Wednesday, May 24, 2017
In October 2016 I was mugged some 2 blocks from where I live. I described the incident on this blog onhttp://hughmurray.blogspot.com/2016_10_01_archive.html Now I want to describe what happened after the mugging. Hugh Murray
MUGGING – Part 2
In the following week or two, I had to return to the hospitals for follow-up visits.. In the end, my eyesight seemed no worse that it had been before the attack. I had to pay about $600 for various medical bills, while Medicare (one advantage of being old – I am 78 years old) paid about $9,000 to the Emergency Rooms for me.
I tried not to let the mugging destroy what was left of my life. I had already booked a trip to Taiwan for December 2016, went there, and saw one of my former students from mainland China who is now studying international law in Taiwan. She showed me around the northern part of the island and made the visit worthwhile for me.
While the Detective Michael Martin, originally suspected that the license plate jotted down by spectators to the mugging, would merely reveal a stolen vehicle – such was not the case. Through the license plate number, he learned that the girl friend of the mugger was in the get-away car, along with a male who had driven the culprit to safety. They gave him up. He was a 20-year-old Kasadine G. Smith. A court date was set for him in January 2017; I arrived before 8am, though the court room did not open till 8:30. I had already been in contact with Natalie Nguyen, who works with crime victims as part of the District Attorney’s office. She arrived, and soon there was the regular bussle as the court began to move toward opening. I had been told that a plea-deal had been agreed upon between the prosecution and defense, so it would be all over this day. After the buzz and discussions, Natalie informed me that the defense attorney had requested a delay, so nothing would happen this day, and Mr. Smith would not even appear. I left the court room disappointed because it was not over yet.
I had noticed air fares to Asia continued to decline. I decided to go – booking a return flight from Chicago to Vietnam for $590 with insurance. This would not happen until 3 April through 19 April. I informed Natalie, because if there were a trial, I would be needed to testify. I wanted her to know I would not be available during those dates. Smith’s next court appearance was set for March. For that, my appearance was not required. Another plea-deal. I did not attend, but nothing was accomplished, for another delay was requested. In early April, a friend drove me from my apartment to the train station, where I took a bus for nearly 3 hours to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, then a few hours of checking luggage, going through security, and then the 14-hour flight to Seoul, South Korea, then more security and board another plane for a 6-hour flight to Vietnam. About 2 hours to get my visa stamped and go through customs, and finally a taxi to the hotel. But the trip was worth it – beautiful Halong Bay with its “thousand islands,” Hanoi, and finally Saigon. There was no English-language news on the TV in the hotel, so I had no idea what was happening, except for the many soccer games on TV, games from the English Premier League, the Bundis Liga, the Spanish League, even VN teams. Away from the news for 2 weeks, on the return flight to Seoul, I wondered if war had broken out with North Korea. Happily, not.
I arrived back in Milwaukee the night of 19 April, and listened to voice mail on my phone. There were 2 messages from the Asst. DA now handling the Smith case. She had phoned me while I was in VN to tell me a deal had been made about the Smith case. The next day I called the number she had left on my phone, and urged her to call me. I called her again the following day, and left a message to call me. Then I called Natalie, the representative of victims, who urged me not to call again. There would be a court date on 11 May to finalize everything. I was not required to attend, as it was not a trial but for the judge to accept or reject the plea-deal. What I had understood on the voice mail from the Asst. DA was that Smith would do not time, but be on probation for several years. The more I pondered this, the more I wanted to attend the court proceeding and make a statement.
