Police Issues

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

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

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

Minneapolis P.D. knew better. Yet it
hired an applicant and kept him on.


3/8/21 According to the Chicago Tribune “at least eleven” Chicago cops have committed suicide during the past three years. In a recent week it took the lives of two officers: James Daly, 47, who was about to retire, and Jeffrey Troglia, 38, a fifteen-year veteran serving on an anti-crime team. Their motivations weren’t disclosed. But Louisiana sheriff’s deputy Clyde Kerr III, 43, who killed himself last month, had posted videos describing his despair in the face of police abuses of Black persons such as himself. Related post

On the very first day of Chauvin’s trial, while protesters demonstrated outside, Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill delayed jury selection until appeals court justices weigh in on whether the process should continue. On March 5 the jurists rejected Cahill’s position that their prior decision to allow former officer Mohamed Noor’s third-degree murder conviction to stand lacked precedential value. Cahill had dismissed the third-degree murder charge against Chauvin because he felt that the law’s plain language requires that others beyond the victim were placed at risk. But prosecutors insist that jurors have an option to the second-degree murder count other than manslaughter. Related post

3/7/21 If the right thing isn’t done, I’m afraid chaos will erupt.” That’s what Selwyn Jones, George Floyd’s uncle, predicts will happen should ex-cop Chauvin be acquitted. Jury selection for his trial is scheduled to begin on March 8, but due to COVID restrictions the public will not be admitted. Mr. Jones, a South Dakota resident, said he would travel to Minneapolis to join in the protests. Authorities, who fear that violence will break out whatever the verdict, have planned for massive demonstrations. Meanwhile the area where Mr. Floyd lived is plagued by robberies and shootings. Police closed the local precinct house, and residents complain they’ve been abandoned. Click here for details about the trial. Related post

Belief that the U.S. will liberalize admissions has led to a surge of migrants from Central America and Mexico, further straining border regions that were already besieged. “We’ve heard that [Biden] won’t separate families” said a man from Honduras who made the trip with his wife and two children.  “Title 42,” the Federal code that was used to summarily expel illegal immigrants because of the pandemic, is no longer being applied to unaccompanied minors, and accommodating their growing numbers is proving a major challenge. Immigration special topic  Related post

3/6/21 While the judge agreed there was no evidence that Joseph Jones “ever tried to provide material support to terrorist organizations” or “took any steps to carry out a violent attack” before an FBI informant and undercover agents got involved, she nonetheless sentenced him to twelve years for conspiring to provide material support to ISIS. Jones and co-defendant Edward Schimenti had drawn FBI attention after openly blogging their encouragement of terrorism. They were convicted in a 2019 jury trial for supplying cellphones that ISIS would supposedly use as detonators. Related posts  1  2

Observers suggest that Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin’s many gigs handling security for various businesses, including a decade-plus stint at a nightclub, may have overworked him and contributed to his aggressiveness. Minneapolis officers’ private employment has led to many lawsuits, including a large recent payout to a citizen who claimed that he was seriously injured by an off-duty cop in 2017.  Related post

Gary Johnson, 46, George Bell, 44, and Rohan Bolt, 59 served twenty-four years for the 1996 murders of two men at a New York City check-cashing store. Yesterday they were released. An inquiry by the conviction integrity unit established by the Queens Borough’s new D.A. revealed that evidence linking known gangsters to the crime had been withheld from the defense and strongly suggested that the confessions were coerced. After upbraiding authorities, a judge dismissed the case. Related posts  1  2

3/4/21   Narrowly passed by the House, the “George Floyd Justice in Policing Act” (Summary  Full text) seeks to eliminate discriminatory policing and hold officers accountable for misconduct. Among other things, it lowers the criminal intent required for Federal prosecution of police abuses, narrows the scope of the qualified immunity officers now enjoy, creates a national registry of officer misconduct, requires additional training and reporting on use of force, and expands the requirement to wear body cameras. Related post

Maj. Gen. William J. Walker, commander of the D.C. National Guard, testified that he was “stunned” that the Defense Department refused to immediately authorize sending in troops to help besieged Capitol police. Gen. Walker said he had received a “frantic” call from former Capitol police chief Steven Sund advising that his officers had been overrun, but that more than three hours would pass before superiors authorized his request to mobilize the Guard. Related post

Capitol police reported that members of a militia, possibly the “Three Percenters,” had planned a repeat assault on the Capitol for March 4. That’s supposedly the day when adherents of QAnon apparently believe that former President Trump, whom they admire, will return to power.  Assault on the Capitol special topic  Related post

