Multiple sources have told The Aging Rebel that all of the dead were killed by police.
MSimon wrote:You would think police in this country have become power mad.
Police said officers thought the man had a gun, but he turned out to be unarmed.
The man flagged down officers about 6:35 p.m. at Los Feliz Boulevard and Tica Drive south of Griffith Park, according to a police account.
"This person extended an arm wrapped in a towel. The officer exited the vehicle and said, 'Drop the gun, drop the gun,'" LAPD Lt. John Jenal said.
Then at least one officer shot the man, officials say. He was taken to a hospital where he was listed in critical condition.
.The dead are buried, the murderer apprehended, and the shock has started to wear off. Now comes the public reaction to the massacre in Charleston.
Soon after the shootings at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, the first black president of the United States offered some thoughts on Dylan Roof’s racist attack. First and foremost, President Obama said, recent events were about how “innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hand on a gun.” The killings were also about a “dark chapter in our history,” namely racial slavery and Jim Crow. Obama only suggested practical action regarding the first issue, namely gun control.
He did not consider that such measures will make the persistence of the second problem even worse.
It is perhaps counterintuitive to say so but gun control responses to mass killings – whether racially motivated or otherwise – are a deep mistake. The standard form of gun control means writing more criminal laws, creating new crimes, and therefore creating more criminals or more reasons for police to suspect people of crimes. More than that, it means creating yet more pretexts for a militarized police, full of racial and class prejudice, to overpolice.
As multiple police killings of unarmed black men have reminded us, the police already operate with barely constrained force in poor, minority neighborhoods. From SWAT to stop-and-frisk to mass incarceration to parole monitoring, the police manage a panoply of programs that subject these populations to multiple layers of coercion and control. As a consequence, more than 7 million Americans are subject to some form of correctional control, an extremely disproportionate number of whom are poor and minority.
While it is commonly assumed that the drug war is to blame for all this, work by scholars like Benjamin Levin and Jeff Fagan demonstrates that already existing gun control efforts also play an important role. One of the most notorious areas of policing, the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program, was justified as a gun control rather than a drug war measure. In the name of preventing violence, hundreds of thousands of poor minorities are subject to searches without probable cause each year. Further, a range of Supreme Court-authorized exceptions to standard Fourth Amendment protections against illegal search and seizure derive from a concern with gun violence.
This invasiveness is a necessary feature of criminalized gun possession. After all, policing guns is just like policing drugs. Like drugs, there are a vast number of guns. Possession is far more widespread than can possibly be policed so decisions have to be made about where to devote resources. Furthermore, since possession itself is the crime, the only way to police that crime is to shift from actual harm to identifying and preventing risks. As legal scholar Benjamin Levin argues in a forthcoming piece
“Searching for guns – like searching for drugs – can easily become pretextual, a proxy for some general prediction of risk, danger, or lawlessness.”
In other words, there must be selective enforcement, where enforcement includes invasive searches based on existing prejudices about who is and isn’t dangerous. For example, as research by Jeff Fagan and Garth Davies shows, in the late 1990s, the NYPD used suspected weapons violations to justify numerous stops, even though these stops resulted in fewer arrests than stops for other crimes. And when it comes to individualized assessments of who is dangerous and worthy of punishment, every study shows steep, and unfounded, bias. Michelle Alexander, quotes a former U.S. attorney in her recent sensation, “The New Jim Crow,” saying the following:
“I had an [assistant U.S. attorney who] wanted to drop the gun charge against the defendant [in a case which] there were no extenuating circumstances. I asked, ‘Why do you want to drop the gun offense?’ And he said, ‘He’s a rural guy and grew up on a farm. The gun he had with him was a rifle. He’s a good ol’ boy, and all good ol’ boys have rifles, and it’s not like he was a gun-toting drug dealer.’ But he was a gun-toting drug dealer, exactly.”
This isn’t just a point about conscious and unconscious biases towards poor minorities – biases that some imagine can be removed with proper training. No matter how neutral the laws are, their enforcement must remain unequal and unfair. That is because the policing involved would never be tolerated if they affected politically influential groups to the same degree. These policing practices persist because they are disproportionately directed against marginal populations.
