 2012
Friday, March 30th, 2012
Hello Bloggers/Readers, as we continue to watch and hear stories of the murder of Trayvon Martin, I have been waiting for positive actions and ideas that will hopefully deal with the cause of Martin’s death. Instead, I have recently read about a New Orleans Policeman who posted a comment about the Martin tragedy. In his post, he admitted making a comment about the Martin incident by stating, “Act like a thug, die like one”.
Most of you are aware my entire adult life has been in law enforcement; and I believe in the right of free speech. But, police officers are and should be held to a higher standard of ethical conduct. This is needed to ensure the support of the communities they serve and the image of the departments that they work for. The statement, “Act like a thug, die like one”, certainly won’t help!!
At a time when we are all trying to understand not only why Martin died and how we can prevent another tragedy, this kind of statement, will only ignite the flames of racial hostility. Several of our minority communities are still dealing with issues of police misconduct; and a statement like the one made by the New Orleans police officer will cause more suspicion and distrust of police agencies nationwide. It calls into question the judgment and professionalism of this officer; and, it forced the New Orleans Police Chief to suspend him. The police officer resigned from the department, but does that put this story to bed??
The story has gone viral in social media with both positive and negative comments. I haven’t seen or heard anything that would suggest Martin being a thug, unless wearing a Hoodie makes you a thug!! National media commentator, Geraldo Riviera has stated that “the Hoodie had as much to do with Martin’s killing as Zimmerman”, the man with the gun, who killed Martin. This was a stupid statement and Rivera has since tried to dial it back. But it was very interesting that Rivera also stated, “Blacks and Latinos should not wear hoodies.” He didn’t mention whites in his “don’t wear Hoodie” statement. Obviously , based on Rivera’s statements, all blacks and Latinos who wear hoodies will be viewed as criminals in the eyes of our society. I have three sweat shirts that have hoods and I am black. What should I do with them?? If I used Rivera’s analogy & I were to wear one my sweatshirts and put the hood up on my head, would I be viewed a criminal in the eyes of Rivera’s society??
There are several apparel stores that are still selling sweat shirts with hoods. The Miami Heat basketball teams and several other teams have warm ups with hoods. How many of you have sweaters with hoods?? Are you automatically a criminal if you put the hood up?? When the New Orleans police officer said, “Act like a thug, die like one”, was he referring to the fact that Martin was wearing a Hoodie and therefore made Zimmerman profile him as being suspicious and subsequently murder Martin? Martin was just walking through the neighborhood with skittles and a soda can….not acting like a “thug”, unless I have lost the definition of “thug”. Webster’s dictionary describes the word “thug” as “a brutal ruffian or assassin: gangster, killer’. In my opinion, that doesn’t describe Trayvon Martin.
I just saw a video of Zimmerman being taken to the police station. After looking at the back of Zimmerman’s head, his shirt and jacket for any evidence of blood… Bandages…or injuries; I failed to see anything that would support his claim of having his head banged on the ground & his nose broken and bloodied. I guess we will have to wait for additional information. Keep/blogging and communicating.
Donald Tucker is the former Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service for the State of Arizona; A Presidential appointed U.S. Marshal for Arizona; the Chief of Security for the Federal Court System nationwide and owns a Private Investigation Business in Arizona. He has also written two novels.
Wednesday, March 21st, 2012
DOES “SUSPICIOUS WALKING WHILE BLACK” (SWWB) CAUSE SOMEONE TO BE PROFILED AND KILLED??
Hello Bloggers/Readers, I have been following the story out of Sanford, Florida about the killing of the 17 year old teenager, Trayvon Martin by the neighborhood security block watcher George Zimmerman. Here’s what we know at this point. Martin was walking through a neighborhood in Sanford, Florida after buying a bag of skittles and some ice tea at a store(Martin’s father lived in the neighborhood). Zimmerman in his SUV, allegedly observed Martin walking in the neighborhood (SWWB) and reported to a police dispatcher that Martin was acting suspicious, looking at homes and looked like he was on drugs. Zimmerman then stated ” these guys always get away”. The dispatcher asked Zimmerman if he was following Martin and Zimmerman responded “yes”. The dispatcher told Zimmerman not to follow Martin, let the police handle it.
