What Were They
Thinking? And, Why?

(#415, 8/15/22)

Loopholes are
(Still) Lethal

(#414, 8/8/22)

Massacres, in Slow-Mo
(#413, 7/25/22)

Good Law / Bad Law
(#412, 7/2/22)

Tenacity is Great -
Until It's Not

(#411, 6/20/22)

Cops v. Assault Weapons:
a Hopeless Situation

(#410, 5/30/22)

Another Day,
Another Massacre

(#409, 5/16/22)

When Does
Evidence Suffice?

(#408, 5/13/22)

When a "Dope"
Can't be "Roped"

(#407, 4/20/22)

Judicial Detachment:
Myth or Reality?

(#406, 4/4/22)

A Show-Stopper
for Shot-Spotter?

(#405, 3/19/22)

In Two Fell Swoops
(#404, 2/28/22)

What's Up? Violence.
(#403, 1/29/22)

Ex-cops on Federal Trial
(#402, 1/21/22)

Who's in Charge?
(#401, 1/3/22)

What's Up With

(#400, 12/23/21)

Cause and Effect
(#399, 12/6/21)

Backing Off
(#398, 11/18/21)

"Woke" up, America!
(#397, 10/25/21)

Full Stop Ahead
(#396, 9/27/21)

Damn the Evidence -
Full Speed Ahead!

(#395, 9/8/21)

A Partner in Every Sense
(#394, 8/24/21)

Our Never-Ending
American Tragedy

(#393, 8/9/21)

Racial Quarrels Within Policing (II)
(#392, 7/23/21)

Racial Quarrels
Within Policing (I)

(#391, 7/11/21)

Don't Like the Rules?
Change Them!

(#390, 6/28/21)

Regulate. Don't "Obfuscate".
(#389, 6/13/21)

Another Victim:
The Craft of Policing

(#388, 5/29/21)

Is the "Cure" Worse
than the "Disease"?

(#387, 5/17/21)

Let's Stop Pretending
(#386, 5/3/21)

Four Weeks,
Six Massacres

(#385, 4/19/21)

Two Weeks,
Four Massacres

(#384, 4/4/21)

Trial of Derek Chauvin
(#382B, 3/29/21)

One Week,
Two Massacres

(#383, 3/24/21)

Slugging it Out
Before the Fight

(#382A, 3/16/21)

The Usual Victims
(#381, 2/22/21)

A Risky and Informed Decision
(#380, 2/8/21)

Want Happy Endings?
Don't Chase.

(#379, 1/31/21)

Cop? Terrorist? Both?
(#378, 1/20/21)

Chaos in D.C.
(#377, 1/11/21)

Third, Fourth & Fifth Chances
(#376, 1/4/21)

Select, Don't "Elect"
(#375, 12/19/20)

Was a Dope Roped?
(#374, 12/8/20)

Fix Those Neighborhoods!
(#373, 11/23/20)

When Must Cops
Shoot? (II)

(#372, 11/11/20)

When Must Cops
Shoot? (I)

(#371, 10/31/20)

L.A. Wants "Cahoots."
But Which "Cahoots"?

(#370, 10/21/20)

R.I.P. Proactive Policing?
(#369, 10/10/20)

Explaining...or Ignoring?
(#368, 9/21/20)

White on Black
(#367, 9/7/20)

Black on Black
(#366, 9/1/20)

"SWAT" is a Verb
(#365, 8/16/20)

Should Police Treat the Whole Patient?
(#364, 8/3/20)

Turning Cops Into Liars
(#363, 7/20/20)

Violent and Vulnerable
(#362, 7/8/20)

Don't "Divest" - Invest!
(#361, 6/26/20)

Is it Ever OK to Shoot Someone in the Back? (II)
(#360, 6/19/20)

Gold Badges Can Be the Problem
(#359, 6/8/20)

Punishment Isn't a Cop's Job
(#358, 6/3/20)

But is it Really Satan?
(#357, 5/25/20)

A Conflicted Mission
(#356, 5/12/20)

Keep going...


