Police, federal agents, protests, and racial justice
After a short section on clashes between police, federal agents, and protesters in Portland and other cities, you will find more general links about police, protests, and racial justice.
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• How a Deadly Police Force Ruled a City (Shane Bauer, New Yorker, 11-23-2020) After years of impunity, the police in Vallejo, California, took over the city’s politics and threatened its people. Reformers who have succeeded in getting rogue cops censured or fired often come up against a frustrating reality: because there are no national and few statewide indexes that track police terminations and disciplinary infractions, tainted officers often find new jobs in different jurisdictions.
• Trump's Portland crackdown is controversial. The man spearheading it might be doing so illegally. (Aaron Blake, Washington Post, 7-22-2020) Experts say acting Homeland Security secretary Chad Wolf can't legally serve in that role, compounding issues raised by the crackdown.
• Trump’s Effort to Provoke Violence Is Working (David A. Graham, The Atlantic, 7-28-2020) The president sent federal agents into Portland with the apparent aim of inciting a confrontation.
• Federal Officers Deployed in Portland Didn’t Have Proper Training, D.H.S. Memo Said (New York Times, 7-18-2020) The tactical agents deployed by homeland security include officials from a group known as BORTAC, the Border Patrol’s equivalent of a SWAT team, a highly trained group that normally is tasked with investigating drug smuggling organizations, as opposed to protesters in cities. The agents lacked sufficient training in riot control or mass demonstrations. Rather than tamping down persistent protests in Portland, Ore., a militarized presence from federal officers seems to have re-energized them.
• What to Know About Portland's Crackdown on Protesters and How You Can Help (Chelsea Sanchez, Harpers Bazaar, 7-21-2020) The Trump administration is trying to make an example out of Portland. But protesters and supporters are refusing to let him. 'Trump has since defended his decision to deploy armed units to confront Portland protesters, tweeting on Sunday, "We are trying to help Portland, not hurt it. Their leadership has, for months, lost control of the anarchists and agitators. They are missing in action. We must protect Federal property, AND OUR PEOPLE. These were not merely protesters, these are the real deal!" '
• Federal Officers Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab People In Portland, DHS Confirms (Jonathan Levinson, Conrad Wilson, James Doubek, and Suzanne Nuyen, NPR, 7-17-2020) NPR reported that the federal officers deployed come from the U.S. Marshals Special Operations Group and U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Border Patrol Tactical Unit, and are intended to protect federal property. They have been using unmarked vehicles to drive around downtown Portland and detain protesters since at least Tuesday. Personal accounts and multiple videos posted online show the officers driving up to people, detaining individuals with no explanation about why they are being arrested, and driving off. The New York Times additionally found that the units deployed are not specialized in nor have they been trained in riot control or mass demonstrations.
• Cities in Bind as Turmoil Spreads Far Beyond Portland (Mike Baker, Thomas Fuller and Shane Goldmacher, NY Times, 7-26-2020) Galvanized in part by the deployment of federal agents in Portland, Ore., protesters have returned to the streets in Oakland, Seattle and elsewhere.
• Police and protesters clash in violent weekend across the US (Jeff Martin, AP, 6-27-2020) Protests took a violent turn in several U.S. cities over the weekend with demonstrators squaring off against federal agents outside a courthouse in Portland, Oregon, forcing police in Seattle to retreat into a station house and setting fire to vehicles in California and Virginia.
• N.Y.P.D. Says It Used Restraint During Protests. Here’s What the Videos Show. (video, NY Times, 7-14-2020) The New York Times found more than 60 videos that show the police using force on protesters during the first 10 days of demonstrations in the city after the death of George Floyd. A review of the videos, shot by protesters and journalists, suggests that many of the police attacks, often led by high-ranking officers, were not warranted.
• Police wanted ‘a dog that would bite a Black person’ (Challen Stephens, AL.com, Alabama,11-2-2020) The terrifying reign of a small town’s police dog. Published in partnership with The Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organization covering the U.S. criminal justice system, USA Today, IndyStar and the Invisible Institute.
• Trump Has Brought America's Dirty Wars Home (Stuart Schrader, New Republic, 7-21-1010) The authoritarian tactics we've exported around the world in the name of national security are now being deployed in Portland.
• 'Wall of Moms' joins Portland's anti-racism protests (BBC, 7-22-2020) Anti-racism protests have been taking place in Portland, Oregon, for almost two months - but in recent days they have been joined by a growing number of "moms." The "Wall of Moms" - as they have been dubbed - have been acting as a human shield between the protesters and the federal officers sent in to disperse them.
• Conservative media helps Trump perform 'law and order' in Portland, with risks for November (Isaac Stanley-Becker, Washington Post, 7-22-2020) The strategy, resembling the focus on the migrant caravans in 2018, left some Republicans in bellwether counties uneasy.
• Elected leaders need to take action to stop the rioting (Jeff Barker, Opinion, Oregon Live, 7-8-2020) "Oregon supports free speech. Go through the normal channels, obtain a permit and then follow the rules in the permit. You can march, you can gather to listen to speeches, you can hold up any sign you'd like even if it makes the rest of the world uncomfortable. But what you can't do is break the law." Barker was a law enforcement officer for 31 years and has represented House District 28 in the Oregon Legislature since 2003.
Problems with policing generally
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• What should be done about America's policing problem? (The Stream, Al Jazeera, 6-15-2020) Driven by nationwide protests, calls are growing to boost accountability and oversight of US law enforcement.
• Terror Lynching in America (Equal Justice Initiative, video, 10-11-16)
• Trump Sidesteps Mentions of Systemic Racism as He Signs Police-Friendly Executive Order (KHN Morning Briefing, 6-17-2020) Advocates and Democrats say President Donald Trump's executive order on police violence falls far short of what's needed to make actual changes to the system. The White House focused on police-backed ideas, such as a national misconduct database, and continued to insist the problems lie with a few officers rather than deeper issues. Congress is also taking steps to address reform, but the parties are on a collision course with their bills.
