MoJo Author Feeds: Jaeah Lee | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/rss/authors/90086 http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en Why Cops Are Told to Keep Quiet After a Shooting http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/08/why-do-police-departments-delay-interviewing-officers-involved-shootings <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Last Friday,&nbsp;in&nbsp;a courthouse in New Mexico, special prosecutor Randi McGinn <a href="https://youtu.be/N0sYSp9y_pg?t=56m44s" target="_blank">asked</a>&nbsp;police psychologist William Lewinski whether he advised investigators to wait several days before interviewing an officer&nbsp;involved in a shooting. McGinn was asking because two Albuquerque police officers <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/05/police-shootings-caught-on-tape-video" target="_blank">shot and killed</a> a homeless man on March 16, 2014, in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains, and they had been told to wait two days before giving a statement. The lag in time seemed odd to McGinn,&nbsp;who is pursuing murder charges against the officers.</p> <p>Lewinski, founder of the research group Force Science Institute, is a controversial figure among prosecutors like McGinn. Recently, he came <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/02/us/training-officers-to-shoot-first-and-he-will-answer-questions-later.html" target="_blank">under fire</a> for publishing studies&nbsp;that critics said were not subject to peer review, and for using those studies&nbsp;in his work as an expert witness when testifying on behalf of officers involved in shootings. Lewinski responded to McGinn's question by saying, "That's what the professionals and the experts in law also state." He added that "if you can eliminate bias, memory aids such as walking through a scene, looking at video&mdash;the things that are currently used in the police practice&mdash;do enhance memory."</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-280151"> <li><a href="/politics/2015/07/sandra-bland-police-dash-cam-video-texas"> Video Shows Arrest of Sandra Bland Prior to Her Death in Texas Jail</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-277586"> <li><a href="/politics/2015/06/tamir-rice-police-killing-911-call-investigation"> How Cleveland Police May Have Botched a 911 Call Just Before Killing Tamir Rice</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-279731"> <li><a href="/politics/2015/07/native-americans-getting-shot-police"> Native Americans Get Shot By Cops at an Astonishing Rate</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-273291"> <li><a href="/mojo/2015/04/walter-scott-michael-slager"> The Walter Scott Shooting Video Shows Why Police Accounts Are Hard to Trust</a></li> </span> <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-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-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>The same day McGinn was interviewing Lewinski in court, cops working one state away, in Arlington, Texas, were dealing with fallout from a police trainee's fatal shooting of 19-year-old Christian Taylor. Arlington's police chief <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/09/us/police-request-fbi-help-in-texas-killing.html?_r=0" target="_blank">explained</a> to reporters that the two officers involved had not yet been interviewed due to a standard department procedure, and that he expected the officers to submit their statements in 7 to 10 days. (Investigators <a href="http://thescoopblog.dallasnews.com/2015/08/community-plans-series-of-vigils-for-christian-taylor-as-authorities-interview-officer-who-shot-the-arlington-teen.html/" target="_blank">interviewed</a> one of the officers on Monday.)</p> <p>Albuquerque and Arlington are not outliers. For years,&nbsp;departments in states like Illinois, <a href="http://caselaw.findlaw.com/ky-supreme-court/1687450.html" target="_blank">Kentucky</a>, Maryland, <a href="http://www.katu.com/news/local/Commissioners-question-48-hour-wait-to-debrief-officers-in-shootings-284837911.html" target="_blank">Oregon</a>, Texas, and <a href="http://host.madison.com/news/local/crime_and_courts/probes-of-police-shootings-give-leeway-to-involved-officers/article_b9273c32-0631-5962-8a23-71e321e63689.html" target="_blank">Wisconsin</a> have required a waiting period of at least two days. In Dallas, <a href="http://www.dallasnews.com/news/metro/20131127-chief-david-brown-quietly-changes-a-police-shooting-investigations-policy.ece" target="_blank">72 hours</a> must pass. In Baltimore, where six police officers have been charged for their involvement in the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, a <a href="http://www.aclu-md.org/uploaded_files/0000/0681/walker_-_baltimore_police_union_contract_report.pdf" target="_blank">union contract</a> <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2015/05/18/police-officer-waiting-period-bill-of-rights-editorials-debates/27555517/" target="_blank">compels</a> cops to wait 10 days before speaking with investigators.</p> <p>In the aftermath of controversial police shootings, from <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/11/6-revelations-grand-jury-documents" target="_blank">Michael Brown</a> to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/06/tamir-rice-police-killing-911-call-investigation" target="_blank">Tamir Rice</a> and <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/07/unarmed-black-man-was-killed-campus-police-ohio%E2%80%94and-video-being-withheld" target="_blank">Samuel Dubose</a>, the public has repeatedly seen that<strong>&nbsp;</strong>an officer's account&mdash;"<a href="http://www.newsnet5.com/news/state/sam-dubose-ray-tensing-uc-police-officer-said-motorist-was-dragging-him-so-he-shot-him" target="_blank">I almost got run over by the car</a>" or "<a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/11/here-are-transcripts-and-audio-darren-wilsons-grand-jury-hearing" target="_blank">I felt like a five-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan</a>"&mdash;can have big implications for a case, swaying internal investigators, prosecutors, and grand juries as they determine whether a police shooting was legal or justified. It is unsurprising, then, that over the past year the&nbsp;question of how long officers should wait before giving their accounts has been <a href="https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/04/27/blue-shield" target="_blank">fiercely</a> <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2015/04/24/the-police-officers-bill-of-rights/" target="_blank">debated</a>.&nbsp;Policing experts have raised a number of issues, including, most importantly, the validity of the science&mdash;promoted often by&nbsp;Lewinski&mdash;behind delaying interviews.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Local officials and union attorneys who embrace the so-called 48-hour rule say stress can interfere with an officer's ability to recall details. "The science behind how people remember things, particularly those that are involved in a high-stress, adrenaline-infused situation, has shown that memories can often be inaccurate if they are immediate," Sean Smoot, a police union attorney who represents officers in Illinois, testified to the US Commission on Civil Rights in April.</p> <p>When the civil rights commission pressed Smoot for data supporting his claim, he cited the work of Lewinski and the Force Science Institute. In an April 2014 Force Science newsletter, Lewinski <a href="http://www.forcescience.org/fsnews/254.html" target="_blank">wrote</a>, "The overall benefit of waiting while he or she rests and emotionally decompresses far outweighs any potential loss of memory." What's more, he said, "Delay enhances an officer's ability to more accurately and completely respond to questions."</p> <p>But the science shaping rules about when officers should be interviewed, several policing experts warn, is inconclusive at best, and shaky ground on which to base investigations with potentially criminal outcomes. In fact, a 2010 experiment conducted by University of South Carolina professor Geoffrey Alpert found that an officer's recollection of threats at the scene actually weakened slightly over time. The scientific conclusions about when officers should be interviewed after a shooting, Alpert says, "remain blurred."</p> <p>In response to Smoot's testimony, Samuel Walker, a criminologist at the University of Nebraska in Omaha, <a href="http://samuelwalker.