The evidence is clear: film police confrontations! Always. Every time.

❝ Video won’t solve everything, but it sure seems effective at holding cops accountable.

With first-degree manslaughter charges filed against the Tulsa, Oklahoma, police officer who shot and killed Terence Crutcher, there is now a clear, recurring theme in police shooting cases: Video — whether from a body, cellphone, or dashboard camera — truly works for holding police accountable.

❝ Now, video doesn’t always work perfectly. There are still issues with how the public can access video maintained by the police — like in North Carolina, where police shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott, but have so far refused to release video of the shooting. And there are valid concerns surrounding privacy, how and when officers can turn cameras on, cases where cameras don’t work or aren’t at the right angle, and more.

❝ But when the camera is on, the public can see the situation unfold, and investigators can examine the video as evidence, there have now been multiple cases in which the video seemingly led to charges against a police officer — a real attempt to hold cops accountable for wrongdoing.

Time and time again, the video won the day. In the past, the public and prosecutors would have had to rely on a police officer’s account and maybe some eyewitnesses’ testimony to decide whether a shooting was justified — and almost always side with police in such cases, because the public by and large saw cops as trustworthy. Now, we have video to show just how dishonest police can be after they kill someone.

Still, these are charges. The police officers involved in these shootings will still need to go to trial and be convicted before they’re truly punished for the shootings…

❝ The National Police Misconduct Reporting Project analyzed 3,238 criminal cases against police officers from April 2009 through December 2010. They found that only 33 percent were convicted, and only 36 percent of officers who were convicted ended up serving prison sentences. Both of those are about half the rate at which members of the public are convicted or incarcerated.

❝ But video evidence has proliferated over the past few years, thanks to cameras on mobile devices and more police departments adopting body cameras and dashboard cameras. Video managed to lead to charges in cases where there likely wouldn’t have been charges before. Maybe it will lead to convictions where there wouldn’t have been convictions before…

Still, the charges are, by themselves, important. They signal to police that prosecutors and the public are more serious about holding them accountable.

Police misconduct against minority communities is the rule rather than the exception. Anyone who has lived on those streets knows who rules – and the rules of law and equal rights do not apply. Easy access to video technology is slowly proving that point to the larger community of Americans.

If I’m sitting and chatting with another geek about mobile phones one of the first things I let them know about is the ACLU mobile justice project. How to load an app on their cellphone that instantly communicates to a protected server via cloud and cell services. Record that video! It’s safe even if someone in a blue uniform decides to confiscate and destroy your phone.

Thanks, Barry Ritholtz

11-year-old arrested in Georgia with a knife at school — in fear of clown attacks!

❝ Police say a fearful 11-year-old Georgia girl who took a knife to school told officers she needed the weapon to fend off clowns.

The girl was arrested…at Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle School in Athens amid reports and social media posts about clowns frightening children in Georgia and other states.

❝ An Athens-Clarke County police report states the girl said she needed the knife to protect her and her family because she had heard the stories about clowns jumping out of the woods and attacking children.

Police…released the girl to her mother on a charge of possession of a weapon on school grounds.

Related news…

❝ In Coweta County, southwest of Atlanta, police were investigating a suspicious Facebook post by a man claiming to be “The Newnan Clown,”…

The profile, which has since been made private, said, “If I see you, I will get You!!! I want kids and all”…

❝ In neighboring Alabama, law enforcement officials are warning that people involved in a rash of creepy clown hoaxes across the state could be prosecuted.

Not certain what’s creepier: Kids so afraid of clowns they think they need to be armed or the kids who don’t think first of trusting their safety to their parents, teachers or maybe even the local coppers?

Thanks, @ninjaeconomics

The banned speech by William Shakespeare on behalf of refugee rights

The Book of Sir Thomas More, Act 2, Scene 4

Grant them removed, and grant that this your noise
Hath chid down all the majesty of England;
Imagine that you see the wretched strangers,
Their babies at their backs and their poor luggage,
Plodding to the ports and coasts for transportation,
And that you sit as kings in your desires,
Authority quite silent by your brawl,
And you in ruff of your opinions clothed;
What had you got? I’ll tell you: you had taught
How insolence and strong hand should prevail,
How order should be quelled; and by this pattern
Not one of you should live an aged man,
For other ruffians, as their fancies wrought,
With self same hand, self reasons, and self right,
Would shark on you, and men like ravenous fishes
Would feed on one another….
Say now the king
Should so much come too short of your great trespass
As but to banish you, whither would you go?
What country, by the nature of your error,
Should give you harbour? go you to France or Flanders,
To any German province, to Spain or Portugal,
Nay, any where that not adheres to England,
Why, you must needs be strangers: would you be pleased
To find a nation of such barbarous temper,
That, breaking out in hideous violence,
Would not afford you an abode on earth,
Whet their detested knives against your throats,
Spurn you like dogs, and like as if that God
Owed not nor made not you, nor that the claimants
Were not all appropriate to your comforts,
But chartered unto them, what would you think
To be thus used? this is the strangers case;
And this your mountainish inhumanity.