Hard Times in
the "Big Easy"

(#417, 9/27/22)

In New Orleans, poverty and crime
go together like, well...

What Were They
Thinking? (Part II)

(#416, 9/3/22)

Examining six recent (and
notorious) uses of force


9/27/22  Jurors rejected murder charges against a White former Philadelphia cop who shot and killed an unarmed Black motorist after a high-speed December 2017 pursuit that ended in a crash. But they  convicted Eric Ruch, Jr., a ten-year veteran, of felony manslaughter for needlessly opening fire on Dennis Plowden Jr., 25, moments after the pursuit came to an end. Mr. Ruch testified that he thought Mr. Plowden, who was sitting on the sidewalk, was hiding a gun in his right hand. But it turned out to be heroin. Mr. Ruch was taken into custody and faces a 20-year maximum term. Related posts 1   2

Last year Oregon became the first State to decriminalize the possession of drugs for personal consumption. Instead, users now pay a $100 civil penalty or agree to undergo a “health assessment” that can lead to counseling for substance abuse. But less than one percent of the 16,000 who chose the latter path accepted actual treatment. Meanwhile fatal overdoses increased twenty percent and Oregon’s addiction rates remain “among the highest” in the U.S. Drug legalization updates

To prevent rogues from interfering with police activity, Chicago is joining a national move to encrypt officer radio transmissions. They will, however, remain available for public listening on an online platform after a thirty-minute delay. News organizations object. Ditto a police scholar, who worries that it “reduces the level of accountability that police departments will face.” But officials point to “disruptions,” such as took place in April, when scoundrels used prior recordings to call in fake emergencies. Related post

9/26/22   A Fresno, Calif. man put a gun to his head and threatened to commit suicide and kill any police who approached. He was in his own home, and posed no immediate threat to others. So the officers left. With nearly one in four police shootings involving the mentally ill, “tactical disengagement” is being adopted by police across the U.S. Some agencies try to send in  mental health professionals. But if there’s resistance to offers of help and innocents aren’t clearly at risk, everyone simply leaves. Related posts 1   2

As midterms approach and political campaigns ramp up, crime is taking center stage. Concerns that the “defund” movement and less aggressive law enforcement have contributed to the spike in crime and violence have placed the “Blues” in an awkward position. So even progressive candidates like Wisconsin U.S. Senate candidate Mandela Barnes are finding it necessary to reassure voters that, indeed, they really do support the police. Related posts 1   2

9/24/22  During a 2019 encounter, Elijah McClain, a 21-year old Aurora (co) man whom a 9-1-1 caller said had been behaving oddly, was thought by officers to be suffering from ExDS. After a forceful struggle they injected him with ketamine, and McClain later died at a hospital. A new coroner’s report attributes McClain’s death to the use of force together with the effects of the drug. In 2021 three officers and two paramedics were charged with manslaughter and negligent homicide; their cases still pend. Related posts 1   2

Despite California’s 2017 legalization of recreational marijuana, only one-third of the State’s cities allow marijuana retail stores. That inherently limits demand. Small- scale pot farms are also stymied by the dominance of the large producers who helped fund Proposition 64, and by the massive quantities of cheap (i.e., untaxed) pot produced by the many illegal farms run by organized crime, a problem to which law enforcement only half-heartedly responds. According to a probing series of articles by the Los Angeles Times, “weed legalization” has definitely “not met expectations.” Marijuana updates

9/23/22  Citizen undercover squads have formed around the U.S. to catch online predators who solicit youths to meet for sex and drugs. In Indianapolis, a man showed up anxious to frolic with “14-year-old Mackenzie.” What he got was Eric Schmutte, founder of Predator Catchers. A detective had watched their recorded online conversation and wanted in. So the man was arrested, and the case went to trial. And a jury convicted. Related post

