Posts Tagged ‘Police Killings’

Patrisse Cullors’ Black Lives Matter memoir

October 14, 2018

Patrisse Khan-Cullors, an artist and activist from Los Angeles, was one of three black women who started the Black Lives Matter movement.   She co-wrote WHEN THEY CALL YOU A TERRORIST: a Black Lives Matter Memoir (2017) to tell what it’s like to grow up and live in a world in which black lives don’t seem to matter.

She wrote about her childhood and coming of age, about her mother struggling in multiple low-age jobs to allow her four children to survive, about her vocations as an activist and a performance artist, and about finding love as a Queer person who doesn’t recognize gender boundaries.

The over-riding theme of the book is surviving as a poor black person in an unforgiving society, in which employers, governmental institutions and especially the police were indifferent or hostile.

When she was nine, she saw her older brothers, Paul, 13, and Monte, 11 (her third sibling is baby sister Jasmine), set upon and humiliated by police for no reason.  All they were doing was hanging out with other boys, none over 14, in an alley because they had no playground or vacant lot or any place else to so.  Police screamed at them, forced them up against a wall and half-stripped them in public—just for being boys with nothing to do.

The same thing happened to her when she was 12 years old.  Police entered her classroom, handcuffed her, took her to the dean’s office and had her searched, just like her brothers, because somebody had reported she’d smoked marijuana.

Later she visited a rich white friend, whose brother was a drug dealer was a high school student who kept marijuana in garbage bags.  He said he never was stopped by police, and never feared police.

The main thing she had going for her were sympathetic and supportive teachers, in elementary school and in a social justice-oriented charter high school she was able to attend.

Every time she writes about something awful that happened to herself, her family or her friends, she refers to some news article or academic study that indicates it was not an isolated event, but part of a pattern.

Her older brother Monte, was actually called a terrorist.

(more…)

Black Lives Matter and the real terrorists

October 14, 2018

My dictionary’s definition of terrorism is “the use of terror and violence to intimidate, subjugate, etc., especially as a political weapon.”

If there is any group of people in American history who have been terrorized, it is African slaves and their descendants.  When they were theoretically emancipated, a terrorist organization, the Ku Klux Klan, arose to intimidate and subjugate them through the use of terror and violence.  The Klan was a predecessor and role model for Nazism and fascism in 20th century Europe.

I can remember when white people could kill black people with impunity in certain parts of the country. Patrisse Cullors, pointed out in her book, When They Call You a Terrorist, written with Asha Bandele., that white people are still killing unarmed black people out of fear, and often getting off with no punishment or token punishment.

Yet when she joined with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi to form Black Lives Matter, they themselves were accused of terrorism, even though Black Lives Matter neither practices nor advocates violence.

The FBI has added “black identity terrorism” to its categories of terrorism.   There could be such a thing, I suppose, but most domestic terrorists, including those who attack police, are white racist terrorists.

Cllick to enlarge

.

Click to enlarge

(more…)

Black voters matter

October 11, 2016

blackamericansfatalpoliceshootings1132x600-oba-7

Fatal police shootings of black people are fewer in states where black voter registration is higher.

Statistically, the higher the percentage of an eligible black voters are actually registered to vote in any state, the less likely it is that a black person in that state will be shot and killed by police.

LINK

An Intriguing Link Between Police Shootings and Black Voter Registration by Maimuna Majumder for Wired.

Is it 1968 all over again?

July 9, 2016

I’m old enough to remember the late 1960s, when it seemed like almost every time I turned on the TV, there was a new report of rioting and burning by black people in an American city.

Almost every one was touched off by a real or imaginary report of police abuse of a black person.

The divisions in American society today are bad enough, but, believe me, they were nothing compared to the division back then.

Could we return to that era?  Eric Hoffer in The True Believer wrote that violent revolutions happen when downtrodden people are offered hope, and then that hope is taken away from them.  I think this feeling exists today among all kinds of people, not just racial minorities.

(more…)

For what it’s worth, the homicide rate is falling

July 9, 2016

homicide_51yr

For what it’s worth, the homicide rate in the United States has been falling for the past 25 years.  Specifically the number of killings of police officers has been falling, too.

Evidently there was an increase in the murder rate in certain American cities last year and early this year, but it’s too early to tell if this will reverse the long-range trend.

(more…)

25 percent of fatal police encounters

December 21, 2015

About 2 percent of Americans have untreated severe mental illness.

