Mon, May

Over a 1,000 Deaths in US From Using Tasers.


ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - A politician rapped something unintelligible to go viral and some funny women had a real yucker about how LA City Council meetings, can really break your brain.  

I personally learn a lot from members of the Angeleno public who comment, including lobbyists, advocates, and independent writers.  

Disparaging public comment is super uncool, in my view, as I indicated to two longtime contributors who have recently left for other cooler cities.  Now that public comment here has been practically decimated, under the pretext of public health, and by a system that allows the President of City Council or Chair of the Board of Supervisors to block whoever she wants, whenever she wants, we are all going to have to fight harder and work together, to save the right to redress as we know it.   

Maybe we should all send a letter to the Mayor of Austin and the Mayor of Seattle urging them to urge all of their constituents, to help out by not disparaging public comments made in other cities. It's fine to ignore and disrespect your own public commenters, just leave Angelenos out of it. ttyl.  


Z man: 

Z dog addressed congress in the visitor’s auditorium very early this morning. He played a video to classical music… showing children crying, buildings exploding, utter devastation.  The presentation and President Zellensky of Ukraine's comments were deeply moving, but also a spoofers' paradise.  

After the speech, that landed on the idea that to be the leader of the world, President Biden would have to be the leader of Peace.  The cameras cut to a wide shot of the US Congress giving a standing ovation. Except for one guy.  

This one lawmaker, seated next to the left of Congressman Kevin McCarthy - so could have been practically anyone - was on his phone. He must have been sexting or something, until he suddenly realized that the whole room was on its feet applauding, at which point he jumped up, nearly goosing Speaker Pelosi!*  [*Embellishment, it was McCarthy he nearly goosed.) 

This address to congress had it all, grief, despair… and bad timing.   

One problem with getting through to Vladimir Putin to urge him to stop the violence and mayhem is the man is always seated 90 feet across a table under which he may have installed an under-desk torpedo launcher that he operates on his iPhone.  

Pre-pandemic, the LA County Board of Supervisors took apart the historic table that was approximately 20 feet from where Chairperson of the board sat. It created the sense that they were interested in what the public had to say.   

For a mere $1.6 million dollars, they gutted it all and set up a line up to a dueling set of podiums.  It was worse for the public but gave the board more like 60 feet to work with.  Not Putin distance, but close.  

The agenda was nearly 75 items, and the minor probation department snafu was trotted out very late in the meeting.  

And there were plenty of sparks.  Not just over the Taser order that was eventually postponed pending a coherent policy for sending 50,000 volts into a young person.   


Move 'em out:

Probation and BSCC moved the kids over the weekend from A to B.  Conditions at A were so bad that B, which is almost as bad and recently closed, was not much better. Families were not given notice...  

Sup. Kathryn Barger:  My objection is to go against subject matter authorities who are telling us that they feel that Barry J. Nidorf is popular.  

Sup. Mitchell, Chair: If you can focus your comments on item10. We will have the opportunity to hear your item if you have questions on 10.   

Sup. Kathryn Barger: With all due respect, Chair Mitchell, they are one and the same. Even though you want to separate them.  And that's fine. But it is my time, and I am speaking, okay. And so having said that, I take offense to the allegations that -- or not even offense. I do not believe that it is accurate to say that Barry J. Nidorf can't be considered.  

The board edited the transcript, but the catfight got even worse.  

Sup. Kathryn Barger:  So while we won't be taking up my motion. I will continue to talk about it when it is my turn on the green sheet motion, thank you, Madame Chair.  

Sup. Mitchell, Chair:  Are you finished speaking, Supervisor Barger?  

Sup. Kathryn Barger: Well, I said thank you Madame Chair, so I think that means, yes.   

Snotty all around. 


Taser Tag:

A total of at least 1,081 U.S. deaths following the use of Tasers, almost all since the weapons began coming into widespread use in the early 2000s have been documented.  

The first Taser I ever focused on was the matter of Blake Earl Dupree, 22,  that I wrote about last week, who was tased off a bunk in Lakewood Jail, and cost the county $4.25 million in settlement and a Rancho bill. On Tuesday, another nightmarish case was settled for $3.8 million over the death of a young man who was Tased for 29 seconds before dying.  

The information about how deadly these tools are is not fresh news, Reuters did an amazing series of stories about the more than one thousand who have died after being tased.  Mitchell Englander, whose Uncle's firm, Englander Knabe & Allen lobbies at both City and County of Los Angeles, went to Arizona to buy 4400 Tasers with no public process, in a late sneaky addendum to the city's Bodycam order.   

If LAPD can have 4,400 in a homeless crisis, certainly the Youth Probation officers can have 150, right? 


"First of all, no disrespect, but are you f'ing kidding me?"   150 tasers for $4,000 each was item 39 on the agenda.  

That's a lot of money and for a device that doesn't work.  

What they do -- for the record, is freak a suspect right out and often prime them (exacerbating things) for an unwanted officer-involved shooting.   This is the worst idea I've ever seen. "Don't do it."


Speaker: Hi. I am from Children's Defense in California. I am speaking on item 10, and opposition to 39 and 56 a.  And general public comment.  As a recap, Supervisor Kuehl and Mitchell attempted to ensure that our young people didn't languish for longer than necessary. Barry J. The same place that still uses spray despite a directive to stop. The same place that was subject to litigation. Because of the harm young people endured while incarcerated there. The same place that was deemed unsafe. The remaining three board members chose politics over the humanity of these kids. Yes, kids.  Even if they are 18. Even if they have committed murder. Here we are again, asking the board to do the right thing. Asking the board or the majority of you to pick redemption, hope, over fearmongering. Thank you for your consistent commitment beyond motions of progressive language but engaging with the community and seeing these young people as people beyond their worst mistakes capable of healing and full of potential despite systems designed to further harm them. This idea, Supervisor Barger that Barry J. Can be reimagined by flooding hundreds of millions of dollars into it is a complete joke. It is a prison. Not just by way of structure but by the culture... with an opportunity with love, no. It is a culture rooted in control and punishment, it breeds trauma, hate, fear, and your billion-dollar investment won't change that.  

Perhaps it will impede your constituents which is your primary goal. Because if it wasn't you would have spent time engaging in what you can do to build community not break it. Prepare for all young people, not fear them. But instead, you stroke their fear. What I find comical is your belief that probation is what these young people need. Because it is a system that is fundamentally flawed. And this isn't a dig on the individuals who care for kids in a positive way. It is a dig at an institution that doesn't allow probation officers to be their best. That equates young people with their worst act.  That support -- and the right to use restrooms as a form of punishment. It uses the hope center for solitary confinement. We are taught the institute that causes so much harm can turn into experts overnight. Sounds more politicking to me, and enough is enough. You and your constituents have forgotten we belong to one another. We must believe in the humanity of one another. So here is your reminder, to lead with love. Be better. Do better. Because the harm you have caused with that racist rubric is almost unforgivable. And in what world is it proper to show that we understand the needs... do we authorize probation to purchase 150 Tasers [inaudible]. In the words of Eric Preven, "Don't do it,” Thank you.  

They didn't. 


(Eric Preven is a longtime community activist and is a contributor to CityWatch. The opinions expressed by Eric Preven are solely his and not the opinions of CityWatch)