The retired cops investigating unsolved murders in one of America’s most violent cities. by Christopher Pomorski [The Guardian] A former murder capital of the US, Camden, New Jersey has created its first cold case squad. Can solving old killings help restore an embattled community’s trust in law and order? [more inside]
An extraordinary piece (MarylandMorning) on the detailed unfolding of the Baltimore riots from one year ago, with police radio interspersed with interviews of students.
“prisoners are the slaves of today, and that slavery affects our society economically, morally and politically.” (pdf)
Police Body Cameras: What Do You See? An interactive simulated piece about the usefulness of bodycams in discerning the facts of a given situation. (SLNYT)
How Aerial Surveillance Has Changed Policing — and Crime — in Los Angeles Geoff Manaugh rides along with the LAPD's Air Support Division.
St. Louis turns to predictive policing software: "At a time when communities are crying out for justice," Crockford told me, "I never heard anyone in one of these communities say, ‘I think police need to use more computers!’"
Everyone commits crimes. There are so many laws out there making what's relatively banal behavior criminal if looked at in that light. Apparently a longstanding legal principle tho has been the idea of a "guilty mind," which has gotten somewhat lost recently. The idea is that if you can't write a law where it's possible for a person to commit a crime without meaning to commit a crime. More in the link.
The Police Use of Force Project investigates the ways in which police use of force policies help to enable police violence in our communities. (Proposed policy solutions from Campaign Zero) [more inside]
Inside the Snitch Tank. After his arrest for the worst mass shooting in Orange County, CA history, Scott Dekraai poured out his feelings to a jailhouse informant. But instead of nailing down a death-penalty conviction against a confessed killer who was arrested with murder weapons in his car, the bugging of Dekraai’s cell touched off a legal storm over prosecutorial misconduct and the misuse of jailhouse informants which has delayed justice and drawn national attention. The Orange County Register has set up an extensive website to accompany their ongoing investigation and report.
Most American rapes go unreported and unpunished. In part because ideas about what constitutes a ‘‘real rape’’ still hinder investigations and prosecutions, and many police officers continue to read vulnerability as complicity. But there is another unacknowledged side to the investigation of sexual assault: the huge numbers of victims who are children or teenagers. New Haven, CT detectives estimate that more than 80 percent of their cases involve minors — a number only slightly higher than national statistics. Such cases are rarely reported immediately, which means that there is rarely any physical evidence to investigate. "To Catch a Rapist:" How New Haven's special-victims unit fights a hidden epidemic of sexual assault that is disturbingly difficult to investigate. (Some may find the descriptions and topics in this article disturbing or triggering.)
BBC: "[UK] Police have released a video telling people to "run, hide, tell" if they are caught up in a terrorist gun attack. The four-minute video advises on how to evacuate a building, where to hide, and what information to tell police. The video says people's first reaction if they hear gunshots should be to run - as long as it will not put them in greater danger - and not to let others' indecision "slow you down"."
The extensive catalog of complaints against officers appears to bear out the theory of a few bad apples: Among the 7,758 police officers who received a complaint during that time period, more than half received less than one per year (officers with zero complaints do not appear in the database). Meanwhile, the bad apples seem to be the ones racking up the grievances.
An incredible story by ProPublica and The Marshall Project. What happens when police believe rape victims? What happens when they don't?
If one year during the Toronto International Film Festival you’re engaging a Hollywood producer in conversation and have only a few seconds to pitch your action script before the bouncers drag you out from under the door of her bathroom stall, just fire off a three-word description of the two unlikely antagonists. Hollywood loves oddball enemies even more than unlikely buddy cops: cowboys versus aliens, mercenaries versus dinosaurs, Predators versus future governors of American states. Yet, inexplicably, no movie has been made of Toronto’s contribution to the genre: clowns versus firefighters.
