hctiB G: What You Might Do

originally published Jun 4, 2013


 

This is not about education or NOLA so if that’s what you’re looking for, stop here and go read the Lens or Education Talk New Orleans, etc.

If you read 1585 over at b2l2, you know why this isn’t about public education and how scarce that topic may be here for a while.

____________

One night, in February 2007, I was introduced to a handsome, brooding, aloof, chain-smoking French guitarist called Gautier at a gig in London. Sparks flew. He visited me in Brighton two weeks later, proffering a typically Gallic shrug when I told him about my illness. I had been told that the effects of this drug on a growing foetus were unknown, so I mustn’t get pregnant; add all the post-surgery scar tissue and the fact that I could barely look after myself and having a child was not an option. Gautier was unfazed, while I was becoming used to having decisions made for me.

I flew to Gautier’s home town in France for his 30th birthday in March. He proposed that weekend. We married on an extraordinarily sunny day in September at Brighton’s Royal Pavilion. A cocktail of prescription painkillers enabled me to stand in my four-inch heels during the ceremony. He already thought me beautiful; it was my determination, I think, that he was beginning to admire.

I’ve gotten direct and second-hand commiseration, concern, sympathy, empathy, virtual pats on the arm or back, and it has been a pleasant surprise and soul-warming. I’ve also gotten and heard, What can I do? Tell me what I can do. Really, let me know, anything. That’s been…heartening. But also a dilemma.

Part, in many cases all, of the motivation behind these questions and semi-requests is sympathy, empathy, humanity, lovingkindness. It’s something you hear, fortunately, but never often enough, when you are seriously, acutely ill or chronically ill; people want to do something to not feel useless or powerless and to show that they really, deeply care and would’ve said all these things earlier if only they had known. Those who are closest know that there are many things that you can no longer do or find difficult or can’t manage for all kinds of reasons, or only because of the sometimes-overwhelming nature of your illness/condition, and that you need help of some kind, of many kinds, and the nuclear family can make help hard to get and desperately needed—there’s a lot more to do when only a small number are there to do. And my spouse is working hard to pick up my slack and be supportive and no day has enough hours.

Here are some things folks with chronic/invisible illnesses could use some help with but are too proud/embarrassed/self-conscious/thoughtful and loving to actually verbalize to ANYone:

  • Offer to pick up some groceries rather than do the cooking. Many times people with illnesses have restrictive diets, so they may rather have some fresh fruits and vegetables than that casserole. Or ask what kind of meals she is eating and then freeze some of these for her to have on hand.

You might also offer to come over and help cook up something to freeze.

  • Take the children out for a while so your friend can get some rest. Plan something special for the children and before you drop them off at the house, pick up a small “something” that will make their parent smile like some fresh flowers or balloons.
  • Look around her home and see what needs to be done and then make an offer to do it. Do the tree branches need trimmed? The toilets cleaned? The carpet shampooed?
  • …Rent her a fun movie and then drop by later to return it to the video store.
  • Ask the person’s spouse how you can help the family. The spouse may be more willing to give you specifics about the family’s needs….[How to Help a Loved One with Chronic Illness—Lisa Copen]
  • Offer specific forms of help – “I’m going to the grocery store, do you need anything?” or “Can I do some laundry for you?” Any number of household things, your friend might need help with. Offer to take care of it
  • ….Volunteer to watch his or her children. Take the kids out for ice cream or to a movie to give your friend some peace.
  • Offer to watch his kids during doctor appointments. It’s often hard to find so many babysitters, and taking kids to an important appointment isn’t always an option.

And it’s good enough to hear/see twice—

  • …Ask the person’s partner how to best help the family. If there are a number of things to be done, organize a number of friends to help complete these chores….[How to Help a Friend with Chronic Illness]

And “How are you?” and “How are you feeling?” are often loaded questions a person with chronic illness may just not want to get into.

Don’t ever ask “How are you?” or “How are you feeling?” because the answer never changes and your friend doesn’t want to talk about it. Instead ask, “How is your day going?” or “Is there anything you need help with today?” [How to Help…]

The hardest thing to accept is that you may not be able to help, at that moment, for that thing, for more than a small moment of time or other than to be a caring witness.

The chronic nature is hard on the sufferer/patient and just as hard, but in different ways, for the witnesses.

