MoJo Author Feeds: Jaeah Lee | Mother Jones Mother Jones logo en John Boehner: "I'm Sorry, but a Gun Is Not a Disease" <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Last week, after a shooter killed nine parishioners at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, the House Appropriations Committee quietly voted on a bill to effectively block any funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research the causes of gun violence in America. At a press conference last Thursday, a reporter from WNYC's <em>The Takeaway</em> <a href="" target="_blank">asked</a> House Speaker John Boehner about the committee's vote, which was just part of a decades-long <a href="" target="_blank">string of</a> <a href="" target="_blank">Republican rejections</a> of official efforts to study gun violence. Boehner <a href="" target="_blank">responded</a> with this familiar argument:</p> <blockquote> <p>Listen, the CDC is there to look at diseases that need to be dealt with to protect the public health. I'm sorry, but a gun is not a disease. And guns don't kill people; people do. And when people use weapons in a horrible way, we should condemn the actions of the individual, not blame the action on some weapon. Listen, there are hundreds of millions of weapons in America. They're there. And they're going to be there. They're protected under the Second Amendment. But people who use weapons in an inappropriate or illegal way ought to be dealt with severely.</p> </blockquote> <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="20" scrolling="no" src=";color=ff5500&amp;inverse=false&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_user=true" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>In the wake of the mass shooting in Charleston, President Obama <a href="" target="_blank">expressed</a> frustration with Congress for not passing gun safety reforms, and underscored the immense and untold cost of gun violence. "Whether it's a mass shooting like the one in Charleston, or individual attacks of violence that add up over time, it tears at the fabric of the community," Obama told a room full of mayors two weeks ago. "It costs you money, and it costs resources. <a href="" target="_blank">It costs this country dearly</a>."</p> <p>Read more about the staggering costs of gun violence in this recent <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Mother Jones</em> investigation</a>.</p></body></html> Politics Congress Guns Health Thu, 02 Jul 2015 21:34:51 +0000 Jaeah Lee 278961 at If You Don't Know Who Misty Copeland Is, You Need to Correct That Right Now <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>On Tuesday, Misty Copeland, the 32-year-old soloist at the renowned American Ballet Theatre, <a href=";nlid=46983248&amp;ref=cta&amp;_r=0" target="_blank">made history</a> as she became the first female black principal dancer in the company's 75-year life span. The news of her promotion comes at a time of <a href="" target="_blank">wide discussion</a> about the <a href="" target="_blank">lack of diversity</a> in ballet, and Copeland, who beat unlikely odds at a successful career as a black ballerina, has been known for <a href="" target="_blank">her advocacy</a> for more racial diversity in the predominantly white industry. And that's not all: During Copeland's 14-year career at the company, she has <a href="" target="_blank">published</a> a memoir, presented at the Tony Awards, starred in a <a href="" target="_blank">biographical documentary</a>, and amassed a half-million-strong <a href="" target="_blank">Instagram following</a>. It's no wonder that this past April, <em>Time</em> <a href="" target="_blank">named</a> her&nbsp;one of its "100 Most Influential People."</p> <p>To celebrate this badass ballerina, here are eight videos of Copeland that will get you inspired:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="" width="640"></iframe></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="" width="640"></iframe></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="" width="640"></iframe></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="" width="640"></iframe></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="" width="640"></iframe></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="" width="640"></iframe></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="" width="640"></iframe></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="" width="640"></iframe></p></body></html> Media Video Race and Ethnicity Tue, 30 Jun 2015 21:22:50 +0000 Jaeah Lee 278796 at These Girl Scouts Lost $100,000 Because Some Jerk Hates Trans People <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="" width="640"></iframe></p> <p>Earlier this year, the Girl Scouts offices in Queen Anne, Washington, erupted into cheers after a donor's generous contribution of $100,000&mdash;a full quarter of their annual fundraising goal, and enough money to send 500 girls to camp. But then things took a bitter turn. Just as Caitlyn Jenner&mdash;formally Bruce&mdash;was preparing to make her <a href="" target="_blank">public debut on the cover of <em>Vanity Fair</em></a>, and national attention turned to transgender issues, the unidentified donor contacted Girl Scouts with a request: please guarantee that the money won't be used to support transgender girls. "If you can't, please return the money," the note read.</p> <p>That was a deal-breaker. "Girl Scouts is for every girl," Megan Ferland, head of the Girl Scouts of Western Washington, told the <em>Seattle Met</em>.&nbsp;So the Girl Scouts gave back the money.</p> <p>It wasn't the first time Ferland had to deal with transphobia in the Girl Scouts. From <a href="" target="_blank">the <em>Seattle Met</em></a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>This is the second time in less than five years that a Girl Scouts council has taken a public stand to support transgender girls, and both times Ferland was at the center of the story. In 2012, when she headed the organization's Colorado council, a 7-year-old transgender girl in Denver <a href="" target="_blank">was denied entry to a troop</a>. Although the council had never specifically said that it accepted transgender girls, the national organization had always made inclusivity the foundation of its mission. So after checking with the council's attorney, Ferland issued a public statement welcoming transgender girls and explaining that the council was working to find a troop for the girl who'd been rejected. "Every girl that is a Girl Scout is a Girl Scout because her parent or guardian brings her to us and says, 'I want my child to participate,'" Ferland says. "And I don't question whether or not they're a girl."