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Friday, May 23, 2008

05/23/08 - Last Wednesday Bill Clark "The Scribe Of Greenwich" added his comments about the Greenwich High School Taser Incident

The "Scribe Of Greenwich" At Work In The
Public Library's Technology Department

Shocking Developments at Greenwich High School

Your scribe has followed with interest the top local news story of the past several days, namely the use of a police taser gun on an 18-year-old senior at the high school.

The student, Victor Hugo Londono, was under a one-week suspension for throwing water balloons as a senior prank. Wow. Pretty serious stuff. Certainly a worthy reason to suspend the malefactor for a full week less than a month from graduation.

When your scribe was in high school, water balloons were an inescapable part of the rites of spring. Walk out a doorway, get doused from above. Swallow your chagrin, put on a smile, and deal with it. And then turn the tables on your oppressor. Faculty members knew better than to get involved with such pranks, just as students knew full well there was no point in running to them for assistance. It's a dog-eat-dog world out there, and water-balloon training was just another part of the educational experience provided to all students in those halcyon days.

And so, upon reflection, your scribe finds himself faulting the school for issuing such a harsh punishment for such a trivial event. Does the unspeakable Betty Sternberg's code of student conduct now criminalize water balloons? Kinda makes one yearn for the old days, when some right-thinking student might have concocted an indelible-ink balloon and lobbed it in the direction of a particularly unpopular faculty member or administrator. Now that might have called for some form of punishment, not to mention economic reparations; but the lobber would have become an instant hero, and a legend in his or her own time.

Mr. Londono, however, was punished for tossing garden-variety water balloons. The "damage" probably dried within 30 minutes, after which it was basically a case of no harm, no foul. But no - he was publically humiliated and disciplined by the high school administration.

Would that it had all ended there. Alas, it did not. Mr. Londono, in a scene straight out of his namesake's great novel of social injustice, Les Miserables, had the temerity to kick a chair. And that led directly to his being tasered by the "school resource officer", a bureaucratic euphemism for the Greenwich cop who has been assigned to the school full-time since last year.

Tasered in front of his friends. Tasered in front of a crowd of fellow students. Tasered not once, not twice, but three times - in the shoulder, the abdomen, and the thigh. A burly cop against a 140-lb. teenager - was the use of a taser necessary? The cop says yes. Common sense says no.

What kind of message does this incident send to our kids? Play a prank and expect to be taken down by brute force and electroshock in the middle of the student center? Kick a chair and be handcuffed and arrested for breach of the peace? Lord only knows what the students who witnessed this scene must have thought. What kind of message do you read into this, dear reader?

And what kind of judgment did the highly-trained adult police officer show when he tasered an unruly teenager three times? Might he have lost his cool, too? Might he have overreacted?

Your scribe was not a witness to this incident, and so he has no anwers to offer. Only questions.


Update 5/22/08

Your scribe was as shocked as Mr. Londono to read that the latter's bail was set at $50,000. Fifty thousand dollars! One almost never sees a bond set that high in this Town. Here are some examples from today's paper:

11 counts of credit card theft, 11 counts of identity theft, 11 counts of forgery, and a bunch of other charges related to thefts and illegal use of credit cards: $10,000.

Smashing a woman's cell phone, shoving her into a car door, putting her in a headlock and choking off her air supply, and throwing her to the ground: $2,000.

Slamming a woman's car door on her hand, jamming her thumb in the door and breaking her nail while screaming obscenities at her on Greenwich Avenue: no bond at all - just a PTA (promise to appear).

It would seem to any disinterested observer that the Greenwich Police Department has a vendetta going against Mr. Londono. Fifty thousand dollars! Unbelievable!

What do the students at Greenwich High School think? The paper reports sit-ins in the student center where the incident took place, boycotting of classes, tee shirts supporting Mr. Londono, and a lot of emotional distress. One student, Meghan Kerwin, said, "If there is a gun or something, by all means protect us. When it's a water balloon, the circumstances do not call for a Taser."

Go to the head of the class, Meghan. You sure got that one right.

This Greenwich Gossip article received 5 comments:

Sarah Darer Littman said...

I have to say that the "don't Tase me bro" incident made me very glad that my son isn't attending Greenwich High, and rather nervous that daughter is scheduled to be there in only three years time.

AnonymousBob said...One of the problems with tasers is that they are marketed to police and security professionals as being "non-lethal", but in fact they can be very lethal in some circumstances, as various news stories from around the world have borne out, and the circumstances are not always predictable or identifiable. If security people are under the false impression that tasers can't kill people, they may be more apt to use them as something less than a "last resort", and more frequent taser use could mean more injuries and deaths. Personally, I have never heard of anyone dying from a good old-fashioned shoulder or arm lock. If the student had been directly threatening another person with physical harm, then I might be more inclined to let the tasering go, but I'm sure the chairs think nothing at all of the physical affront they "suffered".