At this point only Zimmerman and Martin know what actually happened and Martin is now dead. We do know Zimmerman left his vehicle and there was an apparent physical confrontation between Zimmerman and Martin. People in their homes called 911 and reported they were hearing loud voices and someone yelling for help. The voices could be heard on the 911 tapes and a single gun shot could also be heard.
Zimmerman has stated he shot Martin in self-defense because he felt threatened and feared for his life. I should note that the State of Florida has a law called ” Stand your ground”, which allows individuals to defend themselves, if they feel their lives are in danger. I don’t think this law applies in this case because in my opinion, Zimmerman was not in immediate danger. This incident has exploded nationwide because no legal action has been taken against Zimmerman. The Sanford police are saying there was no legal action they could take because they couldn’t refute Zimmerman’s self-defense claim. Martin’s family and other people are very upset that Zimmerman hasn’t been arrested as his explanation of the event just doesn’t make sense.
I have spent over 30 years in law enforcement and have to agree the Sanford police should have conducted an immediate investigation into Zimmerman’s actions and presented the case to the attorney’s office. The police department is now being forced to conduct a thorough investigation of the killing of Martin. The killing occurred on February 26, 2012 and if there wasn’t an uproar from the Martin family and others, I believe the Sanford police department would have just closed this case with a judgement of justifiable homicide.
It’s sad that in 2012 we still have incidences of racism, racial profiling and an appearance of a lack of value for the life of a black teenager, both by Zimmerman and the Sanford Police department. What jumps out at you is a question… if Zimmerman was black and Martin was white, with all of the facts being the same, would Zimmerman be in jail. I think he would.
Some people have a problem with the use of playing the race card. This in my opinion is because the race issue is very difficult for people, the media, politicians and academia to adequately discuss. This country still has a problem with racial issues and the race card should be played if it is a factor in issues of our life. We can’t be afraid to tackle sensitive subject matters such as these because it has the potential to destroy our society.
Zimmerman reminds me of some security guards who can’t qualify as a regular police officer, either due to lack of experience, education or prior law enforcement contacts. Zimmerman was arrested in 2005 on suspicion of battery against a law enforcement officer. Although the charge was eventually dropped, it probably killed his chance of becoming an official police officer. Law enforcement officers would call these people wannabes, who look for any way to show they are or can be just as proficient in law enforcement as an actual police officer.
Zimmerman’s actions, in my opinion, demonstrates a person who had an ax to grind… he was going to prove he was as good at police work as any police officer. It didn’t matter that the dispatcher told him to not follow Martin and he said, “Okay”. He obviously left his vehicle and confronted Martin. He wouldn’t have felt that he feared for his life, if he had just listened to the dispatcher, stopped his surveillance and stayed in his SUV. His comment of ” these guys always get away” shows a pre-disposed negative attitude towards Martin, bordering on racism. Was his attitude….. this guy is not going to get away from me???? As a neighborhood watch guard, Zimmerman is prohibited from carrying a gun. Their instructions are to watch and report to the police. Not to be a policeman and make an arrest!!
Martin was just walking through the neighborhood going to his father’s home. No neighbor had called to report him. Zimmerman reported Martin looked suspicious because he wore a hooded sweater and was looking at homes. Also, Zimmerman reported Martin was carrying something… As it turned out, a container of tea and a bag of skittles. These are the facts that caused Martin’s death. If Martin was white, he would still be alive. Martin died because of SWWB.
Zimmerman has stated it was his voice yelling for help!! That is in question because Martin’s mother says: “the voice was that of her son”. It is hard for me to believe Zimmerman feared for his life and had to shoot Martin, because Zimmerman is not only 100 pounds heavier but also had a gun and Martin only had skittles. Why would he have to yell for help?? Another question… why was Zimmerman allowed to carry a gun if he was arrested in 2005 for assault??
I hope Martin and his family receive the justice they deserve and that this case will serve as a barometer to prevent this type of thing from re-occurring. Keep blogging and communicating.
