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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

DiLuzio Shocked By Complaints About Bethlehem Police

Jamie Strouse tells her story, as her husband William listens.
Esther Lee is attired,as usual, in her church lady hat.
Bethlehem Police Chief Mark DiLuzio was taken aback by allegations of disrespect and possible racism in his own police department during a crowded NAACP meeting on community relations at Bethlehem Town Hall last night, attended by over 60 people. I will have a more detailed account in The Bethlehem Press. This forum was chaired by the indomitable Esther Lee, wearing her church lady hat. Mayor Bob Donchez, Police Chief Mark Diluzio, several members of Council, State Representative Steve Samuelson and several pastors attended. But it was the audience, not the panelists, who had the most to say. 

Jamie and William Strouse, a biracial couple from West Bethlehem, actually had several stories.  

William, who is white, was pulled over by Bethlehem police for driving a car with an expired inspection sticker. He was issued a warning. But when his black father-in-law committed the same violation in his car, the police reaction was quite different.  

"What are you doing in this part of town?" is the first question the officer had for the black father-in-law, who lives on Union Street in Allentown and was picking up his granddaughter to watch her for the day. The officer, who spotted the expired inspection, did a U-Turn as Jamie Strouse's father pulled over at his daughter's home on West Broad. Nervous, he thought he may have brushed up against her car. When she came out to explain the situation to the officer, he told her to “step away from the vehicle." A K-9 van from Allentown was soon at the scene of the expired inspection sticker. The granddaughter was crying while neighbors stood outside, gawking     

"I get a warning, and he gets a K-9 call," noted Strouse.  

Jamie, who is black, also discussed a September incident in which she was driving her son Calypso school (she also works at the school district). She noticed police cars everywhere at the school. When she asked an officer what was going on, he said it was because of “people like you." He instructed her to move, and an officer started following her. The bus driver in front of her had to vouch for her. When she left, a third police car followed her out. "The worst part of this is it happened in front of my son," said Strouse, noting that she had always taught her son that police officers exist "to serve and protect."  

"When we think about African American men wanting to become police officers, we first have to be able to view them as our allies, and that's a big problem," she told the gathering. "There's this divide. It's us versus them. It's not helpful to anyone on either side."

"This is the first time I'm hearing about this," said Police Chief Mark DiLuzio, who had just finished explaining how difficult it is to recruit minority officers. "If I had heard about it ahead of time, believe me, heads would have rolled," he said. But he was also skeptical. "I've been doing this job 36 years. I know a lot of good cops in Bethlehem. You’re not talking about anybody I know."

Unfortunately, no rank-and-file police officers were on hand to respond. 

"I don't care what color the officer is," noted William. "That doesn't matter to me. It's the treatment and respect of the officer to the community." He added that now, when his five-year old son sees an officer, he asks, "Is he going to be rude like the other one was to Mom?"

Did the Strouses simply misinterpreted things? Not according to Sonia Zahm, a guidance counselor with the Bethlehem Area School District for the past 15 years. She said she hears the same tales from families at Donegan Elementary, on the City's South side.  "Those kids that I heard those stories from are now Liberty High School teenagers, and they're angry and their families are angry," she said.  

"Maybe they [police officers] need to be trained about how to be human," she suggested, and related what had just happened to her 16 year old white son, who was driving a car his family just purchased for him. Once again, it was an expired inspection sticker. "Mom, why was it necessary for the cop to be mean and rude to me?" he asked his mother when he got home. 

He was given a $103 fine and told that costs will be more. "I hear these stories all the time," said Zahm. "It makes me sad for our community."

Esther Lee suggested her son is lucky "Your son can say 'No sir; Yes, sir" Our son can say that and if they move their hands, they're dead." 

DiLuzio noted that a cosmetologist gets 1500 hours of training compared to only 600 for a police officer.   

Mary Smith claims there are "different laws for different races." Her grandson (half Spanish, half black) went with five white friends to McDonalds. She said Bethlehem police pulled the car over and let the five white boys go. But she had to pick up her grandson. "Why can't you just treat them the same?" she asked

As the evening ended, Esther Lee stated that "every child has a right to education and should not end up in prison or murdered just because he didn't know which way to put his hands."

