police brutality

  • August 3, 2017

    by Christopher Wright Durocher 

    Since announcing his campaignDonald Trump has claimed that he alone could restore law and order to a lawless, chaotic and violent country. In return for his commitment to this 1980’s era law and order rhetoriche earned the endorsements of the National Fraternal Order of Police, the National Border Patrol Council, the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Counciland numerous local police organizationsAccording to Fraternal Order of Police President Check

  • December 1, 2015

    by Jim Thompson

    Following the senseless shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has asked the city’s top police officer, Superintendent Garry McCarthy, to resign, writes Eyder Peralta at NPR

    In the Chicago Tribune, Steve Mills and Todd Lightly question the morality of laws allowing federal prisons to sue inmates for the cost of their imprisonment.

    Fed up with the inactivity of lawmakers, the Editorial Board at The New York Times raises discussion about the innocent victims of gun violence—children of the deceased.

    Eric Holthaus at Slate explains why the Paris climate summit presents a crucial turning point in the international conversation on climate change. However, discord in Congress highlights just how polarized the United States climate debate has become, reports Clare Foran in The Atlantic.  

  • November 30, 2015

    by Jim Thompson

    In The New York Times, Linda Greenhouse writes that the birth control and abortion cases on the Supreme Court’s docket present “a battle for the secular state in which women can make their choices and design what Justice Ginsburg calls their life course, free of obstacles erected by those who would impose their religious views on others.”

    At The Washington Post, Sandhya Somashekhar explains how violent, deceiving rhetoric from anti-abortion advocates directly contributed to the shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado last Friday.

    The family of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old black male fatally shot by a white police officer last year, has presented Ohio prosecutors with two new reports from former high-ranking officials at California law enforcement agencies criticizing the Cleveland officer’s actions as reckless and unreasonable, writes Mitch Smith in The New York Times.

    The Council on American-Islamic Relations has called on the Department of Justice to investigate the Thanksgiving Day shooting of a Muslim taxi driver in Pittsburgh by an Islamophobic passenger, reports Peter Holley in The Washington Post.

  • November 25, 2015

    by Jim Thompson

    On Tuesday, outgoing Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) issued an executive order restoring voting rights for 170,000 nonviolent ex-offenders who have completed their sentences, reports Ari Berman in The Nation.

    In The Atlantic, Gillian B. White states that supply-constricting zoning regulations greatly increase the cost of living in urban areas, deterring many Americans from moving to cities where jobs and resources are plentiful and subsequently exacerbating inequality in the United States.

    At The Guardian, Zach Stafford writes about growing tensions in Chicago following the release of video footage showing the inhumane death of Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old black teenager who was shot 16 times by a white police officer in 2014. 

    Victoria Cavaliere reports in Reuters that the NAACP has asked a federal judge to halt the implementation of a photo identification requirement for North Carolina voters, saying  that the law disproportionately burdens “minority voters who might have less access to legal documents needed to obtain driver's licenses or other official identification.”

  • November 12, 2015
    Guest Post

    by Tom Nolan, Associate Professor of Criminology, Merrimack College; 27-year veteran of Boston Police Department

    One perspective on the U.S. Supreme Court’s November 9 decision in Mullenix v. Luna that might reify the issue for those not familiar with the netherworld of policing should perhaps come from one longtime police officer not always standing on the “right” side of the “thin blue line.” I am not an attorney, but a former police officer turned academic, and I know a bad shooting when I see one. The 2010 killing of Israel Leija Jr. by Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Trooper Chadrin Mullenix was just such a bad shooting and should never have happened. Mullenix’s use of deadly force in shooting Leija, using a rifle and firing six shots from a distance of 25-30 yards, was deemed “reasonable” by the Court, who granted Mullenix “qualified immunity,” thus shielding him from civil liability in Leija’s death.

    This is once again a situation where circumstances brought about in large part by police actions, while legal, led to the needless death of a young man of color. Leija, who was known by the police and who had an outstanding warrant for a probation violation, fled from the police in his car when they approached him to place him under arrest. The police gave pursuit and engaged in a high-speed chase at speeds of up to 110 miles per hour, for a probation violation by an individual known to them.  They knew who he was and where he lived, so my decades of police experience cause me to question: Why are you chasing this guy and endangering the public (and yourselves)? This is not a dangerous and violent fleeing felon (or at least he wasn’t until the police began chasing him). This in no way justifies or absolves the clear wrongdoing on the part of Leija, but it is ultimately fair to question the wisdom of the police participation in this high-speed chase. Any police supervisor I know would have ordered the almost immediate termination of this reckless and unnecessary pursuit.

    As for the shooting, Justice Sotomayer, in her insightful and convincing dissent, noted: “Mullenix had no training in shooting to disable a moving vehicle and had never seen the tactic done before” (that’s because the “tactic” doesn’t exist). She further wrote: “He also lacked permission to take the shots” (in fact he was ordered not to by his supervisor). The officers who initiated the pursuit had devised a strategy to deploy “spike strips” to disable Leija’s vehicle and to terminate the pursuit; they had set the strips at three separate locations and taken nearby cover, all in compliance with their tactical training. Mullenix believed that he knew better and that he would not wait the literally three-quarters of one second it would have taken to see if the spike strips were successful in immobilizing Leija’s vehicle before he opened fire, missing his “intended target” (the vehicle’s engine block), and killing Leija.