Citizen Detroit Candidate Questions

Citizen Detroit  sent me a survey that I thought would be all over the web by election day. I haven’t seen it posted anywhere, so I have decided to post the questions and my answers here.

Some of the graphics in the original questionnaire don’t paste here easily, so I have uploaded a PDF here.


 

Questionnaire for Board of Police Commissioners Candidates

Dear candidates, thank you for your commitment to public service. Because we have just three questions, we ask that you carefully consider the context provided in making your response.

* Required

Your full name, as you would like it to appear on the posted questionnaire. *

Bottom of Form

TOPIC 1: CIVILIAN COMPLAINTS. The Office of the Chief Investigator, which is responsible for investigating citizen complaints against police officers, stated in 2015 that almost half of all allegations had no conclusive dispositions because of insufficient evidence (“not sustained”). In addition, because each case is broken down into multiple allegations that are individually investigated, the rate of citizen complaints that include a “sustained” allegation (reported action occurred and violated department policy) appears artificially lower. In the Office of the Chief Investigator’s 2015 Annual Report chart below, 215 allegations were sustained out of 2129 total (10%) – but 1,119 citizen complaints were filed, meaning that 19% of complaints resulted in a “sustained” allegation.

QUESTION 1: What policies will you champion to provide citizens with a greater confidence that their complaints are taken seriously and result in policy and behavior changes in the department that improve community relations? *

The number of incidents for which an allegation was sustained should be shown in addition to the statistics in the sample chart given above.

I would let residents speak their minds at Commissioner Meetings.

Have a chart of the investigation’s progress online, to allow residents to see the progress of the investigation.

When necessary an identifying number could be used in place of a person’s name, to protect privacy.

Any presentation of data that is designed to give the public a clear picture, of how well complaints are being resolved, must be clearly explained in plain English so that lay-persons can understand it.

Inform complainants of disciplinary action when it happens.

If there is a critical loss of data or evidence, clearly explain to the complainant how it was lost.

TOPIC 2: OFFICER-INVOLVED CIVILIAN DEATHS. There have been prominent cases both in Detroit and elsewhere where officers involved in civilian deaths were found to have had a history of excessive force or in some cases, had been fired from previous jobs at other departments.

QUESTION 2: How would you ensure that problem officers are appropriately disciplined and/or kept off Detroit’s Police Department? *

A thorough background check should be performed on all applicants prior to hiring. If their work history includes prior employment as law enforcement officers, then we must require full disclosure of the incidents and reserve the right to review the findings of previous investigations. Some legislative remedies have been proposed like House Bill 4827, but we don’t need to wait for changes in state law if the human resources department can do the research that is needed.

Judgements must start with the premise that actions that are not acceptable by civilians are no more acceptable by police officers. If an exception to this principal is to be applied then an exceptional basis for this deviation must be justified in each case, and not taken for granted.

Deadly force should only be used when there is an imminent threat to human life. A similar standard should apply to high risk actions that are also potentially lethal like high speed chases, no knock raids, Taser use, and pet shootings. These high-risk practices should never be used to handle non-aggressive infractions.

The number of civilian deaths is an important clue, but it doesn’t tell the full story. If an officer had to use fatal force to save an innocent or himself, then it was acceptable, even if this happened more than once. On the other-hand, even one unjustifiable death is one too many and should be regarded as a homicide. In cases where there appears to be a pattern of borderline cases, where evidence of wrongdoing is absent, but evidence of justification is also absent, we must err on the side of safety and steer clear of hiring these individuals. Detroit isn’t a dumping ground for officers that other departments won’t hire.

Other violent conduct can be a strong indicator of homicidal tendencies even when no human beings are killed. Some officers have repeatedly killed dogs who had the misfortune of being at homes they decided to raid. Killing innocents, to arrest people for non-violent infractions, is not rational or moral. The people of Detroit can’t feel safe while people who do this needlessly remain on the force. The Board of Police Commissioners is the last line of defense for people who have been the victims of the abuse of power by those who have the power to abuse. I pledge to do everything in my power to bring an end to this carnage, before this behavior escalates to include other family members.

TOPIC 3: POLICY REVIEW. The role of the Board of Police Commissioners is to provide civilian oversight over the Police Department and represent the interests of the public. For example, the BOPC meets in public to discuss and review proposed department changes – three policy proposals currently under review include body-worn cameras, vehicular pursuit, and civil asset forfeiture.

QUESTION 3: How will you ensure robust public awareness of and input in proposed policy changes at the Detroit Police Department?

