Police Issues

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

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)

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

(#357, 5/25/20)

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)

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...


10/17/20 According to the Department of Justice, 27,494 known or suspected aliens were serving a Federal prison sentence as of Sept. 30, 2019. Seventy-two percent were confirmed as illegally in the U.S. About half were imprisoned on drug crimes; thirty percent for alien smuggling or illegal re-entry; five percent for fraud; four percent for weapons crimes; and 3.7 percent for racketeering. Related posts 1 2

10/16/20 An investigation by the Los Angeles Times revealed that sixteen bicycle riders stopped for bike violations were shot by police in Los Angeles County since 2005. Eleven were killed: each was Black or Latino. Eleven of the riders were reportedly armed with guns, and a twelfth with an airsoft pistol that looked like a gun. Related post

The judge presiding over the prosecution of the officers for killing George Floyd will allow the defense to introduce evidence of a May 2019 traffic stop during which Floyd apparently swallowed a large quantity of pills and exhibited similar noncompliant behavior. Medical help was summoned and Floyd was rushed to the hospital because of dangerously elevated blood pressure. Related posts 1 2

A lawsuit filed by a Chicago police officer accuses fired Superintendent Eddie Johnson of raping her during the three years she served as his driver, and of destroying her cellphone and “tampering” with his own to cover up his misdeeds. Another officer claims that Johnson ruined her telephone’s memory card so that it could not be used in the drunk- driving probe that led to his firing. Related post

10/15/20 A member’s view that “calling the police on George Floyd about an alleged counterfeit $20 bill ended his life" heped propel the L.A. City Council to unanimously pass a proposal to create unarmed civilian mental health teams that would respond to “nonviolent” 911 calls instead of police. According to the council’s President, the move would “save lives” and free up officers to handle violent crime. That overall approach, according to CNN, has found favor elsewhere in situations where no violence or crime are involved. Related posts 1 2 3

LAPD’s expansive use of less-than-lethal weapons that fire rubber bullets is being criticized for causing grievous injuries when used to disperse protesters and members of unruly crowds. Although police rules require aiming “at the belt line,” projectiles recently fired after a basketball gathering was declared an unlawful assembly took out a man’s eye, lacerated another’s cheeks and broke a facial bone and took out a photographer’s teeth. An ongoing lawsuit by Black Lives Matter accuses officers of using the weapons to “incapacitate.” Related posts 1 2

10/14/20 Chicago resident Michael LaPorta wound up with a bullet in his brain in 2010. Police insisted it was a botched suicide attempt. But in a 2017 civil settlement the city conceded LaPorta was shot by a cop and awarded him $44.7 million. A new police review board is now seeking that officer’s ouster. Meanwhile five Chicago officers, including a commander, face suspensions for covering up their superintendent’s drunk-driving stint last year which ultimately led to his firing. Related post

10/13/20 In 2019 the FBI received over 450,000 reports of cybercrime, with losses totaling over $3.5 billion. Among the most reported scams were phishing (ruse that gets personal info.), non-payment/non-delivery, extortion, personal data theft, business e-mail compromise, confidence fraud romance, and identity theft. Click here for the FBI 2019 Internet Crime Report. Related post

DOJ announced that a concerted effort by ATF, U.S. Attorneys and state and local agencies to reduce gun violence by “investigating and prosecuting individuals who illegally buy, sell, use, or possess firearms” led to 14,200 Federal prosecutions of gun-toting felons and their suppliers during FY 2000. Related post

DOJ issued a stern warning about civilian use of drones, calling them “an amazing technology that offer great commercial promise, but they also present a serious challenge to ensuring public safety.” Drone operators have been prosecuted for, among other things, intruding into restricted airspace, flying over civil disturbances, dropping drugs into a prison, and dropping explosives as an act of terrorism. Related post

10/12/20 Officials in the U.S., Great Britain, Australia, India and Japan issued a joint statement calling for regulations to allow governments to access end-to-end encrypted communications when there is evidence of “child sexual exploitation and abuse, violent crime, terrorist propaganda and attack planning.” Technology providers are urged to build in means of access and to consider user safety when designing their products. Related post

9/27/20 Floyd case. Former officer Thao was repeatedly reprimanded as a cadet for taking shortcuts. He also had six complaints as an officer. Five ended without discipline, and one remained open. A 2014 excessive force complaint was settled with the victim for $25,000, and an internal inquiry was conducted in 2017 about his “expediency and dishonesty,” apparently for trying to avoid writing reports in certain cases.
Related post

9/16/20 An elaborate statement issued by the Department of Justice emphasized the usefulness of facial recognition technology in the fight against crime. DOJ pledged to use the technology, and assure that partner agencies do so, in a manner that “minimizes inaccuracy and unfair biases” and respects the interests of liberty and privacy. Related post

9/15/20 In collaboration with BJA, the IACP established a National Consortium on Preventing Law Enforcement Suicide. One of its first initiatives is an overview of “safe and positive” messaging approaches that agencies, officers, and family members can use to help prevent suicides by law enforcement officers. Related post

9/13/20 Floyd case. Prosecutors filed a written notice of their intent to offer evidence that, before his contact with Mr. Floyd, Chauvin had inappropriately used neck restraints on eight occasions since 2014. Related post

9/12/20 Floyd case. Chauvin was charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The other three officers were charged with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter. (As of 10/12/20 all are out on bond.) Related post

9/9/20 Seven Fort Hood soldiers have been murdered since January 2016, and seventy-one have committed suicide. Authorities attribute the grisly toll to  emotional problems, harassment and bullying. A 2009 study suggested various factors, including prior drug and alcohol abuse, involvement in crime and combat experience. Related posts 1 2

An academic study found that lower-income persons and Black and Latino residents of Los Angeles, New York, Houston and Chicago reported far higher levels of financial and health risks from the Covid-19 pandemic than higher-income persons and Whites. Their infection and death rates have also been substantially higher. Many reside in densely populated neighborhoods and are employed in close-contact work such as warehousing and food service where protection measures may be lacking. Related post

9/8/20 DOJ’s COPS office has set aside $4.5 million under its “Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act Program” to fund projects that seek to improve officer mental health and prevent suicide. Related post

9/4/20 Cleveland police detective James Skernivitz, a 22-year veteran, was shot and killed while working with an Operation Legend task force. He was in a vehicle with an drug informant, who was also killed. Three suspects were detained. Related post

9/3/20 Seven Rochester, New York police officers were suspended in the March death of a Black man they encountered as he ran naked through the streets. Forced restraint and use of a spit hood were blamed for causing Daniel T. Prude, 41, to stop breathing. A detailed autopsy listed several contributing factors, including severe heart and lung problems and acute PCP intoxication, and attributed his behavior to excited delirium. Related posts 1 2 3 4

9/3/20 L.A. County prosecutors have so far dismissed seven adjudicated criminal cases that were solely based on the testimony of the three LAPD officers who were charged for falsely labeling persons as gang members. One was the 2016 conviction of a man who denied tossing a gun but ultimately pled guilty. He lost his job and became homeless. His probation was nearly up when the conviction was tossed. Related posts 1 2


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

(#369, 10/10/20)

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


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)

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


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