Many thanks to our very own "MJ" Goyings, a resident of Ohio,
for her daily research that provides us with the news related material that appears on the LACP & NAASCA web sites.
HEALTH AND WELLNESS
Every Chicago cop deserves the best in mental health care
Being a cop, as we so often say, is a hard job.
Start with the call from the battered wife frantically seeking help. Add the corner drug dealers who make life miserable for the good people on a block. Don't forget the random bullet, shot by a gang member, that shatters a window and kills a child napping on his grandma's couch.
Officer, can you stop my raging husband?
Officer, can you make the drug dealers go away?
Officer, can you save my grandson?
The chaos, violence and tragedy police officers encounter every day, especially in a city like Chicago that is struggling with a horrific gun violence epidemic, can wear down even the toughest veteran. Plenty of hard-nosed cops just “suck it up,” burying the trauma to keep at their jobs. But buried trauma is like a dormant volcano: Sooner or later, it's bound to blow.
No wonder, then, that police officers face a high risk of suicide. They are, according to a 2018 study, far more likely to take their own lives than to die or be killed in the line of duty. The Chicago police face an even higher risk, as we first noted last year. The suicide rate among Chicago cops is 60 percent higher than in other police departments across the country, according to the Department of Justice.
The urgency of the problem was driven home again in recent weeks by the suicides of two on-duty Chicago police officers. According to the Fraternal Order of Police, an average of three officers a year take their own lives.
All officers face an enormous risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder, a syndrome first diagnosed in war zones. Not that anybody should be surprised. To be a cop is to be a kind of soldier, facing physical dangers regularly and witnessing the worst side of humanity.
There is, as well, a ripple effect into the larger society; Officers with PTSD are more likely to use excessive force or be involved in instances of brutality.
We ask the police to “serve and protect” us. We demand that they make split-second decisions to stop crime in real-time, often with lives — including their own — on the line. We expect them to be the “first-responders” when a mental health crisis flares up in a family or neighborhood.
As the police protect us, we must protect them. We must provide the best possible mental health services and, within CPD, send the steady message — an unblinking green light — that officers who seek help will in no way hurt their careers. That's a real fear among officers, that to seek help is to look weak, and to look weak is to never be promoted.
Father Daniel Brandt, director of the Chicago Police Chaplain's Ministry, spends hours on the overnight shift every week, visiting officers “in the field” at crime scenes, accidents and fires.
“I'm amazed at how often, when we're out at 2 or 3 in the morning at some scene, an officer says to me, ‘I've been meaning to call you. Can I come see you?' ” Brandt told us. “Police are programmed to fix other people's problems, but hesitant to fix their own.”
In its groundbreaking assessment of the CPD released last year, the Department of Justice stressed that strong mental health services are essential for effective police work. Emotionally healthy cops are the best cops. But, the DOJ found, CPD historically has done a poor job of recognizing and treating officers' mental health issues.
Now, a legally binding consent decree, to be monitored by a federal court, calls for much more aggressive mental health services. A draft of the decree calls for more counselors and a “comprehensive” suicide prevention initiative.
Since the DOJ report was released last year, CPD has hired more counselors and plans to hire more licensed clinicians, a police spokesman said. And the department is touting a new internal communications campaign focused exclusively on the problem of officer suicide, featuring a video that's played at roll calls, and posters and print materials at district stations.
The draft consent decree, however, clearly envisions an even more ambitious effort to treat the emotional needs of officers. By September of next year, the draft document stipulates, CPD will complete a “needs assessment” of what else must be done to “minimize the risk of harm from stress, trauma, alcohol and substance abuse, and mental illness.”
Every Chicago police officer deserves nothing less.
Former ‘ER' Actress Vanessa Marquez Shot and Killed by Police
Vanessa Marquez, an actress best known for her role as a nurse on “ER,” was shot and killed by South Pasadena police on Thursday, authorities confirmed on Friday.
Officers were called to Marquez's home in the 1100 block of Fremont Avenue by a landlord to check on her welfare. When the officers arrived around 12 p.m., she was suffering from seizures and appeared unable to take care of herself. Officers called out paramedics and a mental health clinician, and continued to talk with her. After about 90 minutes, Marquez, 49, armed herself with a BB gun and pointed it at the officers, causing them to open fire, said Sheriff's Lt. Joe Mendoza.
South Pasadena, a municipality separate from neighboring Pasadena, is eight miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles.
Mendoza told reporters that Marquez appeared to be going through “mental problems” and seemed to be “gravely disabled.”
She appeared as Ana Delgado in the Edward James Olmos-starring film “Stand and Deliver” in 1988, and in 27 episodes of “ER” as nurse Wendy Goldman. Her other credits include the series “Malcom & Eddie” and “Wiseguy.”
Last October, Marquez alleged that she was blacklisted from “ER” by co-star George Clooney after complaining of racial discrimination and sexual harassment.
“Clooney helped blacklist me when I spoke up about harassment on ER.'women who dont play the game lose career'I did,” she wrote on Twitter.
Clooney issued a statement at the time saying he had nothing to do with casting on the show.
“I had no idea Vanessa was blacklisted,” he said. “I take her at her word. I was not a writer or a producer or a director on that show. I had nothing to do with casting. I was an actor and only an actor. If she was told I was involved in any decision about her career then she was lied to. The fact that I couldn't affect her career is only surpassed by the fact that I wouldn't.”
Marquez also wrote on social media that she was suffering from immune disorders, including celiac disease. She said several times that she was diagnosed as “terminal,” was suffering from chronic pain, and was “homebound.”
Marquez had alleged she was groped on the set of “ER” well before the #MeToo movement last fall. She claimed that when she complained to the producers, she was exiled.
“I was blacklisted and my career was over at 26,” she wrote on Facebook in January 2017. “Why are women afraid to speak up ‘at the time?' Because everything they've ever worked for is RIPPED away from them. For being a goddamn victim and expecting protection.”
She also wrote extensively about her health problems and said she was entering “that Norma Desmond stage that some actors do. Watching their old stuff on tv.”
“A person only has so much strength and I'm afraid I've used all mine up,” she wrote. “Why couldn't my dream have lasted for more than just those few years?”
When police confront armed homeowners, it can be hard to tell good guys from bad
Colorado police shoot armed homeowner who called them for intruder
A Colorado case demonstrates the conflict between the right of civilians to arm themselves and the authority of police to use deadly force.
Early Monday morning, police in Aurora, Colorado, got a call from a woman saying a man had broken into her home. Inside, her husband, Richard Black Jr., a decorated Vietnam War veteran and retired accountant, was struggling with the intruder, who was naked and attacking their 11-year-old grandson, according to the family's lawyer.
After trying to pry the attacker away, Black, 73, fetched his 9mm handgun and shot the intruder dead, the lawyer, Qusair Mohamedbhai, said, citing the accounts of relatives who witnessed the attack.