Saturday, March 17th, 2012
Hello Bloggers/Readers, I hope you are continuing to have dialogue with each other on all of the important social and political issues that are affecting our lives.
I am sure you have been following the stories coming out of Afghanistan involving the killing of at least 16 Afghanistan citizens. I was waiting to get more information before I posted my blog but, after hearing that the soldier who allegedly murdered these people had been transported out of the area and returned to the U.S., I know this situation will not be resolved anytime soon.
Let’s go over what we know at this point. A U. S. Soldier allegedly left his camp in the dead of night, went into an Afghanistan village and indiscriminately killed 16 unarmed people, mostly children, and burned their bodies. He then allegedly walked back to his camp and turned himself in. This has now turned into a major international incident with finger pointing and threats of retaliation from the Afghanistan people and the Taliban against our troops and against our country. Now what happens?? Now you will hear different accounts of what occurred from both sides and we will be left with making our own assessments of what actually happened. Will we ever know the whole truth??
So, why am I writing a blog about this incident at this time?? I am writing because I am very concerned about what is happening to our brave men and women who are putting their lives on the line, day after day, night after night, fighting to help these counties survive. Some of these soldiers are being deployed 3, 4 and even 5 times back to either Iraq or Afghanistan. Then, when they are back home with their families, they are preparing and training to go back and kill more people. Some maybe ticking time bombs who are not getting the proper help to deal with war.
No wonder people and doctors are talking about PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and identifying it with our military troops returning from a war. How many of our troops have this disorder and are being sent back into military conflict?? If we don’t have a proper mechanism to determine if a soldier is under this type of stress condition, will we have another mass murder of unarmed people and children and with soldiers killing their comrades?? What about the impact on their families when they try to assimilate into regular day to day living between deployments??
I think the mental stress and strain put on our troops should be extensively examined and the physiological impact accessed. What would make a soldier, who also allegedly had some brain damage from a previous incident, walk into a village and murder those people in cold blood?? Did he feel they were the enemy and they all looked alike?? Or did his constant re- deployments cloud his judgment to the extent that they were just casualties of WAR?? Maybe he was angry at the loss of a fellow soldier and just wanted to get even!! I’m not sure we will ever know, because now the wheel of CYA begins. Why was he cleared for re-deployment after brain injury??
If a player has a concussion after or during an athletic event in this country, the doctors tell teams to sit them down and not let them play. I don’t know how long it was after this soldier’s brain injury; but, was one soldier needed so badly that some officer or doctor couldn’t make a command decision to sit him down and take him out of the game?? Who is really at fault when something like this occurs???
This Afghanistan incident is not the only situation of PTSD. I’m not going to try and discuss every situation that has happened in the past, but I will remind you of the stressed out soldier who killed five of his own comrades in Baghdad in 2009, and the soldiers in 2010 who testified about their Sgt., who ordered them to kill unarmed Afghanistan civilians. And we can’t forget the Army major who killed 11 and wounded 31 people in Foot Hood Texas in 2009! Does war produce a mentality that suggests incidences like these are a product of war??
Most of my career has been in law enforcement and I have either seen police officers or witnessed police officers, under stress situations, who overreact in trying to handle or deal with a violent confrontation. More force than necessary is often utilized because of the stressful nature of the incident. Also there is an acute development of a very hostile attitude toward the perceived enemy…in law enforcement, it’s against the criminal. With the military it’s against the enemy combatant, and probably in Afghanistan or Iraq, against anyone who looks like the enemy. In this blog, I won’t comment on the marine who recently referred to the President as being the enemy, under the alleged umbrella of free speech!! What does that tell you about his military discipline??
I don’t want to be overly critical now, but I still remember instances from our past history when WAR trumps common sense and civility. I don’t know how many of you are old enough to remember the massacre at My Lai during the Viet Nam conflict. My Lai has been called “Murder in the name of War”. I have posted a link to the Wikipedia article for your review. It will open your eyes. (347 to 504 unarmed citizens were murdered under the guise of either war or the military attrition strategy, an emphasis on body count and kill ratios.)
