By PAULA TRACY, InDepthNH.org
CONCORD – Citizens from all walks of life are sending written testimony and attending remote meetings of the new Commission on Law Enforcement Accountability, Community and Transparency, people like retired Nashua police officer Tony Pivero.
Pivero wrote to the commission detailing what he calls the unresolved killing of Alex Cora De Jesus, who was killed by Weare police in August 2013 in a botched drug bust. The Attorney General’s Office said at the time there was conflicting information about the shooting and didn’t rule it justified or unjustified, but also didn’t bring any charges against the officers involved.
“I believe that you will find yourself in the awkward situation of uncovering a fatal police shooting that the Attorney General has not ruled as justified or unjustified but merely (we just can’t figure it out),” Pivero said.
“In this day and age with all the science, technology and law enforcement knowledge, it is hard to imagine that the Attorney General’s Office has decided to put a homicide on the shelf. Or maybe it’s more than that. Maybe it’s racial?”
Pivero said the Attorney General should decide whether police killings are justified or unjustified and not leave cases unresolved.
The question Pivero asked members of the commission: “Can the state put a new legal term to homicide such as ‘we just don’t know?’ Hogwash. Figure it out Attorney General.”
Bonnie Sisak told commission members in her testimony that she believes the state should abolish no-knock warrant executions, noting a 2019 case in Concord in which police entered the wrong home by force.
Elizabeth Rawnsley wrote about “media malpractice” that should be dealt with, entitling her email, “One more commission formed in New Hampshire, when we have how many media resources unable to even expose the facts…”
Bill Zebuhr of Nashua said in his testimony “good places in America are becoming scarce” and warned that the state’s law enforcement community needs to be color-blind. He moved to the state from St. Louis in 1968.
“We have to be strict about treating every person as an individual, judged by their actions and contributions to society and not by race…” Zebuhr said.
The commission studying police accountability will take verbal public testimony on Thursday in a remote video conference that is accessible to the public, but is urging all to provide written testimony that can be viewed by the public on its website.
Last week more than a dozen citizens provided testimony to the Commission on Law Enforcement Accountability, Community, and Transparency on police training procedures and possible changes to the way police de-escalate and engage with the public they serve.
The website is https://www.governor.nh.gov/sites/g/files/ehbemt336/files/documents/20200709-leact-meeting-notice-agenda.pdf
It provides information on how to weigh in on the subject live and includes written testimony received by the commission so far.
Gov. Chris Sununu established the commission following the death of George Floyd, an African American killed by a white police officer while he was in custody in Minneapolis. Floyd’s death has sparked a summer of protests around the country and a new focus on how police treat people of color.
Sununu asked Attorney General Gordon MacDonald to chair the commission and tasked members with coming up with recommendations for change in the state within 45 days.
Last Thursday, the commission began hearing public testimony and recessed before all who wanted to provide information were able to speak. That public testimony will continue Thursday beginning at 11:30 a.m. and will run through 2 p.m.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the following written testimony was posted on the commission’s website.
- Claire Best – Police Accountability and Transparency
- Kaitlyn Shanley – Cannabis Legalization needs to be included in the police reform talk
- Donna Brown – NHACDL Suppl Testimony and Documents Re PreTextual Stops
- Johnathan Moulton – Testimony for Commission
- Elizabeth Rawnsley – RE: One more commission formed in New Hampshire, when we have how many media resources unable to even expose facts on to the view of the public, in this state, for how many years, now?
- Cathy Lanigan – Testimony for Commission Evaluating the Use of Cannabis
- Paula Ward – NH Legalization of Cannabis / Testimony for Commission
- Mark Widdison – Testimony for Commission
- Patrick Chamberlin – Testimony for Commission on Police Accountability, Community, and Transparency
- Representative Renny Cushing – Letter to Gov’s Commission
- Matt Simon – Testimony For Commission On Police Accountatbility Community and Transparency
- FW U.S. Supreme Court U.S. Supreme Court Judge Roberts may not be fully informed, due to no fault of his own about so many relevant matters, involved in this presidency and what is truly covered up
- Rev. John W. Eaton – Public Testimony
- Joseph Lascaze – DOC Facility Demographics Summary
- Julian Jefferson – Materials for Commission’s Review
- Wanda Duryea – Commission on Law Enforcement Accountability, Community and Transparency
- Elizabeth Rawnsley – Governor Sununu sets up commission to review police accountability, in the State of New Hampshire: ACLU in New Hampshire is participating in the process? Re: We had 101 members of this state review the conduct of their own state courts, years ago.
- Anthony Pivero – LEACT 2
- Janet Hadley Champlin – Request to testify before the NH Governor’s LEACT Commission
- Fina Gaboian Frey – Commission On Law Enforcement Accountability, Community and Transparency
- Kathy Urie – Police Accountability
- Dr. Nicole L. Sawyer – The importance of Candidate Selection – Testimony submitted to the Commission on LE Accountability, Community and Transparency
- Jacquelyn Benson – Testimony for NH Commission on Law Enforcement Accountability, Community and Transparency
- Michael Dane – Testimony for Commission on Law Enforcement Accountability, Transparency, and Community
- Anthony J. Pivero – LEACT 1st letter
- Rebecca Hayes – Written Testimony – Mental Health & Addiction
- Veronica Dane – Commission on Law Enforcement Accountability, Transparency, and Community
- Richard Tripp – Law Enforcement Hearing Questions
- Donna Brown – NH Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers – Written Testimony
- Richard Van Wickler – Cheshire County Superintendent of Corrections (Ret.) and Law Enforcement Action Partnership – LEACT Testimony
- Bill Zebuhr – LEACT Comments
- Natalie Strickland – Request for Accountability and De-Escalation
- Bradford Hutchinson – Victim of Police Misconduct Speaks
- Janet Hadley Champlin – Recommendations for the NH Govenor’s Law Enforcement Commission
- Elizabeth Rawnsley – One more commission formed in New Hampshire, when we have how many media resources unable to even expose facts on to the view of the public, in this state, for how many years, now?
- Linda Wojas – Request for 91-A Laurie List
- Chief David Kurz – Durham Police Department’s Commitment to the Durham Community
Portable Document Format (.pdf) . Visit nh.gov for a list of free .pdf readers for a variety of operating systems.