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#ThisStopsToday: NOLA, Friday, Dec. 12. Lafayette Square

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“I can give you a body camera but if you don’t turn it on, what’s the point of having a camera”

“This is one of our biggest concerns – the promise of this technology as a police oversight mechanism will be undermined if individual officers can manipulate what is taped and what isn’t,” ACLU Senior Policy Analyst, Jay Stanley told Fusion.

“There needs to be very strong policies that make very clear when police officers are expected to be recording and back that up with strict enforcement,” he said.

This has relevance in light of President Obama’s plan, announced last week, to get more body cameras onto the vests of police officers nationwide. Michael Brown’s family has demanded that all police officers wear cameras.

The cameras are marketed to police departments as a way to reduce citizen complaints and litigation against officers. Steve Ward, CEO of body camera manufacturer Vievu, told Fusion, “If police officers wear body cameras, 50 percent of their complaints will go away overnight.” He said the cameras “overwhelmingly” help the officers.

The police body camera wasn’t rolling when 19-year-old Mary Hawkes was shot and killed by an Albuquerque police officer in April. The police officer’s camera was turned off when the officer fired his weapon. Just this week, the officer involved was fired after an internal probe found he turned off his camera at least four times. It’s very rare for officers to be fired for failing to properly use body cameras.

In New Orleans this summer, a police officer had her body camera turned off when she shot a 26-year-old man in the forehead during a traffic stop. The case is still under investigation. The department told Fusion there have been 39 internal affairs investigations involving the use of body cameras this year. So far, 17 of those officers were investigated and sanctioned while four were cleared of any wrongdoing. A report conducted by an independent monitor assigned by the U.S. Department of Justice released in August found cameras, including body cameras and the more prevalent police dashboard cameras, were not used in 60 percent of the use of force incidents reported between January to May 2014.

In an email to Fusion, the New Orleans Police Department said it is working to “build a solid system of accountability,” recently introducing “new activity sheets that officers must fill out in the field to “document that they are wearing a working body-worn camera.”

The Ft. Worth, TX Police Department didn’t provide detailed data about violations of body camera policies. According to documents provided to Fusion, the police department found all allegations made against police officers since Jan. 1 of this year – with or without body camera evidence – were either “unfounded” or “did not result in discipline.”

“A lot of people are pinning their hopes on the cameras, but the reality is we have to change the culture of policing,” said Miami-Dade Public Defender Carlos Martinez. “That’s changing peoples’ hearts and that’s very difficult to do.”

HT: Michelle Alexander via Facebook

INVESTIGATION OF 5 CITIES FINDS BODY CAMERAS USUALLY HELP POLICE. Fusion.net, 12/7/14.

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Anonymous: #OpAnonVerdict

Kelly Thomas: http://bit.ly/1rHQ8u4
John Crawford: http://bit.ly/1y1oDOt
Tamir Rice: http://bit.ly/1ymvYXS
Dillon Taylor: http://bit.ly/1ysDzVD
Samantha Ramsey: http://bit.ly/15Ivxhd
Tanisha Anderson: http://bit.ly/1xEXMq2
#OpKKK: http://bit.ly/1vvwjGq
#OpTamirRice: http://bit.ly/1ysEOEi
#OpJohnCrawford: http://bit.ly/1ysEmGa
#OpDarrienHunt: http://bit.ly/1uTNfTg

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No Fucking Indictment in Eric Garner’s Death

No indictment for officer who killed Eric Garner. Associated Press/The Grio, 12/3/2014.

Fuck.

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For Thanksgiving

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….

 

mourn

Darren Wilson will face no charges in Michael Brown’s shooting death. The Grio.

Ferguson Prosecutor Robert McCulloch Gives Bizarre Press Conference. HuffPo.

Darren Wilson Told Grand Jury That Michael Brown Looked Like A ‘Demon’. TPM.

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Bit(ch) 21: That I-Survived Spidey Sense

At one point yesterday, halfway through a sentence, handing over a bolt cutter, my Spidey sense went off—because of a mix up, I was alone in the house with 2 crews of working men, about 7-8 in all, 1 fairly well known to me, another sort of, the other strangers who poured out of a truck in front my house. My I Survived lessons kicked in—I was near 2 tool boxes, I had at least 1 ally [though from what I learned from I Survived, that can mean nothing at the exact moment you need it to], and my cell was in my back pocket so I was good to go.

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UPDATE: Bit(ch) 20: “simple rape”

8 highlights from Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s news conference on NOPD sex-crime scandal. nola.com, 11/18/14, 3:33 PM.

