Tag Archives: counter current news

Gloucester Police Department’s “Angel Program” Sends Drug Addicts To Rehab, Not Prison

The following post was submitted to the CopBlock Network by Isiah Holmes, who has been featured several times previously on Cop Block, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page. In this post, Isiah discusses a program recently started by Gloucester Massachusetts Police Chief Leonard Campanello in which, rather than treating drug abuse as a criminal issue, it’s treated as a disease requiring treatment.

(Note: The Gloucester Police Department’s new drug program was also discussed by Deo in an earlier post published in August of last year, as well as by Dylan Donnelly in a post published in May of last year. While both the previous posts address the same topic, they were written at different time frames relative to the start of the “Angel Program” and contain different perspectives from each author.)

In The World Anew

“You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it. You must learn to see the world anew.”

No one can deny the profound reservoirs of foresight Albert Einstein surely utilized to conjure those words. In order to evolve our understanding, we must first break the rigid behavioral or ideological loop which has brought us here. No modern SNAFU is more relevant to this phenomenon than the drug war, and its human cost. It’s a war with “soldiers”, aka our police force, who no longer agree with their own method–find them all, arrest them all. In 2015, however, one Massachusetts department found breaking operational standards was worth pulling it’s heroin ravaged community back from the brink.

Massachusetts police drug addictsGloucester Massachusetts, like a growing percentage of the US, has an overwhelming opioid issue. In fact, according to VICE, the first four months of 2015 saw four local overdose deaths by either heroin or prescription drugs. The deaths, coupled with several other overdose victims who survived, compelled the Gloucester Police Department to mix things up a little. Police Chief Leonard Campanello took to Facebook: “Any addict who walks into the police station with the remainder of their drug equipment or drugs and asks for help will not be charged. Instead,” Campanello continues, “we will walk them through the system toward detox and recovery.” Amazingly, the post’s number of shares–32,000 shares–outnumbers Gloucester’s population of 30,000 people.

The Gloucester PD’s trailblazing initiative, launched June 1st 2015, is formally known as the “Angel Program”. Under the program, VICE reports, Campanello’s officers, upon making contact with a consenting addict, will transport the person to nearby Gilbert Hospital. From there, the patient is assigned an “angel”, according to the Gloucester Times, who then walks them through the rehabilitation process. Also, the Gloucester PD maintains a contingent of volunteers who stay with the patient until an angel arrives. The first patient arrived in Campanello’s station a day after the program was launched. Willfully and peacefully, the 31 year old man arrived at Campanello’s doorstep requesting help.

It didn’t take long for word of the program to start mushrooming across the nation. Out of state rehab centers offered anything they could including, VICE reports, scholarships to help pay for transport and treatment. In spite of all this, true success relies on a non-existent level of trust between the addict and the officers. “Someone has to take the first step”, says Campanello, “that’s all we can do.”

Leonard Campanello Gloucester Police Chief2The chief, aware of relations between cops and non-cops, pointed out that they must “show that we are good to our word.” This can’t happen if even dying addicts frown at the idea of surrendering, with or without drugs, inside the walls of a station. Holding true to Albert Einstein’s old quote, Police Chief Campanello insists his officers have “come to consensus as a department that we’re not going to arrest our way out of the addiction problem.” Campanello later went on record, the Gloucester Times reports, pointing out “the important piece to all of this. For law enforcement to extend a helping hand”, says the chief, “and we’ve started to do that.”

Gloucester PD also made an overdose “antidote” available at local pharmacies without a prescription. According to VICE, the nasal spray–Narcon– is capable of instantly stopping even severe overdoses. Gary Langis, Gloucester resident and harm reduction activist since the 80’s, delivers Narcon door-to-door. “I think it’s a good thing that they’re having this conversation”, says Langis, “and looking at drug users as not a criminal thing, but as people that need a little help.” Langis, like many, expresses doubts that a population which police have historically “marginalized and demonized” is going to be willing to trust them. Landis’s fears may prove valid, as Gloucester officers remain obligated to charge users they get off the street, according to VICE.

It would appear, however, that this particular police department, or at least its leader, is willing to move past this status quo. “Your life”, he says, referring to Gloucester’s addicts, CNN reports, “is more meaningful than your death. Don’t be ashamed of your illness. We are not ashamed of you, it’s time…come and get the help.” Following the Gloucester PD’s empathy fueled leap of faith, towns in 17 other states promptly adopted the Angel Program.

A large component to ending the drug war is, indeed, legalizing marijuana. Another, perhaps, vastly more profound component is caring about the people the war hurts, ruins, or kills. We have to care about one another, and America’s current narcotics policy stands as the antithesis to this end. Now, let’s use the momentum from this small victory as a point of encouragement for municipalities elsewhere to get on board with the revolution.