Another problem that could arise in relation to taser injuries and death is that if criminals (or even regular people) come to understand that the taser could in fact kill them, there may be increased instances of people defending themselves more aggressively against taser-wielding police and security guards. Human Nature dictates that if I think that what you are about to do to me could kill me, I'm going to go to whatever lengths necessary to defend my life, most especially if I think that *you* are more likely to actually use the weapon because you believe it *won't* hurt me. I can only say that if *anyone* points a taser at me or my family, they had better have health and/or life insurance, because I'm going to treat them as if they were pointing a firearm, but with an overly-itchy trigger-finger. And I wouldn't blame anyone else for doing the same.

Barrie said...What happened to diffusing a situation? Instead of letting it escalate to the point of tasering. In these days of drugs and alcohol and guns on our high school campuses, a water balloon looks very tame indeed. Thanks for sharing.

Malicious Intent said...

I have seen to many incidents across the country of folks being tasered and the officials abusing it. Despite poplular belief, a taser can kill.

As far as why this young man was tasered, repeatedly....it was flat out wrong. This kid was not caught raping a student, dealing drugs on the corner or vandalizing property. He was punished for being a kid trying to have fun and create some memories from high school to take with him.

I keep saying we should be waving a red flag over our state/country. We scream human rights in this country and demand that our prisoners or suspected terrorists not get water boarded, but we taser an 18 year old 3 times for throwing a water balloon and then *gasp* show emotion when he gets angry for being punished for such a childhood prank.

Honestly, some people need to put their big girl/boy panties on and get a grip. Go find the real bad guys.

Oh wait, that would require hard work, woulndn't it?

Bill "The Scribe Of Greenwich" Clark reponded...

Wow! I guess this post touched a few nerves!

Yes, tasers can be lethal, especially if someone has a medical problem such as a circulatory or heart condition. Anonymous Bob - who are you, by the way? Give me a hint! - has given us a lot to think about.

Sarah, my first reaction was that if I had a kid about to enter the high school I would start looking at private schools PDQ.

Barrie, as usual you are the voice of wisdom and common sense. Yes, the cop and other administrators present should have tried to defuse the situation. Had I been the cop in question, I might have lined up a few more chairs and told the kid to take his best shot at them, too. Then, when everyone had stopped laughing, I would have asked him to accompany me somewhere private and told him that a different kind of cop might have arrested him, but that I merely wanted his solemn assurance that he would behave himself until graduation.

Guess that's why I'm not a cop.

M.I., as usual, you say exactly what's on the scribal mind, and as usual you say it much better than I could.

Leigh Russell said...

common sense Bill? What is that, pray?

Bill "The Scribe Of Greenwich" Clark reponds...

Hi, Leigh! Common sense is a vestigial character trait of the human race that is in increasingly short supply in these latter days. It refers to an ability to think and act logically in accordance with commonly-received experience. However, since everyone now seems to be running off in all directions in pursuit of their own solipsistic goals, common experience and by extension common sense are pretty much a thing of the past.

I remember learning a lot of common sense when I lived in England. Do they still have any left over there, one hopes?

Here are more of Mr. Clark's recent posts at Greenwich Gossip:

Please send your Greenwich related blog posts and comments to GreenwichRoundup@gmail.com

05/23/08 - Greenwich Citizen Still Refuses To Cover The Fact That A Weapon Used At Greenwich High School. What Is The Editor Afraid Of? (Updated)

Dose The Greenwich Citizen Publisher Support Using A Taser In Public Schools As A Behaviour Management Tool?

Why do Greenwich Citizen Readers have to get the Greenwich Post and Greenwich Time to learn what is really going on in Greenwich.

Is the Greenwich audience unable to appreciate quality journalism?

There, there. Have the "so-called" journalists at the Greenwich Citizen failed the people?

At the Greenwich Citizen, "news stories" are often press released-centred explanations of what is going on in town, and these establishment press releases are the tail that wags the dog.

All too often, the Greenwich Citizen over looks the disenfranchised, poorer, weaker, and younger members of Greenwich Society, because they don't send out press releases.

Some people in town are wondering why the police use of a taser on a mouthy - water - balloon - throwing Greenwich High School teenager, who weighed just 140 pounds, was not newsworthy at the Greenwich Citizen.

Others in town wonder if the Greenwich Citizen would find it news worthy if the Greenwich Police Department went into Eastern Middle School and tased a hyper 85 pound seventh grader.

Still others in town wonder if the Greenwich Citizen would find it newsworthy if the Greenwich Police Department went into Julian Curtiss Elementary School and tased a bad little 55 pound fourth grader.

Would the Greenwich Citizen even notice if the Greenwich Police went into a nursery school and tasered an unruly pre-schooler?

