Who's in Charge?
(#401, 1/3/22)

A cop rushes in and fires. He kills
the suspect. And an innocent child.

What's Up With Policing?
(#400, 12/23/21)

After one & a half decades it seems
everything changed. And nothing.

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)

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

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...





1/21/22 A Federal jury that will try former Minneapolis officers Lane, Kueng and Thao for violating the civil rights of George Floyd was selected and seated in a single day, January 19. According to reporters, eleven of the twelve regular jurors are White, and one is Asian. Five of the six alternates are also White, and one is Asian. One potential Black juror was excused because he insisted he could not be fair. All three officers also face State charges for aiding and abetting Floyd’s murder. Their trial on that case is set to begin June 13. Chauvin already pled guilty to the Federal charges.

1/20/22 In December 2019 outgoing Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin issued 428 pardons. Among the beneficiaries was Patrick Brian Baker, who was starting the third year of a 19-year prison term for reckless homicide and other charges stemming from a violent home invasion. Governor Bevin criticized the evidence against Baker, but left his two accomplices locked up. It turns out that Baker’s family had been generous donors to the Governor’s re-election campaign and hosted a fundraiser at their home. Related post

On the one day each month that Brookside, Alabama (pop. 1,253) convenes its municipal court, “scores” of persons cited for traffic violations and other offenses besiege the tiny town. Many, like the motorist interviewed by an investigative reporter, complain that police fabricated the charges. Boasting nine cops, a lot for its size, in 2020 the town made over half its revenue from fines and forfeitures. Related post

1/19/22 In the evening of August 27, 2021 gunfire broke out as spectators left a high school football game in a Philadelphia suburb. Two bullets reportedly came near three officers standing nearby. They unleashed a 25-round barrage at a car they thought was the source. Their rounds went into the crowd, killing eight-year old Fanta Bility and wounding three others. Sharon Hill police officers Devon Smith, Sean Dolan and Brian Devaney have been charged with manslaughter and reckless endangerment. Two teens also face charges for the original exchange. (Original Washington Post story.) Related posts 1   2

In February 2020 the California Dept. of Justice informed police agencies that to comply with FBI rules, “the transmission of criminal justice information” such as criminal records “shall be encrypted.” (Click here and go to pg. 33.) To comply, agencies began requiring that dispatchers convey such information by means other than open radio channels. But some departments, including the San Diego County Sheriff, are now encrypting all voice transmissions. That’s stirred concern by the media and others that the “transparency and accountability” afforded by listening in to police radio calls will be lost. Related post

1/18/22  Anthony Brown, the FBI jailhouse stoolie whose insider work helped land former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and Undersheriff Paul Tanaka in Federal prison, is getting $1 million to settle a lawsuit over his rough treatment by deputies after they found a cell phone snuck in by the Feds. Brown, who is serving a 423-year State prison sentence for bank robbery, says the money will go to his family. Related post

At the Times Square station, a homeless, mentally-ill man recently pushed a woman to her death in front of an incoming train. Days earlier, a city cop was shot dead as he slept in his personal car, parked by the Harlem precinct between shifts. New York City’s new Mayor, former police captain Eric Adams, promises to make the city safer. But his support for an increased police role, including restoring the disbanded anti-crime plainclothes teams, has drawn scorn from progressives, including those who championed his selection as the second Black person to lead America’s largest city. Related post

1/17/22  In September 2021, thirty-seven years after Alaska troopers unearthed the corpse of one of notorious serial killer Robert Hansen’s many victims, “Horseshoe Harriet’s” true identity was revealed. After inputting her DNA profile into a “public access genealogy database” (which one wasn’t said) a family tree was built, and DNA furnished by a “very close relative” confirmed that the murdered woman was Colorado native Robin Pelkey, who was nineteen and living in Anchorage when she disappeared. Related post

Sometimes DNA has degraded, or there isn’t enough. That’s where proteins, which are hardier souls, might be able to step in. Their genetic variation comes in the form of “single amino acid polymorphisms,” which lend themselves to comparisons between known and questioned biological material. Would that work for crimes? That’s what NIJ-funded researchers are seeking to confirm. Related post

Thanks to good conduct credits, former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, who was sentenced in 2016 to 81 months imprisonment for second-degree murder in the killing of 17-year old Laquan Mc Donald, is due for release on February 3. He was also convicted on 16 counts of aggravated battery - one for each shot - but the lesser crimes did not draw separate penalties. Van Dyke’s allegedly lenient treatment has activists riled, and they’ve already staged a protest. Related posts 1   2

Twenty years after its opening in January 2002, Guantanamo now holds thirty-nine prisoners. Eighteen have been approved by the “Periodic Review Board” for release, and the search is on for suitable and willing destinations. Of five most recently cleared, four are being held under the “law of war” as al Qaeda functionaries and were never charged with a crime. Each has been at the prison for fifteen or more years. One, a Somali, testified that he was tortured and sexually abused by the CIA. Related post