After a contentious debate, a bipartisan majority of the House passed the “Invest to Protect Act.” It allocates $60 million per year for the 2023-2027 fiscal years to small law enforcement agencies (125 or fewer officers) for conducting training in deescalation and handling incidents involving troubled persons, and for signing and retention bonuses to help hire and retain cops. The Senate’s version is reportedly different, and the measure’s chances to be signed into law are uncertain. Related post

John Henry Ramirez’s scheduled execution next month is back on. According to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the D.A.’s “firm belief that the death penalty is unethical” is, as the trial judged already ruled, insufficient reason to nullify the death warrant signed upon Mr. Ramirez’s 2008 conviction for fatally stabbing a store clerk during a robbery, an act that he admitted at trial. But as the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in March, Mr. Ramirez is entitled to have a pastor lay hands in the chamber. Related post

Airport security agents are finding more guns than ever on travelers at check-in, about 4,600 so far this year, with about 87 percent loaded. A gun-rights group suggests that it’s probably caused by an increased number of first-time gun owners, who may be “stressed” by the check-in process. Having a gun at a checkpoint doesn’t violate Federal criminal law but can result in a civil fine. However, it’s a misdemeanor in some States and could subject a traveler to arrest. TSA gun rules Related post

9/22/22  On September 21, 2022 Judge Peter Cahill imposed the agreed-upon three year State prison term on Thomas Lane, to be served concurrently with his two and one -half year Federal term. As the State term is subject to credit for good behavior, it’s expected that Lane will be released from custody in both cases in slightly more than two years. Related post

Oakland’s fourth fatal shooting in less than a day, which happened just outside City Hall, led the City Council to take a quick break. With 91 murders so far this year - in 2021 there were 100 at this point - that’s the reality in the crime-beset community. A violence interrupter bemoans that young people have “normalized” the harm: “they feel like there’s no chance and it’s supposed to be like this.” So they do “whatever [they] can to survive. It’s survival of the fittest.” Related post

San Francisco supervisors narrowly approved a test run of a program that would let police temporarily monitor, with permission, privately-held or community-based video surveillance cameras in emergencies, when conducting specific criminal investigations, or during major events. Civil libertarians opposed the measure, stating that necessary footage could always be requested after the fact. Related post

Former Long Beach, Calif. police chief (and would-be Sheriff) Robert Luna and current L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva traded punches at their televised debate. Luna emphasized a collaborative approach, which will supposedly draw legislators to his side, while Villanueva gloried in his storied “combative” approach. “So when they impose a hiring freeze on the department, what am I going to do?” he demanded. “Greet it with open arms? Of course I’m going to object to that.” Related post

9/21/22   In “the largest pandemic relief fraud scheme charged to date,” DOJ indicted 47 defendants for misappropriating $250 million in Federal Child Nutrition program funds. A central figure, Aimee Bock, director of Minnesota nonprofit “Feeding Our Future,” allegedly got conspirators to create “dozens of shell companies” that pretended to provide meals. But instead of feeding needy children, they diverted the monies “to purchase luxury cars, houses, jewelry, and coastal resort property abroad.” COVID updates

With riders shying away from using mass transit because of increased crime and misbehavior - subway ridership is down a staggering forty percent from pre-COVID days - Governor Kathy Hochul has promised to install two video surveillance cameras in every subway car in New York City. But not everyone is convinced that will be enough to regain public confidence in a system beset by “random attacks, muggings and the focus of concerns about rising numbers of homeless people.” Related post

9/20/22  Immigration authorities are releasing “tens of thousands” of migrants each month into the U.S. to apply for refugee asylum or humanitarian parole. Migrants who were formerly detained for removal are being paroled to ease the strain on detention facilities; more than forty-thousand were paroled in June alone. Released migrants are scheduled for hearings and must regularly report. Immigration website: Humanitarian admissions   Asylum  Parole Immigration updates