Maybe, the Greenwich Citizen might cover one of these news stories if the students would write the story up and fax it in as a press release.

Does any one remember the Greenwich Citizen ever doing an investigative report?

Please See:

05/22/08 - Lost In Cyber Space: Greenwich Citizen Ignores GHS Tasing Controversey For Nine Days. Greenwich Citizen Readers Don't Know What's Going On...

05/19/08 - Beat The Press - The Greenwich Citizen has it's head in the sand


Now That The Greenwich Post Has Been
Caught With It's Pants Down, There Is A
Last Minute Attempt To Cover Their A**.

After much pressure the Greenwich Citizen finally did post a news story about the High School Tasing Incident.

The story is not on the home page: http://www.greenwichcitizen.com/

However, if you navigate to the local news page at: http://www.greenwichcitizen.com/localnews

Then read through all of the five news links with brief descriptions you will find a small line at the bottom that says:

More Local/Regional Headlines:

If you can find this link, you will clearly see that it is a half hearted attempt looks likes a half hearted attempt by the Greenwich Citizen to save face.

Clearly, the Greenwich Citizen Publisher and Editor is ashamed of their initial failure to cover this important news story, and they should be ashamed.

For over a week The Associated Press, Bloggers, Cablevision News 12, The Greenwich Post, The Greenwich Time, The Hartford Courant, The Fairfeild County Weekly, The Stamford Advocate and many others immediately found the story news worthy.

In fact, just about every local and regional media outlet covered the High School taser controversey except for the Greenwich Citizen and the free Penny Saver ad paper that comes in Greenwich mail boxes.

However, the Greenwich Citizen had to be shamed into covering the story and that is why the Greenwich Citizen was the only news outlet that buried the story on their website. All of the other blogger, cable and newspaper websites had the story up front on their home page.

Worse yet, when you read the hastily prepared Greenwich Citizen Article only Greenwich Police Captain Pacewicz is quoted. There is no reported attempt to contact Greenwich High School administrators, Greenwich High School students, parents, teachers, the boy that was tased or his attorney or anyone else for that matter.

This is not a news story it is a Greenwich Police Department Press Release. Please read the story with our comments and judge for yourself.

Police Say Tasing Incident at High School Justified

By Laura Carlson

Article Last Updated: 05/23/2008 01:01:02 PM EDT

Laura Carlson writes:

The tasing incident at Greenwich High School on May 13 has sparked controversy in the realm of student safety.

While misinterpreted information has caused parents to grow skeptical of the type and extent of enforcement administered in the student's surroundings, it is important to understand why the police remain justified in their actions, Capt. Michael Pacewicz of the Greenwich Police Department said during a press conference Tuesday.

The student in question, senior Victor Hugo Londono, 18, was told to report to the school's administrative office after throwing water balloons in the campus student center, police said. When Londono's behavior elevated to a level of disorderly conduct, police interference was deemed necessary by the four administrators who were present at the scene of the arrest.

(Comment: source needed for this statement could it be Captain Pacewicz?)

"His arrest was not due in part to his violation of student center rules, but to his interference and aggression toward the officers after the incident occurred," said Pacewicz.

Once Londono was told to leave the student center to file for his suspension, he refused to be removed and even kicked a chair into another student's chair upon leaving, noted School Resource Officer Carlos A. Franco.

Londono had to be escorted to the administrative offices, and upon arrival, Pacewicz recalled, he became vocally offensive and threatening toward the officers. Pacewicz noted that once he refused to place his hands behind his back for arrest, his actions became a criminal issue rather than a school conflict.

Londono remained unrelenting to authority rule, even after Franco's many warnings of using the stun gun if he failed to comply with orders. Londono continued flailing his arms and making threatening remarks, even after warnings were given, stated Pacewicz.

Franco used the drive stun mode of his X26, the least intrusive mode that would motivate Londono to obey. It took three shocks that were less than a second duration each; one to his shoulder, the next his mid-section and the last to his thigh, for the stun gun to make contact and for Londono to place his hands behind his back.

(Comment: source needed for this statement could it once again be Captain Pacewicz? Is the so-called "Greenwich Citizen Journalist" Laura Carlson being led around with a police department nose ring?)

GHS students are aware of student center rules, as they are addressed on the first day of school, written in the student's daily planners and even posted on the wall of the student center where the incident occurred.

(Comment: once again source needed for this statement could it once again be Captain Pacewicz? Is this a news article or is Laura Carlson helping Captain Pacewicz write a letter to the editor?)

While last Tuesday was the first time a taser was used on a student, the introduction of the stun gun has had its benefits, stated Pacewicz. The taser has been used 31 times, of which 14 were only displaying the gun without usage before a suspect would comply.

Franco has carried this stun gun in the school since 2004, and it was understood by the administration that Franco used the least amount of force necessary for a response, said Pacewicz.

