Tag Archives: violence

SB 782: Protecting Domestic Abuse Victims

After years of abuse, Judith finally separated from her husband. In retaliation, he broke into her apartment, wrote obscenities on the walls, tore apart furniture, and smeared excrement all over Judith’s belongings. The following week, the property manager of Judith’s apartment building told her she was being evicted for damaging the unit. Even after learning what happened, the manager still evicted Judith and her baby from the apartment.

Judith’s experience is not unique. Across the state, domestic violence victims face eviction for the disturbances that result from their abuse. Landlords have relied upon the nuisance clause of standard rental agreements to evict victims and their families. The problem with this practice is that, in addition to suffering abuse, when they lose their homes, domestic violence victims are pushed further into isolation and instability. In California, domestic violence is one of the leading causes of homelessness for women and families. The children of evicted victims suffer perhaps the greatest consequences, including trauma, poor school performance, and other health and social issues.  

When victims lose their homes, this also presents difficulties for law enforcement trying to maintain contact with victims and prosecute abusers. The victims are lost to the streets and the perpetrators remain at large. If victims are homeless or transient, it is much less likely that they will participate in the criminal case against their abuser. Victims also cannot get District Attorney Victim Services – services that are vital to establishing their safety and stability.  Stable housing for victims is an important public safety issue.

For theses reasons, in 2007, I joined with San Francisco Supervisor Carmen Chu to sponsor city legislation to prohibit landlords from evicting domestic violence victims. With support from both domestic violence service providers and property owners, San Francisco became the first city in the nation to prohibit tenant evictions when those evictions arise from incidents of domestic violence.  

Shortly after this legislation was instated, State Senator Leland Yee (D- San Francisco) saw the wisdom in the law and decided to replicate it statewide. In 2008, Yee introduced SB 782 to prohibit tenant evictions if the eviction is based on incidents of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. The bill also allows landlords to change the locks on a unit if the victim tenant makes that request after obtaining an emergency protective order. After a two year push, Governor Schwarzenegger just signed this legislation into law.

This new state law is a significant victory for domestic violence victims. Recognizing the economic climate we face today, relief could not have come at a more important time. Now more than ever, we need to protect vulnerable residents and keep them in their homes. Across the state, families are losing their jobs, losing their homes, and increasingly unable to bounce back from economic hardships. As shelters fill up and funding for services become more strained, domestic violence victims are finding it harder and harder to recover from losing a place to live.

The signing of SB 782 puts California in leadership across the nation. This law recognizes that vulnerable victims need the law on their side. With SB 782, domestic violence victims no longer have to risk losing their stability and their homes when they suffer abuse. This is good for public safety, good for the economy, and good for families.

Kamala Harris is the District Attorney of San Francisco and the Democratic nominee for Attorney General

More Walmart Loss Prevention Violence

Down in Texas, Walmart has been sued for, allegedly, illegally detaining a customer and causing him physical injury. Michael Anthony Harris was thrown to the ground and handcuffed by a Walmart employee after they accused him of shoplifting. They refused to let him leave, even after he gave them his bag, but instead insisted he stay until the police came. When the police did arrive, Harris’ injuries were so bad that they took him directly to a hospital.

Cross posted at the Wake-Up Wal-Mart Blog.

More below:

Of you follow this blog, you’ll know that this is certainly not the first time this has happened. Walmart, for reasons unknown, has recently become very harsh with anyone they even suspect of theft or shoplifting. There have been a few deaths from over zealous loss prevention officers, as well as several cases of serious injury from run ins with security guards.

Here’s the article from the Southeast Texas Record:

Alleged shoplifter sues Wal-Mart over forceful detention

A Port Arthur man has filed suit against Wal-Mart, claiming he was injured when store employees accused him of shoplifting and used force to detain him.

Michael Anthony Harris claims he was shopping at the Wal-Mart located at 4999 Twin City Highway in Port Arthur on March 13 and paid at a register in the back portion of the store.

Harris alleges he was leaving the store through its front entrance, when he was confronted by four Wal-Mart employees, including defendant David Treml.

The employees accused Harris of having items in his bags for which he did not pay, according to the complaint filed March 25 in Jefferson County District Court. Harris claims he immediately handed the bags to the employees.

“Plaintiff said, ‘Just take the bag and let me go,'” the suit states.

However, the employees would not let Harris leave the store until police arrived, the complaint says.