</p> </blockquote> <p>On Monday, Ferland's office <a href="" target="_blank">launched a campaign on Indiegogo</a>, a crowd-sourced funding platform, to make up for the loss. "Help us raise back the $100,000 a donor asked us to return because we welcome transgender girls," the group stated on the campaign website. As of this writing, the group had already raised $112,865&mdash;and it's only one day into the campaign.</p></body></html> Politics Video Gay Rights Sex and Gender Tue, 30 Jun 2015 19:07:23 +0000 Jaeah Lee 278771 at The Rise of Violent Right-Wing Extremism, Explained <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>The US law enforcement community regards homegrown violent extremists, not radicalized Islamists, as the most severe threat from political violence in the country, according to <a href="" target="_blank">a new study</a> from the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security. Released late last week, the report comes amid renewed focus on the problem ever since a 21-year-old avowed white supremacist carried out a mass shooting at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina. There is a <a href="" target="_blank">growing body of research</a> highlighting the threat from right-wing extremists, but who or what exactly does that term encompass, and how big really is the problem? <em>Mother Jones </em>examined various reports and contacted experts to find out more.</p> <p><strong>What are "far-right" or "right-wing" extremists?</strong><br> While there is no uniform definition, these terms <a href="" target="_blank">loosely encompass</a> individuals or groups associated with white supremacist, anti-government, sovereign citizen, patriot, militia, or other ideologies that target specific religious, ethnic, or other minority groups. (Meanwhile, how to determine which violent attacks constitute an act of terrorism has been a subject of <a href="" target="_blank">renewed debate</a>.)</p> <p>The available data on violent attacks perpetrated by right-wing extremists ranges widely, explains Michael German, a former FBI agent who is now a national security expert at the Brennan Center for Justice. Researchers at the <a href="" target="_blank">US Department of Homeland Security</a>, the <a href="" target="_blank">New America Foundation</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">the Southern Poverty Law Center</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">the University of Maryland</a>, and the <a href="" target="_blank">Combating Terrorism Center at West Point</a> have all compiled data on right-wing extremist violence using <a href="" target="_blank">varying criteria</a> over different periods of time, most of them going back to the mid 1990s,&nbsp;when the Oklahoma City bombing riveted attention on the problem. (The exception is the University of Maryland's data, which <a href="" target="_blank">dates to 1970</a>, during a surge in violent far-left extremism.)</p> <p>The various studies have all led to the same general conclusion: The threat from homegrown right-wing extremists <a href="" target="_blank">has grown in recent years</a>. "Since 2007, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of attacks and violent plots originating in the far-right of American politics," Arie Perliger, the director of terrorism studies at the Combating Terrorism Center, wrote in <a href="" target="_blank">a 2012 report</a>.</p> <p><strong>How often do right-wing violent extremists attack?</strong><br> The University of Maryland's Global Terrorism Database <a href="" target="_blank">registered</a> 65 attacks on American soil associated with right-wing ideologies since 9/11, versus 24 attacks by jihadist extremists. The New America Foundation, meanwhile, <a href="" target="_blank">tallied</a> 48 deaths from attacks by non-jihadist extremists over the same time period&mdash;including the Charleston shooting&mdash;compared with 26 deaths from attacks by jihadist extremists, including the one at Fort Hood in 2009, in which 13 people were killed.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Screen%20Shot%202015-06-29%20at%2012.32.58%20PM.png" style="max-width:630px;"><div class="caption"><a href=";contentCollection=U.S.&amp;module=RelatedCoverage&amp;region=Marginalia&amp;pgtype=article&amp;_r=1" target="_blank">Courtesy of the New York Times</a></div> </div> <p>The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, which compiles data on "all violent attacks that were perpetrated by groups or individuals affiliated with far-right associations," counted an average of 337 annual attacks by right-wing extremists in the decade after 9/11, including a total of <a href="" target="_blank">254 fatalities</a>, or an annual average of about 18 deaths.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Screen%20Shot%202015-06-26%20at%2011.11.19%20AM_0.png"><div class="caption"><a href="" target="_blank">Arie Perliger, Combating Terrorism Center at West Point </a></div> </div> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Daryl Johnson</a>, a former domestic terrorism intelligence analyst at the Department of Homeland Security who now heads the consulting firm DT Analytics, says attacks from far-right extremists "increased dramatically" after 2008. Johnson, who <a href="" target="_blank">began tracking</a> domestic terrorism while at DHS, estimates there is currently an average of one plot or attack every 40 to 45 days. "We are in a heightened period right now," he says.</p> <p>Johnson's view is supported by <a href="" target="_blank">a 2012 report</a> from Perliger at the Combating Terrorism Center: "Since 2007, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of attacks and violent plots originating in the far-right of American politics," it notes.</p> <p><strong>How organized are these extremists?</strong><br> As former <em>Mother Jones</em> staffer Adam Serwer <a href="" target="_blank">reported</a> in August 2012 when a neo-Nazi <a href="" target="_blank">carried out</a> a massacre at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, the number of American extremist groups has also risen overall in recent years:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/american-extremism-watermark.png" style="max-width:630px;"></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>How is law enforcement responding?