Sunday, June 12, 2011

Leniency for Lucullan Living LeVin and Maximum Mandated for Misfortunate Maximo

Many people may know that this blog has spoken of a young gentlemen named Maximo Gordan.  This blogger has mentioned that name many times and has even taken to the Deerfield Beach City Commission meetings and spoken of his plight.  Now, I don't know whether Maximo was telling the truth or not, about what type of footage he had, but in a candid discussion with Chief Sudler he indicated that he had seen the footage and it did not condemn the BSO as Maximo had alluded to.  I am inclined to believe Chief Sudler, just because of Maximo's past.  However, that footage has never been released for any of the public to view, so I cannot say with any certainty that Maximo was being facetious or sincere.  However, in my very few dealings with the BSO, as an observer, ride-along participant, and passerby I have not been witness to any mis-dealings by them. In talks with them they seem to be good guys who, like most of us, are trying to do their jobs and make sure they make it home to their respective families.  

It's obvious that their jobs come with risk and sometimes in the black community unbeknownst to us we push the line in situations and are unaware that we are endangering the safety of the officer(s), which may cause the officer to react.  We do not realize that while we are watching them and talking to them, and sometimes screaming at them, they have to watch all of us, since incidents in the past have gotten a cop killed.  Now, this is not to say that every incident with black people or people in general is somehow dangerous to the police, but because it only takes a split second to go from laughing to bleeding to not breathing (on both sides) the police and the citizens have to be cautious.  Please note that I am not saying that sometimes the police in an attempt to be cautious don't go over board because history shows us otherwise, but what I am saying is that we as people need to be mindful of the fact that these police officers are human and so are all the people that they come in contact with.   "Human, of flesh and blood" we're made.  "Human, born to make mistakes".  Yes, yes, yes, I borrowed that from the Human League's awesome song "Human" from their 1986 album Crash, which just so happens to be one of my favorites. 

Anyway, I have suggested to many on both sides, law enforcer and law abiding citizen, that they watch the 1975 movie "Cornbread, Earl, and Me" starring  Laurence Fishburne.  A case of mistaken identity, a death, a riot, and then police cover up, that ends with  which all could have been avoided if the relationship between the cops and the community were one of reciprocal respect.  I must say that this relationship has not gotten much better since 1975 when this movie was made and due to a few instances these stereotypes on both sides have been perpetuated through the years.  Don't we all think it's time for a change.

I am glad that Deerfield Beach has a progressive thinking Police Chief, Pete Sudler, who has opened up his Station to people like me and others.  He has invited us, all who would help in the rebuilding of that reciprocal relationship, to take ride-alongs, to learn about the BSO processes, to join them in their community policing programs, and other avenues that would be beneficial not only to the police but to the communities as well.  He and his leadership staff have stepped out from behind their desk and they came to a meeting on Monday June 6, 2011 in District 2 to give the public some insight into BSO, so that we can understand that they are trying to do their job.  I do agree with the Chief and have taken that a step further by asking him to initiate a "back to basics" program where the patrolling deputies "walk the beat" as the neighborhood foot patrolman used to do in the 50's and 60's before the advent of computer based profiling programs.  I do whole-heartedly believe that these two approaches can work in unison with each other to provide better service to the communities.  The police remove their robocop armor (their cars and computers) and walk the neighborhoods as human beings getting familiar with the residents, possibly even befriending many.  This will help create the mutual respect and remove the mutual fear between the cops and the community that will lend itself to mending those fences and building those bridges necessary to effectively move these two entities, cops and community, forward to a better future with a more reciprocally respectful relationship.  

Keep in mind that this, back to basics approach, does not have to be done everyday and can be implemented in many different ways, once a week, once a month, six times a year (not recommended), but you get the point, which is it should be implemented.  This is not to make the cops more vulnerable, but it is to make them more apathetic and aware that every person and situation they come in contact with does not have to be an elevated situation.  It is basically the same as sensitivity training and could possibly be implemented along with sensitivity training or even during the probationary period of a new officer in a zone.  I am sure we can all can agree that the residents should at least know the name of the deputies that are patrolling there neighborhoods. 

