Thursday, May 29, 2008
In Our Opinion...
Pleasantville Police Chief Chiarlitti Should Think Again
We think there are few spectacles more pathetic than public officials so fearful of the truth, so blindly loyal to oppressive authority, that they eagerly sacri-fice rank and file subordinates, worthy, thoughtful soldiers, in their panic to save their own skin. Such a slug is Police Chief Chiarlitti, obviously so worried about the possible consequences to himself, if he did not punish Detective Sergeant Stephen Bonura, a 27-year police veteran, for his truthful comments to a newspaper reporter regarding the handling of a career criminal by the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office.
What should rank and file police, under such a chief, conclude? Many things, none of them good. For one thing, Chiarlitti is no leader. He has demonstrated by his actions that he will sell out even one of his most highly regarded officers, a man with a distinguished record over nearly three decades. Furthermore, he has made it clear that he expects his officers to check their intelligence and their Constitutional rights at the door, once having joined his department.
Frankly, We wonder what was so inappropriate in Officer Bonura’s expression of disappointment with the decision of the DA’s Office to accept a very soft sentence from a career criminal whose rap sheet included drug, assault, weapons, and burglary convictions, and numerous arrests, given the fact that prosecutors had indicated they would be sending Kahill Gonzalez away for at least three years. Bonura, was, after all, the Department’s Public Relations Officer, someone presumably expected to communicate with press and media.
We note the position was Public Relations, not Public Information. The two are not synonymous, nor mutually exclusive. In any case, what was Chiarlitti so concerned about? Was he fearful of reprisal against himself, against his Department, by a District Attorney who has already established a willingness to play politics with any number of Westchester police departments; Harrison, White Plains, Mount Kisco, Bedford, and Yonkers, to name just a few.
Janet DiFiore, in two and a half years in office, has repeatedly demonstrated her propensity not only to lie herself, but also to send her assistants into federal courts to lie in the faces of appellate panels; as was the case with ADA Valerie Livingston, of her Appeals Bureau, who not only lied to District Court Judge Brieant, but also to a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals presided over by Judge Calabresi in her effort to keep concealed 376 pages, 52 boxes, and miles of audio tape, all of which established the innocence of Anthony DiSimone who DiFiore knew, right along, was innocent of the murder of Louis Balancio.
And, just because she entered into a conspiracy with Chief Dave Hall and Captain Anthony Marraccini of the Harrison Police Department to help them retaliate against a 10-year veteran police officer, Ralph Tancredi, and other rank and file of-ficers, obviously doesn’t guarantee to Chiarlitti that DiFiore won’t come after him for the critical, but truthful, comments of his Detective Sergeant.
Finally, police chiefs, the likes of Chiarlitti, in Our opinion, strengthen the argument for doing away with so many separate police departments, and establishing one County-wide department, as in Nassau County. There are just “too many Chiefs and not enough Indians”.
Our Readers Respond...
Aghast At The Price Of Gas
When is this nonsense going to end? Now that the price of gas has gone above $4 a gallon, there’s talk about it going to $5 in the very near future. For crying out loud, give us a chance to adjust to the $4 price before hitting us with more bad news.
I’m a regular commuter, drive about 70 miles a day to and from work, five days a week, and I’ve had it with the rising cost of gas. But the only thing anyone can do, besides boycott the oil industry, is just shrug their shoulders, take the rising gas prices in stride, and pray to whomever they pray to that our elected officials will come to their senses and do whatever needs to be done to end this insanity (short of invading the Middle East and forcibly seizing their oil reserves. Oh, we’re already there. Never mind.). After all, the purpose of government is not only to govern, but fulfill the needs of the general public. I’m afraid, though, the time will soon come when the people will have had enough.
I heard on the radio this morning on my way in to work that the oil companies were complaining their profits are small. Small? With crude something like $134 a barrel, the highest it’s ever been, and the steadily rising gas prices (the $5-per-gallon cost I mentioned above will surely be here before you know it), I find that “small profit” complaint hard to believe.
And what about our oh, so, illustrious President Bush? When he was in the Middle East he supposedly inquired about the Saudis increasing their oil production. They refused. The nerve! We did them a huge favor by getting Saddam out of Iraq and this is how they pay us back? The namby-pamby should have quietly told them that unless they increase production and lower the price-per-barrel, we’ll ignore their cries for help when and if Iran comes after them. There was talk a few weeks ago about temporarily suspending the federal gas tax, at least for the summer, but while that sounded like a good idea, it wasn’t. Imagine, come Labor Day, when the tax is reinstated. By that time everyone would have gotten used to the “lower” prices (provided they haven’t risen steadily by then) and then, suddenly, the price again jumps when the “tax holiday” is over. Imagine the reaction.