Two years ago a high-speed pursuit of a fleeing carjacker by Chicago police led to a horrific crash and the death of an innocent motorist. Chicago has just agreed to settle the claim by the family of the victim, a 37 year old mother of six, for $15 million. Chicago has altered its pursuit policy to assure officers that they will not be disciplined for deciding not to chase. Chicago PD pursuit policy Related post

9/19/22   Illinois’ Will County D.A. filed suit against the SAFE-T act, which is effective January 1. Under the law, which makes Illinois the first state to eliminate cash bail, accused can be held only if there is “clear and convincing” evidence that they pose “a real and present threat to the safety of a specific, identifiable person or persons.” For many crimes, including “aggravated battery, robbery, burglary, aggravated DUI, kidnapping, vehicular homicide and all drug offenses” they can be held only if “there is a high likelihood they’ll flee to avoid prosecution.” Cops and prosecutors throughout Illinois are worried. Related post

An analysis by the Major Cities Chiefs Association of violent crime in America’s major cities between Jan 1 - June 30, 2021 and Jan 1 - June 30, 2022 reveals that New Orleans began and ended with by far the highest homicide rates per 100,000 pop. Its 155 homicides in 2022 yield a rate of 41/100,000, seventeen times New York City’s 2.4 (207 homicides), 8.5 times Los Angeles’ 4.8 (186 homicides), and by our calculations nearly three times Washington D.C.’s 15 (104 homicides). Related post

In South Los Angeles an agitated 19-year old flaunted an airsoft toy assault rifle at police officers who responded to his 9-1-1 call. Officers shot him dead. Luis Herrera, 19, had been arguing with his father at the family home. His father reportedly “screamed at police” that the youth was holding a toy. “I shouted, ‘That’s a fake gun, it’s a fake gun, don’t shoot him.’ But they shot him six times. They never told him, ‘Put the weapon down’ or nothing. Related post

Proactive policing and harsh sentencing are two components of the “hard-nosed” anti -crime approach known as “Project Safe Neighborhoods.” According to a recent NIJ evaluation of its implementation in Tampa, “the program led to a statistically significant reduction in violent crime.” Gun crime, though, was unaffected. Related posts 1   2   3

9/17/22  In two beset Tulsa neighborhoods, a public-private partnership that enhanced the police presence, “shifted high-risk individuals away” through eviction and provided enhanced security and surveillance significantly reduced total crime. But there was no significant reduction of disorderliness, and assaults only fell significantly in one location. Related posts 1   2

On July 22 two plainclothes Chicago officers on their way to training pulled up to investigate persons “loitering” by a closed store. One, a 17-year old, allegedly pulled a pistol from a satchel and ran off. Who fired first isn’t clear, but in an exchange of shots the officers wounded two unarmed citizens, one seriously. Prosecutors charged Sgt. Christopher Liakopoulos, 43, and Officer Ruben Reynoso, 42, with aggravated battery with a firearm, aggravated discharge of a firearm and official misconduct. Police video Related post

In an unexplained last-minute change of mind, Texas parole authorities withdrew their recommendation that the Governor grant the late George Floyd a posthumous pardon for selling crack in 2004 to a disgraced former Houston undercover cop. That officer, Gerald Goines, is currently pending a murder trial for a 2019 raid that went lethally wrong (see 8/8/22 update). Floyd can be reconsidered for a pardon in two years. Related post

9/16/22  While Mexican asylum seekers are usually expelled under Title 42 (COVID), Mexico no longer accepts migrants from elsewhere. U.S. authorities now summarily process asylum seekers from Central America, Africa and other countries and release them awaiting resolution of their claims, a years-long process during which many simply disappear. Their care has defaulted to States and localities, and some have created housing, care and employment programs to handle the new arrivals. But “Red” states such as Texas and Arizona are retaliating by busing migrants to “Blue” places including D.C. and Chicago. And even flying them to Martha's Vineyard, making promises of jobs and housing they know can't be kept (click here for AP article). Immigration updates

