Crime & Public Safety

Friday, July 8, 2016

Tucson, I Am You. You Are Me. What Are WE Going To Do?

Posted By on Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 6:01 AM

Hey Tucson, hey. Adiba here, and I'm coming to you with a heavy, 50lb heart. 

Alton Sterling. Philando Castile. 

As someone on Twitter said, "another day, another hashtag," and I can't wrap my mind around this. For some reason these two deaths have hit me harder and deeper than any of the countless deaths of Black men and women that have come before them. I have watched the video of every death prior to these. I've listened to countless audio tapes. I've listened to Trayvon Martin beg for someone, ANYONE to help; his screams heard through closed doors, brick frame homes and transmitted clearly over a telephone line into a 911 operator's ear. I've watched Walter Scott get shot in the back by a police officer as he ran for his life. I've witnessed via the terrors of YouTube as Laquan MacDonald had 17 bullets pumped into his body—execution by legal firing squad. So, watching my brothers die at the hands of corrupt police officers is not new to me—it has come to be part of the narrative of 2013 - ???.

But what was it about these two men? Is it because this time I witnessed the "what happened before" that people are always talking about? Is it because I saw Alton Sterling standing there, not resisting arrest, before being tackled to the ground like a linebacker? It because I watched the police officer put the gun to his chest more than once, watched him pull the trigger, and then watched life leave this man's body? Is it because Philando Castile's girlfriend invited me into her loved ones last moments on this earth, and I watched yet another soul float away? Is it because his 4-year-old daughter was still strapped into her carseat when her daddy was gunned down before her eyes? Or is it because I then listened to this same 4-year-old girl console her mother in the back of a police car, as she mourned the death of her loved one. This baby didn't even get to mourn. She was placed in the role of protector. At 4-years-old she unearthed the role of "saving grace." This shouldn't happen. This should never happen. It hasn't happened here. 

But it can. 

Tucson, I am a Black woman. I live here. I walk amongst you every day. It can happen to me. I have a 20-year-old brother who lives here. I have three nephews that live here, ages five, one and two. My three sisters live here. My mother lives here. 

We all live here. We don't look like the majority of you—only about 5 percent of Tucson is Black. But we are here—which means that like you, WE ARE TUCSON. Collectively. What you do to the least of us, you do to all of us. So I must ask, what are we doing collectively to make sure that my brother, YOUR brother, is not the next Philando Castile? What are we going to do collectively to make sure that my nephews, YOUR nephews, do not become the next Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, and Alton Sterling? What are we going to do COLLECTIVELY to make sure that I, the woman writing this article, am not the next Sandra Bland?

Because if I am the next Sandra Bland, then so are you.  
  • Tucson Police Chief Magnus via Daily Kos
If you would like to be part of the solution, please join the local chapter of Black Lives Matter on Saturday, July 9 at Armory Park. There will be a vigil and healing circle taking place, starting at 6 p.m. For more information please click here.

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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Not Your Mama's Safety Pin: How a Household Item Can Change a Life

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2016 at 10:30 AM

Hey hey, Tucson! I am thrilled to be writing to you about all the delicious shenanigans, and points of ponderance Tucson (and the world) has to offer! I grew up reading the Weekly, and my plan for my inaugural post was to take you on a trip down memory lane; share a bit of MY Tucson with you. But then I read this Huffington Post article about a local family that is being terrorized by some racist bigots.

Um, that's not MY Tucson.

According to the article, the family of Syrian refugees recently came home to find a note taped to their front door with phrases like "Go away killers!," "America hates terrorists like you!" and "You are Muslim and not welcome!" among other hateful things.

What? Did we enter some weird Twilight Zone vortex of idiocy? Has the heat finally fried our brains to the point of bumbling lunacy? I simply cannot wrap my brain around this, and I certainly cannot accept it. This family fled a country where they lived in fear every day because of terrorists and came to America—the land of the free (for some, but that's another post altogether).The family came here under the promise of relief from fear, bigotry, and certain death. Then they came all the way to Tucson—TUCSON; the liberal stepsister to the uber conservatives 2 hours north. Tucson—artsy-fartsy, retired hippy, live and let live, WE BUY SONORAN DOGS FROM DIRT FIELDS ON CORNERS AND TAMALES FROM WOMEN WE KNOW ARE HERE ILLEGALLY BUT DAMN, WE CAN'T GO WITHOUT OUR TAMALES—Tucson, and then we have the nerve, the gall, nay, the absolute audacity to do this?

