Browsing Category "Third Party Blog Post"
20 Apr

Caroline Callaway sued Austin & Travis County for assaulting her during a DWI blood draw. Friday evening the jury found her NOT GUILTY of DWI.

Caroline Callaway’s father sat in the hallway of the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center all last week as his daughter stood trial for the offense of DWI. As Caroline’s father sat in the hallway, unable to watch, a representative from Mothers Against Drunk Driving watched the entire proceeding, front-row-center. Below, you’ll find a summary of the facts of the case, interesting aspects of the trial, and how Antonio Buehler was denied the opportunity to testify as to Patrick Oborski’s reputation for dishonesty.

Caroline was pulled over for running a red light, then arrested for DWI.

In the early morning hours of post-Superbowl Sunday – Monday, 2013, Callaway was pulled over by Austin Police Department Officer Patrick Oborski for allegedly running two red lights. The dash cam video of the stop and arrest do not clearly show that traffic violation. During the stop, Caroline is pleasant and cooperative and agrees to perform the field sobriety tests. During those tests, Caroline is balanced, follows directions, and is almost perfect on the one legged stand. Oborski’s interpretation of her performance, however, did not match what the video showed, and he decided Caroline had demonstrated enough clues in the field sobriety tests (“FST’s”) that he had probable cause to arrest her for DWI.

Oborski is a seasoned DWI squad officer, who has made thousands of DWI arrests in Austin, Texas. He also makes a fine living off the over-time pay associated with all the court hours he must log on those DWI’s.

As Caroline learns she’s to be arrested, a media reporter with a camera showed up on the scene. Caroline, believing she was on the TV show COPS, began to be verbally defiant, as she was upset at being arrested, having done well on the FST’s (contrary to Oborski’s conclusion).

Caroline refused a breath test, and because it was a No Refusal Weekend, Oborski sought a warrant to forcibly draw Caroline’s blood as evidence against her. At the jail, Caroline was yanked around by her handcuffs, causing bruising and other injuries. She was then strapped down to a restraint chair. Peace officers then hooded her with a bag to prevent her from spitting or biting. One of the officers put his dirty boot on her arm to keep her still. Caroline’s version of this process differed greatly at trial compared to the officers’.

Caroline explained to the jury that she was having an anxiety attack, and she was shaking all over. Because of the anxiety attack, she could not get a full breath of air. Some unidentified officer – who Caroline could not see because she was black-bagged – grabbed her by the throat and cut off her air. She could not breath.

Strapped to the chair, unable to see, and deprived of air, she thought she was going to die.

Officers, however, claimed that they would only ever use pressure points at the jaw/mandible to force compliance with a blood draw. Oborski admitted that this was the most violent blood draw he had seen.

Caroline’s pictures after her arrest show bruising on her throat & neck – not her mandible.

Officer Oborski testified that Caroline was not the “sweet young lady you see before you.” He also testified that “we’re a free society where videotaping happens everywhere.” He, therefore, didn’t have a problem with the media filming Caroline’s arrest. Those of you who kept up with the Antonio Buehler case know that Oborski was the one who arrested Antonio for challenging Oborski’s authority to assault a young woman passenger to a DWI stop, as Buehler exercised his First Amendment rights and took pictures of the assault. You can read more about that story here.

Antonio Buehler stood ready to testify that Oborski has a reputation in Austin for being dishonest. Buehler, after his wrongful arrest at the hands of Oborski, had been approached by hundreds of people, including those charged by Oborski, and many attorneys. All of these people had tales to tell about how dishonest Oborski is. Buehler, however, was not permitted to testify. In fact, many of the defense’s theories and proposed testimony never made it in front of the jury.

The jury was threatened with being investigated for jury misconduct if they did not follow the instructions in the jury charge. Had they believed that Caroline Callaway drove while intoxicated (and the blood result was over 0.13), they would have found her guilty of that offense. They acquitted her.