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/48HourSciencepdf.pdf" target="_blank">reviewed</a> a meta-study of psychological research on the relationship between stress and memory. The 2008 study concluded that "there is little evidence to support the view that emotional stress is bad for memory," Walker wrote. "Police unions and their advocates have made false and self-serving claims about the scientific evidence on the impact of trauma on memory."</p> <p>When I asked Lewinski about the findings, he referred me to the recommendations of the International Association of Chiefs of Police's psychological services section. "That prestigious and knowledgeable group disagrees strongly with Dr. Walker," Lewinski said in an email. (The association's <a href="http://www.theiacp.org/portals/0/documents/pdfs/Psych-OfficerInvolvedShooting.pdf" target="_blank">guidelines</a> on officer-involved shootings don't quite line up with Lewinski's 48-hour recommendation; they state that "officers should have some recovery time before providing a full formal statement," ranging from a few hours to several days, and that "an officer's memory will often benefit from at least one sleep cycle prior to being interviewed leading to more coherent and accurate statements.")</p> <p>The&nbsp;science isn't the only concern that policing experts have raised in recent months: In her line of questioning last week, McGinn suggested the delay could give officers an opportunity to review video or "consult with their peers who were involved before they ever give a statement."&nbsp;Walter Katz, a Los Angeles-based attorney focusing on police accountability, told me that "there's always the concern about either contamination or having statements which are essentially fabricated." And<strong>&nbsp;</strong>McGinn&nbsp;and others have asked if the delays amount to <a href="https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/04/27/blue-shield" target="_blank">special treatment</a> a regular citizen wouldn't be afforded. (Union officials have <a href="https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/04/27/blue-shield" target="_blank">pointed</a> out that due process for ordinary civilians does not provide enough protection for law enforcement officers.) In the fragile atmosphere that tends to follow police shootings, such suspicions could well corrode public trust.</p> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif;">What's more, rules delaying interviews also overlook the fact that officers may prefer to get their interviews out of the way, says David&nbsp;</span>Klinger<span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif;">, a criminologist at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. "In the absence of sound scientific evidence, why make them wait?"</span></p></body></html> Politics Crime and Justice Top Stories police Wed, 12 Aug 2015 10:00:32 +0000 Jaeah Lee 281646 at http://www.motherjones.com This Video Shows a Police Officer Handcuffing an 8-Year-Old Boy With a Mental Disorder http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/08/kentucky-school-cop-handcuffed-8-year-old-boy-mental-disorder <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="480" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/89yo1Pvp5_M" width="640"></iframe></p> <p>A Kentucky police officer has been named in a federal lawsuit filed Monday alleging that he illegally handcuffed and restrained two elementary school students with disabilities. According to the <a href="http://www.childrenslawky.org/s-r-v-korzenborn-u-s-district-court-covington/" target="_blank">lawsuit</a>, Kenton County Deputy Sheriff Kevin Sumner, a school resource officer assigned to the Covington Independent Public Schools district, used handcuffs last fall to restrain an 8-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl, placing the cuffs on their biceps behind their backs. Sumner allegedly did so after the students failed to comply with directions given by school authorities. Both students had previously been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and the boy had also been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of the students by the Children's Law Center in Kentucky, Dinsmore &amp; Shohl, and the American Civil Liberties Union. The suit alleges Sumner violated the students' civil rights and the Americans with Disabilities Act.</p> <p>Two videos accompanying the lawsuit show a November 2014 incident in which Sumner tells an 8-year-old Latino student, identified as S.R. in the lawsuit, to "Sit down like I asked you to" while handcuffing him as the child cries and expresses that he's in pain. Earlier that year, Sumner allegedly detained L.G., a 9-year-old African American student, in the back of his cruiser, after she disrupted the classroom and was requested to be escorted to an in-school suspension room. The lawsuit also details two subsequent incidents in which Sumner handcuffed L.G., one of which resulted in L.G. going to a hospital for psychiatric assessment and treatment.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="480" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/D_Lbp-Hlhfg" width="640"></iframe></p> <p>The lawsuit comes amid growing concerns about the conduct of police officers serving inside the nation's K-12 schools; as <em>Mother Jones </em>reported recently, in the last five years <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/05/police-school-resource-officers-k-12-misconduct-violence" target="_blank">at least 28 students have been seriously injured, and one student killed,</a> by school cops. The lawsuit underscores the gaps in oversight and inadequate training for officers assigned to schools, as well as the disproportionate impact of school policing on students of color.</p> <p>Kenton County Chief Deputy Pat Morgan told<em> Mother Jones</em> that the sheriff's office has reviewed the incidents involving the two students. Morgan said he does not consider handcuffing to be a use of force that would be subject to an internal investigation, but he declined to comment further on the case, pending review of the lawsuit by attorneys for the sheriff's office. Previous court rulings <a href="http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-9th-circuit/1122830.html" target="_blank">have found</a> that handcuffing can constitute excessive force.</p> <p>In a statement to press, Debra Vance, the director of communications for Covington Independent Public Schools, said that she could not speak about the case specifically due to student privacy concerns, but added that school resource officers "are not called upon by school district staff to punish or discipline a student who engages in a school-related offense."</p></body></html> Politics Video Crime and Justice Education Race and Ethnicity Top Stories police Mon, 03 Aug 2015 21:07:24 +0000 Jaeah Lee 281166 at http://www.motherjones.com Getting a Home Loan Is Expensive—Especially for Black Women http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/07/race-gender-interest-rates-mortgages <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><a href="http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11146-014-9473-0" target="_blank">A recent study</a> in the <em>Journal of Real Estate and Finance Economics</em> finds that black home loan borrowers are charged higher interest rates than their white counterparts&mdash;and that black women pay the highest rates of all. &nbsp;</p> <p>The three finance professors who <a href="http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11146-014-9473-0" target="_blank">authored</a> the study analyzed the mortgages and demographic characteristics of more than 3,500 households during the height of the housing boom&mdash;2001, 2004, and 2007&mdash;using the Federal Reserve's triennial <a href="http://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/scf/scfindex.htm" target="_blank">Survey of Consumer Finances.</a> They found that on average, black borrowers were charged between 0.29 and 0.31 percentage points more in interest than whites, even after controlling for their debt and credit history.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/mortgages%20race-01.png" style="max-width: 630px; float: left;"></div> <p>The racial disparity was most pronounced for subprime borrowers who couldn't qualify for low-interest mortgages (the left side of the chart above), with black borrowers paying interest rates that were at least 0.4 percentage points higher than whites in the same group.