Monday, March 31, 2008

Rep.Hurst seeks to ban sale of stun guns & tasers to public

So, I'm looking around the ALISON site at the upcoming Judiciary Cmte. meeting agenda for this week and I spot HB175 sponsored by Rep. Steve Hurst which would outlaw the sale of stun guns and tasers to the general public making them available only to law enforcement.

And there is absolutely no explanation given.


Under existing law, any manufacturer, distributor, or retailer may offer for sale to the general public an electroshock stun gun or taser.
This bill would prohibit the sale of electroshock stun guns or tasers except to an authorized representative of a federal, state, or local law enforcement agency.
This bill would provide an exception for sales by a manufacturer or distributor to a retailer. This bill would provide penalties for violations.


Absolutely no explanation. The audacity!

Well, I want one. Why would someone seek to outlaw the sale of stun guns and tasers to the general public? We can have real guns, which have a greater chance of killing someone, so why not a stun gun or taser?

Why can only law enforcement have them? If someone is trying to rape me and I have to wait for the cops to get there and use their taser then the outcome probably would not be in my favor or in favor of any woman...or anyone being mugged, kidnapped and generally attacked for any reason.

Do I not have the right to defend myself? If so, do I not also have the right to decide what sort of defense I might deploy if forced to fight for my own life or for the lives of my family?

It really angers me that there is no explanation given for this bill. Is it just because he can? Really? He can just introduce any old bill he wants and not have to explain what the purpose of it is to the taxpaying public? Really?




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Puppet Camp 2008

On March 29 & 30, 2008 two activist groups, Alabamians for Compassionate Care and T.O.P.S. descended on a farm in Clanton, AL for Puppet Camp 2008. During those two days we learned how to assemble giant puppets to be used in political protests that we have planned. The following pictures were taken and show the work from beginning to where we currently are. The Alabamians for Compassionate Care puppet was supposed to look rather generic....but for some reason came out looking like Barak Obama. It will look different when we have added all the accessories and finishing touches.

Enjoy!


























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Friday, March 28, 2008

McIntosh chief: Son will be exonerated in Taser case

Friday, March 28, 2008
By ROBERT McCLENDON
Staff Reporter
Mobile Press-Register

A Washington County police chief whose son was videotaped Tasering and beating a man during a traffic stop said Thursday that he wasn't able to comment on the case because of a pending investigation, but that the facts would exonerate his son.

McIntosh Police Chief Mike Barnett said he and his son, Blaine Barnett, were anxious to explain their version of events, but that District Attorney Spencer Walker was still examining the incident.

Barnett would not say for whom his son was working when he and an officer pulled over Ronald Reed in the McIntosh area.

Barnett had been working for a tri-county task force, but resigned the day before the incident, according to Walker, who sits on the task force board. Walker said he did not know whether Barnett's letter of resignation had taken effect.

A WPMI news crew, in Washington County on March 14 for an unrelated story, taped the incident. The video shows Blaine Barnett and an officer pulling over Reed's truck.

In the video, Barnett rushes the truck, fires a Taser through the window and drags Reed out the door. The footage shows Barnett punching Reed in the head and smashing his face to the road several times.

WPMI has been replaying the video this week, much to the chagrin of Barnett, who called their coverage of his son "character assassination."


Give me a break!

Watch this video and tell me how Blaine Barnett will 'be exonerated' cuz I don't see it myself.


He clearly thought he would get away with it because he wasn't aware a camera was rolling. And what about his partner? How come he didn't step in and protect the guy getting beat up? I think he should face some heat too. To serve and protect huh? Yeah...to serve yourself and protect your own a**.

And it is awful funny that none of the law enforcement departments Blaine Barnett was working for want to claim him just now. Even his daddy's department won't claim him. You know it's bad when Daddy won't claim you. Yet daddy says he will be exonerated.

As to character assassination....I guess it's only character assassination if you are a cop and/or the son of the police chief, because they damn sure don't care about the character of anyone else caught on tape committing a crime. In fact there are a whole bunch of different TV shows dedicated to that very thing.

Bad Boys Bad Boys
Watcha gonna do
Watcha gonna do
When they come for you
Nobody gone give you no break
Police not give you no break
No soldier gonna give you no break
Not even your "Daddy" gonna give you no break
Bad Boys Bad Boys






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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Don Siegleman to be released from Prison

Breaking news from AL.com

Former Gov. Don Siegelman will be released from prison, after the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals granted him an appeal bond, the lead prosecutor in the case said.

Acting U.S. Attorney Louis Franklin said he received a courtesy call from the court today. "He's going to be released," Franklin said.

He said he was disappointed but added, "The 11th Circuit has the discretion to do that, and I respect that."

This is SUPERB news! I am very happy for Don and his family. The real fun will begin when his convictions are overturned. The fallout from that should be incredibly entertaining.

Welcome Home Don!!



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More shots from the garden

Pink Gerbera Daisy



Red Gerbera Daisy



Yellow Gerbera Daisy



Flower Garden



Broccoli



Turnip Greens



Lettuce



Onions





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Police Brutality in Alabama



Police chief's son object of excessive-force probe
Video shows motorist being Tasered, beaten

Thursday, March 27, 2008
By ROBERT McCLENDON
Staff Reporter
Mobile Press-Register

Washington County authorities are investigating the McIntosh police chief's son, who was caught on video earlier this month Tasering a man during a traffic stop, dragging him out of his truck and beating him.

A WPMI news crew, in Washington County March 14 for another story, was in the middle of an interview, when they heard sirens and turned their cameras on a police Jeep following a brown truck.

The video shows the truck pulling over and Blaine Barnett, son of McIntosh Chief of Police Michael Barnett, jumping out of the Jeep and rushing toward the truck. Before the truck can pull to a stop, Barnett fires his Taser into the window and drags out Ronald Reed, pushing him to the ground.

The video further shows Barnett punching Reed in the head and slamming his face into the pavement.

