Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Judge Sterling Schrock's Legacy of Hatred

The struggle for racial equality suffered a serious blow this week (March 21, 2011) in Berrien County Mich. and the public was treated to a graphic depiction of pure unadulterated discrimination in the very place where racial and/or class origin should impact least: the courts of so-called justice in which punishments are supposedly tailored to fit the crime, not the race of the offender.

On the very same day Judge Sterling Schrock sentenced two young men convicted of murder.

One was a young white man who attacked and bludgeoned to death his mother's boyfriend while the man slept. The crime seemed brutal, premeditated and gruesome as the defendant used his fists and knees to batter this man to death. This young man received no prison sentence but instead was put on probation for three years because as Judge Schrock stated,
"In my estimation, prison does not help anybody. People come out of prison worse not better...and that this young man would be better served by the close monitoring probation provided."

The other sentencing involved three black teenagers who were at the scene when a white robbery victim was murdered for a small amount of cash. The very same Judge, Sterling Schrock, sentenced Dequarius Steward (though he had never been in trouble with the law before) to life in prison. The other two teens, Kanisha Dyer and Lavor Coates-- who were not accused of the murder itself-- were given ten year and fifteen year sentences respectively as accomplices. Lavor said he had argued with Steward not to hurt the man and Kanisha had the misfortune of just being present at the scene. Apparently the real "crime" all three of these teenagers committed was being born black and poor in a county run by ruthless rich white people who can openly flaunt their power to favor one racial group over another.

There are many losers in this story, the first being the young people whose chance for any decent future was crushed under the wheel of this "justice" and of course, the families who will lose a child into the maw of incarceration that will very likely destroy them. The society which will have to live with these bitter and dehumanized adults as they emerge from their "just" imprisonment will also, no doubt, bear a huge cost. And of course, the other losers are those who have worked hard for justice and racial equality only to see their cause mocked and discarded so casually by judges such as Sterling Schrock. Lastly, the lack of punishment for the white man can encourage other whites in the community to break the law making the place less safe for citizens.

Actions such these sentences by Judge Schrock build a legacy of hatred for which all our children will pay a huge price, one way or another.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Who is Fred Upton?

Fred Upton is a millionaire grandson of Whirlpool founder Frederick Upton, a fact that Congressman Upton, of Michigan’s Sixth District, doesn’t mention in his bio on his Congressional website. http://upton.house.gov/Biography/

Read all about Upton's money and financial relationship to his also uber-rich cousin
Aubrey McClendon here:


"Keep up the good work, Fred! You aren’t doing your nation proud, or keeping the interests of most of your neighbors in mind, but at least you’re being good to your friends and uber-rich golf buddies. And isn’t that what really counts?"

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Julie Swidwa, Herald Palladium "reporter," is expert in making up stories out of nearly nothing

In this case, she's able to draw out and sensationalize the story of a man with a cracked car windshield being chased at high speed by a cop. Not that there isn't reason to report this event. But her take on it is to demonize yet another Benton Harbor resident, and emphasize criminality in every small crevice of the actions of a poor, living-on-the-edge, African American. You go Julie. What a
brilliant career you've created for yourself, convincing readers that BH is nothing but a crime scene filled with "throw away people."

Going by the article's tone, one would think a world-class crime syndicate started operating in BH. On and on she can go, enlarging details which will keep BH residents in fear.

The real story needing to be honestly reported in Berrien County is about cops out of control, a court system acting illegally on a daily basis, a population under seige, and desperate poverty where jobs have been outsourced.

Can anyone imagine, in their wildest dreams, cops setting a dog on a St. Joe resident?

Swidwa is one of the prime players in the creation of institutionalized racism in St. Joe/BH. It's the Mission Statement of the Herald Palladium.

Cracked windshield leads to chase, four-car wreck in Benton Harbor

County, BH officers hurt after man evading Benton Twp. police crashes into unmarked squad car, three others
By J. Swidwa H-P Staff Writer March 2, 2011

