Thursday, October 1, 2015

National "BLUE LIVES MATTER" Billboard Campaign Hits Rochester, NY

BLUE LIVES MATTER Billboard in Rochester, NY
Photo: Davy V.

By Davy V.

Billboards are meant to catch people's attention, and that's exactly what a digital billboard which reads "BLUE LIVES MATTER #thankublu", near Rochester, NY airport is doing.

Wednesday evening, a reader who follows this blog, reached out to me via Twitter asking me if I knew who was behind the "BLUE LIVES MATTER" ad.

The billboard has many in Rochester, NY, a city with a long history of police misconduct and corruption, as well as racial tension, dating back to the July '64 riots are asking the same question.

Who is behind the ads?

And perhaps more importantly, what exactly is the message they're trying to convey?

I mean of course police officers' lives matter.

So do roofers' lives.

And truckers' lives.

Which by the way are two of the most dangerous occupations.

But you'll never see a "ROOFERS LIVES MATTER", or a "TRUCK DRIVER LIVES MATTER" billboard.

No, obviously the "BLUE LIVES MATTER" billboards are a direct response to "BLACK LIVES MATTER."

So I called LAMAR advertising, who owns the digital billboard where the "BLUE LIVES MATTER" ad is being displayed next to Interstate 390 in Rochester.

LAMAR is one of the country's biggest advertising media companies, based out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

After leaving a message with a receptionist at LAMAR, Mr. Tim Newton, with Rochester's LAMAR office returned my call.

Newton explained to me that LAMAR advertising's national office are the ones running the "BLUE LIVES MATTER" ads throughout the country.

I asked Mr. Newton what he thought the message behind the ad was.

"Well, it's open for interpretation", Newton told me.

He then explained to me that Tactical Magic, a branding company out of Memphis, Tennessee, designed the "BLUE LIVES MATTER" billboards, and that if I had any further questions, I could contact them.

Trace Hallowell, Managing Partner, Tactical Magic

Enter Mr. Trace Hallowell, Managing Partner with Tactical Magic Brand Identity Specialists.

After several calls and playing phone tag for a bit,  I was finally able to speak with Mr. Hallowell, who I will say was very professional and was nice enough to take time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions, first on the phone, then via a short email Q&A interview.

Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions Mr. Hallowell. 
What is Tactical Magic?

Tactical Magic is a small creative firm in Memphis, Tennessee. We do work for a variety of non-for-profit and for-profit organizations.

Mr. Hallowell, the feeling here in Rochester, especially in the Black community is that the "BLUE LVES MATTER" billboards, are in essence, offensive to African-Americans, many of whom have family members who have been killed by police. 
What are your thoughts on this?

I am dismayed to hear that anyone would feel that way. Certainly no offense was intended. The heart of the message is that no human should be hated or targeted for violence simply because of the color of clothing that they wear. I would hope this message is simply seen as being in harmony with that philosophy. A uniform should neither excuse a murderer nor condemn the innocent.

Ok, but Blacks and Latinos for example, are often racially profiled by law enforcement officers, who do exactly that, prejudge, and target them, and many times kill unarmed, innocent people. 

Are you saying all law enforcement officers are guilty of racial profiling and murder? Surely not. Just like not all Latinos and African-Americans are members of violent gangs. Let's apply the same standard to other people that we want applied to ourselves. Let's hold the guilty individuals accountable, but not condemn a whole group of people for what a few have done.

Ultimately who is paying for the "BLUE LIVES MATTER" ads?

The billboard is actually the third in a series of billboards posted in Memphis. The first was "MEMPHIS HONORS THE BLUES." and the second was "MEMPHIS HEROES WEAR BLU." The billboard space was donated by an anonymous, public-minded citizen. We provided development as a public service. Lamar Advertising Company then volunteered to post the third headline, "BLUE LIVES MATTER", in markets all across the U.S.

And how would you describe the message that you're trying to convey with the "BLUE LIVES MATTER" billboards?

Just that as human beings should not be targeted for violence because of their ethnicity, they also shouldn't be targeted for violence because of their profession. I understand that some people see only enemies when they see police uniforms. My experience is different. Perhaps the dialogue spurred by a billboard will help some see beyond the badge to the human being. Not surprisingly, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Jesus of Nazareth had many teachings in common--perhaps the most provocative is "Love your enemy." In other words, all lives really do matter.