</strong><br> About three quarters of the 382 state and local law enforcement agencies surveyed by the Triangle Center listed anti-government extremism as a top threat in their jurisdiction, compared with 39 percent that listed violence connected with Al Qaeda or related groups.</p> <p>In 2014, the Anti-Defamation League <a href="" target="_blank">documented</a> an upswing in far-right attacks against law enforcement:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/officers-killed-domestic-extremists-1965-2014.png" style="max-width: 450px; float: left; height: 363px; width: 300px;"><div class="caption"><a href="" target="_blank">Anti-Defamation League</a></div> </div> <p>But those numbers should be put into perspective, the report's authors Charles Kurzman and David Schanzer <a href="" target="_blank">note</a>, since terrorism of all kinds represents a small fraction of total violent crime in the United States. The <a href="" target="_blank">number of homicides</a> in the United States since 9/11 totaled more than 215,000.</p> <p>And because the data on right-wing violence varies so much, "it's hard to get a true understanding of the threat," German says, adding that the FBI&mdash;whose <a href="" target="_blank">No. 1 priority</a> is to protect the United States from a terrorist attack&mdash;does not publish data on domestic terrorism. "Instead, we rely on these private groups that are doing a public service by compiling and publishing information," he says. The FBI does collect and publish <a href="" target="_blank">limited data</a> on hate crimes, which it defines as criminal offenses "against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender's bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation." But German as well as researchers at the <a href="" target="_blank">Southern Poverty Law Center</a> point out that data relies on voluntary reporting and thus undercounts those numbers.</p> <p><strong>So what is the government doing about it? </strong><br> The federal and local governments ramped up efforts to combat domestic terrorism of all kinds in the wake of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people. A few months following the 9/11 attacks, FBI official Dale Watson <a href="" target="_blank">testified</a> before the Senate Intelligence Committee that "right-wing groups continue to represent a serious terrorist threat." But Johnson, German, and others assert that federal counterterrorism programs since 9/11 have focused overwhelmingly on the perceived threat from Islamic extremism. That includes the Obama administration's "countering violent extremism" strategy, which "revolves around impeding the radicalization of violent jihadists," <a href="" target="_blank">according to</a> a 2014 Congressional Research Service report.</p> <p>The attack in Charleston underscored "the failure of the federal government to keep closer tabs" on right-wing extremists, argues Gerald Horne, a historian and civil rights activist at the University of Houston.</p> <p>But the focus may soon increase. In February, CNN <a href="" target="_blank">reported</a> that DHS circulated an intelligence assessment that focused on the domestic terror threat posed by right-wing extremists. Kurzman and Schanzer also point to a handout from a training program sponsored by the Department of Justice, <a href="" target="_blank">cautioning</a> that the threat from antigovernment extremism "is real."</p> <p><strong>Who and where are the perpetrators of far-right extremist attacks? </strong><br> According to Perliger's research at West Point, 54 percent of such attacks since 1990 in which the perpetrators were caught or identified were carried out by a single individual. About 75 percent of all perpetrators identified were 29 years old or younger.</p> <p>Perliger also notes that attacks have moved beyond states in the South&mdash;the birthplace of groups such as the KKK and the site of major attacks during the 1960s&mdash;to places including California, New York, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. "The existence of significant minority groups in the different states appears linked with the level of far-right violence they experience," Perliger says. In a recent editorial, the Southern Poverty Law Center's Morris Dees and J. Richard Cohen <a href="" target="_blank">argued </a><a href="" target="_blank">that</a> far-right extremism is gaining ground beyond state boundaries: "Unlike those of the civil rights era, whose main goal was to maintain Jim Crow in the American South, today's white supremacists don't see borders; they see a white tribe under attack by people of color across the globe.&hellip;The days of thinking of domestic terrorism as the work of a few Klansmen or belligerent skinheads are over."</p> <p><strong>What factors might explain the latest rise in this kind of extremism? </strong><br> Experts suggest several factors may have played into it. Researchers commonly attribute the spike in right-wing attacks, around 2008, to the election of an African American president. Around the time of Obama's election, Johnson notes how the white supremacist web forum Stormfront had less than 100,000 registered users. "Today, it is over 300,000," he says. Scholars have also debated the role the <a href="" target="_blank">2008 financial crisis</a>, a <a href="" target="_blank">heightening debate</a> over <a href="" target="_blank">immigration</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">other</a> <a href="" target="_blank">socioeconomic changes</a> may have had. The Combating Terrorism Center's Perliger points out that past spikes in far-right attacks also corresponded with the passing of landmark legislation such as the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and firearm restrictions during the 1990s.</p> <p><strong>Was the Charleston shooting a hate crime or an act of terrorism?</strong><br> It had the marks of both, according to Horne, German, and others. FBI Director James Comey <a href="" target="_blank">came under fire</a> for saying the Charleston shooting did not appear to be an act of terrorism based on the available evidence. German adds that Roof's racist comments about black people, his photos with flags invoking racist ideologies, and the fact that he killed a state senator, make clear that his attack on the church was both targeted and political.