The city lead by a mayor who has all but encouraged attacks on law enforcement officers is taking things one step further – they’re continuing with a new trend to attack words.

Here’s the deal.  The City Council is in the middle of considering new legislation that would give a guarantee of more “humane” living accommodations for inmates.  That, of course, includes calling them by their preferred pronouns – not by how God created them.

Now the Department of Correction has restructured their rules for identifying inmates to make it more “prisoner-friendly”.

On Tuesday, an order was sent to agency commanding officers by DOC Chief of Department Hazel Jennings.

According to the note, “all department employees” are now “prohibited to refer to persons in … custody using terms such as i.e. packages, bodies, etc.”

She says those words are “unprofessional, demeaning and from this point prohibited.”

So what are they to be called? 

They can only be referred to as “individuals” or “persons” in all radio transmissions, phone conversations and when speaking to others while on duty.

We spoke with a corrections officer in New York, who asked to remain nameless because he wasn’t authorized to weigh in on the controversy.

“This is just one more example of how our city puts those who break the law above those who enforce it,” she said.  “It starts from the top down.  The mayor, now that he’s dropped out of the presidential race because everyone hates him, is going to lead our city into a downward spiral to see how far left he can take us.”

So what happens if you need to make a call on the radio?  One DOC member commented to local media outlets:

“Now if you say on the radio you have five persons, does that mean inmates, visitors, construction workers, counselors, etc. It is confusing.”

Elias Husamudeen is the president of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association.  She told the New York Post that the order “is redundant because correction officers already address inmates by their names.”

“What’s concerning to us is this apparent emphasis from the City Council on increasing congeniality, rather than addressing the jail violence, which even the administration reports has risen significantly over the past year,” she said.

The council and de Blasio are working to revamp the city’s jail system, which includes closing Rikers and opening four smaller new jails in each borough except Staten Island.

That plan will be voted on by the Council on October 17.

The order is part of a proposed “bill of rights” for local prisoners.  It was written by Manhattan Councilman Keith Powers and introduced earlier this month.

That’s not all that goes into this proposed law.  In addition to being called by preferred names, inmates would also get nicer prison cells, 24-hour “call buttons” to summon guards, kitchenettes and windows with sunny views, along with lots of ceramic and fabric.

The DOC Deputy Commissioner Peter Thorne is all in.  He put out a statement saying Jennings’ “notification reinforces existing policy and advances our goal of creating a culture of mutual respect.”

“It is part of our ongoing commitment to remaking our jails into national models for modern correctional practice,” Thorne added.

Just last week, we reported on how NYC has now put a ban on words it doesn’t like.

They’ve made it illegal to threaten someone with a call to immigration authorities or refer to them as an “illegal alien”.

You read that right.  But it gets worse.  The violations are punishable by fines of up to $250,000 per offense.

The restrictions were explained in a 29-page directive released by City Hall’s Commission on Human Rights.

Here’s a bit of the verbiage:

“‘Alien’ — used in many laws to refer to a ‘noncitizen’ person — is a term that may carry negative connotations and dehumanize immigrants, marking them as ‘other,’” reads one passage.

The memo goes on to further define the restriction.

“The use of certain language, including ‘illegal alien’ and ‘illegals,’ with the intent to demean, humiliate, or offend a person or persons constitutes discrimination.”

It breaks down several examples of acts and comments that would be considered a violation.  That includes harassing people over their accents or grasp of English.  It also lists the threat of a call to Immigration and Customs Enforcement as a tool of hate.

“A hotel prohibits its housekeepers from speaking Spanish while cleaning because it would ‘offend’ hotel guests or make them uncomfortable,” reads one hypothetical.

“An Indian immigrant family complains to their landlord about mold and cockroaches in their unit. The landlord tells them to ‘just deal with it’ and threatens to call ICE if they file a complaint in housing court,” reads another.

“A store owner tells two friends who are speaking Thai while shopping in his store to ‘speak English’ and ‘go back to your country,’ ” reads a third.

Why the directive from the Commission on Human Rights?  Because… Trump.

They made clear that the directive is, at least in part, a rebuke of a federal crackdown on those sneaking into the country.

“In the face of increasingly hostile national rhetoric, we will do everything in our power to make sure our treasured immigrant communities are able to live with dignity and respect, free of harassment and bias,” said Carmelyn Malalis, the agency’s commissioner.

The timing – not coincidentally – comes months after Mayor Bill de Blasio publicly spoke out against coordinated raids by ICE on those who snuck into the country.

It follows a Thursday move by de Blasio that’s a slap in the face to law-abiding taxpayers.  That’s when the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs announced a joint $1 million investment with the state to guarantee legal services to immigrants facing imminent deportation.

Also on Thursday, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) added a hand signal to a list of things that “show that you’re a white supremacist”. 

It’s the gesture widely known for saying things are “good-to-go”.  It’s made a new database from the ADL that says the sign has been hijacked.

One could argue it’s been hijacked by them.

They added 36 new entries Thursday to their “database of hate symbols used by white supremacists and other far-right extremists”, including the symbol meant to mean “ok”.

The Anti-Defamation League says the hand symbol began its circulation as a hoax by members of the website 4chan.  They argue it was used as a popular trolling tactic, suggesting the hand gesture formed a “W” and “P” for “white power.” 

They then go on to say that by 2019, it was being used “in some circles as a sincere expression of white supremacy”.

According to Al Jazeera, the murderer responsible for the New Zealand massacre that killed 51 people flashed an upside down “OK” symbol when he appeared in court.

Mark Pitcavage is the senior fellow in ADL’s Center on Extremism.

“While some hate symbols are short-lived, others take on a life of their own and become tools for online trolling,” he said. “We pay special attention to those symbols that exhibit staying power as well as those that move from online usage into the real world.”