The killing, under those circumstances, seem to fit within Colorado's “Make My Day” law, which protects gun owners who shoot a violent intruder in their homes from prosecution.
But that's not how the story ends.
Just as Black was shooting the intruder, Aurora officers were arriving at his house. Hearing gunfire and encountering an armed man — Black — one of the officers fatally shot him, according to police.
Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz told reporters on Thursday that body camera video of the incident appears to shows police responding to a scene where they were told a child was being drowned, that they heard shots fired inside the home shortly after arriving — apparently Black killing the intruder — and that they saw Black with a gun in one hand and a flashlight in the other.
Metz said the body camera video shows police repeatedly commanding Black to drop the weapon, he did not drop the gun, and that an officer fired after Black allegedly raised the flashlight at officers. The shooting is still under investigation. Investigators later learned from the family that Black had a significant hearing impairment from his military service, and it's unclear what he heard.
Black's death may not result in criminal charges. That's because the law generally gives officers broad discretion to use deadly force when they feel that their lives — or others — are in danger.
The case demonstrates the conflict between two American ideals: the right of civilians to arm themselves in self-defense, and the authority given to police to enforce laws, protect the public and, if need be, use deadly force to do so.
“It's fraught with peril if a homeowner is armed and protecting their family from danger and simultaneously injecting police into that situation,” Mohamedbhai said. “The homeowner is at extraordinary risk and unfortunately what may happen may be a chilling effect on people calling police for assistance.”
These types of incidents — officers mistakenly shooting armed citizens defending themselves from crime — happen from time to time, despite efforts by police and gun owners to prevent them. In 2008, Phoenix police shot and injured a homeowner who'd cornered an intruder in his home with his handgun. In 2015, an armed South Carolina man was shot and injured by police after he called 911 to report a break-in. In 2016, an Indianapolis man was shot and wounded by police after he reported a carjacking and left his house holding a gun.
An instructor at Bristlecone Shooting, Training and Retail Center in Denver teaches a recent concealed-carry course in which students learn how to safely discharge firearms in self-defense.
Firearms instructors who teach courses required for gun owners to receive concealed carry permits say they stress to students that when calling 911, they should make sure to say they're armed, where they are and what they're wearing. They also advise students to put the gun down before officers arrive — and if they don't feel safe putting it down, then to take their finger off the trigger and not to wave it around. And they tell students to identify themselves.
At the same time, situations involving armed citizens are often discussed in police training. While much of the “shoot/don't shoot” decision comes down to split-second assessments of what officers encounter at a scene, communication is key, experts say. If someone has called 911, a dispatcher should find out if any armed citizens are on the scene, and relay that information to the officers. Officers should, if possible, announce themselves, or give homeowners a chance to identify themselves.
But reality can be messy and confusing. The person calling 911 may not know if any law-abiding citizens on the scene are armed. A dispatcher may not ask, or relay, such information to officers. Someone using a gun to defend against an attack may not immediately want — or think — to drop their gun.
“So much of the training in a case like this is going to be framed around what an officer knows at the time he or she arrives at the scene,” said Jim Bueermann, president of the Police Foundation, a research and training organization.
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That is particularly important in parts of America where there is a high rate of gun ownership — and a strong belief in armed self-defense, Bueermann said.
“There the officers are going to receive a slightly different slant on training — like, remember that not everyone with guns are the bad guys, and make sure you know who, to the best of your ability, you are dealing with,” Bueermann said. “The problem comes when before an officer can figure that out, the law-abiding citizen with a gun turns toward the officer or does something that the officer interprets to be a threatening gesture and shoots him.”
Harvey Hedden, executive director of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association, said that it was “unreasonable” for officers to assume that anyone they encounter with a gun is an armed citizen protecting themselves.
“It is a tragedy and it's something that concealed carry holders and armed homeowners have to consider — when the police respond, there's no label on anyone to tell them who's the bad guy and who's the good guy,” Hedden said.
But Tony Fabian, president of the Colorado State Shooting Association, an affiliate of the National Rifle Association, said the onus belongs on the police.
Fabian declined to comment on the Aurora case when asked, prior to police releasing new details in the case, saying that facts were not clear enough at that time to determine whether anyone is at fault. “But it seems to me that if there are questions about this tragic incident regarding training, I would expect that they would be most appropriately directed at the law enforcement agency and not the civilian homeowner who was defending his premises and its occupants,” Fabian said in an email.
Before Thursday's press conference, Aurora police had declined to provide details about the shootings beyond a statement posted on the department's blog.
The officer who shot Black, who has not been identified, has been placed on paid administrative duty. Metz said Thursday that the officer is a military veteran and “he is incredibly heartbroken over this situation” and is praying for the Black family.
Metz said in a video statement Wednesday that there had been inaccuracies in public reporting about the shooting. “This has been a very tragic situation and a very heartbreaking situation for everyone involved,” Metz said.
The police chief said that he and other members of the police department met with Black's family Thursday morning.
Metz read a statement he said was from the family in which they asked that the body camera video not be released publicly yet, because they don't want violent moments of his distinguished life to be his public legacy.
“The investigation is in its early stages, and until it is complete there will remain many more questions than answers,” the statement read by Metz said. They also said in the statement that threats and harassment of police over the shooting “must stop.”
“Any disrespect to law enforcement carried out in Mr. Black's name would be contrary to his wishes,” the family statement read by Metz said.
About 16 miles south of Aurora, in the town of Parker, firearms instructor Dave Heath has clipped a newspaper article about Monday's shooting. He plans to share it with his students as a lesson of how quickly things can go wrong for gun owners defending their homes.
“I'm not blaming either one of them, because we don't know what happened,” Heath said. “There are too many factors. But the most important thing that's reinforced in my teaching is: Put the gun down when police arrive.
CHICAGO'S CRIME WAVE 4 days ago
Prosecutors rest in murder trial of white Chicago officer accused of shooting black teen 16 times
(VIDEO on site)
by Barnini Chakraborty
Prosecutors on Thursday rested their case in the first-degree murder trial of Jason Van Dyke, a white Chicago police officer accused of fatally shooting Laquan McDonald, a black teenager, 16 times.
McDonald's death roiled Chicago, led to impassioned demonstrations and exposed deep resentment and mistrust between officers and the people they're sworn to protect.
Special Prosecutor Joseph McMahon called the 2014 killing “completely unnecessary” and argued that race had been a factor.
Prosecutors say that on the night McDonald was shot and killed, the only thing the defendant saw was a “black boy walking down the street” who had the “audacity to ignore the police.”
Van Dyke is charged with first-degree murder, 16 counts of aggravated battery and one count of official misconduct in McDonald's death. He was suspended without pay and has pleaded not guilty to murder.
His attorneys have painted McDonald as a troubled teen who refused to drop the three-inch retractable knife he'd been carrying the night he was killed.