Unless the need to change policy is exceptionally urgent, a vote on it should be delayed for two weeks. The meeting following the one where the proposed policy is announced would have discussion of the change on the agenda. Spokespersons with different views on the proposed change would have speaking time as part of that agenda, and topic-specific comments and questions from the audience would be welcome. General comments from the audience would still be at the end of the meeting. Those unable to attend the meeting could submit comments on the policy in writing. Commissioners would then have a week decide on the policy, and put any amendments in writing that resulted from the aforementioned discussion.

In cases of exceptional urgency, a tentative policy could go into effect right away, but the aforementioned process would still be initiated, and the policy decided on by this process would be the one that would supersede the tentative one.

Policy discussions should be announced in a news release.

The website should be more transparent. Links to minutes, videos and announcement of future meetings should be directly on the Board of Police Commissioners page. Currently they can be found under “Boards” or “Calendar and Events.” If the meetings are in the community, the specific venue should be listed and not just which precinct it’s to be held in.

Regarding those policies… I support body worn cameras. Contracts should be awarded on the basis of competitive bidding and quality comparisons. However, there is still the possibility that they won’t be recording when an incident occurs, so such loss of evidence needs to be taken very seriously and the fact that evidence was lost must be taken into consideration when ruling on a complaint. Any deliberate loss of video should be treated as obstruction of justice. As an additional way to guard against such losses of evidence, it is important that the right of civilians to record interactions with police be protected, and any interference with the exercise of this right be treated as obstruction of justice.

Vehicular pursuit choices must be grounded in a commitment to safety first. There are strategies, like setting up temporary roadblocks, to minimize the need for officers to engage in hazardous driving. If such a pursuit escalates to the level of a “high speed chase” the chase should be aborted, except under certain circumstances. If aborting the chase is even more dangerous then continuing, then it may be justified. This would need to involve an imminent threat to human life.

Civil asset forfeiture should be limited to cases where assets to be taken are critical evidence of a crime against persons or their property, or are believed to be obtained by such crimes. If the people from whom the assets are seized are exonerated, the assets should be returned to the defendants. If the property is damaged, exonerated defendants should be compensated for lost value. If there is a conviction, then some portion of the seized assets should be used to restore the victims of the crime from which they were obtained. Civil asset forfeiture should never be used as a tactic for impairing a defendant’s ability to pay for a legal defense.

 

 

 

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Why Can’t Bell Just Tell The Truth?

If you can’t count on someone to tell the truth when it doesn’t really matter, how can you trust him to tell the truth when it does?

Candidates will sometimes look at one anther’s disclosure statements as part of their opposition research. I looked at Commissioner Bell‘s. It was all rather straight forward, but one item stood out. The vast majority of his budget was paid to a company called Bresser’s Information Services for the printing of Miscellaneous items specified as being buttons, bumper stickers and T-Shirts. I was familiar with this business and didn’t recall them having any of these products. I don’t recall seeing my opponent distributing these items either.

I called Bresser’s Information Services to inquire about these items and they informed me that they did not sell such items and only provided demographic research and direct mail services. Interestingly enough, Bell has failed to disclose the source of funding for his campaign mailers, and biographical brochures. A complaint about his failure to disclose the source of funds for the direct mail piece is being investigated.

So perhaps he paid Bressers for this from his own funds, but then claimed he spent the money on something else. Why? I checked to see if the form only offered that option, but it didn’t. The option of “Mailing Service” was available.

So why not just tell the truth. It looks like he is trying to conceal something that need not be concealed. Now there are much more serious matters for Police Commissioners to be concerned with. People are being killed in high-speed chases. Innocent people are having property stolen by civil forfeiture, response time is still a concern, and shootings are under investigation.

So what if a politician puts down false information on a form? Well, if you can’t count on someone to tell the truth when it doesn’t really matter, how can you trust him to tell the truth when it does?

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Unbought And Unbossed

I delayed posting a press release here because I thought it was more interesting in context then as a stand-alone item. It was emailed to members of the news media on a timely basis and while some found the issues interesting, no articles were written on this specific matter.

I raised the same issues in the Community Comments section of the October 5th Board of Police Commissioners meeting. The exchange may be viewed here starting at the -16:45 minute mark.

Commissioner Reginald Crawford had some interesting remarks including the attributing the source of the phrase, “Unbought and Unbossed” to Honorable Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm of New York. I was inspired by his commitment to integrity and his eloquent delivery. He made it clear that he wouldn’t take endorsements or money from anyone whose case could come before the committee.


