Mom of Teen Killed in Police Shooting Sues CSU for Transparency, Not Cash

A photo of the late Jeremy Holmes wearing a headset while working on his computer.  Courtesy of Susan Holmes


A photo of the late Jeremy Holmes wearing a headset while working on his computer.

Courtesy of Susan Holmes

via Westword:

Susan Holmes, the mother of Jeremy Holmes, a nineteen-year-old killed by police officers near the CSU campus last year, has filed a lawsuit against the university over the matter. But instead of seeking a big payout for tragic actions she believes were completely avoidable, she wants authorities at the campus to turn over documents related to the investigation, as well as a video that authorities have repeatedly refused to make public.

"The impetus for filing this lawsuit is not monetarily based," says Julian G.G. Wolfson, the namesake for the Law Office of Julian G.G. Wolfson, LLC, who's representing Susan Holmes. "The big, motivating factor behind her pursuit is transparency, and the belief that the decision to deny the records request appears to be arbitrary and capricious."

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9th Circuit used 'puzzling' and too-general excessive-force analysis, Supreme Court says

Shutterstock.com.

Shutterstock.com.

via ABA Journal:

A federal appeals court erred when it allowed an arrestee’s lawsuit against two police officers, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday.

The Supreme Court ruled the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrongly allowed suit against a police sergeant who wasn’t involved in the arrest and used the wrong test to determine whether the officers had qualified immunity from suit. (The opinion begins at page 27 of this PDF.)

The court told the 9th Circuit to reconsider the case against Escondido, California, officer Robert Craig and reversed the 9th Circuit’s decision allowing suit against the sergeant, Kevin Toth.

The plaintiff, Marty Emmons, was forced to the ground and handcuffed by an officer responding to a domestic violence call. Emmons was not the domestic violence suspect; he was the father of a woman whose roommate had phoned her mother screaming for help, prompting the mother’s call to police. During the call to her mother, the roommate and Emmons’ daughter were both screaming at each other.

When police arrived, Emmons’ daughter spoke with officers through the window, but she would not let them in. Marty Emmons opened the door and stepped outside. Craig told Emmons to keep the door open, but Emmons shut it. It was at that point that Craig took Emmons to the ground and cuffed him. He was charged with the misdemeanor offense of resisting and delaying a police officer.

The 9th Circuit had ruled Emmons was entitled to sue the arresting officer as well as Toth. The appeals court had reasoned the right to be free of excessive force was clearly established at the time of the arrest, which meant the officers were not entitled to qualified immunity.

The Supreme Court said the 9th Circuit’s finding of no immunity for the police sergeant “was erroneous—and quite puzzling” since he was not involved in the arrest.

In addition, the 9th Circuit “was far too general” when it said the right to be free of excessive force was clearly established, the Supreme court said.

The proper test is whether the right to be free of excessive force was clearly established in these particular circumstances, the Supreme Court said. “Under our cases,” the Supreme Court said, “the clearly established right must be defined with specificity.”

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Congressional report: Misconduct by federal prison leaders 'ignored' and 'covered up' on a regular basis

(Photo: Reinhold Matay/AP)

(Photo: Reinhold Matay/AP)

via USA TODAY:

Serious misconduct by senior federal prison officials is “largely tolerated or ignored altogether” under a culture in which some were shielded from discipline or even commended for their service by colleagues, according to a new congressional review.

“For high-ranking officers, bad behavior is ignored or covered up on a regular basis, and certain officials who should be investigated can avoid discipline,” House investigators concluded in a nine-page report for the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

The review is the latest rebuke of the Federal Bureau of Prisons where severe staffing shortages, persistent sexual harassment claims and inmate violence have shadowed operations for years.

The Bureau of Prisons did not immediately respond to a request for comment, citing the government shutdown.

In November, the Justice Department's inspector general cited numerous operational  "challenges" confronting the sprawling agency as it detailed additional problems in managing its 12,567 female inmates.

"For the seventh consecutive year, the need to more effectively manage the federal prison system was included as a top challenge for the department," Inspector General Michael Horowitz told the same House panel. "Staffing and overcrowding present constant challenges for BOP in carrying out its mission to confine offenders in safe, humane and cost-efficient environments."