Defense attorney Daniel Herbert described McDonald as an “out-of-control individual who didn't care about anyone,” and argued that Van Dyke was a “scared police officer who was fearful of his life and the life of others.”
Van Dyke claimed he shot McDonald 16 times when the teen swung a knife at him. Grainy dashcam video — released 13 months later after a court order — showed McDonald holding a knife at the side of his body, about 15 feet away from Van Dyke, and walking away from him and other officers who'd responded to a report that the youth was trying to break into vehicles.
McDonald fell to the pavement less than two seconds after he was shot. Van Dyke continued shooting for another 12 seconds, emptying his 16-shot semiautomatic gun.
Eury Patrick, the prosecution's expert on deadly use of force by the police, testified Thursday that Van Dyke kept shooting “long beyond the point of being reasonable.”
“They're not trained to just empty their gun,” Patrick said. “It's not a knee-jerk reaction. They're trained to shoot until the risk is ended.”
Witness Jose Torres told jurors he heard more gunshots after McDonald fell than before.
“I'm not going to use the word, but I said, ‘Why the "f" are they still shooting him if he's on the ground?'”
Over the course of the week, prosecutors showed the jury --eight women and four men -- the dashcam video more than a half-dozen times. They also showed the jury every gunshot wound on McDonald's body.
On Wednesday, Cook County Medical Examiner Dr. Ponni Arunkumar spent two hours on the stand, detailing the multiple bullet holes on McDonald's back, chest, leg, arms and hand. She also pointed out where the bullets had burned McDonald's skin, shattered his bones and ripped through his lung. She testified they picked bullet fragments from his teeth and mouth.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson showed up at the Chicago courthouse on Wednesday afternoon. He watched an hour of testimony and told reporters that the McDonald case was “one of the most heinous crimes since Emmitt Till.”
Till, who was born in Chicago in 1941, was savagely beaten and killed in a racially motivated attack in Mississippi when he was 14. He was abducted, beaten and shot in the head. His killers, who later confessed to the crime, were acquitted.
Van Dyke's partner and two other officers face trials this fall on conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges. Prosecutors contend that they lied to protect Van Dyke, filing reports that echoed his statement characterizing McDonald as a danger
Family of mental health patient who died in Florence floodwaters during medical transport demands answers
Rivers cresting at record levels in South Carolina
(Video on site)
by Lucia I. Suarez Sang
The daughter of one of the women who drowned while shackled inside a medical transfer van that was overrun by Florence floodwaters demands to know why sheriff's deputies drove through a flooded road.
Rose Hershberger, 19, told reporters she was stunned to hear that her mother, Nicolette Green, 43, and another woman in the care of the Horry County Sheriff's Office died during a medical transfer between mental health hospitals Tuesday night.
“Deputies are supposed [to] take care [of] the people that are in the back of their car,” she told WMBF.
Two deputies were shuttling Green and Windy Newton, 45, from one hospital to another when the van was overcome by floodwaters on Highway 76, less than a mile from Little Pee Dee River. The two deputies attempted to extricate the two shackled women, but were unable to open the doors as water rushed toward them.
"I'm not sure if it was the way the van was positioned, against a guardrail, or if it was pressure from the water, but unfortunately they were not able to get the van doors open and get the ladies out," Horry County Sheriff Phillip Thompson told reporters.
Rescue crews needed about 45 minutes to find the van, which was underwater at that point, and plucked the Horry County deputies from the roof, the sheriff said.
"I was confused as to why someone would, or the police officers would drive down a road that was in an area that was known for flooding,” Hershberger told NBC News. "If they saw the water—they have their own, you know, 'turn around, don't drown.' They have that everywhere.”
Rescue operations continue in communities swamped by flooding from Hurricane Florence; chief correspondent Jonathan Hunt reports from over Pender County, North Carolina.
She told WMBF that her mother battled schizophrenia and was showing improvements. On Tuesday, she had taken her mother to Waccamaw Mental Health to meet with a new therapist, who determined she needed to be committed to mental health institution.
Green's sister, Donnela Green-Johnson, said she knew about the transfer and felt her heart drop when she saw in the news about the van caught in the floodwaters.
“It was devastating because we had found her again, then to have her taken by a senseless crime, it's devastating to us,” she told WMBF.
Thompson told reporters that deputies appear to have driven around a barrier blocking the road. The investigation is ongoing.
"It hasn't been confirmed to me that they did, but here's my question: There's barriers there. It could be assumed that he did," Thompson said Wednesday.
The incident is being investigated by the State Law Enforcement Division.
“I feel very upset and kind of betrayed, because my mom was a very, very trusting person,” Hershberger told NBC News. "And she still put her trust in the deputies that were supposed to take care of her and made sure she got there safely, and the fact that they were able to get out but my mom and the other woman wasn't makes me feel really like hurt and betrayed by them.”
Two dogs put up for adoption after Fox News reporter Leland Vittert helps rescue them in the aftermath of Florence.
Justin Bamberg, a state lawmaker and lawyer who has represented the families of several people injured or killed by law enforcement officers, said he's perplexed by the decision to transport anyone in such uncertain weather conditions.
"If that road is in an area where it is a flood risk, and waters were rising, why were they driving on that road anyway?" he said. "People need to know exactly how it happened. It makes it seem like someone took a very unnecessary risk in creating the problem in the first place."
More than 36 people have died since Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane late last week in North Carolina.
Thompson said he has also begun an internal investigation and put the deputies involved — Joshua Bishop and Stephen Flood — on administrative leave.
Despite the pain, Hershberger said she and her sister are trying to remember the happy memories they have together with their mom
Texas police officer arrested for alleged child sexual assault: report
by Madeline Farber
A police officer in Texas was arrested this week on charges of child sexual assault, according to a local report.
Laurance Martinez, an officer with the Uvalde Police Department, was arrested Thursday by Texas Rangers, according to the Uvalde Leader-News.
The 23-year-old's arrest comes after the Uvalde Police Department launched an investigation into Martinez after receiving a tip from a local school district, the newspaper reported. It also said the alleged victim is 15.
After looking into to the tip, officials with the police department “determined that there was enough evidence to arrest Martinez,” the publication reported.
His employment with the police department was terminated upon his arrest.
San Jose, California
SJPD rolls out texting service to get candid community feedback
by Robert Salonga
SAN JOSE — San Jose police want to hear residents' real, no-holds-barred feelings about how officers are patrolling city streets and dealing with the community.
All residents need to do is text.
“We want to be smack dab in communities affected by not only crime, but relationships with law enforcement,” said Chief Eddie Garcia, who along with dozens of SJPD officers met with more than 100 residents of the tight-knit working-class Washington neighborhood Monday night.
Monday's gathering was the first of a planned series of community forums — dubbed “Working Together For Stronger Communities” — aimed at building trust amid a national cloud of police skepticism and deportation fears that have driven some worried residents into the shadows.