Harris alleges workers then threw him to the floor and placed him in handcuffs.

“Plaintiff’s arms were violently jerked as one of the employees secured Plaintiff with handcuffs,” the suit states. “Defendants had no legal authority or justification to detain plaintiff.”

According to the complaint, Harris asked the employees to release him from the handcuffs because of his pain, but the employees refused to do so until the police arrived several moments later.

When a police officer arrived, Harris claims the officer recognized the severity of his injury and immediately transported Harris to the hospital. Harris states he was told he had a dislocated shoulder.

Because of the incident, Harris claims he incurred medical costs and experienced physical pain and suffering, physical impairment, disfigurement, mental anguish and fear of a future disease or illness.

The plaintiff alleges Wal-Mart and Treml committed acts of negligencee, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault and vicarious liability.

Harris is seeking unspecified exemplary damages, pre-judgment interest at the maximum rate allowed by law, post-judgment interest at the legal rate, costs and other relief the court deems just.

He will be represented by Langston Scott Adams of Port Arthur.

The case has been assigned to Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court.

NYT and WSJ Cover SEIU’s Violence at Labor Notes

The New York Times and Wall St. Journal both cover the incredible events at Saturday’s Labor Notes conference in Michigan, where Andy Stern of SEIU International sent busload of male staffers to chase and harass RNs from the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, in retaliation for CNA/NNOC defeating them in a controversial “company union” vote last month in Ohio.  Fortunately the targeted RNs were able to escape out a back door, but other conference-goers were not so lucky, with one woman sent to the hospital, and others punched, kicked, slapped, and shoved

This is obviously a dark day for the labor movement.  Andy Stern needs to learn that this kind of harassment of women is NEVER okay. And it is NEVER, EVER okay to orchestrate an action that is so stressful that members have a heart attack and die.

RNs will never forget this day, nor is it now likely that any RN in the country will want to organize with SEIU after this kind of display.

As a first step, Andy Stern needs to apologize to all involved, pay the hospital bills of the injured woman, and promise to never use violence again.  Instead, shamefully, SEIU is going back and forth between denying the violence and attempting to justify it.  You can watch first-person accounts from some of the RNs targeted for harassment.

You really need to go look at the picture, but The New York Times writes:

       “The A.F.L.-C.I.O. president, John J. Sweeney, denounced on Tuesday what he said was “a violent attack orchestrated” by the Service Employees International Union against members of other unions at a conference on Saturday in Michigan.

The service employees’ union sent busloads of members from Ohio to the labor conference in Dearborn to confront leaders and members of the California Nurses Association. The service employees say the nurses sabotaged a major service employees’ unionizing drive last month.

Others at the conference said the fighting began when service employee members and officials tried to barge into the conference in a hotel banquet hall. Chris Kutalik, editor of Labor Notes, a magazine sponsoring the conference, said a retired member of the United Automobile Workers was pushed, banged her head against a table and was taken to a hospital for a head wound.

“There is no justification, none, for the violent attack orchestrated by S.E.I.U.,” Mr. Sweeney said in a statement. “Violence in attacking freedom of speech must be strongly condemned.”

Today’s Wall St. Journal takes their own look, at SEIU’s attack (reg. req’d)

       “On Saturday, a scuffle broke out between members of the SEIU and participants in a labor solidarity conference in Detroit at which the executive director of the California Nurses Association was scheduled to speak. One attendee was sent to the hospital after cutting her head on a table, according to Chris Kutalik, editor of the magazine Labor Notes, which organized the conference.

Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of the 66,000-member nurses’ association, decided not to appear at the conference because of tensions between the unions. “Our folks are extremely upset about what happened,” she said. “This is a nasty campaign.”

Mr. Sweeney condemned the confrontation. “There is no justification — none — for the violent attack orchestrated by SEIU,” he said in a statement. Mr. Sweeney called on leaders of both unions to meet to resolve their differences.”

Andy Stern attempted to destroy the labor movement n 2005 by splitting the AFL-CIO, he is undermining the progressive labor movement with series of corporate partnerships you can learn more about here, and now his actions threaten to hurt the reputation of every labor union.  Here’s why Andy needs to apologize and make restitution.

       “More significantly, such fighting could tarnish the image of unions, which have been trying to stem the decline in membership and attract more workers, say labor experts.”

Andy Stern must apologize and make things right.