The jury rendered its verdict of acquittal the night before Clarence Darrow’s birthday.

Clarence Darrow epitomizes what many criminal defense lawyers aspire to be in their practice. Caroline’s lawyers Daphne Silverman and Norm Silverman would have made Darrow proud in their defense of Callaway. Callaway’s lawyer Daphne Silverman was forced to file the civil rights action in federal court before trying this misdemeanor. You can read about that civil suit here. Despite having most of the Travis County Attorney’s Office in the courtroom, supporting the State’s prosecutors, and despite being forced to move to recuse the judge mid-trial (arguing that the judge seemed affected by an extra-judicial bias against Caroline for exercising her civil right to sue the police), Silverman & Silverman persuaded the jury that Caroline was not intoxicated that night.

If you’re shopping for a defense attorney, the first question you must ask (and get a straight answer to) is how many times that lawyer has been to trial in the last year. If you have a case you want to fight, you’d be better off with trial by combat than a lawyer who pretends to be a trial lawyer but never tries a case.

It takes a big pair to move to recuse the judge mid-trial. It likewise takes quite a pair to see a high blood test result and say “No! My client wasn’t intoxicated.” Their strong advocacy meant the difference between a second conviction for DWI and an acquittal.

Caroline’s bravery is remarkable.

Most defendants just want to get the case over with. Prosecutors know this, and exploit it during the plea bargaining process. It took quite a pair of big brass ones for Caroline to in effect say, No! The world will not be this way within her reach. No other people should be strapped down, black-bagged, and choked in the name of crime prevention.

MADD: What are you doing?

Mothers Against Drunk Driving gave Oborski an award the same year he illegally arrested Antonio Buehler. A representative from MADD watched the entire Callaway trial. At what point, MADD, does your moral authority cease protecting the public and start hurting us? My daddy’s rule when I was a teen and in college was that if I got arrested, he wouldn’t post bail – I’d have to sit in jail. But, I think that if I was choked by people tasked with protecting and serving the community, Daddy would be sitting in that hallway, praying for justice, as he watched the men who hurt his daughter strut by and complain to each other about “those fucking defense attorneys.” (Yes, that’s an exact quote). And, that’s just what Caroline’s father did. Her father sat in the hallway, having seen his daughter’s bruises, and seen her suffer through PTSD, and he prayed for justice. MADD – you need to realize that Fathers have had Enough of Damned Unconscionable Police Practices – they’re FED UPP. MADD, if Caroline had died in the process, would you still feel your moral outrage at her alleged DWI? Because that jury must have heard her father’s prayers, and they said by their verdict, NOT GUILTY.

Reposted with permission from the MILLIE L. THOMPSON, ATTORNEY blog.

8 Mar

Austin Police Department’s Civil Rights Violation Costs $1 Million

By: Jermaine Hopkins & Millie Thompson

Carlos Chacon sued the City of Austin and Austin Police Department Officers Eric Copeland and Russell Rose for their use of excessive force against him. His attorney, Broadus Spivey, filed the case in Federal Court, pursuant to 42 U.S. Code § 1983 – Civil action for deprivation of rights. On Thursday evening, March 5, 2015, a jury of 12 decided the case in Chacon’s favor. Chacon was awarded $1,000,000.00 in damages. We discuss the case, the legal process, important details of the trial, and how APD’s brass inconsistently treats dishonesty by police officers.

Facts of the Case:

Chacon sued based on damages sustained at the hands of APD Officers Rose and Copeland. Chacon called 9-1-1 as a victim of a crime, informing the 9-1-1 operator that he paid for a massage but the woman offered sex, and when Chacon went to leave, a man began kicking the motel room door, yelling at him. After he made the first 9-1-1 call, the same man threatened to kill him and reached into his shorts as if grabbing a gun. Chacon entered his silver BMW, began driving around, and again called 9-1-1 to report the threat.

