Welcome to Monday and a new week in September, CivMixers.
It was the first day of pre-K for the munchkin, which leads to a lot of running around and getting used to a new schedule. I know that school this year is a crazy prospect for many of us. I hope that everyone will be able to get in the groove of the new normal and we can provide the best for our children in this COVID world.
Mamas and papas who are feeling the frustration as they watch their kids struggle with all virtual or hybrid schedules, I hear you. It is not easy, and you feel as though they are missing huge chunks of their childhood by missing socialization, team sports, clubs, theater, music. It is tough. Just know that you are seen, you are heard, and together we will all figure out how to parent the best we can in this new world.
Kids are resilient; they will figure it out. We need to read their cues and adjust accordingly. This is 100 times easier said than done, but it’s where we’re at right now. I wish you all the best, and I hope for a safe and healthy return to full in-person learning as soon as it is safely possible for everyone involved.
Onto today’s 5 Things…
1) Reports are just coming out of the Houston, Texas area that Baytown Police Department Officer Juan Delacruz has been charged with assault stemming from the May 2019 shooting death of Pamela Turner, 44, a Black woman who struggled with paranoid schizophrenia.
Turner was diagnosed in 2005, and Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney, says she may have been in crisis the night of the shooting. After a struggle in the parking lot of Turner’s apartment complex, she allegedly shocked Delacruz with his taser. She was then shot and killed by the 11-year veteran of the department.
BPD originally stated that Delacruz was arresting Taylor because of known open and outstanding warrants against her. Crump alleges the police are trying to turn Turner into a criminal to justify the abuse of power that led to her “unjustifiable execution.”
The Harris County district attorney’s office said the charge against Delacruz is aggravated assault by a public servant. This charge is a first-degree felony and is punishable by up to life in prison.
Harris County DA Kim Ogg said the investigation into the incident was carried out independently by her own Civil Rights Division and the Texas Rangers. The evidence collected was presented to a grand jury, which determined that Delacruz should be charged. She confirmed her office is going forward with the case. Delacruz is not currently in custody, but has been allowed to turn himself in. He will go before a judge, who will determine if bail should be set.
The struggle between the two was captured on a cellphone video that went viral. The video can be seen here on YouTube, but it could be disturbing and triggering for some.
Turner did have two outstanding warrants at the time – one assault and one for criminal mischief.
Delacruz and Turner lived in the same apartment complex. She was headed home in that complex when the incident occurred. Crump and Turner’s family have both stated that as a woman suffering from known mental health issues, she needed assistance that night, which is decidedly not what she received.
2)nResidents along the Gulf of Mexico are not getting a lot of relief this year. The U.S. National Hurricane Center confirmed that the storm known as Sally has strengthened to a hurricane and is expected to make landfall tomorrow.
Hurricane Sally has led to evacuation orders for residents of both Louisiana and Mississippi. This is the second storm to threaten this area in under just one month. The Gulf Coast is expected to see not only massive, damaging rainfall, but also high winds and storm surge, which could span from Louisiana to Florida.
Dan Kottlowski, a senior meteorologist at AccuWeather, said that Sally is slated to be the eighth hurricane and/or tropical storm to hit the U.S. this hurricane season – and that could be a record. It is a rare event, but it has been an active Atlantic hurricane season, with Sally being the 18th named storm.
Right now, Sally is predicted to slowly approach the southeastern portion of LA tonight, but not hit until tomorrow. It is slow-moving and could dump anywhere from 8 to 16 inches of rain along the coast. The biggest threat of Sally is her ability to be a “rainmaker.”
An expected northern turn will be critical for the city of New Orleans. LA residents to the southwest are still working to clear destruction left in the path of Hurrican Laura – and luckily for them, Sally’s forecasted course is far to the east of them.
3) In Rochester, Chief of Police La’Ron Singletary will be terminated as of today, according to Mayor Lovely Warren. She also said in a news conference that Communications Director Justin Roj and City Corporation Counsel Tim Curtin will be suspended for an unpaid period of 30 days. This is for their failure to follow policy procedures and oversight of action after the initial murder of Daniel Prude.
Last week, Singletary and other top RPD officials announced their respective retirements, though City Hall said they would be working until the end of September. After a management review conducted by Deputy Mayor James Smith, however, Warren says the problem in the RPD is too extensive for these leaders to continue.
Warren also stated that the death of Prude was not treated with the gravity it deserved. She has advised the Office of Public Integrity to look into the actions of all city employees, including herself, to see if there are any additional policy or standard violations regarding the Prude investigation.
Warren called on the U.S. attorney general’s office to investigate whether there are any civil rights violations in regards to the incident.
As of right now, there has been no replacement for Singletary named, nor any information as to when that will occur.
4) In a late-night, drive-by shooting last night in Troy, 11-year-old Ayshawn Davis, a student in Lansingburh Schools, was killed when he was struck in the head by one of the bullets.
He was standing with a group in the area of 2666 Old 6th Ave. A vehicle speeding by opened fire as it passed and continued north without slowing. According to witnesses, the car fled the area quickly.
Davis was treated by the Troy Fire Deptartment on the scene and transported to Albany Medical Center Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Troy Police are now investigating the incident as a homicide.
Speaking to the press, Troy Mayor Patrick Madden expressed grief and horror, as well as frustration, at the continued violence in the area. He is pleading for anyone with any information to come forward and alert TPD. Speaking further on the incident, Madden said:
“The total disrespect for human life that we have witnessed in Troy and so many communities across the nation is more than disheartening. It is tragic, and it should shock the conscience of us all. These callous acts do not reflect the values of this City or this Country. We will do everything in our power to bring those responsible to justice swiftly.”
-Patrick Madden, Mayor of Troy, NY
TPD has stated that Davis was an exemplary young man who truly cared about others and strove to help those less fortunate than himself. If you have any information on the incident, please call TPD at (518) 270-4427, or submit a tip here. This is an ongoing investigation.
5) Sadly, the news was announced today that the Schenectady Holiday Parade will not be going on this year due to concerns related to containing the spread of the coronavirus. Mayor Gary McCarthy made the announcement, and said that all options were considered and no safe alternative was evident.
Starting in 1968, the parade has been the kickoff to the holiday season in the Capital District for 51 years. The parade generally draws tens of thousands to line State Street as organizations from across the region put their best entrances forward to celebrate according to the year’s theme.
It is not surprising, however, as earlier today, the word came down that the famed Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will be virtual out of deference to COVID this year.
Stay steady, stay strong, stay safe.
Photo credit: George Fazio.