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Thread: Citizen Patrols In Connecticut

  1. #1
    State Researcher HankT's Avatar
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    I dunno. The citizen patrols sound like a good idea to me.

    It's always amazing how the same information can be interpreted so differently by two ideologically opposed parties without at least one side figuring out that that's the case. In this instance, there is some race and religion stuff in the mix, looks like.

    But the bottom line is that citizens, if they feel unsafe, ought to be able to organize and patrol, armed or unarmed, within the local legal constraints. Edgewood doesn't sound like a particularly safe place so a little more citizen action through patrols can't but help. Sends a message to the thuggies, too, I'd expect.

    Black, Jewish leaders join to protest armed patrol

    William Kaempffer, Register Staff

    NEW HAVEN — Jewish leaders joined black clergy Wednesday to speak out against armed citizen patrols in the Edgewood neighborhood that were launched after the son of influential Rabbi Daniel Greer was attacked.

    Two days after the gun-carrying Edgewood Park Defense Patrol was announced the idea continued to create controversy.

    Outside the Whalley Avenue police substation, the Rev. Donald Morris, of the Christian Community Commission Inc., gathered with about 15 other black clergymen and activists to denounce it as divisive and dangerous.

    "We realize that this is a small segment of our community that has decided that they want to go astray and bring about their own justice. But we will not have it," Morris said.

    Hoping to avoid a Jewish-black divide, Sydney Perry, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven, based in Woodbridge, and Rabbi David Avigdor stood with the black clergy against the armed patrols.

    David Waren, the head of the Connecticut office of the Anti-Defamation League in Hamden, also expressed concerns but struck a conciliatory tone, saying the Police Department, in the ADL's experience, has done an "outstanding job of working with the Jewish community and others to ensure the safety and security of all residents of New Haven."

    Greer and his sons, Dov and Eliezer, organized the Edgewood Park patrol after an attack Sunday on Dov, who also is a rabbi.

    Eliezer Greer said the statements Wednesday were nothing more than a diversion. The citizen patrol has been extremely well received in the neighborhood, he said, and includes all races and religions .

    "We have black members of the community, Jews and non-Jews patrolling," he said. "We're living in a great neighborhood and a great city and we're going to keep this, despite the Police Department, and we're not going to get into a diversion of race, color and creed because it's an entire red herring."

    He called the ADL and Jewish Federation "carpetbaggers."

    "Both the ADL and the Jewish Federation are not institutions in the Edgewood Park neighborhood at all. I'd love for them to come over and move into our neighborhood,' Eliezer Greer said.

    "Let's get back to the focus: The police chief and the Police Department needs a complete reshuffling," he said.

    The Edgewood group has called for the ouster of police Chief Francisco Ortiz Jr., asserting the department has abandoned community policing under his leadership.

    At police headquarters Wednesday, police held a press conference to talk about two homicides that occurred six hours apart Tuesday, the third and fourth homicides of the month.

    Ortiz said his department would continue to work with the Greers.

    "I look forward to meeting with them," he said.

    Since Monday, Ortiz has not addressed the criticism directed at him and didn't Wednesday, but stated emphatically, "I'm not going anywhere. I'm proud of what we do here."

    On Tuesday, Angel Rovira, 30, of 135 Derby Ave., and Tyler Coward, 18, who lived on Sherman Avenue a few blocks from Edgewood Park, were shot to death six hours apart.

    While police believe they have a handle on the motives for the first three homicides of the year, these two are more puzzling, said Mayor John DeStefano Jr.

    "There's no clear motive that is apparent to us," said DeStefano.

    There's no evidence at this point that they're connected, he said, but because of their proximity to each other, detectives aren't ruling it out.

    Rovira was shot in the back after being dropped off from work about 4:30 p.m. on George Street. Coward was shot in the chest in the darkness of Edgewood Park.

    DeStefano repeated the department's belief of what's driving the violence — old-time, repeat offenders, too many guns and disconnected, unsupervised youths too willing to pick one up. Despite the two shootings, he said, crime is still down in the city so far this year compared to last.

