by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster
A police officer answering a call yesterday, July 1, confirmed 12 Stamford Policemen had been removed from duty with a question, asking, “How did you hear that?” The citizen who asked if this was true declined to answer. The unanswered questions still demanding answers go back to October 23, 2019, and the still unexplained death in police custody of Steven Barrier, Jr
As Stamford, Connecticut continues in a state of conflicting reports and uncertainty, next door in Norwalk, the NAACP organized a ZOOM town hall for local police chiefs suited to this age of COVID-19. Stamford was not there to answer questions, though the Stamford Police Department is the police department in Connecticut most in need of being thoroughly examined.
Police Chiefs participating included John Lynch, Wilton; Donald Anderson, Darien; Foti Koskinas, Westport; Edwin Henion, New Weston; and Thomas E. Kulhawik, Norwalk, next door to Stamford were there; however, and the hanging fire issues still intensifying from the wrongful death, many now calling it a murder, of Steven Barrier, Jr., still burns.
Yet the person who should be the best informed on the Barrier case was sitting in on the ZOOM event. That is then Stamford/Norwalk State’s attorney Richard Colangelo, who issued the first news release on the death of Steven Barrier the day after Barrier died in police custody, October 24, 2019. Colangelo has access to updates which remain confidential, but should be public.
As the group spoke and answered questions, what was also ignored was the oath taken by all police at every level, local to national, originated in conjunction with America’s Constitution. “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully discharge the duties of my office and that I will protect and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, both foreign and domestic, so help me God.” When the one line is quickly read - it becomes meaningless if those taking it are not familiar with the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
This dichotomy was noted decades ago by a young Richard Mack, then a police officer in Provo Utah, unhappy with the task of issuing traffic tickets. Mack vaguely remember the oath he had taken and signed. Obtaining a copy of this, he read it and realized he knew nothing about the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Years later, Sheriff Richard Mack wrote in his book, “The Proper Role of Law Enforcement”, “In the oath I gave my word and promise to protect and defend and obey the U. S. Constitution and the Utah Constitution as well. I had never read either and knew virtually nothing about them. Sure, I knew the Miranda Warning by heart and a few other Supreme Court decisions, but I had promised to obey the Constitution! All of it! Was my oath solely contingent upon obeying the courts and my sergeant? What if they asked me to do something contrary to the Constitution? For anyone, especially cops or soldiers, to obey an order he or she knows to be unconstitutional or unlawful would be wrong, immoral and an absolute outrage.
When we raise our right arm and promise to protect and defend the Constitution, does that oath mean only as far as my supervisor or the Supreme Court allows me to? Or does the oath essentially bestow a responsibility on me to know it, study it, cherish it and ultimately defend it even against a well-meaning but misdirected supervisor or judge? I do not pretend to have all the answers, but I do know that the notion that cops should enforce all laws regardless of how abusive, immoral or unconstitutional they are, is dangerous and destructive.”
The book is, Mack said, short enough to be read by a cop sitting down to have a cup of coffee and a doughnut. Mack’s instruction on the Constitution and Bill of Rights was obtained from Cleon Skousen, a former FBI agent and former Chief of Police for Salt Lake City who had served in the FBI with Mack’s own father, also an FBI agent.
Seeing a course offered in the POST, (Peace Officers Standards and Training), taught by Chief Skousen, he signed up only to have his request denied. Not one to take NO for an answer, he went up the chain of command to the Chief, who told him “Cleon Skousen is not mainstream law enforcement.” Mack took two vacation days and went to the seminar on his own time.
So, what does it mean to be ‘mainstream law enforcement’, that the police are free to ignore the Constitutional rights of Americans? This is clearly the case in Connecticut.
Note that nothing discussed during the ZOOM conference went to the issue of training police to understand the Constitution and so be able to determine when laws conflict with the rights of Americans, mandated in the Constitution, and Bill of Rights but bodycams were pontificated on and approved as a panacea for checking on the actions taken by police. But are they?
One of the issues in Stamford includes the use of bodycams to produce a cover-up video intended to hide how Steven died. On October 23, 2019, with Steven Barrier safely subdued and in custody by 1:52 AM, October 23, the police were moved to create a video using their own bodycams, which you can view, in toto at the near end of THIS PAGE. As you look at the bodycams, you see this staged production began at 5:29 AM.
What was happening between 1:52 AM and 5:29 AM? That would be a long coffee break for coffee and a donut. A lot happened, apparently and we need to know about every second of the time.
Watch the Ring.com video evidence from the security camera located on the porch of the home belonging to Valerie Jaddo, Steven’s mother. Beginning at 11:14 PM Oct. 22, 2019 you see Steven enter the home from his job at Boston Market. This same camera records the visit of Officer Collins at 1:52 AM to inform a woman standing at the door or the home Steven is in custody. "...they got him."
Now, look at the timestamps available on the videos, including the Official Police video at the link above.
We need answers, meaning a real investigation, which uncovers the facts and makes these available to all of us. It is time to Take It To The People.