An all-white jury convicted Daniel Holtzclaw of rape. It's almost enough. [The Guardian]
It took 45 hours over the course of four days for an all-white jury in Oklahoma City to decide whether or not they should convict former police officer Daniel Holtzclaw of sexual assault on the word of 13 black women. On Thursday night, the jury opted to believe (most of) them. There is perhaps no bigger test of how blind justice could possibly be than asking any American jury – especially one that is all white and includes eight men – to believe 13 black women over a former police officer and supposed hero football player. It’s easy enough to point to cases where the police were acquitted. And yet, against all expectations this time, justice was blind.[more inside]
The French government mulls laws to block Tor and public WiFi. Is this what happens when police ask Santa for presents ("liste au Père Noël", according to Le Monde)?. (via)
The County: the story of America's deadliest police. First in a five part series by the Guardian. Here is some data which has been posted before [more inside]
For the first time in 35 years, an Chicago police officer has been charged with first-degree murder for an on-duty fatality, in this case, that of 17 year old Laquan McDonald. Last night, the city of Chicago released the dash-cam footage that had been kept out of the public eye for more than a year, showing Mr. McDonald being shot 16 times by a Chicago police officer. A second video, which was taken by a security camera at a nearby Burger King, was allegedly deleted by the police. [more inside]
In preparation for police raids tonight in Brussels, Belgian authorities asked journalists not to tweet using #brusselslockdown. The response has been a hundred thousand photos of cats.
Your Social Media Posts Are Fueling the Future of Police Surveillance - Any posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other location-tagged social media uploaded in [an] area will appear on a display at police headquarters. An uploaded Vine from one block away could show someone running away, and give the cops a starting point for their investigation. How long until that hypothetical situation is a reality? “We’re 100 percent there,” says Lee Guthman, head of business development at Geofeedia, a location-based social media monitoring site.
Whichever cameras are used, it’s increasingly clear police will control the footage. In a recent survey of 25 departments with body camera programs, only two made the footage available to individuals filing complaints against the department, and only four had systems to prevent tampering or unauthorized access. - Who controls the cop cam?
The Associated Press uncovered about 1,000 officers who lost their badges in a six-year period for rape, sodomy and other sexual assault. Warning: the link contains descriptions of some of these events.
Friends call Constable Collins Rain Man or Yoda or simply The Oracle. But to Scotland Yard, London’s metropolitan police force, he is known as a “super recognizer.” He has a special gift of facial recall powers that enables him to match even low-quality and partial imagery to a face he has seen before, on the street or in a database and possibly years earlier.[slNYT]
"When a student at Spring Valley High School, South Carolina captured a cellphone video of a police officer flipping over a student and her desk, then throwing the student across the room, the video quickly got national attention: people were alarmed that a police officer in a school would do that to a teenager who didn't pose a threat."
Benjamin Dixon writes about the death of Corey Jones, a Florida musician who was shot and killed by a plainclothes officer in Florida on Sunday morning, after Jones' car had broken down on the side of the highway. [more inside]
"In New York City, the police now maintain an unknown number of military-grade vans outfitted with X-ray radiation, enabling cops to look through the walls of buildings or the sides of trucks ... The NYPD will not reveal when, where, or how often they are used."
“Every cliché was born for a reason. But why does a cop need a doughnut?” Cara Giaimo, in Atlas Obscura: The Long, Sweet Love Affair Between Cops and Doughnuts.
The Capital Times of Madison, WI follows city and university police minute by minute through a college football Saturday: out-of-control house parties, unexpected fire alarms, the game of "who lives here," BAC .273, and of course a little Big 10 football.
Death on Sevenmile Road
The rush to militarize the U.S.-Mexico border has tragic consequences in Texas.
The rush to militarize the U.S.-Mexico border has tragic consequences in Texas.
stories.. that expose both the depths of what was taken from them and the challenges of rebuilding the lives they once had
to buy sports car. they had come from their kindergarten to buy a Jaguar but did not have any money. [more inside]
Former Vancouver Police detective Lori Shenher's book, That Lonely Section of Hell: The Botched Investigation of a Serial Killer who Almost Got Away, is a memoir about investigating the disappearances of women who would turn out to have been murdered by serial killer Robert Pickton. The Globe and Mail has published an excerpt here. [more inside]
North Dakota becomes the first state to legalize weaponized drones. "Less than lethal” weapons like rubber bullets, pepper spray, tear gas, sound cannons, and Tasers are now permitted on drones, thanks to the actions of a lobbyist representing law enforcement.
