Feedback from the Issue of Thursday, April 1, 2010
It's only a matter of time: Stephen Lemons has hit on two topics that absolutely make my blood boil ("Courtney's Scar," "Hate Squad on Hold," March 18, "Profound Pettiness," March 25). Thank God for New Times, or we would be in the dark in this community!
I refer to the Phoenix Police Department's disbanding its Career Criminal Unit in a place where skinheads, Nazis, brown-bashing racists, and extremists of all stripes run rampant (and many of them hold public office).
Then, there's the railroading of poor Courtney Bisbee, who shouldn't even be in prison (the star witness in her case has recanted, for Christ's sake!), much less be getting assaulted there.
If my house wasn't upside-down and my kids in school and I could get a job anywhere else, I'd flee this place before anything bad happens to me or mine. With the lax law enforcement — or, in the case of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, vindictive law enforcement around here — it's only a matter of time before something bad happens to many of us.
I lie awake thinking of the dangers to decent people here because of our sorry-ass local governments.
James Pugh, Phoenix
Minorities are thrown to the dogs: Give me a break! In Maricopa County, Arizona — home to legions of people who would've felt right at home in Nazi Germany — the Phoenix Police Department disbands its Career Criminal Squad?
How much could disbanding this vital four-man detail save the city? Damn little! Meanwhile, the PPD is throwing us minorities who work or live in Phoenix to the snarling dogs.
Al Garcia, Glendale
Keep the squad together!: WTF! The Phoenix Police Department needs to get their heads out of their butts and wake up.
These Career Criminal Squad guys kick ass on a daily basis, and there should be no question about whether or not to keep this group together and on task! Duh!
Kelly Hicks, Phoenix
AZ is becoming a police state: Is there no authority in the state of Arizona with the courage to face up to the truth of Courtney Bisbee's innocence?
It's high time for the people of Arizona to realize that they're letting their state become a police state without due process.
William Newmiller, Phoenix
Inhumane treatment at Perryville: So, if I am reading this article correctly, Courtney was attacked and suffered a large cut and concussion.
She was treated at a hospital, given medication there, and prescribed more medication for follow-up pain management and healing.
When she was returned to prison, the medications were withheld. Two weeks after the assault, she still has inflammation from her wound, severe headaches, and abnormal vision in one eye.
What the hell is going on in that prison? Who authorized withholding her medications? A licensed doctor? A nurse at the prison?
Perryville is sounding like something we would find in Haiti or Somalia. If the same level of medical care that a person in a [legitimate] hospital would receive cannot be delivered to an inmate, the prison should be stripped of its right to house an injured inmate.
Bill Ammons, Phoenix
The wrong people are in prison: Injustice is alive, thriving, and well in Maricopa County.
Pity all those who had a hand in Courtney Bisbee's conviction. Too bad they can't be sent to prison for the same time Bisbee has had to spend.
Jim Cozzolino, Peoria
Courtney is innocent: I can't wait to expose Sheriff Joe Arpaio and little Andrew Thomas for all the crime they have done. Let's free Courtney Bisbee ASAP. She has a daughter. Courtney is innocent.
Alison Hicks, Phoenix
Sorry your mom didn't love you, Danny: A Career Criminal Squad isn't needed to pick on people who have a constitutional right to dislike anybody they want. So a black man gets beaten up. He probably deserved it. Who knows what he said to provoke the attack?
I'm glad — and there are many more like me — that the Phoenix Police Department will no longer have a unit to pick on people like me just because I proudly wear so-called Nazi tattoos and defend myself.
It's not just mud people who have rights, you pussies!
Danny Sully, address withheld
Overhaul the justice system: No one can imagine the horror of being wrongfully convicted and having the judicial system fail them.
Those who are falsely accused and convicted based on testimony of individuals who lie and then retract their testimony have no legal recourse. [Many of these people] have been forced to defend themselves for "touching" a child over clothing when their action was not sexually motivated.
Yes, we must protect our children. However, the criminal justice system needs to be overhauled.
People who are really a danger to children need to be incarcerated. Those who would benefit from other services outside prison need to be identified. Finally, those who are wrongfully convicted need to be given voice.
Barbara Naso, address withheld
Keep the righteous cops working: Without the Career Criminal Squad, heaven help us! Its members solved a case in which a member of my family was assaulted by white supremacists and nearly died. I thank them for bringing this animal to justice.
My family prays that the Phoenix Police Department will reconsider and keep these righteous cops working to protect minorities in this community.
All of us have reason to fear in a place where certain politicians practice and condone racism, but brown and black people have the most reason to fear.
Carol Ann Hicks, address withheld
Immoral and unethical: If the state is going to incarcerate people, it has the responsibility to provide basic human needs and medical care. Inmates have a right to safety and security while incarcerated.
When they are assaulted, they should be provided immediate and ongoing care for the damage. If there is no money to properly house and care for inmates, then it is time to release the non-violent, the elderly, and the dying. The situation is getting worse and creating greater liability for the state and the taxpayers.
County Attorney Andrew Thomas has a responsibility not to sweep this criminal attack on Courtney Bisbee under the rug, as he did when new evidence came in that she was innocent.
Playing games with people's lives is immoral and unethical. It's time to release Courtney Bisbee. This case is an embarrassment to Arizona's justice system.
No more "thought" police: All crimes are hate crimes. What separates a hate crime from any other? In that context, I am against special funding for "thought" police.
Let's prosecute all criminals as effectively as possible and not discriminate and only go after the ones we personally loathe.
Prison personnel let Bisbee down: Perryville Prison personnel are responsible for the safety of inmates. Their lapse of attention, policy, and/or judgment allowed this injury to Courtney Bisbee.
Whether an inmate is guilty or not, she is a human being. Many inmates are non-violent. Some, like Courtney, are wrongfully convicted.
Though it may not be popular to advocate for inmates, remember: They, too, have family and friends, and they are loved.
Andrew Thomas ignores the facts: This state, in its paranoid rush to "protect children," has passed draconian laws where someone can be accused and convicted of child molestation for touching a child over clothing and not being able to "prove beyond a reasonable doubt" that the touching was not sexually motivated.
This county has also elected a prosecute-by-all-means-possible publicity whore who ignores facts to get convictions. The net result of this attempt to protect children is that a young child (Courtney Bisbee's daughter) is deprived of her mother, and Courtney is viciously assaulted.
This is not justice. Any thinking human would agree.
Crooked justice: Welcome to Third World Arizona, where justice is what the crooked authorities say it is!
Another nail in Thomas' coffin: Thank you, Stephen Lemons, for helping Courtney Bisbee and her family. I literally threw up when I heard that she had been assaulted. Andrew Thomas would not know how to do the right thing if his life depended upon it.
This case will be another nail in Andrew Thomas' coffin. State Bar, this is a textbook case of injustice.
Why was medication withheld?: Innocent or guilty, can someone please explain: Why are prescribed and paid-for medicines withheld from inmates?
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