61 comments:

Anonymous said...

Seems the younger new generation of police are very into body building and tough guy images at times an arrogance of power. They really do push the ego quite a bit more than they should.

Rather than officer so the law or peace officers, sometimes they come off as patrolling a war zone.

Seems like thi8ng shave changed.

Anonymous said...

I've never driven with an expired inspection sticker. Never. I'm a white guy and don't wish a police encounter over something so stupid.

Anonymous said...

And the racist liberal progressive machine trains it's eyes on the Lehigh Valley and Bethlehem PD.

Anonymous said...

I see Esther Lee is still spouting-off her ignorant mouth once again. If there is a racial divide between African/Americans and the police, [and I doubt it is that much], you can thank black lives matter, the polarizing liberal press, President Obama and of course the supreme liar of them all, Ms. Hillary Clinton. The police are on the defensive and cannot afford to be anything less. Every day they go out with a target on their back and alleged community leaders like Ms. Lee help to proliferate this divide! It is common sense, abide by the law and the police won't bother you; something some people don't understand or comply with!

Anonymous said...

I sm so sick and tired of NO RESPONSIBIITY. Guess what idiot - IF YOU HAD YOUR CAR INSPECTED LIKE THE REST OF US DO THE POLICE WOULD NOT HAVE STOPPED YOU.

So we are to blame the police officer for doing his job? NOT having your car inspected is a crime period.

OHHHHH the police officer should have escorted you to the service station and paid for your car to be inspected and had it washed and waxed to?

The world needs to BE RESPONSIBLE for our own actions of what got us there in the first place-

Anonymous said...

Esther Lee is a foul mouthed RACIST stirring it up all the time. Even her best of friends tend to shy away when she thinks she is living in 1950.

PULL UP YOUR PANTS AND ACT LIKE A MAN NOT A THUG OR HOODLUM

Anonymous said...


race baiter ester strikes again. the woman is a joke living in the forties

Anonymous said...

Bad Car Inspection and its the cops fault for??? Sad-


RESPONSIBILITY?

Anonymous said...

Another example of Esther stirring the pot. I'm sure there is more to inspection sticker story. And I'm sure the lone black child must have played the race card with the PD and was rewarded for it. Ester, try bring people together as opposed to dividing them. A black mother shouldn't be concerned when her child does something illegal, or should she?

Dindu said...

"I Diddindunuffin!"

Anonymous said...

guess ester forgot to mention the black men yelling black lives matter before they beat 7 whites in Akron this week.

Anonymous said...

Cops do need to soften up a bit but they're not allowed to get their free donuts anymore...

Anonymous said...

suggested shopping list for Esther:

1. white face paint

2. an NRA hat

3. a bible

4. A Trump sign

then when all the black folk call her a racist pig, she can come back and complain that she is targeted for being white.

Anonymous said...

This is the result of the race baiter in chief, who started this in Florida in 2012, and whipped every incident into a lie about the police . All to get the black vote. Black lives matter can march all day long and get paid for it by outside hustlers. Do you think police don't have emotions with what is going on in this country. why is it they are the only ones who need to fix this? What about the black community? Do they really want the police to ignore their community? That is probably what is coming. If it is a black area police yourself. I don't see how this will be fixed as long as politicians see this as a way to motivate black voters. Why not try to motivate them by promising to increase opportunity. Of course anyone who does not agree with the democratic party line is a racist. Interestingly it is not only white police that they hate but all police as Black lives Matter people stated, the police are the enforcers of the capitalist system.

Anonymous said...

Teach your young folks not to insult, spit on, and disrespect the police and maybe the respect will be returned.

Anonymous said...