</p> <p><strong>Could the Charleston shooting have been prevented?</strong><br> Violent attacks by extremists are difficult to predict, but both the government and researchers could be doing a better job of working to understand them, German says. "You have to understand both how the movement works and what parts are dangerous and what parts aren't, as well as understanding how the particular terrorist activity starts," he explains, adding that most research on terrorist attacks has fixated on their ideological roots, rather than their methodologies. "That's where you'll see terrorism studies completely lacking, despite the hundreds of millions of dollars that have been thrown into terrorism research. They're not studying the right things."</p></body></html> Politics Charts Crime and Justice Race and Ethnicity The Right Top Stories Tue, 30 Jun 2015 10:00:09 +0000 Jaeah Lee, Brandon Ellington Patterson, and Gabrielle Canon 278451 at How Cleveland Police May Have Botched a 911 Call Just Before Killing Tamir Rice <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>At 3:22 p.m. last November 22, just minutes before 12-year-old Tamir Rice was fatally wounded by a Cleveland police officer at a neighborhood park, <a href="" target="_blank">a man called 911</a> to report "a guy in here with a pistol&hellip;pointing it at everybody." During the two-minute conversation, the caller described a person in a gray coat, "probably a juvenile," who was sitting on a swing and holding a gun that was "probably fake." Before hanging up, the caller reiterated his uncertainty about the gun: "I don't know if it's real or not."</p> <p>Those presumably important details would never go past that call.</p> <div><div id="mininav" class="inline-subnav"> <!-- header content --> <div id="mininav-header-content"> <div id="mininav-header-image"> <img src="/files/images/motherjones_mininav/millionsmarchcrop.jpg" width="220" border="0"></div> <div id="mininav-header-text"> <p class="mininav-header-text" style="margin: 0; padding: 0.75em; font-size: 11px; font-weight: bold; line-height: 1.2em; background-color: rgb(221, 221, 221);"> More MoJo coverage on policing: </p> </div> </div> <!-- linked stories --> <div id="mininav-linked-stories"> <ul><span id="linked-story-275306"> <li><a href="/politics/2015/05/tamir-rice-investigation-cleveland-police"> It&acirc;&#128;&#153;s Been 6 Months Since Tamir Rice Died, and the Cop Who Killed Him Still Hasn't Been Questioned</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-275031"> <li><a href="/politics/2015/05/tamir-rice-cuyahoga-county-investigation-cousin"> The Tamir Rice Killing: "I Feel So Disgusted With the City of Cleveland."</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-275231"> <li><a href="/politics/2015/05/police-shootings-caught-on-tape-video"> Here Are 13 Killings by Police Captured on Video in the Past Year</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-274706"> <li><a href="/politics/2015/05/john-crawford-tamir-rice-ohio-police-shooting-deaths"> 2 Shootings Caught on Camera, 2 Young Black Victims, Zero Charges</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-258221"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/08/police-shootings-michael-brown-ferguson-black-men"> Exactly How Often Do Police Shoot Unarmed Black Men?</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-276491"> <li><a href="/politics/2015/06/tamir-rice-investigation-prosecutors-cleveland"> Key Takeaways From the Tamir Rice Investigation</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-268206"> <li><a href="/politics/2015/01/police-misconduct-payments-eric-garner-nypd"> The Cop Who Choked Eric Garner to Death Won't Pay a Dime</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-275796"> <li><a href="/politics/2015/05/tanisha-anderson-killing-cleveland-police"> A Mentally Ill Woman's "Sudden Death" at the Hands of Cleveland Police</a></li> </span> </ul></div> <!-- footer content --> </div> </div> <p>Constance Hollinger, a Cleveland police dispatcher of 19 years, was on the other end of the line that day. Hollinger entered information from the caller's description of the scene into the dispatch computer system, according to an official investigation of the case. A few minutes later, dispatcher Beth Mandl <a href="" target="_blank">read Hollinger's notes</a> from a computer screen as she transmitted the information to police officers over the radio: "In the park by the youth center is a black male sitting on the swings. He is wearing a camouflage hat, a gray jacket with black sleeves. He keeps pulling a gun out of his pants and pointing it at people."</p> <p>Mandl relayed it as a "code one," indicating the highest priority level and the need for immediate response. By 3:30 p.m., officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback pulled up in front of Rice in the park, and within two seconds Loehmann jumped out and fired his gun at Rice at close range, striking him in the abdomen. For the next several minutes, Rice lay bleeding on the ground while the two officers stood by without giving him aid&mdash;inaction that may have <a href="" target="_blank">potentially been criminal</a> according to one policing expert&mdash;until other responders arrived, tended to Rice, and took him to a hospital, where he died the next day.</p> <p>Recordings of the initial <a href="" target="_blank">911 call</a> and the <a href="" target="_blank">radio dispatch to officers</a>, released by the Cleveland police department in November (<a href="#listen">listen below</a>), showed that the details about Rice's suspected age and fake gun never reached Loehmann and Garmback. After a five-month probe into the shooting by the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department, which culminated in a <a href="" target="_blank">224-page report</a> released in mid June, investigators concluded that these details did not make it from Hollinger to Mandl. The report did not specify why.</p> <p>According to a county official familiar with the investigation who spoke to <em>Mother Jones, </em>the details were not relayed because Hollinger did not enter them into the dispatch computer system. Why she did not do so is one of several key questions still hanging over the case seven months later. The ongoing investigation is now in the hands of Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty, who took over the case on June 3.