Confirmation Bias
Can be Lethal

(#438, 9/21/23)

When (Very) Hard
Heads Collide (II)

(#437, 9/5/23)

What Cops

(#436, 8/24/23)

Punishment Isn't
a Cop's Job (III)

(#435, 8/1/23)

San Antonio

(#434, 7/20/23)

the Watchers

(#433, 6/30/23)

Good News /
Bad News

(#432, 6/16/23)

Is Diversion
the Answer?

(#431, 5/30/23)

"Legal" Gun Buyers
Can be a Problem

(#430, 5/15/23)

Fearful, Angry,
And Armed.

(#429, 5/2/23)

Piling On
(#428, 4/17/23)

Are We Helpless
to Prevent Massacres?

(#427, 4/4/23)

A Broken "System"
(#426, 3/20/23)

When Worlds

(#425, 3/7/23)

Punishment Isn't
a Cop's Job (II)

(#424, 2/20/23)

Does Race
Drive Policing?

(#423, 2/3/23)

Race and Ethnicity
Aren't Pass/Fail

(#422, 1/9/23)

On the One Hand...
But on the Other...

(#421, 12/13/22)

Does Legal Pot
Drive Violence?

(#420, 11/24/22)

Blows to the Head
Were Never O.K.

(#419, 11/4/22)

Worlds Apart...Not!
(#418, 10/20/22)

Hard Times in
the "Big Easy"

(#417, 9/27/22)

What Were They
Thinking? (Part II)

(#416, 9/3/22)

What Were They
Thinking? And, Why?

(#415, 8/15/22)

Loopholes are
(Still) Lethal

(#414, 8/8/22)

Massacres, in Slow-Mo
(#413, 7/25/22)

Good Law / Bad Law
(#412, 7/2/22)

Tenacity is Great -
Until It's Not

(#411, 6/20/22)

Cops v. Assault Weapons:
a Hopeless Situation

(#410, 5/30/22)

Another Day,
Another Massacre

(#409, 5/16/22)

When Does
Evidence Suffice?

(#408, 5/13/22)

When a "Dope"
Can't be "Roped"

(#407, 4/20/22)

Judicial Detachment:
Myth or Reality?

(#406, 4/4/22)

A Show-Stopper
for Shot-Spotter?

(#405, 3/19/22)

In Two Fell Swoops
(#404, 2/28/22)

What's Up? Violence.
(#403, 1/29/22)

Keep going...


Warning: (Frail)
Humans at Work

(#441, 11/29/23)

Amid chaos and uncertainty,
the presence of a gun
can prove lethal

See No Evil - Hear No
Evil - Speak No Evil

(#440, 11/14/23)

Is the violent crime "problem"
really all in our heads?

Policing Can't Fix
What Really Ails

(#439, 10/18/23)

California’s posturing
overlooks a chronic issue






12/7/23  Prince George’s County (MD) paid $20 million to the family of William Green, a 43-year old Black man who was shot dead in January, 2020 while he sat handcuffed in a police car. Green was detained after his drunkenness caused a major crash. Then-cop Michael Owen, who sat in the police car with Mr. Green while his partner was elsewhere, said that Mr. Green assaulted him and took his gun, so he fired in self-defense. There was no bodycam. Owen, who is also a Black man, was promptly charged with murder. But he staunchly claimed self-defense, and after less than two hours of deliberations a jury acquitted him of all charges. Related posts 1   2

Mass shootings continue to dominate the headlines. In Vancouver (WA), a man opened fire in his household, killing his wife, their two daughters and his adult brother. He then committed suicide. He  apparently texted his intentions to a friend, but four hours passed before his message was read. And in Las Vegas, a Southern professor who was turned down for a job at UNLV roamed one of its buildings, shooting three persons dead and critically wounding a fourth. Anthony Polito, 67, was killed by police. Related post

12/6/23  Writing in the New York Times, a data analyst warns that clearance rates for serious crimes have fallen to new lows. Although clearances have been on a decades-long downtrend, in 2022 police reported solving “only 37 percent of violent crimes, just over half of murders and non-negligent manslaughters and only 12 percent of property crimes.” Blame is placed on hiring issues, which have led to shortfalls in investigative resources, and public attitudes, which soured on the cops post -George Floyd. Related post

