MoJo Author Feeds: Jaeah Lee | Mother Jones Mother Jones logo en Why Was Peter Liang One of So Few Cops Convicted for Killing an Unarmed Man? <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>On February 11, Peter Liang became a rare statistic: He was the first New York City police officer in more than a decade to be <a href="">found guilty</a> of shooting and killing a citizen while on duty. Liang, who is Chinese American, was convicted of second-degree manslaughter and one count of official misconduct for the shooting of Akai Gurley, a 28-year-old black man and father, during an encounter in a Brooklyn housing project. In the post-Ferguson era, the case has added another twist to the intense ongoing debate about race and accountability in policing.</p> <p>On the night of November 20, 2014, Gurley and a friend had just entered an unlit stairwell on the seventh floor of their building. Liang, a 28-year-old rookie cop, was on the stairwell landing above with his partner, on a "vertical patrol" assignment. Liang had his gun drawn, his attorneys <a href="">told</a> jurors, because the stairwell was dark and police officers are trained that this can be dangerous&mdash;for New York cops on vertical patrol, lack of lighting is <a href="">commonly perceived</a> as a <a href="">sign of</a> criminal activity. When Liang heard a noise come from below, he <a href="">testified</a>, he was startled and pulled the trigger of his gun by accident. The bullet ricocheted off a wall along the landing below where Gurley stood, <a href="">mortally wounding</a> him. Liang told jurors that he did not realize he had shot anyone until he went down the stairs looking for the bullet. Liang said that when he discovered Gurley bleeding on the ground, "I was panicking. I was in shock, in disbelief that someone was actually hit."</p> <p>In the aftermath, New York Police commissioner William Bratton <a href="">told</a> reporters that the shooting appeared "to be an accidental discharge, with no intention to strike anybody." But during the trial, prosecutors <a href="">zeroed in on</a> evidence that Liang failed to administer immediate medical aid as Gurley lay bleeding to death, instead arguing with his partner over whether to call their supervisor. Gurley's friend attempted to give him CPR after receiving instructions from a 911 dispatcher. Liang <a href="">testified</a> that he tried to request an ambulance over the radio. Transcripts from radio calls, however, did not show him calling for one.</p> <p>Liang, whose sentencing is <a href="">scheduled for</a> April 14, was fired from the department and initially faced up to 15 years in prison. In late March, however, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson <a href="">announced</a> that he would not seek prison time for Liang. Thompson instead recommended five years of probation, including six months of home confinement, citing "the unique circumstances" of the case. On Tuesday, Liang's lawyers asked a judge to throw out Liang's conviction, <a href="">alleging jury misconduct</a>.</p> <p>In the view of his supporters and some former prosecutors, Liang's conviction is a <a href="">glaring</a> <a href="">anomaly</a> <a href="">among cops</a> who have killed unarmed civilians, the vast majority of whom don't face criminal charges. Kenneth Montgomery, a <a href="">former assistant prosecutor</a> in Brooklyn and now a defense attorney, found the conviction somewhat surprising. "When you look at the spectrum of police shooting cases, this seemed to be&mdash;I want to be careful because all of these cases are of public concern&mdash;less egregious than <a href="">Anthony Baez</a>, <a href="">Amadou Diallo</a>," he says. "It seemed to me that the defense had a lot to work with."</p> <p>Many believe Liang's race was a factor. On February 20, in the wake of Liang's guilty verdict, thousands of people&mdash;many of them Asian American&mdash;<a href="">gathered</a> in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, DC, to protest. Demonstrators <a href="">charged</a> that Liang <a href="">was not</a> afforded the same protections as other officers <a href="">because</a> of the color of his skin. Former New York City Comptroller John Liu echoed this sentiment in a speech to the crowd: "Shocking! This is not manslaughter&hellip;We kind of had a sense in our hearts that this was going to be the result, because for 150 years, there has been a common phrase in America. This phrase is called 'Not a Chinaman's chance.'" As the writer Jay Caspian Kang <a href="">noted</a> in a <em>New York Times</em> essay, the Liang protests marked "the most pivotal moment in the Asian American community since the Rodney King riots."</p> <p>Some of Liang's supporters <a href="">compared</a> him to past Asian American victims of police brutality, and even went so far as to suggest that both Liang and&nbsp;Gurley were victims of the same kind of oppression. That rhetoric quickly <a href="">drew heat</a> from Black Lives Matter activists and supporters&mdash;<a href="">including</a> <a href="">many</a> <a href="">Asian Americans</a>&mdash;who found it offensive and misguided. "[I don't care] how many "black lives matter" signs were flying at the Peter Liang protest," organizer Johnetta Elzie <a href="">tweeted</a>. "That's rooted in anti-blackness + supporting white supremacy." Kang described the reactions from some Asian Americans as "the stunted language of a people who do not yet know how to talk about injustice":</p> <blockquote>The protesters who took to the streets on Saturday are trying, in their way, to create a new political language for Asian Americans, but this language comes without any edifying history&mdash;no amount of nuance or qualification or appeal to Martin Luther King will change the fact that the first massive, nationwide Asian American protest in years was held in defense of a police officer who shot and killed an innocent black man....And yet it would be catastrophic to ignore the protesters' concerns altogether.</blockquote> <p>Liang's conviction is indeed <a href="">rare</a> for <a href="">cops</a>. "Ten years ago, he wouldn't have been prosecuted," Stephen Saltzburg, a George Washington University law professor, <a href="">told</a> <em>The Atlantic</em>. "And if he was, they would have acquitted him."</p> <p>One germane example comes from January 2004, when NYPD officer Richard Neri <a href="">shot and killed</a> a 19-year-old black man. Timothy Stansbury and two friends were walking up a dark stairwell to the top floor of a Brooklyn housing project while Neri was patrolling the building with another officer in the dark, their guns drawn. Neri and Stansbury arrived on opposite sides of a stairwell landing door and reached simultaneously for the handle. When the door opened, Neri fired a single shot, fatally striking Stansbury in the chest. The next day, then-New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly <a href="">told</a> reporters that the shooting appeared to be unjustified. Neri was suspended for 30 days and stripped of his gun, but the grand jury declined to indict him.</p> <p>Critics <a href="">called</a> it a "cold-blooded killing" and demanded the NYPD review its policy allowing officers to patrol with their weapons drawn. But the policy remained intact. After Gurley's shooting, Bratton said the NYPD would review the policy but <a href="">maintained</a> that vertical patrols were "an essential part of policing."</p> <p>Several media reports have <a href="">pointed</a> <a href="">out</a> the parallels between the Neri and Liang cases. But a key difference between them, Montgomery explains, is that Neri made the unusual choice to testify before the grand jury. Neri <a href="">told</a> the jurors that he had his gun pointed down and his finger on the side of the barrel, in compliance with his training. When the stairwell door opened, he said, he had been startled and had not intended to fire. He said he couldn't recall raising his arm and moving his finger to the trigger. Another key difference, Montgomery says, was that Neri's defense showed that Neri attempted to give CPR to Stansbury.