</p> <p>In an interview with Cuyahoga County sheriff's detectives, Hollinger said that as a 911 call taker, she was responsible for retrieving "pertinent information" about each call&mdash;such as the caller's name, address, location, and reason for the call&mdash;and assigning the call a priority level. But Hollinger refused to answer investigators' questions about why she did not input the details about Rice's suspected age and possibly fake gun, per the advice of her union-provided attorney.</p> <p>Hollinger declined to comment to <em>Mother Jones </em>about her role in the case, citing the ongoing investigation and the Cleveland police department's "stringent rules" about making public statements. Her attorney, Keith Wolgamuth, told <em>Mother Jones</em> that Hollinger "was advised to exercise her Fifth Amendment rights," and that her actions last November 22 were within protocol. Wolgamuth, who says he has represented police radio dispatchers in Cleveland for 30 years, said "a prudent call taker" views information about a possible fake gun "as immaterial to the necessary police response because any gun could be fake, as the responding officers know." As for the caller's comments about Rice's probable youth, he said, "the person could always be a 'juvenile' and, perhaps as importantly, there are plenty of juveniles that have real guns and use them, as police officers well know. A prudent call taker understands this information is not essential to the police response."</p> <p id="listen">[Listen to excerpts from the 911 call and the dispatch to officers:]</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="255" mozallowfullscreen="" scrolling="no" src="" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="420"></iframe></p> <p>Experts on police dispatch operations declined to comment specifically on Hollinger's handling of the 911 call. Speaking about industry best practices, they concurred that details about a juvenile or a possible fake gun would be important to relay to officers, both for their safety and tactical response.</p> <p>Dave Warner, a former police officer who is a consultant for the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch, said a call reporting an armed suspect should prompt call takers and dispatchers to ask a series of questions&mdash;covering the suspect's estimated age, whether medical assistance is required, whether the caller feels like he or she is in danger, and a description of the weapon. "If the caller says he thinks that it could possibly be fake, that should have been in there," he said.</p> <p>Warner pointed out, however, that even if Hollinger had relayed the missing details about Rice, there's no way to know whether Loehmann and Garmback would have approached the scene differently or whether the fatal shooting would have been averted.</p> <p>The precise level of detail required from a dispatcher depends on the police agency's policies, notes Chris Carver, an operations director at the National Emergency Number Association. "There is an unbelievable amount of variance" across agencies on how to handle 911 calls, Carver says, adding that there's no national standard on training for 911 personnel. "That is a critical issue we're trying to address all around the country."</p> <p>In Cleveland, however, dispatchers are <a href="" target="_blank">supposed to</a> "relay all information included in an incident" to officers responding to a call, including a suspect's "physical characteristics" and a weapon type and description, according to the <a href="" target="_blank">agency's policy</a> for answering 911 calls.</p> <p>"There is always the chance the witness is wrong, that the suspect has a real gun," acknowledges Seth Stoughton, a former police officer who now teaches at the University of South Carolina School of Law. "But a witness's description of a weapon as 'probably fake,' combined with a description of the suspect as a juvenile, is very different than a description of an adult holding a firearm that the witness is sure is real," he says. "Officers may take a very different approach" to each of those cases, he says.</p> <p>According to the 224-page report, Hollinger and Mandl worked in the same "large room" housing multiple dispatch operations. In an interview with Cuyahoga County sheriff's investigators, Mandl said the only information known to dispatchers was what was entered into the dispatch computer system. Dispatchers have no other means to acquire information about a call, she said, and they have no direct contact with the caller, except in cases when an officer in the field requests additional information. There was no such request from Loehmann or Garmback on November 22 after Mandl broadcast the information from Hollinger.</p> <p>According to a personnel file <a href="" target="_blank">released</a> by the city of Cleveland, a supervisor gave Hollinger a "satisfactory" performance rating in 2013, noting that Hollinger "tends to be abrupt, and disconnect the caller when they are attempting to provide additional info."</p> <p>The investigation by the&nbsp;Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department did not include any testimony from Loehmann and Garmback, who declined investigators' <a href="" target="_blank">repeated requests</a> for interviews based on the advice of their union-provided attorneys. In an email to <em>Mother Jones</em>, Michael Maloney, an attorney representing the officers, said his clients also would not agree to an interview at this time with McGinty, the Cuyahoga County prosecutor. Maloney said his clients "have not ruled out the possibility of prepared written statements" for the prosecutor, and that they would make a decision about testifying before a grand jury "when the time comes."</p> <p>McGinty's office declined to comment to <em>Mother Jones </em>about the case, including with regard to <a href="" target="_blank">how much longer</a> the investigation might take.</p></body></html> Politics Civil Liberties Crime and Justice Guns Race and Ethnicity Top Stories police Wed, 24 Jun 2015 10:00:11 +0000 Jaeah Lee 277586 at America's CEOs Now Make 303 Times More Than Their Workers <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>The US economy is rebounding for the nation's top income earners but not for everyone else, according to a new study from the Economic Policy Institute. The <a href="" target="_blank">study</a>, published Sunday, finds that chief executives at the country's 350 biggest firms earned an average of $16.3 million in 2014, marking a 54.3 percent increase since 2009. Meanwhile, compensation for typical workers in the same industries as those CEOs fell 1.7 percent over the same time period.