1/15/22  In 2018, two years before Floyd-inspired disturbances consumed Portland’s downtown, setting its cops against the city’s mostly White progressives and leading to a lawsuit still in progress, police trainers created a lengthy Power-Point presentation about handling protesters. Problem is, the closing slide features an image of a cop slugging a long-haired citizen. It’s captioned by a colorful, lengthy message that begins with “Woe be unto you, dirty hippy...” Natch, that’s become part of the litigation. Related post

Two months after finding an 18-year old man guilty of sexually assaulting a 16-year old female, an Illinois judge changed his mind and declared him innocent. After all, the defendant only turned eighteen shortly before the crime, had an otherwise clean record, and already served five months in jail. Guidelines required at least four years imprisonment, which Judge Robert Adrian thought “unfair.” His decision shattered the victim. It also led to the judge’s reassignment to civil work. Related post

A Chicago police officer still on his initial 18-month probationary period has been arrested for attempted murder after shooting and wounding three persons during a “drunken brawl” in a bowling alley. Kyjuan Tate, 27 reportedly opened fire after he was punched. Another account reports that the brawl began when customers intervened in a dispute between Tate and his girlfriend. His prior disciplinary record includes a 30-day suspension while working as a probation officer and an “altercation” with a restaurant patron during his police graduation party, which led to police being called. Related post

1/14/22  D.C. authorities filed Federal “seditious conspiracy” charges against Elmer Stewart Rhodes III, who founded and leads the “Oath Keepers,” and member Edward Vallejo. Neither was previously arrested over the Capitol assault. Nine other Oath Keepers who were already facing prosecution were also named. Authorities claim that the accused had organized a forceful takeover of the Capitol so as to prevent the Presidential transition, and to that end brought guns, other weapons and tactical gear. Seditious conspiracy carries a maximum penalty of twenty years imprisonment. Assault on the Capitol topic  Updates

An academic study of de-escalation training implemented by Louisville police in 2019 concludes that it produced “statistically significant reductions in officer use of force and injury to citizens and officers.” However, the authors caution that the training, known as ICAT and developed by the Police Executive Research Forum, was intended to help officers peacefully resolve situations involving “persons in crisis...who may be behaving erratically, but are either unarmed or armed with less than a firearm.” It was not designed for forceful entries or persons armed with guns, and was thus inapplicable to Lousiville cops’ tragic March 2020 encounter at the residence of Breonna Taylor. Related posts 1   2

Questioning the adequacy of discipline imposed on LAPD officers who violate shooting policies, outgoing L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered a review of past episodes. His directive comes days after the accidental killing of a 14-year old girl by an officer’s stray bullet. It also coincides with the release of data showing that shootings have increased. In 2021 LAPD officers shot 37 persons, killing eighteen, compared with 27 shot (7 killed) in 2020 and 26 shot (12 killed) in 2019. Officer discipline, though, is constrained by the participation of citizens in conduct hearings, as they tend to side with the cops. Related posts  1   2

According to the FBI seventy-three U.S. law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in 2021. LEOKA data indicates that’s 59 percent higher than in 2020, when the toll was forty-six, and 52 percent more than in 2019, when it was forty-eight. Related posts 1   2

New, more permissive guidelines have made “thousands” of additional Federal inmates eligible for early release to supervision or home confinement. More than three-thousand were already released under the 2018 First Step Act, which confers 54 days of good-time credit for each year of a sentence imposed for a non-violent, non-gun related offense. Related posts  1   2

1/13/22   As violence soars, even some “Blue” legislators are “reexamining” a provision of Illinois’ massive 2021 criminal justice reform bill (it eliminates cash bail eff. 1/1/23) to insure that persons charged with attempted murder and other violent crimes aren’t simply let go. (Click here for the bill text and here for a summary.) After all, a Democratic legislator’s husband recently traded gunfire with suspects who carjacked the pair in a Chicago suburb. Under pressure from the “Reds,” legislators have also been tweaking other parts of the law, including provisions on officer decertification. Related posts 1   2

Reformist pressures recently led Chicago to create a “Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability” to oversee the police. Ostensibly its powers include selecting the police commissioner and recommending and approving substantial changes to police practices. (For the official text click here.) Activists seem eager to move along. But a clash between the measure’s extensive provisions and the Mayor’s vision of the Commission’s authority have become evident. Related posts 1   2

Between 2016 and 2020 Virginia Beach police repeatedly used faked forensic documents to convince suspects that cops had the “goods” on them. One of these reports was even used at a bail hearing. But another found its way to its supposed source, the Virginia crime lab. And while police now insist that what was done did not amount to unlawful coercion, they have entered into a formal agreement with the State attorney general to discontinue the practice. Related post

1/12/22  Dominick Black, the 20-year old who bought the AR-15 rifle for his friend, Kyle Rittenhouse, because Rittenhouse was at 17 too young to purchase the gun himself, pled guilty to a non-criminal local infraction. He was originally charged with a state violation, felony delivery of a dangerous weapon to a minor, but an accommodation was reached as the judge was skeptical that the law covered rifles. Related posts 1   2