At Monday's event, the department rolled out textmy90.com — a service designed to allow residents to send police anonymous text messages with tips, complaints and other feedback. It also functions as a type of polling service, culling responses to police surveys to offer community opinions almost instantaneously.
To test the service, police department asked residents to tap away on their smartphones to rate the trustworthiness of SJPD.
The results arrived within a minute:
58.2 percent rated the department as “very trustworthy”
percent chose “somewhat trustworthy”
8 percent went with “somewhat untrustworthy”
1.9 percent said “very untrustworthy”
“We want their honesty. It's the only way to get better. We heard their frustrations, but we also heard a massive amount of appreciation,” Garcia said.
Monday's forum, funded by the Silicon Valley Community and SJPD foundations, was publicized in the neighborhood with word-of-mouth spurring local turnout.
Other survey questions revolved around residents' feeling of safety, perceptions of police bias, and their past encounters with police. Some key breakdowns:
Satisfaction with last encounter with SJPD:
very satisfied, 64 percent;
somewhat satisfied, 20.2 percent;
somewhat dissatisfied, 7 percent;
very dissatisfied, 3 percent
How safe you felt during that police interaction:
very safe, 74.3 percent;
somewhat safe, 17.6 percent;
somewhat unsafe, 4 percent;
very unsafe, 4 percent
How safe you feel in your neighborhood:
very safe, 26.8 percent;
somewhat safe, 48.8 percent;
somewhat unsafe, 17.1
percent; very unsafe, 7.3 percent
Do you feel there is a perception of bias in SJPD stops:
strong perception, 19.7 percent;
somewhat of a perception, 23.9 percent;
some but not wide perception, 29.6 percent;
no perception, 26.8 percent
Garcia said while he believes the Monday evening sample indicates a good relationship with residents, the department still needs to work on bolstering its image with residents who responded more negatively.
“Those are the numbers we want to improve,” he said. “We're always in search of perfection. But we want the community to know we're not sitting on our hands.”
He referenced a survey question asking residents what they thought police should do to improve their community ties. Nearly half selected “walk around and talk to people who live here.” The chief agrees.
“They want to have more positive interactions with us,” Garcia said. “The first time they see an officer can't be in a moment of crisis.”
The real-time survey served as fuel for small-group discussions that matched residents with police officers, community leaders and in some cases elected officials.
Residents welcomed the low-key, conversational setting and valued the face-to-face time with officers outside that did not involve an arrest or tense police encounter.
“It's important for the police department to come out and engage with the community,” said Martha Carrasco. “The perception is that they are not available to regular residents. This shows they're willing to work with us.”
The service's touted anonymity appeared to be a selling point for the residents, who seemed more comfortable communicating on their mobile devices.
“People in the meeting were more engaged” said Carrasco of the my90 component. “They didn't have to worry about having a spotlight on them.”
Garcia said the department is hopeful that the anonymous texting feature of the service will alleviate residents' fears of reporting crimes. He stressed that my90 operates independently of the police departments it works with, and that SJPD has no access to its personal data. The service asserts that phone numbers are encrypted when it receives text messages.
“We've got to get that information, and those who have a fear of law enforcement can feel safe,” he said.
The evening's sole moment of tension came from a question related to the fatal officer-involved shooting last September of Jacob Dominguez, who was being sought by police for a drive-by shooting but was unarmed when he was killed. Dominguez's family has steadily protested the police use of force, and the resident who asked the question wanted to know the directive of the Covert Response Unit.
Garcia addressed the question by prefacing he could not go into detail, citing the ongoing investigation, but said he and the department “have empathy for all involved.”
The chief also reiterated remarks he has made in numerous churches in the city over the past few weeks, assuring minority communities that SJPD does not work with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agencies, a longstanding policy aimed at encouraging residents in immigrant neighborhoods to report crimes to police.
“We want to make sure all our community is safe, (including) those who are documented and undocumented,” Garcia said
Empathetic Policing Has Hidden Costs. Here is How to Fix That.
by Shefali V. Patil, Assistant Professor of Management
The public may be demanding softer policing policies, but are officers who embrace such policies actually conducting themselves in ways the public hopes and expects? No, they are not. And there is cost to us all.
When a police officer shoots an unarmed black man, a tragic, all-too-familiar cycle of events ensues: Communities seethe in anger, knee-jerk accusations are hurled from all sides, and boiler-plate defenses are frantically mounted.
In response, police chiefs and city leaders promise swift action and imminent change: a greater shift to community-oriented policing — a kinder, gentler philosophy that emphasizes community outreach, citizens' voice, and the much bandied “collaborative problem solving.”
As an organizational psychologist, what I found was startling when I studied six U.S. police agencies, collecting 794 body camera footage videos of 164 officers.
When cops believe they are misunderstood and underappreciated, gentler policing philosophies do not increase officer effectiveness. In fact, amid public strife, more empathetic police officers are less effective at ensuring the basic safety of citizens. They make more procedural errors, the kind of missteps that can be deadly.
By contrast, officers who endorse a more conservative, law-and-order approach are more effective at executing basic duties properly and safely.
And herein lies a slice of the problem. In response to police-public tension, policy leaders looking to make positive change reject “traditional” law enforcement strategies in favor of initiatives such as community policing, even when such strategies' effectiveness is questionable, resulting in the same officer blunders that infuriated the public in the first place.
Massive government funds are deployed to fulfill the promises of kinder policing. Since 1994, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) has committed over $14 billion of federal funds. The result? Another officer shooting followed by anger, accusations, defenses and promises.
The Trump administration is proposing a 50 percent cut to the COPS program in the 2019 budget. But that is not be the approach. Rather than reducing funding, the underlying objectives and strategies of COPS need to change. Funds should be redirected to develop and test standard operating procedures that help officers make more effective decisions under pressure.
It all boils down to expectations. Community policing philosophies lead officers to expect the public to reciprocate with understanding and appreciation. But, in many minority communities — the same ones in which public leaders typically rush to implement community policing — such responses are not always the reality.
Officers are led to expect things that are never fulfilled. Unmet expectations can confuse and frustrate officers, hurting their ability to carry out basic duties. Under these circumstances, they end up hesitating more, being less cautious, and making more mistakes on the job than if they simply followed a straightforward, by-the-book approach to policing.
To prevent such outcomes, funding should be redirected to helping agencies fine-tune, develop and rigorously test standardized protocols to deal with the realities police officers face. We desperately need more insights into how the human mind works when faced with relentless criticism and a lack of appreciation.
Behavioral researchers have time and again shown that during stressful times, routines and habits can increase the reliability of decisions. People are less anxious and better able to “tune out” distractions.
By redirecting funding to developing protocols that are proven to work in real-life situations, COPS can truly live up to its mandate. It is not just a matter of taxpayer money better spent. It is, foremost, a matter of protecting human life
It's Time for Police to Start Snitching
Communities of color are actually disproportionately likely to report crimes—it's police themselves who have maintained a corrosive culture of silence.