I am not a big fan of the modern day police departments. Take a look at some of these young officers and how they dress. Military type haircuts, macho attitude, personalities like "i'm better than you because I have a uniform. On the other hand, I am no bigger a fan of Esther Lee. I'll never forget her racist comments after she lost the race for Bethlehem City Council. She changed her party registration from Dem to Republican after the election because the reason she lost was the voters were racist. The reason she lost is the fact that she wasn't qualified. Seventy five percent of black children are now born into households that have no father image. Whites are only doing slightly better. Stop welfare for whites and blacks that don't fess up to who the father is and maybe, just maybe, our youth will start learning respect. Then maybe these smaller incidents won't escalate into major events. In the mean time, Esther Lee could schedule more "spur of the moments" meetings and complain because people don't drop everything their doing and coddle to her fantasies and whims.

Patriot2 said...

Black lives only matter if killed by a white person. No discussion about black on black crime which is 10 times more prevalent or black on white crime.

That being said there is nothing wrong with constructive dialogue that occurred last night in the community among community leaders vs the unacceptable looting & violence in major cities that is unacceptable behavior. Saul Alinsky inspired violence is the more typical approach endorsed by Obama/Clinton due to their background studying his tactics for revolutionary change.

Agent 99 said...

I rarely comment on this sort of thing, as I think the whole "Black Lives Matter " group is just as racist as what they are protesting, but I am disgusted by what people are posting here. There are police officers who are prejudiced, and I think that all policemen should be taught to be polite,particularly when they are pulling someone over for a minor traffic offence. I know that the police have to be careful, because there have been many instances of policemen being killed during a "minor" traffic stop, but they can be polite instead of rude. And they should be even more polite when the person they are dealing with is of another race than themselves, because the perception of prejudice already exists.

Anonymous said...

I'm cruising around right now with two 5/16 stickers proudly taunting all of those violent racist cops. However, I also display my white privilege by operating a clean, well maintained (although 18 year old) vehicle. If stopped, I will keep my mouth shut, ego in check, cooperate with the officer, keep my hands in view, and silently invoke anti-white sentiments toward him / her. If the officer is one of the affirmative action, diversity is utopia hires, there is a fair to excellent chance I am screwed. Payment of any penalty will be evaded until I can scrape up the $60 for the 2 minute wall job inspection I purchase from one of those illegal immigrant operated gas stations abundant in the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton area now.

Anonymous said...

This is the "Era of Cop-Hating," nationwide, it seems. Yes, the Obama administration has fueled this narrative over the past eight years.

We cannot maintain a civilized society without our local police. When it's YOUR time to call for help in a dangerous situation, YOU will understand, too. These divisive pronouncements by those who feel all police are "out to get" one group over another are unfortunate.

Stay strong, law enforcement people. Most believe we NEED you and do respect your courage and service. Your work should never have been made a political device.

Fred Windish

Anonymous said...

I am a white guy who has never been in trouble with the law other than an occasional traffic ticket. When I was growing up during the 1980s, police officers were friendly and helpful to kids and adults alike. Something happened when they all started shaving their heads. These days, I don't encounter a single one that isn't a total hotheaded asshole either on or off the job. My wife works with some women whose husbands are cops. I refuse to socialize with them. A friend of mine in the Bethlehem area is embroiled in a property boundary dispute put on by a neighboring hothead cop who just can't let it go. They are needed in society, but their personalities these days are abrasive and I think this leads to some of the things we have happening in our country today.

In NJ they all screw over the taxpayer by retiring after 20 years, taking another government job for a while, and then collecting two pensions. You could say they are just taking advantage of the way things are set up, but it's still ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

The old TV-show image of cops being friendly, slightly clumsy, donut-eating fat guys is gone. Those guys in real life are all retired now. Now they are quasi-military in mindset and anyone who isn't one of them is potentially the enemy. I can understand why a totally innocent black person would be pissed. Problem isn't many aren't innocent.

Also, if you can't keep a current inspection sticker on your car, you are a moron. You are looking at the damn thing every time you get behind the wheel. If you can't afford it, you can't afford a car, and should use public transportation.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Quite obviously, many of the people posting here are racist. Also, I know many people who drive with an expired inspection sticker bc they simply have forgotten. I know that most cops who stop drivers over this are polite and respectful, unlike the anonymous racists here. It has also been my personal experience that Bethlehem is by far the best police department in the LV. I was taken aback myself by what those in the audience had to say bc it is not my experience. Having said that, I am glad they were there, and I am sure their perceptions will help police do better. A cop should never use the phrase "you people" when speaking to a minority bc it is so easy to misconstrue what is meant. During last night's session, a CPT explaining what police do called the audience "you guys," prompting Esther to repeat the phrase and the CPT clarified. It was an innocent error, but is the kind that leads to distrust.

