Cause and Effect
(#399, 12/6/21)

California eased up on punishing theft. Did it increase crime? Embolden thieves?

Backing Off
(#398, 11/18/21)

Leaving suspects alone cuts against the grain. But there are few options.

"Woke" up, America!
(#397, 10/25/21)

Violence besets poor neighborhoods.
So why should the well-off care?

Full Stop Ahead
(#396, 9/27/21)

Floyd and the virus upend policing.
Some cops react poorly.


Damn the Evidence -
Full Speed Ahead!

(#395, 9/8/21)

A Partner in Every Sense
(#394, 8/24/21)

Our Never-Ending
American Tragedy

(#393, 8/9/21)

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

Racial Quarrels
Within Policing (I)

(#391, 7/11/21)

Don't Like the Rules?
Change Them!

(#390, 6/28/21)

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

Another Victim:
The Craft of Policing

(#388, 5/29/21)

Is the "Cure" Worse than the "Disease"?
(#387, 5/17/21)

Let's Stop Pretending
(#386, 5/3/21)

Four Weeks, Six Massacres
(#385, 4/19/21)

Two Weeks, Four Massacres
(#384, 4/4/21)

One Week, Two Massacres
(#383, 3/24/21)

The Usual Victims
(#381, 2/22/21)

A Risky and Informed Decision
(#380, 2/8/21)

Want Happy Endings?
Don't Chase.

(#379, 1/31/21)

Cop? Terrorist? Both?
(#378, 1/20/21)

Chaos in D.C.
(#377, 1/11/21)

Third, Fourth & Fifth Chances
(#376, 1/4/21)

Select, Don't "Elect"
(#375, 12/19/20)

Was a Dope Roped?
(#374, 12/8/20)

Fix Those Neighborhoods!
(#373, 11/23/20)

When Must Cops
Shoot? (II)

(#372, 11/11/20)

When Must Cops
Shoot? (I)

(#371, 10/31/20)

L.A. Wants "Cahoots." But Which "Cahoots"?
(#370, 10/21/20)

R.I.P. Proactive Policing?
(#369, 10/10/20)

Explaining...or Ignoring?
(#368, 9/21/20)

White on Black
(#367, 9/7/20)

Black on Black
(#366, 9/1/20)

"SWAT" is a Verb
(#365, 8/16/20)

Should Police Treat the Whole Patient?
(#364, 8/3/20)

Turning Cops Into Liars
(#363, 7/20/20)

Violent and Vulnerable
(#362, 7/8/20)

Don't "Divest" - Invest!
(#361, 6/26/20)

Is it Ever OK to Shoot Someone in the Back? (II)
(#360, 6/19/20)

Gold Badges Can Be the Problem
(#359, 6/8/20)

Punishment Isn't a Cop's Job
(#358, 6/3/20)

But is it Really Satan?
(#357, 5/25/20)

A Conflicted Mission
(#356, 5/12/20)

Letting Go
(#355, 5/1/20)

Can the Urban Ship
be Steered?

(#354, 4/21/20)

Taking Missiles From Strangers
(#353, 4/10/20)

Fair But Firm
(#352, 4/2/20)

When Should Cops Lie?
(#351, 3/26/20)

COVID-19: R.I.P. Policing?
(#350, 3/17/20)

Place Matters
(#349, 2/29/20)

Must the Door Revolve?
(#348, 2/9/20)

A Recipe for Disaster
(#347, 1/24/20)

Loopholes are Lethal (II)
(#346, 1/4/20)

Loopholes are Lethal
(#345, 12/22/19)

Did the Times Scapegoat L.A.'s Finest? (II)
(#344, 12/3/19)

Did the Times Scapegoat L.A.'s Finest?
(#343, 11/12/19)

Technology's Great -
Until it's Not

(#342, 10/18/19)

Means, Ends and 9/11
(#341, 9/28/19)

Human Renewal
(#340, 9/13/19)

Keep going...





12/8/21   Two former Torrance (CA) police officers are being prosecuted for allegedly spraying the image of a swastika in a citizen’s vehicle last August. They’re among “more than a dozen” current and past officers being investigated for participating in a years-long exchange of text messages that berated racial and ethnic minorities and members of the LGBT community. So far their actions have caused “at least 85” criminal cases in which they participated to be dismissed. Related posts 1  2

Described as a “criminal syndicate” by Federal prosecutors, eight members of an extended Los Angeles-area family were convicted this year of fraudulently obtaining millions of dollars in COVID loans by using “dozens” of fake or stolen identities. Their illicit gains were used to buy homes and luxury goods. Its two ringleaders, a husband and wife, fled before sentencing. Most recently, a sister-in-law got ten years and her husband, five. Despite prosecutors’ request that she be remanded, a judge released her, possibly to arrange for the care of two teen daughters before reporting to prison. Related post