Chicago’s D.A. is reviewing allegations by family members of several imprisoned persons that the recently retired police sergeant responsible for their convictions pressured witnesses to testify falsely. As it turns out, that sergeant is the spouse of a prosecutor assigned to the conviction integrity unit. Having employed Jon Burge, Ronald Watts and Reynaldo Guevarra, Chicago PD’s not exactly short on examples of detectives who allegedly framed suspects to run up their scores. Related post

12/5/23  A 21-year old man opened fire in a Dallas residence, killing three adults and a 3-year old. He then stole a vehicle and drove to Austin. Byron Carillo, 21, shot himself dead as officers closed in. Carillo had been wearing an ankle monitor since his 2021 conviction for aggravated assault. But he apparently cut it off shortly before or after the murders. Dallas PD release   Related post

According to the Washington Post mass shooting database, there have been 38 “mass killings with guns” - meaning four or more persons shot dead, other than the gunman - so far this year. That’s two more than in all of 2022 and a record high since WaPo began tracking these incidents in 2006, when there were 24. Related post

Reasoning that “violent crime deprives communities of a fundamental sense of security in their own homes and neighborhoods,” DOJ announced a major new effort to target gangs and violence in Memphis. Partnering with local police, ATF and the FBI will apply “data-driven, targeted, and focused enforcement” techniques to dismantle criminal networks through Federal and State prosecutions. Community members will also play a key role in identifying problems and devising solutions. Related post

12/4/23  NIJ released a study of the role of forensics in 732 wrongful convictions listed by the National Registry of Exonerations. These cases included 1,391 forensic examinations in 34 disciplines, ranging from serology to bitemarks. Sixty- four percent (891) of the examinations had at least one error. Disciplines with errors in over half the examinations include seized drug analysis, bitemarks, shoe/foot impressions, fire debris, forensic medicine, blood spatter, serology, hair comparisons, and DNA. Related posts 1   2

A new, revised set of rules and mandating that deputies wear body cameras are two of the major correctives revealed by Rankin County (MS) Sheriff Bryan Bailey as he awaits the Federal and State sentencing of six White former deputies who participated in the unconscionable beating of two Black men last January. A $400 million lawsuit is in the works. Related posts 1   2

In a blow to Texas’ fight against illegal border crossings, the U.S. Fifth Circuit ordered the state to remove a string of buoys it installed to block passage through the Rio Grande. According to the ruling, Texas’ claim that Federal jurisdiction doesn’t extend through certain parts of the river is incorrect. Governor Greg Abbott has pledged to challenge the decision all the way to the Supreme Court. Law aside, a lower court had cast doubt on the buoys’ potential effectiveness. Immigration updates  Related post

Citywide, Chicago homicide is down 12 percent so far this year, from 644 to 569 thru November 26. But the Chicago Tribune isn’t celebrating. According to its analysis, the gain reflects  improvements in the city’s traditionally peaceful areas. Say, Rogers Park (CPD Dist. 24), where homicides dropped 21%, from 14 to 11. But the city’s notoriously violent areas have remained so. For example, murders in Englewood (CPD Dist. 7) increased from 51 to 55. That’s 8 percent worse. Related posts 1   2   3

12/1/23  Ex-Shreveport, Louisiana police officer Dylan Hudson was sentenced to 21 months in Federal prison after a second jury found him guilty of Federal civil rights violations. Hudson was convicted of “punching, kneeing, Tasing, pistol-whipping and slamming the head” of Markeil Tyson, a trespassing suspect whom fellow officers detained in August 2019. They testified that Tyson was not resisting and that Hudson’s actions violated both training and policy. Related post

In 2019 Aaron Dean, a rookie Forth Worth police officer, responded to a call about a home’s open front door. Observing through a window that an armed Black woman had appeared inside, Dean, who is White, fired a shot through the glass, killing her. She turned out to be the homeowner, Atatiana Jefferson. Dean was later convicted of manslaughter. His victim’s eight-year old nephew, who was present, testified at his trial. Fort Worth just agreed to pay Zion Carr $3.5 million in compensation. Related posts 1   2

11/30/23  The Minneapolis family that owns the businesses, including Cup Foods, which are located where the encounter with George Floyd took place are suing the city for curtailing police response to what’s now called “George Floyd Square.” Keeping cops away, they claim, has led to a great increase in crime and “made the area so dangerous that it has become known as the ‘No Go Zone’.” Meanwhile, Tou Thao, the cop who watched over the spectators to Mr. Floyd’s abuse, has appealed his Federal civil-rights conviction to the Supreme Court because he allegedly lacked the required “willfulness.” Related posts 1   2