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Machine Learning Deployed to Help EEOC Predict Discrimination

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission hired its first chief data officer, Samuel Christopher Haffer, to transform the agency’s Office of Research, Information and Planning.    Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission hired its first chief data officer, Samuel Christopher Haffer, to transform the agency’s Office of Research, Information and Planning.

Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images


via Bloomberg Law:

In the not-so-distant future, machine learning may help civil-rights agencies predict who could face workplace discrimination.

Samuel Christopher Haffer, the first chief data officer hired by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, said his goal is to create a “distant early warning system,” examining things like “intersectionality,” or groups of similar qualities like race, gender, or ethnicity. Machine learning—the algorithmic study of past experiences to optimize, or predict, future experiences—will have a lot to do with that.

Hypothetically, this could mean the agency would be able to flag a particular group of people in a specific industry who would be susceptible to discrimination. The agency would then be able to target outreach to those workers to make them aware of their rights, he said.

“That team of social scientists and data scientists will be looking at the treasure trove of data that we have here at the agency to look at trends and patterns at the enterprise level,” Haffer told Bloomberg Law in a recent interview.

The machine learning tool could lead to more discrimination complaints filed with the agency, if the algorithm-based outreach reaches more people who may be subjected to bias. It probably won’t be relied on once litigation is pursued, however, as there’s some debate within courts and agencies on whether the use of statistics alone—without additional evidence from allegedly aggrieved workers—can be used to prove bias claims.

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The Death Penalty May Be on the Decline, But It’s Still Really Racist

oneword/Getty

oneword/Getty

via Mother Jones:

Use of the death penalty is still declining in every state, but two new reports from the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) and the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (TCADP) show that while executions and death sentences have decreased in the last quarter-century, inequalities that have been a part of the death penalty system have held steady.

An October Gallup poll found that the percentage of Americans who would like to see the death penalty imposed more frequently has declined by 2 percentage points since 2017, when the last survey was conducted. “Even in the face of inflammatory political rhetoric urging its expanded use, voters showed that the death penalty is no longer a political wedge issue,” Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, said in a statement. New death sentences and executions remained near historic lows. In 2018, 25 people were executed, a slight uptick from the 23 executions carried out in 2017.

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The Students Suing for a Constitutional Right to Education

TED S. WARREN / AP

TED S. WARREN / AP

via The Atlantic:

Nearly all of the world’s 180-plus countries include the term education in their constitution. Most guarantee every child the right to free education, and many make participation in some form of schooling mandatory; some even provideuniversal access to affordable college. For the remaining handful, the UN’s decades-old treaty on children’s rights, which stipulates various educational protections, serves as a backup, and has been ratified by pretty much every sovereign nation on the planet. Except for one.

That one country is the United States of America, a nation that prizes the idea that anyone should be able to build a better life through education and hard work. Activists have occasionally sought to address this constitutional omission through congressional legislation, grassroots campaigns, and federal litigation, but they’ve never succeeded. Of the few cases that have made it to the U.S. Supreme Court, not a single one has managed to secure a majority ruling in favor of an argument that there is an implied right to an education in the Constitution. Against this backdrop, federal litigation over educational rights has all but disappeared in the past half century. Meanwhile, the nation’s public schools continue to vary significantly in funding, quality, and academic and social outcomes.

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Can Police Retaliate Against Loudmouths?

LUCAS JACKSON / REUTERS

LUCAS JACKSON / REUTERS

via The Atlantic:

Arctic Man is Alaska’s answer to Nevada’s more famous Burning Man. The writer Matt White once described it as “a weeklong booze and fossil-fueled Sledneck Revival bookended around the world’s craziest ski race,” during which “something like 10,000 partiers and their snowmachines disgorge onto Camp Isabel’s 300-acre pad to drink, grill, fight, drink and, at least while the sun is out, blast their sleds through the ear-deep powder in the surrounding hills one last time before it all melts away.”

As one can imagine, Arctic Man revelers sometimes attract the attention of law enforcement. One such meeting led to a case called Nieves v. Bartlett that will be argued before the Supreme Court on Monday, and that may finally resolve the question of whether a citizen can ignore or even talk back to police officers without fear of consequences.