Thirteen persons lost their lives when an SUV crammed with more than two dozen illegal immigrants was struck by a large truck at an intersection about thirty miles inside the U.S. Immigration authorities reported that the SUV and a companion vehicle had breached a cut in the bollard fencing, and that the other vehicle, which carried nineteen illegal immigrants, had caught fire during the incursion. Its occupants were arrested. Related post

3/3/21  In the New York Times, the powerful, first-person account of a Black Capitol police officer who exchanged words with rioters - and endured their slurs - as he fought them inside the building.
Increased crime and fears of victimization are driving Black residents of Chicago to buy handguns for personal protection. A national gun trade association, the NSSF, reported that the Feds processed “a record 10.3 million firearm transactions” during the first half of 2020. That’s 95 percent higher than during the corresponding period in 2019. While nearly three out of four guns are bought by Whites, Blacks (they bought 14.7 percent) posted the largest year-to-year increase, a full 58.2 percent. Related posts  1  2  3

3/2/21  Another likely victim of dishonored Chicago PD Commander Jon Burge has been exonerated. Freed from prison in October after serving 33 years, Robert Smith, 72, is suing the prosecutor and the officers, all “proteges of Burge,” who allegedly beat and threatened him into falsely confessing that he murdered two relatives. He refused to sign a statement and recanted, but was nonetheless convicted.  Related post

Lynda Williams, president of NOBLE (Nat’l Org. of Black Law Enf. Execs.) told The Crime Report that White racism has been embedded in police work since the very start. That, she and present and former Black cops said, can make it impossible for Black officers to progress unless they keep quiet and go along. It’s even worse for Black female cops, who are vastly underrepresented in the ranks. Click here for the 2006 FBI report on White extremists in policing.  Assault on the Capitol special topic  Related post

Concerns that jurors might be reluctant to convict Derek Chauvin of second-degree murder, which, if unintentional, requires proof that an accused was committing felony assault, has led prosecutors to petition the Court of Appeals to reinstate the third-degree murder charge. That was thrown out by a District Court judge who said it required that persons other than Mr. Floyd were placed at risk. But the appeals court recently allowed the third-degree murder conviction of former officer Mohamed Noor to stand even though he only “targeted” one person.  Floyd/Taylor special topic  Related post

3/1/21  Lawrence Anderson, an Oklahoma parolee with a string of prison sentences, savagely killed three persons two weeks after the state parole board commuted his most recent term. Their move, which has been severely criticized by the D.A., came during a three-day meeting in which the board reviewed six-hundred clemency requests. Anderson had reportedly cooked a victim’s heart and served it as food. Related post

Fears of bias against non-Whites has led to bans against police use of facial recognition technology in cities including Oakland, Portland, San Francisco and Minneapolis. However, its many successful outcomes led Massachusetts to include a provision in a police reform bill that requires police to seek court orders to perform facial recognition searches except in emergencies. Related post

Complaints that moves by George Gascon, L.A.’s newly-elected D.A., to implement a progressive agenda that prohibits his staff from seeking cash bail, sentence enhancements and the death penalty has led deputy D.A.’s, victim’s rights advocates and law enforcement and political figures to mount a campaign for his recall. Bail Reform special topic  Related post.

2/27/21 During the last recession Jersey City held firm and didn’t lay off any cops. New Jersey’s other major city, Newark, shed ten percent of its force in 2010. A recently published study of this “naturalistic experiment” by John Jay’s Eric L. Piza revealed that laying off cops led to significant increases in all forms of crime in Newark, and that the gap worsened over time. Related posts  1  2  3

Privacy advocates are criticizing ICE for subscribing to the CLEAR commercial database which compiles “ millions” of telephone, electricity and other utility subscriber records. ICE investigators use this information to help identify and track down immigration law violators.   Immigration special topic  Related post

Immigration authorities reported that in January nearly six-thousand unaccompanied minors  illegally crossed into the U.S. Their purpose was mostly to join adults already present, and they typically sought out officers and surrendered. Unlike adult entrants, minors can’t be summarily expelled. Their numbers are growing as is the difficulty of properly housing them. Critics blame the new Administration’s more welcoming posture for encouraging the influx. Immigration special topic  Related post

2/26/21 Twenty-five Black Chicago PD officers, including a Lieutenant, have formed the “Black Public Safety Alliance.” Disgusted with the local FOP and its leader’s allegedly racist bent, they aim to build bridges to the Black community and support programs that enhance its relationship with the police.  Related post

2/24/21 State criminal history checks are required for sales by gun dealers. However, Federal law (18 USC 922[t]) allows transfers to proceed after three days should a check remains incomplete. Gun crimes have  been committed by prohibited persons who took advantage of such delays. President Biden will reportedly sponsor regulations to correct this loophole and, as well, require criminal checks of persons who wish to assemble unserialized “ghost guns” from parts. Related posts  1  2