In January 2020 two Prince George’s County (MD) officers arrested an addled driver who  crashed into other cars. William Green, 43, a Black man, was handcuffed behind his back and placed in the front passenger seat of Cpl. Michael Owen Jr’s patrol car. Cpl. Owen (he didn’t have a body cam) sat behind the wheel. Suddenly, while his partner was speaking with witnesses, Cpl. Owen (he is also a Black man) repeatedly fired at Mr. Green, killing him. His claim, that Mr. Green became combative and went for his gun, was ultimately rejected. Cpl. Owen’s second-degree murder trial has just begun. Related post

11/29/23  Last year El Cajon, Calif. sheriff’s deputies unleashed a barrage of gunfire at Erik Talavera when the homeless man grabbed for a knife after he was caught stealing a trailer that police parked as bait. Talavera, who was struck sixteen times but survived, is suing because the deputies who shot him were under no immediate threat. What’s more, a police detective who was assisting in the investigation was also struck by one of the rounds. He too is suing, as the deputies “had no need to immediately and recklessly fire their weapons.” Related post

Kim and Michael Clinkunbroomer, the parents of slain L.A. County deputy sheriff Bryan Clinkunbroomer, are suing the county because excessive overtime work demands allegedly left their son insufficiently alert to avoid being shot at ambush while seated in his patrol car last September. His alleged murderer, Kevin Cataneo Salazar, has pled not guilty to murder by reason of insanity. Related post

11/28/23  Jason J. Eaton, a 48-year old man who recently relocated from Syracuse, was arrested for the November 26 shooting of three Palestinian-American college students in Burlington. Eaton, who legally purchased the gun he reportedly used in the attack, pled not guilty and is being held without bail. He does not have a criminal record and was never suspected of committing a crime. But he is named in 37 Syracuse police reports dating back to 2007, including 21 as a victim or complainant. Related posts 1   2

A brand-new NBC News poll of 1,000 registered voters reports that 52% - a record high - said they or a member of their household owns a gun. That compares with 42% who said so in 2013, and 46% in 2019. Gun ownership was reported as 66% by Republican respondents, 45% by independents, and 41% by Democrats. While percentages have varied, the groups’ relative positions have held steady since 2004. Related post

With the settlement of lawsuits that accused New York state of withholding pot sales licenses from worthy entrepreneurs, more than 400 applicants can now move on with the process. That, authorities hope, will quickly increase the number of licensed pot shops (presently there are “only” 27) into the hundreds, even a thousand, and make a dent in the state’s “600,000-pound” cannabis stockpile. Drug legalization updates   Related post

Waves of murder convictions accompanied the crack wars of the nineties. In time, many were successfully challenged by innocence projects that sprang up to counter the unholy effects of a hurried, imprecise and occasionally corrupt police response. Nationwide there have been 1,300 murder exonerations since 1989, including 115 in New York City. Its two most recent beneficiaries are Jabar Walker and Wayne Gardine. Walker’s accuser recanted, but his change of mind was ignored. Gardine’s accuser, a self-serving drug dealer, originally described the killer as a six-footer. Gardine is five-eight. Related post

11/27/23  Ex-Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin, who is serving concurrent Federal and State twenty-years-plus sentences at a Federal prison in Arizona, has been hospitalized after his stabbing by a fellow inmate on November 24. Beyond confirming that Chauvin “is expected to survive,” authorities have not released any information about motive or assailant. Concerns that Chauvin is especially vulnerable to attack previously led to his sequestration, and it’s assumed that some protective measures continue. Post-trial updates Related posts 1   2

Chicago CRED provides youths who live in the city’s most highly violence-impacted neighborhoods “with a modest stipend, a life coach, trauma treatment, education and job training.” According to a recent study, young men who complete the two-year program are significantly less likely to be subsequently arrested for a violent crime. But their victimization rate is not yet provably affected. CRED website   Study Related posts 1   2

Passed in 2018, California’s “Fair Chance” Act prohibits firms with five or more employees from asking about applicant criminal histories before they extend a “conditional” job offer. They can then inquire, but the circumstances that allow them to deny jobs are limited. Even so, a review of the Act’s efficacy reveals that it’s mostly benefited persons who perform unskilled labor and don’t directly interact with customers. Most employers otherwise continue looking into criminal histories in advance, and persons with convictions are unlikely to prevail even if they appeal. Related post