En route to the motel, the 9-1-1 dispatcher twice explained to the responding APD officers that the suspect was a ‘black male’ in a white shirt, black hat and black shorts, with a gun, and that the complainant (victim) – Chacon – was driving his silver BMW. There was no record of any other 9-1-1 calls being placed regarding this incident, other than Chacon’s two.

When the officers arrived at the motel, Officer Rose inexplicably asked an African American male matching the description of the suspect if he had called about a gun. The male immediately replied in the negative, but instead said that there was a drunk guy driving around in a silver BMW. The African American male claimed that he himself had called 9-1-1, about the drunk guy.

Chacon approached, driving his vehicle, and Officer Rose immediately drew his gun and pointed it at Chacon – the victim who had called 9-1-1. Rose didn’t identify himself as a police officer. Rose ordered Chacon to show his hands, and Chacon responded: “I don’t have a gun, he’s the one.” Officer Copeland joined Rose and then drew his gun, pointing it at Chacon. When the officers yanked Chacon from the vehicle, Chacon tried to again calmly explain that he was not the one with the gun. Rose and Copeland wrestled Chacon to the ground, giving conflicting commands, and Copeland punched him in the face twice, causing a cut above Chacon’s eye. Then, Officer Rose tased Chacon. Chacon was arrested for resisting arrest. That resisting arrest case was dismissed.

You can find the dash-cam video/audio here.

Procedural History of the Federal Civil Rights Case:

Officers Rose and Copeland tried to have the case tossed on qualified immunity grounds, arguing that they were immune from suit because they were acting properly in their official capacity as police officers. On May 21, 2013, Federal District Judge Sparks issued a ruling denying the City of Austin’s Motion for Summary Judgment in Chacon’s lawsuit. In his ruling, Judge Sparks pointed out Rose’s “obvious post-hoc explanation for his behavior, and is completely discredited by his actions as captured by his own dashboard camera… The Court therefore disregards Officer Rose’s explanation, and instead defers to the video evidence, which clearly contradicts his affidavit’s claim.” Rose, a white officer, to-date has not been terminated or disciplined for dishonesty.

On March 2 and 3, 2015, Chief Acevedo was provided with information regarding the dishonest and rehearsed testimony given under oath by Rose, Copeland, and Smith. To date, Chief Acevedo has not responded to that information.

Both the district court and Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to dismiss Chacon’s case against the two officers. In the officers’ interlocutory appeal (meaning that they didn’t have to wait for a jury to hear the case before they could appeal on the issue of immunity from suit), the Fifth Circuit had to decide whether there was a factual dispute regarding whether the police violated an actual constitutional right, considering 1) the severity of the crime at issue, 2) whether Chacon posed an immediate threat to the safety of the officers or others, and 3) whether Chacon actively resisted arrested or attempted to flee.

The Fifth Circuit reasoned that the video of the assault did not entirely confirm the officers’ version of events, nor did it entirely refute Chacon’s version. Notably, Chacon was given contradictory commands during the assault, including to “not move,” but “get on the ground,” but “stop moving,” but “turn over.”

The Fifth Circuit concluded that there was a fact issue that a jury must decide: “Even if some action by Chacon demonstrated resistance, the fact question found by the district court remains: whether, even considering his possible resistance, shoving Chacon to the ground while he attempted to explain himself, punching him in the head while he was on the ground, or shooting him with a Taser, constituted excessive force. Police are entitled only to measured and ascending responses to the actions of a suspect, calibrated to physical and verbal resistance shown by that suspect.”

And, so, the case against Officers Rose and Copeland proceeded to the jury.

The Trial – The Jury Had to Decide Who Was Credible:

The dash-cam video was played numerous times and dissected in the courtroom. Despite the efforts of the Assistant City Attorney to discredit him, Carlos Chacon came across as a very credible witness as he described the events taking place on that traumatic night and how those experiences have adversely impacted his life. He informed the jury that he reached out to Chief Acevedo, who did not respond to his letter. He also denied consuming any alcoholic beverages that painful evening.

