Showing posts with label Kip Holden. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kip Holden. Show all posts

Sunday, March 14, 2010

America's next great bad reputation

Click on pictures for documents

What is it that people say about never having a second chance to make a good first impression?

Yeah, Baton Rouge never heard that one. Or much about the Constitution of the United States.

from a pure public-relations perspective -- forget basic issues of police practice, justice, race relations or jurisprudence -- what I'm sure has happened in the case of Baton Rouge officials' "Wyatt Earp meets David Duke" fetish is that New Mexico and Michigan state troopers who witnessed this stuff told some people.

Who told some people.

Who told some people.

Who told some people.

Who told some people about what redneck mongoloids the people were in Baton Rouge, La. And what abject racists. And how you don't want to go there.

Especially if you're of the Not White persuasion. Or the Not From Around Here persuasion.

And then the newspaper in Baton Rouge finally got a hold of the Michigan and New Mexico troopers official reports . . . which Baton Rouge police officials found myriad reasons not to do much about.

And then -- especially in the wake of the FBI getting to the bottom of the post-Katrina Danziger Bridge massacre perpetrated by New Orleans cops -- some national news outlet (or outlets) are going to pick up on the Baton Rouge incidents as a nice sidebar to the main atrocity in the Big Easy.

And they're going to tell their readers and viewers.

Who are going to tell some people.

Who are going to tell some people.

Let me know how that's going to be working out for America's Next Great City (TM).

America's next great banana republic

Was it embarrassment over their ugly cop cars?

Were Baton Rouge's finest just having a bad hurricane-hair day?

Or are basic tenets of U.S. constitutional law just foreign concepts in America's next great banana republic?

Whatever it was that caused Baton Rouge cops to get so out of line in the wake of Hurricane Katrina that more than a few out-of-state counterparts recoiled in horror as they rode shotgun with the locals, apparently none of it was so horrible that official Baton Rouge couldn't offer up embarrassingly lame excuses. As only officials in banana republics can.

TAKE THESE incidents uncovered by The Advocate newspaper after a four-year legal battle to obtain reports filed with the Baton Rouge Police Department by officers from New Mexico and Michigan. Here's what police from New Mexico alleged:
New Mexico state police Agent Nathan Lucero said he saw “subjects being stopped for no reason, searches being performed with no probable cause and people’s civil rights being violated.”

Lucero said he also “witnessed officers referring to African Americans as animals and that they needed to be beaten down.”

Lucero said one officer told him that after the hurricane, police had gone into black neighborhoods and “beaten them down.”

That officer, Lucero said, would point a spotlight in black people’s faces during the patrols and say: “What are you doing standing in the road? Are you stupid? Get out of the road.”

“The black civilians were on the sidewalks and were not bothering anyone,” Lucero added.

Lucero said police working in Tigerland near LSU, an area he described as “white and wealthy,” were much more congenial. The officers would say things like “Hello and how are you” or “Have a good night and be careful,” he said.

Lucero did not name any of the officers.

New Mexico state police Agent Patrick Oakley said Baton Rouge Police Officer Tim Browning used the term “heathens” to describe a group of black men they encountered.

“Officer Browning made contact with these subjects with no reasonable suspicion or probable cause, performed pat downs and extracted items from the pockets of these individuals,” Oakley said.

New Mexico state police Officer Gregory Hall said he rode with Baton Rouge Police Officer Chad King on two occasions.

“King is a good officer but seems to handle black people differently than he would a pretty Caucasian woman,” Hall wrote. “Each time Officer King would make contact with a Caucasian person he would be friendly and pleasant. But when he spoke to a black person he was very loud, rude and demeaning.”

Hall said that while he believes most of the Baton Rouge officers are good, he perceived a racial bias among many.

“I do feel that most of the night officers that I had contact with had some type of comment or attitude towards black people in general,” he said.

OR PERHAPS you could take a look at these eyewitness reports by police from Michigan on Katrina duty in Louisiana's capital city:
Michigan State Trooper Jeffrey Werda said officers offered to let him beat a prisoner as a thank you for helping out with relief efforts.

“I was told that I could go ahead and beat someone down or bitch slap them and they would do the report,” Werda said. “I was told this was my gift from them for helping with the hurricane relief efforts.”

Werda reported seeing several incidents of excessive force.