– Isiah Holmes

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Update: Videos of Protester Tased and Arrested at Sam Dubose March in Cincinnati

 Arrests in Cincinnati OH

As previously reported several people, including but not necessarily limited to Talis Gage, Benjamin Virnston, Jordan Freshour and Daniel Joseph, were arrested last night during a march in protest of the murder of Sam Dubose and other instances of Police brutality in Cincinnati. In addition, one protester who was arrested was tased prior to being arrested. Currently, I don’t know the identity of that individual or if he was one of the four arrestees previously mentioned.

Arrests in Cincinnati OhioSince the first post about the arrests, they have been bailed out by Micah David Naziri and are no longer being held. Several videos have also been posted of the arrests, which have been included below. The video at the top was recorded by Ademo and Brian Sumner, who were in attendance for the launch of the Mobile Accountability for Cops (MAC) Tour.

It’s not exactly clear from the videos what the rationalization for the tasing that can be seen on those videos was. It’s been said that it was a response to flipping off the cop, but all you can really see is that cop singling him out, chasing him briefly, and then using the taser on him. What is pretty clear in the video is that the person being assaulted with the taser is not at any point representing any sort of threat to the officer who is attacking him.

We’ll add more updates as information becomes available…

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Breaking: Call Flood for Peaceful Protesters Arrested in Cincinnati

Call Flood in Cincinnati OhioDetails are a little light right now, but apparently as many as six people have just been arrested in Cincinnati, OH after an incident in which a police officer illegally used a taser on a protester who flipped him off during a #BlackLivesMatter/Sam Dubose protest. Among those arrested were  Jordan Freshour, Benjamin Virnston, and Talis Gage Cop Blockers from Ohio. I’ve been told that there were at least three other also arrested, but I don’t currently have names of anyone else. Micah David Naziri, another Cop Blocker who is also involved with Counter Current News, also stated that the police were following him and trying to coerce him into turning over footage of the incidents and arrests that he had recorded. Included below is a video from Chris Harrison, who was also present and witnessed the taser incident.

The Number to call is: (513) 946-6100 ext. 3

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Beavercreek Cop Drives Cruiser Through Peaceful Candlelight Vigil For Mike Brown and John Crawford

This is a repost of an article originally published on the Counter Current News website, regarding the customer service received from one of the employees of the Beavercreek Police Department. It was received via the Cop Block Submissions page.

Beavercreek Police Driving Through Peaceful Candlelight Virgil For John Crawford and Mike BrownDate of Incident: November 25, 2014
Individuals Involved: Unidentified Beavercreek Police Supervisor
Outfit: Beavercreek (OH) Police Department
Phone: 937-426-1225
Email: [email protected]
Area Cop Block Affiliate: Beavercreek Cop Block. (To find the appropriate affiliate in your area consult the Cop Block Groups page.)

THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is why so many people don’t like police officers.

As protesters all over the United States have gathered to voice their outrage over the Michael Brown verdict, activists in Beavercreek, Ohio gathered at the local Police Department to hold a candlelight vigil.

They said they were there to commemorate the untimely killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and also to connect the injustice of grand juries in both cities refusing to indict each respective police officer.

But as protesters gathered in a large circle in front of the Beavercreek Police Department, singing somber songs about innocent life lost, and taking a lengthy moment of silent reflection on the deaths of Michael Brown and John Crawford, a member of the Beavercreek Police Department decided that this was a great time to move his cruiser.

Watch the video below of this officer’s blatantly offensive behavior.

Counter Current News reporters filmed the entire disruption, and noted that the officer did not go out on patrol with the cruiser. He was not responding to an emergency. Instead, he simply moved the vehicle to another part of the parking lot.

When the retiring Chief Evers saw our reporters filming this, he came over and spoke with us, as well as fellow Alternative Media Syndicate partners with the Greene County Herald.

Evers did not comment on the officer’s actions, but he was cordial and noted that he had no problem with protesters assembling at the Police Department in this manner. He said that activists could do this “every day” and that he saw the assembly as respectful.

We asked Chief Evers to sit down with us at a later date, for a public interview where we can go frame by frame and discuss the John Crawford shooting video. He noted that there are some legal concerns that he has to navigate before this can happen, but he did not rule it out for a later date.

We reported back in October that Chief Evers is retiring after only a couple of years on the Beavercreek Police Department. He reaffirmed his previous statements that this is unrelated to the controversy over Officer Sean William’s shooting of John Crawford. Unfortunately, not all Beavercreek officers could be as respectful of the vigil honoring the loss of life as Chief Evers.

Because of the somber nature of the event, we refrained from exacerbating the disruption by seeking further identification of the officer in the video about. It is clear to us, however, that actions like this further estrange police from the communities they purport to serve – a notion we conveyed to Chief Evers.

(Article by Moreh B.D.K.)

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