❝ 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
Nations were destined to be co-operating parts in one grand whole. . . . Peace hath her victories much more renowned than those of war: the heroes of the past have been those who most successfully injured or slew; the heroes of the future are to be those who most wisely benefit or save their fellow-men.
Andrew Carnegie, University of St. Andrews, Scotland, October 17, 1905
In 1981, the United Nations designated September 21 as the International Day of Peace to bring awareness to peace efforts around the world. Carnegie Corporation of New York continues to pursue our founder’s vision to advance peace and understanding, and therefore to mark this day, we sought out the perspectives of several leaders in the field…how can we advance peace?
Please read the article. Reflect upon the mission on a day when, frankly, gazing around this nation, this world, the task seems more difficult than ever.
Thanks, Ian Bremmer
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.
❝ Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is marking the eighth anniversary of Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy with a new push to investigate—and potentially jail — more than two dozen individuals and corporations who were referred to the Justice Department for possible criminal prosecution in 2011 by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, a government-appointed group that investigated the roots of the 2008 financial crisis. None was ever prosecuted. The names of the referrals — including former Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin, who held a top job at Citigroup, and Citigroup’s former CEO, Charles Prince — became public earlier this year when the National Archives released new documents.
In a letter to the Justice Department’s inspector general, Warren calls the lack of prosecutions “outrageous and baffling” and asks the inspector general, Michael Horowitz, to investigate why no charges were brought…
❝ In a separate letter, to FBI Director James Comey, Warren asks for the immediate release of “any and all materials related to the FBI’s investigations and prosecutorial decisions regarding these referrals.” This disclosure is warranted, she writes, by Comey’s decision in July to release a lengthy and critical statement that included previously undisclosed information about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server—even though Comey decided not to recommend that charges be brought against Clinton. “Your recent actions with regard to the investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,” Warren writes, “provide a clear precedent for releasing additional information about the investigation of the parties responsible for the financial crisis.”
❝ …She said Comey’s rationale for disclosing details of the Clinton investigation — Comey said it was warranted by “intense public interest” — creates a new precedent that obligates him to shed light on why the bankers and financial institutions referred by the FCIC to the Justice Department were never prosecuted. “Those same standards ought to apply to the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression,” Warren said. “There’s a clear public interest in finding out why none of these individuals or corporations were held responsible.”
❝ The timing of Warren’s effort, less than two months before the presidential election, aims to encourage the next administration to prosecute financial crimes more aggressively than the Obama administration has done. “The public outrage is still there,” she said. “This is about reminding our government officials who they work for.”
Warren in 2024. Or 2000. 🙂
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.
❝ Microsoft has received the backing of Apple and other major technology, media and pharmaceutical companies in its legal fight to dislodge laws preventing it from informing customers of government requests for user data.
Apple was among a host of companies and corporate lobbies to file amici curiae, or friend of the court, briefs siding with Microsoft in its case to end gag orders targeting the release of government requests for data…
❝ In April, Microsoft lodged a lawsuit against the U.S. Justice Department, saying a government statute that allows the government to search or seize customer data without their knowledge is unconstitutional. The DOJ filed a motion to dismiss the suit in July…
These secrecy orders, Microsoft argues, violate the Fourth Amendment, which permits citizens and businesses the right to know of government searches or seizures of property. Microsoft is also having its First Amendment rights trampled on by not being afforded the opportunity to inform customers about the investigations…
❝ To increase transparency, Apple issues a biannual Report on Government Information Requests, with the latest release showing U.S. government data demands impacting nearly 5,200 accounts during the six-month period ending in April.
Uncle Sugar can’t continue to have it both ways. Our government blathers constantly about needing access to otherwise private information from individuals, organizations and businesses and, then, claim they need to have the process shrouded in secrecy for a number of crap reasons. Which usually ends up being “we need it – and that’s that!”
Photo courtesy U.S. District Court Tucson
Those are human beings wrapped in mylar emergency blankets trying to get warm
❝ For more than two years, the Border Patrol has assured the public that its processing facilities, while cramped, are perfectly sanitary places to hold migrants found in the country illegally. On the rare occasions when their facilities were put into public view, the cells were sparkling, empty and warm.
❝ Recently, for the first time in the Border Patrol’s history, images of the occupied cells were unsealed as part of a federal court case. Several images show dozens of men crowded into a single cell while nearby cells remain empty. Photos show people sleeping on benches or the concrete floor while bedding is available, unused, in adjacent cells.
The images do not show a thermometer, but appear to support migrants’ accusations that the facilities are kept at conditions so cold that they have earned the name hieleras — Spanish for iceboxes. Detainees huddle in some images; a row of legs in another image can be seen sticking out from under a Mylar emergency blanket.