</p> <p>Within this group paying the highest interest rates, black women paid the highest rates of all, at an average rate of 7.9 percent. But a statistically significant disparity persisted even among those who paid lower interest rates (the right side of the chart), the study notes. In this group, black borrowers paid interest rates between 0.1 percent and 0.4 percentage points higher than their white counterparts.</p> <p>Over at <em>Quartz</em>,&nbsp;Melvin Backman <a href="http://qz.com/436667/study-black-women-face-racism-and-sexism-in-the-mortgage-market/" target="_blank">explains</a> how these disparities translate into dollars: According to Freddie Mac's <a href="http://calculators.freddiemac.com/response/lf-freddiemac/calc/home02" target="_blank">mortgage cost calculator</a>, a $200,000, 30-year mortgage would cost a black man about $3,000 more than a white man over the course of the loan. A black woman getting the same loan would pay nearly $9,000 more than a white woman.</p> <div class="atlas-chart" data-height="230" data-id="EJbUQEBv" data-width="640">&nbsp;</div> <p>The study adds to a body of research showing that black mortgage applicants are <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/24/lending-discrimination-black-borrowers-face-higher-hurdles-in-lending-study_n_1300509.html" target="_blank">more likely</a> to be denied credit than white applicants, and are <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/storyline/wp/2014/12/23/if-youre-poor-your-mortgage-rate-can-depend-on-the-color-of-your-skin/" target="_blank">more likely</a> to be charged higher interest rates than whites. It also appears to confirm the racial disparities identified in lawsuits against several of America's top mortgage lenders, including <a href="http://www.phillyvoice.com/two-discrimination-lawsuits-wells-fargo-dismissed/" target="_blank">Wells Fargo</a> and <a href="http://www.justice.gov/usao-cdca/dojcountrywide-settlement-information" target="_blank">Bank of America's Countrywide</a>, which <a href="http://www.law360.com/articles/661239/provident-pays-9m-to-settle-discriminatory-lending-suit" target="_blank">faced</a> hefty payouts in a slew of discrimination lawsuits following the housing-market crash. The <a href="http://www.epi.org/publication/bp335-boa-countrywide-discriminatory-lending/" target="_blank">lawsuits</a> had even prompted the Obama administration to <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/13/business/wells-fargo-to-settle-mortgage-discrimination-charges.html" target="_blank">set up</a> a new unit in the Department of Justice's civil rights division to deal with the caseload. <script src="http://atlas.qz.com/javascripts/atlas.js"></script></p> <p>But the new study also suggests more granular disparities between black and white borrowers. Among black borrowers, for example, younger homeowners without a college education paid some of the highest interest rates. And among those paying higher interest rates, black women, who already <a href="http://sacobserver.com/2015/04/black-women-face-challenges-in-building-wealth/" target="_blank">face</a> <a href="http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2010/03/closing_the_wealth_gap_between_black_and_white_women.1.html" target="_blank">stiff</a> obstacles to economic mobility, were likely to be charged interest <a href="http://www.mtgprofessor.com/glossary.htm" target="_blank">rate premiums</a> two to three times that of what black men were charged. While they do not speculate about the causes of these racial and gender gaps between borrowers, the authors conclude, "it is the more financially vulnerable black women who suffer the most."</p></body></html> MoJo Charts Economy Race and Ethnicity Top Stories Tue, 28 Jul 2015 10:09:31 +0000 Jaeah Lee 280001 at http://www.motherjones.com We Crunched the Numbers on Race and Traffic Stops in the County Where Sandra Bland Died http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/traffic-stops-black-people-waller-county <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The traffic stop that set off a chain of events leading to <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/texas-waller-county-sandra-bland-racial-tensions" target="_blank">Sandra Bland's death</a> in Waller County, Texas, is the latest <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/04/walter-scott-traffic-stop-police-shootings" target="_blank">in a series</a> of recent roadside police encounters that quickly escalated into violent confrontations. Bland was one of <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/07/unarmed-black-man-was-killed-campus-police-ohio%E2%80%94and-video-being-withheld" target="_blank">at least two</a> people to die in custody following a traffic stop during the same week. While medical examiners <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/07/waller-county-officials-sandra-bland-autopsy-consistent-suicide" target="_blank">have ruled</a> her death in jail a suicide, the circumstances behind Bland's demise remain under investigation.</p> <p>It is unclear how often <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/04/walter-scott-traffic-stop-police-shootings" target="_blank">traffic stops result</a> in deaths or injuries. But a growing <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/04/north-carolina-traffic-stops" target="_blank">number of studies</a> have shown that cops stop and search black people at a higher rate than whites.</p> <p>According to data collected by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, a disproportionate number of the drivers pulled over by police in Waller County in 2014 were black. Out of 12,300 traffic stops, more than 29 percent involved black drivers, while black people make up about 26 percent of the county's population. In comparison, whites, who make up 70 percent of the county's population, were involved in 44 percent of traffic stops.<a href="#correction">*</a></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="400" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="//mjdwcharts.s3.amazonaws.com/CBIDb/1/index.html" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="400" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="//mjdwcharts.s3.amazonaws.com/ChM0p/2/index.html" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>Ten police agencies serving the county <a href="https://www.tcole.texas.gov/racial_profile_report?county=WALLER" target="_blank">reported</a> traffic stop numbers to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement as part of a state statute that prohibits racial profiling by law enforcement. In Prairie View, where Bland was pulled over by a state trooper&mdash;and where she attended a historically black college&mdash;about 64 percent of stops by local police involved black drivers. The city's <a href="http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/48/4859336.html" target="_blank">population</a> is about 89 percent black and 5 percent white.</p> <p>The Texas Department of Public Safety also <a href="https://www.txdps.state.tx.us/director_staff/public_information/2014_Traffic_Stop_Data_Report.pdf" target="_blank">publishes</a> its data on traffic stops by race, but it does not break down the figures by county. About 10 percent of DPS traffic stops across the state in 2014 involved black drivers, compared with more than 29 percent of stops in Waller County.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="550" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="//mjdwcharts.s3.amazonaws.com/xAORB/1/index.html" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p id="correction"><em>Correction: An earlier version of the chart included data for Waller County's Hispanic population, which may be of any race. Due to differences in data reporting on race and ethnicity&nbsp;between the US Census and the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, a separate population chart has been added, where the white and black race categories include those identifying with a Hispanic ethnicity.</em></p></body></html> Politics Charts Crime and Justice Race and Ethnicity Top Stories police Fri, 24 Jul 2015 10:00:12 +0000 Jaeah Lee 280446 at http://www.motherjones.com Texas Police Deny Editing Dashcam Footage of Sandra Bland's Arrest http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/sandra-bland-arrest-dashcam-video-questions <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>After Tuesday's release of police dashcam footage capturing the arrest of Sandra Bland, the 28-year-old from Illinois who was found dead three days later in police custody, questions swirled on social media about apparent glitches and loops in the footage, and whether or not Bland should have been taken into custody in the first place.