In theory, the First Amendment protects a citizen’s right to talk back. But anyone who has ever been around citizen-police confrontations knows that, on occasion, officers (who are as human as anybody else) decide they’ve had enough and place the loudmouth under arrest.

When can the citizen sue for “retaliatory arrest”? More properly, what if the citizen has done, or seems to have done, something that gives the officer “probable cause,” but that offense might have gone unnoticed except for a “retaliatory motive”—the desire to shut the citizen up?

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Neo-Nazis Have No First Amendment Right to Harassment, Judge Rules

Tanya Gersh of Whitefish, Mont., became the target of a neo-Nazi “troll storm” of online harassment orchestrated by The Daily Stormer.CreditCreditDan Chung/Southern Poverty Law Center, via Associated Press

Tanya Gersh of Whitefish, Mont., became the target of a neo-Nazi “troll storm” of online harassment orchestrated by The Daily Stormer.CreditCreditDan Chung/Southern Poverty Law Center, via Associated Press

via The New York Times:

A lawsuit accusing the publisher of the neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer of coordinating a “terror campaign” of online harassment against a Jewish real estate agent cannot be dismissed on First Amendment grounds, a federal judge in Montana ruled this week.

In his ruling denying a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, Dana L. Christensen, the chief judge for United States District Court in Missoula, Mont., wrote that the real estate agent, Tanya Gersh, was a private citizen, not a public figure, and that the publisher, Andrew Anglin, incited his followers to harass her as part of a personal campaign.

The events that spurred the lawsuit began in the fall of 2016, when The Daily Stormer published a series of articles attacking Ms. Gersh, of Whitefish, Mont., for her interactions with Sherry Spencer, the mother of the white supremacist leader Richard Spencer.

Ms. Spencer owned a building in Whitefish and Ms. Gersh had talked to her about its potential sale after word circulated that residents were considering a protest there against white supremacy.

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The Real Origins of Birthright Citizenship

John A. Madison, great-grandson of Dred Scott, points to his ancestor's unmarked grave.  J. M. HOGAN / REUTERS

John A. Madison, great-grandson of Dred Scott, points to his ancestor's unmarked grave.

J. M. HOGAN / REUTERS

via The Atlantic:

Birthright citizenship just might be, former slaves believed, the safeguard they needed. In the decades before the Civil War, in an era when a remedy like the Fourteenth Amendment was hard to imagine, free black Americans embraced the view that they were citizens by virtue of having been born on U.S. soil. It was a lofty claim, especially because the Constitution was largely silent on the matter of who was a citizen and who was not. But for those who were descended from bondspeople, their circumstances were dire. Law and policy appeared to be conspiring against them, aimed directly at their tentative claims to belonging to the nation. Colonization societies organized to entice former slaves to migrate away, to Canada, the Caribbean, or Liberia in West Africa. Black laws restricted everyday life—work, travel, worship—to such a degree that black men and women felt squeezed out and many considered self-deportation.  

In the U.S., birthright citizenship begins here, in the struggles of the marginalized and the despised to make this nation their own even as so many claimed that when it came to rights, it was a white man’s country. Most notorious among such denials of black citizenship was the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1857 decision in Scott v. Sandford, often referred to as the Dred Scott case. But African Americans saw Chief Justice Roger B. Taney and his decision coming from years away. They had encountered his view—that black people had no rights that white men were bound to respect—in Congress and state courts, in newspaper columns and political conventions. They denounced Taney and the high court, gathering in meeting halls and churches to decry the denial of their birthright. And they never deferred to it. Taney’s decision was another round in a struggle that would take them to the Civil War and beyond.


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Everyday Discrimination Literally Raises Women’s Blood Pressure

AFP / GETTY IMAGES

AFP / GETTY IMAGES

via The Atlantic:

It goes like this. On her walk to work, a driver wolf-whistles at her. She sits in a meeting and gets interrupted when she speaks. She is also told, with a hint of surprise, that she’s pretty articulate. She vents on social media and is told by strangers to go back to the kitchen. She frowns at this—and is told to smile more.

