Ask Town Council to Appoint Independent Task Force: Why Deploy a SWAT Force ?
  • Petitioned Chapel Hill Town Council

This petition was delivered to:

Chapel Hill Town Council

Ask Town Council to Appoint Independent Task Force: Why Deploy a SWAT Force ?

    1. Jim Neal
    2. Petition by

      Jim Neal

      Chapel Hill, NC

Many questions remain unanswered in regard to the Chapel Hill Police Department’s deployment on Sunday November 13th 2011 of a heavily-armed Special Emergency Response Team to clear a private building in Chapel Hill that had been occupied by a group of protesters. Seven people were arrested and charged with misdemeanor breaking and entering.

I have submitted a petition to to the Chapel Hill Town Council calling for the appointment of an independent commission to review the events leading up to yesterday’s deployment of the SERT unit. Residents of Chapel Hill are divided, one camp outraged by what they deem to be an unmeasured response by a SWAT team and the other yielding to the professional judgment of the CHPD. Neither side has the facts to which the public is entitled in order understand the events that led to yesterday’s display of lethal force by the Chapel Hill Police Department.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 250 signatures
    2. Countdown with Keith Olberman covers Chapel Hill SWAT Raid

      Jim Neal
      Petition Organizer

      Gaining national visibility. Keep singing and drawing peers from social networks.

    3. Carrrboro Alderman Take First Step that Chapel Hill Council Dodged

      Jim Neal
      Petition Organizer

      The Carrboro Alderman has voted to apologize to the reporters and to others it said may have been unnecessarily held at gunpoint or handcuffed. Their apology occurred but a day after Chapel Hill's Council rebuffed apologies to two reporters caught up in the Nov. 13 occupation of a downtown building. Chapel Hill Councilwoman Laurin Easthom's proclamation apologizing to the reporters was voted down 6-3, with only Council members Sally Greene and Ed Harrison voting alongside Easthom.

      Our Petition for an Independent Task Force is currently mired in a Town Management review that will supposedly be completed in two months- yes, two months.

      Don't allow the Town Manager and the Town Council run the clock out and offer red herring alternatives to the appointment of a truly Independent Task Force.

      Keep gathering signatures and stay tuned.

    4. Tentative Apologies to Bystanders- the Public

      Jim Neal
      Petition Organizer

      The Carrboro Board of Alderman took a more nuanced approach than did the Chapel Hill Town Council in their meeting last Tuesday. They apologized to reporters and other bystanders who may have been unnecessarily held at gunpoint or handcuffed in the raid by the CHPD SWAT Unit on November 13th.

      Alderman Dan Coleman said that "I know if I had an automatic rifle held to my head when I was just standing on a public street, I would feel better if someone apologized, even if it turned out it was part of an appropriate action by the Chapel Hill police, which is as yet undetermined."

      The Chapel Hill Town Council voted down a similar resolution submitted by Councilwoman Laurin Easthom in a 6-3 vote. Easthom's resolution was supported by Council members Sally Greene and Ed Harrison.

      Read more:

    5. Reached 100 signatures
    6. Chapel Hill Town Council Accepts Petition for Review

      Jim Neal
      Petition Organizer

      Many more eloquent speakers than I spoke in support. Packed community presence- overflowing to outside Town Hall. Some beating drums in the streets; others moving inside slowly assisted by their walkers. Good news: two Council members- Mayor Pro Tem Jim Ward and Councilwoman Laurin De Beck Easthom- stepped up as supporters of the Petition.

      Bad news: The Petition is alive, but it's imperiled by many insiders having a vested interest in killing it through a number of procedural and delay tactics. To keep it alive there must be dynamic effort expended in gathering signatures- esp. by sharing across your social networks. Email, word of mouth and distribution of copies work fine for others.

      Takeaway: I don't get what some council members are so damned afraid of. Regardless, that's all the
      more reason to advocate on behalf of your Petition.

      View a videoclip from the Council Meeting on Monday evening by clicking the link below.