Reed's father, Oscar Reed, said his son -- who was charged with reckless driving and misdemeanor possession of marijuana -- was treated like an armed criminal fleeing a bank robbery.

"Now I'm a Christian man, but when you see something like that, it sort of makes you want to act differently," the elder Reed said, adding that his son's face was missing a silver-dollar-sized patch of skin where it had scraped the road.

Reed said he was seeking legal council in the matter, but ultimately he said he just wants justice for his son.

"I just don't want any other parent to have to see that happen to their son," he said.

Exactly why police authorities pulled over Reed and under which authority they were acting remains unclear.

Press-Register efforts to reach Chief Barnett were unsuccessful.

Washington County District Attorney Spencer Walker told the Press-Register the incident remains under investigation by his office.

Walker said the facts of the case, if it's deemed that Barnett's actions broke the law, would be put before the grand jury in August.


"If it's deemed that Barnett's actions broke the law"....Excuse me, is it legal anywhere in Alabama for a cop to taser someone before a vehicle has even come to a full stop and then drag them out and beat them, without any sort of resisting or provocation? For reckless driving (which can be driving 15 miles over the speed limit) and a little weed? NO. So, Barnett definitely broke the law. In front of a TV camera to boot! I swear cops are some of the stupidest humans alive.

I agree with the victim's father....this does make one want to lose their religion. It's stuff like this that makes the average citizen not only want to take matters into their own hands....it also breeds contempt ,distrust and hatred of all law enforcement officers. Since they do not come equipped with a lapel pin that says, "I am a dangerous, power-drunk a**-wipe who will beat and taser you for fun" the general public has to operate from the premise that they are all power-drunk a**-wipes hiding behind a badge and capable of the same violence in this story. Even if it isn't true.

And there's more...WPMI is also reporting that Blaine Barnett worked for the Mobile Police Dept but resigned in bad standing in 2004 after just four months on the job.

According to their website.....

One other point over which there is some confusion concerns a question as to which agency Officer Barnett was working for at the time of Reed's arrest. The McIntosh Police chief says he was working for the drug task force, a division of the district attorney's office. But the task force says he had quit the day before the incident and was working as a McIntosh Police officer, where he continues to work.



So, I guess if your daddy is the chief of police you can get a job as a cop, even though you already left one cop job in bad standing, taser and beat people who are posing no threat to you or anyone else and get to keep your job...all on the taxpayer dime. I hope the family sues and wins and I also hope that Blaine Barnett spends a very long time in jail...general population to be precise.



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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What things were like before the federalization of local police

I had a doctor's appointment today with a doctor I have used off and on for many years. I haven't seen him much in recent years because I live in a different county. However, I have been unable to find a general practitioner that I feel comfortable using where I live and decided to go back to the familiar.

During the course of today's visit my line of work came up and we started discussing politics, which eventually led to the discussion of medical marijuana.

I asked, "What do you think about medical marijuana? Do you support it?"

The doctor smiled in an odd sort of way and said, "Back when I first opened my practice here one of my first patients had cancer. Nothing I prescribed for him helped with the nausea from chemo. So, I went up to the Sheriff's office and asked the Sheriff to give me some marijuana from the evidence room for my patient. He did."

I was almost too stunned to say anything!

Me: "So, you support it then?"

Doctor: "Yes. There is a pill form available though."

Me: "Marinol. Yes I know. Two of the patients I work with have had it prescribed for them. Neither of them found it very useful and Medicaid and Medicare won't cover it. Since it costs around $700 a month it is cost prohibitive for most people."

Doctor: "That's right they don't cover it. Tell me about the bill."

So, I discussed the ins and outs of the bill with him and told him if he had any patients that might benefit from the passage of this bill to let them know about the bill. I also asked him to contact his Rep. and ask for their support. I would've asked him to testify at the committee hearing, but I felt it best not to 'pile on' until more information is exchanged between us.

That story he told me about his cancer patient really threw me for a loop....a big one. It was about the last thing I expected. I know who was Sheriff at that time, too.

It is amazing to think of a time, not so long ago (less than 20 years), when the local small-town doctor could not only recommend marijuana to a patient, but could actually go down to the Sheriff's office and ask for some from the evidence locker and have his request granted. That's like total Mayberry stuff!

In less than 20 years we have gone from the compassion and common sense demonstrated in the story above to prosecuting wise and compassionate doctors, revoking their license and arresting and imprisoning people with cancer, HIV/AIDS, MS and a whole long list of other illnesses simply for recommending or using this NATURAL plant.

This is what the drug war has brought us. It will continue to bring us even worse things unless we stand up and say ENOUGH! It will only go as far as We The People allow it to. Please tell the House Judiciary committee YOU'VE HAD ENOUGH!




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Audio: Loretta Nall on Matt Murphy

Yesterday, I was a guest on the Matt Murphy Show where we talked about HB679 The Michael Phillips Compassionate Care Act. If you missed yesterday's broadcast you can Listen Here.


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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Random Shots

Some awesome Gerbera Daisies I planted in my new flower bed.




The kids romping around with our massive German Shepherd, Saul.



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Correct NORML Podcast Link

All,

I did an interview with NORML a little over a week ago and sent out the wrong link to the podcast. In this interview I talk about HB679, our patients Laura Campbell, Christie O'Brien, Don Prockup and Michael Phillips.

Please excuse the delay in getting the correct link out to all of you.
LISTEN HERE!



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Loretta Nall on The Matt Murphy Show TODAY!

Folks,

I will be a guest on the Matt Murphy Show today at 5:30 p.m. where I will discuss HB679 Alabama's Compassionate Care Act and our activities surrounding it for the remainder of the legislative session.

You can tune in live at this link!



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See...Prohibition NEVER Works!

Will they ever learn?


Black Market for Candy at Schools

Students turn a profit from candy sales

RACHEL BYRD Staff Writer
March 20, 2008 - 3:27PM

VICTORVILLE — With candy sales banned on school campuses, sugar pushers
are the latest trend at local schools. Backpacks are filled with
Snickers and Twinkees for all sweet tooths willing to pay the price.

