Excerpts from recent WI editorials

Source:   —  June 19, 2017, at 1:26 PM

Body cameras on the police who chased Smith from a traffic stop latest fall provided the key video proof leading to a charge of first-degree rash homicide.

Excerpts from recent WI editorials

WI State Journal, June eighteen

Trial shows necessity for cop cameras in Madison

Madison should pay near attention to the Milwaukee trial of a former police officer in the lethal shooting of twenty-three-year-old Sylville Smith.

Body cameras on the police who chased Smith from a traffic stop latest fall provided the key video proof leading to a charge of first-degree reckless homicide.

Had the same incident occurred here in Madison — or any other WI community without cameras on police uniforms — the officer nearly certainly wouldn't have been charged. That'south because the video images would not exist.

Instead, the public and Ct system would've to rely heavily on police accounts of what happened.

That'south not the case in Milwaukee, which has wisely equipped his patrol officers with body cameras.

Footage from cameras on former Milwaukee Police Officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown and a fellow officer indicate a ft pursuit after a traffic stop. Smith runs while carrying a gun and is shot in the arm while throwing his weapon over a fence. He'south shot a second time in the chest less than two seconds later. The all encounter from the start of the chase lasts twelve seconds.

Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm calls the video footage "the most fundamental evidence" in the ongoing trial. He faults Heaggan-Brown for the second shot, just after Smith had tossed his handgun.

But Heaggan-Brown'south lawyers declare he thought in that split second Smith was reaching for another weapon in his waistband, and a police trainer will testify that officers are taught to assume a suspect with a gun is likely to have another weapon.

Both Heaggan-Brown and Smith are black and lived in the same neighborhood where the lethal shooting occurred. It prompted two nights of protests, including rocks hurled at officers, and the burning of eight businesses and a police car.

A jury could determine the fate of Heaggan-Brown, twenty-five, this week.

The body camera footage may not definitively settle what happened or why. But it provides a neutral and distant more clear view of the events leading up to Smith'south death than conflicting testimony from participants and witnesses.

Madison has had several disputed police shootings in recent years, none of which led to criminal charges against officers. That could be because the officers were acting appropriately. Or it could be that clear proof didn't exist to show misconduct.

In either case, police cameras have been shown to make better the behavior of both police and the public, according to a federal task force on modern policing. Complaints against officers tend to fall when they wear cameras, as does utilize of force.

Some Madison City Council members have claimed the cameras are too expensive. But a manufacturer has offered the city a free trial. Some aldermen fear the cameras could breach people'south privacy, but Wisconsin'south open records law already balances privacy against the public excellent before video is released.

Some critics worry cameras will somehow damage domestic abuse victims or immigrants. But the leading advocacy grouping for battered women has endorsed police cameras, and Latino leaders who recently met with the State Journal editorial board didn't object to them.

Madison should adopt this relatively ordinary technology to obtain to the truth of controversial police encounters.


The Capital Times, June fourteen

WI needs to the chosen leaders who know health care is a right

Vice President Mike Pence was in Milwaukee Saturday, June ten, on another failed mission to defend the assault on health care protections by President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan. Pence offered number reassurances about the federal plan. Rather, he suggested that hope will be found in the states.

Pence announced that Trump "believes in states-based solutions" for Medicare and Medicaid. The vice president announced that the administration wants states to create their own choices about how to ensure that people are cared for.

"Below this administration, (WI Gov. Scott) Walker will be able to bring WI solutions to meet the unique health care challenges facing the people of Wisconsin," said Pence.

The problem, of course, is that Walker is a rigid conservative who's always been on the incorrect side of debates about expanding access to health care. As The Associated Press noted, "WI was among the states that rejected federal money to widen Medicaid coverage below Obamacare and Pence praised Walker for taking a different path. WI took a hybrid approach of tightening income eligibility for Medicaid to only those at the poverty level or below. Those making more than poverty were forced to purchase subsidized insurance through the marketplace."

In other words, Walker fails to recognize what President Harry Truman pointed out decades ago: "The principal reason why people don't obtain the care they necessity is that they cannot afford to pay for it on an individual basis at the time they necessity it. This is true not only for needy persons. It's also true for a large proportion of normally self-supporting persons."

Walker also fails to recognize what Pope Francis tells us: "Health isn't a consumer excellent but a universal right, so access to health services cannot be a privilege."

As such, Pence'south announcement — made with Wisconsin'south Gov at his side — should be read less as a promise than a threat.

The only shred of encouragement in Pence'south proposal might be this: By suggesting that the states will have significant flexibility with regard to health care, the vice president holds out the prospect that Wisconsinites might in two thousand-eighteenth the chosen progressive leaders who are committed to reform that actually expands access to health care.