What's next for the "BLUE LVES MATTER" campaign?

I am not sure. I think the next step may be to say something in response to the feedback we have received from all over the country.

And to the police officers who do target minorities. Do you have a message for them? Certainly you don't condone that do you?

Never. That question is very personal to me. (Note: Trace Hallowell has a son who is African-American) I would tell them what I would tell anyone. When you see someone of a different ethnicity, or a different wardrobe, or a different orientation, or a different culture, or a different political view--see them first as a person whose life matters.

Very well said Mr. Hallowell.

Very well said.

I hope law enforcement officers will start seeing folks of deferent ethnicities and backgrounds, as just that.

A person.

A person whose life matters.

Like Eric Garner's life mattered.

Just as Walter Scott's life mattered.

I truly hope so.

Maybe I'm just a dreamer.

But in the words of the great legend John Lennon.

"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."

BLUE LIVES MATTER Billboard off I-390 in Rochester, NY


Follow me on twitter 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Good Ol' Boys Club Alive and Well in Rochester, NY; RPD Sgt. Christopher Brown, Receives Less than a Slap on Wrist, Plus an Extended Paid Vacation, After Hitting and Injuring Grandmother, then Leaving Scene

Rochester, NY Police Sgt. Christopher Brown

By Davy V.

A Rochester, NY Police Sgt. who struck an African-American grandmother 
with a police pickup truck inside a police parkng lot, while on duty, then 
drove off, and later admitted that he didn't report the hit and run to his 
superior, received less than a slap on the wrist in court Monday.

On March 5, 2015. Rochester, NY Police Sgt. Christopher Brown, a 
24-year veteran of the RPD, hit 52-year old Alma Lucas, inside the 
Hall of Justice parking garage in downtown Rochester.

Sgt. Brown then left the scene.

Lucas suffered back injuries.

RPD Sgt. Brown later admitted that he dd not inform his boss that 
he had struck Lucas, even though another RPD officer told him to 
report the incident.

Sgt. Brown, of Boughton Hill Road, in Honeoye Falls, NY, has been 
on paid suspension (VACATION) since March.

A vacation which Rochester taxpayers are paying for.

In court Monday, Sgt. Brown was given an Adjournment in 
Contemplation of Dismissal, or ACD, which basically means 
that if he stays out of trouble for the next 6 months, the charges 
of leaving the scene of an accident will be dismissed.

But the sweet deal this cop got means more than that.

You see, an ACD is not an admission of guilt.

And that's big, because had Sgt. Brown admitted guilt, or had he 
been convicted in court, he wouldn't have been able to keep his 
job with the Rochester Police Department.

And believe me, he wanted to keep his job.

A quick search on the internet shows that in 2010, Sgt. Brown's salary 
with the Rochester, NY Police Department was $76,199.12.

That same year, Sgt. Brown was also paid $10,427.00 in overtime, 
and another $6,320.00 n compensatory pay.

Grand total: $92,946.12

Again, the base salary of $76,199.12 was for 2010, so it's pretty safe 
to say that Sgt. Brown's salary is higher now.

But lets just use that 2010 salary.

That means that Rochester, NY taxpayers have been paying, and will 
continue to pay Sgt. Brown approximately $6,349.92 a month to stay home.

$6,349.92 a month, in a city which is ranked third poorest in the country.

A city where the child poverty rate is 42 percent.

More than double the national average.

Oh, and as far as that paid vacation?

Yeah, Sgt. Brown is still on an extended vacation while Rochester 
Police continue their "investigation"

Almost a year later.

Which basically means that Rochester, NY Police Chief Mchael Ciminelli 
will just continue to drag things out more while they investigate themselves.

So there you have it.

Rochester cop hits grandmother.

Leaves scene.

Gets paid vacation courtesy of taxpayers.

Such are the benefits of the Good Ol' Boys Club.

RPD Sgt. Christopher Brown's 2010 Salary


Follow me on twitter 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

New York Firefighter Threatens Black Filmmaker, Posts Homophobic, Racist Comments on Facebook

Firefighter Matt Rombkowski

Filmmaker Winston Young

By Davy V.