Wikipedia My Lai massacre
I mentioned the My Lai incident to illustrate the cover up that occurred in the CYA scenario to protect those involved. The mass cover up lasted for 18 months and some big named people were involved. As I stated in one of my other blog posts, when the institution is too big to fail, all bets are off!
Some of these Wars are not only costing the lives of our soldiers but the prestige of our country. We are being put in a position of fighting for a country that hates us and is looking at our troops not as saviors, but as cold blooded murderers. If constant re-deployments is the issue and causing the mental stress that can’t be identified, maybe we should set a limit on re-deployment to no more than two occasions. If we then determine we don’t have enough troops, reassess our ability to complete the mission and pull out!! We now have had to deal with some of the Afghanistan soldiers turning on our troops and killing them. The Secretary of Defense during a recent trip to Afghanistan had a touchy security situation which forced all troops, including U.S. Forces, to be disarmed during his visit.
It would be nice to continue to be the world’s policeman, but at what cost!! In our political system, we have our war hawks who believe this country should fight tyranny wherever it exists in this world. How many lives of our troops should we sacrifice to satisfy the hawks? What happened at My Lai, when the American public found out what was done, was one of the primary factors that forced an end to the Viet Nam war. The American people protested so vehemently that our troops were eventually pulled out.
I am reminded of the comment in Wikipedia, made by Colin Powell about the My Lai incident, …” in war, these sorts of things happen every now and then”…. and the comment of the Viet Nam General in describing Lt Calley, the only soldier convicted of the massacre, “Calley tried to get revenge for the deaths of his troops, in war this is natural”. My comment about these casual statements is: are these statements the type justification we can expect to support every war the U.S. gets involved in?? What is that song again, “War, what is it good for……..”
I hope this recent incident opens our eyes, the eyes of our military and the eyes of our government to carefully and judiciously examine this situation for the sake of our soldiers and our country’s well being. Keep blogging and communicating!!
Complete Blogcritic article
Sunday, March 11th, 2012
Donald W. Tucker—One of the nation’s first black federal narcotics agents and first black Secret Service agents; the former Iowa football player has since written two books: a mystery and a biography. BA, Sociology and Criminology, 1961.
University of Iowa full article
Sunday, March 11th, 2012
Donald W. Tucker attended Iowa on a football scholarship, graduated with a BA in sociology and criminology in 1961, and went on to become one of the nation’s first black federal narcotics agents. He became one of the nation’s first black Secret Service agents in 1965. He has since written two books: a mystery and a biography, The Two-Edged Sword.
University of Iowa full article
Wednesday, March 7th, 2012
As campaign rhetoric boils and Americans on both sides of the political divide hurl insults, law enforcement officials are watching social media carefully for threats or signs of violence.
“Historically, it’s the same issues we’ve always had and the same things people are upset about,” Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan said. “There are just a lot more venues for people to put it out there, including the Internet.”
Last week, a group of Arizona men, including a Peoria, Ariz., police sergeant, triggered a federal investigation when they appeared in a photo posted on Facebook with weapons and what appears to be a bullet-riddled image of President Obama. The sergeant has been removed from patrol and assigned to desk duties pending an internal investigation.
The Secret Service on Wednesday assigned protection to Mitt Romney, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination. Republican contender Herman Cain, who has dropped out of the race, had also received federal potection.
The Secret Service assesses every potential threat or what Sullivan calls “inappropriate interest” to determine if someone is simply mouthing off or intends to act. The agency won’t say how many threats it fields. “We are very aggressive in running it down,” Sullivan said.
The agency established an Internet threat desk in 2000, spokesman Ed Donovan said. “Logic dictates we receive more information to sift through and look at, but it doesn’t necessarily translate to more cases,” he said.
Donald Tucker, a Phoenix private investigator who served as a Secret Service agent for 25 years, says he’s stunned by the level of incivility and disrespect. He said he fears the nasty rhetoric could trigger violence.
“I have never seen any political campaign with the type of hatred, animosity and language directed not only at the protectees, but also at the president of the United States,” Tucker said.
“It seems as if there’s a lack of respect for the office of the presidency,” he said.