</p> <p>Liang's own choice not to testify to the grand jury may also have made a difference, according to Montgomery. "Who's to say what would have happened if Liang went in there and was emotional?" He also noted the sway that prosecutors have in grand jury hearings, and that Thompson had a track record for successfully prosecuting officers involved in fatal shootings.</p> <p>Liang's partner during the incident, Shaun Landau, was granted immunity after he agreed to testify in the closed-door proceedings. Later, during the trial, Landau <a href="">testified</a> that he and Liang didn't immediately realize that the gunshot had struck Gurley. He also told jurors that he'd received inadequate CPR training at the academy&mdash;and that he thought Gurley's friend was better qualified to perform CPR at the scene. Liang and Landau both testified at trial that the CPR training they received was shoddy, prompting an internal affairs investigation that <a href="">resulted</a> in the stripping of their CPR instructor's badge and gun.</p> <p>Notably, Liang's case appeared to lack the police union support that usually comes in the wake of officer-involved shootings. Some stories <a href="">have</a> <a href="">pointed out</a> the relative absence during Liang's trial of the Patrolmen's Benevolence Association, whose head <a href="">Patrick Lynch</a> has long been <a href="">regarded</a> as a <a href="">controversial</a> figure for coming to the defense of police officers accused of committing crimes&mdash;including the NYPD's Daniel Pantaleo, whom a grand jury declined to indict for choking <a href="">Eric Garner</a> to death in July 2014. The national controversy over policing may not have helped Liang, either: His case came at a time when public confidence in the police had reached its <a href="" target="_blank">lowest point in two decades</a>.</p></body></html> Politics Crime and Justice Race and Ethnicity Top Stories police Fri, 08 Apr 2016 10:00:09 +0000 Jaeah Lee 298771 at Wait, Banks Can Shut Off My Car? <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/CarsSidebarMasterInline.jpg"><div class="caption">Ross MacDonald</div> </div> <p>One spring evening in 2012, after getting off a shift at Se&ntilde;or Frog's bar and grill in Las Vegas, Candice Smith drove to the Palace Station casino to cash her paycheck. When she returned to her car, it wouldn't start. She knew what the problem was: the starter kill switch her lender had installed on the vehicle. To restart the car after business hours, she needed to call the device manufacturer's hotline number and get an unlock code. That night, the process took four hours.</p> <p>Smith had bought her used Chevy Cobalt the previous year, financing the purchase through a subprime auto lender called CAG Acceptance. The sales contract required Smith, whose credit score was 690&mdash;prime by most definitions&mdash;to pay $218 every two weeks for four years. The GPS-enabled kill switch would allow CAG Acceptance to disable her starter if her payments were more than 30 days late.</p> <p>In 2012, after the restaurant cut back her work hours, Smith&mdash;then 29 years old and living paycheck to paycheck&mdash;did fall behind a few times, although never by 30 days. Yet her starter <a href="" target="_blank">was disabled four times that year,</a> she says. On one occasion, she was getting an oil change&shy; at the dealership that had sold her the car&mdash;a mechanic removed the device so she could leave.</p> <p>Three months later, Smith received a letter from CAG Acceptance's collections department claiming she owed more than $1,700. Smith had submitted four payments, legal research later determined, that were never cashed or credited to her account. But when Smith called to find out what had happened, the company didn't explain. Instead, it filed a court motion to repossess her car. In the meantime, a judge ordered her to reinstall the tracking device. (When she did, Smith says, it beeped "incessantly" for three days&mdash;warning that her payment was due&mdash;before her car was disabled again.)</p> <p>She hired a lawyer and in December reached a settlement with CAG Acceptance, which agreed to refund some of the uncredited payments; the car went back to the dealer. "The entire process made me feel like I had no rights," Smith told Nevada legislators at a 2013 hearing on the devices. "These people could do whatever they wanted and there was nothing I could do to stop them." The lawsuit left her with a dismal credit score of 324. The next time she bought a car, she told me, she paid in cash.</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Screen%20Shot%202016-03-29%20at%2012.41.47%20PM.png"></a> <div class="caption"><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Car Trouble: Inside the lucrative, predatory world of subprime auto loans.</strong></a> Illustration by Ross MacDonald</div> </div> <p>"Payment assurance" devices, as they are known throughout the industry, were first marketed in the late 1990s by a company called PassTime, but sales really took off in the 2000s, when GPS technology made it easy for lenders to find and repossess the vehicles. PassTime and its competitors also offer separate payment reminder devices that beep when a bill is due. Gadgets with some combination of these features can be found in up to 70 percent of cars financed by subprime loans, says Corinne Kirkendall, a vice president for PassTime&mdash;which <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Inc.</em> magazine singled out</a> last year as one of America's fastest-growing companies.</p> <p>This is a positive trend, insists Nicole Munro, an attorney for the Telematics Solution Provider Association, an industry trade group. By keeping borrowers on track, the technology reduces risk for lenders, thereby opening up credit for people who might not otherwise qualify. PassTime claims its technology has reduced delinquency rates for its dealers from 27 percent to 5 percent, on average.</p> <p>If payment assurance devices really reduced risk for subprime lenders, we should expect to see lower interest rates on those loans, counters Lisa Stifler, an attorney with the Center for Responsible Lending. "The reality is that subprime dealers continue to make loans at interest rates that are at the state maximum," she says. "They're accounting for risk with the interest rates <em>and</em> putting on these devices."</p> <p>Stories like Smith's are becoming more common. In September 2014, the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada <a href="" target="_blank">filed a class-action lawsuit</a> against CAG Acceptance, claiming the company had violated state law and its own contracts by activating the devices on borrowers who were not in default. The lead plaintiff, a single mother of three, allegedly wasn't even told her minivan contained a kill switch until after she'd made her down payment. At the time it was activated, she was late on a payment but still 20 days away from defaulting.</p> <p>Lawmakers in <a href="" target="_blank">New Jersey</a>, <a href=";bn=A08210&amp;term=2015&amp;Summary=Y&amp;Actions=Y&amp;Text=Y&amp;Votes=Y" target="_blank">New York</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Nevada</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Virginia</a> have introduced bills banning kill switches or requiring dealers and lenders to inform buyers when they install one&mdash;and to provide ample notice before activating it. California already forbids used-car dealerships that finance their own sales from requiring payment assurance devices as a loan condition, and they must give 5 to 10 days' notice before disabling a vehicle.</p> <p>Repo rates, meanwhile, are on the rise&mdash;they jumped more than <a href="" target="_blank">70 percent between</a> 2013 and 2014&mdash;and there have been other danger signs in the marketplace. According to the research firm Moody's Analytics, nearly 4 percent of people who took out car loans in early 2014 had missed at least one monthly payment by September 2015&mdash;"the highest level of early loan trouble since 2008."</p> <p>In a memo to used-car dealers last May, David Meyer, an executive vice president with PassTime rival Spireon, warned of another bubble in the making. "Lenders and dealers are going ever deeper with subprime loans," he wrote, and they are "setting themselves up for substantial losses if and when the subprime auto-lending crisis hits." He added that for anyone "in the business of putting people into cars when no one else will," choosing the right vehicle-tracking system&mdash;Spireon's, of course&mdash;was a must.