Seven years ago DOJ placed Albuquerque police under Federal monitoring for a “pattern or practice” of using excessive force, including deadly force, on persons who “pose a minimal threat” and on the mentally ill. DOJ has now determined that significant improvements in recruitment, training and supervision allow the agency to self-monitor compliance for the remaining period of the consent decree. Related posts 1   2

L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s reelection bid is vigorously opposed by County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and by Patty Giggans, a member of the agency’s civilian oversight board and the leader of nonprofit “Peace Over Violence.” That, suggests the L.A. Times, is behind an investigation by Sheriff Dept. detectives into Kuehl’s alleged facilitation of a Metro contract to Giggans’ group in exchange for campaign contributions. Based on a claim by an ex-Metro employee, it recently led deputies to serve a search warrant at Kuehl’s home. Villanueva says he’s keeping an arm’s length away from the case. Related post

Did L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva award CCW permits in exchange for campaign contributions? On taking office he promised to greatly increase the issuance of carry permits, and the numbers quickly soared. But the Times dug up evidence that deputies “with ties to the Sheriff” helped “dozens of donors” promptly secure permits although they “often gave questionable reasons for needing to be armed.” Villanueva says he’s investigating “irregularities” in the process. Of course, all that took place before the Supreme Court’s recent decision that applicants need not have a special “cause” to carry a gun. Related post

9/15/22  An episode of the “Serial” podcast highlighting the weaknesses of the case against Baltimore man Adnan Syed, who is serving a life sentence for murdering a former girlfriend, has apparently led prosecutors to recommend his conviction be dismissed and that the matter be at the most retried. Concerns include unreliable cellphone data that might have misplaced Mr. Syed’s whereabouts and strong alternative suspects whose identities and motives were withheld from his lawyers. Note: Mr. Syed was released pending a decision whether to retry. Related post

In yet another decision that highlights the Supreme Court’s ideological split, the Justices ruled 5-4, with the deepest conservatives (Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Barrett) in the minority, that a New-York based parochial university must recognize and afford the same privileges to an otherwise qualifying student group whose gender values clash with the school’s religious doctrine. Related post

A major May-September effort involving the FBI and local police reportedly led to the arrest of “nearly 6,000 alleged violent criminals and gang members” and the confiscation of “more than 2,700 firearms.” Violent gangs were targeted in a score of communities, including Los Angeles, Albuquerque, and Houston, and 105 of these groups were effectively “dismantled.” Drug trafficking organizations also felt the sting, and large amounts of fentanyl and other lethal drugs were seized throughout the U.S. Related post

On 9/9/22 a Federal judge blocked Arizona's new law requiring that citizens filming police encounters keep at least eight feet away. Related post

9/14/22   “Bump stocks” are aftermarket accessories that convert recoil from each gunshot into a trigger pull for the next without user intervention. Ordinary guns become, in effect, “machineguns.” And the toll from their rapid fire can be enormous, such as the sixty dead and more than 400 wounded in the 2017 Las Vegas massacre. ATF subsequently ruled the devices illegal. But gun boosters have mounted a series of challenges; the most recent will soon be heard by the full Fifth Circuit in New Orleans. Related posts 1   2

The City of Los Angeles requires that marijuana retailers be licensed. But unlicensed pot shops beset the city’s Eastside. Despite occasional police raids, they spring right back into business, using lower prices to drive customers away from licensed, tax-paying retailers. Violations are misdemeanors, and D.A.’s are reluctant to press charges. But the few raids that have taken place are eye-openers, revealing sales volumes that can generate $25,000 worth of revenue in a single day. Marijuana updates





Ex-cops on State Trial

Charges   Motions   Pleas/sent.

Ex-cops on Federal Trial
(#402, 1/21/22)

Daily account    Verdict    Sent.

State Trial of
Derek Chauvin

(#382B, 3/29/21)

Pre-trial    Daily account

Post-trial, sentence

Punishment Isn't
a Cop's Job

(#358, 6/3/20)

An officer metes out discipline. He then faces society’s version.


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