THE CASE AGAINST JOHN MCGOWAN: Anti-immigrant activist receives Fairfield County Weekly CLOWN O METER top honors for court antics
Saturday, April 03, 2010 Time: 3:42 PM
The John McGowan court case trainwreck continues...
This week, the Fairfield County Weekly bestowed the former mayoral candidate, and former United States Citizens for Immigration and Law Enforcement vice president with the CLOWN O METER top honors for his pseudo-law defense in his court case.
Opting to defend himself without legal counsel, McGowan, who's facing a possible maximum sentence of 20 years if convicted on first degree sexual assault charges, has really embarrassed himself with his laundry list of bizarre accusations.
Here's what the Weekly had to say about the darling of Danbury's anti-immigrant movement...
McGowan's next appearance in court is scheduled for July 7 at 9:30 AM.
On Saturday April 3rd, Danbury Fire and Police departments will face off at a charity hockey game at the Ice Arena.
The game has grown in popularity over the years and organizers predict that this year's event will be the biggest yet.
The Danbury Police Department, led by Team Captain, Sergeant John Krupinsky, will be playing for the Law Enforcement Survivor’s Fund. This charity ensures that the widows and children of Officers killed in the line of duty are taken care of and not forgotten.
The Danbury Fire Department, led by Team Captain, Lieutenant Jamie Schiller, will be playing for two charities. The first charity is the Connecticut Children’s Burn Camp, which is a free-week long summer camp that provides activities for children who have suffered varying degrees of burn injuries. The second is the Companions in Courage Foundation, which was founded by NHL Hall of Famer, Pat LaFontaine. This Foundation also helps children by building interactive “fun rooms” in children’s hospitals all across America.
“Public Power is honored to have the opportunity to sponsor such a worthwhile charitable event. Since opening our doors just over two years ago in Danbury, CT our goal has been to help Connecticut residents and businesses save money on their electricity bill. With our continued growth, we now have the opportunity to help many other organizations by getting involved with great charitable causes like this hockey game. We hope that all of our Public Power customers will embrace this cause and turn out for this great evening of hockey. As an added bonus to the game, we are extremely excited to announce that NHL Hall of Famer, Stanley Cup Champion and Public Power spokesman, Phil Esposito will be on hand to meet and greet everyone during the pre-game festivities. He will also attend the game and serve as the evening’s “Guest of Honor”. We look forward to a great evening of hockey and getting the opportunity to meet with as many fans as possible” said Public Power’s CEO, Bob Gries.
Doors open at 3:30 p.m.; pre-game ceremonies begin at 4:45 p.m.; and the puck drops at 5:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door, $10 for adults, and children 5 years and under are free! On behalf of all the charities and sponsors involved we thank you in advance for your support of this great evening.
1. Everyone in Danbury knows that the section of West Street by the railroad tracks floods whenever there is a bad rainstorm.
2. When a police places up a barrier in the road, it's usually because they want to block access to the road. In this case, the police DID NOT want motorists driving on the flooded section of the street.
With that being said, this week's village idiot award goes to the moron who, despite the police barriers that blocked access to the street, attempted to drive through the water during yesterday's rainstorm.
....did I mention that this genius had women and kids in the vehicle who had to walk in the water to safety?
There are two false assumptions that are being circulated as part of a “defense” of Boughton being invited to speak at the symposium. Sadly, neither are getting the rebuttal they deserve from the law school, its faculty, or the symposium organizers.
False assumption #1: For the LLSA to demand that Boughton be uninvited was an assault on free speech.
Explanation: Our right to express our opinions under the First Amendment – what we usually mean when we talk about the right to free speech – is the right to be free from government action based on that speech. In this case, the event to which Boughton had been invited was a symposium sponsored by a student-run organization, the Public Interest Law Journal. The challenge to Boughton came from another student-run organization, the Latino Law Students Association. Neither is a government institution, Neither speaks for or acts on behalf of the UConn Law School. Therefore, neither could harm Boughton’s (or anybody else’s) right to free speech. There simply is no First Amendment issue here.
False Assumption #2: Having Boughton on the morning panel would have given it “balance.”