New Orleans police chief, mayor to announce NOPD task force after OIG report. WDSU.com, 11/18/14, updated 11:22 AM.

“We are looking at them because a big part of this problem is adequate supervision and system failure,” Harrison said. “So what we’re doing now is building [a] system of accountability to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

“The second thing is the internal investigation to ascertain if we violated any criminal or any administrative laws,” Harrison said. “Then we will prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law…all the way up to termination.”

“We’re looking for who gave instruction, who missed this, how did this system break [and] how we did miss this,” Harrison said.

from the live press conference on WDSU.com:

“a failure of leadership”

“make sure every case involving a child is looked at thoroughly”

Much progress made 4 years ago didn’t seem to reach these detectives and their supervisors will also be investigated to see how all this shit slipped through. All the cases will be re-examined like cold cases—witnesses re-interviewed, evidence re-examined, etc. Much faith expressed in Cmdr. Noel by community groups and advocates.

“reconstruct the unit–it’s reconstructed now”

“we missed it, we need to go back and fix it”

“building a new system of accountability”

“since the DOJ report of 2011…”

“when we got here the complete department was in disarray”

“we’d actually made great progress in the department over the past 2 years…I’m very thankful for all the reforms we have in place”

“most in this department are doing incredible work every day”

“we have to earn the people’s trust that we’re going to do the right things for the right reasons”


 

RS 14:43
§43.  Simple rape
A.  Simple rape is a rape committed when the anal, oral, or vaginal sexual intercourse is deemed to be without the lawful consent of a victim because it is committed under any one or more of the following circumstances:
(1)  When the victim is incapable of resisting or of understanding the nature of the act by reason of a stupor or abnormal condition of mind produced by an intoxicating agent or any cause and the offender knew or should have known of the victim’s incapacity.
(2)  When the victim, through unsoundness of mind, is temporarily or permanently incapable of understanding the nature of the act and the offender knew or should have known of the victim’s incapacity.
(3)  When the female victim submits under the belief that the person committing the act is her husband and such belief is intentionally induced by any artifice, pretense, or concealment practiced by the offender.
B.  Whoever commits the crime of simple rape shall be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence, for not more than twenty-five years.
Acts 1978, No. 239, §1; Acts 1990, No. 722, §1; Acts 1995, No. 946, §2; Acts 1997, No. 862, §1; Acts 2001, No. 131, §1; Acts 2001, No. 301, §1; Acts 2003, No. 232, §1; Acts 2003, No. 759, §1; Acts 2010, No. 359, §1.


Detective D
Detective D was assigned 11 simple rape cases during the three year time period. Five had no supplemental reports documenting any investigative effort beyond the initial report; one had no file at all; and one was presented to the DA’s Office. Detective D told at least three different individuals that Detective D did not believe that simple rape should be a crime.
* In one case, Detective D wrote that no DNA evidence was discovered. However, this was directly contradicted by Louisiana State Police DNA Laboratory records which showed
that DNA evidence had been discovered.
* In another case, the victim went to the hospital for a SANE examination. The SANE nurse reported that the victim said that she was receiving threatening text messages from the assailant; however, there was no documentation that Detective D attempted to obtain any phone records or text messages. The SANE Nurse also collected potential DNA evidence from the victim that was collected in a sexual assault kit; however, a review of LSP DNA Laboratory records revealed that Detective D never submitted the kit for testing. A review of the sex crimes log book maintained by the Special Victims Section revealed that Detective D made an entry for this case which stated that Detective D would not submit the kit to the DNA lab because the sex was consensual. [emphasis added]

Report of Inquiry into Documentation of Sex Crimes Investigations by Five Detectives in the Special Victims Section of the New Orleans Police Department. Office of Inspector General, City of New Orleans, 11/12/14. PDF.

Detective D and the others in the audit have been identified by the NOPD and reassigned. Not necessarily in that order.

The five detectives — Akron Davis, Merrill Merricks, Derrick Williams, Damita Williams and Vernon Haynes — represented the majority of the Special Victims Section, which had between eight and nine detectives throughout the three-year period.

All are now patrolling the streets. Davis, who was the lone child-abuse detective, has been transferred to the 5th District in the St. Claude area. (Read a summary of problems found with Davis’ work.) Merricks was moved to the 2nd District Uptown, and the remaining three were all moved to the 7th District in eastern New Orleans.