</p> <p>A <a href="https://twitter.com/EmceeUspire/status/623672733751087104" target="_blank">number</a> <a href="http://bennorton.com/dashcam-video-of-violent-arrest-of-sandra-bland-was-edited/" target="_blank">of</a> <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/sandra-bland-death-texas-look-alleged-edits-dashcam-video-n396291?cid=sm_tw&amp;hootPostID=6784c066abcf32f64ebb8ea35c77d8a6" target="_blank">reports</a> have now detailed the alleged cuts. In one section, for example, a man can be seen walking from a tow-truck towards the police cruiser. Seconds later, the footage is repeated, while the audio continues seemingly unbroken underneath.</p> <p>Texas police have now told <em>Mother Jones </em>that the 52-minute video of Bland's was not deliberately edited, and that the glitches were the result of a YouTube upload error. "Some of the video that occurred during this conversation was affected in the upload and is being addressed," said Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Tom Vinger, by email. He added that the agency <a href="http://www.dps.texas.gov/director_staff/media_and_communications/2015/pr20150717.htm" target="_blank">asked the FBI</a> to examine the footage to ensure its integrity, prior to the video's release. (In a July 17 <a href="http://www.dps.texas.gov/director_staff/media_and_communications/2015/pr20150717.htm" target="_blank">statement</a>, DPS says that officials asked the FBI to "conduct a forensic analysis" of the footage.) He didn't elaborate about the specific glitches, nor the apparent mismatch between audio and video.</p> <p>In the video taken on July 10, a state Department of Public Safety trooper&mdash;later identified as Brian Encinia&mdash;can be seen approaching Bland's Hyundai during a routine traffic stop. When Encinia asks Bland to put out her cigarette, she refuses, and the officer orders Bland to get out of her car. When Bland argues with the officer, Encinia opens Bland's door, reaches in, and forces her out. Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/07/21/much-too-early-to-call-jail-cell-hanging-death-of-sandra-bland-suicide-da-says/" target="_blank">has admitted</a> that Encinia violated department policy and had been reassigned to desk duty pending the investigation into Bland's death.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the dashcam video has raised further questions about whether or not Encinia's conduct was lawful. <em>Mother Jones</em> has asked the Department of Public Safety for comment on the following questions, and will update this post when they respond:</p> <ul><li><strong>Was Encinia's conduct during the traffic stop, and eventual arrest of Bland, lawful?</strong> According to DPS, Bland was arrested for "<a href="http://www.dps.texas.gov/director_staff/media_and_communications/2015/pr20150716.htm" target="_blank">assault on a public servant</a>." Encinia claimed that Bland had kicked him. In the video, Encinia told Bland she was under arrest before she stepped out of the car. Later, Encinia can be heard speaking to someone, saying that he attempted to de-escalate the situation before detaining Bland. He does not mention that he apparently threatened Bland with what appears to be a Taser, nor that he opened her door and forced her out of the car.</li> <li><strong>What about the other officers in the video?</strong> The video shows at least two other officers arriving at the scene. As Encinio is heard holding Bland down on the ground, Bland calls him a "pussy," to which a female officer replies, "No, you are." It is unclear whether the other officers assisted Encinio in the arrest, and whether they used force in the process.</li> </ul><p>According to the statement issued to <em>Mother Jones</em>, the Texas DPS is preparing to release a new version of the dashcam recording, presumably without the glitches in the video, and DVDs will be available to the media late Wednesday morning.</p></body></html> Politics Video Crime and Justice Race and Ethnicity police Wed, 22 Jul 2015 15:13:33 +0000 Jaeah Lee 280191 at http://www.motherjones.com New Video Shows Aggressive Arrest of Sandra Bland Prior to Her Death in a Texas Jail http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/sandra-bland-police-dash-cam-video-texas <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="473" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/CaW09Ymr2BA?rel=0&amp;start=510" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><em>Note: The Texas Department of Public Safety has re-uploaded the video above, in response to <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/sandra-bland-arrest-dashcam-video-questions" target="_blank">questions about glitches</a> in an earlier version.</em></p> <p>On Tuesday, Texas officials released a police dash cam video showing the July 10 arrest of Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old black woman from Illinois <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/texas-waller-county-sandra-bland-racial-tensions" target="_blank">who died</a> three days later in a Waller County jail cell, in a case ruled a suicide by local authorities. The footage shows Texas state trooper Brian Encinia aggressively confronting Bland after pulling her over for a traffic infraction and ordering her out of her car. "I'm going to drag you out of here," he says, reaching into Bland's vehicle. He then pulls out what appears to be a taser, points it at her and yells "I will light you up!" After Bland emerges, they walk out of the frame where the argument continues and Encinia eventually <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/texas-waller-county-sandra-bland-racial-tensions" target="_blank">forces Bland to the ground violently</a> as she continues to protest the arrest. (The confrontation can be heard on the police footage, and was already seen widely since late last week, after a different video recorded by a bystander appeared online.)</p> <p>By Tuesday night, questions were swirling on social media about what appeared to be glitches in, or possibly edits to the dash cam video; a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jul/21/sandra-bland-dashcam-video-arrest-released" target="_blank">told the <em>Guardian </em></a>that he did not have an immediate explanation for the inconsistencies. &nbsp;</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-280151"> <li><a href="/politics/2015/07/sandra-bland-police-dash-cam-video-texas"> Video Shows Arrest of Sandra Bland Prior to Her Death in Texas Jail</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-277586"> <li><a href="/politics/2015/06/tamir-rice-police-killing-911-call-investigation"> How Cleveland Police May Have Botched a 911 Call Just Before Killing Tamir Rice</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-279731"> <li><a href="/politics/2015/07/native-americans-getting-shot-police"> Native Americans Get Shot By Cops at an Astonishing Rate</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-273291"> <li><a href="/mojo/2015/04/walter-scott-michael-slager"> The Walter Scott Shooting Video Shows Why Police Accounts Are Hard to Trust</a></li> </span> <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-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-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>In a press conference on Tuesday, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety said that Encinia failed to "maintain professionalism" throughout his interaction with Bland, and that he has been taken off the street and placed on administrative duty for duration of the investigation into Bland's death. In answer to a reporter's question, Texas state Sen. Royce West said that the dash cam footage showed that Bland should not have been taken into police custody.