“It’s created a little underground economy, with businessmen selling
everything from a pack of skittles to an energy drink,” said Jim Nason,
principal at Hook Junior High School in Victorville.

This has become a lucrative business, Nason said, and those kids are
walking around campus with upwards of $40 in their pockets and
disrupting class to make a sale.

Schools have been individually banning junk-food sales for years, and
enforcement was increased in 2005 when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger passed
legislation to combat childhood obesity, according to the office of the
governor.

Since then, schools have slowly adjusted by offering more healthy
alternatives, such as baked chips and granola bars.

But Nason said that he sees just as much candy and soda as ever, because
students still bring it from home — for lunch, and to turn a profit.

“I think it’s original purpose was pretty good, but it doesn’t seem to
be making that big of a difference,” said teacher Rolayne Allen of the
junk-food ban.

Teachers are instructed to confiscate candy when kids have it in class,
Nason said, and the punishment for making sales can be detention.

But confiscating candy all the time can be challenging, Allen said,
especially around the holidays when students bring more of it to school.

Daryl Bell, principal at Apple Valley Middle School, said that he also
sees an increase in candy around the holidays, but that for the most
part, students steer clear of sodas and buy juice and water from the
vending machines.

A few candy sellers are caught each year there, Bell said, but he does
not see it as a problem on campus.

Since Hook moved away from junk food years ago, Nason said he has not
seen a change in student health.

“I think they get a good nutritional lunch here, but looking at our kids
and looking at physical education scores, I don’t see how it’s been a
highly effective program,” Nason said.

One way around the problem is the school’s lunch accounts, Nason said.
Parents can monitor what their kids are eating by putting money on their
lunch cards to buy school meals instead of handing them cash.

But as long as kids can get candy, from the store and at home, they will
continue to bring it to school, Nason said.

Rachel Byrd can be reached at 951-6232, or by e-mail at
rbyrd@vvdailypress.com.
----------------------


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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Weigh Pros & Cons of Pot for Medical Purposes

Our friend and colleague Dr. Steve Rudd of Brookwood Hospital had a piece published about Michael Phillips and medical marijuana in today's BHAM News.

THANKS DR. RUDD YOU ARE A SAINT!!

Sunday, March 23, 2008
STEVE RUDD

I didn't know Michael Phillips, but I've had patients like him. Born with an inoperable brain tumor, he was prone to seizures. There were always doubts he'd live to see the next day. From the start, he never had much of a chance.

Some patients like that turn bitter. They give up hope. Others just make do, much like the rest of us. They go with what they've got, and they don't look back.

Then a few are like the young man everyone called Michael.

He took joy in life. Michael gave it, too. From his earliest days, he loved music. Whether it was singing in church or listening to his favorite bands, he savored a melody and he went with the beat. He liked songs that rocked.

Friends tell how Michael took his pastor's words to heart and went home and trashed his rock'n' roll CDs after he joined the church. He held on to the ones by Kiss, though. To Michael's way of thinking, they couldn't be all bad if they rocked like that.

He wanted to take a bigger part in his community, but his precarious condition held him back. The seizures didn't help, either. Call them grand mal or major-motor: By whatever tag, they hit him like a mugging and left him in a heap.

READ THE REST



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One more time: Last Word

In today's Anniston Star opinion section I am pitted head-to-head with none other than Sgt. Jim Henderson, VP of the Alabama Narcotics Officers Assoc. and once again I get the last word!

I'm getting pretty good at this. Today's printing is the third time in a week that I have gotten the last word on drug policy issues.


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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Make Room for Serious Criminals Bill

Rep. Frank says he'll file bill to legalize marijuana

March 22, 2008
BOSTON—Rep. Barney Frank said he plans to file a bill to legalize "small amounts" of marijuana.

Frank announced his plans late Friday on the HBO show "Real Time," hosted by Bill Maher.

"I'm going to file a bill as soon as we go back to remove all federal penalties for the possession or use of small amounts of marijuana," Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat, told Maher.

Frank didn't define "small amounts." Efforts to reach Frank on Saturday were not immediately successful.

Frank said he'd filed a similar bill in the Massachusetts Legislature in the 1970s, but hasn't tried since he was elected to Congress.

"I finally got to the point where I think I can get away with it," he said.

Frank said he thinks "its time for the politicians in this one to catch up to the public. The notion that you lock people up for smoking marijuana is pretty silly."

He told Maher he'd call the bill the "Make Room for Serious Criminals" bill.






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Friday, March 21, 2008

Nanner Puddin'

Governor Riley landed a segment on the Daily Show last night! You gotta watch this!

(H/T Dan)



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And Another Last Word!

Today the Monroe Journal ran two letters about student drug testing. One for it and mine, which is against student Drug Testing. Mine was after the one begging the government schools to invade the bodies of our children, so I got the last word again. I love it when that happens.

Here is the pro-drug test letter followed by mine.

Community Misinformed

Dear Editor,

It has been brought to my attention that some members of the community were misinformed as to the group of students that would be involved in testing when the proposed Random Drug Testing Program for Monroe County School System passes.

As written in the Proposed Policy, only Activity Students would be tested.
Activity Students are students in grades 7-12 who participate in school sponsored extra-curricular organizations that participate in interscholastic competition. This includes any student who represents Monroe County’s public schools in any extra-curricular activity in interscholastic competition, such as, but not limited to, academic teams (Scholars Bowl), band, choral, cheerleaders, majorettes, dance line, flag corps and athletics.

The comments I have heard have suggested that all students should be tested. I couldn’t agree more. In June 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court gave the authority to public schools to test students participating in competitive extracurricular activities for illegal drugs. This includes all extracurricular activities from athletics to Beta Club. As drug use among teens continues to increase, I feel, that in the near future, the U.S. Supreme Court will amend this decision and add all students.

I hope the community will decide this is a program that each of us needs to support for the well being of our students and to encourage a drug free lifestyle for today and for the future of Monroe County.