12/7/21  In the Illinois Governor’s race, one political party (the “Reds”) is citing the sharp increase in violent crime as proof that the “Blues,” led by Governor J.B. Pritzker, have ignored the real threat to life and limb that voters face. But the “Blues” complain that the “Reds” are “racializing” things to appeal to suburban Whites. Pritzker may have become more vulnerable because earlier this year he signed a progressively-minded criminal justice bill that, among other things, ends cash bail in 2023. Related posts 1   2

A newly-published article, “Elevated police turnover following the summer of George Floyd protests: A synthetic control study” (Criminology & Public Policy, August 2021) reports that voluntary resignations by officers employed by “a large police department in the western United States” increased nearly three-fold because of the protests. Its authors predict that such departures will continue. Related post

12/4/21  A prosecutor explained why the parents of the Oxford high school shooter were charged with manslaughter. (Click here for the video.) One day before the massacre, a teacher caught the youth searching for ammunition on his phone. His parents were informed. His mother later messaged her son “Lol. I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught.” On the day of the shooting, while the parents were at the school, they were shown a photo of a note their son wrote. It depicted a gun, a bullet, a bleeding person, and these comments: “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me”,  “Blood everywhere”, “My life is useless”, “The world is dead.” But no one looked in the student’s backpack. His parents declined to take the boy home, and an hour later he committed the massacre. Related posts 1   2   3

According to the Washington Post, there have been 34 school shootings this year. But twenty States, including Michigan, lack “child access prevention laws” that require guns in households with minors be kept locked up. That, says the Post, is crucial, as its review of 105 school shootings committed by youths revealed that eighty percent got their guns from their homes, or those of friends or relatives. A study published in PNAS concluded that states which have gun storage laws intended to prevent childrens’ access to guns and do not have right-to-carry or stand-your-ground laws can expect eleven percent fewer firearms deaths. Related posts 1   2

12/3/21  Beverly Hills police arrested Aaeriel Maynor, 29, for the murder of a noted Beverly Hills philanthropist who was gunned down in her own home. Maynor, a convicted armed robber on parole, was captured after accidentally wounding himself with an AR-15 rifle while committing a burglary. On the same day, in Chicago, a man out on bail for carjacking and a second suspect were arrested after an officer was shot and wounded during a traffic stop. Blake Williams, 22, is being held on $250,000 bond. Meanwhile, LAPD chief Michel Moore attributed the persistence of high-end retail thefts on a permissive pandemic-era policy that recently led to the release of fourteen smash-and-grabbers on low or no bail. Related posts 1   2

12/2/21  A fourth student, age 17, succumbed in the massacre at Michigan’s Oxford High School. Authorities announced that the shooter, Ethan Crumbley, is being charged as an adult with murder and terrorism. He had apparently revealed his intentions the previous evening on an Instagram post that pictured the gun in his hands: “just got my new beauty today...I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds. See you tomorrow, Oxford.” On that day, but before the massacre, Crumbley’s parents were  summoned to his school over their son’s “concerning behavior.” Years earlier Crumbley’s mother posted an “open letter” to President Trump complaining about her son’s education and extolling gun ownership. Authorities may charge the parents for leaving the gun unsecured. Related posts 1   2   3

In September the cities of San Diego and San Francisco banned buying, selling or possessing  unserialized, unfinished firearm frames or receivers or assembling them into a gun (“ghost gun.”) Los Angeles is about to enact a similar ordnance. Its lawsuit against ghost-gun parts kit maker Polymer80 also remains in progress. LAPD reports that forty percent of guns its officers currently seize are unserialized “ghosts.” Related post

12/1/21  Armed with a 9mm. pistol his father recently bought, a 15-year old boy opened fire at a suburban Detroit high school, killing three students, ages 14, 16 and 17, and wounding eight others, including a teacher. Three of the surviving students are in critical condition. The shooter peacefully surrendered. His motive is presently unknown. Related posts 1   2   3

Police unions are badly upset, but D.A.’s around the U.S. are taking second and third looks at unprosecuted, years-old fatal shootings of citizens by police. One such event is the October 2010 killing of 20-year old Danroy "DJ" Henry Jr. in Thornwood, N.Y. Henry, a Black youth, got in the middle of a bar fight, and as he left allegedly tried to run over a cop with his car (the officer wound up on the vehicle’s hood.) A Federal prosecutor later cleared the shooting as a “split-second” decision (i.e. under Garner.) Related post

In a vote that mirrored the justices’ political affiliations, the full Ninth Circuit reversed a 2020 decision by a three-judge panel which affirmed a ruling by a District judge that California’s ban on large-capacity magazines (more than ten rounds) violates the 2nd. Amendment. So that State law is back in full effect. Still to be litigated is a June 2021 opinion by the same District judge throwing out California’s ban on assault weapons, and for the same reason. Related posts 1   2

