Monday, October 13, 2008

More on the Hope(less)* Commission

* Hat tip to longtime city activist and a good friend, Susan Regis Collins, for this apt moniker.

1. Today on Mike Matthews will be discussing the Wilmington Hope Commission on DownWithAbsolutes Radio from 3-5 pm. Mike has asked me to call in to discuss. I urge others to join in.

2. From Today's News-Journal - Wilmington City Council members call for police state tactics - demand police start "knocking heads" and "shaking down" criminal suspects, (presumably). Prado says civil liberties not his concern, invites litigation against the city as an acceptable price. Chief Sczerba wisely says civil liberties will not be tossed aside.

WILMINGTON -- Gunfire on Sunday afternoon killed one man, injured two and tied a 12-year-old record for most shootings in the city in a year." ###

"They need to do what they need to do and knock some heads," said Councilman Samuel Prado, D-5th District. "We need to go after these troublemakers. We can't let people hide behind civil liberties. I would worry about the civil liberties later, and let's get the situation under control first. If it means going to court, we'd better get a good lawyer."

[Hope Commissioner] Police Chief Michael Szczerba said the city would not sacrifice civil liberties to make more arrests.

"That won't happen," he said. "We can operate within the law just fine. We'll continue to police in the same aggressive, assertive manner that we have all along.

The first shooting happened when one man approached another man along Fourth Street, a busy thoroughfare through the city. They began talking. Moments later, the suspect pulled a handgun from his waistband and fired at least seven shots, hitting the victim twice in the chest.

Down Fourth Street, one of the bullets struck a second man, grazing his skull. His injury was not life-threatening and he was later released from the hospital.

The second shooting happened on the other side of the city, and police had few details to release Sunday evening.

[Hope Commissioner] Public Safety Director James Mosely said many officers already are walking the streets and he'd love to see more.

[Hope Commissioner] The Rev. Derrick Johnson, pastor of Joshua Harvest Church and a member of the anti-violence Wilmington Hope Commission, said he visited both shooting scenes Sunday to pray with neighbors and try to quell any talk of retaliation. Johnson said leaders must address poverty, drugs and other root causes of violence.

Prado and Councilman Kevin F. Kelley Sr., D-6th District, said they were disturbed by the brazen nature of the shootings, which happened on a warm autumn afternoon with many people around, unlike the majority of shootings, which happen at night.

"It says these criminals have no fear," Prado said.

Kelley joined Prado in calling for more aggressive policing. "You need to take Lancaster to Sixth and Union to Jackson and just lock that area down," Kelley said. "You need to start shaking people down and taking back the streets."

3. Nancy Willing has a round up of the issue over at Delaware Way, with some very thoughtful observations from Cassandra Marshall (cassandra m) of Delaware Liberal and a fiery letter to the News-Journal from my good friend Bob Dalton (of Wilmington sidewalk fight fame)

4. Call the Mayor's Office today (302) 576-2100 and leave a voice mail letting them know that he needs to shut down the wasteful "Hope" Commission and stop wasting taxpayer money on this nanny-crony boondoggle.

1 comment:

Brian Shields said...

Holy S#!t

I understand the frustration, but the extreme of locking down an area of a city is absolutely reprehensible. He was basically advocating creating a limited area police state because of an increase in crime.

Kudos to the Police Chief for understanding the limits of his power.