Finish USA TODAY article
Monday, March 5th, 2012
SHOULD RACIST COMMENTS TOWARDS THE PRESIDENT INPACT THE LIFE TIME POSITIONS OF FEDERAL JUDGES??
Bloggers/Readers, do you have a feeling that we are going back to the dark ages?? The Senate just voted down a bill that had the potential to control the rights of woman to have input in her own reproductive system. It would have given her employer the authority to decide what was proper for a woman’s health care. I think this is very scary because it is the white conservative men who are pushing these archaic ideas. But, it is not over because the House may push a similar bill causing even more turmoil for woman. If this is not enough, now we have a Chief Federal Judge from Montana, who has sent out a vile racist e-mail that demeaned the President of the U.S.
The Federal Judge Richard Cebull, was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2001. He even sent the racist e-mail from his judicial chambers in the federal building. He even admitted the contents of the e-mail was racist and made the statement to his e-mail recipients “It was a bit touching and I want all of my friends to feel what I felt when I read this. Hope it touches your heart like it did mine.” How can we continue to have a person like this on the Federal bench??
The e-mail is titled “A Mom’s Memory”. ‘ A little boy said to his mother, Mommy, how come I’m black and you’re white?? His mother replied, ‘don’t even go there Barack!! From what I can remember about that party, you’re lucky you don’t bark!!’ “Again, he says he was TOUCHED!!! Cebull continues to state he is not a racist, so why was he touched?? How can he try to dial back such an unprofessional, asinine and inappropriate e-mail posting?? In my opinion he is a racist and the fact that President Obama is black, it touches his racist heart and offends his standards. And what does it say about the recipients, his brother, his old buddies and acquaintances?? Are their hearts touched also??
Even Cebull’s explanations have a racist tinge and hard to believe. He says he didn’t send it out as a racist, although that is what it is. “I sent it out because it’s anti-Obama”. That it was some how a political statement. I am sure Cebull understands it is against the judicial code of conduct to engage in political activities in his chambers. How many employers in today’s society will fire employees for using work stations for this kind of activity. Does he hate this President so much because of his policies or because of the color of his skin??
It reminds me of the photo of the President and his family, depicting them as Chimpanzees, that was sent out by a Republican politician in California. She also tried to justify what she did by saying it was a joke and was not a racist act.
Cebull is a Federal Judge who should be removed from the bench for his actions. How can he be trusted to hear cases involving blacks and minorities, with his being touched by such a vile text. He will say he can be impartial in his judicial decision but his actions speak louder than words. But the fact is, he can’t be removed because he has a life time appointment. Yes, he will be on the bench until he dies. We will have to live with all of his decisions and judgements while he is on the bench.
There was a case in Arizona where a city police officer took a photo of his smiling high school son and some of his friends, holdings guns and a T-shirt with the photo of President Obama with bullet holes. The police officer posted the photo on his Facebook with a picture of him in his police uniform. ” I am not a racist” he also said. Isn’t it amazing that people who hold position of trust and responsibility, can engage in repulsive conduct that bring into question their judgement, character and intelligence. The police officer has been demoted and suspended. Unfortunately, the judge will still be sitting on the bench because of his life time appointment.
It is very difficult to remove a federal judge from the bench. Impeachment is an option but not probable. I know from experience federal judges have to adhere to a code of conduct. Canon 2-of the code states: a judge should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all activities. Canon 2A- of the code states: an appearance of impropriety occurs when reasonable minds, with knowledge of all the relevant circumstances disclosed by reasonable inquiry, conclude that the judges honesty, integrity, responsibility, temperament or fitness as a judge is impaired. Public confidence in the judiciary is eroded by irresponsible conduct by judges. This prohibition applies to both professional and personal conduct. I think Cebull actions violated both codes of conduct.
In my book, “The Two Edged Sword”, there is a chapter where I detail my reasons for eliminating life-time positions for federal judges and the supreme court. These judges not only become too powerful, but some, not all, developed the attitude of being one step below a higher power and untouchable. I hope Cebull makes the right choice and steps down. He has brought disrespect to the federal bench.
Bloggers/Readers keep communicating and making your voices heard.
Continue Reading Article and comments