I should also point out that we only have one-sided accounts. I'd like to hear from rank-and-file officers, who just may have some things to say. It is true that the young cop full of piss and vinegar simply lacks the perspective of guys I know who have been cops for a few years. But they have a difficult job.

Any future comment mentioning Trump or Hillary will be deleted.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Also, if you can't keep a current inspection sticker on your car, you are a moron."

That's a totally ridiculous thing to say. It's the kind of comment I would expect from a Nazi, not an American. I don't think I know one person who hasn't forgotten about this at least once.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Fred, the only person I see attempting to turn this into a political device is you. You are the one who is blaming Obama. This is a LOCAL issue, and it is about mutual respect. It is a conversation worth having, as noted by three members of the audience who shared some interesting stories last night.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Black lives only matter if killed by a white person. No discussion about black on black crime which is 10 times more prevalent or black on white crime. "

This has nothing to do with black-on-black crime. This has everything to do with mutual respect that should be on display by both police and citizen.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"and maybe the respect will be returned."

I'm sorry but respect from a police officer is something that should be a given, not something for which you hope.

Anonymous said...

I would expect many of the older ,calmer police officers will be retiring, and they will be replaced with more aggressive types. as only certain people would want this job. This is a sad situation, I for one will discourage my children from police work or the military , as it is a no win job, you will put your safety on the line just be condemned and be used as political pawns.

Anonymous said...

One of the first lessons a police officer learns, is he needs to command respect, even if it is from fear, if he cannot do this he should quit and stay home, as he will put himself and his teammates at risk. Some of these social worker types need to put on a uniform to raise their awareness, it could be a cop for a day. no gun, just human relations.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have no doubt that a police officer, to be effective, must insist on respect. But that's no excuse for being rude to a mom dropping her son off at school.

Anonymous said...

You are free to do as you are told.

Patriot2 said...

My guess is the mom dropping off her son overstayed her welcome in the drop off zone but you only heard her side of the story.

Bernie O'Hare said...

In all the anecdotes recited, you are correct that only one side of the story was told. I would want to hear from the officers. But even if all three encounters can be explained, and I suspect they can, the perception of racism is still there in the minority community. I'd like to see a sit down with beat cops,

Anonymous said...

My son had to transfer to an upstate ny position, 2 days in was stopped and fined for no seat belt, asked what he was doing, where he was going etc. early Sunday morning, he is white , clean cut, dresses well, if black it would have been racism, my son was not happy about the encounter but let it go. I do believe blacks have been trained to believe that anything bad that happens to them is because of racism.

Anonymous said...

Why is it if your black and do something illegal its NO RESPONSIBILITY and someone else is to blame. Respect? That starts at home and you earn it not demand it-

There is more to every story then one side. As for the woman that clogs up the drop off lane? Get your butt outta there as Im the next car or two in line that has a place to be too soon on the am. Again Someone thinks cause they were told move it that they are "offended". What a bunch of crap.

I have to get to work while some can go back home and wait for the mail for there check or have nothing but to wait for there direct deposoit of my tax money.

Anonymous said...

RESPONSIBILITY MATTERS! Take responsibility for yourself and your actions!

Anonymous said...

Bernie,
this is just one of the many democratical dysfunctional tools employeed by the ringmasters?! Playing both sides of the cards is a hanymans winning hand forseeable in a shortsighted future?! This is ofcourse if there is a possibility of any future at all?!)$
REpublican redd no party afilliation

Anonymous said...

It is a shame that the black community really has no credibility, after the dishonest things we saw with Ferguson, hands up don't shoot, and other jump on the cops lies, which they still perpetuate. Did Esther Lee or any of her associates take a stand against the lies in Ferguson, the policemen whos life was ruined, or did she condemn the rants of Kill the cops, if she did not, then she is part of the problem , not the solution, she has no credibility.