What else made the list? The “bowlcut”.

That’s right – the bowl-shaped haircut was also among the newest entry of symbols condemned by the civil rights group.

Why is that?  Because “white supremacist mass killer” Dylann Roof, who shot and killed nine black people in 2015 at a church in Charleston, South Carolina had that style of haircut.

The ADL is a Jewish civil rights group.

Their online database that they added the symbols to is called “Hate on Display”.

They describe it as a longstanding list that provides explanations for symbols, memes and slogans that are frequently used by hate groups.

The group list was launched in 2000 in New York City to “help law enforcement officers, school officials and others recognize signs of extremist activity” – and it now has more than 200 entries.

“Even as extremists continue to use symbols that may be years or decades old, they regularly create new symbols, memes and slogans to express their hateful sentiments,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement.

The group says they plan on printing a brochure with the “hate symbols” to distribute to local law enforcement and made available to school districts across the country.

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Speaking of political correctness… how about the move in San Francisco?

The city has apparently decided that referring to convicted felons as, well… convicted felons, is no longer okay, and has rebranded the language to ‘justice-involved person’.

And that’s not the only phrase they’re changing.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, from now on a convicted felon or an offender released from custody will be known as a “formerly incarcerated person,” or a “justice-involved” person or just a “returning resident.”

San Francisco

San Francisco is known for its open views and lax stance on crime. But this might be taking it too far. (Wikipedia Commons)

 

Drug addicts or substance abusers will become “a person with a history of substance use.”

Parolees are now a “person under supervision.” A juvenile “delinquent” will become a “young person with justice system involvement,” or a “young person impacted by the juvenile justice system.”

Returning resident? Justice-involved? People… let’s be real. A spade is a spade… even if you decide to start calling it something else.

Apparently calling a criminal a criminal isn’t politically correct… and now the city is pushing for new language throughout the criminal justice system to help change the way everyday citizens think about people who commit crimes. 

 

Let’s not forget that San Francisco boasts some pretty intense numbers when it comes to crime rates.

According to Neighborhood Scout, with a crime rate of 70 per one thousand residents, San Francisco has one of the highest crime rates in America compared to all communities of all sizes – from the smallest towns to the very largest cities.

Maybe they should be teaching the community about how to better their lives… instead of changing the phrasing to make them feel better about their mistakes.

homeless_san_francisco_california

The homeless population in San Francisco is booming… and so is the city’s crime rate. (Flickr)

 

“We don’t want people to be forever labeled for the worst things that they have done,” Supervisor Matt Haney told the newspaper. “We want them ultimately to become contributing citizens, and referring to them as felons is like a scarlet letter that they can never get away from.”

So instead of describing a repeat offending drug addict who stole from you… police might have to refer to them as “a returning resident who was involved with the justice system and who is currently under supervision with a history of substance use.”

 

Seriously? 

This is also the city that started a poop patrol service to help clean human waste off of the streets that stems from an overwhelming homeless population. Yes… it’s literally a crew that cleans up after people instead of finding ways to get them not to defecate in the streets…

Instead of trying to decriminalize our language, why don’t we push our communities to live within the bounds of the law? 

Along with the board that came up with these new terms, the district attorney has also pledged his commitment to the change in phrasing.

It follows a January move by the California Senate Judiciary Committee, which announced that they would be banning the use of the gender-based pronouns ‘he’ and ‘she.’ Committee Chair Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties) announced:

“We are now a state recognizing the non-binary designation as a gender…we are using the designation ‘they’ in place of other designations, so that it is a gender-neutral designation.”

It is not too far of a stretch to believe that this could migrate to the banning of the ‘male’ and ‘female’ or ‘man’ and ‘woman.’ Soon, they may only allow ‘they’, ‘them’, ‘people’ and ‘person’.

Imagine for just a moment that this type of language restrictions leaves the inside of the committee room and trickles down to other levels of government. What if the Chief of Police or Sheriff were to enact this type of ban on the men and women serving their communities in law enforcement roles? Could they effectively do their job?

What would a report look like? If you could not use gender specific identifiers, could the report you are writing effectively be used in court? Could you obtain a search warrant or an arrest warrant? One police detective in Texas said that the “judges I work with would not sign off on a warrant if the probable cause affidavit only alluded to vague terminology like ‘suspect’, ‘person’ or ‘they/them’”.

What would this do to your every day contact with the public? Officers try to be respectful of everyone they encounter. What happens if you cannot politely refer to someone as ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am?’  And if you are responding to a call, how do you possibly investigate in such a generic manner?

Let’s take that a step further. What happens if you broadcast a BOLO over the radio? Again, no gender identifications are allowed. How do you communicate effectively to others on patrol? A white male in a red jacket would simply become white suspect in a red jacket but could be a man or a woman. And if you trade the word white with black, Hispanic or Asian? Does this open the door to charges of racial profiling?

And what about communicating with the public?  When you have a suspect at large and remove the ability to identify the suspect accurately, how do people know who to contact you about?

And finally, let’s assume that you can actually get a warrant and make an arrest, fast forward several months to the court date. If your reports, body camera video, dashboard camera video and testimony all use generic gender identifiers, how can the DA possibly get a jury to return with a guilty verdict? Every defense lawyer will use this as a tactic to create reasonable doubt based on the arresting officers not being able to identify the gender of their client.

Let’s face it. The work that the men and women in law enforcement do is hard enough and is often thankless. Potentially requiring them to use language and verbiage that is gender neutral would only increase the degree of difficulty.  Legislators should be doing everything they can to make it easier for officers to do their job. It is laws like these that wind up putting the handcuffs on the wrong group of people.

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