Susie James
Chairman, Proposed Drug Testing Program Committee
Director, Monroe County Education Foundation



Bravo to Decision

Dear Editor,
In response to "Board Nixes Drug Testing" (03/14) I say bravo! I submit the following in hopes of providing parents and educators with good, scientific-based reasons to just say no to student drug testing.

Oregon Health & Science University researchers just concluded a two-year study called SATURN (Student Athlete Testing Using Random Notification).

This is the first-ever prospective, randomized clinical trial to measure the deterrent effects of drug and alcohol testing among high school athletes. They report that random drug and alcohol testing does not reliably keep student-athletes from using. They also found that drug testing increases some risk factors for future substance use. These findings are published in the November issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health, the journal of the Society for Adolescent Medicine.

Student drug testing places kids in greater danger for a variety of reasons. Marijuana is the substance most commonly used by youth and is the safest of all substances, both licit and illicit. Students who might engage in a little youthful indiscretion by smoking pot once in a while, might move to harder drugs like meth and prescription narcotics because they are out of your system in 72 hours, whereas the broken down metabolites of marijuana, while causing no harm, are detectable in the human body for up to 45 days. Kids are also known to do crazy things like drink bleach in hopes of masking drugs in their system. That is extremely dangerous.

Parents and educators should also be aware that the following organizations oppose randomly drug testing students: National Education Association, the Association for Addiction Professionals, the American Public Health Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Association of Social Workers, and the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.

If that many professionals say no to student drug testing, studies show it doesn't work and might even place kids in greater danger then why do we continue to see schools push for these invasive and dehumanizing programs for our kids?
Loretta Nall
Alexander City



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Oops!

The Montgomery Advertiser ran an LTE from me about BYRNE Grants for drug task forces being equivalent to welfare.

Funding anti-drug drug work not wise policy

A few days ago they ran Anti-drug efforts haven't worked which is the same letter they ran today.

I think I know what happened. I sent the letter in and also posted it in the comments/forums of the Advertiser and they took one from the forums (you agree to printing of any material you post in the forums) and then the editor used the one I sent to the LTE guy.

Fine by me. The more people are exposed to the idea that the drug war isn't working the sooner they will realize that is the absolute unvarnished truth and perhaps they will do something to stop it.



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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Judge Rochester has a Change of Heart?

I've been following closely the story about Clay County Circuit Court Judge John Rochester's son being busted for trafficking in cocaine and marijuana. Rumor has it that John Alexander Rochester will turn states evidence in exchange for the trafficking charge being dropped and will be whisked away to treatment in the dark of night.

I spoke to some Clay County folks who want to participate in any protest I organize once Rochester Jr. is given treatment. I learned from them that this is the second time John Alexander Rochester has been arrested for drugs. They were unsure if the previous charge was for trafficking or simple possession. When I told them Rochester Jr. would likely be given treatment they reminded me of what Judge Rochester tells the souls that come before him on drug charges who ask for treatment, "There's a substance abuse program (SAP) in prison." So, that is what some of our signs for this protest will say. How bout them apples?

As I noted before Judge Rochester is notorious for handing down harsh sentences for simple possession. I saw him sentence a guy to 5 years in prison for simply possessing meth for personal use in Jan. of 2007. Lawyers from out of town won't take a case before him for less than double what they usually charge because they hate him so bad and they know it is futile to go before him on a drug case and expect a fair ruling.

So, imagine my surprise when I heard last week that a friend who had asked me for help on a trafficking charge got a 5 year probation sentence for trafficking from Rochester!! And he was on tape selling to an undercover twice. He also had a prior but it was granted youthful offender status. And he is BLACK! I've never seen Rochester sentence anyone to probation on a trafficking charge. NEVER! Especially not a black kid. And I grew up in Clay County and have sat in his courtroom many, many times.

I guess until Judge Rochester's boy is sent away to treatment under the cover of night we will see him hand down very light sentences for possession and trafficking. My guess is that once his young'un is taken care of he will return to being the jackass that he is known to be.

But not without a little input from others who have suffered his wrath in the past. I detest blatant hypocrisy, special treatment based on who your daddy is or how much money you have or both.



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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Congrats to Dawn Palmer!

Congrats to my friend and fellow activist Dawn Palmer who had an excellent letter published in the Birmingham News today! Every time I read the two opening sentences I cackle hysterically. That has to be one of the greatest smartass openings ever.

Way to go Dawn!

Letters, faxes, and e-mail
Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Congress has funded our law enforcement officers well, and they have done an excellent job. According to a recent report, 1 in every 100 Americans is in jail or prison. Because our jails and prisons are packed, states have come up with alternatives such as community corrections programs and drug courts in order to divert nonviolent drug offenders away from the prison system to make room for the violent offenders.

Treatment for nonviolent drug offenders is more cost-effective but, due to Congress not wanting to look soft on crime, these programs are underfunded. We need to let members of Congress know they won't be condemned for taking a more compassionate and cost-effective approach to our drug-abuse problem. They need to reform the laws concerning mere drug possession and free up more money for education, prevention and treatment. This could lead to more money to treat all the people with a drug-abuse problem, not just the ones who get caught.

The focus needs to change from arrest, prosecution and incarceration to education, prevention and treatment if we are ever going to see a reduction in our drug-abuse problem. This change in focus, along with the reform of drug-possession laws, would put our tax dollars to better use and be a lot more humane.

Dawn Palmer

Tarrant



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Take Action on Compassionate Care TODAY!

Last week, a medical marijuana access bill was introduced in the Alabama Legislature. Our bill, HB 679, has been assigned to the Judiciary Committee, and now needs to get called for a hearing. Can you take two minutes to ask the Judiciary Committee to bring this bill up for a vote?

HB 679, the Michael Phillips Compassionate Care Act, was introduced by Representative Laura Hall. The bill would allow seriously ill patients to use marijuana as recommended by their physicians. You can read the legislation here.

Judiciary Committee members need to hear from you. They need to know that Alabamians support Compassionate Care.