Anonymous said...

The uniform commands respect, not necessarily the person. We all want respect but we have to earn it. That even applies to policemen, especially policemen. They are empowered to detain you against your will and even take your life if they deem necessary. These are major responsibilities and the public does and should hold them to the highest of standards.

I taught my kids to respect the police and be cooperative. I remind them that you will never win an argument with the police. If you think you were wronged wait until you can talk to a lawyer and go to court. Today many people are just too self centered to respect anyone but themselves unfortunately that includes some police.

I have always and still believe that the emphasis on hiring former military personnel as cops is not a good idea. They are trained and experienced a very different reality than what a police office should be experiencing. Police are civilian peace keepers, not a para military organization. Many of the comments allude to the new crop of buzz cut, jacked up cops who have an attitude the minute they walk up to you.

All folks have to learn that if you want respect, earn respect. As for the expired inspection stickers, it can happen but it is still your fault not the cops. Be polite accept the responsibility and move on. It would appear the one family has an entire fleet of expired vehicles on the road.

The Huntress said...

3:39 Agree on all counts...well said.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

You B O. State that you know many people without car inspections. How does this subject arise in general conversation?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'm not going to allow you to take this local story and use it to dilute this conversation with what is going on elsewhere. If you have nothing to contribute locally, then go away.

Bernie O'Hare said...

5:47, That's not at all what I stated, but because you are dishonest, you twist. What i said,and I'll repeat it here, is that just about everyone I know has forgotten to renew his registration or has forgotten about his inspection at least once. One of my best friends drove his car for three months with an expired inspection, and did not know until he was pulled over. Your attempt to make this a major matter is nonsense. And most cops are very understanding.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"There is more to every story then one side. As for the woman that clogs up the drop off lane? Get your butt outta there as Im the next car or two in line that has a place to be too soon on the am. Again Someone thinks cause they were told move it that they are "offended". What a bunch of crap.

I have to get to work while some can go back home and wait for the mail for there check or have nothing but to wait for there direct deposoit of my tax money."


When a mother is taking her son to school, and notices police everywhere, she has every right to want to know what is going on,and police have every obligation to answer her.

You imply this woman was in a hurry to go home and wait for her welfare check. You make this implication bc you are a racist. As I stated, she works at Bethlehem Area School District,is an educated woman and works with children.

Don't let facts get in the way of your bigotry.

Anonymous said...

"Kill the cops." "Pigs in a blanket!"

Both sides have a lot of work to do when this is the message being shouted on TV.

Anonymous said...

My 15 y/o grand son resides on the SS of Bethlehem. My handsome grand son is bi-racial. He and his friends (Black and Hispanic) were playing football at the SS Middle School, one day. On the way home he and his friends decided to play hide-and-seek in the Lehigh University Parking Garage. A silly but normal teen behavior. A LU student accused them of vandalizing the cars. My grand son, having a diplomat personality, attempted to advise the student that they were just playing around. This nut case began screaming at them and making accusations. The nut case then followed the boys as they walked home. They boys were so very scared. This nut bag called the police. When the police arrived, they ran the names of all of the boys. Insinuating they must have a record. They did not and do not. Little did the nut bag or officer know that these are honor roll students, athletes, and very well behaved young men. I was livid when my daughter told me this story. I wanted to arrive at the Bethlehem Police and inquire why these boys were intimidated and why there was the need to "run their names." However, my daughter insisted that I did not. So I didn't. My grand son is now 16 y/o and continues to be a fine young man. Maintained honor roll since middle school, going into the 11th grade at Freedom, an excellent basket ball player, kind, thoughtful, respectful, and loved by many. Yet, because of the color of his skin, as beautiful as it and he is, he and his friends were judged that day. I'd bet my life that if it were a group of non-Hispanic, non-Black young men that day . . . they would not have had their names run through the system . . . implying that they MUST have a record. All because they were innocently playing a silly game. All five of my grand children are bi-racial. I worry about how they will be judged and how all of their wonderful attributes will be overlooked because of the color of their skin. To those making judgmental remarks . . . if you are not a person of color, you have not and will not experience what a person of color experiences. Like it or not. We have "white privilege" just because . . .

