Racial Quarrels Within Policing (II) (#392, 7/23/21)

In San Francisco, White cops allege that color and gender do count

Racial Quarrels Within Policing (I) (#391, 7/11/21)

In Maryland, Black and Hispanic cops complain that color does count


Another Victim:
The Craft of Policing

Ronald Greene died one year before George Floyd. In about the same way. (#388, 5/29/21)

Is the "Cure" Worse than
the "Disease"?

Dem’s push the “George Floyd
Justice in Policing Act”
(#387, 5/17/21)

Let's Stop Pretending
Cops can't correct
what most needs fixing
(#386, 5/3/21)

Four Weeks, Six Massacres
Would stronger gun laws help? We crunch the numbers. They're not reassuring. (#385, 4/19/21)

Two Weeks, Four Massacres
A troubled Colorado man buys a “pistol.” Six days later ten innocents
lie dead.
(#384, 4/4/21)

One Week, Two Massacres
An Atlanta man buys a pistol.
Hours later eight persons lie dead.

(#383, 3/24/21)

The Usual Victims
Violent crime is reportedly way up.
But do we all suffer equally?

(#381, 2/22/21)

A Risky and Informed Decision
Minneapolis P.D. knew better. Yet it
hired an applicant and kept him on.

(#380, 2/8/21)

Want Happy Endings?
Don't Chase.

Pursuits can lead to tragedy
(#379, 1/31/21)

Cop? Terrorist? Both?
Some officers leap into
the arms of "Q"
(#378, 1/20/21)

Chaos in D.C.
Rioters overrun the Capitol.
Are police to blame?
(#377, 1/11/21)

Third, Fourth & Fifth Chances
Some cops repeatedly avoid meaningful sanctions. Then disaster strikes.
(#376, 1/4/21)

Select, Don't "Elect"
When top cops are elected,
controls fly out the window

(#375, 12/19/20)

Was a Dope Roped?
A trial judge thought so.
But an appellate court disagreed.

(#374, 12/8/20)

Fix Those Neighborhoods!
Creating safe places calls for a comprehensive, organic approach
(#373, 11/23/20)

When Must Cops Shoot? (II)
"An Ounce of Prevention"
(Ben Franklin, 1736)

(#372, 11/11/20)

When Must Cops Shoot? (I)
Four notorious incidents; four dead citizens. What did officers face?
(#371, 10/31/20)

L.A. Wants "Cahoots." But Which "Cahoots"?
Some politicians demand that officers keep away from "minor, non-violent" crimes
(#370, 10/21/20)

R.I.P. Proactive Policing?
Volatile situations and imperfect cops guarantee tragic outcomes

(#369, 10/10/20)

Explaining...or Ignoring?
In a badly divided land, the ambush of two deputies unleashes a raft of excuses. And, as usual, no solutions.

(#368, 9/21/20)

White on Black
Should Black citizens fear White cops?
(#367, 9/7/20)

Black on Black
Are Black citizens better off
with Black cops?
(#366, 9/1/20)

"SWAT" is a Verb
Officers join specialized teams for a reason
(#365, 8/16/20)

Should Police Treat the Whole Patient?
Officers deal with the symptoms of social decay. Can they go further? Should they?
(#364, 8/3/20)

Turning Cops Into Liars
Keeping score can distort what
officers do
(#363, 7/20/20)

Violent and Vulnerable
Some combative citizens may be at heightened risk of death
(#362, 7/8/20)

Don't "Divest" - Invest!
Stripping money from the police is foolish. So is ignoring the plight of poverty-stricken neighborhoods.

(#361, 6/26/20)

Is it Ever OK to Shoot Someone in the Back? (II)
In Atlanta, a “routine” encounter turns lethal. Instantly, a deplorable outcome is attributed to race.
(#360, 6/19/20)

Gold Badges Can Be the Problem
Ordinary cops often know what's best. They should act on it.
(#359, 6/8/20)

Punishment Isn't a Cop's Job
An officer metes out discipline. He then faces society's version.
(#358, 6/3/20)

But is it Really Satan?
A Sheriff’s lament reflects the hopelessness of urban decay

(#357, 5/25/20)

A Conflicted Mission
An ideologically-fraught quarrel poses unique challenges
(#356, 5/12/20)

Letting Go
Who should stay locked up during the pandemic? Who can go?
(#355, 5/1/20)

Can the Urban Ship
be Steered?

Seasoned police leadership. Yet the
violence continues.
(#354, 4/21/20)

Taking Missiles From Strangers
One wannabe heads to prison. Another waits. Should we be relieved?

