Category Archives: Civil Rights

Sussex Unity Commemorates 50th Anniversary of 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Co-authored By Don Ayotte and Wolfgang von Baumgart The Sussex County Council chamber was packed with members of Sussex Unity, as well as many members of the community on Thursday, August 6th at 6pm for commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and rally for voting rights. Diaz Bonnville,co-Founder and Program Director of the West Rehoboth Children and Youth Program, opened the event with a moment of silence for the victims of the recent Charleston, SC church shooting and set the theme of "Every Vote Does Count." The Keynote speaker was DSU history and political science Professor Dr. Samuel B. Hoff. Hoff is the recipient of several national fellowships in the area of foreign, military and national security policy, including a 1994 Military History Fellowship from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, a 1995 fellowship from the University of Virginia Read more

First State Animal Shelter/SPCA Proposes Public Contract Extensions

Controversy Remains By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer In an apparent change of strategy, First State Animal Shelter/SPCA Director, Kevin Usilton, has proposed a one-year extension (to June 30, 2016) of all public animal control contracts in Delaware after previously announcing that they would be terminated by September 15, 2015. Currently, about 40 FSAS/SPCA animal control officers and other employees are scrambling to find new jobs in anticipation of the termination, as the State of Delaware moves to assume direct administration of animal control functions through the Office of Animal Welfare. Annual FSAC-SPCA annual contracts ranged as follows: Sussex County ($682,616), Kent County ($895,041.12), New Castle County ($1,035,000), Wilmington ($600,000), City of Dover ($40,000) and the Delaware Department of Public Health for rabies ($275,520) and cruelty reimbursement of ($106,000); Read more

The Voting Rights Act Of 1965

An Act To enforce the fifteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and for other purposes http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=100&page=transcript Sec. 2. No voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure shall be imposed or applied by any State or political subdivision to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color. If the Delaware socialist General Assembly wants illegal , undocumented aliens to vote in Delaware, they will have to enact legislation to do so. Until then, the U.S. Constitution and The Voting Rights Act of 1965 plainly states who can vote. It plainly states that one must be a "citizen of the United States." A bill from the power company or doctors office is not sufficient identification to prove citizenship or to vote. Read more

Open Letter re: HB 204

Guest Opinion By: Doug Beatty Dear Representative Lynn, This citizen must take umbrage with your sponsorship of H.B. 204. On what planet is this a sound idea? The animal control officers at KCSPCA/FSAC have racked up an impressive history of unanswered complaints. At this very moment one Jacqueline Dyer of Hartly has publicy stated that Lt. David L. Hulse is retaliating against her for a drug test Hulse failed in 2006 administered by Dyer. After Dyer went public, she was criminally charged for dog at large on very shaky probable cause. In fact, in spite of evidence to the contrary according to Ms. Dyer and video from her home surveillance that she has made public. Anywhere I've lived except this place would call that retaliating against a whistle blower. Here, nobody cares how many officials know about this event it seems to always fall outside their responsibility. Giving Read more

Dover Community Works Together In The Wake of Webster Indictment

Mayor Christiansen and Dover's Black Leaders Unify to Prevent Violence Over The Felony Arrest Of Dover City Police Cpl. Thomas Webster on A Second-Degree Assault Charge. Authored by: Staff Writers, DonAyotte and Wolf von Baumgart In a press conference that took place in front of Dover's City Hall, Mayor Robin Christiansen said that the Dover City Council met in special executive session yesterday to discuss the matter of the Delaware Justice Department's indictment of Dover PD Cpl. Webster. The closed session was held according to the terms of the Delaware Freedom of Information Act, involving cases in which litigation and personnel matters are involved. He would not discuss legal details of the case but said that Webster would be dismissed if he were convicted of the charge. When asked if one of the possible reforms may include establishment of a civilian police review board, Read more

Six Baltimore Police Officers Criminally Charged In Freddie Grays Death.

State's Attorney General Marilyn Mosby Announces Criminal Charges In The Death Of Freddie Gray Who Was Critically Injured While In Police Custody. Most Protesters interviewed greeted Mosby's announcement with cautious skepticism, and a wait and see attitude. While people were happy that some action was being taken, pessimism was heavily speckled throughout the crowd, according to various press sources. Despite Mosby's announcement, Protesters were gathering in Baltimore's streets for a fair-weather weekend of protests over Gray's death, allegedly caused while he was injured in police custody. Unrest and an uneasy calm was apparent by most visual media on site in Baltimore streets. Driver of the police van that carried Freddie Gray in a four-stop ride through Baltimore, Forty-five year-old Officer Caesar Goodson was charged with second degree murder, manslaughter and misconduct Read more

USG Offers Redress for NO-Fly Listees

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer No longer will persons on the infamous DHS/TSA NO-Fly List be legally left "hanging in the air". The US Government, in response to legal challenges, has revised its redress procedures for persons placed on Department of Homeland Security's NO-Fly List, according to an article in FAS Roundup. The US Department of Justice announced in an April 13,2015 court filing that persons placed on the NO-Fly List will have new opportunities to challenge the denial of boarding on commercial aircraft. Before the ruling, the government steadfastly refused to confirm or deny that persons were placed on the list for reasons of national security. Challengers argued that the procedures were constitutionally deficient or otherwise improper. The entire article by Steven Aftergood can be read here: http://fas.org/blogs/secrecy/2015/04/no-fly-redress/ Read more

