Are Young Black Millennials Reclaiming a Theology of Resistance? “

"I Speak to God in Public" Last year, independent artist Chance the Rapper dropped a mixtape titled Coloring Book that received immediate critical acclaim. One of the undeniable threads in the critique was just how much Chance’s personal faith and spirituality were an integral part of the music. Many speculated whether or not the mixtape classified as part of the gospel genre given that superstar Kirk Franklin was featured prominently on a track. So it was no shock that during his February … [Read more...]

5 Reasons LAPD Should Release Body Camera Video Footage to Public

The Los Angeles Police Commission is considering new guidelines for LAPD body camera video footage, and you have until May 7th to weigh-in. This is your chance to influence critical issues surrounding police transparency: When do body camera videos get released? Who gets to see it? Should relatives of victims play a role in these decisions? Fill out the LAPD's questionnaire now. All too often, law enforcement agencies have flat-out refused to release videos to the public, or have held … [Read more...]

25 Years After LA Riots

Community march will mark the past and look to the future he Rev. K.W. Tulloss was a 9th grader at Locke High School in South Los Angeles in April 1992 when a jury, with no black members, acquitted four white police officers of beating Rodney King. That verdict touched off days of rioting, looting and violence that left more than 55 people dead. The riots were concentrated in South L.A. but spread to other communities including downtown L.A., Koreatown, Hollywood, Pasadena and the San … [Read more...]

Police Actually Do Enforce Immigration Laws

Police departments say they don't enforce immigration laws. But their manuals say something different Like many law enforcement agencies across California, Culver City police say officers don't enforce federal immigration law. The City Council declared the town a so-called sanctuary city last month, promising to protect the public safety of all city residents, regardless of immigration status. But the Police Department’s manual seems to suggest something different, offering officers guidance … [Read more...]

True Crime: Novelist Richard Price on the Crucial Role of Crime Journalism

I’ve always assumed that the best crime reporting—sports reporting, too—was to be found in the tabloids, but after inhaling the contents of this anthology, which cover more than a century and a half of criminal mayhem as filed withThe New York Times, the shingles have fallen from my eyes. Lurid writing can overwhelm lurid deeds. Excitable adjectives, judgmental prose and the egging on of public outrage can often obscure rather than illuminate the facts at the core. In most of the articles … [Read more...]

Uneasy Riders: Before United, a Legacy of Excessive Force in Transportation

The passenger was ordered to move and refused. The rule was grossly unfair, yet the carrier within its rights to enforce it. The traveler’s belligerence may have added fuel to the fire, though by no means could he have anticipated its horrifying outcome. There were racial overtones. And fellow travelers who witnessed it expressed outrage and shock. A description of United Airlines Flight 3411 on April 9, 2017? Yes — but also of the Savannah Special over the rails of North Carolina, 70 years … [Read more...]

Protecting Incarcerated People and Their Loved Ones from the Video Visitation Industry

As our research has shown, local jails are increasingly replacing in-person visits with expensive and poorly implemented video visitation systems. Fortunately, some policymakers are taking notice. Illinois State Rep. Carol Ammons introduced a bill earlier this year that would protect in-person visitation from being eliminated in Illinois correctional facilities and limit the cost of video visits. There is also active legislation in New Jersey that would guarantee face-to-face family visits … [Read more...]

Green Is the Old Black

California looks to phase out private prison partnerships as Trump administration doubles down A bill to end California’s reliance on for-profit prisons jumped a major hurdle last week, passing the Assembly Public Safety Committee just days before students demanded that Sacramento State University divest its financial ties to those very corporations. According to Assemblyman Rob Bonta, California is still contracting to house 6,000 state inmates inside private prisons. “I don’t agree with … [Read more...]

Police Unions Hail Trump’s Easing of Scrutiny: Local Officials Worry

Black pedestrians in Baltimore stopped without reasonable suspicion. Black drivers in Ferguson, Mo., searched much more frequently than whites. Cleveland residents punched and kicked by officers and subjected to stun guns, without posing any threat. In report after report in the Obama years, Justice Department lawyers found patterns of eye-popping rights violations and used them as leverage to force local departments to agree to major policing overhauls. But the Trump administration announced … [Read more...]

Rattling the Cage: How We Misunderstand Mass Incarceration

Reformers are famously prey to the fanaticism of reform. A sense of indignation and a good cause lead first to moral urgency, and then soon afterward to repetition, whereby the reformers become captive to their own rhetoric, usually at a cost to their cause. Crusaders against widespread alcoholism (as acute a problem in 1910 as the opioid epidemic is today) advanced to the folly of Prohibition, which created a set of organized-crime institutions whose effects have scarcely just passed. … [Read more...]