On Thursday 11 May 2017, I woke at 6 am (as I night owl, I usually go to bed at 2am), went through the court house security before 8, and was one of the first into the court when the chamber opened at 8:30. Natalie came early, and I was embarrassed when I did not recognize her, but my eyesight is poor. She introduced me to the Assistant DA who was now handling the case. I was happy to finally meet her and discuss the case. She explained to me what she would be asking for, but it would be up to the judge to accept or reject her recommendation. I wanted to know if Smith would have to do any time, because as I had understood the voice mail, he would only be placed on probation. No, she said. She was asking for 18 months in jail, which translates into an 8-month sentence. There would be 5-years’ probation, restitution of the nearly $600 which I had had to pay in medical bills, and a “no contact” order (between Smith and me). One of the reasons I was there to make a statement was that I had assumed, wrongly, that he would be let out on the street without doing any time. Nevertheless, I still wanted to make a statement.
All the other cases were heard first. Those defendants, singly would enter the courtroom, cuffed, and in jail uniforms. In each case, the defendant had agreed to a plea deal, pleading guilty. The judge addressed the defendant – did he understand that this would mean his loss of the right to vote and other rights of citizens. In each case, the defendant acknowleged he understood what the judge was detailing. The defense attorney sometimes added an explanation, but the plea deals had already been agreed to so the sentencing was almost perfunctory, and the cases were quickly closed. Finally, the case of K. G. Smith was called. He did not enter from the area of the incarcerated defendants. Indeed, I was surprised when I realized he was seated a few rows behind Natalie and me in the courtroom. I am unsure I would have recognized him, had he not been called. His skin seemed darker, and he looked stockier than I recalled.
The ADA spoke first, recounting the events of the case. I learned several new facts about the case in her presentation: in the struggle between K. Smith and myself, his cell phone had been broken. I laughed to myself – for it had been broken when he him me in the face with it! She assured the judge that K G Smith had not previous record, and as he was only 20-years old, he also had not previous juvenile records, either. His girl friend, who had been in the get-away car, was expecting his child in 4 months. And on the day of the mugging, before he sought money from he, he had lost his job.
Next, I was called to present my statement. First, I wanted to thank many involved in the case, such as Detective Michael Martin who apprehended the assailant, and a Marquette U. police officer who raced to the scene, causing Smith to cease his attempt to get into my pockets and jump into the car, to thank the others who also came to the scene. I had no idea of their names, not could I identify them, between my poor eyesight, and my bleeding eyebrow and eye lid and face when they arrived. And it was the by-standers who spotted and jotted down the license plate of the get-away car. Many people rushed to halt a crime. And it was through the license plate that Det. Martin was able to trace the mugger.
When the detective first questioned Smith, he alleged that the cause of the altercation was that I had used a racial slur. That was not true. I brought with me a portion of the Congressional Record, 27 February 2017 – the remarks of Congressman Cedric Richmond, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and the remarks were for Black History Month 2017. Richmond spoke of civil rights in his home town, New Orleans, which is my home town, too. He spoke about the very first sit-in in New Orleans in 1960 and the 7 who participated. He mentioned their names – and mine was one of those names. Cong. Richmond said that the 7 were freedom fighters, and much rests upon their shoulders. My shoulders too. Of course, before we sat-in, we were tained – in the summer of 1960. One of our teachers, trainers, was Martin Luther King, Jr., who at that time was, off the record, supporting the Democrats and John Kennedy in that year’s presidential election. On another day, we had another teacher, Jackie Robinson, the first Black to play in major league baseball, what was then the Brooklyn Dodgers. Most are unaware that Robinson had been involved in civil rights, even when in the army, in the South during WWII. Because he refused to abide by local laws on a bus, he was nearly court-martialed. In the summer of 1960 he was teaching us how to partake in civil rights. He was also supporting the Republicans and Richard Nixon for President in the election. Training was not that unusual. Even Rosa Parks had been trained before she refused to relinquish her seat on a bus in Montgomery, causing the major boycott of the 1950s.
As a result of the sit-in mentioned by Cong. Richmond, I became a convicted felon in 1960 when I was 21-years old. There had been 7 of us in that sit-in, 5 Blacks and 2 whites. When we went to court and sat together beside our Black attorneys, the judge threatened us with contempt of court for messing up, integrating his court. After a number of years, out cases reached the US Supreme Court and out convitions were reversed. On October 22, 2016, I did not use a racial slur.
