But is it Really Satan?
A Sheriff’s lament reflects the hopelessness of urban decay
Can the Urban Ship
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?
Fair But Firm
Gaining voluntary compliance is the
sine qua non of everyday policing.
Indeed, of everyday life.
When Should Cops Lie?
NYPD detectives tweak an old approach. But lying is still lying. (#351, 3/26/20)
Desperate to avoid controversy, politicians avoid the obvious
Must the Door
Bail and sentencing reform come.
Then stuff happens.
A Recipe for Disaster
Take an uncertain workplace. Toss in a "mission impossible" and pressures to produce. Voila!
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
Technology's Great -
Until it's Not
Police love Rapid DNA and facial recognition but hate encryption.
Privacy advocates beg to differ.
Means, Ends and 9/11
Extraordinary measures beget extraordinary consequences
Despite redevelopment, South Bend's poverty and crime remain locked
in an embrace (#340, 9/13/19)
Doing right by the public might
mean doing wrong to the cop
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
Two Sides of
the Same Coin
Street gangs and officer cliques
have a lot in common (#336, 7/20/19)
Can You Enforce
Decriminalizing illegal immigration would have serious consequences
Without a Difference
An epidemic of officer suicide raises the question: do guns cause violence?
Informed and Lethal
Accurate information can provoke
lethal errors (#333, 5/5/19)
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?
No Such Thing As
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?
A Victim of Circumstance
Building cases with circumstantial evidence calls for exquisite care
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)
Washington state legalized recreational pot in 2012. An academic study that explores police attitudes reveals that they’re not necessarily
for recriminalizing it. However, officers report greater use by youth, more “drugged driving,” and a heavier workload due to more pot-related
“nuisance” calls. Related post
Marketing practices are the focus of an FTC complaint filed by the father of a victim of the Parkland massacre.
According to the action, which gun control groups also joined, Smith & Wesson sought to boost the sale of assault rifles, such as M&P-15 .223 cal. used
in Parkland, by, among other things, recklessly glorifying its link to military combat rifles, which the M&P closely resembles. Related posts
5/31/20 Protest escalated,
striking major cities thoughout the U.S. New York City was besieged by protests in all five boroughs, and especially in Brooklyn. Some protesters were armed with bricks
and hurled molotov cocktails. Officers fired tear gas and rubber bullets as police cars burned and businesses were looted.
Protests over the police killing of George Floyd broke out in San Jose, Oakland and Los Angeles. Officers arrested persons besieging L.A. City Hall, then
declared an unlawful assembly as protests in the downtown area deteriorated into vandalism, arson and looting by “opportunists” taking advantage
of the chaos. By noon Saturday “more
than 500” had been arrested. Rioting broke out in L.A.’s Fairfax district and police cars were set on fire.
5/28/20 Looting, arson and rowdiness following
the police killing of George Floyd escalated in Minneapolis, leading to the call-up of the National Guard. Tuesday evening a looter was shot and killed and
the shooter was arrested. Major fires were set Wednesday evening, destroying thirty buildings. Looting and rock-throwing at police also broke out in St. Paul.
5/27/20 Twenty-eight additional Chicagoans were shot, including at least five killed,
on the day after Memorial day. Gangs and drug sales again seemed to be involved, but the victims included a 5-year old girl who was struck
in the leg while standing outside a home.
Fifty fell to gunfire in Chicago, ten fatally, during the Memorial Day weekend,
considerably surpassing last year’s toll and nearly matching 2015’s appalling count, when twelve were shot dead. That led Mayor
Lightfoot to “scold” her new chief, David Brown: “...what I said to the superintendent this morning is this was a fail...
And whatever the strategy is, it didn’t work.” Chief Brown attributed the violence to gang rivalries and disputes over drug sales.
He conceded that staffing levels had been lower than in 2019, when 1,000 extra officers were deployed.
Taken by a citizen, a graphic video (click here)
depicts a white Minneapolis police officer holding down a large, reportedly combative black man arrested for forgery by
pressing his knee on the man’s neck. The man, George Floyd, repeatedly complains that he can’t breathe, then falls silent.
An ambulance took him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. That happened yesterday. This morning police said the FBI would
investigate. But Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey isn’t waiting for their conclusions. “Being black in America should not be a
death sentence,” he said, announcing that he already fired four officers who participated in the encounter.
5/18/20 A.G. William Barr revealed that after
Apple refused to help, the FBI eventually managed to unlock the iPhones possessed by Mohammed Alshamrani, the
Saudi military student who opened fire at Pensacola. According to Barr, Alshamrani joined the Saudi air force
“to carry out a ‘special operation’” for al-Qaida and used end-to-end encryption to
communicate with his handlers. Barr stated that “our national security cannot remain in the hands of big
corporations who put dollars over lawful access and public safety” and that a “legislative
solution” is necessary. A.G. Barr's prepared remarks Related posts
5/16/20 Chicago has
had 175 homicides this year compared with 156 during the same period in 2019. Shootings have increased from 596
to 717. Chief David Brown said a “summer mobile unit” will be dealing with violence in the
city’s crime-besieged South and West areas. He is also considering a city-wide “community”
unit. “They could work on a Habitat for Humanity home. They could deliver meals one day a week to the
seniors in the city. They could do some work with young people in the schools.”
