Elaine Blanchard with Memphis Police Director Michael Ralllings at Blanchard’s church last year.(Photo: courtesy of Elaine Blanchard)
Elaine Blanchard is an ordained minister and a proud graduate of the Memphis Police Department’s Clergy Police Academy. Last fall, she welcomed Police Director Michael Rallings as a guest for a Wednesday evening meal at Shady Grove Presbyterian Church.
“Our police officers have such a difficult job. They all need our help,” said Blanchard, who posted a photo of her and Rallings on her Facebook page. She also officiated the wedding of a woman who works for Mayor Jim Strickland. The mayor was in attendance.
“He seems like a nice man,” she said.
Last week, she learned via Facebook that she is one of 81 people who can’t enter City Hall without a police escort. She also learned that she’s one of 43 people barred from visiting Strickland’s home.
“This grammie is a gangsta!” the 5-4, gray-haired grandmother joked on her Facebook page over the weekend. It would be funny, if it wasn’t so absurd.
Blanchard has never been arrested. She’s never been to the mayor’s home. She can’t remember if she’s ever been to City Hall. How did she end up on City Hall’s list of security risks, or the mayor’s list of persona non grata? How did so many others? Why does such a list even exist?
Police aren’t saying. The mayor says he didn’t know about the list even though it bears his signature. The mayor says he did sign an “authorization of agency” form Jan. 4 a list of people he has ordered to stay off his personal property.
In December, a group of protesters organized a “die-in” on his lawn and video showed some peeking through his windows. But many, if not most, of the 43 people on the list Strickland signed did not participate in the “die-in.” That includes Blanchard.
“I would never have done that,” she said. “I felt sorry for the mayor when I heard about that one. It was wrong to do that at his home.”
Blanchard did participate in a public protest last year. That seems to be the only common denominator among most of the people on the list. That might explain why there’s more than one list, as The Commercial Appeal’s Ryan Poe reported Friday.
Memphis City Hall requires police escort for Darrius Stewart’s mother, protesters
The first list is dated Jan. 4 and names 43 people including Blanchard “barred from the premises” of Strickland’s home who “also have to be escorted while in City Hall.”
It doesn’t explain why. But those on the list have participated in one or more recent nonviolent public protests at the Mississippi River bridge, Overton Park, Graceland, Valero refinery, or elsewhere. Strickland’s signature is on all four pages of the list. But three of the pages include Lt. Anthony Bonner’s handwritten note that those on the list “have to be escorted while in City Hall.”
It’s unclear whether the notes were added before of after Strickland’s signatures. The second list is dated Jan. 17 and names 14 people who “have to be escorted at all times while inside City Hall.” It also doesn’t explain why.
Seven of the names are listed as white females; six as white males; one as a black female. The list was signed by Police Lt. Albert Bonner. The third list seems to present some legitimate and specific concerns. It’s called “City Hall escort list” and it’s undated and unsigned. It names 27 people and adds a brief description or reason why each person is on the list. Fifteen are listed as “former employee.”
A dozen others are identified with words like “threats,” “harassment,” or “disorderly conduct” and “vandalism.” One is identified as “Order of Protection.”
Why aren’t the first two lists more specific? Why are public protesters considered a security risk at City Hall?
“It implies that everyone on the list is somehow a threat to city officials,” said Jayanni Webster, a 27-year-old honors graduate of UT-Knoxville. “It’s very upsetting.”
Webster, a community organizer, was one of six protesters handcuffed, detained and cited for blocking the road in front of Graceland last July. Blanchard joined a demonstration outside Graceland in August. It was during the annual candlelight vigil for Elvis. The next day, two local legislators Rep. G.A. Hardaway and Sen. Lee Harris complained that police kept black protesters behind barricades while allowing white protesters free movement.
Blanchard told the press that she agreed.
“I threw my leg over the barricade and a Graceland security officer came over and gave me a hand, lifted my elbow and helped me over the barricade,” she told The Commercial Appeal.
“The police could clearly see that a white woman who had been with the protesters was climbing over the barricade, and no one stopped me.”
Blanchard figures that her public complaint is why her name is on the City Hall security list. She hadn’t thought about going to City Hall anytime soon, but now she feels sort of obligated. Tuesday afternoon, she plans to attend a protest being called the “Weigh In at City Hall.”
First she’ll have to find her way there.
“I’m not even sure which building it is,” she said. “But once I get there, maybe they’ll show me around.”
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TORONTO A Jewish aboriginal prisoner who was assaulted by other inmates alleges the authorities set up the white supremacist attack in retaliation for his complaints about treatment he says has violated his constitutional rights. Timothy Nome, 42, who is serving an indeterminate sentence for punching a guard years ago, also claims correctional officers at the prison in British Columbia deliberately poured pig lard onto his kosher food and that authorities are denying him access to the courts. The contested allegations are the latest in a protracted battle between the maximum-security inmate, who has spent a total of more than 12 years in segregation during stints at numerous institutions around the country, and prison authorities, who appear to be at a loss about how to deal with him.