No. This is not MY Tucson. If you're reading this right now, I'm willing to bet it's not YOUR Tucson either. In Tucson, we don't stand for bigotry. We don't stand for hate. And we sure as hell don't stand for cowardly fear tactics played out against our most vulnerable citizens. Hell-to-the-hot-ass-desert-NO.

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Friday, June 3, 2016

Something Needs to be Done About Gun Violence

Posted By on Fri, Jun 3, 2016 at 3:00 PM

Everyone seems to agree that something should be done about gun violence. - TUCSON WEEKLY ARCHIVE
  • Tucson Weekly Archive
  • Everyone seems to agree that something should be done about gun violence.

This past Wednesday afternoon I received frantic calls and texts from my mother and sister, asking me if my childhood friend, a UCLA student, was alright. Without any knowledge that a shooting had happened on the campus I somehow immediately knew that was the scenario my family members were referring to.

My friend is fine, but this isn’t about him. My immediate assumption when asked about the well-being of a college age friend was that there was a school shooting, and I was right.

It’s a bit ridiculous that public shootings have become so common in our society that they are the first thought some have when they’ve heard something is wrong. More frustrating than that is how we respond to these shootings. After each there is yet another call to change policies, and put in
preventative measures, which gets national attention for a week then fades away.

The reason often given for gun violence debates fading away, until of course the next shooting
comes around, is gridlock in our government. Democrats call for gun control, and recently Republicans have started calling for mental health care reform. Neither side is wrong: Better gun control and better mental health care would both likely reduce gun violence.

What happened at UCLA was fairly mild compared to other recent shootings years, but that should not diminish it. 

Reform aimed at fighting gun violence has been proposed many times over the past few years. Currently the U.S legislature is tossing around the Mental Health Reform Act of 2016. The act aims to make health care more accessible to those who need it. Hopefully this will pass, because when nothing gets done it doesn’t really matter who is right and who is wrong.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Remembering 9-Year-Old Brisenia Flores: Murdered in 2009 by Anti-Immigration Activists in Arivaca, Ignored by the Media

Posted By on Tue, May 31, 2016 at 3:00 PM

Brisenia Flores would be 16 this year—my youngest brother's age. Except seven years ago on May 30, as she slept with her puppy on the living room couch in her family's mobile home in Arivaca—about 60 miles south of Tucson—armed robbers broke in, and shot and killed Brisenia and her father, Raul, 29.

The home invasion was led by Shawna Forde, a former member of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, and founding member of the group Minutemen American Defense. Reports say she'd patrol the Arizona-México borderlands carrying weapons and protested against crime along the border, as well as the presence of undocumented immigrants in the country. Forde was reportedly kicked out of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps because she was "unstable." (Describing both groups as white supremacists is not far fetched.)

Forde and her two accomplices claimed to be law enforcement, which is how they were able to enter the Flores' home.

The day of the murder, as a CNN article from 2011 describes, Brisenia, Raul and mom Gina Gonzales went shopping for new shoes for Brisenia. She had just finished third grade and needed them for summer camp. 
She fell asleep watching television as her parents slept in their bedroom. A few hours later, she opened her eyes to the sight of her father, lying on the opposite couch. He had been shot in the chest and was choking on his own blood. Her mother was bleeding on the floor, a gunshot wound to her leg. The little girl was startled and cried out to intruders in her home, “Why did you shoot my mom?”
Brisenia's mom, Gina, cried and described the events in court back in 2011. She made it out alive seven years ago yesterday, after being shot in the leg. She called 911 and got a hold of her husband's gun.

"[Brisenia] was really scared. Her voice was shacking," Gina said in court, according to CNN. "I can hear her say, 'Please don't shoot me.'"

