Stop United States police killings of people with disabilities

This video from the USA says about itself:

Man With Down Syndrome Killed Over A Movie Ticket | Police & The Disabled

12 October 2013

“On Jan. 12, Robert “Ethan” Saylor of Frederick County, Md., a 26-year-old man with Down syndrome and an IQ of 40, died of asphyxiation after a confrontation with three off-duty police officers. He was being restrained for attempting to see “Zero Dark Thirty” for a second time without a ticket. According to witnesses, Saylor’s last words included “it hurt” and “call my mom.”

Saylor’s ashes now sit in the family’s living room while the three officers continue their usual shifts. No charges have been filed.” The Young Turks hosts Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian break it down.

From the People with Disabilities Caucus in the USA:

Letter to San Francisco Mayor

CLICK HERE to send email messages to San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and City Attorney Dennis Herrera saying POLICE CANNOT BE EXEMPT from the Americans with Disabilities Act!

Please ACT NOW!

Help stop police killings of people with disabilities!

A case before U.S. Supreme Court seeking police exemption from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has critical importance for all those seeking to stop unwarranted police killings. This case involves police shootings of people with mental illnesses. Your intervention is needed to stop the high court from using this case to strengthen the hand of the police and lessen police accountability in the killings of people with disabilities. The ADA mandates accommodations for those with disabilities.

Even with the ADA in place, at least half of the people shot and killed by police each year in this country have mental health problems, according to a recent study ( In many cases, police who used deadly force were called by family or neighbors to help get an individual mental health care. Many of those killed were people of color. It would be especially chilling if police are exempted from the ADA.

Oral arguments in the case Sheehan v. San Francisco, brought before the Supreme Court by the city of San Francisco, are set for March 23. More than 40 civil rights and disability activist groups have signed a letter urging San Francisco officials to drop the appeal, warning that it imperils the ADA, the most important piece of protective legislation that people with disabilities have. They ask that concerned people join this write-in campaign.

Please join this crucial effort. Click the link to e-mail San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and City Attorney Dennis Herrera to urge them to drop their appeal. (Text of Letter follows). The Americans with Disabilities Act needs to be expanded and enforced, not gutted. Having a disability must not be a death sentence!

Please ACT NOW!

The letter begins here:

Ed Lee, Mayor, City and County of San Francisco

City Hall, 1 Doctor Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 200

San Francisco, CA 94102

Dennis Herrera

City Attorney, City and County of San Francisco

City Hall, 1 Doctor Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 234

San Francisco, CA 94102

Dear Mayor Lee and City Attorney Herrera:

I/we join more than 42 civil rights and disability rights groups and many progressive individuals in urging you to withdraw your appeal in the case of City and County of San Francisco v. Sheehan currently pending in the U.S. Supreme Court. Your appeal could result in the Supreme Court exempting police from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the most comprehensive civil rights law for individuals with disabilities. Your appeal puts the ADA at risk, and could lead to an increase in unwarranted police killings of people with disabilities.

People with disabilities need the ADA’s protections when they encounter law enforcement. A 2013 study by the Treatment Advocacy Center and the National Sherriff’s Association revealed that at least half of the people shot and killed by police are people with mental disabilities. Many times these police had been called to help a person in psychiatric crisis. Often police who are first on the scene quickly respond with deadly force, without waiting for a unit specially trained to deal with people with disabilities to arrive.

In San Francisco, the figures are even higher. A local review of 51 San Francisco police involved shootings between 2005 and 2013 found that 58% of the 19 shootings of people killed by police had a psychiatric disability.

People with many types of disabilities, including intellectual disabilities, emotional disabilities, psychiatric disabilities, diabetes, epilepsy and deafness, face dangerous and often deadly consequences when law enforcement officials fail to honor the ADA.

The ADA needs to be expanded and honored, especially when it comes to encounters with police. Having a disability must not be a death sentence!

(Initiated by Workers World Party)

People with Disabilities Caucus


Support Disabled Liberation

Contact the Caucus via:;


“Are you going to kill me?” That was the last thing Rubén García Villalpando reportedly asked Grapevine, Texas, Police Officer Robert Clark before Clark answered his question – in the affirmative. According to witnesses, García Villalpando had his hands up when Clark shot him twice, February 20, in Euless, Texas – a city technically outside the officer’s jurisdiction: here.

BLACK UVA STUDENT BLOODIED BY LIQUOR POLICE IN ARREST: “Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Wednesday asked state police to investigate the arrest of a black University of Virginia undergraduate by state liquor agents that left the student bloodied and needing 10 stitches in his head.” [Tyler Kingdale, HuffPost]

Rare ring-necked duck in Spain

This video from the USA says about itself:

10 March 2011

A flock of Ring-necked ducks hung around the Palace Lagoon at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco.

From Rare Birds in Spain, on Twitter:

27.2.2015 Aythya collaris. 1 male La Massona, PN AIguamolls Empordà, Girona.

Aythya collaris means ring-necked duck. They are rare in Europe, not so rare in their northern North American homeland.