It's been a crazy week for Rochester, NY filmmaker Winston Young.

First, his YouTube trailer for his latest project, "Bad Ride", a film which Winston says features several stories dealing with race relations, made quite a stir, after Rochester, NY WHAM 1180 radio show host Bob Lonsberry put his anti-black spin in full effect and insinuated that the film was racist.

The trailer for Bad Ride (See link below) shows a white Rural Metro ambulance EMT telling a fellow EMT that "No black lives matter today", when tending to a black patient onboard the ambulance.

Lonsberry suggested that white paramedics would now become a target of inner city blacks.

Appearing on Lonsberry's radio show Tuesday morning, Young explained that the trailer only shows one of several stories revolving race relations, and in no way was meant to portray EMT's in a negative light.

But Lonsberry continued to put his spin and race baiting and said that some worry that Bad Ride will make some, especially in the African-American community, think that EMTs don't want to save black lives, and that as a result, EMT's, especially white EMT's may become a target.

Bob Lonsberry

Young repeatedly told Lonsberry that in no way is the film against EMT's, and that in fact his film will actually help race relations.

Young also said that he has many friends who are firefighters and EMT's and in no way does he condone any violence against any first responders or law enforcement.

Which is why it's very disturbing that a firefighter, whose job is to save lives, apparently does condone violence.

Against Winston Young.

That's right.

Firefighter Matt Rombkowski, who is believed to work in the Buffalo, NY arra, took to Facebook and social media let everyone know what he thinks about Winston Young, and his film Bad Ride.

As you can see in the Facebook post below, Rombkowski writes,:

"Whoever the fuck made this deserves a bullet in the head.. Starting shit with our EMS is gonna make the blacks think that now the EMS system is against them now.. This is nothing more than a racist fucking film where the white man is the wrong man. So with that said FUCK YOU Winston young and enhanced business outlook your both pieces of tucking shit.

Matt Rombkowski's Facebook post

Rombkowski also posted photos of his firearm arsenal, which includes several semiautomatic rifles.

A closer look at Rombkowski's Facebook page, which he has since deleted, shows that this first responder apparently also hates gays.

An October 2010 post by Rombkowski reads: 

"YANKEES SUCK!!!!! and I hope they get rocked in front of their gay fans..... and then jeter and gayrod can go T-bag each other .....FAGGOTS"

Bob Lonsberry knew exactly what he was doing.

From the moment he made an issue where there was none, to the moment that he invited Winston Young on his radio show.

He set Winston Young up.

Too bad Young didn't have smart advisors to warn him just who Bob Lonsberry really was.


Friday evening, a reader sent me yet another disturbing post from Matt Rombkowski's Facebook page, which Rombkowski seems to have deactivated, since I exposed him.

As you can see in the screenshot below, Rombkowski and several others, including an individual by the name Robert Rombkowski, whose relation to Matt Rombkowski is unknown, comment on a photo of a black man at a fair, that Matt Rombkowski posted.

"The real lil Wayne at the fair", Rombkowski writes.

"There were a whole crew of them."

Then in comment which is partially covered, Robert Rombkowski writes; "Some rich person is missing a statu... he lantern?"

It's pretty clear the individual is referring to a racist lawn jockey statue.

Click link below to watch Bad Ride trailer

Follow me on twitter 

Woman Says Rochester, NY Cops Abused Black Elderly Deaf Homeless Man, "As Someone Who has Always Been Pro-Police, I'm Disgusted."

Rochester, NY Cops Search Black Homeless Deaf Man

By Davy V.

A woman on her lunch break says she witnessed two Rochester, NY Police officers abusing a black elderly homeless deaf man in downtown Rochester, Thursday morning.

Jennifer Boccacino, who asked me to not only publish her name, but was also very adamant that I make sure I write that she considers herself as "pro-police", told me that what she saw, has left her questioning her beliefs when it comes to law enforcement.

"They were very abusve to this man," Boccacino told me.

Here's what Boccacino emailed me after a short phone conversation.

"I was heading back to work after grabbing a lunch order, when I see a Rochester Police officer tackle an older black man. As I came to a stop for the red light at the intersection of St. Paul Blvd. and Central Ave., I reached in my purse fumbling for my phone. Unfortunately that's where the video starts, right after they tackled this man on the sidewalk. I have seen this man before, in fact I have given him a few dollars as he stands near that corner. He is homeless and he is deaf. Nothing, and I mean nothing that I saw warranted this excessive use of force on this man. As someone who has always been pro-police, im disgusted."