Anonymous said...

"Lily White"
Haven't heard Ester say it in a while.
Republican? Lincoln was a Republican.

Anonymous said...

8:22, B I N G O!!!!!!!!!!

Bernie O'Hare said...

6:34, I'll bet your grandson plays basketball against mine.

Anonymous said...

I perfectly understand the sentiment expressed at the forum. There have been blatant expressions of racism in law enforcement, which needs to be held to a higher standard than just the average citizen.

That being said, I find it troubling that a few examples are being completely blown out of proportion and being applied as fact across the board. Even when law enforcement does their job (such as running the names of everyone involved in an incident, with reference to 6:34 - I think it would be reasonable for an officer to want to know who he's dealing with), it is blown up to be racism.

What I hope for my generation and my future kids' generation is that we lose the victim mentality. It makes it that much easier to identify legitimate forms of racism and to correct them.

Anonymous said...

There seems to be a common denominator in some of these postings and that is RESPONSIBILTY. Some people just want to blame drugs, alcohol, the police, their parents or something/anyone else other than themselves. Own it!!!

Bernie O'Hare said...

... says someone who can't even take the responsibility to identify herself.

Anonymous said...

@7:13 PM Has no relevance. Don't notice everyone else identifying themselves either so yes says someone who doesn't feel the need, NOT responsibility cause that makes no sense, to identify myself. Call everyone else out then.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'm calling out the hypocrite who talks about responsibility but fails to exhibit it.

Anonymous said...

There isn't a Black Lives Matter chapter in Bethlehem, yet people in the comments have moved the discussion o that topic. SMH. Also, never in all my years living in the LV have people talked about "black-on-black crime." The LV is too diverse, and everybody knows crime crosses all racial and ethnic groups in the LV. While I don't believe that Bethlehem cops are bad people, they are still products of their environment, an environment which sees black and brown people as inherently criminal.

Bernie O'Hare said...

A member of the BLM movement was at the meeting.

Anonymous said...

Chief Diluzio is the problem. He will not do anything to correct behaviors of his officers. He participates in victim blaming. It's not a racial issue. The department needs to assign a new chief. The comments on the thread are making assumptions. There is a problem with the Bethlehem City Police Department and how they treat victims. They help criminals by not only not doing their jobs but also by victim blaming. He absolutely will do nothing about behaviors of his officers. They will continue to act the same way and use the power how they choose. The City Council needs to revoke his assignment as Chief of Police. Thank you for posting the article. The issues I am aware of are not racial. Which gives the voice of the article a truth that can be seen. The Police Department needs good leadership not what is currently occurring.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I personally believe Chief DiLuzio is an excellent chief. Also, my experience is that Bethlehem is the finest police force in the LV. But I hope there is a second forum and this time, with beat cops. Although I am sure some cops are not always at their best, I know many of the officers and know they respect the community they protect. Having said that, I appreciate your differing view. Ideally, I'd like to hear it in person with specific examples. Feel free to contact me at bohare5948@aol.com

Anonymous said...

While there was a member at the meeting, I still have never come across a Black Lives Matter chapter anywhere in the Lehigh Valley. Anyways, I'm still glad you wrote the article because far-too-often police forces in small and mid-size cities never come under the same scrutiny as police departments in major cities. I'm pretty sure these same stories exist in Allentown, since I've seen harassment and been harassed by APD when I lived there several years ago. On a final note, I hope people know that civil unrest can occur anywhere. No city, no matter how large or how small, is immune from civil unrest.

Anonymous said...

Personal beliefs about the Chief do not address the very serious issue of victim blaming that has nothing to do with race as it relates to caucasian victims. With respect what experience do you have with the Police Department. Are you a victim of rape, domestic violence, stalking etc... These matters are serious. The Chief's response to a Police Officer being caught masturbating in public is that he was not in his car. That in itself reflects a lack of concern for victims.