Recently in Policing Category
[T]he Cleveland police declined to tolerate lawlessness. Paula Bolyard of PJ Media reports:
Cleveland police were taking no chances in the wake of the acquittal of police officer Michael Brelo, going to great lengths to ensure that Saturday afternoon's peaceful protests didn't evolve into violent riots like Baltimore and Ferguson have experienced in recent months.
In addition to having the National Guard on standby, police followed protesters through the streets and arrested anyone who acted violently or refused to obey police orders to disperse. A total of 71 people were arrested. . . .
Of the criminal charges proposed by Marilyn Mosby, the state's attorney for Baltimore, in connection with the death of Freddie Gray, three are notably missing from the indictments approved by a grand jury today. The Washington Post reports that "charges of false imprisonment against three of the officers are no longer part of the case." That change presumably reflects the dispute over whether the knife Gray was carrying, which was the official justification for his arrest, qualified as an illegal switchblade.
Judging from the way police described Gray's knife ("a spring-assisted, one-hand-operated knife"), it did not fit the state's definition of a switchblade (as Mosby noted) and probably did not fit the city's definition either. But the latter point--which Mosby did not publicly address, even though Gray was charged with violating the city ordinance--is open to debate, which suggests that the officers who arrested him might reasonably have believed the knife was illegal. If so, they could not be convicted of false imprisonment, since to arrest Gray they needed only probable cause to believe he had broken the law.
[I]ndiscriminately attributing all of the ills displayed in recent events in cities to Broken Windows risks taking us back decades in our attempts to improve public safety and quality of life for all citizens....
There's every reason to believe de-policing high-crime minority neighborhoods would be a disaster. We tried it in the past, and it's taken decades for us to regain control of public spaces, and even now some neighborhoods remain under threat.
No surprise there, but this was eye-opening:
[W]hile some have argued that Broken-Windows policing results in higher incarceration rates, research indicates that police crime-prevention methods, including Broken Windows, have actually reduced mass incarceration.
In New York City, both prison commitments and jailings declined substantially between 1992 and 2013 -- prison by 69 percent; jailing by 45 percent.
Baltimore logged its 100th murder of the year on Thursday morning, hitting the milestone after recording more than a murder per day in the month following Freddie Gray's death.
The massive increase in homicide, shootings, and violent crime comes as arrests have plummeted to their lowest levels all year. In the week before Gray died, 682 people were arrested. In the last week of available data, 339 people were arrested.
The Western District, where Gray was arrested, is the center of the crime boom. Homicides are up 200 percent compared to this time last year; non-fatal shootings have risen 800 percent; robberies of varying types 100 to 300 percent.
Forbes ranked Baltimore the seventh most dangerous city in the country. My strong guess is that, this year, it will be moving "up."
Despite more crime, there are far fewer arrests in the district. In fact, at least three days in May saw no arrests.
As the number of shootings and homicides has surged in Baltimore, some police officers say they feel hesitant on the job under intense public scrutiny and in the wake of criminal charges against six officers in the Freddie Gray case****
"In 29 years, I've gone through some bad times, but I've never seen it this bad," said Lt. Kenneth Butler, president of the Vanguard Justice Society, a group for black Baltimore police officers. Officers "feel as though the state's attorney will hang them out to dry."
Several officers said in interviews they are concerned crime could spike as officers are hesitant to do their jobs, and criminals sense opportunity. Butler, a shift commander in the Southern District, said his officers are expressing reluctance to go after crime.
The "pattern or practice" investigation into the Baltimore Police Department will center on police officers' use of force, stops, searches and arrests, as well as allegations of discriminatory policing practices. If the DOJ finds a pattern of civil rights abuses, it will pursue a legally binding settlement to secure systemic reform.
To translate: DOJ plans to wring a consent decree out of the Baltimore PD in which the feds will henceforth run the Department.
President Obama made an impassioned call Tuesday for Americans to do "some soul searching" in the wake of this week's rioting in Baltimore, arguing the U.S. has faced "a slow-rolling crisis" over race and economic opportunity in urban areas....Obama sharply condemned the rioters for damaging private property and taking items from local stores: "They're not protesting. They're not making a statement. They're stealing."But he also directed his criticism toward Americans--including the news media and some politicians--for failing to address the chronic problems of men, women and children who live in poverty and find their opportunities limited because of poor schools or long stints in prison.
I made it very clear that I work with the police and instructed them to do everything that they could to make sure that the protesters were able to exercise their right to free speech," [Mayor] Rawlings-Blake said. "It's a very delicate balancing act. Because while we try to make sure that they were protected from the cars and other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well.
Where the video does indeed show that the cop is a bad apple, it will be valuable in weeding him out, leaving us with a better police force.
But what about other people inevitably captured on police video? By the nature of police work, the videos will very often record people in the worst moments of their lives. Should those videos be public? Might a video of a college student being arrested while sloppy drunk be used in an attack ad 20 years later when the now-mature upstanding citizen runs for public office? Could videos be used in extortion schemes similar to those we saw with "revenge porn," except that unlike the revenge porn the person shown had no choice in the making of the video in the first place?