Those 2 percent of people account for 10 percent of police responses, 20 percent of those behind bars, and 25 percent of fatal police encounters.

Source: Cop in the Hood

#BlackLivesMatter is a new kind of movement

September 19, 2015

#BlackLivesMatter is not an organization.   It is a movement inspired by Twitter and Tumbir accounts.   The founders and leaders exercise no power over it.

Its effectiveness—or lack of effectiveness—will be a test of whether decentralized and networked movements, enabled by social media,  will be more effective than the hierarchical, disciplined organizations of the past.

The Twitter and Tumbir accounts were launched by three black women friends in California—Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi—after the killing of the unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in 2013.

blacklivesmatterB8NekGarza said they wanted to counter the idea that such tragedies were part of the nature of things, that there was nothing that could be done about it, except for black people to try to avoid behavior that would trigger violence by police and others.

A protest movement sprang up around the “Black Lives Matter” slogan, following the killings of Michael Brown, John Crawford III and Eric Garner the following year.  Garza, Cullors and Tometi found themselves the leaders of the movement, which, however, was an informal network they did not control.

This was a very different kind of movement from the NAACP as I knew it in my youth—an organization where you joined, paid membership dues, elected officers in a chapter which in turn elected directors of a national organization.  Or the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which was run by black male ministers, who imposed strict standards of behavior on their followers.

(more…)

Campaign Zero policy platform, explained by Vox

September 19, 2015

blog_campaign_zero

Vox news had a good summary of proposals for police reform by Campaign Zero, a brother movement to Black Lives Matter.   I think it worth reproducing as a separate post.

  1. End broken windows policing.  This refers to a style of policing that goes after minor crimes and activities, based on the notion that letting minor crimes go unaddressed can foster and lead to even worse crimes in a community. In practice, this tactic has disproportionately impacted minority Americans — in New York City, the vast majority of stops in 2012 were of black or Hispanic people.  Campaign Zero proposes ending this type of policing by decriminalizing or deprioritizing public alcohol consumption, marijuana possession, disorderly conduct, trespassing, loitering, disturbing the peace, and spitting, as well as ending racial profiling and establishing mental health response teams that are better equipped to deal with mental health crises (which can result in, for example, disorderly conduct) than police.
  2. Community oversight. When a police officer engages in misconduct, the most likely organization to investigate the situation is the police department the officer comes from — creating an obvious conflict of interest.  Campaign Zero proposes adding more community oversight over police by making it easier for citizens to file complaints and establishing civilian-run commissions that will help set policy at police departments and make recommendations for discipline following a civilian complaint.
  3. Limit use of force. Police officers are currently allowed to use deadly force when they merely perceive — albeit reasonably, according to courts — a deadly threat, even if a threat isn’t actually present. And police departments aren’t required to report uses of force to the federal government.  Campaign Zero proposes authorizing deadly force only when there is an imminent threat to the officer’s life or the life of another person, and the use of force is strictly unavoidable to protect life. It also proposes changing police policies, including reporting and use of force standards.
  4. Independently investigate and prosecute. Following a police shooting, investigations are typically headed by the police department and the local prosecutor’s office, which has close ties to the police department — both of which create conflicts of interest.  Campaign Zero wants governments to establish independent prosecutors at the state level for cases in which police seriously injure or kill someone, which would now require an investigation. The campaign also suggests reducing the standard of proof for federal civil rights investigations of police officers.
  5. Community representation. In some communities, the racial demographics of the police force are wildly different from the community they represent. Ferguson, for example, is about two-thirds black, but only three of 53 commissioned police officers were black at the time of the Brown shooting. Campaign Zero says police departments should develop and publicly release plans to achieve representative proportion of women and people of color through outreach, recruitment, and changes to policies.
  6. Body cameras and filming the police. Most police departments still don’t fully equip officers with body cameras, and many don’t have dashboard cameras for their cars. But recording devices have played a crucial role in holding police accountable — in Cincinnati, for instance, a body camera filmed a campus police officer’s shooting of Samuel DuBose, leading the local prosecutor to conclude that the shooting was “asinine,” “senseless,” and “unwarranted” before he pressed charges. Campaign Zero suggests equipping all police officers with body cameras, as well as banning cops from taking people’s cellphones or other recording devices without the person’s consent or a warrant.
  7. Training. Many police departments only require training on an annual or one-time basis, and the training tends to focus on use of force, not on deescalation or racial bias. Campaign Zero suggests requiring officers to go undergo training on a quarterly basis, with greater focus on addressing subconscious racial biases and other prejudices against, for example, LGBTQ people.
  8. End for-profit policing. In some jurisdictions, police are used by local governments as a revenue generator. One of the most damning findings from the Justice Department report on Ferguson is that the police department and courts issued fines and fees to help fill local budget gaps. Campaign Zero tries to eliminate these perverse incentives by ending police department quotas for tickets and arrests, limiting fines and fees on low-income people, and stopping police from taking money or property from innocent people, as they currently do through “civil forfeiture” laws.
  9. Demilitarization. The Ferguson protests captured nationwide attention after police deployed militarized equipment — sniper rifles, riot gear, camouflage, armored trucks, and chemical agents such as tear gas — against largely peaceful demonstrators. But police have this type of gear in large part because the federal government subsidizes it or gives it away to local and state police. Campaign Zero proposes ending the 1033 program that provides militarized equipment to police, as well as limiting when local and state police can purchase and use this type of equipment.
  10. Fair police contracts. Police unions have negotiated strong contracts for their officers over the past few decades, sometimes imposing big hurdles to investigations — such as the 48-hour rule, which prevents investigators from talking to an officer involved in a shooting until 48 hours pass. Campaign Zero aims to eliminate these types of barriers while requiring police departments keep officers’ disciplinary history accessible to the public and ensuring officers don’t get paid while they’re being investigated for seriously injuring or killing a civilian.