Explanation: The symposium was not a debate and was not organized in a manner that would have permitted debate. The morning panel to which Boughton had originally been invited consisted of a facilitator and four panelists, each of whom spoke on their own work (both academic and practical) on the issue of the workplace rights of undocumented workers for about fifteen minutes each and then answered questions. The common starting point was the existence of a body of federal law that clearly and unequivocally guarantees certain rights to every worker without regard to their citizenship or immigration status. This is a body of law that has developed over a period of some 75 years, since the passage of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (requiring employers to pay a minimum wage and overtime) and the National Labor Relations Act (giving employees the right to form a union or act collectively in their own interests). Simply put: Boughton has no knowledge or expertise on any topic relating to these rights and their enforcement. The notion that he would have provided “balance” to this discussion is based in the false dichotomy of all things relating to immigration as either “pro-immigrant” or “anti-immigrant.” Is Boughton’s view of immigrants a commonly held opinion? Yes. Does it bear any relationship to the topic under discussion? No. Is Boughton’s viewpoint part of the dialogue that is going on in academic and policy circles on the topic of the enforcement of workplace rights of undocumented immigrants? No. His presence would have been a distraction from the real topic and would have conferred on his perspective a credibility that it simply does not have.
Local immigrants rights group stands in solidarity with UConn Latino Law Students Association
Time: 2:10 PM
The Danbury Alliance played a critical role in the 2008 protest against the city's 287g partnership proposal City Hall March 2008. Photo by CTBlogger.
In a letter sent to the organizers of the forum on immigration and the workforce at the University of Connecticut as well as the Latino Law Students Association, the Danbury Alliance issued the following statement:
In answer to the accusation that LLSA students attempted to stifle free speech, we are writing this letter to express our solidarity with the stand taken by the LLSA students with respect to having Mayor Mark Boughton and Attorney Vincent of ICE removed as panelists for the symposium on Undocumented Workers in the Workplace hosted by Connecticut Public Interest Law Journal
We are very pleased that Mayor Boughton decided, in view of the strong opposition mounted by the LLSA students, not to take part in the symposium, but are much aggrieved that Attorney Peter S. Vincent was allowed to remain on the panel.
We hope to explain in this letter many of the reasons why we agree that Mayor Mark Boughton was an entirely inappropriate addition to your panelists, why we remain disappointed that Attorney Vincent was not removed and why we feel that the LLSA was wholly justified in seeking the removal of Mayor Boughton and Mr.Vincent
It is our opinion that Mayor Boughton’s interests in speaking on the topic of Immigration were largely influenced by his political aspirations. Mayor Boughton has built his career and name as a “tough on immigration Mayor”. To that end, he has courted the approval and the vote of the radical, anti-immigrant, xenophobic extremists in our city, repeatedly, while simultaneously ignoring the voices of those who present a more reasoned, compassionate, and experienced voice in the matter of Immigration.
We agree with Attorney Peter Goselin that Mayor Boughton was not the right person to speak to the issue of undocumented immigrants in the work force.
Mayor Boughton’s track record with immigrant workers in Danbury is overshadowed by his refusal to address the plight of day laborers in the city. Every day, Elm Street in Danbury is a gathering place of mainly Latino day laborers, many of whom may be undocumented. These laborers are left exposed to abuse, and there is almost no oversight or protections afforded to them. In earlier years, Mayor Boughton was approached about creating a possible day labor center for these workers, which would offer them basic protections. Suggestions were made that the center should offer job training, language training, legal assistance, and access by the workers to the Department of Labor, Unions, and OSHA. Mayor Boughton, after showing an initial interest and support for the idea, later, after much political pressure, withdrew from the talks and became a very active opponent of the proposal.
The much publicized case of the Danbury 11, as referenced by the LLSA students, was a further souring of his relationship with Danbury’s undocumented workers.
Many of the policies which Mayor Boughton and his administration have enacted, and which have been detrimental to our immigrant community, have been supported by members of a well known local anti immigrant hate group, whose former vice president is now facing charges of rape in an unrelated criminal case, and whose other members are regularly seen at Tea Party events, bearing signs with blatantly racist messages.
Another member of this hate group was a one time member of the Republican Common Council in our city, and lost her last election when she was discovered forwarding a series of racist emails, mostly directed towards immigrants, to another member of the Common Council, as well a member of a land-use committee who was appointed by the mayor. Instead of immediately calling for the resignation of these individuals, and despite much public outcry in the matter, Mayor Boughton held a closed door meeting with several leaders of our African American and Latino Communities, and no further action was taken. Thankfully, an aggressive public awareness campaign organized by members of the community led to her electoral defeat. This woman, Pauline Basso, still remains very active in the Republican Town Committee, which Mayor Boughton serves.
Shortly after this event, members of this same hate group brought the idea of the 287g ICE ACCESS program to the attention of Common Council President, Joseph Cavo, advocating for it’s adoption in Danbury. A coalition, including immigrants, advocates, business owners, lawyers, Democratic Council Members, and local non profit agencies, were swift to express concern over the proposed contract between ICE and the Danbury PD. Thorough research was conducted on the negative effect on towns which had adopted this policy, adding greatly to our concerns. Our research unearthed many accounts of Mayors and Police Departments and officials elsewhere who rejected the contract, as it had deteriorated racial relations in their cities, fostered distrust between immigrants and the police force (thus creating safety issues in those municipalities), and led to widespread racial profiling and civil rights abuses. Despite numerous letters of concern and opposition, numerous presentations to the common council and the Mayor, and despite a well organized, historic protest of thousands of immigrants and their supporters in front of city hall, the contract passed approval.
