#BlackLivesMatter: Who Was Raymond Allen, Jr.?

Texas Rangers are investigating the death of a Raymond Luther Allen, Jr., Galveston man who died in the hospital two days after being tased by a Galveston sheriff’s deputy and a Galveston police officer this week, a ranger said Thursday.

“We don’t do it because we think the police are criminally culpable,” Haralson said. “We do it because it needs to be done and it goes where it goes.”

Allen’s father, Raymond Allen Sr., blames the police for his son’s death.

“I think it was pretty low down,” he said. He said two witnesses told him that his son was hogtied, but he declined to disclose further details for fear of harming the investigation.

Police and sheriff’s deputies received a report of a man jumping repeatedly from the second floor of the Beachcomber Inn on 61st Street about a half block from the seawall shortly after 11 a.m. Monday, Haralson said. Officers encountered Allen Jr. in the parking lot of the Happy Buddha Restaurant next door to the motel, he said.

Motel manager Peter Wolbach said there was no record of Allen Jr. being registered, although an employee saw him leaving the property.

Police at first were concerned about Allen Jr.’s welfare, Haralson said.

“Initially it was concern for his erratic behavior,” he said. “The first thing they asked was, ‘Man, do I need to call you an ambulance?'”

A deputy and officer each Tased Allen Jr. while trying to restrain him and reported he stopped breathing, Haralson said. An ambulance took Allen Jr. to the University of Texas Medical Branch’s John Sealy Hospital where he died Wednesday, Haralson said.

Department of Public Safety records show that Allen Jr. was arrested 20 times by the Galveston police and once by DPS between 1994 and 2010 on charges that included unlawfully carrying a weapon, assault, evading arrest and drug possession.

Allen Jr. was the father of three children, ages 4, 10 and 13, said sister-in-law Lenora Amy. Amy said his police record did not reflect the way he was seen by his family and his neighbors.

“We’re not going to let them take away his memory,” she said.

A week before his death, Allen Jr. placed flowers on the grave of his grandmother, Sammie Allen, as he has done every year on her birthday since she died 15 years ago, said his aunt, Jeanette Dotson.

“He was loved by all,” Allen Sr. said. “He had compassion for people’s lives and tried to bring joy to others.”

*Originally published on Chron.

 

Advertisements

Let The End-Of-The-Year Countdown Begin!

The span of time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve is a special time of year. For many, it’s where your end-of-the-year exhaustion meets end-of-the-year desperation; where your search for free time has to accommodate participation at holiday social events; and where your own personal goals face the pending reality of what you can actually accomplish in the remaining few weeks. To add insult to injury, it’s also daylight savings time which means the days are shorter and the weather is cooler. These special times call for special coping strategies –

  1. Plan Ahead For Crunch Times

I know of someone who when they make their strategic plan, they leave the first 2 weeks in December blank so that they can catch up on anything that has not been completed during the year. When the calendar turns to December, they have a built in a cushion of time that helps relieve their stress during an already stressful time of year.

  1. Try The Treat System

Lots of people swear by the treat system during the end-of-the-year crunch time! Since each day can be packed full of pressure to meet other people’s demands, staying committed to completing the most important thing to you without getting off track deserves a reward. If you fulfill your time first thing in the morning by doing what’s important to you, then you get a reward at the end of the day. The only rule is that the reward has to be something truly pleasurable!

  1. Find A Crunch Time Buddy

The buddy system is a great way to get through the difficult times of the term. Asking someone to be your accountability partner during crunch time will help to keep you connected to the right people. It’s really simple: 1) ask a peer if they will be your partner for two weeks, 2) set up a time to talk for 5-10 minutes each day, and 3) agree to quickly report in during the call by stating what your key priorities are for the day and identifying any potential places you may get stuck for a little advanced problem solving. Two weeks is a minimal commitment and the call can serve as a built-in daily ritual to confirm and clarify your priorities for that day.

  1. Get Comfortable With End-Of-The-Year Conflicts

The end of the year is guaranteed to have people asking for your money & your time (those last minute tax deductions!). Instead of getting angry and lamenting their consumerist attitudes, understand that at this late date, the only thing you control is your response. Get clear ahead of time about how and when you want to handle these requests and then do it in an efficient and professional manner so it doesn’t disturb your inner peace.