(#353, 4/10/20)

Fair But Firm
Gaining voluntary compliance is the
sine qua non of everyday policing.
Indeed, of everyday life.
(#352, 4/2/20)

When Should Cops Lie?
NYPD detectives tweak an old approach. But lying is still lying.
(#351, 3/26/20)

COVID-19: R.I.P. Policing?
Crime-fighters confront the challenges
of coronavirus
(#350, 3/17/20)

Place Matters
Desperate to avoid controversy, politicians avoid the obvious

(#349, 2/29/20)

Must the Door Revolve?
Bail and sentencing reform come.
Then stuff happens.
(#348, 2/9/20)

A Recipe for Disaster
Take an uncertain workplace. Toss in a "mission impossible" and pressures to produce. Voila!
(#347, 1/24/20)

Loopholes are Lethal (II)
Who can buy a gun? Indeed, just what is a gun? Um, let’s pretend!
(#346, 1/4/20)

Loopholes are Lethal
Federal gun laws are tailored to limit their impact. And the consequences
can be deadly.
(#345, 12/22/19)

Did the Times Scapegoat L.A.'s Finest? (II)
Quit blaming police racism for lopsided outcomes. And fix those neighborhoods!
(#344, 12/3/19)

Did the Times Scapegoat L.A.'s Finest?
Accusations of biased policing
derail a stop-and-frisk campaign

(#343, 11/12/19)

Technology's Great -
Until it's Not

Police love Rapid DNA and facial recognition but hate encryption.
Privacy advocates beg to differ.

(#342, 10/18/19)

Means, Ends and 9/11
Extraordinary measures beget extraordinary consequences

(#341, 9/28/19)

Human Renewal
Despite redevelopment, South Bend's poverty and crime remain locked
in an embrace
(#340, 9/13/19)

A Workplace
Without Pity
Doing right by the public might
mean doing wrong to the cop
(#339, 8/27/19)

Going Ballistic
Stop with the tangential!
Gun lethality is, first and foremost,
about the projectile
(#338, 8/12/19)

Repeat After Us:
"City" is Meaningless
When it comes to crime, it's neighborhoods that count
(#337, 8/2/19)

Two Sides of
the Same Coin
Street gangs and officer cliques
have a lot in common
(#336, 7/20/19)

Can You Enforce
Without Force?
Decriminalizing illegal immigration would have serious consequences
(#335, 7/1/19)

A Distinction
Without a Difference
An epidemic of officer suicide raises the question: do guns cause violence?
(#334, 6/22/19)

Informed and Lethal
Confirmation bias, on steroids
(#333, 5/5/19)

Mission Impossible?
Inner-city violence calls for a lot more than cops. Is America up to the task? (#332, 4/13/19)

Driven to Fail
Numbers-driven policing can’t help but offend. What are the options?
(#331, 3/27/19)

No Such Thing As
"Friendly" Fire
As good guys and bad ramp up their arsenals, the margin of error disappears (#330, 3/4/19)

A Not-so-Magnificent Obsession
Lapses in policing lead to chronic rulemaking. Does it hit the mark?
(#329, 2/15/19)

A Victim of Circumstance
Building cases with circumstantial evidence calls for exquisite care
(#328, 1/26/19)

When Walls Collide
Ideological quarrels drown out straight talk about border security (#327, 1/14/19)

Cops Aren't Free Agents
To improve police practices, look
to the workplace
(#326, 1/3/19)

Keep going...


New essays post regularly:

Main topics

Don't Like the Rules?
Change Them!
(#390, 6/28/21)

Partisanship shapes how gun laws
are interpreted

Regulate. Don't "Obfuscate". (#389, 6/13/21)

Tailor remedies to the workplace.
And keep it real!


8/3/21  In response to a 2019 mass shooting that killed five persons and wounded six, including five police officers (see 2/16/19 update in “No One Wants”) Illinois enacted a law that directs State police to confiscate firearms from persons whose State firearms ID cards have been revoked, say, due to a felony conviction, but may still have guns. Background checks for private party gun sales will also be required beginning in 2024. Related posts 1  2  3

8/2/21  "How big does Chicago want its pot biz to be?” The Chicago Tribune welcomed recreational marijuana, which Illinois legalized last year, as less harmful than drinking, and as a way to avoid needlessly giving folks criminal records. It now worries that pot’s booming commercialization is changing how the city “looks.” And about its health effects. “It’s better if it’s occasionally used, when the adult smoker is in a safe place. Legal doesn’t always mean wise.” Marijuana special topic   Related post

