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    Opinion...

    Mom refuses to send kids to school program to honor city’s cops - the family suffered enough

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    January 12, 2015

    By Jack Strickland

    The young mother refused to salute the police. She kept her two children home from school on Friday so they did not have to honor cops.

    Some feathers were ruffled. At a time when policemen are under attack, public support is very important. Policemen need to know the public has their back. Cops need to know they are appreciated.

    Toward that end, North Beardslep Elementary School in Bakersfield, California set Jan. 9 as “Police Appreciation Day.”
    The principal at the Bakersfield school directed students to wear blue on Friday as a show of solidarity with the Bakersfield police department.

    Students were directed to write a letter of appreciation to the local police. They were told nothing negative would be tolerated. Guidelines were provided for the young students. They could write, “Thank you for arresting the bad guys” or “Thank you for saving our city.”

    Aimee Williamson, the school principal led the campaign. She had a vested interest in promoting the “Police Appreciation Day.” Her husband is the Bakersfield chief ofpPolice.

    Alacia Moore was deeply offended. She is the mother of two students at the school. Her son and daughter love school and are gifted students. Her seven-year-old daughter had a perfect attendance record. It was with great reluctance that she kept her home from school on the day of the salute.

    She felt she had no choice. Ten years ago, the father of the brother of her child was brutally beaten to death by members of the Bakersfield police department. Alicia Moore refused to allow her children to be subjected to a salute to the men and women who wear the uniform of the murderers of her former husband.

    The facts surrounding the murder of James Moore are not in dispute. He was arrested after he was accused of making a verbal threat. For reasons that are not clear members of the Bakersville police department singled him out for abuse. 

    They took him to jail. While he was chained in leg irons and was handcuffed with his hands chained to his belt, as many as 15 police officers took turns beating him over a period of several hours. Court records claim they used night sticks, fists, knees, and elbows to inflict Moore’s injuries. When he was knocked to the floor, female officer Roxanne Fowler kicked him, repeatedly, in the head with steel toed boots.

    More was comatose when he was transported to the hospital. On life support he died a few days later.

    While he was unconscious and on life support in ICU officer Ralph Contteras took a picture on his cell phone of Moore, showing his horrific facial injuries. He circulated the picture on social media, bragging, “Look, we Fuc*** this guy up.”

    Normally, policemen only get a slap on the wrists from the courts when they are convicted of crimes. Largely, because he took that picture and bragged about what he had done, Contteras was sentenced to 15 years in prison after he was convicted of murder.

    Fowler entered into a pretrial plea bargain to avoid trial and was sentenced to two years probation. A third police officer, Daniel Lindini, was convicted at trial and was sentenced to two years in prison.

    The City of Bakersfield settled a lawsuit brought in the names of James Moore’s two sons. The city paid $6,000,000. Attorneys for the boys said the death was so brutal and so egregious the case would have been worth between $25-30 million if it had gone to trial.

    They said a trial with appeals would have delayed collecting the awarded amount for as much as 10 years. They said they settled for the lesser amount to get the money immediately because the boys needed it growing up without a father.

    Alacia Moore was deeply offended by the school’s directive that students salute and honor the Bakersfield police department. She is outraged that her children were required to participate. She has asked Principal Williamson not to involve her children in any of her personal campaigns in the future.