Source: Vox

Click on Campaign Zero for the original, more detailed version of these proposals.

Three reasons for hopefulness

August 31, 2015

1.  The rate of killings of black people by police is going down.

blackwhite

I was surprised at the information in the graph, which I found on the Avedon’s Sideshow web site.   Of course the black death rate due to “legal intervention” is still double the white death rate.  I hope the trend continues.

(more…)

What about ‘black-on-black’ crime?

August 27, 2015

Whenever there is an outcry about an unarmed black person being killed by a white person or by a police officer, there are those who downplay its significance by pointing out two facts.

  1. More black people are killed by other black people than are killed by white people or killed by police.
  2. More white people are killed by black criminals than black people are killed by white criminals.

So why the outcry over the relatively small number of innocent black people killed by police?

My answer is that, of course, we the people should be concerned about all violent crime, no matter what the race of the perpetrator and no matter what the race of the victim.  All lives do matter.

race.cardBut we should be more concerned about crime that goes unpunished.  And we should be most concerned about unjustified killings by people in authority, because that tears at the fabric of society.

There are two reasons to focus on police killings of unarmed black people.  One is that these tragedies occur against a background of abuse of black people.  The other is that, in general, police are not unaccountable for their exercise of deadly force.

I can see how police officers in certain circumstances might mistakenly think they are in mortal peril, and take an innocent life.  What’s troublesome is the apparent lack of remorse for taking innocent life, especially when it is the life of a black person.

Eric Garner, a harmless black man accused of illegally selling individual cigarettes, was choked to death by New York City police while saying “I can’t breathe.”  New York City police held a demonstration saying, mockingly, “I can breathe.”  I are willing to believe this callousness is not universal.  But it is certainly not limited to NYC police.

(more…)

What #BlackLivesMatter is asking for

August 25, 2015

blog_campaign_zero

A section of #BlackLivesMatter called Campaign Zero has come up with a 10-point program to improve policing, following criticisms that #BlackLivesMatter was merely a protest movement that lacked a positive program.

Campaign Zero translated its 10 general principles into detailed policy demands on local, state and federal governments.  BLM members should not longer be at a loss for words when asked what they really want.

Most of these principles should be self-explanatory.  You can get details by clicking on the icons on the Campaign Zero site.

“Broken windows” policing is based on the theory that minor crime and disorder should not be tolerated because it creates an atmosphere in which major crime seems more normal.

“Policing for profit” refers to practice of local governments using fines, fees and asset forfeitures as a source of revenue.

“Fair union contracts” refers to provisions in police union contracts which give police officers extra-Constitutional protections when accused of misconduct, such as cooling-off periods before being asked to testify.

Campaign Zero also has tracked the positions of the presidential candidates relevant to these issues.

The three major Democratic candidates – Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley have all taken positions relevant to most of these 10 points.  Interestingly, the one point on which all three have been silent so far is the police union contracts.

Among Republicans, the only candidate who has taken a relevant position is Rand Paul, who opposes asset foreiture.