IBRAM X. KENDI
A man wearing a black hoodie “busted both my truck windows out,” the caller reported on March 18, “and he's in people's backyards right now.” Two officers, Terrence Mercadal, a black man, and Jared Robinet, a white man, arrived on the nighttime scene in South Sacramento. Several minutes later, Mercadal and Robinet were running up a dark driveway, pursuing the suspect, flashlights clearing their sight. “Hey! Show me your hands! Stop! Stop!” one shouted. They turned a corner and through the glare of their flashlights saw a 22-year-old black male in his own backyard.
“Gun, gun, gun!” an officer yelled seconds later. Body-cam footage showed Stephon Clark seemingly abiding by their last order, turning to them to show them his hands, one of which clasped his white iPhone. A belief “the suspect was pointing a firearm at them,” to quote the Sacramento Police Department's statement, is all police need to become executioners. Police officers do not require certainty to exact the certainty of death.
Both officers unloaded 20 shots into the darkness, at the darkness. “Are you hit?” one officer asked after the 20th shot. “No, I'm good,” the other responded.
Minutes later, a police sergeant arrived. The sergeant escorted Mercadal and Robinet to the street. “Hey mute,” the sergeant said, as he reached for his body camera. The audio of the Mercadal's and Robinet's body cameras fell silent, like Clark's unarmed body nearby. More officers arrived on the scene and muted the audio of their body cameras, as shown in the more than 50 videos and two audio clips that Sacramento Police Department released in April.
Nearly two months have passed and only protesters have been arrested. Was justice muted in those critical moments after the shooting? What were those officers saying that they did not want investigators to hear? Will the Stephon Clark death story begin and end like far too many high-profile officer-involved death stories? A citizen, living apparently in a no-snitch black culture, snitches to police. Officers arrive, use lethal force, claim no misconduct, and every officer on the scene refuses to say otherwise. All too often, police officers appear dead-set on ensuring such incidents do not end how they began—in snitching.
Americans have talked constantly about a no-snitch black culture hampering police investigations, leaving violent criminals on the streets. But what about the no-snitch police culture that has hampered investigations into officer misconduct, leaving violent criminals on the streets?
Police officers should lead the way in fostering an American civic culture of reporting lawbreakers. It is their professional duty to snitch, to enforce the law first and foremost against themselves. How can they expect citizens to snitch to them if they refuse to snitch? How can they expect citizens to trust the criminal-justice system if they don't trust the criminal-justice system? Snitching on each other remains their only salvation from this hypocrisy, their best tool for building trust with the communities they purport to serve and protect. But first, they'll have to grapple with an empirical truth: Communities of color are actually disproportionately likely to report crimes—it's police themselves who have maintained a culture of silence.
That's not something most law-enforcement leaders seem inclined to acknowledge. “Law enforcement as a whole has been unfairly maligned and blamed for the unacceptable deeds of a few bad actors,” complained Attorney General Jeff Sessions in February. “There is no ‘Blue Wall of Silence' … meaning no cops are covering for cops in Las Vegas,” an apparently all-knowing Las Vegas real-estate investor and police watchdog claimed in the Las Vegas Sun. “It's not that we're all out here covering for one another,” said Sergeant Dan Hils, president of the Cincinnati police union. Loyalty “ends with criminal activity.”
Since the 1980s, police officers have grumbled of a growing no-snitch culture—not within their own ranks, but outside their blue wall in black and Latino neighborhoods. “I have been in hospital rooms, even on the street standing over somebody being loaded into an ambulance, and they refuse to talk, and you think, ‘What in the world are we here for?'” Sergeant Mike Huff said recently in Tulsa. “But you know this violence is going to spread.”
The mix of neighborhood anecdotes, police reports, media stories, no-snitch videos, apparel, television shows, and music lyrics have baked the popular belief in a no-snitch black culture, even among black people. The “no-snitch mentality is killing the black community,” a black prisoner serving a life sentence proclaimed in the Toledo Blade in 2014.
Police defenders like to point to the falling clearance rate for homicides as proof not of the falling clearance rate, but of the no-snitch black culture. In 1965, the rate of homicide cases ending in an arrest was more than 90 percent. By 2015, the rate had fallen to 64.1 percent.
Anecdotal evidence persists about individuals of all races refusing to report crimes. But evidence of uniquely black cultural hostility to snitching does not exist—it is yet another racist idea without any evidentiary standing. But when did Americans ever need evidence to believe something was culturally or behaviorally wrong with black people as a group? Racist ideas are believable, not provable.
The evidence points to black communities perhaps being more likely to snitch than white communities—and Latino communities being the most likely to snitch. The National Crime Victimization Survey compiled each year by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found in 2010 that violence against black people and white people were reported at nearly identical rates (blacks slightly higher), while violence against Latinos was the most likely to be reported. The latest National Crime Victimization Survey in 2016 again found violence against Latinos (52 percent) was more likely to be reported to the police than violence against blacks and whites (40 percent alike). For serious violent crimes, violence against Latinos (65 percent) and blacks (60 percent) was far more likely to be reported to the police than violence against whites (45 percent). But these statistics did not inflame the policing community to start lamenting about a no-snitch white culture.
Black youth are especially branded with a no-snitch culture, without evidence, and in the face of evidence to the contrary. Preliminary data from a survey administered to 1,500 community college students showed that if the perpetrator was a relative or a friend, whites were less likely to snitch than non-whites, despite whites reporting they trust the police far more than blacks, and despite twice as many blacks reporting they listened to music that ridiculed snitching.
Urban, black high-school dropouts may be the most maligned for not reporting crimes to police officers. And yet, police officers, ironically, rely on snitching especially from the hyper-incarcerated population of black high-school dropouts. The staggering volume of arrests of black and Latino youth over the last four decades would have ground the criminal-justice system to a halt if every single case went to trial. Plea agreements—defendants snitching on themselves and often snitching on others in exchange for more lenient sentences—have become as endemic as police informants in black and Latino neighborhoods. Over nine out of 10 federal cases, for example, end in plea agreements.
Police officers, however, do not appear to be commonly snitching on themselves, and accepting plea agreements. There is a no-snitch police culture that may be as widespread and harmful as the myth of a no-snitch black culture. The National Institute of Ethics surveyed 3,714 officers and academic recruits from 42 states in 1999 and 2000. A no-snitching code of silence commonly exists, responded 79 percent of officers. More than half of the officers said this no-snitch code does not bother them. Nearly half of the officers reported witnessing misconduct and not reporting it. That's probably because 73 percent of responding officers said they'd be fired if they snitched. And 73 percent of the officers said the individuals pressuring them to keep quiet were leaders.
In 2001, a national survey of police attitudes conducted by the Police Foundation found that a majority of officers said turning a “blind eye” to police misconduct was not unusual. Meanwhile, roughly two-thirds reported they “did not always report serious criminal violations” by fellow officers and they'd be given the “cold shoulder” if they did.
