Computerized Criminal Behavior Predictions Are No More Effective Than Untrained Humans

Without effective scrutiny, algorithm-based software could hurt those who are already the most vulnerable. The effectiveness of the criminal justice system has been debated since its creation. There is great difficulty in developing a uniform system when criminal defendants’ circumstances are variable. Thanks to recent coverage of police shooting, sexual assault cases and self-defense trials over the last few years, the criminal justice system has become interwoven with our daily news of … [Read more...]

Huge Increase in Arrests of Homeless in L.A. — But Mostly for Minor Offenses

Los Angeles police found Reed Segovia slumped in a folding chair near the Venice boardwalk early one spring morning in 2016 and shook him awake. The officers handed the homeless street artist a ticket for sleeping on the sidewalk. Three months later, LAPD officers were citing Segovia again when they discovered an unpaid ticket for sleeping on the beach. This time, they handcuffed him, loaded him into a squad car and took him to jail. L.A. officials have denounced "criminalizing" … [Read more...]

It’s Not Enough to Get Paid for Not Working: These L.A. Police and Firefighters Figured Out How to Double It

Take a program that lets a public employee earn both a pension and a salary at the same time. Add an extremely generous disability leave and workers' compensation program that allows public employees to be paid while not working for months or even years on end. What do you get? Massive corruption, obviously. A new report from the Los Angeles Times attempts to quantify the costs and consequences of a program allowing L.A. police and firefighters to collect both salaries and pension returns in … [Read more...]

Law Enforcement Unions Have Too Much Power

The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association of the City of New York, the largest union representing NYPD officers, took a bold step toward reform this week: It cut the number of “courtesy cards” members can give to their friends and family from 30 to 20. If you’ve never heard of these cards, you’re not alone. They allow their bearers to skate on speeding tickets or other low-level offenses, and they’re something of a closely guarded trade secret among officers, perhaps because of the petty corruption … [Read more...]

One Year In: LASD’s McDonnell Still Punks Civilian Oversight Commission 

I urge everyone to read this transcript of a Frank Stoltze/KPCC news story on the first year of operations for the Civilian Oversight Commission set up to monitor the LA County Sheriff's Department and make that huge and scandal-tainted police force more responsive to community concerns. Without actually using contemptuous language, Sheriff Jim McDonnell makes his contempt for the Commission clear enough in three comments he gives to the reporter: We (LASD) already know everything there … [Read more...]

Charlie Beck’s Replacement Should Let Cops Be Cops

As the search begins for his replacement, some in Los Angeles are celebrating Charlie Beck's departure. The call for the Los Angeles police chief's removal had become a weekly refrain at the police commission meetings held every Tuesday morning. Despite his reformist reputation— he sought to protect immigrant communities and oversaw the completion of a consent decree imposed after the 2002 Rampart corruption scandal — the list of criticisms was long, particularly from people of color. So when … [Read more...]

6 Elements of Police Spin: An Object Lesson in Copspeak

The linguistic gymnastics needed to report on police violence without calling up images of police violence is a thing of semantic wonder. Officers don’t shoot, they are merely “involved” in shootings; victims are not victims, but “suspects” “fleeing”; human beings become premortem cadavers as bullets “enter the torso” rather than the chest of a person; guns and bullets act on their own as they “discharge” or “enter the right femur,” rather than being fired by autonomous individuals with agency … [Read more...]

Bad Boys: How “Cops” Became the Most Polarizing Reality TV Show in America

Morgan Langley leans toward a large computer screen. He isn’t sure if the video clip is still there, posted to a random YouTube channel named after a ’90s punk-ska act, but after a few moments, he finds it. Out of a black screen flashes a white Ford Mustang with blacked-out windows and chrome rims. Langley, who is an executive producer of one of America’s longest-running reality shows, “Cops,” narrates. “This kid here is actually selling a thousand pills of ecstasy to an undercover cop,” he says … [Read more...]

We Are Not the Terrorists: Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Speaks Out About Attacks on Movement

Extended web-only interview with Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors and journalist asha bandele about their new book, When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir. AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González, with Part 2 of our discussion with the authors of a new book that is out today, When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir. The book is written by Patrisse … [Read more...]

Community Organizing at Macedonia Baptist Church: Thursday, January 25th

Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity through its Justice Not Jails program will conduct a training session on community organizing in Watts on Thursday, January 25th, at 7:00 PM.  The training session will be held at Macedonia Baptist Church located at 1751 East 114th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90059. We will welcome Lt. Gena Brooks of the Los Angeles Police Department along with other law enforcement personnel from the Southeast Division. Pastor Melanie Mays will lead the conversation on … [Read more...]