Police arrest two women from the ‘Democratic Socialist’ group who left fake body bags at state Capitol, other locations

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HARTFORD, CT- Two women are facing charges after being accused of leaving suspicious packages that resembled body bags on the grounds of the state Capitol back in April. 

According to reports, Connecticut State Police have arrested 19-year-old Erin Melocowsky and 30-year-old Olivia Rae Rinkes.

Both women have been charged with disorderly conduct. The arrest warrant states that officers were called to the Capitol on April 1st for the report of several suspicious packages having been left on the property.

One of those packages was reportedly left behind a car assigned to Governor Ned Lamont. Police said that the packages appeared to be black garbage pages wrapped with duct tape, resembling body bags.

A maintenance worker told police that he saw two females arrive at the state Capitol that day. He said that the women exited a light-colored Ford Focus and placed the black bags wrapped in duct tape on the grounds.

The worker also reportedly told police that he saw the women leave signs behind that said “EVICTION.” At the same time, a second vehicle was also seen. That car had a third female who was seen taking photos of the bags left behind. 

When investigators opened the bags, they found articles of clothing and cut up pieces of cardboard. They also found a name and address on one of the cardboard pieces, which led police to identify a person connected to an activist group responsible for similar incidents.

Authorities said that that same person was also connected to a Facebook group called “Western CT Democratic Socialists.” As the investigation continued, police were able to identify two suspects as Melocowsky and Rinkes. 

According to the arrest warrant, Rinkes admitted to dropping the bags at the state Capitol and at Hartford City Hall. She said that she wanted to have her voice heard and that she had been participating in a movement with a focus on eviction throughout the state.

The warrant also stated that Melocowsky’s Instagram account featured photos of the bags dropped at the Capitol on April 1st. Both women were released on $5,000 bonds and are expected to appear in court in the coming weeks.

The Hartford Courant reported that Ivelisse Correa, of Black Lives Matter 860, confirmed that the arrests of the women were in relation to the protest were black trash bags were left at several locations. 

She said members of the organization accompanied Melocowsky to court and that she believes the act of protest was worth it. She said in a statement:

“When we did the body bag protest, you know, that caused Hartford to create a new ordinance and hire more housing inspectors. So, it took some sort of action for something to happen. The arrests are going to be worth it, but it shouldn’t have to take all that.”

In addition to the fake body bags that were placed at the state Capitol on April 1st, signs that said, “Eviction is not a joke” and “Cancel Rent,” were placed around the Capitol building, the Governor’s Residence, Mayor Luke Bronin’s residence, and Hartford City Hall. 

Melocowsky said that she feels the arrests are a form of retaliation. She said in a statement:

“We want progressive change, including in the police system and eviction sheriffs have a huge hand in evictions and are very close with landlords. That’s why I feel like the police are choosing to retaliate and are deliberately targeting activists.”

Black Lives Matter 860 later published a news release online calling for the charges against the two women to be dropped. The release read:

“With the public arrests of our allies Erin and Olivia, we are coming forward to denounce the retaliatory behavior of Connecticut State Police regarding the ‘Body Bag Protest’ arrests. The officers’ actions further bolster our resolve to continue to push for the strengthening of the police accountability bill, to mandate civilian review boards with subpoena power, and to protest even harder as we are not all vaccinated with the pandemic coming to an end.”

Melocowsky was previously arrested in September 2020 on a disorderly conduct charge after blocking traffic during a Black Lives Matter protest in Glastonbury. Police received multiple complaints about traffic being blocked by Melocowsky and about six to eight other protesters.

When officers arrived on scene, Melocowsky refused to leave the road, which led to her arrest.

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Connecticut police chief writes to town council to oppose flying Blue Line flag during National Police Week

April 1st, 2021

The following editorial is written by a retired police officer and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today. 

SOUTH WINDSOR, CT- On January 23, 1999, East Hartford police officer Brian Aselton, a native of South Windsor, Connecticut was shot and killed in the line of duty. On September 2, 2018, Sgt. Matthew Manieri of the South Windsor Police Department was killed in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina while trying to break up a fight at a local bar.

One might think that having two native sons, both respected police officers, killed in the line of duty might get them some recognition. Not in South Windsor.

The Manchester Journal Inquirer reports that the South Windsor Town Council, based on the police chief’s “reservations” scrapped an idea to fly the Thin Blue Line flag during the upcoming National Police Week in May.

As would be expected, four of the council’s Democrats went along with Chief Kristian Lindstrom’s opposition to flying the flag, which is typically displayed to honor police officers across the country who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Such as Off. Aselton and Sgt. Manieri of his OWN department less than three years ago.