</p></body></html> Politics Corporations Economy Race and Ethnicity Regulatory Affairs Top Stories Mon, 04 Apr 2016 10:00:12 +0000 Jaeah Lee 295681 at This Might Be a Better Way to Track Police Shootings <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>One of the biggest frustrations about reporting on fatal police shootings is just how little we know about them. As reporters and criminologists have <a href="" target="_blank">pointed out</a> repeatedly, federal data on violent crime and mortality trends does a poor job of capturing how often, and under what circumstances, cops kill unarmed people.&nbsp;Last December, FBI Director James Comey <a href="" target="_blank">called</a> the agency's system for tracking fatal police shootings a "travesty," and promised to expand it by 2017. The lack of a reliable national source of data has prompted <a href="" target="_blank">news</a> <a href="" target="_blank">outlets</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">academics</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">citizens</a> to build their own datasets.</p> <p>Now, researchers from Harvard University and Northeastern University say they have identified an overlooked source that could offer the most complete accounting yet of fatal encounters with police. In a paper <a href="" target="_blank">published</a> in the <em>American Journal of Public Health</em>, the researchers point to the <a href="" target="_blank">National Violent Death Reporting System</a>, a database maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC's trove of data on violent deaths, they write, "captures detailed coded data and rich narratives that describe the precipitating circumstances and incident dynamics for all suicides and homicides." In other words, the data gives a pretty clear picture of the deceased and the moments leading up to their death.</p> <p>Because it started in 2003&mdash;decades later than <a href="" target="_blank">the CDC's Vital Statistics</a> or <a href="" target="_blank">the FBI's Supplemental Homicide Reports</a>&mdash;the CDC's violent death data has been largely ignored by journalists and policymakers, says <a href="" target="_blank">Catherine Barber</a>, a public health researcher at Harvard and the paper's lead author.</p> <p>Thirty-two states are now reporting to the database, though current data is only available for 16 states. Surprisingly, even in just those states, Barber and her colleagues identified 1,552 police-involved homicides between 2005 and 2012. That's 71 percent more than the 906 cases identified in the CDC's Vital Statistics, and more than double the 742 cases reported in the FBI's Supplemental Homicide Reports during the same period.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="300" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="//" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="100%"></iframe>The paper also found stark racial disparities in the available violent death data, consistent with disparities in federal data that have been <a href="" target="_blank">noted previously</a>:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="450" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="//" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>Expanding the National Violent Death Reporting System to include all 50 states, the researchers conclude, will offer not only a more accurate count of police homicides, but also a detailed narrative "on the people, weapons, and circumstances involved."</p></body></html> Politics Charts Crime and Justice Race and Ethnicity police Thu, 17 Mar 2016 20:00:08 +0000 Jaeah Lee 299671 at The Startling Reasons Why Heart Attacks May Kill More Black People <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Medical researchers have known for years that America's <a href="" target="_blank">leading cause of death</a>, heart disease, kills people of color at a higher rate than it does white people. A new study out this week suggests that the reasons why may be<strong> </strong>much more heavily influenced by systemic issues, such as emergency room care, than previously thought.</p> <p>Researchers found that California hospitals with the highest share of black patients exceeded emergency room capacity more frequently than other hospitals, which forces them to reroute ambulances carrying overflow patients to other medical facilities. The <a href="" target="_blank">study</a>, funded by the National Institute of Health and published in the medical journal <em>BMJ Open</em>, reviewed data on medical emergency services in 26 California counties serving nearly 30,000 patients between 2001 and 2011.</p> <p>This rerouting process, known as ambulance diversion, can lead to life-threatening delays in treatment for time-sensitive medical emergencies like heart attacks and increases the likelihood that patients will die, the authors say.</p> <p>"Cardiologists often say that time is muscle, or time is heart tissue," says Renee Hsia, an ER doctor and professor at the University of California-San Francisco who co-wrote the study. "When you have a clot, every minute matters. Even if you don't die right away, you have a poorer heart over the long term."</p> <p>The study found that both black and white patients whose nearest hospitals were affected by ambulance diversion were less likely to receive standard<strong> </strong>treatments and less likely to live<strong> </strong>beyond a year after their heart attack, compared with patients at hospitals&nbsp;that don't divert ambulances.</p> <p>While the study focuses on California counties, the issue likely affects other states as well, Hsia said.</p> <p>This new research may help illuminate why the rate of deaths related to heart disease is <a href="" target="_blank">33 percent higher</a> for black Americans than it is for the overall US population, according to American Heart Association figures. Other experts have documented a variety of reasons for this disparity, ranging from less access among people of color to insurance and consistent medical care, longer waits for emergency medical help from first responders, less knowledge about symptoms, and implicit bias among physicians.</p> <p>Emergency room overcrowding is caused by a long list of issues, Hsia said, and gravely ill patients are a special challenge at busy hospitals because they require more care.&nbsp;</p> <p>Each new patient&mdash;especially one with a critical condition like a heart attack&mdash;requires extensive staff attention and technological resources before and after a physician sees him or her. When a person with a heart attack arrives in a hospital's ambulance bay, for example, they must be unloaded by paramedics, directed to a bed by a triage nurse, undressed by a technician or medical assistant, and taken to have blood drawn by a nurse, Hsia said. Then a radiology technician must take a chest X-ray and process and print it, while another nurse or technician needs to take an EKG.</p> <p>"All of these things take time," she said, adding that such patients have more specialized needs after they are diagnosed.<em><strong> </strong></em>"If the physician decides the patient needs treatment for a heart attack, they have to activate <a href="" target="_blank">cath lab</a>, and a clerk has to page all the staff that needs to come in. Then you need all those people to come in, and you need a transport team to take the patient to the lab."</p> <p>"Those are all the steps where you could see bottlenecks happen," Hsia said.</p> <p>The authors found that hospitals with the 10th-highest share of black patients experienced overcapacity more frequently relative to other hospitals, forcing them to reroute ambulances to the next closest facilities. The same trend held for emergency rooms serving at least twice as many black patients as other hospitals within a 15-mile radius.