In his forward to that report, the Police Foundation's president, Hubert Williams, wrote, “Most of America's police officers are honest, dedicated, hard-working public servants, and it is they, as well as the public they serve, who are victims of the ‘bad' cop.” If most police officers are good, then they are being forced to operate in a bad policing culture where the personal desire to report misconduct is tempered by the top-down forces to remain silent—or, by their own self-interest of keeping their jobs and staying out of prison.
Even when undercover Atlanta officers fired 39 shots at 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston in 2006 after busting into the wrong home, they refused to snitch. They planted drugs to cover themselves. Caught in their lies, two officers finally pled guilty and received reduced sentences. Three officers were imprisoned. Two years ago, when San Francisco officers accused a sergeant of making racist and sexist comments, the former head and acting consultant of the city's police union called them “snitches.”
And then there's the tragic death of 17-year-old LaQuan McDonald in 2014. Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke claimed he opened fire after the teenager lunged at him with a knife, a claim backed up by on-the-scene reports from three other officers. The dashcam video contradicted their claims, sparking protests that compelled Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel to acknowledge the “blue wall of silence” in 2015. The Justice Department's recent investigations of the Chicago and Baltimore police departments discovered broken systems of silence. When officers have stepped forward in Baltimore, the report found, “fellow officers have retaliated against them.”
In 2011, when a Baltimore detective asked a sergeant about reporting two fellow officers who brutally beat a suspect, he says the sergeant replied: “If you are rat, your career is done.” The good cop decided to be a rat. And the good cop's career in Baltimore is done. The day before Baltimore detective Sean Suiter was scheduled to testify in a grand-jury hearing against fellow officers, he died from a shot by his own handgun. His death in November remains unsolved—one of the only unsolved deaths of a police officer in Baltimore's history.
When will police departments focus more on rooting out their own no-snitching culture that undermines their job duties than on attacking a no-snitch black culture that does not exist? Not snitching is not a black problem nor a white problem nor a poor problem nor an urban problem nor a youth problem. Not snitching is an American problem—across races and spaces. When will police officers model for Americans the difficult civic duty of snitching against partners, against close friends, against violent neighbors? When will they show us by their actions that legality must trump loyalty and career and fear?
I want police officers to be comfortable snitching and I want to be comfortable snitching to them. Too often the response to the report of a minor crime like breaking car windows—or no crime at all—has ended in a life being lost and an officer back on duty weeks later. Part of me wants to keep police guns as far away from black bodies as I can. Because we fear their guns. They fear our bodies. Why would I want to play Russian roulette by reporting a crime?
It would be much easier for me to snitch if I trusted police officers around black bodies; if police officers always took the time to defuse and save; if black life mattered more than police fear; if arrests actually reduced crime; and if I saw resources going to rehabilitate human beings, rather than to cage human beings like they are animals.
Black people, in other words, have every reason not to snitch. And yet, the evidence shows, we still do—even as we are ridiculed for not doing so. Police officers have every reason to snitch. And yet they still commonly do not—and get praised as if they commonly do.
Stephon Clark's death story could end differently if a Sacramento police officer steps forward to lead us all to justice. Police-involved death stories could end in justice if police officers everywhere are willing to do what black people do: start snitching.
Viewpoints: The 10,000 good things police do each day that you don't often see
by KEN CRANE
For the average person watching the nightly news or surfing Facebook or YouTube, there is no shortage of videos depicting police officers in a negative light. It is easy, even for the best of us, to start to lose faith in our own profession if we allow ourselves to be sucked into the vortex of what seems to be an endless litany of negative media coverage.
Whether we like it or not, we live in a media-driven world in which information is shared in video clips and sound bites through social media, not to mention a plethora of news websites accessible to anyone with a smart phone. In our tech-driven culture, fewer people get their news from nightly TV broadcasts or newspapers, instead relying on news feeds, blogs and info circulated on social media.
Police weren't prepared for publicity
The police community is woefully under-prepared to cope with the onslaught of negative publicity generated against the law enforcement profession.
So why is this happening?
I think it's because our job is and always has been pretty simple; catch the 1-2 percent of society that preys on law-abiding citizens. Our job has never been to wage a media war to validate our actions or convince people we are the good guys. This, however, is the position we find ourselves in. We are in a game of catchup, trying to convince the public and maybe even some of our own that we aren't as bad as the media makes us out to be.
Several issues compound the problem:
Radical groups that advocate violence as a solution to problems between police and the community, whether those problems are real or perceived.
Media that is often more sympathetic to radical groups than to police officers.
A tepid response at best from the nation's capital when it comes to supporting law enforcement and decrying violence against police.
Millions of citizens equipped with the ability to instantly capture and edit audio and video and rapidly share it with news outlets or upload it to internet sharing sites.
And the viewpoint from rank and file cops based on perception or actual incidents leading them to believe they will be sacrificed on the altar of political correctness when police managers cave to political pressure.
Are officers really that bad?
Like it or not, the news media runs on ratings. Ratings equal money and money equals staying in business. News doesn't always have to be high-quality or factual, and the first one with the story is often the ratings winner. If a news director has a five-minute slot on the six o'clock news and has to make a choice between running a story on a police-run toy drive or a police pursuit that ended with the bad guy getting shot (which will immediately be played out as an execution since five cops shot at the same time), which one do you think gets the airtime?
In their world, it's just business. In their minds, if they don't run with the story a competitor will, and they can't let that happen or they might find themselves last in the ratings race.
Have we as a police community really gotten that bad?
I don't think so, and statistics back me up.
According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, the estimated population of the United States in 2014 was just over 268 million. This population was serviced by 12,656 police agencies. Those police agencies were staffed by 899,212 employees; 627,949 of whom were sworn officers. To keep things simple, let's say 127,949 (just over 20 percent) of that number are supervisors or officers working in administrative positions. This leaves us with a nice even number of half a million police first responders to police a population of over 268 million.
Now, let's further assume that, on average, a police officer has five citizen contacts in a day (in reality, the number is probably higher but we'll go on the conservative side). This could range from traffic stops to medical assists.
On a national level, this equates to 2.5 million contacts per day, 75 million contacts per month and 900 million contacts per year.
The vast majority of police-citizen contacts are handled without incident and when force must be used to gain compliance, it involves minimal to no injury in most cases. Is it a far stretch to think that out of 2.5 million contacts in one day, maybe 10,000 of those contacts involved cops who went the extra mile to ensure a positive outcome?
I'm talking about all the extra things cops do that aren't required by the job but they do anyway because they care. Things like shooting hoops with neighborhood kids, combing a neighborhood looking for a lost pet, giving food or clothes to a homeless person, repairing a broken down car to get someone back on the road, paying the tab for a hotel bill so a displaced family has a place to sleep for the night, delivering groceries to an elderly shut in or buying gifts so a needy family can have a Christmas.