Rose testified that he did not hear the information provided by the dispatcher, while the dash-cam audio clearly captured the dispatcher twice describing the suspect and victim.

Copeland testified that he detected the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from Chacon, but Chacon was never charged with Public Intoxication or Driving While Intoxicated. Additionally, Chacon’s hospital records failed to confirm Copeland’s alcohol allegation, which was also refuted by Rose’s prior testimony. Nevertheless, according to his police report, Rose claimed to suspect that Chacon was under the influence of alcohol/drugs.

Rose and Copeland’s supervisor, Sgt. Robert Smith, also testified that he detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from Chacon, but he was never as close to Chacon as Rose, nor was he able to explain why the medical personnel at the emergency room did not report any signs of intoxication in Chacon’s medical records. However, Smith stated that it did not mean anything to him. Chacon’s attorney Broadus Spivey asked Smith about why Chacon was not charged with Driving While Intoxicated or Public Intoxication; Smith responded, “I think we don’t just arbitrarily stack charges on someone.” But, when later asked why he recommended that Rose or Copeland conduct sobriety tests on Chacon, who was already under arrest for the alleged Resisting Search offense, Smith replied “to see if there were any other charges we could put on him.” (Authors’ Note: Rest assured, despite what the officers claimed, APD never lets a DWI go!)

Leading up to trial, Judge Sparks questioned Sgt. Smith about why the Austin Police Department failed to investigate the circumstances that prompted Mr. Chacon to call the police. However, contrary to his self-described job duties, Smith could only say “I don’t know.” As Copeland and Rose’s supervisor, it was his job to know.

Chacon’s legal team called expert witness Dr. George Kirkham, a criminologist out of Florida. Despite Dr. Kirkham’s extensive experience that far exceeded that of Rose and Copeland’s expert witness, William Terryl, the Assistant City Attorney objected to Dr. Kirkham being allowed to testify. Judge Sparks quickly overruled the objection and decisively affirmed “he’s an expert.”

Dr. Kirkham testified, based upon his expert opinion, that the actions of Rose and Copeland were contrary to standard police practices and procedures, and that their force used was objectively unreasonable.

Had the jury believed the officers’ version of events, they would have held in the officers’ favor and Chacon would have lost the lawsuit. Instead, they found one million reasons to hold in favor of Carlos Chacon.

The jury found Russell Rose liable for $1,000,000.00, not Eric Copeland. Rose was the officer who immediately pulled his gun on Chacon, and tased him. Copeland punched Chacon in the face twice. Copeland made the news one year after the Chacon assault when he shot and killed a man.

Chief Art Acevedo’s Inconsistent Handling of Dishonesty Among his “Troops:”

On October 28, 2013, Officer Blayne Williams, an African American APD officer who had in the past filed a charge of discrimination against Chief Acevedo, was terminated based solely upon Chief Acevedo’s subjective opinion that Williams was dishonest. Chief Acevedo failed to indicate in Williams’ disciplinary memo exactly how Williams was dishonest. Even an Internal Affairs investigator testified at Williams’s arbitration that he did not know what specific statements Chief Acevedo believed were dishonest. Officer Blayne Williams fought against his termination, and an arbitrator determined that Williams was not dishonest and that he should not have been terminated.

One particular APD Officer Gallenkamp has developed a reputation for dishonesty amongst the Travis County Criminal Defense Bar. Ask your friendly criminal defense attorney about the reasons. Nevertheless, Copeland and Rose are still in uniform, having never been disciplined.

Media Presence Lacking at Chacon’s Trial:

The press did not cover Carlos Chacon’s trial, and brief news reports about the trial were only released after the jury awarded $1,000,00.00 in damages. Typically, when a case involves a matter of public concern, especially on a hot-button issue like police abuse, the press shows up during the trial testimony. Often, one will see photographers outside the courthouse, waiting to click shots of the parties. Not so in Carlos Chacon’s trial.

