Monthly Archives: April 2021

Angelo Quinto, Mental Health and Policing

On December 23, 2020, Angelo Quinto, a 30-year-old Navy veteran, was experiencing a mental health crisis, and instead of helping him, the police killed him in a similar manner to George Floyd, with a knee to his neck. 

Cassandra Quinto-Collins, Quinto’s mother was told by the officer who knelt on her son’s neck for over 4 minutes that what he was doing was standard protocol for sedating a person experiencing a mental breakdown. 

She told Associated Press, she was watching the whole time and “just trusted that they knew what they were doing.” When she began filming him, he was already unresponsive, never regaining consciousness and passing away 3 days later.

Quinto’s sister had called 911 for help calming him down during an episode of paranoia on Dec. 23. His family, who live in Antioch, said Quinto didn’t resist the officers — one who pushed his knee on the back of his neck, and another who restrained his legs — and the only noise he made was when he twice cried out, “Please don’t kill me.”

The family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit, as it took the police department over a month to share the details of the circumstances of Quinto’s death. Antioch Police Chief Tammany Brooks said, “At no point did any officer use a knee, or other body parts to gain leverage or apply pressure to Angelo’s head, neck, or throat, which is outside of our police and training” and “at one point an officer repositioned to control Quinto’s legs, which officers say were thrashing around. Officers called an ambulance and more police arrived on the scene. After, Quinto was no longer conscious and was “immediately” rushed to the hospital. He was later transferred to an intensive care unit, where he died three days later.” However, the department did not make details of Quinto’s death public until questioned by East Bay Times, and the investigation is still ongoing.

John Burris, the Quinto’s attorney said along with claims of a knee restraint, there were other issues with the officers’ response, including how they didn’t try to de-escalate and first talk to Quinto, and how they failed to turn on their body cameras and the camera in their patrol car. Police are typically taught how to de-escalate situations in their jobs however when it comes to mental health they receive little to no training, they are not taught to listen and be non violent when it comes to such situations.

Mentally challenged individuals have always been a target of the police and when contacted for help, their situations are typically met with unnecessary violence that at times can lead to their death. This is not the first case recorded of a family member calling the police for assistance with their child or sibling, but this one has sparked outrage as it acknowledges police brutality, in the way they handle mental health issues. 

According to Treatment Advocacy Center, a site that discusses the criminalization of mental health, people with mental health are 16 times more likely to be killed by law enforcement. According to John Snook, a co-author in this study, he addressed this issue as “patently unfair, illogical and proving harmful both to the individuals in desperate need of care and the officer who is forced to respond.” By not having legislative policies address this issue, it causes these mental health crises and neither party knows how to deal with the problem in a safe manner.

Proposals for additional training when dealing with mental health are being pushed. Antioch is now in the process of developing a mental health crisis team and a requirement of the use of body cameras.

March Madness Elevates, Delivers

Indianapolis — After a yearlong hiatus from intercollegiate athletics, one of the most hyped tournaments, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, also known as March Madness, returned to form in a thrilling exposition. The teams accumulated throughout the process of Selection Sunday, a tradition by which the most impressive 68 contenders were selected to participate in the tournament, posted a flurry of electrifying matchups that went down to wire.

On March 21, 2020, the NCAA announced it would postpone the convention, leaving many athletes that were college seniors having to decide how to continue their careers.

Of the 68 teams competing, 32 teams received an automatic bid from winning their conference tournaments. The remaining 36 teams received a bid from the NCAA selection committee.

Historically, the college with the most championships is UCLA, with 11 total championships.

UCLA made a historic run in the 2021 ‘Big Dance.’ They were selected as a member of the First Four but annihilated their way through the tournament. 

They advanced all the way to face no. 1 seed Gonzaga, who was undefeated during the matchup with UCLA. In an astounding thriller that went down to the wire, Gonzaga’s guard Jalen Suggs hit a desperation three from just past half-court to win the game.

Unfortunately for the powerhouse Gonzaga Bulldogs team, the championship game after that featured a battle-tested and weathered Baylor Bears team that so decisively pounded Gonzaga from the beginning of the match up until the final buzzer. In the end, Baylor emerged victorious and ended Gonzaga’s winning streak.

The final night of the NCAA tournament was a stunning ride. “We’re really good defensively. I thought we made things tough tonight,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “Gonzaga missed some shots that they probably normally make. But credit our guys for making everything difficult.”

“They were just so much more aggressive than us,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “They just literally busted us out of anything we could possibly do on offense.”

“They punched us in the mouth right at the get-go,” Gonzaga star Corey Kispert said. “And it took a long, long time for us to recover and start playing them even again. But then it was too late.”

According to CNN reporter Steve Almasy, Few said he never saw his team play as if they were weighted down by the pressure to go undefeated.

Baylor star Jared Butler explained his insights from the game, “I was struggling the whole tournament probably until the Final Four,” Butler said. “And as a shooter, it’s hard. Like, it just makes the days longer, and you think about it all day long. But I knew … I couldn’t go the whole tournament and not shoot well.” Butler had 22 points to lead the Bears.

Few explained his team ” … loves one another. Just such a positive spirit yet such a competitive spirit.”

Nonetheless, Drew acknowledged the historic run for the Bears and how it felt for Texas. “Look at how much great basketball we have (in Texas) from high school, AAU, junior college, college,” Drew said. “And we haven’t won a national championship since ’66. It’s long overdue for the state, and I’m so pleased for all of them.”

The Baylor Bears’ season was justified after giving up their perfect record to Kansas and Oklahoma State. They retaliated against this star-studded Gonzaga offense and prolific Gonzaga defense to capture the 2021 NCAA title. This was Baylor’s first Intercollegiate title for Men’s Basketball. The Baylor Women’s Intercollegiate Basketball team has won the tournament three times, including one in 2019.