One man walking down a street ran into his house after seeing a patrol unit, Werda said. The Baton Rouge officer chased the man into the house and arrested him, then forced him onto the hood of the patrol unit, the trooper said.

“The officer then began telling him that the next time he runs from the police, he will get beat down,” Werda said.

The man complained his wrist was hurting, Werda said. Another Baton Rouge officer bent the man’s wrist and threatened to break it if he didn’t shut his mouth, Werda wrote.

Werda said he asked the man why he ran if he was not doing anything wrong, and the reply was that “he did not want to get his ass kicked by the police, as this has occurred to him before.”

In another incident, Werda said, police were called to a bar near LSU because of a fight. He said the fight was over and everything was calm when an officer approached a man and “suddenly hit the subject in the side of the head with his forearm and took him to the ground in a head lock. “

“I observed this subject the entire time and at no time did he pose as a threat or mouth off at the officers,” Werda said. “In fact, he was so intoxicated he could barely stand up on his own.”

Werda did not name the officers involved in any of the incidents he reported.
AND YOU THOUGHT stuff like this only happened in the movies. Or in Juarez.

What in the world could the police chief say about his department in the wake of such allegations from sworn officers from two other states?
Well, this:
Baton Rouge Police Chief Jeff LeDuff defends his department’s performance after Katrina, noting that the city was full of evacuees and rife with stories of looting and shooting in New Orleans.

“We had a charge to hold the line and balance this city and keep it from being overrun and looted and fired upon,” he said.

He denied giving orders to run evacuees out of town, noting he had family members staying in his own home.

Asked why law enforcement officers from other states would lie about what they saw Baton Rouge police doing, LeDuff said he suspects the troopers wanted to be where the action was.

“Everybody who came here wanted to be in New Orleans where all of this was going on, to rescue, to stop the looting, to stop the people from shooting at helicopters,” he said. “I don’t think people wanted to come to Baton Rouge. We weren’t the story.”

NO, I WOULDN'T believe this s*** either if I weren't from there. But really . . . believe it.

Officialdom in Baton Rouge not only believes you, the rest of America, will buy the load they're trying to sell, but --
on some warped level --they actually believe it themselves. And except for the unfortunates who got their faces slammed into the hood of one of Baton Rouge's ugly-ass cop cars for no good reason, Louisianians will believe it, too.

After all, a state doesn't work its way to the top of all the bad lists and the bottom of all the good ones without being able to believe "as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

Take Mayor-President Kip Holden, for example. Every morning, he gets up and tells himself that his stagnant, middling Southern capital is "America's next great city." This amid a crumbling school system, an astronomical murder rate, endemic poverty, crumbling infrastructure and an ongoing brain drain.

Then, after he tells himself that, he tells The Advocate this:
East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Kip Holden denied ordering police to run people out of town, though he acknowledged wanting them to be aggressive.

“I was not going to let Baton Rouge be overrun by some people from New Orleans who were hell-bent on committing crimes,” he said in an interview last week.

He said his message to those “thugs who are robbing, raping and looting in New Orleans” was that he would provide them shelter, but “it will not be at the Red Cross — it’s going to be in jail.”

“If there’s a blame to be placed on aggressive enforcement, blame it on me,” he added.
YEAH, YOU RIGHT, CAP. It's the s***s when da slums a Noo Orluns escape, well . . . da slums a Noo Orluns.

If Holden had been any more proactive, he would have directed all the New Orleans-to-Baton Rouge vehicle traffic to facilities where the evacuees could take "showers."

But the bottom line you, the rest of America, need to remember is this: Both the mayor-president and the police chief are African-Americans. And when a city's black folk can be just as big a bunch of rednecks as your average Bubba. . . .

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Old times there are not forgotten. . . .

In all the sordid racial history of the American South, one taboo was always powerful enough to kill.

The act of it was strictly illegal. In 1955, in the Mississippi Delta, the mere thought that a 14-year-old black boy might have had it on his mind put Emmitt Till in his grave. What was left of him.


If all the racial bugaboos of the segregated South had a corresponding curse word, miscegenation would be the F-word, the C-word, the MF-word and the S-word all rolled into one. Especially if we're talking a black man marrying, having sex with, dating or just looking wrong at a white woman.

(White men having their way with black women -- so long as no wedding vows were exchanged -- garnered de jure disapproval but a de facto wink and a grin.)


The feds said states' rights didn't include forbidding interracial matrimony. But the toxic enculturation of a Jim Crow society remains lodged in many a Southern mind, not unlike a malignant and inoperable tumor.