    7. Internal Review By Chapel Hill Town Manager and the Police Chief

      Jim Neal
      Petition Organizer

      Sent this afternoon in advance of tonight's Council meeting at which the Petition will be discussed.

      And Internal Review by Insiders having real or perceived biases is NO substitute for an independent review task force.

    8. Reached 50 signatures
    9. 84 Year Old Woman Pepper-Sprayed by Police in Occupy Seattle protest

      Jim Neal
      Petition Organizer

      Another "measured response" by the police.

    10. Images Tell Powerful Stories

      Jim Neal
      Petition Organizer

      Face of inspiration in times of despair

    11. Reached 25 signatures
    12. Town Council Agenda for Monday: Petition will be Considered

      Jim Neal
      Petition Organizer

      Just received a note from a Town official. She provided me with a link (see below) to the Agenda set for Monday's meeting at 7pm (405 Martin Luther King Blvd.)

    13. Carrboro Alderman Dan Coleman reaches out to Kleinschmidt

      Jim Neal
      Petition Organizer

      Dan Coleman, alderman of neighboring Carrboro, share his peaceful experiences with members of the anarchist group.

    14. What do you think of CHPD response to occupied building?

      Jim Neal
      Petition Organizer

      Blog conversation string from on the News & Observer

    15. What do you make of Sunday's building occupation and the police response?

      Jim Neal
      Petition Organizer

      Chapel Hill News editor Mark Schultz provides his firsthand account.

    16. News & Observer: "Chapel Hill council debates police action"

      Jim Neal
      Petition Organizer

      Yet more questions and reactions:

      "Council member Laurin Easthom says she does not understand why police responded with semi-automatic rifles to a group of squatters.. 'They must have assumed that people in there were heavily armed,' Easthom said Wednesday. 'If they use heavy artillery for protests, then I think we need to talk about a policy change. ... That's huge. That's bad in my opinion.

      "The reality is, we didn't know what we were walking into," [Chief] Blue said. "It is true that once we got in (Sunday) we didn't find any weapons, but we didn't know that ahead of time. And there certainly was a concern (of) a great potential for an active resistance if we did not move decisively and quickly."

      "I'm just so grateful that there were only scary images and nothing more than that," Mayor Pro Tem Jim Ward said.

      Reactions, defenses, opinions abound. An Independent Commission can provide answers based upon an independent review.

    17. Independent Weekly: "Chapel Hill: Cops versus anarchists and nobody wins"

      Jim Neal
      Petition Organizer

      Answers sought- from authority of an Independent Commission. Divisiveness in full view:

      "...[Mayor] Kleinschmidt called the raid "deliberate and measured."

      "[Carrboro] Alderman Sammy Slade was more blunt: 'Seeing police pointing machine guns at unarmed protesters, next to a public bus ready to carry them away and plastered with a Wells Fargo billboard was really ironic. It really makes you think about the kind of democracy we have.''

      "In reality, everyone really lacks the facts," Jim Neal says. "I think the public needs and deserves answers."

    18. Reached 10 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • christian stalberg CHAPEL HILL, NC
      • over 2 years ago

      the militarization of police depts must stop, as must use of excessive force

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Joan Garnett CHAPEL HILL, NC
      • over 2 years ago

      Words and ideas are very different than weapons. It is important to distinguish one from the other. It is important to learn the truth.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Donna-Lee Phillips EUREKA, CA
      • over 2 years ago

      Responding to peaceful, unarmed protesters exercising their Constitutional right to free speech and petition for redress by sending in SWAT teams is outrageous. We cannot permit those who disagree with the protesters to be brutalised by police forces. We--all over the country--insist on transparency and an independent review of these SWAT actions.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Laura Lindsey CHAPEL HILL, NC
      • over 2 years ago

      I think it is important to investigate such an armed action against and among our citizens to insure it is actually serving and protecting our community.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Walt Logue LONGMONT, CO
      • over 2 years ago

      What was done was wrong.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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