"[W]e don't stop being black people when we're working as black reporters." "Over the past month, I've talked to a dozen other black reporters who've covered race and policing since Michael Brown's death — or even further back, since Oscar Grant or Ramarley Graham — and it's been a relief to learn that I'm not the only one."
Russian police have smashed an international smuggling ring moving product with an estimated street value of 3 billion rubles into the country. The product? Cheese. Officers recovered some 1,000 pounds of cheese and cheese paraphernalia (rennet and printing equipment for making counterfeit labels). The ring was supplying a growing underground black market for cheese in Russia. [more inside]
Video of Hillary Clinton's meeting with Black Lives Matter has been released. (YouTube playlist) Surprisingly intelligent, unscripted, and revealing.
Even if the police don’t kill me, a lifetime of preparing for them to just might. By Ezekiel Kweku in Pacific Standard.
One year later:
- A year after Michael Brown’s fatal shooting, unarmed black men are seven times more likely than whites to die by police gunfire
- Ferguson and beyond: how a new civil rights movement began – and won't end.
- In Ferguson, Anniversary of Killing Begins Mostly Quietly
- 11 Striking Photos That Show A Forever-Changed Ferguson.
- A Year After Ferguson: Obama Tells NPR He Feels 'Great Urgency'.
- 'Things will never be the same': the oral history of a new civil rights movement.
“We had to block the road, we had to call out the bomb squad, we had to call up supervisors to come down, we had to close everywhere off because your vehicle was parked in a higher security hotspot in London with that written on the sides. That’s the justification, it doesn’t say ‘Spain is Great’, ‘Italy is Great’, whatever.” Counter-terrorism police were called this week to investigate a family van parked in central London, with ‘Iran is Great’ emblazoned on its sides [more inside]
"Here are some essential readings from several astute activists, journalists and writers that have inspired, angered and challenged readers everywhere this past year. While this is in no way an exhaustive list, the following offers insider and outsider views of Ferguson, pushing all of us to consider the radical spirit and collective beauty illuminated in mass mobilized protests. "
Yesterday, the ACLU filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District of Kentucky in the case S.R. v. Kenton County Sheriff's Office on behalf of two elementary school children, aged eight and nine, who were restrained in handcuffs because of behavior related to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and a history of trauma. Video footage (trigger warning) [more inside]
Unlike the soft forms of social control — meaning the ameliorative and redistributive welfare programs of the Great Society — the new model of social control does not come with dangerous notions of "equality" and "social inclusion." Today, the poor are thoroughly locked down, as is our political imagination about what poverty means. Law enforcement has moved to the center of domestic politics; state violence is perhaps more than ever a constant, regular, and normal feature of poor people’s lives. —The Making of the American Police State, Christian Parenti
This March, I spent several days at his home. Wilson, who is twenty-nine, started receiving death threats not long after the incident, in which Brown was killed in the street shortly after robbing a convenience store. Although Wilson recently bought the house, his name is not on the deed, and only a few friends know where he lives. He and his wife, Barb, who is thirty-seven, and also a former Ferguson cop, rarely linger in the front yard. Because of such precautions, Wilson has been leading a very quiet life. During the past year, a series of police killings of African-Americans across the country has inspired grief, outrage, protest, and acrimonious debate. For many Americans, this discussion, though painful, has been essential. Wilson has tried, with some success, to block it out.
"When police officers shoot people under questionable circumstances, Dr. Lewinski is often there to defend their actions." ... "His conclusions are consistent: The officer acted appropriately, even when shooting an unarmed person. Even when shooting someone in the back. Even when witness testimony, forensic evidence or video footage contradicts the officer’s story." [SLNYT]
"Everyone in New Orleans knows that 911 is a lost cause." ‘‘What I’m doing now isn’t all that different from the trash thing,’’ Torres said. ‘‘It’s about seeing a need — an unfortunate need — and stepping up to fill it.’’