Austin Police Department’s Police Chief Art Acevedo is well known in Austin for his mastery of the media. In 2010, he made it clear that he wanted to stay in Austin in order to finish projects he started and “he want[ed] to finish working with the media.”

Philip Perea posted this on his Facebook, and for that, Acevedo had him fired.

Acevedo has developed such a rapport with the media that news stations would rather fire their own than to upset him. Reporter Philip Perea committed suicide in January of this year after he was fired for posting an unflattering picture of Art Acevedo on facebook. Acevedo had responded to the assault of a jogging jaywalker by saying that “In other cities there’s cops who are actually committing sexual assaults on duty, so I thank God that this is what passes for controversy in Austin, Texas.” The picture Perea posted on facebook made Acevedo look like a buffoon. When Acevedo took issue, Perea was fired. Acevedo’s quote turned into a meme with the phrase “at least we didn’t rape you.

APD lost more credibility when two of Acevedo’s officers joked about rape, captured by their dash-cam equipment: “Go ahead. Call the cops. They can’t unrape you.

Acevedo lost still more credibility when he suggested that young women should not defend themselves with firearms, but should go ahead, be raped, get counseling, and get over it.

Acevedo does more than exercise some control over how the media reports on him, he has outright banned people from his twitter and facebook. These social media accounts are considered public fora, and yet, Acevedo handles them as if they were his private accounts. We’ll report more about Acevedo’s handling of social media in a subsequent blog.

Congratulations to Chacon:

In the meantime, hats-off to Carlos Chacon for being fearless and going after APD. It is frightening taking on an entity with that much power and weaponry. Hats-off to Chacon’s legal team including Broadus Spivey for fighting the good fight and winning.

City of Austin Mayor Steve Adler, are you paying attention to how much APD is costing Austin? Austin City Counsel, are you? While this assault may not have happened on y’all’s watch, you’re on-watch now. Will you protect your citizens?

Jermaine Hopkins is an Iraqi War veteran, and 14-year police officer, whose own tribulations with APD are detailed here.

Millie Thompson is a criminal defense attorney, whose office is located in Austin, Texas.

Reprinted with permission from MILLIE L. THOMPSON, ATTORNEY.

22 Aug

The Strength of a Panther’s Paw: Reporting from the 2nd Annual Police Accountability Summit

By Shane “Shag” Matthews

August 22nd, 2013

Austin, TX – On August 17th, 2013, Austin played host to the 2nd Annual Police Accountability Summit. For about 6 hours that Saturday the AT&T Conference Center off of MLK Blvd., where the summit was being held, was a veritable hotbed of civic and social activism at its finest. People came from all over the country to attend this spectacular event in order to support like-minded individuals fighting for justice against abusive and corrupt cops and listen to the harrowing stories of those still seeking justice in an increasingly fascist country. Of course, nothing would have occurred had it not been for the tireless efforts of the Peaceful Streets Project headed by local hero activist, Antonio Buehler, who was the primary sponsor of this event. Also helping to organize the day’s lineup of fantastic speakers was longtime activist, former head of Texans for Accountable Government (TAG) and current host of Liberty Beat Radio, John Bush.