Women and children are supposed to be given a mat and a blanket when they enter the processing facilities. The images, which were taken from security camera footage last summer, show women and children in a cell without adequate bedding, wrapped in emergency blankets.
❝ Processing centers are not the major detention facilities like in Artesia, N.M., or Eloy, Ariz., where federal immigration authorities have held migrants for months. Instead, the centers are designed to hold people for only a few hours, though their detentions can sometimes stretch to days…
❝ The National Immigration Law Center and other organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, allege the conditions in the cells are so deplorable that it is unconstitutional…The lawsuit also accuses the Border Patrol of actions that cannot be documented on camera, such as not allowing detainees to shower or providing them access to basic sanitation and hygiene, including toothbrushes.
❝ The Border Patrol replied in court blah, blah, blah.
❝ The Border Patrol fought the release of the images…But U.S. District Court Judge David C Bury ruled against them and the…video stills were unsealed by the court.
All-American xenophobes and populists don’t give a damn about how one of our police agencies treats people in custody. Which is as stupid as most of their politics. Sooner or later, the truth will manage to get out and the whole world ticks off one more box on the checklist of American officials demonstrating their white supremacist mindset.
❝ After his warnings about Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme went ignored for years, Harry Markopolos urged U.S. regulators to encourage tipsters. Now, the forensic accountant and a team he put together are in position to benefit from those new incentives.
❝ U.S. government settlements with State Street Corp. and Bank of New York Mellon Corp. could produce a windfall for three former employees who blew the whistle on the banks’ alleged mistreatment of foreign-currency-trading clients. Mr. Markopolos, who assembled the group and advised them, could reap a slice of any payouts awarded to the whistleblowers…
Those awards could exceed a combined $100 million, the largest such awards on record, according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal.
❝ The currency investigations have changed the way trust banks operate, crimping what had been a profitable corner for the banks as the markups in currency trades have fallen, analysts said. The potential payouts also could encourage more tips to regulators about possible improprieties.
“Whenever there’s a big award…there’s an uptick of filings and submissions,” said Erika Kelton, an attorney who has represented whistleblowers. “Those large awards show these programs work, and that the risk of stepping forward may be a risk worth taking.”
I’ll second that emotion.
❝ In the middle of a five-hour standoff that ended in the death of 23-year-old Korryn Gaines, Facebook granted an emergency request from the Baltimore County police department to take her social media accounts offline, police have said.
Baltimore County police officers shot and killed Gaines on Monday after she barricaded herself inside her Randallstown apartment with her five-year-old son and pointed a shotgun at officers attempting to serve an arrest warrant on charges stemming from a 10 March traffic stop including disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
❝ Gaines was using social media to broadcast the standoff, which began when officers showed up on Monday morning to serve a warrant. Police officials asked Facebook and Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, to suspend Gaines’ accounts through what police called a “law enforcement portal”, a part of the site open to certified law enforcement agencies.
At some point after that, police shot Gaines, killing her…
❝ Though Baltimore County has implemented a body camera program, it is only a few weeks into implementation and according to police none of the officers involved were wearing body cameras, meaning the Facebook video could become particularly important. A police spokeswoman, Elise Armacost, said the department was obtaining a warrant to obtain the videos as evidence.
Activists, however, see such video as the only hope of countering the police narrative. “They get on the 11 o’clock news or the Baltimore Sun with the police side and then everyone forgets it,” said Duane “Shorty” Davis, a Baltimore activist who regularly films encounters with police. “They control the narrative, but in controlling the narrative they have to control social media, because it’s our narrative,” he said. “To keep our message from getting out, they’re going to take [social media] out.”…
❝ No officers were injured, but Gaines’ child was also shot. He was wounded in the arm and is in a good condition in hospital.
Check with your state chapter of the ACLU. I keep an app on my iPhone that streams video directly to the New Mexico chapter via the Cloud. Kept encrypted and secure.
Maybe not as effective as live stream trying to keep coppers from killing you – until they become aware of many folks using the service. Regardless, you’re recording what actually happens. The police, NO social media has any way of interfering with the recording. Of course, the coppers can use electronic devices to interfere with cellphone access. My iPhone is setup to communicate both via wifi and the Web as well as a cellular device.
Yes, I realize we have sufficient tame judges that even this avenue might be blocked. Hackers, geeks, will come up with more answers.
Note #1: The DOJ Report from their investigation of the Baltimore Police Department.
Note #2: Sample form used by cops on the beat to guide paperwork for arrests. It presumes the person arrested is Black.