Ex Top Cop: We Need a New Model of Policing 

The horrific deaths of Philando Castillo in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, give us an updated and up-close glimpse of police encounters gone bad—but they are rooted in decades of problematic policing in America. “Historically in this country, the police have never really been the friends of the black community,” says Neill Franklin, a former officer with the Baltimore Police Department and current executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (L.E.A.P).

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Franklin talked with Reason TV Editor-in-Chief Nick Gillespie at this year’s Freedom Fest in Las Vegas, Nevada, pointing out that slavery may have ended officially in the late 1800s, but a lot of policing was born out of that era and the one that followed, when police deliberately enforced laws in ways that targeted black citizens. Even today, police are tasked with enforcing laws—from driving without a license to missing a court date—that tend to target poor communities and communities of color.

“You know a $250 fine doesn’t mean much to people who have money,” says Franklin. “But when you enforce these policies in poor communities, a hundred dollar fine can devastate a family.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Clinton Supporter on Her Absence from Baton Rouge: ‘I’m Not Sure Where She Is’ 

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John Gibbs: 5 Things President Obama Needs To Say About Black Crime

 writes: President Obama held a nationally televised town hall last week to address heightened tensions and divisions in our society due to recent shootings of black criminals by police, and the recent shootings of police officers in Dallas. Just days after the event, three police officers in Baton Rouge were assassinated, further highlighting the high stakes for how the president handles this issue.

I was invited to attend last week’s town hall and ask the president a question, but ultimately could not make it. But I did watch it at home, and would like to highlight some key points President Obama did not to make, which could have begun the process of healing and reconciliation.

Indeed, Sunday’s execution of three police officers in Baton Rouge shows what can happen when the president creates an atmosphere of racial victimization and blames police. So it is critical that Obama develops a new message that takes us in the right direction before things get worse and there’s another incident.

With that in mind, here are the statements President Obama should have included in his remarks last week.

1. ‘We Must, Must, Must Reduce the Black Crime Rate’

The black crime rate is significantly higher than that of other races. Yes, some would claim this is due to institutionalized racism or a lack of job opportunities. However, black crime was much lower in past eras when discrimination against black people was much higher, and the economic position of black people was much worse, than today. So that can be no excuse.

[Read the full story here, at thefederalist]

President Obama should have talked about how the overall crime rate for black people is three times higher than the national average. He should have noted how blacks commit homicide at a rate eight times higher than whites do, according to Department of Justice data. Even though blacks and Hispanics combined make up only 30 percent of the population, they make up more than 80 percent of all gang members in the United States. He should also have talked how even though black folks are only 13 percent of the population, we commit about 62 percent of all robberies and 56 percent of all carjackings. Obama should have then asked: “Is this really what Dr. King died for?”

2. ‘We Must Put the Black Family Back Together’

Even though the studies clearly show that children born into single-parent homes have worse outcomes in nearly every area, sadly, today about 72 percent of black kids are born to unwed mothers. This has created a whole new generation of troubled young men who have an increased likelihood of entering a life of crime and getting themselves into altercations with the police that create these divisive incidents we see on the news.

Read the rest of this entry »


It’s Not Just Dallas or Baton Rouge — Police Officers Have Been Killed Across the Country

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 It’s a dangerous time to be a cop.

Erica Evans and Razzan Nakhlawi report: When five police officers were killed and nine wounded in an attack during a protest march in Dallas on July 7, it rattled the nation.

Ten days later, three officers were killed and three injured in Baton Rouge, La., as they were responding to a call about a suspicious person with an assault rifle.

“A direct attack on an officer like this is not common. It was a very open and very blatant ambush.”

Between the two attacks, law enforcement officers from Georgia to Michigan were shot in incidents that drew far less attention but have added to the growing sense that it’s a dangerous time to be a cop.

With the Dallas shootings, 31 law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty so far this year, compared with 18 officers who had died at this point in 2015, according the statistics from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

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“Certainly there is a climate now — and the Dallas case indicates that there is a climate now — that certainly should have police on guard.”

Nick Breul, director of research for the memorial fund and a former Washington, D.C., police officer, said that there have also been a number of surprise attacks targeting and killing police officers.

“As we see increases, it becomes very concerning, particularly when you see increases in the cases of the nature of Dallas,” Breul said.

