New Jersey State Police Seem to be Contradicting CNN Host Lou Dobbs’ Account of a Gunfire Incident, ¡Qué lástima!

New Jersey state police seem to be contradicting CNN Host Lou Dobbs’ account of a gunfire incident near his Sussex County, New Jersey, house.

On Monday on his radio show, Dobbs stated that “my wife has now been and I have been shot at.” The alleged incident, which Dobbs had reported to the New Jersey State Police, took place three weeks prior to the October 26 broadcast of the Lou Dobbs Show, and Dobbs told his listeners that it had “followed weeks and weeks of threatening phone calls.” Dobbs’ discussion of the incident during his radio show also included mention of both longtime critic and FOX host Geraldo Rivera and the immigrant advocacy organizations calling for his removal from CNN including the National Council of La Raza, America’s Voice and other “ethnocentric interest groups.”

Without specifying who he suspects of making the alleged threats, he also said on his radio show that “They’ve threatened my wife, they’ve now fired a shot at my house while my wife was standing next to the car.” Concluding with a call for “truth, justice and the American way,” Dobbs cautioned “if anybody thinks that we’re not engaged in the battle for the soul of this country right now, you’re sorely mistaken.” And during an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Thursday, Dobbs spoke again about the gunfire incident, linking it to “threatening phone calls tied to the positions I’ve taken on illegal immigration.”

Interviews with the New Jersey State Police yielded a rather different assessment of the events described by Dobbs. In a phone interview conducted yesterday, Sgt. Stephen Jones, a NJ State Police spokesperson, chuckled out loud after he heard about Dobbs’ account of the gunfire incident. Jones commented that he “wouldn’t classify it [the gunfire incident] as very unusual.” He also confirmed that there are hunters in the area, and stated that, “at this time of year hunter [shooting] complaints go up.”

He observed that in the ongoing police investigation sparked by Dobbs’ complaint, “nothing has been determined [regarding] what the intended target for this bullet was.” Nor did Jones confirm whether the shots near Dobbs’ house appeared to be an accident or intentional.

Another New Jersey State Police spokesperson, Sgt. Julian Castellanos, noted that “it’s a wide open area and there are hunters in the area.” Castellanos explained that the bullet had hit the house in vicinity of the attic; it “hit the vinyl siding and fell to the ground” without penetrating the vinyl, he said.

While Lou Dobbs’ wife, Debi Lee Segura, was standing outside the house at the time of the gunfire, the bullet did not come close to her; it “struck at the apex of the house, near the roof,” and thus considerably higher than a standing person, Jones observed.

Jones says he had not seen any mention of death threats in the reports about this incident. As Dobbs stated on his October 26 radio show, the CNN host had “decided not to report” “threatening phone calls” he says he has received.

The New Jersey police made no mention of the immigration reform groups Dobbs discussed in connection with the incident.

When asked to comment for this story, Dobbs disputed the New Jersey State Police’s account, saying in an email that “there was no hunting season underway three weeks ago.” However, an official at the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife Bureau of Law Enforcement confirmed in a phone interview that state hunting seasons were underway at the time of the gunfire incident three weeks ago.

Asked what he thought of Dobbs’ version of the gunfire incident, Sgt. Jones stated, “I’m really going to leave Lou Dobbs’ assessment to himself.”

New Jersey State Police Seem to be Contradicting CNN Host Lou Dobbs’ Account of a Gunfire Incident, ¡Qué lástima!

Bullet hits Lou Dobbs’ NJ Home with Wife Nearby

Police in New Jersey are trying to determine who fired a bullet that struck CNN commentator Lou Dobbs’ home as his wife stood nearby. State police Sgt. Stephen Jones says Dobbs’ wife and driver were outside the home Oct. 5 when they heard the gunshot. Jones says the bullet didn’t penetrate the siding and fell to the ground outside.

Dobbs mentioned the bullet earlier this week on CNN and his radio show.

Dobbs says he had been receiving threatening phone calls for weeks. On his radio show, he connected the gunshot to his advocacy for a crackdown on illegal immigration and to his opponents’ rhetoric.

The home is on a farm in Wantage, about 50 miles northwest of New York City.