</p> <p>Previous studies have found that hospitals serving areas with a relatively high share of black residents have other problems that may affect the care they provide. Such hospitals<strong> </strong>are more likely to experience money shortages, in part because they are more likely to rely on public funding. Also, their patients are more often uninsured or covered by Medicare or Medicaid&mdash;which typically reimburse bills at a lower rate than private insurers. The shortage in funding can in turn make it tough to compete with privately funded hospitals when hiring specialized medical talent, such as cardiologists.</p> <p>"These are structural disparities that people can't see but are very real," Hsia said.</p></body></html> Politics Health Care Race and Ethnicity Thu, 17 Mar 2016 19:00:11 +0000 Jaeah Lee 299571 at These Documents Show How Baltimore School Cops Are Trained to Be "Warriors" <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><b>Update, Wednesday, March 9, 2016:</b> The&nbsp;Baltimore City School Police officer who&nbsp;slapped&nbsp;and kicked&nbsp;a student&nbsp;in a hallway last week has been&nbsp;charged with assault, abuse, and misconduct, according to <a href=";hootPostID=81b8bc64f3bc155ceebaeda2f0cf7691" target="_blank"><em>NBC News</em></a>. Last week,&nbsp;a widely-circulated&nbsp;video of the incident prompted a public outcry and criticism from city officials. A second officer shown&nbsp;in the video has also been&nbsp;charged with assault and misconduct.</p> <p>Baltimore officials have launched a <a href="" target="_blank">criminal investigation</a> into a recent incident involving a city school police officer who slapped and kicked a 16-year-old boy in a hallway. In a graphic and profanity-laden cellphone video, which surfaced on Tuesday and quickly spread on social media, the teen stands with his back against a wall as the officer strikes him multiple times, yelling, "get the f*** out of here." A second officer stands by watching.</p> <p>Both officers in the video, as well as Baltimore City School Police Chief Marshall Goodwin, have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the investigation, according to <a href="" target="_blank">the <em>Baltimore Sun</em></a>. The incident has been condemned by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and <a href="" target="_blank">Karl Perry</a>, the district official in charge of school safety, who said he was "appalled" by the video and that the officer's behavior was "unacceptable."</p> <p>Documents obtained by <em>Mother Jones</em> give some insight into how cops working for Baltimore's public school system are trained&mdash;and they suggest that officers are sanctioned to use violently aggressive tactics when necessary.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Baltimore City Schools says video of officer slapping student happened late today. "Vigorously" under investigation <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Christian Schaffer (@chrisfromabc2) <a href="">March 2, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>One lesson plan in the training documents, dated April 2015 and prepared by a Baltimore City School officer, <a href="" target="_blank">indicates</a> that the mission of the school police is to ensure "that students and staff have a safe environment in which to learn and teach." The lesson stresses three core roles that each officer should embody: scholar, statesman, and warrior. One section describes the importance of understanding the law, being "driven by a moral compass," and acting as a "servant of the people."</p> <p>Another section, however, suggests an altogether different mentality. The <a href="" target="_blank">section quotes</a> from "One Warrior's Creed," a doctrine <a href="" target="_blank">authored</a> by a Steven R. Watt, a retired police veteran in Utah and a colonel in the state's Army National Guard. "You may defeat me," it says, "but you will pay a severe price and will be lucky to escape with your life." It reads:</p> <div class="DC-embed" data-version="1.1"> <div style="font-size:10pt;line-height:14pt;">Page 34 of <a class="DC-embed-resource" href="" target="_blank" title="View entire Professionalism-Training on DocumentCloud in new window or tab">Professionalism-Training</a></div> <img alt="Page 34 of Professionalism-Training" src="//" srcset="// 700w, // 1000w" style="max-width:100%;height:auto;margin:0.5em 0;border:1px solid #ccc;-webkit-box-sizing:border-box;box-sizing:border-box;clear:both"><div style="font-size:8pt;line-height:12pt;text-align:center">Contributed to <a href="" style="font-weight:700;font-family:Gotham,inherit,sans-serif;color:inherit;text-decoration:none" target="_blank" title="Go to DocumentCloud in new window or tab">DocumentCloud</a> by <a href="" target="_blank" title="View documents contributed to DocumentCloud by Jaeah Lee in new window or tab">Jaeah Lee</a> of <a href="" target="_blank" title="View documents contributed to DocumentCloud by Mother Jones in new window or tab">Mother Jones</a> &bull; <a href="" target="_blank" title="View entire Professionalism-Training on DocumentCloud in new window or tab">View document</a> or <a href="" target="_blank" title="Read the text of page 34 of Professionalism-Training on DocumentCloud in new window or tab">read text</a></div> </div> <script src="//"></script><div class="DC-embed" data-version="1.1"> <div style="font-size:10pt;line-height:14pt;">Page 35 of <a class="DC-embed-resource" href="" target="_blank" title="View entire Professionalism-Training on DocumentCloud in new window or tab">Professionalism-Training</a></div> <img alt="Page 35 of Professionalism-Training" src="//" srcset="// 700w, // 1000w" style="max-width:100%;height:auto;margin:0.5em 0;border:1px solid #ccc;-webkit-box-sizing:border-box;box-sizing:border-box;clear:both"><div style="font-size:8pt;line-height:12pt;text-align:center">Contributed to <a href="" style="font-weight:700;font-family:Gotham,inherit,sans-serif;color:inherit;text-decoration:none" target="_blank" title="Go to DocumentCloud in new window or tab">DocumentCloud</a> by <a href="" target="_blank" title="View documents contributed to DocumentCloud by Jaeah Lee in new window or tab">Jaeah Lee</a> of <a href="" target="_blank" title="View documents contributed to DocumentCloud by Mother Jones in new window or tab">Mother Jones</a> &bull; <a href="" target="_blank" title="View entire Professionalism-Training on DocumentCloud in new window or tab">View document</a> or <a href="" target="_blank" title="Read the text of page 35 of Professionalism-Training on DocumentCloud in new window or tab">read text</a></div> </div> <script src="//"></script><p>Another <a href="" target="_blank">lesson plan</a> contained in the documents, created by a Baltimore school police training instructor, <a href="" target="_blank">teaches</a> the value of "verbal judo," defined as "a set of communication principles and tactics that enable the user to generate cooperation and gain voluntary compliance in others under stressful conditions." The Baltimore school police department uses "verbal judo," one page explains, because officers "must attempt to GENERATE VOLUNTARY COMPLIANCE [sic] from difficult people, and we should train our officers in this most difficult and important part." It goes on: "The cost of neglecting such training will be measured in blood, money, and public opinion. Our officers must be as competent with words as they are with firearms."