Last year, our Compassionate Care bill made it to a Judiciary Committee hearing. Patients, family members and concerned citizens all testified in support of the bill, and the press coverage we got was extremely positive. But the committee tabled discussion of the bill, and it didn’t move any further.

Let’s get this bill all the way through the legislature this year. There are three things you can do right now to help make sure this bill is brought up in the Judiciary Committee for a hearing:

  1. Forward this action alert to five of your friends. Every time someone contacts his or her legislator about HB 679, it increases the likelihood that the bill will pass!
  2. Help us get in contact with sympathetic doctors and patients. This is especially important. If you know of a doctor or patient who supports Compassionate Care, please contact me at lorettanall@gmail.com or 256-625-9599.

With your support, we will pass HB 679 and win compassionate medical marijuana legislation in Alabama!


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Monday, March 17, 2008

Alex City Police Department has no written Disciplinary Policy

All day I have been trying to lay hands on an Alexander City Police Dept. personnel policy handbook. The Mayor's office said to call the police chief.

I just spoke with Alexander City Police Chief Rafford and he said a handbook is available from the Human Resources Dept of the ACPD. He also said there is no written policy on discipline...that they kind of do it as they go along...so there is nothing for the public to see as far as disciplinary policy goes.

I asked if they have just a rule of thumb guide and he said no...they make it up as they go along.....depending on what the infraction is. I guess felony assault 1 & 2 aren't considered that serious of an infraction, huh? He did say that some other departments have a set disciplinary code...but that this one does not. I find it very odd that there aren't even any guidelines for disciplinary procedures for the police department in my town.Very odd indeed.

I mean, aside from common sense (which seem to be lacking in this particular profession in many cases) how do cops know what is breaking a rule and what isn't if there are no rules for them to go by? Is there no written code of conduct? Obviously, beating a handcuffed suspect nearly to death would be against the rules...but if there are no rules....

If they don't have any rules then I guess in their minds they can't break any rules.

I think they need some rules. A really long list of rules. And they need to be written down. How would one go about making that happen? Should I petition the City Council? If anyone knows please respond in the comments section of this post.





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So, I called the Mayor's Office

Last week the Alex City Outlook ran a story about Alexander City Police Officer Mitchell Ray and his alleged brutalizing of a handcuffed suspect at the Talladega SuperSpeedway on October 7, 2007. I covered it HERE.

There is something odd about this whole thing that no one is addressing. First, the local paper did not report on this incident until the indictment came down some six months later. As a taxpaying citizen of Tallapoosa Co. I find that very disturbing. Isn't it the paper's duty to inform the public about things of this nature?

I wrote Kevin Taylor the editor of the Outlook and asked him the following questions last week when this story first came to light....

Hi Kevin,

About the local officer indicted on police brutality charges...this happened in October of 2007...yet not a word was uttered in the Outlook until the indictment was handed down. I searched the archives only two relevant stories came up and both of them are from today.

Was this deliberately kept from the taxpayers of Alexander City? Did the Outlook not find it important enough to mention that one of our officers brutalized a handcuffed suspect so badly that he had to be airlifted to UAB? To me...that is pretty big news. I want to know why the good people of this city are just now being informed of this whole incident?

Regular citizens who engage in such conduct have their names printed in the paper almost immediately...and drug suspects even faster than that...yet this guy gets to keep a low profile for some six months...because....why?

Just curious,


To date I have not received an answer to those questions.

I also wanted to look at the Alexander City Police Departments personnel policy.

This Mitchell Ray cat, who allegedly beat a handcuffed race fan so badly that he had to be airlifted to UAB, remained employed on the ACPD force for six months after that incident occurred. I mean...our tax dollars pay that cops salary...didn't the citizens have a right to know and the paper a duty to inform? I want to know what the policy is regarding officer misconduct and when said misconduct automatically triggers leave...paid or otherwise. If this officer had been caught with drugs what would his punishment have been? If he had been accused of something more sinister like child molestation would he have been allowed to remain on the force for six months? Why does a brutality charge where the victim had to be airlifted to UAB not automatically trigger leave? Or does it?

I was instructed to call the Mayor's office and ask how to obtain a copy. The secretary told me I would have to call the chief of police. So, I called the chief. Their suspicions were immediately raised when I asked for a copy of their personnel policy. They put me on hold. A few minutes later a lady came back on the line and asked for my name. They don't need my name...just to tell me where to get a copy of the personnel policy of the local police department. But, since they already suspect something is up I told them my name. Placed on hold again. The lady comes back a few minutes later and says I will have to talk to the chief of police and he is on the other line.

I'll call him back in a few minutes and see what he says.

I believe that police department personnel policy should be public information that is readily available. There should be no run-around, no stalling, no investigating me because I am asking. Just hand me the damn personnel policy, Ok? I better have one in hand by the end of the day.

Stay tuned...




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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Loretta Nall, Troy King and the Inflatable F*ckable Pig

While interviewing with Russ Belville of NORML yesterday we got on the topic of sex toy stores in Alabama. Russ didn't know about Troy King and the sweet little Ms.Piglet I bestowed upon him back in November. Russ, as it happens, also writes for a few gay and lesbian blogs, one of which is Pams House Blend (it's a superb blog). Today he posted the "Sex toys for Troy King" audio excerpt from the interview at Pams House Blend.

Funny stuff... Have a listen

Thanks Russ!



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Last Word!

In Jan. 2008 Sgt. Jim Henderson, VP of the Alabama Narcotics Officers Assoc. began protesting federal cuts to his drug task force budget on the pages of many Alabama Newspapers starting with this in the the Birmingham News "Not enough money for war on Drugs", which was followed about a month later with the news of a Drug Sweeps that netted 300 arrests in which Sgt. Henderson seems to imply that warrants were held (even though the cops had information that kids were living in meth labs) in order to create a big media scene and posture before cameras in hopes of getting their welfare check back. I wrote a letter which the BHAM News published today....right after Sgt. Henderson's second letter saying they only arested dealers...."Yeah Right!