I think the Campaign Zero platform is a practical program for protecting the civil liberties not just of African-Americans, but, as a collateral benefit, the civil liberties of all Americans.

(more…)

#BlackLivesMatter and its critics

August 18, 2015

I’ve always taken to heart the Theodore Roosevelt quote about how the man struggling valiantly in the arena deserves more credit than the critic sitting in the grandstands.

I hesitate to criticize the #BlackLivesMatter movement for the same reason I hesitated to criticize the Occupy Wall Street movement, because, whatever their flaws, they’re struggling valiantly in the arena and I’m the critic in the grandstands.

blacklivesmatterB8NekWhat both groups have in common is that they are protest movements, not political movements.  They exist to call attention to injustice.  They do not seek political power to correct injustice themselves.   I do not criticize them for that.

I’m a liberal middle-class white man, and I am righteously indignant about the routine indignities and occasional mortal danger suffered by poor black people at the hands of police.   But abusive police behavior is not something I think about all the time.   #BlackLivesMatter keeps me from forgetting.

I’m not saying that all police are bad, or that white people are never mistreated by police.   I’m saying that the threat of being mistreated or killed for no good reason by police is not something I have to consider in my daily life, and it is something that black people can’t afford to forget.

John Dewey once said that you don’t have to have the knowledge of a shoemaker to know that your shoe doesn’t fit.   #BlackLivesMatter, unlike Occupy Wall Street, does have specific demands, but I think the movement’s importance is in never allowing the American public—the white American public—people like me—to forget how, so to speak, the shoe pinches poor black people.

thetalk_363_275The way #BlackLivesMatter does that is through its continuing protest demonstrations, but, more much importantly, its documentation of police misconduct through the social media.

Occupy Wall Street never had a formal organization, just people who wanted to join in, and the same is true of #BlackLivesMatter.    It means that individuals can do whatever they see fit in the name of the movement, and there is no central authority with the power to tell them to stop.

The shutdown of Bernie Sanders’ speeches evidently was the action of a few individuals rather than a decision of the leadership.  But, as a matter of strategy, it does make sense for a protest group to concentrate on those who might respond to their protest rather than those who most certainly won’t.  Bernie Sanders did respond.

The best result #BlackLives Matter can hope for is that the powers that be respond to their protest.  But so long as it is merely a protest movement, other people make the decision as to just what that response will be.   Somebody else will have to take the responsibility for turning #BlackLivesMatter goals into law.

LINKS

Who Really Runs #BlackLivesMatter? by Ben Collins for The Daily Beast.

Black Lives Matter and the Failure to Build a Movement by Douglas Williams for South Lawn.

Right Now #BlackLivesMatter Is Wasting Everybody’s Time by Oliver Willis.

How Ferguson and #BlackLivesMatter taught us not to look away by Nicholas D. Mirzoeff for The Conversation.

Why BLM Protesters Can’t Behave by Doug Muder for The Weekly Sift.

There should be a right to video-record police

April 14, 2015

15041thedifferenceHat tip to The Weekly Sift

Michael Slager, a policeman in North Charleston, S.C., said he shot and killed 50-year-old Walter Scott because they were engaged in a violent altercation, and Scott grabbed for Slager’s Taser.

There would have been hardly any way to challenge that story if a brave soul named Feidin Santana hadn’t recorded the incident and come forward with the video.

The North Charleston Police Department did do the right thing, by filing murder charges against Slager, once they saw the video.

Unfortunately the public can’t count on somebody with a video camera being in the vicinity every time there is a fatal police shooting.

And more unfortunately still, it’s unclear whether there is a legal or constitutional right to videotape police officers in the course of their duty.  Santana’s camera could very well have been confiscated and the record destroyed.

It would be nice if American police departments made a practice of video recording all police encounters with the public, but I suspect that recordings might have a tendency to be lost or destroyed in cases such as this.

I think there should be laws in every state upholding the right to make video recordings of police and other government employees when they are on duty and in public, subject to restrictions to keep the video photographer from physically getting in the way of police and others doing their jobs.

LINKS

In Many States, Including South Carolina, the Right to Videotape Police Isn’t All That Clear by Daniel Denvir for The Atlantic.  [Hat tip to Cop in the Hood]

Everything The Police Said About Walter Scott’s Death Before a Video Showed What Really Happened by Judd Legum for ThinkProgress.

Walter Scott Shooting Video Caught Police Propaganda Machine in Action by Andrew Jewell Jones for The Intercept.