</p> <div class="DC-embed" data-version="1.1"> <div style="font-size:10pt;line-height:14pt;">Page 15 of <a class="DC-embed-resource" href="" target="_blank" title="View entire Verbal-Comunications-Training on DocumentCloud in new window or tab">Verbal-Comunications-Training</a></div> <img alt="Page 15 of Verbal-Comunications-Training" src="//" srcset="// 700w, // 1000w" style="max-width:100%;height:auto;margin:0.5em 0;border:1px solid #ccc;-webkit-box-sizing:border-box;box-sizing:border-box;clear:both"><div style="font-size:8pt;line-height:12pt;text-align:center">Contributed to <a href="" style="font-weight:700;font-family:Gotham,inherit,sans-serif;color:inherit;text-decoration:none" target="_blank" title="Go to DocumentCloud in new window or tab">DocumentCloud</a> by <a href="" target="_blank" title="View documents contributed to DocumentCloud by Jaeah Lee in new window or tab">Jaeah Lee</a> of <a href="" target="_blank" title="View documents contributed to DocumentCloud by Mother Jones in new window or tab">Mother Jones</a> &bull; <a href="" target="_blank" title="View entire Verbal-Comunications-Training on DocumentCloud in new window or tab">View document</a> or <a href="" target="_blank" title="Read the text of page 15 of Verbal-Comunications-Training on DocumentCloud in new window or tab">read text</a></div> </div> <script src="//"></script><p>The video is the latest in a series of disturbing and violent encounters involving school cops. As <em>Mother Jones</em> first reported last July, there have been <a href="" target="_blank">at least 29 incidents across the country</a> since 2010 in which school-based police officers used <a href="" target="_blank">questionable force</a> against students on K-12 campuses, including those <a href="" target="_blank">as young as</a> eight years old. Many of those incidents resulted in serious injuries and, in one case, death. Training and oversight of school cops has been insufficient and data on their use of force has been lacking&mdash;even as their presence has grown significantly over the past few decades.</p> <p>Other lesson plans obtained by <em>Mother Jones</em> include trainings on <a href="" target="_blank">firearms</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">report writing</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">cultural sensitivity</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">first-aid</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">dealing with students with chronic absences</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">people with developmental disabilities</a>. The materials suggest the Baltimore City School Police Force places insufficient emphasis on understanding adolescent and youth psychology. "This is especially problematic in a school system with youth living in poverty and dealing with trauma," says Lisa Thurau, who heads the advocacy group Strategies for Youth and <a href="" target="_blank">has studied</a> in-school policing programs.</p> <p>The latest investigation comes several months after another Baltimore public schools cop <a href="" target="_blank">pleaded guilty</a> to multiple assault charges following a similar incident that took place in October 2014. School surveillance footage shows the officer, Lakisha Pulley, hit three middle school girls with a baton, leading to serious injuries that left one of the girls with <a href="" target="_blank">10 stitches</a>. The encounter prompted calls for school police reform by student advocates and parents. Last September, the NAACP's Legal Defense and Educational Fund <a href="" target="_blank">requested</a> that the US Department of Justice expand its civil rights probe into the Baltimore Police Department to include the Baltimore City School Police Force. The two agencies operate independently.</p> <p>David Pontious, a 17-year-old senior at Baltimore City College High School and a student activist, <a href="" target="_blank">told the <em>Sun</em></a> this week, "Even though we've had a lot of meetings, a lot of input, a lot of discussions with the school system, we've still seen very little training that school police get, and very little accountability."</p></body></html> Politics Crime and Justice Education Race and Ethnicity Top Stories police Thu, 03 Mar 2016 22:46:00 +0000 Jaeah Lee 298506 at Questions Mount About a Mentally Ill Black Woman's Death in Police Custody <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Since Tanisha Anderson's death in November 2014, few details have been made public about how the 37-year-old black woman died while in the custody of two Cleveland police officers. Anderson, whose family reported she was mentally ill, died after falling unconscious while <a href="" target="_blank">lying handcuffed on a sidewalk</a> outside her home. The 15-month-long investigation is now in the hands of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine: In a statement last Tuesday, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty <a href="" target="_blank">requested</a> DeWine take over the case following a Cuyahoga County sheriff's investigation, which McGinty said revealed "facts that created a conflict of interest" for his office. McGinty&mdash;who led the <a href="" target="_blank">controversial investigation</a> into the police killing of 12-year-old <a href="" target="_blank">Tamir Rice</a> and is running for <a href="" target="_blank">reelection</a> next month&mdash;did not specify what that conflict of interest was.</p> <p>The recently completed sheriff's investigation, which has not been disclosed publicly, raises questions about the Cleveland Police Department's <a href="" target="_blank">official account</a> presented in November 2014. According to a law enforcement official familiar with the sheriff's investigation who spoke to <em>Mother Jones</em>, the investigation reveals significant details that the Cleveland PD's account did not include. One is that the officers put Anderson in the back of their squad car before she became agitated and a physical struggle ensued. Another is that Anderson remained handcuffed after an EMS team arrived and began administering aid, even though she was unconscious.</p> <p>The investigation also shows that Anderson was on the ground in handcuffs for approximately 20 minutes before the EMS team arrived, the law enforcement official told <em>Mother Jones</em>. The Cleveland PD's initial account did not specify how long Anderson was on the ground prior to EMS arriving; the officers later told sheriff's investigators in a written statement that Anderson was on the ground for approximately 5 to 10 minutes.</p> <p>According to the Cleveland PD's account, officers Scott Aldridge and Bryan Myers arrived at Anderson's home around 10:51 p.m. on November 12, 2014, in response to a call about a mentally ill family member causing a disturbance. After speaking with the officers, the Cleveland PD account stated, Anderson agreed to be escorted to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation, but as the three approached the squad car, she "began actively resisting the officers." After they handcuffed her, Anderson began to kick at the officers, and "a short time later the woman stopped struggling and appeared to go limp." The officers said they "found a faint pulse" on Anderson "and immediately called EMS and a supervisor to respond to the scene at 11:34 [p.m.]." Within the hour, Anderson was taken to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The initial police account included no details about how or why Anderson fell limp on the sidewalk.</p> <p>According to the sheriff's investigation, Aldridge and Myers placed Anderson in the back seat of their squad car with her feet still hanging out, and she began yelling and struggled to get out of the car. As the officers tried to put her back in the car "a physical altercation ensued," the law enforcement official told <em>Mother Jones</em>, and they soon had Anderson in handcuffs and on the ground.</p> <p>In their written statement to sheriff's investigators, the officers said Anderson was laying on the ground and handcuffed by 11:20 p.m., when they radioed for a police supervisor to come to the scene. The officers subsequently requested an EMS response, the official said. The officers estimated that Anderson was in that position for a total of 5 to 10 minutes. According to call logs and witness interviews reviewed by sheriff's investigators, the EMS team arrived at 11:41 p.m.&mdash;indicating that Anderson had been on the ground for at least 20 minutes. When the EMS team checked Anderson's condition, one member found a faint pulse while a second was unable to find one, the official said. The handcuffs remained on Anderson as they began rendering aid; they asked the officers to remove them because they were interfering with their work.<strong> </strong>The officers complied with that request, the official said.</p> <p>A spokesperson for the Cleveland PD declined to comment on the case, citing the ongoing investigation. Attorneys representing the two officers did not respond to a request for comment.