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Grassroots Law Project Joins Councilwoman Anita Springsteen in Urging Democratic Gov. Jared Polis to Ban Use of Ketamine in Colorado

For Immediate Release

Grassroots Law Project Joins Councilwoman Anita Springsteen in Urging Democratic Gov. Jared Polis to Ban Use of Ketamine in Colorado

SAN FRANCISCO – Following the 2019 death of Elijah McClain, the Grassroots Law Project (GLP) today joined Councilwoman Anita Springsteen in urging Democratic Gov. Jared Polis to bar law enforcement from using Ketamine to subdue and restrain citizens. This comes after Lakewood City Councilwoman Anita Springsteen sent a letter to Gov. Polis on July 29, urging him to block usage of the analgesic. Similarly, Black Lives Matter activists have also questioned use of the substance.

“Although I am a Councilwoman, I have been unsuccessful in garnering clear support of this issue from other city leadership,” said Lakewood City Councilwoman Anita Springsteen in her letter to the governor. “In fact, there are continuing efforts to silence and intimidate me, but I am committed to saving lives and doing my part to prevent the grief that Elijah McClain’s mother experiences each day.”

In 2.5 years, medics in Colorado administered ketamine to 902 people, according to KUNC. Relatedly, they found that 17% of Ketamine injections result in complication and that 1 in 5 victims must be intubated. The substance is so harmful that the American Society of Anesthesiologists and its vice president, Dr. Randall Clark, warned on July 15, 2020 that they “firmly opposes the use of ketamine or any other sedative/hypnotic agent to chemically incapacitate someone for a law enforcement purpose and not for a legitimate medical reason.” More than 2 million people signed a petition urging law enforcement to cease using the fatal substance.

On July 21, KUNC reported that “The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has issued waivers allowing doctors to oversee 101 agencies that are approved to use ketamine for excited delirium.”

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Contact: Jennifer R. Farmer, jenniferr@spotlightpr.org

Councilwoman Springsteen Letter to Gov. Jared Polis re Use of Ketamine by Law Enforcement

Anita Springsteen, Esq.

P.O. Box 19700

Denver, CO 80219

 

Governor Jared Polis

Office of the Governor

State of Colorado

136 State Capitol Building

Denver, CO 80203

 

July 29, 2020

RE: REQUEST FOR BAN ON THE USE OF KETAMINE/CHEMICAL RESTRAINT ON CIVILIANS

Dear Governor Polis:

I am writing to ask you stop another death like Elijah McClain’s by issuing an executive order to stop the use of Ketamine/chemical restraint, which is improperly being used for law enforcement purposes.  Not another day can go by with a state policy that allows this abuse of power and denial of civil liberties.  Protestors will boil over if Colorado leaders turn a blind eye after being put on notice if this tragedy happens again.

It is clear Ketamine injection caused the death of Elijah McClain, and also caused the need for Advanced Life Support for Elijah McKnight and Jeremiah Axtell.  KUNC reported that Ketamine has been used in Colorado at least 902 times in the past two years.  They found that 17% of Ketamine injections result in complication and that 1 in 5 victims must be intubated.  Fox 31 has reported on the serious consequences of this policy for nearly a year, which prompted a national petition signed by millions.  How many deaths or serious injuries have there been?  How many must there be to investigate?

West Metro Fire District records show that since 2016, its first responders have used Ketamine on average every 4 days.  Alarmingly, the use is rapidly increasing in frequency.  West Metro has used Ketamine every 1.4 days since the George Floyd protests began.  This begs the question, is Ketamine the new “knee in the neck”?  And what is the relationship with law enforcement?

The American Society of Anesthesiologists and its vice president, Dr. Randall Clark, issued a statement on July 15, 2020 warning: “The American Society of Anesthesiologists firmly opposes the use of ketamine or any other sedative/hypnotic agent to chemically incapacitate someone for a law enforcement purpose and not for a legitimate medical reason.”  The ASA does not endorse the use of Ketamine outside of a hospital setting and careful monitoring, as it is a potent analgesic.

Potential Vice-Presidential candidate, Congresswoman Karen Bass, questioned U.S. Attorney General Barr about the McClain case and the use of Ketamine to subdue civilians, and especially people of color, during Barr’s testimony before the House Judicial Committee yesterday.  The Attorney General was unaware of this practice.  But the nation is finally waking up to this dirty little secret and shocking civil rights abuse.

Dr. Kimberly Portzline, PharmD, MBA, (who endorses this letter) has done extensive research on Ketamine policy and medicine.  She discovered that the originating 2009 study that is used as justification has been disavowed by its original publishers, the American College of Emergency Physicians.  “Excited delirium”, used to justify sedation, is not a medically accepted term and not part of the DSM V.  Please find attached the 2009 White Paper and the 2016 ACEP disavowal.

Even so, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, who issues the waivers, is not acting to stop this.  This power to suspend a citizen’s right to informed medical consent should not rest with the CDPHE.

I video recorded and witnessed the use of Ketamine on a civilian who was compliant, calm, and cooperative in January 2020 – so I have first-hand experience with the problem.  Most people who are victims of this policy are not fortunate enough to have video proof of misuse, so this must serve as a wake-up call.  We have a duty to protect those people who have no way to protect themselves.