The passing scene: January 6, 2015

January 6, 2015

2015: Grounds for Optimism by Dmitry Orlov for ClubOrlov.

Dimtry Orlov is hopeful that the world, including the USA and the rest of the English-speaking world, is starting to reject Washington’s propaganda version of reality.

Beijing chums up to Washington by Francesco Sisci for Asia Times.

Wang Yang, vice president of China, made a speech saying that the United States is the guide of the world and China is willing to join its system.  I don’t know what to make of this or how seriously to take it. [1]

Social protest rising in Ukraine as gov’t approves harsh austerity budget by Roger Annis for The New Cold War: Ukraine and Beyond [Hat tip to Bill Harvey].

Ukraine is being forced to raise taxes, cut services, raise prices and, most important, sell off its national assets at bargain prices in order to pay its debts.  Acquisition of those assets is what the struggle over Ukraine is all about.

Chain restaurants are killing us: Billionaire bankers, minimum wage toilers and the nasty truth about fast-food nation by Thomas Frank for Salon.

Thomas Frank wrote about how the fast-food industry is automating the process of processing and serving food, how the franchise system holds down wages, and how fast-food franchises are another plaything of Wall Street speculators.

Methane plume over western US illustrates climate cost of gas leaks by Joby Warrick for the Washington Post [via The Guardian]

Police union pushes for cop killings to be included in hate crimes law by Liz Goodwin for Yahoo News, with a comment on Psychopolitik.

Michael Brown case grand juror sues St. Louis County prosecutor, asking to speak out on case by Joel Currier and Michael Patrick for the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

(more…)

In 2015, expect civil unrest, disaffected police

January 1, 2015

The astute John Michael Greer, whose Archdruid Report is one of my favorite blogs, predicted that the most important trends in 2015 will be the disaffection of America’s police combined with continuing civil unrest.

He said the morale of American police is at the same state as that of the American forces in Vietnam in the 1970s.  Police feel they’ve been sent into a war they can’t win, and abandoned by the civilian authority that’s nominally their superior.

I think there’s truth to that, although it’s exaggerated.  Rank-and-file police officers did not invent the “broken windows” theory of policing, which is that the way to ensure civil order is to punish every violation, no matter how minor.  Nor are they the ones who decided that the way to finance municipal government in places such as Ferguson, Missouri, is to collect traffic fines from poor people.

civil-unrest-2016Revolutions generally occur when the police and the military cease to be willing to defend existing authority against rebels.

I think there is zero chance that the military or police would go over to the side of rioting black people or even peacefully protesting black people.  Armed resistance is not a feasible option for African-Americans in the present-day USA.

Effective resistance to civil authority, as I see it, would come from armed and organized militias, such as the group that formed around rancher Cliven Bundy in his fight with the federal government over grazing fees.   They defied federal and local police with loaded weapons, and were not met with deadly force.

I believe there is a real possibility that, as the U.S. economic plight worsens, resistance to government could grow and, as military and police morale decline, resistance to government would be tolerated until it became a real threat.

If things continue as they are in the United States, I believe there is bound to be an explosion.  And, given the history of violent revolution, I do not expect anything good to come from such an explosion.

∞∞∞

Here is John Michael Greer in his own words:

(more…)

Reflections on the meaning of Ferguson

December 5, 2014

TomTomorrow2014-12-03polliceshootings

The killing of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo., was no different from a lot of other cases in which armed white men have shot and killed unarmed black men, or armed police officers have killed unarmed civilians.  If you’re looking for reasons why this incident rather than another was the trigger, the answer probably doesn’t like in a detailed study of the incident itself.

There’s a proverb about how one final straw, added to a load, will break a camel’s back.  The answer as to why the camel’s back was broken probably doesn’t lie in a microscopic examination of that one particular straw.

The significance of Ferguson is less in the facts about Ferguson itself as in the pattern which Ferguson represents.  If you want to know what I mean by the pattern, click on this and this and this and this and this.

If I were black, I think I would see these events in the light of Goldfinger’s Rule – Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action.

The linked articles described incidents that differ in circumstances and mitigating factors, but there are a few common themes:

  • The fear that many white people (not just police officers) have of black people.
  • The insistence of many police officers on instant compliance with orders (not just by black people) and their quickness to use force against perceived disobedience and disrespect.
  • Lack of training both in fire discipline and in non-violent means of defusing situations.

