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Friday, December 11, 2009


UPDATE, 12/11/2009, 7:30PM

When Jeff Cohen at the Courant called me about this today, he said he had apparently recveived a tip about my taxes not being paid on my vehicle. I told him I had just received the notice in todays mail from Taxserv, showing a past due amount of $122.38, plus $11.00 interest and a collection fee of $17.99 for a total of $151.27. The notice was dated December 4, 2009 and was also sent to my old address

I didn't argue the point, the taxes are due, end of story and they were taken care of immediately. I sent a check to Taxserv for $151.27

For those that read this blog, I have made an issue of Councilwoman Rosezina Winch's mother, Prenzina Holloway's taxes and the fact that she has been driving her vehicle unregistered since March 1, 2009 because she couldn't register her vehicle with the taxes due. I never made an issue of the taxes until the Courant reported on it.

It doesn't take a super sleuth to figure out where the information given to Cohen came from. The interesting part is that Nadine Muhammad, Holloway's daughter and Winch's sister, who also happens to work in the Tax Office, decided today to pay her tax bills dating back a couple years. According to the City of Hartford website, Nadine Muhammad paid her past due taxes in the amount of $2011.82 today, December 11, 2009. I wonder if she did that before or after she and her sister sent the e-mail
to Cohen.

Now if you can only get your mother and your sister to pay their taxes. As of today Councilwoman Winch's past due taxes are $505.46 dating back at least 2 years,her mother's taxes total $2738.82. A payment of $801.00 was made toward Holloway's taxes when the tax collector seized a check issued to her by the city for work in the registrars office. The Tax Collector seized the check on 11/27/09.

As a sidenote, Nadine Muhammad is also the mother of De'Quan Muhammad who was recently arrested on charges related to the stabbing death of UConn football player Jasper Howard.


Since I have made a point of drawing attention to others and their outstanding tax issues, I just wanted to be the first to say that I received a past due motor vehicle tax bill from Tax Serve for $151.00. The bill was sent to the wrong address and made it to me eventually with the yellow forwarding sticker. Even though I moved over a year ago and changed my address with Motor Vehicles, apparently the City of Hartford still has an incorrect address.

I will say though that my vehicle is properly registered and the check has already been sent to TaxSERV.

For anyone wishing to make an issue of it, feel free. I know how to admit when I'm wrong and take responsibility.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


My phone has been ringing most of the afternoon, ever since word began circulating that a verdict had been reached. I didn't even have to ask what verdict, almost everyone knew "THE" verdict was in. Immediately law enforcement officials were warning officers that the "media" was out in force, so show ultimate restraint in dealing with any issue that might arise. Others streamed out of the court shouting and being vocal that the verdict was wrong. And if that wasn't enough, apparently all other business at the court was suspended. That apparently was done to protect others in the court if tempers flared.

The first question that came to mind was why any of the above was necessary? The shooting of Jashon Bryant was a tragic event, but unfortunately what led up to the shooting and the subsequent events for the last four years are just as tragic. I have many friends in law enforcement and I know I will take some heat for the next statement, but here goes. Should any police officer have to be told to act differently when television cameras and the media are present? My first instinct, based on the police officers I know, would be absolutely not.

But then again I am not friends with Officer Lee and Officer Campbell who are the exception to the rule after they allegedly beat a prisoner in full view of video cameras. No media present, but with full knowledge that their every move was recorded, they still committed abusive acts, oh yeah, allegedly.

The irony here is that while the States Attorney's office seems to be protecting abusive cops and delaying arrest warrants for at least two, and denying an arrest warrant for another off-duty officer involved in a videotaped beating in a bar, oh yeah, allegedly. This while at the same time prosecuting Detective Lawlor. I guess the message that the community is seeing is that you can beat people and it is not a problem, but if you kill them expect problems.

The decision to prosecute Lawlor was made under a different States Attorney at the time, but it still raises questions as to the standards maintained by the current Hartford County States Attorney as to keeping officers in check. Is there a degree as to how hard you kick a prisoner while they are handcuffed on the ground before it becomes criminal? Or is an assault an assault, period. How many times do you have to pummel a bar patron in a bar fight before you break the law?

Before I get too far off track, my point is this. Is it any wonder that the mistrust between the community and police exists? The shooting of Jashon Bryant was a tragedy, but the greater tragedy is the reaction of many in the community. Many factors played into this and we could second guess and analyze the issues for the next twenty years and probably not solve them.

How did Jashon Bryant get to the point where at a young age he was involved in a life of guns and drugs. Was it only a matter of time before he experienced violence in a city filled with guns, drugs and shootings? Did the community, church leaders, government officials and family members fail Bryant, as well as all the other victims of drug violence in the city and across this nation?

And the police, do they understand the importance of community relations and building that trust that forms the bridge to the community? Not every officer is a rogue cop and I would be naive to think that Hartford doesn't have it's share of bad cops. Cops such as Campbell and Lee prove that point, oh yeah, allegedly. But actions by the States Attorney don't build any trust with the community either, they only further the point that bad cops get protected.Whether that is true or not, it is what the community sees

The night that Detective Lawlor made a split second decision and fatally shot Jashon Bryant will affect Lawlor and everyone else , including us as a community, the Bryant family and the Hartford Police Department for many many years to come.

Unfortunately Jashon Bryant paid dearly for Detective Lawlor's decision, but a jury has decided the outcome, hopefully based on facts and circumstances presented during the trial. Only two people really know what happened in that parking lot that night, and one of them is deceased.

The tragedy here will really be if we just wait for the next Jashon Bryant and Detective Lawlor type incident to occur. It is inevitable I guess in a city like Hartford that it will occur again. Unfortunately, I keep going back to the issue though of a total lack of leadership in Hartford, and this incident is another prime example.

I understand that Mayor Perez spoke today with the Greater Hartford Ministerial Alliance urging them to keep their congregations calm after the verdict. Shouldn't that discussion have started the day after the shooting? It seems ridiculous to start the conversation possibly minutes before the verdict comes down. This should be a day in and day out conversation between the police and the community.

All anyone has to do is listen to the "don't snitch" policy to understand that relationships between many neighborhoods and the police are strained at best and non-existent at the worst. Unfortunately, some police officers just don't get it when it comes to "community policing". It is not just a catchy phrase that has become politically correct, it needs to become a philosophy taught and driven home everyday to every member of the police department. Any officer that doesn't understand that every member of the community is a shareholder in this philosophy, should not be on the streets of Hartford.

With that being said, members of the community need to realize that this is a two-way street. Police can not solve crime on their own, but community members also need to have that basic trust and relationship with police to know that in working with the police all parties are respected.

I'm not sure how it will get started, but honest and open dialogue needs to start to build trust between the community and the police. That wall of mistrust needs to be broken down, and it needs to be a real discussion without all of the politically correct rhetoric. Call it as it is, and if feelings get hurt, so be it.

Getting the community involved and being a partner in crime fighting might just be the first step in letting criminals and thugs know that we are taking back our streets. Serious law enforcement efforts and a community response might have let Jashon Bryant know that criminal behavior wouldn't be tolerated and to find a different path than the one he was headed down. A real working relationship with the community might have also not put Detective Lawlor in that parking lot making the unfortunate decision he was forced to make.

As a city, if we continue with police/community relations as they are, we are destined to repeat more Bryant/Lawlor type encounters and splitting the city even more. Everyone needs to be involved, police, community, so-called city leaders, church's, schools, everyone.

In the meantime, the Hartford County States Attorney needs to step up and send the message that police abuse at any level will not be tolerated. It might just be the first step in building that trust with the community.