[Read the full story here, at LA Times]

“Certainly there is a climate now — and the Dallas case indicates that there is a climate now — that certainly should have police on guard,” he added.

A black Army veteran, Lakeem Keon Scott, targeted police in a shooting on July 7 along a highway in Bristol, Tenn., authorities said. One woman was killed and three other people were injured, including one officer who is white. Scott was charged with one count of first-degree murder and seven counts of attempted first-degree murder. Read the rest of this entry »


Suspect Had Career As a Marine

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The Baton Rouge gunman, whom the authorities identified as Gavin Long of Kansas City, Mo., was a Marine veteran who had served in Iraq.

Yvonne Carlock, the deputy public affairs officer for the United States Marines, provided these details of Mr. Long’s military service:

Rank: Sergeant

Date of Rank: July 1, 2008

Dates of Service: Aug. 22, 2005 to Aug. 21, 2010

Military Occupational Specialty: 0651, Data Network Specialist

Awards:
Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal;
Iraq Campaign Medal;
Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (3rd Award);
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal;
National Defense Service Medal;
Navy Unit Commendation Medal

Place Entered Service: Kansas City, Mo.

Deployments: Iraq: June 2008 to January 2009

Duty Assignments:
Marine Corps Recruit Training Depot San Diego;
School of Infantry, Camp Pendleton, Calif.;
Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School, Twentynine Palms, Calif.;
Headquarters Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, Okinawa, Japan;
Marine Aircraft Group 38, 3rd Marine Air Wing, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, San Diego

Source: The New York Times


[PHOTO] RIP Baton Rouge Police Officer Montreal Jackson: His Life Mattered

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In Case You Missed It…

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BATON ROUGE – Baton Rouge residents gathered Saturday afternoon to form the newest chapter of the New Black Panther Party.

“It is time for new leadership and a new organization to step forward in Baton Rouge. I feel like the New Black Panther Party is the organization that can bring new leadership to Baton Rouge.”

The New Black Panthers arrived in Baton Rouge last Saturday to protest the officer-involved shooting death of 37-year-old Alton Sterling. Two videos of the shooting sparked national outcry and protests across Baton Rouge.

Jerald Justice said the group was approached by local residents like Edwin Smith to help establish a Baton Rouge chapter.

“It is time for new leadership and a new organization to step forward in Baton Rouge,” Smith said. “I feel like the New Black Panther Party is the organization that can bring new leadership to Baton Rouge.”

Founders met Saturday to formally establish the chapter as well as gather names for new members. WBRZ News 2’s Earl Phelps was able to briefly attend the event on the condition that he does not reveal the meeting’s location. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Three officers Killed, Three Injured in Baton Rouge Shooting

Baton Rouge police officers shot, three reported dead

In May, Governor Edwards signed a ‘Blue Lives Matter’ bill into law, making Louisiana the first state in the country where police officers, firefighters and other first responders are a protected class under hate-crime law. 

Multiple officers in Baton Rouge were shot Sunday, July 17. The city’s Mayor told NBC three of them have died. Police warned local residents to stay away from the scene as they searched the area for the shooter. (Reuters)

Three police officers were killed and at least three others injured in a shooting Sunday morning in Baton Rouge, according to the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office.

“This is an unspeakable and unjustified attack on all of us at a time when we need unity and healing. Rest assured, every resource available to the state of Louisiana will be used to ensure the perpetrators are swiftly brought to justice.”

— Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards

Authorities said that one suspect has been killed, and the sheriff’s office said that they believe two other potential suspects may be at large. While the injured officers were taken to nearby hospitals, people who lived in the vicinity were ordered to hunker down and stay indoors.

Details about the shooting remained unclear by Sunday afternoon, and police did not immediately say whether they believe the officers were targeted or if they were injured during a law enforcement action. The shooting happened in a region still on edge after police fatally shot a man there, sparking heated protests that prompted a heavy law enforcement response that some have questioned as unnecessarily forceful.

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Officers from the Baton Rouge police force as well as deputies from the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office were involved in the shooting, authorities said, though they did not specify the agencies of the officers who were killed. Multiple officers from both agencies were injured in the shooting and brought to hospitals, police said.