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association wrote Bobbi Sandhu, the warden of Kent Institution in Agassiz, to express its concerns about Nome s most recent prolonged stretch in segregation 130 days and his abhorrent treatment by prison staff. In the December letter, obtained by The Canadian Press, the association calls on Sandhu to investigate Nome s claim that he has been unable to take several grievances to court because authorities wouldn t allow him paper, a printer, or access to the prison law library.
These are matters of utmost importance, the CCLA letter states. The association said it had not had any response to its letter. Despite repeated requests from The Canadian Press, Correctional Service Canada did not respond to Nome s assertion that it was violating his constitutional rights by denying him access to the courts.
Nome was on a rare stint out of segregation at Kent Institution hoping to be reclassified as medium security when he was attacked last month. He blames white supremacists sporting visible Nazi tattoos and says authorities were aware the newcomers to his range would be incompatibles.
They knew this and they flooded the range with these guys, Nome said in a recent interview. It s foreseeable that me, being an Orthodox Jew, is going to get into trouble with that. Prison authorities deny the allegations. Instead, they blame Nome for failing to report his concerns something he says he did in writing months ago. Jean-Paul Lorieau, a regional spokesman for Correctional Service Canada, said Nome had no listed incompatibles on the unit at the time of the assault, which left him with a scald wound on his neck.
Inmates are free to identify any incompatibles they may feel are present at any time during their sentence, Lorieau said. Staff were unaware of any safety concerns in regards to Mr. Nome prior to the assault.
Nome maintained that one manager had taken photographs of a large swastika on the wall of a cell he was moved into, but authorities denied knowing the inmate was the target of racist or anti-Semitic behaviour in his living unit. Lorieau said Nome was treated for his injuries and, for his own safety, put back in solitary confinement. Vibert Jack, an advocate with Prisoners Legal Services based in Burnaby, B.C., said Nome has spent an unreasonable time in isolation.
It s obviously a rare case but it is something that we see: The institutions don t really have any solution for (such inmates) other than segregation, and Mr. Nome is an extreme example of that.
Jack, who visited Nome at Kent after the assault, said it appears guards knowingly put him in harm s way. Jack said another Jewish inmate reported correctional officers blocked a request to be housed with Nome, citing the threat from white supremacists in the range. Nome maintains that guards have been retaliating against him for raising legitimate concerns such as freezing conditions on the range and have covered up evidence that supports his complaints something correctional authorities deny. Born to an Orthodox Jewish mother and Cree father, Nome is originally from Williams Lake, B.C. He has, however, been mostly in custody since he was 13 years old.
Authorities took him from his young alcohol and drug-abusing mother when he was just four. Placed in various foster homes, where he says he was emotionally and sexually abused, he and his three younger siblings were finally adopted as a family by the Nomes described in court documents as dysfunctional. His adoptive mother beat him badly, he said. Court records show the family broke apart when Nome was 11, and he ended up in various group homes. He became a drug abuser, was often suicidal, and got into constant trouble. As an adult, Nome has been outside prison for a mere nine months, during which time he threatened and sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl by groping her, according to the conviction. In all, he has racked up an impressive number of convictions ranging from threatening death and sexual assault, to assault with a weapon, breaching probation and vandalism. However, the vast majority more than 100 of them stem from incidents that occurred behind bars.
I m not a perfect guy and I ve retaliated on a few occasions, Nome says. But it s a very very large part in retaliation or reaction to what the guards are doing to me.
His current incarceration stems from an assault in August 2005: He punched a guard who was trying to force him into different clothes. It cost the inmate two teeth and a black eye. At sentencing in 2009, forensic reports branded Nome a psychopath with anti-social personality disorder. One assessment, however, said Nome s risk of reoffending was highest in a maximum security environment, and that any risk he posed could be managed with treatment in the community. Saskatchewan Court of Queen s Bench Justice Ellen Gunn observed the irony of Nome s situation.
When Mr. Nome is triggered by feeling disrespected or unfairly treated, he engages in a power struggle, becoming inflexible, and this results in self-sabotaging threats and intimidation, Gunn wrote in her sentencing decision. The consequence for Mr. Nome is he has further loss of control than what he had started with.
Nevertheless, Gunn decided there was no reasonable possibility of controlling him outside prison, declared him a dangerous offender, and gave him the indeterminate sentence he is now serving. Nome s supporters, however, say his behaviour is much improved in recent years and that he poses no threat to others when treated properly. Steve Fineberg, a lawyer in Montreal who jokingly describes Nome as more of an industry than a client given the many people who have taken up his cause, said the inmate has been at war with prison authorities from the get-go, but had been trying to do his time peacefully when the latest series of incidents erupted.