Conversely, the council’s three Republicans and one Democrat voted in favor of the resolution to fly the flag at the Wapping Community House at Four Corners—which is the intersection of Route 30, Sullivan Avenue and Buckland Road in town, an extremely busy area where the flag would have gotten the recognition it deserves.

In order to give the four Democrat council members who feel it is inappropriate to recognize line of duty deaths the recognition they “deserve,” they are: Erica Evans, Cesar Lopez, Deputy Mayor Elizabeth Pendleton and Mayor Andrew Paterna.

Those who support the police and voted in favor were Republicans Lisa Maneeley, the Republican Minority Leader, and councilors Janice Snyder and Phil Koboski. Karen Lydecker was the only Democrat to vote in favor of flying the flag, according to the paper. Since the resolution ended in a 4-4 tie, it failed to pass.

The down vote came partially at the behest of Chief Lindstrom, who chose political correctness over supporting his rank and file police officers, many of whom worked with Sgt. Manieri and who no doubt supported the resolution.

Lindstrom had sent a letter to the town council which was read aloud at the meeting.

Lindstrom said he appreciated the gesture, however said he had reservations because “not everyone embraces the Thin Blue Line as a symbol of benevolence.”

The chief is correct.

Black Lives Matter and Antifa are among those who do not “embrace” the Thin Blue Line flag because they buy into and perpetrate the false narrative that ALL police are systemically racist goons who go out on patrol each day with the intention of seeing how many people of color they can oppress, and if they’re “lucky” maybe even get to shoot one.

Those are their words, not mine.

“One of the tenets of our longstanding mission statement is to respect the rights of individuals and with that in mind, this agency also recognizes that the Thin Blue Line symbol can be upsetting to some members of the community and flying that particular flag at Four Corners could have several unintended consequences,’ Lindstrom wrote.

So, by Lindstrom’s “logic,” there are also a number of people who are opposed to the American flag, and believe it represents white supremacy and white privilege.

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Does Lindstrom hold the same opinion of our American symbol, a flag over which hundreds of thousands of Americans have bled and died for? Is he likewise opposed to flying the American flag at Four Corners, since that flag is also “upsetting to some?”

Lindstrom continued, “Our goal day in and day out, is to maintain peace and harmony within the community,” he added.

He noted that he needs to think about all the residents of South Windsor and respect everyone’s rights.

“I thought it could be viewed as controversial,” he said. “I fear it would be a divisive gesture.”

We are fairly certain that the chief didn’t have similar reservations about a Black Lives Matter mural painted on the driveway, a real divisive symbol that represents an openly Marxist organization hell-bent on the destruction of the American capitalist system.

We think that “could be viewed as controversial” as well. Of course, that is not politically correct.

Lindstrom is the type of chief like the one in Webster, Massachusetts, who turned in his man (and leadership) card last summer by laying down in the middle of the road with Black Lives Matter protesters disrupting traffic in that Central Massachusetts town. We could picture Lindstrom acting in similar fashion.

The resolution in South Windsor came about after the town council last year adopted a policy by a 6-3 party-line vote which allows groups to apply to fly an organization or commemorative flag in the town center.

The Thin Blue Line likely came about in the 1920’s in reference to police, according to historian Bill Hanna in an interview in the Taunton Daily Gazette.

He said it initially was thought to go back to the Crimean War between the British and Russians, however at that time was called the “thin red line,” that the British Army stood between the British Empire and the enemy,” Hanna said.

It is believed the idea first came to the police commissioner in New York City, referring to the ‘thin blue line” that the police stand between good and evil, law and order versus chaos.

Hanna said the symbol became controversial during the 1950s and 60s when William Parker, the chief of the Los Angeles Police Department and a known racist used to use the term “thin blue line.” It was Parker that apparently gave the symbol a racist connotation.

Where the controversy comes recently is the fact that the flag has been coopted by some extremist groups and was seen both at the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville in 2017 and at the U.S. Capitol siege on January 6. That of course is not the fault of the men and women who wear the badge, and people such as Chief Lindstrom shouldn’t buy into the hype.

To somewhat of his credit, Lindstrom suggested flying the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial flag in order to recognize officers who have been killed in the line of duty, specifically mentioning Sgt. Manieri.

Despite the fact that he was off-duty and out of town when he was killed, his death was ruled a line-of-duty death because he was acting in his capacity of a law enforcement officer.

With that said, however Lindstrom is doing a disservice to his officers by taking the position he did. He should have remained neutral and let the chips fall where they may. As police officers, we expect Democrats to disrespect us. That’s how they roll.

However when that disrespect comes from a police administrator, that’s a different story altogether. We do not know how Lindstrom’s officers feel about his decision.

However as someone who has only been in command for just over six months, it sends a message to his officers that he does not support them. That can make for a long, rocky road for a new police chief.

But hey, at least the extremists will love him.

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