</p> <p>The subsequent death of Bland has continued to raise troubling questions since <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/texas-waller-county-sandra-bland-racial-tensions" target="_blank">she was found</a> hanged on the morning of July 13. A medical examiner report and the county sheriff's office ruled her death a suicide, but during the three days Bland spent in jail, Bland's family members said they spoke to her on the phone about posting bail, and that a suicide seemed "<a href="http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-officials-release-video-in-texas-jail-hanging-case-20150720-story.html#page=1" target="_blank">unfathomable</a>." An hour before she was found, Bland had asked to use the phone again, county <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/texas-waller-county-sandra-bland-racial-tensions" target="_blank">officials said</a>.</p> <p>On Monday, officials in Waller County released additional details about the morning Bland died, including surveillance video <a href="http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-officials-release-video-in-texas-jail-hanging-case-20150720-story.html#page=1" target="_blank">footage showing</a> the hall outside of cell 95, where Bland was held. Citing interviews with family members and with the bail bondsman who was among the last to speak with Bland, Waller County District Attorney <a href="http://www.texastribune.org/2015/07/20/sandra-blands-death-now-murder-investigation/" target="_blank">Elton Mathis said</a> it is "too early to make any kind of determination" and that "this investigation is still being treated just as it would be a murder investigation," signaling that he had not ruled out any motives and would explore all leads and evidence, including videos, fingerprints in her cell, and the plastic bag found around her neck.</p> <p>The Texas Rangers are currently leading the investigation into Bland's death, with the FBI overseeing the process. The family's attorney has also asked the US Department of Justice to open a federal investigation. Mathis said he will take the case to a grand jury, which is expected to be impaneled in August.</p> <p>Bland's death, which comes amid heightened public scrutiny over race and policing in America, is the latest episode in Waller County's <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/texas-waller-county-sandra-bland-racial-tensions" target="_blank">long</a> <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/07/sandra-bland-waller-county-racism/398975/?utm_source=SFFB" target="_blank">history</a> <a href="http://www.texastribune.org/2015/07/20/sandra-blands-death-now-murder-investigation/" target="_blank">of</a> racial strife. For family and friends, news of Bland's death was sudden and unexpected, and it has raised questions about potential foul play, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/sandra-bland-jail-death_55ae9f12e4b07af29d569875" target="_blank">conditions at the jail</a>, and the circumstances that led to her arrest. Bland herself often spoke out about police brutality, as chronicled in videos she posted on her Facebook page.</p> <p>On the day she was jailed, Bland had been driving to to start a new job in Prairie View, Texas, where she had attended a historically black college. She was pulled over by Encinia for an improper lane change. The Department of Public Safety said Bland had been uncooperative and that she kicked Encinia, <a href="http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Relatives-question-death-of-woman-found-hanging-6388529.php" target="_blank">according to</a> the <em>Houston Chronicle</em>. A <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/texas-waller-county-sandra-bland-racial-tensions" target="_blank">bystander's video</a> capturing the arrest shows Bland being held down on the ground by an officer, shouting, "You just slammed my head into the ground. Do you not even care about that? I can't even hear!"</p> <p><a href="http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-officials-release-video-in-texas-jail-hanging-case-20150720-story.html#page=2" target="_blank">According to</a> the <em>Los Angeles Times</em>, Cannon Lambert, an attorney for Bland's family, said the dash cam footage "doesn't give us any more understanding of what actually happened to her," and that the jail surveillance footage offered no insight into her death.</p> <p><em>This story has been updated.</em></p></body></html> Politics Video Crime and Justice Race and Ethnicity Top Stories Tue, 21 Jul 2015 22:47:28 +0000 Jaeah Lee 280151 at http://www.motherjones.com The Texas County Where Sandra Bland Died Is Fraught With Racial Tensions http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/texas-waller-county-sandra-bland-racial-tensions <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/IYim6pDZV0Y?rel=0" width="640"></iframe></p> <p>Around 9 a.m. on Monday, Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old from Illinois, <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/naperville-sun/crime/ct-nvs-sandra-bland-death-naperville-st-0717-20150715-story.html" target="_blank">was found</a> not breathing in a Waller County, Texas jail cell, where she was declared dead shortly thereafter. At a press conference on Thursday evening, Waller County officials said that while the investigation is ongoing, preliminary evidence showed Bland had hung herself using a plastic bag that lined a trash can in her cell, and that prior to her death she had asked to use the phone to call her family. Over the weekend in jail, Bland had been in contact with family members to try and post bail, county officials said. The news of Bland's death, which the county sheriff's office attributed to "self-inflicted asphyxiation," has <a href="http://www.theroot.com/articles/news/2015/07/everything_we_know_about_sandra_bland.html?utm_content=bufferc3f74&amp;utm_medium=social&amp;utm_source=twitter.com&amp;utm_campaign=buffer" target="_blank">raised</a> <a href="http://gawker.com/what-happened-to-sandra-bland-a-black-woman-who-died-i-1718326817" target="_blank">questions</a> about how a woman who'd been driving through the area to start a new job wound up dying in custody, as well as <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jul/16/women-suicide-texas-jail-sandra-bland-foul-play" target="_blank">suspicions about</a> foul play.</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Screen%20Shot%202015-07-16%20at%201.50.20%20PM.png" style="max-width: 250px;"></div> <p>Bland, who friends <a href="http://www.theroot.com/articles/news/2015/07/everything_we_know_about_sandra_bland.html?utm_content=bufferc3f74&amp;utm_medium=social&amp;utm_source=twitter.com&amp;utm_campaign=buffer" target="_blank">described</a> as an <a href="http://jezebel.com/blacklivesmatter-participant-mysteriously-dies-in-poli-1718245632?utm_campaign=socialflow_jezebel_facebook&amp;utm_source=jezebel_facebook&amp;utm_medium=socialflow" target="_blank">outspoken</a> critic of police brutality, was booked into the jail three days earlier, after getting pulled over in Prairie View by a state Department of Public Safety trooper. The trooper claimed that Bland was uncooperative and that she kicked him, at which point he arrested her for "assault on a public servant," the <a href="http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Relatives-question-death-of-woman-found-hanging-6388529.php" target="_blank"><em>Houston Chronicle</em></a> reported, citing a DPS spokesperson. A bystander's video purporting to capture the arrest, first <a href="http://abc7chicago.com/news/road-trip-for-suburban-woman-ends-in-jailhouse-death/853139/" target="_blank">posted</a> by the an ABC affiliate in Chicago, shows a trooper holding a woman down as she shouts "You just slammed my head into the ground. Do you not even care about that? I can't even hear!"</p> <p>Following her death, Bland's <a href="http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Relatives-question-death-of-woman-found-hanging-6388529.php" target="_blank">family</a> members and supporters have <a href="http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Relatives-question-death-of-woman-found-hanging-6388529.php" target="_blank">spread</a> her story on social media, organized protests, and petitioned for the US Department of Justice to investigate the case. One friend <a href="http://abc7chicago.com/news/road-trip-for-suburban-woman-ends-in-jailhouse-death/853139/" target="_blank">told</a> reporters that Bland was "strong mentally and spiritually" and that she would not have taken her own life. On Thursday, Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said investigators would review any evidence of stress that may have contributed to Bland's death, including a <a href="https://www.facebook.com/sandra.bland.5070/videos/vb.73304051/10100583474040874/?type=2&amp;theater" target="_blank">video she posted</a> in March, in which Bland says she is suffering from "a little bit of depression" and PTSD.