Nome is resourceful, persistent and unwilling to back down, Fineberg said, and some guards hate him for it and have taken that out on him.
He insists on his rights and he does it energetically and joyfully and it drives Correctional Service crazy, Fineberg said. Segregation is one of their responses. He s really driving them mad. He won t stand down.
This past week, Nome said he had been transferred to a nearby prison. He said he had been told he would soon be moved to Stony Mountain Institution in Manitoba, where he said he fears he ll end up yet again in solitary.
News about media and the regulatory environment both inside and beyond Canada’s borders.
IN THE NEWS
Murder Broadcast Live
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Feb 15 Two journalists were shot dead during a live radio broadcast in the Dominican Republic, police and media said. Unidentified attackers burst into the 103.5 FM studio as presenter Luis Manuel Medina was reading the news on air on Tuesday and shot him dead, station employees were quoted as saying by local media. Moments before that the station s director, Leonidas Martinez, was killed in his office, they said.
Radio Has Its Domain Name
In the midst of over 500 activities around the world in celebration of World Radio Day, a major event took place on 13 February in China. Hosted by the Shanghai Media Group, the World Radio Day Forum gathered over 150 participants from 23 countries and regions to celebrate the importance of radio as a medium. The event was also the occasion to launch the first level domain name .radio, which will allow radio stations worldwide to have unique and memorable website names.
India Censors Radio Newscasts
The Supreme Court on Tuesday questioned the Centre (ruling party) why it was shying away from allowing community radio and private FM radio stations from broadcasting news and asked the government consider to permit them to air news and current affairs programme on the basis of information available in public domain. A bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar, Justices N V Ramana and D Y Chandrachud said that it might not be feasible to give free hand to private radio stations to broadcast their own news as it might create “havoc” in sensitive areas like North-East and Jammu & Kashmir but they should be permitted to take contents of news from newspapers and TV channels to broadcast them. At present 281 private FM channels are operational in 84 cities and the government told the court that it has decided to e-auction 839 more channel in 294 cities. The Centre has so far granted permission for 519 community radio and out of which 201 are operational.
Justifying its decision to ban private FM and community radio stations to broadcast news and current affairs programme the government told the bench that granting permission could endanger “national security and public order”.
“Broadcasting of news by these stations/channel may pose a possible security risk as there is no mechanism to monitor the contents of news bulletin of every such station. As these stations/channels are run mainly by NGO/other small organisation and private operators, several anti-national/radical elements within the country can misuse it for propagating their own agenda,” senior advocate Ashok Panda, appearing for centre, told the bench. He said that the centre could not permit telecast of news as it might be misused by anti-national and radical elements and there was no mechanism to monitor news contents all radio stations. He said that the government has recently framed new guidelines allowing community radios to broadcast news contents sourced exclusively from All India Radio (AIR) — The Times of India
Howard Stern Sued For Broadcasting IRS Phone Discussion
Donald Trump never did sue The New York Times for revealing he took a $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns. He threatened, but to date, no lawsuit has come. That leaves some unanswered questions about the legality of a media outlet disclosing tax information since there are many statutes that broadly guard the confidentiality of tax returns. Can Howard Stern fill the void? Last Monday, Stern was sued by a woman named Judith Barrigas, whose tax information was disseminated in the oddest way.
According to her complaint filed in Massachusetts federal court, she called the IRS on May 19, 2015, to discuss how the tax agency had applied prior year liabilities to her tax refund. She got connected to Jimmy Forsythe, an IRS agent. Before the two connected, Forsythe had called into The Howard Stern Show using another phone line. While on hold, Forsythe took Barrigas’ call and proceeded to spend 45 minutes with her discussing her tax case. Apparently, during this conversation, someone at Stern’s show heard what was happening and decided to air the discussion live on satellite radio — The Hollywood Reporter
Evanov Flips Winnipeg FM To Hot 100.5
Jewel 100.5 flipped over to Hot 100.5 on Friday, hours after the station released longtime broadcaster, Norm Foster. Evanov Radio Group pulled in a 2.9 ratings share in the fall under the Jewel banner and the switch is expected to have a more positive impact in the spring sweep.
We wanted to flip the script on what Winnipeg is currently being offered, said program director Adam West. We feel that this is the type of station that is totally lacking from the current market, but that continues to be requested by listeners” — Chris D.ca
Fighting Isis With Sarcasm
Raed Fares is the station manager at Radio Fresh FM, a station in northern Syria that’s standing up to militants who have banned them from playing music or broadcasting women’s voices. After being kidnapped and surviving three attacks on the station, Fares has found an ingenious way to play by the rules and mock militants and extremists
The banned female newscasters have been replaced with one 23-year-old woman whose voice has been severely distorted, so it sounds almost like a robotic man, and instead of music, the station now broadcasts Arabic song lyrics over a mix of sounds that could be emanating from sheep, birds, frogs, dogs, chickens — CBC, As It Happens