NAACP call for open police commissioner process, urge mayor to consider allegations against 1 deputy chief

By Peter Goonan | 
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on March 17, 2014

[caption id="attachment_1166" align="alignleft" width="300"]Deputy Chief Robert McFarlin Deputy Chief Robert McFarlin[/caption]

SPRINGFIELD — Representatives of three community organizations issued a joint statement on Monday calling on Mayor Domenic J. Sarno to create an open process for selecting a new police commissioner and urging him to consider their list of allegations of wrongdoing by one of the candidates, Deputy Chief Robert McFarlin.

The statement was issued after The Republican / MassLive reported on Monday that Sarno has completed closed-door interviews of the three deputy police chiefs as the sole candidates being considered by Sarno for commissioner.

The statement was issued by the Rev. Talbert W. Swan II, president of the Greater Springfield NAACP, Archbishop Timothy Paul Baymon, president of the Council of Churches of Western Massachusetts, and Michaelann Bewsee, director of Arise for Social Justice.

“In the interest of transparency, we call on the mayor to open his selection process and to allow public input,” the statement said.


Michael Dunn Florida murder case: Local NAACP President Talbert Swan II decries justice system following mistrial

By Peter Goonan, The Republican
on February 17, 2014

[caption id="attachment_1159" align="alignleft" width="500"]swanpic The Rev. Talbert W. Swan II (File photo / The Republican)[/caption]

SPRINGFIELD — A partial mistrial in a Florida murder case for the shooting death of teenager Jordan Davis marks another example of failed justice involving a young black victim, according to the Rev. Talbert W. Swan II, president of the Greater Springfield chapter of the NAACP.

In a prepared statement released this week, Swan wrote that news of a mistrial on a first-degree murder charge against Michael Dunn left him saddened by the loss of life and angry at the justice system.

“The failure to convict Michael Dunn of murder only highlights the perceived value of black life and reinforces the stereotypes, which justify racial animus against Black males, their disenfranchisement, abuse, brutalization and mass incarceration,” Swan wrote. “It further sends a clear message that murdering a black male can be justified simply on the basis of him being a black male.”

The judge declared the mistrial after jurors reported they were deadlocked on the first-degree murder charge. However, Dunn was convicted on four charges, including three counts of attempted second-degree murder that could bring a long jail sentence. State prosecutors said they will again pursue the murder charge at a second trial.


Rev. Talbert Swan, NAACP urge Springfield police to increase Old Hill patrols in wake of shooting

By Patrick Johnson, The Republican
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on January 20, 2014

SPRINGFIELD — The head of the Greater Springfield Chapter of the NAACP on Monday asked Police Commissioner William Fitchet to step up patrols in the area of Union Street in the Old Hill neighborhood to help reduce problems from violence, gangs and drugs.

Rev. Talbert W. Swan II, in a letter to Fitchet, said recent criminal activity along the Union Street corridor “are indicative of an unfortunate culture of violent offenses and gun related incidents that threaten the safety of residents in that neighborhood.”

Swan’s letter was issued less than a day after an unnamed man was shot in the head at about 11 p.m. Sunday near 515 Union St. The man, though critically injured, is expected to survive, according to police.


Viewpoint, Rev. Talbert Swan: In wake of Trayvon Martin case, should be better practitioners of love

By The Republican
on July 21, 2013 at 5:00 AM, updated July 21, 2013 at 5:03 AM

By Rev. TALBERT W. SWAN II, Springfield NAACP president

Today, many of our hearts are still raw from the tragic verdict that set a killer free. An unarmed child only two years out of puberty: a son, a friend, a nephew and a brother by the name of Trayvon Benjamin Martin was murdered for being young, hooded and black.

Our minds are not able to conceive the weight of grief that is upon the shoulders of the Martin family. However, despite the unbearable grief and justifiable anger, which they may feel, Trayvon’s family members have carried themselves with the utmost dignity throughout this entire ordeal.


2013 Freedom Fund Dinner Photo Gallery

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Greater Springfield NAACP annual banquet focuses on voter rights, need to increase minimum wage

By Suzanne McLaughlin, The Republican
on May 18, 2013

tswan ruth lovingAGAWAM – About 400 people attended the annual membership banquet of the Greater Springfield chapter of the NAACP Thursday night at Chez Josef.

The Rev. Talbert W. Swan II said that since he was elected president of the NAACP in June, 2011, the membership has increased.

“We have revitalized the brand,” he said. “We are alive and well.”

Speakers at the annual dinner focused on threats to voter rights and the need to make the minimum wage “a living wage.”

“Voters in Massachusetts are fortunate,” Swan said. He said there are efforts in other parts of the country to require photo identification to vote.


The Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Rev. Talbert Swan Interviews with Jim Madigan of WGBY

Watch Connecting Point 1/21/2013 on PBS. See more from Connecting Point.