</p> <p>Anderson's family members, <a href="" target="_blank">who filed</a> a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Cleveland on January 7, said she suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Family members who lived with Anderson dialed 911 to request medical assistance after Anderson became disoriented and walked out of her house into the cold, wearing only a nightgown, according to the court filing. The family had already called for police assistance earlier in the night after Anderson walked outside; another pair of officers<strong> </strong>had come to the scene but left after Anderson went back into her house, the family said.</p> <p>According to the lawsuit, Anderson's family members said that after Anderson started to panic in the squad car, Aldridge grabbed her, "slammed her to the sidewalk, and pushed her face into the pavement." Aldridge then pressed his knee on Anderson's back and handcuffed her while Myers assisted in restraining her, the family said, and within moments Anderson lost consciousness. The lawsuit also alleged that when family members asked the officers to check on her condition, the officers "falsely claimed she was sleeping" and delayed calling for medical assistance. "During the lengthy time that Tanisha lay on the ground," the family said, Aldridge and Myers "failed to provide any medical attention to Tanisha."</p> <p>Anderson's family told sheriff's investigators that a few weeks prior to the incident, she had been released from a psychiatric hospital. In January 2015, the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office announced that Anderson's death was <a href="" target="_blank">ruled a homicide</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">classified</a> as a sudden death in association with "physical restraint in a prone position," "ischemic heart disease," and "bipolar disorder with agitation."</p> <p>"You wouldn't have known that Tanisha was bipolar unless she told you," Anderson's mother, Cassandra Johnson, <a href="" target="_blank">told</a> Fox 8 Cleveland in December 2015. "That day was just a bad day."</p> <p>According to personnel records <a href="" target="_blank">obtained</a> by <em></em>, Aldridge was hired in April 2008, and in 2013 he was <a href="" target="_blank">suspended</a> for three days without pay over a Taser incident that involved a female suspect. (He was also one of the officers involved in the car chase that <a href="" target="_blank">led to the deaths</a> of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams in 2012.) Myers was a rookie cop who joined CPD in 2014, after graduating from the police academy that August<em>.</em> <a href="" target="_blank">reported</a> that Aldridge and Myers received 16 hours of crisis intervention training while at the academy, but it is not clear whether they received any further such training once on the job at Cleveland PD. The two remain on <a href="" target="_blank">desk duty</a> pending the outcome of the investigation.</p></body></html> Politics Crime and Justice Race and Ethnicity Top Stories police Mon, 22 Feb 2016 11:00:17 +0000 Jaeah Lee 297156 at Why Did a 16-Year-Old Black Girl Just Die in a Kentucky Cell? <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Last month, 16-year-old Gynnya McMillen became part of a disturbing trend&mdash;one of <a href="" target="_blank">a growing number</a> of girls across the country who've been detained after getting charged with a misdemeanor. Then mysteriously, one day after she was booked into a Kentucky detention center, McMillen was <a href="" target="_blank">found dead</a> in her cell.</p> <p>On the morning of January 11, an employee at the Lincoln Village Regional Juvenile Detention Center found McMillen, who was not breathing. "She is cold and stiff, there is no respiration, no vital signs," the employee <a href="" target="_blank">told</a> a 911 dispatcher. About an hour later, McMillen was pronounced dead. Little is known about why McMillen wound up dead while in juvenile detention, a locked facility where young people charged with crimes are held while they wait for future court dates or other action in their cases.</p> <p>The incident, and the limited information that has been released to the public about it, <a href="" target="_blank">has</a> <a href="" target="_blank">sparked</a> <a href="" target="_blank">outrage</a>&nbsp;from McMillen's family and their supporters. State officials have <a href="" target="_blank">launched</a> two parallel investigations into the girl's death, including a full autopsy. Kentucky's Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary John Tilley has asked that those investigations "be expedited,"&nbsp;a cabinet spokesperson told <em>Mother Jones</em>, adding that they "are nearing completion." The cabinet declined to comment further about specific details in the case, citing juvenile confidentiality statutes.</p> <p>Here is what we know&mdash;and don't know&mdash;about the case so far:</p> <p><strong>McMillen was taken to Lincoln Village after the police responded to a domestic violence call.&nbsp;</strong>Shelbyville police officers arrived at McMillen's mother's house on January 10. McMillen had <a href="" target="_blank">been living</a> at the Maryhurst foster home in Louisville, Kentucky, and was visiting her mom for the weekend, where they got into a fight, according to <em>BuzzFeed News</em>. The Shelbyville police <a href="" target="_blank">called</a> a court-designated worker&mdash;a state official who makes legal decisions in cases involving juveniles&mdash;who then contacted a judge and requested that McMillen be detained.&nbsp;McMillen was charged with a misdemeanor assault and transferred to Lincoln Village, a state-run juvenile detention center in Elizabethtown. The police <a href="" target="_blank">said</a> McMillen's mother suffered minor injuries. Young people under the age of 18 who are charged with low-level crimes can be held in detention centers until a court decides what further action is needed. Their detention <a href="" target="_blank">typically lasts</a> about three weeks but can extend for much longer, according to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. In 2014, Kentucky <a href="" target="_blank">enacted a law</a> that was meant to help teens like McMillen avoid the court system altogether. Maryhurst declined to comment specifically on McMillen's case, citing patient privacy laws.</p> <p><strong>McMillen had never been in detention before.</strong> A family member <a href="" target="_blank">told</a> <em>48 Hours' Crimesider </em>that McMillen's one night at Lincoln Village was the only time she had ever been in detention. Prior to landing in the foster home, <em>BuzzFeed News</em> <a href="" target="_blank">reported</a>, McMillen lived with her father, who was awarded custody of her. But in November 2014, he died in his sleep. When McMillen spoke at his funeral, she promised to do well in school and make her father proud, a family member told <em>BuzzFeed News</em>.</p> <p><strong>At the detention center, multiple staff members physically restrained McMillen.</strong> Officials said McMillen repeatedly refused to remove her sweatshirt when staffers tried to search and photograph her during the booking process. "The staff performed an Aikido restraint hold to safely remove the youth's hoodie," a spokesperson for the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice <a href="" target="_blank">said</a>. "The purpose of having multiple staff involved in a controlled restraint is to ensure the safety of the youth and staff." A female staff member then conducted the pat-down and removed McMillen's hoodie. "As far as I'm concerned, that is a completely inappropriate use of a restraint," Michele Deitch, an attorney and juvenile justice expert in Texas, <a href="" target="_blank">told</a> <em>48 Hours' Crimesider</em>. It is unclear if the restraint had anything to do with her eventual death, or if any other physical force was used against McMillen during her detention.</p> <p><strong>McMillen was placed in a cell by herself.