These little hits of everyday discrimination are the daily realities for many women and people of color, says Danielle Beatty Moody, a psychology professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. They are indignities so ostensibly subtle that people who don’t experience them firsthand often think nothing of them. But these slivers of “disdain, distance, and disrespect” add up, over days and years: “It’s like a thousand tiny cuts,” Beatty Moody says.

In a new study, she and her colleagues have found more evidence that these psychological cuts have real physiological consequences. As first reported by the journalist Emily Willingham, the team studied a racially diverse group of 2,180 American women and found that those who regularly experienced everyday discrimination ended up with higher blood pressure a decade later.

There’s already a large body of work that links everyday discrimination—racism, mainly—to a variety of mental and physical health problems, including disturbed sleepunhealthy weight, and cardiovascular symptoms. But many of these studies are cross-sectional—that is, they compare people’s current experiences with their current health. They can’t say if the former caused the latter, because they are just momentary snapshots. To get stronger evidence, researchers need prospective studies, which track the health of volunteers over time.

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Black men — not white guys — face false allegations and a presumption of guilt

Black Lives Matter protesters gather on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in 2016. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

Black Lives Matter protesters gather on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in 2016. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

via The Washington Post:

Welcome to fear, white guys.

Come on in, the water sucks.

Ask just about every black man in America.

From stop-and-frisk to driving while black to wrongful murder convictions, African American men have always endured the suspicion that President Trump now fears on behalf of all men.

“When you are guilty until proven innocent, it’s just not supposed to be that way,” Trump said last week. “That’s a very dangerous standard for the country.”

Well, yeah.

That’s what all the kneeling at football games is about, remember?

Those men are kneeling to protest the black lives lost because of false accusations and a presumption of guilt.

But Trump isn’t talking about Walter Scott or Tamir Rice or Philando Castile — all shot and killed by police without cause. He’s talking about men like him — party guys who are vulnerable to allegations of sexual assault. In fact, Trump has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen women and branded all of them liars.

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Report: Federal prisons fail to provide adequate services for female inmates

Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz testifies at a congressional hearing in Washington on June 19. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz testifies at a congressional hearing in Washington on June 19. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

via The Washington Post:

It’s easy to overlook prisoners.

Their families might disown them. Politicians ignore them.

Too often, corrections officials don’t have the training or the staffing to do the job.

These problems are worse for women in prison.

Consider a report that broke Tuesday morning on the Federal Bureau of Prisons' (BOP) management of female inmates.

The study by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General reveals a system that fails to meet certain basic needs of prisoners in ways large and small.

Three main issues were identified by Inspector General Michael Horowitz:

“First, we found that low staffing limits BOP’s ability to provide all eligible female inmates with trauma treatment, even though a study relied upon by BOP shows that approximately 90 percent of female inmates are affected by sexual, physical, or emotional trauma at some point in their lives.

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Protection of Voting Rights for Minorities Has Fallen Sharply, a New Report Finds

A new report says the federal government has been doing less to protect minority voters’ rights in recent years. Cornell William Brooks, the president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, spoke to demonstrators at the Lincoln Memorial at the conclusion of a voting rights march in 2015.CreditCreditBrendan Smialowski/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A new report says the federal government has been doing less to protect minority voters’ rights in recent years. Cornell William Brooks, the president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, spoke to demonstrators at the Lincoln Memorial at the conclusion of a voting rights march in 2015.CreditCreditBrendan Smialowski/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

via The New York Times:

WASHINGTON — Federal actions to enforce voting rights for minorities have declined sharply since the Supreme Court struck down the core of the 1965 Voting Rights Act five years ago, the federal Commission on Civil Rights says in a sweeping new report on voting issues. Even enforcement of the act’s remaining provisions has dropped markedly, the report states.

In an interview before the report’s formal release on Wednesday, the head of the commission, Catherine E. Lhamon, called the present state of discrimination against minority voters “enduring and pernicious,” and said it was poorly addressed under federal law.

“To be at this point in our history, without either meaningful federal protections in law or in practice from the United States Department of Justice, is a low point” since the passage of the Voting Rights Act, she said. “And that’s dangerous.”

The United States Commission on Civil Rights, created during the Eisenhower administration in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education and the Montgomery bus boycott, is a bipartisan panel responsible for assessing the extent of discrimination and proposing ways to reduce it. The commission’s findings played a crucial role in the passage of major civil rights legislation in the 1960s and the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990.