</p> <p>"Those at the top of the income distribution, including many CEOs, are seeing a strong recovery, while the typical worker is still experiencing the detrimental effects of a stagnant labor market," the study's authors, Lawrence Mishel and Alyssa Davis, found.</p> <p>The pay gap between CEOs and the typical worker has widened since 2009, with CEOs now making more than 303 times the earnings of workers in their industries. CEOs have made at least 120 times the earnings of typical workers since 1995. In 2014, Mishel and Davis note, CEOs also made 5.84 times more than others in the top 0.1 percent of wage earners. "As CEO pay has escalated," the authors found, "it's directly contributed to growing income inequality by [fueling] the growth of the top 1 percent and 0.1 percent."</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="600" src=";view=embed&amp;embed_template=charts_v2013_08_21&amp;embed_date=20150621&amp;onp=88441&amp;utm_source=epi_press&amp;utm_medium=chart_embed&amp;utm_campaign=charts_v2" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>CEO pay soared by 997 percent between 1978 and 2014, after adjusting for inflation. That meteoric rise is double the growth rate of the stock market and makes the increase in the typical worker's annual compensation seem trivial: The earnings of typical workers grew at a "painfully slow" 10.9 percent over the same period, according to the EPI researchers.</p> <p>The trends in CEO pay over time, which tracked closely with the ups and downs of the stock market, "casts doubt on any explanation of high and rising CEO pay that relies on the rising individual productivity of executives, either because they head larger firms, have adopted new technology, or other reasons," Mishel and Davis conclude. "CEO compensation often grows strongly simply when the overall stock market rises and individual firms' stock values rise along with it."</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="620" src=";view=embed&amp;embed_template=charts_v2013_08_21&amp;embed_date=20150621&amp;onp=88441&amp;utm_source=epi_press&amp;utm_medium=chart_embed&amp;utm_campaign=charts_v2" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>Read the full report by the EPI <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>.</p></body></html> Politics Charts Corporations Economy Income Inequality Top Stories Mon, 22 Jun 2015 10:00:10 +0000 Jaeah Lee 277951 at Obama to US Mayors on Guns: "We Need a Change in Attitude. We Have to Fix This." <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src=";start=2500&amp;end=&amp;autoplay=0" width="640"></iframe></p> <p>Two days after the mass shooting at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, President Barack Obama continued to speak out about the politics of guns. Commenting in the immediate aftermath of the shooting on Thursday, Obama pointed out the failure of Congress to act after the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton, Connecticut, which he cited last year as the "<a href="" target="_blank">biggest frustration</a>" of his presidency. On Friday, speaking in San Francisco at the annual US Conference of Mayors, Obama called on city leaders from across the country to address gun violence. This time, his frustration seemed tinged with a hint of anger. "At some point as a country we have to reckon with what happens," he said. "It is not good enough simply to show sympathy."</p> <p>Here is the full transcript of his remarks on guns from the above video:</p> <blockquote> <p>Obviously, the entire country's been shocked and heartbroken by what happened in Charleston. The nature of this attack in a place of worship, where congregates invite in a stranger to worship with them only to be gunned down, adds to the pain. The apparent motivations of the shooter remind us that racism remains a blight that we have to combat together. We have made great progress, but we have to be vigilant, because it still lingers. And when it's poisoning the minds of young people, it betrays our ideals and tears our democracy apart.</p> <p>But as much as we grieve this particular tragedy, I think it's important, as I had mentioned at the White House, to step back and recognize that these tragedies have become far too commonplace. Few people understand the terrible toll of gun violence like mayors do. Whether it's a mass shooting like the one in Charleston, or individual attacks of violence that add up over time, it tears at the fabric of the community. And it costs you money, and it costs resources. <a href="" target="_blank">It costs this country dearly</a>.</p> <p>More than 11,000 Americans were killed by gun violence in 2013 alone. Eleven thousand. If Congress had passed some common-sense gun safety reforms after Newtown, after a group of children had been gunned down in their own classrooms, reforms that 90 percent of the American people supported, we wouldn't have prevented every act of violence, or even most. We don't know it would have prevented what happened in Charleston. No reform can guarantee the elimination of violence. But we might still have some more Americans with us. We might have stopped one shooter. Some families might still be whole. You all might have to attend fewer funerals.</p> <p>We should be strong enough to acknowledge this. At the very least, we should be able to talk about this issue as citizens without demonizing all gun owners, who are overwhelmingly law abiding, but also without suggesting that any debate about this involves a wild-eyed plot to take everybody's guns away. I know today's politics makes it less likely that we see any sort of series of gun safety legislation. I remarked that it was very unlikely that this Congress would act. And some reporters, I think, took this as resignation.</p> <p>I want to be clear. I'm not resigned. I have faith we will eventually do the right thing. I was simply making the point that we have to move public opinion. We have to feel a sense of urgency. Ultimately Congress will follow the people. We have to stop being confused about this. At some point as a country we have to reckon with what happens. It is not good enough simply to show sympathy. You don&rsquo;t see murder on this kind of scale with this kind of frequency in any other advanced nation on Earth. Every country has violent, hateful, or mentally unstable people. What's different is not every country is awash with easily accessible guns.