Ten thousand out of 2.5 million contacts equates to about one half of one percent (0.5 percent). I believe this number is, in all reality, probably much higher.
Considering these numbers, we find that instead of concentrating on the 10,000 exceptionally good things the police did on any given day in America during their contact with 2.5 million citizens, we succumb to the victim mindset of a society that chooses to ignore the good in exchange for the next salacious viral YouTube video that is played and re-played, tweeted and re-tweeted and passed around on Facebook and Instagram until the next video showing a real or perceived misdeed by a cop surfaces.
It reminds one of the old quote attributed to the Communist Socialist Vladimir Lenin, “A lie told often enough becomes the truth.” In this case, the lie is that police are brutal thugs that lack patience, are corrupt and routinely trample on the rights of citizens. The point is that the endless cycle of negativity has a brainwashing effect that can persuade the average citizen that the police can't be trusted and given enough time, can make just about anyone have doubts about themselves or their profession.
Now, balance that with 120 videos
To keep yourself grounded in reality, consider this: if, on a national level, 120 negative police videos hit the airwaves in a year and we balance it against 900 million police contacts per year, the percentage of negativity is .000013 percent. This is not to say we shouldn't worry about negative press, and endeavor to always do better but doing the math helps keep things in perspective.
Whether we like it or not, police nationally are engaged in a media war and we have two choices: stand on the sidelines and get steamrolled or get active and fight fire with fire. We have to become media specialists by default and learn to get proactive in using social media and other methods to show the positive side of police work. There are a lot of police agencies and associations that are already starting to do this. There are also a lot of citizens groups that support the police and are all too happy to assist in getting positive messages out there.
To answer the question; no, we really aren't that bad. We are just allowing a small segment of society to use a very effective media machine to make us look that way. We all know that cops are human and can and do make mistakes, some more serious than others. We also know we work in a profession with some of the highest standards that results in constant scrutiny. Complaints alleging misconduct are investigated and dealt with through administrative discipline, termination or criminal charges.
What is important is that the numbers cited above allow us to keep the picture in true perspective. Don't succumb to the propaganda and, more importantly, when you see the next negative video surface on YouTube, don't forget the 10,000 times (or more) police officers across America go above and beyond every single day.
Maryland's new gun law allows family, law enforcement to red flag individuals
New gun laws take effect Monday in Maryland. One allows families and law enforcement to seek firearm restrictions on those who may be a risk to themselves or others.
Many are asking whether the so-called Red Flag law could have prevented recent shootings. Last week's shooting in Aberdeen killed three and wounded three others at a Rite Aid Distribution Center. Two people were shot and killed and 10 were wounded at a video game tournament in Jacksonville, Florida.
The common denominators are that both shooters killed themselves, both had been diagnosed with a mental illness and both still managed to legally buy a gun in Maryland.
The I-Team looked into the state's new Red Flag law and whether it could have prevented these shootings.
"Family members, health practitioners, law enforcement are all able to be petitioners. They can go to a district or circuit court and put in a petition to step in front of a judge and have a judge decide if that person is showing the warning signs to then temporarily remove firearms from this person," said Jen Pauliukonis, of Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence.
Aberdeen shooter Snochia Moseley had been diagnosed with acute schizophrenia. Her family declined to be interviewed.
Court records reveal Jacksonville shooter David Katz was depressed, suicidal, a danger to his mom and was involuntarily hospitalized at least twice.
Maryland State Police require firearm applicants to sign a waiver permitting the State Health Department to tell police whether the applicant has a mental health disqualification. Currently, a prospective buyer must have both a mental disorder and a history of violent behavior to be disqualified.
Some legislators are considering broadening the law.
"When we talk about gun violence, we have to remember there are many different types of gun violence. So there is not going to be one policy that is going to prevent all of it," Pauliukonis said.
Gun control advocated said the only way for the Red Flag law to be effective is for the public to know how it works and to use it.
We Charge Genocide
July 18, 2016 By WCG admin 2 Comments Posted in: CounterCAPS, RCAPS, Research and Data, Resources
On June 8, 2016, three members of a We Charge Genocide working group, Real Community Accountability for People's Safety (RCAPS) met with the Department of Justice. As part of their investigation into police use of deadly force in Chicago, the DOJ wanted to discuss The Counter-CAPS Report: The Community Engagement Arm of the Police State. Community policing is currently an important plank in proposals for criminal justice reform. Through our independent, collaborative and grassroots research, we found that community policing mobilizes a self-selecting group to work with police and insulate them from scrutiny. It's a way to generate some support for and increase the legitimacy of the police, not a serious solution to problems with state violence.
We wrote the Counter-CAPS report to challenge the emerging common sense on police reform. In the past two years, the Obama administration has advocated community policing as a key part of the solution to the “Post-Ferguson” crisis of police legitimacy. When Obama traveled to Chicago to address the annual meeting of International Association of Chiefs of Police, he advocated community policing. Anticipating as much, a group of radical black organizations—the Workers Center for Racial Justice, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, and BYP 100, among others—organized “I Shocked the Sheriff,” a people's congress and series of direct actions, to counter the ICAP meeting. A few days later, RCAPS released The Counter-CAPS Report as a complement to these actions and expression of the movement's rejection of false solutions like community policing.
Our discussion with the DOJ was a continuation of this confrontation. We met with a DOJ lawyer and Scott Thomson, Chief of Camden County Police Department. Thomson is credited with using community policing to drive down the outsized crime rates of Camden, NJ, which, in 2012, held the infamous designation as the most violent and impoverished city in the United States. In May 2015, President Obama used Camden and its community policing programs as a backdrop to announce the findings of the post-Ferguson Commission on 21st Century Policing. Thomson has since become the president of the Police Executive Research Foundation, an influential reform-minded police association.
Of course, the reforms proposed by the Commission on 21st Century Policing and championed by people like Obama and Thomson are perfectly compatible with the aggressive policing that's ostensibly being curtailed. Camden's celebrated community policing operations, for example, exist alongside (and feed into) ubiquitous surveillance and intelligence gathering that enable police raids within criminalized and disinvested communities. Chicago's community policing program—the oldest and largest of its kind in the nation—did nothing to prevent stop-and-frisk, off-the-books detention and interrogation, other abuses that have led to $521 million in settlements over the last decade; and a series of scandals that have tarnished (the already minimal) credibility of Chicago Police Department and existing oversight mechanisms.
Our Counter-CAPS Reports shows community policing can coexist with these aggressive police operations because it does not create meaningful public accountability over the police. Instead of creating some kind meaningful involvement of “the community” in the provisioning of “security,” community policing is a liberal euphemism that hides a nefarious purpose–the political work of the police to organize the population and produce order, not just enforce it.”