Mayor Boughton’s conduct in the following weeks was anything but honest. In addition to blatantly lying to the press about the number of protestors, in order to dismiss the voices of the thousands who were opposed to the program, it soon became clear that the Administration was engaging in punitive actions to those who spoke out against ICE ACCESS. Soon, non-profit agencies who had voiced concerns were threatened with loss of city funding for their programs, and ICE vehicles were frequently seen driving our streets, parked in front of immigrant restaurants which, needless to say, had a detrimental effect on their business.
Racist threats by members of the extremist groups in the area toward immigrants in our city increased. Despite this being brought to the attention of the Mayor, such events were swept under the carpet, and he failed to make any public statement denouncing the close association between members of his political team and this group (associations that continue to this day).
As far as the presence of an ICE Lawyer on this panel, we feel it necessary to point out that many of the procedures and protocols of ICE have been the subject of lawsuits throughout the country. The widespread abuses within the detention system, the corruption and mishandling of ICE raids, and more have lead to a climate of absolute terror in our immigrant community. These problems have led many to believe that the immigration issue is the civil rights and human rights struggle of the era. The terror tactics of ICE have been sharply rebuked by civil rights groups such as the ACLU, NLG, and even by members of the current federal administration.
While aspiring politicians, and fame seeking public officials such as Mayor Mark Boughton continue to exploit what is most definitely a marginalized and terrified segment of our population by coercive, forceful, manipulative and dishonest tactics in the name of political gain, human lives hang in the balance, as do the very ideas of justice and equality.
We hope that in the future, if similar symposiums are organized, a special effort will be made to heed the opinions of the Latino Student body, and that far more care is taken in the selection of participating panelists.
Our immigrant brothers and sisters have suffered much at the hands of the mutually beneficial relationship between this Mayor and ICE, and we believe that it is time that our systems of higher education take a moral and ethical stand on issues such as this.
It hasn’t been that many years since the study and practice of Eugenics was eagerly entertained at universities throughout New England and the US, leading to further atrocities here and overseas. In time, that failed and morally bankrupt study has become a seething sore upon our national conscience.
We are confident that the policies of ICE and of Mayor Mark Boughton and his administration, as well as those who share his views, will one day be viewed in the same light.
Members of the Danbury Alliance
Formerly known as the Danbury Partnership for Unity, the members of the Danbury Alliance were instrumental in organizing local resistance against the 287g proposal back in late 2007-early 2008. Their efforts resulted in businesses and over a thousand people protesting against Boughton and the Common Council's approval of the controversial program.
I read in the New Times this morning (March 25) about the Danbury 11. I wish to commend the Danbury Police for doing an outstanding job of trying to enforce the federal immigration laws keep up the good work.
NEWSFLASH: That's why Mayor Boughton, Chief Baker, and the city of Danbury are in the middle of a civil lawsuit right now. At the time of the raid at Kennedy Park, local law enforcement did not have authorization from the federal government to enforce immigration law.
Misinformed letters like this only reinforces the notion that people need to keep their local elected officials accountable for consistently misleading the public with their anti-immigrant rhetoric.
04.25.22 (RADIO): WSHU Latino group call on Connecticut lawmakers to open a Danbury charter school
06.03.22 (OP-ED): KUSHNER: "Career Academy ‘a great deal for Danbury"
On September 26, 2007, ten plaintiffs filed suit in response to an arrest of aday laborers at a public park in Danbury, Connecticut. Plaintiffs amended their complaint on November 26, 2007.
The amended complaint states that plaintiffs sought to remedy the continued discriminatory and unauthorized enforcement of federal immigration laws against the Latino residents of the City of Danbury by Danbury's mayor and its police department.
Plaintiffs allege that the arrests violated their Fourth Amendment rights and the Connecticut Constitution because defendants conducted the arrests without valid warrants, in the absence of exigent circumstances, and without probable cause to believe that plaintiffs were engaged in unlawful activity. In addition, plaintiffs allege that defendants improperly stopped, detained, investigated, searched and arrested plaintiffs. Plaintiffs also allege that defendants violated their Fourteenth Amendment rights when they intentionally targeted plaintiffs, and arrested and detained them on the basis of their race, ethnicity and perceived national origin. Plaintiffs raise First Amendment, Due Process and tort claims.
Plaintiffs request declaratory relief, damages and attorneys fees.