</p> <p>Whether or not it was suicide, Bland's death comes amid an ongoing national conversation about race and criminal justice in America, and casts a spotlight on a county apparently rife with racial tensions. In 2007, Waller County Sheriff R. Glenn Smith was suspended&mdash;and eventually fired by city council members&mdash;while serving as police chief in Hempstead, a city in Waller County, <a href="http://mic.com/articles/122418/r-glenn-smith-sandra-bland-death" target="_blank">following accusations</a> of racism by community members. Less than a year after his firing, Smith was <a href="http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Fired-Hempstead-police-chief-now-nominee-for-1784270.php" target="_blank">elected</a> county sheriff. When asked about the accusations on Thursday, Smith said his firing in 2007 was "political," and denied that he was a racist.</p> <p>The history of Waller County's racial tensions doesn't end there. In 2003, the <em>Houston Chronicle</em> <a href="http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Charges-of-racism-ignite-Waller-County-politics-2129895.php" target="_blank">reported</a> that two prominent black county officials, DeWayne Charleston and Keith Woods, claimed they were the target of an investigation by the county's chief prosecutor because of their race<em>.</em> Charleston had been accused of keeping erratic hours and falsifying an employee time-sheet record, according to the <em>Houston Chronicle. </em>Charleston and Woods claimed the <a href="http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/groups/council-of-conservative-citizens" target="_blank">Concerned Citizens</a> of Waller County was behind those accusations, and said that the group was conducting a Ku Klux Klan-like campaign against black officials:</p> <blockquote> <p>Charleston, the county's first black judge, said a county grand jury has interviewed him, although he declined to elaborate. And Woods, the four-term mayor of Brookshire, is facing questions about his role in the last city election.</p> <p>"I do believe race plays a big part in what DeWayne and I are facing," Woods said. "I feel that way because we're the ones obviously not being given the benefit of the doubt (when) we face contrary decisions by the district attorney."</p> <p>Kitzman, 69, a retired state district judge, denies any racist implications in his interest in the two men. He says he's simply doing his job by looking into complaints brought to him by residents.</p> </blockquote> <p><em>Houston Chronicle</em> reporter Leah Binkovitz also <a href="https://twitter.com/leahbink/status/621696914933678080" target="_blank">pointed out</a> that a disproportionately high number of lynchings have been recorded in Waller County. According to the advocacy group Equal Justice Initiative, the county saw <a href="http://www.eji.org/files/Lynching%20in%20America%20SUPPLEMENT%20By%20County.pdf" target="_blank">15 lynchings</a> of African Americans between 1877 and 1950.&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">.<a href="https://twitter.com/byjoelanderson">@byjoelanderson</a> re: Waller county's "tolerance," from <a href="https://twitter.com/eji_org">@eji_org</a>'s lynching report, disproportionately high numbers <a href="http://t.co/7laXjGL03O">pic.twitter.com/7laXjGL03O</a></p> &mdash; Leah Binkovitz (@leahbink) <a href="https://twitter.com/leahbink/status/621696914933678080">July 16, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Bland's death has also raised questions about conditions at the Waller County jail, where in 2012, a 29-year-old white inmate named James Harper Howell IV, <a href="http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Inmate-found-hanging-at-Waller-County-jail-4012244.php" target="_blank">hung himself</a> with the bed sheets in his cell. When asked about the 2012 death on Thursday, Smith responded that his staff had been monitoring inmates but that "these incidents occur in jails."</p></body></html> Politics Video Crime and Justice Race and Ethnicity Top Stories police Fri, 17 Jul 2015 10:00:13 +0000 Jaeah Lee 279886 at http://www.motherjones.com Another Fatal Police Shooting Caught on Video—and More Questions About a Dispatcher's Role http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/07/gardena-police-shooting-video-911-call-dispatcher <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jdsDOziV3cA" width="640"></iframe></p> <p>On Tuesday, a federal court <a href="http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-gardena-police-shooting-experts-question-officers-tactics-20150715-story.html#page=1" target="_blank">ordered</a> the release of video showing a June 2013 police shooting in Gardena, California (a city in southern Los Angeles County) in which an unarmed man, Ricardo Diaz-Zeferino, was killed and another unarmed man wounded. Previously,&nbsp;an internal review by the Gardena Police Department had concluded that the shooting was justified, and prosecutors in Gardena decided not to pursue criminal charges against the officers involved.&nbsp;In May, the City of Gardena <a href="http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Attorneys-Call-DOJ-Investigation-Gardena-Police-Shooting-Video-315415751.html" target="_blank">agreed to pay</a> $4.7 million to settle a federal lawsuit filed by the family of Diaz-Zeferino. But the newly released police dash cam footage, first posted by the <em>Los Angeles Times</em>, has raised questions about the events leading up to the fatal encounter&mdash;including the potential mishandling of a 911 call, an issue that has come up with other officer-involved killings.</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-280151"> <li><a href="/politics/2015/07/sandra-bland-police-dash-cam-video-texas"> Video Shows Arrest of Sandra Bland Prior to Her Death in Texas Jail</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-277586"> <li><a href="/politics/2015/06/tamir-rice-police-killing-911-call-investigation"> How Cleveland Police May Have Botched a 911 Call Just Before Killing Tamir Rice</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-279731"> <li><a href="/politics/2015/07/native-americans-getting-shot-police"> Native Americans Get Shot By Cops at an Astonishing Rate</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-273291"> <li><a href="/mojo/2015/04/walter-scott-michael-slager"> The Walter Scott Shooting Video Shows Why Police Accounts Are Hard to Trust</a></li> </span> <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-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-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>According to <a href="http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-gardena-police-shooting-experts-question-officers-tactics-20150715-story.html#page=1" target="_blank">the <em>Los Angeles Times</em></a>, there may have been a miscommunication by the police dispatcher:</p> <blockquote> <p>The shooting occurred about 2:30 a.m. on June 2, 2013, after a bicycle was stolen from outside a CVS Pharmacy on Western Avenue. A police dispatcher mistakenly told officers that the crime was a robbery, which usually involves a theft using weapons or force, and officers headed to the area in search of two suspects.</p> <p>Gardena police Sgt. Christopher Cuff saw two men riding bicycles east on Redondo Beach Boulevard. The men were friends of the bike theft victim and were searching for the missing bicycle. Mistaking them for the thieves, Cuff ordered the men to stop and put their hands up, according to a district attorney's memo written by a prosecutor who reviewed the police videos.</p> </blockquote> <p>The Gardena killing is the latest <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/05/police-shootings-caught-on-tape-video" target="_blank">in a string</a> of high-profile police shootings captured on video, which have brought scrutiny on <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/05/tamir-rice-investigation-cleveland-police" target="_blank">police tactics</a> and procedures. With the Tamir Rice shooting in Cleveland, evidence emerged that the dispatcher who relayed the 911 call did not include potentially key details about the suspect, as <em>Mother Jones</em> <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/06/tamir-rice-police-killing-911-call-investigation" target="_blank">previously reported</a>. And according to a recent <em>Washington Post</em> <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/investigative/2015/06/30/distraught-people-deadly-results/" target="_blank">data investigation</a> of police shootings of mentally ill suspects, "officers are routinely dispatched with information that is incomplete or wrong."