It is small-game hunting season, but no hunters were seen in the area.

Bullet hits Lou Dobbs’ NJ Home with Wife Nearby

Time For Cobb County To Walk Away From 287(g)

The Cobb County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to accept Sheriff Neil Warren’s recommendation on the re-signing of the 287(g) Agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They should reconsider this decision.

The 287(g) program delegates immigration enforcement authority to specific local police agencies. The Cobb Sheriff’s Office is one of the five agencies in Georgia that has entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to participate in enforcement of federal civil immigration laws.

Though initially intended as a measure to combat violent crime and other felonies such as gang activity and drug trafficking, 287(g) programs have in fact undermined public safety, as immigrant communities, fearful of being deported, hesitate to report crime. The Major Cities Chiefs Association and the Police Foundation have both found that participating in 287(g) programs has harmed community policing efforts.

This trend is documented by the ACLU of Georgia report released Monday titled: “Terror and Isolation in Cobb: How Unchecked Police Power under 287(g) had Torn Families Apart and Threatened Public Safety.” The report is based on interviews with 10 community members affected by the program as well as five community advocates and attorneys based in Cobb.

As the report documents, in Cobb specifically, there has been a widespread increase in fear to report crime and mistrust in law enforcement as a result of 287(g). Immigrants feel afraid to seek assistance from law enforcement, even when they are the victims of crimes themselves. This factor poses a public safety threat to all county residents. One community member named Joanna mentioned to us that she once even put out the fire in her kitchen herself, because she was afraid to call 911.

In addition, law enforcement agencies that reallocate limited resources towards cracking down on violations such as driving without a license or lack of insurance may have scarce means left with which to combat crimes of violence and other felonies. In Cobb, immigrants disappear into detention for violations such as having a broken tail light or tinted windows on their car. In 2008, Cobb County turned over 3,180 detainees to ICE for deportation. Of those, 2,180, about 69 percent, were arrested for traffic violations.

In addition, the program has encouraged and served as a justification for racial profiling and human rights violations by some police acting as immigration agents. As the ACLU of Georgia report shows, Cobb officers have misused the power granted to them under the agreement by engaging in racial profiling of Latino communities and detaining individuals in the Cobb jail for unconstitutionally prolonged time periods. A telling example is the case of Jonathan, a Latino man who was shopping for jewelry for his girlfriend at Macy’s when he was followed by a security guard who then called the Cobb Police. Jonathan was detained by the officer without being informed about the reason. He was subsequently charged with loitering and deported. The loitering charge was later dismissed by the district attorney without a hearing. His family now lives in constant fear of the “seemingly unlimited power of the police to arrest a Latino person for any or no reason at all.”

There is currently no meaningful check in place to ensure that local law enforcement do not abuse the program by intimidating and racially profiling immigrant communities in Cobb. A Government Accountability Office investigation earlier this year found ICE was not exercising proper oversight over local or state agencies. This problem is compounded in Georgia, as there is no state legislation banning racial profiling and mandating accountability and transparency for law enforcement.

The minor changes in the program recently announced by the Department of Homeland Security make no serious attempt at discouraging profiling or reducing its negative impact on public safety. In addition, the new MOA actually takes a step backwards in the area of transparency, as it attempts to further shield 287(g) from public scrutiny by declaring that documents related to 287(g) are no longer public records.

In late August, more than 521 organizations across the country, many of which in Georgia, called on the Obama Administration to end 287(g), citing the serious problems associated with the program, including racial profiling. The groups were recently joined in this demand by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. In addition, in a recent letter to the Obama administration, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination urged the administration and Congress to do more to end racial profiling by reconsidering the 287(g) program.

The ACLU of Georgia was joined Monday by faith and community leaders from Cobb and around the state in reiterating this demand. 287(g) programs waste local resources and hinder local police ability to effectively protect public safety in Cobb and other communities around the State. It is time for Cobb to walk away from 287(g).

(Originally posted on The Marietta Daily Journal Online)

Time For Cobb County To Walk Away From 287(g)

Judging Judge Keith Bardwell

The face of Justice?