New York City gang members backed by scooter escorts opened fire in a Latino neighborhood, wounding ten, including three rival gangsters. Meanwhile gunfire in Chicago killed three and wounded nineteen in a single “overnight.” Chicago PD posted 105 homicides in July. That’s about the same as the 107 recorded in July 2020, but far worse than the month’s tolls in 2019 (44) and 2018 (64). Related post

8/1/21  On March 14 four L.A. sheriff’s deputies responded to a 9-1-1 call about a man intent on “suicide by cop.” They encountered David Ordaz  Jr., 34, on the street and tried to talk him into giving up. But Ordaz, who was wielding a large knife, refused. Bodycam videos depict Ordaz as he stumbles backwards when struck by a bean-bag, then recovers and moves forward. One or more deputies then open fire and shoot him dead. Sheriff Alex Villanueva has expressed “grave concerns” and suspended one deputy pending an investigation. Ordaz’s family, who watched the tragedy unfold, has filed a lawsuit. Related posts 1  2

Helios “Bobby” Dayspring, a major California marijuana grower and distributor, pled guilty to Federal tax and bribery charges for paying off a county supervisor to promote his interests and fend off pot-unfriendly laws. That politician later committed suicide. This prosecution, according to the Feds, is part of “an ongoing public corruption investigation” into the nascent, loosely-regulated pot industry. Marijuana special topic   Related post

7/31/21  As part of Texas’ border security initiative, which includes building fences and interdicting the flow of drugs, Governor Greg Abbott ordered troopers to “stop and turn around” vehicles smuggling immigrants, supposedly to combat the spread of COVID. That finally proved too much for the U.S. Justice Department. Insisting that border affairs are not Texas’ business, it sued in Federal court. Immigration topic  COVID topic   Related posts 1  2

7/30/21   Despite bankrupt Remington Arm’s offer to settle for $33 million, the families of the victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre are demanding all of the company’s documents relating to the lawsuit. Their position, they say, will prevail, since they claim that the Federal “Protection of Commerce” law doesn’t shield Remington as it violated Connecticut law by purposely marketing the Bushmaster AR-15 style rifle used in the attack to appeal to persons who would be prone to its misuse. Related posts 1  2

7/29/21   A five-year follow-up study of prisoners released in 2012 by 34 states revealed that within five years 71 percent were re-arrested and 46 percent were re-imprisoned for probation/parole violation or a new crime. Yearly arrest percentages ranged from 37 percent during the first year of freedom to 26 percent during the fifth. Related posts 1  2

Data from the University of Chicago Crime Lab suggests that “historical structural racism and economic deprivation” have contributed to a widening gap in rates of homicide and deaths from disease between Chicago neighborhoods. Differences in murder rates between the safest districts (Lincoln, Rogers Park, Jefferson Park and Town Hall) and most violent (Harrison, Englewood, Austin and Gresham) increased from 13 times in 1991 to twenty-six times in 2020. According to the Census, the most dangerous districts are predominantly Black. Neighborhoods topic  Related posts 1  2

7/28/21  William Briggs is a lawyer. And a Black man. And the new President of the Los Angeles City Police Commission. And despite criticism from activists, he opposes “defunding” the police. “Our communities of color that are most impacted by crime, many of which have seen the homicide rate rise above 30% this year, cannot afford to go without law enforcement.” He does want to see more “beat” cops - officers who work the same neighborhoods over time and get to know its inhabitants. Related posts 1  2

On July 27 Robert Aaron Long pled guilty to each of the four murders he committed at Young’s Asian Massage and was sentenced to four life terms without parole. But the prosecutor for the four murders at Gold’s Spa still seeks the death penalty. At sentencing, Long said his parents kicked him out for discontinuing sex addiction treatment. Long said he had intended to get sex then commit suicide, but that he got drunk and decided to commit “vigilante justice” against commercial sex peddlers. Related post

Thomas Webster, a former Marine and retired NYPD officer (he once helped guard the city’s mayor) is being prosecuted for assaulting a police officer on the grounds and “trying to gouge out his eye.” An old friend noticed that Webster was embittered by the Presidential campaign. He became “quite animated, quite hyped about the current state of affairs and liberal bias.” According to prosecutors, Webster had body armor and a handgun, which he left in his motel room. Federal case details  Capitol topic  Related post

7/27/21  Four Capitol police officers testified as House Democrats opened their probe of the January 6th. assault. They recounted “near-death” experiences in graphic detail. One said that rioters tried “to gouge out his eye”; another that he “was beaten unconscious” and Tasered. According to a police sergeant, multiple rioters announced that “Trump sent us.” Republicans have boycotted the inquiry. Related post