</p></body></html> MoJo Video Crime and Justice Race and Ethnicity Top Stories police Thu, 16 Jul 2015 10:00:14 +0000 Jaeah Lee 279721 at http://www.motherjones.com Chokeholds, Brain Injuries, Beatings: When School Cops Go Bad http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/05/police-school-resource-officers-k-12-misconduct-violence <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Over the past year, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/05/police-shootings-caught-on-tape-video" target="_blank">video footage</a> from around the country of law enforcement officers killing citizens, many of them <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/08/police-shootings-michael-brown-ferguson-black-men" target="_blank">black</a>, has brought scrutiny on policing in the streets. Yet, another disturbing police problem has drawn far less attention: Use of force by cops in schools. According to news reports and data collected by advocacy groups, over the past five years at least 28 students have been seriously injured, and in one case shot to death, by so-called school resource officers&mdash;sworn, uniformed police assigned to provide security on K-12 campuses.</p> <p><a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/06/data-police-shootings-washington-post-guardian" target="_blank">As with the officer-involved killings</a> that have been thrust into the national spotlight, government data on police conduct in schools is lacking. And while serious use of force by officers against school kids appears to be rare, experts also point to a troubling lack of training and oversight, and a disproportionate impact on minority and disabled students.</p> <p>Here are some of the recent cases, which <em>Mother Jones </em>has looked into further:</p> <ul><li><strong>Chokehold and a brain injury:</strong> In March, Louisville Metro Police officer Jonathan Hardin was fired after his alleged use of force in two incidents at Olmsted Academy North middle school: He was <a href="http://www.wave3.com/story/28018314/lmpd-officer-accused-of-student-assault?autostart=true" target="_blank">accused</a> of punching a 13-year-old student in the face for cutting the cafeteria line, and a week later of <a href="http://www.wlky.com/news/police-say-video-shows-school-resource-officer-punching-student/31090656" target="_blank">putting</a> another 13-year-old student in a chokehold, allegedly knocking the student unconscious and causing a brain injury. In April, a grand jury <a href="http://www.wdrb.com/story/28861286/former-lmpd-school-resource-officer-indicted-by-grand-jury-on-multiple-charges-including-assault" target="_blank">indicted</a> Hardin on assault and misconduct charges for the chokehold incident, and his trial is pending. The Jefferson County Attorney's Office is also considering charges against Hardin over the punching incident, a spokesperson for the attorney's office told <em>Mother Jones</em>. Hardin's attorney declined to comment, citing the ongoing criminal litigation.</li> <li><strong>Beating with a baton:</strong> In May 2014, Cesar Suquet, then a 16-year-old high school student in Houston, was being escorted by an officer out of the principal's office after a discussion about Suquet's confiscated cell phone. Following a verbal exchange, police officer Michael Y'Barbo struck Suquet at least 18 times with a police baton, injuring him on his head, neck and elsewhere, according to the lawsuit Suquet's family filed against the Pasadena Independent School District. In its response to the incident (which was captured on video<strong> </strong>according to court documents), the school district admitted that Y'Barbo struck Suquet but denied allegations of wrongdoing. Y'Barbo, in his response, denied striking Suquet on the head, stating that he acted "within his discretionary duties" and that his use of force was "reasonable and necessary." A spokesperson for the school district told <em>Mother Jones</em> that Y'Barbo remains on regular assignment including patrol.</li> <li><strong>Taser-induced brain injury:</strong> In November 2013, student Noe Nino de Rivera was trying to break up a fight at Cedar Creek High School in Bastrop County, Texas, when two officers arrived and told Nino de Rivera to step back. Within moments, one of the officers, Randy McMillan, tased the 17-year-old, who fell to the ground and hit his head.&nbsp;Nino de Rivera was taken to a hospital, where he "underwent surgery to repair a severe brain hemorrhage and was placed in a medically induced coma," according to the family's lawsuit against McMillan, Bastrop County, and the school district.&nbsp;The teen remained in a coma for 52 days, a family attorney <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/31/us/texas-taser-high-school-student-coma/" target="_blank">told <em>CNN.</em></a> Attorneys representing the county <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/31/us/texas-taser-high-school-student-coma/" target="_blank">said</a> that Nino de Rivera had failed to comply with orders and that McMillan "used the reasonable amount of necessary force to maintain and control discipline at the school." In May 2014, a grand jury declined to indict McMillan, and that month he received a promotion. Three months later, the county agreed to pay Nino de Rivera's family $775,000 to settle the lawsuit.</li> </ul><div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/ninoderivera.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Noe Nino de Rivera after he was hospitalized. </strong>Photo courtesy of the family</div> </div> <ul><li><strong>Shot to death:</strong> On November 12, 2010, 14-year-old Derek Lopez <a href="http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/education/article/Teen-shot-by-Northside-officer-identified-813859.php" target="_blank">stepped off</a> a school bus outside of Northside Alternative High School, near San Antonio, and punched another student, knocking him to the ground. Officer Daniel Alvarado witnessed the altercation and ordered Lopez to freeze, and then chased a fleeing Lopez to a shed behind a house, where he fatally shot him. Alvarado later <a href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/738540/moreno-order.txt" target="_blank">testified</a> that Lopez had "bull-rushed" him as he opened the shed door. Lopez, who was unarmed, died soon afterward. In August 2012, a grand jury <a href="http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/education/article/Northside-ISD-to-pay-mother-of-boy-its-officer-4860739.php" target="_blank">declined</a> to indict Alvarado. The Northside Independent School District school board later <a href="http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/education/article/Northside-ISD-to-pay-mother-of-boy-its-officer-4860739.php" target="_blank">agreed</a> to pay a $925,000 settlement to Lopez's family. Alvarado has since been terminated from Northside for unrelated reasons, an attorney for the school district told <em>Mother Jones</em>.</li> </ul><p>The US and state governments do not specifically collect data on police conduct in K-12 schools. But some data has been gathered at the <a href="http://www.legalaidnc.org/public/learn/projects/acs/publications/law-enforcement-officers-in-wake-county-schools-february-2011.pdf" target="_blank">county</a> and <a href="https://www.aclutx.org/2011/03/07/use-of-force-in-texas-public-schools-the-case-for-transparency-accountability-and-decriminalization/" target="_blank">state</a> level by the ACLU and other advocacy groups, including in Texas and North Carolina. Using news reports, the <em>Huffington Post</em> <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/03/taser-pepper-spray-in-school_n_6882920.html" target="_blank">identified</a> at least 25 students in 13 states recently who sought medical attention after getting tased, peppersprayed, or shot with a stun gun by school resource officers. (For more on these harsh tactics and a lawsuit they led to, read <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/02/birmingham-school-police-trial-splc" target="_blank">this <em>Mother Jones </em>story</a>.)