Once individuals find themselves arrested gun control reappears as a reason for increasing punishment. Gun possession can be used to enhance sentences for other crimes and even functions as a kind of double punishment when that possession becomes the reason for also tacking on an extra criminal charge. Gun charges are also a part of the excessive and racially unequal over-charging practices that not only contribute to rising incarceration rates but also ends force numerous individuals away from trial and into plea bargains. Poor Blacks and Latinos are easily intimidated by charge-happy prosecutors into accepting plea deals, meaning they never see their day in court. Some even end up admitting to crimes they did not commit just to avoid the possibility of more severe punishments. More criminal gun laws would only feed this deeply unjust system.
There is an unrecognized gap between the justification for gun control and its most likely effect. There is no reason to expect fair enforcement of gun control laws, or even that they will mainly be used to someone prevent these massacres. That is because how our society polices depends not on the laws themselves but on how the police – and prosecutors and courts – decide to enforce the law. Especially given how many guns there are in the U.S., gun law enforcement will be selective. That is to say, they will be unfairly enforced, only deepening the injustices daily committed against poor minorities in the name of law and order.
It is hard to imagine any feasible gun control laws doing much to decrease mass shootings. But it is easy to see how they will become part of the system of social control of mostly black, mostly poor people. There are already too many crimes, there is too much criminal law, and there is far too much incarceration — especially of black people. To the degree that all that is part of the “dark chapter in our history,” given the deep injustice of our society, and especially its policing practices, the actual practice of gun control will continue that dark chapter, not resolve it.
Of course, a reasonable gun control regime is logically possible. We can imagine one in our heads. But it is not politically possible in the United States right now. And it is a great error to think that gun control is the path to racial justice. More likely, it is the other way around. Racial justice is a precondition for any reasonable gun control regime.
That, perhaps, is why the demands that have emerged from the #blacklivesmatter movement focus not on gun control but instead on demilitarizing the police and investing in “jobs, housing, and schools” for those “black communities most devastated by poverty.”
What happened in Charleston is a horrific tragedy. The criminal law will not solve it. I wish I had a better solution ready at hand. I don’t, though I think it would start by freeing our political imagination from instinctively reaching for the criminal law
A Department of Justice (DOJ) report released last Friday found a significant disparity in the treatment of black youths versus their white counterparts, as well as numerous systemic due-process violations for children of all races, in the juvenile justice system in St. Louis County, Missouri.
Law enforcement in Ferguson, Missouri, came under scrutiny after a police officer shot to death black teenager Michael Brown last year, an event that sparked its own DOJ investigation. While Ferguson is part of St. Louis County, the investigation into the county's juvenile courts began a year before Brown's death.
The DOJ found black children are less likely to have their cases handled through informal "diversion" programs, and more likely to be held in pretrial custody, custody for the juvenile equivalent of parole or probation violations, or custody after the juvenile equivalent of a conviction. The odds of being locked up were 2.5 to almost 3 times as great for black youths as for whites.
Based on the findings, which accounted for control factors such as "gender, age, risk factors, and severity of the allegation," the DOJ concluded that the disparity amounted to a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
More broadly, the report found widespread violations of constitutionally protected due-process rights regardless of race. Children in the system are not provided adequate representation, according to the report, in part due to the "staggering caseload of the sole public defender assigned to handle all indigent juvenile delinquency cases in the county."
Just getting representation by the public defender is tricky—different judges and court officials apparently have different standards for determining eligibility, with at least one judge having no set standard at all.
Many of the other problems the report uncovered stemmed from this lack of adequate counsel. Per the report, St. Louis County fails to protect children's rights against self-incrimination; determinations on whether enough probable cause exists for the case to proceed are inadequate; kids facing trial as adults (a process called "certification" in Missouri) are denied due process by the court's "failure to consider, and permit adversarial testing of, the prosecutorial merit" of the case; and the court fails to "ensure that…guilty pleas are entered knowingly and voluntarily."
Additionally, the DOJ detailed how the structure of family courts in St. Louis County creates inherent conflicts of interest. Almost "every aspect of Family Court operations" are handled by Deputy Juvenile Officers (DJOs), employees of the court supervised by an administrative judge who "have authority to make arrests, but are likewise charged with protecting the interests of the children with whom they work." The Juvenile Office then employs "legal officers" who, unlike traditional prosecutors, act as representatives of the DJOs in court proceedings.