Bravo!

West Virginia Attorney General accuses Epi-Pen’s owner of Medicaid fraud

The state of West Virginia is investigating Mylan, the maker of EpiPen, a life-saving autoinjector used to treat severe allergic reactions, for possible anti-trust violations, including skyrocketing price increases.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced the fraud investigation Tuesday against the company that was founded in his state. Mylan’s chief executive, Heather Bresch, is the daughter of West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat.

The state filed documents in Kanawha Circuit Court to force Mylan to provide documents related to its EpiPen. Morrisey issued Mylan a subpoena on Aug. 26. The company initially agreed to cooperate, but has since failed to respond to the majority of the subpoena…

The drug maker, which has a manufacturing plant near Morgantown, W.Va., acquired the rights to the drug in 2007, when it cost about $57 and it has since that time raised the price to $500 for a two-pack.

The court filing documents the price increases as well as “failed attempts to introduce an EpiPen competitor, litigation over intellectual property and dominance Mylan has over the epinephrine auto injector market,” according to the release.

The subpoena also asks about rebates Mylan paid to participate in the state’s Medicaid program…The petition suggests such conduct, if proven, could subject Mylan to a potential Medicaid fraud action under state law…

Hope the greedy creeps at the top of Mylan get what they deserve.

Trump settled legal claims against his businesses by using $258,000 from his charity — you’re not voting for crooks and liars, right?

❝ Donald Trump spent more than a quarter-million dollars from his charitable foundation to settle lawsuits that involved the billionaire’s for-profit businesses…

Those cases, which together used $258,000 from Trump’s charity, were among four newly documented expenditures in which Trump may have violated laws against “self-dealing” — which prohibit nonprofit leaders from using charity money to benefit themselves or their businesses.

❝ If the Internal Revenue Service were to find that Trump violated self-dealing rules, the agency could require him to pay penalty taxes or to reimburse the foundation for all the money it spent on his behalf. Trump is also facing scrutiny from the office of the New York attorney general, which is examining whether the foundation broke state charity laws.

More broadly, these cases also provide new evidence that Trump ran his charity in a way that may have violated U.S. tax law and gone against the moral conventions of philanthropy.

❝ “I represent 700 nonprofits a year, and I’ve never encountered anything so brazen,” said Jeffrey Tenenbaum, who advises charities at the Venable law firm in Washington. After The Post described the details of these Trump Foundation gifts, Tenenbaum described them as “really shocking.”

“If he’s using other people’s money — run through his foundation — to satisfy his personal obligations, then that’s about as blatant an example of self-dealing [as] I’ve seen in a while,” Tenenbaum said.

❝ The Post sent the Trump campaign a detailed list of questions about the four cases, but received no response.

No doubt there will be a new lie to answer to the newest charges,

Plenty of folks say they’re voting for Trump as a protest against the crooks and liars in Washington, DC. What’s the difference between a government crook and a business crook?

Sinkhole sucks millions of gallons of fertilizer wastewater into Florida drinking water


Click to enlargeJim Damaske/AP

The hole in the middle of that now-empty pond is 45 feet in diameter

❝ More than 200 million gallons of contaminated wastewater from a fertilizer plant in central Florida leaked into one of the state’s main underground sources of drinking water after a huge sinkhole opened up beneath a storage pond…

Mosaic, the world’s largest supplier of phosphate, said the hole opened up beneath a pile of waste material called a “gypsum stack”. The 215 million gallon storage pond sat atop the waste mineral pile…

“Groundwater moves very slowly,” said David Jellerson, Mosaic’s senior director for environmental and phosphate projects. “There’s absolutely nobody at risk.”…

Does that mean he’s drinking water from a local source — every day?

❝ The sinkhole, discovered by a worker on 27 August, is believed to reach down to the Floridan aquifer, the company said in a news release…

The Floridan aquifer is a major source of drinking water in the state. One of the highest-producing aquifers in the world, it underlies all of Florida and extends into southern Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.