The 17 second video that Boccacino was able to record before the light changed, shows two Rochester, NY Police officers searching the man, who appears to be handcuffed.

A third Rochester, NY Police officer can be seen sitting inside cruiser P-09.

Calls to Rochester, NY Police officials have not been returned.

I will be updating this piece.



Follow me on twitter 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Rochester, NY Mainstream News Media Becomes Latest Target of Law Enforcement's Infringement of First Amendment Rights

Monroe County, NY Sheriff's Deputy Orders Rochester's Mainstream News Media to Leave.
Photo: Twitter

By Davy V.

When it comes to the first amendment protected right to record, the powers that be in Rochester, NY continue to show that they will keep doing whatever they can to show their blatant disregard for it.

And for the U.S. Constitution in general.

In 2011 the the City of Rochester, NY and the Rochester, NY Police Department made international headlines when RPD officer Mario Masic violated Emily Good's constitutional rights after he arrested Good for video recording him and his fellow RPD officers conducting a racially profiled traffic stop of an African-American motorist.

The charges against Good were later dismissed, but the incident put the City of Rochester, NY, and the Rochester Police Department under an international spotlight, as the latest law enforcement agency to violate a citizen's constitutionally protected first amendment right to record.

With the video of Good's arrest being viewed throughout the world, Rochester, NY Police department Commander Sam Farina, upset about the video, decided to target a group of Emily Good supporters (myself included), after we had gathered at a support meeting for her.

Rochester Police Commander Sam Farina ordered several of his goons to do whatever they had to in order to disrupt our meeting.

What happened next can be seen in the video below which I recorded. (SEE LINK BELOW)

In a classic show of intimidation and retaliation tactics, and using plastic pink rulers, Rochester, NY cops measured the distances that our vehicles were parked from the curb, in front of where our meeting was being held, and then began issuing tickets to anyone parked more than a centimeter over the 12-inch limit.

A few months after that video went viral, once again putting the City of Rochester and the Rochester Police Department back in the spotlight, Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard and Mayor Thomas Richards announced that an internal investigation had determined that their officers had intentionally "targeted" Emily Good and her supporters at that meeting, and that as a result, there had been a change of command in the Rochester Police West Division.

Chief Sheppard was referring to Commander Sam Farina.

Farina, whose girlfriend had obtained an order of protection against him after he threatened her, resigned from the Rochester Police Department, and after laying low for a few years, was recently hired as Fairport, NY Police Chief.

Then there was Rochester, NY Police officer Jeffery Noble who I exposed after he threatened to arrest a woman for video recording him and several other RPD officers after neighborhood residents called police on a group of youths threatening neighbors who were attending a get together.

And just this past April, I exposed a Rochester, NY Police officer who intimidated a young woman after she began video recording that officer, and his colleagues harassing a group of black youths.

As you can see in the video below, the officer drives over to the young woman, pulls his cruiser right up to her, then activates a loud decbel alarm in a retaliatory attempt to get the young woman to stop video recording, thus violating her first amendment right to record.

Thankfully, the young woman was smart and held her ground, excercsing her first amendment.

And there's been other incidents of law enforcement officers abusing their authority, by harassing, threatening, and intimidating citizens who excercise their constitutionally protected right to record.

But with all these incidents, there's one common denominator.

The victims of the police abuse, intimidation, and in some cases arrest, for video recording police officers, are all private citizens.

But in the past few years that's been changing.

Yes, mainstream news media reporters, and their camera crews are slowly coming to realize a very bitter truth.

And that's that the law enforcement officers, the same folks they've enjoyed a very close relationship with over the years, a relationship which I refer to as the "Don't bite the hand that feeds you", since mainstream news media depends on police agencies feeding them scraps of info., and well, keeping them "in the loop" when it comes to major crime cases, are now themselves becoming a target of law enforcement.

Take, for example, an incident which took place Saturday afternoon in Irondequoit, NY, a suburb of Rochester.