To make matters worse, "DJOs have a 'limited understanding…as to the role that defense counsel played throughout the proceedings, particularly during the investigation and fact-finding phases. As such, there was often little regard, and in some cases actual resistance, to youth representation at early stages in the proceedings or at all,'" according to a 2013 assessment by the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) cited in the DOJ report.
"Youth are discouraged from and systematically denied counsel throughout the state [of Missouri]. This denial of due process is well known, and it is deeply entrenched in the culture of many juvenile courts," the NJDC found.
Their authority comes from their duty to enforce the law, but without any reason to suspect a crime has been committed they have no legal authority. But they still have power. Because they face no consequences for abusing their power when they have no authority to do so, especially when their victim has no ability to fight them in court, they seek out any opportunity to do so. Doesn't have to mean an arrest. They just want to make people miserable because they have the power to do so. One of the great conundrums of life is that people who seek power should not have it, but people who can be trusted with it do not seek it out. That's why libertarians will always lose. We do not want power over others, so we don't seek out positions of power that would enable us to dismantle the power structure. The people who do seek out power do so to keep and increase the power structure. That's how government remains a one-way ratchet.
At least 3,500 Americans have been detained inside a Chicago police warehouse described by some of its arrestees as a secretive interrogation facility, newly uncovered records reveal.
Of the thousands held in the facility known as Homan Square over a decade, 82% were black. Only three received documented visits from an attorney, according to a cache of documents obtained when the Guardian sued the police.
Despite repeated denials from the Chicago police department that the warehouse is a secretive, off-the-books anomaly, the Homan Square files begin to show how the city’s most vulnerable people get lost in its criminal justice system.
People held at Homan Square have been subsequently charged with everything from “drinking alcohol on the public way” to murder. But the scale of the detentions – and the racial disparity therein – raises the prospect of major civil-rights violations.
Documents indicate the detainees are a group of disproportionately minority citizens, many accused of low-level drug crimes, faced with incriminating themselves before their arrests appeared in a booking system by which their families and attorneys might find them.
The Chicago police department has maintained – even as the Guardian reported stories of people being shackled and held for hours or even days, all without legal access – that the warehouse is not a secret facility so much as an undercover police base operating in plain sight. “There are always records of anyone who is arrested by CPD, and this is no different at Homan Square,” the police asserted in a March statement.
But an independent Guardian analysis of arrestees’ records, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, shows that Homan Square is far from normal:
Between September 2004 and June 2015, around 3,540 people were eventually charged, mostly with forms of drug possession – primarily heroin, as well as marijuana and cocaine – but also for minor infractions such as traffic violations, public urination and driving without a seatbelt.
More than 82% of the Homan Square arrests thus far disclosed – or 2,974 arrests – are of black people, while 8.5% are of white people. Chicago, according to the 2010 US census, is 33% black and 32% white.
Over two-thirds of the arrests at Homan Square thus far revealed – at least 2,522 – occurred under the tenure of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the former top aide to Barack Obama who has said of Homan Square that the police working under him “follow all the rules”.
Contained within the statistics are stories of people held at Homan Square in and under questionable circumstances:
A 42-year-old civil rights activist says he was abducted by masked officers, shackled, held on false charges and “with no food, no water, no access to the outside world” at the behest of “covert operations”. He is one of at least 118 people whom police have detained at Homan Square since the Guardian exposed the warehouse’s usage as a detention facility in February. His wife described the ordeal as feeling their family had been “lost” by the police.
One young man, held at the warehouse for 14 hours without any public listing of his whereabouts, was just shy of his 18th birthday; the courts sentenced him to community service and probation.
Another man, not included in the disclosed data, said he fled Chicago after resisting police pressure to become an informant during multiple stints inside Homan Square.
The revelations are by no means a full accounting of police detentions at Homan Square, which Chicago has owned since 1995. The records only date from late 2004 and they exclude people eventually released without charge. After months of disputing the Guardian’s reporting, the Chicago police only made detailed information available after the Guardian sued them for it. Vast amounts of data documenting the full scope of detentions and interrogations at Homan Square remain undisclosed.
Proving to be unstable, combative and petty, an FBI agent interjected himself in a family custodial dispute on behalf of his girlfriend and her estranged husband, who was two hours late in dropping off their baby.
But FBI Agent Gerald Rogero’s intrusive attempts at heroism led to him assaulting and threatening to shoot the 15-year-old son of the estranged husband’s girlfriend.
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