Former RIC cop calls for diversity
Lieutenant Charles Wilson has called on Governor Gina Raimondo with hopes of rallying more diverse candidates to fill the top cop job in Rhode Island. Wilson recently retired from the Rhode Island College Campus police and is now the chairman of the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers.
In his letter, Wilson pointed out that the only non-white police chief in Rhode Island is Mark Porter who is the chief of police for Brown University. A study done for the Providence branch of the NAACP says that 95% of cops above the patrol officer rank are white.
Raimondo has said that ‘Male, female, African American, white. I just want the best person for the job I can find.”
Raimondo had reached out to Karen Pitch who is currently the town administrator for Richmond. Pitch had served as the number three position in the state police and was the highest ranking woman in the state police’s history. Pitch however declined the job and suggested picking a new colonel from within the department.
Truck tolls get approval from the feds
According to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation the first in the nation plan to toll only trucks was approved by the Federal Highway Administration last week. Other states toll larger trucks at a higher rate than cars, but Rhode Island will be the first to toll trucks alone.
The FHA has approved 13 tolling locations throughout the state, along Interstate 95. The tolls are supposed to raise money for the 34 bridges that are in tough shape. Trucks will be charged up to $20.
The truck tolls were passed by the General Assembly and signed by Governor Gina Raimondo in February over the strong opposition from the trucking industry.
Rabies case reported near RIC
Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management said that a raccoon tested positive for rabies in Providence last week.
The raccoon attacked a cat that later had to be put down due to ensuing injuries. Residents are being asked to report any contact they or pets have with raccoons.
The Raccoon was captured on Biltmore Avenue in Mount Pleasant. Every town in Rhode Island, except New Shoreham on Block Island, has reported cases of rabies.
Officials say skunks, raccoons, foxes and bats are the most likely to carry it. They also warn citizens to vaccinate their pets against rabies.
Filmer of Eric Garner’s death sentenced to prison
Assistant News Editor
In July of 2014 Ramsey Orta used his mobile phone to capture chilling footage of Staten Island police officer, Daniel Pantaleo subduing an unarmed black man using a rear chokehold, eventually killing him in the melee. The victim, Eric Garner, was 43 years old at the time, asthmatic and can be heard repeatedly pleading “I can’t breathe” as the officer continued to sink his forearm into Garner’s neck and tighten his hold. Since the video went viral, sparking protests nationwide, Orta claims that he has been the subject of frequent police harassment in retaliation for filming the encounter.
Orta has been arrested on eight occasions in the last two years, however, only two charges lead to convictions. He accepted a plea deal in July on gun and weapons charges, and began a four year prison term this past week. Orta has filed a 10 million dollar suit against New York City for unwarranted arrests by the NYPD, alleging that the heavy scrutiny by law enforcement was an attempt to discredit his footage of Eric Garner’s homicide.
Shortly after Garner’s death Pat Lynch, the President of New York’s largest police union, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association of the City of New York stated that “…it is criminals like Mr. Orta who carry illegal firearms, who stand to benefit the most by demonizing the good work of police officers.” The officer involved in the incident, Daniel Pantaleo, has recently seen a large pay increase and remains on desk duty while awaiting the outcome of a civil rights probe.
White lives matter designated as hate group
A group of masked protesters stood outside the office of the Anti-Defamation League in Houston, Texas armed with assault rifles and knives to denounce what they perceived as the “genocide” of white Americans through means such as immigration and interracial marriage. Some held up a banner that read #WHITELIVESMATTER and contained the symbol of the Aryan Renaissance Society supremacist group. The protestors were a part of the White Lives Matter movement, which was recently designated as a hate group by The Southern Poverty Law Center.
According to protester Scott Lacy, the organization has no intent or inclination towards violence and disagrees with the SPLC’s categorization. He is displeased with how being “pro-white” is interpreted as being “racist.” Lacy, who has been outed by Texas media as a member of the Aryan Renaissance Society, came to protest that day wearing a blue version of the American flag, which has come to symbolize support for police following the killing of five officers in Dallas.
Some critics have pointed to the pro-police message of the far-right as an explanation for how such groups have inexplicably managed to ally themselves with others. “The problem is that in their culture– black culture– they’re raised to hate the cops and to hate whites, period actually. But we’re pro-police. They are heroes in our society,” Lacy said.
Also on scene that day was a group of counter protesters from various organizations in the region, shouting “Black lives matter” and playing Spanish language music to mock their opponent’s anti-immigration rhetoric. David Michael Smith of the Houston Socialist Movement appealed to citizens by saying “it is absolutely essential for people of different political persuasions– workers, oppressed people, women, other folks– to unite and defeat the rise and return of the far-right.”