</p> <p>From the war on drugs to "zero tolerance policies," cops have been utilized in K-12 schools for decades. But the mass shooting at Columbine High School in 1999 caused their ranks to swell, with the number of police officers patrolling K-12 campuses approximately doubling to <a href="http://cie.asu.edu/ojs/index.php/cieatasu/article/viewFile/863/367" target="_blank">20,000</a> by 2006, according to the <a href="https://nasro.org/" target="_blank">National Association of School Resource Officers</a>. The US Department of Justice spent an estimated $876 million after Columbine to <a href="http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/Default.asp?Item=2583" target="_blank">fund</a> nearly 7,000 school resource officers across the country. Since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012, the DOJ <a href="http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/department-justice-awards-hiring-grants-law-enforcement-and-school-safety-officers" target="_blank">has spent</a> another $67 million to fund an additional 540 cops in schools. Many school districts and local police departments have funded their own sworn law enforcement personnel for the job.</p> <p>But much about this field remains unclear: According to <a href="http://sgo.sagepub.com/content/4/1/2158244014521821" target="_blank">a recent report</a> from Philip Stinson, a Bowling Green University criminologist, "The existing research offers few answers to such basic questions as to how SROs are selected, the nature and extent of SRO training, and the strategic uses of SROs."</p> <p>Michael Dorn, a former school district police chief in Georgia, says that misconduct cases by school cops are rare and that overall their presence has helped improve campus safety. But the programs need to be better evaluated based on data, he adds. <a href="http://csgjusticecenter.org/youth/school-discipline-consensus-report/" target="_blank">Studies</a> in some school districts have shown that school cops helped reduce crime, truancy, and bullying. But others have <a href="http://youthjusticenc.org/download/education-justice/suspension-and-expulsion/Preparing%20for%20prison%20-%20The%20criminalization%20of%20school%20discipline%20in%20the%20USA.pdf" target="_blank">found</a> that the presence of cops in schools leads to increased ticketing and arrests for minor infractions. Jason Langberg, an attorney in Virginia who has represented victims of alleged abuse, explains that many officers end up stepping into matters of routine student discipline. They deal with "minor scuffles, a bag of marijuana, or even just talking back," he says. "The vast majority of incidents don't involve guns in schools."</p> <p>Dewey Cornell, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia who studies school safety, suggests that the rise of school cops has been based on misguided fear. After Sandy Hook, the NRA proposed putting them <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/04/nra-phony-school-shooting" target="_blank">in every single school in America</a>. But relative to overall gun violence, "schools are one of the least likely places for a shooting to occur, and pulling officers off the street and putting them on guard in a school lobby is short-sighted and dangerous," Cornell says. "The fear of school shootings has been greatly overestimated because of the attention to a handful of tragic cases."</p> <p>Last March, the US Department of Education <a href="http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/crdc-discipline-snapshot.pdf" target="_blank">reported</a> that 92,000 students were subject to school-related arrests in the 2011-2012 academic year, the first time the agency collected and published such data. Black students comprised 16 percent of the total students enrolled but accounted for 31 percent of arrests. And a quarter of the total arrested were students with disabilities, despite that they comprised only 12 percent of the student population. In recommendations to the White House <a href="http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/pdf/taskforce/TaskForce_FinalReport.pdf" target="_blank">published</a> in May, the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing advised that law enforcement agencies analyze data on all stops, frisks, searches, summons, and arrests&mdash;and seperate out the data for school detentions. "Noncriminal offenses can escalate to criminal charges when officers are not trained in child and adolescent development," the report noted.</p> <p>Often young police officers are on the job, according to the advocacy group Strategies for Youth, which works with police departments and school districts on training. Yet, a <a href="http://strategiesforyouth.org/sfysite/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/SFYReport_02-2013_rev.pdf" target="_blank">national survey</a> conducted in 2013 by the group found that police academies in only one state, Tennessee, offered training specifically for officers deployed to schools.&nbsp;The majority of academies, the survey noted, "do not teach recruits how to recognize and respond to youth with mental health, trauma-related and special education-related disorders."</p> <p>In February, Michael Reynolds, a black high school student in Detroit, <a href="http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/pdf/taskforce/submissions/Reynolds_Michael_Testimony.pdf" target="_blank">testified</a> to the task force about an interaction with a cop at his school. "Before I could explain why I did not have my [student] badge I was escorted to the office and suspended for an entire week," he said. "Many young people today have fear of the police in their communities and schools."</p></body></html> Politics Crime and Justice Education Race and Ethnicity Top Stories police Tue, 14 Jul 2015 10:00:07 +0000 Jaeah Lee 275911 at http://www.motherjones.com The Vast Majority of America's Elected Prosecutors Are White Men http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/07/new-study-most-elected-prosecutors-white <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>A study released on Tuesday <a href="http://wholeads.us/justice/#" target="_blank">reveals</a> a glaring lack of diversity among America's elected prosecutors. The data, gathered by the Center for Technology and Civil Life and published by the Women's Donors Network, examines the racial and gender makeup of the more than 2,400 elected city, county and district prosecutors, as well as state attorneys general, serving in office during the summer of 2014. Here are the key findings:</p> <ul><li>95 percent of all elected prosecutors were white.</li> <li>79 percent of all elected prosecutors were white men.</li> <li>In 14 states, all elected prosecutors were white.</li> <li>Just 1 percent of the&nbsp;2,437 elected prosecutors serving were women of color.</li> </ul><p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="400" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="//mjdwcharts.s3.amazonaws.com/Ec4oZ/1/index.html" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>The study comes amid stark questions about race and the American criminal justice system, an issue thrust into the spotlight after a string of high-profile police <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/08/police-shootings-michael-brown-ferguson-black-men" target="_blank">killings of black Americans</a>. Most of the nation's police forces are <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/05/police-are-whiter-communities-they-serve" target="_blank">disproportionately white</a>. And while a high-profile prosecution in Baltimore is being led by <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/09/us/freddie-gray-case-marilyn-mosby/" target="_blank">a black woman</a>, other <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/06/tamir-rice-police-killing-911-call-investigation" target="_blank">controversial</a> <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/05/tanisha-anderson-killing-cleveland-police" target="_blank">cases</a> in Cleveland, Ohio, and most famously <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/07/us/a-study-documents-the-paucity-of-black-elected-prosecutors-zero-in-most-states.html?_r=0" target="_blank">in Ferguson</a>, Missouri, have been in the hands of white men.</p> <p>See the full dataset on elected prosecutors <a href="http://wholeads.us/justice/" target="_blank">here</a>.</p></body></html> MoJo Crime and Justice Race and Ethnicity Top Stories Tue, 07 Jul 2015 16:45:51 +0000 Jaeah Lee 279146 at http://www.motherjones.com