An Open Letter to the City Council

Dear City Council:
Council member contact information is available by linking to this page, scrolling down. and selecting the picture of a member.
It has come to my attention that the Municipal code has not been updated to reflect the current reality (The establishment of a Community Advisory Council in District 4 by petition):
 
Paragraph (d):
Erroneously reads, “District 4: The Community Advisory Council for District 4 has not yet been established in accordance with Section 9-102 of the Charter.”
 

Please correct this.  I am assuming it will be procedural and non-controversial.

 
This other issue is a little more complicated…
Furthermore, the City Clerk has informed me that CAC candidates will not be in the primary since the Municipal Code specifies the next “General election.”  This conflicts with the City Charter which says the candidates will be in the next election in which all Detroiters may vote.   It also leaves open the possibility that 20 candidates will be on the ballot in the general election for only 5 seats; so the top five vote getters may have a very small percentage of the total vote.  It would seem appropriate to have them in a non-partisan portion of the August primary ballot.  It is customary to have all offices in the primary unless the number of candidates is so small that all would automatically advance to the general election.
 
So I urge the council to look into the possibility of amending this ordinance to include these candidates in the primary if there is sufficient time to do this.
 
Sincerely,
Scotty Boman
District 4 resident.
Successful petitioner for creating a CAC in District 4
Posted in City Council action, Community Advisory Council | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

DISTRICT 4 CHARTER- MANDATED COMMUNITY MEETING – 12-17-2019

Join Mayor Mike Duggan for a District 4 Chartered Mandated Community Meeting. Have questions and comments ready!

12530 Mack Ave, Detroit, MI 48215, USA

The community meeting begins at 7 pm and adjourns promptly at 8:30 PM.

Free parking at the church.

This meeting is part of a series of community meeting as outlined in the 2012 Detroit City Charter.

For more information, please contact Keeley Walker @ (313) 224-3392

Link to event flyer

Link to Detroit government website post.

Posted in Community Advisory Council, Events | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Dinner Meeting on CAC November 26

When: 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM. November 26th 2019.

Where: Eastside Community Network 4401 Conner St, Detroit, MI 4821.

Eastside Community Network will hold a meeting on Community Advisory Councils (CAC).

A pre-Thanksgiving dinner will be served and we will include a panel of experts.

Organized by Donna Givens, President & Chief Executive Officer of the Eastside Community Network and Jefferson Chalmers Community resident.

Check back to see if it is rescheduled.

Contact Donna Givens dgivens[AT]ecn-detroit.org if you know of experts who may be added to the panel.

Organization website:
http://www.ecn-detroit.org/

4401 Connor Eastside Community Netwrk

Posted in Community Advisory Council, Events | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dinner Meeting on CAC Nov. 12 CANCELLED

This event is cancelled.

When: 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM. November 12th 2019.

Where: Eastside Community Network 4401 Conner St, Detroit, MI 48215.

Eastside Community Network will hold a meeting on Community Advisory Councils (CAC).

Dinner will be served and we will include a panel of experts.

Organized by Donna Givens, President & Chief Executive Officer of the Eastside Community Network and Jefferson Chalmers Community resident.

Check back to see if it is rescheduled.

Contact Donna Givens dgivens[AT]ecn-detroit.org if you know of experts who may be added to the panel.

Organization website:
http://www.ecn-detroit.org/

Posted in Community Advisory Council, Events | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Facial Recognition Hearing for District 4

Councilman Spivey wants to hear from you on facial recognition policy…

Monday November 4th

6:00 PM to 7:30 PM.
Wayne County Community College District. Eastern Campus
Regional Training Center Room
5901 Conner St. Detroit, MI 48213

Charter Mandated Meeting Follows Postponed

This meeting will be followed by the District 4 Mandated Community Meeting at 7:00 PM… just down the street:

Join Mayor Mike Duggan for a District 4 Chartered Mandated Community Meeting .

Jemison Temple
12530 Mack Ave.
Detroit, MI 48215

The community meeting begins at 7 pm and adjourns promptly at 8:30 pm.

Free parking at the church.

This meeting is part of a series of community meeting as outlined in the 2012 Detroit City Charter.

For more information, please contact Keeley Walker @ (313) 224-3392

Posted in Events | Tagged | Leave a comment

State of the District 2019

Monday October 28th 2019.

6:00 PM to 7:30 PM.
Wayne County Community College District. Eastern Campus
Reginal Training Center Room
5901 Conner St. Detroit, MI 48213

Councilman Andre Spivey, representatives from Housing & Revitalization, Planning and Development, and the I-94 Modernization Project Team will be present to provide updates on current projects & plans.

For more information contact the office directly at (313) 224-4841.

Posted in Community Advisory Council, Events | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Website Re-tasked to Educate People on Community Advisory Council

This website is dedicated to raising public awareness about the new Community Advisory Council (CAC) in Detroit’s Fourth District.  I am Scotty Boman, the petitioner whose efforts are responsible for creating the CAC.  Since I already owned a website for my 2017 Board of Police Commissioner campaign, I decided to re-task it for the more timely purpose of informing people about this most recent addition to Detroit’s local government.

When the members of the council are elected, I hope they set up a website that belongs to the CAC.  If it is a paid site they will need to obtain an EIN and set up a business account at a bank.  They will need to be supported by voluntary donations.  I know from experience that this isn’t very expensive.  If they need any help I will be glad to lend a hand.

The receipt I was given upon filing the petitions is here:

https://boman4detroit.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/petitionfilingreceipt.pdf

The confirmation letter that the petitions were approved is here:

https://boman4detroit.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/cac-confirmationd4.pdf

 

Posted in Community Advisory Council | Leave a comment

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.

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in News Release, Press Release | Leave a comment