(more…)

Why whites and blacks see things differently

November 26, 2014

howtobesafeVia Matt Bors

Each time an unarmed black person is killed by a police officer, most of us white Americans see it as an isolated incident while most black Americans see it as part of a pattern.

Why would they see it as part of a pattern?  Robin D.G. Kelley, a writer and college teacher in California, listed some  things that happened while the Ferguson Grand Jury deliberated on whether to indict Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown.

As we waited for the grand jury’s decision, a twelve-year-old Black boy named Tamir Rice was shot and killed by police in Cleveland because the officer mistook his toy gun for a real one.  Tamir was playing outside of Cleveland’s Cudell Recreation Center, one of the few public facilities left that provide safe space for children.

As we waited, Cleveland cops took the life of Tanisha Anderson, a 37-year-old Black woman suffering from bipolar disorder. Police arrived at her home after family members called 911 to help her through a difficult crisis, but rather than treat her empathetically they did what they were trained to do when confronted with Black bodies in Black neighborhoods—they treated her like an enemy combatant.  When she became agitated, one officer wrestled her to the ground and cuffed her while a second officer pinned her “face down on the ground with his knee pressed down heavily into the back for 6 to 7 minutes, until her body went completely limp.”  She stopped breathing.  They made no effort to administer CPR, telling the family and witnesses that she was sleeping.  When the ambulance finally arrived twenty minutes later, she was dead.

As we waited, police in Ann Arbor, Michigan, killed a forty-year-old Black woman named Aura Rain Rosser.  She was reportedly brandishing a kitchen knife when the cops showed up on a domestic violence call, although her boyfriend who made the initial report insisted that she was no threat to the officers.  No matter; they opened fire anyway.

As we waited, a Chicago police officer fatally shot 19-year-old Roshad McIntosh.  Despite the officer’s claims, several eyewitnesses reported that McIntosh was unarmed, on his knees with his hands up, begging the officer to hold his fire.

(more…)

One person’s perspective on the Ebola threat

October 21, 2014

I’m much more likely to be mistakenly killed by a police officer in this country than to be killed by Ebola

via Mother Jones.

The domestic scene: Links & comments 9/11/14

September 11, 2014

Five Reasons for the Zephyr Teachout Phenomenon and Five Reasons Andrew Cuomo Is Still Governor by Matt Stoller for Medium.  (Via Naked Capitalism)

Zephyr Teachout in defeat showed that an outsider can make headway against the Democratic establishment.  Gov. Andrew Cuomo in victory has probably lost any chance to be the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee.

The End of Fracking Is Closer Than You Think by Robert Eshelman for Vice News.

David Hughes, a Canadian geologist, studied data from 65,000 U.S. oil and gas well based on hydraulic fracturing.  He concluded that production on average drops 50 percent after the first year, and 85 percent in three years.   Fracking is an exchange of short-term gains for long-term damage.

When unarmed men reach for their waistbands by Radley Balko for the Washington Post.

When police shoot unarmed black men, they almost always say that the black man was moving his hands as if reaching for a gun.  But if the man was unarmed, what would he be reaching for?

Badges and guns: Links & comments 8/26/14

August 26, 2014

What I’ve Learned from Two Years of Collecting Data on Police Killings by D. Brian Burghart, editor of the Reno News and Review, for Gawker.

Killing of civilians by police is a serious national issue which is being covered up.  Nobody knows how many Americans are killed by polilce in a given year, still less what justification is given for them.  No doubt some of them, and maybe most of them. were necessary to protect human life.  But this information ought be available.  Police are the servants of the people, not their masters.

What Black Parents Tell Their Sons About the Police by Jasmine Hughes for Gawker.

Whatever the number of Americans killed by police in any given year, it is no doubt less than the number who die from other specific causes, such as auto accidents.  That is not the issue.  The issue is that so many law-abiding Americans, especially black Americans, live in justified fear of the police.

What I Did After Police Killed My Son by Michael Bell for Politico.

This is not just a problem of black people.  Michael Bell’s blonde, blue-eyed son was shot in the head by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, with his hands handcuffed behind his back.  He campaigned successfully for a law calling for independent investigations of all killings by police.   That’s a good law.  So would be a law requiring videotaping of police interactions with the public.

Militarized cops’ scary new toys: The ugly next frontier in “crowd control” by Heather Digby Parton for Salon.

The U.S. military is developing new technologies for crowd control, which no doubt will soon be available to police departments.   As Parton pointed out, they are designed for use against unarmed or poorly-armed crowds.  What does this say about how the military, and the police, see their mission.