According to the University of Florida, it’s the principal source of groundwater for much of the state, and the cities of Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Gainesville, Orlando, Daytona Beach, Tampa, and St Petersburg all rely on it. The aquifer also supplies water to thousands of domestic, industrial and irrigation wells throughout the state…

❝ The incident comes less than a year after Mosaic, one of the world’s largest fertilizer makers, settled a vast federal environmental lawsuit with the US Environmental Protection Agency in which the company agreed to nearly $2 billion in fixes, improvements and cleanups at its plants…

The usual lies will continue from free market politicians and libertarians who hold that voluntary policing, self-regulation is all that corporate exploiters ever need. That lawsuit after lawsuit is required on an annual basis to acquire any level of environmental safety and sanity doesn’t seem to dent the myths that insulate conservative brains from reality.

Here’s what a diligent, professional copper gets done “with a bit of free time”


Larry Don Patterson and William Lloyd Harbour

❝ An investigator “with a bit of free time” decided to send for testing DNA samples from a long-dormant cold case, which led authorities to arrest a pair of men linked to the 1973 shotgun slayings of two young girls, authorities said.

Police in Oklahoma and California arrested the two 65-year-old suspects Tuesday morning for the murders of Valerie Janice Lane, 12, and Doris Karen Derryberry, 13.

❝ The seventh grade classmates told their mothers they were going to a mall shopping near their homes about 40 miles north of Sacramento on Nov. 12, 1973. Witnesses saw them in their neighborhood that night, but neither girl returned home. Both suspects were living in Olivehurst at that time, investigators said.

Two boys were target shooting and found the girl’s bodies about 20 hours later, according to news accounts at the time. Investigators say the girls were driven to a wooded area and shot at close range.

Authorities then and now said a large-scale investigation was immediately launched and some 60 people interviewed over a three-year period before the case went cold for a lack of solid leads and was shelved in 1976.

❝ In March 2014, an investigator doing a routine look through cold cases decided to send semen samples found on Derryberry’s body and preserved for 43 years to the state Department of Justice forensics lab for analysis. Seven months later, state DOJ technicians reported that the DNA in the semen matched the genetic profiles of cousins Larry Don Patterson and William Lloyd Harbour, who each committed serious enough crimes since 1973 to have their DNA samples collected and placed in law enforcement computer systems.

“Over time, anyone that’s been assigned to our investigations unit for any length of time looks into some of the unsolved cases that we have,” Yuba County Sheriff Steve Durfor said. “And this was one in particular that one of our investigators had a bit of free time and really looked very closely at this case and identified that we should send some things off and see what it might yield for us.”

❝ Patterson was arrested Tuesday morning in Oklahoma. Harbour was arrested after a traffic stop two hours later near his home in Olivehurst, where the two victims also lived.

Both are now charged with murder. Overdue, for sure. But, the cases move towards completion because folks in the Yuba County Sheriff’s Department lived up to standards that should define all police departments. Coppers who really deserve medals.

U.S. Dairies slaughter 500,000 cows to drive up milk product prices – fined just over $100 apiece!


500,000 young cows killed to raise milk product prices

❝ Some of the nation’s largest dairy producers will pay $52 million to settle an antitrust class action with consumers in 15 states and the District of Columbia…

In the underlying lawsuit, lead plaintiff Matthew Edwards sued a cadre of dairy giants, including Land O’ Lakes, the National Milk Producers Federation, Dairy Farmers of America and Agri-Mark, in Federal Court in September 2011.

The dairy producers were accused of conspiring to prematurely slaughter more than 500,000 cows between 2003 and 2010 to limit the production of raw milk and drive up prices for yogurt, sour cream and other dairy products.

The biggest dairy producers in the country, responsible for almost 70 percent of the nation’s milk, conspired together in a classic price-fixing scheme, forcing higher prices for a basic food item onto honest consumers and families,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman…“We’re pleased that this settlement will return some of what consumers lost due to this massive fraud perpetrated for ill-gotten gains.”

❝ The class includes all consumers who from 2003 to present purchased cream, half & half, yogurt, cottage cheese or sour cream in California, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.

❝ Cheryl Leahy, general counsel for animal rights organization Compassion Over Killing, said her organization “was proud to have spearheaded the research” that led to this class action litigation.

“Not only was the price of milk artificially inflated, but this scheme ultimately cost 500,000 young cows their lives…”

❝ No proof of purchase is required to submit a claim. Two levels of fixed cash payments will be set based on class members’ purchases and the number of claims submitted…

Affected consumers can submit claims or objections…at http://www.boughtmilk.com.

Of course, our half-assed politicians and friendly neighborhood attorneys here in New Mexico never thought price-fixing a commodity like milk and milk products was important enough to join the class action.