I know this, because I have had very humanizing talks with police officers, ones I may not have had if I didn't step outside my box and initiate conversations.  One in particular occurred this weekend with a routine stop and I was a passerby, not to be nosy, but because I saw a woman on the ground not being arrested but she looked distressed.  It turned out to to be family members of the person I was riding with and so we pulled over to see what happened.  Well, we found out from the family their perspective of events and then went over to the police to find out their, as there are always two sides to every story.  Now for anyone ever, involved in a stop rather guilty of something or not, knows that it can be a little frightening and a bit of panic does set in, white or black.  To deny this would be a great lie and do more harm than good.  The point is these people were a bit panicked and a bit frantic, so when I approached the police officers, I did so very calmly because I understand that in that type of situation the adrenaline is going and that rush you get may have you a bit on edge and your senses are heightened.  So, I politely waited until they finished their interview and the situation was resolved peacefully and amicably and then I approached the officers on scene.  I asked for their names and badge numbers, which at first, the officer assumed that I just wanted it to file a complaint on him and so he did give it to me, but with a bit of trepidation in his voice, which is understandable because he feels he was doing his job, a bad situation made worse when family members arrived heightening the situation, and then he may have felt personally attacked that someone would want to complain while he was just doing his job.  I ask wouldn't you feel the same on your job, if clients or customers complained on you, when you felt you did an outstanding job under the circumstances following all protocols. So, I understood, why he was a bit on edge, so I calmly explained to him my involvement and the situation was friendly after that and we had a long conversation out there on the street by the graveyard in Deerfield Beach District 2, zone 6 I believe.  Again, I advised them the same thing I advised earlier about the perceptions held by both sides and that me and group of others were working to rebuild the relationship b/w cops and community.  I expressed to them that they should ask Chief Sudler for a movie and popcorn night where they all sit and watch the movie "Cornbread, Earl, Me".  We all laughed, but I was serious and I will be emailing the Chief about it!  The point of it was to show that whereas I can understand where the police are coming from many in my community do not.  They have not had the opportunities that I have had or the positive experiences that I have had in dealing with the police.  Thankfully, I have never had to be the assailant, or the suspect, or the "perp".  "Perp", I love that word.  The point is, if more people met with the police, saw what they go through, and if we could get both sides to see that we are all "HUMAN", then I believe we could move forward positively from there.

Now, after all of that, this brings me to the point of this post and why I mentioned poor Maximo Gordan, earlier.  I woke up this morning at 6am because I couldn't sleep and I did what I always do check my messages and the blogosphere to see what's new and I ran across this article,0,2864968.column

Judge McCarthy lenient with LeVin, tough on local driver

House arrest for hit-run killer, 4 1/2 years in prison for ATV chase

Now once you read this, I believe you will be as appalled at this as I am.  It's enraging really, to think that this is allowed to happen.  I have thought this when I attended Maximo's hearing that Wednesday after he appeared at the Deerfield Beach City Commission and I think this now.  

Now, I will not even attempt to report on this because I believe the Mayo Column has done a fantastic job at covering this story and highlighting the disparity.  With my own dealings with the Ft. Lauderdale Branch of the NAACP regarding disparity and the possible violations of the Constitutional rights of minorities, I am sure that they will not get involved either, but that is another story. But, it is apparent that there is something really wrong here, especially when you line both of these guilty defendants up and do a side by side comparison of their charges, their past records, and the outcomes of theirespective trials.

This situation and its outcome sets back race relations over 60 years and there needs to be some form of redress for Maximo and his family and against Levin and Judge McCarthy.  I did not know that the ability to provide financial restitution trumped the law, but that is what Judge McCarthy has said and done with this ruling.  McCarthy, in a single blow has destroyed mine and I am sure many other's perception of "Justice for All" and "Equal Protection Under the Law".  I guess there is one law for poor people and one law forich people and she obviously is learned and schooled in both.  I wonder how many of these types of outcomes will we find if we look into her past.  

Justice for the rich and condemnation for the poor.  I don't believe that this is totally a "black" and "white" issue.  I do believe, however, that this is a Justice for those who can afford it issue, maximum Jail-time for those who can't or in this case, Leniency folucullan living LeVin and Maximum sentence for Maximo.  

How many convicted killers do you know who get house arrest? 

I hope someone out there at the Justice Department, the Florida Bar, any one with a conscience has read this and does something to make this very wrong, very wrong, situation right.

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