Rare birds in Britain and Ireland update

This video from San Francisco in the USA says about itself:

23 February 2011

Several pair of American Wigeons were found at Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park.

From Rare Bird Alert in Britain:

Thursday 26th February 2015

Lingering rarities included Harlequin Duck (Aberdeenshire), Ferruginous Duck (Gloucestershire), Black Scoter (Northumberland), Penduline Tits (Devon), Laughing Gulls (Wirral and Co Cork), Lesser Yellowlegs (Co Dublin) and King Eider (Cornwall).

The best of the rest included Dotterel and Little Bunting (Cornwall), two Cattle Egrets, two American Wigeons, three Glossy Ibises, five Rough-legged Buzzards and eight Waxwings.

Good San Francisco bird news

This video from the USA is called Welcome to the Pacific Flyway.

By Melissa Mayntz, Guide in the USA:

San Francisco Getting Darker for Birds

September 1, 2013

Fall migration is dangerous for birds as they get disoriented by city lights and suffer from window collisions, but San Francisco has pledged to get a bit darker and help out migrants. According to the San Francisco Examiner, most of the city-owned buildings greater than five stories tall have agreed to turn off their lights as part of the Lights Out for Birds program, and because of the city’s hilly topography, shorter buildings and private residences are also being encouraged to participate.

More than 250 species of birds use the Pacific Flyway and travel through the Bay Area, and window collisions are just one of the threats migrating birds face, but one of the most significant. Does your city or town take steps to protect migrating birds? Learn how you can help!

Stop Pakistani civilian drone deaths

By Alyssa Figueroa, on AlterNet in the USA:

November 14, 2012

On Drone Warfare, Pakistani Man: “We Are The People Who Do Not Matter”

(L-R) Samina Sundas, Medea Benjamin, Dianne Budd and Toby Blome discuss CODEPINK's recent delegation to Pakistan
(L-R) Samina Sundas, Medea Benjamin, Dianne Budd and Toby Blome discuss CODEPINK‘s recent delegation to Pakistan.

“We are the people who do not matter; our voices cannot be heard over here,” one Pakistani man told Dianne Budd. “We are lucky for you to be here, and we want everyone to come fearlessly here.”

Budd is a member of CODEPINK, an anti-war organization that recently led a delegation of 34 activists on a trip to Pakistan in October. Last night, the organization hosted a report back in San Francisco to discuss their experiences in a country devastated by U.S. killer drones and our continued military intervention.

“People there feel so unseen and unheard,” Budd said.

This is perhaps because people haven’t made a real effort to see or hear them. According to CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin, tribal areas in Pakistan have been off limits to foreigners for ten years. And so when CODEPINK’s delegation arrived, despite threats to their lives, hundreds of people had surrounded them, staring — “almost as if we were animals in a zoo,” Benjamin said. “They were so amazed to see Americans who had come there, especially Americans who had come there to denounce the drones. And everyone wanted to touch us, take their picture with us, just interact with us.”

Members of CODEPINK’s delegation spoke continuously about the hospitality they received, and how they were greeted so warmly by the Pakistanis they visited. Benjamin recalled that when the delegation got on stage at a rally, people immediately chanted: “Welcome! Welcome! We want peace! We want peace!”

Benjamin said, “It was so beautiful just to look out there and feel that people are so open to a loving and compassionate message, they want to hear that from Americans. They want really desperately to know that there are Americans who care about their lives.”

Which may not seem like the case as our drones continue to wreak havoc on their lives. As Benjamin said, our drones hover above their skies. Families are scared to go out as well as stay home. They are afraid of sending their children to school, to go to weddings and funerals, which are often drone targets. There is also fear of holding community meetings to talk about these issues because one of their community meetings was once attacked by a drone — killing 42 of the most respected leaders in the community. The drones have also increased depression and suicide throughout the country.

“What is happening in Pakistan is totally unlike the Pakistan I grew up in,” said Samina Sundas, founder and Executive Director of the American Muslim Voice Foundation.

Meanwhile, secrecy continues to surround the drone program and its effectiveness in killing militants. There is an estimate of about 2,600 – 3,400 people killed via drone in Pakistan — only two percent of which were on the U.S. government’s high-value target list. Most of the rest go unnamed and unacknowledged by the U.S. government.

The media, however, reports drones are constantly killing militants, mainly because Obama re-defined the term “militant” to mean every man of military age. In addition, CODEPINK activist Toby Blome said that while in Pakistan, she learned that some militants’ names are used multiple times in news reports to justify drone use. One Pakistani told her a militant’s name was used three times in the media, and exclaimed, “How many times can one man die?”

Still, as Benjamin noted, whether or not drones are “effective” in their mission looks past the fact that our military interventions do not create peace or stability. Pakistani people are living a life of fear under our drones as well as under the Taliban and its rising numbers. Benjamin added, “We see most people join the Taliban not out of ideology but out of despair and revenge.”