  1. Try Annoyance Tracking

Most of the things that you find annoying at the end of the year can be alleviated with a little advanced planning. If you’re shocked to find yourself with time-intensive service commitments that all piled up at the end of the year, then make yourself a note to consult your calendar before saying “yes” to anything next year. This doesn’t necessarily solve all of your problems in the moment, but the changes that will come out of your annoyance tracking will reduce your stress in the long run.

  1. Take Strategic Short-Cuts

Many people respond to the stress of the end of the year by taking shortcuts. Unfortunately, the shortcuts we frequently take often interfere with our personal needs. So instead of unconsciously choosing to skip sleep or give up a meal, try consciously assessing what activities in your day can be eliminated or reduced with minimal consequences. For example, when I skimp on sleep the consequence is physical exhaustion and an old haggardly look. That’s not good for me at all. However, if I stop checking Facebook, don’t answer every phone call that comes my way, sign off all listservs, close my office door (and don’t answer when someone knocks) or re-schedule low priority meetings, the consequences are minimal and I open up time and space in my day for the things that really matter.

  1. Move Your Butt

Even if you don’t normally exercise, stressful times require movement! If you can combine movement and relaxation (yoga, running, whatever) that’s great! If all you can manage is to take the stairs instead of the elevator up to your office, that’s fine too! If that seems like too much, how about just playing some music and dancing right where you are?! (I do this all the time myself.) Whatever you can do to get your body in motion is worth the time and effort and you’ll appreciate the benefits later on.

  1. Rethink Your Regular Coping Strategies

Smoking, heavy drinking, overeating, procrastinating, withdrawing and/or glazing out in front of the TV are all too common coping strategies. However, drinking a bottle of wine while binge-watching TV probably isn’t going to leave you feeling truly relaxed and rejuvenated (although it can be a nice distraction). Instead, take a look at your regular stress-relieving behaviors and consider trying some healthier alternatives towards the end-of-the-year crunch time. For example, calling a good friend, taking a hot bath, pausing for a cup of tea, playing with your kids, getting a massage, journaling, reading for pleasure, or listening to music are all great options!

  1. Hold Your Personal Time (and Space) Sacred

The key to aligning your time with your priorities is to take 30 minutes to plan your week. But during the crunch times it’s even more important to keep that habit going! Your schedule changes, demands on your time increase but the truth is that we still only have a finite amount of time. Oftentimes it can feel like we have more tasks to do than time to do them in. Our human tendency is to focus on the seemingly urgent while neglecting the truly important. Unless we take the time before the week begins to make sure our priorities are appropriately placed in our schedule, they are very likely to get pushed out entirely or we are likely to end up working far more hours than we need to.

  1. Keep The End In Mind

If all you can do during the next few weeks is to ask yourself: what MUST get done between now and the end of the year and let that answer drive your daily behavior, you will be in good shape. Keep your tasks manageable, ask for help when you need it, and be willing to let some things go by developing the habit of consistently asking: does this matter?  During the end-of-year “crunch”, there are many small details that can be released from your life. Stay focused on the most important priorities each day and give yourself permission to let the small stuff go.

I’m not suggesting that you should try all of these strategies at once! Instead, pick 1 or 2 from this list and experiment with them. If they work, great! If not, try a different strategy. The idea is to recognize that the end of the year has its own special energy and unique time challenges that can best be managed by recognizing them and adjusting your approach in whatever ways make the most sense for you!

 

Walk In Strength

Some look back at their lives and feel like a failure.

Some look at previous relationships that didn’t work out, or a marriage that didn’t last like it was supposed to and conclude that they have failed in relationships.

They are hesitant the next time, or even give up and simply choose to not even try and love again. If this describes you at all, I’d like to assure you that you are not a failure.

There is no failure in God.  Since God never fails,  then as a woman of God that means you never fail either. Since there’s no failure in Him; there’s no failure in you.

Stop blaming yourself for circumstances.  Stop feeling “less than” because of what has happened to you.

Throw off the victim mind set and put on the victory mentality knowing that you are more than a conqueror in any situation.  (Romans 8:37)

The fact that God brought you out of whatever hell you went through is an indication that He still has His hand on your life, He still has a plan for you, and that He still (and always will) love you.

The only failure was the devil’s shady attempt to steal, kill and destroy you.

Now you can truly say, “Too late, devil…I’m still standing, I’m still strong, and I’m still here!”  
 
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. Romans 8:37 
 
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Psalm 46:1
Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.  Psalm 84:5
*Originally posted on Kim on the Web.

#BlackLivesMatter: Who Was Latandra Ellington?

The Florida corrections sergeant accused of threatening a female inmate who died last week at Lowell Correctional Institution is being questioned by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Miami Herald has learned.