Several Rochester news media reporters and photographers were covering a possible home invasion/burglary/standoff when Irondequoit, NY Police officers, and Monroe County, NY Sheriff's deputies told them to leave.

It didn't take long for Will Morgan, a photographer with Rochester's ABC affiliate WHAM13, to sound off on Twitter.

And rightfully so.

"More worried about media than the call!", Morgan tweeted.

In just a few minutes, Morgan had Twitter lit up.


"Why are they scared of us?"

Now I have to say something here.

As many of you know, I'm no fan of mainstream news media, and the way that they help protect law enforcement, by spinning incidents of abuse, misconduct, and in some cases, cold blooded executions of unarmed innocent people.

But I have have to, this one time, give credit where where credit is due.

Like we Cubans say, Will Morgan SI QUE TIENE COJONES!

For all my non-Spanish speaking readers that means Will Morgan HAS COJONES!

Much respect for not being afraid to stand up to law enforcement.

And his next tweet explained why he isn't afraid of overzealous cops.

"IPD has threatened to arrest me at a standoff in theast. But couldn't figure out what to charge me with."

Will Morgan
Photo: Twitter

Even Will Cleveland, of Rochester's Democrat and Chronicle newspaper tweeted a photo of a Monroe County, NY Sheriff duty ordering media to leave.

"It looks like IPD is trying to force media away from the scene, while neighbors are still outside."

"Another MCSO deputy requesting that we leave. IPD doesn't want us here."

But Morgan and Cleveland weren't alone.

Rachel Barnhart, a reporter at Rochester's lowest rated news channel, the CBS affiliate, News 8 also took to Twitter.

"Media can go where public can. That isn't right", Barnhart tweeted.

"Ridiculous. We are no different than Joe Public. If he can walk around, so can we."

Barnhart was referring to police allowing the public, including neighbors to stand right up against the yellow take which police had set up to cordone off a perimeter.

Which is interesting, because it soon became clear that police was targeting, and slinging out news media.

Someone then tweeted Will Cleveland, and they weren't pulling any punches either; "we don't get even simple crime reports from IPD everything is a secret with IPD.", tweeted Janet Watson

Even Monroe County Fire Wire, who uses Twitter to tweet 911 calls for services in Monroe County, added fuel to the fire, in a very disturbing Gestapo-like tweet; 

"News media needs to go where the IPD tell you. Stop trying to get around. You are pulling officers off coverage to deal with you."


Yes, obey government officials!

Do as they say!

I wonder if Rochester's news media also had to show their papers?

Monroe County, NY Sheriff's Deputy harasses Rochester, NY news media.
Photo: Twitter

Monroe County, NY Sheriff's Deputy.
Photo: Twitter

One thing which may explain why the Irondequoit, NY Police Department seems to have it out for Rochester's mainstream news media, may be my March 18, 2015 expose of Irondequoit, NY Police detective Jim Frascati.

After I exposed Frascati on my blog for racist posts he made, including one where he targetted First Lady Michelle Obama, with a photo of African women in tribal dress, with the caption, "Michelle Obama's class reunion.", Rochester's mainstream news media outlets took my story which I broke, and did their own reporting, albeit with a soft, kids glove approach, but nevertheless they ran several news stories.

Shortly after I exposed Irondequoit, NY Police Detective Jim Frascati, Irondequoit Town Supervisor Adam Bello and the Irondequoit Tpwn board voted to terminate the veteran cop.

However, a slick Frascati later announced his retirement.

Obviously retiring looks better than being fired.

Only one station, Rochester's NBC affiliate, News10 NBC, and one reporter, Berkeley Brean, ran pretty good pieces on their newscasts which included an interview they did with me.

And let's just say that Irondequoit, NY Police Chief Richard Tantalo was furious.

And that's what I think may have happened.

The Irondequoit, NY Police Department, with the assistance of the Monroe County, NY Sheriff's Department flexing their muscle on Rochester's news media as a little payback for running my expose about one of their own.

So there you have it.

Once again, law enforcement in Rochester, NY, also known as "The World's Image Center", "The Birthplace of Photography", the home of Kodak (or what's left of it), once again infringing on the first amendment protected right to record.

IPD Detective Jim Frascati's Racist Post about First Lady Michelle Obama

Irondequoit, NY Police Detective Jim Frascati





Follow me on twitter