Londono was released on a $50,000 cash bond and told to appear in Stamford Superior Court on May 21.

Where in the hell did the "so-called" Greenwich Citizen journalist Laura Carlson go to school to learn to be a journalist?

Greenwich Citizen readers should be sceptical of Greenwich Citizen articles in General and Laura Carlson's articles in particular.

Here are this weeks press release generated stories at the Greenwich Citizen:

In New Role, Former School Boss Talks About Race

Wearing a different hat, Dr. Larry Leverett, Greenwich's former and first black school superintendent, by invitation discoursed Sunday morning on race and education during a "sacred conversation" at the Second Congregational Church.

Congress Aims to Help Consumers at Gas Pump

President George W. Bush continued to play dead this week when it came to throwing a lifeline to millions of consumers suffering from fiscal strangulation as gasoline prices rocket past $4-a-gallon...

Ham Ave. Girls Told to Follow Their Passions to Success

Women have yet to break the highest glass ceiling in the land - the presidency - but from the witness of a host of women achievers last Wednesday, there's been an impressive shattering of glass, primarily by Superintendent of Schools...

Honoring Greenwich's Rich Architectural History

Framed photographs of stately residences dotted the elegant rooms in the equally grand Greenwich home.

Come July 4-13, Shakespeare is coming to town again to take over the green sward of Roger Sherman Baldwin Park.

GHS Crew: Cut Above the Rest

Greenwich High's crew program rowed into the record-book last weekend, claiming first-time state championships for both the girls and boys varsity.

Please send your comments to GreenwichRoundup@gmail.com

05/23/08 - Friday's News Links From The Greenwich Post Greenwich

In honor of Memorial Day, the Mary Bush Society Children of the American Revolution (CAR), with the help of the Mathew Mead Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), placed small flags recently at Greenwich's Revolutionary War soldier gravesites at the historic Tomac Burying Ground in Old Greenwich. The Tomac Burying Ground in Old Greenwich has 27 known Revolutionary War patriots buried there. Many of the soldiers buried at Tomac Burying Ground were men who fought at the Battle of White Plains in October 1776 under Captain George Peck, ninth regiment of the Connecticut militia. The Tomac Burying Ground is believed to be the resting-place of Greenwich's oldest settlers, dating back to the 1660's.

Stamford attorney seeks to replace Nickerson

Greenwich Democrats have thrown their enthusiastic support behind Stamford resident Mark Diamond in his race for the 36th District’s state senate seat.

Greenwich residents awarded for helping fight addiction

Substance abuse crosses all boundaries and touches all lives — affecting the wealthy, the poor, the young and the old. As longtime friends of Liberation Programs Inc., an organization that helps those struggling with addiction, Louis and Virigina Bantle of Greenwich know that all too well. Their support and efforts will be recognized Tuesday, June 3 when they will be presented with the “Spirit of Hope” award at the Hilton Stamford Hotel.

Historical Society seeks volunteers

The Historical Society of the Town of Greenwich is seeking volunteers to fill two roles: one or two telephone receptionists to answer the phones for two to three hours a day, to direct callers to appropriate departments and provide information on activities and events at the Bush-Holley Historic Site; and someone to update on-line community calendars with current Bush-Holley Historic Site events and activities. The work may be done from home and requires about six hours a month. To volunteer, call Michele at 869-689.

Please send your comments to GreenwichRoundup @gmail.com

05/23/08 - Local Greenwich Photos

Greenwich Photo Blog Post:

Gone Fishing, Indian Harbor, Greenwich
ByBob Luckey

Greenwich Time.
Greenwich Time Photos - http://greenwichtimephotos.com

Please send your blog links, photos and your comments to GreenwichRoundup@gmail.com

05/23/08 - Friday's News Links From The Greenwich Time

Greenwich Time RSS Feed

Greenwich Academy celebrates commencement

Katherine Szeto went to two shops and tried on eight dresses before she found the right one for her Greenwich Academy graduation.
Full Story

Dems tap Krumeich

And the nominees are: Edward Krumeich Jr. and É ? Unable to come up with a state House candidate in the 150th District but not willing to concede the race, Greenwich Democrats adjourned the last night's nominating caucus until Tuesday in hopes of recruiting a candidate.
Full Story

New dome placed on Bowman

Christina Hennessy Staff Writer Reduced to nothing more than a heap of scrap metal, the original dome of the Bowman Observatory sat in direct contrast to the gleaming silver top that rested on cinder blocks about 10 feet away.
Full Story

The Board of Selectmen yesterday got a look at revamped plans for a waterfront park at the Cos Cob Power Plant site that replaced one of two playing fields with open space to satisfy clamoring for more greenery.
Full Story

Please send your comments to GreenwichRoundup@gmail.com

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