Cops with the most military gear kill the most civilians

Police departments that get more equipment from the military kill more civilians than departments that get less military gear. That’s the finding from research on a federal program that has operated since 1997…

This federal effort is called the “1033 Program.” It’s named after the section of the 1997 National Defense Authorization Act that allows the U.S. Defense Department to give police agencies around the country equipment, including weapons and ammunition, that the military no longer needs.

…Militarization of police doesn’t reduce crime or improve officer safety – but it does make civilians less trusting of the police, with good reason.

In our study, my coauthors and I found that the police agencies who received the most military gear had, in the year after getting the equipment, a rate of civilian killings more than double that of police departments that had received the least amount of military equipment through the 1033 Program. While data limitations limited our analysis to four states, our findings were replicated with nationwide data.

If you own this crap you’re going to use it whether justified or not. Often true of our military. At least as true for our police departments.

Oh, in case you never noticed. Companies looking for more sales of military hardware can afford a lot more lobbying and kickbacks than the folks producing, say, schoolbooks.

Up to 200,000 prison inmates with dementia in the next decade — many won’t know why they’re there!

Like the rest of the United States population, the prison population is aging fast. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that by 2030, people over the age of 55 will account for almost one-third of all incarcerated people. That means that American prisons will house upward of 400,000 older prisoners, about the same population of New Orleans, representing a near doubling of the number of older prisoners currently behind bars.

Caring for these elderly prisoners suffering from physical and mental frailty will create significant challenges for prisons…

As an expert in human rights law and a former commissioner on Pennsylvania’s Sentencing Commission, I am concerned about the burden this places on already overstretched prisons, but also the cost to human dignity. Furthermore, my research suggests that indefinitely detaining someone who does not understand why may violate the United States Constitution’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.

Rachel Lopez is more than well-qualified to address the topic. I praise her forethought in addressing yet another topic critical to criminal justice, her courage in trying to get Americans to care about one more tough subject demanding attention and focus. Good luck!

Parent of child in altered Trump video forces Facebook and Twitter to remove it

The original before being altered to suit Trump’s racist beliefs

Facebook and Twitter on Friday removed a video posted by President Donald Trump’s account that had twisted a viral video of two toddlers after one of the children’s parents lodged a copyright claim. The video had more than 4 million views on Facebook…and more than 20 million views on Twitter…before it was taken down.

The now-removed clip is a crude and misleading edit of a video that went viral last year which shows a Black child and a White child running to hug each other. The version posted to Trump’s account made it first appear as if the Black child was running away from the White child…

Michael Cisneros, the father of one of the boys in the video, said last year he had posted the original video to social media because he thought it was a beautiful, candid moment to share in the midst of racism and hate in the world…

Responding to Trump’s use of the video, Cisneros wrote in a Facebook post Thursday night, “HE WILL NOT TURN THIS LOVING, BEAUTIFUL VIDEO TO FURTHER HIS HATE AGENDA!! !! !! !!”

The Republican Party sinks deeper into the fascist ideology Trump champions. Would anyone be surprised at a new Reichstag fire…set by Trump loyalists and attributed any one of the many groups opposing his criminal policies.

RightWing militias get to work with real coppers

In late February, the self-proclaimed commander of a rightwing militia group based in northern New Mexico issued an urgent proclamation to listeners of the group’s YouTube radio show.

“We have 2,500 people getting ready to come across at [the] El Paso-New Mexico state line,” said Larry Mitchell Hopkins, speaking under the alias Johnny Horton Jr., of the United Constitutional Patriots. “They are from South America, and MS-13, a very large group. … We are deploying men right now through the border, and we need more boots on the ground, we need all the help we can get, folks.”

In another radio broadcast days later, after Hopkins relocated to the state’s southern half, he bragged that the militia was working directly with Border Patrol agents: “We are working with the Border Patrol. They are working great with us. All their supervisors have been here. They check on us. They’ve given us a sector of work with them, and they’re really doing a good job.”…

In at least a few videos, militia members are shown speaking with Border Patrol agents, who allow the group to film their apprehensions of would-be immigrants. Hopkins told his radio listeners on March 1 that his group was working “hand-in-hand” with Border Patrol

…A network of local humanitarian charities and volunteers in El Paso, Las Cruces, and Albuquerque are coordinating to welcome hundreds of asylum seekers passing through daily. And as these efforts go forward, the local right seethes with resentment, buoyed by a white nationalist president who legitimizes and indulges their worst impulses on a near-daily basis.

Coercion, intimidation by threats of violence by gun-toting fools are the stock in trade of bigots and reactionaries for decades. They’re even wrongly characterized as vigilantes. More like lynch mobs would be closer to accurate.

