A Promise to My Dad film poster
(My dad center, me far right)
By Davy V.
Sometimes you just have to take a break and disconnect.
Disconnect from everything.
And clear your head.
For me that disconnect has been taking a step back from social media.
Social media and the Internet as a whole is a funny thing.
On one hand I rely on it to get my work out.
And that's fine.
That's a good thing.
Like when I exposed Jim Frascati, an Irondequoit, NY cop who posted racist comments about First Lady Michelle Obama and Latinos on the Internet.
As a result of my exposing Frascati, the town's supervisor and board moved to terminate him.
Or the time when I exposed Devin Alexander, better known by his street name "True Goon Tocool Sneekey", a young thug, who thought he was a tough guy by preying on an elderly woman, when he waited for her outside a Rochester, NY corner store, and then blindsided her, hitting her on the side of her head, nearly knocking her out, as part of the "Smack Cam" craze.
This young punk then posted the entire video of the assault on the helpless woman on his Facebook page, then quickly deleted it, but not before I made sure it was forever saved.
I then posted the video on YouTube and on this blog, along with my story of how the Rochester, NY Police Department refused to take any action against this coward, even though the entire attack was caught on video!
My blog of Alexander's assault on the elderly woman quickly went viral, spreading through the Internet like wildfire.
The story even ended up being picked up by Internet news sites such as The Smoking Gun, and countless news sites as far away as Russia and the Ukraine.
Something interesting happened.
After my story went viral, the Rochester, NY Police Department decided to charge the punk after all, who by the way, as it turned out he was already on probation.
Funny what happens when I put the Rochester, NY Police Department under an international spotlight huh?
Ahh the power of the Internet.
It's a beautiful thing.
I love it!
And I also hate it.
I hate the toxicity that can come with it.
Especially if one isn't careful.
Let me explain.
When it comes to my work as an activist, I've been doing this for a while.
A long while.
In fact, long enough to remember when I stomped the streets of Rochester, NY, accompanying my dad Mario Vara, on all his marches and rallies in the 1980's and early 1990's.
Before dial up Internet.
Dial up Internet.
Remember all those little sounds as one would wait to be able to get on AOL?
Well I've been doing this long before all that.
In fact my dad was recording cops with his old school VHS camera long before it became cool to record cops.
But the Internet also brings a negative side.
Like trolls and haters for example.
And it's easy to get caught up in that negativity.
And I've done just that.
As many of you who follow this blog, and my work already know, I have a few haters.
Only in my case, because of my high profile public image, they're not your everyday run of the mill haters.
No, they're very disturbed individuals.
Like a gas station attendant whose name I won't mention because I refuse to give him any personal recognition and attention, which is what these individuals want in the first place.
This individual, who had openly bragged about being friends with several Rochester, NY Police officers, has stalked me and my children for years, including parking out front of my children's school.
In fact it was as a result of this individual's actions why I am no longer affiliated with CopBlock.
You see, Pete Eyre and Ademo Freeman, the original founders of CopBlock, enabled this individual threatening and stalking my children, by allowing him to post threats against my children on the comment section of the CopBlock website, including posting my minor children's personal information such as birth dates, addresses, etc.
When I brought this to the attention of Pete Eyre, and asked that he ban and block this individual from the site, Pete Eyre's response was that he would not block anyone from posting comments.
When I pressed him on this, and explained that despite me standing for free speech, this was not free speech, this was endangering minor children, Pete Eyre told me he no longer wanted me to write for, or in any way be affiliated with CopBlock.
The stalking and threats have never stopped.
In fact they've only intensified.
In August of 2014, an ex-con turned confidential informant for the Rochester, NY Police Department, walked into the gas station where the same attendant who has staked my children works, and conspired with him by threatening to murder and decapitate my 5-year old daughter, then place her head on the roof of my car.
Despite the entire threat having been captured on the gas station's video surveillance cameras, the Rochester, NY Police Department along with Monroe County, NY District Attorney Sandra Doorley refused to charge the individual with any crime.
The events will be included in my upcoming film "A Promise to My Dad."
And there a few others who are obsessed with my every move.
My every word.
Disturbed individuals who have also threatened my children, and posted some of the nastiest comments about my father who committed suicide, and my elderly mom who has dementia.
One of these individuals who goes by the Twitter name @enriquerivera70 has even posted my home address on Twitter.
And in a very disturbing twist, the same individual is in close contact with Carlos Miller, founder of Photography Is Not A Crime, of "PINAC" website, whom I have been very critical of in my posts.
So, as you can imagine, it's already hard enough to be in the public eye for the work that I do, but add to that the fact that there are several wackos who are completely obsessed with me and my family in some sort of fatal attraction style shit, and you can begin to see and understand why I say that social media can be very toxic.
Which is why I disconnected.
And why I'll be taking a break from any intense social media activity.
But the main reason why I'm taking a break is to finish my book, my film, and to work on plans for my new Vlog which will be debuting soon on YouTube.
Three projects which I am very excited about.
In the meantime please stop by and visit the blog as I will try my best to post something new at least once every couple of weeks.
And feel free to scroll through all my blogs.
There's more than 2,500 entries!
In closing, I want to thank each and every one of you, even the haters.
Without ALL of you, this blog wouldn't exist!
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