An as-yet unidentified assailant ostensibly motivated by racial hatred shot three Palestinian-American college students as they walked through downtown Burlington, Vermont Saturday evening, November 26. They were wearing traditional Arab scarves and conversing in Arabic when a “White male” armed with a handgun approached on foot and wordlessly opened fire. All three were hospitalized, one with apparent critical injuries. Two of the students are U.S. citizens; one is a legal resident. Related post

11/24/23  Racial animosity and, particularly, “suicidal ideation” are blamed for motivating 20-year old Benjamin Charles Jones to storm a Dayton-area Walmart and open fire on November 20, wounding four persons, one critically. Jones then shot himself dead. Jones used a .45 cal. carbine-style rifle he purchased at retail a few days earlier. That drew concern, as Fairborn police twice took him to a hospital last year because he was expressing suicidal thoughts. Whether that should have barred his gun purchase (or could have) is at question. Related posts 1   2   3

Agreeing with a department board, the LAPD Commission recently ruled that LAPD’s repeated application of a Taser on Keenan Anderson, a mentally ill man high on drugs, was improper. Mr. Anderson later died. And three days ago, the Commission similarly ruled that LAPD officers were wrong to shoot and kill Takar Smith, a schizophrenic man who was in a kitchen, armed with a knife. Their actions were deemed unnecessary, as they could have retreated and called for a mental unit to assist. Related posts 1   2

11/22/23   Derek Chauvin’s final attempt to reverse his State conviction for murdering George Floyd has fallen on deaf ears. On November 20 the Supreme Court rejected his contention that pre-trial publicity and public protests denied him the right to a fair trial. Minnesota’s high court came to the same conclusion in July. Post-trial motions Related posts 1   2

Citing the Supreme Court’s Bruen decision, the U.S. 4th. Circuit Court of Appeals invalidated Maryland’s ten-year old handgun licensing law. Going above and beyond the regular background check, it imposed a State licensing requirement that called for fingerprinting, specialized training, and a waiting period of up to thirty days. An appeal by the State is possible. Related post

DHS announced its continuing commitment to assure the validity of claims for asylum and to repatriate non-citizens who do not qualify. Since May, removal flights have returned “more than 380,000 individuals”, including over 60,000 family members, to their countries of origin, including Ecuador, India, Peru, Venezuela and Central America. Immigration updates   Related post

11/21/23   Former NYPD Detective Louis Scarcella, who plied his trade thirty-plus years ago, had a “rep” as someone who could solve the toughest murder cases. Problem is, his “propensity to embellish or fabricate statements” (that’s how a judge put it) ultimately led to the exoneration of more than a dozen inmates, many of whom had been locked up for decades. Settling their lawsuits has so far cost the city and state more than $100 million. Hired in 1973, he retired in 1999. And no, he was never punished. Related posts 1   2

In January 2022 a mentally-ill man murdered a 40-year old New York City woman by shoving her in front of an oncoming subway train. Although he was still symptomatic, the killer had been nonetheless released from a state psychiatric facility. A New York Times investigation revealed a litany of such problems. Poor funding of mental health services has led to chronic personnel shortages, brought on “harried treatment”, and normalized “the narrowest possible approach to care”. Related post

11/20/23  Technology that helps cops do their jobs - and keeps them on the straight and narrow - is in the news. DHS is testing Maxentric Techonologies’ hand-held DePLife gadgets, which pierce walls with radar waves to sense whether living objects are on the other side. And LAPD is engaged in a university study that will use AI to scan body-cam footage from 1,000 traffic stops to detect “problematic” language or tone. NYPD has reportedly begun using Truleo, a commercial service, to the same ends. Related post

Undercover purchases of cocaine and AR-15 style machineguns made using unserialized “ghost” parts led to the conviction of two Texas men who had made a profitable business supplying large quantities of fully automatic firearms to the Mexican cartels. Jaime Jesus Esquivel, 37, of Laredo got ten years, and Jose Abraham Nicanor, 34, of Houston, got five years. Two straw buyers who helped them acquire the guns they converted and illegally exported have already been sentenced. Related post

“Finite resources” have led Chicago’s mayor to announce that the “sanctuary city” is imposing a sixty-day occupancy limit for the more than 11,000 immigrants now housed in city shelters. “Rogue buses” that arrive packed with immigrants will also be discouraged from discharging their passengers. Chicago has asked the Feds to authorize temporary protective status and work authorization for the more than 21,000 migrants who have arrived since August 2022. Meanwhile Illinois’ Governor authorized $65 million for the city to set up another tent encampment. Immigration updates  Related post


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