....LMB: "Cops vs. Women"....

June 20, 2002

I first heard about the story of María Teresa Macias on Monday's edition of Democracy Now!. You can give it a listen by clicking here.

It's just your average, everyday story of American sickness. María Teresa Macias took her children and left her psychopathic, abusive husband. The husband stalked her, tormented her, eventually killed her, and then killed himself. Familiar as any other story in the newspaper these days.

But the primary way that this story differs is the extent to which the police could have prevented Macias' murder, but didn't. Between 1994 and her death in 1996, Macias called the Sonoma County sheriffs over 20 different times for help, and to report her ex stalking, harassing and threatening to kill her. Most of those calls were made in the last three months of her life as her ex-husbands threats became more frightening and serious. Both Macias and some of her friends told the police that the psycho was going to kill her. And police did nothing. And then he did kill her.

It appears that the sheriffs, for whatever reason, didn't take Macias' reports seriously. They didn't even bother to write many of her reports down, so that even if a cop did want to do his job properly, he didn't have the records to do so. Even when the police found the ex violating the restraining order, they didn't do much about it. It seems their attitude was that Macias was just a hysterical woman and they just had to humor her, because they figured that the husband would never follow through on his threats.

After her death, Macias' mother, with the help of a women's rights group called the Purple Berets, filed a lawsuit against the sheriff's department, claiming that they had violated Teresa Macias' right to equal protection under the law. They argued that the sheriffs had discriminated against Macias as a woman, a latina, and a victim of domestic violence.

Don't know if those claims are accurate or not, but it seems sure that police incompetence and negligence cost a woman her life.

There's a mildly happy ending to this. Sonoma County agreed to pay Macias' mother and her three children $1 million. They admitted no wrongdoing or guilt. "'We don't believe the sheriff's department in any way discriminated against Macias, but we do believe it's in the best interest of everyone involved, including the children, to bring closure to the case,' said Paul Kelley, vice chairman of Sonoma County Board of Supervisors."

Maybe the Sonoma sheriffs will take domestic violence reports a little more seriously now. Maybe.

Posted by Jake at 11:40 PM
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Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

Posted by Jake at 04:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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