Forde and two accomplices, Jason Bush—at the time the national director of operations for the Minutemen American Defense—and Albert Gaxiola planned to raid the home to steal drugs, weapons and money to fund their anti-immigration group, according to CNN. Reportedly, they thought Raul was a drug dealer. No drugs were found.

On Feb. 22, 2011, a jury found Forde guilty of first-degree murder and gave her the death penalty.

Continue reading »

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Saturday, May 7, 2016

UPDATE: Former Pima County Supervisor Ann Day Killed in Car Crash

Posted By on Sat, May 7, 2016 at 12:59 PM

Jarrad Barnes
  • Jarrad Barnes
Jarrad Barnes, 24, has been identified as the driver of vehicle that crossed the median and hit Ann Day's car. At 8 p.m. the day of the accident, Barnes was released from the hospital and booked into the Pima County Jail for one count of manslaughter and driving under the influence. The investigation is ongoing.

Original Story: 
Ann Day, former Pima County District 1 Supervisor, was driving her Toyota Prius eastbound on Ina Road when a driver of another car traveling westbound crossed lanes, struck the median and hit her car head on. A truck driving behind Day was unable to stop in time and struck the rear of her car. 

Ann Day
  • Ann Day
Northwest Fire District paramedics transported Day to Banner-UMC Trauma Center where she was pronounced dead.

The driver of the other car and the driver of the truck were both transported to Banner-UMC Trauma Center in serious condition with non-life threatening injuries.

Ina Road at Firenze Drive will remain closed for a few hours while Pima County Sheriff’s Department traffic detectives investigate. It is unclear if there will be any charges filed against the drivers.

Day represented District 1 for three terms, from 2000 to 2012. She also served in the Arizona Senate for 10 years.

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Friday, March 25, 2016

Join (Virtual) Edward Snowden for a Conversation on Privacy

Posted By on Fri, Mar 25, 2016 at 4:06 PM


Did Thursday night's screening of Citizen Four and Q&A with Glenn Greenwald get you worked up all over again about the NSA?

Well, tonight the UA's College of Social and Behavioral Sciences is hosting a panel on the issue—and Edward Snowden is videoconferencing in from Russia to be a part of the conversation.

The details:
The competing stresses posed by balancing government intrusion and individual rights in pursuit of a safe society will be the topic of a panel discussion featuring MIT Professor Noam Chomsky, journalist Glenn Greenwald and former NSA subcontractor Edward Snowden presented by the University of Arizona College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Chomsky and Greenwald will appear in person while Snowden will videoconference from Russia. Nuala O’Connor, president and CEO of the Center for Democracy and Technology, will act as moderator for the discussion.
Tickets to the event are sold out, but you can watch the livestream on The Intercept tonight (Friday, March 25) from 5 to 7 p.m., or catch up with a recording of the conversation on Monday, March 28 when it is posted to the UA's College of Social and Behavioral Sciences website

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Samantha Bee Reminds States They're Not Auditioning for 'Hoarders: Rape Kit Edition'

Posted By on Tue, Mar 22, 2016 at 2:38 PM

You've probably heard before about the nation's rape kit problem: Rape kits often go untested or are destroyed before the case has been closed.

That's right. We put sexual assault survivors through a long and invasive exam to gather evidence before putting that evidence in a box, never to be opened again. Luckily, we're seeing some progress.

My new favorite late night TV host, Samantha Bee, dives into the issue in the video above.

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Friday, February 12, 2016

'Powerpuff Girls' Goes Undeniably Feminist, Beats Up Sexist Lumberjack

Posted By on Fri, Feb 12, 2016 at 3:00 PM

Like most women in their mid-20s, I've got a soft spot for the Powerpuff Girls. Those flying children were tough, cute and complete badasses. Their villains were ridiculous and ruthless. They exploded into existence because The Professor was an idiot who didn't understand spacial relationships. I couldn't get enough.

I was obviously delighted when I found out Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup would once again be using their Ultra Super Powers to fight the forces of evil. We don't yet have a release date, but we do have a preview of Buttercup losing her damn mind when a lumberjack bent on getting Townsville back to its "manly roots" tells her to "go play with her dollies, princess."

And once again, the day is saved...

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