Although I am a City Councilwoman in Lakewood, I have been unsuccessful in garnering clear support of this issue from other city leadership.  In fact, there are continuing efforts to silence and intimidate me.  However, I will not remain silent with this knowledge that can save lives and prevent the grief that Elijah McClain’s mother experiences each day.

Please help me to prevent the next Elijah and issue an executive order stopping this alarming policy.  Please also launch an investigation into the cases in which civilians have been injected with Ketamine thus far.  We must get to the bottom of this.

Thank you for your consideration.

Best Regards,

 

 

Anita Springsteen, Esq.

 

Endorsement: Dr. Kimberly Portzline, PharmD, MBA

 

Cc: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

       American Civil Liberties Union

       Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser

 

 

Racial Justice Activist and Social Media Influencer Shaun King to Kickoff Multi-City Virtual Book Tour For ‘Make Change’

For Immediate Release

Aug. 3, 2020

Racial Justice Activist and Social Media Influencer Shaun King to Kickoff Multi-City Virtual Book Tour For ‘Make Change’

WASHINGTON – Noted racial justice activist and social media influencer Shaun King today announced a book tour for his sophomore project “Make Change.” A former pastor, unrelenting fighter for police accountability, and advocate for families whose loved ones have been killed by police, King brings his decades’ long experience working for change onto the pages of this book. He details how the death of Eric Garner at the hands of police, and subsequent police killings of John Crawford, Ezell Ford and others, ignited in him an unquenchable drive to hold police accountable and to challenge injustice. The book is a clarion call inviting others to continue fighting for justice and to believe in the possibility of change.

Beginning August 4, the multi-city virtual tour will make stops in Atlanta, Baltimore, Brooklyn, Chicago, Los Angeles, Louisville, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Tampa, Washington, D.C. and more than 50 other cities. The first event is on Tuesday, August 4 at 2:00 p.m. ET and is a live online book signing. For a complete list of tour events, see: https://www.makechangebook.com/.

“From Emmett Till to Amadou Diallo to Sandra Bland to Trayvon Martin, there is a history in this country of unarmed, nonviolent Black men and women meeting brazen killers who refuse to value Black lives,” said Shaun King, activist, podcaster, social media influencer and an co-founder of the social justice enterprises, Grassroots Law Project and Real Justice PAC. “I will spend the rest of my life fighting to end this cycle of violence and to bring purveyors of race-based harm to justice.”

The widely anticipated publication enjoys the support of progressive leaders, celebrities and national and local change agents. The book’s foreword was written by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and was endorsed by professor and National Book Award Winner Ibram X. Kendi, rapper Cardi B, music mogul Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, professional soccer player and activist Megan Rapinoe, San Francisco reform District Attorney Chesa Boudin, and progressive champion Rep. Rashida Tlaib. The audiobook’s chapters have introductory remarks by famed leaders including Ilyasah Shabazz, S. Lee Merritt, Ady Barkan, Tamika Mallory, Busta Rhymes, Tan France, the family of Breonna Taylor, Carmen Perez, Cedric the Entertainer, Charlamagne tha God, Lecrae, and Rev. Polk. The 272-page non-fiction work is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Publishers Weekly said King’s “…fervent exhortation succeeds in making the case that the time for progressives to act is now.” Book critic Grace Jackson-Brown characterized King as a magnet for many seeking a way forward to a more equitable America,” in a review she wrote for Booklist.

In promoting the book, King made an intentional decision to engage Black-owned bookstores by hosting his talks collaboratively with these staples of the community.

To schedule an interview with King, or learn more about the book and tour, contact Jennifer Farmer at jenniferr@spotlightpr.org.

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EBONY Media Holdings Categorically Denies Allegations Concerning Board Members John Robinson and Jacob Walthour

For Immediate Release

July 31, 2020

EBONY Media Holdings Categorically Denies Allegations Concerning Board Members John Robinson and Jacob Walthour

HOUSTON, TX – Over the past two weeks, persons claiming to act on behalf of Ebony Media Holdings and Ebony Media Operations have made a series of false and baseless allegations in press releases against stakeholders in Ebony and their representatives. Yet, despite their alleged affiliation with Ebony, those persons have done nothing to benefit Ebony’s iconic assets or to preserve its business.

“As a result, Parkview Credit Capital, Ebony’s largest creditor, participated in the filing of involuntary bankruptcy cases against Ebony so that a court-appointed trustee could maximize the value of Ebony’s assets. Parkview understand that as a result of the actions of these persons, the Board of Directors of EBONY Magazine has had to make a series of painful but necessary decisions. While made in the company’s long-term interest, such change is a prerequisite for preserving a legacy media institution with as storied a history as EBONY Magazine.

“These persons have sought to create confusion and deflect attention from their own irresponsible and inappropriate actions that have damaged Ebony. In fact, these releases quote Mr. Willard Jackson who has denied the statements published on PR Newswire, asserting that the message was published without his input, knowledge, or consent.

“Ebony Media Holdings is a private company and has no publicly traded securities. Therefore, there is no factual, legal or regulatory basis for claims of inappropriate trading.  In addition, no lawsuits have been filed against the Company or any of its directors in relation to the spurious claims.

“Parkview hopes that EBONY’s Board of Directors will continue to make decisions in the company’s long-term best interest.”

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Contact: Jennifer R. Farmer, jenniferr@spotlightpr.org