When I arrived around noon, the summit was already in full swing having kicked off around 10am by my friend and emcee, James Franklin. Being a bit late, I hoped to quickly make up for lost time and anxiously climbed the stairs up to the conference, where I could already feel the palpable sense of electrical urgency in the air. Reaching the top, I immediately recognized a few friends of mine manning the tables and milling about the long corridor that ran the length of the center and connected up to a string of smaller conference rooms and a large auditorium. This was where the day’s speakers would be giving their rousing talks on everything from the politics of legislative justice to canine deaths at the hands of overzealous cops. I walked over to the Brave New Books booth and spoke with my friend, Harlan Dietrich, who manages the store and had an array of excellent books for sale including Radley Balko’s Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces. Mr. Balko writes as a columnist for the Huffington Post and wrote a profoundly moving investigatory article about the militarization of America’s police forces for the Cato Institute, before it was later turned into the aforementioned book. In my recent blog article entitled “The Crimes, Corruption, and Racially-Charged Murders of the Austin Police Department” at, I have a link to Radley’s Cato Institute piece that I found on-line and posted, before I even knew he was going to be one of the speakers. He gave one of the better lectures at the summit about this vitally important issue addressed in his book. One of the more telling aspects of his lecture, immediately preceding the keynote, was when he showed a series of pictures and asked the audience to attempt to guess whether they were depictions of soldiers or police. I was wrong in guessing at least half of the time as were most of the audience, especially when he showed police decked out in camouflage, Kevlar, and carrying assault rifles. Clearly, the line between combat and urban policing has gotten very thin indeed, and there are times when it’s pretty obvious that Posse Commitatus doesn’t even apply anymore in America. Balko dated the beginnings of the para-militarization of police and formation of modern SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics) teams with the infamous former LAPD Chief, Darryl Gates, who was instrumental in conceiving SWAT after the Watts Riots of 1965. Originally, SWAT’s mission was at least reasonable insofar as it was to be a highly-trained and armed unit that could be deployed during extremely volatile situations when lives are at stake and in imminent danger, such as a bank robbery already in progress or a hostage negotiation. The idea was to attempt to defuse and/or de-escalate the situation, barring an actual violent confrontation. However, once Richard Nixon created the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in response to the mythological “War on Drugs”, SWAT teams became a brutal adjunct in the arsenal of metropolitan police departments, where they engaged in escalating numbers of home invasions, asset forfeitures, and wholesale killing of innocent people caught in the crossfire and siege mentality of the so-called “Drug War”.

Prior to Radley Balko’s talk, there were a number of excellent lectures given by people such as Carlos Miller, Pete Eyre, Heather Fazio, and the various PSP Chapter representatives coming as far away as Manchester, England. When I first arrived, I walked in on a spirited talk being given by Heather Fazio about fighting police corruption through coordinated civic campaigning and legislative bills. After her, I decided to sit in on a talk given by my long-time friend, Harold Gray, and fellow PSP member, Stephen Sheftall. Harold gave a very informative talk about the tactics employed, when you find yourself out on the street cop watching. Although much of it is common sense, Harold explained the art and science of filming cops in such a way as to make it easily understood and utilized by a newbie without downplaying its inherent risks. Showing some interesting videos, he discussed the various tactics that the Peaceful Streets Project members employ in filming the cops on their nightly excursions that maximize their effectiveness to get good video (on the one hand), while diminishing their chances of being arrested by an overly aggressive cop (on the other hand). Who knows? Maybe, the revolution will be televised…at the very least it will probably be filmed and posted on YouTube.

There were also a couple of musicians, who sang songs of protest to the entertained audience. Tatiana Moroz played a series of folksy tunes on her acoustic guitar, as she sang in Bob Dylan-esque fashion. Then, rapper B. Dolan spat some mad rhymes (to use street vernacular) for those assembled in the auditorium. B. Dolan was pretty fly for a white guy and gave a short talk about how he came to appreciate the revolutionary urban politics of hip-hop’s pioneers such as N.W.A., KR-1, and Public Enemy. And, in recognition of the cell-phone camera cop watching that PSP spearheads, B.Dolan rapped a re-mix of N.W.A.’s classic radical anthem, “Fuck da Police” that he re-christened “Film da Police”. Although I’m still partial to the hard-core original, his re-mix was pretty good and still in keeping with Chuck D’s quote that “hip-hop is CNN for black people”. Towards the end of the summit, Antonio Buehler took to the stage for the Peaceful Streets Project annual awards ceremony. He spoke about his decisions and passed out award plaques in several different categories including ‘Best Activist’, ‘PSP Member of the Year’, ‘PSP Chapter of the Year’ that went to Sandusky, Ohio, the increasingly difficult to award ‘Police Officer of the Year’, and the much easier to award ‘Corrupt Cop of the Year.’ That dubious distinction and dishonor went to the well-deserved APD Chief, Art Acevedo. Unfortunately, Acevedo wasn’t on hand to accept his award. So, I told someone that I’d be glad to hand deliver it to him personally, assuming Antonio isn’t already going to do it.