In Wasco, a town near Bakersfield, Calif., a 41-year old man armed with an AK-47 style rifle and a handgun opened fire inside his home. Neighbors called deputies and said occupants had been shot. Responding officers were fired on and took cover. Two SWAT members soon approached on foot. The shooter opened fire, reportedly through the windows, fatally wounding Deputy Phillip Campas, 35 and wounding his partner. Two other deputies sustained shrapnel injuries. Deputies shot and killed the assailant as he exited the home. His 42-year old wife and their 17 and 24-year old sons were found inside, each shot dead. A restraining order prohibiting the shooter from having guns was in effect. Related posts 1  2  3  4

7/26/21  In June the Border Patrol encountered 188,829 migrants at the Southern border, “the largest in years.” A profusion of migrant deaths and disappearances has led the agency to place numerous signs bearing GPS coordinates and install solar-powered, camera-equipped beacons in remote areas to help the lost and injured. As they conduct more rescues and recover more remains agents are also increasingly turning to forensic techniques to identify victims and prosecute smugglers. Related post

According to Washington D.C, police, over forty percent of gunfire occurs in a beset region that comprises only two percent of the District. Crime scene technicians found nearly 2,800 bullet casings within a square-mile stretch of that area in three years. Killings are so commonplace that a local mentor stopped going to funerals and now works with young people in Virginia: “I’m tired of praying over a person in a casket that I played pee-wee football with.” In 2020 murders in D.C. “reached a 16-year high,” leading its Democratic mayor, Muriel E. Bowser, to declare “a public health crisis.” Related posts 1  2

7/23/21  In a remarkable, candid interview, a young Black LAPD officer who, as a baby, was rescued by police from a dumpster expressed how his “dual identity...has left him straddling one of the nation’s most volatile cultural fault lines - and feeling criticized for not landing solidly on either side.” Yet he remains hopeful and enthusiastic. “To me, it’s not ‘everybody’s an enemy’. If both sides were to open up again and talk and communicate, the atmosphere would be totally different.” Related posts 1  2  3

In June DHS announced that, consistent with the new Administration’s policies, it would “end wall expansion to the extent permitted by law” and use the funds to correct “life, safety, and environmental concerns” created by prior wall-building efforts. Congress would be asked to cancel funds appropriated for building barriers and allow their use for “modern, effective border measures to improve safety and security.” As a first step, on July 23 DHS announced the cancellation of a planned 31-mile barrier project in the Laredo sector. Related post

Chicago PD’s special “merit promotion system” is back. Implemented in the 90’s to advance more minorities and “ambitious officers who do not test well on promotional exams,” it was dropped by prior Chief Charlie Beck who feared it allowed favoritism. Chicago PD’s new superintendent, David Brown, just brought it back. His intent, to “diversify the ranks” at a time when trust in police is lacking, was recently reflected in the promotion to lieutenant of seven Blacks, one Hispanic and one White. Related post

To disrupt illegal gun distribution DOJ recently formed “ Firearms Trafficking Strike Forces” in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco / Sacramento and Washington, D.C. US Attorneys and ATF agents will partner with local police to identify “straw buyers,” who buy guns for illicit resale, and to interrupt the flow of guns from source regions where many guns used in violent crimes originate. Related post

7/22/21 A new Chicago law establishes a paid civilian board to oversee the police. It will include a seven-member “Community Commission” appointed by the Mayor and a three-member “council” at each police district. Members will have a substantial say over police policy and the authority to dismiss the police commissioner, but only if the Mayor concurs. While the council’s Black caucus was strongly in favor, police officials and some council members are skeptical. “This...is going to make every potential police officer think about going in another direction,” said a council member who opposed the move. Related posts 1  2

Concerned that the “Executioners” deputy gang is running things, Calif. Rep. Maxine Waters has asked the Feds to conduct a “pattern or practice” investigation at the Los Angeles Sheriff Dept’s violence- ridden Compton station. That’s where two reported “prospects” for the Executioners fatally shot Andres Guardado in June 2020. Deputies have long complained of tattooed station-house cliques that encourage misbehavior, set arrest quotas and, as a deputy recently testified, celebrate shootings. Related posts 1  2  3

7/21/21  Mark Sami Ibrahim, 33, a military veteran and rookie DEA agent, was charged with unlawfully entering the Capitol grounds while armed, then lying about it when questioned. Ibrahim, a fervent right-winger, carried a “Liberty or Death” flag, had his DEA-issued pistol, and wore his badge on his belt. He had already given DEA notice that he would soon resign. For the complaint with pictures, click here. Capitol Special Topic  Related posts 1  2