Police Commissioner, Boman, Invites Commissioners To Reject Contributions From Contractors

Press Conference Scheduled

Police Commissioner Candidate Scotty Boman will hold a Press Conference immediately after the October 5th Meeting of the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners, where he hopes to be joined by Commissioners who reject conflicts of interest. Specifically, he is asking commissioners, and candidates seeking that office, to agree to the following statement:

As principled candidates for the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners, we come together to affirm the need for integrity in government. The Detroit BoPC makes a number of decisions that directly and indirectly effect the contracting of services by the Detroit Police Department. We therefore pledge to refrain from accepting campaign contributions from contractors of the Detroit Police Department.

The conference comes one week after a BoPC meeting where Chairperson Lisa Carter shut down discussion of a question asked by Boman. At that meeting he asked commissioners, “…would you be comfortable accepting $500 campaign contributions from a towing contractor given the Board of Police Commissioner’s role in decisions regarding towing contracts?” Fourth District Commissioner Bell accepted $500 from Troy Ginyard, owner of Troy’s towing, while running for State Representative in 2016. Bell has voted on matters regarding towing contacts both before and after accepting the contribution.
“I would like to think that conflicts of interest, like those embraced by Bell, are the exception and not the rule on the Commission. I would like to think that I am not the only candidate for commissioner who wishes to stay clear of conflicts of interest like these.”

The location and timing are approximate, “I want this conference to be convenient for commissioners and candidates to attend. If we can’t have this discussion at the headquarters, then somewhere nearby will have to do, be it in the parking lot or out by the street. Meetings typically end around 4:30 PM, but they vary in duration. I want Commissioners to be able to chime in without missing out on their duty to attend the duration of the meeting. So when it ends, we can take questions.” Said Boman.

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DISTRICT CANDIDATE FORUM

Dear concerned neighbors:

I will be there, will you?

If so, remember to RSVP at their event link:

https://events.wayne.edu/2017/10/12/citizendetroit-general-election-candidate-forums-72503/

This is the only candidate forum since the primary to invite Police Commissioner candidates.(My website is here: http://boman4detroit.com)

Fortunately, for residents of the 4th & 5th District, its not that far away.

Gleaners Community Food Bank
Kids Helping Kids Hall, Second Floor
2131 Beaufait Street
Detroit, MI 48207
(near Mt. Elliott St. & Kercheval Ave.)

Admission is free, but reservations are required. Dinner starts at 5:30 p.m., with the forum following at 6 p.m. To attend, RSVP online at citizendetroit.org or call 313-577-5550. Space is limited. Seating is on a first come first served basis.

OCTOBER 12: DISTRICT CANDIDATE FORUM

City Council Candidates – INVITED

District 1: Tamara Smith, James Tate
District 2: Roy McCalister Jr., Virgil Smith
District 3: Russ Bellant, Scott Benson
District 4: Latisha Johnson, Andre L. Spivey
District 5: Mary Sheffield, Jewel Ware
District 6: Tyrone Carter, Raquel Castaneda-Lopez
District 7: Gabe Leland, Regina Ross

Police Commissioner Candidates – INVITED

District 1: Darryl D. Brown
District 2: Conrad L. Mallett, Carron L. Pinkins
District 3: Shirley Burch
District 4: Willie E. Bell, Scotty Boman
District 5: George Adams, Jr., Willie E. Burton
District 6: Lisa Carter
District 7: William M. Davis

Again, the details are here:

https://events.wayne.edu/2017/10/12/citizendetroit-general-election-candidate-forums-72503/

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Commissioners Dodge Question On Contributions From Towing Contractors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 28th, 2017

Detroit, MI – During the citizen comment section of the Detroit Board of Police Commissioner (BOPC) meeting, 4th District Police Commissioner candidate Scotty Boman asked a question that Commission Chair Lisa Carter didn’t want answered. Boman asked, “My question to each of you is would you be comfortable accepting $500 campaign contributions from a towing contractor given the Board of Police Commissioner’s role in decisions regarding towing contracts?” Carter interrupted Boman before he had completed his question saying, “Mr. Boman. This is not the forum for that, if you have anything that you want to talk to us about the police department, or any complaints, we will take that.”

Boman then queried, “So the forum for asking a question about the role of the Board of Police Commissioners is not a meeting of the Board of Police Commissioners?” Carter then said, “I’m talking about his campaign is not.” Carter squelched discussion on the matter thanking Boman.