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Laws Punishing Homeless People for Sleeping in Public Are Cruel and Unusual, Court Rules

In a case stemming from city ordinances in Boise, Idaho, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said that laws banning sleeping or camping in public places violate the Constitution if no shelter space is available.CreditCreditAdam Cotterell/Boise State Public Radio, via Associated Press

In a case stemming from city ordinances in Boise, Idaho, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said that laws banning sleeping or camping in public places violate the Constitution if no shelter space is available.CreditCreditAdam Cotterell/Boise State Public Radio, via Associated Press

via The New York Times:

Prosecuting homeless people for sleeping on the streets when there is no shelter available is a form of cruel and unusual punishment that violates the Constitution, a federal appeals court said this week.

The case stems from two ordinances in Boise, Idaho, that make it a crime to sleep or camp in buildings, streets and other public places. Six homeless people who had been convicted under the laws sued the city in 2009, saying their constitutional rights had been violated.

After years of legal wrangling, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said in a 32-page opinion on Tuesday that Boise’s ordinances “criminalize the simple act of sleeping outside on public property, whether bare or with a blanket or other basic bedding.” The panel added that “a municipality cannot criminalize such behavior consistently with the Eighth Amendment when no sleeping space is practically available in any shelter.”

In their summary of the opinion, the judges wrote, “As long as there is no option of sleeping indoors, the government cannot criminalize indigent, homeless people for sleeping outdoors, on public property, on the false premise they had a choice in the matter.”

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How Rising Inequality Has Widened the Justice Gap

Credit: Cam Cottrill

Credit: Cam Cottrill

via The New York Times:

Rising inequality has harmed low-income families not only by depriving them of a fair share of society’s income growth, but also in a more specific way: It has stacked the legal system even more heavily against them.

According to a recent survey, more than 70 percent of low-income American households had been involved in eviction cases, labor law cases, and other civil legal disputes during the preceding year, and in more than 80 percent of those cases they lacked effective legal representation.

Indigent persons charged with crimes are entitled to state-sponsored lawyers, but here, too, funding shortages are widespread.

The stakes in criminal proceedings are often enormous, but civil disputes often produce life-shattering outcomes as well.

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Militarization of Local Police Isn’t Making Anyone Safer

This photo of Ieshia Evans meeting police in full riot gear in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, went viral in 2016. Jonathan Bachman/Reuters

This photo of Ieshia Evans meeting police in full riot gear in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, went viral in 2016. Jonathan Bachman/Reuters

via CITYLAB:

After a police officer killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in 2014, Ferguson erupted. One image from the unrest shows the silhouette of a solitary man standing with his hands up in front of a row of armored vehicles, eliciting comparisons with the “tank man” from the Tiananmen Square. In another image—this time from the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after the shooting of Alton Sterling in 2016—a woman stands serene, while two police officers in heavy-duty gear approach her.

For many Americans, it is perhaps in these moments that the extent to which local police departments have militarized became evident. Law enforcement have often requested military-grade equipment in the aftermath of police shootings, arguing that these weapons protect them and increase public safety; whereas critics have argued that they will further strain trust between the police and communities, making bad situations much worse.

So which is it?

A comprehensive new study published in the National Academy of Sciences provides some answers. For it, Jonathan Mummolo, a professor of politics and public affairs at Princeton University, used a public records request to obtain data on every SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) deployment in Maryland, information that had been recorded due to a state statute.

Upon analyzing it, he found a strong correlation between SWAT deployments and the share of black residents in a locale, even after controlling for crime rates, and other social and economic characteristics of the place (unemployment, education, household income). A 10 percent increase in the percentage of black residents in a neighborhood is associated with a 10.53 percent increase in SWAT deployments per 100,000 residents during the time period he examined. Around 90 percent of times, the SWAT officers were deployed to serve a warrant. These results from Maryland “are consistent with the descriptive claim that Black residents face a pronounced risk of experiencing militarized policing,” Mummolo writes in the report.