An academic study of Seattle PD’s near-month-long withdrawal from the city’s Capitol Hill area during Floyd-inspired protests revealed that “crime significantly increased in the CHOP [Capitol Hill Occupation Protests] zone, the encompassing two-block area, and the overall East precinct service area.” (As reported in the NY Times, a increase in violence forced police to return. See 8/11/20 update.) Related posts 1   2

LAPD Chief Michel Moore announced that Valentina Orellana-Peralta’s killing and an increase in officer-involved shootings is leading to a deep examination of whether training and use of force policies are in sync. Officers opened fire 37 times in 2021, killing 18. That’s an increase from 2020 (27 shootings, 7 fatal) and 2019 (26 shootings, 12 fatal.) Of the 37 incidents in 2021, 22 suspects were armed with weapons other than guns. (For an analysis of shootings during 2016-2020 click here and go to pg. 145.) Related post

In recent years, persons driven by “a mix of ideologies and personal grievances” have been involved in a series of domestic terrorism incidents, including mass shootings at a shopping center in El Paso and a house of worship in Pittsburgh, and in the Capitol attack. This elevated threat has led DOJ to create a “Domestic Terrorism Unit” staffed with lawyers who will specialize in such cases. Related posts 1   2

State law enforcement officers served search warrants targeting Real County, Texas Sheriff Nathan Johnson. He is accused of illegally ordering deputies to seize the cash and personal property of illegal migrants whom they encounter and detain for the Border Patrol. But instead of turning everything over to the Feds, Sheriff Johnson apparently deposits the money into County funds. That, allege state officials, may constitute theft.  Related post

1/11/22 With “at least 70” members of CPD’s tactical units showing “little or no ‘activity’”, many of Chicago’s specialized officers are being shifted to patrol. It may not be, as CPD claims, simply a response to the increase in violence. Police supt. David Brown is supposedly known to pressure commanders at weekly CompStat meeting for “more arrests and traffic stops.” That, says the ACLU, is a mistake. Meanwhile Lt. Franklin Paz’s lawsuit over pressures to produce remains unresolved (see 1/20/21 update.) Quantity and Quality topic   Related post

1/10/22  LAPD, the Los Angeles Police Commission Inspector General and the California Attorney General have opened investigations into the killing of fourteen-year old Valentina Orellana-Peralta by an officer’s stray bullet. L.A.’s mayor, police chief and D.A. promised a comprehensive assessment “from training to tactics, policies and the incident itself.” A police union spokesperson said that the use of a formation and officer Jones’ taking the lead spot with a rifle is how an “active shooter” is addressed. Related post

Just appointed as NYPD Commissioner, Keechant Sewell, former chief of detectives in Nassau County, issued a department-wide e-mail sharply criticizing D.A. Alvin Bragg’s decision to avoid seeking jail time for lesser crimes. Commissioner Sewell wrote that the new chief prosecutor’s relaxed approach threatened “your safety as police officers, the safety of the public and justice for the victims.” Related posts 1   2

In May 2020 San Diego park rangers were driving a mentally-ill man, Nicholas Bils, 36, to jail for physically resisting being expelled from a closed park. Mr. Bills slipped out of his handcuffs during the ride. Deputy Sheriff Aaron Russell, 25, saw him running off and shot him dead. A deputy for eighteen months, Mr. Russell has pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter. And in March 2021, during a struggle between two L.A. County deputies and Isaias Cervantes, 25, one opened fire and seriously wounded the autistic man when his partner yelled that Cervantes was going for the deputy’s gun. An L.A. Times editorial complains that LASD is not using its “Mental Evaluation Teams” and backs a proposal to create a “9-8-8” hot line and civilian “mobile crisis teams” that deal with the mentally ill. Related posts 1   2

Two of the better-known Capitol intruders are getting a very personal comeuppance. In the Associated Press, a deeply unflattering portrait of Ashley Babbitt, whom a Capitol police lieutenant shot dead during the assault, begins with her agitated, expletive-laced reaction to the revelation of an extramarital affair. And in the Los Angeles Times, an account about Olympic gold-medal swimmer Klete Keller sets out his mental health struggles and failures in family life in merciless fashion. Assault on the Capitol topic  Updates

1/8/22  After a bar brawl a large, intoxicated man walked into a Catskill (NY) police station. Jason Jones, 29 behaved aggressively, and when officers tried to calm him he doused himself with a large quantity of hand sanitizer. Officers fired their Tasers, which caught on fire the vapor produced by the evaporation of the sanitizer’s alcohol. Mr. Jones was severely burned, and his injuries proved fatal. Related post

Capitol police officer Briana Kirkland,29, recently returned to work after recovering from injuries suffered during the Capitol attack. A five-year veteran, she alleges that Donald Trump’s “words and conduct” caused the violence, and is suing him for $75,000. Another lawsuit for physical injuries was filed by Marcus J. Moore. A Capitol police officer for a decade, he alleges that Trump’s words “inflamed, encouraged, incited, directed, and aided and abetted” the mob. These actions follow an earlier lawsuit filed by seven officers who claim that Trump purposely provoked and incited the attack.  Assault on the Capitol topic  Updates


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