Progressive leaders realize that if health care is a right — and it is — then the only honest response to the current crisis is the single-payer "Medicare for all" reform, which would bring the United States in line with attentive and responsible countries worldwide.

It's unfortunate that President Trump, who once seemed to recognize the logic of single-payer, has aligned himself with Speaker Ryan'south scheme to create health a privilege rather than a right — and to utilize a "reform" of the Affordable Care Act as a vehicle to reward wealthy campaign donors with tax cuts and sweetheart deals. The debate in WA is so cruel and different that it's simple to imagine that the cause of single-payer should be doomed in America.

Not so. The movement for single-payer is for real, and it'south winning in California.

The Senate there voted 23 to fourteen on Thursday, June one, in favor of SB five hundred sixty-two, a single-payer proposal that'd guarantee universal health care to all Californians. "What we did today was really approve the concept of a single-payer system in California," declared state Sen. Ricardo Lara, a key advocate for the bill, following the vote.

"CA senators have sent an unmistakable message today to every Californian and people across the nation," declared RoseAnn DeMoro, the executive director of the CA Nurses Organization and National Nurses United, which led the fight for the "Healthy California Act."

"We can act to finish the nightmare of families who live in fear of getting ill and unable to get the care they necessity due to the enormous cost," DeMoro continued. "We've shown that health care isn't only a humanitarian imperative for the nation, it's politically feasible, and it's even the fiscally responsible step to take."

That'south true. According to a review of a new NNU-sponsored study by the Political Economy Research Institute at the Univ of MA Amherst: "SB five hundred sixty-two would produce substantial savings for households in health care costs as a share of their income, and CA businesses, which would also look reduced payroll costs for health care expenditures."

The CA proposal still should be approved by the CA Gathering and, eventually, by Gov. Jerry Brown. Budget plans should be developed. The fight is distant from over. But a hurdle has been cleared and DeMoro is right to say: "This is a banner day for California, and a ethical model for the nation."

As the two thousand eighteen election approaches, WI voters should be looking to replace politicians who don't realize that model with leaders who realize that health care is a right.


The Journal Times of Racine, June eighteen

Ballpark fan safety rises again as an issue

The crack of the bat and the screams of fans at major-league ballparks are some of the sounds of summer.

But some of those fans are screaming in pain — the unintended victims of line drives or broken bats that sail into unprotected areas of the park and cause injury.

Hospital visits — and then lawsuits — sometimes follow.

Major League Baseball has taken steps to expand fan protection in recent years. Before the start of the two thousand sixteen season, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred sent out a memo to all thirty major league teams urging them to prolong the netting behind residence plate to the inner side of both dugouts — a distance of seventy feet.

MLB teams complied — including the Milwaukee Brewers. Nine teams took protective netting even farther and added it to the ends of the dugouts.

But soon that may not be excellent sufficient in NY City where a city councilman, Rafael L. Espinal Jr., has introduced legislation that'd require both NY teams, the Mets and the Yankees, to prolong safety netting all the way to the foul poles. That legislation is expected to obtain a hearing in September.

The Mets earlier this mo said they'd expand protective netting in mid-season at Citi Field to extend thirty-foot-high nets past the dugouts and camera wells and then add 8-foot-high nets farther down the line — tripling the square footage of protective netting. They expect to have it in space by July fourteen. They'll also prolong netting at their affiliated minor league ball parks.

Other MLB teams are undoubtedly paying near attention. When fan injuries have led to lawsuits, MLB generally prevails in Ct on the basis of the fine-print warning on the backs of tickets that give notice of the possible risks of flying bats and balls.

Still, suits obtain filed. The Milwaukee Brewers were sued latest year by a NJ woman who was hit in the face during batting practice as she was taking her seat in the second row behind third base. Her attorney'south filing argued the Brewers violated Wisconsin'south so-called "secure space statute" which requires property owners to do everything "reasonably required to defend the life, health, safety and welfare" of patrons.

The NY legislation will doubtlessly ramp up that debate over fan safety. And it should. It'south not love fan strikes are rare. Research by Bloomberg News in two thousand-fourteenth said an average of 1.750 baseball fans are injured by foul balls or broken bats each year. Number doubt most of those injuries are minor ones, but that'south still a significant number.

And we'd hazard a guess that fans have become less attentive than in years past, judging by the televised coverage of games that shows row after row of fans holding up their cellphones to get pictures or text their friends about the grand time they're having. They're not watching the field.

Yes, there will be fans who object because they wish to capture a souvenir, but that'south a tiny concern compared to tolerating serious injuries.

Baseball needs to get another see at how effective a work they're doing protecting their fans — including nets all the way to the foul poles. Nobody wants to hear a summer refrain of "Get Me Out At The Ballgame."

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