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How the South Memorializes — and Forgets — Its History of Lynching

Jamilah Muhammad, 13, reflects on her scene in a reenactment of the 1946 Moore’s Ford Bridge lynchings in Walton County, Ga., of two black couples. “While we were rehearsing, I started crying,” she says, on Sept. 10, 2017. “I couldn’t imagine seeing my mom killed or living without her… this wasn’t a made-up story. This really happened.”  Johnathon Kelso

Jamilah Muhammad, 13, reflects on her scene in a reenactment of the 1946 Moore’s Ford Bridge lynchings in Walton County, Ga., of two black couples. “While we were rehearsing, I started crying,” she says, on Sept. 10, 2017. “I couldn’t imagine seeing my mom killed or living without her… this wasn’t a made-up story. This really happened.”

Johnathon Kelso

via Time:

Between 1877 and 1950, more than 4,400 black Americans were killed by lynching in the United States. Our nation has always preferred to ignore this brutal reality. Recently, however, Americans have shown a greater willingness to recognize lynching for what it was — not simply a series of “incidents,” but a systematic regime of racial terror.

At the places where lynchings occurred, though, there are seldom markers to explain what happened there. Yet as I argue in my book, On the Courthouse Lawn, lynching had devastating effects on those communities that still resonate. I encourage these local populations to do the hard work of identifying how to repair the damage that remains locked in the DNA of the countless hometowns where these horrifying events occurred.

In most cases, that work has fallen to local activists, amateur historians and descendants of victims and witnesses. These unheralded people — and the places they struggle to consecrate — are the subject of the photographer Johnathon Kelso. In his series, A Song Without Words, he examines the history of racial violence that lies just beneath the surface of the present and the ways that contemporary Americans try — or fail — to grapple with that history.

Kelso calls lynching “a huge, gaping wound” in the South, one rarely discussed in the open. A native of the region, he himself knew little about the lynchings before embarking on this project. “When I began, I thought it was just the KKK and the fringe” who were responsible, he says. “But I quickly realized through research … that these crimes were carried out by the entire community on Sunday after church.”

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Federal Court Throws Out North Carolina’s Congressional Districts, Again Image

Under Chief Justice John G. Roberts, center, the Supreme Court passed up three chances last term to ban partisan gerrymandering.CreditCreditTom Brenner/The New York Times

Under Chief Justice John G. Roberts, center, the Supreme Court passed up three chances last term to ban partisan gerrymandering.CreditCreditTom Brenner/The New York Times

via The New York Times:

A panel of three federal judges again declared North Carolina’s congressional district map to be unconstitutional, ruling on Monday that it was gerrymandered to unfairly favor Republican candidates.

The decision, which may have significant implications for control of Congress after the midterm elections, is likely to be appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which for the moment is evenly split on ideological lines without a ninth justice to tip the balance.

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Police militarization fails to protect officers and targets black communities, study finds

Lone activist Ieshia Evans stands her ground while offering her hands for arrest as she is charged by riot police during a protest against police brutality outside the Baton Rouge Police Department in Louisiana, USA, 9 July 2016. A new study found militarized police units are used more often in communities of color. Photo by REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman

Lone activist Ieshia Evans stands her ground while offering her hands for arrest as she is charged by riot police during a protest against police brutality outside the Baton Rouge Police Department in Louisiana, USA, 9 July 2016. A new study found militarized police units are used more often in communities of color. Photo by REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman

via PBS:

Police militarization neither reduces rates of violent crime nor changes the number of officers assaulted or killed, according to a study of 9,000 law enforcement agencies in the U.S. The study is arguably the nation’s first systematic analysis on the use and consequences of militarized force.

In at least one state — Maryland — police are more likely to deploy militarized units in black neighborhoods, confirming a suspicion long held by critics, the study found.

The study found that merely seeing militarized units can erode public confidence in law enforcement and give off the impression that a police department is overfunded.

Many police leaders view their SWAT teams and other militarized units as a necessity for police and public safety, especially for “high-risk” hostage situations or active shooters. Between 1997 to 2014, the Department of Defense transferred $4.3 billion in military equipment to local law agencies.

But police militarization may also work against law enforcement in the court of public opinion, according to the report published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science.

The study found that merely seeing militarized units can erode public confidence in law enforcement and give off the impression that a police department is overfunded.

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