Transparency News, 6/19/20

 

 
Friday
June 19, 2020
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state & local news stories
 
"We also understand inaccurate or incomplete information will only prevent the relationships we wish to build from ever coming to fruition."

Top Charlottesville officials say they were unaware that Virginia State Police troopers used city vehicles to respond to a weekend rally protesting police brutality, saying the decision came from an unnamed officer. The City Council, City Manager Tarron Richardson and Police Chief RaShall Brackney released a joint statement Thursday to address the issue, which had been bubbling since Monday night. The statement was released shortly before the council finished a four-plus-hour closed session to discuss the performance of Richardson, Brackney, City Attorney John Blair and Clerk of Council Kyna Thomas. No action was taken in open session. “We understand there is a tremendous amount of work for us to do in order for us to earn your trust,” the statement says. “We also understand inaccurate or incomplete information will only prevent the relationships we wish to build from ever coming to fruition. We regret that a more detailed explanation of the city’s response was not available at the City Council meeting on Monday.”
The Daily Progress

There were masks and people six feet apart — and there also was no agenda and no topic off limits in a community conversation held by the Waynesboro police department on Wednesday in city council chambers. Limited by social distancing and gathering guidelines, seven members of the community and seven officers were present for the discussion that lasted more than two hours. The department added a new tab to its website titled “Policy and Training spotlight” that includes its bias based policing and use of force policies and procedures.
The News Virginian
 
stories of national interest
 
"The law will require the NYPD to reveal all surveillance technology it uses on the public and to develop policies on how that tech can be used."

A San Francisco Police Department memo obtained by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press reveals that police were instructed not to use body-worn cameras during last year’s high-profile raid of journalist Bryan Carmody’s home. In the two-paragraph memo, which the Reporters Committee received through a public records request, Lieutenant Pilar Torres states that he told law enforcement officers conducting the raid “not to utilize our Department issued BWC’s for this operation” because the video footage could compromise the “confidential investigation.”  In an email response to Reporters Committee questions, SFPD spokesman Sgt. Michael Andraychak said the department is not able to provide additional information about the memo “[d]ue to to pending administrative investigations.”
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

The Illinois Supreme Court ruled on a case Thursday regarding the destruction of police misconduct records. The court upheld an appellate court ruling in favor of the City of Chicago and against the police union. The ruling says the collective bargaining agreement is contrary to public policy regarding the destruction of public documents. This case centered on the police contract, which states most officer complaints would be destroyed after five years. But the city was not doing that, and argued the courts required that the records be kept. The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) says the ruling was greatly influenced by the national stage, pushing for police accountability.
WGNTV

Thousands of pages of documents obtained by ProPublica show how quickly public health agencies were overwhelmed by meatpacking cases. One CEO described social distancing as “a nicety that makes sense only for people with laptops.” The scores of emails and other records show that best practices to protect workers, such as slowing the processing line to accommodate social distancing, installing plexiglass barriers and having workers wear masks, weren’t implemented until outbreaks began to occur. Instead, meatpacking companies spent crucial early weeks urging officials to keep their plants open.
ProPublica

The New York City Council voted Thursday to require the NYPD, the nation's largest police department, to disclose all the technology it uses to conduct surveillance on people. The vote comes after a national rallying cry against police brutality following multiple police-involved deaths of black people.  New York City lawmakers passed the Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology (POST) Act, with a veto-proof majority. Mayor Bill de Blasio has 30 days to sign it into law and has said he backs the legislation. The law will require the NYPD to reveal all surveillance technology it uses on the public and to develop policies on how that tech can be used. The law will also mandate that the police department publish an annual oversight report to ensure it's following those policies.
c|net

A group of anti-police protesters in Cincinnati set fire to an American flag on Thursday night after the city council cut short the public-input portion of a budget meeting, according to a report. City Council member David Mann ordered the public-input portion to end after crowd members started jeering and booing a speaker who wanted the city to increase -- not decrease -- funding for its police department, FOX 19 of Cincinnati reported.
Fox News
 

 

editorials & columns
 
"So fervent have they been in their desire to censor her that they adopted norms and protocols restricting their own free speech so that they could restrict hers, as well."

Last Thursday’s School Board meeting was an embarrassment for all of Suffolk. First, let’s say this: Every elected body of any size, at any level, needs somebody like Sherri Story. In other words, every elected body needs someone who’s just a little bit contrarian. On the current Suffolk School Board, that person is clearly Sherri Story, who has done all of the above and more since she joined the board a year and a half ago. But because of Story’s outspokenness, most of the rest of the board members have gone out of their way to attempt to silence her. So fervent have they been in their desire to censor her that they adopted norms and protocols restricting their own free speech so that they could restrict hers, as well. 
Suffolk News-Herald
https://www.suffolknewsherald.com/2020/06/16/school-board-meeting-embarrassing/

 
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