7/20/21  In the wake of unremitting gun violence - 61 were shot, with ten killed, during the most recent weekend - Chicago police aren’t waiting for the Feds to combat gun trafficking. A fifty-officer anti-gun trafficking team was just placed on the street. Its mission is to go after “unscrupulous” gun dealers, straw buyers, and other sources of the guns that beset the city. And they beseech the public to help. Related posts 1   2

The first felony sentence in the Capitol assault was handed out to Paul Hodgkins, 38. A resident of Tampa, his claim to fame was carrying a Trump 2020 flag onto the Senate floor. Hodgkins pled guilty to obstructing a legislative gathering and soulfully apologized. He got eight months. Related post

7/19/21   As a first step towards potentially closing Guantanamo, inmate Abdullatif Nasser, a prisoner since 2002, was returned to Morocco. He was adjudged as no longer posing a threat five years ago. Of the 39 detainees who remain, two have been convicted and ten are pending trial. Related post

Florida upped the minimum age to buy long guns from eighteen to twenty-one after 19-year old Nikolas Cruz used an AR-15 rifle he bought at a local gun store to murder seventeen at a high school in 2018. That didn’t stop 18-year old Sol Pais, a Miami resident, from buying a shotgun she apparently intended to misuse in Colorado the next year. To prevent future circumventions, the FBI has agreed to explore modifying its background check system to enforce the buyer's home State purchase age requirements. Related posts 1  2

Four girls, ages 12, 13, 14 and 15 were wounded in a Chicago-drive by. A 19-year old woman and a 25-year old man were also struck by bullets, but no one died. Two hours later an 8-year old was wounded in an unrelated shooting. They were among the twenty-two wounded and two shot and killed in Chicago “from Saturday night” (July 17) “into Sunday” (July 18). Related post

7/18/21 With 102 murders in Washington D.C. so far this year, same as in 2020 and a sixteen-year high, the Nation’s capital reels from the death of its latest victim, a six-year old girl who was gunned down in a drive-by that wounded five others, including her mother. Meanwhile the city announced a new program, Building Blocks DC, “that concentrates police and health programs on the 151 blocks where gun violence is most common.” That’s probably of little comfort to the fans who hurriedly fled Nationals Park yesterday when a game between the home-town team and the San Diego Padres was suspended after  vehicles exchanged gunfire near a stadium entrance, wounding three. Related posts 1  2

7/17/21 A study in which non-police volunteers listened to brief body-cam excerpts from routine traffic stops revealed that they found the tone of White cops’ voices (“prosody”, scaled 1-6) significantly less respectful and friendly when motorists were Black (mean 3.50) than when they were White (mean 3.72.) These scores were found to correlate with volunteers’ pre-existing trust in and feelings about the police. Even so, the authors concluded that the responses “attest to the role everyday interactions play in building or eroding police-community trust across race.” Related post

A recent academic review of studies about the consequences of marijuana legalization found no evidence that medical marijuana laws increased its use by teens. But the findings about the effects of recreational marijuana laws were “more equivocal.” One study suggested they were associated with a “modest” reduction in teen pot use (Anderson et al); two found no change (Hao and Cowan and Coley et al); and one (Hollingsworth et al) reported a “substantial increase.” Related post

On 7/16 a Texas Federal judge declared that the DACA Program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) “was created in violation of law” and issued a permanent injunction prohibiting any further grants of protected status. However, persons can continue to apply for the program, and current holders will continue to receive DACA’s benefits pending DHS review and rulings from higher courts. Related post

7/16/21 As of January 1, 2022, Illinois state law addresses the problem of wrongful convictions by barring the admission of confessions made by persons under 18 who are in custody “at a police station or other place of detention” if authorities use deception during interrogation. Confessions can be admitted if there is “a preponderance of the evidence that the confession was voluntarily given, based on the totality of the circumstances.” Legislators pushed for the bill - the first such law in the U.S. - because minors are reportedly much more likely than adults to falsely confess. Bill text Related posts 1  2

7/15/21 Marking the twelfth suicide since 2018, and the third since March, on July 14 yet another Chicago police officer took his own life. He was 24 years old, had two and one-half years on the job, and shot himself dead while off duty. A 2017 Federal report indicated that officer suicide is considered a “significant problem” at Chicago PD, whose officers take their own lives at a rate sixty percent above the national average. Related post

Trial of Derek Chauvin
Daily  Verdict  Post-trial  Sentence

Slugging it Out
Before the Fight

Pretrial evidentiary battles
give the State an edge
(#382, 3/16/21)

Punishment Isn't a Cop's Job
An officer metes out discipline. He then faces society's version. (#358, 6/3/20)


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