American voters now support sweeping changes to policing; 83 percent want a ban on racial profiling, 92 percent want police to be required to wear body cameras and White Americans’ concern over police violence has increased by 50 percent since 2019.
Just four weeks of protest have radically altered Americans’ views on the police and what their role in society should be. Once almost exclusively the domain of activist groups, moves to comprehensively change, defund or even abolish the police are rapidly gaining momentum with the public.
A new study published this week by Data for Progress shows that voters overwhelmingly (58 percent to 24 percent) support the creation of a new agency of first responders to deal with problems in the community – an agency that would explicitly undermine the police’s purview. The public would like to see the service, whose agents would resemble social workers more than police officers, take over a great number of situations police currently deal with, including mental health crises, drug addiction problems (including overdoses), and issues regarding homelessness. Significant numbers of people want to see the new agency tackle issues like spousal abuse and all non-violent crimes as well. “For elected officials looking to strengthen their communities and take action in the face of mass protest on police brutality, creating a non police first-responder agency proves to be a popular option that deserves their attention,” the report concludes. Continue reading →
Corrections Corporations of America is one of the largest private prison corporations in the country, and currently runs 47 prisons nationwide. (Photo: CCA.com)
After years of documentedhuman rights abuses by the private prison industry, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is finally ending its use of privately-run, for-profit prisons, the Washington Post reports.
Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates issued a memo Thursday announcing that the federal government is ending its contracts with the private prison industry, days after the department’s Inspector General issued a damning report about the danger and abuse facing inmates in private federal prisons. Continue reading →
PORTLAND OREGON – NOV 17: Police in Riot Gear Holding the Line in Downtown Portland Oregon during a Occupy Portland protest on the first anniversary of Occupy Wall Street November 17 2011
United States — Lurched back and forth in the ever-quickening spiral of an American empire circling the drain, we — as a people — have chosen battle lines on nearly every issue from politics to foreign policy, domestic surveillance to policing.
Thrust back into national focus, the last issue — policing in the U.S. — might even surpass in contention the ongoing race to the White House. And it stands to reason, with the world lashing out against failed globalism in its various nefarious incarnations — largely driven by American exceptionalist military presence nearly everywhere on the planet — the empire sees expediency in heading off a possible insurrection. Continue reading →
The International Arrivals Hall at Boston Logan International Airport’s Terminal E. Photi: hildgrim/flickr/CC
It appears even foreigners are scared of United States law enforcement.
The Bahamian government is warning its citizens to use extreme caution when traveling to the United States. The recommendation follows the “extrajudicial killings” of blacks, Caribbean outlet Antillean Media Group (AMG) reports, “which have spurred increased unrest across America.” Continue reading →
The Supreme Court ruled 5-3 that evidence collected during an illegal stop can be used in court if the search was conducted after the discovery of an arrest warrant. (Photo: Mark Fischer/flickr/cc)
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled that evidence recovered during illegal stops may still be used in court, if police officers conducted their searches after learning that a defendant had an outstanding arrest warrant.
In a 5-3 ruling (pdf), the Supreme Court said such searches do not violate the Fourth Amendment, which protects against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who dissented, slammed the decision, writing in a sharp rebuke that the case “tells everyone, white and black, guilty and innocent…that your body is subject to invasion while courts excuse the violation of your rights.” Continue reading →
The findings come against a backdrop of increased attention on police misconduct, including evidence of racial discrimination, unlawful shootings, surveillance, imprisonment, and torture. (Photo: Thomas Hawk/cc/flickr)
A striking new analysis published this weekend found that federal prosecutors failed to pursue civil rights complaints against police officers a full 96 percent of the time.
The investigation, conducted by Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporters Brian Bowling and Andrew Conte, examined 3 million federal records regarding criminal complaints against law enforcement from 1995 through 2015. The findings come against a backdrop of increased attention on police misconduct, including evidence of racial discrimination, unlawful shootings, surveillance, imprisonment, and torture. Continue reading →
Workers, students, and activists walked off the job and out of their schools for a massive action in Wisconsin on Thursday, protesting two anti-immigration bills currently advancing through the state legislature.
Photo: Paul Sableman (Ferguson City Hall) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
In response to Ferguson City Council requesting amendments to a consent decree, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Wednesday that it will “aggressively” prosecute a civil rights lawsuit against the city. Attorney General Loretta Lynch stated that the lawsuit alleges a pattern and practice of unconstitutional police conduct.
“The residents of Ferguson have suffered the deprivation of their Constitutional rights, the rights guaranteed to all Americans, for decades. They have waited decades for justice,” Lynch said. “They should not be forced to wait any longer.”Continue reading →
Over 3000 protesters gathered in the Mall of America on December 20, 2014 in support of the BlackLivesMatter movement. Image via Facebook.
Michael Brown. Eric Garner. Laquan McDonald. Sandra Bland. Walter Scott. Rekia Boyd. Tamir Rice. Most Americans have at least heard their names, and the stories of how they died. We have seen videos and images of their deaths, or of the aftermaths. They are African-Americans who have been killed by police, or died in police custody, in just over a year. There are many more.
We know their names because of the ⌗BlackLivesMatter movement, born after George Zimmerman was acquitted for the murder of Trayvon Martin. The ubiquity of smartphones and mobile internet access put the tools of the media in the hands of savvy, young, blacks who used them to demand America pay attention to what had long been going on — and going unheralded — in black communities, where the police acted as an occupying force, and court systems turn jails into debtors’ prisons with endless, exorbitant fees and fines.
This was the year that #BlackLivesMatter mattered. It arrived precisely at a moment of crisis that called for a movement that values and demands respect above respectability, doesn’t hesitate to disrupt “business as usual.”