5/4/20 Recalling the 2002
gun killing of a 17-year old, and the rituals in its aftermath, Chicago Tribune columnist Dahleen
Glanton writes that for many of the city’s youths the coronavirus is no match for “the virus of
violence, which has consumed their neighborhoods and threatens to wipe out their entire generation.”
5/3/20 Teens gathered for an
early-morning outdoor party in Chicago’s violence-stricken Lawndale neighborhood. About 3:30 am a car
drove by. According to a ShotSpotter, it sprayed “at least 14 rounds.” Five teens, ages 15-19, were
wounded and are hospitalized in fair condition.
4/25/20 To combat persistently high levels of violence even during the
pandemic, Chicago Chief Brown has reassigned “dozens” of officers to patrol the Harrison, Gresham, Englewood and Deering
neighborhoods. Harrison, for example, has had 90 shootings this year, twenty more than at this time in 2019. Related posts
4/21/20 LAPD Chief Michel Moore said that due to budgetary constraints brought on by the pandemic,
the agency’s crime analysts were discontinuing use of PredPol software. Instead, their work will now be driven by
the community-oriented SARA approach.
But agency critics championed the move as a victory in their battle against the unfair targeting of minority communities. Related posts
In the New York Times, a comprehensive overview of the “Long Road to 9/11 Justice”
details the struggles of bringing to trial defendants who were subject to unfathomable torture at C.I.A. “black
sites” nearly two decades ago. Many prosecutors and defense attorneys have come and gone, most recently a 75-year old
defense lawyer who is leaving for health reasons after serving eight years.
4/18/20 U.S. District Judge
Nathaniel Gorton, who will oversee the trials of fourteen parents who allegedly bribed their kids into college, ordered
prosecutors to respond to “troubling” indications that the Government tried to “suborn the commission of a
crime” by forcing its principal witness, during recorded calls, to have the parents agree that their payments were
intended as bribes to individuals, when their intention had actually been to support programs. IPhone notes to that effect, which were
kept by the cooperating witness, Rick Singer, had been withheld from the defense.
4/17/20 In testimony before the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement
, a high-ranking ATF official identified “privately made firearms” as an important and “increasingly more
common” gun source for criminals. Other sources mentioned included theft and straw purchase. Related posts
4/14/20 A Federal judge allowed
a lawsuit to proceed against Colt Firearms and other manufacturers and retailers of the AR-15 rifles used in the Las Vegas
massacre. He found that the defendants continued making and distributing AR-15’s “with a stock that can be easily
removed and replaced” even though they knew that bump stocks could effectively turn AR-15’s into machineguns. Related
4/13/20 New York State
’s recently approved “Green Light Law,” allowing illegal immigrants to obtain driver
licenses and blocking ICE access to DMV records, was denounced by the Federal Law Enforcement Officer’s Association,
which warns that it endangers public safety.
4/12/20 Who’s afraid of coronavirus? Gun violence in Chicago is reaching new heights
during the outbreak. Last Tuesday, April 7, “the deadliest day from gunfire in nearly two years,” twenty-one were
shot and seven were killed. Nine more were shot and two died in a five-hour period the next day. Then another two were killed
and five were wounded in seven shootings between Friday evening and Saturday morning. It all happened in Chicago’s violence
-plagued inner-city, including the notorious “Englewood” district. Related posts
4/11/20 Objections by civil rights activists led a Baltimore judge to put the brakes on a test program to have
small planes shoot aerial footage of the city for 40 hours per week. According to police, the results would only be used to
help solve violent crimes, of which the city has in abundance. Related posts
4/9/20 A National Academy of Sciences research article
challenges the validity and reliability of an FBI technique that photographically compares markings and imperfections
on surfaces such as fabrics. That approach, which has become the specialty of an FBI laboratory scientist, has helped lead
to convictions, including of four suspects in a series of robberies and bombings in Spokane. Related posts
3/30/20 “Grim Sleeper” Lonnie Franklin, one of the first serial killers identified through
familial DNA, died of apparently natural causes while awaiting execution. He had been on death row since his 2016
conviction for committing ten murders in South Los Angeles between 1985 and 2007. Related posts
3/29/20 In their new book,
“Understanding Police Interrogation: Confessions and Consequences,”
Woody and Forrest argue that false confessions can be caused by psychological manipulations; for example, techniques
that “build rapport” with suspects and tricks that fool them into believing they’ve been incriminated by
(non-existent) evidence. Related posts 1
3/28/20 Two articles in a special issue
of Criminology & Public Policy, “Assessing the potential.....” by Koper, and “Evidence concerning the regulation....” by Webster, McCourt, Crifasi, Booty
and Stuart, report that restricting large-capacity magazines reduces the frequency of mass shootings. Handgun buyer
licensing (but not background checks or assault weapon bans) were also found effective in the latter study. Related posts
3/27/20 An NIJ-funded meta-analysis concludes
that “focused intervention” programs that go beyond what’s usually offered to ex-offenders can
significantly reduce recidivism. Among these are cognitive-behavioral therapy, structured group counseling and drug court.