• In wake of protests, New York lawmakers repeal law used to keep police misconduct records secret (Anjali Berdia, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 6-10-2020) In the wake of widespread protests against police violence and racial injustice, New York lawmakers voted on Tuesday to repeal Section 50-a of the state’s Civil Rights Law, a provision used to keep police disciplinary records secret.
• Why Policing Is Broken (Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, 6-17-2020) Years of research on brutality cases shows that bad incentives in politics and city bureaucracies are major drivers of police violence. In wake of protests, New York lawmakers repeal law used to keep police misconduct records secret.
• How Police Unions Fight Reform (William Finnegan, New Yorker, 8-3-2020) Police unions enjoy a political paradox. Conservatives traditionally abhor labor unions but support the police. The left is critical of aggressive policing, yet has often muted its criticism of police unions—which are, after all, public-sector unions, an endangered and mostly progressive species. Police unions have spent decades amassing influence. They have often used it to combat what Patrick Lynch, the head of New York City's P.B.A., calls "pro-criminal advocates."
• The '3.5% rule': How a small minority can change the world (David Robson, BBC, 5-13-19) Nonviolent protests are twice as likely to succeed as armed conflicts – and those engaging a threshold of 3.5% of the population have never failed to bring about change.
• The Defunding Debate ((Jack Herrera, Columbia Journalism Review, Summer 2020) Suddenly, defunding the police had exploded as a central campaign plot point. Look at the issue in historical context.
• 'Defund the police' calls grow amid protests. Reallocations could fund minority entrepreneurship instead (Steve Strauss, USA Today, 6-10-2020) Defunding the police certainly does not mean not having any police. But it does mean that some of the money used to fund police forces can likely be better spent if the goal is long-term safety, and to begin to eradicate the poverty gap and racial disparity between white and black America that fosters crime.
• Teaching About Race, Racism and Police Violence (Teaching Tolerance)
• Leo Tolstoy vs. the Police (Jennifer Wilson, NY Times, 6-25-2020) Why the great Russian novelist's critique of state-sponsored violence bears thinking about now. Tolstoy's views, particularly his strong invective against state-sponsored violence, riled authorities who consequently placed the writer under near-constant police surveillance.
• Screening police officers before they kill (Jack El-Hai, Medium, 1-4-16) Psychiatrist Douglas M. Kelley found that one-third to one-half of America's police officers during the 1950s were psychologically unqualified to protect citizens or enforce laws. Kelley was uniquely qualified to investigate the psychological traits of people in positions of authority. During the months immediately after World War II, Kelley, then a U.S. Army captain, was sent to the jail in Nuremberg, Germany, to evaluate the sanity of the top 22 captured Nazi leaders awaiting trial on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
• The History of Policing in the United States, Part 1 of 6 parts. (Gary Potter, Eastern Kentucky University Police Studies Online) The development of policing in the United States closely followed the development of policing in England. In the early colonies policing took two forms. It was both informal and communal, which is referred to as the "Watch," or private-for-profit policing, which is called "The Big Stick" (Spitzer, 1979).
• Violence Interrupter The Interrupters is a 2011 documentary film, produced by Kartemquin Films, that tells the story of three violence interrupters who try to protect their Chicago communities from the violence they once employed. ... The film features the work of CeaseFire, an initiative of the Chicago Project for Violence Prevention.
• He used to sell drugs on D.C. streets. Now he's paid to make them safer. (Peter Hermann, Washington Post, 12-13-18) Duane Cunningham is a member of the District's Violence Interrupters, a group that works in troubled neighborhoods to try to stop violence before it happens.
• Defund police? Some cities have already started by investing in mental health instead (Lindsay Schnell, MSN, USA Today, 6-20-2020) As calls to "defund the police" echo around the country at Black Lives Matter protests, a handful of communities already know what that looks like as they invest millions of dollars into mental health resources and response teams instead of just traditional policing. These crisis intervention teams typically do not include an armed, uniformed officer but do feature counselors, social workers and paramedics. And Eugene's 30-year-old program CAHOOTS, or Crisis Assistance Helping Out on the Streets, is the model other cities are looking to as they form their own programs. SEE In Cahoots: How the unlikely pairing of cops and hippies became a national model (Tatiana Parafiniuk-Talesnick, Oregon Register/Guard, 10-20-19)
• These Cities Are Stopping Police From Responding to Homelessness, Drug Use, and Mental Health Issues (Emma Ockerman, Vice, 6-17-2020) Los Angeles proposed the change Tuesday. San Francisco and Albuquerque have already made it.
• What does 'defund the police' mean and why some say 'reform' is not enough (Ryan W. Miller, USA Today, 6-8-2020)
• Most Americans do not want to “defund” the police (The Economist, 6-18-2020) But they support other reforms.
• Defunding Everything But the Police Short, effective video with a message
• How ‘Defund the Police’ went from moonshot to mainstream (Maya King, Politico, 6-17-2020) To many watching the historic protests against racism and police brutality unfold across the country, it was a call that came out of nowhere: Defund the Police. Yet hours after the first videos of George Floyd’s killing at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer went viral online, those three words became the rallying cry of a movement that had suddenly won America’s undivided attention. See more stories on the topic here: The Deep Roots Behind Seemingly Sudden Rise of 'Defund the Police' (KHN Morning Briefing, 6-17-2020)
• Protests focus on over-policing. But under-policing is also deadly. (Rod K. Brunson, WaPo, 6-12-2020) People in high-crime neighborhoods already don’t trust law enforcement to protect them.