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Watch Out for Alagna in San Joaquin

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We live in a wonderful country and state. We are able to organize into unions and associations that allow us...

... to negotiate for wages and benefits that will provide for ourselves and our families in case of retirement or work related injury.

We have even put social security and medicare into federal law. We have unemployment insurance to help when laid off or terminated from employment. We have state disability insurance if we become disabled or workers compensation if injured on the job. Then you can purchase insurance from private companies if you think the other insurances are not enough.

Even with all of that, there are those who look for loopholes in order to line their pockets and take advantage of taxpayers or contractual language that boggles our thinking. What am I referring to? I’m talking about the latest employment of Michael Alagna, former police officer with the Riverside Police Department.

Michael is one of the officers who shot and killed Tyisha Miller back on December 28, 1998 as she lay in need of medical help. Michael reported that he hurt his shoulder four days prior to the shooting. After the shooting, the community organized and protested.

After an internal investigation, Michael and four other officers were fired from the department. After arbitrators reinstated Michael, the city decided, and rightfully so, to negotiate a settlement with him that rendered Michael disabled due to his shoulder injury. This disability settlement involved $50,000 and half of his salary for the rest of his life, tax-free and without him being employed with the police department.

Now Michael has a new job. His new job will pay him between $3,338 and $4,056 per month, bad shoulder and all. There is no way he could pass the physical with a bad shoulder. On the other hand, the protesters who were seeking justice on behalf of the Tyisha Miller family got jail time, community service time from the court, citations for jaywalking, and lots of harassment.

Now we have learned that Michael has landed a job with the San Joaquin County Sheriff Department as a Deputy Sheriff. His duties include strapping a gun to his side and being able to use faulty judgment when he encounters any of the 37,689 Black citizens of San Joaquin County. According to an article published in the Recorder Newspaper, Michael was able to pass his physical and psychological test with flying colors as stated by Sheriff Baxter Dunn.

By the way, Dunn is under federal investigation by the Justice Department for conspiracy to commit extortion, mail and wire fraud, attempted harassment of witnesses and lying to the FBI. In addition to all of that good judgment, the criminal grand jury handed down indictments on two sheriff deputies for the death of Meondez Denmon, a Black man who died while an inmate in the San Joaquin County Jail. This is a good environment for Alagna to continue his career.

This is but one example of a system that has gone wrong. We have white law enforcement officers all over the state beating, shooting and killing Black citizens, being fired from there positions only to be hired by another law enforcement agency without the flinching of an eye. Bugar was fired from Riverside and hired in San Bernardino. Where are the officers who beat Rodney King? Where is the officer who slammed the boy on the trunk of the car in Inglewood?

What will happen to the officer who beat the man with his flashlight? Will they get lucrative settlements and then go to work for another agency? Where are the officers who were indicted for killing Denmon? There appears to be no tracking or repercussions to law enforcement that kill people and then opt out with great settlements and are still able to relocate and continue their profession.

What happens to rapist when they are released? We force them to register and we alert the community. What happens to schoolteachers when they are accused of child molestation? They are reported and removed from the classroom. We do not hire drug addicts to work in pharmacies. We do not hire alcoholics to work in liquor stores. We do not hire bank robbers to work in banks or at the cash register.

The same should go for police officers that shoot African Americans first and then say, “I thought it was a gun in his hand” or “she has a long criminal record.” I must join with the Press Enterprise and ask our legislators to close the loopholes on these disability regulations that allow officers to claim one thing and then do another. We must also request some type of statewide registration of officer involved racial shootings, to inform the community.

To contact Hardy Brown email: hardybrown@blackvoicenews.com or call (909) 888-5040.

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