The Emergency Rooms cost me about $600, but the cost to Medicade was $9,000. Will there be any money left in Medicare when you (pointing to the Asst. DA) retire? Or when the defendant retires? Crime is costly.
Finally, I have lived for several years in China, in German, and in Scotland. I was never physically attacked by natives of those countries.
A society that does not punish crime, encourages crime.
Snith’s sister then was called to the stand by the defence. She stressed how he helped her with her children, and was a good brother who had never before done anything like this. The defense attorney then asked for slight modifications in the plea deal – that Smith be allowed time to go to the hospital when his girl friend had their baby.
Judge Pedro Colon made a concluding statement. He understood the young man had just lost his job, and had no previous record, but he used violence against an elderly citizen. Judge Colon also spoke of the high cost of crime, and though he was willing to allow time to attend Smith’s girl friend when the baby came, still he was imposing the sentence suggested by the ADA, which included time in jail and then probation and restitution and a no-contact order. Case closed.
Smith now exited from a different door, to go to the jail. I was surprised when his defense attorney came to me and shook my hand.
I am glad I made the statement, and so thankful to all who helped in this case. I am glad it is OVER. It has been a dark cloud over me for more than 6 months. And after, I was emotionally drained, reading and writing less. Emotional pain. Hugh Murray
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Sheriff David Clarke, an elected Democrat for Milwaukee County, is often in conflict with the Mayor, a white liberal Democrat, and his appointed Chief of Police, a white who is probably liberal too. Clarke is a Democrat, a Black but also for law and order. He opposes gun control efforts and has urged the law-abiding to try to protect themselves. He spoke at the 2016 GOP Convention and supported Republican Donald Trump for President. Most Milwaukee Left-winger despise him. On Sunday 21 May 2017 the Milw. Journal Sentinel ran an article discussing Clarke's "plagiarism", which I discuss below. -- Hugh Murray
In his article, “Clarke accused of plagiarism,” (Sun. 21 May 2017, p. 17A) John Fauber discusses the latest charge against Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke. Fauber quotes the original CNN story, which conceded: “In all instances…Clarke credits [his sources] with a footnote, but does not indicate with quotation marks that he is taking the words verbatim.” Clarke thus failed to conform to academic rules by omitting quotation marks. Should Clarke be barred from a post with the Dept. of Homeland Security because he missed the marks?
When it comes to plagiarism, there is little doubt that Rev. Martin Luther King plagiarized large parts of his doctoral dissertation. No one noted it at the time. Did anyone outside of his committee even read King’s dissertation back then? Today, does anyone beside the small number on the academic committees ever read the dissertations and theses? (Science and math dissertations may be the exception where new experimental knowledge can be advanced within dissertations.)
Should King have been barred from leading the Montgomery bus boycott movement because he had plagiarized? Of course, not. At that time, no one was aware of the plagiarism, but had they known, so what? Today, we judge King not on his plagiarism – or other human failings – but on his great strength and courage to stand up for freedom when much of the government was adhered to oppression. Indeed, it is only after King became prominent that anyone bothered to read and analyze his dissertation to discover plagiarism.
Clarke should not be judged on his missing quotation marks – unless he is applying for a post to teach academic writing. If CNN were not liberal, and Clarke not conservative, would CNN have bothered to dissect Clarke’s thesis? (When Obama became President, many of his records, grades, and papers were removed from public scrutiny. How would his work fare under critical testing?)
Clarke should be judged as a lawman, as a sheriff who has inspired citizens to defend themselves, even arming themselves. By contrast, our liberal mayor and police chief have pandered to mobs and sought to disarm law-abiding citizens, while excusing violent criminals. Sheriff Clarke is a role-model for law-enforcement throughout the land. The soft-on-crime crowd will use anything to discredit him, even smearing him with quotation marks.