    "We recognize quite clearly the anxiety in our community," Ortiz said. "I go to that park with my granddaughter on the weekends."

    Avigdor, the rabbi, said he can't help but view the two slayings, which came two days after the announcement of the armed patrols, as some sort of a sign.

    While he appreciates the Greers' frustration — one of Tuesday's killings took place across the street from Avigdor's house — he said, "carrying arms crosses the line and causes much more trouble and much more grief than it's worth."

    Some members of the patrol, including Eliezer Greer, have pistol permits and said they plan to exercise their right to carry concealed weapons.

    Pastor Todd Foster of Church on the Rock believes the patrols are heading down a treacherous path.

    "All it would take is one overzealous, untrained self-proclaimed vigilante to shoot an innocent person," he said, and the whole city would "explode like a powder keg."

    At the Edgewood group's invitation, Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels, an unarmed citizen patrol founded in the 1970s in New York City, plans to come to New Haven to meet with the group today.

    The Greers have lived in the diverse Edgewood neighborhood for decades and through nonprofit corporations have bought and fixed up about 40 houses. They run an Orthodox Jewish school at 765 Elm St. amp;dept_id=590581&rfi=6

  2. #2
    State Researcher HankT's Avatar
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    It's good to see the organizing of a community to deal with a pressing and insoluble problem. If the police can't do it, can't keep the community safe, then the citizens must take control. There's nothing intrinsicaly wrong with citizen patrols, armed or not.

    Of course, if the citizen patrols misuse their power (as sometimes happens when people get power) then that will be another problem to solve.

    Armed Patrol & Critics Find "Common Ground"
    by Melissa Bailey | June 22, 2007

    One week after denouncing the Edgewood neighborhood's new armed patrol as divisive and dangerous, black leaders stood side by side at the Whalley police substation Friday with Jewish leaders in the Edgewood neighborhood who have formed an armed patrol. The two sides remain apart on whether citizens should pack heat, and whether Police Chief Cisco Ortiz needs to be fired, but claimed they'd found "common ground."

    Despite pressure from the city, the Guardian Angels, some neighbors and black leaders, organizer Eliezer Greer said the group's stance on gun-toting has not changed: Edgewood Park Defense Patrol is "reassessing" and "revaluating" its need for arms, but "at this point, it will remain an armed patrol."

    "We are two groups of people who have come together under a common cause," said Bishop Theodore Brooks.

    Minister Donald Morris (pictured above at left) said after meetings with the Greer family of the Orthodox Yeshiva of New Haven, the prime movers behind the new patrol, the two sides "have agreed that crime and violence is out of hand and that there must be a proactive approach to the problem by the New Haven police department."

    Asked if he shares the Greers' opinion of Chief Ortiz -- the Greers have called for his removal -- Morris declined to side with his new allies. "Chief Ortiz can't be everywhere at once," said Morris. Responsibility for crime should be spread among the entire police force, the mayor and the chief, he said. Morris continued to denounce the use of armed patrols.

    But after meeting with the Greers, Morris said "my heartfelt feeling from the meetings is that they really don't want to carry those guns -- that's why I'm here today."

    Neighbor Todd Jokl (pictured), listening to the press conference with a bunch of neighbors, wasn't entirely satisfied with the talk.

    "The dialogue is fantastic," said Jokl. But the citizens patrolling with guns "make me feel less secure."

    Another neighbor jumped in: "What would the circumstances be for you to use the arms?"

    Eliezer Greer responded the guns are a "preventive measure."

    Gary Holder-Winfield pressed for a more direct answer. "When will you use the guns?" Guns aren't "preventive" unless you use them, he argued.

    Eliezer Greer declined to offer a specific circumstance in which the patrol would use a gun. He referred only to a state statute allowing legal use of firearms in self-defense.

    In effort to ease tension between Whalley/Edgewood/Beaver Hills neighbors and the armed patrol, a meeting between the two sides has been scheduled for Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Whalley Avenue police substation.

  3. #3
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    If it was an UNarmed patrol, would they still be making such a fuss?

  4. #4
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    Turtle Creek (outside of Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania, USA

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    Probably not

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