</strong> The next morning, McMillen <a href="" target="_blank">did not respond</a> when staffers twice offered her food or later when they alerted her that her mother had called. Although McMillen did not reply to staff members for several hours, no one appears to have checked on McMillen during this time. A Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice spokesperson <a href="" target="_blank">said</a> staff members generally do not enter a detainee's cell unless there are "obvious signs of distress." It's unclear why McMillen was confined in isolation to begin with. It is unclear whether McMillen was merely in a cell alone or had been placed in solitary confinement. Kentucky is <a href="" target="_blank">1 of 10 states</a> that either have no limit or allow for indefinite solitary confinement for juveniles as a form of punishment.&nbsp;<strong> </strong></p> <p><strong>Authorities don't know yet how she died.</strong> After a sheriff's deputy arrived to transport McMillen to court, Lincoln Village employees entered McMillen's cell and found that <a href="" target="_blank">she was cold to the touch</a>. Kentucky officials said McMillen <a href="" target="_blank">appeared</a> "to have passed away while sleeping." Following the initial autopsy, the Hardin County coroner <a href="" target="_blank">said</a> there were no outward signs of trauma, such as visual bruising, and that it was unlikely she had a heart condition. The state's Justice and Public Safety Cabinet has launched two investigations into the girl's death, including a full autopsy. McMillen's family has <a href="" target="_blank">demanded</a> that authorities release the surveillance footage that shows her final hours, as well as a recording of the emergency call that led to her arrest.</p> <p><strong>At least two Kentucky officials have lost their jobs in the wake of the incident, and one has resigned.</strong> One detention center staff member, Reginald Windham, was placed on leave for failing to check on McMillen's cell every 15 minutes, as is required for detainees placed in isolation. On February 9, the governor's office and justice cabinet announced that they'd fired Windham, following news reports about his long-standing record of "unacceptable behavior." Personnel files provided to <em>BuzzFeed News</em> <a href="" target="_blank">revealed</a> that the Department of Juvenile Justice had disciplined or reprimanded Windham in five other incidents, including two that involved excessive use of force. In others, he was disciplined because he showed a lack of competency or professionalism. Bob D. Hayter, the head of the Department of Juvenile Justice, was dismissed from his job amid the investigation of the incident. The justice cabinet has not specified its reasons for Hayter's dismissal. <a href="" target="_blank">According</a> to the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, the department's director of communications, Stacy Floden, also left her job in the wake of the state probe.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Gynnya McMillen's arrest </strong><strong>is part of a growing trend</strong>.&nbsp; The share of young girls in the juvenile justice system has been growing over the past 20 years, even as the number of arrests of young Americans has been on the decline. (My colleague Hannah Levintova recently <a href="" target="_blank">broke down</a> these numbers.) The percentage of girls who are arrested, detained, and end up in court increased between 1992 and 2013. Arrests of girls rose from 20 percent to 29 percent during this time, while detention of girls rose from 15 percent to 21 percent, <a href="" target="_blank">according</a> to the National Women's Law Center. The trend has <a href="" target="_blank">disproportionately</a> affected girls of color: Black and American Indian girls were, respectively, 20 percent and 50 percent more likely to be detained than white girls. In 2013, black girls were the <a href="" target="_blank">fastest-growing segment</a> of the juvenile justice population.</p></body></html> Politics Crime and Justice Race and Ethnicity Thu, 18 Feb 2016 11:00:14 +0000 Jaeah Lee 296546 at Updated: Cleveland Asked Tamir Rice's Family to Pay $500 for Their Child's Last Ambulance Ride <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><em><strong>Update, Thursday, February 11, 2016:</strong> Cleveland officials said they are withdrawing the claim saying the Rice family owed $500 for their son's last ambulance ride. At a news conference on Thursday, officials <a href="" target="_blank">explained</a> that the claim had been been closed in February 2015 after the city absorbed the cost, but that it was regenerated after the family's attorney asked the city to forward a billing statement for services provided on the day of the shooting. Mayor Frank Jackson apologized to the Rice family, saying they never intended to issue a bill.</em></p> <div id="fb-root">&nbsp;</div> <script>(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); = id; js.src = "//"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script><div class="fb-video" data-allowfullscreen="1" data-href="/clevelandcom/videos/vb.48573742500/10154537287182501/?type=3"> <div class="fb-xfbml-parse-ignore"> <blockquote cite=""> <p>Cleveland officials are holding a news conference to address a claim filed Wednesday notifying the Tamir Rice estate that it owes the city money for the boy's ambulance ride and medical services he received after he was shot by a police officer.</p> Posted by <a href=""></a> on Thursday, February 11, 2016</blockquote> </div> </div> <p>Less than two months after a grand jury <a href="" target="_blank">decided</a> not to indict the Cleveland police officer who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice, the city has filed a claim saying the boy owed $500 "for emergency medical services rendered as the decedent's last dying expense." In response to the claim, a Rice family attorney <a href="" target="_blank">told</a> the <em>Cleveland Scene</em> that the move "displays a new pinnacle of callousness and insensitivity."</p> <p>The mayor's office could not be reached immediately for comment.</p> <p>Here is the full text of the claim:</p> <div class="DV-container" id="DV-viewer-2709405-City-of-Cleveland-Creditor-s-Claim-Against-the">&nbsp;</div> <script src="//"></script><script> DV.load("", { width: 630, height: 450, sidebar: false, container: "#DV-viewer-2709405-City-of-Cleveland-Creditor-s-Claim-Against-the" }); </script><noscript> <a href="">City of Cleveland Creditor s Claim Against the Estate of Tamir Rice (PDF)</a> <br><a href="">City of Cleveland Creditor s Claim Against the Estate of Tamir Rice (Text)</a> </noscript></body></html> Politics Crime and Justice Race and Ethnicity police Thu, 11 Feb 2016 00:41:01 +0000 Jaeah Lee 296571 at The Justice Department Just Sued Ferguson for "Routine Violation" of Residents' Civil Rights <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>The US Justice Department has sued the city of Ferguson, Missouri, following months of "painstaking negotiations" with local officials and more than a year of investigating their alleged discriminatory and unconstitutional practices.</p> <p>The Justice Department <a href="" target="_blank">launched</a> its investigation into the Ferguson Police Department after 18-year-old Michael Brown <a href="" target="_blank">was shot and killed</a> by a Ferguson police officer in August 2014, sparking months of protest across the country and public outcry over the use of deadly and excessive force by the police.</p> <p>On Wednesday, Attorney General Loretta Lynch <a href="" target="_blank">announced</a> that the Justice Department was filing a lawsuit against Ferguson<strong> </strong>one day after the city council rejected a proposed settlement that sought to "remedy literally years of systematic deficiencies." The Justice Department spent more than six months negotiating a settlement with local officials after it identified widespread civil rights violations and racial discrimination in the Ferguson Police<strong> </strong>Department's stops, searches, and arrests. It also alleges that local court proceedings <a href="" target="_blank">violated the due process </a>of residents. The city council's rejection of the agreement, Lynch said, "leaves us no further choice."