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Hampden district attorney candidates field questions at NAACP forum in Springfield

by Stephanie Barry

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The Greater Springfield NAACP sponsored a debate between the Hampden district attorney candidates at Springfield Technical Community College on Tuesday evening in Springfield. Here Talbert Swan II introduces the candidates. From left is Swan, debate moderator Laura Hutchinson, and candidates Shawn Allyn, Hal Etkin, Anthony Gulluni and Brett Vottero. (The Republican photo by / Dave Roback)

SPRINGFIELD – The four Democratic candidates for Hampden district attorney worked to bring their messages to the public during a forum hosted by the local NAACP chapter on Tuesday.

The forum included questions from a three-member panel. It hit topics including prison overcrowding, police brutality and marijuana prosecutions, while audience members followed up with queries about recalcitrant witnesses and diversity.

It was the fourth public forum for candidates Shawn Allyn, a Holyoke attorney; Hal Etkin, a lawyer from Longmeadow; assistant prosecutor Anthony Gulluni, of Springfield; and former longtime prosecutor Brett Vottero, also of Springfield. The event at Springfield Technical Community College drew by far the largest crowd of all the forums and featured the most detailed questions to date.


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Real Talk: In violent times, Pastor Talbert Swan II calls on his community to stop waiting for reforms.

By Tom Vannah

advocatestory17972After a busy morning in his office at the Springfield chapter of the NAACP, a haircut and a quick lunch with his 19-year-old son, Rev. Talbert Swan II walks down Hampden Street in Springfield, headed for the broadcast studio of WGBY, the local PBS station. There, Swan will tape a segment of Connecting Point, an issues-based program hosted by Aliz Koletas and Jim Madigan. Swan has been asked to join Springfield Police Detective Sean Condon and Armando Olivares, a 20-year-old Springfield resident who was acquitted last year in the fatal shooting of Reality Shabazz Walker, in a discussion of a topic that has occupied a lot of his attention, not just recently, but over the course of more than three decades of social activism and Christian ministry: violence in Springfield.

In fact, on this particular Tuesday afternoon in June, Swan finds himself still embroiled in a controversy he set off the week before, when he delivered a pointed message about the recent spate of street violence in the city—violence that, over the course of a few weeks, came in the form of a number of drive-by shootings, some in broad daylight and near public parks filled with people—that resulted in three deaths and many serious injuries.


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General Membership Meeting

Join members of the NAACP in our monthly membership meeting. The next meeting will take place Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. at the Spring of Hope Church Of God In Christ, 35 Alden Street, Springfield, MA.

File a Complaint with the Springfield Branch NAACP