DRUG WAR:

Drug task force grant needed


On March 5, 41 states participated in a nationwide arrest roundup called "Operation Byrne Blitz." The name is in reference to the federally funded Byrne-Justice Assistance Grant that funds vital drug task forces and drug courts with rehabilitation programs.

The roundup targeted drug dealers in rural and urban neighborhoods, not addicts or users. This operation was coordinated by the National Alliance of State Drug Enforcement Agencies in partnership with the National Narcotics Officers' Associations' Coalition.

Nationally, the operation resulted in the arrests of 4,220 individuals and the seizure of a variety of drugs, 666 firearms and more than $13.46 million. Most important, 228 children were determined to be endangered, and those cases were referred to their respective child-protection agencies.

In Alabama, 19 Byrne-JAG drug task forces participated in the operation. The roundup resulted in the arrest of 286 persons and the seizure of a variety of drugs, 11 firearms, stolen property and $25,013. Thirty-six search warrants were executed. Again, most important in the operation was the discovery of 15 endangered children who were referred to the Alabama Department of Human Resources.

One striking statistic in this one-day operation is the seizure of 105 meth labs nationally. This number includes 24 meth labs in Alabama alone.

It is vital that Congress properly fund this grant for local law enforcement. State and local governments cannot conduct this fight alone. Drug trafficking is an international problem that affects the citizens of Alabama at a neighborhood level.

Jim Henderson

Alabama Narcotics

Officers Association

and Birmingham

Police sergeant

Birmingham

Funding cuts a good thing:
In response to "Nearly 300 arrested in statewide drug sweep" (March 7, The News), I found a number of things very disturbing.

In January, Birmingham Police Sgt. Jim Henderson, vice president of the Alabama Narcotics Officers Association, protested the federal government's cuts to his budget on The News' editorial page, claiming the cuts would make drug task forces ineffective. When have they ever been effective?

Every year, the number of drug arrests and the amount of drugs seized rise. If the tactics employed by Henderson and other drug warriors were working, shouldn't those numbers be going down?

The March 7 article seemed to imply that execution of warrants was delayed in order to create a big media scene, even though the cops knew there were children living in meth labs. I guess the safety and well-being of children are only important when they can be used as ransom in exchange for a government welfare check.

Drug task forces are equivalent to people who abuse the welfare system. Instead of doing real police work on serious crimes like murder, rape, child-sex assault, robbery and vehicle theft, they focus on rounding up low-level, nonviolent drug users because it's easy. And they get a government welfare check for doing so.

The Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center reports that crime clearance rates for 2005 were 19 percent. The drug warrior welfare cuts should be looked on as a good thing. Perhaps now, police will get to work on solving real crimes.

Loretta Nall

Alexander City

I LOVE it when I get the last word! Thanks BHAM News!!





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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Loretta Nall on NORML Podcast today at 5 p.m.

I will be a guest on the NORML podcast today at 5 p.m. Central time. I will be discussing the Michael Phillips Compassionate Care Act (medical marijuana bill) and other drug policy reform topics related to Alabama.

LISTEN HERE




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Friday, March 14, 2008

NORML: Take Action on Medical Marijuana

Our friends at NORML have created a fast and easy way for Alabamains who support Compassionate Care to contact their elected officials.

Please visit this link to send your member of the Alabama State House a letter asking for their support on HB679.

Thanks NORML!



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Medical Marijuana at the Statehouse: 2008

From DRCNet

A dozen years after California voters ushered in the age of legal medical marijuana by supporting Proposition 215, the legal use of the herb for medicinal purposes has spread to 11 other states -- Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington -- but in recent years, progress has been excruciatingly slow.

The last statewide initiative to go to voters failed in 2006 in South Dakota -- the only state where voters have rejected an initiative legalizing medical marijuana -- and last year, it took Herculean efforts by New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) to revive and rescue the medical marijuana bill there, making the Land of Enchantment the only state to be added to the list of medical marijuana states in 2007. (Rhode Island legislators, who had passed a sunsetted bill in 2006, made it permanent last year.)

This year, serious efforts to pass medical marijuana laws at the state house are underway in several more states, with most of the efforts being run by local groups backed by either the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) or the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). Here's a look at the states where there has been or will be action at the state house on medical marijuana:

Alabama: A medical marijuana bill was introduced last week by Rep. Laura Hall (D), but has yet to be assigned a bill number. This will mark the second year in a row that Alabama legislators have had a medical marijuana bill before them. There will be hearings this year, said Loretta Nall, executive director of Alabamians for Compassionate Care, the local group coordinating the effort to pass the bill.

One of those who will testify is Jacki Phillips, whose son, Michael Phillips, had testified in support of medical marijuana in the past. Michael Phillips, who throughout his life suffered from seizures related to brain tumors, died last December in a New Orleans hotel room during the DPA conference.

"I'm going to tell those lawmakers that the system killed my son," said Phillips. "I truly believe that if he could have gotten the marijuana and it had been regulated like other seizure medicines, he would be alive today. I'm not asking them to legalize it for potheads," she said, "I'm a Southern Baptist and I believe God gave you a brain to use, but using marijuana for medical purposes would help a lot of people."

Marijuana didn't stop Michael Phillips' seizures, his mother said, "but it gave him the chance to function on a normal level for a period of time." When he smoked marijuana, she said, he would still have seizures, but their frequency and intensity was greatly reduced.

Read the rest


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More on Judge Rochester's Son

Yesterday I posted about Circuit Court Judge John Rochester's son, John Alexander Rochester, being charged with drug trafficking in Ashland, AL. According to the Ashland police department Rochester is charged with Trafficking in Cocaine, Possession of Controlled substance, Possession of Marijuana first degree, Unlawful distribution of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and trafficking in illegal drugs.

Those are some very serious charges.

It just so happens that Ashland, AL is my hometown. I grew up there and know virtually everyone. Three people are currently feeding me information on the case and all are watching to see if the judges son gets special treatment. My sources are telling me that John Alexander Rochester will turn states evidence and that arrangements are being sought for a treatment bed for him.