They were identified as particularly unproductive by the inspector general’s office last spring while auditors were looking into a pattern of rape misclassification in the department.

Supervisors Louis Gaydosh and James Kelly were transferred to patrol duties and are also under investigation.

The crimes that leave the largest and most permanent impact left to “particularly unproductive” detectives, one of whom believes that if you are unconscious and someone puts his dick in you somewhere that that is your fault and not at all a crime. As if it’s like walking into the wrong door and just merits an “Excuse me” and a sheepish grin. Even if my front door is wide open, it’s a crime if you come in and steal my TV or car keys. The TV and car keys and car are mine, not yours, not to be taken but left alone. Close the door and move on.

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Bit(ch) 20: “simple rape”

RS 14:43
§43.  Simple rape
A.  Simple rape is a rape committed when the anal, oral, or vaginal sexual intercourse is deemed to be without the lawful consent of a victim because it is committed under any one or more of the following circumstances:
(1)  When the victim is incapable of resisting or of understanding the nature of the act by reason of a stupor or abnormal condition of mind produced by an intoxicating agent or any cause and the offender knew or should have known of the victim’s incapacity.
(2)  When the victim, through unsoundness of mind, is temporarily or permanently incapable of understanding the nature of the act and the offender knew or should have known of the victim’s incapacity.
(3)  When the female victim submits under the belief that the person committing the act is her husband and such belief is intentionally induced by any artifice, pretense, or concealment practiced by the offender.
B.  Whoever commits the crime of simple rape shall be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence, for not more than twenty-five years.
Acts 1978, No. 239, §1; Acts 1990, No. 722, §1; Acts 1995, No. 946, §2; Acts 1997, No. 862, §1; Acts 2001, No. 131, §1; Acts 2001, No. 301, §1; Acts 2003, No. 232, §1; Acts 2003, No. 759, §1; Acts 2010, No. 359, §1.


Detective D
Detective D was assigned 11 simple rape cases during the three year time period. Five had no supplemental reports documenting any investigative effort beyond the initial report; one had no file at all; and one was presented to the DA’s Office. Detective D told at least three different individuals that Detective D did not believe that simple rape should be a crime.
* In one case, Detective D wrote that no DNA evidence was discovered. However, this was directly contradicted by Louisiana State Police DNA Laboratory records which showed
that DNA evidence had been discovered.
* In another case, the victim went to the hospital for a SANE examination. The SANE nurse reported that the victim said that she was receiving threatening text messages from the assailant; however, there was no documentation that Detective D attempted to obtain any phone records or text messages. The SANE Nurse also collected potential DNA evidence from the victim that was collected in a sexual assault kit; however, a review of LSP DNA Laboratory records revealed that Detective D never submitted the kit for testing. A review of the sex crimes log book maintained by the Special Victims Section revealed that Detective D made an entry for this case which stated that Detective D would not submit the kit to the DNA lab because the sex was consensual. [emphasis added]

Report of Inquiry into Documentation of Sex Crimes Investigations by Five Detectives in the Special Victims Section of the New Orleans Police Department. Office of Inspector General, City of New Orleans, 11/12/14. PDF.

Detective D and the others in the audit have been identified by the NOPD and reassigned. Not necessarily in that order.

The five detectives — Akron Davis, Merrill Merricks, Derrick Williams, Damita Williams and Vernon Haynes — represented the majority of the Special Victims Section, which had between eight and nine detectives throughout the three-year period.

All are now patrolling the streets. Davis, who was the lone child-abuse detective, has been transferred to the 5th District in the St. Claude area. (Read a summary of problems found with Davis’ work.) Merricks was moved to the 2nd District Uptown, and the remaining three were all moved to the 7th District in eastern New Orleans.

They were identified as particularly unproductive by the inspector general’s office last spring while auditors were looking into a pattern of rape misclassification in the department.

Supervisors Louis Gaydosh and James Kelly were transferred to patrol duties and are also under investigation.

The crimes that leave the largest and most permanent impact left to “particularly unproductive” detectives, one of whom believes that if you are unconscious and someone puts his dick in you somewhere that that is your fault and not at all a crime. As if it’s like walking into the wrong door and just merits an “Excuse me” and a sheepish grin. Even if my front door is wide open, it’s a crime if you come in and steal my TV or car keys. The TV and car keys and car are mine, not yours, not to be taken but left alone. Close the door and move on.

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