In 2015 Massachusetts imposed laws tightening gun licensing and requiring background checks for all gun sales, including private-party transfers. However, a recently-published study that studied the resulting increases in the “percentage of all denied applications, the percentage of denied applications due to unsuitability, and the percentage of denied applications due to statutory disqualification” revealed that the new restrictions had “little to no effect on violent crimes.” Related posts 1   2

11/30/21  A woman returning to her Lancaster (CA) residence discovered that her four young children and grandmother had been shot dead. "My babies are gone! They're all dead!" she screamed in the front yard. Her husband, Germarcus David, 29, an unemployed security guard, soon turned himself in to police. He admitted he was the killer. David, whose online posts have a religious tinge, had no known motive. Related posts 1   2

Last year LAPD investigators discovered that Archi Duenas stole dozens of guns from the gun store he managed at the police academy. He resold many to cops, who should have known better. His thievery ultimately earned him probation. Problem is, some of his badge-wearing customers, including a station commander, were also selling guns as an unregulated sideline, even offering so-called “off roster” guns that State laws normally keep out of civilian hands. Several are under investigation. Related post

11/29/21  There have been 130 murders in the Bronx through 11/21. That’s nearly thirty percent more than in 2020 and sixty-five percent more than in 2019. That increase in caseload alone poses a major challenge. There are other obstacles. Residents of troubled neighborhoods fear cooperating with police. Many locations lack sufficient surveillance cameras, and those in place can’t see through masks. Clearances are substantially down. But about sixty-two percent of murders are presently being solved. Related post

Jury selection begins tomorrow in another potentially explosive Minneapolis area case: the prosecution of ex-Brooklyn Center cop Kim Potter for first-degree manslaughter in the April 2021 killing of Daunte Wright. After stopping the 20-year old Black man for a traffic infraction, Ms. Potter, who is White, discovered he had a gun possession warrant. But when she moved to arrest him, he tried to flee. Intending to stop him with her Taser, she mistakenly drew and fired her gun instead. Her defense is that she isn’t “culpably negligent” as the law requires because Mr. Wright “caused his death himself.” Related posts 1   2

11/27/21  Commenting on the recent spate of takeovers of high-end retailers by organized groups of thieves, Allen Zarenberg, the retiring head of the Calif. Chamber of Commerce, attributed it to the 2014 enactment of Prop. 47, which greatly eased the penalties for thefts under $950. “It creates a culture in certain jurisdictions where retail theft is OK.” Indeed, a 2018 study by the Public Policy Institute reported that minor thefts went up. A recent review of Prop. 47’s effects on the city of Santa Monica arrived at a similar conclusion. But a university study concluded that the seeming uptick in larceny and motor vehicle theft in the year after passage was insufficiently robust. Related posts 1   2

11/26/21  Chicago prosecutors allege that in July, Detrevion Williams, 18 and another young male opened fire on five teens standing on the street in the notorious Lawndale neighborhood. All were struck: two, ages 15 and 16, suffered gunshot wounds to the head and were killed. Williams’ companion reportedly had a gun with a “50 round drum magazine.” Both assailants fled in a stolen BMW. Witnesses, videos, license plate readers and other means led police to Williams and an alley where the vehicle and guns were found. Williams is charged with two murders and three attempts; he has been denied bail. Related post

11/25/21  D.C. suffered 201 homicides this year as of Nov. 23. That’s 11% more than during this period in 2020, when there were 179. Compared to full years, it’s the most since 2003, when there were 248, more than twice the 88 murders in 2012, and 42 percent greater than in 2017, when there were 116. D.C. also has 200 fewer officers than last year. According to the police union, the loss of cops and new rules that “impede” the fight against crime caused the increase in gun violence. But activists disagree. (2019 ACS: D.C. pop. 673,041, pov. 13.5%, 2020 hom. rate 29.4, 6X U.S. & higher than 7 of 8 listed cities.) Related post

In August 2020, “after numerous policy violations and conduct issues,” Kansas City police fired Det. Lionel Womack, a 13-year veteran. Within days he tangled with Sheriff’s deputies when, supposedly from fear, he ran away during a traffic stop. (Womack was injured and sued.) On November 22 a 9-1-1 caller reported that Womack was “standing in a road pointing at the sky and trying to jump in front of traffic.” During a violent encounter with his former colleagues, Womack took away an officer’s gun, jumped behind the wheel of the patrol car, and was shot dead by the cop’s partner. Related post