Rochester's son should not get special treatment because of who he is or because his daddy can afford to buy him a slot in a treatment center. If he does then I will organize a very rowdy protest on the steps of the Clay County Courthouse along with some or perhaps all of the following people and anyone else I can round up. Should be quite a crowd seeing as about half the population of Clay Co. has had someone sent to prison by Judge Rochester for drugs.

The kid I went to church with who got a five year prison sentence from Judge Rochester for possessing one Xanax. He wasn't trafficking. His family will attend too. They are well respected.

My brother, who Rochester has sentenced twice, ten years each, for being an alcoholic. He has never been a trafficker.

My sister-in-law, who is in jail with Judge Rochester's son. She is accused of having pills without a prescription. She has never been a trafficker

This is a chance to expose the blatant hypocrisy that is the criminal justice system. It will show that you can have about as much justice as you can afford in this country.

I think drug use/sales of any kind between consenting adults shouldn't be a crime and please don't think I am advocating for jail or prison for the young Rochester or the Yates kid. I am not. But, if one deserves a shot at a treatment bed then they all do and it shouldn't be based on how much money one has, and if it is then it is unconstitutional because it is discriminatory in nature. Only the rich can get in treatment. The poor go to jail.

I'll keep everyone posted on new developments and if you are reading from Clay County then start rounding up folks that have felt the wrath of Judge Rochester to join in our potential protest.




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Monroe Co. School Board Nixes Drug Testing

Monroe Co. School Board Nixes Drug Testing

They did it for all the wrong reasons, although Superintendent Mixon was more reasonable and noble sounding than the others on the board.

Overall it is a victory for the privacy rights of students and it opens the dialog which gives us the chance to educate the folks of Monroe Co. about why student drug testing is a bad idea.

(H/T Doc's Political Parlor)



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Anti-drug efforts haven't worked

The Montgomery Advertiser is running an LTE today that I sent in recently.

Anti-drug efforts haven't worked


In response to "Drug Raid Nets Arrests Across the County" (03/07) I found a number of things very disturbing.

In January, Sgt. Jim Henderson vice president of the Alabama Narcotics Officers Association began protesting the federal government cuts to his budget on the editorial pages of many Alabama newspapers. He claimed the cuts would make drug task forces ineffective.

When have they ever been effective? Every year the number of drug arrests and the amount of drugs seized rises. If the tactics employed by Sgt. Henderson and other drug warriors were working, then shouldn't those numbers be going down?

Should they be rewarded for repeated failure with more cash? Only in government does something as asinine as rewarding failure happen. In the private sector they would be unemployed.

This article seemed to imply that execution of warrants was delayed in order to create a big media scene. I guess the safety and well-being of the public is only important when there is a government welfare check involved and when there is a media camera nearby.

Doesn't sound to me like they did this in the interest of public safety, but more as a measure of job security. But then again the drug war itself is job security. It is meant to be waged and not won.

The cops have no real interest in ridding their communities of drugs. If they were successful, that welfare check would dry up and they would be out of a job.

Drug task forces are equivalent to people who abuse the welfare system. Instead of doing real police work on serious crimes like murder, rape, child sex assault, robbery and vehicle theft they focus on rounding up low-level, nonviolent drug users because it's easy. And they get a government welfare check for doing so.

The Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center reports that crime clearance rates for 2005 were 19 percent. The drug warrior welfare cuts should be looked upon as a good thing.

Perhaps now police will get to work on solving real crimes.
Loretta Nall
Alexander City





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Thursday, March 13, 2008

HB 679 The Michael Phillips Compassionate Care Act

Alabama's medical marijuana bill, known as the Michael Phillips Compassionate Care Act has finally been assigned a number for this legislative session.

HB679 has been assigned to the judiciary committee again this year and is currently pending committee action in the house of origin.

The legislature is in recess next week for spring break so this bill won't come up until at least week after next.

In the meantime y'all know what to do and what to get ready to do.

Spread the word!!

Start contacting the members of the House Judiciary Committee listed below and ask them to support this bill.

Marcel Black,Chair; Charles Newton, Vice Chair; Steve McMillan, Ranking Minority Member; Spencer Collier, Paul DeMarco, Priscilla Dunn, Chris England, Laura Hall, Tammy Irons, Jamie Ison, Marc Keahey, John Robinson, Yusuf Salaam, Howard Sanderford, Cam Ward






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Judge John Rochester's Son Arrested on Trafficking Charges

Oh...how the mighty have fallen!!

Judges son arrested

The son of a Clay county circuit court judge is in the Clay County jail on multiple drug charges. According to Ashland Police, John Alexander Rochester, son of circuit court judge John Rochester and Kyle Tyler Yates were both arrested in an Ashland park by police. Rochester is charged with Traffficking in Cocaine, Possession of Controlled substance, Possession of Marijuana first degree, Unlawful distribution of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and trafficking in illegal drugs. Yates has been charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Both men remain in the Clay county jail.


Here is the beauty of this thing. I have sat in Judge Rochester's court room many times since I was a kid. Never been before him myself...but other family members and friends have and were placed in prison for YEARS for simple possession charges. Trafficking brought unbelievable sentences from Judge Rochester. It has been rumored for a long time by various sources that Judge Rochester is a big fan of nose candy himself....but I have never been able to confirm that. If he toot's he never offered me a bump.

And now his precious boy resides in the Clay County jail for trafficking. Interestingly enough...my sister-in-law is also in that same jail because she is a chronic pain patient who has no insurance and has to acquire her medications from the street. She is facing 15 years right now for that very thing. At least she has a legitimate need for doing what she is accused of if she actually did it.

I had a friend call me a few weeks ago to tell me that he is about to go before Rochester for trafficking cocaine. They have him on wire talking to an undercover and the undercover asks, "How much can I get for this?" and "You got that?" Specific drugs are never mentioned. He asked me if there was anything I could do to help him. I sent him a text message few minutes ago with this information about Rochester's son. That should help.