The inmate, Latandra Ellington, turned up dead on Oct. 1, 10 days after writing a letter to her aunt that detailed how a Lowell corrections officer — she knew him only as “Sgt. Q” — had repeatedly threatened to beat and kill her.

The sergeant being questioned, union officials confirmed Wednesday, is Patrick Quercioli, and he has been placed on perimeter duty — a post that limits his contact with inmates — pending the outcome of the investigation.

He also has a criminal arrest record, according to FDLE.

Union sources said Quercioli was on vacation and not on duty when Ellington died. It is not clear when he went on leave and when he returned. Ellington also named another officer, whose last name she said was Thrasher, as working the C Dorm with Quercioli at the time she was threatened.

Florida’s Department of Corrections released an incident report on the death Wednesday, but almost everything in the report is blacked out, including the names of most of the officers who were on duty when the 36-year-old inmate’s body was found.

Ellington, a mother of four, was to be released in seven months after serving a 22-month sentence for grand theft. She was in confinement — separated from the general population — at the time of her death because the agency, DOC officials said Tuesday, had taken her family’s concerns about the alleged threats “seriously.”

Corrections officials have not told Ellington’s family anything about her death, which was discovered about 11:15 a.m. Oct. 1 at the state prison in Ocala.

Her family, suspecting foul play, hired an attorney and paid for a private autopsy. The family’s lawyer, civil rights attorney Daryl Parks, said at a news conference Tuesday that the autopsy showed she suffered blunt-force trauma to her stomach consistent with being punched or kicked.

Her death came less than 24 hours after her aunt called the prison, distraught upon receiving a letter from Ellington, dated Sept. 21, in which she said she had been threatened by the sergeant. She said he had a tattoo of an Indian and a name that no one seemed to be able to spell or pronounce.

“He was gone [sic] beat me to death and mess me like a dog,” Ellington wrote. “He was all in my face Sqt. Q then he grab his radio and said he was gone bust me in my head with it…”

Quercioli did not return phone messages left by the Herald.

Before it was deactivated Wednesday, Quercioli’s Facebook page showed he is a motorcycle enthusiast who sometimes wears an “Indian” headband, a reference to the once-popular line of motorcycles. One photo shows the chiseled sergeant, president of a fitness company on the side, flexing his biceps.

Quercioli has been arrested twice, according to FDLE records, for fraud in 1986 and for possession of steroids in 1994. His arrests, however, were not reported to FDLE’s criminal justice standards and training commission, which keeps track of law enforcement misconduct. It could not be determined Wednesday whether he was a corrections officer at the time of the incidents.

Although he has 22 use-of-force incidents in his file, it is not clear whether he has a disciplinary record. The Department of Corrections had not released his personnel file as of Wednesday. Nor did it respond to questions about whether he — or any other officers — had been suspended or placed on leave in connection with Ellington’s death.

Ellington’s aunt, Algerine Jennings, said in an interview with the Herald that she feared that her niece was being sexually abused or knew about the abuse of other inmates and had complained. Her niece had previously told her she had complained to some of the commanders at the prison and feared she would face retaliation. The department said Wednesday it had no record of any complaints or grievances filed by Ellington.

Jennings said her niece was too afraid to tell her why the sergeant was terrorizing her.

“She just said she couldn’t fight them. He told her, ‘Do not underestimate my power.’”

Parks, whose firm represented the Trayvon Martin family, has asked the U.S. Department of Justice to intervene in the death, which is the third in-custody death at Lowell this year.

Two other Lowell deaths, Affricka Jean, who died in April, and Regina Cooper, who died in August, are also under FDLE review.

The six-page DOC inspector general incident report indicates that Ellington’s body was found at 11:15 a.m., and that both the Department of Corrections’ inspector general’s office and FDLE were notified. The medical examiner arrived at 2:30 p.m.

The report was signed by the prison’s warden, Gustavo Mazorra. Mazorra, a Miami native, made news when he became entangled in a love affair with a subordinate, a corrections officer at Marion Correctional Institution. The female officer committed suicide by taking an overdose of antidepressants, according to a 2010 report in the Tampa Bay Times, published about the time Mazorra became warden at Zephyrhills Correctional. He later went to the women’s prison at Lowell.

An assistant warden at the time of the 2005 fling, the married Mazorra was never disciplined for the inappropriate relationship, and his personnel file made no mention of it, the Times said.

 

*Originally published on the Miami Herald.