Well, I guess it’s time to go back to the old horse n’ buggy. But, wait, if we do that, I’m sure the price of hay and oats and whatever else they
feed horses with will skyrocket.
Reflecting On The Paterson Opportunity
Some critics see Governor David Paterson’s victory as being a default. I see it as being a gift from God to save the residents of this great state from the shoot-first ask- questions-later peace officers who are paid with our tax dollars to protect and serve the many communities across New York. By passing legislation requiring that one of every two officers carry stun guns, tasers, and/or bean bag or rubber bullets; and that they must first use them to gain control or protect themselves and the citizenry, and if they don’t they will be imprisoned for failing to do the first directive.
I went to Albany to see Governor Paterson sworn in because I couldn’t believe that a man of African and Irish ancestry was really going to be the new governor of New York, a governor who will finally listen, to hear, the cries for justice from his state residents. On the drive home I kept asking myself why him God? And why in New York State now? I know in my heart that whether Governor Paterson does good or great works while in office, the wolves surrounding him will try to get rid of him next term, or he himself may want out. But why him and why now remained unanswered.
The answer came to me while talking on the phone with my friend about the march across the Brooklyn Bridge, in response to the judge’s decision freeing the public servants who shot Sean Bell 50 times. I told my friend I’m tired of all this marching when the police shoot up state residents, but not doing anything legislatively to stop it. In answer to my friend’s question of what should be done, I said make the community peace officers use less lethal means to bring situations under control. Like shocking them, or hitting with a few rubber bullets or bean bags, instead of shoot first because ‘dead men tell no tales’, followed by million dollar law suits, just for another killing to come about a
few years down the road.
Jokingly my friend said that when they pump him full of bullets his wife has been directed to sue for everything. He laughed. I didn’t. I was wondering what he would do to get the police’s attention. Reading my silence as confusion to his remark, he asked if he’d told me he was
a diabetic. I answered he did. He told me that sometimes he has to keep candy in his pockets and in the car because when his sugar level drops he becomes disoriented. He asked me to imagine him being pulled over by the police because his sugar has dropped and he needs more candy then he has. In my mind I saw him weaving all across the road, with a single minded mission to get something sweet to get his sugar back up, and suddenly I felt relieved that the police would stop him before he kills himself or someone else.
I responded that if the officer pulled him off the road the officer would just be doing his job. My friend agreed and rebutted, but when I can’t
get out of the car fast enough or get on that ground fast enough. I interrupted him by saying, “And you’d be made into Swiss cheese” because
I didn’t want him to say it. We both laughed. He continued by telling me not to worry cause he doesn’t do too much driving, but if he were made into Swiss cheese, his wife would be rich. Angrily, I responded by asking him what about his friends? All we’ll have is memories.
After that conversation, my friend made contact with a couple of members of the Brooklyn Bridge marchers. He said they agreed with
the idea of getting laws passed to stop the police from shooting first and that I, since it is my idea should call the Brooklyn Bridge Marchers office and speak with the name my friend gave me. I called and asked for the named person. Well, all I could say is, after speaking with this angry man who informed me that the idea of making laws to have the police carry stun guns and rubber bullets was tried before and that it never became law, in other words I didn’t invent the wheel. I responded by saying New York State didn’t have David Paterson as governor then, and I believe he would be honored to be remembered as the governor who put an end to out of control public servants who shoot down residents in the street, in other words a Saver of lives. The angry office worker told me to put something in writing. After hanging up the
phone, I realized that getting shot many times by cops is almost like winning the lottery. The winners of the six numbers state lottery gets
to spend the money whereas the cop killing lottery only the victim’s family gets to spend the money.
I’m asking the readers of The Westchester Guardian to please email the governor and your state representatives and ask them to move legislation to have peace of-ficers trained to use stun guns, tasers, bean bags, rubber bullets first, and make it so that if they don’t do
peace first, they’ll do some hard time like any other convicted killer. Let’s not only pass laws to get the guns out of teenagers’ hands, let’s
do the same for the true protectors of our community. I’m sure they want to find another way to bring a situation under control than killing
the innocent. Remember guns don’t kill people; people in and out of uniform kill people.
Vicki Camacho, Mount Vernon