News, thoughts and comments on civil rights and related issues.
Thursday, May 06, 2004
Law: Fallout from Brame murder limited
One of the frustrations of being interested in civil rights issues is that one can go for years without seeing much improvement in aspects of society that hurt people. Domestic violence has long been such a backwater. There were some meaningful reforms during the 1980s and 1990s as more Americans became aware of how dismissive of the complaints of victims the police and legal system had been. Now, in many jurisdictions, it is no longer necessary that a victim be willing to testify against the accused for a domestic violence case to go forward. That reform was necessary because abused women are often afraid to have the abuser prosecuted after making the initial accusation. In a high profile example, Bobby Brown, Whitney Houston's husband, recently learned that he will not be able to evade his day in court for assaulting her because the two are now presenting a united front.
One of the remaining weak links in stopping domestic violence is the police themselves. Studies have shown that police departments often attract men with anger control problems of their own. Furthermore, police families tend to fall into a pattern of male dominance and female submissiveness. That is bad news for domestic abuse victims who welcome such officers to their doors when they have been beaten because the policemen do not sympathize with them. It is even worst news for the abused wives of such policemen. We learned about that in an awful way last year, when the top cop in Tacoma, Washington, pulled the covers off a usually hidden problem. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has been following the story.
Let's revisit the facts.
A report by the state patrol was presented to the mayor and other city officials this week. A previous investigation by the city itself claimed that neither it nor its officials are responsible for the murder and suicide.
The state's investigation was expected to be more objective.
The city has refused to release the report to the public.
Nearly a year ago, the family of Crystal Brame (pictured above) brought a lawsuit against the city of Tacoma and the officials who allowed a culture of favoritism, sexual harrasment and crime among government employees to flourish there. KIRO reports.
So, a year later, we know that the Tacoma police department is a snakepit where the corrupt rise and the fair-minded learn to keep their heads down. Two city officials have lost their jobs, but not their golden parachutes. It may not be possible to find a judge not compromised by his connections to hear the lawsuit Ms. Brame's family has brought against the city. Furthermore, there is no evidence of reforms to end the practices that allowed someone like David Brame to rise to the position of chief of police. Change may come. But, if it does, it will be slow.posted by J. | 7:12 PM
Reading: Two masters and some novices
First, let me apologize for slow posting lately. I have been having a problem with my laptop that results in sluggishness, slow typing and an occassional crash. An oddity is that when it crashes, the PowerBook G4 will reboot in Firmware mode. Weird. Apple is looking into the problem.
Meanwhile, I'm writing less and it takes forever to get the limited output done.
I've recently read several books I want to review that relate to civil rights issues in a way. Among them are Toni Morrison's Love, Dark Matter: Reading the Bones, an anthology of science fiction and fanstasy stories by African-American writers, and Middelesex, a novel about an intersex individual by Jeffrey Eugenides. Sheree R. Thomas edited Dark Matter. Though I haven't written the reviews yet, consider all three books recommended.
For now, I would like to direct your attention to one of the writers in the anthology. Douglas Kearney's contribution is a short, short story called "Anansi Meets Peter Parker at at the Taco Bell on Lexington." It is a brief meditation on cultural appropriation. I had hoped to find the story online, but haven't. So, I am going to suggest reading some of this young writer's poetry instead. "Messiah Dies for Their Sins" is posted here. Another selection from his student work, "Lovepoem Por De-Familiar" is here.posted by J. | 1:45 AM