[Read the full story here, at The Washington Post]

“This is an unspeakable and unjustified attack on all of us at a time when we need unity and healing,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said in a statement. “Rest assured, every resource available to the state of Louisiana will be used to ensure the perpetrators are swiftly brought to justice.”

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Edwards planned to speak more about the shooting at a news conference later Sunday, his office said.

[In May, Louisiana became the first state to make it a hate crime to target police]

Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden said he had spoken to officials from the White House, who offered to assist in any way possible.

Location of latest Baton Rouge shooting

“It’s touched, basically, people all across the country,” he told WAFB in a telephone interview just after noon. “The phones have not stopped ringing.”

Holden could not confirm reports from various media outlets that as many as seven officers had been wounded.

“When a police officer is shot or assaulted, it makes every single citizen in the country a little less safe. When police officers have to worry about citizens committing unprovoked acts of violence against them it makes it more difficult for them to interact with citizens and that is a key factor in law enforcement.”

— Jim Pasco, executive director of the National Fraternal Order of Police

“In the word community is the word unity,” Holden said. “If this is not a defining moment for us, to bridge the divide and come out with a unified voice, than I don’t know what is.”

In a statement, Baton Rouge said that its police force and other local, state and federal authorities were “actively investigating the circumstances surrounding this morning’s shooting.” Officials also said that the roads around the shooting area remained closed as of 2 p.m. local time.

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Agents for the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were on the scene in Baton Rouge responding to the shooting, according to Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch.

“No other state includes police officers as a protected class under hate-crime laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But at least 37 states — including Louisiana — have enhanced penalties for assaulting police officers.”

A spokesman for the FBI in New Orleans said he was “unsure” whether the officers were targeted specifically, or whether something else might have sparked the incident. He declined to comment further.

But the shooting deaths came during a particularly deadly year for law enforcement, and not long after a gunman who said he was enraged by police killings targeted police in Dallas. Read the rest of this entry »


GAS UP, BUTTERCUP: Data Geeks Calculate What the Ultimate U.S. Road Trip Looks Like

Road Trip

Who needs an atlas when you have an algorithm? Data tinkerer Randy Olson, who is now known across the internet for developing the optimum search path for Where’s Waldo books, has used this same algorithm to compute the optimal American road trip.

At the urging of Tracy Staedter from Discovery News, Olson set out to find the quickest driving route that would stop at a national natural landmark, national historic site, national park or national monument in all of the lower 48 states. He also included Washington, D.C. and added another stop in California to get to a total of 50 stops. Read the rest of this entry »


AGAIN? Math Teacher Arrested for Alleged Sex with Student; Boy’s Mom Found Texts from Teacher on Phone then Reported Her

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Christian Life Academy Teacher Amber Leigh Anderson was booked Tuesday into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on a count of felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile

Ben Wallace reports: Following an investigation sparked by a recent complaint from a Baton Rouge high school student’s mother, sheriff’s deputies on Tuesday arrested a Christian Life Academy teacher accused of having a sexual relationship with the student about two years ago.

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Amber Leigh Anderson, 27, a math teacher, engaged in the relationship with the student mostly during summer 2013 when the boy was a 15-year-old freshman at the school, according to an East Baton Rouge ParishAmber-Leigh-Anderson Sheriff’s Office report.

“She also said she picked up the victim and took him to her home, where they had sex…”

In April 2013, another student gave the victim Anderson’s cellphone number.

“Anderson characterized the relationship to deputies as ‘a mistake,’ the report says, and she apologized for ‘taking the victim’s innocence.’”

As time progressed, Anderson and the victim “became extremely close to one another,” the Sheriff’s Office report says.

“The relationship lasted a few more months until the boy’s mother found some of the text messages on her son’s cellphone that had been sent by Anderson. At that point, the mother confronted the teacher, told her to quit texting her son…”

Text messages between the two soon became sexually charged, and in July, Anderson began having sex with wda-7-teacher-sexthe student, the report says.

The relationship lasted a few more months until the boy’s mother found some of the text messages on her son’s cellphone that had been sent by Anderson. At that point, the mother confronted the teacher, told her to quit texting her son and “reported the matter to the school’s administration,” the report says, effectively bringing an end to the relationship between Anderson and the student.

A woman who answered the phone Tuesday at Christian Life Academy said the school would not comment on the incident. It’s unclear what the mother told the administration. Read the rest of this entry »