“I’m not a racist….They come to my house….they use my bathroom…”

By AFRO Staff

(October 18, 2009) – A Louisiana couple is outraged at a local official’s decision to deny them a marriage license because their relationship is interracial.

Hammond, La. residents Beth Humphrey, a White woman, and her fiancé Terence McKay, a Black man, were denied a marriage license by local justice of the peace Keith Bardwell in early October. Bardwell said his decision was based on concern for the welfare of children the couple may have.

After learning of Bardwell’s decision, Humphrey contacted local and national media.

“We are used to the closet racism, but we’re not going to tolerate that overt racism from an elected official,” she told CNN.

Bardwell is a justice of peace for Tangipahoa Parish’s 8th Ward and has served in the position for 34 years. His is scheduled to hold the office until 2014.

“There is a problem with both groups accepting a child from such a marriage,” Bardwell said. “I think those children suffer, and I won’t help put them through it.”

“I’m not a racist. I just don’t believe in mixing the races that way,” Bardwell told AP. “I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else.”

U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said Bardwell’s practices and comments were deeply disturbing.

“Not only does his decision directly contradict Supreme Court rulings, it is an example of the ugly bigotry that divided our country for too long,” Landrieu said.

According to The New York Times, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has joined civil rights groups and others in calling for Bardwell’s resignation.

Tangipahoa Parish President Gordon Burgess said in a statement that Bardwell’s views were not consistent with his or those of the local government. But as an elected official, Bardwell was not under the supervision of the parish government, The Associated Press reported.

“However, I am certainly very disappointed that anyone representing the people of Tangipahoa Parish, particularly an elected official, would take such a divisive stand,” Burgess said in an e-mail. “I would hope that Mr. Bardwell would consider offering his resignation if he is unable to serve all of the people of his district and our parish.”

Although the couple is distraught by Bardwell’s decision, they said they realize that his views are not shared by most of the community.

“He’s not representing all the people that he is supposed to be representing,” Humphrey told CNN. “He’s only representing the people with his same opinions.”

Humphrey and McKay were later married by another justice of the peace in the same parish. Humphrey said she believes the incident occurred for a reason.

“I just think that God puts you in the right positions at the right time in order to stand up to people who choose to live their lives with hate,” she said.

According to CNN, Bardwell told a local Louisiana newspaper that in his experience, most interracial marriages don’t last. He said he always asks if a couple is interracial and, if they are, refers them to another justice of the peace. Bardwell said no one had complained in the past.

The number of interracial marriages has skyrocketed nationwide, nearly quadrupling between 1970 and 2005, the most recent year for which there is U.S. Census data. As of 2005, nearly 8.5 million Americans are living in “mixed marriages,” according to CNN.

According to the AP, a spokeswoman for the Louisiana Judiciary Commission said investigations of the incident are confidential for now. However, if the commission recommends action to the Louisiana Supreme Court, that information would become public.

Judging Judge Keith Bardwell

Latino Demographics

Pew Reports
Latinos Account for Half of U.S. Population Growth Since 2000

Since 2000 Hispanics have accounted for more than half (50.5%) of the overall population growth in the United States — a significant new demographic milestone for the nation’s largest minority group. During the 1990s, the Hispanic population also expanded rapidly, but in that decade its growth accounted for less than 40% of the nation’s total population increase. In a reversal of past trends, Latino population growth in the new century has been more a product of the natural increase (births minus deaths) of the existing population than it has been of new international migration. As of mid-2007, Hispanics accounted for 15.1% of the total U.S. population.

Since 2000 many Latinos have settled in counties that once had few Latinos, continuing a pattern that began in the previous decade. But there are subtle differences in Hispanic settlement patterns in the current decade compared with those of the 1990s. The dispersion of Latinos in the new century has tilted more to counties in the West and the Northeast. Despite the new tilt, however, the South accounted for a greater share of overall Latino population growth than any other region in the new century. There is also an ever-growing concentration of Hispanic population growth in metropolitan areas. These findings emerge from the Pew Hispanic Center’s analysis of the Census Bureau’s 2007 county population estimates, supplemented by 1990 and 2000 county population counts from the Decennial Censuses.

Latino Demographics