Prior to asking the question Boman had supplied Commissioners with print outs of a “Late Contribution Report” in which a $500 contribution to 4th District Commissioner Willie Bell’s campaign committee, from a Towing contractor was itemized.

“I think it is telling that the Chair of this board was not only resistant to answering a simple yes-or-no question concerning ethical practices, but was hell-bent on silencing discussion so that none of the other members would have a chance to respond. Perhaps the $500 contribution to Bell was only the tip of the iceberg.” Boman invited other commissioners to respond saying, “I said it then, and I say it now, “I asked a question. Anyone who wants to answer it should.”

In August, twenty one towing companies lost contracts as a result of a dispute between Corporation Council Butch Hallowell and the BOPC. Hallowell nullified the contracts and reassigned the task to the Procurement Department.

Commissioner Bell was vocal in defending the BOPC’s roll in awarding contracts. Boman commented, “I agree that this falls within the responsibilities of the BOPC, but that also means commissioners should not be taking money from these people. It’s a blatant conflict of interest.”

In June Deputy Police Chief Celia Washington, who served as the legal adviser to the police department, resigned, one week after a towing contractor was indicted on bribery charges for allegedly paying cash bribes to win a towing contract in Clinton Township.

Boman’s comments are in the last 5 minutes of the first session of the September 28th meeting which is available here: http://69.215.26.173/Cablecast/public-site/index.html#/show/5475?channel=1

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Scotty Boman Accuses Commissioner Bell Of Over-Reach

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Highland Park, Michigan. On September 11th MorningSide Board Member Scotty Boman Accused incumbent 4th District Police Commissioner Bell of abusing his authority at last Wednesday’s meeting of the 5th Precinct Police-Community Relations Council. Boman is challenging Bell for the Fourth District Police Commissioner spot in Detroit’s Municipal election. He made the Comments while appearing as a Guest on the WHPR TV Show “Get Up Stand Up”. This follows similar remarks, Boman made during the citizen comment portion of Thursdays Detroit Board of Police Commissioner (BOPC) meeting, and a formal complaint submitted to the Detroit Inspector General.

At the Commissioner meeting Boman asked if it was appropriate for an elected official to assert the authority, as such, to over-ride the rules of an independent body. According to Boman, Bell was allotted two minutes to speak at the 5th Precinct Police-Community Relations Council, rather than recognizing the Chairman’s authority, he asserted his “right” as a public official to speak longer. According to Boman. Bell, over the chairs objection, spent at least 5 minutes arguing why he was entitled to more time before addressing the other issue at hand.

Boman said, “I found this to be an abuse of power by an elected official because he felt his position entitled him to over-ride the procedures of an independent group. He less directly re-asserted such privilege when I confronted him on the matter during the public comment portion of the BOPC meeting on Thursday September 7th.”

Boman also accused Bell of waving around a campaign brochure proclaiming it was years in the making. The Police-Community Relations Council rules expressly forbid political campaigning by their speakers. Boman also said the brochure lacked the mandatory campaign finance disclosure statement. This was also addressed at Thursday’s BOPC meeting.

At the BOPC meeting, Boman asked who paid for the brochure. Boman said, “He argued that it was a Police Commission brochure, not a campaign brochure, and that I should know the difference. When I attempted to ask him to tell me what that difference was, he cut me off and said, ‘You don’t have the mic’ though he no longer chaired those meetings. He only made vague references to ‘We’ spent years on those pamphlets, without saying who ‘we’ were.”

Boman’s complaint to the Detroit Inspector General asserts that, “Fourth District Police Commissioner Willie Bell, has been distributing a brochure that lacks any disclosure of a funding source.” Boman went on to say, “If public funds were used, I view this as an even greater transgression, in that public funds should not be used for individual campaigns, that their use was not disclosed on the item, and the board had not approved such disbursements as a whole.”

END

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Fundraiser September 18th

Monday September 18th
7:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Cadieux Cafe
4300 Cadieux Rd, Detroit
Michigan 48224

$20 Contribution
(More is welcome, but the law requires that contributions over $20 must be made by charge, check or money order).

Please join us over some hors d’oeuvres in a conversation about making Detroit safe again so that every neighborhood will have a future! Scotty Boman will talk about civilian oversight with respect for the law and civil liberties.

This is a fundraiser for Scotty Boman’s campaign to be elected as the Fourth District’s Representative on the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners so please bring check books or plastic!

A minimum contribution of $20 is required to participate (This is the maximum allowed cash contribution). So if you just want to help out at that level cash payments are fine.

