Black Identity Extremists and the Dark Side of the FBI

Leaked documents remind us of the agency’s history of dirty tricks. ecent political developments have helped put the FBI in a favorable light. The agency and its leadership have been praised for its performance throughout the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Former director James Comey affirmed the agency’s fundamental goodness in a letter to his colleagues after he was relieved of his post President Trump. “I have said to you before that, in … [Read more...]

New Police Crimes Database Provides Law Enforcement Accountability Tool

n September, Bowling Green State University in Ohio published the country’s first online police crime database. It’s a small but noteworthy milestone for groups like Black Lives Matter who have called for greater law enforcement accountability as police brutality and the shootings of African Americans by officers have continued to dominate headlines. The Henry A. Wallace Police Crime Database covers a seven-year period from 2005 to 2012 in all 50 states and the District of Columbia: 8,006 … [Read more...]

The FBI’s New U.S. Terrorist Threat: ‘Black Identity Extremists’

s white supremacists prepared to descend on Charlottesville, Virginia, in August, the FBI warned about a new movement that was violent, growing, and racially motivated. Only it wasn’t white supremacists; it was “black identity extremists.” Amid a rancorous debate over whether the Trump administration has downplayed the threat posed by white supremacist groups, the FBI’s counterterrorism division has declared that black identity extremists pose a growing threat of premeditated violence against … [Read more...]

Police Killings Undercounted by Half

ver half of all police killings in 2015 were wrongly classified as not having been the result of interactions with officers, a new Harvard study based on Guardian data has found. The finding is just the latest to show government databases seriously undercounting the number of people killed by police. “Right now the data quality is bad and unacceptable,” said lead researcher Justin Feldman. “To effectively address the problem of law enforcement-related deaths, the public needs better data … [Read more...]

Embracing Our Inner Empire

ring the war home”: once, a long, lost time ago -- in October 1969, to be exact -- that slogan represented a promise made by the most radical wing of the vast movement against the war in Vietnam.  Wearing football helmets and wielding lead pipes, that tiny crew of extreme leftists carried out what they termed the “Days of Rage” in Chicago, smashing cars and store windows in an attempt to give Americans a small sense of what war felt like, of what their military had delivered to the Vietnamese.  … [Read more...]

In New York, Major Crime Complaints Fell When Cops Took a Break from “Proactive Policing”

hen New York police officers temporarily reduced their “proactive policing” efforts on low-level offenses, major-crime reports in the city actually fell, according to a study based on New York Police Department crime statistics. The findings, published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour, put a crack in the “broken windows” theory of policing that has become a mainstay of many urban police departments. “Order maintenance policing,” a type of proactive policing, is informed by the ‘broken … [Read more...]

Civilian Overseers Tell Sheriff McDonald to Ground Drone

In its first nine months, the $10,000 device has hovered over hard-to-reach spots in Los Angeles County, searching for gunmen and missing people. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials say the 20-inch-long unmanned aircraft system, equipped with a camera, has been deployed only five times out of the 1,000 events this year that could have used the special set of eyes. But after months of public debate over possible surveillance and weaponization, the Sheriff Civilian Oversight … [Read more...]

How Bad Apples Spoil the Whole Bunch

You may have read about Michael Hamill, the “hot cop” from Gainesville, Florida, who became famous for his hunky good looks shortly after Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Sunshine State. You may recall that Hamill’s fame immediately exposed him as someone who was comfortable making anti-Semitic jokes online, a transgression for which he promptly was suspended. Over the past few years, the news has been filled with stories of police officers disciplined for posting material online that any … [Read more...]

When Cops Commit Crimes

Inside the first database that tracks America’s criminal cops Twelve years ago, a criminal justice master’s student named Philip Stinson got into an argument with his grad school classmates about how often police officers committed crimes. His peers, many of whom were cops themselves, thought police crime was rare, but Stinson, himself a former cop and attorney, thought the problem was bigger than anyone knew. He bet a pint of ale that he could prove it. On Tuesday, Stinson made good on his … [Read more...]

Cops and the Mentally Ill: Finding a New Approach

On December 19, 2013, a man stood on the ledge of a bridge in Spokane, Wash., threatening to jump. Responding officers knew that if they tried to grab him, he would step off the ledge and fall into the river below. Instead, they spent almost 90 minutes listening and talking to him, in the hopes of calming him down. Their efforts at empathy worked. The man eventually allowed himself to be taken into custody. He was placed in an ambulance, and driven to a nearby hospital. The officer who talked … [Read more...]