</p> <p>Here is the full text of the lawsuit:</p> <div class="DV-container" id="DV-viewer-2709268-Ferguson-DOJ-Lawsuit">&nbsp;</div> <script src="//"></script><script> DV.load("", { width: 630, height: 450, sidebar: false, container: "#DV-viewer-2709268-Ferguson-DOJ-Lawsuit" }); </script><noscript> <a href="">Ferguson-DOJ-Lawsuit (PDF)</a> <br><a href="">Ferguson-DOJ-Lawsuit (Text)</a> </noscript> <p>Here's the full text of Lynch's remarks:</p> <blockquote> <p>Good afternoon and thank you all for being here. I am joined by Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division.</p> <p>Nearly a year ago, the Department of Justice released our findings in an investigation of the Police Department of Ferguson, Missouri. Our investigation uncovered a community in distress, in which residents felt under assault by their own police force. The Ferguson Police Department&rsquo;s violations were expansive and deliberate. They violated the Fourth Amendment by stopping people without reasonable suspicion, arresting them without cause and using unreasonable force. They made enforcement decisions based on the way individuals expressed themselves and unnecessarily escalated non-threatening situations. These violations were not only egregious &ndash; they were routine. They were encouraged by the city in the interest of raising revenue. They were driven, at least in part, by racial bias and occurred disproportionately against African-American residents. And they were profoundly and fundamentally unconstitutional. These findings were based upon information received from Ferguson&rsquo;s own citizens, from Ferguson&rsquo;s own records and from Ferguson&rsquo;s own officials. And they demonstrated a clear pattern or practice of violations of the Constitution and federal law.</p> <p>After announcing our findings one year ago, we began negotiations with the city of Ferguson on a court-enforceable consent decree that would bring about necessary police and court reform. From the outset, we made clear that our goal was to reach an agreement to avoid litigation. But we also made clear that if there was no agreement, we would be forced to go to court to protect the rights of Ferguson residents. Painstaking negotiations lasted more than 26 weeks as we sought to remedy literally years of systematic deficiencies. A few weeks ago, the Department of Justice and Ferguson&rsquo;s own negotiators came to an agreement that was both fair and cost-effective &ndash; and that would provide all the residents of Ferguson the constitutional and effective policing and court practices guaranteed to all Americans. As agreed, it was presented to the Ferguson City Council for approval or rejection. And last night, the city council rejected the consent decree approved by their own negotiators. Their decision leaves us no further choice.</p> <p>Today, the Department of Justice is filing a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the city of Ferguson, Missouri, alleging a pattern or practice of law enforcement conduct that violates the First, Fourth and 14th Amendments of the Constitution and federal civil rights laws. We intend to aggressively prosecute this case and I have no doubt that we will prevail.</p> <p>The residents of Ferguson have waited nearly a year for their city to adopt an agreement that would protect their rights and keep them safe. They have waited nearly a year for their police department to accept rules that would ensure their constitutional rights and that thousands of other police departments follow every day. They have waited nearly a year for their municipal courts to commit to basic, reasonable rules and standards. But as our report made clear, the residents of Ferguson have suffered the deprivation of their constitutional rights &ndash; the rights guaranteed to all Americans &ndash; for decades. They have waited decades for justice. They should not be forced to wait any longer.</p> </blockquote></body></html> Politics Crime and Justice Race and Ethnicity police Wed, 10 Feb 2016 23:27:22 +0000 Jaeah Lee 296556 at A Chicago Cop Killed a Black Teen and an Innocent Bystander. He's Now Suing For "Permanent" Trauma. <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>The controversial case of a Chicago cop who shot and killed two people last December took another dramatic turn on Friday, when the officer&nbsp;sued one of the victim's families for more than $10 million in damages.</p> <p>Officer Robert&nbsp;Rialmo, who <a href="" target="_blank">fatally shot</a> 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier and 55-year-old Bettie Jones, has filed a counter claim in response to a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the teen's&nbsp;family&nbsp;against the city of Chicago. According to the&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">court document filed</a> in Cook County, Rialmo&nbsp;claims "permanent" emotional distress and personal injuries resulting from the incident.</p> <p>It is the first time since the shooting that&nbsp;Rialmo&nbsp;has publicly&nbsp;offered his own version of events.</p> <p>Rialmo came to the front door of a two-story apartment building in&nbsp;the early morning hours after Christmas,&nbsp;responding to a dispatch about a domestic disturbance involving a "<a href="" target="_blank">son with a baseball bat</a>." According to Rialmo, Jones answered the door first, then retreated into her apartment, which shared a hallway with the unit where the teenager LeGrier was staying with his family. The police officer said he was standing in the building's&nbsp;doorway when LeGrier came "barging out of the front door to the second floor apartment while holding a baseball bat in his right hand."</p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 24px;">Rialmo&nbsp;claims&nbsp;</span>LeGrier then&nbsp;swung the bat multiple times, the first time close enough "to feel the movement of air as the bat passed in front of his face."&nbsp;LeGrier advanced as the officer backed down the outside stairs and shouted commands to drop the bat, Rialmo stated, adding that he feared LeGrier would&nbsp;hit him in the head. Rialmo&nbsp;then fired eight rounds "in approximately two-and-a-half seconds."</p> <p>The bullets fatally struck LeGrier, as well as Jones, who by this point had re-emerged from her unit and was standing behind the teenager, according to the court filing. Rialmo stated he only saw Jones after he walked back up the stairs to LeGrier's body. A witness previously <a href="" target="_blank">told <em>Mother Jones</em></a> that he saw&nbsp;LeGrier laying on top of Jones's body in the hallway.</p> <p>Rialmo claims that LeGrier's actions were criminal and caused the officer to "have a reasonable apprehension of suffering an imminent battery from LeGrier, which would either cause Officer Rialmo's death or cause him severe and permanent bodily harm." These actions forced Rialmo "to end LeGrier's life, and to accidently take the innocent life of Bettie Jones," which "caused, and will continue to cause, Officer Rialmo to suffer extreme emotional trauma."</p> <p>In the <a href="" target="_blank">family's wrongful death suit</a>, LeGrier's father stated that his son never posed a threat to Rialmo before the officer opened fire. Rialmo also failed to administer medical care as the teen lay bleeding on the ground, according to the family's complaint.</p> <p>Rialmo's counter-claim is a rare move for an officer involved in a fatal shooting, <a href="" target="_blank">according to</a> the <em>New York Times</em>. In an email to the<em> Times</em>, a spokesperson for Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that "the city does not support the claim," and is "not involved in any way."</p> <p>Here is the full text of Rialmo's claim:</p> <div class="DV-container" id="DV-viewer-2705917-Counterclaim-by-Chicago-Police-Officer-Robert">&nbsp;</div> <script src="//"></script><script> DV.load("", { width: 630, height: 450, sidebar: false, container: "#DV-viewer-2705917-Counterclaim-by-Chicago-Police-Officer-Robert" }); </script><noscript> <a href="">Counterclaim by Chicago Police Officer Robert Rialmo (PDF)</a> <br><a href="">Counterclaim by Chicago Police Officer Robert Rialmo (Text)</a> </noscript></body></html> Politics Crime and Justice Race and Ethnicity police Mon, 08 Feb 2016 18:23:39 +0000 Jaeah Lee 296226 at