The unacknowledged politics of community politicking were quickly laid bare to us. During the summer of 2015, RCAPS members began observing regular meetings between police and community members. While these meetings are meant to involve the public in collaborative problem solving with the police, we found them to be places where police organize micro-local political power. At community policing meetings, officers set the agenda and determine the appropriate response. Working in concert with a volunteer beat facilitator (a quasi-official position often connected to aldermen), officers organize residents into block groups and phone trees to report “suspicious” behavior. They encourage residents to call the police for nearly any perceived problem they experience, including minor issues such as profanity–providing cover for aggressive policing of quality of life issues. They direct the residents to focus on “problem properties” and build the case for investigation or eviction through their consistent monitoring and reporting.
These programs reduce social problems—poverty, inequality, segregation, homelessness—and transform them into technical “quality of life” problems that can be redressed by police action. In mobilizing residents as intelligence collectors for the police and political advocates for a punitive criminal justice (http://home.chicagopolice.org/get-involved-with-caps/how-can-i-get-involved/become-a-court-advocate/), community policing enlists us in the work of our domination. In exchange for a meaningless “seat at the table” in the police precinct, we can become junior partners in the operations of our local police state.
In other words, community policing is being offered at this moment precisely because it offers the promise of blunting grievances of radical movements and co-opting some of their leaders. Within this context, radicals are repressed. Potentially rebellious groups—such as the ever-increasing surplus populations warehoused in prisons—are incapacitated. Moderates are accommodated. The loyal opposition—such as the liberal NGOs that routinely undercut the work of autonomous grassroots—are politically incorporated as junior partners of the political elite. The iron first and the velvet glove operate hand-in-hand to pacify restive populations and mollify rebellion.
With this research and analysis informing our comments, the members of RCAPS hesitated to offer Thomson and the DOJ lawyer the pat suggestions for “reform” that they desired. We do not want “better” policing. We want to transform the institutions that mediate disputes, restore victims, and rehabilitate and reintegrate people who cause harm. Instead, we asked them “act with courage” and recognize that community policing is part of the problem, not the part of the solution.
This refusal to offer suggested reforms is not an attempt to avoid the difficult work wielding political power. Instead, it reflects a radical analysis that sees policing as institution beyond reform. With this mind, our suggestions—a rejection of community of policing and reduction of police budget—are our non-reformist reforms that seek to transform the balance of power in Chicago to the benefit of the people.
At the end of the meeting, we left the DOJ lawyer and Thomson with the annotated bibliography appended to the end of this write up. The bibliography extends and elaborates the arguments we made to the DOJ, adding further weight and context to the findings of the RCAPS report. The bibliography starts with a series of critical perspective on community policing. These studies show the historical and practical affinities between community policing and counterinsurgency, dispelling the commonly held notion that community policing is a demilitarizing reform. Annie Laure Paradise's dissertation takes this critique a step further, contrasting state security initiatives with autonomous grassroots projects for community safety. This heavily theorized work provides some context to our refusal to engage in the reform process. The DOJ wants a better, more professional, and re-legimitatized policing. RCAPS, We Charge Genocide and similar groups are working to building alternative institutions.
From here, the annotated bibliography covers relevant empirical research on community policing, with specific focus on Chicago. This work questions the efficacy of community policing: casting doubt on its impact on crime, its ability to meaningfully involve the community, and officer's faith in the strategy. The final two articles further support our findings about gentrification and detail the shift of community development from a largely grassroots effort to a much smaller and fragmented one led by professionalized groups. This historical context provides interesting parallels to and perspective on the present.
We share this experience and these sources to document Chicago's resistance to community policing. We call on other groups in similar struggles to question community policing and resist the larger efforts to pacify our movement.
(see additional notes for sources)
Inside a Broken Police Department in Flint, Michigan
by Charlie LeDuff
In one of the nation's poorest and most violent cities, law enforcement is, according to one officer, “scraping the bottom of the barrel, just trying to keep up.”
The street lights are out. The porch lights are off. The empty houses and vacant lots are illuminated by headlamps and siren strobes and police-cruiser searchlights, flashes of color amid myriad shades of gray. The murder victims are both black and white, as are the perps, in handcuffs, and the cops, in blue. For all of them, living in Flint, Michigan, is a story of the struggle to survive.
The photographer Zackary Canepari is among the few outsiders with sustained interest in the internal rot of this American city. A native of Boston who now lives between New York and the Bay Area, he has been documenting life in Flint since 2012, including the water crisis that poisoned the city's residents; an eight-part documentary series called “Flint Town,” which Canepari made with Jessica Dimmock and Drea Cooper, premières on March 2nd, on Netflix. For his most recent series of images, he examined the Flint Police Department. How does law enforcement work in a place in constant crisis?
The answer is that it doesn't, not really. Flint was once a place of promise, the birth town of General Motors, the U.A.W. strike, and mass credit. Then G.M. moved away. Flint went broke and could no longer afford its police. To save money, the city shuttered its police academy and cut its police force in half. Crime, naturally, doubled.
In November of 2015, Flint elected a new mayor, Karen Weaver, who in turn hired a new chief of police, Tim (Two Guns) Johnson. A hard-charger who preached zero tolerance (cracking down on minor offenses) and proactive policing (deterring crime before it happens), Johnson faced an already catastrophic erosion of trust between Flint's residents and its law enforcement. As Brian Willingham, a local black police officer who is featured in the Netflix series, wrote in a Times Op-Ed, in 2016, “How can citizens in Flint trust the police to protect them when they can't even trust their government to provide them with clean water?”
Canepari embedded with Johnson's department from late 2015 through early 2017. The police officers he trails in “Flint Town” are overwhelmed and disgruntled. They've become little more than custodians in a city that is ranked the nation's poorest and among its most violent; as Willingham puts it, “The people who secure the city are less secure than they've ever been.” Canepari was with the force in January of 2016, when Rick Snyder, the governor of Michigan, acknowledged a public-health emergency related to the poisoned water. A week later, a man was found frozen on a lawn, a bullet hole in his head. “Straight-up assassination,” as an officer on the scene put it. It was the first homicide of the year. The crime, like too many in Flint, remains unsolved.
One of Canepari's subjects, Sergeant Robert Frost, works the lobster shift. He, like many Flint police officers, has been laid off and called back to work three times over the past dozen years, because Flint is too poor to pay him. “We've got, like, eight people working at any given time for a hundred thousand people, and there's no way to be proactive,” he told me. “You get one call, you handle that call, you do the best you can, because there is nothing you can do about the other fifty calls that are sitting there.” He added, “We're just scraping the bottom of the barrel, just trying to keep up.”
For residents, a bare-bones police department just feels like more abandonment. In a clip from the Netflix series, a black woman is seen calling the police to report that men have been shooting at kids on her block. She called an hour before but no officers had come. On the other end of the line, the dispatcher tells her that it's the third shooting of the day. The police are on their way, but they're a little backed up.
“They want shit like this to happen in Flint—they want all of us to kill each other so there won't be no more shit they have to come to,” the woman says after she hangs up. “That's why all of our young black boys keep getting killed