11/24/21  Acting on motions filed by Jackson County, Missouri D.A. Jean Baker and the Midwest Innocence Project, a judge exonerated and freed Kevin Strickland, who served more than forty-three years for his alleged involvement in a triple homicide. No physical evidence linked him to the crime, and a survivor who picked him out of a lineup and was the sole basis for his conviction later insisted she had been pressured by police. Strickland’s alibi witnesses were ignored, as were the statements of two confessed participants who swore that he wasn’t there. Related posts 1   2

On November 22, acting on motions of defense and prosecution, a Syracuse (NY) judge fully exonerated Anthony Broadwater, who was released from prison in 1998 after serving 16 years for a rape he insists he did not commit. His cause was taken up several years ago by a film maker who grew doubtful of the man’s guilt while researching a screen adaptation of “Lucky,” the debut novel by Alice Sebold, the rape victim. She originally had problems identifying Broadwater, but did so in court, and her testimony along with since-discredited microscopic hair comparison ultimately gained the conviction. Related posts 1   2

11/23/21  U.S. will pay $127.5 million to settle lawsuits filed by the families of Parkland High School victims over the FBI’s failure to follow up on warnings that the shooter, Nikolas Cruz, was planning a rampage. Cruz, a mentally troubled former student, used an AR-15 rifle to kill fourteen students and three teachers and wound seventeen others at the Florida high school in 2018. He pled guilty in October to 17 counts of murder and seventeen of attempted murder and asked for a life sentence. But prosecutors say they will his seek a death sentence at a forthcoming hearing. Related post

“We feel safe. We really do. I know violence is everywhere. If someone wants to hurt you, they’ll hurt you. But I have peace.” Those are the words of a nurse who moved from inner-city Chicago to a suburb where their children “can play in the yard without the possibility of gunfire.” Her husband agreed that “safety was an issue.” He also said that access to necessities became far more plentiful. Related post

In “Does racial congruence between police agencies and communities reduce racialized police killings of civilians?”, Shytierra Gaston, Matthew J. Teti and Matheson Sancheza studied the relationship between the racial composition of 1,988 local police agencies and their use of force against Blacks. They found that forces with larger proportions of Black officers used significantly less force against Blacks, and that the use of force against Blacks was more common in areas with fewer Blacks. Related post

11/22/21  On November 21 a speeding SUV plowed into a Waukesha (WI) Christmas parade, killing five and injuring 48. A police officer fired on the vehicle, but without apparent effect. Its driver, Darrell E. Brooks Jr., 39, was fleeing from a domestic dispute. A registered sex offender, his felony convictions include a 1999 aggravated robbery and a 2010 strangulation. On November 5 Brooks was released on a $1,000 bond for “reckless endangerment” and other charges for allegedly “running over” a woman after a dispute. Prosecutors have criticized that bail as being far too low. Bail reform special topic  Related post

A lawsuit filed by the family of Elijah McClain, an unarmed man who died after a 2019 encounter with Aurora (CO) police, has been settled for $15 million. Alerted by a 9-1-1 caller who said that a pedestrian was acting oddly, officers tried to detain McClain, but he resisted. Officers applied a carotid hold, and paramedics injected him with ketamine. McClain never regained consciousness. Related post

As the COVID era continues to upset things, “smash-and-grab” and “follow home” robbers have been picking on the wealthy. Fourteen “grab and run” bandits hit a Louis Vuitton store in an upscale Chicago area. “Dozens” of thieves swept through a string of high-end retailers in the San Francisco Bay region. Hollywood celebrities are being followed home and robbed at gunpoint. One victim, “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Dorit Kemsley, had to give up pricey handbags and jewelry. Related post

Mount Sinai Medical School researchers have linked marijuana use during pregnancy to increased levels of aggression, anxiety and hyperactivity in young children. Cannabis reportedly affects the mother’s immune function, which in turn alters the neurobehavioral development of the unborn. Marijuana special topic  Related post

Louisville will spend tens of millions in COVID relief funds on police reforms. Housing will get $100 million, and violence prevention and youth programs tens of millions more. But Feds in town conducting a pattern-and-practice review prompted by the killing of Breonna Taylor are digging into a recent police killing, in which officers say the man they shot while responding to a domestic call fired first. “You can’t control the timing of these things,” said Erika Shields, the new police chief. “...with so much violence and guns on the streets, you just know there’s a likelihood of this kind of thing happening.” Related post

The recent slaying of an international student, and the robbery “at gunpoint” of a university worker, finds one of the nation’s premier places of learning, the University of Chicago, at the mercy of the violence and gunplay that besets its surroundings. Officials and campus staff want a larger police presence, outside and within. Chicago’s police chief agrees. “Having a large presence will not only add to safety but also the perception of being safe.” But others disagree. “The proof is literally in the existence of University of Chicago and the fact that it can sit inside one of the most terrorized neighborhoods when it comes to gun violence and think that epidemic shouldn’t touch their campus.” Related posts 1   2


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