$1.9 Trillion American Rescue Plan

On March 11, this year, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill. The Biden Administration’s primary ambition was to restabilize the economy. The nation is on the verge of emerging again to normalcy as vaccines roll out and COVID deaths drop.

But Americans across the U.S. are still under strain from the lasting effects of COVID’s hit on the economy. According to CNBC, over 20 million people are on some form of assistance for unemployment benefits. The bill features several aspects aiming to reallocate direct funds to businesses and people. One of the most expensive parts of the bill is the payments of up to $1,400 to almost every American citizen, as most are undergoing financial strain.

Caroline Huntsman, a local resident and employed in the bay, says, “I’ve had a job almost all of my life. I’ve waited tables, worked the bar, been a cashier, but once I lost my position from the pandemic. I struggled with money and spent most of my savings to stay afloat. It has been so tough to find work and now reliable hours are hard to come by.” Ms. Huntsman also said she “is fortunate to have a job … but I can feel myself slipping under still and into more debt as things pick back up slowly,”.

With millions of households struggling to afford food and housing, Democrats say the bill will decrease family and child poverty. It will send more than $120 billion to K-12 schools across the nation.

They are also increasing the maximum Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by 15% through September. While nearly $30 billion will go toward restaurants seeking aid, expanding tax credits will help businesses keep employees on the payroll as well. The legislation will also boost provisions to make health care more affordable.

“This historic legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country,” Biden said to CNBC before signing the legislation. “And giving people in this nation, working people, middle-class folks, the people who built this country, a fighting chance.

The Bill includes a full $1,400 check for adults who earned $75,000 or less, married couples who earned $150,000 or less, and heads of household who earned $112,500 or less.

People eligible for a reduced check are adults who earned between $75,000 and $80,000, married couples who earned between $150,000 and $160,000, and heads of household who earned between $112,500 and $120,000.

Adults who earned more than $80,000, married couples who earned more than $160,000, and heads of households who earned more than $120,00 are ineligible.

The Democrats were able to pass the relief bill through reconciliation. Usually, a simple majority of 60 votes are needed to pass legislation and hurdle the filibuster. But the Senate is split 50-50, Republican to Democrat caucus members, requiring Vice President Kamala Harris to vote and disappointing Republican Senate members as they felt bypassed during what they thought would be a bipartisan bill.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R) Utah told reporters inside the Capitol, “If some Republican amendments got into the bill, some of his colleagues may support it … But my guess is it’s not likely that many of our amendments will get any Democrat support, so I think it’s very unlikely that any Republicans will support the final bill.”

Since the campaign trail, the Biden Administration has been promoting their “reach across the aisle” mantra. But major Senate members have critiqued the Democrat’s ability and willingness to meet them with closer compromises.

Rumors from the Capitol say Democrats are not “picking up their phone calls,” As both Senate Republicans’ infrastructure projects were dropped from the relief bill following deliberations with key Senate officials.

Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hammill said, “the bill’s funding for an expansion of the BART, a subway system serving the San Francisco Bay Area, was struck from the bill because it was “part of a pilot project.”

Despite the omissions from Democrats, the Republicans from the Senate feel the bill features many infrastructure and economic breaks. The tax credit is one piece Republicans saw as not relevant to COVID relief.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R) Florida said the Democrats’ proposal would turn the credit into “welfare,” adding the benefit should be tied to employment. Rubio, and some other Republican senators, have proposed their own changes to the child tax credit and stand against the permanent expansion of the credit.

In the same aisle, Republicans plead the relief bill, although passed, is unnecessary as the economy begins to rise on its own as people get back out and businesses open back up.

“They want to send wheelbarrows of cash to state and local bureaucrats to bail out mismanagement from before the pandemic,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R) Kentucky told CNN. “They’re changing the previous bipartisan funding formula in ways that will especially bias the money toward big blue states.”

Republicans believe the revenue decline to be from a history of budget mismanagement. There is also the truth that blue states have higher unemployment and steep revenue losses from policies to shut down businesses during the pandemic. Marissa Payne of The Gazette analyzed the claim of a bailout for blue states, and blue states do benefit more when all dollars are added up.

According to the review from the Tax Foundation, a think tank in Washington D.C. studying Federal and State tax policy, $121.4 billion are being allocated to the state legislature and the governor’s seat of 23 Republican-run states. $130.1 billion will be allocated to 15 Democratic-run states, including D.C. The last 11 states with split control will receive $6.4 billion.

If Reevaluated for population, the analysis shows blue states would get more aid in the amount of $1,278 per capita. While on average red states receive $1,017 per capita, and split states receive $1,041.

In 2020 10 blue states, including D.C. and 13 red states, as well as four split states, all lost revenue in the fight to handle COVID. What hasn’t been said is the bill would send aid to all states, whether or not they lost revenue.

But the “formula for allocating funding takes into account each state’s share of the nation’s unemployed workers. The average unemployment rate is 5.03 percent for red states, 7.61 percent for blue states and Washington and 6.09 percent for split states, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.”

When Marissa Payne, a fact-checker for the Gazette, was asked in blunt terms if this was a bailout for blue states once the data is put through the formula?

She said, “On average, these (blue) governments lost less revenue but have higher unemployment rates, and do benefit the most on many accounts.”

She did leave the caveat that “these (blue) states encompass the nation’s largest and most populous cities, like Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago, where there is typically a much higher cost of living than in rural areas. Urban counties are also more racially and ethnically diverse, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledges minorities are more likely to contract COVID-19 and die from it.”