Rightwing “Boogaloo boy” killed cop — used Black Lives Matter protest as cover


Mugshot of USAF sergeant Steven Carillo

A California man charged with killing a federal officer and a sheriff’s deputy has ties to the far-right “Boogaloo” movement, according to federal authorities.

Air Force Staff Sgt. Steven Carrillo, 32, was charged with killing federal service officer David Patrick Underwood, 53, near a Black Lives Matter protest at an Oakland courthouse on May 29…

A second man, Robert Alvin Justus Jr., was charged with aiding and abetting after he admitted to serving as Carrillo’s getaway driver in the drive-by attack on the officers…Inside the vehicles used by Carrillo, police found a patch linked to the “Boogaloo boys” movement, as well as bomb making equipment, ammo and guns, the FBI said. The movement seeks to use peaceful protests as cover to launch attacks in hopes of sparking a race war.

Not a new tactic for the fascist-minded. Given the right circumstances and a dull-witted investigation, they might just getaway with something like this. After all, we’ve had days of lynching and racist massacres in the past in this land…provoked by nothing more than rumors.

Deadliest corporate crime in US history ending with 84 guilty pleas


Josh Edelson/AFP

On Tuesday, PG&E Corp. will plead guilty 84 separate times to involuntary manslaughter — the deadliest corporate crime in U.S. history.

That admission in a California courtroom will mark the end of one portion of the power company’s legal travails after its equipment sparked the largest wildfire in state history, consuming the town of Paradise. Many who lost loved ones or homes to the 2018 conflagration may not find much comfort in the utility paying a $4 million fine…For the company it amounts to conceding that “the evidence will show beyond a reasonable doubt that we killed 84 people and burned down a town by a criminally reckless fire,”…

PG&E calls the plea agreement “an important step in taking responsibility for the past and working to create a better future for all concerned…We want to do right by the victims and the communities…”

Well, all right, then. Says, no one.

‘I can’t breathe’ uttered by dozens in fatal police holds across U.S.


This Marine veteran has 2 Purple Hearts
Damn big heart of his own, as well

In Columbus, Georgia, a 300-pound police officer sat on Hector Arreola’s back while another held a knee to his neck and kept him face down outside his neighbor’s house for six minutes until he stopped moving and later died.

In Phoenix, four police officers placed the weight of their bodies on Muhammad Abdul Muhaymin’s head, neck, back and limbs as he lay face-down and handcuffed before going into cardiac arrest and dying.

Three officers in Aurora, Colorado, tackled Elijah McClain as he walked home with groceries, using a stranglehold around his neck and handcuffing him as he pleaded and vomited. He was removed from life support days later.

In all three cases, the unarmed men uttered the same phrase as police wrestled them into custody.

“I can’t breathe.”

Their warnings were ignored.

The phrase has become an international rallying cry against police brutality after the high-profile deaths of Eric Garner in 2014 and George Floyd on Memorial Day. But, across the country, dozens of people have died in police custody under similar circumstances.

RRTFA and weep for the dead and their families. Then, stand up and march to stop legalized murder by your local coppers. They already know the odds are overwhelming they will get away with murder. With your murder…especially if you are Black. But, regardless of color, of age, language you speak, they will get away with your murder unless you stop them. That requires intimidating elected officials at every level of government with the fear of losing their job.

Yes, there’s lots more to do besides march. It ain’t a bad way to start! That ex-Marine up top picked a day with no demonstrations scheduled at Utah’s state capitol to stand at attention for 3 hours in the afternoon sun to express his opinion.

The last president of the Confederacy

…Lee’s surrender ended nothing, because the nation did not even begin to grapple with white supremacy. Reconstruction was strangled in its infancy; true racial reconciliation was never even attempted. The statue of Davis in Richmond, brought down by protesters Wednesday night, was not erected until 1907. Like almost all of the Lost Cause monuments, it was built during the revanchist era, when Southern whites were celebrating their reestablished dominance over African Americans via repressive Jim Crow laws and the terrorism of the Ku Klux Klan.

Many recall that the Confederate flag at the South Carolina statehouse was taken down in 2015 following the massacre of nine African American worshipers by a white supremacist at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston. Few realize that the racist flag had been installed at the statehouse not in 1861 but a century later, in 1961, when black South Carolinians like my parents were agitating for the right to vote.

…Trump must be bewildered. Unsubtle appeals to racial animus (remember his “birther” lies) have always worked for him in the past, but now he seems to be flailing. If it turns out that the Lost Cause is finally, truly lost, then so is the president who made himself its champion.”

The loser-in-chief commands a dying, diminishing army of traitors to the American Constitution. Regardless of what they call themselves this year.