The fear of miscegenation is the kind of carefully taught evil that wormed its way into the subconscious of Southerners -- of Americans -- of a certain age and older. It gets beneath one's beliefs and convictions; it adheres itself to Pavlovian recesses of the subconscious, the ones governing what you feel in that split second before moral rectitude kicks in.

IT'S AN UGLY TABOO that feeds on the ugliest parts of our human fallenness.

Which, of course, makes exploiting voters' ingrained race-mixing revulsion a no-brainer for the savvy-but-unethical political operative.

And, in case you haven't noticed, there are just a few of those in the Gret Stet of Louisiana. It looks like a few more have just crawled out from under a rock in Baton Rouge to take racially charged shots at the city's African-American mayor, as reported by The Advocate:

Mayor-President Kip Holden on Friday said he is calling for a criminal investigation into a political mailer that alleges he had an affair with a married woman and was beaten up by her husband.

The mailer was in the form of a letter signed by the Rev. Charles Matthews, who Holden said does not exist.

The mailer includes a photo of Holden with a “black eye and busted lip” that he said is actually a doctored version of the picture on the mayor’s Web site.

Holden acknowledged he did suffer a black eye last year when he tripped over a piece of carpet, but noted he did not get a busted lip from the accident.

The mailer claims the woman’s husband punched Holden in the mouth and eye, and police have refused to serve as his bodyguard “on moral grounds and a strong belief that someone is going to get injured or worse, die.”
THE NEWSPAPER, truth be told, sanitized the story quite a bit. It didn't even touch the miscegenation angle, which the political mailer most certainly did -- including a photo of the black mayor and the white woman in question. Here's some purple prose directly from the "reverend's" word processor:
Pulling his pants up with one hand, grabbing his expensive alligator shoes with the other, Mayor Melvin "Kip" Holden ran from the residence, but not before a 5' 10" Caucasian man punched him in the eye and mouth (see picture). A reliable source reported seeing the Mayor's mouth bleeding as he hurried to a black Lincoln with a public license plate.

Standing in the door of his residence the man watched the Lincoln speed away driven by the mayor's bodyguard, an on duty Baton Rouge police officer. With tears in his eyes, he turned and stared at his nude spouse.
EXPENSIVE alligator shoes.

Caucasian man, tears in eyes.

Nude spouse.

You didn't see any of that ugliness in The Advocate's "mainstream" reportage. Nor did the paper point out the staggering irony of it all -- the political opponent Holden suspects is responsible for the flier is . . . black.

Holden said the allegations are ridiculous, and are obviously the handiwork of one of his opponents in the mayor’s race and their operatives.

“I have had the same four police officers with me since I took office. The only one that is no longer working with me is Eugene Smith, who said he needed additional time with his family after his father was killed in an accident,” Holden said.

Holden said criminal charges may be filed as a result of the smear tactic. He said he’s contacted the state Attorney General’s Office and the FBI.

Because the mailer was sent via U.S. mail and contained false information, federal mail fraud charges could be pending against the perpetrators, Holden said.

Holden also suggested that Metro Councilman Byron Sharper may be involved because he called the mayor’s office earlier this week and warned that “we’re going to drop a bomb on you.”

Sharper could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

In a statement issued Friday afternoon, Holden said Metro Councilman Sharper’s brother, Kurt, has distributed the fliers in public buildings.

“We have provided his identity to law enforcement as a source of information and involvement,” Holden said in the statement.
PERHAPS SOMEBODY'S trying to get both white men and black women mad at the mayor. I mean . . . y'think?

Then, to throw in a red flag for all the fire-breathers among the Religious Right, the smear piece declares, ostensibly unironically:

The FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL, THE LOUISIANA FAMILY FORUM, Local Ministers, and the Metro Council recently defeated Mayor Holden's attempt to pass a blanket declaration as to Baton Rouge being a sanctuary for homosexuals through his One Baton Rouge resolution. Please join with us in demanding legal and moral conduct from our public officials.
YOU BET, podna. Pleas for legal and moral rectitude in a sleazy, racist flier allegedly produced by black pols stooping to Kluxer tactics against a black mayor. Only in Louisiana. . . .

Only in Louisiana, dammit. Isn't anyone down there the least bit ashamed yet of what they tolerate and who they vote into office?

Anyone? Anyone?