</p> <p>And so I refuse to act as if this is the new normal. Or to pretend that it's simply sufficient to grieve, and that any mention of us doing something to stop it is politicizing the problem. [ Applause ] We need a change in attitude, among everybody. Lawful gun owners, those who are unfamiliar with guns, we have to have a conversation about it and fix this. And ultimately Congress acts when the public insists on action. And we've seen how public opinion can change. We&rsquo;ve seen it change on gay marriage. We've seen it beginning to change on climate change. We've got to shift how we think about this issue. And we have the capacity to change. But we have to feel a sense of urgency about it. We as a people have got to change. That's how we honor those families. That's how we honor the families in Newtown. That's how we honor the families in Aurora.</p> </blockquote></body></html> Politics Video Crime and Justice Guns Obama Race and Ethnicity Top Stories Charleston church shooting Sat, 20 Jun 2015 00:33:24 +0000 Jaeah Lee and Edwin Rios 277901 at Murdered State Senator Clementa Pinckney Made This Haunting Speech About Walter Scott <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>One of the victims of Wednesday's <a href="" target="_blank">horrific shooting</a> at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, was state Senator Clementa Pinckney, the church's pastor. <a href="" target="_blank">Much has already been written</a> about Pinckney's dedication to public service from a young age, and his rich life in the church. My colleagues are <a href="" target="_blank">updating</a> a full list of the nine victims as more information becomes available. In the meantime, here's another memorable moment from Pinckney's leadership in the South Carolina Senate.</p> <p>Back in May, the senator delivered this stirring (and now haunting) call to action following the death of Walter Scott&mdash;the unarmed black man who was shot and killed by a white police officer in North Charleston, just six miles north of where Pinckney and others were murdered. Here's Pinckney on the Senate floor, rallying support for the adoption of police body cameras. Watch and read below:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="480" src=";controls=0&amp;showinfo=0" width="640"></iframe></p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Transcript:</strong></p> <p>Today, the nation looks at South Carolina and is looking at us to see if we will rise to be the body, and to be the state that we really say that we are. Over this past week, many of us have seen on the television, have read in newspapers, and have seen all the reports about Walter Scott, who, in my words, was murdered in North Charleston. It has really created a real heartache and a yearning for justice for people, not just in the African American community, but for all people, and not just in the Charleston area, or even in South Carolina, but across our country.</p> <p>...But the next week, Thomas was there, Jesus walked in, he said, "I won't believe until I see the nails. I won't believe until I can put my hand in your side." And it was only when he was able to do that, he said, "I believe, my Lord and my God."</p> <p>Ladies and gentlemen of the Senate, when we first heard on the television, that a police officer had gunned down an unarmed African American in North Charleston by the name of Walter Scott, there were some who said, "Wow. The national story has come home to South Carolina." But there were many who said, "There is no way that a police officer would ever shoot somebody in the back 6, 7, 8, times." But like Thomas, when we were able to see the video, and we were able to see the gun shots, and when we saw him fall to the ground, and when we saw the police officer come and handcuff him on the ground, without even trying to resuscitate him, without even seeing if he was really alive, without calling an ambulance, without calling for help, and to see him die face down in the ground as if he were gunned down like game, I believe we all were like Thomas, and said, "I believe."</p> <p>...We have a great opportunity to allow sunshine into this process. It is my hope that as South Carolina senators, that we will stand up for what is best and good about our state and really adopt this legislation and find a way to have body cameras in South Carolina. Our hearts go out to the Scott family, and our hearts go out to the Slager family, because the Lord teaches us to love all, and we pray that over time, that justice be done.</p> </blockquote> <p>(Video <a href="" target="_blank">h/t Michael Adams</a>)</p></body></html> Politics Video Crime and Justice Guns Race and Ethnicity Top Stories Charleston church shooting Thu, 18 Jun 2015 20:18:51 +0000 Jaeah Lee 277716 at Tamir Rice Investigation Results Released by County Prosecutors <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>The long-awaited findings of a probe into the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was shot and killed by a police officer in a Cleveland park last November, <a href="" target="_blank">were finally released Saturday afternoon</a> by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office.</p> <p>The publication of hundreds of pages of documents marks a significant milestone in the long and complicated search for answers surrounding the boy's death. County Sheriff Clifford Pinkney's office took over the investigation from the Cleveland police department in January. Then, five months later, the sheriff's office handed over its findings to county prosecutor, Timothy J. McGinty, who has led the efforts since, and released today's findings. Next, McGinty's office will decide what additional investigation might be required, after which prosecutors will present evidence to a grand jury to determine whether criminal charges are warranted.</p> <p>"The death of a citizen resulting from the use of deadly force by the police is different from all other cases and deserves a high level of public scrutiny," McGinty said in a <a href="" target="_blank">statement</a> accompanying the trove of documents.