Finally, after a brief break, the moment everybody at the summit had been waiting for arrived. The keynote speaker for the day’s festivities was none other than the legendary co-founder of the Black Panther Party, Mr. Bobby Seale. Austin was truly blessed to have been able to get Bobby Seale to regale us with his moving stories from the time before he and Huey Newton started the Black Panther Party in Oakland in 1966 all the way through to the present day, when he is campaigning to have a dramatic feature-length movie made about it. At one point, he stated that the movie Panther got it really wrong, in more ways than one. Bobby spoke about being a good, academically-oriented student interested in math, science, and technology before he was turned on to black history, rhetoric, and civil rights. His stories were emotionally resonant, particularly when he dealt with the politics of race in America. Yet, they were also laced with an easy-going style of eloquence and good humor. On more than one occasion, he had me tearing up one minute and laughing the next. I remember him telling a poignant story about confronting his teacher’s presumptive prejudicial labels. The gist of it was, “Why are Asians referred to as mongoloids, black people are called negroids, but white people refer to themselves as Caucasian? We’re always the ‘noids’. You ever notice that? If I’m going to be called negroid or Africanoid, to be fair white people will have to be called Caucasoid!” He also talked about reciting his radical poem on a crowded Berkley street with weed-smoking hippies around him at the time. After reciting the poem verbatim (that he gave voice to on that street corner to a raucous audience) about the blind patriotism and hypocrisy of Uncle Sam, he had people so inspired and juiced…I felt like we had collectively been imaginatively transported to standing at the corner of Haight-Ashbury in 1969.

Naturally, he covered many of the highs and lows of the tumultuous late 60s and early 70s, but it was the idiosyncratic and largely unknown bits and pieces of his life, in that period of time, that had me mesmerized. Little nuggets and things like how Huey Newton was horrible with trying to pick up on girls, how he modeled much of the Black Panthers on the teachings of the Lakota tribe of Native Americans, and how he used basic mathematics in training new recruits on the finer points of dialectics kept the audience in rapt fascination and attention. Needless to say, by the end of his approximately hour talk or so, he was given a much deserved standing ovation and applause. Afterwards, those that had contributed to the Peaceful Streets on-line fundraiser campaign to be able to afford to hold the summit made their way to a reception room, where they enjoyed refreshments as they mixed and mingled with the excellent bunch of speakers. As I hung by the door chatting it up with my buddy Harold of the PSP, I saw Mr. Bobby Seale walking towards me. Before I had a chance to even think of something cool to say, I blurted out- “It was an honor to have heard you speak today on what I feel was an historic occasion.” Bobby then shook my hand and said, “Thank you man.” After that, for the entire rest of the day and night, I was literally “over the moon”. Later on, after the speaker gala, a post-summit party was held next door at Brave New Books. And finally, around 10pm that same night, Peaceful Streets Project met up with about 30 people for what would be an epic cop watch downtown. In summation, I just want to say, “Thank you very much, Mr. Bobby Seale, for your vision, courage, and social consciousness in co-founding the original Black Panther Party.” And, thank you, Antonio Buehler, and the great people of the Peaceful Streets Project for keeping that social consciousness alive in the ongoing fight for police accountability. To all of those, who attended the “Police Accountability Summit” this year, you are to be commended, and let it be said in the words of India’s iconic peaceful revolutionary, Gandhi, that “We are the change that we want to see in the world!”