Delaware Animal Control Reform Petition Available On-line

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer A Petition to Delaware Governor Jack Markell, Attorney General Matt Denn et.al. to "Immediately investigate violations by and clarify authority of the contracted dog control agency, known as Kent County SPCA, First State Animal Center & SPCA, Camden SPCA and Delaware Animal Care & Control" is available on-line at: https://www.change.org/p/governor-jack-markell-attorney-general-matt-denn-delaware-governor-jack-markell-delaware-attorney-general-matt-denn-delaware-office-of-animal-welfare-delaware-s-148th-general-assembly-immediately-investigate-violations-by-and-clarify-authority-of-t . NOTE: This information was contributed by D. Meier in a comment regarding a previous article: “Talk Show Host Legally Challenges SPCA”. Read more

Saga of “Millie” Continues

by: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer The Dog Panel hearing in the Jake and Nancy Smith case, involving their pet, "Millie" is scheduled for 7 p.m., Monday, April 13 in the Sussex County Council Chambers, located on 2 The Circle in Georgetown, DE according to a 4/7/15 article in the Cape Gazette. "Millie", a white and brown Jack Russell Terrier mix, alleged to be a dangerous animal by a few of Smith's neighbors, is reportedly being held incommunicado at the First State Animal Shelter, located on 32 Shelter Circle, Camden, DE 19934. We are unable to confirm this due to a judicial gag order, issued in this case. The panel is charged with determining the dog's ultimate fate, up to and including possible euthanasia. Read more

** UPDATE ** Smith v. SPCA

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer A judicial gag order has been issued on all parties concerned in the case of litigation of John "Jake" and Nancy Smith (plaintiffs) against Delaware Animal Care and Control, filed in Delaware Superior Court over possible illegal impoundment of their dog, "Millie" under guise of authority. Attorney John Brady, representing the Smiths contends that the 1981 state statute that excluded Sheriffs and Sheriff's Deputies from certification as police offices by the Delaware Council on Police Training also did not include animal control officers as police officers. The litigation essentially argues that only sworn and certified police officers can legally execute arrest and search and seizure warrants under the present Delaware Code, Title 11, Chapter 19. Both Kent and Sussex Counties have contracted animal control services with the First State Animal Read more

Talk Show Host Legally Challenges SPCA

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer In a legal effort to assert citizens constitutional rights against unlawful search and seizure, well-known Delmarva radio personality and Milton area resident, Jake Smith has filed a legal challenge against Delaware Animal Care and Control. The action centers around the organization’s recent impoundment of his Jack Russell Terrier mixed dog, “Millie” after incidents with neighbor’s dogs. On 7/5/2012 in the first incident, Millie was attacked by one neighbor’s Yorkshire Terrier. A separate incident occurred involving another neighbor’s Yorkshire Terrier on 3/16/2015 in which he paid her resulting veterinary and medical bills, according to Smith, who was interviewed by Dan Gaffney on WXDE 105.9 FM, yesterday morning Subsequently, animal control officers continually visited Smith’s neighbor (involved in the first incident) on numerous Read more

Citizens Rally At Leg Hall In Support Of HB 50

HB50, It's All About The Right To Choose To Opt Out Of Testing Co-written By Don Ayotte and Wolf von Baumgart An Education Rally at Delaware’s Legislation Hall, drew an eager crowd of parents and children, wanting their voices heard in support of HB50. The short version of HB 50 states in the synopsis, “This bill creates the right for the parent or guardian of a child to opt out of the annual assessment, currently the “Smarter Balanced Assessment System.” This is a requirement of the new Common Core education system being implemented in Delaware Schools. The primary sponsor of the bill, Rep. John Kowalko (D-25) and Senate sponsor, Sen. David Lawson (R-15), along with House co-Sponsors, Reps. Baumbach (D-23), Keely (D-3),Matthews (D-10), Spiegelman,(R-11), K. Williams (D-19), Yearick (R-34) and Sen. Henry (D-2). Kowalko stated to the crowd outside of Legislative Hall Read more

Holder Slams Ferguson Police Discrimination

Exoneration of Darren Wilson Brings more Protests for Ferguson Residents, In The Wake Of DOJ,s Announcement http://www.cbsnews.com/news/ferguson-policing-eric-holder-implicit-explicit-racial-bias/ Eric Holders scalding speech of the Ferguson Police Department's racial practices incited more protests that resulted in two more people being arrested. Holder quoted statistics and individual accounts of police brutality and bias while enforcing the law. After an extensive investigation, the DOJ found that there existed, an extreme imbalance in the way law is enforced when it came to African Americans and European Americans. It was found in an investigation by the Justice Dept. that a disproportionate use of force was used toward blacks by the city's police force. "The highly toxic environment created by years of problems explains why Ferguson was set off like a power keg, after Michael Read more

Changes at Justice

Attorney General Matt Denn had an interesting second day. He announced his new team and created an office of Civil Rights and Public Trust. The early moves at the State Attorney General's office show the different public mood is than when Attorney General Biden took office 8 years ago. Then the big issue was the sex offender, now it is civil rights, police incident investigations, and public integrity. The move to establish a Civil Rights and Public Integrity office is definitely informed by the political mood of the day, but it is an idea that is long overdue in this state. The current structure is inadequate. There is a void between the Human Relations Commission with its limited jurisdiction and federal action in many cases. Having police shootings and use of force by neutral prosecutors will help give some degree of insulation on those decisions though the radicals who bizarrely Read more