</p> <p>Here are some of the major findings contained in today's report. We're making our way through the report now and will update this list:</p> <ul><li>Sheriff's investigators interviewed 27 people, including the officers who arrived after the shooting, the 911 caller, paramedics, friends of Rice, and workers at at the Cudell Recreation Center, which is near the site of Rice's death.</li> <li>Officers Timothy Loehmann, who fired the fatal shots, and Frank Garmback, who drove the squad car, have yet to speak to investigators, despite <a href="" target="_blank">multiple attempts</a> to interview Loehmann and Garmback since the Cleveland police department handed over the case in January.</li> <li>Rice's mother, Samaria Rice, also declined to speak with investigators.</li> <li>The 911 dispatcher who relayed the message to Loehmann and Garmback "refused to answer questions (per her attorney) about not relaying specific information related to the 911 call." A county official familiar with the case confirmed to <em>Mother Jones </em>that the dispatcher did not answer questions as to why she failed to mention that Rice was possibly a "juvenile" and that his weapon was probably "fake."</li> <li>According to witness interviews, it remains unclear whether Loehmann shouted commands at Rice from inside the police car before firing his gun. A weapons inspection showed that Loehmann fired two shots at the boy within one to two seconds of exiting the vehicle.</li> <li>One witness, who said she was about 315 feet from the scene, said she was getting into a car when she heard, "Pop pop...Freeze let me see your hands...Pop."</li> </ul><p>Saturday's release comes days after community leaders in Cleveland filed affidavits asking a municipal judge to seek charges against the officers involved. The judge <a href="" target="_blank">responded</a> on Thursday saying he believed there was probable cause to bring charges including murder and involuntary manslaughter.</p> <p>Since Rice's death on November 22, 2014, questions have <a href="" target="_blank">mounted</a> about why it has taken <a href="" target="_blank">so long</a> to investigate the incident. As Ayesha Bell Hardaway, a former Cuyahoga County assistant prosecutor, <a href="" target="_blank">told <em>Mother Jones</em></a>, "Half a year is an extremely long time," especially given the video of the shooting, the details of the 911 calls, and "the questions raised about Officer Loehmann's fitness for duty."</p> <p>Read the full report here:</p> <div class="DV-container" id="DV-viewer-2102456-cuyahoga-county-prosecutors-office-tamir-rice">&nbsp;</div> <script src="//"></script><script> DV.load("//", { width: 630, height: 500, sidebar: false, container: "#DV-viewer-2102456-cuyahoga-county-prosecutors-office-tamir-rice" }); </script><noscript> <a href="">Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office Tamir Rice Investigation Findings (PDF)</a> <br><a href="">Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office Tamir Rice Investigation Findings (Text)</a> </noscript></body></html> Politics Crime and Justice Guns Race and Ethnicity Top Stories police Sat, 13 Jun 2015 20:32:46 +0000 Jaeah Lee 276491 at Officer in Tamir Rice Case Was Accused of Choking and Beating a Woman <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>The ongoing criminal investigation into the death of Tamir Rice has focused mostly on Timothy Loehmann, the Cleveland police officer who shot and killed the 12-year-old in a park last November. Last month, a county official familiar with the case <a href="" target="_blank">told <em>Mother Jones </em></a>that Frank Garmback, the officer who drove the police car to within a few feet of Rice moments before Loehmann stepped out and opened fire, was not under criminal investigation by the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department, which <a href="" target="_blank">turned over</a> its investigation to county prosecutor on Wednesday.</p> <p>As <em>Mother Jones</em> and <a href="" target="_blank">others</a> have <a href="" target="_blank">reported</a>, prior records showed that Loehmann "could not follow simple directions" and that "his handgun performance was dismal." Garmback's past record has received far less attention, even though he was involved in a use-of-force lawsuit that was settled not long before Rice's death.</p> <p>In 2012, Garmback <a href="" target="_blank">was named</a> in a civil rights lawsuit for allegedly using excessive force against a black woman named Tamela Eaton. Eaton, who was 39 at the time, had called Cleveland police in August 2010 to ask for help towing a car that was parked in front of her driveway. Garmback and another officer, Tim Guerra, were searching for a murder suspect nearby. When they tried to arrest a man walking down the street, Eaton heard the commotion and came out of her home, believing the officers were responding to her call. Eaton's lawsuit asserted that Garmback initially argued with her, then rushed toward her "and placed her in a chokehold, tackled her to the ground, twisted her wrist and began hitting her body. Officer Guerra rushed over and proceeded to punch Tamela Eaton in the face multiple times."</p> <p>After the incident, county prosecutors charged Eaton for punching the officer and resisting arrest. In 2012, she filed suit against Garmback and Guerra; the case eventually moved to federal court. In 2014, Cleveland <a href="" target="_blank">paid</a> Eaton $100,000 to settle the case. The settlement did not appear on Garmback's personnel record, and was largely unknown to the public until the <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Cleveland Plain Dealer </em>reported</a> on the settlement last December.</p> <p>Below is the Cleveland police's use of force report on the 2010 incident, which Guerra and Garmback disclosed as part of their defense in Eaton's lawsuit:</p> <div class="DV-container" id="DV-viewer-2093272-cleveland-police-department-report-re-tamela-eaton">&nbsp;</div> <script src="//"></script><script> DV.load("//", { width: 630, height: 500, sidebar: false, container: "#DV-viewer-2093272-cleveland-police-department-report-re-tamela-eaton" }); </script><noscript> <a href="">Cleveland police department report re: Tamela Eaton (PDF)</a> <br><a href="">Cleveland police department report re: Tamela Eaton (Text)</a> </noscript></body></html> Politics Crime and Justice Race and Ethnicity Top Stories police Thu, 04 Jun 2015 00:31:35 +0000 Jaeah Lee 276556 at