If you already made a contribution of $20 or more to the campaign, the participation fee is optional and must be paid by check, credit or debit.

The $20 will be rebated to anyone putting in significant volunteer hours between now and the election.

Please RSVP accurately. There is limited seating but I can reserve more if I know ahead of time.

Advanced donations may be made here.

and you may RSVP here.

Front4DPD

I’m running low on these. $400 will get me 10,000 new ones… with a new look.

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Thank you to the OGW for including me in this parade!

I wish to thank the “Obama Grassroots Walkers” for hosting this parade and making me part of it. I also thank them for their endorsement of my campaign for Detroit Police Commissioner for District 4. Police Commission Candidates aren’t on the Primary Ballot, but will be included in the November 7th General Election.

For more information about the parade go here:
https://morningsidemi.nextdoor.com/events/1412227/

For more information about OBGW please visit the “Mall.”

http://htc-mall.com/

Parade Information

You are cordially invited to attend the GOTV Obama Grassroots Walkers parade. The parade will be held on Sunday, July 30, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. starting at the Family Fair Food Center, located at 700 Chene Street, Detroit, Michigan 48207.

• The Parade Marshal Line-up at 2:00 p.m.

• Step off is at 3:00p.m.

Parade Directions: The parade route has changed we will be at Chene and Lafayette organizing at 1 p.m. and will step out at 3 p.m. go down Bradsby Dr/ McDougall to make a right hand turn on Vernor will take Vernor down to Meldrum to Gratiot here we will be at the lot across the street and at Casablanca Lounge where the parade will end and our candidates will speak.

OGW GOTV PArade Flyer

OGW GOTV PArade Flyer

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July 14th Voter Forum

Be an informed voter!

Come out for our 3rd forum, this time with candidates for City Clerk, State Representative and Police Commissioner.

Take this opportunity to hear from candidates and get the answers you seek as you make your election decisions.

Sponsored by the GCBC Community Outreach & Political Action Ministry.

RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/327709891003645

Today at 6 PM – 7 PM

Greater Christ Baptist Church
3544 Iroquois St, Detroit, Michigan 48214

Candidate Forum Flyer GCBC

Candidate Forum Flyer GCBC

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Scotty Boman Endorsed by Police Commissioner and Grassroots Activist

For Immediate Release

Detroit MI – Long-time libertarian activist and physics professor Scotty Boman is running for office again. This time, however, he is starting out with some significant endorsements. Boman was scheduled to be on Detroit’s August 8th Primary Ballot for District 4 Police Commissioner. His only opponent is Detroit Board of Police Commissioners Chairperson, Willie Bell. So the two names won’t appear on the primary ballot, but will automatically be listed on the general election ballot in November.

“I am going into this with some key endorsements,” said Boman. One such endorsement is from 5th District incumbent Commissioner Willie E. Burton (Not to be confused with Boman’s opponent Willie Bell). “Mr. Burton and I would work well together and it would be an honor to be at his side on the Board.” Said Boman

Burton said, “The Detroit Board of Police Commissioners was created 1974 as a civilian oversight board, not a way for the police to police themselves. My friend Scotty Boman is the most qualified candidate in the 4th District for this reason and others: He is a college professor that prepares young adults for their future. He is a hard-working, trust worthy champion of justice. He is a man of great integrity, which is priceless in a world where political corruption has become far too common.”

Another endorsement comes from Maurice Badgett Jr. of Detroit Obama Grassroots Walkers. “We have a common desire to listen closely to people in the community who may not have the resources to garner the attention of establishment politicians.” Boman said.
Boman has been in every regular partisan election as a Libertarian since he ran for State Representative in 1994, but Boman says these were fundamentally different types of campaigns. “For the most part, these were educational campaigns; I provided an alternative perspective to the public discourse.”

Boman said, “This time I have a much higher likelihood of winning. I have been seeking and getting support from people in my community. Many of my supporters are Democrats, who share my views on local issues that transcend partisan clichés.” Detroit municipal elections are non-partisan, so all candidates for a given office are listed together in the primary.

This won’t be the first time he ran for non-partisan office in Detroit. In 1997 he ran for Detroit City Council, he was a write-in candidate for local school board in 2010 and in 2013 he ran for Detroit City Clerk. Since then, says Boman, he has strengthened his relationship with community activists. He was recently re-elected to the Board of his neighborhood association in MorningSide and served as Vice President of his local Radio Patrol until last year when he resigned do to schedule constraints.

END

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