Now, I assume that Rochester will recuse himself from this case. I also assume he will use every available power that he has to keep his 'precious' out of the horrible Alabama prison system that he has so unceremoniously sent other people's precious kids to for the same or lesser crimes. I bet he might even try to get him in drug court...but traffickers are not eligible for drug court. When that fails he'll start looking for treatment for his kid...while he denied it to so many others, and maybe he will learn first hand about the appalling lack of treatment beds in this state.

I love it when officials kids make them look like fools. They parade around town acting holier-than-thou, wielding their power without regard for others...never thinking that one day it will be their kid.

Poetic Fucking Justice BABY!!

I LOVE IT!



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Update on Local Police Brutality

The first story in the paper said....

Although being charged and indicted on the charges, Ray remains on active duty with the police department.

"We have nothing to indicate that he wouldn't continue to work," Alexander City Police Department's James Claybrook said. "He hasn't been convicted yet."


Now they are saying...

UPDATE:



Update: Police officer on leave after indictment

By Miranda Mattheis

Alexander City police officials confirmed Thursday that an officer (Mitchell Ray), indicted this week by a Talladega Grand Jury for assault, has been placed on administrative leave and has been on leave for the past two days.


That's called CYA mode and I don't blelieve it. I believe they only put him on leave today after some 'public outcry'. Bump administrative leave...fire his ass! I'm thinking of organizing a protest in front of the police station. Is his administrative leave a paid one or no?

He has been indicted for brutalizing a man whose hands were cuffed behind his back. What a pussy!

Here is something else to contemplate. This happened in October of 2007...yet not a word was uttered in the local paper until the indictment was handed down. I searched the archives only two relevant stories came up and both of them are from today.

Was this deliberately kept from the taxpayers of Alexander City? Did the Outlook not find it important enough to mention that one of our officers brutalized a handcuffed suspect so badly that he had to be airlifted to UAB? To me...that is pretty big news. I want to know why the good people of this city are just now being informed of this whole incident?

Regular citizens who engage in such conduct have their names printed in the paper almost immediately...and drug suspects even faster than that...yet this guy gets to keep a low profile for some six months...because....why?





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Local Police Brutality

Alexander City police officer indicted

By Miranda Mattheis

A Talladega County Grand Jury has indicted an Alexander City Police officer involving an incident last October.

Alexander City police officer Mitchell Ray is accused of assaulting a Georgia man while working security at the Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 7. 2007.

"He's indicted for assault in the first degree and assault in the second degree," said District Attorney Steve Giddens.

According to Giddens, the victim suffered injuries to his head, back, chest and one arm.

"The victim suffered some pretty bad injuries," Giddens said. "He was cuffed with his hands behind his back when he was kicked and hit by the police officer."

Giddens said the police officer used a collapsible baton to hit the victim.

The victim was airlifted to the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital where he was treated for injuries.

Although being charged and indicted on the charges, Ray remains on active duty with the police department.

"We have nothing to indicate that he wouldn't continue to work," Alexander City Police Department's James Claybrook said. "He hasn't been convicted yet."

Giddens told the Daily Home he did not know when Ray might be arraigned.


Although being charged and indicted on the charges, Ray remains on active duty with the police department."We have nothing to indicate that he wouldn't continue to work," Alexander City Police Department's James Claybrook said. "He hasn't been convicted yet.

WHAT??? This jackass beat a handcuffed man with a billy club and kicked him causing major injuries and yet the local ass wipes say "We have nothing to indicate that he wouldn't continue to work."

HOW ABOUT THE CHARGES AGAINST HIM? An indictment for police brutality isn't enough to indicate that maybe he needs to find a new line of work? Are they going to wait til he kills someone? Would that be enough? Having sat through many trials in my nearly 5 years of legal wrangling with these idiots I know that regular folks (not punk mother fuckers with badges, guns and the government sanction to be a THUG) who are brought up on charges of assault generally lose their jobs and sit in jail til trial. Why should this asshole, whose job is to protect and serve the public, get treated with kid gloves for violating that standard? I say he needs to be punished with twice the penalty that regular folks would face.

I am so sick of the double standard that cops get in the criminal justice system vs. what the regular folks get.

I've just sent the following LTE to the Outlook. We'll see if they care what citizens think about this issue.

Dear Editor,

In response to 'City Police Officer Indicted' (03/13) I almost fell out of my chair when I read the following revelation and words from Officer James Claybrook.
"Although being charged and indicted on the charges, Ray remains on active duty with the police department.
"We have nothing to indicate that he wouldn't continue to work," Alexander City Police Department's James Claybrook said. "He hasn't been convicted yet."

WHAT??? This officer beat a handcuffed man with a billy club and kicked him causing major injuries and yet the local mouthpiece says "We have nothing to indicate that he wouldn't continue to work. He hasn't been convicted yet."

My, my it must be nice to have the police touting your innocence until proven guilty. It's a shame they cannot apply that American principal to regular, non-uniform wearing, citizens. Also, the man Officer Ray is accused of brutalizing got no such consideration of innocent until proven guilty. Why should Ray and his supporters expect that such a consideration should be applied to this case? You know...'do unto others' and all that?

As for 'nothing to indicate he wouldn't continue to work'...how about the charges against him? An indictment for police brutality isn't enough to indicate that maybe he needs to find a new line of work? Are they going to wait until Officer Mitchell Ray kills someone? Would that be enough to get him off the force?

Why should this Officer, whose job is to protect and serve the public, get treated with kid gloves for violating that standard? I say he needs to be punished with twice the penalty that regular folks would face.

I am so sick of the double standard that cops get in the criminal justice system vs. what the regular folks get. Officer Mitchell Ray should be removed from the police force immediately! As a Tallapoosa Co. taxpayer and resident of Alexander City I demand better for my money and my fellow taxpayers deserve better as well. We do not pay the salaries of officers so that they can brutalize handcuffed suspects.

FIRE MITCHELL RAY!

Respectfully Submitted for Publication,
Loretta Nall








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