BENTON HARBOR - A police chase that started in Benton Township Tuesday morning ended in the city of Benton Harbor with two policemen injured and one man taken to jail.
The pursuit ended on Columbus Avenue near Foster Avenue after the car that was being chased by Benton Township police hit an unmarked city police car that was not involved in the chase and three parked cars.
Benton Harbor Police Detective Wesley Smigielski and Berrien County Sheriff's Deputy Mark Hopkins were together in the city police car on unrelated business when their car was hit by the fleeing vehicle. They were taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center, St. Joseph, by Medic 1 ambulance and were released after treatment, a hospital spokeswoman said.
The chase started shortly before 11 a.m. after Benton Township Patrolman Wesley Koza tried to stop a vehicle on M-139 near Pipestone Street because it had a cracked windshield, Benton Township Deputy Chief Carl DeLand said. He said that as Koza was getting out of his police car, the car he had stopped took off fast.
A pursuit began that wound through several streets in the city, ending on Columbus Avenue after the fleeing car hit the city police car and the other cars, DeLand said. The driver got out of his car and fled on foot but was caught by Benton Township's police dog, Jitka.
Samuel Willie Brown, 25, of Benton Harbor was taken to Lakeland to be treated for a dog bite and then was arrested, DeLand said. He faces charges of fleeing and eluding police, resisting and obstructing police, driving while license suspended and violating probation. According to Michigan Department of Corrections records, Brown was placed on 18 months' probation in July after pleading guilty to assault and larceny charges in Berrien County.
DeLand said Brown had a passenger, Lashay Taylor, 20, of Benton Harbor, and that she had appeared to have been "tossed out of the car" during the chase. She declined medical treatment, he said.
Regarding the injuries to the policemen, DeLand said, "We're relieved that nobody was seriously injured. It's unfortunate that two officers were injured, but in the big scheme of things we're grateful that the subject was apprehended."
Benton Harbor Police Chief Roger Lange said Tuesday afternoon that Smigielski and Hopkins both suffered bumps and bruises. He said Smigielski was "bounced around real good" and will be off work for a few days.
Lange said he will be looking into what happened and will talk with Benton Township authorities.
"I don't have an opinion because I wasn't there," Lange said Tuesday afternoon. "I don't have all the details. I will most definitely look into it and will have a conversation with them."
Lange said Benton Harbor has specific guidelines in the department's chase policy, and that when another department enters the city, "They operate on their own policy."
Lange and DeLand both said their departments' chase policies take into consideration a number of factors including the reason a person is being chased, the population of the area and whether people are in danger.
"If somebody is being kidnapped or murdered, you want to pursue," DeLand said. "It's a case-by-case basis and it depends on the circumstances. Safety is always a concern for everyone involved. Pursuits happen. That's part of law enforcement. Based on what was perceived and reported at the time of this incident, it appears justifiable."
DeLand said Koza initiated the traffic stop after noticing a vehicle with a cracked windshield. He said as Koza approached the vehicle on foot, it sped away. Koza started a chase, during which he was told by a dispatcher that the car was stolen and later told that was incorrect, DeLand said.
Also during the chase, Koza observed a female passenger being pushed out of the fleeing vehicle, DeLand said.
He said Brown lost control of his car while turning from Foster onto Columbus, sideswiping the unmarked city police car and hitting three parked cars.
DeLand said Brown told police that he ran because he was on probation and had a suspended license. Brown was taken to the Berrien County Jail to await arraignment on the charges from Tuesday. jswidwa@TheH-P.com

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Five More Lakeland Hospital Monumental Travesties

From Joyce Carter: My sister had a baby and during the birth, the doctor broke the baby's neck and arm. Lakeland released the dead baby to Pathology after keeping her in OB for a week. My sister has the medical and autopsy reports stating the placenta couldn't be found. Lakeland is covering up the death. My sister has made several complaints to no avail.

One husband, overwhelmed by the pressuring of the staff to move his wife into a Lakeland facility, asked for help. I was not shocked by what I heard since I had heard it many times in the past. When he was not persuaded by all the medical phrases such as your wife needs this medically, the doctor has ordered this, or we are only trying to do what is best for your wife medically, the discharger planner turned to another pressure tactic: financial reasons. She began to tell him Medicare would not pay for the medical services needed without being an inpatient at Berrien Center. As she started to list all the services that Medicare would pay for, I would simply say that is not true. It is time the patients have a choice, not just Lakeland's choice.

From anonymous: My baby died at Lakeland. The hospital claims he had a bad heart, yet no doctor ever stated this. The service was generally always bad. We do not have the resources to fight Lakeland. My baby is gone and if I had known what I know now, I would have taken him to Kalamazoo. I will never go to Lakeland again.

From Kea: I took my 7 month old baby to the emergency room in 2010 where he was misdiagnosed. Both the nurse and doctor were horribly rude. They forced fluid down his throat so he would vomit. The nurse made us keep giving him fluids. He was diagnosed with an ear infection which he didn't have. The pharmecist told us the prescribed medication was too strong for a baby. I had to rush him to Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo where he stayed for 10 days and almost died.

From Dee: I am still dealing with the mistreatment I received while in the emergency room. I made formal complaints on three different occasions, talked with a Ms. Dew about the "service," but it's only gotten worse.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

St. Joseph, Michigan 2011 Summer Programs for Kids

5 hours everyday for seven weeks - a variety of games: soccer, dodge ball, etc.

1 hour everyday for seven weeks - various levels of tennis lessons

Benton Harbor, Michigan 2011 Summer Programs for Kids


The neighboring towns of SJ and BH offer perhaps the clearest example of institutionalized racism on the planet.