State grand jurors declined to charge any of the Rochester officers involved in the detention and death of Daniel Prude (see 9/3/20 entry.) This matter is being investigated as a possible Federal civil rights violation by the Department of Justice. Related posts  1  2  3

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot signed a “welcoming city ordinance” that officially ends cooperation with immigration authorities unless (click here) “they are wanted on a criminal warrant by local or federal authorities, if they have been convicted of a serious crime and remain in the United States illegally, or if they are otherwise a clear threat to public safety or national security.”  Related post

Three former officials in charge of Capitol security testified that none of the intelligence they received informed them that an invasion was planned. According to former Capitol police chief Steven Sund, “We properly planned for a mass demonstration with possible violence. What we got was a military-style, coordinated assault on my officers and a violent takeover of the Capitol building.”  Assault on the Capitol special topic  Related post

Acting on complaints that the city’s police officers disproportionately stop Black motorists and pedestrians, the Berkeley (CA) City Council unanimously approved a measure that prohibits officers from making stops for minor infractions such as expired tags. “Transformative” changes, including slicing the police budget in half and tuning over traffic enforcement to civilians, are planned by summer. According to the police union president, officers will become “filing clerks. ” Related posts  1  2

Chief Moore corrected the below-cited 74 to 639, which he said is still far less than the 2,400 stops per month Metro conducted in 2019.  From 2/13/21: A surge in shootings and murders has led LAPD to redeploy uniformed “Metro” teams to conduct investigative stops in affected areas. According to Chief Michel Moore, officers are “held to a high standard” and only act when there is “reasonable suspicion” or “probable cause.” So far officers have made 74 stops, arrested fifty and seized 38 guns.  But libertarians worry that abuses are inevitable. Stop and Frisk special topic Related posts  1  2

2/23/21 On August 24, 2019 Aurora (CO) police forcefully detained Elijah McClain, a 21-year old Black pedestrian whom a 9-1-1 caller reported was behaving oddly. During the struggle officers applied a carotid hold. On arrival paramedics diagnosed excited delirium syndrome (exDS) and injected a sedative (ketamine). McClain soon went into cardiac arrest and died days later at a hospital. On February 22, 2021 an official city report concluded that police did not have adequate cause to forcefully detain or restrain Mr. McClain and that officers and paramedics badly mishandled the situation. Related posts  1  2  3

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill that eliminates cash bail in 2023. Civil libertarians enthusiastically backed the measure, which was reportedly inspired by the death of George Floyd. Some worry, though, that judges might overuse the right to detain offenders they consider dangerous. The Chicago Tribune announced its opposition because it fears that dangerous persons will be released into the community. Police and prosecutors have consistently opposed the bill as it mandates release of pre-trial arrestees for a broad range of crimes, “irrespective of their likelihood of re-offending, the danger they pose generally to the public, or their willingness to comply with conditions of their release.”  Bail Reform special topic
Related posts 1  2

New Jersey joined the ranks of thirteen States and D.C. to legalize recreational marijuana. Adults can possess up to six ounces, but growing pot remains forbidden. Underage use and other violations will be treated as a civil offense. A “regulated market” is in time expected to bring millions into the struggling State’s coffers.  Related post

2/22/21 As of June 1 the long-standing right of Montana residents to carry concealed guns without a permit will extend to places such as banks, bars, State buildings (including the Capitol) and the universities. “Secure law enforcement facilities, federal buildings, courtrooms, and K-12 schools” will remain excepted. Montana is presently one of eighteen States that allow persons to carry concealed firearms without a permit. Related posts  1  2

2/20/21 Idaho lawmakers are seeking to outlaw demonstrations at the homes of individuals. Their move comes as individuals and right-wing groups that oppose Covid-19 restrictions, including Ammon Bundy’s People’s Rights network, voice their displeasure by demonstrating at the private residences of officials and police officers. But civil libertarians oppose the measure.  COVID-19 special topic Related post

2/19/21 Acting under an executive order, ICE is prioritizing enforcement of three classes of “noncitizens”: (1) national security risks; (2) persons who illegally entered on or after 11/1/20; and (3) persons who are considered public safety threats and have been convicted of an “aggravated felony” or actively participate in a “transnational” gang. Removal of noncitizens not in these categories requires special permission. Click here for the detailed ICE memo. Related post   Immigration special topic

Baltimore police report that during 2020 officers recovered “more than three times” the number of untraceable “ghost guns” that were seized in 2019, when 119 were confiscated. A revision to Maryland law to bar persons from assembling their own guns has been proposed. Related post


New essays post regularly:

Main topics

Want Happy Endings?
Don't Chase.

(#379, 1/31/21)

Pursuits can lead to tragedy

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

Some officers leap into the arms of "Q"


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...


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